Monthly Archives: January 2014

Guys and Balls (2004)

GuysandBalls

Guys and Balls might not win any awards for groundbreaking comedy, but the affable attitude and feel good atmosphere makes it one of the better exports of late. Maximilian Bruckner is Ecki, an awesome soccer player in a small German town hiding the deep dark secret that he’s gay. After he is accidentally outed in front of the whole town, and kicked off the squad by his angry arch nemesis and fellow teammate Udo (Carlo Ljubek), Ecki calls his ex-team to a game of homos against heteros. He’s got four weeks to pull together a motley group of misfits and turn them into a team to be reckoned with. One guess as to who wins, but that’s beside the point, because along the way, Ecki and his teammates learn a little about being a band of brothers and, for some, becoming comfortable and proud of who they are.

A simplistic story that relies more on entertainment than teaching any profound lessons, Guys and Balls never comes close to the camp of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, but instead it falls somewhere between that and the other feel good soccer flick Bend it Like Beckham.

here! Films seem to have found a nitch for themselves with otherwise formulaic storytelling broadened by a gay slant. It sure worked for HellBent, the fantastic homage to slasher flicks, only in drag, and it’s well suited here too. Guys and Balls feels familiar but never fails to please with its engaging story and fine acting, especially from Christian Berkel as Rudolf, the previously-married-leather-fetishist who just wants his son to know who he is. It’s a touching moment when he first meets up with Jan (Marcel Nievelstein) after a few years of separation. Guys and Balls is full of these quiet moments, giving it an extra oomph that pushes it ahead of the current assembly line of gay themed films.

The Lost Boys (1987)

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Directed By: Joel Schumacher
Written By: Janice Fischer, James Jeremias, Jeffrey Boam
Cast: Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Jamie Gertz, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jamison Newlander, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes, Edward Herrmann

There are a lot of people who love the 80s. Some of us actually grew up in the era of pastel blazers and sockless shoes, while others are fascinated with the upbeat music and glossy film and television. Then there are those who think it’s only kitsch and therefore really “cool” and “ironic” to be into something they consider silly and throwaway. I can’t stand those people. And you know who you are. You are the ones who think people dressed really poorly back then, but you wear skinny jeans tucked into ankle boots (and you’re a dude!). You are the ones who text during films at revival houses and laugh at stuff that isn’t even funny just in case you might have missed the joke (god forbid). I think a lot of those people watch The Lost Boys and laugh to themselves about how trite the horror/comedy is while never appreciating why it is in fact a great film.

Confession: I saw The Lost Boys eight times in the theater all the way back in 1987. I went every week and spent the hard earned $3.35 an hour I made at my gross fast food gig on vampire splendor. Back then I thought The Lost Boys was more of a horror film for girls because of the four gorgeous vampires and the equally hot vampire-in-training, but I guess I wasn’t accounting for the comic book geeks known as the Frog Brothers, who were the envy of every nerd. When I watched the movie recently, for the first time in many years (at the AFI in Silver Spring, no less), I realized it’s a flick for everyone. From hot dudes to decent splatter to silly hijinks, it’s a work of pure fantasy, all the way down to presenting 1987 as a place of post-hippie glitter and stonewashed glamor.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are quite familiar with the story. Jason Patric is Michael, the uber-stud who finds he’s being converted into a “Lost Boy” by super hottie Kiefer Sutherland, who plays David. Michael’s little brother Sam (Corey Haim) enlists the help of the Frog Brothers, Edgar and Allan (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander who is quite a cutie pie in his own right) to help get Michael back to the normal, annoying sibling he was. And of course there’s Starr (Jamie Gertz, who kind of rocked the late 80s), the beautiful half-vampire Michael wants to help but who could be his undoing.

As I previously mentioned, when The Lost Boys was originally released in 1987, it felt like it was more horror than comedy. I mean, I adored the Frog Brothers and everything, but it was Sutherland’s super serious David that I was drawn to. What can I say, I was a serious kid… Back then, at the tender age of 16, The Lost Boys had everything I desired – squirting blood, gorgeous guys and a rawkin’ soundtrack. But as the years passed, I have come to find it less scary and more of a fun comedy. There are guffaws galore here, mostly due to Sam and his vampire killing cohorts, the Frog Bros. And believe it or not, the humor still works. Now that I’m pushing 40 I can also see all the teen angst I was relating to. It’s so obvious what these kind of vampire movies are symbolic of, and it’s why people connect to them and to movies like The Craft (another favorite of mine). It’s all about the process of changing (and changing immensely) while finding your niche in this world. Michael is obviously easy prey because he’s the new kid on the block (Ah, The New Kids on the Block…) and he longs for acceptance. The Lost Boys are definitely the coolest studs in Santa Carla (and they’ve got the hottest girl in their gang), so it’s easy to see why Michael is drawn to them. His mother (Dianne Wiest) thinks it’s all about girls, and although that’s partly true, it’s evident she doesn’t get why he’s becoming different. Take out the vampire element and you have any teenager in any high school. How often do we not confide in our parents because we fear they can’t relate to us? A lot. And you can boil down almost any monster movie featuring a teen in the state of metamorphosis to this very element. That’s why I think they’re timeless.

And let’s face it, The Lost Boys is just good. Considering I’ve never been a huge fan of Joel Schumacher, I think he made the perfect 80s horror film. It’s sorta superficial, but it’s also got just enough substance to make it a classic in the genre. The art direction alone is amazing. Santa Carla, the abandoned hotel the vamps live in and Grandpa’s house are to die for! There’s so much to look at and soak up, the locations are almost a film in itself. However, I still wonder what exactly was up with that sexy Rob Lowe poster in Sam’s bedroom… There’s also some nice atmosphere and the creepy scenes may feel a little dated, but are genuinely eerie, and have remained that way. Some of the dialog is priceless. The famous “Death by stereo” line elicited applause from the pleased audience at the AFI screening.

However, for those of us who saw The Lost Boys when it first hit theaters, the movie leaves a bittersweet feeling. For me, it warmly recalls a time when I would watch a movie and thought it was representative of the world. No, I didn’t think there were sexy vampires running around, but I did think there was a Santa Carla, a place teeming with super cool punk rock kids who rode roller coasters all day. Sure, they exist, but in those numbers? Nah, and they’re never that clean anyway. Also, this is the year we lost Corey Haim and seeing him here at the prime of his acting career tugs at the heart strings. While most of the actors did well for themselves – Sutherland became Jack Bauer, Patric carved out a niche as the serious arty guy, Alex Winter went on to become a good director and Billy Wirth got even hotter –  Haim fell by the wayside. Unlike Corey Feldman, he was unable to pick himself up and he truly became a lost boy. One thing the lame hipsters will never understand is that those of us who grew up in the 80s aren’t that old (yet) and we’ve already lost Haim and River Phoenix, not to mention John Hughes, Michael Jackson and even Andrew Koenig. While these “kitsch-lovers” sit back and laugh at what I consider the greatest decade to grow up in (of course, I’m biased), they’ll never fully understand what it was that was, like, so totally awesome, and that’s what is so sad. For those lame-oids, the joke is on them.

This review originally appeared on Pretty Scary.

Night of the Living Dead 3-D (2006)

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Night of the Living Dead 3D
1 star

The Bottom Line – A modern retelling of the Romero classic, this is just another run of the mill zombie attack gig, minus suspense, horror and talented actors. Director Jeff Broadstreet is a far cry away from Romero’s sense of dread with a message.

Pros

  • Good zombie makeup
  • Sid Haig is always a welcome pleasure
  • Nude girls in 3D are, uh, different.

Cons

  • Slow and extremely uninvolved
  • Tepid soundtrack plays throughout 90% of the movie
  • Most actors were asleep at the wheel

Description:

Genre: Horror
Directed by: Jeff Broadstreet
Starring: Sid Haig, Brianna Brown, Joshua DesRoches, Greg Travis
Rated: R
Theatrical Release: November 10th, 2006
Studio: Midnight Movies

Guest Guide Review – I think we all decided after Tom Savini’s excellent remake of Night of the Living Dead, anything that could be added to an already amazing film had been done… and done right. It makes me wonder if the people behind the newest remake thought about what they were trying to accomplish or simply saw dollar signs floating across the screen. It pains me to say that too, because any small film that finds its way to a theater has probably gone the distance to get there. Alas, this travesty is not really worth feeling bad over.

Ben, who was originally played by the wonderful actor Duane Jones, is not much more than eye candy here. I don’t know why they opted to cast the part with a Caucasian actor (Joshua DesRoches), but it’s really a minor quibble as this film doesn’t seem to be allegorical of anything. It also allowed Barb (Brianna Brown) to have a less controversial love interest.

The pacing is lackadaisical and is only assisted further but the monotonous Johnny One Note performances. I will give credit to Greg Travis who is so hilariously awful that at least he’s entertaining. Haig is the best of the bunch, but he’s not given much to work with.

But what about the 3D effects, you ask? They are pretty boring, unintentionally amusing and very, very sparse. Someone said to me as we left the theater, “George Romero is going to kill himself just so he can roll over in his grave.” I concur.

The Seduction (1982)

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DVD: “The Seduction”

Reviewed by Amanda Reyes
3 stars
The Bottom Line

Morgan Fairchild is the ever professional Jamie Douglas, an anchorwoman who’s got everything – a great job, a loyal boyfriend, a beautiful house… and a stalker. He’s Derek (Andrew Stevens), a deranged photographer who only views life through the skewed vision of his lens. When he sets Jamie in his sights, nothing will stop him.

Pros

  • Andrew Stevens is great in a fairly subtle performance
  • Cinematography is glitzy and glamorous
  • As the media insists on bringing us closer to celebrities, this film feels a bit relevant in these intrusive times.

Cons

  • Michael Sarrazin is the weak link in the cast
  • If 80s glamour isn’t you style, stand back! Hair doesn’t get much bigger than this!
  • I prefer to call it methodic pacing, but the tempo may be too slow for some

Description:

  • DVD Extras: Yes, including commentary and a nice reunion featurette.
  • Directed by: David Schmoeller
  • Starring: Morgan Fairchild, Andrew Stevens, Michael Sarrazin, Vince Edwards, Colleen Camp
  • Original Release Date: January 29th, 1982
  • DVD Release Date: November 7th, 2006
  • Distributor: Anchor Bay

Guest Guide Review – DVD “The Seduction”

Although, no one would consider this early 80s thriller a classic, it does have some interesting, if glossy, qualities to it. Andrew Stevens’ character is fairly well drawn for a popcorn thriller and eerily close to the kind of obsessive fan media folks have had to accustom themselves to. In fact, The Seduction’s voyeuristic theme still holds a candle about the warped ability to turn one’s fantasies into a dangerous reality when it comes to our media darlings.

Without a doubt, The Seduction is still an exploitation film, although it’s quite mild by today’s standards. After such notorious Hollywood thrillers as Basic Instinct made smaller films seem almost quaint by comparison, it’s kind of nice to see such innocence in Fairchild’s brief nude scenes. She’s good here, and looks lovely too but she’s a far cry away from her earlier, bitchier performances in such excellent TV fare as The Initiation of Sarah and Flamingo Road. But once she grabs that shotgun, Fairchild really kicks into gear. Fans of blondes with guns blazing and lovers of all things 80s will not be disappointed in The Seduction. And dig the totally awesome Dionne Warwick theme song!

This review originally appeared on About.com.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

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DVD: “Pan’s Labyrinth”
4 ½ stars

The Bottom Line

In the grand tradition of the world’s darkest fairy tales, Pan’s Labyrinth is a disturbing and beautiful look at the life and mind of a child ripped apart by war and death.

Pros

  • Seamless storytelling
  • Beautiful special effects
  • Impeccable acting from the entire cast

Cons

  • Regardless of the term ‘fairy tale’ it’s way too harsh for younger audiences

Description:

  • DVD Extras: Gobs.
  • Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
  • Starring: Ivana Barquero, Maribel Verdu, Sergi Lopez
  • Original Release Date: December 29th, 2006
  • DVD Release Date: May 15th, 2007
  • Rated R
  • Distributor: New Line Home Video

Guest Guide Review – DVD “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Del Toro’s compelling new film Pan’s Labyrinth is at once sumptuous and disquieting. Aptly capturing the climate of a fascist Spain in the 40s, the film boldly explores a time when children were forced to experience the darkest parts of human nature while retaining their own innocence.

A poetic portrait of love and loss, Ivana Barquero’s sweetly bitter portrayal of Ofelia carries the film and she makes a perfect foe for Sergi Lopez’s Capitan Vidal, a sadistic military man bent on sadism. His scenes of torture are shocking but well shot and never gratuitous. However, this film is much too dark for younger audiences who might otherwise be swept away with the characters that inhabit the Labyrinth.

The story itself is picture perfect, and it moves effortlessly between realism and fantasy without ever overwhelming the audience with either. Del Toro crafts a unique and moving tale that might look like fantastical storytelling on the outside, but the core of the film and Ofelia’s obsession with escaping a cruel world are as timeless as ever. A must for fans of fantasy and horror.

This review originally appeared on About.com.

Party Line (1988)

PartyLine

I saw most of Party Line waaaaay back in the early 90s when it was first running on late night cable. I didn’t remember much except Leif Garret wore a wedding dress (!) and people spoke on the phone to each other. Not much to go on, but since I’ve been walking down this lane of fragmented Cinemax memories, I decided to pick up a copy and give it a go.

Wow.

I mean wow in a good way and a bad way. Like, I have a new appreciation for the psycho-sexual thrillers from the 80s and 90s. It was strange time folks, people still tried to include a story in the midst of its tawdriness. Can you believe it? And for the most part, a lot of these films aren’t as bad as people would have you believe. Well, Party Line is bad though. I mean, it’s about a supposedly incestuous rich brother and sister who bide their time by hitting the club circuit where Angelina (the AWESOME Greta Blackburn) lures horny men into her clutches with offers of real wild sex. Then Seth (Leif Garrett) shows up and slits their throat. He dons a red wig and takes no prisoners.

Enter Dan (Richard Hatch), a typical ‘goes against all policies but gets the job done’, cop who just happened to be at a nite club where the latest murder took place. He’s all angry, but dude he just cares. He ends up being paired with Stacy (Shawn Weatherly looking divine), a by the book assistant in the D.A.’s office. Yeah, you totally see where this is going, huh? But you don’t! Because lo and behold, Dan has a girlfriend, a fellow cop named Butch (Marty Dudek). Threw a wrench in that love interest angle, don’t it? Well, maybe not…

Anyway, Stacy and Dan check out this awesome 80s club with a killer live band and some great synth pop. They actually encounter Seth, who tries to give them false info. This kind of blows up in his face when he’s asked to leave his info with an officer for further questioning. Whoops!

And while all of this mayhem is taking place, there’s a sixteen year old nymphet who likes to call the “Party Line” and talk amongst other horny people. It’s so funny to see this, as it’s such a precursor to chat rooms. I like this idea better because you actually get a voice on the other line. Well, Jennifer kind of enjoys calling 976 numbers when she’s babysitting, so it’s not long before her lecherous employer, Mr. Simmons wants a piece of Jen’s action. He calls the Party Line one night as she’s arranging a date with The Fireman, who is Seth. By the way, she goes by the pseudonym The Explorer, which is kind of gross.

During all of this mysterious mysteriousness, Seth gets pulled over by Butch and he slits her throat. When Dan finds out, he means BUSINESS. He’s going to put some of that Apollo foot to ass and real good like, I tell you!

The next day, Seth shows up at a café with his requisite red suspenders and another Party Line listener approaches him as if she was The Explorer, much to Jennifer’s dismay. Then comes Mr. Simmons and the three soon leave to meet up with Angelina for a night of rough and weird sex. Things don’t go so well though and the anonymous girl and Mr. Simmons end up in a field in Malibu all nekkid and stuff. I’d like to say Mr. Simmons blew that one, but that’s kind of inviting a Three’s Company type joke.

Jennifer realizes she was just inches away from a madman and goes to Stacy to help catch the killer. I mean, someone needs to bring Mr. Simmons’ killer to justice. Right? Right? Oh, damn, I’m losing you…

OK, this movie rules. Aside from Leif in drag, the dynamics of his relationship with Angelina is amazing. She totally rules the roost and when she’s not playing mind games or killing, she’s working out. And she works out a lot. It also doesn’t take much to aggravate her as she’s often calling Seth a “Mama’s boy,” and slapping him. Personally, I think he kind of likes it.

Unfortunately, Angelina is actually the smart one. So it really doesn’t take long for the shit to hit the fan, but c’mon did you really want more than 90s minutes of a transvestite Leif slitting throats? Yeah, I wanted more too. It’s a fun movie, shot pretty well and Hatch is really good. Richard Roundtree shows up for a bit too and he’s always gold. And contrary to what I’ve read, Leif is actually quite good. He’s very subdued, but I think his character calls for that. Now, Greta Blackburn, damn she’s great. She wears only the BEST late 80s gear and has the coolest frosted perm this side of Dynasty! She’s a lot of fun to watch and I think even if this movie was just her slapping Leif for an hour and half, I’d love it all the same!

Party Line was directed by William Webb who also helmed the cruelly slandered film The Banker with Robert Forster – but that’s for another blog day!

This review originally appeared on the blog Genre Girls.

Selling Innocence (2005)

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Selling Innocence
Directed By: Pierre Gang
Written By: John Moffatt
Starring: Mimi Rogers, Sara Lind, JR Bourne
2005

It doesn’t embarrass me one bit to confess that I am a Lifetime Junkie. From re-runs of The Golden Girls to the makeover show How to Look Good Naked to original TV series like The Division, this little cable channel has offered me many hours of ‘Television for Women’. But of course, this network would be nothing without their TV Movies. I live for Lifetime originals. They are so good! I know, I just can’t contain myself!

I was fortunate enough to catch Selling Innocence not that long ago, which was awesome since I missed the original broadcast back in ‘05. I was drawn to it based on a commercial which featured a lovely Sarah Lind vamping it up in a school girl dress… I know, I’m such an easy target.

Essentially, Sarah plays Mia, a goth-loving, sweatshirt-wearing teen who’s mother, Abby (played by the even lovelier Mimi Rogers), is constantly pounding the idea into Mia’s head that being pretty = happiness. Abby drags Mia to a modeling agency where young girls garnish compliments all over her. The owner of the agency, Malcolm (JR Bourne), lies right in the middle of sleazy and sincere but lathers enough charm over Abby to get her to sign a contract.

Things go well at first for Mia – she models polyester blended pants for a local flyer (much to the chagrin of her best friend) and joins Malcolm’s paid website for online chats, with a webcam (he assures her that the members are ‘clients’). For once Mia is being paid attention to and she likes it, she really likes it. So much so, she willingly gives a little more skin each time she chats. At one point Malcolm tells her “You’re a star, so act like one,” and the next day Mia is strutting said stuff all over the joint.

Things slowly begin to unravel after that – she inherits a stalker, she’s forced to attend a costume party for some ‘clients,’ her best friend disowns her and her dirty little secret is exposed for every Tom, Dick & Harry to see.

Although this is not groundbreaking stuff, it’s certainly an interesting thriller with a satisfying twist that could have actually been expounded upon even further (there’s another movie that could be made just on that development alone!), but the key factor here is Sarah Lind. Obviously a gorgeous woman, the casting here is realistic and she anchors the film with a strong and thoughtful performance. The producers were smart to hire an attractive girl who probably would never qualify for professional modeling – she’s got healthy curves. This was an important choice because we know Malcolm is pulling one over on her, even though working for him helps her transform into a confident beauty. It underlines the sad fact that girls can be lured into fulfilling dreams with even the most troublesome of characters.

Mimi Rogers is also good as the exasperated mom who loves Mia but has no real time to see what is going on in front of her. A likeable character, she is certainly flawed and sometimes meek, but owns up to her own mistakes when it comes to Mia.

So, that’s a lot of thought for a Lifetime movie, no? Although I wouldn’t classify all their films as thought-provoking material, Selling Innocence does give parents and young girls something to ponder. Give me that over thoughtless high-budget fare any day.

This review originally appeared on Pretty Scary in my column Lifetime Kills.

Prison-a-Go-Go (2003)

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Can any movie sporting sexed-up nymphets, ninjas, mad-scientists and a countdown clock to the shower scenes be anything but fabulous? You’re right again, Prison a Go Go is slapstick spoof of several genres and by and large, it works. And it works well.

Sweet but not too smart Janie vows to find her sister, who’s being turned into a porcupine in a Philippine prison (yeah, you heard me right… a porcupine!). So Janie decides to kill a homeless guy and next thing you know she’s America’s next T&A export to this dung heap of a pokey. Once inside, she meets Jackpot, a horny Rhonda Shear who basically rapes the entire male prison guard staff, and the warden, Wilbur Thorn, a recent college grad who sips coffee and thinks his office is pretty cool. As Janie searches out her sister/porcupine, she encounters chicks with a Freon addiction, ninjas and just a few zombies to keep her on her toes. Oh yeah, and she showers A LOT.

Prison-a-Go-Go is a riotous comedy that gets it right more times than it misses.  Made by Barak Epstein with heart and an obvious love of the genre as well as silly slapstick, I was impressed by how fun this movie was. And that’s the key word here… fun. Barak and his cast of players, especially the co-writer and star, Mike Wiebe, a man who shows an amazingly natural knack for comedy, are up to the challenge of playing it straight while surrounded by hysterical chaos. Ms. Shear is also hilarious and still looks amazing. It looks like they could only get Mary Waranov for one or two days but she delivers her lines with the same sinister zeal that made her an icon after Rock and Roll High School.

If you like your Women in Prison movies mixed with a bit of Airplane, then you’ve just got to see Prison-a-Go-Go.  And if you’re not, then I feel kind of sorry for you.

She’s The Man (2006)

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She’s the Man showcases a silly but intriguing premise that needs to rely heavily on the strength of the actors to displace some of the disbelief of Amanda Bynes clumsily going incognito in the newest Teen-Movie-Does-Shakespeare.

Bynes plays Viola, a soccer-loving teenager whose team is disbanded due to lack of numbers.  Viola thinks it only natural to join the male soccer team but after her boyfriend (soon to be ex) pulls out some ham-fisted chauvinism, and after her twin brother, Sebastian (James Kirk) asks her to cover for him at the rival school (and his new school) while he heads to London with his band for two weeks, Viola decides to take Sebastian’s place at school, wow the soccer team, go toe-to-toe with her sexist ex in the big game and prove that girls are just are good as guys. Of course, she manages to fall in love with her new roommate, the hunky Duke (Channing Tatum) who is also on the team.

For those of us who were of any age in the late 80s or even the early 90s when Just One of the Guys ran endlessly on Comedy Central, it’s almost impossible not to compare the two films.  However, Dreamworks isn’t marketing this film to a generation now in their mid-30s.  It’s just as well, since although there are some scenes in She’s the Man that practically duplicate its predecessor, this is an entertaining, if hollow, comedy. It doesn’t capture any of the teenage nuances that Amy Heckerling’s Clueless did, but She’s the Man seems happiest when it’s at its silliest. Granted, Bynes mugs it a bit too much when she first makes the gender bending transition but she grows more comfortable as Viola’s life grows more chaotic.

There are several laugh-out-loud moments courtesy of some purely over the top humor lacking any subtlety, yet She’s the Man is a pleasant surprise. Glossy Hollywood films looking for an older audience could do worse than to follow in She’s the Man steps.  Keep it simple-stupid; make us laugh and the audience will come.

This review originally appeared in Entertainment Today.

Slither (2006)

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The Bottom Line

A great little throwback to the monster filled 80s fright flicks, Nathan Fillion is the sheriff of a small town suddenly besieged by alien space slugs.

Pros
• Director James Gunn really has an affinity for creating strong, human characters
• The cast is wonderful, especially Fillion and Michael Rooker
• A rollercoaster ride of laughs, scares and gore

Cons
• Less scary than humorous, fans of straight up horror will be disappointed with the amount of comedy featured
Description
• Directed By: James Gunn
• Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker, Tania Saulnier
• Theatrical Release Date: March 31st, 2006
• DVD Release: October 24th, 2006
• Rated: R
• DVD Extras: Man, are there! A great package with a bit of everything
• Studio: Universal Studios

Guide Review – SLiTHER (DVD) – Review

For whatever reason, SLiTHER was a miss during its theatrical release. That’s a total bummer too, because it’s one of the best genre films of the year. Maybe that’s because James Gunn, who started out working for Troma, understands the phrase ‘popcorn entertainment.’ A thrill ride with lots of laughs and some wonderfully human characters, SLiTHER definitely came from Gunn’s heart. The characters he builds are strong and real and they are the kind of people you expect to find in a small town. Rooker is a standout too, with his hateful and pitiful portrayal of Grant Grant (!) you just end up feeling sorry for the poor sucker’s plight.

Fans of 80s horror will also catch some nice tributes to the films we love. I noticed there was a place called Henenlotter’s! Cool. And like those little golden nugget films we hold so close, SLiTHER will, uh, SLiTHER its way right into your heart too.

Another inspiration from Gunn’s days at Troma was this action-packed DVD filled with a ton of extras, including how to make blood at home and a video diary with Lloyd Kaufman, the man behind Troma who has a cameo in the film. My favorite was the Who is Bill Pardy segment. I never realized he said his name so much! One thing all of the extras share is that everyone from the stars to the makeup girl seemed to love working on the film. Each person is in good spirits and the featurettes all share the spirit of having fun while making a great film. It also proves that Gunn is a mad genius and I really want to work with him on movie now!

This review originally appeared on About.com.