If you come to HBO’s Watchmen limited series with a knowledge of the original comic book series and/or Zack Snyder’s 2009 movie, the most perplexing thing about the premiere episode is the heavy focus on racism, seemingly changing the entire nature of the original plot. In light of our current national turmoil, and on today's 99th anniversary of the actual Tulsa race massacre that serves as a starting point and touchstone for the series, it now stands as a more prescient creative choice than ever and a disturbing reminder of just how little has changed in the last century. While
Damon Lindeloff strikes gold with a seemingly impossible project.
This week we take a deep dive into Italian horror for my cool things.
I started this month planning to watch a bunch of movies from the late, great, Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. I did watch a couple of his films and started a couple of more but then I had to review a film noir collection and that put me on a noir roll. At the beginning of the month, I was still fighting slow internet speeds with more people being home due to Covid-19. The Criterion Channel seems to have more trouble than most streaming services with slow internet and since they were the only service hosting films with Mifune in them,
When We Were Kings Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Marvelous Time Capsule of Muhammad Ali in 1974
Criterion's inclusion of Soul Power makes this a must-own.
Leon Gast's When We Were Kings documents the "Rumble in the Jungle," the legendary boxing match between undefeated heavyweight champion George Foreman against former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. The bout took place in Zaire, Africa (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) on October 30, 1974, and became the world's most-watched live television broadcast at the time with an estimated one billion viewers worldwide. Gast spent two decades editing the film. Promoter Don King was involved in setting up the championship match as well as Zaire 74, a three-day music festival that featured James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, and a
Arrives with new special features, including new interviews with the directors and a Q&A recorded at Hollywood's Egyptian Theater.
Press release: A masterpiece of off-the-wall comedy, AIRPLANE! celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020 with a brand-new Blu-ray in the Paramount Presents line, as well as a limited edition Blu-ray Steelbook, both arriving on July 21, 2020 from Paramount Home Entertainment. Originally released in July of 1980, AIRPLANE! was a major hit and become a pop culture touchstone. Voted “one of the 10 funniest movies ever made” by the American Film Institute, the film continues to be widely referenced and quoted 40 years after its theatrical debut. The Paramount Presents Blu-ray and limited edition Steelbook each includes the newly remastered
Contains all 19 exhilarating episodes from Season Five, plus all-new special features.
Press release: Adventure awaits as one of TV’s favorite DC Super Heroes flies into homes with the release of Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season on Blu-ray and DVD on September 8, 2020 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Fans can purchase the sets which, in addition to all 19 super-powered episodes from season five, also contains The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2019, deleted scenes and a gag reel. A limited-edition bonus disc featuring all five DC Crossover Event Crisis on Infinite Earths episodes will be available exclusively for fans who purchase the Blu-ray. Supergirl: The Complete Fifth
The world’s most epic race against time continues.
Press release: The fate of the world is in their hands as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season on Blu-ray and DVD on September 22, 2020. Suit up for all 15 captivating one-hour episodes from the fifth season, plus enjoy the epic extra content including a post-production featurette, deleted scenes and a gag reel. A limited-edition bonus disc featuring all five DC Crossover Event Crisis on Infinite Earths episodes will be available exclusively for fans who purchase the Blu-ray. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season is priced to own at $24.98
If one enjoys deciphering riddles, as more than a few Dylanogists do, then Masked and Anonymous is worth examining.
“I stopped trying to figure everything out a long time ago” is the last line of dialogue in Masked and Anonymous. It is said through narration by musician Jack Fate (Bob Dylan, playing a variation of himself or not depending on the scene) while he rides away in a van after being framed for murder, a fate he and folks who witnessed what happened accept rather easily. While that may be sound advice for life, the line is disingenuous as the entire movie, written by Dylan and director Larry Charles (credited as Rene Fontaine and Sergei Petrov) is a collection
A collection of early shorts by the legendary Martin Scorsese headlines a new week of stellar releases.
As we all know, Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. His style, techinque, and craft have been imitated and influential since his 1967 debut, Who's That Knocking at My Door? However, he is also a truly gifted artist who became a major figure of the New Hollywood era during the late '60s and '70s, especially when he made short films during his time at NYU. The five shorts that accompy the release from Criterion, signify his artistic and innovative developments that would eventually lead to one of the most seminal and important directing
Benjamin Ree's documentary is a memorable, atypical tale of friendship, redemption, and solicitude.
Benjamin Ree’s The Painter and The Thief is a musing, contemplative portraiture of juxtaposing individuals, that captures the gentle deliquesce of dissimilitude between them. The Norwegian documentary finds its fons et origo in the pilfering of Barbora Kysilkova’s - the eponymous painter - paintings, and swiftly molds into a vignette of her relationship with Karl-Bertil Nordland, the thief. The film is neither about unearthing the whereabouts of the stolen painting, nor about finding the burglars involved in the subject. It pivots around the idea of empathizing with the adversary, trying to learn and apprehend the latter and his/her inducement, thereby
Enjoy some cool things I watched this week.
Every week, I tell myself that as soon as I watch or read or listen to something cool I am going to sit down and write a few paragraphs about it. Almost every week, I do not do this. If I were to do this, it would make writing this column so much easier. I could simply cut and paste the things I've already written into a new, combined document. Instead, I find myself rushing madly on the weekend to pull together coherent thoughts on five different things that I consumed days or even weeks before. One day, I might
Dramatic realism and genius character work make this brisk indie romance feel insightful.
Contrary to what the title may suggest, I Will Make You Mine is not some kind of twisted stalker thriller. While it is a story about love, it’s a meditative and subversive romance about dealing with the past, the present, and the future. The protagonist Goh (Goh Nakamura) in particular is one who grapples with this dilemma as he navigates his relationships with three women in his life. Rachel (Lynn Chen) is Goh’s old friend who tries reconnecting with him as she faces her husband’s infidelity. Meanwhile, Goh’s estranged wife Erika (Ayako Fujitani) copes with a family loss along with
Not sure the reasons it's taken so long to get John Sayles in the Criterion Collection, but Matewan is certainly a worthy title from his filmography.
John Sayles' Matewan is a dramatization of the Matewan massacre (1920), a battle that took place in the town of Matewan, West Virginia between coal mine workers and armed agents of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency on behalf of the Stone Mountain Coal Company. As told, it's a compelling story from the workers' point of view. The Stone Mountain Coal Company is the main industry in town and with that monopoly, the company abuses its employees who suffer through brutal working conditions. The miners want to unionize, but the company ships in those even more desperate for work as replacements: African
Before he was Saruman, Christopher Lee starred ten times as Dracula. He narrates this informative feature-length exploration of the infamous count and the history of the vampire.
In Search of Dracula, originally released in 1975, and directed by Calvin Floyd (Terror of Frankenstein, The Sleep of Death), has been remastered in 2K by Kino Lorber. A feature-length exploration of the infamous count and the history of the vampire, the documentary features archival footage, artwork, location photography (principally of Transylvania), as well as film clips from popular vampire films. Narrated by actor Christopher Lee, the film is both informative and entertaining. Before he was Saruman, Christopher Lee starred ten times as Dracula, starting in 1958 with Horror of Dracula (widely considered one of the best Dracula films), and
The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season - The Electrifying Season Comes to Blu-ray & DVD on August 25th
Contains all 19 electrifying episodes plus a never-before-seen “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach - Noir” episode with commentary.
Press release: Just in time for the seventh season premiere of the highest-rated series on The CW, fans will be zooming into stores to pick up The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases the Blu-ray and DVD on August 25, 2020. Averaging over 1.8 million viewers weekly, viewers will be able to speed-watch all 19 gripping episodes from the #1 series on The CW, plus a never-before-seen “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach - Noir” episode with commentary by showrunner/ executive producer Eric Wallace. Other special features include: The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego
Definitely a period piece, fans of Lewis Carroll will still enjoy this Alice in Wonderland, and wonder at how Hollywood in the 1930s could manage so much.
The live-action (mostly) version of Alice in Wonderland, released by Kino Lorber, has a lot packed into its 76-minute running time. In fact, after a languid start, with a bored Alice (Charlotte Henry) trying to figure out what to do with herself on a snowy day, the classic heroine has never moved more quickly on either side of the looking glass. Directed by Norman Z. McLeod (Horse Feathers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Paleface), the black and white fantasy film features the biggest stars on the Paramount lot, circa 1933. The film opens with an extensive page-turning montage
A beautiful, sweet adaptation of the Jane Austen classic.
Bill Nighy is a treasure. I almost said "national treasure" there but since he’s English and I’m American I suppose I cannot. I’d say he is an English treasure, and I am quite sure that he is, but my Americanness probably prevents me from making such judgments. Can one be an Earthly treasure? That sounds like something out of the Bible. Universal treasure? Nah, that’s too much. I’ll just stick with treasure. Bill Nighy is a treasure. He makes every film, every television series that he appears in better. He is a joy to watch. He plays Mr. Woodhouse in
Studio Trigger's debut feature-length anime film is a high energy, colorful sci-fi confection.
There's barely a still moment in Promare, a science fiction anime film about firefighters who not only put out blazes but fight down the human mutants that are causing them. The opening credits introduce the scenario: various people around the planet, in disparate stressful situations, suddenly develop the ability to channel fire, and use it to burn the people, places, and things that annoy them. A worldwide conflagration in imminent. The problem is mostly suppressed, but these people, called the Burnish, are out there, and a special squad of firefighters have to be ready on a moment's notice to combat
Ovid and the Art of Love Movie Review: Writer/director Esmé von Hoffman Connects the Ancient Subject Matter with Modern Day
The life of Roman poet, Ovid, set in modern Detroit.
Ovid and the Art of Love sets the life of the Roman poet Ovid in modern-day Detroit. Through historical fiction, the film examines the life of Ovid from his humble beginnings in a small town to his move to the city where he discovers his true purpose. While the story of Ovid and the contention between he and the Emperor Augustus are literal ancient history, the political corruption and themes about class, race, and equity gaps are just as relevant today as they were in Ovid's time. By setting the film in modern Detroit, writer/director Esmé von Hoffman connects the
An intricate character study with a slight horror backdrop.
Grief itself is a ghost. A relic from the past that finds ways to haunt us wherever we go. It also proves to be the biggest villain in Body Cam, a supernatural thriller that attempts to provide scares as well as insightful commentary about the nature of police brutality. However, the movie’s undercooked commentary becomes overshadowed by its desire to become a simultaneous ghost story and intricate character study. Body Cam follows the story of veteran LAPD officer Renee Lomito-Smith (Mary J. Blige) who returns to active duty after dealing with a personal tragedy and taking a leave of absence
A flamboyant, but highly important watermark of feminist filmmaking headlines a new week of eclectic releases.
The iconic Dorothy Arzner was definitely an legend in the history of cinema. She was the only female director working in Hollywood during the "Golden Age", from the 1920s to the early 1940s, where she retired in 1943. She subverted the expectations of how women were depicted in film. Most of her characters were independent women trying to forge their own lives, and careers, without the usual scornful male dominance. Despite her body of work, it was her 1940 landmark, Dance, Girl, Dance, that would confirm her place in film lore. The film stars Maureen O'Hara and Lucille Ball as
Capturing the essence of Scorsese's style of filmmaking and passion for the craft, In Search of Kundun is a joy for cinephiles.
When Martin Scorsese is the focal point of conversations between cinephiles, it is highly likely that the master’s gangster-films - which made him the filmmaking brand he is - permeate the circumference of the discussion. Agreed, Scorsese’s vision added a layer to the aforementioned genre, and his films have become the calibration standards to evaluate contemporary films falling under the gangster’s umbrella. Scorsese gained prominence among film enthusiasts, like myself, for his insanely popular mob dramas. Ranging from his Boxcar Bertha to his latest The Irishman, his films carried an ethnographic through the characters, their accents, their ideologies, and the
Kino Lorber provides fans an opportunity to rewatch these cartoons and new audiences a chance to discover them.
From January 2018 to December 2019, Kino Lorber Animation released the entire run of 124 Pink Panther cartoons produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises on Blu-ray in six volumes, which are being collected as The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection, a six-disc set housed in a cardboard case, available May 19. Previously reviewed at this site are Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, and Volume 5. As mentioned in those aforementioned reviews, Friz Freleng was an instrumental figure in animation history because of his work on Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes. He and producer David H. DePatie went on
Masquerade as propaganda, the Chilean film marries horror with a child's imagination, and the result is equally appalling and spectacular.
The Wolf House is 73 minutes of "Wow! How did they pull off?". The startling stop-motion animation, which bestows 'awe!' after 'awe!' every minute is only one of the pillars that hold this astonishing form of story-telling. Masquerading as a propaganda film to cleanse the ill-reputation of Colonia Dignidad, an isolated community formed by German fugitive Paul Schäfer, there's more to the film than what appears, although it draws little from the real-life incidents, on the surface. The community, which was legally bound for agriculture activities, became infamous for the torture, internment, and murders that came to light a few
Strap yourselves in for I've got some cool things to show you.
I recently received, watched, and reviewed a boxed set of three films from Kino Lorber entitled Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema II. Ever the completist, I also snagged a copy of Part One of that series and watched them all - eight films total - over the last week. That's a lot of movies to watch in a short period of time. That's a lot of movies within the same genre to watch back-to-back-to-back. I'm the sort of person who forgets the details of something I've watched within a couple of days of watching it. When I watch
Spend your hot August nights with these titles.
As the dog days of summer continue, Criterion has these offerings to help you beat the heat. They are the previously reported The Complete Films of Agnès Varda, Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker's Town Bloody Hall, Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers, and Jean Renoir's Toni. Also given a Blu-ray upgrade is Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta's The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum. Read on to learn more about them. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (#177) out Aug 4 When a young woman spends the night with an alleged terrorist, her quiet, ordered life falls into ruins.
I'm so very thrilled that sets like this continue to come out.
Is it just me or has film noir made an incredible and strange comeback? The oft-imitated, but difficult to define genre was highly popular in the 1940s and ‘50s, and had a resurgence in the 1980s and early 1990s (with modern updates and a “neo” attached to the beginning of the monicker). It more or less died out afterward (with few exceptions). It isn’t that we are suddenly seeing new noir being made and shown in the movie theaters (if we were allowed to go to the movies), but that a new generation of film lovers seem to be discovering
Proximity contains elements of classic films of the 1970s and '80s including Close Encounter of the Third Kind and War Games.
This science fiction story of alien abduction by Emmy-winner Eric Demeusy (Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Tron: Legacy), which lands today on VOD and digital platforms, contains elements of some classic films of the 1970s and '80s including Close Encounters of the Third Kind and War Games. I choose to name these films since the lead character in Proximity, Isaac (Ryan Masson), is a composite of Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) and David (Mathew Broderick), with some DJ Qualls (from many roles) sprinkled in. The difference is that we liked Roy and David. Writer/director Eric Demeusy gives us little reason to like
Studio Ghibli Steelbooks 'Kiki's Delivery Service' & 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind' Out August 25 from GKIDS, Shout! Factory
Each SteelBook will house a Blu-ray & DVD combo pack, presenting the film alongside hours of bonus features and a booklet with stunning art and statements from the filmmakers.
Press release: Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, will release Kiki’s Delivery Service and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, from the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, on August 25, 2020 in limited edition SteelBook packaging with striking new art. Each SteelBook will house a Blu-ray & DVD combo pack, presenting the film alongside hours of bonus features and a booklet with stunning art and statements from the filmmakers. With this release, two films from one of the world’s most coveted animation collections can come home to collectors in limited edition SteelBook packaging for the
James McAvoy leads outstanding ensemble in first-ever audio adaptation.
Press release: Audible Inc., the world’s largest producer and provider of spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks, today announced the star-studded cast of the first-ever, exclusive audio adaptation of New York Times best-selling graphic novel series, The Sandman, written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC. Adapted and directed by Dirk Maggs and narrated by Gaiman, who serves as creative director and executive producer, the powerhouse cast is led by James McAvoy in the title role of Dream and includes Riz Ahmed, Justin Vivian Bond, Arthur Darvill, Kat Dennings as Death, Taron Egerton, William Hope, Josie Lawrence, Miriam Margolyes, Samantha Morton, Bebe
Viewers will enjoy digging up the clues along with Inspector Poole to tell the true and complete story of Eva Smith.
In 1912, the wealthy Yorkshire Birlings, Eric and Sybil (Bryan Forbes and Olga Lindo) have a lot to celebrate. Their daughter Sheila (Eileen Moore) has just become engaged to the successful Gerald Croft (Brian Worth). Their son Arthur (Arthur Young) seems happy-go-lucky without a care in the world. The group is enjoying a lavish dinner party when they are interrupted by Police Inspector Poole (Alistair Sim), who arrives seemingly out of nowhere to tell them about the death of a young woman, Eva Smith (Jane Wenham). Sheila Birling: [after hearing a girl committed suicide by drinking disinfectant] Was she pretty?
For fans that grew up with the show, it's nice to have the first season collected.
After the success of The Flintstones, Hanna Barbera returned to the family sitcom two years later with The Jetsons, doing a 180 on the idea of a Stone Age family and setting the show in the 21st century where people drive flying saucers and most things are automated. However, lightning didn't strike twice. The original series only lasted one season in primetime on ABC. The 24 episodes ran from September 23, 1962, to March 17, 1963. The Jetsons: The Complete Original Series is available on a three-disc Blu-ray set manufactured on demand from the Warner Archive Collection. For those that
Performers from Muppet Guys Talking livestream a conversation about Henson to raise funds for Covid-19 frontline workers.
Press release: Thirty years after the untimely loss of Muppets creator Jim Henson, four legendary Muppets performers will reunite online Saturday, May 16, in a livestream event to help raise funds for frontline workers who have battled the Covid-19 virus. Bill Barretta, Fran Brill, Dave Goelz, and Frank Oz will take part in the live discussion, which also invites fans to submit questions in advance that may be answered during the event. The reunion of the Muppet performers, who also appeared in Oz’s acclaimed documentary Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched, is scheduled to begin
A slightly flawed, but still exciting 1963 John Sturges classic starts off a new week of releases.
A lot of things have been said about director John Sturges' admire 1963 anti-war classic, The Great Escape. Audiences and critics have enjoyed it as one of the great ensemble films ever made; a rousing and thrilling escapist film with many memorable set pieces; and another star-making vehicle for 'The King of Cool', Steve McQueen. McQueen, James Garner, Sir Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, among other iconic actors, star as allied prisoners of war who plan an impossible escape for themselves and several hundred others from a German war camp during World War II. In typical fashion,
Fifteen-disc collector's set includes all 39 features, shorts, and documentaries, 200-page book, and more.
Press release: We're celebrating the boundless creative vision of Agnès Varda with a comprehensive collection of her genre-blurring, culture-shaping films. Bringing together all thirty-nine of her features, shorts, and documentaries for the first time, this fifteen-Blu-ray box set also contains extensive special features- many created by Varda herself- including introductions to the films, interviews with and tributes from family and friends, once-banned and unfinished works, behind-the-scenes footage, archival programs, and more. The edition is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated 200-page book, with notes on the films and essays on Varda's life and work, as well as a selection of her
Cool things, I've got your cool things right here.
This long lock-down, shut-in has created some interesting situations, not all of them bad. Don't get me wrong, I hate this virus and I want it to go away forever, but that doesn't mean it hasn't forced upon us some things that are good. For example, I've reconnected with some old friends. I stayed in touch with my old college buddies longer than most. For years we regularly e-mailed, called each other, and had periodic get-togethers. But then, like so many old relationships, especially those in which the participants live miles apart, the connections became fewer and far between. I
A "Goodbye" and "Gratitude" sale for their incredible supporters commences Monday May 11th.
Press release: After nine years of successful operations in which 380 motion pictures from the 1930s to the 2010s have been released on DVD and Blu-ray disc, the home video label Twilight Time founded by veteran Hollywood studio executives and filmmakers Brian Jamieson and the late, dearly celebrated Nick Redman, will not release any further titles and we will be winding down operations this summer. A changing market, the rising costs of title acquisitions and the passing of longtime partner and company spokesman Nick Redman, are key reasons for the closure. As part of our winding down process, there will
Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Intro to Italian Neorealism 101
Criterion presents a crash course on the post-war movement with these classics: Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero.
In reaction to what many were experiencing in Italy under Mussolini and after World War II, the Italian neorealism movement sprung up in which artists told stories of the common people's struggles. The realism of the films was enhanced by the use of non-actors as well as shooting on location. Alongside works by Luchino Visconti (Ossessione and The Earth Trembles) and Vittorio De Sica (Shoeshine and Bicycle Thieves), director Roberto's Rossellini had some of the movement's first and most important releases. Collected and released as Roberto's Rossellini's War Trilogy, the Criterion Collection has given Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany
Indiscretion of an American Wife (Special Edition) Blu-ray Review: Love and Loss at the Train Station
Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents two versions of this realistic depiction of lost love and Italian life.
My wife and I were strictly long distance for the first couple of years of our relationship. When we first started seriously talking, she was in Montreal and I was living in East Tennessee. We instant messaged every night, called each other's landlines once a week, and wrote regular letters to each other (and yes, every word of that sentence makes me feel old). After a year or so of that, she moved to Indiana and we began officially dating. I'd drive up every three or four weekends. I'd arrive late Friday night and we'd spend a couple of hours
CRSHD overcomes familiar story beats with its zestful directorial structure and profound central performances.
CRSHD follows a similar pattern to other “one wild night” comedies involving a group of friends looking to engage in a night of raunchy fun before the end of the school year. Yet, it manages to stick out from other films within that vein as it has a college setting as opposed to a high school one like in Superbad or Booksmart and possesses a video game structure. The storyline involves Izzy Alden (Isabelle Barbier) and her desire to lose her virginity before the end of her freshman year. As Izzy aims to get into an event called a “Crush
Bring home Autumn de Wilde’s delightful adaptation of the timeless tale starring Anya Taylor-Joy.
Press release: Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to award one lucky reader the EMMA. Blu-ray Combo Pack. The movie is currently available on Digital and arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand May 19, 2020. For those wanting to learn more, read the press release below: Hailed as “gorgeous, modern and authentic” (Stephanie Zacharek, Time), the wickedly funny film chronicles the privileged but well-meaning young Emma Woodhouse (The Witch and Thoroughbreds’ Anya Taylor-Joy). A vibrant visual treat, EMMA., is “an unexpectedly timely sparkling romance” (Harriet Fitch Little, VOGUE), and features exclusive, never-before-seen bonus content including