December 7, 2017

Blu-Ray News: Vestron's CLASS OF 1999 Coming to Blu-ray 1/30


The ultimate teaching machine spirals out of control when the Vestron Video Collector’s Series releases the sci-fi thriller Class of 1999, arriving for the first time on limited edition Blu-ray™ on January 30 from Lionsgate. A high school principal employs robotic teachers to keep order in an inner-city school, but when the androids become deadly, opposing teenage gangs must unite to save their own lives. Starring Pam Grier, Stacy Keach, and Malcolm McDowell, Class of 1999 is restored & remastered, and packed with all-new special features, including audio commentaries with director Mark L. Lester, interviews with the crew and more! 




December 5, 2017

Movie News: Disney•Pixar's COCO - Holiday Gift Guitars for the Budding Musician

With Disney•Pixar's smash hit Coco now in theaters it's time to "seize your moment" this holiday season! For families looking for the perfect gift for the little musician in their lives, these Coco related items will touch their hearts as much as the film itself.

Disney∙Pixar Coco Interactive Guitar
Licensee: Mattel
MSRP: $29.99
Retailers: Toys "R" Us and shopDisney.com

Fans of Disney•Pixar’s Coco can recreate music from the movie with this interactive guitar that allows budding musicians to learn and practice, “Remember Me,” a popular song from the film through fully functioning strings, working lights and true-to-movie details. This guitar is topped by a skull that chomps when the first chord button is pressed and also comes with sheet music for kids to practice the day away and become a musician just like Miguel dreams of becoming. 3 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 3 years and up.

Disney•Pixar Coco x Cordoba Acoustic Guitar
Licensee: Cordoba
MSRP: $169.00
Retailers: Guitar Center and Music & Arts
Embark on a musical adventure with the Coco x Cordoba Guitar, inspired by Coco, a film by Disney•Pixar. Built with a spruce top, mahogany back and sides and durable satin finish, the Guitar sounds clear, warm and melodic, just like the guitars in the film. Its soft nylon strings are perfect for beginners and its smaller body (7/8 size) is comfortable to hold and play. The beautiful laser-etched design is inspired by Miguel’s family history and the guitars featured throughout the film.


Disney•Pixar Coco x Cordoba Mini Acoustic Guitar
Licensee: Cordoba
MSRP: $129.00
Retailers: Guitar Center and Music & Arts
Embark on a musical adventure with the Disney•Pixar's Coco x Cordoba Mini, a fun travel-size nylon string guitar inspired by Coco, a film by Disney•Pixar. Perfectly sized for life's adventures (580mm or 22.8” scale length) and with a durable satin finish, the Mini retains the playability of a full size guitar without losing its impressively loud voice. Built with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides and in standard E tuning, the Mini's tone is bright and full. The beautiful laser-etched design is inspired by Miguel’s family history and the guitars featured throughout the film. Comes with a Córdoba gig bag and guitar strap.

Blu-Ray News: SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING - Limited-Edition Gift Box + Spidey Suit Auction!

Official Spider-Man: Homecoming Suit Hits the Auction Block Today to Benefit the Marine Toys For Tots Program 
 Spider-Man:  Homecoming Limited-Edition Gift Box Available Today Exclusively at Walmart
  
This holiday, fans can join Spider-Man in sharing the gift of giving to children everywhere.  An official Spider-Man suit worn by Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming will be auctioned to benefit Toys for Tots.  Fans can celebrate with Spider-Man: Homecoming by participating in the auction to win the suit or by entering a sweepstakes through the Official Spider-Man Facebook Page to win a second official suit.  Fans can also swing into Walmart for an exclusive Spider-Man: Homecoming Limited-Edition Gift Box in stores today, the perfect gift for Spidey fans this holiday.
 
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is providing the first official Spider-Man: Homecoming suit to the ScreenBid online auction site to auction for the benefit of underprivileged kids through the Toys for Tots Foundation.  Fans can bid on the online auction starting today by registering at www.spiderman.screenbid.com.  Bidding will close on Monday, December 18, 2017 at 9 am EST / 6 am PST.  In addition, SPHE will donate Spider-Man: Homecoming DVDs to bring Spider-Man home to fans through Toys for Tots.
 

Finding a present under the tree on Christmas morning is an experience every child deserves," said retired Marine Colonel Ted Silvester, Vice President of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.  “With this generous support, we will be able to fulfill the Christmas holiday dreams of less fortunate children who otherwise might be forgotten."

For those who don’t win the suit at auction, a second official Spider-Man: Homecoming suit is up for grabs through the official Spider-Man: Homecoming Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter.  To enter the sweepstakes, fans can simply take a picture of themselves showing a photo of their purchase of the new Walmart-exclusive Spider-Man™\: Homecoming Limited Edition Gift Box or any Blu-ray, DVD or Digital purchase of Spider-Man: Homecoming at retail.  Fans can then post to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #SpidermanHomecomingSweepstakes for their chance to win.   Launching today, the official sweepstakes will remain open throughout the holidays, closing on January 2, 2018 giving fans one more opportunity to bring an official Spidey suit home.  For official rules and more details on how to enter, visit www.spidermanhomecoming.com/WinTheSuit.


A perfect gift for any superhero fan, the new Spider-Man: Homecoming Limited Edition Gift Box is available beginning today exclusively at Walmart and comes loaded with an exclusive Funko Pop! “upside-down” Vinyl bobble-head figure, only available through this limited retail offer.  Also exclusive to this limited edition gift box is a Spider-Man Comic Covers Book called “Through the Years” featuring popular Spider-Man comic book cover art, as well as Spider-Man athletic socks, a collectible Spider-Man enamel pin, and the Spider-Man: Homecoming Blu-ray, DVD and digital combo pack.

ABOUT THE MARINE TOYS FOR TOTS PROGRAM
Toys for Tots, a 70-year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness and hope to disadvantaged children during each Christmas holiday season.  The toys, books and other gifts collected and distributed by the Marines offer these children recognition, confidence and a positive memory for a lifetime.  It is such experiences that help children become responsible citizens and caring members of their community.  Last year the Marine Toys for Tots Program fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of 7 million less fortunate children in 792 communities nationwide.  Since 1947 over 244 million children have been assisted. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a not for profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.  For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.

December 4, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: DESPICABLE ME 3

Starring the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Pierre Coffin, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews. Directed by Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda. (2017, 90 min).

A funny thing happened on my way through Despicable Me 3...it turned into a sequel to two different movies.

This is, foremost, the third film in Illumination's uber-popular franchise. Gru and his wife, Lucy, are now agents for the Anti-Villain League, but get fired after failing to apprehend former 80's child star-turned supervillain Balthazat Bratt. Gru then gets an invite from long-lost twin brother, Dru, who lives in Freedonia. So Gru brings the whole family along, at which time the film juggles several concurrent stories: Lucy struggling with being a stepmom, little Nev's quest to find a real unicorn and Gru & Dru trying to steal back a diamond stolen by Bratt, who wants revenge on Hollywood by destroying the entire town and needs the jewel to power his giant robot.

"Dammit, Dru, go find a restroom!"
Meanwhile, the Minions, disgusted that Gru was fired from his job, have abandoned him, but end up going to prison. At least a third of the movie is dedicated to their misadventures and in-no-way figures into the main plot, meaning Despicable Me 3 frequently plays more like a Minions sequel. One's enjoyment of these little fellas depends largely on whether or not you've already had your fill of their antics (for this writer, the threat of overkill looms large).
"We're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore!"
With all these subplots padding things out, Despicable Me 3 is narratively the most meandering in the series. Furthermore, despite dedicated voice work by Trey Parker, Bratt isn't a very interesting villain. Having your character embody everything goofy about the 80s isn't really that clever, since people have been poking fun at that decade ever since it ended. Such gags and references will be lost on kids, while their parents have seen & heard it all before.

But that's probably nitpicking. Like the previous films, Despicable Me 3 is colorful, exuberant and just amusing enough to keep it from being a parental endurance test while their kids laugh their butts off. If nothing else, the film knows its audience, which I suppose qualifies as praise.

EXTRA KIBBLES (mostly geared toward kids)
FEATURETTES: "The Making of Despicable Me 3"; "Character Profiles"; "Developing Dru"
SHORT: "The Secret Life of Kyle" (Gru's dog)
"MINION MOMENTS" - Essentially two half-minute shorts.
"DESPICABLE ME TV" & "FREEDONIA VISITORS GUIDE" - Voice-over "Advertisements" made from scenes from the film.
"THE AVL FILES" - An interactive feature profiling several characters.
MUSIC VIDEOS: "Doowit" (sing-along video) & "Yellow Light"
DELETED SCENE
GALLERIES: "Minion Mugshots" & "Wanted Posters"
DVD & DIGITAL COPIES
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...LIKE CAT CHOW
(But enough of the minions, already!)

December 2, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: BETTER WATCH OUT

Starring Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic, Dacre Montgomery, Patrick Warburton, Virginia Madsen. (2016, 89 min).

Enter our giveaway of this title HERE.

It's difficult to summarize movies like Better Watch Out without providing major spoilers, especially since the plot-twist it heavily depends on occurs during the first act. One major narrative strike against the film is that, due to some heavy-handed and clumsy foreshadowing, said-twist probably won't come as a real surprise.

Still, this Christmas themed horror film presents an interesting take on the home invasion subgenre. Olivia DeJonge is Ashley, an 18-year-old who agrees to babysit 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller) while his goofy, bickering parents go to a Christmas party. Later, Luke's less-than-responsible best friend, Garrett, shows up. Initially more concerned with an over-the-phone spat with her boyfriend, Olivia soon has much a bigger problem: Somebody begins terrorizing her, cutting the phone lines & internet and threatening to kill anyone who leaves the house.

Kids, Santa's never gonna come if you wait up for him.
To reveal much more would ruin the fun. Suffice it to say, Better Watch Out is not your garden variety home invasion thriller. Though the big plot twist is bungled by obvious exposition, it does lay the groundwork for an off-kilter, suspenseful, sometimes disturbing film with a mean streak a mile wide and a sense of humor as black as coal in your stocking. Of course, horror movies are only as good as their villains. This one has a doozy: a truly sadistic, hateful character that's bolstered by a remarkably unhinged, scenery-chewing performance.

Though not always particularly scary, Better Watch Out is suitably unnerving and sometimes jarringly violent, with better than average performances and a resolution that's both infuriating and cryptically funny. Those game for this type of entertainment might also find themselves laughing at inopportune moments. Make sure not to shut it off when the end credits start to roll.

EXTRA KIBBLES
MAKING-OF FEATURETTE
TRAILERS
HOLIDAY POSTCARD
DVD COPY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS

December 1, 2017

Blu-Ray Giveaway: BETTER WATCH OUT

FREE KITTENS MOVIE GUIDE and WELL GO USA are giving away a Blu-Ray copy of the critically-acclaimed horror comedy, BETTER WATCH OUT.

“If you want to gift yourself a holiday film that decks the halls with blood, this is one to put under the tree.” ~ Clark Collis, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“A consistently surprising and unusually well-acted thriller, which says pertinent things about suburbia, holiday entertainment and toxic masculinity.” ~ Noel Murray, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“… deeply unnerving and adorably sinister.” ~ Charlie Oughton, STARBURST


TO ENTER: Simply drop us a message in the KITTY CONTACT box near the top of our sidebar. Winner will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail. Deadline to enter is 12/15/17.
 
 

November 29, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: OPERATION PETTICOAT - Olive Signature Edition

Starring Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Joan O'Brien, Dina Merrill, Gene Evans, Dick Sargent, Arthur O'Connell, Virginia Gregg, Gavin MacLeod, Marion Ross. Directed by Blake Edwards. (1959, 120 min).

Considering our current cultural climate, there's a scene in Operation Petticoat you probably couldn't get away with today.

The film was a massive hit when first released, with good reason. Its premise - the turmoil caused by five rescued Army nurses onboard a submarine during WWII - is the perfect concept for the type of sex comedies being produced at the time. And who better to helm a farce like this than Blake Edwards, arguably one of the masters of the genre?

Operation Petticoat isn't strictly a sex comedy, though. If you squint real hard, you might even see a tenuous influence on such later, more subversive, war comedies as Kelly's Heroes and M*A*S*H. Still, it's primarily a fluffy farce, and a pretty entertaining one at that. It helps, of course, that one keeps-in-mind when this was made, a time when Tony Curtis aggressively insinuating himself on a reluctant Dina Merrill was perfectly okay...even amusing. You probably couldn't get away with a scene like that today, at least if you're trying to play it for laughs.

Commander Sherman discovers - the hard way - the difference between a scotch and a lab sample.
I'm overly analyzing the movie, of course, but today's sudden awareness of sexual harassment - a new incident seemingly pops up every day - did cross my mind during this scene. No, it doesn't ruin the movie or anything. Just an observation, nothing more.

Elsewhere, the crew leers at the nurses like cartoon wolves, fake being ill so they can be "treated" and hold a raffle to see who gets to lend these ladies their clothes. Later, these nurses' girdles, stockings, bras & panties are required to save the day. The film ain't exactly subtle, but it isn't misogynistic or sexist, either, and to label it as such would be unfair, even by modern finger-pointing standards. The female characters aren't objectified bimbos, and with the exception of Cary Grant's role as Commander Sherman, it's mostly the male characters who're one-dimensional stereotypes.

"Nope...no petticoat in there."
Still Operation Petticoat remains genuinely funny and a congenial good time, with charming performances and witty dialogue (and plenty of amusingly risqué double-entendres). As with previous releases in the Olive Signature series, this disc includes a lot of interesting bonus features, even if most of the brand new material isn't directly related to the movie itself. It's a big upgrade from the previous bare bones release and worth picking up for classic movie buffs.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES: 
"That's What Everybody Says About Me" - About director Blake Edwards, featuring daughter Jennifer and actress Leslie Ann Warren.
"The Brave Crew of the Petticoat" - New interviews with Gavin MacLeod and Marion Ross.
"The Captain and His Double: Cary Grant's Struggle of the Self" - Biographer Marc Eliot discusses Grant's upbringing and career.
NEWSREEL FOOTAGE - The film's opening at Radio City Music Hall, attended by Cary Grant
ARCHIVE FOOTAGE - The USS Baloo (the "Sea Tiger" of the film)
ESSAY - By film critic Chris Fujiwara (both a slide show and printed in the supplemental booklet) 
KITTY CONSENSUS:
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS 

November 27, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: REMEMORY

Starring Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond, Anton Yelchin, Henry Ian Cusick, Matt Ellis, Martin Donovan, Evelyne Brochu. Directed by Mark Palansky. (2017, 112 min).

Peter Dinklage doesn't often get the chance to carry an entire movie on his shoulders. In fact, the last time he was top-billed was 2002's The Station Agent. One thing is certain...writer/director Mark Palansky is lucky to have him because Dinklage is by far the main reason to check out Rememory.

The film is a sci-fi/mystery about a box that is able to record and play back people's memories for the purpose of helping them with various psychological problems. When the inventor, Gordon Dunn (Martin Donovan), dies, model maker Sam Bloom (Dinklage) suspects foul play. He steals the box (with remarkable ease) from Dunn's widow, Carolyn (Julia Ormand), and uses it the narrow down the suspects. It could be any number of former test subjects, all of whom suffered hallucinogenic side effects from the rememory machine.

Peter doesn't like people touching his stuff.
As someone who also has personal reasons for taking the machine - Bloom's trying to come-to-terms with his brother's untimely death - Dinklage treads a fine line between self-absorbed and empathetic, brilliantly conveying his character's uncertainty & regret over his more unscrupulous actions - especially when deceiving Carolyn. Unfortunately, the story itself seldom rises above the mundane. Despite an overall sense of urgency, when one thinks about the machine's purpose, there isn't really a hell of a lot at stake. It all comes to a disappointing resolution that's intended to be haunting, but ultimately doesn't resonate much.

Dinklage, however, comes damn close to saving the entire film, providing nearly all of its emotional heft. Turning in yet-another great performance in a rare leading role, he doesn't disappoint, even if the rest of Rememory does.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTE: "The Memories We Keep"
AUDIO COMMENTARY by writer/director Mark Palansky & Peter Dinklage
DIGITAL COPY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...DINKLAGE MAKES IT WORTH ENDURING

November 26, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: ACTS OF VENGEANCE

Starring Antonio Banderas, Karl Urban, Paz Vega, Johnathon Schaech, Robert Forster. Directed by Isaac Florentine. (2017, 87 min).

With films like Acts of Vengeance, it helps to keep your expectations in check.

Like the once-mighty Nicholas Cage, John Travolta & Bruce Willis, Antonio Banderas stays gainfully employed by cranking out low-wattage action flicks that generally skip theaters to serve as Netflix filler. And I'm pretty certain all of these guys now have at least one Death Wish rip-off under their belts (Willis actually has an oft-delayed remake of Death Wish in the pipeline...God help us all).

Banderas jumps back into the revenge ring with Acts of Vengeance. He plays Frank Valera, a slick-talking criminal defense lawyer whose wife and daughter are murdered. The police, of course, have no leads and Frank blames himself for not being there. For awhile, his penance-of-choice is allowing himself to be regularly pummeled at underground fight competitions. Then he reads Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, which inspires him to bulk-up, learn martial arts and - most ironically, since he makes his living with words - take a vow of silence until he finds those who killed his family.

The service here sucks. Time for an act of vengeance.
Aside from an attempt to intellectualize the action with quotes from ancient philosophical writings, Acts of Vengeance is your standard revenge thriller. Implausibilities are abound, such as Valera transforming into a lean, mean fighting machine in less time than it takes to sing "Gonna Fly Now," Pax Vega as a nurse who inexplicably decides to help him, and of course, underground fight syndicates that are as easy to locate as your local Starbucks. Still, Banderas delivers a dedicated, earnest performance. Unlike Willis or Cage, he doesn't appear to be going through the motions for a paycheck. Considering his age and the physical demands of the numerous close-quarters fight scenes, he's more-or-less convincing, even when squaring up against guys twice his size.

At the very least, Acts of Vengeance is better than Banderas' recent budget bin bonanzas (such as Security and the embarrassing Gun Shy). The film isn't remotely original, but you probably knew that already, and as these things go, it's a decent enough time killer. 
 
EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTE: "Speaking Out on Acts of Vengeance"

KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...LIKE CAT CHOW