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Society Limited Edition Steelbook Blu-ray Review: Body Horror At Its Best

No matter what they paid "Screaming" Mad George for the practical horror effects, they got their money's worth.
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A quick look at our recent history will show plenty of animosity towards the wealthy, the upper classes, and high society. From the Occupy Wall Street movement to Bernie Sanders-style socialism, thousands of people are lining up to protest with cries of “Eat the Rich!” But what if the rich weren't just greedy bastards taking from the poor to make themselves unfathomably more wealthy? What if they truly were evil. What if the rich ate us? Director Brian Yuzna’s 1989 film Society has something to say about that. Young, pretty Bill (Billy Warlock) comes from a wealthy, elite family but

Who'll Stop the Rain (1978) Blu-ray Review: Drugs, Not Hugs

Director Karel Reisz lends a lot of Creedence to this grim and gloomy tale of Dog Soldiers running amok, recently released to Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
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In case you've ever found yourself quoting the fairly famous words of The Dude whenever a song by The Eagles comes on, you'll be happy to know you can get your Creedence Clearwater Revival fill ‒ and then some ‒ in Karel Reisz' gloomy 1978 adult drama, Who'll Stop the Rain. In fact, I think it's safe to say someone overseeing the post-production of this gritty adaptation of Robert Stone's novel Dog Soldiers (not to be confused with the 2002 British werewolf horror film of the same name) was quite the fan of CCR since one-third of the soundtrack is

Inferno (1953) 3D/2D Blu-ray Review: Survival of the Richest

The line between film noir and technicolor melodrama is finely drawn in the sand, as this must-see Twilight Time offering proves.
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While the title may have been used several hundred times over since then, 1953's Inferno is a rare, one-of-a-kind contribution to the film noir genre. And that's mostly because it was filmed in both Technicolor and 3D. Maintaining a delicate balance between noir and melodrama (because that's what happens when you shoot noir in color), this scorching flick from English filmmaker Roy Ward Baker (who would later helm the highly rated Titanic classic A Night to Remember as well as several iconic Hammer horror titles) also sports the unusual distinction of being a survival adventure atop of it all. With

Year of the Comet (1992) Blu-ray Review: It's Twilight Wine Time

Peter Yates' unintentionally hilarious adventure tale will make you want to join a wine club and beat him over the head with it.
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What can you say about a movie where the hero is named Oliver Plexico? Well, frankly, you can say an awful lot about it, actually ‒ especially if the movie you're talking about happens to be Peter Yates' less-than-revered early '90s "magnum oopus", Year of the Comet. According to screenwriter William Goldman, the less-than-lacklustre success his story received from a free screening audience (who, reportedly, got up and left) was attributable solely to the unpaid group's respective distastes for red wine, which is ‒ believe it or not ‒ what this 1992 ode to the romantic comedy adventures of the

Hopscotch Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Matthau Supremacy

Matthau plays a disgruntled spy out for comedic payback against his boss.
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Hopscotch is a conundrum. It’s a comedic but still realistic spy movie filmed in the waning days of the terrifying Cold War. It’s a sleek caper that expects us to accept a rumpled, elderly lead actor as the dashing hero. It’s an international jaunt between multiple countries that could have been resolved within Washington, D.C. It’s a throwback that feels like a ‘60s film in spite of its 1980 release date. Inconceivably, it all works, leading to a totally satisfying romp that proves to be just as much fun for viewers as it does for its clearly delighted star. Walter

Ronin (1998) Blu-ray Review: Welcome Back to Cinematic Reality, Kids

Arrow Video revives John Frankenheimer's criminally neglected late '90s gritty crime thriller via a beautiful, all-new 4K scan.
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At one point or another amidst whatever we may have selected (or been selected) for our respective careers, we will fall from grace. Even if you're a great filmmaker like John Frankenheimer. In his heyday, the late director (who passed from this world in 2002, shortly after his final contribution to cinema ‒ an HBO docu-drama ‒ premiered) had crafted several groundbreaking films, from the highly fictionalized (but nevertheless well-made) biopic Birdman of Alcatraz, the must-see WWII locomotive heist classic The Train, as well as one of my personal favorites, the 1962 paranoiac conspiracy Cold War thriller, The Manchurian Candidate.

After the Storm Blu-ray Review: Human Drama is Equally Sad, Sweet

Japanese director Kore-Eda continues career-long streak of touching, humorous and very human dramas.
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The premise sounds like a high-concept, wacky comedy: down on his luck novelist and sometimes private detective follows around his ex-wife to keep tabs on her new boyfriend, while his aging mother engineers a scheme to get the two back together, for the sake of the couple's son. The lead actor even looks the part for broad physical comedy: at 6’2”, Hiroshi Abe literally stands out in any crowd in Japan. But After the Storm was written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Japan’s latter day master of the quietly powerful drama. His style is about observing small moments and interactions,

Fathom Events Presents TCM Big Screen Classics: Bonnie and Clyde

Don't miss your chance to see this classic film on its 50th anniversary on the big screen.
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As the 1960s began to close so did the Hollywood studio system. The days when studio heads like Jack Warner could make or break its stars and dictate how they behaved and what movies they made were coming to an end. So too was the Hayes Code with its old-fashioned moral rules about sex and violence dying out. Warren Beatty, who was already a star in 1967, foresaw the dying of the old studio system, produced and starred in Bonnie and Clyde which helped usher in New Hollywood with its new European style and an excess of on-screen sex and

Kung Fu Yoga Blu-ray Review: Jackie Chan Channels His Inner Indiana Jones

Overall, it’s entertaining to watch, the girls are beautiful, and the Bollywood ending was fun.
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Jack (Jackie Chan) is a famous archaeologist teaching in a major Chinese university. While working on a new project, Ashmita (Disha Patani), an Indian professor, comes into his life looking for his help to find a long-forgotten treasure that was held by the royal army but disappeared centuries ago in the Tibetan mountains. Using newly developed technology, Jack’s team manages to find a hidden ice cave that has held the treasure and the army frozen for all these years. But before they can catalog and remove all the treasure, Randall (Sonu Sood), a treasure hunter, and his armed men steal

The Zodiac Killer (1971) Blu-ray Review: Trap Them and Thrill Them

The American Film Genre Archive teams up with Something Weird Video to bring us a quintessential slice of sleazy '70s exploitation filmmaking, paired with a second, rarely-seen serial killer flick.
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Pop quiz, hotshot: How many films can you think of that were made to trap a serial killer? If you find yourself suddenly developing a headache at the mere notion of such a thing having ever taken place, it's probably time you checked out Tom Hanson's creepy low-budget exploitation flick from 1971, The Zodiac Killer. Cranked out on a whim and released less than three weeks after the infamous real life serial killer mailed what would prove to be the last letter for nearly three years, this very loose adaptation of one of the modern world's greatest unsolved mysteries was

Protocol DVD Review: Goldie Hawn Comedy Too Light-hearted for Its Own Good

For fans who like Goldie being Goldie, she takes part in mildly amusing antics.
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Protocol tells the story of Sunny (Goldie Hawn, playing a variation of her simple-minded persona that ingratiated her to many since she appeared on Laugh-In), a Washington D.C. cocktail waitress, whose actions leads to notoriety and a job with the U.S. State Department. The movie has moments where it seems like it wants to be a satire of politics and the media, but its critiques are blunted to allow Hawn to stand out as a comedienne. Sunny is struggling to get by. She has an unreliable car, is not happy with her job where some patrons think the bar also

Blackenstein (1973) Blu-ray Review: Withstanding the Tests of Taste and Time Alike

Severin Films and Vinegar Syndrome team up to bring us a certifiable guilty pleasure, which is probably most famous due to the unsolved murder of its creator.
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When it comes to connecting with a cult movie enthusiast, the mere mention of the blaxploitation genre can effectively inspire one's ticker to start pumpin' blood ‒ usually to the strains of a funky theme song we have come to adopt as our own over the years. For instance, if you so much as even say "Shaft" to me, you had best be prepared for my best Isaac Hayes impersonation. This also applies to the rarer horror subgenre of urban exploitation features, the best example of which would more than likely be AIP's lovably ridiculous (but still right on track)

Stormy Monday (1988) Blu-ray Review: Young Sean Bean Learns How to Make It Sting

Mike Figgis' impressive feature film debut ‒ also starring Melanie Griffith and Tommy Lee Jones ‒ returns to razzle, dazzle, and jazzle thanks to Arrow Video.
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Years before he found himself Leaving Las Vegas, the one man showmanship of Britain's own Mike Figgis paved the way for the influx of jazzy, sex-fueled neo-noir titles that all-but dominated the film industry in the early '90s with 1988's Stormy Monday. Inspired by the many magnificent gritty crime dramas that emerged from Europe in the '60s and '70s (and filmed his Figgis' hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where Michael Caine's Get Carter was shot), Figgis' self-described "romantic thriller" finds young Sean Bean as a fellow who is desperate enough to do just about anything for work. Fortunately for him, he couldn't

Jane's Addiction: Ritual De Lo Habitual - Alive at Twenty-Five Blu-ray Review: Thank You, Boys

An enjoyable look back at a classic album.
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After a brief introduction through separate interviews of band members Perry Farrell (singer), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums), and Chris Chaney (bassist in place of Eric Avery), Jane's Addiction played the final slot at Jack's 11th Show, which had them on a bill that included The Cult, Violent Femmes, and Garbage, whose touring bassist was Avery. Sadly, bridges have been burned so badly, there was no on-stage reunion. The concert, available on Blu-ray, DVD, and CD, took place at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on September 23rd 2016, a few weeks before the venue shut down and was bulldozed. It was

In This Corner of the World Movie Review: Daily Life in Wartime

A personal perspective on war is shown in this anime about a daydreaming house-wife's life in Japan in WWII.
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In This Corner of the World is a Japanese animated movie that tells the wartime story of Suzu, a sweet but ditsy young girl who at 18 is shipped from her home in Hiroshima to be married to Shusaku, a young man from Kure, a port and shipbuilding city about 15 miles away. It's 1944, and the war is beginning to come home to Japan in earnest. Shusaku's mother is in ill health, and the family needs a new girl to help take care of the home. Maybe the couple will love each other some day, and her new family

Eagles of Death Metal: I Love You All the Time: Live at the Olympia in Paris DVD Review

Dedicated to victims of terrorism all around the world, the band marks a triumphant return to France with this concert.
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On the back cover and at the start of the video, Eagles of Death Metal presents a reminder of the tragic events that occurred at their concert on November 13, 2015, when "gunmen entered the [Bataclan concert hall] and opened fire on the crowd, leaving 89 people dead." During U2's Paris concert on December 7, EODM returned to a concert stage for the first time with a joint performance of Patti Smith's "People Have the Power". In a classy move, they were then given the stage to close U2's show with "I Love You All the Time". This can be

Warlock Collection Blu-ray Review: Satan's Son Starts Franchise

Collects the three loosely connected movies in the Warlock series: one good, one weird, one dreadful.
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Like House II, Warlock was one of those movies that I remember seeing heavily advertised on television as a kid, and it occupied a place of real intrigue in my mind. I was too young to see it in the theater, and as it turns out (though I had no idea at the time) a shake-up at the production company meant that Warlock barely even saw a theatrical release. But the ads, with their canny use of "Carmina Burana" created a space of real menace in my consciousness. This new Blu-ray release, the Warlock Collection, brings all three movies (the

The Transfiguration DVD Review: A Boy Walks Home Alone at Night

A boy obsessed with vampires starts to act like one in this grim coming-of-age drama.
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Michael O’Shea’s feature film debut, The Transfiguration, is less of a movie about an actual vampire that stalks its prey, and more of a movie about a socially awkward boy who finds his escape from reality in stories about vampires. Of course, his obsession with vampires goes beyond just talking about them and debating with his new girlfriend about how things like Twilight and True Blood are not “realistic” portrayals of the vampire lore. Granted, he hasn’t even read Twilight, he tells her, but he doesn’t think vampires would ever really sparkle. He’s essentially the crazed fanboy, while she’s the

The Intruder (1975) Blu-ray Review: A Lost Regional Horror Film Comes Home to Slay

After 42 years of obscurity, the lost '70s proto-slasher ‒ complete with marquee value guest stars Mickey Rooney, Yvonne De Carlo, and Ted Cassidy ‒ finally gets a chance to see the night.
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Even after one viewing of Chris Robinson's 1975 regional horror flick The Intruder, you can roughly envision what would have befallen the film had it ever made it to cinemas. The frequent releases it would have seen on drive-in double feature programs throughout the rest of the decade, usually under a misleading alias coupled with an equally deceptive ad campaign. The inevitability of falling into the Public Domain, only to be released by every grey-market videocassette label in the '80s, wherein the names of the picture's marquee value stars ‒ Mickey Rooney, Ted Cassidy, and Yvonne De Carlo ‒ would

Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies: RFK Stadium, Wash. DC - 07/12/89 Review

Another enjoyable night seeing the Dead come back to life.
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Hosted by Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment at theaters across the country, the seventh annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies presented the band's performance at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington DC on July 12, 1989, which happened seven days before the Alpine Valley concert shown at the 2015 Meet Up and ten days after the Sullivan Stadium concert shown at the 2016 Meet-Up. Taken from the same Northeast Summer tour as the previous two Meet-Ups, this evening features guitarist Jerry Garcia, drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardist Brent Mydland, and guitarist Bob Weir with Bruce

Who's Crazy? (1966) Blu-ray Review: Come for the Jazz, Stay for It!

Kino Lorber presents this lost avant-garde sensory orgy, featuring actors from the Living Theatre and music by The Ornette Coleman Trio.
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Whereas some films withstand the test of time, others simply get buried by it. And one such example recently emerged from the annals of obscurity in the form of Thomas White and Allan Zion's Who's Crazy? ‒ a ripe slice of avant-garde celluloid from the glorious post-beatnik world of the mid '60s that is perhaps best-known for having never been seen at all. Following a poorly-received debut at Locarno in '65 and a brief screening at Cannes in '66 (this time with some extra added musical accompaniment by Nino Ferrer), the meager, black-and-white U.S./Belgian co-production vanished, leaving a vague, lingering

Beyond the Darkness (Buio Omega) Blu-ray Review: She's a Real Doll

Get stuffed as Severin Films proves a dynamic HD master can make even Joe D'Amato's most notorious schlocker look sharp and polished.
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Of all the Italian horror maestros whose various works I discovered and worshipped as a teenager in the analog era, none stood out quite like the great Aristide Massaccesi did. Best known by his more marketable anglicized alias Joe D'Amato, the late low-budget director/producer/writer/cinematographer/editor of sleazy European exploitation cinema cranked out nearly 200 directorial efforts alone throughout his wild ride on Earth before heading off to the world beyond in 1999. Fortunately, Joe left behind a wide and varied legacy for both the devout and the curious alike, with numerous contributions to every feasible film genre in existence, from westerns

Pulse Blu-ray Review: Loneliness is Hell

Japanese horror doesn't so much scare, but fills you with unnamed dread.
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Horror in the 1980s was all about the slasher - mindless monsters mutilating teenagers in desolate places. With Scream, released in 1996, director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson stabbed the slasher in its cold, dead heart. Scream (and its numerous sequels and countless inspired-bys) satirized slasher films with a self-aware sarcastic mocking. Around this same time, Americans first began discovering (and then remaking) Asian horror in general and Japanese horror in specific. These films neither relied on blood-filled violence (though certainly Japan has its fair share of gore maestros - the films of Takashi Miike come immediately to mind)

Re-Animator Limited Edition Blu-ray Review: One of Horror's Truly Finest Films

Arrow pulls out all the stops for an all-time horror classic.
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The horror genre tends to get a really bad rap. Yes, I know that some movies of this rather reviled film category are cheesy, campy, over and under-acted. They may not cater to everyone, or match their movie tastes. However, this genre is one of the most influential in film history. Horror movies are not just blood and guts, they can go beyond that to reflect on how insane our society has become. They also deal with people who dare to play God and go against the nature of death. And director Stuart Gordon's incredible and legendary 1985 adaptation of

Going In Style (2017) Blu-ray Review: Entertainment to Pass the Time

The main cast members are appealing even though their talents aren't being fully utilized.
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Going In Style (2017), a reboot of the 1979 film, takes the struggles of old age and combines them with the financial struggles of the modern age and turns them into a lighthearted comedy. It's entertainment to pass the time, best suited when trying to pick a movie with a large group that has varied cinema interests, like at a family get-together where jokes about pot and one F-bomb are acceptable, and at least most involved can be made interested by the main cast members, who are appealing even though their talents aren't being fully utilized. Joe (Michael Caine) is

The Circle Blu-ray Review: An Interesting Idea with Poor Execution

Just because you have a good cast, it’s no guarantee that you will have a good film.
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Mae Holland (Emma Watson) is a young adult searching for her way in the world. She works as a customer-service operator in a call center. Her parents, Bonnie (Glenne Headly) and Vinnie (Bill Paxton), are struggling to get by while dealing with her father’s MS. But things suddenly begin to look up for her when her good friend Annie (Karen Gillan) contacts her informing her that she pulled some strings and has signed her up for an interview with The Circle, one of the world’s biggest tech companies. Mae impresses her interviewer and immediately goes to work. It’s essentially the

Free Fire Blu-ray Review: Pride and Stupidity Cometh Before the Fall

A hysterical showdown between gangs that couldn't shoot straight.
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Ben Wheatley's Free Fire is a hysterical shoot-'em up destined for cult status, because this slightly gruesome, black comedy is not for everyone. The story centers around a gun deal in '70s Boston between two IRA members, Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley), South African weapons dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley), their respective associates, and a couple of facilitators, like Justine (Brie Larson). Unfortunately for them (and lucky for us), her presence is unable to counteract all the testosterone. Tensions are continually on the rise, from the misunderstanding of smug Ord's (Armie Hammer) sense of humor to the wrong rifles

With Great Power...The Stan Lee Story DVD Review: A Look at This Legendary Comic Creator

With Great Power tells the story of Marvel Comics' biggest name.
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When Stanley Martin Lieber took a job as an assistant at Timely Comics in 1939, little did he know that 78 years later, he’d arguably become the biggest name in comic-book history. Yet that is exactly what happened, with a little help from some equally legendary artists, of course. The documentary With Great Power…The Stan Lee Story takes a detailed view at Lee’s life, attempting (and generally succeeding) to tell his story in 80 minutes. Originally released in 2010, and winner of numerous awards such as “Best Directors Docufest” at Atlanta 2011 and the “Special Jury Prize” at the 2011

LEGO Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash Blu-ray Review: The Mix Here Is a Hot Mess

In which Mystery Inc. are in LEGO for no good reason.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy reviewed in the Blog Post. Shawn's opinions are his own. The title alone should tell you that this is going to be a mish-mash of properties and stories. Anyone who has followed my reviews for the past decade knows that I love Scooby-Doo! But it's the most schizophrenic property over at Warner Bros. They have had a series of good movies since the relaunch in 1998 including Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island and Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! The recent TV series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! have led the

36 Hours (1964) Blu-ray Review: Captivating Wartime Espionage

James Garner finds himself right in the middle of a dirty Nazi trick in this taut WWII thriller from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Imagine waking up one day, only to discover five years have passed and your memory isn't what it used to be. No, it's not another melodrama about people suffering from Alzheimer's. Rather, that is the heart of a nifty Nazi conspiracy in George Seaton's 1964 World War II thriller 36 Hours. Here, the late great James Garner stars as an American intelligence officer who ‒ after attending a top-secret briefing about the forthcoming Invasion of Normandy ‒ heads off to Lisbon to meet an informant. Alas, he doesn't make it that far. Kidnapped by Der Führer's men, our hero instead

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