August 2018 Archives

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 and Curt McAloney, which is available on Aug 21. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: 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 episode. With a special foreword by Oscar-winning

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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