May 2015 Archives

Black Patch (1957) DVD Review: A Genuinely Magnificent, Forgotten B Western

Imagine if David Lynch traveled back in time to the '50s, made a TV show, then re-edited it into a feature film to create the Spaghetti Western movement.
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Every now and then, something or someone comes along that simply surpasses all of your expectations and prompts you to ask "Where have you been all of my life?" Usually, one begs such a rhetorical inquiry of a person. Or a pet, perhaps (hey, it's possible). But in the case of the average cinephile, that sort of a question is occasionally reserved for the (re-)discovery of one of yesteryear's forgotten motion picture offerings. Being an old B movie aficionado, this means I have to wade through a lot of movies in order to find something that truly makes me want

Twilight Time Presents European Dramas, American Musicals, and Zardoz

Caution: Musicals, intense British drama, and '70s cinematic hallucinogens lie ahead.
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In addition to re-releasing two previously sold out titles to Blu-ray in brand new 4K transfers, Twilight Time has also been unleashing a lot of drama on us lately. And I don't mean that in a "fanboys are heating up on forum and Facebook posts about Night of the Living Dead again" sense, mind you; I am referring to the fact that the ever-expanding niche label has picked up pound of positively sterling drama flicks - many of which hail from that world of pound sterling itself, the United Kingdom. Of course, no good deed is left unpunished, so there

Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies: Alpine Valley, WI - 07/19/89 Review

Live from Wisconsin, it's the Grateful Dead!
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Hosted by Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment at theaters across the country, the fifth annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies presented the band's performance at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin on July 19, 1989, the third concert of a three-night stand. The line-up featured guitarist Jerry Garcia, drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardist Brent Mydland, and guitarist Bob Weir. They sounded in very fine form as one can tell from the bootleg available below. With the band celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, I would have thought interest in the band would be at a high point,

Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces DVD Review: Bugs and the Gang's Tunes are Looney Fun

A fun-filled musical romp through classic cartoons.
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Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces, a recent release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, is a fun-filled musical romp through classic cartoons. In fact, while watching the eighteen shorts on the DVD, viewers may come to realize that their knowledge of classical and American popular music may have originated with Bugs Bunny and his looney friends. Many of these cartoons have been previously released on the Looney Tunes Golden Collections, so this compilation is of interest to the more casual collector, or folks who just want to focus on the music. Fan-favorite characters like Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester, and Porky Pig

TCM Presents Continues with Jaws 40th Anniversary Presentation in Select U.S. Movie Theaters This June

Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies, and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment bring this classic shark title back to the big screen June 21 and 24 only.
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Press release: You're gonna need a bigger boat this June when “TCM Presents: Jaws 40th Anniversary” comes to select U.S. cinemas, presented by Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Originally released in 1975 and celebrating its 40th anniversary, this action-packed event will screen at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on both Sunday, June 21 and Wednesday, June 24 for a second showing. In addition to the feature, audiences will be treated to a special introduction by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz. Tickets for the “TCM Presents: Jaws 40th Anniversary” can be purchased online by visiting,

Spellbound (2002) Movie Review: C-A-P-T-I-V-A-T-I-N-G

A wonderful change of pace to see the glorification of being smart in a society where so many are trying to dumb things down.
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The filmmakers of this Academy Award-nominated documentary present us with the stories of eight contestants participating in the 1999 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. They are Harry, Angela, Ted, April, Neil, Nupur, Emily and Ashley. The aggregation we’re presented is a good sampling of the participants. They come from all parts of the nation, Southern California, the Midwest, and even Washington D.C. where the contest is held. Most are eighth-graders, the final year of eligibility, which affixes extra pressure since there can be no “better luck next year.” They are returning contestants yet to be the last speller standing and

Escape from East Berlin DVD Review: Don Murray Flees Communist Oppression!

The Warner Archive Collection digs up the fictionalized account of a famous digging out co-starring Colonel Klink himself.
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It's little more than a footnote to today's generation, who has an entire world of information at their fingertips, but uses their power to post shaming videos and offensive memes. But once upon a time, the Berlin Wall was the tangible equivalent of Net Neutrality, with the government on the side of East Germany taking the place of Internet censorship. Only much, much worse. From 1961 to 1989, even trying to get across to the West side of the wall without going through proper checkpoints and channels would get you a one-way ticket to the great gig in the sky

TCM Announces New Summer-long Series Movie Camp Targeted to Young Adults and Future Filmmakers

Series Hosted by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg Premieres June 7 at 8 p.m.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced the premiere of TCM Movie Camp, a new summer-long series targeted to young adults and future filmmakers beginning on June 7 at 8 p.m. Hosts William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, Oscar-winning filmmakers and co-founders of Moonbot Studios, will guide audiences through great films and landmark movie moments during the series, airing every Sunday this summer. "Our goal with TCM Movie Camp is to bring a new audience to the network and to inspire their interest in classic films at a young age," said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for TCM.

The Confession and State of Siege are the Picks of the Week

This week brings us some interesting Criterions, Bob Dylan in the Basement and lots of TV collections.
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My freshman year of college I started collecting movies on VHS tape. I think I realized that with the parents no longer renting me films every weekend it was cheaper on my minuscule budget to buy them periodically and build a collection that I could watch over and over again. I quickly decided that I was going to build a world-class collection of only the best movies. I’d buy classics and modern masterpieces with some cool art-house numbers thrown in for good measure. I’d stay away from big, dumb blockbusters with their ridiculous plot and giant explosions. This concept lasted

The Velvet Touch (1948) DVD Review: Shades of Columbo in the Shadow of Birdman

The Warner Archive Collection dusts off the charming, well-made film noir howcatchem starring Rosalind Russell and Sydney Greenstreet.
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Primarily, there are two types of murder mysteries. The first and foremost variety is that of the whodunit, wherein audiences are just as in the dark as to who committed whatever heinous crime is afoot, and attempt to match wits with the story's writers. Then there is that less-traveled road, that of the howcatchem drama, wherein we know who did it - because we always see them do it in the beginning of the tale - and then watch as a (usually) seasoned detective puts the pieces together. And, despite its seeming as simplistic as can be, this type of

Book Review: Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life by William V. Madison

The unique comedic chameleon gets a bio that contextualizes her career but comes up short on the person behind the performer.
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There are a handful of uniquely talented performers for whom, once or twice or maybe three times in a career, the stars align into a magical combination of the absolutely right role in the absolutely right play, film or TV show. Everyone will have their own favorites: mine include Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker; Zero Mostel in The Producers; Angela Lansbury’s Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd; and maybe a dozen or so more. Madeline Kahn had the fortunate misfortune to hit this kind of bulls-eye an amazing four times within a span of just three years in the early 1970s,

Zombeavers DVD Review: Three Ladies Tending to Their Rotting Beavers

An admirable entry into the horror comedy genre.
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The Horror Comedy is a rather well explored genre at this point. From more goofy efforts like Young Frankenstein and Scary Movie to those that have fun with the blood and guts like Club Dread and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil to the hilariously terrible Sharknado, it's been done well enough times that it can be tricky throwing a new entry into the ring. Zombeavers goes for the absurd lampooning of horror tropes while still having plenty of yuck to splatter to and fro. Like so many movies of its ilk before it, we begin with three college girls going

The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 Blu-ray Review

"I try my best/ to be just like I am/ but everybody wants you/ to be just like them." - "Maggie's Farm"
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Murray Lerner filmed the performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, ’64, and ’65, and from those concerts created the Academy Award-nominated documentary Festival! One of the musicians who appeared at all three events was Bob Dylan, who went from an up-and-coming folk singer to a “there he went and good riddance” singer according to the reaction of some audience members. Back in 2007, Lerner released a film that focused just on Dylan titled The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival. It serves as a great document of Dylan’s performances, though rather than

Murder in the First: The Complete First Season DVD Review: Boring in the Second

Steven Bochco seems to have forgotten what decade it is and made a TV show from the late '80s.
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Even as a kid I knew the name Steven Bochco. I was too young to watch most of his shows (though Doogie Howser, M.D. was a personal favorite), and I certainly didn’t care about TV producers at the time but I still knew his name. Dude was the superstar of television dramas in the '80s. With Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and NYPD Blue he nearly single-handedly created the template for modern adult dramas on broadcast TV. In 1995, well ahead of its time, he created Murder One, which was one of the very first crime shows to solve one

Book Review: Bravest Warriors: Things to Doodle and Do!

Expand your mind and let your creativity run wild with games, puzzles, and inter-dimensional activities.
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I wasn’t really familiar with Emmy Award-winning creator Pendleton Ward’s Bravest Warriors when I requested a copy of Bravest Warriors: Things to Doodle and Do! (published by Viz Media’s Perfect Square imprint) for review. Sure, I knew Ward was the guy behind Adventure Time and I had a vague notion that Bravest Warriors was something sci-fi related; but neither I nor my children knew anything about the premise or the characters. What we did know, however, is that doodle books are awesome and Adventure Time is awesome so by extension, this doodle book was likely pretty awesome. And indeed, what

CPO Sharkey: The Complete Season 1 DVD Review: Should Fit Right in on Today's TV Landscape

A contradiction that may actually work in this day and age.
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Seven years had passed since Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) and his overbearing drill instructor Sergeant Carter (Frank Sutton) were marching across the television screens, and since then we had had five years of Archie Bunker drilling us full of his perspective. With NBC scrambling for a hit in 1976, they called upon comedy legend Don Rickles and CPO Sharkey was born. Not nearly as intimidating as Carter nor as ignorant as Bunker, Sharkey trained, counseled, and occasionally mothered, the diverse group of men in his charge. The men each represented a stereotype familiar to the audience of 1976 and perfectly

getTV Salutes the Armed Forces with Memorial Day Marathon

The nine-film lineup pays tribute to the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
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For classic movie fans planning their Memorial Day weekend viewing, getTV offers nine choices on Monday for your consideration. Press release: getTV honors the brave men and women in the Armed Forces with a Memorial Day Marathon starting Monday, May 25 at 8 a.m. ET. The nine-film lineup pays tribute to the Army, Navy, and Air Force with classics starring silver-screen icons Peter O’Toole, Kirk Douglas, Steve McQueen, Sidney Poitier, and James Stewart, among others. The commemorative event includes a roster of legendary War titles featuring Steve McQueen as a hotshot bomber pilot in THE WAR LOVER, with Robert Wagner;

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Movie Review: Vampires of Iran

Evocative and intriguing, and worth checking out.
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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night billed itself as the “first Iranian vampire Western.” It oversells itself as a Western, and, frankly, as Iranian. While the movie’s setting is, indeed, in Iran, and the film is in Persian, the film was shot in Southern California, made by the descendants of native Iranians. While this doesn’t have anything to do with the final quality of the film, it does puncture the mystique surrounding the film. However, if you set that aside, you can ask yourself other questions about A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Questions such as, “Did we

The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us Larry Sanders, Cybermen, women in prison, midwives, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Midler playing Janis Joplin, and more.
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“This is the theme to Garry’s show / the theme to Garry’s show / Garry called me up and asked me if I would write his theme song.” That’s the opening lines to the theme song to The Garry Shandling Show. It goes on like that, referencing itself and describing how the singer came to write the song. The show does that too, references itself, the characters seem to know they are on a television show and often bring the audience in on the gag. It was a great show. Or at least I think it was. I watched it

Cops: Wildest Chases DVD Review: A Good Representation of the Series

See what the bad boys (and girls) do when they come for them.
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Cops, the long-running documentary series, debuted March 11, 1989 on FOX where it ran for 25 seasons. It was an innovative reality TV program that brought viewers to the front lines of law enforcement, showing the daily activities of police offers in departments all across the country. There were even a few episodes that took place internationally. After being cancelled, the series was picked up by the cable channel Spike TV. Wildest Chases collects seven episodes from Seasons 26 and 27. There are three segments in a Cops episode, and for most of the them, the chases are limited to

Mad Max: Fury Road Movie Review: Everyone Who Enters Will Lose

The Max we have come to know and love is nowhere to be found.
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In this latest incarnation of Mad Max, director and co-writer (along with Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris) George Miller manages to take all the elements that made the first three films starring Mel Gibson as Max successful, and completely ignore them. This is unacceptable and someone needs to let George know. Dear George, We were certainly happy to hear that you were bringing back Max. We love him. We love how smart and resourceful he is. We appreciate his humor and humanity. We enjoy rooting for him. So you can imagine how disappointed we were to take a trip down

Society (1989) Blu-ray Review: Nice Buildup to the Impressively Grotesque

Smart and slightly cheesy, but you cannot unsee that finale.
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Having never seen it, I read the synopsis for 1989's Society and thought, "Yeah, that could be interesting." Then I saw the trailer and started to second guess it. Fortunately, the combination of '80s cheese, atmospheric tension, and a completely insane third act delivered on the promise of the premise. See, Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) has never quite felt at home with his family or their social circle. He gets weird vibes from his sister Jenny (Patrice Jennings), conformist advice from his psychiatrist, and is always treated as lacking something by his parents. He sometimes catches glimpses of distortions or

Hot Pursuit (2015) Movie Review: In the Race for Worst Film of the Year

It will eventually be on DVD and television, but Hot Pursuit is going to be awful in any format.
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In this 87-minute outing, that seems much longer and ends as if the production company ran out of money, Reese Witherspoon plays the overzealous, by-the-book, underutilized and undersized police officer who is trying to protect the wife (Sofia Vergara) of a drug boss who was set to testify against the cartel until something went wrong, and now the two are on the lamb. With this much talent and your standard Odd Couple premise; this film should have been a Midnight Run in more ways than one. It’s not. The comedic gags are horribly contrived and the performances are one dimensional.

Criterion Announces August 2015 Releases

So many good titles it may kill your wallet.
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In August, Criterion adds Karel Reisz's The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Fran├žois Truffaut's Day for Night, Brain De Palma's Dressed to Kill and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's Two Days, One Night to the collection. They also present a new digitial restoration of Jules Dassin's Night and the City and the 43rd release in the Eclipse Series: Agnes Varda in California. Read on to learn more about the films and the releases. Night and the City (#274) out Aug 4 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) longs for a life of ease and plenty. Trailed by an

Book Review: Usagi Yojimbo: Senso by Stan Sakai

It contains the expected exquisiteness one associates with Sakai's work.
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After a two-year break from his long-running Usagi Yojimbo, time spent working on the Eisner-nominated limited series Ronin 47, Stan Sakai returned to it with the six-issue miniseries Usagi Yojimbo: Senso. Originally published from August 2014 through January 2015, Dark Horse has now collected them in one book. Sakai introduces the collection with a comic strip where he explains to his main character, the rabbit ronin Usagi, and the reader that Senso's premise deals with the questions "what if the Martians had sent scout ships 200 years before the events chronicled by [H.G.] Wells, and what if they had landed

Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts Blu-ray Combo Pack Review: A Forgettable Adventure

Might be best for younger kids who are mainly interested in watching lots of different heroes and villains fighting it out.
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Batman (voiced by Roger Craig Smith) isn’t the only hero in Gotham City. The Flash, Green Arrow, and NIghtwing join forces to back up the Caped Crusader when he finds himself up against the Animilitia, a group of super villains featuring Killer Croc, Cheetah, Man-Bat, and Silverback. But our heroes are up against more than just this group of animal-themed ne’er-do-wells. There’s also a group of mechanical animals, a wolf, a tiger, and a bat that always seem to thwart their efforts to vanquish the criminals. After several run-ins with the Animilitia only to have them escape from their grasp,

The Midnight Special Three-DVD Set Review: Relive Friday Night at Any Time

A great snapshot of a bygone era of entertainment.
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StarVista and Time Life have released another collection of clips of The Midnight Special, a late-night variety show that aired on NBC from 1972 to 1981, on three DVDs. To make things nice and confusing, there's no subtitle to help identify this set from other Midnight Special sets. As S. Edward Sousa described previously in his review of a six-disc release, which also had no subtitle, "The Midnight Special...was the Friday night follow-up to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, packing a 90-minute time slot with the era's biggest names in rock, pop. and disco. Unlike its predecessors or competitors,

B.B. King: Live at Montreux 1993 Blu-ray Review: Let the Good Times Roll

B.B. reveals himself to be the consummate professional throughout the night.
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B.B. and his band had been frequent performers during the Montreux music festival’s long history. Over the course of 100 minutes, the viewer will see a master showman at work on a Blu-ray disc that is a worthy addition to any music library. Led by saxophonist Walter King, B.B.’s nephew, the band sounds good as they open the set with a few numbers on their own. Dressed in a turquoise dinner jacket with some type of Asian design on it, B.B. makes his entrance. He picks up his guitar Lucille and immediately makes her sing in the recognizable sweet, sweet

Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season DVD Review: Weak Story, Emotionally Wrecking

Season Two is more confined by its genres, but delivers the goods with its characters.
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When I heard they were making a second season of Broadchurch, I was both excited and a bit trepidatious. The first season was such a perfect little drama that I was afraid adding to it would ruin the entire thing. One of the central themes to season one was how this terrible crime deeply and tragically effected the small community of Broadchurch. My fear was that a second season would necessitate another murder occurring that would undermine the entire thing. This sort of thing happens all the time. A murder story is set in some unusual location so that we
Paul Shaffer is best known for being the bandleader on David Letterman’s late-night talk show, both at NBC and CBS, from February 1, 1982 to May 20, 2015. He demonstrates his great sense of humor through his bantering with Letterman and the songs chosen to play on guests. He also exudes a love of show business, past and present, and appearances by celebrities he has met are sprinkled all throughout the book. With the assistance of David Ritz, both Shaffer’s traits are on display and make for a very entertaining read. As Shaffer reveals his life to readers, his anecdotes

One Cut, One Life Movie Review: A Metaphor Only Goes So Far

A documentary that does not leave a lasting legacy for Ed Pincus.
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From an early age most people are taught not to speak ill of the dead, but is it okay to speak ill of the work of the dead? One Cut, One Life is the final collaboration between filmmakers Ed Pincus and Lucia Small before Ed’s death in November 2013. Known for his documentary films Diaries, Black Natchez, and Life and Other Anxieties, he was also the co-author of The Filmmaker’s Handbook which almost every film student I know has read and used in both the classroom and the field. Pincus had left filmmaking behind and taken up wholesale flower farming

The Stranger Collection DVD Review: The Man with No Shame Trilogy

The Warner Archive Collection dusts off a trio of strange spaghetti westerns starring the even stranger Tony Anthony.
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With the exception of those sick individuals who mimic the patterns of serial killers, most copycats can be incredibly amusing. If you've ever walked through a crowded urban marketplace to discover a suspiciously underpriced and slightly odd-looking designer handbag or watch - and you weren't dumb enough to buy whatever it was under the belief it was the real deal - you know what I mean. And how 'bout those epically awful Turkish Star Wars action figures? Or perhaps you recall that one glorious instance in recent history wherein China earnestly attempted to convince Americans of their superior Air Force

Retaliation Blu-ray review: Japanese Gangster Exploitation Mayhem

Another fine Arrow release of a late-'60s era Japanese exploitation picture.
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One of the joys of watching old exploitation movies like Retaliation is that the inexpensive filmmaking meant that a documentary approach had to be used to keep things cheap. Much of the movie is not on standing sets, but in real locations, with very shaky hand-held shots. The action can't be over-choreographed (no time, no money) so the action is stylistically obscured, moving too swiftly and brutally for any of it to be seen clearly. Having things move in and out of frame and be obscured in camera is significantly more arresting, to my mind, than the shaky cam fake-handheld

Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us the wonderful David Tennant, cyber hackers, Alzheimer's dramas, cartoon burgers, lesbian vampires, and more.
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A big thanks goes out to Gordon for finishing last week’s pick for me. I had actually written an entire article and submitted it with Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season as my pick. I was then informed that despite what Amazon said the release date had been pushed back a week. No problem, I thought I’ll just pick something else, write on it, and use what I’d said for Broadchurch the next week, and all would be well. Then my computer died. Gordon was kind enough to step in, chose a new pick, and all was right with the plan.

Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World Movie Review: Engaging, Affecting, Poignant

"He feels at home in places we would flee from and lives his life among the very things we fear."
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The late Hans Rudolf "Ruedi" Giger. Creator of the eponymous alien from Alien. Master of biomechanical macabre artwork. He seemed an odd fellow, and I've been a fan of his work for decades, so when I had a chance to preview the documentary Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World, I jumped at it. What I found within was astounding, inspiring, disturbing, and heartbreaking. The man had a collection of human skulls starting when he was a child. He would tie a string around one and drag it down the street behind him like a toy. Probably not the most typical behavior,

Bad Men of Tombstone DVD Review: The First of the Last of the Badmen

Barry Sullivan and Broderick Crawford team up for a fabulous, forgotten B western of high grade ore.
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Throughout both the cinematic and literary realms of the western, a common thread/title tends to appear: "the Last of the Badmen." In fact, there have been about a half a dozen movies and novels released during the last century or so to have used those very same words as their title, most of which were re-titlings of other projects, given a new name to help sell the goods. Interestingly, the first film to actually be based on a book called Last of the Badmen (as penned by Jay Monaghan) wound up receiving a new title for its theatrical release. And

The D Train Movie Review: Star-Struck Straight Guy Goes Off the Rails

Confusing, cringe-inducing Jack Black comedy offers moments of poignance and insight along with a few laughs.
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As sociologists, psychologists, and watchers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer well know, high school is a time of acute status anxiety. Your clique or cliques (jock, nerd, stoner, music/drama geek, brain, goth, emo, etc.) can almost totally define your standing within an invisible but powerful hierarchy. It can be horrible to be bullied and picked on, but it can be an even worse fate to simply be ignored. There are no flashbacks to high school days in the new Jack Black comedy The D Train, but its plot is powered by an impending 20th reunion, and for some people high

Cake Blu-ray Review: Learning to Live Again

A film about how grief stalls our lives and how we can learn to get unstuck
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Cake is the story of Claire Bennett (Jennifer Aniston), a woman living with chronic pain after a tragic accident. She is in the midst of a divorce from her husband Jason (Chris Messina), addicted to pain pills, and often suicidal. After Nina (Anna Kendrick), a member of her pain support group commits suicide, Claire begins to see her as a drug- and pain-induced hallucination. Although Claire and Nina were not close or involved with one another’s lives, Claire begins to learn what she can about Nina’s life and death. With the help of her housekeeper turned caretaker Silvana (Adriana Barraza),

Tabloid Movie Review: The Legend May Be as Insane as the Truth

Errol Morris looks at obsession, sex, and media in Tabloid.
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Director Errol Morris has interviewed serious subjects like Robert S. MacNamara and delved deep into harsh topics like the justice system and the history of time itself. So it can only look like he's run out of ideas with the frothy, utterly ridiculous documentary, Tabloid. And you'd be wrong in that summation because Tabloid takes a crazy story, told by someone who seems to define the world, and opens it up into an examination of gender, the media culture, and the power of religion. At time's hilarious and ridiculous, Tabloid sounds like a fun documentary, but indicates that we haven't

Album Review: The Cure: Three Imaginary Boys (Expanded and Remastered)

A good listen at "10:15 Saturday Night," or any other time you desire.
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In 2004, Rhino Records released a deluxe edition of The Cure’s first album, Three Imaginary Boys, which was previously only available in the U.S. as an import. What was their first U.S. release, Boys Don’t Cry, has eight songs from Three Imaginary Boys. Two other tracks from Boys Don’t Cry appear on the second disc and they happen to be two of the most popular from this early period, the title track and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” Disc one is their debut album in its entirety, clocking in at a meager 36 minutes. The songs are short, and the structure

Rifftrax Live: The Room Review - The Funniest Riff of a Terrible Movie

Rifftrax gets down and dirtier than normal with Tommy Wiseau's magnum opus of ridiculousness.
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Rifftrax Live has always played it safe with their movies. Back in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 days, audiences expected PG movies and broad, pop-culture tinged humor because of the sharp strictures of television censorship. And when Rifftrax went live, their movies were generally limited to PG-13 or unrated films, with the jokes being clean and broad. Their latest Riff is a gamechanger, both in content and humor, and it's something I hope they keep up with because Rifftrack Live's attack of Tommy Wiseau's schlock masterpiece The Room is their wittiest and funniest work to date. A brief synopsis of

Mad Max: Fury Road Movie Review: George Miller Gets it Spectacularly Right

If you loved The Road Warrior, you will love Fury Road.
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When I hear the term “re-boot” it is usually code for “We made it suck.” The second Star Wars trilogy is a good example, as are the J.J. Abrams Star Trek flicks. When it comes to the Mad Max franchise, I was disappointed with Beyond Thunderdome (1985), which came out well before the word "re-boot" had entered the language. While a good trailer can sell any movie at first, word gets out pretty quickly. I was excited to see Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), but my expectations were low. So with these inherent prejudices in mind, it is my delight

Face of Fire (1959) DVD Review: Slow But Poignant Human Horror

Filmmaker Albert Band manages to pave the way for every other sci-fi and horror series ever with one simple drama now available (at last) from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Anyone not familiar with the family name of Band within the halls of the B movie archives probably shouldn't be perusing such a vault in the first place. For today's trash lovers, the formidable Band forename is Charles. If you still don't make the connection, Charles Band is a feller who not became a major player back in the early days of home video sleaze (see: Wizard Video), but who has been cranking out one cheap 'n' cheesy exploitation movie after another in recent years. But long ago, when Charles was but a wee lad, his filmmaker father Albert was

getTV Celebrates Mother's Day with a Special Afternoon Brunch Block

The Mother's Day Marathon features five classics starring Claudette Colbert, Barbara Hale, Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, and Marilyn Monroe.
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Press release: Celebrate Mother’s Day with getTV in a star-studded afternoon brunch block honoring some of Hollywood’s most influential actresses on Sunday, May 10, starting at 9:30 a.m. ET. The special event highlights career-defining performances from Golden Age icons Barbara Hale, Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe in five unforgettable films that highlight motherhood. The day begins at 9:30 a.m. ET with the classic 1949 comedy AND BABY MAKES THREE, starring Barbara Hale as a woman who discovers she’s pregnant with her ex-husband’s child while walking down the aisle to marry her new beau; next, Oscar-winner Claudette

R.E.M. by MTV Hits U.S. Movie Theaters for One Night on Tuesday, May 19

MTV and R.E.M. came of age together and for decades were inexorably intertwined.
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Before alternative music was known as alternative music, R.E.M. (singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry) became the Kings of College Radio in the '80s with an impressive run of five albums, from Murmur (1983) to Document (1987). Then, they conquered the mainstream in the 1990s, with five albums, two #1s, Out of Time (1991) and Monster (1994), and none lower than #3. Berry left the band in 1997 and the band continued as a trio with varying degrees of success until 2011 when they announced their break up shortly after the release of

Journey to the Center of the Earth / First Men in the Moon Blu-ray Reviews: In & Out

Twilight Time explores the various space in-between the minds of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
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Previously at Cinema Sentries, I had touched upon the subject of people bad trips, courtesy of two recent Blu-ray releases from Twilight Time, Roger Donaldson's The Bounty (1984) and Oliver Stone's U Turn (1997). Here, I am continuing that thread, albeit with two adventures of a much more pleasant nature. Like my earlier article, wherein one film was set at sea and the other on land, this cinematic coupling presents viewers with a contrast: that of the exploration of inner-space and the conquest of outer space. Additionally, this pairing of moving pictures presents a similarly dissimilar echoing of science fiction

The Fugitive: The Complete Series is the Pick of the Week

It's a Cinema Sentries Team-Up.
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Hello, PotW readers. Mat 's desktop computer went to that great IT department in the sky over the weekend, so while he selected some titles that looked interesting (see below), he didn't make his Pick. But the show must go on, so this week is going to be a joint effort, and I didn't need to peruse the new releases long before I knew what I was going to select. The Fugitive ran for four seasons and starred David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, who is, as narrator William Conrad first tells viewers during the opening credits of the second

Teen Titans Go! The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: Polarizing Superhero Hijinks

The Muppet Babies of the DC Universe.
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Like much of DC’s animated fare, this series has its share of fans and detractors, but not for the typical reason. It completely avoids the common DC downfall of being too dark, broody and mature by instead swinging much too far in the opposite direction, presenting the candy-coated juvenile shenanigans of a group of heroes who are drawn and frequently act more like grade schoolers than teenagers. It’s more Powerpuff Girls than Batman, but with even less superhero action. I supposed that’s all well and good for the target younger demographic, but it’s not likely a series you’ll be able

Rifftrax Co-Host Bill Corbett Talks Bad Taste and Entering Tommy Wiseau's The Room

"We're just weird enough to enjoy it!" - Bill Corbett
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The Rifftrax gang, consisting of hosts Bill Corbett, Mike Nelson, and Kevin Murphy, are ready to bring their patented brand of cinematic humor back to audiences nationwide when Rifftrax presents Tommy Wiseau's atrocious drama The Room May 6th and 12th. I've been fortunate to talk to Mike and Kevin in the past, and can finally say I've talked to all three when Bill sat down to talk about The Room, bad movies, and the limits of good taste. I've talked to Kevin [Murphy], Mike [Nelson], and now you. You were the last one I needed to get and I officially

TCM Announces the Return of Summer of Darkness Film Noir Programming Event

"Our film noir programming slate will trace the evolution of noir from its cinematic origins to its influence on more recent films," said Charles Tabesh.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is returning to the shadowy world of film noir with the return Summer of Darkness, the network's ultimate film noir programming event. The summer programming event beings June 5 at 6 a.m. and airs for 24 hours on Fridays in June and July with primetime screenings hosted by Eddie Muller, known to classic film fans as “The Czar of Noir” and as a frequent TCM contributor, introducing noir films on-air and at the TCM Classic Film Festival. Film noir, with its gritty and dark style, attracted audiences of the 1940s and ’50s and continues

Day of Anger Blu-ray Review: The Rules of the Game

Fans of spaghetti westerns and Lee Van Cleef shouldn't experience any anger if they add this to their collection.
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Day of Anger on Blu-ray includes the Italian and English dubs of the original I giorni dell'ira and the shorter, international version titled Day of Anger, also known as Gunlaw in the UK. It's a gritty spaghetti western starring Lee Van Cleef as Frank Talby, a tough gunslinger who is both a hero and a villian in this story. Set in Clifton, AZ, where Butch Cassidy was killed by Dan Parker on 7/12/82, a young man named Scott (Giuliano Gemma) is looked down upon and ridiculed by many of the town elders because he's the bastard son of a whore,

The Mentalist: The Seventh and Final Season DVD Review: Wrapping Up Loose Ends

The cast was a big reason I kept tuning into the series.
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The foundation of The Mentalist had been the mystery of the serial killer Red John, who was responsible for the murders of Patrick Jane's (Simon Baker) wife and daughter. Since this was ultimately resolved in the sixth season, the final season provided an opportunity to focus on the relationships and wrap up loose ends. With Red John now behind him, Jane continues his work with the FBI alongside agents Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and Kimball Cho (Tim Kang). Complicating matters on the job is the newly budding romance between Jane and Lisbon, especially when a case involves Erica Flynn (Morena

Always Woodstock DVD Review: Predictability, Love, and Music

Girl leaves soulless music industry job to rediscover her sonic mojo in the legendary town of Woodstock. Bet you can’t guess what happens next.
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If you’ve seen last year’s Song One or Begin Again, then you’re well acquainted with the notion that sometimes music can flourish from fateful moments—death, job loss, a breakup—sometimes a couple of those on one truly crummy day. If you’re keen on that tried-and-true recipe, go ahead and give Always Woodstock a whirl, but just don’t expect a change of consciousness when fate and music intersect. Although Rita Merson’s debut feature has its endearing moments, thanks to likeable actress Allison Miller (Terra Nova, Selfie), it struggles to find its groove, keep the time, and make any sort of real impact.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Review: Plenty of Bang for Your Buck, but Too Much Bunk

Joss Whedon simply tries to give us too much and ends up getting in the Avengers way.
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As the 2015 summer movie season kicks off, there are indications that some films will drift off into obscurity immediately following their opening weekend with nothing more than a whimper (Pixels). Luckily, Avengers: Age of Ultron starts things off with not just one bang, but hundreds of them. Age of Ultron opens with us finding our heroes already in a battle as they search for Loki's staff, which has somehow fallen into the hands of HYDRA. The staff is retrieved, but then Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) unwittingly releases an evil computer program (Ultron) set on destroying the Avengers. The

Director Jason Priestley on His Feature-film Debut, Cas & Dylan

"I fought for rehearsal time with these two and it brought such huge dividends."
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Cas & Dylan is a film about two people at the opposite ends of life who are thrown together on a cross-country adventure. Dr. Cas Pepper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Dylan Morgan (Tatiana Maslany) meet in a hospital where Cas works and Dylan is observing patients. After Cas learns he has a malignant brain tumor, he decides to drive from Winnipeg to Vancouver to end his life. As Cas is trying to leave to begin his final journey, Dylan convinces him to give her a ride home and a series of unfortunate events sends them off on Cas’s final journey together.

Book Review: Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records by Kevin Prested

A thorough look at the rise and fall of one of the 1990s great indie labels.
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You hear a lot of praise about punk rock in the 1970s, but the ‘90s had a burgeoning punk scene, too. Bubbling just under the big alt-rock banner, punk bands proliferated mainly on the West Coast - Portland, Seattle, LA, San Francisco - and you usually didn’t see or hear of them unless you were into the scene or read Maximum Rock and Roll or other underground zines. San Francisco’s Lookout Records was at the forefront of that scene, releasing EPs, albums, and vinyl singles from ska punk band Operation Ivy, Mr. T Experience, the Donnas, Avengers, Rancid, Bratmobile, Screeching

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