February 2018 Archives

Saturday Program Highlights for Emerald City Comic Con 2018

These panels are where you might find our roving reporter.
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Held at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington, Emerald City Comic Con's third day of programming on Saturday, March 3 is the one day that sold out in minutes this year. My highlights are below. Their entire listing is available on the official website. BACK TO THE FUTURE12:15 PM - 1:15 PMMain Stage - WSCC 4A GREAT SCOTT! Join Doc Brown and Biff Tannen for tales from the past, present, and future of one of the most beloved franchises in the world. Christopher Lloyd and Tom Wilson are bringing 1.21 Jigawatts of awesome to the Emerald

Gate II (1990) Blu-ray Review: Fun, But for Big Fans Only at Best

Scream Factory re-opens the door to the hotspot below with a stunningly clear 2K scan.
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My first viewing of Gate II was when the film first came to my hometown's dinky second-run theater (which was our only theater) in 1992, several months after the low-budget B-movie had already opened. It was the very kind of film our local cinema proudly shelled out for: something they could pick up on the cheap and pair with another "affordable" feature from the era for a barely-advertised double-bill ‒ which my best friend and I would see at the sparsely-occupied Sunday matinee for a whopping five bucks, per our weekly movie-going ritual. While we were well accustomed to seeing

Battle Cry (1955) Blu-ray Review: Former A-List Hit with Future B-Grade Stars

The Warner Archive Collection digs up another wartime relic with a nice cast of cult favorites.
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Battle Cry's cast is enough to send shivers up the spine of any classic B-movie enthusiast from sheer excitement. The film itself, on the other hand, may cause one to shudder from entirely different reasons. For, despite the impressive gathering of actors who would later gain fame (or perhaps, infamy) from appearing in some of the greatest cult movies of all time (as well as a heap of television work), there simply isn't enough to keep the average viewer's attention throughout the bulk of this equally bulky World War II drama. And, frankly, that says an awful lot ‒ especially

Friday Program Highlights for Emerald City Comic Con 2018

These panels are where you might find our roving reporter.
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Held at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington, Emerald City Comic Con's second day of programming on Friday, March 2 offers a large assortment of celebrity panels. Here are some that I find most interesting. Their entire listing is available on the official website. LET’S TALK FIREFLY WITH THE TAMS12:00 PM - 1:00 PMMain Stage - WSCC 4A Fifteen Years Later, Emerald City Comic Con reunites one of the best sibling teams in the known galaxies. It’s all about Simon and his Méi-mei and we can’t wait for this panel to bring us all…Serenity. PHIL LAMARR

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Honor'

Why didn't they call this episode "Coral"?
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In which Kim and Shawn try to make sense of the show's disjointed timeline. Kim: Is it 2018 already? For the first time since The Walking Dead came out, I didn't sit with nervous anxiety during the mid-season break. Looking back, I think the only question I was really waiting for an answer to was "what happened to Jerry?" The kicker is, I still don't know. So yes, I start out disappointed, but I assure you that I didn't stay that way throughout the 1 hour and 23 minutes between the first and last scenes. I have a bunch of

Steven Universe: The Complete First Season DVD Review: An Adventure Well Worth Taking

Recommend for kids of all ages and families of all shapes and sizes.
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Created by Rebecca Sugar, Cartoon Network's Steven Universe is an intriguing fantasy series about the adventures of the titular character, a young boy (Zach Callison) whose father Greg (Tom Scharpling) is human and whose mother Rose is a humanoid alien from species known as Gems. Rose is no longer around as she "gave up her physical form" so Steven could be born, yet rather than live with Greg, who loves his son, Steven resides and is cared for by the Crystal Gems: Pearl (Deedee Magno), Garnet (Estelle), and Amethyst (Michaela Dietz). In addition to the typical travails a young person

Coco is the Pick of the Week

Just in time for the Oscars, this week's releases include a lot of films that will no doubt win awards.
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Watching Mary and the Witch’s Flower this weekend made me reflect on animated films and the studios that create them. Mary was made by Studio Ponoc, which was formed when Studio Ghibli looked like it was going to stop making films after the “retirement” of founder Hayao Miyazaki (scare quotes get added as Miyazaki has once again announced his un-retirement to make one more film). Ghibli, of course, has been one of the great animated studios of the last few decades. I’d argue their closest rival is Pixar and that’s not really a rivalry at all since Pixar’s John Lasseter

Thursday Program Highlights for Emerald City Comic Con 2018

These panels are where you might find our roving reporter.
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Held at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington, Emerald City Comic Con's first day of programming on Thursday, March 1 offers a large assortment of panels. Here are some that I find most interesting. Their entire listing is available on the official website. IT’S ALIVE!! BRING YOUR SUPERHEROES TO LIFE!1:45 PM - 2:45 PMTCC L3- Room 4 Art comes to life! See how an artist turns illustration into animation. Dana Burman, Motion Graphics Artist, shares how he used Character Animator to make Safety Action Team GO!; a 15 episode educational cartoon that pays homage to 80's

Fathom Events and GKIDS Present Mary and the Witch's Flower

Studio Ponoc, heir apparent to Studio Ghibli, proves they have taken the animated torch and ran with it.
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In September 2013, famed director and Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement. He had made such proclamations before but this time he promised he was serious. A few months later, the studio announced there would be a brief pause in production in order to re-evaluate where the company would go without their founder and creative leader. Speculation was that they would never produce a new movie but might venture into releasing films made by other companies. Amongst all of this, Yoshiaki Nishimura, a lead producer for Ghibli, started a new company, Studio Ponoc. Soon after, many animators from

Big Business / Scenes from a Mall Blu-ray Review: An Interesting Combination

Two disappointing Bette Midler films from 1988 and 1991 are teamed up in a not-so-funny double feature.
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Kino Lorber recently teamed up two late-'80s / early-'90s films for a Blu-ray release that seem to share little in common other than both being comedies that star Bette Midler. Movies linked by actors instead of directors don't always pair well together and this is an interesting combination. Big Business is a 1988 teaming of Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin in a Jim Abrahams (Airplane) directed film. The "body change" and "split up twins" scenarios were a popular trope of films of this era. Most people go back to the Freaky Friday reference from the '70s but the idea of

'Best F(r)iends' Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero Reunite Onscreen This Spring for the First Time Since The Room

Fathom Events brings Wiseau and Sestero’s bizarre two-volume road trip adventure to U.S. cinemas for four nights - March 30, April 2, June 1 and 4.
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Press release: Best F(r)iends, starring cult-movie heroes Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero (The Room), debuts in movie theaters nationwide this spring. The new Wiseau-Sestero dark comedy thriller is written by Sestero, the New York Times best-selling author of The Disaster Artist, which was adapted into an Oscar-nominated Hollywood film. Inspired by a road trip made by Sestero and Wiseau after the production of The Room in April 2003, Best F(r)iends will be released in two volumes, for two nights each. Best F(r)iends comes to cinemas nationwide on Friday, March 30 and Monday, April 2, with Best F(r)iends: Volume Two following

Annihilation Movie Review: A Beautifully Horrific Piece of Science Fiction

Annihilation is a brilliant mix of sci-fi and horror that is cringe-inducing yet inviting.
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After making his directorial debut with Ex Machina, writer/director Alex Garland brings us his latest opus that is Annihilation, a sci-fi gem that is destined to become a modern-day classic. Because I won't go into full detail about the story to avoid potential spoilers, the best way to describe Annihilation is that it is a web of sci-fi, horror, and intrigue that is puzzling in the best possible ways. It’s one of those movies that has you asking a handful of questions by the time it’s over yet the fact that it is so visually entrancing and features strong performances

Five Cool Things and Izzy Gets the F-ck Across Town

This week's cool things include a couple of comics, some old movies, and a new trailer.
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I shouldn’t write these things on Friday. It seems like every week I’m saying how long and exhausting the week has been. Maybe if I wrote them on Monday I’d be all refreshed and collected from the weekend. Nah, I’d just be frazzled to have to write something else with a case of the Mondays. It was a long week. My wife and daughter are finally getting over the sickness but then the kid had to play catch-up from missing school and there have been loads of extra activities. Luckily, work has been slow so I’m not a total zombie.

The Concert for George: A Deeply Moving Tribute to a Multifacted Artist

To celebrate what would have been George Harrison's 75th birthday, the 2002 film is being screened in theaters and receiving a re-release in various configurations.
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George Harrison’s life and career may seem impossible to capture in just an hour and a half. Yet his friends and family managed to accomplished such a feat on November 29, 2002. Just a year after Harrison’s untimely death, Eric Clapton organized a concert at London’s Royal Albert Music Hall to celebrate his singer/songwriter friend’s life. “What I wanted to do was...just share our love for George and his music with the people,” says Clapton. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Jeff Lynne are among the numerous performers who turn in emotional renditions of Harrison’s best known Beatles and solo compositions.

The Sea Wolf (1941) Blu-ray Review: Another Major Discovery from the WAC

Formerly lost at sea, the original 100-min cut of this classic sails in to home video thanks to the Warner Archive.
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The discovery of any classic film in its original uncut form brings with it an opportunity to rejoice. Recently, the Warner Archive Collection uncovered an uncut 35mm nitrate print of Michael Curtiz's classic 1941 film adaptation of Jack London's The Sea Wolf. Buried away for decades in the Museum of Modern Art's storage facility in New York, the unveiling of such a print was a significant find ‒ as the film had only been available in a heavily-shortened version since its first theatrical re-release in 1947. Naturally, much like the WAC's recent re-discovery of the three-hour TV cut of Richard

The Emperor in August / Sayonara / The Yellow Handkerchief Blu-ray Reviews: Three for Japan

All is fair (great, in fact!) in love, war, and on the road in this trio of classics from Twilight Time.
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American and Japanese. Remakes and originals. Love and war. Though they may all appear to be starkly different on the outside, this trio of Twilight Time releases from (or at least filmed in) Japan evinces we're only human on the inside. The Emperor in August (2015, Shochiku Company) Remaking a classic historical war film is never an easy task. Especially when the story focuses on internal political strife as opposed to the always bankable sight of what SCTV's Farm Film Report would likely refer to as "stuff gettin' blowed up real good." It's an ever harder chore to pull off

Elevator to the Gallows Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Ruthless People

French director Louis Malle launched his award-winning career with this spellbinding crime thriller.
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Louis Malle’s directorial debut is notable for numerous reasons. He was only 24 years old at the time, fresh off a three-year stint working at sea with famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau where he only had to “direct fish”, as he was frequently fond of recounting. He had no real pull in the film industry, and yet was able to land the already established actress Jeanne Moreau to star, as well as jazz titan Miles Davis to contribute a totally improvised score. His best accomplishment: the resulting film is a resounding success, largely thanks to his sure-handed direction of its mesmerizing

An Actor's Revenge Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Kabuki Costumes in Modernist Cinema

Kon Ichikawa's remake of a '30s movie dresses a stagey plot in innovative cinematic stylings.
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Yukinojo, the kabuki female impersonator who gets the titular vengeance in Kon Ichikawa's An Actor's Revenge (1963), is a tough sell for a cinematic character. Heavily made up both onstage and off, never once dropping his female gestures and high-pitched voice, Kazuo Hasegawa's performance is definitely deeply committed. This, which according to the title card early in the film was his 300th film performance, is also a remake of a popular film from the '30s, also starring Kazuo Hasegawa. A Kazuo Hasegawa in his early 20s playing a female impersonator so mesmerizing that the most beautiful woman in Edo (Tokyo

Half Magic Movie Review: A Brash Take on Sex Positivity

Heather Graham's debut is certainly relevant, but still feels like there is another story waiting to be told.
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Honey (Heather Graham) was raised to believe that her sexuality should never be addressed. As a child, she grew up being told by her father and her priest that having sex would ruin her life and remove the hope of ever finding true love. Years later, and she is working in Hollywood as an assistant to a sleazy, sexist actor - but she has dreams of becoming a writer. Undervalued and denigrated by her boss, she turns to an all woman’s seminar that focuses on the reclamation of her body as a source of empowerment, rather than of shame. She

The Hero Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Long Train Ride into the Soul of an Artist

A movie star reflects on his life and the compromises he made to get there.
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Arindam Mukherjee (Uttam Kumar), an enormously famous movie star, boards an overnight train from Calcutta to Delhi to receive a national award. There, he meets an interesting cast of characters including Aditi Sengupta (Sharmila Tagore), a young journalist who edits a modern women’s magazine. She is contemptuous towards egotistical movie stars like him, but decides to secretly interview him as an expose to draw in readers. She wanders over to him in the dining car pretending to want an autograph for her niece and because she’s pretty and the journey is long, he begins talking to her freely. Over the

TV Review: The Alienist: 'Hildebrandt's Starling'

The gang discovers more clues in the halfway point of the miniseries.
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For most of The Alienist, Lazlo has had this feeling like he is the superior of the three when it comes to understanding the clues given to them. It is most likely due to his high education and work as a doctor that has driven him to that belief. It appears that the more he works with people who don’t quite have the same level of expertise that he does, the more frustrated he becomes. That’s certainly present in the miniseries’ fifth episode, “Hildebrandt’s Starling,” but it also appears that he might be easing back a little and understanding how

The Florida Project is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a couple of foreign language films from the Criterion Collection, a silly horror from Arrow Video, Doctor Who, an Oscar-buzzing indie, and more.
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Sean Baker has been making movies for nearly twenty years, but only recently has been given the kind of buzz that moves out of the festival circuit and to places like Oklahoma (where I live). In 2015. he made Tangerine, a movie about a couple of transgendered sex workers that was shot on iPhones and garnered a lot of critical attention. Last year. he made The Florida Project which has garnered some significant Oscar buzz. It's about life in and around a run-down motel somewhere near the vicinity of Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It shows the kids running around,

Hack-O-Lantern (1988) Blu-ray Review: Every Night is Halloween

Massacre Video brings us a High-Def release of this cult Satanic Panic '80s horror oddity.
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Only a short time ago, finding a copy of Jag Mundhra's low-budget '80s horror flick Hack-O-Lantern on VHS was similar to discovering the source of The Nile. Granted, said copy would usually be a well-worn one, as the direct-to-video film ‒ which also once bore the title Death Mask before seeing later distribution on home video under the title Halloween Night ‒ was certainly not the sort of moving picture to have made rounds on the retail videocassette market. Rather, Hack-O-Lantern was the sort of schlocky cheesy tripe which could have only hailed from the glorious days of rental pricing;

TCM and Fathom Events Present The Philadelphia Story

You've got one more chance to see this classic on the big screen.
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Playwright Phillip Barry wrote a play called The Philadelphia Story specifically for Katherine Hepburn to star in. After it was a success, Hepburn bought the movie rights to the play and sold it to MGM for the relatively small sum of $250,000 in return for her being able to pick the producer, screenwriter, and costars. She chose Joseph Mankeiwicz to produce (and many decades later his great-nephew Ben Mankeiwicz would inform me of all this trivia in his introduction to this Fathom Events showing), George Cukor (with whom she had worked with in A Bill of Divorcement and Little Women

Black Panther Movie Review: Marvel's Most Game-Changing Film Yet

Black Panther brings the traditional offerings of a Marvel Cinematic Universe film with its action and humor while still being a story-driven masterpiece.
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When Captain America: Civil War came out in 2016, one of its major highlights was scene stealer Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. Now, Black Panther has not only gotten his own solo movie but it is the best Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to date. It offers everything that fans want with its crowd-pleasing humor and action. Yet, it also manages to demonstrate powerful, thought-provoking storytelling. After breathing new life into the Rocky franchise with Creed and wowing critics and audiences with his powerful debut Fruitvale Station, director Ryan Coogler has done it again and gone 3 for 3. The story

The Trip to Spain (2017) Blu-ray Review: Moore (or Les) of the Same

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are at it again in this feature film version of the popular UK TV series.
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The third film adaptation to spawn from Michael Winterbottom's television series The Trip, The Trip to Spain reunites British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon for yet another bizarre road trip. This time, our pair of middle-aged delinquents embark off to good ol' España to indulge in the finest Spanish cuisine (and wine for the Welshman, as Steve is on the wagon here). But food and drink are the least of the viewer's concern, as our hosts' seemingly erratic behavior is the thing that keeps us coming back for more. Or "Moore," as is the case in The Trip to

The Girl Without Hands Blu-ray Review: A Mesmerizing Fairy Tale

Distinctive animation elevates a simple story into the sublime.
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Based upon an old German fairy tale as collected by the Brothers Grimm, The Girl Without Hands is a French animated film with a lot of heart and a unique sense of style. The devil (Phillippe Laudenbach) appears to a poor miller (Olivier Broche) and makes him a deal. For the small price of what’s behind his mill, the devil will make him rich. Knowing that only an old tree lies behind his mill, the miller agrees. Soon liquid gold begins flowing through his mill, making him richer than his wildest dreams. When the devil comes to collect, the miller

The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991) Blu-ray Review: Try Hard

The ridiculously fun 'Die Hard' knock-off with a mulleted Ken Wahl finds its way to BD thanks to Kino Lorber.
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Any time you depict a filthy rich jock as someone the average moviegoer should be able to sympathize with, you're bound to run into some trouble. In the instance of Sidney J. Furie's 1991 non-hit The Taking of Beverly Hills, we get just that ‒ played to the hilt by former Hollywood heartthrob and Wiseguy star Ken Wahl. Sporting a perfect urban mullet (which perfectly compliments this thick bushy eyebrows) throughout, Wahl plays a football hero nicknamed Boomer. While Boomer's career may have recently ended due to a leg injury (an eerie omen to our lead actor's fate: Wahl effectively

Mr. Mom Blu-ray Review: Role Reversal Comedy Has Few Laughs

The John Hughes-penned comedy starring Michael Keaton and Teri Garr gets a new, albeit lackluster, Blu-ray update from Shout Select.
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Stan Dragoti’s Mr. Mom is what happens when someone decides that a sitcom with its premise might not have much shelf life on television networks and is probably better suited for the big screen with a 90-minute runtime. Its theme music even has that feel like we’re watching the opening credits for something that would air during the Thursday night comedy lineup on one of the big networks. In reality, it doesn’t even really work as a feature film. Granted, this John Hughes-penned comedy is essentially what launched Michael Keaton into stardom and proved that he is both quick on

Five Cool Things and The Girl Without Hands

This weeks cool things include some (not so) Classic Doctor Who, a Stephen King sequel, a Neil Gaiman book, and more.
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Sickness has come to house Brewster again. My wife caught a nasty cold late last week and it's stayed with her even unto today. My daughter caught something nastier but shorter a couple of nights ago, which left her dazed and confused (and puking her poor little guts out) for about 24 hours. I've managed to mostly stay healthy (although my back is about to give out due to sleeping on the couch trying to avoid my wife's bug). As such, there has been a lot of stayng in and watching TV. Here's five things we enjoyed. The Trial of

Not as a Stranger (1955) Blu-ray Review: Robert Mitchum, Sociopathic Surgeon

Kino Lorber brings us Stanley Kramer's first directorial effort starring Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra.
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Any movie which conjures up the mental image of a motorcycle bound Lon Chaney Jr. going out in a drunken blaze of glory certainly deserves a special place in history. However, when that same movie also happens to star Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra ‒ along with a first-rate supporting cast including Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Lee Marvin, Harry Morgan, and the aforementioned Mr. Chaney ‒ its significance in the world of film increases substantially. Now toss in the superb production values and social commentary filmmaker Stanley Kramer was (and still is) so well known for, and

The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) Blu-ray Review: Too Sweet for Me

Perfect for fans of Hope or those wishing to find out more about the energetic showman.
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There are three types of people in the world: those who like Bob Hope, those who don’t like Bob Hope, and those who have stopped reading this review already because they don’t know who Bob Hope is. I must admit that I was not always a fan of Bob Hope. As a comedian, he always seemed to be reading jokes that had been written for him. As an actor, he always seemed like he was playing the same character who constantly winked at the audience to let them know that he was smarter than everyone else. After reading and reviewing

Victor Crowley Blu-ray Review: Why, Oh Why, Do They Keep Going into That Swamp?

If you love '80s horror or any of the previous Hatchet movies, you owe it to yourself to give Victor Crowley a shot.
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If it's been said once, it's been said a thousand times -- don't go into Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana unless you want to die horribly. Victor Crowley will either take you apart or make you wish he had. He will. It's simply gonna happen. A group of misled tourists didn't stand a chance against him in Hatchet. A hunting party and voodoo priest couldn't stop him in Hatchet II. A S.W.A.T. team hardly phased him in Hatchet III. He's been scouring the area around his home for over 50 years now, despite being shot, impaled, blown up, chainsawed in

The Witches Arrow Academy Blu-ray Review: Someone Get These Witches a Spell

Anthology collection starring Silvana Mangano as a variety of witches fails to bewitch.
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The concept of an anthology film in which you make one long movie consisting of several short films seems like a good one. Presumably, it is easier to wrangle big name directors and stars as the time commitment will be shorter than a full-length feature. You can have a variety of different genres and styles and if one film is a dud, then you’ve got several others that can compensate. And yet it is rare thing in which I’ve ever enjoyed an anthology film. It's a bit like short-story collections to me. It's difficult to tell an engaging story in

Criterion Announces May 2018 Releases

May is for film lovers.
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In May, Criterion plans on releasing seven titles, including two high-definition upgrades. New to the collection are Frank Borzage's Moonrise, Aki Kaurismäki's The Other Side of Hope, John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy, two by Cristian Mungiu. Beyond the Hills and Graduation. Getting an upgrade are Paul Schrader’s Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters and Robert Bresson's Au hasard Balthazar. Read on to learn more about them. Moonrise (#921) out May 8 A small-town fable about violence and redemption, Moonrise is the final triumph of Frank Borzage, one of Hollywood’s most neglected masters. Stigmatized from infancy by the fate of his criminal

GKIDS and Fathom Events Present a New Studio Ghibli Series of Animated Masterpieces in U.S. Cinemas Throughout 2018

Nine of Studio Ghibli’s most treasured films, including several milestone anniversary titles, will be presented at over 700 movie theater locations.
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Press release: After a successful series in 2017, GKIDS and Fathom Events continue their collaboration to bring a new line-up of treasured films to U.S. cinemas throughout 2018. STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2018 gives fans an opportunity to see nine of Studio Ghibli’s revered animated masterpieces on cinema screens nationwide, along with some very special surprises for Fathom Events attendees only. The 2018 series kicks off with the 10th anniversary of the heartwarming family adventure “Ponyo,” from Academy Award-winning Hayao Miyazaki, for three days only on March 25, 26 and 28. STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2018 then continues with “The Cat Returns,”

Charley Chase at Hal Roach: The Talkies, Volume One: 1930-31 DVD Review: In One Word, 'Yes!'

The Sprocket Vault releases a two-disc set celebrating the lost talent of one very gifted comic.
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While history may not regard him as highly as many of the other on-screen comics who predated or succeeded him, the world of comedy nevertheless owes a substantial debt of gratitude to Charley Chase. Born Charles Joseph Parrott in 1893, the immeasurably gifted individual worked with just about every great comedy act in the business during his tragically short lifetime. During the Silent Era, a young Chase worked at Keystone Studios for Mack Sennett, appearing in several Charlie Chaplin shorts. In later years, after sound had come to moving pictures to stay, Chase worked on the other side of the

Doctor Who: Twice upon a Time & The Complete Peter Capaldi Years Now Available

Say farewell to the Twelfth Doctor with new releases from BBC Home Entertainment featuring exclusive bonus content.
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Press release: Celebrate the end of an era as BBC Home Entertainment releases Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time, the highly anticipated 2017 Christmas special, on Blu-ray and DVD, and Doctor Who: The Complete Peter Capaldi Years on Blu-ray, featuring never-before-seen bonus content. DOCTOR WHO: TWICE UPON A TIME Street Date: February 13, 2017 Suggested Retail Price: DVD $19.98 (U.S.), $24.98 (Canada) BD $24.98 (U.S.), $30.98 (Canada) Length: Approx. 60 mins + bonus content / single disc Twice Upon A Time - the final episode of Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the Time Lord, which found record-setting success with its Christmas

Blade of the Immortal Blu-ray Review: The Immortal Takashi Miike

Veteran director Takashi Miike reaches the unimaginable milestone of his 100th film with this spellbinding supernatural samurai tale.
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Takashi Miike has directed some of the most well-known Japanese genre films to ever reach our shores, including his turn-of-the-century gems such as Ichi the Killer, Audition, and the Dead or Alive trilogy, as well as his more recent samurai hit, 13 Assassins. For his 100th film, he has helmed the film adaptation of the classic manga series, Blade of the Immortal. Manji (Takuya Kimura) is an adept samurai who suffers mortal injuries and the murder of his sister in a massive battle against 100 enemies. Just as he’s about to bleed out, an ancient witch appears and dumps “sacred

The Toronto True Crime Film Festival to Have Inaugural Event June 8 and 9, 2018

The unique and specialized film festival is now accepting short and feature submissions.
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Press release: The Toronto True Crime Film Festival will have its first annual edition this June 8th - 9th, 2018 at The Royal Cinema in Toronto. Over the course of its two-night, five-screening run, the festival will showcase short and feature-length films surrounding the topic of true crime. TTCFF will spotlight both documentaries and fictionalized films based on true crimes, as well as include a retro screening, multimedia presentations, and panel discussions. Toronto True Crime Film Festival was born from one simple statement verbalized by Lisa Gallagher—an avid cinephile and lifelong true crime fanatic—during the course of a five hour

Freebie and the Bean Blu-ray Review: A Film That Should Have Stayed Buried in the Past

While the drawn-out car chases through the streets of San Francisco are entertaining and interesting to watch, the rest of the film is rather unwatchable.
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In San Francisco, two cops Freebie (James Caan) and Bean (Alan Arkin) have spent more than a year trying to find some evidence on Red Meyers (Jack Kruschen), the biggest syndicate boss in the city. Having been reduced to digging through the man’s trash in hopes of finding some clues, they stumble upon some incriminating documents that weren’t shredded. Rushing to get a warrant so they can search his home and business, they find that they can’t get one right away and will have to wait through the weekend. Normally, that wouldn’t be a huge inconvenience, but they discover that

The Deuce: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: The Gritty, Grimy, Mean Streets of New York

David Simon's new series is about the sex trade in '70s New York, it is as difficult to watch as it is good.
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These days, New York City's Times Square is clean, shiny, and safe. It's a Mecca for tourists and families and a fun stop for anyone looking to see the sites of The Big Apple. It wasn’t always like that. In the 1970s and '80s, it was a hot bed of sex, drugs, and crime. HBO’s new series The Deuce tells the story of that Times Square. Created by David Simon and George Pelecanos, The Duece has a lot in common with another of their shows, The Wire. That series, arguably the greatest show ever, used various institutions (the drug trade,

The Deuce: The Complete First Season Is the Pick of the Week

This week's new releases include some great and not-so-great horror films, Dan Gilroy's follow-up to Nightcrawler, Julia Roberts trying to make a comeback, and more.
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David Simon started out as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun where he worked the crime beat. In 1991, he took a year off to follow the Baltimore Homicide squad around and wrote the excellent Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets about it. A few years later he took another year-long sabbatical with former cop Ed Burns to spend time on an inner-city street corner and wrote about the lives of the junkies, dealers, and helpers who live, work, and play there in the book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood. Homicide was turned

2018 Oscar-nominated Documentary Short Films Review

And the nominees are...
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ShortsTV, the World’s Only Short Film Channel (www.shorts.tv), working with Magnolia Pictures, is currently showing “THE 2018 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS” on more than 500 screens across the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia. THE 2018 OSCARS NOMINATED SHORT FILMS will showcase the Live Action, Animation, and Documentary short-film nominees’ compilation as three separate theatrical events. This marks the 13th consecutive year of the Oscar Nominated Short Films theatrical experience. It is the only opportunity for audiences to watch the short film nominees in theaters before the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4, 2018. The Oscars

TV Review: The Alienist: 'These Bloody Thoughts'

There's a possibility that the killer's identity may have been revealed in this latest episode of the TNT miniseries.
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When it comes to these whodunit type of mysteries, the killer ends up being someone whom the audience already knows, and then all of the clues found by other characters that lead them to the person who kept their other identity a secret for the duration of the story. I’m not sure if The Alienist is going to go that route. Granted, we’re already four episodes into the TNT miniseries, but we may have just met the person who is responsible for the killings based on some clues that have been given to the characters - and the viewers -

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival (Remastered) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

While the video upgrade and single extra aren't worth a double-dip, this three-disc set is a must-own for fans of classic rock and the '60s.
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Previously released from Criterion in 2009, The Complete Monterey Pop Festival collects three D.A. Pennebaker film's: Monterey Pop, Jimi Plays Monterey, and Shake! Otis at Monterey. That version was previously reviewed at this site. On the weekend of June 16-18, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival helped usher in the "Summer of Love". Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker and his team captured the event, which was edited down to 79 minutes. The participants included The Mamas and the Papas (John Phillips was one of the co-founders), Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Eric

The Aftermath (1982) Blu-ray Review: A Little Movie with a Long Wake

VCI Entertainment re-releases Steve Barkett's wild, low-budget post-apocalyptic cult classic co-starring the one and only Sid Haig.
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Were you to whisper the name "Steve Barkett" to the average moviegoer, a lengthy pause with near-audible chirping crickets in the background may follow. Say Barkett's name to an aficionado of low-budget sci-fi and horror movies from the days when people still shot independent movies on film, however, and you're entirely likely to get a different reaction. From a much more personal perspective, I actually met a former colleague of his at a coffee shop; an encounter which would later result in me inheriting several reels of film from two of Mr. Barkett's films. Well, let me rephrase that slightly

Five Cool Things and Venom

This week's cool things are trailers, trailers, and more trailers.
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The Super Bowl aired this last Sunday. I didn’t watch a single second of it. Not even for the commercials or Justin Timberlake’s halftime show (though I did watch some of both a few days later on YouTube). The only exciting part for me was that Super Bowl Sunday is now apparently the official start of Hollywood trying to get us pumped for their summer roll out. There were several cool trailers that dropped during the game (and several more have come out in the week since). Call this week’s post "Five Cool Trailers." Solo: A Star Wars Story This

2018 Oscar-nominated Live Action Short Films Review

And the nominees are...
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ShortsTV, the World’s Only Short Film Channel (www.shorts.tv), working with Magnolia Pictures, will open “THE 2018 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS” on more than 500 screens across the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia on Feb. 9, 2018. THE 2018 OSCARS NOMINATED SHORT FILMS will showcase the Live Action, Animation, and Documentary short-film nominees’ compilation as three separate theatrical events. This marks the 13th consecutive year of the Oscar Nominated Short Films theatrical experience. It is the only opportunity for audiences to watch the short film nominees in theaters before the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4,

The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 (1964-1966) Blu-ray Review

The Pink Panther was one of the biggest cartoon characters to spring from the swinging '60s, and this set of 20 cartoons shows why.
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Anyone who who grew up watching Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes, surely remembers the unusual name “Friz Freleng” in the opening credits. He was the most prolific cartoon director for Warner Bros. and is credited with developing and creating iconic characters such as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, and Speedy Gonzales. He left seven months before the studio shut down its cartoon department and once it had, he formed DePatie-Freleng Enterprises with his former boss, producer David H. DePatie. Their first great success was the Pink Panther. Intended solely as a character for the

2018 Oscar-nominated Animated Short Films Review

And the nominees are...
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ShortsTV, the World’s Only Short Film Channel (www.shorts.tv), working with Magnolia Pictures, will open “THE 2018 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS” on more than 500 screens across the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia on Feb. 9, 2018. THE 2018 OSCARS NOMINATED SHORT FILMS will showcase the Live Action, Animation, and Documentary short-film nominees’ compilation as three separate theatrical events. This marks the 13th consecutive year of the Oscar Nominated Short Films theatrical experience. It is the only opportunity for audiences to watch the short film nominees in theaters before the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4,

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Blu-ray Review: The Steampunk World's Greatest Detective

While it’s an above average DCU animated film, it’s best for viewers with no knowledge of its superior comic book source.
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Nearly 30 years ago, DC Comics launched an ongoing series of standalone stories set outside their normal comics continuity, eventually labelling the effort Elseworlds. The stories feature their stars in alternate universes, starting with this tale of a steampunk Batman chasing Jack the Ripper in the Victorian era. While the original Gotham by Gaslight comic was only around 50 pages long, the story has been reworked and extended into this new animated feature-length film, essentially making this an Elseworlds retelling of an already Elseworlds comic. The creative changes succeed in extending the story length, but fail in improving upon the

Chris Claremont's X-Men Movie Review: A Look at the Man Who Single-handedly Reinvented the X-Men Franchise

Chris Claremont looks back at his remarkable career writing the X-Men.
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The X-Men have been one of Marvel’s most successful franchises for some time, both in the comic pages and on the silver screen, but that was not always the case. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the famed team of mutants was a second-tier book at best and saw cancellation after just 66 issues, with the last new story published in 1970. In 1975, a young writer was given the opportunity to have carte blanche on the X-Men, publishing the team’s first new stories in five years. His name is Chris Claremont and he jumped at the

The Cloverfield Paradox Movie Review: A Surprise Sequel That Gets Lost In Orbit

Despite its unique release strategy and its committed cast that is rich in diversity, The Cloverfield Paradox is unable to escape the story's tired machinations.
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The Cloverfield Paradox built a lot of hype by announcing that it would be available to stream on Netflix right after the Super Bowl. But unfortunately, the hype surrounding the super secretive and constantly delayed film turned out to be more interesting than the actual film itself. If you’ve seen Alien, Life, or even Gravity, it’s likely that you’ve seen The Cloverfield Paradox which is frustrating since it had potential to be better and a worthy addition to the Cloverfield franchise. Despite the efforts of its terrific cast, The Cloverfield Paradox ends up being an episodic imitation that gets lost

The Violent Years (1956) Blu-ray Review: Ed Wood's Teenage Girl Gang Terrorists

With everything from original production materials to a bonus feature Ed allegedly worked on, this AGFA/SWV BD is packin' a lot of Wood.
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The list of filmmakers best known for helming the worst movies ever made is a long and varied one. In fact, it grows more and more with each passing year. But even as contemporary contenders and waning wannabes vie for some sort of misplaced honor (or misattributed attention) in the awkward world of unintentionally terrible motion pictures, one name still manages to frequently take the lead: that of amateur auteur Edward D. Wood, Jr. Since Wood's untimely passing in December 1978, his delightfully delirious titles ‒ including the early (if totally bizarre) LGBT drama Glen or Glenda? and the sci-fi/horror

Permission Movie Review: A Romantic Drama That Doesn't Have All the Answers

Brian Crano's film takes the romantic drama in a new direction with some unique characters, but often feels unbalanced in its approach.
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When it comes to relationships, does the quality of one transcend the experience of being with multiple people? Does knowing oneself only come through trying different things, or is it enough to realize what you have now is good enough? These questions of identity and how their fluidity comes at any age is at the heart of Brian Crano's romantic drama Permission. Though open relationships aren't particularly taboo in the era of Tindr, Permission positions them within a relationship brimming with trust. Can a relationship involving multiple partners ever work if the couple at the center actively share everything with

Director Brian Crano Talks Fantasy, Romance, and His New Film 'Permission'

"I wanted to reflect the lives and social problems that I'm seeing, both personally and in my community." - Brian Crano
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With the sheer number of romance driven films it's always refreshing to find one unique in its approach. Director Brian Crano has risen to the occasion with his latest film, Permission, the story of a couple together since childhood who decide to have individual flings in their relationship. Can their love survive? Ordinarily the immediate answer would be no, but the beauty of Crano's film is found in genuine discussions that leave things unpredictable. Crano sat down with Kristen Lopez of Cinema Sentries to discuss his film and how he attempted to avoid copying other movies. The obvious question is

Suburbicon is the Pick of the Week

George Clooney's take on a Coen Brothers' script leads this week's new releases.
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The Coen Brothers have been some of my favorite filmmakers for a long time. I first saw their work with Raising Arizona but it wasn’t until Fargo that I actually knew who they were. That film blew me away. It remains a favorite. I love the Coens' directorial style and their quirky, dark sense of humor. George Clooney is one of my favorite actors. He is incredibly handsome and utterly charming. He’s a movie star in the old Hollywood sense. He isn’t the greatest of actors, in fact he has a pretty limited range, but he seems to understand this

TV Review: The Alienist: 'Silver Smile'

It seems more formulaic in the third episode, but there is enough to keep me invested in the show as a whole.
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In this third episode of TNT’s The Alienist, the opening credits sequence switches from being just a quick glimpse at the series’ title with a still image of a silhouette in a foggy evening in New York City to fully introducing all of the actors involved in the series with a slideshow of different images playing in the background. The new introduction is very reminiscent of HBO’s True Detective in terms of style and tone. It’s fitting, since it is a grim miniseries so far, but it almost seems like TNT wants to continue it beyond this one season, and

Mission: Impossible - Fallout | Official Trailer and Big Game Spot Available Now!

New M:I videos for your viewing pleasure should you choose to watch them.
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For the sixth installment in the action franchise, which has earned nearly $3 billion worldwide, the best intentions often come back to haunt you. Mission: Impossible - Fallout finds Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team (Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames) along with some familiar allies (Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan) in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, and Vanessa Kirby also join the dynamic cast with filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie returns to the helm. Official Trailer Big Game Spot

100 Years of Horror DVD Review: A Look Back at the Genre

Not the best of horror documentaries, but Christopher Lee more than makes up for its shortcomings.
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When it comes to the history of horror, there have been many documentaries tracing the beginning of this rather infamous of film genres, such as Nightmares in Red, White & Blue; Syfy's Masters of Horror, and Bravo's Scariest Movie Moments series. However, 100 Years of Horror, hosted by the late, great Christopher Lee, somehow gets overlooked. This may be a good and bad thing. Considering that the entire series consists of 26 half-hour episodes, narrowing in quality (VHS, mind you), but there is enough information to slighly satifsy the most jaded of horror fanatics. As the back of the DVD

Five Cool Things and Duncan Jones' Mute

This week's cool things include lots of award winners and some that should have been.
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I’m always late to the party when it comes to awards season. I simply don’t make it to the theaters enough to see all the big movies let alone the small ones. I eventually catch most of the buzzy, acclaimed films but not usually until long after all the golden statues have been handed out. This time I’ve managed to see 28 films released in 2017 many of which have been nominated for big awards. That’s still a long ways from all of them (and miles away from the 12,000 films released last year (according to Letterboxd anyways) but for

Deathdream (1974) Blu-ray Review: We Are the Dead of Night, We're in the Zombie Room

Blue Underground brings the creepy Bob Clark/Alan Ormsby cult classic back to life with a gorgeous new 2K scan.
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While W.W. Jacobs may have never been much of a household name either before or after his death in 1943 at the age of 79, the late English author nevertheless left a lasting mark on the world of horror thanks to his 1902 horror story The Monkey's Paw. The quintessential tale carrying the classic "be careful what you wish for" analogy, Jacobs' "immortal" tale would go on to be transformed into a variety of many mediums over the years, beginning with a stage adaptation just one year after the story was first published. But it was the world of film

The Pirates of Blood River (1962) Blu-ray Review: A Dish, Out of Water

Twilight Time unsheathes an enjoyable Hammer Films outing with ex-Sinbad Kerwin Mathews and a smoothly sinister Christopher Lee.
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Your friends might argue a pirate movie won't float without water. Or an actual pirate ship. Heck, even an award-winning 2005 pornographic cash-in of Disney's Pirates of the Carribean had a boat, for porn's sake! But then again, so did Renny Harlin's Cutthroat Island and Roman Polanski's Pirates ‒ a pair of box office failures regularly cited as two of the worst pirate films ever made today. And, while forcing your friends to watch those two flicks may provide an easy win to such a foreseeable argument. Ultimately, however, the best way to succeed in winning a disagreement over whether

Jabberwocky Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Frabjous Film! Callooh! Callay!

It's an amusing adventure filled with Terry Gilliam's humor and sensibilities that showcases his directorial aesthetic.
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After co-directing Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Terry Gilliam returned to the Dark Ages for his first solo outing, Jabberwocky, a fantasy tale inspired by Lewis Carroll's poem of the same name. It's an amusing adventure filled with Gilliam's humor and sensibilities that showcases his directorial aesthetic. Those expecting a sequel to the Python's madcap comedy classic will be disappointed, like many of the characters who live in the world of Jabberwocky. A deadly monster roams the forest as the audience and a fox hunter (Terry Jones) find out in the opening scene. Dennis (Michael Palin), not Holy Grail's

Book Review: Superman: The Atomic Age Sundays, Volume 3 (1956-1959): A Wonderful Time Capsule for Fans of the Man of Steel

Thirteen classic Superman tales, all collected in one volume.
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When it comes to comic book heroes, Superman remains one of, if not the biggest pillars in the industry. With a remarkable history going back 80 years and with a graded copy of Action Comics #1 selling for $3 million plus, Superman is arguably the gold standard by which all other heroes are measured. Like many heroes, Superman has appeared in comic books, but also in Sunday newspaper strips. While this may not be as common now, it was very common in the 1950s. With comic values for older hero books becoming more and more out of reach and original

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