Blu-ray Review “Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses”

Starring: Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, Andrew Divoff, Jacqueline Obradors, Jonathan Lipnicki, Dante Basco
Director: Craig Moss
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

When I first saw the film “Bad Ass” with Danny Trejo and Danny Glover. I just knew it was going to be a riot. But after watching it I was really left speechless. The film was so over-the-top and crazy that it has you laughing out of loud screaming “DAMN!”. When I saw that the senior citizen duo were back in business for a second one, I thought to myself “Really?” but if you liked the first one this is still quite the trip.

Official Premise: Vietnam vet Frank Vegas (Trejo) not run an East L.A. Community center where he trains young boxers to survive in and out of the ring. But when his prize student falls in with the wrong crows and turns up dead, Frank teams up with his pal Bernie (Glover) to take matters into their own fists and prove that justice never gets old.

Danny Trejo and Danny Glover are really fun together. I can watch Trejo in anything he does, the guy is really a rock star. Not a huge Glover fan personally but he supports Trejo well. They are also a little more hammy this time around. The film also co-stars Jonathan Lipnicki (“Jerry Maguire”) and Andrew Divoff (“Wishmaster”).

Fox delivered the film as a combo pack including a Blu-ray and Ultraviolet HD digital copy. The 1080p transfer works well with the film and action. Remembering the first film it wasn’t that special either. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is solid as well. There is only one special feature included, which is a “Making of Bad Asses” featurettes, which gives a brief behind-the-scenes looks.

If you enjoyed this film, then don’t worry since the third film in this new franchise just finished being filmed and is called “Bad Ass 3: Bad Asses on the Bayou”, which might be taking this a little too far but strangly enough I am still game. How about you?

Ray Wise talks about “Big Ass Spider!” and reveals Blu-ray plans for “Twin Peaks”

Ray Wise is a well-known actor in the business. He is known for roles including Leland Palmer in “Twin Peaks”, Leon C. Nash in “RoboCop” and the Devil in “Reaper”. Ray has a great role in the recent creature feature “Big Ass Spider!”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about his role in that film and he also was able to reveal plans for a complete Blu-ray box set of “Twin Peaks”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working on a film like “Big Ass Spider!”
Ray Wise: I worked with Mike Mendez, the director, briefly before this on a project. I knew that he wanted me to play this military man, which was fine with me. I read the character description and I taught it was good role for me. He is not too over the top and conservative in his approach. It was also a nice contrast to Greg (Grunberg) and Lombardo (Boyar)’s characters. They supply a lot of the humor in the script, which was really well written. Mike Mendez did a really good job with it and I responded well to its humor. I saw a lot of possibilities in it and I thought if he could pull it off it would be a good film. I think he did just that and even exceeded expectations. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the first cut of the film. I think it is very funny and very effective. I think people are going to love it.

MG: You play hard-ass Major Braxton Tanner but you are still quite funny; what is your process for balancing the comedy for the role?
RW: It came intuitively for me. It was sort of natural. That is the way I liked to approach all of my roles actually. I like to find the humorous aspects of the character as well as some of the more dramatic and create that blend. That is way I like do things naturally. Fortunately, it works out most of the times and translates well on screen.

MG: There has been quite the positive response around this film; I have a feeling it is going to stick around…
It is going to have legs…
MG: Literally [laughing]…
RW: Eight legs [laughing].
MG: [laughing] Exactly!

MG: If they decided (and hopefully they do) to make a sequel to “Big Ass Spider!” would you be on board?
RW: Absolutely! Yeah, I am on board. Absolutely!

MG: Tell us about joining the cast of “The Young and the Restless”?
RW: I am playing this Ian Ward. He has come in from out of town as is a past cult leader. He has these individuals that follow him religiously because he has this special philosophy of life that can help everyone achieve their own dreams. They are thinking that he is responsible for the pregnant of the character Nikki many years ago. Allegedly responisble. So, he comes to town to really stir things up. You know, it is another one of those characters for me.

MG: And you are no stranger to playing the baddie like with the Devil in “Reaper” etc; what draws you to these characters?
RW: I think it is because they are always so well-written. When the writers try and write the bad guy, they try and put in a little extra umph in these characters. They add a little extra than a rather bland and mundane good guy [laughs]. I think my own personal physicality and demeanor plays well to that aspect of the writing as well. When you see me, you think “Well he seems alright…but there is something going on here” [laughs]. That suspense and anticipation is really great for the audience.

MG: Do you enjoy going from a bad guy like those to funny roles in films like “FDR: American Badass!”?
RW: First of all I love Barry (Bostwick) and I thought his FDR was really great! I played Douglas MacArthur, so that might have been the beginning of my military chops [laughs], I am not sure. I enjoyed that experience very much actually. There was a lot of laughs and it turned out pretty well also like “Big Ass Spider!”.

MG: I heard you broke the news about an upcoming “Twin Peak” series Blu-ray; can you give us the scoop?
RW: It will be a new box set of the pilot and episodes combined with “Fire Walk with Me”, the prequel movie. It is everything. Everything! Also included will be deleted scenes from “Fire Walk with Me”. I think David (Lynch)’s original cut of the film was about 3.5/4 hours long, so there is stuff that no one has ever seen that is going to be on this new box set. I think it is pretty great. So stay tuned.

Greg Grunberg talks about his new film “Big Ass Spider!”

Greg Grunberg is best known for playing Matt Parkman in “Heroes”. He also played Sean Blumberg in “Felicity”, the pilot Seth Norris in “Lost” and Eric Weiss in “Alias”. His latest film is “Big Ass Spider!” and it is one hell of a fun movie. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Greg about the film and how he ended up fighting a “Big Ass Spider!”

Mike Gencarelli: Congrats in advance for the early success and positive reactions to “Big Ass Spider!”
Greg Grunberg: Thanks! It one of these films that we just need to get the word out and I know it’s going to have some great legs. People are going to watch it and spread the word. I am so proud of it. Mike (Mendez), the director, did some a great job putting it all together. He let us improv and have fun and it really came together great.

MG: What was your first response when the script for “Big Ass Spider!” lands on your desk?
GG: My initial response is “HELL NO” [laughs]. I read everything and tell people to send me whatever and either I or my manager will read it. I received and this immediately thought that it was so ambitious that it would never work. There are more effects shots in this film then “Hollow Man”…and I was in “Hollow Man”. Kevin Bacon was invisible the entire movie. So I thought how nobody was going to be able to pull this off. So I gave a polite “No” along with a few notes and caveats that I had. They came back to me and just asked me to meet with the director Mike Mendez. He is one of these guys that you cannot say no to him. He has such a singular vision and is such a talented filmmaker. He seemed to have everything planned out in terms of effects etc. He was also willing to consider my casting suggestion for Lombardo Boyar, who I worked with on my movie “Group Sex”. It just all ended up working out and we were all on the same page.

MG: How do you approach a role like this to make it funny without being too cheesy?
GG: No matter what people do in their life, everybody takes what they do seriously. I wanted to approach it that was but not in a cartoony way. I have seen characters like this in movies and they go above and beyond and are really nuts are killer spiders. It is entertaining but if you don’t believe it then you are not going to take the ride. I know that the unbelievable factor is obvious for this film, there is a ten story
spider but you want the characters to be real and relationships between them to be real. I think that is what we did here and it really worked. It was a really fun and I had a great time. Lombardo was fun to work with and I felt like we both stole the movie. It is one of those things that at the end you are talking about Lombardo’s one liner as much as you are the spider.

MG: What was the most demanding aspect of working on a film like this?
GG: It’s funny because when I am approached to do a film like this there always like “Look there’s not going to be trailer, it’s really low budget so…” I say “Who gives a fuck about any of that shit”. I want to make a great movie. I am always on set anyway and never in a trailer. I just love making movies. I love acting in them and every aspect about them. So that stuff doesn’t scare me. The hardest part is making sure that you have good people and they are prepared to do their jobs. Every single aspect and department matters. Mike Mendez is an incredible studied filmmaker and I can’t wait to see what happens when he is given a real budget. He is going to explode like James Wan and hopefully I get to work with him again.

MG: Why do you think sci-fi/horror fans are going to dig this film?
GG: The cool thing about this is that I have three boys, 10, 14, and 17 and all of them can watch it. This is a family movie and nothing in here is inappropriate. The scary parts of fucking scary and the funny parts are funny. It is a great combination in a very relatable way. If shit when down like this in L.A., this is how it would play out [laughs]. Is it the best movie in the world? NO! But it is damn close in terms of low budget spider movies are concerned.

MG: “Big Ass Spider!” was left off nicely for a sequel; any word of that happening?
GG: We have talked about it and are certainly thinking about what that next movie would be but it is all up to the financiers. It is doing well for Epic Pictures and they are pleased so far. Hopefully it will be the type of thing where the fans just demand it. I would love to make another one.

MG: You also recently wrapped on two very different films “Burning Dog” and “A Tigers Tale”, tell us about these?
GG: “A Tigers Tale” is a complete family movie. It is really sweet and has these two Bengal tigers in it. I did that because I really wanted to do something different. I mean I got to work with real Bengal tiger cubs and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that. It is a straight forward family film but there are some really amazing moments in it. It just mixes things up. Then I also did this film called “Burning Dog”, with Trey Batchelor directing, which was super cool. I produced the film as well. It is like a first person shooter movie. So the main character is the camera and you ride along with these two cops and I play one of the cops. It was awesome. So keep an eye out and spread the word about “Big Ass Spider!”


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Blu-ray Review “Big Ass Spider!”

Actors: Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, Ray Wise
Directors: Mike Mendez
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Epic Pictures
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Run Time: 85 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When you hear the title “Big Ass Spider!”, you would probably think that this film was just another Syfy original movie but you would be wrong. This film is definitely a low-budget creature feature but it packs some solid production values. This comes quite polished and packed with great CG creature effects, solid action and also funny as hell. If you are looking for a fun and exciting ride, I would recommend checking this film out. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Official Premise: “An exterminator (Greg Grunberg) and his Hispanic sidekick (Lombardo Boyar) are caught in an epic battle when a military assault fails to contain a giant alien spider rampaging through the city of Los Angeles”. Epic right? But seriously do you really need to read what this film is about with a title like “Big Ass Spider!”, I mean come on, the title sells itself.

“Big Ass Spider!” comes with a solid cast including Greg Grunberg (TV’s “Heroes”), Lombardo Boyar (“Happy Feet I and II”) and Ray Wise (“X-Men: First Class”, TV’s “Twin Peaks”). Greg really nails this role, he is funny and he knows this film is a stretch but really has a blast with it.  Lombardo Boyar is over=the-top and a laugh riot. Ray Wise is Ray Wise and steals the show (as always). The film is directed by Mike Mendez, who is best know for his 2006 horror feature, “The Gravedancers”. I can’t wait to see what he follows up this film with.

“Big Ass Spider!” really does shine on Blu-ray with its solid 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation. The production value really stands up and looks solid and the visual effects look very impressive. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track also packs a nice punch. The dialogue is sharp and action is well represented. The only thing that I would have loved to seen with this release was a combo pack release with a digital copy.

In terms of special features, I was a bit let down. I would have loved to see the focus on the visual effects. We do get a solid commentary track with stars Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, and director Mike Mendez. You can tell that these guys had a blast with this film and this is a really fun track. The only other featurette is the “‘Big Ass Spider! Premiere'”, which takes us to South by Southwest Film Festival. Lastly, there is a very short collection of “Interviews” from cast/crew as well as a theatrical trailer, international trailer and TV spot included.

Blu-ray Review “Bad Ass”

Directed by: Craig Moss
Starring: Danny Trejo, Charles S. Dutton, Ron Perlman, Joyful Drake, Patrick Fabian
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Running Time: 90 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Finally a film that lives up to its title! “Bad Ass” is totally bad-ass (sorry, couldn’t resist). Danny Trejo is one of my favs and really kicks some major ass in this film. I thought he was awesome in “Machete”, this film gives it a run for its money. I found myself completely sitting on the edge of my chair, laughing and routing for Trejo. Yes it is cheesy.  Yes it is campy.  But if you are looking for a fun time and complete over-the-top action, do not miss “Bad Ass”.

The film follow Vietnam War veteran Frank Vega (Trejo) who after stopping hate crime on a city bus, footage of him beating down goes viral online and become an overnight celebrity. The fun does not last long when his best friend is murdered and the police are not willing to find his killer.  Vega decided to put his new Bad Ass nickname to work and hit the streets in pursuit of some ole’ fashion justice!

The Blu-ray presentation itself is impressive.  It’s video resolution on the 1080p looks good and comes with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The audio also impresses with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.  I mean how can you not laugh in when Trejo walks down the street in slow-motion with his own “Bad Ass” theme song in the background blasting through the surround speakers.  The special features included are not as great as the film.  They only have included an audio commentary track and a brief behind-the-scenes featurette “Birth of Bad Ass”.

Maya Entertainment Lands “Ass Backwards” from the Writers of “Bride Wars”


Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Vincent D’Onofrio, Casey Wilson & June Diane Raphael Star In New Comedy

LOS ANGELES, CA – Maya Entertainment Group, Inc., a leading independent multi-platform content and distribution company based in Los Angeles, has acquired the international rights to the comedy “Ass Backwards from the writers of “Bride Wars.”  The film directed by Chris Nelson (upcoming film “Gay Dude” with Sarah Hyland and Megan Mullally) stars Alicia Silverstone (Batman & Robin”, “Clueless”), Jon Cryer (“Two and a Half Men”), Vincent D’Onofrio (“Law& Order: Criminal Intent”, “Full Metal Jacket”), Casey Wilson (“Happy Endings”, “Bride Wars”), and June Diane Raphael (“Bride Wars”, “Zodiac”).

Two best friends Kate (June Diane Raphael) and Chloe (Casey Wilson) are living the so called “high life” in New York when they run into their former pageant nemesis, Laurel (Alicia Silverstone), who has gone on to become a multi-hyphenated superstar.  Kate and Chloe, whose lives are not as fabulous as they seem to be, embark on a cross country road trip back to their hometown to attempt to win a pageant that eluded them as children. On the road, they face some hard truths about themselves and each other as they encounter spring breakers, strip clubs, a women’s militant group, and their favorite reality star.

“We are excited to have acquired the very funny and quirky comedy Ass Backwards,” said Elias Axume, President, International Distribution for Maya Entertainment. “The cast, led by Alicia Silverstone and Jon Cryer, is terrific and very appealing to many international markets.”

The deal was negotiated by Elias Axume and Tonantzin Esparza, Director of Acquisitions, on behalf of Maya Entertainment.  “Ass Backwardswas produced by Heather Rae (“The Dry Land”, “Frozen River”) and Molly Conners (“Killer Joe”, “Frozen River”).


Based in Los Angeles, Maya Entertainment Group, Inc. is an independent multi-platform content and distribution company that has established itself as the leader of media product that appeals to the “new mainstream” of American Latino and Multi-cultural audiences.  Led by entertainment industry pioneers, Moctesuma Esparza (Selena, Gettysburg) and Jeff Valdez (Sí TV,, Maya Entertainment produces, acquires and distributes entertainment programming and has established a library of over 100 titles, which are available at retail, for rental, and on VOD through Time Warner Cable, Comcast, iN DEMAND, and TVN.

Maya International Distribution, headed by Elias Axume, sells rights to its entertainment properties worldwide and has a presence at key markets including Berlin Film Festival/European Film Market, Hong Kong FILMART, Cannes Film Festival, MIP-TV, Toronto International Film Festival, MIPCOM and AFM. Currently, Maya International is selling rights to La Mission, starring Benjamin Bratt; The Jesuit, starring Michelle Rodriguez and Willem Dafoe; Café, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jamie Kennedy; Without Men starring Eva Longoria Parker, Christian Slater and Oscar Nunez; Across the Line, starring Aidan Quinn and Mario van Peebles; and The Last Rites of Joe May, starring Dennis Farina, among others.

Maya’s recent theatrical and home video releases include the Official 2010 Sundance selection The Dry Land, starring America Ferrera, Jason Ritter, and Wilmer Valderrama; the action-drama Across the Line starring Aidan Quinn, Mario Van Peebles, and Andy Garcia; and Sins of My Father (Pecados de mi Padre), the true story of Pablo Escobar, the infamous boss of Colombia’s Medellin drug cartel, as told through the eyes of his son; Sympathy for Delicious, directed by and starring Mark Ruffalo, Orlando Bloom, Laura Linney and Juliette Lewis; Without Men, starring Eva Longoria Parker, Christian Slater and Oscar Nunez; and Café, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.