June 2015 Archives

Planet Ant DVD Review: Tiny Social Wonders

They're not so different from us.
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Planet Ant acts as part of a special season of BBC Four programs that originally aired starting in 2013, and are centered around taking a close-up look at the insect world. If you had an ant farm growing up, you might think you know a thing or two about ants. Expand that to the size of an entire room, build it out with cameras, radio tracking, tunnels, an ample food source, and a migrated colony of thousands of leafcutter ants, and now you're really cooking. This is exactly the challenge taken on by entomologist Dr. George McGavin and leafcutter expert

Contamination (1980) Blu-ray Review: On Earth, Everyone Can Hear You Scream 'Rip-Off!'

The cycloptic grandpappy of ALIEN clones makes its chest-bursting, worldwide High-Definition Blu-ray debut courtesy Arrow Video.
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Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery - it's certainly the least-creative - but there are relatively few individuals out there with enough gall to market a movie of their own as a sequel to somebody else's production. Nevertheless, the annals of exploitation movie history could quite literally be lined with one-sheet movie posters of low-budget movies shamelessly retitled in an attempt to lure unsuspecting filmgoers into thinking they were follow-ups to other (better known) movies. The lengths some of these shady distributors would go to were admirable, to say the least - with my personal favorite being the

The Who: Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us some live rock and roll, classic Jack Nicholson, weird Czechoslovakians and Will Ferrell in corn rows.
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It's Summer. It's hot. School’s out. Vacations are on. Everybody is busy. I have to yell at my wife every now and again just to keep us from doing something. Every. Single. Weekend. It gets a bit ridiculous how busy we are. Everybody else is too it seems, if the state of traffic has anything to do with it. It's so stinking hot outside and yet nobody is staying in doors where it's cool. Where the AC runs. I don’t know what we’re all doing, but apparently its not sitting inside watching DVDs. This week's pickings are once again very

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' Coming to Theaters This August

Funimation Entertainment and Fathom Events to bring all-new Dragon Ball Z feature to the big screen August 4-12.
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Press release: Hot on the heels of last year’s summer blockbuster, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, the internationally beloved animated franchise, Dragon Ball Z, is back in theaters with a highly-anticipated new release: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F,’ presented by FUNimation Entertainment in partnership with Fathom Events. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is the second feature personally supervised by series creator, Akira Toriyama. The event will be presented on the big screen in select cinemas across North America from August 4 -12, 2015. Fathom Events is proud to be showcasing the movie in more than 500 U.S. cinemas on

Book Review: Star Trek: New Visions Volume 2 by John Byrne

These new voyages fit right alongside the old ones.
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In Star Trek: New Visions, John Byrne tells of the lost missions of the starship Enterprise under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. Through the use of images from the Original Series combined with new material such as characters and dialogue, Byrne creates adventures that have an air of authenticity because we see the familiar faces of the actors. Volume 2 collects issues #3-5 and contains an all-new story with something for those who read Gold Key's Star Trek comics. "Cry Vengeance" tells the origins of the Doomsday Machine from the episode of the same name. "Robot" is a

Smokey and the Hotwire Gang DVD Review: Anthony Cardoza Strikes Again!

Witness an unforgettably forgettable failure from one of low budget cinema's most notable underachievers.
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This may sound pretty odd coming from an individual such as myself, but z-grade exploitation filmmaker Anthony Cardoza is quite a bit of queer duck. While his stint with the U.S. Army during the Korean War earned him many a medal for his distinguished service to his country - including one for marksmanship - his subsequent, longer engagement in the motion-picture industry has resulted in each and every one of his projects completely failing to hit their mark, with nary an award to be seen from any direction. His brief association with cult auteur Coleman Francis, wherein Mr. Cardoza produced

R.E.M. by MTV Blu-ray Review: Fables of the R.E.M. Construction

This should satisfy fans, most of whom likely already know the story, but it's great to hear it directly from the band members.
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Previously a part of the REMTV boxed set, the documentary R.E.M. by MTV is now available as a separate release on Blu-ray and DVD. It presents the history of the band through archival interviews and clips of news and performances, much of it, but not limited to, material from MTV. The band (Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, and Bill Berry) and associates tell the story chronologically through interviews conducted over their decades-long run. The viewer witnesses R.E.M.'s career arc going from a cult favorite and critical darling to a force on the pop charts with hit songs and albums

Pit Stop Blu-ray/DVD Review: One of Jack Hill's Very Best Films

An unusually exciting story of wild youth and fast cars.
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When the 1960s arrived, there started a new type of film: the independent film. Films under this label were made outside the Hollywood system. They had limited to no budgets, unconventional or method actors, and sometimes cheesy production values. However, director Jack Hill's 1969 cult classic Pit Stop isn't the case. Although the film had a limited run, a next to no budget, and a radical story, it really rises above that to tell the story of rebellious youth with something to prove, obsession with fast cars, and pretty girls along for the ride. Hill's unique eye for detail, his

Book Review: The Complete Dick Tracy, Volume 18: 1957-1959 by Chester Gould

Gould's writing entertains because of the unpredictable twists the stories take along the way to their expected conclusions.
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As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 18 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from December 15, 1957 through to July 11, 1959. The opening few panels are a little heavy handed and preachy as Tracy's adopted son Junior explains he and some friends want to go into law enforcement and gives a slightly nauseating speech about how much better things would be "if parents stayed at home more with their kids and helped teach them good manners - taught 'em to pray, and tanned their little

Welcome To Me Blu-ray Review: Kristen Wiig Is Amazing, but This Movie Is Far from Perfect

Kristen Wiig's magnum opus, or sort of.
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We know that Kristen Wiig has proven herself to be actress of extreme range and talent, as she has demonstrated in comedies such as Bridesmaids and Friends With Kids. In just in few years after her Emmy-nominated stint on Saturday Night Live, she established herself as an actress worthy in dramas, and my personal favorite one is The Skeleton Twins. In director Shira Piven's Welcome To Me, an uncomfortably flawed, but quirky depiction of mental illness, TV obsession, and fame, she handles both comedy and drama with flair, even if the film can be mostly beneath her genius. She plays

Sol Madrid DVD Review: The Nutty NCIS Kojak Batman Star Trek 007 Affair

David McCallum's solo venture into the '60s spy genre is odd, compelling, and worth a look.
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As I had iterated in my ealier review of The Scorpio Letters, the latter half of the '60s were big on spy movies. The Britons essentially set the stage for a newly-revamped genre with their James Bond series, and everybody else was soon competing to create their own various fields of cinematic espionage. The craze became an all-out phenomenon in Europe, giving birth to what we call the Eurospy film today. In a way, it was a blessing. Sure, there were a lot of forgettable movies made during this time thanks to ol' supply and demand model of economics, but

Gerontophilia DVD Review: A Perverse, but Tenderly Made Turning Point in LGBT Cinema

A great film with moments of pure hilarity and emotional intensity.
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When Harold and Maude premiered in 1971, it wasn't a box-office hit, but it did break new ground of how certain relationships are viewed. It also became one of the greatest cult films of all-time, not just because of its taboo subject matter, but because it was just so damn funny. Forty-three years later, director Bruce LaBruce decided to take the subject a step further in his controversial romantic comedy, Geronotophilia, a refreshing and frank depiction of generational conflict, race, sexuality, and aging. LaBruce is no stranger to controversy, making films of rebellious eroticism, with such cult movies as Huster

TCM Presents: Jaws 40th Anniversary Movie Review: I Love Movies Because of Jaws

It brings back memories from opening night.
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TCM Presents and Fathom Events have teamed up to bring Jaws to movie theaters for its 40th Anniversary. I attended a showing on Sunday night jokingly saying it was my 75th time seeing the film. Not having a way to really know, I thought about it a little more and that number is probably shooting a little low. I was there in theaters as a seven-year-old on June 20, 1975. If you want to argue that it did or didn't change the movie industry you can, but you can't argue that it changed the interest in movies and filmmaking for

The Fisher King from Criterion is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us some classic Terry Gilliam, live Rolling Stones, resurrected British Crime TV, John Travolta forging Monet, and much more.
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At some point during my early teens, we had Showtime or HBO or some such pay-cable channel. Whatever it was, they played Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits over and over again. I was absolutely mesmerized by it. It was so weird and unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Its hero was a little boy and a bunch of little people and the story was full of fantasy so it seemed like it was made for children. Yet it was also very dark, weird, and adult feeling. Everyone talked really funny too, and I remember very specifically how strange the police sirens
It’s been nearly 20 years since Slash was a member of the heavy metal band Guns N’ Roses. Since then he’s put out multiple solo albums and was a founding member of the highly successful band, Velvet Revolver. But in this recent video release the legendary guitarist shows off his incredible chops over his entire musical history. And once again he has teamed up with an exceptional vocalist, Myles Kennedy, who has his own unique singing style and sounds like a cross between Axl Rose and Scott Weiland. Since Slash has been making his own solo albums for years now,

Ripper Street: Season Three DVD Review: Risen From Cancellation

A social media campaign brought it back and it was well worth the fight.
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The BBC’s Ripper Street takes place in Whitechapel of London’s East End. This is the same area that Jack the Ripper did his terrible deeds back in 1888. Season One of the show takes place six months after those horrible murders and all of its characters are haunted by those crimes. (Previously reviewed by Luigi Bastado and Kristen Lopez). Season Two takes place about a year after season one, and while the Ripper has faded mostly from memory there’s still plenty of crime to contend with in the neighborhood. (Previously reviewed by Luigi Bastardo.) Season Three almost didn’t happen. Citing

Survivor (2015) Blu-ray Review: A Little Action, A Lot of Filler

This movie should have been Brosnan and Jovovich running around trying to kill each other.
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You look at the Blu-ray cover for Survivor and you see Pierce Brosnan and Milla Jovovich holding guns, with a tagline letting you know that Brosnan’s latest target is now chasing him. It looks like it could be a solid cat-and-mouse thriller. Indeed, there are parts of the movie where that is true, but the issue is that it makes up far too little of the movie. Jovovich plays a woman named Kate Abbott, a Foreign Services Officer from America who has been brought to London to try and thwart terrorist attacks. Brosnan plays an assassin who is brought in

The Best of The Ed Sullivan Show 6-DVD Collector's Set Review

A who's-who (and "who's that?") of mid-20th Century entertainment.
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For 23 years, from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, Ed Sullivan served as the host of the quintessential variety show, presenting viewers with acts from across the entertainment spectrum. This six-DVD set, sporting the generic title of The Best of The Ed Sullivan Show, serves as a great example of what audience saw. The first two discs offer greatest-hits collections ("Unforgettable Performances" and "50th Anniversary Special"). The next three feature clips arranged by subject: "The All-Star Comedy Special," "World's Greatest Novelty Acts," and "Amazing Animal Acts." The final disc presents Bonus Interviews of participants from the

getTV Presents Crime Stories and Pre-Code Classics in July

Other highlights include a Friday Icons Lineup featuring Barbara Stanwyck, Peter Sellers, Janet Leigh, and Yul Brynner; Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl; and much more.
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Press release: Cinema’s greatest detectives are on the case, as getTV presents a month of mystery featuring 19 classic crime dramas in the “Watching the Detectives” block, every Thursday in July at 7 p.m. ET. The lineup includes Warren William as a ​reformed jewel thief in THE LONE WOLF SPY HUNT (1939) with Rita Hayworth and Ida Lupino, and 1940’s THE LONE WOLF KEEPS A DATE (July 2); Chester Morris stars as Boston Blackie in the Christmas caper ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (1942) with George E. Stone, and 1941’s MEET BOSTON BLACKIE(J​uly ​9) with Rochelle Hudson; Warner Baxter is the amnesiac

Insider Access to Disney•Pixar's Inside Out Review: Inside and Out of Site!

An early preview of Pixar's newest film with special guests, behind-the-scenes goodness, and an enormously good time.
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Old media has been struggling with how modern audiences consume their movies, books, and music for quite some time. With broadband internet allowing us to quickly and cheaply bring all the media directly into our homes, there is less and less reasons to purchase them as physical objects. It's fascinating to me to see the different methods media producers come up with in order to get us to pay for the things we consume. As televisions increase in size and definition and home theatre sound systems become more affordable for the average consumer, there is less reason for anyone to

Gotham, Arrow, and The Flash Season Sets Coming in September

Are these the heroes (and villains) we need?
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DC Comics had a strong presence on the 2014-15 television landscape. FOX's Gotham was the TV season’s #2 broadcast drama among men 18-34; Arrow was the CW’s #2 show among Total Viewers, averaging 4.2 million viewers weekly for each original episode, behind only The Flash, which had the most-watched series premiere in The CW's history (reviewed by Gordon S. Miller), and original episodes averaged six million viewers weekly throughout the season. In September, each series is releasing seasons sets on Blu-ray and DVD, allowing fans to revisit the stories and newcomers to learn what all the fuss was ablout before

Criterion Announces September 2015 Releases

A well-rounded collection of films from around the world.
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In September, Autumn comes and so does this batch of six Criterion titles. New to the collection are Krzysztof Kieślowski's Blind Chance, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, Merchant Ivory’s A Room with a View, and two films by Bruce Beresford, Breaker Morant and Mister Johnson. Also available is a new 2k digital restoration of Leonard Kastle’s The Honeymoon Killers. Read on to learn more about them. Blind Chance (#772) out Sep 15 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions Before he stunned the cinematic world with the epic The Decalogue and the Three Colors trilogy, the great Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski made his

The Pillow Book Blu-ray Review: Peter Greenaway's Idiosyncratic Collage

Eroticism and revenge mingle as aspect ratios shift.
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Peter Greenaway’s 1996 film The Pillow Book is alternately a sensual exploration of memory and a hot-blooded revenge fantasy, but it never fully embraces either, its eroticism often aloof and its violence almost completely suggestive. No one should expect otherwise from the idiosyncratic British director, who indulges his love for stagy compositions and florid production design while only half-committing to a traditional narrative, the film’s tableau-like scenes functioning more as standalone setpieces than components of a fluid story. Greenaway trains the viewer to expect this by plunging almost immediately into a dense collage of images — academy frames, widescreen frames,

Chappie is the Pick of the Week

This week features some critically panned sci-fi, some critically adored art-house, some wonderful animation and much more.
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It's always amazing to see a new and interesting director come onto the scene, and then utterly disappointing to see them crash and burn. I was as excited as anyone to see what M. Night Shyamalan would do after The Sixth Sense and maintained that excitement through Unbreakable (under appreciated in my opinion and holds up way better than Sense in repeat viewings). But I have slowly gone from great anticipation over what he’s doing next to complete ambivalence as he continues to make the same movie over and over (in increasingly disappointingly fashion again and again). In a similar

Valley of the Cycle Sluts DVD Review: Sluts Rule!

Weird retro Cycle Slut fun from MVD Visual.
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The Cycle Sluts are back, and boy are they pissed. In Valley of the Cycle Sluts (1992) we find seven members of the women’s biker gang The Sisters of Mercy bent on revenge against crooked undercover officer Wade Olson (Jason Williams). Before he was fired, Olson had taken out each of the ladies' men, one by one to get to a big pile of loot. The gals lure him to Death Valley to spring their trap. This being a gang of Cycle Sluts however, it will not be a simple execution. The honor of shooting him will go to the

Jurassic World Movie Review: A Sequel 22 Years in the Making

The fourth film in the popular series is everything that the previous sequels should have been, but never could have.
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Sequels have always been a tough market. Even as far back as the classic Universal Monster movies, filmmakers were struggling to come up with new and inventive concepts in order to keep franchises alive and kickin'. Once a World War had ended and the Atomic Age came to pass, man-made legends such as vampires or the Frankenstein monster took a backseat to reawakened prehistoric beasts. One such devil was the Gill Man from The Creature from the Black Lagoon, whose brief trilogy of films went through as diverse of a storytelling process as could be, having been discovered in the

Book Review: Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips, Volume Four: 1974-1979

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
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With the Library of America Comics releasing the fourth and final volume in the Eisner Award-winning series, they have published the complete collection of Russ Manning's Tarzan newspaper strips. As Henry G. Franke III, editor of The Burroughs Bibliophiles, explains in his informative introduction of the strip and its author, Manning was only creating Sunday strips at this point in the run, having given up the dailies in order to add Tarzan graphic novels to his workload. However, interest in the strip and the character had waned by the end of the decade. In February 1979, Tarzan "was appearing in

TCM Will Honor Actor Christopher Lee on June 22

Programming tribute to include The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Horror of Dracula (1958).
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of acclaimed British actor Christopher Lee, whose haunting, intimidating performances as Count Dracula, the Frankenstein monster and Fu Manchu made him an icon of horror films with an eight-film tribute on Monday, June 22. Lee, who passed Thursday June 11 at the age of 93, had long career which emcompased more than 275 credits including Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and four films with director Tim Burton. The following is the complete schedule for TCM's tribute to Christopher Lee: TCM Remembers Christopher Lee - Monday, June

The Searchers Blu-ray Review: Revisionist Western Before There Were Revisionist Westerns

John Ford's justly praised western classic explores the contradictions of glory and brutality in the settling of the West.
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Taking a highly praised classic on is a tricky business for any film reviewer. A movie as celebrated and revered as The Searchers has been picked over, analyzed, and revised up and down in critical estimation since it was dubbed a classic. It can be hard to just sit down and watch The Searchers like any movie. Not for nothing, the first time I saw it was in film school, surrounded by people who, even if like me they hadn't seen it before, had already had drummed into them what was "important" about it. The Searchers was not an instant

Rio Bravo Blu-ray Review: A Western Classic Restored

Howard Hawks' classic Western gets a nice upgrade with some new extras, what else is there to say?
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In 1952, director Fred Zinnemann made High Noon with Gary Cooper, who plays a small-town marshal whose being threatened by a man he once put away and his gang of thugs. Throughout the film, Cooper tries to find others to help him fight the gang, but one by one everyone either refuses or leaves town. In the end, it is only the marshal’s wife who brings forth any assistance. Howard Hawks and John Wayne, tough guys that they were, thought this plot was phony. No man worth his salt would go around asking for help in such a situation. And

John J. Malone Mystery Double Feature DVD Review: Pat O'Brien vs. James Whitmore

The Warner Archive Collection rescues two forgotten comedies featuring the less-than-celebrated fictional sleuth.
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The list of female mystery writers in history isn't a terribly long one. Even today, the only mysteries set in the literary world as written by women are the unexplained successes of poorly-worded tripe such as Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. No, that's not my chauvinistic side poking out of my trousers. That's something anyone with even a little common sense (or taste!) can attest to. Of course, the relatively short list of lady crime writers can mostly be blamed on good ol' fashioned chauvinism itself - as it wasn't until the last century that women finally began to

The Book of Negroes DVD Review: Important Miniseries Adds New Perspective to North American History

How historical fiction can counter the dominant narrative of history.
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As a genre, historical fiction when adapted well for film or television, can teach people about important parts of history. These parts of history may be an expansion of what they have already learned or it may teach about stories from history that have been silenced. However, if the studio producing the adaptation strays too far away from the original manuscript, the important message being taught through the historical fiction can often be lost. Historical fiction is also a genre that when adapted for the screen can be either beneficial or detrimental to history. What effect it has depends on

Kingsman: The Secret Service is the Pick of the Week

Slim pickings this week my friends
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As I’m browsing through the new releases each week and putting all the interesting ones in new tabs, I make a little mental checklist. There are things that sound interesting, things that are interesting, things that will almost certainly be picked, and others that most assuredly will not be but that I think are important enough to at least mention. Every once in a while those last things get bumped up and I actually wind up picking them. We now find ourselves in one of those weeks. Living now in close proximity to my parents means that me and the

Insider Access to Disney•Pixar's Inside Out in Select U.S. Cinemas on June 16 Only

An insider tour of Pixar Animation Studios, including Live Q&A with filmmakers and the voice of Joy, Amy Poehler.
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Press release: Fathom Events and Disney are working together to present a special screening of “Insider Access to Disney•Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’” in select U.S. movie theaters on Tuesday, June 16, 2015—three days before “Inside Out” hits theaters nationwide. Kicking off at 6 p.m. CT and 7 p.m. ET/MT/PT/AK/HI, this one-night event will include 15 minutes of exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from Pixar Animation Studios, the new “LAVA” short, a screening of the full-length feature “Inside Out,” plus a Q&A with director Pete Docter, producer Jonas Rivera and the voice of Joy, Amy Poehler, via satellite from their Australian tour—live in ET

The Justice League Takes on Gods & Monsters and the Legion of Doom This Summer

Gods & Monsters and The Legion of Doom! What more do you need?
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Fans waiting for next year's release of the live-action Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can pass the time this summer with two animated adventures of DC Comics' Justice League. Press release: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros Animation and DC Entertainment present an all-new animated feature film from renowned producer and animator Bruce Timm, Justice League: Gods & Monsters, on July 28, 2015. The title will also include never-before-seen bonus content and will be available on Blu-ray Deluxe Edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. The Blu-ray Deluxe Edition will include the Blu-ray Combo Pack, along with an

The Wonder Years: Season Three DVD Review: The Best Season of the Series

Kevin goes from Algebra to Zits this season.
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Time Life and Star Vista released season three of The Wonder Years on DVD May 26th and the season opens with us following the Arnold family on a summer vacation that includes neighbor Paul (Josh Saviano), who is mysteriously available even though we were told at the end of season two that he would be gone all summer. The vacation includes Kevin getting his first French kiss and the family coming together after a rough start. We then follow Kevin (Fred Savage) and his group of friends into eighth grade as the writers take us from algebra to zits and

McFarland, USA Blu-ray Review: Deserves to be Running in Your Home on a Regular Basis

Harkens back to the old days of Disney filmmaking when the stories were simple yet powerful and poignant.
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Disney has done quite well with underdog sports movies such as The Mighty Ducks, Remember the Titans, The Rookie, Invincible, Miracle, but there have been some failures along the “Glory Road”, so it is tough to figure out what to make of McFarland, USA. There appeared to be little marketing behind a movie starring Kevin Costner, and a February release date generally does not bode well for a film. Luckily, McFarland, USA does not need the marketing or a prime summer release date to put itself amongst the best of Disney’s underdog sports-themed movies. Though some may struggle with the

Second Trailer for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Has Been Released

See it before it disintegrates.
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Official synopsis: With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group faces their most impossible mission yet. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation stars Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner,

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne / Island of Death Blu-ray Reviews

Much like The Damned before them, the folks at Arrow Video USA have fallen in love with some genuine video nasties.
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In Great Britain, they were banned from being made available to the public outright. In the United States of America, they usually wound up being released in a heavily altered form. And sometimes, even in their native countries, they wound up being the subjects of much controversy. I refer, of course, to those magical motion pictures that the former powers of the UK so unknowingly assigned the lovable nickname of "Video Nasties" to. Those various cannibal and/or zombie holocausts those of us who grew up without the Interwebs had to track down from mail-order companies advertised in the back of

The War Zone: Historic Tanks & Battles of WWII DVD Review: Tanks for the Memories

An in-depth study of the tanks utilized during World War II.
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Although it has been roughly 75 years since the outbreak of the Second World War, it remains a fascinating topic. The new triple-DVD set Historic Tanks and Battles of WWII looks at the development of tanks during the war, as well as some of the most famous battles. The set is part of The War Zone series from Eagle Rock Entertainment, and is the most in-depth study of tanks that I have ever seen. There are nine episodes included in this collection, three per disc with each running approximately 47 minutes. “The Sherman Tank: The Workhorse” is the first, and

Arrow in the Dust DVD Review: This is More Like Dust in the Wind

The Warner Archive does its best to preserve a flick where Sterling Hayden punches Lee Van Cleef, and l'il wooden Indian figures are set aflame and thrown off a ledge. And that's about it.
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Try and try as we may, that which we wish to do in the world is often limited by what we can do. Just like an old saying that implies we should stack all of that which we covet into one hand as opposed to our own human waste, the reality of our dreams isn't always as glamorous (or as sanitary). Actor Sterling Hayden was certainly one of those individuals who expected slightly more than the universe had intended of him. While he loathed acting in the moving pictures, Mr. Hayden nevertheless had to keep the dough rolling in so

Dawn Patrol Movie Review: Surf, Sand, and Stupidity

MTV-esque white trash masquerading as a surf movie.
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I went into Dawn Patrol with low expectations considering it's a surf movie slammed alongside a tale of murder and revenge. Really, I watched this for Scott Eastwood, the hottest thing since sliced bread - although, with that body, I doubt the man eats carbs. Unfortunately, not even Eastwood's visage can save this from being a downright terrible experience. Imagine if Point Break came without the camp, a hefty dose of race and sexism, and a total absence of 1980s Presidential masks. In the town of Venice Beach people are losing their homes to bank foreclosures. All they have to

Kid Glove Killer DVD Review: Van Heflin Shines in Unsuccessful Film Pilot

Is it a film noir? A political corruption yarn? A forensics investigatory piece? A rom-com? It's all these things, and more!
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Since the mid 1990s, American television airwaves (where applicable) have been periodically tuning audiences into two tremendously popular forms of drama: that of the political corruption story, and the umpteen bajillion different forensic investigation shows that have filled out a weekly broadcast schedule since 2001 alone. Prior to those years, however, we only ever saw the occasional unscrupulous administrative yarn in theaters (almost all of which starred Al Pacino, for some unknown reason); the complex science of crime solving being reserved primarily for pulp fiction books, as cinema (and later, television) patrons apparently found them to be complex, or perhaps

Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Fifth Season DVD Review: The Show Does Several Things Very Well

The dialogue is snappy and clever, and those improbable story lines are fun.
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Coinciding with last night’s anticipated premiere of the Sixth Season of the crazy, compelling goodness of Pretty Little Liars, was yesterday’s release of the PLL: The Complete Fifth Season DVD set. This six-disk collection contains all 25 episodes, a handful of deleted scenes, and five special features. Season Five follows the story of Alison DiLaurentis’ return to Rosewood and brings the girls more tension as they still need to keep difficult secrets. “A”, the long-time unknown nemesis for our group of Liars is of course, still a key player in the story. [SPOILERS] Season Four had ended with a cliffhanger.

Welcome to Me Movie Review: Alice Doesn't Live off of TV Anymore

Kristen Wiig made a bold venture in doing this film.
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When Welcome to Me was making the festival rounds, I read a piece wherein the writer said they had mentioned UHF, in a positive fashion, to Kristen Wiig as a comparison for this movie, and Wiig then blanched at that comment. At the time, my presumption was that Wiig was blanching at this because UHF was a box-office flop. However, after seeing Welcome to Me, I feel like Wiig may have just been alarmed that anybody could be reminded of UHF while watching this movie. UHF is a goofy, ridiculous comedy that uses the notion of somebody taking over a

The Scorpio Letters DVD Review: Amusing Z-Grade Eurospy Fodder

The only thing poisonous about these letters was found in the Nielsen ratings.
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Quite often, all it takes in order to get the writing ball rolling is an idea. Just one single silly concept that can be molded and reshaped into something substantial. I know that all too well. Why, I can be standing in front of the mirror, brushing my teeth, and suddenly think of a (what I think is) great way to begin an article, and from the second I put it to virtual paper, it's all downhill from there. Of course, there is that occasional motion picture offering that many people would probably prefer the sight of someone (not necessarily

getTV Celebrates Rosalind Russell in June

Highlights include classic favorites starring Russell opposite Melvyn Douglas, Kim Novak, Sid Caesar, and Ray Milland.
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Press release: getTV honors the legacy of actress Rosalind Russell with a special birthday block featuring 11 of her finest films, every Thursday in June at 7 p.m. ET. The month-long event kicks off June 4—what would have been Russell’s 108th birthday—with the WWII drama THE GUILT OF JANET AMES, starring Russell as a grieving war widow who meets one of the men her husband died to save, played by Melvyn Douglas. Next, at 9 p.m. ET, Russell stars as Harriet Craig, a conniving housewife who uses her marriage as a means of attaining money and power in CRAIG’S WIFE,

Parks and Recreation: Season Seven is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us the conclusions of two great shows, the high definition upgrade of a better one, plus Kevin Costner, loads of cannibals and a naked Helen Mirren.
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Like a lot of people, it seems, I at first dismissed Parks and Recreation as another The Office clone and didn’t much bother with it. I remember seeing the first couple of episodes, thought it was pretty funny but I’d seen enough of that schtick with The Office and put it down thinking I’d never come back. And I didn’t for a good two, maybe three more seasons. Then I started hearing some good buzz about it. When a friend commented about it on Netflix, I made my The Office dismissal, and she countered with I should skip season one

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