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Dolly: The Ultimate Collection 19-Disc DVD Review: The Queen of Country Conquers TV

This set showcases that Dolly Parton's musical talent, charisma, and spirit have remained a constant over the decades.
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The first four volumes of Dolly: The Ultimate Collection from Time Life contains a massive amount of TV appearances across 19 discs and over six decades. This set showcases that Dolly Parton's musical talent, charisma, and spirit remained a constant while her appearance frequently changed. Volume 1 contains 6 discs. The first three discs contain eight episodes from her eponymous 1987 variety show that aired on ABC. The shows are packed with guest stars and hokey humor, but the songs are what's worth watching. Disc 3 focuses on Christmas with a Dolly episode paired with Bob Hope's Jolly Christmas Show

Book Review: Star Trek: The Artistry of Dan Curry by Dan Curry and Ben Robinson

Encyclopedic in its scope and a must-have for fans of Star Trek and/or special effects in any visual medium.
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In Star Trek: The Artistry of Dan Curry by Dan Curry and Ben Robinson, the reader is constantly reminded that all of Dan Curry’s work has been in collaboration with a dedicated and talented team; however, it is obvious very quickly that Curry has a singular, impressive vision that steers the ship. The effects and stories behind credits sequences, alien and alien weapons design, to complex set decorations, highlight Curry’s intelligence, wit, and laser-like focus on adding realism and wonder to every storyline. Curry’s genius shines from every page. Some of the most insightful moments come in the form of

The Irishman (2019) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Welcome Addition to Martin Scorsese's Filmography

It's what it is: a fitting bookend to his gangster films.
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Martin Scorsese's epic The Irishman makes a fitting bookend to his gangster films as one mobster tells his story while living out his twilight days at a retirement home, alone because of the life chosen and the decisions made. The film is also poignant because it's likely the last fans will get to see the trio of Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci together telling a story of such scale and scope, if not the last story they tell as Pesci had to be coaxed out of retirement. The titular character is Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a

The Pirate Blu-ray Review: Choppy Seas Lead to Treasure

Gene Kelly and Judy Garland struggle to right this listing ship
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On paper, this classic musical has everything going for it. Headlined by the top-tier star pairing of Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, with songs by Cole Porter and direction by Vincente Minnelli, it’s a dream team of talent that seems like a guaranteed hit. So why is it barely known today? Well, to the creators' credit, they tried to do something unique with the pirate theme, but to their detriment, it doesn’t really work out. Still, it’s a glorious, over-the-top mess stuffed with superb production numbers and a mercilessly mugging Kelly setting the standard for flamboyant screen pirates decades before

Happiest Season Movie Review: A Vital Holiday Rom-Com

A suitable comedy for this particular holiday season that's both humorous and incredibly emotive.
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One way to describe co-writer/director Clea DuVall's Happiest Season is that it serves as a heartfelt holiday gem as satisfying as a Christmas cookie served with bitter gingerbread coffee that has dabs of cream and sugar. Although audiences sadly won’t get the experience of watching it in a crowded theater, it’s still the kind of solid piece of escapism this holiday season needs with enough poignancy to strike a chord with viewers. Queer viewers, in particular, will be moved by it due to its handling of the “coming out” experience and how even life after coming out of the closet

Book Review: Serpentine by Philip Pullman

Serpentine feels like a lazy Sunday afternoon with close friends but is only for fans who are completionists.
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Serpentine, by Philip Pullman, is the latest entry into the author’s much lauded His Dark Materials. Coming in at fewer than 5,000 words, this is not a story, it is a short story. However, it will stand up to multiple readings. Because this is such a short entry in the His Dark Materials universe, there is not much I can say about the plot without giving everything away; however, I can say that Serpentine focuses on teenager Lyra Silvertongue and her daemon Pantalaimon visiting the town of Trollesund with an important interlude involving Dr. Lanselius and his daemon snake. Lyra

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind DVD Review: Something Very Special

If you aren't already a fan, this documentary makes the case for what an immense talent he is.
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Named after Canadian troubadour Gordon Lightfoot's 1970 breakout hit in the United States, Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni's biographical documentary makes mind reading unnecessary because what his songs don't tell you about the man, he and the other interviewees fill in the rest. Right from the start, it's clear that the man from Orilla, Ottawa remains a perfectionist about his work, as revealed by other musicians later in the film. “For Lovin' Me” was released on his debut album in 1966, but it had already been recorded by folk artists Peter, Paul, and Mary and Ian & Sylvia and would

Book Review: The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway, edited by Una McCormack

Fans of Star Trek: Voyager will be pleased to receive added insight into favorite storylines from the series; unfortunately, such scenes are few and far between.
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The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway, by Una McCormack, is the third book in a series of planned Star Trek “autobiographies” following 2015’s The Autobiography of James. T. Kirk and 2017’s The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard, both written by author David A. Goodman. The book spans the entirety of Janeway’s life from her idyllic childhood on a small farm outside Bloomington, Indiana, to her position as vice-admiral in Starfleet Command. In between, we learn of Janeway’s time at the Starfleet Academy, her first command, and insightful revelations concerning her time lost in the Delta Quadrant—an adventure first recounted in the seven

Jungleland Movie Review: Packs a Nearly Rigorous Punch

As Jungleland gets hit with convention, the three leading performers still serve as its strong emotional center.
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The newest fighting drama Jungleland feels like a cross between The Fighter and Of Mice and Men. Like the former film, it emphasizes on the tempestuous nature of siblinghood to the point where there’s little high-octane fighting sequences. As for how Jungleland compares to the latter, it follows two men going across the country in pursuit of the American Dream, dealing with the complications of going on such a venture. Stanley Kaminski (Charlie Hunnam) serves as the “George Milton” of the brotherly duo as he’s quick-witted and uses his brother Lion (Jack O’Connell) as an opportunity to build a better

I Spit on Your Grave Box Set Review: Mainly for Hardcore Fans of Cult/Horror Films

Ronix Flix pulls out all the stops for a still notorious 1978 cult classic with a collection that may be a must-have, depending on your tastes.
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If you discuss some of the most controversial films ever made, Meir Zarchi's 1978 still-divisive, cult-classic I Spit on Your Grave (aka Day of the Woman) should always come up at some point. It's one of those definitive love-it-or-hate-it movies that refuses to lay down and die. Whatever your viewpoint is about its merits (which it actually has), it continues to have a life, even after 42 years. Because of its eventual resurgence, especially as a feminist statement, it has spawned a franchise, which includes a 2010 remake (that has its own sequels, from 2013 & 2015) and its own

Daughters of Darkness (1971) 4K Ultra HD Review: Mysterious, Sensuous Vampire Story

A mysterious and sumptuously produced film about a newlywed woman finding monsters on her honeymoon, supernatural and otherwise.
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On the first level, Daughters of Darkness is a film about a newly married couple who encounter an intriguing, if overly familiar and insistent, traveling royal on the Continent, who tries to seduce them into her strange and ultimately deadly web. The husband and wife are tempted, spied upon, and ultimately driven to desperation. But they might have already been desperate before the Countess Bathory crossed their path. Stefan and Valerie, played John Karlen and Danielle Ouimet, respectively, begin their story on a train, where they make passionate (and fairly graphic) love. Afterwards, she asks him if he loves her,

Dating Amber Movie Review: Well-Acted and Painfully Frank

A queer coming-of-age story as jarring as it is nonchalant.
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Dating Amber is easily the first coming-of-age queer story I’ve seen to give me such severe PTSD. Seeing the two central characters, Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) and Amber (Lola Petticrew), be subjected to such ridicule to the point where they pretend to be a couple despite being a gay and a lesbian, respectively, brought back painful memories of similar ridicule when I was in eighth grade. During a time where I was unsure of my own sexuality, I had to deal with classmates always badgering me about who I had a crush on and because I tried keeping mum about that

Jonny Quest: The Complete Original Series Blu-ray Review: 26 Thrilling, Boys' Adventures

The Blu-ray from Warner Archive delivers satisfying high-definition video that will please long-time fans and should help attract new ones.
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Originally running from September 18, 1964-March 11, 1965, Jonny Quest is an animated, science fiction/adventure series from Hanna-Barbera Productions. It was created by artist Douglas S. Wildey at the behest of the studio when they couldn't get the rights to create an adaptation of the popular radio drama, Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. The TV series presents 26 thrilling boys' adventures set around the world in the (then) near future. In the first episode, “The Mystery of the Lizard Men,” the main characters are introduced: the 11-year-old titular character (Tim Matheson); his widowed father, scientist Dr. Benton Quest (voiced by

Where She Lies Movie Review: 'It Was a Different Time'

A heartbreaking story about searching for the truth that lies between reunion and grief.
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There is a point in the new documentary, Where She Lies, where one of the interviewees uses the phrase, “It was a different time.” This is a phrase that gets tacked onto horrendous stories from decades past. For many people, it serves as a way to excuse things like abuse, assault, and manipulation. But this flippant phrase does more than that, it also silences the stories and the humanity of the victims who experienced these horrendous things. While researching another project, filmmaker Zach Marion read a short article about a woman named Peggy Williams who was raised in these “different

Stargirl: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: A Stellar Season

Although there's been a glut of superhero TV shows the past few years, Stargirl feels fresh and is executed so well on all fronts.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. Based on the comic book character created by writer Geoff Johns and artist Lee Moder, the Stargirl gang made their first appearance, briefly, in the Arrowverse crossover event, "Crisis on Infinite Earths," before the debut of their stellar 13-episode season, which aired on the DC Universe streaming service and the CW. The series opens with a flashback to ten years ago when the Justice Society lost a major defeat at the hands

You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown Deluxe Edition DVD Review

The amusing special is paired with the very disappointing He's A Bully, Charlie Brown.
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You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown is the eighth Peanuts television special. It first aired in October 1972 before the U.S. Presidential election and is based on a strip that ran in October 1964. After seeing the announcement for the upcoming election for class president, Linus suggests Charlie Brown run. After self-appointed political strategist Lucy polls the student body, she learns he has no chance but discovers Linus has a 99% chance of winning, so he throws his hat into the ring to run against Russell Anderson. At the debate between the candidates, Linus makes a lot of promises that excite

5-Movie Collection from the Written Works of Stephen King Blu-ray Review

Most of the high-def presentations will satisfy fans of the modern-day King of horror.
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This collection packages five Paramount movies based on the writing of Stephen King. They are David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone (1983) based on the 1979 novel, Dan Attias's Silver Bullet (1985) based on the 1983 novella Cycle of the Werewolf, Mary Lambert's Pet Sematary (1989) and Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer's 2019 remake based on the 1983 novel, and Mick Garris' The Stand (1994) TV miniseries based on the 1978 novel. In addition, King wrote the screenplays for Silver Bullet, Pet Sematary (1989), and The Stand. I haven't read any of the original stories so can't comment on their adaptation

The Hit Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Gem of Film by Stephen Frears

A highly overlooked crime drama full of delicious slow burns and ideas.
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The action film always comes with cliches, meaning that they usually contain car chases, explosions, and non-stop action. Sometimes these elements can taint and drag films of the crime drama category into the realm of familiarity and unoriginality. Thankfully, this is not the case with acclaimed director Stephen Frears' early 1984 effort The Hit, which relies more on character drive and often offbeat palpability. Inspired by a true story of an armed robber turned stool pigeon, the film stars Terence Stamp as Willie Parker, a gangster's henchman turned "supergrass" (informer) who rats out his fellow mobsters. Ten years later, while

Kindred Movie Review: A Nearly Surface-Level Chiller

Tamara Lawrance carries this viable paranoid thriller with ease and articulacy.
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This year, we have a clear trend of eerily similar horror films about women dealing with gaslighting and fighting for their autonomy against their more affluent partners. Earlier this year, Swallow and the remake of The Invisible Man depicted women in such peril and now, we have the British psychological thriller Kindred. However, instead of depicting Charlotte (Tamara Lawrance) being antagonized by her partner, she’s instead at odds with her partner’s relatives. Those whom one always hopes not to fear because once they enter a relationship with someone, they inevitably enter that person’s family life. Both Charlotte and her lover

The Plot Against America DVD Review: A Bland 'What If' Drama

HBO's miniseries offers an alternate glimpse of American during the 1940s and makes obvious comparisons to today's events.
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Based on Phillip Roth’s novel of the same name, David Simon’s adaptation of The Plot Against America takes a look at an alternate timeline of the country during the 1940s. It imagines what would have happened if aviator and political activist Charles Lindbergh ran for president and won over Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But Lindbergh is portrayed as radical and xenophobic, and his vision seems to be leaning more toward running the country like a dictator. Does that sound familiar? It should. If you follow the news at all, the comparisons to the media's portrayal of President Trump and their constant

Burt Sugarman's The Soul of The Midnight Special: Volume 1 (1973-1976) DVD Review: A Soulful Nostalgia Trip

Be instantly transported to soul, funk, and disco's golden era in this five-DVD set.
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Long before MTV, if you wanted to see your favorite artist perform their latest hits, you had limited choices: see them on American Bandstand, Soul Train, The Tonight Show, or on variety shows. Many of these programs, however, featured artists lip-synching their newest singles. During the 1970s, The Midnight Special, along with Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, stood out for having completely live music in front of a studio audience. NBC’s The Midnight Special, which aired from 1973-1981, kept music fans up late with current and classic artists from the rock and soul fields. Time Life has compiled some of the

Cold Light of Day (1989) Blu-ray Review: Portrait of a British Serial Killer

Obscure British serial killer film details the grubby life of a real life (if slightly fictionalized) murderer.
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Obscure, cheap, short, and brutal, Cold Light of Day is a surprising discovery of British cinema. Shot on 16mm, the occasionally extremely grainy footage matches the grubbiness of the sets, the characters, and the entire sordid story. Inspired by real life British serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who may have murdered as many as 17 young men, chopping up their bodies and keeping various pieces of them on his property, Cold Light of Day opens with the murderer, here called Jorden March, being caught by the police. There's no struggle or fight - they knock on his door, he comes with.

Parasite (2019) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Rich Fam, Poor Fam

Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning drama gets the Criterion treatment.
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One of the hardest things for a filmmaker to do is blend multiple genres together and do it so seamlessly. The balance of tone and mood can drastically shift once it makes its way from one focus to another, and that tends to lead some films on a downward spiral. But the way Bong Joon-ho handles his latest film, Parasite, is so unique. The blending of dark satire and tense drama is masterful. Bong takes a topic with which he’s familiar (class inequality) and turns it into something that is wonderfully helmed and feels like new territory. Parasite tells the

The Deeper You Dig Blu-ray Review: A Terrific Low-budget Horror

A perfect addition to your Halloween viewing schedule.
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In a small, dark bar, in a small New York hamlet, Kurt (John Adams) eats a grubby little dinner and has a few too many beers. It is snowing and pitch-black when he drives home. He swerves to miss a few deer, running across the road and then hears a bump bump. He's hit something. That something turns out to be 14-year-old Echo (Zelda Adams), who was out sledding. Kurt is visually upset, he's not a psychopath after all, but he's also been around. He knows the score. If he calls the cops, they'll give him a drunk test and

The Gunfighter Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Price of Fame

A film deserving of recognition thanks to a story that could be told in any genre and a great leading performance by Gregory Peck.
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Set in the Southwest Territory of the 1880s, a Texan named Jimmy Ringo (Gregory Peck) was known the fastest gun. While this designation has earned him respect, it also causes some to fear him and others to test the legend, a burden that The Gunfighter carries in Henry King's taut western. While en route to Cayenne, Ringo stops off at a saloon. A kid named Eddie (Richard Jaeckel) starts running his mouth. Ringo tries to avoid a confrontation but is forced to kill him. Even though he was in the right, it is suggested he leave town because the kid

AFI Fest 2020 Review: Belushi

A wonderful remembrance yet also a great frustration.
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Set to air November 22 on Showtime, R.J. Cutler's Belushi is a standard biographical documentary that tells the regrettably all-too-familiar tale of the rise of a talented individual who succumbs to personal demons. In case the title isn't enough to go on, the subject is John Belushi, who became a household name in the latter half of the '70s as an original member of Saturday Night Live's Not Ready for Prime Time Players. He went on to have a successful career in movies and music as well. In 1978 at only 30 years old, he added a #1 album with

The Mothman Legacy Movie Review: For an Audience New to the Legend

If you are well-versed on this red-eyed harbinger of doom, you may not gain a lot of new insight.
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If you grew up in a town that has local legends, you no doubt grew up hearing the stories that shaped your town's history. The residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia know about these kinds of legends all too well. On December 15, 1967, 46 people were killed when the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia collapsed during rush hour. But before the tragedy, people around Point Pleasant reported seeing a large winged creature with glowing red eyes. This creature came to be known as the Mothman. This legendary creature is seen by many as warning of impending doom.

Graveyards of Honor Blu-ray Review: Grim Yakuza Renegade Dramas

Two adaptations of the same novel, made decades apart, about a yakuza too violent and self-destructive even for gang-life.
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Both Kinji Fukasaku and Takashi Miike were unlikely survivors in their different eras of Japanese cinema. They both were highly prolific, and rare among their peers when the fortunes of the Japanese film industry turned for the worse, they kept working, pivoting into different genres and styles. Fukasaku worked steadily through the '70s and '80s when many of his peers fell by the wayside, and though Miike by all rights ought to have burned out with his amazing productivity (over 100 feature films in three decades of filmmaking, sometimes more than five in a single year) he's still going strong.

AFI Fest 2020 Review: Wolfwalkers

A classic film animation fans will revisit and future generations will continually discover.
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Made by the Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s Wolfwalkers is the third in Moore's Irish folklore trilogy, following The Secret of Kells (2009) Song of the Sea (2014). However, this film is so good audiences won't want him to stop at three entries. Set in Kilkenny, Ireland, 1650, the inhabitants of the walled city are troubled by wolves in the surrounding woods. Arriving from England, Bill Goodfellowe (Sean Bean) is a hunter tasked with remedying the situation. His young daughter, Robin (Honor Kneafsey), wants to assist her father and take part in the hunt, rather

Seat 20D Movie Review: Suse Lowenstein Shines a Light with Her Sculpture 'Dark Elegy'

A documentary how art can give tangible context to our grief and how it can help those left behind.
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Do you remember where you were when you learned that your life had just changed forever? Perhaps it was when you were offered that job you had been hoping for. Or when the love of your life walked into the room. Those are good moments we never want to forget. But what do you remember about the moment when your life changed forever due to tragedy? ​Were you at home? Were you at work? Did someone else tell you? Did you see it on the news? As you think about those moments, can you remember how your body felt? Did

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