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Home Video Hovel: Double Fine Adventure, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

20 Dec

Video game documentaries are a dime a dozen this days. Quite often they are about people in their 40’s trying to reclaim their high scores from arcade games they were good at as a kid (The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters; Man vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler). Double Fine Adventure mixes things up by focusing on what happens when well respected game developer Double Fine decides to fund a game through Kickstarter. We watch the zaniness ensue through its 724 minute (!) runtime spread across 20 episodes.


New to Home Video 11/15/16

15 Nov





Mia Madre: O So-So Mia, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

4 Sep

Shots from "Mia Madre"

Grief for a dying family member can be a challenging thing. One must cope with their emotions while carrying on the trials and tribulations of their normal day to day life. Taking care of a relative who was once vibrant goes steadily downhill, their once cogent memories adrift in a sea of madness. It’s a hard chapter in anyone’s life. Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre tries to illustrate this by veering between scenes of broad comedy and tender drama. This structure makes the whole flick a little tough to swallow.


Home Video Hovel: Hellhole, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

12 Aug


Shout Factory’s horror label Scream Factory is at it again with this Blu-ray/DVD release of the 1985 cult horror flick Hellhole. What starts out as a rote slasher turns into a lurid women in prison sanitarium feature with more than a little camp. You’re either going to love it or hate it… There’s no middle ground on this kind of picture. As tends to be the case with these releases, the special features are slim but better than nothing.


Home Video Hove: Destroyer / Edge of Sanity, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

14 Apr


Scream Factory delivers another oddball horror double feature with their recent release of two motion pictures on one Blu-ray, Destroyer and Edge of Sanity. Although the back of the box highlights Anthony Perkins being in both movies, it should be noted he has a supporting part in the former and plays the lead in the latter. Both flicks are late entries in Perkins’ career, coming out between the release of Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning. Both films aim for wildly different tones with a moderate degree of success.


Home Video Hovel: Bolero / Ghosts Can’t Do It, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

3 Feb


Once upon a time, Bo Derek was a sex symbol. Several of her early films were directed by her husband John Derek; two of these, Bolero and Ghosts Can’t Do It, are featured in this new double feature Blu-ray release from Shout Factory. Both are odd romantic comedies with copious nudity and stilted acting. No special features are included except for a single trailer for each film.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer, Part The Third, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

20 Oct

The third trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered tonight during the Monday Night Football match on 10/19/15. Some fans watched a football game only to catch the trailer. Others waited with baited breath as it was officially released on the Star Wars YouTube channel.


Sequel Saturday: Final Resident Evil Plot Revealed, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

19 Sep


The official synopsis was just released for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the sixth (!!!) live-action film in the series based off the popular Capcom video games. Out of all the flicks based on games, Resident Evil has been the only one with staying power. The zombie-slaying saga has been around for over a decade at this point.


10. Lord of the Rings

17 Sep


score by Howard Shore

Composer Howard Shore had his work cut out for him when he agreed to compose all three films in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Middle-earth has a dazzling variety of locales (Hobbiton, Minas Tirith, Mordor), and Shore provides the leitmotifs to match. The pastoral home of the hobbits becomes even more charming with Shore’s themes in the background. Shore applies a range of musical styles that can be peaceful, hypnotic, or disturbing depending on the scenario at play.

Jackson’s over-the-top staging of battle sequences is matched by Shore’s aggressive orchestrations. As the plot gets darker, so does the music. Another composer might have composed a cloying score with too much sweetness or a more modern score with nothing but nonchalant percussive beats. Shore treats the material with the respect it deserves. 

22. RoboCop

13 Sep


score by Basil Poledouris

The title RoboCop does not inspire confidence, yet we must remember that appearances can be deceiving. RoboCop (the original, not the mostly toothless remake) punches well above its weight class. Composer Basil Poledouris brings a stirring theme for the titular character that can easily stand aside such super-hero classics as John Williams’ Superman and Danny Elfman’s Batman. It sounds like a march with big, fat notes to match the plodding, metallic steps of RoboCop himself.

Given that RoboCop is a Paul Verhoeven film, it shifts from comedy to sex to ultra-violence with little to no reason at first glance. Poledouris’ score handles these varied tones with aplomb. In concept, the character of RoboCop is a silly Judge Dredd knock-off. Basil Poledouris’ majestic score makes him a hero.