November 2016 Archives

Citizen Kane 75th Anniversary Blu-ray Review: An Underwhelming Celebration of Cinema History

Welles' legendary masterwork gets yet another Blu-ray release, courtesy of Warner Bros.
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What can you say about Citizen Kane that hasn't already been said? Director/actor/writer/producer Orson Welles' controversial landmark film has been dissected, acclaimed, and talked about for over 75 years. Its innovative flashback structure, piercing cinematography, amazing performances, and overall production have been forever integrated into the popular culture lexicon since its 1941 release. It's also a very ambitious depiction of a man's epic rise and fall that remains accurate to this day. Everyone knows the plot to the classic film: the study of Charles Foster Kane, a powerful newspaper magnate who eventually becomes undone by his own ambition and wealth.

Sony Movie Channel's December Programming Highlights

Highlights include a Richard Pryor tribute block, Ewan McGregor & Naomi Watts in the premiere of The Impossible, and more.
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Press release: Sony Movie Channel ​​(SMC) unwraps a star-studded December lineup packed with acclaimed dramas, steamy thrillers, cult classics, and more—airing in primetime all month long. The roster features Kevin Bacon and Bill Murray in a thrilling WILD THINGS block; Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Zones in a ZORRO two-pack; Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts in the network premiere of THE IMPOSSIBLE; a special tribute to Richard Pryor; Brad Pitt in A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT; and a Christmas Day Westerns Marathon starring James Stewart, Audie Murphy, and Randolph Scott, among others. WILD THINGS Block—Thurs., December 1 at 10 p.m. ET

TV Review: The Flash: 'Invasion'

"Finally. The Superfriends are together again for the first time. And they even have their own Hall of Justice." - Shawn Bourdo
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The Cinema Sentries are having their own crossover event to cover the DC Superheroes four-part crossover event entitled "Invasion," running this week on the CW. It began (briefly) on Supergirl and formally started on The Flash. Shawn Bourdo: Unlike last night's Supergirl, this one is an actual crossover. Like last night's Supergirl, it must be hard to watch these episodes if you don't follow all of the shows. Each show has had a pretty complex series of plots this season so far and they are playing into the continuity of the story. Cisco and Barry's tension is explained here but

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Swear'

"They called it 'Swear' because I swear it contained 13 minutes of actual storytelling." - Shawn
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In which the dead horse moves closer to the end. Kim: With only two episodes left before the mid-season break, I’d like to take a moment to discuss what’s really on everyone’s minds: How badly this season sucks ass. So, I tuned in last night fully understanding that we would not see Carol, Morgan, or Ezekiel (or that damn tiger). We would not see Negan. We would not see Daryl. We would not see Rick, Michonne, Maggie, Sasha, or Jesus. I reluctantly sat to watch, knowing that this episode would feature characters that none of us honestly give a shit

TV Review: Supergirl: 'Medusa'

"I’m still hoping for big things on the upcoming shows this week, but after tonight, I’m a little less enthusiastic than I was." - Todd Karella
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The Cinema Sentries are having their own crossover event to cover the DC Superheroes four-part crossover event entitled "Invasion," running this week on the CW. It begins (briefly) on Supergirl. Shawn Bourdo: Billed as the first part of the four-part crossover, I feel sorry for viewers tuning in who watch the other shows but not this one. If you are a fan of just Arrow or just The Flash then you are missing out on a pretty good season of Supergirl but you were also probably pretty confused about this continuity heavy episode that tied up loose ends from the

Fathom Events and TCM Present: Breakfast at Tiffany's

A light-hearted romantic comedy with a buoyant Harry Mancini score and Audrey Hepburn at her most chic.
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In 1995, the alternative rock band Deep Blue Something released their only hit song, "Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. I was in college at the time in Montgomery, Alabama, and it was all over the city. Playing on the radio, in all the restaurants, and all over the campus. One day, my friend Jenifer and I were singing along to the song and we came to the realization that neither of us had seen the Audrey Hepburn film of the song’s title. We scooted on over to the local video shop and rented up the VHS tape (wow, how anachronistic is that

They Were Expendable / She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Blu-ray Reviews: The WAC Duke

Two of the most famous John Ford/John Wayne collaborations make their HD home video debut courtesy the Warner Archive Collection.
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While both names carry around their own amount of (significant) weight, it's almost hard to imagine a John Ford movie without John "The Duke" Wayne ‒ and vice versa. Thankfully, the Warner Archive Collection has been gracious enough to help fans of both classic motion picture greats fill two voids in their High-Definition libraries with new Blu-ray releases of two of their best-known collaborations, They Were Expendable and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Both films showcase The Duke doing what he did best ‒ giving 'em hell ‒ but is in the first of these individually released titles, MGM's They

Don't Breathe is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us some thrilling horrors, some weird anime, and at least two friendly monsters.
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It's strange this writing things that get published on the internet. You never really know who is reading what your wrote, if anyone actually is at all. This afternoon I went to see a Fathom screening of Breakfast at Tiffany's. When I got to the theater, I tweeted about it and shared my location on Facebook. Then later this afternoon, in real life, no fewer than three people asked me how the movie was. That always throws me. It took me a minute to realize how they knew I’d gone to the movies. It makes perfect sense that people I

From Here to Eternity Returns to the Big Screen on Dec. 11 and 14

Winner of eight Academy Awards in 1953, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra) and Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed).
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Press release: “A man don’t go his own way, he’s nothing.” Audiences can go their own way to cinemas when Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Sony Pictures Entertainment bring the compelling war-time drama From Here to Eternity (1953) back to the big screen for a special two-day event this December as part of Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies’ TCM Big Screen Classics series. TCM Big Screen Classics: From Here to Eternity will screen on Sunday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 14 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time (both days) and will include eye-opening commentary from

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 11-28-16

A new month brings a new star-of-the-month.
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This week on TCM viewers can see the conclusion of the nonfiction To Tell The Truth spotlight as November concludes. December brings with it The Man Who Came to Dinner and a new Star-of-the-Month, Myrna Loy. TCM Spotlight: To Tell The Truth Hosted by Alec Baldwin - Always for Pleasure (1978) Monday, November 28 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Cameras explore the life and spirit of New Orleans. Primrose Path (1940) Tuesday, November 29 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) The youngest child in a family of prostitutes tries to go straight with a working man. TCM Spotlight: To Tell the Truth Hosted

Citizen Kane 75th Anniversary Blu-ray Review: One of the Medium's Most Visually Compelling Films

Caveat emptor, it's a reissue of the 70th Anniversary release.
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After a restored DCP master of Citizen Kane played at the 2016 AFI Fest, followed by an AFI Master Class, featuring Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles' daughter, Beatrice Welles, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment released a new Blu-ray and DVD to commemorate the film's 75th Anniversary. However, this release has not been struck from the new master, but instead is a reissue of the 70th Anniversary release. Citizen Kane tells the story of Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), a newspaper tycoon who “helped to change the world” though his detractors declared him a yellow journalist. He became one of the wealthiest

Spirited Away: 15th Anniversary Brings Hayao Miyazaki's Animated Masterpiece to U.S. Cinemas

In U.S. movie theaters on Sunday, December 4 at 12:00 p.m. (dubbed in English) and Monday, December 5, at 7:00 p.m. (English language subtitles).
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Press release: Enter an enchanted world of witches, dragons and spirits in Spirited Away, director Hayao Miyazaki’s, critically-acclaimed story that became a worldwide phenomenon, cementing Studio Ghibli’s legacy as one of the foremost animation studios in the world. Spirited Away: 15th Anniversary celebrates the anniversary of the Academy Award-winning animated film and the legendary Studio Ghibli. Fathom Events, in partnership with GKIDS, the acclaimed distributor of multiple Academy Award-nominated animated features, is set to bring this special event to U.S. movie theaters for two days only on Sunday, December 4 at 12:00 p.m. (dubbed in English) and Monday, December 5,

Hell Or High Water Review: All Hail West Texas

It is a fine western, and a fine crime film, but it doesn’t really ascend to the level of wondrous drama.
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Fittingly, I watched an episode of Columbo recently wherein William Shatner plays a TV detective who murders his producer, a woman who was also blackmailing him. He reflects upon his crime, and also upon an episode of his show that was seemingly in part an inspiration for his crime. Shatner’s character talks about how he felt the killer was sympathetic in the way things unfolded. The reason I take this aside before discussing the movie Hell or High Water is because that idea certainly feels thematically relevant. Hell or High Water is both a western and a heist movie, although

C.H.U.D. Blu-ray Review: Cheesy Happenings, Underwhelming Direction

C.H.U.D. strands a fun premise and surprisingly great cast in a meandering story with few thrills.
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What’s weird about C.H.U.D. is how much it’s like a real movie. An '80s horror flick, it has the feel of one of those '70s movies shockers that doled out the horror pretty sparingly, but spent a lot of time building characters and solidifying its premise. Partly this is because of the New York location shooting. Partly it is because the actors, particularly David Stern and Christopher Curry, rewrote large swatches of the script to turn their cut-outs into real characters. The title is an acronym meaning Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. And it’s not a surprise these C.H.U.D.s are working

Audrey Hepburn Lights up Cinemas Nationwide in Breakfast at Tiffany's on November 27 and 30

The beloved masterpiece graces the big screen once again.
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Press release: The exquisite Audrey Hepburn stars in director Blake Edwards’ timeless classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), returning to cinemas this November, as part of Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies’ TCM Big Screen Classics series. Moviegoers are invited to fall in love all over again with TCM Big Screen Classics: Breakfast at Tiffany's on Sunday, November 27 and Wednesday, November 30 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time (both days). The screenings will include commentary from Turner Classic Movies Saturday daytime host Tiffany Vazquez that will reveal what makes Holly Golightly one of American cinema’s most charming heroines.

Blindman (1971) DVD Review: Don't Let This One Out of Your Sight

The seldom-seen Spaghetti Western outing starring Tony Anthony and a recently disbanded Ringo Starr finally hits DVD.
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It was only 1971, but a lot had changed in the entertainment world since the '60s ended. First, and perhaps most importantly, The Beatles had disbanded. Secondly, the phenomenon of the Spaghetti Western was on the decline; the cruel victim of oversaturation and repetition on the behalf of the very countrymen who accidentally created the subgenre. One ex-Beatle in particular, Ringo Starr, attempted to launch a solo career in music, but was not experiencing much success [insert joke about Starr's drumming abilities here]. Across the Channel, American-born filmmaker Tony Anthony ‒ no "stranger" to the Euro western field, having created

2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25, 2017.
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Press release: Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA, announced nominations for the 2017 Spirit Awards this morning. The Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference held at W Hollywood, with actors Jenny Slate and Edgar Ramirez presenting the nominations. Nominees for Best Feature included American Honey, Chronic, Jackie, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight. "Now more than ever,

The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast Blu-ray Review: Extensive, Exhausting Exploitation Experience

With 14 movies and hour of extras, this set is all a fan could want (and more than most need.)
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Enormous multi-movie box sets (especially expensive ones) have two real audiences: already devoted fans, and movie buffs who want to get into a director, so they take the plunge all at once. There is, to my mind, no one who will casually purchase a 17-disc, 14-movie set with copious (almost endless) extras, particularly one that retails for a couple hundred bucks. The question, then, for Arrow Video’s extensive (if not entirely exhaustive) Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast is, what is in it, and will it satisfy both the dedicated and the curious? Being curious myself, and not a follower of the

The Wonder Years: Season Six DVD Review: No Shark Jumping, but It Was Time to End

It’s worth buying the season just to see how the story of these Wonder Years comes to a close.
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Appearing on both The Hollywood Reporter's and Rolling Stone's Best TV Shows of All Time lists, The Wonder Years is certainly one of the most memorable shows of the late '80s. Premiering after the Super Bowl on January 31st 1988, it was an immediate hit as baby boomers could not get enough of the blossoming 1960s junior high school relationship between Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) and Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar). There were certainly many other relationships explored on The Wonder Years featuring an amazing array of talented performers, but ultimately the show always came back to Kevin and Winnie. As

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Go-Getters'

"The continued loss of interest is correlated to the lack of zombies for me." - Shawn
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In which Carl has his first date and kiss. And nothing else happens. Kim: So, once again we all tune in to The Walking Dead and once again I’m left with feelings of anger and resentment for episode #(I don't really care), with the not-so-fitting name. I keep waiting for it to get better. I keep waiting for it to draw me in. It’s just not doing any of that this season. In fact, there are really only two things I feel I need to talk about in regards to this episode. I’ll give you my thoughts and then you

Hell or High Water is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a modern western, and old horror flick, a couple of Criterions, Marlon Brando directing and much more.
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I’m much too young to have grown up during the heyday of westerns. As a kid I didn’t like them. They were too old, too old-fashioned for me to take any interest in. When I’d complain about my uncle watching them, he’d laugh and say I really did like westerns I just didn’t know it. Star Wars, he’d explain, was really just a western in outer space, so maybe I should give John Wayne a try. I’d make a face and go play with my Han Solo figure. It was Young Guns that turned me around. That 1988 film about

Macbeth (1948) Olive Signature Blu-ray Review: Something Welles This Way Comes

A haunting and noirish adaptation of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays.
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Orson Welles was always a man of very electic tastes and certain cinematic desires. He wasn't just a dominating, and towering actor. He was also a director, producer, and writer whose many gifts became legendary in the history of cinema, especially with his 1941 breakthrough masterpiece Citizen Kane, which is often regarded by many critics as the greatest film ever made. However, his personality could be a little too larger-than-life, where his manic and perfectionist attitude took over many of his most iconic projects. His 1948 effort and adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth represents just that. It took the words and

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze Blu-ray Review: A Hero? Yes. Super? Hell, No.

One of the pulp world's first heroes makes for one of film world's worst zeroes.
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Lately, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been threatening all of mankind by announcing he is slated to star in one remake after another, including a short-lived, fleeting fantasy of a new version of Big Trouble in Little China and ‒ more recently ‒ the reboot of a footnote in the revised American Superhero book, the Doc Savage franchise. And though no such crimes have been perpetrated as of this writing, I almost think a re-envisioning of Doc Savage is in order. Not necessarily because I would support it (I wouldn't), but because it couldn't possibly be any worse than the

Joshy Blu-ray Review: A Darkly Funny Film about Loss and Friendship

This film not only deals with the themes of grief and loss but with the themes of recapturing youth and spontaneity.
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A few months after his fiancé Rachel (Alison Brie) commits suicide on his birthday, Joshy (Thomas Middleditch) decides he still wants to go away with his friends for the weekend that was supposed to be his bachelor party. Not all of Joshy’s friends are as keen on the idea as he is, and many of the friends abandon the plans. Not wanting Joshy to be alone, Ari (Adam Pally), Adam (Alex Ross Perry), Eric (Nick Kroll), and Eric’s friend Greg (Brett Gelman), all decide to join Joshy out at the weekend house in Ojai. Once the group comes together, it

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 11-21-16

Are you giving thanks for this roster of films?
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Thanksgiving Week on TCM sees the continution of To Tell The Truth, the biweekly nonfiction spotlight, another Friday of films featuring star-of-the-month Natalie Wood, and more. TCM Spotlight: To Tell The Truth Hosted by Alec Baldwin - God's Country (1986) Monday, November 21 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) Minnesota farmers deal with overproduction and foreclosures. The Big Sky (1952) Tuesday, November 22 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Trappers lead an expedition against river pirates and Indians along the Missouri River. TCM Spotlight: To Tell the Truth Hosted by Alec Baldwin - For All Mankind (1989) Wednesday, November 23 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)

Twilight Time Presents: The Southern Pacific Training Montage

Runaway locomotives, trainspotting hoboes, rail-hopping escapees, and deep-rooted Deep South prides and prejudices highlight this delivery of Blu-ray goods.
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Generally, my attempts at finding a common link between Twilight Time's monthly releases leaves me a lot of room to improvise. In the instance of the label's October 2016 releases, however, I didn't have to delve in too terribly far beneath the surface, especially with titles like Runaway Train, The Train, and Boxcar Bertha staring me right in the face. Combine that with the fact there is an awful lot of Southern drama involved in a large portion of the mix ‒ specifically in The Chase and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte ‒ and, well, I'm sure you get the idea

Universal Studios Home Entertainment Holiday Gift Guide 2016

From classic tear-jerkers to vintage knee-slappers, these goodies are sure to warm the hearts and tickle the funnybones of movie buffs.
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It's that time of the year once again, videophiles. And with all of the crazy mixed-up offerings 2016 has been pulling on us from the very beginning, there is some considerable comfort to be found in what Universal Studios Home Entertainment has put together for the holiday season. First and foremost is the prospect of you and yours spending a very Marxist Christmas (or perhaps Hanukkah would be more appropriate) with one of the most eagerly awaited Blu-ray box sets for classic comedy lovers everywhere. I speak, of course, of The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection: a three-disc High-Def item
The new Olive Signature line of releases includes Nicholas Ray's compelling Johnny Guitar, mastered on Blu-ray from a new 4K restoration. In addition to be a thrilling adventure, the film is the rare Western where strong, interesting female characters are the leads of the story while the men take a backseat. Passing explosive excavations by a train company and witnessing from a distance the end of a stagecoach robbery, Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden) rides into an Arizona town as a dust storm blows. Those scenes foreshadow the volatile, chaotic events to come. Johnny goes to Vienna's, a saloon named after

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Service'

"I found myself wishing that Negan would just start killing people so we could move on from this." - Kim
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In which the group gets reverse furniture delivery and Shawn and Kim watch. Shawn: Much like the actual plot development of this super-sized episode, I don't have many comments about this episode of The Walking Dead. I should have more to say in case we look back in a couple years to this as the point where viewers started abandoning ship. For now, I'll keep the good thoughts. "Service" The episode is so called because like any other job in the service industry, like working for Arby's or in the bathroom accessories department at Lowe's, this episode seemed to be

The New Doctor Who Christmas Special, 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio,' in Cinemas for Two Nights Only, December 27 & 29

Event to feature exclusive bonus content: A New Kind of Superhero & Doctor Who extra.
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Press release: BBC Worldwide North America and Fathom Events announce their last theatrical event of 2016, the Doctor Who Christmas Special, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” in movie theaters nationwide for two nights only on Tuesday, December 27 and Thursday, December 29, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. local time both days. The event will include the full 60-minute special plus two exclusive bonus features, A New Kind of Superhero, giving a special inside look at Doctor Who’s concept of a modern superhero, and a special Christmas Doctor Who Extra, showing the making of this year’s special, with appearances by stars Peter

Vamp (1986) Blu-ray Review: From Dusk Till... Hey, Wait a Minute!

Though the extras for this Arrow Video release are a bit on the anemic side, I can still sink my teeth in this fun '80s vampire cult classic.
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While the cinematic equilibrium of horror and comedy had been teeter-totting off and on for many years prior, it really wasn't until the 1980s rolled around that people started to get the balance right (that may or may not have been a Depeche Mode reference, for those of you playing at home). Indeed, the monstrous success of Ghostbusters in 1984 (you know, the good one) all but blew the doors off of the previously sealed gateway to the otherworldly. Within the boundaries of films we weren't supposed to take very seriously, that is. In a way, this permitted the horror

Criterion Announces February 2017 Releases

Four more weeks of movies!
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No matter what the groundhog sees, there's going to be four more weeks of movies from Criterion in February with all new additions to the collection. They are Richard Linklater's The Before Trilogy, Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs, Kirsten Johnson's Cameraperson, Michael Curtiz's Mildred Pierce, and Pedro Almodóvar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Read on to learn more about them. Cameraperson (#853) out Feb 7 A boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home with the director: Kirsten Johnson weaves

Finding Dory is the Pick of the Week

This week's new releases include a forgetful fish, a killer king (or two), several Criterions, and lots of Buster Keaton.
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I have lamented numerous times in these pages about how my young daughter has kept me from seeing a great many movies. For years it was inappropriate to take her to the theatre and babysitters were hard to come by. Many movies that I want to watch at home should surely not be viewed with toddlers by my side. Thing is she’s five and a half now. She loves going to the movies. She has a greater attention span so she can watch longer and more complicated plot lines with at least some comprehension. I'm also pretty liberal in what

Kino Lorber Studio Classics Announces December Home Video Releases

Includes films by directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Harold Prince, and Frank Borzage.
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Kino Lorber Studio Classics offers up a roster of titles in December that will expand your wish list for the holidays. Luna (1979)Blu-ray and DVD Street Date: December 6, 2016DVD SRP $19.95BD SRP $29.95Drama / 1979 / R / 142 minDirector: Bernardo BertolucciStarring Jill Clayburgh, Matthew Barry, Fred Gwynn, Tomas Milian, Alida Valli, Roberto Benigni, Renato Salvatori, Franco CittiSynopsis: Legendary filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor) directed this controversial drama starring the great Jill Clayburgh (Starting Over). Luna explores the troubled life of Joe Silveri, a teenager (Matthew Barry, The Wraith) and his troubling relationship with his parents, including an

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) Blu-ray Review: Gritty, Dirty, Bloody Fun

Wes Craven's second film is decidedly low budget and grim, but it shows the early promise of a true master of horror.
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Born in 1939, Wes Craven was raised in a strict Baptist family, attended very conservative religious schools, and received a masters degree in philosophy and writing from Johns Hopkins University. He got his start in filmmaking by directing numerous pornographic films before making his break-out horror classic The Last House on the Left. In the 1980s, he created one of the greatest icons in horror history with Freddy Krueger then subverted the very slasher genre he helped popularize with the Scream franchise, which turned slasher films into a satirical exercise of meta-filmmaking. Both of those film series inject humor into

The Love Witch Review: A Loving Tribute to a Bygone Era

Anna Biller's meticulous tribute to the world Russ Meyer and '60s/'70s melodramas.
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This has been a year of studio era homages in cinema, with Hail, Caesar! and this week's Rules Don't Apply the more prominent ones. But those two pay tribute to a bygone era in surface presentation or via random references. If you want a film that lives, eats and breathes the dazzling, soap-bubble world of a time gone by then you can't do any better than The Love Witch. Too niche for its own good at times, The Love Witch is a jaw-droppingly meticulous recreation of the Russ Meyer and studio melodramas of the 1960s (a combination of Peyton Place

The Initiation (1984) Blu-ray Review: Old School's Out Forever

Arrow Video brings us a new HD transfer of the sorority slasher many of us kids ditched out on the first time around.
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If there was one lesson to be learned from the entire run of the slasher film subgenre, it is that no school-themed event, national holiday, or generalized superstition was safe from the prying eyes of bloodthirsty, homicidal maniacs. Indeed, after the first session of class began with John Carpenter's Halloween in 1978, no one ever thought to offer up "Nothing Lasts Forever" as part of the curriculum for the uninitiated. Instead, one applicant after another ‒ originating from actual graduates of filmmaking schools to drop-outs from other ends of the camera ‒ signed up for a refresher course, culminating in

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 11-14-16

Seven more movies to choose from.
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For those who need a respite from the real world, TCM has some offerings like star-of-the-month Natalie Wood finds Splendor in the Grass on Friday. For those who don't, there's two nights of documentaries during the To Tell the Truth spotlight. And if you haven't had enough of politics, there's The Candidate. TCM Spotlight: To Tell the Truth Hosted by Alec Baldwin - The Sorrow and the Pity (1969) Monday, November 14 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Documents France's role in World War II during the years of 1940-1944 in epic proportions. The Candidate (1972) Tuesday, November 15 at 8:00 p.m.

Twilight Time Presents: Sense and Sensitivities

From insensitive employers to less-than-sensible debates about mayonnaise, this assortment of odds and ends is sure to inspire those of you who feel like humanity has lost all common sense.
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Like certain recent events in world history have proved, the elements of both sense and sensitivity are not always in full force: people don't always make the best decisions. This is particularly true ‒ to say nothing of acceptable ‒ in the less depressing field of fiction. And no matter how realistic of a course this sextet from Twilight Time may have become, these magical realms of fantasy nevertheless provide a great escape to scurry off to, particularly when the gravity of reality becomes almost too improbable to properly process ‒ especially since most of the protagonists of these six

getTV Starts 29-day Christmas Event 'The Most Wonderful Month of the Year' Nov 27

The lineup includes Christmas films, rare Christmas variety specials, and holiday-themed episodes from TV series already in the getTV lineup.
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Press release: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on getTV, as the network celebrates the season with its second annual “The Most Wonderful Month of the Year” event. The channel turns over its daily schedule during primetime all month long in order to focus on a mixture of rare and classic Christmas-themed variety specials, TV series episodes, and films, starring some of entertainment’s biggest names, from Sunday, November 27 through Sunday, December 25, culminating in a weeklong 24-hour-a-day yuletide mega-marathon kicking off at 12 noon on Sunday, December 18 and running through Christmas day. “The Most Wonderful Month

Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression: Live at the Royal Albert Hall Review

It's fitting the show concludes with "Success" because that's a completely accurate description of what this concert is.
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In March of 2016, Iggy Pop and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age revealed they had secretly collaborated on an album together, Post Pop Depression. Joined by QOTSA's Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders in the studio, PPD was released to good reviews followed soon after by 21 dates across North America and Europe in support of the album. Rounding out the touring band were QOTSA's Troy Van Leeuwen and guitarist Matt Sweeney. Their performance at the Royal Albert Hall on May 13 was the second to last night of the tour. It's an impressive, raucous

Arrival Movie Review: You May Have to Sit Through It Twice to Get It

I couldn't wait to depart!
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At hearing the title of the new science fiction film from director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Enemy), my first thought was that one of the Sheen boys had made such a film years ago. Indeed, Charlie Sheen did star in The Arrival (1996), which was a B science fiction movie at best, and failed miserably at the box office. The synopsis for Arrival [After extraterrestrial spacecraft plant themselves at various locations around the globe, a linguist (Amy Adams) and a theoretical physicist (Jeremy Renner) must find a way to communicate with the mysterious visitors in order to learn what they want

Morris From America Blu-ray Review: A Coming-of-Age Story Without the B.S.

Chad Hartigan writes and directs another film with instincts for the low-key.
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Midway through Morris From America, Chad Hartigan’s winning if decidedly minor coming-of-age comedy, 13-year-old Morris (Markees Christmas) is forced to perform a rap he wrote when it’s discovered by his single dad, Curtis (Craig Robinson). Reluctantly, he obliges: “Fuckin’ all the bitches, two at a time / All you can take, for just $10.99 / Mom’s on the pipe and Pop’s on death row / So who gives a shit if I fuck all these hoes.” Curtis is incredulous. “Why are you mad? You curse all the time,” Morris pleads. “I ain’t mad at you for writing those rhymes because

The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America to Rock U.S. Cinemas on December 12

“Even after 50 years, the Rolling Stones remain one of the most iconic and influential rock bands of all time,” Fathom Events CEO John Rubey said.
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Press release: A road movie that celebrates the revolutionary power of Rock n’ Roll, The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America is an exhilarating and vivid documentary that follows the Stones’ tour of early 2016 through 10 Latin American cities. It combines electrifying live performances from across the tour and from their historic tour finale as the first-ever rock band to perform to an audience of 1.2 million in Havana, with an intimate insight into the world of the Rolling Stones. This event also features an exclusive introduction from the band and two full-length bonus performances

Bad Moms Blu-ray Review: Factory-made Comedy

A quick tour of how movies for a general audience are made.
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Hello, everyone, and welcome to the movie factory. I am your tour guide, The Vern, and on this journey, I will be describing how movies are made for a general audience. It's important when you make one of these features to reach the widest demographic possible. If anyone says your film was original or even daring, you will have failed as a filmmaker for this particular niche market. The movie that we are going to be exploring while in this building is the 2016 comedy Bad Moms. It was made for a budget of $20 Million and ranked in close

TCFF 2016 Review: Funeral Day

If you are selfish and only think of yourself, good things will happen to you.
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All of us deal with the notion of death in different ways. When someone close to us dies, we begin thinking about our own lives and what we can do to better ourselves. When my friend Mike died from an unexpected heart attack, I was devastated. It was at that moment our carefree, fun-loving partying days were over and our adulthood was starting. I know this is a thing that is suppose to happen when we get older. Yet, this is something I wanted to experience more in my late 40s rather than my mid 30's. As much as I

The Night Of Blu-ray Review: Terrific TV

HBO's limited series takes a hard look at the American criminal justice system.
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Sometimes, I think Richard Price should write all of our television. At heart, Price is a novelist. He’s written some of the greatest crime stories of modern times (including Lush Life and Clockers). While his books fall under the crime genre, they are so much more than that. He researches deep into the ways in which cops really work and what life on the street is really like. His novels pry into urban life and shine a light into places most other novels do not dare show. As such, his writing finds a truth so often missing from genre fiction.

Private Property Blu-ray Review: Sizzling Hot Forgotten Noir

This lost noir is a steamy mix of sex-crime, repression, voyeurism, and all other sorts of ugly things, beautifully done.
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Made just on the cusp of the broadening of censorship rules in Hollywood, Private Property was probably too much, too soon. Unable to secure an MPAA seal of approval, the movie never opened wide, and quickly disappeared. This is a shame because Private Property is a brimming pot of noir nastiness, a near classic in a genre that's too often associated with gangsters and organized criminality, but at its heart is really about human frailty, obsession, and madness. Corey Allen and Warren Oates star as Duke and Boots, a pair of drifters who wander up from the beach looking for

Taxi Driver (40th Anniversary Edition) Is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a blind crime fighter, a killer taxi driver, raunchy sausages, and more.
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If The Avengers are all about saving the world from alien annihilation, then the Defenders have far less loftier goals - they protect the dirty neighborhood streets of New York City from thugs and gangsters (and the occasional ninja). Four seasons in (two of Daredevil and one each of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage) and I am totally on board with Marvel’s street level superheroes. With these Netflix series, Marvel is proving yet again that their aim is to take over every possible entertainment venue we have as puny humans. They’ve ruled the comics market for decades and every few

Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review: New Features for the Old Classic

The tale as old as time gets some brand new bonus features for its 25th anniversary release.
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It’s only been six years since the last time this Disney princess was allowed out of the video vault, but this year’s 25th anniversary and an impending live action remake served as ample incentive for another cash grab. Thankfully, the Disney marketing folks saw fit to include an ample selection of brand new bonus features for this release, although the technical specifications of the film’s video/audio presentation are exactly the same. The Blu-ray package also includes a digital copy, another perk absent in the prior release. Finally, viewers again get the option of watching three different versions of the film,

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Cell'

"I just hope there's a point to all of this that I'm just not seeing yet." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn contemplate naked Daryl and other things. Kim: Let me start by saying I have been waiting a long time to see Daryl naked. This was not the way I wanted that to go. I don’t have a lot of thoughts on this episode, but I have a couple and you’re going to have to sit there and take it, just like Rick and the gang did a few weeks ago. Take it like a champ, just as Abraham did. Psychological torture. That’s what this episode is about. Not only what Dwight and Negan were doing

Last of the Mississippi Jukes DVD Review: Blues History Revisited

This riveting documentary chronicles the history of the Mississippi juke joint and the ongoing struggle to preserve remaining clubs.
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Actor Morgan Freeman, who co-owns Mississippi juke joint Ground Zero, describes Delta Blues as “American classical music.” The documentary Last of the Mississippi Jukes—originally released in 2003 and now available on DVD—chronicles one state’s fight to preserve not only Delta Blues but the juke joints that introduced the blues. This loving tribute spotlights two venues, one older and the other a recreation of traditional juke joints. While the fate of these two places diverge, they share one common interest: fostering local talent and maintaining the tight community that the blues formed. Juke joints first appeared on southern plantations after the

The Initiation Blu-ray Review: Better Than Most of Its Slasher Ilk

One of the last great slasher flicks of the early 80's gets a stellar upgrade courtesy of Arrow.
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During the early 1980s, the slasher genre was at an all-time peak, not critically but commerically. The more movies that were released, the more money was made. Although the quality of most of these movies declined after a certain point, there were some great ones to come out of that profitable boom. Director Larry Stewart's 1984 effort The Initiation is one of those great ones, a better and more stronger contribution to the most understood genre in movie history. It was also notable for being the debut of future film and TV star Daphne Zuniga in a leading role. So

Can't Stop The Show: The Return Of KIX Review: The Band Is Back Sounding As Good As They Always Have

KIX and '80s heavy metal fans will not be disappointed with this new release.
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Formed in 1977, the hard rock band from Hagerstown, Maryland broke into the mainstream music scene with their fourth album, the platinum selling Blow My Fuse in 1988. After releasing two more albums that did not have the same success, KIX wouldn’t release another album for almost 20 years. In 2014, they released Rock Your Face Off. Following up that release, the band put together a documentary detailing all the time and hard work they put into creating new music. The biggest challenge was writing the music itself. Former bass player and author of most of the band’s previous songs,

Now Hear This Podcast Festival 2016 Review

It will be interesting to see how it evolves and grows over the next few years.
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Disclaimer: I’m a podcaster and a podcast fan. I was one fourth of the amazing team of the now-retired Scorebored. I have worked with a lot of the podcasters whose podcasts I listen to regularly. I listen to podcasts daily. I attend live podcast performances. I have attended the Los Angeles Podcast Festival four out of the five years it has been going. So I am writing this article as a member of the press, but also as a member the podcast community. Last weekend marked the inaugural Now Hear This Podcast Festival (NHT). The festival was held October 28th-30th

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 11-07-16

Vote with your remote this week.
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During the first full week of November, TCM begins airing its twice-weekly spotlight on documentaries. On Friday, Star-of-the-month Natalie Wood co-stars in Rebel Without A Cause. TCM Spotlight: To Tell the Truth Hosted by Alec Baldwin - Primary (1960) Monday, November 7 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) The Wisconsin Primary of 1960 sets John Kennedy on the road to the White House. Saboteur (1942) Tuesday, November 8 at 9:15 p.m. (ET) A young man accused of sabotage goes on the lam to prove his innocence. TCM Spotlight: To Tell the Truth Hosted by Alec Baldwin - Prelude to War (1943) Wednesday,

Twilight Time Presents: All for the Glory of Love

From Peckinpah to Price and from Scott to Sinatra, this assortment of classics from Twilight Time doesn't mess around.
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It's easy to get carried away sometimes, particularly when the target of your obsession is something (or someone) you love. And you won't find a single protagonist or villain afoot in this wave of new Blu-ray releases from Twilight Time incapable of agreeing with you. Featuring the unparalleled talents of many motion picture greats, these releases ‒ all but one of which make their HD home video debuts ‒ this assortment of flicks touches upon all sorts of human emotion people throughout history have fallen prey to: an unbridled love for something, be it lust, pride, glory, and/or greed. Our

50 Years of Star Trek DVD Review: This Mission Failed

Don't bother beaming me up.
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The entertainment phenomenon that is Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary in September, and with the first television series giving life to five more series and thirteen motion pictures, the incredible fan base was set for something spectacular to commemorate such an auspicious occasion. One could argue that there would be no way to please everyone if a documentary of the history of Star Trek was to be created. If you were to fill a room with Star Trek aficionados and open the discussion on which was the best series, the best captain, or the best motion picture, you would

The Satanist (1968) / Sisters in Leather (1969) Blu-ray Review: Lost and Bound

The spirit of Something Weird Video is alive and as incurably sick as ever with this exciting new sexploitation double-bill from Garagehouse Pictures.
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Like absent remote controls and missing keys, lost films also have a tendency to pop up once in a blue moon, thus restoring a fraction of faith to movie lovers everywhere. And while movies such as the Silent Era's London After Midnight remain just as elusive as ever, a small percentage of that aforementioned fraction of faith is nevertheless present when even something far less famous (and infinitely more obscure) magically re-appears after more than 40 years of complete and total nihility. In fact, the enthusiasm over the rediscovery of something few people have ever even heard of can be

Vamp Blu-ray Review: Fun, but Forgettable

Stylish '80s vampire flick has little bite, but doesn't suck too much.
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Legends of vampires are as old as recorded history. There are stories of vampire-like creatures from every corner of the Earth. The modern vampire has its origins in Southern Europe dating from around the early 18th century. Bram Stoker got his idea for Dracula from those parts and it is from him that most of our preconceived notions about vampires come. F.W. Murnau illegally stole Stoker’s story for his landmark 1922 film Nosferatu (Stoker sued for copyright infringement, and won, causing nearly all the prints of Nosferatu to be destroyed. It is only by the grace of the cinematic gods

I Drink Your Blood (1970) Blu-ray Review: Lap It Up, You Mad Dogs!

Grindhouse Releasing brings us the ultimate version of this nightmarish acid trip down memory lane, complete with new extras and even two bonus movies!
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Like many cult/horror/exploitation movie enthusiasts who grew up in the '90s, I had to rely on mail-order companies to feed my growing dependency of strange tastes in film. Through these companies, hundreds of generic videocassettes ‒ the origins of which varied from fuzzy 16mm prints to second-generation LaserDisc transfers ‒ found their way into my home, many of which would stay with me well into the 2000s before the advent of DVD enabled many an obscured cult classic to be released commercially and en masse. One fateful evening, somewhere in the middle of a particularly life-changing year of my adolescence

Slugs Blu-ray Review: Delightfully Terrible

Mutated mollusks wreak havoc in a small town, and awesomeness on our small screens.
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I can’t believe this is about to happen. You are about to read, from me, a positive review for a movie about a bunch of murderous, mutant mollusks. Slugs is a delight. It's well made, funny, gross, and an immensely entertaining movie. I mean it's still a really bad movie, but in the most satisfying of ways. Made in 1988, Slugs follows in the footsteps of all those mutant animal/nature vs. animal flicks that gained popularity in the '70s (which tells you something about the development of this film being made nearly a decade after the genre basically died out).

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Well'

"I hope we get some resolutions or this is going to be painful." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim are left with just a weird feeling and more questions. Shawn: Not sure why they put a "the" in front of the title of this episode. I'd be happy with just a drawn out "wellllllll." After last week, I didn't really have a vision for how this week would go and I don't know if I've sufficiently processed this one. I have a few thoughts. It's an odd trip from Negan / Lucille to King Ezekiel / CGI Tiger, Shiva. A baseball bat in the hands of an enigmatic leader of a band of thieves

The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast Blu-ray/DVD Box Set Review: Class-Ick

Arrow Video releases the definitive box set (well two, actually) paying all respect due to one of filmdom's most unique innovators.
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There will never be another Herschell Gordon Lewis in this world, ladies and gentlemen. And though some snobbier film aficionados may consider that a blessing, considering the course the motion picture industry has taken since the late independent exploitation filmmaker first succeeded in turning head whilst churning stomachs and all, there is no denying the legacy H.G. Lewis left behind. While his self-planted roots in the world cinema started with a variety of silly "nudie cuties" (which popped up in various "art houses" across the nation), Lewis didn't strike gold until he struck nerves. And arteries. And major organs. And

Kristen's Book Club for November 2016

Some books that will make readers thankful.
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The temperatures dropping and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. But that's no reason to stop reading. Here are a few books worth picking up for when the family becomes too much for you. Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressed Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema, 1908-1934 by Laura Horak Since time immemorial girls and women have dabbled in the art of cross-dressing, look at Shakespeare's Rosalind from As You Like It. The idea of disguising the female identity to either subvert gender roles or present pointed critiques against masculinity has been in film since its inception and it hasn't been looked

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