Cherry Tree


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 86 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Blu-ray and DVD April 5, 2016

Faith’s dad is dying of cancer. Boo-hoo, what to do? I know, be the surrogate mother to a demon created by centipedes! Such are the basics of the horror flick “Cherry Tree.”

Okay, the movie is slightly more complicated, but really, it doesn’t matter.

I’ll expand things a bit for review purposes.

Faith (Naomi Battrick) is sort of the picked on girl at school. As the movie begins we learn the folklore of witches and a cherry tree, as told by young skippy, Brian (Patrick Gibson). Faith’s world is rocked both by being picked on, and also by the fact her dad has cancer.

Enter creepy, field hockey coach, Sissy (Anna Walton).

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The World of Kanako


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 119 Minutes
From: Drafthouse Films and Cinedigm
Available February 2, 2016 on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download

Poor Akikazu (Kôji Yakusho). He used to be a great police detective, but after a few mis-steps of alcoholism, drugs, and beating up people, being fired, and getting no respect by the lollipop-sucking younger’ detective, his life is in shambles. Bad enough, but then he gets sucked into a gang, turf war that eventually leads back to his missing daughter, Kanako (Nan Komatsu).

Oh, and his daughter is evil. Such is “The World of Kanako.”

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I Am Thor


Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 84 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Digital Download, Blu-ray, and DVD January 19, 2016

Who knew having a smaller wiener than your co-worker might be a blessing in disguise? For Jon Mikl Thor, nature’s short givings put him in a position to follow his dream. And follow his dream he has.

You see, early in the documentary “I Am Thor” we learn that Jon lost his job as a naked waiter because his wiener wasn’t long enough. He was doing well as a naked waiter, or so it seemed, but then the new guy came, longer schlong and all, and suddenly Jon was back to his quest of music domination, a quest that never left the man who would be Thor.

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Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me


Rated: PG | Running Time: 116 Minutes
On Digital Download August 18, 2015 |On DVD and VOD September 1, 2015

The challenge: Make a documentary about a man facing Alzheimer’s disease in such a way that it ins’t “Oh, woe is me!”, “Feel sorry for me.”, or doesn’t paint things in a total, “You can have Alzheimer’s and all will be well!” kind of light. “Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me” simply shows many of the challenges Alzheimer’s patients, and their families, face, every day, seen in the world of Glen Campbell and his “Goodbye Tour.” Yes, the subject is sad because we know the eventual outcome, but even combined with the Alzheimer’s challenges, it is an awesome documentary on the musical brilliance that is Glen Campbell.

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Match


Rated: R | Running Time: 92 Minutes
On Digital Download and DVD August 11, 2015

I will always admit that as a fan of Star Trek, and more importantly for this  review, Star Trek: The Next Generation, the challenge for me in seeing Patrick Stewart in any other movie is to separate him from his role as Jean-Luc, Piccard that is, from The Next Generation franchise. It was not very difficult when the movie “Match” started, mostly because he was spouting advice to a bunch of ballet dancers, but oh, that Jean-Luc, I mean Patrick Stewart accent! It is so awesome, as is he, in being able to transform you instantly into the role he is in, and for this movie it’s a very good thing because two of the roles in the movie were perfect, while one character, okay, Matthew Lillard, maybe sidelined by the actual role he was playing, lagged a bit. Continue reading Match

The Salvation


Rated: R | Running Time: 92 Minutes
On Blu-Ray and DVD August 4th

Ahh, an homage to the classic western and revenge movie genres, which generally means there aren’t many surprises, and yet I found myself not multi-tasking while watching “The Salvation.” How did that happen? Well, I’m not really sure, especially since, at the beginning of the film, I was worried that somehow I missed in the press release that the movie was going to be in Danish with English subtitles because our lead character, Jon (Mads Mikkelsen), is greeting his wife and child at the train station, speaking in foreign tongue, and the subtitles started rolling. Luckily she and the boy get murdered by the bad guys, everyone is back to speaking English in the wild west, and the movie could get to the good stuff like sweeping, gorgeous landscape shots, townsfolk scared of the brutal thugs, and Jon doing what he does best, kill the bad people.

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Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side


Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 54 Minutes
From: 20th Century Fox Home Video

As the last few months have gone by I am slowly becoming a fan of “Family Guy.” Okay, I’m actually becoming a fan of half of “Family Guy” because here in Chicago they replay episodes at 10PM on WGN and my TV is generally on timer, set to go off at around 10:15PM.  So, as I’m drifting off to la-la land, I’m catching half an episode, but for the most part I am loving half the episode.  As such, being the half-fan that I am, and also being a huge fan of “Star Wars,” I was, I suppose, 3/4 interested in seeing “Something, Something, Something, Darkside,” Seth McFarlane’s and the Family Guy folk’s look at “The Empire Strikes Back.”  At the end of it all, and watching the episode twice (I’ll explain that in the DVD stuff), I can say I was 100% happy.

So pretty much we get the power going out in the Griffin home and the family wants to hear a story. “Black Snake Moan” doesn’t seem to foot the bill, so Peter begins the tale of “The Empire Strikes Back.”  Now I could go into the entire story, but please, we all know the story of “The Empire Strikes Back” (that’s the one with Lando Calrissian being introduced, the one where Luke finds Yoda in the swamp place, and where Luke gets his hand cut off in the “cloud” city). But this is a “Family Guy” episode, with the comical stylings of a “Family Guy” episode, so all of the “Star Wars” characters are portrayed by “Family Guy” characters, and it’s funny, yet oddly true to the “Star Wars” story, as hell.

Yup, Peter is Han Solo, Lois is Princess Leia, and Chris is Luke.  Then you get Stewie as a hilarious Darth Vader, Cleveland Brown as R2-D2, and even Meg gets some screen time as the space slug.  Incorporate them all, and yup, you get some “Family Guy” hilarity infused into the realm of “Star Wars,” and I loved it all.

Now, being a new fan of “Family Guy,” I will admit not having seen the predecessor to “Something, Something, Something, Dark Side” called “Blue Harvest,” which paid homage to the first “Star Wars” film, “A New Hope” (and yes, I know that’s actually Episode IV), so for most Family Guy fans I guess the “Something…” episode can just be some rehashing, but for me, it was fresh, it was new, and it reinforced my newfound love for the “Family Guy” clan.

I guess you can tell I really liked “Something, Something, Something, Dark Side,” so yup, it’s 5 stars out of 5 for the Blu-ray, and even better were some of the extras on the Blu-ray that I’m thinking a lot of “Family Guy” fans will love.  You get some commentary if you want it, you get a really great look at a lot of the work that actually goes into making an animated show, and for me, yes, I actually watched the entire episode again, in “Pop-Up” mode, where little balloons pop up during the episode giving tons of fun facts as well as keeping track of just how many different voice Seth McFarlane does for the episode.  Lots of fun, you get some swearing, so go ahead and get the Blu-ray for your adult, viewing pleasure!

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf

 

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

The more I think about it, the more perfect “Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf” was, especially in the realm of the old-school, and I mean this with all due respect, cheesy, werewolf movie. First there is the title, or at least the “Night of the Lone Wolf” part. Sure there’s the solo werewolf at the start, but by the end there are multiple wolves. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the title and our hero is the lone wolf, but I just couldn’t get past the fact that our main werewolf all of a sudden decided to go on a biting spree and instantly we have a pack of werewolves.

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Believe Me

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:33 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

I know. I read the press release for “Believe Me.” And yes, I know the synopsis mentioned a group of college kids who figured out a great way to make a quick buck, namely by scamming Christians to donating money to their phony-baloney charity, and then said kids would realize the true meaning of being good people. And finally, I know that’s what the movie ends up being about, but I so wanted it to flip directions and be a full parody of Christian fundraising. Instead, yes, our foursome realized the error of their ways and became good people again, until, “I, um.”

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VANish

MPAA Rated – Not rated.
It’s 1:19 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

VANish
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Maiara Walsh, Danny Trejo, Tony Todd, Austin Abke, Bryan Bockbrader, Adam Guthrie
MPAA Rated: Not Rated.
Released By: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Kiddie Movie: Send them to bed. Lots of blod!
Date Movie: If she likes blood-splattering thrillers.
Gratuitous Sex: There is an attempted rape in the van, though it doesn’t turn out too well for the dude.
Gratuitous Violence: Headshots, shotgun blasts, machetes, and a handy little cutting saw help with the blood splatter.
Action: Not really much action.
Laughs: Some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Emma kicking the crap out of Shane.
Memorable Quote: “What kind of amateur bullshit is this?”
Directed By: Bryan Bockbrader
Extras on the Blu-Ray: The bloopers were decent enough, and I actually liked seeing the alternate endings.

The press release said: “three thugs viciously kidnap a drug cartel boss’ only daughter from her home in broad daylight.” With that I was a little confused at the opening scene of VANish as a dude and his lover were being abducted at night, in the California hills. Now let’s cut to the next scene of two dudes in a van, talking calmly amongst each other as dudes will talk, and I’m wondering where is the third dude? Is this the van? And what happened to those people in the first scene?

Little did I know the importance of the first abduction to the plot of the movie, to be explained during a later scene, and now I was being fully introduced to possibly the dumbest trio of kidnappers that there have ever been in a movie. That’s okay, though, because the trio of dopes really made VANish an entertaining film in the realm of blood-splattering thrillers.

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