Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 7th, 2020
“Good evening. My name’s Wayne. Some of you may have seen me before. I hope so. I’ve been kicking around Hollywood a long time. I’ve made a lot of pictures out here. All kinds. Some of them have been westerns, and that’s what I’m here to tell you about tonight. A western. A new television show called “Gunsmoke”. When I first heard about the show “Gunsmoke”, I knew there was only one man to play in it. James Arness. He’s a young fellow, and may be new to some of you. But I’ve worked with him, and I predict he’ll be a big star. And now, I’m proud to present “Gunsmoke”.”
That was John Wayne introducing the television audiences of 1955 to Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke fans have had a long wait to get the full series on DVD, and that long wait is finally ended. If you have been picking up the seasons as they have been released along the way, sometimes in half-season sets, you only had a season remaining to complete your collection. If you waited or have become a recent fan of the classic western, another alternative has presented itself. CBS has released the entire 20 seasons in one collection. Even if you have been collecting all along, you should consider selling or gifting your single or half-season sets and opt to have them all in one place anyway. Those cases take up a lot of room on the DVD shelf, and while this collection isn’t exactly tiny, it does take up less space, with an option to store on its side where it takes up very little shelf space, but you’ll need almost 13 inches of headroom on your shelf. Even on its side it’s a good third less space than all of those cases. The design is simple and quite functional. Inside of a strong cardboard case you’ll find the 20 seasons split out over six large plastic cases. The seasons are contained in the following six groups: 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-20. The boxes avoid those stacked spindles, a choice I highly approve of. The box is an attractive case that looks like it’s leather-bound with a panoramic color photograph of the main characters on one side.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 7th, 2020
For all intents and purposes, Season 7 is the final season of Ray Donovan. The end came rather suddenly and after it was too late to create and film some kind of satisfying finale for the series. The cast and crew were taken by surprise, so you can imagine how the fans of the show are taking this. To make matters worse, the last episode, while not a complete cliffhanger, leaves too many strands of thread that weren’t connected. There’s nothing satisfying about this finale, and that created waves in the world of fandom. Star Trek is famous as being the first television show that a network cancelled and then brought back because of a huge letter-writing campaign that flooded network executives and pushed them into an unprecedented action for that time. The show was brought back. Imagine what those rabid fans could have done today with the internet and social media. The call has gone out, and while Showtime has made no move to offer any kind of reversal or concession, the show’s star reached out with a somewhat cryptic message of hope. He assured fans that the Donovan family isn’t finished just yet. What that reprieve might be, there isn’t a clue offered, but it’s doubtful at this point that the show will return as an 8th season. The likely scenarios include a Showtime film like we saw recently for Deadwood. There’s a shot at a feature film at the theatres, which is where Star Trek’s original crew ended up. There’s always a chance of a revival mini-series like we’ve seen over at Fox for The X-Files and Prison Break. I don’t know what form it might take, but I do believe the characters will return in some way. Unfortunately new global circumstances have placed pretty much all television shows, films, and other outlets for entertainment in doubt, at least in the short term. Eventually we will get out of this, but I suspect Ray Donovan won’t be the first priority out of the gate. Fans are going to have to be patient here. I believe it will happen, but I’m as equally convinced that it won’t happen soon. So for now you’re going to have to savor these last 10 episodes for a while, and this DVD release gives you the means to do just that.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 1st, 2020
Paramount is borrowing an old idea from Walt Disney Studios and making it a bit more modern. They’re digging into their vault of classic films and doing 4K restorations and releasing them under the new Paramount Presents banner. Now, as much as I’d like to see actual 4K UHD releases, I suspect that these are intended to be feelers for various classic films to try to gauge the demand for these trips into the archives. I also suspect that the titles that show the most promise will likely end up seeing a UHD release. It’s actually a pretty good plan and a chance for you to “vote” with your dollars and show each film what kind of interest still exists. I’m sure some will falter and fall by the wayside, while a few polished gems will show the kind of promise that calls for the 4K release. Now the restoration work is done, and it’s just a matter of printing some discs. So here’s a look at the first three films served up for consideration. Each is sold separately and comes in a cardboard case covering the plastic case that folds out to reveal a release poster for said film. The presentations are nice and geared toward the collector.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 1st, 2020
“If you take Alaska’s genetic code, add her life experiences, and relationships she had with people, and then you take the size and shape of her body, you do not get her.”
First impressions were that this was an experience that could by shared with my daughter. However, it wasn’t long before she found herself sent away due to the mature nature of the content. Little did I know that this series was Hulu’s answer to Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. That said, though there are clear correlations between the two properties, such as they are both based on popular novels and cover highly emotional and serious topics such as suicide and the importance of connection with people. Looking for Alaska manages to infuse some levity into its plot. This inclusion goes a long way towards solidifying the limited series’ (as I understand it, there are no plans for another season) individuality and providing an enjoyable balance to what comes to a somber conclusion.
“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.”
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 29th, 2020
“If you wish to be the king of the jungle, it’s not enough to act like a king. You must be The King. And there can be no doubt. Because doubt causes chaos and one’s own demise.”
After the horrific attempt at King Arthur, Guy Ritchie was dead to me. His films have always been more style than substance, but there have been moments when that style really told a story and told it well. Of course, I’m talking about films like Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. That was just a fun film to watch. King Arthur wasn’t fun to watch. So when The Gentlemen showed up on my doorstep in UHD to be reviewed, it was a roll of the dice for me. Which version of Ritchie was going to show up? Fortunately, it was the brilliant filmmaker who knows his strengths as well as the strengths of his cast and plays completely to those strengths. And with a few irritating flaws, this was the kind of film I’ve been waiting for from the director for several years. Universal has released it on a rather nice UHD Blu-ray (4K) release, and it should be a fun night of action for anyone who gets their hands on it.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 28th, 2020
It started with Kentucky Fried Movie, which was a somewhat modest box office success mainly because of the genius of Joe Landis as director, but this game really took off three years later with the box office hit Airplane. It was a spoof of all of those Airport films we saw during the 1970’s and 80’s. They all had the same formula and were almost spoofs of themselves by the time the string ran out. The film pulled in an impressive $85 million on a measly $3 million budget. The team of Jim Abrahams along with brothers David and Jerry Zucker was born, and comedy would never quite be the same. The comedic form they developed relied on a lot of deadpan delivery of one-liners and some rather stilted wit. But it was something different, and it wasn’t really a surprise that the team would want to keep it going. A second Airplane film wouldn’t come along for a couple of years, and it would be guided by a completely new team. This trio was on to bigger and arguably better things. The first step was to land on the television screen with a police comedy called Police Squad. It was hoped the show would help capitalize on the same kind of comedy that took Airplane to the stratosphere. They would also maintain the film’s star, Leslie Nielsen. It should have been a no-brainer and an instant hit. It lasted six episodes and was gone in a hot flash. But that wasn’t quite the end of the story.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 24th, 2020
Here comes the ultimate comedy about a codependent relationship; however, though that may not sound that good, in this film it is very entertaining thanks on no small part to Tiffany Haddish and Rosa Byrne. Haddish and Byrne play Mia and Mel respectively, two independent women with their own cosmetics storefront. Though their line is very popular, their revenue does not reflect their popularity due to an inability to mass produce, causing them to fall into deep debt and in danger of losing their store. Then along comes a spider in the form of Salma Hayek’s Claire Luna, the head of a internationally successful cosmetics conglomerate that offers to invest into their company. Haddish and Byrne are both well established in the comedy genre, but the combination of the two made for one the best comedy experience that I’ve had this year. My wife kept telling me that I would enjoy the film (this was one of the rare occasion where she went to a movie unaccompanied by me), but given our different taste cinema-wise, I was expecting a film full of cliché, especially given that it seem like the entire film was given away in the previews. Well, honey, let me say for the record that you were right.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 17th, 2020
There comes a time in any project where one must decide exactly what their mission is. In entertainment, that’s usually a pretty easy question to answer. Of course your goal is to entertain as many people as possible so that it can be profitable and enduring. For many years there have been filmmakers and television series show runners who have let that goal get out of hand, mostly in the political arena. I don’t have any issue when a show’s editorial policy happens to come down on one side or the other. It doesn’t even matter if it’s my side or not. But two things I don’t want in my entertainment. I don’t want to be hit over the head every five minutes. Trust me to get your point. The second is that there must still be entertainment value that compels me to care about a show and its characters and their stories. Madam Secretary fails in both of these tests. The West Wing was just as political, but there was a demanding quality to everything from the performances to the stories and production value. As a government teacher, I was impressed at how many of those little-known facts about our system they got right. I used moments of the show as teaching moments. This last season of Madam Secretary would be a disaster in any classroom.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 15th, 2020
To the point, Criminal Minds is very compelling television. Ever since The Silence of the Lambs and perhaps long before, we have been fascinated by serial killers and the profilers who try to get inside their heads. To see evidence of the continuing trend, one needs only look toward the success of shows like Dexter. Of course, serial killers are not the only prey this FBI team pursues, but they are certainly the marquee item on the agenda. To be sure, there are equally disturbing subjects such as arsonists, bombers, kidnappers, and rapists to give the show a touch of variety, but let’s face it, it’s the killers that keep us tuned so attentively to Criminal Minds. But now after 15 seasons the series has come to an end, and we realize it wasn’t just the murderers we’ve been tuning in to see. The characters have become like a little family, and their stories were just as compelling over the years. Now Criminal Minds finishes with a brief 10-episode final run, and it’s out on DVD from CBS Home Entertainment.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 14th, 2020
“There once was a peculiar doctor known for his extraordinary ability. He could talk to animals. Dr. Dolittle’s reputation spread far and wide. Even the Queen of England called on him. So grateful for his help, she gifted him a wondrous sanctuary, whose doors were opened to all creatures. His days belonged to the animals, but his heart belonged to one woman. Lily, the fearless explorer. They traveled the globe going on great adventures. Defending creatures who could not defend themselves. They made an extraordinary team. Soon, that team became a family. With Lily by his side, Dolittle never felt more alive. Until one day she left on an adventure. Lily died at sea. Heartbroken, he locked the gates of the manor and completely retreated from the world. As for me, and the animals whose lives he’d saved, we were left to wonder, could anyone save his?”
Well, it didn’t take long for Robert Downey Jr. to line up his next project following his iconic Marvel run. And there is definite franchise potential with this film about quite possibly the most famous veterinarian ever written. Primarily inspired by Hugh Lofting’s The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, the film is likely anticipated to be a reboot to the Eddie Murphy-led film franchise of the same name (except with a “Dr.” in front of the name). Interestingly enough, the film’s inspiration is actually the second book written by Lofting about this famous character with the gift of talking to and understanding animals.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 14th, 2020
The 19th century novel penned by Louisa May Alcott has been adapted in numerous forms since it was first published. Personally the 1994 film is my favorite, but this new film from Greta Gerwig is a welcomed adaption that shows that Gerwig is a talented force to keep an eye on. Little Women is one of those stories that have entertained me over the years, despite it being a story that appeals to a radically different demographic. Even in my teens when I first discovered the story, when I was obsessed with horror films and reading the newest King novel, when I was required to read the story for class, what started as a reluctant task I was doing for a grade, by the time I finished the book and watched the 1994 film in class, well, I found myself smitten with the March family. I was a bit cynical when it came to this new film. Even with it getting all the critical attention I was still hesitant. Really, if it wasn’t for the quarantine, I’m not sure if I ever would have given this film a chance. Despite my reluctance, I’m glad this film found its way into my hands. The most noticeable change that Gerwig has made to the film is by telling the story in a nonlinear fashion. For those who are not familiar with the story, this won’t be much of a problem, but in some ways I feel this kind of cheats the story out of some of its emotional moments, both good and bad. In deciding to tell the story this way, I do appreciate how Gerwig went ahead and gave the film a visual style to help the audience tell what is a flashback as compared to a more current moment. The moments where Jo (Saoirse Ronan) seems to be looking back, there is warmth in the visuals. With Jo taking the front-and-center role as she struggles with being a writer while juggling her relationship with her family, there are moments where we have to question how reliable she is with her dreams and memories. One of these moments that stands out involves her sister Beth (Eliza Scanlen) as she struggles with scarlet fever.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 31st, 2020
“The First Order wins by making us think we’re alone. We are not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them. Leia never gave up, and neither will we. We’re gonna show them we’re not afraid. What our mothers and fathers fought for, we will not let die. Not today. Today we make our last stand for the galaxy. For Leia. For everyone we lost. They’ve taken enough of us. Now we take the war to them.”
It was 1978 when it all began. That’s when George Lucas and a fairly unknown band of filmmakers and actors introduced us to that galaxy far, far away. We met characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia. We fell in love with droids named R2D2 and C3PO. We booed and hissed at the classic villainy of Darth Vader. And the hero of it all was a young farmer boy who pined for adventure on a backwater planet where nothing exciting ever happened. That’s where we met Luke Skywalker, and for three films ending in 1983, we were treated to an epic adventure. This unknown band would become cultural icons, but it was all over after five years of space swashbuckling and good old good versus evil. At some point Lucas made it known that the first Star Wars film was actually the fourth film in a trilogy of trilogies. Star Wars would gain the tag A New Hope, followed by The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. Of course, while Lucas teased there was a prequel trilogy and a sequel trilogy, we were told not to get our hopes too high. But in the 1990’s Lucas felt ambitious, and he delivered on that prequel trilogy with underwhelming result. Surely the rest of the story would remain untold.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 28th, 2020
“Nothing wrong with a good diversion.”
As I write this review for the latest entry in the DC Animated Universe, the nation is going through a tough time. When terms like social distancing are becoming the norm, it’s nice to know that there’s stuff out there to help keep us from going stir crazy as we become more and more restricted to our homes. Box office films have been delayed, and some of the current films are being brought out sooner on home entertainment platforms to try to ease the isolation a little. While never slated for a theatrical release, one of the better titles to come out during this time is Warner Brothers’ Superman: Red Son. It’s a story that was told about 10 years ago in an animated film, but this one takes advantage of new technology and a multi-film story that has driven the last few years of animated feature releases. This isn’t merely a retread, but something far closer to the original comics story and provides a rather thoughtful as well as entertaining diversion just when we might need it the most.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 26th, 2020
For a while it was looking like 2019 was going to be a lackluster year for films, but once fall rolled around, we seemed to get bombarded with some quality award-worthy films. Aside from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, nothing jumped out at me as Best Picture. Sure, Joker was great, and I had a great time with Uncut Gems, but when 1917 rolled around, this was the film that left me in awe. Sure, there have been some great war films over the years. Platoon and Apocalypse Now are great Vietnam films, Saving Private Ryan is definitely a contender as the best film about WWII. Really, it would have been difficult to say what’s the “best” war film out there …well, that is, until now. It’s a bold statement, and I know many will disagree with me, but after two screenings of 1917, I’m feeling pretty confident when I say this is the best and my favorite war film. What’s even more impressive is how 1917 manages to standout from the big blockbusters, sequels, and comic book films and stand alone as a film that can remind viewers about that magic that comes with seeing a movie on the big screen and in Dolby sound.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on March 26th, 2020
“This is a vile waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Will Smith and Tom Holland team up for an animated spy movie; talk about a draw for the crowd. This premise alone was enough to get me and my daughter drawn into the movie. Of course there is a bit more to it, as it also involves Will Smith’s character being accidentally turned into a pigeon. An interesting twist of fate, but honestly, I think it would have been great if it just stayed a straight spy film, without the pigeon addition. Not to say that the film wasn’t still a success with this addition, because as it is the film tackles a very critical subject matter: the use of violence. Who said that a feature film can’t impart an important life lesson, especially with a younger audience? Granted, I did have to spell it out a bit for my daughter, but she’s eight; what are you gonna do? In addition to Smith and Holland, who is making a name for himself in the world of voiceover animation, the cast is rounded out with familiar faces, or should I say voices, such as Ben Mendelsohn, Karen Gillan, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire, and DJ Khaled.
Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on March 26th, 2020
Based on a true story, Burden shows how one town’s African-Americans fight back against racial prejudices brought on by the local Ku Klux Klan. The film is well written by Andrew Heckler and has a fine cast that makes their characters believable. Largely unknown, the historical incident was brought to light by New York Times writer Rick Bragg on November 17, 1996. The heart-wrenching story shows how one town fought back to free itself from a racist act. Tom Griffin (Tom Wilkinson) and his ward Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund) decide to reopen the abandoned movie theater as a museum for the KKK in the center of their small town of Laurens, South Carolina in spring of 1996. It’s an act of pride for the hooded organization and yet an obvious planned affront to half the population of the county. But Griffin owns the property, and his long-time membership in the KKK has brought him to the racist decision. The local preacher Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker) is up in arms over the audacity of Griffin’s venture and starts to gather his flock to protest the museum.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 25th, 2020
It’s hard to believe as a cinephile that Terrence Malick isn’t a more celebrated director. Sure, he has his fans, but his films virtually never translate to box office success, which is a bit of a shame. His past few films have managed to sneak into movie houses and disappear with little to no fanfare. Honestly, I was a bit surprised to realize how many films Malick has managed to release since the release of The Tree of Life. I understand how most will look at his films and say they are “pretentious” or even “boring”. To be fair, his films are not for everyone, but the one thing I think anyone can take away from his films is that they are each visually stunning. Malick doesn’t simply make your typical tent pole adventure film. Instead they all have a tendency to be contemplative and have a more spiritual or philosophical message. When it comes to A Hidden Life, he delivers just that, and while I’d consider labeling this one of his better films, its nearly-three-hour running time has this film feeling as though it’s overstayed its welcome.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on March 25th, 2020
“Welcome back to Jumanji!”
It would seem that welcoming the audience back to the jungle is in order. Now here is a sequel that when I heard it was being made, all I could do was shake my head. I just couldn’t fathom a reason for a sequel to be made. The film was already a continuation of the previous installment. I also couldn’t fathom a worthwhile story being told. And if it wasn’t for the hard work of Jack Black, who basically made the movie, I believe that my opinion would not have been changed otherwise. After barely escaping the game the first time, the group finds themselves drawn back into the world of Jumanji in order to save one of their own. However, the stakes are higher, as not only is the gang venturing into brand new territory; they are hampered due to being saddled with two new players in the form of franchise newcomers Danny DeVito and Danny Glover. The previews did not do the film justice, as it truly turned out to be far better than I was initially anticipating. It does get a bit long-winded, but for the most part it is a good, fun, and funny return to the established universe.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 19th, 2020
“There’s a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.”
Clint Eastwood is about to hit 90, and there are no signs that it’s slowing him down. Last year he even returned to the front of the camera for The Mule. Now he’s back as just the director, and it appears that Eastwood has found two of his favorite subjects in one film. He’s always been attracted to the isolated man. If you look back at the men he himself has portrayed over the years, they were misunderstood loners. In recent years he has taken a bit of a shine to telling true stories that usually deal with unlikely heroes who are thrust into a dangerous situation and must act. Heroes like Chris Kyle in American Sniper, airline captain Chesley Sullenberger, the WWII heroes who raised the iconic flag at Iwo Jima in Flags Of Our Fathers, and the brave ordinary tourist who stopped a terrorist attack on a passenger train in The 15:17 To Paris. These heroes always pay a price for their actions, and often they are even persecuted for what they’ve done, as in the case of Sully. Eastwood has combined that true story and unlikely hero for his latest work, Richard Jewell. It’s a cautionary tale that is worth watching, particularly in an age where we are constantly told that if we see something, we must say something. After watching Richard Jewell, you might just experience a potentially catastrophic hesitation. And who could blame you?
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on March 17th, 2020
Bombshell is a dramatization of the real-life scandal that occurred at broadcast news giant Fox News in 2016, where multiple women came forward to report incidents of sexual harassment, many of which involving the chairman and CEO of the company, Roger Ailes. This is an event that I’m sure everyone had some awareness of back then, and if you didn’t, you know about the events involving Weinstein. In regards to this film, it is told from the prospective of three women who were employed at Fox News: Megyn Kelly, played by Charlize Theron, Gretchen Carlson, played by Nicole Kidman, and Kayla Pospisil, played by Margot Robbie. Unlike Theron’s and Kidman’s characters, Robbie’s character is actually a composite character based on accounts of multiple women. In addition to these talented women, this film has someone recognizable names that it would take me the length of this entire review for me to record them all, but I will give you a few of the most prominent cast members: John Lithgow, who portrayed Ailes, Malcolm McDowell as Rupert Murdoch, and Kate McKinnon, who played a friend and confidant to Robbie’s character. The list literally does go on and on.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 13th, 2020
“Who are we if we can’t protect them? We have to protect them.”
As I write this there’s a truly “Zombie Apocalypse” attitude going on around the world. With the launch of A Quiet Place II delayed because of health panic this might just be the time to “quarantine” yourself in your home theatre and watch the film again on UHD Blu-ray in 4K. There’s nothing different about this release except for the steelbook format and different cover art. The discs provided are exactly the same discs you already have if you own the previous 4K release. It makes a nice collector’s item as you wait for the eventual follow-up, which I hope will be very soon. You might call me jaded, but I am pretty disappointed by the state of horror movies. It’s not just the last few years. The truth is I haven’t seen 10 really good horror movies in over a decade. Now that I’ve had a chance to see A Quiet Place, that number isn’t going up. A Quiet Place is not a really good horror movie. It ends up making a lot of the same mistakes that filmmakers think define a horror film in the modern age. It relies too heavily on jump scares and characters who do some of the most idiotic things, thus placing them in a somewhat self-created dangerous situation. But I will make the argument that A Quiet Place is still a pretty good horror film because of a rather clever and unique concept and a filming process that allows us care for these characters more than the usual horror film red-shirt fodder that too often leaves me rooting for the monster in a Darwin-like weed-out-the-gene-pool kind of way.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on March 13th, 2020
“You are in the presence of angels.”
After recently reviewing Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, it only seems fitting that I am returning to you in order to give you the scoop about the most recent installment of the franchise. It is in fact an installment into the franchise, as it exists in the same universe as the television series, as well as the two films that starred Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu. However, in this installment, the Townsend Agency has gone global with agents (called Angels) operating in several international cities, each with their own Bosley (a title that serves as a rank in the organization). For the purposes of this film, we are focused on Sabina Wilson, played by Kristen Stewart (Twilight), Jane Kano, played by Ella Balinska (Midsomer Murders), and Elena Houghlin, played by Naomi Scott (live-action Aladdin). Rounding out the cast are Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, and Elizabeth Banks, who also serves as the film’s director.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 13th, 2020
“That’s the bravest damn thing I think I’ve ever seen.”
Director Roland Emmerich is no stranger to big-screen battles. The difference is that up until this year those battles have been against aliens, huge climactic changes, or giant lizards named Godzilla. There’s no question that he understands how to shoot epic confrontation. The question I had going in to Midway was, can he deliver a battle that wasn’t fiction? After nearly tow and a half hours, the answer came back somewhat mixed. This isn’t the first time that the Battle of Midway has been brought to the big screen. In the 1970’s Charlton Heston gave us a film that was more renowned for the trendy Sensurround gimmick than it was for the drama that unfolded on the screen. Sensurround was a fancy name for huge subs that would shake the theater, and if you were lucky enough to be seeing the film at a theater with enough money to go all the way, you might have found yourself in a seat that was wired to shake, rattle, and roll. Today the chains call that Dolby. This Midway didn’t lend itself to some William Castle hustle. It’s all up on the screen. The film bears no relation to that earlier effort except for the legendary battle in the Pacific that turned the tide of the Pacific theater of World War II toward the Allies. The film actually shares more in common with the classic Tora Tora Tora in that we spend a good deal of screen time with the Japanese players in the battle. Not at all like the earlier gimmick film, this movie is intended to place you squarely in the middle of the action. If that’s what you came to see, you are certainly in for an immersive experience, only without the hot-wired seat.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 13th, 2020
A sure sign that Easter is just around the corner is yet another home video release of perennial seasonal favorite The Ten Commandments. In years past, we got the multi-disc edition, complete with original silent version of the film. This particular version is rather more stripped down, as far as features go, but it does mark the film’s re-release on Blu-ray. It’s a collector’s item kind of package with the discs arriving in a book form that isn’t quite that full of info but looks kind of nice. The set includes the exact same discs and extras as the original Blu-ray release offered. On the surface this looks like one to avoid if you already have the previous release. But they baited the hook with more than fancy packaging. You get the original DeMille 1923 version of the film, and that’s quite a good reason to pick this up. I’m disappointed that there’s no 4K version of the film. It was originally shot in 70mm, and a restored 4K disc could look incredible. Maybe next Easter.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 13th, 2020
The notion that there are two sides to every story is at the center of The Affair. Almost every episode depicts the same events related to the titular adulterous relationship from two different perspectives. It’s an ingenious and inclusive storytelling tool, because TV viewers are encouraged to spot the differences in each character’s account of events. (Along with inconsistencies in hairstyles, wardrobe, wallpaper, etc.) That’s why I was somewhat disheartened by the latter portion of the season veering away from what made the show great.
– “Marriage means different things to different people.”
– “What does it mean to you?”
We first meet schoolteacher/struggling author Noah Solloway (Dominic West) as he prepares to head to Montauk, Long Island