It hasn't even been a year-and-a-half since the UK-based Arrow Video label first expanded into the US market, but in that short amount of time, they have managed to conquer many a blackened heart, releasing a number of significant cult classics from all over the world very few folks ever thought they would even see on DVD, let alone Blu-ray. With a venerable selection of trippy Italian thrillers already under their belt, Arrow continues to broaden the horizons of giallo lovers who, up to this point, though that they had seen everything when it comes to movies centering on anonymous
Recently in Blu-ray
Duccio Tessari's bizarre giallo/poliziotteschi/krimi hybrid hatches once again thanks to the diligent efforts of Arrow Video.
From Humphrey Bogart to Alfred Hitchcock, the WAC offers up some of the best mysteries ever available now on Blu-ray.
Along with the many wonderful Standard-Definition releases of films that have slipped through the cracks of time, the Warner Archive has also been releasing a limited assortment of classics on Blu-ray. During the last few months alone, the Manufactured-on-Demand outfit ‒ which only issues a handful of titles per week ‒ has unveiled an unbeatable selection of movies hailing from the dark side of classic motion pictures, including many film noir titles from the '40s and '50s. For this modest capsuling of features, I have chosen four Humphrey Bogart films, including one of his most famous characterizations; an alternate (first)
DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: Brings the Fun Back to Comic Book-related Shows
It ties in well to the Arrowverse and may be the best comic-book show on TV right now.
While DC’s recent superhero movies have gotten mixed reviews for being too dark or brooding or not understanding the source material (particularly with Superman), they seem to be doing everything right with their television shows. Programs such as Arrow and, especially, The Flash remember that these shows are based on comic books and that comic books, at their heart, are supposed to be fun. Much like their competition at Marvel has built a shared universe with their movies and, to a lesser extent, their TV shows, DC has done the same. The Flash spun off of Arrow and the characters
Warner and DC Comics' small-screen reboot of the Batman franchise grows, leaps, and slays in great strides.
The ascension to success is quite often a very bumpy climb. Just ask Gotham's hero Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). Poor Jimbo was continuously getting bumped up and down the police department ladder of rank and popularity ‒ random punishments sentenced to him by his corrupt superiors that even included a brief stint as a security guard at the infamous Arkham Asylum, where all sorts of video game scenarios are formed. In Gotham: The Complete Second Season, things are even more wild for both Jim Gordon and the residents of Arkham. Our hero gets demoted and promoted and hired and fired
Who knew a comedy about a cannibalistic serial killer could be this unfunny?
I used to have a roommate named Bobby. He was a nice guy, but not very culturally sophisticated. He was the kind of guy who, even though we were working 10-hour shifts and there was a 45-minute commute to and from the job would come home and immediately spend an hour at the gym. He was the kind of guy who, after a night at the club, would see a cute girl on her way out, roll down his window, and ask, “Are you hot or not?” He was the kind of guy who was attractive enough to make that
Tony Richardson's tale of the sweet and sour gifts life delivers to us.
A renaissance in British cinema erupted in the 1960s; known as the Free Cinema and instigated by directors Tony Richardson, Lindsay Anderson, and Karel Reisz, British cinema of the era espoused fantasy for gritty realism. These "kitchen sink dramas" dealt with the uncertainty and futility of living poor in England. Richardson's own A Taste of Honey, out today on DVD and Blu via Criterion, depicts these issues with the faintest glimmer of a silver lining. Jo (Rita Tushingham) is a young teen struggling to find some stability with her flight, man-obsessed mother (Dora Bryan). Jo soon falls for a kind
Arrow Video releases Duccio Tessari's classic giallo film in a stunning new Blu-ray edition.
I must start off this review with a confession. The only giallo (supernatual/mystey films that were usually made in Italy) movies I have ever seen were Suspiria and this one. There was a foreign film section at the video store when I was younger. But they never had such original titles like A Suitcase for a Corpse, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave ,or my favorite, Kill the Fatted Calf and Roast It. I'm not sure if they come up with the title first and then write the script, but these titles are awesome. Even the name of
Not really horror, not really funny, but definitely dark, and definitely takes too long.
Microwave Massacre tells the tale of Donald (Jackie Vernon), a construction worker with simple tastes driven mad by his wife's obsession with fancy cuisine and constant nagging about his lack of sophistication. One night he snaps, kills his wife, and, a short time later, accidentally eats some of her remains as a midnight snack. Turns out he has a taste for human flesh, and he sets about town, luring prostitutes back to his place for sex and dinner, in that order. There's enough there to make some sort of movie out of, but I was left wanting. Vernon plays the
Olive Films unleash one of the Cannon Group's greatest franchises in High-Definition via releases fans are sure to get a high-flying kick out of.
There are a number of things that made the 1980s the 1980s. New Wave music. Big hair. Video game consoles. Outrageous fashions. Odd expressions. Even the film industry pertaining to that particular decade offered up a variety of awesome flicks from every genre possible, from westerns to comedies, and from horror to action. But it is the latter category to wit we owe an eternal debt of gratitude, thanks largely in part to an amazing slew of low-budget wonders from Golan-Globus Productions, and their now-infamous distribution company, the Cannon Group. The men behind this outfit, Yorum Globus and Menahem Golan,
Hiroshi Teshigahara's enigmatic, hypnotic tale of a man trapped is equal parts Twilight Zone and Kafka, and completely absorbing.
Every night, the woman shovels sand from the bottom of a hole, which gets carted up by a rope pulley, and hauled away. She lives at the bottom of a deep pit, and every night the sand builds up. If she leaves off for more than a couple of days, the sand will get everywhere, and eventually the house will collapse, and she will die. Her husband and daughter were killed by the sand. So she digs, each night, for most of the night. She sleeps during the day, nude, sometimes not even under a blanket, since sleeping with the
Harold Lloyd hits a comedy home run in his last silent film.
Not only is "Speedy" the title character played by Harold Lloyd in his last silent film and last appearance as his The Boy/Glasses Character, but it also describes the fast-paced lifestyle that was overtaking New York City at the end of the Roaring '20s. Railroad businessmen want to buy out Pops (Bert Woodruff), the grandfather of Speedy's girlfriend's Jane (Ann Christy), so they can make use of the track on which his horse-drawn streetcar runs. Naturally, it will fall onto to Speedy to save the day. He is a clever fellow, but only seems to put his mind to making
Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection Blu-ray Review: She'd Have Killed Bill in the First Movie
Meiko Kaji and her incredible cheekbones star in four Japanese women's prison movies with varying levels of insanity.
Despite all the blood, boobs, torture, cruelty, crazy lighting schemes, and wild camera angles, the most indelible image in these four women's prison movies is Meiko Kaji's face. In particular, her big-eyed, vengeful glare. Her hair is jet black, and in some memorable shots her pale, beautiful face is the only thing lit in frame. In an almost silent role as Nami Matsushima (a.k.a Scorpion), her large, staring eyes and why she's glaring so intently frame the central theme of the movies: the victimization of women by men, and by extension, themselves. Of course, to deliver this theme, these movies
From bitter one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed veteran vigilantes in Santa Barbara to faithful female Jewish writers smuggling money into Nazi Germany, this lot of features proves all is indeed fair in love and war.
In a previously penned piece, I published my admiration of Michael Winner's Chato's Land (1972), which saw a recent Blu-ray debut via Twilight Time. It was just one of six titles from the label released in April of 2016, along with five more motion pictures, each sporting their own similar feelings towards not only love and war, but the rules we break in order to win one or the other. In Chato's Land ‒ an allegory to the Vietnam War ‒ Charles Bronson's halfbreed huntsman only takes to killing once his adversaries take their little cat and mouse game off
Overall, the show was entertaining, filled with good storylines, villains of the week, and an overarching story that came to a satisfying conclusion.
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. With the success of the DC shows currently running on the WB network, CBS decided to acquire their own superhero show based on Superman’s most famous relative, Kara (Melissa Benoist). Just before the destruction of Krypton and moments after her cousin was sent to Earth, Kara was placed in a spacecraft to help look after him since she was much older. But just as her ship left the atmosphere, the planet exploded
A wonderful and inspiring look at fandom, friendship, and childhood dreams come true, no matter what the cost.
The power of film has its perks: you're able to collect anything and everything about film, you find and make friends with people who feel the same way about film as you do, and you become apart of a very special community that is passionate about this ongoing medium. Fandom can take a whole new life of its own, whether you're a trekkie, star wars fan, or comic book lover. If you're Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb, you go even further and you make a shot-by-shot remake of an all-time classic film, Steven Spielberg's 1981 masterpiece, Raiders of
The Immortal Story Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Marvel of Deep Emotion and Haunting Spareness
A minimalist, but soulful depiction of lost souls in the 19th century.
We all knew that Orson Welles was mad, but we also knew that he had the ability to make cinematic works of art that transcend any genre. After his legendary 1941 masterpiece, Citizen Kane, he felt that he could do anything, but after he changed film history with Kane, he started to feel the slump of Hollywood. This is definitely no apparent more than when he made 1948's flop, The Lady from Shanghai, that kind of signaled the beginning of the end of his gifts as director/writer/actor extraordinaire. However, he made a comeback, a sort-of experimental one, as he started
Vittorio De Sica, Neil Simon and Peter Sellers are a comedy dream team, right?
So, you’ve got one of the greatest Italian film directors of all time in Vittorio De Sica, one of the most beloved of all American playwrights in Neil Simon, and one of the chief members of the British comedy pantheon in Peter Sellers. This collaboration must be a surefire classic, or at the very least, a notable misstep among three sterling careers. Except, it’s not. About the only thing remarkable about 1966’s After the Fox is how unremarkable the film is, despite the array of talent on hand. Did I mention it features a (maddening) theme song by Burt Bacharach
John Wayne takes on bad guys. What more do you need?
Offering little in the way of complexity when it comes to story or characterization, 'Neath the Arizona Skies stars John Wayne taking on bad guys, and if that's enough to be entertaining, this is a movie for you. Oil is found on Indian land and members of the Osage, Seminole, Iowa, Cheyenne, Siouz, Pawnee, and Kiowa tribes are entitled to payment, which I have a sneaking suspicion was not fair-market value. Chris Murrell (John Wayne) is guardian to Nina (Shirley Jane Rickert), a young biracial girl whose Indian mother is dead. She is entitled to $50,000 if Chris can find
Producer John Wayne gives newbies James Arness, Angie Dickinson, and Andrew V. McLaglen a chance to strut their stuff.
When it comes to following in the footsteps of a larger-than-life actor, it can be pretty darn hard to get a foothold ‒ especially when the actor is none other than John Wayne. But when someone like John Wayne has already taken a liking to you, well then you're a shoe-in for sure. A year after Wayne had recommended his equally gargantuan western counterpart to star in a new television series entitled Gunsmoke, James Arness apparently found himself at that awkward "You owe me one, pilgrim!" moment when The Duke's production company needed a star for their forthcoming theatrical cowboy
Who knew a show about beautiful people having sex could struggle so much with keeping our attention?
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
Twilight Time delivers another solid spate of titles in July
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,
While the unrated version had some extra scenes and funny moments, the theatrical version is tighter.
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
Ken Russell's controversial sexual thriller gets a new life in this Arrow re-release.
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
Three movies from the 1960s show the Japanese made more than just deeply felt dramas and samurai flicks.
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
Severin Films presents a spectacular two-disc, two-movie version of one of 42nd Street's most legendarily notorious offerings.
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
Five films from both film and real life history alike make their High-Definition debuts.
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.
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
This feature-length doc on the special effects master reveals the artistry behind his creature features.
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
An exploitation flick with a message.
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,
Run in a serpentine pattern to get yourself a copy.
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