Favorite Films discovered on Streaming On-Demand in 2013!

Favorite Films discovered on Streaming On-Demand in 2013!

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2013′s most interesting films for me weren’t found in the theater, or backed by major studios. They were small, even intimate, Independent films found courtesy of the new distribution opportunities that venues such as Amazon Prime and Netflix have opened up.

HALO 4 FORWARD ONTO DAWN, BOY WONDER, ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM, and HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN are films seen in 2013, that here in 2014 still stand tall as memorable and commanding viewing experiences. The last three being some of the most haunting examples of existential angst meets neo noir meets anti-hero you are likely to find. And HALO 4 FORWARD ONTO DAWN on a shoestring budget, creates a scifi epic with more heart and style than any ten STARSHIP TROOPERS.

These are films so good that having seen them for free courtesy of streaming, I had to purchase them on DVD/Blu-Ray. After viewing them you may agree. You can price them at the links below.

Boy Wonder

Another Zero in the System

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn [Blu-ray]

House of the Rising Sun

Deal, Collectible of the Day : STAR WARS Frames

Star Wars: Frames

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Star Wars: Frames … Price Your Copy Here!

Book Description
Release date: October 29, 2013 | ISBN-10: 1419704702 | ISBN-13: 978-1419704703 | Edition: 1
After George Lucas finished work on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, he wanted to look back on the Star Wars saga with an entirely new point of view: isolating stills, or frames, from each of the six Star Wars films, focusing on them intensely as works of photography and design, and reproducing them in a book. For two years Lucas went through more than 150,000 frames per film, editing more than 1 million frames down to the 1,416 images that now comprise Star Wars: Frames, a testament to the hard work, craftsmanship, and dedication evident in every frame of every film. Star Wars: Frames brings together Lucas’s personal shot-by-shot selections into a lavishly designed two-volume hardcover set—one volume for the Original Trilogy and one volume for the Prequel Trilogy. For collectors and fans, Star Wars: Frames is the ultimate look on this grand project devoted to a cinematic phenomenon—and the ultimate Star Wars collector’s tome.

Editorial Reviews
Review
“Cinematography is not about technology. It’s about art, it’s about taste. In the end it’s about understanding your craft.”- GEORGE LUCAS””FRAMES” is about allowing the reader the time and the space to examine fully that (“cinematography”) craft.”- J.W. RINZLER, Executive Editor, LucasFilmAuthor of “The Making of Star Wars”

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Product Details
Hardcover: 736 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 1 edition (October 29, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1419704702
ISBN-13: 978-1419704703
Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 12.7 x 3.7 inches

Star Wars: Frames … Price Your Copy Here!

ON-DEMAND Viewing Guide: The best and worst Roku

If you have a Roku Box and are looking to explore the world of ON-DEMAND viewing, the challenge is always to find quality free channels, with good content and no ads or limited and unobtrusive ads.

That is always a fluid hunt, as channel offerings vary from month to month, and in some cases week to week.

So without further ado my list of best and worst of Roku Channels this October.

If you have a Roku I do recommend supplementing free channels with at least one provider such as AMAZON PRIME or NETFLIX just because the Roku Free Channels, by themselves, you will find hard-pressed to fill your TV watching needs. However pair the free channels with AMAZON PRIME or NETFLIX and you can safely kiss your cable bill goodbye.

So what are, the free channels that are worth your time?

Well I’ll start with the disappointing, CRACKLE. When I first started using Roku this channel was great, however in a scant month their ad usage has become so excessive (you get ads before movies, you get ads if you fast forward or rewind, you get ads every 15 minutes, and you are unable to fast forward ads) and so annoying and obtrusive that it is not worth the frustration of dealing with.

So CRACKLE from a channel that was initially one of the best, has become absolutely one of the worst. (Their XBOX ads are so annoying as to be an assault) . Avoid this channel and I recommend everyone unsubscribe from it, and as their numbers drop it should spur the Sony owned CRACKLE to do the right thing and reduce the # of ads, and stop having ads any more often than once every 30 minutes, and remove the automatic ads should you fast-forward or rewind, because that’s just idiotic.

So yeah CRACKLE gets our Worst Channel mention, they should be ashamed of themselves. Okay that negative over now onto the good stuff.

Today’s channel worth your time is:

THRESHOLD+ – Has a good if not great selection of B movies, with a heavy dose of classic Horror and scifi movies. From the alien movies of the 50s to the low budget exploitation films of the 80s. The quality of the video ranges from good to mediocre, since much of this seems to be sourced from public domain or TV prints so no HD quality here. However it makes up for this in the lack of ads. Some notable films available for viewing on this channel are:

BOOGEYMAN (2005) – Not getting the IMDB derision and hate for this film as I find it stylishly and inventively directed, and better acted than most films of the genre. A film of poetical horror, which perhaps is too subtle for the blood and gore crowd. However if you are a fan of atmospheric slow burn films like the recent WOMAN IN BLACK, you may find this film a worthwhile watch.

And thanks to THRESHOLD+ you can view it for free and decide for yourself.

And other notable films available on THRESHOLD+ are:

MESSIAH OF EVIL
I MONSTER
SCARECROWS (1988)
THE BELL OF HELL (1973)
ASYLUM
THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF
SHE
4D MAN
X: THE UNKNOWN

More recommended on-demand channels next installment!

MOVIE TRAILER Update : STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS in IMAX

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The third and latest trailer for STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS is out, and while it still doesn’t make me as excited as the trailer to JJ Abram’s first STAR TREK movie, it however is far better than the earlier teaser trailers. There’s actually a story here that I’m intrigued to view and the visuals are, in a word, sublime.

For those of us who grew us with the Star Trek mythos, the trailer doesn’t particularly scream Star Trek. It feels like something decidedly different and I for one think that’s a good thing. With sequences shot in the 70mm IMAX format (not with the IMAX 3D cameras) it should be a great film to see on a REAL IMAX movie theater.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (would it have killed them to put a ‘The” in there?! :) ) hits theaters on May 17th.

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FLASH GORGON Trilogy Update

Quick update on the FLASH GORDON Trilogy:

Just finished all three of the Flash Gordon serials. While I praised the first one FLASH GORDON (from 1936, renamed FLASH GORDON SPACE SOLDIERS), and was kind of luke-warm on the sequels (1938, 1940), I have to say re-watching the last two, they are rocky (dressed as Robin Hood’s Merry men in a Space Opera?? Really?), but you get past the shaky openings and they really get pretty darn good. Well the third one gets pretty darn good, the comedy bits of the 2nd one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS MARS still do not work for me, and it is the weakest of the trilogy, lacking the sexiness or action/intensity of either the first one or the third one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE.

But that last one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE, really builds to a kick-ass finale, every bit as good as the first film and a fitting end to the trilogy. A highly recommended box-set!

Flash Gordon: Box Set (Space Soldiers/Flash Gordon’s Trip To Mars/Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe) (3DVD)

2013: Day 11- 15 Best Movie Remakes! Remakes that are better than the original!

Okay, here is a list of Remakes for people who think they don’t like Remakes

or

FIFTEEN movie remakes that are superior to the original.

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John Carpenter’s THE THING
Daniel Craig in CASINO ROYALE
Francis Ford Coppola’s DRACULA
Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE

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David Cronenberg’s THE FLY
Zack Snyder’s THE DAWN OF THE DEAD
Al Pacino in Brian DePalma’s SCARFACE
Sturges’ MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED

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Branagh’s HENRY V
Eddie Murphy’s THE NUTTY PROFESSOR

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Bogart’s MALTESE FALCON (The third film attempt, finally got it right!)
I AM LEGEND, while I have a lot of respect for the Vincent Price and Charlton Heston versions, Will Smith’s I AM LEGEND moves it into big scale territory with out losing the intimate horror inherent
Cameron’s TITANIC
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH Hictchcock Improves on himself in this Stewart and Day remake of his earlier film

FILMS WHERE THE SEQUEL IS BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL: STARSHIP TROOPERS

“You are born insane.” — STARSHIP TROOPERS II

Today’s selection is….

STARSHIP TROOPERS- The 2nd film (a straight to DVD entry) for this series, is a far better and more subversive and smart and entertaining film than the big-budget original. Think THE THING meets MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE with Big Alien creatures, and that final big ‘You think you have a destiny’ speech, is great writing. The screenplay is by Edward Neumeier, whose work I am unfamiliar with outside of this film.

While undeniably low budget, every time I watch this film, I like it more. This 2004 film is (as of this writing) the only feature directed by award winning visual artist Phil Tippett, and it is an intimate, well acted, and most of all well written film, with a subversive edge; and given the endless war cycle America is on, it unfortunately remains what the best of scifi always is… relevant to today. An unfairly underrated and maligned film (similar to how Carpenter’s 1982 film, THE THING, people weren’t able to appreciate when it first came out), that deserves a viewing. Grade:B+.

Starship Troopers 2 – Hero of the Federation:Price or Buy the DVD here

MOVIE OF THE DAY: SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW!

Kerry Conran’s SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is one of the most sumptuous, imaginative and ground breaking films of all time.

That said I can see why it failed at the box office when released in 2004. The main issue is pacing. There is too much movie to comfortably sit through from beginning to end, and not feel the fat.

True to Conran’s initial impulse, the movie is very much a serial, and works better broken up in chunks, or perhaps enlivened by Chapter Breaks. Which makes it the perfect film for DVD, but not so much for the theatrical experience.

However in terms of visuals it very much deserves to be seen on the big screen. This is seemingly Conran’s first and only film, and what a film it is. One that shall only increase I think in import and prestige, much as the closing song says, ‘As time goes by’.

If you have never watched the film before, or watched it only once, I would say revisit it. I picked up the DVD for less than rental price, and around the third attempt I finally made it all the way through the film, including special features.

In a word… impressive. Try it for yourself!

Star Trek vs. Star Wars?!!

David W of BadAzz Mofo, the publisher of the FANTASTIC BadAzz Mofo Magazine of the same name, also runs a way cool blog, that I need to visit more often.

Why?

Here’s why:

Hilarious! Read his whole blog here!. And while there pick up his books and mags, they come recommended! And tell em HT sent ya!!!!

MOVIE REVIEW: TOTAL RECALL (2012)

Much delayed Movie Update.

I did see TOTAL RECALL a couple weeks ago and just now getting around to my thoughts on it. Visually it’s a feast, filled with one elaborate, futuristic, mayhem-filled set piece after another. Unfortunately the pieces don’t really fit together into a particularly satisfying or engrossing story.

While visually, the film should be applauded for a world every bit as fantastic and well realized as BLADE RUNNER, the story itself seems very pedestrian when compared with those visuals and grandiose ideas.

So it’s an okay film, but long before the ending I felt myself trying to stay engaged, and not too long after the ending, trying to remember anything really noteworthy about the film.

It’s good performances, solid direction, spectacular effects, but ultimately in service of a script/story that felt more than a bit empty and lackluster.

In summation a great trailer for an okay film; worth a rental, but not a purchase. Grade: B-.