Movies

Movies

Thu
26
Sep

Abominable Transports Audiences to Magical Adventure

Abominable from DreamWorks Animation

Take the family on an exquisite, imaginative tour of Asia courtesy of Dreamworks' newest animated feature, ABOMINABLE.

Yi (CHLOE BENNET, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.) is a young girl with a driving ambition. Her day is spent sprinting from job to job, scrounging up cash and grunging up her appearance. Her mother (MICHELLE WONG) and grandmother (TSAI CHIN) are unaware of how she spends her time, or why she's gone all day long. We quickly learn that Yi is saving up to travel the world, so see all the places her recently departed father wanted to take her. 

While spending some quiet time in the hideout she has built on her rooftop, Yi has an unexpected encounter -- with a Yeti! She names the big fuzzy creature Everest, after the mountain she believes to be his home. But Everest didn't just wander onto Yi's roof by accident. He's an escapee from what was to be a major zoological exhibit, and the man behind his capture, Mr. Burnish (EDDIE IZZARD), wants him back at all costs.

Thu
26
Sep

TCM Brings Margaret O'Brien, "Meet Me In St. Louis" to St. Louis

Ben Mankiewicz and Margaret O'Brien for TCM in St. Louis

It's the third year that Turner Classic Movies has held their "Bring TCM to Your Hometown" contest, and for the Gateway to the Midwest, the third time was the charm. After what the network termed an "overwhelming response" from St. Louis residents, TCM prepared to bring the classic MGM film, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS" for a free screening at the historic Tivoli Theatre.

But it wasn't just a free movie the town was getting. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz escorted film star Margaret O'Brien for the event, to make the screening all the more special for fans.

Wed
18
Sep

Missouri Monster Gets Retro Grindhouse from Small Town Monsters

Momo The Missouri Monster

Cryptid films were a drive-in staple during the 1970s. None were going to win any Oscars, but the audiences weren't there for that. They wanted cheap chills and theatrical thrills from creatures that haunted the woods like those near their home towns.

Capitalizing on the nostalgia for this genre, Small Town Monsters has faithfully recreated the look and feel of this grindhouse-style of storytelling with MOMO: THE MISSOURI MONSTER.

The film is presented inside the framework of a modern-day television show, with your cryptid-hunting host, Lyle Blackburn, who takes the audience to the town of Louisiana, Missouri, where sightings of a hairy hominid made the papers in the early 1970s. He then takes viewers back to this film, presenting it as the only copy of an unearthed and unreleased treasure loosely based on encounters with the creature and simultaneous reports of UFO sightings.

Thu
12
Sep

Lost Lovechild of Kubrick and Hitchcock: Empathy, Inc.

Empathy Inc

Director Yedidya Gorsetman and Screenwriter Mark Leidner have put together a sleeper hit of masterpiece proportions.

EMPATHY, INC. starts out simply enough. Joel (ZACK ROBIDAS) is a successful silicon valley executive, about to make a fortune with the release of a new technology. But his partner has been falsifying the results of the tests, with devastating financial results for Joel and the company he worked for. He is scapegoated into ruin, and he and his wife Jessica (KATHY SEARLE) are forced to move in with her retired parents.

Sun
08
Sep

Kafka and Nabokov Walk Into a Horror: Seeds by Owen Long

Seeds by Owen Long

Owen Long's indy project, SEEDS, is an art film with a horror angle; a blend of Kafka's METAMORPHOSIS and Nabokov's LOLITA, with a subtle hint of H.P Lovecraft peppered throughout.

The focus of the film is on Marcus (TREVOR LONG), a man who lives a hermit-like existence in his parents' old home. For reasons we never quite understand, he's forever rewiring the place in ways that are clearly not up to code. Marcus is haunted by the death of a woman he had a fling with once, in a hotel, and which he paid to have covered up by a man who continues to show up in his life delivering pills. What the pills are for is never quite clear, as Marcus seems deranged before taking them, and just as deranged afterward.

Mon
02
Sep

Godzilla May Not Be King of the Box Office, But Reigns Supreme Among Monster Fans

Godzilla King of the Monsters Bluray

The King of the Monsters doesn't get much respect these days. Attempts to bring the giant radioactive lizard to the big screen have largely succeeded in special effects, pleasing the hardcore Godzilla fans, but plotlines haven't been enough to draw in wider audiences.

Thu
29
Aug

Octavia Spencer Disturbs in Ma

Ma on Blu-ray

The scariest horror stories are the ones that feature real monsters: humans.

OCTAVIA SPENCER impresses in every role I've seen her, but MA is the first time I've ever seen her in a horror/suspense role. She doesn't disappoint. In fact, she downright disturbs.

The character of Sue Ann is a mixture of psychoses, springing from a traumatic event in her adolescence. Arrested development, kleptomania, Munchausen's -- all these and more bubble in the cauldron of Sue Ann's plan for vengeance.

MA opens when Erica (JULIETTE LEWIS) returns to her home town with her teenaged daughter Maggie (DIANA SILVERS) in tow. Maggie makes some new friends, who like to party it up. When they try to get an adult to buy them some booze, they meet up with Sue Ann, who agrees to make the purchase. Expressing concern for the teens' safety, she also offers them her basement as a place for their revels. Her catering to them soon has them calling her "Ma," which she encourages.

Mon
26
Aug

Rocketman Gloriously Magical, Brutally Real

Rocketman Bluray

In terms of sheer visual spectacle, ROCKETMAN is without peer. Brilliantly mixing magical metaphor with raw reality, this film straddles the boundaries between musical and biopic.

From the very first scene and the very first note, ROCKETMAN is riveting. The film opens with the adult Elton John (played superbly by TARON EGERTON) strutting into an addiction support group in full sequined regalia. It doesn't feel like it could be real, and it's the most subtle part of the film, as it's used as a storytelling device throughout the movie. As we progress, we return to this device, each time with more of the costuming stripped away--a metaphor for deconstructing the mythical Elton John and getting down to the man himself.

Thu
22
Aug

One Banana, Two Banana, Three Banana, Gore!

The Banana Splits Movie

There have been several efforts to destroy my childhood by revamping and modernizing classic characters. But I have to give props for someone who goes all-out to in-your-face do it.

The Banana Splits were the hosts of a Saturday morning kids show. They were a rock and roll group comprised of Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky--an anthropomorphic dog, gorilla, lion and elephant. It was silly, it was slapstick, and it was a bit psychedelic (although my tolerance had already been set high thanks to LIDSVILLE and THE BUGALOOS).

This film from Director Danishka Esterhazy takes a decidedly different course with these beloved and/or forgotten (take your pic) children's icons, turning them into animatronic actors who go on an unexpected crusade of slaughter, answering the age-old question: What if the Terminator had been a furry?

Sun
11
Aug

Jacob Cooney's The Assault an Assault on Heist Films

The Assault

The tagline for the film reads, "Every Heist Needs a Getaway."

This film is a good excuse to exercise the getaway before getting into the heist.

The action, such as it is, happens in a small town town where Detective Tom Broza (TOM SIZEMORE) has just relocated from the big city of New York. Why he left, we don't know, but we can surmise that Bruza was too incompetent to be kept on the force given the way he handles this case.

Mon
05
Aug

Gotham's Worst All Involved in Batman: Hush, on Blu-ray and DVD

Batman Hush

The iconic Batman tour-de-force that served as a vehicle for Jim Lee's introduction to the DC Comics stable, HUSH, is the latest storyline to be adapted into the DCAU straight-to-DVD library, and scene omissions and straight-up plot changes, it's a largely enjoyable way to pass 90 minutes.

Sun
04
Aug

UglyDolls Pretty Formulaic Lesson of Be Yourself

Uglydolls

UGLYDOLLS is one of those films that works if you (a) don't question things and (b) have something to read while your kids watch it. The premise of the Overly Optimistic Outcast has simply been done to death, and it would take some masterful storytelling to jolt some life into that tired old plot.

The UglyDolls are toys that didn't make the quality cut at the factory, and get shunted down a chute to Uglyville. Moxie (KELLY CLARKSON) still dreams of making it to "the big world" and finding her child, and every day in Uglyville is a party with Moxie at the head of it. No one thinks Moxie will every realize her dream, but none of them, not even Mayor Ox (BLAKE SHELTON), crush her positive attitude.

Wed
31
Jul

The Lion King Roars with Pride as it Crosses $1 Billion

No facial expressions. It's not animated. It's not live-action. Of all the criticisms out there about Disney's photorealistic update of The Lion King there's one thing it's not: 

A failure.

Fri
26
Jul

Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood" Views Famous Murder Through Revisionist Lens

Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood opens everywhere 7/26/19.

I’ve been a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work since 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, a strange little criminal caper featuring a hardboiled mix of miscreants portrayed by the likes Michael Madsen and Tim Roth. Twenty-seven years later, his ninth feature film—if you count the Kill Bill films as one big one released in two parts—is Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Does the genius who created Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Bastards still have the vision to tell quirky tales of unlikely heroes as only he can?

Sun
21
Jul

The Magic Word for the DCEU is Shazam

Shazam on Blu-ray

The character you are about to see in this movie has a lengthy and rich history, nearly as long as Superman's, and peppered with controversy from the beginning.

And, despite a relatively recent change to the comic book mythos that carried over to this movie, his name is not Shazam. His name is Captain Marvel, and he predates a certain Air Force pilot turned alien warrior turned superhero by leaps and bounds. "Shazam" is what he shouts to change from youthful Billy Batson into his adult hero persona, as he does in this movie. Why would he call himself "Shazam" if every time he introduced himself he ended up changing identies?

Sat
20
Jul

Feels Like the First Time: Disney's The Lion King Rekindles Magic of Original

The Lion King 2019

Disney made a name for itself in the film industry by plumbing the depths of folk and fairy tales. These days, Disney has found a new path to the box office, by mining the depths of Disney itself. It sounds a bit like an ouroboris, the mythical snake that eats its own tail. But, surprisingly, it's been working, and this latest outing is no exception -- in fact, it probably surpasses all previous live-action remakes of animated classics.

Wed
03
Jul

Pet Sematary: A Series of Unfortunately Unexplained Events

Pet Sematary

When sitting down to watch PET SEMATARY, one might reasonably expect an adaptation of the Stephen King novel which, by coincidence, bears the same title. And, to be sure, there is a family who moves into a house behind which there is a pet cemetary. And, yes, there is a patch of land where a cat gets buried who comes back to life.

On the whole of it, it's a somewhat entertaining story, right down to a "Bet you didn't see that coming" ending. But the story of a doctor who believes there is nothing after death, who is then confronted with incontravertible proof that death can be reverse... That's a story that could have been explored with more depth.

Barring that, what we get is a zombie movie about a magical piece of property where whatever you bury comes back to you, but not in any pleasant way. In fact, one woul dthink after the first few dozen times of resurrecting murderous zombies, the appeal would wear off and people would stop doing it. 

Fri
28
Jun

Holland, Zendaya and Gyllenhaal Excite In SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Spider-Man Far From Home starts July 2, 2019

I really enjoyed Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man series, at least the first two films. The inclusion of Macho Man Randy Savage as Bonesaw more than made up for the very slight shortcomings of the Green Goblin. Willem Dafoe was great, but that suit--there just was no good reason to not use the classic look. The second movie, with Alfred Molina's excellent turn as Doctor Octopus, was a rare sequel that surpassed the original. Beyond those two films, well, let's focus on the positive. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was launched and over the course of 22 films it became a paradigm shift in cinematic storytelling.

Mon
24
Jun

Top Films That Will Inspire you to Get Fit

Enough

While trying to maintain your health and fitness, it can be challenging to stay energetic and motivated throughout the year. Various circumstances, such as harsh weather conditions or simply not feeling up to it are some of the factors that can tempt you to abandon your goal of being healthier and fitter.

Sat
22
Jun

Sheriff Woody: Complex Messiah

Woody and Forky

He seeks out to save those who are lost. He loves without expecting or receiving anything in return.  He gives of himself to fix those who are broken. He instills an inner voice in the one closest to him to carry on in his absence. And, in the end, he ascends.

He's Sheriff Woody, stuffed savior and prophet of Pixar. And nowhere is that made more evident in this (final?) chapter of the Pixar pioneer franchise, TOY STORY 4.

We begin where it all began -- at Andy's house, and the donation of an outgrown toy. Bo Peep (ANNIE POTTS) is being given to another child, and Woody (TOM HANKS), as always, is prepared to rescue her. But it's Bo's time to move on -- although she does make a tempting offer for Woody to follow along, reminding him that toys "get lost" all the time. But realizing that Andy still needs him, he has no choice but to remain and let Bo move on.

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