Ghostbusters and Night of The Living Dead Hit Into the Dead 2 as Updates

Nice. In addition to Ghostbusters getting a full-on remaster this year as an updated modern console game for PS4, Xbox One and Switch available physically via your local Gamestop or digitally via their respective online stores, (the PC version is currently only available digitally through the Epic Games store), the upcoming versions of Into the Dead 2 will also be receiving the same nifty time limited additions in the form of its own new Ghostbusters and Night of the Living Dead expansions when the game releases on PC and consoles on October 25, 2019. Check out both trailers above and below and yes, add this fun stuff to your wishlist if you like what you’re seeing (and own one of the systems listed, of course).

These expansions are also or will be available for the mobile version of the popular zombie game for a short time, but this one’s all new to me, as I don’t play games on my phone (Hey, the screen is too small and I’m too busy with console and PC games to have enough time for mobile games, sorry!). I’m guessing over 100 million downloads on mobile devices worldwide is a good thing, right?

-GW

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Review: So Dark the Night (Blu-Ray)

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How do you say “bleak as hell” in French?

So Dark the Night coverDeceptively beginning as a charming budget flick, Joseph H. White’s 1946 film noir So Dark The Night becomes so much its name as it devolves into sheer bleakness despite a fairly cliché-filled script. Without spoiling too much, its tale of a defective detective is a lot less Clouseau and a lot more Hitchcock as time goes on. But on a second viewing, it’s clear that the cheery tone the film begins with is a perfect setup to what’s to come.

When happy go lucky but weary Parisian detective Henri Cassin (Steven Geray) takes a much-needed vacation to a peaceful French village, a series of murders occur that has him using his years of well-honed skills to solve the crimes, but a proper solution escapes him until he realizes the shocking truth.

This corker of a thriller is expertly directed and shot, clocking in at a tidy 71 minutes has a few issues, but considering them in a film that looks so polished when judged in today’s terms, it’s a hidden gem that deserves a second look. Yes, some of the “Frenchiness” is stereotypical Hollywood and parts of the third act seem as if they come out of thin air. But when you realize what’s taking place earlier may be the results of a deluded mind (and excellent score), it all makes sense.

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Review: My Name is Julia Ross (Blu-Ray)

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Don’t get pushy. mister. It looks bad to the hired help.

mynameisjuliaross_coverClocking in at a taut 65 minutes 2 seconds, Joseph H. Lewis’ (Gun Crazy, The Big Combo) excellent low-budget sort of gothic noir My Name is Julia Ross will keep you guessing until its very end. There’s a feeling of immediate regret for its lowly heroine (played by Nina Foch) as the down on her luck expatriate ends up taking a secretarial job that puts her life at risk as as she’s taken in by a crooked family that means to do the poor girl in. Why this is happening to her is a little mystery the film will have you wrapped up in for its entire running time and the conclusion closes a tight thriller in just about perfect form.

Julia wakes up with a new name and location wondering what the heck is happening and why she’s wearing monogrammed clothing with someone’s initials. We previously see all her items being trashed by her new “family”, so it’s a case of dread for her fate a few minutes in. Her sole out is perhaps a local gal who works in the mansion she’s trapped in who works as a maid, but even she’s not as sharp as Julia turns out to be at the end. Julia is initially a bit addled from the “medicine” forced into her tea every morning, but her determination keeps her from losing it despite her “mother” (Dame May Whitty), “husband” (George Macready) and a few others making her life a living (albeit luxurious) hell. Living there isn’t the worst thing for Julia… except for the dying part her kidnappers want her to play for real.

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Random Film of the Week: Corruption


 

As mad scientist flicks go, Corruption is something of a forgotten classic in its own crazy manner. You get the great Peter Cushing out of his usual period piece horrors playing a successful plastic surgeon in a more modern 60’s setting, some surprisingly shocking (by mid 60’s standards) content and a laser gone haywire in a finale that may elicit some chuckles from forward thinking Star Wars fans. If you’ve ever wanted to see Cushing go full-tilt, over the top into scenery chomping territory, this one won’t disappoint one bit. While there are some slow expository moments here, the overall film is an interesting slice of horror that while not wholly original, ends up being pretty memorable on a few fronts.

(Thanks, groovemaster!)
 

After the swingin’ credit sequence, we meet Cushing’s Sir John Rowan and his pretty younger fiancée Lynn (Sue Lloyd) at a pretty raucous party. While the good doctor struggles with the mingling, Lynn, who just so happens to be a model, is in the middle of an impromptu photo shoot when Rowan rushes up to stop the snapping away before his squeeze loses all her clothes. Before you can say “Watch out for that hot studio lamp!”, Rowan accidentally knocks said lamp over and it lands on poor Lynn, burning half her face. Ouch! Fortunately, she’s engaged to a very capable plastic surgeon, right? Unfortunately, conventional surgery won’t work this time, so Rowan decides to use Lynn as a guinea pig to try out a little something he’s been working on in secret.

If you’ve seen Georges Franju’s Les yeux sans visage (Eyes Without A Face), you can probably guess things up to a point, For everyone who hasn’t, Répétez après moi, s’il vous plaît:

“What could POSSIBLY go wrong?”(dot dot dot) Continue reading

Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer: Re-suit Reboot Looks To Grab Loot

 


 

So, how are you doing, dear readers? Good? Good. Me? Meh, I’m doing okay. Anyway, I missed the first trailer to Spider-Man: Homecoming a few months back, so it’s above and the newer trailer that dropped yesterday is below. The big legal issues keeping Spidey out of Marvel’s bigger cinematic universe seem to be ironed out (at least for the foreseeable future), so say hello a second time to Tom Holland, whose portrayal of the character in Captain America: Civil War helped give that film some much-needed levity. Speaking of levity, how’s the kind of in-joke of Michael Keaton going from playing Birdman to another bird-man get you? I don’t think Oscar will come calling again for a superhero flick (despite what Logan has done in terms of critical response and yeah, yeah, Suicide Squad winning its hair/makeup award), but it’s also just fine by me that this reboot isn’t looking as cheesy as the last few attempts at making him a big deal were.


 

That said, my rules of engagement still apply: Unless I get invited to a premiere here in NYC, I’m holding out for the Blu-Ray version for those bonus features and any extended footage chopped out of the theatrical cut. I don’t think Marvel is quite as nefarious as DC in terms of this stuff, but I’m admittedly a few films behind in both cinematic universes.

-GW

Taxi Driver Turns 40: “A Real Rain” Returns to Theaters Internationally in August

(thanks, Park Circus!)
 

This is beautiful news. That said, I hope that “international” re-release means we’ll see this here in North America. This is one of those films I’ve wanted to see on the big screen in a nicer print than I’ve previously seen and this trailer sure looks spectacular. We shall see. In my opinion, this is a film that needs to be bucket listed if one considers him or herself a movie lover.

The Angry Birds Movie Update: Blake Shelton Is A Big Fat Pig

Hey now! Step away from the keyboard and put down that baseball bat, folks. Shelton IS a big fat (and green!) pig. Or more precisely, he’s voicing a big fat (and green!) CG pig named Earl in the upcoming The Angry Birds Movie:

Blake Shelton voices "Earl" in in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animation's ANGRY BIRDS.

Blake Shelton voices “Earl” in in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animation’s ANGRY BIRDS.

Of course, the filmmakers aren’t letting the man’s musical talents go to waste at all. The award-winning singer (and co-host of The Voice) is also lending his voice to the film’s soundtrack. No news as t what he’ll be singing or when it will be sung has been revealed, but there’s nothing wrong with a little (or big) surprise, I always say. Um, that does depend on the surprise, though. This counts as a good one.

Adding to an already talented cast that includes Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Hannibal Buress, Ike Barinholtz, Jillian Bell, Cristela Alonzo, Danielle Brooks, Romeo Santos, and the YouTube team known as Smosh (Anthony Padilla, Ian Hecox), it looks as if the film will be getting a few (well, a lot) more fans hoofing it to a theater new them when it opens this summer.

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Holiday Greetings From Some Not So Angry Birds


 

Even the grumpiest Grinchy McScrooge, Esq. would get a chuckle or hoot out of this short promotional video cooked up to promote The Angry Birds Movie, headed to theaters in May 2016. It’s also the proper thing to do with an audio recording of kids who don’t know all the words to “Deck The Halls” trying their best to make it to the end of the song and failing miserably merrily at it. Of course, watch some overly enthusiastic Xmas supporters whine about this video not being in the proper spirit of the season or whatever when they should be chuckling at this while wearing a hideous holiday sweater and sipping a BIG cup of cocoa laced with something adult beverage-like. That bottle of peppermint schnapps Uncle Hugo game you two years back should come in handy right about now, I’d say.

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

Random Film of the Week: Strait-Jacket

Strait-JacketSomething has always bugged me about the 1964 William Castle horror/thriller flick Strait-Jacket ever since I first saw it as a kid. Nope, it’s not the too close to Psycho plot points courtesy of writer Robert Bloch (who also wrote that classic). And it’s certainly not Joan Crawford’s wide and wild-eyed performance as Lucy Harbin, the freed after twenty years in an asylum ax murderess now going through a potential relapse victim as the bodies start piling up again. It’s also definitely not Castle’s direction that downplays some of the camp potential of the material and goes for a handful of genuinely nifty 60’s era shocks.

Nope. What bugged me about the film that still bugs me today is how the hell George Kennedy’s creepy farmhand Leo painted three quarters of a car with the smallest damn can of paint and what looks like a two or three-inch wide brush. HOW DID HE DO THAT?!!
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