It’s Time to “Answer That Question, or Take the Physical Challenge,” As Nickelodeon Brings Back “Double Dare” in Brand-New Series!

Double Dare Returns This Summer for a New Generation of Trivia, Stunts, Wringers, Hamster Wheels and Nose Picking

BURBANK, Calif.–April 25, 2018–Nickelodeon is bringing back the original kids’ game show Double Dare this summer with 40 brand-new episodes, giving a new generation of fans the chance to compete in the messiest and most physically challenging competition of their lives. With Double Dare remaining an iconic touchstone for its original millennial audiences, the new version will feature the gameplay and challenges they remember, as well as appearances from blasts from the past and stars from today.

Double Dare features two teams competing to win prizes by answering brain-bending trivia questions, completing messy, physical stunts and ultimately facing the infamous obstacle course–the human hamster wheel; the classic gigantic mouth; the wringer; and the iconic Double Dare nose.

Double Dare premiered on Oct. 6, 1986, on Nickelodeon, and ran from 1986-1993, making it the network’s longest running game show. Shortly after its debut, Double Dare became one of the most popular original daily programs on cable television. The series went into syndication in 1988, and was later revamped as Super Sloppy Double Dare in 1989. The show also ran on broadcast television as Family Double Dare in 1988, followed by new versions on Nick, including Double Dare 2000.

About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon, now in its 39th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years.

 

 

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Blu-ray Review “Tales From the Crypt / Vault of Horror: Double Feature”

Starring: Joan Collins, Dawn Addams, Peter Cushing, Tom Baker, Roy Dotrice, Michael Craig
Directors: Freddie Francis, Roy Ward Baker
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Shout! Factory
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2014
Run Time: 175 minutes

Films: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

“Tales From the Crypt” comics are one of the main reasons, I got into horror films when I was a kid. This 1972 adaption from the comics directed by Freddie Francis (The Creeping Flesh) was a great collection of horror films on film. It boasted a great cast including Joan Collins (Empire Of The Ants), Peter Cushing (Horror Of Dracula), Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange) and Sir Ralph Richardson (Rollerball). I remember the first time I saw this film by accident honestly since I thought it was a release from the HBO series and I am so glad that I did. Still holds up today for sure!

“Tales From The Crypt” Official Premise: When five unwary travelers with dark hearts stumble into a series of catacombs, they find themselves in a cavern with no way out. But the horror’s only just begun as a mysterious figure appears to reveal to each person the shocking events that will lead to their well-deserved, untimely (and unavoidable) demise. Tales From The Crypt is the original, gets-right-under-your-skin creepfest!

“Vault Of Horror” is a solid follow-up to “Tales From The Crypt” and is real draw in this release because it is available uncut for the first time on home video! It also packs a solid cast including Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Denholm Elliott (Raiders Of The Lost Ark), Curt Jurgens (The Mephisto Waltz) and Michael Craig (Mysterious Island). Like “Creepshow 2” was the “Creepshow”, it doesn’t top the first but this is a another great collection of classic horror stories, even though a little more cookie cutter.

“Vault Of Horror” Official Premise: Five unsuspecting hotel guests step into an elevator, which leads them into an underground vault. Trapped with no way out, each guest shares a gruesome tale of an encounter with death. But as the stories unfold, the men begin to suspect that their presence in the vault is no coincidence, and that the only way out…is death.

Scream Factory is behind this double feature release and it is a must for any horror fan that loves anthology films. Two great 70’s British horror films for the price of one. The 1080p transfers on both films are good. They are not outstanding but for the age of these films, the fact that they haven’t been fully restored, they look good. Same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio Mono tracks, which work well with the films scores. There are no special features included either but if you consider “Vault of Horror” as a bonus film, they are in good shape.

Vinyl Review “Disney’s TRON: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” 180g Double Vinyl Edition

Disney’s TRON
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Composer: Wendy Carlos
Double LP
180g Virgin Vinyl

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Growing up, one of my favorite films was “TRON”, now 30+ years later…little has changed. The music in the film was always my favorite. I just to listen to the cassette as kid and now I have it digitally on my smartphone. Audio Fidelity is the guys behind the the release of this album on a Double LP  with 180g translucent blue vinyl records. They are the definitely of quality when it comes to music releases. This wonderful music has never sounded better! Crack it up to 11 and enjoy the wonderful sound of “TRON” once again on vinyl!

The score itself for “TRON” an nice blend of electronic along with traditional orchestral music. Kudos to composer Wendy Carlos for her brilliant orchestral recording with symphonic backgrounds by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the UCLA Chorus. She has created some of my favorite scores including “A Clockwork Orange” and “The Shining”. The “TRON” soundtrack also has two additional tracks from the rock band Journey, “Only Solutions” and “1990’s Theme”.

The gatefold jacket inside this new vinyl reissue holds the two 180g translucent blue vinyl records and also includes colorful photos from the popular cult film. Inside there is a fantastic liner notes written by the composer as well Michael Fremer, who also served as the film’s soundtrack supervisor. Fremer also oversaw the new Audio Fidelity mastering by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. So you know it go the attention that it deserved.

Track list: 
SIDE 1
1-Creation Of TRON
2-Only Solutions – Journey
3-We’ve Got Company
4-Wormhole
5-Ring Game And Escape
6-Water, Music, And Tronaction

SIDE 2
1-TRON Scherzo
2-Miracle and Magician
3-Magic Landings
4-Theme From TRON
5-1990’s Theme – Journey
6-Love Theme

SIDE 3
1-Tower Music – Let Us Pray
2-The Light Sailer
3-Sea Of Simulation

SIDE 4
1-A New TRON And The MCP
2-Anthem
3-Ending Titles

Blu-ray Review “The Double”

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, James Fox
Director: Richard Ayoade
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Run Time: 93 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I was sold on this film from the moment it started since it feels like it is a it was born out of Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”. The both have that alternate world feel to them and I literally couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. The film goes off on a different path with doppelgangers and all sorts of crazy. I was hoping that this film was going to be a trip and it was from beginning to end. Amazing performance from Jesse Eisenberg, pulling double duty. Loved Richard Ayoade’s vision in the film and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Official Premise: Simon is a timid man, scratching out an isolated existence in an indifferent world. He is overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams. He feels powerless to change any of these things. The arrival of a new co-worker, James, serves to upset the balance. James is both Simon’s exact physical double and his opposite – confident, charismatic and good with women. To Simon’s horror, James slowly starts taking over his life.

The 1080p transfer looks good for what it is worth with the film’s retracted future feel. You can tell that some of the shots set up for the film have such purpose and are well executed. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is very is also very impressive. It goes from nearly no score to almost creepy music. The special features included are short but decent. There is focus on the cast/characters and story/design with “Creating The Double”. There is a Behind the Scenes Comparisons mixing the actually set with the final film.

There is a decent interview with Director Richard Ayoade. I feel that this guy and I would get along well. I love what he did with this film and this interview is still informative even though it is just six minutes. I still would have really loved to seen a commentary track from him. “AXS TV: A Look at The Double” is an extras TV promo with some interview clips. Lastly there is a trailer for the film included as well as other films from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

Vinyl Review: Doyle “Abominator” 180g Double Vinyl Edition

Doyle
“Abominator” 180g Double Vinyl Edition
Monster Man Records
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Former Misfits/Gorgeous Frankenstein guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein is back with a brand new album titled “Abominator”. The album is the debut release from the group simply titled “Doyle” whose members consists of guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, vocalist Alex Story, bassist Left Hand Graham and former Misfits drummer Dr. Chud. The album is being released via Monster Man Records and features 11 tracks spread over 2 180 gram virgin black LP’s

If you read our original review of this album then you already know how great it is. So you are probably wondering how you make a great album even better. Release it on 180 gram vinyl that’s how! Combine that with a vibrant double gatefold sleeve and an additional track and you really can’t ask for more. This is how you should listen to this album as the 24 bit 45rpm mixes just blast through your speakers. Don’t get me wrong the CD/MP3 versions are still great but there is just something extra appealing to the ear with the vinyl mixes. Highlights for me included the albums opening/title track “Abominator” along with “Valley of Shadows” and “Dreaming Dead Girls” which features a killer performance buy the bands front man Alex Story. Also worth checking out is the song “Drawing Down the Moon” which is exclusive to this release.

From start to finish “Abominator” is pedal to the metal energy! The album does a great job not only paying homage to the classic “Misfits” sound Doyle is known for but it also infuses a progressive element that will captivate new listeners as well. One thing I noted in my previous review was that there seemed to be a lack of bass in the albums overall mix. It seems as though that was addressed with the vinyl release as the album has a really warm even sound showcasing each of the band members tone. If you haven’t got your copy of the album yet or you want to expand your vinyl collections then make this release your next purchase.

Track Listing:
Side A:
1.) Abominator
2.) Learning to Bleed
3.) Dreaming Dead Girls

Side B:
4.) Drawing Down the Moon
5.) Valley of Shadows
6.) Land of the Dead

Side C:
7.) Cemetery Sexxx
8.) Love Like Murder
9.) Mark of the Beast

Side D:
10.) Headhunter
11.) Bloodstains
12.) Hope Hell is Warm

3D Blu-ray Review “Galactic Adventures Double Feature: 3D Sun/Mars 3D”

Actors: Al Roker
Directors: Barry Kimm
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2013
Run Time: 43 minutes

Films: 2.5 out of 5 stars
3D: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

When it comes to space, I am sucker for anything…especially in 3D. This “Galactic Adventures Double Feature” included both “3D Sun” and “Mars 3D” but I wasn’t really blown away with either one. I was recently spoiled rotten with the brilliant film “Gravity” and coming back to these films, I just wasn’t “wowed”. Still though being able to view the sun up close…and in 3D is still pretty damn cool. The narration track by Al Roker is decent but I am not a huge fan of him either…I guess Morgan Freeman was busy. “Mars 3D” is neat only because it was the first that that NASA’s actual 3D footage was adapted for public viewing so that is kind of cool getting to see this but I would call both of these one-timers. I wouldn’t watch this again for sure and both also only run less than 45 minutes together, so for the price it just doesn’t sell me.

“3D Sun” Official Premise: From Earth, the Sun cannot be looked at with human eyes. Narrated by Al Roker, 3D SUN gives audiences a chance to see the Sun up close in startling 3D. Stand above the arctic circle and witness the most brilliant auroras on Earth; take a ride on a solar blast from Sun’s surface to Earth’s Magnetosphere, and come to a deeper understanding of what this vast sea of fire means to life here on Earth. In October 2006, NASA launched twin spacecraft from a single rocket in Florida — a spacecraft that would, for the first time in the history of space exploration, capture space-born, high-definition 3D images of the Sun. In 3D SUN, the leading NASA scientists from the mission unveil these images and take us behind the scenes to tell the story of the Sun and why it is of crucial importance to all of us.

“Mars 3D” Official Premise: Mars 3D takes viewers behind the scenes of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission revealing daily dramas, mind-boggling physics and compelling science behind the $820 million dollar NASA project. Behold this celebration of space exploration and the human stories behind the mission, how engineers plunged the depths of gravity and physics to ensure a successful launch an landing and how two 380 pound rovers will bring scientists closer than ever before to solving the mysteries of Mars.

“3D Sun” looks the best of the two with its 1080p transfer framed in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The 3D looks pretty good and has some impressive depth. Now if we go to “Mars 3D”, this one was a real disappointment since it is only presented in a very sad 720p transfer in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Sorry but that is not Blu-ray quality at all, especially not 3D Blu-ray quality. Either way I feel like “Mars 3D” acts more like a bonus feature to this release as “3D Sun” carries most of the weight. Each film does have a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. There are no additional special features included besides the two films.

DVD Review “The Cabbage Patch Kids’ First Christmas/The Little Troll Prince Holiday – Double Feature”

Starring: Danny Cooksey, Vincent Price, Jonathan Winters, Cloris Leachman, Don Knotts
Directed by: Ray Patterson
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 71 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

I may be a boy but I did grown up in the 80’s with a little sister. I remember watching “The Cabbage Patch Kids’ First Christmas”, which originally aired in 1984. It has been many years since then but now with a daughter of my own. I was excited to introduce her to the classic 1980’s Christmas special. Along with that special also included is the 1987 special “The Little Troll Prince Holiday”. This one I am not too familiar with but I certainly know the all-star voice cast including Vincent Price, Jonathan Winters, Don Knotts and Cloris Leachman. My daughter really seemed to enjoy both films quite a bit and wouldn’t take her eyes off the TV for “Cabbage Patch Kids”. This films aren’t overly Christmas themed but it was nice to start getting into mood even though it isn’t even Halloween yet, but that won’t stop me. I am sure we will be revisiting these too titles quite a bit over the next few months.

Official Premise: Fire up your Yule log and get set for an early Xmas, courtesy of Xavier Roberts and a wannabe gnome! The Cabbage Patch Kids First Christmas (1986) finds the magical brood leaving the safety of their Georgia hidden patch in search of the Christmas spirit in the big city courtesy of  Ruby Spears. Beyond the protection of their human guardian Xavier Roberts and Colonel Casey the stork, the kids find that the big city has its own brand of menace, one very similar to their own… Can they find the Christmas Spirit in time to help a very special orphan? The second feature, The Little Troll Prince (1984), finds Hanna-Barbera mixings Scandinavian folklore with traditional holiday spirit for a charming concoction about a royal monster that trades in menace for a simple life of domestic gnome-dom.

These films have never before been released on DVD and thanks to Warner Archive for making this DVD possible. I swear, a month doesn’t go by that this company doesn’t give live to some rare and unique film that was collecting dust. I did notice though that the transfers of the films were not the greatest. On Warner’s website, it says that they have been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available, but they also haven’t been remastered or restored. Nonetheless, they still were completely watchable presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The Dolby Digital audio track included works well with the music, especially the songs in “The Little Troll Prince Holiday”. There were no additional special features included.

Blu-ray Review: “Scanners II: The New Order / Scanners III: The Takeover – Double Feature”

Starring: Liliana Komorowska, David Hewlett, Deborah Raffin, Valérie Valois, Yvan Ponton, Steve Parrish
Director: Christian Duguay
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Run Time: 199 minutes

Scanners II: 3 out of 5 stars
Scanners III: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

“Scanners” is one of my favorite horror flicks and one of the best films from David Cronenberg. The film was so unique, still holds up today and has spawned two sequels. “Scanners II” is a standalone from the 1981 film and has a different cast but still similar story. It has a hard act to follow-up but is a pretty decent film. The same can’t be said for “Scanners III”, which is not the greatest film but it still fun to watch (or at least it was when I was kid). Sort of reminds me a “Jaws 3-D”, terrible yet I still always watch it. This double feature is brought to us by Scream Factory, who is really coming to the aid of horror fans in need of obscure horror titles this year.

“Scanners II” Official Premise: Sequel to David Cronenberg’s 1981 feature, about a fringe group of humans who have developed telepathic powers. When a corrupt police commander (Yvan Ponton) decides to use the scanners to help take over the city, he convinces evil scientist Dr Morse (Tom Butler) to help him. Morse has plans to use a new mind-controlling drug on the telepaths, but has not reckoned with a rogue scanner who is determined to stop them.

“Scanners III” Official Premise: Second sequel to David Cronenberg’s 1981 horror, about a group of telepathic people, known as ‘scanners’, operating on the fringes of human society. Young Helena Monet (Liliana Komorowska) has exceptional telepathic abilities, but when she tries an experimental drug developed by her father she turns into a deranged killer, using her abilities to cut a murderous swathe to the top of her father’s pharmaceutical company. On her quest to dominate the world, Helena takes over a television station, and the only man who can stop her is her scanner brother Alex, recently returned from honing his skills in a Thai monastery.

Scream Factory delivered this double feature in a combo pack with Blu-ray and DVD of both films. “Scanners II & III” each located on one Blu-ray disc and one DVD. The transfers of these films are good but not out of this world. These films were never shot were not given a new touched up transfer for this release, so they both show their age a bit. Nonetheless, they both deliver what they need to in order to make the presentations worth checking out. They each come with a DTS-HD Master Audio track, which also work for what each film delivers. In terms of special features though there is no much hear except for Theatrical Trailers. But I am sure that some of you will just take “Scanners II” and consider “Scanners III” an optional bonus feature.

Blu-ray Review “The Ray Harryhausen Double Feature: She and H.G. Wells’ Things to Come”

Actors: Randolph Scott, Helen Gahagan, Nigel Bruce, Raymond Massey
Directors: Lansing C. Holden, Irving Pichel, William Cameron Menzies
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Legend Films
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Run Time: 500 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Ray Harryhausen Double Feature consists of “She (1935)” and “H.G. Wells’ Things to Come (1936)” as well as a bonus film “The Most Dangerous Game (1932)”. Now, if you are a fan of Ray Harryhausen then you would already know that he did not do the special effects for these films. But what you might not know was that he was behind the colorization and restoration of these three classic films. So this release is presented by him in terms of him acting primarily as the color consultant. So it might be a little stretch calling this a “Ray Harryhausen Double Feature” but still these are classics and it is nice to see them getting a nice Blu-ray transfer to high definition.

“She” Official Premise: From the creative team that brought you King Kong, a thrilling tale of adventure, immortality and lost love. A group of explorers, led by the dashing Leo Vincey (Randolph Scott), sets out on a mission in search of the legendary flame of life, a mysterious force that bestows immortality. Their perilous journey takes them to the heart of a remote glacier where they are taken captive by the beautiful but impossibly cruel She.

“H.G. Wells’ Things to Come” Official Premise: A landmark collaboration between writer H. G. Wells (Island of Lost Souls), producer Alexander Korda (The Thief of Bagdad), and designer and director William Cameron Menzies (Gone with the Wind), Things to Come is a science fiction film like no other, a prescient political work that predicts a century of turmoil and progress. Skipping through time, Things to Come bears witness to world war, dictatorship, disease, the rise of television, and finally, utopia.

Both “She (1935)” and “H.G. Wells’ Things to Come (1936)” have been restored to high definition from their original 35mm film elements and for films that are nearly 80 years old they look quite impressive. Since these have been selected and personally color-designed by Ray Harryhausen himself, you know that there was some love given to them. Also in this collector’s set we get both the color version of the film along with the original black-and-white format. Even though the transfer looks good, the audio tracks are not really up to Blu-ray par standards. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono tracks may not be perfect but they are able to deliver for these aged film, especially with Max Steiner’s amazing score on “She”.

The special features are impressive, especially for a Legend Films release. The bonus film “The Most Dangerous Game (1932)” is available on the extra DVD included, also in both color and black-and-white. The Blu-ray disc includes a great commentary track for “She” by Ray Harryhausen and Mark Vaz. We get some great details about the colorization and restoration. There are “Colorization Process Interviews with Ray Harryhausen” and “Film Interviews with Ray Harryhausen”, which is a must watch for any fan of his work. There are 12 minutes of classic sci-toy commercials, which are a great retro piece. Lastly there is a biography and filmography included for Ray Harryhausen.

Blu-ray Review “Steven Seagal Double Feature: Attack Force / Into the Sun”

Actors: Steven Seagal, Lisa Lovbrand, David Kennedy, Danny Webb, Matthew Davis
Directors: Michael Keusch, mink
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Run Time: 192 minutes

Our Score: 1 out of 5 stars

When it comes to Steve Seagal, I am always first in line. His films in the last 10 years haven’t been groundbreaking but I still dig them.  These films included in this double feature, “Attack Force” and “Into the Sun”, are nothing unique and far from his best films to date but I still have enjoyed them when they were released. After Seagal had a brief comeback with “Exit Wounds” and “Half Past Dead“, aka his “rapper phase”, his films have since been solely heading right to DVD. These films are no different and if you are a fan of Seagal you know that they fun and entertaining….if they were presented well.  This release has way too many issues and I wouldn’t recommend it at.  Even if you are an insane hardcore Seagal fan, be prepared to be letdown.

“Attack the Sun” Official Premise: Steven Seagal is back in this high-octane, action thriller! When Marshall Lawson (Seagal) loses his striketeam in a cold-blooded and seemingly random attack, he takes it upon himself to investigate the suspicious circumstances of the brutal killings. Soon he uncovers CTX Majestic, a covert military operation so secret, that now the military wants Marshall eliminated. Resolute in his pursuit, Marshall engages in a merciless battle with a drug dealer operation that appears to be secretly funded by a rogue arm of the military.

“Into The Sun” Official Premise: Action superstar Steven Seagal is back in this nonstop thrill ride! When the governor of Tokyo is murdered, it falls on ex-CIA agent Travis Hunter (Seagal) to track down the responsible terrorists. However, the plot to kill the Governor is only the beginning of a web of corruption and violence. Hunter discovers a plan by a rising Yakuza leader to build an enormous drug-dealing network with the Chinese Mafia. With time running out and the Yakuza determined to see their plan through, Hunter must thwart the operation and get out alive.

The 1080p transfers on both “Attack Force” and “Into the Sun” looks good and both films have a decent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, but that is not where the problem lies. “Attack of the Sun” has issues with dialogue syncing and looks like a bad “Godzilla” movie. I am not sure why this wasn’t addressed before distributing.  It makes the film very hard to watch unless it is just background noise.  But that isn’t even the worst of it, most of “Into the Sun” is in various different languages, mostly Japanese I believe, and get this…there are no regular subtitles for the non-English languages.  So you miss most of what is being said.  Now given there is an English SDH track but then you have to even watch the English dialogue subs…and badly subbed to boot. There are no special features included either for this release. Although it is available at less than $10 bucks, this is a solid pass!

Blu-ray Review "Jackie Chan Double Feature: Crime Story / The Protector"

Actors: Jackie Chan, Kent Cheng, Danny Aiello
Directors: Kirk Woong, James Glickenhaus
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Run Time: 198 minutes

Double Feature: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love classic Jackie Chan? This double feature includes two films: “Crime Story” and “The Protector”. It is great to see Chan fly around without wires or CG effects. The US cut of “The Protector” is good but has never been my favorite of mine or Jackie Chan’s either hence his created his own personal cut with more action and less nudity. Luckily this edition is included in the special features. You can tell that Shout! but some love into this release and they are a real step up from Echo Bridge’s four-pack of Jackie Chan’s features on Blu-ray. If you are a fan of Jackie Chan, then you are going to want to check this out.  Looking for more? Shout! Factory is releasing another Jackie Chan Double Feature “Police Story / Police Story II” this April.

“Crime Story” Official Premise: Jackie Chan stars in one of his grittiest roles ever as a police detective on the edge, who must race against time to solve a deadly kidnapping case. Based on the shocking true story of a billionaire abducted in a bold ambush, and filled with explosive martial-arts battles, Crime Story pulses with tension and excitement. Director Kirk Wong (The Big Hit) deftly combines acrobatic fight choreography with edge-of-your-seat action for this thrilling and dramatic tour-de-force for Jackie Chan.

“The Protector” Official Premise: Written and directed by James Glickenhaus (The Exterminator), The Protector stars Jackie Chan and Danny Aiello (Do the Right Thing) as a pair of NYPD cops sent to Hong Kong to catch a drug lord who has kidnapped the daughter of his former associate. Also starring martial-arts star Moon Lee (Angel Force) and Roy Chiao (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), this thriller features Hollywood-style action sprinkled with Chan’s death-defying stunts.

Shout! Factory has delivered decent but not amazing 1080p transfers here, both presented in their original aspect ratios of 1.85:1.  When I think about classic Jackie Chan action films, I think about the gritty feel though so they work for me to be honest.  They are not perfect but then again neither or the films themselves. The audio tracks on the other hand are much more solid.  “Crime Story” comes with both a Cantonese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Obviously the original Cantonese works the best personally.  Then there is also a Cantonese and English Dolby Digital 2.0. “The Protector” comes with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0.

The special features for “Crime Story” are good but not great. There is an interview with the director Kirk Wong in Cantonese, with optional English subtitles. There are a few deleted scenes also in Cantonese, with optional English subtitles. Lastly there is the original un-subtitled trailer and a US trailer. “The Protector” really delivers the best features on this release. “The Protector: Alternate Cut” is Jackie Chan’s personal cut of the film and is in Cantonese, with optional English subtitles but only in standard definition. “From New York to Hong Kong” is an interview with director James Glickenhaus talking about working with Jackie Chan. “Locations: Then and Now” is a shot featurette showing the shooting location, not narrated and can be skipped. “Behind the Scenes Featurette” is raw shooting footage in Cantonese and not subtitled. Lastly there is the Hong Kong and US trailer included.

DVD Review “Silent Night, Deadly Night: Double Feature”

Starring: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Robert Brian Wilson, Eric Freeman, James L. Newman, Elizabeth Cayton, Jean Miller
Directors: Charles E. Sellier, Jr., Lee Harry
MPAA Rating: NR / R
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012
Running Time: 85 / 88 minutes

“Silent Night, Deadly Night”: 3.5 out of 5 stars
“Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2”: 1 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, no question.  But what is Christmas without a little cheesy 80’s slasher horror.  “Silent Night, Deadly Night” has always been a favorite of mine to revisit during the holiday season.  The film has been hated and fought against since it theatrical release date.  It goes in and out-of-print on DVD what seems like every few years.  It has never been given the respect that it deserves.  In this Christmas Survival Double Feature, we get both “Silent Night, Deadly Night” and its absolutely terrible rehash sequel “Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2” on one release.   Horror fans will enjoy this release to get into the holiday spirit.

“Silent Night, Deadly Night” comes in its original unrated version, which is the best way to view it. The only issue is that it varies in quality since the uncut footage is not as clean. There is a nice disclaimer before the film starts, which says pretty much “Hey, here is the extra footage you asked for but it ain’t pretty”.  I prefer the extra gore to quality.   “Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2” is a really sad excuse for a film.  It spends the first 40 minutes only showing clips from the first film.  Let’s just say they put this film was a double features since no one would buy it solo.

“Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)”: Years ago, little Billy saw his parents murdered by an escaped killer wearing a Santa Claus costume. The experience left indelible scars on his psyche, made all the worse by his subsequent years languishing in an orphanage, where his life was made a living hell by the cruel and domineering Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin, Universal Soldier). With the help of the sympathetic Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormick, Slaughterhouse-Five, Starting Over), the 18-year-old Billy (Robert Brian Wilson, “Search for Tomorrow”) secures a job at a toy store. But when the store’s regular Santa is injured, Billy is called upon to don the red suit. But as he does, he becomes a ticking time bomb. The traumatic memories of his parents’ murders, combined with the abuse he has suffered at the hands of the Mother Superior, propel him into a state of psychotic rage. Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s got murder on his mind…

“Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2” (1987): Billy’s younger brother Ricky (Eric Freeman) follows in the family tradition of Christmas carnage. Psycho Santa is back…to deck the halls with chunks of bodies!

The special features are nothing spectacular but has a few extras worth checking out.  On “Silent Night, Deadly Night”, there is a audio interview with the director, Charles E. Sellier, Jr.; as well as poster and still gallery and “Santa’s Stocking of Outrage” featurette.  “Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2”, besides being an embarrassment of a film, contains an audio commentary from writer/director Lee Harry, Writer Joseph H. Earle and actor James Newman.  Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included, as well as a poster and still gallery. Also if you watch the film on your computer it has a DVD-Rom extra includes the original screenplay to download.

Blu-ray Review “Hostel & Hostel Part II: Double Feature”

Directed by: Eli Roth
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo, Jordan Ladd, Barbara Nedeljakova, Bijou Phillips, Roger Bart, Richard Burgi.
Distributed by: Mill Creek Entertainment
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 189 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Eli Roth hit the horror scene with the amazingly original “Cabin Fever” in 2002. “Hostel” was a perfect follow-up for him, even outdoing his first film. His decision to do “Hostel Part II” himself was a risky but overall turned out pretty well. Both films are also presented by Quentin Tarantino, so that always bodes well for a film. Mill Creek Entertainment has put both of these great films together in this impressive double feature. Both “Hostel & Hostel Part II” include their unrated director’s cut, which is quite a bonus. or a low-cost of less than $10 bucks, this is a must for all horror fans.

“Hostel” is a shocking and relentless film in the tradition of Saw about two American backpackers (Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson) in Europe who find themselves lured in as victims of a murder-for-profit business. “Hostel Part II” is the shocking and gruesome sequel about the underground torture ring where rich businessmen pay to torture and murder their victims.

Both “Hostel” and “Hostel Part II” look fantastic on this Blu-ray release. They are presented in there own respectively 1080p transfers and are presented in an 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Both films also come with an impressive DTS-MA 5.1 audio track. The film’s score by Nathan Barr sounds impressive throughout both films. Alas, this release is lacking in the special features department. None of the previously released features are included on this set. But like I said earlier for $10 bucks, this is still a sweet deal!

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Double Feature: The Prophecy / The Prophecy II”

Directors: Gregory Widen, Greg Spence
Starring: Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Vincent Spano, Russell Wong
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 181 minutes

The Prophecy: 4 out of 5 stars
The Prophecy II: 3.5 out of 5 stars

As I have stated before, Christopher Walken delivers one of his best roles as Gabriel in this franchise. This release finally brings us “The Prophecy II” on Blu-ray for the first time. It comes packaged with the first film as well. Not sure why Echo Bridge chose it leave it out in the last collection. Overall this series is always fun to watch and continues to be entertaining throughout each viewing. This is a must purchase for all fans of the horror genre.

“The Prophecy” follows an L.A. homicide detective, who while fighting to stop the forces of evil, finds an unlikely ally in an elementary school teacher. Together they race against time and terror to save the world as we know it. “The Prophecy: God’s Army” brings the returns of Christopher Walken as the menacing angel Gabriel. The only hope for survival in the battle of good and evil lands in the unborn child of an innocent woman (Jennifer Beals)…unless Gabriel catches her first.

The Blu-ray presentation on both of these films are very impressive. They both come with 1080p high definition transfer. “The Prophecy” is presented with an impressive Dolby Digital 5.1 track. While “The Prophecy II” only comes with a 2.0 Stereo track. “The Prophecy” also packed with a theatrical trailer and a production featurette, which is rare (but encouraged) for Echo Bridge. If you are a fan of the series and looking for a chance to own the missing second film, this is a cheap and quick way to get these films on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Double Feature: The Crow: City of Angels / The Crow: Wicked Prayer”

Directors: Tim Pope, Lance Mungia
Starring: Vincent Perez, Edward Furlong, Mia Kirshner, Tara Reid
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 185 minutes

The Crow: City of Angels: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Crow: Wicked Prayer: 2 out of 5 stars

I feel bad for Vincent Perez in “The Crow: City of Angels”, since he has really big shoes to walk-in. This sequel does not trump the first one with the late Brandon Lee but it surely gives it some respect and delivers a good time. On the other side of this release we have “The Crow: Wicked Prayer”, which does not succeed at all. The film has Edward Furlong taking the lead as the risen vigilante but it is more laughable than chilling. I would have liked to see a double feature with “The Crow” and “The Crow: City of Angels”, but Echo Bridge unfortunately doesn’t have the right to the first film.

“The Crow: City of Angels” is a fast-moving and action-packed sequel to The Crow and stars Vincent Perez and Mia Kirshner. After being brought back to life by a mysterious crow, our vicitim seeks revenge on the evil drug cartel that murdered him with the help of beautiful woman Sarah (Kirshner). “The Crow: Wicked Prayer” stars Tara Reid, David Boreanaz and Edward Furlong. It follows ex-con Jimmy Cuervo (Furlong) who while trying to straighten out his life, his girlfriend Lily and himself are brutally murdered by a renegade biker gang in a satanic ritual. Of course in line with the series, Cuervo comes back to get revenge.

Despite the including of “Wicked Prayer”, this Blu-ray presentation is actually quite impressive. Both films look great in their 1080p transfers and both include very powerful DTS 5.1 audio track, as well as 2.0 Stereo tracks. Also in a rare change for Echo Bridge each film actually has special features. For “City of Angels”, there is Brandan Lee’s Last Interview and a production featurette. For “Wicker Prayer”, there is two deleted scenes and a commentary track with director Lance Mungia, director of photography Kurt Brabbee, editor Dean Holland and sound designer Steve Avila. Not the best track but better than no extras.

 

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