Today:  06/17/2019

Review: 'Captain Marvel' is the hero we need anytime

Posted June 11,2019 - 05:03 PM

167930 ei4g5o

I really never understood the whole backlash on Captain Marvel. Of course, it sounded a lot like the same fanboys airing their own insecurities about the last few Star Wars films. Guess what guys, women can kick ass too and that's precisely what Brie Larson does as Captain Marvel.

I really don't want to get my soapbox out, but if there was one criticism of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it was its reliance upon male superheroes to carry the load, especially in the early films. This is something that Marvel has acknowledged and I think they have really done a spectacular job in bringing more balance to the storytelling in the last few years.

Still, Captain Marvel was the first film in the MCU to prominently feature a female superhero and there had to be some trepidation leading...

Learn More »

Review: 'Ghostbusters' 35th Anniversary 4K Steelbook is spooky good

Posted June 11,2019 - 03:49 PM


How is it possible that it has been 35 years since Ghostbusters. It doesn't seem possible, but yet here we are. Exactly 35 years ago this week, the iconic film hit theaters and quickly took the world by storm.

The Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis vehicle dominated a strong summer that included other blockbuster hits such as Gremlins (opened on the same day), The Karate Kid and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom en route to $229 million at the box office. That might sound like a lot in Marvel dollars, but it was good enough to finish in second place for the entire year, a measly five million dollars behind 1984 box office champ Beverly Hills Cop.

Yes, Ghostbusters was a cultural phenomenon and its impact continues to be felt to this day. Heck, I went to Target today at lunch...

Learn More »

Review: Third time not a charm for 'Norm of the North'

Posted June 11,2019 - 02:36 PM

Norm king

I'm beginning to wonder if Lionsgate got a deal too good to pass up. You know, like buy one Norm of the North, get two free. You have to think that something's up because Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure is the third film in a franchise that debuted in 2016 and the second sequel to be released this year.

And it's only June.

At this rate, we will have at least two more Norm of the North before the end of the year. Brrr. I'm calling a holiday-themed Norm of the North film where Norm helps out Santa and saves Christmas right now. It will most assuredly come out in early December.

In this installment, Norm meets an archaeologist and agrees to help him secure a priceless Chinese artifact that was stolen by his old partner Dexter. Now, Norm and his lemming friends must track Dexter...

Learn More »

Review: 'The Haunting of Sharon Tate' misses its mark

Posted June 04,2019 - 04:54 PM

209296 k8tl6d

The summer of 1969 was one of the most iconic and influential periods in American history. Over the course of a few weeks, you had Woodstock, the Apollo 11 landing on the moon and the infamous Manson Family murders. Given that this year is the 50th anniversary of those events, you don't have to be Sharon Tate to have a premonition that we will most likely be inundated with films to celebrate their anniversary.

I don't mean to be glib about the tragic murder of one of Hollywood's brightest up and coming stars 50 years ago, but that's pretty much how The Haunting of Sharon Tate treats it. The Manson Family murders are one of those era-defining events that resonate with all of us all of these years later. Growing up, I was afraid of Charles Manson because of the stories that I heard and...

Learn More »

Review: 'The Natural' is a home run on 4K UHD

Posted June 04,2019 - 12:37 PM


As a child that grew up in the 1980s, HBO is probably the most responsible for me becoming the film fanatic that I am today. This decade was ripe for home entertainment innovation as cable television and the VCR allowed Hollywood unprecedented affordable access to our living rooms.

For better or worse, I grew up with a litany of movies that always played in heavy rotation on HBO. That's why I continue to hold such high esteem for films such as Midnight Madness, Real Genius and The Neverending Story. So, when The Natural debuted on HBO on June 21, 1985, I knew that it would become a touchstone sports film for me.

The underdog story that rails against avarice, The Natural stars Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, a young baseball phenom destined for greatness in the sport. Along the way, his...

Learn More »

Review: 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' is brilliantly mad

Posted May 31,2019 - 04:32 PM

209808 secvdd

Terry Gilliam is a genius. Even if you take away his Monty Python catalog of work, he still has an impressive resume including Time Bandits, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Of course, many of you reading this probably haven't seen half of those films or know what Monty Python is. Do yourself a favor and go back to these pillars of modern comedy and take notes.

Terry Gilliam certainly has a unique visual style and his films usually require the audience to become active participants on the journey. He just has a knack for storytelling and that couldn't be any more evident than in his latest film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

The movie follows a commercial director that is reaching back to his roots and a student film about Don...

Learn More »

Review: 'The Kid' is a fresh take on an Old West legend

Posted May 30,2019 - 04:36 PM

209514 0wnxlv

They say, "Never meet your idols." They say, "Those that can't do, teach." It's a good thing that "they" are almost always wrong.

Vincent D'Onofrio is an accomplished actor that isn't afraid to take the path least chosen in his roles. Taking routine roles on paper and turning them into iconic characters is sort of what he does. So, how would handle treating one of the single-most iconic characters of the Old West?

Naturally, the pupil-turned-teacher D'Onofrio returns to the director's chair for only the second time to give us not only a refreshing new take on the whole Billy the Kid mythology but perhaps the best one yet. It would be easy to think that the titular character of The Kid refers to William Bonney, but it's just as likely to refer to another character who finds...

Learn More »

Review: Julianne Moore is radiant in 'Gloria Bell'

Posted May 29,2019 - 03:20 PM

209292 dbivwc

Sadly, the old Hollywood tenet is true. There just doesn't seem to be any good roles for middle-aged women. While this fact is tragic on its own, it's increasingly sad when we realize that all of the fantastic actresses that we grew up with find themselves in this acting limbo zone.

I'm not going to turn this review into a criticism of Hollywood patriarchy, because that has been done time and again recently. Instead, I will sing highly my praises of Gloria Bell and argue until I'm out of breath that it is precisely the film rebuttal to all of this patriarchy and should be the rule and not the exception in Hollywood going forward.

Julianne Moore stars as the titular character who is about a decade removed from a divorce and is still finding it difficult to move on with her life. Her...

Learn More »

Review: Gaspar Noe's 'Climax' is a more than a mind trip

Posted May 28,2019 - 12:14 PM

205058 5ljcrp

When you say the name Gaspar Noe, you undoubtedly get one of two reactions. Either he's a brilliant visionary director or he's a kook. There really is no middle ground when it comes to this divisive French filmmaker who excels at taking pages out of the playbooks of auteurs such as Kubrick, Lynch and Argento.

So, it's not surprising that early on Noe's latest Climax we find a direct, literal homage to Argento thanks to a VHS copy of Suspiria lying around. Noe is many things, but an ABC filmmaker is not one of them, so it should probably not be too surprising that he runs the end credits before the film starts. As I said, he's a divisive director and you either love or hate him. I happen to find him fascinating and Climax was another testament to heights and lows this gifted filmmaker...

Learn More »

Review: 'The Upside' has all the feels

Posted May 21,2019 - 04:47 PM

208388 doqb5l

Here is something that I thought I would never say. Kevin Hart eschews his trademark standup routine to deliver a wonderful performance.

It's no secret that I'm not the biggest Kevin Hart fan, there's just something about his usual schtick that I find scathing. It's like he's playing a caricature of the funny African-American sidekick and he's not in on the joke. Thankfully, Hart is both restrained and a little bit more serious in The Upside and the film is all the better for it.

Based on a true story, Kevin Hart plays Dell, a recent parolee who is struggling to find a job and meet his court-appointed obligations. Bryan Cranston plays a wealthy quadriplegic who is looking for a new caregiver. Despite their differences, the pair clicks and a wonderful friendship is forged.


Learn More »