Win the Latest Movie from the Director of “Jeepers Creepers”, “Dark House” on Blu-ray [ENDED]

To celebrate the release on Blu-ray, Media Mikes is excited to giveaway one (1) copy of “Dark House” on Blu-ray. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite horror film. This giveaway will remain open until March 28th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email

Famed horror director Victor Salva (“Jeepers Creepers”  returns in the blood-curdling new film starring Tobin Bell (“Saw” franchise), “Dark House”. From the mind of Charles Agron, the eerie thriller follows Nick Di Santo (Luke Kleintank, “Pretty Little Liars”) who has the chilling ability to foresee how one will inevitably perish by simply touching them. Tormented by this power, Nick learns from his institutionalized mother (Golden Globe nominee Lesley-Anne Down, “North and South”) that his father, whom he previously thought was deceased, is actually alive. Hoping that he can reveal the origin of his dark gift, Nick sets off to find his father with his best friend (Anthony Ray Perez, “Don’t Pass Me By”) and girlfriend (Alex McKenna, “90210”).
Along their journey, they are terrified when they realize that every road they take leads them to the same decrepit mansion, one that only previously existed in Nick’s childhood imagination. Finally succumbing to the will of the house, Nick soon finds himself in a horrifying battle with a mysterious, haunting figure (Bell).

Scott Frazelle talks about co-producing and co-writing “House of Bad”

Scott Frazelle co-produced and co-wrote December’s House of Bad. Media Mikes had a chance to catch up with the multi-tasker to get the low-down on one of the most buzzed about horror films on the net.  Be sure to check out “House of Bad” when it hits DVD on December 3.

Mike Gencarelli: What exactly does a co-producer do?
Scott Frazelle: In my experience, that title is given to an individual that not only has a specific job, but also brings something to the table in the form of resources or creativity, or both. In the case of House of Bad, our Director, Jim Towns, Producer Dorota Skrzypek, and myself all shared an equal part of producing this feature. Jim brought the script, and a location already in mind. I secured resources and began planning logistics. Dorota found capitol. We equally hammered out the creative details to make it work on screen, and we did the same through the process of post-production. There are plenty of examples where one individual took the lead, but it is absolutely accurate to say we shared this task equally.

MG: How hands-on were you? Was it a case of being on set, doing whatever needed to be done there and then, or was it more a case of making sure the ducks were all in a row before Jim started shooting the movie?
SF: It worked out that Jim asked me to get involved right at a moment where I was between projects for a short time. I was able to do a few weeks of solid prep, then we were off and running. Things were organized pretty well. I stayed on set and was Line Producer through the shoot, as well as another pair of hands wherever needed. I’ve worked in many capacities on Indie features, so its hard for me not to be involved while on set. Plus, I love the culture of being on set. Its amazing to watch complete strangers come together and step into this circus that is filmmaking.

MG: What’s the biggest difficultly doing an indy film?
SF: Overcoming the urge to let enthusiasm overpower good judgement. A lot of Indie projects are a labor of love or a great idea that hasn’t reached the right channels to properly realize them. As a result, the movie suffers, and the people involved suffer. There’s a saying that goes around town, “If you don’t have enough money… you don’t have the right script.” Often times that’s thrown at small projects that are trying make ends meet as a criticism, but really, it should be a mantra that helps guide your judgement. Its not easy, sometimes, to get your start or see your project come to life, but you have to pick your projects in a way that best honors the quality of the project. If you’ve done a budget several times, and you know you really need $250K, it’s going to get rough when you raise only half of that, and decided to do it anyway. Asking people to work 16 hour days for an entire week “for the sake of the movie” is garbage, damaging, and insulting. You can’t do that if you want to work with people again, and you certainly can’t do that if you want what’s on screen to be right. I’m a firm believer in quality, and it begins with EVERYTHING. The script you write or choose, the people you hire, how you treat them, it all has to be guided by doing it right. The best decision you can make could be to NOT proceed with a project…until you’re prepared.

MG: You’re actually a bit of a horror veteran. I see you were in “Creepshow III”! Where and when did the love affair with fright-films begin?
SF: Like all good American kids of the time, through television! I fell in love with classic, and b-movie horror films, at an early age. I remember being fascinated watching The Creature from the Black Lagoon around age 6, followed quickly by Tarantula, Them, The Blob, and re-run after re-run of The Twilight Zone. My father has an affinity for those works, so I was able to catch them on TV with him. Those kinds of horror films really had a fantastic quality to them, they were able to make an impression on me much better than say, Casablanca, would have at that age. I think I saw Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Psycho when I was about 10, and I no longer needed a monster suit to hold my attention, those were the films that made me realize people are the monsters in our world. My involvement with Creepshow3 was in many ways a dream come true, I got a chance to be a part of the legacy of one of my most favorite movies.

MG: Did the script go through many drafts?
SF: I don’t know how many rewrites Jim went through before he decided to show it to me, but when we both agreed to move forward on it together, there wasn’t the need for a lot of work. I wanted to make some changes, but mostly in the nuances. I thought Jim had some great little moments still lurking in his script, and that the movie would be better served by dragging those things into the light. Jim and I worked together to do that, and it didn’t take much time before we both felt it was done.

MG: When you sold the film to the distributor, were you forced to make any changes – either in the title, how the film was marketed, or otherwise. Was it like handing over a baby to a stranger and just hoping it’d be Okay?
SF: It was! We had been handling everything about the movie from day one-including PR, and generating reviews, and all the stuff it takes to get a distributor interested; so when we made a deal with Osiris Entertainment, there was the relief of not having to do all that any more. At the same time, it was the beginning of a whole new kind of stress because, you know, there goes our baby. But one of the biggest factors in accepting the offer from Osiris was that they genuinely liked the film, and didn’t feel there was a need to change anything about it. Jim, Dorota and myself, all agreed that we’d get the best support from a company that appreciated and enjoyed what we had created, so when they did decided to change the DVD cover, we felt their reasoning was sound and continued to put us in the best position possible.

MG: Was it always called House of Bad? or did you have some alternative titles at one stage?
SF: It’s always been House of Bad. I liked the title when I first read it, I thought there was something just a little spooky about it. It never made me think of a slasher film, or torture porn, or anything like that. There was something unsettling about it, in just the right way. Our cast and crew were one of the best little production families ever, we got along, and there was a lot of fun riffing on the title throughout the production, but nobody ever came up with anything that fit better. Once we began, and started talking about it with friends, everyone seemed to react the same way. The planned sequels, however…

MG: You’re also a book editor. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
SF: My formal education is in writing, and one of my gifts, I believe, is the ability to help a fellow writer improve or refine their ideas. This is different from Punch-Up, where you’re hired to take a script and actually rewrite portions of it to meet certain needs; I feel like when I read another writer’s work, I can see their story through it’s flaws, the most common of which is keeping a particular voice, and pacing. I don’t like to put my words into other people’s work, but I can help another writer see where they’ve gotten off course, or change things to keep to the spirit of their story. Its a little like being a coach; sometimes, because you’re the not the one swinging the bat, or club, or whatever, you can see where a tiny adjustment harnesses the all the power. The first time I’ve officially been named Editor was in 2008, when Dorota began her women’s fiction series Sex, Life, and Hannah. She had this idea for a dating series set in Los Angeles. It was high-energy, and magnetic, and the characters were all very real, but it was still evolving. I’ve been attached to that project for three books now, with a fourth on the way, and it’s been great. I’m also serving as editor on her erotic thriller, The Need, which is going to blow people’s minds (and which I really hope gets realized as a feature)! Its great to work in that creative capacity, being there to help things click.

 

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Jim Towns talks about directing the film “House of Bad”

If you walk away from December’s rather tense House of Bad a little shaken and stirred, the man to send your letters of complaint to is Jim Towns. Media Mikes had a chance to talk to the talented up-and-coming filmmaker about one of the most daunting films you’ll see this year. Be sure to check out “House of Bad” when it hits DVD on December 3.

Mike Gencarelli: How far back does the story of House of Bad’s conception go?
Jim Towns: All the way back in college I’d had a vague idea for a story about three sisters on the run with a stolen suitcase of drugs. I thought I’d someday do it as a graphic novel or a prose story, and at one point I wanted to do it as a black box theatre play, but I’m glad I held onto it for a while until it could be realized on film.

MG: Were you a horror/thriller fan growing up? Is that what stemmed the interest in doing a genre film? Or is it because horror seems to be an easier sell these days?
JT: No, I’m an old-school, dyed-in-the-wool horror fan. Scooby-Doo, The Munsters, and Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein pretty much sealed my fate at an early age. I think it’s pretty apparent when “mainstream” filmmakers try to exploit the horror genre in order to get a film made and sold and bolster their reputation. I’ve been sent a few of those scripts and I think those films – and we’ve all seen them- come across as very hollow and half-hearted. Horror fans are smart, and they know when someone’s trying to exploit the genre. Also, I’m not sure horror is actually that easy of a sell these days either, because there’s a helluva lot of people making a helluva lot of horror films right now. It’s pretty hard to rise above the white noise of all that and land a good distribution deal, it takes something unique.

MG: You co-wrote the script. We picture two guys on computers, side-by-side, madly writing something by moonlight. Is that how it worked?
JT: Not really. I had a rough draft done before Scott [Frazelle]came on. We never actually sat together in a room with duelling laptops or anything, it was mostly emailing each other scenes and revisions and working in tandem to hone in on the best structure and the most compelling character moments to give the film the most impact for the viewer. Scott’s a great writer with a natural instinct for what makes a story work, and that was a huge benefit for the movie.

MG: Are the people involved in the film – particularly behind-the-scenes – all friends? Or was this a case of ’rounding up’ the best for the job?
JT: Scott and I have each worked in just about every capacity on films and TV at some point over the years, so it really was a matter of tapping our combined talent pool. Luckily we knew just about everyone we needed for the crew, and the jobs we didn’t have anyone for, someone we knew would know someone who was perfect. When you basically have no time for pre-production, you have to find people you know aren’t going to let you down, because lost time is lost money and that’ll sink you, so you simply cannot afford to pick the wrong person. I look at the finished film now and I see the amazing look our DP Chad Courtney and art director Nikki Nemzer gave it. The great makeup by Jennifer Jackson. The seamless blend between Anthony Eikner’s SFX and Gregg Deitrich’s VFX work on many of the blood gags. Nina Lucia’s razor-sharp editing. The incredible score by Terry Huud, and on and on. So yes, they were all friends, and yes we got the best for the job. It’s nice when that works out.

MG: Who is the audience for the film, in your opinion?
JT: House of Bad has all the signature moments of a good horror film- building suspense, big scares, great gory effects, so I’m not too surprised that horror fans have responded so favorably to it. What has surprised me is how well it’s connected to non-horror viewers. I think the dramatic setup of the movie, the dynamic of the three sisters dealing with the ghosts of their past, connects with a much larger demographic beyond the horror fanbase– so to answer your question, I think the film is for anyone who enjoys a good story, but can handle a few scares, too.

MG: Complete the sentence. ‘You’ll love House of Bad, if you liked…’
JT: Indie films, ghost stories, and films that don’t suck.

MG: The movie seems to be getting a lot of publicity online. How important is the internet in terms of marketing a film like this?
JT: It’s absolutely critical when you can’t afford to buy ad space or billboards. Online critics, reviewers and bloggers are a vital component in getting the word out about your movie, and I’m really thankful for everyone who’s taken the time to watch and review HoB and for the interviews, especially since the reaction has been so overwhelmingly positive. I’ve never had any of my films get such good press across the board and it’s been a pretty awesome few months, I can tell you. To my peers out there with a film project in the works I’d say put aside a few bucks aside and try to hire a good PR company like ours (October Coast) to raise your film’s awareness. Social media is great but it can only reach so far.

MG: What’s your next movie?
JT: There’s a few things coming up for me right now, which is exciting. There’s a supernatural western called A Man with a Gun, which is about this gunfighter with a dark past who travels through Purgatory to rescue the souls of his murdered wife and son. I wrote and am producing it, and it will feature Dani Lennon (Bite Me) and Tony Todd. Getting a call on your cell from the Candyman is a pretty cool thing, I gotta say. I’m also set to shoot 13 Girls next year, which is sort of a cross between Rosemary’s Baby and Law & Order. Sadie Katz and I will be reuniting on that one, as well as another little film we’re developing called Invasive, which will be really scary and really really sexy, too. Maybe even more sexy than scary, I don’t know. But it’ll be a lot of fun to watch, without doubt.

See the Original “House on Haunted Hill” on the Big Screen in Tampa! [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

One of the best things about retro-cinemas is having the chance to see classic films on the big screen where they belong. This month Media Mikes has teamed up with the Tampa Pitcher Show to send one lucky reader and a guest to the November 23rd Horror Matinee presentation of William Castle’s 1958 classic “House on Haunted Hill,” starring Vincent Price, Richard Long and Elisha Cook, Jr.

The presentation will be hosted by nationally known horror host Wolfman Mac Kelly. Kelly is probably best known as the host of the long running syndicated television program “Chiller Drive-In.” The screening begins promptly at 1:00 p.m. For more information go to www.tampapitchershow.net

All you have to do is leave us a comment letting us know what classic horror film you’d like to see again on the big screen. One random comment will be chosen and the winner will be notified by email. This contest ends at noon on Thursday, November 21st. Good luck!

DVD Review “White House Down”

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx
Director: Roland Emmerich
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
Run Time: 132 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I love action films as much as the next guy, but I wasn’t super thrilled to rush out and see “White House Down” (as was anyone else it seemed either). I felt the same way about the other White House-under attack film “Olympus Has Fallen” but I thought it was pretty awesome. “White House Down” was fun stupid action fun but nothing too memorable. I should expected that from director Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow”, “2012”). All action and no plot. Worth checking out but keep those expectations down and also what woman doesn’t enjoy looking at Channing Tatum.

Official Premise: Capitol Policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Not wanting to let down his little girl with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, when the complex is overtaken by a heavily armed paramilitary group. Now, with the nation’s government falling into chaos and time running out, it’s up to Cale to save the president, his daughter, and the country.

When I think of “White House Down”, a $150 million dollar big summer film, I think amazing visual effects and window shattering sound. Well, you really don’t get that with this DVD, so if you do decide to watch this film be sure to do so on Blu-ray. Plus, the special features on this DVD are only half of what is on the Blu-ray, which is another bummer. What we get are four featurettes, which are ok but I can’t help but feel like I am missing out. “A Dynamic Duo” is a chat with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx about teaming up. “Meet the Insiders” looks into the films supporting cast. “Men of Acting” focuses on the stunt training. Lastly “Roland Emmerich – Upping the Ante” features the director talking about his latest film.

 

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3D Blu-ray Review “House of Wax 3D (1953)”

Actors: Vincent Price, Reggie Rymal, Frank Lovejoy, Carolyn Jones, Charles Bronson
Directors: Andre De Toth
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Run Time: 88 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
3D: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I remember the very first time that I ever saw “House of Wax”, I believe it was also my first introduction to the amazing Vincent Price. That was many many years ago and yet watching the film today, it is still as amazing as it was over 20 years ago. “House of Wax” was released in 1953 and was the first color 3D feature released by a major studio and grossed (in adjusted figures) over $400 million dollars. This film is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary and Warner Bros is releasing it for the first time ever in 3D as it was originally meant to be seen in theaters. Highly recommend for any classic horror and Vincent Price fan.

Official Synopsis: Professor Henry Jarrod (Price) is the owner and figure sculptor in a wax museum whose specialty is historic figures. When he and his business partner, Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts) quarrel over the choice of exhibits displayed, Burke suggests it would be more profitable to burn down the museum in order to obtain the insurance money. As they fight, the museum burns and Jarrod is left for dead. It’s not until much later at a new museum that the fate of Jarrod and the mystery of how the lifelike waxed figures are created becomes gruesomely evident.

The film marked Vincent Price”s first major starring horror role and a real landmark point for his career. It also co-starred a young Charles Bronson (that’s right same guy from “Death Wish”). So this film just wasn’t a typical convert to 3D to cash in release, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging delivered a brand new 4K scan, a full restoration and a perfect 3D image alignment. It really shows and looks quite amazing in 3D for a film celebrating 60 years. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track also works very well. Warner also included as a bonus, the 2D version of the film as well.  This also marks the first time that “House of Wax” is being released on Blu-ray.

The special features are pretty decent. There is all new featurette: “House of Wax: Unlike Anything You’ve Seen Before”, which is a must watch for any fan. I was also really impressed that “Mystery of The Wax Museum”, the original 1933 film on which “House of Wax” is based was also included as a bonus feature. “Round-the-Clock Premiere: Coast Hails House of Wax” looks at the premiere of the film. Lastly, there is an expert commentary track included as well as a theatrical trailer.

The most successful 3D movie of the 1950s, House of Wax, comes to 3D Blu-ray™ for the very first time on October 1st! http://amzn.to/18TEJ1q

Win Complimentary Passes to Kansas City Screenings of “Grease,” “Animal House” and “Real Genius” at the Alamo Drafthouse [ENDED]

Media Mikes has teamed up with the Alamo Drafthouse to give our readers a chance to win passes to themed screenings of the following films in Kansas City:

On Tuesday, September 17, join the T-Birds and Pink Ladies in a specially themed presentation of the classic 1978 musical “Grease.” This is a special sing-a-long screening, with the lyrics projected on screen during the film (like you’ll need them)

Text PINK LADIES and your ZIP CODE to 43549 to enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see the GREASE SING-ALONG. (1) winner will be drawn on Monday, September 16.

On Wednesday, September 18, it’s time to join the members of Delta Tau Chi as they throw a Toga Party to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of “National Lampoon’s Animal House.”
Text TOGA and your ZIP CODE to 43549 to enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see the ANIMAL HOUSE TOGA PARTY. (1) winner will be drawn on Tuesday, September 17.

Finally, go back to the 80s and celebrate with Val Kilmer and the fellow braniacs of “Real Genius.”

Text IQ and your ZIP CODE to 43549 to enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see REAL GENIUS. (1) winner will be drawn on Wednesday, September 18.

Blu-ray Review “The House Of Seven Corpses”

Actors: John Ireland, Faith Domergue, John Carradine
Directors: Paul Harrison
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Severin Films
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Zombies are taking off Hollywood recently with hits like “World War Z” in theaters and “The Walking Dead” on television. “The House Of Seven Corpses” is a fun entry from the 70’s that is finally getting the Blu-ray treatment from indie distributor Severin Films. Right from this film’s great setup opening scene to the crazy zombie all-out finale, this is classic old school zombie flick. I see this being a good film to put on during a rainy weekend and just to vege out. The film is a slow-burn but it is worth sticking out due for the bang finish. Definitely screams 70’s horror but horrorhounds should dig it.

Official Premise: Eight graves! Seven bodies!” screamed the ads, “One killer… and he’s already dead!” Hollywood legends John Ireland (“Red River”, “Satan’s Cheerleaders”), John Carradine (“The Grapes of Wrath”, “Vampire Hookers”) and Howard Hughes’ paramour Faith Domergue (“Cult of the Cobra”, “This Island Earth”) star this much-loved `70s shocker about a film crew shooting an occult drama in a sinister manor – actually the former Utah Governor’s Mansion – with its own grisly history of family bloodshed.

Severin Films is releasing this film as a Blu-ray + DVD Combo. The 1080p transfer is very impressive as this film has been transferred into HD from original vault materials. The same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, which works well with the spooks and scares. The special features are also pretty impressive with an exclusive archive interview with the legendary horror icon John Carradine. There is also a new revealing audio commentary with Associate Producer Gary Kent Moderated By The Alamo Drafthouse’s Lars Nilsen. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

“House Party 5: Tonight’s the Night” DVD Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Who doesn’t love to party? Media Mikes is excited to offer it’s fan a chance to win one of TWO DVD for the latest installment in the “House Party” series. “House Party 5: Tonight’s the Night” comes to DVD on July 23rd and looks like a great time. If you would like to enter for your chance to win this great prize, whether it’s a living room dance party, pouring too many shots in the kitchen, or your neighbor jumping fully clothed into the pool, house parties will always be epic! Tell us what’s your most outrageous real-life house party story? This giveaway will remain open until August 5th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Also be sure to celebrate party fun by playing with killer sound clips from the movie by triggering pads on the light-up soundboard. Click around on different pads to UNLOCK exclusive GIFs from the movie and play with all the sounds to uncover all the hidden GIFs!

House Party 5 Synopsis:
A pair of high school rappers have two major goals – make music and get hot girls. The best way to get both is to throw the biggest and best house party ever! The night of the party, one of the boys is grounded by his parents, so it’s up to his best friend to break him out of his house confinement and get the party started.

Film Review “White House Down”

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Rolland Emmerich
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 131 minutes
Columbia Pictures

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Rolland Emmerich has always been the man behind some of the summer’s biggest and most violent blockbusters. From aliens blowing up world landmarks, Mel Gibson massacring the British and the foaming at the mouth wrath of mother nature, Emmerich has a knack for getting butts in theater seats. He’s now set his sights on destroying and killing every little thing he can get his hands on inside the confines of the President’s home in “White House Down”.

Like any decent action flick, we need the customary character introductions before all hell breaks loose. That’s where we meet President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx), who idolizes Abraham Lincoln and is hoping to ink one of the biggest Middle East peace deals. Heading up security and Presidential details is Martin Walker (James Woods), who is reaching retirement and seems less than happy with President Sawyer’s foreign policy. We then meet the character that all the women in the audience were gleefully looking forward to, D.C. police officer John Cale (Channing Tatum). He’s a former soldier who’s still trying to put his life together after his divorce. He’s keeping himself busy as security for the speaker of the house, Eli Ralphelson (Richard Jenkins), but this has put a strain on the relationship with his daughter, Emily (Joey King).

But today he’s got a surprise for his daughter, a pass to tour the White House. Which is very low on a lot of preteen girl’s lists, but Emily’s freakish love of politics makes this surprise seem like an early Christmas gift. Before that though, he has an interview for the Presidential secret service. That’s where the audience watches him get turned down and told “You’re just not secret service material”. Of course everyone knows we’re about to spend the next testosterone fueled hour and a half watching John prove his interviewer wrong. The beginning of the movie really dragged its feet trying to establish every single secondary and background character. Trust me, there are way too many to mention in this review. The secondary characters that get the least amount of screen time are actually the most pleasant and fun to watch. Though she’s the most prominent, as secret service agent Carol Finnerty, Maggie Gyllenhaal just kind of occupies the space she’s given. Luckily though, things pick up when a bomb detonates at the Capitol building. As smoke and flames pour out of the Capitol’s dome, a group of paramilitary mercenaries, led by Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke), take over the White House. They systematically go through every room in the place and kill every form of security with deadly precision.

Action movies like this rest on a very thin line. They can be incredibly silly and boring for the audience or they can be a highly entertaining movie that evokes plenty of emotion. Not necessarily tears, but rounds of laughter, applause and cheers. Since it takes place at the White House, there are plenty of light hearted jabs at politicians and pundits. The politics remain right in the middle so that both the red and blue moviegoers can get some laughs in. As an American, it’s more engrossing to watch a movie like this because we’re watching 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue turn from a beacon of national pride to an arcade style shoot em’ up. One of the best action sequences in the film includes the front lawn of the White House becoming host to a death race. The script, by James Vanderbilt, surprisingly keeps the action from being eye rollingly dull and predictable. But he also manages to keep it ridiculous enough to put a smile on theater goers faces, mine being one of them.

I have to admit, Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum may be one of the more interesting duos to hit the screens in a while. I wouldn’t have suspected it, but the chemistry between the two melds well.. Especially when Jamie Foxx realizes the peaceful commander-in-chief schtick isn’t gonna work and needs to operate a rocket launcher. If you’ve exhausted your other summer movie choices and are looking for a fun, cheesy movie, this is a good filler.

Blu-ray Review “House of Cards: The Complete First Season”

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Kate Mara, Corey Stoll, Reuel Pendleton, Sakina Jaffrey, Michael Kelly, Kristen Connolly
Developed by: Beau Willimon
Number of discs: 4
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013
Run Time: 674 minutes

Series: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

“House of Cards” is a pretty cutting edge TV series since it was made for and released specifically for Netflix. It consists of 13 episodes, which were released all at once on the paid online service. It is a fierce political drama with Kevin Spacey, perfectly leading pack. The show also co-stars Robin Wright, Kate Mara, and Corey Stoll (whom I loved in “Midnight in Paris”). David Fincher also co-created and directed the first two episodes and really set the tone for the whole season, which intense, smart and extremely well-written. This show also has paved for way for other shows to premiere online with Netflix. I can’t wait for season two, bring it on! If you are a fan of political dramas, then “House of Cards” is the show for you.

Official Premise: “House of Cards” follows House Majority Whip Frank Underwood (Spacey), a strong-willed, power-hungry Democrat from South Carolina set on conquering Washington D.C. alongside his wife, Claire (Wright). When the President decides to pass over Frank for a presumed appointment to Secretary of State, Underwood takes matters into his own hands by using Congress, the media, and corporate boosters as pawns in exacting revenge on those who betrayed him

Sony Pictures Entertainment gave this series a nice Blu-ray presentation. The 1080p transfer looks very impressive and is presented well with an aspect ratio of 2.00:1. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 works well with the drama filled intense dialogue. I am a bit disappointed that there are ZERO special features included for this series.  If you are a subscriber to Netflix, there would be no reason for you to purchase this Blu-ray since you can watch the episodes already online for free. I would have loved to see some featurettes and commentary tracks included. So if you don’t have Netflix, then this would be for you but after you finish the season don’t expect anything extra.

Blu-ray Review “A Haunted House”

Actors: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Cedric the Entertainer, Nick Swardson, David Koechner
Directors: Michael Tiddes
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Run Time: 86 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

Ever since I saw “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice”, I have been a fan of Marlon Mayans. And who doesn’t love “Scary Movie”? With found-footage films taking over Hollywood in recent years thanks to “Paranormal Activity”, it paved the way for this latest parody from Wayans. This film does parody but plays out more like a film that a bunch of stupid skits. The film also co-stars the very funny Cedric the Entertainer, Essence Atkins, Nick Swardson and David Koechner. They all give some great performances each with some great laugh of loud moments. Overall, I really enjoyed this film and it was filled with some great laughs. Can’t wait for next winter for “A Haunted House 2”. Bring it!

Official synopsis: When overactive man-child Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) takes the plunge and lets girlfriend Keisha (Essence Atkins) move into his house, he quickly senses they’re no longer alone. Videotaping a series of paranormal events, Malcolm is shocked to discover the love of his life carries more than your average relationship baggage: she’s possessed by an evil spirit. Malcolm enlists the help of priest/ex-convict Father Williams (Cedric the Entertainer) to exorcise the demon from his girlfriend before it ruins his relationship… and his sex life.

Universal has release yet another impressive release. “A Haunted House” comes as a Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet. Universal never cuts corners with giving their viewers options and always comes through with great releases like this one. The film is low budget yet the 1080p transfer really looks sharp and clear. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also delivers for the laughs and lands the jokes well. The worst part of this release is the special features or features, I should say. There is only one short extra called “How to Survive a Paranormal Presence”. I would have figured a production like this would have been able to drum up a ton of great extras. I mean not even a blooper reel?

Blu-ray Review "House at the End of the Street"

Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot, Gil Bellows, Will Bowes, Jonathan Higgins
Directors: Mark Tonderai
Rated: PG-13 / Unrated
Studio: Relativity Media
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Run Time: 101 / 109 minutes

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

When this film came and flew threw theaters, I was shocked due to the popularity of Jennifer Lawrence from “The Hunger Games”. I am personally a fan of neither. I am also not a terribly big fan of PG-13 teen horror films but I was hoping that this would have surprised me. Well, I was completely wrong and this film fitted right into the cheesy waste-of-time lack of suspense teen wanna-be horror genre. The Blu-ray release for this film includes the theatrical cut and also a new 8-minute longer unrated cut, which adds a “shocking twist” you wasn’t shown in theaters but doesn’t help the rest of the film from sucking. I would recommend skipping both versions of this film and saving your money.

OFficial Premise: Academy Award® Nominees Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) and Elisabeth Shue star in this edge-of-your-seat horror hit packed with heart-pounding thrills and gripping suspense. Newly divorced Sarah (Shue) and her teenage daughter Elissa (Lawrence) have just moved to the suburbs for a fresh start. But their hopes quickly shatter as they learn that, years earlier, a grisly murder took place next door when a deranged girl killed her parents and disappeared. The girl’s older brother Ryan (Max Thieriot) still occupies the house, and when he befriends Elissa, his secretive past could become her worst nightmare!

“House at the End of the Street” comes as a combo pack with Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy included. The 1080p transfer looks crisp with no major issues even in the dark scenes. There is a decent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track included as well, even though it doesn’t add any suspense. The issue I have with this release is that the film is pitched with the unrated cut but the DVD and digital copy included only come with the theatrical cut (even despite the DVD artwork showing the words “Unrated”). The special features are completely missing as well with only one extra included, “Journey Into Terror: Inside the House at the End of the Street”. I would skip this unless you absolutely loved this film.

Complimentary Passes to Orlando FL Advance Screening of "A Haunted House" [ENDED]

All passes have been taken for this RSVP Code.

For your chance to receive event passes, log on to www.GOFOBO.com/RSVP
All passes have been taken for this RSVP Code.
Date: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Regal Waterford Lakes
Passes are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In an outrageous send up of the Paranormal Activity movies, The Devil Inside and other “found footage” movies, A HAUNTED HOUSE features young couple Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) who have just moved in to their dream house. As they settle in, they quickly find they’re not alone. But it’s not the house that’s haunted, it’s Malcolm’s girlfriend who is possessed by a demon. Malcolm hires everyone from a priest to modern day Ghostbusters to rid her of this unwelcome intruder, determined not to let the evil spirit ruin his relationship…or, more importantly, his sex life.

CAST: Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie, White Chicks), Cedric The Entertainer (Barbershop), Essence Atkins (TBS’s Are We There Yet?), David Koechner (NBC’s The Office), Nick Swardson (Just Go With It).

A HAUNTED HOUSE – January 11, 2013

 

Book Review “The Moogees Move House”

Author/Illustrator: Leslie McGuirk
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: November 13, 2012

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

There is something about a book that from the minute you look at the cover you just can’t help but say “Cute”. Leslie McGuirk is the author of this wonderful and beautifully illustrated book. This is our first introduction to The Moogees and I am hopeful that it is not the last. It takes the simple story of a family in search of a home but is much more fun. Leslie is also a FL resident like myself, so I understand where the talent comes from 😉  I look forward to what she is going to do next.

Synopsis: “The Moogees want very much to find a new home. Mama Moogee says, “We need a new place that is on the ground. It would be nice if it were round.” Papa Moogee adds, “I’d love to find a home with class, a nice wide yard, and plenty of grass.” But the three little Moogies just scream, “WAA WAA MOOGEE DOOGEE WEE WEE LOW LUM!” Mr. Ruru, the real estate agent, tries hard to help them find the perfect place, but the Moogees think all the houses are too blue, too expensive, or look like a piece of cheese. Will they ever find a house to call their own? As the Moogees discover, the family you share it with is the most important part!”

The Moogees consists of Mama & Papa Moogee and their three little Moogies.  Having just picked up my family and moved myself, I feel a certain connection to this story. The values in the story are also very important since family is a very special quality that not enough people respect. The illustration are very simple but very eye catching as well.  Leave it to Candlewick to deliver another impressive children’s tale.