Blu-ray Review “Army Of One”

Actors: Nicolas Cage, Russell Brand, Rainn Wilson, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Paul Scheer
Directors: Larry Charles
Rated: R
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Run Time: 93 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

Poor Nicolas Cage. This guy was at the top of holiday and just ended up choosing one bad film after another…after another. Same goes for his co-star in this, Russell Brand, come to think of it as well. This film literally was just dumped on Blu-ray and its will be shortly forgotten. It’s not great to be honest but it’s at least watchable…but like I said not very memorable.

Official Premise: Synopsis: Gary Faulkner (Nicolas Cage) is an ex-con, unemployed handyman, and modern day Don Quixote who receives a vision from God (Russell Brand) telling him to capture Osama Bin Laden. Armed with only a single sword purchased from a home-shopping network, Gary travels to Pakistan to complete his mission. While on his quest, Gary encounters old friends back home in Colorado, the new friends he makes in Pakistan, the enemies he makes at the CIA – and even God and Osama themselves.

The Blu-ray features nothing special at all in terms of audio and video. No major complaints but nothing memorable either just like the film itself. Along with the Blu-ray, we also get a DVD and a digital copy of the film as well. To make matters worse, there is only one special feature, which is a short behind-the-scenes look into the “Making of Army of One”.

Blu-ray Review “Swiss Army Man”

Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Directors: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan
Rated: R
Studio: A24
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Run Time: 97 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Tired of non-stop superhero movies? Reboots? Sequels? Prequels? Well, luckily there are films out there like “Swiss Army Man”, which is a zany, over the top original fun movie…that nobody saw. People wonder why they never make original movies and the reason is cause NOBODY SEES THEM! This movie was amazing. I loved it. It was so damn weird but at the same time I found myself mesmerized, especially by the performances from Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano. A must see movie of the year.

Original Premise: Synopsis: Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island, having given up all hope of ever making it home again. But one day everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up onshore. The two become fast friends, and ultimately go on an epic adventure that will bring Hank back to the woman of his dreams.

I love the way that this film was shot and the way it looks, so I enjoyed the 1080p transfer quite a bit. Same goes for the extremely impressive Dolby Atmos track (at its core, Dolby TrueHD 7.1). This worked great with the fantastic music by Manchester Orchestra members Andy Hull and Robert McDowell, which works so well in the movie.

Along with the Blu-ray, this release also comes with a digital copy of the film. The special features are decent as well to check out. There is a very fun audio commentary with Writer/Director Daniel Kwan, Writer/Director Daniel Scheinert, Production Designer Jason Kisvarnay, and Sound Mixer/Fartist Brent Kiser…and NO you did not misread that…this film has a fartist. You gotta see the movie to get it.

“Swiss Army Man: Behind the Scenes” is a really fun behind-the-scenes featurette with some candid footage and chats with cast. “Making Manny” follows the making of the dummy with designer Jason Hamer. There is a hour plus Q & A with Filmmakers with Glenn Kiser moderating at the Dolby Institute. Lastly there are nearly 10 minutes of deleted scenes included.

“Army of One” with Russell Brand & Nicolas Cage Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand November 15, 2016

    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ONE MAN’S MOSTLY TRUE QUEST TO CAPTURE OSAMA BIN LADEN

 Available on Digital HD November 4, 2016

Available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand November 15, 2016 

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – (Sept. 27, 2016) – Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, National Treasure) and Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek), embark on one hell of a holy mission in the hilarious comedy Army of One, the mostly true story of one man’s quest to single- handedly capture Osama Bin Laden. Directed by Emmy Award® winning director Larry Charles (Borat, Bruno, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Seinfeld”) with screenplay by Rajiv Joseph & Scott Rothman, Army of One will arrive on Blu-rayCombo Pack, DVD, and On Demand November 15, 2016 from Anchor Bay Entertainment and on Digital HD November 4, 2016.

Gary Faulkner (Cage) is an ex-con, unemployed handyman, and modern day Don Quixote who receives a vision from God (Brand) telling him to capture Osama Bin Laden. Armed with only a single sword purchased from a home-shopping network, Gary travels to Pakistan to complete his mission. While on his quest, Gary encounters old friends back home in Colorado, the new friends he makes in Pakistan, the enemies he makes at the CIA – and even God and Osama themselves. Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rainn Wilson, and Paul Scheer also star in this hilarious tale of patriotism and one man’s quest for justice.

Army of One Blu-ray™ and DVD include a “Making of Army of One” bonus featurette and will be available for $29.99 SRP and $22.98 SRP, respectively.

To learn more about the film, please visit www.anchorbayentertainment.com.

ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY AND DIMENSION FILMS

The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and Distribution Company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein. During Harvey and Bob’s tenure at Miramax and TWC, they have received 351 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards.

Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA; THE READER; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; SCRE4M; SPY KIDS: THE KING’S SPEECH; UNDEFEATED; THE ARTIST; THE MASTER; SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK; DJANGO UNCHAINED; SCARY MOVIE 5; LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER; PHILOMENA; THE IMITATION GAME; PADDINGTON; WOMAN IN GOLD; SOUTHPAW, CAROL, MACBETH, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, SING STREET, and HANDS OF STONE. Upcoming releases include AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING, THE FOUNDER and GOLD.

TWC boasts an active television production division, which garnered twelve Emmy nominations in 2015. TWC Television produces the reality powerhouse Project Runway, with its spin-off series Project Runway All Stars, hosted by Alyssa Milano, Project Runway Jr, featuring supermodel Hannah Davis and fashion critic Kelley Osbourne Under The Gunn, and Threads. Scripted series include John Fusco’sMarco Polo with Netflix, going into its second season, and War & Peace, which debuted on Lifetime, A&E and HISTORY in 2016. Scripted projects in development include Ten Commandments, Daniel Stashower’s The Hour Of Peril and military drama Six. TWC will also launch several new projects in 2016 across several networks, including MTV, Lifetime, and AMC.

ABOUT ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT

Anchor Bay Entertainment is a leading independent home entertainment company that acquires and releases a wide array of filmed entertainment in the theatrical and home entertainment markets, including STARZ Original series, children’s entertainment, fitness (Anchor Bay Fitness), sports and specialty films on Blu-ray™ and DVD formats. The company has long-term distribution agreements in place for select programming with The Weinstein Company, AMC Networks and Entertainment Studios, among others. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, Calif., Anchor Bay Entertainment (www.anchorbayentertainment.com) is a full service distributor in the North American market. Anchor Bay Entertainment is a Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) business, www.starz.com.

Army of One Blu-ray™

Street Date:  Nov. 15, 2016

Pre-book: Oct. 12, 2016

Catalog #: BD64459  

UPC: 01313264459280

Run Time: 93 Minutes

Rating: R

SRP: $26.99

Format: Widescreen

Aspect Ratio: 2.39

Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Army of One DVD

Street Date: Nov. 15, 2016

Pre-book: Oct. 12, 2016

Catalog #: WC64458

UPC: 01313264458580

Run Time: 93 Minutes

Rating:  R

SRP: $22.98

Format: Widescreen

Aspect Ratio: 2.39

Audio: English 5.1 DTSHD-MA

Richard Raaphorst talks about directing “Frankenstein’s Army”

Photo Credit: Lukas Zentel

Richard Raaphorst is the director for the crazy new film “Frankenstein’s Army”, which is also his directorial debut. The film takes place during WWII and we find out that a member of the Frankenstein bloodline is turning dead soldiers in zombots, half-human/half-creatures. The film uses all practical effects and is a must for horror fans. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Richard about the film and about working in the horror genre.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about the origin story behind “Frankenstein’s Army”?
Richard Raaphorst: I had several different ideas that inspired me swirling around in my head, like stories about Russian armies and scenes about biomechanical drones. I had just bought an illustrated version of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein accompanied with gorgeous pictures by Berni Wrighton. I was driving in my car listening to movie soundtracks and realized that I could mix all those elements together. When that happened, I felt like I was struck by lighting and the concept was born. Inspiration took over and turned into passion and I couldn’t escape from it until my ideas were realized.

MG: What do you enjoy most about working in the horror genre?
RR: I like the idea of escaping from the ‘conventional’ worlds and going complete out of the box. There are no limits in horror, so I can be extremely inventive. I create totally unique and weird visuals, scenes or characters that would never fit in a romantic comedy or straight action movie. It allows me to bring visual concepts to life that I have developed since my childhood.

MG: “Frankenstein’s Army” is your first feature film directing, what was your biggest challenging?
RR: I wanted to make the movie as authentic as possible so that can make viewers very scared and vulnerable. My biggest challenge was to holding on tightly to my vision. At a certain point, I realized that everything

happening on set was a direct result of my plan, and is therefore, my responsibility. However, a lot of people involved in projects like this have other ideas and sometimes try to influence the director’s decisions, especially when the director is trying to do something new or original. They will say things like, “Why don’t you do it like that other movie?” or “That doesn’t work because I’ve never seen it like that before.” Then, you have to keep faith in your original idea and become stronger in your resolve, but understand how to navigate around these people. The good thing is that the people who DO believe in what you’re doing will be your strongest allies.

MG: How these the idea of flesh-and-metal “zombots” come about?
RR: I always had a deep fascination with industrial stuff. My father worked at a nuclear power station and as a mechanic in the petrol chemical industry for a while. He once took me to work with him in Saudi Arabia and showed me the machine room of a HUUUUUUGGGGGEEE oil tanker. I was blown away by its gigantic proportions and by the industrial beauty. It was the same feeling that other people would have in a beautiful Medieval cathedral. I wanted to create creatures that would inhabit such an environment. I started experimenting with dressing myself up as industrial monster. I named them Transers at the time. I dug up some very old pictures of this for this interview. The quality of the pictures isn’t good because I developed them myself, but it’s possible to see some elements of the zombot designs. In retrospect, I can say that the seeds for the zombots were already growing in my head when I was a teenager.

MG: Tell us about the practical effects in the film and why you chose that route?
RR: It is not that I’m against the use of CGI, but I do have something against to misuse it. In Frankenstein’s Army, I wanted to stay as authentic as possible to that time period. We only used CGI to add some sparks and flashes here and there, but anything more and the atmosphere would not feel realistic anymore. It would feel like a cheat. With CGI everything is possible, but it often looks too perfect, and with that, you lose charisma. In my opinion, CGI lacks charisma, so I use it as a kind of “background music.” WW2 CGI monsters would be a real nightmare to watch and would have destroy all the fun.

MG:  What is the status right now with “Paris I’ll Kill You”? Is that going to be next for you?
RR: I changed the title into FEAR PARIS because it doesn’t relate to Paris, I Love You. It’s a world all its own and needs a unique title. We are now doing a online campaign to complete the budget and get ready to shoot (fearparis.com). So far, I spent a year designing the whole city, including all kinds of weird and strange character and monsters. This new apocalyptic Paris is a fantastic joy to create. I love it.

Blu-ray Review “Frankenstein’s Army”

Actors: Karel Roden, Alexander Mercury, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym
Directors: Richard Raaphorst
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Run Time: 84 minutes

Film: 4 out 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Flesh-and-metal “Zombots”. Period. That is really all you need to know about “Frankenstein’s Army”, which should be enough to sell you. If that isn’t enough this film contains all  practical creature effects. Now take a look at the Blu-ray cover or the film’s poster and know that there are some crazy cool creatures created for this film. I am a super big fan of practical effects, which is not common in the age of digital but it really adds a lot of character to the film. I should also mention that the team that worked on this film also did the make-up effects on a few little known films in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” franchise. Karel Roden (“Hellboy”) stars as Frankenstein and delivers a creepy yet powerful performance. If all that isn’t cool enough this was even filmed at abandoned World War II sites in Prague and throughout Europe. The first 20 minutes are slow but once it gets rocking…watch out!!! A must see for any fans of original and unique horror.

Official Premise: In the dying days of World War II, a battalion of Russian soldiers find themselves lost in enemy territory. Stumbling upon a village decimated by an unseen terror, they re lured into the secret lab of a deranged scientist (Hellboy’s Karel Roden) and forced to face off against his army of horrific flesh-and-metal war machines. Leaderless and faced with dissention amongst their dwindling ranks, the Russians must find the courage to face down this terrifying new menace or die trying. A nightmarish fantasy thrill ride unlike any other, Richard Raaphorst’s “Frankenstein’s Army” is a delirious plunge into the darkest depths of insanity.

The Blu-ray release from Dark Sky Films really looks awesome with its 1080p transfer.  The film has a handheld feel but captures the gritty feel to this crazy film. The creatures effects also look amazing under this.  There is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which really delivers with the war action and creepy score. The special features are not out of this world but worth checking out. The main sell is a very in-depth “Making-Of” featurette, which clocks in just over 30 minutes. Everything is covered in this film from pre-production and onwards. It is a must watch There are five (very short) creature spots for each of these baddies including “Burnt Match Man”, “Mosquito Man”, “Propellerhead”, “Teddy Bear Woman” and “Razor Teeth”. I would have loved to seen more in depth on these creatures, even though we do cover that some in the featurette. Lastly there is a trailer gallery.

Joseph Julian Soria talks about role on "Army Wives”

Joseph Julian Soria has appeared in a variety of films and television series ranging from “Crank 2” and “Fast and Furious” to the hit Showtime series “Dexter” and “Sons of Anarchy”. Soria will be reprising his role as Hector Cruz on the seasons “Army Wives” and Media Mikes had a chance to talk with him about his second season on the show and his role in the film “Philly Brown”.

Adam Lawton: What can we expect from your character this season?
Joseph Julian Soria: You can expect to see Hector struggling with what may be the end of his marriage and his discontent with how the war is being handled. You also get to see him grow up and become a man. He has an interesting storyline this season.

AL: With this being your second season on the show were you allowed to give any input on the direction of your character?
JJS: Yes, that was one of the first things Jeff Melvoin mentioned when we found out the show was getting picked up for another season. He encouraged me to call the writers office with any ideas I had. I made a couple of calls and stopped by the office and gave my input, fortunately we were all on the same page.

AL: What do you enjoy most about being on the show?
JJS: I enjoy having the opportunity to play a character that is going through a lot and that the men who have served our country can relate to. Hector has a lot of internal conflict going on and it’s great to be able to play with those emotions and see how it plays out on the show.

AL: Can you tell us about your work on the film “Filly Brown”?
JJS: Putting it simply, I do not play a nice guy. He is a total jerk to an outsider looking in. But the way I like to look at it is, I play a character who is insecure, vulnerable and willing to do whatever it takes to hold on to his spotlight. And once Filly starts to take away his shine we get to see how far he will go to keep it.

AL: Do you have any other projects in the works you can tell us about?
JJS: I have another film coming out later this year called “Mission Park” which will be released by Lions Gate on all media besides theatrical. I’m really excited for people to see this film. I’m also in talks with a few other projects but nothing I’m ready to talk about yet.