Do you even care to know how "gorgeous" the 1080P or 2/4 K scan transfer looks, or how cool the extra features are? By now, you are well-versed in what transfers look like and you know what's coming with the release. You're (hopefully) here because you want to know the experience I had watching this/these film(s).
New on Blu is a new column from film pundit Chase Whale, exploring studio, arthouse, underground, exploitation and cult cinema released on Blu-ray and DVD from some of the most cutting-edge independent distributors around the U.S. He talks about the movie and whether it's worth a buy or rent.
What I love about comedians, is when they tackle drama and nail it. Craig Robinson (THIS IS THE END, The Office) stars as Curtis Gentry, who was recruited to Germany to be a soccer coach. His son, Morris (Markees Christmas in a gifted theatrical debut), wishes to be a rap superstar, is going to a German school, and can't fit into the status quo until fitting in until he meets Katrin, a girl who enjoys his company and spends time with him. Eventually, he starts to hang out with her, goes to parties and lies to father, and this is where the father/son routine comes in.
I love that Robinson took on this role. While watching him, I didn't see Darryl Philbin from The Office or a blissfully dramatized version of himself in THIS IS THE END, or any of his wacky and wild comedies -- it's a nice departure from raunch-com he's known for. I hope he gives more sober roles like Mr. Robot and MORRIS FROM AMERICA in the future a shot. It's working.
IMDb bills this as a "Romantic and coming-of-age misadventures of a 13-year-old American living in Germany," but's so much deeper than that. It's also about a father/son relationship, and how they cope with each other while living in Germany, a country neither are familiar with and only have each other to rely on.
“Making Morris from America” Featurette
Audio Commentary with Director Chad Hartigan and Actors Craig Robinson and Markees Christmas
BUBBA HO-TEP is one of Bruce Campbell's best films. He's an elderly Elvis who made a deal with an Elvis impersonator long ago and got duped. Now he's in a nursing home, has a pimple on his penis and his best friend is JFK (Ossie Davis), who's black who believes there's a conspiracy against him from long ago.
This is only the beginning.
Evil lurks at the nursing home, a western mummy gunslinger, and giant cockroaches, out to hurt the poor ole elderly. Campbell has battled evil dead before, so he's the man for the job, except he has to do it as a bitter old Elvis who walks with a cane and his pal JFK is in a wheelchair. Can they stop the madness?
NEW Audio Commentary With Author Joe R. Lansdale
NEW All Is Well – An Interview With Writer/Director Don Coscarelli
NEW The King Lives! – An Interview With Star Bruce Campbell
NEW Mummies And Make-up – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Robert Kurtzman
Audio Commentary By Don Coscarelli And Bruce Campbell
Audio Commentary By "The King"
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Don Coscarelli And Bruce Campbell
"The Making Of Bubba Ho-Tep" Featurette
"To Make A Mummy" Make-up And Effects Featurette
"Fit For A King" Elvis Costuming Featurette
"Rock Like An Egyptian" Featurette About The Music Of Bubba Ho-Tep
Joe R. Lansdale Reads From Bubba Ho-Tep
Archival Bruce Campbell Interviews
"Delta Ro Kai, never will die" -- The Sister
THE INITIATION is one of the many films a part of the slasher film boom from the early 80s. It doesn't take itself too seriously and has a bit of fun, which is perhaps why Arrow Video picked it up.
THE INITIATION stars Daphne Zuniga in her debut feature as Kelly Fairchild, who's rushing to be a part of Delta Ro Kai. Something is bothering her -- since she was a child, she's had a recurring dream about a man on fire in her parent's bedroom courtesy of the fireplace. There's a psych ward, and sorority end up in the mall to break into Kelly's dad's department store for some reason (initiation!). I don't know how they got in the mall, but they wonder around, and each get picked off one by one. Psych wards, malls, and Delta Ro Kai -- nobody is safe in THE INITIATION.
The film follows conventional slasher tropes: a bitchy lead you fist-pump when she gets what's coming to her, amazing taglines, the whodunit?, gratuitous nudity, guys being dicks and rightfully getting brutally butchered, horny gives, the final girl, a big twist, silly but-so-good one-liner puns like "sometimes I think that man would forget his head if his head wasn't attached" right after it's cut off by a hatchet, the the four words you never say in a horror film, "I'll be right back," and more familiar conventions that were popular and made slashers in that time real money thanks to greats like HALLOWEEN, PSYCHO, and FRIDAY THE 13TH, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.
What's odd about the dialogue is the tagline. Someone in the film says, "...to being young, saying young, and dying young." Not sure about you, but I definitely don't want to die young. I want to live until at least 103.
THE INITIATION has gained a cult following just like almost all the slashers from that time: SLEEPAWAY CAMP, NIGHT SCHOOL, FINAL EXAM, MADMAN, THE BURNING, THE PROWLER, NEW YEAR'S EVIL, CHRISTMAS EVIL, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, APRIL FOOL'S DAY, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, EVERY HOLIDAY, EVER NIGHT/DAY/ETC., COLLEGE KIDS GETTING KILLED, and anything with Jamie Lee Curtis, to name a few.
This film should be shown to seniors pledging for a sorority that it isn't worth it. Don't buy friends, make them! (Or, if you're like me, just be alone every day because you have trouble making friends.)
Alfred Hitchcock and John Wayne favorite, Vera Miles (PSYCHO, THE SEARCHERS) shows up a few times, and there's also a cool shot with a poster of Tom Selleck in the background, so there's that, too.
Fun tidbit: There's a shot I that I thought the cradled from Wes Craven's A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but according to Wikipedia, "The Initiation was released in December 1984, but was overshadowed by Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), released the month before." Crazy coincidence.
Malls, sorrority girls, nothing is safe in THE INITIATION.
Brand new restoration from original film elements
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original Uncompressed Mono PCM audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by The Hysteria Continues
Brand new interview with actor Christopher Bradley
Brand new interview with actress Joy Jones
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn
KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE gets a facelift from its origin, the acclaimed KICKBOXER, starring then-superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme. Thankfully, the filmmakers were smart enough to bring in JCVD: the student becomes the teacher, and it works well.
I was worried about this film -- the original KICKBOXER is sacred to me -- but this upgrade is really good. They chose the right Kurt Sloane (Van Damme's role from the 1989 film, now played by Alain Moussi.), and a beast scarier than the original Tong Po, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY's David Bautista.
Van Damme looks fresh and slick in his dress up and plays his role as Sloane's teacher remarkably.
The only upset about KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE is the very few scenes with fighting legend, Gina Carano. She plays the kind of role where if you blink, you miss her. Her fans (I included) love seeing her fight, whether as a good or villain character. She's bad to the bone
OUT OF PRINT is a labor of love from one of cinemas most beloved women. Her name is Julia Marchese, and she loves movies more than you. So much, that she raised over $75,000 to shoot her first film on 35mm print about 35mm and cinemas greatest repertory theater, The New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. 35mm is how a movie should be seen, but it's very rare these days with digital fucking it up. (To be fair, digital has given us a lot of great filmmakers: Joe Swanberg, Robert Rodriguez, The Duplass Brothers, James Cameron, Matt Reeves, Neill Blomkamp, to name a few of the wild bunch.)
This theater is so famous; Patton Oswalt wrote a book about how it helped him love and appreciate films, all kinds.
OUT OF PRINT stars many directors and actors you love, talking about their church, the New Beverly. This is one of the only theaters in the world that only plays repertory cinema on 35mm for only eight bucks.
I love this film because it shows how important 35mm is and why cinephiles need to keep supporting a repertory theater to keep 35mm alive.
It does shift into personal stories about the New Beverly and its employees, which kind of takes the viewer out of the film for a moment since we weren't there for the fun times and jokes, but that's the only criticism for the film. Marchese did a hell of a job making her first feature-length film on 35mm. I can't even make a short film worth watching on digital. She had one shot, no rewinding or enough money to get more stock to reshoot. I hope she dabbles with filmmaking more. Most start their filmmaking career making cheap short films, then good short films, then get grants to make a feature. She skipped all that and dominated.
BUY HERE NOW. It's worth the price of admission.