September 29, 2017

Blu-Ray News: CARS 3 - NASCAR Hall of Fame Event

NASCAR community welcomes #95 to a new “Cars 3” exhibit at the NASCAR Hall of Fame as the high-octane hit prepares to cross the finish line on Digital Oct. 24 and Blu-ray Nov. 7

Through May of 2018, visitors to the NASCAR Hall of Fame will get the chance to enjoy an action-packed animation spectacular featuring a full-size, fiberglass replica of Lightning McQueen from “Cars 3,” hands-on kids activities as well as 16 displays that feature renderings, biographies and artifacts from real-life NASCAR personalities who contributed their voices and stories to the movie. Featured legends include Ray Evernham (voice of Ray Reverham), Kyle Petty (voice of Cal Weathers), Jeff Gordon (voice of Jeff Gorvette) and Junior Johnson (voice to Junior “Midnight” Moon), as well as young drivers like Chase Elliott (voice of Chase Racelott), Ryan Blaney (voice of Ryan “Inside” Laney), Daniel Suárez (voice of Danny Swervez) and Bubba Wallace (voice of Bubba Wheelhouse). 

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 28: (L-R) Creative Director Jay Ward, Director Brian Fee, Producer Kevin Reher and NASCAR 2018 Hall of Fame Inductee Ray Evernham
“We are honored to showcase the NASCAR stories, characters and locations that inspired the world of ‘Cars,’ in this new special exhibit,” says NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley. “And we’re excited for our friend Lightning McQueen to join us in welcoming guests from around the world, including the next generation of young fans, as they discover the rich history and heritage of NASCAR.”

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 28: Cars 3 voice of "The King"/NASCAR Retired Driver Richard "The King" Petty
“When developing ‘Cars 3,’ we consulted and recruited NASCAR greats, from rookie drivers and legends to the voices behind the sport,” says director Brian Fee. “They revealed what happens behind the scenes of racing and helped bring the film’s characters to life. To see them displayed at the NASCAR Hall of Fame—a shrine to the history and heritage of NASCAR—is a real thrill.”

September 28, 2017


The Hilarious Action-Comedy Starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson Arrives on Digital HD November 7 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, and DVD
November 21 from Lionsgate

Leading an all-star cast, Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Proposal) and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe) take viewers on an outrageous action-packed, comedic adventure in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, arriving on Digital HD November 7 and 4K Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital HD), Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD), DVD and On Demand November 21 from Lionsgate. When Michael Bryce, an elite bodyguard, and Darius Kincaid, a renowned hit man, are forced to work together, they don’t just have to avoid getting killed…they also have to avoid killing each other. The film, which was #1 at the summer box office three weeks in a row, also stars Oscar® nominees Gary Oldman (2011, Best Actor, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Salma Hayek (2002, Best Actress, Frida).

The world’s top protection agent (Reynolds) is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world’s most notorious hit men (Jackson). The relentless bodyguard and manipulative assassin have been on the opposite end of the bullet for years, and are thrown together for a wildly outrageous 24 hours. During their raucous and hilarious adventure from England to the Hague, they encounter high-speed car chases, outlandish boat escapades, and a merciless Eastern European dictator (Oldman) who is out for blood. Hayek joins the mayhem as Jackson’s equally notorious wife. 


September 27, 2017


Starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schom, Russell Streiner, Bill Hinzman, Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille. (1968, 96 min).

For those of you keeping score at home, 2017 is not the film's 50th Anniversary. We're a year too early for that, kids. Though rumors have been circulating of-late that Criterion is gearing up a release, if you want the original Night of the Living Dead on Blu-Ray, this disc from Mill Creek is the only game in town...domestically anyway.

Kinda hard to believe, really. Being public domain, NOTLD has literally been re-released hundreds of times on VHS & DVD by various companies over the years. No one thought to give it the Blu-Ray treatment 'till now?

"Dammit, we missed Cupcake Wars!"
It's pointless going into any detail about the movie itself. Every self-respecting horror fan has not-only seen NOTLD (likely multiple times), they know it by heart. They also know that the modern zombie as we know it today wouldn't exist without George A. Romero and his merry band of Pittsburgh pals. Even 50 49 years later, it still retains much of its claustrophobic power.

But aside from including a digital copy, this Blu-Ray doesn't serve up any bonus material, not even a trailer. The picture quality of NOTLD has always been fairly poor and the transfer here is on par with previous DVD releases. So if you already have it on disc, there's little reason to double dip. But if you've never made it part of your collection - and you call yourself a horror fan! - why not do the Blu-Ray? It's dirt cheap, attractively packaged and just in time for Halloween.


September 25, 2017


Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Kimberly Scott, Joshua Rudoy. Directed by Joel Schumacher. (1990, 115 min).

We'll start by stating the obvious: Flatliners is being re-released on Blu-Ray to coincide with the all-new version, which is not a remake, but an actual sequel (!), complete with Kiefer Sutherland. But since it isn't being promoted as one, it's safe to assume some of those looking forward to the new film aren't even aware the original even exists. So it sort-of makes sense to bring the old one out of mothballs.

Speaking of mothballs, Flatliners is 27 years old and an strange choice for sequelizing. Not that the film is bad or anything. It's slick, well-crafted and entertaining. The film was also fairly sizable hit in 1990, especially since Pretty Woman had recently turned Julia Roberts into a bankable star. But like much of director Joel Schumacher's work, it's undoubtedly a product of its time and typical of the type of high-concept horror favored by major studios, featuring a beautiful cast with great hair who normally wouldn't be caught dead dabbling in the genre.

While I've never run into anyone who didn't enjoy it in the moment, Flatliners was never one of those films people felt compelled to revisit. Hence, there's no cult following or nostalgic reverence. No one kicking around in the 90s has later been heard to exclaim, "Finally! Flatliners on Blu-Ray!"

Big hair saves lives.
However, I don't think this new disc (a Steelbook edition from Mill Creek Entertainment) is really aimed at them. It's for those who may have actually forgotten all about the film until news of a new one reared its head: "Flatliners? Didn't I see that once? I seem to remember it was pretty good." At least that's what I said when my youngest daughter got excited over the new Flatliners trailer. My reaction piqued her interest in the original, which is arguably the other chief reason for this disc.

So my kids and I watched it together. I had forgotten most of it, including a few sex scenes that briefly made it uncomfortable father-daughter time. Elsewhere, Flatliners is arguably the most 80s movie that wasn't actually released in that decade. Its glossy production, sexy sci-fi/horror concept and hot ensemble cast make it play more like Young Guns & The Lost Boys than any serious exploration of what lies beyond death. And that's just fine, because it's still fairly enjoyable in the moment.

Aside from a DVD and digital copy, this Blu-Ray doesn't boast any extras. None of the previous ones did either, so if you're that one fan who's been waiting for the definitive version, you probably already have it. It's a attractively packaged, though, with new artwork and the text printed on a transparent slipcase.


September 24, 2017


Starring Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins, Stanley Tucci, Isabela Moner, Jerrod Carmichael, Santiago Cabera, John Turturo, Glenn Morshower, Liam Garrigan. Directed by Michael Bay. (2017, 154 min).

I'm pretty certain if you were to remove any scenes of exposition, only the most hard-core fan could differentiate one Transformers movie from another. Such an assertion could be considered praise or condemnation, depending on one's taste. After all, I enjoyed the Final Destination series, but concede it's essentially the same story over and over again.

After an admittedly intriguing prologue - during King Arthur's crusade - that briefly suggests Michael Bay and company might actually try something different, Transformers: The Last Knight returns to business as usual: Two-and-a-half butt-numbing hours of massive destruction, logistically impossible action, seizure inducing editing, a growing cast of superfluous supporting characters (Anthony Hopkins? Really, sir?) and, of course, plenty of Autobots spouting eye-rolling wisecracks.

"Hey...does this look infected?"
I expected all this coming in, but it remains perplexing that, after five movies, Bay - director of all of them -  hasn't come up with anything new to do with this so-called saga. I've done my fare share of Bay bashing over the years and am certainly not a fan, but he has demonstrated flashes of real narrative skill now and again, such as the under-appreciated 13 Hours and the morbidly amusing Pain and Gain. Even in The Island, Bay spent a significant amount of time on the film's themes and characters before igniting his usual visual bombast.

But in the Transformers business (I think business is the right word), Bay treats every action sequence like the climax of a 4th of July fireworks show, overwhelming the viewer with so much hyperkinetic eye candy that it's frustratingly impossible to take it all in. Yet ironically, despite the best CGI money can buy, the special effects call way too much attention to themselves to ever be really convincing. And because these scenes go on forever, they become repetitive & boring. I ended up repeatedly skipping back to catch what I missed because I kept nodding off.

Sir Hopkins takes his tank for a walk.
Acting in a Transformers movie must be as thankless as being the bass player in Metallica. You don't serve a hell of a lot of purpose other than reacting to the action while dodging flying robot appendages. At the same time, I'm continually staggered by the caliber of talent who shows up in these things, and the list just keeps getting bigger. Here, only Stanley Tucci - in a blink-and-you'll-miss-him cameo - rises above the material to give the film's best performance. As for Wahlberg...he does what he does best, which is be Mark Wahlberg, who's admittedly more enjoyable than Shia LaBeouf on a good day. At first, I assumed Anthony Hopkins simply agreed to lend his respected name for an amusing cameo (like Helen Mirren did in Fate of the Furious). But no, it's actually a major role, so maybe those Hannibal Lecter residual checks have finally stopped rolling in.

But I'm fully aware criticizing a movie like Transformers: The Last Knight is an exercise in futility. It isn't intended for people who still cynically bother to question how these machines could even exist in the first place, or who would bother to build them. It's for those who simply want the same over-the-top spectacle they've enjoyed since 2007. After all, I wouldn't want the Final Destination films to skimp on the gore to become character studies. On the other hand, their utter sameness is also why I stopped seeing them in theaters after the second one. Maybe that's one of the reasons The Last Knight wasn't the same box office juggernaut as the others. Still, if you liked the previous films, there's no reason you won't enjoy this one.

FEATURETTES: "Merging Mythologies: The Secret Transformers History"; "Climbing the Ranks: Military Training"; "The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK"; "Alien Landscape: Cybertron"; "One More Giant Effin' Movie" (sure it is); "Motors and Magic"

September 21, 2017


Starring Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom, Robert Drivas, Don Dubbins, Jason Evers. Directed by Jack Smight. (1969, 103 min).

The Illustrated Man is a sci-fi anthology film based on stories from a book by Ray Bradbury. I vaguely recall it popping up on TV when I was a kid, somewhat floored by the twist ending of the third and final segment. Without giving too much away, I never gave the film another thought until years later, when I first watched The Mist.

No, I don't believe director Frank Darabont consciously ripped-off Bradbury when adapting King's novel, but I'll bet he once read the original story ("The Last Night of the World") or saw this film.

Reviewing The Illustrated Man on Blu-Ray, I was soon struck with another thought (aside from the opinion that it hasn't aged very well): The first segment, "The Veldt," is a futuristic tale about two parents with growing concern over what their children are doing in their "nursery," a VR room that operates very much like the Holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Not to say Gene Roddenberry is a plagiarist, but the concepts are remarkably similar.

Just sayin'.

As for the film itself, The Illustrated Man is definitely a product of its hippy-dippy decade. It looks, sounds and plays like a bizarre made-for-TV movie from the late 60s. And if you can imagine what The Twilight Zone would've been like if Rod Serling & Richard Matheson passed the bong around before hitting their typewriters, you'll have a good idea of the type of trippy tales in store. The segments themselves aren't bad. Of the three, "The Last Night of the World," is the best story, while "The Long Rain" is the most visually interesting (Planet of the Apes fans might even recognize the spaceship). Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom are featured in all three (playing different characters). Co-star Robert Drivas has supporting roles in two of them.

Here you go, ladies.
The wrap-around story, however, is awful. Again we have Steiger, practically gnashing the scenery as Carl, who's been tattooed from head to tow by a mysterious woman he claims is a time traveler, and his "skin illustrations" are actually visions of the future. When he isn't regaling a young drifter, Willie, with tales behind the tats (the aforementioned segments), Carl behaves like a psychotic vagrant, screaming, ranting and repeatedly removing his shirt (and Steiger ain't exactly known for his physique). He also has a small dog he keeps in a bag (!), which he yells at almost as often as he does Willie, who does little but look dumbfounded by it all. Maybe these wraparound segments make more sense if you're high, but they seem to go on forever without having anything relevant to say. That time would have been put to better use with another classic story from Bradbury's original book.

Still, you don't have to let it sink the entire film. That's why God gave us the skip button. The three tales themselves aren't life-changing, but worth checking out at least once. The Illustrated Man hasn't aged well at all, but it arguably presented a few of Bradbury's nifty ideas decades before more renowned folks claimed them as their own.

FEATURETTE: "Tattooed Steiger" - a vintage short about the process of drawing the tattoos on the actor.
TRAILER (which is nearly as bizarre as the movie)


Movie News: AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING on Google Play 10/12, Select Theaters 10/28



Forty years later, something is stirring again as a new family moves into 112 Ocean Avenue in AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING, the terrifying revival of the popular franchise. The film will debut exclusively for free for a limited time on Google Play on October 12, 2017 and will also be released by Dimension Films in select theaters on October 28, 2017.

Written and directed by Franck Khalfoun (MANIAC, P2), the film stars Bella Thorne (FAMOUS IN LOVE, SCREAM, SHAKE IT UP), Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (THE HATEFUL EIGHT, ANOMALISA, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE), Cameron Monaghan (SHAMELESS, GOTHAM, THE GIVER, VAMPIRE ACADEMY), Taylor Spreitler (MELISSA & JOEY, DAYS OF OUR LIVES), Mckenna Grace (GIFTED, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR) and Jennifer Morrison (ONCE UPON A TIME).


The film follows Belle (Bella Thorne) and her family after they move into their new home, but when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house, Belle begins to suspect her mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) isn’t telling her everything. She soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house where between illusion and reality lies evil.



Rest in Peace, Bernie Casey

September 20, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: THE LOST WORLD (1925)

Starring Wallace Beery, Bessie Love, Lewis Stone, Lloyd Hughes, Arthur Hoyt. Directed by Harry O. Hoyt. (1925, 110 min).

Like Citizen Kane, the cinematic influence and impact of The Lost World can't be understated. The groundbreaking special effects work of Willis O'Brien paved the way for future visual milestones like King Kong, 2001: A Space Odyssey and, fittingly, Jurassic Park

But unlike Citizen Kane, much of The Lost World was...well, lost. Significant amounts of footage had gone missing, been damaged or succumbed to the ravages of time, and for decades, the film was only available in murky, truncated versions...

...until last year, when most of the long-lost footage was found in various parts of the world and the film - nearly in its entirety - was restored to its original 1925 glory (primarily the work of Lobster Films). This Blu-Ray from Flicker Alley, boasting a first-rate picture and audio track (with a terrific score by silent film composer Robert Israel), is about as close as one can get to experiencing The Lost World as originally presented.

"Olly olly oxen free!"
What was groundbreaking 92 years ago may look quaint today, but what a thrill it must have been to see it in a theater back then! Remember when our jaws collectively fell open when we watched that first brontosaurus lumber across the screen in Jurassic Park? In 1925, seeing moving dinosaurs on the big screen for the first time - ever - must have been nothing short of mind blowing. But it wasn't just O'Brien's animation that made the film special; he figured out how to make the actors and creatures convincingly appear in the same shot.

"Shut up!"   "No, you shut up!"
Even though Willis and his creations are the undisputed stars of the show, the story itself - from Arthur Conan Doyle's novel - remains fairly engaging (and an obvious inspiration for Michael Crichton's own novel of the same name). The characters aren't particularly dynamic, but we like them and the great Wallace Beery looks like he's having a great time as the eccentric professor who first discovers these Jurassic giants still running around in South America.

The Lost World should be required viewing for anyone interested in film history, especially since it could be considered the very first effects-driven blockbuster. More than just a precursor to Willis O'Brien's legendary special effects in King Kong, it also happens to be very entertaining, particularly when viewed in the context of when it was made. This is a great-looking transfer and a fun disc for movie fans.

SHORT FILMS - "R.F.D., 10,000 BC," "The Ghost of Slumber Mountain" & "Creation" - All directed by FX legend Willis O'Brien, the last of which was unfinished
AUDIO COMMENTARY - By film historian Nicholas Ciccone
ESSAY - "The Lost World: Secrets of the Restoration" (printed in the booklet)

September 18, 2017


Starring Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens, Robert Middleton, Henry Silva, DeForest Kelley. Directed by John Sturges. (1959, 89 min).

Never having seen The Law and Jake Wade prior to reviewing this disc (its first time on Blu-ray), the film was of personal interest to me for two reasons: John Sturges and Richard Widmark.

My appreciation for Sturges came pretty late in life, when I eventually noticed that his name popped up in a lot of old classics I've always loved, such as Bad Day at Black Rock, The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, as well as kitschy potboilers like The Satan Bug and Ice Station Zebra. So whenever the chance to discover another one turns up, deal me in.

I've liked Richard Widmark since I was a kid, mostly from the types of movies that appealed to me at the time, like Rollercoaster, Twilight's Last Gleaming and The Swarm (really). Mostly a supporting player by then, Widmark was the go-to guy when a film required an antagonistic general or argumentative man-in-charge who exists to second-guess the hero. With a distinctive voice, weathered face and deadly serious stare, I enjoyed his performances immensely. But I had no idea at the time that he had a long, respected career in all sorts of roles, most notably bad guys. When I eventually watched him in Kiss of Death, his delirious, unhinged performance was amazing.

"Boop! Got yer nose!"
The Law and Jake Wade doesn't rank among either man's greatest work, but it is a solid, briskly-paced and exciting western that provides a fine showcase for both.

Robert Taylor plays the titular character, a former bandit turned town marshal who's trying to leave his old life behind and set-up house with fiancée Peggy (Patricia Owens). Unfortunately, the man he used to ride with, Clint Hollister (Widmark), shows up demanding the $20,000 they stole from a bank the previous year. But, troubled by the death of a child during the robbery, Jake buried the money, and when he initially refuses to reveal where the it is, Clint and his new gang abduct Peggy. Now Jake is forced to lead the way through treacherous Indian country to retrieve it.

"C'mon, say it just one time...'He's dead, Jim!' Please!"
While the film isn't as sweeping as The Magnificent Seven or suspenseful as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Sturges once again demonstrates his mastery of the western genre, presenting a compelling story with great economy (at 89 minutes, the film doesn't get the chance to where out his welcome). Taylor makes a stoic hero, but it's Widmark who owns this movie, instilling Clint with just the right amount of arrogance - along with a dash of depravity - to make him a menacing villain.

As westerns go, The Law and Jake Wade may not be a lost classic, but it's thoroughly entertaining and worth picking up by genre fans. Originally released just before Sturges went on a decade-long hot streak, it's an interesting little footnote in his career. 

September 16, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: THE BIG SICK

Starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar, Zenobia Shroff, Anupam Kher, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, Rebecca Naomi Jones. Directed by Michael Sowwalter. (2017, 120 min).

The Big Sick is about defying tradition in more ways than one, and not quite the movie it was promoted as, which is ultimately a positive. After all, the last thing we need is yet-another rom-com with two seemingly incompatible lead characters. While this film has some of those elements, calling it a romantic comedy doesn't really do it justice.

I often review rom-coms with my wife, who truly loves genre (and its inherent predictability), and this isn't what she was expecting. The Big Sick is indeed very funny on occasion, as is the obligatory meet-cute between Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani, playing himself) and Emily (Zoe Kazan). He's a struggling stand-up comedian from a Pakistani family, while she's studying to be a therapist. For the first third of the story, Kumail is torn between the expectations of his family - their tradition of arranged marriages - and his growing love for Emily. But when she learns his family doesn't even know about her - and he's unwilling to say whether or not they even have a future together - she breaks up with him.

"Hi, I'm Travis Bickle. Where to?"
After Emily ends up hospitalized in a medically-induced coma, the film becomes Kumail's story. Her illness is the catalyst for him to weigh personal happiness versus cultural tradition: He's expected to marry a Pakistani girl, yet it's Emily who makes him truly happy. During this time, he meets Emily's parents (Holly Hunter & Ray Romano), who are slow to warm up to him at first, but their own views on relationships - including their own tumultuous marriage - leave Kumail with a few epiphanies about his own life, family and, of course, how he feels about Emily.

The bulk of the film focuses on Kumail's internal conflict, and while it's quite charming and often poignant, actual laughs grow fewer and farther between. On a personal note, Emily's illness sort-of hit my wife and I a little too close to home, since a similar, potentially life-threatening lung infection once landed me in the hospital for several months.

Still, The Big Sick is an engaging film, partially because it indeed defies expectations, but also because the characters and performances feel authentic. The knowledge that the entire film is based on how Kumail Nanjiani & Emily Gordon met in real life (and they wrote this together) makes the viewer more emotionally invested. On the other hand, it's also kind-of a spoiler regarding the ultimate outcome, but that's nitpicking. After all, what good's a rom-com - even one that breaks with tradition - if it doesn't end happy?

FEATURETTES: "A Personal Journey: The Making of The Big Sick"; "The Real Story" (featuring Nanjiani and real-wife Emily Gordon); "The Big Sick: The Other Stuff" (alternate gags); "The Bigger Sick: Stick Around for More Laughs"; SXSW Film Fest Panel
AUDIO COMMENTARY - by Nanjiani, Gordon, producer Barry Mendel & director Michael Showalter

September 15, 2017

Rest in Peace, Harry Dean Stanton


Starring the voices of Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal. Directed by David Soren. (2017, 90 min).

If nothing else, this movie knows its audience. Ergo, there's a climactic battle between our titular hero and an evil genius with a gigantic super-toilet.

That audience is, of course, the millions of kids (with parents in-tow) who grew up on Captain Underpants, the still-popular book series that convinced a lot of them that reading for pleasure isn't a federal crime. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie stays remarkably faithful to its source material...irreverent, just-a-tad rebellious and, of course, packed with as many underwear, private part & potty jokes as they could squeeze into the story while maintaining a PG rating.

"Time for my solo!"
Yet, the movie is consistently good-natured and frequently quite funny, even if one has since-graduated elementary school, such as a throw-away scene involving a symbolic bluebird and a cat, which made this old man laugh out loud. More importantly, despite being computer-animated, the film maintains the colorful, exaggerated look of the illustrations in the books.

The main characters, George & Harold, are are amusing and likable, despite the pranks they pull on their hapless-but-evil principal, Mr. Krupp, who the boys have also managed to turn into the comic character they created, Captain Underpants (using a hypnotizing ring from a cereal box). These two often break the fourth wall to narrate this story, even "stopping" the film to draw what happens next to avoid traumatizing youngsters.

George & Harold neglect to inform the captain that his barn door is open.
On a side note, I was surprised to discover that Kevin Hart voices George. I must confess I've never been a fan, finding him more overwhelming than funny. Even as a voice actor in The Secret Life of Pets, he came across as trying to dominate every scene he's in. But here, Hart actually disappears into the character and gives George a voice and personality befitting a mischievous young boy. The rest of the cast is equally good in their roles, as well.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is unashamedly a children's film and your little ones will likely outgrow its charms once they hit middle school. But in the moment, fans of the books will love seeing these heroes & villains being brought to life. It's affably entertaining and, despite two main characters who often victimize their elders, never mean-spirited. 

EXTRA KIBBLES (mostly of the comical, kid-friendly variety)
"The Captain Underpants Guide to Being a Hero"; "The Professor Poopypants Guide to Being a Villain"; Q&A with Ed Helms, Kevin Hart & Thomas Middleditch
MOTION COMIC: The Really Cool Adventures of Captain Underpants
MUSIC VIDEOS: "Captain Underpants Theme" by "Weird" Al Yankovic & "A Friend Like You" by Andy Grammer

September 14, 2017

Blu-Ray News: ATOMIC BLONDE Available on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand 11/14, Digital HD 10/24

Universal City, California, September 14, 2017 Double-crossed while sent to collect stolen intelligence in East Germany, elusive secret agent Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Fate of the Furious) unleashes a deadly arsenal of skills in ATOMIC BLONDE, the adrenaline pumping, stylish spy-thriller, coming to Digital on October 24, 2017 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on November 14, 2017, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Adapted from Antony Johnson’s graphic novel, The Coldest City, the explosive film set in the late eighties takes viewers on a high-stakes chase as Theron attempts to escape Berlin. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital versions include commentary from the cast, filmmakers, stunt performers and fight coordinators, plus behind-the-scenes features that take viewers inside the making of the film’s intense stunt choreography.

Oscar®-winner Charlize Theron stars as elite MI6’s most lethal assassin and the crown jewel of her Majesty’s secret intelligence service, Lorraine Broughton, in ATOMIC BLONDE. When she’s sent on a covert mission into Cold War Berlin, she must use all of the spycraft, sensuality and savagery she has to stay alive in the ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. Broughton must navigate her way through a deadly game of spies to recover a priceless dossier while fighting ferocious killers along the way in this breakneck action-thriller from director David Leitch (Deadpool 2, John Wick).  Theron is joined by James McAvoy (Split, X-Men: First Class), Sofia Boutella (The Mummy, Star Trek Beyond) and John Goodman (Transformers: The Last Knight, Patriots Day) in what critics are calling “the best spy movie in years,” Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV.


Rest In Peace, Frank Vincent


By Julian Rice. (2017, 297 pp).

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is one of Steven Spielberg's more polarizing films. Some declare it an underappreciated masterpiece, while others have criticized it for a variety of reasons. A chief complaint among the latter is Spielberg's treatment of the source material, which Stanley Kubrick had been trying to adapt for years. While he had the late director's blessing, many felt Spielberg's style was completely incompatible with Kubrick's darker sensibilities.

If there was ever a movie with a back-story worthy of a fascinating book, it's A.I. However, Julian Rice's book, Kubrick's Story, Spielberg's Film, is not a chronicle of the film's production. Instead, it's a deeply detailed analysis of each director's narrative and visual ideals, delving deep into both filmographies to pull out similar imagery and themes which may have ultimately shaped the film that was finally released (two years after Kubrick's death). The author's recurring argument is that the directors shared more common ground than their reputations suggest.

While A.I. is indeed analyzed in great detail - both narratively and aesthetically - other chapters look back to such work as Close Encounters, Dr. Strangelove, even the original novel of Pinocchio, in search of recurring themes like the apocalypse and parent/child relationships. Perhaps a but too analytical, at times, not to mention some really heavy, labyrinthine academic arguments that make this book a challenging read.

Not a book for the average movie fan - even if you happen to love A.I. - Kubrick's Story, Spieberg's Film is aimed more for at those whose appreciation of either director extends beyond their films' mere entertainment value.