April 2019 Archives

NostalgiaCon, SoCal's First All-80's Celebration, Debuts in Anaheim July 4-6

An All-'80s-all-the-time destination for hit TV show cast reunions, box office mega stars, unforgettable live concerts, memorabilia, and so much more.
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Press release: If you miss the 1980’s, then you’re going to love NostalgiaCon 2019 (www.nostalgiacon80s.com), an exciting showcasing of the stars, music, fashion, fun and excitement that made the ‘80’s the decade to remember. Kicking off with an opening celebration on July 4, the full event will be open on July 5 and 6 at the Anaheim Convention Center. NostalgiaCon 2019 is an All-‘80s-all-the-time destination for hit TV show cast reunions, box office mega stars, unforgettable live concerts, exclusive panel sessions, cosplay competitions, memorabilia and collectibles and so much more. Among the NostagiaCon 2019 highlights… Back to the Future star

The Kid Brother Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Comedic Gem

Harold Lloyd's slapstick masterpiece gets a fantastic upgrade from the folks at Criterion.
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I’m not too familiar with the work of Harold Lloyd, and The Kid Brother is actually the first film of his that I’ve seen in its entirety. Of course, now that I’ve finally experienced one of his films, it makes me want to go and seek out what else he has done. The Kid Brother is a hysterical comedy from the silent era, and also one that has a strong emotional core and a few exciting action scenes. It’s the perfect genre blend of a movie, one that is hard to come by in modern Hollywood. Lloyd plays Harold Hickory,

Rafiki Movie Review: A Harmonious Portrayal of Queer Love

A simple yet incredibly effective demonstration of love facing adversity.
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One way to describe Rafiki is that it feels triumphant. Partially because it was able to overcome its country-wide ban that nearly prevented it from being eligible to compete as Kenya's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar last year. Another reason is because it’s a harmonious story about love overcoming adversity. A love between two women that defies the homophobic community where they reside. The love that Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) faces its fair share of hardships and enters political territory. But for the most part, the film feels breezy in its execution. Particularly, because

Glass is the Pick of the Week

Here's all that's interesting coming out this week in the world of Blu-ray.
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With the huge success of The Sixth Sense, director M. Night Shyamalan was able to make just about any film he wanted. He followed it with a series of similarly themed films full of dark emotion, supernatural mysteries, and a twist ending. He quickly went from critical darling to critical punching bag. Apparently, his movies still make money because he’s still making them, but I tuned out after The Happening. In truth, I turned out earlier than that, but that was the last film of his I actually watched. Of the films I have seen, Unbreakable is my favorite. It

Criterion Announces July 2019 Releases

Declare your independence from streaming and buy these in July.
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Do the right thing and add these July titles to your home library. New to the collection are Agnieszka Holland’s Europa Europa, Marcel Pagnol's The Baker’s Wife, Alan J. Pakula's Klute, and Michael Radford’s 1984. Getting Blu-ray Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The BRD Trilogy and Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. Read on to learn more about them. The BRD Trilogy (#203) out Jul 4 In 1977, German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder was thirty-two years old and had already directed more than twenty-five feature films. That summer, he embarked on a project to trace the postwar history of West Germany in

Little Movie Review: Typical yet Amusing Body-Swap Comedy

Despite the story's grand familiarity, the laughs are anything but pint-sized.
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The central premise of Little is that it's pretty much a reverse Big. It depicts a 30-something woman who magically becomes her 13-year-old self. However, while Big and its female counterpart 13 Going on 30 handle the perils of wanting to grow up too fast, Little offers its own distinct storyline. Little attempts to handle the topic of bullying and how it turns us into the tormentors we despise. When the film first opens, 13-year-old Jordan Sanders (Marsai Martin) is performing a science act at her school talent show. But when she gets ridiculed, she swears that she will never

The Land Unknown Blu-ray Review: A Hot Time in Antarctica

A forgotten film about lost world that really ought to be remembered.
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We live in a world without mystery. We have the collective knowledge of humanity at our fingertips. We have explored every inch of the Earth’s surface, and plunged its depths. We have sent probes into the outer reaches of the solar system and mapped our own DNA. It is hard to imagine a time when we really didn’t know what was just over the horizon. When we truly thought monsters might lie in the dark places. To be sure, the 1950s were not that time. We didn’t know what we do know now, but we definitely knew there weren’t dinosaurs

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Announces the Batman Four-Film Collection

The films will be available as 4K UHD singles on June 4 and will also be available as a four-film collection on September 17. The
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Press release: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC announced today that four Batman titles will be released on 4K UHD to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the DC Super Hero created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. The films include 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, directed by Tim Burton, and 1995’s Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman & Robin, directed by Joel Schumacher. The four films, which earned more than $1.2 billion in global box office, have been remastered in 4K UHD for the first time. The films will be available as 4K UHD singles on June 4 and will

Five Cool Things and The Rise of Skywalker

Here's some cool things I saw this week.
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For reasons I won’t get into here, I’ve decided to shut my little music blog down. Probably permanently. There are a lot of emotions involved with that. I’ve run The Midnight Cafe since 2004 and I’ve been talking about live music since 2008. That is more than a decade of my life. For most of that, I have writen at least one post every day. The blog had become a part of me. It was in my DNA. To walk away from it feels like losing something essential. The emotion I wasn't expecting from this was a sense of relief.

What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Lands in Movie Theaters for One Night Only on May 13

Features behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, interviews with cast, creators, and more.
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Press release: Fans will get a special look into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the new documentary - What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - arrives in movie theaters across the country for one night only on May 13, 2019. The film presents a fascinating in-depth look at the past, present and future of a series whose dark, edgy take on Gene Roddenberry’s vision was often misunderstood when it premiered but has grown into a beloved mainstay in the Star Trek franchise. Featuring extensive new interviews with the cast and crew of Star

The Miseducation of Cameron Post Blu-ray Review: Understated and Challenging

Chloe Grace Moretz's amazing performance anchors this timely, funny, and at times difficult film of a sadly still existing subject.
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The fact that conversion therapy still exists is appalling to me, and it is still a controversial topic that rarely gets talked about. However, there have been at least a few films that dealt with it in their own satirical or dramatic ways, such as But I'm A Cheerleader (1999), and last year's Boy Erased. But for me, I think that director Desiree Akhavan's understated and challenging The Miseducation of Cameron Post, also from last year, gets it right the most with its mix of humor, drama, and honesty. Based on the acclaimed novel by Emily M. Danforth, the film

Space: 1999 - The Complete Series Comes to Blu-ray & DVD July 16, 2019

Attention all sections Alpha: prepare for transmission!
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Press release: From Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the legendary masterminds behind Thunderbirds, comes the epic sci-fi series, Space: 1999. On July 16, 2019, Shout! Factory will release Space: 1999: The Complete Series on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in North America. This set comes jam-packed, including all 48 episodes and an entire disc of bonus features, which are currently in progress and will be announced at a later date. Shout! Factory will also offer a limited edition set that includes a snow globe featuring an Eagle Transporter landing on the Moon, available for pre-order now at shoutfactory.com. The

Pandas Movie Review: Simply Adorable

A gorgeous documentary that makes you want to spend your whole day with panda bears.
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One of the things about animal/nature documentaries is that a lot of them aim to be overly cutesy in their narration and stylistic approach as a way to keep the attention of the young ones. Disney’s Born in China did that quite a bit in 2017, and, while it was cute and gorgeous in its imagery, the narration came across as pandering to only a certain demographic and not being informational enough for everyone else. IMAX’s Pandas kind of does that, but it’s not as cloying and off-putting. In the 40 minutes we get to witness the pandas in action,

Celebrating Batman's 80th Anniversary, Fathom Events Brings Four Adventures Back to the Big Screen This May

Movie theaters nationwide will present Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin, each for one day only.
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Press release: This May, only in movie theaters nationwide, Batman returns followed by Batman Returns, plus Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin. All four blockbuster cinematic adventures are coming back to movie theaters as Fathom Events presents a can’t-miss Batman movie event in honor of DC’s Batman 80th anniversary. Each Batman film will play one day only in more than 600 movie theaters nationwide, beginning with director Tim Burton’s visionary Batman, a film whose unprecedented success and acclaim helped propel superhero movies that continue to reign supreme at the box office. Tickets to each of the four Batman films are

Bancroft: Season One DVD Review: Completely Bonkers

Sometimes you need to take a break from all the prestige television demanding your attention and watch something completely ridiculous.
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In this world of seemingly endless must-watch, prestige TV filled with award-winning writers, directors, and actors, it is nice to see a series that is so utterly bonkers, so completely ridiculous in its plotting, and over the top in its performances that it only wants to entertain, not garner awards and stacks of internet think pieces over what it all means. Bancroft stars Sarah Parish as Detective Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft, a hard-as-nails copper trying to take down a vicious drug syndicate which she hopes will earn her a promotion. Faye Marsay plays Elizabeth Stevens an up-and-coming detective who looks to

Sauvage Movie Review: A Fiercely Unsentimental Character Study

Felix Maritaud is the strong center of this unflinching look at a queer sex worker's life.
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When Sauvage first opens, Leo (Felix Maritaud) is in what seems to be a doctor’s office. The older man examining Leo asks him to take his clothes off. Right after that, the scene turns on a dime and the man gives him sexual pleasure. The scene establishes the tone for the entire film which is a chaotic and rather unflinching look at the life of a sex worker. It’s quite graphic in terms of its sexual content. However, it still thrives thanks to its central performance and impartial filmmaking style. Twenty-two-year old Leo (Felix Maritaud) lives on the streets as

Glass Blu-ray Giveaway

Writer-Director M. Night Shyamalan (Unbreakable, Split) completes a mind-bending trilogy created nearly twenty years ago.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to award one lucky reader a Glass Blu-ray Combo Pack. Glass is available on Digital now, and it will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand April 16. For those wanting to learn more, read the press release is below: Writer-Director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) completes a mind-bending trilogy created nearly twenty years ago with GLASS, a comic book thriller available on Digital via the digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on April 2, 2019 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On

On the Basis of Sex is the Pick of the Week

A future Supreme Court Justice, a Sherlock Holmes parody, erotic adventures, tiny dolls, and more come out this week.
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The Supreme Court has been in the news a lot lately. Obviously, they make a lot of major decisions that affect everyday life in America and so they are watched very carefully. Donald Trump has now appointed two justices, which will have an enormous effect on the Court for decades to come. Depending on which side of the aisle you sit, this is either a great time to be an American or the signaling of end times. I hate talking politics online but I will say his choices did not meet my approval. But as always, there is a light

Road to Singapore (Special Edition) Blu-ray Review: On the Road to a Franchise

It sets forth the template for these entertaining, musical romantic comedies wherein Hope and Crosby compete for the affections of Dorothy Lamour in exotic locations.
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Kino Lorber Studio Classics has added to their roster Special Edition Blu-ray releases of the first four Road pictures starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, making the first six of the seven movies now available from them. Road to Singapore (1940) is the first in the series and sets forth the template for these entertaining, musical romantic comedies wherein Hope and Crosby compete for the affections of Dorothy Lamour in exotic locations. Originally a project planned for others, including Burns and Allen, Paramount struck box-office gold when ... Singapore became a vehicle for Hope and Crosby, whose ad-libs and writing

Emmanuelle Blu-ray Review: A Young Girl's Strange Erotic Journey From Paris to Bangkok

The movie that started a softcore franchise.
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The 1970s were a fascinating time for American cinema. The studio system that dominated the Golden Age of Hollywood was dying by the end of the 1960s and with it, the Hays Code and its internal censorship. The '70s saw a new wave in movies with fresh new directors like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, and host of others. They created films like never before seen in Hollywood. Their films often tackled themes that just a few years prior had been taboo. They were often pessimistic, dark films that didn’t hold back, graphically using violence, sex, and language

Vice (2018) Blu-ray Review: A Smug, Insulting Biopic

Once again, Adam McKay proves he can't direct true stories.
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In a perfect world, the cast of Vice would be in a movie that is compelling and maybe doesn’t play to the beat of every other biopic out there. But this is not a perfect world, and, while the film is certainly different from others that are based on true events, it's far from being a compelling feature. Instead, what we are given is Adam McKay’s tonally inconsistent, self-indulgent satire that wastes its cast and spends too much time trying to determine if it wants to mock all of its characters or be serious and try to earn some brownie

My (Tentative) 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule

I try to balance my selections with films I have never seen or beloved films I haven't seen on the big screen.
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With the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival only days away, I have started planning my schedule. This is always a difficult process since there are usually several films in the same time slot that I want to see. I try to balance my selections with films I have never seen or beloved films I haven’t seen on the big screen. The guests who will participate in the discussions also plays a big part of the decision. Below is the list of the top films I am most excited about and likely to attend. Thursday: Night World (1932): My festival will

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019) Blu-ray Review: Girl Sleuth, Girl Power

Sophia Lillis is definitely a star on the rise and movies with strong, smart, young female protagonists are always welcome.
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Do kids still read Nancy Drew? I hope so. She was the original girl power hero, solving mysteries and having adventures. There have been many adaptations of the character and books over the years, with Sophia Lillis (It, Sharp Objects) the latest to portray the plucky heroine. We meet this new Nancy as she is skateboarding her way through town, ear buds blasting. She is a smart, contemporary teen who has a gift for solving mysteries and righting wrongs (like when one of her friends is being cyber-bullied). But this Nancy also has a degree of angst. She is mourning

Five Cool Things and The Dead Don't Die

I want to celebrate things that make life better. So here we go.
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It has been one rough week. My professional and personal life have been filled with much stress. I don’t want to get into the gory details except to say that even when life bogs me down, I can always turn to art to cheer me up. And on that front, it was a very good week. I watched some interesting movies and enjoyed the trailers on some movies that haven’t been released yet. That’s why I do this. I want to celebrate things that make life better. So here we go. House on Haunted Hill (1959) This isn’t exactly a

Aquaman Blu-ray Review: The Man Who Would Be Sea King

The movie covers familiar territory in a thrilling manner.
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After appearing in Justice League, Aquaman (Jason Momoa) gets his own solo outing in the sixth installment of the DC Extended Universe. The movie is a stuffed-to-the-gills blockbuster, more in line with the successful Wonder Woman than the franchise's previous misfires as it covers familiar territory in a thrilling manner. Aquaman opens with the meeting of his parents, Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison), lighthouse keeper of Maine, and Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), queen of Atlantis. He found her unconscious and injured along the rocks near his home. She recovers, falling for Thomas and having Arthur, a child who she says one day

The Wind Movie Review: A Traditional Psychological Thriller with Unsettling Flair

A promising feature-film debut that provides effective scares despite its loose structure.
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Loneliness can be killer. Living in a world of both physical and mental isolation can cause a whirlwind of despair and madness. The latest horror film The Wind is a well-orchestrated demonstration of the severe toll isolation takes. While the film may have a rather confusing start, as it progresses, it becomes an effective exercise in psychological terror. In addition, it proves that director Emma Tammi who makes her solo feature-film debut has a distinctive filmmaking voice. When Lizzie (Caitlin Gerard) is left alone in her cabin while her husband (Ashley Zukerman) runs some errands, she becomes haunted by possible

The Mule (2018) Blu-ray Review: The Old Man and the Drugs

Clint Eastwood makes a strong return to acting and also directs a solidly crafted film.
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At this point, it’s hard to take an actor seriously when he or she announces retirement from being in front of the camera. Recently, there was news going around that Robert Redford won’t star in another movie after The Old Man and the Gun. While that may be true for the time being, there was another person who claimed to be retiring from acting, only to reemerge years after making that statement. In 2008, Clint Eastwood said he would no longer star in a movie after Gran Torino. And while more of his time is now dedicated to working behind

The Mule (2018) is the Pick of the Week

I might be late in writing about it, but there is still some good stuff coming out this week.
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I turned 43 last week. Apparently, I not only got a year older but I completely lost my memory too. I woke up this morning thinking everything was fine. I thought about the stack of Blu-ray movies I received in the mail yesterday and about the dates they needed to be reviewed. For a moment, I thought one of them was coming out this week and I panicked. Then I thought about my weekly article on new Blu-ray releases. Then I tried to think about what came out this week. Then I remembered I didn’t know what came out this

A Silent Voice Blu-ray Review: Bully Redemption in a Subdued Tone

An animated drama about a school bully picking on a deaf girl tells a story quiet about redemption and consequences.
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There's a certain style in Japanese storytelling and film-making where the important things are what is not shown, what is not said, what is not expressed. The subtext between the characters tells the story. Both Uzo and Kore-eda, in very different ways, based most of their careers on putting together stories where the truth beneath the veneer is only revealed by implication and by accident. By a simple gesture. A minor scene. Animation is a broader art form than live-action film-making, since all the visuals are drawn and, of course, by nature abstracted. There can be nuance, but only up

The TCM Classic Film Festival 2011: Presenting Music and the Movies

A wide variety of material to see for the first time or revisit on the silver screen.
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No longer available online, this review is being re-published. The 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival returned to Hollywood Blvd for its second run presenting films well-known "Essentials" and obscure "Discoveries." "Music and the Movies" was a major theme this year so there was programming highlighting Disney's Musical Legacy, the work of composers George and Ira Gershwin and Bernard Herrmann, and famous musicals like West Side Story and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Just like last year, the festival had so many interesting things to do and see it was impossible to take everything in but there's something for everyone. My

The Mustang Movie Review: Matthias Schoenaerts Carries This Poetic Gem

An incredibly moving and poignant character study.
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When The Mustang first opens, it seems like it’s going to be a preachy, political demonstration of how endangered wild mustangs currently are. The film’s opening sequence shows a horde of horses being captured, making us believe it’s going to be a glimpse at the system trying to capture them. That is until the sequence cuts to Roman (Matthias Schoenaerts), our main character, waking up from his sleep. Thanks to that neat editing trick, the theme for the film becomes established. As it turns out, The Mustang is simply about the strong bond between man and animal. It shows us

The TCM Classic Film Festival 2010: A Festival Is Born

The festival's programming spanned the medium's history, and as a bonus, many of the selections featured introductions and Q&A's from participants, their relatives, and peers.
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No longer available online, this review is being re-published. The inaugural TCM Classic Film Festival brought the cable channel to the silver screens of Hollywood Blvd. movie theaters for four days playing the likes of Grauman's Chinese and the Egyptian. Much like the channel, the festival's programming spanned the medium's history, and as a bonus, many of the selections featured introductions and Q&A's from participants, their relatives, and peers. Living in Los Angeles, I am spoiled. There are quite a number of venues throughout the county to catch classic films, some of which include discussions with participants, so while I

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