March 2017 Archives

Five Cool Things and Christopher Walken

This week's cool things include the Filmstruck app, a Kurosawa film, a couple of shows I'm catching up on, and a new teaser trailer.
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For my birthday last week, my wife bought me an Amazon Fire TV. We’ve had an Apple TV for several years and enjoyed it but it needed an upgrade and I decided to give Amazon a try. For obvious reasons, the Apple TV doesn’t support Amazon streams and since I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for awhile we were losing out on lots of interesting stuff. I could actually stream Amazon content from my iPad to the Apple TV but that's an extra couple of steps to take and my lazy self rarely went to the trouble. Here's five cool

Robert Klein Still Can't Stop His Leg Movie Review: He's Got His Mojo Working

The comedians’ favorite comedian gets an affectionate if overlong portrait that is loaded with laughs.
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I should actually recuse myself from reviewing Robert Klein Still Can’t Stop His Leg, the Starz documentary debuting March 31, 10:00pm ET/PT, because I’m in it, though I don’t have a speaking part. Let me explain: I saw Robert (I feel I’ve known him long enough to call him by his first name) a few years ago in Dix Hills, N.Y. at one of the many performance clips featured in this documentary. There I am with three of my oldest friends, laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing. I haven’t laughed that loud, for that long, since. So the other

New 'War for the Planet of the Apes' Trailer and Poster Released

For Freedom. For Family. For the Planet.
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After screening at 20th Century Fox's CinemaCon presentation alongside an extended sequence, the new trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes has been released online. Director Matthew Reeves returns to helm the third chapter of the renewed and reinvigorated film franchise. Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel (Woody Harrelson). After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and

I Am Not Your Negro Movie Review: A Film That Needs to Be Seen and Taught

Director Raoul Peck gives the audience a lot to consider and to question.
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I think about James Baldwin quite a lot. I think about his writings and his teachings. I think about the fact that he could have just stayed in France and ignored what was happening to Black Americans in the United States. Baldwin could have actually turned a blind eye and not returned to the country that he actually loved so much. But James Baldwin was not that kind of man. One of Baldwin's most famous quotes is "I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize

The Delinquents Blu-ray Review: For Robert Altman Fans Only

Juvenile delinquency has never been this boring.
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After directing some 65 industrial films and short documentaries for the Calvin Company, Robert Altman got his first real break from Elmer Rhoden Jr., a film exhibitor who wanted to break into producing them. In 1956, he hired Altman to make a juvenile-delinquency picture which he figured could make him some fast money. Altman wrote The Delinquents in five days, then scouted it, produced it, and filmed it in a matter of weeks. It cost about $63,000 to make and was shot in Altman’s home town of Kansas City. It looks, feels, and acts like an After-school Special written by

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Something They Need'

"Aside from the season opener, this was the best episode this season." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn find reasons to root for people again. Kim: So, here we are with one episode to go this season. Here's a shocking statement: aside from the season opener, this was the best episode this season. Do you know why? We saw many of our core group two episodes in a row. We furthered the "war with Negan" storyline, adding at least the guns from Oceanside, while not forgetting about Sasha, Rosita, and Eugene from last week. We got to see Daryl and Jesus in the same frame. We followed up with Maggie and that dick

Silence (2016) is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a Martin Scorsese film about faith, some fantastic beasts, our own planet in HD, and much more.
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In my very first Five Cool Things article, I was excited about the trailer for Martin Scorsese's Silence. I also noted that I had really enjoyed the book. What I didn’t mention was that my copy of the book had a bunch of pages missing. For the last 20 pages or so, every other pages was blank. It was a horrible way to finish what was really a very good novel right at its conclusion. I learned what happened at the end in my class and always meant to buy another copy, but never did. As I’ve surely mentioned numerous

45 Years Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Art of Quiet Devastation

Charlotte Rampling does extraordinary work in the third feature from British filmmaker Andrew Haigh.
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The camera never strays far from Charlotte Rampling in Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, and for good reason. In this elegant, if slightly hermetic, study of the suddenly visible fissures in a long-tenured marriage, Rampling’s extraordinarily expressive face traverses all the emotion that’s sublimated in Haigh’s script, an adaptation of David Constantine’s whisper of a short story. Rampling stars as Kate Mercer, who’s planning a 45th anniversary party for her and her husband, Geoff (Tom Courtenay), when he receives a major piece of news about an old girlfriend. At first, the revelation pokes at the seeming sturdiness of their quiet life

Rules Don't Apply DVD Review: Warren Beatty's Overlong Ego Trip

Dull movie about that fascinating monster Howard Hughes; a charming performance by Alden Ehrenreich is wasted.
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Warren Beatty is both the perfect person and the worst person possible to have made Rules Don’t Apply, his concoction about reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, now out on DVD and Blu-Ray. He’s perfect because at some molecular level, Beatty knows what it’s like to be the center of a universe, the focus of everyone’s attention and adoration — and the craziness that such a position can all too easily breed. The DVD and Blu-Ray includes a “making of” featurette which reveals that Beatty has been working on the movie since at least 2009. Maybe you can see how Beatty identifies

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 03-27-17

Featuring themed nights of programming under the headings of "African-American Independents", "Brainwashed", and "April Fools".
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This week TCM shines their spotlight on Kathryn Grayson, Dan Duryea, the works of Guy de Maupassant, and some picks by Robert Osborne. There are also themed nights of programming under the headings of "African-American Independents", "Brainwashed", and "April Fools". Kiss Me Kate (1953) Monday, March 27 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Feuding co-stars reunite for a musical version of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew". The Three Faces of Eve (1957) Tuesday, March 28 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A psychiatrist tries to help a woman integrate her split personalities. Diary of a Madman (1963) Wednesday, March 29 at 8:00 p.m.

Book Review: Tarzan on Film by Scott Tracy Griffin

Highly recommended for fans of Burroughs' character as well as those with an interest in Hollywood history.
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Author Scott Tracy Griffin has followed up his Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration with Tarzan on Film, a marvelous exploration of the nearly 100 years that Edgar Rice Burroughs' legendary character has been adapted into 52 films and seven television series. The book opens with a foreword by actor Caper Van Dien, who starred as the 20th Tarzan in Tarzan and the Lost City (1998) and credits himself as “the only Tarzan who can say he rode on an actual African elephant in a Tarzan film.” Griffin then provides a brief overview of how the character's “fortunes have ebbed and flowed

Book Review: LOAC Essentials Vol. 8: King Features Essentials 1: Krazy Kat 1934 by George Harriman: Rare Dailies of the Kraziest of Komics

Finally, a new, readily available collection of one of the best comic strips ever.
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It is ironic that, in the era of the Internet which has disrupted so much of modern publishing, it has become easier than ever to delve into the archives of the media past. Newspapers are struggling to survive, and aspiring comic strips have a much better chance finding an audience on their own website than trying to get a comic syndicate interested in publishing them in print. Indeed, I wouldn't doubt that having a built-in audience would be a requirement for syndication, since print space is precious, and smaller than ever, with old reprinted strips competing with the new. But

Five Cool Things and My Birthday

Cool things this week include Legion, Alfred Hitchock, Better Call Saul, Cinema Paradiso, and Van Morrison.
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I’m running out of interesting things to say in the intro to these things so lets just get to it. Here’s five cool things I consumed this week. Van Morrison - Moondance I’m very much a fan of Van Morrison’s music. I’d easily put him in my top 10 artists of all time list. Earlier this week, I realized that I’ve actually spend a lot more time with his bootlegs than I have with this actual studio work. This needs to be remedied so I’ve spent the last few days working my way through his discography. Released in January of

Dead Heads Unite on April 20 to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of 'The Grateful Dead Movie' in Cinemas Nationwide

This cult favorite returns to the big screen for a special one-night celebration, including an exclusive bonus documentary from 1977.
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Press release: Dead Heads are in for a treat as “The Grateful Dead Movie 40th Anniversary” returns to movie theaters nationwide for one night on Thursday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. local time, from Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the film’s release. Co-directed by Jerry Garcia and shot on 16mm film during October 1974’s five-night “farewell” run at San Francisco’s iconic Winterland, this concert-film captures incredible live performances from the revered band (Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Donna Godchaux and Keith Godchaux). In addition to the feature presentation,

Dig Two Graves Movie Review: Gothic Horror Disappoints

Supernatural mystery looks beautiful but loses itself in an unimaginative script.
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Standing on a cliff above an old quarry two men, Proctor (Gabriel Cain) and Waterhouse (Ted Levine), pull two corpses out of their car and throw them over the edge. When the deed is done, Waterhouse points a gun at Proctor and tells him he’s no longer sheriff. Thirty years later, Sean (Ben Schneider) and sister Jake (Samantha Isler) stand on the same cliff daring each other to jump into the lake below. They agree to do it together but at the last moment Jake chickens out letting Sean fall alone. He never comes back up. Dig Two Graves links

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Other Side'

"Wouldn't watch that episode again. Not even if you paid me." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim wonder if anything but a bloodbath save this season now? Shawn: I'm not going to have many complaints when they finally bring back my Maggie, Jesus, and Daryl to start the episode and then end with an actually interesting ending and in-between don't torture me with Carl or Father Gabriel. I mean, that's quite a formula for success. It seemed like a shorter episode, which is even better compared to the previous couple. I had a few thoughts along the way. Catching up with The Hilltoppers is not my ideal setting for a whole episode.

Romanzo Criminale: Season 1 & 2 DVD Review: Excellent Italian Crime Series

The violent rise and horrible fall of an Italian crime family.
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Contrary to what you might think having watched dozens of films and television series about the mafia, Rome was not controlled by the mob in the early 1970s. There were many small groups, or batteries as they were called, which committed low-level crimes, but no larger organization controlling it all. Romanzo Criminale, the Italian TV series that was a huge hit in its homeland and now makes its way to American home video via Kino Lorber, takes a fictionalized look at the real Magliana Gang that took control of Rome and ruled it for most of the '70s and '80s.

Emerald City Comicon 2017 Review: A Smaller Convention Coming into Its Own

So after a few years of mulling it over, I decided that this would be the first year I would attend.
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Having been to several comic conventions in California, one of my friends living in the Seattle area told me I should come up and check Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) that is held in the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. So after a few years of mulling it over, I decided that this would be the year I would attend. And while it wasn’t exactly the experience I’ve had at previous conventions, I had a fun time overall. It wasn’t because they didn’t have enough of the panels and celebrities that I enjoy seeing, but it was because I

Alfred Hitchcock's Action-Adventure 'North by Northwest' Returns to Cinemas April 2 and 5

Part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series.
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Press release: Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) gets mistaken for a murderous spy and embarks on a suspense-filled adventure in Alfred Hitchcock’s whirlwind classic North by Northwest, returning to the big screen for two days this April thanks to Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Warner Bros as part of the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series. With stunning VistaVision cinematography and a remarkable score by Bernard Hermann, North by Northwest is one of those rare films that expertly encapsulates all the favorite plot devices and themes that have marked a film director's entire career. A star-studded cast includes Eva

Live By Night is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a gangster flick from Ben Affleck, a disgusting one from John Waters, singing animals, and much more.
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I’m a sucker for gangster stories. There is something utterly fascinating about people who push aside all of society's rules and take what they want for themselves. Gangsters are often not the smartest, strongest, or the best but rather they are the most willing to use violence for their own means. Most of us avoid trouble whenever we can so when someone comes along willing to openly commit violence the vast majority of people shirk away. Those who don’t get a beating. In real life, I find that sort of thing appealing, but on film it's really interesting. Dennis Lehane

Cinema Paradiso (Arrow Academy) Blu-ray Review: A Love Letter to the Cinema

A beautiful, loving tribute to the magic of movies.
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Every year during the Oscars, my social media feed fills up with jokes about how often they are going to talk about how movies are magic. Every year the answer is “a lot.” You could make a drinking game of it. In the same way, awards shows, Hollywood in general and, honestly, cinema the world over, love movies about the movies. It can get a bit self-congratulatory as its basically people who make movies making a movie about how wonderful movies are. Yet, as a cinenephile, as a man who loves watching movies I kind of love it. Movies are

Canoa: A Shameful Memory Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Harrowing, but Important

A visceral and eye-opening docudrama of sheer true-life horror.
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In this day and age, politics have become a horror show, meaning that corruption and savagery usually comes first, and humanity in dead last. We have to deal with it on a everday basis; it tears up apart, and it continues to divide us, sometimes with really dire consequences. Director Felipe Cazals' chilling 1976 masterwork, Canoa: A Shameful Memory, shows us why. The film depicts, in docu-style, the horrifying event/incident that took place in the village of San Miguel Canoa during the year of 1968, where an innocent group of five university students were attacked and lynched by many of

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 03-20-17

A great week of movies to watch in the dark.
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This might the scariest week of the year on TCM outside of October as themed nights focus on thieves, killers, monsters, and more. Also, Noir Alley returns next Sunday with Tension. Monday, March 20 - Psycho Killers Psycho (1960) at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A woman on the run gets mixed up with a repressed young man and his violent mother. | Review Peeping Tom (1960) at 10:00 p.m. (ET) Raised by a sadist, a cinematographer kills young women while filming their fear. Tuesday, March 21 - Femme Fatales Double Indemnity (1944) at 8:00 p.m. (ET) An insurance salesman gets seduced

September Storm (1960) Blu-ray 3D Review: The Stars That Didn't Steal the Night Away

A forgotten, completely forgettable underwater treasure-hunting flick receives more love than it probably deserves in this fully restored, fully loaded 3D release from Kino Lorber.
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While perhaps best known for writing classic crime novels such as Little Caesar and The Asphalt Jungle ‒ to say nothing of the classic motion picture versions of his own celebrated work ‒ W.R. Burnett also managed to adapt a few titles from other authors for the silver screen. One such title, a modest little 3D production from 1960 entitled September Storm, fell through the slats of the proverbial pier many moons ago, only to recently reemerge from the deep thanks to some very devoted Kickstarter followers. In fact, were it not for the people behind this restoration, this September

'Teen Titans: The Judas Contract' World Premiere Held at WonderCon on March 31

Teen Titans actors Sean Maher, Jake T. Austin, Taissa Farmiga, Kari Wahlgren, Brandon Soo Hoo, and Stuart Allan to attend screening and panel discussion.
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Press release: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment continues its annual WonderCon tradition with the exclusive World Premiere of Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, the next DC Universe Original Movie, on the evening of Friday, March 31, 2017 at WonderCon Anaheim in the Arena of the Anaheim Convention Center.It will screen at 6:00pm in the 4,000-seat Arena, followed by a panel discussion amongst the film’s acting stars and filmmakers. Inspired by the 1984 DC story arc from Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract finds the Teen Titans - Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Blue Beetle, Robin and the just-returned

Five Cool Things and St. Patrick's Day

Cool things this week include Howl's Moving Castle, Snotgirl, the Hulk, and more.
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It seems like every time I write one of these I’m making excuses. Someone in my family was sick, or I was busy at work, or I was sick, or I only watched bad movies, or my cat was sick. Sometimes, I’ve had to elicit help from my fellow Sentries. Sometimes, I’ve scoured the Internet the night before posting looking for something, anything cool. Well, this week we were all healthy, work was busy but not tragically so and I consumed lots of really cool things. So let's get started. Planet Hulk I’ve always thought Hulk was an uninteresting character.

Cinema Paradiso (Arrow Academy) Blu-ray Review: A Timeless Classic

An extremely moving and lyrical tribute to the power of Cinema.
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As the most magical medium in the world, Cinema has the power to move us: to make us laugh, cry, and think about the world we live in. It also has the gift of defining and shaping our lives right in front of us, which is something that argubly no other medium can ever do. Director Giuseppe Tornatore's 1988 Oscar-winning masterpiece, Cinema Paradiso, affectingly shows us why movies are so majestic to our culture. The film tells the timeless story of Salvatore (Jacques Perrin), a successful filmmaker who returns home for the funeral of his dear friend Alfredo (Philippe Noiret),

The Lovers On The Bridge Blu-ray Review: A Realistic Portrait of Homelessness and Love

One of those films that many people seem to love or hate.
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Cinematic portrayals of the homeless tend to be unrealistic if not downright demeaning. When they are not brought out for cheap scares or cheaper laughs, they are all too often seen as depraved degenerates who need a white knight to save them. Or they are unheralded geniuses in need of someone to take their hand and guide them to proper society where they will find great success. Worst of all is when they are seen as the happy poor, noble savages who really have better lives than all of us because they don’t need so much “stuff.” Lovers on the

Criterion Announces June 2017 Releases

What are you going to add to your collection?
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Like they have planned for May, the Criterion Collection gives two titles high-def upgrades: Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs. In addition, they are releasing Nicholas Ray's They Live By Night, Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, and Marcel Pagnol's The Marseille Trilogy, which contains Marius, Fanny, and César. Read on to learn more about them. Ugetsu (#309) out Jun 6 Having refined his craft in the silent era, Kenji Mizoguchi was an elder statesman of Japanese cinema—fiercely revered by Akira Kurosawa and other younger directors—by the time he made Ugetsu. And with this

TCM Celebrates Actor Michael Douglas in 'Live From the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival' Interview

Festival lineup also features cast reunion of Christopher Guest's Best in Show, plus appearances by film and television icons John Landis, Dick Cavett, and Bob Newhart.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced that legendary actor Michael Douglas will attend the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival for a pair of major events. On April 8, Douglas will sit down with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz for an in-depth interview about his career at the legendary The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre as part of the annual Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival series. In addition, the Oscar-winning icon will participate in a discussion following a screening of the 1979 thriller The China Syndrome, which he produced and starred in opposite Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon. "Michael Douglas

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Bury Me Here'

"Dumbing down the show just makes it dumb." - Shawn
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In which a bad cantaloupe does some irreparable damage. Shawn: As low as the show has gotten the past couple episodes, this was a tick up. A tick because there still was no Negan, Daryl, or Jesus again. I was left feeling a little better about where this episode pointed us. A little. A few random thoughts to try to tie together my feelings as we roll towards the finale. One bad cantaloupe can spoil your day. I've had nights ruined by bad peanuts but I have always had a fear of bad cantaloupe. I wondered why everyone else wasn't

Insecure: The Complete First Season DVD Giveaway

Creator/writer/star Issa Rae brings her fresh voice to HBO with this painfully funny new comedy series.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with HBO Home Entertainment to award one lucky reader Insecure: The Complete First Season on DVD. For those wanting to learn more, the official synopsis reads: Season 1 of Insecure, the “bright, cutting, funny” (USA Today) new HBO comedy series, is set to make its Home Entertainment debut on March 21, 2017. This series—created by, written by and starring Golden Globe nominee (Best Actress in a Comedy Series) Issa Rae (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl) is a bold and honest depiction of a modern-day African-American woman and the everyday challenges she faces. Insecure: The

Fences is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us Denzel Washington in a critically praised drama, Will Smith in a critically hated one, a sci-fi adventure with Chris Pratt and much more.
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During that ridiculous let's-bring-in-a-tour-bus-full-of-common-folk-to-the-Oscars bit a few weeks ago, host Jimmy Kimmel asked one of the tourists who her favorite actor was. She pointed and simply said “him.” I turned to my wife and said, “It's Denzel Washington.” Of course it was. Everybody loves Denzel Washington. He’s one of the greatest living actors we have. He’s won all the awards. He’s beloved by just about everyone - men, women, African Americans, Caucasians, liberals, and conservatives alike. He happily mixes it up by playing in straight-up action flicks and small dramatic films. Last year, he was in both The Magnificent Seven

Deluge Blu-ray Review: Deserving to be Rediscovered

A primitive but interesting pre-Code disaster flick of its time.
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Today, when it comes to the disaster film, style is usually chosen over substance, meaning that a huge budget is mainly spent on the special effects rather than the overall production. This is a sad case, because there were once good and accessible flicks dealing with doomsday and its aftermath, including The Quiet Earth (1985) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Director Felix E. Feist's 1933 early Pre-Code outing, Deluge, sort of falls into the middle, where the more odd elements tend to overshadow everything else. Despite its mininal running time, it contains enough tone and complexity to overcome its obvious

Drive-In Massacre (1976) Blu-ray Review: Well Worth the Price of Admission

Severin Films presents one of the best bad movies ever, fully restored from original elements discovered ‒ naturally ‒ in the remains of a drive-in.
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Had your average drive-in movie theater screen been constructed with a curtain, then Stu Segall's Drive-In Massacre would have definitely called for the pulling of such. That is not to say Drive-In Massacre is a "bad" film: truth be told, it's actually quite awful ‒ though, in this particular instance, its sheer incompetence is actually the film's saving grace! Rather, the jaw-droppingly unbelievable 1976 independent no-budget wonder from Southern California was made on little more than a whim and a prayer once it became all too clear the once-popular form of outdoor motion picture entertainment was coming to an unceremonious

Moana Blu-ray Review: While A Nice Addition To The Disney Catalog, It's Severely Lacking In Storyline

It doesn’t stand out quite like a Disney film should and the musical numbers are not very memorable.
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A long time ago, there was only the ocean until the mother island Te Fiti arose. The island was the beginning of all life and its heart was said to be able to give the gift of creating life to anyone who possessed it. Many tried but all failed. That was until the day a Demigod trickster with shape-shifting ability named Maui (Dwayne Johnson) snuck upon the island and stole the heart. But he was not the only one who came to steal the heart that day. The fire demon Te Kaa caught up with Maui as he fled the

Shut In Blu-ray Review: Naomi Watts Deserves Better

Good cast, terrible movie.
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A good thriller can be a great many things: exciting, scary, gruesome, erotic, and even funny. The one thing they should never be is boring. Shut In is none of the things on that list, but it is boring. It spends the first hour or so developing characters and setting up its story in such a lazy, hodgepodge way that by the time something even remotely thrilling happens, I’d long since stopped caring enough to be scared. Mary Portman (Naomi Watts), a child psychologist, lives with her invalid son Stephen (Charlie Heaton) in an isolated house in rural Maine. As

Ghost in the Shell (1995) Limited Steelbook Blu-ray Review: Philosophical Animated Noir with Boobs

Terrifically stylized anime asks deep questions about technology we're still trying to answer today.
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In the near future, humans beings augment their bodies with mechanical and computerized parts. You can get hardened shells, robotic arms, infrared vision, and a computerized brain. These computers connect everyone to a vast electronic network. Some people forego human bodies at all and have their souls, or ghosts, connected to completely robotic bodies. Major Motoko Kusangi is one such creature. She works for Public Security Section 9, some kind of intelligence operation for an unnamed, probably Japanese, city. Initially, her team is after a vaguely evil foreign operative who is seeking political asylum but the film drops that plot

Doctor Strange (2016) Blu-ray Review: Marvel Goes Into the Mystic

An entertaining blockbuster on its own and as yet an other chapter in the MCU.
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Created by artist Steve Ditko and writer Stan Lee, Doctor Stephen Strange debuted in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963) and Marvel Studios introduced the character and the magic of the Mystic Arts into their Cinematic Universe with last year's Doctor Strange, now available on Blu-ray and DVD. As the film opens, a rogue group of sorcerers led by Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) have stolen parts of a magic book, intending to bring forth the evil Dormammu from the Dark Dimension. They battle with the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), revealing to viewers that some are able to bend reality as seen when

Psychomania Blu-ray Review: Inexplicable Zombie Biker Cult Movie

Bikers come back from the dead, and it's pretty groovy in this early 70s cult obsession.
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Other people’s movie cults are just weird. My own cult obsessions are, of course, completely justifiable and unquestionable (Big Trouble in Little China and The Thing are two of the greatest things anyone has ever done, and I will fight over that) but the things that other people obsess over make no sense. Psychomania is one of these: an object of adoration for a group a British film fans that, for anyone outside the phenomenon, just seems puzzling. The premise is hokey enough to guarantee that, unless it was completely incompetent, some people would love it: a British biker gang

Five Cool Things and Robert Osborne

This week in cool brings us a Deadpool 2 teaser, Ghost in the Shell, All About Eve, and more.
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I’ve been writing this column for a little while now so I’m getting pretty good at making little lists of the cool things I read, watch, and listen to, which makes this a lot easier to write. It's certainly easier than waking up Friday morning only to realize I’ve got a column to write and no memory of what I’ve consumed over the last seven days. Even with the little lists, there are times, like right now, where I look at all the pop culture I’ve engaged with in the last week only to realize I found very little of

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Say Yes'

"I don’t have any more points to make, because I’m very underwhelmed by this show these days." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn say no to "Say Yes". Kim: Another week, another character-focused episode that does next to nothing to further the story line. Allow me to share with you what I learned during last night’s episode. 1.) Rick and Michonne are super horny most of the time. Also, chili-mac comes as an RTE. Who knew? 2.) The Garbage Pail Kids really dislike speaking in complete sentences. I’m sorry, but this makes it impossible for me to feel anything but contempt for these folks. Or should I say, “Contempt. No likey.” 3.) Also, they don’t know how to

Moscow on the Hudson (1984) Blu-ray Review: Relocation, Relocation, Relocation!

Robin Williams turns in an exceptionally fine dramatic performance in this must-see classic from Paul Mazursky, now available in High-Definition from Twilight Time.
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Immigration. Russians. No, it has nothing to do with current (controversial) topics, kids ‒ rather, said subjects are at the very heart of Paul Mazursky's Moscow on the Hudson. In fact, the word "heart" could not be any more appropriate in this particular instance, as the 1984 classic from Columbia Pictures ‒ recently added to the Twilight Time catalogue ‒ sets out to prove a point which many naysayers today seem to have missed: namely, the perfectly sound notion that them there foreigners are human beings, too. Here, the late great Robin Williams portrays Vladimir Ivanoff ‒ a circus saxophonist

Fathom Events and TCM Present 'All About Eve'

The Bette Davis classic gets a run on the big screen thanks to TCM and Fathom Events.
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All About Eve was nominated for 14 Academy Awards, a record that has not been beaten to this day (Titanic and La La Land both tied it). It won six Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor for George Sanders. Today, many critics feel that Bette Davis would have won had Anne Baxter not lobbied so hard to be included in the Best Actress category (instead of Best Supporting Actress), thus splitting the votes between them and causing Judy Holiday to win for Born Yesterday. It is generally considered one of the greatest backstage movies of all time and regularly

Police (1985) Blu-ray Review: Pialat's Procedural

Gérard Depardieu is a not-so-brilliant cop with a not-so-successful personal life.
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Police is the second collaboration between Maurice Pialat and Gérard Depardieu, after 1980’s Loulou, in which Isabelle Huppert falls for Depardieu’s moderately charming layabout. One could imagine Depardieu’s character in Police, detective Louis Mangin, thinking he possessed that same kind of sexual charisma. Depardieu’s aggressive performance vaults way past macho swagger as he performs some capital-a Acting, full of weird tics and chair-slamming furor. This can feel at odds with Pialat’s improvisational style, especially loose here. Still, it amplifies the distinct gap between Mangin’s perception of himself and his actual abilities. This is one of those cop stories in which

TCM to Remember Robert Osborne with 48-Hour Tribute

Tribute to feature his most memorable TCM interviews and moments.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will dedicate two entire days to honor the legacy of longtime host Robert Osborne. Airing all day on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19, the 48-hour tribute will feature an extensive collection of the long-form interviews Osborne conducted during his 23 year tenure with the network, including: Memorable installments of Private Screenings and Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival. Special edition of Private Screenings where actor Alec Baldwin interviewed Osborne on the host's 20th anniversary at the network Robert's first-film introduction for the network of Gone with the Wind Among the Private

Moana is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us the best Disney music in a decade, a critically praised biopic, a Criterion drama, a creepy flick from Portugal, and Japanese animation.
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I’ve always liked Disney movies. but for the most part I’ve waited until they’ve reached home video (and have gained a favorable critical consensus) before watching them. Well, that’s the way things went until I had a daughter. Now, I pretty much see them in the theater, or at the very least as soon as they come out on Blu-ray, no matter the critical or popular opinion. So it was with Moana. It came out this summer while we were visiting the wife’s family in Kentucky so we took the in-laws along for the ride. I was a little worried

Mondo Bastardo: Odds and Ends from the International World of Exploitation

From Brazilian horrors to 3D European westerns, this assortment of weird and unusual films knows its target audiences quite well.
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While the nations of the world may not agree on many points, at least our respective histories of filmmaking have proven there is at least one thing we can see eye to eye on: exploitation. Here, we bridge the gaps between Brazilian horrors and American blaxploitation, and from Italian sex flicks to Spanish westerns. It's a thoroughly jaw-dropping assortment of odds and ends, replete with nudity, sex, violence, and many other magnificent marketing gimmicks, right down to the lost art of Stereoscopic 3D. At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964) / This Night, I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967) [2017, Synapse

We Are the Flesh Blu-ray Review: Grotesquely Beautiful

Mexican horror film aims for something high, falls short into extreme violence and sex.
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In We Are The Flesh, first-time director Emiliano Rocha Minter gleefully crosses every boundary of good taste and morality he can think of - incest, necrophilia, cannibalism, extremely long close-ups of genitalia. It's a gore-filled, sexually explicit horror show with art-house pretensions that wants you to believe it's saying something meaningful about the state of things in Mexico. In it, two siblings, Lucio (Diego Gamaliel) and Fauna (María Evoli), find there way into an abandoned apartment complex. There they find Mariano (Noé Hernández), a crazed, possibly psychotic, but certainly disturbed man seeking out a solitary existence. He offers them food

Panther Girl of the Kongo (1955) Blu-ray Review: The Claw Monsters Strike Back

Phyllis Coates and Myron Healey star in the penultimate Republic Pictures serial, which gets a new lease on life from Olive Films.
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After wowing Saturday Matinee Serial lovers everywhere in 2015 with a casual release of the 1950 guilty pleasure The Invisible Monster, Olive Films sent an indirect message to classic cliffhanger fanatics that there was indeed hope for these nearly-forgotten relics from yesteryear. Indeed, said hope is still springing up from out of the Paramount vaults Olive Films has access to, and now ‒ following subsequent digital serial debuts of Flying Disc Man from Mars and quasi-serial Commando Cody: Sky Marshall of the Universe ‒ another kiddie-friendly offering from Republic Pictures has been made available in High-Definition. The serial in question,

TCM Programming Alert for the Week of 03-06-17

Hope you like your movies with Burton.
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TCM's Star of the Month Richard Burton can't be contained to just one night like most honorees and dominates the week with films over five days. Sunday brings another installment of Noir Alley. Star of the Month: Richard Burton - Prince of Players (1955) Monday, March 6 at 9:45 p.m. (ET) Acclaimed tragic actor Edwin Booth struggles to rebuild his career after his brother assassinates President Lincoln. Star of the Month: Richard Burton - The Night of the Iguana (1964) Tuesday, March 7 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A defrocked priest surrenders to the sins of the flesh in a Mexican

Solace (2015) Blu-ray Review: Quantum of Bollocks

Anthony Hopkins stars in a four-year-old dud based off of a decades-old, rejected sequel to 'Se7en,' ineffectively re-written to rip-off the recently revoked 'Hannibal.'
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From its opening frame, Solace leaves one with an immediate impression similar to what you might experience were you to take a swig of discounted milk from a bargain market without checking its expiration date first. It feels old. It seems slightly off. The sour taste of Solace only grows worse as all of the the markings of incompetence are repeatedly stamped over it, much like the proverbial image of well-traveled early 20th century Rockefeller's well-worn luggage would sport numerous luggage labels from different parts of the world. Alas, Solace never gets off of the runway, as its director is

Donnie Darko Returns to U.S. Screens March 31 from Arrow Films

4K restorations of theatrical and director's cuts will be available at select locations.
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Press release: Arrow Films has announced the March 31 domestic theatrical debut of the 4K restoration of Richard Kelly's cult hit Donnie Darko. Following a wildly successful re-release in the UK for its fifteenth anniversary, the film will return to theaters in cities across the United States. Fifteen years before Stranger Things combined science-fiction, Spielberg-ian touches and '80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Kelly set the template and the benchmark with his debut feature, Donnie Darko. Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as arguably the first cult classic of the new millennium. The 4K

This Sunday getTV Showcases Classic Comedy Including a Rare Jerry Seinfeld Appearance on The Merv Griffin Show

The night also includes the Friars Club Roasts of comedy icons Johnny Carson & Don Rickles, and two classic episodes of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
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Press release: This Sunday night at 11 p.m. ET, getTV presents a rarely seen Jerry Seinfeld stand-up appearance from 1986 on THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW. Seinfeld appeared on Merv Griffin’s talk show more than a dozen times in the early 1980s prior to his breakthrough in the sitcom SEINFELD, where he referenced his Griffin appearances in a legendary episode in which Kramer (Michael Richards) recreates the set from THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW in his apartment. In addition to the Seinfeld guest spot, the night includes a lineup of some of the top male comedy performers of all-time, with two Friars

Five Cool Things and Logan

Batman, Battlestar Galactica, Bruce Springsteen, and more are all cool things I discovered this week.
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It's been a busy week in the Brewster home. Work has been absolutely insane. keeping my days mostly pop-culture free. The wife and I have also been trying to reduce the amount of screen time my daughter gets so we’ve been filling our evenings more with games and craft projects rather than TV shows and movies. Still, I found some cools things to talk about so lets get started. Bruce Springsteen - Passaic, NJ (09/20/78) Bruce Springsteen is a monster in concert. His shows with the famed E-Street Band are legendary for their length and intensity. Springsteen has always understood

Sunday Program Highlights for Emerald City Comicon 2017

Where to find Todd at ECCC.
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Emerald City Comicon's fourth day of programming on Sunday March 5 offers the convention's final panels. My highlights are below. Their entire listing is available on the official website http://www.emeraldcitycomicon.com/ Crafting Reality Mar 05, 2017, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, TCC 301 An exploration into crafting a distinct world with two distinct and unique comic voices in Mark Waid and Jen Vaughn. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Voice Acting Mar 05, 2017, 12:15 PM - 1:15 PM, Main Stage - WSCC 4A Experience Troy Baker, Jim Cummings, Jess Harnell, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen AND John DiMaggio
When I was growing up two of the things that I was really into were comic books and Star Trek. I had stacks and stacks of comic books. With such a large investment made into reading material and being the entrepreneur that I was, I would actually charge my little cousin to read them. She still brings that up every once in a while. When I wasn't reading comic books I was watching Star Trek. Any time there were reruns of the original series or the animated series, I was there. Usually wearing my Star Trek jacket. Gold Key Comics,

Saturday Program Highlights for Emerald City Comicon 2017

Where to find Todd at ECCC.
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Emerald City Comicon's third day of programming on Saturday March 4 offers the largest group of panels. My highlights are below. Their entire listing is available on the official website. Robert Kirkman Q&A Mar 04, 2017, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Main Stage - WSCC 4A Join the creator of The Walking Dead, Invincible & Outcast for a lively Q&A. Why lively? Because there will be no moderator, just Robert Kirkman and you. Jim Cummings Spotlight Mar 04, 2017, 12:15 PM - 1:15 PM, WSCC 611 From Darkwing Duck to Winnie the Pooh, Jim Cummings has provided the voices of

Cameraperson Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Beautiful, Sad, Wonderful

Cameraperson tells the story of one filmmaker through the dozens of movies she's shot.
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Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I’ll lie in bed at night and think about all the different houses and apartments I’ve lived in. I’ll mentally walk through each room, picturing what it looked like and describing them as if to a friend. Sometimes the rooms are very clear to me - I can picture it as if I'm there. Sometimes they are more fuzzy and I have to think really hard about what they looked like. Sometimes I can’t remember them at all. There is one house I briefly lived in on Grand Lake whose guest bedrooms are a mystery

It's Always Fair Weather (1955) Blu-ray Review: Gene Kelly's Blues

The Warner Archive Collection proudly presents something anyone can sing and dance to: a Cynical Musical from the otherwise sunny 1950s.
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Even if you're the type of person who generally loathes (or at least has trouble sitting through) musicals, you might actually find something to like about MGM's 1955 flop It's Always Fair Weather. For starters, It's Always Fair Weather marked the end of that strange era where larger-than-life movie musicals roamed the nation, thereby sparing many a poor sap (or sapette) any further misfortune of being dragged into an auditorium to see people sing and dance their blues away. But whereas that was the remedy in other (successful) musicals, It's Always Fair Weather proudly stood out from other song-and-dance titles

Thursday and Friday Program Highlights for Emerald City Comicon 2017

Where to find Todd at ECCC.
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Emerald City Comicon's first two days of programming on Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3 offers an eclectic mix of panels. My highlights are below. Their entire listing is available on the official website. Build A World Workshop Mar 02, 2017, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM, WSCC 603 A panel of professional authors will build a science fiction and/or fantasy world right before your eyes, taking tropes, themes, and ideas from audience suggestions and developing a setting as well as brainstorming stories one could write in that setting. A great hands-on workshop for learning how to take your setting

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