Page A ~ Page B~ Page C ~ Page D ~ PageE ~ Page F ~ Page G ~ Page H ~ Page I ~ Page J ~ Page K ~ Page L~
~Page M
~ Page N ~ Page O ~ Page P ~ Page R ~ Page S ~ Page T ~ Page U ~ Page V ~ Page W ~Page Z ~

2007 – NR – 254 Pages
A: David Carter
E: Hannah Patterson
Book Provided By Kamera Books
Extras: 10 Glossy Pictures, DVD essay on Cinema in Korea

David Carter’s exploration into East Asian cinema is partly a history book and partly a tribute to Asian filmmaking. I’m not sure whether or not that’s good or bad. While I found the book to be fascinating, I believe there might be too much space given to the chronicling of Asian history and too little time devoted to production information about the films. More than likely this book will be purchased and read by fans of Asian cinema. Not that these fans aren’t interested in the cultural changes that precipitated Asian film, but sometimes this book feels as if it’s a series of classroom seminars. I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too picky, but consider that author David Carter has taught at “several UK universities and presently teaches at Yonsei University” in Seoul, South Korea. Is there any wonder why the book might take on the nature of a prepared lecture? Even so, there is some great stuff here. Carter is a decent enough writer, definitely knowledgeable about his subject matter, and he does a thoughtful job at covering ground regarding the films and filmmakers from China (including some of the HK greats), Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. And yes, there are capsule reviews and descriptions of many Asian titles, both old and new, which can really help the genre fan decide on what he or she would like to see. At the same time, Carter’s work provides compelling reference material for students of Asian film and culture. Personally, although the book intelligently delves deeply into the historical periods that influenced Asian cinema, there are brief moments when the material is a bit dry for my taste. Not to worry, though, because the pace always quickens whenever Carter provides reviews and opinions about the films and directors. – Craig Hamann

Also Known As:

1969 – NR – 112 Min.
D: Enzo G. Castellari
S: Frederick Stafford – Van Johnson – Francisco Rabal – Evelyn Stewart (Ida Galli) – Luigi Pistilli – Renzo Palmer – Teresa Gimpera
Blu-Ray provided by http://www.severinfilms.com Severin Films
1080p 2.35 :1 Widescreen / Dolby Digital 2.0
Extras: A conversation With Enzo G. Castellari and Quentin Tarantino Part 2 (Part 1 is on the Severin release of Inglorious Bastards) – Eagles Over Los Angeles screening – Deleted scene – Trailers

Impressively epic (especially given the budget) though not particularly rousing WWII film concerning the efforts of fanatical SS infiltrators trying to destroy the British radar network so that an invasion can be successfully launched into London. The plan is discovered early on and it falls to a small group of heroes to stop the Germans from achieving their goals. Filmed in that distinctive Italian style with more of an eye towards telling an entertaining story than being a historical record this slightly overlong adventure comes up far short of, say, Battle of Britain. Still, it has its moments and is a no-brainer for Castellari completists and collectors that need to have every World War II movie ever released on their shelf. Casual enthusiasts who may be inspired to blind purchase by the simultaneous release of Inglorious Bastards will find little of that films cult appeal here. A serious dramatic tale is the intention with a couple of romantic subplots thrown in to try and heighten emotional investment in characters which are, frankly, depthless stereotypes anyway. Kudos to all involved, though, for managing to produce a film that clearly squeezed every nickel hard enough to make the buffalo poop; it looks good, it just doesn’t add up to anything altogether special. Francesco De Masi provides the score which is more often generic than not. The large-scale battles are fun to watch, as are Castellari’s directorial flourishes, but it’s important to approach Eagles with expectations reasonably set. The Blu-Ray itself is all over the place. Grain is present adding a natural film like appearance when things are at their best and during these better moments the print looks clear with vivid colors and impressive detail. Unfortunately there are many other times when things look soft and worn. Color frequently shifts into washed out blandness and excessive brightness plays havoc with darker scenes. Banding does occur, very badly at one point, and there are some noticeable instances where print damage and reel markers are highly visible. There are yet other times where the film itself seems to be shaking a little bit; more and more towards the end. Having said all that it’s important to also point out that for an Italian title of this vintage Eagles Over London looked better than I thought it would. The Dolby Digital 2.0 is serviceable but unimpressive. Once a largely unknown motion picture, thanks to the good folks at Severin, at least it’s out there now. Only an expensive top to bottom overhaul could eliminate the aforementioned problems and, let’s face it, that’s an unrealistic expectation to have. So, taking all things into account, Eagles over London is a recommended rental. - Michael Mackie

2009 – NR – 104 Minutes
D: Thad T. Smith
S: Cole Carson, Lauren Bair, Michael J. Prosser, Sean McGrath, Eric Martin Reid, Brian Julian
DVD Provided by http://www.virgilfilmsent.com/ Virgil Films and Entertainment
Extras: Two trailers

Based on a true story that chronicles Sergeant Don Smith’s experiences during World War II, Thad T. Smith’s EVERYMAN’S WAR focuses on the surprisingly hard fighting that takes place between the Americans and the German 11th Panzer “Ghost” division in the snowy landscape near Nennig, Germany. I say “surprising” because the American high command doesn’t figure the German forces will stage an assault in unruly, sub-zero weather. But guess what? That’s exactly what the Germans do. That leaves the understaffed, outgunned and ridiculously outnumbered 94th Infantry Division the responsibility of somehow stopping the Germans. As a result, a tired, battered and wounded Smith runs, stumbles, and crawls through hostile attacks and a snow blizzard in an effort to warn other American forces about the attack. After a painfully slow start that tries too hard to mimic some of the HBO war shows, the film really picks up and deftly reveals the brutality, confusion, and mayhem of war. The battles are loud and convincing, and they’re aggressively photographed and contain believable acting by the entire cast. I like how the film has the Germans actually speak German, which adds to the authenticity, and it even offers moments examining both the Germans’ and Jews’ viewpoints of the war. We also get brief meditations regarding the idiocy of the draft and the futility of global conflict. There are also moments of humanity, such as the great scene where a German soldier has a bead on Sergeant Smith but decides not to pull the trigger on the wounded and nearly frozen to death American. Good writing and direction, solid acting, richly colorful cinematography, and nice music. This one is well worth checking out. – Craig Hamann

1981 – NR – 85 Min.
D: Sam Raimi
S: Bruce Campbell – Betsy Baker – ‘Sarah York’ – Ellen Sandweiss – ‘Hal Delrich’
Blu-Ray courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
1080p Fullscreen or Widescreen / Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Extras: An entire Limited Edition Bonus DVD full of extras is included. There is also a newly recorded commentary with Raimi, Tapert, and Campbell.

The Evil Dead is on Blu-Ray. I lack the skills necessary to accurately translate my overwhelming joy to the page. Yep, there goes ‘unbiased’. But come on! It’s The Evil Dead! On Blu-Ray! I won’t be talking about the movie itself because at this point there’s simply nothing left to say. It’s one of those titles that nearly every horror fan who’s wanted to has seen. A cult movie phenomenon like no other; there’s a successful series (and they don’t seem to be done yet), video games, a musical stage show, comic books, and more. After all that, this heavily rereleased classic makes its first (likely not its last) Hi-Def appearance and the results are spectacular. That’s what we’ll be focusing on here. You have your choice of watching the original 1.33:1 or cropped 1.85:1 version. Either way, you’ll be treated to an Evil Dead (ultimate) experience (in grueling horror) unlike any that has come before. Right from the top the image is impressive and solid, grain returns and is pleasingly natural (smoothed into oblivion on some previous releases). The color correction has been lovingly attended to adding bold eye-catching richness while details and black levels are surprisingly strong. All this contributes to a sharply enhanced clarity that easily surpassed some high expectations. There are a couple of slight imperfections but the truth is to nit-pick these would be to discredit the overall quality of the presentation. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is clear, active, and largely impressive. This has got to be about as close to perfect as The Evil Dead can get. Not bad at all for a 16mm film made in the late 70’s /early 80’s. Dedicated Deadites should have no reservations about upgrading to this fantastic release which comes with the highest of recommendations. “Join us!” - Michael Mackie

Taiwan – 1983 – NR – 80 minutes
D: Chang Peng Yi
S: Roc Tien – Tien Ho – Chang Ling – Peter Chen
DVD Courtesy of BCI Eclipse
Extras: Three bonus fights – Teasers

Chang Peng Yi's film badly wants to be a Spaghetti Western. It has a silent lead character that is a badass, it uses a Spaghetti Western-like operatic music score, and there are plenty of showdowns containing dramatic close-ups. Trouble is, this simply isn't that good of a movie. Much of the problem lies in the disjointed episodic screenplay. The story is about the hero, Lone Wolf, teaming up with two tough constables to track down and destroy a murderous band of Ninja-like assassins. What this leads to is a bunch of fights scenes with boring expositional moments in between. One very cool thing, though, is Tien Peng's (aka Roc Tien) performance as Lone Wolf. He's charismatic and fun to watch, especially whenever he whips out his sword and starts slicing and dicing opponents. Unfortunately, while Peng's sword fights are usually fast and furious, some of the other fights are overly staged and performed too by rote to be interesting. This isn't a horrible martial arts film but it's definitely one that will make you want to fast forward to the action scenes, bypassing everything else. – Craig Hamann

2007 – N/R – 104 Minutes
D: Patrick Rea
S: Jennifer Plas, John Wilson, Robert Paisley, Ari Bavel
DVD Courtesy of Cinema Epoch
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending, Stills, Short Film, Commentary

Small town Gothic Americana gets the good old chills. The Nance’s are trying to raise their baby and run a small farm in a tiny community somewhere in rural Kansas. Unfortunately, nothing seems to grow on their land. In the evening, a dark shadow covers all the light and kills everything in its path. When their child turns up missing, their weak marriage gets even more strained. He drinks more, she reverts to hysteria and the whole town thinks she killed the baby because she’s on psychiatric meds. Things get more creepy and violent as the tale moves along, but even by today’s standards, I don’t care how small a town is, if someone is taking pills for a mental breakdown, they don’t start treating you like a leper or a witch. Both leads play off each other well, but some of the minor characters feel as if they are right out of your local rural theater or acting class. It’s hard to recommend a movie where you don’t care about anyone in it, but director Patrick Rea uses the right touches of atmosphere to keep the viewer interested. Empty Acre is another rainy day movie worth at least a rental.- Mark Engle

1981 – R – 85 Min.
D: Ken Wiederhorn
S: Lauren Tewes, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John DiSanti
Warner Brothers Home Entertainment DVD (Released as part of the Twisted Terror Collection.)
Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital Mono

Decidedly unpleasant movie features Tewes (of Love Boat fame) as newswoman Jane Harris reporting on the recent activities of serial rapist/murderer Stanley Herbert (DiSanti). Harris expresses a special interest because her younger sister Tracey (Leigh) was viciously assaulted as a child and left deaf, blind, and unable to speak. As misfortune would have it, Jane discovers that the psychopath in question lives in the same twin-tower high-rise apartment complex where she now resides with her special-needs sibling. Her lawyer boyfriend initially dismisses Jane as paranoid so she makes a solo attempt to expose Herbert for the sicko he is. Before it’s over it will be Tracey who is once again in jeopardy. Sleazy situations abound. You’ll see no graphic rape but you’ll see the detailed beatings, weakening strangulations, and other humiliations that lead up to it in detail. A dog is thrown in only so it can be shown dead later on, it’s just that kind of movie. Not poorly made, technically, but still off the mark. Eyes of A Stranger is a slasher trying to disguise itself as an important thriller, even going so far as to loosely reference Hitchcock. Whether this was intentional or not is unknown. Regardless, such machinations do little to veil the truth…. This is just another sleazy time-killer… period. The good news is that this DVD release of Eyes of A Stranger is completely uncut and features all of Tom Savini’s previously unseen special effects intact! – Michael Mackie
Page A ~ Page B~ Page C ~ Page D ~ PageE ~ Page F ~ Page G ~ Page H ~ Page I ~ Page J ~ Page K ~ Page L~
~Page M
~ Page N ~ Page O ~ Page P ~ Page R ~ Page S ~ Page T ~ Page U ~ Page V ~ Page W ~ Page Z ~