Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Arrow Video - RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES and SUTURE on Blu-ray ""

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Arrow Video - RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES and SUTURE on Blu-ray

RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES (1988; John De Bello)
I kinda love this movie. It's one of the better examples of goofball meta-filmmaking. From the very beginning, the film lets you know it's not taking itself seriously in the slightest. It is constantly breaking the fourth wall and does so right out of the gate and throughout the film. It opens with a movie show host introducing the "One Dollar Movie" for today. Not the "Million Dollar Movie" no, not at all. The flick you're about to see isn't worth that much, make no mistake. The host even starts a DIFFERENT movie to begin with before he reluctantly changes over to RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES. That movie is called BIG BREASTED GIRLS GO TO THE BEACH AND TAKE THEIR TOPS OFF and we get to see about a minute of it before the projectionist changes over (we even seen the film sprockets as that movie is pulled out of the projector). I like how even the poster that the movie show host has on the wall isn't for RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES. It's an old poster (which looks as though it was crumpled up and thrown in a trash can and then unfolded) for ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES with a piece of white tape over the word "ATTACK" and the word "RETURN" scratched on in sharpie. When we finally get into the opening credits for the movie, they are even re-using old footage from the first film. Also, the theme song is sung to the same tune as the first one and the self-reflexive lyrics even comment on how this movie and its plot are almost identical to the first movie. I've rarely seen a film that gives itself less respect while being totally open with the audience about what it is doing and what they are about to see. It is kind of delightful. 
The big thing people might remember this movie for is that George Clooney is in it. It's a shaggy, 80s haired Clooney that is showing how funny he can be (though we've seen this in years since in his work with the Coen Brothers). 
Remember the "product placement" scenes in WAYNE'S WORLD? Those were pretty fun, but RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES takes it a step further into the silliness. RETURN actually predates WAYNE'S WORLD by about four years too, so who is to say that they didn't influence that movie.
Overall, this is a ridiculous but very enjoyable spoof comedy that often gets left out of the conversation when people talk about AIRPLANE! TOP SECRET and THE NAKED GUN movies. I'd really honestly put it up in that category, but this one is more of a spin on cheapie horror movies than disaster or police procedurals. It really is quite funny and you kind of owe it to yourself to check it out. One of the best things that New World Pictures was ever associated with.

Special Features:
-Brand new audio commentary with writer-director John De Bello.
-"Hanging with Chad"(17 mins) a Brand new interview with star Anthony Starke.
-Original Theatrical Trailer

-High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations.
-Original Stereo audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray).
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin.
-Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver.
This disc is listed as region A/B and can be purchased here:http://amzn.to/1W62GKR

SUTURE (1993; David Siegel & Scott McGehee)
I remember I was working in the video store when this movie came out. I was riding high on my quest to seek out all of the great movies I was coming across in Danny Peary's film books and I had recently discovered John Frankenheimer's masterpiece thriller SECONDS. I loved that movie when I saw it (and still do) so much that when I read the back of the SUTURE VHS (yes it was only on VHS back then), and it mentioned that directors David Siegel and Scott McGehee had been very much inspired by SECONDS for their script for SUTURE - I was totally on board and had to rent it immediately. The cover, which featured a man with a bandaged face, made me think of Frankenheimer right off the bat so I had a feeling it would be something I would dig. And I did. I enjoyed the movie, despite being perplexed by it upon that first viewing - so I was anxious to revisit it as I had not seen it since that initial watch back in the mid 1990s. It was probably one of my early exposures to what we might now commonly call a "mindf*ck" movie. Back then, I hadn't been exposed to it as much. Even the tagline for the movie - "A Thriller Where Nothing is Black and White" was already pointing to a movie that would not necessarily be easily digestible fluff. What struck me right away this time (that I had forgotten) was the excellent black and white widescreen (2.35: 1) cinematography. That alone made me think about the fact that I can't recall if the VHS copy I watched back then was letterboxed or not and how this would have been an entirely different movie if that was the case. It wasn't totally uncommon for the occasional VHS release to get the letterboxed treatment, but it was not happening nearly enough back then. Just as an aside, I was reminded how much I love that we live in the age of 16x9 televisions and that long gone are the days of the dreaded 4:3 pan and scan VHS transfers for widescreen films. That said, this movie is gorgeously composed and very arty. It is deliberately paced and there is more than a hint of Hitchock in the mix as well. This film marked the first time I had ever seen Dennis Haysbert before and he understandably impressed me at the time. I don't want to give too much away about the plot, but there are elements of SECONDS, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, DETOUR and A WOMAN IN THE DUNES all in there and cinephiles familiar with those movies will find this a remarkable and engaging pastiche. For money, Siegel and McGehee have never topped the ambition and pure love of cinema that is exhibited in this film. No offense to their work after this movie, but I still think this is their best. It has style for miles and is a perfect choice for cineastes bordering on pretension. Keep an eye out for a David Graf ("Tackleberry" from the POLICE ACADEMY movies) in a more dramatic role as a cop.

Special Features:
-Audio commentary with writer-directors David Siegel and Scott McGehee - moderated by Steven Soderbergh (so you know its good).
-"Lacerations: The Making of SUTURE"(32 mins) featuring All-new interviews with Siegel, McGehee, Production Designer Kelly McGehee, Editor Lauren Zuckerman, Cinematographer Greg Gardiner, Composer Cary Berger and actors Dennis Haysbert, Sab Shimono and Mel Harris.
-Deleted scenes.
-Birds Past, Siegel & McGehee’s first short film, about two young San Franciscans who journey to Bodega Bay along the path set by Tippi Hedren in Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds.
-US theatrical trailer
-European theatrical trailer
-Brand new 4K restoration from t
he original camera negative
-High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD Presentations
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm

This disc is listed as region free and can be purchased here:

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