Recently in Review

Based on the 1990 novel by the late Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman, the latter of whom oversaw the television series as creator, co-executive producer, and sole writer, Good Omens tells a comedic story about the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and the demon Crowley (David Tennant) working together to stop Armageddon in order to save humanity from the war between Heaven and Hell. Narrated by God (Frances McDormand), Aziraphale and Crowley first meet in the Garden of Eden. Crowley, who went by “Crawly” then because he took the form of a snake, tempts Eve into eating the apple from the

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife Blu-ray Review: Lifestyles of the Rich and Zany

The film is a fun romp, but the viewer can't help but discern that the charming David Niven would have been much more convincing than Gary Cooper in the Bluebeard role.
  |   Comments
Kino Lorber has just released Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, starring Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper. Made in 1938, the screwball romantic comedy was directed and produced by Ernst Lubitsch (Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner, To Be or Not to Be). Starring Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper, the film also features the first screenplay collaboration of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett (Some Like it Hot, The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard), who worked together from 1936 to 1950. In Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, millionaire Michael (Gary Cooper) pursues Nicole (Claudette Colbert) all over the French Riviera. Nicole is also adored by Albert (David

Bones (2001) Blu-ray Review: Unleash the Blunt

That's it! Payback! Revenge! Snoop is mad!
  |   Comments
Bones bores. Director Ernest Dickerson, Spike Lee's former DP, pulls off a few nifty visual tricks. Chief among them are a black dog that projectile-vomits maggots, and a bulging wall of flesh that embodies a nightmarish depiction of hell. But we spend the first hour waiting for something to happen, for someone to root for. An enterprising, multi-racial group of young adults renovates a gothic brownstone in the hood. Their plan is to turn it into a nightclub. Little do they know the building once belonged to Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg), a murdered pimp who refused to sell crack to

How to Fix a Drug Scandal Series Review: Ripples of a Sweeping Tragedy

Premiering on Netflix April 1, the limited documentary series is thrilling, suspenseful, entertaining, and profoundly informative.
  |   Comments
How to Fix a Drug Scandal is the dictionary definition of infotainment. It's thrilling, suspenseful, entertaining, and profoundly informative. I might just use my new-found knowledge in dinner-table conversations with my family to sound intellectual. It's such a meticulously researched tale that deeply explores the subject matter. Directed and produced by Erin Lee Carr (Thought Crimes: The Case of Cannibal Cop and Mommy Dead and Dearest), the limited series is on the same lines of Netflix’s earlier releases - The Devil Next Door, The Confession Killer, and The Trails of Gabriel Fernandez - which revolve around one particular incident subsequently

Resistance (2020) Movie Review: A Compelling Holocaust Story

The Jesse Eisenberg-starrer has a beautiful message behind its intriguing holocaust story.
  |   Comments
Drawing parallels between current times and the setting of the film tells one thing for sure: irrespective of whether it's the World War II or a global pandemic, humans have always found solace in some form art. We - currently locked down in our homes - are leveraging on films and TV shows on Netflix, prime, etc. Likewise, back during the Second World War, music and slapstick comedy served the same purpose. This facet is beautifully addressed in Jonathan Jakubowicz's Resistance, which is based on the life of Marcel Marceau, one among the most prominent mime artists to ever live.

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice DVD Review: A Fantastic Appreciation

It's so easy to fall in love with Ronstadt and her music.
  |   Comments
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is a biographical documentary that Ronstadt was involved with as she introduces the telling of her story and reveals she no longer sings because she has Parkinson's, although she was later diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy. As I put the disc in the player, I realized I hadn't heard much of Ronstadt's music on the radio in years. As I watched the film, I couldn't understand why because she has a collection of hits that should be staples on rock and country radio stations. But don't take my word for it as the

Come to Daddy Blu-ray Review: Twisty, Twisted Story of Family

Elijah Wood stars in this story of a man reconnecting with his father, and learning terrible secrets about them both.
  |   Comments
Come to Daddy is a twisty movie. A lot of its narrative power comes from its plot surprises, so as a reviewer it is difficult to decide how much to reveal, and how much to hold back to let its potential audience know whether or not the movie is worth their while. The story begins as indie drama: a not-so-young man has been sent a letter by his father, estranged for 30 years, saying that he wants to finally see his son and reconnect. Norval, the son, is having a rough few years and decides to take his dead up

My Gun Is Quick Blu-ray Review: A Hard-boiled Jewel

It is worth investigating for the film's story and the Blu-ray's high-def presentation.
  |   Comments
Produced and directed together by Victor Saville, credited as Phil Victor, and George White, My Gun Is Quick is the third film featuring Mickey Spillane's character Mike Hammer, played by a third actor, Robert Bray, and is adapted from the second Hammer novel of the same. It's a hard-boiled detective story, which might not stand out from the genre, but it traffics in the tropes well enough. One night in a Los Angeles diner, Mike interferes in what appears to be a pimp roughing up a prostitute named Red (Jan Chaney), who is recently out from Nebraska. Mike gives the

The Passion of Darkly Noon Blu-ray Review: The Story Goes Nowhere

A good cast and beautiful visual style can't save a bad script.
  |   Comments
A man, dressed in a suit and tie but bruised and battered, comes running through the woods. He stumbles and falls, landing unconscious in the middle of a country road. He’s picked up by a delivery driver who takes him to a secluded old house where a young woman swears she’ll take care of him. The man is Darkly Noon (Brendan Fraser) and he’s just narrowly escaped being killed by local townspeople who were no longer willing to abide with the cult Darkly has been a part of. He’s a peculiar young man who obviously has had little interaction with

Endless Night Blu-ray Review: Not Your Typical Christie

Newlyweds Michael and Ellie move into the haunted Gypsy's Acre - in an unusual haunted house mystery from Agatha Christie.
  |   Comments
Agatha Christie is well-known for cozy mysteries set in English villages where evil lurks beneath the neatly trimmed hedges; or alternately, in exotic locations where traveling Brits let their passions lead to murderous impulses. Endless Night is a novel she wrote later in her career, in 1967, and it is a departure from those stories, featuring neither of her famous detectives, Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. In fact it doesn't feature a detective or a conventional crime at all. It is a story that is hard to define. There are elements of mystery, romance, and even horror. Like Christie's Murder

Judgment at Nuremberg (Special Edition) Blu-ray Review: Guilty of Being a Great Courtroom Drama

A compelling film that asks eternal questions about society and the responsibility of the people within it.
  |   Comments
Previously an episode of the TV series Playhouse 90 (1959), Stanley Kramer's Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) dramatizes the Judges' Trial of 1947, one of several United States military tribunals that took place in the aftermath of World War II. Leading an all-star cast, Spenser Tracy plays Judge Dan Haywood, one of three judges brought to Nuremberg, Germany in 1948 to oversee a trial against four judges and prosecutors charged with numerous atrocities while serving the Nazi government. His task is complicated because the higher-ups don't want a harsh verdict in order to gain the German people's support for the United

Superman: Red Son 4K UHD Review: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Communist

Mark Millar’s classic comic book proves to be more relevant than ever in this animated adaptation.
  |   Comments
DC’s latest animated movie explores the question of what would have happened if baby Superman landed in Russia instead of the U.S. The story originated in a 2003 DC Elseworlds comic book tale of the same name by noted writer Mark Millar, most familiar to film audiences as the creator of comic book stories that were adapted into the films Kick-Ass, Kingsman, Logan, and Captain America: Civil War. The new film follows Millar’s comic book blueprint fairly well, even expanding on a few points that were rushed through in limited panels in the book. Thanks to the intriguing tale and

Spenser Confidential Movie Review: Epitome of Mediocrity

The fifth collaboration by Peter Berg & Mark Walhberg is on the downside of the duo's filmography.
  |   Comments
Spenser Confidential is the cinematic equivalent of 'sit back and relax on a lazy Saturday afternoon'. The Netflix original would befittingly suit the category 'play in the background while scrolling through your phone' if the platform ever adds one. Laced with mediocrity in every aspect, the film is at its best when seen through the aforementioned context, however, as a standalone film (I'll address this point later), it's mediocre. Extremely mediocre. I mean, pretty mediocre. Allow me to emphasize it one more time, it's spectacularly mediocre. It takes effort to produce such a calculated end product, and it needs to

The Death and Return of Superman: The Complete Film Collection Giftset Blu-ray Review

The filmmakers made the right decision revisiting and expanding this landmark story.
  |   Comments
The Death and Return of Superman edits together the animated films The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen, the 11th and 12th film in the DC Animated Movie Universe, which are also the 32nd and 33rd film of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, into one film. It is based on the 1992—1993 DC comic book storyline of the same name, which was previously adapted, albeit abridged, into Superman: Doomsday (2007), the 1st DC Universe Animated Original Movie, which is also included in this set. Clark Kent (Jerry O'Connell) is secretly dating Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn). He loves

Richard Jewell Blu-ray Review: Misinformation Sells

A solid Clint Eastwood directorial effort that features a terrific performance from Paul Walter Hauser.
  |   Comments
It has become more of a gamble with Clint Eastwood’s late-career directorial efforts. The Oscar-winning actor/filmmaker, who is still pumping out films even as he pushes 90 years old this year, is reportedly someone who doesn’t like to spend too much time trying to get the best take. "The sooner it can be done; the better" appears to be the mantra by which Eastwood follows. It doesn’t always work, with The 15:17 to Paris being his most recent example and also his most embarrassing effort to date, despite it starring the real people involved in the incident. But, in some

Fathom Events and TCM Present King Kong (1933)

Despite its flaws, King Kong remains a wonderful spectacle and a bonafide classic.
  |   Comments
In 1929, while filming baboons in Africa on the set of The Four Feathers, director Merian C. Cooper developed the concept of a film about a giant gorilla battling Komodo dragons. It would begin on an isolated island and end with a spectacular death in New York City. He took this idea to Paramount Studios in 1930, but by then the Great Depression had reared its head and studio execs were none too excited to film such an expensive project. Mega-producer David O. Selznick brought Cooper to RKO studios in 1931 telling him he could make any film he wanted.

Inside the Rain Movie Review: A Pretty Heartfelt Mental Illness Dramedy

A simple, empathetic ode to mental health patients that thrives on its sensibility and fine acting.
  |   Comments
Rosie Perez has been having a slight career resurgence, having recently stole the show in Birds of Prey and being a highlight in the misguided The Last Thing He Wanted. As part of her scene-stealing continuation, she does that as a flustered psychologist in the indie dramedy Inside the Rain, becoming one of its biggest selling points in the process. Inside the Rain is about a mentally ill college student named Ben Glass (Aaron Fisher) who has it all: ADHD, OCD, BPD, and Bipolar disorder. Similar to how Ben is juggling a lot, the story seems to be doing just

Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets: Live at the Roundhouse Movie Review

Fans of early Pink Floyd should be very pleased.
  |   Comments
Pink Floyd was formed in 1965 by Syd Barrett (guitar, lead vocals), Nick Mason (drums), Roger Waters (bass guitar, vocals), and Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals). A few months after the release of their debut album, psychedelic-rock classic The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in August of 1967, David Gilmour (guitar, vocals) was added to augment and then replace the erratic Barrett, who left the band in March 1968. They would go on to have massive success in the 1970s, creating two of the best-selling albums of all time with Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. By the

Canyon Passage Blu-ray Review: Where the Scalps Fly Like Toupees...Only Not Quite

A moody, colorful western from a director who changed horror movie history.
  |   Comments
If you were to say I would love to see a Technicolor noir western directed by Jacques Tourneur, set in Oregon, I would say you are darn tootin.’ I would love to see it and see it I did. Canyon Passage (1946) is that rarest of things: a good art western disguised as a B-movie, buckling at the seams to beat the revisionist wave of westerns by about twenty cool years. But of course—no such motive existed. Rather, Tourneur delivered a crisp, 92-minute oater that combines several genre elements. Rape, poker, murder, lust for gold, love triangles, Indian attacks, cabin-raisings,

Bombshell (2019) Blu-ray Review: Me (and Me and Me, etc.) Too

Almost everyone in Bombshell is complicit - in the culture, in the spin they know they are spinning.
  |   Comments
Available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy, Bombshell uses real news footage mixed with actor portrayals to tell the story of how the women of Fox News exposed Roger Ailes' serial sexual harrassment. Before the film even begins, there are disclaimers from the distributor, Lionsgate Films, about the viewpoints expressed in the film (not necessarily those of the distributor) as well as another blurb before movie starts about real people and events being portrayed by actors. But after that legalese is out of the way, Bombshell takes an unflinching look at the goings-on behind the scenes at Fox and Megyn

Queen & Slim Blu-ray Review: A Thrilling Drama Infused with Social Commentary

Queen & Slim suggests the beginning of two great film careers behind the camera.
  |   Comments
Director Melina Matsoukas and screenwriter Lena Waithe, both of whom are also producers on the project, made an impressive feature-film debut with the tragic love story Queen & Slim. After listening to the extras I don't think the story conveys all they wanted, the film is captivating as the characters' journey takes them from strangers to inseparable lovers. The film opens with the two characters, whose names aren't mentioned until the end of the film but will be referred to by the titular nicknames, in Ohio eating dinner on a first date after meeting on Tinder. Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) doesn't

Young Ahmed Movie Review: Minimalistic but Speaks Volumes

Terrific performances invigorate this little film
  |   Comments
It's arduous to write about Young Ahmed without imposing personal views and judgements. Such is its concept. The Dardenne Brothers craft a film minimalistic on scale but speaks volumes about the world it is set in. The French film tells the story of Ahmed, a 13-year-old Muslim boy, on the misguided path of extremism camouflaged as religion. By the time we are introduced to him, this seed has already been planted deeply in him. A person named Imam, seems to be the influence. In the very first scene, he refuses to shake hands with his teacher, Inès, who has been

Swallow Movie Review: Haley Bennett Carries Slow Burn Psychological Thriller

Despite some sluggish pacing and undercooked thematic material, Swallow doesn't bite off more than it can chew.
  |   Comments
Hunter (Haley Bennett) seems to have it all. An idyllic home life with a wealthy and seemingly supportive husband, Richie (Austin Stowell). The first few minutes of Swallow which illustrate Hunter’s daily routine make her life seem literally and figurative squeaky clean. As it turns out, her perfect life is only perfect on the surface since she develops an unusual eating habit once she becomes pregnant. At that point, Swallow becomes a domestic psychological thriller in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby, but without the occult elements. Once Hunter’s husband and in-laws discover her eating habit, they keep a close eye

Antonio Gaudí Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Tone Poem of Gaudí, Barcelona, and Art

After watching Antonio Gaudí, the viewer will not only want to start looking up flights to Barcelona, but need to learn more about this distinctive artist.
  |   Comments
Antonio Gaudí, a film by Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara (1927-2001), is a tone poem of Gaudí, Barcelona, and art - filled with vibrant color and music. The restored 72-minute film from 1984 is not your typical artist biography. There is barely any dialogue. Or narration. Or biography. Teshigahara instead creates a collage of dazzling images featuring the unique architecture of Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). Teshigahara, the first Asian director to be nominated for an Academy Award and probably best known for his avant garde feature film Woman in the Dunes (1964), started his career in documentary film. Here, he seamlessly melds

Marcel Duchamp: The Art of the Possible Movie Review

A fascinating feature-length documentary film that highlights an innovative and influential artist who can truly be called the father of modern art.
  |   Comments
Available on iTunes and Amazon on March 10, 2020, comes a new documentary film from Electrolift Creative Productions, Marcel Duchamp: The Art of the Possible. Directed by Matthew Taylor and produced by Michelle Taylor, the 90-minute film mixes biography and opinion to create an intriguing portrait of artist Marcel Duchamp. Marcel Duchamp was born in Normandy, France in 1887. The film begins with family photos and a quick introduction to Duchamp's youth and then, like the artist himself, quickly sets off for Paris and the art world. Duchamp's primary artistic mentors were his older brothers, artists Raymond Villon and Jacques

Book Review: The Complete Steve Canyon, Volume 2: 1949-1950 by Milton Caniff

Steve Canyon sets a high mark for adventure comic strips.
  |   Comments
Since January 2012, the Library of American Comics, by way of IDW Publishing, has been releasing collections of Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon newspaper comic strips. Volume 2 was released in August 2012 and presents the strips from December 30, 1948 to December 31, 1950, covering the third and fourth year of the strip's 41-year run. Library of American Comics associate editor Bruce Canwell wrote the introductory essay "A Return Ticket ," which covers the strip's audience-participation campaign that had readers “nominate the film that best reflected American life,” and how both current and historical events impacted the plotlines. As a

ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas Blu-ray Review: The Rise of ZZ Top

A very good introduction to the band and their music.
  |   Comments
ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas is a documentary that tells the story of the band, from their origins through to 1983's Eliminator, their eighth and most commercially successful studio album. Guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard sit for separate interviews until finally being gathered together for the final few minutes of the film. Throughout, there's a lot of cool archival footage and famous fans such as Billy Bob Thorton, Josh Homme, Steve Miller, and Dan Auberach also share their thoughts. Dusty Hill, an Elvis fan, grew up in Dallas. While kids, he started

Frozen II Blu-ray Review: Call the Police, It Got Robbed of an Oscar Nomination

The gang returns for a new adventure outside of Arendelle.
  |   Comments
Frozen II represents a new pinnacle in feature film animation, with dazzling artistic and technical prowess, a surprising and engaging story, and the total mastery of its returning cast, directors, and songwriters. The only possible explanation for its absolutely shocking omission from the list of Oscar animated film nominees is lingering Frozen fatigue six long years on from the original blockbuster phenomenon, even though two other franchise sequels made the cut and the far inferior Toy Story 4 took the prize. Returning screenwriter and co-director Jennifer Lee has crafted a rewarding tale that kept me intrigued to the end. While

Saint Frances Movie Review: A Topical Gem of Less Biblical Proportions

A well-acted, thorough dramedy that avoids condescension over its subject matter.
  |   Comments
It seems that even in today’s society, the idea of a woman not wanting to be a parent is viewed as somewhat unholy. In Saint Frances, 34-year old Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) is stuck with the pressure of being one once she has an unexpected pregnancy. Although she wants to have an abortion, Bridget tries navigating the ups and downs of motherhood with her job as a nanny to six-year old Frances (Ramona Edith-Williams) aiding her on her self-discovery. Initially, Bridget’s job is just a job to her. A way for her to get by as she deals with what her

Book Review: Aliens: Phalanx by Scott Sigler

A bold new direction for a well-worn franchise, and it works extremely well.
  |   Comments
I've been riding the Alien train for the better part of 40 years now, and through the franchises high points and low, there's often a reliance on the familiar. How many times is Ellen Ripley going to show up, or some other female protagonist? Or Weyland-Yutani, a.k.a, "The Company"? Will it be Colonial Marines this time or blue-collar scoundrels going to war with a retrofitted blowtorch and some IEDs? There's a lot of sameyness in the universe, and while the thought of cruising through another Alien book was still interesting to me, I was prepared to sigh at repeated trope

Follow Us