Kino Lorber and Kino Classics Presents: THE LANDLORD, RHINOCEROS, ROBBERY, SEX MADNESS REVEALED

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Gets passed the ignorance of racism

For the first time ever, finally, Hal Ashby’s The Landlord is now available on Blu-ray, thanks to the prominent boutique label, Kino Lorber. Before May 7, 2019, the only way to see this movie was to buy an overpriced DVD on eBay. I patiently waited for an inevitable Blu-ray release, and Kino delivered. 

Starring a young and handsome Beau Bridges, The Landlord follows Bridges’ naive and rich 29-year-old brat still living off his parents money who buys an apartment building in an inner-city section of Brooklyn (Think Rod Daniel’s masterpiece, The Super with Joe Pesci, but good). Having no idea what he’s doing, he learns he’s way in over his head and there’s more that comes with being a landlord than just owning the building. It’s deemed a comedy and a satire on gentrification, but I didn’t see that. I saw an exceptional love story. It does touch on topical elements like racism and how narrow-minded the rich can be (and often are), but I found it more moving than funny. 

With an aspect ratio of 1.85.1 restored in 1080p from the film’s negative, The Landlord fills your screen, making the movie larger than life. The look is crisp but still has that old school 35mm feel and look. Just the way films made before the digital age should look, even when cleaned up. Audio is DTS sound.

Hal is know for his profound early, seminal work: Harold and Maude, Being There, The Last Detail, Coming Home (where he nabbed a Best Director Oscar nomination), and In the Heat of the Night (where took home the Best Film Editing Oscar). The Landlord bombed when it first released but gained a cult following decades later. I’ve been trying to watch this movie forever and hat tip to Kino for giving it a proper Blu-ray release. 

There are two great companion pieces for this release: Oscilloscope’s Hal, which is an exceptional documentary about Ashby, and Warner Archives’ The Super (yes, the 90s Joe Pesci movie). Both The Landlord and The Super have so many things in common but are world’s apart, yet both are similar in almost every way possible. 

Blu-ray Extra Features

  • Reflections - New interview with star Lee Grant

  • The Racial Gap - New interview with star Beau Bridges

  • Norman Jewison and Hal Ashby - Style and Substance: New interview with producer Norman Jewison

  • Theatrical Trailer

Buy The Landlord here.

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When you put in Rhinoceros, ff you find yourself, what the hell am I watching? Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. You’re watching the farce Rhinoceros starring late comedy greats, Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel (who both just came off the wild success of Mel Brooks’ The Producers). These two were two of the best character actors of their time, and perhaps all time.

Here’s the synopsis, stay with me. Wilder stars as Stanley, an alcoholic, with bloodshot eyes as red as a rose, with a crush (on the gorgeous Karen Black) whose friends, family, and well, everyone around him, are turning into rhinoceroses.

You still there? Good.

Rhinoceros reminds me of Robert Altman’s Brewster McCloud. Their underlying themes are the same, and they both start with talking about a species and how it relates to mankind and it tells you what you’re about to watch but in a clever, bizarre way. And Like Brewster McCloud, this movie is an absurd slapstick comedy that was way ahead of its time. 

Rhinoceros is a reason why I love Kino Lorber — they find great obscure movies I would never have seen without them. I will say this in every Kino review: you don’t buy Kino reviews for the extra features, you buy because of the film and remarkable restoration.

I’ve seen a lot of Wilder movies, and everyone knows he’s a master at physical comedy, and he really hams it up for this movie. The same can be said about Mostel — these two both loved making people laugh at their own expense.

The film is presented in 1.78:1 full screen format, and restored in 1080p. Rhinocreos is presented by The American Film Theatre, which was popular in the 70s for adapting plays into films (Rhinocreos was adapted from Eugène Ionesco’s play of the same name, where Mostel played the same character and won a Tony for his performance). The restoration looks and sounds great, no complaints here.

Blu-ray Extras Features:

  • Interview with director Tom O’Horgan

  • Interview with Edie Landau

  • “Ely Landau: In Front of the Camera,” a promotional film for the American Film Theatre

  • Gallery of trailers for the American Film Theatre

  • English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

Buy Rhinoceros HERE.

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Who doesn’t love a good heist movie? I’ll do one better, who doesn’t love a good heist movie from the director of Bullitt and The Friends of Eddie Coyle? Peter Yates directs Robbery, a lowborn heist movie with a big payoff. What’s so fascinating about Robbery is seeing how heists were cleverly pulled off back in the 60s without modern technology which has helped make robberies easier (and to be fair, harder because of cameras, social media, etc.)

Robbery is presented in 1.85.1 (full screen) with a colorful restoration. The audio is presented in DTS and is at times difficult to hear, but for the most part, it sounds as good as any restored movie form 1967.

Blu-ray Extras Features:

  • New Audio Commentary by Film Critic Nick Pinkerton

  • Trailers

Buy Robbery HERE.

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If you love Mystery Science Theater 3000, Sex Madness Revealed is just for you. “The movie” stars Patton Oswalt as The Film Dick, a podcaster who watches obscure movies “live” and reveals “facts” and goofs about the movie. Please note the facts in quotes, because for comedy sake, the fact with fiction is blurred. And over the course of the movie, things get… interesting.

One more time to bring it home, fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will love this. Sex Madness Revealed is presented in various formats because it’s live commentary on the film, as well as the viewer seeing what The Film Dick is looking at on his computer, and more.

Blu-ray Extras Include:

  • Audio commentary by director Tim Kirk and co-writer Patrick Cooper

  • Sex Madness: The Original (1938, 59 min.)

  • Other Side with Zabrecky (2019, 6 Min.), a short séance featuring Rob Zabrecky

  • 5.1 Surround or 2.0 Stereo

  • Optional English SDH subtitles

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Theatrical Trailer of Director’s Commentary: Terror of Frankenstein

Buy Sex Madness Revealed HERE.

Criterion Collection Review: Jackie Chan's Police Story Duology

Before Tom Cruise was breaking his ankle doing his own stunt, and other A-list actors were given high-fives for doing “some of their own” as well, international martial arts star Jackie Chan was pulling off body-shattering, slack-jawing stunts nobody will touch today, back in the 80s. Thrown off buildings, through glass, escaping exploding buildings — he pushed his limits as far as humanly possible with well choreographed fight scenes — albeit with the notion of, “let’s hope this works” practical thinking (often the stunt didn’t, which you can always see in his outtakes during the end-credits). Chan is unmatched when it comes to death-defying stunts.

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DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE Review: Dragged Across Two Hours and Forty Minutes of Nothing

In 2015, S. Craig Zahler first wowed audiences with his ultra-violent feature debut, the excellent western horror BONE TOMAHAWK. This movie pulses Sam Peckinpah. Then in 2017, he again blew his now fanbase away with a modern grindhouse movie with a beefed up Vince Vaughn called BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99. Both films follow a similar method — slowburn with a hyperviolent payoff worth your time. So it’s excepted that he would do it once again with his latest, DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE, which only has a cool title going for it.

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Creed II 4K Blu Review: A Knockout 4K Release

Creed II is a good sequel, and that’s all it needs to be. It doesn’t try to be better than the first film because director Steven Caple Jr. – an odd choice to follow the great Ryan Coogler, but this rookie held his own – as well as Sylvester Stallone (who co-wrote the screenplay), knew that trying to top a masterpiece – Creed – would be next to impossible. Creed is the second best in the Rocky Balboa franchise, and I will fight anyone who disagrees (note: must be shorter than 5’5’’ and weight less than 100 pounds)

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A STAR IS BORN 4K Blu-ray Review: A Star is Reborn

A STAR IS BORN has been remade three times, and I think there is a reason for this: this is a movie that every generation can relate to — love, loss, tragedy, successful and the pitfalls that come with it — dealing with all of these at once in today’s fast-paced society.

A STAR IS BORN looks great in 4K — there’s not many films that don’t. A STAR IS BORN gives you the option to watch in Dolby Vision or HDR10, and my recommendation is HDR10. More contrast and brighter colors. (I hate Dolby Vision — it’s dim and makes everything look washed out.)

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JUDGMENT NIGHT Blu-ray Review: EMILIOOOOOO!

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Back in the 90s, acclaimed actor-turned-multihyphenate Emilio Estevez was everywhere: YOUNG GUNS II (a personal favorite), MEN AT WORK (another personal favorite), FREEJACK, LOADED WEAPON 1 (I love this films and will fight you if you do not), the beloved THE MIGHTY DUCKS, and now it brings us to the 1993 classic, JUDGMENT NIGHT, starring Estevez, a young Stephen Dorff (BLADE), Cuba Gooding, Jr., that guy from House of Pain, and actor-turned-vicious-villain, Denis Leary. (Oh, and Jeremy Piven is in this, too, with a decaying hairline, 90s-style pants nobody would be caught dead in, and his same ole cocky attitude.) The film was directed by Stephen Hopkins who directed PREDATOR 2 and BLOWN AWAY, so this film has "irresistible 90s movie" written all over it.

Let me get this out of the way — I’m one of Emilio’s biggest fans. Like many, I grew up watching his films: BREAKFAST CLUB, REPO MAN, MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, STAKEOUT (and its subsequent sequel), YOUNG GUNS, and those mentioned above in the previous paragraph. I remember the first time I watched JUDGEMENT NIGHT — it was at my dad’s, very late at night, I was 10, and it felt like I was in the movie. The atmosphere of the movie’s dark, brooding night sucked me in. I still get that feeling when I watch it.

JUDGEMENT NIGHT has never been on Blu-ray before, so if you have a giant TV like me, the DVD version wasn’t so great. Thanks to the great folks over at Warner Archive, you can now watch this film in glorious 1080p.

If you are an Emilio enthusiast like me, don’t move, don’t whisper, don’t even breathe — but the movie now right here.

HALLOWEEN Review: The New HALLOWEEN is Thrilling, Chilling, Savage, and the Most Fierce Entry in the Franchise Since the Original

“Are you afraid of the Boogeyman? You should be.” — Laurie Strode, sole Michael Myers survivor

If you’re reading this, you know who the Boogeyman is: Michael Myers. (If you don’t, stop reading, call your parents, and berate them for not giving you a good childhood.)

The original Halloween made its debut in 1978, cementing itself as one of the greatest horror films of all time. It opened the floodgates to countless slasher knockoffs and blessed us with horror icons such as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. It also spawned now 11 sequels, reboots, and reimaginings, with only a few being worth a watch, either for nostalgia or because they’re so bad they’re fun. (Rob Zombie’s “reimagining” diptych can burn in hell.) After countless duds, David Gordon Green’s Halloween is finally a worthy sequel that John Carpenter’s slasher needed. It’s scary as hell and gives the Laurie-Michael feud a finale that fans deserve.

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Review: MANDY (Or, HOW NICOLAS CAGE SET FIRE TO THE WORLD)

Chances are, you've read enough about MANDY that can't already be said. It's weird, wild, feverish, and features Nicolas fucking Cage at his best. No hyperbole here, folks -- he's a tornado and shreds the screen in this here film. 

Sure, at first look, MANDY may look like an easy paycheck for Cage -- he hasn't done a film he didn't dial in since 2010's KICK-ASS -- but he literally slays it here. He's all in for MANDY, and you'll believe it. This is the most fun I've seen him have in a movie in years.

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Capsule Review: DAMSEL

The Zellner Bros.' DAMSEL is worth the price of admission for Robert Forster's opening monologue alone. Forster is a cinematic treasure, and if you've seen Quentin Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN, Haskell Wexler's MEDIUM COOL, or 1980's ALLIGATOR (where he fights a giant Alligator -- the title is no secret), then you will agree. 

So you've already got your money's worth for this scene, and the rest of the movie is such good fun, so you don't have anything to lose here.

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Capsule Review: SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO

I don't have a lot to say about the exhausting SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO.

If you're like me (or are me) and loved SICARIO, the first thing you're going to say when talking about SOLDADO is, "SICARIO didn't need a sequel." It tied up the story and character arcs for the two principal characters: Kate (Emily Blunt) and Alejandro (Benicio del Toro); the story doesn’t need to carry on, but this is Hollywood, baby.

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Fear and Loving in David Gordon Green's HALLOWEEN Trailer

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Anyone who knows me, knows how loud my heart beats for John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN (1978). It's the best slasher film ever made, and if you don't agree, let's fight. (Must be under five feet tall and weigh less than 100 pounds).

There have been several reboots, all have sucked (looking at you, Rob Zombie), and we finally may have the Michael Myers conclusion fans like me deserve. HALLOWEEN (2018) is under great care -- Jason Blum (producer for the great GET OUT, Paranormal Activity, and other great horrors movies), and is directed by my king, David Gordon Green (GEORGE WASHINGTON, JOE, PRINCE AVALANCHE).. DGG has never made a horror film before, but I will always trust this man.

Another fun tidbit: Danny McBride (Yes, Kenny Powers) co-wrote the film, but don't let that turn you off, he's a terrific writer and like DGG, he's taking this film very seriously. 

I trust DGG and McBride with this franchise -- they got Carpenter to return and do original music, as well as executive produce, Jamie's back, Nick Castle (who played Michael Myers / The Shape in the original Halloween) returned as Mikey, and you can tell just from what we've scene, DGG and McBride have paid close attention to detail. (If you look close, you can see Meyers left eye is poked out from when Laurie poked it with a hangover in Halloween (1978). So stoked. 

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I try to avoid trailers if I can, but there's no way I was going to miss this one. I also hate when people judge a movie based on the trailer, but I cannot help but not when it comes to Michael Myers. I have been eagerly waiting to see footage of the film since HALLOWEEN's production started. The trailer does get me amped, but I do have some reservations (please God, let there be a damn good reason for Meyers for going after Laurie now they we know they are not brother-sister -- pure coincidence and a 40-year grudge will make her less significant and special). I will save those for the review, once I've seen the film. I just hope this is the Myers-Strode showdown us Halloween nerds deserve. 

I will say, I love the homages to previous Halloween incarnations throughout the trailer. Very cool of DGG to pay tribute to all the filmmakers who took a stab at the Myers franchise. 

October 19th is the theatrical release date; until then, check out the trailer and let me know what you think. 

Capsule Reviews: HEREDITARY, HOTEL ARTEMIS

A good horror film doesn't rely on big budgets, special effects, and giant monsters (unless that monster is your average human). A good horror film is atmospheric, grounded, and shakes you to the core long after leaving the theater. HEREDITARY nails all three of these. I'm still processing this movie, but I haven't been impacted by movie like HEREDITARY in quite some time. This movie scared the hell out of me.

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Review: DEADPOOL 2

When DEADPOOL (2016) released, not many thought it was going to well. It was a February release, which is normally when studios dump their low tier movies they don't feel have a shot at awards season. (It's quite disheartening so many studios out there have the Oscar Bait mentality when making their films. Sure it's nice to win awards, but movies are made to entertain the audience first and foremost )

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