March 2016 Archives

Born to Be Blue Movie Review: Many Shades of Blue

Ethan Hawke sizzles in unconventional Chet Baker biopic.
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A week seemingly filled with biopics, from the Hank Williams story I Saw the Light to Don Cheadle's Miles Ahead, director Robert Budreau's Chet Baker biopic, Born to Be Blue, ironically finds itself in competition with Cheadle's tale, both recounting the muddy lives of famous jazz musicians. (Born even has Baker (Ethan Hawke) ask a fan who's better - him or Miles Davis - an unintentionally fun poke at the two film's release this week.) But on its own merits Budreau's tale is an unconventional, if still remarkably straightforward, walk in Baker's shoes, recounting his struggles with addiction and struggles

TCM Announces Screen Legend Burt Reynolds for Live from the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival Interview

Reynolds will also introduce a screening of The Longest Yard (1974).
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) announced today that renowned actor Burt Reynolds is set to attend the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival, taking place in Hollywood April 28 - May 1, to participate in a sit-down interview about his life and career. In addition to the interview, Reynolds will be on-hand to introduce a screening of The Longest Yard (1974), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. The interview will be taped Saturday, April 30 in front of a live audience of festival pass holders at The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre. "For more than five decades,

Kristen's Book Club for April 2016

What's worth reading for April?
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Spring has sprung, so let's see what's worth putting on your bookshelves this month. Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick Kate Bolick's book is a mixed bag of personal memoir, feminist history, and biography, all of which makes for good, if patchy, reading. Bolick details the female fear of "spinsterhood," charting its applications throughout history and her own personal fears of being alone. When Bolick takes the time to focus on the actual issues regarding the spinster trope - including the rise of the cat or bag lady - the book takes on a fascinating feminist

Book Review: Star Trek: New Visions Volume 3 by John Byrne

Like the best episodes of the Original Series, the conflicts are believable, the stakes are high, yet there also are moments of humor.
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Growing up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, before VCRs became commonplace in households, we were limited to the whims of TV station programmers when it came to watching our favorite shows, unlike viewers today who have instant access and can even own copies of them. To revisit Star Trek at one’s leisure in those bygone days, the options were limited. James Blish adapted episodes into short-story collections, and industrious fans recorded shows off the TV onto cassette tapes, listening to them like a radio broadcast. Twelve episodes, selected from all three seasons, were given the photonovel treatment so fans

Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Gregory Peck Headline getTV's April Programming

Other highlights include Birthday Blocks honoring William Holden & Barbra Streisand, a Month of Crime Doctor Mysteries, Harrison Ford in HANOVER STREET, and more.
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Press release: getTV puts the spotlight on some of Hollywood’s most notable names, with an impressive April lineup featuring acclaimed war epics, classic crime dramas, breathtaking love stories, and more, airing in primetime all month long. The roster includes themed-double features honoring cinema icons Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, and Bette Davis; as well as birthday blocks honoring William Holden and Barbra Streisand; a month of CRIME DOCTOR mysteries starring Warner Baxter; Shirley MacLaine and Elizabeth Taylor in the 2001 romp THESE OLD BROADS; and fan-favorite Harrison Ford in the beloved romance HANOVER STREET. Spencer Tracy—Fri., Apr. 1 at 8 p.m.

Rage of Honor Blu-ray Review: Sho and Kill

An enjoyable, albeit very predictable, martial arts action movie.
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Late one night, I decided to pop in this Blu-ray. I knew nothing about this movie except that ninjas were somehow involved. When the menu screen appeared, I was introduced to a very cheesy, but perfect '80s theme song. Oh, how thrilled I was to know that the same track would be used for the opening credits. During the credits, we are shown a party on a boat where people are getting high and dancing around. It looks like a lot of fun, but soon a police officer by the name Shiro Tanaka (our main protagonist and star of this

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'East'

"What would an episode this season be if one of our team didn't get captured?" - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim mostly just worry about what's going to happen next week. Shawn: I fear that we wouldn't enjoy the great episodes of the past few weeks (and essentially all of this season) if we didn't get clunkers like this one. The show still hasn't reached a perfect season and this is one that will keep it short of that this season. I will keep it short and I won't bring up Daryl because I know he's yours. 1. ) THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT. I don't know what it sounded like to you when Morgan and Rick were

The Hateful Eight is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us new Tarantino, old foreign classics, cyborgs, Will Smith, and more.
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Last Friday, I loaded the family into the car and we spent Easter weekend in our old stomping grounds in Tennessee. Good Friday was also my 40th birthday and we celebrated with multiple parties, tons of food, and lots of laughs with some old friends. On several occasions, various friends came up to me to ask what movies I had seen lately, or what my top films of 2015 were, etc. This isn’t surprising as I’m a big pop-culture nerd and film buff and as such that tends to be what me and my friends talk about. The thing is,

El Rey Network's 'April Ghouls' Marathon Begins April 1st

You know what they say… April growlers bring May blood showers.
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Press release: April will be creeping up on you with El Rey Network’s “April Ghouls” marathon! This marathon is no joke - El Rey Network will be crawling under your skin this April Fool’s Day with the classic CRITTERS and GHOULIES series, as well as the recent release GHOULS. The marathon of mini-monsters will begin on Friday, April 1 at 4:00 PM ET/PT, and will nibble at your soul throughout the weekend until it ends on April 3. Below us the schedule and synposes. El Rey Network's April Ghouls Film Schedule Friday, April 1 4:00 PM ET/PT “GHOULIES” 5:30 PM

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 03-28-16

The months may change, but the films keep coming from TCM.
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As March transitions into April, this week on TCM sees films about con artists and recent Oscar winner for Best Picture, The Artist. F for Fake (1973) Monday, March 28 at 9:45 p.m. (ET) Director Orson Welles examines the career of a notorious art forger. Starring Peter Fonda - Lilith (1964) Tuesday, March 29 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A young psychiatrist finds himself drawn to a beautiful young mental patient. The Artist (2011) Wednesday, March 30 at 9:30 p.m. (ET) A silent screen swashbuckler faces career problems with the coming of sound. TCM Spotlight: Condemned - Baby Doll (1956) Thursday,

They're Watching Movie Review: Scary Monsters and Scarier Moldovans

In They're Watching, comedy meets horror, but you have to wait about an hour.
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They’re Watching is not an ordinary horror-comedy. It does not blend well the themes of both genres at once, amid the pursuit of some new genre altogether. Micah Wright and Jay Lender’s first film instead asks the question: what would happen if we made a film that began as a comedy, and then everything went horribly haywire and it devolved into a fantastical horror/quasi-Euro-exploitation picture? They’re Watching is far from character driven, deriving its plot and themes from its innovative format and the setting rather than from the stories of individuals. In the same breath, it embraces its mostly anonymous

Roddenberry's Debut TV Series 'The Lieutenant' Airs on getTV Every Wed. in April

The Block puts the spotlight on five episodes each week, with guests such as Robert Duvall, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, Ricardo Montalban, & more.
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Press release: getTV deploys an all-new “Get Lost In TV” April lineup, with a tribute to Gene Roddenberry’s classic 1963 military series THE LIEUTENANT, every Wednesday at 8pE​/5pE​. The weekly block, which kicks off on April 6, presents four episodes, airing back-to-back, to create the ultimate vintage binge watching experience. Future blocks will highlight beloved leading man James Stewart in the 1971 family comedy THE JIMMY STEWART SHOW, among others. Running from 1963 to 1964, THE LIEUTENANT starred Gary Lockwood as USMC Second Lieutenant William Rice, and Robert Vaughn as Rice’s company commander Captain Raymond Rambridge, who find trouble and

Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine / Dr. Goldfoot & the Girl Bombs Blu-ray Reviews: An Interesting Time Capsule

Two Vincent Price classics come to Blu-ray with mixed results.
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Kino Lorber has released two vintage Vincent Price films from 1965 and 1966 respectively. You hear the name "Vincent Price" and 1960s and the Poe adaptations immediately come to mind. These are quite different from those horror stories. The release of Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965) and Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966) to Blu-ray are an interesting time capsule. They are hard to classify but they aren't horror, nor are they straight comedies. Upon viewing each disc, it's hard to even call one a sequel to the other. It's almost like they exist on two separate

Making The Grade Blu-ray Review: An Unappreciated Comedy That Has Held up Nicely over the Years

It deserves to be in the collection of everyone who enjoys a good '80s comedy.
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Palmer Woodrow (Dana Olsen) has been thrown out of six different schools in the last three years. His parents are tired of his shenanigans and are threatening to cut off his trust fund if he doesn't graduate before he becomes older than the teachers. But buckling down and getting good grades is not something he is willing to do. So what’s a spoiled rich kid supposed to do when a massive fortune and his entire way of life is at stake? He hires a poor kid to take his place and get the diploma for him. Eddie Keaton (Judd Nelson)

RiffTrax Live: Time Chasers to Bring a Beloved MST3K Classic to Big Screens May 5 and 17

Fathom Events and RiffTrax present a lambasting of the ludicrous Time Chasers.
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Press release: Dust off that time machine (and the floppy disks that run it), because this May the guys of RiffTrax -- Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett (best known for the groundbreaking Mystery Science Theater 3000) - are bringing RiffTrax Live: Time Chasers to select cinemas across the nation. Presented by Fathom Events and RiffTrax on Thursday, May 5 LIVE at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. CT and tape-delayed to 7:00 p.m. MT/ 8:00 p.m. PT and a re-broadcast on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. local time, RiffTrax Live: Time Chasers will take on one of

The Hateful Eight DVD Review: Definitely Hateful, For Better or Worse

The Hateful Eight is a pretty good film, but "pretty good" is well below Tarantino's usual standards.
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Every Quentin Tarantino movie is an event, especially as he continues to threaten to retire eventually, and perhaps sooner rather than later. On top of that, The Hateful Eight is a massive Western, with a great cast and a score from Ennio Morricone. It was right up Tarantino's alley, and was worth getting excited about. Alas, it couldn't live up to that excitement, at least not entirely. The Hateful Eight is both expansive and intimate, depending on which portion of the movie we are talking about. Most of it takes place within a haberdashery during a blizzard, with our cast

Wild Bill Hickok Rides / Roughshod / Station West DVD Reviews: Girls Run the West

Three 1940s westerns ‒ each with a stronger-than-usual female presence ‒ make their home video debut courtesy the Warner Archive Collection.
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If there is one department the American film industry was certainly not lacking a sufficient output of during the first half of the 20th century, it was westerns. With the days of the Old West only a few pages back in the history book at the time, vast barren landscapes of wide open spaces and rustic rural settings ‒ most of which were replaced by strip malls, condos, and other forms of "progress" before the millennium came to a close ‒ it was fairly easy to see why so many cowboy pictures were manufactured: they were cheap, and audiences ‒

CHiPs: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review: With Extra Cheese!

In the 1980-81 television season, ABC owned the cheese market, but NBC was certainly dipping its CHiPs deep into the bowl.
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With the recent release of CHiPs: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD from Warner Brothers we once again get to see the recipe for success during that era of television. By season four, we already know Jon (Larry Wilcox), Ponch (Erik Estrada), and the gang, and respect the job NBC had done in finding a collection of pin-up people to throw into uniform. Now all they needed were some uniform stories to feature our toothy team triumphing over troublemakers, and uniform was exactly what these stories were. A main story that featured criminal activity usually perpetrated by either people with

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Twice As Far'

"There was a lot happening in this episode, but not a lot happened." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn have a few comments on dick biting and stroganoff and hurtle towards the finale. Kim: There was a lot happening in this episode, but not a lot happened. This one will be hard to write up because I was distracted by Daryl, as usual, looking all post-apocalyptic hot and trying to be a hard ass, but failing miserably. I’m going to keep my comments short and sweet because there are some things that I saw that truly bothered me and I’m not fully ready to commit them to writing at this time. Abraham has become

Black Mama, White Mama is the Pick of the Week

This week's new releases include a classic comedy, a not-so classic exploitation drama, the conclusion of the Hunger Games and more.
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Every once in awhile you have to ask yourself whether you want the much beloved, critically acclaimed, and highly influential classic comedy or the ridiculously sexist and exploitative women-in-prison flick to be the pick of the week. And if the person asking is me, you go for the exploitation flick. Every time. In the 1970s, Pam Grier was the queen of the exploitation flick. Between 1970 and 1973, she made such classics as The Big Doll House, Women in Cages, The Big Bird Cage, and this week’s pick, Black Mama, White Mama. All that before her 25th birthday and before

Undertow Blu-ray Review: David Gordon Green Thinks About Moving Past Malick

There are hints that the 'George Washington' filmmaker might make a stylistic leap with 'Undertow.'
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The opening sequence of David Gordon Green’s third film, Undertow, portends an interesting stylistic progression for the filmmaker, his Terrence Malick-influenced imagery pushed to a frenetic pace, cut to pieces by jarring cuts, freeze-frames and flashes to negative as teen Chris (Jamie Bell) flees from his girlfriend’s angry father. Set to a propulsive Philip Glass score, it’s a sequence that commands attention, even if it’s more freewheeling pastiche than a genuinely original moment. The rest of Undertow settles into a more staid visual approach, the images struggling to keep up with the operatic grandeur of Glass’s score. While Green’s early

Tokyo ESP: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review: Battle of The Minds

Psychics battle each other in this anime series where the villains are just as compelling as its heroes.
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Tokyo ESP is an anime series based on the manga created by Hajime Sagawa. It begins when a group of people with psychic abilities aka ESPers take control of a government building and begin killing people. They demand that all of humanity begin to worship them otherwise a lot more people are going to get hurt. There are rumors that there is still hope. The one called "The White Girl" will save them all. Meanwhile, high-school student Rinka Urushiba wakes up to discover that she can move between solid objects. In trying to understand her new powers, she meets several

Black Mama, White Mama Blu-ray Reivew: Now This Is How You Do Exploitation!

Pam Grier escapes prison, kicks butt and bares her...(heart?) in this classic exploitation flick.
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Last week I complained that the new release of an old Pam Grier exploitation film, Sheba, Baby forgot to actually exploit anybody. Well, this week’s release of Black Mama, White Mama remedies all that. And how! Within the first five minutes half the cast has stripped down naked for an extended, soapy shower scene while the prison guard peeps through a small hole Porky’s style and pleasures herself. From there we get scantily clad cat fights, attempted rapes, machine-gun battles, nun attacks, loads of naked breasts and more dick jokes than any one man can handle. Now that’s how you

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 03-21-16

and the week closes an Easter-themed picture.
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In addition to TCM's ongoing series of Condemned films and honoring Star-of-the-Month Merle Oberon, this week sees actor Richard Kind stop in to program a night and a focus on films featuring characters that got their start in the comics The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) Monday, March 21 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) A man remains young and handsome while his portrait shows the ravages of age and sin. Guest Programmer: Richard Kind - The Apartment (1960) Tuesday, March 22 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) An aspiring executive lets his bosses use his apartment for assignations, only to fall for the

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Vinyl Soundtrack out Now

The 13-track score from legendary composer John Williams has been remastered to maximize the recording’s dynamic range.
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Press release: I Am Shark is thrilled that the 2xLP gatefold colored vinyl release of the original motion picture soundtrack to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is out now and available for purchase at the I Am Shark online store. Released for the first time ever as a stand-alone vinyl album, the limited first pressing (Silver / Transparent Royal Mix) is almost sold out. Complete track listing and additional art below. Stream “Across The Stars (Love Theme from Attack Of The Clones)” from the Star Wars Episode II Soundtrack Originally released alongside the movie in 2002, the

Cinelicious Pics to Re-release New 4k Digital Restoration of Lost 1960 Noir 'Private Property'

The 4k restoration will have its world premiere at the 7th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival.
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Press release: Cinelicious Pics has announced that it will re-release in theaters and on VOD and Blu-ray this Summer its new 4k digital restoration of director Leslie Stevens' long-missing 1960 thriller PRIVATE PROPERTY, starring iconic American character actor Warren Oates (TWO-LANE BLACKTOP, THE WILD BUNCH) in his first significant screen role. A major rediscovery for noir and crime fans, PRIVATE PROPERTY has long been considered a lost feature until UCLA Film & Television Archive recently located and preserved the only known film elements. Director Stevens, who died in 1998, was a protégé of Orson Welles, and went on to create

American Horror Project, Vol. 1 Blu-ray Review: In One Word, 'Yes!'

Arrow Video USA's most ambitious undertaking yet is worth its notable weight in gold.
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As a guy who has become slightly worn out from watching mostly B-grade movies for the majority of both his adolescent and adult lives, it can sometimes be difficult to truly jump up and down for joy over an impending release of vintage flicks which have been buried by the sands of time. Nevertheless, my excitement managed to pique and I was instilled with a great deal of giddiness upon learning of Arrow Video's American Horror Project earlier this year. And as it turns out, my enthusiasm was completely justified, for the first installment of this potentially life-changing series has

Criterion Announces June 2016 Releases

There'll be no June gloom for movie lovers this summer.
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The six offerings from Criterion in June are all new titles to the Collection. They are Michelangelo Antonioni's Le amiche, Jean Renoir’s La chienne, Alexander Hall’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan, René Laloux’s Fantastic Planet, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria. Read on to learn more about them. Le amiche (#817) out Jun 7 This major early achievement by Michelangelo Antonioni bears the first signs of the cinema-changing style for which he would soon be world-famous. Le amiche (The Girlfriends) is a brilliantly observed, fragmentary

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Same Boat'

"I wish that there wasn't such a thing as the internet to ruin all of the tension in a show like this." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim demonstrate they aren't always in the same boat. Shawn: I only have a few notes for you this week. 1.) PERFECT? My gaze didn't leave the screen at any point in the episode. None of those Carl moments that make me wander to cat videos or reach for the popcorn. I had even poured a perfectly wonderful Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado for the viewing that generally went untouched, except during commercials. I can't call it "perfect" because I think this show still has that episode in its arsenal. And truthfully there was some slow moments

Silicon Cowboys Movie Review: A Compact Documentary About Compaq

The lively tale of the computer cowboys who changed personal computing.
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It's near impossible to escape technology in this day and age, and with it such an integral part of our functioning as a species enough time has passed that the Hollywood nostalgia train has cast its eye towards showing us a moment when taking your computer home with you was a novel proposition. "Compaq is the story of how David challenges Goliath" and in the wake of all the Steve Jobs films, both documentary and narrative, director Jason Cohen's documentary, Silicon Cowboys, about the formation of the Compaq corporation, looks to make as big a splash as the films about

Brooklyn is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us several award-wining dramas and a ridiculous martial-arts flick.
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Though it was nominated for a slew of awards (including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Actress at the Academy Awards), I’d probably not given it much thought to Brooklyn were it not for one man - screenwriter Nick Hornby. I first discovered Hornby via the John Cusack movie adaptation of his novel High Fidelity. I fell in love with that movie pretty much immediately and recognized quite a bit of myself in the music-obsessed, bad-at-relationships main character (as well as his friend’s obsessive need to constantly make top five lists). From that film, I sought out the book and loved

All The President's Men to Open 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival

Appearances include Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Eva Marie Saint, Stacy Keach, Anna Karina, and director John Singleton.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will open the 7th annual TCM Classic Film Festival on April 28th with a 40th Anniversary screening of the Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman political thriller All The President’s Men (1976). The festival, set to take place April 28 - May 1 in Hollywood, will also include tributes to the following screen legends: Director-writer Carl Reiner featuring a screening of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) and an extended conversation Actor Elliott Gould featuring screenings of his Golden Globe nominated performance in M*A*S*H (1970), The Long Goodbye (1973) and a conversation in Club TCM

Ryan Hurst and Kyle Gallner Discuss Their Characters from WGN's Outsiders

"L'il Foster is very sensitive and incredibly loyal to his family." - Ryan Hurst
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I had the opportunity to listen in on a conference-call interview featuring Ryan Hurst and Kyle Gallner of WGN’s new hit series, Outsiders. Hurst plays, L’il Foster, son of the highest-ranking male clan member. Gallner plays Hasil, a cousin, curious about the civilization below the mountain. When asked how his character, L’il Foster, differed from others he played before, Hurst first pointed out that his character looked like the beloved fan-favorite Opie from Sons of Anarchy. He said that L’il Foster is very sensitive and incredibly loyal to his family. He also said he still has some growing up to

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 03-14-16

Jerry Lewis is the star of the week on TCM.
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This week sees TCM honor birthday boy Jerry Lewis, who turns 90, with two nights of programming, as well as more films with Star of the Month Merle Oberon and from their Condemned series. Lust For Life (1956) Monday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Passionate biography of painter Vincent van Gogh, whose genius drove him mad. Jerry Lewis's 90th Birthday Part I - The Caddy (1953) Tuesday, March 15 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) A master golfer suffering from performance anxiety caddies for a man he's taught everything. Jerry Lewis's 90th Birthday Part II - The Bellboy (1960) Wednesday, March

The Art and Making of The Peanuts Movie Book Giveaway

A treat for every Peanuts fan to treasure.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Titan Books to award two lucky readers Jerry Schmitz's The Art and Making of The Peanuts Movie book. For those wanting to learn more about it, the book jacket reads: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved Peanuts gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron. From

The Peanuts Movie Blu-ray Review: A Sweet Film That Appeals to All Generations

I hold this series to a high bar and I was very satisfied with the final product.
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The recent Blu-ray and DVD release of The Peanuts Movie by 20th Century Fox leaves me with a conundrum of how to review it. I want to be fair and approach it just as a current kids movie. How does it compare to current cream of the crop releases from Disney and Pixar? The film is made by Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Ice Age, another groundbreaking movie franchise. The source for this film though goes way back into our cultural DNA. This isn't some recently created franchise. The film itself is built upon multiple winks to the viewer's

Sheba, Baby Blu-ray Review: Blacksploitation, Family Style

In Pam Grier's last exploitation film they forgot to exploit anybody or anything.
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After a string of low-budget, b-grade exploitation flicks in which she kicked ass, cracked wise, and stripped down, Pam Grier became, not exactly a star, but a real sensation among people who like a certain type of movie. By 1975, she was ready to move onto other types of films and with Sheba, Baby she made her very last blacksploitation flick. Now that I've seen, all I have to ask is this: what exactly were they exploiting? It certainly is filled with plenty of black actors and comes with a plot straight out of the genre - Grier plays Sheba

Sisters (2015) Blu-ray Combo Pack Giveaway

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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to award one lucky reader the Sisters Blu-ray Combo Pack, which is set for release on March 15 and will also be available on DVD. The movie is already available on Digital HD. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: When the Ellis sisters, the always-responsible Maura (Amy Poehler) and impossibly hotheaded Kate (Tina Fey), receive word from their retired mom and dad that their family home is on the market, they discover they have one weekend left to clean out the old junk in their bedroom.

The American Friend Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Tense Blend of Suspense and Character Study

An unusual, but beautifully made neonoir from one of film history's greatest directors.
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There have been a few cinematic adaptations of famed author Patricia Highsmith's stories, such as 1951's Strangers on a Train, and 2002's Ripley's Game, but director Wim Wenders' 1977 acclaimed thriller, The American Friend, stands above the pack. It is one of Wenders' more accessible and entertaining films, in which the narrative flows with uncommon grace and suspense. It also contains one of iconic actor Bruno Ganz's best performances, where he inhabits every since he's in. In the film, Ganz portrays Jonathan Zinnermann, a terminally ill German everyman who gets involved in an elaborate murder plot concocted by the quirky

Sisters (2015) Blu-ray Review: Forty-Six Candles

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler team up again for a rollicking coming-of-middle-age comedy.
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Sisters might sound like a sibling relationship comedy, but it actually joins Hollywood’s long, proud heritage of ribald comedy films focusing on huge parties. You know the ones, brainless romps like Bachelor Party, American Pie, Old School, Neighbors, and Sixteen Candles. Just like its predecessors, this outing has little on the agenda except for showing you all the fun at their rager, with the only real differences being the female perspective and the age of the participants. Sure, there’s the requisite friction between the lead characters, but if you remember anything about this film later, it will be the huge,

The Serpent and the Rainbow Blu-ray Review: When You're Craven Zombies

Wes Craven's noble attempt at returning the walking dead to their deep religious roots receives an HD makeover from Scream Factory.
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In this day and age, wherein masses of mindless individuals with no ability to properly implement the usage of the words "literally" or "ironically" in sentences, and who instead oversaturate conversations with superfluous adverbs where there don't need to be any (and, sadly, you don't know who you are), there's another saying that has only grown to become irritably irksome to hear: that of the many references to the "zombie apocalypse." Why, in less than ten years, the saying has miraculously become older than the walking dead in motion pictures themselves. But it wasn't always about dead folk rising from

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Not Tomorrow Yet'

"There was a weight to this episode that hasn't been consistent this season." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn muse on the Saviors and if Virginia is just for Lovers. Kim: Well, another week and another episode closer to the end of the season. First and foremost, why aren’t these seasons 22-plus episodes like network shows? It seems so unfair. My thoughts on the latest adventures of our gang will be short because I really felt like I was cheated out of so much this week. First, let me say, I was really glad to see so much of Carol. But. The opening. Ugh. It felt like I was going to see the Double

Hangman (2015) Blu-ray Review: Watching Home Movies

A cry baby stalks the blandest family in this found-footage feature.
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Unlike a lot of people I know, I don’t mind the found-footage genre. The first Paranormal Activity and Man Bites Dog uses it really well. I have yet to see Unfriended, but have heard good things about it. When used right, these films can make you feel like you’re experiencing these events, firsthand. When used incorrectly, you just feel like you’re just watching some boring home movie. Hangman falls into the latter category. Here is the main concept. A masked man with no real motives breaks into a home while a family is away on vacation. While there, he sets

Macbeth (2015) is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a new Shakespearean adaptation, a reworking of Moby Dick and Frankenstein, plus three films from the French New Wave, and much more.
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What’s left to say about Shakespeare? What could I possible write that would convey his brilliance? Nothing of course. He was undoubtedly the greatest writer that the English language has ever (or likely will ever) know. His words have been read by millions of people in a myriad of languages for hundreds of years. The thing is, though, they really ought to be heard rather than read. As anybody taking high-school English can tell you, Shakespeare on the page can be rough going. His words are ancient and arcane lying dead in a book. Ah, but on the stage (or

Pray for Death (1985) Blu-ray Review: More Revenge of the Ninja? Fo' Sho!

Arrow Video unsheathes yet another B-movie featuring '80s martial arts icon, Sho Kosugi.
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Sho Kosugi has always been something of a special hit-and-miss performer in the world of B-grade martial arts movies. Although he had appeared in several films prior to his official "debut" role as the bad guy in Cannon Films' 1981 epic Enter the Ninja, it wasn't until said feature that he became "recognized" as an actor with a most effective screen presence. In fact, were it not for the fact that Sho seemed to only pop up in several notably low-budget (read: bad) ninja movies that were completely indistinguishable from one another (most of which have grown to become cult

Book Review: The Complete Dick Tracy, Volume 19: 1959-1961 by Chester Gould

What’s fun about how Gould’s stories unravel is that they don't always end when expected.
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As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 19 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from July 12, 1959 through to February 19, 1961. The book has an introductory essay, Max Allan Collins's "Dark Comedy and Careening Imagination" about the strips collected, and concludes with Richard Pietryk's look at the appearance of Gould's villains "Foes, Fashion, and Flies" and Jeff Kersten's "In Pursuit of Sanitation and Sanity" about the reaction from the public and newspapers to Flyface and about Dick Locher joining the strip as Gould's assistant, which

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 03-07-16

Another good mix of films airing on TCM this week.
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This week the highlights are dominated by films of the 1950s, and there are two classics from the New Hollywood era that prove great movies continued to be made once the '60s ended. Moulin Rouge (1953) Monday, March 7 at 10:30 p.m. (ET) French painter Toulouse-Lautrec fights to find love despite his physical limitations. My Cousin Rachel (1953) Tuesday, March 8 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) When Philip Ashley's much-loved (and rich) cousin Ambrose dies, he is convinced that Ambrose was murdered by his new wife Rachel to inherit his wealth. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) Wednesday, March 9 at

Turn It Up! Movie Review: A Celebration of the Electric Guitar

A history of the electric guitar and the people who love them.
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I was sixteen years old, standing in a pawn / jewelry shop owned by family friends. I looked up at the wall and there it was, a beautiful mahogany wood grained Gibson SG Electric Guitar. I had always loved the look of that particular guitar, the double-cut design, the deep brown color, the Gibson logo on the headstock. Besides, a Gibson SG was what Pete Townshend played at Woodstock. Frank Zappa, Angus Young, Tony Iommi, and Frank Marino had all played similar guitars. I had to have it so $300 later it was mine. This wasn't when I started to

Jane B. Par Agnes V. & Kung-Fu Master Blu-ray Reviews: 2 Films by Agnes Varda

Two radical, challenging works by the great Agnes Varda get new life on Blu-ray.
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As everyone, or at least film buffs, know by now that famous filmmaker Agnes Varda is the most influential female director of the French New Wave, making such classics as Cleo from 5 to 7, Le Bonheur, and Vagabond. She is one of the greatest directors of women, filming their lives and situations with not just feminist interpretations, but also a surreal reality that can hypnotize even the most hardened film-goer. And they come no more radical and beautifully histronic than the two films she made with famed singer/actress/fashion icon Jane Birkin: Jane B. Par Agnes V. & Kung-Fu Master.

getTV Airs Legendary Finale of Nichols (James Garner's 1971 TV Series) This Saturday

Famous for its shocking and unconventional storyline, it will air as part of the network's popular "Saturday Showdown" Westerns block.
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Press release: Ride off into the sunset with getTV, as the network presents the legendary finale of the classic 1971 James Garner series NICHOLS, on Saturday, March 5, at 5:45 p.m. ET/2:45 p.m. PT. The series, which also stars Margot Kidder and Stuart Margolin, airs as part of the network’s popular “Saturday Showdown” weekend block, a special block highlighting seven rarely seen Western series including THE TALL MAN, with Clu Gulager; WHISPERING SMITH, starring Audie Murphy; and LAREDO, starring Neville Brand, among others. NICHOLS originally premiered on September 16, 1971, and stars Garner as a man looking for a fresh

Bad Boy (1949) DVD Review: You Make Us Feel So Good

The Warner Archive Collection asks 'Wha'cha gonna do?' about this juvenile delinquent problem.
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Of all the subgenres of exploitation filmmaking, the field of Juvenile Delinquency is perhaps the most neglected. In a weird way, it is fitting, considering the subjects of such features (and many short films, to boot) were usually just as ignored by their onscreen parents. And in the instance of 1949's Bad Boy, the casting of renowned World War II veteran Audie Murphy (in his first starring role) as a troubled youth with a bad temper and no sense of remorse for his many antisocial behaviors is only more appropriate. Though Murphy had received every military combat award for valor

getTV Showcases 1957 Classic TV Series Gem The Thin Man with Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk

The new "Get Lost in TV" block will spotlight one classic TV gem every month, including The Lieutenant and The Jimmy Stewart Show.
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Press release: “Get Lost In TV” with getTV, as the network kicks off the all-new block with a tribute to the 1957 crime comedy series THE THIN MAN, every Wednesday in March at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The weekly block, which premieres on March 2, puts the spotlight on a different rare television classic each month, airing five episodes back-to-back to create the ultimate vintage binge watching experience. Future blocks will highlight Gene Roddenberry’s 1963 military drama THE LIEUTENANT, starring Robert Vaughn, and the incomparable James Stewart in the 1971 family comedy THE JIMMY STEWART SHOW, among others. Based

TCM Programming Event Features Movies Condemned by the Catholic Church

"Condemned" premieres March 3 and airs every Thursday in March hosted by Sister Rose Pacatte.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will travel through the decades to explore a little-known aspect of film history: the powerful influence the Catholic Legion of Decency held over the movie business in the United States for more than half a century. Throughout the month of March, TCM will present Condemned, an expansive, 27-film programming event that will delve into the story of the organization that dedicated itself to protecting American audiences from “objectionable” content and explore the impact the legion had on how movies were ultimately produced and edited to avoid being labeled. Programming begins Thursday, March 3 at

Intruders (2015) DVD Review: This Generation's Wait Until Dark

If you think this is going to be just another home-invasion story, please come on in.
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The home-invasion genre is one that can be enjoyable with gems like Funny Games or Panic Room. But it can also become very old very fast with titles like The Purge or The Strangers. Lately, there have been some rather good ones that have taken this concept and have done new and exciting things with it. You’re Next is one that most horror fans will recommend, but the one that has also gotten a lot of praise but not really discussed much is The Intruders. I must make a statement before I begin this review. It’s really best to go

Clouds of Sils Maria Movie Review: Heartache and Laughter in the Swiss Alps

Clouds of Sils Maria's currency is poignance, and in that sense it is infinitely wealthy.
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With Clouds of Sils Maria, Olivier Assayas has created something that is both desperately intrusive and hypnotically magical. It is neither earthbound nor ethereal, rather it transcends definition in its creation of a brand new world whose story begs to be told. Juliette Binoche delivers her most impressive work in at least a decade as the veteran French actress Maria Enders. She is jaded, and she resents the youth for the way in which they take their talent and fame for granted. However cynical she has become, she is grounded by the presence of her personal assistant Valentine. In Kristen

Zootopia Movie Review: Disney Goes Political, With Bunnies!

Disney's latest is a mixed bag of political inquiry and film noir.
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As Disney continues basking in the icy glow of Frozen's success the rest of their animation output - the films unassociated with Pixar - hovers in the "delightfully pleasant" category. Past efforts like Big Hero 6 and Wreck-It Ralph have provided fun and whimsical diversions, if lacking long-term memorability and serious appreciation. There's little doubt you'll forget Zootopia as Disney gets politically charged, presenting a world of anthropomorphized animals acting out our worst prejudices that both reminds us of how terrifying a world run by Donald Trump can be while simultaneously teaching children about tolerance. The dual-level satire of Zootopia's

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Knots Untie'

"We've got all of the makings of a Very Special Easter Edition of The Walking Dead." - Kim
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In which Shawn & Kim discuss the extra dose of T&A this week and a bit of Jesus. Shawn: I was surprised in general that they tried to air an episode opposite the Oscars. Despite being a Top 5 rated show, it's like trying to go against the Super Bowl as far as ratings go. But now I see that they aired the least important episode of the past couple seasons. Anyone who missed this will quickly be caught up on the next "Previously on The Walking Dead". 1.) I'll throw the first Pun Grenade. The title gave me hope

Kristen's Book Club for March 2016

What's worth reading this month.
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I'm an avid book reader and it's because of this avidity that I can read freely under the guise of "working." Kristen's Book Club will help you find the perfect film-related - or should be filmed - book to spend time with each month. We'll also look at upcoming novels soon to be adapted for the big screen. In this inaugural column we'll explore Superman's origins, more from the star of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, and a Hollywood director receiving the biography treatment. Bending Steel by Alan J. Regalado One of the more analytical books available this month is Alan J.

Creed and Room are the Picks of the Week

This week brings us three Oscar contenders, Tom Hardy playing twins, a classic sci-fi novel turned into a miniseries by the Syfy network, and much more.
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The Oscars will be airing in a few of hours from when I’m writing this (and likely a few hours before this gets posted, and possibly days before you read it). I can easily say I don’t care a thing about who wins what, or who’s gotten snubbed, etc. Yet, as per usual, I’ll be watching the ceremony, reading various commentaries on the awards and hotly debating it on Twitter. Thing is, pretty much everyone recognizes the Oscars are fairly meaningless. All my film-buff friends love to talk about how pointless it all is, how it has no bearing on

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