June 2019 Archives

The Dick Cavett Show: 'And That's The Way It Is...' DVD Review

These interviews are more engaging conversations than entertaining spectacles but they are certain to please news junkies and history aficionados.
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The Dick Cavett Show was a talk show that aired on different TV channels, broadcast and cable, from 1968 to 1996. S'More Entertainment is releasing The Dick Cavett Show on DVD, gathering episodes together under themes. “And That's The Way It Is...” showcases great newscasters of the 20th Century, in case the famous sign-off from Walter Cronkite didn't give it away. Released on December 18, 2018, “And That's The Way It Is...” Disc 1 presents Walter Cronkite from May 16, 1974 on ABC for a 90-minute wide world special and March 24, 1982 on PBS, and Mike Wallace from June

TCM Presents: Out of This World: A Celebration of Sci-Fi Movies Every Tuesday in July

Highlights include tribute to 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing and network premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.
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Press release: This July, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) presents Out of This World: A Celebration of Sci-Fi Movies, an odyssey through science fiction movies from a galaxy far, far away to not-too-distant futures. Airing every Tuesday night in primetime, each evening will explore the many realms of science fiction in cinema including creature features, early sci-fi, TCM’s network premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, and a special night of moon movies in honor of this month’s 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s monumental moon landing. TCM’s celebration of science fiction films will include: July

Yesterday (2019) Movie Review: Oh-Blah-Di, Oh-Blah-Da

A movie in which the Beatles never existed should be much more interesting than what we’re given.
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Danny Boyle’s Yesterday imagines a world in which all the people, living all around the world, had never heard of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. That is, all except for struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), as he wakes up from a coma one day to find out songs such as “Hey Jude,” “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “Yesterday,” and others were never conceived. At this point, you would expect Rod Serling to pop around the corner and tell the audience that Jack has been transported into The Twilight Zone. Now that might have made Yesterday

Gone To Earth / The Wild Heart Blu-ray Review: One Story Cut Twice

Powell and Pressburger's melodrama is beautiful to look at but a bit old-fashioned to watch.
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Throughout the 1940s, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made a series of films that are considered some of the greatest British movies of all time. Their films, full of lush photography that blended realism and expressionistic fantasy, stood out in a country that tended to make socially conscious, terribly realistic, kitchen-sink dramas, or dry, literate, and cynical comedies. Films like A Canterbury Tale, Black Narcissus, and The Red Shoes were like fairy tales seeped in British history and their very singular culture. But by 1950, their favor amongst critics and audiences was waning. Their type of movie was going out

Trafalgar Releasing and Anthem Entertainment Debut Trailer for RUSH: Cinema Strangiato 2019

RUSH: Cinema Strangiato 2019 will feature a special look inside some of the most powerful performances from R40 LIVE, the band’s 2015 tour and live album of the same name.
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Press release: Trafalgar Releasing and Anthem Entertainment are delighted to share the just-released trailer for the highly anticipated release of RUSH: Cinema Strangiato 2019, coming to select cinemas across the globe, for a special, limited theatrical engagement on Wednesday, August 21. Tickets for the event are now on sale at www.CinemaStrangiato.com In partnership with Concord Music Group, RUSH: Cinema Strangiato 2019 will feature a special look inside some of the most powerful performances from R40 LIVE, the band’s 2015 tour and live album of the same name. The theatrical film experience is set to include top RUSH songs, such as

Universal Horror Collection, Vol. 1 Blu-ray Review: Bela Lugosi Versus Boris Karloff

A nice collection of four films starring the Universal Horror icons.
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The year 1931 saw the release of both Dracula and Frankenstein. Both became absolute classics of the horror genre, cornerstones for the long-lasting Universal Monsters series, and made their stars, Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, into cultural icons. If you’ve seen Tim Burton’s film Ed Wood, then you might be under the impression that the two stars were big rivals and rather hated each other. Certainly, the publicity departments surrounding their films gave off that impression as a means to sell more tickets. But family members of both actors have always stated that the two held no animosity towards one

On 8/6, Time Life Delivers The Best of The Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Edition

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of television's landmark variety shows, Time Life delivers the ultimate collectible.
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Press release: On September 11, 1967, Carol Burnett and her madcap cast took to the airwaves on CBS for a new variety series that combined sketch comedy, singing and dancing. Little did they know that The Carol Burnett Show would become an Emmy Award-winning program and survive the changing tastes of TV audiences to last eleven seasons. Available at retail for the first time, The Best of The Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Edition brings together the best of the best -- 60 hand-picked episodes covering every season -- into one singular and uproarious set. Available on August 6, 2019,

Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection Arrives in Premium Blu-ray Set on 12/3

Based on the best-selling novel series by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones holds the record as the most awarded series in television history, earning a total of 132 Emmy nominations and 47 wins to date.
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Press release: Rally the realm on December 3rd as HBO is releasing all eight epic seasons of one of the most talked about programs in TV history with Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection, an ultra-premium, limited-edition Blu-ray set. This must-have collectible exclusively features Game of Thrones: Reunion Special, a two-part reunion show with cast members from the final season including Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner and more, as well as previously departed fan-favorites like Sean Bean, Jason Momoa, Mark Addy and others. Hosted by Emmy-award winning host Conan O’Brien, the reunion was shot in front of a live

Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame Releases on Digital 7/30 and on Blu-ray 8/13

Marvel Studios' climactic conclusion to 22 films and one of the top films of all time.
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Press release: Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame, the climactic conclusion to an unprecedented, 11-year cinematic journey in which the Avengers take one final stand against Thanos, delivered the biggest opening weekend in history and is currently one of the highest-grossing films of all time. On July 30, Avengers fans around the world are invited to assemble once more for the in-home release of Avengers: Endgame on Digital in HD, 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere, followed by a physical release on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand beginning Aug. 13. Fans who bring home Avengers: Endgame will gain hours of

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion Available September 3, 2019

Features all episodes of the iconic Scooby-Doo Where Are You! series on Blu-ray for the first time ever.
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Press release: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) salutes that lovable Great Dane, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang with the release of Scooby-Doo, Where are You!: The Complete Series Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion. Available in stores on September 3, 2019, this release is packaged in an eye-catching, limited edition collectible mystery mansion giftset that includes all 41 episodes of the original series, Scooby-Doo! Where are You!, released on Blu-ray for the first time, as well as a Digital Copy of the series. This must-own box set has some fun extras. The set contains all-new HD content and Scooby-Doo

Swing Time Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Fine Film

A charming film that gets so many things right it's easy to overlook its flaws and just enjoy it.
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Swing Time is the sixth of ten films that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appeared in together. It has great songs by composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Dorothy Fields, great dance performances by Astaire and Rogers, and a plot that will make you tell others the film has great songs and great dance performances. Swing Time opens with John "Lucky" Garnett (Astaire) about to get married and leave show business for a hometown sweetheart Margaret (Betty Furness), but manager Pop (Victor Moore) and the other fellas in his dance act are against it. They distract Lucky long enough so the

The Chambermaid (2019) Movie Review: A Wonderfully Facile Character Study

Lila Aviles's directorial debut is incredibly thematic without being overtly so.
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On the surface, it doesn’t seem like The Chambermaid is about much. It’s about a maid named Eve (Gabriela Cartol) who works at a high-end hotel and follows her day-to-day routine. In addition, the entire film takes place in the hotel. That being said, it is rather simplistic as it seems to make a statement without explicitly saying anything at all. By presenting Eve’s mundane routine, The Chambermaid appears to say something about class and the nature of working with the public. As Eve is going from room to room on her assigned floor, she’s flustered with the way the

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Criterion Collection Review: Visually Stunning and Aesthetically Engaging

A beautifully curated addition to the Criterion Collection.
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In 2001, writer, director, and star John Cameron-Mitchell and composer and lyricist Stephen Trask took their cutting-edge musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and adapted it for the big screen. The musical which began its journey in the ballroom of the Jane Hotel in New York is now a part of the Criterion Collection. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the story of Hedwig, who is born Hansel and raised as a boy in Berlin, Germany. After Hansel begins a romantic relationship with American, Sgt. Luther Robinson, Hansel starts to see a way to escape the confines of Eastern Germany.

Double Face Blu-ray Review: Could Have Used a Face Lift

A subdued Klaus Kinski stars in this krimi/giallo mashup that is never thrilling but often quite dull.
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I am officially on the record (more than once as anyone who has actually followed my writing in these pages can tell you) as being an enormous fan of what are sometimes called "boutique Blu-ray labels." Companies like Arrow Video, Severin, and Kino Lorber are putting out really nice sets of odd, obscure, low-budget, and forgotten films. As someone who spent great swaths of his teenaged years staying up all night with USA’s Up All Night, and renting ridiculously bad movies from my local VHS shop, I appreciate that so many of these types of films are getting new lives

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the Pick of the Week

John Cameron Mitchell's 2001 cult classic rounds out a pretty great week of new releases.
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Being that this is still Pride month, I think John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) makes sense as my Pick of the Week. Although I have only seen the first half of the film, I know that it definitely compares to Rocky Horror as the new Midnight Movie, but with more emotional and oddly realistic poignancy. It also captures the spirit of rock and roll and how it connects within the soul of people who really desire their own voice. In terms of today's unholy and misguided transphobia, I think the film stomps the usual stereotypes to

Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Through the Mirror by Tipton, Tipton, et. al.

The plotting is smart and fun, and it shows the writers have a good understanding of the characters and both universes
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In the Star Trek franchise, there is a parallel universe dubbed the "Mirror Universe" where the evil Terran Empire, which rules through terror, stands in place of the United Federation of Planets. Its first appearance was in the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror," when a transporter malfunction during an ion storm causes the landing party of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura to switch places with their counterparts. It was a very compelling episode and the Mirror Universe has been revisited in different TV series and assorted non-canonical Trek media. IDW's Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken "serve[d]

BAMcinemaFest 2019: 'De Lo Mio' is a Sincere Directorial Debut

An impressive directorial debut from Diana Peralta done with such profundity.
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There’s always that old saying about home being where the heart is. The family drama De Lo Mio revolves around that traditional motto while offering a storyline about letting go of the past and facing the demons of your past home in order to build a better future. While it may be too short with a runtime of 74 minutes, it still remains effective thanks to its earnest story and exemplary performances. Rita (Sasha Merci) and Carolina (Darlene Demorizi) are two sisters from New York who visit their estranged brother Dante (Hector Anibal) in the Dominican Republic. Dante plans on

The Dick Cavett Show: Inside the Minds of... Volume 1 DVD Review

Episodes included find Dick Cavett joined by Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Richard Lewis, and Bobcat Goldthwait.
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The Dick Cavett Show was a talk show that aired on different TV channels, broadcast and cable, from 1968 to 1996. S'More Entertainment is releasing The Dick Cavett Show on DVD, gathering episodes together under themes. Inside the Minds of... showcases comedians. Released on December 18, 2018, Volume 1 presents Robin Williams from May 16 and 17, 1979 on PBS. The remaining episodes of this volume aired on CNBC: Gilbert Gottfried from August 6, 1990; Richard Lewis from September 13, 1990; and Bobcat Goldthwait from March 13, 1992. When the Williams episodes first aired on PBS, Mork and Mindy had

Frankenstein Created Woman (Collector's Edition) Blu-ray Review: Hammer Created a Gothic Tale of Revenge

Scream Factory created a Blu-ray for fans to enjoy and study.
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Frankenstein Created Woman is the fourth film in Hammer Films Frankenstein series and has been released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory. Instead of Hammer's version of Bride of Frankenstein, this is a gender reversal of the story, but don't let on to the internet monsters who are overly sensitive to that kind of thing. The film opens as a young boy named Hans sees his father guillotined. Cut to years later, he (Robert Morris) assists Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters) and together they revive Baron von Frankenstein (Peter Cushing), who had been dead an hour in a deep freeze, leading Frankenstein

Night of the Creeps Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review: Blood, Guts, and Laughs

This 1980s horror comedy borrows from 1950s sci-fi to create the perfect late night cable movie.
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It is fascinating to me when artists incoporate the culture of their formative years into their current work. Think about how Stephen King often sets his books in the 1950s and early 1960s, the period in which he was growing up. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas transformed their love of the serials from the 1940s into the Indiana Jones franchise. A great many of the things I loved as a kid in the 1980s and ‘90s from The Wonder Years to Stand By Me were made by artists who had a nostalgic love for things in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Mississippi Burning Blu-ray Review: How Can We Sleep When Our State Is Burning

A problematic but powerful look at racism in 1960s America.
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I gotta tell you, dear reader, that I wasn’t real excited sitting down to watch this new Kino Lorber Blu-ray release of Mississippi Burning. I can’t remember the first time I watched it, must have been a few years after it came out in 1988 for I can’t see 12-year-old me being interested in it. Whenever it was, I quite liked it. Enough so that I bought it on VHS sometime in the mid-'90s. But I haven’t watched it in at least a decade and I was afraid it wasn’t going to hold up. I was worried that it would

Under the Silver Lake DVD Review: A Mind-Bending Ode to Hollywood and the Noir Genre

David Robert Mitchell’s latest is kind of a mess, but it’s also kind of fascinating.
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David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake had been pushed back so many times before A24 decided to quietly release it in limited theaters and VOD earlier this year. On one hand, it’s pretty clear why they did it. The film kind of overstays its welcome with a 139-minute runtime, and several shots appear onscreen that make you question the motive for showing something that was not needed. It’s a bit of a self-indulgent tribute to the Hollywood nightlife and to the noir genre under which it’s categorized. But after sitting on it for a few days, there’s something about

Two-Part Doctor Who Special, 'The End of Time,' Comes to U.S. Movie Theaters as a One-Night Event on August 7

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of David Tennant’s final season.
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WHAT: This year marks the 10th anniversary of David Tennant’s final season with “Doctor Who,” and perhaps his greatest adventure of all time - the heartbreaking two-part special: “The End of Time.” Cinema audiences have the chance to relive the agony and ecstasy of this thrilling story on August 7 only, with the return of many fan-favorite actors from David Tennant’s tenure as the Doctor: Billie Piper, Catherine Tate, John Simm, Freema Agyeman, Bernard Cribbins, John Barrowman, Elisabeth Sladen and more. In addition to the feature content, fans will get an exclusive look at a brand new interview with

The Girl Most Likely To... Blu-ray Review: Very Dark, Very Funny

Stockard Channing is great in her first starring role as an ugly ducking in this dark, funny comedy from Joan Rivers.
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They sure knew how to make TV-movies back in the day. In The Girl Most Likely To… Stockard Channing (Grease, Six Degrees of Separation) appears in her first major role as Miriam Knight, an awkward "ugly duckling" bullied and excluded by her college peers. No matter how many times Miriam has switched schools, she just can't get a date. She is brilliant and funny, but that doesn't seem to matter to anyone who meets her, as they only superficially react to her outward appearance. Despite the constant put-downs, Miriam is ever hopeful of finding her true love. After a wellness

She-Devils on Wheels Blu-ray Review: I Just Don't Get It

She-Devils on Wheels has nothing going for it.
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So, when She-Devils on Wheels came across my desk for a potential review, I will admit that the title had me somewhat intrigued. I had never heard of Herschel Gordon Lewis and was not familiar with his other work, but I enjoy a good B-movie now and then, and the promo material certainly did its job: “Have you ever heard the saying it's a man's world? Well don't dare repeat that to The Man-Eaters, a raucous, rowdy, and randy gang of female bikers who ride their men just as viciously as they do their motorcycles. When they’re not racing each

The Quiet One Movie Review: Explores Ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's Life Through His Media Archives

Wyman's story is told through his extensive archive of film, photos, audio recordings and memorabilia.
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It’s been 26 years since Bill Wyman quit the Rolling Stones for civilian life in 1993, and the documentary The Quiet One fills us in on what Wyman has been doing since then. Wyman kept detailed archives of his time with the band, and the film begins with him sitting at his computer in an archive room filled with audio, film and other memorabilia. Director Oliver Murray takes a linear approach to Wyman’s life story with the archive as the crux, and doesn’t dig too deeply into any whys or what ifs of Wyman’s life. Original footage and photos from

Killing Eve: Season Two Blu-ray Review: Missing Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Season Two has all of the fun of the first season, but the story ventures a little too far into the bushes.
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Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the new It Girl. Not because she is attractive and trendy (though she is both) but because she has been creating and writing (and sometimes starring in) a collection of critically acclaimed and much talked-about television series. She won a BAFTA for Crashing, the British series about a group of twenty-somethings living together as property guardians of a disused hospital. The recently released second season of Fleabag has been getting huge buzz and acclaim. She was most recently hired to help with the script of the most recent James Bond film. I’ve not actually seen any of

Us is the Pick of the Week

Jordan Peele's creepy second work headlines a new, interesting release week.
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Director Jordan Peele brings us a new cinematic nightmare with his inventive, sophomore effort, Us, which can be described as a home-invasion thriller like no other. However, Peele has some definite tricks up his sleeve. Although he only has two films under his belt (so far), this and his 2017 smash hit, Get Out, he already has garnered the reputation as a new master of horror. His brand of scaring viewers is the level of social horror, where the shocks are metaphors for the real problems that exist the world we live in. With Us, he tackles the hidden terrors

Criterion Announces September 2019 Releases

"Six in September" has a nice ring to it.
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Might not want to blow your budget on summer-vacation plans after seeing these September titles from Criterion. New to the collection will be Ritwik Ghatak's The Cloud-Capped Star, John Waters' Polyester, Ernst Lubitsch's Cluny Brown, Charlie Chaplin's The Circus, and Bill Forsyth's Local Hero. Getting a Blu-ray upgrade is Marco Bellocchio's Fists in the Pocket. Read on to learn more about them. Fists in the Pocket (#333) out Sept 3 Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions, in this astonishing debut from Marco Bellocchio. Characterized by a

Yakuza Law Blu-ray Review: Gory Fun Yakuza Anthology

Three fun but gory short stories of the Yakuza taking the law into their own hands, filled with bloody torture.
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Yakuza Law is not even in the top-five craziest movies made by Teruo Ishii, and in it, a man rips out his own eyeball and throws it as his former boss, a thief is tortured by being dragged on the road by a helicopter, and a Yakuza is punished by his friends for stealing is tied to a tree, urinated on, and practically eaten alive by mosquitos. These are just a small sampling of the various horrible goings on in this anthology of short Yakuza stories, each about how the crime syndicates employ their own seedy form of justice. Teruo

Men in Black: International Movie Review: A Neuralyzing Experience

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. That is all.
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To quote Emma Thompson’s character, Men in Black: International feels like a case of deja vu dismissed just as quickly. It features the traditional premise of suited agents in shades taking down evil extraterrestrials. However, it still acts as a neuralyzer because it’s sadly quite forgetful. It should provide the same entertainment value as the other Men in Black films but doesn’t have the same spark and not necessarily because of the absence of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Instead, this sequel/spinoff focuses on Molly (Tessa Thompson), a woman whose parents whose memories were erased with a neuralyzer by

Us Blu-ray Review: A Stunning Second Effort by Jordan Peele

The writer/director crafts a horrifying portrait of humanity forced to look at itself, definite flaws and all.
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When comedy icon and new horror master Jordan Peele made his 2017 smash, Get Out, he created a new type of horror, a horror that reflects the social bleakness of the world we live in today, especially in terms of racism. With his fantastically scary 2019 follow-up, Us, he goes even deeper and darker to depict how we have totally lost our identities to excess and privilege. In this case, he gives us a glimpse of something far more sinister and personal underneath the false comfort we have subjected to. The film starts in 1986, where young Adelaide 'Addy' Thomas

Road to Utopia (Special Edition) Blu-ray Review: Striking Comedy Gold

Though the film plays with the story formula of the previous installments, this one works well because they stuck with what worked before.
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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 Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour, making the first six of the seven movies now available from them. Road to Utopia (1945) is the fourth in the series. After releasing the first three films over three years, the franchise took a three-year break before audiences saw the return of the lead-acting trio. Hal Walker moved into the director's chair having previously been an assistant director on Zanzibar and Morocco. New to the creative team are screenwriters Melvin Frank and

The Silent Partner Blu-ray Review: An Underseen Gem

No need to be quiet about this great little thriller.
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An average, ordinary, unambitious bank teller who lives alone, works on chess problems by himself, and collects tropical fish discovers an opportunity to rob a robber and finds himself in a cat-and-mouse chase where the winner takes the money and the loser winds up dead. The teller is Miles (Elliott Gould), who works at small bank in a large Toronto shopping mall. One day, he spies Harry Reikle (Christopher Plummer) dressed as a Santa ringing a bell outside the bank, but he seems to be more interested in who is coming and going from the bank than the kids asking

Thirst (2009) Blu-ray Review: A Wicked Love Story

A stylish, disturbing, and super cool tale of vampirism from one of the finest Korean directors alive.
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After the Twilight franchise nearly ruined the vampire film with its sour and teeny-bopper mix of staleness, Coldplay, and glitter, filmmakers set out to revigorate the genre by telling their own stories of the often bloody, sometimes erotic, and very dark nature of the vampire. Fortunately, there was Let The Right One In (2008), its terrific remake Let Me In (2010), Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), and director Park-Chan Wook's stunning 2009 thriller, Thirst, which lends a superb eye on not just vampirism, but also desire, disease, and the reflection of faith.

Late Night Movie Review: Emma Thompson is Incredibly Pitch Perfect

Emma Thompson easily carries this smartly written workplace satire.
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While Late Night is full of high points, one of its best ones is how it points out the fallacies of any recent film that has underused Emma Thompson’s talents. Thompson is one of the best actresses working today and it is so relieving to see her once again play such a well-rounded lead character. The film may be a talk-show version of The Devil Wears Prada with Thompson in the Miranda Priestly role but she is still a sharp delight, relishing in her character’s complicated glory. Thompson plays Katherine Newbury, a British late-night talk-show host whose show has been

The Thing from Another World Blu-ray Review: A Classic of the Sci-fi Genre

Available from Warner Archive, the Blu-ray offers impressive high-def video and pleasing audio.
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Based on John W. Campbell's 1938 novella “Who Goes There?” The Thing from Another World (1951) tells the story of those at arctic outpost Polar Expedition Six dealing with a plant-based humanoid alien (James Arness) that feeds on blood, no matter if it's human or animal. Understandably once the titular creature starts to kill, Air Force Captain Pat Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) wants the thing destroyed. However, not only must he and his men battle against this powerful thing, which is immune to bullets, but also against head scientist Dr. Arthur Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite), who has different ideas on how to

Book Review: Strange Cures by Rob Zabrecky

Zabrecky details his journeys into art, failed employment, music, addiction, and ultimately, recovery.
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A good magician is always a joy to witness, but when a magician can curate a full experience of amazing magic, mood, and tone for their audience, you never forget it. This is the effect that Rob Zabrecky has had on me every time I have had the privilege to witness one of his performances. And if you have ever gotten the chance to see Zabrecky perform magic, then you know that you have seen something special. It is fair to assume that magicians with that level of skill and artistry have been practicing their craft since they were a

The 9th Annual Grateful Dead Meet-up at the Movies Comes to Movie Theaters Worldwide on August 1

Presenting the band’s legendary Giants Stadium concert from June 17, 1991.
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Press release: Global entertainment distributor Trafalgar Releasing is bringing the 9th Annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies to select movie theaters on Thursday, August 1. This meet-up marks the first time that acclaimed series will receive a global outing, reaching audiences worldwide. Fans of the iconic classic rock band can now find their local screening and purchase tickets at MeetUpAtTheMovies.com. This highly anticipated annual fan event, this year will showcase the previously unreleased complete June 17, 1991 concert from Giants Stadium in New Jersey, widely considered to be one of the greatest shows of the band's final decade of

Sinatra in Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home Blu-ray Review: A Look at the Love Affair Between the Singer and the City

New documentary takes a look at the life of Frank Sinatra in Palm Springs.
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Frank Sinatra was born in New Jersey and synonymous with New York City. He also defined what a Las Vegas entertainer could be. The place where he made his home, however, where he could be himself, was Palm Springs. Sinatra in Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home takes an excellent look at the California city where Sinatra spent the last half-century of his life. Directed by Leo Zahn, Sinatra in Palm Springs mixes archival footage with present-day interviews with many of the people who were around Sinatra during his time in Palm Springs. Sinatra’s third wife, Barbara, is interviewed

Kidnapped (1971) Blu-ray Review: More Political than Adventurous

Robert Louis Stevenson's grand adventure tale loses a lot of its adventure to get bogged down in boring political details.
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Robert Louis Stevenson wrote over a dozen novels in his lifetime plus multiple short stories, poems, essays, and other works. He was wildly popular in his day and remains so today. He is the 26th most translated author in the world and his most popular works - Treasure Island, Kidnapped and the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have been adapted into hundreds of plays, television series, and movies. By my count, Kidnapped has been adapted at least nine times into films. This makes sense as Stevenson wrote adventure stories full of action, romance, pirates, and treasure, all

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray Review: Fun, If Over-packed, Crossover Event

The mutant turtles join the caped crusader as Foot ninjas descend on Gotham city.
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Crossovers are fun because they can never really be consequential. Popular characters are the tent poles of multi-billion dollar corporations with strategies, product streams, all kinds of nonsense that has nothing to do with creativity. No one's going to have anything important happen in a crossover, so the mixing of worlds cannot be anything but cotton candy. That can make it an opportunity for creative teams, who have no real stakes because nothing matters, try and find the essence of the creative property. Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a crossover that might seem like madness at first blush,

Criterion's Swing Time is the Pick of the Week

An Astaire and Rogers classic headlines a somewhat pivotal week of new releases.
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When it comes to classic cinema, I think that the Astaire and Rogers films have to be mentioned somewhere. While they're short on plot, which means that Astaire and Rogers typically play their usual boy-meets-girl, girl-detests-boy, boy-and-girl eventually fall in love schtick. But when it comes to the dancing and musical numbers, they arugbly cannot be beat as perhaps the greatest duo in Hollywood history. And when you have them directed by one of the most celebrated American directors of all-time, Mr. George Stevens, you have a recipe for movie magic. Hence the point, with the new release of 1936's

Fatso Blu-ray Review: Starring the Great Comedian Dom DeLuise

A bittersweet, slightly satirical look at the dark side of food love.
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Being a guy on the chubby side, I can definitely relate to films about the dangers of binge-eating and food addiction. Only a few of them are actually good and quite dark, including La Grand Bouffe; The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover; Super Size Me; and my new favorite, the late, iconic actress Anne Bancroft's 1980 sleeper gem and sole directional effort, Fatso. It's a wholly original and painfully funny take on the devastating obsessions we often have with food, as well as an equally hilarious portrait of Italian-American values and family life. The great comedian Dom

Modest Heroes Blu-ray Review: Eat Their Shorts

Studio Ponoc is back with three animated shorts about modest people doing extraordinary things.
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When Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2013, producer Yoshiaki Nishimura grabbed as many animators from the famed studio as he could and created his own animated film company, Studio Ponoc, Last year, they released their first feature film, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, which followed closely to the Ghibli format of vividly animated, fantastical films with a lot of heart. It didn’t surpass Ghibli at its best but it definitely felt like a successful follower. Now, Studio Ponoc has released Modest Heroes, a collection of three short films from their large roster of excellent animators. There were supposed to

Dark Phoenix Movie Review: A Frustratingly Regressive Conclusion

When even James McAvoy can't save this, you know it's underwhelming.
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The last time the “Dark Phoenix” saga from the X-Men comics was adapted for the big screen was in X-Men: The Last Stand back in 2006. While Dark Phoenix isn’t completely identical to the way the storyline was adapted in that film, it still feels quite repetitive. It’s a rehash of the same conflict that is present in the X-Men prequel series and offers shades of X-Men: The Last Stand despite not being a complete replication. When Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) absorbs a cosmic force while the X-Men go on a space mission, she becomes more powerful than ever. As

Pavarotti Movie Review: A Fine Look at the Opera Legend

Ron Howard's new documentary on Luciano Pavarotti is informative, but also has viewers begging for more.
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Luciano Pavarotti was one of the best opera singers to have lived, and his memory will live on forever in the music he sang. But, like all other beloved figures, there’s more to him than what is seen in the public atmosphere. If you’re expecting Ron Howard to simply give viewers a glimpse into the life of the late tenor and how he rose to fame, Pavarotti will not disappoint. It’s insightful and is especially a good starting point for those unfamiliar with Pavarotti’s music. But for those who are lifelong fans - or even those who are simply aware

Bright Angel Blu-ray Review: A Coming-of-Age Road Trip

Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents this forgotten gem that's given a second chance on Blu-ray
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One of the great joys of being a movie nerd in these times is that we have access to so many movies. Whether it be via your streaming service of choice or one of the many excellent boutique Blu-ray labels, movie lovers have more options than ever on which to view their movie of choice. Alongside all the fantastic movies (and more than a few bad ones) are overlooked gems. Movies one might have never heard or watched were it not readily available in various formats. There is nothing like discovering a new favorite movie, especially when it wasn’t even

The Batman Four Film Collection 4K UHD Review: Long Live the Bat

Holy ultra hi def, Batman!
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It seems impossible now, but 30 years ago there was only one blockbuster cinematic superhero: Batman. In celebration of the 80th anniversary of the DC Comics superhero, and in recognition of today’s upgraded home video capabilities, Warner Bros. has released the first four Batman films as standalone 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo packs and digital purchases. While a box set of the four films will arrive in mid-September, for now consumers can pick and choose their favorite films for immediate individual purchase. Before Burton’s Batman in 1989, the only real superhero presence at the U.S. box office was the Superman series of

Let The Sunshine In Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Love Is...Brutally Human

There's no sunshine in Claire Denis's low-key and bleak anti-romantic comedy about the absurdity of what we do for love.
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For most people, love is a constant slope towards madness and eventual pain. We crave it, but sometimes, when it's not the type that we desire, we throw it away. Basically, adult relationships are messy, complicated, and according to celebrated director Claire Denis' 2017 bleak comedy, Let The Sunshine In, brutally human. With an amazingly complex and subtle performance by the usually compelling Juliette Binoche, Denis paints a frustratingly truthful portait of love that most directors couldn't or wouldn't touch. Binoche brilliantly plays Isabelle, a divorced but successful painter in Paris, whose frequent demands for love belittle her ultimate desire:

A Star is Born Encore Blu-ray Review: As Great As the Original Version

An additional 12 minutes of footage and a new song are added into this special edition.
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Bradley Cooper showed his prowess for directing with his debut, the 2018 version of A Star is Born. In some aspects, the way the camera moved - and the way the story flowed - makes it seem like Cooper is a veteran in the field. The musical performances immediately immerse the viewer, making it seem like they are witnessing the songs from firsthand experience. Outside of the magnificently captured concert sequences, there’s a deeply affectionate love story about a man whose fame has gotten to his head - and the young lady he falls for, who ignites the audience once

Starfish (2019) Movie Review: A Wonderfully Ambitious Sci-Fi Pic About Grief

Starfish has a jumbled narrative yet is wonderfully jumbled due to its inventiveness and focus on human emotion.
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Starfish is an ambitious piece of science fiction that manages to keep afloat despite its attempt to juggle two vastly different storylines. The film aims to be both a poignant demonstration of grief and a post-apocalyptic monster movie at once. While both stories don’t exactly blend together, Starfish still thrives thanks to its immense panache and a commanding performance from its leading actress. The storyline follows Aubrey (Virginia Gardner) who’s reeling from the death of her best friend, Grace (Christina Masterson). However, after spending time in Grace’s apartment, the world becomes invaded by monsters from another dimension and Aubrey becomes

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live to Launch All New National Tour This Fall

Marking the third and final live tour for the show's creator, Joel Hodgson
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Press release: Original host and the creative vision behind the beloved TV and Netflix comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) for more than three decades, Joel Hodgson announces today that he will headline a North American tour for a third and final time in an all new LIVE production, titled Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour. Produced by Alternaversal LLC, the tour will launch this September in York, PA, and premiere two never-before-screened films: No Retreat, No Surrender and Circus of Horrors. Following the wildly successful "Watch Out for Snakes! Tour" in 2017 and

Ma Movie Review: Octavia Spencer Elevates Campy Thriller

Despite Ma being merely serviceabile, Octavia Spencer is delightfully maniacal as the titular antagonist.
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Most horror films don’t always rely on star power with Ma being a rare exception. With the involvement of names like Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, Luke Evans, Juliette Lewis, and Missi Pyle, it seems like a possible indication of the film’s quality. The trailer makes it appear to be a standard stalker thriller but with actors like the ones above, could it something more? Well, sort of. Although Ma nearly succumbs to being a quasi-B-movie, there are moments of brilliance to be found. The picture’s greatest source of brilliance is easily Octavia Spencer as the title character. It shouldn’t
After an invaluable contribution of nearly eight years running this weekly column, Senior Writer Mat Brewster is stepping away and will be greatly missed. Rather than leaving readers around the world in the dark about what new titles are available to purchase, we'll do our best to fill the void created by his absence. Perusing the list of new titles on sale this week, there was little doubt as a member of Generation X that I would be picking The New Scooby-Doo Movies: The (Almost) Complete Collection from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. As much as it was fun watching the

Always Be My Maybe (2019) Movie Review: Charming and Incredibly Subversive

This insurgent romantic comedy thrives thanks to its hilarity and dramatic heft.
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Kind of like the Mariah Carey song the title references, Always Be My Maybe feels like a catchy pop tune. You know the same repetitive beats will play out yet you still can't help but listen because it's an easy, fun tune to sing along to. However, Always Be My Maybe still conjures different lyrics to make it stand out from other interchangeable romantic comedies. The film works as a funny, heartfelt reinvigoration of the "friend zone" trope present within the rather repetitive genre. The premise of the nice guy trying to tell the woman he’s always loved about his

The New Scooby-Doo Movies: The (Almost) Complete Collection Blu-ray Review: A Solid Entry in the Franchise

Celebrity guest stars crossover to help solve mysteries with Mystery Inc.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided our writer with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are his own. As your resident Scooby-Doo specialist, I've been excited to see what Warner Bros has in store for the 50th Anniversary of this franchise. As I've noted in the past couple reviews, the franchise is at a near all-time low in creativity and level of commitment by WB. So will there be a push to celebrate a character that doesn't have the same appeal to the current crop of young viewers? The first batch of releases include

The Film Detective Steers into Summer with Drive-In Classics

Looking for more of a laugh this summer season? TFD is also proud to announce the arrival of new titles from The Three Stooges!
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Press release: ​​​The Film Detective (TFD), a classic media streaming network available on multiple platforms and film archive that restores classic films for today’s cord cutters, is welcoming the summer season with the return of its Drive-In Classics category and new restorations from The Three Stooges. Summer and drive-in theaters have long gone hand-in-hand. First opened by Richard Hollingshead on June 6, 1933, the drive-in embodied more than film. It was an entire summer experience that united friends and families, inviting them to pack up their cars, enjoy a night out, and of course, take a visit to the concessions

La Prisonnière Blu-ray Review: Cluzot Gets Modern

Henri-Georges Clouzot's final film is a visually sumptuous, but flawed masterpiece.
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The 1960s were a time of enormous cultural upheaval. The aftermath of World War II found many countries with a bountiful economic boom. All that industry and workforce developed to win the war moved away from making bullets and onto inventing all sorts of gadgets designed to make life easier for a quickly developing middle class. All those babies booming were growing up so that by the 1960s those kids were teenagers who knew life not of the Great Depression or of war but of a seemingly unending prosperity. Their values began to change along with this new lifestyle. Social

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