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Origin Wars (2016) | This buff bromance in outer space is an enjoyable slice of Saturday matinee sci-fi

ORIGIN WARS

Set in the future in a time of interplanetary colonisation, Sy (Twilight‘s Kellan Lutz), escapes a brutal prison where mysterious experiments have been taking place. After orchestrating an escape, Sy meets Kane (former Neighbours star, Daniel MacPherson), a lieutenant working for an off-world military contractor – EXOR (overseen by Rachel Griffiths’ Assad-like General Lynex), who have set in motion a plan to wipe out all life from the face of the planet in an attempt to cover up their crimes – when their terrifying ‘experiments’ escape.

Now, the unlikely pair must work together to rescue Kane’s daughter, Indi (Teagan Crof). Teaming up with a pair of outlaws, Gyp (Isabel Lucas) and Bill (Luke Ford), it’s a race against time for the group as they clash with EXOR in an attempt to escape while battling the marauding savage creatures…

From writer-director Shane Abbess (Infini, Gabriel), Origin Wars (aka The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One) features an inventive action-packed screenplay, an oddball bunch of characters and some damn impressive practical creature effects (think Tremors meets Labyrinth).

Newcomer Teagan Crof might be a bit on the whiny side, but Isabel Lucas and Luke Ford rock as the rough diamond couple whose armoured prison van (which reminded me of George Peppard’s Landmaster in 1977’s Damnation Alley) plays a vital role in getting our hunky bromancing heroes Lutz and McPherson to their final destination. Don’t let this an enjoyable slice of Saturday matinee sci-fi pass under your radar…

Available on Digital Download 17 July and DVD and Blu-ray 24 July, 2017 from Lionsgate UK

DVD Amazon link: http://amzn.eu/3xRG7Gf
Blu-Ray Amazon Link: http://amzn.eu/fos5MDh

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The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) | Hammer’s first horror looks fresher than ever on Blu-ray

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Happy 57th birthday to The Curse of Frankenstein, which premiered in the UK on this day in 1957. Here’s my original review of the 2012 Blu-ray restoration from Lionsgate.

The creature created by man and forgotten by nature!
Drawing from Mary Shelley’s original 1816 gothic novel, director Terence Fisher’s 1957 adaptation recounts the grisly tale of how aristocratic scientist Baron Victor Frankenstein’s obsession with creating the perfect human brought out the monster within himself.

(…) will haunt you forever!
The Curse of Frankenstein was Hammer’s first colour horror film and an international box office hit that turned the studio into the house that dripped blood. It also made stars of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, who would cement their horror credentials in Hammer’s 1958 follow-up The Horror of Dracula. But they certainly proved their star quality in this flamboyant melodrama – Cushing’s Baron is an elegant, restrained performance that neatly avoids tipping over into parody, while Lee’s skillful exercise in mime imbues his mute brain-damaged creature with real emotion.

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Please try not to faint
Over half a century after its original release, The Curse of Frankenstein has been given a longed-for high definition restoration (in 2012), with the inclusion of an eyeball shot that was deemed too scary back in the conservative 1950s. It’s also gorgeous to look at, especially the Baron’s lab – which is littered with smoking vats of coloured liquids and whirring machines emitting electrical sparks – and the bosomy period costumes worn by the film’s leading ladies, Hazel Court and Valerie Gaunt.

The Lionsgate 3-disc Double Play includes a Blu-ray disc and two DVDs shock-full of exciting new content that vintage horror fans will appreciate. These include three documentaries – there’s a lovely one devoted to Peter Cushing – plus two bonuses, Terence Fisher’s rarely-screened 1953 sci-fi Four Sided Triangle, and the 1958 TV pilot Tales of Frankenstein, starring Anton Diffring.

The Curse of Frankenstein was released on Double Play (Blu-ray and DVD) on 15 October 2012

The Hammer horror can also be rented from BFI Player (£3.50/£2.98)

Read my review of 1973’s Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell which is also out on Blu-ray in the UK

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEz02uxCPOM%5D

Machete Kills (2013) | Robert Rodriquez’s action thriller spoof sequel now yours to own

machete kills

 

OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION
Ex-Federale agent Machete (Danny Trejo) is recruited by the US President (Charlie Sheen aka Carlos Estevez) to take down a madman revolutionary (Demian Bichir) and a billionaire arms dealer (Mel Gibson) who plan to spread war and anarchy across the planet. But hot on Machete’s trail is a vengeful bordello madam (Sofia Vergara) and a shapeshifting hitman, all played by Cuba Gooding Jr, Lady Gaga, Walton Goggins and Antonio Banderas.

 

BRING ON THE CHEESE
This latino cousin to Austin Power in Goldmember is Moonraker Mexican style. Robert Rodriguez has so much fun with his James Bond and Star Wars nods that it’s hard to not love his second helping of the action thriller spoof that started out as a fake trailer in Tarantino’s Grindhouse. The action sequences are fast and furious and laugh-out-loud inventive (I particularly loved Sofia Vergara’s double-d bra gun) and the big-name cameos are a real hoot, especially Amber Heard’s deliciously deadly Miss San Antonio.

THE VERDICT
A must see popcorn treat – with salsa on the side.

Machete Kills is out on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from 17th February from Lionsgate. There’s also a Limited Edition Steelbook featuring artwork from Empire’s magazine’s competition winner Thomas Walker. Check it out on Zavvi.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyKcywjDWro%5D

You’re Next | This home invasion action thriller is bloody good fun!

You're Next

THE FATEFUL DAY
The wealthy Paul and Avery Davison’s 35th wedding anniversary dinner with their four grown-up children and their partners is a brought to a sudden halt when a gang of masked assailants wage an all-out assault on their secluded Missouri estate. But neither the attackers, nor their victims, have counted on tough-as-nails Aussie girl Erin (Sharni Vinson), who has the survival skills needed to fight back…

You're Next

THE LOWDOWN
After being screened to great acclaim in Toronto and at SXSW in 2011, director Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s You’re Next was quickly snapped up by Lionsgate, but took a while to get a theatrical release. But it was worth the wait and ended up becoming one of the most talked about horror films of 2013. Now, the brutal horrorfest is heading home on Blu-ray and DVD, and if you haven’t already caught it, then here’s your chance.

You're Next

If you’re expecting another cynical flesh and blood show, think again, because You’re Next is one of the most entertaining and well-crafted home invasion thrillers around, and it’s all down to four factors: a smart script that doesn’t take it self too seriously; well-thought out characters – especially Joe Swanberg’s nasty Drake, who provides much of the film’s comic relief; some heart-racing action, involving sophisticated traps, axes, crossbows and machetes; and Sharni Vinson playing a one-woman Aussie Rambo, who you really don’t want to mess with. A cool cult in the making.

THE RELEASE
The UK Blu-ray and DVD release from Lionsgate includes No Ordinary Home Invasion: The Making of You’re Next featurette and an audio commentary from Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, Shari Vinson and Barbara Crampton.

You’re Next also screens on Sky Box Office in the UK from Monday 13 January 2014

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez0YcXsWL8I%5D

Spiders 3D (2013) | Don’t get caught in the web of this Crap Giant Insect sci-fi

Spiders 3D

THE SPIDER QUEEN FROM OUTER SPACE?
New York City is placed under quarantine when a Soviet space station breaks up over the metropolis, releasing a mutant species of venomous spider which start growing while spinning a web for their new queen. But the precious egg has fallen into the hands of a transit worker (Patrick Muldoon) and his ex-wife (Christa Campbell), whose daughters are being held hostage by rogue elements within the military, which want the egg to create a new kind of super weapon.

Patrick Muldoon in Spiders

GET ME OUT OF HERE!
With promises of giant arachnids causing mass destruction of Manhattan in eye-popping 3D, this should have been a most egg-cellent sci-fi adventure. But it’s no better than any of the other budget creature features that director Tibor Takács or production company Nu Image have done for the Syfy channel.

Filmed in Bulgaria, the entire movie – which consists of lots of running around – takes place on the set of a replica New York street scene draped in badly painted signage and populated by a handful of bored-looking extras. Patrick Muldoon, whose no stranger to battling bug-eyed monsters, having starred in Starship Troopers as well as Takacs’ equally dreadful Ice Spiders, is the 3D film’s big-name star, while Christa Campbell surely deserves a Razzie award for worst performance ever – she can’t even whimper convincingly.

Patrick Muldoon in Spiders

The CGI spiders are OK but look cartoon-like even in 2D, while the film’s big-set piece in which the big bad momma spider rises up from her subterranean lair is just laughable – she looks about as menacing as Alice in Wonderland’s grinning Cheshire cat. If it hadn’t taken itself so seriously, this could have been as much fun as Sharknado (which also out on DVD this month), but its so woeful that it ranks worse than 1975’s The Giant Spider Invasion, which tried to pass off VW Beetles covered in fur for its oversized arachnids, but remains far more entertaining.

THE RELEASE
Spiders 3D is available on 2D DVD and 3D Blu-ray from Lionsgate UK, which includes a ‘Making of featurette, and interviews with the cast and crew. Read more on Facebook.

THE VERDICT
Give this Crap Giant Insect sci-fi the flick.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4bjDV1OC0I%5D

[youtube:

Machete Kills (2013) | Danny Trejo’s Mexican Lethal Weapon faces off Mel Gibson in Robert Rodriguez’s action spoof sequel

Machete Kills

OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION
Ex-Federale agent Machete (Danny Trejo) is recruited by the US President (Charlie Sheen aka Carlos Estevez) to take down a madman revolutionary (Demian Bichir) and a billionaire arms dealer (Mel Gibson) who plan to spread war and anarchy across the planet. But hot on Machete’s trail is a vengeful bordello madam (Sofia Vergara) and a hired assassin with multiple identities (Cuba Gooding Jr, Lady Gaga, Walt Goggins and Antonio Banderas).

Danny Trejo in Machete Kills

BRING ON THE CHEESE
This latino cousin to Austin Power in Goldmember is Moonraker Mexican style. Robert Rodriguez has so much fun with his James Bond and Star Wars nods that it’s hard to not love his second helping of the action thriller spoof that started out as a fake trailer in Tarantino’s Grindhouse. The action sequences are fast and furious and laugh-out-loud inventive (I particularly loved Sofia Vergara’s double-d bra gun) and the big-name cameos are a real hoot, especially Amber Heard’s deliciously deadly Miss San Antonio.

THE VERDICT
A must see popcorn treat – with salsa on the side.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyKcywjDWro%5D
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