January 2017 Archives

Wagon Tracks Blu-ray Review: Revenge on the Santa Fe Trail

Silent western icon William S. Hart rides onto Blu-ray for the first time.
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William S. Hart was one of the preeminent stars of the silent film era, well-loved for his portrayals of stoic, strong-jawed Wild West heroes. His relative obscurity today isn’t helped by a lack of representation on home video; most, if not all, extant DVD releases of his films are Alpha Video public-domain cheapies. But here comes Olive Films, riding in heroically on horseback with the first Blu-ray release of a Hart film, 1919’s Wagon Tracks, sourced from an original 35mm nitrate print from the Library of Congress. It’s a good choice. Far from an anonymous run-of-the-mill oater, Wagon Tracks is

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us generic action from Tom Cruise, a queen from England, a Nazi love camp, and more.
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Tom Cruise, the human, seems like a pretty awful dude. He’s a high-ranking member of a terrible cult/religion that uses brainwashing, blackmail, and mob-like intimidation techniques. He’s publicly made damaging comments about psychiatry, that if taken seriously, could do untold harm to millions of patients who desperately need the medical practice and their prescribed medication. I also don’t think he’s that great of an actor. He gets the job done, sometimes very well, but there’s never been a moment in which I found his performance in any film to be elevated into the level of greatness. Despite all this, I

Fathom Events Presents Dirty Dancing

For its 30th anniversary, Fathom Events put Baby back in the corner for a couple of viewings on the big screen.
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I grew up attending the Churches of Christ - a conservative evangelical Christian sect most know for our aversion to instrumental music and, like John Lithgow’s minister in Footloose, our declarations against pre-marital dancing. While watching Dirty Dancing on the big screen for its 30th anniversary care of Fathom Events, my wife turned to me and said, “this is why we couldn’t go to dances.” It's true the film is filled with, as its name suggests, plenty of dirty, sensual, sexy dancing that would put prurient thoughts into the most wholesome of minds. Made on a tiny budget of $5

getTV Adds Shane, Grizzly Adams, and Blue Thunder in February

In addition to airing every episode of these series, the network will debut the Blue Thunder, starring Dana Carvey, in a nine-episode marathon Feb. 26.
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Press release: getTV expands its popular Sunday Westerns posse, as the beloved 1977 adventure series THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GRIZZLY ADAMS moves into the weekly 9 a.m. ET slot with a Super Bowl Sunday marathon on February 5, while the rare 1966 David Carradine Western SHANE takes over at 10 a.m. ET starting February 12. In addition to these two classic series, the network will air the 1984 action series BLUE THUNDER in a special Get Lost In TV nine-episode marathon on Sunday, February 26, starting at 10 p.m. ET. getTV is rooting for the Bears this Super Bowl

Pinocchio: The Signature Collection Blu-ray Review: Delightful For All Ages

The classic Disney film gets a new release with a little bit new and a whole lot of old supplementals.
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By 1937, Walt Disney Studios had been making animated shorts for over a decade. They’d become very successful but were still seen as a silly kids studio by most of Hollywood. With the smash success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that changed. The film made over $8 million dollars in its initial run, garnered lots of critical praise, and won an honorary Oscar. With all that success, Disney quickly moved into making his second full-length animated feature, Pinocchio. Based upon an Italian children’s novel, Pinocchio tells the story of a wooden puppet that is given life by a

Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horror-Thon Blu-ray Review: The Ultimate Party Mix

Imagine a seven-and-a-half-hour compilation of nothing but horror movie previews from the '80s. Then go one step further.
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Before the days of easily comprised playlists, which can be effortlessly constructed via an MP3 player synced up to something resembling iTunes, we adults had to deal with the complexities of assembling party mixes with using archaic technology such as analog cassette tapes. If you were lucky, you had a dual-cassette boombox with high-speed dubbing capabilities, but that hardly made editing a breeze: you either knew when and where to release the pause on Deck One as you hit the 'record' button on Deck Two or you didn't. And that was just for audio mixes, kids ‒ compiling a video

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 01-30-17

It's time to catch up on past Oscar winners.
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After the Stars Behind Bars spotlight concludes on Tuesday, TCM begins its 31 Days of Oscar marathon begins on Wednesday. This year the films run alphabetically, starting with Abe Lincoln in Illinois and ending the week with Bonnie and Clyde. Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) Monday, January 30 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A concert pianist with amnesia fights to regain her memory. TCM Spotlight: Stars Behind Bars - Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) Tuesday, January 31 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) True story of Robert Stroud, the prison lifer who became an expert on birds. 31 Days of Oscar: Oscars A

The Handmaiden DVD Review: A Twisting, Turning Korean Thriller

South Korean director Park Chan-wook takes a break from his usual shocking ultra violence and makes a magnificently beautiful period drama.
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Park Chan-wook is best known for what is now known as his Vengeance Trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance), three films that are unrelated in plot but share deep thematic ties and the director’s perchance for extreme violence and a dark, often perverse sense of humor. His latest film, The Handmaiden gives up the violence (mostly) and exchanges it for a lush, tightly plotted period romance (albeit one with some fairly graphic lesbian sex and tentacle porn). Set in Japanese-occupied Korea in the 1930s, the film tells the story of Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri) a pick-pocket and con

Five Cool Things and Mary Tyler Moore

This week I struggled to find five cool things so I brought in a friend.
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It has been a long, weird week in the Mat Brewster home, culturally speaking. Work has been busy, keeping me from listening to things as often, or as intently as I might want. Evenings too have been a little weird. I’ve started several movies but for differing reasons have not finished them. Likely I’ll write about at least one of them next week as I do plan to finish them soon. What I did finish, I didn’t like all that much. [*cough* X-Men: Apocalypse *cough*] So what’s a guy to do when he wants to bring forth five cool things

Mannix: The Second Season DVD Review: Smart, Believable Mysteries

During these 25 episodes, Mannix is shot four times, knocked unconscious eleven, and keeps coming back for more.
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Joe Mannix (Mike Connors) is a private eye who works in Los Angeles. He comes from a long line of hard-boiled detectives who think with their brains and speak with their fists. A man’s man without frailties or weakness whose only indulgence appears to be slugs of booze. His character is a bit of a mystery with nothing else in his life but his work, although through the episodes we get pieces of his backstory, like of old girlfriends and Korean War buddies. Mannix was created by the team of William Link and Richard Levinson, who also created Columbo and

Book Review: Li'l Abner: The Complete Dailies and Color Sundays, Volume 8: 1949-1950 by Al Capp

I can't remember anything being as wildly absurd as Li'l Abner.
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As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect Li'l Abner: The Complete Dailies and Color Sundays by Al Capp, Volume 8 presents the dailies from December 23, 1948 through to January 11, 1951 and the Sunday strips, which aren't part of the dailies' continuity, from December 12, 1948 through to November 12, 1950. The book has an introductory essay, Bruce Canwell's "Hillbily Heaven" that includes a look at Capp's feud with former boss Joe Palooka creator Hammond Fisher, which spills into the strip a few times in this book. Growing up as member of Generation X,

getTV Honors Mary Tyler Moore with 1960s Specials on Monday, Jan. 30

See her unforgettable appearances on the 1969 special Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman, and the rare 1960 crime series Johnny Staccato.
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Press release: getTV celebrates the life and legacy of trailblazing television icon Mary Tyler Moore with special broadcasts of her appearance on the 1969 special DICK VAN DYKE AND THE OTHER WOMAN, and her early guest spot in a 1960 episode of the rare crime drama JOHNNY STACCATO, airing Monday, January 30 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. With her trademark smile and sharp timing, Moore rose to fame playing the wife of comedy legend Dick Van Dyke on the beloved 1961 sitcom THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW. However, it was her lead role on the 1970 series THE MARY

Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966) Blu-ray Review: Please Hang Up and Try Again

Olive Films releases one of Bob Hope's legendary flops, which is almost bad enough to be funny.
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If there's one thing film historians and aficionados alike can agree on, it's that you can't make a good movie with a bad script. Even a comedic titan such as the late, great Bob Hope would discover he was not immune to this theory as both he and his career entered the 1960s, wherein the legendary star of stage, screen, and radio ‒ who was now fully able to make a few dumb sex jokes for an hour-and-a-half thanks to changing times ‒ found himself with nothing more to do than make a few dumb sex jokes for an hour-and-a-half.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Fifth Season DVD Review: Life After Rhoda

Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, the series excels because it has a simple formula of great writing brought to life by great acting.
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The fifth season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show continues the funny exploits of Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) and her WJM coworkers, the main trio being gruff but lovable news producer Lou Grant (Ed Asner); wisecracking writer Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod); and dopey, self-absorbed news anchor Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). Other recurring characters are Ted’s girlfriend Georgette (Georgia Engel), a Gracie Allen-type character, and man-hungry TV host Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White). Mary’s friend and neighbor Rhoda (Valerie Harper) is no longer around because she was spun-off into her own series and landlord Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) would leave after

Blu-ray Reviews: Musicals and the Musically Inclined from the Warner Archive

Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day, and Julie Andrews highlight a trio of amazing rom-coms from more enjoyable, innocent times.
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Romantic comedies may have been a dime a dozen back in the '50s, but ‒ as any good numismatist knows ‒ a mint condition dime from the 1950s is worth much more than a pretty penny today. And the Warner Archive has been quite busy of late bringing a venerable assortment of shiny motion pictures classics to Blu-ray for future generations to marvel over, including a grand musical from the '50s, an amazing throwback to the musical from the '80s, and another '50s flick starring one of the era's most beloved musical starlets. In the latter instance, I speak of

2017 Academy Award Nominations Announced

And the nominees are...
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have revealed their nominees for outstanding film achievement of 2016. La La Land ties the record for most nominations with 14, matching Titanic and All About Eve. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center and televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The nominees (with links to our reviews) are: Best Picture Arrival | Review Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water | Review Hidden Figures La La Land Lion

The Handmaiden is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a new film from Park Chan-wook, Robert Langdun solving more clues, a story from Jaws coming to life and much more.
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There is a scene in Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy that just might be the greatest fight ever put in a movie. It immediately made me a fan of the South Korean director. Oldboy is the middle part of the director’s Vengeance Trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance are the other two). All three ensconce themselves in perverse violence that will please even the most hardcore action fan, but that violence is never the point. Chan-Wook uses the unrelenting and incredibly crafted brutality to dig deeper into the soul’s of his characters and ponder man’s insatiable need to destroy. He’s

I Love Lucy: Superstar Special #2 DVD Review: Lucy and the Duke

Over 60 years old, the shows remain funny and timeless thanks to the writing and the cast. And yet, I find the Superstar Special DVD to be an odd release.
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Following its airing on May 20, 2016, the I Love Lucy Superstar Special #2, which aired colorized versions of the first two episodes of Season Five, "Lucy Visits Grauman's" (original airdate 10/3/55) and "Lucy and John Wayne" (original airdate 10/10/55), comes to DVD. The special can viewed in its entirety as can the individual episodes, which are available colorized or in black and white versions and in their original broadcast length. During their stay in Hollywood, which began in the previous season, Lucy got into many star-studded misadventures. "Lucy Visits Grauman's" finds Ricky (Desi Arnaz) ready to head back to

Keeping Up with the Joneses Blu-ray Review: An Action Comedy That Needed a Bit More of Both

Poor execution and utilization of the cast really left it flat.
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Jeff Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis) works for MBI, a giant corporation, in their HR department. He lives in a cul-de-sac with his wife Karen (Isla Fisher) and two kids. He has the perfect life, but it’s a simple, dull existence where he doesn’t even have enough security clearance to know what his company even does. But that all changes when a couple of his neighbors move to Hawaii and two incredibly attractive and exciting people, Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie Jones (Gal Gadot), move in across the way. Having some new blood in the neighborhood immediately attracts Karen’s attention as she

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 01-23-17

The Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds is honored this week.
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This week on TCM, in addition to the usual nights devoted to star-of-the-month Jane Wyman and films set Behind the Bars, there are evenings featuring James Mason, SAG Life Achievement Award honoree Lily Tomlin, and Debbie Reynolds. The Seventh Veil (1945) Monday, January 23 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A concert pianist with amnesia fights to regain her memory. TCM Spotlight: Stars Behind Bars - Caged (1950) Tuesday, January 24 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A young innocent fights to survive the harsh life in a women's prison. Rome Adventure (1962) Wednesday, January 25 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A rebellious teacher moves

Who? (aka Robo Man, 1974) Blu-ray Review: Wait, What?

An offbeat, seldom-seen British spy-fi offering goes HD courtesy the efforts of Kino Lorber.
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Apart from farfetched clones and spoofs of the James Bond films, or television shows ranging from animation to puppets to live-action girls with nice bouncy boobies about, there aren't a whole heck of a lot of noticeable titles falling under the heading of "spy-fy" in the world. We can fathom the sight of 007 driving an invisible car, or kids and talking animals preventing world domination. We are also able to accept comic book superheroes and space travelers in galaxies far, far away embarking on dangerous missions of intrigue with a straight face ‒ as such titles tend to be

Five Cool Things and Moe Howard

Give this a read, you numbskulls.
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To let you in on a little behind-the-scenes action here at Cinema Sentries, me and boss-man Gordon spent some time tossing around ideas on what to call this new series. The idea for the series sprang from the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. At the end of each show, everyone in that week’s panel talks about something from pop culture that’s been making them happy. It's always my favorite segment and I love the concept of finding things both big and small that bring you joy and sharing that with whoever will listen. The idea of doing something similar

Doubt Blu-ray Review: One of the Best Modern Acting Ensembles

Without a doubt, I highly recommend seeing this movie,
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In a Bronx Catholic church, a year after Kennedy’s assassination, recently arrived Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) gives a sermon about doubt. Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), principal of the church’s school, is intrigued by the sermon’s origin, because it comes from somewhere, and she suggests to her fellow Sisters of Charity to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Sister James (Amy Adams) notices a seemingly unusual closeness between Father Flynn and Donald Miller, an altar boy and the school’s only black student. During her class, Donald is called to the rectory to meet Father Flynn. Upon his return, Donald

The Frida Cinema Presents Overrated! An Art & Film Tribute to Meryl Streep

The retrospective offers hours of entertainment.
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Press release: A celebrated actress who has been honored with over 160 international awards - including three Academy Awards - over her four-decade-long film career, Meryl Streep was recently proclaimed "overrated" (via Twitter...) by the soon-to-be leader of the free world. The Frida Cinema invites you to decide for yourself: is it possible that the woman who gave cinema such unforgettable characters as traumatized Polish immigrant Sophie Zawistowski, globally-vilified Australian mother Lindy Chamberlain, complex crusading nun Sister Aloysius, and dead-but-not-really aging Broadway legend Madeline Ashton has been, all along, nothing more than an "overrated Hillary flunky?" Has Meryl Streep been

Criterion Announces April 2017 Releases

What life is about: music, food, movies.
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April sees the release of four new titles from the Criterion Collection. They are Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club, George Stevens’ Woman of the Year, Juzo Itami's Tampopo, and Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish. And on April 11, Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort get new stand-alone editions. Read on to learn more about them. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (#716) out Apr 11 An angelically beautiful Catherine Deneuve was launched into stardom by this glorious musical heart-tugger from Jacques Demy. She plays an umbrella-shop owner’s delicate daughter, glowing with first love for a

Girl on the Train is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a girl on a train, a fox and his friends, plus Aaron Paul, Jon Hamm, and many others.
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I was never much of a reader growing up. I would read whatever was assigned to me at school but I much preferred to watch TV or play video games than read. I was about 15 when Silence of the Lambs hit theaters. My brother and his then-girlfriend saw it on a date and raved about it. With their nudging, and promises that it wasn’t too graphic, my mother allowed me to see it. I loved it. I must have talked about it nonstop because that Christmas my mother bought me the book. I loved it too and with it

Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler Blu-ray Review: A Captivating Crime Thriller

A safe bet for silent-film fans.
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Based on the novel Dr Mabuse by Norbert Jacques, Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler is a two-part crime epic by legendary German film director Fritz Lang, and is the first in a trilogy that includes The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) and The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960). Running 270 minutes, the film, which was originally released in two parts, comes across nowadays like a TV miniseries, as the villainous Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) attempts to stay ahead of state prosecutor Norbert von Wenk (Bernhard Goetzke) in this captivating thriller. The Kino Classics Blu-ray presents the film on two discs. The

TCM and Fathom Events Present Singin' In the Rain

Oh, what a feeling to watch it on the big screen.
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On December 28 of last year, at the age of 84 actress Debbie Reynolds died, just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed. In honor of Ms. Reynolds, TCM in conjunction with Fathom Events has brought one of the world’s great musicals, Singing’ in the Rain, back to the big screen. My wife and I were able to go to a screening on Sunday and it was as wonderful as expected. In the early '50s, MGM assigned producer Arthur Freed and writers Betty Comdon and Adolph Green to make a film featuring a bunch of songs the studio already

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 01-16-17

Highlights from the week ahead.
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This week at TCM the highlights include civil-rights documentaries, Golden Globe-winning director Damien Chazelle programming a night, and evenings focused on The Saint, star-of-the-month Jane Wyman and the Stars Behind Bars spotlight. Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963) Monday, January 16 at 12:00 a.m. (ET) President John F. Kennedy and his brother work to get two black students enrolled at the University of Alabama. TCM Spotlight: Stars Behind Bars - Jailhouse Rock (1957) Tuesday, January 17 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) After learning to play the guitar in prison, a young man becomes a rock 'n' roll sensation. Guest Programmer: Damien

Five Cool Things and a Larch

No matter what the news tells you, there's lots of awesome things happening all around.
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It is universally acknowledged that 2016 sucked. The world of entertainment and art lost an unimaginable number of talented creators. Early in the year, we lost Prince and near its end our Princess. Star Wars lost its lovable Droid, the rebooted Star Trek its Chekov. Our favorite TV mom from the '70s passed and soon there after went the best dad of the '80s. Ziggy Stardust fell from Earth and with him Leonard Cohen, too. Professor Snape will never cast a spell again and Willy Wonka’s chocolates are all gone. The list goes on and on. The width and breadth

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends Featuring Jerry Seinfeld DVD Review

Heeeeeeere's a lot of Johnny, a little Jerry, and, well...the good, the bad, and yada yada yada.
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It’s great that Time Life is finding new ways to market The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson by releasing the new series Johnny and Friends. The first installment to hit retail shelves on January 10, 2017 features Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late. With The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson running nightly on Antenna TV and Time Life making virtually everything “Johnny” available, it’s not too surprising that the average consumer might expect a bit more here than simply three episodes featuring appearances by Jerry Seinfeld. Perhaps you could have given us some bonus features. Some commentary by

Best Comic Releases of 2016

With 2016 at its long overdue close, it's time for me to tell you what I considered the best releases in the world of comics and graphic novels.
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It felt like a dumpster fire kind of year, but let me tell you - it was a delightful year for comics. Just think about it: DC launched its Rebirth title, which was wildly successful and one of the most popular single issues to date. On the other hand, we had the controversial Civil War II from Marvel. That event has mixed feelings across the board, and no one seems to be able to decide if it was actually that good (or helpful). As for me, 2016 was a year of discovering comics creators that I loved and watching them

USC Libraries 2017 Scripter Finalists

Honoring the authors of printed works alongside the screenwriters who adapt their stories.
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Press release: The USC Libraries have named the finalists for the 29-annual USC Libraries Scripter Award. Since 1988, Scripter has honored the authors of printed works alongside the screenwriters who adapt their stories. Last year, the USC Libraries inaugurated a new Scripter award, for television adaptation.The television and film finalists compete in separate categories for their own Scripter award. The finalist writers for film are, in alphabetical order by film title: Screenwriter Eric Heisserer for Arrival, adapted from the novella “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang August Wilson for the play and screenplay of Fences Screenwriters Allison Schroeder and

Fathom Events Presents Rush: Time Stand Still

Rush says a farewell to fans.
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When Rush was preparing and touring for R40, their 40th anniversary tour, it was frequently suggested in the press that it might be their last. The band members didn't come out and say so directly, but they responded to the possibility in interviews. It turns out they knew more than they let on as made clear in Time Stand Still, a documentary about what is now revealed to be their final tour. The film was screened in theaters in conjunction with Fathom Events, a second date was added because of the huge demand, and is available in different home-video formats.

His Girl Friday (Criterion Collection) is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a comedy classic, a classic of the French New Wave, a holistic detective, and much more.
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I can’t even remember the first time I saw His Girl Friday. It was high school, probably, or maybe on a trip home from college. I watched it with with my mother I’m pretty sure. Whenever, wherever it was, I immediately loved it. I’ve seen it a good dozen times since then and love it even more now. It gives me great pleasure to show the film off to those who haven’t seen it and watch them discover one of the great comedies of all time. The film stars Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as two hard-nosed reporters who were

Book Review: Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur's Cookbook by Janice Poon

An extremely interesting read and even if you never cook anything from it, it is still a worthy purchase for Fannibals.
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Hannibal was one of the most beautiful yet disturbing shows I have ever seen. One of the most beautiful aspects of the show was Hannibal's food creations made from his victims. Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur's Cookbook was created by Janice Poon, the show's food stylist. The recipes offered in the cookbook are not for the novice chef. While being gorgeous, most are pretty complicated requiring patience and perhaps some cooking lessons.The cookbook is broken into the following chapters: "At Home with Hannibal", which offers tools and techniques; "Breakfast"; "Appetizers"; "Mains - Meat"; "Mains - Fish and Vegetarian"; "Soups; Salads and

Book Review: Aliens: The Set Photography by Simon Ward

Go ahead, give it a face-hug.
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The movie Aliens turned 30 recently, and there are rumblings of another movie in the Alien universe in the works, so there's no better time to go back and see what went into making one of the most iconic films in the franchise and in sci-fi as a whole. Aliens: The Set Photography by Simon Ward from Titan Books walks through every aspect of production and filming from pre-production casting and behind-the-scenes shots to walkthroughs of every major sequence of the film, how weapons and props were built, how aliens and other creature constructs were produced and animated...it's very comprehensive

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 01-09-17

What are you watching this week?
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This week sees the Stars Behind Bars TCM Spotlight continue with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in Papillon and another night of of programming devoted to Star-of-the Month Jane Wyman. Links are included to films we've covered. Some Like It Hot (1959) Monday, January 9 at 11:00 p.m. (ET) Two musicians on the run from gangsters masquerade as members of an all-girl band. [Review] TCM Spotlight: Stars Behind Bars - Papillon (1973) Tuesday, January 10 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Two Devil's Island prisoners devote all of their time to hatching escape plans. Psycho (1960) Wednesday, January 11 at 8:00 p.m.

TCM to Remember Legendary Actress-Singer Debbie Reynolds on Jan. 27

24-Hour programming tribute to include Singin’ In The Rain, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and The Tender Trap.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of legendary actress Debbie Reynolds, the vivacious actress, singer and dancer who entertained audiences in musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) with a 24-hour film tribute on Friday, January, 27. Reynolds, who passed away Wednesday, Dec. 28 at the age of 84, became a sensation after starring with legendary hoofers Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the immortal MGM musical Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and received her only Oscar nomination for playing th e title role in The Unsinkable
Time Life has released The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series comes available as a single disc release (2 shows), a 3-disc collector's set (6 shows + nearly an hour of bonus features), a 6-disc collector's set (12 shows + two hours of exclusive extras) and a 12-disc deluxe edition collector's set (24 shows + over 4 hours of exclusive extras). The 6-disc set was made available for review and appears to be the back half of the 12-disc set, as they are labeled Disc 7 through 12. Disc 7 is entitled “Streak Week from March 1974”

The Night of the Grizzly (Olive Signature) Blu-ray Review: An Enjoyable, Classic Western

Clint Walker is a commanding, comforting presence on screen.
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The Night of the Grizzly tells the story of "Big Jim" Cole (Clint Walker), a former lawman, who along with his family plan to make a new life for themselves in Wyoming on ranch land Jim has inherited. Not only does he have to contend with wealthy rancher Jed Curry (Keenan Wynn), who used to own the property and wants it back, but also a bear named Satan that is terrorizing the area by killing animals. The bear causes so much damage Curry puts up a reward. Jim desparately needs the money but the bounty brings to town Cass (Leo

Blair Witch Blu-ray Review: Murky Modern Updating Misses Mark

The 2016 sequel to the '99 shock hit tries to update the original's formula, but to much diminished effect.
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Ambiguity is a central attribute to satisfying horror movies (I write "satisfying" because, if the box office is any indication, playing really loud noises every couple of minutes is the key to a successful horror movie). For a horror movie to get under your skin, you have to engage with it and that means, on some level, trying to figure out just what the heck is really going on. The Blair Witch Project, for all it did to foist the found-footage filmmaking style upon us, had ambiguity in spades. What this (comparatively) big-budget sequel, titled simply Blair Witch, demonstrates is

New Orleans Music in Exile Blu-ray Review: After the Hurricane

Documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge chronicles the devastation leveled on New Orleans and its musical community after Hurricane Katrina.
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Unless you live in New Orleans or know someone who does, you might not have paid much attention to its reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. Robert Mugge’s documentary, New Orleans Music in Exile, focuses on the lives of the city’s musicians in the aftermath of the hurricane, and how they dealt with the destruction of their homes, clubs, and livelihoods. Filmed by Mugge in 2005 and 2006, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Music in Exile chronicles the devastation leveled on New Orleans and its musical community firsthand. Musicians give the filmmaker a tour of their ravaged homes and businesses. Irma

Blair Witch is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a sequel no one was asking for, a trip into outer space, Holocaust deniers getting their day in court, and some girls.
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It's difficult now to imagine a time when every movie didn’t have its own social media team. Or when there weren’t dozens of websites dedicated to promoting every single aspect of a film months before it made it to a movie screen. But in 1999, that was very much the case. The World Wide Web had been around for a little while, it was becoming a huge force in our daily lives. It had grown out of its infancy and was now into its adolescence trying to figure out what it was going to be. Movie studios didn’t know what

The Best TV Shows of 2016

How many shows do their top-11 lists share?
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In which Shawn and Kim take a look back at the brilliant storytelling shows from 2016. Shawn: If T&A is good at one thing, it's recognizing good and bad TV. Sometimes, those two things are all wrapped into one show. The end of the year is when I usually finish clearing out the DVR and assessing what shows will stay on the list and which ones need to be deleted to make room to try some new things. This is the Golden Age of television. It's probably more likely to call it the Golden Age of the Serial Story. The

The Driller Killer Blu-ray Review: All Driller, No Thriller

The Driller Killer plays like a Taxi Driver knock-off whose arthouse ambitions are overcome by its need to fill grindhouse seats.
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The Driller Killer is known mostly for being Abel Ferrara’s directorial debut (if one discounts 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy, the hard-core porno he helmed three years prior) and for being one of first films put on England’s notorious Video Nasties list. I first came across it in a bootleg DVD shop in Shanghai. It was one of the few places I’d found in that city that carried art-house, classics, and other oddball films. The title alone had me curious and that scandalous cover featuring a blood-soaked face being punctured by an electric drill made me want to watch

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Blu-ray Review

An impressive miniseries that sheds light on a significant event in American history.
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FX's true-crime anthology television series American Crime Story has set a high standard for its duration because its first season, The People v. O.J. Simpson, was critically acclaimed and won nine Emmy Awards including three for acting, one for writing, and for Outstanding Limited Series. Based on Jeffrey Toobin's book, The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson (1997), the TV series takes viewers behind the scenes during one of the most notable trials of the twentieth century, though what is factual and what has dramatized is not made clear. The series opens with news footage of

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 01-02-17

An evening of Road pictures with Hope and Crosby is a main highlight for the week.
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In addition to a new month and a new year, January brings with it a new Spotlight (Stars Behind Bars), a new Star-of-the-Month (Jane Wyman), and a new Guest Programmer (Warren Beatty). East of Eden (1955) Monday, January 2 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Two brothers compete for their father's approval and a woman's love. TCM Spotlight: Stars Behind Bars - Brute Force (1947) Tuesday, January 3 at 10:15 p.m. (ET) Tough, disgruntled prisoners plan a daring, possibly bloody escape while on a drain pipe detail. Co-host: Warren Beatty - Heaven Can Wait (1978) Wednesday, January 4 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)

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