At the end of each Laika Studios feature film (Coraline, Kubo & the Two Strings, etc.), we get a time-lapsed, behind-the-scenes look into how the preceding movie was made, and we’re shown how much detail and hard work was put into crafting one particular scene. I kind of wish there was something like that at the end of Loving Vincent, a new biopic about the late Vincent van Gogh that was made entirely with oil paintings on canvas. Granted, you can find clips online, but having it readily available for viewing during the credits, especially after something as experimental and
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The world's first film to be made entirely with oil painting is a visually stunning work of art.
AGFA gives Dusty Nelson's directorial debut a nice Blu-ray upgrade.
Dusty Nelson’s Effects has had quite the unexpected ride ever since its completed stages back in the late 1970s. What was slated to have a theatrical release in presumably 1980, if IMDb is to be trusted, ended up being something that only played at a few festivals and then practically vanished. It wasn’t until 2005 that it was available for the public to view, when Synapse Films got a hold of it for a DVD release. Now, the people at the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) have come together to give the film a proper Blu-ray release. Effects is a
A boy obsessed with vampires starts to act like one in this grim coming-of-age drama.
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
Jessica Chastain can't even save this underwhelming World War II drama.
Even in movies that aren’t good, such as last year’s Miss Sloane, Jessica Chastain has proven to be a major highlight. She can give a commanding performance that deserves to be in something better. But what The Zookeeper’s Wife proves is that she can’t always be the movie’s brightest spot. Chastain doesn’t give an all-around bad performance in The Zookeeper’s Wife; there are moments where she does exceptionally well. But the biggest flaw with her performance is her attempt at a Polish accent. She slips in and out of it for the duration of the movie, and it doesn’t even
Dario Argento's first feature film is given a lovely 4k transfer, and the set is filled with an incredible amount of extras.
Dario Argento has been referred to as the “Italian Hitchcock,” and when you see his debut feature, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, you’ll understand why people called him that. Argento’s first film is a stylishly edited slasher flick that dishes out the blood in such a unique way that’s not overly grotesque. Those of you who have seen other Argento films, but have not seen this one, are probably chuckling at that last comment, but it’s true. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage contains some rather disturbing moments, but Argento doesn’t show the knife going into the person’s body,
This year's con proved to be a better experience for pop-culture fans than the previous year.
Ever since making its way to Sacramento in 2014, I’ve had the pleasure of covering each Wizard World convention. That was actually the first time I had attended an event of its kind, and I was completely blown away by how much of a nerd nirvana it turned out to be. Whether you are into movies, television shows, comic books, or anything pop-culture related, there was something for everyone at the event. I’ve always looked forward to each one, but, to be honest, I was a little let down by the 2016 convention. I’m not saying it was an entirely
The Oscar-winning film from Denmark celebrates its 30th anniversary with a new 2K digital restoration.
You hear stories about people wanting to migrate from their home country to a new area all the time. All of them want to start a new life in a new location because their current residence is no longer fitting for them for a multitude of reasons. Many have dreams of how their new life will be once they move, and they are mostly positive. But, upon their arrival, the harsh reality sets in, and the dreams and goals they had are pushed to the wayside as they embrace their new life. That’s the basis for many films about immigration,
Sorbo also talks about playing an exaggerated version of himself in a movie and some of the future projects he has lined up.
I first interviewed Kevin Sorbo back in 2013, when he was doing a promotion for a little film called Storm Rider. But, back then, I was talking to him over the phone while on my lunch break at the day job I had at the time. This year, I was able to speak to him in person for five minutes. Sure, that’s not a lot of time for an interview, but it’s enough to get in some questions while he’s on a break from signing autographs and taking pictures. Sorbo is one of the many guests lined up for the
The live-action adaptation of the Disney classic comes to Blu-ray with a lot of great special features.
Walt Disney is continually proving its efforts at adapting every animated classic in its vault is financially successful, and, because of that, there will be more coming down the pipeline. The Lion King, Mulan, and Dumbo are currently in pre-production, and there are plenty of others that have already been announced. Don’t be shocked if they announce live-action adaptations of Aladdin, The Aristocats, or anything else for that matter. The formula works, and people will flock to see whatever Disney puts out. That being said, Bill Condon’s update of Beauty and the Beast is practically an exact replica of the
David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike shine in this true story of a forbidden love.
Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom has the feel of something that just missed the window for Oscar consideration and was dropped into limited release in February of this year, since the studio couldn’t think of any other month to put it in. It’s a pristine-looking picture that carries the textbook moments of a historical biopic, and never misses a beat in making sure it has all the things it needs in order to make a successful, crowd-pleasing feature. A grandiose score, beautiful scenery, and big speeches are all featured here. By now, the formula is overdone, and, in most cases,
Sam Elliott gives one of the best performances of his career.
For the past nine years, several actors have played similar performances to that of Sam Elliott’s in The Hero, and have gone on to obtain Oscar recognition. It happened for Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, and, to an extent, Michael Keaton in Birdman. All three played a once-famous icon that has lost his way and attempts to make a comeback while, at the same time, starting a new relationship and trying to reconnect with estranged family members. Rourke and Keaton received nods for their performances, while Bridges won for his. You could say that the
Aftermath (2017) Blu-ray Review: A Serious Arnold Schwarzenegger Can't Save This Melodramatic Misfire
Arnold Schwarzenegger trades in his guns and one-liners for a role that is unlike anything else he's done in his career, but the movie lacks in telling an engaging story.
For most of his career, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been known as the tough guy, the guy that can kick butt and take names. His career launched when people saw him in the body-building documentary, Pumping Iron, and then really took off with films like the Terminator series, the Conan films, Predator, and Total Recall. But as the actor and former governor of California is getting ready to turn 70 this year, he’s taking on roles that are unlike anything he’s done before. Of course, he hasn’t completely given up on doing another Terminator, even though the world didn’t need one,
Federico Fellini's fever dream exploration of Rome gets the Criterion Collection treatment, and it's lovely.
In the opening text prior to the start of Roma, we get a detailed explanation of how the original version of Federico Fellini’s movie had scenes that were shortened for international release by him, producer Turi Vasile, and screenwriter Bernardo Zapponi. Some footage never made it past the production documentation phase, and, therefore, has never been seen by the general public. I kind of wish there was a way for us to see everything that Fellini had captured, because Roma is a gorgeous look at Rome and the people living in it during a certain period of time. Fellini doesn’t
Quirky characters are wasted in Thomas Vinterberg's latest.
The Commune is a film that should be praised for its realistic depictions of a relationship growing stale and the difficulties of living with life-long friends and/or total strangers. I can imagine quite a few people will find some relation to this film in one way or another; I certainly did. But, at the same time, I also found myself wanting to be with characters that had more to them. For a good portion of the movie, I felt like I was watching something in which the script was written, but there were some glaring moments that felt like they
Although it recycles a lot from the previous films, Alien: Covenant is still a gorgeously shot, thrilling sci-fi feature.
More than 30 years after he terrified us with Alien, Ridley Scott returned to the franchise with Prometheus, a film that proved to be more ambitious than fans of the sci-fi franchise were expecting. Sure, it had the origins aspect that fans were expecting, but a lot of the Alien prequel side of the film felt subtle to the exploration of life and creation of man on which Scott ended up focusing. The result was a film that was divisive amongst the Alien fan base, and even Scott admitted recently that he was going in the wrong direction with Prometheus.
Guy Ritchie's King Arthur re-telling is flashy but dull.
The one question I had after the screening of Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was, “Why does this exist?” I’m still trying to find an answer for it. Granted, this is a different take on the King Arthur story that we’ve all known to grow and love. And by different, I mean, there are gigantic elephants getting ready to destroy Camelot in the opening sequence. Not only that, but there are strange, octopus mermaids led by one that looks like a cross between The Little Mermaid’s Ursula and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’s Mama June. But my
This sequel to the 2014 smash hit is entertaining, but doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor.
Superhero movies are going to be coming down the cinematic pipeline for many years to come. The same can be said for superhero sequels. It’s inevitable, but, when they bring in the big bucks, it’s also understandable. And yet, for many reviewers out there, who sit through more than 100 movies each year, it also becomes wearisome to see another origins story and another sequel to said origins story. You have to watch so many different movies to figure out who or what fits where in the timeline that, at a certain point, there comes a level of fatigue. Mine
Terence Hill takes over the Django role in this unofficial prequel.
Following the success of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 spaghetti western, Django, dozens of films were released that bore the name but only served as a means to capitalize from it. A lot of them had nothing to do with the character, and neither Corbucci nor the film’s original star, Franco Nero, had any involvement in the making of them. It wasn’t until 1987 that fans got an official sequel with Django Strikes Again, in which Nero reprised the role and Corbucci had a credit for being the character’s creator, but didn’t have a hand in the screenplay and didn’t return to
Katherine Heigl plays a crazy ex-wife in this by-the-numbers thriller.
It’s as if, for her directorial debut, longtime Hollywood producer Denise Di Novi followed every single rule in the How to Make a Lifetime Movie for Big Studios handbook. Heck, how did this even get approved by someone at Warner Brothers to be a theatrical release? Everything in Unforgettable is recycled from so many movies like it, namely Fatal Attraction. There isn’t a shred of originality in it, and there’s not really much of a reason to see it. Because you’ve seen it all before, and it’s been done better before. With her wedding around the corner, Julia Banks (Rosario
A documentary that is insightful, beautifully shot, and fun to watch.
The Creeping Garden opens with a 1973 newscast that reports on some “blobs” being found in the backyards of some people’s households in Texas. This makes it seem like something had leapt from the horror-movie genre and made its way to reality. The fact of the matter is, these so-called blobs that were found in people’s backyards are called slime molds, and they’ve been around for quite some time. Unfortunately, not many people know about it, and, for a while, it was considered to be another type of fungus based on its look. But the difference between fungus and a
During this special event, audiences will also get a sneak peek at Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Get your multipasses ready, The Fifth Element fans. Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are bringing Luc Besson’s cult classic back to the big screen for two days in May to celebrate its 20th anniversary. In addition to this special 4K restoration of the film, all attendees will get a pre-recorded introduction from Besson himself about the film’s anniversary, and there will also be an exclusive look at his next feature, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. That film, which stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne, is scheduled for release on July 21. The 20th anniversary rerelease