Aside from appearing as a guest on a number of podcasts, I have no interaction with them, which made me either the ideal candidiate or the worst to attend the fifth annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival held at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Unfortunately, the festival's website only offered images of the podcasts in attendance, so for a novice like myself, I had to search the Internet to learn about the podcasts. I started with Cashing In With T.J. Miller, since I knew and enjoyed much of what I have seen by the actor/comedian. Hosted by Cash Levy,
September 2016 Archives
What I saw and heard in the ballrooms of the Sofitel Los Angeles.
Book Review: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Newspaper Comics Collection Vol. 3, 1981-1982 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Fred Kida
Stan Lee contributes his most original stories to date, aided by great incoming artist Fred Kida.
After taking over the art duties from comic strip originating artist John Romita Sr., Stan Lee’s brother Larry Lieber continued his run for a little over a year before passing the baton to Fred Kida. Lieber’s concluding months open this latest volume, but Kida contributed the lion’s share of the art presented here. While I wasn’t particularly impressed with Lieber’s subpar art in the prior volume, he settled into his role and contributed solid if unspectacular line work for this volume. I had no familiarity with Kida prior to this book, so expected very little and was pleasantly surprised by
A rarely seen Peanuts special deserves your attention as it turns 50.
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. As a fan of all things Peanuts, I am always interested to see the repackaging of older specials. This early October release from Warner Bros is a great addition for fans of the more popular specials. The DVD release of Charlie Brown's All Stars! comes with an additional Peanuts special call A Charlie Brown Celebration. It's been a long time since I saw this program and I was anxious to see how
Mira Nair's touching tribute to women the world over.
Disney's banked on sports films for the last decads, relying on stories of athletic prowess anchored by men. Their latest foray into the inspirational drama praises intellectual altheticism anchored by women; Queen of Katwe looks to slip undetected by audiences this week due to a hackneyed, and unexplainable, series of limited releases by the studio. Unfortunately, this threatens to bury one of the brightest, warmest and all-around best acted films of the year! Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) is a young Ugandan struggling to make ends meet for her put-upon mother (Lupita Nyong'o) and siblings. The one joy in Phiona's life
A brilliantly bizarre and slightly kinky farewell from Fassbinder.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder remains one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. The way he filmed actors, especially women and their characters' emotions, was incredible. His close-ups revealed the inner torments of his characters' existences. However, he wasn't just a legendary director; he was also a gifted actor, albeit unorthodox one at that. Director Wolf Gremm's 1982 long-lost cyberpunk thriller Kamikaze '89 showed how much Fassbinder actually knew the skills of an actor. Unforunately, this was his final acting role before his untimely death from a drug overdose, which ended what could have been a very promising acting
Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, and a dragged-out Dom DeLuise star in one frighteningly unfunny feature.
I was perhaps all of ten years old when I first saw a trailer advertising the Gene Wilder/Gilda Radner comedy Haunted Honeymoon. It was in the (singular) local movie house of the small(minded) town I grew up in, and I recall being more confused by it than intrigued. Why was Dom DeLuise dressed as a woman? And, most importantly of all, why wasn't anyone laughing at the preview ‒ my easily amused ten-year-old self included? The immediate theory my preadolescent brain formed was, based on the evidence at hand (i.e. the startlingly unfunny trailer and the lack of a reaction
The Criterion Collection releases the best camp melodrama out there!
America was a bit of a mess in the 1960s, not just on the national stage but at the local cineplex as well. By the time the decade was over, the Hollywood studio system as audiences knew it was dead - killed by a man who could “talk to the animals” of all things. But Hollywood limped to the finish line with the tortured tale of three lovely ladies and their struggles with fame and addiction in Valley of the Dolls. Dolls, as campy then as it is now, receives a shot of respectability this week with its premiere on
This week brings us sinister models, shark attacks, goofy horror flicks, critically acclaimed Polish films and so much more.
I used to say that the best part of going to the movies was watching the movie trailers before the show started. That wasn’t really true of course (unless the film was bad), but in those days that was about the only place I could find out what movies were coming up. It wasn’t like today where there are a hundred million sites dedicated to giving us every scrap of information about every upcoming movie from here to eternity. Truth be told, I don’t really pay that much attention to those things anyway. My Facebook and Twitter feeds get filled
An American Werewolf in London (Full Moon Edition) Blu-ray Review: Its Cult-classic Status Is Certainly Warranted
Required by law to state "You'll howl with laughter."
After a string of comedic box-office successes (Kentucky Fried Movie, National Lampoon’s Animal House, and The Blues Brothers), director John Landis had the clout to pick his next project. He veered away from comedy to a screenplay he first worked on in 1969 while a production assistant on Kelly’s Heroes in Yugoslavia. An American Werewolf in London was Landis’ take on the Wolfman. David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are backpacking their way through Europe. The film opens with them traversing through the moors of Northern England, but all Jack can think of is hooking up with a woman
Goodbye, September. Hello, October.
September on TCM concludes as does "Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick," which focuses on films from the 1970s, the 1980s, and Anchorman. Star-of-the-month Gene Hackman can be found in Nicaragua, and horror fans get an early start on their Halloween viewing with Bride of Frankenstein. Torch Song (1953) Monday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A tempestuous musical theater star falls for a blind pianist. Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick - Young Frankenstein (1974) Tuesday, September 27 at 9:30 p.m. (ET) A descendant of Dr. Frankenstein sets out to make a man. Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick - Naked Gun:
At its best, TV tells unique stories that don't fit into the limited motion picture format of 90-200 minute limitations.
Rolling Stone just conducted a major poll involving actors, writers, producers, critics, and showrunners to come up with the 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, a list they describe as "the definitive ranking of the game-changing small-screen classics." They aren't exactly breaking any big news here. TV is good. In fact, currently TV is really good. The era of the creator is among us. Multiple networks like HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC, History, and WGN are making showrunners and creators the auteurs of the day. The more networks get out of the way of the creative folks, the better the
Celebrate Art House Theater Day with Cowboy, Indian, and Horse.
In a world that seems to be growing increasingly insane, it's wonderful to have some controlled lunacy that is Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s A Town Called Panic, which features that antics of toy figures Cowboy and Indian, brought to life in stop-motion animation. As part of Art House Theater Day on September 24, two new specials will be showing in select theaters along with the Panic shorts, "Lisa & Jan" and "Cow-Hulk." In "The Christmas Log," Cowboy and Indian's horseplay on Christmas Eve ends up potentially ruining the dinner their roommate Horse has planned. Horse is so angry he
From the unconditional (or unwanted) affection of one's parental unit, to the ever-classic pursuit of maximum financial units, these five flicks have more to offer than just a nude Ornella Muti (although that's just fine on its own!).
At one point or another in life, we have experienced the passion, turmoil, and frustration that comes from not being able to possess something ‒ sometimes, anything ‒ we wanted more than life itself. For some, it is a material obsession; the desire to acquire great wealth to control others with, or to even take charge of an individual. For others, it is simply the allure of being able to step out of the proverbial limelight for once and lead what they perceive to be a life of normality. And it is in this marvelous line-up of May 2016 releases
This magical tale of an extraordinary friendship loaded with exciting extras will brighten the holidays for the whole family!
Press release: This month, the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl, beloved children’s author of family favorites like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Dahl’s personal favorite, The BFG, as well as World Dream Day, an annual event honoring “the dreamer, visionary and innovator in all of us.” It seems a fitting time to announce the in-home release of The BFG, Disney’s fantasy adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, on Dec. 6 on Digital HD, Blu-ray, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand. As dreamers around the globe gear up
After its successful inaugural year, SVCC will return to downtown San Jose the weekend of April 21-23, 2017.
Press release: General admission tickets are now on sale for Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC), Steve Wozniak’s pop culture and technology expo taking place April 21-23, 2017 in downtown San Jose. Pairing science with fiction, Silicon Valley Comic Con aims to inspire and entertain with celebrity appearances, science/tech discussions, film and TV screenings, panels with award-winning authors and artists, cosplay contests and more. Three-day and single-day passes for SVCC 2017 can be purchased today at www.svcomiccon.com. Fans who purchase three-day passes before October 1 will be entered into a drawing to ride around SVCC 2017 with the Woz in his
It's like a b-grade version of Mad Max, but it's still a lot of fun.
The synopsis for Dead-End Drive-In on IMDB reads as follows: “In the near future, a teenage couple is trapped in a drive-in theater which has become a concentration camp for social outcasts. The inmates are treated to drugs, exploitation films, junk food, and new wave music.” That sounds a bit like paradise for me so if that’s the post-apocalyptic future we have to look forward to, sign me up. An opening crawl details the recent economic collapse of every major economy and the violence that ensues. The camera moves through an unnamed Australian city and we see broken windows, burning
The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven DVD Review: An Appreciation of the Duo's Impact on Early Rock 'n' Roll
The rock pioneers set the standard for impeccable harmonies, and wowed audiences with their special blend of rock, country, and R&B.
Early rock pioneers the Everly Brothers set the standard for impeccable harmonies, and wowed audiences with their special blend of rock, country, and R&B. The duo gets their just due in the BBC documentary The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven, newly released on DVD and Blu-ray. Featuring interviews with surviving Everly brother Don, Keith Richards, Art Garfunkel, Albert Lee, Dave Edmunds, and Graham Nash, the film is a thoroughly fascinating look at an underrated family act. Harmonies from Heaven follows Don and Phil from their early years as singers with the Everly Family, a group comprised of the brothers and
Numerous classic Christie stories get a new telling for French television.
The Little Murders of Agatha Christie (Les Petit Meurtres d’Agatha Christie) is a French television series that began in 2009. The MHZ network has picked it up for English-speaking audiences and now the first season is available on DVD in the U.S. The most interesting thing about the series is that while it adapts stories featuring both of Christie’s most famous sleuths (Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple), the main investigators in the show are entirely new inventions. For those of you who are not familiar with Christie’s writing, Poirot is an eccentric Belgian detective who is often hired by Scotland
A classic film that will long be remembered and appreciated.
Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential, based on the novel of the same name by James Ellroy from his L.A. Quartet series, is a masterful film noir. Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the film uses the city as a canvas to paint an expansive story about crime, corruption, sex, and murder. In the special features Ellroy describes the film as well as anyone can: “Three cops on a collision with their own horrifying demons and as the centerpiece the slaughter of six people in a coffee shop meat locker.” Officer Wendell “Bud” White (Russell Crowe) does whatever he has to in the
Devoid of any originality, credibility, or explanation whatsoever, the big-screen adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment's massively successful strategy game is a giant, predictable bore.
Contrary to popular belief, the oft-repeated phrase "Hollywood has run out of ideas" has been popping up for quite sometime now. During the '60s and '70s, television producers would take two-part TV shows or standalone TV movies and release them theatrically abroad, luring (mostly) European filmgoers into cinemas to see an extended episode of something like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., in order to take advantage of an outrageously gigantic demand for all things James Bondian at the time. It would have been foolish not to take the chance, right? It was a most cunning strategy on their part. In the
Styx: Live at the Orleans Arena Las Vegas Blu-ray Review: A Quality Performance Even Without the Band's Biggest Songs
Instead of having someone else singing some of the songs Dennis DeYoung sang, Styx just completely leaves them out of the rotation.
Filmed while on tour in July of 2014, the Blu-ray shows off some of the band’s well-known hits. Interspersed between the eight-song concert are interviews with the band and crew members detailing their adventures and lifestyle on the road. Topics covered range from what they do during their off hours to the inner workings of the business and how the technology has changed their experience of being away from home and their family. The line-up for the concert is Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar); James “JY” Young (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Todd Sucherman (drums); Lawrence Gowan (vocals/keyboards); Ricky Phillips (bass, backing vocals);
Shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire owe much to how Dekalog lets stories play out.
Watching the episodes of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog reminds me of how few auteurs there are anymore. Part of it is probably the current trends in how movies are made and distributed that make it harder to be an artist with a voice. In many ways, the most creative works are happening on television. FX, HBO, Showtime, AMC, and even Starz are allowing creators the freedom to tell long stories however they please. In 1988, a year before ABC let David Lynch loose with Twin Peaks, Kieslowski told ten hour-long, relatively linked short stories on Polish TV. The episodes predate his
From opposing sides, an unlikely group of heroes is set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their families, their people, and their home.
Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to award five lucky readers the Warcraft Blu-ray Combo Pack. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: In a distant world, humankind faces extinction at the hands of a brutal enemy in the visually stunning epic, WARCRAFT, coming to Digital HD on September 13, 2016, and Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, 4K Ultra HD, DVD and On Demand on September 27, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Based on the global video game phenomenon from Blizzard Entertainment, WARCRAFT is a seamless blend of live action and awe-inspiring visual effects.
This week brings us a Disney classic, David Bowie with crazy hair, an early Coen Brothers film, teenaged turtles and more.
Memory is a funny thing. It changes and mutates along the way as we get older. My memory says I was a great fan of the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s, but looking back at those films it seems I really wasn’t. The Little Mermaid kicked things off in 1989. I was 13. I love that film. I think I saw it in theaters upon first release, but honestly, it's become such a part of my cinematic DNA, I can no longer remember the first time I saw it. Beauty and the Beast was released two years later, and I’m
The Flash (2014): The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review: At Its Core, The Series Is a Family Drama
An entertaining show that stands out among the glut of superhero programs.
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. Like the Flash, I have the ability to go back in time, so let me do so and grab my description of the TV series' premise from my review of the series' first season: “The Flash presents the adventures of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), an assistant forensic scientist for the Central City Police Department, where his adoptive father, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), works. Joe met a young Barry years ago
23 years after my first attempt at watching it, this Riccardo Freda/Barbara Steele gothic horror movie about a necrophiliac surgeon still can't raise the dead to save its life.
For Italian filmmakers, the 1960s were as versatile of a period as ever, especially for the ever-expanding realms of fantasy. It was a time when sword and sandal peplums, space operas, James Bond-ian espionage adventures, Poliziotteschi crime dramas, stylish giallo thrillers, and one of the country's best-known cinematic exports ‒ the spaghetti western ‒ ruled the screens. The decade also epitomized another unique motion picture subgenre: that of the gothic horror flick. From the late '50s to the late '60s, Italy's gothic movement brought forth a number of memorable, atmospheric titles from the likes of Mario Bava, Antonio Margheriti, and
I can't recommend it strongly enough.
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. When A&E cancelled Longmire, I was extremely disappointed, but that feeling was short lived when it was announced the series would continue onNetflix. This is one of the most underrated shows but thankfully Netflix believes in it and gave it a fifth season, which is dropping on September 23. It has been a long year between seasons, and I'm sure it will be worth the wait. Based on the novels written by
Another very good week from TCM.
This week on TCM, the "Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick" event features films from the 1950s and 1960s, star-of-the-month Gene Hackman in a Woody Allen film, the original Magnificent Seven, and the marvelous Stormy Weather. Bus Stop (1956) Monday, September 19 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) An innocent cowboy kidnaps a small-time singer with whom he's infatuated. Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick - The Long, Long Trailer (1954) Tuesday, September 20 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) Life on the road isn't what it's cracked up to be when a honeymooning couple invests in an oversized motor home. Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick
Join Cowboy and Indian as they embark on their latest wild and crazy adventures in two new specials, Christmas Panic & Back to School Panic.
Press release: Take another trip to A Town Called Panic, with two award-winning new specials from the directors of the zany feature film and the Academy Award-nominated Ernest & Celestine, in theaters on September 24 for one day only! With disarming wit and hilarious visuals, A Town Called Panic: Double Fun revels in the simple setup of three plasticine toys sent on increasingly surreal and freewheeling adventures. Cowboy and Indian are always up to some harebrained scheme, with Horse left to clean up the mess. In Christmas Panic, their out-of-control antics lead Horse to call Santa and cancel the presents.
"Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees." - Bob Hope
Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Time Life to award three lucky readers the Thanks for the Memories: The Bob Hope Specials DVD set. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: On September 20, Time Life Releases the very best of Bob Hope's television specials in one, star-studded collector's set Thanks for the Memories: The Bob Hope Specials is six entertaining DVDs filled with 13 unforgettable comedy-variety specials spanning five decades with dozens of celebrity guests including Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, James Cagney, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Dean Martin, George Burns, Sammy Davis
Four new options for you Xmas wish list.
In December, Criterion offers four titles for those who make the "nice" list. Three new titles added to the Collection are Laurie Anderson's Heart of a Dog, John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle, and Federico Fellini's Roma. Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador) gets a high-def upgrade. Read on to learn more about them. The Exterminating Angel (#459) out Dec 6 A group of high-society friends are invited to a mansion for dinner and inexplicably find themselves unable to leave in The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador), a daring masterpiece from Luis Buñuel. Made just one year after his
A genuine and uncompromising biography of one of the most legendary women in the history of comedy.
As we all know, Madeline Kahn was a genius, a trailblazer, and a comedy icon. We fell in love with her ever since we saw her on the stage, and especially on the silver screen in such comedy classics as What's Up Doc? (1972) and Young Frankenstein (1974). The Academy certainly adored her when they nominated her for Best Supporting Actress for both Paper Moon (1973) and Blazing Saddles (1974). In these films and others, she proved that women can be funny and hilarious, as well as dedicated and intelligent to their craft. But, there was so much more to
With Snowden, Oliver Stone proves he's still got stories to tell.
Of course Oliver Stone made a movie about Edward Snowden. If the former CIA operative/NSA contractor turned whistleblower/leaker of thousands of documents that prove our government has been spying on its citizens on a massive scale didn’t actually exist, he’s exactly the sort of character a guy like Stone would have invented. Likely, we critics would have complained that he was being too paranoid if he did. This fictionalized biopic is framed by the non-fictional film Citizenfour, which won the Academy Award in 2015 for best documentary feature. Snowden begins with Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meeting with Citizenfour’s director Laura
This ozploitation feature could have been a spinoff in the Mad Max universe.
It's difficult to decipher what will become a cult classic and what will end up being a major dud in this age of social-media marketing. Any film that gets released has the potential to be the next Rocky Horror Picture Show. Technically speaking, Sharknado is considered by many to be a cult favorite and I would both agree and disagree with that statement. I agree that audiences are the ones who get to choose what movies will eventually be part of this category. Where I disagree is that cult films are not instant, they just don't happen over night. Sometimes
This 1991 performance showcases the band's versatility and captures one of their last performances as an original quartet.
By 1991, Toto was at a crossroads. Only four original members remained: guitarist/lead vocalist Steve Lukather, keyboardist/lead vocalist David Paich, drummer Jeff Porcaro, and bassist Mike Porcaro. They were in the midst of recording the album Kingdom of Desire, a harder-charging work featuring Lukather on all lead vocals. Sadly, shortly after completing the album, Jeff Porcaro unexpectedly passed away; his brother Mike would succumb to ALS in 2015. The new release Toto: Live at Montreux 1991, a new release in the DVD/CD, Blu-ray/CD, and digital video formats allows fans one more glimpse at the legendary lineup. While not well filmed,
A wonderful tale of love and loss at the Kabuki theater.
Kiku (Shotaro Hanyagi) is the adopted son of Kabuki royalty in Tokyo. As the presumed heir to this theatrical throne, he is constantly lavished with acclaim. The mouths that herald his praises come with two faces and out of the other, they spit ridicule. Even Kiku’s father-in-law cannot bring himself to tell him how poorly he acts. Late one night, he walks with Otoku (Kakuko Mori), nursemaid to Kiku’s brother's son, who finally tells him the truth - he stinks! Instead of lashing out in anger, Kiku’s is filled with gratitude that someone is finally willing to speak to him
"A larger than life monster like Godzilla has to be experienced on the big screen."
Press release: The iconic science-fiction monster Godzilla makes land fall in the U.S. and Canada this October with the North American theatrical release of Shin Godzilla from Toho Company, Ltd—and you can score your tickets now! Fans have been clamoring for news of the film’s theatrical dates ever since Funimation Films made its surprise acquisition announcement in July at San Diego Comic Con 2016. The company revealed that Shin Godzilla will roar into theaters for a limited engagement October 11 - 18, screening in more than 440 theaters across the U.S. and Canada. Tickets for Shin Godzilla are now available
Hosted by Illeana Douglas, the month-long programming event begins Oct. 4 and features Bette Midler, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Dana Delany.
Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced the second year of Trailblazing Women, a multi-year initiative in partnership with Women in Film Los Angeles (WIF) to raise awareness about the historical contributions of women in the film industry. This year’s programming event will feature acclaimed actresses Bette Midler, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Dana Delany as co-hosts examining the remarkable impact of actresses on the movie industry. Hosted by actress, producer and director Illeana Douglas, Trailblazing Women premieres Oct. 4 and airs every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the October. The theme of the 2016 programming slate -Trailblazing Women: Actresses
From its humble beginning in a drug store in Northern California to its grim demise.
When I started buying music as a teen, The Wherehouse, Sam Goody, and Licorice Pizza could never compare to the joy of spending hours in a Tower Records looking for and listening to music. I had two Tower Records that I would frequent, the one in Costa Mesa near what was once Rock 'N' Java, and the Tustin Marketplace store. As an adult who spent and spends a lot of time in Los Angeles, the Tower on Sunset became a required stop during trips to Hollywood. Tower Records became a bastion of hope when after four days on the road
The outright evil, bloodthirsty cousin of 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon' makes its long-awaited splash to home video courtesy a beautiful HD release by Olive Films.
Generally, motion pictures which owe their entire existence to the success of an entirely different (and more popular) feature have very little to offer the overall history of cinema itself other than its ‒ sometimes blatant ‒ connection to its source of inspiration. It's even harder to have an affect on the world of film when your movie happens to be an obvious "rip-off" of a horror film, especially if it was made during a time when horror movies provided audiences little more than an excuse for teenagers to make out at the drive-in. Or terrorize the really small, impressionable
Maybe this show can make the audience care about it as much as some of Christine's clients care about her.
The Girlfriend Experience is a show about Christine Reade (Riley Keough), a law student and law intern in Chicago who finds out that one of her classmates Avery is an escort who provides the "Girlfriend Experience." An escort who provides the "Girlfriend Experience" also known as a "GFE" not only provides sex to her client, but also goes on dates, attends events, and provides the emotional support of an actual girlfriend. Intrigued by Avery's secret life, Christine gets involved and provides the GFE to clients while balancing law school and her internship at a high-profile Chicago law firm at the
"I love beard!"
Wizard World Richmond was this past weekend and I’ve got some things to say about it. You’ll remember that I have limited experience when it comes to conventions. Now that I’ve been to a nationally recognized one, I’ve learned a few things that I wasn’t quite aware of when making my plans for what I was going to see and do. Then again, I’m pretty fickle so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most of my plans were lost to the wind. Overall, I had a fairly positive experience. I’ve got good and bad things to say. In order to make
This week brings us a special anniversary, a ghost story sequel, a comic book nerd's dream come true, and lots of classic films getting nice upgrades.
I can’t remember when I first saw Aliens. It was definitely the plural and not the singular (it would be years later than I’d finally sit down with the original Ridley Scott film). I vaguely remember seeing it with my cousins. I certainly discussed it with them and we quoted it regularly. But the details fade. My strongest memory of the actual film is the scene in which two of the marines are caught in a tunnel and one decides to take out as many aliens as she can by letting them come in close and exploding a grenade. As
Fathom Events, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment spotlight Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar voicing classic roles.
Press release: Travel back to the 1960s as Batman and Robin spring into action when Gotham City is threatened by a quartet of Batman’s most fiendish foes. Audiences will have the opportunity to join all the animated excitement as it unfolds on the big screen for one special day. Fathom Events is once again partnering with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment to bring Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders to movie theaters for three exclusive showings on Monday, October 10 at 2:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time, before it comes to EST on October 11 and Blu-ray™
If the story had been tightened up a little bit, this movie would have gotten a lot more attention and been more successful.
FBI agents Montgomery (Christopher Meloni) and Stockwell (Dave Bautista) are tasked with investigating a sophisticated group of bank robbers who got away with millions from the heist while killing a bank manager in the process. Due to the murder, they are forced to work with a local homicide unit lead by Detective Mims (Johnathon Schaech) in addition to taking on a rookie agent (Adrian Grenier). In the course of the investigation, they become suspicious of the bank president (Bruce Willis) whose younger brother was recently kidnapped and murdered. When a second robbery occurs involving another death, they begin to believe
The TV series that best exemplifies the 1960s.
The Monkees are a fascinating pop-culture phenomenon. Inspired by The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider developed a TV series about four young men trying to make it as a rock ‘n’ roll band. In the trades they placed a notice for “Folk & Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles” and cast actor Mickey Dolenz, musicians Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, and Davy Jones, who both sang and acted as illustrated by his appearance in the original Broadway production of Oliver!. The series, sold to Screen Gems, combined the comedic anarchy of the Marx Brothers with
Mysterious characters, beautiful scenery, loads of intrigue, The Night Manager has everything you want in a spy story.
I made the mistake of watching Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation just before I started The Night Manager. I really rather enjoyed Mission: Impossible; it's probably my favorite of the series in fact. It's a non-stop ride of thrills and magnificent set-pieces. No, the mistake wasn’t watching another Mission: Impossible film, it was the juxtaposition between that and The Night Manager that was difficult to adjust to. Calling The Night Manager slow would be an affront to snails. Its intentional languid, methodical pacing creeps across the screen. I do not in anyway mean this as a critique but coming off
The Warner Archive Collection digs up a significant artifact from cinematic history, albeit from a print which has sadly been desecrated.
The history of biblical epics in Hollywood, especially once filmmakers began to broaden their horizons and film on location (to say nothing of widening their aspect ratios to compete with television), is almost as unique as that chapter of history itself. Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 version of The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston‒ a film he had previously made 33 years earlier in Southern California ‒ was one of the first movies to actually shoot on location in Egypt. It was not, however, the first. Rather, that important footnote from cinematic history goes to MGM's big budgeted international 1954 production
Supernatural: The Complete Eleventh Season Blu-ray Review: The Winchesters May Have Just Been Defeated by Their Own Writers
What other challenge can you bring to the Winchesters that can compete with the one and only God?
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. When Season Ten wrapped up, the Winchester brothers had found a way to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean’s (Jenson Ackles) arm. The mark had been slowly driving him insane and more and more violent and making him less human. Unfortunately, there were two problems with removing the mark. The first was that they had to kill Death, which they managed to do. But in doing so, not only was Dean
A lot of good selections this week.
As September rolls along, TCM presents two more nights of the "Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick" event, a winner of Best Picture for star-of-the-month Gene Hackman, and some will like the Billy Wilder classic on Saturday. Jaws (1975) Monday, September 12 at 9:15 p.m. (ET) The sheriff of an island town takes to the seas when a bloodthirsty shark invades the local waters. Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick - Sons of the Desert (1933) Tuesday, September 13 at 9:00 p.m. (ET) Two friends hatch a harebrained scheme to attend a lodge convention over their wives' objections Ouch! A Salute To
The Warner Archive Collection unveils its final 'Forbidden Hollywood' set with a fine gathering of controversial and naughty gems from the pre-Code days.
It has been a full ten years since the first Forbidden Hollywood collection wandered into our lives courtesy the Turner Classic Movie Archives. Since then, the multiple film/disc series has moved over to the Warner Archive Collection for distribution, and has given viewers around the world a chance to see a few forgotten ditties that wound up becoming buried by the sands of time. And while it is with a heavy heart that I report this latest installment in the franchise ‒ Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 10 ‒ is to be the final chapter in this series, I am pleased to
With a live introduction by director Mel Brooks.
Press release: It’s alive! It’s alive! up on the big screen for one special night when 20th Century Fox and Fathom Events present the electrifying comedy classic Young Frankenstein in cinemas nationwide. Seeing this black-and-white masterpiece on the big screen with fellow audience members is a rarity in itself, but to make this screening a truly one-of-a-kind experience, writer and director Mel Brooks will introduce the classic live from the 20th Century Fox Lot—near the Young Frankenstein Mural on Stage 5, which was unveiled on the film’s 40th anniversary. Brooks will also pay tribute to his friend and the film’s
What's new from Arrow Video U.S. this month?
Arrow Video has a variety of amazing films out. Here's three worth plunking down your money for. Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (2011) Special effects master Ray Harryhausen inspired a legion of filmmakers who discovered a way to achieve the impossible through effects. His work in stop-motion remains unparalleled, finding the reality within the fantasy or, as Harryhausen himself says, bringing nightmares, dreams and fantasies to life. Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan looks at the films that cemented the man's career. Unlike a traditional documentary there's little to nothing about Harryhausen's personal life - his daughter has a cameo and
I'd highly recommend looking inside Volume 1 before buying it.
In the episode “The Alternative Factor,” from the first season of the Original Series, the Enterprise crew have their first encounter alternative universes when they meet Lazarus and Lazarus. In the second season's “Mirror, Mirror,” viewers were presented alternative versions of Kirk, Spock, and other crew members. This tried-and-true science fiction trope needs to be kept in mind when reading Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics Volume 1 (1969-1970) because these strips are a close variation of the Original Series, like the Gold Key comics. In his introduction to the book, Rich Handley provides the history of the weekly UK
Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection Blu-ray Review: These Aint Your Father's Women-in-Prison Films
A terrific collection of some really wonderful genre films is maligned by less than stellar video quality.
Leave it to the Japanese to perfect the Women-in-Prison subgenre. First time director Shunya Itō took all of the sleazy elements of the genre - rampant nudity, rape, gratuitous violence, and lesbianism - and turned it into real cinema. Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion and its sequel Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 aren’t just good examples of the genre but honest-to-god great movies. The subsequent sequels (Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable and Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701’s Grudge Song don’t fare quite as well but there are still some really nice moments in each. Arrow Video has recently combined the four films
A minor WWII flick about Nazi spies featuring John Banner as the bad guy makes its way to DVD courtesy the Warner Archive Collection.
A low-budget 1942 effort from RKO, Seven Miles of Alcatraz was directed by the very busy Edward Dmytryk, who helmed one of those propaganda pictures for the same studio (and with some of the same case and crew) the following year, Hitler's Children. Here, however, Dmytryk spins a fun little web full of venomous Nazi spies, set in the claustrophobic confines of a small lighthouse out in San Francisco Bay. James Craig (Kismet, Dark Delusion) is our big dumb hero, who escapes Alcatraz along with his cellmate, as played by one of filmdom's greatest funny faces, Frank Jenks. To say
This week brings us a World War II film from Carol Reed, Bryan Cranston as a president, Salma Hayek in an Italian fairy tale, and George Clooney's charm.
My wife and I have never, nor will we ever make a freebie list - a list of five celebrities whom we can sleep with without the other getting upset over it - but if we did, George Clooney would be at the top of hers. Hell, he’d be pretty close to the top of mine, and I don’t begin to even swing that way. But he’s just so damn handsome and he just bathes in charm, and push come to shove, I don’t think I’d be able to help myself. He’s one of my all-time favorite movie stars, which
Arrow: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review: Darkness Consumes Several Characters as Loyalties are Tested
Arrow's fourth season pushes several characters to their limits.
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 popular CW show, Arrow, about to begin its fifth season, The Complete Fourth Season has been released on Blu-ray. The show picks up directly where Season Three left off. Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) has packed up and left Team Arrow with his girlfriend Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), opting for a life of domestic bliss. As the show is called Arrow, it does not last long before Queen is
Watching my daughter fall in love with these characters as I did when I was a child is well worth the price of admission.
I was maybe eight years old when The NeverEnding Story came to movie theaters. It immediately became my favorite movie ever. I developed my first crush, screen or otherwise, on Tami Stronach and her portrayal of The Childlike Empress. I thought she was so beautiful and exotic that she lingered in my prepubescent mind for months after seeing her. I thought she was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. Watching it now, I realize that part of this love I felt for her comes from the character. At the end of the film, she speaks to Bastian (Barret Oliver),
Haunted Honeymoon (1940) / A Fine Pair / Brotherly Love (1970) DVD Reviews: Reverse Power Flux Couplings
Three uniquely different looks at the fine art of bad romances arrive on DVD courtesy the Warner Archive Collection.
A fairly forgotten German synthpop group known as The Twins once declared "Love is a dirty word if you're not in love." Other musicians who were more successful in the continental US have similarly declared love hurts, stinks, and that they don't believe in it (although some will tell you quite the opposite). Were you to ask anyone who has ever had the reportedly good fortune of being in a relationship for more than a weekend-long stretch, they might just tell you there are bound to be a few bumps in the road ‒ which brings me to this trio
Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick begins this week.
The first full week of September features two nights of the "Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick" event, another night with star-of-the-month Gene Hackman, and one night with Guest Programmer Tom Bruno, who picks the "rarely seen on TCM" Casablanca. Citizen Kane (1941) Monday, September 5 at 11:30 p.m. (ET) The investigation of a publishing tycoon's dying words reveals conflicting stories about his scandalous life. Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick - Tillie's Punctured Romance (1914) Tuesday, September 6 at 9:30 p.m. (ET) In this silent film, a con man dupes a wealthy country girl into marriage. Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick
What's worth reading this month?
School's starting up and if you have kids that means you'll actually have time to read something. (And if you don't have kids you might already be reading.) Here are two great books worth making time for this month. I Lost It at the Video Store: A Filmmakers' Oral History of a Vanished Era by Tom Roston I'm a fan of oral histories because they capture the voice of those involved, describing their own individual views to create a richer, wider whole. Contradictions can abound as the passage of time allows each participant to see things they way they either
Arclight takes audiences back to school with their latest film series.
Press release: This September, ArcLight Cinemas is bringing you the best of the high school days with Arclight Presents… The Class Of. Rediscover the romance, and drama of your teenage years or come have some fun before hitting the books with these iconic fan favorites. Titles such at Ferris Buller's Day Off starring Matthew Brodrick, Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone, The Breakfast Club starring Molly Ringwald, and Bring It On starring Kirsten Dunst - just to name a few. Titles that are showing include: Bring It On September 6th - Hollywood 7:15 PM September 13th - Sherman Oaks 7 PM September
To quote Opie Winston, "I got this."
The first (and only) time I’ve been to any kind of convention was in 2013 when I went to Blood at the Beach. There weren’t a lot of guests I was really interested in seeing, but there were a couple of actors from The Walking Dead I wanted to gaze upon. I really had my heart set on meeting Michael Rooker, simply because I wanted to ask him a question about some little one-liners he had in the show that went largely unnoticed. I paid my money and got in the autograph line. I remember being next and I was
Twelve classic episodes, three exclusive special feature documentaries presenting unseen footage and new interviews with notable Star Trek figures.
Press release: Fans can dive into the making of pop culture history when STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES - THE RODDENBERRY VAULT is released on Blu-ray December 13. In honor of the show’s 50th Anniversary, and just in time for holiday gift giving, the three-disc collector’s edition Blu-ray set from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution gives fans unprecedented access to never-before-seen footage from the production of Star Trek: The Original Series. During the shooting of Star Trek, bits and pieces of episodic footage were left on the cutting room floor and later preserved in film canisters by
Kino Lorber Studio Classics has decided to move the release date of two of Haunted Honeymoon and The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, originally slated for September 27th, to this Tuesday, September 6th.
Press release: With the sad news of the recent passing of celebrated comedian, actor, writer, and director Gene Wilder, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has decided to move the release date of two of Mr. Wilder's films, HAUNTED HONEYMOON and THE ADVENTURE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER, originally slated for September 27th, to this Tuesday, September 6th.These two films, both of which were written, directed by, and starring Gene Wilder, showcase his versatility and comic talents that have endeared him to audiences for several decades, and Kino Lorber is proud to celebrate Mr. Wilder's legacy by bringing these classic comedies to