After the nearly universal acclaim and gigantic box office for the previous Bond outing, Skyfall, any follow-up was likely to suffer in comparison, even with the same creative team largely intact. Sure enough, the general consensus upon Spectre’s release seemed to be a resounding “meh” and lower ticket sales, but what all of that apathy masked was that judged on its own merits it’s still one of the strongest Bond films ever. Does the story make complete sense? Nope, but that’s never really been a drawback in this series. Sam Mendes returns to direct an ambitious tale that features the
Craig and Mendes re-team for an effort that falls short of Skyfall’s heights, but not by much.
I'm shocked, shocked to find that classic movies are being shown there!
TCM's 31 Days (and 360˚) of Oscar puts the emphasis on "classic" this week as February marches on. Flying Down to Rio (1933) Monday, Feb. 08 at 3:30 p.m. (ET) A dance-band leader finds love and success in Brazil. Cabaret (1972) Tuesday, Feb. 09 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A young writer gets mixed up with a pleasure-loving singer in a decadent world of 1930's Berlin. The Great Escape (1963) Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Thrown together by the Germans, a group of captive Allied troublemakers plot a daring escape. Imitation of Life (1934) Thursday, Feb. 11 at 8:00
Every bit as vivid, eye-popping, and gut-punching as the film, but slowed down enough that it can sit on your coffee table.
Having spent the better part of the year revisiting a familiar galaxy far, far away and allowing it to consume our hearts and minds as well as nearly every waking moment of our lives, it’s easy to forget that it was just last summer we paid a trip to another landscape quite reminiscent of one we had spent a great deal of time in during our youth. Of course, the trips we took to the post-apocalyptic wasteland George Miller created weren’t nearly as idyllic as our jaunts to Hoth or the Death Star; if the Star Wars universe which sprung
Recommended for any man, girl, or those not falling under those classifications who enjoy the '60s spy genre.
Six months after The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Season 1 was released in conjunction with Guy Ritchie's feature-film prequel, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment has released The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Season 2, another 10-disc set featuring international exploits of espionage. This season contained 28 affairs, including two two-parters, which aired on NBC during the 1965/66 television season, and for the first time in color. For those new to the series, it features agents Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), an American, and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), a Russian, traveling the globe on behalf of the international organization known as United
Child actress Sharyn Moffett has to learn how to cut one's wolf loose in this forgotten RKO ditty, now available from the Warner Archive Collection.
Sometimes, you never know what the true premise of a motion picture may turn out to be. This can be particularly relevant when it comes to old B movies ‒ wherein even a man taking a leisurely stroll down to the corner market for a pack of cigarettes can end with an overzealous example of religious superiority, all but demanding viewers go to church that Sunday. Why, even a simple family movie about a little girl and her pet dog can begin as one kind of tale before it ultimately transforms into something wholly other. And wouldn't you just know
The Emigrants / The New Land Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Profound Cinematic Experience Like No Other
Jan Troell's masterful epic saga receives the deluxe Blu-ray treatment.
There have been many films about the dangerous journey of immigrants to America, the land of prosperity and new beginnings, such as El Norte (1983) and Sin Nombre (2009). However, I think none of them really possess the devastating and stark power as Director Jan Troell's epic masterpieces, The Emigrants (1971) / The New Land (1972), which were praised unanimously by critics and worldwide. It isn't difficult to see why; the entire saga is beautiful, authetic, and a profound cinematic experience like no other. Adapted from a novel by Vilhelm Moberg, it stars film legends Max von Sydow and Liv
It’s a wonderful blend of acting, writing, and directing.
Steve Jobs is one of the more integral folks in this modern technological era of ours. Thus, a biopic was inevitable. While a couple of films were able to beat Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs to the punch, this was the Jobs movie people were waiting for. The one with the legitimately talented cast, the one that didn’t have Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, and the one written by Aaron Sorkin. Of course, pedigree does not guarantee success. Fortunately, this particular film was knocked out of the park. As you may have heard by now, this is not a traditional biopic.
In Steven Spielberg's latest history lesson, our professor/director tackles the Cold War.
For the last decade, Steven Spielberg has been stuck in the past as a director, churning out one historical film after another. Even his only fictional films, Indiana Jones and Tintin, tread retro themes and times, making it clear that at this stage of his storied career he’s looking back rather than forward. That gaze to the past has now landed on the Cold War, and finds him reteamed with frequent collaborator Tom Hanks. When a suspected Soviet spy is captured in New York, the authorities realize that he must be offered legal representation and call in esteemed attorney James
Our own mortality is the most scariest creature of all.
It Follows has the most terrifying premise when you stop to really think about it. Many people will mock and laugh at the concept of a girl who is slowly being hunted by an ominous being after having sex. Yet, this is the same concept used in countless other horror movies. What happens to most kids when they have sex in these kinds of films? They end up getting killed by some guy in a mask swinging a machete. Now what if you take this same concept of being stalked by a thing whose sole purpose is to kill you,
This week brings us three period dramas, a witch hunter and some zombies playing Tyler Durden.
We’re less than a month away from the Oscars and I’ve seen exactly three of the nominated films - four if you count the animated feature nominees (and five more if you add in the animated shorts). This isn’t unusual for me as I rarely get to watch more than a couple of the nominees before the ceremony airs. I’ve noted many times before how difficult it is for me to get to the theatre to see new films and I won’t rehash that here. I do appreciate that many of the films now get released to home video just
"For every Human Target that comes and goes without notice, there will be a Constantine that leaves far too early." - Shawn
In which Shawn and Kim discuss the weekly DC Comics-based shows and shirtless heroes. Shawn: I've caught up on most of my comic-based shows recently. One of the newest ones elicited quite a few opinions, so I thought we should touch base on where we're at with these. For every Human Target that comes and goes without notice, there will be a Constantine that comes into our world and leaves far too early. DC'S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW (CW) The latest addition to the Arrowverse is a breath of fresh air. I am not going to deny I love this series
Highlights include two weeks of Frank Capra Classics, a Night of King Henry Epics, and a Romantic Two-Pack.
Press release: getTV celebrates awards season with a roster of Oscar-winning Columbia Pictures features, airing every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. The month-long lineup puts the spotlight on some of cinema’s finest films with themed blocks featuring two weeks of Frank Capra classics starring James Stewart, Gary Cooper, and Jean Arthur, as well as a pair of King Henry period pieces starring Peter O’Toole and Robert Shaw, and a night of romance and whimsy starring Robert Montgomery and Evelyn Keyes, among others. Frank Capra, Part 1—Thurs., Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. ET The month of Oscar kicks off with a
The plot might remind one of Andrea Arnold's 'Fish Tank,' but the tone is decidedly different
Marielle Heller’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl isn’t particularly groundbreaking from a visual or formal standpoint; its burnished digital photography and lilting camerawork could belong to any number of Sundance entries. But this adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel is certainly distinctive among American film for its forthright, completely nonjudgmental approach to female sexuality. The plot — in which a teenage girl starts sleeping with her mother’s boyfriend — bears at least passing similarity to Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, but The Diary of a Teenage Girl is nearly a tonal opposite, fraught nerviness replaced with a pleasant inquisitiveness. Diary’s
The legendary Ms. Tomlin delivers her career best performance in one of the very best films of 2015.
You would think that a road trip movie about a girl and grandmother bonding would be another one of those meandering chick flicks that you see nowadays far too much. However, Director Paul Weitz's 2015 refreshing gem of a film, Grandma, is not that type of film and that's a very good thing. It's a devilishly funny, smart, and wonderfully real piece of indie filmmaking that doesn't come around too often. It's also a showcase for the legendary Lily Tomlin to do what she does best, which is to knock it out of the park. And she does. Tomlin stars
The first week of 31 Days (and 360 Degrees) of Oscar.
On Monday, Turner Classic Movies will kick off its 31 Days of Oscar, the network's annual month-long celebration of the Academy Awards, on February 1 at 6am with a screening of Gigi (1958). This year’s theme is “31 Days (and 360 Degrees) of Oscar,” which features 360 Oscar-winning or nominated films with each connected to the next by an actor or actress who has a role in both. No films or connections are repeated and it all comes full circle when the last film of the programming, Around the World in 80 Days (1956) connects back to Gigi (1958). This
Short films, big emotional punch.
If the Oscars have any real meaning (and let’s be honest, they mostly don’t outside of very rich, very famous people congratulating themselves), it's that they bring to the masses films that we would otherwise overlook. The Oscars have long since brought to me lists of great films I might have never heard were they not given a very large spotlight. The awards ceremony also means these films will garner more money than they might normally which in turn means more award-caliber films will get made. This is especially true when it comes to non-mainstream genres like documentaries and short
These Prada boots are made for walking...but all over you, literally.
In the fashion world, which can be very intimidating, it is literally a dog-eat-dog world where only the strong (and stylish) survives. You either have what it takes, or you might as well as look for another profession. Many have tried and succeeded, while others have failed miserably. The Devil Wears Prada, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is semi-realistic, but it is pretty close to being an accurate depiction of that world. Based on the best-selling novel by Lauren Weisberger, the film stars Anne Hathaway as Andrea "Andy" Sachs, a naively perky but aspiring journalist living in New York
All five films feature characters in situations that challenge them and their assumptions.
The five Academy Award-nominees for this year's Live Action Short Film originated from Europe, the United States, and one production that involved Palestine. Two of the stories are lighthearted and three are serious, but all present characters in situations that challenge them and their assumptions. In alphabetical order, they are: Ave Maria: The film opens in the West Bank, Palestine, on Friday at 5:35 pm. A Jewish couple and his mother are driving home before sundown. They get into a car accident in Arab territory outside a Sisters of Mercy nunnery. They allow the man to use their phone but
Highlights include: An Evening with William Shatner, Ask Adam Savage, Let’s Go to Mars!, Con Man: The Fan Revolt 14 Years in the Making.
Press release: Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC), Steve Wozniak’s pop culture and technology expo, today revealed the initial round of panels that will be featured during the highly anticipated event that blends the best of entertainment, technology, gaming, comics, VR and all things pop culture. Attendees will have the opportunity to gain an insider’s perspective as they hear a wide variety of discussions helmed by their favorite Hollywood icons, scientists, technology luminaries and more. Panel Highlights: POP CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT An Evening With William ShatnerFrom Star Trek’s Captain Kirk to Boston Legal’s Denny Krane, there are few actors that are
If you think this write-up is all over the place and confusing as hell, then you know how I felt about that 60 minutes of my life.
In which Kim strays off the beaten path with Outsiders. Having spent the past 13 months desperately missing my dose of the hotness that was Sons of Anarchy, I was so excited to see that my Opie (Ryan Hurst) was in a new show with his fabulously long hair and beard that made me want to curl up with him in the first place. I sat down with my beer and shitty microwave popcorn to watch Outsiders on WGN. This show had two really compelling reasons for me to watch. The first was that, though totally unrelated, I simply loved
Highlights include interviews and performances featuring Diana Ross, Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King Jr., and a Sidney Poitier Birthday Block on Feb. 19.
Press release: getTV celebrates Black History Month with a Monday Night Variety lineup featuring rare interviews and performances by groundbreaking African-American icons, airing every week in primetime. This month’s roster includes beloved entertainers Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, and more, headlined by a powerful interview with Martin Luther King Jr. on THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW on February 29 at 10 p.m. ET. As part of the month’s festivities, getTV will also pay tribute to Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier with a special birthday block on Friday, February 19, starting at 8 p.m.
Disney's latest has great effects but squanders a decent plot in a contrived love story.
You know the year's just begun when Disney debuts their latest inspiriational drama. Usually geared towards the sports world (Miracle, McFarland USA), this year's feature is a water-logged mix of The Perfect Storm meets Kevin Costner's The Guardian set in Stephen King's Castle Rock. The lobster roll they form is The Finest Hours, a film whose B-plot should be the film's main focus but instead looks at an A-plot so cutesy and generic you'll get a cavity just watching. 1952, Chatham, Massachusetts. An oil tanker named the Pendleton gets caught in a horrific storm that leaves the boat broken in
Three action/crime films from Nikkatsu studios that showcase their popular leading me of the late 50s.
The Nikkatsu Diamond Guys title comes from a marketing scheme from nearly 60 years ago. Nikkatsu is a studio in Japan, and they were looking for a new way to promote their movie stars in the late 50s, so they created the Nikkatsu Action Series, with the "Diamond Line" of "Mighty Guys". Arrow has put three of these pictures into a Blu-ray and DVD release, Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Volume 1. Unrelated in story, theme, or director, (though they all involve crime stories) what connects them is the studio, and the era in which they were shot. The three movies are
This week brings us Doctor Who split apart, Spike Lee modernizing the ancient Greeks, Jack Black fighting children's monsters, and Bradley Cooper playing with food.
I have very vague memories of watching Doctor Who as a kid. This was the '80s when the long=scarfed Tom Baker was the titular character and the series ran late-night Saturdays on my local PBS station. I wasn’t really a fan of the series and I only watched it a few times, but I remember the Daleks. I remember being old enough to be embarrassed to ask my mother to lay down next to me afterwards but young (and terrified) enough to ask her anyways. When the new series came on, those memories weren’t enough to make me raise even
Transitioning from Junior High School to High school can be exciting, awkward, and even scary. This season could easily be described in the same way.
Time Life released the four-disc set of Season Four of The Wonder Years on January 16th. During this season, we not only watch Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) finish Junior High school, but also begin to transition from a little boy into a young man. Savage continues to give excellent performances, but it is clear that he, his character, and the rest of the cast are growing up. It’s most noticeable in Kevin’s best friend Paul (Josh Saviano) whose character begins to step out of Kevin’s shadow and the actor clearly becomes the first to sprout. As the characters struggle with
An entertaining, funny, and very insightful glimpse of a genius trailblazer.
When the great Mike Nichols passed away on November 19, 2014, it was a very shocking blow to not just film world, but basically Arts and Entertainment as a whole. He wasn't just a talented director; he was also a gifted actor, writer, producer and comedian who broke the mold of how eclectic a man of the arts can truly be. When you think of amazing men, his name usually comes up and rightly so because he was one of the great ones, a man with no equal. Directed by Elaine May, his former comedy partner from the late '50s
This entertaining performance proves all the naysayers wrong.
The Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle stadium tour ran for nearly a year. The North American leg started in Philadelphia on Aug 31, 1989, and the European leg ended in London on Aug 25, 1990. The tour is notable for many reasons. The 10 nights they played at the Tokyo Dome in February 1990, from which the material on this live album comes, was the first time they ever performed in Japan. It was the band's first tour since their 1982 European Tour. It was their first tour without touring pianist Ian Stewart. It would be bassist Bill Wyman's last tour before
Average animated stories made good by good performances and some stunning animation.
If it's funny for a fat guy to show athletic nimbleness, then I suppose a panda being an expert at kung fu is hilarious. At least that’s the basic premise of the Kung Fu Panda series of movies. Luckily, the films are chock full of terrific actors and some really stunning animation that raises them above such ridiculous ideas. In Kung Fu Panda we find that our illustrious hero Po (Jack Black) is a big, fat, lazy panda who has a goose for a father (James Hong), and idolizes the Furious Five - Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis
This book perfectly captures what was special about the show and the beauty behind it.
If you are going through withdrawal from the cancellation of the ingeniously gorgeous television show Hannibal created by Bryan Fuller, then The Art and Making of Hannibal by Jesse McLean is the book you have been waiting for. The television show was adapted from the Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon and is rooted in the developing relationship between Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) It is organized by the appropriately named chapters of "Aperitif," "Entree," "Main Course," "Sorbet," "Dessert," and "Digestif." The "Aperitif" is a foreword by Martha De Laurentiis, who produced the television series as well
TCM will take viewers around thew world in seven days.
For those who are absent-minded, feel free to bookmark this list of TCM suggestions for the final week of January. '60s Spy Stories: Arabesque (1966) Monday, Jan. 25 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A university professor gets mixed up with international spies and a two-timing woman. The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Musical biography of the backwoods girl who struck it rich in Colorado and survived the Titanic. Star of the Month: Fred MacMurray - The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A college professor fights off corrupt businessmen to market
The new special intricately weaves three different threads of plot and leaves the viewer with dozens of puzzles to tide them over until the next season.
It’s becoming almost a biannual (that one means once every two years, right?) for the New Year to open with a new episode of the BBC’s Sherlock. The absolutely excellent, but excruciatingly infrequent, show usually airs once about every two years, and has now made a habit of helping Sherlockians and geeks the world over ring in the New York with complex puzzles, convoluted plots, and clever dialogue. This year was a special treat: eschewing (seemingly) their modernization of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock went back to the Victorian period for a Christmas (New Year’s?) special. It’s an episode the hype, hysteria,
1940s Italian film marries social commentary about the lower class with rewarding drama and romance.
Long before Dino De Laurentiis was a noted Hollywood producer, he produced Italian films such as this 1949 drama. Interestingly, his director on this film, Giuseppe De Santis, also had a deep appreciation of U.S. culture and Hollywood film techniques, although he maintained strong convictions about how his films should stake their own Italian identity both thematically and visually. His subject matter for Bitter Rice fully expresses those ideas as he wrings beautiful scenes out of a story set amongst poor farm workers. As the film reveals, every year scores of Italian women would leave home to find temporary work
Even with an unmistakable style and fine supporting cast, Woody Allen's final Orion Pictures production is a bittersweet one indeed.
In several respects, the release of Woody Allen's A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy in 1982 marked the beginning of two pivotal points in the career of Woody Allen. Not only was it the year he began releasing a new motion picture each and every year ‒ a tradition (or obsession, perhaps) that continues to this day ‒ but it was also his first film with Orion Pictures, a company with which he would find backing and distribution for his next eleven projects. It was during his Orion constellation that Allen made a number of homages to classic film genres (and
Some of the best action sequences in years are on display in Wilson Yip's latest martial-arts romp!
Wilson Yip’s newest addition to his Ip Man film series, Ip Man 3, is a wildly entertaining and surprisingly poignant feature effort that lacks only in plot structure and character development: two completely unimportant aspects of any film. Of course, in the case of a martial-arts film so brilliantly choreographed and shot as this one, that last part really is true. Ip Man 3 suffers from its lack of story-arc dynamics only when isolated from its excellent displays of Wing Chun (Ip Man’s martial art of choice). Otherwise, the story gets lost in the action in a way that contradicts
The Warner Archive Collection unveils a vastly underrated WWII comedy about three groomless brides, with scene-chewing support from Eve Arden and Charles Ruggles.
In those glorious, long gone days before female-driven movies like Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids (to say nothing of the forthcoming Ghostbusters spin-off, I'm sure) began infecting cineplexes near and far with stories that relied too heavily on such surefire ticket-selling gimmicks such as fart jokes, an assembly of some of American cinema's finest actresses was something worth taking note of. Particularly when said actresses weren't necessarily "comediennes" per se (and didn't "let one" for the sake of a laugh). Such a formula can be seen at work in the Warner Bros. 1944 comedy The Doughgirls: a tale for the ladies
Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon shoot the breeze ‒ and just about everything else in sight ‒ in Michael Winner's oft-criticized (but still enjoyable) espionage flick.
Following on the heels of his previous action film, 1972's The Mechanic with Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent, British filmmaker Michael (Death Wish) Winner reunited with the star of his first American project ‒ the one and only Burt Lancaster ‒ for a similarly-themed tale of espionage, double-crossin' secret agents, paid assassins, and looped dialogue. The result was 1973's Scorpio: a title that may have been carefully chosen to subtly associate audiences with yet another action film ‒ 1971's Dirty Harry, wherein Clint Eastwood matched wits (and barrel sizes) with a Zodiac-patterned serial killer named "Scorpio." And while Scorpio's limitations
Jaco is a balanced and compassionate look at the legendary jazz bassist.
“It’s not about bass playing, it’s about being a storyteller.” The documentary Jaco traces the life of iconic jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, from his childhood in Florida and first gigs as a teenager to his innovative style of bass playing, work with Weather Report, and his untimely death at age 35. Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, the documentary’s producer, saw Weather Report in 1979, and the experience helped mould his own musical journey. Jaco compiles archival footage, home movies, personal photos and interviews to form a balanced and compassionate look at the groundbreaking musician’s life. Directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen
"Everest documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind."
Today, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has released Everest on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand. In addition, they have have teamed up with Cinema Sentries to award one lucky reader the Everest Blu-ray combo pack as well as a limited edition Everest carabiner. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: Following a pair of expeditions to the highest point - and most dangerous place - on Earth, Everest captures the brutal majesty of the deadly peak, and the boundless courage required to conquer it, with breathtaking cinematography and spectacular storytelling. Exclusive extras make Everest a can’t-miss,
This week brings us one of the Coen Brothers' best films, some influential hip hop, a deadly mountain climb, a deadlier internship, and much more.
Many times in these pages I’ve mentioned my extraordinary love for both the Criterion Collection and the Coen Brothers. When you put them together, you pretty much have a guaranteed Pick of the Week. Surprisingly, Inside Llewyn Davis is the first time the two have met. You’d think the Coens' films would get the Criterion treatment every time like Wes Anderson films do. Seemingly, their films fit the Criterion niche perfectly. They are quirky, arty, funny and often strangely violent . They are well loved by critics and maintain a relatively small but highly devoted fanbase. I suspect there is
If you watch TCM, there's no way out of seeing quality films.
This week's highlights at TCM suggests that films don't have to be old to be considered classics. African American Coming-of-Age: Sounder! (1972) Monday, Jan. 18 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) Black sharecroppers during the Depression fight to get their children a decent education. Robert Osborne's Picks: Penny Serenade (1941) Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 9:45 p.m. (ET) A woman on the verge of divorce recalls her heartbreaking attempts to adopt a child. Star of the Month: Fred MacMurray - The Apartment (1960) Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 10:15 p.m. (ET) An aspiring executive lets his bosses use his apartment for assignations, only to