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Fri
29
Oct

These Monsters Have Universal Appeal in More Ways Than One!

Universal Classic Monsters 4K collection

Halloween is when the monsters all come out. And while recent years have brought us scary slashers like Freddy and Jason, or deceptively cute killer creatures like Gremlins, Critters, or Creepsters, the foundations of fright will always be the Universal Monsters -- those monsters from classic literature brought to life on the silver screen by Universal Pictures.

Wed
27
Oct

Superman and Lois Turn Smallville into Riverdale (Season One Blu-Ray)

Superman and Lois S1 BD

Superhero fans have been largely accepting of the latest CW series, Superman and Lois. And while there have been those all-too-brief, bright and shining moments (that introduction scene of Superman in his Golden Age outfit is insurpassable!), I'm too much of a Superman fan to fully fall in love with this series. And I'll tell you why.

Mon
25
Oct

Time Passes Quickly -- But Drags for the Audience -- in Shyamalan's Old

Old on Blu-ray

Based on the graphic novel Sandcastle by Frederik Peeters, this latest venture from M. Night Shyamalan is built around the idea of an isolated beach where time advances at an accelerated rate. Anyone attempting to leave suffers mysterious blackouts and winds back up on the beach, although how they get there is never explained.

Shyamalan successfully blends the relativistic passages of time for the audience. I for one know I felt I had aged 40 years by the time this film was over.

Mon
18
Oct

Bloody Violence Permeates Injustice When Superman Driven to Kill

Over the years in comics we've seen various alternate storylines that have explored the DC universe should Superman have held different values other than truth, justice and the American way (which anyone can now say, since there's no trademark on it). We've seen him raised in Communist Russia, seen him raised in Nazi Germany, even seen him raied by African gorillas, all under different Elseworlds titles.

Mon
18
Oct

Running on Empty: The Flash Season 7 Released on Blu-ray

Flash Season 7 BD

COVID was not kind to the production of The Flash. Season 6 had to end abruptly with Iris (Candice Patton) trapped in the mirror universe by Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor). The lack of closure of the "big bad" story of the season gave the seventh season an awkward start as the first few episodes are really the end of the previous season. After that, we meander aimlessly into a season where Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris somehow give birth to an entire anthropomorphically personified "forces of the universe" family, including the reborn Speed Force (Michelle Harrison).

Thu
14
Oct

HBO's The Nevers a Victorian X-Men

The Nevers S1P1

The best way for me to elevator pitch HBO's The Nevers is "The X-Men if they first appeared in Victorian England."

The premise of this series is that there was "an event" -- a ship of some kind that appeared like a giant dragonfly flew over and "sprinkled" sparkles over the city. Some of these were absorbed into people who began to exhibit powers or traits they could not control. That day happens a ways ahead of where the series starts, where these people who have been "touched" by the phenomenon, and different sectors of society. The purists, led by Lord Massen (Pip Torrens), see them as an affront to God's creation and would have them hanged. To Lord Hugo Swan (James Norton), they are a commodity for his house of debauchery.

Thu
07
Oct

The Titans That Built America on DVD

The Titans That Built America

For as much as The History Channel gives us shows about aliens, conspiracy theories, and cryptids, when it does decide to do some actual history, it excels -- particularly when it makes the information digestible in these dramatized reenactments.

The latest of these to cross my desk is The Titans That Built America, a retrospective of the early twentieth century that covers the era from post-World War I through the end of World War II. It's focus is on the automotive industry, largely, telling the stories of Henry and Edsel Ford (Grant Masters and David Crowley), Walter Chrysler (Cillian O'Gairbhi), and Pierre Du Pont (Gerald Kyd). But more than just telling their individual stories, it includes how their lives intersected, and how what began as one modern wonder -- the mass-produced automobile industry -- grew into the production of airplanes (for the postal service) and, ultimately, a military industrial complex. 

Thu
07
Oct

Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini

Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini

Before the rise of computer-generated imagery, the lords and masters of cinematic special effects were the make-up maestros who toiled with latex and glue, wire, wax and paint in poorly ventilated workshops to produce the brutes and beasts that haunt our collective unconscious. Down through the decades several achieved iconic status: Universal Studios monster maker Jack Pierce, ‘60’s splatter guru H.G. Lewis; The Exorcist’s Dick Smith and American Werewolf in London’s Rick Baker; Rob Bottin of The Howling and The Thing notoriety; Greg Nicotero of KNB FX. None, however, have reached the stratospheric, rock star heights of Pittsburgh native Tom Savini, a man whose contributions to the silver screen have inspired more fevered nightmares than any other in recent memory.

Fri
01
Oct

Crikey! All Three Crocodile Dundee Films Land on Blu-ray

Crocodile Dundee Trilogy BD

The 80s was the decade of films whose staying power rested not so much upon their plots but upon their memorable lines. "I'll be back." "I feel the need -- the need for speed!" "Wax on. Wax off."

And, of course, the one that can only be appreciated when done in the right accent: "That's not a knife. That's a knife."

If you were there, you're probably already remembering several other lines and scenes from Crocodile Dundee or its sequel Crocodile Dundee II. Paul Hogan, the man behind Mick "Crocodile" Dundee, came out of nowhere (technically Australia) and put the U.S. on a down-under kick. Hogan was joined by Linda Kozlowski as newspaper reporter and heiress Sue Charlton, the Man from Walkabout Creek began his adventures in the Australian outback and, as part of Sue's human interest story and social experiment, followed her back to New York city for some moments of culture clash. 

Sun
26
Sep

Kurt Russell's Breakdown Gets 25th Anniversary Blu Ray from Paramount

Breakdown Blu-ray

Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan star as Jeff and Amy Taylor, a married couple from Massachussetts on the road to a new job and a new life on the west coast. But a chance encounter in the desolate southwest pits them against a gang of kidnappers and murderers who use the diners and truck stops as bases of operation, and who have been thus far successful at making people disappear forever.

When Jeff's Jeep Grand Cherokee breaks down on the side of the road in the desert, a friendly trucker (J.T. Walsh) offers them a lift. Jeff chooses to stay with the car while Amy goes with the trucker to a diner down the road to phone for a tow. While she's gone, Jeff finds the problem with the vehicle, fixes it and gets on the road to the diner -- only to find nobody has seen his wife there. Frantic, Jeff drives until he finds the trucker -- who also claims to have never met him, and convinces the police of the same.

Wed
22
Sep

Caine and Headey Chew the Dickens out of Twist

Twist on Blu-ray

Lena Headey and Michael Caine turn in expected magnetic performances in this modern day loose adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, Twist.

In this version, the titular Oliver Twist (Rafferty Law) is a young adult, not a mere street urchin, who is living homeless and known for his large-scale grafitti art, which ends up in places most people would consider impossible to get to. His chance encounter with Red (Sophie Simnett) brings him to the attention of Fagin (Michael Caine), the leader of a ragtag group of apprentice con artists who are looking to set up an art dealer for a big heist, partly for the money and partly for revenge. Complicating matters emotionally for Oliver is the presence of the malevolent Sikes (Lena Headey), who has a dominant relationship with Red that interferes with her and Oliver hooking up. 

Wed
22
Sep

F9. F'd Up.

F9: The Fast Saga

There's a part of me that thinks it simply isn't fair to write a critical review of F9: The Fast Saga. While it's little more than a bunch of action scenes, stitched together loosely with the threads of something resembling a plot, there's also the fact that it never pretends to be anything more than that, that the audience isn't intended to have their minds engaged in solving a mystery but merely to have their adrenal glands engaged through the harrowing automotive special effects.

But I'm going to do it anyway, because I need more word count than just that first paragraph.

Wed
22
Sep

The Forever Purge Proof Nothing Lasts Forever

The Forever Purge

In the world of The Purge franchise, the U.S. government has been supplanted -- through elections -- with a new breed of "founding fathers" who have pushed through laws allowing the population to participate in bloody mayhem in order to "purge" the hate from their systems so that the rest of the year might be peaceful. Beginning at sundown and ending at sunup, Purge Night gives people the right to kill anyone with impunity, with no intervention from law enforcement or other emergency services. 'Tis the season for horror movies (check these out) with Halloween incoming, thus you might wonder if The Forever Purge should be on your horror to-watch list. Let's continue.

Tue
21
Sep

Blunt Lyrics: 609 Films Releases Bob Marley and the Wailers Capital Session on CD/DVD

Bob Marley Capital Session

A musical high.

Mon
20
Sep

Slaxx Proves Skinny Jeans Can Be Murder

Slaxx

SLAXX is the Canadian horror comedy film about the dark side of killer fashion. Produced in 2020, the film made its debut on Shudder and DVD last month to audiences worldwide.

Directed by Elza Kephart, SLAXX is the story of a young woman named Libby (Romane Denis) who takes a position at a trendy clothing store only to have her dreams of working in the fashion industry turn into her worst nightmare. The night before the big launch of the company's newest jeans, called Super Shapers, one of Libby’s co-workers steal a pair of the new jeans from the backroom and puts them on. Little does she know this particular batch of the new jeans have been possessed by the spirit of a young Hindi child laborer who died while threshing the cotton she picked to make them. Out for revenge and thirsting for blood, the jeans kill the worker and proceed to run amok through the store feeding off the blood of all its inhabitants.

Wed
15
Sep

Arrow Video Brings Japanese Exploitation Film BLIND BEAST to American Audiences on Blu-ray

Blind Beast

Director Yasuzo Masumura brings to you his adaptation of Edogawa Rampo’s classic short story, Blind Beast, in all the horrific imagery that will leave some in shock at the grotesque portrayal of a blind sculptor and his next masterpiece.

A young model named Aki (Mako Midori) is abducted and finds herself held captive in a literal house of horrors, surrounded by severed body parts of women and giant statues of disembodied limbs (and other, shall we say ‘questionable’ body parts). Her abductor Michio (Eiji Funakoshi) introduces himself to her and lets it be known that she will be his next work of art.

Aki recognizes Michio from a previous encounter with the blind sculptor. She is, at first, defiant and fights to be set free; but she later succumbs to his advances and submits herself to his sightless world, allowing herself to be taken in to his lifelong ambition to perfect the female form thru his art.

Fri
10
Sep

Paramount Boldly Goes Halfway with Star Trek 4K Blu-ray Set of First Four Films

Star Trek 4 Movie Collection

When Star Trek: The Motion Picture debuted in theaters, it had been ten years since the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise had come together on television. For the fans, it was a huge event that made largely forgivable the opportunity taken by the SFX department to show how cool computer generated fractal graphics could look. It was the launchpoint for five more movies to come, sometimes calling back to the television show but mostly introducing new concepts and new aliens.

Mon
06
Sep

Zoinks! Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog in this Canine Clue-Chasing Caper

Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog

Dogs and mysteries have been the peanut butter and jelly of children's cartoons for decades, featuring such sniffing sleuths as Woofer and Wimper, Dynomutt, Hong Kong Phooey, and the whole gang from Disney's 101 Dalmations. But, of course, the king of them all has always been Scooby-Doo, the Great Dane mascot of Mystery Inc. For years, Scooby and the gang have been busting mysteries and proving that the things that go bump in the night are nevery more than a greedy person in a rubber mask.

On the other hand, however, there's Courage, a little pink mutt from Nowhere who defends his family from true weirdness, monsters, alients, and the like, often without them realizing it and always without reward. But never has the weirdness been anything explainable as a prosaic prank.

Thu
02
Sep

Arrow Video Presents The Brotherhood of Satan on Blu-ray

Brotherhood of Satan

Arrow Video brings to Blu-ray the long-awaited special edition version of Bernard McEveety’s 1971 film, The Brotherhood of Satan.

The film follows the recently widowed Ben, his girlfriend Nicky, and his daughter K.T. on a road trip across the Southwest. During the trip they are witnesses to a horrific accident and head to the nearby isolated desert town of Hillsboro to report it to the Sheriff (played by L.Q. Jones). While there, they are met with a not-too-welcoming reaction from the locals, who are gripped by paranoia and fear due to a series of gruesome deaths and the mysterious disappearance of eleven of the community’s children. As more disappearances and deaths continue during their visit, Ben and his family find themselves joining the sheriff, a local priest and the town’s doctor, Doc Duncan (Strother Martin, Cool Hand Luke), but all clues lead to an evil satanic cult that is slowly gripping the town and its inhabitants.

Mon
30
Aug

Second Season Prodigal Son Losing It's Allure -- But Prodigal Daughter Holds Promise

Prodigal Son SSN 2 BD

Warner Brothers police drama with a twist, Prodigal Son, gets the Blu-ray release for its second season. Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) continues in his role of consulting profiler for the police department, bringing his unique perspective to the solving of unique homicides. That perspective comes from the fact that his father, Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), is the infamous serial killer known as The Surgeon. From his special accommodations at the Claremont Psychiatric Hospital, Martin stands ready and eager to "help" his son get into the minds of the various psycopathies he must unravel, all while getting further into Malcom's head as he struggles with repressed memories.

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