Friday, August 31, 2012

True Romance (1993) On Blu Ray

Again most decidedly not a horror movie!  But, this just happens to be the only Tony Scott film that I own on blu ray, and Gary Oldman is this week's "thug" on Video Detective, so it seemed fitting to throw it on...besides I spent a good deal of my life in Tallahassee...yeah, that's kinda pathetic! This is certainly an ultra violent crime film with a monster cast; not only does it obviously star Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette...and Oldman in a role that has him sporting dreadlocks and a Detroit African American accent...and a character that doesn't last all that long.  It also features Sam Jackson in a role that lasts even a shorter amount of time, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and the late Dennis Hopper.  The Blu Ray features 3 different choices for commentary, one by the later director, one by screenwriter Quentin Tarantino and one by Slater and Arquette; and there are selective scene commentaries by Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper and Michael Rapaport (the great character actor who is also a cast member).  It also features an alternative ending with or without commentary by Tony Scott and Tarantino.  The original 1993 featurette is included.  It also has an interactive behind the scenes featurette, an animated photo gallery (that is SOOOO Scott!) and, of course, the original theatrical trailer.  So RIP Tony!

The Wolfman (2010) On Blu Ray

This packaging includes the both the theatrical and unrated version (which sports two alternative endings).  Special features involve a high degree of Internet interaction with newer players accessing BD Live, along with some remote control features that allow you to play around with exploring the sets, or the Talbot "house," etc.  Special effects wizard Rick Baker has a "u-control" special on crucial behind the scenes details, and there is also a "u-control" feature on the history of werewolves in general and the history of the Wolf Man in films in particular.  There are a number of deleted or extended scenes and the unrated pack comes with a digital copy of the unrated version of the film as well.

Trick r Treat On Blu Ray

Goin' short and silly here, this one is only 82 minutes long--and I'm longing for the Fall weather and some real Halloween spirit.  My Blu Ray edition of this is the single disc copy.  It features additional scenes, Trick 'R Treat:  Seasons Greetings animated short with or without directorial comment, "How Did Many of Our Scary Season Traditions Start?" answered in the short Trick 'R Treat:  The Lore and Legends of Halloween, School Bus FX Comparison, of course, directors commentary by Michael Dougherty.  Also, extras features can be accessed via BD Live, which requires a Blu Ray player that has Internet interface, which most do these days.  There is another edition that contains 2 discs, which contains a digital copy.

The Town (2010) On Blu Ray

I know, not even remotely a horror film, but it is a great, suspenseful (sometimes even a bit scary, I mean, hey, have you seen those masks?!) crime flick.  More importantly, this is one of those discs that would not load on our first gen. player.  As far as the set goes it's compact with loads stuffed onto two discs.  The actual Blu Ray itself contains both the theatrical version and the extended version.  The other disc serves as both the regular DVD copy of the theatrical release and a digital copy.  Extras include:  Ben's Boston which has multiple segments, each with a different subject with titles like "The Cathedral Of Boston," and "Nuns With Guns:  Filming in the North End."  Affleck does commentary on both versions of the film as well.

Scream On Blu Ray

OK, this is actually a set, I'm just choosing to view the first film.  This set is billed as a "5 Film Set," which, technically, it is, though at first blush it's misleading.  To those uninitiated to the Scream franchise, the set could easily be mistaken as Scream 1-5.  Those of us who are horror movie buffs know that there are actually (at least of this writing) only 4 Scream films, and the last of those was not released until last year, as of the release of this set, Scream 4 was not yet released in any form for home purchase.  The features 4 & 5 are actually feature length documentaries.  Scream:  The Inside Story is a 90 minute documentary on the first Scream film, with an in depth inside look at the original cast and crew and explores how it went on to spawn the now famous Wes Craven horror series, newly produced in 2011, it was directed by Daniel Farrands..  Still Screaming:  The Ultimate Scary Movie Retrospective explores the cast and crews of all four Scream films and was directed by Ryan Tubek, it runs 93 minutes.  Other than the two featured docs, there is not a great deal of special features in the set; of course, the films all have the obligatory commentary.  What is nice is the price:  $20.95 at Amazon, so in this horror film lover's opinion the set is worth it.

Scream (1996) - Part 1 from Rashed Al-Assiri on Vimeo.

Scream (1996) - Part 2 from Rashed Al-Assiri on Vimeo.

Scream (1996) - Part 3 from Rashed Al-Assiri on Vimeo.

Scream (1996) - Part 4 from Rashed Al-Assiri on Vimeo.

Scream (1996) - Part 5 (Final) from Rashed Al-Assiri on Vimeo.

For The Peanut: Monsters vs. Aliens On Blu Ray

This is the "Kid's Choice" for the day.  This is new to the household, so I can't comment on the look of the disc, since I writing this at the beginning of the film; I have been told by other people that it looks great.  This is the original Blu Ray release of the film, not the 3D version.  I can say that it comes in one of the really nice and super convenient 2 disc packs, with one the Blu Ray itself, and the other a regular DVD copy, for when Peanut heads out to his Goopy's where there is no Blu Ray in the house.  Each disc also features it's own set of special features.  The Blu Ray features, amongst other stuff, Animator's Corner, B.O.B. Big Break in 3D, Paddle Ball Game in Monster 3D, Top Secret Files, a Karaoke Music Parts in HD and a Trivia Track.  The DVD disc features deleted scenes, Modern Monster Movie-Making, Dreamworks Animation Juke Box, The Tech of Monsters vs. Aliens, and filmmakers commentary.  The film runs 94 minutes and is rated PG.

Assault On Precinct 13 (1976) On Blu Ray

John Carpenter's original is only 91 minutes long, but feels longer.  The Blu Ray edition is completely restored and looks as good as low budget film from the 1970's is going to look in High Definition and from a transfer from the original Panavision® anamorphic widescreen.  It features commentary by Carpenter, who not only directed the film, but also wrote it.  The single disc speacial features also include an interview with Carpenter and actor Austin Stoker, radio spots which Carpenter loved so much that he put some in The Fog, the theatrical trailer, and a gallery of stills.  The one thing that I personally think is the coolest feature is the option for John Carpenter's score of the film to be played in isolation!  I happen to be a fan of his scores.

The Shining On Blu Ray

Got a new Blu Ray player recently, so thought it would be fun to do another Friday featuring horrors in High Def.  The first player we had was a first generation player and it got to a point where a lot of newer Blu Rays were not loading because it's processor wasn't able to decode all of the newer discs loaded with so much information that the poor thing would just shut down.  As a result there was an ever growing pile of Blu Rays that it just couldn't handle.  

As far as The Shining on Blu Ray goes, it's not one of the super sophisticated combo packs that have become so popular.  It's jut your basic single disc pack with some nice extras on it that include Vivian Kubrick's on set documentary The Making Of The Shining, movie commentary by Steadicam Inventor and Operator Garrett Brown and Historian John Baxter, and 3 new featurettes:  View From The Overlook:  Crafting The Shining, The Visions of Stanley Kubrick and Wendy Carlos, Composer, and, of course, the Theatrical Trailer.  Some have rated the picture quality as so-so on Blu Ray rating sites; this I have to disagree with, I think it's looks great, especially the night scenes in the snow covered maze!

The Shining - Theatrical Trailer
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Theatrical Trailer Courtesy of Spike TV

Friday, August 24, 2012

For The Peanut: This Is Funny!!

Major Crimes

The Closer Season 7 Series Finale Gallery

Theme Recipe: Fantasy Fudge


From the moment that we met Brenda Leigh's mother Willie Ray she lets the audience know that she is an avid maker of that most southern of candy treats:  fudge.  Now, while most fudge recipes are a bit complicated and require a candy thermometer, the most common kind of fudge here in The South is "Fantasy Fudge," called by some people "marshmallow creme fudge."  This is by far the most popular kind of fudge found in the southern repertoire of foods; and in most homes is made only around the Christmas season.  My own mother makes this for Christmas yearly.  Willie Ray, on the other hand, seems to make it at the drop of a hat, at any time of the year.  Perhaps we begin to understand where Brenda gets her love of chocolate from; it's just that Brenda is FAR too involved with her job to scare up anything but ding-dongs!  God forbid she has to actually make something chocolate.  Willie Ray shockingly dies close to the end of the series--so I consider this an RIP tribute to a beloved television character!

Good Old Fashioned Fantasy Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine of choice (that's 1 1/s sticks)
1 5oz. can evaporated milk
1 1/2 package semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (that's 12 squares)
1 7oz. jar marshmallow creme (the jet puffed stuff)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Line a 9 inch pan with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, bring sugar butter (or margarine) and evaporated milk to a rolling boil in a saucepan, over medium heat only (high heat will scorch it), stirring constantly.  Boil for 4 minutes, continuing to stir (if you are inclined to use a candy thermometer, it should read 234 F).  Remove from heat.

Add the chopped chocolate and the marshmallow creme and stir until melted, stir in the nuts and the vanilla.

Pour this into pan and cool, cut into squares, store in candy tin.  Enjoy in Willie Ray's memory.


Admittedly, this is the only variation on this that I have had, and I love it.  Substitute the walnuts with pecans!

Leave the nuts out altogether.

Make this with white chocolate.

Divide the basic mixture up, stir regular chocolate into one and white chocolate into another.  Either layer them or swirl them together.