Blu-Ray Review: The Climber

The Climber_AV089Don’t feel a bit sorry for poor Aldo (Joe Dallesandro) in The Climber (L’ambizioso), writer/director Pasquale Squitieri’s slick, sleazy 1975 crime action flick. The guy is so damn stubborn right from the get-go that all his big plans keep exploding in his handsome face thanks to his bull-headed determination to out gangster all the Italian gangsters who’ve ever gangstered. He scores some hefty wins in the material world, but it’s all a façade as the clock is ticking down on him as the bodies pile up.

It’s a great role for Dallesandro although he’s saddled with a derivative script that has him be a complete block-headed goon and most of his opposition be just as dumb or dumber. That said, if you love violent crime dramas with great soul-jazz-rock soundtracks and can flick off your story-starved brain for a spell of mindless violence, this is a pretty solid little movie when all is said and done.

After skimming profits from a Don Enrico’s (Raymond Pellegrin) illegal cigarette take, New York-transplanted Aldo is badly beaten and tossed onto a roadside (ouch). He gets lucky after he’s picked up by a gorgeous redhead named Luciana (Stefania Casini) who takes him to her apartment where he gets lucky a second time when she decides to sleep with him. The next day, he’s off to get revenge against the Don by looking up a guy he used to be partners in crime with in order to plan a heist (that goes wrong, of course). Our non-hero gets away with his ill-gotten gains, but he’s swiped off the street not long afterward and taken to the Don for punishment. “Is this the end of Rico Aldo?”

Well, not quite.

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VOODOO: Stepping Into Man’s Past To Create A Great MMO For The Future

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Italy-based developer Brain in a Box is on a mission to create an online world you’ve never seen, but will be strangely familiar. Welcome to VOODOO:

The game’s official site notes:

Voodoo is a Survival game set in a primal Africa, where godly and earthly are not yet clearly defined, and humankind is on the brink of civilization. Build your village with your friends or other people that you will find around the island, by gathering resources and crafting.

 
And, when the time is right, you will have to vanish your primal fears by fighting giant Izimus scattered around the map, that will make your little civilization advance by discovering new technologies. But Izimus aren’t your only enemy, you will find wild animals from the prehistoric era and other villages, because with civilization comes the lust for power.

 
Will you bring your village to power by being a fearsome warrior, a relentless farmer, or a powerful shaman?

 

Well, challenge accepted! Guess who signed up for the closed beta? No, not that guy over there, you! grrrr. Me! The game does look intriguing and while I’m not usually into MMO’s, the chance to poke around in a work in progress and offer feedback into making the experience better for all is a challenging endeavor as well as a fine adventure to tackle. Well, as a “relentless farmer” for me. AGGRESSIVE CROPPING WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED! Grrrr!

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Blu-Ray Review: The Bloodstained Butterfly

the-bloodstained-butterfly-av063Duccio Tessari’s 1971 thriller The Bloodstained Butterfly is a great entry point to the genre for those squeamish viewers curious about gialli but not willing to commit to the more violent entries known to more ardent fans. The film is part murder mystery, part courtroom drama and part revenge flick, all stylishly shot and scored to excellent effect.

It’s also a bit of a slow fuse to its conclusion, but that’s not a bad thing at all. The film’s structure where a murder is committed and witnessed, a suspect is caught, tried and jailed, but more murders take place is yes, pure TV drama stuff you’ll see on way too many episodes of whatever Law & Order series you’ve been hooked on for who knows how long. But, Tessari’s confident style comes through in every shot, making for a highly watchable viewing experience.

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Hotel Inferno: POV Horror Puts The Fear In Your Face

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Horror fans who haven’t see it yet are going to get a hard kick in the eyeballs with Hotel Inferno, a POV (point of view) shot film from 2013 that puts you in the shoes of a hired killer tacking the job of taking out a number of targets who fins out the job is a lot more sinister than he’s been told. To the moviegoers who avoid the gory stuff, it may not be seen as either a “modern classic” or as memorable as Dark Passage or Lady in the Lake. But I say it’s absolutely worth a watch for the practical effects work, to see where the crazy plot goes, and to find out if it makes you jump out of your seat a few times like a good gore-fest should.

 

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Some ickier (and definitely not for the kiddies!) screens are below the jump… if you dare! Continue reading

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:

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

* 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:

BONUS MATERIALS:

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 http://www.malleusdelic.com (to be revealed)
Booklet featuring brand new writing on the film, illustrated with original stills
More!

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.

Eggtronic HUB-IT Review: The Humble Charger Goes Social


 

When you think device charging, you generally don’t think of it being a big social experience. Sure there are those times where you share a charger or charging station with a random stranger, but it’s usually a pretty low key and common thing everyone who owns a device does at some point. On the other hand, Eggtronic’s HUB-IT Sync & Charge Station practically demands to be shared with up to seven other people just about anywhere for a few reasons. It’s larger than a pocket charger, meaning you’ll deliberately be carrying it around to get attention and its unique cartridge based connectors allow for charging everything from iOS and Android devices to handheld gaming systems such as the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Up to 10,000 devices are currently supported, so there’s a very good chance what you have in that pocket or bag can indeed be charged up quickly. Continue reading

Random Film of the Week(end): Nights of Cabiria

(thanks, TrailerItaliano!) 

Nights of Cabiria_MPThe first time I saw Nights of Cabiria, I was wide awake and it was the middle of the afternoon, but I was so wrapped up in watching Giulietta Masina’s spectacular performance that I’d stopped reading the subtitles and missed a chink of the story. Of course, this being a Fellini film, the visuals and expressive acting spelled out most of what happened and Masina’s work as a happy go lucky hooker with a head of stone and dreams of finding love kept me entranced until the ending.

I’ve seen the film quite a few times since and have introduced it to friends with no explanation because how do you properly describe a film about prostitutes that manages to be funny and sad and human all at the same time without getting wrapped up in someone’s “Uh, so… it’s a movie about what?” eyebrow. Granted, you can always take the easy way out and make it a double feature night with Fellini’s La Strada first, as like this film, it won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and has Giulietta Masina giving another performance for the ages. That SHOULD wipe away any smudgy thoughts about pedigree and content.

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