In 1979, an 11-year-old me took a major step in my musical appreciation evolution. It was the year I embraced the vinyl album and moved from radio listening to purchasing records. Some were older, Revolver, Hot Rocks and some were new - Breakfast in America and Bad Company's Desolation Angels. Bad Company is one of those bands that I've always liked and while that was my first purchase of their music, over the next few years I assembled the full collection. Fast forward more than 30 years, and while I still like and appreciate them, I rarely if ever dig
Classic rockers Bad Company finally release a live album and it's well worth the wait.
The Killer Tomatoes are back and this time it's personal.
We have Jim Henson to thank for this. During Muppets Take Manhattan, there was a fantasy sequence in which Miss Piggy fantasized about growing up with Kermit. In it, we see baby versions of Rowlf, Fozzie, Scooter, and Gonzo. This inspired Henson to create The Muppet Babies animated series for CBS (and inspired that odd-ball late '80s to early '90s genre of making baby/little kid versions of already popular adult characters). During the third season in an episode entitled “The Weirdo Zone,” the babies try to get in touch with their inner weirdness in order to understand Gonzo. Fozzie Bear
This week brings us a nuclear comedy, killer tomatoes, a special effects wizard and much more.
If you’ve watched a movie with any sort of special-effects-laden creature in the last century, you’ve watched a film influenced by Ray Harryhausen. Inspired by watching King Kong (1933), Harryhausen went on to pioneer the use of stop motion effects and created what he called Dynamation in which he super imposed his stop-motion effects onto a previously shot scene, enabling real life actors to interact with his puppets. His films often fall into the science-fiction/fantasy gutter of the 1960s era, and I’ve honestly not seen the majority of them, but just seeing clips of those effects is jaw-dropping. Knowing that
This underseen 1960s noir is a precursor to the 1990s erotic thriller.
It's an average day in sunny Los Angeles. Two men - you wouldn't immediately avoid them but they definitely possess an agenda - come out of the haze with crime on their mind. So begins Leslie Stevens' little seen noir, Private Property. The low-budget film, shot in ten days, recently premiered at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival, bringing to light a twisted, sexually charged noir that ties in to today's gender dynamics. Duke and Boots (Corey Allen and Warren Oates) are two small-time hoods. Boots is a virgin intent on proving his virility to Duke, and a random encounter
Hey hey, my my. There's more to these pictures than meets the eye.
Press release: Shakey Pictures will release two rare Neil Young films - the critically acclaimed director's cut of the post-apocalyptic musical comedy Human Highway and the restored and remixed Rust Never Sleeps --a concert fantasy on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time via Reprise Records. Rust Never Sleeps includes many of Young's most popular songs. Digitally remixed and restored by Shakey Pictures for Blu-ray and DVD, the full-length feature recently screened in sold-out theaters nationwide to ecstatic response and reviews and will be released July 1st. Human Highway is Young's 1982 legendary comedy starring Russ Tamblyn, Charlotte Stewart, Dean
Grab some chocolate (and a bag of popcorn) and strap yourself in for this delightful movie playing once again on the big screen.
As any cinephile with children can tell you, it's a challenge deciding what movies are appropriate for them to watch. There is violence to consider, plus language, sex, moral lessons, and a whole host of things to ruminate over before letting your wee one’s little brain get bombarded with stimulating images. Honestly, I tend to lean towards letting my daughter watch just about anything she wants as I truly believe young minds are able to digest and work through a whole lot more than we give them credit for. I rarely put this to the test though, as she’s just
A week of classics that will make a movie fan give a damn.
As June changes into July, the classic films keep coming on TCM, including Oscar winners for Best Picture, Gone with the Wind, featuring Star-of-the-Month Olivia De Havilland, and Laurence Olivier's Hamlet. There's also another night of "Treasures from the Disney Vault," leading off with The Parent Trap. Dinner at Eight (1933) Monday, June 27 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A high-society dinner party masks a hotbed of scandal and intrigue. The Parent Trap (1961) Tuesday, June 28 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Twins separated by divorce plot to bring their parents back together. TCM Spotlight: Stage to Screen - Hamlet (1948) Wednesday,
Enjoyable adaptation of the crime comedy that gives readers a new slant on the movie.
I know it may be difficult for some of you to understand, but there was a time when home entertainment wasn't on demand. When a movie left theaters, the only way you could watch something at home is when TV stations would air them. This would result in the film being edited for content or time. Think about it, there was no Internet so you couldn’t stream anything. There wasn’t even any DVDs, Blu-rays or VHS for that matter. The only way people were able to enjoy their favorite movies at their leisure was through novelizations. When done right, the
What do two film noirs, three westerns, one failed Charlton Heston adventure epic, and one of the worst giallo movies have in common? They've all seen the light of Blu-ray.
A timeless, tiresome proverb tells us it is darkest before the dawn, and we have all surely met that one idiot who is always more than happy to impose some form of such an idiom upon you whenever things aren't looking overly bright for you. Fortunately, there is no lack of lighting in this sextet of moving picture offerings from Twilight Time. In the instance of the two film noir titles included in this lot ‒ Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) and a re-issue of The Big Heat (1953) ‒ the lighting is always perfect. When we're in the great
Not just an important television drama, but an essential component that should be used when teaching U.S. History.
Commemorating the 40th anniversary a year early, the landmark television miniseries Roots has been remastered and released on Blu-ray. Based on Alex Haley's Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which spent 22 weeks as #1 on The New York Times Best Seller List and won a Pulitzer Prize, it purports to tell the story of Haley's family traced back to the birth of his great-great-great-great grandfather Kunta Kinte. However, Haley was taken to the court and reached a settlement requiring a six-figure payout and his acknowledgment that portions of Roots were taken from Harold Courlander's 1967 novel The African.
T-Rex thrives in its moments of tranquility, which eerily and excitingly juxtapose the moments of explicit competition and internationally sanctioned brutality.
Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari’s spacious and often tranquil sports documentary follows boxer Claressa “T-Rex” Shields before, during, and after her historic gold-medal victory at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Born, raised, and trained in Flint, Michigan - of water-crisis fame - T-Rex fought through the amateur ranks to become the first female boxer to take home the gold at the Olympics when she was seventeen years old. Ever on the precipice of history, Claressa’s story is bold, unbridled, and told in a way that highlights the essence of her character rather than a distorted or inflated image
Showgirls for Millennials.
I entered the theater with feelings of doubt prior to watching Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon. The one-two punch that was Bronson and Drive led to the utter train wreck of Refn's Ryan Gosling follow-up, Only God Forgives, so the director is 2-1 in my book, and critics division on Neon Demon is as wide as our current political party lines. Three critics walked out before the film was over and audience members were shouting at the screen. When the lights went up, I was left confused. Was this a prestige picture by a director touted as a "revolutionary,"
Confucius say: 'Last of previously unreleased titles from franchise finally find way to disc. Hell, yes.'
It's usually easy to say exactly where a film franchise begins. Universal Studios' Jaws (1975) movies officially started with Steven Spielberg's Jaws (though we can see early traces of the film's formula on display in Spielberg's Duel) and came to a hilariously anticlimactic conclusion in Jaws: The Revenge (1987). However, numerous foreign-made "sequels" and outright ripoffs have managed to confuse people who evidently find it difficult to differentiate the real deal from a school of blue fish. In the case of another film franchise ‒ that of the Charlie Chan legacy ‒ it truly is difficult to pinpoint what began
A second volume of movies from Nikkatsu's '60s heyday branches out from just crime movies, with occasionally baffling results.
Japanese cinema is samurai showdowns, tough gangster pictures, or calm, quietly devastating domestic dramas. Kurosawa, Ozu, Mizoguchi. Oh, and Godzilla. Maybe a few decades of nothing for a while, then long-haired ghosts and incredibly violent weird movies by Takashi Miike. That’s what the industry and art form looked like to even an interested observer not too long ago. There were a few other movies that came in through the cracks (Afterlife in the late '90s, Kitano’s fireworks before that) but the vision of Japanese cinema, internationally, was fairly stable for a long of film enthusiasts. With their Nikkatsu releases in
Nicloux writes and directs this strange and lovely odyssey through Death Valley.
Guillaume Nicloux writes and directs the considerate Valley of Love, which kind of has one foot in Maurice Pialat’s 1980 film Loulou and the other in a spectral inversion of reality. It positions its two glorious stars - Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu - nearly as themselves and dumps them in Death Valley. Valley of Love was France’s 2015 Cannes entry and it resonates as a classical road movie, putting two screen icons on a path to elusive elements like self-discovery, resolution, and peace. Nothing comes easy and Christophe Offenstein’s exceptional tracking shots ensure the audience is along for every
"It all comes together so seamlessly, to offer one surprise after another, keeping this show fresh and interesting." - Kim
In which Shawn and Kim discuss Preacher continuing to be accessible and not predictable. Shawn: This series started at 100 mph. And now at episode four I feel like it's slowing down with each episode. We started driving crazy through a corn field at seemingly faster than reality allows and airplanes falling out of the sky. This week we slowly fell into a hole and built an episode around pooping and peeing and raffling off a TV. I'm still in love with this show more than any other on the air right now. I have a few thoughts about what
This week brings us a bunch of Shakespearean adaptations, a fun-looking sci-fi thriller, a Norwegian disaster flick, and the award for worst titled film to ever get my pick.
I hope someone was fired over this. Knight of Cups is a terrible name for a film. Terrence Malick has a difficult enough time selling his films to an audience in the first place so there is no need to give it the worst title possible. I mean, I’m rooting for the guy. I’ve loved the films of his that I’ve seen and I want him to make many more, but even I totally cringed at this title and stayed away from it in the theatre. It doesn’t help that his movies are becoming more and more experimental. Knight of
It’s just not funny.
I have long since theorized that if Kevin Hart and Melissa McCarthy ever made a buddy film together, it would signify the beginning of the end of life as we know it. They have made enough terrible films on their own to start a club. To escape the record-setting heat (not meant to be a reference to McCarthy’s The Heat, a record-setting film in terms of how bad I thought it sucked) this past weekend, I headed for the local theatre and the new release Central Intelligence starring Mr. Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. After struggling through the majority
Eye in the Sky follows Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya.
Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to award two lucky readers the Eye in the Sky Blu-ray Combo Pack, which is set for release on June 28. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: The moral implications of modern warfare are confronted in Bleecker Street’s powerful drama, Eye in the Sky, coming to Digital HD on June 14, 2016 and Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on June 28, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Tackling an ethical dilemma in a thought-provoking suspenseful story, the gritty film stars Academy Award Winner, Helen Mirren (Trumbo,
Well, they've got movies, my friend, I say, movies right on Turner Classics.
More than some will like the Billy Wilder selection on TCM this week. Other highlights include the two-night Stage to Screen Spotlight, Best Picture winner The Sting, and more. Min and Bill (1930) Monday, June 20 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Two crusty waterfront characters try to protect their daughter from a terrible secret. Lifeboat (1944) Tuesday, June 21 at 11:15 p.m. (ET) Survivors of a torpedoed boat take in a German Naval officer from the sub that sank them. TCM Spotlight: Stage to Screen - Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) Wednesday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) An explanation into
Caniff has a good sense of drama, suspense, and humor that keeps the reader seeking the next strip.
Since January 2012, the Library of American Comics, by way of IDW Publishing, has been releasing collections of Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon comic strips, which had an impressive run of 41 years. I was first introduced to U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Canyon in Volume 4 where I read about his international exploits. He was a character of his era. A man with nothing but good, noble traits, who left a trail of broken hearts because nearly every woman he encountered wanted him for her own. That includes Poteet Canyon, Steve's teenage ward, who was introduced in 1956. I missed
Starring Batman: The Animated Series actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.
Press release: The dark journey into insanity begins as Batman: The Killing Joke gets the big-screen treatment for one night on Monday, July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time. Fathom Events, in partnership with Warner Bros., is teaming up with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment to bring the acclaimed graphic novel-turned-film to select cinemas nationwide. Batman: The Killing Joke reunites the foundation of Batman: The Animated Series with Bruce Timm returning as executive producer, and actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their seminal roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively.
An infinite number of stars. Six movies. Positively no refunds.
Whether you attended only one week of high school or an entire day in the food and beverage industry, you're more than highly likely to be aware of something called "drama." Generally, it's a toxic element of life, which many of us tend to ignore (or at least pretend to when you really, matter-of-factly thrive on it). But when it comes to the moving pictures, the drama has a tendency to be much more fulfilling. Not because it's healthier (though technically, it is, since we don't actually have to live it), but because there's a darn fine chance it has
Eight is enough.
Christmas comes early this year from Criterion with eight releases in September. The six titles new to the Collection are Kenji Mizoguchi's The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum, Jacques Tourneur's Cat People, The Coen Brothers' Blood Simple, Mark Robson's Valley of the Dolls, Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and Krzysztof Kieślowski's Dekalog. Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich and the mammoth 25-film set featuring Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman available in a Blu-Ray-only edition are the returning titles. Read on to learn more about them. Night Train to Munich (#523) out Sep 6 Night Train to Munich, from
Opioid addiction and one doctor's questionable practices are brought to light.
The first rule of the Hippocratic oath can be recited by those without a medical degree: First, do no harm. But in a world where nearly all problems can be fixed, or at least sated, with the help of a pill, questions crop up as to whether the cure is as bad as the disease. The recent death of Prince through opioid overdose only makes Eve Marson's documentary, Dr. Feelgood, tragically timelier. Dr. Feelgood tells the tale of Virginia doctor William Hurwitz, accused of overprescribing opioid medications to his patients who see him as an angel of mercy. Audiences first
Disney's latest animated adventure focuses on an odd couple of buddies tasked with setting aside their differences for the greater good.
Judy Hopps is a bunny. Nick Wilde is a fox. In the peaceful animal world of Zootopia, that doesn’t automatically make them enemies, since predators and prey exist in perfect harmony. When a few predators mysteriously start disappearing and reverting to their primal ferocity, they threaten to destroy the urban utopia unless rookie Officer Hopps and her devious acquaintance Nick can crack the case. Although it’s a cartoon, Zootopia isn’t just for kids. Its recurring theme of bigotry blatantly uses the different animal classes in place of race relations, while elsewhere amusing riffs on The Godfather and Breaking Bad make
Criterion does a masterful job of bringing an early sound picture to live.
Life has not gone well for Maurice Legrand (Michel Simon). He works as a cashier for a hosiery company and is generally despised by his colleagues. In an opening scene, they openly mock and scorn him for being a wet blanket and for having to run home to his wife instead of going out on the town with them. The wife, too, rather deplores Maurice and spends nearly every moment of her time on screen berating him. The only pleasure the poor fellow gets from life is painting and even that is spat upon by his wife who declares he
"It all felt different this week and I can't put my finger on the problem." - Shawn
In which Kim and Shawn keep waiting for the next big thing. Kim: I have to tell you, I’m more in love with this show every single time I watch it. I also have to tell you that I’m having a hard time saying anything new or original about it. Dominic Cooper - still hot Ruth Negga - still gorgeous So, what else does one say about a show that seems to be doling out one or two clues at a time regarding what’s happening everywhere? I don’t feel like this gives me much to write about, but… I am
Sometimes the behind-the-scenes stories are more interesting than the actual films.
Roger Corman’s name is synonymous with low-budget, independently financed b-pictures. He’s produced over 400 films in his career, most of which come with titles like Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda or Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. They almost always made money because he knows the basics of filmmaking and he has his finger on the pulse of what's going to sell. He also gave a great many A-list directors and actors their start in the business including folks like James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Jack Nicholson. A famous bit of spurious trivia says that he filmed Little
This week brings us new X-Files, a couple of sequels, a couple of Criterions, a young Jesus, and much more.
For one reason or another, I never got into The X-Files when it first ran. Truth be known, I’m not even sure how aware I was of its existence. Surely I’d seen some adverts for it, but I didn’t know anybody who watched it and it just wasn’t part of my cultural consciousness. Late in my college career, this would be around 1997-98, some friends dropped in for a weekend and they were fans so we watched that week’s episode. I was not impressed. The effects looked cheap, the monsters were silly, and I was completely lost in terms of
Who you gonna call?
From the moment it was announced that they were remaking Ghostbusters with women as the leads, the Internet lost its collective minds. Thousands of people have gone insane with hatred towards a movie they’ve not yet seen. As with any passionate internet wave, the backlash was as intense as it was inevitable. Cries of sexism came fast and furious as if anyone who wasn’t completely in love with the idea of this reboot hated all women. Now of course, if you spend any amount of time on the various internet boards in which this film is discussed, you’ll find a
It's also for the moms and dads who want to watch their children enjoy this bit of fantasy come to life.
The year was 1999. I watched my then-boyfriend play this fantasy/strategy game on an old Windows computer and I thought to myself, “Hey, I like planning! I’ll give this a try!” That game was the Battle.net edition of Warcraft II and I played it for hours on end. I liked the sound of the little guy who proudly announced, “Job done!” when he was done building a house or chopping down trees. I planned my villages and managed my time, always waiting for something to come in and distract me from my work. When it happened, I’d panic every time,
A new generation is set to inherit our mistakes, but we still have a choice...
A decade has passed since Al Gore reported to us about climate change, and won an Academy Award, with An Inconvenient Truth. Since then cars have become more gas efficient (or entirely electric) and not a day goes by that articles about food consumption or drought pop up to remind us of the real effects of climate change. Documentarian Charles Ferguson's Time to Choose espouses the same rhetoric as the Gore doc, but with added scrutiny towards individual pollutants destroying our world. Opening by documenting Earth's majesty, those who enjoyed the BBC's Planet Earth series might experience some deja vu.
This middle-period entry from the Italian master hints at what's to come, but stands on its own as an interesting work.
It’s tempting to label Michelangelo Antonioni’s fourth feature film Le Amiche a transitional work, as it shuns Neorealism and embraces melodrama like some of his earlier work, but also moves toward the aggressively modernist sensibilities that would define subsequent masterpieces like L’Avventura, La Notte and Red Desert. While it’s true that Le Amiche only obliquely studies interpersonal alienation, it’s also more than just a bellwether for the more experimental work to come. With its long, meandering takes and restrained performances, it acts like a melodrama that’s had the passion slowly drained out of it, and stands on its own as
Learn about plastics and other bits of grown-up wisdom from films airing on TCM this week.
Mondays with Star-of-the-month Marie Dressler continues this week as does Fridays with Billy Wilder and the two-night Stage to Screen spotlight. Star of the Month: Marie Dressler - Let Us Be Gay (1930) Monday, June 13 at 9:45 p.m. (ET) A visit to Paris brings divorced spouses back together. The Graduate (1967) Tuesday, June 14 at 10:15 p.m. (ET) A recent college graduate has an affair with his neighbor's wife, then falls for their daughter. TCM Spotlight: Stage to Screen - The Odd Couple (1968) Wednesday, June 15 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A divorced neat freak moves in with his
This movie should have more rocking and less talking.
When you hear the words "punk music," the first names that pop up are usually The Sex Pistols, The Clash, or The Ramones. In recent years, there were bands like My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, and Fall Out Boy joining the ranks. I’m sorry, but it’s hard to consider these bands as punk. There are way better bands that don’t get any exposure but should, groups like Catbath, Fuzzy Machete, Rapedoor, Breed, and TsuShiMaMiRe. One band that helped start the punk movement and the one that recorded the very first album was The Dammed. However, they never got much credit
Stay gold, Preacher. You are off to a great start.
In which Kim and Shawn use the F-word to describe the series. Kim: The much anticipated second episode of Preacher has come and gone, and with it, all of my angst about shitty TV that just doesn’t do anything for me. It is June. I generally watch zero TV from now until Fall. However, I’m already pretty sucked in to Preacher and looking forward to Sunday’s premiere of Ride on Norman Reedus. What was that? Oh, it’s not “on Norman Reedus”, but with him, you say? Don’t crush my dreams. But this is about Preacher and not Norman’s arms, so
The back-to-back programming block includes six iconic action films.
Press release: Starting Saturday, June 11 at 10:00AM ET/PT until Sunday, June 12, at 4:00 AM ET/PT, the back-to-back programming block includes six iconic action films featuring the “Muscles from Brussels”: Derailed, Universal Soldier: The Return, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, Street Fighter, Cyborg and Bloodsport. Lounge on the couch, keep your legs crossed, and grab some popcorn while Van Damme kicks some major butt back-to-back! El Rey Network’s “June Claude Van Damme” Marathon Film Schedule SATURDAY June 11, 201610:00 AM ET/PT DERAILED12:00 AM ET/PT UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING2:00 PM ET/PT UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN4:00 PM ET/PT STREET FIGHTER6:00
Arrow Video places two more (partly) forgotten gialli on the map in a box set that some folks will kill for.
Following in on the high, blood-stained heels of their previously-released gialli box set, Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli, Arrow Video has once again assembled a mini ensemble to two dissimilarly similar titles from a somewhat forgotten Italian genre filmmaker. This time, we are allotted the opportunity to discern (and maybe even dissect) two unique thrillers from the realm of movies fueled by sex, violence, funky fashions, even funkier music, and J&B Scotch aplenty, both of which were helmed and brought to fruition by one Emilio P. Miraglia. Much like Ercoli ‒ whose films were made and distributed
A dark examination of violence and imprisonment against trans women of color.
With trans issues at the forefront of several legal squabbles, it isn't surprising that documentaries have cast their eye towards analyzing the world of LGBTQI issues and the broken justice system which repeatedly fails them. Acting as a close cousin to the fantastic Southwest of Salem is Free CeCe, a similar story of prosecutorial misjustice and a sobering look at violence against trans women of color. On a hot summer night in 2011, Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald was attacked by a group of white people while out walking with friends. In the ensuing melee, a man died and CeCe is arrested,