November 2018 Archives

Five Cool Things and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

I end Noirvember with a bang.
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It is the last day of Noirvember. All told, I watched 12 film noirs (7 classic, 5 neo-noirs), which is pretty good, I think. Especially considering how no more than two years ago, I generally didn’t watch 10 movies a month (I watched 13 non noir this month as well). This week found me watching two noirs and a few others. I really enjoyed watching film noirs. I’m excited about coming up with themes for each month. Next month, I suppose I’ll do as many holiday-themed films as I can. That feels kind of boring to me, but appropriate. I

The Favourite Movie Review: A Completely Brazen Ensemble Piece

The Favourite is completely innovative and easily Yorgos Lanthimos' most actor-driven picture.
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Yorgos Lanthimos tackling a period piece is a segway as unorthodox as his previous work. However, as it turns out, The Favourite proves to possess the same absurdist touch as The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer even if the script isn’t written by Lanthimos this time around. Admittedly, because Lanthimos didn’t pen the script, it is easily his most accessible film. But thanks to the use of techniques like the disorienting cinematography and the acting from two of his leading ladies who have previously collaborated with him and understand his esoteric vision, The Favourite still remains in

Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal & Rob Reiner to Open 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival with When Harry Met Sally

The 30th Anniversary screening kicks off TCM's 10th annual classic film festival.
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Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will kick off the 10th annual TCM Classic Film Festival on Thursday, April 11th with a 30th anniversary screening of the seminal romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally… with beloved stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan and acclaimed director/producer Rob Reiner in attendance. The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival, held in the heart of Hollywood April 11th-14th, marks the 10th annual celebration of classic films on the big screen from TCM. The TCM network will also celebrate its 25th anniversary on closing night of the festival. Celebrated director Rob Reiner had no idea he

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis: Commemorative Edition Blu-ray Review: Not All Heroes Wear Capes

A good introduction of Aquaman into this iteration of the Justice League,
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the 4K UHD Blu-ray Combo Pack reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are the writer's own. Previously released direct to video in 2015, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, inspired by the graphic novel of the same name, serves as an origin story for Aquaman and shows the Justice League growing into a formal group. It has been now been released in a new Commemorative Edition as a tie-in with James Wan's Aquaman, set for release on December 21. The new edition presents the animated film remastered in

Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer Movie Review: A Good Addition to the Holiday Season

It will certainly be on my "Xmas movies to watch" list every year.
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It’s that time of year again where Christmas music, lights, and goodwill towards all is in the air. So of course, it’s the perfect time to release all the new holiday films that hope to thrill and delight people of all ages. And the newest animated film to come out this Friday is about the littlest reindeer. Well, he’s not really a reindeer. Elliot (Josh Hutcherson) is actually a miniature horse whose job it is to wrangle goats on Whittick’s Whitty Bitty Farm & Petting Zoo. But he has bigger aspirations than what his current station allows. He looks at

Peter Jackson's WWI Documentary 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Receives U.S. Release December 17 and 27

This two-night theatrical event featuring an introduction from Jackson followed by a special piece on the creation of this trailblazing documentary.
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Press release: Fathom Events has partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures to bring Academy Award winner Peter Jackson’s poignant WWI documentary They Shall Not Grow Old to movie theaters across the U.S. on Monday, December 17, with an encore presentation on Thursday, December 27. The film is presented in 2D and RealD™ 3D, and tickets go on sale on Friday, November 16, at and participating theater box offices. Jackson recorded a special introduction to the film—which he has called his most personal—offering his perspective on why the film is important for audiences, who have never experienced WWI footage as anything

Sharp Objects is the Pick of the Week

Christmas is coming and with it loads of new releases.
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I regularly complain that there is just too much good television out these days. It's more than any one person can watch. This is especially true of me this past year as I have mostly concentrated on watching movies over television. Sometimes, I tell myself to take a week and binge-watch a few shows, but then the question becomes which one? Sharp Objects is a good place to start, I think. Based upon Gillian Flynn’s debut novel of the same name, it stars Amy Adams as an alcoholic reporter recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital after years of self-harming. She

For the First Time Ever, Two Jim Henson Holiday Favorites Hit the Big Screen: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas and The Bells of Fraggle Rock

On December 10 and 16 only, families can celebrate the season with Jim Henson's Holiday Special.
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Press release: Two heartwarming holiday specials that many of today’s parents grew up with on television are making their cinematic debuts when Fathom Events and The Jim Henson Company present Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas and The Bells of Fraggle Rock on December 10 and 16 only. This first-ever Jim Henson’s Holiday Special brings together these two holiday classics - each recently remastered - as well as an all-new featurette, “Memories of the Jug-Band,” with a surprise celebrity guest, along with a special greeting from Cheryl Henson, daughter of Jim Henson and president of the Jim Henson Foundation. Tickets for Jim

Shoplifters Movie Review: A Potent Mix of Pragmatism and Empathy

Shoplifters is a well-acted, bittersweet ode to the impoverished.
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One thing that’s so amazing about Shoplifters is that it succeeds in areas where it could’ve easily gone wrong. It’s an insightful look at a family living in poverty without becoming preachy and demonstrates people with misguided yet good intentions without acting judgmental. Director/writer Hirokazu Kore-eda handles the film with a pragmatic yet empathetic eye and as a result, crafts together one of the year’s best movies that clutches the heartstrings by the time the credits roll. The story follows Osamu Shibata (Lily Franky) and his wife Nobuyo (Sakura Ando), a couple that barely makes ends meet since they work

Five Cool Things and Toy Story 4

After a week off, here's a whopping nine cool things worth checking out.
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My apologies for missing last week’s Cool Things. My kid got sick and then I wasn’t feeling well and I went to bed early and no words were written. I’m doubling up this week to make up for it. We are still in the midst of Noirvember and I found several classics and new (or neo, if you prefer) noir to watch and enjoy. Plus, a bunch of other stuff, so let's get to it. Mona Lisa With FilmStruck dying at month’s end, I’ve been trying to watch as many movies on there as I can. The thing I love

Crazy Rich Asians Blu-ray Review: Crazy Good Movie

Jon M. Chu's box-office success is a wickedly smart romantic comedy.
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By now, it’s already very well known that Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians marked a milestone for Hollywood as the first major motion picture in 25 years to feature a predominantly Asian cast. It’s something definitely worth celebrating. It’s also a good thing that the movie itself takes the rom-com formula and doesn’t exactly reinvent it, but makes it worthwhile again. Some of the familiar beats are just that, but there’s hardly a moment that doesn’t make you grin ear to ear. The plot is familiar, but Jon M. Chu injects a lot of fervor into Crazy Rich Asians,

Green Book Movie Review: An Old Fashioned yet Badly Polished Look at Racism

Green Book is a safe crowd-pleaser but still badly antiquated.
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The best way to describe Green Book is that it’s a topical movie that has its heart in the right place but still falters because of its safe and narrow-minded nature. Despite the poster saying it’s inspired by a true friendship, the film is mainly interested in one half of that friendship. As a result, we get a look at historical American racism that is made presentable in a way that it’s problematic. In a rather awkward fashion, Green Book is chiefly about Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a New York club bouncer who chauffeured a famed pianist named Don Shirley

Strait-Jacket / Berserk! Double Feature Blu-ray Review: A Pair from the End of Joan Crawford's Career

Fans of Crawford and horror should have some fun with these two.
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Mill Creek Entertainment presents two Joan Crawford films, Strait-Jacket and Berserk!, on a single Blu-ray disc. Dubbed a “Psycho Biddy Double Feature,” the pair come from the latter stage of the actress' career after her resurgence in Robert Aldrich's Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? After the reteaming of Crawford and Bette Davis in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte fell apart during production due to the actresses' acrimonious off-screen behavior, resulting in Crawford being replaced by Olivia de Havilland, Crawford replaced Joan Blondell in William Castle's Strait-Jacket, an entertaining low-budget horror film. Somehow, Lucy (Joan Crawford) only has to do 20 years at

Black Panther Comes to Art House Theaters with Free Screenings and a Live Q&A with Director Ryan Coogler, November 27

All attendees will receive a free one-year digital subscription to Film Comment magazine.
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Press release: Black Panther returns to the big screen with free screenings at nonprofit art house theaters nationwide on Tuesday, November 27 at 4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET. Presented by Film Comment, a publication of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and supported by the Art House Convergence, the event will feature a post-screening Q&A with director Ryan Coogler, taking place at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, CA, streamed live to participating theaters. A full list of theaters can be found below. Check local theater listings for more details. The one-night-only event offers audiences an opportunity to

Fanchon the Cricket (1915) Blu-ray Review: Lost Pickford Film Charms

Mary Pickford's waif character is charming in a rural comedy about a wild child and the townsman she loves.
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In modern films, it seems that everybody who wandered anywhere in the vicinity of the set gets an on-screen credit. Credits stretch on and on - some unfortunate movies like Darkness Falls (2003) even pad their credits out to get the films to a releasable length. Mary Pickford, in contrast, was one of the very first screen stars to get an on-screen credit in her films. In the first 20 years or so of cinema, the cultural status of films was uncertain: were they entertainment or art? Throwaway fad or works that would stand some test of time? Mary Pickford

Orgies of Edo Blu-ray Review: Torture, Surrealism, and Topless Women

Teruo Ishii's strange anthology of period stories of sex and torture is more bizarre than erotic, though entertaining.
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When a form of entertainment is facing a crisis, when other forms of media cut into its business and make it more and more difficult to be profitable, the most tried-and-true formula for clawing your banks books out of the red: exploitation! This was what faced the Japanese film industry from the early '60s onward, when television had finally become more pervasive and people could get their entertainment without having to go to the movie theater. Movie studios worked hard to show on the movie screen material you just can't get on television...which in the case of the Japanese studios

Sleepless in Seattle Returns to Movie Theaters This December

On December 2 and 5 only, moviegoers will fall in love all over again as the Fathom Spotlight Series presents the 1993 classic.
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Press release: Twenty-five years ago, moviegoers fell in love with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as two strangers searching for a soulmate in Sleepless in Seattle. As the romantic-comedy by director Nora Ephron marks its silver anniversary, Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Entertainment are bringing the enchanting film back to cinemas nationwide for two days only. Tickets to Sleepless in Seattle are now available at or at participating theater box offices. The Fathom Spotlight Series will present the 1993 box-office smash - along with a brand-new introduction by Meg Ryan and producer Gary Foster - in nearly 400 movie

Ingmar Bergman's Cinema is the Pick of the Week

Santa's gonna have a big list this year.
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Ingmar Bergman was one of the great pioneers of cinema. He made films that spoke directly to the soul. He made films about the soul, about faith and doubt, about life and metaphysics. He made art about the struggles between those things, always questioning, always exploring. He often made difficult movies, never popcorn affairs. His films could sometimes feel pretentious which is why I suspect most people who don’t like foreign films think of Bergman when making their argument. This is a man who literally made one of his characters play chess with Death in what is arguably his most

Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3 Blu-ray Review: A Must-Own for Animation Fans

It's evident the studio takes as much care with creating their shorts as they do their features.
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Volume 3 is the latest release in the Pixar Short Films Collection series, presenting 13 shorts that were released between 2012 to 2018. The feature film the short has been paired with will be identified in parentheses and can be found on its home media release. Presented in reverse chronological order on the menu, the following shorts come with optional introduction and audio commentaries: Academy Award- nominated Bao (Incredibles 2) is notable as the first Pixar short directed by a woman, Domee Shi. It is a touching, humorous story about the relationship between a mother and son. Academy Award-nominated Lou

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies Blu-ray Review: Doesn't Quite Capture the Essence of the TV Show

While I was entertained, the film fell a little flat.
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Serious comic-book fans know that the Teen Titans have been around since the 1960s, but with comic-book culture hitting the mainstream, many people were first made aware of this superhero team when the animated Teen Titans series premiered on Cartoon Network in 2003. The show starred five teenaged superheroes with varying powers that solved crime and fought super villains, much like their Justice League counterparts. They were led by Robin (Scott Menville), who had no super powers of his own but had learned from one of the greatest super heroes, Batman. The other team members included: Cyborg (Khary Payton), a

The Wizard of Gore Blu-ray Review: Splatter Magic

Herschell Gordon Lewis's splatter classic is terrible in the best possible way.
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If there’s one thing I know for sure after watching The Wizard of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis's splatter classic is that Lewis was no auteur. Hell, he was hardly even a director. If you are feeling generous, you might call him a filmmaker. He was, however, one heck of a salesman. After spending a few years doing various jobs - teaching at university, managing radio stations, and working in advertising - Lewis turned his sights on movies. Not because he had any artistic dreams, but because he figured he could make a few bucks at it. Teaming with notorious exploitation

Kin (2018) Blu-ray Review: All Setup with No Payoff

An uneven, sci-fi mess, but the Blu-ray is handled quite nicely.
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Jonathan and Josh Baker’s directorial debut, Kin, is just further proof that not all short films deserve the feature-length treatment. The inspiration comes from the brothers’ 14-minute short called Bag Man, which is available in the Special Features section of the Kin Blu-ray. Bag Man tells the story of a troubled boy living at home with his widowed mother. He carries around a bag, which, it later reveals, contains a high-powered weapon that can destroy vehicles and incinerate any individual that comes within its path. By the short film’s end, the viewer is left with intrigue and craving more. This

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Ultimate Edition Blu-ray Review

An entertaining release that collects the Grinch's TV specials.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray Combo Pack reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are the writer's own. Released on October 23, because it's never too early to start getting folks buying stuff for Christmas, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Ultimate Edition was made available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital. Based on his 1957 book of the same name, Dr. Seuss teamed with legendary animator Chuck Jones and created a TV special in 1966 that has become a perennial holiday favorite for many. Boris Karloff narrates and voices

Metropolis (2001) Blu-ray Review: Visually Opulent, Narratively Dormant Adaptation

Inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s manga and Fritz Lang’s movie, this anime has style in excess...but lacks a cohesive story.
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The cliché about Osamu Tezuka is to call him the Walt Disney of Japan. He was, indeed, a pioneer of modern manga and anime, including creating the world famous Astro Boy, both as a manga and anime. But while he was wildly successful and astoundingly prolific, Tezuka was able to make inroads with his illustrated stories that Disney never realized: He created entertainments for adults as well as children, including a 3000-page biography of the Buddha. Metropolis, published in 1949, was a graphic novel from 30 years before the term was coined: a standalone comic book story, telling a complex

BlacKkKlansman Blu-ray Review: Power to the People

Spike Lee’s latest joint recounts a true tale of an African-American cop’s infiltration of the KKK.
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Truth really is stranger than fiction. Based on author Ron Stallworth’s biographical book, Spike Lee’s latest film follows the police infiltration of the KKK in Colorado in the 1970s. The kicker: the infiltration is initiated by an African-American cop. After approaching the Klan over the phone and winning their trust during follow-up phone calls, he’s partnered with a white cop to appear in his place for Klan meetings as they continue to gather intel. It’s a high-wire game as they try to avoid detection by the Klan while simultaneously working to prevent any wrongdoing by their new acquaintances. The cast

Updated: 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners Anounced

Winners will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
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Press release: This morning, Film Independent announced the nominations for the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference held at the W Hotel in Hollywood, with actors Gemma Chan and Molly Shannon presenting the nominations. Nominees for Best Feature included Eighth Grade, First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Leave No Trace and You Were Never Really Here. “This year’s nominees reflect the bold originality that is

Criterion Announces February 2019 Releases

Criterion sets the bar high this month.
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The groundhog says Criterion will add four new titles to the collection. They are Ingmar Bergman’s Shame, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s La vérité, Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice, and Charles Burnett's To Sleep with Anger. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s fifteen-hour Berlin Alexanderplatz is getting a Blu-ray upgrade. Read on to learn more about them. Shame (#961) out Feb 5 Ingmar Bergman’s Shame is at once an examination of the violent legacy of World War II and a scathing response to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as musicians living in quiet retreat on a remote

The Meg Blu-ray Review: Worth Diving Into

Jason Statham squares off against a giant shark in Jon Turteltaub's fun action thriller.
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The Meg is almost exactly the type of movie one would expect if you told them the basic premise is Jason Statham and a crew of people go after a giant, prehistoric shark. I say almost because there’s this hint that director Jon Turteltaub wanted to make the movie more extreme, more over-the-top, and more graphic than it is, as far as a PG-13 rating can go. Turteltaub and Statham have both expressed how that was the initial plan, but the studio told them that they had to make it appeal to a mass audience. An R-rating, obviously, wouldn’t attract

AFI Fest 2018 Review: Stan & Ollie

A sweet tribute to the legendary comedy duo of Laurel & Hardy during the last hurrah of their career.
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Directed by Jon S. Baird, Stan & Ollie is a sweet tribute to the legendary comedy duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy during the last hurrah of their career. The film offers a believable off-screen look at the men and their relationship. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy came to Hal Roach Studios separately. The Lucky Dog (1921) was the first time they appeared in the same film. They appeared in other films over the years, but weren't billed as a comedy team until Putting Pants on Philip (1927). However, they were under separate contracts, which Roach took advantage of.

AFI Fest 2018 Review: Destroyer

Karyn Kusama's Destroyer is a spectacular film that deserves to be added to the canon of Los Angeles-set film noirs.
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Karyn Kusama's Destroyer opens with LAPD detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) showing up at a murder scene. Strewn around the victim is stolen money marked by dye. She tells the homicide detective she knows the killer, but doesn't reveal anything to the detective or the audience. Back at the station, Erin receives money similarly stained, which she learns was from a botched bank robbery by a criminal gang that she and an FBI agent (Sebastian Stan) infiltrated undercover posing as a couple. Through flashbacks, we see the operation unfold and derail. She believes the money is a sign that the

Rescue Me: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review: Important yet Really Difficult to Watch

This deeply flawed, yet entertaining series gets a nice release price for Christmas presents.
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Rescue Me was a darkly funny, utterly crass comedy/drama about a group of New York City firefighters dealing with survivor's guilt in the years following 9/11. It was created by and stars Denis Leary, who also served as head writer. It aired on the F/X network, which had recently scored a huge hit with The Shield. It similarly pushed the envelope in terms of language, sex, and nudity for a basic-cable series. But where The Shield aimed for edge-of-your-seat thrills, Rescue Me opted for pitch-black comedy and insightful, though soapish drama. It is a difficult show to watch in light

See a Special Advance Screening of The Romanoffs: Episode 8 in Hollywood, CA

The screening will take place at Arclight Hollywood on Tuesday, November 20 with a start time at 7 PM.
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From the creator of Mad Men, The Romanoffs is a contemporary anthology series set around the globe featuring eight separate stories about people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Diane Lane, Isabelle Huppert, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Amanda Peet, Jack Huston, Kathryn Hahn, Noah Wyle, Paul Reiser, Andrew Rannells, and more. The Romanoffs premiered on Amazon Prime Video October 12 with new episodes released weekly, on Fridays. The Romanoffs presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode, so attendees do not need to see the previous episode

Gas Food Lodging Blu-ray Review: A Moving Study of Women on Their Own Terms

A wonderfully somber portrait of women at a crossroads.
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As I have mentioned time and time again, the essence and importance of women filmmakers continues to be taken for granted. It is really a damn shame, because women have excellent ability to make their own films about life, love, and everything in-between. And fortunately, director Allison Anders is definitely one of them. With her stunning 1992 landmark, Gas Food Lodging, she elevates familiar territory while adding her own distinctive flair for women in emotional peril. Based on a novel by Richard Peck, the film takes place in a small New Mexico town where Nora (Brooke Adams), a single mother

AFI Fest 2018 Review: Bird Box

Based on the novel of the same name by Josh Malerman, Bird Box is a captivating apocalyptic thriller.
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As the Bird Box opens, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) tells two young children, identified as “boy” and “girl,” the grave dangers they face as they plan a trip down the river. It requires them to not talk nor remove their blindfolds because “if [they] look, [they] will die.” Five years earlier, mass suicides are spreading across the globe. The madness comes to California when a pregnant Malorie is taken for a check up by her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson). In the mayhem, Lydia offers Malorie refuse in her neighbor Greg's (BD Wong) house but after talking to her dead mother, Lydia

Juliet, Naked is the Pick of the Week

Star Trek, Blood Island, and giant sharks are just some of the great Blu-ray releases this week.
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As a non-fiction writer, Nick Hornby writes passionately and magnificently about the things he loves. I’ve utterly enjoyed his writings about music, reading, and even football. When he incorporates those passions into his fictional novels, he’s quite good. But when he leaves those things aside, his books tend to get sappy, preachy and uninteresting, at least to this reader. I was very happy to see that with Juliet, Naked he had returned to his musical roots. It tells the story of Duncan, a man obsessed with reclusive singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe, and his long-suffering girlfriend Annie. When Annie meets and develops

The Best of The Three Stooges (13-Disc) DVD Review: Will Soitantly Please the Curly Lovers

This collection repackages previous Stooges releases from Sony Pictures and Mill Creek Entertainment.
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The Three Stooges were one of the most notable comedic acts of the 20th Century due to their violent slapstick antics and iconic personas. A brief history about them starts in 1922 when brothers Moe and Shemp Howard were “the Stooges” of the vaudeville act Ted Healy and the Stooges. In 1928, Larry Fine joined them. In 1930, the act made its way to Hollywood and appeared in Soup to Nuts. Shemp quit the act in 1932 and went solo. He was replaced by his brother Jerry, known as Curly. After splitting from Healy, the act was billed as “The

Widows Movie Review: A Pitch-Perfect Heist Thriller

Widows is an incredibly thematic crime drama with a killer acting ensemble.
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Steve McQueen may be a director that hails from the U.K. but he has successfully demonstrated his ability to venture into the darkest depths of American society. Previously, he crafted a harrowing portrait of historical American slavery with the Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave. Now, with Widows, he has constructed a modern-day morality tale about race, police brutality, gender, class, and politics which presents itself under the guise of a popcorn heist thriller. While the film does demonstrate an exciting buildup to the climactic heist, at its core, it’s really about trying to survive in a lawless world

Special Superman Double Feature Screening Set for Jan 13-14

Fathom Events, Warner Bros. and DC present The Death of Superman / Reign of the Supermen Double Feature in more than 500 select movie theaters on Sunday, January 13 at 12:55pm and Monday, January 14 at 8:00pm.
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Press release: Superman’s greatest adventure - his death and rebirth - will be unveiled in a special two-day exclusive theatrical event as Warner Bros. and DC join forces with Fathom Events for a double feature presentation of the previously released The Death of Superman and the first in-theater screening of the all-new Reign of the Supermen nationwide on January 13 and 14, 2019. As the second half of the double feature, Reign of the Supermen will be seen nationally in theaters ahead of its Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release on Digital starting January 15, 2019, and on Ultra HD™ Blu-ray

Five Cool Things and a Breaking Bad Movie

It's all noir all the time this Noirvember.
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As mentioned last week, November is henceforth dubbed "Noirvember" and as that nomenclature implies, I’ll be trying to watch as many film noirs as possible this month. Much like last month and my horror-movie viewing, not everything will fit into this category, but it's a good excuse to watch some things I might put off otherwise. This week, I caught five noirs (two classics and three Neo-noirs). I watched three of them on FilmStruck and I will once again lament the demise of that wonderful service. But before I have to pull out the tissues, let’s get on with it.

Incredibles 2 Blu-ray Review: An Incredible Sequel

Writer/director Brad Bird and his talented cast and crew bring back beloved characters, expand their world, and tell the story in a visually engaging way.
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Picking up where The Incredibles left off, Incredibles 2 sees the Parr family take on the Under Miner, but the damage caused in the melee is so costly, the government shuts down the superhero program and makes their work illegal. Into their lives comes, wealthy tech industrialist Winston Dever (Bob Odenkirk), who along with his sister Evelyn (Christine Keener), wants to help re-establish the perception of superheros. In a blow to Bob (Craig T. Nelson)/Mr. Incredible's ego, Elasti-girl (Helen Hunt) is chosen to begin the rehabilitation of their image with the public. The Parrs move into Winston's state-of-the-art luxury home

See a Special Advance Screening of The Romanoffs: Episode 7 in Hollywood, CA

The screening will take place at Arclight Hollywood on Thursday, November 15 with a start time at 7 PM.
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From the creator of Mad Men, The Romanoffs is a contemporary anthology series set around the globe featuring eight separate stories about people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Diane Lane, Isabelle Huppert, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Amanda Peet, Jack Huston, Kathryn Hahn, Noah Wyle, Paul Reiser, Andrew Rannells, and more. The Romanoffs premiered on Amazon Prime Video October 12 with new episodes released weekly, on Fridays. The Romanoffs presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode, so attendees do not need to see the previous episode

Grateful Dead Documentary, Long Strange Trip, Arrives on DVD / Blu-ray November 16

Career-spanning documentary from director Amir Bar-Lev and executive producer Martin Scorsese.
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Press release: The Grateful Dead’s first official career-spanning documentary, Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story Of The Grateful Dead, will make its DVD and Blu-ray debuts this fall. In addition, a new Deluxe Edition featuring unreleased bonus content will be available exclusively from Both versions arrive more than a year after the acclaimed four-hour documentary premiered at Sundance, followed by its exclusive release on Amazon Prime. Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev (“Happy Valley,” “The Tillman Story”) with Martin Scorsese serving as executive producer, Long Strange Trip brings together never-before-seen performance footage, vintage interviews, and other candid moments

We Are Not Done Yet Movie Review: An Important Documentary About Veterans

"It's hard to cope and do normal human being stuff of you're wearing your trauma on your sleeve."
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November. A month where many people are focusing on the upcoming holiday season. But before Thanksgiving, there is another holiday. Sunday, November 11th, is Veterans Day. It is a day that gets confused with Memorial Day all the time. A day when people will make social-media posts and thank those who served. A day when there will be parades and celebrations to honor our veterans. A day for many people that means that they won't have to go to work the next day since the United States will observe the day this year on Monday the 12th with a National

Shampoo Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn relive the swinging '60s in the mid-'70s.
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Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this film is Warren Beatty’s glorious hair. Playing a Beverly Hills hairdresser/lothario named George, Beatty wields long locks styled to such excess that they’re seemingly a special effect. Thankfully, the rest of the film is worthy of the majestic mane, delivering a sharply humorous exploration of sexual politics against a backdrop of real politics set during the timeframe of Nixon’s 1968 election. George is a talented hairdresser who dreams of opening his own shop, but lacks the means to make it happen. He has a girlfriend named Jill (Goldie Hawn), but also engages in

Incredibles 2 Is the Pick of the Week

It is a jam-packed week full of all sorts of goodness.
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Pixar’s stellar reputation has taken a few hits over the last several years, mostly due to unnecessary sequels. Many of their movies are complete stories within themselves and don’t need a sequel, so when one is tacked on it doesn’t have the same Pixar charm. The Incredibles is not such a story. It is a superhero movie. It deserves a sequel. Heck, it deserves a cinematic universe. It is a movie that practically begged for a sequel. After 14 years, we finally got one. The original The Incredibles is an action-packed, super-fun superhero movie with a lot of heart, but

A Bad Moms Christmas Returns to Movie Theaters for One Night

In a new holiday tradition just for grown-ups, the Fathom Spotlight Series invites everyone on December 6.
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Press release: Moviegoers are invited to a wild, one-night Christmas party on Thursday, December 6, as the Fathom Spotlight Series presents STXfilms’ hilariously inappropriate comedy hit A Bad Moms Christmas in movie theaters nationwide. A box-office hit when it was released last year, A Bad Moms Christmas will be back on the big screen to create a new holiday tradition fashioned especially for grown-ups. The return of A Bad Moms Christmas will be accompanied by a brand-new “blooper reel” created during the making of the film, which will bring even more raucous laughter to the evening. Tickets for A Bad

The Big Lebowski (20th Anniversary) Limited Edition Gift Set Review: The Dude and This Set Abide

For this anniversary, Universal Studios has released the Coen Brothers' comedy in glorious 4K.
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In the late 1990s, during my college years, I went to the movies every weekend. I saw pretty much every movie that came to my town that looked remotely interesting and even a few that didn’t. In the spring of 1998, I saw Fargo. It was a blind watch, I’d never heard of it before I entered the theater. I knew of the Coen Brothers, or at least I’d seen Raising Arizona before. Think I even had a copy of it on VHS which I bought on the cheap. But it wasn’t yet a favorite. Fargo was just another movie

I'd Like to Save the City, but I'm Awfully Sad Right Now

Joyless, uninspired, and grossly misappropriated, these sad-ass non-superheroic superhero interpretations need to stop.
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Are you on the edge of your seat in anticipation for The Bourne Depression? Did you get your movie groove going hard with the series announcement for Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Questions His Existence? Do you commonly think to yourself, “This fight scene is great, and I love that the bad guy is about to get theirs, but what I’m really in the mood for with my action films these days is someone having a thoroughly solid pity party in a dank basement and/or apartment right now. Like, at least half of the entire story. Yeah, that’d be the stuff

Five Cool Things and Thriller

I've got one more week of scary, cool things before I set my eyes on another month.
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I watched 27 movies in the month of October, 20 of which one could reasonably count as horror. That’s not quite 31 days of horror as the hashtag puts it, but I’d say it's pretty good. I really enjoyed doing it as well. There is something fun about trying to see a whole bunch of one genre in a given month. It also helped me watch a bunch of horror films I’d been putting off forever. I liked it so much I think I’ll do another theme month, call it Noirvember. But first we have to get through this week's

Can You Ever Forgive Me? Movie Review: A Dynamic Showcase for Melissa McCarthy

It's a strong acting showcase, a biopic, and a cautionary tale all at once.
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After landing an Oscar nomination for her scene-stealing turn in Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy has managed to successfully parlay her awards success into comedic movie stardom. Well now, she gets to expertly show off her skills as a dramatic actress in the biopic Can You Ever Forgive Me?, delivering her best performance to date in the process. Granted, she has shown hints of her dramatic capabilities with St. Vincent and even Bridesmaids where she had the scene with the serious one-on-one talk with Kristen Wiig’s character. However, those were just indications of her range which is demonstrated in full force here.

Time Trap Movie Review: Science Fiction Fun

Don't be afraid to invest your time and money in this little movie that could.
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Throw some pillows on the floor, build a fort out of dining room chairs and blankets, and grab a bowl of any cereal that contains marshmallow, and you are all ready for some Saturday morning entertainment. Time Trap has the feel of Rod Taylor in The Time Machine (1960) combined with plenty of the 1974 television series Land of the Lost thrown in for good measure. Sure, the performances are a bit heavy handed and one dimensional, and the story breaks down at the end, but if that stuff starts bothering you, eat more cereal. This is fun! Time Trap

See a Special Advance Screening of The Romanoffs: Episode 6 in Hollywood, CA

The screening will take place at Arclight Hollywood on Thursday, November 8 with a start time at 7 PM.
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From the creator of Mad Men, The Romanoffs is a contemporary anthology series set around the globe featuring eight separate stories about people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Diane Lane, Isabelle Huppert, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Amanda Peet, Jack Huston, Kathryn Hahn, Noah Wyle, Paul Reiser, Andrew Rannells, and more. The Romanoffs premiered on Amazon Prime Video October 12 with new episodes released weekly, on Fridays. The Romanoffs presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode, so attendees do not need to see the previous episode

Torso (1973) Blu-ray Review: Sleazy Suspenseful Giallo Goodness

Director Sergio Martino crafts a precursor to modern slasher movies that combines sexploitation with stabbings. And gougings.
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One of the things that make giallo movies arresting is setting. Giallo movies are Italian, and, unsurprisingly enough, tend to be shot in Italy. And it turns out Italy has a lot of picturesque, attractive, and downright beautiful settings for murder and mayhem to take place. Torso, shot in Perugia in 1973, has breath-taking hillside vistas and incredible, ancient-looking city-scapes and plazas which are a decided contrast to the rather transparent exploitative boobs and blood strategy of the film. If nothing else, there's always something worth looking at on screen, whether it be architecture or arched-back Italian beauties in the

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