Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on October 29th, 2021
I really liked the film, but I don’t expect that it will be the savior that revitalizes the franchise. Without question it is the best of the three films that were adapted from the popular toy line, but even so I just didn’t find it compelling enough to serve as the launch point for a franchise reboot. I just don’t think it’s in the cards for G.I. Joe to become a movie powerhouse. Snake Eyes is without question one of the most popular characters from the television incarnation, and he was also the biggest draw for the film adaptation as well. Anticipation for a live-action telling of his origins has been in the works for years, with many hoping to see Ray Park, who played the character in the first two films (though we never see his face), reprise the role. However, much time passed between G.I. Joe Retaliation and this film, making that an impossibility.
Posted in Super Round-Up by Jeremy Butler on October 29th, 2021
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 advertising 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 Gino Sassani on October 28th, 2021
“Look. See a world that holds more wonders than any since the Earth was born. And of all who reigned o’er, none had more renown like the boy who pulled the sword from the stone. But this is not that king, nor is this his song. Let me tell you instead a new tale. I’ll lay it down as I’ve heard it told. Its letters set, its history pressed, of an adventure brave and bold. Forever set in heart, in stone like all great myths of old …”
Mythology is filled with stories of knights. The Black Knights of villainy can be found in thousands of stories, perhaps far more. What young girl doesn’t dream of her White Knight coming to rescue her from a mundane life? And there are countless stories of King Arthur and his entourage of famous names like Guinevere, Galahad, and Merlin the wizard. But you won’t find too many stories of a Green Knight. Nor has there been much set to paper on Sir Gawain, one of Arthur’s lesser known family members. Turns out the young lad was his nephew of Gwen’s side of the family.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on October 28th, 2021
“How many people? Husbands, wives, and children, will you kill for peace, Clark?”
Needless to say, when Superman goes bad, it’s a bloodbath. And not just civilians, but heroes as well, as the Justice League is divided, and several are killed in what becomes a civil war between Superman and Batman. When the Joker tricks him into murdering the love of his life, Superman breaks his most solemn vow in pursuit of what he believes to be justice, and this act sends shockwaves throughout the world. Batman, Superman’s most trusted ally, finds himself in the impossible position of having to stand oppose the hero, as Superman proceeds to impose his will on mankind in order to keep them safe.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 28th, 2021
“My most vivid memories are of the days when my life changed. I remember coming to this Earth, feeling the sun on my face for the first time. Hearing the voices of my parents. My mother called me their greatest surprise. And boy, there sure were lots of them. I remember loving Smallville; the people, the community, how the small things were the big things. And I thought I’d live there forever. But my father’s death set me on a different path. Eventually, I moved to Metropolis to become who I was meant to be. But my most vivid memory of all was the day I met her.”
The her, of course is Lois Lane. Together they are Superman & Lois, and they’ve joined the ever-expanding Arrowverse for their first season now out on Blu-ray from Warner Home Entertainment.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 28th, 2021
No, this isn’t a remake of the 1994 Ice-T Surviving the Game. Unfortunately, this is yet another low-budget action film starring Bruce Willis that has this reviewer wondering if we’ll ever get a great film out of Willis ever again. For the past few years it seems Bruce Willis has given up doing A-list films and has instead gone the route of straight-to-disc releases, and the films have ranged from tolerable to garbage. This is frustrating, because I think we can all agree he’s better than this, but he seems to be fine cashing the paychecks and going onto set and looking miserable from one scene to the next. I miss seeing Bruce Willis being the average-Joe badass. The Last Boy Scout? Heck, at this point I’d rather see him in a Hudson Hawk revival, but alas, this seems to be what we’re stuck with.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on October 23rd, 2021
“A great man doesn’t seek to lead, he’s called to it. But if your answer is no, you’ll still be the only thing I need you to be. My son.”
Given that this was most likely the most anticipated movie of 2020, I must say that I expected much more from it. Especially given the who’s who list of Hollywood stars who were brought together for this production. Names like Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, and the list goes on. I suppose another thing that somewhat worked against the film was the long wait, as this was a movie that was slated for a year earlier, and then the pandemic complicated that, so anticipation for this film was high. Not to mention that this is a reboot of a beloved series that has already been adapted and garnered a large cult following. It is also my understanding that previous adaptation had the benefit of having the creator of the franchise on set to help guide it. That sounds like a recipe for success, if you ask me.
Posted in No Huddle by Archive Authors on October 22nd, 2021
“This is the way the world ends…”
The Stephen King cycle has turned hot once again. With the enormous success of the two-part It feature at the box office, Stephen King is hitting the kind of popularity he had back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, when it seemed anything he put his name to had to be made into a feature film or some other grand project. The trend led to mixed results. Many of the films couldn’t live up to the visceral detail that has become King’s trademark. To do this, his books have taken on a large page count that has been nearly impossible to fit into a 2-hour feature film window. So there were attempts to expand that reach and use his material for the mini-series format. That’s the way It was handled in those days. But there are limitations in network television, particularly 30 years ago, that had no chance of capturing the imagination of a writer with such brutal imagery. The lesson has taken hold. It was released as two films. But back in the day, it appears that even seven hours couldn’t quite deliver a quality version of The Stand. Even with a brilliant cast and a script written by the horror master himself, the mini-series fell short of both expectations and the test of time.
Posted in The Reel World by John Delia on October 22nd, 2021
Totally immersive, the movie The Last Duel takes you into 14th century France where it deals with wars, the plague, and an economical decline for the kingdom. Entwined, during that period, is a true story of misogyny, a power struggle, and a rivalry between squires. Powerful acting, direction, and cinematography deliver a compelling story that makes the two and a half hours fly by. In the 1300’s Europe has been wrecked with war and plague, and France has had a good share of the death and destruction. As the story begins, find notable squire and knight Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) returning to his castle from a vicious battle in defense of his king. Having lost his wife to the plague, he marries Lady Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), the daughter of a landowner with a vast amount of territory.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 20th, 2021
“Scared yet? You should be.”
There have been a ton of changes in the Arrowverse that started in 2012 with the CW premier of Arrow. It told the story of Oliver Queen, The Green Arrow. Other shows and heroes were added along the way that included time-traveling heroes of The Legends Of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Black Lightning, Stargirl, and most recently Batwoman and Superman and Lois. But the best of these Arrowverse shows has always been and continues to be The Flash. But a lot has changed since then. The mothership, Arrow, has been gone for two years. Supergirl ended last season along with Black Lightning, and Legends Of Tomorrow appears to be fading fast in just plain silliness. Too bad DC doesn’t own the rights to Howard The Duck. He’d fit right in. Of the new shows, Stargirl shows a lot of promise with a pretty solid ensemble. Batwoman, for so many reasons, is a complete mess, and Superman & Lois looks to be the most promising future of the Arrowverse.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 20th, 2021
“My name is Lt. Aldo Raine, and I’m putting together a special team, and I need me eight soldiers. Eight Jewish-American soldiers. Now, y’all might’ve heard rumors about the armada happening soon. Well, we’ll be leaving a little earlier. We’re gonna be dropped into France, dressed as civilians. And once we’re in enemy territory, as a bushwhackin’ guerrilla army, we’re gonna be doin’ one thing and one thing only … killin’ Nazis. We will be cruel to the German, and through our cruelty they will know who we are. And they will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of their brothers we leave behind us. And the German won’t be able to help themselves but to imagine the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives. And the Germans will be sickened by us, and the German will talk about us, and the German will fear us. And when the German closes their eyes at night and they’re tortured by their subconscious for the evil they have done, it will be with thoughts of us they are tortured with. Sound good?”
All right, so I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but I wanted to toss in my two bits anyway.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on October 16th, 2021
“Michael Myers has haunted this town for 40 years … Tonight we hunt him down.”
In 2018 when Halloween came out, I have to admit I was disappointed. Maybe I just had such high hopes, or the film just simply didn’t offer up anything fresh to the series as I had hoped. Sure, it had its moments, like the long tracking shot of Michael doing what he does best and leaving a trail of bodies behind, but aside from that, I felt it was a relatively forgettable entry. I love the original film. What John Carpenter did scared me as a child and still excites me after numerous viewings. Halloween II is a fun watch that I continue to enjoy. And for a more controversial take, I’m even a fan of Rob Zombie’s Halloween. I liked the time spent with a young Michael Myers, and I look at the film as basically a southern re-telling of the Boogeyman. The franchise is hit or miss, and the numerous timelines do complicate the lore, so I was more than a little skeptical about Halloween Kills and it being the middle of David Gordon Green’s trilogy.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on October 15th, 2021
“Aliens from the future gave us magic powers. It was staring me in the face.”
This was a series that managed to catch me completely off guard. I’m still in a state of shock for how much I loved this show. Beforehand, I heard little about the show. I think I may have caught a glimpse of a commercial for it or the odd promo, but I never paid attention to it. I expected that it would be dreary and flat. Now, I’ve gone from thinking this was something I would have to endure for six episodes, to chomping at the bit to get my hand on the second set of six episodes. There were so many elements and themes that were combined with rich and complex characters. All the pieces came together to make this Lauren Donnelly and Ann Skelly-led series a masterpiece of entertainment.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 15th, 2021
Fried Barry is definitely one of those fun quirky movies that needs to be seen to be believed. One thing I should definitely say from the start is this movie is definitely not for everyone but if you are willing to go into this with an open mind well you just might appreciate this little gem ad for those late night drinkers and tokers, this is one that is fun to put on for those late night movie nights. If you are looking for a high brow art film you’ve come to the wrong place and despite how the covert art suggests “A Hard R version of ET” well that’s a bit of a stretch in the ET department but this is definitely a film not for the kiddies but perfect for those high school film geeks looking for an outlet from woke society. I feel like this is the kind of movie we need as the rest of the world is so scared about offending one another Fried Barry instead asks it viewers to kick back and prepare to get uncomfortable and enjoy the ride.
Posted in No Huddle Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 14th, 2021
After nearly 90 years the Universal horror cycle stands as one of the most enduring collection of horror movies today. Their influence on modern horror is unmistakable. There have been literally thousands of incarnations of Dracula, The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster, but the first image that comes to your mind will always be the nightmare creations of those Universal films. Studio head Carl Laemmle, Jr. was trying to break away from his father’s control and create a studio culture of his own. The results would start in 1931 when an unknown Hungarian actor named Bela Lugosi jumped from the stage to the screen in Dracula, directed by Tod Browning. Laemmle’s niece, Carla Laemmle, is the girl in the coach headed for Borgo Pass as the film opens to the musical strains from Swan Lake. She is reading a travel brochure about vampires and thus speaks the very first lines ever spoken in a horror film in the era of sound. Lugosi was mesmerizing, and the film was a hit. There was a depression on, but that didn’t stop crowds from lining up around theater blocks to be hypnotized by Lugosi’s Dracula.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on October 13th, 2021
“He’s dangerous, amoral, he pathologically flaunts authority. He’s reckless to the point of suicidal. But all of this … everything we’ve done. None of it would have been possible if it weren’t for him.”
Him, of course is James Spader as the enigmatic Raymond “Red” Reddington. The show is NBC’s breakout hit The Blacklist, created by first-time show-runner Jon Bokenkamp. Bokenkamp is truly a newcomer to the business. He has literally only a couple of very minor writing credits to his name. Perhaps that’s why The Blacklist is able to contain quite a few of the cliché elements running through television today and still feel like one of the freshest shows in a long while. Or maybe it’s really Spader
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on October 13th, 2021
“They are coming to get you, Barbara.”
Step aside, Gus Van Sant’s 1998 remake of Psycho; there’s a new most useless remake (of all time) in town. Seriously, to whoever is responsible for getting this film green-lit, I seriously hate you and all that you’ve done to George A. Romero’s classic and not to mention groundbreaking film. The fact that his name isn’t even in the credits on the Blu-ray is equally a blessing and a low blow. George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is pretty well known for being the first film to depict zombies as undead, flesh-eating beings and literally kick-started its own subgenre in horror. It’s also perhaps known for one of the biggest blunders involving copyright protection, which resulted in Romero losing out on millions and the distributors pocketing most of the financial gains the film had. In 1990, Tom Savini would go on to remake the film, but this time shoot the film in color and also update it with new and improved special effects.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on October 13th, 2021
Justin Long chose an interesting film for his directorial debut. Lady of the Manor is Casper meets For a Good Time Call …, which is not a dig, as I found both those films enjoyable. The best way to categorize the movie is as a raunchy ghost story, which is an interesting combination. My skepticism was high going into the film, and while I did enjoy the film, I will say that it ran a little long. There are several scenes that could have been cut out, and I feel like for the most part it wouldn’t have sacrificed quality. Melanie Lynskey of Two And A Half Men fame played to her niche, embodying another quirky character, but this time a rated-R version. Rounding out the cast, Judy Greer as the aforementioned lady of the manor, Ryan Phillippe, Luis Guzman, Patrick Duffy (Dallas), and of course, the director himself, Justin Long. Interesting tidbit I learned: principal photography and filming for the movie took place in the Tampa and Saint Petersburg area. I thought certain areas looked familiar.
Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on October 10th, 2021
After nearly 100 years the Universal Horror cycle stands as one of the most enduring collection of horror movies today. Their influence on modern horror is unmistakable. There have been literally thousands of incarnations of Dracula, The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster, but the first image that comes to your mind will always be the nightmare creations of those Universal films. Now the first collection of Universal Horror classics finally comes to UHD Blu-ray and glorious 4K. It doesn’t get any better than this. A while back I got to talk with Sarah Karloff, daughter to the legendary monster himself, Boris Karloff. Here what she had to say about those monsters of the past. Bang it here to listen to my interview with Sara Karloff
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on October 9th, 2021
“As long as we are looking over our shoulder, the past is not dead.”
When it comes to Daniel Craig’s Bond movies, I’ve found them to be hit or miss. There are those I love, such as Casino Royale and Skyfall, and then there are those that I wasn’t that into, such as Quantum of Solace and Spectre. However, when it comes to No Time to Die, there is no question that it is my favorite of all the Craig-led Bond movies. Maybe it was how long I’ve been waiting to experience it given that the onset of COVID resulted in the film’s release being delayed multiple times, so by the time it was finally here, I could barely contain my excitement. However, I think it is more likely that the reason is the knowledge that this will be Craig’s final portrayal as the suave secret agent with a penchant for shaken martinis. Either way, Craig’s swan song film was without question great, despite certain elements not delivering on the hype. Craig leaves the franchise with is head held high, as I cannot imagine a more dignified exit for his portrayal.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 6th, 2021
We first came to know Paul Hogan as the “Shrimp On The Barbie” guy. He was doing television and radio ads for Australian tourism. A smart fellow, he saw that the ad character was popular and rode an enormous wave of an Australian fad that hit America in the 1980’s. Suddenly there were Australian bands like Men At Work teaching us about vegemite sandwiches on the top of the music charts. We got steak, not shrimp, on our barbie with a chain of Australian-themed steakhouses appropriately called Outback “no rules, just right” started up by a Florida group. Pop culture became inundated with catch phrases like “no worries” and “G’Day”. Australia was cool, and we even had an “Australian” neighbor we all later found out was faking it for years. No doubt anything Aussie was considered cool. It was in that light that Hogan parlayed his tourism ads into an over-the-top Aussie character named Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee.
Posted in Uncategorized by Gino Sassani on October 5th, 2021
Too much of what comes out of the entertainment industry today is remakes/reboots/revivals and sequels. There’s certainly a place for some of that but if you are like me you are hungry for originality. I found it in the unusual film Fried Barry. Filmed in South Africa the film pays a lot of homage to many iconic film moments without losing its own originality. I had the chance to talk with director/writer Ryan Kruger and it was a blast. He’s doing his own thing out there and that made for some interesting conversation, to be sure. You can listen in on my conversation with Ryan Kruger and then go out and find the film. Bang it here to listen to my conversation with: Ryan Kruger.
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on October 5th, 2021
To watch Bugsy Malone you’ve got to remind yourself what it was like when you were a kid, and that’s something I feel is the most difficult thing to do when kids today have video games, the internet, and so much technology at their fingertips that to play and pretend is just not what it used to be. In 1976, writer and director Alan Parker gave us a gangster film like no other; it was a musical and a parody and most importantly was completely cast with children, all around the age of 12. It’s hard to imagine a film like this could ever take place now, not that there is anything offensive about it, but the film’s charm and its innocence I just feel couldn’t be captured anymore. The idea of kids shooting one another with guns firing marshmallows and cream would certainly rile up parents, not to mention the “sarsaparilla” bootlegging going on.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 2nd, 2021
Ever since The Purge came out back in 2013, I think with each passing year it seems like it can become a terrifying reality. Some fans, I’m sure, have even thought about what deviant activities they’d get into or how they’d defend themselves if it ever became a reality. The films in their own blunt way have been an examination of our government and how society is treated by class and by race. It’s not a big surprise that these films have been hits at the box office, but my big complaint has been are they really horror films? For me they are just modern takes of a world that John Carpenter created with his Escape from New York and Escape from LA films, like a hard-edged dystopian sci-fi survival film. At least with the first installment The Purge felt more grounded as an intense home invasion film, but as the sequels followed and the world opened up, it just started to feel more like an action film.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 2nd, 2021
“There’s a war coming to Gotham, and now there’s no Batwoman stop it.”
Well … that’s halfway true. After just one season in the cape and cowl, Ruby Rose rather abruptly quit the show. That’s a pretty big red flag when you lose your titular star and character after just one season. For many shows that might have been the end of the road. Not true for Batwoman. They had several choices. They could have recast the part and just pretend it’s the same character with a new look. They could have killed the character off and found a new one to replace her. Of course, with the multiverse now closed down, the most likely option of replacing her with another Earth’s Kate Kane might have been the best option.