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Blu-ray Review: Olive Films Rolls Danny DeVito’s ‘The Ratings Game’ Out of The Vault

Blu-ray Review: Olive Films Rolls Danny DeVito’s ‘The Ratings Game’ Out of The Vault

This week, our resident movie reviewer, Jeremy Morrison, is back with a fresh review of one of Olive Films most exciting new releases, “The Ratings Game,” directed by the legendary Danny Devito and starring Devito, Rhea Perlman, Gerrit Graham, Louis Giambalvo and Vincent Schiavelli.

'The Ratings Game'

‘The Ratings Game’

First, a quick synopsis of this release: The Ratings Game stars Danny DeVito as a New Jersey trucking magnate who’s only dream is hitting it big as a Hollywood producer.  Luckily for him, he has a girlfriend (Rhea Perlman, TV’s Cheers) who works for the TV ratings service. Together they pull off a hilarious scam on television’s sacred ratings system. DeVito makes his directorial debut with this critically acclaimed satire.

The Ratings Game features an impressive cast that includes Gerrit Graham (Phantom of the Paradise), Louis Giambalvo (Weekend at Bernie’s), Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns), Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Barry Corbin (TV’s Northern Exposure), Michael Richards (TV’s Seinfeld), Ronny Graham (Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood), Huntz Hall (The Bowery Boys) with a cameo by Jerry Seinfeld (TV’s Seinfeld).

SPECIAL FEATURES: • Collection of rare short films directed by Danny DeVito • Collector’s booklet • Behind the scenes featurette • Deleted scenes

REVIEW: A TV Movie from 1984, “The Ratings Game” first debuted on The Showtime network. A fun glimpse inside how show ratings work, even today, when the practice is dated and out of touch with the advent of the DVR and various streaming devices. The film was directed by and stars Danny Devito, and stars all of his friends in the industry like Vincent Schiavelli, Frank Sivero, and Rhea Perlman, his wife of many years, just to name a few.

“The Ratings Game” is a fabulous effort by Devito who plays Vic de Salvo, a would-be television producer that has recently come into some money and is desperate to fit in on the Hollywood Scene. After several failed attempts at various networks around town, de Salvo manages to weasel his way in to the office of a recently fired network programmer for the struggling MBC Network. As a fuck you of sorts, the disgruntled former employee green lights de Salvo’s project and rushes the series to pilot.

Garrit Graham plays the sleazy Network President with the right amount of ooze. After the taping of de Salvo’s uninspired pilot, Graham’s Parker Braithwaite announces to de Salvo his plan to bury the pilot premiere in October against game 7 of the World Series. Luckily for de Salvo and his gang of mafia pals turned celebrity entourage, de Salvo has been falling in love with Rhea Perlman’s Francine Kester, and wouldn’t you know it, Francine happens to work at the very firm that collates all of the ratings data across America.

Once de Salvo’s property is an over night success, MBC finds itself in a tight spot and look to de Salvo to help turn the fledgling network around.

THE VERDICT: “The Ratings Game” has a lot going for it. I found myself loving it more than originally anticipated and would highly recommend the blu-ray to any fan of industry satire. The disc also comes packed with bonus content in the form of a featurette, deleted scenes, and a handful of Danny Devito’s short films.

Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder
Twitter: @acidpopcult
IG: @almostgothim

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Blu-ray Review: Stephen King’s ‘Sometimes They Come Back’ (1991)

Blu-ray Review: Stephen King’s ‘Sometimes They Come Back’ (1991)

Stephen King's 'Sometimes They Come Back'

Stephen King’s ‘Sometimes They Come Back’

“Based on the short story by Stephen King (The Shining), Sometimes They Come Back, stars Tim Matheson (Animal House) as the troubled Jim Norman who moves back to his hometown with his wife Sally (Brooke Adams, The Dead Zone) and son Scott (Robert Hy Gorman, Forever Young) after accepting a teaching job at the local high school.

But the town holds dark memories for Jim who moved away years earlier following the murder of his brother, Wayne (Chris Demetral, Blank Check). The young men responsible for the murder met with their own horrific deaths and now those restless spirits have come back for revenge.
Director Tom McLoughlinís chilling Stephen King’s Sometimes They Come Back is adapted for the screen by Lawrence Konnor and Mark Rosenthal (Planet of the Apes co-writers) and co-stars Robert Rustler (Thrashin’), William Sanderson (Blade Runner) and Nicholas Sadler (Scent of A Woman).”

Sometimes you forget how great some Stephen King adaptations are, but fear not, Olive Films is here to help you remember one of the better King outings from the 90s. Released in 1991, Tom McLoughlin (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, Freddy’s Nightmares) swings for the fences in this small town tale. Matheson gets to really flex his muscle as the ever haunted Mr. Norman. A loving father, loyal husband, and deticated educator, Tim Matheson is a triple threat, setting the bar high for his co-stars. And they deliver. Big time. This ansemble cast work so well with one another. Surprisngly there isn’t a weak link. A lot of fans of King’s short are unhappy with the ending. Maybe I am still viewing the film through 6 year old eyes, but I find it as enjoyable today as I did in 91.

The disc is bare bones, but that is standard for an Olive release. I was pleasantly surpised the transfer came out as well as it did. I last owned the film on VHS and it was fine, but seeing it all these years later I felt like I was seeing certain aspects for the very first time. The balanced audio works to the films advantage. The 2.0 mix sounds great.

If you’re a fan of the film you won’t be disappointed.

You can purchase ‘Sometimes They Come Back directly from Olive Films at this location – Click Here. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for info on all of their epic releases!

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Movie Review: ‘Jurassic World’ – A He Said, She Said Take On The Runaway Hit!

Movie Review: ‘Jurassic World’ – A He Said, She Said Take On The Runaway Hit!

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One of the Summer of 2015’s most anticipated films, ‘Jurassic World,’ took the box office by storm on Friday night, earning an estimated $82.8 million during its debut (that number includes $18.5 million from late-night screenings on Thursday). Those impressive numbers make Colin Trevorrow’s film the third biggest opening day of all time, behind only ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ It is sure to be a record setting weekend for the behemoth of a film!

Icon Vs. Icon’s Kate Vendetta and Hank Butterfield made their way to the theater this weekend to take in the larger than life flick. After sucking down a few sodas, tossing back some popcorn and soaking in some of the coolest AC known to man, the couple were cool enough to offer up their takes on the runaway hit. Check it out below!

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Hank Butterfield’s take on ‘Jurassic World’:

I enjoyed ‘Jurassic World.’ Let’s be honest-like the thousands of patrons flocking to John Hammond’s dream realized, the average moviegoer is coming to see hot dino action. ‘Jurassic World’ delivers that in spades. In a welcome bit of self-parody, the corporate honchos that run the, ahem, park must come up with bigger, badder, scarier dinosaurs to keep patrons coming back. Stegosauruses and Tyrannosauruses just won’t cut it any more. Enter Indominus Rex, a genetically-engineered Tyrannosaurus Rex infused with other animals’ DNA, designed to be the latest and greatest attraction. The dinosaurs look great, and the CGI was only noticeable on one or two occasions. As much as I enjoyed the hot dino action, the story felt like a Swiss-cheese rehash of Jurassic Park. The plot can be summed up as follows – Corporation creates dinosaurs. A corporate head has young family members visiting. Dinosaurs escape, despite the hubris of the park overseers thinking they have everything under control. Dinosaurs kill people Kids escape and run around on the island. Someone wants to steal dinosaur embryos for nefarious and profit-driven purposes. Eventually, dinosaurs retake the island, ostensibly to be left to their own fate. It wouldn’t have bothered me as much if I didn’t have so many questions left unresolved at the end of the movie. What happened to the dinosaurs from Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna? Did they all die? Did they bring them to Jurassic World? How did Chris Pratt’s character know how to wrangle raptors? Wasn’t he in the Navy? Why would anyone go to Jurassic World knowing what happened at Jurassic Park and after a Tyrannosaurus Rex ran wild in San Diego? When did InGen become a private military corporation? I’m nitpicking, but those plot holes could have been explained in the time wasted on the kids talking about their parents getting a divorce or a ghost in the garage (WTF, are there ghosts in the Jurassic Park/World universe too? Did InGen use Boo Berry’s DNA?) , which added nothing to the story. It’s also clear there will be at least one sequel, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so hasty to get answers.

I enjoyed the movie and there were some really cool ideas, particularly the genetic engineering of dinosaurs (and other animals), but some of the plot holes and similarities to the first movie bugged me. I am intrigued by the potential for a sequel because I think it has potential to do things with the franchise that have never been done before. It’s worth seeing in the theater for the spectacle of the dinosaurs on the big screen, but don’t kick yourself if you wait to see it in three or four months on TV.

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Kate Vendetta’s take on ‘Jurassic World’:

Hank already covered the main plot of “Jurassic World” so there’s no need for my synopsis. So, here’s my take.

I’m a stay-at-home mom looking for a cold soda, a dark movie theatre and some fresh popcorn. Think of me as the “Lowered Expectations” skit from classic Saturday Night Live.

'Jurassic World'

‘Jurassic World’

I was expecting big dinosaurs and hottie-boom-body Chris Pratt. What I got was a movie going through an identity crisis. A lot of characters who aren’t fleshed out. There were the brothers Zach and Gray Mitchell (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins)– why was there a scene about their parents going through a divorce? I understand the need for a little background information but this tidbit was confusing. Will this come out later? Did it add to the plot? No. As Hank mentioned, the ghost in the garage story was confusing at best. Tidbits like these were thrown in throughout the movie, including such gems as Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) having gone on a date before but it didn’t work out because she’s so high strung – we need all that yet you don’t explain how Owen is more Raptor Whisperer than ex Navy? Claire hasn’t seen her nephews in seven years yet their mother lets them visit for a weekend? Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Owen square off and share odd dialogue yet we never know how InGen became evil or what happened to the John Hammond’s dinosaurs?

It was a lot of tell, not show, as if us viewers are stupid. Show the older horned up teen, Gray, hitting on girls and ignoring his brother and we have enough brains to know they don’t get along. When they live through a T-Rex attack, have them hug it out. We will understand! We don’t need odd dialogue shoehorned into the plot. Cut out the talk about Claire and Owen having dated and spend more time on how he became the Raptor Whisperer. Include their kiss mid-movie and, at the end of the film, have him look up from the elderly man, lock eyes with her and smile. That’s all we need.

I think the basic plot is interesting, especially the need for genetic engineering because Americans are so easily unimpressed and have short attention spans, but please provide a better storyline next time with better dialogue!

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DVD Review: Trish Stratus Makes Her Butt Kickin’ Debut In ‘Bounty Hunters’

DVD Review: Trish Stratus Makes Her Butt Kickin’ Debut In ‘Bounty Hunters’

'Bounty Hunters'

The WWE® has had its share of talent take a shot at the action genre in decades past. Fans certainly remember the first wave of wrestling icons taking the plunge into film as Hulk Hogan (Rocky III, Suburban Commando), “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (Body Slam, They Live) and the late Randy Savage (Spider-Man). In the years to follow, Triple H (Blade: Trinity, The Chaperone), Kevin Nash (The Longest Yard) and Bill Goldberg (Universal Soldier: The Return, Santa’s Slay) continued the growing trend and added to its growing momentum. However, it wasn’t until recently that superstars like John Cena (The Marine, 12 Rounds) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (The Scorpion King, Fast Five, Faster) removed all doubt to professional wrestlers could not only bring their acting skills to the masses but they could carry entire films on their shoulders, turning them into box office gold.

Trish Stratus is undoubtedly on of the most talent athletes that has passed through the legendary WWE® system. Armed with killer looks, infectious charisma and a down to Earth personality, she quickly cemented herself as a fan favorite. While life outside the squared circle is has keep her exceptionally busy, it seemed a bit shocking that it took so long for the multi-faceted Stratus to make the jump to the silver screen. When the news of her action film debut hit the streets, we were very intrigued!

In ‘Bounty Hunters’, an action thriller that was an official selection at the 2011 Actionfest Film Festival, Trish Stratus stars as the tough as nails Jules Taylor. As bail enforcement agents, Jules and her two dedicated partners, Chase (Boomer Phillips) and Ridley (Frank J. Zupancic), find themselves struggling to make ends meet as they pursue deadbeats night after night. Luck seems to be turning in their favor when they get a hot tip from that could make them rich. The informant turns out to be worth $100,000 if they hand him to the authorities but if the turn him over to ruthless mob boss Hal Lambrino (Joe Rafla), he is worth a cool million! It is a difficult choice for the group to make but when the group refuse the mobster’s offer, he unleashes a gang of assassins to take out the bounty hunters and the informant permanently. It doesn’t take long for the mob boss to discover that he has bitten off a little more than he can chew as the action of the film kicks into high gear!

Trish Stratus: Making actions film a little sexier!

While the film was shot on a small budget by Patrick McBrearty (Psycho Ward), it still provides and interesting storyline for the viewer and makes the most of the tools that the filmmaker had at hand — that is what good filmmaking is all about! The film is loaded with some great fight scenes that really showcase Stratus’ skills. Long time fans of this former seven time WEE World Champion will enjoy her apprehending and taking out some aggression on a larger than life bail jumper during a workout session and squaring off against an Asian assassin named Ruby (Andrea James Lui) who wants to put an end to the bounty hunter once and for all. Did we mention that some of these fight scenes involve Trish Stratus in a hospital gown and a school girl outfit? Yeah, it goes without saying — that it is a must see! While Trish Stratus is billed as the star, her co-stars in the film also turn in decent performances to add dimension to the film. Such is the case with Boomer Phillips, who has a plethora of great one liners in the film that add a few healthy laughs to the action mix. Be sure to stay tuned during the credits to see a few alternate takes and bloopers that show how much fun the had on the set during filming. One of the most interesting aspect of the DVD is a behind-the-scenes featurette and interview with Trish Stratus, that while short, gives you some great insight on the fight choreography for this film. As a fan of action cinema, I found this very interesting and it demonstrates the great results you can achieve, even on a small budget.

Action cinema has been fortunate over the past few years to have been blessed with some genuinely talented leading ladies such as Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale and Zoe Saldana. However, there are few women with real-world knowledge of the fight game and the acting chops to back it up — Gina Carano is one of the few that spring to mind. With ‘Bounty Hunters’, Trish Stratus seems to be laying the groundwork for what could be an amazing career as a dynamic action star! And why not? She is the total package and a force to be reckoned with! She is someone who doesn’t back away from a challenge and who’s dedication will help any project rise to new heights. If you are a fan of Trish Status or great cinema, ‘Bounty Hunters’ will give you pure “Stratusfaction!”

Be sure to check out Icon Vs. Icon’s exclusive interview with Trish Stratus and get the scoop on the new film, the challenges involved with making it and much, much more!

‘Bounty Hunters’ hits DVD on February 28, 2012, from MPI Home Video. For more information please visit www.trishstratus.com or follow @trishstratuscom on Twitter.

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