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.Read 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.Read More
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.Read More
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.)Read More
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.Read More
“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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Last Man Standing
The Unstoppable John Wick is Back in an Unforgettable Showdown.
How many ways can you shoot a man in the face? John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum has the answer. Three is the magic number, the third film in the John Wick franchise, also the best action movie of the year. You will not see one better this year, and maybe for a very long time.Read More
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.Read More
Breathe easy, Avengers fans, Endgame is here. And it’s really, really super.
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.Read More
There’s great movies, good movies, and bad movies. Somewhere in been good and bad is junk food cinema, which you probably call a “guilty pleasure.” Junk food cinema is a movie you have playing in the background while you work and look up to watch during fun scenes. Neil Marhsall (The Descent, Doomsday, Dog Soldiers)’s Hellboy is junk food cinema best. It only needs to be watched for its delicious visuals, and not the stupid plot that involves, yes, Merlin, King Arthur and his sword, Excalibur.
Hellboy stars delightful David Harbour (Stranger Things) as the severed-horned titular antihero with a big red right hand who investigates and fights the paranormal, as well as his inner-demons. His dad (played by the always great Ian McShane) saved baby Hellboy long ago from the Nazis (who were trying to take over the world with a demon) and kept him around to fight the paranormal and learn to be a good... guy? Well, the paranormal has other plans as they need Hellboy to take over the world, or kill, I’m unsure which. Added to that, the paranormal who need him are also trying to kill him, and Hellboy needs King Arthur’s sword to decide if he wants to become what he was born to be -- evil -- or stay good for mankind… hello? Are you still with me?Read More
In less than a month, I will have my master’s in library science — a degree that will let me explore preservation as well as restoration, two parts of a career I have a deep passion for. For the last 12 years, I have been writing about movies, sometimes for a living, sometimes not. So when offered to review a movie about the library system written and directed by (as well as starring) one of my favorite actors, I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to see how much research he put into this film. So how accurate is Emilio Estevez’s portrayal of the library system in his new film, The Public? The answer: very.Read More
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.Read More
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)Read More
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.)Read More
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.
“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.Read More