Much like director Richard Rush's 1980 cult classic The Stunt Man has never been the sort of film one could easily classify under just one genre, his following feature Color of Night isn't a movie anyone can describe as being merely "good" or "bad." For it is both of these things, and yet, neither. As unforgivably '90s as you could possibly ever hope to get, Color of Night is an unbelievably goofy psychological thriller with a heavy focus on sex ‒ and very little else. Making little to no sense throughout the bulk of its two-hour-plus runtime, Color of Night
Kino Lorber reminds us how great bad '90s erotic thrillers were with this two-disc Special Edition set featuring both the Theatrical and Director's Cuts.
World Premiere of Andrew Slater's Documentary 'Echo in the Canyon' to Open the 2018 LA Film Festival
Premieres Section, Future Filmmakers Showcase & Indie Pilots also announced.
Press release: Today the LA Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced that the Opening Night Film is Andrew Slater’s Echo in the Canyon at the Ford Theatres. The World Premiere of the documentary, which features some of music's biggest names reflecting on the sustained influence of Laurel Canyon’s historic music scene, will be followed by a live performance. Also announced today the Premieres section, the Future Filmmakers Showcase, the Music Video program and the Indie Pilot program. I’m so proud to be opening the Festival with a
It succeeds thanks to its cultural significance and crowd-pleasing nature.
It is quite admirable to see a film like Crazy Rich Asians being greenlit so that Asian-American audiences can see themselves reflected in a positive manner. I know in 2018, it shouldn’t seem like a big deal. But even though it is 2018, the tired practice of Caucasian actors playing whitewashed Asian roles is still being practiced. So, to have a film with a cast solely made up of Asian actors is quite a big deal. Crazy Rich Asians is a key cultural touchstone and also, a great movie. It is a fun movie going experience that manages to have
Cinephiles will be getting quite a bounty of choices this month.
In November, Criterion is releasing a few titles to be thankful for. They are Kenji Mizoguchi's A Story from Chikamatsu, Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot, David Byrne's True Stories, Orson Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons and Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema, which contains 39 films. Read on to learn more about them. A Story from Chikamatsu (#949) out Nov 6 One of a string of late-career masterworks made by Kenji Mizoguchi in the early 1950s, A Story from Chikamatsu (a.k.a. The Crucified Lovers) is an exquisitely moving tale of forbidden love struggling to survive in the face of persecution. Based on a
It was fun seeing so many characters interact, which helped distract from the plot issues.
Starting with Iron Man (2008), the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gone onto to become a multimedia behemoth. It's been so successful that other movie studios have tried to create their own shared universes, but none have matched what Marvel has created. The 19th film in the franchise, Avengers: Infinity War, keeps that streak alive with over $2 billion at the worldwide box office. This was due in part to fans' anticipation of seeing what was billed as the biggest crossover event ever, and it was fun seeing so many characters interact, which helped distract from the plot issues. With the
A cast of non-actors leads one of the most realistic and powerful portrayals of those who risk their lives in the rodeo circuit.
Chloe Zhao’s The Rider is a film that begins with our lead character, Brady Blackburn, removing staples from his head. His days of riding in the rodeo circuit are no more, and, as he looks in the mirror, he contemplates on what he’s going to do from here. The person who portrays the title character is Brady Jandreau, a non-actor who was once a cowboy in the rodeo circuit but had to resign following a horrific head injury. The Rider is not a documentary, but there’s never a moment where it feels like the viewer is watching something that has
Here's all that's worth buying in this week's new Blu-ray releases.
Oh snap, Avengers: Infinity War comes out this week. It's been twenty years since Iron Man began the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In that time, Marvel has changed the landscape of film, television, and how far reaching franchises can get. These days, everybody is trying to get into the cinematic-universe game and pretty much everybody else is failing at it. Marvel has made billions of dollars from their films, television series, and other tie-ins. They’ve proven you can make individual films that maintain their own style and yet are able to be brought into a larger cinematic fold. In some ways,
The second part of Massimo Dallamano's "schoolgirl's in peril" trilogy gets an excellent release from Arrow Video.
Two years after he directed the excellent giallo What Have You Done to Solange?, Massimo Dallamano helmed this giallo/poliziotteschi hybrid. It has some interesting moments but definitely feels like a step down in quality. It contains many of characteristics of a giallo - gruesome murders by a black clad; knife-wielding (or in this case, butcher’s-cleaver-wielding) killer; odd, off-kilter camera angles; a unique score; and a bold use of color - but in many ways the plot is closer to a poliziotteschi. It spends most of its run time following the police, detailing their procedures as they try to solve the
BlacKkKlansman is a powerful and razor sharp yet timely effort from director Spike Lee.
The best way to describe Spike Lee’s latest joint, BlacKkKlansman, is that it is haunting, humorous, and thought provoking in equal measure. It works as an acerbic buddy comedy that delves into the horrors of white supremacy which is still prevalent in today’s society. BlacKkKlansman may be based on a true story, yet it also feels like a documentation of the bigotry that the Trump presidency is currently demonstrating and not just because it features footage of last year’s Charlottesville riots. BlacKkKlansman is based on the story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective to serve in
Here's five cool things I discovered this week.
I have really lousy allergies. I’ve never gotten any specific testing done on my body but whenever I’m around freshly cut grass or dust or any fine particles of any sort, my throat swells, my head gets full, I cough without ceasing, and I generally feel miserable for a day or two. I happen to work in construction, which means I’m regularly around great piles of sawdust and freshly mowed grass. These things combined do not make the best life choices. I’ve worked it out so that I’m not the one doing most of the wood cutting and I can
The new 4K restoration will roll in October 26 with NYC, LA, and Chicago runs.
Press release: New York based Rialto Pictures will release John Carpenter’s landmark horror movie The Fog on October 26, in its first-ever major restoration. The horror classic, in a full 4K restoration from Studiocanal, opens October 26 for limited runs at the Metrograph, in New York, Landmark’s Nuart in Los Angeles, and The Music Box Theatre in Chicago. Additional screenings will occur during the week of Halloween throughout the Alamo Drafthouse circuit and other specialty theaters. Carpenter’s first post-Halloween venture into the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired, apocalyptic vein that he would continue to mine in films like The Thing (1982) and Prince
Fans of the genre will do themselves a favor if they plan a stop at Dragon Inn.
King Hu's second entry into the Criterion Collection is Dragon Inn (1967), his first film after leaving the Shaw Brothers Studios in Hong King and moving to seek greater artistic liberties as a director in Taiwan. Set against a backdrop of political intrigue, writer/director Hu does very well with both job duties, creating visually interesting action sequences that blend into an entertaining story. Set in 1457 A.D. during China's Ming Dynasty, eunuchs led by Cao Shao-qin (Bai Ying), who is “unsurpassed in the martial arts,” seize power. This gives them control over two espionage agencies, the Eastern Depot and the
Kinji Fukasaku's brings docu-drama realism and brutal ugliness to the Yakuza genre in this gritty film.
Street Mobster is a rough, often ugly story about Okita, a common street thug who tries to eke out a living as a low-level yakuza, but whose temper and inability to kowtow to his bosses lead him to disaster. He's not a gallant rogue or a tragic figure. His father was killed in the war; his mother was a whore who walked drunk into a river and was fished out dead the next day. He turned to crime as soon as he was capable, and one of his jobs was grabbing country girls who'd just moved to the city and
A talented young cast and impressive production pieces can't save this meandering debut from Sergio G. Sánchez.
Based on its trailer, its look, and the fact that it has Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness), one could easily mistake Sergio G. Sánchez’s directorial debut, Marrowbone, for a horror movie. And while there are certainly horror elements that appear throughout, Marrowbone plays more like a drama about a family trying to stick together than it does a terrifying, haunted-house thrill ride. It’s especially frustrating because there are moments within the movie where Sanchez implements the tacky jump scare method and then retreats to focus on the issues the family faces - which
The second season has given us more of what we loved in the first and is even better.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided us with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are the writer's. There are very few overly dramatic shows that I will devote anytime to these days. However, Riverdale has earned my full devotion. Growing up reading the comics is a huge reason for it. It was my guilty pleasure every summer and it is the same now. The second season has given us more of what we loved in the first and is even better. Now that the characters have been established, they have found their groove.
It's a full week of new releases, and I've got the details.
Superman died in 1993. Or at least DC Comics briefly killed him in Superman #75. It was a huge media event. I wasn’t much for comic books in 1993 but I totally remember the hype. Of course, they brought him back to life sometime later but the idea that the indestructible Man of Steel could be killed was a pretty big deal back then. It was also one of the earliest major cross-over events. DC chose this story for their first DC Universe Animated Original Movie back in 2007. They’ve now remade it with Jerry O’Connell starring as Superman with
The first of three new animated features to be adapted from the The Boxcar Children book series.
Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Shout Kids and Legacy Classics to award one lucky reader The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island on Blu-ray, which is available on Aug 7. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: Small island. Big adventure! The beloved Boxcar Children are headed to Blu-ray and DVD on August 7th with the release of the new animated feature film The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island, courtesy Legacy Classics and Shout Kids. Fans can now pre-order their copies on Amazon. The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island, the highly-anticipated movie adaption of the popular children’s book of the
A PSA that Kate McKinnon is a true blue comedic movie star.
Not only is The Spy Who Dumped Me a fun movie-going experience but it is proof that we should put any potential talk of introducing “Jane Bond” to rest. I mean, why build off an already established property when we have original female-centered spy films like The Spy Who Dumped Me that can become their own franchises? Even if this film isn’t perfect or anything groundbreaking, I’d still gladly watch a sequel should one get made. The Spy Who Dumped Me follows the story of Audrey (Mila Kunis), a retail clerk who’s been dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux)
Gravity Falls: The Complete Series Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review: A 'Strange and Wondrous' TV Show
Highly recommend for fans and for those curious to learn about this marvelous series because both the show and the Blu-ray presentation are of such high quality.
Described by creator Alex Hirsh as a cross between The X-Files and The Simpsons (presumably the early seasons back when both shows were great), Gravity Falls is an entertaining animated series that deals in science fiction and the supernatural. The two-season, 40-episode series is set in the town of Gravity Falls, OR where 12-year-old fraternal twins Dipper Pines (Jason Ritter) and sister Mabel (Kristen Schaal) are sent to stay the summer with their great Uncle Stan Pines (Hirsch), whom they call “Grunkle.” He runs the Mystery Shack, an appropriately named tourist trap/gift shop because mysteries abound inside as well as
Here's all the cool stuff I consumed this week.
My wife made an observation last night that I tend to have more energy on Thursdays than any other day of the work week. I hadn't thought of it before but it is true. Wednesdays and Fridays are my busiest days at work. Mondays are spent catching up on all the stuff I didn't get done on Friday, and Tuesdays play catch up on the things I missed on Monday. I have to complete everything on my desk on Wednesdays on that day, which makes for some late nights and early bedtimes. Thursdays wind up being relatively light days and
The Warner Archive Collection dusts off two pre-Code Ronald Colman classics featuring Ann Harding, Loretta Young, Myrna Loy, and a familiar-looking terrier.
Once again, the Warner Archive Collection has unveiled a couple of forgotten titles starring Ronald Colman, the British-born talent who transcended from stage to silents to talkies with the greatest of ease, resulting in three Oscar-nominations during his 40+ career in the world of entertainment. Here, the WAC presents us with two pre-Code rarities ‒ a serious drama and a madcap comedy ‒ both of which are well worth the cost of admission. Condemned! (1929, United Artists) Set on the isle of Cayenne ‒ the infamous French penal colony better known as "Devil's Island", from whence Humphrey Bogart would repeatedly
Thanks to two of its supporting actors, Brotherly Love thrives on a wing and a prayer.
Based on the novel Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza, Brotherly Love follows the story of Vito Fortunato (Anthony J. Caruso), a seminarian in the Catholic Church who must decide between his religious vows of chastity and his sexual freedom before becoming a Brother. Contributing to his dilemma is both his sex-crazed partner Tim (Chance McKee) and a landscaper named Gabe (Derek Babb) whom Vito falls in love with while away at a retreat. When Vito first meets Gabe, that is when the film kicks into high gear. That is in large part due to Derek Babb who gives a
A blatant E.T. rip-off that is also the longest advertisement for both McDonald's and Coca Cola.
It’s one thing to pay homage to a certain film. It’s another to do an almost beat-for-beat replica and try to pass it off as something original. Stewart Raffill’s 1988 flop, Mac and Me, certainly falls in the latter category. It’s a movie that so desperately tries to be like Steven Spielberg’s box-office hit, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it painfully shows with every passing scene and is heard with every note of Alan Silvestri’s musical score. It’s amazing that a lawsuit was never filed. Then again, the movie disappeared from theaters after two weeks due to low attendance. The damage
Billy Wilder finds a way to work in another stellar project into his later career.
In 1963, Billy Wilder is three years removed from a pinnacle movie of his career with The Apartment. His amazing decade of the 1950s almost goes unmatched among directors except maybe Hitchcock and Spielberg. A decade that started with Sunset Boulevard and included Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, and The Seven Year Itch among others. By 1963, Billy Wilder was basking in the freedom that a pattern of successful films brings to a director. This is the year that Billy brings back two of his favorites, Jack Lemmon (almost a stand-in for Billy one would believe) and Shirley MacLaine to
Here's all that's interesting coming to Blu-ray this week.
Last week, I complained that there wasn’t much of interest coming out. At least it had a big Steven Spielberg movie hitting the shelves. This week doesn’t even have that. It's the sort of week that I’d skip if I were just a regular schlub looking for something to buy at my local Blu-ray store. Instead, I’m just a schlub who writes a weekly column about new home-video releases so I’d better say something. Tully is a dramatic comedy from Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman. It stars Charlize Theron as a soon-to-be mother of three struggling with the craziness that
A sublime biopic carried by Trine Dyrholm who excels as the late famed musician.
During the opening montage of Nico, 1988, the song “These Days” starts playing over it. A song that may be familiar to anyone who’s seen The Royal Tenenbaums and which might be the titular singer’s best-known song because of that movie. Even though Nico might not be familiar to modern audiences, the film Nico, 1988 makes a strong case as to why more people should know her story. It is a simplistic yet unsentimental depiction of an artist who had a passion for music even when it became difficult to hold onto it. Nico, 1988 follows the last three years
It's wonderful to experience the strips as readers did over 50 years ago and see the artistry on display.
As mentioned in reviews of the previous volumes in the series, Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales was a Sunday strip that featured 129 stories, running from July 13, 1952 until February 15, 1987. The Library of American Comics is republishing them and the 14 stories in Volume Three, which are collected in a book for the first time, include adaptations of films, both live-action and animated. Written by Frank A. Reilly and drawn by Jesse March, except where noted, they are: Darby O'Gill and the Little People (May 3, 1959-August 30, 1959) Third Man on the Mountain (September 6,
20 years later, the Dude still abides.
Press release: The world has changed in 20 years, but for movie lovers there has been one constant: The Dude abides. On Sunday, August 5, and Wednesday, August 8, the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series from Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) marks the 20th anniversary of The Big Lebowski by presenting the film in cinemas across the country. In addition to the feature content, TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz will provide brand-new commentary before and after the film. Part noir crime drama, part absurdist comedy and utterly, uniquely Coen, The Big Lebowski is almost impossible to define
It is both the best action film of the summer and the franchise's best film.
The Mission: Impossible franchise manages to live up to its title because it attains a feat that franchises rarely accomplish. It does the unthinkable by getting better with each installment and Fallout, the latest entry, is the best one yet. It features satisfying action and humor while also being a deep character study. Not to mention, it is extremely well-acted across the board. Mission Impossible - Fallout basically has everything one could want in a blockbuster which makes it a perfect summer movie going experience. Because it’s a sequel, that also means greater stakes are involved. The Syndicate, the crime
It's more like five kind of okay, not really great things this week, but there's plenty to talk about.
As a reviewer, I find that it's much easier to talk about things that I either love or really dislike. When I love something, I can go on and on about all the things I found interesting about it, and when I hate something, it's fun to diss all the terrible things it has going on. What’s difficult to do is review something that was just kind of meh. When something isn’t audaciously terrible or really fantastic, when I just kind of enjoyed a film, show, or what have you, it is really difficult to find something to say about
Young Nick Adams highlights this entertainingly cheapo Republic Pictures crime flick, now available from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
While the cliffhanger serial formula Republic Pictures would be so well remembered for had already been extinct by the time they cranked out the aptly-titled ‒ and noticeably cheap ‒ A Strange Adventure in 1956, I think it's safe to say the spirit of the ol' chapterplay was still alive and kickin' in this production. Helmed by ace serial director William Witney (The Adventures of Captain Marvel), this lukewarm hard-boiled thriller from writer Houston Branch (Mr. Wong, Detective) opens with Ben Cooper (as one very grown-up teenager) getting hooked on Marla English (The She-Creature). Alas, Marla is one of them
Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas go toe-to-toe for the very first time in this classic crime drama from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
The first of what would ultimately tally up to be seven feature films starring the talents of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas ‒ a collaboration that would span nearly four decades, concluding with Tough Guys in 1986 ‒ I Walk Alone takes us back to when the two iconic performers were still essentially strangers to one another. In the case of this fine, slow-burning film noir from first-time (solo) director Byron Haskin (Robinson Crusoe on Mars, September Storm), the separation between the two leads only helps to add fuel to the fire. Here, Mr. Lancaster plays Frankie Madison, a one-time
Another year of Con but this time it's the Big Picture
Is it as easy as copy and paste? If you have followed my writings even tangentially over the past eight years, you know I thrive on two things - consistency and nostalgia. I attend many of the same panels each year, like reuniting with old friends or watching an old familiar film for comfort. The annual gathering of misfits known as the San Diego Comic-Con International brings together tribes from all over the world. If you're there - badge or not, costume or not, Captain America shield, Batman mask, or Stormtrooper helmet - you are among your brethren. Usually this
The movie's story has lessons to pass onto viewers, yet somehow they are overlooked by the filmmakers.
Based on Ernest Cline's book of the same name, Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One is a fantastic adventure in the vein of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Upon his death, video-game maker James Halliday set forth a way to pass on his ownership of the OASIS, the virtual-reality universe that has captivated the world, to whomever can solve the three puzzles he has hidden within it. The movie's story has lessons to pass onto viewers, yet somehow they are overlooked by the filmmakers. RP1 opens in in Columbus, Ohio, 2045, in an area called The Stacks, which is a
A slightly crude, but still chillingly effective TV classic about nuclear horror.
When it comes to nuclear annihilation, there have been many successful cinematic attempts to truly justify the horrifying reality of doomsday, such as Fail-Safe, Threads, The War Game, and On The Beach. However, in my opinion, director Nicholas Meyer's 1983 landmark, The Day After, is the outing that most people remember. It may have been a TV movie, but that didn't stop it from traumatizing an entire generation, telling a story of nuclear catastrophe experienced by everyday people. Set mostly in Kansas and Missouri, the film takes place before, during, and after the U.S. and Russia go to war with
Although there are some laughs to be had, most of it feels recycled.
One of my main concerns about a sequel to a film being released more than a decade later is the amount of callbacks that are going to be littered throughout. I remember watching one of the trailers for Jurassic World and - while listening to the slow, piano version of the original theme song - thinking that it was going to be filled with key moments that make the viewer remember how much they love the first one and also try to trick them in thinking the sequel is a good movie. In reality, it’s a terrible movie, filled with
The long, hot summer may never end, but at least there are still a few movies to watch.
We are officially into the Dog Days of Summer. Actually, that may not be true. Is there an official start to the Dog Days of Summer? Do they put that on calendars? Maybe it's in August, I don’t know. What I do know is that it feels like summer has been here forever and it feels like it will never end. I’ve grown really tired of having nothing but blockbusters at the movie theater. I’m ready for cooler weather, leaves changing colors, the end of mowing my yard, and some new Oscar contenders to watch. There is no relief coming
The most acclaimed animated superhero television series in history, arrives in an all-encompassing package befitting its revered place in the annals of fan-favorite entertainment.
Press release: Batman: The Animated Series, the most acclaimed animated super hero television series in history, arrives this fall in an all-encompassing package befitting its revered place in the annals of fan-favorite entertainment. Remastered for the first time since its broadcast airing from 1992-1995, Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition will be available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital and in a stunning Blu-ray box set ($112.99 SRP) on October 16, 2018. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, the Emmy Award-winning series captured the imaginations of generations, setting the standard for super hero storytelling for the past quarter-century
'Vigil' shows much of the talent and promise that would be delivered in 'The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey.'
There's a funny thing about favorite movies. You can easily find people to share a love for anything Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. You can go a little further and find friends who enjoy 2001, On The Waterfront, or The Philadelphia Story. Then there's another level where you might mention a movie you love that not everyone has heard of but mostly they are aware of like Eraserhead, Freaks, or 8 1/2. Those are part of the popular-culture vernacular and you don't get weird looks when bringing them up in discussion. Then there's that final
Not even a bad case of poison ivy can stop me from finding cool things for you.
For the first time in several years, I've managed to get poison ivy. I’m really quite allergic to it and I remember getting it numerous times as a kid. When I was maybe 10 or 11, I can remember waking up one morning barely able to open my eyes because they had become so swollen, my face covered in the stuff. Luckily as an adult, I generally stay indoors and away from wooded areas in which the stuff grows. Not so lucky this week. We built a house out in a very rural, wooded area. I’ve been watering the new