June 2016 Archives

Rifftrax Live: MST3K Reunion Show Review: Reunited and It Feels So Good

Shake hands with laughter at the year's biggest comedy reunion.
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With the help of fans through Kickstarter, all the past cast members of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Jonah Ray, the new guy from the upcoming new Netflix series, gathered at the State Theater in St Paul, Minnesota on June 28 for the 20th Rifftrax event, which coincided with Rifftrax's 10th anniversary. The reunion was broadcast by Fathom Events across the country in theaters to the delight of many who couldn't attend in person. After the introduction, the Rifftrax guys (Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett) went first, making fun of “The Talking Car” (1969), an odd traffic-safety

The BFG (2016) Movie Review: Delightful for Children, Mediocre for Adults

Steven Spielberg makes a sweet, if slight fairy tale.
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Seven years have passed Wes Anderson's fantastic Fantastic Mr. Fox, the last time a work by author Roald Dahl was adapted for cinemas. And even more time has passed since director Steven Spielberg created works for children. Dahl and Spielberg should equal success, so then why is The BFG so paint-by-numbers? Held up alongside past Dahl adaptations, Spielberg's formulaic presentation loses the novel's sense of quirk. Though the source material doesn't yield itself up to an utterly terrifying feature, a la The Witches, the entire affair will appeal to young children, and young children alone. Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a

Celebrate Fourth of July with Godzilla During El Rey Network's 'Kaijuly Roarth' Marathon

Beginning July 1st at 10:00 am ET/PT, 14 films starring your favorite Kaiju monster battles run for four days back-to-back.
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Press release: Kick off celebrating America’s independence with your favorite Japanese monsters on Friday, July 1 at 4:00PM ET/PT. Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, Ghidorrah, Destroyah, and more will continue to brawl it out until Monday, July 4, at 4:00 AM ET/PT. Featuring 14 iconic Godzilla films, “Kaijuly Roarth” brings these big bad monster movies to the small screen. El Rey Network’s “Kaijuly Roarth” Marathon Film Schedule FRIDAY July 1, 2016 4:00 PM ET/PT GOJIRA 6:15 PM ET/PT GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS 8:00 PM ET/PT GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN 9:45 PM ET/PT TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA 11:45 PM ET/PT GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II 2:15

Album Review: Mudcrutch: 2: Tom Petty Returns to His pre-Heartbreakers Band with Great Results

The long-awaited sophomore release from Mudcrutch doesn't disappoint.
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In 2007, Tom Petty decided to reform Mudcrutch, his pre-Heartbreakers band, to record their long-overdue self-titled debut. Mudcrutch of course is the band that eventually became the Heartbreakers, with Petty retaining keyboardist Benmont Tench and lead guitarist Mike Campbell. While the original Mudcrutch had other members come and go, the trio of Petty, Tench and Campbell, along with guitarist Tom Leadon (brother of Bernie) and drummer Randall Marsh round out the current incarnation of the band. The group played a handful of shows before Petty reconvened the Heartbreakers for a pair of albums, 2010’s Mojo and 2014’s Hypnotic Eye. Mudcrutch

getTV in July Features Film Noir, Dolly Parton, and More

Other highlights include a Lucille Ball Two-Pack, a Christmas In July block, and 24 hours of Westerns.
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Press release: getTV presents a sizzling July programming lineup featuring classic comedies, rare TV series, and beloved icons. The month includes Dolly Parton in the All American Dolly Marathon on July 4TH; an expanded 24 Hours of Westerns block; a Lucille Ball two-pack; a Carol Burnett marathon; a night of Noir starring Humphrey Bogart and Glenn Ford; and a special Christmas In July Variety Block event starring Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, and Perry Como. 24 Hours of Westerns—Saturday & Sunday From 12 p.m. ET to 12 p.m. ET getTV expands its Saturday Westerns block, introducing a revamped lineup that extends

The Return of a Man Called Horse Blu-ray Review: Harris Whispers. He Screams. He ACTS!

The oft-ignored sequel from one of cinema's lesser-explored trilogies gets a High-Definition makeover.
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In 1970, a simple tale of A Man Called Horse galloped its way onto the silver screen to shock audiences across near and far. With the Hays Production Code demolished and the MPAA now in full effect, filmmakers were at last able to make sprawling western adventure epics replete with gore and nudity. Because, well, after all, that's what made the Wild West so darn wild. Alas, Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch had beaten the film to the screen (and fared much better at the box office), so copious amounts of violence (by the standards of the time) weren't entirely

The Arrow Roundup for June

What's on tap from Arrow Video this month.
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What the best from Arrow in June? The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971) Italian giallo films are an acquired taste that I'm unsure I've acquired. The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is one of the more fast-paced and cinematic of the those I've watched, but it's logic remains ill-defined and as messy as the blood-spattered walls at the end. Divided into two halves, things start out with a slash - introducing Lord Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen) as a sadistic murderer with a penchant for torturing women with red hair. Alan hopes to purge the inner

A Woman, A Part Movie Review: Ladies on Edge and on the Edge

Elisabeth Subrin's directorial debut zeroes in on women in entertainment.
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Whether it be directing or writing features, or just leading movies of substance, audiences are frustrated about how women are faring in the world of entertainment. Director Elisabeth Subrin's debut, A Woman, A Part explores the different facets of the female personality with an aim towards demanding added nuance regarding women in cinema, creating a "women's picture" without the perjoratives associated with the term. As the title implies, women are more than parts trotted out for a token bit of estrogen on a poster, and though Subrin's assertions are life-changing, the presentation will please indie fans. Anna (Maggie Siff) is

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'South Will Rise Again'

"I’m worried that I won’t get everything I need answered by the end of the season." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn find themselves at the halfway point. Kim: So, we’re halfway through this very short season of Preacher and I’m actually going to criticize it. Not because I don’t absolutely love it, because I do. I’m going to bitch for a minute that there is a lot of time taken up by things that will make absolute zero sense to you if you don’t read the comics or use Google. I refuse to do either, because I don’t want to ruin the show. There are people out there who insist that things are better if you

Appointment with Crime Blu-ray Review: Tell Crime You'll Need to Reschedule

A stylish opening sequence is not a harbinger of things to come.
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A relatively obscure British crime thriller, John Harlow’s noirish Appointment with Crime (1947) nabs a few style points early on before settling in as a dull programmer that doesn’t so much twist and turn as it does lazily bend around a couple of easily navigable corners. William Hartnell, best known as the first incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, stars as Leo Martin, a professional thief who gets caught when a jewelry smash-and-grab goes wrong, his wrists shattered by a security grate that comes abruptly crashing down. Despite assurances from boss Gus Loman (Raymond Lovell) that he won’t abandon

Album Review: Bad Company: Live in Concert 1977 & 1979

Classic rockers Bad Company finally release a live album and it's well worth the wait.
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In 1979, an 11-year-old me took a major step in my musical appreciation evolution. It was the year I embraced the vinyl album and moved from radio listening to purchasing records. Some were older, Revolver, Hot Rocks and some were new - Breakfast in America and Bad Company's Desolation Angels. Bad Company is one of those bands that I've always liked and while that was my first purchase of their music, over the next few years I assembled the full collection. Fast forward more than 30 years, and while I still like and appreciate them, I rarely if ever dig

Return of the Killer Tomatoes! Blu-ray Review: Less Killing, More Silliness

The Killer Tomatoes are back and this time it's personal.
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We have Jim Henson to thank for this. During Muppets Take Manhattan, there was a fantasy sequence in which Miss Piggy fantasized about growing up with Kermit. In it, we see baby versions of Rowlf, Fozzie, Scooter, and Gonzo. This inspired Henson to create The Muppet Babies animated series for CBS (and inspired that odd-ball late '80s to early '90s genre of making baby/little kid versions of already popular adult characters). During the third season in an episode entitled “The Weirdo Zone,” the babies try to get in touch with their inner weirdness in order to understand Gonzo. Fozzie Bear

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a nuclear comedy, killer tomatoes, a special effects wizard and much more.
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If you’ve watched a movie with any sort of special-effects-laden creature in the last century, you’ve watched a film influenced by Ray Harryhausen. Inspired by watching King Kong (1933), Harryhausen went on to pioneer the use of stop motion effects and created what he called Dynamation in which he super imposed his stop-motion effects onto a previously shot scene, enabling real life actors to interact with his puppets. His films often fall into the science-fiction/fantasy gutter of the 1960s era, and I’ve honestly not seen the majority of them, but just seeing clips of those effects is jaw-dropping. Knowing that

Private Property (1960) Movie Review: Seamy and Sexy in Equal Measure

This underseen 1960s noir is a precursor to the 1990s erotic thriller.
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It's an average day in sunny Los Angeles. Two men - you wouldn't immediately avoid them but they definitely possess an agenda - come out of the haze with crime on their mind. So begins Leslie Stevens' little seen noir, Private Property. The low-budget film, shot in ten days, recently premiered at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival, bringing to light a twisted, sexually charged noir that ties in to today's gender dynamics. Duke and Boots (Corey Allen and Warren Oates) are two small-time hoods. Boots is a virgin intent on proving his virility to Duke, and a random encounter

Director's Cuts of Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps and Human Highway Coming in July

Hey hey, my my. There's more to these pictures than meets the eye.
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Press release: Shakey Pictures will release two rare Neil Young films - the critically acclaimed director's cut of the post-apocalyptic musical comedy Human Highway and the restored and remixed Rust Never Sleeps --a concert fantasy on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time via Reprise Records. Rust Never Sleeps includes many of Young's most popular songs. Digitally remixed and restored by Shakey Pictures for Blu-ray and DVD, the full-length feature recently screened in sold-out theaters nationwide to ecstatic response and reviews and will be released July 1st. Human Highway is Young's 1982 legendary comedy starring Russ Tamblyn, Charlotte Stewart, Dean

Fathom Events and TCM Present Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Grab some chocolate (and a bag of popcorn) and strap yourself in for this delightful movie playing once again on the big screen.
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As any cinephile with children can tell you, it's a challenge deciding what movies are appropriate for them to watch. There is violence to consider, plus language, sex, moral lessons, and a whole host of things to ruminate over before letting your wee one’s little brain get bombarded with stimulating images. Honestly, I tend to lean towards letting my daughter watch just about anything she wants as I truly believe young minds are able to digest and work through a whole lot more than we give them credit for. I rarely put this to the test though, as she’s just

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 06-27-16

A week of classics that will make a movie fan give a damn.
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As June changes into July, the classic films keep coming on TCM, including Oscar winners for Best Picture, Gone with the Wind, featuring Star-of-the-Month Olivia De Havilland, and Laurence Olivier's Hamlet. There's also another night of "Treasures from the Disney Vault," leading off with The Parent Trap. Dinner at Eight (1933) Monday, June 27 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A high-society dinner party masks a hotbed of scandal and intrigue. The Parent Trap (1961) Tuesday, June 28 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Twins separated by divorce plot to bring their parents back together. TCM Spotlight: Stage to Screen - Hamlet (1948) Wednesday,

Book Review: The Nice Guys: The Official Movie Novelization by Charles Ardai

Enjoyable adaptation of the crime comedy that gives readers a new slant on the movie.
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I know it may be difficult for some of you to understand, but there was a time when home entertainment wasn't on demand. When a movie left theaters, the only way you could watch something at home is when TV stations would air them. This would result in the film being edited for content or time. Think about it, there was no Internet so you couldn’t stream anything. There wasn’t even any DVDs, Blu-rays or VHS for that matter. The only way people were able to enjoy their favorite movies at their leisure was through novelizations. When done right, the

Twilight Time Presents: From the Dark to the Way Too Light

What do two film noirs, three westerns, one failed Charlton Heston adventure epic, and one of the worst giallo movies have in common? They've all seen the light of Blu-ray.
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A timeless, tiresome proverb tells us it is darkest before the dawn, and we have all surely met that one idiot who is always more than happy to impose some form of such an idiom upon you whenever things aren't looking overly bright for you. Fortunately, there is no lack of lighting in this sextet of moving picture offerings from Twilight Time. In the instance of the two film noir titles included in this lot ‒ Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) and a re-issue of The Big Heat (1953) ‒ the lighting is always perfect. When we're in the great

Roots: The Complete Original Series Blu-ray Review: A Powerful Story About a Family and a Country

Not just an important television drama, but an essential component that should be used when teaching U.S. History.
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Commemorating the 40th anniversary a year early, the landmark television miniseries Roots has been remastered and released on Blu-ray. Based on Alex Haley's Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which spent 22 weeks as #1 on The New York Times Best Seller List and won a Pulitzer Prize, it purports to tell the story of Haley's family traced back to the birth of his great-great-great-great grandfather Kunta Kinte. However, Haley was taken to the court and reached a settlement requiring a six-figure payout and his acknowledgment that portions of Roots were taken from Harold Courlander's 1967 novel The African.

T-Rex Movie Review: A Teenage Gold Medalist is Still a Teenager

T-Rex thrives in its moments of tranquility, which eerily and excitingly juxtapose the moments of explicit competition and internationally sanctioned brutality.
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Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari’s spacious and often tranquil sports documentary follows boxer Claressa “T-Rex” Shields before, during, and after her historic gold-medal victory at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Born, raised, and trained in Flint, Michigan - of water-crisis fame - T-Rex fought through the amateur ranks to become the first female boxer to take home the gold at the Olympics when she was seventeen years old. Ever on the precipice of history, Claressa’s story is bold, unbridled, and told in a way that highlights the essence of her character rather than a distorted or inflated image

The Neon Demon Movie Review: A Glittering Mess You Must See

Showgirls for Millennials.
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I entered the theater with feelings of doubt prior to watching Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon. The one-two punch that was Bronson and Drive led to the utter train wreck of Refn's Ryan Gosling follow-up, Only God Forgives, so the director is 2-1 in my book, and critics division on Neon Demon is as wide as our current political party lines. Three critics walked out before the film was over and audience members were shouting at the screen. When the lights went up, I was left confused. Was this a prestige picture by a director touted as a "revolutionary,"

Charlie Chan 3-Film Collection DVD Review: Honorable Circle, Now Complete

Confucius say: 'Last of previously unreleased titles from franchise finally find way to disc. Hell, yes.'
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It's usually easy to say exactly where a film franchise begins. Universal Studios' Jaws (1975) movies officially started with Steven Spielberg's Jaws (though we can see early traces of the film's formula on display in Spielberg's Duel) and came to a hilariously anticlimactic conclusion in Jaws: The Revenge (1987). However, numerous foreign-made "sequels" and outright ripoffs have managed to confuse people who evidently find it difficult to differentiate the real deal from a school of blue fish. In the case of another film franchise ‒ that of the Charlie Chan legacy ‒ it truly is difficult to pinpoint what began

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Volume 2 Blu-ray Review: Some Things Don't Translate

A second volume of movies from Nikkatsu's '60s heyday branches out from just crime movies, with occasionally baffling results.
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Japanese cinema is samurai showdowns, tough gangster pictures, or calm, quietly devastating domestic dramas. Kurosawa, Ozu, Mizoguchi. Oh, and Godzilla. Maybe a few decades of nothing for a while, then long-haired ghosts and incredibly violent weird movies by Takashi Miike. That’s what the industry and art form looked like to even an interested observer not too long ago. There were a few other movies that came in through the cracks (Afterlife in the late '90s, Kitano’s fireworks before that) but the vision of Japanese cinema, internationally, was fairly stable for a long of film enthusiasts. With their Nikkatsu releases in

Valley of Love Movie Review: Isabelle and Gerard and the Goddamn Heat

Nicloux writes and directs this strange and lovely odyssey through Death Valley.
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Guillaume Nicloux writes and directs the considerate Valley of Love, which kind of has one foot in Maurice Pialat’s 1980 film Loulou and the other in a spectral inversion of reality. It positions its two glorious stars - Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu - nearly as themselves and dumps them in Death Valley. Valley of Love was France’s 2015 Cannes entry and it resonates as a classical road movie, putting two screen icons on a path to elusive elements like self-discovery, resolution, and peace. Nothing comes easy and Christophe Offenstein’s exceptional tracking shots ensure the audience is along for every

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Monster Swamp'

"It all comes together so seamlessly, to offer one surprise after another, keeping this show fresh and interesting." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim discuss Preacher continuing to be accessible and not predictable. Shawn: This series started at 100 mph. And now at episode four I feel like it's slowing down with each episode. We started driving crazy through a corn field at seemingly faster than reality allows and airplanes falling out of the sky. This week we slowly fell into a hole and built an episode around pooping and peeing and raffling off a TV. I'm still in love with this show more than any other on the air right now. I have a few thoughts about what

Knight of Cups is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a bunch of Shakespearean adaptations, a fun-looking sci-fi thriller, a Norwegian disaster flick, and the award for worst titled film to ever get my pick.
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I hope someone was fired over this. Knight of Cups is a terrible name for a film. Terrence Malick has a difficult enough time selling his films to an audience in the first place so there is no need to give it the worst title possible. I mean, I’m rooting for the guy. I’ve loved the films of his that I’ve seen and I want him to make many more, but even I totally cringed at this title and stayed away from it in the theatre. It doesn’t help that his movies are becoming more and more experimental. Knight of

Central Intelligence Movie Review: The End is Near

It’s just not funny.
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I have long since theorized that if Kevin Hart and Melissa McCarthy ever made a buddy film together, it would signify the beginning of the end of life as we know it. They have made enough terrible films on their own to start a club. To escape the record-setting heat (not meant to be a reference to McCarthy’s The Heat, a record-setting film in terms of how bad I thought it sucked) this past weekend, I headed for the local theatre and the new release Central Intelligence starring Mr. Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. After struggling through the majority

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 06-20-16

Well, they've got movies, my friend, I say, movies right on Turner Classics.
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More than some will like the Billy Wilder selection on TCM this week. Other highlights include the two-night Stage to Screen Spotlight, Best Picture winner The Sting, and more. Min and Bill (1930) Monday, June 20 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Two crusty waterfront characters try to protect their daughter from a terrible secret. Lifeboat (1944) Tuesday, June 21 at 11:15 p.m. (ET) Survivors of a torpedoed boat take in a German Naval officer from the sub that sank them. TCM Spotlight: Stage to Screen - Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) Wednesday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) An explanation into

Book Review: The Complete Steve Canyon, Volume 6: 1957-1958 by Milton Caniff

Caniff has a good sense of drama, suspense, and humor that keeps the reader seeking the next strip.
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Since January 2012, the Library of American Comics, by way of IDW Publishing, has been releasing collections of Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon comic strips, which had an impressive run of 41 years. I was first introduced to U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Canyon in Volume 4 where I read about his international exploits. He was a character of his era. A man with nothing but good, noble traits, who left a trail of broken hearts because nearly every woman he encountered wanted him for her own. That includes Poteet Canyon, Steve's teenage ward, who was introduced in 1956. I missed

Batman: The Killing Joke Coming to Select Movie Theaters July 25

Starring Batman: The Animated Series actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.
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Press release: The dark journey into insanity begins as Batman: The Killing Joke gets the big-screen treatment for one night on Monday, July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time. Fathom Events, in partnership with Warner Bros., is teaming up with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment to bring the acclaimed graphic novel-turned-film to select cinemas nationwide. Batman: The Killing Joke reunites the foundation of Batman: The Animated Series with Bruce Timm returning as executive producer, and actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their seminal roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively.

Twilight Time Presents: Dramatic Epics from Time (and Even Space!)

An infinite number of stars. Six movies. Positively no refunds.
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Whether you attended only one week of high school or an entire day in the food and beverage industry, you're more than highly likely to be aware of something called "drama." Generally, it's a toxic element of life, which many of us tend to ignore (or at least pretend to when you really, matter-of-factly thrive on it). But when it comes to the moving pictures, the drama has a tendency to be much more fulfilling. Not because it's healthier (though technically, it is, since we don't actually have to live it), but because there's a darn fine chance it has

Criterion Announces September 2016 Releases

Eight is enough.
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Christmas comes early this year from Criterion with eight releases in September. The six titles new to the Collection are Kenji Mizoguchi's The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum, Jacques Tourneur's Cat People, The Coen Brothers' Blood Simple, Mark Robson's Valley of the Dolls, Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and Krzysztof Kieślowski's Dekalog. Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich and the mammoth 25-film set featuring Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman available in a Blu-Ray-only edition are the returning titles. Read on to learn more about them. Night Train to Munich (#523) out Sep 6 Night Train to Munich, from

LAFF 2016 Review: Dr. Feelgood

Opioid addiction and one doctor's questionable practices are brought to light.
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The first rule of the Hippocratic oath can be recited by those without a medical degree: First, do no harm. But in a world where nearly all problems can be fixed, or at least sated, with the help of a pill, questions crop up as to whether the cure is as bad as the disease. The recent death of Prince through opioid overdose only makes Eve Marson's documentary, Dr. Feelgood, tragically timelier. Dr. Feelgood tells the tale of Virginia doctor William Hurwitz, accused of overprescribing opioid medications to his patients who see him as an angel of mercy. Audiences first

Zootopia Blu-ray Review: The Great Bunny Detective

Disney's latest animated adventure focuses on an odd couple of buddies tasked with setting aside their differences for the greater good.
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Judy Hopps is a bunny. Nick Wilde is a fox. In the peaceful animal world of Zootopia, that doesn’t automatically make them enemies, since predators and prey exist in perfect harmony. When a few predators mysteriously start disappearing and reverting to their primal ferocity, they threaten to destroy the urban utopia unless rookie Officer Hopps and her devious acquaintance Nick can crack the case. Although it’s a cartoon, Zootopia isn’t just for kids. Its recurring theme of bigotry blatantly uses the different animal classes in place of race relations, while elsewhere amusing riffs on The Godfather and Breaking Bad make

La Chienne Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Early Renoir is a Delight

Criterion does a masterful job of bringing an early sound picture to live.
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Life has not gone well for Maurice Legrand (Michel Simon). He works as a cashier for a hosiery company and is generally despised by his colleagues. In an opening scene, they openly mock and scorn him for being a wet blanket and for having to run home to his wife instead of going out on the town with them. The wife, too, rather deplores Maurice and spends nearly every moment of her time on screen berating him. The only pleasure the poor fellow gets from life is painting and even that is spat upon by his wife who declares he

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Possibilities'

"It all felt different this week and I can't put my finger on the problem." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn keep waiting for the next big thing. Kim: I have to tell you, I’m more in love with this show every single time I watch it. I also have to tell you that I’m having a hard time saying anything new or original about it. Dominic Cooper - still hot Ruth Negga - still gorgeous So, what else does one say about a show that seems to be doling out one or two clues at a time regarding what’s happening everywhere? I don’t feel like this gives me much to write about, but… I am

Blood Bath Blu-ray Review: Bloody Interesting

Sometimes the behind-the-scenes stories are more interesting than the actual films.
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Roger Corman’s name is synonymous with low-budget, independently financed b-pictures. He’s produced over 400 films in his career, most of which come with titles like Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda or Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. They almost always made money because he knows the basics of filmmaking and he has his finger on the pulse of what's going to sell. He also gave a great many A-list directors and actors their start in the business including folks like James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Jack Nicholson. A famous bit of spurious trivia says that he filmed Little

The X-Files: Event Series is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us new X-Files, a couple of sequels, a couple of Criterions, a young Jesus, and much more.
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For one reason or another, I never got into The X-Files when it first ran. Truth be known, I’m not even sure how aware I was of its existence. Surely I’d seen some adverts for it, but I didn’t know anybody who watched it and it just wasn’t part of my cultural consciousness. Late in my college career, this would be around 1997-98, some friends dropped in for a weekend and they were fans so we watched that week’s episode. I was not impressed. The effects looked cheap, the monsters were silly, and I was completely lost in terms of

Fathom Events Presents Ghostbusters (1984) on the Big Screen

Who you gonna call?
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From the moment it was announced that they were remaking Ghostbusters with women as the leads, the Internet lost its collective minds. Thousands of people have gone insane with hatred towards a movie they’ve not yet seen. As with any passionate internet wave, the backlash was as intense as it was inevitable. Cries of sexism came fast and furious as if anyone who wasn’t completely in love with the idea of this reboot hated all women. Now of course, if you spend any amount of time on the various internet boards in which this film is discussed, you’ll find a

Warcraft Movie Review: It's for Those Who Grew up Playing the Game

It's also for the moms and dads who want to watch their children enjoy this bit of fantasy come to life.
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The year was 1999. I watched my then-boyfriend play this fantasy/strategy game on an old Windows computer and I thought to myself, “Hey, I like planning! I’ll give this a try!” That game was the Battle.net edition of Warcraft II and I played it for hours on end. I liked the sound of the little guy who proudly announced, “Job done!” when he was done building a house or chopping down trees. I planned my villages and managed my time, always waiting for something to come in and distract me from my work. When it happened, I’d panic every time,

Time to Choose Movie Review: The Truth is Still Inconvenient, and More Important

A new generation is set to inherit our mistakes, but we still have a choice...
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A decade has passed since Al Gore reported to us about climate change, and won an Academy Award, with An Inconvenient Truth. Since then cars have become more gas efficient (or entirely electric) and not a day goes by that articles about food consumption or drought pop up to remind us of the real effects of climate change. Documentarian Charles Ferguson's Time to Choose espouses the same rhetoric as the Gore doc, but with added scrutiny towards individual pollutants destroying our world. Opening by documenting Earth's majesty, those who enjoyed the BBC's Planet Earth series might experience some deja vu.

Le Amiche Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Antonioni Drains the Passion from Melodrama

This middle-period entry from the Italian master hints at what's to come, but stands on its own as an interesting work.
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It’s tempting to label Michelangelo Antonioni’s fourth feature film Le Amiche a transitional work, as it shuns Neorealism and embraces melodrama like some of his earlier work, but also moves toward the aggressively modernist sensibilities that would define subsequent masterpieces like L’Avventura, La Notte and Red Desert. While it’s true that Le Amiche only obliquely studies interpersonal alienation, it’s also more than just a bellwether for the more experimental work to come. With its long, meandering takes and restrained performances, it acts like a melodrama that’s had the passion slowly drained out of it, and stands on its own as

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 06-13-16

Learn about plastics and other bits of grown-up wisdom from films airing on TCM this week.
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Mondays with Star-of-the-month Marie Dressler continues this week as does Fridays with Billy Wilder and the two-night Stage to Screen spotlight. Star of the Month: Marie Dressler - Let Us Be Gay (1930) Monday, June 13 at 9:45 p.m. (ET) A visit to Paris brings divorced spouses back together. The Graduate (1967) Tuesday, June 14 at 10:15 p.m. (ET) A recent college graduate has an affair with his neighbor's wife, then falls for their daughter. TCM Spotlight: Stage to Screen - The Odd Couple (1968) Wednesday, June 15 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A divorced neat freak moves in with his

The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead Movie Review: Behind the Punk Music

This movie should have more rocking and less talking.
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When you hear the words "punk music," the first names that pop up are usually The Sex Pistols, The Clash, or The Ramones. In recent years, there were bands like My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, and Fall Out Boy joining the ranks. I’m sorry, but it’s hard to consider these bands as punk. There are way better bands that don’t get any exposure but should, groups like Catbath, Fuzzy Machete, Rapedoor, Breed, and TsuShiMaMiRe. One band that helped start the punk movement and the one that recorded the very first album was The Dammed. However, they never got much credit

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'See'

Stay gold, Preacher. You are off to a great start.
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In which Kim and Shawn use the F-word to describe the series. Kim: The much anticipated second episode of Preacher has come and gone, and with it, all of my angst about shitty TV that just doesn’t do anything for me. It is June. I generally watch zero TV from now until Fall. However, I’m already pretty sucked in to Preacher and looking forward to Sunday’s premiere of Ride on Norman Reedus. What was that? Oh, it’s not “on Norman Reedus”, but with him, you say? Don’t crush my dreams. But this is about Preacher and not Norman’s arms, so

Jean-Claude Van Damme Hosts El Rey Network's June Claude Van Damme Marathon Beginning June 11

The back-to-back programming block includes six iconic action films.
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Press release: Starting Saturday, June 11 at 10:00AM ET/PT until Sunday, June 12, at 4:00 AM ET/PT, the back-to-back programming block includes six iconic action films featuring the “Muscles from Brussels”: Derailed, Universal Soldier: The Return, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, Street Fighter, Cyborg and Bloodsport. Lounge on the couch, keep your legs crossed, and grab some popcorn while Van Damme kicks some major butt back-to-back! El Rey Network’s “June Claude Van Damme” Marathon Film Schedule SATURDAY June 11, 201610:00 AM ET/PT DERAILED12:00 AM ET/PT UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING2:00 PM ET/PT UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN4:00 PM ET/PT STREET FIGHTER6:00

Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia Blu-ray Review: Killer Queens?

Arrow Video places two more (partly) forgotten gialli on the map in a box set that some folks will kill for.
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Following in on the high, blood-stained heels of their previously-released gialli box set, Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli, Arrow Video has once again assembled a mini ensemble to two dissimilarly similar titles from a somewhat forgotten Italian genre filmmaker. This time, we are allotted the opportunity to discern (and maybe even dissect) two unique thrillers from the realm of movies fueled by sex, violence, funky fashions, even funkier music, and J&B Scotch aplenty, both of which were helmed and brought to fruition by one Emilio P. Miraglia. Much like Ercoli ‒ whose films were made and distributed

LAFF 2016 Review: Free CeCe

A dark examination of violence and imprisonment against trans women of color.
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With trans issues at the forefront of several legal squabbles, it isn't surprising that documentaries have cast their eye towards analyzing the world of LGBTQI issues and the broken justice system which repeatedly fails them. Acting as a close cousin to the fantastic Southwest of Salem is Free CeCe, a similar story of prosecutorial misjustice and a sobering look at violence against trans women of color. On a hot summer night in 2011, Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald was attacked by a group of white people while out walking with friends. In the ensuing melee, a man died and CeCe is arrested,

The Fits Movie Review: Confidence and Dance Are a Fitful Combo

Director Anna Rose Holmer crafts a coming-of-age film on par with The Witch
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Donovan once sang it "must be the season of the witch" and with Robert Eggers' New England folktale, The Witch, and Anna Rose Holmer's The Fits, Donovan might be on to something. The Fits leaves audiences simultaneously enraptured and curious, concoting a hazy world remarkably unremarkable, filled with double meanings and symbolism. One of the year's best films with a powerhouse performance from newcomer Royalty Hightower makes The Fits a "fitting" entry in a cinematic landscape examining female adolescence. Toni (Hightower) is a young girl interested in boxing but who dreams of joining her gym's local dance troupe filled with

Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection Will Be Arriving on Blu-ray September 6

The set boasts 30 Blu-ray discs with every movie and TV show featuring the original crew, including the newly remastered Animated Series on Blu-ray for the first time ever!
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Press release: Embark on a mission to the final frontier with the biggest, most comprehensive Star Trek collection ever offered when the Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection is transported to Earth on September 6, 2016. Just in time to commemorate the September 8, 1966 airing of the very first Star Trek episode, this epic limited-edition gift set includes 30 Blu-ray Discs featuring all new disc art and every feature film and television show made with the original crew, plus a brand new, multi-part documentary with nearly two hours of new footage chronicling the franchise’s amazing 50-year journey.

Tab Hunter Confidential Movie Review: It Tells the Hard Truth about the Darkside of Stardom

A personal and ultimate look at the complicated career of a 1950s Hollywood heartthrob as told by Tab himself.
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As we all know, Hollywood can be a make-or-break industry, creating stars and destroying them. Some make it, while others don't. I think no one knows that better than Tab Hunter, the once dominating hunk of the 1950s, who became the biggest sensation of that decade. He was considered at the time the ultimate blue-eyed, blond-haired stud who graced the covers of countless magazines, and starred in many films. His amazingly good looks and all-American boyish sex appeal drove many of his fans to extreme frenzy, making him the epitome of the young matinee idol whom all others are measured.

A French Village: Season Three DVD Review: Très Bon

Excellent French series gets better and better with each season.
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A French Village is a French television series set in the fictional, Nazi-occupied town of Villeneuve in the Eastern part of France. The series details how various aspects of French society dealt with the occupation. From collaborators who followed German orders directly to the resistance and every space in-between, it is a fascinating, if fictional, look inside one of the darkest periods of French history. Each season roughly takes place over the course of a single year. Season Three is set in 1942. For those of you who need a history refresher, this is the year when the “Jewish Problem”

Hail, Caesar! is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us the Coen Brothers playing with old Hollywood, U2 performing live in Paris, Michael Bay exploding things in Benghazi, and more.
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The Coen Brothers last took on Hollywood in 1991 with Barton Fink. That movie was a dark, cynical, symbolic look at the motion-picture business (and a whole lot of other things) that was rather relentless in its black comedy. Their newest Hail, Caesar! is a much breezier, lighter (if no less brilliant) affair that indicates, perhaps, a brighter view of Hollywood. Or maybe it's just the Coens being zany again. The plot (what little there is) follows Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) as he oversees various projects for Capitol Pictures and mostly “fixes” a multitude of problems created by the stars
Both the characters and the writers struggled at times in Season Four of The Wonder Years during a transitional year for Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), his family, and his friends. In Season Five of the iconic series, which Time Life released on May 24th, 2016, the writers and Kevin display more confidence and maturity in episodes that are arguably some of the most poignant in the series. It’s extremely enjoyable to watch the writers stretch their own boundaries while creating scenarios in which Kevin does the same. Whereas brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) continues to display the attributes associated with a

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 06-06-16

Plan a classic movie week.
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The first full week of June programming from TCM presents a night with Star of the Month Marie Dressler and one with director Billy Wilder, and two nights of the Stage to Screen spotlight. Star of the Month: Marie Dressler - Chasing Rainbows (1929) Monday, June 6 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Musical performers fall in love while rehearsing for the big show. Jigsaw (1962) Tuesday, June 7 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Local police detectives try to solve the murder of a woman in a British coastal town. TCM Spotlight: Stage to Screen - A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Wednesday, June

KISS Rocks Vegas Cinema Event Review: Exactly What You'd Expect from a KISS Concert

The only issue in regards to the concert is that every time they perform they give the exact same performance.
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Fathom Events is known for bringing one-time events into movie theatres throughout the country. These presentations can range from plays and ballets to full-scale rock ‘n' roll concerts like the one KISS filmed during their residency in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Casino. Before the film started, there was some KISS trivia flashed on the screen. The best two were how on December 31, 1972, Gene Simmons debuted his fire-breathing trick and managed to set fire to his hair at the same time. And the other was that during KISS’s first photo shoot the photographer did not realize they

Batman: The Killing Joke World Premiere Set for Comic-Con International

Batman: The Killing Joke takes a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime.
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Press release: Continuing a decade-long tradition, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will host the World Premiere of its latest DC Universe Original Movie - this time, the highly anticipated Batman: The Killing Joke - on the Friday night (July 22, 2016) of Comic-Con International in San Diego. The premiere will spotlight the first public exhibition of the eagerly awaited film and a post-screening panel discussion among available members of the core cast and filmmaking team. The celebrity-laden cast is led by Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) and Mark Hamill (Batman: The Animated Series, Star Wars franchise) as

Me Before You Movie Review: A Melodramatic Romance and Questionable Portrayal of Disability

Jojo Moyes' novel gives audiences a generic portrait of disability couched in a formulaic melodrama.
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A common technique in classic film of the 1930s-1950s was disabling, or other means of eliciting tears, one half of a romantic couple with the subsequent melodrama inspiring tears and pity in equal measure. Just how would the two lovers survive in such a cruel world? This weekend's adaptation of Jojo Moyes' novel, Me Before You, seeks to tap in to the melodrama of old, but in 2016 it's far too generic and unpleasant. After losing her job, Louisa "Lou" Clark (Emilia Clarke) takes a chance at being the caretaker to a wealthy disabled man named Will (Sam Claflin). Will

Original Ghostbusters Hits Movie Theaters June 8 and 12

Includes special messages from Ivan Reitman and Paul Feig, plus sneak peek at the new film.
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Press release: Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Entertainment bring fan-favorite Ghostbusters (1984) back to the big screen on Wednesday, June 8 - the anniversary of the original release date - and Sunday, June 12 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time (both dates). The classic film is being re-released in anticipation of the worldwide release of Ghostbusters (2016), starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth, in theaters July 15. These special screenings will include an exclusive introduction from the original director and producer, Ivan Reitman, and outro from Paul Feig, director of the new

Kristen's Book Club for June 2016

What's worth reading in June?
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From a romantic adaptation to the world of classic Hollywood, here's a trio of titles worth taking to the beach with you in June. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes In the interest of full disclosure, I entered into reading Jojo Moyes' incredibly popular novel with a heavy dose of trepidation. As a disabled person myself, I abhor reading stories that take disabled characters and use them as inspirational totems and that's what Me Before You is. Adapted and set for release in cinemas on June 3rd, the story follows Louisa "Lou" Clark (set to be played by Emilia Clarke)

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