The Jungle Book and Friends Collection (DVD/Digital)

With Disney remaking their remakes of classic fairy tales and adventure novels, stories like “The Jungle Book” are all the rage these days. For folks that want to branch out from the Disney umbrella and check out what other companies have adapted these classic stories, Mill Creek Entertainment releases a collection of animated adaptations of legendary adventures and fantasies. It’s especially good if you’re looking to save a few bucks while expanding your animated horizons beyond the House of Mouse.

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The Bootleg Files: John Barrymore’s Hamlet Screen Test

BOOTLEG FILES 697: “John Barrymore’s Hamlet Screen Test” (1933 test footage for a film that was never made).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Too short for a standalone release, not easy to fit into a larger production.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

For every film that finds its way to the big screen, there are an infinite number of projects that got off the ground. Some of these are mere figments of conversation that failed to root into a serious endeavor, others consist of carefully constructed screenplays that never found their way into production, and other projects barely made into a very early stage of pre-production before being abruptly cancelled.
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Jungle Emperor Leo (Janguru taitei) (1997)

I’ll plead ignorance by admitting that I wasn’t aware that “The Lion King” was controversial for being touted as plagiarizing “Kimba The White Lion” and “Jungle Emperor Leo” since the aforementioned film’s release. There are even reports of Matthew Broderick explaining his new project as a remake of “Kimba.” As for other similarities explained by anime fans, you really can’t deny the shocking similarities. “Jungle Emperor Leo” is worth viewing not just because of its inherent entertainment value and great animation from Tezuka Productions, but the fact that it bears shocking similarities to “The Lion King.”

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Shevenge (2019)

In this anthology inspired by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, producer Staci Layne Wilson brings together a dozen shorts with themes and content about abuses of power, sexual abuse, and issues affecting women in particular. The stories range from a woman in therapy to a ghost attacking men in a public restroom. Here the shorts all contain storylines that will make viewers think with styles that entertain, scare, and even amuse. The talent in this anthology is of high quality and some of the shorts will be familiar those film festival regulars.

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Interview with Antonio Pantoja, Director of “One Must Fall”

Antonio Pantoja is an acclaimed artist, photographer, and man of many skills who has just completed “One Must Fall.” Now premiering in various festivals around America and garnering various accolades, Pantoja’s horror comedy slasher is making waves, and Emilie Black took time from his busy schedule to ask about his career and love of film.

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Millennium Actress (Sennen joyû) (2001)

Satoshi Kon’s contribution to the animation medium was nothing short of absolutely breathtaking, as the director created films that blurred the lines of fantasy and reality and placed great emphases on the feminine energy. After the mind blowing “Perfect Blue,” Kon delivered what is arguably one of the best animated films ever conceived. Now bring granted a limited run in theaters nationwide, “Millennium Actress” is a wonderful experience you have to see for yourself, as it’s stunning, and absolutely surprising in the way Kon celebrates the adventure that is life.

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Five Great Movies You Can Watch in lieu of “The Hunt”

Universal Studios pulled a very controversial and polarizing move recently by pulling their survival thriller “The Hunt” from its release schedule amidst the recent mass shootings, once again proving that Hollywood just doesn’t get it. In either case while many folks (me included) were excited for the film and are now angered at its being pulled and most likely shelved indefinitely, I thought I’d recommend five great films in the vein of “The Hunt.”

Films (and media) revolving around men hunting other men and or people have been in the medium since the silent era. I even read “The Most Dangerous Game” from 1924 by writer Richard Connell back in 1998 for high school. Here are merely five of dozens of great films in this sub-sub-genre.

What are some of your favorites in this ilk? Let Me Know.

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

“Stories Hurt. Stories Heal.”

Although “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” has gone down considerably well with audiences it might remain one of the most misunderstood movies of the year. The original books from Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell were compilations of urban legends, urban folklore, and original tales, the former of which had been shared for generations by many people. They began life as morality stories and then became campfire tales. Sure André Øvredal could have turned the books in to a normal anthology, but in the end he opts for something of more substance. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is about stories. The stories of the past. The stories we tell one another. The stories the characters tell each other to survive. The stories that can ultimately destroy us.

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