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Currently showing posts tagged Prom

  • Teen Witch (1989) Blu-ray Review

    Teen Witch (1989)

    Director: Dorian Walker

    Starring: Robyn Lively, Zelda Rubinstein, Dan Gauthier, Joshua Miller & Dick Sargent

    Released by: Kino Lorber

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    A bonafide titan of cult cinema categorized by many under the “so bad, it’s good” section, Teen Witch exudes a laughable charm with countless quotable one-liners and even goofier musical interludes that must be seen to be believed.  Originally intended as the female equivalent to the Teen Wolf films, Teen Witch casts its own spell focusing on high school nobody Louise Miller (Robyn Lively, The Karate Kid Part III) whose crush on senior hunk Brad (Dan Gauthier, Son in Law) and hopes of popular acceptance are a stretch far from her reality.  Learning of her ties to Salem’s witches on her 16th birthday, Louise, mentored by palm reader Madame Serena (Zelda Rubinstein, Poltergeist), uses her spectacular powers to turn herself from brainy introvert to the most popular girl in school.  Helmed by Making the Grade’s Dorian Walker, this supernatural love story remains a riot from start to finish with Louise’s hilariously cruel and occasionally creepy younger brother Richie (Joshua Miller, Near Dark) stealing scenes as he dramatically ridicules his sister for being a dog before having the tables turned on him.  While its girl meets boy and falls in love structure is certifiably formulaic, Teen Witch’s major draws come from the not-so intentional humor derived from its gaudy 80s sensibilities and beyond wacky rap battle song numbers that will leave viewers crying with tears of laughter.  Sprinkled with quintessential sexy sax music and rise to popularity montages, Louise’s decision to ultimately ditch spells in order to gain real love is as cheesily enjoyable as one might expect.  Sharing company with similar misunderstood blunders as The Garbage Pail Kids Movie and Howard the Duck, Teen Witch, much like its counterparts, is a wildly fun concoction fit for cult loving cinema hounds.

    Kino Lorber presents Teen Witch with a radiant 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  Minor specking aside, colors featured in the loud clothing and makeup choices of the era pop solidly while, skin tones remain strong with natural grain layers firmly intact.  Sharp and crisp-looking throughout, Teen Witch has never looked better on home video.  Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix, dialogue is clear-sounding with musical moments during the girl’s locker room sequence, the infamous rap duel and the closing prom night scene all offering increased weight much to the delight of listeners.  

    Packaged with a first-rate supply of newly crafted supplements, the disc’s many special features include, an Audio Commentary with Stars Robyn Lively, Joshua Miller, Dan Gauthier & Mandy Ingber, Finest Hour: Robyn Lively on Teen Witch (23:19) sits down with the lovable lead today as she recalls the audition process and heaves praise for each one of her cast members, Dan Gauthier Remembers Teen Witch (20:14) catches up with Brad today in an equally lengthy interview where viewers learn the production introduced him to his costar and future wife.  Furthermore, Lisa Fuller Remembers Teen Witch (3:50) echoes many of her husband’s warm sentiments making the film with hazier clarity, Maken It Big: Mandy Ingber Remembers Teen Witch (16:19) discusses her love for costar Lively, her lack of confidence in Walker’s vision and embarrassment having to film the much discussed rap scene while, The Music of Teen Witch (21:18) catches up with Music Producers Larry & Tom Weir as they discuss their approaches to the film’s pop and rap numbers, the latter of which they knew little to nothing about after the production insisted upon its inclusion in the film.  Finally, Top That: A Conversation with Robyn Lively & Mandy Ingber (15:38) is a sweet and candid reunion between the two friends as they exchange memories from the shoot.  The film’s Trailer (2:17) concludes the impressive slate of extras.  A financial disaster left to die, Teen Witch has not only survived years of ridicule but, reemerged as a justifiable treasure of cult cinema.  Spells, dreamy hunks, gorgeous girls and… rap all serve their role in making this cheesy good time one that dares to be topped.  Kino Lorber outdoes themselves with the care given to such a B-movie favorite with its definitive collection of extras leaving fans bewitched.  Top that!

    RATING: 4/5

    Available now from Kino Lorber, Teen Witch can be purchased via KinoLorber.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • My Boyfriend's Back (1993) Blu-ray Review

    My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)

    Director: Bob Balaban

    Starring: Andrew Lowery, Traci Lind, Matthew Fox, Edward Herrmann & Mary Beth Hurt

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    From Producer Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13th), My Boyfriend’s Back centers on high school senior Johnny Dingle (Andrew Lowery, School Ties) as he builds up the courage to ask class hottie Missy McCloud (Traci Lind, Fright Night Part 2) to the prom.  Unfortunately, a fatal setback claims Johnny’s life resulting in his comical return from the grave to his keep his dream date on schedule.  Helmed by noted actor and director Bob Balaban (Parents), this offbeat horror/comedy is an entertainingly cheesy romp that adheres to the basic tropes of teen films while, its cast juggles its silly plot of prom queens and zombie infatuation with big, goofy smiles.  Incapable of taking itself seriously, My Boyfriend’s Back juxtaposes its narrative with comic-like panel transitions as Johnny’s undead existence in suburbia is met with equal parts acceptance by his loving parents (Edward Herrmann, The Lost Boys and Mary Beth Hurt, Young Adult) while, Missy’s ex-boyfriend Buck (Matthew Fox in his film debut) is less than enthusiastic.  Decaying by the day as limbs fall off his body and his hunger for human flesh grows, Johnny and Missy’s romance is tested when gun-toting townspeople want their local zombie buried for good.  Combatting a greedy doctor that seeks Johnny for his own experimentations and swaying the approval of Missy’s sheriff father (Jay O. Sanders, JFK), the living and the undead make the most of their magical evening in their fog-entrenched school gymnasium.  Released in 1993 yet, containing the colorful gaudiness of 80s productions, My Boyfriend’s Back notably introduces the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) in an early role as one of Johnny’s unfortunate meals and Matthew McConaughey (True Detective) in a blink-and-you-miss him appearance.  While the genre-blending black comedy may have arrived a few years behind the curve, My Boyfriend’s Back remains an unsophisticatedly screwy good time ripe for digging up.

    Mill Creek Entertainment presents My Boyfriend’s Back with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.  With mild speckling on display, skin tones are surprisingly well-handled with only occasional hints of oversaturation.  Otherwise nicely detailed and relaying rather strong doses of color in blood spread across Johnny’s mouth, interiors of the high school’s locker-filled halls and the EC Comic-like transitions, My Boyfriend’s Back may have occasional hiccups but, remains a generally satisfying watch.  Equipped with a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, dialogue is decently, if not unimpressively, relayed while, the film’s musical selections and intendedly dynamic sound effects are largely flat and disappointing.  No special features have been included on this release.

    Fun and welcomingly out there, My Boyfriend’s Back takes a zombified teenager’s desire for his crush to hilarious heights where undead prejudice and a hunger for limbs are their biggest threats.  Littered with a surprisingly well known cast in early roles, Mill Creek Entertainment ushers this Disney owned skeleton from their Touchstone Pictures banner with a well-handled, filmic transfer while, its audio mix leaves much to be desired.  Admittedly looking better than ever, My Boyfriend’s Back returns from the grave (again) in a manner that should leave fans quite pleased.

    RATING: 3/5

    Available now from Mill Creek Entertainment, My Boyfriend’s Back can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Carrie (2013) Blu-ray Review


    Carrie (2013)
    Director: Kimberly Peirce
    Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Gabriella Wilde & Portia Doubleday
    Released by: 20th Century Fox/MGM

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    As the wheels of the remake train continue to spin, 2013 saw the resurrection of one of Stephen King’s most beloved adaptations.  Director Brian De Palma (Phantom of the Paradise, Dressed to Kill) brought King’s terrifying novel to life for the first time in 1976 with iconic performances from Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.  Since then, the tale of Carrie White has been expanded into a 1999 sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2, as well as a television retelling in 2002 with Angela Bettis (Girl, Interrupted, May) starring as Carrie.  Director Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don‘t Cry, Stop-Loss) helms this modern update of a troubled outcast with extraordinary abilities and the limits she is pushed to.  By the end, will you know her name?  Let’s find out...

    Carrie stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Dark Shadows) as Carrie White, a social outcast who is relentlessly taunted by classmates and abused by her overly religious mother (Julianne Moore).  Carrie soon learns that her anger unleashes newly found telekinetic powers that she harbors.  When she is unexpectedly asked to prom, an unforgivable fate awaits her that leads to a night no one will ever forget.  Judy Greer (Jawbreaker), Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers) and Portia Doubleday (Youth in Revolt) co-star.

    MOVIE:
    In this day and age it’s easy to be dismissive of any new remakes/reimaginings hitting theaters.  Devoted film lovers insist on being served exciting, original material opposed to a stale rehash of an already established classic.  Sometimes, a reimagining comes along that attracts such unique talent that turns everyone’s head in intrigue.  Director Kimberly Peirce, no stranger to shining lights on social outcasts, helms this modern take of the Stephen King best seller.  Peirce approaches the material faithfully with mild updates to relate to a new generation.  The opening, touched upon in the novel, finds Margaret White (Julianne Moore) riling in pain as she enters labor alone in her bedroom.  Giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, the exhausted woman sees this as a test from God and prepares to kill the child for her sinful ways.  Scissors in hand, Margaret is unable to go through with it and chooses to raise her daughter.  The film moves forward in time as we find Carrie White (Moretz), now 15 years-old, shy, awkward and idolizing her fellow female classmates.  Carrie quickly follows suit by retelling an iconic locker room sequence where Carrie frighteningly experiences her first period as classmates taunt and throw tampons at her.  Injecting the modern twist, Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) records the embarrassing incident with her cellphone and uploads it to YouTube for fellow classmates and the world to see.  The film continues to remain close to De Palma’s version with the occasional change-up for good measure.  Peirce harkens back to the novel to showcase Margaret White’s bodily harm that makes for some truly squeemish moments to great effect.  

    Peirce assembles a fine cast with the talented Chloë Grace Moretz slipping into Spacek’s iconic role.  Moretz handles the role well and captures the odd and uncomfortable personality of Carrie.  One couldn’t help but feel that Moretz was just a little too pretty to honestly portray the odd girl out.  Moretz’s acting abilities are far from disappointing, but her appearances hurt the believability of the character.  Julianne Moore delivers a disturbing performance as Carrie’s abusive mother, Margaret White.  Moore’s unbrushed greying hair and dressed down appearance complimented her character’s loony behavior.  While, Piper Laurie’s original performance still reigns supreme, Moore delivered a unique spin of her.  In addition, Judy Greer (Jeff Who Lives at Home), co-stars as gym teacher, Ms. Desjardin.  While, a brief role, Greer offers an endearing performance as a shoulder to cry on for Carrie.  Portia Doubleday (Her) stuns as the bitchy Chris Hargensen who makes abusing Carrie her main priority.  Doubleday makes hating her easy with her relentless bullying and stuck-up personality.  Fans of Nancy Allen’s original performance will be made proud.  Finally, Gabriella Wilde does a fine job as Sue Snell, the one teenager with a conscience who enlists her boyfriend to give Carrie the time of her life at prom.  

    Carrie does offer its fair share of CG visual effects, but all to effective results.  The bloody finale at the prom sees Carrie unleashing her wrath after having pig blood dropped on her.  Students are thrown back in a tidal wave of tables and chairs while Carrie uses her powers to create an inferno of flames.  The entire movie is building to this sequence and it hardly disappoints.  As Chris and her boyfriend speed off after the prank, Carrie confronts them before sending the couple to a brutal death.  Chris‘ fate is sheer eye candy and a fitting end for such a hated character.  Carrie heads home to only be greeted by her insane mother who intends on putting an end to her devil child.  A fight to the death ensues between the mother and daughter before a tragic end befalls on them.  The film concludes on a similar note as the original with a much less effective jump-scare administered.

    Like most reimaginings, Carrie doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor but it still has merit.  Peirce does a fine job harking back to the source material while injecting modern twists of cyberbullying to up the ante.  The core cast was more than capable in their respective roles with Moore and Doubleday offering noteworthy mentions.  Moretz captured the essence of Carrie but her physicality prevented the performance from being all it could be.  One can only wonder how the film would have appeared if Peirce casted Carrie as heavier set as described in the novel.  Moments of violence and chaos are demonstrated well and benefit from today’s movie magic.  Viewing Carrie during its theatrical run, I left the film feeling mediocre towards it.  After revisiting Carrie, it has managed to slightly entertain me more.  With more King reimaginings in the works, time will tell how this retelling of Carrie is best remembered.  Until then, Carrie is a serviceable adaptation of one of King’s finest efforts with a solid cast and a modernization that benefits the film nicely.
    RATING: 3.5/5

    VIDEO:
    Carrie is presented in a beautiful 1080p (2.35:1) transfer that stuns.  Colors appear clear and accurate with detail looking most impressive in close-ups.  The school’s football field, swimming pool and of course, the pig blood look especially lush and bold.  Black levels are superior, most noticeably, during the pig clubbing sequence and the finale at the prom.  As a brand-new film shot and presented in HD, there’s nothing to fear with this transfer.
    RATING: 5/5

    AUDIO:
    Carrie comes equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix.  Dialogue is clear as a whistle with subtleties such as books slamming or creaky footsteps making a nice impression.  More intense sequences involving inferno, car crashes and screaming students are loud and solid.  The prom sequence will definitely send your speakers for a ride and make for an exceptional listening experience.
    RATING: 5/5

    EXTRAS:

    - Audio Commentary with Director Kimberly Peirce: Peirce serves up an informative listen touching upon the casting process, development of the script, modernizing the film as well as budget and time constraints.  While, Peirce may often focus too much on what’s playing on the screen, the track is still a worthy listen.

    - Alternate Ending: Included as a second option labeled “Theatrical Cut with Alternate Ending”, the new ending offers an extra minute of runtime with optional commentary from Director Kimberly Peirce.

    - Deleted/Alternate Scenes: 10 minutes worth of scenes again with optional commentary from Director Kimberly Peirce.

    - Tina on Fire: Stunt Double Dailies: A featurette showcasing how the fire effects were achieved with optional commentary from Director Kimberly Peirce.

    - Creating Carrie: A making of featurette running over 20 minutes.  Director Kimberly Peirce, Producer Kevin Misher and the core cast discuss the film, their preparation and Stephen King’s original novel.  A terrific companion to the film!

    - The Power of Telekinesis: Talent in front and behind the camera discuss their takes on telekinesis.

    - Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise: A hilarious telekinetic prank that was pulled in a New York coffee shop on unsuspecting customers to promote the film.

    - Theatrical Trailer

    - Sneak Peak: Trailers for upcoming MGM titles.

    - DVD Copy

    - Ultraviolet Copy Code

    RATING: 5/5

    OVERALL:
    2013’s reimagining of Carrie didn’t light me entirely on fire, but it was still a serviceable take on an iconic tale.  Director Kimberly Peirce may have been an unexpected choice but her expertise with social outcasts gave this film its flavor.  Peirce did a fine job sticking to King’s source material while injecting the necessary tools to make it a functioning modern take.  Chloë Grace Moretz brought her usual A-game acting chops to the role but her lovely appearance made the believability of the character a constant struggle.  Julianne Moore and Portia Doubleday deserve recognition for their portrayals as dangerously flawed characters.  The film manages to not disappoint in the effects and violence department that pay off in the exciting finale.  The Blu-ray edition of Carrie is quite simply perfection.  A wonderful video presentation matched with an effective and robust audio mix plus a plethora of special features make this release a winner.  In addition, the film comes accompanied with one of the coolest looking lenticular slipcovers in sometime.  Regardless, of your film adaptation preference, 2013’s Carrie has its issues but it has all the potential to become even better with time.
    RATING: 4/5