August 2018 Archives

Five Cool Things and Operation Finale

It is Friday so here's another five things I discovered this week.
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For the first time in a while, I feel back in the swing of things. I’ve been relatively healthy. Our schedule is back on track from the chaos that comes from the kid going back to school. I’ve watched all the TV collections I needed to review. So this week was all about me. Trouble is, I got a little over zealous and tried to watch multiple movies almost at once, meaning I didn’t finish them. I’d start one, take a break for whatever reason, then start another one having not finished the first. I suspect you’ll hear about those

Smithereens Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Indie Filmmaking at Its Most Raw and Unpolished

A grainy, authentic look at New York youth during the dying days of Punk.
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Films about women by women are pretty rare these days. These are stories about women taking control of their lives and reinventing themselves. Most filmgoers miss out of the opportunity to see and relate to characters who turn out to be just like them; characters who are just as self-absorbed, rebellious, and determined just like everyone else. Thankfully, there is director Susan Seidelman's landmark 1982 grassroots classic, Smithereens, which shows us what we're missing in film: the feminist touch. It also paints a low-key, but documentary-like portrait of the grim, desparate side of underground New York in the early '80s.

Mind Game (2004) Blu-ray Review: Endlessly Confusing, Endlessly Fascinating

Masaaki Yuasa's debut animated feature is a kaleidoscope of images and scenes that, miraculously, make a coherent (if confusing) film.
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The first couple minutes of Mind Game contains, after a brief scene of a girl being chased onto a subway train and getting her leg caught in the door, a montage. It lasts a couple of minutes, and contains scenes from various lives, put together without context, without any real sense of which character is which, who is who or when or where. Segments from TV shows are interspersed with scenes from daily life, and memories that are later shown to be incomplete. A similar segment plays at the end of the film, and while most of the context for

Book Review: Star Trek: Lost Scenes by David Tilotta & Curt McAloney

A fascinating look at the series that is sure to be held in high esteem by fans.
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Starting with the Original Series, the Star Trek franchise has had a long involvement in the publishing world, including James Blish's adaptations of episodes, original novels published by Bantam Books and Pocket Books, and reference books such as Bjo Trimble's Star Trek Concordance and Joseph Schnaubelt Franz's Star Fleet Technical Manual. Star Trek: Lost Scenes by David Tilotta & Curt McAloney from Titan Books is a fascinating look at the series that is sure to be held in high esteem by fans. The authors explain in their Introduction that the book “is a photographic compendium of the discarded bonus material,”

Beast (2018) Blu-ray Review: It's a Beauty

Jessie Buckley makes a name for herself in Michael Pearce’s directorial debut.
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While Jessie Buckley has made several notable appearances on television, Beast marks the first time she’s taken on a role in a feature-length project. And, boy, does she make a strong first impression. In Michael Pearce’s directorial debut, she’s placed at the front and center of the story, and there’s not a moment in which it seems like she has issues with taking the lead. There is a bright future for the young actress, and Beast shows that she is a force to reckon with. Set in an isolated community on the Channel Island of Jersey, Beast is loosely inspired

Deadpool 2 Super Duper $@%!#& Cut Blu-ray Review: It's a Family Film, Sorta

An entertaining mix of action and comedy for those with a high tolerance for vulgarity (like myself).
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Given the success of the first Deadpool, it wasn't a surprise a sequel was made. The foul-mouthed, wise-cracking mutant (or do I need to write “Merc with a Mouth” to help with Google searches and to look like I am in the know?) was featured in a movie that brought different sensibilities to the superhero genre earned its R rating with bloody action, filthy language, and meta humor. Plus, it was a vast improvement of the character that appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Deadpool 2 opens with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) trying to kill himself because of the responsibility he feels

RBG is the Pick of the Week

It's a big week full of interesting releases. We've got your details.
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The Supreme Court of the United State is shrouded in mystery. The decisions they make have far-reaching and long-running impacts on all aspects of our society. Yet cameras are not allowed into their proceedings, and rarely do they give open interviews or stand for intimate profile pieces. In recent years, this has begun to change and we now see some Justices having a more public profile but much of what goes on inside the court remains a mystery. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman to be appointed to the court. RBG profiles her rise to that position and her

Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat Movie Review: A Look at the Creative Development of an Art Icon

Sara Driver's documentary uses archival footage and interviews with friends to retrace the artist's creative origins on the Lower East Side.
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An untitled painting of a skull by Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $110 million in 2017, making it one of the priciest artworks ever auctioned. That astronomical sum is light years away from anything in the New York City portrayed in Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Director Sara Driver’s documentary traces Basquiat’s creative origins through interviews and archival footage. To set the stage, Driver begins the film with audio of President Gerald Ford essentially telling the broke New York City to “drop dead” over clips of the grimy, abandoned Lower East Side. A Polish bar blared

The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review: Faster than Ever

You don't have to be a speedster to enjoy this series in a flash.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. Season Three of The Flash ended on a pretty dark note. Barry West/The Flash (Grant Gustin) was stuck inside the Speed Force. H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) sacrificed himself to save the world from Savitar. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) has disappeared for fear that she’ll remain Killer Frost forever. There were some really great moments that season and The Flash remains my favorite series in The Arrowverse, but there is no doubt what

Book Review: For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library, Volume Two (1982-1986) by Lynn Johnston

The characters and community continue to evolve along with the skill in which the story is told.
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In 1978, after publishing a handful of humorous parenting books, Lynn Johnston was asked by Universal Press Syndicate if she’d be interested in working on a daily comic strip. She signed a contract and the rest, as they so often say, is history. Thirty years later, Johnston retired from For Better or For Worse, leaving behind a rich tradition of exquisitely hilarious storytelling through sequential art. As the title of the strip suggests, For Better or For Worse dealt with a great deal of family joy as well as strife over the course of those three decades, all of it

This September, the Hills and Movie Theaters Are Alive with 'The Sound of Music'

The Rogers & Hammerstein classic joins the TCM Big Screen Classics Series, playing nationwide on September 9 and 12 only.
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Press release: One of the most popular and enduring movies of all time, Rogers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music has delighted audiences for more than half a century, and on September 9 and 12, it returns to movie theaters nationwide as part of the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series from Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). In addition to the full feature presentation, TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz will offer special, brand-new commentary both before and after the film. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer star in director Robert Wise’s spectacular cinematic adaptation, which features such iconic musical

Five Cool Things and a Suspiria Remake

Hey look, I found another five cool things to talk about this week.
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School is back. which should mean that I’m watching a lot more cool stuff as I’m putting my daughter to bed earlier. thus giving me more time to consume the things too mature for her to watch. As I should have learned by now, there is a big difference in what should happen and what actually does. The daughter fought off her early bed time as best she could. Each night, there was a barrage of needs - for a glass of water, for another pillow - all designed to get her to stay up later. Once tucked in with

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Concert: Encore Streets on September 21, 2018

From Rush, Heart, and Red Hot Chili Peppers to Abba, Alice Cooper, and Albert King.
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Press release: Each year, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors rock music's pioneering figures during a prestigious black-tie ceremony. As the Hall of Fame enters its third decade, it's these singular induction ceremonies-featuring the biggest names in classic rock from the '60s, '70s and '80s-that have become nearly as epic as the artists they celebrate. This September, join in the festivities with front row seats to four incredible induction ceremonies with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Concert: Encore. Never before available at retail on any format, these memorable live concert events from 2010-2013 are filled with

Book Review: Star Hawks, Volume Three: 1979-1981 by Gil Kane and Archie Goodwin

The final chapter in this inventive science fiction strip faced a lot of changes.
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Star Hawks was a science fiction/fantasy daily newspaper comic strip that ran from 1977 to 1981. It tried to ride the coattails of movies like Star Wars and Star Trek, capturing their popularity and moving it to the daily papers. It was creatively drawn by Gil Kane and contained many a swashbuckling, alien-fighting, action-packed story. However, it always struggled to find an audience and once Star Wars and Star Trek moved into the daily papers themselves, it never stood a chance. Popular strips at this time were carried in hundreds of newspapers while Star Hawks could count the number of

TCM and the African American Film Critics Association Present: The Black Experience on Film

Month-long programming event will feature 13 film journalists and 32 seminal films. Airs every Tuesday and Thursday in September.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) have partnered to bring viewers The Black Experience on Film, a comprehensive month-long programming initiative showcasing portrayals of African Americans throughout cinematic history. Hosted by 13 different members of AAFCA from print, online, and broadcast outlets throughout the country, programming begins Sept. 4 and continues every Tuesday and Thursday in primetime. The Black Experience on Film provides a wide-ranging retrospective from the 1920s through the 1990s including: Exploring Black Identity airing Sept. 4 - AAFCA co-founder and president Gil Robertson & cultural critic Ronda Racha Penrice

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) Blu-ray Review: Plenty of Audacious Mischief

The adventures are thrilling for kids and those who remember being a kid.
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Kino Lorber Studio Classics has released The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in both its 1938 91-minute cut and its 77-minute cut when it was reissued in 1954. When released in 1938, it was the fourth adaptation of Mark Twain's 1876 novel and the first shot in Technicolor. Although the simplicity of the 19th century bucolic Midwestern town the story is set in and that of a 1930s family film may grow increasingly unfamiliar, Tom's adventures retain their appeal. Tom (Tommy Kelly) lives with his Aunt Polly (May Robson), her daughter Mary (Marcia Mae Jones), and Tom's annoying half-brother Sid, who

The Wife Movie Review: Glenn Close Does Career-Best Work

Glenn Close is a quiet force of nature in a masterfully written and well-acted gem.
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There’s no denying that Glenn Close is one of our greatest living actresses. Her career spans 30 years and she’s been a mainstay on the silver screen, the small screen, and the stage. Also, after losing at the Oscars a staggering six times, it feels like her moment may finally arise with The Wife. Much like how her character demands people to hear her voice, Glenn Close shall make voters finally take notice of her genius talent this time around. In The Wife, Glenn Close plays Joan, the wife of a famed writer named Joseph Castleman (Jonathan Pryce). When Joseph

Fathom Events Brings The Transformers: The Movie Back to Movie Theaters

See the original animated action-adventure, along with a sneak peek behind the making of the upcoming Bumblebee movie September 27 only.
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Press release: Fans of the TRANSFORMERS will get a rare opportunity to see the world-renowned 1986 TRANSFORMERS animated feature film when The Transformers: The Movie returns to U.S. movie theaters for a special one-night event, on Thursday, September 27, in a special presentation from Fathom Events, Hasbro Studios, and Shout! Factory. The Transformers: The Movie has been meticulously remastered, restored from the original film elements, and transferred in HD. This special one-night event will catapult audiences into the super-charged, action-packed TRANSFORMERS universe, and enables lifelong fans to relive the excitement and awe of this 1986 animated feature. Fans will also

Deep Rising Blu-ray Review: Schlocky, B-Movie Fun

Kino Lorber Studio Classics gives Stephen Sommers’ silly monster movie a solid Blu-ray upgrade.
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Stephen Sommers’ Deep Rising was one of those movies I wanted to see when it initially released, but I never got around to it until now. I was in seventh grade, and, like most people in that age range, horror movies were something that we rushed out to see. We wanted to see something that was going to make us jump in our seats and entertain us. But, for some reason, I never saw it. It may be because I didn’t hear great things about it and decided to skip. That’s usually what I did and - to some degree

The Terror is the Pick of the Week

It's a week full of big movies, big TV, shows and big reviews from our staff.
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The question we are faced with, dear reader, is whether to go with the new release that we have seen and loved, or the one we have not watched but really want to. The answer, it seems is to go with what we know. At least for this week. The Terror is a new anthology series from AMC. Season One fictionalizes the true story of the crew members of two British ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, that set sail in the 1800s to find the fabled Northwest Passage to Asia and were never seen alive again. Based
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray set reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer When we left off from Season Five, it was a big cliffhanger. Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) had Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and his son William (Jack Moore) trapped on a boat just off Lian yu where our hero had spent those mysterious five years. The first five seasons often had flashbacks to what happened during those years and was all culminating in a cyclical journey to cap off the last ten

Masters of Sex: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review: Undergraduate of Prestige TV

An entertaining series that isn't quite the classic it wants to be gets a very reasonable boxed set.
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Showtime’s Masters of Sex is the very epitome of Prestige Television. It is almost as if show creator Michelle Ashford took the Guidebook of Prestige TV and adapted every single bullet point. It is a period drama (it begins in 1956 and concludes in 1969) so it has loads of period details to get exactly perfect and it can stand at a distance judging the conservative morals of the day while shining a light on our modern imperfections. Its lead is an ahead-of-his-time genius with a dark past and emotional difficulties. His wife is a (more or less) atypical housewife

First Reformed Blu-ray Review: Praise Paul Schrader and Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke gives a stunning performance in Paul Schrader’s latest effort.
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It’s a subject in which Paul Schrader is very familiar, and also the one from which some of his best work comes: the focus on an individual whose life begins to spiral out of control for various reasons. It began with Taxi Driver in 1976 and has been explored in others such as 1980’s Raging Bull and 1999’s Bringing Out the Dead. All of them are terrific and haunting works of art that Schrader penned and, at least in those three examples, had Martin Scorsese direct. For First Reformed, Schrader tackles the subject as both writer and director. Borrowing mostly

The Terror: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: Utterly Terrifying

AMC's new horror anthology is relentlessly scary and impeccably made.
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In 1845, the British Empire was at the top of its game with colonies and territories all over the world. For decades they had been looking for a route to Asia through the northern Canadian archipelago. This so-called Northwest Passage would cut out enormous amounts of time and resources from the normal route across land or around Africa. Led by Captain John Franklin, two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, departed that year to try and find it. They made it to King William Island in the Nanavut territory September of 1866 and became iced in. They would never sail

Documentary Now! Seasons 1 & 2 Blu-ray Review: An Entertaining Anthology

"A [humorous] look back at the films that helped shape and innovate the world of documentary."
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One of the advantages to the expansion of television platforms, from cable to streaming, is that it has allowed network executives to take greater risks on material that doesn't appear to and may not have broad appeal. This provides artists a wider spectrum of possibilities from which to tell stories and entertain, such as the documentary-spoofing Documentary Now! created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and director Rhys Thomas, who all previously worked together at Saturday Night Live. Airing on IFC, which seems a natural fit or it would if they were still showing independent films, the premise of

Five Cool Things and Aretha Franklin

It was a week of binge-watching TV shows I'll write about later and catching up with a few cool things I'm writing about now.
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I’ve been binge-watching both Masters of Sex and The Terror all week, which I thought would mean I’d have nothing to cool to talk about now. However, I still managed to squeeze in a couple of movies, a classic Doctor Who, and some other cool stuff. So let’s get to it. The Bourne Identity I started reading The Bourne Identity on a plane to Strasbourg, France. It was my first trip overseas and I wanted something exciting and easy to read on the long journey. I finished it in the little flat we lived in over there. At first, we

Star Trek: Lost Scenes Book Giveaway

The contest is open to residents of the UK/US/Canada.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Titan Books to award three lucky readers Star Trek: Lost Scenes by David Tilotta & Curt McAloney, which is available on Aug 21. For those wanting to learn more, check out Gordon S. Miller's review and the press release below: Think you know everything about the Original Series? Think again. Star Trek: The Lost Scenes is packed with hundreds of never-before-seen color photos of the world’s ultimate sci-fi series. Professionally restored images are used to chronicle the making of the series, reassemble deleted scenes, and showcase bloopers from the first pilot through the last

Color of Night (1994) Blu-ray Review: Color Me Bad for Enjoying It So

Kino Lorber reminds us how great bad '90s erotic thrillers were with this two-disc Special Edition set featuring both the Theatrical and Director's Cuts.
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Much like director Richard Rush's 1980 cult classic The Stunt Man has never been the sort of film one could easily classify under just one genre, his following feature Color of Night isn't a movie anyone can describe as being merely "good" or "bad." For it is both of these things, and yet, neither. As unforgivably '90s as you could possibly ever hope to get, Color of Night is an unbelievably goofy psychological thriller with a heavy focus on sex ‒ and very little else. Making little to no sense throughout the bulk of its two-hour-plus runtime, Color of Night

World Premiere of Andrew Slater's Documentary 'Echo in the Canyon' to Open the 2018 LA Film Festival

Premieres Section, Future Filmmakers Showcase & Indie Pilots also announced.
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Press release: Today the LA Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced that the Opening Night Film is Andrew Slater’s Echo in the Canyon at the Ford Theatres. The World Premiere of the documentary, which features some of music's biggest names reflecting on the sustained influence of Laurel Canyon’s historic music scene, will be followed by a live performance. Also announced today the Premieres section, the Future Filmmakers Showcase, the Music Video program and the Indie Pilot program. I’m so proud to be opening the Festival with a

Crazy Rich Asians Movie Review: An Incredibly Winning Rom-Com

It succeeds thanks to its cultural significance and crowd-pleasing nature.
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It is quite admirable to see a film like Crazy Rich Asians being greenlit so that Asian-American audiences can see themselves reflected in a positive manner. I know in 2018, it shouldn’t seem like a big deal. But even though it is 2018, the tired practice of Caucasian actors playing whitewashed Asian roles is still being practiced. So, to have a film with a cast solely made up of Asian actors is quite a big deal. Crazy Rich Asians is a key cultural touchstone and also, a great movie. It is a fun movie going experience that manages to have

Criterion Announces November 2018 Releases

Cinephiles will be getting quite a bounty of choices this month.
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In November, Criterion is releasing a few titles to be thankful for. They are Kenji Mizoguchi's A Story from Chikamatsu, Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot, David Byrne's True Stories, Orson Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons and Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema, which contains 39 films. Read on to learn more about them. A Story from Chikamatsu (#949) out Nov 6 One of a string of late-career masterworks made by Kenji Mizoguchi in the early 1950s, A Story from Chikamatsu (a.k.a. The Crucified Lovers) is an exquisitely moving tale of forbidden love struggling to survive in the face of persecution. Based on a

Avengers: Infinity War Blu-ray Review: A Marvelous (pun intended) Superhero Movie

It was fun seeing so many characters interact, which helped distract from the plot issues.
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Starting with Iron Man (2008), the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gone onto to become a multimedia behemoth. It's been so successful that other movie studios have tried to create their own shared universes, but none have matched what Marvel has created. The 19th film in the franchise, Avengers: Infinity War, keeps that streak alive with over $2 billion at the worldwide box office. This was due in part to fans' anticipation of seeing what was billed as the biggest crossover event ever, and it was fun seeing so many characters interact, which helped distract from the plot issues. With the

The Rider (2018) DVD Review: Beautiful and Poignant

A cast of non-actors leads one of the most realistic and powerful portrayals of those who risk their lives in the rodeo circuit.
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Chloe Zhao’s The Rider is a film that begins with our lead character, Brady Blackburn, removing staples from his head. His days of riding in the rodeo circuit are no more, and, as he looks in the mirror, he contemplates on what he’s going to do from here. The person who portrays the title character is Brady Jandreau, a non-actor who was once a cowboy in the rodeo circuit but had to resign following a horrific head injury. The Rider is not a documentary, but there’s never a moment where it feels like the viewer is watching something that has

Avengers: Infinity War is the Pick of the Week

Here's all that's worth buying in this week's new Blu-ray releases.
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Oh snap, Avengers: Infinity War comes out this week. It's been twenty years since Iron Man began the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In that time, Marvel has changed the landscape of film, television, and how far reaching franchises can get. These days, everybody is trying to get into the cinematic-universe game and pretty much everybody else is failing at it. Marvel has made billions of dollars from their films, television series, and other tie-ins. They’ve proven you can make individual films that maintain their own style and yet are able to be brought into a larger cinematic fold. In some ways,

What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Blu-ray Review: I Hope They're Not with Solange

The second part of Massimo Dallamano's "schoolgirl's in peril" trilogy gets an excellent release from Arrow Video.
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Two years after he directed the excellent giallo What Have You Done to Solange?, Massimo Dallamano helmed this giallo/poliziotteschi hybrid. It has some interesting moments but definitely feels like a step down in quality. It contains many of characteristics of a giallo - gruesome murders by a black clad; knife-wielding (or in this case, butcher’s-cleaver-wielding) killer; odd, off-kilter camera angles; a unique score; and a bold use of color - but in many ways the plot is closer to a poliziotteschi. It spends most of its run time following the police, detailing their procedures as they try to solve the

BlacKkKlansman Movie Review: Haunting, Hilarious, and Thought Provoking

BlacKkKlansman is a powerful and razor sharp yet timely effort from director Spike Lee.
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The best way to describe Spike Lee’s latest joint, BlacKkKlansman, is that it is haunting, humorous, and thought provoking in equal measure. It works as an acerbic buddy comedy that delves into the horrors of white supremacy which is still prevalent in today’s society. BlacKkKlansman may be based on a true story, yet it also feels like a documentation of the bigotry that the Trump presidency is currently demonstrating and not just because it features footage of last year’s Charlottesville riots. BlacKkKlansman is based on the story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective to serve in

Five Cool Things and Kidding

Here's five cool things I discovered this week.
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I have really lousy allergies. I’ve never gotten any specific testing done on my body but whenever I’m around freshly cut grass or dust or any fine particles of any sort, my throat swells, my head gets full, I cough without ceasing, and I generally feel miserable for a day or two. I happen to work in construction, which means I’m regularly around great piles of sawdust and freshly mowed grass. These things combined do not make the best life choices. I’ve worked it out so that I’m not the one doing most of the wood cutting and I can

John Carpenter's The Fog 4K in Theaters for Halloween

The new 4K restoration will roll in October 26 with NYC, LA, and Chicago runs.
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Press release: New York based Rialto Pictures will release John Carpenter’s landmark horror movie The Fog on October 26, in its first-ever major restoration. The horror classic, in a full 4K restoration from Studiocanal, opens October 26 for limited runs at the Metrograph, in New York, Landmark’s Nuart in Los Angeles, and The Music Box Theatre in Chicago. Additional screenings will occur during the week of Halloween throughout the Alamo Drafthouse circuit and other specialty theaters. Carpenter’s first post-Halloween venture into the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired, apocalyptic vein that he would continue to mine in films like The Thing (1982) and Prince

Dragon Inn Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Villains Check In but They Don't Check Out

Fans of the genre will do themselves a favor if they plan a stop at Dragon Inn.
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King Hu's second entry into the Criterion Collection is Dragon Inn (1967), his first film after leaving the Shaw Brothers Studios in Hong King and moving to seek greater artistic liberties as a director in Taiwan. Set against a backdrop of political intrigue, writer/director Hu does very well with both job duties, creating visually interesting action sequences that blend into an entertaining story. Set in 1457 A.D. during China's Ming Dynasty, eunuchs led by Cao Shao-qin (Bai Ying), who is “unsurpassed in the martial arts,” seize power. This gives them control over two espionage agencies, the Eastern Depot and the

Street Mobster Blu-ray Review: Gritty, Nasty Yakuza Drama

Kinji Fukasaku's brings docu-drama realism and brutal ugliness to the Yakuza genre in this gritty film.
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Street Mobster is a rough, often ugly story about Okita, a common street thug who tries to eke out a living as a low-level yakuza, but whose temper and inability to kowtow to his bosses lead him to disaster. He's not a gallant rogue or a tragic figure. His father was killed in the war; his mother was a whore who walked drunk into a river and was fished out dead the next day. He turned to crime as soon as he was capable, and one of his jobs was grabbing country girls who'd just moved to the city and

Marrowbone (2018) Blu-ray Review: A Cure for Insomnia

A talented young cast and impressive production pieces can't save this meandering debut from Sergio G. Sánchez.
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Based on its trailer, its look, and the fact that it has Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness), one could easily mistake Sergio G. Sánchez’s directorial debut, Marrowbone, for a horror movie. And while there are certainly horror elements that appear throughout, Marrowbone plays more like a drama about a family trying to stick together than it does a terrifying, haunted-house thrill ride. It’s especially frustrating because there are moments within the movie where Sanchez implements the tacky jump scare method and then retreats to focus on the issues the family faces - which

Riverdale: The Complete Second Season DVD Review: The Archie Gang Finds Their Groove

The second season has given us more of what we loved in the first and is even better.
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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. There are very few overly dramatic shows that I will devote anytime to these days. However, Riverdale has earned my full devotion. Growing up reading the comics is a huge reason for it. It was my guilty pleasure every summer and it is the same now. The second season has given us more of what we loved in the first and is even better. Now that the characters have been established, they have found their groove.

The Death of Superman is the Pick of the Week

It's a full week of new releases, and I've got the details.
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Superman died in 1993. Or at least DC Comics briefly killed him in Superman #75. It was a huge media event. I wasn’t much for comic books in 1993 but I totally remember the hype. Of course, they brought him back to life sometime later but the idea that the indestructible Man of Steel could be killed was a pretty big deal back then. It was also one of the earliest major cross-over events. DC chose this story for their first DC Universe Animated Original Movie back in 2007. They’ve now remade it with Jerry O’Connell starring as Superman with

The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island Blu-ray Giveaway

The first of three new animated features to be adapted from the The Boxcar Children book series.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Shout Kids and Legacy Classics to award one lucky reader The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island on Blu-ray, which is available on Aug 7. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: Small island. Big adventure! The beloved Boxcar Children are headed to Blu-ray and DVD on August 7th with the release of the new animated feature film The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island, courtesy Legacy Classics and Shout Kids. Fans can now pre-order their copies on Amazon. The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island, the highly-anticipated movie adaption of the popular children’s book of the

The Spy Who Dumped Me Movie Review: Kate McKinnon Provides Non-Stop Laughs

A PSA that Kate McKinnon is a true blue comedic movie star.
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Not only is The Spy Who Dumped Me a fun movie-going experience but it is proof that we should put any potential talk of introducing “Jane Bond” to rest. I mean, why build off an already established property when we have original female-centered spy films like The Spy Who Dumped Me that can become their own franchises? Even if this film isn’t perfect or anything groundbreaking, I’d still gladly watch a sequel should one get made. The Spy Who Dumped Me follows the story of Audrey (Mila Kunis), a retail clerk who’s been dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux)

Gravity Falls: The Complete Series Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review: A 'Strange and Wondrous' TV Show

Highly recommend for fans and for those curious to learn about this marvelous series because both the show and the Blu-ray presentation are of such high quality.
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Described by creator Alex Hirsh as a cross between The X-Files and The Simpsons (presumably the early seasons back when both shows were great), Gravity Falls is an entertaining animated series that deals in science fiction and the supernatural. The two-season, 40-episode series is set in the town of Gravity Falls, OR where 12-year-old fraternal twins Dipper Pines (Jason Ritter) and sister Mabel (Kristen Schaal) are sent to stay the summer with their great Uncle Stan Pines (Hirsch), whom they call “Grunkle.” He runs the Mystery Shack, an appropriately named tourist trap/gift shop because mysteries abound inside as well as

Five Cool Things and Making It

Here's all the cool stuff I consumed this week.
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My wife made an observation last night that I tend to have more energy on Thursdays than any other day of the work week. I hadn't thought of it before but it is true. Wednesdays and Fridays are my busiest days at work. Mondays are spent catching up on all the stuff I didn't get done on Friday, and Tuesdays play catch up on the things I missed on Monday. I have to complete everything on my desk on Wednesdays on that day, which makes for some late nights and early bedtimes. Thursdays wind up being relatively light days and

Condemned! | The Devil to Pay! DVD Reviews: Both Worthy of Exclamation Points

The Warner Archive Collection dusts off two pre-Code Ronald Colman classics featuring Ann Harding, Loretta Young, Myrna Loy, and a familiar-looking terrier.
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Once again, the Warner Archive Collection has unveiled a couple of forgotten titles starring Ronald Colman, the British-born talent who transcended from stage to silents to talkies with the greatest of ease, resulting in three Oscar-nominations during his 40+ career in the world of entertainment. Here, the WAC presents us with two pre-Code rarities ‒ a serious drama and a madcap comedy ‒ both of which are well worth the cost of admission. Condemned! (1929, United Artists) Set on the isle of Cayenne ‒ the infamous French penal colony better known as "Devil's Island", from whence Humphrey Bogart would repeatedly

Brotherly Love (2018) Movie Review: Neither Heavenly nor Unholy

Thanks to two of its supporting actors, Brotherly Love thrives on a wing and a prayer.
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Based on the novel Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza, Brotherly Love follows the story of Vito Fortunato (Anthony J. Caruso), a seminarian in the Catholic Church who must decide between his religious vows of chastity and his sexual freedom before becoming a Brother. Contributing to his dilemma is both his sex-crazed partner Tim (Chance McKee) and a landscaper named Gabe (Derek Babb) whom Vito falls in love with while away at a retreat. When Vito first meets Gabe, that is when the film kicks into high gear. That is in large part due to Derek Babb who gives a

Mac and Me (Collector's Edition) Blu-ray Review: E.T. Phone Lawyer

A blatant E.T. rip-off that is also the longest advertisement for both McDonald's and Coca Cola.
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It’s one thing to pay homage to a certain film. It’s another to do an almost beat-for-beat replica and try to pass it off as something original. Stewart Raffill’s 1988 flop, Mac and Me, certainly falls in the latter category. It’s a movie that so desperately tries to be like Steven Spielberg’s box-office hit, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it painfully shows with every passing scene and is heard with every note of Alan Silvestri’s musical score. It’s amazing that a lawsuit was never filed. Then again, the movie disappeared from theaters after two weeks due to low attendance. The damage

Irma La Douce Blu-ray Review: An Oft-forgotten Classic

Billy Wilder finds a way to work in another stellar project into his later career.
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In 1963, Billy Wilder is three years removed from a pinnacle movie of his career with The Apartment. His amazing decade of the 1950s almost goes unmatched among directors except maybe Hitchcock and Spielberg. A decade that started with Sunset Boulevard and included Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, and The Seven Year Itch among others. By 1963, Billy Wilder was basking in the freedom that a pattern of successful films brings to a director. This is the year that Billy brings back two of his favorites, Jack Lemmon (almost a stand-in for Billy one would believe) and Shirley MacLaine to

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