Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on November 20th, 2021
When it comes to dystopian-type films, it is very difficult to break ground. In the span of cinematic history, we have seemed some good ones (Mad Max, Snowpiercer), and we seen some bad ones (Chaos Walking, Battlefield Earth). Unfortunately, I would have to rate The Colony (a.k.a. Tides) in the latter group rather than the former. Simply put, there just wasn’t anything about the film that resonated with me. Many of the plot themes felt recycled and predictable. The story follows an astronaut returning to Earth to determine whether it is habitable following years of climate change, pandemics, and war that have decimated the planet. Upon arrival, she immediately finds herself captured by those left behind on the planet. So apparently the planet was not that inhabitable to begin with. Around this time the film started to give me The 100 vibes
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 17th, 2021
“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie.”
No one knew those rules better than Wes Craven. He helped to create them, after all. Starting in 1972 with the cult favorite The Last House On The Left, he followed that just two years later with The Hills Have Eyes, which led to a sequel. But it wasn’t until a decade later that he would deliver his masterpiece and most successful franchise, Nightmare On Elm Street. Wes Craven introduced the world to Freddy Kruger, and our dreams have never been quite the same since. While others attempted to reproduce the same results with many sequels, it was Craven himself who put Freddy to bed with New Nightmare exactly 10 years after his birth.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 17th, 2021
From Bride of Frankenstein to Night of the Living Dead and even Godzilla, horror has been a platform filmmakers have used for decades to handle larger societal issues. In 1992 when the first Candyman released, it was a film that tackled issues of class and race, but it did so in a manner that didn’t feel forced, and in doing so it added an extra level to what I’d consider one of the best horror films of the 90’s. I love the story of Candyman, and the performance Tony Todd gave this tragic character was an equal blend of horror, menace, and sympathy. The way the first film builds its impending doom for Helen Lyle has rarely been matched in films since. Watching as her life crumbles around her up until the moment she finally surrenders herself to Candyman and accepts her awful fate is an impactful moment. The sequels just never lived up to the first film, and it’s a shame,
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on November 17th, 2021
“I, Cordell Walker, do solemnly swear…”
No, this is not the next spin-off of the zombie Walking Dead franchise. There’s a new ranger in town, and his name is Cordell Walker. I know what you’re thinking: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” That’s where you’d be wrong. They might share the same name and job, but this Walker is nothing like the Chuck Norris version that lasted for over a decade when you include made-for-television movies. This Walker is much younger. He was a Marine who had joined after 9/11. He has a family. His wife was killed a year ago, and now he’s trying to raise his son and daughter with the help of his parents, who were no longer living in the Norris series. The episodes are more of an ongoing story arc,
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 11th, 2021
“My name is Nicky Shen, and this has been my home for three years. A Shaolin monastery in Yunnan Province, China. My mom sent me on a cultural tour of China. Turned out, it was really a matchmaking tour to land me a Chinese husband. Just one of the many ways my mom tried to control my destiny. I panicked. I ran. That was the first time anyone told me I had a choice in anything. I was only planning to spend the night. But then I saw something that I knew I wanted to be a part of. These women were warriors. And so I stayed. Pei-Ling became my Shifu, my mentor.”
The new Kung Fu series at the CW is not really anything like the 1970’s show that starred David Carradine. And while the credits claim to be based on that show, they really do not have anything in common. This show is not a period piece but exists in current day San Francisco. The titular character is no longer a middle-aged quiet hero or a guy. Instead we have law school drop-out Nicky Shen, a twenty-something woman who doesn’t quite have a handle on who she is.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 11th, 2021
“My name is Harris K. Telemacher. I live in Los Angeles, and I’ve had seven heart attacks. All imagined. That is to say, I was deeply unhappy, but I didn’t know it because I was so happy all of the time.”
Steve Martin plays a wacky TV weatherman who develops a close friendship with an electronic freeway sign in the sleeper hit comedy L.A. Story. I found the critically acclaimed film to lack hilarity, but it does get marks for inventiveness. Martin is enjoyable in most anything he’s in, even if the material is not so great. L.A. Story is one such example of an actor rising above said material. Most of the over-the-top silliness misses the mark, and Marilu Henner has little more to do than play the cliché of snobbish socialite. The true love of the Martin character’s life – played by Victoria Tennant – is so bland vanilla I would have much rather seen him end up with his free-spirited squeeze toy (Sarah Jessica Parker), though any such relationship would be doomed to fail. At least there would be some excitement.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 9th, 2021
“You’re going on a journey. A journey through memory. Your destination? A place and time you’ve been before. To reach it, all you have to do is follow my voice.”
So, an interesting factoid that I learned about the film’s director Lisa Joy: she is the sister-in-law of director Christopher Nolan. This doesn’t really add anything to the review, just an interesting fact that I thought I’d share. Then again, I do remember thinking when the film first opened up that it felt very shades-of-Nolan. Not to say that Nolan had any influence over the film, but just the idea of a movie based off a construct is very much in his wheelhouse. Memory is the construct that is explored in this film, and I must admit that the addictive nature with which the film portrays this construct did have some appeal;
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on November 9th, 2021
It’s hard to believe that one of the most popular comedy shows of the 1950’s was not really a show at all, at least not in the way that we think of a television series today. The show began its life in 1951 as a segment on the popular Cavalcade of Stars. At that time only Jackie Gleason and Art Carney starred in their familiar roles. Alice was played by Pert Kelton. The series took its more recognizable look when it became part of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955.That’s also when Joyce Randolph joined the series as Trixie Norton. The series would take up a half hour of the slot. The second half was taken up by a larger variety of pieces, usually a series called Stage Show. The show would come and go, with other cast members coming and going over time. Even Art Carney had left The Jackie Gleason Show at one time, only to return in 1957 to the role.
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on November 6th, 2021
“So now that Captain Rogers and Iron Man are both gone, who do you think’s gonna lead the Avengers?”
After over a decade of ruling the feature film comic book universe, I have to ask the question that no one really wants to ask or answer. A lot of things have happened in the real world since the release of the two-part Avengers coda to the last phase of films. In over 22 films, there were only a couple I would have called sub-par and less I would have called stinkers. That hasn’t been the case with the start of the post-pandemic Marvel Cinematic Universe. It started with Black Widow, which I have argued doesn’t belong here. It works as the third film in a trilogy that includes the last two Captain America films. It has the same feel and much of the same style. I liked it but felt it was horribly mistimed. Things being what they are, that might be expected. Then came along Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, which brought an interesting new dynamic to the MCU but still fell somewhat flat with fans.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 5th, 2021
Well, this is an interesting plot twist. From antagonist to protagonist. When we last saw Gulf War veteran Norman Nordstrom, he was recovering in the hospital from a gunshot wound, having just spent the previous night protecting his home against intruders. Before you start painting him with a hero brush, it’s worth mentioning that Norman isn’t exactly squeaky clean, given that he was holding a woman hostage after artificially inseminating her to provide with a child to replace the one that said woman accidently killed. It’s also worth mentioning that he also attempted to impregnate one of the home invaders following the inadvertent death of the woman carrying his child. The first Don’t Breathe was an interesting and unique horror thriller film that premiered at South by Southwest festival back in 2016 before going on to become a theatrical commercial success.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 5th, 2021
If you were a child in the 1960’s or 1970’s, you were around at the golden age of the Christmas television special. We just celebrated the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and there were a ton of holiday charms that came and went each year. But there were a handful that became classics and found their way to the airwaves every year in December. Of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas became one of these, and it is indeed among the best. It was not the only special to become beloved by generations of viewers. Now Dreamworks has brought together seven of the most memorable of these classics. This was a wonderful trip down memory lane for me, as it will be for millions of children of all ages who looked forward to these event broadcasts each and every year. Now you can watch them whenever you want. And they might not be just for Christmas anymore.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on November 1st, 2021
Superman: The Animated Series was partly made in the same fashion as the massively popular Batman: The Animated Series. The tone was a little more serious, and the stakes were raised in order to create a sense that Superman might just have met his match. It was first produced in 1996 and made 54 episodes through the year 2000. The show received high praise for raising the bar but at the same time keeping what was important to the mythos of Superman. In fact, it even received a nomination for an Emmy. Besides Smallville, this probably stands out as the best television adaption of the one known as Superman, the Last Son of Krypton and hero to the planet Earth (and beyond).
Posted in The Reel World by Gino Sassani on October 30th, 2021
“Can anyone give me an example of a myth or a story They’re afraid of?”
Look at every element of Searchlight’s new horror film Antlers and you see nothing but the promise of an extraordinary horror film. Guillermo del Toro is one of the producers and he’s got a reputation for building some of the best horror atmosphere you’ll ever see. He’s one of those visual geniuses that has been inspired by the black & white classics of the genre and his imagination is truly amazing. The film is based on Nick Antosca’s short story The Quiet Boy which itself has some pretty incredible imagery. The film also sports a pretty sweet cast starting with Keri Russell known for the Cold War series The Americans. There’s Jesse Plemons who blew me away on Friday Night Lights and hasn’t disappointed yet. Young Jeremy T. Thomas has a pretty good career if his performance here is any indication of what he can do. The kid does one of the best deadpans I’ve seen since Christina Ricci’s wonderful Wednesday Addams. The British Columbia locations are truly stunning. This looks like a truly great film. And it’s certainly not a bad film. But it’s far from great. It’s an okay film and often that would be fine with me. I enjoy an average horror film as much as the next guy. The trouble is this should have been great and that’s a huge disappointment.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 29th, 2021
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Disney/ Marvel decided to fire James Gunn over a couple of tweets and Warner Brothers decided to scoop up the talented director to helm a reboot of The Suicide Squad. Personally, I feel this was the best move WB has done with their DC film projects since the Christopher Nolan Batman films. I’ll come out and say it; I haven’t been a fan of the DC cinematic universe. Wonder Woman and Shazam were decent, but they simply don’t hold up to what Marvel has been able to produce. While I’m fine with attempting to tell more mature storylines and appeal to an older audience, my biggest problem with the DC films is that they just weren’t fun. (Shazam is perhaps the only exception to this.) I’m not part of the “Release the Snyder cut” crowd; instead I just want to see a comic book film that can be entertaining and not take itself too seriously, and that brings me back to James Gunn. I’m a fan of Gunn. I absolutely adore what he’s done with The Guardians of the Galaxy. Those are both in my top five of the Marvel films, because I love how he handles the group of misfit heroes.
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.