Escape From Tomorrow

Shout! Factory

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Hill Street Blues: The Complete Collection Capt. Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) heads up an inner city police precinct with smarts, heart and determination, but even with the best officers at his command the job can be a constant struggle. Of course not all of his cops are quite at that level, and the various dramas they endure and sometimes cause keep the station constantly in flux. One of the most acclaimed TV series of the ’80s, this Steven Bochco-created cop show is the clear precursor to ones like NYPD Blue in its mix of police dramas and personal story lines. Its epic ensemble allows for season-long arcs across multiple characters, and the show does a fantastic job of ensuring that each of the characters get their own moments and episodes to shine. Shout! Factory’s box set includes all 144 episodes (seven seasons, each in their own snapcase) as well as multiple special features offering insight into the show’s creation and talents. [DVD extras: Featurettes, interviews, gag reel, commentaries]

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Random Media

One of the most surprising films to be released in 2013 was not a massive blockbuster. Instead, it was Escape from Tomorrow, an independent film effort, much of which was shot in the Walt Disney parks without permission from the company. Even though it was meant as a parody of the “Happiest Place on Earth,” lots of people thought that Escape from Tomorrow would never get released. However, after being championed by clearance counsel Michael Donaldson, the film was released. Ignored by the Disney company so as to not give additional attention to the movie with the Streisand Effect, Escape from Tomorrow was eventually released to a certain degree of success in theaters and video on demand. Writer/director Randy Moore sat down with his cinematographer Lucas Lee Graham in January of 2014 to record the commentary of the film they had shot in the fall of 2010 (with pick-ups in the spring of 2011), which is included on the DVD release of the film.

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escape-bench

Yesterday a fight broke out over who is killing movie theaters. Throwing the first punch was Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who gave a keynote address at the Film Independent Forum in L.A. “I’m concerned that as theater owners try to strangle innovation and distribution, not only are they going to kill theaters, they might kill movies,” he said regarding the industry’s protest of VOD releases being day-and-date with theatrical openings. Soon after, National Association of Theatre Owners president/CEO John Fithian countered with a weak blow of: “Subscription movie services and cheap rentals killed the DVD business, and now Sarandos wants to kill the cinema as well.” As a former longtime employee of the movie theater industry, I can say with some certainty that the most lethal enemy of cinemas is cinemas themselves. Sure, there is a lot to say about the convenience of lazily staying home and clicking the remote on our cable box or Roku or Xbox or using our smarthphones or tablets to watch a brand new movie in our beds with no pants on. But at some point Fithian and the rest of NATO’s scapegoating curmudgeons need to realize that going to the movies isn’t necessarily about the movie on screen. It hardly has been for the better part of a century, in fact. Moviegoing is an experience. That’s what NATO should be focused on, and much of that focus will always be on pressuring its theater chain partners to maintain a better quality experience […]

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Missing in the Mansion Hatbox Ghost

Films have been shot at Disney theme parks since before Disneyland even opened in 1955. The year before, Walt Disney personally offered a sneak peek of what was to come in the pilot episode of Disneyland. And specials made for TV and souvenir videos continued from there, whether it was to show the attraction on its opening day or offer virtual tours of the park or introduce new additions or to celebrate some anniversary or another. The same goes for Walt Disney World following its opening 16 years later. Once in a while, though, something makes its way out of the parks that’s not made by Disney. Even then, it might be with permission, as in the 1962 Universal release 40 Pounds of Trouble, which features an extensive chase sequence through Disneyland (watch Tony Curtis and some Keystone-esque cops run around Main Street here). And the Matterhorn scene in That Thing You Do (directed by the guy who would later portray Disney). But there’s also Randy Moore’s Escape From Tomorrow, a movie that shocked audiences at Sundance this year with its unauthorized guerrilla shoot at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Escape is hardly the first movie to get away with secretly capturing material on location at Disneyland, however. And now that it’s out in theaters and on VOD, this is a good time to highlight three such clandestine pieces of cinema.

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Escape from Tomorrow

Editor’s note: Michael’s review of Escape From Tomorrow originally ran during this year’s Fantastic Fest, but we’re re-running it now as the film hits VOD and a limited theatrical release. Childhood is a chaotic sprawl of experiences; an eyelid flutter filtered through emotion, strained and catalogued down to core memories. Often times the way things happened aren’t the way they wind up interpreted. A wave of time passing can be a sticky mess to wade through, especially if going it alone. The day Jim (Roy Abramsohn) lost his job was the day he became a solitary man, stunted in fantasy and regressing to an age of wonder. Rather than spoil his family’s last day of vacation he keeps the news to himself. Herding kids around a theme park while keeping his wife happy is enough of a complication on its own. For Jim, wringing the pleasure out of the day before an inevitable crash comes calling is about all that he has going for him. That is until some young French girls give him a bit of attention on the monorail. For one day he has a new spark, a new reason to smile and a new fantasy to chase.

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All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

If you’re seething with unreleased rage and only know three guitar chords, there are a ton of options for you at theaters this week. From the boys finally loving Mandy Lane to Machete continuing his fight against good taste (which must have done something terrible to his family), and from Captain Phillips fighting back against pirates to William Faulkner rising from the grave to strangle James Franco, there are an unhealthy amount of victimized people taking up arms against a sea of bullies. Naturally, vengeful ghosts and an evil Disneyland come into play as well. On the punk rock side, there’s Green Day battling Broadway and a poorly-lip-synced attempt at telling the story of an iconic haunt that never played bluegrass music. There’s also a lot more going on in a week with a massive amount of movies. Here’s your trailer-ized guide to what’s coming out:

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Gravity

It’s October, which means awards season has officially commenced. Last month gave us a taste with Ron Howard’s Rush, Hugh Jackman yelling in Prisoners, and, last but not least, Luc Besson’s The Family. Maybe not that last one so much, but the other two weren’t a shabby way to kick things off. This month has two movies in particular that should blow socks off while also causing a few tears to flow in the process. They’re the obvious suspects, but they both pack awfully heavy punches. There’s also a little talked about science-fiction-ish movie you may want to check out this weekend as well… But there’s more than three movies to see this month. So, without further ado, here are the ten must-see movies of October 2013:

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best big bad wolves

Another Fantastic Fest is in the books, and once again we’re left counting down the days until next year. The fest continues to be the best week of the year for fans of the weird and the wonderful from all around the globe, and this year delivered on both counts. From Indian martial artists to detectives with Down Syndrome, from men reincarnated as flies to a blackly comic look at a school shooting, this year saw dozens of films that entertained, challenged, and amazed. Sure, there was also Machete Kills, but they can’t all be winners. Here are 9 that were:

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ff 2013 anticipated

The most magical time of year is once again upon us as Austin prepares to open its doors, coffee houses, bars, and RV-based donut shops to visitors from around the world coming to celebrate wonderful and the weird in international cinema with Fantastic Fest. This year’s roster is a bit lighter compared to recent years, but a reduction in quantity has no bearing on quality. The fest will also be taking place in a new Alamo Drafthouse this year at the Lakeline location, and if it’s anything like every other Drafthouse it’s going to be awesome. Two of the titles I can already vouch for as being incredibly entertaining slices of cinema include the blackly comic thriller from Israel, Big Bad Wolves, and the beautifully executed action/suspense Korean film, Confession of Murder. Both are so damn good that I may actually be visiting them for a second time. FSR’s team coverage this year will be in the mostly capable hands of Adam Charles, Neil Miller, Michael Treveloni, and me. We’re excited about the entire fest and just about every movie playing, but we decided to highlight our most anticipated by picking three films each to share below.

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trailer escape from tomorrow

If there’s one way to get your park-hopper pass revoked for good, it’s filming a movie, especially one that paints the company in such a depressing light, at Disneyland and Walt Disney World without permission. How Randy Moore, the writer and director of Escape From Tomorrow, hasn’t been sued yet by the wonderful world of Disney remains a mystery, but that might change after they get a whiff of the first trailer for the Sundance hit (read Allison Loring’s review) as it prepares for its theatrical release. In short, Roy Abramsohn plays Jim, a man on his last day of vacation with his family at the Walt Disney World resort. When he gets bad news over the phone from his boss, it triggers something that causes him to spiral out of control and see things that may or may not be there. His child’s eyes turn demonic and black, fellow parkgoers turn into Tinkerbells, fireworks become explosions — a man’s head turns into the Epcot Spaceship Earth sphere. Just check out the trailer for yourself:

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Escape from Tomorrow

The Disney theme parks are dubbed the “happiest place on earth” for a reason – they bring to life the fantasy of Disney’s movies and the fairy tale characters that populate them. While the parks are clearly geared towards children, they also give adults the chance to “be a kid again” and get lost in the fantasy themselves. Jim (Roy Abramsohn) has taken his wife Emily (Elena Schuber), daughter Sarah (Katelynn Rodriguez), and son Elliot (Jack Dalton) on a family vacation to Disney World, but on the last day of this seemingly idyllic trip, Jim gets a disappointing call from his boss (which he decides to keep secret from his family) and it seems to send him into a bit of a tailspin as the day wears on.

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

It’s too bad everyone (but me) hates Catfish so much, because otherwise the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story would make for a great movie, documentary or drama. It’ll still probably wind up being told in some form or another anyway. Or perhaps it’ll just inspire a Law & Order SVU episode (the death of a pro athlete’s girlfriend is investigated… but then it turns out she never existed in the first place!). For now, it’s our lead-in to another Reject Recap, where the best film-related stories on FSR and around the web are listed for you to easily get caught up with. We understand, you were too busy following the Manti drama and the Lance Armstrong confession and mourning Mr. Drummond this week. As we head into the weekend, you should first feast your eyes on our reviews of new releases, including the Arnold Schwarzenegger comeback (The Last Stand), the scary movie with the feral children and a raven-haired Jessica Chastain (Mama), the fake Sidney Lumet film (Broken City) and the Common drama from the previous Sundance (LUV). I don’t think we liked any of them, really. But, hey, Quartet is expanding a bit, and Will Ferrell sure made that sound enticing at the Golden Globes when he pronounced it “Cordet.” Speaking of which, you’re only a few days behind, but if you missed those awards, you can read through our live-blog transcript and feel as though you actually watched. Now, check out the biggest and best stories and original […]

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The East

With the year’s first large scale film fest, the Sundance Film Festival, kicking off later this week, it’s high time that we started making some predictions about some of the films that are most likely to explode off the screen up in snowy Park City. Every Sundance (and, really, every major film festival) churns out its darlings, its favorites, its gems, those films that take weary festival-loving audiences by storm and become not only the talk of the festival, but the talk of the cinematic world. Of course, anyone who has ever attended even a massive festival like Sundance knows that festival buzz doesn’t exactly spell out mainstream success, but it’s sure as hell a nice place to start. While our intrepid Sundance team – myself, Allison, and Rob – have already weighed in our individual “most anticipated” films of the festival, those personal picks don’t cover the full gamut of films poised to become the big ticket films at this year’s festival. Here’s our attempt to sniff those babies out. After the break, check out the fifteen films we’re banking on to light up this year’s Sundance.

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