Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

ROTKTGood God, it’s usually around the fifth movie in a horror series where the writers start poking fun at themselves, not the first sequel. John Astin is a mad professor named Gangreen who is secretly engineering tomatoes to be able to transform in to humans set to various genres of music, and plans to unleash another invasion on the world. Ten years after the events of “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” tomatoes are outlawed and anyone that is found with them is arrested. So naturally the big joke centerpiece of the film is that we follow a young pizza delivery man named Chad who helps operate a pizza place that uses every ingredient except tomato sauce.

Chad, who constantly makes deliveries to Gangreen’s mansion, is in love with his assistant Tara, who happens to be a tomato. When Tara escapes Gangreen’s clutches due to him attempting to kill a fuzzy tomato mutant, Tara seeks Chad’s help. Meanwhile Gangreen goes looking for her with his muscle bound killer tomato commandoes. “Return of the Killer Tomatoes” is one of the very few meta-science fiction comedy spoofs that sometimes don’t even seem to try to tell a story. It’s a movie so tight on budget that there are never actually any rampaging killer tomatoes here. This is more a romantic comedy with a Frankenstein twist involving a killer tomato that can turn in to a hot woman, who begins falling in love with a normal pizza delivery man.

It’s almost like tuning in to watch “Friday the 13th” and only see people talk about Jason Voorhees, and never actually seeing him on screen at any point. “Return of the Killer Tomatoes” spends a lot of time spoofing its own premise that it never actually takes the time out to unfold a narrative. That doesn’t make the film terrible, but it does hinder any efforts director John De Bello has to aspire toward the comedic lengths of “Airplane!” Characters break the fourth wall, co-star George Clooney breaks character, and there’s even a gag involving product placement. It comes out of nowhere and is blatantly tacked on, but it is quite a funny segue, all things considered.

Every cast member works in different wave lengths in the film, with Starke playing his character as goofy as possible, while Clooney is mostly a straight man who tries tongue in cheek comedy every now and then. Astin is nearly loses teeth chewing the scenery, and his comically uneven turn is quite the attraction. “Return of the Killer Tomatoes” could very easily have been an awful film, but its sheer relentless absurdity and embracing of its low budget compensates for the fact that there aren’t really any killer tomatoes in the film.

Along with a reversible slip cover, there’s also a new interview with star Anthony Starke, who discusses his experiences working with George Clooney. True to form, Clooney was a prankster on set, and the pair had a good time partying. There’s a two minute still gallery, the original theatrical trailer, and a thirty second TV Spot. Finally, there’s a brand new audio commentary with writer and director John De Bello who, with host Michael Felsher, discusses his history with the movie series, and how he went about making the film on such a miniscule budget. This is an informative commentary with some fun anecdotes.

Tomorrowland (2015)


Brad Bird is certainly a fun storyteller filled with ideas about science fiction that’s a welcome break from the normal grim and grit of the modern era, I just wish “Tomorrowland” were a masterpiece. If not, I wish it were more than mediocre. As it is there’s a great movie somewhere in the script, there’s just too much narrative and disjointed writing to really see it rise to the surface and hit a home run. “Tomorrowland” is one of the more entertaining messes of the year. It’s a film that doesn’t introduce its heroine until thirty minutes in to the movie, and completely cuts her out of the equation in the finale. “Tomorrowland” is not a bad movie by any means, it’s just the writing is so scatterbrain and haphazard, I couldn’t really appreciate the whole shebang, in the end; which is sad, because I certainly wanted to love “Tomorrowland.”

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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)


 Not surprisingly, when long time film making pals Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to make a horror movie, in the end it felt like two different movies. For folks unaware of the duo’s style of writing and film making, the second half will completely blow away anyone entrenched in the crime drama that is the first half of the film. “From Dusk Till Dawn” begins like a hyper violent take off of “Reservoir Dogs.” Seth Gecko and his brother Richie have broken out of jail leaving a trail of bodies behind, and are now hiding out in a gas station. Just their luck a sheriff comes in to chat with the owner, and thanks to a series of mishaps, Seth and Richie leave the gas station and its workers dead in a hail of gunfire and flames.

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Welcome to Collinwood (2002)


Coming across as a pseudo “The Sting” except with much more comedy, five lowlife criminals discover the ultimate heist and decide to pull it off, but discover it’s not as glorious as it may be. This is hilarious. I have never laughed so hard in a modern comedy as I have with this; most of the antics reminded me of an “I Love Lucy” episode from the incident in the funhouse, to the water filled sewer, to when they have to cross the heated pipe and carnage ensues, this is hilarious. Director/writer team Anthony Russo and Joe Russo create fresh and original comedy out of a typical plot for a movie that could have easily fumbled into bad territory.

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