Warner Archive Presents: Airborne (DVD), THE YAKUZA, SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO, SCARECROW, STRAIGHT TIME (DVD)

To say AIRBORNE is a guilty pleasure is an insult to the movie. During it’s time, the movie was all teens talked about (which is the demographic for this movie). A movie about a slick teen who can rollerblade and surf and sound cool with anything that comes out of his mouth? A movie with Seth Green doing a clothes changing montage to Right Said Fred’s “Too Sexy?”

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Marvel Presents: AVENGERS: ENDGAME Blu-ray

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Breathe easy, Avengers fans, Endgame is here. And it’s marvelous.

There’s a lot of moving parts in Avengers: Endgame, and I think it’s best that you go in cold, so the plot and riveting surprises are fresh for you. That’s what I did, and I haven’t had as much fun seeing a movie in years.

If us girls are honest here, I don’t even know where to begin talking about this movie. I’m going to do my best without giving anything away that you don’t already know from the amazingly limited amount of information released on the film. (Kudos to the director’s the Russo brothers and Marvel for being able to keep spoilers or much of the plot from leaking and making this movie into something special before it even released. That’s admirable dedication.)

Endgame opens cold. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is target practicing with his daughter on his land. Life is good. He’s happy. The camera cuts to his shoes, where we see his house arrest anklet, which reminds the audience why Hawkeye wasn’t in Infinity War, and we know the devastation he’s about to face. It’s coming — the snap. We already know what it does. As he enjoys his time teaching his daughter how to be an ace at the arrow, Hawkeye steps away for a moment and comes back in complete confusion — his daughter and entire family have vanished. Avengers: Endgame begins.

I’m going to stop right there with plot and, well, everything else that happens in the movie. I could tell you an abridged version of the synopsis, but that’s not possible. There’s so much happening inside Endgame; I’m not sure where to begin. What I can tell you that is this film couldn’t have been a more perfect swan song for The Avengers we’ve grown to adore on screen for the last eleven years.

You know how sometimes cast and crew defend a film panned by critics by saying it 
“was made for the fans, not critics” (looking right at you, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which I actually love.)? Let’s get something out of the way — critics are fans. This is why we write about movies. We love them, and real critics are required to be honest about what we see. That’s a challenging part of the job. (You think I wanted to hate Justice League? As a diehard Superman fan since childhood, as well as Man of Steel and BVS, I wanted to love Justice League, which had only a small trace of director Zach Snyder. But this movie is not good. At all. Snyder should not take fault for that — Warner Bros. and Joss Whedon (who helped stepped in to finish the film but strangely did not want to take credit for “helping a friend”) — are to blame. Snyder poured his heart and talent into the excellent Man of Steel and BVS which you can see with his slick visuals and honest portrait with sincere feelings on what would happen if an indestructible “alien” came to earth, accurate storylines, as well as easter eggs fans are just now discovering years later, and Whedon wrecked his vision with the very unbalanced Justice League. Added to that, Warner Bros. put all the pressure on Snyder to build the entire DC Cinematic Universe, and that’s not fair. Imagine how much weight that is on your shoulders when Marvel has a full team of talented people working hard together on every movie. This is why all of their films are so successful. Warner finally realized this and brought in directors Patty Jenkins and James Wan to carry on the DC legacy Snyder started. More are coming. Now DC has a team.

All that mumbo jumbo said, the delicious Endgame is made for fans, by fans (the remarkably talented Russo brothers, who made Infinity War, Winter Soldier, and Civil War). This is very important, so pay attention: You must have already seen every single Avenger movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to understand Endgame’s plot, and to appreciate the abundance of jokes and callbacks (there's three hours worth of both) from the previous 21 films. The movie is truly incredible, but the fans who have journeyed with The Avengers since Iron Man in 2008 will love every second of it so hard. I sure did.

So much talent poured their hearts into this film. The Russo brothers did a slack-jawing job with concluding The Avengers’ Infinity Stones story, and Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson, Renner, and the rest of the team gave their characters' powerful performances you will never forget.

Endgame is not just a remarkable movie; it’s an unforgettable experience. I was wowed, I laughed, I applauded, I cheered, I cried, and I left as the end-credits rolled with a giant smile on my face.

Blu-ray Review

The end is here, but for who? The last time we were with the Avengers, half their time was dusted by ultra-Titan, Thanos. The ones left are pissed and here to finish the game, whatever it takes.

Marvel’s Endgame is probably the most anticipated home releases of the year — it’s well on its away to crushing Avatar to be the top grossing film of all time, and it’s one hell of a movie. At my screening, you could hear the cheers and sniffles from crying.

Depending on the size of your screen, the Blu-ray looks incredible, and with the 7.1 DTS-HD surround sound, you’re getting a bang for your buck. The Russo Brothers made sure to pack this release with as many extra features as the could, including a marvelous deleted scene one that I wish made it into the movie.

One of the best extra features is a featurette called “Remembered Stan Lee.” Grab some tissue when you watch. It will fill you with joy and sadness — Joy that was such a good man and loved his work, sadness because he’s no longer with us. But his legacy isn’t his death, it’s what he gave us, decades of comics which turned into unforgettable movies.

Other features:

— Setting the Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr.

— A Man Out of Time: Creative Captain America

— Black Widow: Whatever It Takes

— Six Deleted Scenes

— Gag Reel

— The Ruso Brothers” Journey to Endgame

The main issue with Endgame’s release — which is a big one — is the lack of IMAX scenes shown in IMAX. The film was shot with IMAX cameras and intended for IMAX — fill up the screen makes the scenes and characters larger than life. It’s a head scratcher, but this won’t stop fans for clamoring for this on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra Blu-ray.

Still, Endgame is the end of a 12 year, 22-film saga that’s worthy of your collection.

KINO LORBER Presents: THE ANNIHILATORS and TUFF TURF

The below titles release on July 9th.

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If John Rambo had little brothers, it would be The Annihilators, and I say that with a bright, shining compliment. When introduced at the beginning of the movie, ever actor’s name is introduced by a machine gun sound. This is the filmmaker’s way of preparing you for some real shit.

At first glance, The Annihilators sounds like a bunch of no goods taking out anyone and everyone, but it’s actually about some Vietnam vets cleaning up the streets in their neighborhood that’s gone bad since they were away saving our country. It’s one of those so bad it’s good movies, and a lot of fun if watch with a group of friends.

The Annihilators is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

But The Annihilators HERE.

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Tuff Turf is probably one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen. So cool, it doesn’t need to spell “tough” correctly in the title (or at all). It’s that tuff.

Tuff Turf is directed by Fritz Kiersch (Children of the Corn), and stars James Spader, Robert Downey Jr. in his boom of his acting career and heavy drug use, and a lot of other actors who look and are way too old to be playing a 15-year-olds. This is another 80s cinematic trope — the new guy gets bullied and shows everyone what’s up by the end. Only this movie gets super violent by the end.

But who’s going to turn down a movie from the 80s called TUFF TURF with Spader and a wise-cracking RDJ? “Nobody” is the answer. This movie is worth every penny.

TUFF TURF is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ration with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

Buy TUFF TURF on Blu-ray HERE.

Marvel Presents: CAPTAIN MARVEL 4K UHD Blu-ray

The most useful lesson I learned when my undergrad in creative writing is "show don’t tell." In the opening of Captain Marvel, our eponymous superhero falls from space into a Blockbuster Video. This shows the audience that Captain Marvel is set in the mid-90s and they don’t need to literally spell out on the screen,, “Earth — 1995.” You immediately know the time period as soon as you see the Blockbuster (as well as her picking up VHS types, one specifically a homage to her character.) Showing not telling is the best way to tell a story because you get to paint a pretty picture for the viewers. What’s more engaging, her falling into a Blockbuster Video, looking at VHS tapes, or the movie opening with a title card of the date? Show don’t tell method of storytelling is just one reason (of many) why directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (the duo who made the excellent Half Nelson) are two of my favorite filmmakers.

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Mill Creek Presents: I ❤️ the 90s Retro Blu-ray Slipcovers with JURY DUTY, EXCESS BAGGAGE, DOUBLE TEAM, and OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, Plus More

Mill Creek Entertainment is on to something. Blockbuster Video is dead so the days of window shopping for movies are over, but we’ve bit a major boom where collectors buy a movie from one competing company over the other bedside of the cover art. mill Creek is releasing so many older titles with a retro slipcover that resembles a VHS cover (and even has a VHS tape sliding out) that makes you want to watch any title they have based on this alone. Some are bad, most are fun, but for the price and cool cover art, they are fun to collect and watch.

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Warner Bros. Presents: Batman 4K Quadrilogy Collection

if you consider this a quadrilogy, do what I did when you get these 4Ks: watched them in reverse so Batman goes from a goofball with with a goon sidekick, to a serious, gritty and dark Batman who faces off with his greatest nemesis: The Joker (played by the incomparable Jack Nicholson). I saw Batman in theaters when I was six, and saw the subsequent sequels when they released in theaters as well. Something I did notice, the 4K transfers for better with each film I watched. This means they get worst if you watch in order, which isn’t a bad thing since the first two are the ones people love and cherish. I’m not sure if the transfers to 4K were bad for Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, but they look as good as a first generation Blu-ray. Batman and Batman Returns look quite incredible in 4K, so watching in reverse had more than one perk.

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Kino Lorber Presents: MONEY FOR NOTHING

This title releases on June 4th.

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Fear the man with nothing to lose. Actually, fear the moron who by happenstance gets a stash of money and can’t keep his mouth quiet in a small town where everyone loves to talk. Money for Nothing has a lot going for it: John Cusack in his prime, a funny little story, and the always scene-stealing late, exceptional Philip Seymour Hoffman, who left this earth way too soon. Money for Nothing is the 90s cliche trope movie — a down on his luck guy finds a stash of money and trouble ensues, but what most movies with this plot lacks, Money for Nothing has a lot of: heart.

Money for Nothing is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ration with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. You can buy the movie HERE.

Kino Lorber Presents: BLACK MOON RISING Blu-Ray 2K Restoration

All I knew before watching Black Moon Rising for the first time is that it stars Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton (in between Terminators and before she did her chin-ups), Kino is releasing it, and the director might be a Creedence Clearwater Revival Fan and perhaps got the title of the song he wanted to use as the title of this movie slightly wrong. (There’s no other reason I can explain the title of this movie.)

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MVD Releases a Retro-Covered Collector's Edition of DOUBLE IMPACT on Blu-ray, Makes You Feel the Impact and Love It!

When I was 10, my friend Anna and I mowed my front and back lawn, as well as raked the leaves to get a VHS if Double Impact. I still remember that day like it was yesterday because we worked hard for that VHS. It was mine, and I watched it religiously. Twice the Van Dammage? Sign me up. JCVD was my cinematic superhero as a kid, and I’ve never looked back.

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Criterion Collection Presents: BLUE VELVET 4K Restoration

“It’s a strange world, Sandy.”

You never forget the opening shot of David Lynch’s seminal Neo-noir, Blue Velvet. The camera pans up to a white picket fence with bright red roses saying hello to earth while Angelo Badalamenti’s rendition of “Blue Velvet” plays overhead. To an average moviegoer unaware of Lynch’s work, it may allude this is going to be a peaceful movie. But this is Lynch’s world, so buckle up because shit is about to get weird.

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BRIGHTBURN Capsule Review: An Illuminating Look at a World Where Superman is Evil

What if Superman came to earth and was evil? If you are familiar with his universe, what if Zod was sent to earth instead of Superman as a baby? The outcome is David Yarovesky’s clever, thrilling, and very gory BRIGHTBURN.

BRIGHTBURN is a clear homage to Superman. I has the backdropping of his origins — lands on a small town farm and a married couple take him in as their own. The problem here is their child, Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn, sporting a superhero iterated alter ego name like Peter Parker or Wade Wilson), is one evil son of a bitch.

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Warner Bros. Presents: ISN'T IT ROMANTIC Blu-ray

Director Todd Strauss-Schulson is the king of movie within a movie. His second feature film, The Final Girls, blew audiences away at its SXSW world premiere. That movie is about a bunch of teens stuck in a 1980s slasher film that’s filled with 1980s slasher cliches. His third outing, Isn’t it Romantic, is anti-rom-com rom-com. It stars Rebel Wilson as Natalie, someone who grew to hate rom-coms. She bops her head and winds up being stuck in real life rom-com and must figure out the key to getting out, even if that means doing what she doesn’t care for: falling in love. Isn’t It Romantic is a super cute and astute date movie. It has the laughs guys will love, and all the rom-com cliches purposely inserted as a wink to the audience while also being a rom-com as whole.

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Kino Lorber Presents: THE LANDLORD

This title releases on May 14, 2019 .

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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.

The Landlord is Hal Ashby’s first movie, and a very ambitious one. (You may recognize the name — he went on to make a little movie called Harold and Maude.) 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. 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 a really great love story. It does touch on topical elements like racism and how narrow-minded the rich can be — two things still topical and, ahem, both are current president is guilty of — but I found it more moving than funny.

Ashby 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.

If you’re looking for a triple bill, there are two great companion pieces to watch with The Landlord: 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 are both similar in so many ways and carry the same them but they are world’s apart.

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.

Pre-order The Landlord HERE.

Kino Classics Presents: RHINOCEROS and SEX MADNESS REVEALED

The below titles release on May 7th, 2019,

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If you find yourself asking, What the hell am I watching?, don’t worry, you’re asking the right question. You’re watching the farce Rhinoceros starring late, great comedy duo Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder (who co-starred together in Mel Brooks’ The Producers). It’s strange to talk about the movie if you haven’t seen it because the plot sounds like an acid trip gone really, really bad. Set up like a play (which is first was starring Mostel, who won a Tony for the same character he plays in the movie), the movie is shot in only a few locations and the camera barely movies. Here’s the plot, hang on tight. Functioning alcoholic Stanley (Wilder) has a problem, all his friends and everyone around him are turning into a Rhinoceros. No reason or rhyme why, they just are. Rhinoceros is slapstick comedy at its best and bogth Wilder and Mostel used all the freedom they had to do what they do best, make us laugh. (And make us laugh is what we they do.) Co-starring is the late, under-appreciated Karen Black, who gets some good scenes in this film. Rhinoceros is an absurd, slapstick comedy that was way ahead of its time. This is what makes Kino Lorber/Classics great, they discover little gems like this that most people (myself included) would have never heard of or seen if it weren’t for this boutique label.

Rhinoceros is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 1080p resolution and 2.0 mono audio.

Rhinoceros is available for pre-order here.

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If you’re a fan of Mystery Science 3000, Sex Madness Revealed is for you. Patton Oswalt (a MS3000 alumnus) voices as Jimmy Morris of the fictional Film Dick Podcast and commentates on 1938’s Sex Madness with Chester Holloway (Rob Zabrecky), the odd grandson of Sex Madness’ director, Dwain Esper. As the movie continues, the recording of the podcast gets just as weird as the movie they are commenting on.

Sex Madness Revealed is presented in color 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and is available in two formats: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and mono 2.0

Sex Madness Revealed is available for pre-order 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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