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Mr. Majestyk [Blu-ray]
Mr. Majestyk [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Charles Bronson
Price: $14.99
24 used & new from $11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'He didn't want to be hero... until the day they pushed him too far.', July 18, 2016
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This review is from: Mr. Majestyk [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Ah, Elmore Leonard's perennial tale of a man and his melons.

Brach's Jelly Nougats , 2 Lb Bag
Brach's Jelly Nougats , 2 Lb Bag
Offered by Yankee Traders
Price: $11.36
6 used & new from $7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A new twist on an old favorite? Hardly..., June 7, 2016
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So after I tried these and found them particularly awful, I did a little research and found the following posted on a retro candy website.

"The Brach's Jelly Nougats were a fast favorite when released in the early 1900s by Necco. Brach's took over and continued the tradition. Now in 2012 the owner's of Brach's, Farley's & Sathers Candy Co., Inc have retired the older version of Jelly Nougats and brought us this creamier version with bright "jelly beans" of colorful fruit for a subtle fruity taste."

I have no idea why the original nougats were discontinued, but I will say with this current iteration the manufacturer did a remarkable job in stripping out all that was wonderful with the original product. The cubes of joy were replaced with discs of sorrow, which have a completely different and unappealing texture (creamy instead of chewy) and a decidedly waxy aftertaste.

And the packaging on these discs is sub-par as the wrapper does not provide a decent seal on the individually wrapped candies, resulting in leakage or seepage, especially in warmer temperatures, which can cause the individually wrapped discs to stick together due to sticky residue on the wrapper. Nothing quite as enjoyable reaching for a individually wrapped candy only to end up with a sticky, clumped-up cluster you have to pry apart.

The short and skinny, if you've got a jones for those old Brach jelly nougat cubes, you're SOL as they don't make them anymore and the replacement is as about enjoyable as splash-back from a public toilet.

No Title Available

2.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad clutch as long as you don't want to carry or close it., August 26, 2013
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I bought this for my girlfriend for her Nokia phone specifcally for the fact that the case allowed for the carrying strap to be attached to either end of the case. Seems more than a few other cases that accomodate her phone have the strap attached to the end opposite of the way the credit cards are inserted, allowing for the potential for credit cards to fall out when carrying the case with the strap.


The case appears capable of holding a number of credit cards and personal IDs, along with an expanding pocket for the phone and a sleeve for cash or other crapola you would normally carry around.

The strap can be switched to either end of case (each end has a sewn in ringlet), a feature which many similar cases don't seem to share.


The strap fell apart after three days of use, and not due to the case was being swung around or overly stressed. This was normal usage. The little rivet holding the strap together near the clip point just popped out. If this were the only issue I'd find my girlfriend another strap, but the given other issue (described below), there seemed no reason to bother.

The snap on the from is a very 'soft' snap, which means when you're trying to secure the case shut you're never fully sure if it's properly closed. And when the case is closed, the snap tends to pop open very easily, allowing for your expensive phone to flop out, usually onto a hard and unforgiving surface (i.e. the ground). I suggested a little duct tape to hold the case shut but my practical side doesn't always jibe with my girlfriend's stylish side.

Anyway, given the cons, I'd recommend saving your dough and avoid this inferior product.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2015 10:17 AM PDT

The Omega Man
The Omega Man
DVD ~ Charlton Heston
43 used & new from $0.51

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You are discarded. You are the refuse of the past.", January 26, 2007
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This review is from: The Omega Man (DVD)
Based on Richard Matheson's novel "I Am Legend", which is worth a couple of reads, The Omega Man (1971), directed by Boris Sagal ("Mike Hammer", "Peter Gunn"), features Academy Award winner Charlton Heston (Touch of Evil, Ben-Hur, Planet of the Apes) in an exciting `last man on Earth' tale, one in which he battles against the mutated remnants of a society decimated by germ warfare. Also appearing is Anthony Zerbe (Will Penny), Rosalind Cash (Uptown Saturday Night), Eric Laneuville (Black Belt Jones), Lincoln Kilpatrick (Soylent Green), and Paul Koslo (Mr. Majestyk).

Heston plays Robert Neville, a former military scientist who's now the only man left on Earth not affected by killer plague, one which turns those who don't croak outright upon infection, into albino, light sensitive, scabby skinned mutants. As we come into the story, which is set about two years after the shizz went down i.e. the collapse of society as we know it, we see Neville holed up in a pretty sweet fortified townhouse in the Los Angeles area. During the day he ventures out to patrol the area and pick up supplies, while at night, when the mutants come out to play, he hunkers down in his groovy, well stocked, self sufficient pad. Seems Neville has a real hate/hate relationship with the semi-organized, lesion covered mutant population in the area, led by a well-spoken demagogue named Matthias (Zerbe). You see, the mutants, who refer to themselves as `the Family', see Neville as the last holdout of the evil (i.e. technology) that precipitated the downfall of civilization, and it's their purpose, given the fact they survived, to `cleanse the world'. Now I think there's a bit of jealousy mixed in given the fact the plague has left them all in a rather funky state, while Neville remains pinkish in hue and unblemished. On other hand you have Neville, who sees the mutants as a plague fit for extermination, which is why he spends much of his daytime hours seeking out their nest. So how does one man hold his own against vastly superior numbers? Firepower, my see since the mutants stupidly eschew technology, relying on primitive weaponry like rocks, arrows, and spears, while Neville, a former Colonel in the military, depends on his well stocked armory to even the odds. The situation between two parties is relatively evenly matched, that is until Neville discovers he's not completely alone once a healthy looking African American woman named Lisa (Cash) makes the scene...

As I mentioned earlier, I have read the book this film was loosely based on, and I agree with the general consensus that it is better than the movie, but in all fairness, how often is the movie ever better than the book? The most obvious difference between the two is the mutant element within the film. In the book they're vampires, in the movie they're mutants. Now why this aspect was changed I don't know, but I suspect, given the film was released in the early 1970s, the writers (or producers) may have thought the vampire angle played out and opted to go with a mutant theme instead. In terms of faithfulness to the source material, Vincent Price's Italian made The Last Man on Earth (1964), was probably closer to Matheson's novel than The Omega Man, the downside being the Price film is pretty shoddy given its extremely low production values (shoddiness aside, it still fun and worth a look). Now I've gotten word Will Smith is currently filming an adaptation, titled I Am Legend, directed by music video director turned film director Francis Lawrence (Constantine), scheduled to be released sometime in 2007. Given Smith's star power I suspect the film will have a ginormous budget, but than doesn't mean it will be good (I'm cautiously optimistic). Despite the changes from the original story here, I really enjoyed this film and have no problem classifying it as a cinematic sci-fi staple. It is a B film, but a highly entertaining one, if only to see Heston, who chews up the scenery with a healthy appetite, socking it to some pigment deficient mutant trash. I thought most of the performances were decent, one of the more memorable ones delivered by Anthony Zerbe as the fanatical firebrand Matthias. Seriously, he's got some of the best lines in the feature, and he delivers them with meaning and intent, rather than with an overblown sense of pomposity as is generally seen in such an antagonistic role. There's plenty of action, one of the more exciting sequences coming near the end, as Neville, the last action hero, attempts a full frontal assault on the Family, ramming his military vehicle through a mass of agitated mutants. The one thing I learned from this film is Charlton Heston, while certainly an accomplished actor, seemed to have a bit of trouble behind the wheel, especially given his apparent propensity to crash vehicles despite the fact he's the only one on the road. The one element of the film I thought could have been improved was some of the dialogue. While Matthias' orations were engaging, the rest of the cast suffered from time to time saddled with some hipster slang apparently popular in the late 1960s/early 1970s. While most off it is easily shrugged off, the one bit that made me cringe was when Neville met up with Lisa's little band, eventually prompting a young girl to ask Neville `Are you God?', given the fact he wasn't affected by the plague, I suppose. Gah...anyway, this was minor to me compared to the whole, the whole being a fantastic and thrilling classic science fiction feature, with an outstanding musical score by British composer Ron Grainer ("Doctor Who").

The widescreen anamorphic (2.35:1) print on this Warner Brothers DVD release looks clean and clear, and the Dolby Digital mono audio, available in both English and French, comes through very well. There's a few extras including a newly made, four minute introduction piece featuring screenwriter Joyce Hooper Corrington and co-stars Eric Laneuville and Paul Koslo, along with a vintage featurette entitled `The Last Man Alive' (9:50). Also included are subtitles in English, French, and Spanish, the original theatrical trailer (in widescreen no less), and a text piece titled Charlton Heston - Science Fiction Legend, which briefly highlights Heston's career in the realm of science fiction features.


By the way, did anyone who saw this film want to see Neville use that big, honking machine gun positioned on the roof of his townhouse? A missed opportunity...
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2016 6:55 AM PST

Saw III (uncut version)
Saw III (uncut version)
DVD ~ Tobin Bell
Price: $4.06
262 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Live or die. Make your choice.", January 25, 2007
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This review is from: Saw III (uncut version) (DVD)
Jigsaw is back, and he's got a nubile babe for an apprentice, the kind that'd make my nethers tingle if it wasn't for the fact she's a real sick twist. Based on a screenplay by Leigh Whannell (Saw, Saw II), Saw III was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II), and features Tobin Bell (Mississippi Burning, The Quick and the Dead) reprising his role as Jigsaw, the methodical master of malicious mayhem. Also appearing is Shawnee Smith (The Blob), Angus Macfadyen (Cradle Will Rock), Bahar Soomekh (Crash), Donnie `Donnie D' Wahlberg (Dreamcatcher), Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers), and 1980s B movie favorite Betsy Russell (Private School, Tomboy), whose fiancé Mark Burg happened to be one of the numerous producers on the film, in a minor role.

The third installment picks up where the last one left off as we see detective Eric Matthews (Wahlberg) in a familiar situation (familiar, at least, to someone who's seen the previous films), in a dank, grimy, dimly lit room, his leg shackled to a pipe, a rusty hacksaw within reach. What follows is pretty wild (and messy), as Eric manages an escape, but not the way you might expect. After this there's some bits with Eric's colleague Detective Kerry (Meyer), to which we move along into the story proper as we meet an attractive ER doctor named Lynn (Soomekh), whose life seems fraught with misery and despair, despite the appearance of having it all. Anyway, after she's kidnapped by a figure donning a hog head, she finds herself in the Guru of Gristle's lair, a large, funky looking warehouse with intermittent lighting, filled to the brim with all kinds of wicked looking devices. Lynn soon learns the reason behind her abduction as she meets the sickly Jigsaw (if you recall he was extremely ill in the previous film), along with his attractive assistant, the reason being to keep Jigsaw alive, with the cost of failure being her own life. Seems Jiggy's got a game going, one he wants to be around for to see all the way through. After this we meet the primary player in Jigsaw's most current game, a pathetic sack named Jeff (Macfadyen), as he's put through a series of tests, all of which involve other individuals suffering greatly, with Jeff having the ability to save them (for the whys and what nots you'll have to watch the film). As Jeff progresses through Jigsaw's diabolical maze of gory madness, Lynn finds herself having to perform a little brain salad surgery, all while Jigsaw's assistant, who's a few clowns short of a circus, descends deeper into her own, personal pit of psychosis. After a ton of flashbacks and some pretty horrific deaths, things eventually come full circle resulting in some memorable revelations.

While I thought this third entry into the series entertaining, I think it is important to mention the importance of seeing the previous films prior to watching this one as there's a lot of references tied to what occurred previous i.e. this is not a stand alone sequel, as may be the case with other franchise features. Now you could watch this film and follow along somewhat without having seen the previous entries, but you'll appreciate the complexities of the overall story all the more having all the pieces of the puzzle. I did enjoy the concerted efforts to directly relate this to the previous films, but I thought the flashbacks to be excessive at times, especially the ones that filled in gaps that weren't necessarily vital in the overall scheme of things (Was anyone particularly enlightened by learning Jigsaw had help in setting up Dr. Gordon in the first film?). Another aspect I didn't care for occurs near the end, after an important revelation...once revealed the filmmakers go through an extensive series short flashbacks perhaps to reinforce the impact, but it seemed more an effort to spoon feed the audience the all the bits that led up to said revelation, as if we weren't all that bright to get it in the first place. I was paying attention so the events tied to the revelation weren't lost on me, and I felt it unnecessary to rehash the material. Another bit that annoyed me slightly was the lighting in Jigsaw's lair...I thought it odd how many lighting fixtures worked on a sporadic basis, flashing on and off. I know this was done to help create an atmosphere, but it became a little irritating after awhile. The traps featured here were pretty wild (and vicious), and the gore factor high. There are some real nasty devices throughout, the worst, in my opinion, being the rack, which Jigsaw claimed his personal favorite (the shotgun shell collar was a trip, as was the hideous hog-o-matic processor). I won't reveal any more about it, but know it provides for a whole lot of intense, lingering pain before delivering death. There are a few twists near the end, one of which, involving Lynn, I thought particularly well done, especially given the fact Jigsaw provided a good deal of clues prior to the revelation. These clues seem innocuous statements initially, but once fully understood, they provide a respectable punch to the gut. The performances were suitable, the story thoughtful and generally well crafted (there are a few holes and elements that require a good deal of suspension of disbelief), the atmosphere suitably grimy and ookie, and the pacing reasonable. The story was complicated, but I thought Bousman, along with his editor, did a good job in keeping things orderly, ultimately paving the way for another sequel.

This unrated DVD version (which runs 113 minutes compared to the 107 minute theatrical runtime), released by Lions Gate, features a sharp looking, widescreen anamorphic (1.78:1) picture, along with a vibrant audio track, available in both 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital for English and Spanish. There's a healthy assortment of extras including three featurettes, the first titled The Traps of Saw III, another titled The Details of Death: The Props of Saw III, and a third called Darren's Diary: Anatomy of a Director. Also included are three commentary tracks, one featuring director Darren Lynn Bousman, writer/executive producer Leigh Whannell, and producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg, a second featuring executive producers Peter Block and Jason Constantine, and a third with director Darren Lynn Bousman, editor Kevin Greutert, and director of photography David A. Armstrong. On top of that are deleted scenes, subtitles in English and Spanish, a theatrical trailer, a theatrical teaser, and trailers for Crank (2006), Saw Special Edition DVD, Saw II Special Edition DVD, The Punisher Extended Cut DVD, The Invincible Iron Man (2007) animated feature, and Hostel II (2007). If you really thrive on extras, this is a decent edition to get, but you might want to wait and see if Lion's Gate, a company that seems to specialize in double dipping, is going to eventually release a two DVD special edition of the film, as they did with the previous Saw movies.


By the way, am I the only who thinks Shawnee Smith looks a lot better with long hair?
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2008 11:30 AM PDT

DVD ~ JoBeth Williams
Offered by Mayon Collectibles
Price: $14.99
147 used & new from $0.01

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It knows what scares you..., January 24, 2007
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This review is from: Poltergeist (DVD)
Poltergeist (1982) was the first film I saw in theaters that truly scared the bejesus out of me. I remember the event distinctly, as I tagged along with my friend Martin (we were both twelve at the time), who was a real horror aficionado (he was the only kid I knew who had his own subscriptions to Fangoria and Famous Monsters of Filmland), really having no idea what I was getting myself and produced by Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark), and directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Lifeforce), the film stars JoBeth Williams (The Big Chill), Craig T. Nelson (Stir Crazy), and Heather O'Rourke (Poltergeist II: The Other Side). Also appearing is Beatrice Straight (Network), Dominique Dunne (The Shadow Riders), Oliver Robins (Airplane II: The Sequel), James Karen (The Return of the Living Dead), and Zelda Rubinstein (Under the Rainbow).

On the surface the Freeling clan would seem your normal, middle class, American family unit living among the suburban splendor of Cuesta Verde Estates. There's the father Steve (Nelson), mother Diane (Williams), and their three children Dana (Dunne), Robbie (Robins), and youngest daughter Carol Anne (O'Rourke). Life proceeds normally, that is until Carol Anne begins talking to the static that appears on the television once the broadcast day is completed. This is soon followed by strange phenomena (inanimate objects moving of their own accord and so on), all of which seems to be localized within the Freeling's home. It's all harmless enough, that is until the old, gnarled tree outside Robbie and Carol Anne's bedroom window tries to eat a family member, followed by an unseen entity absconding off with Carol Anne into another dimension of reality (while no longer present in a corporeal sense, her parents can still communicate with Carol Anne through the television). Unable to comprehend the situation fully Diane and Steven call in a parapsychologist named Dr. Lesh (Straight) in an effort to get their daughter back, who then, in turn, after witnessing the extreme paranormal activity firsthand, brings in a diminutive, clairvoyant troll named Tangina (Rubinstein), who's something of a cross between E.T. the extraterrestrial and Yoda, only a lot less adorable. Once on the scene Tangina reveals Carol Anne has been taken by an extremely powerful and malevolent spiritual entity, one that covets Carol Anne life force dearly, so much so it has somehow managed to transverse its own plane of existence into ours in an effort to shanghai the cherub faced little girl. A plan to recover Carol Anne is formulated, and is successful, but soon the real nightmare begins as the aforementioned malignant spirit pulls out all the stops to reclaim that which it lost...

As I mentioned earlier, this was the very first film I saw in the theaters that really put a good fright into me (the first film I saw that truly scared the hell out of me was Halloween, although I saw that on video tape). In watching the film last night I thought it odd that the film was released with a `PG' rating (back then there was no PG-13 rating), but apparently it was going to be rated `R' until the filmmakers appealed and got it changed. I do remember there being some public concern at the time that this film was unsuitable for the likes of me and my peers given the frightening nature of the material, said concerns eventually redoubling after the films Gremlins (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) were released, both of which were ultimately responsible for the creation of the `PG-13' rating we've all come to know and love. Regardless, I'm just glad I was in the right place at the right time to see this film in the theater as I did, as it was one of the more memorable experiences I've had during my misspent youth. Watching the film again last night I find I'm able to appreciate it much more than I did when I was younger, specifically in terms of just how well the film was put together. The character development alone is really amazing. The first sequences feature the Freeling household at night, as the family dog wanders the house looking for things to eat. In following the dog, we see all the family members, while they slumber, the last being Carol Anne. Whether we realize it or not, we've just gotten a large hunk of exposition through a relatively simple and efficient visual manner, which is definitely a Spielberg trademark. Spielberg co-wrote and produced the film, but it's also believed by many he was directly responsible for much of the visual appearance, with Hooper basically overseeing the mechanics of shooting that which he was instructed to shoot, by Spielberg. It's also believed Spielberg, who was making the family friendly E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) around the same time, refused to take more credit than he did specifically because he didn't want people to associate such a terrifying feature with his touching, fantasy/adventure drama. This seems entirely plausible, as I do believe Spielberg is something of a control freak, and if he didn't like the way things were progressing under the helm of Hooper, he most certainly would have intervened. I suppose it doesn't matter all that much as the end result was a truly frightening and memorable film, one that will linger in the recesses of your mind long after viewing it...the special effects, provided by Industrial Light & Magic, were spectacular, and still hold up well some twenty five years later, although I will admit the face removal scene looks a bit goofy now. As far as the performances, I thought they were all wonderful, especially in terms of JoBeth Williams, who provides an incredibly strong female lead. I've read some complaints the performances weren't realistic, but really, who knows how one would react in such a situation? To me, it was all the characters could do to hold themselves together during their ordeal. They knew their daughter was still alive and relatively safe (for the time being), and their focus was on trying to get her back. Everything else here worked for me...Jerry Goldsmith's vibrant and appropriate musical scoring, the level of development of the various characters (both primary and secondary), the pacing, the scares, the revelations, the ominous sense of something malignant, the spectacular finale, it all adds up to a remarkably entertaining feature, one definitely worth owning.

The picture on this DVD release, presented in both widescreen anamorphic (2.35:1) and fullscreen (1.33:1), looks sharp and clean, with minor signs of age present (I did see some dust specks in a couple of scenes, but nothing overly obvious). The audio, available in Dolby Surround 5.1 in English, and Dolby Surround stereo in both French and Spanish, comes across strong. Regrettably, there really isn't much in terms of extras other than subtitles in English, French, and Spanish, along with the original theatrical trailer.


By the way, this film was followed up by a couple of sequels, Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Poltergeist III (1988), both of which were fun, but unnecessary, at least in my opinion. Also, Warner Brothers has hinted at a special edition, 2 DVD set, anniversary release in the works, so if you haven't purchased this film on DVD yet, you might want to hold off.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2010 11:45 AM PDT

The Gardener (AKA The Seeds of Evil)
The Gardener (AKA The Seeds of Evil)
DVD ~ Katharine Houghton
Offered by slow_cloud_dvd_rarities
Price: $34.95
17 used & new from $16.98

6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Things seem to growing everywhere!", January 23, 2007
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So what happens when you overlay a nonsensical, pseudo horror theme onto a somewhat pretentious artsy fartsy 1970s post-hippiesque mentality, throw Andy Warhol regular Joe Dallesandro and a generally inappropriate musical score more befitting a cocktail lounge into the mix, and slap the entire, self indulgent mess onto celluloid? You get The Gardener (1975) aka Seeds of Evil. Written and directed by James H. Kay, in his directorial debut (and farewell), the movie features Joe Dallesandro (Trash, Flesh for Frankenstein, Blood for Dracula), in his first non-Warhol film appearance, along with Katharine Houghton (Billy Bathgate, Kinsey), Rita Gam (King of Kings, Klute) and James Congdon ("The Edge of Night", 4D Man).

The film begins in a hospital as we see a middle aged brunette woman, who we later find out is named Dorothy, lying in a bed, soon visited by a nurse who brings in some flowers. After the nurse leaves Dorothy, upon awakening, spies the flowers and promptly freaks out, resulting in her untimely death. After the funeral we're now at Dorothy's home with a couple of her friends named Ellen (Houghton) and Helena (Gam), along with Dorothy's husband, who doesn't seem as disconsolate as one would think, especially given the fact he'd just buried his wife...anyway, Ellen and Helena are amazed with Dorothy's garden, so much so Ellen decides to hire Dorothy's gardener, a shirtless, shoeless, long-haired hunk named Carl (Dallesandro), to work for at her home, as her garden is the pits (Carl, as we'll soon discover is a master at cultivating things, like extreme tedium). Carl shows up at Ellen's house, has a falling out with the current yard man, an older Hispanic fellow named Ralph (one way or another I think Ralph's days are numbered), and sets the ethnic household staff on edge given his weird vibes (being ethnic and all they possess a greater sensitivity to things `unnatural', apparently). Anyway, Carl soon has things blooming as there's plants everywhere (he's got a real, almost mystical way with all things green), so much so it sets Ellen's husband John (Congdon) at unease, especially given the thorny foliage he finds in the bathroom. A whole bunch of stuff happens, none of it of much importance, but Ellen soon grows suspicious after her hippy niece arrives for a stay and then abruptly disappears (a note was left behind, but Ellen wasn't convinced it was actually written by her niece). Soon after some more weirdness Ellen decides it's time to let Carl go, but to her dismay Helena promptly hires him on to work in her garden (along with tilling her soil). Things eventually come to a head once Ellen discovers certain, frightening aspects of Carl's past through his previous employers, all leading up to a semi-surrealistic and pointless finale.

Normally I take pretty well to these obscure, oddball features from the 1970s but this one was difficult to sit through as it had so little going on throughout the entire length of the film. Given this was writer/director James H. Kay's first film he does deserve some credit as he did develop a certain amount of tension in a good deal of the scenes, but given the fact there was rarely any, real payoff to the build up, it seemed one, big exercise in futility. The performances were generally weak, but I think that was more due to poor material rather than inept actors, with the exception of Joe Dallesandro, who displays about as much personality as that of a cinder block. He's got all of about five lines in the film (thankfully), and he delivers them all with the same, blank expression (given the number of films he'd appeared in prior to this one you'd have thought he'd picked up some skills along the way). I suppose his saving grace here is the fact he's a somewhat attractive man, and spends nearly the entire film walking about with no shirt on...there are a couple shots with him sans his pants, if you dig on that kind of thing. I didn't mind this so much, but I would have appreciated a reciprocal amount of female flesh as a means to offset Dallesandro's bum cakes, but it never came about. As I said before the story goes on and on, but nothing much happens. I kept hoping for a bit of the visceral, perhaps a gruesome death or two, but I got nothing, squat, zilch, nada...the opportunities were there, but never capitalized upon (there are all of about three, on screen deaths). One example is when Ralph, the regular yard man, who doesn't get along with Carl at all (Carl tried to fire Ralph but Ellen interceded), suffers what I'm assuming to be an allergic reaction to some of Carl's strange, new plants while working in the yard. At this point I was expecting Ralph to die miserably from some bizarre, plant induced disease, but all he got was a bloody nose and a trip to the hospital...whoop de doo...and then there was that whole business with Ellen's hippy niece. The girl shows up and there's the inference that given her earthy, obviously hippy ways she might find interest in the half nekkid, Earth friendly Carl, who's got a ponytail down to his waist, as they appear kindred spirits (figuratively speaking) and such, but then poof! She's gone, never to be heard from again. What happened to her? It would seem Carl might have had something to do with her disappearance, but it's never detailed (I was hoping to see her incorporated into a tree or a shrub in some manner). And let's not forget the ridiculous ending...I won't give it away, but know it will probably leave you scratching your noodle and asking "What the f***?" All in all if you're planning on watching this film, keep your expectations low...better yet, get yourself some mind altering substances as I'm betting the material comes off with a lot more meaning for the viewer in a half-baked state.

This Subversive Cinema DVD release, which claims to be the uncut version, includes a widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1) picture, one that comes across relatively clean, but know the hues are a little harsh resulting in an annoying orange tone to nearly everyone's flesh. The audio, available in the original mono and the newly mastered Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, comes through very well. Extras include two audio commentary tracks (one with performer Joe Dallesandro and a second with writer/director James H. Kay), a newly created featurette titled `Planting the Seeds of Evil' (35:38), a second vintage featurette made by Kay in 1980 titled `The Distribution of Low Budget Films or The Gardener's Seeds of Evil Killed My Million Dollar Dream' (28:37), talent bios, a still gallery, three lobby cards, a poster insert, and a theatrical trailer for the film, along with previews for other Subversive Cinema DVD releases like Blood Bath (1976), Metal Skin (1994), Blue Murder (1995), The Candy Snatchers (1973), and The Freakmaker (1974).


Loose Shoes
Loose Shoes
DVD ~ Royce D. Applegate
4 used & new from $2.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Your old lady's a pig and all she ever does it talk.", January 22, 2007
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This review is from: Loose Shoes (DVD)
In the vein of skit based comedic features such as Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), The Groove Tube (1974), Mr. Mike's Mondo Video (1979), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), Tunnel Vision (1976), American Raspberry (1977), and That's Adequate (1989), comes Loose Shoes (1980), co-written and directed by Ira Miller, whose main claim to fame appears to be having had bits parts in a number of Mel Brooks features including High Anxiety (1977), History of the World: Part I (1981), and Spaceballs (1987), to name a few. Some of the notable performers appearing are Bill Murray (Meatballs, Caddyshack), Buddy Hackett (It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World), Howard Hesseman (This Is Spinal Tap), Ed Lauter (Magic), actress turn director Betty Thomas (Private Parts), in a fairly revealing role, Jaye P. Morgan ("The Gong Show"), Sid Haig (Coffy), Avery Schreiber (Galaxina), Ysabel MacCloskey ("Bewitched"), and Walker Edmiston ("Barnaby Jones"), who provided the voice of the creepy Zuni doll featured in the memorable made for TV film Trilogy of Terror (1975).

The film is comprised of skits, some spoofs of popular films, with the writers trying to drawn upon the comedic value of combining two popular films into one. An example would be Billy Jerk Goes to's mildly amusing, but know a lot of the references are extremely dated and haven't held up very well (I wonder how many people born after the 1970s will recognize the Billy Jack reference). While this is true of most of the films I mentioned at the beginning, Loose Shoes seems to suffer more than some the others given most of the material referenced is quite old or just somewhat obscure to begin with...some other skits involve spoofs on science fictions films, exploitation features, biographies, musicals, travelogues, public service announcements, and so on. There is a somewhat humorous intermission bit, the kind of thing shown more often in the past, that touts the concession stand as a great place to alleviate that case of the munchies you may have developed from, well, you know...and if you ever wanted to see Avery Schreiber, who resembles a heavyset Gene Shalit, in a red sequined tutu, here's your chance (it's not as erotic as it sounds). There were some references I didn't get at all including the bit with Howard Hesseman as a wartime correspondent in a spoof entitled `Just A Run in the Sun', which I think may have been tied to the film A Walk in the Sun (1945), but I'm not sure given I've never seen the latter. Some of the bits had potential, but would often fizzle out, or just run longer than necessary (the take off of the biker flicks featuring skateboarders was one example of this). There are two worthwhile sequences, the first one entitled `Ma and Pa Take Francis to New York'. The filmmakers took the Ma and Pa characters popular way back in the 1950s with those Ma and Pa Kettle films (Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm, Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation, Ma and Pa Kettle at Home, etc.), and threw in an obscenity spewing talking pig named Francis (based partly on the Francis the talking mule, who never used such language). Another great bit was the old time musical near the end, which includes a hilariously nasty song. What about Bill Murray, you ask? Well, he appears as a death row prisoner, wearing way too much make-up, in a jail house spoof, one that's not very good considering the lame gags present are as old as the hills. All in all I'd say this might be worth getting if only for the Ma and Pa and the musical spoof segments, as the rest are relatively forgettable. At the very least Loose Shoes doesn't run overly long, all of about 84 minutes, it's inexpensive, and was a heck of a lot funnier than Tunnel Vision (1976), which I just recently saw (and wished I hadn't).

The fullscreen (1.33:1) picture presented on this St. Clair Vision DVD release looks pretty decent, much like that of a slightly worn VHS tape, and the audio comes through well enough. There aren't any extras included, but the skits are broken down into chapters stops so at least you can skip to the funniest bits, if you're so inclined.


By the way, John Candy's name is prominently displayed on the front of the DVD case, but if he was in this film, it must have been the smallest of parts as I missed him (he's not even listed in the credits, as far as I can tell).

A Shot in the Dark
A Shot in the Dark
DVD ~ Peter Sellers
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $18.88
35 used & new from $0.01

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I believe everything and I believe nothing. I suspect everyone and I suspect no one.", January 22, 2007
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This review is from: A Shot in the Dark (DVD)
The second of the five Pink Panther features (I don't count 1982's Trail of the Pink Panther since it was mainly deleted scenes and outtakes cobbled together from previous films), A Shot in the Dark (1964) was the first to actually star Peter Sellers (What's New, Pussycat, The Party, Murder by Death) in his signature role as the ever bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau (The original Pink Panther film featured David Niven as a well to do cat burglar, while Seller's role as Clouseau was more of a supporting one). Produced, directed, and co-written by Blake Edwards ("Peter Gunn", The Party, Revenge of the Pink Panther), the other co-writer being William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist), the film includes Elke Sommer (Baron Blood), Herbert Lom (Spartacus), George Sanders (Village of the Damned), Tracy Reed (Casino Royale), Graham Stark (The Return of the Pink Panther), and Burt Kwouk (You Only Live Twice).

As the film begins we see various figures furtively sneaking about a large, French chateau, punctuated by some gunshot ringing out in the night. We soon learn a passionate Spaniard chauffeur has been murdered, and a housekeeper named Maria Gambrelli (Sommer) is prime suspect, due to the fact she was found in the room with the body, holding a smoking gun in her hand. As it turns out the murder occurred on the estate of a wealthy businessman named Benjamin Ballon (Sanders) and Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Sellers), mistakenly assigned to the case, soon makes the scene, along with his assistant Hercule (Stark)...I say mistakenly as given the prominence of those involved, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Lom), who despises Clouseau with a passion due to his bumbling antics, would have never knowingly allowed Clouseau to investigate such a delicate case. Anyway, Clouseau is quickly removed from the investigation but is soon re-instated as interested parties, for reasons unknown, pull a few strings on his behalf. As Clouseau blunders his way forward, he's convince Maria didn't commit the murder, and that she's covering for someone else, but one wonders if Clouseau's belief stems from the fact he's quickly falling for the accused. Things go seriously awry as Clouseau tries various methods to determine the identity of the killer, which really only results in two thing, the first being an increasing body count as various members of the Ballon household suffer deaths by unnatural causes, and the second being to drive Chief Inspector Dreyfus further and further to the brink of insanity. Not only that, but a mysterious assassin is on the loose, intent on killing Clouseau himself! Things eventually come to a head once Clouseau gathers all interested parties in one room, the intent being to expose the killer who he surely believes is among the group.

Many would say A Shot in the Dark is the best among the Pink Panther films, and I'd be hard pressed to argue, but I've always been partial to The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), the one where Dreyfus, after escaping an asylum, threatens to destroy the world unless in an effort to coerce the nations of the world to send their best assassins to eliminate Clouseau once and for all. While A Shot in the Dark may not have been as screwball as some of the later Pink Panther films, it's still extremely funny, entertaining and worth most anyone's time given the strength of the writing and the wonderful performances. Sellers is, well Sellers, the bumbling, awkward, nincompoop of a detective who, somehow always manages to come out on top (but not without a few bumps and bruises along the way). It's difficult picturing anyone else in the role after seeing Sellers' performances, but we were given the opportunity to do so with a 2006 release starring Steve Martin. I have yet to see the new film, but I really have no desire to do so as I don't think it will live up to the originals. Sellers had perfected the role, and I have little interest in seeing someone else trying to top something I doubt could be topped. Anyway, Sellers is helped along the way with great performances by Herbert Lom, as Clouseau's beleaguered supervisor and Graham Stark as Clouseau's unfortunate assistant. Throw in a lot humorous dialogue, goofy situations galore, and Henry Mancini's memorable scoring and you've got one heck of a comedic adventure. Some of my more favored parts of the film include the running gags, particularly the one where Clouseau dons any number of disguises, all of which end up in him being arrested for various misdemeanors (in one scene he's disguised as a street vendor selling balloons in order to follow Maria unnoticed, but he's quickly arrested as he doesn't possess a street vendor's license). Another great sequence occurs when Clouseau tries to follows Maria surreptitiously into a nudist colony, and he can't gain entrance until he strips down himself. I've never seen so many carefully place set pieces as to obscure all the naughty bits inappropriate for a PG rated film. And then there are the various bits with Clouseau's manservant Kato (in the later films he's known as Cato), played by Burt Kwouk, who's instructed by his employer to attack Clouseau when he least expects it, if only to continually improve his employers ability to deal with the unexpected. Finally there's the finale, as Clouseau gathers those remaining in one room, and gets a whole lot more than he bargained for once the revelations begin coming at a furious pace. All in all this is a terrific murder/mystery comedy, one worth watching more than once.

The picture, presented in both widescreen anamorphic (2.35:1) and fullscreen (1.33:1), looks very clean, and the Dolby Digital mono audio, available in both English and French, comes through clearly. As far as extras, there's an eight page booklet, an original theatrical trailer, and subtitles in English and French. There's also a hidden feature, one that can be found by clicking on the title on the main menu, revealing a vintage promotional ad.


By the way, if you don't happen to own any of The Pink Panther films on DVD but are interested in buying them, look for The Pink Panther Film Collection DVD set which includes The Pink Panther (1963), A Shot in the Dark (1964), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978), and Trail of the Pink Panther (1982). The only one not included within the set is The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), only because MGM somehow lost the rights to the film to Universal Pictures, who did release the movie onto DVD in 2006 (thankfully).

Street Trash (Special Two-Disc Meltdown Edition)
Street Trash (Special Two-Disc Meltdown Edition)
DVD ~ Mike Lackey
Price: $19.49
21 used & new from $7.57

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My only thrill of the day was copping a feel off some cheap bimbo in a Spanish hotel.", January 19, 2007
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"Street trash makes Herschell Gordon Lewis look like Mary Poppins," - Wes Craven

"Loathsome, foul and degrading, Street Trash is a real treat for anyone who thinks they've seen it all." - George Romero

"Yeah, that's the bits I like." - Den Dennis (The Comic Strip Presents...More Bad News - 1988)

Produced and written by Roy Frumkes (The Substitute), and directed by J. Michael Muro, who since done stedicam work on such films as Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994), L.A. Confidential (1997), and Titanic (1997) to name a few, Street Trash (1987) features Mike Lackey, Marc Sferrazza, Jane Arakawa, Bill Chepil, Pat Ryan (The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High), Vic Noto (Innocent Blood), and Tony Darrow (Goodfellas, Analyze This, "The Sopranos").

The story basically involves the activities of two inner city homeless brothers named Freddy (Lackey) and Kevin (Sferrazza), who live in an auto scrap yard occupying a dwelling consisting of old tires. Thrown into the mix early on is the appearance of some funky looking booze called Tenafly Viper, which was found in the cellar of a liquor store by the store's proprietor. Subsequently he decides to pawn it off on his clientele, most all of whom are shiftless, degenerate dirtbags, for a buck a bottle (needless to say they snap it up). Turns out the stuff is rotgut, literally (unbeknownst to the liquor store owner), so much so it causes the individual ingesting the crud to melt from the inside out. Along with the exploding bums Freddy and Kevin also have to contend with Bronson (Noto), a large, sadistic, psychotic Vietnam veteran who rules the scrap yard with an iron fist and a dagger made of from a human femur bone (think a low grade Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now). Things get especially hairy when a local mobster (Darrow) finds out his girlfriend's been murdered (among other things) by the skid row denizens populating the junk yard, and a renegade cop with a serious grudge named Bill (Chepil) starts rousting everyone for kicks.

I guess the first thing one should know about this film is that there really isn't much of a story, which, in most cases, would probably be a disadvantage, but not so here (for those of us who tend to dwell in the cinematic sludge this is fairly common occurrence). Probably the best thing you can do is sit back and let the experience envelope you in its grimy, odious, putrid fetidity, which comes off as a sort of sewage laden mix between the films of John Waters and Herschell Gordon Lewis. I did learn a number of things from this movie, including the following...

1. One can actually make a home out of discarded tires.
2. If you wear baggy enough pants to the grocery store, you can steal enough food to feed at least three people.
3. I wouldn't eat anything that came out of a homeless man's pants.
4. You can thin out homemade hooch by urinating in it.
5. An alley is a great place to pick up broads, especially if you're a greasy bum (and the broad is wasted out of her gourd).
6. Your puke breath must be really bad when a bum won't even kiss you.
7. Frank, the morbidly obese owner and operator of the scrap yard, isn't adverse to a little necrophilia.
8. The homeless don't particularly covet showers.
9. A severed ding a ling a can be used in lieu of a football in a pick up game.
10. You never defile Bronson in front of the men.

If you like your movies messy, in a visceral sense, then you've come to the right place as this spectacularly over the top nugget of gooey nastiness is right at home next to Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (1992). I'm unsure the deal with the Viper booze, but its effects are instantaneous and highly satisfying. There's some seriously nasty melt action here, perhaps my favorite being the early scene with guy sitting on the toilet, taking a slug, and then reduced to a slimy, festering pile floating in the bowl. Along with the gratuitously goopy goodness there's also a whole lot of comedy, a few fights (the most memorable being Bill the cop going toe to toe with Bronson), some female nekkidness, a severed male member, and whole lot more. The acting was pretty rank but it didn't take away from anything for me, especially given the entertaining dialog throughout. The two best lines (at least of the ones I could post here), in my opinion, are the one I used for the title of my review and the following, occurring after one of Freddy's acquaintances, after shoving copious amounts of food down his pants, is busted by a manager in a grocery store ...

Store manager: I'd like to know what you're doing with all that chicken in your pants.

As I said, there's a decent amount of comedy here, the funniest part for me, beside the flying woody sequence, was when Freddy picked up the drunk broad in the alley, after she just finished puking. As he was dragging her back to his Goodyear abode, she kept trying to kiss him and he kept try to avoid it, given her puke breath and all. To sum things up this is a completely vile and disgusting affair, one definitely worth the time if you have the stomach.

This new 2 DVD set released in 2006, entitled 'The Meltdown Edition', includes an anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer, audio in a newly remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original 2.0 mono, two audio commentaries featuring producer Roy Frumkes and director James Muro, a two hour documentary entitled The Meltdown Memoirs, which details the history and the making of the film, the original 16mm short film that inspired the movie, a Street Trash promotional teaser, a behind the scenes still gallery, liner notes, and the original theatrical trailer. The interesting thing is, while the 2006 DVD release contains a ton more stuff than the original 2005 DVD release, the newer version is missing one really cool element...with the original DVD release there was included two printed label stickers so you could create your own bottle of Tenafly Viper.

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