Oh Regal, You So Crazy! Spectre Ultimate Ticket

Regal Cinemas

I love Regal’s special offers and try to take as much advantage of them as I can. Their newest offer is hilarious. They are offering what they call the Regal Ultimate Ticket to Spectre. For $100 plus shipping (seriously, they aren’t even covering the shipping of a card!), you get an anodized steel collectible card that they will personalize with your name.

Spectre

 

So what does this card do? It allows you to see the new Bond movie at Regal Cinemas every single day. Of course they do specify only once a day and there is no mention of it being valid for RPX or IMAX. Of course as this is the only intrinsic value of the card and tickets run $8-10 in my area, I’d have to see Spectre at least ten times to get the value of the card (slightly less if they allow it to be used for RPX or IMAX).

I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie ten times in the theater. My guess would be that if I have, it would have been Star Wars or Grease when I was a kid. I’m not above seeing a movie two or three times but ten? Speaking of Star Wars, I could really see this being a hot item for that movie.

On the other hand, this might make a great collectible.

Friday This ‘n’ That – Vudu

I am lazy. I don’t mind admitting it.

Vudu

While blu-ray picture and sound quality are unsurpassed (at least until 4K becomes established), if I’m going to put on a random movie to watch, I’ll turn on Vudu (or Netflix or Amazon or Hulu) rather than get my lazy butt up and find the blu-ray. This is made easier by having most new movies come with digital copies that work on Vudu.

Wal-Mart has a program where some percentage of the films they sell will automatically come with a copy if you enter your receipt into their savings catcher. This has never worked for me personally but perhaps I’m not purchasing the right films.

What does work is that you can download VUDU togo on your computer and convert DVDs and Blu-Rays (if you have a drive). They charge $2 per movie for blu-ray to HD or DVD to standard. They charge $5 for DVD to HD. This is fine for a movie or two but gets pricy if you have more.

Thankfully, Wal-Mart will give you half-price if you convert ten or more titles. Conversion is easy if a bit time consuming. The time consuming portion is that there are a ton of titles not supported. Still it is a nice tool when it works.

Vudu also makes it easier to watch a marathon without getting up.

Alien

Pardon me but I’m queueing up the first Alien movie.

Rest in Peace, Yvonne Craig

Well, I guess I have reached the age where all of my childhood actors are passing away. Boy does it make me feel old.

Yvonne Craig

Actress Yvonne Craig passed away August 17, 2015 at the age of 78. She has 86 imdb credits, although she doesn’t show up on streaming Netflix’ search list. Admittedly most of her parts were rather small. She got a boost to her career when she started dating Elvis Presley.

Her big claim to fame, of course, is that she starred as Batgirl in the third season of 60s Batman. Earlier this year, we showed our granddaughter all of the Batman episodes as well as the three movies (which did not feature Craig). She enjoyed the show but was enthralled when Craig showed up in season 3. There sure aren’t enough female superheroes.

Yvonne Craig

I don’t know about other shots because of Netflix’ search fails but Craig can be seen in the original Star Trek episode “Whom Gods Destroy” as Marta.

Rest in peace, Yvonne Craig, you will be missed.

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Happy Birthday to the love of my life, Jenny!

I trust I sang the praises of my wife enough on our anniversary that all and sundry know what an incredible human being she is (and not just because she puts up with me). She enriches the life of everyone she meets.

Thankfully she also has a wonderful sense of humor. I say thankfully because her day so far:

The Surgeon

Anxiously awaiting word of our youngest daughter, who underwent a fairly serious surgery this morning. Happy Birthday #1! (She came through just fine.)

Krispy Kreme

She needed to go into work today so, because it was her birthday, she stopped at Krispy Kreme to pick up doughnuts for her co-workers.

Jen Overheating

While there, her car overheated. Happy Birthday #2! She waited for the car to cool down and limped over to Dale’s (our local fix-it shop). I came over and picked her up and drove her in to work (snagging a doughnut from the work boxes – yoink!).

Whew!

I hope the rest of her day goes better but we have been celebrating all month. Around here, May is known as Jennapalooza because there is no reason such a wonderful woman should only celebrate her birth on a single day.

BSG Hot Tub

The theme of this year’s Jennapalooza has been pampering. We’ve had a visit to Shoji Spa for two hours of hot-tubbing at sundown in the mountains. She’s gotten a mani-pedi and tomorrow she is getting a massage (thankfully paid for before the car broke down). This Saturday, provided vehicles are working, we are using our annual passes to take the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to Dillsboro.

Train

Still her actual birthday has been less than inspiring so far. Chin up, honey! I love you! I’ll pick you up at work when you’re ready.

The Signal

The Signal is currently available on instant Netflix.

The Signal (2007) – Rated R

“When the phones, radios and televisions in the city of Terminus begin to broadcast the same strange signal, the transmission breeds jealousy and hate, turning once-sane people into murderous lunatics. A faithless wife seeks the safety of her lover, while her affected husband hunts for her. David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry and Dan Bush each write and direct an act of this horror tale that was nominated for a John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award.”

“Anna, I need a couple of things that Ken borrowed, namely my hatchet… and some garbage bags. “

The Signal is a wonderful idea. Take three creative people (David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry) and let them each write, direct, and edit an act of a continuous horror movie. Gentry is also a producer on The Signal. The movie is cleanly divided into three acts plus a prologue.

The prologue is an excerpt of “The Hap Hapgood Story” directed by Jacob Gentry. It is an uncomfortable send-up of exploitation pictures and Hap was one of the winning entries in the 48-hour film festival.

Act one, Crazy in Love, sets up the premise and deals with the initial outbreak. It is very tense and genuinely frightening. There is a really good atmosphere of building paranoia and creeping insanity. Just when you think they can’t ratchet up the tension any more, part two begins.

Part two, The Jealousy Monster, was directed by Jacob Gentry and starts to tell the story from the point of view of those affected by the signal. With the change of director, not only does the direction of the story change but the tone does a complete 180. The second film is hysterical – one of the funniest horror segments I’ve ever seen.

Unfortunately the third film, Escape from Terminus by Dan Bush, is left to wrap up the story and while it does bring up some interesting questions such as our identity, it feels very cluttered and doesn’t wrap up the movie very well. The tone of the third segment also feels very uneven.

The acting is just fine from a bunch of unknown young actors. Anessa Ramsey plays our unhappy housewife, Mya. Justin Wellborn is her boyfriend Ben. They really sell their complicated relationship and it is a part of what makes The Signal work so well. A.J. Bowen is Mya’s jealous husband, Lewis and he is quite scary.

Overall the film is a wonderful experiment in terror, leavened with a lot of humor – please be aware however that this film is quite brutal.

People Watch: Directors David Bruckner and Dan Bush both appear as ‘screaming man’ in The Signal. Jacob Gentry apparently does not put in a cameo.

Candyman- Shocktober is here!

Candyman is currently available on instant Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Candyman (1992) – Rated R

“While researching urban myths, grad student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) learns about the Candyman (Tony Todd), a hook-handed creature who’s said to haunt a Chicago housing project. In this creepy film based on a Clive Barker story, the Candyman is made flesh by other people’s belief in him. Not surprisingly, Lyle manages to summon him. Soon, the Candyman has committed a series of murders, and the cops are holding Lyle responsible.”

“They will say that I have shed innocent blood…what’s blood for if not for shedding.”

Candyman covers the topic of urban myths far better than the later Urban┬áLegend series of movies ever did – it even throws in a shot of razor blade candy. Clive Barker’s short story, The Forbidden forms the basis for this movie adapted and directed by Bernard Rose. Rose takes Barker’s fanciful tale and grounds it in reality. The opening credits play out over scenes of urban highways and a haunting theme from Philip Glass.

The notorious Cabrini-Green housing project is actually filmed for the movie (exterior shots) as are gang members from the area. The graffiti and the projects are characters in and of themselves. Bernard Rose does well showing how the Lyles live versus life in the projects while still keeping the horror story as the focus.

Virginia Madsen, so good (and nominated for as Oscar) in Sideways, is very engaging as urban legend researcher Helen Lyle. Xander (24) Berkeley is solid as her long suffering husband Trevor Lyle. They both handle a good range of emotions from complacence to fear, anger, and jealousy. Vanessa Williams is also good as the angry but vulnerable Anne-Marie McCoy.

Tony Todd is marvelous as the eponymous Candyman even though it is very much a supporting role. He is very scary, has a nice presence and a wonderful deep voice but is also a wee bit sympathetic. By the way he really did have bees in his mouth – that is true dedication to one’s craft. Candyman’s backstory and motivation could have been better expressed – they are expounded upon more in the sequels.

Unfortunately some of Helen’s early decisions,┬ásuch as venturing unprotected into Cabrini-Green dressed in upscale clothing, seem brain-dead even for someone with a sheltered life. Her climbing through a hole into a an abandoned and heavily graffitied room is a wonderful visual though.

Bernard Rose made so many good design decisions in Candyman. The narrative appropriately plays out over a fairly lengthy period of time. Other than a single brief reflection, we do not see the titular Candyman until forty minutes in. Wonderful shots by cinematographer Anthony B. Richmond really help lift this horror movie up to the level of art.

People Watch: Look for the ever-delightful Ted Raimi in a small role at the start of the film. Writer/director Bernard Rose has a cameo as Archie Walsh.

Sequel-itis: Candyman spawned two lesser sequels: The not bad Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh (1995) and the direct-to-DVD Candyman 3: Day of the Dead (1999). Both star Tony Todd as Daniel Robetaille/The Candyman. Tony Todd and Clive Barker are interested in doing a fourth film but I suspect a reboot is likely to happen.

HeroesCon & Lazy Sunday

Okay this is only peripherally movie-related but I did tie it in. Yesterday I went on a HeroesCon shopping trip for my birthday. I bought a bunch of really cheap graphic novels to read over the next several months.

I did not get to see Stan Lee or any of the wonderful artists & writers at the Con because honestly I just went for all the $1-$5 books I could load in my pack while my wonderful wife watched our granddaughter.

Long-suffering wife then took a picture of us outside the convention center with a couple of Ghostbusters and Ecto-1 and we piled back in the car for the two hour drive home.

I did pick up two boxes of The Incredibles notecards for $1 each – one for my eldest daughter who was working and one for myself. We were driving home when I started kicking myself for not buying all the boxes they had as I could see some neat art projects to be done with them. Never mind that I spent my entire allotted birthday budget and all the change in my pocket.

 

Lazy Weekend Musings – I am back

Yay! The weather here has cooled enough so that my computer/work room is bearable. I am backdating this and will try to double or triple up on reviews for the next few days to catch up.

We are getting air conditioning at the end of the week which is the real reason to celebrate. While we are not doing the full-on home theater room this year, we are repainting this coming weekend and I finally get “George”, my dual home theater seat with built-in cupholders and center console (presumably to hold remotes).

This week being 4th of July week and with the BP spill scaring everyone off the beaches, I will be featuring shark week – another reason to stay out of the water.