Jul 262014
 
On October 14th, Scorpion Releasing presents the 1963 film, The Girl Hunters, starring author Mickey Spillane as his own hardboiled P.I. hero, Mike Hammer, on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray version will be a limited edition and will be sold only on the Kino-Lorber website. It will feature a brand new 16x9, 2:35 HD master, as well as an audio commentary with Max Allan Collins, and vintage on-camera interviews with Mickey Spillane and Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger). MSRP for the Blu-ray is a hefty 29.95, while the DVD edition will retail for 19.95.

I am deeply annoyed that this will be an expensive Limited Edition online exclusive, but I'll have to get it anyway. I'm a big fan of the movie, and it'll be nice to finally have a quality video edition

Interesting note: back around '95, when I was working at TeknoComix as editor of the comic book series, Mickey Spillane's Mike Danger, I gave Mickey my personal VHS bootleg of this movie because he didn't have a copy and said he hadn't seen it in a decade or two!

Now, if only somebody could release the 1982 version of I, The Jury on Blu-ray...
Jul 202014
 
Damn. I was just about to shut down the computer and head to bed when I read that James Garner has passed away at age 86. It's a shock: hell, it was only a month ago that I was reading his autobiography. 

Garner has been one of my favorite actors for as long as I can remember. His iconic portrayals of Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford are indelibly imprinted in our pop culture memory, and even if those were his only accomplishments as an actor, he'd be a legend. But he was more than that. A fine, thoughtful actor, a veteran, a charming curmudgeon. 

I miss him already.
Jun 022014
 
Back when Sylvester Stallone's first Expendables flick came out in 2010, and was a moderate box office hit, there was a lot of idle gossip and speculation that the producers might try their hand at a girl band version - an Expendabelles, if you will - uniting various female action stars in a high-octane adventure of their own. Of course, nothing came of that idea...

Until now. The Asylum, the low budget movie studio notorious for their cash-in "mockbusters" has stepped up and made the idea a reality with Mercenaries. Due out in August, when Expendables 3 hits the screens, Mercenaries features a pretty decent cast of fighting femmes: Brigitte Nielsen (Stallone's ex, and star of Red Sonja), Vivica Fox (Kill Bill), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), stuntwoman Zoe Bell (Death Proof, Angel of Death), and the legendary Cynthia Rothrock (China O'Brien, Yes Madam, etc.)

The plot, according to The Asylum's website: A diplomatic official is captured and imprisoned while touring a war zone, so a team of elite female commandos is assembled to infiltrate a women's prison for a daring rescue. It's directed by Christopher Olen Ray.

I'll admit, I'm looking forward to this one. It probably won't be good, but it will be fun seeing these dangerous dames all in the same flick.
Sep 092013
 

I enjoyed 2009's Ninja, starring British martial arts star Scott Adkins. It wasn't a great film, nor even particularly original, but I thought it was a better-than-average direct-to-DVD action flick, and an entertaining throwback to the 80's heyday of Cannon's classic ninja movies. Well, director Isaac Florentine and Adkins have reunited to chronicle another adventure of Occidental ninja, Casey Bowman, with the oddly-titled sequel, Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear.

From the trailer, it looks like it could be fun. I'm particularly pleased to see little Kane Kosugi all grown up and playing the evil ninja in this entry. As a child, Kane frequently appeared alongside his father, the legendary "ninja star," Sho Kosugi, on films like Revenge Of the Ninja, 9 Deaths Of The Ninja, Black Eagle and Pray For Death. His presence just adds to the nostalgia factor for me. Looking forward to this.
Jul 272013
 
It's been about three years since the last DVD release, but four more late-period Charlie Chan mysteries from Monogram Studios are coming to DVD in a couple of weeks (August 6th), courtesy of Warner Home Entertainment's latest Charlie Chan Collection

I've never seen any of these four particular crime capers - Shadows Over Chinatown, Docks Of New Orleans, Shanghai Chest and The Golden Eye - which were produced on a shoestring by the legendary Poverty Row studio, but as an unrepentant B-mystery & Chan fan, I'm looking forward to adding them to my collection. (Even if three of them star the somnambulant Roland Winters, by far the least-interesting of the actors who portrayed the Honolulu detective.)

They're arriving right in the nick of time, too, as I've just finished watching the last of the Falcon mysteries, starring Tom Conway, and produced by RKO, and I'll be needing some fresh material for my nightly Late Movies.

Pre-order from Amazon: Charlie Chan: Collection
Jul 222013
 
I am saddened today to hear of the passing of actor Dennis Farina. Farina died Monday morning in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung, according to his publicist. He was 69.

Like just about everyone else, I first witnessed his talent and screen presence when he played hardboiled police Lieutenant Mike Torello on Michael Mann's seminal period police drama, Crime Story series back in 1986. A true-life ex-Chicago cop, Farina brought hard-earned verisimilitude to his mob-busting, tough guy role.

Farina went on to play a wide variety of tough cops and criminals - sometimes comically (as in Get Shorty) - in dozens of television shows and films, including Code Of Silence, Manhunter, Snatch, and Midnight Run. He was well known for his recurring role on Law and Order, but I most fondly remember him as the titular character in Mark Frost's short-lived 1998 private eye series, Buddy Faro.

I'm definitely going to miss the guy. Rest in peace, sir.

Jul 032013
 

Booyah! This is the best Pacific Rim trailer yet! Apparently, it's not testing well with mainstream audiences, who see it as a "Transformers rip-off." I feel very sad for anyone whose pulse doesn't race in anticipation of witnessing giant robots battling giant monsters on the big screen. Poor devils.
Jun 252013
 
Sadly, after an anxious day of rumors on Facebook and Twitter, it has been confirmed that the extraordinarily talented fantasist Richard Matheson has departed this plane at age 87 after a long illness.

Matheson has always been one of my greatest literary influences and inspirations, a man whose imagination knew no limits, who could see the fantastic in the mundane world around us, and paint vivid, indelible, unforgettable images with words. He was a master, and his influence on popular culture - from the Twilight Zone to The Incredible Shrinking Man to Roger Corman's colorful Poe films to Somewhere In Time (the movie theme was played at our wedding) to I Am Legend and beyond - is immeasurable. In fact, I was just watching the 1971 film adaptation of Legend, The Omega Man, last night.

When I was writing my Kolchak The Night Stalker comic book miniseries a few years ago, it was Matheson's teleplays for the original TV movies that I used as my guide to the character.


Rest in peace, sir.
Jun 242013
 
Here's another upcoming action flick I'm looking forward to. Sylvester Stallone writes and produces this vehicle for his fellow Expendable, Jason Statham: Homefront. According to the IMDb, this Gary Fleder-directed thriller co-stars James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Winona Ryder and Clancy Brown.

The plot is described thusly: "A former DEA agent moves his family to a quiet town, where he soon tangles with a local meth druglord."

Not a lot to go on there, admittedly, but the cast looks good. Director Fleder is an unknown quantity to me (looks like he's mostly done episodic television), but, as we all know, I'm pretty much always up for a Statham flick. Homefront is due in November.