Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 18th, 2022
“Susie, one of the longest borders on earth is right here between your country and mine. An open border. Fourteen hundred miles without a single machine gun in place. Yeah, I suppose that all sounds very corny to you.”
Orson Welles was a huge personality in Hollywood both in his stature and his work. Taking a controversial poke at media giant Randolph Hearst, he struggled against fierce odds to direct a film that is often considered the best, or at least one of the best films ever made. Of course, I’m talking about Citizen Kane. I happen to believe the first two Godfather films are better, but there’s little doubt that Citizen Kane was a masterpiece. Because it was so good and because Welles never functioned well in the Hollywood system of his age, his other films often get overlooked. Touch Of Evil is one of those films, and in many ways it’s just as good or better than Citizen Kane. Like that film and pretty much everything Welles ever did, it came with plenty of controversy and behind-the-scenes drama. But Welles was used to that by 1958, so he should have known better.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 18th, 2022
After watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, my mind wandered over to Inception, of all places. Remember how Ellen Page’s character pretty much only existed so other people could explain to her — and, by extension, us in the audience — the rules of the movie’s universe and what the hell was happening? Well, watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for the first time felt a lot like what I imagine Inception would look like if Page’s novice architect hadn’t been in the script: words and items have dual meanings, characters have double (and triple) motivations, and good luck figuring out everything that’s going on in this complex world! The plot, however, is deceptively simple: veteran spy George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is called out of retirement to uncover a Soviet agent in the highest ranks of MI-6, the British intelligence service. (I’ll refrain from further discussing the plot so that I don’t give anything away, but also because there’s a decent chance I haven’t comprehended everything that happened. That being said, my second viewing of this movie went considerably smoother than the first.)
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on May 16th, 2022
The year of 1975 was an interesting year. I was born, Jaws was the top grossing film of the year, followed by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Other interesting films included Return of the Pink Panther, Three Days of the Condor, Rollerball, and The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother. Somewhere after those films and others, we have a film called Breakout, which featured the action star Charles Bronson. Fresh off his greatest film, Death Wish, Breakout would be one of the three films with Bronson that would come out during 1975 (other two being Hard Times and Breakheart Pass). In Breakout, we explore the topic of prison escape. Let’s make sure this one gets out with good behavior.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 16th, 2022
Director Ang Lee has come a long way since his 1991 debut film Pushing Hands. When you look at Ang Lee’s impressive resume, the only film that stands out is sadly his only major misstep as a director, and that’s the 2003 film Hulk, the movie I feel audiences have been trying to forget and comic fans simply want to pretend doesn’t exist. When you look at the rest of his resume, there are some impressive titles that have made a difference within the Hollywood cinema landscape. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, and Life of Pi are just a few of his films that are standouts that were commercial successes but at the same time define his unique style and focus when it comes to character. Pushing Hands is character study that was released during the rise of independent cinema in the 90’s when film focused more on characters and finding unique voices that could tell great stories on a limited budget. What makes the film all the more unique is that it’s a martial arts film without the violence we’re used to seeing on the big screen, and instead its focus is more on the holistic methods of tai chi.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 16th, 2022
What do you get if you take The Sopranos and mix it with Animal Kingdom and place it in Ireland? That’s pretty much the best way I’d go about describing the first season of the new AMC television show Kin. The show only runs for eight episodes, but I have to say this is the most satisfying gangster story I’ve seen in some time. No, I’m not about to say it is better than The Sopranos, but it definitely has the potential to be in the same league if the show continues with the momentum it has going for it. What’s a shame, though, is that with so many cable channels and streaming services out there, this is a show that has gotten lost in the mass of content, and it deserves to be recognized. The Kinsellas family is a small-time crime family based in Dublin. The family runs their business under Eamon Cunningham (Ciaran Hinds) who is pretty much The Godfather over all of Ireland. Mostly Cunningham deals with drugs, but literally if you are involved with any sort of crime, he’s still collecting on it. Then there is Frank Kinsella (Aidan Gillen, aka “Little Finger” from Game of Thrones) who is in charge of the Kinsella family and their small ring of criminal activity.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on May 16th, 2022
It took me a second to get past the title of this documentary. I had a feeling that it had some kind of significance, but without that context, all it was for me was grammatically incorrect. With that to start off, I have no problem admitting that I wasn’t really looking forward to reviewing this documentary. I know shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I was, and something about the title just rubbed me the wrong way. It felt ignorant. Now I must admit that I was actually the ignorant one given my lack of knowledge regarding the cultural significance of that title, the associated poem, as well as the prominent poet it came from, and the legacy of his prominent family. Why Is We Americans tells the story of the Baraka family, a family whose story is carved deep into the civil rights movement. It started with the family’s patriarch, Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones), a poet/playwright/activist, as he shepherded his family through decades of social activism with poetry, music, and art.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on May 10th, 2022
From the beginning of civilized history, the government regardless of where it resides has always preferred its society to conform, to act alike so that there is no trouble or dissenting. It is far easier if people fall in line so that the ruling class can continue to prosper while its peasants struggle along. Truth is that most citizens would rather not rock the boat, so they forsake their personality and their soul for another day that was like yesterday. Even when there is conflict or angst within a society, it’s often manufactured by the government in order to give its people a perceived outlet for their deepest and darkest emotions. Today, we explore Privilege, a film that takes a look at the not so distant future where a British pop star takes the UK by storm, but little does the public know that the government is the one pulling the strings.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on May 6th, 2022
“You cannot control everything, Strange. You opened a doorway between universes, and we don’t know who or what will walk through it.”
The last time that director Sam Raimi played in the Marvel sandbox it was on the third of his own Spider-Man trilogy featuring Tobey Maguire in the webslinger’s role. Since then he’s kind of gone back to his horror roots and even returned to the Evil Dead franchise with a television series that continued the exploits of Bruce Williams as Ash. It’s only fitting that he would see both of these worlds collide in a perfect storm that allows him to once again recreate that old 4-color universe on the big screen with both a connection to Spider-Man and his horror roots. The result is the latest MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) that picks up right where Spider-Man: No Way Home left off. Of course, I’m talking about Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. The story pretty much picks up where we left things in the recent Spidey adventure as well as picking up some threads dropped on the Disney + shows, most notably Wanda Vision. It’s a twisted nightmarish corner of the MCU that we haven’t truly explored to this extent before and the results might not come close to the wonderful ride we took recently with our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man but it’s a nice detour from the typical that also sets the stage for quite a few other surprises that I really won’t be able to tell you about… at least not yet.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on May 6th, 2022
This season of the Paramount Plus long-running series did a bit of shaking up. For one, the series said goodbye to a main staple of the series with the departure Delroy Lindo’s Adrian Boseman. This departure came as a surprise, as he’d been with the series from its opening, and it wasn’t as if his character had been relegated in recent years. However, I suppose everything changes with time. Don’t imagine that it will be long before we see Delroy on the small or big screen again, as the actor already has four projects in production, including the MCU’s revamping of Blade (no confirmation on who he will be playing in the film, but my gut tells me Abraham Whistler). Now if the Lindo departure shocked you, brace yourselves, because he isn’t the only cast member who made their exit. Cush Jumbo, who’s played Lucca Quinn, is also saying goodbye. Lindo’s exit surprised me, but Jumbo’s floored me. Jumbo’s Lucca Quinn has been a significant part of the series, and with her gone, the show in a sense is losing the paradigm of the old lions vs the young wolves. Well, if you need a fix of Jumbo’s quiet presence, you can catch her on a Netflix adaptation of a Harlan Coben novel.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on May 5th, 2022
Edgar G. Ulmer started his career working for the early German masters of Expressionism like Fritz Lang and F. W. Marnau. He set out on his own doing ethnic films in the Ukraine before coming to America and trying his hand here. His most notable film has to be the 1934 The Black Cat, which brought Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi together for the first time and remains a classic to this very day. Unfortunately for Ulmer, he fell in love with the wife of Carl Laemmle, the head of Universal Pictures. He later married Shirley, but the result was he was barred from every major studio in Hollywood. He had a huge box office success in 1934 with Universal, but his affair in 1936 ended any chance he would get to ride that future. He was relegated to the independent studios where he had little money and a hard time getting good actors or distribution.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 29th, 2022
“What’s the word for when you’re bad at expressing yourself… Speechless.”
The story has been around for centuries. After Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet, it might well be one of the most imitated stories on film and television. There have been countless plays on the Cyrano themes, from The Brady Bunch to Friends. It’s a timeless story first portrayed in a stage production by Edmund Rostand in 1897, but the story goes back to the life of an actual historic figure from the mid-17th century. Of course, his life has been highly made up and likely little to nothing remains of fact from the actual person. The play was a hit, and the general ideas presented there remain popular to this very day. Now there’s yet another screen version based on a play written by Erica Schmidt, who happens to be the wife of Peter Dinklage’s wife. I was honestly not looking forward to the new film adaptation of Schmidt’s adaptation of Rostand’s adaptation of literary works going back to the 17th century. It’s frankly been done to death
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on April 29th, 2022
So, I fully expected this movie to be one of those films that I would have to subject myself to in order to appease my wife. I mean, I was familiar with nearly every member of the cast, but given the film’s plot, I expected to be bored and to find it cheesy. It just seemed like a clash. Like it should be two separate movies: one that deals with the secret daughter of the king, and the other a story about a mermaid. However, it would appear that I’m eating my words, as The King’s Daughter proved to be a far more entertaining tale than initially advertised. Based on the 1997 novel of The Moon and the Sun, the story follows Marie-Josephe (Kaya Scodelario, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), a rebellious, free-spirited young woman who grew up in a convent. Her days are normally spent giving the Abbess a hard time. Unbeknownst to her, she is actually the daughter of the legendary monarch, King Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan).
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 27th, 2022
Fair warning to anyone who isn’t fluent in Spanish; you’re going to need to make sure the subtitles are on. There is an English dub, but I wouldn’t recommend it in my humble opinion, as it sounds very automated. That aside, this was a very interesting film that deals with a very emotionally complex issue. Two women, both expectant mothers, share a room at the hospital and form a deep connection with one another. Their backgrounds are very different, including the conception of their children. Both were not planned, but one has a more traumatic experience. Penelope Cruz serves as the prominent focal point of the film as well as the film’s heart, as much the emotional context of the film is seen through her perspective. Despite that momentous responsibility, she delivers an award-worthy performance as Janis, a photographer who finds herself pregnant following an affair with a married man. On the other side is Milena Smit as Ana, a young minor struggling to take care of her child. The two women’s connection is clear early on, and while their relationship takes a turn that I was not initially expecting, it is their connection that fuels the overall plot.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on April 25th, 2022
Easter 2021. I’m sitting in a hotel room. My wife and son are asleep in the adjoining room. Meanwhile, I’m sitting in a chair flipping through channels on the television. I come upon PBS where music is typically opera or symphony-based. However, on this particular occasion, I am witnessing something far different. A lady dressed in a red vinyl dress is playing guitar at the Austin City Limits. It’s clearly rock with a bit of indie and pop thrown in for good measure. But it’s unique all its own and familiar at the same time. At first, I’m drawn in by her beauty, but I stay far longer once I hear her music and captivating sound. Within days, I’m buying Masseduction (and have bought several of her other CDs since then). Her name is St. Vincent. As it turns out, even before I was in that hotel room late at night, she was working on a mockumentary called The Nowhere Inn. After the film falling victim in part to COVID for its release, it finally made it’s way to Blu-ray. Let’s take a look.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on April 22nd, 2022
When you look back on the impressive 40-year career of Nicolas Cage, it’s pretty hard to pick a favorite performance. I can’t even think of another actor who has such a diverse batch of performances. Sure, the man is known for being a bit over-the-top, but that’s part of the charm of a Nicolas Cage film. People can be quick to point out that in recent years his “movie star” appeal has been fading with the amount of direct-to-video films he’s put out in the past decade. It even seems like there just isn’t a movie he’ll say no to so long as the check clears. Most likely you’d be half right in thinking that the man’s been through some financial issues, BUT at the same time he’s been in some fun and wild movies in the past decade as well. Mandy (2018) has become a bit of a cult success. Color Out of Space is another film in recent years to gain a cult following; then there is the fun Willy’s Wonderland, the bonkers Prisoners of the Ghostland, and the critically acclaimed Pig, which has a near-career-best performance from Cage.
Drive-In Retro Classics: Science Fiction Triple Feature (Rocketship X-M, The Hideous Sun Demon, The Brain From Planet Arous)
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on April 22nd, 2022
“There are some aspects of the life of an Earth savage that are exciting and rewarding; things that are missed by the brains on my planet Arous.”
When I was a kid going to the drive-in movies was a pretty big deal. In those days your parents would hide you under a blanket on the back seat floor or even in the trunk just to shave off a buck from the admission price. I don’t think the guys running those things really minded. It was kind of an open secret, and after saving a dollar or two, my pop would blow ten times that at the concession stands. He thought he was pulling one over on the management, but I think he was the one getting snookered. Still, it was a good time, and my mom and sisters usually fell asleep before the first of what was always a double feature even started. They were getting a little sleep, but I was getting an education. It was there along with the Friday night Shock Theatre shows on television that I was first introduced to Hammer’s horror films, AIP’s Poe classics, and countless schlock features from the likes of Roger Corman and William Castle.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on April 22nd, 2022
“You know, things change. Sometimes not so much …”
Someone at CBS must have eaten a lot of alphabet soup as a kid. Today the longest running show is NCIS, about to enter it’s 20th season along with a couple of sibling shows, one of which is also in double-digit seasons. It also happens to be their highest rated show over many of those 20 years. Before NCIS was crowned champ it, was another assortment of letters that reigned supreme at the eye network. That was CSI. It was the show that never looked like it had a chance. The series substituted lab work montages for car chases and explosions and featured a lot of talking heads that delivered some of televisions deepest techno-babble. Didn’t stand a chance. The flagship series lasted 15 years
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on April 20th, 2022
When watching this 1980 classic, it’s impossible to not notice its influence on films that would come later, most notably American Beauty (which would also win Best Picture in 1999). I bring this up not because Hollywood has a habit of recycling ideas, but more to point out that sometimes all it takes to make a great movie is to keep it simple, focus on issues that everyone deals with, and give it one hell of a cast that is willing to pour their hearts out onto the screen. The film is about 42 years old, and you could release it today, and it would still resonate with audiences; that’s what I feel makes a film great and where it merits the term classic. Paramount is dusting this title off from its catalog to release it under its Paramount Presents umbrella, and it’s definitely one of the standout releases they’ve put out. If it’s a film you haven’t seen yet, this is one that I consider a bucket list film everyone should see before dying.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on April 20th, 2022
“If you expect disappointment, you will never be disappointed.”
That’s the trouble with sequels. The filmmakers feel this great responsibility to give us more than they’ve given us before with no thought to the idea that more is often less. There has never been a truly great comic book hero film that had extra villains. It just doesn’t work. You can’t give enough time and back story to everybody, so you have to cheat somewhere and cut a few corners. Those corners are things like characterization and heart. But what if you could? I mean, seriously. What if it were possible to do a multi-villain comic book movie that was really good? Until just now
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on April 20th, 2022
This month Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics line are releasing a pair of romantic comedies starring the late Rock Hudson. With 76 acting credits to his name, he made a name for himself by starring in westerns and comedies. What pop culture seems to remember most is that he was one of the most prolific actors playing the straight male that was always getting the girl when, in fact, the actor was gay. Now with these two titles, one I feel is a forgettable mess, while the other I had a good time with. Sometimes I’d say having two bedroom comedies could equal a fun double feature, but regarding these films, that is not the case
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on April 15th, 2022
This was a bit of a letdown, if I’m being honest. It just didn’t deliver the epic conclusion that I was expecting. Honestly, it felt more like part 1 of a two-part conclusion. While it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that there is another upcoming installment in the franchise, at this moment I am unaware of any intentions to continue the series with this group of characters. Bearing that in mind, I must defer to my original statement: it was a bit of a letdown. In recent years, my fandom for the Wizarding World has been rekindled due my daughter’s discovery, and now obsession, for all things Harry Potter. I was especially glad when I learned that I would be able to bring her along for what I expected, at the time, to be an epic conclusion. And while the film got her stamp of approval, my approval is a little harder to receive.
Posted in No Huddle Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 14th, 2022
Here at Upcomingdiscs we have worked to bring you a large variety of reviews. Of course, we cover the big blockbuster films that hit the box-office and get us out to the multiplexes. We’re known for our television series coverage and have brought you the best in both television and streaming material. We also like to think that we introduce the world to some of the films out there that don’t have big budgets or advertisement campaigns. Tucked within these smaller releases you can find diamonds in the rough that showcase the kind of talent and storytelling you might get from a big studio but from artists who have visions that might not attract that kind of attention. The true fan of film is always on the lookout for these kinds of films and this monthly roundup is our way of bringing some of what we find to your attention. So do a little mining here and you might just find a diamond of your own
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on April 11th, 2022
Most people want to do the right thing. It’s usually far easier in your private life to do the right thing than it is, say, in a job environment where you have people constantly breathing down your neck. They are far more interested in the company’s pocketbook or their image to society than what is right and wrong. Therefore, it often leads to a lot of decisions (especially those in places of power) that from a surface appear questionable. It’s even worse when that company or organization is in the public eye every moment of the day. Today, we look at a film where an ex-cop has retreated to the mountains in search of a simpler life away from the grey choices of the police force. All based on trying to do the right thing. Let’s take a look.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on April 8th, 2022
When I was a young boy I loved playing with my toys. We had some cool toys back then. Major Matt Mason, plastic dinosaurs, Hot Wheels, and Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker sets. Yeah, in those days a toy could cause third-degree burns and no one really worried about getting sued. Kind of takes the fun out of being a kid today. You know who else, I bet, loved to play with his toys? Michael Bay. I bet he had the coolest toys in his neighborhood. He probably wasn’t the best guy to be friends with, however. He didn’t invite the kids over to play with his toys. He likely charged you a nickel to watch him play with them. It’s many decades later, and Michael still has the coolest toys on the block. Only now you have to cough up twenty bucks if you want to watch him playing with them. I’ll bet he wasn’t the best guy to lend your toys too, either. He probably loved breaking stuff. There were likely plenty of toy casualties in the Bay home in those days. So you didn’t want him playing with your toys. Michael is still breaking a lot of toys. For a while he used giant robots to do his dirty work. Now he kinda feels like he’s played that game enough. Now he’s back to breaking cars … lots of cars. Ambulance is Bay’s latest adrenaline fix, and the damage is considerable. But is it worth the 20 bucks this time around?
Posted in No Huddle by Archive Authors on April 8th, 2022
“I used to think of my body like an instrument for the accomplishment of my will. I could use it to run , pick things up, make things happen. There were limits, of course, but my body was nonetheless one with me. It obeyed my commands, mostly without complaint. Not anymore. Now there’s tending to be done. I almost died when we first got here, they said sepsis. Pain makes your world very small. My world has been this room. Today I venture forth. My world can’t be small. Not now. Because the others need me to protect them. Gilead is out there. Gilead isn’t afraid. It does not hurt or sleep. It keeps coming forever and ever and ever…”
At least for another season. A lot has changed both within the world of The Handmaid’s Tale and in our world of viewers.