Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on July 22nd, 2022
Unfortunately, this film was a little immature to gain the Nalyce stamp of approval. While Japanese animated films have been her bread and butter in recent years, her tastes venture more towards anime such as Inuyasha and My Hero Academia. When it comes to Panda! Go Panda!, it was just too kiddie for her. Had this been a year or two ago, she would have been all about it. Perhaps there will be such an opportunity with my son, but given that he is only a week old, time will have to tell. As far as I’m concerned, it was a cute story if impractical. I recommend a suspension of belief if you chose to watch the film. Given that a suspension of belief is a prerequisite for all animated films, that shouldn’t be too much to ask. While I understand the need for this suspension of belief, I’m afraid I wasn’t fully able to achieve it at times.
Posted in The Reel World by Michael Durr on July 19th, 2022
Some of my favorite films are those directed by Mel Brooks. Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and the list goes on and on. He has an ability to create a wonderful parody that blends comedy and homage to so many great films. The films are those quite frankly that you can watch over and over again even if you have heard the joke fifty times in a row. (I used to recite Spaceballs by heart until my college roommates at the time threatened to beat me to a bloody pulp) So imagine my surprise when in the year 2022, we get an animated film with Mel Brooks in one of the supporting voice roles, and it smells quite a bit like Blazing Saddles. Let’s take a look at Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on July 18th, 2022
“I, like you, have heard the tall tales told about the Marsh Girl. An abandoned child. A little girl surviving on the marsh on her own, reviled and shunned.”
Where The Crawdads Sing took a rather unlikely journey to the big screen. It was the first novel from Delia Owens, who spent most of her life as a scientist focusing on Africa and coming up with some rather controversial theories. She went to Africa with her husband in 1996 and before long was embroiled in a situation where a documentary was shot that depicted the murder of a poacher. They left Africa facing murder charges, and now in her 70’s Delia has tried her hand as an author of fiction. It shouldn’t be too surprising that her maiden novel focused on a woman who was believed to be a killer. There’s no question that some of her own life bled into the story, but in her 70’s Delia Owens had a bestseller on her hands which was given more attention when Reese Witherspoon made the novel one of her book club selections, something Oprah was also able to do for many titles in her day.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on July 16th, 2022
“Space … the funniest frontier?”
Star Trek: The Animated Series first aired in September of 1973, four years after the three seasons of what is now referred to Star Trek: The Original Series. It was a straight sequel that continued the five-year mission of the starship Enterprise. All of the original cast lent their voices to the characters they played in the live-action series with the notable exception of Walter Koenig. Chekov was replaced with an alien that had three arms and legs named Arex, who was voiced by James Doohan, as were many of the other guest characters throughout the two years the series ran. There were episodes that served as direct sequels, and so we were treated to the likes of Harry Mudd, tribbles, and the Guardian of Forever once again. Now Paramount and CBS have brought us a second animated series, and the second season of 10 episodes arrives on Blu-ray straight from its running on the network’s streaming service.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on July 16th, 2022
I would categorize this as a unique movie. Not only based on its premise, even though that did possess a measure of intrigue. Zero Contact has multiple things that make it unique, such as it is the first film from a major Hollywood studio to exist on the blockchain. According to my research, the film will premiere on new NFT platform Vuele, a premier platform for collecting, watching, and trading exclusive, limited edition feature-length films and collector NFT film content. However, while this is interesting and potentially could serve as a new frontier for cinematic releases, there was another factor that made the film unique in my eyes. To me, Zero Contact’s most unique quality is that the film was produced in 17 different territories entirely virtually during the 2020 global pandemic. Anthony Hopkins leads the cast and is supported by a cast of faces that I recognize, but whose names are not on the rolodex of actors that I keep in my head.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on July 13th, 2022
“There is an old saying that blood is thicker than water.”
We’ve had Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Gene Simmons with his Family Jewels, and even Snoop Dog’s Father Hood. It’s become a bit of a trend to follow these celebrity families around and watch the drama of their privileged lives unfold on our television screens. You might think it’s a relatively recent phenomenon, but would you believe they were doing it back in the infant days of television when we followed around a musician named Ozzie and his wife way back in 1952? No, we’re not talking about Ozzie Osbourne and his family. I’m talking about Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. They were television’s darling family before we ever heard about Lucy and Desi. The show actually started on radio like many of the fledgling industry’s early hits including the likes of Gunsmoke. Four years after the radio brought us The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet, they moved to television.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 12th, 2022
“This rare Texas air will fix you right up.”
Until The Exorcist came along in 1973, Giant was Warner Brothers’ highest grossing film at the box office. It was also the last film made by James Dean, who killed himself in a car crash two weeks before production, requiring the services of Nick Adams to step in and provide some of the voice ADR work for Dean. The film earned an at-that-time record 10 Oscar nominations. You would think that a film of this kind of historical importance and success would have been well cared for over the years since 1956. You would have been badly mistaken if you had that belief. Instead the film was allowed to deteriorate to a point where the restoration experts originally thought it could not be salvaged. After great effort and searches for better elements, the film has been pieced back together and given an impressive 4K release, and the result is an image that appears to be something of a miracle, now available to the public with Warner Brothers release of Giant on UHD Blu-ray in its native and natural 4K.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on July 8th, 2022
“This is my vow. Death to all Gods.”
With this film, Hemsworth solidifies himself as having the most solo films of all the original Avengers. With Thor Love and Thunder, I’d say that his legacy has been assured and this film servers as a proper conclusion for the character. Circumstances suggest that this will not be the end for the character, but I cannot imagine a better conclusion than this one, so any continuations I fear would likely be subject to the law of diminishing returns. In reference to the film, It does not reach the heights that the Thor Ragnorak reached in my opinion. Even so, I found the film to still possess a majority of the qualities that made the franchise and the character beloved. Which is why I firmly feel there is no point in another installment. Better to go out on a win.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on July 8th, 2022
This was a bit of a letdown, if I’m being honest. It just didn’t deliver the epic conclusion that I was expecting. Honestly, it felt more like Part 1 of a two-part conclusion. While it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that there is another upcoming installment in the franchise, at this moment I am unaware of any intentions to continue the series with this group of characters. Bearing that in mind, I must defer to my original statement: it was a bit of a letdown. In recent years, my fandom for the Wizarding World has been rekindled due my daughter’s discovery, and now obsession, for all things Harry Potter. I was especially glad when I learned that I would be able to bring her along for what I expected, at the time, to be an epic conclusion. And while the film got her stamp of approval, my approval is a little harder to receive.
Posted in The Reel World by Michael Durr on July 5th, 2022
To date, I have probably seen each Despicable Me and Minions movie anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen times. I blame most of this on my wonderful seven-year-old son, who thanks to this instant delivery of entertainment age has re-watched these movies at countless opportunities. Naturally, my eyes glaze over at Gru, the Minions, and other supporting characters in between researching Blu-ray and 4K disc release dates. But the truth is that it is one of the few movie series where I have went out of my way to make sure I had every 4K disc. So, when we heard about a new movie of the little yellow guys, we were thrilled to say the least. Eagerly, which was rare for us, we even decided to go on a Thursday night to our favorite theater (thank you Star Cinema Grill). Let’s see how it turns out.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on July 1st, 2022
I’m coming in kind of midway through the story on this one, guys. While the film does provide a couple of flashbacks to the previous film, those flashbacks do very little to fully provide needed context, making my viewing of Fortress: Sniper’s Eye a bit of a rocky one. Based on what I gleaned, Bruce Willis and Jesse Metcalfe play Robert and Paul Michaels respectively, a father and son duo who live in and manage a top-secret resort for retired U.S. intelligence officers. The resort is attacked by a group of criminals led by a familiar enemy. It is evident that there is shared history between the Michaels and Balzary (Chad Michael Murray). As expected, the Michaels, aided by others, are able to thwart the assault despite being outnumbered and outgunned. Balzary is thought to be killed, but not before making a plea to Robert to rescue his wife from her captors, which is ultimately revealed to be the reason for the assault. This is what frames the basis for our second film. Second of a planned three, I should add.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on June 30th, 2022
“You never kissed me like that before.”
Steve March, played by John Agar, is a radiation expert who lives and does research out in the desert. His instruments detect a strange source of gamma rays in an isolated area of the desert. It’s a good bet they aren’t coming from Dr. Banner, so March decides to investigate, and it turns out you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. Along for the ride is red shirt … I mean lab assistant Dan Murphy, played by Robert Fuller. They discover a brand new cave, and as they follow the radiation scent, they encounter a giant floating brain with eyes. Murphy ends up dead, and March ends up possessed by the giant floating brain, who calls himself Vol from the planet Arous. The name is an obvious riff on Eros, and we soon get the connection when March returns to his fiancée, who finds his passion a little hotter than when he left.
Exclusive Interview With Sam Nelson About The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Restoration & Release From MPI
Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on June 29th, 2022
Long before there was Gene Simmons and his Family Jewels or Living With The Kardashians there was Ozzie and his wife. No, not Ozzie Osbourne but Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. In 1952 they took their popular radio show and brought it to the rather new medium of television. The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet starred the entire Nelson family, including David and Ricky. The show became the first series to ever reach 10 years and remains the longest-running live action sit-com in television history. Now MPI is bringing you the first 2 seasons of the show in DVD. The episodes were restored with loving care. How do I know there was loving care? Because it was spearheaded by Ozzie and Harriet’s grandson and Ricky’s son Sam Nelson. I also happen to know a little bit of the passion he brought to the process because I had the opportunity to talk with him about the show and the new releases. The story about how all of this happened is a truly fascinating tale. Now you can hear it for yourself. Bang it here to listen to my interview with Sam Nelson.
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on June 28th, 2022
I have to admit my knowledge of the show Curb Your Enthusiasm is casual at best. I’ve seen a few episodes over the years, but not enough to call myself a fan. So to have Season 11 handed off to me to review was a bit daunting, but as a long-time fan of Seinfeld and having at least seen Larry David in the Woody Allen film Whatever Works, I figured I had a good enough idea of what I was in store for. Thankfully the show isn’t something like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, and I could simply start the season and not feel lost. The season starts off with Larry David waking up after hearing a noise in the house. When he goes to investigate, he eventually finds a body floating in his pool. It was an attempted robbery gone bad, and as it turns out there is a law in Larry’s district that states there needs to be a fence around the pool. This basically is the catalyst for the whole season, and things just get worse for Larry and him not having this fence.
Posted in The Reel World by Brent Lorentson on June 24th, 2022
Joe Hill has done a good job of establishing himself as a horror writer, and when you consider his dad, Stephen King, has been the “master” of horror fiction for over four decades, you’d have to imagine the expectations on Hill are pretty high. I’m a fan of Hill’s work, and I’ve enjoyed seeing his work translate to the big screen and television (though I’m still hoping one day we’ll finally get an adaption of his book Heart Shaped Box). I’ll admit my expectations for The Black Phone were a bit high, and to be fair, can you blame me? The Black Phone would be a return to horror after director Scott Derrickson’s work on the first Doctor Strange film and a reunion with actor Ethan Hawke and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill from the great 2012 film Sinister. I don’t think enough praise is given to the film Sinister. It’s a film that just gets better with time and has a high rewatch value. Personally I feel it’s the masterpiece in Derrickson’s filmography. The Black Phone has all the ingredients to be another modern classic, but it pains me to say it just doesn’t quiet deliver despite how much promise this film had.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on June 24th, 2022
“It’s simply his way of illustrating the misrepresentation of having quantum particles existing in two states. The cat in the box is either dead or alive. But we can’t tell until we open the box to observe it, so until we do so, the cat is both dead and alive.”
I’ve seen a lot of horror and thrillers in my time. This is my first one with mathematics at the heart of it. I applauded the film for introducing me to something new. However, the moments of intrigue are surrounded by periods where the plot seems to drag on. Also, I’m not sure that the characters’ reactions to particular events are sensible. For example, my daughter suddenly goes missing, and I suspect that her disappearance is somehow the result of my newly acquired residence. No matter how irrational that idea may be, the first thing I would do is get me and the rest of my family a hotel.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on June 22nd, 2022
All is fair in the spy game. Or least that is the principle that this film embraces, as every character attempts to get the upper hand on the others. Though the film is not without its thrilling moments, it does take a bit of time to get to those thrilling bits. Told in a nonlinear fashion, it takes a moment to adjust to the constant shift between the two plots. It is only when things start to synch that I found myself completely engaged with the story. On the plus side, the film has a cast of recognizable faces, to include Arrow’s Katie Cassidy, The Cleaning Lady’s Adan Canto, Chicago Fire’s Annie Ilonzeh, Dermot Mulroney, and last but not least, Mel Gibson. While I would not categorize the film as box office quality, there are some elements that make for an intriguing story once things get into a groove.
Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on June 21st, 2022
When I was a kid, going to the drive-in movies was a pretty big deal. In those days your parents would hide you under a blanket on the back seat floor or even in the trunk just to shave off a buck from the admission price. But it was worth it to see many of the films I would not otherwise have experienced. One of those films that had kids sneaking in was The Brain From Planet Arous. A couple of days ago I felt just like I did sneaking into those movies. I had the honor and pleasure to talk with Joyce Meadows, who starred along with John Agar in the film. It’s about to be released on Blu-ray from The Film Detective with a brand new introduction that stars … you guessed it, Joyce Meadows. You can eavesdrop on our conversation. Just bang it here to listen to my interview with Joyce Meadows.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 21st, 2022
Offseason is the type of film we just don’t get a lot of anymore. It’s a film that heavily pays homage to HP Lovecraft and The Messiah of Evil and other films of the 70’s era, only there is little to no gore to show for it. There’s a strong Silent Hill vibe going on with the film, especially with the copious amounts of fog that seem to always be around. It would seem that this film has all the makings to be a hit, especially when it seems to be going for tropes that I like in a horror film, but unfortunately this one just missed its mark by making two big mistakes. One, it was too obvious, and two, it just totally screws up the ending. I’m not expecting every movie to be the next Wicker Man, but it seems that writer and director Mickey Keating is trying so hard to be on the same level as Ti West and Robert Eggers that the film just comes off looking like a good-looking snore-fest we’ve seen before. I really wanted to like this, and it had a lot going for it, but it seems when you pull inspiration from too many sources, it can get pretty messy.
Posted in The Reel World by Jeremy Butler on June 17th, 2022
Well, if you have ever wondered what the basis of the Buzz Lightyear action figure that Andy gets in the first Toy Story movie was, the wait is finally over. While it was briefly mentioned in the original film that the action figure was based a movie that the Andy character had seen, outside that mention, the character’s background remained predominantly a mystery … until now. Now with Lightyear, we finally know Buzz’s backstory. However, before we get into that, I believe that it is important to address the elephant in the room: the replacement of Tim Allen with Chris Evans. As expected, removing Allen as the voice of a character that he has been synonymous with since its inception, a character that he has played for nearly 25 years and across four films, was a bitter pill to swallow. On the surface, it would seem that Allen’s appearance was a repeat of what happened with his popular Fox television series, which was cancelled and eventually revived.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on June 17th, 2022
Every era has their Hollywood good guys and their Hollywood bad guys. Back in the early days, we had Nazis to pit against our heroes. When they didn’t quite fit the bill, we had the Japanese. For much of the Cold War, we had great Russian villains to test the mettle of our heroes. Terrorists fit the bill a lot today, but perhaps the only group hated by large segments of American audiences more are the 1%ers. Anyone who makes an obscene amount of money must have cheated to get there. It doesn’t hurt that financial power companies have been immersed in the last couple of economic disasters. Michael Douglas taught us that greed is good, and while every single one of us wants to be at the top, it’s not quite the politically correct thing to express … at least out loud. Billions gives us the kind of power broker who is just too much fun to hate.
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on June 16th, 2022
“But I like to have sex with dragons.”
Have you ever had the desire to see a midwestern take on ninjas? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you have not, but the if you happen to be that one person out there with an itch for bad cinema, I’m talking the kind of film that makes Troma look like high art cinema, then Ninja Badass may be the movie to quench your need. After 30 minutes of watching this film, I had to stop it and take a break. When Ed Wood set off to make his films, he didn’t intend to make a bad movie; it just happened. He was a filmmaker just trying to do the best he could without any real talent supporting him. Ninja Badass seems to go above and beyond to create one of the worst films in history
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 14th, 2022
“For nearly three thousand years, man has been searching for the lost ark. It’s not something to be taken lightly. No one knows its secrets. It’s like nothing you’ve ever gone after before.”
Just in time for the wrap of principal photography 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. Now you can own the first on its own in this special Steelbook release of Raiders Of The Lost Ark on UHD/4K. No, I’m not going to call it Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and yes, Han shot first and those feds in ET were not carrying walkie talkies in those hands. So sue me.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 14th, 2022
“Congratulations, you’ve just been erased.”
In 1996, when Eraser came out, it was pretty much what everyone expected from an Arnold Schwarzenegger film: lots of action and cheesy one-liners. It was far from Arnold’s finest work, but it was fun, and the big guns used in the film were pretty cool, too. Eraser is a film you can look back fondly on if you grew up in the 90s, because it was silly fun and nicely directed by the legendary Chuck Russell, who had a pretty good streak of films going when he did Eraser. Before he’d had success with the breakout Jim Carrey film The Mask, and before that he had the remake of The Blob and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. I bring this up because the reason Eraser worked when it did was because it had the biggest action star on the planet in its lead role and a talented director working behind the camera, and to top it off a $100 million dollar budget to play with.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on June 10th, 2022
“Bigger. Why do they always have to go bigger?”
You don’t really need me to answer that one, do you? What started with Jurassic Park in 1993 and even earlier with the blockbuster book by the late, great Michael Crichton has actually been 65 million years in the making. When an idea has been percolating for that long, you have to go bigger, or the audience will go home. Expectations take a bite out of your options, and by a sixth film you really have to come up with a game-stopper, so what do you do? You reinvent the franchise after two sequels failed to capture the magic and awe that was Jurassic Park. You let the idea sit for a decade or so, and then you bring it back with enough of the new and enough of the old to bring folks back into the theaters. And that’s just how they did it with the Jurassic World trilogy. The first two films gave us a new cast of characters with the likes of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.