Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on June 30th, 2021
“Welcome to the unlimited possibilities of the Quantum.”
It’s a somewhat near future, and airport baggage handler Ray (Imperial) is in need of more money. He doesn’t have the new Quantum computer, and he discovers that he isn’t able to access accurate data on the net because everyone is now using the new format. He also has a brother Jamie (Howard) who is suffering from Omnia, which is a disease that makes you tired all of the time. It’s considered by many to be fake, and “clinics” have popped up to treat the disease with odd … and very expensive treatments. It’s a scam, and Ray has bought into it. So he’s going to need money.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 29th, 2021
Long before super-hero films became the rage of American cinema, the Western was the original bread and butter that would draw in its audiences to flock to the silver screen. Hollywood cranked out so many Westerns I seriously doubt anyone knows just how many of these films were shot by the studios, not to mention the others that were re-cut with scenes inserted with new stock footage just to re-title a film and put it back out onto the screen. There are some directors that elevated the genre, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Clint Eastwood, Sam Peckinpah, and then there’s John Sturges who is mostly famous for helming The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. Sturges had a strong 30 year career directing and though he had a few misses when his films were good they were really good so when the offer came along to review one of his Westerns I hadn’t seen I was happy to jump aboard to review the Last Train From Gun Hill.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on June 25th, 2021
The year 2020 and nearly half of 2021 make up a time in our lives we’d all like to try to forget. And while the remnants of a pandemic that is not quite over still intrude on our realities, many aspects of our lives are starting to return. We’re spending time with our family and friends again. Those simple parts of our lives we once took for granted are starting to return, and I suspect we’re all apt to savor them just a little bit more from now on. The movies have been back for a little while now. We’ve finally started getting access to press screenings for the first time in over a year. Needless to say, so many of us are happy to be back in the theaters. So far we’ve had some films start to breathe life back into the box office, but today expectations remain lower, and they will for a while. We’ve had some successful films, and you can feel it in the air.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on June 25th, 2021
“Months from now, if you’re ever asked where you were, what you were doing, on October 9, you’ll have the muscle memory of what you did. You won’t have to construct the lie, because you lived it.”
We all live that day in somewhat excruciating detail. I’m talking about the opening 20 minutes of Showtime’s limited series Your Honor, starring everyone’s favorite high school chemistry teacher, Bryan Cranston. The ten-episode crime thriller/drama was developed by British television wunderkind Peter Moffat and took a rather long route to this American release. It’s based on an Israeli series called Kvodo and was originally remade in India before finally taking a shot in America via a British writer. I have not had the opportunity to see either of the earlier incarnations, so I can’t really comment on how faithful this version might have been. Beyond a strictly academic purpose, what’s important is how this series stands on its own. And that analysis is just as complicated as the path the material has taken around the world to your television … or, God help us, your phone.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 18th, 2021
Just in time for the first days of shooting on the next and final Indiana Jones film, Paramount cashes in on the renewed interest with the long-awaited, at least from this reviewer, release of the first four films in the Indiana Jones franchise on UHD Blu-ray in full ultra high definition complete with HDR and Dolby Vision. OK, I lied about the long-awaited four films. Most of us have long-awaited two out of the first four films, but Paramount gets that. That’s why the original Blu-ray release and again the 4K release doesn’t give you the option yet to just pick the two you want. If you want Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Last Crusade in 4K, you’re stuck with the other two. I’ll take that deal, and you should, too. Here’s why.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 18th, 2021
Ever since the release of Godzilla in 2014, just the possibility of this film has been highly anticipated. The last time we got to see these two titans go head to head, it was in the 1963 version of Kong vs, Godzilla. Sure, it has some value as a campy romp, but you’ll have a difficult time convincing anyone that it was actually a good movie. No matter what fans may think of the new Monsterverse that we’ve gotten, I feel what can be agreed upon is that each of the films has given us an impressive look at these monsters, not just in their design, but in their fights. While I’m pretty open about my affection for these titans and how happy I am to see them finally get their due beyond the man-in-suit films (which of course I still enjoy and adore), it’s still no surprise to me that the weakest parts have always been the human aspect of the films.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on June 16th, 2021
“Boring is still always best.”
To preface this review, I feel I should tell you just how big a fan I am of the original film (The Hitman’s Bodyguard). It’s a movie that I have watched more times than I can count. There is something about that film for me that just works. Maybe it is the chemistry between Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, the way that they perfectly play off one another. Perhaps it’s that there is an air of philosophy to it, where they both argue that their occupation is just and the manner in which they argue it is so passionate that you can see both sides of the argument. Maybe it’s just the fact that it was chock full of action. Either way, suffice to say this movie holds a special charm for me.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on June 16th, 2021
“You see this bulls*%t right here? This is exactly like him … just like Ghost.”
The first sequel series in the Power universe, starring quite possibly one of the most hated characters in the original series, and that’s a long list. Fans of the original series are likely still bearing a grudge against Michael Rainey Jr.’s Tariq St. Patrick for his murder of his father, James St. Patrick, aka Ghost, at the end of the original series. However, I heard tell when it comes to his actions in this sequel series, those are the least of Tariq’s transgressions. Picking up just a few days after the conclusion of the original series, Tariq adjusts to his new life at Stansfield University, where he immediately finds his way back into the drug game in hopes of financing his mother’s trial for the murder of his father, a rap she took for him. This Starz series shows Tariq’s descent from the world of privilege into the gritty street world
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on June 16th, 2021
Nothing like being framed for murder to revitalize a dying relationship. Or least that is the premise that fueled this Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani-led romantic comedy. Now in recent years, both Rae’s and Nanjiani’s star powers have been on the rise, interestingly enough as a result of stellar performances in television series (Rai on Insecure, which she also produces, and Nanjiani on Silicon Valley). This has led to more theatrical roles, which have also been moderately successful. I anticipate that their stock will continue to rise, especially given Nanijiani’s induction into the MCU with his casting in the upcoming Eternals movie, and Rae is not slouching, either, with a whopping 17 projects that her name has been attached to produce. As glad as I am that these two are doing great professionally, I don’t see this Netflix-turned-home-media release doing much for either one of them.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on June 12th, 2021
Every decade or so sees the popularity of a Broadway stage show become something of a cultural phenomenon. When I was young, Cats and Annie were the big-event shows. Over the years it’s been Andrew Lloyd Webbers Phantom Of The Opera and more recently Rent. In these last few years the stage champ has been Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. To say that it has been one of the more popular shows in the last few years would be an understatement. Based very loosely on the historical life of Alexander Hamilton, it is still currently the hardest ticket to get in New York City. Lost in the excitement and fame over Hamilton is that Miranda has had another rather large success with In The Heights. The play was selected best musical in 2003. While it never did come close to the success of Hamilton, it was also once a hard ticket to obtain. Just one year after Hamilton made it to the big screen, In The Heights will get its chance to offer moviegoers something to help bring them back to the cinemas.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on June 11th, 2021
It is a tall order to create a compelling television series with virtually no dialog. However, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal fills that order. Then again, what would you expect from the creator of such entertaining animated series as Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This time around Tartakovsky tackles the prehistoric period with this series that follows a caveman and a Tyrannosaurus that were bonded by grief. As unrealistic as the pairing sounds, the themes of the series make it quality television. Normally, I’m not one for shows with minimal dialog; in this series, its absence makes the artwork and storylines resonate deeper as extra time and care was taken to convey the plot’s significance. Of particular intrigue is that fact that though the series is a work of fantasy, all the animals depicted are based on real prehistoric animals.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on June 11th, 2021
Are you feeling a little déjà vu when you turn on a television or live stream these days? While Tom Selleck is playing a family patriarch on Blue Bloods, Jay Hernandez is in Hawaii driving a bright red Ferrari in a new version of Magnum P.I. Hawaii 5-O was one of the most popular shows on CBS, and Charmed is bewitching an entire new generation of streamers on the internet. You might consider this a time of little ingenuity on the tube, but CBS has gone back in time to resurrect the very definition of ingenuity in MacGyver. The show just completed its fifth and final season, while the fourth season is now out on DVD thanks to some cooperation between Lionsgate and CBS.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on June 8th, 2021
“If this is all a dream, what’s gonna happen when we wake up?”
If you look at the stats, it would be so easy to conclude that Joe Dante’s 1985 film Explorers was a complete dud. The film cost a little over 25 million dollars and raked in less than 10 million dollars. It didn’t last very long in the theaters, and one might conclude that’s the end of that story. But one would be quite wrong. Since the day I first saw it at the theaters during its short run, it has remained one of my favorite films of all time. Looking at the stats might keep you from giving this old gem a try, but you would be missing one of the most heartfelt films of the last 35 years. It’s one of those films that the studios still don’t have much faith in, so it hasn’t been released with any kind of frequency or care.
Exclusive Interview With Michael Starr & Michelle Talbert, Director and Producer of It’s In The Blood: The Origins Of The Chattanooga Racing Circuit
Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on June 6th, 2021
Michael Starr is no stranger to visitors at Upcomingdiscs. Last year we had a look at his well-crafted Cicada Song and we spoke about that film in an interview available on the site. Michael’s latest directorial project has him teaming up with producer Michelle Talbert for a wonderfully nostalgic documentary on “The Origins Of The Chattanooga Racing Circuit. Talbert’s journey to find out about her grandfather’s racing history has led to a wonderfully nostalgic look at a not so small corner of racing history. It’s Called It’s In The Blood and it’s not surprising that Michael Starr would visit again for another chat. This time he brought along Michelle Talbert. So strap yourself in and bang it here to listen in on my chat with Michael Starr and Michelle Talbert
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on June 5th, 2021
What James Wan did with The Conjuring (2013) was something I don’t think anyone expected. He not just delivered a haunted house film that’s genuinely scary as well as being a technical achievement, but also he kicked off a successful franchise that’s now seven films deep with no signs of stopping. I’ll admit when it comes to the stories about Ed and Lorraine Warren, I have a bit of a bias. I’m a sucker for just about any and every paranormal show out there, and I’ve read numerous books about the Warrens and their case files. Everything from the “true” story behind the Amityville house, the “real” Annabelle, to some of the not-so-famous cases (at least the ones we haven’t seen a movie about). Whether you believe in the paranormal or feel the Warrens were nothing more than skilled hoaxers, the stories behind their cases are the stuff that will always make for a great campfire story, and as it’s been proven, some successful and entertaining films.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on June 5th, 2021
“All I know is that girl came into your life for a reason.”
A love story that transcends time and space. Now, granted, this is not a brand new occurrence; we’ve seen several examples of characters falling in love despite not being from the same time. I mean, there’s The Time Traveler’s Wife with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams (which is currently slated to become an HBO series featuring Theo James and Rose Leslie), Kate and Leopold with Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan, and who could forget About Time with Domhnall Gleeson and again Rachel McAdams. However, I dare say that Long Weekend may have just revitalized the idea.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 4th, 2021
By David Annandale
It is 1979. While filming a Super 8 horror movie, a group of young friends on the cusp of adolescence witness a spectacular train wreck. They later discover that they accidentally captured evidence that there was an alien creature on the train, and it is now loose in their small town. But if the mysterious disappearance of dogs, engines, and (increasingly) people wasn’t trouble enough, the military descends upon the community with an agenda far more merciless and inhuman than that of the alien itself. I was 12 in 1979, and I was shooting Super 8 monster movies, so I get the nostalgia that writer/director J.J. Abrams is going for here, and this is an utterly unapologetic exercise in nostalgia. Abrams is out to recreate the experience of a Spielberg movie from that era, and with the man himself acting as producer, the mission is accomplished
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on June 1st, 2021
When I was in grade school, I remember reading High King, the fifth book in the Prydain Chronicles, as part of a reading assignment (since it was a Newbery Award winner). I also at some point watched Black Cauldron in my youth, but I’m pretty sure it was on a crummy VHS tape. Anyhow, many years later, with an old friend, I was gifted a treasured copy of Prydain Chronicles (all five books in a hardback format). Being much older, I took the time to read the entire hardback collection, and ever since then I’ve been tracking down related items including the Black Cauldron movie from Disney to revisit. It might not be the wonderful series of books, but it’s still an excellent movie on its own accord. Let’s explore the recent release from the Disney Movie Club.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 1st, 2021
“I can see it now… Supernatural: The End. And the cover is just a grave stone that says ‘Winchester’. Fans are gonna love it. Welcome to the end”
The brothers made an emotional announcement during the airing of the previous season that the 15th year would be the final season of the show. It’s hard to believe that we’ll soon know a television landscape without the Winchester brothers. It’s the last show that goes back to the original WB Network that eventually lead to the current CW Network that has become more and more the home of the Warner Brothers-owned DC Comics television universe. But in the middle of speedsters, archers, aliens, and time travelers, there was always room for the Winchesters. It’ll be a bit of a culture shock to have them gone.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on May 29th, 2021
“The thing is, I was born brilliant, born bad, and a little bit mad. I’m Cruella.”
Growing up just about every kid I knew saw 101 Dalmatians in one form or another. It was released the year I was born, so I didn’t get to see it originally on the big screen. Still it was a part of those magical Disney features that found a way to reach you and eventually into your heart. While the film’s stars were the dogs, of course every good story needs a good villain. The villain in 101 Dalmatians was the white/black split-haired Cruella de Vil. With the help of an iconic Sherman Brothers’ song children would be able to tell you about it in verse. You’re left with the idea that “if she doesn’t scare you no evil thing will”.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on May 28th, 2021
On December 15th, 1967 the Silver Bridge which connected Point Pleasant, West Virginia to Gallipolis, Ohio collapsed under the stress of rush hour traffic and killed forty six people. Later on, it was determined that the collapse was due to a small defect only .1 inches in a single eyebar in one of the suspension chains along with poor maintenance. However, sightings of the Mothman during that time period had citizens attribute this disaster to a far more sinister cause. That led to a book in 1975 by John Keel. Twenty seven years later, the film The Mothman Prophecies would be released based on these events. Let’s take a look at the Imprint #39 release arriving on blu-ray.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on May 28th, 2021
If it feels like you’ve been waiting a while for this film, well, you wouldn’t be wrong. Originally the plan was to release the film March 20, 2020 but this would be one of the first of many films that would be shelved due to the pandemic. There was talk about possibly releasing the film on one of the numerous streaming services out there, but thankfully it was decided to hold out till the lockdowns would end and movie theaters would open up wide across the US. It’s been a long wait for this highly anticipated sequel. Was it worth it? I didn’t review the first film, but while I wasn’t exactly blown away by the film the first time around, as I’ve revisited the film I have to admit the film has grown on me, and I’d say it was my second favorite horror film released in 2018 (Sorry, Hereditary continues to knock my socks off to this day.)
Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on May 26th, 2021
Shout Factory has released one the most underrated classics from the 1980’s. Explorers was the perfect coming of age/fantasy/science fiction film. It was directed by the immortal Joe Dante and continues to be one of my favorite films. Some time ago Joe Dante reached out and revealed himself to be a fan of ours at Upcomingdiscs. I was fortunate enough to talk with him and we absolutely included this little gem in our discussion. With the Blu-ray now out and our review coming next week (spoiler alert: I love the film) this is the perfect time to revisit my conversation with Joe Dante. So pick up the disc. Look for the review and bang it here to eavesdrop on my conversation with Joe Dante.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 25th, 2021
By John Ceballos
“She’s quite a common girl, very common indeed.”
Of course, we don’t need 50 years of hindsight — or more than 100 years, if you want to go all the way back to the original 1913 staging of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” — to know that there’s nothing common about cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle. And there’s nothing ordinary about 1964’s My Fair Lady, the beloved Oscar-winning musical that now gets an uncommonly (but appropriately) lavish ultra-high-resolution release. Chances are you know the story. But even if you don’t, its rags-to-riches DNA can be found in everything from Cinderella to Pretty Woman. In early 20th century London, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) is a brilliant and unbearably arrogant phonetics scholar who can spot a person’s place of origin simply by hearing them utter a few words. Higgins is fascinated by the English language
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on May 25th, 2021
I grew up on the Peanuts creations of Charles M. Schulz. Most of us have, in some way or another. His newspaper comic strip is one of the longest running and most successful strips of all time. The work has been translated into every language currently spoken on the planet. The images of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang have appeared on just about any kind of product imaginable. Our pop culture contains too many references to the strip to mention briefly. For me, it was the television specials starting in the mid 1960’s that brought the gang into my life. The classics are running annually, still after nearly 50 years. A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown are the most mentioned and certainly beloved by generations of children and adults. I thought I never missed an airing.