August 2016 Archives

The Woman in White (1948) / Lizzie (1957) DVD Reviews: To Be or Not to Be (Crazy)

Eleanor Parker explores two different sides of sanity in these two separate releases from the Warner Archive Collection.
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As the type of fellow who regularly attracts women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (or at least helps them get their start), I have grown very accustomed to recognizing the proverbial warning signs from men and women alike when it comes to being cray-cray. Prior to the days of mental illnesses actually being recognized as mental illnesses, however, things worked a little differently: you were either with it or you weren't. It was perhaps the worst for the ladies, who were still being committed to insane asylums for having menstrual cycles up until the beginning of the 20th

The Jungle Book (2016) Blu-ray Review: Much More Than the Bare Necessities

Jon Favreau's live action/CG remake hits the mark.
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The biggest surprise about this charming and successful film is that it works at all. Sure, it had a solid blueprint to build on from the original Disney animated film, as well as Rudyard Kipling’s novels, but let’s review a few of the many potential pitfalls. First, casting an unknown and unseasoned child actor carried the potential to instantly doom the project. There was some dissenting opinion in my household, but I thought Mowgli actor Neel Sethi was a solid choice and held up his huge part of the equation just fine. He contributes a natural performance, never coming across

RKO Varieties Triple Feature DVD Review: The Very Definition of Below Paar

Don't let these innocent looking obscurities from the Warner Archive Collection fool you: the jokes are so bad, they could cause blindness, hemorrhaging, or ‒ if you're lucky ‒ death.
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If you distinctly remember having seen the words "In Stereo ‒ Where Applicable" flash over the opening credits of a television series, then there's an equally good chance you've seen a variety show before as well. Alternatively hosted by both well-paid or out-of-work celebrities alike, these unique methods of reaching out to nearly every demographic there was ‒ while simultaneously filling up as much airtime as possible ‒ would feature a number of comedy skits, dance routines, musical numbers, and more during their (usually drawn-out) runtimes. Extending from the days and stages of the Victorian Era to regular gigs on

Gene Wilder's Other Films

2016 takes another one of my heroes.
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It would be too easy to pick my five favorite Gene Wilder films. It would include the favorites like Willy Wonka and Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. I sat down and didn't want to write a quick tribute to this amazing man by listing films that most everyone has heard of and probably watched a hundred times. So I wanted to delve a little deeper into the filmography. Here's a few films that are worth taking another look at. 1. THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER (1975) Gene wrote and directed this film also. Sigerson is younger than both

Hard Target 2 Blu-ray Combo Giveaway

As Wes “The Jailor” Baylor fights for his life in the treacherous jungle terrain, the hunters become the hunted.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to award five lucky readers the Hard Target 2 Blu-ray Combo Pack. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: A disgraced mixed martial artist is forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse in the jungles of Thailand in Hard Target 2, debuting on Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and Digital HD on September 6, 2016. A hard-driving action-thriller, the Universal 1440 Entertainment original production includes Director’s Commentary as well as over 20 minutes of exclusive bonus features that take the audience behind the scenes of the

The Jungle Book (2016) is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a Disney remake, a couple of Orson Welles' Criterion releases, a hotel manager, and more.
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I suppose it's not all that strange that in this world of constant remakes, reboots, prequels, sequels and cinematic universes that Disney would be reimagining their classic animated catalog as (more or less) live-action films. No that seems perfectly normal to me. What is sort-of amazing to my mind is just how many terrific people they are getting to perform in them, and in the case of The Jungle Book, just how rather good the final product is. This new version of The Jungle Book was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o,

Hell Hunters (1986) DVD Review: No Need to Hunt for It, It's Right Here

An incompetently made West German jungle adventure with Stewart Granger, Candice Daly, George Lazenby, and Maud Adams receives an equally subpar digital debut from Film Chest.
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While jungle thrillers weren't exactly a new premise in the mid '80s, it wasn't until a steady stream of low-budget filmmakers began to take advantage of the cheap but exotic locations and even cheaper extras far-off locations such as the Philippines or Brazil had to offer. The main perpetrators behind these adventure pictures were usually of an Italian origin; their premises were usually gory cannibal yarns, Nazisploitation features, James Bond ripoffs, or women in prison flicks. Their completed product usually bordering somewhere between obscenely unwatchable and utterly incompetent, their international box office receipts proved otherwise to investors. This, of course,

Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon Blu-ray Review: A Neglected Curiosity Comes to Home Video

A typically odd late-period Otto Preminger film showcases a fine Liza Minnelli performance.
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Otto Preminger’s work in the late ’60s and early ’70s did not do wonders for his critical or commercial reputation, but there’s something compelling about nearly all of the genre-flouting work he made during the period — even if one doesn’t find the films particularly good. Olive Films has done an excellent job of resurfacing a number of these maligned, mostly forgotten films, including the bonkers Elaine May-penned rom-com satire Such Good Friends, dubious racial melodrama Hurry Sundown and star-studded flop Skidoo, and it’s done it again with a long-awaited release of Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon.

Michael Fiore and Eric Sharkey Talk Floyd Norman: An Animated Life

The directors of Floyd Norman: An Animated Life talk Disney, their subject and free art.
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Floyd Norman is an animator with a big heart, and that's evident from hearing Michael Fiore and Eric Sharkey - the directors of Floyd Norman: An Animated Life - discuss him. They sat down with Cinema Sentries to talk about Norman, the editing process, and what happens when you're following the nicest man in the world. What was your background with the Walt Disney Company? Were you guys just fans of the studio or was there something more? Michael Fiore: We have no connection with the company. We are both Disney lovers and grew up on the great movies. As

Floyd Norman: An Animated Life Movie Review: Delightfully Animated

Floyd Norman's life is landmark, no matter what.
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My knowledge of the Walt Disney Company meant I immediately recognized the name Floyd Norman. No matter what he says, Norman is considered a legendary animator, for both breaking the studio's unspoken color barrier and for being one of the rare animators able to gain knowledge from Disney's "Nine Old Men." He now stands as one of the last animators to have worked with Walt Disney; the last living animator to work on The Jungle Book. With such a record of distinction it's amazing to hear Norman's just now receiving a documentary. Floyd Norman: An Animated Life charts Norman's rise

Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: The Return of the King, Baby

All involved can take great pride with the results.
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Regardless of the brief cameo at the end of the reboot/sequel (has there been an official designation?), the onslaught of returning properties, and the intensity of the fan base, news of the return of Bruce Campbell playing Ash in a TV series for STARZ still seemed damn near impossible to believe. And while the news was exciting, it also brought with it some trepidation because of the high bar the previous beloved works by Sam Raimi et.al. had set since not everyone has the same low standards Star Wars fans do regarding milking the franchise. Thankfully, all involved can take

The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974) Blu-ray/DVD Review: Hey, Where's the Swingin'?

The appropriately misleading exploitation flick from Jack Hill gets a deluxe treatment from Arrow Video.
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While exploitation cinema may seem like straightforward T&A or violence most of the time, there are ‒ much like a rotten onion ‒ many layers that make it so unique. One of my favorite facets embedded in such a terrible analogy was the genre's ability to flat-out lie to potential audiences about what it had to offer. Shady folks who liked to call themselves distributors would frequently re-title, re-cut, and re-release other films ‒ sometimes going as far to shoot new footage or record new dialogue ‒ all in the name of deliberately marketing their product something it was not.

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 08-29-16

"Summer Under the Stars" may come to a close, but there's still more movies to see.
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TCM's "Summer Under the Stars" programming concludes with spotlights on Charles Boyer, Jean Simmons, and Dean Martin. September begins with films by director Preston Sturges and Star-of-the-Month Gene Hackman. Summer Under the Stars: Charles Boyer - Algiers (1938) Monday, August 29 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A thief on the run from the law risks his life for love. Summer Under the Stars: Jean Simmons - Spartacus (1960) Tuesday, August 30 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) The rebellious Thracian Spartacus, born and raised a slave, is sold to Gladiator trainer Batiatus. Summer Under the Stars: Dean Martin - Ocean's Eleven (1960) Wednesday,

The Arrow Video Roundup for August

What's worth purchasing from Arrow Video this month.
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Here's what's worth seeking from Arrow this month. Suture (1993) Arrow Video is such a necessity in the Blu-ray landscape if only to find a hidden gem like Suture. I'd never heard of this twisty, noirish psychological thriller before Arrow's recent Blu-ray release, and I heartily recommend giving it a blind buy. In the vein of Memento (complete with black and white aesthetic), Suture follows two recently reunited brothers, Clay and Vincent (Dennis Haysbert and Michael Harris). Despite their obvious racial differences both remark on their "remarkable resemblance." However, Vincent's motives for reuniting with Clay are proven to be suspect

The Bloodstained Butterfly Blu-ray/DVD Review: The Unconventional Courtroom Giallo

Duccio Tessari's bizarre giallo/poliziotteschi/krimi hybrid hatches once again thanks to the diligent efforts of Arrow Video.
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It hasn't even been a year-and-a-half since the UK-based Arrow Video label first expanded into the U.S. market, but in that short amount of time, they have managed to conquer many a blackened heart, releasing a number of significant cult classics from all over the world very few folks ever thought they would even see on DVD, let alone Blu-ray. With a venerable selection of trippy Italian thrillers already under their belt, Arrow continues to broaden the horizons of giallo lovers who, up to this point, though that they had seen everything when it comes to movies centering on anonymous

Lucifer: The Complete First Season DVD Review: You're in for a Devil of a Time

Tom Ellis brings the infamously infernal Vertigo/DC Comics character to life, giving boring cop shows a fresh, much-needed twist.
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Do you know what would happen if you were to take every police procedural television series in the last 20 years alone and watched them back-to-back? Frankly, you'd be in Hell ‒ especially as the paint routinely and ritually applied over each show's numbers quickly began to peel away. At that point, you'd yearn to be saved by someone ‒ anyone ‒ from that which a GTA radio commercial once (aptly) described as "forensically boring." And it almost seems that such a scenario befell prolific producer Jerry "I'll Produce Anything" Bruckheimer. No doubt fearful the CSI franchise he has been

Top 10 Films of the 21st Century (so far)

Did your favorites make the cut?
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The editors of BBC Culture "decided to commission a poll of critics to determine the 100 greatest films of the 21st Century," even though it's only been 15 years (and incorrectly though intentionally included the year 2000,) because they "wanted to prove that this century has given us films that will stand the test of time, that you will continue to think about and argue about if only you give them a chance and watch them." Not sure why they think this would change the minds of those who thought like that, but so many people love looking at lists.

Darker Shades of Blu: Film Noir from the Warner Archive

From Humphrey Bogart to Alfred Hitchcock, the WAC offers up some of the best mysteries ever available now on Blu-ray.
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Along with the many wonderful Standard-Definition releases of films that have slipped through the cracks of time, the Warner Archive has also been releasing a limited assortment of classics on Blu-ray. During the last few months alone, the Manufactured-on-Demand outfit ‒ which only issues a handful of titles per week ‒ has unveiled an unbeatable selection of movies hailing from the dark side of classic motion pictures, including many film noir titles from the '40s and '50s. For this modest capsuling of features, I have chosen four Humphrey Bogart films, including one of his most famous characterizations; an alternate (first)

DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: Brings the Fun Back to Comic Book-related Shows

It ties in well to the Arrowverse and may be the best comic-book show on TV right now.
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While DC’s recent superhero movies have gotten mixed reviews for being too dark or brooding or not understanding the source material (particularly with Superman), they seem to be doing everything right with their television shows. Programs such as Arrow and, especially, The Flash remember that these shows are based on comic books and that comic books, at their heart, are supposed to be fun. Much like their competition at Marvel has built a shared universe with their movies and, to a lesser extent, their TV shows, DC has done the same. The Flash spun off of Arrow and the characters

Fathom Events and TCM Bring Back National Lampoon's Animal House

A chaotic classic worth seeing again.
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In association with Fathom Events, the TCM Big Screen Classics series, which brings classic films to theaters, is even more important than ever. The latest release of National Lampoon's Animal House from 1978 isn't exactly a "lost classic". This is a film that is in the general pop-culture reference library. It's not hard to find, it plays on TV, it's readily available on home video, and is referenced in other current releases. What's missing is the theater experience. No matter how we improve the home experience, it's not the same as sitting in the dark for two hours with strangers

Gotham: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review: So Far, So Good

Warner and DC Comics' small-screen reboot of the Batman franchise grows, leaps, and slays in great strides.
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The ascension to success is quite often a very bumpy climb. Just ask Gotham's hero Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). Poor Jimbo was continuously getting bumped up and down the police department ladder of rank and popularity ‒ random punishments sentenced to him by his corrupt superiors that even included a brief stint as a security guard at the infamous Arkham Asylum, where all sorts of video game scenarios are formed. In Gotham: The Complete Second Season, things are even more wild for both Jim Gordon and the residents of Arkham. Our hero gets demoted and promoted and hired and fired

Microwave Massacre Blu-ray Review: This Comedy is Overcooked

Who knew a comedy about a cannibalistic serial killer could be this unfunny?
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I used to have a roommate named Bobby. He was a nice guy, but not very culturally sophisticated. He was the kind of guy who, even though we were working 10-hour shifts and there was a 45-minute commute to and from the job would come home and immediately spend an hour at the gym. He was the kind of guy who, after a night at the club, would see a cute girl on her way out, roll down his window, and ask, “Are you hot or not?” He was the kind of guy who was attractive enough to make that

A Taste of Honey Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Taste of Adolescence

Tony Richardson's tale of the sweet and sour gifts life delivers to us.
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A renaissance in British cinema erupted in the 1960s; known as the Free Cinema and instigated by directors Tony Richardson, Lindsay Anderson, and Karel Reisz, British cinema of the era espoused fantasy for gritty realism. These "kitchen sink dramas" dealt with the uncertainty and futility of living poor in England. Richardson's own A Taste of Honey, out today on DVD and Blu via Criterion, depicts these issues with the faintest glimmer of a silver lining. Jo (Rita Tushingham) is a young teen struggling to find some stability with her flight, man-obsessed mother (Dora Bryan). Jo soon falls for a kind

The Bloodstained Butterfly Blu-ray Review: A Giallo Version of Zodiac

Arrow Video releases Duccio Tessari's classic giallo film in a stunning new Blu-ray edition.
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I must start off this review with a confession. The only giallo (supernatual/mystey films that were usually made in Italy) movies I have ever seen were Suspiria and this one. There was a foreign film section at the video store when I was younger. But they never had such original titles like A Suitcase for a Corpse, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave ,or my favorite, Kill the Fatted Calf and Roast It. I'm not sure if they come up with the title first and then write the script, but these titles are awesome. Even the name of

Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete First Season is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us the return of the Evil Dead, more zombies, the devil living in L.A., and much more.
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I turned 18 in 1994. So though I consider myself a child of the '80s, it was really the early '90s that informed who I am culturally. I have a great fondness for much of the TV, movies, and music that came from the '80s but when I really break it down, it was that period from 1990 to 1994 that I began to take the culture’s artistic mediums seriously. I may reach a nostalgic sort of glee when I hear Tiffany sing “I Think We’re Alone Now” or I catch Gremlins running amok, but its not until I hear

Microwave Massacre Blu-ray Review: Surely Someone Will Enjoy This

Not really horror, not really funny, but definitely dark, and definitely takes too long.
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Microwave Massacre tells the tale of Donald (Jackie Vernon), a construction worker with simple tastes driven mad by his wife's obsession with fancy cuisine and constant nagging about his lack of sophistication. One night he snaps, kills his wife, and, a short time later, accidentally eats some of her remains as a midnight snack. Turns out he has a taste for human flesh, and he sets about town, luring prostitutes back to his place for sex and dinner, in that order. There's enough there to make some sort of movie out of, but I was left wanting. Vernon plays the

Wizard World Chicago 2016: Kids Day at the Con

A little kindness goes a long way in making a good convention great.
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If you’ve been reading my Wizard World columns for the past few years (2014, 2015), you’ve probably already steeled yourself for yet another barrage of nostalgia and reminiscing about conventions of days gone by. There’s a fair chance you’re already sick and tired of reading saccharine-soaked stories of how much I enjoy taking my children to conventions instead of taking shots before and after the show (full disclosure: I totally did a shot of whiskey after the show, but after being on my feet for that long with an eight-year-old in tow, I’m pretty sure I’d earned it). But there

American Ninja / American Ninja 2: The Confrontation Blu-ray Reviews: The Dawn of Dudikoff

Olive Films unleash one of the Cannon Group's greatest franchises in High-Definition via releases fans are sure to get a high-flying kick out of.
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There are a number of things that made the 1980s the 1980s. New Wave music. Big hair. Video game consoles. Outrageous fashions. Odd expressions. Even the film industry pertaining to that particular decade offered up a variety of awesome flicks from every genre possible, from westerns to comedies, and from horror to action. But it is the latter category to wit we owe an eternal debt of gratitude, thanks largely in part to an amazing slew of low-budget wonders from Golan-Globus Productions, and their now-infamous distribution company, the Cannon Group. The men behind this outfit, Yorum Globus and Menahem Golan,

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 08-22-16

Whatcha watching this week?
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The "Summer Under the Stars" month-long marathon continues on TCM with days devoted to Robert Montgomery, Brigitte Bardot, Constance Cummings, Van Johnson, Boris Karloff, James Garner, and Jean Arthur. Summer Under the Stars: Robert Montgomery - Lady in the Lake (1947) Monday, August 22 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Philip Marlowe searches for a missing woman in this mystery shot entirely from the detective's viewpoint. Summer Under the Stars: Brigitte Bardot - Love On A Pillow (1963) Tuesday, August 23 at 9:45 p.m. (ET) After saving a man from suicide, a young woman falls in love with him. Summer Under the

Album Review: The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Monolith of Phobos

Trust us: "You oughta try it, you really oughta try it...".
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Thank the fates Sean Lennon's Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger opened for Les Claypool's Primus last summer because it led to a bonding that resulted in The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Their outstanding debut album, Monolith of Phobos, takes listeners on a marvelous psychedelic-rock trip, simultaneously back to the '60s while traversing the present. The duo begins by setting a course for "The Monolith of Phobos" with sounds of futuristic machinery preparing for the journey as they tinker with their instruments. Main character Buzz is affected by the Monolith, making him ponder life, which only brings more questions as will

Woman in the Dunes Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Digging out a Life in Sand

Hiroshi Teshigahara's enigmatic, hypnotic tale of a man trapped is equal parts Twilight Zone and Kafka, and completely absorbing.
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Every night, the woman shovels sand from the bottom of a hole, which gets carted up by a rope pulley, and hauled away. She lives at the bottom of a deep pit, and every night the sand builds up. If she leaves off for more than a couple of days, the sand will get everywhere, and eventually the house will collapse, and she will die. Her husband and daughter were killed by the sand. So she digs, each night, for most of the night. She sleeps during the day, nude, sometimes not even under a blanket, since sleeping with the

11.22.63 Blu-ray Review: A Thoughtful Story about Relationships

This is not your typical Stephen King tale.
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How often do we wish we could go back in time and do things differently or make different decisions? Based on the bestselling novel by Stephen King, the eight-episode series 11.22.63, which originally aired on Hulu, takes on this idea and the resulting repercussions.Jake Epping (James Franco) is a high-school English teacher in the process of getting divorced. He also teaches adult-education classes in an effort to try and help people improve their lives, but learns with one of his students who he tries to assist with a promotion that he is powerless to make a real difference. His longtime

Speedy Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The End of an Era

Harold Lloyd hits a comedy home run in his last silent film.
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Not only is "Speedy" the title character played by Harold Lloyd in his last silent film and last appearance as his The Boy/Glasses Character, but it also describes the fast-paced lifestyle that was overtaking New York City at the end of the Roaring '20s. Railroad businessmen want to buy out Pops (Bert Woodruff), the grandfather of Speedy's girlfriend's Jane (Ann Christy), so they can make use of the track on which his horse-drawn streetcar runs. Naturally, it will fall onto to Speedy to save the day. He is a clever fellow, but only seems to put his mind to making

War Dogs Movie Review: It's a Dog Alright!

Todd Phillips hopes lightning strikes with his aggressive tale of bros, guns and international arms dealing
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War Dogs ads have glommed on to the recent trend of lampooning Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan as a means of illustrating American deceifulness. But War Dogs dips a toe into the water, excoriating the "dude-bro" mentality inherent in Trump's acolytes while simultaneously condemning his, and America's, actions. Hangover director Todd Phillips' desperation to follow in fellow comedic director Adam McKay's footsteps clings to this film like Jonah Hill's flopsweat as he liberally borrows from every Wall Street movie, from The Big Short to Boiler Room. Aided by two of Hollywood's most divisive actors with regards to disingenousness,

Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection Blu-ray Review: She'd Have Killed Bill in the First Movie

Meiko Kaji and her incredible cheekbones star in four Japanese women's prison movies with varying levels of insanity.
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Despite all the blood, boobs, torture, cruelty, crazy lighting schemes, and wild camera angles, the most indelible image in these four women's prison movies is Meiko Kaji's face. In particular, her big-eyed, vengeful glare. Her hair is jet black, and in some memorable shots her pale, beautiful face is the only thing lit in frame. In an almost silent role as Nami Matsushima (a.k.a Scorpion), her large, staring eyes and why she's glaring so intently frame the central theme of the movies: the victimization of women by men, and by extension, themselves. Of course, to deliver this theme, these movies

Twilight Time Presents: Breaking the Rules of a Lovelorn, War-torn World

From bitter one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed veteran vigilantes in Santa Barbara to faithful female Jewish writers smuggling money into Nazi Germany, this lot of features proves all is indeed fair in love and war.
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In a previously penned piece, I published my admiration of Michael Winner's Chato's Land (1972), which saw a recent Blu-ray debut via Twilight Time. It was just one of six titles from the label released in April of 2016, along with five more motion pictures, each sporting their own similar feelings towards not only love and war, but the rules we break in order to win one or the other. In Chato's Land ‒ an allegory to the Vietnam War ‒ Charles Bronson's halfbreed huntsman only takes to killing once his adversaries take their little cat and mouse game off

getTV Begins Airing Sonny & Cher on Monday, Sept. 12

Showcasing some of the series’ best episodes, featuring guests such as David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Betty White, Carol Burnett, the Jackson 5 & many more,
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Press release: getTV brings one of television’s most beloved couples back to the forefront, as the network welcomes former husband-and-wife duo Sonny and Cher—comprised of accomplished songwriter Sonny Bono, and legendary songstress Cher—to its popular Monday Night Variety Block. The weekly lineup handpicks some of the best episodes from the hit variety series THE SONNY & CHER COMEDY HOUR, CHER, and THE SONNY & CHER SHOW, airing every Monday at 8 p.m. ET, starting on September 12. Many of these episodes have not been seen on television in over a decade. The block kicks off with three weeks of the

Supergirl: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: A Lighter, Refreshing Superhero Tale

Overall, the show was entertaining, filled with good storylines, villains of the week, and an overarching story that came to a satisfying conclusion.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. With the success of the DC shows currently running on the WB network, CBS decided to acquire their own superhero show based on Superman’s most famous relative, Kara (Melissa Benoist). Just before the destruction of Krypton and moments after her cousin was sent to Earth, Kara was placed in a spacecraft to help look after him since she was much older. But just as her ship left the atmosphere, the planet exploded

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made Review: An Incredibly Involving Documentary

A wonderful and inspiring look at fandom, friendship, and childhood dreams come true, no matter what the cost.
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The power of film has its perks: you're able to collect anything and everything about film, you find and make friends with people who feel the same way about film as you do, and you become apart of a very special community that is passionate about this ongoing medium. Fandom can take a whole new life of its own, whether you're a trekkie, star wars fan, or comic book lover. If you're Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb, you go even further and you make a shot-by-shot remake of an all-time classic film, Steven Spielberg's 1981 masterpiece, Raiders of

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Movie Ever Made is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us fan films, angry birds, murders by appliances, Elvis, and more.
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Movies were a huge part of my childhood. I have all sorts of fond memories of going to the cinema and watching them on TV. My parents were early adopters to the Beta and VHS home-movie formats and nearly every weekend we’d wind up at the rental place finding something to watch. As a teenager, I thought my parents were completely lame and I didn’t get along with them most of the time, but I still went with them to the movies regularly. It was the one way in which we could enjoy each others company. But I never went

Criterion Announces November 2016 Releases

No need to wait for Black Friday.
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In November, those looking for Xmas presents for film fans in their inner circle need look no further than this roster. The six films from the Lone Wolf and Cub series are collected in a box set. Also being added to the Collection are Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams, Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love, Marlon Brando's One-Eyed Jacks, and Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale. Read on to learn more about them. Lone Wolf and Cub Collector's Set out Nov 8 Based on the best-selling manga series, the six intensely kinetic Lone Wolf and Cub films elevated chanbara to bloody, new

TCM Announces Month-Long Slapstick Comedy Programming Special

Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick begins Sep. 6th hosted by comedian Greg Proops.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will pay tribute to pratfalls and double-takes with Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick, a month-long programming special featuring more than 50 films exploring the history of slapstick. Hosted by acclaimed stand-up comedian Greg Proops, the special will feature programming from silent masters Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd to modern master Will Ferrell, and will premiere Sep. 6th and air every Tuesday and Wednesday during the month. Additionally, TCM is once again partnering with Ball State University and Canvas Network to offer a free online multimedia course on slapstick comedy. Enrollment begins today and comedy fans

The Immortal Story Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Marvel of Deep Emotion and Haunting Spareness

A minimalist, but soulful depiction of lost souls in the 19th century.
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We all knew that Orson Welles was mad, but we also knew that he had the ability to make cinematic works of art that transcend any genre. After his legendary 1941 masterpiece, Citizen Kane, he felt that he could do anything, but after he changed film history with Kane, he started to feel the slump of Hollywood. This is definitely no apparent more than when he made 1948's flop, The Lady from Shanghai, that kind of signaled the beginning of the end of his gifts as director/writer/actor extraordinaire. However, he made a comeback, a sort-of experimental one, as he started

After the Fox Blu-ray Review: An Unremarkable Collaboration

Vittorio De Sica, Neil Simon and Peter Sellers are a comedy dream team, right?
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So, you’ve got one of the greatest Italian film directors of all time in Vittorio De Sica, one of the most beloved of all American playwrights in Neil Simon, and one of the chief members of the British comedy pantheon in Peter Sellers. This collaboration must be a surefire classic, or at the very least, a notable misstep among three sterling careers. Except, it’s not. About the only thing remarkable about 1966’s After the Fox is how unremarkable the film is, despite the array of talent on hand. Did I mention it features a (maddening) theme song by Burt Bacharach

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 08-15-16

And what classic film star will you be spending time with this week?
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The "Summer Under the Stars" month-long marathom continues on TCM with days devoted to Roddy McDowall, Anne Baxter, James Edwards, Angie Dickinson, Ruby Keeler, Humphrey Bogart, and Bette Davis. Summer Under the Stars: Roddy McDowall - My Friend Flicka (1943) Monday, August 15 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A boy's love for his horse helps him grow up. Summer Under the Stars: Anne Baxter - All About Eve (1950) Tuesday, August 16 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) An ambitious young actress tries to take over a star's career and love life. Summer Under the Stars: James Edwards - Home of the Brave

Crimes of Passion Blu-ray Review: Kathleen Turner Gets Kinky

Not enough crime, too little passion, far too much Anthony Perkins with a giant vibrator.
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Crimes of Passion is a psychosexual drama from Ken Russell (Tommy, Altered States). It works best when you think of it as a moral satire but mostly it's just a hot (but not that kind of hot) mess. Kathleen Turner’s performance would be considered brave if it were not so over the top that it veers into the ridiculous. She plays Joanna Crane, a respected fashion designer who lives a double life as prostitute China Blue, who fulfills various men’s kinkiest desires. John Laughlin plays Bobby Grady, an investigator stuck in a sexless marriage, who is asked to spy on

Get Access to the Most Classified Event of the Year With an Early Premiere of Snowden

Featuring an exclusive live interview with Edward Snowden by filmmaker Oliver Stone, in cinemas nationwide on September 14.
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Press release: Get full security clearance for Snowden, one of the most anticipated upcoming releases, ahead of the thriller’s wide release. Fathom Events and Open Road Films are taking an exclusive look into the world of former CIA employee Edward Snowden through the eyes of Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone for a one-night event on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 live at 7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT and tape-delayed to 7:30 p.m. MT/PT. “Snowden Live” gives audiences the opportunity to be the first to see Snowden on the big screen and hear directly from the man who inspired it
Press release: To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 science fiction horror film Aliens, Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas Laguna Niguel has partnered with SquaredCo Events to present moviegoers with a spirited lobby experience and film-themed pop-up art show in advance of a special screening of the cult classic. Guests can expect to: View Aliens-themed fan art commissioned by an international roster of pop culture artists Have the opportunity to win surprise giveaways and limited edition event posters designed by animator and illustrator Jason Yang of Invisible Element Have film-themed photo-ops throughout the decorated theater lobby and with a costumed Aliens

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review: Glittering British Banality

One woman's mediocre rise to fame looks good, if nothing else.
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Best known to 30-somethings as the director of High Fidelity (or for one of my favorite crime dramas, The Grifters), Stephen Frears' output over the last ten years has clung fast to the tea and crumpet set. Between the Academy Award-winning The Queen and the Academy Award-nominee Philomena, you can see Frears hopes third time's a charm with Florence Foster Jenkins. The presence of Meryl Streep alone could make this a walk to the Oscars, but Frears suffers from diminishing returns in this take on the braveries of mediocrity reminiscent of this year's Eddie the Eagle. Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep)

Kino Lorber Releases Two Fritz Lang Films on Blu-ray & DVD in August

"Opened my eyes to the poetic expressiveness of the cinema. When I saw 'Destiny,' I suddenly knew that I wanted to make movies." - Luis Buñuel
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Press release: Kino Lorber is proud to announce the Blu-ray and DVD of Fritz Lang's 1921 silent masterwork, DESTINY, in a stunning new 2K restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung. Weaving together stories of tragic love, set in three distinct historical places and periods, DESTINY established director Fritz Lang as one of the leading filmmakers of the German silent era, and laid the groundwork for his highly-stylized classics such as Die Nibelungen and Metropolis. This new restoration of DESTINY was released theatrically by Kino Lorber, opening at New York's Film Forum in May 2016 before moving on to engagements in national markets.DESTINY

Concert Review: Sting & Peter Gabriel, Hollywood Bowl, 07/18/16

It was such a treat to see musicians so filled with joy playing together.
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In the same vein as his 2014 co-headlining tour with Paul Simon, Sting teamed up with his former Amnesty International touring mate Peter Gabriel for “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” which found them playing concerts across North America in June and July. They combined their talented bands and in addition to Gabriel on keys and Sting on bass, the blended ensemble was comprised of two guitarists, another bassist, two more keyboardists, two drummers, three back-ups singers, an electric fiddle player, and a percussionist. The night began with Gabriel coming out first and performing “Rhythm of the Heat” with powerful percussion highlighting the

Halt and Catch Fire: The Complete Second Season DVD Giveaway

The lesson is harsh but clear: in history, only the truly disruptive ideas are destined to matter.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Anchor Bay Entertainment to award one lucky reader Halt and Catch Fire: The Complete Second Season on DVD, currently on sale. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: The critically acclaimed AMC hit drama, Halt and Catch Fire: The Complete Second Season, will be available on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment on August 9. From creators Chris Cantwell (Vicariously) and Christopher C. Rogers, comes the ten-episode series, featuring buzzworthy performances from Lee Pace (Lincoln, Pushing Daisies, Guardians of the Galaxy), Scoot McNairy (Argo), Mackenzie Davis (Smashed), Kerry Bishé (Argo, Red State)

11.22.63 is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us time travel, holograms, superheroes, and more.
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The assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 looms large in our American identity. Hell, it looms over my own identity and I wasn’t born until 13 years later. The 1960s as a whole were greatly influential upon our culture. It gave us the Beatles, the Stones, Dr. Strangelove, Lawrence of Arabia, hippies, free love, Woodstock, Altamont, the Civil Rights Movement and the murder of a President. In the years since that decade died, countless amount of words have been written, documentaries filmed, and art created praising those ten years as monumental. Sometimes, it feels like that from the very

Suicide Squad Movie Review: I Didn't Care for It

Will Smith being fatherly is always kind of hot, so that gave me a few moments of happiness.
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Even though the critics said it was a horrible movie, I took my favorite tween to see Suicide Squad this past Friday. I convinced my friend to come along by promising him the fabulous burgers across the street afterwards. So I’ve seen it. I’ve made my own decisions. I have opinions about the movie and I feel that I really need to share them with both of you who read this. I should point out that part of my enjoyment of any movie is the giant vat of popcorn we generally plow through. Although this particular theater had the "butter

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 08-08-16

What star will you be spending time with this week?
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The "Summer Under the Stars" month-long marathom continues on TCM with days devoted to Esther Williams, Tim Holt, Hedy Lamarr, Spencer Tracy, Janet Gaynor, Ralph Richardson, and Cyd Charisee. Summer Under the Stars: Esther Williams - Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) Monday, August 8 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) True story of Annette Kellerman, the world's first great swimming star. Summer Under the Stars: Tim Holt - The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) Tuesday, August 9 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Dobbs and Curtin meet up in Mexico, and go to work for a contractor who takes them away to a remote

'Neath the Arizona Skies Blu-ray Review: A Satisfying, Inconsequential Western

John Wayne takes on bad guys. What more do you need?
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Offering little in the way of complexity when it comes to story or characterization, 'Neath the Arizona Skies stars John Wayne taking on bad guys, and if that's enough to be entertaining, this is a movie for you. Oil is found on Indian land and members of the Osage, Seminole, Iowa, Cheyenne, Siouz, Pawnee, and Kiowa tribes are entitled to payment, which I have a sneaking suspicion was not fair-market value. Chris Murrell (John Wayne) is guardian to Nina (Shirley Jane Rickert), a young biracial girl whose Indian mother is dead. She is entitled to $50,000 if Chris can find

Kristen's Book Club for August 2016

What's hot on the shelves this month?
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The summer is winding down and school is only a few weeks away. Here's what's worth reading as you shop for "back to school stuff." Razzle Dazzle by Michael Riedel "Give my regards to Broadway" and to Michael Riedel for creating funnest, authoritative book on the history of the Great White Way. Razzle Dazzle is a compact history of Broadway, from its formation through the early 2000s. His primary focus is on the Shubert family - Broadway's biggest landlord and name behind the powerful Shubert Organization - and how a couple Jewish brothers turned Broadway into a corrupt, but highly

Suicide Squad Movie Review: DC Commits Suicide With Latest Blunder

DC's latest superhero film is heavy on action, woefully undercooked everywhere else
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After the massive blunder called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad was primed to represent the funky cool cousin who sets the reset button on the grimdark world DC set up for itself. Unfortunately, what audiences ended up with was the equivalent of the cool cousin O.D.ing on shrooms who tries to hide it by acting like their older relative. And by that I mean Suicide Squad is the same drab, lifeless, convoluted continuation of what we saw in BvS (and, based on the recent Hollywood Reporter article detailing production troubles and an alternate studio cut explains the

National Lampoon's Animal House Joins TCM Big Screen Classics Series Lineup on August 14 & 17

The raucous comedy hits more than 600 movie theaters nationwide.
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Press release: It’s time to grab your toga and return to Faber College for the wildest frat party ever when National Lampoon’s Animal House joins the year-long lineup of Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies’ TCM Big Screen Classics series. The event will take place at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time on Sunday, Aug. 14, and Wednesday, Aug. 17, and includes specially produced commentary from a TCM host before and after the feature. Tickets for the “TCM Big Screen Classics” series can be purchased online at www.FathomEvents.com or at over 600 participating movie theater box offices. For a

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Call and Response'

"I love this show in a way that other comic adaptations have fallen short." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn what you to know they aren't disappointed despite what you read. Kim: I sat last night to watch the season finale of Preacher. I grabbed some watermelon and a bottle of water, because I’m trying to not eat the chips. I figured if I was going to be seeing the last of Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and Joseph Gilgun for a while, I may as well have something juicy to put in my mouth. Right off the bat, I can tell you that this was not what I expected. I actually spent the first ten

Gun the Man Down (1956) Blu-ray Review: Fleeting Oater Fodder, But Still Fun

Producer John Wayne gives newbies James Arness, Angie Dickinson, and Andrew V. McLaglen a chance to strut their stuff.
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When it comes to following in the footsteps of a larger-than-life actor, it can be pretty darn hard to get a foothold ‒ especially when the actor is none other than John Wayne. But when someone like John Wayne has already taken a liking to you, well then you're a shoe-in for sure. A year after Wayne had recommended his equally gargantuan western counterpart to star in a new television series entitled Gunsmoke, James Arness apparently found himself at that awkward "You owe me one, pilgrim!" moment when The Duke's production company needed a star for their forthcoming theatrical cowboy

Key & Peele: The Complete Series is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us the funniest comedy duo of the decade, a sci-fi remake, a sci-fi original, a motion comic, and more.
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Mat Brewster is on vacation this week, so I am filling in. Two weeks ago, I was preparing to go to the world famous San Diego Comic-Con where I would immerse myself in entertainment and pop culture for five days with over 130,000 like-minded folks. It can be a hectic schedule running around the convention center and outer locations, through throngs of cosplayers, autograph seekers, memorbilia purchasers, to then stand in long lines or wait through panels in an effort to get into one's desired programs. The sleep and feeding schedules are usually thrown off, and of course with my

The Knick: The Complete Second Season Review: The Best Show On Television

Take that, Game of Thrones.
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Were you to only catch certain scenes of The Knick - such as when a patient has the top of his skull removed, his brain exposed while Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) prods it with electricity as well dressed, bespectacled old men watch in bemusement - then you might think it is a horror anthology rather than the beautifully shot, carefully crafted, highly original hospital drama that it is. Set in the early 1900s at a fictional Manhattan hospital, The Knick details the lives of the surgeons, nurses, administrators, and sundry workers as they attempt to save lives, keep the hospital

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