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Berlin, Book Three: City of Light by Jason Lutes

I keep hitting reading roadblocks, no matter what I do. I used to have a life with a lot of dedicated time for reading and eyes that could stare at pages of text for hours on end, but the past decade has repeatedly broken all of my reading mechanisms, culminating in the minor apocalypse of the past two years. I went from reading 433 books in the Book-A-Day year of 2018 to, um, 43 the year afterward. And 2020 could possibly be even worse.

On top of that, I keep finding new things to stymie me. For example, who would predict that a graphic novel about Berlin sliding into fascism, intolerance, and sectarian violence in the early ’30s would be so resonant, and unpleasant, in 2020?

I’m sure Jason Lutes, planning out this giant project back in 1996, would have expected and wanted modern history to go differently, but, as it is, Berlin Book Three: City of Light  is immediately relevant to 2020 in ways that are deeply dispiriting and depressing.

Worse for me, the fact that this is the third of three books collecting a story that has been running for over twenty years — and the fact that Lutes uses a naturalistic style and doesn’t go out of his way to introduce characters that I last saw in a book I read in 2008 (see my review on ComicMix) — means that I only have a vague sense of who these people are and what they’re doing. It’s a couple of years later in their own lives as well, since Light is set in 1933 and Smoke was mostly set in 1930.

So I respected City of Light and I appreciated City of Light but I had the damndest time getting myself to read City of Light. I don’t want to see characters I like struggling as their society plunges into a totalitarian hellhole. (If I want that, I can just read Twitter.)

And let me say explicitly what I alluded to in my review of City of Smoke and what Lutes never says, but hangs ominously over the whole enterprise: every character we like in Berlin is probably doomed. They will all be killed by the Nazis, one way or another, sooner or later.

That’s what Berlin is about. How fascism smashes norms, destroys lives, agitates its followers and gets them to do the unspeakable in the name of blood and country. It’s a powerful message, especially in 2020, but I don’t want to read about it right now.

The way to read Berlin  now is to get the big single-volume edition and run right through it — that will solve my problems of character identification. The other problems, I hope, will start to be solved on November 3rd, and not by a book.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

V for Vendetta hits 4K in time for Guy Fawkes Day
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V for Vendetta hits 4K in time for Guy Fawkes Day

BURBANK, CA, September 10, 2020 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced today that DC’s V for Vendetta, 2005’s thought-provoking action thriller from the creators of The Matrix trilogy, will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD on November 3rd, 2020. From producer Joel Silver, V for Vendetta was written and produced by the Wachowskis (The Matrix Trilogy), and stars Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving.  The film was directed by James McTeigue (Ninja Assassin).

V for Vendetta is an electrifying story of an everyday woman in futuristic Britain who becomes the unlikely accomplice of a mysterious freedom fighter in his radical effort to rid the country of oppression.  Based on the powerful graphic novel,  V for Vendetta stars Academy-Award winner Natalie Portman (Black SwanThorStar Wars films), Hugo Weaving (Transformers film series, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Matrix trilogy), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game), Stephen Fry (WildeThe Hobbit film series), John Hurt (Nineteen Eight-Four, the Harry Potter film series), and Tim Pigott-Smith (AlexanderQuantum of Solace).

The 4K UHD release of V for Vendetta is from a new scan of the original camera negative. 4K Ultra HD** showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, and more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of V for Vendetta features a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

The V for Vendetta Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and three new special features, a Blu-ray disc with the film in high definition and the previously released special features in high definition, and a Digital version of the movie. Fans can also own V for Vendetta in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on November 3rd.

SYNOPSIS
Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V for Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (Portman) who is rescued from a dire situation by a masked vigilante (Weaving) known only as “V.”  Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he detonates two London landmarks and takes over the government-controlled airwaves, urging his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression.  As Evey uncovers the truth about V’s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself – and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plot to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with fear, cruelty and corruption.

Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Elements
The V for Vendetta Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following new and previously released special features:

New Special Features on 4K UHD Disc:

  • V for Vendetta Unmasked
  • Natalie Portman’s Audition: Explore the depth of Evey’s character with Natalie Portman’s never-before-seen audition
  • James McTeigue & Lana Wachowski in Conversation

Previously released Special Features on Blu-ray Disc:

  • Freedom! Forever!: Making V for Vendetta – The cast and crew of V for Vendetta reveal the intense filmmaking process
  • Designing the Near Future – A look at the artistic process of creating the frightening future world of V
  • Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot – The history behind the story of Guy Fawkes
  • England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics – The origins of the original V story is illuminated
  • Cat Power Montage – Cat Power song played under images of the film
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Easter Egg: Hidden Bonus: Saturday Night Live Digital Short

BASICS
V for Vendetta, Ultra HD Blu-ray, $24.99
Standard Street Date: November 3rd, 2020
Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Latin Spanish, French, Japanese
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, French, Japanese
Running time: 132 minutes
Rating: R (for strong violence and some language)
DOLBY ATMOS   [CC]

New Clips from 4K Release of Ghost in the Shell
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New Clips from 4K Release of Ghost in the Shell

Out hthis week from Lionsgate is the 4K edition of the celebrated anime classic Ghost in the Shell. Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of one of the most critically acclaimed anime films of all time when Ghost in the Shell arrives on 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital 4K Ultra HD) and Digital 4K Ultra HD on September 8th from Lionsgate. Based on the beloved manga from Japanese writer and illustrator Shirow Masamune, the film’s voice cast includes Atsuko Tanaka (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Ghost in the Shell 2.0), Akio Ôtsuka (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Paprika, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots), and Kôichi Yamadera (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Ninja Scroll). Remastered in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, and featuring fan-favorite commemorative artwork from pop illustrator Martin Ansin – along with brand new bonus material – this will be the most definitive Ghost in the Shell package to date.

2029: A female cybernetic government agent, Major Motoko Kusanagi, and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of “The Puppet Master,” a mysterious and threatening computer virus capable of infiltrating human hosts. Together with her fellow agents from Section 9, Kusanagi embarks on a high-tech race against time to capture the omnipresent entity. Director Mamoru Oshii’s award-winning cyber-tech thriller, based on the comic book by Shirow Masamune, is lauded as one of the leading Japanese animation films of all time.

The Ghost in the Shell special features include an audio commentary as well as two brand new bonus featurettes: “Accessing Section 9: 25 Years into the Future” and “Landscapes & Dreamscapes – The Art and Architecture of Ghost in the Shell.” Experience four times the resolution of full HD with the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which includes Dolby Vision, bringing entertainment to life through ultra-vivid picture quality. When compared to a standard picture, Dolby Vision can deliver spectacular colors never before seen on a screen, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker. Additionally, the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features Dolby Atmos, which will transport viewers from an ordinary moment into an extraordinary experience with moving audio that flows all around them. Fans will feel like they’re inside the action as the sounds of people, places, things, and music come alive with breathtaking realism and move throughout the space.

The Ghost in the Shell 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99.

4K / BLU-RAY / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Full-length audio commentary of Ghost in the Shell with Mary Claypool (Animation Writer and English Language Scriptwriter), Eric Calderon (Animation Producer and Writer), Richard Epcar  (Voice of “Batou”), and Charles Solomon (Animation Historian and Critic)
  • “Accessing Section 9: 25 Years into the Future” Featurette
  •  “Landscapes & Dreamscapes: The Art and Architecture of Ghost in the Shell” Featurette

ADDITIONAL ARCHIVAL BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Production Report & Digital Works Featuretes
  • Theatrical Trailer

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Year of Production: 1995
Title Copyright: Ghost in the Shell © 1995 Masamune Shirow / Kodansha Ltd. / Bandai Visual Co. Ltd. / Manga Entertainment Ltd. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2020 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Anime, Action, Crime, Thriller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH
Feature Run Time: 83 Minutes
4K Ultra HD™ Format: Dolby Vision, 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 (1.85:1) Presentation
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition 16×9 (1.85:1) Presentation
4K Audio Status: Japanese 2.0 LPCM Audio, Japanese Dolby Atmos, English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Audio
Blu-ray Audio Status: Japanese 2.0 PCM Audio, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM

Total Recall gets 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack for Christmas
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Total Recall gets 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack for Christmas

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi classic gets the ultimate high-definition treatment when Total Recall arrives as a 3-disc 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital) and Digital 4K Ultra HD December 8 from Lionsgate. Restored in 4K from a scan of the original 35mm negative, the visionary film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator franchise, Predator, The 6th Day), Rachel Ticotin (Con Air, Falling Down, The Eye), Oscar® nominee Sharon Stone (1995, Best Actress, Casino), and Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers, Scanners, Top Gun).

Undertaken by STUDIOCANAL, the restoration was supervised by Paul Verhoeven himself. The restoration crew paid particularly high attention to preserving special-effects continuity, as Total Recall was one of the earliest films to use computer-generated images for special effects winning the Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects at the 1990 Academy Awards®.

Available for the very first time in this absolutely stunning format, the Total Recall 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack will include a never-before-seen exclusive documentary feature as well as two brand-new featurettes. Experience four times the resolution of full HD with the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which includes Dolby Vision, bringing entertainment to life through ultra-vivid picture quality. When compared to a standard picture, Dolby Vision can deliver spectacular colors never before seen on a screen, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker. Additionally, the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features Dolby Atmos, which will transport viewers from an ordinary moment into an extraordinary experience with moving audio that flows all around them. Fans will feel like they’re inside the action as the sounds of people, places, things, and music come alive with breathtaking realism and move throughout the space.

The Total Recall 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99.

Inspired by the Short Story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick ● Screen Story by Ronald Shusett & Dan O’Bannon and Jon Povill ● Screenplay by Ronald Shusett & Dan O’Bannon and Gary Goldman ● Directed by Paul Verhoeven

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
Fully reimagined in stunning 4K for its 30th anniversary — and remastered in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos — Paul Verhoeven’s out-of-this-world sci-fi thrill ride can now be experienced like never before! In this splintered-reality mind-bender, it’s the year 2084, and construction worker Quaid (Schwarzenegger) is haunted by dreams of Mars, a place he’s never been. Against his wife’s (Sharon Stone) wishes, Quaid goes to Rekall, a memory-implant company that promises a thrilling virtual trip to the red planet. But what Quaid “remembers” is that he’s a secret agent whose cover has been blown…and that he must return to Mars at any cost.

4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:

Disc 1 (4K Feature Film and Special Features)

  • Total Excess: How Carolco Changed Hollywood Documentary
  • “Open Your Mind: Scoring Total Recall” Featurette
  • “Dreamers Within the Dream: Developing Total Recall” Featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven
  • Theatrical Trailer

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Feature Film and Special Features):

  • “Open Your Mind: Scoring Total Recall” Featurette
  • “Dreamers Within the Dream: Developing Total Recall” Featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven

Disc 3 (Blu-ray – Special Features)

  • Total Excess: How Carolco Changed Hollywood Documentary
  • Total Recall: The Special Effects” Featurette
  • “The Making of Total Recall” Featurette
  • “Imagining Total Recall” Documentary
  • Theatrical Trailer

CAST
Arnold Schwarzenegger         Terminator franchise, Predator, The 6th Day
Rachel Ticotin                         Con Air, Falling Down, The Eye
Sharon Stone                          Basic Instinct, Casino, The Quick and the Dead
Michael Ironside                     Starship Troopers, Scanners, Top Gun

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Year of Production: 1990
Title Copyright: © 1990 STUDIOCANAL. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: R
Genre: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Closed Captioned: NA
Subtitles: French, Spanish, English SDH
Feature Running Time: 113 Minutes
4K Ultra HD™ Format: Dolby Vision, 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 (1.85:1) Presentation
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition 16×9 (1.85:1) Presentation
4K Audio Status: English Dolby Atmos, English, and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Audio
Blu-ray Audio Status: English Dolby Atmos, English, and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Audio

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Manfried Saves the Day by Caitlin Major & Kelly Bastow

OK, first of all I probably should say that I’m not a “cat person.” There is one in my house, and I guess I tolerate cats more than I would dogs (slobbery little monsters), but I’m not all that fond of dumb animals in general.

So I am in retrospect not the right reader for Manfried Saves the Day , a graphic novel by Caitlin Major (writer and colorist, copyright owner) and Kelly Bastow (artist) about a world where…(breathless) Get this! Anthropomorphic cats have a whole society just like our own! And they keep cute little naked “men” as pets! “Men” are just like cats! (Except they only come in one gender, and that’s the gender that the creators are not, curiously.)

This is a sequel to Manfried the Man, which I have not read. The general rule is that the first book is better, and I have no reason to doubt that would be the case here, too. Maybe that book was more random-gag focused, or had a less cliched story. Anyway, if you like the idea of talking cats keeping tiny nonverbal humans as pets, try the first book.

Saves the Day has a plot so cliched that I kept expecting it to be subverted — literally, every page I was thinking up other ways for it to go, and anticipating which of the twists Major would decide to take — but I’m here to tell you that it ends up going exactly the way it looks like it will, roaring straight through all of the signposted events like a movie for particularly dull children before ending in a way Scooby-Doo would have sent back to the drawing board for a touch more nuance.

You see, there is a man shelter. And there is a mean landlord who wants to get rid of the man shelter to do mean-landlord things to it. And there is our hero, Steve, who has a demanding job and a girlfriend who is somehow even more demanding in ways that the creators don’t seem to realize are not fair at all to Steve. That girlfriend, Henrietta, runs the man shelter, and is Ahab-level obsessive about it, though again Major is on Henrietta’s side. And, inevitably, the only way to save the man shelter will be to win the annual Man Show, against (obviously) the highly-trained men of the mean landlord, who additionally will cheat in really obvious ways.

Can the scruffy underdogs beat the privileged jerks? [1] What do you think?

Since the actual plot of Saves the Day is annoying, predictable in its every straightforward second, and relies on Henrietta putting pressure on Steve in ways no one should tolerate, any pleasures of this book will rely on how much the reader enjoys seeing a little man-creature doing “adorable” cat behaviors.

See my first paragraph for context.

I did not enjoy this book. I think I only finished it because I did think Major couldn’t possibly be writing the completely straight version of this story (and was wrong about that) and because it’s short with lots of bright pretty pictures on every page. I do not recommend it for anyone with reading tastes anywhere near mine.

[1] ObMeatballsReference: It Just Doesn’t Matter! It Just Doesn’t Matter!

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

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Alamo Drafthouse Introduces the Press Room Collection

Austin, TX — Alamo Drafthouse is excited to announce The Press Room Collection, a new and ongoing collection of prints and other unique items created from Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s one-of-a-kind collection of over 60,000 original letterpress plates used for newspaper movie ads from 1930s to the 1980s. The collection launches today at ThePressRoom.bar with an array of items, including a limited-edition poster curated and autographed by Wu-Tang Clan mastermind and kung-fu disciple RZA.

“Kung fu has been called ‘the cinema of vengeance,’ but it was also built on stories of self-reliance, characters finding the strength to overcome impossible odds to carve out their place in society. This theme spoke to audiences worldwide and carried martial arts films into the ‘70s spotlight.

The movies I’ve selected for this print barely scratch the surface of the dynamic and insanely vast world of kung fu, a genre that has become as ingrained in global film, television, music and culture in general as any other. In my new film CUT THROAT CITY, I’ve incorporated that spirit of brotherhood and unique displays of action into my frames. My lead character “Blink,” a comic artist, has drawn his inspiration from the martial arts genre and mixed it with an urban western sensibility to create his world. 

I hope these prints inspire the receiver to create something of their own. They’re also simply cool to look at. Enjoy.” 

Making the RZA Kung Fu Ad Block Poster

Besides the poster curated by RZA, The Press Room Collection’s initial run of collectibles includes t-shirts, double-sided puzzles (one side original metal plates, one side letterpress print), truly distinctive wrapping paper, die-cut coasters, and a killer shower curtain, all celebrating cinematic culture. In addition, each purchase from The Press Room Collection through September 8th will receive a free Alamo On Demand rental of PRESSING ON: THE LETTERPRESS FILM, the acclaimed 2017 documentary about the 500-year-old printing process’ improbable survival in the digital age.

“This one-of-a-kind archive of cinema art chronicles the complete history of film promotion from the 30s to the 80s,” says Alamo Drafthouse founder and Executive Chairman, Tim League. “Digging into the different styles from decade to decade and genre to genre, you build a mosaic of cinema history, as well as a narrative of graphic design. We are extremely excited to share this Hollywood time capsule with our guests.”

Today’s launch precedes the grand opening of The Press Room as a museum, letterpress print shop, bar, and event space set to be located at Alamo Drafthouse’s upcoming Lower Manhattan and Orlando locations.

The Press Room is the culmination of over three years of effort by League, who was inspired after watching director Adam Roffman’s short film THE COLLECTION at SXSW 2017. The film tells the story of Marilyn Wagner and DJ Ginsberg, two Omaha, Nebraska antique shoppers who stumble upon the mother lode of movie memorabilia collections – over 60,000 letterpress plates that span six decades of film history – from CASABLANCA and THE LONE RANGER to THE DARK CRYSTAL and 48 HRS. League acquired the collection last year and began work on the museum project.

THE PRESS ROOM COLLECTION

THE WEIRD WORLD OF LSD T-SHIRT- Slip into something a little more transdimensional with the psychedelicious all-cotton tee that rearranges reality. This psychoactive three-color image comes from an original ad block promoting the 1967 documentary that blew the lid off the acid racket during the “Summer of Love.” Put on, tune in, drop out.

SEIZURE T-SHIRT – Before he redefined ‘80s cinema with PLATOON and WALL STREET, Oliver Stone’s relentlessly eccentric inaugural feature revelled in ‘70s insanity. Now the pulse-pounding paranoia of SEIZURE has been captured from its original ad block on a stunning two-color tee, as the film’s three harbingers of doom creep towards you on a purple portal to the afterlife.

SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON T-SHIRT – Only four years after the release of the first James Bond film, countless budget-grade secret agents were bursting through the screens of every movie theater on earth. And now you can be as dashing, fearless, and irresistible as Italy’s answer to 007 in this stylish spy-ish two-color tee, transferred from the original 1966 printing block.

LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH T-SHIRT – In the 1970s, kung fu films made the overdue leap from Asian cinemas to becoming a full-blown international phenomenon. Movie fans suddenly faced an insatiable hunger for daredevil stunts, hand-to-hand combat and antigravitational blades, all of which are on full display in the iconic LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH, now transformed from the original printing block into a blazing four-color design.

DEVIL’S EXPRESS T-SHIRT – When kung fu cinema came triple-flip-kicking into the US, it found particularly strong support among black audiences in major cities. Some fans opted to enter the martial arts movie game themselves, one extra exciting example being mighty NYC resident Warhawk Tanzania, whose unmatched fighting skills and yellow overalls are stretched to the limit when he squares off against a 50,000-year-old subway demon. Capture the kung fu fury in this fearless three-color tee from the original 1976 printing block art.

THE GROOVE TUBE T-SHIRT – Yes. That’s right. Totally, it’s a gorilla with a TV head. But it’s also a battle cry of the no-rules lawlessness of ‘70s chaotic comedy, when taboo-smashing gutbusters like ANIMAL HOUSE and KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE knocked filmgoers through their seats. Proudly display your disdain for authority with this primal three-color attack on the galaxy’s funny bone.

MONSTERS & MOTORS PUZZLE – A skull-squeezing full-color array of vehicular monster-slaughter, showcasing the most untamed and inhuman creatures and/or vehicles from the ‘50s through the ‘80s, all reproduced from the original printing blocks. Spaceborne plant-beasts collide with custom ‘70s swinger vans! Flesh-ripping dinosaurs get cozy with toothless bikers! Plus, this is a two-sided puzzle, with the ad art on one side and a photo of the actual printing plates on the reverse, making your living room table twice as fascinating and a thousand times more fun.

Mad Scientist Test Tube Puzzle Set – 10 out of 9 mentally unstable scientists agree: This collection of four double-sided miniature masterpieces of maniacal movie malevolence are the supreme sci-fi strike against our species. Each 150-piece puzzle comes disassembled in its own clear test tube, showcasing classic science fiction film ad art from the original plates, with the reverse being a photo of the unique handmade press blocks themselves. This set features four puny-yet-powerful themed puzzles: SHRINK RAY, X-RAYS & OUTER SPACE, DOCTORS JEKYLL and SPACY INVADERS.

RZA SIGNED KUNG FU AD BLOCK POSTER – Fists of steel… Weapons of vengeance… Musician/filmmaker/kung fu cinema historian RZA of The Wu-Tang Clan presents a hand-picked collection of the finest and most furious martial arts ad plates, just in time to coincide with his new feature, CUT THROAT CITY. This hand-screened, three-color print will be available in a one-time numbered edition of 250, each signed by RZA himself.THE PRESS ROOM: MUSIC, MONSTERS & MOTORS WRAPPING PAPER SET – In this deluxe duo of exclusive wrapping paper rolls, the hills are alive… with the undead!

First, entomb your loved ones’ gifts in this skull-squeezing full-color array of vehicular monster-slaughter, showcasing the most untamed and inhuman creatures and/or vehicles from the ‘50s through the ‘80s, all reproduced from the original printing blocks. Spaceborne plant-beasts collide with custom ‘70s space vans! Flesh-ripping dinosaurs get cozy with two-wheeled warriors!

Then, not sure how to wrap that surprise for the Bavarian who has everything? Turn any present into the gift of song with this exclusive wrapping paper designed from a selection of original ad plates for THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Your heart will fill with melody and good-timey anti-Nazi sentiments as you unroll this 10’ x 26” sheet of art from the timeless musical.

THE PRESS ROOM COASTER COLLECTION 1.0 – Respect wood. Protect your coffee table. Make the bottom of your drinking glass the most exciting part of your life. The Press Room presents a sextet of delightful die-cut cinematic coasters hand-printed from the original handmade printing blocks on a genuine antique letterpress machine.

BLOOD BATH SHOWER CURTAIN – Turn every morning into the opening scene from PSYCHO with this bone-chilling addition to the scariest room in your house. The Press Room’s BLOOD BATH shower curtain is a carefully curated collection of classic — and not-so-classic — horror film ads, each aesthetically alive with the thrills of the undead. While you’re scrubbing up, Dracula’s creepin’ and Frankenstein’s peepin’, all reproduced in murderously fine detail from their original handmade printing blocks. BLOOD BATH is mold, mildew and soap resistant. Non-vinyl, non-PEVA, environmentally friendly, and made from heavyweight 140 gsm polyester. 12 metal guarded holes with hooks included.

About the letterpress collection

From the classic films of golden age Hollywood to intergalactic ‘80s battle epics, the incredible visual history of 20th century cinema quietly unfolded in daily newspapers across the country. The stunning advertising images scorched readers’ eyes with Action! Laughs! Kung fu! Romance! Werewolves! – but the unique letterpress plates used to physically print these ads were then discarded and lost to time… until now.

During a trip to Omaha, Nebraska in the summer of 2019, Alamo Drafthouse founder and Executive Chairman Tim Leagued discovered the unimaginable trove of letterpress plates that had laid in wait for decades. Over four days, tens of thousands of plates were sorted, packed and prepared for a journey to their new home where the Alamo Drafthouse team began the venture of figuring out what to do with them.

The answer is The Press Room Collection, which offers prints and other creations from this one-of-a-kind collection of these rare handmade blocks – over 60,000 original printing plates for films spanning the 1930s to the 1980s. The collection is the largest single archive of these irreplaceable artifacts of movie history, all kept alive by our dedicated master printer, hand-cranking an original 1940 Vandercook press to create distinctive collectible prints celebrating cinema culture.

Rambo: The Complete SteelBook Collection Available Oct. 27
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Rambo: The Complete SteelBook Collection Available Oct. 27

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
For the first time in its 37-year history, the Rambo series is coming home as a complete SteelBook® set – with original art by some of today’s most celebrated illustrators! Rambo: The Complete SteelBook Collection arrives on 4K Ultra HDTM October 27 from Lionsgate. This definitive collector’s edition of the legendary series features five uniquely designed SteelBooks by celebrated artists Justin Erickson, Ken Taylor, Grzegorz Domaradzki, Vance Kelly, and John Guydo, housed in a custom SteelBook case. It’s a must-have for Rambo fans! Starring Academy Award® nominee Sylvester Stallone (1976, Best Screenplay/Best Actor, Rocky; 2015, Best Actor, Creed), the collection features all five action-packed Rambo films including First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo, and Rambo: Last Blood. Rambo: The Complete SteelBook Collection will be available on 4K Ultra HD™ for the suggested retail price of $119.99.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
Since its debut nearly four decades ago, the Rambo series starring Sylvester Stallone has become one of the most iconic action-movie franchises of all time. An ex-Green Beret haunted by memories of Vietnam, Rambo has battled small-town prejudice, freed POWs, rescued his commanding officer from the Soviets, and liberated missionaries in Myanmar. In his final mission, Rambo’s vengeance is unleashed after an old friend’s granddaughter is kidnapped in Mexico.

4K SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Packed with Special Features from all five Rambo films, including Deleted Scenes, Exclusive Featurettes, Theatrical Trailers, Audio Commentaries, and more!

CAST
First Blood
Sylvester Stallone                   Rocky franchise, Rambo franchise, Escape Plan franchise
Richard Crenna                      Rambo franchise, Judging Amy
Brian Dennehy                        Ratatouille, Silverado, The Blacklist
Bill McKinney                          Deliverance, Back to the Future Part III

Rambo: First Blood Part II
Sylvester Stallone                   Rocky franchise, Rambo franchise, Escape Plan franchise
Richard Crenna                      Rambo franchise, Judging Amy
Charles Napier                       The Silence of the Lambs, Austin Powers: International Man
                                                of Mystery
Steven Berkoff                        A Clockwork Orange, Octopussy
Julia Nickson                          China Cry: A True Story, Noble House

Rambo III
Sylvester Stallone                   Rocky franchise, Rambo franchise, Escape Plan franchise
Richard Crenna                      Rambo franchise, Judging Amy
Marc de Jonge                        Empire of the Sun, Marie de Nazareth
Kurtwood Smith                       Robocop, That ’70s Show

Rambo
Sylvester Stallone                   Rocky franchise, Rambo franchise, Escape Plan franchise
Julie Benz                               Dexter, Hawaii Five-0, and On Becoming a God in Central Florida
Matthew Marsden                   Black Hawk Down, Resident Evil: Extinction
Graham McTavish
Reynaldo Gallegos                 Logan, American Sniper

Written by Art Monterastelli and Sylvester Stallone, Directed by Sylvester Stallone

Rambo: Last Blood
Sylvester Stallone                   Rocky franchise, Rambo franchise, Escape Plan franchise
Paz Vega                                Spanglish, Sex and Lucia, The Spirit
Yvette Monreal                       Faking It and The Fosters
Adriana Barraza                     Babel, Drag Me to Hell, Thor
Oscar Jananda

Story by Dan Gordon and Sylvester Stallone, Screenplay by Matt Cirulnick & Sylvester Stallone, Directed by Adrian GrünbergPROGRAM INFORMATION
First Blood
Year of Production: 1982
Title Copyright: Program Content and Package Artwork © 1982 STUDIOCANAL. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary © 2020 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Rambo®  is a Registered Trademark owned by StudioCanal S.A.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: R
Genre: Action Adventure
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, English
Feature Run Time: 93 minutes
4K Ultra HD™ Format: 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 (2.35:1) Presentation
4K Audio Status: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM, Spanish DTS-HD Master AudioTM

Rambo: First Blood Part II
Year of Production: 1985
Title Copyright: Program Content and Package Artwork © 1985 STUDIOCANAL. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary © 2020 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Rambo®  is a Registered Trademark owned by StudioCanal S.A.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: R
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, English
Feature Run Time: 95 minutes
4K Ultra HD™ Format: 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 (2.35:1) Presentation
4K Audio Status: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM, Spanish DTS-HD Master AudioTM

Rambo III
Year of Production: 1988
Title Copyright: Program Content and Package Artwork © 1988 STUDIOCANAL. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary © 2020 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Rambo®  is a Registered Trademark owned by StudioCanal S.A.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: R
Genre: Action, Adventure, War
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, English
Feature Run Time: 102 minutes
4K Ultra HD™ Format: 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 (2.35:1) Presentation
4K Audio Status: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM, Spanish DTS-HD Master AudioTM

Rambo
Year of Production: 2008
Title Copyright: Rambo © 2007 Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG IV. All Rights Reserved. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2020 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: R for strong graphic bloody violence, sexual assaults, grisly images and language
Genre: Action, Thriller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, English, English SDH
Feature Run Time: 91 minutes (Theatrical Cut) 99 minutes (Extended Cut)
4K Ultra HD™ Format: Dolby Vision®, 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 (2.40:1) Presentation
4K Audio Status: English Dolby Atmos®

Rambo: Last Blood
Year of Production: 2019
Title Copyright: Rambo: Last Blood © 2019 Rambo V Productions, Inc. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2020 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: R for strong graphic violence, grisly images, drug use and language.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, French, English SDH
Feature Run Time: 89 minutes
4K Ultra HD™ Format: Dolby Vision, 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 (2.39:1) Presentation
4K Audio Status: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Audio™, French 5.1 Dolby Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Audio Optimized for Late-Night Listening

Kick-Ass to Make 4K Debut on Nov. 11
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Kick-Ass to Make 4K SteelBook Debut on Nov. 11

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
A groundbreaking, action-packed comic book adaptation gets the 4K Ultra HD™ treatment when Kick-Ass arrives on 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital) November 3 from Lionsgate. From acclaimed director Matthew Vaughn, the film features an all-star cast including Golden Globe® winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson (2017, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, Nocturnal Animals), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Oscar® winner Nicolas Cage (1995, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Leaving Las Vegas). Experience four times the resolution of full HD with the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, with a brand new SteelBook® illustrated by Tracie Ching, in celebration of its 10th Anniversary. Available in this absolutely stunning format, the Kick-Ass 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack will include featurettes about the making of the film and its comic book origin, as well as an audio commentary by the director, and will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99. Based on the comic book written by Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr., screenplay by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn, and directed by Matthew Vaughn.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
A twisted, funny, high-octane action-adventure from director Matthew Vaughn (the Kingsman movies), Kick-Ass tells the story of a teenage fanboy (Aaron Johnson) who takes his comic book obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. Costars Chloë Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl and Nicolas Cage as her father, Big Daddy.

4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES

  • A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of Kick-Ass
  • It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of Kick-Ass
  • Audio Commentary by Director Matthew Vaughn
  • Marketing Archive
  • The Art of Kick-Ass Gallery (Blu-ray™ Only)

CAST
Aaron Taylor-Johnson            Kick-Ass 2, Godzilla, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Nocturnal Animals
Christopher Mintz-Plasse       Superbad, Kick-Ass 2, Trolls, How to Train Your Dragon
Mark Strong                            Kingsman: The Secret Service, 1917, Zero Dark Thirty
Chloë Grace Moretz               Let Me In, Carrie, Kick-Ass 2, Suspiria, Hugo
and Nicolas Cage                   Leaving Las Vegas, Con Air, National Treasure franchise

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Year of Production: 2009
Title Copyright: Program Content and Package Artwork: © 2009 KA Films LP. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary: © 2020 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use – some involving children
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Closed Captioned: NA
Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH
Feature Running Time: 117 Minutes
4K Ultra HD™ Format: Dolby Vision®, 2160p Ultra High Definition, 16×9 (2.40:1) Presentation
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition, 16×9 (2.40:1) Presentation
4K Audio Status: English Dolby Atmos®, French 5.1 Dolby Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Audio Optimized for Late-Night Listening
Blu-ray Audio Status: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio™

REVIEW: Superman: Man of Tomorrow
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REVIEW: Superman: Man of Tomorrow

Every reboot of Superman tries something different, striving to find a fresh approach to the material, and Superman: Man of Tomorrow is no different. This direct-to-video release, out now from Warner Home Entertainment, is intended as the opening chapter in a new continuity, a Rebirth, as it were, of the DC Animated Universe.

Other than the destruction of Krypton, baby Kal-El being raised by the Kents, and Clark (Darren Criss) arriving gin Metropolis as an adult, everything else is a modern take. Clark arrives as an intern with Lois Lane (Alexandra Daddario) just a grad student making her bones at the paper. Perry White (Piotr Michael) is there in all his bluster with Ron Troupe (Eugene Byrd) there for diversity and not a sign of Jimmy Olsen, Steve Lombard, or Cat Grant.

The story suggests Earth is aware of alien life and S.T.A.R. Labs, now owned by Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto), is shown as being designed to hold and analyze extraterrestrials but it’s a mere breadcrumb for the future and is never addressed here. Instead, the focus is on Clark’s debut as the aviator-goggled flying man, doing good deeds, and starting to get noticed.

When a rocket prototype fails, he exposes himself to save humanity, and now everyone wants to know who he is. But, before much can be done about this, Lobo arrives. Now, the entire story grinds to halt as he announces he’s been hired to kill Kal-El, the sole survivor of Krypton. They fight, they talk, they battle, they partner. And at no point does anyone ask, “Who hired you? Why did they hire you? How’d you know he was on Earth?” The lack of curiosity, especially when major members of the cast are journalists is appalling.

Superman is aided by the Martian Manhunter (Ike Amadi), who has been badly shadowing our hero and finally reveals himself and has to deal with the consequences.

But, Lobo’s (Ryan Hurst) arrival accidentally turns Rudy Jones (Brett Dalton) into the Parasite, an entirely new origin for the villain., and making him a far more tragic, and deadly, figure. His threat prompts Superman to turn to Lex Luthor for help, which reveals Lex’s sinister side. But, it’s Superman’s humanity that shines through in the climax, showing why he is a hero and worth looking up to.

The story moves along briskly, with the action and destruction doled out every few minutes, with pauses to visit Smallville, including a touching scene with Martha (Bellamy Young) handing the familiar red and blue suit to her son. The budding relationships between Lois and Clark and Lois and Superman also are nicely handled.

Less well handled is the J’Onn J’Onzz and Kal-El scenes, which go for pathos but feels flat. That the story features three supposedly sole survivors of their races is a nice touch.

Visually, there’s a simplicity to the designs of the characters, set against a futuristic city that can be envisioned as city of tomorrow, a fitting home for our hero. Some of the Krypton designs owes much to the Richard Donner films while Lobo is clearly inspired by Simon Bisley interpretation of the character.

The new voice cast is fine, if unexceptional, a freshening without being radical with Darren Criss carrying much of the load.

Overall, as reboots go, this isn’t a bad one, with plenty of room to explore, especially with Batman already operating in Gotham, and alien life visiting Earth with increasing regularity. We’ll see what happens in the next installment, coming no doubt in 2021.

The movie is available in all the usual formats including the 4K Digital HD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD Code combo pack. In both 2160 and 1080 scans, the visuals are crisp and strong, retaining all the colors. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix is serviceable if unspectacular, which it doesn’t really need to be.

The Special Features are the standard assortment starting with Lobo: Natural Force of Chaos (10:23) where Screenwriter Tim Sheridan, artists Jon Bogdanove and Bernard Chang, DC Daily host Hector Navarro, and voice actor Ryan Hurst very briefly trace Lobo’s humble origins from a bounty hunter in 1983’s Omega Men to star of his own series and ubiquitous appearances through the 1990s and 2000s.

Martian Manhunter: Lost and Found (8:47) presents a similar assortment of talent talking about the themes of the Martian’s role in comparison with humanity. Lacking is the context of his comic book history.

A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie (11:56) is a stylistically cheesy introduction to   Batman: Soul of the Dragon, an animated homage the era’s kung-fu craze, featuring the Dark Knight along with Richard Dragon, Ben Turner (Bronze Tiger), Lady Shiva, and O-Sensei, who all stared in the Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter title written by the late, great Denny O’Neil.

From the DC Vault offers up Two episodes from Superman: The Animated Series – “The Main Man”, parts 1 and 2, which, of course, guest star Lobo.

Global Batman Day set for Sept. 19
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Global Batman Day set for Sept. 19

Here’s the latest release regarding the annual Batman Day celebration. This year, though, comic shops appear to have been left out of the fun, just when they could use the foot traffic.

(August 31, 2020 – Burbank, CA) – DC today unveiled plans for a global Batman Day celebration on September 19, 2020, inviting fans of all ages around the world to participate in a wide range of Batman-themed activities to honor the iconic DC Super Hero. For the first time, fans have the opportunity to drive along with a “Batman and The Riddler” theme on Waze. And to complete the experience, you can listen to the Waze and DC Super Hero or Super-Villain playlists on Spotify while driving via the Waze Audio Player feature. Plus, free digital comics, free activity kits for kids, a Batman Virtual 5K/10K Run/Walk, and even a digital mystery to solve in which fans can put on their cape and cowl and transform into their strongest self.

Fans can also team up with Batman to protect Gotham City in a series of digital activities, such as joining the celebration on social media and helping Batman to piece together a series of clues left behind by The Riddler. If you can decode these mischievous hints, you’ll unlock exclusive, limited-time reveals! The adventure begins when the virtual Bat-Signal lights up at 12PM PT, September 18, on the @DCComics Twitter.

The new Waze Batman theme allows for more than 100 million monthly active Waze users to ride along with Batman and The Riddler from August 31 to October 31. Waze drivers can opt to hear directions in the style of Batman, voiced by Batman: The Animated Series actor Kevin Conroy, as well as select a custom Batmobile icon and Batman mood. Drivers who want a slightly more villainous experience can select The Riddler voice directions (voiced by actor Wally Wingert), mood and custom vehicle. Waze users worldwide can experience the Batman theme in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.