At one point or another, every one of us falls under the jurisdiction of being that which they once called the "odd man out." Maybe you're that unathletic movie nerd who finds himself amidst a group of people talking about sports. Or you're the jock who can't seem to communicate with all of the people talking about a popular television series you've never heard of. I'm sure you get the idea ‒ as do the various protagonists of this batch of Blu-ray releases from Twilight Time, which features a wide array of odd men who are a bit out of
Vindictive villains, stereoscopic Stooges, speculative spouses, heroic horsemen, and illiterate inventors highlight this quartet of New-to-Blu releases.
A couple of not-so-classic comedy-horror films from the 80s get a magnificent release from Arrow Video.
Picture me: a pubescent boy, somewhere in the late '80s, wandering about the local video store aisles. A burgeoning horror fan, I’m checking out the cover art for all the films in the genre section. My mother was much more strict than my father when it came to renting films, so if I’m with her, I’m liking gonna have to move over to the comedies soon, but if it's just me and dad, I can talk him into the scary stuff. One weekend, me and the old man grabbed House, a movie whose cover features a totally rad-looking severed hand
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
This story of the enormously successful Japanese metal band is steeped in both triumph and (near constant) tragedy.
Early in We Are X, Yoshiki, the leader of the band is asked in an English-language interview why the band broke up in 1997. He says, “My vocalist got brainwashed” in his heavily accented but perfectly fluent English. Is it a joke, or a cultural misunderstanding? Absolutely not - in 1997 Toshi quit X Japan, an enormously successful band, because a cult leader had convinced him it was wrong. Six months later, the band’s lead guitarist was dead in an apparent suicide. Yoshiki, the band’s founder, drummer, and lead composer tells about finding his own father dead on the floor
This week brings us a new musical, an immortal monster, several Valerian Borowczyk films, a Japanese film about noodles, and more.
Every few years, it seems, Hollywood will make a new musical. It will catch on like gangbusters and a slew of think pieces will come out raving about how audiences are finally, once again, ready to enjoy musicals like they did in the old days. Then just as quickly it all dies down and we go back to watching another reboot, another sequel, another damn Transformers movie. La La Land is the latest musical in this feeble attempt to revive the genre. It stars Emma Stone as an aspiring actress and Ryan Gosling as a struggling jazz pianist. They fall
A great example of how a documentary should be constructed.
We all know that there are people that don’t like or simply don’t get Star Trek. Nonetheless, it’s hard to argue with the success of the franchise. A great deal of credit for the success can be bestowed upon Leonard Nimoy. His life and career are chronicled here by his son Adam who started the project of telling the story of Spock with his father before the elder Nimoy passed away. When Leonard Nimoy died, the project became much more than originally intended. Available now, the DVD release still manages to leave you wanting more at 111 minutes plus some
Cursed convents? Possessed prioresses? Severin Films is having nun of that now!
The various subgenres of exploitation filmmaking are both wild and varied, ranging from bizarre tales featuring Bruce Lee wannabes to brutal barrages upon the senses having to do with the Nazis. In addition to Brucesploitation and Nazisploitation, there's also sexploitation, blaxploitation, 'Namsploitation, and even sharksploitation to consider. And they're all a lot more popular than you probably think, too. But hidden away in the darkest recesses of cinema, there's yet another form of exploitation film that could effectively eradicate any remaining scruples of the morbidly inclined. I refer to, of course, the weird and wacky world of Nunsploitation. If you
Sweet, sexy, and hilarious food for thought.
Some of the best films about food not only include food itself, but the reasons why it is essential, especially when it comes to culture, love, and satisfaction. Films about food can be entertaining, delectable, and hypnotic, such as Babette's Feast (1987), Big Night (1996), and Like Water For Chocolate (1994). However, as great as those films still are, I think Juzo Itami's 1985 classic, Tampopo, outshines them all. It is an endearing, sensual, and tasty 114-minute experience at the movies. Although the film is centered on the titular character Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto), it is really a series of vignettes
It is always with mixed emotions when I look at the schedule for the final day.
The last day. It is always with mixed emotions when I look at the schedule for the final day. Film fatigue has fully set in but at the same time I am not ready for it be over. The day started with one of my favorites of the whole festival, Lured (1947) starring Lucille Ball as a dancer who gets enlisted by Scotland Yard to capture a serial killer. The film also stars George Sanders, Charles Cobine, George Zucco, and Boris Karloff. The "who dunnit?' part of the film is lacking, however, it is still a well-written story with interesting
Here's to yo,u Mrs. Robinson.
Some movies are so iconic, so ingrained in the consciousness of culture that it feels like you’ve seen it even when you haven’t. The Graduate is one such film. I’d never seen it before this afternoon’s theatrical showing thanks to TCM and Fathom Events, but I could tell you what it was about, quote you some lines, and describe several scenes. Surely, everyone who cares about movies is familiar with that view of Dustin Hoffman between Anne Bancroft’s legs, can hum that memorable Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack, and remembers the "did I just see what I think I saw?" quick
The Warner Archive paroles a corny prison yarn featuring Shemp Howard and the voice of Jiminy Cricket as inmates.
Despite the slightly uplifting title, RKO's Millionaires in Prison is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to happen today were the system ‒ which, as we all know, knows better ‒ to incarcerate a deserving fraudster or two: a lighthearted romp where no one gets hurt. This wouldn't necessarily a bad thing if the film was intended to be a comedy. Alas, Millionaires in Prison appears as if it is supposed to be taken seriously ‒ something which becomes all the more difficult to fathom when you stop to consider the film was directed by a man who mostly
Worth seeing, especially if you don't know the story of Katherine Johnson and her ilk.
When Hidden Figures got nominated for Best Picture, the general buzz was that it was a good if unspectacular feel-good biopic, the kind that usually garner one or two Best Picture nominations, especially under the current parameters of the award. After watching the film, I can confirm that consensus was more or less correct. Hidde Pictures is a quintessential uplifting "based on a true story" movie, but it is at the upper echelon of that archetype. The film asserts, at least on the Blu-ray/DVD cover, that it is an unknown story, which for me wasn't true. It's not a commonly
Beautiful, but dull film by a director more noted for his controversies than his staid adaptation of classic novels.
For a film with “Sin” in its title that includes a nude woman on its cover and was directed by a man who once made a film featuring a giant phallus exuding copious amounts of seminal fluid, The Story of Sin is surprisingly chaste. That isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of nudity and sex in it, but that when those things occur, they seem so high-brow, so arty-farty that one can hardly be aroused by it. Whereas in some of director Valerian Borowczyk’s other films, he uses sexuality as a means to offend, here it's central to a much
Six globetrotting adventures and dramas make their HD home video debuts, including a Sonny Chiba disaster flick and that missing title from you Ray Harryhausen collection.
Although statistics and insurance companies tend to inform us most accidents occur within only a few miles of our own places of residence ‒ sometimes mostly within their very confines themselves ‒ storytellers and filmmaking industries prefer to place protagonists into plights far from home. And there is perhaps no greater assortment of variable cinematic journeys than this particular lot from Twilight Time, which range from being perfectly cordial to posing downright perilous situations for their passengers. You know, the very sort of tales that keep audiences glued to cinema seats ‒ be it from euphoric glee or sheer suspense.
Cool things this week include a book about film noir, Doctor Thorne, Blue Ruin, Robert Hunter and a new Star Wars Trailer.
If I spent most of last week preparing for my daughter’s birthday and the visitation of her grandparents, then this week was filled with the actual party and the actual grandparents. It was several parties, actually. Her birthday fell on Monday so we’d planned to do the partying on Saturday. Sunday was Easter so there was a lot of time spent negotiating with various parental units of her friends finding a time to party between egg-hunts, religious ceremonies, and other various goings-on. Eventually we settled on a time, a party was had, the friends who could make it came, and
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
Visconti's biography of Ludwig II has access to amazing locations, some good acting, and no momentum.
Strange for an explicitly socialist director of the mid-20th century, but Luchino Visconti was unabashed in his almost fetishistic adoration of the trappings of European royalty. Being of noble blood himself, through most of his career Luchino's work on stage and on screen had been radical politically and socially. In the last few decades of his career, he was called a "documenter of decadence", but it's very difficult to find anything but admiration in his work for the supposed "decayed" ways of those on the top of the social hill. Ludwig, about the "Mad King" of Bavaria whose extravagance, in
Not only for your eyes.
Having previously collected and released the James Bond newspaper comic-strip adventures that ran in British newspapers, including in Omnibus Volumes that were released from September 2009 to November 2014, Titan Books is now presenting the strips in hardback editions. SPECTRE: The Complete Comic Strip Collection covers Bond's encounters with the villainous organization (whose name stands for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) and its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, adapted from Ian Fleming's novels: Thunderball (running 12/11/61-02/10/62), The Spy Who Loved Me (12/18/67 - 10/03/68), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (06/29/64 - 05/17/65), and You Only Live Twice (05/18/65
Groucho's last leading role ‒ now available from the Warner Archive ‒ isn't something you'd bet your life on, but warrants a viewing from devoted Marxists just the same.
The wisdom and wit of Groucho Marx may be as timeless as comedy itself, but it can be a little hard to perceive underneath some of the late legend's latter-day contributions to cinema. And a prime example of just how hard even the mightiest of comics can struggle is no more apparent than in the 1952 RKO ditty, A Girl in Every Port. When he was given the chance to simply be himself and say whatever popped into his head (censors permitting, of course), Groucho was nothing short of dynamic. Here, however, in what would be his final leading role
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the original show, but this new film has a very nice, familiar feel to it.
The original Jetsons cartoon was produced by Hanna-Barbera back in the early ‘60s. While it only lasted 24 episodes, most people grew up watching it in syndication and would eventually see some new episodes in the mid-‘80s. The show featured the misadventures of a family in the future where people lived in the skies, had vehicles that flew, was filled with robots, and every television set was actually a video phone. Unfortunately, voice actors George O’Hanlon (George Jetson), and Mel Blanc (Cosmo Spacely) passed away, leaving the beloved cartoon in a sort of limbo where it has remained until this
A wonderful resource to understanding one of cinemas greatest genres.
Much like the Supreme Court with pornography, I find "film noir" difficult to define, but I know it when I see it. The term was coined by French film critic Niko Frank in 1946 and literally means “black cinema” but might more correctly be translated as “dark cinema”. It was used to describe the type of crime dramas that were popular during the '40s and '50s with its stark use of shadows and its bleak, dark themes. But exactly what "film noir" is can be as problematic to pin down as so many of the femme fatales that appear in
Terence Hill digs a name for himself in the only legitimate unofficial prequel to the Sergio Corbucci cult classic.
While Sergio Leone's legendary pairings with Clint Eastwood may have injected fresh blood into the waning genre of the cinematic western, Sergio Corbucci's quasi-remake Django (1966) with Franco Nero was the first film to really draw it. Considered to be one of the most violent motion pictures ever made at the time, Django's popularity resulted in a new era of filmmaking in Europe: the bastard sequel. Soon, unofficial followups ‒ few of which had anything to do with the character ‒ were popping up in cinemas courtesy seasoned professionals trying to make a quick buck to total newbs who were
David Letterman, Tina Fey, and William Friedkin set to join as special guests, premiering May 6.
Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced that Emmy-winner and Oscar-nominee Alec Baldwin will host The Essentials, TCM’s popular franchise showcasing “must see” classic films. Joining Baldwin each week throughout the season will be one of three special guests: late-night television icon David Letterman; acclaimed actress, writer, and comedian Tina Fey, and legendary filmmaker William Friedkin. Together, Baldwin and his guests will introduce a hand-picked classic and offer color commentary on its cultural significance, its influence on other films, behind-the-scenes stories and their own personal reflections. The new season of The Essentials, which airs every Saturday night, premieres May
I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point, but it is an enjoyable continuation of the Dick Tracy series.
As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 21 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from August 27, 1962 through to April 12, 1964. The book has an introductory essay by Consulting Editor Max Allan Collins' about the strips collected including the public reaction to Moon Maid and other lunar characters that appeared later, which "remains the most controversial element in the history of the Tracy strip." It concludes with Contributing Editor Jeff Kersten's "Pulling the Whiskers Off," who regales readers with what was happening at the time
Saturday was originally scheduled to be another five-movie day but a lack of sleep and food set in.
One of my most anticipated events was The Last Picture Show (1971) with director Peter Bogdanovich in attendance. While it was much more depressing than I expected, this coming-of-age story about a small town in Texas is a must-see. Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ben Johnson, and Ellen Burstyn all give amazing performances; no matter which one was on screen, I was completely engrossed. Bogdanovich was one of the highlights of the festival. I could have listened to him talk for hours. Most interesting, was him describing how it was Orson Welles that convinced him to shoot the film
This week brings us a film about McDonalds, a Studio Ghibli TV movie, James McAvoy playing a bunch of different characters in one film and much more.
It is not exactly controversial for me to say I hate McDonald's. I’d go as far to say I loathe them. Their burgers are small and unappetizing. Their chicken is bland; their fish is gross. Even their fries - supposedly the one thing they do really well - I find rather boring, and too salty. Yet, I still occasionally eat there. When I’m on the Interstate, and hungry, sometimes I’ll stop at a McDonald's if there is nothing else at the exit. Or if one of their restaurants sit next to the hotel I’m staying at, I’ll walk over rather
How many are you gonna pick up?
To help with summer-vacation budgets, the Criterion Collection is only releasing four titles in July. Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero) gets a high-def upgrade. In addition, they are also releasing Robert Bresson's L’argent, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, and Albert Brooks' Lost in America. Read on to learn more about them. Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy (#500) out July 11 Roberto Rossellini is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. And it was with his trilogy of films made during and after World War II—Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero—that he left
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
You can keep the prize pack or share with friends.
Cinema Sentries has teamed up with COMET TV to award one lucky reader a Mystery Science Theater 3000 prize pack. As seen above, the giveaway includes two limited Edition MST3K Pint Glasses (you can only get these glasses in this pack), a Moon stress ball, and a custom MST3K flyer. COMET TV is an American digital broadcast television network that focuses on science fiction and other genre fare. It is available over the air, on cable, streaming for free online and now on ROKU and APPLE TV! To find in your area, vist their website. Select programming for the rest
I ended day one with a Peter Lorre film so I figured why not start day two with him as well.
Day One I was hoping to arrive in time to start the festival with the tribute to Robert Osborne but it wasn't meant to be. Instead, I arrived in time to grab a full meal, which I knew would be a rarity, before making my way to see my all-time favorite actors, William Powell in Love Crazy (1941). This was the tenth of fourteen films Powell made with Myrna Loy and was about a couple on the verge of divorce after a few mishaps and misunderstandings. In an effort to save the marriage, Powell fakes insanity, resulting in the shaving
See anything you'll be watching?
This week TCM gets a visit from guest programmer William Daniel, and shines a spotlight on Claude Rains in the '30s. There are also themed nights of programming under the headings of "Post-War Melodrama", "U-Boats", and "Thinly Veiled Bios". 1776 (1972) - Monday, April 17 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) The founding fathers struggle to draft the Declaration of Independence Gentleman Jim (1942) Tuesday, April 18 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Fanciful biography of 19th-century boxing champion Jim Corbett. The Invisible Man (1933) Wednesday, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) A scientist's experiments with invisibility turn him into a madman. On The
Featuring debut of Class and all-new bonus feature Becoming the Companion.
Press release: Tickets are now available for the Fathom Events presentation of BBC AMERICA’s “Doctor Who: Season 10 Premiere,” playing in movie theaters nationwide for two nights only on Monday, April 17 and Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. local time both days, following BBC AMERICA’s television premiere on Saturday, April 15 at 9/8c. In addition to the feature content, audiences will enjoy the premiere episode of the Doctor Who spinoff series Class, featuring a guest appearance by the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi, and the never-before-seen bonus feature Becoming the Companion, in which fans will travel with new companion
This week's cool things include a couple of Criterions, a visit to Narnia, X-Men, and a great new podcast.
This week I spent a lot of time preparing for both my daughter’s birthday and the arrival of my in-laws for the same. This means there was a lot of house cleaning, party preparations and attempts at finishing some projects I started the last time they were here (finally got that kitchen mirror hung!) I still managed to find time to watch some movies, read some books and discover some cool things. L’Avventura Michelangelo Antonioni’s drama from 1960 is the sort of film where very little happens, but it's still enthralling. A group of rich, bored Italians take a boat
Elio Petri's forgotten, strange, and very dark satire makes a long-overdue debut in the US from the newly launched Arrow Academy.
The final entry of a surrealistic motion picture trio ‒ known to fans as the "Trilogy of Neurosis" ‒ Elio Petri's strange little 1973 comedy Property Is No Longer a Theft (La proprietà non è più un furto) makes a very late US debut via the newly launched North American wing of Arrow Academy, the much more artsy side of Arrow Video. One of several titles inaugurating the Academy (which also includes the celebrated Cinema Paradiso, and offerings from Luchino Visconti and Walerian Borowczyk), Property Is No Longer a Theft is, in one word, "bizarre." But of course, that's what
A lighthearted film that deals with love and marriage on a superficial level.
Based on Maurice Walsh's short story of the same name, The Quiet Man is the eighth pairing of actor John Wayne and director John Ford. It's a feel-good story where two people fall in love at first sight, which is easy for the viewer to believe if all one needs is for your partner to look like the rugged Wayne or the beautiful Maureen O'Hara. Sean Thorton (Wayne), born in Ireland and raised in America, returns to his native land to buy his old family homestead. He immediately falls for Mary Kate Danaher (O'Hara), a red-headed Irish lass, when he
Some nutty gangsters thought they pulled off the crime of the century...but it’s going to cost them an arm and a leg!
Press release: After a daring jewel heist, a trio of thieves hold up in an old dark house inhabited by a motley bunch of restless ghosts that only want to dispatch their new guests in the most horrible manner possible - that is if they can get to them before the spirits of an unruly group of dismembered corpses from the nearby cemetery! Shot in Philadelphia in 1962, The Dismembered claws its way out of the grave of cinematic obscurity to debut on home video for the very first time courtesy of a new HD Blu-ray from Garagehouse Pictures. The
The crew's encounters with beings different from ourselves is still as fun and fascinating today as it ever was.
There are so many branches to the Star Trek universe: novelizations, movies, re-boot film series, animated series, magazines, television series, toys, games, etc. that even the most dedicated fan, Trekkie or Trekker, might have trouble keeping up. The original series (TOS) first aired on American television in September of 1966. It included its now immortal cast of characters - Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), his Vulcan first officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), ship's doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), communications officer Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), helmsman Lt. Sulu (George Takei) and Ensign Chekov (Walter Koenig). That key crew accompanied its
This week brings us NASA's untold history, a mad king, some nice-looking horror collections, and much more.
If you aren’t utterly amazed by space travel, then you aren’t paying attention - especially in the early days of NASA. They worked out ridiculously complicated math problems using a pencil and a slide rule. My phone has more computing power than their big mainframes did. Some of the people doing those calculations were young African American women. Hidden Figures tell their story. It stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae as the mathematicians. It's received some good review and has done well at the box office. I’m a sucker for heart-warming historical stories and this one looks
A criminally underrated tale of young rebellion during a truly vanished time.
I think it's safe to say everyone can relate to being a teen. Doesn't matter what time period you're in, there are always going to be trials and tribulations of the "youth years." There are some films about teenagers that have stood the test time (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club), while others instantly falter as soon as they're released (Bring It On, Twilight). Fortunately, Philip Kaufman's 1979 cult classic adaptation of Richard Price's best seller gets it quite right: from how it captures a bygone era (1963), and how it succeeds in telling a very modern story. Set in the
Including the 1968 Friars’ Club Roast of Johnny Carson, and the 1971 Friars’ Club Roast of Jerry Lewis.
Press release: getTV celebrates the life and legacy of comedy king Don Rickles with a Monday night variety block highlighting some of his most memorable Friars’ Club Roasts, on Monday, April 10 starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Charmingly known as “Mr. Warmth” for his devastating wit and sharp sense of humor, Rickles quickly rose through the comedy ranks as the quintessential “insult comic,” famously catching the eye of Frank Sinatra who encouraged other celebrities to see him during his early club acts, and frequently appearing as a guest on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON. Throughout his Emmy®-winning