Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on April 4th, 2022
The power of the media is indeed one of the most powerful forces on Earth. They have the ability to manipulate regardless of where the truth actually lies. This exists on all sides of the political spectrum regardless of country, creed, or faith. It is truly sad that such fabrication actually exists and even more unfortunate that people will take it in hook, line, and sinker. Our film today, Armageddon, takes place in France, but plays havoc with manipulating those all over Western Europe by using the media to instill fear. Fear of mortality, fear of losing life, a fear that makes the strongest person into a blithering child. Let us take a look.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 31st, 2022
“Hello, Dexter Morgan.”
It’s been almost 10 years since everyone’s favorite serial killer disappeared into a hurricane and left the airwaves with a somewhat unsatisfying series finale. It wasn’t quite as bad as David Chase’s ill-conceived hard cut that ended The Sopranos, but unlike David Chase, Team Dexter gets a second chance to get the ending right. With the death of actor James Gandolfini, Chase won’t ever get the opportunity to give Tony Soprano a better exit. But Dexter gets the sendoff he should have had back in 2013 with the limited revival series Dexter: New Blood. The 10-episode run returns Michael C. Hall to the role of Dexter Morgan. You don’t want to break into these episodes without taking time to watch the original series. That’s going to set you back about 96 hours, but the investment is necessary if you’re going to truly appreciate this return. You can check out our reviews of those previous seasons by banging it right here: Dexter Reviews. I’ll wait….
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on March 31st, 2022
“And away we go!”
In 2013 when Rick and Morty first appeared on the Adult Swim block on the Cartoon Network, I don’t think anyone was ready for just how much of a pop-culture impact the show would have. Five seasons and 52 episodes later, the animated series about Rick, a half-drunk scientist, his grandson Morty, and their over-the-top adventures have continued to entertain us. Now you can get all five seasons in one excellent little package. If that doesn’t make you go, “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!” I don’t know what will. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to review the show; you can go search the site and find out my thoughts on the seasons, but here I’m going to give a quick overview of the show and why if you haven’t checked the show out before, going ahead and buying this set is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The show, for those who may be unfamiliar, is a fun concoction between Back to the Future and more than a sprinkle of Futurama. If that sounds like a fun ride, well, then this may be the animated series for you.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on March 31st, 2022
“Where there’s life … there’s hope. Bob Hope, that is.”
Few American entertainers have had a career to match that of Bob Hope. He lived 100 years and spent over 80 of those years in the entertainment industry. He appeared in over 70 films, wrote various books, and has over 300 appearance credits to his name on television and radio. He cut out a niche for himself during World War II that carried him through the Korean War and the war in Vietnam. He conducted literally hundreds of appearances for GI’s out in the field, performing sometimes for audiences at the front. He brought a ton of his celebrity friends and was Mr. USO for decades. An honest look at his career is impossible here. Thanks to the folks over at Kino, we have the opportunity to explore a couple of his films from the 1940’s. You can pick up each of them on Blu-ray now, and we’ll give you an idea of what you’re going to get for your money
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on March 25th, 2022
From the moment I saw the trailer for The Lost City, it immediately gave me vibes of Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, the adventure-romance films that starred Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner back in the mid-eighties. The basic story for those films were simple: a romance writer who finds herself in an adventure to find a rare jewel alongside a handsome rogue with bad guys coming after them around every corner. I loved these films as a kid, and getting to see a modern twist on these stories is something I found welcome. What is even more welcome is getting to see Sandra Bullock back in a comedic role. I’ve been a fan of just about everything Bullock has done since she graced the screen in Demolition Man and then the following year in Speed. My only concern was seeing Channing Tatum as her co-star; while I like him in numerous supporting roles like Logan Lucky and Foxcatcher, he’s never really convinced me that he has what it takes for leading-man status. Well, that changed after seeing The Lost City, and my feeling about this film is that it’s the movie audiences don’t yet realize they needed, and I hope it becomes the box office success it deserves to be.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 24th, 2022
“You look terrible. I want you to eat, I want you to rest well. And a month from now this Hollywood big shot’s gonna give you what you want.”
The Hollywood big shot has just given me what I want. Paramount releases The Godfather Trilogy on UHD Blu-ray in wonderful 4K. It’s an offer none of us can refuse. The Godfather films changed storytelling forever. Films before that time, mobster or otherwise, had some very simple but unshakable rules. There was always a fairly clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys always win in the end, and the bad guys always succumb to justice before the final credits. For perhaps the very first time, we were given characters that we knew in our souls were evil men. They killed. They broke laws. They manipulated everyone around them through fear and terrorism to bend to their wills. Somehow, now they are the film’s core heroes, if you will.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on March 16th, 2022
I’m going to go ahead and say that this limited series is only meant for the diehard fans of the original series. Those are the only people that I can see enjoying the show, based on the lack of context provided for newcomers. You are kind of just thrown into the mix without a real frame of reference for the characters or the central premise unless you already have some familiarity with the universe. Given that Adventure Time: Distant Lands was intended as a continuation of said series, that is fine. In fact, it is completely understandable. Barring extreme circumstances, there would be no reason for you jump to this four-episode limited series unless you were fond of the original format. However, I find myself in that said extreme circumstance, and as such without familiarity with the other series, I was pretty lost coming out of the gate. I am also not the intended audience for the show, but even my daughter failed to resonate with the series, as she walked out during the first episode.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on March 11th, 2022
“Maybe this isn’t the story we think it is.”
I wanted to believe that it was possible. I really did. I wanted to believe that it was possible to make a quality addition to the iconic franchise despite nearly twenty years having gone by since the third film. But alas, here we are, and it clearly wasn’t possible to make a quality addition to the franchise. I should have trusted my instincts. While The Matrix: Resurrections may provide us with answer regarding the ultimate fate of Neo and Trinity, those answers come at the cost of entertainment. I am a firm believer in letting sleeping dogs lie, and I can honestly say that this franchise would have been better off without this latest installment, which in my opinion adds nothing to it. I’m honestly shocked at how disappointed I was with the film given that two-thirds of the main cast came back for the film. Trust me, we are also going to discuss the one-third that didn’t and the dishonorable way that they chose to continue the character.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on March 11th, 2022
Who would have thought that a movie that features the apocalypse and mass suicide would have moments of charm and levity? I mean, when you think of those type of themes, you don’t expect that you are going to have some laughs. And yet somehow Silent Night pulls it off. Part of that probably had to do with high-class talent that took part of the film, which featured Matthew Goode, Keira Knightly, Annabelle Wallis, Lily Rose Depp, and Lucy Punch. The film lulls you into a bit of a false sense of security; I initially thought that Goode’s and Knightly’s characters were going to turn homicidal and murder all their dear friends. I figured that was the central premise of the film. All in all I think I prefer the film as it is instead of that idea. While that might have been interesting to see, it would have made the film more of a one-trick pony. As it is, Silent Night is witty, funny, and still manages to tackle complex philosophical views in an easily comprehensible manner. That is a feat not easily accomplished.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 10th, 2022
“It’s called life.”
Kevin Costner plays John Dutton. The name itself recalls those years as a kid watching the myriad western shows that crossed our television screens throughout the 50’s and 60’s. He’s the owner of Yellowstone Ranch, which takes up hundreds of square miles and borders on the national park of the same name, which we never do get to see. What we do see are the other borders of the Yellowstone. It borders a large and mostly impoverished Native American reservation. All of this takes place in the open ranges of Montana, where the Yellowstone Ranch looks very much like the fabled Shiloh of The Virginian. There’s the big mansion where Dutton and some of his family live and the bunkhouse where the cowboys who work the cattle sleep, play cards, eat, and fight. Looking over the scenery, one can almost imagine you were back in the days of the untamed frontier. John Dutton might have some old-fashioned ideas of how to make a living, but he’s a rich man who uses modern technology when it serves him.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 9th, 2022
“My name is Kara Zor-El. When I was younger, my home planet was dying. Saving it was hopeless. My father sent me to Earth to take care of my baby cousin who went before me, and I thought we were the only two survivors, and that everyone else from our planet was dead, including my father. I can’t lose him again.”
They say all good things must come to an end, and for the fans of CW’s Supergirl, that end has finally arrived. Arrow started it all so many years ago and has been off the air a couple of years even though the CW DC universe has been coined The Arrowverse. The Flash will remain as the likely flagship for the joined universe with Legends Of Tomorrow, Superman and Lois, and unfortunately Batwoman keeping the last embers alive. I suspect that it will all close shop within the next two years. It’s been a good run with some exceptional superhero television and some memorable characters, but we’re in the home stretch, to be sure. But you can’t just step in after a decade of Arrowverse unseen. If you have not seen the show before, you must at least go back and check out the previous five seasons. It’ll be worth the time. You can also take a look at all of our reviews of Supergirl here: Supergirl Reviews.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 4th, 2022
If I’m being honest, it’s been decades since I saw the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and I’m not even sure I saw the whole thing, but I do remember the ending. It’s not that I feel it’s a bad film; I just have had no need to revisit it because I enjoy the 1978 version so much. The startling ending of this film is quite infamous. For those who haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you, but it is a moment that has stuck with me since I first watched back in the old VHS days. Since the 1956 film has been out, there have been several takes on the material, and numerous bad knock-offs as well, but for me, the 1978 film with Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum will always be the true classic in my eyes. Getting this title to review, it’s been ages since I’ve seen the film, so I was excited about revising this classic. I wasn’t sure it would hold up, but what surprised me most was simply how relevant the film remains with its themes of not conforming to the populace to even the paranoia about becoming a pod person in current terms infected with COVID.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on March 3rd, 2022
“They think I’m hiding in the shadows, but I am the shadows.”
You have certain expectations when you go to a superhero/comic book movie. Sure, it changes a little depending on the character that you’re going to see. But there are certain things that all of these films tend to have in common. There’s an expectation of frantic action and some mind-bending special f/x. You’re looking for colorful villains who tend to act over-the-top and always provide that gentle wink back at the audience. When these expectations aren’t met, audiences tend to be disappointed, and big budget films can end up costing the studios huge in the end. Even as we appear to be reaching the last days of the limited pandemic crowds, that risk gets multiplied. It also doesn’t help if audiences are still riding the high off the first big global billion-dollar film in almost three years. That’s the kind of headwinds The Batman is facing when audiences line up to see the return of one of the oldest and most famous heroes in comic history.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on March 3rd, 2022
This 1974 film has previously been regarded as an Italian version of the widely successful American supernatural film, The Exorcist. It’s been suggesting that The Antichrist was an attempt to cash in on some of the success that the American film experienced a year earlier. After watching it, I don’t see why the two films can’t coexist. Whether or not the American film had any bearing on this one will never be determined, but it stands to reason that if you enjoyed that one, there is no reason that you won’t enjoy this as well. I suppose there is the risk of it feeling redundant, but a little redundancy has never bothered me. Besides, if you can’t deal with films with similar premises and themes, your lists of viewing pleasure is going to shrink exponentially. I won’t spend a lot of time comparing the two films for couple of reasons: one, I believe that would be doing this film a disservice, given that I found it mildly entertaining; and two, it’s quite some time since I watched to The Exorcist, so my memory of it is slightly foggy. That said, I believe that will give me an objective view of The Antichrist, because I won’t waste undue time with comparisons.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on March 2nd, 2022
Remakes are nothing new. They’ve been around for as long as there have been films. Today we appear to be dominated by the remake, but they’ve been around forever. There are many reasons to do a remake. Often, like the case of Peter Jackson’s King Kong and the recent Kong/Godzilla movies, it’s because technology has taken us to a place where we can do things on the screen that the original filmmakers couldn’t have dreamed of. Other times it’s merely a classic story that stands the test of time, and every once in a while someone wants to attach themselves to that history. Yet other times there’s more that can be added to the story, or there is a fresh perspective to what came before. While many of these types lead to sequels and reboots, they still lead to the remake. Then there are those remakes that are almost a shot-for-shot imitation of the original with no apparent reason to exist other than to capitalize on the name. I really don’t want to put the 1997 made-for-television remake of 12 Angry Men in that category.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on March 2nd, 2022
“At present your home is not safe, even when you are there. So protect yourselves. Be sure to have good locks, good security systems. I’m addition, you might consider getting a watchdog. And I’m not necessarily talking about a large dog. Any dog that can bark will make a good watchdog.”
Well, this dog does a lot more than bark in this 1979 family-friendly comedy. Standing for “Canine HOMe Protection System,” C.H.O.M.P.S. is the story of a young inventor who creates a revolutionary home security system that is as cute as it is effective: a robotic dog that is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Given that he modeled the robot after his actual pet, that creates a couple of funny hijinks later on in the film, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. The film stars Wesley Eure, an actor popular for his starring roles in family-friendly entertainment that includes Land of the Lost, Finders Keepers, and the educational television series, Dragon Tales.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on March 2nd, 2022
It’s amazing how a pretty face can get you act against your better instincts. Letting someone you just met, a complete stranger, move into your house and giving access to your top-of-the-line security system. Yeah, that is not something that happens unless the person is breathtakingly beautiful. Incidentally, Lily Krug fits that description to a tee. She is a knockout beauty without question. However, looks alone wouldn’t have been enough, given the dark turn her character was destined to take; there had to be some malice behind those eyes. She had to have the eyes of a heartless and calculating sociopath. Did she deliver? Let’s just say, whenever I see her in future roles, even if she is playing a protagonist, it’s going to be hard not to see the predator that I know is lurking behind her eyes.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 1st, 2022
On May 5th 1980 film producer Euan Lloyd was on-hand for 17 minutes while the Iranian Embassy in London was raided by Britain’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) to free hostages taken by a terrorist cell. He immediately ran back to his house and called his agent to register several film titles, including Who Dares Wins, which was the original shooting title and British release title of what in America came to be The Final Option. It’s important to understand that it was never his intent to do a film about the exact event but use that inspiration to do a film that often mirrors that of the actual raid. Instead of using the actual terrorists and their motives, he felt it was important to make the story not about the bad guys so much as it would be a celebration of the bravery and actions of the SAS. He invited the actual SAS to participate. They declined but eventually offered him some under-the-table assistance when they saw what it was he was trying to do. Those motives have created a bit of a controversy over the film throughout the years, and Lloyd has been accused of making a right-wing propaganda film, which if you actually see the film, you’ll quickly realize it is not.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 1st, 2022
In 1999 when Man on the Moon was released, Jim Carrey was pretty much one of the biggest comedic stars in the industry, though at the time I don’t think audiences were prepared to see Carrey make such a departure despite it being a career best performance. This was one of those box office failures that shouldn’t have been, but to be fair, 1999 is one of the most stacked years of great films, though how Carrey didn’t even get a nomination is baffling. So what are my thoughts after revisiting the Andy Kaufman bio-pic that was penned by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood and The People Vs. Larry Flynt) and directed by Milos Foreman (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus)? The opening scene pretty much sets the tone for the film you are about to see with Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) breaking the 4th wall to address the film the audience is about to see. He goes on to tell them that the movie is over, and the credits roll and eventually the screen goes to black.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 25th, 2022
“They usually call death row the Last Mile, but we called ours the Green Mile, because the floor was the color of faded limes. We had the electric chair then. Old Sparky, we called it. I’ve lived a lot of years, Ellie, but 1935 takes the prize. That was the year I had the worst urinary infection of my life. That was also the year of John Coffey and the two dead girls.”
For me that place would be the movies. From the time I was a little kid, movies have always had an incredible fascination with me, and it’s where some of my fondest memories come from. It’s what has led me here, writing about the things I see, and it’s never lost its charm even when it became a job. Films like The Green Mile are a huge reason why that is so.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on February 25th, 2022
Despite my tender age, I didn’t see Escape from New York until I was in my early twenties. My parents never talked about it, my college friends didn’t seem to care, and the Internet wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is now. But it has become my favorite movie of all time. What’s curious is that the sequel to the film, Escape from L.A., is what introduced me to Kurt Russell and the character of Snake Plissken (and became the foundation of everything I consider to be “cool”). It holds a giant chunk of my movie heart, and I’m glad today to bring you this review of the UHD Blu-ray from Paramount. It is 1998, and hostile forces inside the United States are growing strong. Los Angeles is ravaged by crime, and the US Police Force is formed to keep the peace. A political candidate (played by Cliff Robertson) emerges and predicts a millennium earthquake that will destroy Los Angeles in divine retribution. An earthquake measuring 9.6 on the Richter scale hits at 12:59pm on August 23rd in the year 2000.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on February 25th, 2022
“Over a million athletes play high school football every year in America. Each with a dream of their own. Only about five percent of them make it to college ball. And only one percent of those get drafted to the NFL. Most don’t stay in the league for more than three years. Most are not quarterbacks. Only a select few will ever play in the Super Bowl, and each year, there is only one MVP of that game. So, by all accounts my dream, my story is impossible. That’s just the kind of story this is…”
That is quite possibly the best opening monologue that I seen in a long while, and the fact that the man that this film is based on was the one to deliver it just made it all the sweeter. Kurt Warner. If you are a football fan, that is a name that you undoubtedly heard. Even if you only have a passing knowledge of football, enough that you speak it articulately with some, chances are you’ve heard of Kurt Warner.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 25th, 2022
Kino Lorber has put together a fun double feature pairing the films FX and FX 2 for their Studio Classics line. These films are a bit of a relic of the past considering how much Hollywood has strayed away from the days of using practical effects to the more modern approach of CGI. Sure, when using CGI you can create just about anything the brain can imagine with the aid of a computer, but there is something about latex, props, and actual sets that have always made movies come alive and feel more grounded in reality. These effects wizards are capable of pulling off almost as much as anything a computer can, but it’s the supplies and setup on set that has made CGI a more acceptable approach in the industry. Over the years special effects and makeup artists in the industry have been contacted by the government to enlist their help in special operations.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 23rd, 2022
You just have to watch a few minutes of this film to get what the filmmakers were going for, and if you’re a fan of 80’s sword and sorcery films, i.e. Conan The Barbarian, Red Sonja, this will certainly whet your visual appetite. But then if you also happened to be a fan of the animated films Heavy Metal, Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings, and Fire & Ice, then The Spine of Night is going to be cinematic catnip that will satisfy your geeky cravings. But if none of the films I mentioned above excite you, well, you might want to shuffle along, because this film just isn’t for you. Honestly, I was even on the fence with this film, but then I had to think of the teenage version of myself, and, well, back then in the glory days of VHS, if I had this title to watch, I would have been stoked to come across it. So just what is The Spine of Night? Well, it’s a love letter to a genre that simply doesn’t exist in the mainstream anymore, but it obviously still has its fans, and who knows, maybe a cult following with this film can help revive the genre.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 23rd, 2022
If you ever wondered just why Marilyn Monroe is the icon that she is today, all you have to do is watch Some Like It Hot, and you’ll see how she captured the attention of audiences from 1959 and well beyond to this day. She was already a star by the time she made the Billy Wilder classic after being in films like Gentleman Prefer Blondes and The Seven Year Itch, but it’s her role as Sugar that really showcases all of her talent, though unfortunately it was the film where her troubles off screen were taking a toll on her physically and emotionally. This would also be the film that would launch Jack Lemmon’s career and be the first of many collaborations with the acclaimed writer and director Billy Wilder. Some Like It Hot isn’t simply a classic film, it is literally a piece of film history that made a profound impact on the motion picture industry, and the American Film Institute proclaimed it to be the greatest comedy of all time.