The Island


Forget Weyland-Yutani or Initech; statistically speaking they are fine places to work. Hell, you think Cyberdyne didn’t have a stellar employee benefits package, or at least decent break rooms? Sure – everyone dies, but day-to-day it’s not that terrible. In the movie world, there are far worse jobs out there. These are places that – from one day to the next – level out as the worst possible places to be employed.



Welcome back to This Week In Discs! Who wants a free DVD of one of this week’s new releases? As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Story of Film: An Odyssey There have been many documentaries about movies, but all of them can pretty much give up and go home now. This British production was six years in the making, filmed across four continents, covers eleven decades and nearly one thousand films in its quest to offer as complete as possible a look at and into the world of cinema. Film historian Mark Cousins begins his journey in the late 1800s and through fifteen hour-long episodes explores the innovators and the ways they helped the art form grow and transform into the films we have today. Filled with film clips, anecdotes, interviews and a deep knowledge of film history, this is a fascinating look at all aspects of cinema. The only criticism I can muster, and it’s a minor one, is that Cousins’ voice may not be the ideal choice for fifteen hours of narration. [Extras: Booklet]



It’s got to be difficult enough to simply stand there in front of all those people and equipment and play costume make-believe. So that must go double the moment you’re asked to interact with anything that isn’t there, such as a big CGI dinosaur or any given Andy Serkis role. Worse than that, there are also times when actors have to play both sides of a conversation. Not only do they have to pretend to interact with an imaginary role – but also play that imaginary role interacting right back at them. It sounds complicated, so here are some of the best instances.


news_scream factory h3

There are a handful of kick-ass specialty labels out there who make a habit of bringing beloved genre classics (and sometimes not-so-classic classics) back to life on Blu-ray and DVD with releases that show real TLC for the films and the fans. Arrow Video, Blue Underground and Synapse are a few of the best, but one that ranks just as high on the list is Shout! Factory. Their mainstay has been older TV shows, but they also offer the Roger Corman Cult Classics line as well as a brand new co-venture with South Korea’s CJ Entertainment. They’ve just announced a new line called Scream Factory that will focus on releasing Blu-rays/DVDs of horror films and thrillers from the 1980’s. The debut releases due this September include Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch, both loaded with extras. As exciting as these will be the best news (for me at least) can be found elsewhere in the list of upcoming titles. Seven additional titles are listed below, but there are three highlights. First up are two of my childhood favorites… The Island starring Michael Caine trying to save his son from modern-day pirates led by the always awesome David Warner, and Death Valley featuring Peter Billingsley being stalked by a serial killer during an RV trip with his family through the Mid-west. And then there’s a little John Carpenter film called They Live finally getting the attention it deserves with its first US Blu-ray… Check below for all the […]


Todd Phillips

Director Todd Phillips has made three films for Warner Bros. so far: The Hangover, Due Date, and The Hangover Part II. Say what you will about their varying degrees of quality, but there’s no denying the fact that they were all huge financial successes for both Phillips and the studio, so Warner Bros. is obviously very committed to being in the Todd Phillips business. To that end they’ve signed him to a new first look deal that will keep him making movies for the studio until at least the end of 2013, and will give him first crack at quite a few potential projects. Deadline Dix Hills has a rundown of four different scripts that are all being put together as potential Phillips vehicles.


Culture Warrior

Buried deep within this sentence (Doritos are delicious) is an advertisement. Did you catch it? You probably didn’t because it was so subtly subliminal, but that’s exactly how product placement has worked for a century to varying degrees of success. After all, there’s a thin line between using real-life products in a film to create a sense of verisimilitude and using them to promote the product in question. Where that line is drawn is up to each person. One person might see a kid reading “National Geographic” in It’s a Wonderful Life and think it’s quaintly appropriate while another person might find it craven and conspicuous. To the same extent, different film productions have delivered brands with means ranging from the slyness of near-imperceptibility to almost Doritos-Scorchin’-Habanero-Flavor levels of obviousness. It’s far from new, and even though sold items have sneaked their way into movies for almost one hundred years, there’s been an explosion in recent decades, seeing a new revenue stream for studios and a new annoyance for film fans.


large the island  blu-ray7

The year was 2005 and Michael Bay was looking to try something new… Sort of. He was looking to try his hand at a genre he had never attempted before, Sci-Fi. So what did he do? Why, he surrounded himself with some of the people that do it best, of course. Some of those people being Steven Spielberg, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. And what did the combination of these four titans give us? Why, Michael Bay’s only box-office disappointment but most under rated film, The Island. I didn’t have the opportunity to catch The Island until three years later however when I was first starting to realize my passion for all things Michael Bay. But even on DVD I knew that this was a special film. It was a film that contained a little bit of everything and yet managed to make it, it’s own.


theisland blu

I know this one may be a hard-sell for most of you since the intro states this column is for “damn fine films and/or fantastic entertainment” but I honestly believe this movie belongs in that second category… it’s immensely entertaining, loads of fun, and a fantastic film to watch in high definition. But it’s yet to be released in the US on Blu-ray!



Is there any more exciting film staple than pirates? Pillaging, raping, kidnapping, cannon-firing, parrot-owning, Sicilian-beating, Keith Richards-loving, one leg missing, singing and dancing pirates!

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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