Archive for June, 2010

While the story of the first legal brothel in Nevada already sounds like an intriguing tale, Love Ranch is somewhat unnecessarily made more enticing by a fictional love triangle that ends in murder.

Grace and Charlie Bontempo (Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci) are a husband/wife team who own and run one of Nevada’s first legalized brothel ranches. Their lives are irrevocably altered when Armando Bruza (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a world famous heavyweight boxer from South America, is brought to the Love Ranch to train as part of Charlie’s ever expanding entrepreneurial empire. However, plans quickly go awry when Bruza comes between Grace and Charlie forming an unforeseen romantic triangle. (more…)

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JUNE 1
Life (Blu-ray)
From the BBC and the Discovery Channel, producers of Planet Earth and The Blue Planet: Seas of Life, comes the newest landmark natural history series, Life. In Planet Earth, they brought you the world as you’ve never seen it before. Now, get closer with Life. Four years in the making, filmed over 3000 days across every continent and in every habitat, with breathtaking new high definition filming techniques not available for Planet Earth, Life presents 130 incredible stories from the frontiers of the natural world, 54 of which have never been filmed before. This 11-part series narrated by Oprah Winfrey captures unprecedented sequences and demonstrates the spectacular and extraordinary tactics animals and plants have developed to stay alive.

Special features include: “Life on location,” a collection of 10 behind the scenes video diaries showing efforts of the filmmaking team; deleted scenes; and “music only” viewing option. (Warner Home Video)

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The Crazies marks the return of survivalist horror to the big screen in the vein of zombie and outbreak films such as Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later.

Ogden Marsh is a small town with a law-abiding population of a little more than 1,200. Suddenly overnight, the residents of the once picture-perfect community dive into violent madness. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) tries to figure out what is infecting his town, while having to use lethal force to prevent his friends and neighbours from killing him. As the nonsensical hostility escalates, Dutton bands together with his pregnant wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell); Becca (Danielle Panabaker), an assistant at the medical center; and Russell (Joe Anderson), Dutton’s deputy and right-hand man to survive the insanity. To add to their difficulties, the government has restricted all communication and access to the town in an attempt to contain the infection. (more…)

Winter’s Bone is a straight-shooting drama sprinkled with a little mystery and deception in a remote location that becomes a hostile character of its own.

Ree Dolly (Jennifer Laurence) is only 17 years old, but the weight of her family rests on her shoulders. She is forced to set out and track down her father who put their house up for his bail bond then disappeared. If she fails, Ree, her mother and two younger siblings will be turned out into the Ozark woods. Challenging her outlaw kin’s code of silence and risking her life, Ree wades through the lies, evasions and threats offered up by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth. (more…)

Spawned after the popularity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural took demon hunting to a more practical place.

Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) grew up hunting terrifying things, but he’s put that behind him to attend law school and live a more conventional life. When Sam’s estranged brother Dean (Jensen Ackles) appears with news their father has disappeared, the brothers reunite to find their father as well as pick-up where he left off – the family business. (more…)

This is by no means a definitive science fiction film collection, but it offers a well-rounded sampling of the genre from the 1980’s and 2000’s. The 12 films gathered by Anchor Bay Entertainment comes in standardized, shiny packaging that makes a bold statement about your good taste when displayed together.

Android, directed by Aaron Lipstadt (1982)
In the outskirts of deep space orbits ULZ-53, a forgotten research station manned only by intense scientist Dr. Daniel (Klaus Kinski) and his lonely android assistant Max 404 (Don Keith Opper). But when three escaped convicts, including a beautiful woman, arrive aboard, Dr. Daniel finds the missing element to his outlawed experiments while Max discovers his own forbidden urges.
Special features: commentary by Lipstadt and writer/actor Opper

Astro Boy: Greatest Astro Adventures
When a brilliant robot engineer named Dr. Boynton loses his son Toby in a tragic accident, the dedicated but heartbroken scientist uses his technical skills to construct a robot in the boy’s image. This is the first Astro Boy series created in full colour, showcasing the importance of kindness, compassion and selflessness in the face of life’s obstacles.

Black Moon Rising, directed by Harley Cokliss (1986)
When master thief Sam Quint (Tommy Lee Jones) is hired by the government to steal top-secret data from a crime organization, he hides the stolen data in The Black Moon, an experimental supercar. But when the car is stolen by high-tech car thief Nina (Linda Hamilton), Quint must steal it back from an impenetrable skyscraper.

Chrysalis, directed by Julien Leclercq (2009)
Paris 2025: a tough cop (Albert Dupontel) is haunted by a murder he could not stop; a young woman (Marthe Keller) is scarred by a dark secret from her past; and a killer with a taste for sadism is on the loose. All of this takes place in a city where sleek technology is stained with a conspiracy of violence and corruption. The visuals are eye-popping with shocking twists and explosive action scenes, merging to create a unique futuristic crime thriller.
Special features: a making of featurette

Cyclops, directed by Roger Corman (2009)
A terrifying Cyclops is terrorizing the Roman countryside, so the corrupt emperor Tiberius sends in his strongest general, Marcus. Soon the Cyclops is captured and brought to the great city to fight as a gladiator, but the tables are quickly turned on Marcus when he has to fight as well. Bitter enemies become allies to overthrow the tyrannical power.

Dead Space: Downfall (2007)
The story follows a select group of miner and crewmembers as they are confronted with an evil like none ever encountered by man. When a deep space mining operation discovers a mysterious alien marker, they believe they have finally found evidence of our creators. However, the removal of the marker unleashes a horrific alien species that was entombed within the remote planet. The feature-length animated movie is a prequel to the EA game.
Special features: deleted scenes and cheat codes

Lightspeed, from executive producer Stan Lee (2007)
The covert world of government ‘Ghost Squad’ agent Daniel Leight (Jason Connery) comes crashing down when he is critically injured in a building collapse triggered by the genetically mutated terrorist Python (Daniel Goddard). But when Leight’s radiation treatments are sabotaged, he discovers that he has the ability to move at hyper speeds only by risking potentially fatal metabolic damage.

The Man from Earth, written by Jerome Bixby (2007)
On a cold night in a remote cabin, Professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) gathers his most trusted colleagues for an extraordinary announcement: he is an immortal who has migrated through 140 centuries of evolution and must now move on. These scientists and scholars are now forced to confront their notions of history, religion and humanity, all leading to a final revelation that may shatter their world forever.
Special features: commentary with director Richard Schenkman and actor John Billingsley; commentary with executive producer Emerson Bixby and author/sci-fi scholar Gary Westfahl; and four original behind the scenes featurette

Masters of Science Fiction (2007)
From the beginning, we have struggled to understand time, matter and the infinite universe: who we are, where we are headed, and if we are alone. Professor Stephen Hawking hosts expeditions into the outer realms of scientific imagination as the genre’s most legendary writers and directors provide wonderful and terrifying answers to these questions. The collection features all six episodes of the acclaimed series, including two ‘lost’ episodes never broadcast during its original network run.

Philadelphia Experiment, executive producer John Carpenter (1984)
The experiment that should never have happened 41 years ago is still going on. Philadelphia, 1943: a top-secret experiment is underway to make U.S. Navy ships invisible to enemy radar, but something goes horribly wrong and the Battleship Eldridge disappears. Two sailors jump overboard and are mysteriously transported 41 year into the future.

Recon 2020 & 2022, directed by Christian Viel (2004 & 2007)
Galactic Marine Infantry is the most highly trained, highly honoured and most decorated fighting force in the galaxy. They have gone up against the worst of the worst. They’re “the first to go, last to know.”

Recon 2020: the Caprini Massacre follows the squad on a recon mission to a remote planet, investigating recent reports that defy rational explanation. Once deployed on the planet surface, they begin to experience bizarre nightmares, from vampires to three-headed Hydras. But these are no ordinary bad dreams – these nightmares can kill.

Recon 2022: the Mezzo Incident chronicles a mission to an ice planet whose perils are more dangerous than just the blinding snow and constant cold. The squad encounters a city of cyborgs, while contending with giant snow worms and other bloodthirsty alien entities.

Sands of Oblivion, directed by David Flores (2008)
In 1923, legendary director Cecil B. DeMille constructed a replica of ancient Egypt in the California desert for his epic movie The Ten Commandments. When filming was completed, he mysteriously ordered the entire set buried. Now a soon-to-be-divorced archaeologist couple (Victor Webster and Adam Baldwin) and an Iraq War combat veteran (Victor Webster) have uncovered the secret DeMille could not keep hidden and unleashed a horror that cannot be stopped.

The story is interesting, in that weird, “wow, that’s crazy/twisted” kind of way.

In The Cry of the Owl, based on a book of the same name, a young woman named Jenny (Julia Stiles) becomes involved with Robert (Paddy Considine), a mysterious man who is stalking her. When her boyfriend disappears, a bizarre game of jealousy, betrayal and murder begins.

The characters are far more complicated than you could have expected, or even guessed. Their motives are unclear, but the consequences of their actions are irreversible. Jenny is particularly complicated and a departure for Stiles, who is better known for her romantic comedy endeavours, such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Down to You. On the other hand, very little is revealed about any of the characters; particularly Robert’s ex-wife and Jenny’s ex-boyfriend, even though they have a significant impact on the story’s path.

To that, the story’s past is really curvy with very little following sound logic; however, people’s motivations can often be illogical.

The special feature is a making-of featurette.