August 2017 Archives

The Lion King (The Circle of Life Edition) Blu-ray Review: Don't Wait to Own It

Well worth having in one's Disney video collection, but there's no need to double dip.
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The Lion King, the greatest box-office hit of the Disney Renaissance, earning nearly a billion dollars worldwide, is the latest addition to The Signature Collection, the name currently being used to repurpose high-definition transfers with some new bonus material. The animation is impressive as are the voice actors and the movie tells a good story about the need to accept one's mistakes rather than running from them. The Lion King is available in the original theatrical edition or in sing-along mode, which provides subtitles along the bottom, turning the movie into a karaoke video. It opens with "The Circle of

Killing Hasselhoff (2016) DVD Review: The Stoner Comedy of the Year

Ken Jeong and David Hasselhoff cast-off amid a wave of improv comics and washed-up cameos in this vulgar, strangely enjoyable guilty pleasure.
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"I was gonna cap on The Hoff, but then I got high." Were they to have made it at least ten years ago, Killing Hasselhoff might be considered a cult classic unto its own today. Alas, as is frequently the case in Hollywood, poorly-written scripts for godawful Michael Bay movies always receive priority over something an aspiring screenwriter who actually has an imagination. And it's a pity, too, because I'll gladly take ten more movies like Killing Hasselhoff any ol' day. Even if the many production companies and distributors responsible for promoting the movie ‒ a short list, yes, but

Gotham: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review: A Look at the Dark Underbelly of One of the Comic World's Most Famous Cities

Gotham's characters get one step closer to their comic-book versions.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided us with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are the writer's. The third season of FOX’s prequel drama Gotham offered a gritty take on Bruce Wayne’s city, while inching the characters closer to their eventual familiar roles. It brought in elements from the Batman comic books, while presenting fresh takes and incorporating some surprises in the process. Gotham is perhaps the best written of all the DC TV shows. It is now available on Blu-ray as Gotham: The Complete Third Season. At the start of Season Three,

The Quiet American (1958) Blu-ray Review: Silent, But Deadly?

Twilight Time gives the overlooked Americanized version of Graham Greene's bestseller an opportunity to speak up and be accounted for.
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Based on bestselling author Graham Greene's 1955 novel of the same name, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's motion picture adaptation of The Quiet American has remained fairly silent since its debut in 1958. Though, when one notes the radical departure Mankiewicz's screenplay takes from its anti-American source material and, more importantly, the pressure Hollywood was receiving from the witch hunters in D.C. at the time, it's not all that surprising the film takes a decidedly pro-American view towards the subject matter. Ultimately, novelist Greene would publicly disavow the feature, though the dynamic dramatic quality of Mankiewicz's film is not the sort of

Star Wars: Rebels: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray Review: An Excellent New Chapter in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

This season brings new characters to life while adding new dimensions to old favorites.
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The Star Wars animated series have done a good job of bridging the gap between movies and telling stories the movies don’t get to explore. Rebels is no exception to this. Set about 14 years after the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Rebels tells the story of how the Empire grew in power and how the Rebellion came to be. The Complete Season Three further explores the relationship between Ezra and Kanan and saw the onscreen debut of fan-favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn. The season opener “Steps Into Shadow” finds Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) leading a mission to

Re-Animator Limited Edition Blu-ray Review: Blood, Boobs, and Fun

Arrow Video's remastered version of this cult classic is loaded with extras, making it a must-have for fans.
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Anxious people pound on a door at the Institute of Medicine in Switzerland shouting for Dr. Gruber. When they hear manic screaming on the other side, two armed guards break the door down. They find Gruber lying on the floor, head bloated and discolored as Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) desperately holds on to him, shouting that he cannot leave but must make notes about his experiment. When accused of killing Gruber, West counters with “I gave him life.” Much later a re-animated, decapitated corpse holds its own head between the legs of a tied-down, completely naked, and very much alive

The Valachi Papers (1972) Blu-ray Review: Pulp Non-Fiction

Twilight Time gives us a chance to tear into an underappreciated European Charles Bronson mafia flick from James Bond pioneer Terence Young.
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While it may have debuted in its native Europe more than two months before Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather forever changed the face of mobster movies, Terence (Wait Until Dark) Young's half-exploitation feature The Valachi Papers didn't see a stateside release until many months after the fact. By that time, however, full-time exploitation artists like Duke Mitchell had already cranked out or had started work on their very own low-budget rip-off of homage to Coppola's flick, thus ensuring The Valachi Papers didn't see a lot of action. The fact Charles Bronson would later be quoted as saying The Godfather "was

Batman and Harley Quinn Blu-ray Review: Poison, But Not the Ivy Kind

Bruce Timm disrespects his Harley Quinn creation in this sophomoric travesty.
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After 10 years and 30 animated films, the brain trust behind the DC Universe Animated Original Movies is long overdue for replacement. The series has always dabbled in mature themes and language, generally for no discernible reason other than the dubious honor of a gritty PG-13 or even R rating, but here they’ve managed to sink to a new low. What should have been a lighthearted team-up of unlikely allies has instead turned into a sickening example of creators run amok, displaying no respect for their characters or audience. The setup is straightforward: Poison Ivy and her leafy ally The

Erik the Conqueror (1961) Blu-ray Review: Bava Gets Epical

Arrow Video brings us Mario Bava's unique Italian take on American 'Vikings' in this stellar BD/DVD combo release.
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A few years before Mario Bava singlehandedly invented the giallo with his genre-breaking Blood and Black Lace, he created that one thing most Italian filmmakers get a bad rep for doing: remaking popular American films. Of course, when you're an inventive genius like the late great Mario Bava, the actual story of a film doesn't matter as much as the manner in which you make it. Taking its cue from the 1958 US Kirk Douglas/Tony Curtis box office smash The Vikings, Bava's 1961 epic Erik the Conqueror eliminates the typical, boring humdrum usually reserved for lavish Hollywood epics, fusing his

Metallica to Re-release 'Master of Puppets' November 10, 2017

The first metal album to be added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress
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Press release: Metallica announced that they will reissue their third album, Master of Puppets on November 10th on their own Blackened Recordings. The album has been remastered for the most advanced sound quality and will be available in various digital and physical configurations. The reissue is available for pre-order beginning today at www.metallica.com where fans can see the full package details and track listing. Those who pre-order the standard album will receive an instant download of "Disposable Heroes (Remastered)". Those who pre-order the expanded or deluxe editions will receive an instant download of "Disposable Heroes (Remastered)" and "The Thing That

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow / Drunken Master (1978) Blu-ray Review: A Whole Loaf of Kung Fu

Twilight Time breaks out one of its most unusual releases yet with this double-feature of classic Jackie Chan kung fu flicks in HD.
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Despite their very pledge to release films from a variety of different genres to home video, every once in awhile, the folks at Twilight Time dish out a release that makes me stop dead in my tracks and say "Wait, what?" In a very favorable sort of way, that is. One such unveiling is the double-bill of Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (Se ying diu sau) and Drunken Master (Zui quan), two early break-out hits from Hong Kong martial arts legend Jackie Chan and acclaimed filmmaker and fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (who varied work includes Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Blu-ray Review: Family Matters

There is no doubt how well the HD presentation succeeds.
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sees Marvel's space-faring heroes called upon to save not just a galaxy but the entire universe while some members work through troubled familial relationships. Writer/director James Gunn returned and gave fans more of what they enjoyed about the previous Guardians movie with the characters back in action set to new collection of cool tunes. This time the adventure has greater stakes, but the movie also runs longer, feeling a tad sluggish at times. The prologue opens in Missouri 1980 on a summer's day with a couple, who will become Peter Quill's mother and father,

Batman and Harley Quinn is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us two series from DC, plus pirates, rippers, and spies with flowered underwear.
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It is easy to think that Marvel beats DC when it comes to the whole cinematic universe thing. Certainly, they have created a more cohesive landscape for which to play. Their theatrical releases pretty seamlessly come together to form one larger mosaic. The Netflix series do the same and while they don’t really interact with the movies, they’ve done a nice job of keeping them in the same universe. DC however is a bit of a mess in this regard. The movies have done a decent job of blending together the various characters (we’ll see how well they really put

The Creep Behind the Camera / The Creeping Terror Blu-ray Review: Creepshots, Redefined

Synapse Films releases a docudrama about one of cinema's most inept movies, along with a new 2K scan of the original creature feature.
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Sometimes, the most interesting aspect of a movie is its production history. Especially when the movie in question is something as legendarily awful as Vic Savage's 1964 magnum oopus, The Creeping Terror ‒ a film so bad, it makes even the worst Ed Wood flick seem like fine art by comparison. Indeed, the story behind the infamous black-and-white no-budget monster movie messterpiece has garnered the interest of several twisted minds throughout the years, most notably by the honorably dishonorable mentionings of said in two of Harry and Michael Medved's books, The Golden Turkey Awards (1980) and Son of Golden Turkey

Fathom Events and GKids Present Castle in the Sky

The first Studio Ghibli film is a delight for all ages.
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Made in 1986, Castle in the Sky was the first Hayao Miyazaki film released under the Studo Ghibli label. It contains his signature style and themes including man’s relationship to technology and nature, and the bond of childhood. Fathom Events in conjunction with GKids presented the film in theaters across the nation on August 27 and is replaying it on August 28 & 30. Unlike a lot of his later films, Castle in the Sky starts off with a big action sequence. Muska (Mark Hamill), a government agent, has abducted Sheeta (Anna Paquin) in order to steal a magic crystal.

Sid & Nancy Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: They Did It Their Way

It's hard to care about Sid and Nancy when they care so little about themselves and those around them.
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Director/co-writer Alex Cox's Sid & Nancy tells the story of the short, tragic love affair between Sex Pistols' bassist Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb deliver fantastic performances, but unfortunately the characters are so selfish and self destructive, it's hard to care about them when they care so little about themselves and those around them. Opening with Nancy's dead body being removed from New York City's Chelsea Hotel and Sid charged with her murder by the NYPD, the film flashes back to about a year earlier in the UK. Sid has recently gotten the job as

Wizard World Chicago 2017 Review: A Pretty Good Show

I came, I saw, and in the grand geek tradition, I had a great time but still complained about it online.
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Another summer has come and gone. School buses once again prowl the streets in the early light of day and leaves threaten to change their hue and coat the yard, leading to long weekends worth of raking and sore backs. Along with these recognizable signs of an impending Fall comes another, perhaps less famous but no less important occurrence - Wizard World returned yet again to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in beautiful Rosemont, Illinois and once again, I was there. I came, I saw, and in my own fashion, I conquered. And by “conquered”, I mean that I

Varieté (1925) Blu-ray Review: The Spice of Life

Kino Lorber releases a restored look at a visually stunning masterpiece from the German Silent Era.
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If you were one of the many Americans to see Ewald André Dupont's Varieté (aka Variety, Jealousy) when it was first released here ‒ which is highly unlikely, considering it was released nearly a century ago ‒ there's an even better chance you didn't see the whole story. And that's because the 1925 German feature was slimmed down considerably when the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (which would later become the MPAA we all know and regularly question the sanity of today) objected to film's more amoral bits ‒ namely, the sight of miserable carnival resident Emil Jannings

The Zodiac Killer DVD Review: To Catch a Killer...Or Not

It seems the idea behind the making of The Zodiac Killer all along was to actually catch him.
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The Zodiac serial murder case, which terrorized Northern California during the late 1960s going into the early 1970s, ranks alongside Jack The Ripper and D.B. Cooper as one of the most notorious, still unsolved crimes in history. Over the decades since, the killer who called himself The Zodiac has spawned a cult of personality amongst armchair detectives who continue even now to posit their theories on an ever-increasing number of websites and blogs. The story behind the grisly killing spree boasts a strikingly bizarre narrative - even as serial murder cases go. There have been a number of books and

The Accidental Tourist (1988) Blu-ray Review: Good Grief

Lawrence Kasdan's powerfully therapeutic film starring William Hurt and an Oscar-winning Geena Davis hits BD thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.
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Though he is probably only known to the current generation of stalwart moviegoers as one of the writers of several Indiana Jones and Star Wars pictures, there was a time when the name Lawrence Kasdan was a highly praised by older moviegoers as much as maybe a few younglings craving anything bearing the LucasArts logo might do in forums today. Those of you who may be dangerously close to nearing AARP status now might recall the first-run popularity of one of Kasdan's earliest, important contributions to the film industry, 1983's human drama The Big Chill. In the '70s, as the

Five Cool Things and a Solar Eclipse

Cool things this week include new trailers for Suburbicon and The Punisher, plus Hopscotch, Married to the Mob, and The Love of a Woman.
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Another week, another five cool things. The eclipse dominated the headlines this week. I didn't have any special glasses but my wife made one of those homemade viewers out of a cereal box. Then my neighbor let me borrow his welding shield. Not sure if that's an approved way of viewing or not. I guess you'll find out next week if I call out sick due to blindness. Until then here's five cool things I consumed this week. Hopscotch I had never heard of this spy caper until last week when I caught sight of it in my Pick of

The Wheeler Dealers (1963) Blu-ray Review: It'd Be Funnier If It Weren't So Damn True

The Warner Archive Collection deals us a vintage James Garner/Lee Remick screwball comedy that hits a little too close to reality today.
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Given a proper duration of passing time, just about anything that was once considered cool or comical may malform into something wholly other. And there is truly no better example than the hip 1963 screwball comedy The Wheeler Dealers ‒ an early theatrical effort from director Arthur Hiller (The In-Laws) which finds the great James Garner as a shrewd businessman with a big mouth and persona to match. Dressed to the hilt in classic Texan millionaire garb, Garner's Henry Tyroon was the very sort of man whom the very sort of untrustworthy jerks who have ruined America solely in the

TCM to Remember Legendary Comedic Actor Jerry Lewis on Labor Day

Programming tribute to include The Nutty Professor (1963), The King of Comedy (1983), and The Bellboy (1960).
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of acclaimed comedian, actor and filmmaker Jerry Lewis, whose irrepressible zaniness and frantic creativity made him a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, with a five film tribute on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4 in honor of of the nearly 50 years Mr. Lewis spent hosting The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon encouraging viewers to donate to the charity. Lewis, who passed away Sunday Aug 20 at the age of 91, knew success in movies, on television, in nightclubs, on the Broadway stage from

Spencer's Mountain (1963) Blu-ray Review: Good Morning, Johnboy

Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara, and James MacArthur inspire everything from each other to TV shows in this classic family drama from Warner Archive Collection.
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Nine years before The Waltons was broadcast across the nation's airwaves for the first time, Henry Fonda was hard at work building the very homestead the aforementioned TV series would later inhabit. Figuratively speaking, that is. And while the names, places, and events depicted in the 1963 Warner Bros. hit Spencer's Mountain differ vastly from the famous television show it would later inspire, there's no denying the simple country worlds depicted in both incarnations stem from the same Earl Hamner, Jr. novel. Set in rural Wyoming somewhere in the first half of the 20th Century, Spencer's Mountain finds one of

The Love of a Woman Blu-ray Review: Old Movie, Modern Themes

A simple story told really well.
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Marie Prieur (Micheline Presle) is young, pretty, and ambitious. After many years of hard work in school, she secures a position as the doctor of a small island village of the coast of France. She befriends Germaine Leblanc (Gaby Morlay), the local school teacher, but struggles connect to anyone else. At first, most of the other villages bristle against a new doctor who is so young and a woman, but they slowly warm to her kindness, knowledge, and skill. Eventually she meets André (Massimo Girotti), a handsome construction foreman, temporarily on the island building a fog horn. It takes him

Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965) Blu-ray Review: Who Says Chivalry Is Dead?

The one and only Ken Takakura shows those young upstarts how to do it in this early yakuza offering from Toei and Twilight Time.
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Much like Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather would someday pave the way for jaw-droppingly violent cult classics like Massacre Mafia Style, Kiyoshi Saeki's 1965 yakuza gangster drama Shôwa zankyô-den (Showa Era Resistence) is essentially the less-exploitative precursor to Kinji Fukasaku's Battles Without Honor and Humanity. Shôwa zankyô-den ‒ hence referred to by its better-recognized English-language alias, Brutal Tales of Chivalry ‒ even stars the same amazing actor: the inimitable Ken Takakura. Here, Takakura-san plays Seiji, a World War II veteran who returns from the battle abroad only to find a new one brewing up at home. With the whole of

Synapse Films Brings the Beloved '90s Cult Horror Comedy Popcorn to Blu-ray This October

A loving homage to ’50s/’60s B-movies.
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Press release: In the history of Synapse Films few titles have generated as much excitement as POPCORN, director Mark Herrier’s 1991 cult favorite that’s been one of the most in-demand genre films of the Blu-ray era. Unavailable for over a decade, POPCORN now comes to HD in a deliciously butter-topped Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD release that will have fans craving for refills! What could be scarier than an all-night “Horrorthon”? A group of film students finds out when they stage just such an event at an abandoned movie palace. In addition to the three features—MOSQUITO, THE ATTACK OF THE

The Slayer Blu-ray Review: Definitely Not Buffy

Obscure '80s horror has more in common with European films than your typical slasher flick, but never quite manages to terrify.
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Two overworked and over-stressed couples take off for a weekend retreat on a secluded island for a little rest, relaxation, and maybe a little fishing too. There’s Kay (Sarah Kendall), a surrealist artist who has been having nightmares about a sadistic killer, and her husband David, a doctor who tries to be supportive but is growing increasingly tired of her hysterical paranoia. Her brother Eric (Frederick Flynn) was the one who thought a vacation might do Kay some good. He brought along Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook), who can’t seem to do anything but complain. At first, nobody takes Kay’s delirium’s seriously,

The Man in the Moon (1991) Blu-ray Review: Wither Mulligan and Witherspoon

Twilight Time brings us Robert Mulligan's famous final film, featuring a dynamic debut from young Reese Witherspoon.
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At the beginning of the 1960s, a fairly new motion picture director by the name of Robert Mulligan accepted a project very few people in Hollywood had an interest in touching. It was a story about a small Southern community, where people were simple and problems were complicated. There was nary a trace of action or romance, and the only violence that happened occurred in-between the pages of its source material, as penned by a one-hit writer. The result, 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird, would go on to become an Oscar-winning American classic, thanks to Mulligan's ability to focus on

How to Be a Latin Lover Blu-ray Review: Doesn't Know What It Wants to Be

A sharper focus on being either an adult comedy or a family comedy could have led to better results.
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Ken Marino's How to Be a Latin Lover is an odd movie. Its title suggests a Swinging Sixties European sex romp, but it turns out to be a family comedy for the modern era. Unfortunately, it stumbles at both aspects. Some of the material is definitely not for younger members, which is why it is rated PG-13, and the laughs are limited as the tone of the humor is inconsistent. After seeing his father work so hard it killed him, Maximo decides he wants to live a life of luxury by being a kept man. Ten years, he meets Peggy,

Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Second Season is the Pick of the Week

A very full week brings us superhero galore, zombies, Deadites, punks, and much more.
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Almost a year ago to the day, I made Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete First Season my Pick of the Week. I noted then my great fondness for the Evil Dead movies and my great excitement over the new series. I also noted that by the time the Blu-ray was hitting the store shelves I’d not yet seen the entire series. Well, Season 2 has now hit the shelves and while I’ve watched a few more episodes of Season 1, I’ve still not made it all the way through. I like the show, I really do. It is a

Samurai Jack: The Complete Series to Be Released on October 17

Adult Swim isn’t stopping there.
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Press release: Following the epic conclusion of its fifth and final season, Adult Swim’s four-time Emmy Award-winning series, Samurai Jack, arrives as a complete series on Blu-ray and Digital HD October 17, 2017. Featuring all 62 heart-pounding episodes of the critically acclaimed animated show, Samurai Jack: The Complete Series also arrives with action-packed bonus content, including exclusive featurettes, behind the scenes looks and special commentary. Fans will also relive the first four seasons in HD for the first time as each episode has been remastered to perfection. The box set also features a one-of-a-kind metal art print, created especially for

Effects (1980) Blu-ray Review: Gonzo-Style Meta Horror

AGFA gives Dusty Nelson's directorial debut a nice Blu-ray upgrade.
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Dusty Nelson’s Effects has had quite the unexpected ride ever since its completed stages back in the late 1970s. What was slated to have a theatrical release in presumably 1980, if IMDb is to be trusted, ended up being something that only played at a few festivals and then practically vanished. It wasn’t until 2005 that it was available for the public to view, when Synapse Films got a hold of it for a DVD release. Now, the people at the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) have come together to give the film a proper Blu-ray release. Effects is a

The Stone Killer (1973) Blu-ray Review: Another Winner Starring Charles Bronson

Michael Winner's overlooked third collaboration with the iconic stone-faced action hero gets the HD treatment from Twilight Time.
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Imagine a movie produced in the wake of both recently-beget Dirty Harry and The Godfather franchises, only constructed like a big-screen two-parter of a classic police procedural show like Hawaii Five-O. Now add United Artists' recently-crowned action movie king, Charles Bronson, place him in-between a venerable assortment of established and future TV veterans alike, and then drizzle the whole project with a funky score from Roy Budd. Et voilà, ladies and gentlemen ‒ the perfect recipe for Michael Winner and Dino De Laurentiis' early '70s action vehicle The Stone Killer! One of six memorable collaborations betwixt Bronson and his future

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Assassination, She Wrote

A captivating Cold War political thriller that resonates stronger today than it has in years.
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Based on Richard Condon's novel of the same name, John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate is a captivating Cold War political thriller about enemies of the United States trying to takeover the country from the inside, an idea that resonates stronger today than it has in years due to allegations regarding the election of President Trump. Opening in Korea 1952 during the war, a group of U.S. soldiers get into a battle where Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) earns the Medal of Honor. His stepfather is U.S. Senator John Iselin (James Gregory), an anti-Communist fighter who claims the government is infiltrated with

Society Limited Edition Steelbook Blu-ray Review: Body Horror At Its Best

No matter what they paid "Screaming" Mad George for the practical horror effects, they got their money's worth.
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A quick look at our recent history will show plenty of animosity towards the wealthy, the upper classes, and high society. From the Occupy Wall Street movement to Bernie Sanders-style socialism, thousands of people are lining up to protest with cries of “Eat the Rich!” But what if the rich weren't just greedy bastards taking from the poor to make themselves unfathomably more wealthy? What if they truly were evil. What if the rich ate us? Director Brian Yuzna’s 1989 film Society has something to say about that. Young, pretty Bill (Billy Warlock) comes from a wealthy, elite family but

Riverdale: The Complete First Season DVD Review: An Entertaining Guilty Pleasure

A provocative, creepy and sinister version of 90210 with a murder mystery thrown in.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided us with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are the writer's. Summer always meant new Archie comics. These were the only comic books I read growing up and I was addicted. My cousins and I would debate whether or not Archie should be with Betty or Veronica. I was always Team Betty. When I heard there was going to be a TV show based on the characters, I was all in. Riverdale is much darker and sexier than the comics but it is an entertaining teen drama.

Who'll Stop the Rain (1978) Blu-ray Review: Drugs, Not Hugs

Director Karel Reisz lends a lot of Creedence to this grim and gloomy tale of Dog Soldiers running amok, recently released to Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
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In case you've ever found yourself quoting the fairly famous words of The Dude whenever a song by The Eagles comes on, you'll be happy to know you can get your Creedence Clearwater Revival fill ‒ and then some ‒ in Karel Reisz' gloomy 1978 adult drama, Who'll Stop the Rain. In fact, I think it's safe to say someone overseeing the post-production of this gritty adaptation of Robert Stone's novel Dog Soldiers (not to be confused with the 2002 British werewolf horror film of the same name) was quite the fan of CCR since one-third of the soundtrack is

Inferno (1953) 3D/2D Blu-ray Review: Survival of the Richest

The line between film noir and technicolor melodrama is finely drawn in the sand, as this must-see Twilight Time offering proves.
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While the title may have been used several hundred times over since then, 1953's Inferno is a rare, one-of-a-kind contribution to the film noir genre. And that's mostly because it was filmed in both Technicolor and 3D. Maintaining a delicate balance between noir and melodrama (because that's what happens when you shoot noir in color), this scorching flick from English filmmaker Roy Ward Baker (who would later helm the highly rated Titanic classic A Night to Remember as well as several iconic Hammer horror titles) also sports the unusual distinction of being a survival adventure atop of it all. With

Year of the Comet (1992) Blu-ray Review: It's Twilight Wine Time

Peter Yates' unintentionally hilarious adventure tale will make you want to join a wine club and beat him over the head with it.
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What can you say about a movie where the hero is named Oliver Plexico? Well, frankly, you can say an awful lot about it, actually ‒ especially if the movie you're talking about happens to be Peter Yates' less-than-revered early '90s "magnum oopus", Year of the Comet. According to screenwriter William Goldman, the less-than-lacklustre success his story received from a free screening audience (who, reportedly, got up and left) was attributable solely to the unpaid group's respective distastes for red wine, which is ‒ believe it or not ‒ what this 1992 ode to the romantic comedy adventures of the

Five Cool Things and Crimetown

This week's cool things include Star Wars, the 50th anniversary of a classic, a Norwegian crime novel, and more.
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After a long day of work, I typically want to do nothing but lay on the couch, watch a movie, and relax. Last week with the wife and child away, that’s pretty much what I did. It was kind of awesome. And yet there is a realization that this is not the healthiest way to live. It is certainly not the best way to raise a child. With the family back this week and with school starting up again, the wife and I created little nightly schedule that attempts to limit the amount of television in our lives. We have

Hopscotch Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Matthau Supremacy

Matthau plays a disgruntled spy out for comedic payback against his boss.
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Hopscotch is a conundrum. It’s a comedic but still realistic spy movie filmed in the waning days of the terrifying Cold War. It’s a sleek caper that expects us to accept a rumpled, elderly lead actor as the dashing hero. It’s an international jaunt between multiple countries that could have been resolved within Washington, D.C. It’s a throwback that feels like a ‘60s film in spite of its 1980 release date. Inconceivably, it all works, leading to a totally satisfying romp that proves to be just as much fun for viewers as it does for its clearly delighted star. Walter

Book Review: The Art and Making of Kong: Skull Island by Simon Ward

Recommended for the impressive art it showcases.
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Author Simon Ward takes viewers to and behind the scenes of Kong: Skull Island in his book that looks at the “The Art and Making” of the movie, which is now known to be the second installment in Legendary Entertainment's MonsterVerse franchise following Godzilla (2014). Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts wrote the book's Foreword, In it, he tells about pitching his idea for the movie when he “learned they wanted to revive King Kong” and reveals two key principles in the crew's approach to designing the movie in the current media-consuming landscape. They were “strive to elevate beyond expectations” and make “everything...feel

The Bureau: Season Three Review: Prestige TV From France

Similar to The Wire, but with terrorists.
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The Bureau is a French geopolitical thriller from Canal+ brought to the U.S. by the SundanceTV. It concerns the inner workings of the DGSE (which is France’s equivalent to the CIA). It is a densely plotted show that weaves multiple storylines together with over a dozen regular characters. It is probably easiest to compare it to Homeland, but I’d argue it shares more DNA with The Wire. Like Homeland, it deals with escalating terror threats from the Middle East but where Homeland tended to jump the rails (and eventually the shark) in its never-ceasing need to raise the stakes (and

Ronin (1998) Blu-ray Review: Welcome Back to Cinematic Reality, Kids

Arrow Video revives John Frankenheimer's criminally neglected late '90s gritty crime thriller via a beautiful, all-new 4K scan.
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At one point or another amidst whatever we may have selected (or been selected) for our respective careers, we will fall from grace. Even if you're a great filmmaker like John Frankenheimer. In his heyday, the late director (who passed from this world in 2002, shortly after his final contribution to cinema ‒ an HBO docu-drama ‒ premiered) had crafted several groundbreaking films, from the highly fictionalized (but nevertheless well-made) biopic Birdman of Alcatraz, the must-see WWII locomotive heist classic The Train, as well as one of my personal favorites, the 1962 paranoiac conspiracy Cold War thriller, The Manchurian Candidate.

Criterion Announces November 2017 Releases

Titles to pick up or add to your Xmas list.
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The Criterion Collection is releasing four films in November that will have film fans thankful. New to the collection are George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story, Donna Deitch’s Desert Hearts, and Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky. A high-def upgrade is also being provided to Jean-Pierre Melville's Le samouraï. Read on to learn more about them. The Philadelphia Story (#901) out Nov 7 With this furiously witty comedy of manners, Katharine Hepburn revitalized her career and cemented her status as the era’s most iconic leading lady—thanks in great part to her own shrewd orchestrations. While starring in the Philip Barry stage play The Philadelphia

After the Storm Blu-ray Review: Human Drama is Equally Sad, Sweet

Japanese director Kore-Eda continues career-long streak of touching, humorous and very human dramas.
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The premise sounds like a high-concept, wacky comedy: down on his luck novelist and sometimes private detective follows around his ex-wife to keep tabs on her new boyfriend, while his aging mother engineers a scheme to get the two back together, for the sake of the couple's son. The lead actor even looks the part for broad physical comedy: at 6’2”, Hiroshi Abe literally stands out in any crowd in Japan. But After the Storm was written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Japan’s latter day master of the quietly powerful drama. His style is about observing small moments and interactions,

Alien: Covenant is the Pick of the Week

This week's new Blu-ray releases include the new Alien film, an update on old Archie, a couple of Criterions, and more.
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In 1979, Ridley Scott directed Alien a near perfect blend of science fiction and horror and one of the greatest films ever made. Seven years later, James Cameron’s sequel Aliens amped up the action and defined that genre. Two more sequels found diminishing returns. The lesser said about the Alien vs Predator franchise the better. In 2012, Scott returned to the series with Prometheus a sort-of prequel. While I enjoyed it more than most, it is still a very flawed film. I can’t say that Alien: Covenant was a return to form, because it's riddled with problems, but definitely goes

The Carol Burnett Show: The Best of Harvey Korman DVD Review: Mother Marcus is Missing!

Ultimately, there is more material here without Korman than with him.
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Eight years before we had Saturday Night Live, Carol Burnett and her wonderfully talented and crazy crew (Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and a parade of talented guest stars) had America laughing every week with some of the best sketch comedy ever seen. They surrounded the creative sketches with amazing production numbers that set the standard for all variety shows to come. The success of the shows was built on the versatility of the cast, and Harvey Korman proved week after week that he could do it all. Where SNL did outdo Carol and company was with the release

Book Review: The Complete Steve Canyon, Volume 7: 1959-1960 by Milton Caniff

Another entertaining installment of adventure comic strips and another impressive showcase for Caniff's skills.
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Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon ran from January 13, 1947 until June 4, 1988. The strip's titular hero served as an Air Force officer for most of it with the Korean War bringing him back into the service of his country, though many of his adventures see him working as a spy more than as a soldier. Volume 7 closes out the '50s with the strips from 1959 and 1960. Lt Col. Steve Canyon is the typical male fantasy character of the era. A rugged, all-American hero that always does the right thing without a doubt. All the guys want to

Fathom Events Presents TCM Big Screen Classics: Bonnie and Clyde

Don't miss your chance to see this classic film on its 50th anniversary on the big screen.
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As the 1960s began to close so did the Hollywood studio system. The days when studio heads like Jack Warner could make or break its stars and dictate how they behaved and what movies they made were coming to an end. So too was the Hayes Code with its old-fashioned moral rules about sex and violence dying out. Warren Beatty, who was already a star in 1967, foresaw the dying of the old studio system, produced and starred in Bonnie and Clyde which helped usher in New Hollywood with its new European style and an excess of on-screen sex and

Kung Fu Yoga Blu-ray Review: Jackie Chan Channels His Inner Indiana Jones

Overall, it’s entertaining to watch, the girls are beautiful, and the Bollywood ending was fun.
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Jack (Jackie Chan) is a famous archaeologist teaching in a major Chinese university. While working on a new project, Ashmita (Disha Patani), an Indian professor, comes into his life looking for his help to find a long-forgotten treasure that was held by the royal army but disappeared centuries ago in the Tibetan mountains. Using newly developed technology, Jack’s team manages to find a hidden ice cave that has held the treasure and the army frozen for all these years. But before they can catalog and remove all the treasure, Randall (Sonu Sood), a treasure hunter, and his armed men steal

The Zodiac Killer (1971) Blu-ray Review: Trap Them and Thrill Them

The American Film Genre Archive teams up with Something Weird Video to bring us a quintessential slice of sleazy '70s exploitation filmmaking, paired with a second, rarely-seen serial killer flick.
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Pop quiz, hotshot: How many films can you think of that were made to trap a serial killer? If you find yourself suddenly developing a headache at the mere notion of such a thing having ever taken place, it's probably time you checked out Tom Hanson's creepy low-budget exploitation flick from 1971, The Zodiac Killer. Cranked out on a whim and released less than three weeks after the infamous real life serial killer mailed what would prove to be the last letter for nearly three years, this very loose adaptation of one of the modern world's greatest unsolved mysteries was

Protocol DVD Review: Goldie Hawn Comedy Too Light-hearted for Its Own Good

For fans who like Goldie being Goldie, she takes part in mildly amusing antics.
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Protocol tells the story of Sunny (Goldie Hawn, playing a variation of her simple-minded persona that ingratiated her to many since she appeared on Laugh-In), a Washington D.C. cocktail waitress, whose actions leads to notoriety and a job with the U.S. State Department. The movie has moments where it seems like it wants to be a satire of politics and the media, but its critiques are blunted to allow Hawn to stand out as a comedienne. Sunny is struggling to get by. She has an unreliable car, is not happy with her job where some patrons think the bar also

Blackenstein (1973) Blu-ray Review: Withstanding the Tests of Taste and Time Alike

Severin Films and Vinegar Syndrome team up to bring us a certifiable guilty pleasure, which is probably most famous due to the unsolved murder of its creator.
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When it comes to connecting with a cult movie enthusiast, the mere mention of the blaxploitation genre can effectively inspire one's ticker to start pumpin' blood ‒ usually to the strains of a funky theme song we have come to adopt as our own over the years. For instance, if you so much as even say "Shaft" to me, you had best be prepared for my best Isaac Hayes impersonation. This also applies to the rarer horror subgenre of urban exploitation features, the best example of which would more than likely be AIP's lovably ridiculous (but still right on track)

Director Mickey Lemle on His New Film, The Last Dalai Lama?

Lemle discusses his intimate portrait of what is on the heart and mind of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at 80 years old.
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While serving in the Peace Corps in Nepal, writer, director, and producer Mickey Lemle began engaging with the Tibetan people and learning about their plight and genocide. In 1991, Lemle made Compassion in Exile, his first film about His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Now, 25 years later, Lemle revisits His Holiness in his newest film, The Last Dalai Lama? The film is an intimate portrait of what is on the heart and mind of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at 80 years old. This film features interviews with His Holiness, his family, and other people who have been deeply influenced

Five Cool Things and a New Cat

This week's five cool things include an atomic Charlize Theron, Christopher Nolan's war film, a haunted house, and more.
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My wife took my daughter to Kentucky to visit her family this week. As anyone who has been in a long-term relationship can tell you, sometimes it's nice to be left alone. I love my family dearly and now that I’m at the tail end of their absence, I miss them madly, but it's been kind of cool to relive my bachelor years. For me, this has mostly meant watching lots of movies and TV shows. In the nine days they’ve been gone, I’ve watched 11 movies and caught up on about half a dozen shows. Here's five of them.

Stormy Monday (1988) Blu-ray Review: Young Sean Bean Learns How to Make It Sting

Mike Figgis' impressive feature film debut ‒ also starring Melanie Griffith and Tommy Lee Jones ‒ returns to razzle, dazzle, and jazzle thanks to Arrow Video.
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Years before he found himself Leaving Las Vegas, the one man showmanship of Britain's own Mike Figgis paved the way for the influx of jazzy, sex-fueled neo-noir titles that all-but dominated the film industry in the early '90s with 1988's Stormy Monday. Inspired by the many magnificent gritty crime dramas that emerged from Europe in the '60s and '70s (and filmed his Figgis' hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where Michael Caine's Get Carter was shot), Figgis' self-described "romantic thriller" finds young Sean Bean as a fellow who is desperate enough to do just about anything for work. Fortunately for him, he couldn't

Jane's Addiction: Ritual De Lo Habitual - Alive at Twenty-Five Blu-ray Review: Thank You, Boys

An enjoyable look back at a classic album.
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After a brief introduction through separate interviews of band members Perry Farrell (singer), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums), and Chris Chaney (bassist in place of Eric Avery), Jane's Addiction played the final slot at Jack's 11th Show, which had them on a bill that included The Cult, Violent Femmes, and Garbage, whose touring bassist was Avery. Sadly, bridges have been burned so badly, there was no on-stage reunion. The concert, available on Blu-ray, DVD, and CD, took place at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on September 23rd 2016, a few weeks before the venue shut down and was bulldozed. It was

Come Celebrate the Blu-ray Release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with Yondu Himself, Michael Rooker, in Los Angeles

For those of you hardcore enough to go Full Yondu, there will be room for ten lucky Ravagers to get a full hair dye and shave.
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Press release: On Tuesday, August 22nd from 9:00am-12:00pm, fans around Los Angeles will be able to come pay tribute to the beloved Ravager, Yondu, with a morning of prizes and activities at Shorty’s Barber Shop in West Hollywood! Michael Rooker (‘Yondu’ in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) will be on location to commemorate his character and interact with fans! Activities Include: The first 50 fans will receive a $50 gift certificate to Shorty’s Barber Shop to come back and Get the Yondu Look Additional giveaways will include Blu-ray Combo Packs and Digital Copies of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the

In This Corner of the World Movie Review: Daily Life in Wartime

A personal perspective on war is shown in this anime about a daydreaming house-wife's life in Japan in WWII.
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In This Corner of the World is a Japanese animated movie that tells the wartime story of Suzu, a sweet but ditsy young girl who at 18 is shipped from her home in Hiroshima to be married to Shusaku, a young man from Kure, a port and shipbuilding city about 15 miles away. It's 1944, and the war is beginning to come home to Japan in earnest. Shusaku's mother is in ill health, and the family needs a new girl to help take care of the home. Maybe the couple will love each other some day, and her new family

Warner Bros Home Entertainment Announces Wonder Woman

The movie arrives onto Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital.
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Press release: Celebrate the wonder when Wonder Woman arrives onto Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital. Gal Gadot returns as the DC Super Hero in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins (“Monster,” AMC’s “The Killing”). The Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, and Blu-ray Combo Pack will include an all-new bonus scene never before seen in theaters. Wonder Woman will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray for $44.95, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and DVD for $28.98. The Ultra HD Blu-ray features an Ultra

Book Review: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Newspaper Comics Collection Vol. 4, 1983-1984 by Stan Lee, Fred Kida, and Floro Dery

The creative trio do their best to elevate uninspired plots contributed by Marvel's bullpen.
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With Fred Kida in control on daily art duties, Stan Lee started his writing chores in 1983 with nearly four months of strips featuring the first Spidey strip appearance of Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Not only did Namor largely take over the strip, the setting also moved from New York City to the Bermuda Triangle, putting Spidey well outside his urban comfort zone. The far-fetched tale found Peter Parker’s noted tightwad boss J. Jonah Jameson funding the trip to the Triangle for a story on disappearing ships, leading to Spidey’s lengthy encounter with Namor and their common enemy, Warlord Krang. After

Eagles of Death Metal: I Love You All the Time: Live at the Olympia in Paris DVD Review

Dedicated to victims of terrorism all around the world, the band marks a triumphant return to France with this concert.
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On the back cover and at the start of the video, Eagles of Death Metal presents a reminder of the tragic events that occurred at their concert on November 13, 2015, when "gunmen entered the [Bataclan concert hall] and opened fire on the crowd, leaving 89 people dead." During U2's Paris concert on December 7, EODM returned to a concert stage for the first time with a joint performance of Patti Smith's "People Have the Power". In a classy move, they were then given the stage to close U2's show with "I Love You All the Time". This can be

Warlock Collection Blu-ray Review: Satan's Son Starts Franchise

Collects the three loosely connected movies in the Warlock series: one good, one weird, one dreadful.
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Like House II, Warlock was one of those movies that I remember seeing heavily advertised on television as a kid, and it occupied a place of real intrigue in my mind. I was too young to see it in the theater, and as it turns out (though I had no idea at the time) a shake-up at the production company meant that Warlock barely even saw a theatrical release. But the ads, with their canny use of "Carmina Burana" created a space of real menace in my consciousness. This new Blu-ray release, the Warlock Collection, brings all three movies (the

The Transfiguration DVD Review: A Boy Walks Home Alone at Night

A boy obsessed with vampires starts to act like one in this grim coming-of-age drama.
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Michael O’Shea’s feature film debut, The Transfiguration, is less of a movie about an actual vampire that stalks its prey, and more of a movie about a socially awkward boy who finds his escape from reality in stories about vampires. Of course, his obsession with vampires goes beyond just talking about them and debating with his new girlfriend about how things like Twilight and True Blood are not “realistic” portrayals of the vampire lore. Granted, he hasn’t even read Twilight, he tells her, but he doesn’t think vampires would ever really sparkle. He’s essentially the crazed fanboy, while she’s the

Kung Fu Yoga Blu-ray Combo Pack Giveaway

Jackie Chan reunites with director Stanley Tong for this fast-paced escapade.
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Cinema Sentries is teaming up with Well Go USA Entertainment to award three lucky readers the Kung Fu Yoga Blu-ray Combo Pack starring Jackie Chan. For those wanting to learn more, read Todd Karella's review and the press release is below: International action-comedy icon Jackie Chan (Rush Hour franchise, Railroad Tigers) is an Indiana Jones-style scholar hunting Indian treasure in the adventure-comedy Kung Fu Yoga, currently available on digital and on Blu-ray and DVD August 8 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Chan reunites with director Stanley Tong (Rumble in the Bronx, Supercop) for this fast-paced escapade that follows a professor

The Breaking Point is the Pick of the Week

A pretty light week brings us an Ernest Hemingway adaptation, an Arthurian legend from Guy Ritchie, and more.
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Ernest Hemingway is one of my all-time favorite writers. He had a way of cutting out all the flab from his stories, getting right down to the bone. Yet for all his spare masculinity, there is a tenderness to his stories, an emotional quality that you rarely find anywhere else. That style also lends itself well to the movies. Unlike a lot of writers, Hemingway never spent a lot of time with his characters inward thoughts, his stories are full of action verbs, of people doing things. It's easy to see why nearly all of his novels and short stories

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Returns to the Big Screen for 35th Anniversary Celebration Sept. 10 and 13 Only

Two-day-only cinema event to include digitally remastered Director’s Cut and a brand-new William Shatner interview.
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Press release: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the epic science-fiction adventure that continues to captivate audiences, marks its 35th anniversary with a two-day-only return to cinemas nationwide. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan will be presented in a digitally remastered Director’s Cut and, as an added bonus for Star Trek and movie fans, William Shatner will appear in a newly produced in-depth interview that will play before each screening. Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures will present Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Sunday, September 10, and Wednesday, September 13, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Book Review: Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film by Sharon Gosling

Like the film, this book is warm and inviting, strong and bold, and pretty damn awesome.
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With a history dating back to 1941 and a variety of interpretations in comics, prose, and television, Wonder Woman is something of a big deal. And when you’re a big deal, they eventually get around to making movies about you. Although, in the case of Wonder Woman, it took a whole lot longer than it probably should’ve. The good news though is that the collective patience of a devoted fanbase paid off in the form of a pretty damn awesome movie. And when you’re a big deal and they’ve made an awesome movie about you, it’s inevitable that there will

The Intruder (1975) Blu-ray Review: A Lost Regional Horror Film Comes Home to Slay

After 42 years of obscurity, the lost '70s proto-slasher ‒ complete with marquee value guest stars Mickey Rooney, Yvonne De Carlo, and Ted Cassidy ‒ finally gets a chance to see the night.
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Even after one viewing of Chris Robinson's 1975 regional horror flick The Intruder, you can roughly envision what would have befallen the film had it ever made it to cinemas. The frequent releases it would have seen on drive-in double feature programs throughout the rest of the decade, usually under a misleading alias coupled with an equally deceptive ad campaign. The inevitability of falling into the Public Domain, only to be released by every grey-market videocassette label in the '80s, wherein the names of the picture's marquee value stars ‒ Mickey Rooney, Ted Cassidy, and Yvonne De Carlo ‒ would

Crashing: The Complete First Season DVD Giveaway

An edgy and painfully honest TV show about the lives of comedians.
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Cinema Sentries is teaming up with HBO Home Entertainment to award one lucky reader Crashing: The Complete First Season on DVD. For those wanting to learn more, read Davy's review and read the press release below: This summer, the irreverently funny, new HBO hit series that “hits all the right notes” (Vanity Fair) and “delights at every turn” (TIME) will be available to take home on Blu-ray and DVD. Starring and created by Pete Holmes, one of today’s most popular stand-up comedians, Crashing: The Complete First Season is the semi-autobiographical comedy that follows a stand-up comic whose suburban life unravels,

Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies: RFK Stadium, Wash. DC - 07/12/89 Review

Another enjoyable night seeing the Dead come back to life.
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Hosted by Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment at theaters across the country, the seventh annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies presented the band's performance at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington DC on July 12, 1989, which happened seven days before the Alpine Valley concert shown at the 2015 Meet Up and ten days after the Sullivan Stadium concert shown at the 2016 Meet-Up. Taken from the same Northeast Summer tour as the previous two Meet-Ups, this evening features guitarist Jerry Garcia, drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardist Brent Mydland, and guitarist Bob Weir with Bruce

Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Seventh and Final Season DVD Review

A show with countless plot holes, farfetched storylines, and unrealistic wardrobes - PLL worked, and worked well.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. This seventh and final season begins after the girls spent Season Six slowly healing from the Dollhouse imprisonment and attempting to finish their senior year in peace. At Prom, they finally found out the identity of A, who was CeCe Drake. Not only was that a surprise, but it was revealed that CeCe was really Charles DiLaurentis, Alison’s unknown and secret brother. Conveniently, the show jumped five years ahead after that reveal,

Who's Crazy? (1966) Blu-ray Review: Come for the Jazz, Stay for It!

Kino Lorber presents this lost avant-garde sensory orgy, featuring actors from the Living Theatre and music by The Ornette Coleman Trio.
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Whereas some films withstand the test of time, others simply get buried by it. And one such example recently emerged from the annals of obscurity in the form of Thomas White and Allan Zion's Who's Crazy? ‒ a ripe slice of avant-garde celluloid from the glorious post-beatnik world of the mid '60s that is perhaps best-known for having never been seen at all. Following a poorly-received debut at Locarno in '65 and a brief screening at Cannes in '66 (this time with some extra added musical accompaniment by Nino Ferrer), the meager, black-and-white U.S./Belgian co-production vanished, leaving a vague, lingering

Five Cool Things and Glacier National Park

After a nice vacation, I'm back with five cool things.
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A big thanks to Gordon for handling some of my duties while I was gone. The family and I took a vacation in Glacier National Park. It is an astoundingly beautiful place and I highly recommend it to anyone who is able to go. It is also a really long ways from my Oklahoma home. It is roughly 1,700 miles one way from my house. That’s about 25 hours of drive time, not counting pit stops for gas, lunch and the occasional - my ass is hurting so bad I just have to get out and stand up for awhile.

Beyond the Darkness (Buio Omega) Blu-ray Review: She's a Real Doll

Get stuffed as Severin Films proves a dynamic HD master can make even Joe D'Amato's most notorious schlocker look sharp and polished.
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Of all the Italian horror maestros whose various works I discovered and worshipped as a teenager in the analog era, none stood out quite like the great Aristide Massaccesi did. Best known by his more marketable anglicized alias Joe D'Amato, the late low-budget director/producer/writer/cinematographer/editor of sleazy European exploitation cinema cranked out nearly 200 directorial efforts alone throughout his wild ride on Earth before heading off to the world beyond in 1999. Fortunately, Joe left behind a wide and varied legacy for both the devout and the curious alike, with numerous contributions to every feasible film genre in existence, from westerns

Pulse Blu-ray Review: Loneliness is Hell

Japanese horror doesn't so much scare, but fills you with unnamed dread.
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Horror in the 1980s was all about the slasher - mindless monsters mutilating teenagers in desolate places. With Scream, released in 1996, director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson stabbed the slasher in its cold, dead heart. Scream (and its numerous sequels and countless inspired-bys) satirized slasher films with a self-aware sarcastic mocking. Around this same time, Americans first began discovering (and then remaking) Asian horror in general and Japanese horror in specific. These films neither relied on blood-filled violence (though certainly Japan has its fair share of gore maestros - the films of Takashi Miike come immediately to mind)

Re-Animator Limited Edition Blu-ray Review: One of Horror's Truly Finest Films

Arrow pulls out all the stops for an all-time horror classic.
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The horror genre tends to get a really bad rap. Yes, I know that some movies of this rather reviled film category are cheesy, campy, over and under-acted. They may not cater to everyone, or match their movie tastes. However, this genre is one of the most influential in film history. Horror movies are not just blood and guts, they can go beyond that to reflect on how insane our society has become. They also deal with people who dare to play God and go against the nature of death. And director Stuart Gordon's incredible and legendary 1985 adaptation of

Going In Style (2017) Blu-ray Review: Entertainment to Pass the Time

The main cast members are appealing even though their talents aren't being fully utilized.
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Going In Style (2017), a reboot of the 1979 film, takes the struggles of old age and combines them with the financial struggles of the modern age and turns them into a lighthearted comedy. It's entertainment to pass the time, best suited when trying to pick a movie with a large group that has varied cinema interests, like at a family get-together where jokes about pot and one F-bomb are acceptable, and at least most involved can be made interested by the main cast members, who are appealing even though their talents aren't being fully utilized. Joe (Michael Caine) is

The Circle Blu-ray Review: An Interesting Idea with Poor Execution

Just because you have a good cast, it’s no guarantee that you will have a good film.
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Mae Holland (Emma Watson) is a young adult searching for her way in the world. She works as a customer-service operator in a call center. Her parents, Bonnie (Glenne Headly) and Vinnie (Bill Paxton), are struggling to get by while dealing with her father’s MS. But things suddenly begin to look up for her when her good friend Annie (Karen Gillan) contacts her informing her that she pulled some strings and has signed her up for an interview with The Circle, one of the world’s biggest tech companies. Mae impresses her interviewer and immediately goes to work. It’s essentially the

Book Review: Aliens: Bug Hunt, Edited by Jonathan Maberry

A nice collection of napalm-spewing, acid-spraying, high-flying, skin-crawling, face-hugging critters that marines want to shoot, and The Company wants to domesticate.
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Each film in the original Alien trilogy represents a unique approach to science fiction. Alien took sci-fi and suspense and doubled down on all the terrible rubber-suit space-man movies of yore, giving something that made viewers genuinely squeamish. Aliens set the bar for "guns in space," a standard that I'm not sure another film has come within shouting distance of since, at least not with the same sense of looming dread -- Starship Troopers was laughably satirical and, let's face it, the Star Wars movies are more about toys and cartoons than dealing with weighty themes or meaningful drama. What

Ernie Kovacs: Take a Good Look - The Definitive Collection to Be Released by Shout! Factory on Oct. 17, 2017

All 49 existing episodes of this truly offbeat game show from television’s original genius, fully restored and digitized by the Library of Congress, largely unseen for 60 years.
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Press release: Shout! Factory has announced the October 17, 2017, release of a spectacular new 7-DVD box set, Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look - The Definitive Collection, in collaboration with Ediad Productions, Inc. With the exception of a handful of episodes, this show has been largely unseen for the last 60 years. The set is available now for pre-order on Shoutfactory.com (includes an exclusive bonus disc) and Amazon.com. Ernie Kovacs was a consummate comedian, influencing TV funnymen such as Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jim Henson, Pee-wee Herman, Billy Crystal, as well as Monty Python and Saturday Night Live. Take

The 100: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review: It's The End Of The World As We Know It

This season returned to the survivalist nature of the first two seasons while seamlessly mixing in the science-fiction aspect.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. When last season ended, Clarke (Eliza Taylor), with the help of her friends managed to stop Allie (Erica Cerra), the Artificial Intelligence that had not only brought forth the original Armageddon that destroyed the world but was trying to enslave all the remaining humans by taking over their minds. But just before the victory was obtained, Allie informed her of something even worse to come. The remaining nuclear power plants on the

John Carpenter SteelBooks are the Picks of the Week

This week's new releases include some fun looking SteelBooks plus a Tom Hanks thriller, a couple of interesting documentaries and more.
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I bought a house a year ago. It is the first house I ever purchased. I’ve always been a renter. Never really stayed in one rental for very long either. In the twenty years since my first apartment, the longest I’ve ever stayed in one abode is about two years. The thing about regularly moving to a new place is that you are constantly rearranging your furniture. What fits well in one rental house may not fit at all in an apartment. There is constant flux - expanding and contracting - from place to place. But now that I own

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