January 2014 Archives

Book Review: Captain Midnight Vol. 1: On the Run by Joshua Williamson and Fernando Dagnino

Little-known superhero gains new life at Dark Horse Comics.
  |   Comments
A patriotic Nazi-fighting U.S. superhero who disappeared in the 1940s suddenly appears in the present day, seemingly not a day older. Captain America? No, Captain Midnight. As part of Dark Horse’s renewed focus on superhero titles, they’ve dusted off this character who actually was created in the 1930s but fell into obsolescence in the ensuing decades. Now he’s back in an all-new ongoing series by writer Joshua Williamson (Masks and Mobsters) and artist Fernando Dagnino. Upon barreling out of the Bermuda Triangle in the same plane he disappeared in during World War II, Midnight is briefly incarcerated on a U.S.

Vera, Set 3 DVD Review: Great Scenery, Plenty of Murders

Vera, Set 3 is a well-made, well-drawn series that would make an excellent part of anyone's mystery set.
  |   Comments
Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope reminds me of Miss Marple (though that might just be her age and her sex) and Paddington Bear (though that might just be her hat.) Much like Miss Marple (and Paddington Bear, for all I know), she uses her gentile outward appearance and kind manners to hide a deep intellect and cunning insight, which throws off the people she questions and criminals she’s chasing. Vera, Set 3 contains all four made-for-television movies from Series 3 of the British series. It stars Brenda Blethyn as DCI Stanhope and David Leon as her Detective Sergeant Joe Ashworth.

Panel Preview: Dark Horse Comics: King Conan: The Conqueror #1

Fugitive Conan could uncover the key to regaining his throne—or he could get a knife in the back!
  |   Comments
Begining February 26, King Conan: The Conqueror #1, the first in a six-issue series, continues Timothy Truman's adaptation of Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon, which began last year in a six-issue series of the same name, with art by Tomás Giorello, who also did the cover art, and color by José Villarrubia. In the port city of Messantia, the deposed, fugitive Conan could uncover the key to regaining his throne—or he could get a knife in the back! Conan follows a lead to a lost relic, revisits an old friend, and finds that he’s not alone in

Agatha Christie's The Queen of Crime Collection: No Poirot, But Plenty of Madcap Amateur Sleuths in this Fun DVD Set

These films should keep Christie and British mystery fans entertained, too.
  |   Comments
Acorn Media has released Agatha Christie's The Queen of Crime Collection, three feature-length adaptations of Agatha Christie novels. The three movies are on three DVD discs. Although they are older programs, the images, with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, look sharp on a large-scale high-definition television screen. The sound, in Dolby Digital Stereo, is also crisp and clear. SDH (English) subtitles are available. The films are all NR (Not Rated), but viewers should note that Sparkling Cyanide does contain brief nudity. The first disc in the set, Sparkling Cyanide, originally broadcast in 2003, has updated Christie's story to current-day London,

Panel Preview: Dark Horse Comics: Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy #1

Get a peek at Terminator: Enemy of my Enemy #1.
  |   Comments
In our review of the Terminator Anthology collection, it is explained that: the franchise tells the story of the war between humans and machines. In the future, the U.S. strategic defense computer system, known as Skynet, will become self-aware. To protect itself from being turned off, Skynet begins a nuclear war, referred to as Judgment Day. While many of the remaining humans are put into labor camps, a resistance rises up, led by John Connor. Before the humans can defeat Skynet, it creates a time machine, which it makes use of multiple times by sending cyborgs known as Terminators back

Wolverine vs. Sabertooth DVD Review: Not the Best There Is at What Loeb Does

Jeph Loeb's underwhelming return to Marvel goes nowhere and isn't helped by Bianchi's polarizing art.
  |   Comments
Wolverine and Sabertooth are at the pinnacle of classic comic-book opponents. Jeph Loeb is a reliably impressive writer and TV producer. It stands to reason that this motion-comic project should be a classic, especially since its source comic-book arc marked the return of Loeb to the Marvel writing stable after a lengthy stint at DC. Unfortunately, it’s not, and the blame for that appears to be entirely Loeb’s, although he’s not helped by artist Simone Bianchi’s polarizing art. Instead of a meaningful story arc that explores the still-mysterious relationship between the two characters, we’re treated to a meandering, dreamy trip

Dallas Buyers Club is the Pick of the Week

A recipe for my Pick of the Week.
  |   Comments
I believe I first saw Matthew McConaughey as "past his prime, but still picking up high school girls" David Wooderson in Richard Linklater’s wonderful Dazed and Confused. But I didn’t really recognize him as someone to watch until A Time to Kill. That movie was supposed to make him a star, but it failed to make it big with audiences and the buzz around McConaughey kind of died with it. He made a few other critically acclaimed films but mostly sank into romantic comedy schlock that undoubtedly made him plenty of bank and lots of women fans, but lost his

Snow Babies DVD Review: A Look at the Challenges Baby Animals Face in Life's First Year

The harsh reality of life for baby animals in some of the world's coldest climates.
  |   Comments
Life is often difficult for baby animals in the wild. For babies born into the harsh, winter conditions of the Arctic and Antarctic regions, among others, survival is not always a sure thing. Narrated by Caroline Quentin, BBC Earth’s Snow Babies takes an in-depth look at the first year of life for a number of animals, including polar bears, arctic wolves, snow monkeys, reindeer and penguins. The story begins in Antarctica, the coldest place on earth. Its winters are extreme, with little daylight and temperatures reaching as low as -112° F. Few would expect anything to live here, let alone

Penguins: Spy In The Huddle: A Look at a Penguin's Life from the Inside

A penguin's eye view of the lifecycle of these remarkable birds.
  |   Comments
Penguins are remarkable creatures. Able to endure some of the most extreme climates on earth, they are also some of the most devoted parents in the animal kingdom. Through the use of spy cams, BBC Earth takes a closer look at the lives of emperor, rockhopper, and Humboldt penguins than ever before in Penguins — Spy In The Huddle. For the documentary, which is narrated by David Tennant, the filmmakers used 50 different “penguin cams” to infiltrate the various penguin communities. Designed to look like the penguins they were filming, the cams were quickly accepted as “one of the birds,”

Terminator Anthology Blu-ray Review: An Unstoppable Franchise

If you don't own any Terminator Blu-rays, this set is for you.
  |   Comments
The Terminator Anthology collects the four films from the Terminator franchise in one set for the first time. However, there's nothing new here as the set collects previously released Blu-rays: The Terminator (2006, MGM), Terminator 2: Judgment Day Skynet Edition (2009, Lionsgate), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2008, Warner Bros), and the 2-disc Terminator Salvation (2009, Warner Bros). For those that don't know the mythology, the franchise tells the story of the war between humans and machines. In the future, the U.S. strategic defense computer system, known as Skynet, will become self-aware. To protect itself from being turned off,

Concert Review: The History of the Eagles, The Forum, Inglewood, CA, 01/22/14

"The History of The Eagles" finds the band performing songs from their impressive collection at a high level.
  |   Comments
On Wednesday, Jan. 22, The Eagles began the second week of their six-night stand at Los Angeles' newly refurbished Forum presenting an evening of music entitled "The History of the Eagles." To start things off, founders Don Henley and Glen Frey entered from opposite sides of the stage carrying acoustic guitars. They opened with the deep cut "Saturday Night" off their second album Desperado, signaling that the history of the band wouldn't necessarily be told chronologically. A mandolin could be heard in the mix, but I had no idea if someone was playing it off stage or it was a
Terence Davies plumbs his Liverpool upbringing in 1992’s brilliantly dense The Long Day Closes, a film that is as much about the transience of growing up as it is about the joy of it. The picture is coated in certain melancholy and, sure to Davies’ style, eschews the linear narrative in favour of shards of memory, music and feeling. Thanks to the good people at Criterion Collection, The Long Day Closes is now available on Blu-ray (there’s a DVD version in the package too). The transfer vividly pulls Davies’ world of gray and brown into focus. The working class environs

La vie de bohème (1992) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Aki Kaurismäki Does Tragedy and Comedy Equally Well

Finnish great Aki Kaurismäki spins his tonally flexible take on Paris bohemian life.
  |   Comments
The Film Finnish great Aki Kaurismäki’s take on Paris bohemian life, La vie de bohème, doesn’t end well for its characters — how could it? It’s based on Henri Murger’s collection of stories Scènes de la vie de bohème, which provided the basis for opera La Bohème, which in turn inspired Rent, and if you’ve seen anything in this pipeline, you know there’s some consumptive death in the cards. What’s remarkable about Kaurismäki’s version is the balancing act of tones he achieves. Fans will no doubt be familiar with the filmmaker’s canny ability to bring deadpan humor and deep melancholy

Top of the Lake DVD Review: Top of My Best of 2014 List

A well-made, atmospheric, beautiful series from Jane Campion.
  |   Comments
A young girl, all of 12 years old and pregnant, wades into a lake at the top of a mountain on the bottom of the world. We are unsure if she is trying to induce a miscarriage or kill herself. Before either can occur, she is rescued. When her pregnancy is determined, the police investigate, but she is either incapable or unwilling to cooperate and within a couple of days, she has vanished completely. Suspicions fall on her father, Matt (Peter Mullan) the local drug lord and his clan of sons. Maybe one of them got her pregnant and killed

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy Blu-ray Review: A Must-Own for Any Nightmare Fan

The definitive behind-the-scenes for the Nightmare franchise gets the HD treatment.
  |   Comments
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy was originally released on DVD back in 2010. It's received a proper HD treatment in the jump to Blu-ray, sporting the expected 1080p picture and audio clear as a bell (even if Wes Craven's reserved way of speaking had me turning up the volume a little to hear him). It's a collection of extras so big, it still requires two discs on this expanded format. The first disc contains the main documentary, a four-hour trip through every Freddy movie from the first through Freddy's Dead and Freddy Vs. Jason. I read somewhere that

The Doors: R-Evolution Blu-ray Review: Your Eyes Can See Them

The program for this evening will be not new to longtime fans, but that doesn't make the collection any less entertaining.
  |   Comments
Over the course of 72 minutes, R-Evolution presents a visual history of The Doors (John Densmore, Robbie Kreiger, Ray Manzarek, and Jim Morrison) through music films, better known today as “music videos,” and television appearances. To paraphrase “The Movie” from An American Prayer, the program for this evening will be not new to longtime fans, but that doesn't make the collection any less entertaining. It opens with two versions of “Break On Through.” First, the classic music film created in January 1967 of the band playing in a darkened room under colored lights. Than two months later, they play to

Blue Jasmine is the Pick of the Week

I pretty much make all of his new releases my Pick of the Week.
  |   Comments
When I was a pubescent teenager I used to stay up late on Friday and Saturday nights watching the USA channel and their Up All Night programming. It was hosted by Rhonda Shear and Gilbert Gottfried who would make jokes and do skits during commercial breaks. They showed mostly bad b-movies (and Friday the 13th marathons if the calendar matched) into the wee hours of the morning. I watched religiously. I learned to love low-budget horror flicks and ridiculous Porky’s rip-offs (and Rhonda Shears' legs) during those years, and it's all stuck with me decades later (especially those legs, yowza!)

Archer: The Complete Season Four Blu-ray Review: Laugh Another Day

Archer remains one of the top comedies in my book, so this release is a must-own alongside the previous three seasons.
  |   Comments
During the 13 episodes of its fourth season, Adam Reed's espionage comedy Archer continued the escapades of international intrigue and outrageous hilarity that have made the show a success. The season opened with “Fugue and Riffs,” which finds ISIS agent Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) having developed amnesia and thinking he's a fry cook named Bob Belcher. That's Benjamin's character on Bob's Burgers. John Roberts, who plays Bob's wife Linda, makes a brief appearance, and castmates Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal, who play their kids, appear in the two-part season finale “The Sea Tunt” as Cheryl's brother and his girlfriend

The Wrong Quarry Book Review: Pure Pulpy Goodness

Max Allan Collins' latest is a thrilling send-up of the grittiest pulp paperbacks.
  |   Comments
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a fan of author Max Allan Collins and have written in other places about his various books. With that out in the open, this is my first foray into his Quarry series, with more experience reading his true crime/historical mysteries led by Detective Nathan Heller. The Quarry series is heavily steeped in the world of Mickey Spillane (of whom Collins has worked with previously), with its mix of old-fashioned noir mystery and tons of salacious sex. The mystery of The Wrong Quarry is fairly light and unmemorable, but Collins’ rapid-fire prose is enough

The Blue Eyes Soundtrack Review: Another Strong Entry in the J.G. Thirlwell Catalog

J.G. Thirlwell's "chamber soundtrack" for The Blue Eyes bodes well for the supernatural thriller.
  |   Comments
J.G. Thirlwell is nothing if not prolific. He has recorded over 30 albums in a variety of styles, under such pseudonyms as Foetus, Manorexia, and Steroid Maximus. He uses his own name for his soundtrack work though, and he has just released the music for The Blue Eyes (2012), which was directed by Eva Aridjis. The Blue Eyes is somewhat obscure, and I have yet to see it. But I have listened to the music, and as a stand-alone recording, I really enjoyed it. In the press release, Thirlwell describes it as a “chamber soundtrack.” It is an interesting distinction,

Enough Said Blu-ray Review: A Sweet, Realistic Romantic Comedy

A lovely portrait of real characters with real problems played realistically.
  |   Comments
Few actors are able to fully ensconce themselves inside a character as James Gandolfini did with Tony Soprano. He simply was that character and that character was him. For six seasons, Gandolfini became Tony Soprano and gave one of the most nuanced, heartfelt, incredible performances ever seen. So much so that public perception of the man tends to lend itself to feeling that Gandolfini must be the dangerous, angry mobster he portrayed so realistically. Yet to talk to his fellow actors and real-life friends is to hear that he was nothing of the sort. He is often described as a

Sesame Street: Be a Good Sport DVD Review: Fun and Education for Babies (and Adults Too)

Over two hours worth of sketches that are sure to keep any ankle biter enthralled.
  |   Comments
I do not have cable or satellite, but I do have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. This combination means there is a lot of PBS Kids programming going on in my house. One of my favorites and hers is Sesame Street. I have very fond memories of watching it as a child and now as a dad it's a really wonderful thing to watch her get excited over the adventures of all those furry little monsters. Of course, the show has changed a great deal since I was a kid. They hardly show any of my favorite characters anymore. Big Bird, Snuffaluffagus,

The 2014 Oscar Nominations: The Hustle of Hollywood

Who is going to take home Oscar?
  |   Comments
Written by Gordon S. Miller This morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominees for the 86th Academy Awards (Oscar), which will be handed out at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014. It's amazing that what was once a three-hour-plus, glorified informercial for movies has greatly expanded into a months-long reality show thanks to the coverage it receives on the Internet from gossipy award bloggers imbued with delusions of grandeur and the audiences they draw for their work. I am a huge fan of both the show and the business of "show business" and have
Once again the irreverent animated comedy about a so-called average guy and his dysfunctional family has released yet another volume of 22 episodes. While it’s titled as "Volume Twelve," it actually contains all of Season Eleven’s episodes. It’s unheard of today for a show that was cancelled after the third season ever returning to television, let alone hit eleven seasons and surpass 200 episodes. The 200th episode is one of those featured in this collection, and you might even miss it if you weren’t looking for it since the episodes run in date of airing making it the fourth episode

Inside Llewyn Davis Movie Review: At Least It Got One Oscar

This movie feels more traditional, but with enough of that Coen brothers charm to keep their diehards happy.
  |   Comments
The Coen brothers have made the move from idiosyncratic filmmakers to perennial Oscar fodder, and their latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis, has gotten plenty of acclaim already, and had some Oscar buzz to be sure. However, some of that buzz may have faded, and the Golden Globes largely ignored it (and everybody puts so much stock into those), but the Coens probably don't care all that much. They like to make their films, and they've made another good one. This movie is hard to peg within the world of the Coen brothers eclectic ouevre. It is closest to A Serious

Paradise: Hope: Seidl Concludes His Trilogy with Grace

There is a sensitivity to Paradise: Hope that concludes the series beautifully.
  |   Comments
Ulrich Seidl closes his Paradise trilogy with 2013’s Paradise: Hope, the most sensitive offering of the bunch. Following up the troubling yet beautiful Paradise: Love and the bleak but authentic Paradise: Faith, this entry concludes the Austrian director’s meditation on seeking fanciful versions of what the trilogy’s respective titles offer. And so it comes to Hope, a matter that compelling encompasses Love and Faith in a way. It delves into the affections of a 13-year-old girl (Melanie Lenz) and explores her idealism in the framework of a “fat camp” and the mythical love of a much older man. It also

Runner Runner Blu-ray Review: I Fold

The smart bet is not to watch.
  |   Comments
Runner Runner isn't a poker movie. You'll think it's a poker movie from the trailers and the synopsis and the marketing, but there's no actual poker to be found. It's not about gambling, strategy, or the actual struggles of gambling addiction. It's not a movie about proper organized crime, clever deception, a decent plot twist...at 91 minutes, it's not long enough to flesh out anything into more than a one-dimensional tale where you're told everything and shown nothing. They sure did make a pretty trailer for it though, didn't they? Justin Timberlake plays college math wiz Richie Furst, in a

The World's End Movie Review: Cheers!

A fitting capper to the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy.
  |   Comments
The World's End is, fittingly, the final part of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost's ersatz trilogy of blood, ice cream, and genre twists. This time around, the gang takes on science fiction, but as per usual these tropes are used to tell a more traditional, emotionally resonant story of the characters at the center of the story. The World's End lets us know we can't go home again, because if we do, we may find a bunch of freaky robot things have taken over the town. This time around, Pegg plays the screw-up and train wreck. His Gary
Maidentrip is director Jillian Schlesinger's documentary/compilation of the story of Laura Dekker, the teenage adventurer who sought to become the youngest person to sail alone around the world without any assistance or follow boats. However, Laura's journey isn't just about guiding a boat around the globe -- it's one of developing a sense of maturity, independence, responsibility, identity, family, and belonging. After being born on a boat in New Zealand and living on the water for the first five years of her life, her family relocated to Holland, and her parents separated. She stayed with her boat-builder father to pursue

20 Feet from Stardom DVD Review: An Essential Addition to Any Music Fan's Library

This riveting documentary shines a deserved spotlight on the most unknown MVPs in rock and soul music.
  |   Comments
When recalling the Rolling Stones’ 1969 single “Gimme Shelter,” one thinks of Mick Jagger’s snarling lead vocal. Equally important to the song’s legendary status, however, is Merry Clayton’s passionate performance. Her name may not instantly ring a bell, but her gospel-drenched voice shouting “Rape! Murder! It’s just a shot away” remains instantly recognizable. Clayton and other unsung heroes of R&B and rock music are celebrated in the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, an essential addition to any music fan’s library. Eschewing narration, the film allows the noted backup singers to tell their own stories. The tales they spin are both

Charlie Countryman DVD Review: Confused Romance / Neo-Noir Mashup

Shia LaBeouf hurtles through a few days of danger, drugs, and debauchery; his almost-believable romance with Evan Rachel Wood doesn't redeem this mess of a movie.
  |   Comments
If you can’t get enough of Shia LaBeouf, this is the movie for you; he’s in practically every scene. Actually, Charlie Countryman is good both for those who like LaBeouf and for those who hate him. Through the course of this confusing neo-noir romance, his character is beaten up more than once, gets hit by a car, is tasered, has a broken wineglass held too close to his neck, and must spend half of a trans-Atlantic flight with a dead guy in the seat next to him. A working title for the film was The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman,

Fruitvale Station Blu-ray Review: As Emotional As If It Happened Yesterday

The shocking death of Oscar Grant is reenacted tragically and reverently by debut director Ryan Coogler
  |   Comments
As a California resident, specifically living near San Francisco, Fruitvale Station produced a slew of emotions before I sat down to watch it. I vividly remember the death of Oscar Grant and the ensuing trial and rioting following the verdict. It’s enough to color my perspective of how first-time director Ryan Coogler chooses to depict events. Regardless, as a film, Fruitvale Station is a moving tribute to Grant’s memory, as well as an exploration on the notion of race, personal history, and seizing the moment.On New Year’s Eve, 2008, 22-year-old Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) and a group of friends

TV Review: Archer: "White Elephant"

Archer Vice!
  |   Comments
Depending on how successful Season Five of Archer is, and it looks to be very successful from what I assume is a preview and not just Sterling's fantasy, the episode's title, “White Elephant,” might become a new television term in reference to scrapping a series' premise and creating a new one for the characters, unless a term for that was already created when the Laverne & Shirley gang moved to Burbank. As the episode opens, show creator Adam Reed creates a perfect visual metaphor. Life for the ISIS team is comfortable and serene, like many TV shows entering their fifth

Rififi is the Pick of the Week

Because it features one of the most tense, carefully crafted scenes in all of cinema.
  |   Comments
In the middle of Jules Dassin’s 1954 film noir Rififi, which is the father of all heist movies, lies a 28 minute safe-cracking sequence. It is so spectacular in its execution I am surprised anyone has ever tried anything similar since. But of course many others have tried, but none have come even remotely close. This robbery takes up nearly a fourth of the films running time, is shot without a bit of dialog or background music, and yet is one of the most tense, carefully crafted scenes in all of cinema. The fact that the rest of the film

20 Feet from Stardom Blu-ray Review: The Year's Best Documentary Appreciates Music's Unsung Ladies

'20 Feet From Stardom' is still a long way to fame in this beautiful documentary devoted to the ladies of music.
  |   Comments
In our world of autotune and lip-synching it isn’t easy finding joy and talent within the music industry today. Thank goodness 20 Feet from Stardom is here to remind us; an uplifting documentary exploring the unsung (pun intended) ladies of the industry: backup singers. Joy, sadness, and unyielding potential coalesce to produce one of the best documentaries of the year!They’re literally twenty feet away from the microphone, and yet their hooks are the ones people sing endlessly to themselves. Background singers have been indelible within the music scene since the 1960s, and yet their attempts at solo careers generally end

Milius Movie Review: The Director who Wanted to be a General

Milius documents the rise and fall of raconteur and Hollywood rebel John Milius.
  |   Comments
For a man who has had many triumphs, John Milius is seen as a tragic figure - he's the one who couldn't adapt to the corporate takeover of Hollywood in the '80s. He's the one that flamed out with Red Dawn, which might have been financially successful (which is hard to gauge from my meager research, but a cursory examination at BoxOfficeMojo.com shows it was the 20th highest grossing movie of the year, and the top grossing PG-13 film) but it was controversial, and proved just too-Milius for Hollywood. Much of this documentary is centered on the notion that Milius

The Fifth Estate (2013) Blu-ray Review: When Tension Becomes Tedious

(aka 'The Anti-Social Network'.)
  |   Comments
In 1963, legendary cult filmmaker Roger Corman - determined to live up to his reputation as a parsimonious producer - decided to recycle a number of leftover props, crew, actors and costumes left behind from previous productions (both his as well as those of others) in order to get the most out of sets built for The Raven before the scenery was torn down and destroyed completely. Sadly for film historians and enthusiasts alike, the resulting film - The Terror - was a lot of substance stuffed into a great big boring messy heap of a flick; one co-star Jack

Book Review: The Filmmaker Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom, compiled & edited by Jamie Thompson Stern

A great read for those intrigued by those who make films intriguing.
  |   Comments
Editor Jamie Thompson Stern informs in the preface she has compiled and arranged (unsourced) quotes about filmmaking from “directors, screenwriters, producers, cinematographers, studio heads, actors, and critics...in such a way as to show lively conversations among filmmakers from different eras and with wildly sensibilities.” The presentation of contradicting ideas is what makes The Filmmaker Says most interesting because it hints at screenwriter Willam Goldman's famous line “nobody knows anything,” which is included here. Preston Sturges thinks he knows something because he offers “Eleven Rules for Box Office Appeal,” but Frank Capra is quick to point out on the following page

Birth of the Living Dead DVD Review: An Entertaining Documentary

The documentary Birth of the Living Dead examines the evolution of the granddaddy of zombie films, Night of the Living Dead.
  |   Comments
The Walking Dead , zombie conventions, Shaun of the Dead, and innumerable zombie novels all owe their existence to the granddaddy of them all, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Birth of the Living Dead, Rob Kuhns’ documentary about the groundbreaking zombie film, doesn’t deliver any major revelations about the film, but it does include some interesting segments that show how the film has impacted society. In one segment, a literacy teacher in the Bronx shows the film as part of his class, and the kids love it. There’s an extensive interview with Romero weaved throughout the documentary, and

BAFTA Announces Their 2013 Film Awards Nominees

And the nominees are....
  |   Comments
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts have announced the nominnes for the 2013 BAFTA. Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity led the way with 11 nominations, edging out both 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle, each nominated in ten categories. Captain Phillips trailed behind them with nine nominations. The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday 16 February at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. The ceremony will be hosted by Stephen Fry and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One and BBC One HD, preceded by a red carpet show on BBC Three. The ceremony is

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) / Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) / Royal Flash (1975) Blu-ray Reviews: A Vintage Hero and a Classic Cad

Twilight Time brings us the last of a Harryhausen trio and the only entry from a proposed series.
  |   Comments
Late last year, while most of your average, run-of-the-mill distributors were busy emailing out holiday gift guides en masse to publications both virtual and tangible alike in order to push those illustrious fourth-quarter sales up as high as possible, the folks at Twilight Time were kickin' back in a surprisingly laissez-faire-esque manner. They were foregoing that whole "Santa Claus wants you to buy this, for you'll surely burn in a rich Christian Hell if you don't!" aggression most outfits succumb to during the holidays, instead opting to release three lesser-known entries from two classic film franchises. Well, you had better

TV Review: The Good Wife: "The Decision Tree" & "Goliath and David"

Still one of TV's best shows, but midway through season five there are ominous signs of future shark-jumping.
  |   Comments
I think The Good Wife is consistently one of the best shows on TV. But now that we’re midway through the fifth season - a troublesome time for many a series - I see some reasons for concern. [Note: Spoiler alerts for those who haven’t yet seen Episode 10, “The Decision Tree,” and Episode 11, “Goliath and David,” which aired January 5th.] Two words: Peter Bogdanovich. Really? He’s the “Peter” that made Eli Gold freak out when Marilyn Garbanza told him the name of her unborn baby (by the way, nice spit-take from Alan Cumming). I have nothing against Peter
Based on the Grimm's Fairy Tales, the TV series Grimm follows Nick (David Giuntoli) as he finds out about his Aunt Marie (Kate Burton), who leaves him a trailer full of old books, strange weapons, and odd ingredients for potions. Along with the trailer, he inherits the knowledge that he is a Grimm and it is his responsibility to carry on the family traditions. The Grimm family has a long history of hunting down Wesen, creatures that have the ability to disguise themselves as humans and live among us, but during times of emotional stress, a Grimm can see through

Top of the Lake is the Pick of the Week

Apologies for those who love their rednecked water-fowl, and foul-mouthed animated spies.
  |   Comments
Some weeks you gotta ignore the masses and pick what you want. Okay, admittedly I pretty much do that every week, but this week I'm doing it more than usual. Duck Dynasty is a cultural phenomenon. They say it' s the biggest reality show to appear on basic cable ever, and judging by Facebook chatter and t-shirts for sale at Wal-Mart, I believe them. It's also become very controversial. One of the Robertson clan recently said something ugly about gay people and was suspended by A&E until he wasn’t. Social media lit up over the affair and I had to

The Following: The Complete First Season Combo Pack Review: Dark and Truly Horrifying

For those that enjoy intense thrillers and being scared, the first season of The Following is not to be missed.
  |   Comments
For 15 weeks on Monday nights at 9 PM I was glued to the television to watch The Following. Since it was created by Kevin Williamson, who in my mind created one of the scariest and original modern horror movies with Scream, I was excited to check it out. Kevin Bacon on a weekly basis was the other main reason I tuned in. Neither of them disappointed with this terrifying psychological thriller. Former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is brought back from disability to help re-capture Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), a serial killer Hardy was responsible for sending to

Book Review: The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk

Dave Van Ronk's fascinating memoir is the basis for the Coen Brothers new Inside Llewyn Davis film.
  |   Comments
The 2013 reprint of Dave Van Ronk’s (1936 -2002) autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street (2004) has a cover blurb that reads: “The Life Story that Inspired the Coen Brothers Movie Inside Llewyn Davis.” Since the Coen Brothers have been known to occasionally stretch the facts about their source materials in the past, and I have not yet had the opportunity to see Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), I can neither confirm nor deny the statement. No matter how much of it they did use though, I am looking forward to the movie, because Van Ronk’s excellent memoir describes a very

This Day in History: 12 Years A Slave

Solomon Northup's legacy is explored through his descendants.
  |   Comments
Director Steve McQueen's critically acclaimed 12 Years A Slave is based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life. On January

The Act of Killing Movie Review: Art, Reality, and History Collide

A biting documentary casting a lens on war, genocide, and moviemaking.
  |   Comments
When controversy springs up about the effects of American movies on the nation’s children, people respond in kind or roll their eyes. Movies are fictional, and anyone who doesn’t know that shouldn’t be watching them, right? In a way, Joshua Oppenheimer’s chilling documentary, The Act of Killing, is an exploration of the effects of American movies on the world’s children, and the results are surprising. Outside of the myriad of questions revolving around history and entertainment, the story follows a group of mass murderers coming to terms with atrocities they committed. The Act of Killing is a necessary piece of

Book Review: Saturday Night Live FAQ by Stephen Tropiano: Just The Facts

Tropiano's book will help you learn a bunch of the good stuff.
  |   Comments
Saturday Night Live has been on for decades, and book upon book has been written about it. However, many of those books are about behind the scenes tensions and scandals and such. On the other hand, Saturday Night Live FAQ by Stephen Tropiano is about getting you as many facts as possible into a book about the show. Is it possible to stuff so many years of TV into one book, and to make it interesting and coherent? Yes, and yes. This book is basically designed to be an encyclopedia about Saturday Night Live. It begins with a historical rundown

Hell Baby (Unrated) DVD Review: Destined to Be a Cult Classic

From Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon comes the best horror movie spoof in a long time
  |   Comments
I'm biased. I'm a comedy nerd. I loved and still do love The State and Reno 911. I think that Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon are two of the best comedians and comedic writers out there. These two know what they are doing. Hell Baby is no exception. This movie is the co-directing debut for the pair. Hell Baby is a movie about Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb), an expectant couple who move into a dilapidated house in post-Katrina New Orleans. One they start to settle in, unsettling events start taking place. Their neighbor F'resnel (Keegan-Michael Key)

Don Jon Blu-ray Review: How Porn is Better Than Scarlett Johansson

Joseph Gordon-Levitt attempts to deal with how fantasy worlds collide with our real ones, causing untold problems and unhappiness.
  |   Comments
Our entertainment culture creates fantasy worlds that can never live up to reality. Pornography brings us beautiful women with perfect bodies who are willing to satisfy our every sexual urge - no matter how perverse or degrading - with no strings attached. They don’t ask you to pick up the check, do the laundry, or even cuddle afterwards. Similarly, Hollywood creates romantic movies in which opposites always attract, everybody changes for the betters and the endings are always happy. In Don Jon, writer, actor, and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt attempts to deal with how these fantasy worlds collide with our real

Follow Us