For a miniseries called The Alienist, the second-to-last episode took some chances by making its titular character not the main focus, and instead devoted more time to its supporting cast. It’s a rather bold move, especially since Daniel Brühl has been the show’s best character since the beginning. Both Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans have been intriguing to watch, too, although the latter’s stumbling into trouble has become an unnecessary gag. At the same time, though, neither of them has the same intensity as Brühl, nor do their characters have the same amount of intellect. It’s been interesting watching the
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Sara and John continue the investigation, while Lazlo spends this episode in mourning.
Some strong performances can't elevate the film's dour tone.
Bearing witness to a toxic relationship unfolding in front of you is not a pleasing task, and brothers Carlos and Jason Sanchez are well aware of that. Their feature film debut, Allure, is a realistic portrayal of someone who’s gone off the deep end and redemption seems to be nowhere in reach. You can’t exactly feel sympathy for her, as she destroys her life and damages those around her. Unfortunately, that’s also a major problem with the film. Our main character’s actions are irredeemable, and the movie’s focus is way too serious to get fully engaged. No matter how displeasing
John and Lazlo head to Washington, D.C. to further investigate the case, while Sara goes rogue to uncover more clues.
At the end of last week’s The Alienist, Mary and Lazlo shared a kiss. It was a moment for both of them, when they felt like the whole world didn’t understand them and who they were, only to have them both come together and realize they are what the other needs. This week’s episode begins with both characters looking forward to being together. Mary had an upgrade in her wardrobe and a smile on her face, while Lazlo was smiling as he was on a train to Washington D.C. But “Psychopathia Sexualis” doesn’t really put all of its focus on
No matter your political affiliation, there are plenty of great stories to read about the former president and First Lady and their love of the movies.
During their eight years in office, Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, watched a total of 363 movies during their weekends at Camp David. Not only were they the big box-office hits of that time (1980-1988), but they also consisted of the classics before that era, as well as what Ronald Reagan referred to as the “golden oldies,” which were the films in which he starred. In Movie Nights with the Reagans, Mark Weinberg, a former spokesperson, adviser, and speechwriter to President Reagan, focuses primarily on the films of the 1980s that made the biggest impressions on the couple and
The latest death brings rising tension not just amongst the crew, but also the general public.
Last week, The Alienist ended with the death of another boy prostitute, but unlike the others, this victim had just one missing eye (instead of two), a severed hand, and a scalped head. It’s as if the killer was in the middle of leaving his signature trademark and was interrupted by something. That is also something noted by the crew as they try to find the killer. As Stevie is still traumatized by the fact that he could have possibly been the killer’s next victim, he tries to recall to John what the person looked like. Lazlo accuses John of
The gang set up a sting operation to catch the killer, while Lazlo's past reveals a particular clue that could harm his friendship with others.
The sixth episode of The Alienist, “Ascension,” begins with a rather long glimpse at a dead horse lying in the streets of New York. It also ends with a death, but this time, it is that of another boy prostitute near the Statue of Liberty. The first death shown has no ties to the story of The Alienist, other than it maybe serves more as a symbol that the genre with which the miniseries is affiliated may in fact be that of a dead horse, but the writers keep finding ways to get around it rather than continuously beat it.
The gang discovers more clues in the halfway point of the miniseries.
For most of The Alienist, Lazlo has had this feeling like he is the superior of the three when it comes to understanding the clues given to them. It is most likely due to his high education and work as a doctor that has driven him to that belief. It appears that the more he works with people who don’t quite have the same level of expertise that he does, the more frustrated he becomes. That’s certainly present in the miniseries’ fifth episode, “Hildebrandt’s Starling,” but it also appears that he might be easing back a little and understanding how
The John Hughes-penned comedy starring Michael Keaton and Teri Garr gets a new, albeit lackluster, Blu-ray update from Shout Select.
Stan Dragoti’s Mr. Mom is what happens when someone decides that a sitcom with its premise might not have much shelf life on television networks and is probably better suited for the big screen with a 90-minute runtime. Its theme music even has that feel like we’re watching the opening credits for something that would air during the Thursday night comedy lineup on one of the big networks. In reality, it doesn’t even really work as a feature film. Granted, this John Hughes-penned comedy is essentially what launched Michael Keaton into stardom and proved that he is both quick on
There's a possibility that the killer's identity may have been revealed in this latest episode of the TNT miniseries.
When it comes to these whodunit type of mysteries, the killer ends up being someone whom the audience already knows, and then all of the clues found by other characters that lead them to the person who kept their other identity a secret for the duration of the story. I’m not sure if The Alienist is going to go that route. Granted, we’re already four episodes into the TNT miniseries, but we may have just met the person who is responsible for the killings based on some clues that have been given to the characters - and the viewers -
It seems more formulaic in the third episode, but there is enough to keep me invested in the show as a whole.
In this third episode of TNT’s The Alienist, the opening credits sequence switches from being just a quick glimpse at the series’ title with a still image of a silhouette in a foggy evening in New York City to fully introducing all of the actors involved in the series with a slideshow of different images playing in the background. The new introduction is very reminiscent of HBO’s True Detective in terms of style and tone. It’s fitting, since it is a grim miniseries so far, but it almost seems like TNT wants to continue it beyond this one season, and
It's easy to see a lot of inspiration for future filmmakers drew from this B-movie spoof, but it doesn't quite stick the landing as well as others in its genre.
Before David and Jerry Zucker teamed up with Jim Abrahams to deliver one of the zaniest and funniest spoofs ever created, Airplane!, there was John De Bello’s Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, a satire on the low budget B-movies of the '50s - most of which wound up getting criticized on Mystery Science Theater 3000 during its initial run. The reason why I bring up Airplane! here is because it, too, went the zany, slapstick route when spoofing a particular genre. In that case, it was disaster movies such as Zero Hour! and the Airport franchise. Both Airplane! and Attack
The investigation continues in the second episode of TNT's miniseries.
In some ways, it’s appropriate to have a show like The Alienist airing in today’s climate to illustrate what was considered unacceptable then and how new changes have shown how far we as a society have progressed. In the opening of the second episode, “A Fruitful Partnership,” Lazlo is looking into a nearby morgue and questions on whether children are ever brought in. The mortician’s response is that they “only get the poor ones.” When Lazlo inquires about the Giorgio Santorelli, the boy found dead in the pilot episode, and asks if his business ever gets corpses that have the
TNT's new miniseries, based on Caleb Carr's novel, gets off to a strong start.
TNT’s adaptation of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist comes across as something bold and daring for the network. It has the feel of something that would make it seem like it’s a strong competitor against other cable networks such as AMC or FX, both of which have featured shows that can be graphic in detail but also rich in production values and have a tendency to showcase some strong, award-worthy performances. Mostly known for its procedural and science fiction programming, The Alienist proves that TNT is willing to take risks, especially on something that has been in the process for a
Kino Lorber gives the Blu-ray treatment to Republic's most popular serial.
Although the format went extinct long before I was born, I’ve always been fascinated by serials. They’re short-formatted adventures that leave you wanting to come back for more. In the age of Netflix and binge-watching, we don’t really get the same thrill of heading to the local multiplex and seeing the latest chapter that shows us what happened to the hero(es) after the previous week’s cliffhanger. It’s easy to take for granted that we have full seasons available to watch at home and on demand. Back when something like Adventures of Captain Marvel was released, that wasn’t the case. It
Arrow releases a superb restoration of Billy Wilder's Oscar-winning classic.
I’m amazed that I’ve gone this long without having seen Billy Wilder’s Best Picture-winning The Apartment. After falling in love with Some Like it Hot, and introducing it to many people who lose it (like I initially did) at that film’s last line, for some reason, I never got around to watching Wilder’s follow-up until Arrow’s new restoration of the film. It’s just as brilliant, edgy, and hilarious as Some Like It Hot, maybe even more so. And just like the aforementioned film, for all the incredible one-liners, there’s another side to The Apartment that is a little bit darker
Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany soar in this so-so biopic.
Shortly after its opening scenes, David Gordon Green’s Stronger has the look and feel of what appears to be a made-for-television movie. The lighting and cinematography looks almost exactly like something that would appear on the Hallmark Channel, and the subject matter revolving around a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing is appropriate for that station. But the difference between a typical made-for-TV movie and Stronger is that Green’s film doesn’t go straight for the idolization aspect of its main character. This is good, because it’s exactly what the main character is like. He doesn’t see himself as a hero,
Season 3 of the acclaimed FX series is just as quirky and brilliant as the previous two seasons.
It may be a while until Fargo returns to television screens, since there has been no news of a fourth season, and showrunner Noah Hawley has his hands filled with Legion and other projects. Heck, this might even be the last time the series is on the air. It was already brutal for fans such as myself to wait a year for a whole new season, when they had to delay it in order to film in the correct weather climates. But now, we won’t even know if the show is coming back again. Thankfully, each season is a new
The feature film debut from fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy is a hypnotic mess.
Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy may have established themselves well in the fashion world with their brand, Rodarte. But when it comes to trying to get noticed in the world of film, they need some work. Okay, a lot of work. Although the duo helped create some gorgeous outfits for Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, their directorial debut, Woodshock, is the result of someone (in this case, two people) with an eye for visuals and nothing else. It looks pretty in both the wardrobe and cinematography departments, but it’s so self-indulgent that it forgets to make the viewer care for the
Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen are excellent in this tense, deeply affecting thriller.
There’s a sudden chill that makes its way down the viewer’s back after the opening scene of Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River. The film is a murder mystery set in an Indian reservation in Wyoming. The murder itself is not the reason why a sudden shock hits the person’s nervous system in the beginning. The reasoning for that is Ben Richardson’s lovely cinematography, which exquisitely captures a chilly Wyoming winter so well that we’re suddenly immersed into the film’s setting. The multiple feet of snow crunching under the characters’ feet and the constant blowing of the cold air bring us that
HBO's new series is light on AI theories, but has an exceptional cast and storyline to keep it chugging along.
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. Much like Jurassic Park did with people’s fascination of living in the time of the dinosaurs, Westworld focuses on a theme park in which people can experience what it was like living in the Old West. The robots, a.k.a. hosts, of this theme park are so life-like in their speech and reaction, the setting so impeccably crafted, that people are immersed into the scenario the minute they step foot in the park.
It's as if Jean-Luc Picard wrote it himself.
Following the success of The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, David A. Goodman explores the background of another well-known and well-respected captain in the Star Trek franchise with The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard. The funny thing about it is, from page one until the end, there is a sinking suspicion that Picard is, in fact, a real person, and he wrote the book himself. Or it could have been Patrick Stewart who went under the radar and penned the book while Goodman provided the editing. Alas, neither are true, but Goodman does capture the voice of Picard pretty well, thus
Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning animated classic is a delight on the big screen.
Spirited Away was my first exploration into the world of Hayao Miyazaki, and it was also the first time I was able to fully appreciate an anime feature. Before then, I had always been kind of hesitant when it came to the genre, since my first exposure was to shows such as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dragon Ball Z, and Sailor Moon, none of which captured my interest. It wasn’t until watching Spirited Away in a film class that I saw how anime can be as captivating as many of the great American animated features, and, in some cases, have more depth
A must own for any fans of David Lynch.
I remember my first encounter with a David Lynch film was in 2004 during my Introduction to Film class at Butte Community College in Oroville, CA. As part of the curriculum, we were required to watch Lynch’s debut film, Eraserhead, of which I wasn’t aware until then. I remember being disturbed by the movie, and a lot of my classmates walked out shortly after the film had started. I stayed, and I ended up falling for this odd film, even though I had trouble eating chicken afterward because of one particular scene. I swore I wouldn’t watch the film again,
This grim, post-apocalyptic thriller follows a familiar beat and then completely collapses in the third act.
The best thing to say about Stephen Fingleton’s feature film debut, The Survivalist, is that it completely strips away a lot of what many expect from your average movie. Here, we’re given a film with very little dialogue, almost no score, and characters that are mostly nameless. We witness as one man continues his life in a world where food is scarce, and the remaining humans will fight for the necessities to live another day. In the first 18 minutes of its 104-minute runtime, we see as the lead character, known only as Survivalist (Martin McCann) tends to his garden,
David Lowery's latest is one of the year's very best films.
Despite its October Blu-ray release, David Lowery’s A Ghost Story is not a horror movie. It’s actually the furthest thing from the genre. Yes, there is a ghost, but it doesn’t sneak up on people and try to frighten them. The ghost in this film is one that watches as time passes by on the things he held close to his heart while he was alive. It’s heartbreaking for him, and for us, to see as there are so many changes taking place, and the only thing he can do is stand there and watch. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara
The world's first film to be made entirely with oil painting is a visually stunning work of art.
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
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