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Mon
05
Apr

The El Duce Tapes: Arrow's Time Portal into the Outrageous Band's History

The El Duce Tapes

Arrow Video presents the long lost footage of the creator of the SHOCK ROCK band "THE MENTORS" on Blu-ray.

Tue
30
Mar

Wonder Woman 1984 a Less Lustrous Sequel

Wonder Woman 1984 Blu-ray

I've had my misgivings about WONDER WOMAN 1984 ever since seeing the psychedelic poster with the golden angel armor. And while the armor fits nicely into the story, and with a decent reason attached to it (save for how Diana brought it to America, unless she's making back-and-forth trips to Themyscira), it's really there just to set up the nostalgic wink in the post-credits scene of the film.

In 1984, Diana (Gal Gadot) is working as an antiquities expert in a museum while also doing the whole Wonder Woman thing on the side. Apparently the directors almost forgot that Batman himself was unable to uncover any evidence of Diana after her photo taken in World War I, so we see one obligatory "take out the security cameras" scene, albeit surely too little too late. Still, the rest of the film beggars credulity that Diana could have kept herself so far out of the public eye while simultaneously appearing so publicly so often.

Sun
07
Mar

Shogun's Joy of Torture not for Weak Hearts

Shogun's Joy of Torture

Arrow Films brings to Blu-ray the horror anthology film Shogun's Joy of Torture by cult film director Teruo Ishii. Made in 1968 at the height of the Japanese "pinkie" films -- the equivalant of America's Grindhouse 42nd Street sleeze and exploitation films of the time. It was a stylized and shocking movie that Toei Films banked on bringing audiences away from their televison sets and back into the theaters to see the imagery that was "too hot" to be shown on any televison at the time (or today for that matter).

Some may summarize this as an historical violent portrayal of crime and punishment from the time period in which it was set. Others may say it is pure torture-porn trash cinema in the vein of directors such as Jess Franco who just throw sex and violence in your face for no reason other then shock value.

Sun
14
Feb

Snakes on a Train: Snowpiercer Collects Worst of Humanity as Planet's Last Survivors

Snowpiercer Season 1 Blu-ray

Snowpiercer is a television series based on the movie of the same name, starring Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, and an expanding cast of characters who, mostly, represent the less-than-respectable aspects of humanity.

The Snowpiercer itself is a train, 1000 cars long, that houses the last remaining humans on Earth. With the planet frozen over, one man's vision was to create a train that would keep traveling around the globe, generating heat and being a self-sustaining environment to support everyone until... well, until the world warmed up again, I suppose. As plans go, I'd have probably opted for a space station, or an underground bunker. But, hey, who doesn't love a train? And maybe we'll even get a toy line out of it.

Sun
14
Feb

JSA: Joint Security Area

JSA Joint Security Area Blu-ray

Arrow Films brings to Blu-ray Joint Security Area, a 2000 South Korean mystery thriller film starring Lee Young-ae, Lee Byung-hun and Song Kang-ho. Directed by  Park Chan-wook, JSA is based on the novel DMZ by Park Sang-yeon, and was the highest-grossing film in Korean film history at the time. It won Best Film at the 2000 Blue Dragon Film Awards and the 2001 Grand Bell Awards.

In order to give a SPOILER FREE write-up of this film, I will first need to explain what a JSA is to those of you that may not know the history of the conflict between North and South Korea. The Joint Security Area is the only portion of the Korean Demilitarized Zone where North and South Korean forces stand face-to-face. The JSA is used by the two Koreas for diplomatic engagements and, until March 1991, was also the site of military negotiations between North Korea and the United Nations Command.

Tue
26
Jan

Kaye's Classic Comedy on the Blu that is True: Paramount's Court Jester

The Court Jester

The comedic genius of Danny Kaye shines no brighter anywhere than it does in his medieval musical with more castle intrigue than any film that's ever swashed a buckle or buckled a swash. Kaye plays Humbert Hawkins, a former carnival worker who left his job to join up with The Black Fox (Edward Ashley), a Robin Hood figure who rallies folks to help him defend the country against the tyrannical King Roderick I (Cecil Parker), who assumed the throne after he had his men kill the entire royal family.

Sun
24
Jan

Evan Morgan's The Kid Detective a Darkly Comic Evolution of a Genre

The Kid Detective

As a kid, Encyclopedia Brown and The Three Investigators (when they still were partnered with "Alfred Hitchcock and...") were a good chunk of my reading adventures. They were relateable to a young audience, and they caught the bad guys by being smart.

Evan Morgan's The Kid Detective evolves that concept by taking that innocence and charm and running it through the wringer of a few decades of reality. When Abe Applebaum was a kid (Jesse Noah Gruman), he ran a detective agency from his treehouse, solving little mysteries for a quarter with his best-friend assistant, the mayor's daughter Gracie Gulliver (Kaitlyn Chalmers-Rizzato). He even got to solve a few locally high-profile cases and became enough of a name that -- when someone spitefully chopped down his tree -- the town gave him his own office downtown from which to operate.

Tue
19
Jan

Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? Remains Faithful to Source While Thoroughly Modern

Scooby Doo and Guess Who? Season 1

Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc. have been an enduring franchise for several reasons, one being that the animation producers have been so open to innovation. One of these innovations early on came with The New Scooby-Doo Movies, a collection of adventures that revolved around Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby crossing paths with famous celebrities (who voiced themselves) or other popular cartoon characters.

Mon
18
Jan

Doom Patrol Second Season Overdoses on Bizarre

With the second season of Doom Patrol, I was hoping to see the team come together in... well, in any fashion. We learned who they were as individuals in the first season, so now it was time to start actually using these abilities and getting the independent members to work as part of a team.

Sun
17
Jan

Fatman Displaces Die Hard as Best Action Christmas Movie

Fatman Blu-ray

DIE HARD has just been dethroned as the ultimate men's adventure and action Christmas movie. FATMAN is a violent tale filled with dark comedy in which Mel Gibson plays Chris Cringle, a grumpy toymaker who lives in the far north. This is no allusory setup. The filmmaker's play it straight that this really is Santa Claus, existing and operating in a world that, for all other intents and purposes, is completely realistic.

Chris's problem is that he's producing fewer toys each year -- not due to any lack of production capabilities, but for the lack of deserving children. Unfortunately, the subsidy contract he has with the U.S. government pays him based on his production levels, and now he's not pulling in enough to survive.The solution comes to Chris in the form of another government contract -- one for the military. It's not an ideal situation for Chris, but as a temporary stop-gap, he's willing to take it.

Fri
15
Jan

Batman: Soul of the Dragon Casts Dark Knight into Grindhouse Kung-Fu Epic

Batman: Soul of the Dragon

A great deal of the Batman animated movies (and the live action ones, for that matter) have focused on the technological advantages Batman has and how he uses them to fight crime: the car, the armor, the gadgetry. "Where does he get those wonderful toy," indeed.

With BATMAN: SOUL OF THE DRAGON, the producers take Batman and make him a character -- and not even the central character -- of an animated grindhouse kung-fu flick.

Fri
15
Jan

You, Too: Penn Badgley Returns For Second Season as Hopeless Romantic Serial Killer

You Season 2

Things just can't go smoothly for poor Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), the earnest young man who just wants to fall in love with the right person -- someone he can protect from all the evil influences that would do them harm, even if it means killing them.

Tue
22
Dec

Yellowstone Achieves What Dallas Reboot Failed as Cowboys and Corporations Battle for Land

Yellowstone Season 3

When I sat to watch this third season of Yellowstone, it was without the benefit of having seen what had come before. I duly brought up the pilot on my Spectrum on-demand screen, and my initial impression was that this was going to be a show to fill the void for those few fans of Dallas that were left, wanting to see business men in cowboy hats and pretend it was a western.

Boy, howdy, was I ever wrong. While it may take a bit for this third season to warm up, the heat keeps getting turned up by degrees until you are simply riveted to this story of feuds, infighting, intrigue, and the pride that comes with land ownership. Especially the ownership of lots and lots of land, such as the Yellowstone Ranch owned by John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his family -- Kayce (Luke Grimes), Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth (Kelly Reilly), scions of an empire that may be seeing its last hurrah.

Mon
21
Dec

Love and Monsters a Fulfilling, Exciting Hero's Journey

Love and Monsters

We've seen movies like LOVE AND MONSTERS before. At least, that's the first impression one gets when first meeting Joel, played by Joel: Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf, Bumblebee). He's a bit of a lovable loser living in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by giant monsters created by a bizarre radiation fallout. He lives with a small underground colony of hunters and gatherers, where he serves as the cook because he freezes up when danger threatens. Right then, you know that this is going to be Joel's personality throughout the show, and he's going to luck his way into some kind of victory using his one unique skill that only he could pull off. And you couldn't be more wrong. First off, despite his lack of skill as a fighter, the colony loves him. They all want to protect him and watch out for him.

Thu
17
Dec

Nolan's Reach Exceeds His Grasp with Ambitious, Inconsistent TENET

Tenet on Blu-ray

Christopher Nolan's TENET is nothing if not ambitious in its attempt to reconcile conflicting flows of causality. The concept of two physical objects existing in the same space but inverted in time, such that bullets fly out of walls and into guns, makes for some challenging camera work and a few "ooh" and "ah" moments with the audience.

But after going out of your way to explain how everything operates in the "Looking Glass Land" of the film, we start to pay attention and see that it really only operates that way whenever the director wants to pull off an effect. "Wear a full body SCUBA suit with your own oxygen because your inverted lungs won't be able to process the air -- but put on swimming attire and impersonate yourself on the deck of a boat when necessary." The conflicts simply become too numerous and too blatant, and eventually the audience is pulled from the idea of this being an effect-driven movie and begins to pay attention to the plot -- and finding none.

Tue
15
Dec

Contract Killer, Cautious Cabbie Clash in Collateral (Now on 4K Ultra HD)

Collateral 4K Blu-ray

The last thing Max wants in his life is excitement. The laid back cabbie enjoys his night shifts, telling himself it's only temporary as he saves up to start his own limo service, a dream he's been telling himself for the past twelve years. The last thing he expects is to be hired out as the driver for a high-profile hit man named Vincent.

Jamie Foxx is excellent as the easy-going Max whose Zen-like pattern is interrupted when a body lands on his windshield, courtesy of his current fare, Vincent (Tom Cruise). Suddenly what seemed like easy money from the generous rider who needed him to make several stops throughout the night has turned into a life-or-death mission, with Vincent calling all the shots -- literally.

Sun
13
Dec

The Godfather, Coda an Offer Best Refused

The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone

THE GODFATHER: PART III was one of the earliest examples of when it's time to walk away from a franchise rather than sully it with lesser sequels. Rebranding and re-releasing it the film under a new name (albeit the original name submitted by Francis Ford Coppola) of THE GODFATHER, CODA: THE DEATH OF MICHAEL CORLEONE doesn't make the story any less soporific and plodding -- never mind that the title character, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), does not die in the film (spoiler alert). 

Wed
09
Dec

Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne Disjointed, Difficult to Follow Anime

Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne

Anime shows have always played a huge role in Japanese culture. They are unique in terms of depiction of reality, through allegory, which is especially attractive for viewers.

The culture of anime has significantly grown during the past years. A lot of people from European countries are actively watching anime. Some may think that anime is only for children, but they can have a very deep meaning that is often incomprehensible even for adults.

Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is an anime that has gained in popularity, especially in Nordic countries. It is difficult to compare it with other anime in this particular genre, but Mnemosyne it has a rightful place and in this article, we will review it thoroughly.

Tue
08
Dec

Curse of Hobbes House Revels in Dramatic Tension

Curse of Hobbes House

Whether it’s severing limbs with a shovel or depicting shotgun blasts to the head, there’s something about an English accent that lends an air of sophistication to even the most intense displays of cinematic splatter. Indeed, that most revered of all British storytellers was renown for crafting gruesome set pieces, and like Shakespeare’s finest, 4Digital Media’s newest release, The Curse of Hobbes House, revels in the dramatic tension provided by supernatural underpinnings, treachery, murder and deliciously malicious mayhem.

Sun
06
Dec

Marvel's First Black Movie Superhero Gets 4K Blu-ray Release

Blade 4K

Before Marvel had a "cinematic universe" into which it could debut Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Wesley Snipes was staking out his claim as a Marvel hero -- literally -- as the half-human, half-vampire Blade. He would go on to portray the character three times before the MCU even took its first baby steps with IRON MAN.

Blade's origin is succintly told. His mother was attacked by a vampire while she was pregnant with him. While being treated for the attack at a hospital, her son was born, possessing the traits of vampirism -- but the ability to walk in the daylight like a human. Found as a teenager by Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), Blade was taught how to curb his preternatural thirst and seek out the ones who murdered his mother -- the many (many!) vampires living among us.

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