Blu-ray Review “Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050”

Actors: Manu Bennett, Malcolm McDowell, Marci Miller
Directors: G.J. Echternkamp
Rated: R
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Run Time: 93 minutes

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

“Death Race 2050” is produced by the king of cult classics, Roger Corman, creator of the original “Death Race 2000”, which introduced us to an actor known as Sylvester Stallone. “Death Race 2050” is an insane no-holds barred re-imagination of the original cult classic and stars Manu Bennett (“The Hobbit”) as Frankenstein and Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange”) as the Chairman. This is a must see if you are looking for a wild ride and a great ode to the good ole cult classic genre.

Official Premise: Legendary filmmaking icon, Roger Corman, is back with his most outrageous film yet in this sensational, action-packed and darkly humorous reboot of the original Death Race 2000! It’s the year 2050 and America is controlled by an all-powerful corporate government ruled by The Chairman (Malcolm McDowell). The masses have been brainwashed with violent virtual-reality entertainment. The event of the year is the Death Race, in which a motley crew of violent drivers compete in a cross-country road race, scoring points for shamelessly running people over and driving each other off the road. The reigning champion and fan favorite, Frankenstein (Manu Bennett), who’s half-man half-machine, wants to take the crown, but his rebel spy co-pilot threatens his legacy.

universal is releasing “Death Rae 2050” as a combo pack with Blu-ray = DVD + Digital HD copy included. The 1080p transfer works perfectly with the visual overload of the film. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track nails with the action sequences. Great A/V combination! Special features are worth checking out for some cool featurettes. The first is “The Making of 2050”, which dives into this film behind-the-scenes with great detail from cast/crew. “Cars! Cars! Cars!” looks into the drivers and the stunts. Lastly “The Look of 2050” discusses the visual style of the film.

 

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Chantel Riley Talks About Broadway’s “The Lion King” and Her Role in the New Film “Race”

Born in Toronto, Chantel Riley’s path to stardom began when she realized she wasn’t doing what she truly wanted in her life. She is now. Since 2012 she has starred as Nala in the Broadway musical “The Lion King” and last year was able to take time off from the show to begin her movie career with a pivotal role in the new Jesse Owens bio-film RACE.

During a break in her busy schedule, Ms. Riley took the time to speak with me about the physicality of “The Lion King,” her role in RACE and why one day she hopes to be able to “ease on down the road!”

MIKE SMITH: Tell us a little bit about your background? How did you end up on Broadway?
CHANTEL RILEY: I’m originally from Toronto and I went to University in Toronto. After school I pretty much got a 9-5 job but after about a year and a half I realized it definitely wasn’t my thing. (laughs) Because I was a performer. I had taken dance lessons and I had grown up singing in my church. I just had an idea that something else was out there for me. I had no idea what it was but I knew I needed a change. A friend of mine told me about an open casting call they were having in Toronto for “The Lion King.” I had never auditioned for anything before in my life. This was my first time doing anything like this. So I went to the audition and got a few callbacks, which was very exciting. I had a couple well extended lunch breaks…I kept having to go downtown for these callbacks. A couple months later I got a call from my agent and they wanted me to audition to be part of the cast of “The Lion King” in Germany. So I flew to Germany, did the audition and booked the job on the spot. I did the show there for about a year and then I auditioned again for Julie Taymor, who directed “The Lion King” on Broadway, and was offered the role of Nala in New York on the Broadway stage. And here I am!

MS: So basically you’re just like Shirley Jones…you just show up and you’re on Broadway!
CR: (laughing) Exactly!

MS: You’ve portrayed Nala for quite a while now. Do you have to prepare anything special for yourself to keep the performance fresh? I can imagine doing the same thing 8 shows a week for a couple of years might get boring after awhile.
CR: Yes I do. I keep occupied by taking classes and making short films. These things keep me thinking outside the box. I also use what I learn from the classes and the films and bring it with me on the stage. It gives me a new sense at how I look at each performance every night. And this also gives me the chance to try something new. Every night we have a new audience. So it’s a great way for me to try new techniques and to find different ways of performing.

MS: I’ve never seen the show on Broadway but I’ve seen photos and the occasional video clip. It’s a lot more than just standing on a stage and singing. Is the show more difficult physically as opposed to musically?
CR: The show is very physical. We’re constantly on stage and we play lions and zebras and other animals. My role has me constantly running around. If Nala isn’t jumping on-stage she’s jumping off-stage. There’s a lot of activity. AND singing. I sing two songs in the show. We sing live and the dancers are moving non-stop. So it is a very physical show.

MS: You have an important role in the upcoming film RACE. What is your character’s relationship to Jesse Owens in the film?
CR: Quincella Nickerson was someone who was very close to Jesse Owens. She was not only his friend but a huge fan of his. She was a socialite whose father owned a huge insurance company in California. At that time that was pretty huge…that an African-American could be that affluent. She spent a lot of time with Jesse…attending parties and things. There were rumors going around that she and Jesse were engaged to be married. They spent a lot of time together. So we see a lot of that in the film…a lot of her in the film.

MS: If you could play one role on Broadway, either current or a show from the past, what would it be?
CR: Definitely Dorothy from “The Wiz.” I think that would be such a fun role. It would be so exciting. And it’s such fun music. That would be so much fun!

MS: What do you have coming up next?
CR: I’m working on a new short film with James Brown-Orleans, a fellow cast member from “The Lion King.” We’ve done a lot of short films together. Our most recent film, “Teacher’s Nightmare,” just won the Wendy’s International Short Film Award for Best Drama. That’s pretty cool.

Blu-ray Review "Death Race 3: Inferno"

Actors: Luke Goss, Danny Trejo, Tanit Phoenix, Frederick Koehler, Robin Shou
Directors: Roel Reine
Rated: R / Unrated
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Run Time: 105 / 106 minutes

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

When Roger Corman made this original cult classic “Death Race 2000” back in 1975 with David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone, I doubt he ever though the film will be remade or turn up with two prequels either. When I saw “Death Race” in the theaters, I thought it was plain ole stupid fun. With “Death Race 2”, it feels a lot smaller than the first but I actually enjoyed it a bit more since there was no bullshit just action and plenty of Tanit Phoneix. This second prequel brings back Luke Goss (“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army”), Danny Trejo (“Machete”), Ving Rhames (“Mission: Impossible”), Fred Koehler (Death Race 1 & 2), Robin Shou (“Mortal Kombat”) and Tanit Phoenix (“Death Race 2”). So the crew is back from “Death Race 2” and it is really well-polished action film. The plot or lack of is forgivable but it is very entertaining. The scale of the film seems so much bigger than it is and shot in some really beautiful locations. I didn’t think I would say this but what’s next for this franchise? I’m still hungry!

Official Premise: Repentant convict Carl Lucas (Luke Goss)- aka Frankenstein- is a legendary driver in the brutal prison blood sport known as Death Race. Only one victory away from winning freedom, Lucas is plunged into his most vicious competition yet: the first-ever desert Death Race. Through South Africa’s infernal Kalahari Desert, Lucas is pitted against ruthless adversaries and powerful forces at work behind the scenes to ensure his defeat. Also starring Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames, Death Race 3: Inferno is an insane, action-packed thrill ride.

Universal has delivered a fantastic two-disc combo pack. This comes with a Blu-ray, a DVD and two digital copies – iTunes and UltraViolet. Count me in for the Ultraviolet, I will be adding that to my account for sure. I should note that the DVD disc actually includes both cuts of the film, which is impressive. You can tell though when it is including the unrated footage since it jumps/lags a bit. The film packs an unrated cut but only runs a minute longer than its also included R-rated version. We get some longer – very bloody kills, which is good enough for me. The 1080p looks very sharp with the locations used in the film, very impressive. As does the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, which revs up and kicks ass on my 7.1 surround sound system.

The special features for this film are quite fantastic actually. First up we have extras that are exclusive to the Blu-ray disc. There is an alternate opening, which is definitely worth check out. “Racing For Death” is a look into the cars and the work that went into them for the production. “Art Imitating Life” is a featurettes on the character Goldberg and the actor who plays him, Danny Trejo. The rest of the extras are available on both Blu-ray and DVD. There is a montage of deleted scenes to start. “The Making of Death Race 3: Inferno” is the best extra and takes us behind-the-scenes on this new version of the popular Death Race franchise. Lastly, there is an audio commentary track With Director Roel Reiné, also worth checking out for sure.

EA Sets Gamers on a Race for Their Life on October 18 with “Need for Speed: The Run” Demo

EA Sets Gamers on a Race for Their Life on October 18 with “Need for Speed: The Run” Demo

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Do you have what it takes to beat your friends in a high-speed race from the Golden Gate to the Empire State? Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced that gamers will get a chance to test their mettle in an action-packed demo for Need for Speed The Run beginning October 18. Using the Need for Speed franchise’s signature Autolog feature*, gamers will compete to see who will come out on top and who will be left in the dust as they race through the Desert Hills of California and Independence Pass of Colorado.

In the Need for Speed The Run demo, players will have access to two high-powered supercars including the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni. The second car, the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S, will be unlocked when gamers refer a friend to download the demo, giving them one of first opportunities to get behind the wheel of this 400HP luxury ride. The Need for Speed The Run demo will be available on Xbox LIVE® Marketplace worldwide and the PlayStation®Network in North America from October 18th to November 1st, and available on the PlayStation Network in Europe from October 19th to November 1st.

Need for Speed The Run takes gamers on a heart-pounding, high-stakes race that will have them surrounded by a constant feeling of danger. The heat is on and lethal action unfolds as gamers take on the role of Jack Rourke and battle 200 of the world’s most notorious racers for a $25M cash prize. Weaving through dense urban traffic, rocketing down icy mountain passes and navigating narrow canyons at breakneck speeds, gamers will be challenged in this illicit race for their life. Powered by Frostbite™ 2, Black Box makes its return and takes the action racing genre to new heights with stunning visuals and car physics that hug the road at insanely fast speeds. In Need for Speed The Run, the cars are hot, the racing is intense and the story will have players at the edge of their seat, delivering this holiday’s hottest action racing game.

Developed by Black Box, an EA studio, Need for Speed The Run will be available November 15, 2011 in North America and November 17, 2011 in Europe for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, PC, Wii™ and Nintendo 3DS™. For more information on Need for Speed, visit http://www.needforspeed.com or become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/needforspeed and follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/needforspeed.

* Available in the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Nintendo 3DS versions only

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 100 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.

In fiscal 2011, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at http://info.ea.com.

EA, EA SPORTS, EA Mobile, POGO and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Frostbite is a trademark of EA Digital Illusions CE AB. The names, designs, and logos of all products are the property of their respective owners and used by permission. Microsoft, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. “PlayStation” and “PlayStation Network” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Wii and Nintendo 3DS are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.