Everything you've heard about director Bong Joon-ho's rightly acclaimed and celebrated 2019 modern classic, Parasite, is definitely true. It's a remarkable and truly original depiction of greed and class discrimination that remains the best and most timely film of last year. When it won the Oscar for Best Picture, I was happy but not really that surprised. It's rare now that the Best Picutre Oscar goes to an actual Best Picture. It's a film in which I think is going to age incredibly well for years to come, if we should still exist then. Joon-ho's darkly comedic vision portrays the
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Bong Joon-ho's modern masterpiece headlines a new week of stellar releases.
One of the greatest trilogies in film history gets another upgrade and headlines a new week of releases.
What else can one say about the Back to the Future trilogy that hasn't been said already? It is still one of the most wildly inventive and popular trilogies in the history of film, inspiring so many filmmakers, imitations, and some realistic depictions of the future. There is spirit, humor, and just the right amount of danger to fully win over even the most unimpressed film lover, or people who aren't into these types of movies. The original classic stars Michael J. Fox as iconic character Marty McFly, who gets sent back in time to 30 years earlier to 1955
Scream Factory's deluxe edition of one of horror history's most iconic franchises tops a new week of solid releases.
Halloween (1978), when it was released, set the standard for the slasher genre, which would go on to have an extreme boom throughtout the 1980s. However, as fantastic as it was and still is, it was tense and suspenseful, but not gory nor bloody. The original Friday the 13th (1980) took it even further by adding blood and gore, which was a big hit when it was released. But unlike Halloween, Friday was reviled by critics for its lack of originality and excessive violent content. When you see it now, it's not the gorefest that many people said it was.
Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 stylish masterpiece starts off a new week of releases.
I know that legendary director Jean-Luc Godard, by many, should be taken with a grain of salt (or ten), but for me, he is one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time. He marches to be beat of his own drum, and he makes films the way he wants to. Obviously, he always includes politics in his movies, whether subtle or outrageous, and his characters (at least some of them) feel as if they're from another planet. However, that is what's so unique about them. There are so many references in his work to history, relationships, religion, and of course, the
David Lynch's most conventional but beautifully humanistic 1980 masterpiece tops a new week of releases.
Obviously, the great David Lynch is isn't exactly known for depicting humanity and subtlety, even in some of his greatest films (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mullholland Dr., etc), but when he actually does, he does do it well. This is the case with his strange and savagely humanistic 1980 biopic The Elephant Man, which touches upon themes that he wouldn't explore again until The Straight Story (1999). Based on a true story, the film centers on John Merrick, a deformed Briton who was discovered at a circus as the sideshow attraction by a compassionate doctor, Frederick Treves, during the 19th century.
Kubrick's harrowing 1987 anti-War masterpiece headlines a new week of releases.
Stanley Kubrick remains one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. He didn't make a lot of films, but when he did, he really made them. He had a severely keen visual sense of detail, but he could also be a brute, a perfectionist, cold, and a madman behind the camera. Whether showcasing cowardice during wartime (Paths of Glory), doomsday black comedy (Dr. Strangelove), the complex journey of mankind (2001: A Space Odyssey), or modern ultra-violence (A Clockwork Orange), he always brought his own savage style to any genre. And with his supremely brutal 1987 masterpiece, Full Metal
David Cronenberg's highly underrated directorial debut top a new week of interesting releases.
If you ask any true film buff who's the master of "Body Horror", and they tell you it's the legendary David Cronenberg, then I'll will 100% agree with you. I think that Cronenberg, more any director, has successfully showcased how we've fully lost control of our bodies, and how they can turn on you in an instant. Many will say that their favorite films by the icon include Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, and The Dead Zone. As much as I love those films, my pick would have to be his 1975 disturbing (and disgusting) shocker SHIVERS (aka They Came
A new 4K collection of four Hitchcock classics headlines a new week of solid releases.
What else can be mentioned about the legendary Alfred Hitchcock that hasn't already been so? There are so many reasons why he remains the Master of Suspense. His immense attention to detail; the way he set up scenes and their payoff; how he treated his actors; how he storyboarded every film he ever made; how he was able to craft tensions and suspense; and how he influenced a generation of filmmakers that are still asking themselves, "What would Hitchcock do?" This week, Universal Home Entertainment brings four of his greatest thrillers/films to 4K UHD for the first time ever in
Tim Burton's 1988 horror comedy classic makes its 4K UHD debut, among other releases this week.
Usually, most films about dead people are serious, bleak, and grim as all get out. However, there are those that make fun of the deceased, while not taking themselves too seriously. There's Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, and Return of the Living Dead, among others, that have become classics in their own right. But I think my favorite has to be Beetlejuice, Tim Burton's deliciously morbid comedy classic that both celebrates the dead and also mocks them in a loving way. Obviously, everyone by the now knows the plot of the film, but I do have to mention it a
An offbeat, underrated character drama from one of the all-time greatest directors starts off a new week of releases.
When discussing the legendary Jean Renoir, you're talking about one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. His films were noted for their humanity and strong romanticism that continues to be renowned by famous directors such as Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich, Wes Anderson, and Paul Thomas Anderson, among others. He was brilliant at making films about different subject matter, whether it was critiquing the French class (The Rules of the Game), war (Grand Illusion), or film noir (La bete Humaine), he proved that he could really do anything. And with his 1935 portrait of everyday French society,
A spirited, and not-so ancient battle-of-the-sexes documentary headlines a new week of interesting releases.
Norman Mailer was arugably the most influential writer during postwar America. He wasn't afraid to be outspoken of what he thought was truth. However, he was also a polarizing, brutish, sexist figure who had a penchant for womanizing (he was married six times after all), violence (he once stabbed his second wife with a penknife and beat his fourth one), drugs, and often repellent behavior. But for better or worse (again), he did possess intelligence and an undeniable charisma that made one of the most unforgettable intellectuals in the history of literature. There were many documentaries about his life, persona,
Criterion's mammoth box set of the work of the legendary Agnes Varda tops a new week of releases.
A master filmmaker like the great Agnes Varda needs no introduction. When she passed away at the age of 90, she definitely left behind a very influential and eclectic body of work. She also left a huge gap in film that arugably no other filmmaker can fill. Not only she did pave the way for modern feminism in both French and global cinema, but she was the only female director of the French New Wave. She was a pivotal director who made films on her own terms, with a unique verite style and realism including those of absolute documentaries and
Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta's 1975 disturbingly modern political thriller tops a new week of releases.
In today's extremely terrifying times, where Donald Trump continues his reign of terror, you have to look back at the paranoid thrillers in the past, especially in the 1960s and 70s, to see how eerily relevant their stories have remained. There was The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days In May, Z, The Parallax View, Three Days of the Condor, among others. However, I think that 1975's quietly brutal The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, directed by Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta, takes it even further with its stinging commentary on absued power, individual morals, and media manipulation. The film stars
Roman Polanski's super underrated 1976 creepfest headlines a new week of releases.
Yes, I know that Roman Polanski is a very controversial figure today, and what he did in mid to late 1970s was incredibly wrong on every single level. However, sometimes you can separate the art from the artist, and Polanski is a true artist. From his stunning 1962 feature-length debut Knife in the Water, to his thrilling 2011 effort The Ghost Writer, he has proved that he can be a filmmaker of incredible eclecticism and sheer craft. In 1976, he concluded his 'Apartment trilogy' with perhaps his most underrated, but still creepy as hell, The Tenant, which takes paranoia to
Noah Baumbach's marvelous portrait of a marriage reaching its not-so-simple end tops a new week of interesting releases.
As I pointed out in my recent review for Marriage Story, director Noah Baumbach's soulful and deeply intense 2019 film, is an incredibly rich and sublimely acted portrait of a very broken marriage consisting of two people who realize that their journey together has really run its course. Like Kramer vs. Kramer, The Squid and the Whale (also directed by Baumbach), and Scenes from a Marriage, the film (at times funny and brutal) refuses to take sides, because Charlie and Nicole Barber (beautifully played by both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) both have logical viewpoints. Charlie, a New York theater
A mammoth box set featuring five standout films of the greatest martial artist of all-time tops a new week of great releases.
As we all know, the legendary Bruce Lee is/was the most influential figure in the history of martial arts, bar none. His legacy still continues to leave its mark on icons from Jackie Chan to Jet Li to Donnie Yen to Chow Yun Fat, and so on. He wasn't just a very physically perfect specimen; he also had the magnetism and charisma to complete the whole package. Although many of the films he made didn't have the best and most coherent plots, it didn't matter because he was in them. He was so amazing in his unfortunately brief time on-screen
A slightly dated, but very chilling sci-fi classic tops a new week of releases.
The 1950s was decade of sheer uncertainty and paranoia due to the threat of the Cold War and imminent doom for the entire human race. Because of this, there were many incredible sci-fi films that emulated that while also taking the themes of impending danger and aliens invading Earth even further into reality, where the stories and plots didn't seem so far-fetched. Director Bryon Haskin and legendary producer George Pal's influential 1953 classic, The War of the Worlds, is definitely one of the very best of them. The film starts off with a strange, mysterious meteor-like object landing in a
A 1985 harrowing and horrifying antiwar masterpiece headlines a new week of diverse releases.
"War is hell" is a famous phrase that many films have demonstrated, in sometimes painful or painfully graphic detail. It's not easy to get into the war film, because it opens up some major wounds, especially for veterans who really want to keep the sorrows and trauma of either killing the enemy or witnessing death all around them under the rug. There have been so many films that have shown war at its more horrible and soul-crushing, but arguably no other film in history has done so more frighteningly than Elem Klimov's deeply disturbing 1985 masterwork, Come and See. It's
A ravishing tale of the enrapturement of love and art through the eyes of women tops a new week of releases.
As we all know, June is #Pride month, and it is one of a celebration of the triumphs and struggles of the LGBTQ community. It can also be a reflection of how far cinema has come in its depiction of gay and lesbian relationships through love, yearning, and art. There is a sense of feminism that comes along with certain stories of same-sex companionship, and rightly acclaimed director Céline Sciamma's sexy and evocative Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), is one of the very best examples. The film also successfully details the obsessions that artists have with their subjects.
Buster Keaton's seminal 1928 masterpiece tops a new week of very interesting releases.
What else can you say about the legendary Buster Keaton (one of three kings of silent cinema, alongside Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd)? He was known as "the Great Stone Face", capable of delivering sheer emotion using his famous deadpan expression and superb physical and otherworldly visual gags to tell stories of his underdog characters put in often dangerous situations but rising above and winning the girl. However, as much as I do love his early classics, such as The General, Steamboat Bill Jr., and Seven Chances, one of my two favorites of his has to the 1928 elaborate masterwork,
A groundbreaking 1978 classic about a woman's reawakening starts off a new week of several low-key releases.
In a way, the 1970s was the decade of the woman. There were many films about women coming into their own, especially during the time of feminism. However, if there was one film that really captured the essence of the new, liberated woman, it was Paul Mazursky's 1978 game-changer, An Unmarried Woman, which also gave the late, great Jill Clayburgh not only her first Oscar nomination, but the most defining role of her career as a woman on the verge of a breakdown, but eventually picks herself up, dusts herself off, and begins life anew. Clayburgh stars as Erica Benton,
The greatest shark attack film ever made celebrates its 45th anniversary and tops a new week of releases.
What else can be said about Steven Spielberg's 1975 masterpiece Jaws that hasn't been said already? The legendary film has influenced pop culture ever since its release 45 years ago. Its now-famous (albeit complicated) production; superb direction; John Williams score; the amazing performances from Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw; and the still iconic opening remain the stuff of movie lore. Whether you've seen the film countless times or coming into it as a newbie, you're guaranteed to opt to stay on dry land. It continues to be one of the greatest films ever made, and a definite cautionary
A collection of early shorts by the legendary Martin Scorsese headlines a new week of stellar releases.
As we all know, Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. His style, techinque, and craft have been imitated and influential since his 1967 debut, Who's That Knocking at My Door? However, he is also a truly gifted artist who became a major figure of the New Hollywood era during the late '60s and '70s, especially when he made short films during his time at NYU. The five shorts that accompy the release from Criterion, signify his artistic and innovative developments that would eventually lead to one of the most seminal and important directing
A flamboyant, but highly important watermark of feminist filmmaking headlines a new week of eclectic releases.
The iconic Dorothy Arzner was definitely an legend in the history of cinema. She was the only female director working in Hollywood during the "Golden Age", from the 1920s to the early 1940s, where she retired in 1943. She subverted the expectations of how women were depicted in film. Most of her characters were independent women trying to forge their own lives, and careers, without the usual scornful male dominance. Despite her body of work, it was her 1940 landmark, Dance, Girl, Dance, that would confirm her place in film lore. The film stars Maureen O'Hara and Lucille Ball as
A slightly flawed, but still exciting 1963 John Sturges classic starts off a new week of releases.
A lot of things have been said about director John Sturges' admire 1963 anti-war classic, The Great Escape. Audiences and critics have enjoyed it as one of the great ensemble films ever made; a rousing and thrilling escapist film with many memorable set pieces; and another star-making vehicle for 'The King of Cool', Steve McQueen. McQueen, James Garner, Sir Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, among other iconic actors, star as allied prisoners of war who plan an impossible escape for themselves and several hundred others from a German war camp during World War II. In typical fashion,
Six legendary films by one of the most revered filmmakers of all-time headlines a new week of releases.
The late, great Eric Rohmer (1920-2010) was a film critic, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and teacher. However, he was best known for his gifts as a legendary director, especially of his portraits of the complexities of love and relationships between fragile, albeit clueless men, and the strong, somewhat elusive women who tempt or seduce them (or in certain cases, try to). The six films in the box set, which is going to be released on Blu-ray for the first time, don't exactly have compelling, and complicated plots, they are all a series of boy meets girl, boy flirts or falls for
A 2014 Wes Anderson modern classic tops a new week of releases.
Wes Anderson is one my favorite directors. His films combine quirky characters and deapan humor, but in mostly modern settings. Despite all the comedy, whimsicality, and unpredictability, there is always a subtle emotional streak that lingers underneath. Arguably, I think he has reached his zenith with his 2014 masterwork, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which on the surface seems like a mystery, but oddly enough, it also confronts a very dark side of 20th century European history that was mostly swept under the rug. The film stars Ralph Fiennes as head concierge Gustave H., who tries to keep everything afloat at
A 1984 John Hughes gem rounds up a new week of releases during continuous quarantine.
When iconic director John Hughes passed away in 2009, he definitely left behind a legacy of teen cinema that remains influential and groundbreaking to this day. His stories of teenage drama in the midst of sex, drugs, and peer pressure continues to strike a chord with youth, and his 1984 classic debut, Sixteen Candles, did just that. He also brought us the charming actress who would define the '80s and its teen culture, Molly Ringwald. Ringwald stars as Samantha, an adorable, if not extremely popular teenager reaching her 16th birthday. Adding to her angst is not only her older sister's
It was a rough day and so instead of talking about cool things I'm listening to John Prine.
Tomorrow is Easter. Due to social distancing, we won't be attending church, nor will we be having our traditional dinner with my parents and siblings. We won't be gathering with friends for the annual egg hunt. We will be doing what we've been doing the last several Sundays - we will sit at home watching television, reading books, and generally trying not to get on each other's nerves. We have some plastic eggs and we were planning on filling them with candy and letting my daughter hunt for them in the yard. Then the forecast said rain so we decided
A 1969 Jean-Pierre Melville classic starts off a new week of releases.
Legendary director Jean-Pierre Melville was always adept at captureing humanity under devastating odds. Whether it was people trying to survive wartime (Le Silence De La Mer and Leon Morin, Priest), or the super dark and desparate lives of the gangster (Le Cercle Rouge, Le Doulos, and Le Samourai), Melville was definitely one of the masters of cinema, period. Perhaps the most stark and mercilessly personal of his work is his 1969 thriller, Army of Shadows, which arguably remains his magnum opus. Based on his own experience in the French Resistance and the novel by Joseph Kessel (Belle de Jour), the