Joe Dante's werewolf movie gets the special edition treatment
The same year that "An American Werewolf in London" opened up the possibilities of the werewolf horror with a mix of black comedy and horrific transformations, Joe Dante went a different direction with "The Howling" (Shout Factory). Working on lower budget, Dante discarded the usual lone wolf route to frame the drama in terms of the wolf pack. His wolves weren't mad dogs on the rampage, but a primal force balancing survival with primal urges.
Dee Wallace, just a year before making "E.T.," stars as an investigative TV reporter recovering from a brush with a serial killer in a retreat called "The Colony," a mix of new age commune, primal therapy, and red meat culture. It also happens to be the hub of a werewolf pack that quickly adds her husband (Christopher Stone) to their ranks, transforming the easy-going vegetarian into an aggressive, meat-eating hunter in the process.
It's more clever than compelling, to be fair, an interesting take with inventive effects (thanks to Rob Bottin), impressive moments of horror, an undercurrent of dark humor, and an earthy, feral sensibility. John Sayles (who previously wrote "Piranha" for Dante) came with Dante from the Corman movie factory and contributes a clever script (adapted from a novel by Gary Brandner) with some character nice touches in the supporting roles (many of them played by his B-movie heroes and genre character actors, from Kevin McCarthy and John Carradine to Roger Corman and Forrest J. Ackerman) and a modicum of wit in the dialogue.
It's a real film buff feast but Dante also uses the opportunity to stretch himself. He shows off his chops in a riveting opening sequence, where Wallace goes undercover to nab a serial killer and goes into shock at the horror of the experience, and some well-turned wolf encounters, and he balances the genre-movie love with adult material. Not just violence and nudity (and yes, it delivers both in the best grindhouse tradition) but mature relationships, sophisticated threats, and a social satire that both spoofs and embraces the psychological trends of the era. The story isn't as smart as Dante's treatment (the motivations as foggy at best, and the pack mentality doesn't mesh with the lone wolf madness of the serial killer in the flock) but the mix of dark humor, animal instincts, and a mature take on a genre piece makes it much more interesting than a lot of subsequent films with better actors, bigger budgets, and more lavish production values.
It gets the special edition treatment for Blu-ray and DVD, which features a decent transfer that fails to hold the intensity of the blacks in the nocturnal scenes (and there many of them) but otherwise has decent color and clarity (DVD Talk reviewer Tyler Foster notes that they used the Studio Canal transfer from the French Blu-ray release).
Carried over from the previous MGM DVD are some meaty supplements: commentary by director Joe Dante and stars Dee Wallace-Stone, Christopher Stone, and Robert Picardo, the excellent 50-minute documentary "Unleashing the Beast: Making The Howling" from 2002, the archival "Making a Monster Movie: Inside the Howling" from 1981, and outtakes, and an interview with stop-motion animator David Allen is rescued from the original laserdisc release. New to the disc are a new commentary with novel author Gary Brandner moderated by Michael Felsher, interviews with producer Steven A. Lane, editor Mark Goldblatt, and co-screenwriter Terence H. Winkless, a location tour, and a reel of deleted scenes.
And if you don't like the new artwork on the disc cover, just turn the sleeve inside out; the original poster art is on the other side.
Take a look at the disc menu, with a montage of clips from the film, after the jump. Click on "More" below.
Ray McKinnon's whisper of a TV drama made for the Sundance Channel comes to DVD
One of the best shows of 2013, the Sundance original series "Rectify" (Anchor Bay) follows a week in the life of Daniel Holden (Aden Young) a man released into the world after spending 19 years -- over half of his life -- on death row. His sentence is vacated after DNA analysis undercuts prosecution evidence, but that's not exoneration and the question of guilt hangs over him when he returns home.
Created and written by actor Ray McKinnon, who is also an Oscar-winning director ("The Accountant," Best Live Action Short in 2001), this isn't a murder mystery -- the series doesn't provide with the comfort of certainty of his guilt or innocence. It's a character drama built around the shell-shock of a man who seems to be stuck at the age at which his life was suspended.
Holden plays Daniel with quiet and stillness of a man unsure of his place in the world and uneasy in social situations (he has essentially been in solitary for half of his life). He was considered an odd kid then and now he's even more withdrawn: speaking with a carefulness that betrays no emotion, filled with the philosophical depth of the books he's lived through while incarcerates but without the worldly experience to transform the ideas into life lessons. The show's most touching moments show Holden reconnecting with the world he lost: eating a sandwich alone on an empty sports field, his shoes off and his gaze lost in the distance; finding the Walkman and the mix tapes his 18-year-old self left behind and becoming the boy he once was; bicycling with his younger half-brother like a child; embracing his step-brother's wife (Adelaide Clemens), a fragile soul trying to save Daniel's soul, and fighting his hunger for a physical connection.
But it's also about the other lives touched by his release: his fiercely devoted sister (Abigail Spencer) who never stopped pushing to re-open the case and stop his execution and now doesn't quite know how to be with him; his uneasy mother (J. Smith-Cameron), who feels almost guilty that she's remarried since Daniel's incarceration her husband's death; the step-brother (Clayne Crawford) convinced Daniel is guilty and protective of the inheritance he's afraid he'll now lose to him; the community still convinced of his guilt. He confessed, after all. Why would he confess if he was innocent?
McKinnon writes most of the episodes and sets the tone as director of the first episode, and it has a sensibility very different from other shows. "[T]he series has a loping rural rhythm, an understated awareness of how complicated people can be, and a subtly theatrical sense of characterization and dialogue," writes New York TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz. "Daniel, in particular, carries on like the questing hero of a Play of Ideas. His elaborate locutions and spiraling monologues suggest that McKinnon’s stint on "Deadwood" amounted to more than an acting credit. Milchian language abounds, along with literary references that would seem forced if the show hadn’t established that these are educated, in some cases self-educated, characters."
Six episodes on two discs on DVD with a collection of short featurettes: "Sundance on Set: Rectify," "Meet the Cast," "Inside Job: Behind the Scenes," "Inside the Episode with Ray McKinnon," and "Behind the Screen." You can view "Sundance on Set: Rectify" after the jump. Click on "More" below.
The series exists as a self-contained story just fine, but Sundance has picked it up for a second series, slated to run in 2014.
Plus 'Quartet' with Maggie Smith, 'Brass Teapot,' 'The Last Exorcism Part II,' and more
"Stoker" (Fox), the American debut of South Korean director Park Chan-wook ("Oldboy"), stars Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, and Nicole Kidman as an uneasy family with a dark legacy. Videodrone's review is here.
"Jack the Giant Slayer" (New Line), Bryan Singer's entry in the fairy tale-as-big-screen-adventure-spectacle moviemaking, stars Nicholas Hoult as the titular Jack, Ewan McGregor as a dashing knight who leads the charge up the beanstalk to save the princess (Eleanor Tomlinson), Stanley Tucci doing villain duty as the snide turncoat, and Ian McShane and Bill Nighy. It also reunites Singer with longtime collaborators Christopher McQuarrie (who takes a hand in the screenplay) and John Ottman (music and editing).
"[A]n impressive cast and an action-packed second half make the film suited to anyone eager for an escapist fantasy outing," recommends MSN film critic Kate Erbland. ""Jack the Giant Slayer" struggles to find proper pacing and tone for its first half, bogged down by Singer's apparent eagerness to get up the stalk and into the action while also attempting to get his audience invested in a multitude of characters. It's all much better (and much more entertaining) once the herd has been thinned and we can focus on the characters and plots that are truly engaging."
Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD, with deleted scenes, a gag reel, and an UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming. The Blu-ray editions feature the "Becoming a Giant Slayer" mode, which allows you to branch off to see featurettes and other supplements while watching the movie (hosted by Nicholas Holt). Also On Demand
"Quartet" (Anchor Bay), the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman, takes us into more grown-up territory, with Maggie Smith as flamoyant opera diva who moves into a home for retired musicians just as they prepare for a fundraising concert. Tom Courtney is her former husband and Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly fill out the foursome of the title. "All these very conventional setups and machinations being what they are, the movie actually becomes an active pleasure once the players are finally set in their places," recommends MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "The writing -- the movie was scripted by Ronald Harwood, who won an Oscar for "The Pianist," and he adapted it from his own play -- is sharper and wittier and more generally astute than you get in almost every other help-the-aged picture that comes along these days."
Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary by director Dustin Hoffman and a collection of short featurettes. Also On Demand and at Redbox
"The Brass Teapot" (Magnolia) stars Juno Temple and Michael Angarano as a young couple who discover a magical brass teapot that pays off every time they hurt themselves, which pits their greed against their well-being. MSN film critic Kate Erbland writes that "Bolstered by charming chemistry between its leads, "The Brass Teapot" is a fun enough watch, but for a film that attempts to speak on such big topics as morality, greed, and fidelity, it has little lasting value." Blu-ray and DVD, with director commentary, featurettes, interviews, and deleted scenes.
Click on "More" below to continue reading
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist releases of the week
"Stoker" (Fox), the American debut of South Korean director Park Chan-wook ("Oldboy"), plays like a vampire movie without a vampire, at least not one in the mythic sense of the term. Mia Wasikowska is dreamy and uneasy as a teenage girl in a family who discovers her dark family legacy and Park directs with elegance and eerie suggestion, layering the film in atmosphere and texture you can almost reach out and touch. Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman co-star. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Videodrone's review is here.
Bryan Singer directs "Jack the Giant Slayer" (New Line), a fairy tale transformed into a big-budget adventure spectacle moviemaking with Nicholas Hoult as the titular Jack and Ewan McGregor as a dashing knight. Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and On Demand. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
More grown-up is "Quartet" (Anchor Bay), the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman with a cast of British veterans (Maggie Smith, Tom Courtney, Pauline Collins, and Billy Connelly) as retired musicians. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand and at Redbox
"The Brass Teapot" (Magnolia, Blu-ray and DVD) is a black comedy about a young couple (Juno Temple and Michael Angarano) with a modern magic lamp, "21 & Over" (Fox, Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand), gets humor out of binge-drinking antics, and "Movie 43" (Fox, Blu-ray and DVD) features big stars behaving badly in a skit feature.
Horrors this week include "The Last Exorcism Part II" (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand and at Redbox) and "American Mary" (Xlrator, Blu-ray and DVD). And from France comes the comedy "Let My People Go!" (Zeitgeist, DVD), which stirs gay and Jewish clichés into a cultural satire.
Most releases are also available as digital download and VOD via iTunes, Amazon, and other web retailers and video services.
TV on Disc:
The Sundance original series "Rectify" (Anchor Bay) follows a week in the life of a man released into the world after spending 19 years -- over half of his life -- on death row. Created by actor and award-winning filmmaker Ray McKinnon, this isn't a murder mystery -- the suspicion of his guilt hangs over him like a cloud any we don't get any easy answers -- it's a character drama and it's one of the best shows of 2013. Six episodes on DVD with supplements.
"The Wild West" (BBC), a British co-production with Discover Channel from 2006, looks at the true stories behind General George Custer, Wyatt Earp, and Billy the Kid. "Call the Midwife: Season Two" (BBC, Blu-ray and DVD) continues the hit BBC series with 8 episodes, all with footage unseen in the American run.
"Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season" (ABC, DVD) presents the final season of the crime procedural with Dana Delaney as a forensic pathologist. Also arriving are the most recent runs of the comedies "Wilfred: The Complete Season Two" (Fox, Blu-ray and DVD) from FX and "Drop Dead Diva: The Complete Fourth Season" (Sony, DVD) from Lifetime, among others.
"Jungle Book: The Adventures of Mowgli" (Shout Factory, DVD) collects the entire 1989 animated series from Japan on six disc.
Cool and Classic:
"Marketa Lazarova" (Criterion) is the (re)discovery of the year so far, a 1967 immersion into a medieval culture of warring feudal lords, a film of primal imagery, poetic filmmaking, and ephemeral storytelling that looks hewn out of the stone and wood and the very earth from where it was shot. It is amazing, and the Criterion edition comes from a superb restoration and features a rich collection of supplemental interviews to give American viewers background and context. Blu-ray and DVD.
Joe Dante directs "The Howling" (Shout Factory), a werewolf horror with dark humor, a pack mentality, and an earthy, feral sensibility (not mention Dante's love of old Hollywood thrillers and stars), and it gets the special edition treatment for Blu-ray and DVD.
"Safety Last" (Criterion) is the most famous of Harold Lloyd's silent comedies (it's the one with Harold hanging from the clock above the streets of Los Angeles) and "Things to Come" (Criterion) is the visually impressive (if dramatically stodgy) 1936 film version of the H.G. Wells novel. Both on Blu-ray and DVD from new digital film transfers, with supplements.
"Hard Times" (Twilight Time, Blu-ray), the directorial debut of Walter Hill, sends Charles Bronson bare-knuckle-brawling his way through Depression-era New Orleans. It hold up quite well, but I can't say the same for "Lifeforce" (Shout Factory, Blu-ray+DVD Combo), an undernourished science-fiction horror from Tobe Hooper about energy vampires from space.
Two early thirties films starring Bette Davis -- "Of Human Bondage" (Kino Classics) and "Hell's House" (Kino Classics) -- are newly remastered from archival prints preserved by the Library of Congress and released on Blu-ray and DVD.
Streams and Channels:
The newest arrivals on Netflix are usually the most popular but not always the best, as "Branded" (2012), a sci-fi thriller about corporate mind control starring Ed Stoppard, Leelee Sobieski, and Jeffrey Tambor, and "Super" (2011), a grimy superhero satire with Rainn Wilson as a costumed nutcase, attest.
But for great badness, check out "Miami Connection" (1987), a gonzo B-movie from the eighties about a synth-rock band of Taekwondo black belts versus a gang of drug-dealing motorcycle Ninjas in Orlando.
"American Wedding" (2003), the third official film in the "American Pie" series, finds the sex-obsessed boys turned into sex-obsessed adults. More serious is "Lost and Delirious" (2001), a teen melodrama of first love which may find new audiences thanks to Jessica Pare, now finding fame in "Mad Men."
Also newly arrived: "Rolling Thunder" (1977), starring William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones, and the classic Bette Davis dramas "Hell's House" (1932) and "Of Human Bondage" (1934), which arrive same week as the new disc editions from Kino.
For instant TV, there is "Hit & Miss: Season 1" is a crime drama offbeat even for British TV -- it stars Chloë Sevigny as a transgender assassin -- and the Disney Channel sitcom "My Babysitter's a Vampire: Seasons 1 and 2."
New On Demand:
"Jack the Giant Slayer," the Bryan Singer production that sends Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor up the beanstalk to fight giants, and "Stoker," a darkly dreamy thriller with Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, and Nicole Kidman, arrive On Demand same day as disc.
Available same day as theatrical debut is the horror film "Maniac" with Elijah Wood (Friday, June 21) and the comedy "Breakup at a Wedding" (Tuesday, June 18), and coming advance of disc is "The Girl," a drama with Abbie Cornish and Will Patton.
Available from Redbox this week:
Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week is "Side Effects" (Universal, Blu-ray and DVD), Steven Soderbergh's medical drama-turned-psychological thriller with Jude Law and Rooney Mara (reviewed here), and "Beautiful Creatures" (Warner, Blu-ray and DVD), the first film in a new supernatural teen romance franchise (reviewed here).
Complete calendar of releases after the jump. Click on "More" below
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An eerie American thriller from the Korean director of 'Oldboy'
"Stoker" (Fox) - Hollywood is always drafting new talent from abroad, especially from thriving cinema cultures. From Mexico, we received an injection of new blood thanks to Guillermo Del Toro, Alfonso Cauron, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Back in the nineties, it was the Hong Kong action stars on both sides of the camera, from Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-fat to John Woo and Corey Yuen.
For the past few years, South Korea has been leading the Asian wave of hit action movies, horror films, and thrillers and Hollywood has once again taken notice. 2013 marks the respective American debuts of three top South Korean directors: Kim Jee-woon ("The Good, the Bad, the Weird," "I Saw the Devil"), who made the Arnold Schwarzenegger come-back film "The Last Stand" (released earlier this year on disc and reviewed here); Bong Joon-ho ("The Host"), whose end-of-the-world thriller "Snowpiercer" is due for release later this year; and Park Chan-wook ("Oldboy," "Thirst"), director of "Stoker," a film that doesn't fit within the usual genre parameters.
I like to think of "Stoker" as a vampire movie without a vampire. At least not in the mythic sense of the term. Mia Wasikowska is dreamy and uneasy as India Stoker, a teenage girl who is preternaturally attuned to the world and disconnected from the kids around her. Matthew Goode is creepily calm and seductive as the uncle she never even knew existed until he arrives for a funeral and stays on in the family manor (he is her Uncle Charlie, in fact, an offhanded reference to Hitchcock's take on another dark uncle-niece relationship). Nicole Kidman is dizzy and disconnected as her weak and ineffectual mother. She seems to want to be there for her daughter, but she hardly seems present in the world at all.
Park sculpts the film, directed from an original script by Wentworth Miller, beautifully. We see the world through the heightened senses of India as she works through the loss of her father while attempting to measure this smiling, hypnotic uncle who has drifted into her life. He presents himself as her dark guardian angel, attempting to seduce India with his confidence, his power, and his violence (he seduction of the mother is more literal), but she has a more savvy understanding of the depths of his darkness.
There is blood and brutality and the icy threats under silent intimidation, but done with such elegance and eerie suggestion it feels like a dream. Park layers the film in atmosphere and texture, shuffling flashbacks and dreams into the present, all part of India's journey to the heart of the family legacy her father always knew she would inherit. As you can guess, I was captivated by this world and by Park's mesmerizing mix of the visceral and ethereal.
"Mia Wasikowska does remarkably disciplined work as India, and Park shoots her in a way that makes the bones of her statuesque body give as much of a performance as the actress herself does," agrees MSN film critic Glenn Kenny, but he's less enthralled by the eerie tale and atmosphere: "the material itself, while aspiring to some level of misterioso, is about as blunt and obvious as the hammer that figures so prominently in Park's prior "Old Boy."… There's also the slight matter of the movie's central fallacy, which is a belief that all a work of art needs in order to commune with The Irrational is merely to make no damn sense."
Blu-ray and DVD, the supplements on the Blu-ray release only: the featurette "An Exclusive Look: A Filmmakers Journey," three short theatrical behind-the-scenes featurettes, a musical performance from the "Red Carpet Premiere," and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray also includes a Digital HD UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming.
Also VOD, digital download, and On Demand
Veteran movie producer Lynda Obst explains it all in an excerpt from her book 'Sleepless in Hollywood'
We all know that DVD sales have dropped drastically since the heyday of the mid-2000s, and Blu-ray hasn't come close to making up the difference. Streaming media and VOD has cut into disc rentals and thousands of rental stores have shuttered in the last eight years, resulting in huge drop in disc sales for rental libraries. Digital copies are challenging individual sales. It's changed the way we collect and watch movies at home.
It also changed the way Hollywood makes movies, and the kinds of movies that get made, says Lynda Obst, a veteran Hollywood producer with such credits as "The Fisher King," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (okay, so they weren't all classics).
In an excerpt from her new book "Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business" featured at Salon, she lays out the economics of Hollywood and the business model shaken by the loss of disc sale revenues, in a conversation with producer Peter Chermin:
This was, literally, a Great Contraction. Something drastic had happened to our industry, and this was it. Surely there were other factors: Young males were disappearing into video games; there were hundreds of home entertainment choices available for nesting families; the Net. But slicing a huge chunk of reliable profits right out of the bottom line forever?
This was mind-boggling to me, and I’ve been in the business for thirty years. Peter continued as I absorbed the depths and roots of what I was starting to think of as the Great Contraction. “Which means if nothing else changed, they would all be losing money. That’s how serious the DVD downturn is. At best, it could cut their profit in half for new movies.”
Which brings up a question: what was the business model before disc? Or even before glory days of VHS home video rentals?
I guess you'll have to buy the book for that. In the meantime, I can now justify my disc purchases as my contribution to saving Hollywood.
"Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business" by Lynda Obst is published by Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Plus 'The Loving Story,' 'Mumia,' American poets, and more
These are all DVD and VOD only, unless otherwise noted.
"Brooklyn Castle" (Millennium), which won the Audience Award at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, profiles the championship-caliber inner-city chess program in New York as it was on the verge of even greater glory when the program budget was suddenly slashed. "There is no cinematic way to show a chess game," confesses Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert. "But you can photograph eyes and smiles, and the pride on parents’ faces. And Rochelle’s glow as she’s presented with the title of master, and the four-year college scholarship awarded by the same tournament." More reviews here. Also available on Netflix.
"The Loving Story" (Docurama) recounts the landmark civil rights case surrounding the marriage of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial union that was ruled illegal by a Virginia judge in 1958, a case that they spent nine years fighting all the way to the Supreme Court. "But there are other reasons to watch this film besides feel-good expediency," writes New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley. "The improbably named Lovings, Mildred and Richard, make a compelling couple, and not just because she is half-black, half-Native American and he is good ol’ boy white. In a rich collection of 16-millimeter film, old news clips and still photographs, the Lovings don’t look like two people caught up in a cause, they seem like two people caught up in each other." The film debuted on HBO in 2012. More reviews here.
"Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary" (First Run), a portrait of the Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamam jailed for the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer, is "More a deification than a documentary," writes Philadelphia Inquirer film critic Steven Rea. "[Director} Vittoria offers lots of context - about the Black Panthers (Abu-Jamal was a member), MOVE (Abu-Jamal, a Philadelphia radio reporter, covered the group and its combative history with police and city officials), George Wallace, and Frank Rizzo - the events of Dec. 9, 1981, are barely examined." Includes the short film "Manufacturing Guilt."
"As Goes Janesville" (Facets) looks at the economic state of the heartland from the ground zero of Janesville, Wisconsin, after the closing of GM factory threw much of the town out of work. The disc includes both the theatrical version of the film and the shorter cut that played on the PBS documentary showcase "Independent Lens." Mike Hale reviews the latter for The New York Times.
Two portraits of American poets: "Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder" (First Run), beat poet and founder of City Lights Bookstore, and "The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg" (Docurama), getting a re-release in a two-disc special edition with six hours of bonus material.
"Aroused" (Ketchup) profiles 16 female stars of the adult film industry and "Charge" (Docurama) is a motorcycle doc with an environmental slant: it looks at the world's first zero-emissions grand prix.
"Journey of the Universe" (Shelter Island), a documentary on the relationship to humans to the cosmic origins of the universe and the Earth, won a regional Emmy award in California. The hour-long production was produced out of San Francisco but shot on the Greek island of Samos. It arrives on disc with a companion collection "Conversations of the Universe" (Shelter Island), a four-disc of interviews with scientists, historians, and environmentalists.
"The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents" (History), originally made for The History Channel, is the eight-part look at how the Oval Office has evolved over more than 200 years through 43 Presidents. The three-disc set includes 30 minutes of bonus footage.
"The Ghost Army" (PBS) profiles the secret American military squad that bluffed the Nazis by creating false images of troop movements in World War II, and "The Economic Meltdown" (PBS) is a five-part series on how the America fiscal fallout triggered a global crisis. Both originally made for PBS.
"The Law in These Parts" (Cinema Guild), which looks at the military legal system put in place by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories over forty years ago, won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Hebrew with English subtitles. Reviews here.
The Mexican documentary "El Sicario (Room 164)" (Icarus) is built on an interview with an anonymous Ciudad Juarez hitman (Spanish with English subtitles) and "Vivan Las Antipodas" (Docurama) visits four antipodal pairs (locations on exact opposite sides of the Earth) to compare and contrast the cultures (English, Spanish, Shanghainese, and Tswana with English subtitles).
Previously reviewed is "The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane" (Eagle Rock, Blu-ray and DVD), a nearly two-hour tour through a rich array of archival clips and counterpoint with new interviews by the band. More here.
Also note that HBO's summer documentary series is underway, with a new documentary feature debuting every Monday night through August 12 and accessible to HBO subscribers through HBO GO. "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," which won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Punk Spirit at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, opened the series on June 10. More here.
Roger Corman launches a subscription service on YouTube at a drive-in price
Roger Corman, the last man standing to claim the title of King of the Bs, is also one of the most business savvy producers to build a film library. For decades, Corman has leased his library of over 400 movies to various cable, VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming services.
Now he's launched his own streaming service. On Thursday, June 13, Corman's Drive-In debuted as a subscription channel on YouTube. The channel debuts with 30 initial offerings, with plans to add 30 more each month, at a bargain price of $3.99 a month. You can try it out with a 14-day free trial
Among the first wave of Corman productions are "Cry Baby Killer" (1958), which gave Jack Nicholson his first leading role; "Piranha" (1978), directed by Joe Dante from a John Sayles script; the goofy headtrip "Brain Dead" (1990) from Adam Simon; the low-budget "Star Wars" rip-off "Star Crash" (1978) and the "Alien" knock-off "Forbidden World" (1982).
And there a couple that Corman himself directed as well, including the super-cheap monster movie "Attack of the Crab Monsters" (1957) and his original cult black comedy "The Little Shop of Horrors" (1960).
In addition to the films, Corman offers some behind-the-scenes bits (the sort you can find on the disc editions of the films) and new video shorts with Corman talking sharing stories and trivia about the films.
Ever the promoter, Corman put together a nearly 8-minute trailer of highlights from films currently on the site and/or soon to be added. You can view the clip reel after the jump. Click on "More" below.