VCI’s Fall 2017 Lineup: Eclectic, To Say The Least

VCI logoVCI Entertainment has been around for decades (I’ll let you read their “About Us” page at your leisure) and with a library of over 5000 titles from vintage to modern in nearly every genre available in physical, download, or digital rental format, you’ll very likely find something to watch.

The company’s fall 2017 lineup is a small but nice one with a bit of horror, history and a little rock ‘n roll to get the neighbors out of bed and pounding on your door late at night if your TV is up too loud. Hmmm… perhaps they’re all bringing over some popcorn and beverages so they can join in on the fun at that hour… as they’re not getting in otherwise. Anyway, let’s take a peek at what’s coming below the jump.

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Blu-Ray Review: Alien Covenant

“There’s so much here that doesn’t make sense…”
– Katherine Waterston as Janet “Danny” Daniels, Alien Covenant

AC_BR.PNGIs the Weyland-Yutani Corporation made up of really stupid and incredibly single-minded people hell-bent on burning through piles of money and human bodies every chance they get or am I missing something here? Every time they try to get an certain cranky, homicidal alien life form for their research or whatever other purposes, bad things happen and just get worse. I could just blame the robots, but it hasn’t *always* been their fault.

The humans on the other hand? Ay-yi-yi, we’re talking idiotic in increasing percentages in what, over a century of trying to bag that xenomorph and its assorted relatives? That’s a pretty lousy batting average. folks. That said, the original Alien gets a big fat weekend pass for its crew’s carelessness because you got your average space truckers griping about low wages and such who had no idea about what was coming thrown into a situation they had no control of .  Although, what the hell was Ash’s plan had the Nostromo crew somehow killed off their unwanted passenger first?

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Granted, the current chronology of the Alien franchise means the events in Prometheus came first and brought us the unbalanced synthetic David (Michael Fassbender) who ends up even nuttier in Alien Covenant (more on that below). Then we get Ian Holm’s creepy, frustrated and malfunctioning Ash in 1979’s Alien followed by the Lance Henriksen’s helpful Bishop in Aliens and Alien 3, followed by Winona Ryder’s “Hey, huh? I’m an android?” part in Alien Resurrection. While Ridley Scott seems hell bent on making a few more Alien films that take place before the original, Alien Covenant manages to (wisely) swipe enough from the above films not shot by Scott to somewhat good effect.  Still, I’m somehow left  with more bad questions than good answers about a ton of important stuff.

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Ghost in the Shell Teasers: Æon Re-Flux


 

The jury is officially out, most likely because they just got a dose of nerve gas while sequestered. All I’ll say here is lovely kimono/mask combo and presence of “Beat” Takeshi aside, this is not what I’m wanting to see because it gives me a serious flashback to that pesky live-action Æon Flux movie. I’ll say no more on this other than to predict it may do better in Japan than in the west, as for the most part, audiences there somehow think the film will do well with a popular Hollywood star than some native no one will recognize outside of the country.

Amusingly enough, the first actress that came to mind when I heard Scarlett was in the running was Charlize Theron, who at least has the height I think Motoko Kusanagi needs to be that imposing figure she is in the anime. Eh, I guess she’s not so Furiosa she didn’t get the part (ba-dum-bum!)

(Not So) Random Film of the Week: GOG

gogWhile the three films in Ivan Tors Productions’ “Office of Scientific Investigation” (OSI) trilogy haven’t gotten the name recognition or massive fan bases of certain other more well-known franchises, each stands out as a fine example of Tors’ commitment to bringing a more scientific and human touch to the genre. While not going for camp or cheap thrills, the films make for a look into Tors’ heavy interest in pure science fiction with independent films he got made on his own terms.

Beginning with 1953’s The Magnetic Monster, 1954’s Riders to the Stars, and GOG, also released in 1954, the three films trade in the era’s familiar “B” movie antics for drier, more “realistic” hard science mixed with speculative elements. While some action scenes take place in all three films, outside these sequences things are done with a more sedate, almost documentary-like presentation of their assorted plots.

Additionally, all three films can be watched and enjoyed fully in any order, as they tell stories that are connected by a few threads, but don’t contain the same characters. Chief among these threads is men (and women) of science trying to make advances in the field for the future with dramatic (and sometimes unfortunate) results. Or: you can’t make a science-flavored omelette without breaking a few scientist-shaped eggs…
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Planet of the Apes Back on the Big Screen: Not Hard to Fathom At All

Image from impawards.com

Image from impawards.com

 


I think I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you haven’t read that old post, 1968’s Planet of the Apes was the very first movie I saw in a theater. That said, I’m not sure I’ll go to this Fathom Events screening thanks to my backlog keeping my plate full. But to anyone seeing this for the first time or for the first time on a big screen, my glass is raised that your sense of wonder gets the same kick mine did those many years back. If YOU do end up going and are reading this, feel free to drop on by and leave impressions. It’s always fun to hear how modern moviegoers see the classics.

ELSTREE 1976: This Is The Documentary You’re Looking For

Elstree 1976 CA
 

I thought I was done with Star Wars references for the day, but my inbox has other ideas in the form of this new documentary I now NEED to see. Ellstree 1976 will start a US theatrical run on May 6th in select cities including Los Angeles and New York City (a full list of theaters and ticket information are here). My inner 14-year old self just popped out and recalled all those magazines and newspaper clippings I’d collected back then. Everything Star Wars! Anyway, here’s some info on the film as well as its trailer:

ELSTREE 1976 explores the lives of the actors and extras behind one of the most celebrated Science Fiction films in cinematic history, Star Wars.

From the man behind film’s most iconic villain, to the actor whose character was completely cut from the final film, the documentary delves into the eccentric community these individuals have formed and how the Star Wars franchise – which spans five decades from A New Hope to The Force Awakens – continues to impact their lives decades later.

Many of the minor characters were merely part of the set design, but eventually gained recognition as the Star Wars universe expanded into books, comics, etc. Fans learned the history of masked characters like Boba Fett and Greedo, but the sci-fi blockbuster also had a lasting impact on the people inside the costumes.

 

And if you can’t make it to that theater near or not so near you, guess what? MVD Entertainment Group will be getting the doc out on DVD June 28th via MVD Entertainment’s online shop as well as Amazon. SOLD!

All I need to do is step into this carbonite chamber I got cheap on eBay and freeze myself for just over a month and I’m set. What? Not a good idea? The guy who sold it said it was only used once and worked REALLY well.

Happy ALIEN Day! Go Get Scared or Win Some Stuff (Or Both)

Pin-Up

“Hey, baaaaaaby…. ‘sup?” Photo Credit: Desmond Mo

 

ALIEN DaySo yes, it’s officially ALIEN Day and if you’re a fan of the franchise with some time and a bit of disposable income on your hands, there are a few ways to get involved in the festivities today.

The Alien Anthology page on Twitter has a big deal contest where video questions about the film pop up like chestbursters and you can answer them for a chance to win some awesome ALIEN to Prometheus-themed merchandise from what’s looking like every company that makes officially licensed swag based on the series. Continue reading

Kvetch-22: You Win Some, You Lose Some

Good GOG PlusHere’s some news fresh from the “Wouldn’t You Know It?” desk:

Hooray! I won something awesome recently – a blu-ray copy of the Ivan Tors produced, Herbert L. Strock directed sci-fi film GOG (1954), restored into its 3D state and in HD for the first time on disc. Many thanks go to Kino Lorber, Classic Movie Hub and Aurora’s Gin Joint (all fine places to sit for a spell and learn about plenty of classic films) for picking my hastily scribbled entry. I also got two more Arrow Video blu-rays in the post today to review right after GOG showed up via Fed Ex: Dillinger and The Zero Boys. Excellent!

However (and this is hi-larious)… Continue reading

ALIEN Day is Coming: Is Your Brain Ready For Some Pointed Questions?

ALIEN DAY logo
ALIEN headIt figures that what with there being a Star Wars Day that’s taken off into a yearly festival of fun for many, someone at Fox would have kicked out the idea of an ALIEN Day and some sort of all-day contest to go with that.

Well, here you go: Starting April 26, 2016 (4/26, a reference to planet LV 426, naturally), there will be 24 hours of all-ALIEN thrills for everyone from movie buffs to those new to the franchise (there’s always someone who’s NEVER seen an ALIEN flick!) who want to know what the fuss is all about.

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products has announced an out-of-this-world global celebration of the ALIEN franchise culminating with a special 24 hour, fan-focused social media event on April 26th – a nod to LV-426, the planet from the iconic ALIEN films. ALIEN DAY (#AlienDay426) will encompass a wide range of executions including nationwide screenings, never-before-seen consumer product activations and the kickoff of the ALIEN: Ultimate Trivia Challenge, allowing fans to test their ALIEN knowledge – with the chance to win prizes every 42.6 minutes on Twitter (@AlienAnthology). Fans may register now for the contest at ALIEN Anthology and refer to “Official Rules” for additional details.

The funny thing is, while Star Wars Day is a super family-friendly time indeed, I can’t see this catching on with the younger set. Hell, I’m old enough to remember this toy-related debacle which I actually had one of (they were quite cheap a few months after release because no one seemed to be buying them as no kids were seeing ALIEN in theaters thanks to the “R” rating and the culture being a lot different back then). It ended up in my younger brother’s possession when I moved out and yep, I came back a few years later and he’d tossed the box, lost the head cover and pretty much killed off my dream of reselling the thing for a hefty profit. Ah well…

Anyway, I’d imagine NOT answering those trivia questions correctly would result in a Xenomorph knocking at your door to deliver the news you didn’t win a prize. Um, you probably don’t want to answer that knock unless you want to become that rotten egg no one wants for breakfast in the morning. Just a word of warning…

The Force Awakens My Slightly Cranky, Eternally Poor Side

star_wars_episode_vii__the_force_awakens_ver3_xlgHere are your heroes and villains on a crowded poster. Whee. I’m going to go see this, but more as a curious former super-fan who just wants to see how well director J.J. Abrams is going to try and nail the same feeling the first film had and to check out what the writing is like. The original Star Wars came at a crucial time where Hollywood movies were getting great, glum and gloomy (Taxi Driver, anyone?) to the point where something like George Lucas’ inspired sci-fantasy pastiche with its groundbreaking visual effects (for the time) made suddenly happier audiences rush back to theaters multiple times, buy up every bit of merchandise as it was announced and add more fuel to Hollywood’s now common sequel frenzy.

I’m not much of a big merch guy these days, but I do feel a tiny bit sorry for some Star Wars fans who want every freebie out there these theaters are going to hand out. Good Luck, pal. Seeing the list of different items on the official Star Wars site made me a bit annoyed because it’s going to be nearly physically impossible for ONE person to grab each of these items unless they’re willing to do a LOT of traveling, have family or friends in the movie theater business who don’t mind setting aside goodies, other friends and family who will be getting trampled by Grabby the Hutt during the handout phase or maybe they’ll just luck out on eBay after the fact. Of course, watch me proven VERY wrong by some fans who not only manage to get one or more of all those freebies legitimately, but post all about it for the world to see.

Eh, whatever happened to just enjoying a movie and maybe going to see it again with a friend. These days, it’s all a cash grab roundup that shuts less than enthused moviegoers out of the loop. Well,no complaints about the movie here – just a mild trip down the ventilation shaft with s side track into the compactor room. Heh, maybe I’ll just hold out for the inevitable Blu-Ray release in what… February or March? I don’t want to get Greedo-ed on the way to the theater because some irate SW fan-person in full regalia decides to bump me off because they didn’t like what I said.