Arrow Video’s ‘Cold War Creatures’ Blu-ray Box Set Is A Wonderful Treat For Classic Sci-Fi, Horror Fans This Halloween and Beyond

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Halloween is less than half a month away.  With the unofficial start of the holiday season once again so close, Arrow Video is offering audiences a great way to get into the holiday spirit with its recently released Blu-ray box set, Cold War Creatures.  Released Sept. 14, the four-disc collection is an excellent way for audiences to do just that.  That is due in no small part to the movies featured in this collection and their stories.  They will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content featured across the set is just as important as the movies and their stories and will be discussed a little later.  The set’s pricing rounds out its most important elements, considering the overall content.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the box set.  All things considered, they make this collection one of the absolute best of this year’s new DVD and BD box sets for grown-ups.

Arrow Video has quickly become one of the leading names in home entertainment over the course of the past year or so, even surpassing the likes of Shout! Factory.  The reason being is its offerings.  It continued to do just that last month when it released its new classic sci-fi horror cinema collection, Cold War Creatures.  Released Sept. 14 on Blu-ray, the four-disc collection features four classic Columbia Pictures flicks, all produced by Sam Katzman.  The movies are all from the 1950s, the era that gave audiences some of the greatest sci-fi and horror flicks of all time.  In this case, the movies are spread across those genres.  The Giant Claw (1957) is a classic creature feature.  It was Columbia Pictures’ answer to all of Universal’s classic creature features.  Yes, it is so cheesy from beginning to end, but it is one of those flicks that is just so bad that it is great.  Thanks to HD technology, audiences can even see the strings and wires that controlled the giant bird and all of the model planes.  On another note, The Werewolf (1956) throws back to Universal’s older monster movies, but even being a werewolf movie, is not just a ripoff of The Wolfman.  This will be discussed shortly as the focus turns to the movies’ stories.  Creature With The Atom Brain takes the focus on atomic energy in that era and crosses it with a mob flick and a zombie flick.  That all sounds really contrived, but in a weird way, it works here.  Meanwhile, Zombies of Mora Tau is a more supernatural movie that, as the title infers, centers on a bunch of zombies.  However in this case, they aren’t brain-eating zombies.  This will also be discussed as the focus turns to the movies’ stories.  Looking at all of this, it is clear that the movies are unique from one another while also showing the ground that they cover within the sci-fi and horror realms of the time.  Simply put, they in themselves give audiences diversity in their viewing options.

Moving to the movies’ stories, the stories are as diverse as the movies themselves.  The story featured in Werewolf for instance centers on a man named Duncan Marsh (playe by Steven Rich – Wagon Train, Plunder Road, City of Fear) who is suffering from amnesia and just wants to remember who he is and how he became a werewolf.  Meanwhile, the residents of Mountaincrest — the town where Marsh ends up — meet him and eventually come to find out he is also the one responsible for a series of “murders” that happen in the town.  The revelation of how Marsh became a werewolf in the first place versus the mindset of sheriff Jack Haines (Don Megowan – Blazing Saddles, The Creation of the Humanoids, The Devil’s Brigade) and that of his fiancé, Amy Standish (Joyce Holden – Private Eyes, The Milkman, The Ford Television Theatre) really does a good job of making Marsh a sympathetic character.  Haines’ mindset meanwhile really makes him more of a villain in the bigger discussion on humans’ humanity and lack thereof.  That and the intolerance shown by the townspeople versus Amy’s more humane mindset really makes the story even more interesting.  That coupled with the blatant Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde comparison makes the story even more engaging and entertaining.  It does well to help separate this movie from its Universal Pictures counterpart, The Wolfman.  Interestingly enough, the movie is in fact a lifting of another movie, as is revealed in some of the set’s bonus content.  This will be addressed later.  Getting back on topic, it is just one of the interesting stories featured in this set.  The story featured in Zombies of Mora Tau is completely unlike that featured in The Werewolf.

The story featured in The Zombies of Mora Tau centers on a group of treasure hunters who have come to an unnamed region of Africa to retrieve a cache of diamonds.  As the set’s bonus content notes (again, this will be discussed later) the comparison to RKO Pictures’ 1932 movie White Zombie (which starred Dracula himself, Bela Lugosi) are inescapable.  AS it turns out, the diamonds are “protected” by the zombie crew that originally tried to steal the diamonds.  There is some tension and action throughout.  It is a story that is completely unlike that of the stories in the set’s other movies.

On yet another side of things, the story featured in The Giant Claw harkens back to the so bad they’re great creature features, such as The Deadly Mantis (1957), Them! (1954) and The Fly (1958).  In the case of The Giant Claw, the story is simple.  A giant, monster bird (apparently from outer space) comes to Earth to terrorize the planet while also preparing the next generation of super powered creatures.  It’s up to a smart mathematician named Sally Caldwell (Mara Corday – The Rookie, The Gauntlet, Sudden Impact) and her guy friend, the stereotypical, headstrong male lead, Mitch MacAfee (Jeff Morrow – This Island Earth, Kronos, Flight To Tangier) to figure out how to beat the apparently extraterrestrial beast.  This approach – the elite pair/team working to defeat the deadly beast(s) – was so typical of the creature features of the 50s, but is still just as entertaining to watch here as in those movies, even as cheesy as it is here.  Of course Sam Katzman was known for just rehashing previously used plots and plot elements from other movies for the movies that he produced.  This is also noted in the expansive bonus content featured in this set.  It will also be discussed later.  Getting back on topic again, this story is yet another example of the diversity in the movies’ stories.

As noted earlier, the story in Creature With The Atom Brain is unique in its own right.  It features a mobster named Frank Buchanan (Michael Granger – Battle of Rogue River, Fort Vengeance, Murder By Contract) who enlists the aid of ex-Nazi scientist Dr. Wilhelm Steigg (Gregory Gaye – Ninotchka, My Gal Sal, Dodsworth) to bring a bunch of dead criminals back to life and use them to get even with the law enforcement officials who caused him to be deported.  What audiences get here is a story that blends elements of a crime story and a zombie story to make quite the unique tale that is, again, super cheesy but still somehow so entertaining at the same time.  Looking at all of this, it is clear that the stories featured in this set are just as unique from one another as the movies’ genres.  To that end, they are just important to the set’s presentation as the movies themselves.  The two together are just one part of what makes this collection so entertaining.  The bonus content that accompanies the movies and their stories is of its own importance. 


To say that the bonus content featured in this set is expansive would be an understatement.  Each movie comes with its own bevy of bonuses.  Film historian and critic Kim Newman provides his own new introduction to each movie.  Each also features its own feature-length audio commentary and other extras.  One of the most notable of the “other” extras is the in-depth bonus, “Family Endangered!,” which comes with The Giant Claw.  Critic Mike White discusses in this feature, how so many movies in the 1950s reflected audiences’ concerns and the real world in general.  For instance, White points out that Creature With The Atom Brain features two antagonists who essentially represented the axis powers from WWII, in an Italian mobster and an ex-Nazi scientist.  The hero, an American detective went up against the pair, eventually defeating the men.  In the essay about the movie (which is part of the set’s bigger “Essaays” collection about each movie), writer Curt Siodmak was himself a survivor of sorts of Hitler’s regime.  The movie’s essay points out that he and his family actually fled their homeland to come to America to get away from Hitler and his evil.  So it is interesting to note that this likely played into his writing here.

Getting back on topic, in the case of The Giant Claw, White points out that the bird was essentially a physical manifestation of the fears that Americans had during the Cold War.  It was able to “cloak” itself from radar, and destroy so much of America.  It even ate the United Nations building while also building a nest in an attempt to spread its evil.  In other words, the whole movie was, in essence an allegory of global political tensions at the time.  That is interesting in its own right to learn.

On a related note, Newman points out in his introduction to The Giant Claw that allegedly, special effects legend Ray Harryhausen looked into The Giant Claw and essentially turned it down because of the low budget special effects.  This is shocking in its own right.

Moving on to Werewolf, Newman points out in this movie’s introduction, the comparison to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydeand adds that it was an intentional throwback to the old Universal monster movies of days gone by.  The noted “Essays” collection that comes with the set adds to Newman’s own in-depth discussion, pointing out that the movie was in fact a lifting of the 1943 Columbia Pictures flick The Return of the Vampire.  This goes back again to the bigger discussion on Katzman’s willingness to just lift from other movies for the works that he produced.  This is also discussed in the “Essays” booklet. 

The discussion on Katzman’s willingness to lift plots and plot elements from other movies points out that such a move was intentional.  It was part of Katzman’s overall overly spendthrift approach to making movies during the 1950s.  He knew that people would buy into such an approach, and that in turn, the movies would make a profit.  Keeping that in mind, it leads one to realize that the more things change the more they stay the same, especially in Hollywood.  Knowing that movie studios have been excessively taking such an approach over the past 20 years or so, it looks like their approach is nothing new.  It lessens the annoyance of studios doing that even today, but at the same time adds to the annoyance that Hollywood even has taken such approach.  Ironically if not for that approach, the movies in this set would never have existed, so it becomes something of a bizarre necessary evil.  It is just one more of so many bonuses featured in this collection that show the importance of the set’s bonus content.  Between everything noted here and so much else featured with the set, the whole strengthens the set’s presentation that much more.  Keeping the breadth and depth of that content in mind along with that of the movies and their stories, the whole of the primary and secondary content gives audiences more than enough reason to own this cinematic set.  It also makes the set’s pricing money well spent.

The average price point of Cold War Creatures is $93.23 according to prices averaged through Amazon, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  The collection was not listed through Walmart, Target, and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  Best Buy actually is the best buy in this case, listing the set at $79.99.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Amazon each list the movie at $99.99.  That roughly $80 price point (just over that, counting shipping and handling) is not that bad, considering – again – the amount of content and the depth thereof in this collection.  Considering so many Blu-rays ranging from as little as $9 to about $25 on average by themselves, that noted price is actually that much more affordable, considering that at the high end, buying each by itself would equal to about $100.  Add in the two extensive booklets that discuss the movies and their art one by one, and that average price point and the least expensive listing becomes that much more affordable.  Keeping that in mind along with the overall content, the whole proves even more why any cinephile, any classic sci-fi and horror fan, and any fan of all things Halloween will find this set so enjoyable.  It leaves no doubt that the set is among the best of this year’s top new DVD and BD box sets for grown ups.

Arrow Video’s recently released box set of vintage Columbia Pictures movies, Cold War Creatures, is one of the most impressive of the company’s releases so far this year if not the company’s most impressive this year.  That is due in part to its primary content.  That primary content consists of the set’s featured movies and their stories.  The movies and their stories are all unique from one another, offering plenty of diversity from the top down.  The secondary content – the bonus content that accompanies the movies and their stories – adds even more engagement and entertainment to the presentation.  That is because of the amount of background that it provides for the movies.  Any true cinephile fill agree it makes the set that much more immersive.  The set’s pricing proves to be money well spent, especially on the lower end.  On the lowest end from the nation’s major retailers, audiences will spend less than $100 on the set.  Speaking specifically, the lowest point is just over $80.  That is not bad, again, considering all of the noted content.  When that pricing is considered along with the content, the whole makes this collection overall a complete success one of the year’s top new DVD and BD box sets for grown-ups. 

Cold War Creatures is available now. More information on this and other titles from Arrow Video is available at:

Websitehttps://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Arrow Video’s ‘Dune’ Re-Issue Is Imperfect But Entertaining

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Much has been made of the latest cinematic adaptation of author Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel Dune over the course of the past year plus.  It was originally scheduled to make its theatrical debut in 2020, with multiple pushbacks as a result of the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Now later this year, the movie will apparently finally get its long awaited debut, too, just before Halloween.  If in fact the movie finally makes its way to theaters nationwide, it will not have been the first time that Herbert’s novel has been adapted for the big or even small screen.  Its most recent adaptation was a made for TV version that aired on television in 2000.  That rendition was followed up in 2003 by the sequel, Children of Dune.  Both mini-series aired on the old Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy).  Much as with the original theatrical version from 1984 that was helmed by David Lynch, the 2000 and 2003 mini-series has led to plenty of division among audiences.  Viewers either loved it or hated it.  There was no middle ground.  Speaking of that 1984 version, it will receive an expansive re-issue Tuesday in the form of a 4K UHD/Blu-ray box set.  If research is correct, the last time that the landmark 1984 version was released on any format was in 2011 on a single-disc Blu-ray presentation with limited extras.  The new, forthcoming re-issue from Arrow Video is overall, a large step up from that presentation.  That is due in large part to the expanded presentation in this case.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the expanded presentation is unarguably a positive, the bonus content that features with the new re-issue is a mixed bag.  It will be discussed a little later.  Considering the overall presentation in the movie’s forthcoming re-issue, its pricing proves important in its own way to the whole of the presentation in a mostly positive fashion.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the forthcoming Dune 4K UHD/BD combo pack re-issue.  All things considered, they make this re-issue a mostly successful presentation, despite its concerns.

Arrow Video’s forthcoming 4K UHD/BD re-issue of the David Lynch-helmed 1984 cinematic adaptation of Dune is an interesting new presentation of the landmark movie.  Its presentation here stands out in part because it is expanded from the movie’s previous release.  Instead of just being available on Blu-ray, it is also presented here on a 4K UHD platform.  For those who don’t know, the picture quality on 4K UHD is an enhancement from that of Blu-ray.  That is because of its pixel rate.  Now that is not to say that the Blu-ray presentation’s visual quality is bad.  It is impressive in its own right in comparison to the movie’s original analog presentation.  The picture is much better. 

Keeping all of this in mind, it plays into the related topic of pricing for 4K UHD technology.  4K UHD players and TVs are far more expensive right now than Blu-ray players and standard monitors.  To that end, consumers who cannot afford or do not want to pay the currently exorbitant price for that 4K UHD hardware can still enjoy this classic sci-fi flick in a positive visual presentation even on Blu-ray.  Those who have actually turned out the money for 4K UHD hardware can enjoy it on the already impressive Blu-ray presentation and on the even more enhanced 4K UHD presentation.  So to this end, the dual visual presentations ensure that audiences on either side of the BD/4K UHD discussion will benefit.

While the dual 4K UHD/BD presentation of Dune in Arrow Video’s new re-issue is a strong positive for this re-issue, the manner in which the movie’s companion bonus content is presented here is more problematic.  Arrow Video has spread the movie’s bonus content (new and old alike) across the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs.  Two new feature-length audio commentaries are presented on the 4K UHD disc along with a variety of “older” cast and crew interviews from the early 2000s.  Meanwhile, the Blu-ray presentation features a new interview with members of Toto, which composed the movie’s score, and a new interview with make-up artist Gianetto de Rossi, which was filmed in 2020.  The new interviews are complimented by a pair of archived interviews with other members of the movie’s crew.  The interview with Toto’s members is interesting in that audiences learn it was the first and only time that the band had ever scored a movie’s soundtrack and that Lynch had told the band that working with them was, in hindsight, one of the few things he enjoyed from the movie.  The interview with de Rossi, meanwhile, offers a lot of insight into the movie’s creation.  Thankfully, the subtitles – de Rossi speaks entirely in Italian during his interview – that he was very picky about how he did things, and that one of the cast members even received a minor injury because the cast member did not listen to him in one particular scene.  He also reveals through his discussion that he enjoyed working on the movie for the most part, though in hindsight, he felt the movie really did not end up reaching its potential, which is interesting.  That is interesting, again, because he said himself that he enjoyed working on the movie and with the cast and crew.

On a similar note, the archived interview with Production Coordinator Golda Offenheim (recorded in 2003, prior to her passing only years later in 2008) offers similar thoughts.  Offenheim reveals during her interview that she also was not a fan of the movie, nor was she a fan of most of David Lynch’s work.  Ironically, she admits in her interview that she enjoyed working with the cast and crew, even saying there was a positive sense of camaraderie among them.  As if that is not enough, that she leaves viewers (and her anonymous interviewer) hanging on a number of topics, including the fate of a bus used by the cast and crew that went missing, and certain details about the cast and crew.  One cannot help but wonder what knowledge she took with her from that interview.  That alone makes for so much more interest in this interview along with everything else discussed.  Simply put, her comments and those of de Rossi showed that clearly there was some discord among the cast and crew behind the scenes.  That is proven even more with the archived interview with star Paul Smith.

Smith reveals in his interview that one of the scenes that he wanted to do was cut out of concerns about him and crew members being accidentally electrocuted.  He also reveals that he was initially the first choice to play the Baron, but his own refusal to put on extra weight for the role resulted in him playing another character, the Baron’s nephew.  Smith openly states in his interview that he outright refused to gain the extra weight needed for the role of the Baron because he did not want to put his health and life in that kind of danger.  It is just another example of that noted discord behind the scenes.  Interestingly despite everything that obviously went on behind the cameras, the 1984 adaptation of Dune has still gone on to become a cult hit, even though it may not stick entirely to it literary source material.  By comparison, the two TV mini-series that aired in 2000 and 2003 on Sci-Fi Channel stayed closer to their source material but still looked awful.  So again, the 1984 version suffered from its own problems behind the lens, but still ended up being better than the 2000 version and its sequel.


Adding even more to the discussion here is the bonus booklet that accompanies the re-issue.  Whether audiences own 4K UHD or Blu-ray hardware, viewers on both sides of that divide will get to take in so much content spread across the 60-page publication.  From the movie’s place in the bigger history of science fiction on the big screen, to the bigger message of Herbert’s novel, to even the movie’s sound effects and more, the booklet offers in-depth discussions of so many topics.  One could actually argue that to at least a point, that breadth and depth of information makes up for the division of the bonus content on the set’s two discs.  Keeping that in mind, it helps further enhance the set’s presentation.

Getting back on track, the bonus content featured on the movie’s Blu-ray presentation is, again, unlike that presented in the re-issue’s 4K UHD presentation.  This is where the matter of cost comes back into play, but not in a good way.  While those with 4K UHD players and TVs will be able to take in the bonus content on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs, those with Blu-ray players and standard TVs will only get to take in the bonus content on the Blu-ray disc.  Again, the new content featured in the 4K UHD content includes two new feature-length audio commentaries along with a variety of archived interviews.  Not having access to that content, means those with only Blu-ray players and standard TVs are being short-changed.  4K UHD players and TVs are, again, largely cost restrictive in comparison to Blu-ray players and standard HDTVs right now.  That means that while yes, some consumers do own that more expensive content, most do not.  So in separating the bonus content out in such fashion means that Arrow Video is really shooting itself in the foot here so to speak.  To that end, it makes the movie’s bonus content positive and negative all in one.  Keeping in mind the positive role that the movie’s presentation on dual formats plays and the role of the divided bonus content here, this latest re-issue of Dune largely proves entertaining but largely imperfect.  Even with all of this in mind, there is at least one positive left to note here.  That content in question is the re-issue’s pricing.

The average price point for Arrow Video’s forthcoming 4K UHD/Blu-ray re-issue of Dune is approximately $42, rounding up the number to a whole.  Now considering how expensive most 4K UHD discs are by themselves, that seems a bit hit, and that would be right.  However, that the movie’s 4K UHD is presented alongside a Blu-ray presentation of the movie, that number makes more sense.  What’s more, the most commonly occurring price for the re-issue – through Amazon, Walmart, and Target – is $34.99.  That is an even more affordable number, considering the breadth and depth of the content featured in this re-issue.  Best Buy’s listing is right at the average, at $42.99.  Books-a-Million, the only other major retailer that lists the re-issue, has it listed far above the average at $59.95.  So looking at all of these prices, it becomes clear that the pricing for this re-issue is in fact largely positive and will not break anyone’s budget.  Even with the concerns raised through the bonus content’s division, that aspect and the movie’s dual presentation works with the bonus content to a point to make this re-issue imperfect but still mostly engaging and entertaining.

Arrow Video’s forthcoming 4K UHD/Blu-ray presentation of Dune (1984) is an interesting new offering from the home entertainment company.  Its primary positive comes in the form of the movie’s dual presentation.  Whether audiences own 4K UHD hard ware or Blu-ray players and standard TVs, viewers on both sides of that divide can enjoy this classic movie with full clarity on either platform.  Now while that dual presentation is positive, it also widens the divide.  That is because the new and archived bonus footage is split between the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs.  Not everyone can afford the more cost restrictive 4K UHD hardware, and those people are relegated to only watching the Blu-ray’s bonus content.  Keeping that in mind, the division of the bonus content detracts from the set’s enjoyment to a point.  On the other hand, the extensive information shared in the set’s bonus booklet makes up for that shortfall at least to a point.  Even with that in mind, the division of the bonus content cannot be ignored.  Even with the concerns raised by the bonus content in mind, the set’s pricing proves to be its own positive.  It proves cost effective regardless of whether viewers have the noted 4K UHD hardware.  Maybe one day when and if that hardware becomes less cost restrictive, then it will become even more of a positive.  In the meantime though, it still proves at least somewhat positive.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Arrow Video’s forthcoming re-issue of Dune imperfect but still entertaining.  The presentation is scheduled for release Tuesday.  More information on this and other titles from Arrow Video is available at:

Websitehttps://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Lonely Ones Debuts New Single, ‘Change The Station,’ Companion Video

Courtesy:Imagen Records

Independent rock band The Lonely Ones is giving audiences their first preview of its upcoming debut EP.

The band debuted the as-yet-untitled EP’s lead single, ‘Change The Station‘ Friday along with the song’s companion video. The song boasts a modern rock style musical arrangement that is akin to works from the likes of Small Town Titans. One can also argue there is a comparison to some songs from the likes of Shinedown and other similar acts in the arrangement.

The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement is a clear statement about everything that has taken place across America in recent months. It is a gripping commentary whose content works well with the song’s musical arrangement.

The video that accompanies single mirrors the energy and urgency in the song’s collective musical and lyrical content. It features the band performing its single in a studio setting. Each member performs his respective part to the song while cameras spin — almost to dizzying lengths — around the group.

‘Change the Station’ is just the latest single from The Lonely Ones. The band gained acclaim last year for its cover of Queen’s ‘Flash Gordon/The Hero‘ and its original tune ‘Real Big Trouble‘ as well as its other originals, ‘Eternal Sadness‘ and ‘The Lonely One.’

Queen member Brian May and Flash Gordon himself — Sam J. Jones — praised The Lonely ones for its take on ‘Flash Gordon/The Hero.’

May said of the cover through a prepared statement, “What a fantastic cover! I didn’t realize they were going to go into The Hero and the whole reprise…magnificent!”

Jones had the following to say of the cover.

“This is one of the best covers I have ever heard and seen,” he said. “What a gifted group – The Lonely Ones are for everyone of us, from the 1980’s to right now!”

It is unknown if the band’s cover of ‘Flash Gordon/The Hero’ or ‘Real Big Trouble’ will feature in The Lonely Ones’ upcoming EP. Other than the fact that ‘Change the Station’ will feature in the record, all that is known about the record is that it is expected for release this year through Imagen Records.

Front man Marty McCoy recently spoke about the EP’s upcoming release.

“We’re very excited to partner with Imagen Records in 2021,” he said. “They put a deal on the table that was very artist friendly and their excitement about the band has been contagious. It’s a great team with Bob Winegard, Shauna O’Donnell, Steven Nathan and Morgan Rose. The music industry is constantly changing and these cats have their ears to the ground. We are looking forward to this new adventure with Imagen on our side.”

Winegard spoke warmly of The Lonely Ones in his own statement.

“I am very excited to have The Lonely Ones on the Imagen Records roster,”  said  Winegard. “I knew from the moment I heard their songs that this band was something special. They are hit makers!”

Rose, who is the head of A&R at Imagen Records and is also the longtime drummer for Sevendust also shared his thoughts on the band’s signing.

‘I’ve known Marty and the boys for most of my career,” he said. “When the opportunity to sign them came up, I jumped at it. This band is stacked with hooks and tons of attitude. I can’t wait for the world to hear what they have to say,”

More information on The Lonely Ones’ new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at The Lonely Ones’ official Facebook page.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Audiences Will Neither Love Nor Hate Arrow Video’s BD Re-Issue Of ‘The Hatred’

Courtesy: Kid Kalifornia Productions/Arrow Video

Kid Kalifornia Productions’ independent horror flick The Hatred is an intriguing presentation.  It is a movie that horror fans will not necessarily hate, but that they will likely not love, either.  As with its counterpart The Deeper Your Dig — also created by the independent film making family dubbed “The Adams Family” – it boasts its positives.  But it also bears its own negatives.  The most obvious of its positives is its story.  This aspect will be addressed shortly.  While the story is simple enough to follow, the movie’s production values – the very way in which the story is presented – detracts considerably from the overall presentation.  It will be addressed a little later.  While the overall presentation of The Hatred considerably detracts from its presentation, the pacing of the story makes up for that issue at least to a point.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this indie hybrid horror flick.  All things considered, they make the movie worth watching maybe occasionally at best.

Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of “The Adams Family’s” independent horror flick The Hatred is a presentation that fans of the genre will agree is worth watching maybe every once in a while.  Re-issued in October by Arrow Video as part of a two-movie set that also features “The Adams Family’s” other flick The Deeper You Dig, this movie is hardly memorable, but not a complete failure.  One thing that it does have going for it is its story.  The civil war-era story featured in this movie is simple.  A young woman is left orphaned after a group of apparently Union soldiers murders her sister and mother, this after the group shot and killed one of its own and then hanged the other.  The girl – played by Zelda Adams (the youngest member of the “Adams Family” – is so overcome by her rage at what the soldiers did to her family, that when she finds the hanged soldier, she somehow brings him back to life (she claimed it was through praying in her story to the Union officer who is interrogating her.  This matter will be discussed shortly, as it does hurt the story) and uses him to make the other soldiers pay for what they’ve done.  One by one, the unnamed soldier kills his former fellows by increasingly gruesome fashion, from gunshot to slashing to even disembowelment.  Yes, there is a lot of blood and gore here, so those with weak stomachs are cautioned here.

As the story progresses, it is revealed that the story is in fact the girl’s recollection as she is being interrogated by another Union officer about the deaths of the men.  This is where the plot hole comes into play.  The story never explains how the girl was apprehended and brought in for the interrogation.  It seems like a minor issue on the surface, but on a much larger scale, considering that the murdered soldiers are the only other figures in the forest, it would have been nice to know how she was captured.  This problem does not leave the movie completely unwatchable, but it is a matter that audiences cannot and should not overlook.

Staying on the topic of problems from which this movie suffers, its very presentation is problematic in its own right.  Between the cinematography, the girl’s narration, and the overall acting, the very manner in which this story is presented detracts from the movie’s appeal, in its own way.  The constant cold, snowy backdrop and the grey skies are important to setting the mood, given.  However, after almost an hour, the gloomy feeling that they generate wears thin.  The girl’s narration is so pretentious and goth.  It conjures Lydia (Winona Ryder) in Beetlejuice as she sits in her room, writing what is meant to be a suicide note.  Adams’ demeanor as she delivers her story is just as annoying as her very delivery.  It just detracts considerably from the overall presentation.  She is not the only cast member whose performance is problematic.  The Union officer who is interrogating her is just as unbelievable in his performance.  The same applies to the soldier who is bludgeoned to death by the resurrected soldier.  The way in which the bludgeoned soldier begs for mercy is a bit “hammy” to say the least.  Simply put, the performances overall, the general cinematography and even the narration give this movie the feel of something that was crafted by a college student more so than a professional film maker, even being an independent work.

For all the problems that the general presentation of The Hatred raises, it does have at least one other positive that keeps it worth at least one watch.  That one other positive is the pacing of its story.  Audiences are reminded here that The Hatred’s run time does not even reach the one hour mark.  Yes, it is that short, coming in at 59 minutes.  In that short run time, the story actually does manage to keep its focus throughout.  From one soldier to the next, the girl recounts how the resurrected soldier murders each man.  There is no side tracking for secondary story lines at any point, which is a very good thing.  That allows the story to progress smoothly and in turn keep audiences engaged if only through this aspect.  Even in the slightly slower moments in the cabin in which the girl is being interrogated, the pacing does not slow down too much.  The end result of that balance in the story’s pacing throughout is that audiences will appreciate the story, even with its one notable plot hole.  To that end, viewers will agree that the easy to follow story and its pacing are just enough counter to the movie’s presentation style and make it worth watching maybe occasionally. 

Kid Kalifornia Productions’ 2018 independent horror flick The Hatred is hardly one of the most memorable entries in the genre.  At the same time it is worth watching maybe at least occasionally. That is due in part to the movie’s easy to follow story.  That is the case even despite its one notable plot hole.  The movie’s overall presentation style does detract from its appeal as it gives the movie the feel of a production that was created by a college student more so than even a professional independent film maker.  While The Hatred’s presentation style greatly detracts from its appeal, the pacing of the movie’s central story makes up for that issue at least partially.  When this aspect is considered along with the story, the two elements join to make the movie worth watching maybe at least once.

More information on Arrow Video’s The Hatred re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Pacing, Plot Hole Problems Aside, ‘The Deeper You Dig’ Re-Issue Proves Worth Watching At Least Once

Courtesy: Arrow Video/Wonder Wheel Productions

Independent cinema is more important than ever nowadays.  In an age when mainstream movies are primarily prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events, independent movies offer audiences a much needed alternative to the general lack of originality being turned out by Hollywood’s Big Six studios.  To that end, any time that a new, independent movie is released, it is worth at least some consideration.  Such is the case with the independent horror thriller The Deeper You Dig.  Originally released in 2019 by Wonder Wheel Productions, the movie was re-issued late last year on Blu-ray by Arrow Video as part of a two-movie collection that also features the movie The Hatred.  Each feature was produced and directed by the husband/wife/daughter trio that is known as The Adams Family – John Adams, his wife Toby Poser and their daughter Zelda.  For the sake of this review, the attention will remain on The Deeper You Dig.  The 95-minute movie is a presentation that fans of paranormal stories and those of crime dramas find equally appealing.  The noted audiences will agree that this independent offering is worth watching at least once.  That is proven in part through its central story, which will be discussed shortly.  While the story at the heart of The Deeper You Dig offers at least some appeal for audiences, its pacing becomes somewhat problematic as it progresses.  This will be addressed a little later.  Considering that Arrow Video’s recent release of this movie is a re-issue, its bonus content is just as worth noting as its primary content.  It will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Deeper You Dig.  All things considered, they make this independent horror/crime thriller a moderately successful entry into its respective genres.

Arrow Video’s recent re-issue of Wonder Wheel Productions’ 2019 independent horror/crime thriller The Deeper You Dig is a presentation that fans of the noted genres will find worth watching at least once.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story centers on main character Ivy’s (Tobin) search for her daughter Echo (Tobin’s daughter Zelda) after she goes missing.  Echo’s disappearance is the result of Kurt (Adams) accidentally hitting her with his truck one night after a night of drinking.  Upon realizing that Echo has survived the incident, Kurt freaks out and decides to suffocate Echo so that she can’t go to the authorities to tell what happened.  This on the surface might seem outlandish to some viewers.  However, anyone who watches TV newsmagazine shows, such as 48 Hours, 20/20, and Dateline know better.  Kurt’s actions are actually quite similar to those of so many of the killers presented in the stories in those shows.  That even includes his heinous actions that follow after Echo’s ghost (or is it his own guilt?) gets to him.  This aspect of the story – whether it was really Echo’s ghost or just Kurt’s own guilt – echoes hints of Edgar Allen Poe’s timeless tale, The Tell-Tale Heart, in which the main character kills a man, but ends up confessing because of his own guilt.  Considering that there are people who have burned bodies to hide evidence, dismembered them, etc. in real life crime stories on the news, Kurt’s actions are heinous, but not unbelievable, sadly.  Now keeping all of this in mind, there is at least one major plot hole to the story, that of the lack of damage to Kurt’s truck following the initial incident.  Anyone who has ever heard and seen stories of people being hit by vehicles knows that regardless of how fast a vehicle is going, if it is going fast enough to even knock out a person, then there would be damage to a vehicle’s bumper, headlights, glass, etc.  Audiences who look closely will notice that Kurt’s truck shows none of those damage signs.  That damage is something that the police officers would have instantly noticed when they came to the house that Kurt was flipping.  What’s more, when Kurt buys the rope and tarp at the convenience store, the clerk says nothing and does not even take any action.  That aspect is not believable, either.  Considering that a person was missing, and someone buys items that people have so commonly heard about in crimes on the noted TV news magazines, suspension of disbelief here is impossible.  The whole thing ends in quite the unexpected fashion.  That finale will not be revealed here, but it will definitely leave audiences scratching their heads.  Yes, it turns the typical horror finale on its head, but also seems a bit convoluted at the same time.  One can only wonder why the family decided to close out the story how it did.  The lasting impression that it leaves will cause viewers to look back on the story and just be confused.  The family discusses this aspect and more in its extensive discussion about the movie in the bonus content.  That content will be discussed later.  Going back to the story, all things considered in the story, the plot hole and contrivances aside, the story’s setup is believable, so it in itself will leave audiences wanting to watch.  That it can be likened to Poe’s famed literary work makes for its own share of interest, too.  Now for all that the story does to make The Deeper You Dig worth watching, the story itself does suffer from one problem, that of its pacing.

The pacing in The Deeper You Dig’s story starts off relatively stable, keeping the story moving along well.  However, as it reaches its second act, in which Ivy starts actually looking for Echo, things dramatically slow down.  It makes the movie’s 95-minute run time feel much longer.  Much of the time is spent with Ivy going into some alternate realm after visiting an old friend in hopes of getting him to help her.  The overly artsy approach and resultant look here greatly detracts from viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  Thankfully though, the pacing finally picks back up in the third and final act when Ivy finally realizes Kurt is responsible for Echo’s disappearance and death.  Though, that final sequence does get a bit too over the top in its weirdness.  That is a story for another time though.  It will be addressed in the discussion on the bonus content, too.  Getting back to the issue of the pacing, if audiences can force themselves to endure the plodding second act, then they will make it easily through the third act and end.  To that end, the pacing of The Deeper You Dig’s pacing is problematic, but luckily not enough to completely derail the story.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie’s recent re-issue does its own share to make the movie worth watching at least once.

The bonus content that accompanies Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of The Deeper You Dig is extensive to say the least.  There is a full, feature-length audio commentary that accompanies the movie, as well as a visual essay about the theme of family in this movie, and some smaller extras, such as a poster and music video.  They all do their own share to entertain audiences, but the roughly 45-minute featurette, “At Home With The Adams Family” is easily the most important of the bonuses.  This presentation reveals that Adams is an artist during one of the family’s discussions.  This revelation would explain the movie’s sometimes overly artsy look.  Adams also explains that “he likes violence” which would explain one of the movie’s most gruesome scenes in its final act.  Yet another discussion that the family takes on in this featurette is the story’s finale.  Poser explains that the unsettling finale was intentionally set.  She explains that the family did what they did with the finale because they wanted to do something different.  There is nothing wrong with doing something different, but this story’s finale will not leave audiences with a sense of fulfillment, but rather with confusion and even some anger at Ivy.  These are just some of the topics that the Adams family tackles in its extensive discussion.  There is also a discussion about the story’s overall lack of a soundtrack, which is itself another positive aspect to its presentation.  That ambient sound versus a constant musical soundtrack actually does much to make the movie engaging and entertaining in its own right.  Adams’ discussion on the use of sound in the movie is another interesting topic that will engage audiences.  When these topics and the others addressed in the family’s interview are considered along with everything noted in the feature-length audio commentary, the whole of that content works with the movie’s general story to make The Deeper You Dig worth watching at least once even despite the pacing problems and its one notable plot hole.

Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Wonder Wheel Productions’ 2019 independent horror/crime thriller The Deeper You Dig is a presentation that will appeal widely to fans of the noted genres.  That is due in large part to the movie’s story.  The story mirrors so many of the real life murder stories that TV news magazine shows, such as 48 Hours, 20/20, and Dateline have run throughout their runs.  To that end, as brutal as the story is, it actually is believable at least to a point.  What happens to Kurt as a result of that central story shows influence from Edgar Allen Poe’s timeless tale, The TellTale Heart.  Of course for all the ability of viewers to suspend their disbelief in watching the story, it is not without its problems.  It does suffer from one major plot hole that otherwise negates everything in the story.  The pacing in the story’s second act detracts from its engagement and entertainment, too.  Even with those issues in mind, they are not enough to completely derail the movie.  Its collective bonus content makes for its own share of engagement and entertainment.  Keeping that in mind, that content and the movie’s story form a foundation for the story that makes it worth watching at least once.

More information on Arrow Video’s The Deeper You Dig re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Bonus Content Is The Saving Grace For Arrow Video’s ‘Silent Running’ Blu-ray Re-Issue

Courtesy: Arrow Video/Universal Pictures

When Disney and Pixar released their movie WallE back in 2008, it was lauded by audiences and critics alike, even receiving a score of 95 from Rotten Tomatoes.  All of the accolades that the movie received are prime examples of how easily audiences really do forget the past.  The movie is a clear lifting of MGM’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as ruminations by the late great scientist Isaac Asimov.  On another level, it is also a lifting from another well-known sci-fi flick by the name of Silent Running.  As a matter of fact, one could argue that WallE pulls more from that movie than from 2001: A Space Odyssey with its overly preachy content.  That would go to show the influence of the latter, decidedly nihilistic flick, which in fact received the Blu-ray re-issue treatment last month thanks to Arrow Video.  Re-issued Nov. 17, the 1972 cult favorite sci-fi flick will appeal equally to its longtime fans and sci-fi fans who might be less familiar with the movie.  That is due in part to the movie’s central story, which will be discussed shortly.  While the story is certain to keep viewers engaged throughout the movie’s roughly 90-minute run time, the re-issue’s presentation does suffer from at least one concern, its production.  Most notably, the audio production proves somewhat problematic and will be addressed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the re-issue adds to the presentation’s appeal and together with the story, makes for even more appeal.  The two items together make up for the concerns raised by the audio production and make the movie’s re-issue worth watching at least occasionally by the most devoted science fiction fans and of Silent Running.

Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1972 sci-fi statement flick Silent Running is a presentation that will appeal to the most devoted of the movie’s fans.  It will also appeal to the most devoted science fiction fans.  That is due in part to the movie’s story.  The story in question centers on Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern – The Burbs, Nebraska, The Hateful Eight) as he makes his way into space to (he thinks) protect a forest that he oversees in a bio-dome structure attached to his ship, the Valley Forge.  The flight happens after an order from Earth for all ships orbiting Earth to destroy their biodomes, which contain the last plant and animal life from Earth.  While no reason is ever given for the order, the script does manage to explain that by having one of Freeman’s soon-to-be deceased crewmates note that he did not understand the order either.  In a way, that lack of explanation is a sort of commentary about the oftentimes mind boggling actions of any government body.  Lowell’s development as the story progresses is really what makes the story engaging.  His focus on protecting the forest gradually declines as he increasingly falls victim to the psychological effect of isolation.  He eventually comes to the realization that being alone, there is no reason to keep trying to save the forest, leading to the story’s disturbing finale.  This critic will not reveal that finale here for those who have yet to see the story.  What can be said is that it will leave audiences unsettled, to say the very least.

On another note, there is one notable plot hole to this story that almost completely negates the whole thing.  That plot hole comes early on as one of Lowell’s crewmates makes mention that the Earth at the time was 75-degrees.  The companion booklet that comes with the movie’s recent re-issue points out that the degrees measure in question is Celsius, not Fahrenheit.  That Celsius measure equals to 167-degrees in Fahrenheit.  So it leaves one scratching one’s head that Lowell’s crew mates talk about returning to Earth when no human, let alone plant and animal, could survive such temperatures.  Humans even now struggle when summer temperatures in the real world get to the 100s, so there is no way humans could even begin to survive at a temperature of nearly 200-degrees year-round.  Audiences who can overlook this massive Earth-size plot hole will find themselves able to stay engaged.  However in hindsight, that noted realization detracts from the story’s enjoyment quite a bit.  The plot hole pointed out in the re-issue’s companion booklet is just one aspect of the bonus content that will be pointed out later.  It is also just one of the problems from which the movie itself suffers. The audio production presented in the movie is another concern.

Throughout the course of Silent Running’s 90-minute run time, its audio levels are problematic.  The dialogue plays out at a low volume while the music, crafted and performed by folk singer Joan Baez and composer Peter Schickele, is far too loud whenever it is used.  Whether that was the result of work done on the movie’s re-mastering or if it was originally like that is anyone’s guess.  It was not discussed in any of the movie’s bonus content.  Again, the bonus content will be discussed later.  Regardless, the constant volume adjustments that audiences will find themselves having to make as they take in the movie will become bothersome to say the least.  At least the video quality is worth its share of applause.  It makes up at least to a point for the problems posed by the problematic audio production.

For all of the problems posed by Silent Running’s story and its audio production, its re-issue does come with at least one undeniable positive, its bonus content.  As has already been noted, the movie’s bonus content makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment.  The companion booklet that comes with the re-issue is just one of the noted extras worth addressing.  Journalist Peter Tonguette points out on page 21 of the booklet, “In the screenplay by Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, and Steven Bocho, the temperature of the Earth has  eached 75-degrees Celsius, apparently rendering it inhospitable to a wide assortment of plants and animals.”  A check of those credits on IMDB.com certifies they crafted the movie’s script.  Again referencing this, 75-degrees Celsius is equal to 165-degrees Fahrenheit.  How that would even be hospitable to any life is confusing.  Humans in reality can barely handle temperatures in excess of 100-degrees.  So for Lowell’s crew mate to be excited that the planet’s year-round temperature is 75-degrees leaves one wondering how humans have adapted to such high temperature.  It creates a massive plot hole about the size of the ships that orbit Earth.  It is just one of the interesting aspects pointed out in the movie’s companion booklet.  Audiences also learn from journalist Barry Forshaw, that director Douglas Trumbull’s turn helming Silent Running was not his first jaunt into space so to speak.  Forshaw points out in his essay, that Trumbull worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey prior to taking on Silent Running, and that it was his stint on the prior that led to the latter.  On an equally interesting note, WallE – as already noted – lifts liberally from both movies for its story.  Additionally, Forshaw points out in page 11 of the booklet, that famed Star Wars director George Lucas was so impressed by Trumbull’s use of sound in the open space scenes, that he was moved to incorporate the use of sound for space scenes, rather than just leave the outer space scenes outside the ships quiet.  That is quite the statement for Trumbull to have had such impact.  Between all of this and so much more noted in the booklet, it alone more than proves the importance of the movie’s bonus content.  It is just one part of the bonus content that is worth addressing.

The bonus content that is presented on disc ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment in that it does not just rehash the bonus content featured in the movie’s 2015 re-issue, its then most recent re-issue.  That content is featured here, but is joined by even more new content, such as a discussion on the movie’s soundtrack.  As is revealed in that discussion, Schickele’s turn on Silent Running was in fact his first time scoring a big screen feature.  Music historian Jeff Bond, who narrates the feature, points out that Schickele’s work with Baez stemmed oddly enough from Baez’s intent to work on a holiday music compilation of all things.  Additionally, Bond discusses the attention that Schickele paid to each scene, to ensure every note of every scene made for the utmost emotional impact on audiences.

“First Run,” another of the new bonuses featured in this re-issue, takes audiences through a look at the initial first scenes of Silent Running.  The comparison of those early scenes to the final product makes for more appreciation for that final product.

The archived “Making of” featurette joins with the newer content to make for even more engagement and entertainment.  Audiences learn firsthand from Dern in the vintage extra, that he ran “200 miles” on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Valley Forge (which was used for most of the movie’s principal shooting) during down time as a means to stay healthy.  That is a lot of running.  Audiences also learn in this extra that Trumbull did not even initially want to direct the movie, but do other things on the film.  Audiences will be left to learn that whole story for themselves.  Between this story, the other items noted here and the rest of the features extensive information, it and the rest of the equally extensive list of bonus content does much to entertain and engage audiences.  If for no other reason than the bonus content, audiences will find the movie worth watching at least once.  Audiences who can overlook the aforementioned plot hole involving the planet’s temperature in the story will find the rest of the movie’s ecologically-minded story worth watching, too.  The two items together give audiences reason to watch this movie at least occasionally. 

Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1972 sci-fi eco/space drama Silent Running is a presentation that will find enjoyment among the most devoted sci-fi fans and those of the movie.  That is due in part to the movie’s story.  The story, which does suffer from one massive plot hole, follows a botanist – Lowell — who goes rogue after being told that the forest for which he cared was going to be destroyed.  As a result of his actions, Lowell falls into a slow spiral of depression and despair, leading to the movie’s rather depressing finale.  That the movie’s script never addresses its one major plot hole greatly detracts from its presentation.  Audiences who can overlook that problem will find the movie engaging at least to a point.  The video quality of the movie’s re-issue is a positive in its own right, but the audio production proves problematic in its own right, as audiences will find themselves having to raise and lower the volume throughout the movie.  The extensive bonus content featured with the movie’s re-issue is its primary saving grace.  If for no other reason than that content, audiences will find the re-issue worth watching.  Even with that in mind, that content is more worth watching than the movie itself.  To that end, the movie in whole is going to find the most appeal among the movie’s most devoted audiences and sci-fi fans than general sci-fi fans and other audiences.  Silent Running is available now.

More information on Arrow Video’s Silent Runnning re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Arrow Video Announces Release Date, Specs For ‘Silent Running’ BD Re-Issue

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group

Arrow Video is resurrecting Universal’s 1972 ecologically-minded science fiction flick Silent Running.

The company is scheduled to re-issue the movie Nov. 17 on Blu-ray. The movie stars Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight, The Burbs, Nebraska) as lead character Freeman Lowell. Lowell is on a ship carrying some of the last forests from Earth and is told that the ship is to be destroyed and that he will return to Earth. He refuses to follow orders and takes matters into his own hands in order to protect the ship’s plant life, going to very even desperate measures in the process.

The forthcoming re-issue will feature a new 2K scan. Additionally, it will feature a variety of bonus features, such as a new feature length audio commentary from critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw, a new interview with music historian Jeff Bond about the movie’s soundtrack ,and collector’s booklet with new liner notes on the movie by Forshaw and Peter Tonguette.

The full listing of the re-issue’s bonus content is noted below.

Bonus Materials

— Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, approved by director Douglas Trumbull and produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release

— High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ presentation

— Original lossless mono audio

— Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

— Brand new audio commentary by critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw

— Original audio commentary by Douglas Trumbull and actor Bruce Dern

— Isolated music and effects track

— No Turning Back, a new interview with film music historian Jeff Bond on the film’s score

— First Run, a new visual essay by writer and filmmaker Jon Spira exploring the evolution of Silent Running’s screenplay

— The Making of Silent Running, an archival 1972 on-set documentary

— Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull and Douglas Trumbull: Then and Now, two archival interviews with the film’s director

— A Conversation with Bruce Dern, an archival interview with the film’s lead actor

— Theatrical trailer

— Extensive behind-the-scenes gallery

— Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Arik Roper

— FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and Peter Tonguette

Pre-orders are open for Silent Running.

More information on Arrow Video’s Silent Runnning re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Arrow Video Announces ‘Warning From Space’ Re-Issue Date, Specs

Courtesy: Arrow Video/Toho Company/Daiei Sttudios

Arrow Video will resurrect the 1956 Japanese science fiction flick Warning From Space next month.

The company is scheduled to re-issue the movie Oct. 13 on Blu-ray.  The story centers on a race of beings from another world that has come to Earth to warn the planet’s people about an impending meteor impact.  The problem is that the beings look like starfish.  Knowing that they will only terrify the planet’s inhabitants, one of the beings takes on the form of a human female so as to spread the warning.

Originally distributed through Toho Company and Daiei Studios, the movie was the first Japanese science fiction movie to be presented in color.  its forthcoming release marks its first-ever high definition release in the United States and a newly restored English dub.

As an added bonus, the movie will also feature a feature-length audio commentary by author Stuart Galbraith IV.  Galbraith wrote the book Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!

Pre-orders for Warning From Space are open.

More information on Arrow Video’s Warning From Space re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Lonely Ones Debuts New Single, ‘Real Big Trouble’

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent rock band The Lonely Ones debuted its latest single over the weekend.

The band debuted its new single ‘Real Big Trouble‘ Friday.  The song is the band’s first new music since the debut of its single ‘The Lonely One’ March 23.  The band debuted its cover of Queen’s Flash Gordon theme song in July.  Its debut was not connected to Arrow Video’s re-issue of Universal’s 1980 movie last month.  The movie was an adaptation of the classic comic strip.

The Lonely Ones’ cover of Queen’s original has received praise from Queen guitarist Brian May and Flash Gordon himself, Sam J. Jones, since its debut.

May said of the cover, “What a fantastic cover! I didn’t realize they were going to go into The Hero and the whole reprise…magnificent!”

Jones also praised the band’s cover.

“This is one of the best covers I have ever heard and seen,” he said. “What a gifted group – The Lonely Ones are for everyone of us, from the 1980’s to right now!”

The Lonely Ones’ new single is a heavy work that will fit into any active rock radio station programmer’s daily play list.  The melodic hard rock arrangement featured in the song is grounded in its bass and drums.  The guitar and vocals build on that foundation to flesh out the song even more.

The lyrical content featured in this song hints at someone who has caved under the pressure of his past. He even goes so far as to say, “I’m ready for the judgement day/I’m crawling out of my skin/I got myself in some real big trouble again.”

More information on The Lonely Ones’ new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thelonelyonesband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/_thelonelyones_

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Arrow Video’s ‘Flash Gordon’ Re-Issue Is The Movie’s Best Presentation Yet

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group

Arrow Video’s recently released Blu-ray re-issue of Universal’s classic sci-fi flick Flash Gordon is the new gold standard for the movie’s home release.  Released Aug. 18 on Blu-ray and 4KUHD, this latest re-issue of the 1980 comic strip adaptation is the movie’s first domestic re-issue since 2012, when it was re-issued alongside The Last Starfighter, Dune, and the pilot for the original Battlestar Galactica series in a four-disc DVD set.  The movie’s audio and video form the foundation for its latest re-issue, and will be discussed shortly.  The extensive bonus content that accompanies the movie’s home release builds so much on the foundation formed by the movie’s production values.  It will be discussed a little later.  Flash Gordon’s story rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the movie’s latest re-issue a presentation that is without question one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.

Arrow Video’s new Flash Gordon re-issue is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  From sci-fi fans to fans of comics to action movie aficionados to classic cinema connoisseurs, this movie’s appeal will find plenty of appreciative audiences.  That is proven in part through the production values presented in this re-issue.  The colors in the sets and the costumes are so rich, especially the reds (red was allegedly the favorite color of the movie’s famed Producer Dino De Laurentiis according to information provided in the movie’s bonus content) of Ming’s palace.  In comparison to footage from the movie in its original presentation (which is shown in the noted bonus content), it is clear that painstaking efforts were taken in order bring forth the true, rich color.  If De Laurentiis were alive today, he would be just as impressed by this aspect.  In the same vein, every laser blast and every note of rock band Queen’s feature-length soundtrack is expertly balanced, enhancing the viewing experience for audiences even more.  Even a minor touch, such as the ambient sounds of Planet Mongol and its moons get their own attention.  From that production aspect to the noted deep, rich colors and the balance in the music and sound effects, it is clear that painstaking efforts were made in order to offer viewers the best possible presentation once again.  It’s another way in which Arrow Video continues to prove itself one of the leading names in the home media world.  Those efforts also go a long way toward making this presentation so enjoyable for viewers.  It is just one of the most notable aspects of the movie’s new home re-issue, too.  Its bonus content adds even more enjoyment to its presentation.

The bonus content that is featured in Flash Gordon’s latest re-issue is extensive to say the absolute least.  Audiences get two separate feature length audio commentaries, — one from director Mike Hodges and the other from star Brian Blessed (who played Prince Vultan) – a series of interviews with the movie’s cast and crew, two episodes of the Flash Gordon cartoon series, and a vintage “making of” featurette as well as photo galleries from the movie’s creation.  The bonus content alone makes for literally hours of entertainment and engagement.  The vintage making of featurette reveals that creation of the set for Ming’s palace alone took four months.  That and the other sets were so extensive that production had to take place primarily in a six-million cubic foot aircraft hangar.  It was just one of the facilities that was used for the movie’s production.  As director Mike Hodges reveals (off the cuff) during his audio commentary, Elstree Studio was also used.  That is the same studio in which Star Wars was created by George Lucas.  This is especially important to note because it is also revealed in one of the bonus discussions, that George Lucas apparently wanted to make Flash Gordon before Star Wars, but could not afford the rights, so he ended up making Star Wars.  How is that for a little six-degrees of separation?

As if everything already noted here is not enough reason to check out the bonus content, viewers will learn that there apparently was quite a bit of tension behind the scenes during the movie’s creation.  Hodges points out during his commentary that De Laurentiis viewed the movie’s creation in a very serious fashion, even though Allin was extremely displeased with the final product.  The vintage making of featureette does point out that De Laurentiis was himself very much a Flash Gordon “fan boy” prior to producing the movie.  To that point, his “seriousness” was perhaps chalked up to that fandom, even though he might not have thought he was going to such extreme.  There is nothing wrong with his approach, either, since he wanted to pay proper tribute to the original, timeless Flash Gordon comic strip.

Allin, on the other hand, said during the new bonus featurette “Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon,” that he and Roeg wanted to make a serious film in Flash Gordon complete with sociopolitical commentary, but that De Laurentiis wanted to stay true to the original Flash Gordon comic strip, which ran daily from 1934 to ’92.  Its Sunday edition continued until 2003.  The movie does just that with its special effects and its overall look (what with its costumes and sets).  The short and simple here is that Allin and Roeg’s story would have been a good fit among today’s comics based movies (since dark, brooding stories are about all that audiences get nowadays in comics-based movies).  De Laurentiis’ version has remained a cult favorite for four decades meanwhile maybe because of his dedication to its source material.  Regardless of which side viewers take, all of the noted discussions are sure to engage audiences thoroughly and generate plenty of discussion among audiences.  All things considered here (along with the bonus content not directly noted – again the bonus content here in fully immersive) the bonus content featured with Arrow Video’s recent Flash Gordon re-issue more than makes the movie worth owning.  When it is considered with the outstanding production values presented in this re-issue, the two elements together make for so much enjoyment for audiences.  They are still not all of the positives provided in the movie.  The movie’s central story adds even more to that enjoyment.

The story at the center of Flash Gordon is relatively easy to understand.  It starts with Flash and Dale Arden taking a flight somewhere (it’s never pointed out where the pair is going interestingly enough) and ending up crashing in the lab of the mad scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov.  Zarov basically kidnaps the duo and the trio ends up flying into space where they end up rocketing to another galaxy that is ruled by the evil emperor Ming The Merciless.  Along the way Flash unites the peoples of the worlds ruled by Ming, befriending them in the process.  The story has a happy ending, but also leaves the door open for a sequel (which going back to the bonus content, could have happened, but never did).  It has to be assumed in the movie’s story that as the clock reaches zero near the movie’s end, Ming does stop his attack on Earth before his alleged death, though that is never made 100 percent certain.  The only way audiences can assume the Earth is safe comes in the final scene in which Dale tells Flash that she is a New York girl and would rather go home than stay on the planet Mongol.  Next to that note, the only other odd note from the story is centered on all of star Sam J. Jones’ constant costume changes.  It just so happens that everything he wears is Flash Gordon-themed.  It is never fully explained where he gets all of his attire, but oh well.  That aside, the story’s simple approach is very much in line with the original Flash Gordon comic strip.  Yes, comics often do have deep philosophical language, but they are also meant to entertain the masses, and that is what this story does.  It entertains while also presenting at least some philosophy.  To that end, the story succeeds just as much as the movie’s bonus content and its production values.  When all three elements are considered together, they make the movie in whole the best presentation yet of this cult classic flick.

Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Flash Gordon is an applause-worthy presentation that will appeal to a wide ranger of viewers.  That is proven in part through the movie’s production, which fully brings out the deep, rich colors in the sets and costumes.  The same can be said of the movie’s sound, which is so well-balanced in terms of the soundtrack and special effects noises.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s new re-issue will immerse audiences even more in the movie.  From everything noted here to other items, such as the realization that Queen was not the first choice for the movie’s soundtrack, and the note that the movie never got the merchandising push that other movies have gotten over the years, the bonus content adds so much of its own appeal to the movie.  The movie’s simple story does its own part to appeal to audiences with its simple presentation.  All three items noted here are important in their own way to the whole of the movie’s latest re-issue.  All things considered, they make this presentation, the best yet for the movie.

More information on Arrow Video’s Flash Gordon re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.