Recently in Review

Requiescant Blu-ray Review: Massacred Mexican Communist Revenge

Offbeat scenes and a determined Communist undertone offset this otherwise standard tale of Western revenge.
  |   Comments
As Westerns go, Requiescant is an odd one. Its story isn't all that unusual - a young boy's entire Mexican clan is massacred by a greedy landowner and his gang of thieves. The boy is mistakenly left alive, found by a wandering preacher and raised to believe in non-violence and the Bible. When his "sister," whom he's in love with, takes off, he resolves to go find her, and his entire past comes crashing back around him. Eventually he becomes, almost inadvertently, the leader of a band of Mexican revolutionaries, taking back the land that was stolen from them. Boy

Dope Blu-ray Combo Review: Geeks, Drugs, and Bitcoins

An entertaining movie with serious themes that doesn't take itself too seriously.
  |   Comments
Malcolm and his friends Jib and Diggy are self-proclaimed geeks who live in a suburb of Los Angeles. Bullied at school for his shoes and chased by drug dealers for his bike, Malcolm gets good grades, has near perfect SAT scores, and hopes to be accepted to Harvard. He and his friends like '90s hip-hop but play uplifting songs in their punk band Oreo. They tease each other, they talk about sex, and they swear a lot. Then one day Malcolm gets called over to chat with a local drug dealer, meets the girl of his dreams, and before he

Southpaw Blu-ray Review: Feels Like Being Punched in the Face

A nonsensical boxing movie that had the audience throwing in the towel long before it was over.
  |   Comments
With the film opening to a realistic depiction of the intensity in the locker room as a fighter prepares for battle, we are led to believe that we are about to witness a gritty and insightful view into the world of pugilism. Though the violence in Southpaw certainly is gritty, the script is so full of plot holes that it would be laughable if it didn’t drag on to the point of feeling like we’re being punched in the face. Jake Gyllenhaal follows up last year's underappreciated Nighcrawler with the underwhelming riches to rags to redemption Southpaw in which he

The Funhouse Massacre Movie Review: They Bled, I Laughed

Another fine entry into the horror-comedy genre.
  |   Comments
Sometimes you root for the protagonists in a horror movie, sometimes you root for the killer(s). However, it's rare to want more screen time on both sides of that equation, and that's exactly what The Funhouse Massacre did for me. The premise sounds familiar and even a little cheesy, with mass murderers escaping an asylum and killing people in a nearby haunted funhouse, but the team manage to make it feel fresh and even inspired in its presentation and theatrics. This particular funhouse contains areas themed after each of the killers' exploits that got them locked up in the first

Fred Claus Review: A Simple Movie the Entire Family Can Enjoy

If you're a fan of Christmas movies, you'll definitely enjoy it.
  |   Comments
Growing up in the shadow a seemingly perfect sibling can be tough. Constant comparisons from parents will generally lead to feelings of resentment and anger. It’s hard when parents seem to find fault in everything you do and treat your brother as though he was a saint. Imagine how hard it would be if your brother actually was a saint: St. Nick. This is the premise behind Fred Claus, which reunites director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) with Vince Vaughn, who stars as the title character. The basic gist of the film is fairly predictable, but as the saying goes, it

James White Movie Review: Formally Oppressive, Thematically Thin

There are moments when Josh Mond's directorial debut is bracing and direct, but it trades heavily in cliches about self-destructive behavior.
  |   Comments
For the first 20 minutes or so, James White is an oppressive experience. In its first quarter, nearly every shot of Josh Mond’s feature directorial debut is a close-up or closer, with just a couple medium shots sprinkled in here and there, and in most of them, it’s Christopher Abbott’s bleary visage that dominates the frame. Abbott stars as the titular James, a guy whose shitty run of luck is matched only by his self-destructive impulses. His estranged dad has just died, and when he’s not forcibly ejecting guests out of his mother’s (Cynthia Nixon) Upper West Side apartment during

Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Glimpses into the Heart of the Artist

Come gather 'round people and watch one of the greatest documentaries ever made.
  |   Comments
By the time Bob Dylan toured England in the Spring of 1965, he’d released five albums (two of which went platinum), scored a couple of number one hits, been covered by such luminaries as Joan Baez and The Byrds, written some of the greatest songs in popular music, and became the voice of a generation. Critics loved him, fans mobbed him, and journalists followed him about, asking him an endless supply of inane questions. Though he started out writing protest songs and was heavily involved in causes such as the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement, by this point

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Heads Up'

"It's been a season of Epic Fail." - Shawn
  |   Comments
In which great minds think alike and wonder about the general parenting skills of Rick. Shawn: With one episode until the mid-season break, I kind of figured this would be the calm before the storm. But the whole season has generally been a tease that way (and not the good-tease way). I will try to keep the observations short because I see a long write-up for us next week. 1.) Glenn. It was pretty much as we all surmised. And I will stick by my statement from a few weeks ago that it was a pretty logically thin and lame

Creed Movie Review: Blood, Sweat, and Boxing

Creed ranks as one of the top films in the Rocky franchise while creating a beautiful new road to travel.
  |   Comments
I may not have seen all the Star Wars films, but I've watched all the films in the Rocky franchise. That counts for something, right? Having gone through the entire saga of small-time boxer turned superstar, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), the series ran its course after the 2006 "farewell," Rocky Balboa. Since then, the Rocky series has opened itself up to parody and critique - remember when Rocky singlehandedly ended the Cold War? Personally, I always found the story of Rocky's long-standing opponent, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) to have the more interesting plot. Creed was a superstar boxer unable to

Black Stone Cherry: Thank You: Livin' Live, Birmingham, UK Review: An Enjoyable Performance in Spite of the Low Vocals

The concert was fun to watch but there were some issues listening to it.
  |   Comments
Recorded October 30, 2014 on their Magic Mountain tour, the four-man band from Kentucky brought their brand of hard southern rock to England. The concert featured 20 songs picked from each of their four studio albums. The show was high energy, featuring a straight-forward performance with a minimal amount of visual effects and stage decoration. There’s a giant drop cloth behind the band with mountain scenery sketched on it. The only other extras on the stage are two short tables that the guitarists used to stand on giving them a little more elevation for the audience to be able to

Please Believe Me (1950) DVD Review: A Romantic Comedy from Val Lewton?

The famous horror visionary's penultimate film ‒ which stars Deborah Kerr, Robert Walker, Mark Stevens, and Peter Lawford ‒ finally hits home video thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.
  |   Comments
Sooner or later in life, everyone encounters a seemingly inescapable element of disappointment. And I should know, as it happens to me every damn day, usually around the time I wake up. Ultimately however, there is always a bit of good to come out of every let down ‒ depending on one's perception, of course. For me, it's the satisfaction of knowing I'll be able to return to bed at the end of the day. For Deborah Kerr in the 1950 MGM rom-com Please Believe Me, it's the prospect of true love following a seemingly life-changing inheritance. After an aging
Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd had quite the homecoming this year. More than 50 years after Jacksonville teenagers Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, and Ronnie Van Zant formed their first band, My Backyard, Rossington brought the current incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd to Jacksonville’s Florida Theater. Over the course of two nights in April, they performed the band’s debut album and follow-up, (pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) and Second Helping, in their entirety for the first time. Although Rossington is the sole member to have played on those albums, the 2015 line-up does the music and former members proud with their faithful recreations. Playing both

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Bastard Executioner

In which the bastardness of the executioner is debated and characters questioned.
  |   Comments
The following entries were written simultaneously by Shawn and Kim as a summary of the one and only season of The Bastard Executioner. Any repeated observations are strictly because their twisted minds think alike. Kim: I’m pretty sad that Kurt Sutter pulled the plug on The Bastard Executioner just as I felt it was starting to really get going. I get it though. It was plagued by a pretty complex storyline that really couldn’t be done in an hour(ish) a week, plus, a shitty time slot. I know I had to DVR on Tuesdays and would get around to watching

Twilight Time Presents: Hard Pills to Swallow and Hard Acts to Follow

From tales of vengeance to yarns of violence, this quintet of feature films shows some great men who are truly down on their luck.
  |   Comments
At some point or another in life, we've experienced something that can be best summed up as being that of a hard pill to swallow. Likewise, we have seen at least one thing within our own lifespans that we can safely label as being a hard act to follow. Well, for their September 2015 line-up of Blu-ray exclusives, Twilight Time has somehow managed to wrangle up films that fall under both of those two categories, be it one or the other separately, or ‒ in the rare instance ‒ both. Here, we bear witness to both life and death (but

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Always Accountable'

"This show is quickly losing me." - Kim
  |   Comments
In which Shawn and Kim try to figure out who is accountable for the mess over the past few weeks. Shawn: Always accountable? Someone's got to answer to this week's episode. Here's my thoughts on what little happened. 1.) C'mon!!! That's what I seem to say every other week. Like an impatient kid on the way to Disneyland - I don't want to stop off to see the world's biggest amethyst. And I really know I don't need to know diabetes girl, cuffed-jeans guy, and his bad babysitter girlfriend. They are so throw away that the only name I remembered

Katy Perry: The Prismatic World Tour Live Blu-ray Review: Visually Impressive, Thematically Confusing

While the visual and the musical aspects of the concert were well done, there were a few things that were not so good.
  |   Comments
Capturing Katy Perry’s 2014/2015 concert tour recorded in Sydney, Australia last December, the show features seven different acts, nine costume changes, five hair changes, and a giant triangular stage that runs throughout the arena floor. Everything included is sixty tons of equipment requiring thirty trucks to transport. With everything needed to put on a show of this magnitude you would expect it to be an impressive performance, and visually it is. The giant triangle-shaped video screen behind the stage was crisp and clear as it projected various pictures and videos that went along with the different themes. During “Dark Horse”

Alien Next Door Book Review: The Softer Side of the Perfect Killing Machine

It's an express elevator to laughs.
  |   Comments
In a most unexpected crossover, Joey Spiotto combines murderous monsters with children's books in Alien Next Door: In Space, No One Can Hear You Clean. In the introduction, Spiotto describes how original alien-designer H.R. Giger saw some of Spiotto's work and reached out to collaborate on a collection of lighter-themed art, something that reached Giger's inner child -- something I became recently acquainted with -- but Giger's penchant for creating gothic, industrial, often phallic art wasn't well suited to making art for kids. Unfortunately, Giger passed before the collaboration could commence, but Spiotto moved forward with the project, and has

Twilight Time Presents: Five Selections of Summer

From Peter Gallagher's superfluous face and body hair to the bloody waters of a Samuel Fuller bathhouse, this quintet has it all.
  |   Comments
Once again, a seemingly brief period of time has passed by, leaving in its wake a stack of movies on my proverbial workbench that is almost as long as summer itself. So it's only fitting I start my analysis of this quintet off ‒ which was made available to the public during the summer ‒ examining the titles that blatantly exploit said season. Speaking of "exploit," the term "exploitation" certainly comes to mind for many whenever Randal Kleiser's 1982 flick Summer Lovers is brought up. That, and the occasional "had me a blast" joke when people realize Kleiser also directed

Trainwreck Blu-ray Review: Apatow Wrecks the Comedy

Schumer gets some laughs, but Apatow seems determined to be a drama director.
  |   Comments
Judd Apatow’s latest directorial effort has its problems, but first-time leading lady Amy Schumer isn’t one of them. Working from Schumer’s script, Apatow largely reins in the outspoken star, turning what should have been an outrageous raunchfest into a melancholy rumination on coming to turns with adulthood. The film’s somber tone continues the path of Apatow’s most recent feature film directorial efforts, This is 40 and Funny People, and even to some extent Knocked Up, reaching all the way back to 2007. In all of these cases and again in Trainwreck, the focus is on growing up and accepting adult

Frank Zappa's Roxy: The Movie DVD Review: A Necessary Purchase for Any Zappa Fan

The Wait is Over: Frank Zappa and the Mothers legendary Roxy shows revisited.
  |   Comments
The concert film Roxy:The Movie starring Frank Zappa and the Mothers, filmed in 1973 during a three-night engagement at Sunset Strip’s 500-seat Roxy Theatre, captures Zappa at a pivotal point - post-hippiedom and pre-mainstream media attention for Valley Girl and the PMRC hearings. We’ve heard bits and pieces of these concerts before, in Roxy and Elsewhere and You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, but an entire concert film escaped release due to a technical glitch at the time of recording. Forty-two years later, Roxy: The Movie has been released by Eagle Rock Entertainment, after some intense film and audio

Batman: The Television Series: The Complete Third Season DVD Review: And Batgirl Makes Three

One of the best TV series to bring a comic book to life because of its writing, cinematography, and production design.
  |   Comments
Warner Brothers has completed the entire run of Batman on DVD with the recent release of The Complete Third Season. Although the series remains well known 50 years later, and still airs on Me-TV and IFC at the time of this writing, the second season must not have performed well in the ratings because the third season was cut from 60 episodes airing biweekly to 26 episodes airing once a week. The majority of the stories now took place in one episode. The most notable change was the addition of Batgirl / Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara (Yvonne Craig). She appears

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Now'

"The Walking Dead returned with a little more excitement, and I do mean 'little'." - Kim
  |   Comments
In which "Now" just means "What?" Kim: After the excruciatingly long "Tale of Morgan" episode of last week, The Walking Dead returned with a little more excitement, and I do mean "little." I have to believe that all of the talky and feely and stuff is setting up for an epic mid-season finale - and yes, it’s already time to start talking about that because it’s coming up very quickly. This episode left me with far too many questions, and while I’m used to questions in this show, these are the kinds of questions that I don’t really want to

Before We Go Blu-ray Review: A Quaint Little Film

The relationship between the main characters ends up feeling so natural it overshadows the film's initial flaws.
  |   Comments
Nick (Chris Evans) is sitting on the floor of Grand Central Station thinking about something important in his life when suddenly Brooke (Alice Eve) rushes by, dropping her cell phone, shattering at his feet. Without a moment’s thought, he picks up the phone and sets off after the obviously distraught woman. As the station is closing for the night, he returns the phone only to find that not only has she missed the last train of the evening, but her purse with all of her money and identification has been stolen. Knowing Brooke has no way to take care of

Thoughtful & Abstract: Catching Up on the TV Season, Volume 2

Kim and Shawn take another walk down TV Street and look back at their March thoughts.
  |   Comments
In which Kim and Shawn riff again on some recent TV thingies... Kim: Back in March, we talked a bit about what we’d been watching on TV that season and I thought it would be interesting to have a look back at what we wrote and see how things have changed. As an aside, I hate change. I realize it’s a part of life and I do put on my big-girl panties and deal with it, but I don’t like it. I also don’t like the word "panties." Or wearing them. But those are different subjects. Let’s take a quick

Mr. Holmes Blu-ray Review: A Study in Relationships

Not a thrilling mystery, but a lovely tale about growing older.
  |   Comments
It is hard to believe that the fictional character Sherlock Homes first appeared in print in 1887. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created what would become one of the most well-known, iconic characters that is still intriguing to people today. Not only is he the basis for two current televisions shows in Elementary and Sherlock, but many films since he was originally introduced. One of the most unique tellings of this famous detective is Mr. Holmes. Based on Mitch Cullin's novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind, it tells the story of Holmes seeking to solve his final case.At age 93,

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words Movie Review: Here's Looking at You, Kid

Sharp insights and touching reminiscence about a Hollywood icon struggle to shine through a mountain of repetitive filler.
  |   Comments
One of the best moments in Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words is one of the quietest. It’s just a makeup test for the young actress - maybe 45 seconds of her ravishing yet approachable face. She doesn’t speak, doesn’t really do anything, but she runs through an entire gamut of emotional states, from happiness to fear, pride, anger, infatuation, coy flirtiness and sadness. Like her fellow Swede Greta Garbo, and even this early in her career, she had that camera-ready communicative power that seems to be equal parts magic and mental telepathy. The documentary also includes personal insights into

SPECTRE Movie Review: The Story That Baffled Me

SPECTRE works best when it delivers action, but stumbles when it slows down to tell its story.
  |   Comments
SPECTRE is Eon Productions' 24th James Bond film and the fourth starring Daniel Craig. The title is the name of a villainous global organization revealed to have been working behind the scenes of all Craig’s films, but it turns out the real nemesis is modern Hollywood. While past films with other actors playing 007 have had loose connections to one another, the stories stood on their own, allowing audiences easy entry into the series. However, being made in this era when people bingewatch because some TV series are serialized and multiple superhero titles are set within a single cinematic universe,

Just Let Go: Lenny Kravitz Live Blu-ray Review: A Giant Directorial Miscue

It's very difficult to enjoy the presentation as a whole, which is a shame because the music is so good.
  |   Comments
In support of his tenth studio album, Strut, Lenny Kravitz has released a live concert film that was recorded over a three-month period during the European leg of his 2014 tour. While there are twelve songs on the disk, it does come across more as a documentary than a concert performance. Between songs and sometimes right in the middle of them, there are interviews with Kravitz and the band. It’s a strange combination because just as the viewer is getting into the songs the entire vibe changes as you listen to philosophical explanations of what music is, and how the

Toy Story That Time Forgot Blu-ray Review: A TV Special Accessible to All Viewers Throughout the Year

It's good to see the care Disney/Pixar put into delivering a stunning Blu-ray.
  |   Comments
Toy Story That Time Forgot is the Disney/Pixar franchise's second television special following the 2013 Halloween special, Toy Story of Terror! It first aired in December 2014, and although it is set a couple days after Christmas, the story and message aren’t specific to the holiday, making the program accessible to all viewers throughout the year. Trixe the Triceratops (Kristen Schaal) feels frustrated because Bonnie plays with her as everything but a dinosaur. When Bonnie visits her friend Mason, she tosses the toys she brought over (Woody, Buzz, Rex, Trixie, and Angel Kitty) aside into his playroom and joins him

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Here's Not Here'

"I am always worried about a whole episode where we abandon our huge cast and follow just one person or story." - Shawn
  |   Comments
In which an episode inspires talk of sex, Star Wars, and Eastern philosophy. Shawn: It was 90 minutes and I feel like I have less to say than I did about any episode this season. 1.) I don't care if it's The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad or All In The Family, I am always worried about a whole episode where we abandon our huge cast and follow just one person or story. There wasn't ever an episode of Love Boat that only followed Gopher trying to steal Charo away from Dom DeLuise. I think this show is tempted to

Follow Us