Phantom

discs hansel gretel get baked

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Hansel & Gretel Get Baked Gretel (Molly Quinn) and her boyfriend have a case of the munchies and decide to bake some treats, but knowing they’ll have to wait for the goodies to be done they decide he should head out for more weed. He decides to seek out the city’s newest strain, “Black Forest,” and goes straight to the source… a little old lady (Lara Flynn Boyle) with a green thumb and witchy tendencies. When he disappears it’s up to Gretel and her brother Hansel to get to the bottom of this nasty little fairy tale. Low expectations can never really hurt a movie (unless they cause you not to see it in the first place), but they still can’t be solely credited with my enjoyment of this horror comedy. Some of the jokes are predictably bad (cops at a donut shop!) but several more land successfully and earn real laughs. Even better, there’s actually some truly fun gore effects to be found here too. Bottom line, this isn’t destined to become your new favorite, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more entertaining Hansel & Gretel movie this year. Take that, Hawkeye. [Blu-ray extras: None]

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A154_C004_01309L

Like the real-life nuclear submarine that went missing from the Russian fleet in 1968, the film Phantom sailed into theaters pretty much under many people’s radar. A smaller production boasting names like Ed Harris, William Fichtner, and David Duchovny in the cast, it is being distributed by RCR Distribution. However, it is getting a wider release than some, including the stars themselves, anticipated. Harris plays the commander of this Russian sub as it goes rogue under mutiny. It is inspired by a true story, which is detailed in the book “Red Rogue Star” by Kenneth Sewell, who also served as a consultant on the film. In the real incident, the sub went undetected for years before being eventually and partially raised from the ocean floor.

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review phantom

They really don’t make enough submarine-set thrillers. They’re a rare breed, an incredibly small sub-genre if you will, and that’s a shame as most of them are pretty damn good. Obvious suspects like Das Boot and The Hunt for Red October sit alongside less celebrated films like U-571 and Below. A personal favorite is Tony Scott’s Crimson Tide which found real suspense and excitement in a story anchored by two powerful lead performances. For better or worse, there’s more than a little of all five of those movies recognizable in the new film, Phantom. Set in 1968 and based on a fairly startling true story, the movie brings to life the final mission of a decorated Russian submarine captain tasked with delivering an old diesel sub to its Chinese buyers. He’s also been instructed to add two “special project” technicians to the crew with a secret mission of their own. Once the boat hits the open ocean the newcomers take control and reveal the purpose of their presence and of the mysterious addition to the sub’s exterior.

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Phantom

Phantom tells the story of a submarine that goes rogue after a distinguished Captain is set on a mission, but joined by a group of technicians from the “Special Projects Institute,” headed by David Duchovny, who may have other motives in mind. The true nature of this mission, and why Captain Demi (Ed Harris) was selected to head it, is the question Phantom attempts to unravel. When creating the score, composer Jeff Rona visited the submarine director Todd Robinson was filming on and found himself inspired by the sub itself, discovering musical elements in the metallic valves and hydraulics. This use of “found sounds” (something greatly utilized in Nathan Johnson’s score for Looper) is not only a creative way to make a distinct score, but it helps to incorporate subconscious elements into the music that  relate back to the film itself. The sounds Rona collected while on the submarine ended up becoming the foundation of the film’s theme, and the score itself. However, technology did more than just manipulate these sounds into music; it also allowed Rona to collaborate with a fellow musician is Austria to create additional instrumentation that would round out the sound of Phantom. Go behind the scenes with Rona to see how he created the thrilling and mysterious score for Phantom.

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