Posted in No Huddle by Michael Durr on October 30th, 2023
Death is unfortunately something that comes to us all. It’s not something we can prevent, even if we do all that is necessary to prolong it. In the same breath, we can control to some degree what we can pass on to our family and loved ones, whether it be our spouse, children, both, or perhaps none at all. Whether it be wealth, property, movie collection (son, you have no idea), or perhaps some sentimental trinkets, a simple will and responsible caretaker should be all you need in order to pass it on. However, responsibility can sometimes be fleeting. Today, we look at a movie called Cracked, where pieces of art are passed down from a father to a daughter with frightening results. Let’s take a look.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on October 29th, 2023
“Hey Abby, are they…”
“Of course they’re ghosts, how else could get the bodies to move.”
So, I had no idea what I was walking into with this film. I guess I missed the boat on this franchise. I don’t know where I was, but prior to this film being added to my docket, I hadn’t heard that it was a film adaptation of a video game franchise of some repute. This was clarified for me when I pulled up in the movie theater parking a lot and saw someone donning a mask for one of the game’s prominent characters. After educating myself, I now know that Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNaF) is a video game series consisting of nine video games taking place in locations connected to a fictional family pizza restaurant franchise named “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza”, after its mascot, the animatronic bear Freddy Fazbear.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on October 26th, 2023
Just to be out in the open, I’m a bit of a fanboy when it comes to David Fincher. He’s one of those directors that when he does a film, I don’t care what the plot is; I’m going to watch it. It’s not so much that I think he’s the best director (though he’s one of my favorites), but I simply just love his style. He’s one of the few filmmakers working where you can watch a couple seconds of his work and instantly know you are watching a David Fincher film, and for me, I find his work to be what cinema is all about. It’s always a work of art, and sometimes the plot can have a habit of ruining things. Alien 3, for example: not a great movie, but it looks great … Fight Club, Seven, Zodiac, those are his masterpieces and they look fantastic. Even Mank: sure, it is a divisive film, but still looks great. Despite how busy David Fincher is with projects, his shows on Netflix and music videos, it’s his movies I really crave, and when you realize the last thriller he had out in theaters was 2014 with Gone Girl, I was more than a little excited by the announcement of him filming The Killer, from a screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker (who wrote the brilliant Seven).
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on October 26th, 2023
“Since the beginning of time, since the first little girl ever existed, there have been dolls. But the dolls were always and forever baby dolls, until …”
Let me preface this by saying that I am in no way the target audience for this film. That said, this film is in no way for the target audience that you may imagine it is for. Initially, I suspected the film was intended for the age bracket that actually plays with Barbies. However, after watching, I’d have to argue that the themes of the film are geared more towards the young adult / early adulthood crowd. Bearing all that in mind, it should go without saying that Barbie was a film that I endured rather than enjoyed until one key moment which I will describe later. To my mind the film was an amalgamation of films that came before it. And while I appreciate the film’s diversity in encompassing a wide range of actors to represent variations of the Barbie and Ken characters, at times it felt as though the film’s agenda was literally punching me in the face.
Posted in No Huddle by Michael Durr on October 23rd, 2023
Full disclaimer: I tend to watch probably too much true crime television. I’ve watched about every episode of Homicide Hunter (Joe Kenda), Forensic Files, and plenty of other detective shows based on real cases. I find them fascinating, and my wife would seriously like to know what else is on our television. As a result, I tend to also gravitate towards real cases depicted in movies and documentaries as well. Today’s film, The Night of the 12th, deals with a real case based in France. However, this one has a hook. Whereas almost every case that we tend to see on television is solved and the murderer goes away to jail, this one has a very different ending. Let’s take a look and see if we can still enjoy this experience.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on October 19th, 2023
Any time a film is released that is directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s something any film fan should get excited about, especially because we just don’t know how many more of these films we’ll have to look forward to. He’s one of the few working directors who you can argue has numerous masterpieces on his resume, films that are classics that have stood the test of time and will continue to do so for decades to come. Its why when I hear people scoff at the 3-hour 30 min running time of Killers of the Flower Moon and complain it’s too long, I feel like they are forgetting who they are talking about. If anything, when there is a 3-hour film like Oppenheimer that has grossed over $900 million worldwide, it shows that people will flock to the theaters and sit through an epic film if the film is good. Sure, there is already Oscar buzz around Oppenheimer, but in my eyes the film to beat this year is Killers of the Flower Moon, an epic western, crime saga and romance all wrapped up into one film that has me close to calling it a masterpiece, but I need a couple more viewings before I feel comfortable saying that.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 19th, 2023
“Where the hell did you come from?”
When you consider just how many films have been made about Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, I’m surprised it has taken this long to get a film like The Last Voyage of the Demeter. I’m not a huge fan of the novel, but the chapter that centers around Dracula’s voyage from Carpathia to London is a section that I always enjoyed. It’s a chapter told through journal entries from the captain of the ship and how the crew is killed one by one by a mysterious menace aboard the ship. In the movies that have come before, this moment of the film is usually mentioned as an afterthought or simply gets a couple of minutes of screen time. So is this the fresh take on the beloved horror icon that cinema goers have been waiting for, or is this just a lame attempt to revive the vampire genre?
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on October 19th, 2023
“How much do you know about the family business?”
Well, for over 20 years, the family business over at CBS has been the NCIS franchise, and another decade longer if you consider it was a spin-off of JAG, which lasted 10 years on its own. It’s been a busy 20 years, I can tell you that. About seven years into the original show’s run, we got our first NCIS spin-off with NCIS: Los Angeles. That show focused more on action and a lot of explosions. The show just finished its final year after 14 seasons. Then there was NCIS: New Orleans that brought the focus to the unique culture and tastes of The Big Easy. It lasted seven years, and there’s an upcoming NCIS: Sydney which is about to take us down under to grab that shrimp on the barbie. Things continue to expand, and now we have NCIS: Hawai’i, which expands the franchise and solves a situation at CBS. For decades they have kept a Hawaiian studio on the islands.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 16th, 2023
In 1995, I remember very vividly going to see Mortal Kombat on the big screen during my summer off from college (when very often I had nothing else to do). I was instantly wowed by all of the characters that I had played with in the first two video games and seeing them brought to screen. The music was absolutely fantastic (and still one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard). However, what I have carried with me most from that experience is my utter love of one character. Johnny Cage. Fast forward nearly thirty years, and we finally have a film where he is the main character and no longer some sort of side gag by all those involved. Let’s go to the Cage Match! Join me, won’t you?
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 16th, 2023
It’s a genuinely rewarding experience when you find a new director that you find intriguing. Mostly because as the consumer, it’s then a research project to find everything that person has ever done and then dissect which films you can go find to watch immediately. When I watched Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, I had that experience instantly. I wanted to see more of Rysuke Hamaguchi’s films. So I bought a Criterion Blu-ray copy of Drive My Car back in July. Shortly after that, I saw that his student film, Passion, was going to be released by Film Movement on Blu-ray, and I was eager to get a copy. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long, because the opportunity to review presented itself even before the release date. Let’s dive into this film and see the early workings of a true master of the conversation.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 11th, 2023
“Jack, we have done our jobs and done them well. This fight was passed down to us and will continue with or without us. But we will always be better than the institutions we serve, and that is what matters when it matters most. There are no heroes in our profession. But occasionally there are good men. Men who act on what is right, not simply doing what they are told to do. I have not always lived my life with honor. But perhaps I have done enough to die with it. I hope the same for you.”
Witness the birth of — actually make that rebirth of –one of the most popular action heroes in literature. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan has been a character of many jobs and many faces over the years. Baldwin, Ford, Pine, and Affleck have all stepped into the role of the man who has been a soldier, an analyst, an operative, and a president. What might appear as a clear advantage for this Amazon Prime streaming television show can be just as much a liability. When you throw in the Tom Clancy novels, comic books, and fan fiction, there is a ton of Jack Ryan history that pretty much gives us a story arc from his humble beginnings to extraordinary exploits
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 11th, 2023
“I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding, even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and the blackest eyes … the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply … evil.”
Blumhouse and David Gordon Green recently finished a sequel/reboot of John Carpenter’s Halloween with mixed results. He got Jamie Lee Curtis to return for all three films in the trilogy. Most of the various sequels and reboots did not include the original film’s star, but Green was not the first one to get her to return to the role of Laurie Strode.
Posted in The Reel World by Michael Durr on October 9th, 2023
When it comes to watching films at the theater, often I will want to see a movie sometimes three, four weeks into their release. The crowds have quieted down, and I can often focus on the movie rather than the person next to me who might be munching on their popcorn a little too loudly or on their cell phone. However, with many films not sticking around as they should, it can often be difficult to make that work. This past Sunday, I was fortunate enough to go with my dad to see A Haunting In Venice, a film that opened in mid-September to honestly rather tepid box office earnings. I had seen Murder on the Orient Express on 4K disc and Death on the Nile with my wife in theaters, so I certainly wanted to see the third film in the Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hercule Poirot. So quality time aside, was this film actually worth our matinee dollar, or was it better spent at the local sandwich shop? Let’s take a look.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 8th, 2023
“What do you think evil is? I’ll tell you what I think evil is…”
It’s sequels/reboots made by filmmakers who haven’t got one single clue what made the original such a classic. The Exorcist was a masterpiece of filmmaking and is truly one of the most compelling horror films even 50 years later. There are a lot of reasons for that. Unfortunately, David Gordon Green couldn’t name a single one if you gave him a cheat sheet in one hand and William Friedkin’s complete notes in the other. Blum House took a huge risk after they finished their Halloween trilogy. The films were hit and miss with some good moments. But most fans of the original never could completely bond with the films. So Blum House decided they liked this 3 film reboot/sequel idea and took a chance on committing $400 million for a trilogy of The Exorcist. Like the Halloween trilogy it would ignore all but the original film and take it’s story directly from that moment onward.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on October 7th, 2023
It’s October, so that means all the studios and streaming services are going to be unleashing some spooky new releases to please their viewers who are attempting to get into the Halloween spirit. This weekend Amazon Prime is releasing Totally Killer, a Blumhouse production that continues to ride the wave of 80s nostalgia with a time travel slasher film. The trailers looked fun and with Kiernan Shipka (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) in the lead, and I’m always in the mood for a new slasher with franchise potential. Does the film deliver the goods, or is this one dead on arrival? It’s time to strap in and travel back to 1987 and see what this is all about. In 1987 the town of North Vernon was terrorized by the “the Sweet 16 Killer” after he killed three high school girls, stabbing them sixteen times each. 35 years later, Pam (Julie Bowen) still hasn’t gotten over the murder of her three friends and has become very protective of her teenage daughter, Jamie (Kiernan Shipka).
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 6th, 2023
“My Mamma told me to pick the right one.”
In 1982, Cheers first broke on the network sitcom circuit. It was a small Boston bar owned by a has-been baseball player living on the glory years he didn’t really have. It was the bar where everyone knows your name. Behind the bar there was Woody. Woody was pretty much a kid who looked up to the owner in an almost hero-like way. He was naive and was easily and often taken for a rube. But he was kind, and no matter how out of it he might be, there wasn’t an evil bone in that character’s body. It was all an act. Of course, it was a television show where Woody was played by Woody Harrelson.
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on October 6th, 2023
Paul Schrader is one of my cinematic heroes and despite his numerous accolades I feel he’s one of the most underappreciated artists to work in film. He has a way of capturing the underbelly of society through his writing and visuals that very few can equal. When he and Martin Scorsese worked together on Taxi Driver that was such a perfect pairing, it’s Schrader’s best screenplay he’s ever produced, and I know this is a controversial take but I feel it’s also Scorsese’s best film. Hardcore would be the second film that Schrader would go on to direct, eventually he’d end up with 27 directing credits, but Hardcore for me is his standout film where he worked as both writer and director. This film isn’t for everyone and despite it being released in 1979 the subject matter remains provocative but for those willing to take a walk into some seedy areas this is film that will take you for a ride you won’t soon forget.
Posted in No Huddle Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 5th, 2023
“Here comes Gordy.”
In the 1950’s Gordon McLendon owned a series of radio stations throughout Texas along with a string of drive-in movie locations. Those drive-ins needed films to draw crowds, and Gordy wasn’t happy with the cost of some of the distribution deals that came to him. So he decided to team up with a couple of guys and try his hand at making his own movies. The first guy he teamed with would become well known to television audiences, but not for the movies he helped produce with Gordy. Ken Curtis would become the beloved Gunsmoke character Festus, a deputy who had more in common with Don Knotts than Marshal Dillon. He may not have been the sharpest point on a tin star, but America loved him. They might have thought twice if they knew about this partnership. The third leg of this tripod was Gordy’s father, B.R. McLendon. Together they would make Hollywood history, or is that Hollywood infamy? That’s for you to decide. They made three movies in total, but the first two are where that history was made.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on October 3rd, 2023
“That’s the most important thing. Just have fun.”
You shouldn’t need a primer on the NCIS franchise by now. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or longer, you’re up to speed on these guys. If not, you still could have some fun and enjoy the CBS DVD release of NCIS: L.A., but NCIS has been around for over 20 years, and this particular version has been around for 14 seasons now. That’s a lot of characterizations under the bridge and a ton of character evolution and stories that can’t help but give you maximum mileage out of the release. If you aren’t up to speed, you can check out over 30 seasons of various NCIS reviews by just banging it here: NCIS Reviews. That should keep you busy long enough to get you to the point that we’re here talking about Season 13. So hopefully you are up to speed, and we can get on with it. Shall we?
“31 Nights Of Terror” The Exorcist 50th Anniversary Edition – Theatrical & Extended Director’s Cut (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 2nd, 2023
“Have you ever heard of exorcism? It’s a stylized ritual in which rabbis or priests try to drive out the so-called invading spirit. It’s pretty much discarded these days, except by the Catholics who keep it in the closet as a sort of embarrassment. It has worked, in fact, although not for the reason they think, of course. It was purely the force of suggestion. The victim’s belief in possession helped cause it. And just in the same way, this belief in the power of exorcism can make it disappear.”
By now we’ve all heard of The Exorcist. The film was based on a best-selling novel by William Peter Blatty. Blatty himself based the story on a real exorcism of a young boy many years earlier. And that’s where the true power of the film begins. The monsters of horror movies often allow us a sense of unreality that protects our inner selves from being truly terrified.
Posted in Site News by Gino Sassani on October 1st, 2023
Well … it’s October, the start of Horrorcane season, and for fright fans that means that all the ghouls and goblins will be coming out to play. Before long it will be All Hallow’s Eve, and many of you will be having a spooktacular time of it all.
Here at Upcomingdiscs, we’d like to help get you in the mood to boo. All month long we’ll be offering up our “31 Nights of Terror” to help unsettle those dreams just a bit. We’ve just been elected your Night Mayor, and now we’re going to officiate a mammoth month of monsters and mayhem. Nearly each and every night in October we will bring you at least one horror related post. These posts will include contests, articles, podcasts, and reviews (of course).
So check back every night before bedtime … but before you turn out the lights.
Posted in The Reel World by Michael Durr on September 30th, 2023
The first Paw Patrol movie opened up in August of 2021 during the pandemic era where barely anyone wanted to go anywhere that wasn’t a grocery store (because somehow that was safe). It still managed to pull in forty million domestic and another hundred million internationally. With the built in audience from the television series, a sequel was almost a no-brainer. I remember taking my family to go see the first Paw Patrol (the theater was quite bare) and actually enjoying it quite a bit. It certainly helped to bring all of the key elements from the television series and produce something that wasn’t nauseating and over-the-top. However, sequels of movies based on popular properties often go the wrong direction. Let’s see what the Mighty Pups have in store for us in their second outing.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on September 29th, 2023
“Then we have something in common. You aren’t going to heaven because you aren’t a good person, and I’m not going because I’m not a person.”
So, this film focuses on a interesting viewpoint: what if Skynet weren’t the bad guys? In this Gareth Edwards directed film, John David Washington plays a hardened ex-soldier, grieving the disappearance of his wife, who is recruited to hunt down and assassinate the Creator, an elusive architect responsible for creation of advanced artificial intelligence that humanity has been at war with since a nuclear attack years earlier. Sound familiar? As previously mentioned, while one can draw parallels between the early events of this film and the future that Sarah Connor tried to prevent for her son, in that story, artificial intelligence becoming sentient was the cause; in The Creator, AI appears to be on the losing side of the battle with humanity. Score one for humanity. As a result, they only have one refuge: Asia, or to be more precise, New Asia.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on September 28th, 2023
Coming up on its 40th anniversary, Staying Alive continues to be one of the most bizarre sequels to be made by a major studio, starring John Travolta and co-written and directed by Sylvester Stallone. The film was intended to be a sequel to the massively popular Saturday Night Fever, but when Staying Alive came out, disco was pretty much dead, and really there isn’t much that connects the films but for the character Tony Manero (John Travolta) and that there is dancing in the film. When the movie came out it was a financial success, but it was pretty well hated by critics of the time to the point that even one of the film’s stars, Finola Hughes, was awarded a Razzie for her performance. Apparently the film has a loyal cult following, but now after 40 years I’m here to give this film a fair shake and decide for myself: is it as bad as people say, or is it a gem from the 80s that will make us all nostalgic for when there were several movies with the cast in leotards, headbands, and over-the-top dance numbers?
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on September 28th, 2023
In 1987 when Malone was being released, the peak of Burt Reynolds’ career was behind him. He was still successful and was doing films and TV shows after that, but there was a distinct change in the quality of the films he was putting out. At this time there was a bit of a shift with what an action hero looked like. Guys like Reynolds and Bronson were being nudged aside for Stallone and Schwarzenegger. This was the rise of the action hero who reigned well into the late 90’s. Thankfully the smaller studios understood there was still an audience that wanted to see Burt Reynolds on the big screen, and that’s where Malone fits in. It isn’t a film that is trying to be anything special, and I feel its ultimate fault is that it is so generic, so familiar, that it becomes so forgettable at the same time.