Magnolia Home Entertainment and Phase 4 Films Divide U.S. Rights to Feature Film SUSHI GIRL

Los Angeles, CA – August 1, 2012 – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Home Entertainment and Phase 4 Films announced today they have jointly acquired North American rights to the Mark Hamill film SUSHI GIRL. The revenge thriller had its international premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival on July 21st 2012, to be followed by a theatrical release in the U.S. and cable VOD by Phase 4 Films in late 2012, with Blu-ray™, DVD and digital VOD release by Magnolia Home Entertainment under the Magnet Releasing label in early 2013. Phase 4 Films will also distribute the film theatrically and on home video in Canada.

The hotly anticipated genre-bending thriller by director Kern Saxton (co-writer of the film along with Destin Pfaff) is produced by Assembly Line, a team including Neal Fischer, Pfaff, Saxton and Suren M. Seron, in association with Level Up Productions.

Mark Hamill (Star Wars Franchise) and Tony Todd (Candyman) lead a cast of cult heroes including Noah Hathaway (The NeverEnding Story), James Duval (Donnie Darko), Andy Mackenzie (MacGruber), David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight) and Cortney Palm (Superbad). Sushi Girl also includes feature appearances by Michael Biehn (Aliens), Sonny Chiba (Kill Bill Vol. 1), Jeff Fahey (Grindhouse) and Danny Trejo (Machete).

The film centers on the compelling character of a man called “Fish,” just released after six years in jail after successfully not ratting on those involved in the robbery that sent him to prison. The night he is released, the men he protected with silence celebrate his freedom with a congratulatory dinner. The meal is a lavish array of sushi, served off the naked body of a beautiful young woman. The sushi girl seems catatonic, trained to ignore everything in the room, even if things become dangerous. Sure enough, the unwieldy thieves can’t help but open old wounds in an attempt to find their missing loot, with violent results.

“SUSHI GIRL’s all-star ensemble of fan favorite actors will resonate with the Magnet audience,” said Head of Magnolia Home Entertainment Randy Wells. “Kern and the SUSHI GIRL production team have put together an incredibly cool, well-crafted thriller, and Mark Hamill’s performance will leave fans buzzing.”

“We both loved the film so much that teaming up was the only option,” said Larry Greenberg, SVP Acquisitions of Phase 4 Films.

“It was a long battle to get the right distribution for this film, but we are extremely happy with how our partners have worked together with us to create a win for everyone involved,” said Suren M. Seron of Assembly Line.

The deals were negotiated by Magnolia’s Director of Acquisitions Peter Van Steemburg, Head of Legal and Business Affairs Chris Matson, and Phase 4’s Larry Greenberg, with Nate Bolotin and Aram Tertzakian of XYZ Films and Suren M. Seron of Assembly Line.


Xavier Gens talks about directing “The Divide”

Xavier Gens is the director of the apocalyptic thriller “The Divide”.  He is known best for directing films “Hitman” and “Frontier(s)”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Xavier about his new film and working with such an amazing cast.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you come on board to direct the “The Divide”?
Xavier Gens: I was shooting a commercial and received a call from the producer, Darryn Welch.  They sent me the script and said that they were fans of “Frontier(s)” and wanted to get my on board. I told them I really liked the concept but wanted to re-write the script a little to show my vision. I worked with Eron Sheean and Karl Mueller for eight months during casting and pre-production and we came up with the final script for the movie.

MG: The cast is such a broad collection of talent, tell us about how the cast was chosen?
XG: I worked with a fantastic casting director, Lindsey Kroeger.  She has done wonders for a lot of movies and brought us a lot of great ideas.  Since we did the casting only one month before shooting, there weren’t a lot of actors who were available.  I never could have imagined that Michael Biehn would have been available to make this film.  It was a pleasure to be working with such a legend from the 80-90’s, I grew up watching his movies.  I was a little bit impressing in the beginning to direct him on the set.  I put a weapon in his hands and directly I thought of Hicks from “Aliens” and it was really cool.  Everyone on the film was just great.

MG: Like “Frontiers(s)”, “The Divide” is pretty brutal and intense; how do you know when you go to far with your films?
XG: I was frustrated on “Hitman” because I couldn’t do the editing.  For me on “The Divide”, it was very important for me to do exactly what I wanted.  It was like making my first film again.  For me it was important to go much further where I could and bring something new out of this surrounding, almost poetic.  I was great being able to have 100% creative freedom on the project.  It was a great experience for me.

MG: What was your most difficult task in directing “The Divide”?
XG: I think it would have to be shooting in chronological order.  We had our actors on diets during shooting, so they were losing a lot of wait.  For example, Michael Biehn lost 17 pounds during filming.  I also gave a lot of creative freedom to the actors.  I used that a lot to catch the organic tension between the actors on camera.  Lauren German had trouble shooting a few scenes because she never knew what the other actors were going to be doing.  There was some scripted lines but most of it was free-range improv from the actors.

MG: How do you feel that “The Divide” differs production wise from your past films “Frontier(s)” and “Hitman”?
XG: It was a great really.  I got to do exactly what I wanted.  I was really happy with the final cut of the film.  It is hard to get that normally from a studio.  It was fantastic and I look forward to working with those people again.

MG: What do you have planned next?
XG: I am currently working out financing for a movie and waiting to sure what will be next.  I cannot be sure for the moment.  We will see what happens.

Courtney B. Vance talks about new film “The Divide”

Courtney B. Vance is known best for his role of Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”.  Last year Courtney co-star in a the horror film, “Final Destination 5” and recently appeared in the new post apocalyptic thriller “The Divide”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Courtney about his role in the new film “The Divide”.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us how you got involved with “The Divide”?
Courtney B. Vance: I read the script and initially thought it was a little darker than I tend to like. I wanted the chance to work with Xavier Gens as I loved his film “Hitman”. I wanted to see what he was going to do with this. We were in one room for about 28 days. We got to know each other really well.

MG: What did you like most about playing the Delvin character?
CV: What I liked most was that this was a true ensemble. If something didn’t quite work we could take the time to make it work a little better. Xavier (Gens)’ English is not always the best so we sometimes had to slow it down a little bit to get a better understanding of what he was saying. A lot of times after we got into things it turned out better than even he thought it would.

MG: Where was the film shot? It seemed pretty intense.
CV: We shot on a set in Winnipeg. Everything was on one little sound stage. Things were very contained.

MG: What do you like most about working in the horror genre after last year’s “Final Destination 5”?
CV: It’s new to me. I have never really worked in it before. The directors are new to me. The two I have worked with thus far are top drawer. It was great getting to know them.

MG: What do you generally look for in role when approaching a project?
CV: I like when there is an arc. I also like when there is something a character does that affects an outcome. I like when a character is more than just window dressing. I like a role to be involved.

MG: What do you like about working in both television and film?
CV: It’s the people. Most of the films I am a part of I am just glad to be a part of it. If the people are great then you have the potential for doing something wonderful. If the people are good which most of them are and the script is tight its fun for us.

Blu-ray Review “The Divide”

Directed by: Xavier Gens
Starring: Lauren German, Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia, Rosanna Arquette, Courtney B. Vance
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Running Time: 122 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

I had a hard time watching this film, it was extremely graphic and shocking. I think that was the angle they were going for but it just wasn’t for me personally. You had to expect this film to be intense though since Xavier Gens was directing. He is known for directing “Frontier(s)”, the hard to watch NC-17 horror movie and if you have seen that film, this one could have been made by Disney. The film drags major clocking in at over two hours and could have been trimmed down to 90 minutes easily. If you are looking for a effects driven end-of-the-world film, this definitely not it. The only real effects (beside some amazing makeup transformations) are in the opening scene and then this turns into a dark character drama. Overall, it definitely delivers real raw human and brutal reality post-apocalyptic feel but it just takes too long to get there.

The film has one hell of a cast though and everyone gave some really gritty and tough performances. Lauren German (Hostel: Part II) kicks-ass as the female heroine, Michael Biehn (“Aliens”, “The Terminator”) does what he does best, plays a bad-ass, Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes”) get to shine in this role, playing one crazy son bitch, Courtney B. Vance (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) gives a real and very raw performance, Michael Eklund (“Hunt To Kill”) is one creepy bastard and Rosanna Arquette (“Pulp Fiction”) gives her 10/10 performance and then tops that. If this film had to be rated based on its performances alone it would be much higher.

The film follows nine strangers, tenants of a New York apartment complex, they all escape a nuclear attack escaping to the bunker-like basement. As time goes by, the group realizes that they are stuck and start to loose their grip with reality and begin to turn on each other. Everyone is out for themselves very quickly as treachery, madness, sexual torment and savage violence start to kick in. Like I said the film is very intense and hard to watch.

The Blu-ray presentation on the other hand is very impressive. The 1080p Blu-ray transfer looks fantastic even though the film is very dark and deary. The audio also contains a very surprising Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track. I really enjoyed the score to the film as well as I felt it channeled Jon Hopkins’ “Monsters” score. Then we get to the special features, which takes this release down the shitter again. The only real extra is an audio commentary track with director Xavier Gens and actors Michael Biehn, Michael Eklund, and Milo Ventimiglia. It is an overall fun track and does add some insight into the film, even though I was not a fan. Lastly, there is the trailer and a DVD copy included.


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