Director (and actor) Teddy Chan’s KUNG FU KILLER (overseas and elsewhere known by the title KUNG FU JUNGLE) is the story of a martial arts instructor on the police force who gets locked up for accidentally killing (more…)
Anyone that knows anything about Hong Kong action films knows director John Woo and his 1986 gangster film A BETTER TOMORROW starring Chow Yun-Fat, Leslie Cheung, and Lung Ti, containing some of the greatest shootout scenes between villains and police officers. Along with Woo’s THE KILLER, I rank A BETTER TOMORROW among some of my favorite action flicks from Hong Kong and the rest of the world for sheer indulgence of violence, on-screen killings, and excessive waste of bullets and human life. If one is going to make a gangster film, then I expect their to be over-the-top gun shootouts with gun cartridges that carry an infinite amount of bullets so the user doesn’t have to stop the action to reload his/her weapon. Although highly unrealistic, it makes for one hell of an adrenaline rush when watching it unfold on-screen. All that I have just mentioned is generally in most of John Woo’s films, most noticeably in the Hong Kong productions and not quite AS MUCH as in his films made in Hollywood.
But enough about John Woo and his film A BETTER TOMORROW because this review is about the South Korean remake from Hae-sung Song, a director that according to my research has not directed an action/gangster flick before in his career. He has directed a couple of romantic comedies (MAUNDY THURSDAY (’06) and FAILAN (’01), and a biographical pic about a South Korean wrestler entitled RIKIDOZAN: A HERO EXTRAORDINARY (’01). I am guessing that his resume still gives him enough potential to have a chance at remaking a classic action film from Hong Kong, with respect to paying homage to it and not creating a giant mess that will infuriate HK Action purists, as well as those particular about what favorite films of theirs are being remade by who.
Myself, anyone that knows me will tell you I am not a fan of remakes and what I define as a remake is a direct interpretation of a film made within the same format and media. If a play was written and performed on Broadway and that same play is put on film and made into a movie, I don’t really consider it a remake because the artistic mediums are so different. I can live with that. I can also live with books, stories, animated projects, and short films being remade into feature length films. To me, there are so many differences between the original and the finished project that I have no problem watching both and not really even comparing one to the other. When a movie that is far outdated from the original comes along, I usually can let that slide also because (depending on how far apart in years the two projects are) generally the technology, setting, and story can become so different and fresh because the film is so much more modern (in many cases) and seems as if the story and idea is a totally original and unique one.
With Song’s A BETTER TOMORROW, we have a remake that is 25 years newer than the original. Both movies are not far apart enough in years for me to consider one to be given a “pardon” and not undergo large scrutiny by me. I had to watch Song’s South Korean film while making comparisons to Woo’s Hong Kong film the whole damn time. It is just in my nature if a film has been made after the other film. The ironic thing about both films is that there is another A BETTER TOMORROW out there. This one dates back to a 1967 Cantonese film called Ying xiong ben se (Story of a Discharged Prisoner). I have not seen this film nor remember hearing about it when I originally watched Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW for the first time nearly 22 years ago.
When I found out that Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW was a remake, I was kind of shocked. I truly loved a film that is a remake, less than twenty years old from the original. Now I was watching a film whose story has been made into a film not once already, not twice—but now THREE TIMES. I did not know what to think when I learned of this so I just sat down and watched Song’s South Korean remake of A BETTER TOMORROW and really hoped it didn’t suck and wish that I could enjoy the film for what its worth.
Having not seen STORY OF A DISCHARGED PRISONER, I can make no comparisons or allusions to, so I will just be mentioning and referencing Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW from time to time. The stories of both films are very similar. Both films tell the tale of a brother going the life of crime, and being rather successful at it, and having a younger straight-laced brother whom is not a criminal and grows up to be a police officer. The rest of the film varies a bit with the story. The main plot of the film in Woo’s version is that the father of both sons dies due to the older sons’ actions as a gangster and the younger brother blames him for their father’s death and wants to bust him as a cop. Song’s version is a bit different because it takes place in South Korea so he has both brothers flee from North Korea into South Korea with their mother. Older brother leaves behind his younger brother and mother. The mother dies and the younger brother is locked up, all the while getting beaten and tortured for trying to escape (North Korea is pretty messed up). Woo’s version has Chow Yun-Fat (HARD BOILED) as the older gangster brother and Song casts Joo Jin-Mo (THE WARRIOR) as Kim Hyeok, the older brother who abandons his family. The role of the mobster’s best friend and partner in Woo’s film is played by Lung Ti (A BETTER TOMORROW 2) and in Song’s version the role is portrayed by Song Seung-Heon (SO CLOSE). The role of the younger brother who joins the police academy and becomes a hard-driven cop is played by Leslie Cheung (FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE) in Woo’s film and portrayed by Kim Kang-W00 (MARINE BOY) in the updated version of the film. I only mention what actors play what characters in both films because as I watched the newest A BETTER TOMORROW, I watched the film thinking in my head what actors played the character in the original film so I thought I would just give readers some insight to what I had swirling in my brain during the whole movie.
Even though the film has subtle differences, such as taking place in South Korea instead of in Hong Kong and having the family escape from North Korea (all of which make sense since Song’s movie is taking place in the port city of Busan, South Korea and the cast and crew is mostly Korean), the stories are almost identical. Kim (Joo Jin-Mo) is a high-ranking mobster and his closest friend Lee (Song Seung-Heon), also a fellow mobster, get screwed over royally while traveling to Thailand with a new gang recruit Jung Tae-Min (Jo Han-Seon) for a meeting with some Thai gangsters. It is a set-up planned by the new recruit Jung and Kim is caught by the cops, locked up for quite a bit, reformed, and comes out planning to live a crime-free life and be a productive member of society. During the time Kim is locked up, his best friend Lee enacts revenge upon the Thai gangsters in Pusan and goes to kill their boss. During the shootout Lee is shot in the leg, forever crippling him and being the beginning of the downfall as his career as a successful gangster. Jung, on the other hand, rises to power and is still bitter over the once-successful gangsters who know firsthand of his treachery and deceit.
The film moves along at a great pace, filled with decent performances by all actors involved, and keeps the story interesting with the drama between the two fighting brothers, as well as showing the path they each chose and their current situations. Foreign films are kind of difficult for me to judge the acting on because I am reading subtitles of what the actors are saying and I can’t gauge the dialogue as it is delivered because I have no idea what the hell they are saying. If the subtitles are incorrect, it can be even more difficult. As far as I could tell, the performances were pretty good. Their body language and actions fit with the dialogue that was translated on the screen. I will say that at times, it was VERY confusing figuring out which character was which. With the time gaps of past and present, I almost had to take notes on which character was which. There were parts of the film that really moved fast and the introduction of new characters was not very long before some major turning point in the plot occurred, causing the story to jump back to a much earlier point in the timeline or to shoot forward quite a bit.
Besides that, I really enjoyed the film. I don’t think Song fully captured the action and violence of Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW, as I believe Woo’s gun-play scenes were far superior and had a distinctive flair to them, but Song’s shootout scenes were pretty solid. One could tell that he was going for the slickness and trying to re-create the intensity that Woo had. The one thing I was hoping for was a lot of quickly edited and well-shot shootouts. If the action in the film was lacking, the film would have been a major flop but the action was there. It may not have been as awesome as it was in Woo’s film, but it still was quite entertaining and briskly paced. I tend to loath downtime in action flicks and was glad that Song did not throw in some cheesy, steamy sex scene that are prevalent in so many action flicks from the ’80s and ’90s. I come to think of a bunch of films starring Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme as having some needless romance within them.
The major difference were the acting in Song’s film, as well as the shootout scenes. Although he really tried to achieve the same intensity as Woo’s action scenes, Song’s sequences of violence are not on par with Woo’s. Of note, though, is the fact that John Woo did serve as an Executive Producer, as well as there being a 30-minute interview with him in the Bonus Features of the film. Looking at the film and making no comparisons whatsoever to John Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW, Song’s A BETTER TOMORROW is still a well-done action film. It is not the greatest action film I have ever seen, but it is better than average and was a very enjoyable viewing. I think that there is enough action and violence for the action fans, along with the right amount of dramatic dialogue and plot about the past of brothers Kim Hyuk and Kim Chul. Personally, I felt that in-fighting between the two just got in the way of the revenge Kim was seeking towards Tae Min (Han Sun Jo). I could have been perfectly happy with a massive bloodbath. I also noticed there were no nasty villains in the movie. The “bad guys” were bad, but not really evil. There was no torturing, hacking off of limbs, brutal stabbings or dismemberment. The murders were pretty much straight-forward shootings and the victims either died instantly or were injured without the camera lens dwelling on their agony. I kind of missed having a villain that is larger than life in a movie, much as with how Hollywood films portray them, as well as in comicbooks. I guess Song was not going for a flashy stylized film. Too bad.
As well as having the John Woo interview, Well Go USA’s Blu-ray/DVD combo (I love when distributors put out combos because not all of my friends and family have updated to the digital age yet!) has Deleted Scenes, Actor and Director Interviews, a Theatrical Trailer, and a Photo Gallery. The film runs 124 minutes and is not rated.The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack retails for $29.98 and the DVD for $24.98.
Sadly, when one remakes a film as great as the original (or in this case, the earlier remake) such as John Woo’s, one really has to raise the bar VERY high to come anywhere near the quality and impact that Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW. As you read, I was continually making comparisons to Woo’s film. How could one not?!? My advice to anyone wanting to see this film is to just watch the film and pretend it has nothing to do with Woo’s movie because it would be like going to a dinner party and having to choose between Filet Mignon and a Steak & Shake burger. There really is no comparison.
Totally random cool shit one has to have (or at least I have to have!)
How fucking cool is this? Head over to Official Motorhead Online store to pick this web exclusive up!
2011 Motörhead Holiday Stocking – Webstore Exclusive
Limited Edition Motörhead Holiday Stocking is made of 2-layer padded felt and features embroidered art and measures 15”x 10”
Product Number MH-11STOCKING
IMPOSSIBLY FUNKY by MIKE WHITE
DIRTY! DIRTY! DIRTY! by MIKE EDISON
CINEMA SEWER Vol. 3
CONFESSIONS OF A PRAIRIE BITCH by ALISON ARNGRIM
Everyone has heard about Swedish exploitation and horror films, but how much does one really know about them?
I personally bought this book as soon as I saw it from a local indie bookshop in Chicago (Quimby’s), but those of you unfortunate to have a rad bookstore that carries awesome books like this should just order it from Bazillion Points, the publisher of the book, right here: BAZILLION POINTS If you buy one soon, it will even come signed!
And now A VERY SPECIAL X-MAS OFFER FROM HEADPRESS
|Buy Dark Stars Rising before January 1, 2012 and get a copy of Trashfiend absolutely free!|
|Two fantastic, big and heavy, fully illustrated books. The very best in film and alt.culture.|
|Get them before the price rise|
DARK STARS RISING is a collection of 27 candid interviews spanning 24 years with unique and free-thinking artists, from America to Austria, and beyond. Working in different media, countries, constraints, and freedoms, the vortex here is created by New York film writer Shade Rupe, known for his avant interests and the cultural realm he inhabits with his Funeral Partybooks. Everyone in this collection has produced artifacts that affect the heart, mind, soul, and future.The smaller half of Penn & Teller ends the silence for a lengthy discussion of magic and falsehoods, Divine opens the closet for his transition to playing male roles, Crispin Glover discusses his love for the films of Fassbinder and other greats, Faster Pussycat! Kill, Kill!’s Tura Satana tells it like it is from burlesque shows to Hollywood, Alejandro Jodorowsky showers cinema lovers with psychomagic, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge lays down the gauntlet with his creations Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, and much much more.A visually stunning package, DARK STARS RISINGcontains over 500 photographs and illustrations, many of them rare and hitherto unseen.Eight color plates and a selection of choice reviews rounds out this amazing book.The Players:1. Richard Kern2. Alejandro Jodorowksy3. Buddy Giovinazzo
4. Udo Kier
6. Dennis Paoli
7. Tura Satana
10. Peter Sotos
12. Chas. Balun
15. Hermann Nitsch
17. William Lustig
18. Dennis Cooper
19. Gaspar Noe
20. Johanna Went
22. Andre Lassen
23. Arnold Drake
24. Richard Stanley
25. Dame Darcy
26. Stephen O’Malley
27. Crispin Glover
And now for some info on TRASHFIEND….
A loving look at “disposable” horror culture from the 1960s and 1970s.
Over two glorious decades the horror film waged war on good taste, exploiting every taboo and bursting every envelope along the way. TRASHFIEND is the definitive guide to the chaotic, creative and endlessly entertaining golden age of horror cinema. Scott Stine (author of The Gorehound’s Guide to Splatter Films series) shines a fond but satiric light on everything from low budget horror films to grisly comic art, lurid movie magazines to late-night creature features, campy monster toys to exploitive poster art.
Packed with reviews, trivia, interviews, anecdotes and rare illustrations, and written with witty and insightful flair, TRASHFIEND will fascinate aficianados, nostalgists and cinema lovers of every stripe for a fun, energetic and critical look at this beloved genre.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Includes over 100 reproductions of rare ad art, as well as vintage books, toys and magazines from the era, with four pages of glorious, garish color.
- Up From the Depths (Preface)
- It’s Only a Movie (Film Reviews)
- Darker Side of Soul Cinema: Creature Features of Black Cinema (Article)
- It’s Only a Black Horror Movie (Film Reviews)
- The Ghouls Go West: The Horror Westerns of William Beaudine (Article)
- Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1965) & Jesse James Meets… (1965) (Reviews)
- Cal Bolder: The Boy Toy of Frankenstein’s Daughter (Interview)
- Dredging Crater Lake with Richard Cardella (Interview)
- The Crater Lake Monster (1977) (Film Review)
- John Stanley’s Nightmare in Blood (Interview)
- Nightmare in Blood (1975) (Film Review)
- Pat Boyette’s Dungeons of Harrow (Article)
- Dungeon of Harrow (1962) (Film Review)
- Pat Boyette Selected Horror Comic Checklist (1966–79) (Reference)
- The Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters of Rankin & Bass (Article)
- Mad Monster Party? (1967) & Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters (72) (Reviews)
- Blood on the Canvas: The Art of the Belgian Window Card (Article)
- The Twisted Tales of Bruce Jones (Interview)
- Bruce Jones: Selected Horror Magazine Checklist (1968-79) (Reference)
- Those Marvelous Monsters: Marvel Comics’ Horror Magazines (Article)
- Marvel Monster Magazine Checklist (1964–1979) (Reference)
- Marvel Monster Magazine Artist & Writer Index (1964–1979) (Reference)
- Digesting The Haunt of Horror (Article)
- The Haunt of Horror Digest Index (1973) (Reference)
- Cut Down to Size: The Golden Age of Horror Digest Magazines (Article)
- Horror Fiction Digest Checklist (1960–1979) (Reference)
- Monsters on Parade: Shriek! The Monster Horror Magazine (Article)
- Shriek! Magazine Index (1965–1967) (Reference)
- Warren’s Hastily Erected House of Horror (Article)
- Reel Monsters: Collecting 8mm Horror Films (Article)
- Wally Wood’s Mars Attack! (Article)
- Mars Attacks! Trading Cards Checklist (1962) (Reference)
- Monsterabilia (Article)
- Sleepless in Seattle: Up All Night With Nightmare Theatre (Article)
- Keeping an Eye on the Count: Chuck Lindenberg (Interview)
- Sweeping Up After the Count: Dave Drui, Floor Director (Interview)
- Sources / Acknowledgements / About the Author
I think these books are going to be a fantastic read and very informative. I find that every time I read a decent book on horror, I am continually made aware of hundreds of new films that went below my radar. A fan of movies should also be a fan of reading books on movies. One can learn so much from the writing of one whom has devoted so many days, months, and years to researching one particular topic. I love reading books on horror and cult films so much. It is just as much fun as watching the movies themselves, making it that much more interesting when one knows the background and history of the film itself.
There are many DVDs and Blu-rays that I can recommend, but if you want to know what I think of a particular movie, just go search on my website and type in a particular movie to read my review. Breaking Glass Pictures and Vicious Circle Films have been sending me screeners, as well as prize giveaways, almost since the inception of the company (they are a fairly new movie distributor!). As well as sending me screeners and giveaways to movies in their catalog line-up, they now are offering SHU-IZMZ readers a Holiday Discount when purchasing any of their movies! How fucking cool is that?!!?
Save 40% On All Titles From Breaking Glass Pictures & Vicious Circle Films
Breaking Glass Pictures and our horror label Vicious Circle Films want to extend our holiday promotion discount to the readers of SHUIZMZ.com! Using the promotional code shuizmz at our web store (www.shop.breakingglasspictures.com) will give you 25% off of our already discounted titles for a total saving of 40% off of each title purchased. Our horror label Vicious Circle Films specializes in everything that is horror, from zombie comedies like “George: A Zombie Intervention” to cult revenge thrillers like “Run! Bitch Run!” and everything in between. We have a taste of all the different avenues of horror to keep every fan of the genre excited. The promotion is also extended to anything in the Breaking Glass catalog which has a great mix of different films to keep movie fans intrigued, including the documentary “The Lottery” which was short listed for the Oscars in 2011. So come check out our supreme selection of film and enjoy our gift of 40% off for the holidays.
Here are just a few of some of my favorite of their films:
CROPSEY is a film I really dug. It is a documentary and one that I think fans of True Crime and Horror will really get in tune with. I reviewed it here so check out all my thoughts on it. Definitely worth having in one’s collection! Capitalize on that discount and order it HERE!
Another of Ryan Nicholson’s ultra-gory and sleazy horror films that are never light on the raunchy nudity and sick humor! Order it here!
The following Blu-rays and DVDS are all available from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Check out there offerings here:
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is out on Blu-ray/DVD from 2oth Century Fox. I saw this film in the theater and I thought it was a solid entry into the PLANET OF THE APES series. James Franco and Andy Serkis were phenomenal. Definitely a movie to just go out and grab, regardless of whether you have seen it or not. I think it is that good!
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Blu-ray + Digital Copy (North America)
- Feature Film
- Deleted Scenes
- Alpha Gets Shot
- Will’s Meeting with Lab Assistants
- Will Discovers Caesar Has Solved Puzzles
- Caesar Plays with Bicycle
- Caesar Questions His Identity
- Caesar Bites Off Neighbors Finger
- Will Ignores the Risks of an Airborne Mutated Virus
- Rodney Gives Caesar a Cookie
- Rocket Gets Hosed by Dodge
- Caesar Destroys the Lab and Koba’s Attempted Revenge on Jacobs
- Caesar Pushes Helicopter
- Koba with Shotgun
- Pre-vis for The Future
- Capturing Caesar – Script to Screen
- Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis
- Multi-Angle: Rocket Cookie Scene
- A New Generation of Apes
- Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries
- Breaking New Sound Barriers: The Music and Sound Design of Rise of the Planet of the Apes
- Ape Facts
- Audio Commentary by Director Rupert Wyatt
- Audio Commentary by Writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
- Character Concept Art Gallery
- Three Theatrical Trailers
If you have know Shu personally, then you know I abso-fucking-lutely think that SONS OF ANARCHY is one of the greatest television shows ever to hit television. It is one of my favorite shows. I love motorcycles, biker culture, and outlaw motorcycle gangs and reading up on them. After watching episodes on GANGLAND of real biker gangs, SOA is the next best thing. I can’t think of any show that ever came out and an outlaw motorcycle gang was the subject of the television series. Creator KURT SUTTER is a genius for developing this program and making it happen once a week on the FX Network for fans of this genre of t.v. Shit, one episode even had a cameo by HELL’S ANGEL Sonny Barger in it! Now if that does not say that the show is the real deal than I don’t know what does!
- Season 3 to 4 Story-Bridge
- Extended Episodes
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes
- Writer’s Roundtable
- Commentaries with Cast and Creators
- Fox Movie Channel at Season 3 Premiere
I pre-ordered this when it came out. My only complaint is that the original theatrical versions of Episodes 4, 5, and 6 are not included in this mammoth STAR WARS box set. Of course, I know how douchey George Lucas can be in releasing his movies on various formats. I mean, how many different box sets of the STAR WARS Trilogy (Ep. 4-6) do I have sitting in my mancave of movies, smut, videogames, and toys? Yeah, I can’t even count how many different freaking versions I have of the the STAR WARS films lying around. Hey, that is the price one pays for being OCD/ANAL about getting EVERY single version of one of the greatest Sci-fi franchises ever to be created on VHS/LASERDISC/DVD/BLU-RAY! Yeah, thanks goodness I never bought a BetaMax player or HD DVD player! I would have copies of the film on that dead technology lying around, too!
This nine-disc collection brings the wonder of the entire Saga direct to your living room this Christmas, where you can revisit all of your favorite Star Wars moments– in gorgeous high definition and with pristine, 6.1 DTS Surround Sound. It boasts an unprecedented 40+ hours of special features, highlighted bynever-before-seen content sourced from the Lucasfilm archives.
With numerous deleted, extended and alternate scenes, new and vintage documentaries and a cross-section of the countless Star Warsspoofs that have appeared in pop culture over the past three decades you may have to spend your entire vacation geeking out on Tatooine and Hoth.
For fans that are only in need of the Trilogies, you’ll be happy to know that Episodes IV-VI and I-III are available in separate Blu-ray packages (artwork below). Ever since the first theatrical release of A New Hope in 1977 the franchise has been revealing new midi-chlorian activity in each young Jedi as they discover their connection to The Force.
In case you only wanted the newer films of the six because you enjoy watching inferior Science Fiction films with annoying plots, characters, and sub-par action and DISLIKE the best three films of LUCAS’ six, then buy this box set instead of the giant one. Really, seeing DARTH MAUL in the single fight scene he is in kicking ass is the only reason to buy this box set. Really, one should be buying the entire Saga on Blu-ray disc. The films in high-def are totally worth it!
These are three of the greatest Sci-fi flicks known to mankind. PERIOD. I can watch these films over and over and over and over and over again. I am not even exaggerating. I have probably seen these films at least 100 times a piece. Aside from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN which I saw in the movie theater about 12 times because I worked at a movie theater at the time and I got to see free movies, the original STAR WARS Trilogy is the only other films that I have seen more than 4 times each in the theater on the big screen.
One of the best X-MEN films to come out since the original. I really dug this entry in the series. I do have a hard-on for comicbooks and the Marvel Universe and the X-MEN. I also love when superheroes come to the big screen and I get to see them in a different format than just a comicbook. This is one movie I can’t wait to grab on Blu-Ray disc! Maybe someone will read this and get the hint!
Special features on the X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Blu-ray include:
10 Marvel “X-Men” Digital Comics with exclusive “X-Men: First Class” Backstory Comic
More than two hours of never-before-seen extras, including:
Cerebro Mutant Tracker: The complete interactive Mutant Database with interactive videos giving fans the ability to learn about their favorite mutants in the X-Men film franchise
Children of the Atom: An eight-part behind-the-scenes featurette, charting the film from
pre-production through post-production, including visual effects techniques and cataloguing “X-Men” transformations through prosthetic make up and costume design
“X” Marks the Spot: An interactive feature allowing viewers the opportunity to learn more about specific scenes with talent interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
Extended and Deleted Scenes
BD-Live Portal with additional Cerebro Mutant Tracker profiles
Composer’s Isolated Score
Now for an epic soundtrack and its movie! Sony Classics brings you the movie DRIVE, starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (BRONSON, VALHALLA RISING), one of my new favorite directors!
Not only the soundtrack to REFN’s fucking masterpiece, I am going to add the film, too. This soundtrack is one of the finest soundtracks that I have heard for any film in quite some time. Ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers’ member CLIFF MARTINEZ has crafted a wonderfully atmospheric and thought-inducing mindfuck, as well as picking a few songs from other artists that all add the load-blowing experience. Pick this CD up immediately! I pre-ordered it and have listened to it on repeat the first 8 hours I had it in my possession. I can’t get enough of it!
Now for the movie…
The Blu-ray presents the film in its 2.39:1 original aspect ratio with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound. The disc also contains a number of bonus materials, including:
- Five behind-the-scenes featurettes:
Drive Without A Driver: Talking with Director Nicolas Winding Refn
Under The Hood
Driver and Irene
Cut To The Chase
Street date is January 31.
Here are some releases from SYNAPSE FILMS that are worth checking out….
This film has a pretty big cult-appeal and after having a chance to interview director Lewis Jackson on the SHU-IZMZ RADIO SHOW for over two hours, I appreciate the film even more. Check out the interview HERE!
Christmas Evil [Special Edition]
Recently just reviewed SOUTH OF HEAVEN and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, even though I had to watch it a second time to just appreciate how much thought and care was put into the style and artistic shots within the film. Check out my review of the film HERE!
South of Heaven
Director: J.L. Vara
Starring: Shea Whigham, Diora Baird, Jon Gries, Thomas Jay Ryan, Adam Nee, Aaron Nee
Run Time: 97 minutes
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Region: All Regions
NOBODY IS HIS NAME.
REVENGE IS HIS GAME!
When Roy Coop finished his stint in the Navy, he only had two things on his mind: seeing his brother Dale, and writing the great American novel. What he gets, however, is the homecoming from Hell! A pair of violent vaudevillians (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE’s Jon Gries, and Thomas Jay Ryan) mistake Roy for his brother, looking to collect on a debt he didn’t know he owed. Eight fingers later, Roy is burnt to a crisp, forged by fire into a new man. Roy is dead. Nobody is born.
Now it’s Nobody’s turn to have his wicked revenge, and to save his brother before it’s too late. Wrapped in bandages and ready for blood, Nobody is determined to kill those that get in his way, even the murdering masochist named Mad Dog Mantee (Shea Whigham, MACHETE and HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE). Dodging bullets and dodging dames, Nobody meets the nasty ne’er-do-wells Lily (Diora Baird, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING) and Veronica (Elina Lowensohn, SCHINDLER’S LIST). In this wonderful neo-film-noir, violence and vengeance are sure to meet in a little town they call… South of Heaven.
- THREE AUDIO COMMENTARY TRACKS! Featuring Director J.L. Vara, Star Shea Whigham and other cast/crew. Critic Commentary includes Todd Brown (twitchfilm.com), Scott Weinberg (fearnet.com) and Devin Faraci (badassdigest.com)
- THREE SHORT FILMS by Director J.L. Vara, Including: MISERABLE ORPHAN, AZOLE DKMUNTCH and A BOY AND HIS FETUS
“SOUTH OF HEAVEN captures the violence and grittiness of an unconventional Western of sorts with very unique characters and a certain level of mystery shrouding each.” – SHU-IZMZ
“…there is NOTHING not to like about this movie.” – Horror News
This is one film that I HAVE to have. I used to have a bootleg version of it on VHS that I rented from a local video store in Rolling Meadows, IL by the name of THUMBS UP Video from their Cinema Le Pew section (which in my mind equates to AWESOME FLICKS!) and I dubbed it. I think rented STREET TRASH again after losing my gigantic VHS Tape collection in a fire on St. Patrick’s Day at my apartment so now I have a copied version of it on a Dvd-R. Well, I need to own a legit copy on DVD, or even Blu-ray if it ever gets made on that format. Since that has not happened yet (to my knowledge), I am going to have to get the deluxe 2-disc Meltdown Edition from SYNAPSE FILMS. Interestingly enough, I was at a bar eating some delicious pizza, Chicago-style, and guess what film was being projected on the over-sized screens of the bar-STREET TRASH. Probably not the best choice of a film when one is eating, but so much fun for this gorehound! I love that movie each and every time I see it. Most notable, is the performance by James Lorinz as the smart ass doorman at the mafia-owned Italian restaurant. Classic!
!!Two-Disc Meltdown Edition!! – In the sleazy, foreboding world of winos, derelicts and drifters in lower Manhattan, two young runaways – eighteen-year-old Fred (MIKE LACKEY) and his younger brother, Kevin (MARK SFERRAZZA), live in a tire hut in the back of a vast auto wrecking yard. Fred is burnt-out by the forces that destroyed his family life, whereas Kevin, having missed much of their childhood trauma, yearns to get back into society and lead a normal life. The most lethal threat to the boys is the case of Tenafly Viper in Ed’s liquor store window. Ed found the cheapo wine behind a wall in his basement. The stuff’s forty years old, and it’s gone real bad. Anyone who drinks it melts within seconds… and it’s only a dollar a bottle!!
The bums are lining up for their deaths like moths at a flame, and Fred standing right there amongst them. STREET TRASH is the subversive cult classic horror-comedy that rode the last wave of super-gore in the late ’80s before the curtain fell on such outrageous material and we entered an era of safe, “R” rated horror flicks and endless, unoriginal remakes. Synapse Films is proud to present the 2-DVD Special Meltdown Edition of the 80s gore classic, STREET TRASH. Over four years in the making, this 2 DVD set contains the amazing two-hour documentary, THE MELTDOWN MEMOIRS.
SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
– New Anamorphic Widescreen [1.78:1] Mastered in High-Definition
– New DD5.1 Remix and Original 2.0 Mono Soundtrack
– Two Audio Commentaries Featuring Producer Roy Frumkes and Director James Muro
– THE MELTDOWN MEMOIRS – All-New TWO HOUR Documentary on the History and making of STREET TRASH
– STREET TRASH – Original 16mm Short Film That Inspired the Movie
– Long Lost, Never-Before-Seen STREET TRASH Promotional Teaser
– Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery
– Original Theatrical Trailer
ITEM #: SFD0057
Running Time: 102 minutes
NTSC – Anamorphic Widescreen [1.78:1]
SOURCE: SYNAPSE FILMS
SEVERIN FILMS has some great titles to offer, too!
The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer
David R. Bowen, 1989
The murder and dismemberment of 17 young men in Wisconsin between 1978 and 1991 capped a century stained in blood by the heinous exploits of the blue-eyed cannibal killer known to a horrified nation as The Milwaukee Monster. Made in the three years between his highly-publicized arrest and his 1994 murder while serving 15 consecutive life sentences in prison, The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer follows the schizophrenic butcher from his first impulse slaying in his grandmother’s back yard to his infamous “rampage period,” in which he claimed up to one victim a week in his makeshift slaughterhouse on Milwaukee’s troubled west side. Inspired by Dahmer’s own highly-publicized confessions, David R. Bowen’s brutally intense indie has the half-starved aesthetic of a snuff film and a no-holds-barred lead performance by writer-actor Carl Crew as one the 20th Century’s most notorious serial killers.
•Audio Commentary With Director David R. Bowen And Star Carl Crew
List price is $19.99 but one can find it for $13.99 on Amazon.com, or even cheaper if purchased used.
SOURCE: SEVERIN FILMS
Aside from the fact that I am extremely interested in serial killers and true crime, the case of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer holds a special morbidly unique place in my cold, dead, heart because this sick son-of-a-bitch was raping, torturing, and murdering victims in the Midwest area, specifically Milwaukee, WI and West Allis. I remember reading about his grisly crimes and murders, as well as the trial, in the newspaper. It probably was one of the most publicized cases I remember while growing up.
Check out my review for the INTERVISION/SEVERIN FILMS film that was, although very low-budget, one of the better films to chronicle Dahmer‘s life of crime and murders.
I mean, come on…Who has not seen this film? Well, maybe some fans of horror who are not hardcore, but I remember this film being played on television all the time. It has Lee and Cushing in it, as well as Telly Savalez. How awesome is that? It is also nice that the film is being released as a Blu-ray/DVD combo so those of you whom have not upgraded to HD can still enjoy it.
The ’70s horror classic returns like you’ve never seen it before! Screen legends Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star as rival turn-of-the-century anthropologists transporting a frozen ‘missing link’ aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. But when the prehistoric creature thaws and escapes, it unleashes a brain-scarfing spree that turns its victims into the eye-bleeding undead. Can the crafty colleagues stop this two million year old monster, hordes of zombie passengers and a psychotic Cossack officer (Telly Savalas) before terror goes off the rails? Silvia Tortosa (When The Screaming Stops) co-stars in this all-time fright favorite from director Eugenio Martin and the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriters of Psychomania, now featuring explosive new Extras and a stunning HD transfer from vault elements recently unearthed in a Mongolian film depot!
–Murder On The Trans-Siberian Express: New Interview With Director Eugenio Martin
–Notes From The Blacklist: Producer Bernard Gordon Discusses The McCarthy Era
-The Guardian Interview With Peter Cushing 1973 (Audio only)
–Telly And Me: New Interview With Composer John Cacavas
-Introduction by Fangoria Editor Chris Alexander
If ya dig kung-fu and action flicks from the East, then the film distributor WELL GO USA better be on your radar! They are putting out some phenomenal action, horror, and kung-fu flicks that are coming out on Blu-ray and DVD. Many of these films are new to the States, such as Korea’s A BETTER TOMORROW remake, as well as some nice versions of IP MAN,
WELL GO USA is cool enough to send SHU-IZMZ screeners, so expect to be reading reviews of many of their films. A review for A BETTER TOMORROW is on the way, as well as one for HELLDRIVER! Check out the cover for HELLDRIVER!
SOURCE: WELL GO USA
COOL SHIRTS and OTHER CLOTHING ACCESSORIES!
80sTees.com T-shirts is a website that actually contacted me and I checked them out. I checked them out because the 1980’s produced some completely epic movies and some of my favorite films that have a major repeat-viewing value! Hell, think of all the slasher films that the ’80s have produced. FRIDAY THE 13th series, most of the HALLOWEEN films, MANIAC!, MOTEL HELL, PROM NIGHT, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, FRIGHT NIGHT, GHOULIES, RE-ANIMATOR, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD….Holy shit! I could go on and on. Anyways, this website not only offers killer horror t-shirts but they offer shirts from films throughout the ’80s. They got Chuck Norris T’s, STAR WARS, the VACATION films in various humorous t-shirts, and GOONIES! How can one not love a GOONIES t-shirt? I love THE GOONIES! Now one may ask why am I endorsing this website? Well, the guys and gals over at 80sTees.com sent me one of their shirts, in my size, which I have worn to work and washed. It was a XXL FRIDAY THE 13TH t-shirt. I am a big boy so I needed a big shirt. Needless to say, the shirt fit great. The shirt felt great and I now know where to go for movie t-shirts in the future. The prices of shirts vary from shirt to shirt. Some are $20, which is a little bit too high for me to pay for a T-shirt, as I generally look for shirts $15 and under, but in perusing through the website there were quite a bit of shirts that were under $20, some even as low as $4.99. Those would be the shirts I would go looking for. There are quite a bit of shirts for $10-$15. The clearance section does have over 700 items, t-shirts, hats, etc…that are under $20 so I found that to be pretty cool. They also sell Halloween costumes, music T’s, and non-80’s items. Worth a look when trying to find a new and unique gift for that special someone. Click HERE to check out all the cool shirts they have to offer!
I have ordered almost a dozen cool horror T-shirts from this company. Right now, they got a sale going on for some $10 t-shirts. I do not know how long the sale will be going on but I bought a STREET TRASH t-shirt that is totally awesome and I have gotten many compliments on. My girlfriend also really digs the LOST BOYS t-shirt I bought her, too!
Check out the horror t-shirts HERE!
Don’t forget to pick up a SHU-IZMZ t-shirt, with art by PUTRID! They are always a great gift to get anyone with their slick design and gory artwork! They are selling for $15 + shipping! Get them while supplies last. When they sell out, they will be gone!
MORE VIDEOS and cool shit….
Anyone into wrestling? Well, I am slowly getting into it because I have so many friends that dig it and when I was a young lad I really loved watching wrestling. In fact, my favorite wrestlers were Hulk Hogan, Junkyard Dog, and Andre the Giant. Then I got into more recent wrestlers like Goldberg who, to this day, is still one of my favorite wrestlers. I just picked up a Best of Monday Nitro dvd just to see Goldberg wrestle Hollywood Hogan. This all brings me to my next website that I think offers some badass shit. Now I contacted them hoping to get some free shit to give you guys, but no dice. The website still has some rad things to offer, especially if one is a fan of Chicago’s very own CM PUNK! I have only watched PUNK wrestle on youtube.com clips, so this is a great website to get really underground dvds of him. It has WWE wrestling videos, as well as some of the more underground ones sold on a dvd-r.
The website offers wrestling gear, belts, magazines, dvds, action figures, VHS, books, shirts, and tons of other apparel. I was hoping to get some promotional items for free, but no dice. Readers are going to have to head over there and buy the shit themselves. Another cool aspect about the site is that one can shop by wrestler. It’s a great feature for those that are novices to the world of wrestling and would like to just purchase dvds that have one’s favorite wrestler. Since I have met CM PUNK, hung out at his place, and talked to him before I feel that I must see some of his fights and see how good a wrestler he is. By the way, he is bar far the nicest celebrity I have ever met and extremely humble. Since he recently won the belt, I am guessing he is pretty awesome. HIGH SPOTS even sells stuff for wrestlers and wrestling promoters.
For years, the Money in the Bank match was a highlight of WrestleMania, with each of the six winners going on to successfully cash in their opportunities and win World Championships. Last year, the popular match headlined its own WWE pay-per-view event, and two spectacular matches led to two more successful title reigns, including the Miz seizing on his momentum at last year’s event to become the most must-see WWE Champion in history. So the stakes are incredibly high for the Superstars of Raw and SmackDown look to climb the ladder of success at Money in the Bank 2011.
- Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Sin Cara, Kane, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus and Wade Barrett
- WWE Divas Title Match
Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella
- Big Show vs. Mark Henry
- RAW Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Alex Riley, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, R-Truth and Jack Swagger
- WWE World Hwt. Title – Title changes hands on a DQ
Randy Orton vs. Christian
- WWE Title Match
John Cena vs. CM Punk
Highspots.com is a leading online retailer for professional wrestling and mixed martial arts offering figures, DVD’s, Apparel, Belts, wrestling gear and even wrestling rings!
Highspots.com is committed to be your one-stop-shop for all wrestling and MMA products. Whether you are a wrestling fan, pro wrestler or promoter you can find what you are looking for at Highspots.com. Please read further to see all that we have to offer.
For the Wrestling Fan
With over 10 years in business Highspots.com has grown to be the company it is by serving the wrestling fans throughout the world with a great selection of merchandise. Highspots.com has everything a wrestling fan could want including the latest WWE & TNA releases, classic wrestling merchandise and our Highspots.com exclusive releases. We have listed below our different categories and some more information about what you can find in them:
Highspots.com has over 2000 DVD’s for you to choose from, and we are adding new titles every week! You can find the latest WWE & TNA releases on our DVD section, as well as most other older titles from the two companies. If you like shoots please visit our shoot interview section which features shoots from many great stars, including the Ric Flair 4 Disc Shoot. You can also find a great variety of Independent, Japanese, Lucha Libre and wrestling documentary releases on our site. Highspots.com also has hundreds of compilation tapes featuring some of the best legends in wrestling (Hogan, Flair, Sting and more!).
Highspots.com carries a huge selection of figures. We stock WWE Figures ranging from the newest series all the way back to the original WWF Hasbro Series! We also carry TNA, WCW and ECW commercial figures. For the fans of Puro and Lucha Libre Highspots.com offers authentic figures from New Japan, All Japan, NOAH and CMLL featuring some of their best stars from yesterday and today.
- Title Belts
Looking for a belt like the one your favorite stars on TV wear? Highspots.com can offer you authentic Replica Belts in almost any size/style you would like. We offer toy versions of WWE, WCW and TNA title belts, some as low as $4.99! We also offer kids size replicas, which are made the same way as the adults are but scaled down to fit children. We carry almost all WWE (New and Classic) Title belts, along with WCW, ECW, TNA and Japanese belts and can help you find the exact belt you are looking for. We also offer custom made title belts which are great if you are looking for a truly unique belt.
- Wrestling Masks
Ever wanted to have the same mask of your favorite wrestler? From Rey Mysterio, to popular Lucha, Japanese and Legends like the Masked Superstar, Highspots has close to 200 different masks to choose from, and we can also custom make you a mask as well!
- Toys and Novelty Items
These are some of the most popular items for us, and make great gifts for fans both old and young. You can find a great selection of wrestling games, trading cards, apparel, keychains, necklaces, 8×10 photos and more.
Highspots.com has a huge inventory of wrestling books, featuring some of the greatest superstars of the sport. We offer wrestler biographies, wrestling history books, wrestling guides, children’s books and even wrestling instructional books. We also offer vintage wrestling programs and magazines, many of which include a free gift as well! Please visit the Magazine section to see our magazine back issue selection.
SOURCE: HIGH SPOTS
Now my list is just a handful of cool things I think are worth looking into or getting for someone. The important thing is I hope to have introduced readers to some cool websites that offer some cool products.
Now watch my video…it is nothing special.
“… an impressively big-scale war epic …” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
Fall of the Last Empire
Jackie Chan, Li Bing Bing, Joan Chen and Jaycee Chan Star in the War Epic,
Debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD January 10
Bonus Materials Include Deleted Scenes,
Making-Of Featurette and Behind-the-Scenes Footage
PLANO, TEXAS. (October 24, 2011) – Legendary action star Jackie Chan (Rush Hour trilogy) marks the milestone of his 100th film with 1911, debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD January 10 from Well Go USA Entertainment. From the walls of the Forbidden City to the battlefields of China, with no expense spared in production and no detail ignored in its quest for historical accuracy, making 1911 a true epic in every sense of the word. The film details a key moment in modern Chinese history—the fall of the Qing Dynasty—and the violent rebellion that brought it down. In addition to Chan (who also co-directed with cinematographer Zhang Li), the film also stars Li Bing Bing (Triple Tap), Winston Chao (The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman), Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Lust, Caution) and Jaycee Chan (Break-Up Club). The extensive bonus features include deleted scenes, interviews with Jackie Chan and Li Bing Bing, a making-of featurette and behind-the-scenes footage. 1911 will be available in a standard edition DVD for $24.98 SRP, in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack or Collector’s Edition DVD for $29.98 SRP and in a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition for $32.98 SRP.
With China split into warring factions and the starving citizens beginning to revolt, the ruling Qing court is building a powerful army to quash any rebellion. Revolutionary leader Huang Xing (Chan) decides he must act before the Qing army becomes too powerful … and leads an increasingly desperate series of violent uprisings against the powerful Qing court.
Bonus Features Include:
§ On set interviews with Jackie Chan and Li Bing Bing
§ Making Of Featurette
§ Deleted Scenes
§ TV Spots and Trailers
§ Behind-the-Scenes Footage
1911 has a runtime of approximately 124 minutes and is rated R for “war violence.”
SOURCE: WELL GO USA
“A remake that’s on the money.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“A classic unto itself.” – Film Critics United
Brothers. Enemies. Killers.
A BETTER TOMORROW
From Executive Producer John Woo Comes the Stylish Action Drama Starring Jin-mo Ju and Seung-heon Song,
Debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD November 8
Bonus Materials Include Deleted Scenes, a Photo Gallery
and a 30-minute Interview with John Woo
The accent is on action when Jin-mo Ju (A Frozen Flower, The Warrior) and Seung-heon Song (So Close, Ghost) star in the remake of John Woo’s 1986 cult classic A Better Tomorrow, debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD November 8 from Well Go USA. Double-dealing among rival Thai and Korean mob syndicates provide the fuel for this fast-paced crime thriller that also stars Kang-woo Kim (Marine Boy) and Han Sun Jo. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, a photo gallery, behind-the-scenes interviews with director Hae-sung Song and the film’s actors, and a 30-minute interview with executive producer John Woo. A Better Tomorrowwill be available in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack for $29.98 SRP and on DVD for $24.98 SRP.
Kim Hyuk (Joo Jin-Mo) lives the fast life as a high ranking mobster in the port city of Busan, South Korea. His closet friend is fellow mobster Lee Young-Choon (Song Seung-Heon). Even though Kim Hyuk seems to be on top of the world, he is haunted by the memory of leaving behind his younger brother Kim Chul (Kim Kang-Woo) and mother as they attempted to flee into South Korea from North Korea. Kim Hyuk’s mother was beaten to death and Kim Chul imprisoned after they were caught by North Korean authorities.
Kim Hyuk then travels to Thailand with new gang recruit Jung Tae-Min (Jo Han-Seon) for a meeting with Thai gangsters. The meeting turns out to be a set-up, planned in part by Jung Tae-Min. Kim Hyuk is able to shoot his way out the meeting, but he is later caught by the Thai police and imprisoned. When good friend Lee Young-Choon hears of what happened to Kim Hyuk in Thailand, he goes to the Thai gang’s holdout in Pusan to kill their boss. During the shootout Jung Tae-Min is shot in the leg.
Three years later, Kim Hyuk is finally released from prison and travels back to Busan. He finds his close friend Lee Young-Choon washing cars now and has a limp leg. Jung Tae-Min, the man that betrayed him, has climbed up the mob ranks and is now a feared crime boss. Furthermore, Kim Hyuk’s younger brother Kim Chul has arrived in Busan and works for the Busan Police Department. Meanwhile, Kim Chul keeps close tabs on Jung Tae-Min as he attempts to take down their gang.
Bonus Features Include:
§ 30 minute interview with John Woo
§ Deleted Scenes
§ Actor and Director interviews
§ Theatrical Trailer
§ Photo Gallery
A Better Tomorrow has a runtime of approximately 124 minutes and is not rated.
Well, the original A BETTER TOMORROW was an epic action flick and it is going to be interesting to see how this remake goes. That is about all I can say about it right now. I hope to get a screener so I can post a review up and let everyone know what I think of the film. Since John Woo is working on the project, I hope it stays true to the original while adding some new elements to the film. I hope for plenty of gun-swordplay! I do enjoy some of the action flicks from South Korea (remember SHIRI, guys?), so I am hoping for the best with this remake.
Check out the trailer:
Protect the Temple
Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse and Jackie Chan Star in the Epic Martial Arts Masterpiece Debuting on Blu-ray™ and DVD October 25
Collector’s Edition Includes More Than Two Hours of Bonus Materials, Including a Behind-the-Scenes Featurette and Deleted Scenes
It looks like Jet Li’s films are now getting remade. What stuck me as interesting was the fact that Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, and Nicholas Tse are starring in this Martial Arts film. I can’t remember if I have even seen SHAOLIN TEMPLE or not. I need to go dig up all my Martial Arts films from Tai Seng that I have on VHS and have not bought on DVD/BRD yet. As always, not a year goes by without seeing Jackie Chan’s name attached to a movie coming out of Hong Kong. That man is a movie-making machine! Benny Chan has made more than a few movies with Jackie Chan, including NEW POLICE STORY, Jackie Chan’s WHO AM I?, and ROBIN B HOOD I will be looking forward to re-visiting the original SHAOLIN TEMPLE and see what is done differently or the same with SHAOLIN. Well Go USA really packed in the extras on the Blu-ray release of the film, too. Look for the review at SHU-IZMZ in the near future.
PLANO, TEXAS. (September 14, 2011) – Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers, Future X-Cops), Nicolas Tse (The Stool Pigeon, Storm Warriors), and international superstar Jackie Chan (The Karate Kid, Rush Hour trilogy) star in the martial arts drama Shaolin, debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack, DVD and Collector’s Editions DVD and Blu-ray™ October 25 from Well Go USA. In this remake of Jet Li’s Shaolin Temple (1982), acclaimed director Benny Chan (City Under Siege) tells an epic tale of sadistic warlords squaring off against noble monks in “a tale of monstrous evil, spiritual transformation and ultimate self-sacrifice” (Mark Jenkins, NPR). The Collector’s Edition features extensive bonus materials including deleted scenes and a “Making of” featurette. Shaolin will be available for $24.98 SRP (DVD), $29.98 SRP (Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack, DVD Collector’s Edition), and $32.98 (Blu-ray Collector’s Edition).
In the early years of the Republic, China has been plunged into chaos as feuding warlords battle to expand their power and their lands. Young army leader Hou Chieh (Andy Lau) and his sworn brother Tsao Man (Nicholas Tse) find themselves on opposing sides as the war escalates. The ultimate battle ensues when the army is set to besiege the peaceful Shaolin Temple and the peace-loving monks are forced to take up arms to protect their people and beloved temple.
Bonus Features Include:
§ Behind the scenes interviews (including interview with Shaolin Abbot)
§ Making of
§ Deleted Scenes
Shaolin has a runtime of approximately 131 minutes for DVD and Combo Pack and 250 minutes for Collector’s Editions and is rated R.
SOURCE: WELL GO USA
WELL GO ACQUIRES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS TO TAKASHI SHIMIZU’S TORMENTED AND THE SHOCK LABYRINTH
TORMENTED WILL PREMIERE IN VENICE FOLLOWED BY A COMPETITION SLOT IN SITGES
PLANO, TEXAS. (August 29, 2011) — Well Go USA has preemptively acquired all North American distribution rights including theatrical, DVD, Digital, VOD and Television to the upcoming 3D horror thriller TORMENTED from Hong Kong/Netherlands-based Fortissimo Films. They have simultaneously also acquired all rights to the 2010 horror classic THE SHOCK LABYRINTH. Both films were directed by edgy auteur Takashi Shimizu, best known for the original 2002 Japanese hit The Grudge (Juon) and the 2003 sequel The Grudge 2 (Juon 2) as well as the US remakes of both films. The original film and the English language remakes grossed over $270 million worldwide.
TORMENTED will premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival in Official Selection Midnight. It has just been announced that it also has been selected for Official Competition at the Sitges Film Festival, the world’s foremost fantasy and horror film festival to be held in October this year.
The deal was brokered between Doris Pfardrescher, President, Well Go USA Entertainment and Winnie Lau, EVP, Sales & Acquisitions, Fortissimo Films.
“We are looking to push the envelope and bring unique filmed entertainment from all corners of the world to the North American market,” said Doris Pfardrescher. “We are excited to have secured rights to these films directed by the very talented, visionary director Takashi Shimizu that will no doubt resonate with the huge and passionate genre fan base.”
Fortissimo’s Lau added, “ In the last few years Well Go has established a very strong reputation in North America for its exciting selection of films combining great marketing with great distribution. We are thrilled that Fortissimo’s first two 3D titles will be in their excellent hands and we are looking forward to strong results across all media.”
TORMENTED centers on a young boy whose family seems to be unraveling around him. His sister is grappling with the reality of life or death, while his storybook illustrating father walks a line with insanity. The situation intensifies when the boy manifests a dangerous friendship with a stuffed toy rabbit that comes to life. Is he crazy or are they all delusional? Shimizu ventures once more into the terrifying corners of the mind where the lines between fact and fiction are blurred. This film marks his first collaboration with award winning director of photography Christopher Doyle who has previously worked with many other noted Asian directors including Wong Kar Wai.
THE SHOCK LABYRINTH 3D
THE SHOCK LABYRINTH (2010) marked Japan’s first foray into the world of live-action 3-D feature films. The story follows a group of teenagers dealing with the disappearance of one of them, Yuki, at an amusement park’s ghost house. On a rainy day 10 years later, Yuki inexplicably returns. However, no sooner is she united with her former friends than she collapses, and the group rushes Yuki to a nearby hospital. But after checking in, they discover that things are not quite as they seem at the medical center. As the night wears on, the group sinks deeper and deeper into the events from a decade ago that led to Yuki’s disappearance.
About Well Go USA
Well Go USA, Inc. (www.wellgousa.com) is a theatrical and home entertainment distribution company that specializes in bringing top content, including the best in Asian Cinema to North America. As a leader in independent film distribution, Well Go’s titles can be seen across a variety of formats and platforms including in theaters, on DVD, Blu-ray, digital (video-on-demand, electronic sell-through and streaming) and broadcast television through cable and satellite. Since 1994, Well Go has acquired and released over 2,000 titles worldwide. In 2005, Well Go expanded its distribution to North America where five to ten titles are released monthly. Well Go USA’s corporate headquarters are in Plano, TX with offices in Taiwan and China.
About Fortissimo Films
Fortissimo Films (www.fortissimofilms.com) is an international film, television and home entertainment sales organization specializing in the production, presentation, promotion and distribution of unique, award winning and innovative feature films from independent film makers from all over the world.
Well Go USA’s BIKINI GIRLS ON ICE(2009), directed by relative-newcomer to filmmaking Geoff Klein, who until this film has only directed a few shorts (if IMDb is correct) has crafted a slasher flick that follows all of the known conventions to the slasher genre but one- creating a film that has on-screen violence/murders, blood and gore, or nudity. The film has a pinch of each-but not enough of any one ingredient to keep the movie interesting enough through all the elements one is accustomed to finding in a horror film, and in particular, a slasher film.
What makes a successful slasher film one may ask? For starters, how about some on-screen slashing instead of each and almost every kill scene cut (by the director, mind you, and not by the psycho in the film) from the movie right before any opportunity of blood spilling occurs for the viewers. Gee, I thought that the whole point of watching a horror film marketed and advertised as “a brilliant mix of FRIDAY THE 13TH and URBAN LEGEND” and “a classic slash-action that horror fans everywhere will die for” was to actually deliver a miniscule amount of what the film is hyping itself up about. I think that BIKINI GIRLS ON ICE had the potential to be a decent low-brow, run of the mill slasher film that would be fun to watch and be regarded as a solid slasher film to watch-maybe nothing new to add to the genre but a film that could possibly have been created to cater to fans of mindless gore that actually might have had a few scenes of solid suspense mixed in with some blood oozing out from knife, axe, or blunt objects being used as murder weapons—but no. No such luck. The film lacks everything that could have made it a glorious, low budget, probably B-grade slasher film. What was particularly nerve-wracking was the fact that the cast gracing the screen was filled with lovely figured girls prancing around in bikinis throughout the whole film, including Chicago-native Danielle Doetsch (BLACK DAYS), Scream Queen Suzi Lorraine (TORMENT, DESTINED TO BE INGESTED), Cindel Chartrand (MISBEHAVIOR), Christina Sciortino (THE END), Kerri Taylor (SATAN’S SCHOOLGIRLS), Caroline Faille (a first time actress) and a few other attractive girls clad in bikinis. The title did not lie—there were girls in bikinis throughout the whole film. The problem was that there were girls WEARING bikinis throughout the whole film and not girls TAKING OFF bikinis throughout the entire film. I figure if a movie whose plot revolves around a bus full of women’s soccer players stranded at an abandoned gas station during a fundraiser for their soccer team is filled with beautiful women with trim and fit bodies sporting bikinis, then I want to see a little bit more than just some cleavage and buttocks peaking through in skimpy attire. There was one sex scene within the film in which Nikki (Taylor) goes for a little lesson in stick with a customer of the car wash that is offered much more than just a wash. This is the one and only scene of nudity and its a topless sex scene and is fairly brief. I was kind of a little bit disappointed by this. Thankfully for the film, the acting in it was not horrible and at times pretty convincing but mediocre acting in a slasher film with hardly any blood and gore with a majority of the murders cut before any actual flesh is cut or chopped apart really became quite annoying. I was sure I had put in a slasher film in that was not approved for PG rating because if that one brief scene of nudity was omitted from the film, it would able to be presented on the Disney Channel or another such network.
The director Geoff Klein even states during the films commentary that he consciously made a decision to not film much of the violence within the script on film because he felt that it would be scarier and viewers imaginations would run wild and come up with their own ideas about what happened. Sadly, the only thing I was thinking about was how much potential this film had and how it could have been way better if their was quite a bit more on-screen violence shot in the film and if there was a load more blood and gore. Save the lack of blood and violence within a film for “thrillers” and “suspense” films, not movies dubbed “slashers”.
On a positive note, I absolutely loved the movie’s cover art, as well as the title itself. BIKINI GIRLS ON ICE has a certain ring to it that screams out exploitative scenes of nudity, blood, and guts and going into the film I could tell right off the bat that I was going to be in for a major disappointment. I felt that the two actresses whose characters stood out and gave me something to keep me attentive were the performances of Danielle Doetsch and Cindel Chartrand. The two characters are best friends in the film and really gave believable performances. Doetsch, in particular, had a real energetic buzz going on around her and her animated performance kept me awake during this less than adequate entry to the slasher genre.
The killer in the movie, dubbed the name “Moe” because it is written on the work shirt he is wearing during all the murders that viewers are not privy to, just goes stomping around grunting and exhaling loudly while quickly entering a shot and raising a weapon, only to have the director yell “CUT!” before anything is done on camera for the viewers’ enjoyment. I also noted that the director really has a hard-on for the Australian horror film WOLF CREEK whose plot revolves around a group of young adults stranded in the middle of a barren stretch of Australia only to ask for help from a psychopath who takes them captive and begins to torture and kill them. If only the director had taken his love for WOLF CREEK and applied some of the aspects of it that made the film so popular with viewers–the addition of blood and gore to each murder that was filmed.
The special features on the film are pretty decent and include a Behind the Scenes segment, Deleted Scenes, some bloopers, and trailers. In listening to the commentary with director Geoff Klein and writer/producer Jeff Ross, I found out that Klein really enjoyed WOLF CREEK, even going so far as to throwing in his film his favorite sound that was used in WOLF CREEK for a scare scene or murder sequence. What I did not understand is why the director than did not decide to go the route in which WOLF CREEK took where there is tons of blood, torture, and on-screen violence. Our psychopath in the film also has no motive or reason for killing other then that he is absolutely completely nuts.
I did enjoy the commentary, but noticed that both Ross and Klein delivered it with about as much enthusiasm and interest as young child forced to watch foreign news report on changes in the stock market. I can see myself definitely using the movie’s commentary as background noise to fall asleep to at night. The intonation in both their voices rarely fluctuated and was so soft-spoken that it makes for perfect napping audio.
BIKINI GIRLS ON ICE is not the worst slasher film out in the genre, but it is one that I feel is worth skipping over–especially if looking for a bit of nudity, more than a sprinkle of blood, and scenes of on-screen violence actually shot and shown to viewers instead of leaving the violence in the imagination of the viewer. I have a wonderfully twisted and sadistic imagination but I watch horror films to see what OTHER twisted and sadistic visions filmmakers can conceive of and capture on film. I look forward to seeing a film that director Klein creates with the intention of leaving nothing to the viewers’ imagination and instead, just show us what you have in that creative brain of yours, Geoff.
(Look for this review, along with many others, in the 2nd Issue of SHU-IZMZ ZINE, due out later this month!)
“This is the stuff of what Hong Kong action crime thrillers are made of!” – A Nutshell Review
“An emotionally charged action thriller that will grip you with its intense rage and desperation!” – Cool Campus
“Nicholas Tse gives an impassioned performance!” – The Hollywood Reporter
WINNER – Best Actor, Nicholas Tse – 2011 Hong Kong Film Awards
His Only Redemption Comes Through Betrayal
THE STOOL PIGEON
Debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD September 27
PLANO, TEXAS. (August 1, 2011) – Director Dante Lam reunites Nicholas Tse (Shaolin, Bodyguards and Assassins) and Nick Cheung (Triad Election, Exiled) from the 2008 hit Beast Stalker in the action thriller The Stool Pigeon, debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD September 27 from Well Go USA. Tse plays an ex-convict nicknamed Ghost, who unwillingly works as an informant for police detective Don Lee (Cheung) in order to clear debts left by his late father and to rescue his only sister out of prostitution. The film was nominated for eight awards at the 2011 Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Film, Best Director (Dante Lam), Best Screenplay (Wu Wei Lun), Best Actor (Nick Cheung), and Best Supporting Actor (Liu Kai Chi), with Nicholas Tse taking home the trophy for Best Actor. The bonus features include a Behind the Scenes featurette and deleted scenes. The Stool Pigeon will be available in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack for $29.98 SRP and on DVD for $24.98 SRP.
Don Lee (Nick Cheung) is a police detective in Kowloon whose reliance on informants leaves him struggling with a guilty conscience. Lee’s previous stool pigeon had his cover blown and it left him paranoid and driven from his wife and home. Although he is beginning to doubt his own methods, Lee recruits a street racer named Ghost (Nicholas Tse) as his latest stool pigeon and assigns him to infiltrate a gang led by the notorious armed robber Barbarian (Lu Yi). Ghost accepts Lee’s offer so he can rescue his sister from a life of prostitution, as well as help his father’s one-million dollar debt. Ghost joins an illegal street race to gain acceptance into Barbarian’s gang. Lee also has personal problems of his own, as wife Cher (Miao Pu) whom he is separated from tried to commit suicide a few months previously and has since had amnesia. Lee begins to realize how wrong he was to exploit his informants and desperately tries to right his wrong before Ghost is in serious trouble.
Bonus Features Include:
§ Director and Actor Interviews
§ Behind the Scenes Featurette
§ Deleted Scenes
§ Photo Gallery
§ Optional English Dub
The Stool Pigeon has a runtime of approximately 113 minutes and is not rated.
SOURCE: WELL GO USA
An alien-spawned, mysterious mist blankets the northern half of Japan, transforming those who inhale it into ravenous, flesh-eating zombies hell-bent on devouring the surviving human population. Plunged into chaos, Japan is torn in two—”the southern half of the country, where the populace remains untouched by the deadly gas, lives behind a heavily-fortified wall, while the northern half is a lawless, zombie-infected wasteland. Political forces are locked in a stalemate over whether the living dead should remain protected as family members or exterminated like a plague. The economy withers away, and all hope seems lost for the people and the nation of Japan.
Hope arrives in the form of Kika (Yumiko Hara), a beautiful high school girl armed with a chainsaw sword powered by an artificial heart. Recruited by the government, Kika leads a ragtag group of desperados on a secret mission into the zombie-infected wilds to exterminate zombie queen Rikka (Eihi Shiina from AUDITION and TOKYO GORE POLICE) and put an end to the plague of the living dead. But the road is fraught with a thriving zombie culture that, with its own designs on the living half of Japan, refuses to lay down and die.
Visionary filmmaker Yoshihiro Nishimura’s first solo directorial effort since TOKYO GORE POLICE is an epic, apocalyptic road movie featuring non-stop action and over-the-top splatter. The long-awaited realization of his dreams, HELLDRIVER is Nishimura’s bid to create the ultimate zombie film.
The showdown for the future of Japan is at hand and no one, living or dead, may survive to see it! SYNOPSIS SOURCE: WELL GO USA
Please share your thoughts on this latest from Well Go USA. The movie looks kind of fun, gory, and freaky. Is it going to be something worth watching? Well, it has Eihi Shiina (AUDITION) in it, so I am definitely going to check out this flick from Japan! It also is directed by the special effects and make-up guy, Nishimura, who worked on Robogeisha, Hard Revenge Milly, Machine Girl, Tokyo Gore Police, and many, many more! I don’t know about you, but I really love these intense gory splatter-fests from Japan that push the edge of creativity. Definitely worth checking out!