December 10, 2011

New Trailer For The Flowers Of War

While most of the world waits patiently for The Dark Knight Rises, Christian Bale managed to slip in a sweeping Chinese epic. The Flowers of War is from director Zhang Yimou and focuses on the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. But, don't be expecting anything like Black Sun as this story is about Christian Bale's character who seeks refuge in a Catholic church where he helps rescue a group of schoolgirls from the invading Japanese. I have the trailer below for you to check out, and truth be known it looks gorgeous. Mind you, take into account that this is one of the most expensive Chinese films ever made, at roughly $100 million, and you would hope it looks good!

The Flowers of War is set for an initial release in late December with a full release in early 2012 from distributor Wrekin Hill Entertainment.

Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Ju Dou, Hero, House of the Flying Daggers) tells an epic story of love and sacrifice in THE FLOWERS OF WAR, starring Christian Bale and introducing Ni Ni. 

The film, set during the Japanese invasion of China, is told from a young girl's point of view, not as a history lesson, but as an intimate, elemental and paradoxically universal celebration of the human spirit.   Bale stars as a dissolute Westerner who seeks refuge in a Catholic Church.  There he meets a beautiful Chinese courtesan who helps him rescue a group of schoolgirls from a terrible fate at the hands of the Japanese. 

The film represents one of China's most ambitious productions, involving the recreation of 1937 Nanking built from scratch over a one-year period and the collaboration of one of Hollywood's most sought after leading men (Christian Bale).

December 9, 2011

Behold The Sons Of Chaos

Some of you may, or may not, recall that I reviewed the short movie Sons of Chaos awhile back. If not you can check out the review here. Anyway, Mathieu Turi, who is the director of Sons of Chaos, contacted me today to let me know that the movie is now available to watch in its entirety, as you will see below. Personally I think it is a cracking short that lends plenty of scope for it being developed into a feature length movie. It has played many festivals, including being chosen to play at Sitges.

Check out the movie and enjoy.


Battleship Artwork and Stills

Heading to the big screen next May is the action flick Battleship. Released by Universal Pictures it is, believe it or not, based on the old Hasbro game. Release date is May 18th and below I have a shedload of stills to share with you, along with the teaser poster above.

Peter Berg (Hancock) produces and directs Battleship, an epic-scaled action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force.  Inspired by Hasbro's classic naval combat game, Battleship stars Taylor Kitsch as Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, a physical therapist and Hopper's fiancée; Alexander Skarsgård as Hopper's older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; Rihanna as Petty Officer Raikes, Hopper's crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones; and international superstar Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone's superior (and Sam's father), Admiral Shane.

Berg directs this epic action-adventure also produced by Scott Stuber (Couples Retreat), Sarah Aubrey (The Kingdom), Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir of Hasbro (the Transformers franchise), along with Duncan Henderson (Master and Commander) and Jeffrey Silver (300).  The film is written by Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber (Red).

The battle for Earth begins at sea.

December 8, 2011

Filthy Review - The Collective Volume 2: The Box

The Collective Vol. 2: The Box (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

When it comes to independent filmmakers they generally fall into two distinct categories. First you have the talentless hacks that are more than happy to rehash the same old tired crap, then butter it up with nice shiny artwork in the hopes of duping the public. Then you have the artists who try to add something to the genre they are working in. They aren’t content with the predictable and unoriginal, instead they try to feed our fears. Budget is not a concern, fresh new stories are.

With this in mind I will tell you that JABB Pictures fall squarely into the latter category. Through their short movies Polly and Spike and most notably their release of The Collective Vol 1: The Meat Eater. This collection of ten short movies, all of which ran to ten minutes with the same synopsis, impressed me throughout. In fact one of the shorts contained, Snow Angel, is one of my favorite shorts of the year. That being said all were very good and just showed what a little imagination could come up with.

Now, the Illinois based company have returned with a second collection, or Collective if you will, with the synopsis this time being a small box. As you can well imagine there is plenty of scope to take this idea in many directions, and many directions it is taken.

The companies involved this time are a mixture of those we saw before in the first collection, and some fresh new faces. I will say though that all have delivered the goods, and no I will not be revealing the plot of any of them. Part of the joy of watching these collections is not knowing where the filmmakers are going to take the idea of the box. Did I have favorites? Yes I did, more than one this time, but it is the originality of all that stood out most for me. There may be the odd camera faux pas here and there, and the acting may not always be the best, but that really isn’t where the enjoyment is garnered from. As is always the case it is the stories themselves that sell the product, and sell the product they do here.

My personal favorites, as I am sure you really want to know, were the segments from Grue Opus Films, Death Hug Films, So-So Pix and Spiral Filmworks. But even now when I type I think about another film that I really dug, and another. You get the idea, there really is something for every independent loving genre fan out there. Each film has its own identity and style, yet all work together to bring this collection to life.

The full list of companies behind the films are as follows:

Jabb Pictures
Death Hug Films
Grue Opus Films
Spiral Filmworks
So-So Pix
Quattro Venti Scott Productions
Susie Does Horror
Graphik 13 Films
Red Panic Button Films
Liberty or Death Productions

All in all I most definitely recommend you check out The Collective Vol 2: The Box. If you dug the first one you will really dig this one. There are a few familiar faces that pop up in some of the movies, if you are familiar with the early collection, and some startling performances too. It’s always easy to criticize acting in independent movies, but I really should also give credit where it is due as well.

The Collective Vol 2 is what independent genre filmmaking should be, it’s original, fresh, sometimes scary and always keeps your attention. A great job done by all.

The Collective Vol 2 is available now from JABB Pictures Official Site.

The Sharks Are Coming - Shark Night To Hit Blu and DVD

It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago that Shark Night played the theaters. In fact it was September 2nd that it was released. Well, now it is set for its Blu-ray and DVD release on January 3rd through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. 

One thing that I do find interesting is that there is no signs of it being in 3D as the theatrical release was. Maybe that will follow in time? Release details and features for both formats are covered below.

Take a bite out of the New Year with SHARK NIGHT 
on Blu-ray and DVD January 3rd
Your deepest fears are about to surface with this frightening tale of seven vacationers whose fun weekend at a lake house turns into a nightmare when they become victims of a series of hellish shark attacks.  From David R. Ellis, the director of The Final DestinationSHARK NIGHT features a sexy ensemble cast who bring a whole new dimension of terror to the screen.  Jam packed with exciting extras including “Shark Night Survival Guide” – everything you need to know to avoid becoming human chum – the Blu-ray and DVD comes up for air on January 3rd from Twentieth Century Fox  Home Entertainment. 

The moment Sara (Sara Paxton) and her friends arrive at her parent's Louisiana lake house, the party is in full gear. Everyone is having a blast until Malik (Sinqua Walls) loses his arm in what initially appears to be a tragic wake-boarding mishap. Determined to get him to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible, it isn't until they're far from shore that they realize the lake is teeming with hungry sharks, and a tiny speedboat isn't about to stop them from getting their next meal. As the feeding frenzy begins, Sara and her pals realize that their only hope for survival is to swim for their lives!

SHARK NIGHT features performances from Sara Paxton (Superhero Movie), Dustin Milligan (Slither), Chris Carmack (“The O.C.”), Katharine McPhee (“American Idol,” House Bunny), Chris Zylka (My Super Psycho Sweet 16, The Secret Circle), Alyssa Diaz (“As the World Turns”), Joel David Moore (Avatar) and Sinqua Walls (The Second Half).

SHARK NIGHT is available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 3rd.   Incentive Film Entertainment and Sierra/Affinity’s SHARK NIGHT was theatrically-released by Relativity Media on September 2, 2011.

·         Shark Attack!  Kill Machine! – Use this feature to jump to your favorite kills quickly
·         Ellis’ Island – A cast appreciation of what Shark Night director David Ellis brought to the film

SHARK NIGHT Blu-ray Disc Features:
All of the DVD features, plus…
·         Shark Night’s Survival Guide – Everything you need to know about the sharks in the movie to avoid becoming human chum!
·         Fake Sharks Real Scares – This behind the scenes featurette focuses on the use of both animatronic and CGI sharks in Shark Night
·         Digital Copy

Two New Releases From Psykik Junky Pictures

Here's some news for fans of independent horror regarding a couple of new releases from Psykik Junky Pictures that came my way. The first is about My Pure Joy, which is directed by James Cullen Bressack, and is set for Valentine's Day release (Feb 14th 2012) through Media Blasters on their Fresh Meat imprint. The movie is about a disturbed teenager who goes on a rampage after watching too many horror flicks, and was made when the director was just 18 years old.

"On the outside Adam appears to be a normal teenager, but underneath...his mind has been so rotted by trauma from his past and the gory films he watches, that he has blurred the lines between reality and pretend! This prompts Adam to start killing people in similar ways to films he watches, making sure to put his own little spin on it."

Next up is Treasure Chest of Horrors which is directed by Doug Waugh and Shawn C. Philips and executive produced by Bressack and Jarret Cohen. This no budget anthology happens to star Lloyd Kaufman and Shawn C. Philips and features tales of zombies, vampires, pirates, killer mannequins and serial killers.

Treasure Chest of Horrors was recently picked up for distribution by World Wide Multi Media and is set for a DVD release in 2012.

"Percival Pirate goes on a journey to discover his Grandpappy's hidden treasure chest. What he believes is treasure turns out to be four never before seen horror films"

December 6, 2011

The Phantom Of The Opera Lives!

If anyone has dome anything to bring the name of horror firmly into the mainstream it would be Andrew Lloyd Webber with his musical, The Phantom of the Opera. It may not be horror in the sense of the classic movies, but at its core it is still a horror story come to life. Now fans of the musical will be able to get their hands on the Blu-ray or DVD of the show that marked the 25th anniversary of the Broadway smash. Filmed at the Royal Albert Hall on October 2nd 2011, this special release will street on February 7th from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

I have included the trailer for the UK edition below.

The Longest-Running Broadway Musical of All Time Celebrates 25 years of Romance with a Spectacular Live Production on One of the World’s Most Legendary Stages

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience Available on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand from
Universal Studios Home Entertainment on February 7, 2012

Broadway’s longest-running production of all time celebrates a triumphant quarter century on stage with The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, coming to Blu-rayTM – with perfect hi-def picture and perfect hi-def sound- DVD, On Demand and Digital Download on February 7, 2012 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.  On October 2, 2011, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer Cameron Mackintosh marked the 25th anniversary of their beloved musical extravaganza, “The Phantom of the Opera,” with a lavishly staged production at London’s legendary Royal Albert Hall that was beamed live via satellite to cinemas across the globe. The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall marks the first time a live performance of the blockbuster musical has been made available for home viewing, making it a must-have anniversary release for fans everywhere.

The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall stars Ramin Karimloo (2011 Olivier Award nominee for Best Actor in a Musical for “Love Never Dies”) as the lovestruck Phantom and Sierra Boggess (2011 Olivier Award nominee for Best Actress in a Musical for “Love Never Dies”) as the beautiful and gifted soprano Christine.  The show also features Barry James, Gareth Snook, Liz Robertson and Wynne Evans, as well as special guest appearances from the actors who originated the roles of The Phantom and Christine, Tony® Award winner Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, in a memorable final curtain call.

“Phantom” aficionados will also be thrilled to know that “Love Never Dies,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spectacular follow-up musical will also arrive on Blu-rayTM and DVD for the first time on February 7.  With lush visuals and a mesmerizing score that rivals the original in power and beauty, this live production of “Love Never Dies” finds Christine and the Phantom reunited in turn-of-the-century New York City after a decade apart.

“The Phantom of the Opera” premiered at Her Majesty's Theatre in London on October 9, 1986. It has won more than 60 major theatre awards, including seven Tony® Awards and three Olivier Awards, and became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 when it celebrated its 7,486th performance.   “The Phantom of the Opera” has grossed over $5.6 billion worldwide and been seen in 145 cities in 27 countriesLive productions of “The Phantom of the Opera” are currently playing in London, New York, Budapest, Las Vegas and Kyoto.

·         The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
o      “Getting Past the Point of No Return:” A behind-the-scenes “Making Of” feature starring the cast and crew.
·         Love Never Dies
o      “Making Of” Featurette:  Take a look behind the scenes at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s breathtaking sequel.

Lurking beneath the glamor and spectacle of the Paris Opera House, the horribly disfigured Phantom, once a promising musician, now terrorizes the opera company.  Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the Phantom is drawn to the beautiful ingénue Christine Daaé and begins coaching her secretly, as a tragic romance unfolds between the unlikely pair. This dazzling live restaging of the original production recreates the jaw-dropping scenery and breathtaking special effects of the original, set to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting score.

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after the Phantom’s disappearance from the Paris Opera House.  He has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island. In this new electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar. All that is missing is his love - Christine Daaé. Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine is struggling in an ailing marriage to Raoul. So, it is with excitement she accepts an invitation to travel to New York and perform at a renowned opera house. In a final bid to win back her love, the Phantom lures Christine, her husband, and their young son Gustave from Manhattan, to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island… not knowing what is in store for them.

Cast:  Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, Hadley Fraser, Barry James, Wendy Ferguson, Gareth Snook, Liz Robertson, Wynne Evans, Sergei Polunin
Producer:  Cameron Mackintosh
Music by:  Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by:  Charles Hart
Book by:  Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber
Based on the novel:  Le Fantôme de L'Opéra by Gaston Leroux
Additional lyrics by: Richard Stilgoe
Film Directed by:  Nick Morris
Stage Production Directed by:  Laurence Connor based on the original London Production directed by Hal Prince
Musical Staging and Choreography: Gillian Lynne
Lighting:  Patrick Woodroffe and Andrew Bridge
Sound:  Mick Potter
Set Design:  Matt Kinley, inspired by Maria Björnson’s original design for the stage

Cast:  Ben Lewis, Anna O’Byrne, Maria Mercedes, Simon Gleeson, Sharon Millerchip, Emma J Hawkins, Paul Tabone, Dean Vince
Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics & Book:  Glenn Slater
Book:  Ben Elton, Frederick Forsyth
Additional Lyrics:  Charles Hart
Director:  Simon Phillips
Choreographer:  Graeme Murphy AM
Set & Costume Designer:  Gabriela Tylesova
Lighting Designer:  Nick Schlieper
Musical Supervisor:  Guy Simpson

December 5, 2011

Yakuza Weapon Is Armed And Dangerous And Heading Our Way

The good folk at Well Go USA and those batshit crazy loons from Sushi Typhoon are all set to unleash their latest extravaganza, which incidently apparently features a cybernetic penis implant. Nice. Anyway, I can't wait to have a gander at this. It drops on Blu-ray and DVD combo pack on February 7th, just in time for Valentines Day! I've added a couple of stills below for your viewing pleasure.

The Team Who Brought You VERSUS Have Returned with
Another Hard-Edged Battle Royale Featuring
Tough Gangsters, Deadly Women and Cybernetic Penis Implants!
The Latest Blood-Soaked Gore Fest From Japanese Production House Sushi Typhoon Debuts on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack February 7th

Bonus Materials Include a Making-Of Featurette
and the Spinoff Film Takuzo Weapon

PLANO, TEXAS.  (December 5, 2011) – From the director of Mutant Girl Squad (Tak Sakaguchi), and Meatball Machine (Yûdai Yamaguchi) comes the “bloody awesome”* Yakuza Weapon, debuting on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack and DVD February 7th from Well Go USA Entertainment.  Another warped film from the prolific Japanese production company Sushi Typhoon,Yakuza Weapon is based on the cult manga by Ken Ishikawa and stars stuntman-turned-director Tak Sakaguchi as a one-man, butt-kicking army out to avenge the death of his father with built-in firepower. The extensive bonus features include the behind-the-scenes featurette “The Making of Yakuza Weapon,” a discussion with Director Tak Sakaguchi and the spinoff short film Takuzo Weapon.   Yakuza Weapon will be available in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack for $29.98 SRP and on standard DVD for $24.98 SRP.

Stuntman-turned-director, Tak Sakaguchi, directs himself as a hard-hitting maverick who returns to Tokyo, only to discover his Yakuza father murdered, his family headquarters turned into a shady loan shop, and a powerful gang leader attempting to overthrow the entire criminal underworld! With rival gangs jacked up on “hyperdrug,” he must becomes a one-man, butt-kicking army – and things only get wilder when he loses an arm and a leg, only to have them replaced with more firepower than the entire Japanese military possesses.

Bonus Features Include:
- “The Making of Yakuza Weapon” Featurette
-  Director’s Discussion
-  Tokyo Stage Greeting
-  Spinoff Film: Takuzo Weapon
-  Trailers

Yakuza Weapon has a runtime of approximately 106 minutes and is unrated. 

Apollo 18 Landing Soon

Found footage in space flick Apollo 18 is all set to land on Blu-ray and DVD through Anchor Bay on December 27th. You know me, I'm a sucker for these style of movies so I will be sure to post a review nearer the time.

Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 7, 1972, was the last manned mission to the moon.  But two years later, in December of 1974, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the US Department of Defense.  What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission.  While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.

The APOLLO 18 Blu-ray™ and DVD bonus features include an audio commentary with director Gonzalo López-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier, deleted and alternate scenes, alternate endings, among other bonus features to be confirmed.  Note: Special features are subject to change.

December 4, 2011

Filthy Review - Triple Tap

Triple Tap (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

Triple Tap, from director Derek Yee, first saw light of day in its native Hong Kong and China in 2010. Fast forward almost 18 months and it is the latest release from Well Go USA, who I have to say have put out some exceptional movies of late. Following their release of The Stool Pigeon this is another cop thriller that doesn’t play by the rules, or for that matter play out quite as you might expect it to. Forget the flashy gunplay and slo-mo wizardry that you might expect from Hong Kong. Instead you are going to get a thriller that is far more interested in its characters than in action sequences. Rest assured though, there is enough action here to satiate the patient.

Some folk may say that I am lazy when it comes to dishing out the plot to movies in my reviews. To that I say only a lazy viewer wants to know everything before they see the movie, so I will keep it brief and try not to spoil anything here. Well, no more than is revealed on the accompanying Blu-ray/DVD packaging.

The basic outline follows two competitive shooters (the title coming from firing three shots at once), Detective Jerry Chong and Investment Banker Ken Kwan, who after a competition go their separate ways. However, on Kwan’s drive home he comes across an armed robbery in progress. Being the good soul that he is he does his best to put a stop to it. With three robbers dead the police turn up, and so begins an investigation into whether Kwan is guilty of murder. The movie twists and turns from here on in as a game of chess unfolds between all involved.

Triple Tap works exceptionally well as a police thriller, it never takes you quite where you think it will as the story is very well crafted, and slowly reveals piece by piece the big picture. As I mentioned this movie isn’t high on the action, saving most for the opening 15/20 mins or so and then holding off until towards the end. That is not to say though that the movie isn’t entirely gripping. Full focus is given to the cast and characters, well the male cast anyway. The two main females in the movie are under utilized and poorly characterized. One being Kwan’s girlfriend, who just seems happy to quietly sit in the background, and the other being Kwan’s boss who really wasn’t convincing in her role. This baffled me though because both women are integral to the plot of the movie.

Triple Tap is a slick and well produced movie and, as is so often the case in Asian thrillers, it looks fantastic and has thoroughly engaging interaction between to the two leads.

Coming as it does hot on the heels of Well Go’s previous thrillers, The Man From Nowhere and The Stool Pigeon (I missed the Better Tomorrow remake), I did think it had a lot to live up to. And, whilst it isn’t quite on par with those two movies it still stands head and shoulders above many bigger budget affairs from the West. Whether they be from Japan, Korea, Thailand or, as is the case here, Hong Kong there is no denying that Asian cinema continues to deliver the goods.

Triple Tap comes with a recommendation from me for fans of good, solid thrillers that rely on the strength of the characters and plot rather than the action sequences.

Triple Tap is released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack by Well Go USA on December 6th.