You'd be a fool to miss out on these April releases from Criterion. New to the collection are Jan Němec's Diamonds of the Night, Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd, Jackie Chan's Police Story and Police Story 2, and Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career. Two by Jim Jarmusch are getting a Blu-ray upgrade: Stranger Than Paradise and Night on Earth. Read on to learn more about them. Stranger Than Paradise (#400) out Apr 9 With this breakout film, Jim Jarmusch established himself as one of the most exciting voices in the burgeoning independent-film scene, a road-movie poet with an
I pity the fool who doesn't find something to buy this month.
Who knew January was such a great time for new releases?
Robert Redford is one of the all-time classic movie stars. He has the looks, the charm, and the acting chops. He starred in lots of great movies over his long career including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Out of Africa, and The Horse Whisperer. With The Old Man & the Gun, he has declared he is retiring from film acting. At 82 years of age and a whole lot of films to his credit as actor, director, and producer, I think he’s earned it. The Old Man & the Gun is based on the true
Bruce Thierry Cheung's new film is a beautiful, poetic approach to the importance of fatherhood.
Although I have yet to experience fatherhood, I do know from close friends and family members that any type of parenting is a challenge. At the same time, though, many say it is a blessing. In some cases, however, there have been people that could no longer handle it, and, unfortunately, walked away - leaving their child and significant other behind in an attempt to find something that they feel is more suited for them. That’s essentially the premise of Bruce Thierry Cheung’s Don’t Come Back from the Moon, which is based on Dean Bakopoulos’ novel, Please Don’t Come Back
More psycho-sexual thriller than giallo, this film nevertheless delivers the goods.
Giallo films had been around for several years before Dario Argento revolutionized and popularized the genre in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. These early films tended to be less lurid, much less graphically violent, and had plots that actually made some sense. Such it is with Luciano Ercoli’s Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion. But enough genre talk, the real question is does the movie work? The answer actually depends on which parts of the genre you like. It is surprisingly bloodless, has no black-gloved killer, does have some interesting camera work, and a wonderfully baroque set. The
The new documentary reveals the numerous contributions Native Americans have made to rock, blues, gospel, folk, and more.
Just when it seems like books and documentaries have thoroughly covered the history of rock ’n’ roll, along comes a film that reveals a rarely told story: the influence of Native Americans on the genre. From Link Wray to the Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo, Native Americans have impacted rock rhythmically, vocally, thematically, and culturally. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World explores rock’s Native American roots through interviews and archival footage, demonstrating how the blues, jazz, and rock all owe a debt to Indian rhythms and vocal style. The documentary borrows its title from Wray’s seminal 1958 song “Rumble,” with
It's one of the best films on the resumes of everyone involved with it.
Shout Factory celebrates the 30th anniversary of Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally... with a new Blu-ray release that includes a new picture struck from a 4K scan of the original camera negative and a new special feature of a conversation between Reiner and Billy Crystal. Opening with white titles on a background as an instrumental version of “It Had to Be You” plays, it's not a surprise the film, a romantic comedy about the relationship between a Jewish man and a Gentile woman, set mostly in New York City, gets compared to Woody Allen's work, particularly Annie Hall. But
The premier Television festival takes place at the Dolby Theatre March 15-24, 2019.
Press release: The Paley Center for Media today announced the lineup for PaleyFest LA 2019, which will take place March 15-24 at the iconic Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Citi cardmembers, plus Paley Patron, Fellow, and Supporting Members, will have an exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets first during a special presale from January 15-16. This year’s festival will open with the cast and creative team from Amazon Prime Video’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (March 15 at 7:30 pm) followed by Netflix’s Grace and Frankie (March 16 at 2:00 pm); CBS’s An Evening with Stephen Colbert (March 16 at 7:00 pm); VH1’s
A single date is told from four perspectives in this Mario Bava comedy. None of them really work.
A woman and a man meet at a park. They agree to go dancing later that evening. Afterwards, they go back to his flat. At some point, her dress is torn and his forehead is scratched. These are the facts of the movie. The details, well the details are a bit fuzzy. Mario Bava’s 1970 drama Four Times That Night takes Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Rashomon and turns it into a goofy sex comedy. We see the events of the night from three character's points of view and then a final "this is what really happened" segment. (It may not actually
This week was back to school and back to watching lots of movies.
It was back-to-school week for my daughter, which means some adjustments for everybody. Baths need to be taken every night (we let her slide a lot more often on vacation days) and bed times are earlier. The mornings go from lazy to frantic and we have to remember to pick her up in the afternoon. But the days are free, which allows for more mature lunchtime viewings and those early bedtimes mean more time for movies for me. It wound up being a week full of review material. I had initially planned January to be a month of Oscar movies
Best known as an actor, Jonah Hill's first outing as a director is a stunning debut because of his creative choices.
Written and directed by Jonah Hill, Mid90s is an authentic coming-of-age story about a young teenager named Stevie (Sunny Suljic) looking for a family that he misses at home. The film opens with a jarring scene as Stevie bursts into the frame, thrown into the hallway by his half-brother Ian (Lucas Hedges), who frequently uses Stevie as a punching bag. Their single mom Dabney (Katherine Waterston) is too busy working to provide much supervision. Stevie finds a brotherhood in a group of skaterboarders: Ray (Na-kel Smith), Ruben (Gio Galicia), and two kids who go by nicknames, "Fuckshit" (Olan Prenatt), derived
Eleven films into the franchise and Halloween is suddenly looking fresh again.
Up front I’ve got to admit that out of the eleven films in the Halloween franchise, I’ve only seen John Carpetner’s original Halloween (1978), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, and Rob Zombie’s remake Halloween (2007). That means there are eight films in the franchise that I’m missing. I’m not an expert on the franchise. Which winds up being a good thing because this new film, Halloween (2018) - and can we talk just for a moment how there are now three films in this series simply named "Halloween"? I mean, come on guys, stop making everybody put dates behind your
Academy Awards-accredited festival celebrates 20 years in the industry as it returns to Hollywood with premier Japanese film talent Naomi Kawase.
Press release: JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles and Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF & Asia) have partnered to showcase Short Shorts Film Festival in Hollywood on January 17, 2019. The free one-day film festival will bring together premier film talent from Japan, including Cannes Film Festival judge Naomi Kawase and actor and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) member Tetsuya Bessho, at the historic TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. The two-part program aims to bring a sense of intrigue and cultural discovery to festival attendees through the art of short contemporary visual storytelling. The festival opens with Master Class with Naomi Kawase:
Almost as good as the Beastmaster.
Come with me, my friends, for a trip down memory lane. The year is 1982 and a little fantasy film called The Beastmaster is released. It does poorly at the box office but then cable stations like HBO and TBS pick it up and run it incessantly over the next few years. The Beastmaster is not a good film. In every conceivable way, it is a bad film. Yet there is something charming about it. It stars a loincloth-wearing Marc Singer battling S&M dungeon master-looking bad guys by telepathically talking to animals. I watched that film probably a couple of
For fans of Stephen King, I would give a slight recommendation to try it.
My love of reading and addiction to Stephen King started at a young age thanks to my Uncle Vern. King’s short story “The Raft” was given to me one Christmas and I was never the same since. Spending many nights locked in the bathroom while reading It was to follow. I have enjoyed almost every movie and series adaptation of King’s novels so as soon as I learned about Castle Rock, I was intrigued. On the other hand, the new series is a collaboration with J.J. Abrams who, while having created some of my favorite television shows of all time
A modern, psychedelic take on the Spaghetti Western is visually stylish and exhausting.
With The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears, French directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani created a modern giallo that was a psychedelic audio/visual delight which had virtually no story or plot. With Let the Corpses Tan, they've added a touch more story and moved their Italian influences into Spaghetti Western territory but continue the sensory overload. It is a beautiful, strange, exhausting film. A group of men violently rob a stack of gold bricks from an armored truck, killing everyone aboard. They rush to their hideout but are stopped by a woman standing in the middle of the road.
Hope you have some Christmas money left because this week brings some interesting new releases.
Over the last year or so, I’ve become quite the Stephen King fan. I’d read some of his work before then and seen many of the cinematic adaptations based upon his words, but I’d never really engulfed myself into his stories. It started with the audio book of his recent novel Mr. Mercedes and blossomed from there. I’m currently in the middle of IT which, if my pace continues, I’ll finish sometime in 2021. It's a really big book, and I’m a slow reader. But I dig it. I don’t know it that behemoth will cure me of my King
An interesting and entertaining mix of early 20th Century silent comedy shorts.
Tying in with the release of Stan & Ollie, The Laurel & Hardy Comedy Collection by Mill Creek Entertainment presents two discs of films starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, both together and on their own. Disc One is "Laurel & Hardy Shorts and Features." Labeled as "an extract," The Lucky Dog (1921) is the first film the men appeared together with Laurel starring and Hardy as a robber and his nemesis. A crackle can be heard on the audio. While technically they both worked on it, Yes, Yes, Nanette (1925) is a James Finlayson short where he meets his
As fascinating as Yayoi Kusama's biography is, what truly enthralls is her art.
Eighty-nine-year-old Yayoi Kusama is currently the top-selling artist in the world, but her path to success has not been a smooth one. Magnolia Home Entertainment's Kusama: Infinity follows the artist's career, from her childhood in Japan to her present reign as the popular artist of Infinity Mirrored Rooms and so much more. Kusama was born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan. Through use of family photos and quotes from the artist, the film traces Yayoi's difficult childhood, where her physically abusive mother discouraged her artistic talent (to the point of tearing up her drawings) and prodded her daughter to spy
For those that have been hooked deeply by the Classic Hollywood era, it's an intriguing read.
Leonard Maltin has made a career for himself out of his love of movies, starting as an unpaid freelance writer for fan zines at the age of 13, His latest book, Hooked on Hollywood, has the subtitle “Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom,” which sounds like it might be a memoir, and after reading Maltin's Introduction, that is certainly a book I would want to read by him. Instead, this is a archival collection of articles and interviews, some of which originally appeared in the magazine Film Fan Monthly and Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy newsletter. Maltin takes readers on
I'm back and healthy and have many cool things to talk about.
A great big pile of appreciation to my fellow Sentries who helped me out while I was on vacation. I’m back now and feeling mostly better (still got a weird ear thing going on but I’m upright and working and watching films so that’s a big improvement). There were many cool things consumed this week, so lets get to it. Spider-Man When Sam Raimi’s version of Spider-Man came out, I was none too impressed. I had similar feelings about Bryan Singer’s X-Men which came out two years before. The burgeoning nerd culture on the internet had gone bonkers over both
Robert Altman's follow-up to M*A*S*H is an idiosyncratic, weird little film that only he could make.
After spending a decade or so making industrial films then directing television episodes, Robert Altman finally connected with critics and audiences on a feature film. Released in 1970, M*A*S*H, a satirical account of a medical unit in the Korean War, was a smash hit. It won awards, made big money (and spawned a hugely successful TV series), and put Altman on the map as an exciting filmmaker. With the success of M*A*S*H, the studios gave Altman a green light to make any film he wanted. He chose the hottest screenplay around, Brewster McCloud, a black comedy about a New York
In which Shawn ranks things that happened through 2018 and counts all the things in his life
From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. Here's the Return of the Jedi of my "Best of" trilogy. BEST OF THE REST 2018 BY THE NUMBERS 4,722,870 steps taken this year (2,290 miles) 365 Days walking over 5 miles in 2018 3 Days not walking over 5
While some aspects of this film are dated, most of it still holds up in this tale of addiction and grief avoidance.
Bright Lights, Big City is being released in a Special Collector's Edition for its 30th Anniversary celebration. The film is based on Jay McInerney's novel of the same title. Directed by James Bridges and produced by Sydney Pollack, the movie follows Jamie Conway (Michael J. Fox) through his need to escape his daily reality after his mother (Dianne Wiest) dies and his model wife Amanda (Phoebe Cates) leaves him for a new life. Jamie spends his days as a fact-checker at a New York magazine where his co-worker Megan (Swoosie Kurtz) tries to help him survive, while Jamie spends his
In which Shawn ranks some television from 2018 and 1988.
From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. Here's the middle entry of the "Best of" trilogy. BEST OF TV 2018 We live in a very high-quality TV-show era now. Maybe the top end isn't as strong as a decade ago but the number of very good shows
The characters come across as flat and unlikable, so it was difficult to invest in any of them.
Hallelujah the Hills was written and directed by Adolfas Mekas. The film was a hit at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival and in turn was invited to 27 other festivals after its appearance at Cannes. Until now, it has not been available to own and has only been shown in limited viewings over the past five decades. The film has been touted by some reviewers as the funniest movie you have never seen, but perhaps I just don't get it. While I have a deep love for older comedies, from the slapstick of Buster Keaton, to the zaniness of films
In which Shawn ranks a bunch of movies from 2018 and 1988.
From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. For your convenience, it's broken into bite-sized pieces. BEST OF MOVIES 2018 No other blogger is brave enough to pick their favorites before they see them. Here's what I boldly thought I'd be writing about in December 2018. PREDICTED BEST
Director Lisa D'Apolito does a wonderful job of bringing in the audience on some of the toughest parts of Gilda's life.
If you notice, as you are reading this review, that I sound sentimental for Gilda Radner, it's because I am. I have been watching Saturday Night Live since birth in both its live broadcasts and its reruns in syndication. I was enamored by Gilda Radner and her Judy Miller character from very early on. But there was also Roseanne Roseannadanna, Lisa Loopner, Emily Litella, and Baba Wawa. Radner's physicality and her femininity would influence my own performances later in life. I know I am only one of many comedians who were drawn in by her characters and her incredible smile.
The new year starts with some new titles.
Those of you who pay attention to these things might be wondering what happened to this article over the last two weeks. Never fear, faithful reader. I have answers. Two weeks ago, I was at the beginning of a week-long bout with a virus that kept me bed-bound and mostly comatose. This last week, I was on the mend but there really was nothing worth talking about. Last Tuesday, otherwise known as New Release Day was also known as Christmas. The people who make decisions, such as what new Blu-rays to release and when had spent the previous four weeks
Two great movies at a great value, but if the audio-visual aspects are important, I can't recommend it.
VCI Entertainment presents Screwball Comedy Classics Double Feature Volume 2: His Girl Friday & The Front Page, two films based on the Broadway play The Front Page written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. Directed by Lewis Milestone, The Front Page (1931) stars Adolphe Menjou as Chicago newspaper editor Walter Burns and Pat O'Brien as his put-upon reporter Hildebrand "Hildy" Johnson. Hildy plans to quit his job, get married, and head to New York while Walter wants Hildy to cover an upcoming hanging of Earl Williams, a man and possible Communist convicted of murdering an African-American cop, and all the
I’m bringing in some help this week.
After a week of fighting off a nasty viral infection I’m now out of town visiting the in-laws. I’m still hacking and coughing but im on the mend. Time at my in-laws is always nice but a little dull. We will watch a movie or two and I do a lot of reading but mostly it’s a lot of sitting around and talking. Which is good for the soul but not so good for Five Cool Things. Which is why I’m bringing in some help this week. But first here are the cool things I consumed this week. Miracle on
Emily Blunt steals the show in Rob Marshall's sequel to the 1964 classic.
It’s not like the world needed a sequel to Mary Poppins, but we got one anyway. And you know what? It’s actually quite fun. Mary Poppins Returns doesn’t deviate itself too much from its 1964 predecessor, but director Rob Marshall is able to convey something that is magical and cheerful and the perfect movie to take the family to see over the busy holiday season. This time, it’s Emily Blunt taking over the iconic role made famous by Julie Andrews (she won her only Oscar so far for the performance). Really, if there was an actress who is the practically
To make clear how popular a figure he was, this collection also makes for a good overview of the past 40 years in television.
Robin Williams: Comic Genius scours the video vaults of Hollywood and beyond to present a comprehensive look at Williams's television work, over 52 hours across 22 discs. Volume 1 (six DVDs) has a primary focus on his HBO stand-up comedy specials. Covering more than 30 years, they are HBO On Location: Robin Williams - Off the Wall (1978); An Evening with Robin Williams (1983); Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met (1986); Robin Williams: Live on Broadway (2002), the audio of which earned him a Grammy; and Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction (2009). Disc 6 covers Williams's USO tours
Hamilton alum Daveed Diggs and his best friend team up to write and star in this thought-provoking film.
Daveed Diggs rose to fame as a prominent Tony-winning actor in the original Broadway cast of musical phenomenon Hamilton, so it’s no surprise that his lead turn in this film incorporates some hip-hop flow. The real revelation is the acting talent of his largely unknown long-time friend and co-star here, Rafael Casal. Their close friendship provides them natural chemistry that is successfully utilized by debut feature-film director Carlos Lopez Estrada in a tale about race relations in rapidly gentrifying Oakland. While the finished product occasionally feels like a collection of calling-card scenes for demo reels instead of an actual feature
Willem Dafoe in vinyl overalls. Need I say more?
I first heard of 1984's Streets of Fire sometime in the last few years, which surprised me given I spent the bulk of the '80s and '90s with my head buried in theaters, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, and my local Blockbuster. I vaguely recall a comment on Reddit leading me to IMDB, and then dug it up for a viewing shortly after hearing about what an experience it is. It did not disappoint. The soundtrack as a whole is just as compelling as the set designs, editing, and cinematography, but what caught my ear first were probably Jim
Fathom Events Launches Celebration for the Legendary Diana Ross's 75th Birthday in Cinemas Worldwide
The event features a remastered version of Diana Ross: Live in Central Park
Press release: The magic of Diana Ross has touched millions of hearts around the world. Her magnificent life and unparalleled career have influenced music, film, fashion and stage with her spirit forever woven in the fabric of humanity. 2019 will be remembered as a milestone in history with a year-long Diamond Diana Celebration, marking the 75th birthday of one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Fathom Events will launch the festivities on her birthday, March 26, with an exclusive two-day, global theatrical release of Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy featuring Diana Ross: Live in Central Park. The
Nicolas Cage gives his most bonkers performance to date in Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic revenge thriller.
For every disposable, straight-to-VOD picture that Nicolas Cage does, he’ll usually come up with something that surprises and shocks even his most stern critics. Oddly enough, Mandy ended up falling into the same category as Rage, 211, and so many other features starring the Oscar-winning actor in that they run in an extremely limited amount of theaters while also being available to purchase or rent on streaming services. But, unlike those aforementioned titles, Mandy doesn’t come across as yet another throwaway effort from Cage and whomever he happens to bring along with him. Sure, the revenge plot is formulaic, but
Arrow Video brings together a collection of three early collaborations between two titans of the cinema with mixed results.
That Robert De Niro is one of the greatest film actors of all time there is no doubt. He has starred in some of the greatest films ever made, won nearly every acting award in existence including two Oscars, an AFI Life Achievement Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His work in the 1970s and '80s on films like The Godfather, Part II, The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and Once Upon A Time in America is nearly unparalleled. That his filmography over the last couple of decades doesn’t really hold up does not in any way take
After 10 years, completists will certainly be glad Warner Archive is continuing the release of Popeye cartoons.
From July 2007 through November 2008, Warner Brothers released three volumes of Popeye the Sailor cartoons on DVD, which contained the first 123 cartoons from Popeye the Sailor (1933) through to Cartoons Ain't Human (1943). Aside from three Popeye Color Specials, two-reelers shot in Technicolor, those cartoons were in black and white. Now 10 years later, Warner Archive is continuing the run with Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 1, featuring the next 14 theatrical cartoons made by Famous Studios, all in Technicolor, from Her Honor the Mare (1943) through to Mess Production (1945). For those new to the Popeye
A horrible virus will not keep me from finding cool things for you, dear reader.
I have been battling a nasty viral infection all week. My head has felt like its been hit with a sledge hammer, my throat has felt like I’m swallowing rocks and if I stood up for too long I’d get really woozy. I mostly stayed in bed and slept. When I wasn’t sleeping I watched television programs and movies. But mostly I just laid there and moaned. In fact I haven’t laid in bed moaning so much since my honeymoon. <rimshot> I think I’m finally on the mend, but it is slow going. I managed to do a little work
Peter Jackson's groundbreaking WWI documentary is required viewing for history and cinema buffs alike.
Taking old black and white footage and adding color to it is nothing particularly new. Some documentaries have already done so to footage from World War II and other historical events, making it appear as it was mostly seen through the eyes of those that experienced it. Peter Jackson’s latest effort, They Shall Not Grow Old, does the same thing for World War I but to a much different, more gut-wrenching effect than any other documentary on the subject. The war footage used is 100 years old, meaning that the frame rate makes it look like each individual person is