Saturday, January 31, 2015

Movies That Put Insane Detail Into Stuff You Never Noticed

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The Throwaways Original Feature Film! Exclusively On Crackle.

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Date: Jan 31, 2015 4:58 PM
Subject: The Throwaways Original Feature Film! Exclusively On Crackle.
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Consider your Saturday night plans made. We are excited to announce the premiere of Crackle's latest full-length original feature film, The Throwaways.

A comedic spy thriller, The Throwaways follows notorious cyber hacker Drew Reynolds (played by Sam Huntington), who is captured by the CIA and given a proposition - work for them or spend the rest of his life in prision.
Starring Sam Huntington (Superman Returns), Katie McGrath (Merlin), Christian Hillborg, Jack Kesy, Kevin Dillon (Entourage) and Academy Award®-nominated screen legend James Caan (1972, Best Supporting Actor, The Godfather).


The Throwaways joins Crackle's ever-growing portfolio of recently announced feature films including Dead Rising: Watchtower and Joe Dirt 2. Stay tuned for all the awesome stuff coming to Crackle this year!
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Friday, January 30, 2015

Altered States (1980)

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From: "2,500 Movies Challenge" <>
Date: Jan 30, 2015 4:44 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge
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Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge

#1,627. Altered States (1980)

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 10:09 PM PST

Directed By: Ken Russell

Starring: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban

Tag line: "When he heard his cry for help it wasn't human"

Trivia: This was the first American movie for British director Ken Russell

Altered States, a 1980 horror /sci-fi flick starring William Hurt (who, at the age of 30, was making his big-screen debut), was one of the films that played regularly on cable TV when my family first signed up for the service. While I never did sit down to watch the entire movie back then, I remember catching a few scenes here and there, usually in spurts of a couple minutes at a time, and based on what I saw, it didn't look like something that would interest me. Having now seen it in its entirety, I can tell you this is not a film you can watch piecemeal, then come away thinking you know what it's about. A sometimes dazzling, often compelling motion picture, Altered States is, by design, a fully immersive experience, and if you turn yourself over to it, I feel confident that, by the time it's over, you'll agree it's one of the most unique movies to emerge from the '80s.

It was while studying schizophrenia in the 1960s that Professor Edward Jessup (Hurt) first became interested in other states of consciousness. Considered a bright but somewhat quirky researcher by his peers, he would spend hours in an isolation tank, during which he'd have visions suggesting the mind holds the key to mankind's past, that the memory of thousands of years of evolution lay dormant inside each and every person, and with the right stimulation, these memories can be brought to the surface. Nobody, including his girlfriend Emily (Blair Brown) and his best friend / assistant Arthur (Bob Balaban), can understand Edward's obsession with unleashing his "true self", yet he doesn't let that bother him. He knows he's on to something big, and is ready to prove it to the world.

The years pass by, and Edward, now married to Emily and the father of two girls (one of whom is played by a very young Drew Barrymore), laments the fact he never completed his research. His marriage on the verge of collapsing, he makes a trip to Mexico, where he spends time with an indigenous tribe that's discovered a special root, one that supposedly offers those who ingest it a mind-altering experience. Bringing samples of this root back with him, Jessup once again enters an isolation tank, and during his time inside, he begins to change, as if he were regressing to an earlier stage of evolution. At first elated by the results, Jessup soon discovers his "devolution" doesn't end when he leaves the tank. Undaunted, he remains determined to see his research through, and aided by Emily, Arthur, and colleague Mason Parrish (Charles Haid), he continues his experiment, realizing full well that, once it's completed, he may never be the same again.

Directed by Ken Russell (Tommy), Altered States is, at times, visually stunning, with montages (which usually crop up whenever Edward is in the isolation tank) as vibrant as they are imaginative (one of Edward's earliest visions concerns the death of his father, and features imagery that's religious in nature, everything from a demonic goat to the Shroud of Turin). Yet as engaging as these sequences are, they pale in comparison to what happens to Edward later on, when he undergoes a physical transformation (one segment in particular, where he emerges from the tank in a primitive state and runs out into the street, is handled brilliantly). In addition to its aesthetic qualities, Altered States is a very intelligent movie, with discussions and debates on topics ranging from religion to the potential of the human mind. Written by Paddy Chayefsky (Network), Altered States is a rarity in that it remains interesting even when its characters are just sitting around talking to each other.

The early '80s turned out a number of smart science fiction films, including Death Watch, Looker, and Brainstorm, yet even in this select group, Altered States stands apart from the rest. I recommend you watch it with a few friends, because this is a movie you'll definitely want to talk about afterwards.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Selma – Nominated for 2 Academy Awards, Including Best Picture.

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Date: Jan 27, 2015 10:10 AM
Subject: Selma – Nominated for 2 Academy Awards, Including Best Picture.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Retutn of the Fly (1959)

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From: "2,500 Movies Challenge" <>
Date: Jan 26, 2015 4:10 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge
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Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge

#1,623. Return of the Fly (1959)

Posted: 25 Jan 2015 09:32 PM PST

Directed By: Edward L. Bernds

Starring: Vincent Price, Brett Halsey, David Frankham

Tag line: "All new and more horrific than before!"

Trivia: The script was written specifically to use the standing sets from The Fly

Taking a page out of Universal's Frankenstein series, Return of the Fly, a sequel to the 1958 classic The Fly, features a son who follows in his father's footsteps, continuing an experiment that would have best been left alone.

Fifteen years after the untimely death of his father, Philippe Delambre (Brett Halsey) lays his mother to rest as well. Hoping he can shed some light on his family's tumultuous past, Philippe implores his uncle, Francois (Vincent Price), to tell him what really happened to his father. Against his better judgment, Francois takes the young man to the remains of Andre Delambre's laboratory, showing him the transporter chambers and explaining to Philippe how a tragic accident caused Andre to turn into a human fly. Anxious to prove to the world that his father was on the right track, Philippe decides to continue his research, aided at all times by his friend Alan (David Frankham), a British scientist who's as eager as Philippe is to duplicate Andre Delambre's experiments.

Unfortunately, Alan (whose real name is Ronald Holmes) has plans of his own for the transportation technology, and makes arrangements to sell the blueprints for the device, as well as all the research, to the highest bidder. When Philippe discovers what Alan is up to, the two men get into a fight, during which Philippe is knocked unconscious and placed in one of the transporter chambers. Hoping to make a quick exit, Alan switches the machine on, causing Philippe to disappear. Soon after, Francois, who was contacted by Philippe's girlfriend Cecile (Danielle De Metz), shows up on the scene, and, realizing what's happened, starts up the transporter in order to re-materialize his nephew. To Francois's horror, he finds that history has repeated itself: a fly ended up in the chamber with Philippe, and as a result, he and the insect have exchanged body parts (Philippe's head, arm, and leg have been replaced with those of the fly)! As Francois works diligently to remedy the situation, Philippe sets out to exact revenge on the man he once called his friend.

Return of the Fly was obviously produced on a much smaller budget than the original; aside from being shot in black and white (The Fly was in color), the special effects aren't nearly as good this time around (especially the lead character's "fly-like" features, which are larger and more ungainly). On the plus side, the movie weaves an interesting tale, one that ties in nicely with the events from the first film while also bringing something new to the table (the deceitful Alan adds a bit of intrigue to the proceedings). On the acting front, Vincent Price does an admirable job as the over-protective uncle, and Brett Halsey is convincing as the brilliant but naïve Philippe.

In the end, Return of the Fly may not look as good as its predecessor, but what it lacks in production values, it makes up for in story.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015


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Date: Jan 21, 2015 4:43 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge
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Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge

#1,618. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 06:55 PM PST

Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody

Tag line: "Have the adventure of your life keeping up with the Joneses"

Trivia: Two thousand rats were bred for the production (they had to be bred specially as ordinary rats would have been riddled with disease)

After the darkly violent Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Steven Spielberg and company return to the series' roots with 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a fast-paced, occasionally funny action / adventure that sees our hero, Indiana Jones, once again battling it out with Nazis while attempting to track down a religious artifact: the fabled Holy Grail.

Following a flashback to 1912, where a much younger Indiana Jones (played as a child by River Phoenix), while on a scouting trip in Utah's Monument Valley, tried to rescue the Cross of Coronado from profiteers, we leap forward to 1938, when Indy (Harrison Ford) is approached by antiquities collector Walter Donovan (Julian Glover), who, for years, has been looking for the Holy Grail. Believed to be the cup Jesus drank from at his Last Supper, the Grail went missing (or was hidden away) during the First Crusade, when, according to legend, a trio of Knights (all brothers) stumbled upon it.

Since that time, many men have searched in vain for the Grail, including Indiana Jones' father (Sean Connery). A lifelong Grail historian, the elder Dr. Jones was working for Donovan when he abruptly disappeared. To add to the mystery, Indiana receives a package in the mail that contains his father's diary, a small notebook filled with clues about the Grail's possible resting place. Convinced his dear old dad is in trouble, Indiana and his mentor Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) hop a plane to Venice, where the elder Dr. Jones was working when he vanished. Joined by his father's assistant, Dr. Elsa Schneider (Allison Doody), Indiana finds himself drawn into the search for the Holy Grail, which, like the Ark of the Covenant, is also being sought by the Nazis. Will Indiana Jones save his father and locate the Grail in time, or is the sacred chalice destined to fall into Hitler's hands?

Like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade features lots of pulse-pounding action, from its clever flashback sequence (when we learn, among other things, why its lead character is afraid of snakes) to a thrilling chase in the desert of Hatay (where Indy faces off against a battalion of Nazis equipped with a tank). Assisted by some familiar faces (along with Denholm Elliott's Marcus, Indy teams up with Sallah, his cohort from Raiders of the Lost Ark portrayed by John Rhys-Davies), our hero also joins forces with his own father, a partnership that, aside from introducing family drama into the mix, results in a handful of funny scenes (unlike his son, the elder Jones isn't much of an adventurer, and is more comfortable wielding a book than he is a firearm). Ford and Connery are excellent as the two Joneses (their chemistry was so good that I had no problem whatsoever believing they were father and son), and the fact they spend so much time together is a definite plus. And to top it all off, Indy gets another crack at the Nazis, this time taking the fight all the way to Berlin (where he has a close encounter with the Fuhrer himself)!

Chock full of insane action sequences and tongue-in-cheek humor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a throwback of sorts to Raiders of the Lost Ark that's also an entertaining movie in its own right.

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