Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 9th, 2023
“Space…the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before!”
Since the relaunch of Star Trek on television via the Paramount+ streaming service, I must admit to being a little underwhelmed. It’s truly bad when Alex Kurtzman makes me pine for the days of Rick Berman. There have been some pretty good moments in the various new Trek shows. Picard has shown promise and has improved with a third season that looks very exciting. Lower Decks is just too campy for my taste, and Discovery has so many ups and downs I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster. So along comes Strange New Worlds, and this is the Star Trek I’ve been waiting for these last decades.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 8th, 2023
“Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
It is hard to ignore the hype around the film Oppenheimer. Any time a Christopher Nolan film has come out, it has become a pretty big deal for cinema fans, whether it was for his The Dark Knight trilogy, Interstellar, Inception, or Tenet, his films carry the same kind of respect alongside the names of Stanley Kubrick and James Cameron, and his films can be just as divisive. But the anticipation for the release of Oppenheimer feels like a different beast entirely. The release coming out the same day as Barbie has created such a stir on the internet that the term Barbenheimer has become a part of the zeitgeist of modern day. Then another aspect is how the film was literally shot on 70mm film, which is unheard of in today’s digital-hungry climate, and the film is being released in certain theaters on 70mm prints that reportedly weigh around 600lbs.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on December 5th, 2023
Most people, when asked to provide the best Korean film in modern times, would probably answer Oldboy or Parasite. Others might respond Memories of Murder or Train to Busan. Maybe A Tale of Two Sisters or The Wailing. I, on the other hand, always respond with the same title, The Man from Nowhere, which to this point in the US has only been released on Blu-ray from Well Go. That Blu-ray was also the victim of a bunch of discs from Well Go that came away with a quick dose of rot, infecting my copy as well as many others. For the last couple of years, I’ve been working with a bootleg, which I’m not exactly proud of, but felt necessary because I loved this film so much. However, that changed, as Well Go has released a 4Kcopy of this sensational film (and also of The Wailing, which I will get to later in the week). I thankfully received it a little bit earlier than expected and took it for a spin. Let’s see how it does.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 5th, 2023
“Is that the biggest one you got?”
Remember the old days of the action movie? Those films where someone like Stallone or Schwarzenegger would run around and take out armies of bad guys while barely breaking a sweat. You know the kind of movie I’m talking about. The ones where the hero goes up against a hail of bullets and explosions and manages to pick off the bad guys without catching a single slug himself. Those were the days when a guy like Bruce Willis could fall thirty floors, get a spike impaled in his ribcage, have a ton of concrete wall fall on his head, and get run over by a truck, but still manage to take out the bad guy while muttering some witty little catchphrase that we would all be repeating, because if we could deliver the line just right, that meant we were tough guys too, and we didn’t even have to fall out of an airplane to prove it. Well, you won’t have to remember. You just have to watch Sly Stallone’s love letters to the action movie fans. The franchise is called The Expendables and along the way we got to relive some glorious moments with our favorite action stars from the 70’s to the 90’s.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 5th, 2023
“I don’t know about you, but it always makes me sore when I see those war pictures … all about flying leathernecks and submarine patrols and frogmen and guerillas in the Philippines. What gets me is that there never w-was a movie about POWs – about prisoners of war. Now, my name is Clarence Harvey Cook; they call me Cookie. I was shot down over Magdeburg, Germany, back in ’43; that’s why I stammer a little once in a while, ‘specially when I get excited. I spent two and a half years in Stalag 17. “Stalag” is the German word for prison camp, and Number 17 was somewhere on the Danube. There were about 40,000 POWs there, if you bothered to count the Russians, and the Poles, and the Czechs. In our compound there were about 630 of us, all American airmen: radio operators, gunners, and engineers. All sergeants. Now, you put 630 sergeants together, and, oh mother, you’ve got yourself a situation. There was more fireworks shooting off around that joint … take for instance the story about the spy we had in our barracks …”
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The premise is we’re in World War II, but not where all of the action is.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on December 1st, 2023
“He was raised in the swamp. In the back of a slough. He grew up eatin’ rattlesnake meat and drinkin’ homemade brew. Now, folks here about call him Gator. And everybody knows him well. Meanest man ever to hit the swamp. Folks swear he come straight outta hell.”
Quite the catchy little ditty. One-word-title movies intrigue, especially those named after a specific character. It suggests that the titular character has or should have significant presence. And when you have a whole song dedicated to you, you certainly need to walk the walk. And who better to walk that walk than Burt Reynolds, as he reprises his role of Bobby “Gator” McKlusky in this sequel to White Lightning. Reynolds even decided to up the ante this time by making this film his directorial debut.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on December 1st, 2023
All I needed to hear was that James Spader was involved, and I was all in. And as expected, he makes his presence known from his first moments on screen. He brings a quiet reserve and intensity as the more than slightly unhinged hitman Lee. However, Spader isn’t the only familiar face involved with 2 Days in the Valley, as the film also features the likes of Terri Hatcher, Danny Aiello, Charlize Theron, Eric Stoltz, Jeff Daniels. Even Michael Jai White makes a brief cameo in the beginning as a car thief with a heart of gold. The film is marketed as a neo noir crime story depicting the butterfly effect of a single event and the mayhem that ensues as a result. In concept and partially in execution, I would categorize the story as a success. However, as I said, only partially in execution. In a sense, there are too many moving parts, and some avenues were not properly concluded to my satisfaction. The main storyline line is excellent, but the events interwoven into the events of the main story diminish the overall quality of the film.
Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on November 30th, 2023
All of us love to celebrate those moments in American history where there have been breakthroughs particularly in the way of our constitutional rights. We should celebrate those moments, but the latest film from Michelle Danner reminds us that there are also victims when it comes to rights of the accused. Miranda’s Victim is a wonderful portrayal of just that situation. We all know about Miranda warnings given to suspects upon arrest. If you’ve seen enough cop shows, you’ve heard it a thousand times: “You have the right to remain silent…” This film explores the victim behind Ernest Miranda’s landmark Supreme Court case. It’s a rare film that looks at a rare side of our criminal justice system. I had a chance to see the film and then have a conversation with director Michelle Danner about the film. Bang it here to eavesdrop on our conversation, and you won’t even need a court order to listen in. Interview with Michelle Danner.
Holiday Gift Guide Spotlight: Shout Factory Presents: Farscape: The Complete Series – 25th Anniversary Edition
Posted in Holiday Gift Guides by Gino Sassani on November 24th, 2023
I think I see your problem. You have this list. It’s a list of people you need/want to buy a Christmas gift for. The trouble is that they’re into home theatre, and you don’t know Star Trek from Star Wars. You couldn’t tell a Wolf Man from a Wolverine. And you always thought that Paranormal Activity was something too kinky to talk about. Fortunately, Upcomingdiscs has come to the rescue every Christmas with our Gift Guide Spotlights. Keep checking back to see more recommendations for your holiday shopping. These gift guides ARE NOT paid advertisements. We take no money to publish them. Let’s look at an old classic science fiction series brought back to life by Shout Factory: Farscape: The Complete Series – 25th Anniversary Edition
Posted in Holiday Gift Guides by Gino Sassani on November 23rd, 2023
“There is an old saying that blood is thicker than water.”
Today is Thanksgiving. It’s a time that we often spend with family. On television, the biggest family for decades was the Nelsons. So here at Upcomingdiscs, we decided it was the best day to let you know that the final two seasons have finally been released, and you can now spend your holidays with Ozzie, Harriet, Rick, and David. Tomorrow we’ll start posting our suggestions for holiday gifts for your loved ones. Consider this an early start. We’ve had Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Gene Simmons with his Family Jewels, and even Snoop Dog’s Father Hood. It’s become a bit of a trend to follow these celebrity families around and watch the drama of their privileged lives unfold on our television screens. You might think it’s a relatively recent phenomenon, but would you believe they were doing it back in the infant days of television when we followed around a musician named Ozzie and his wife way back in 1952? No, we’re not talking about Ozzie Osbourne
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 22nd, 2023
“All right, listen up, ladies and gentlemen; our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground, barring injuries, is four miles per hour. That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, hen house, outhouse, and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive’s name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him.”
The Fugitive, since its’ original release in 1993, has always been seen by a majority of people as the defining thriller of the 1990’s. The film stars Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble. Kimble, a very well known Chicago doctor, has just been framed for killing his wife. He claims a one-armed man killed her, which prompts nearly everyone to laugh at him.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on November 21st, 2023
If you take a look at this films trailer, you can tell this was a film that is desperately trying to court the award-season crowd. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, when I saw that Rustin was directed by George C. Wolfe, who did the fantastic Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the film immediately went on my list as something to look out for. And for full transparency, I had no clue who Bayard Rustin was before I even saw the trailer, and while I feel the film does highlight an important figure in history, this may not be the best execution of the man’s story. This is a film about a man’s grand vision to pull off the impossible, and despite this being a landmark historical event, I feel the delivery missed the mark. While this is a biopic about Bayard Rustin (Colman Domingo), it is very much about only a small portion of the man’s life, basically just the short amount of time he had to put together a march on Washington DC in 1963 that would live on in infamy for the civil rights movement and the famous “I have a dream” speech from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I feel this is a bit of a disservice to the man who responsible for so much
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on November 21st, 2023
Every year around this time, it seems studios are attempting to release the next holiday classic, or at least a film that will be revisited by fans. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf, and Die Hard (yes, it is a Christmas movie) are just a few that are in heavy rotation in my household. For those looking for something a little more wholesome and family-friendly, you may be in luck with the release of Dashing Through The Snow, which will be debuting on Disney Plus just in time for the holidays. At first glance I wasn’t so sure about this film, but when I saw that the film was written by Scott Rosenberg, I couldn’t resist. Rosenberg is responsible for writing the screenplays for Beautiful Girls and High Fidelity; both movies are near and dear to my heart, and if you haven’t seen these films, I highly recommend checking them out.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on November 20th, 2023
“Imagine a place where wishes come true. Where your heart’s desire can become a reality. What if I told you that place is within reach? All you have to do is give your wish … to me.”
Disney has been taking us around the world in its efforts to duplicate its achievements with a certain princess that had to let it all go. And while I respect what they are trying to attempt, I doubt they are going to find that kind of lightning-in-a-bottle success that they found with that movie with Wish. That is not to say that Wish was not a enjoyable experience; I just don’t feel that the story came together fully in the manner that would make it iconic. However, I fully appreciate Disney’s efforts with taking us across the globe to foreign lands. And while the lands and areas tend to be fictional, they are always clearly inspired by real-life areas with diverse cultures.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 17th, 2023
“It’s the things we love most, that destroy us.”
It’s actually a little hard to believe that it’s been eight years since last we visited Suzanne Collins’ future dystopian world of The Hunger Games. The last two films were shot and released as two parts of the final book in the saga, and I think most of us had laid the soul of Katniss Everdeen and her rebellion to rest. Of course, not without the franchise doing quite a bit of damage at the box office. Not counting home video releases, the franchise generated a total box office of about $1.4 billion. That’s a lot of scratch, and if you understand the movie business at all, you know that finishing a franchise for good is like leaving money sitting on the table.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 17th, 2023
“Oh, what are people afraid of? That AI is gonna replace real writers? That Hollywood is gonna become just a bland recycling of old ideas? It already is!”
I suspect that when we are all dead and gone there will be two things we can count on continuing beyond the end of human civilization. The cockroaches will inherit the world, and they will all be watching South Park, the only television show still running. It’s already been 22 years, and doesn’t it feel like 50? I don’t mean that in a mean way. I love South Park, but I’m starting to find it hard to remember what life was like without it. I’m convinced it will survive us all, and AI versions of Parker and Stone will be producing it until the planet is finally vaporized … and I’m not sure even that will stop this show.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on November 15th, 2023
“This is 3 Rock Con Camp. We fight fires all over the state of California. As you can see, there are no fences. You want to run, I can’t stop you. But I need you to know this. You won’t get far. And when we catch you, not if, when, you go back to that concrete jungle, and time will be added to your sentence. Ready to check out your new home?”
For Max Thieriot, it’s quite a new home. For over six years he was a Navy Seal on the David Boreanaz series SEAL Team. He was pretty much the eyes and ears of the audience, as he was the new guy on the team when the show started. The character certainly evolved, and before long he was one of the more solid members of the team. His character’s name was Clay, and in the sixth season he ended up suffering some devastating injuries. It looked touch-and-go for the character, and indeed it was.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 15th, 2023
Cinematically speaking, the name Eli Roth has been synonymous with murder and mayhem. The director is best known for his work in the horror genre, bursting on the scene with 2002’s Cabin Fever and upping the ante with Hostel and Hostel: Part II a few years later. So it was a bit surprising to hear he’d be taking on a remake of Death Wish — the iconic 1974 Charles Bronson revenge flick — until I started thinking about the bloody possibilities. If the Hostel films gained notoriety as prime examples of “torture porn”, then it seems like Roth has graduated to “revenge porn” with this slick and (intentionally) silly re-imagining.
“People rely on the police to keep them safe. That’s the problem.”
Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) has it all. He’s a successful, emergency room trauma surgeon living in Chicago with a loving wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-bound daughter (Camila Morrone).
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 14th, 2023
“Streaming services make everything suck.”
South Park still hasn’t completely recovered from the COVID-era issues. There still has not been a complete 10-episode season, and the slack is still being taken up by specials. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but at least it’s kept us in Cartman and the gang even as other shows have closed down. The longer form also gives Parker and Stone a chance to really let an idea play out. I think they have tended to run out of gas somewhere in the back half of the second part. When you think about it, you’re really looking at four episodes in length, and Parker and Stone have a pretty spotty record when they’ve tried to run an idea for that long. The Streaming Wars Specials suffer from just that affliction, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a ton of clever South Park to be had here.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on November 10th, 2023
“Higher, Further, Faster.”
While The Marvels is more entertaining than Quantumania, it is far from the best sequel that the MCU has ever created, despite this film in a sense serving as a three-way sequel for three separate MCU characters. Picking up after the events of Captain Marvel, WandaVision, and directly after Ms. Marvel, The Marvels brings together Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, Teyonah Paris’ Monica Rambeau, and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan into one movie to thwart an intergalactic threat. Fair warning: there are prerequisites for watching this movie in order to ensure that you can keep track with the continuity. Obviously, you will need to have seen the first film, which followed Carol Danvers, but if you have not also watched any of the miniseries featuring the backstories for the other characters, you will find yourself struggling to keep up. As I said, this film can be considered a three-way sequel rolled into one film. Encompassing all of this for three characters was a big task, that the film clearly struggles to accomplish at times, but for the most part, I would categorize this film as an enjoyable experience, albeit one that I don’t see myself ever feeling the need to repeat.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on November 10th, 2023
When watching Quiz Lady, the first thing that came to me was this strange wave of 90s nostalgia. It was like I was watching the early films of Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Farley, and Will Ferrell, only this time it had Awkwafina and Sandra Oh in the starring roles. This isn’t a slight against the film, but instead I found it a bit refreshing, despite being a familiar formula. While this time of year a lot of us are used to seeing films that are heavy on the drama and are fighting for awards contention, this is a film that is instead a fun comedy that definitely doesn’t take itself seriously. Anne (Awkwafina), is a boring young woman who is single and lives on her own, well, at least with the exception of her adorable pug, Linguini. The only thing that seems to bring any excitement (I’m being generous here) is that every evening at 7 o-clock she watches her favorite game show, “Can’t Stop The Quiz”
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on November 10th, 2023
Warner Brothers has done an impressive job when it comes to their live action DC Universe television shows. Everything from Arrow, The Flash, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, Pennyworth and Titans have been fun entertaining experiences, but after a decade of television, it seems the powers that be have wanted to bring all the DC shows to an end. When I first heard about Titans, I wasn’t sure what to think, considering I wasn’t much of a fan of the animated series, but I’m so glad I came into this show with an open mind, because this show is jam-packed with coolness. Since this was made for a streaming service and not broadcast television, not only do we get superheroes dropping F-bombs, but we get some edgier storytelling along with some violent action you may not expect. Seriously, this one is not for the kids. And with this being the final season, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that that the gloves really come off in this series to deliver a satisfying conclusion to its 4-season run
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on November 7th, 2023
Hopefully, most of you reading this review enjoyed my breakdown of the 1st part in this series. I honestly haven’t been this vested in a two part series since Batman’s Long Halloween. That one had the added sting that we had to wait a full year until we got the complete 4K version. At least in the case of Justice League and RWBY, we get the full 4K splendor from the get-go. However, as I alluded to in the first review, there was certainly room for improvement. We shall see if the creators can correct those issues now that the series shifts into the Justice League’s world. Let’s take a look.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 7th, 2023
“It’s called the Impossible Mission Force for a reason.”
I imagine this is how it happened. It’s January of 2019, and Tom Cruise has just popped into the bathroom to shave. He opens up that can of Barbasol just to make sure there isn’t any dinosaur DNA left in the can, but as he takes off the cap, an authoritative voice begins to speak: “Good morning, Mr. Cruise. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to make a two part film of the Mission Impossible franchise. It won’t be easy. That’s why only the IMF team can be counted on to complete this task. There are agents out to stop you before you even get started. In China there is a virus code-name COVID, and this virus will spread to pandemic levels just as you’re starting to get your production crew together. Elements within our own government will take measures to shut you down. Delays will cost an extra $100 million and necessitate crucial cast changes.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on November 3rd, 2023
Well, it is officially that time of the year when studios start cranking out the films they hope will receive some awards attention. Netflix has a stable of strong contenders this year, and Nyad is the first to be released. This is a film that is mostly flying under the radar despite starring Annette Bening and Jodie Foster. I really didn’t expect much out of this film, and I think because there were no expectations, no real buzz behind this film, that I was surprised how caught up in the story I found myself. If you are a fan of underdog stories, this is definitely for you, but the true spotlight belongs to Foster and Bening, who are here to show us all that they not only still have what it takes to carry a film, but they also deliver some of their best performances in ages. In 1979, when Diana Nyad (Annette Bening) turned 30, she made her first attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. That’s basically 110 miles of water she attempted to cross. It was meant to be the feat that she would retire her long distance swimming career on, but unfortunately she never made it to Florida.