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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Drama > Sex > Horror > Exploitation > Slasher > Serial Killer > Action > Monsters > Aliens > A. I. Rising (2018/Lionsgate DVD)/Greasy Strangler (2016/MVD/FilmRise Blu-ray)/Kolobos (1999*)/Man Who Killed Hitler and then Bigfoot (2018/RLJ Blu-ray)/Terra Formars (2016/*both MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)

A. I. Rising (2018/Lionsgate DVD)/Greasy Strangler (2016/MVD/FilmRise Blu-ray)/Kolobos (1999*)/Man Who Killed Hitler and then Bigfoot (2018/RLJ Blu-ray)/Terra Formars (2016/*both MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)

Picture: B-/B/B-/B+/B+ Sound: B-/B/B/B+/B+ Extras: C+/B/B/C+/B Films: C-/B/C/B/C+

Here's one of our wackier sets of genre films of late, not even going into how some of them are just pure exploitation and/or ripping off better films...

The modestly budgeted and sexualized sci-fi film, A.I. Rising (2018) is perhaps better than you might expect from the tacky DVD art (which doesn't even have the lead star Stoya as the robot), but doesn't offer up anything too new on the subject that hasn't already been covered by Phillip K. Dick or Issac Asimov. Directed by Lazar Bodroza, the film explores the relationship between a man and his female android which goes from professional, to sexual, to deadly. Blurring the lines between sci-fi and soft core porno, A.I. Rising grows tiresome pretty quickly.

The film stars Sebastian Cavazza, Stoya, Marusa Majer, and Kirsty Besterman.

A.I. Rising is presented on standard definition, anamorphically enhanced DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.66:1 and a lossy English 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. While the image is compressed due to the format and not as sharp as it could be in HD, this is a passable way to watch the film, and may make some of the more lackluster digital effects look better.

Special Features include...

Behind the Scenes of A.I. Rising featurette

Deleted Scenes

A.I. Rising - About the Movie featurette

Interview with Stoya

and a Trailer Gallery

One of the funniest cult comedies in recent memory, The Greasy Strangler (2016) is a cinematic journey that you don't want to miss. This special Director's Edition of the film presents the film in glorious HD, but in terms of extras there's nothing too new here from the previous release.

The equivalent of 'if John Waters made a Napoleon Dynamite-type film'. The key highlight of the film is the acting duo of Michael St. Michaels and Sky Elobar as Big Ronnie and Big Brayden, who play off one another very well.

Also starring in The Greasy Strangler are Joe Walters, Abdoulaye N'Gom (Grandma's Boy), Holland MacFallister, Sam Dissanayake, and Elizabeth de Razzo as Janet. Enjoyment of the film will be based on your sense of humor and I would suggest watching it with a group for maximum enjoyment as its a great 'party movie'.

Big Ronnie (Michaels) and his nerdy son Brayden (Elobar) are a father and son duo who are living in the midst of a vicious serial killer known as The Greasy Strangler - a man who not only strangles his victims, but covers himself in thick amounts of grease before he does so. While Ronnie and Brayden struggle to maintain their tours of famous disco locations in their hometown, they soon butt heads over the presence of Janet (Razzo), a eluding woman who quickly steals both of their hearts. While the Strangler's victim body counts starts to increase, the father/son duo must maintain their sanity while keeping their food extra greasy at the same time.

The Greasy Strangler is presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio, but no new lossless mixes of any kind, so we have to settle for English lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and English 2.0 sound that is good but who knows if we are still missing any sonic details despite the low budget. The transfer here is much better than the MVD DVD, with more detail in the clothes and details on some of the more unflattering features of some of the characters. The film is pretty colorful overall and has a wide color palette that's nicely utilized. The score is about as bizarre as one could conjure up, and has to be heard to be believed.

Special Features (same as the previous MVD DVD release, reviewed elsewhere on this site) include...

Feature length audio commentary with Director Jim Hosking and stars Michael St. Michaels and Sky Elobar

Interview with Cast and Crew

and a Trailer

There is a release of the film out from Monster Pictures' that contains over three hours of supplemental material, however, is exclusive to that release. It's too bad some more of than content wasn't put out on this release, to make this one more special. This appears to be identical to the 2016 Blu-ray disc also from Filmrise.

Again, if you're into raunchy and nonsensical humor, The Greasy Strangler can't be recommended enough for a few cheap laughs.

Kolobos (1999) is a late '90s indie horror flick that's been restored in this nice Blu-ray edition from Arrow Video. When a group of teens sign up for a TV reality show in a nice secluded house with cameras rolling in every room, they soon find themselves trapped inside and are then forced to combat the house's many deadly traps and tricks... but everything isn't quite as it seems.

The film stars Amy Weber, Nichole Pelerine, Ilia Volok, Kim Simms Thomas, and Linnea Quigley.

Made in the post-Scream/pre-Saw era of horror flicks, Kolobos is set up in a similar fashion in terms of narrative. I can see where this might have been an inspiration for Cabin in the Woods as well in its initial setup. However, the film runs out of gas halfway through with a painfully predictable ending you can see coming from a mile away.

Kolobos is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix. The film is nicely shot and cut, but a bit grainy throughout, which is likely the intention of the filmmakers, but still a distraction at times. This is a new 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative with new color grading, so it does look considerably better than prior releases.

Special Features include...

Audio commentary with co-writers and co-directors Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd


Real World Massacre: The Making of Kolobos - brand new featurette on the making-of

Kolobos including interviews with Daniel Liatowitsch, David Todd Ocvirk and co-writer producer Nne Ebong

Face to Faceless - a brand new Interview with "Faceless" actor Ilia Volok

Slice & Dice: The Music of Kolobos - a brand new interview with composer William Kidd

Behind-the-Scenes Image Gallery

Super 8mm short film by Daniel Liatowitsch with commentary

Original Trailer

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector's booklet with new writing on the film by Phillip Escott

Sam Elliot shines in the new genre film, The Man Who Killer Hitler and Then Bigfoot (2018), which was a huge hit on the film festival circuit. Equal parts dramatic and comedic, the film maintains a more dark and serious tone (not unlike Logan in some early scenes), while it could have easily went a much campier direction. Despite the fun plot points in the title, the film's biggest enemy is its B-story which is a romance that's a bit anti-climatic. Still, this is definitely worth checking out for Sam Elliot's performance and the absurdity of the story alone.

The film also stars Aidan Turner, Ron Livingston, Sean Bridgers, Caitlin FitzGerald, and Larry Miller. It is written and directed by Robert D. Krzykowski, and is his debut feature.

Calvin Barr (Elliott) reminisces on his long life full of accomplishments one night at a bar. Thinking back to the time that he joined the war, posed as a Nazi soldier, and murdered Adolf Hitler in cold blood. Thinking that his days of adventure are nearly over, he's soon called upon to defeat another threat - this time in the shape of Bigfoot.

Presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, the film looks and sounds fantastic. The image pushes the limitations of the format and has plenty of detail and levels of saturation. It would be a good candidate for the 4K format, so hopefully that'll come down the line.

Special Features...

Making of Featurette

Deleted Scenes

Elsie Hooper Short Film

Concept Art Gallery

and Reversible Cover Art/Slip Case

And finally, Takashi Miike's big budget genre film Terra Formars (2016), which is similar in some ways to Starship Troopers in that a Sci-Fi military must fight off alien creatures resembling cockroaches. An interesting choice for Miike, whose work is usually lower budget and more raw, his offbeat (and oftentimes gross) humor still shines through. The film stars Rinko Kikuchi, Rila Fukushima, and Shun Oguri.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless audio mixes in Japanese with English subtitles. The film has a sleek look to it and has been remastered nicely here with plenty of detail on the characters, visual effects, and backgrounds.

Special Features include...

The Making of Terra Formars - feature-length documentary on the film's production featuring a host of cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage

Extended cast interviews

Footage from the 2016 Japanese premiere


Image Gallery

Theatrical and teaser trailers

Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector's booklet with new writing on the film by Tom Mes

While not as engaging as Starship Troopers, Terra Formars is an interesting films that fans of Miike will want to check out to see the Director's variety if anything.

- James Lockhart



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