December 2014 Archives

Warner Archive continues its release of Cartoon Network's Batman: The Brave and the Bold on Blu-ray with The Complete Second Season. The 26 episodes are presented on two discs, making them easier to find than when they debuted over 18 months between November 20, 2009 to April 8, 2011. For those unfamiliar with this series, let me quote my review of The Complete First Season: Created between The WB's The Batman and Cartoon Network's Beware the Batman, The Brave and the Bold teams Batman (Diedrich Bader) with different heroes, just like the DC Comics book series of the same name

Tusk (2014) DVD Review: A Black Comedy with Humor So Dark, You Can't See It

After seeing this, I can see why Kevin Smith has never been allowed to make a Batman or Superman movie.
  |   Comments
There was once a point in history where many of us, myself included, felt Kevin Smith had potential. After hopping aboard the underground film movement of the '90s, the New Jersey-born comic book geek-turned-filmmaker made a big splash with Clerks (1994), next alienated critics while delighting audiences with the very crude comedy hit Mallrats the following year. But hey, that was 1995, and genuinely monumental motion pictures were few and far in-between. Next, Smith made a compromise: he delighted his critics as he alienated his audience with the not-so-romantic dramedy Chasing Amy (1997); a title that has since become the

Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine Movie Review: A Deserving, Wonderful Tribute

A devastating and heartbreaking document.
  |   Comments
Matthew Shepard was an innocent human being. A human being who was taken from this world all too suddenly. A human being who was viciously murdered, because he was gay. Murdered in 1998, in the prime of his life, by two inhuman, homophobic men whose names will not be mentioned in this review, mainly because they don't deserve to be recognized. Matt Shepard was a remarkable guy, who was a people person. He was smart, talented, and very articulate. Michele Josue's film debut tells us just that, and why he was such a beloved person. It also shows us why

Book Review: The Art of the Films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Sharon Gosling and Adam Newell

An enjoyable for read for those fascinated by how modern movies are made.
  |   Comments
This book takes readers behind the scenes of the first two films of the revived Apes franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and reveals what Dawn director Matt Reeves describes in the Foreward is the "astonishing work" of the crewmembers. Led by Rise's production designer Claude Pare and director of photography Andrew Lesnie and Dawn's production designer James Chinlund and director of photography Michael Seresin, the combined imaginations and talents on each film created realistic locations and believable characters on screen. The latter accomplishment also owes a debt to the

Horns Blu-ray Review: Daniel Radcliffe Can Still Talk to Snakes

The real reason to see Horns, of course, is for Daniel Radcliffe, who is quite good as Ig, American accent, horns, and all.
  |   Comments
Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) met the love of his life, Merrin Williams (Juno Temple), when they were just children, and the two fell in love and shared everything together. Their romance seems idyllic, until one night when Merrin is found dead, the victim of a brutal rape and murder. Ig finds himself the prime suspect, his town, friends, and even most of his family shunning him. The heartbroken Ig maintains his innocence, to deaf ears. And then, as the opening line of the novel by Joe Hill states, after he "spent the night drunk and doing terrible things," Ig wakes

The Skeleton Twins Blu-ray Review: Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader Are Fantastic Centerpieces

Twins are reunited after ten years of estrangement and begin down a road that changes them both forever.
  |   Comments
The Skeleton Twins stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as twin siblings, Milo and Maggie, who have not spoken to one another in 10 years. The two are reunited after Milo attempts suicide and the phone call from the hospital interrupts Maggie's own attempt. She flies from New York to Los Angeles to be by his bedside, but he asks her to return home and tries to downplay the attempt. Sensing that Milo is not being honest with himself or with her, Maggie stays and convinces him to come to New York to stay with her and her husband Lance

The Doors: Feast of Friends Blu-ray Review: Strange Days Revisited

A good meal for new fans; a familiar one for long-timers.
  |   Comments
Hitting the vaults once again, The Doors and Eagle Rock Entertainment have re-teamed for Feast of Friends, a short film the band self-produced about their life on the road while touring in the summer of 1968. Having only played at a few film festivals previously, this first official release of Feast of Friends (HD, 39 min) has been "restored from the original negative...color-corrected and cleaned in high definition with the soundtrack totally remixed and remastered by Bruce Botnick." The band's music has been paired with visuals of them in concert and between gigs, creating a longform document of those moments

Waking Sleeping Beauty DVD Review: How Disney Animation Got Its Groove Back

A fascinating documentary about the renaissance of Disney animation that occurred during the 1980s and ’90s.
  |   Comments
Waking Sleeping Beauty is a fascinating documentary about the renaissance of Disney animation that occurred during the 1980s and ’90s. Director Don Hahn, who has been involved with the studio in various capacities since the ’70s, tells the story through audio interviews from the people who experienced, which he paired with archival footage. Rather than present a glossed-over business biography, Hahn doesn’t shy away from the struggles and conflicts that occurred during the transition and presents a rich, compelling story. After years of mediocrity that saw the studio nearly taken over by corporate raiders and lose talented artists like Don

Invasion of Astro-Monster DVD Review: The End of an Era

Thankfully, the plot holes don’t take away from the fun.
  |   Comments
Invasion of Astro-Monster, known in the United States as Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, is a sequel to Ghidorah. The film was released in 1965 in Japan and in the U.S. five years later. It is notable because it is the last Godzilla film to feature the creative team of director Ishiro Honda, screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa, and special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya. The film opens with a rocket ship heading toward Planet X, “a mysterious planet…discovered beyond Jupiter.” The crewmembers are Japanese astronaut Fuji and American astronaut Glen. When they get to the planet, they discover aliens who live underground because

Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster DVD Review: Admittedly Goofy but a Lot of Fun

The film where Godzilla turned from villain to hero.
  |   Comments
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster was the fifth in the series, premiering in Japan in 1964 and the U.S. in 1965. This was the last Godzilla film that received major edits before crossing the Pacific, eight minutes were cut and scenes were altered. It also forever changed the character of Godzilla who, like many great characters of fiction, turns from villain to hero. Classic Media released both versions of the film on one DVD, and they each tell the same basic story. A strange gigantic meteor crashes in the wilderness of a Japanese mountain range. During a plane trip to Japan,

El Rey Network Invites Godzilla to Your Home for Christmas

The "Kaiju Christmas" marathon brings over 48 hours of giant monster mania featuring the original King of the Monsters, Godzilla.
  |   Comments
Press release: Join El Rey Network for a “Kaiju Christmas” marathon that brings you over 48 hours of giant monster mania featuring the original King of the Monsters, Godzilla. El Rey Network is celebrating the iconic fire-breather with a mega marathon that befits this behemoth’s pop culture impact. The Godzilla marathon stomps into homes with the original film that started it all, Gojira on Wednesday, December 24 at 6 PM ET and culminates with Godzilla vs. Biollante on Saturday, December 27 at 3:45 AM ET. The “Kaiju Christmas” Godzilla films will air in the following order: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 24 Gojira

The Night Porter Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Nazi Love Story

Its a thin line between exploitation and art.
  |   Comments
Normally I’d say that the space between True Art and exploitation is wide and wandering, but if The Night Porter teaches us anything, it's that the line is actually pretty thin. It's story is pure sleaze - A Nazi SS officer reunites with his former concentration-camp prisoner thirteen years after the war. A sadomasochistic love affair ensues. But in the hands of director Liliana Cavani, it becomes something more - a meditation on love, guilt, and redemption. It reminds me a bit of Boxcar Bertha, a typical Roger Corman B-Grade flick elevated by the talents and artistic brilliance of a

Pride (2014) is the Pick of the Week

It's a slow week and I'm using that as an excuse to say very little.
  |   Comments
When I’m not writing about movies and televisions shows, I run The Midnight Cafe, a little blog that deals in unofficially released concert recordings, or "bootlegs" as they are sometimes called. I own thousands upon thousands of hours of live music that was kindly recorded by untold fans just wanting to share their passion. I lovingly upload these shows into the cloud and share them freely with whoever wants them. Mostly, I just post the shows with the pertinent information included and leave the discussion to the comment section. But I’m a writer at heart and sometimes I like to

getTV Programming Highlights for January 2015

Start planning next year's viewing with getTV.
  |   Comments
Press release: Mystery and intrigue rules getTV this January as the network kicks off a month-long salute to the Boston Blackie franchise. The Chester Morris starring films start New Year’s Day with a triple feature and continue throughout the month on select nights and Saturday mornings. On Thursday, Jan. 1, the Boston Blackie marathon begins at 8 p.m. ET, as Morris tracks an ocean liner murder to a Coney Island spy ring in MEET BOSTON BLACKIE; then, Boston Blackie investigates an art gallery murder in CONFESSIONS OF BOSTON BLACKIE; and Blackie helps a wrongly convicted prisoner in 1942’s ALIAS BOSTON

TCM Presents The Wizard of Oz in Theaters on January 11 & 14

A special two-day event brought to you by Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
  |   Comments
Press release: Join Dorothy, Toto, and the rest of the crew as they head to Emerald City for a special two-night event brought to you by Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. "TCM Presents: The Wizard of Oz" will be shown in select U.S. cinemas on Sunday, January 11, and Wednesday, January 14, 2015, for two show times each day at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time. In addition to the feature, classic film fans will get to enjoy a special introduction from TCM host Robert Osborne. Tickets for “TCM Presents: The Wizard of

Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 8 DVD Review: Four Films That Broke the Code

The Warner Archive Collection presents a quartet of Pre-Code classics that delve into vice with very little virtue.
  |   Comments
Once more, the guys and gals at the Warner Archive - along with the folks at the Turner Entertainment Corp. - have assembled another collection of rarities from the early '30s, made at a time before the Hays Office established its moralistic Production Code upon the film industry. Prior to when the Code was fully enforced in 1934, filmmakers were able to get away with quite a bit more than they would in later decades. Skin, sin, and a frequently-seen seductive grin lured audiences into theaters as easily as the various elements of vice (often without a whole heck of

Guardians of the Galaxy Blu-ray Review: A Star-Lord is Born

They're the heroes the universe deserves.
  |   Comments
The executives and filmmakers at Marvel Studios have made an impressive impact on both the world of pop culture and the business of Hollywood. Superheroes have become more prominent across the media landscape and other studios are trying to create shared universes with their properties. For example, Warner Brothers with DC Comics characters, and Universal with classic movie monsters. Marvel took their biggest risk to date with this summer's Guardians of the Galaxy, a space adventure featuring an obscure group of characters starring Chris Pratt, a sitcom second banana in the lead. With James Gunn at the helm as director/co-writer,

The Godfather LIVE Comes to Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on January 24, 2015

A theatrical experience you can't refuse.
  |   Comments
Press release: Winner of three Academy Awards & countless other honors, The Godfather remains one of the greatest films in the history of cinema. Nino Rota's iconic score accompanied by the film's traditional Italian folk music & jazz comes to life on stage, performed live by symphony orchestra while the film is simultaneously shown in high definition on the big screen. Tickets are currently available at www.AXS.com, STAPLES Center Box Office, or charge by phone at 888-929-7849. This concert is produced by AEG LIVE. “It is with great excitement that we are able to bring this masterful score and film
Peter Jackson continues The Hobbit trilogy with The Desolation of Smaug, an action-packed fantasy adventure that improves upon the previous installment, which suffered from sluggish pacing due to non-essential scenes. It also has the advantage of being the middle part of the story so it doesn't have to introduce the majority of main characters and it doesn't have to offer an ending, since leaving characters in precarious situations is enough. However, there's so much packed into it, like An Unexpected Journey, it feels more like Jackson is creating a miniseries intended to be watched in amounts of one's choosing at

Book Review: American Titan: Searching For John Wayne by Marc Eliot

Feels more like a history book than a biography.
  |   Comments
John Wayne is one of the most legendary actors to come out of Hollywood, but most of us don’t know much about him other than what we’ve seen on the big screen and with his passing in 1979, over 30 years ago, his films have been regulated to DVD views and classic television stations. Even with his enormous catalog of nearly 150 films, a number of them have been lost over the years because film was considered disposable and there was no reason to save it. But in this latest biography, author Marc Eliot gives us a look not only

The Maze Runner Digital HD Review: Lord of the Labyrinth Flies

Derivative of many other dystoptian works, but with enough fresh spin and worthwhile performances to make it a winner.
  |   Comments
Oh great, another teen dystopian flick, right? Yes, The Maze Runner seems like an also-ran following the lead of the Hunger Games and Divergents of the world, and yet it called to my mind an entirely different predecessor: Cube. In both films, a group of strangers wake up in an ever-changing, deadly maze with no memory of how they got there, and must band together to find their way out. Another similarity: they're both surprisingly entertaining. As efficiently directed by Wes Ball, the film thrusts viewers right into the nightmare without any preamble, following lead character Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) as

A Newly Widened Screen: Two Steve Martins and a Black Scorpion

The Warner Archive Collection re-releases several classic favorites in 16x9 widescreen.
  |   Comments
As some of you may recall, there was once a time when television sets were great big, bulky, boxy contraptions that weighed more than an entire average American family did immediately after eating Thanksgiving dinner. Shortly before the manufacturers of these electronic babysitters began making the lightweight widescreen models we know and (possibly) love, the world was introduced to DVD; a revolutionary new home video concept wherein we could finally see digital transfers of movies we (potentially) adored in their original theatrical aspect ratios. Sadly, some early DVD releases did not bring us the widescreen video presentations we had hoped

Book Review: Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas by Alonso Duralde

A guide to Christmas movies, from best to worst and everything in between, including Brazil.
  |   Comments
Christmas time is a time for many things, and one of the things that I most enjoy are the movies. We all know such classics as It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) and Miracle on 34th Street (1947), but in Have Yourself A Movie Little Christmas author Alonso Duralde stretches the definition of “Christmas movies” to include all sorts of non-traditional flicks. To find homes for the 122 movies discussed in this book, Duralde has grouped them in nine chapters, with such headings as “Putting the Heist Back in Christmas: Crime and Action Extravaganzas,” “There’ll Be Scary Ghost Stories: Holiday Horror,”

Arrested Development: Season Four is the Pick of the Week

Another banner week of releases as Christmas comes near.
  |   Comments
So often when writing this series I have to admit that I haven’t seen the things that I pick, or even the ones I highlight. I rarely make it to the movie theater anymore and since I cut the cord at home, I inevitably have to wait until TV series come out on DVD before I get a chance to watch them. Sadly, I now have to admit that even though Arrested Development: Season 4 has been out for some time and that I’ve had a subscription to Netflix on which I could watch it and that I’m a huge

Stonehearst Asylum Blu-ray Review: Might Make Poe Proud

It's pretty good right up until it tries too hard.
  |   Comments
Coming this week to a retailer near you is Stonehearst Asylum, a 19th Century thriller of sorts from Brad Anderson, the man behind such films as The Machinist, The Call, Transsiberian, and Session 9. Stonehearst is based on the short story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" by Edgar Allan Poe. The film begins in Oxford, UK in 1899 with a demonstration of eliciting a psychotic response in a patient for instructional purposes. This scene hints at the barbaric practices of treating the insane that are nowadays considered heinous and foul and "how did we think that was

Intruders DVD Review: Moody Paranormal Thriller Looks Good but Lacks Depth

An interesting premise that's well executed but not entirely thought through.
  |   Comments
To review something is, at least in some ways, to spoil it. You simply cannot talk about the quality of Art without at least giving away part of its secrets. There is pretty much constant debate over how much a reviewer should spoil, and at which point the review needs to add in the dreaded "spoiler alert." We’ve been arguing over spoilers since there was art. Somewhere some caveman got his head split in because he gave away the ending to the newest wall painting. As a great consumer of visual art and a reviewer. I try to stay as

Criterion Announces March 2015 Releases

How many are you going to add to your collection?
  |   Comments
In March, Criterion offers six releases. Four are new to the Collection. Those titles are François Truffaut's The Soft Skin, Robert Montgomery's Ride the Pink Horse, and two by documentarian Errol Morris, the Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida set and A Thin Blue Line. Also scheduled are two high-definition digital restorations that close out the month: Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers and Hoop Dreams by Steve James, Frederick Marx, and Peter Gilbert. The Soft Skin (#749) out Mar 10 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions François Truffaut followed up the international phenomenon Jules and Jim with this tense tale of infidelity. The

Book Review: Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Strips 1944-1945 by William Moulton Marston & Harry G. Peters

IDW and the Library of American Comics give us a wonderful collection from the Golden Age.
  |   Comments
Superheroes had only been in existence for a handful of years when Wonder Woman burst on the scene in 1940 with the one-two punch of All Star Comics #8 and Sensation Comics #1. She wasn’t the first female superhero, but she was definitely the most notable and it was only a matter of time before the Amazon Princess followed her male counterparts Superman and Batman from the four-color world of comic books to the hallowed halls of the daily newspaper strip. Thanks to the backing of the powerful Hearst publishing empire, the Wonder Woman strip reached a much larger audience

Book Review: Modern Sci-Fi Films FAQ by Tom DeMichael

The choice of films makes the usefulness of this book…well, not very useful.
  |   Comments
The author purports to make a relatively comprehensive guidebook to sci-fi films since the '70s- with the caveat, of course, that he gets to choose which sci-fi movies are significant, and which to include. That’s his prerogative, of course, but it makes the book a bit unhelpful. This book (which isn’t really an FAQ - it’s not in a question an answer format) - is divided into several sections: an introduction, which includes biographies of important science fiction writers, and then a number of chapters about movies of various types (space travel, time travel, virtual reality, etc.) Though some sections

Top Five Movie Review: Genuine Laughs with the Sting of Truth

Need a break from oh-so-serious Oscar bait? Chris Rock's raucous, original comedy is funny, touching, and unexpectedly relevant.
  |   Comments
Perceptive moviegoers know that they can pick up clues about the movie they’re about to see by the trailers selected to show before it. Catching a prestige piece of Oscar-bait starring a crew of distinguished British thespians? You’ll see trailers for costume dramas, highbrow literary adaptations, and films with many shots of beautiful but desolate landscapes. About to see an action-adventure or sci-fi flick, e.g. Guardians of the Galaxy? You’ll see lots of explosions, CGI, and comic book superheroes swinging/flying to the rescue. When you’re attending a movie like Top Five, written, directed, and starring Chris Rock and featuring a

Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series Blu-ray Review: Perhaps Even the Best

As the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi is off to a roaring start in the brilliant new series.
  |   Comments
With the Blu-ray release of Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series, it is clear that the beloved Doctor is on a historic roll. While there have been highs and lows since the 2005 re-boot of Doctor Who, something very special has been going on in the past couple of years. Part of this has been the excitement over the 50th anniversary, which was in November 2013. But even bigger was the appointment of Steven Moffat as showrunner. With The Sopranos, David Chase turned the story of a New Jersey mafia boss into a parable of turn-of-the-millennium America. With the eighth

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition Blu-ray Review: Peter Jackson Goes Back Again

The director returns to Middle-earth with mixed results.
  |   Comments
Filmmaker Peter Jackson returned to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first part of an intended trilogy based on the author’s 1937 fantasy novel. Considering a few recent book-to-film franchises had increased their ratios, it wasn’t a surprise when news broke that The Hobbit would be turned into two movies. However, when the announcement came that the material would be expanded into three movies, many fans were puzzled how it would work being stretched so thin. For many, myself included, it didn’t work well, especially when inevitably compared to Jackson’s Lord of the Rings

2015 Golden Globes Nominations Announced

More celebration and disappointment for the award watchers.
  |   Comments
Press release: The nominations for the 72nd Golden Globe Awards were announced bright and early this morning at the Beverly Hilton hotel. During the traditional pre-dawn ceremony in Beverly Hills, HFPA president Theo Kingma introduced Kate Beckinsale, two-time Golden Globe Award-nominee Peter Krause, Paula Patton, and Golden Globe-winner and five-time nominee Jeremy Piven to do the honors. The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, will air on Sunday, January 11, 2015, live coast-to-coast on NBC from 5:00-8:00 p.m. (PST)/8:00-11:00 p.m. (EST). Update 1/11: Winners are in Bold MOTION PICTURES Best Drama Boyhood Foxcatcher The

Book Review: Popeye: Classic Newspaper Comics, Volume Two 1989-1998: A Surprisingly Modern and Adult Take On The Classic Character

If you think Popeye is some silly kids comic from a bygone era, think again.
  |   Comments
Popeye is not something I’ve ever cared about. No wait, scratch that, I loved the Robert Altman movie starring Robin Williams as the Sailor Man. But all the other incarnations were nothing I was ever really interested in. I do remember watching the cartoon at my grandmother's as a kid. I don't remember seeing it at home which means it must have been on a cable channel we didn’t get and that I only watched it because it was boring at Grandma's. We used to pretend to be Popeye every now and again but there is really only so many

Mad Max: Fury Road Official Theatrical Teaser Trailer is Unleashed

"Everybody's gone out of their mind." You will too after seeing this.
  |   Comments
Wow! I hope Sentry Shawn Bourdo hasn't finished his "Top 10 Trailers of 2014" round-up yet. Not only do we have a new entry, but my vote for #1 Forget the synopsis; just dive right into this preview of George Miller's fourth foray into the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max (now with Tom Hardy in the role) after a 30-year absence and tell me you aren't dying to see this. Behold: Your thoughts?

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) Blu-ray Review: Shades of Gray

The Warner Archive Collection breathes new life into the innovative classic.
  |   Comments
While it certainly wasn't the first motion picture adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic, MGM's 1945 version of The Picture of Dorian Gray did have the honor of not only being the first feature-length American version of the tale, as well as the first to employ the use of color when black-and-white was the norm (during the war, even). Fortunately, Albert Lewin's masterpiece does so sparingly. Reserving the bulk of his (black-and-white) stock so that cinematographer Harry Stradling may deliver some truly atmospheric noir-like (and Oscar winning) photography, Lewin then dazzles viewers with four very brief - but simplistically powerful

getTV Programming Highlights for December 2014

Spend the rest of the year with Sinatra, Bogart, and others.
  |   Comments
Press release: Get into the holiday spirit with getTV this December, as the network delivers a loaded lineup of marathons, stunts, and festive favorites, headlined by the rarely-seen Christmas special HAPPY HOLIDAYS WITH BING AND FRANK. The special will air throughout December with special broadcasts for Frank Sinatra’s birthday on Friday, December 12, at 7 p.m. ET, and Christmas Eve at 11:30 p.m. ET. This Golden Age gem is the perfect start to the holidays, as two of Hollywood’s top showmen deliver unforgettable duets of yuletide standards such as “Jingle Bells,” “The Christmas Song,” and “White Christmas.” Also in December,

When the Wind Blows (1986) Blu-ray Review: Wild is the Wind

So, anyone for a nuclear holocaust, then?
  |   Comments
Not many people may remember this, but there was a lot of nuclear war going back in the '80s. Big time. All over the place! Tensions between the various powers in the east and the west began to swelter, and James Bond and many other agents from the free(er) parts of the world were rushed into action. Sometimes they succeeded, making the way for artists like Rita Coolidge to gain a hit single out of the deal in the process. Other times, however, things failed with the utmost of (in)efficiency. The world was destroyed, time and time again, inevitably paving

Book Review: Hope: Entertainer of the Century by Richard Zoglin

Yes, there is Hope for the holidays.
  |   Comments
In 1993 the legendary entertainer Bob Hope and his wife Delores welcomed TV viewers, and some celebrities of the time, into their home to share some memories of the many Bob Hope Christmas specials in a show entitled Bob Hope's Bag Full of Christmas Memories. The show would later be edited down to an hour and released on DVD as Hope for the Holidays. The editing was somewhat merciful in that Hope, at ninety years of age, had little participation in the special due to his limited eyesight and hearing. In 1995, a musical release Hopes for the Holidays featured

Guardians of the Galaxy is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us several Criterions, more Woody Allens, three TV collections, a talking, space traveling raccoon and so much more.
  |   Comments
My recent visit to Wizard World solidified the fact that while I like geeky things I am not in anyway a full-fledged geek. This is especially true when it comes to comic-book movies. News will come out that some new superhero is hitting the big screen and the Internet goes wild. Speculation starts on who they should cast, cyber wars are waged when the cast lists are actually announced. Web sites are broken from the massive spikes in traffic whenever the posters, images, trailers, and other media are released. We collectively go crazy. I used to get caught up in

The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei) Blu-ray Review: Ex-Swordsman Blues

Wait, THIS lost to "The Barbarian Invasions"? THIS?!
  |   Comments
It's always interesting to see the similarities between samurai films and the western. Both genres have served to inspire filmmakers from either corner of the world intermittently over the years. Sergio Leone adapted the spaghetti western classic (For) A Fistful of Dollars from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo - a tale that itself borrowed elements from an American film noir, The Glass Key. Likewise, The Seven Samurai became The Magnificent Seven, while Sergio Corbucci's cult classic Django (the real one, kids) and just about every other influential European western eventually wound up receiving an Eastern treatment in Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django.

The Strange Color Of Your Body's Tears Blu-ray Review: Bizarre, Incomprehensible, and Mesmerizing

A hallucinatory fever dream of a film that is surprising, strange and wonderful.
  |   Comments
After watching The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, you’ll probably have a lengthy discussion with your viewing partner about style versus substance. That is if your partner hasn’t fallen asleep or left the theatre in a rage. It's the sort of film that will likely sharply divide its audiences. It's either a beautifully poetic, deeply intellectual masterpiece or pretentious trash depending on who you ask. The story for what there is (and what there is is very little) concerns a man, Dan (Klaus Tange), who comes home from a business trip to find his apartment door locked from the

Flaming Star Blu-ray Review: Hunka Hunka Burning Death

Elvis Presley's best performance? Well, if such a thing was ever possible, this is most assuredly it.
  |   Comments
It wasn't until earlier this year, when Twilight Time released the happy, family-friendly flick Follow That Dream to Blu-ray, that I finally, willingly [citation needed] sat through an entire Elvis Presley film from beginning to end. Even then, I had to occasionally resist the urge to lift up my couch in order to read the fine print on those labels that tell me not to remove them just so I could keep my spirits up. And that is probably because there is this weird misconception about Elvis movies ingrained into my head (which is a fairly common credence that could

57th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees in Visual Media

Get caught up on the nominees.
  |   Comments
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States released their nominees for the 2015 Grammy Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. The eligibility period was October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014. The ceremony will be held on February 8, 2015, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and portions will be broadcast live on CBS from 8-11:30 p.m. (ET/PT), Honoring the "best" music in Visual Media are the following categories. Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media American Hustle [Legacy Recordings] Frozen [Walt Disney Records] Get On Up - The James Brown Story

Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection, Vol. 1 & 2 DVD Reviews: What, No Sammy Petrillo?

The Warner Archive Collection re-releases the long out of print Paramount sets featuring 13 of the duo's best-known works.
  |   Comments
While they were once as easy to find as a pregnant woman in a maternity ward, the world of comedy duos has almost faded into obscurity since the latter part of the '50s. One one side of the ring, there were the reigning kings of comedy themselves, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, who had served both their public and country alike during World War II by making a slew of patriotic wartime comedies while raising a whopping (estimated) $85 million in war bonds. Alas, a very poor choice in accountants found the Internal Revenue Service pursuing the long-standing, legendary two-man

She's Beautiful When She's Angry Movie Review: A Sober and Sentimental Reflection

Documentarian Mary Dore's celebration of 2nd Wave Feminism opens in limited engagements in New York and Los Angeles.
  |   Comments
The problem for Feminism is the same oversimplified and problematic perception of all political movements in America, they lack joy. Almost all radical movements in America endure this same media-driven hose job, from protests in Ferguson to Tea Party rallies it’s all a bunch of un-fun, fringe aggressors. This image ignores the exultation of being swept by both radical mobilization and camaraderie. But American Feminism in particular, from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Andrea Dworkin, is haunted by an image of self-serious man-haters, full of a sexless anger and void of personality. Even the Third Wave Movement of the 1990s is

Panel Preview: Lady Killer #1

Jones and Rich reteam for another "killer' series.
  |   Comments
Lady Killer is co-written and drawn by Joëlle Jones. Jamie S. Rich is her co writer. Laura Allred is the colorist. The first issue goes on sale January 07, 2015 and is available to preorder. The official synopsis from Dark Horse reads: Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer for hire! A brand-new original comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival. Here's a look at Issue #1 and the cover of Issue #2:

Terminator Genisys Trailer & Poster

Will you be back to see the latest installment?
  |   Comments
Set for release on July 1, 2015, director Alan Taylor's Terminator Genisys stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Matt Smith, Byung-Hun Lee, and JK Simmons in some sort of timeline reboot of the Terminator universe. Written by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, the story as presented in the trailer is understandably a bit confusing given it's just a couple of minutes and it has to include some great action. However, the synopsis on Wikipedia does little to clear things up: The year is 2029. John Connor, leader of the resistance continues the war against the machines. At

Judgment at Nuremberg Blu-ray Review: Picking Up the Pieces

Stanley Kramer's powerhouse post-World War II courtroom drama gets another chance to shock and delight via Twilight Time.
  |   Comments
We've all heard the saying "War is Hell" a million times over. Hell, there are probably over a million films that have been manufactured from all corners of the world throughout the last millennia or so that have done their very best to convey this message unto viewers. Sometimes, these stories serve as clever warning devices to remind mankind of its own mortality (and immaturity, despite its age). Other times, you just wind up with a great big mess of a cheap exploitation flick on your hands. And then there are those rare, infrequently-made movies that look past the conflicts

Interview: Missy Suicide of SuicideGirls and Blackheart Burlesque

I talk with Missy Suicide of SuicideGirls.com to talk about the SuicideGirls Blackheart Burlesque show.
  |   Comments
On a rainy afternoon here in Southern California, I had a chance to talk to Missy Suicide, founder of SuicideGirls.com. SuicideGirls is the online community that was started over thirteen years ago as a way to celebrate alternative forms of beauty while embracing pin-up aesthetics. The interview is an easy conversation as we chat about the current SuicideGirls Blackheart Burlesque tour. I tell Missy I am excited to hear about the SG burlesque show since I hosted a burlesque show for two years. Missy’s sweet and supportive response makes it easy to understand why so many women have trusted her

Dr. Gillespie Film Collection DVD Review: Van Johnson and Keye Luke Join the Fun

The last six films of the original Dr. Kildare series eerily foreshadows one of contemporary television's most popular medical dramas.
  |   Comments
In many respects, MGM's original Dr. Kildare Movie Collection essentially served as filmdom's first hospital show. Granted, the series was one of a theatrical nature; although television did in fact exist when the series was born, it had not yet been molded into what it would become in the '50s. Nevertheless, the various storylines and recurring supporting characters the nine films had gives the old fashioned film franchise a very likeable "modern" quality when viewed today (as it did way back when, I should add). But the series only grew to foreshadow television after its star, Lew Ayres, left the

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us an excellent concert series, some damn, dirty apes, short journeys, vampires, and more.
  |   Comments
I’ve been blogging now for a little over ten years. I started back in 2004 when my wife and I spent a year living in Strasbourg, France. Initially it was solely a journal of my experience abroad. I invited a few friends and family that I thought might enjoy reading about my adventures, but mostly kept it private. Eventually I got bored writing about baguettes and started writing pop culture reviews. At first that was just for fun, a way to kill some time while my wife was at work, but over time I got serious about it. If you

The Best Of The Danny Kaye Show DVD Review: If This Is The Best, I'd Hate To See The Worst

The one thing that worked throughout all of the episodes was the musical numbers.
  |   Comments
I’ve been a fan of Danny Kaye for a long time. While some know him for his films The Inspector General, White Christmas or Hans Christian Andersen, my personal favorite has always been The Court Jester, a parody of Robin Hood about how a simple jester is mistaken for a legendary outlaw. Knowing him for his vast film catalog, it was a complete surprise to find that he actually had his own variety show that ran from 1963 to 1967 and had won several Emmys during its television run. The show consisted of multiple sketches interspersed between musical numbers while

Follow Us