Decades before civilized man would figure out new and inventive ways to suck the life out of that good ol' fashioned movie magic previous generations grew up looking up to, a species of gifted animators roamed the great halls of special effects studios near and far. Out of all the long-leggedy beasties, none were as revered and respected as the Hausenusharrius Rayus ‒ better known as Ray Harryhausen to us laymen ‒ whose magnificence and might effectively crowned him King of the Stop-Motion Animators. And it is with one of his tales that we begin this peek at two recent
April 2017 Archives
The Warner Archive Collection shows off two showcases of animators Ray Harryhausen and Jim Danforth in these splendid catalog releases.
A delightful space fantasy with enough action to entertain the casual viewer and enough story elements and links to other works to please the Star Wars aficionado.
While the Star Wars universe had previously been expanded over the years into multiple mediums, Rogue One was the first time the film franchise focused on a story that didn't primarily involve the Skywalker family, and they chose a great idea. As revealed in the prologue crawl of Star Wars (1977), the Rebel Alliance obtained the Death Star plans. Rogue One tells the story of how. Watching the film a second time, what worked for me and what didn't, as stated in my movie review, remain the same. It's an impressive blockbuster in terms of its action and almost all
Featuring a dose of David Letterman.
This week TCM gets a visit from David Letterman as Alec Baldwin takes the reins of "The Essentials" and Dennis Miller shines a spotlight on Creature Features. There is also a 100th Birthday Tribute to Danielle Darrieux, Clark Gable is the Star of the Month, and Noir Alley continues. 100th Birthday Tribute: Danielle Darrieux - The Rage of Paris (1938) - Monday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A penniless woman sets out to snare a rich husband. Star of the Month: Clark Gable - It Happened One Night (1934) Tuesday, May 2 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A newspaperman tracks
Miike's wild, wooly action trilogy gets a disappointing release from Arrow Video.
Takashi Miike is an insanely prolific (and possibly just straight up insane) Japanese director. He has 102 directorial credits on IMDB since 1991. That’s nearly four film/TV credits per year. While he is mostly known for his extreme horror in the U.S. with secondary acclaim for his Yakuza films, he’s actually an incredibly diverse filmmaker having made comedies, dramas, science fiction, historical epics, and even a family film or two. His best films are both widely loved and criticized for their use of graphic violence and perverse, often extraordinarily sexual sense of humor. Just to demonstrate how many films Miike
The Warner Archive Collection unleashes 16 more lost novelty acts from the days of vaudeville and burlesque shows.
After nearly five years since the last installment in the intermittent series, the Warner Archive Collection has assembled another amazing assortment of forgotten, filmed novelty acts with Vitaphone Varieties, Volume Three: 1928-1929. Back in the mid 1920s, just a short few years before the various pioneers in the motion picture industry dreamt up a reliable way to record and print sound on to film, the folks at Warner Bros. and First National figured out a different method of providing sound to moving images: a mechanically synced-up record player. And though it may seem completely archaic and downright hipster today, the
The story of tortured artist Richard Hambleton is short of depth but long on intrigue.
Since Van Gogh cut his ear off it's well-known that the mind of the artist is a tortured one. This isn't a new assertion nor does director Oren Jacoby's new documentary, Shadowman, do anything to debunk it. What Jacoby does capture is the story of a man whose tortured mind allowed him to create amazing works of art while simultaneously destroying his chances for success. Jacoby's subject is one of the last few artists out there, one uninterested in commerce, but who needs to rely on it nonetheless. Peppered with ironic asides that would be comical if they weren't so
Cool things this week include new episodes of Fargo and Doctor Who plus The Graduate, a Stephen King adaptation and more.
Let’s just get to it, shall we? Here’s five cool things I discovered this week. Fargo: Season 3 I’ve not yet seen any of Season 3 of this FX show from Noah Hawley, but I absolutely adored the first two seasons so I’m pretty excited about it. This season is set in 2010, in and around St. Cloud, Minnesota. It stars Ewan McGregor (as twins!), Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Carrie Coon, and David Thewilis. I know nothing more about it, not do I want to. The great pleasure of Fargo is watching it unfold in unexpected ways. The Graduate The Graduate
Skip to the performances.
Neil Young Journeys is director Jonathan Demme’s third film starring the musician, the previous two being Neil Young: Heart of Gold and Neil Young Trunk Show. Journeys is predominantly a concert film recorded at Toronto’s Massey Hall where Young performed solo two nights in support of Le Noise. In addition, Demme shot footage of Young driving to the show behind his brother Bob from their hometown Omemee. He describes it as “a town in North Ontario,” bringing to mind his song “Helpless,” which plays over the closing credits.. Along the way, Young reminisces about growing up, giving the film the
Informative, engaging overview of the actor's life and work, both with Akira Kurosawa and beyond.
Toshiro Mifune is one of the most dynamic actors who's ever played on the big screen. He was an animal presence that made it difficult to look away. Even in one of Akira Kurosawa's more staid productions, the stagy and fairly drab The Lower Depths, comes to life when his character comes on screen for an unfortunate few times. In combination with Akira Kurosawa, he made one of the definitive actor/director teams who shaped the future of Japanese cinema, helping to bring it to international attention for the first time in 1950’s Rashomon. Mifune: The Last Samurai, a feature-length documentary
The Warner Archive Collection brings us two remarkably different ‒ but nevertheless essential ‒ offerings from the inimitable Audrey Hepburn.
In case you missed it, 2017 is already a great year for Audrey Hepburn fans. Twilight Time recently unveiled a gorgeous transfer of Stanley Donen's Two for the Road, wherein cinema's most beloved beauty co-starred with Albert Finney. And now the Warner Archive Collection ‒ who have been unveiling more classic catalogue releases on Blu-ray for film lovers to cherish ‒ presents us with two more for the road in what I can only call an "Audrey Two-fer" (yes, Little Shop of Horrors fans, that may have been a reference). The first title being perhaps the most popular of the
Vindictive villains, stereoscopic Stooges, speculative spouses, heroic horsemen, and illiterate inventors highlight this quartet of New-to-Blu releases.
At one point or another, every one of us falls under the jurisdiction of being that which they once called the "odd man out." Maybe you're that unathletic movie nerd who finds himself amidst a group of people talking about sports. Or you're the jock who can't seem to communicate with all of the people talking about a popular television series you've never heard of. I'm sure you get the idea ‒ as do the various protagonists of this batch of Blu-ray releases from Twilight Time, which features a wide array of odd men who are a bit out of
A couple of not-so-classic comedy-horror films from the 80s get a magnificent release from Arrow Video.
Picture me: a pubescent boy, somewhere in the late '80s, wandering about the local video store aisles. A burgeoning horror fan, I’m checking out the cover art for all the films in the genre section. My mother was much more strict than my father when it came to renting films, so if I’m with her, I’m liking gonna have to move over to the comedies soon, but if it's just me and dad, I can talk him into the scary stuff. One weekend, me and the old man grabbed House, a movie whose cover features a totally rad-looking severed hand
Terence Hill takes over the Django role in this unofficial prequel.
Following the success of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 spaghetti western, Django, dozens of films were released that bore the name but only served as a means to capitalize from it. A lot of them had nothing to do with the character, and neither Corbucci nor the film’s original star, Franco Nero, had any involvement in the making of them. It wasn’t until 1987 that fans got an official sequel with Django Strikes Again, in which Nero reprised the role and Corbucci had a credit for being the character’s creator, but didn’t have a hand in the screenplay and didn’t return to
This story of the enormously successful Japanese metal band is steeped in both triumph and (near constant) tragedy.
Early in We Are X, Yoshiki, the leader of the band is asked in an English-language interview why the band broke up in 1997. He says, “My vocalist got brainwashed” in his heavily accented but perfectly fluent English. Is it a joke, or a cultural misunderstanding? Absolutely not - in 1997 Toshi quit X Japan, an enormously successful band, because a cult leader had convinced him it was wrong. Six months later, the band’s lead guitarist was dead in an apparent suicide. Yoshiki, the band’s founder, drummer, and lead composer tells about finding his own father dead on the floor
This week brings us a new musical, an immortal monster, several Valerian Borowczyk films, a Japanese film about noodles, and more.
Every few years, it seems, Hollywood will make a new musical. It will catch on like gangbusters and a slew of think pieces will come out raving about how audiences are finally, once again, ready to enjoy musicals like they did in the old days. Then just as quickly it all dies down and we go back to watching another reboot, another sequel, another damn Transformers movie. La La Land is the latest musical in this feeble attempt to revive the genre. It stars Emma Stone as an aspiring actress and Ryan Gosling as a struggling jazz pianist. They fall
A great example of how a documentary should be constructed.
We all know that there are people that don’t like or simply don’t get Star Trek. Nonetheless, it’s hard to argue with the success of the franchise. A great deal of credit for the success can be bestowed upon Leonard Nimoy. His life and career are chronicled here by his son Adam who started the project of telling the story of Spock with his father before the elder Nimoy passed away. When Leonard Nimoy died, the project became much more than originally intended. Available now, the DVD release still manages to leave you wanting more at 111 minutes plus some
Cursed convents? Possessed prioresses? Severin Films is having nun of that now!
The various subgenres of exploitation filmmaking are both wild and varied, ranging from bizarre tales featuring Bruce Lee wannabes to brutal barrages upon the senses having to do with the Nazis. In addition to Brucesploitation and Nazisploitation, there's also sexploitation, blaxploitation, 'Namsploitation, and even sharksploitation to consider. And they're all a lot more popular than you probably think, too. But hidden away in the darkest recesses of cinema, there's yet another form of exploitation film that could effectively eradicate any remaining scruples of the morbidly inclined. I refer to, of course, the weird and wacky world of Nunsploitation. If you
Sweet, sexy, and hilarious food for thought.
Some of the best films about food not only include food itself, but the reasons why it is essential, especially when it comes to culture, love, and satisfaction. Films about food can be entertaining, delectable, and hypnotic, such as Babette's Feast (1987), Big Night (1996), and Like Water For Chocolate (1994). However, as great as those films still are, I think Juzo Itami's 1985 classic, Tampopo, outshines them all. It is an endearing, sensual, and tasty 114-minute experience at the movies. Although the film is centered on the titular character Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto), it is really a series of vignettes
It is always with mixed emotions when I look at the schedule for the final day.
The last day. It is always with mixed emotions when I look at the schedule for the final day. Film fatigue has fully set in but at the same time I am not ready for it be over. The day started with one of my favorites of the whole festival, Lured (1947) starring Lucille Ball as a dancer who gets enlisted by Scotland Yard to capture a serial killer. The film also stars George Sanders, Charles Cobine, George Zucco, and Boris Karloff. The "who dunnit?' part of the film is lacking, however, it is still a well-written story with interesting
Here's to yo,u Mrs. Robinson.
Some movies are so iconic, so ingrained in the consciousness of culture that it feels like you’ve seen it even when you haven’t. The Graduate is one such film. I’d never seen it before this afternoon’s theatrical showing thanks to TCM and Fathom Events, but I could tell you what it was about, quote you some lines, and describe several scenes. Surely, everyone who cares about movies is familiar with that view of Dustin Hoffman between Anne Bancroft’s legs, can hum that memorable Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack, and remembers the "did I just see what I think I saw?" quick
The Warner Archive paroles a corny prison yarn featuring Shemp Howard and the voice of Jiminy Cricket as inmates.
Despite the slightly uplifting title, RKO's Millionaires in Prison is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to happen today were the system ‒ which, as we all know, knows better ‒ to incarcerate a deserving fraudster or two: a lighthearted romp where no one gets hurt. This wouldn't necessarily a bad thing if the film was intended to be a comedy. Alas, Millionaires in Prison appears as if it is supposed to be taken seriously ‒ something which becomes all the more difficult to fathom when you stop to consider the film was directed by a man who mostly
Worth seeing, especially if you don't know the story of Katherine Johnson and her ilk.
When Hidden Figures got nominated for Best Picture, the general buzz was that it was a good if unspectacular feel-good biopic, the kind that usually garner one or two Best Picture nominations, especially under the current parameters of the award. After watching the film, I can confirm that consensus was more or less correct. Hidde Pictures is a quintessential uplifting "based on a true story" movie, but it is at the upper echelon of that archetype. The film asserts, at least on the Blu-ray/DVD cover, that it is an unknown story, which for me wasn't true. It's not a commonly
Beautiful, but dull film by a director more noted for his controversies than his staid adaptation of classic novels.
For a film with “Sin” in its title that includes a nude woman on its cover and was directed by a man who once made a film featuring a giant phallus exuding copious amounts of seminal fluid, The Story of Sin is surprisingly chaste. That isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of nudity and sex in it, but that when those things occur, they seem so high-brow, so arty-farty that one can hardly be aroused by it. Whereas in some of director Valerian Borowczyk’s other films, he uses sexuality as a means to offend, here it's central to a much
Six globetrotting adventures and dramas make their HD home video debuts, including a Sonny Chiba disaster flick and that missing title from you Ray Harryhausen collection.
Although statistics and insurance companies tend to inform us most accidents occur within only a few miles of our own places of residence ‒ sometimes mostly within their very confines themselves ‒ storytellers and filmmaking industries prefer to place protagonists into plights far from home. And there is perhaps no greater assortment of variable cinematic journeys than this particular lot from Twilight Time, which range from being perfectly cordial to posing downright perilous situations for their passengers. You know, the very sort of tales that keep audiences glued to cinema seats ‒ be it from euphoric glee or sheer suspense.
Cool things this week include a book about film noir, Doctor Thorne, Blue Ruin, Robert Hunter and a new Star Wars Trailer.
If I spent most of last week preparing for my daughter’s birthday and the visitation of her grandparents, then this week was filled with the actual party and the actual grandparents. It was several parties, actually. Her birthday fell on Monday so we’d planned to do the partying on Saturday. Sunday was Easter so there was a lot of time spent negotiating with various parental units of her friends finding a time to party between egg-hunts, religious ceremonies, and other various goings-on. Eventually we settled on a time, a party was had, the friends who could make it came, and
Katherine Heigl plays a crazy ex-wife in this by-the-numbers thriller.
It’s as if, for her directorial debut, longtime Hollywood producer Denise Di Novi followed every single rule in the How to Make a Lifetime Movie for Big Studios handbook. Heck, how did this even get approved by someone at Warner Brothers to be a theatrical release? Everything in Unforgettable is recycled from so many movies like it, namely Fatal Attraction. There isn’t a shred of originality in it, and there’s not really much of a reason to see it. Because you’ve seen it all before, and it’s been done better before. With her wedding around the corner, Julia Banks (Rosario
Visconti's biography of Ludwig II has access to amazing locations, some good acting, and no momentum.
Strange for an explicitly socialist director of the mid-20th century, but Luchino Visconti was unabashed in his almost fetishistic adoration of the trappings of European royalty. Being of noble blood himself, through most of his career Luchino's work on stage and on screen had been radical politically and socially. In the last few decades of his career, he was called a "documenter of decadence", but it's very difficult to find anything but admiration in his work for the supposed "decayed" ways of those on the top of the social hill. Ludwig, about the "Mad King" of Bavaria whose extravagance, in
Not only for your eyes.
Having previously collected and released the James Bond newspaper comic-strip adventures that ran in British newspapers, including in Omnibus Volumes that were released from September 2009 to November 2014, Titan Books is now presenting the strips in hardback editions. SPECTRE: The Complete Comic Strip Collection covers Bond's encounters with the villainous organization (whose name stands for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) and its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, adapted from Ian Fleming's novels: Thunderball (running 12/11/61-02/10/62), The Spy Who Loved Me (12/18/67 - 10/03/68), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (06/29/64 - 05/17/65), and You Only Live Twice (05/18/65
Groucho's last leading role ‒ now available from the Warner Archive ‒ isn't something you'd bet your life on, but warrants a viewing from devoted Marxists just the same.
The wisdom and wit of Groucho Marx may be as timeless as comedy itself, but it can be a little hard to perceive underneath some of the late legend's latter-day contributions to cinema. And a prime example of just how hard even the mightiest of comics can struggle is no more apparent than in the 1952 RKO ditty, A Girl in Every Port. When he was given the chance to simply be himself and say whatever popped into his head (censors permitting, of course), Groucho was nothing short of dynamic. Here, however, in what would be his final leading role
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the original show, but this new film has a very nice, familiar feel to it.
The original Jetsons cartoon was produced by Hanna-Barbera back in the early ‘60s. While it only lasted 24 episodes, most people grew up watching it in syndication and would eventually see some new episodes in the mid-‘80s. The show featured the misadventures of a family in the future where people lived in the skies, had vehicles that flew, was filled with robots, and every television set was actually a video phone. Unfortunately, voice actors George O’Hanlon (George Jetson), and Mel Blanc (Cosmo Spacely) passed away, leaving the beloved cartoon in a sort of limbo where it has remained until this
A wonderful resource to understanding one of cinemas greatest genres.
Much like the Supreme Court with pornography, I find "film noir" difficult to define, but I know it when I see it. The term was coined by French film critic Niko Frank in 1946 and literally means “black cinema” but might more correctly be translated as “dark cinema”. It was used to describe the type of crime dramas that were popular during the '40s and '50s with its stark use of shadows and its bleak, dark themes. But exactly what "film noir" is can be as problematic to pin down as so many of the femme fatales that appear in
Terence Hill digs a name for himself in the only legitimate unofficial prequel to the Sergio Corbucci cult classic.
While Sergio Leone's legendary pairings with Clint Eastwood may have injected fresh blood into the waning genre of the cinematic western, Sergio Corbucci's quasi-remake Django (1966) with Franco Nero was the first film to really draw it. Considered to be one of the most violent motion pictures ever made at the time, Django's popularity resulted in a new era of filmmaking in Europe: the bastard sequel. Soon, unofficial followups ‒ few of which had anything to do with the character ‒ were popping up in cinemas courtesy seasoned professionals trying to make a quick buck to total newbs who were
David Letterman, Tina Fey, and William Friedkin set to join as special guests, premiering May 6.
Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced that Emmy-winner and Oscar-nominee Alec Baldwin will host The Essentials, TCM’s popular franchise showcasing “must see” classic films. Joining Baldwin each week throughout the season will be one of three special guests: late-night television icon David Letterman; acclaimed actress, writer, and comedian Tina Fey, and legendary filmmaker William Friedkin. Together, Baldwin and his guests will introduce a hand-picked classic and offer color commentary on its cultural significance, its influence on other films, behind-the-scenes stories and their own personal reflections. The new season of The Essentials, which airs every Saturday night, premieres May
I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point, but it is an enjoyable continuation of the Dick Tracy series.
As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 21 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from August 27, 1962 through to April 12, 1964. The book has an introductory essay by Consulting Editor Max Allan Collins' about the strips collected including the public reaction to Moon Maid and other lunar characters that appeared later, which "remains the most controversial element in the history of the Tracy strip." It concludes with Contributing Editor Jeff Kersten's "Pulling the Whiskers Off," who regales readers with what was happening at the time
Saturday was originally scheduled to be another five-movie day but a lack of sleep and food set in.
One of my most anticipated events was The Last Picture Show (1971) with director Peter Bogdanovich in attendance. While it was much more depressing than I expected, this coming-of-age story about a small town in Texas is a must-see. Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ben Johnson, and Ellen Burstyn all give amazing performances; no matter which one was on screen, I was completely engrossed. Bogdanovich was one of the highlights of the festival. I could have listened to him talk for hours. Most interesting, was him describing how it was Orson Welles that convinced him to shoot the film
This week brings us a film about McDonalds, a Studio Ghibli TV movie, James McAvoy playing a bunch of different characters in one film and much more.
It is not exactly controversial for me to say I hate McDonald's. I’d go as far to say I loathe them. Their burgers are small and unappetizing. Their chicken is bland; their fish is gross. Even their fries - supposedly the one thing they do really well - I find rather boring, and too salty. Yet, I still occasionally eat there. When I’m on the Interstate, and hungry, sometimes I’ll stop at a McDonald's if there is nothing else at the exit. Or if one of their restaurants sit next to the hotel I’m staying at, I’ll walk over rather
How many are you gonna pick up?
To help with summer-vacation budgets, the Criterion Collection is only releasing four titles in July. Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero) gets a high-def upgrade. In addition, they are also releasing Robert Bresson's L’argent, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, and Albert Brooks' Lost in America. Read on to learn more about them. Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy (#500) out July 11 Roberto Rossellini is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. And it was with his trilogy of films made during and after World War II—Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero—that he left
A documentary that is insightful, beautifully shot, and fun to watch.
The Creeping Garden opens with a 1973 newscast that reports on some “blobs” being found in the backyards of some people’s households in Texas. This makes it seem like something had leapt from the horror-movie genre and made its way to reality. The fact of the matter is, these so-called blobs that were found in people’s backyards are called slime molds, and they’ve been around for quite some time. Unfortunately, not many people know about it, and, for a while, it was considered to be another type of fungus based on its look. But the difference between fungus and a
You can keep the prize pack or share with friends.
Cinema Sentries has teamed up with COMET TV to award one lucky reader a Mystery Science Theater 3000 prize pack. As seen above, the giveaway includes two limited Edition MST3K Pint Glasses (you can only get these glasses in this pack), a Moon stress ball, and a custom MST3K flyer. COMET TV is an American digital broadcast television network that focuses on science fiction and other genre fare. It is available over the air, on cable, streaming for free online and now on ROKU and APPLE TV! To find in your area, vist their website. Select programming for the rest
I ended day one with a Peter Lorre film so I figured why not start day two with him as well.
Day One I was hoping to arrive in time to start the festival with the tribute to Robert Osborne but it wasn't meant to be. Instead, I arrived in time to grab a full meal, which I knew would be a rarity, before making my way to see my all-time favorite actors, William Powell in Love Crazy (1941). This was the tenth of fourteen films Powell made with Myrna Loy and was about a couple on the verge of divorce after a few mishaps and misunderstandings. In an effort to save the marriage, Powell fakes insanity, resulting in the shaving
See anything you'll be watching?
This week TCM gets a visit from guest programmer William Daniel, and shines a spotlight on Claude Rains in the '30s. There are also themed nights of programming under the headings of "Post-War Melodrama", "U-Boats", and "Thinly Veiled Bios". 1776 (1972) - Monday, April 17 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) The founding fathers struggle to draft the Declaration of Independence Gentleman Jim (1942) Tuesday, April 18 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Fanciful biography of 19th-century boxing champion Jim Corbett. The Invisible Man (1933) Wednesday, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A scientist's experiments with invisibility turn him into a madman. On The
Featuring debut of Class and all-new bonus feature Becoming the Companion.
Press release: Tickets are now available for the Fathom Events presentation of BBC AMERICA’s “Doctor Who: Season 10 Premiere,” playing in movie theaters nationwide for two nights only on Monday, April 17 and Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. local time both days, following BBC AMERICA’s television premiere on Saturday, April 15 at 9/8c. In addition to the feature content, audiences will enjoy the premiere episode of the Doctor Who spinoff series Class, featuring a guest appearance by the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi, and the never-before-seen bonus feature Becoming the Companion, in which fans will travel with new companion
This week's cool things include a couple of Criterions, a visit to Narnia, X-Men, and a great new podcast.
This week I spent a lot of time preparing for both my daughter’s birthday and the arrival of my in-laws for the same. This means there was a lot of house cleaning, party preparations and attempts at finishing some projects I started the last time they were here (finally got that kitchen mirror hung!) I still managed to find time to watch some movies, read some books and discover some cool things. L’Avventura Michelangelo Antonioni’s drama from 1960 is the sort of film where very little happens, but it's still enthralling. A group of rich, bored Italians take a boat
Elio Petri's forgotten, strange, and very dark satire makes a long-overdue debut in the US from the newly launched Arrow Academy.
The final entry of a surrealistic motion picture trio ‒ known to fans as the "Trilogy of Neurosis" ‒ Elio Petri's strange little 1973 comedy Property Is No Longer a Theft (La proprietà non è più un furto) makes a very late US debut via the newly launched North American wing of Arrow Academy, the much more artsy side of Arrow Video. One of several titles inaugurating the Academy (which also includes the celebrated Cinema Paradiso, and offerings from Luchino Visconti and Walerian Borowczyk), Property Is No Longer a Theft is, in one word, "bizarre." But of course, that's what
A lighthearted film that deals with love and marriage on a superficial level.
Based on Maurice Walsh's short story of the same name, The Quiet Man is the eighth pairing of actor John Wayne and director John Ford. It's a feel-good story where two people fall in love at first sight, which is easy for the viewer to believe if all one needs is for your partner to look like the rugged Wayne or the beautiful Maureen O'Hara. Sean Thorton (Wayne), born in Ireland and raised in America, returns to his native land to buy his old family homestead. He immediately falls for Mary Kate Danaher (O'Hara), a red-headed Irish lass, when he
Some nutty gangsters thought they pulled off the crime of the century...but it’s going to cost them an arm and a leg!
Press release: After a daring jewel heist, a trio of thieves hold up in an old dark house inhabited by a motley bunch of restless ghosts that only want to dispatch their new guests in the most horrible manner possible - that is if they can get to them before the spirits of an unruly group of dismembered corpses from the nearby cemetery! Shot in Philadelphia in 1962, The Dismembered claws its way out of the grave of cinematic obscurity to debut on home video for the very first time courtesy of a new HD Blu-ray from Garagehouse Pictures. The
The crew's encounters with beings different from ourselves is still as fun and fascinating today as it ever was.
There are so many branches to the Star Trek universe: novelizations, movies, re-boot film series, animated series, magazines, television series, toys, games, etc. that even the most dedicated fan, Trekkie or Trekker, might have trouble keeping up. The original series (TOS) first aired on American television in September of 1966. It included its now immortal cast of characters - Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), his Vulcan first officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), ship's doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), communications officer Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), helmsman Lt. Sulu (George Takei) and Ensign Chekov (Walter Koenig). That key crew accompanied its
This week brings us NASA's untold history, a mad king, some nice-looking horror collections, and much more.
If you aren’t utterly amazed by space travel, then you aren’t paying attention - especially in the early days of NASA. They worked out ridiculously complicated math problems using a pencil and a slide rule. My phone has more computing power than their big mainframes did. Some of the people doing those calculations were young African American women. Hidden Figures tell their story. It stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae as the mathematicians. It's received some good review and has done well at the box office. I’m a sucker for heart-warming historical stories and this one looks
A criminally underrated tale of young rebellion during a truly vanished time.
I think it's safe to say everyone can relate to being a teen. Doesn't matter what time period you're in, there are always going to be trials and tribulations of the "youth years." There are some films about teenagers that have stood the test time (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club), while others instantly falter as soon as they're released (Bring It On, Twilight). Fortunately, Philip Kaufman's 1979 cult classic adaptation of Richard Price's best seller gets it quite right: from how it captures a bygone era (1963), and how it succeeds in telling a very modern story. Set in the
Including the 1968 Friars’ Club Roast of Johnny Carson, and the 1971 Friars’ Club Roast of Jerry Lewis.
Press release: getTV celebrates the life and legacy of comedy king Don Rickles with a Monday night variety block highlighting some of his most memorable Friars’ Club Roasts, on Monday, April 10 starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Charmingly known as “Mr. Warmth” for his devastating wit and sharp sense of humor, Rickles quickly rose through the comedy ranks as the quintessential “insult comic,” famously catching the eye of Frank Sinatra who encouraged other celebrities to see him during his early club acts, and frequently appearing as a guest on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON. Throughout his Emmy®-winning
During this special event, audiences will also get a sneak peek at Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Get your multipasses ready, The Fifth Element fans. Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are bringing Luc Besson’s cult classic back to the big screen for two days in May to celebrate its 20th anniversary. In addition to this special 4K restoration of the film, all attendees will get a pre-recorded introduction from Besson himself about the film’s anniversary, and there will also be an exclusive look at his next feature, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. That film, which stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne, is scheduled for release on July 21. The 20th anniversary rerelease
Who is interested in seeing this?
Press release: The guys of RiffTrax (Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, of MST3K fame) take the TARDIS back to 1983 to give the full RiffTrax treatment to this well-loved feature-length episode with “RiffTrax Live: Doctor Who - The Five Doctors” in cinemas nationwide. Someone is taking the Doctor's past selves out of time and space, placing them in a vast wilderness - a battle arena with a sinister tower at its center. As the various incarnations of the Doctor join forces, they learn they are in the Death Zone on their home world of Gallifrey, where they
The Warner Archive Collection unveils a marvelous, meticulously restored look this WWII classic.
Initially advertised to the public as "The First Great Picture of the Second World War!", William A. Wellman's 1949 epic Battleground certainly lives up to its own hype ‒ something very few films can truly lay claim to. Sporting an all-star cast that was trained by twenty veterans from the actual events the film's story is based on ‒ a heroic assembly the history books dubbed "The Battered Bastards of Bastogne" ‒ the two-time Oscar winner from writer Robert Pirosh (who won a total of three awards for this work) lives to fight another day thanks to another spectacular catalogue
This weeks cool things include The X-Men, the New Pornographers, italian horror, a classic movie festival, and more.
Last week, I had a lot of fun with my new Amazon Fire TV, streaming shows I’d previously not been able to access with my old Apple TV. I did the same this week which was great, except when it comes to write a column about the new things I discovered this week and then I realize I probably shouldn’t talk about the same shows I talked about last time. Dear old Gordon is here to help with a great movie and a film festival he attends every year (which makes me insanely jealous each time). Here’s some cool things
The Warner Archive Collection brings us the groundbreaking precursor to the revenge film genre in what is easily one of the most beautiful transfers of the year.
A stranger arrives in a small town, only to discover he isn't wanted. While such a premise may have been quintessential in the storyline of every other classic oater western made in the '30s and '40s ‒ to say nothing of many a hicksploitation thriller that graced grimy screen throughout the '60s and '70s ‒ said diegesis has never been more at home than in John Sturges' 1955 Bad Day at Black Rock. Here, in a performance that would earn him a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival that same year, the one and only Spencer Tracy portrays
Byrne has a strong sense of who the characters are and puts them in compelling stories.
In Star Trek: New Visions, John Byrne tells of the lost missions of the Starship Enterprise under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. Through the use of images from the Original Series combined with new material such as dialogue, narration, and photos of actors playing new characters and bodies of old ones, Byrne creates adventures for the crew that have an air of authenticity because we see the familiar faces of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, et. al. Volume 4 collects issues #9-11 which includes a treat for fans of the Animated Series. Occurring about two years after the first
"I'm going to kill you. In fact, you're already dead" - Rick, spoiling the Season Eight finale.
In which Shawn and Kim react to the Season 7 finale. Shawn: A season full of ups and downs finally came to an end this week and it kinda ended back in the middle. A success if you consider where we were a few weeks ago. The problem with writing 16 times a season is that we've usually covered most of the themes. This finale doesn't leave the Internet aflame with theories about what just happened or what's about to happen. In many ways, I prefer the natural break to end the season but I also see this as the
2016's top Japanese box-office draw, Your Name is a modern anime of uncommon quality, both visually and in storytelling.
For what is on the surface a sweet, elegiac coming of age romance, Your Name gets pretty ambitious. It starts as a body switching comedy, then becomes a bittersweet time travel mystery, then a thriller and back to the elegiac bittersweetness before it’s done. That is tries this at all is laudable, that it succeeds so well at all of these while never seeming like a confusing mish-mash of ideas is unexpected. Mitusha is a teenage girl who lives in a small Japanese town where she and her sister help their grandmother keep up rituals at the local shrine. When
The best B horror movie Universal Studios never made receives a beautiful makeover from the UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Detective.
Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time is all it takes. And when it comes to fairly forgotten B horror pictures from Poverty Row during the 1930s, Frank R. Strayer's underrated gem The Vampire Bat essentially flew down from the skies and into motion picture history just for its impeccable timing alone. Filmed at night on leftover sets from earlier big studio productions and rounding up a fine cast from various other recent horror hits ‒ independent or otherwise ‒ this 1933 chiller from mystery/thriller writer Edward T. Lowe Jr. has all of the heart, humor, and
Canada's strange 'Exorcist' rip-off receives a beautiful restoration thanks to Severin Films.
Apparently, nary a nation capable of manufacturing a motion picture during the 1970s was immune to the phenomenal success of William Friedkin's The Exorcist. Sadly, the otherwise reputable country of Canada was among the list of offenders in the post-Exorcist wave of rip-off cinema that followed once the 1973 blockbuster traveled abroad, exorcising their right to cash-in on the horror subgenre of demonic possession with a tale of their own. Unfortunately, the resulting motion picture, Cathy's Curse lacked most of the enjoyable qualities better-known, less-reputable knock-offs from other countries possessed. To imply Cathy's Curse is slow would be something of
The Master of Suspense returns to the big screen with one of his best cliff hangers ever.
Fathom Events and TCM have the best timing. I'm spending the year watching all of the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Most people only ever get to enjoy these classics on their home screens or worse yet on an iPad or laptop screen. Movies like North By Northwest were filmed to be seen on the movie screen in the dark with a crowd. I've watched more than a handful of his films so far this year but watching them in theaters feels the way they were meant to be enjoyed. North By Northwest is the latest offering and it holds up
You should elect to enter this contest.
Cinema Sentries has teamed up with HBO Home Entertainment to award one lucky reader Veep: The Complete Fifth Season on DVD. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: In its most-watched season to date, season 5 of the hit HBO comedy series Veep is the winner of three 2016 Emmy® awards including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has won an Emmy for each season of Veep), and Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series. The 10-episode Veep: The Complete Fifth Season will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on April
This week brings us the latest Star Wars, a new Jim Jarmusch film, and a raunchy comedy.
I first saw Star Wars…well, I don’t actually remember the first time I saw Star Wars. That’s A New Hope I’m talking about. I was only one when it hit theaters so it wasn’t until it started showing on cable or home video that I first saw it. I do remember watching Return of the Jedi in theaters on several occasions and playing with all the action figures so by 1983, I was certainly a fan. My mother says that A New Hope used to run all the time on HBO way back when and that me and my brother
Lucio Fulci's last credited feature feels more like a dry run for Dario Argento's career slump. And is just as appealing.
Within the annals of Italian horror films, there are perhaps no two better-known names than those of Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. Even today, long after the film industry which had shot both filmmakers to fame (or infamy, if you prefer) had collapsed, the two artists are still held in high regard ‒ despite the inconvenient truths that one of them is dead and the other hasn't made a decent picture since 1990 (sorry, Trauma lovers, but Two Evil Eyes is where I officially draw the line). During their heyday, it was easy to distinguish one director's work from the
The Top 7 films at what will be my seventh time attending the festival.
One of the things I look forward to most every year is the TCM Classic Film Festival. It is a special opportunity to see classic movies on the big screen. I always try to plan my schedule with a balance of movies I have never seen plus favorites that I have never seen on the big screen. The guest speakers always play a big part of my planning as well. This is list of films I am most excited to see although it is always subject to change based on hunger, distance between theaters, and level of tiredness. The recent
The single-location thriller goes international with the simplistic Mine.
The single-person drama is a genre Hollywood hasn't unlocked yet. The ultimate in high-concept storytelling, the single-person story requires high stakes and a seamless integration of character development that allows us to care about the character's success or failure for the established runtime. Mine is the latest in to try to make one person in a high-risk situation compelling and it works on paper. With a sufficiently stressful situation with real-world counterpoints and an intense performance for its lead, Mine settles onto the shakiest ground when it tries to bridge the gap from the professional to the personal. After a
Yes, it's a dog's world, but that doesn't mean you have to live in it.
When is a dog movie strictly for the dogs? When it's Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, that's when! Unleashed upon an unsuspecting public in-between the two movies that actually would save Hollywood ‒ Jaws and Star Wars ‒ this 1976 stinker probably started off with better intentions. Intended to spoof the enormous and, by today's standards, inexplicably bizarre popularity of canine motion-picture performer Rin Tin Tin during Tinseltown's Silent Era, this equally strange byproduct of the movie-making machine ‒ manufactured during a time when animal movies had made their anomalous return to screens ‒ was, incredibly, made
See what TCM has planned for the week and make your plans accordingly.
For those not heading to Hollywood for the 8th TCM Classic Film Festival, here are the highlights of what will be airing this week, including nights of programming focused on Faye Dunaway, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Nunnally Johnson, and character actors Live From the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival: Faye Dunaway - Monday, April 3 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Holiday (1938) Tuesday, April 4 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) An unhappy heiress falls in love with her stodgy sister's freethinking fiance. Death of a Scoundrel (1956) Wednesday, April 5 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A Czech refugee uses women to advance his business
In addition to the festival award-winners, other highlights include the celebrity-filled opening night gala, and festival closing screening of Endless Night, directed by Isabel Coixet.
Press release: The 13th annual Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival announces the 2017 Best of the Festival Award Winners, and other highlights. Selected from among the Festival's divers array of feature films, documentaries, and shorts programs, the Festival awarded top honors to: The Drowning, directed by Bette Gordon (Best Dramatic Feature); Snowflake, directed by Alana Smithee (Best Dramatic Short); After Auschwitz: The Story of Six Women, directed by Jon Kean (Best Documentary Feature); and Breaking Silence, directed by Nadya Ali (Best Documentary Short). Details on the winning films below. The four-day Festival presented nearly 100 films during its run
Pedro Almodóvar's career-defining, groundbreaking dark screwball comedy gets the Criterion treatment ‒ and is just as awesome as you'd expect it to be.
There are few films which can combine failed romances, hysteria, spiked gazpacho, the fine art of voiceover acting, and get fully away with it. And, truly, Pedro Almodóvar is only one filmmaker in the world who could pull such a feat off, which he does flawlessly in his breakout hit, Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios. Effectively managing to mix the classic Hollywood screwball comedy with the esoteric humanity of Jean Cocteau and the artistic stylings of Alfred Hitchcock, Almodóvar's acclaimed, award-winning tour de farce returns to delight once more as part of the Criterion Collection ‒ and
Severin Films assembles 35 original trailers for some of the most mind-numbing martial arts films ever to escape from the Far East.
'Following on the high-kicking heels of last year's Kung Fu Trailers of Fury release, the folks at Severin Films have once again sunk their iron fists into the vaults in order to bring us another gathering of jaw-dropping previews from some of the most mind-bending movies never seen by American audiences. And, honestly, this might be the best way to see some of the films advertised in this 134-minute compilation, which brings both disbelieving viewers and diehard fans alike a total of nearly three-dozen trailers for Hong Kong martial arts flicks (or at least movies made in Hong Kong that
An extraordinary release of an extraordinarily weird movie.
In 2001, writer-director Richard Kelly created Donnie Darko, a film that is (among many other things) a nostalgic trip back to 1988. Now 15 years later, the film is itself viewed through its own sort of nostalgic lens. Released just over a month after 9/11, its specific brand of dark weirdness didn’t sit well with viewers at first. It bombed at the box office to put it mildly. It did well with critics and grew a cult following on VHS and DVD. It is now considered one of the better movies released that year. Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a