Apart from farfetched clones and spoofs of the James Bond films, or television shows ranging from animation to puppets to live-action girls with nice bouncy boobies about, there aren't a whole heck of a lot of noticeable titles falling under the heading of "spy-fy" in the world. We can fathom the sight of 007 driving an invisible car, or kids and talking animals preventing world domination. We are also able to accept comic book superheroes and space travelers in galaxies far, far away embarking on dangerous missions of intrigue with a straight face ‒ as such titles tend to be
An offbeat, seldom-seen British spy-fi offering goes HD courtesy the efforts of Kino Lorber.
Give this a read, you numbskulls.
To let you in on a little behind-the-scenes action here at Cinema Sentries, me and boss-man Gordon spent some time tossing around ideas on what to call this new series. The idea for the series sprang from the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. At the end of each show, everyone in that week’s panel talks about something from pop culture that’s been making them happy. It's always my favorite segment and I love the concept of finding things both big and small that bring you joy and sharing that with whoever will listen. The idea of doing something similar
Without a doubt, I highly recommend seeing this movie,
In a Bronx Catholic church, a year after Kennedy’s assassination, recently arrived Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) gives a sermon about doubt. Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), principal of the church’s school, is intrigued by the sermon’s origin, because it comes from somewhere, and she suggests to her fellow Sisters of Charity to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Sister James (Amy Adams) notices a seemingly unusual closeness between Father Flynn and Donald Miller, an altar boy and the school’s only black student. During her class, Donald is called to the rectory to meet Father Flynn. Upon his return, Donald
The retrospective offers hours of entertainment.
Press release: A celebrated actress who has been honored with over 160 international awards - including three Academy Awards - over her four-decade-long film career, Meryl Streep was recently proclaimed "overrated" (via Twitter...) by the soon-to-be leader of the free world. The Frida Cinema invites you to decide for yourself: is it possible that the woman who gave cinema such unforgettable characters as traumatized Polish immigrant Sophie Zawistowski, globally-vilified Australian mother Lindy Chamberlain, complex crusading nun Sister Aloysius, and dead-but-not-really aging Broadway legend Madeline Ashton has been, all along, nothing more than an "overrated Hillary flunky?" Has Meryl Streep been
What life is about: music, food, movies.
April sees the release of four new titles from the Criterion Collection. They are Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club, George Stevens’ Woman of the Year, Juzo Itami's Tampopo, and Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish. And on April 11, Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort get new stand-alone editions. Read on to learn more about them. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (#716) out Apr 11 An angelically beautiful Catherine Deneuve was launched into stardom by this glorious musical heart-tugger from Jacques Demy. She plays an umbrella-shop owner’s delicate daughter, glowing with first love for a
This week brings us a girl on a train, a fox and his friends, plus Aaron Paul, Jon Hamm, and many others.
I was never much of a reader growing up. I would read whatever was assigned to me at school but I much preferred to watch TV or play video games than read. I was about 15 when Silence of the Lambs hit theaters. My brother and his then-girlfriend saw it on a date and raved about it. With their nudging, and promises that it wasn’t too graphic, my mother allowed me to see it. I loved it. I must have talked about it nonstop because that Christmas my mother bought me the book. I loved it too and with it
A safe bet for silent-film fans.
Based on the novel Dr Mabuse by Norbert Jacques, Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler is a two-part crime epic by legendary German film director Fritz Lang, and is the first in a trilogy that includes The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) and The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960). Running 270 minutes, the film, which was originally released in two parts, comes across nowadays like a TV miniseries, as the villainous Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) attempts to stay ahead of state prosecutor Norbert von Wenk (Bernhard Goetzke) in this captivating thriller. The Kino Classics Blu-ray presents the film on two discs. The
Oh, what a feeling to watch it on the big screen.
On December 28 of last year, at the age of 84 actress Debbie Reynolds died, just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed. In honor of Ms. Reynolds, TCM in conjunction with Fathom Events has brought one of the world’s great musicals, Singing’ in the Rain, back to the big screen. My wife and I were able to go to a screening on Sunday and it was as wonderful as expected. In the early '50s, MGM assigned producer Arthur Freed and writers Betty Comdon and Adolph Green to make a film featuring a bunch of songs the studio already
Highlights from the week ahead.
This week at TCM the highlights include civil-rights documentaries, Golden Globe-winning director Damien Chazelle programming a night, and evenings focused on The Saint, star-of-the-month Jane Wyman and the Stars Behind Bars spotlight. Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963) Monday, January 16 at 12:00 a.m. (ET) President John F. Kennedy and his brother work to get two black students enrolled at the University of Alabama. TCM Spotlight: Stars Behind Bars - Jailhouse Rock (1957) Tuesday, January 17 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) After learning to play the guitar in prison, a young man becomes a rock 'n' roll sensation. Guest Programmer: Damien
No matter what the news tells you, there's lots of awesome things happening all around.
It is universally acknowledged that 2016 sucked. The world of entertainment and art lost an unimaginable number of talented creators. Early in the year, we lost Prince and near its end our Princess. Star Wars lost its lovable Droid, the rebooted Star Trek its Chekov. Our favorite TV mom from the '70s passed and soon there after went the best dad of the '80s. Ziggy Stardust fell from Earth and with him Leonard Cohen, too. Professor Snape will never cast a spell again and Willy Wonka’s chocolates are all gone. The list goes on and on. The width and breadth
Heeeeeeere's a lot of Johnny, a little Jerry, and, well...the good, the bad, and yada yada yada.
It’s great that Time Life is finding new ways to market The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson by releasing the new series Johnny and Friends. The first installment to hit retail shelves on January 10, 2017 features Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late. With The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson running nightly on Antenna TV and Time Life making virtually everything “Johnny” available, it’s not too surprising that the average consumer might expect a bit more here than simply three episodes featuring appearances by Jerry Seinfeld. Perhaps you could have given us some bonus features. Some commentary by
With 2016 at its long overdue close, it's time for me to tell you what I considered the best releases in the world of comics and graphic novels.
It felt like a dumpster fire kind of year, but let me tell you - it was a delightful year for comics. Just think about it: DC launched its Rebirth title, which was wildly successful and one of the most popular single issues to date. On the other hand, we had the controversial Civil War II from Marvel. That event has mixed feelings across the board, and no one seems to be able to decide if it was actually that good (or helpful). As for me, 2016 was a year of discovering comics creators that I loved and watching them
Honoring the authors of printed works alongside the screenwriters who adapt their stories.
Press release: The USC Libraries have named the finalists for the 29-annual USC Libraries Scripter Award. Since 1988, Scripter has honored the authors of printed works alongside the screenwriters who adapt their stories. Last year, the USC Libraries inaugurated a new Scripter award, for television adaptation.The television and film finalists compete in separate categories for their own Scripter award. The finalist writers for film are, in alphabetical order by film title: Screenwriter Eric Heisserer for Arrival, adapted from the novella “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang August Wilson for the play and screenplay of Fences Screenwriters Allison Schroeder and
Rush says a farewell to fans.
When Rush was preparing and touring for R40, their 40th anniversary tour, it was frequently suggested in the press that it might be their last. The band members didn't come out and say so directly, but they responded to the possibility in interviews. It turns out they knew more than they let on as made clear in Time Stand Still, a documentary about what is now revealed to be their final tour. The film was screened in theaters in conjunction with Fathom Events, a second date was added because of the huge demand, and is available in different home-video formats.
This week brings us a comedy classic, a classic of the French New Wave, a holistic detective, and much more.
I can’t even remember the first time I saw His Girl Friday. It was high school, probably, or maybe on a trip home from college. I watched it with with my mother I’m pretty sure. Whenever, wherever it was, I immediately loved it. I’ve seen it a good dozen times since then and love it even more now. It gives me great pleasure to show the film off to those who haven’t seen it and watch them discover one of the great comedies of all time. The film stars Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as two hard-nosed reporters who were
An extremely interesting read and even if you never cook anything from it, it is still a worthy purchase for Fannibals.
Hannibal was one of the most beautiful yet disturbing shows I have ever seen. One of the most beautiful aspects of the show was Hannibal's food creations made from his victims. Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur's Cookbook was created by Janice Poon, the show's food stylist. The recipes offered in the cookbook are not for the novice chef. While being gorgeous, most are pretty complicated requiring patience and perhaps some cooking lessons.The cookbook is broken into the following chapters: "At Home with Hannibal", which offers tools and techniques; "Breakfast"; "Appetizers"; "Mains - Meat"; "Mains - Fish and Vegetarian"; "Soups; Salads and
Go ahead, give it a face-hug.
The movie Aliens turned 30 recently, and there are rumblings of another movie in the Alien universe in the works, so there's no better time to go back and see what went into making one of the most iconic films in the franchise and in sci-fi as a whole. Aliens: The Set Photography by Simon Ward from Titan Books walks through every aspect of production and filming from pre-production casting and behind-the-scenes shots to walkthroughs of every major sequence of the film, how weapons and props were built, how aliens and other creature constructs were produced and animated...it's very comprehensive
What are you watching this week?
This week sees the Stars Behind Bars TCM Spotlight continue with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in Papillon and another night of of programming devoted to Star-of-the Month Jane Wyman. Links are included to films we've covered. Some Like It Hot (1959) Monday, January 9 at 11:00 p.m. (ET) Two musicians on the run from gangsters masquerade as members of an all-girl band. [Review] TCM Spotlight: Stars Behind Bars - Papillon (1973) Tuesday, January 10 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Two Devil's Island prisoners devote all of their time to hatching escape plans. Psycho (1960) Wednesday, January 11 at 8:00 p.m.
24-Hour programming tribute to include Singin’ In The Rain, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and The Tender Trap.
Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of legendary actress Debbie Reynolds, the vivacious actress, singer and dancer who entertained audiences in musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) with a 24-hour film tribute on Friday, January, 27. Reynolds, who passed away Wednesday, Dec. 28 at the age of 84, became a sensation after starring with legendary hoofers Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the immortal MGM musical Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and received her only Oscar nomination for playing th e title role in The Unsinkable
Time Life has released The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series comes available as a single disc release (2 shows), a 3-disc collector's set (6 shows + nearly an hour of bonus features), a 6-disc collector's set (12 shows + two hours of exclusive extras) and a 12-disc deluxe edition collector's set (24 shows + over 4 hours of exclusive extras). The 6-disc set was made available for review and appears to be the back half of the 12-disc set, as they are labeled Disc 7 through 12. Disc 7 is entitled “Streak Week from March 1974”
Clint Walker is a commanding, comforting presence on screen.
The Night of the Grizzly tells the story of "Big Jim" Cole (Clint Walker), a former lawman, who along with his family plan to make a new life for themselves in Wyoming on ranch land Jim has inherited. Not only does he have to contend with wealthy rancher Jed Curry (Keenan Wynn), who used to own the property and wants it back, but also a bear named Satan that is terrorizing the area by killing animals. The bear causes so much damage Curry puts up a reward. Jim desparately needs the money but the bounty brings to town Cass (Leo
The 2016 sequel to the '99 shock hit tries to update the original's formula, but to much diminished effect.
Ambiguity is a central attribute to satisfying horror movies (I write "satisfying" because, if the box office is any indication, playing really loud noises every couple of minutes is the key to a successful horror movie). For a horror movie to get under your skin, you have to engage with it and that means, on some level, trying to figure out just what the heck is really going on. The Blair Witch Project, for all it did to foist the found-footage filmmaking style upon us, had ambiguity in spades. What this (comparatively) big-budget sequel, titled simply Blair Witch, demonstrates is
Documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge chronicles the devastation leveled on New Orleans and its musical community after Hurricane Katrina.
Unless you live in New Orleans or know someone who does, you might not have paid much attention to its reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. Robert Mugge’s documentary, New Orleans Music in Exile, focuses on the lives of the city’s musicians in the aftermath of the hurricane, and how they dealt with the destruction of their homes, clubs, and livelihoods. Filmed by Mugge in 2005 and 2006, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Music in Exile chronicles the devastation leveled on New Orleans and its musical community firsthand. Musicians give the filmmaker a tour of their ravaged homes and businesses. Irma
This week brings us a sequel no one was asking for, a trip into outer space, Holocaust deniers getting their day in court, and some girls.
It's difficult now to imagine a time when every movie didn’t have its own social media team. Or when there weren’t dozens of websites dedicated to promoting every single aspect of a film months before it made it to a movie screen. But in 1999, that was very much the case. The World Wide Web had been around for a little while, it was becoming a huge force in our daily lives. It had grown out of its infancy and was now into its adolescence trying to figure out what it was going to be. Movie studios didn’t know what
How many shows do their top-11 lists share?
In which Shawn and Kim take a look back at the brilliant storytelling shows from 2016. Shawn: If T&A is good at one thing, it's recognizing good and bad TV. Sometimes, those two things are all wrapped into one show. The end of the year is when I usually finish clearing out the DVR and assessing what shows will stay on the list and which ones need to be deleted to make room to try some new things. This is the Golden Age of television. It's probably more likely to call it the Golden Age of the Serial Story. The
The Driller Killer plays like a Taxi Driver knock-off whose arthouse ambitions are overcome by its need to fill grindhouse seats.
The Driller Killer is known mostly for being Abel Ferrara’s directorial debut (if one discounts 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy, the hard-core porno he helmed three years prior) and for being one of first films put on England’s notorious Video Nasties list. I first came across it in a bootleg DVD shop in Shanghai. It was one of the few places I’d found in that city that carried art-house, classics, and other oddball films. The title alone had me curious and that scandalous cover featuring a blood-soaked face being punctured by an electric drill made me want to watch
An impressive miniseries that sheds light on a significant event in American history.
FX's true-crime anthology television series American Crime Story has set a high standard for its duration because its first season, The People v. O.J. Simpson, was critically acclaimed and won nine Emmy Awards including three for acting, one for writing, and for Outstanding Limited Series. Based on Jeffrey Toobin's book, The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson (1997), the TV series takes viewers behind the scenes during one of the most notable trials of the twentieth century, though what is factual and what has dramatized is not made clear. The series opens with news footage of
An evening of Road pictures with Hope and Crosby is a main highlight for the week.
In addition to a new month and a new year, January brings with it a new Spotlight (Stars Behind Bars), a new Star-of-the-Month (Jane Wyman), and a new Guest Programmer (Warren Beatty). East of Eden (1955) Monday, January 2 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Two brothers compete for their father's approval and a woman's love. TCM Spotlight: Stars Behind Bars - Brute Force (1947) Tuesday, January 3 at 10:15 p.m. (ET) Tough, disgruntled prisoners plan a daring, possibly bloody escape while on a drain pipe detail. Co-host: Warren Beatty - Heaven Can Wait (1978) Wednesday, January 4 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Oliver Stone plays it straight with the surprisingly subtle, subdued, and nuanced docu-drama Snowden.
Oliver Stone has a well-documented history of adapting real-life historical events into films that often thread a finely woven, but shadowy web of conspiracy and paranoia that dares the audience to question what is actually real and what is more likely theatrically imagined. In movies like JFK and Nixon, Stone has also occasionally displayed a tendency to play somewhat loose with the factual record, perhaps most notably with his - how shall we say? - "interesting" recounting of the Jim Morrison story in The Doors, parts of which were openly disputed by the surviving band members themselves. With Edward Snowden,
A literary display of the origins of horror in film, harkening back to terrors from our past.
Dracula, Frankenstein, the Phantom of the Opera: all members of the classic horror era that continues to haunt and inspire film to this day. In his novel Only the Dead Know Burbank, Bradford Tatum explains a history in which all of these were inspired by one little girl. The story is a first-person account tracing the short life and long afterlife of a Bavarian girl who lurks in the shadows of history and serves as something of a midwife, if not true mother, of the horror cinematic genre. Tatum is rich in his telling of setting, first illustrating the narrator’s
An often fascinating, but equally frustrating study of the guitarist and songwriter, once spoken of in the same breath as guitar-Gods like Clapton, Page, and Hendrix.
If you know your rock history, you know that before there was the soft-rock hit machine of Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac, there was "the other Fleetwood Mac," a much different sounding animal (and then some) than the one you most likely remember now. During a brief, three-year stretch that ran from roughly 1968 through about 1970, the British blues-rock band known first as Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac (before dropping the Green name at his own request), recorded three well-received albums, including the classic Then Play On. But then, just as they seemed on the threshold of a Led Zeppelin sized breakthrough
This box has such sights to show you.
Bringing back 1980s horror is all the rage lately. It's hard to swing a dead cat without hitting reboots of Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Friday the 13th, throwbacks like Hatchet, or parodies like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and Cabin in the Woods. It's about time Clive Barker's longest-running and most recognizable franchise enjoyed some of the limelight again. However, where the Nightmare and Friday box sets include every film in their respective franchises, no matter how critically revered or panned they were, The Scarlet Box includes only the first three Hellraiser flicks, which are generally considered the
Susan Hayward, Anthony Perkins, Tony Curtis, and Shelley Winters commit killer performances in this assortment of murderous movies.
As it has been stated time and time again, the only two things we can be certain of in life are death and taxes. Onscreen, however, within the magical realms of cinematic art (where applicable), the subject of taxation ‒ with the notable exception of various legends hailing from Loxley and perhaps a song by The Beatles ‒ is one of the dullest subjects to spend your money on. Death, on the other hand, is a timeless and bankable topic. Few people would take note of a newspaper headline reading "Taxes Paid" (unless it's a politician or religious leader), but
Gould's writing over the 18 months collected here is entertaining and the art remains first rate.
As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 20 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from February 20, 1961 through to August 26, 1962. The book has an introductory essay, Max Allan Collins' "Fate Does Funny Things" about the strips collected and about Gould "dealing with the changing times" of the '60s, and concludes with Jeff Kersten's "Echoes" about efforts to expand Dick Tracy into television. There is also a corrected version of the February 28, 1960 Sunday strip from the previous volume. Volume 20 begins with the
Twilight Time brings us the most famous filmic Melville adaptation of all, lovingly restored to match the original theatrical presentation.
Obsession seems to abound every aspect of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, from its initial published parable right down to its most famous film adaptation, right down to John Huston's 1956 cinematic version, wherein most of the obsession was to be found on the other side of the camera. With as feverish of a desire to capture the legendary white whale as was Melville's main antagonist, Mr. Huston tried (unsuccessfully) to acquire financial backing for his little pet project over the course of several years before finally finding a source of salvation in Pink Panther producer Walter Mirisch and his brothers. Thus,
An engrossing and thoughtfully revealing portrait of an American cinema master.
The great Sidney Lumet (1924-2011) was an American original, a genius storyteller, and a quintessential New York filmmaker whose versatile gifts created some of the greatest films ever made, including 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network among others. However, as amazing as he was, he is still highly underrated in film circles today. Award-winning filmmaker Nancy Buirski's enlightening documentary, By Sidney Lumet, gives viewers a chance to see the master himself in a new light, a light that should continue to shine over film history. This portrait with Lumet himself, which was filmed three years before his
This week brings us Oliver Stone's take on a whistleblower, Ethan Hawke committing violence, teenagers cruising around the country and more
Turn on the news and you are bound to hear any number of stories about computer hacking of some sort. Whether it's Hillary Clinton’s e-mails (and Russia’s potential involvement) or some celebrity having their private photos released publicly, there is no escaping that we live in a world governed by our technological devices and increasingly made vulnerable by them. It used to be easy to write off those who lived in fear of what technology might bring. Back in the '80s, we used to laugh at my grandfather who would rant about how the government was spying on us through
Other highlights include David Bowie on Cher, an all-day Hondo marathon, and more.
Press release: getTV kicks off a new year of classic films and rare series, with a January lineup offering heartfelt tributes, new programming additions, and more—airing in primetime, all month long. The roster is headlined by a month-long Cher double-shot, featuring appearances by David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, and Carol Burnett; and also includes Sally Field in the 1973 sitcom THE GIRL WITH SOMETHING EXTRA; Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson in the 1976 Western series THE QUEST; Richard Burgi in the 1996 sci-fi hit THE SENTINEL; an all-day HONDO marathon; a Sunday night Tom Selleck birthday block; stunts starring Betty White,
If you don't have plans for New Year's Eve, you can spend it with the 'That's Entertainment" franchise.
The last week of 2016 on TCM begins with the post-apocalyptic On The Beach and ends with a day-long marathon of Alfred Hitchcock films. In between are nights featuring The Golden Years spotlight and star-of-the-month Myrna Loy. On The Beach (1959) Monday, December 26 at 12:00 a.m. (ET) After a nuclear war, U.S. sailors stationed in Australia deal with the end of civilization. TCM Spotlight: The Golden Years - Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Tuesday, December 27 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A young man about to be married discovers the two aunts who raised him have been poisoning lonely old
Highlights include a Godzilla Double Feature, a Samuel L. Jackson block, and stunts starring Kevin Costner, Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins, & Richard Pryor, among others.
Press release: Sony Movie Channel kicks off 2017 with an explosive January lineup full of action epics, creature features, classic comedies, award-winning dramas, and much more. This month’s roster includes Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in an EL MARIACHI three-pack; a monstrous Godzilla block; back-to-back Samuel L. Jackson thrillers; a night of laughs starring Cheech & Chong and Gene Wilder & Richard Pryor; and Johnny Depp and Al Pacino in DONNIE BRASCO, among others. THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY (1978)—Sun., January 1 at 7 p.m. ET Gary Busey delivers one of his finest performances, starring as rock n’ roll pioneer Buddy