Of The Living Dead (2013
Documentary/Romero/First Run DVD)/Black
Water Vampire (2013/Image
(2013 remake/Fox/MGM Blu-ray w/DVD)/Concrete
C+/C/B- & C/C/C+/B- Sound: C+/C/B- & C+/C+/C+/B-
Extras: C+/C-/C-/D/C-/C- Main Programs: B/C-/C-/C+/C-/C-
is a good mix of action, horror and comedy for you to consider... or
Kuhns' Birth Of The Living Dead
(2013) is yet another documentary on the success of George Romero and
his zombie films, but this one is especially interested in the
original 1968 Night Of The
Living Dead and manages
to give us ideas, detail, stories and key history the many other
horror/zombie based approaches to the same material skipped. We get
more biography on Romero than ever before, he tells stories of
growing up in the Bronx and New York City before moving to
Pittsburgh, goes into detail about his love of all film, the fantasy
classic that changed his life, the people in 1960s Pittsburgh that
made the film possible, his previous film work, the project that gave
them a 35mm movie camera and much more.
get new interviews with many fans and scholars, plus the great story
of how the film was first sold as just another B-movie before
becoming a huge hit. How they then lost the copyright as it moved
overseas making untold hundreds of millions of dollars they never
saw. But it is also a character study of the arts, the film
industry, culture, pop culture industry and how a love of film can
change your life for the better forever. Some may object to
pre-teens seeing the film as part of a school class, but this
documentary hold nothing back and that is a plus.
include a 7 minute piece on one of the Monroeville Mall, Pennsylvania
Zombie Walks with Bill Hinzman in attendance getting his due, a
6/16/70 10-minutes audio-only clip of Romero being interviewed about
the film at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York and Extended
Interview footage of Romero for this
program running 33 minutes.
the film has not yet been issued on Blu-ray in the U.S., two
region-free Blu-rays that are decent (with slightly different prints)
have been issued overseas that you can get now for your Blu-ray
player and you can read more about both at the following links...
Tramel's Black Water
Vampire (2013) is simply
a bad recycling of the awful and sadly over-imitated Blair
Witch Project (down to
the three word title and almost the same initials) running 82 minutes
with limited ideas and development of any kind. We get odd deaths, a
mysterious symbol that keeps popping up and a group of people dumb
enough to go in the middle of nowhere to solve the so-called mystery.
Unfortunately, this is not even a decent vampire flick and though a
few moments suggest potential inf the makers tired to be original, it
is all to no avail.
Behind The Scenes clip is the only extra.
the original 1976 Brian De Palma Carrie
was released, Stephen King was not yet established as a big writer,
but the film did business, though De Palma thought it could be bigger
and was not happy United Artists did not promote it even more.
Still, it was a hit, King was happy with it and it remains one of the
few tales of terror he wrote that was filmed properly. Since then, a
bad sequel called The
Rage, Carrie 2 (where the
lead was not even named Carrie!), a TV remake and a stage musical
were all produced and all failed if not outright bombed. Now in
2013, Director Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don't Cry, Stop
Loss) does a second
remake because if if bombed in TV, it will work better with a larger
budget in theaters?
bad and weak as the TV movie was, this is the worst incarnation yet
of the tale or anything connected to it. This time, Chloe Grace
Moritz is the title character, unpopular in school (for reasons not
explained or made clear in any way this time out) and about to be the
target of bullying and a semi-sexual assault in a gym locker room.
Julianne Moore is badly, over-obviously cast as her crazy religious
mother and all sleepwalk thought the film (mostly unknowns in the
supporting roles their 1976 originators far outact, but they are
strait-jacketed by bad directing here) and Judy Greer is the only one
who shows any energy as the Gym Teacher outraged at Carrie's abuse.
a pre-title sequence where the ill mother has Carrie alone in
childbirth and great pain in her bed alone, then tries to kill her
(overkill in the first scene and it just gets worse and worse) to a
shallow, clueless, mechanical retelling of the story to making every
mistake anyone could in a remake of this material makes this one of
the most unnecessary remakes of recent years. Reactionary youths
with no love of film will start talking about an original not being
especially without comparing the two or say something dumb like it is
a version for today,
but that is ignorant, naïve, tired, lame, weak, sad, pathetic
the idea of using a cell phone to capture the early assault with
sound and motion video is not used effectively and we get no
suspense, then when the retreaded script blatantly runs out of ideas
(which is very often in its long, long, long 100 minutes, here comes
the bad, dated-on-arrival digital effects as carrie learns she has
telekinesis early on. That she has the power developed so quickly,
too quickly, never works. Then she becomes a cross between Darth
Vader (that choking schtick) and a X-Men villain Marvel Comics would
have never used, we get a disaster that never recovers and never even
becomes unintentionally funny.
sadly admits she thought of this as a superhero piece in the extras,
which has nothing to do with the book, storyline, what King ever
intended and what the material was ever about. For that film-hating
crowd who would chime in with a so-what,
they are the same people who not pay to see this or ask for their
money back. How boring! If Pierce wanted to take such liberties,
she should have tried to go all the way, but that also negates it as
a horror story and make her female lead sexless, plastic and as tired
and mannequin-like as the rest of the cast.
for those endings, the one they settled on is a cop-out that would be
saving us from the nightmare had the nightmare worked and the
alternate one is simply (figure this one out) if someone imitating
David Cronenberg badly did what they shallowly thought would be his
take on the original ending. The trivialization of actual bullying
is the other big failure here proving Pierce has run out of gas as a
filmmaker after only 3 features. Send her to filmmaking prison,
include a limited edition (yee haw?) lenticular slipcase that is
supposed to make the blood on the title character's face appear and
disappear just by tilting it, but it does not work, Digital HD
Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices,
while the Blu-ray sadly adds three Making Of featurettes that are
boring, a run-on feature length audio commentary track by
Director Pierce, Deleted/Alternate Scenes that would not have saved
this in any cut and that Alternate Ending not shown in theaters so
those who paid to get in could see another equally lame ending.
the original 1976 classic, learn more about seeing it at this link:
Kalikow's Concrete Blondes
(2012) is one of the better releases here as a trio of gals (all of
whom also happen to be lesbian, but so sexy and pretty that between
the way they are portrayed, written and acted, it is borderline
thought-police lesbianism without the XXX scenes; possibly an
in-joke?) get involved with drug runners when two of them land up
with a big briefcase of their money. Two of them go to entertain at
a private party only to find all the guests have shot each other to
death in a showdown. The shock of those bloody dead men is quickly
replaced by the shock of finding a small fortune.
the majority of the 95 minutes, script manages to juggle it's
multi-layered narrative well about what is actually happening and who
saw what and has what advantage to get and keep the suddenly-loose
fortune including a scene-stealing John Rhys-Davies as a Greek
mobster who wants all the money, power and drugs in a fine
performance. Carly Pope, Samaire Armstrong and Diora Baird are
convincing as the dysfunctional trio with some true chemistry, but
the conclusion is not convincing and some of the plot aspects do not
hold up under scrutiny.
this one is worth a look.
are no extras.
(2013) is the latest of the TV Movie Disaster Cycle and with
Sharknado spawning merchandise like calendars, you can see why all
the producers of such material are trying to imitate it's success.
However, the sudden tornadoes we keep seeing appear and disappear
here are laughable and unconvincing, not even good enough for a
vacuum cleaner ad. In addition, the script is dumb (beyond the
on-purpose part) and the cast of unknowns render Boston boring along
with the title, which is the name of the weather pattern causing said
I were an Italian critic, it is so dumb, I would call it Stunados!
trailer is the only extra.
(2012) want to be a big comic statement against the seedy side of
advertising, but lands up instead being a bad one-joke tale (at a
long 90 minutes) about a young dreamer (Shiloh Fernandez) who has a
great idea he things can make him a fortune: sell a soda pop based on
an ad campaign that will make everyone buy it no matter how it
tastes. Aside from the fact that the sales of such drinks have been
in historic decline of late (bring back the cane sugar!!!), the
approach and way the script coms up with this is implausible and
plays his sexy, sophisticated love interest who is wiser than he
about just about everything, Kellan Lutz (Legend
Of Hercules, the Twilight
films) shows up as a sleazy opportunist, but his character is
underutilized and hardly used in the script. Brittany Snow (the
film), Rachel Dracht and Kirstie Alley cannot even save this from
being a dud, but this is sadly the last appearance of the solid actor
Christopher Evan Welch, who passed away at only 48 years old from
cancer, so that is the one reason to still see it out of respect for
him. Too bad he did not have a larger role.
trailer is the only extra.
Blu-rays tie as the visual champs on the list, but that does not mean
they are in any way spectacular. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 (AVC @ 28 MBPS
on Carrie) digital High Definition image transfer are both
digital shoots ands they show it. Carrie is slightly styled down
with the color slightly off and a slight (cliched at that) darkness
going on throughout while Syrup is just plain generic beyond
any commentary it might be making on the phony look of advertising.
The anamorphically enhanced Carrie
DVD is far softer and as poor as anything on the list here, making it
almost pointless to watch, much like the remake itself.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 performance on Vampire and
Blondes ties that DVD for the softest performer on the list,
but at least those shoots are comparatively more inspired. I would
be curious to see both on Blu-ray as a result. That leaves the
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Dead and the silly
Stonados looking better than expected, though Dead has
an excuse using rough archive footage throughout.
Blu-ray both offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes and
are the sonic champs, yet again, the soundfield in both cases is
nothing to celebrate as dialogue is too much in the center channel
and the soundmixes are uninspired. Carrie
is more obnoxious and showy in ways that further sabotage it and seem
immature and flighty, especially as compared to the original mono mix
1976 film down to Composer Marco Beltrami not able to help no matter
how hard he tries.
The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD version of Carrie
is even weaker still. The
rest of the DVDs also offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes easily as
good as that of the Carrie
DVD, save Vampire,
which is much weaker, badly mixed and poorly edited than expected.