MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2000s Collection: Baby Mama (2008)

Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) is a woman who put her career above her life. Angie Ostrowski (Amy Poehler) has a life that’s a party that she plans on only slowing down to make money by giving birth to Kate’s child.

The truth is that Angie never planned on having that baby and was going to run off with the money. But now she’s actually pregnant thanks to her common law husband Carl Loomis (Dax Shepherd), all while Kate is falling for juice bar owner Rob Ackerman (Greg Kinnear), whose business is being eyed by her boss Barry Waterman (Steve Martin) and his Round Earth Organic Market.

Director and writer Michael McCullers started his career at Saturday Night Live and has made a pretty good run of writing comedies like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged MeAustin Powers in Goldmember and The Boss Baby.

It’s a fine comedy, but obviously Fey and Pohler were meant for bigger things. Good news: they succeeded.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2000s Collection has some great movies for a great price like Nurse BettyOne Night at McCool’sSpy GameThe Emperor’s ClubThe Shape of Things21 GramsState of PlayThe Hitcher and Cry Wolf. You can order it from Deep Discount.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil returning to theaters!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Utopia, Abramorama and Portobello Electric have partnered to release the remastered documentary, Anvil! The Story of Anvil for a special one-night engagement in 200 theaters nationally on September 27th with select extended theatrical runs through October at National Circuits including AMC and Regal Cinemas. The rerelease is timed to the film’s 13th year anniversary and features remastered picture and sound, as well as a new exclusive epilogue interview, only available in theaters, with director Sacha Gervasi and Anvil’s Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner moderated by former MTV host Matt Pinfield. The documentary will be available for digital pre-order on iTunes and Vudu starting September 27. 

This first ran on September 22, 2020.

Super Rock ’84 in Japan was a touring rock festival that had Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Scorpions, Michael Schenker Group and Anvil playing. Of these bands, Anvil had the least success, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. At the time of this movie, Steve “Lips” Kudlow is working for a catering company and Robb Reiner is in construction. Their real lives are in constant juxtaposition with what being a rock star promised them, which is the story of this film.

Sacha Gervasi wrote the Tom Hanks movie The Terminal, but two decades before, he had been a roadie for Anvil. Who knew that someday he’d make the movie about them that would let the world know they existed, as well win an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy?

It seems like every time the band gets close to their dreams, things go wrong. It always makes me think, when I wonder what it would have been like to be a rock star instead of having a day job, exactly how it would all turn out. This movie is a sobering reminder that not everyone makes it. Until, well, they do.

I kind of love the moment where Kudlow and Reiner nearly kill a promoter for not paying them. I had a similar moment happen when I first started in pro wrestling. A promoter wanted to pay us in checks and I didn’t know any better. That’s when I learned to always get paid in cash. A vet taught me that, as he grabbed that promoter, shoved a revolver in his face and demanded that the two of us get our money right now. I was kind of shocked by it all, but it was nice to drive home with actual cash, even if a man’s life had to be put in jeopardy. I remembered all of that when I watched this.

MILL CREEK BLU RAY RELEASE: George Clooney Double Feature – The American / Leatherheads (2010/2008)

The American (2010): Based on the 1990 novel A Very Private Gentleman by Martin Booth, The American finds George Clooney playing Jack, a gunsmith and contract killer, who is also known as Edward when he gets spotted, a fact that he finds him killing his lover Ingrid (Irina Björklund) to keep from being found out.

He leaves for Castelvecchio, a small town in the mountains of Abruzzo, where he begins a relationship with two women: a prostitute named Clara (Violante Placido) and Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), who asks him to build a special rifle. Yet at every turn, others are hunting him.

Jack/Edward regrets his life and killing Ingrid, so he confesses to Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) and tries to imagine a world where he can be with Clara, all while Mathilde readies to use the gun he made to kill him.

With allusions to the films of Leone and Don’t Look Now, director Anton Corbijn and writer Rowan Joffé have created an intriguing film with no real heroes.

Leatherheads (2008): Directed by star George Clooney from a script by Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly, Leatherheads is about the start of American football. Clooney plays Jimmy “Dodge” Connelly, the captain of the Duluth Bulldogs, who is trying to save his team and football as a whole as it struggles to catch on He convinces war hero and college football star Carter “the Bullet” Rutherford (John Krasinski) to the team. He’s a combination of University of Illinois football star Harold “Red” Grange, who signed to a contract with the Chicago Bears the day after his last football game and Alvin York, the controversial Medal of Honor winner whose fame led to Sergeant York, the Gary Cooper movie.

The team and the league succeed as a result of this, but when reporter Lexie Littleton (Renée Zellweger) learns the truth, she feels duty bound to report it. The entire world doesn’t believe her until Dodge plays a prank — much like Clooney in real life — and gets Carter to speak the truth.

This movie speaks to the truth of media heroism, how football became an organized and reputable — well, somewhat — sport and the men that played the game. It’s also really well done.

You can get the Mill Creek George Clooney Double Feature of The American and Leatherheads from Deep Discount.

Anaconda 3: Offspring (2008)

Originally airing on July 26, 2008 on SyFy, this movie gives us what we always wanted: David Hasselhoff in a big snake movie.

Shot at the same time as Anacondas: Trail of Blood in Romania, a place where you may say, “Where the fuck are the anacondas?” and “Did they make every sequel in the former Soviet Union?”

Remember that blood orchid? Well, a serum made from it and an anaconda taken from the Amazon River have somehow ended up within crawling distance of the Danube thanks to a project that God himself will smite and destroy the life of rich fool Peter Murdoch (John Rhys-Davies, who was on SyFy like all day every day) and man, his assistant doesn’t even make it to the first commercial.

Now the queen anaconda is loose and Dr. Amanda Hayes (Crystal Allen) and snake hunter Stephen Hammett (Hasselhoff) must stop the snakes before they eat everyone in Bucharest. The truth is — I mean, do you even care if I keep you from watching this, I mean spoil this for you — is that Hasselhoff is trying to get a baby anaconda that has been given special powers thanks to the experiments Dr. Hayes has done and give it to Murdoch.

If you ever wanted to see a movie where Hasselhoff gets swarmed by baby snakes and blown up, this would be it.

Director Don E. FauntLeRoy worked with Victor Salva on Jeepers Creepers, Jeepers Creepers 2, Rosewood Lane and Dark House, so now I hate that I watched this even more. He was also the director of photography on Munchie and The Skateboard Kid, which may or may not be worse than the above issue.

You can watch this on Tubi.

GiAnts (2008)

Meteors have hit the Earth, but everything worked out. Well, it did until giant ants that sleep inside the planets core are awakened and make their way to the surface. Or maybe they were all in blocks of ice and needed thawed out. Despite a long spoken introduction even this movie isn’t all that sure.

A rich industrialist brings in bug expert John Caine (Mel Novak) to check out the giant insect they’ve captured, but he’s rich and therefore bad and tries to kill our protagonist just as ants begin attacking all over the world. Luckily, John’s daughter Audrey (Tina-Desiree Berg) is able to help the military battle those monstrous picnic ruiners.

If you’ve a fan of bad CGI, tones shifting between gore and a child movie, characters that you actively hope will die, bad editing and a story that never even tries to make sense, you may find something here.

Director and writer Carribou Seto is actually David Huey, who made a whole bunch of movies with Gary Daniels in the 1990s. You know, the dude from the live action Fist of the North Star.

This is on YouTube but I don’t even want to share the link because if you’re like me, hearing how bad it is will make you watch it.

The Crusaders #357: Experiment in Evil! (2008)

Furie! The Ace of Spades! Twilight! Sergeant Liberty! Dave!

They’re The Crusaders, a hero human team out to protect the world from evil and their movie looks like a comic’s pages being flipped. I liked the effect, even if it’s distracting at times, and the movie felt like watching a night of the old RPG Champions.

Director Robb Wolford has only made this movie, but I’d really like to see what else he can do. This has a lot of storylines going on but really has the look and aura of a 70s Marvel book.

It’s not perfect and overreaches past its budget, but it has heart. This is made by people who love comics and not commerce. With bad guys like The Seven Heads of the Beast (Zuromachi, Death Rattle, Countess Bathory, The Gorgon, Uncle Smiley, Dr. Omega and Speedtrip) and The Moguls of Doom (Warlock, Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Dr. Psycho, Captain Slaughter, The Masked Crusher, The Ogre and The Proletariat), as well as a plan to kill thousands on Christmas Eve, this is a high stakes superhero movie no matter what the cost to make it may have been.

So how about the next issue?

You can watch this on Tubi.

Punisher: War Zone (2008)

Ray Stevenson has done a great job of playing two of my favorite characters — The Punisher and Firefly — in two not-so-good movies, which is kind of sad. At least Marvel threw him something of a bone by having him play Volstagg in the Thor movies. But hey — he’s done well for himself. I just wish they’d made a better Punisher movie for him to be in.

Neither director Jonathan Hensleigh or star Thomas Jane — who said “What I won’t do is spend months of my life sweating over a movie that I just don’t believe in. I’ve always loved the Marvel guys, and wish them well. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to search for a film that one day might stand with all those films that the fans have asked me to watch.” — would return for this film. I mean, at one point, Walter Hill was going to be involved, but lack of a good script was one of the main reasons why Jane — who would come back to play Castle in a short called The Punisher: Dirty Laundry — walked away.

Director Lexi Alexander, a former soccer hooligan, World Karate Association world champion and United States Marine Corps close combat trainer, tried. She had famous battles with Lionsgate, who produced the film in the days before Marvel making all of their own films. She’d later say, “Marvel was an equal partner, but unfortunately when there were creative decision conflicts, Marvel would let Lionsgate be the tie breaker. I always regretted that I made a Marvel movie this way, because 99% of their notes were much better than the studios and I was more in tune with them.” There were rumors that she was taken off the film, which she denies, but she didn’t get final cut.

Roger Ebert referred to the film by saying “The Punisher: War Zone is one of the best-made bad movies I’ve seen” and it’s been reeavluated since its release, but this is the lowest grossing Marvel film — I don’t know if they count the earlier Captain America — making even less than Elektra and Howard the Duck.

I mean, I love Jigsaw. I love the Punisher. This feels like it wants to be something other than a story from the comics and when those flipping acrobats show up? Yeah, I’m good. Not every bad movie can be reclaimed.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 24: Karzzzz (2008)

Karzzzz is a remake of the 1980 1980 Indian Hindi-language movie that was based on The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, although influenced by Indian beliefs on reincarnation. While not a big movie upon release, Karz has grown in influence over time, inspiring remakes like Yuga Purusha; Enakkul Oruvan and this film, as well as Chances Are.

In fact, the original movie is so well-thought-of that even the titles of songs from that movie ended up becoming movie titles. Dard-e-dil, Paisa Yeh Paisa, Main Solah Baras Ki, Ek Hasina Thi, Aashiq Banaya Aapne and Om Shanti Om all owe their origins to Karz.

Ravi Verma and Sir Judah have been battling over the rights to thousands of acres of vineyards and Ravi wins the court case, then marries Kamini, the love of his life. As they fly to meet his mother and sister, he doesn’t know that Judah and his wife are working together. She sabotages the plane and parachutes out, becoming a princess, leaving his family penniless and killing him.

25 years later, Monty is a rock star in South Africa, but he has memories of a life he’s never lived. He’s in love with Tina, but must discover what Kamini means to him, how he can reclaim his past and save his mother and sister.

Karzzzz was not well-received but I wanted to cover it because it’s amazing that The Reincarnation of Peter Proud had an influence long after it left American theaters, even if it isn’t in its home.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 13: The Ruins (2008)

Based on The Ruins by Scott Smith, who also wrote the screenplay and is not related to the director, Carter Smith.

Jeff (Jonathan Tucker), Amy (Jena Malone) Eric (Shawn Ashmore) and Stacy (Laura Ramsey) are on vacation in Mexico when they meet Mathias (Joe Anderson) who last saw his brither Heinrich at a Mayan temple dig. As they follow him and his friend Dmitri, they end up accidentally stepping on some vines that cause the locals to grow insane at come at them with knives and guns, killing Dmitri.

It turns out that those vines, when touched, cause the natives to leave them alone. Those same vines also start to grow within their bodies, taking them over and consuming them. The vine FX are great, the scene where Stacy tries to slice herself apart to free her body of them is good but as for the rest of the movie, it’s just fine. They shot a ton of endings to this and seemingly picked the safest one. Oh well.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 11: Chemical Wedding (2008)

Simon Calow (Four Weddings and a Funeral) is Professor Oliver Haddo, a Cambridge scholar who is reprogrammed by a virtual reality machine into becoming the avatar for the spirit of Aleister Crowley. Now, more than fifty years after his death, Crowley begins his search for a scarlet woman to be part of his next working.

It was directed by Julian Doyle, who edited BrazilLife of BrianThe Meaning of Life and Time Bandits. He’s also directed music videos for Kate Bush and made Iron Maiden’s “Can I Play With Madness?” video. Speaking of Maiden, he co-wrote this with their lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, and two of his songs (“Chemical Wedding” and “Book of Sorrows”) and two Maiden songs (the aforementioned “Madness” and “The Wicker Man”) are on the soundtrack.

I learned from this movie that we live in the world where Satan is in charge, that you can fax sperm and that even a movie with this much nudity and depravity can be slightly lame. I wanted to love this and it got close, so close, but it’s charitably a complete mess.