Focus Features Celebrates 30 Years of ‘Dazed and Confused’

dazed and confused 30Focus Features is commemorating the 30th anniversary of Richard Linklater’s critically acclaimed cult classic, DAZED AND CONFUSED, with a series of exclusive events and celebrations in honor of the beloved film’s enduring impact on cinema and culture today. Written and directed by Richard Linklater and originally released in September 1993, DAZED AND CONFUSED explores the last day of school—and one wild night—in the lives of high school students in 1976. The film features a stacked ensemble cast including Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and Anthony Rapp among many others. Anniversary celebrations first commenced in April timed to 4/20 when Focus hosted more than 100 anniversary screenings at theaters in major cities across the U.S, including Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Austin, Washington DC, and New York City.

The DAZED fun will continue with a weekend of activity at San Diego Comic Con from July 20-23, including an immersive pop-up at the Interactive Zone where fans can purchase exclusive anniversary merch (only available at the Con), photo-opps featuring iconic scenes from the film, and themed giveaways. Fans can also relive the film through three separate screenings on Friday, July 21, Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23 at the Digital Gym Cinema in downtown San Diego. During the Con, convention attendees can also enter a special sweepstakes to win a trip to Austin, TX, the film’s iconic setting, for a special DAZED reunion-filled weekend. The Criterion Collection’s 4K UHD DAZED AND CONFUSED Blu-Ray will also be available for purchase on site.

Additionally, Focus is partnering with Vidiots, L.A.’s legendary video store and film hub, recently relaunched at the historic Eagle Theatre, for a special DAZED AND CONFUSED takeover featuring two screenings in Vidiots’ newly renovated 271-seat, state-of-the-art cinema on Saturday, July 29th Fans attending screenings will be treated to a special commemorative movie poster as well as several DAZED-themed giveaways. Beer, wine, and munchies will be available for fans all day in Vidiots’ spacious lobby bar. Tickets for the Vidiots’ “Dazed Day” are on sale now.

DAZED Celebrations will culminate in a jam-packed cast reunion weekend in partnership with Austin Film Society on Sept 16th and 17th in Austin, TX. Kicking off on Saturday, September 16, the Round Rock Express will host a Dazed and Confused anniversary themed baseball game with exclusive merchandise, a pre-game panel discussion with members of the film’s cast and a first pitch thrown by Linklater. Then on Sunday, September 17, the Waterloo Greenway will present a special outdoor screening of the film at the Moody Amphitheater followed by a Q&A with Linklater and select cast. Tickets and more information about these Austin Film Society events can be found here. Exclusive DAZED AND CONFUSED anniversary merch will also be available for purchase through the Focus Features online store beginning July 24th.


Review: 1974 Horror Classic “The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue” Makes A Topical Comeback

By Armando Inquig

1974-Classic-Horror-The-Living-Dead-At-Manchester-Morgue by Armando Inquig“The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue”, a film that emerged during the wave of zombie films in the early to mid 70s following the success of George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” is truly a hidden horror gem.

Directed by Jorge Grau, the film is somewhat a departure from traditional zombie lore. It injects social commentary and ecological themes, and highlights the dangers of industrialization and the exploitation of the environment. The message is subtle, but the plot is layered with political and philosophical subtext, atypical for a zombie movie of that time.

The film follows George (played by Ray Lovelock), a London-based antique dealer, traveling to the countryside. Along the way, he meets Edna (Cristina Galbó), who is on her way to visit her sister. Their paths cross inadvertently when Edna backs her car into George’s motorcycle and damaging it. Given his situation, George requests Edna to give him a lift. ‘It’s the least you can do,’ George says sarcastically.

As they travel through the countryside, they begin to notice strange occurrences, such as dead animals and machines that appears to be causing ecological damage. They soon encounter a group of aggressive zombies, but manage to escape and seek help. However the local police, led by Sergeant McCormick (played by Arthur Kennedy), are skeptical of George and Edna’s claims of a zombie outbreak.

Meanwhile, a scientist (played by Ángel del Pozo) is conducting experiments involving ultrasonic radiation, which he believes can be used to stimulate plant growth. But his experiments have unintended consequences, as they seem to be reanimating the dead and causing them to become violent zombies.

This outbreak later intensifies, George and Edna team up to navigate the treacherous terrain and confront not only the zombies but also the police who stayed on their tail.

Throughout the movie, the tension between the young protagonists and the establishment’s old guard is palpable, underscoring the generational conflict of the 1970s. In one memorable and humorous scene, George utters “Heil Hitler”, mocking the overbearing and authoritarian police officer, and highlighting the film’s willingness to engage with political satire.

The cast delivers solid performances, particularly Ray Lovelock as the rebellious George and Cristina Galbó as the innocent Edna; their character dynamic initially full of annoyance and sarcasm, eventually turning into a deep bond through their shared adventure until the tragic end.

The cinematography is gritty and atmospheric. The makeup and special effects are impressive considering the film’s modest budget. The zombies are grotesque, with enough gore to satisfy genre fans. The film is patient in its pacing and allows characterizations to build up. The score by Giuliano Sorgini is haunting and atmospheric, with eerie synth melodies.

Overall, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is a standout, albeit under-appreciated, horror film that is thought-provoking and thrilling that make it a true classic of the genre.

“The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue”, also known as “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie” and “Don’t Open the Window,” is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.


Ignite Films To Release New 4K Restoration Of The Sci-Fi Classic “Invaders From Mars”

IGNITE FILMS TO RELEASE 4K RESTORATION INVADERS FROM MARSJan Willem Bosman Jansen of Ignite Films acquires and restores Classics for the Future, as their motto says. Ignite Films is set to release a sensational new 4K restoration of the sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars in all its terrifying color, just in time for its 70th anniversary. Fearful memories of this timeless 1953 bone-chiller still haunt the dreams of fans who have never forgotten the story of a young boy (Jimmy Hunt) who witnesses an alien invasion.

The newly restored version of Invaders From Mars will have its first public showcase screening at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood on April 23. Jimmy Hunt will be in attendance at the TCM Classic Film Festival screening.

Pre-orders for the 4K UHD Blu-ray launched in the United States on opening day of the TCM Festival, April 21, with a special limited (1,000) bundle which includes an autographed mini-poster signed by the film’s star Jimmy Hunt. The newly restored 4K UHD Blu-ray of Invaders from Mars will be released by Ignite Films worldwide in Fall 2022. Arrow Video will release in the UK. The Big Pieces Company is supporting the release in the US and overseeing international sales.

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Review: Hitchcock’s “Notorious”; Romance Amidst Espionage

By Armando Inquig

Notorious film 1946 Armando Inquig
Released in 1946, “Notorious” stands as one of the quintessential masterpieces in Alfred Hitchcock’s filmography.

A melding of suspense, romance, and espionage, the film is frequently cited for its narrative depth and cinematic techniques. Over the decades, “Notorious” has cemented its place as classic cinema and its influence in countless other films.

Set in the aftermath of World War II, the story centers around Alicia Huberman, the German-American daughter of a recently convicted Nazi spy. Approached by the American intelligence agent T.R. Devlin, Alicia agrees to use her connections to infiltrate a group of Nazis residing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As Alicia and Devlin venture into their mission, a complicated romance blossoms between them, adding tension to their covert operation.

This dynamic is shown early in the film in a well-known intimate kissing scene between Alicia and Devlin, cleverly directed by Hitchcock that it circumvents the conservative norms of its time. This subtly reflects the film’s defiance of film-making conventions at the time, while also deepening the romantic subplot.

Alicia’s former acquaintance with a Nazi sympathizer, Alex Sebastian, becomes a crucial part in their assignment, and she is tasked to rekindle their past relationship, something that strains her developing romance with Devlin.

While navigating their mission, Alicia discovers a sinister plot: the Nazis are concealing uranium ore in wine bottles with intentions to construct atomic weapons. Sebastian later uncovers Alicia’s true allegiance and together with his mother, he orchestrates a plan to slowly poison Alicia.

Devlin, sensing something wrong, unravels the plot and rescues Alicia. The film reaches a climax with Devlin exposing Sebastian in front of his Nazi compatriots, leaving him to face the repercussions of inadvertently harboring an American spy.

The film is a cinematic reflection of its immediate post-World War II setting, delving into the aftermath of Nazi influences and the global tension of its time, and highlights the era’s political anxieties and the growing Cold War climate.

But at its core, “Notorious” isn’t just about espionage or World War II politics; it’s a love story interwoven with themes of trust, betrayal, and redemption. The relationship between Alicia and Devlin is complicated; he loves her but is torn by the compromising position he’s placed her in, while she constantly seeks his trust and validation.

Previously available only on DVD, The Criterion Collection has now released Notorious on blu-ray in 4K digital restoration. The released comes with audio commentaries featuring film historian Rudy Behlmer and Alfred Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane.


Film Review: The Struggle And Hope In “The Bicycle Thieves”

By Armando Inquig

In “The Bicycle Thieves,” the harrowing reality of post-war Italy is laid bare. Released during a time of economic hardship in 1948, the film reflects the stark reality of the ruins of war. Directed by Vittorio De Sica, “The Bicycle Thieves” is a cornerstone of Italian neorealism, and often cited as one of the best films ever made.

The film follows Antonio Ricci, luckless yet optimistic in post-war Rome. Antonio is an unemployed man desperate for work to support his family. His fortunes seemingly improve when he lands a job that requires a bicycle for posting advertising bills. His wife, Maria, pawns their bed linen to retrieve their pawned bicycle, and Antonio starts work, filled with renewed hope.

However, while at work, hoisting an advertising up a ladder, Antonio’s bicycle is snatched by a man. He chases the thief but loses him in the busy urban sprawl. Antonio, along with his son Bruno, then sets out to search for the bicycle, which sets off a series of misadventures.

Their search leads them through various districts of Rome, and its economic and social diversity. They visit a market where stolen goods are, but they don’t find the bicycle. Desperation soon sets in as Antonio’s hope starts to dwindle. They encounter an old man who might know the thief’s whereabouts. After a confrontation in a church, they follow the suspect to his neighborhood, Antonio accuses the man, but the suspect is released by the police as there is no proof.

As Antonio and Bruno navigate the city, the day wanes and with it Antonio’s virtues. In a moment of utter despair, he attempts to steal a bicycle himself. He is caught and humiliated in front of a crowd and, most importantly, in front of his son Bruno. The owner, seeing father and son’s distress, chooses not to press charges, and they are released.

“The Bicycle Thieves” culminates with Antonio and Bruno walking hand in hand, swallowed by the crowd, their future as uncertain as when the day began. The bicycle, and the hope it represented, remains lost to them.

De Sica’s portrayal of Antonio’s plight, his fallibility under the shadow of poverty, reflects a universal struggle against societal indifference. “The Bicycle Thieves” is a poignant depiction of the human condition, a narrative that reaches beyond the constraints of time and place to echo the enduring spirit and trials of humanity.

The Criterion Collection has recently released Bicycle Thieves in Blu-ray earlier this year. The 4K digital restoration is a special edition release that includes the previously released documentary from 2003 on screenwriter and longtime De Sica collaborator Cesare Zavattini, directed by Carlo Lizzani.