The Angry Birds Movie: A Good Egg Is Getting Cooked Up For 2016

Angry Birds MPWhile The Angry Birds Movie trailer met with the usual internet mix of smiles and grimaces (and the even more usual whines and moans from the haters), it really didn’t do much in the way of telling exactly what the film would be about. Cue Columbia Pictures and Sony sending out invites to assorted media folk to roll on by and see selected scenes from the still in production film presented by producer John Cohen in a fun behind the scenes “featurette” style like something you’d see on a Blu-Ray or DVD.

Invite in hand, this little piggy went for a stroll down to Sony’s midtown screening room for a spell and came up for air quite pleased and impressed by what was shown. I can’t reveal anything about the clips, but Cohen’s presentation was perfect and answered the big fat question many have had since the film was announced. That being how the heck a game with no story to speak of is getting a full on feature film. In short, a story was written specifically for the characters in the game and how they first meet. It’s the three-act structure in full effect and as Cohen showed off artwork, character models and completed to in progress clips from the film, any skepticism I may have felt about the project was a distant memory long before his presentation ended.

Okay, it was less than ten minutes in is when I felt the film would be a great way to get fans of the game as well as non-fans into theaters next May… Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: Blood Rage

Blood Rage AV018Just in thyme for your Thanksgiving film feast, Arrow Video via MVD Visual strikes again with the perfectly themed (and definitely NOT for the whole family!) horror flick, 1983’s Blood Rage. If you’re a horror film fan who’s scratching your head raw and thinking out loud “Hey, I never heard of this one before!”, well… you’re not incorrect there, pal. Actually, director John Grissmer’s film wasn’t released in that year or even with that particular title. It came in on the tail end of the slasher flick craze and seemed to be deemed too violent for a genre that had gotten “tamer” over the course of the early 80’s.

The film finally hit theaters in 1987 as a heavily edited but still “R” rated version with the more generic title NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS, which is thankfully included in this special edition package along with a third cut of the film that combines footage from both versions into a big, bloody meal. And if it’s special features you want, Arrow’s got you well covered with a slew of features including interviews with cast members (Louise Lasser, Mark Soper), visual effects artist Ed French, and producer/actress Marianne Kanter on how this one came together and how she ended up in the film as a victim of one of the more outrageously icky cinematic murders of that era. A high body count, an overall offbeat tone, plenty of cheesy synth tunes tickling your eardrums and some solid and yucky gore effects from Ed French make this one a real treat.
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Arrow Video Adds A Little More Giallo & Red To Your Movie Library This Month

Arrow Wake Up And Kill Arrow What Have You Done To Solange


Arrow Video continues to deliver the goods to stateside video collectors with its latest set of American releases through MVD Entertainment Group. Coming soon to Blu-Ray/DVD (as in November 24, 2015) is Wake Up And Kill (Special Edition), director Carlo Lizzani’s (Requiescant) 1966 true crime drama based on the infamous armed robber Luciano Lutring’s exploits. As usual, Arrow is not only getting this one out in a nice new transfer, they’re packing in a bunch of extras:


* Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
* High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentations of two versions of the film: the original full-length Italian release, and the shortened English-language cut
* Italian and English soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono sound on the respective versions of the film
* Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version
* Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English cut
* Theatrical trailer
* Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
* Illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film by Robert Curti, author of Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980

I’ve not yet seen this film, but it certainly sounds interesting and should be quite a treat as it’s seen as an early example of what would later be known as “poliziotteschi”, which isn’t a real word, but a blending of a few. Basically, Italian crime dramas, cop movie, detective story, you know the drill. Wake Up And Kill has a $29.95 MSRP.

Next up, it’s another gritty trip to Italy, this time with a more murdery flavor. Massimo Dallamano’s 1975 giallo, What Have They Done to Solange? gets the Arrow treatment big time with this Blu-Ray/DVD combo. I’ve seen this a few times in raggedy prints with fuzzy sound (which isn’t good for that Ennio Morricone soundtrack!), so Arrow’s version will be replacing my memories with the reality of a superb restoration job and yep, loads of extras:


Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
Newly translated subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
Brand new audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
Newly filmed cast interviews
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by MALLEUS (to be revealed)
Booklet featuring brand new writing on the film, illustrated with original stills

Solange comes out of hiding and into your favorite online video emporium or physical media paradise hat stocks Arrow stuff on December 15, 2015 for $39.95. Reviews of these two are in the pipeline once those screeners arrive.

Gallery: Thea: The Awakening


cover_art_thea (Custom)Described as “a strategic survival game steeped in Slavic myth and monstrosity”, developer MuHa Games’ formerly Early Access turn-based strategy game, Thea: The Awakening is nor available for purchase on Steam. As this is the first I’m hearing of it, I’ll just say that the nice visual style and music caught my eye and ear respectively and that’s why you’re reading about the game here.

The game also features procedural map generation as well as a non-linear story, which means no two players should experience exactly the same game twice. Check out the art and screens below and if you like what you like what you see, you know what to do, right? You’re welcome.


Baba Yaga Leshy (Custom) Orc Matriarch (Custom)


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Lord Dregg’s Schemes Can’t Keep Dimension X Turtles From Safe Travels!

TMNT Almost Shredder 001 (Custom) TMNT Almost Shredder 002 (Custom) TMNT Almost Shredder 003 (Custom)


90620_BasicDimXLordDreggHa. Lord Dregg (Ruler of Planet Sectoid!), you’re so darn cleaver aren’t you? Pretending to be sick and letting Playmates send over a box of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X figures that didn’t include you because you were under the weather and didn’t want to give Leo, Don, Mike, and Raph your supposed “cold” during the FedEx ride over.

And wouldn’t you know it? That box showed up looking as if a fight broke out on whatever mode of transport it was shipped in and it was used to bash someone over the head with. Or perhaps Lord Dregg hired a special driver to make sure that package got some extra TLC (Tackled Like Crazy!) on the way here.

But guess what, Dregg? YOU LOSE (again!):

Take THAT, Dregg!

Take THAT, Dregg!

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Earth Defense Force 2 and EDF 4.1 Get Dated: Prepare The Time-Sink Ray!

EDF 2 Vita EDF 4.1 PS4 

Excellent. Between the new trailers above and below, the brand spankin’ new official site and the fact that both games come out on the same day as retail (YES!) and digital product, it’s a fine and dandy day for fans of Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space (PS Vita, $29.99) and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PS4, $49.99). That lovely release date of December 8, 2015 means that plenty of fans of both titles are getting exactly what they’ve wanted from Santa, Krampus or whomever else buys their gifts. Buy someone a copy of this game and you won’t see them for weeks because all they’ll be doing in their spare time is blasting big space bugs and bigger spaceships, robots and other space beasties all day and night. Yes, your inner eight-year old kaiju fan will be wholly pleased, but don’t expect this to be an easy ride at all.

Getting these as physical copies (thanks Xseed!) is going to make a lot of EDF fans happier because it’s something they’ve desired with every game in the series and Xseed kept its ear to the ground and made it happen. As for the EDF 4.1 blooper reel below… er, well… I’ll give Xseed a pass on that one because the game is so much fun that a little comic relief won’t hurt it one bit.

Anyway, go get some finger exercises in and ask the boss for some time off in December. Once these games land in stores and on PSN, you’re not going anywhere for a while.

Super Star Wars Lands on PS4, Vita: The Force Is Strong With This One


It feels 100% weird to say this, but there’s an old Super Nintendo game on a new Sony console and not so new handheld that’s a nice surprise for any Star Wars fan. Granted, Super Star Wars was also on the eShop for the Wii back in 2009, but this updated version for the PS4 and Vita offers a number of tweaks that include new save features, leaderboards, trophies, and updated display and controller options. Nope, it didn’t get a big HD visual overhaul at all, so hopefully you’re happy with the original 1992 SNES visuals in all their 2D and Mode 7 pseudo 3D glory:

SSW_002 SSW_003 SSW_004 SSW_005 SSW_006 SSW_007 SSW_008 SSW_009 SSW_010


if you’re grinning like a loon because you have a PSN account, a PS4 or Vita (the game is Cross Buy, by the way) and $9.99 ready to fly out of your wallet, you’re already buying this before you’ve finished this sentence. Me, I’m still a little freaked that there’s a SNES game on a non-Nintendo platform and the earth hasn’t exploded from that fact. Oh,and new players to this one will find it hard as hell and a bit janky in spots. But it’s still a ton of challenging fun as well as a nice nostalgic trip into the past. Whatever strings Disney pulled to get this to happen (I’m thinking that this was a Sony Imagesoft-produced game back then may have helped) sure worked out alright although it would have been a better deal to get the SSW trilogy out for something like $20 or so.

Eh, we’ll see what the future brings for those ancient games about a galaxy far, far away. This new deal has me hoping that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I and II show up on a Sony console at some point. Playing both of those classics on my Vita would be a total mind-blowing thing to see happen in the near future..

Vendetta: Curse of Raven’s Cry: Arr, Yeah – It’s Not Dead In The Water

VendettaLogo (Custom) 

News3Remember a game called Raven’s Cry that was supposed to pop up a while back on PC and consoles? Well, it sort of did (on PC) but didn’t survive the harsh critical waters thanks to a number of issues. Reality Pump Studios moon-walked off the plank it was on, went back to the drawing board and has polished up their open world pirate RPG to what looks like a tasty finish.

The newly titled Vendetta: Curse of Ravens Cry has a release date of November 20 (hey, tomorrow!) looms on the horizon for Mac, Linux and SteamOS in both Standard and Digital Deluxe Editions for users who want their games in that particular format. Console and packaged retail versions of the game will arrive sometime during Q1 2016, but don’t expect to see this on the PS3 or Xbox 360 at all as those “old” systems have of late been consigned to Davey Jones’ locker when it comes to getting new releases, arrrr!

Five screens below and publisher TopWare Interactive has just put up a nice interactive map of the places you’ll go on your ship with your not so jolly crew. As far as I can tell, there are no whales to deal with in the game, but as you can see, Here There Be Tygers… er, leopards. That screen is kind of amusing because it looks as if both that feline and that pirate are thinking of that new coat they’re going to be wearing when the smoke clears.


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As to the seaworthiness of Vendetta, it’s probably safe to say that Reality Pump has set the ship righter that it’s previusly been, but the proof will be in the parrot pudding starting tomorrow.

Review: The Last Crown: Midnight Horror

TLC_MC header

Platform: PC
Developer: Darkling Room
Publisher: Iceberg interactive
MSRP: $4.99
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: B+ 85%

As adventure games go, The Last Crown: Midnight Horror works exceptionally well as both an entry level point & click game for those new to the genre as well as a game fans of ghost hunters Nigel Danvers and Lucy Reubans’ previous (The Lost Crown) and future (The Last Crown: Blackenrock) exploits. The tone is lighter and the humor ranges from sly to flat out intentionally corny, but it all works quite well in this short taste of Halloween-themed horror. Even better, it’s only five dollars and worth every cent you’ll pay and then some. Continue reading

In The Heart Of The Sea: One Pissy Whale = Low Sea Men Count

Hmmm. On one hand, I don’t want to see In The Heart of the Sea in a theater because that means going in with people who know nothing about the true story of the whaling ship Essex and what happened to it and its crew sitting down and expecting some sort of action movie version of Moby Dick, a book that to some is nearly incomprehensible by modern standards. I’m betting myself a shiny new penny that most of the short attention spanners also don’t remember The Perfect Storm and its bleak (but somewhat too heroic to be plausible) finale that went for uplifting (in more ways than one, ha!) just so audiences would leave the theater in a somewhat more together condition and not drowning in all those salty tears.

On the other hand, it’s all that expensive CG work in the trailer and nothing at all in the commercials about the more horrifying aftermath where bad navigational decisions led to the Essex survivors forced to choose a little bit of cannibalism after weeks at sea that bugs me even more. Although I do wonder if fresh leg of man is safer than a movie theater hot dog globbed with chili and unnaturally orange “cheez”. Yeah, that’s a happy holiday film (and perfect Oscar bait) for your consideration, right?
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