"NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Rated R


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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
When you think of exploitation cinema, you probably don’t think of the land down under. However, there was plenty of Australian exploitation cinema made on that continent, and director Mark Hartley is giving us a history lesson about it with his documentary “Not Quite Hollywood.”

WHAT I LIKED
Although I’m not insane about exploitation cinema the way folks like Quentin Tarantino is, I have found plenty of guilty pleasures watching these kinds of movies. We’ve all seen “Mad Max,” but that was just one of many films capitalizing on blood and boobs over the years.

As an American, I have been insulated from these movies simply due to censors, geography and a reliable distribution outlet. I can’t say that I’d enjoy all of the films featured in “Not Quite Hollywood,” but I am curious as hell about them.

What’s nice about a movie like this is that it gives you a sampling of this genre without making you sit down and watch hours and hours of movies, taking the good with the bad. And it doesn’t hurt that the best scenes from these movies are highlighted here, gore and girls abound.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
This is more of an observation than a complaint, but considering my relatively limited knowledge of exploitation movies in America, it seems that these Aussie movies handle many of the same themes and elements. The Australian exploitation movies aren’t as much unique as they are a sign that this sort of filmmaking was universal – at least in much of the English-speaking world.

The other problem that I had is that there’s no good outlet to get these movies highlighted in “Not Quite Hollywood.” Sure, there’s Amazon and eBay, but after watching this movie, I was itching to find some of these films on Netflix to watch at home.

DVD FEATURES
The DVD comes with a commentary track with Mark Hartley and various OZploitation auteurs from the industry. There’s also several deleted and extended scenes, along with some quality interview excerpts that didn’t make it into the final cut. Quentin Tarantino sits down with Brian Trenchard-Smith, and there’s also an audio interview with director Richard Franklin.

Finally, there’s a funding pitch featuring Tarantino and John D. Lamond used to gain interest in the film, as well as an image gallery and the original theatrical trailer.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of exploitation movies.



"2012 SUPERNOVA"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: The Asylum

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Many years ago, a faraway star went supernova, and now its radiation is reaching Earth. A brilliant scientist (Brian Krause) works to build a shield to protect earth from its harmful effects.

WHAT I LIKED
Like most of the films from The Asylum, “2012 Supernova” is meant to capitalize on an existing film. In this sense, it is going after the success of Roland Emmerich’s “2012.” However, as with the rest of the Asylum’s line, you can’t expect too much from this film.

For your basic sci-fi thriller shot on the cheap, “2012 Supernova” ain’t bad. There are some decent action sequences, which break up the goofy dialogue. It’s not a great story, but it can be a fun distraction at times. I did appreciate the fact that they mix up the locations a bit. You’ve got your standard desert location and your basic control room and lab. But there’s a nice jaunt to a space station, which makes it a little different from the other knock-offs.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Watching too many of the films from The Asylum isn’t great. You begin to recognize locations that are being used and second or third time. The control room in this film looks suspiciously like the one in “Transmorphers,” as well as the submarine’s bridge in “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.” This is the biggest problem with these movies in large doses, their ubiquitous nature.

For this film, it’s a bit of a stretch to knock off of “2012,” considering there’s no indication this takes place in the year 2012. Heck, it’s not even the same threat. The movie was probably originally named “Supernova” and released with the 2012 moniker to connect it to Emmerich’s disaster epic.

DVD FEATURES
The DVD comes with a making-of featurette, a blooper reel and the original trailer.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of junk sci-fi.



"THE STEPFATHER"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Rated R
    Studio: Shout Factory

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Terry O’Quinn stars as Jerry Blake, a man obsessed with having the perfect family. He’s also a wanted man who has murdered his past families when they’ve gotten out of line. Now, he’s found a new family and has married into it. However, when the teenage daughter starts to get out of line, Jerry comes down hard on her. He continues his killing spree to protect his dream, but his dangerous past is now catching up with him.

WHAT I LIKED
“The Stepfather” has been a classic for years, and when Hollywood remade the film for release this Halloween, it was less than stellar. But for as much as I hated the “Stepfather” remake – from the wimpy Dylan Baker as Terry O’Quinn’s character to the softball PG-13 rating – I liked the original all the more.

The key to this movie is O’Quinn as the title character. He’s a scary bastard, and as an actor he commits to the role. Yet, O’Quinn is able to strike a balance between psychopath and empathetic family man. At times, you almost root for him... almost.

This is the first time the movie has reached DVD, and it’s a treat to watch. It’s a violent R-rated film, which doesn’t get gratuitous but manages to be creepy as hell at the same time.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Let’s face it... “The Stepfather” was made in the 1980s. It’s a sign of its era. Everything you’d expect to be silly about an 80s horror flick is present here. The acting is sometimes cheesy. The music is a bit corny. And the dialogue has something to be lacking. But for a look at a Reagan-era twist on the slasher genre, “The Stepfather” works.

DVD FEATURES
The new DVD includes an audio commentary with director Joseph Ruben as well as a new detailed retrospective, “The Stepfather Chronicles,” which includes interviews with director Joseph Ruben, producer Jay Benson, actress Jill Schoelen and writer Brian Garfield.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of Terry O’Quinn and 80s thrillers.



"GENESIS II "
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Warner Archive

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
After the success of “Star Trek,” Gene Roddenberry tried his hand at another science fiction television series. Recently released by Warner’s Archive Collection, “Genesis II” follows a man named Dylan Hunt who wakes up after 154 years in suspended animation due to a freak accident. He finds himself in a futuristic society where peace-loving citizens are at odds with militaristic mutants. However, as Dylan learns more about both cultures, he discovers that like present day, this new world is not very black and white.

WHAT I LIKED
Okay, this is a good idea. We’ve seen it before, and there’s a bit of nostalgic fun to look into the past and see what science fiction television used to be like. Oh, and Mariette Hartley looked great in a bikini back then... two belly buttons and all.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
So far, I’m pretty disappointed in the offerings from Warner’s Archive Collection. They seem to be pulling some of the most obscure TV movies from their vault and simply slapping them on DVD. There’s very little thought put into them, and we don’t even get a cleaned up transfer. It seriously looks like these movies have been burned onto DVD from the low-def 3/4-inch tape, which was once broadcast quality... in like 1977.

Aside from the technical problems, this was a stinker of a show. The acting was terrible, and it seemed to be a weak rip-off of “The Time Machine” with “Logan’s Run” costume rejects. The acting is awful, and the writing is poor. It reminds me that some of the best episodes of “Star Trek” were not written by Roddenberry.

DVD FEATURES
Zilch.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
I can’t imagine anyone would.




    

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