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: The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (Blu-Ray)

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No it’s not Martin Landau. Stop it.

The Forbidden Photos coverIt has the stylish looks and has a title reminiscent of a giallo, but it’s more of “a sexy drama with a shamelessly low body count”, according to a friend watching Luciano Ercoli’s 1970 film The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion/(aka LE FOTO PROIBITE DI UNA SIGNORA PER BENE) with me. Amusingly enough, this is someone who dislikes these types of films, but stuck around because of hearing it wasn’t a total gore festival. Shame he didn’t stick around for Torso, but we’ll get to that terrifying classic a few reviews later.

Dagmar Lassender is Minou, a pretty housewife with a pill addiction she can’t quite kick. She runs into trouble after a blackmailer (Simón Andreu) assaults her and alerts her that her husband Peter (Pier Paolo Capponi) has murdered a man and Nicola can help keep things quiet if she meets the blackmailer for, let’s just say some sexytime antics. She does, but things get weird and she calls in a free-spirited friend for some assistance. Uh, wait. That sounds a bit too much like a film with an X rating, huh? What actually happens is her loyal and sexually free as a bird friend Dominique (Nieves Navarro) has some rather shameless photos in her collection and Nicola notices the cad behind the blackmailing is the same in one of the photos… The plot thickens, right?

Well, not so much, folks. This certainly is a super-stylish looking film and yes, indeed, its ladies are stupendously as lovely as can be (the men, eh, not so much). However the suspense is limited to guessing how far the blackmailer will go when a few things are revealed and whether or not Dominque is part of the plans (because it sure seems something is up with her). With a few tweaks. “this could be a Lifetime drama of the week” (I don’t watch that network, I’m loosely quoting that friend from earlier, so I guess he or his wife are fans).

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Review: The Possessed (Blu-Ray)

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“On a clear day, you can see forever…”

The PossessedGiven the subject matter, The Lady of the Lake is a better title than The Possessed, lets get that out of the way first and foremost. Granted, it’s also the name you’d use if talking about the legend of King Arthur and with a slight tweak, it’s the name of a 1947 film noir classic that’s a neat experiment. Still, this 1965 Italian murder mystery from co-directors Luigi Bazzoni and Franco Rossellini is a compelling, arty proto-giallo well worth a look.

The film blends both director’s styles in an impressive and intentionally at times hard to follow plot, but its intents are made to keep you guessing what’s true and untrue until the mystery is resolved. While based loosely on a series of actual murders, the at times dreamlike presentation keeps things a lot less grounded as our less than heroic “hero” figures out why the gal he was so madly in love with was possibly murdered.

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Virna Lisi as the ill-fated Tilde. She’s not a good girl, it seems.

Bernard (Peter Baldwin), a morose young man with a bit of fame is in the process of writing a new book, visits the same slightly dull Italian village he grew up in only to discover that a pretty maid named Tilde (a stunning Virna Lisi) working at the local inn has died. A little poking around reveals she may have been murdered, but why is that important information held from him (“You didn’t ask.” comes one rather surprising answer early on) and why are there a few potential suspects that happen to be from the same family that owns the inn?

Hmmm… why, indeed? Tilde only appears to him from a few mysterious dreams and flashbacks that may or may not be related to Bernard’s mental state, so he’s maybe as unreliable a narrator as it gets. Hey, at least his hazy, surreal nightmares are pretty darn interesting to say the least.

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(Not-So) Random Film of the Week: Barry Lyndon

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Where it all begins for one Redmond Barry.

Barry Lyndon is a story which does not depend upon surprise. What is important is not what is going to happen, but how it will happen.

Stanley Kubrick

barry_lyndon_ver1_xlgMy first introduction to Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon was via the most likely means most 11-year olds with little to no interest in certain three-hour plus films made by somewhat visionary directors had at the time: MAD Magazine. I do recall that particular issue was confiscated from the classmate who owned it later in the day by a somewhat strict English (Literature) teacher who didn’t appreciate his not paying attention during her class. Fortunately, the magazine was returned the following day with a note that student had to take to his parents about his reading habits during class and oddly (or not so oddly) enough, a public library copy of The Luck of Barry Lyndon for him to read, write a book report on and return to the teacher. It turned out the teacher was a big fan of Kubrick’s film but had never read the MAD version, so she took it home, read it and liked the parody. Thus the somewhat unusual  temporary gift and form of “punishment”.

You gotta love good teachers, friends. Go and hug one today (er, with consent, of course).

I’ve had the feeling for some time that I may have wished for such a tremendous fate back then, as it took quite a few years more for me to actually read the book Kubrick adapted and altered somewhat using groundbreaking lighting techniques and some of the most gorgeous and true to life costume recreations ever put on film. It’s also a film where you can practically hear its director chuckling as he reworked the book into his own style that in my opinion, fits in well with Thackeray’s original writing. Droll, deadpan humor is laced throughout the dramatic scenes, all of which are masterfully composed shots that may have you pausing the film to admire a landscape or painterly composition (of which there are many). Excellent performances from the cast all around also help, as does realizing that Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) isn’t supposed to “act” here in the sense of a person throwing himself into a part and chewing up the scenery. He’s perfectly cast as a man in a particular point in history where both good to terrible things happen and he reacts as he sees fit (which isn’t always accordingly).

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Odyssey of the Oddity Concludes Somewhat Abruptly

I can actually recall the first time I heard Space Oddity on the radio. It was sometime after its 1969 release and if memory serves me correctly, it almost made me miss my school bus. Between the haunting acoustic guitar work and the otherworldly sounds emanating from the clock radio in my room, I was transported into that tin can floating in the void. Instant David Bowie fan from that point on and what and education that was.

Suffragette City made me look up that word (the first one, silly!) and in doing so before the age of the internet, got me checking out the dictionary and then a few encyclopedias as that rabbit hole opened up as I discovered other issues related to that word. Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, women’s rights (which I don’t think were listed in much detail as far as 70’s educational tomes were concerned) and other mind-expanding bits and pieces were in the process of being uncovered. One teacher I had noted my research and gave me a few newsletters to peruse from her college days. Of course, at that age (I was about ten or eleven at that point), most of that reading material was way above my brain grade but I absorbed them anyway. Continue reading

Tripping The Blight Fantastic: Four, Right In The Cinematic Trash Heap

F4 MPI’d actually started this post around two months back, but put it aside to work on other things. It was going to be a really lengthy point-by-point peek at why the film deserved to flop out, but I decided to not be so negative until I maybe saw the final product. It’s a good thing I waited because after seeing the film, everything I thought about writing happened and the movie was even worse than my cynical ass expected. But I don’t blame director Josh Trank (Chronicle) all that much because it very well seems the studio had more to do with the film being such a train wreck.

In my opinion, Fox needs to sell back or hand those rights over to a studio that can actually do something constructive with the characters. Too many hands went into what looks like rushed re-shooting and sloppy editing so what should have been another reliable summer blockbuster for fans has turned into a must-see exercise for film students as to what NOT to do. Or a note to creative types with vision to stay far away from licensed properties and a studio system that demands souls and final cut in exchange for some sort of loyalty. While the film is far from unwatchable, it’s not worth the cost of a ticket at all and more suited to cable or network TV. Then again, on a channel with commercials, trying to make sense of the film will be a total nightmare unless scenes are added back in to help things out. Continue reading

Book Review: Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters from the 1940s-1950s

Film Noir 101 Fantagraphics
 

Thanks to a colorist probably following instructions to the letter about the use of the color red, Both Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall wear lipstick on the poster to The Big Sleep. The poster for White Heat almost looks like the one for the aforementioned film. Edward G. Robinson’s face is Hulk green in the poster for Scarlet Street. Richard Widmark doesn’t even appear on the poster to Kiss of Death, but in the one for Night and the City he looks as if he’s doing a “jazz hands, down!” pose. You miss these details when poking around online for some classic film posters, but in Fantagraphic’s beautiful Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters from the 1940s-1950s, all you see is some amazing poster art for arguably some of the best film noirs of the era. Film Historian Mark Fertig has compiled quite a healthy list of films and their respective one-sheets here and the big 10.75″ x 14.25″ hardcover book will thrill film fans while possibly promoting a bit of discussion about some of the choices among others. Continue reading

Superman: The Movie (1978) Sharp Dressed Men Make An Impression! Writers, Here’s How To Introduce Your Hero (#7 Of A Bunch)

(thanks, Jason Makiaris!) 

This one’s priceless and still a kick in the pants because it’s classic 1970’s New York gone comic book (thanks to the great Richard Donner), but even more hilarious for one key reason. I recall seeing the film back in 1978 and some kid sitting in front of me asking his dad who the black guy was noting how awesome Superman’s costume was. I don’t think there was EVER a pimp in a Superman comic when this film was released (and I’m not sure if one has ever been in an issue even as a background character). I do remember the father muttering something like “Er… um, I’ll tell you later – just watch the movie!” and me trying not to crack up laughing for the next hour plus. To this day I often wonder HOW that guy explained what a pimp was and what he did to his kid. THAT conversation must have been a doozy. The full scene is here – enjoy!

?able Humor: Get Me Re(re)write!

(thanks, frankpilarski!) 

So, today I was bad, bad, bad. Well, just bad, but I think I tend to over-magnify stuff for excess emphasis. Anyway, I needed to go over some older posts and start the process of re-writing or re-rewriting them so some can be used as parts of a few upcoming blogathons I’m participating in. Some of the older posts are a wee bit on the short side and need a bit of expanding, so that’s what’s going on. Or WAS supposed to be going on.

Anyway, I was going over a few posts and then got distracted with a movie I’d wanted to see, so that was that for productivity for most of the afternoon. Yeah, it happens. NO, it wasn’t Star Crash, I was sidetracked by (Oh, hell nope!). That’s just to show my desire to stop time for long enough to do all the crap I need to do and feel HAPPY at the end of each day. Eh, I’ll figure this all out eventually. I still want a damn time machine, though.

As I update the older posts, I guess I’ll tweet them out (which means they’ll pop up on facebook as well). Keep an eye peeled…