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Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Finish The Song'

"This is still the best show currently airing." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn are back in love with their Preacher. Kim: There comes a time in every television series when you take a deep breath, look back on what you’ve just witnessed, and are grateful for the time you’ve invested in it. This, for me, is one of those times. There were some serious ‘Whoa!’ moments and a couple of ‘Awwwww!’ moments, and it ended just as the episode began - with a giant “Holy shit!” Let me tell you about my favorite theme in this episode: Bromance! One of the more touching moments in this episode is

The Girlfriend Experience: Season 1 Blu-ray Review: Beautiful but Shallow

Who knew a show about beautiful people having sex could struggle so much with keeping our attention?
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Steven Soderbergh is one of the more interesting directors of the last thirty years. Starting in 1989 with Sex, Lies and Videotape he not only proved himself one of the more inventive directors of that year but helped launch the Independent Film movement of the 1990s. Since then he’s made films in genres as diverse as period dramas (King of the Hill), crime capers (Out of Sight), science fiction (Solaris), action (Haywire) plus many more. He shifts back and forth from big budget, crowd-pleasers like the Oceans films and Erin Brokovich to more idiosyncratic independent films like Full Frontal and

The Twilight Time Roundup for July

Twilight Time delivers another solid spate of titles in July
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A trio of amazing Twilight Time releases arrive, worthy of your hard-earned money. Romeo is Bleeding(1993) When they say "love is blind," I doubt it extends to the utter blindness exhibited by small-time crooked cop Jack Grimaldi (Gary Oldman) in Peter Medak's 1993 neo-noir. The story of a cop's attempt to kill a vicious Russian assassin, Mona Demarkov, (played by a scantily clad Lena Olin) has an ironic sensibility to it in today's day and age. Upon first glance Olin's sexually aggressive assassin isn't the best depiction of femininity, especially when coupled with the camera's need to showcase her backside,

The Rolling Stones: Totally Stripped Review: Totally Enjoyable

Live from 1995, it's the Rolling Stones.
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During 1994/1995, the Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood) toured the world behind Voodoo Lounge, which not only found them playing stadiums, but also three small European venues: The Paradiso in Amsterdam in May 1995, and L’Olympia in Paris and Brixton Academy in London in July 1995. Performances from those intimate concerts along with acoustic studio sessions recorded in Tokyo and Lisbon resulted in Stripped, a different type of live album from the band. Twenty-one years later, Totally Stripped revisits Stripped in updated and expanded versions. The CD delivers 14 tracks, with only one performance,

The Boss (Unrated) Blu-ray Review: Filled with Brilliant, Comedic Performances

While the unrated version had some extra scenes and funny moments, the theatrical version is tighter.
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Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) is an orphan, rejected by numerous families, who bucks the ideals of traditional family in order to become the celebrity tycoon of her own financial life-coaching empire. After she tells her former-lover-turned-arch-enemy Renault (Peter Dinklage) about her recent insider trading deal, he turns her into the FCC causing Darnell's assets to be frozen, her properties seized, and a prison sentence. After Darnell is released, she ends up on the doorstep of her former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell), who lives in a small apartment with her young daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson). While Claire is in a hurry

Crimes of Passion Blu-ray Review: The Double Life of a Working Girl

Ken Russell's controversial sexual thriller gets a new life in this Arrow re-release.
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The name Ken Russell usually doesn't get mentioned along the ranks of other stylized filmmakers like Kubrick, Cronenberg, Anderson, and Lynch, yet his somewhat trippy-looking films have been an influence for many fellow film buffs so that when you watch one of his movies you start to think you've seen the shots used before but don't remember where. The prolific director has made such films as The Who's Tommy (musical), Altered States (sci-fi/horror), and The Music Lovers (comedy/drama). His 1984 feature Crimes of Passion can fit into many subgenres. It's an erotic drama, a tense psycho sexual thriller, and also

Indian Point Movie Review: Never Goes Nuclear

A lack of punch smothers a truly terrifying premise.
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No matter the environmental documentary, from global warming to fast food production, most emphasize the negativity that arises from complacency and how it is up to humanity to get off the couch and change things. Ivy Meerpool's Indian Point espouses similar messages regarding nuclear power, but it too often keeps cutting off the ever sprouting tentacles of the octopus found in discussions of nuclear power. In the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster Americans have become increasingly concerned about their own nuclear power stability, with many plants located near major metropolitan areas. One such plant is Indian

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys: Vol 2 Blu-ray Review: The Sillier Side of Japan

Three movies from the 1960s show the Japanese made more than just deeply felt dramas and samurai flicks.
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The Nikkatsu Corporation was formed in 1912 when several smaller production companies and theatre chains consolidated. They had some success in those years, but struggled in the early post war era. By the 1950s, they hit their stride, producing hundreds of movies in every conceivable genre that drew in the youth crowd by the truckload weekend after weekend. Arrow Video has been mining the Nikkatsu vaults during this “Golden Era” for a number of excellent video releases. Much like the Hollywood system of this era, Nikkatsu began contracting its directors and stars locking them into multi-film deals which created something

Lights Out Movie Review: You Can Keep the Lights On

An interesting premise gets lost in a rushed narrative and overused jump scares.
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What's the first thing people do when the power goes out? Search for light. Whether it's for safety or a genuine fear, no one likes the dark, and the new horror film Lights Out will tell you no one likes it before there's something lurking within it. Lights Out was one of my most anticipated films this year and I hate to say it didn't do anything for me. This could due to a fatigue that's setting in around the films James Wan - who still solid as a horror director - is producing at a pace that verges on

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'El Valero'

"Food court! Food court!"
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In which things make a little more sense to Kim and Shawn, but that's not always a good thing for one of them. Kim: This week’s write-up is painful. Look, I love Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga. I really, really do. I love the characters in this shit hole town. I love the ideas behind this story and all that it entails. But when the best part of a show is some hick getting his dick shot off and carrying it around like it’s his baby, I’ve got to say something. This is a slow burn, and it’s the worst

Doctor Butcher M.D. Blu-ray Review: Ready to Make House Calls Once Again

Severin Films presents a spectacular two-disc, two-movie version of one of 42nd Street's most legendarily notorious offerings.
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If you were one of the lucky lads or lasses who "matured" amid the days of VHS rental outlets, you know how exciting it could be to hunt for something truly extraordinary on the shelves of your local mom and pop store. Sure, the big time stores carried their own fair share of fun flicks, but those corporate suits almost always folded when it came to stocking their boutiques with more controversial filmic offerings. And when it came to being controversial, there was perhaps no greater ground to cover than that which was located in the horror section. Why, even

The 100: The Complete Third Season DVD Review: Ramping up the Action and the Sci-fi Factor

Even with the major changes, it still held true to the previous seasons and was just as enjoyable.
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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 we last left Clarke (Eliza Taylor), she had just walked away from her friends after their battle with the Mountain Men. Having had to pull the switch that killed them all with radiation and some of the other horrific things she had to do to keep her people safe. she felt herself unworthy to be amongst them and committed self-exile. Unbeknownst to her it, was too late to simply walk away.

Person of Interest: The Fifth and Final Season DVD Review: Goodbye to the Machine

The prescient network TV action thriller comes to a satisfying, emotional conclusion.
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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. Person of Interest has had a strange trajectory. As its themes and storylines became more relevant to real world fears and concerns, its audience has eroded. What was once the fifth-highest rated show on network TV has been unceremoniously burnt off, 13 episodes broadcast in eight weeks, in May and June of this year. What had been a bright spot in CBS's rather staid lineup became an afterthought. The premise behind Person

Twilight Time Presents: Sprawling Epics, Sidney Poitier, and a Serial Killer?

Five films from both film and real life history alike make their High-Definition debuts.
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From the rise and fall of great lands to the genesis of new ones, and a few odd points in-between, Twilight Time has all bases of great storytelling covered in this assortment of features from their March 2016 lineup. Here, we pay our respects to filmic adaptations of true historical accounts of the lives (and sometimes deaths) of the grandiose, the humble, and the downright dangerous. We being in a time and place far removed from contemporary society (though the political situation hasn't changed all that much, when you think about it), with a tale of some minor footnote of

Return of the Killer Tomatoes Blu-ray Review: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Vegetables and George Clooney's Mullet

This is comedy at most silliest, but it is quite smart and very entertaining, while being self-aware and mocking.
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Once in a while, there is a classic comedy, a comedy so funny and so legendary that it sets the standard for every other comedy that comes after it. The 1988 sequel, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, is not that movie. It is the ridiciously fun follow-up to sheerly absurd 1978 cult film, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, which was a spoof of horror-monster movies directed in the style of the Zuckers Brothers' films that redefined parody. While that movie did receive its fair share of love from a certain demographic, Return is actually the better film (yes I said

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan Blu-ray Review: Master of Monsters Revealed

This feature-length doc on the special effects master reveals the artistry behind his creature features.
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The advent of DVD extras has, I think, cost a toll on entertainment documentaries. I've seen reviews that refer to serious documentaries on movies, like Man of La Mancha, as "extended DVD extras." At the same time, this overrates most DVD extra documentaries and underrates the hard work documentarians can put into crafting a real film on an entertainment industry subject. Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan is a movie about the stop-motion and general special effects pioneer behind numerous beloved creature features of the '50s, '60s, and '70s. It's also a film that has a point of view, both on

The Swinging Cheerleaders Blu-ray Review: These Girls Do More Than Swing

An exploitation flick with a message.
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Quentin Tarantino once called director Jack Hill the “Howard Hawks of exploitation filmmaking.” I don’t know that I’d go quite that far but certainly Hill made some of the most memorable films in the genre. Working with minuscule budgets and, shall we politely say colorful plots, Hill still put our a fairly large number of very well-made and quite enjoyable films. One of the more interesting things to me is how, though working in the various exploitation genres, Hill still managed to make somewhat thoughtful films that dealt with racism, sexism, and other cultural ills. Certainly he’s still being exploitive,

Ghostbusters (2016) Movie Review: These Gals Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts

Paul Feig and crew make a rollicking comedy on par with the original.
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To say that a Ghostbusters reboot courts controversy is like saying water is wet. It took, for lack of a better word, balls. Is the hate warranted? Considering the animosity stems from the film putting women in male roles, hell no. "No self-respecting scientist believes in the paranormal," Kristen Wiig's Erin Gilbert says and I'd have to chime in with "or the idea of women playing Ghosbusters" in spite of all the cosplay to the contrary. Ghostbusters is a fun summer movie that may try too hard to justify its own existence and feminist impulses, but there is plenty of

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'He's Gone'

Just so you know, vanilla extract is flammable.
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In which Kim and Shawn use the bullet-point button for an episode where not much happens. Kim: What I’ve learned this week: The power of suggestion, apparently, wears off. The heartbreak of Tulip and Jesse goes back a long, long way. Cassidy has feelings! Lots and lots of feelings! They use really shitty ketchup in this show. If you’re going to Pokémon Go! at work, you need to bring your charger. Tulip looked amazing in that shirt and skirt. Tulip is done with everyone’s shit. Vanilla extract is flammable. Cass’ cheap shot with the fire extinguisher made me giggly. I

The Angry Hills (1959) DVD Review: The Precursor to the 007 Franchise?

Ever wonder what might have happened had James Bond been born an American and started out in World War II? The Warner Archive Collection may have the answer.
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The late great production designer Ken Adam left behind a legacy which no mere mortal could ever live up to. The immaculate lairs he designed and constructed for Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb as well as several monumentally iconic James Bond movies ‒ whether they were in outer space, underwater, or inside of a dormant volcano ‒ have since gone on to astonish and inspire, with plenty of room left over for parody to boot. But shortly before the German-born award winner started designing his first 007 set on Dr.

Tickled Movie Review: Twisted and Terrific!

The year's best (and strangest) documentary will leave you 'tickled'.
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Tickling is a dangerous business; just ask the directing duo of David Farrier and Dylan Reeve whose documentary debut, Tickled proves just that. Tickled is a deliciously watchable mystery with the intrigue and guilty pleasure personality of a Law and Order: SVU/To Catch a Predator marathon. The story Farrier and Reeve set out to expose is so deliriously weird it makes up for any amateurishness in the directing duo's presentation. Tickled is one of the year's weirdest (and downright) best films of the year! David Farrier is a New Zealand-based journalist who one day comes upon a site advertising "competitive

The Whip Hand (1951) DVD Review: RKO Sets its Sights to Start Seeing Red

The Warner Archive Collection uncovers a fun little flick about reeling in one big Commie plot.
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There are many ways a film can become outdated. Our increasingly advancing world of technological wonders has made countless science fiction films archaic. Obsessions with keeping fit have resulted in reanimated individuals with rigor mortis able to run in zombie movies. Shifting political and economic winds have turned allies into enemies in stories of war. But of all the things which date a motion picture, none has the ability to alienate quite as much as employing a current trend or popular saying in a feature. Mullets may have been "in" at one fashionably challenged point in time (see: hipsters) ‒

Edge of Doom (1950) DVD Review: Can Dana Andrews Save Farley Granger's Soul?

Samuel Goldwyn's one and only film noir is also the bleakest irreligious religious movies in history.
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Prolific filmmaker Samuel Goldwyn left this world in 1974 to start issuing malapropisms in the world beyond, he had personally produced no less than 139 films, to say nothing of the motion pictures he had distributed, presented, or even lent his assistance to for other filmmakers around the world. And yet, with titles such as Wuthering Heights, The Best Years of Our Lives, and These Three under his belt, Mr. Goldwyn only ever made one film noir. And just like many of his other successes, the seldom-seen 1950 noir Edge of Doom, has the distinction of being one of the

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You Movie Review: A Sensitive Portrait of a Socially Conscious Mind

The creator of All in the Family looks at his life, career, and the family ghosts that still haunt him.
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"Each of us is responsible for our own happiness," says television producer and impresario Norman Lear. And Lear, 90 years young, has found plenty of happiness in his own life that it's hard to fathom all the additional happiness he brought to others with his television shows, capturing hearts and opening up minds. It's said there was a time "before Norman" and "after Norman," and in Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You audiences see what the world was like, both before and after Lear's ground-breaking television shows asked audiences to think and act. His socially critical and controversial television

The In-Laws (1979) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: So Funny It Never Wears out Its Welcome

Run in a serpentine pattern to get yourself a copy.
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While there's a lot of hand-wringing and pearl-clutching that goes on whenever a sequel or remake is announced in Hollywood, it's rather surprising anyone bothers since it's long been a business model, and not just with movies, to try and replicate a success. What's even more surprising is when a winning formula is found that isn't repeated, such as the pairing of Peter Falk and Alan Arkin in Arthur Hiller's The In-Laws (1979), a recent addiction to the Criterion Collection. Rather than the typical clashing of families with different personality types, Andrew Bergman's very funny script turns that idea on

These Three (1936) DVD Review: Kids Say the Darndest Things

The Warner Archive Collection outs Lillian Hellman's first filmic adaptation of a once-controversial play.
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Even before the Hays Office began enforcing the content of motion pictures in 1934, certain things just weren't permitted to be said aloud in public. One such topic was that of homosexuality (the more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?), which was completely illegal to mention in public when playwright/screenwriter/activist Lillian Hellman's play The Children's Hour first debuted on Broadway in 1934. Due to the critical success of the stageplay, however, local authorities in New York City decided to be lax regarding their own law (again, some things never really change, do they?). Alas, the story's subject

Elstree 1976 DVD Review: Meet the People Behind the Star Wars Masks

Bit characters get their story about their roles in one of the biggest stories ever.
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I love documentaries. True stories are irresistible Maybe it's the story of an product or invention or behind the scenes of a movie or historical event. Often, it's a biography of an important person or group of people. The stories work best when there is a little history between the film and the event. Even if it's your favorite movie ever, I don't want to hear a commentary or see a documentary on Transformers: Age of Extinction. There's just not enough perspective on how important that film is historically yet. That's part of what is wrong with putting all the

Too Late for Tears / Woman on the Run Blu-ray Reviews: At Long Last, Lost Noir

Two forgotten mysteries, each with their own dark histories, get definitive makeovers in these must-have releases from Flicker Alley.
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There is nothing quite so overwhelming as being utterly unable to control one's situation. Despite all of our best efforts, we remain powerless to stop the unseen forces of time and fate. All over the planet, archaeologists have discovered the remains of vast cities and civilizations which have either been buried away by the sands of time or destroyed by cruel acts of fate. For those of us who like to refer to ourselves as film buffs, similar disasters and overall bad bits of luck have obscured many a motion picture. And while the ultimate uncovering of a previously lost

The Family Fang DVD Review: A Beautiful Mix of Sharp Comedy and Poignant Drama

What is Art? And if you are an artist, what do you sacrifice for your art?
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Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang use public disruption to create their art. Once they become parents they include their children "A" (for Annie) and "B" (for Baxter) in their antics as well. From pretending they are homeless street children who are jeered by adult onlookers to an elaborate bank-robbery stunt, art becomes the family pastime for all of the Fangs. Their performance art divides the art world but garners devoted fans along the way. Annie grows up to be a talented but troubled actress, and Baxter becomes a best-selling author who self-medicates. However both of them have moved far

Blood and Black Lace Blu-ray Review: Astonishingly Beautiful Depiction of Ugliness

Mario Bava's seminal Giallo film couples a gleeful disregard for good taste with incredibly artful imagery.
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Blood and Black Lace, a lurid proto-slasher movie with gruesome and copious violence, is one of the most visually beautiful movies ever made. Bathing his shots in ostentatious colors with little concern for sourcing the light, Mario Bava’s seminal Giallo film has only a glancing connection to realism (Giallo being the particularly Italian style of murder mystery, de-emphasizing the investigation and focusing on the murders themselves.) It’s more like a fever dream, too sensuous to be a nightmare but too bloody and malign to be a pleasant fantasy. It’s one hell of a movie. The story is hardly the point

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