Rainer Werner Fassbinder remains one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. The way he filmed actors, especially women and their characters' emotions, was incredible. His close-ups revealed the inner torments of his characters' existences. However, he wasn't just a legendary director; he was also a gifted actor, albeit unorthodox one at that. Director Wolf Gremm's 1982 long-lost cyberpunk thriller Kamikaze '89 showed how much Fassbinder actually knew the skills of an actor. Unforunately, this was his final acting role before his untimely death from a drug overdose, which ended what could have been a very promising acting
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A brilliantly bizarre and slightly kinky farewell from Fassbinder.
Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, and a dragged-out Dom DeLuise star in one frighteningly unfunny feature.
I was perhaps all of ten years old when I first saw a trailer advertising the Gene Wilder/Gilda Radner comedy Haunted Honeymoon. It was in the (singular) local movie house of the small(minded) town I grew up in, and I recall being more confused by it than intrigued. Why was Dom DeLuise dressed as a woman? And, most importantly of all, why wasn't anyone laughing at the preview ‒ my easily amused ten-year-old self included? The immediate theory my preadolescent brain formed was, based on the evidence at hand (i.e. the startlingly unfunny trailer and the lack of a reaction
The Criterion Collection releases the best camp melodrama out there!
America was a bit of a mess in the 1960s, not just on the national stage but at the local cineplex as well. By the time the decade was over, the Hollywood studio system as audiences knew it was dead - killed by a man who could “talk to the animals” of all things. But Hollywood limped to the finish line with the tortured tale of three lovely ladies and their struggles with fame and addiction in Valley of the Dolls. Dolls, as campy then as it is now, receives a shot of respectability this week with its premiere on
An American Werewolf in London (Full Moon Edition) Blu-ray Review: Its Cult-classic Status Is Certainly Warranted
Required by law to state "You'll howl with laughter."
After a string of comedic box-office successes (Kentucky Fried Movie, National Lampoon’s Animal House, and The Blues Brothers), director John Landis had the clout to pick his next project. He veered away from comedy to a screenplay he first worked on in 1969 while a production assistant on Kelly’s Heroes in Yugoslavia. An American Werewolf in London was Landis’ take on the Wolfman. David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are backpacking their way through Europe. The film opens with them traversing through the moors of Northern England, but all Jack can think of is hooking up with a woman
Celebrate Art House Theater Day with Cowboy, Indian, and Horse.
In a world that seems to be growing increasingly insane, it's wonderful to have some controlled lunacy that is Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s A Town Called Panic, which features that antics of toy figures Cowboy and Indian, brought to life in stop-motion animation. As part of Art House Theater Day on September 24, two new specials will be showing in select theaters along with the Panic shorts, "Lisa & Jan" and "Cow-Hulk." In "The Christmas Log," Cowboy and Indian's horseplay on Christmas Eve ends up potentially ruining the dinner their roommate Horse has planned. Horse is so angry he
From the unconditional (or unwanted) affection of one's parental unit, to the ever-classic pursuit of maximum financial units, these five flicks have more to offer than just a nude Ornella Muti (although that's just fine on its own!).
At one point or another in life, we have experienced the passion, turmoil, and frustration that comes from not being able to possess something ‒ sometimes, anything ‒ we wanted more than life itself. For some, it is a material obsession; the desire to acquire great wealth to control others with, or to even take charge of an individual. For others, it is simply the allure of being able to step out of the proverbial limelight for once and lead what they perceive to be a life of normality. And it is in this marvelous line-up of May 2016 releases
It's like a b-grade version of Mad Max, but it's still a lot of fun.
The synopsis for Dead-End Drive-In on IMDB reads as follows: “In the near future, a teenage couple is trapped in a drive-in theater which has become a concentration camp for social outcasts. The inmates are treated to drugs, exploitation films, junk food, and new wave music.” That sounds a bit like paradise for me so if that’s the post-apocalyptic future we have to look forward to, sign me up. An opening crawl details the recent economic collapse of every major economy and the violence that ensues. The camera moves through an unnamed Australian city and we see broken windows, burning
The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven DVD Review: An Appreciation of the Duo's Impact on Early Rock 'n' Roll
The rock pioneers set the standard for impeccable harmonies, and wowed audiences with their special blend of rock, country, and R&B.
Early rock pioneers the Everly Brothers set the standard for impeccable harmonies, and wowed audiences with their special blend of rock, country, and R&B. The duo gets their just due in the BBC documentary The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven, newly released on DVD and Blu-ray. Featuring interviews with surviving Everly brother Don, Keith Richards, Art Garfunkel, Albert Lee, Dave Edmunds, and Graham Nash, the film is a thoroughly fascinating look at an underrated family act. Harmonies from Heaven follows Don and Phil from their early years as singers with the Everly Family, a group comprised of the brothers and
Numerous classic Christie stories get a new telling for French television.
The Little Murders of Agatha Christie (Les Petit Meurtres d’Agatha Christie) is a French television series that began in 2009. The MHZ network has picked it up for English-speaking audiences and now the first season is available on DVD in the U.S. The most interesting thing about the series is that while it adapts stories featuring both of Christie’s most famous sleuths (Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple), the main investigators in the show are entirely new inventions. For those of you who are not familiar with Christie’s writing, Poirot is an eccentric Belgian detective who is often hired by Scotland
A classic film that will long be remembered and appreciated.
Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential, based on the novel of the same name by James Ellroy from his L.A. Quartet series, is a masterful film noir. Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the film uses the city as a canvas to paint an expansive story about crime, corruption, sex, and murder. In the special features Ellroy describes the film as well as anyone can: “Three cops on a collision with their own horrifying demons and as the centerpiece the slaughter of six people in a coffee shop meat locker.” Officer Wendell “Bud” White (Russell Crowe) does whatever he has to in the
Devoid of any originality, credibility, or explanation whatsoever, the big-screen adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment's massively successful strategy game is a giant, predictable bore.
Contrary to popular belief, the oft-repeated phrase "Hollywood has run out of ideas" has been popping up for quite sometime now. During the '60s and '70s, television producers would take two-part TV shows or standalone TV movies and release them theatrically abroad, luring (mostly) European filmgoers into cinemas to see an extended episode of something like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., in order to take advantage of an outrageously gigantic demand for all things James Bondian at the time. It would have been foolish not to take the chance, right? It was a most cunning strategy on their part. In the
Styx: Live at the Orleans Arena Las Vegas Blu-ray Review: A Quality Performance Even Without the Band's Biggest Songs
Instead of having someone else singing some of the songs Dennis DeYoung sang, Styx just completely leaves them out of the rotation.
Filmed while on tour in July of 2014, the Blu-ray shows off some of the band’s well-known hits. Interspersed between the eight-song concert are interviews with the band and crew members detailing their adventures and lifestyle on the road. Topics covered range from what they do during their off hours to the inner workings of the business and how the technology has changed their experience of being away from home and their family. The line-up for the concert is Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar); James “JY” Young (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Todd Sucherman (drums); Lawrence Gowan (vocals/keyboards); Ricky Phillips (bass, backing vocals);
Shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire owe much to how Dekalog lets stories play out.
Watching the episodes of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog reminds me of how few auteurs there are anymore. Part of it is probably the current trends in how movies are made and distributed that make it harder to be an artist with a voice. In many ways, the most creative works are happening on television. FX, HBO, Showtime, AMC, and even Starz are allowing creators the freedom to tell long stories however they please. In 1988, a year before ABC let David Lynch loose with Twin Peaks, Kieslowski told ten hour-long, relatively linked short stories on Polish TV. The episodes predate his
The Flash (2014): The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review: At Its Core, The Series Is a Family Drama
An entertaining show that stands out among the glut of superhero programs.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. Like the Flash, I have the ability to go back in time, so let me do so and grab my description of the TV series' premise from my review of the series' first season: “The Flash presents the adventures of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), an assistant forensic scientist for the Central City Police Department, where his adoptive father, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), works. Joe met a young Barry years ago
23 years after my first attempt at watching it, this Riccardo Freda/Barbara Steele gothic horror movie about a necrophiliac surgeon still can't raise the dead to save its life.
For Italian filmmakers, the 1960s were as versatile of a period as ever, especially for the ever-expanding realms of fantasy. It was a time when sword and sandal peplums, space operas, James Bond-ian espionage adventures, Poliziotteschi crime dramas, stylish giallo thrillers, and one of the country's best-known cinematic exports ‒ the spaghetti western ‒ ruled the screens. The decade also epitomized another unique motion picture subgenre: that of the gothic horror flick. From the late '50s to the late '60s, Italy's gothic movement brought forth a number of memorable, atmospheric titles from the likes of Mario Bava, Antonio Margheriti, and
I can't recommend it strongly enough.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. When A&E cancelled Longmire, I was extremely disappointed, but that feeling was short lived when it was announced the series would continue onNetflix. This is one of the most underrated shows but thankfully Netflix believes in it and gave it a fifth season, which is dropping on September 23. It has been a long year between seasons, and I'm sure it will be worth the wait. Based on the novels written by
A genuine and uncompromising biography of one of the most legendary women in the history of comedy.
As we all know, Madeline Kahn was a genius, a trailblazer, and a comedy icon. We fell in love with her ever since we saw her on the stage, and especially on the silver screen in such comedy classics as What's Up Doc? (1972) and Young Frankenstein (1974). The Academy certainly adored her when they nominated her for Best Supporting Actress for both Paper Moon (1973) and Blazing Saddles (1974). In these films and others, she proved that women can be funny and hilarious, as well as dedicated and intelligent to their craft. But, there was so much more to
With Snowden, Oliver Stone proves he's still got stories to tell.
Of course Oliver Stone made a movie about Edward Snowden. If the former CIA operative/NSA contractor turned whistleblower/leaker of thousands of documents that prove our government has been spying on its citizens on a massive scale didn’t actually exist, he’s exactly the sort of character a guy like Stone would have invented. Likely, we critics would have complained that he was being too paranoid if he did. This fictionalized biopic is framed by the non-fictional film Citizenfour, which won the Academy Award in 2015 for best documentary feature. Snowden begins with Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meeting with Citizenfour’s director Laura
This ozploitation feature could have been a spinoff in the Mad Max universe.
It's difficult to decipher what will become a cult classic and what will end up being a major dud in this age of social-media marketing. Any film that gets released has the potential to be the next Rocky Horror Picture Show. Technically speaking, Sharknado is considered by many to be a cult favorite and I would both agree and disagree with that statement. I agree that audiences are the ones who get to choose what movies will eventually be part of this category. Where I disagree is that cult films are not instant, they just don't happen over night. Sometimes
This 1991 performance showcases the band's versatility and captures one of their last performances as an original quartet.
By 1991, Toto was at a crossroads. Only four original members remained: guitarist/lead vocalist Steve Lukather, keyboardist/lead vocalist David Paich, drummer Jeff Porcaro, and bassist Mike Porcaro. They were in the midst of recording the album Kingdom of Desire, a harder-charging work featuring Lukather on all lead vocals. Sadly, shortly after completing the album, Jeff Porcaro unexpectedly passed away; his brother Mike would succumb to ALS in 2015. The new release Toto: Live at Montreux 1991, a new release in the DVD/CD, Blu-ray/CD, and digital video formats allows fans one more glimpse at the legendary lineup. While not well filmed,
A wonderful tale of love and loss at the Kabuki theater.
Kiku (Shotaro Hanyagi) is the adopted son of Kabuki royalty in Tokyo. As the presumed heir to this theatrical throne, he is constantly lavished with acclaim. The mouths that herald his praises come with two faces and out of the other, they spit ridicule. Even Kiku’s father-in-law cannot bring himself to tell him how poorly he acts. Late one night, he walks with Otoku (Kakuko Mori), nursemaid to Kiku’s brother's son, who finally tells him the truth - he stinks! Instead of lashing out in anger, Kiku’s is filled with gratitude that someone is finally willing to speak to him
From its humble beginning in a drug store in Northern California to its grim demise.
When I started buying music as a teen, The Wherehouse, Sam Goody, and Licorice Pizza could never compare to the joy of spending hours in a Tower Records looking for and listening to music. I had two Tower Records that I would frequent, the one in Costa Mesa near what was once Rock 'N' Java, and the Tustin Marketplace store. As an adult who spent and spends a lot of time in Los Angeles, the Tower on Sunset became a required stop during trips to Hollywood. Tower Records became a bastion of hope when after four days on the road
The outright evil, bloodthirsty cousin of 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon' makes its long-awaited splash to home video courtesy a beautiful HD release by Olive Films.
Generally, motion pictures which owe their entire existence to the success of an entirely different (and more popular) feature have very little to offer the overall history of cinema itself other than its ‒ sometimes blatant ‒ connection to its source of inspiration. It's even harder to have an affect on the world of film when your movie happens to be an obvious "rip-off" of a horror film, especially if it was made during a time when horror movies provided audiences little more than an excuse for teenagers to make out at the drive-in. Or terrorize the really small, impressionable
Maybe this show can make the audience care about it as much as some of Christine's clients care about her.
The Girlfriend Experience is a show about Christine Reade (Riley Keough), a law student and law intern in Chicago who finds out that one of her classmates Avery is an escort who provides the "Girlfriend Experience." An escort who provides the "Girlfriend Experience" also known as a "GFE" not only provides sex to her client, but also goes on dates, attends events, and provides the emotional support of an actual girlfriend. Intrigued by Avery's secret life, Christine gets involved and provides the GFE to clients while balancing law school and her internship at a high-profile Chicago law firm at the
If the story had been tightened up a little bit, this movie would have gotten a lot more attention and been more successful.
FBI agents Montgomery (Christopher Meloni) and Stockwell (Dave Bautista) are tasked with investigating a sophisticated group of bank robbers who got away with millions from the heist while killing a bank manager in the process. Due to the murder, they are forced to work with a local homicide unit lead by Detective Mims (Johnathon Schaech) in addition to taking on a rookie agent (Adrian Grenier). In the course of the investigation, they become suspicious of the bank president (Bruce Willis) whose younger brother was recently kidnapped and murdered. When a second robbery occurs involving another death, they begin to believe
The TV series that best exemplifies the 1960s.
The Monkees are a fascinating pop-culture phenomenon. Inspired by The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider developed a TV series about four young men trying to make it as a rock ‘n’ roll band. In the trades they placed a notice for “Folk & Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles” and cast actor Mickey Dolenz, musicians Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, and Davy Jones, who both sang and acted as illustrated by his appearance in the original Broadway production of Oliver!. The series, sold to Screen Gems, combined the comedic anarchy of the Marx Brothers with
Mysterious characters, beautiful scenery, loads of intrigue, The Night Manager has everything you want in a spy story.
I made the mistake of watching Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation just before I started The Night Manager. I really rather enjoyed Mission: Impossible; it's probably my favorite of the series in fact. It's a non-stop ride of thrills and magnificent set-pieces. No, the mistake wasn’t watching another Mission: Impossible film, it was the juxtaposition between that and The Night Manager that was difficult to adjust to. Calling The Night Manager slow would be an affront to snails. Its intentional languid, methodical pacing creeps across the screen. I do not in anyway mean this as a critique but coming off
The Warner Archive Collection digs up a significant artifact from cinematic history, albeit from a print which has sadly been desecrated.
The history of biblical epics in Hollywood, especially once filmmakers began to broaden their horizons and film on location (to say nothing of widening their aspect ratios to compete with television), is almost as unique as that chapter of history itself. Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 version of The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston‒ a film he had previously made 33 years earlier in Southern California ‒ was one of the first movies to actually shoot on location in Egypt. It was not, however, the first. Rather, that important footnote from cinematic history goes to MGM's big budgeted international 1954 production
Supernatural: The Complete Eleventh Season Blu-ray Review: The Winchesters May Have Just Been Defeated by Their Own Writers
What other challenge can you bring to the Winchesters that can compete with the one and only God?
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. When Season Ten wrapped up, the Winchester brothers had found a way to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean’s (Jenson Ackles) arm. The mark had been slowly driving him insane and more and more violent and making him less human. Unfortunately, there were two problems with removing the mark. The first was that they had to kill Death, which they managed to do. But in doing so, not only was Dean
The Warner Archive Collection unveils its final 'Forbidden Hollywood' set with a fine gathering of controversial and naughty gems from the pre-Code days.
It has been a full ten years since the first Forbidden Hollywood collection wandered into our lives courtesy the Turner Classic Movie Archives. Since then, the multiple film/disc series has moved over to the Warner Archive Collection for distribution, and has given viewers around the world a chance to see a few forgotten ditties that wound up becoming buried by the sands of time. And while it is with a heavy heart that I report this latest installment in the franchise ‒ Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 10 ‒ is to be the final chapter in this series, I am pleased to