Tuesday, September 30, 2014

“Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” Brings the Sci-Fi Classic to Blu-ray

In the early 1990s, my Friday and Saturday nights were spent at home watching movie after movie of whatever I could find in my local video store. I would first scour the shelves for the newest horror, sci-fi, or action flicks and then move on to older or lesser known titles. Thus, my love affair with Full Moon Features and straight-to-video fare began.

I would literally scoop up anything with a Full Moon logo on it and spend hours in the dark of my living room devouring “Subspecies,” “Puppet Master,” “Demonic Toys,” “Robot Jox,” and anything else I could get my hands on. The “Trancers” movies were among those B-movie gems I would pick up.

Full Moon Entertainment recently released “Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” on Blu-ray for those of us wanting to relive the dawn of the straight-to-video age and hopefully introduce these priceless films to a whole new generation. Let’s face it. Without Charles Band and Full Moon Features, there wouldn’t be the Asylum, SyFy Channel, Anchor Bay, or any other independent genre companies giving us “Sharknado,” “Mega Piranha,” and “Metal Shifters.”

Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) is an Angel City trooper sent back in time to the Los Angeles of 1985. He is assigned to inhabit the body of his ancestor in order to find his arch-enemy, Whistler (Michael Stefani), who turns people into zombies. Deth must stop him before is able to kill all the ancestors of the members of the future governing council.

“Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” is a perfect example of everything Full Moon and Charles Band was creating in the early and mid-1980s. It’s obvious they saw blockbuster films and wanted to make their own low-budget versions of them for genre fans to enjoy. After all, once you saw “Blade Runner,” “The Terminator,” and “Total Recall,” where could you get more of those types of entertainment to enjoy? Band and his army of filmmakers filled that niche perfectly.

You don’t get any more 1980s than “Trancers.” As the director and producer of the movie, Charles Band injected it with as much noir flavor as he could wring out of “Blade Runner” without being sued for plagiarism. You’ve got the long trench coats with the added flare of shoulder pads. Couple that with weird bolos, shirt collars, and ties and you have a futuristic beat cop ready to take down any zombie or android he comes up against in the past.

Let’s not forget Helen Hunt’s crazy puffed-up hair and her fixation with punk rock. Just like Kyle Reese in James Cameron’s “The Terminator,” Jack Deth somehow makes his way into a nightclub to enjoy some tunes from a bygone era as he pursues his murderous target. Like they say, “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”

Although “Trancers” has been remastered in high-definition, the video quality is far from perfect. The picture is still better than it’s ever looked before, but contains some pops and scratches here and there. It’s about the best you could expect from a B-movie which was probably not always stored under the best of conditions. It’s presented with 5.1 stereo surround which will give viewers a more immersive experience when it comes to all the laser fire and environmental sounds you expect from a sci-fi flick.

The bonus material for “Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” will make collectors happy. Audio commentary is provided by Actor Tim Thomerson and Director / Producer Charles Band. Daniel Griffith’s “Trancers” featurette and a rare interview with Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, and Megan Ward are included. The complete “Trancers: City of Lost Angels” segment from the anthology film “Pulsepounders” is found as well. It doesn’t appear to have been cleaned up or remastered at all. A rare still gallery rounds out the special features.

“Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” is unrated, but would be worthy of a PG-13 if put before the MPAA. There are some adult situations with no nudity. The language and violence is what you would expect from any genre movie these days.

All in all, enthusiasts of 1980s B-movies will love "Trancers: The Ultimate Edition." The film is filled with fun practical effects, film noir overtones, and plenty of action for everyone to enjoy. Even with a less than spectacular video transfer, it’s an essential item for any sci-fi devotee’s home entertainment library.

"Trancers: The Ultimate Edition" is available for order now on Blu-ray.

“Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” Brings the Sci-Fi Classic to Blu-ray

In the early 1990s, my Friday and Saturday nights were spent at home watching movie after movie of whatever I could find in my local video store. I would first scour the shelves for the newest horror, sci-fi, or action flicks and then move on to older or lesser known titles. Thus, my love affair with Full Moon Features and straight-to-video fare began.

Monday, September 29, 2014

“Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” Takes Us Back To a Familiar Galaxy Far, Far Away

The Force is with Disney and Lucasfilm's first major venture together. The two powerhouses held special advanced screenings in select theaters across the country for "Star Wars Rebels," which premieres October 3rd on the Disney Channel. Audience reactions to what they saw was unanimously positive and with good cause. The show completely captures the spirit and youthful charm of the original 1977 classic that started it all.

The 50-minute sneak preview shown in theaters across the country was titled “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion.” It takes place between the events of “Episodes III” and “IV” and introduces a band of rebels who man the space vessel Ghost. They make it their life mission to foil the Galactic Empire’s plans of galactic domination. Fourteen year old orphan Ezra Bridger reluctantly joins former Padawan Kanan Jarrus, pilot Hera Syndulla, Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren, Lasat warrior Zeb Orrelios, and astromech droid Chopper on a rescue mission to the spice mines of Kessel to free a group of Wookiee slaves. Agent Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau leads his stormtroopers in pursuit of the motley crew.

You can tell that the producers of “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” listened to uptight fans of anything related to the prequel trilogy when taking in to consideration the direction they wanted to head in for the new series. Personally, I enjoy everything “Star Wars” and didn’t have any problem with “The Clone Wars” or “Episodes I” through “III.”

The echoes of “Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope” are very much evident here. We have a young man yearning for something more from life than his aimless existence on a forgotten world in the outer rim of a galaxy far, far away. We get a band of misfits from all corners of the universe taking the boy in and giving him direction. Add to that the evil establishment who wants to rule everyone with an iron fist. It’s just like all great tales of adventure and heroism, but with different characters and settings. Let’s just call it what it is: “Star Wars” revamped for a new generation.

Familiar spaceships and figures from the original “Star Wars” trilogy no doubt makes longtime fans comfortable as they take in “Spark of Rebellion.” TIE Fighters race through space and stormtroopers follow their uniformed superiors around as they bark orders at them. The exterior and interior of the Star Destroyers also mirror the images embedded into our psyche by “The Empire Strikes Back.”

The animation style utilized for “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” is very much similar to that of “The Clone Wars.” They’ve obviously moved forward with leaps and bounds when it comes to the depth, texturing, and movements of the human characters. It’s also evident that the work of original trilogy concept artist Ralph McQuarrie’s handiwork was a huge influence on the design of the show. The evidence of that can be seen immediately in the character of Zeb, whose appearance is based on the original design of the Wookies.

The musical score for “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” also differs greatly from that of “The Clone Wars.” It’s a return to the classic sounds of John Williams’ symphonic work that makes audiences want to stand up and clap in excitement every time it’s heard. Composer Kevin Kiner is the talent behind the series, but it sounds like he’s taking all of Williams’ work and just rearranging it to fit new sequences of peril and drama.

“Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” is Lucasfilm and Disney trying to meet the needs and expectations of three very different generations all at the same time. Returning to the original formula a young and enthusiastic film geek named George Lucas introduced the world to 37 years ago was obviously the correct direction to journey in. It’s going to be fun seeing where the new show will venture and what familiar characters we’ll get to see along the way.

You can pre-order “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” on DVD right now.

“Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” Takes Us Back To a Familiar Galaxy Far, Far Away

The Force is with Disney and Lucasfilm's first major venture together. The two powerhouses held special advanced screenings in select theaters across the country for "Star Wars Rebels," which premieres October 3rd on the Disney Channel. Audience reactions to what they saw was unanimously positive and with good cause. The show completely captures the spirit and youthful charm of the original 1977 classic that started it all.

Friday, September 26, 2014

“Arrow: The Complete Second Season” Takes The Epic Series To the Next Level

DC Comics characters continue to rule the television world and the proof is in “Arrow: The Complete Second Season” Blu-ray and DVD sets. Every actor in the cast is invested in their role and strives to provide quality entertainment in each episode. The fight choreography creates some of the greatest action sequences ever seen in super hero movies and TV. Good writing doesn’t hurt when it comes to keeping audiences engaged week after week, either.

After the Glades are ravaged by the Undertaking, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) retreats to the island he was stranded on for so many years. Arrow is unable to face the citizens and friends he feels he’s failed. At the plea of Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), he returns to discover Starling City is worse off than ever. Oliver finds himself pitted against old and new villains alike as he struggles to fend off evil and protect those he loves.

The Blu-ray edition of “Arrow: The Complete Second Season” is presented in 1080p High-Definition 16x9 (1.78.1) coupled with DTS-HD MA: English 5.1 audio. The video quality is flawless and gives viewers no reason to be distracted from all the action and excitement taking place onscreen. The surround sound puts you right in the middle of the jungles of the island and the noisy streets of Starling City.

Those who love bonus material will be impressed with “Arrow: The Complete Second Season” Blu-ray set. A bonus recap episode reminds viewers of the events of the first season. Three featurettes entitled “From Vigilante to Hero,” “How Did They Do That? The Visual Effects of ‘Arrow,’” and “Wirework: The Impossible Moves of ‘Arrow’” take us behind the scenes of the show. Unaired scenes, a gag reel, and the “Arrow” 2013 Comic-Con Panel complete the special features.

“Arrow: The Complete Second Season” is unrated, even though it would merit a PG-13 if put before the MPAA. There’s a whole lot of violence and bloodshed when our hooded vigilante comes face-to-face with the criminals who cross him. Some adult situations and mild language are found as well.

If you’re not watching “Arrow” already, you need to be. Strong scripting, great acting, and breakneck pacing make it an experience you don’t want to miss. Marvel might be the Kings of the Cinema right now when it comes to compact two hour super hero tales. However, DC reigns supreme if you’re looking for longevity and complex dramas that keep your attention for the long haul.

“Arrow: The Complete Second Season” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

“Arrow: The Complete Second Season” Takes The Epic Series To the Next Level

DC Comics characters continue to rule the television world and the proof is in “Arrow: The Complete Second Season” Blu-ray and DVD sets. Every actor in the cast is invested in their role and strives to provide quality entertainment in each episode. The fight choreography creates some of the greatest action sequences ever seen in super hero movies and TV. Good writing doesn’t hurt when it comes to keeping audiences engaged week after week, either.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Batwoman: Future’s End #1 Gives Us a Bleak View of Our Heroine in Five Years

Batman is fresh on everyone’s minds as he’s in the news almost daily because of his 75th Anniversary and a new movie on the horizon. Let’s take the focus off of him a little and give some limelight to one of his reluctant comrades in the fight against crime-ridden Gotham City. Batwoman: Future’s End #1gives us a peek into what our heroine is up to five years from now… and it doesn’t appear to be anything good.

Kathy Kane has transformed into a bat, no doubt thanks to an unhealthy dose of Doctor Kirk Langstrom’s Man-Bat formula. She flies around Gotham with her army of bats wreaking havoc on the city she once vowed to protect. Her sister takes on the responsibility of either killing her or finding a way to reverse the effects of the serum. One way or another, the mutated Batwoman must be stopped before she destroys everything in her path.

Writer Marc Andreyko does a wonderful job creating an emotional tie that draws readers into Batwoman: Future’s End #1. He strives to establish as much plot and groundwork as he can in a 20-plus page one-shot. Andreyko successfully gives us action, drama, and tragedy all in that limited amount of space.

Artist Jason Masters has a unique style which separates him from the Jim Lee and Ivan Reis school of illustration used so much these days. He pours his heart and soul into the detail we see in every panel. Masters is very creative when it comes to his layouts and that adds extra depth to each page.

Batwoman: Future’s End #1 is rated T+ for Teens Plus. I take that as saying there’s material inside which might not be suitable for readers under the age of 15 or 16. The only things I saw questionable were a couple scenes where Batwoman tears away the flesh from a victim’s throat.

Although it’s not as easy to jump into Batwoman: Future’s End #1 if you’re not following the monthly title, there’s still a lot to enjoy here. You just have to take the tale at face value and go with the flow with little backstory. If anything, it will spark your interest and make you strive to find out what’s really going on in the grand scheme of DC Comics’ latest epic event.

Batwoman: Future’s End #1 is available now in print and Kindle editions.

Batwoman: Future’s End #1 Gives Us a Bleak View of Our Heroine in Five Years

Batman is fresh on everyone’s minds as he’s in the news almost daily because of his 75th Anniversary and a new movie on the horizon. Let’s take the focus off of him a little and give some limelight to one of his reluctant comrades in the fight against crime-ridden Gotham City. Batwoman: Future’s End #1gives us a peek into what our heroine is up to five years from now… and it doesn’t appear to be anything good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meander Through the Outback with "The Rover"

I can’t think of a movie I’ve been more disappointed by recently than “The Rover.” There was so much good said about it and it really does look intriguing on the surface. Unfortunately, it’s the perfect example of the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” working against itself.

Australia is a financially crippled wasteland ten years after a worldwide economic collapse. After his car is stolen by a trio of criminals, a wandering nomad named Eric (Guy Pearce) comes across the wounded brother (Robert Pattinson) of one of the thieves. He tends to his wounds before telling the disoriented man he must lead him to his brother’s band of delinquents. Eric wants his car back and will stop at nothing to reclaim it from the thugs.

Let me tell you the good things about “The Rover” first. Robert Pattinson takes his role as a mentally challenged Australian redneck outlaw and runs with it. There isn’t a single hint of Edward Cullen to be seen in the dirty unkempt façade of his character in this film.

Cinematographer Natasha Braier delivers stunning camerawork for “The Rover.” She fully captures the depressing atmosphere of a world that has collapsed in on itself. Antony Partos accents Braier’s work with an unsettling musical score that adds another layer of menace to the film.

All the good still can’t save “The Rover” from being one of the most tedious viewing experiences I’ve experienced in a very long time. Shots go on way too long for one. One profile scene at the very beginning felt like it went on forever.

“The Rover” is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.40:1) with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. The picture consistently maintains its color and clarity. The audio is low when it needs to be and raucous when the movie calls for the audience to be shaken out of its comfort zone.

Most consumers may find the lack of bonus material for “The Rover” Blu-ray release disappointing. It consists of one 44-minute featurette entitled “Something Elemental: Making ‘The Rover’” and includes interviews with the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage. Why they wouldn’t include trailers for the movie is beyond me.

“The Rover” is rated R for language and bloody violence. There’s no nudity or sexual situations to be found. Child prostitution is insinuated when Guy Pearce’s character visits an opium den while looking for his car, which might (and should) disturb some viewers.

The entire film feels like a boring road trip that will never end. I’m not saying that nothing happens along the way. However, it’s certainly not anything you’d want to send a postcard home about. Imagine “The Road Warrior” with all the cars chasing each other at ten miles per hour instead of at breakneck speeds. “The Rover” just ends up feeling lethargic and overlong.

"The Rover" is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

Meander Through the Outback with "The Rover"

I can’t think of a movie I’ve been more disappointed by recently than “The Rover.” There was so much good said about it and it really does look intriguing on the surface. Unfortunately, it’s the perfect example of the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” working against itself.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is Damian Wayne Still Alive in Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1?

DC Comics continues its latest Earth shattering event with Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1. The one-shot gives readers a look into what’s to come for the Dark Knight as he continues his crusade against crime. By his side is another partner who’s picked up the red and green mantle of the Boy Wonder. It’s an action-packed piece of a bigger puzzle that still serves as entertaining for those who aren’t completely up to speed with the whole story.

Five years in the future, Bruce Wayne still dons the cape and cowl and stalks the streets nightly as the Batman. He’s also continues to be obsessed with the death of his son, Damian. Old wounds are opened when a monstrous assassin resembling the Heretic shows up. Could he be the same Heretic or another creation of the league of Assassins sent to rid the world of the Caped Crusader and his new sidekick?

Ray Fawkes pens an engaging and explosive single issue that both ties into the rest of the Future’s End mythos as well as standing on its own. Of course it’s easier to understand if taken in the context of the whole title-spanning epic saga. However, there’s plenty here to enjoy if you just jump in for a quick ride.

Dustin Nguyen provides the artwork for Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1. His inspiration for the Batman found in this issue is easy to pinpoint as soon as you see his first appearance. He very much resembles the Caped Crusader we see in Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns.” Robin’s new costume is reminiscent of RoboCop’s recent robotic get-up from the remake. Nguyen definitely knows how to bring panels full of tense action to vibrant life as he accents Fawkes’ script through images.

Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1 is rated T for Teen. There’s nothing found here except the typical comic book violence we get week in and week out from DC Comics. If you’ve seen any of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” films, you’re safe to read this.

I can’t say that I’m convinced everything we see in Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1 will end up staying canon, but it makes for fun reading now. I’m sure at some point the DC Universe will once again suffer through some sort of intergalactic tragedy that will shift the timeline and free up writers to explore other avenues. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time with the whole storyline right now.

Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1 is available now in print and Kindle editions.

Is Damian Wayne Still Alive in Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1?

DC Comics continues its latest Earth shattering event with Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1. The one-shot gives readers a look into what’s to come for the Dark Knight as he continues his crusade against crime. By his side is another partner who’s picked up the red and green mantle of the Boy Wonder. It’s an action-packed piece of a bigger puzzle that still serves as entertaining for those who aren’t completely up to speed with the whole story.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"The Pact 2" Effectively Follows Up Its Predecessor

It’s hard to surprise people anymore when it comes to supernatural thrillers or mystery films. The best any writer or director can do these days is institute great pacing and hope that an engaging storyline will keep spectators invested as they deliver their version of something we’ve all probably witnessed before. “The Pact 2” successfully does this and delivers some truly great scares in an era where everyone knows exactly when and where to expect something to happen.

June Abbott (Camilla Luddington) spends the days cleaning up crime scenes and the nights using her experiences as fuel for a book she is illustrating. She begins having visions of the Judas Killer (Mark Steger) and his victims just as her police officer boyfriend (Scott Michael Foster) starts investigating a new case. It involves a psycho patterning his killings after the infamous murderer. Are her nightmares trying to warn her of something genuine she has to fear? When real life begins to spiral out of control, June contacts a former victim of the Judas Killer named Annie (Caity Lotz) to help her make sense of the events unraveling around her.

Many out there are reading this with a furrowed brow while thinking, “I’ve never even heard of the first ‘The Pact.’ How did it get a sequel?” The original 2012 flick terrified crowds on the festival circuit and gained critical praise before being picked up by IFC Films for home entertainment distribution. It did well enough that producers felt it warranted a sequel.

It’s not often that a sequel to a movie is effective at following up its predecessor, but “The Pact 2” makes a valiant attempt at doing so. Instead of retreading the same ground the first one did, it continues the story and moves into unexplored territory. I’m highly impressed at how great this turned out without the hands of original Director / Writer Nicholas McCarthy so far in the background. The only credit he gets here is as an executive producer.

Good horror movies need to build up the tension to scare people now. The days of a black cat jumping out of a closet and making you pee yourself are long gone. Now it’s about the anticipation of something happening that keeps people on their toes and the edges of their seats. “The Pact 2” had me recoiling in fear throughout its entirety thanks to the navigation of fairly new directors Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath.

A lot of the eerie and unsettling atmosphere instituted in “The Pact 2” comes from its sinister musical score supplied by composer Carl Sondrol. It perfectly complements every scene in the movie and conjures feelings of dread in the viewer. Just the music alone could make your hair stand on end, even without the help of any visuals.

Caity Lotz returns from “The Pact” to help link things to the first film. She acts as a sort of guide to the subject of the Judas Killer’s torment this time around. You can tell Lotz doesn’t think of “The Pact 2” as just another independent job to collect some quick cash. She pours herself into the character and genuinely delivers a strong performance.

“The Pact 2” is unrated but doesn’t cross any lines that would keep it from gaining an R or even PG-13. There’s some sensuality with no nudity. Frightening sequences overpower any gore seen onscreen. The language is nothing we haven’t heard in any other PG-13 or R rated movies.

Although you have your suspicions of how “The Pact 2” is going to turn out in the end, the journey getting there is rewarding and entertaining. Much like “Insidious Chapter 2,” it doesn’t settle with just repeating what its predecessor did. It builds on the mythos already established and takes you further into the nightmare Director / Writer Nicholas McCarthy originally conceived.

"The Pact 2" is available now as a Digital Download.

"The Pact 2" Effectively Follows Up Its Predecessor

It’s hard to surprise people anymore when it comes to supernatural thrillers or mystery films. The best any writer or director can do these days is institute great pacing and hope that an engaging storyline will keep spectators invested as they deliver their version of something we’ve all probably witnessed before. “The Pact 2” successfully does this and delivers some truly great scares in an era where everyone knows exactly when and where to expect something to happen.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"The Guest" Fuses Together Different Genres Into One Exceptional Experience

It didn’t take much nudging to get me interested in seeing “The Guest.” After watching Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett’s horror masterpiece “You’re Next,” all it really took was an engaging trailer with their names attached to it. Let’s just say that the duo have another sleeper hit on their hands.

A military veteran returns from his tour of duty overseas. David seems to be the genuine article. A soft-spoken and well-mannered young man, he arrives on the doorstep of a fallen comrade’s home to tell his family his dying words and wishes.

With nowhere else to go, the family invites David to be their guest for a few days as he makes plans for the future. It gradually becomes all too apparent that their new visitor might not be who he claims to be as his behavior becomes more and more erratic. What sort of skeletons does David have in his closet and where did he really come from?

While the story isn’t all that complex, “The Guest” works on so many genre levels that it can’t help but rope in and keep the attention of a diverse audience by offering something somewhat unique. As you walk into the theater, you think you’re getting a straight-ahead thriller. Halfway through the film, you discover Director Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett aren’t satisfied with just offering you the status quo. They’re driven to throw caution to the wind and deliver something unexpected to viewers.

Actor Dan Stevens has a bright future ahead of him. He takes audiences through a rollercoaster ride of emotions as you get to know his character and re-discover him all in the span of 99 minutes. There’s points where you love the guy and then want to see him get his own come-uppance in some violent and horrible manner. Stevens does all this with steely charm and commanding eyes that have a sort of mesmerizing effect on whoever he’s interacting with.

“The Guest” is rated R for strong violence, language, some drug use and a scene of sexuality. The violence in the film is really no more than what you see in a typical action movie. There’s some female upper nudity in one particular spot, which in my opinion could’ve easily been avoided and opened the movie up to a broader audience. Women get an eyeful as well when David comes out shirtless and wet after taking a steamy shower. He also likes to mellow out at parties with a few drags off a joint.

Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett definitely have a formula that works for them and it shows once more with “The Guest.” They take everything you know about the action, horror, and thriller genres and blend them together into a tasty and compelling concoction. However, they find a way to turn all of it upside down just as soon as you ease into what you’re experiencing.

"The Guest" Fuses Together Different Genres Into One Exceptional Experience

It didn’t take much nudging to get me interested in seeing “The Guest.” After watching Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett’s horror masterpiece “You’re Next,” all it really took was an engaging trailer with their names attached to it. Let’s just say that the duo have another sleeper hit on their hands.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"The Boxtrolls" Video Clips and Trailers

A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children's novel 'Here Be Monsters' by Alan Snow.

Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Writers: Irena Brignull (screenplay), Adam Pava (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Nick Frost

Release: 09/26/2014



You can click here to see video clips and trailers for "The Boxtrolls."

"The Boxtrolls" Video Clips and Trailers

A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children's novel 'Here Be Monsters' by Alan Snow.

Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Writers: Irena Brignull (screenplay), Adam Pava (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Nick Frost

Release: 09/26/2014



You can click here to see video clips and trailers for "The Boxtrolls."

Interview with Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett for "The Guest"

I’ve been interested in Director Adam Wingard’s work since reading about his award-winning 2010 film “A Horrible Way to Die.” My next run-in with him was posting articles about another critically praised entry in his filmography entitled “You’re Next.” When Lionsgate sent me a copy of that movie to review, I immediately devoured it and was floored by the great twists and turns I experienced along the way.

Needless to say, I was more than excited when approached about interviewing both Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett for their newest collaboration “The Guest.” I’m happy to say that the movie is everything we’ve come to expect from these two genre geniuses. They once again deliver a solid example of what makes them stand above the rest of their film school colleagues. Wingard and Barrett take a familiar action / thriller formula while standing it on its head and giving it their own unique spin in the end.

“The Guest” revolves around a military veteran who returns from his tour of duty overseas. David seems to be the genuine article. A soft-spoken and well-mannered young man, he arrives on the doorstep of a fallen comrade’s home to tell his family his dying words and wishes.

With nowhere else to go, the family invites David to be their guest for a few days as he makes plans for the future. It gradually becomes all too apparent that their new visitor might not be who he claims to be as his behavior becomes more and more erratic. What sort of skeletons does David have in his closet and where did he really come from?

Sitting in the same room with them, it’s very evident why these two continue to work together on projects. Just answering questions, you can see how in sync Wingard and Barrett are as artists in their own respects. Without sounding cliché, they come remarkably close to finishing each other’s sentences.

Check out the round-table I participated in below. We discuss filming techniques, the soundtrack, and Dan Steven’s brilliant performance among other things. It’s nice to be in the same room with two guys who have such a passion for their work and the world’s they create.

Interview with Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett for "The Guest"

I’ve been interested in Director Adam Wingard’s work since reading about his award-winning 2010 film “A Horrible Way to Die.” My next run-in with him was posting articles about another critically praised entry in his filmography entitled “You’re Next.” When Lionsgate sent me a copy of that movie to review, I immediately devoured it and was floored by the great twists and turns I experienced along the way.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Interview with Actor Dan Stevens for "The Guest"

Actor Dan Stevens is busy these days making a name for himself in the world of movies and television. In his ten years onscreen, he's already made an impact on audiences all across the world through commanding performances in British favorites like "Downton Abbey," "Sense and Sensibility," and "The Turn of the Screw." He's also proved to be a force to reckon with in several genre projects such as "Frankenstein," "Dracula," "Vamps," and "The Tomorrow People." Stevens will soon be seen in the upcoming "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”

In the same weekend, Stevens has two features premiering that couldn't be further apart in the industry of filmmaking. He'll be seen opposite Liam Neeson in the mainstream action vehicle "A Walk Among the Tombstones." In some theaters, he'll be right across the halls in another auditorium terrorizing moviegoers in Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett's indie thriller "The Guest."

The very polite and enthusiastic actor visited Dallas, TX on a press tour for “The Guest” a while back. I was fortunate enough to get to sit down with him during a round-table discussion and pick his brain about his role as the off-kilter center of the film, David.

“The Guest” revolves around a military veteran who returns from his tour of duty overseas. David seems to be the genuine article. A soft-spoken and well-mannered young man, he arrives on the doorstep of a fallen comrade’s home to tell his family his dying words and wishes.

With nowhere else to go, the family invites David to be their guest for a few days as he makes plans for the future. It gradually becomes all too apparent that their new visitor might not be who he claims to be as his behavior becomes more and more erratic. What sort of skeletons does David have in his closet and where did he really come from?

Check out the round-table I participated in below.

Interview with Actor Dan Stevens for "The Guest"

Actor Dan Stevens is busy these days making a name for himself in the world of movies and television. In his ten years onscreen, he's already made an impact on audiences all across the world through commanding performances in British favorites like "Downton Abbey," "Sense and Sensibility," and "The Turn of the Screw." He's also proved to be a force to reckon with in several genre projects such as "Frankenstein," "Dracula," "Vamps," and "The Tomorrow People." Stevens will soon be seen in the upcoming "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Ginger Snaps" At You on Blu-ray

Scream Factory continues its campaign to preserve the overlooked classics of horror with its high-definition release of “Ginger Snaps” Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack Special Edition. On the surface, the movie is a wonderful addition to the werewolf sub-genre that is rarely toyed with. Dig deeper and you find commentary on the difficulties girls face as they journey into womanhood. It should be required viewing for every male so they can form a sense of empathy for their female friends and family.

Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle) are sisters and the best of friends. They’re also the town outcasts and parade their obsession with death in front of their classmates, teachers, and family. As they walk home one evening, Ginger is attacked by a ravenous beast.

Her wounds heal at an astounding rate and she soon realizes that her body is undergoing two very extraordinary changes. One is fairly normal for all teenage girls: the arrival of her menstrual cycle. The second change is an ever-accelerating transformation into a werewolf. Can Brigitte save Ginger from her insatiable bloodlust before she fully turns into a voracious creature of the night?

“Ginger Snaps” Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack Special Edition is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1) accompanied by 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo Sound. The video perfectly captures an independent flavor through autumn hues and a grainy “real” film look absent in many movies today. Viewers will find themselves surrounded by the frightening sounds of growling beasts and other eerie disturbances.

As is usual with most Scream Factory releases, “Ginger Snaps” Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack Special Edition comes loaded with an exhaustive amount of bonus material. New interviews with actors Emily Perkins and Jess Moss, Make-up Effects Artist Paul Jones, Composer Mike Shields, and more can be found. Audio commentaries with Director John Fawcett and Writer Karen Walton are included. We also get deleted scenes with optional commentary by John Fawcett and Karen Walton, cast auditions and rehearsals, a theatrical trailer, and TV spots. A “Creation of the Beast” featurette and video presentation of the “New Women in Horror Panel Discussing ‘Ginger Snaps’” rounds out a robust batch of great extras.

The version of the movie featured on the “Ginger Snaps” Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack Special Edition is Unrated. There’s a lot of graphic violence and gore in this fine example of a Lycanthropy-centered film. I would consider it to be “R” rated because of strong language, adult situations, and scenes of female werewolf nudity. Ginger’s hairy upper torso makes a cameo appearance during the movie’s exciting and emotional conclusion.

“Ginger Snaps” Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack Special Edition is an essential addition to every werewolf fan’s home entertainment library. Rarely does a horror movie come along that infuses such immense chills and thrills while so beautifully capturing the pain and awkwardness we all feel journeying from childhood to adulthood. In my humble (yeah, right) opinion, this is the wolf-woman equivalent of the touching-yet-disturbing vampire tale “Let the Right One In” if fused together with the wit of "Heathers."

“Ginger Snaps” Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack Special Edition is available right now here.

"Ginger Snaps" At You on Blu-ray

Scream Factory continues its campaign to preserve the overlooked classics of horror with its high-definition release of “Ginger Snaps” Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack Special Edition. On the surface, the movie is a wonderful addition to the werewolf sub-genre that is rarely toyed with. Dig deeper and you find commentary on the difficulties girls face as they journey into womanhood. It should be required viewing for every male so they can form a sense of empathy for their female friends and family.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Disney and Marvel Welcome Home "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"

Marvel and Walt Disney Home Entertainment give fans the chance to watch “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” over and over as they unleash it on Blu-ray and DVD. I knew I had to experience all the fun and excitement again as quickly as possible when I saw it in theaters. The time has come and after viewing it for a second time, I can say that it’s one of the few times a sequel comes very close to topping its predecessor.

Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) have continued to work for Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of "The Avengers." When it's discovered that the evil organization Hydra is still running strong and has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., Cap and Widow go rogue to help discover who the enemy plants are. They team up with the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and find themselves confronting a powerful assassin named the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) as they embark on their mission.

The Blu-ray version of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is presented in 1080p high-definition (2.40:1) with 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The picture quality is superb and a real treat for the eyes with so much frenetic action, spectacular stunts, and explosions happening in front of you. The surround sound keeps you grounded in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with bombastic blasts and noises and a score that blends together elements of pulsing electronic music with classic symphonic arrangements.

There’s some interesting bonus material included for the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Blu-ray edition. Audio commentary is provided by Directors Anthony and Joe Russo with Screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Two featurettes entitled "On the Front Line: An Inside Look at Captain America's Battlegrounds" and "On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check!" take viewers behind the scenes of the movie.

Four different deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary from the Russo Brothers are found as well. They’re made up of "Hill and Sitwell Talk Loyalty," "In Pursuit of Captain America," "Nick Fury's Circle," and "Widow Reveals Her Past." We also get an inside look at "Steve Rogers' Notebook." A gag real rounds out the special features.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout. A lot of stuff gets blown up and many people get shot. However, there isn’t much blood to be seen. Parents might also want to know there’s a little bad language to be heard.

Although it differs greatly in tone from the first movie, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is an exceptionally well crafted continuation that perfectly complements its forerunner and “The Avengers.” While “The First Avenger” was a patriotic period piece, its follow-up is a modern day spy and espionage thriller that packs a sizeable punch with all its non-stop action and solid pacing.    

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is available now on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

Disney and Marvel Welcome Home "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"

Marvel and Walt Disney Home Entertainment give fans the chance to watch “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” over and over as they unleash it on Blu-ray and DVD. I knew I had to experience all the fun and excitement again as quickly as possible when I saw it in theaters. The time has come and after viewing it for a second time, I can say that it’s one of the few times a sequel comes very close to topping its predecessor.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season" Accesses Your Home

Disney paired the Blu-ray and DVD releases of both Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season” and “Captain America: Winter Soldier” together in a very smart move. It helps both products promote each other and no doubt monopolize the home entertainment sales for the week. There’s no question as to which one needs the most help with its marketing push.

Agent Phil Coulson leads a team against international terrorist threats too big for the U.S. military and government to take on. As the team is dispatched on missions, they discover there’s more to the world than what we experience in our everyday lives. Super villains exist that threaten the very existence of humanity. It’s S.H.I.E.L.D.’s job to intervene when the Avengers and other heroes cannot.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was so up and down in the ratings and rightfully suffered a lot of negative feedback from diehard and casual fans of comic book movies and TV shows. I gave up trying to follow it on a weekly basis after the first six episodes failed to engage me. After hearing from several trusted sources that it started to pick up, I decided I wanted to give it another chance. Thanks to its home entertainment release, I was given a second attempt at revisiting it.

While it definitely did improve from the first uninspiring few episodes, I can’t say that I was excited. As the credits rolled on the finale, I still didn’t feel a sense of urgency for the next season. One of the biggest problems with the show is a cast of characters that just don’t engage me. There’s nothing all that interesting about any of them and the actors’ performances don’t demand my attention.

Another issue is a lack of an engaging plot or story concepts that truly feel stunning or bring anything new to the Marvel Universe. I understand what “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is trying to be. It’s a show about the organization and people working behind the scenes of the super heroes. What it feels like is a comic book show without the flair of what drives people to read its very source material.

Whether the Whedons and other producers of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” want to admit it or not, the show desperately NEEDS the presence of super heroes. I have a very simple answer to the problem. The Marvel Universe is made up of literally hundreds if not thousands of different characters. I understand that they can’t bring in the A-listers like Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, or Thor for guest appearances on the show.

What about all the countless other B and C list legends who never get their moment in the limelight? How about three or four-arc storylines featuring Dazzler, She-Hulk, Blink, Captain Britain, Comet Man, Man-Thing, or Longshot? That’s just to name a few right off the top of my head.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season” boasts special features that give viewers Level 7 clearance. It contains featurettes like "Journey into S.D.C.C." and "Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe." There’s also five behind-the-scenes “Field Reports.” Audio commentaries, bloopers, and deleted scenes are included as well.

Most Marvel fans will embrace “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” at face value. Apparently, I just expected more from the producers of such giant blockbusters like “Iron Man,” “Avengers,” and the “Captain America” movies. The show could be so much better than it is. Maybe if the Whedons can quit trying to fit all the characters into their “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” mold, it might start working better and deliver some bigger and more unique thrills.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season" Accesses Your Home

Disney paired the Blu-ray and DVD releases of both Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season” and “Captain America: Winter Soldier” together in a very smart move. It helps both products promote each other and no doubt monopolize the home entertainment sales for the week. There’s no question as to which one needs the most help with its marketing push.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"The Remaining" Graphic Novel Adds to the Vision of the Movie

Christian comic book publisher Kingstone Media has stepped out of its comfort zone recently with their release of the graphic novel version of faith-based horror film "The Remaining." Although the company has printed original stories before outside of its historical and Biblical accounts, the move pushes the proverbial envelope even further. Casey La Scala's vision of the Rapture differs from what we've ever seen before through the entertaining, yet relatively sanitized, "Left Behind" and "Revelation Road" movies. 

It's a truly horrific vision of a world crumbling quickly in the aftermath of a supernatural event that ushers in seven years of terrible Tribulation and unleashes a dark presence bent on eliminating any glimmer of spiritual hope that arises out of the ashes of Armageddon. Writer Roland Mann and artist Kyle Hotz's handiwork perfectly accents and extends in illustrated form what we're served on the silver screen.

Roland Mann really doesn't veer far off from the script for the movie version of "The Remaining." Sometimes, comic book adaptations of films give us extra insight into events that take place in between what we see onscreen. This book is extremely faithful to Casey La Scala's original screenplay. 

Where things get more interesting is when the reader experiences artist Kyle Hotz's depictions of the demonic creatures we only get a momentary glance at in the movie version of "The Remaining." In the film, we're really only given one quick glance at the winged creatures taking out humans at the moment of their spiritual decisions. In the graphic novel, Mann doesn't shy away from giving us additional details on these grotesque agents of Satan.

Although it's Christian-oriented, I believe "The Remaining" graphic novel should hold a PG-13 or "T for Teen” rating. It contains some adult themes, scary situations, violence, and graphic death scenes. If you or your children read Batman or Justice League comics, you know what to expect.

"The Remaining" is a tense horror graphic novel which could sit next to other apocalyptic literature published by Vertigo or other independent publishers. It successfully bridges the gap between the Christian and mainstream comic book industries. One thing it does quite well is leave the reader wanting more and wondering where the story could be taken in the future.

"The Remaining" is available now in a paperback edition. 

"The Remaining" Graphic Novel Adds to the Vision of the Movie

Christian comic book publisher Kingstone Media has stepped out of its comfort zone recently with their release of the graphic novel version of faith-based horror film "The Remaining." Although the company has printed original stories before outside of its historical and Biblical accounts, the move pushes the proverbial envelope even further. Casey La Scala's vision of the Rapture differs from what we've ever seen before through the entertaining, yet relatively sanitized, "Left Behind" and "Revelation Road" movies. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"The Guest" Video Clips

Release: 09/17/2014

From the director of YOU’RE NEXT and featuring a standout, badass performance from Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”), comes THE GUEST: a tense, action-packed and unpredictable film like everything and nothing you've ever seen before. Empire Magazine called it "a demented action-horror hybrid of sci-fi conspiracy thriller and gore-fest", and Vanity Fair US said, “THE GUEST is big, it’s bold, it’s badass, full of flavor Hollywood wishes it could pour over its vanilla blockbusters.” 

Synopsis: A soldier (Dan Stevens) introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.

Directed by: Adam Wingard
Written by: Simon Barrett
Produced by: Keith Calder & Jessica Calder
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley, Brendan Meyer and Lance Reddick



"The Guest" Video Clips

Release: 09/17/2014

From the director of YOU’RE NEXT and featuring a standout, badass performance from Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”), comes THE GUEST: a tense, action-packed and unpredictable film like everything and nothing you've ever seen before. Empire Magazine called it "a demented action-horror hybrid of sci-fi conspiracy thriller and gore-fest", and Vanity Fair US said, “THE GUEST is big, it’s bold, it’s badass, full of flavor Hollywood wishes it could pour over its vanilla blockbusters.” 

Synopsis: A soldier (Dan Stevens) introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.

Directed by: Adam Wingard
Written by: Simon Barrett
Produced by: Keith Calder & Jessica Calder
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley, Brendan Meyer and Lance Reddick



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Teen Titans Go!" - “Caramel Apples” Video Clip

New Episode Airs Thursday, September 18 at 6:00/5:00c on Cartoon Network.

Trigon arrives to wreck the Earth, but only because his daughter Raven didn’t get him anything for Father’s Day. Starfire misses the fatherly relationship, so she starts spending time with Trigon.

"Teen Titans Go!" - “Caramel Apples” Video Clip

New Episode Airs Thursday, September 18 at 6:00/5:00c on Cartoon Network.

Trigon arrives to wreck the Earth, but only because his daughter Raven didn’t get him anything for Father’s Day. Starfire misses the fatherly relationship, so she starts spending time with Trigon.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Villains Have All the Fun in "Batman: Assault on Arkham"

The world of the “Batman: Arkham” video game is brought to vivid animated life with DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s “Batman: Assault on Arkham.” The Dark Knight takes a backseat to the bad guys in what is the comic book equivalent of a heist or search and rescue flick much like “Red,” “Ocean’s 11,” “Escape from New York,” and others. The movie takes place after the events in “Batman: Arkham Origins.” It’s an exciting and humorous romp that will thrill fans of the game franchise and “mature” enthusiasts of super heroes.

Amanda Waller puts together a team of super villains to infiltrate Arkham Asylum and complete an unfinished job. She wants the Riddler assassinated for secret knowledge he possesses. Black Spider, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, KGBeast, and King Shark are all forced to comply to her wishes thanks to an explosive planted in their necks which Waller can detonate if they won’t fulfill her demands.

One thing DC animated movie buffs will be happy about is the return of Kevin Conroy in the role of Batman. The rest of the voice cast is fine, but they’re overshadowed every time the Dark Knight appears onscreen. Troy Baker does his best Mark Hamill impersonation as the Joker. I really thought it was Hamill until the credits rolled at the end.

“Batman: Assault on Arkham” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1.78:1) and 5.1 Dolby Digital. The picture is clean and highlights the great stylized animation. I always notice that the DC animated movies have this strange haze over them, but I just overlook it and concentrate on what’s going on story wise and below it. The surround sound sets viewers right in the thick of the excitement and tension.

A word of caution to parents out there with children who love super heroes. “Batman: Assault on Arkham” isn’t kid-friendly in any form or fashion. It’s rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, and language. We’re not talking your typical comic book violence, either. Several heads are blown off for example. Harley Quinn shows quite a bit of skin and there’s a scene of Deadshot and her tumbling around in bed together. The language is on par with what you would get in any action movie released today starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liam Neeson, or Sylvester Stallone. However, the “F” word is never dropped.

The Blu-ray edition of “Batman: Assault on Arkham” contains a pleasing amount of bonus material. A featurette entitled “Arkham Analyzed: The Secrets Behind the Asylum” and feature commentary are exclusive to the release. Other featurettes include “The Joker’s Queen – Harley Quinn” and a sneak preview of the upcoming “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” animated movie. It also contains four bonus cartoons from the DC Comics vault.

“Batman: Assault on Arkham” will thrill fans of the video game franchise it’s based on. People unfamiliar with the “Arkham Asylum,” “Arkham City,” and “Arkham Origins” universe need not worry. I don’t play the games and had no problem jumping right in. 

“Batman: Assault on Arkham” is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

The Villains Have All the Fun in "Batman: Assault on Arkham"

The world of the “Batman: Arkham” video game is brought to vivid animated life with DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s “Batman: Assault on Arkham.” The Dark Knight takes a backseat to the bad guys in what is the comic book equivalent of a heist or search and rescue flick much like “Red,” “Ocean’s 11,” “Escape from New York,” and others. The movie takes place after the events in “Batman: Arkham Origins.” It’s an exciting and humorous romp that will thrill fans of the game franchise and “mature” enthusiasts of super heroes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The End of Days Has Come in Christian Horror Film "The Remaining"

There was a time when the idea of a Christian-themed horror film would be laughed at by genre fans everywhere. Many still do giggle as they read a synopsis or watch trailers for faith-based movies and assume the worst when it comes to anything Bible oriented. Directors like Scott Derrickson are doing their best to change that pre-conceived notion by successfully giving audiences scares that do more than just award you a momentary jolt. They leave you with something to think about after the credits role.

Directorial newcomer Casey La Scala aims to do the same with his passion-project “The Remaining.” Many will recognize his name as the producer of notable films like “Donnie Darko,” “A Walk to Remember,” and others. He is also involved in the latest chapter of the infamous “Amityville Horror” franchise entitled “Amityville: The Awakening.”

Equal parts disaster film and end-of-the-world supernatural thriller, “The Remaining” focuses on a group of friends making their way through the aftermath of the Biblical Rapture. For those who somehow haven’t been exposed to the “Left Behind” movies either by seeing or hearing about them, the Rapture is a worldwide event talked about in the Book of Revelation where Christians are suddenly taken up to Heaven when Jesus Christ returns and seven years of horrific Tribulation begin.

Basically, God turns his back on the World and gives it over to the Antichrist and his minions to do with as they will. There are plagues, natural disasters, and other catastrophic events which unfold as the clock to Armageddon counts down. Many people will realize what’s going on around them who were taught the Truth but never truly believed what they were heard. They will form factions who will help lead others to make a decision to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ or turn their backs on him.

In “The Remaining,” the events of Revelation are accelerated to keep the action moving forward at a break-neck speed. By no means am I a scholar or student of the final book of the Bible, but just remembering as I was instructed, the things that take place in a couple of days in the movie transpire over a period of years in scripture. As a piece of Christian fiction designed to make an impact on viewers within an hour and a half, I think “The Remaining” accomplishes its task quite well.

It’s safe to say this isn’t your parents’ (or grandparents’) Rapture movie of the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s. People don’t just disappear off the face of the Earth leaving their clothes and accessories lying in piles where they were once standing. Their souls depart from the body, which is left slumped over steering wheels, dinner tables, or collapsed in the middle of sidewalks and streets. They look as if they’ve suddenly just died. The eyes of the taken are glazed over with an eerie white film.

Backed up by Sony Pictures, “The Remaining” actually had a budget to work with. The visual effects all look great and keep the audience from being distracted by inferior CGI. The images of jumbo jets crashing into buildings and monstrous chunks of hail hitting the ground as people scramble for safety are believable and frighteningly effective.

Aside from a couple of genre favorites, the cast of “The Remaining” is made up of faces actors won’t immediately recognize. This helps to keep audiences detached from familiar faces that would take them out of the viewing experience. The two actors many sci-fi and horror fans might identify are those of Alexa Vega and John Pyper-Ferguson. Vega played Carmen in the “Spy Kids” films and also appeared in “Machete Kills,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” and “Repo! The Genetic Opera.” Pyper-Ferguson is seen in cult classic shows like “Alphas,” “Caprica,” and “Battlestar Galactica.”

Although at times it felt like the plot and message of “The Remaining” began to slow things down a little too much, I give props to Writer / Director Casey La Scala for trying to inject as much character and story development into the movie as he could. Some might feel that it’s a bit too “preachy” for their tastes. I think the engaging journey from one place to another, frightening sequences of impending peril, and the tense race against time more than outweigh any lags in action due to narrative or pushing of doctrine.

“The Remaining” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of terror, violence and destruction throughout, and thematic elements. There are definitely some scenes which rival those in films like “The Conjuring” or “The Last Exorcism.” The demons reminded me of the Dementors in the “Harry Potter” movies. Aside from some minor bloodshed, the violence is comparable to what we see in “Transformers,”  “G.I. Joe,” “Star Trek,” and countless other teen-oriented horror films.

While it’s not perfect, “The Remaining” brings Christian horror one step closer to being on par with any mainstream genre film coming out in theaters these days. It successfully marries elements of creature features and supernatural thrillers to create a unique take on what is a common subject in faith-based entertainment. Those who don’t frequent scary fare need to be warned. This is a much darker take on the Rapture than what we’ve seen in the “Left Behind” or “Revelation Road” movies.  

The End of Days Has Come in Christian Horror Film "The Remaining"

There was a time when the idea of a Christian-themed horror film would be laughed at by genre fans everywhere. Many still do giggle as they read a synopsis or watch trailers for faith-based movies and assume the worst when it comes to anything Bible oriented. Directors like Scott Derrickson are doing their best to change that pre-conceived notion by successfully giving audiences scares that do more than just award you a momentary jolt. They leave you with something to think about after the credits role.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Hits Blu-ray and DVD Tomorrow! See Video Clips from the Release!

Disney and Marvel Entertainment deliver "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" to homes tomorrow. You can get a sneak peek at what to expect when you pick it up from your local store by checking out our new YouTube Channel. If you're looking for more behind-the-scenes action, you can also go here.

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus (screenplay), Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Ed Brubaker (concept and story)
Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is available now on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.