February 28, 2023

THE POOP SCOOP: "Watch the Skies" Edition

😸DEEP IMPACT Celebrates 25th Anniversary with 4K Ultra HD Debut on May 2nd from Paramount.
Celebrate the 25 anniversary of the thrilling disaster epic DEEP IMPACT, arriving for the first time on 4K Ultra HD May 2, 2023 from Paramount Home Entertainment. Originally released on May 8, 1998, DEEP IMPACT grossed nearly $350 million worldwide on an $80 million budget.   A unique and dynamic fusion of large-scale excitement with touching personal storylines, the film depicts humanity’s response as a comet hurtles through space on a collision course with Earth. Fully remastered and boasting Dolby Vision and HDR-10, DEEP IMPACT is a must-have action-adventure for your collection.  Directed by Mimi Leder and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the film features an all-star cast including Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Leelee Sobieski, Blair Underwood, Maximilian Schell, and Morgan Freeman. The DEEP IMPACT 4K Ultra HD release includes the film on both 4K Ultra HD and on Blu-ray, access to a Digital copy of the film, and legacy bonus content including commentary and fascinating featurettes delving into the making of this 90s classic.  

😺THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH arrives April 25 on 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital in an Exclusive Steelbook only at Best Buy from Lionsgate.
Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie) is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth from a distant planet on a mission to take water back to his home planet in the midst of a catastrophic drought. Featuring a startling and era-defining lead performance from Bowie in his debut feature role, Nicolas Roeg’s iconic science-fiction odyssey ― stunningly restored and now available for the first time on 4K ― endures, not only as a bitingly caustic indictment of the modern world, but also as a poignant commentary on the loneliness of the outsider. The perennial, cult-status epic starring David Bowie, The Man Who Fell to Earth, arrives on 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray™ + Digital in an Exclusive Steelbook only at Best Buy on April 25 from Lionsgate. Based on the 1963 novel by Paul Mayersberg and directed by sci-fi legend Nicolas Roeg, this impressionistic film offers contemporary audiences a timeless, poignant mirror in its exploration of the impact of capitalism and industrialization on the future of humanity and the planet. Newly restored for the first time in 4K Ultra HD.

😻ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT Available 3/28 As A 2-Disc Limited Collector's Edition Media Book from MPI Media.
9 Oscar nominations and 7 BAFTA wins: All Quiet On The Western Front will be released as a high-quality home theater edition! On March 28th, capelight pictures in collaboration with Netflix will release Edward Berger's masterpiece as a 2-disc Limited Collector's Edition in a mediabook format with the film in 4K Ultra HD on UHD Blu-ray and in HD on Blu-ray in North America. The 4K UHD features the original German audio (with English subtitles) in Dolby Atmos audio of the original and 4K Dolby Vision image for the perfect picture and sound quality. The mediabook packaging comes with a 24 page booklet that includes "SHARING THE GERMAN PERSPECTIVE“ — a conversation with director Edward Berger and "A MACHINE OF DEATH UNLIKE ANY EXPERIENCED BEFORE” — an interview with historian and professor Daniel Schönpflug on the historical background of All Quiet On The Western Front. 

To pre-order the 2-disc limited collector's edition mediabook, please CLICK HERE

😺MAGIC MIKE’S LAST DANCE Now on Digital and on Blu-ray & DVD April 18th from Warner Bros.
Embark on Magic Mike’s last hurrah, featuring Channing Tatum reprising his role as Mike Lane when “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” arrives for Premium Digital Ownership at home on February 28th . The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh from a script by Reid Carolin, with help from Soderbergh’s creative team behind the scenes includes production designer Pat Campbell (TV’s “The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself”), costume designer Christopher Peterson (“The Irishman”) and music supervisor Season Kent (“KIMI,” “Let Them All Talk”), with choreography by Alison Faulk and Luke Broadlick, both part of the “Magic Mike” franchise, starring “Magic” Mike Lane (Tatum). The film also stars Salma Hayek Pinault (“House of Gucci,” “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”), along with dancers from the “Magic Mike Live” shows in London and Las Vegas. The film will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning on April 18th. The film also stars Ayub Khan Din (TV’s “Ackley Bridge”), newcomer Jemelia George, Juliette Motamed (TV’s “We Are Lady Parts”) and Vicki Pepperdine (“Johnny English Strikes Again”). The film was produced by Nick Wechsler, Gregory Jacobs, Tatum, Carolin and Peter Kiernan with Julie M. Anderson executive producing. 

February 26, 2023

ADVENTURES IN THE BUDGET BIN: Unleashing the Inner 12-Year-Old


My youngest daughter, Lucy, is about to turn 19. It seems like just yesterday that I narrowly avoided sitting on her head when she was snoozing on the sofa as an infant. I've since proudly watched her learn to drive, get her first job, go to prom, graduate and begin college, which makes me feel pretty damned old. On the other hand, she still revels in the juvenile humor of a 12-year-old boy. Whenever we’re in the car and pass by the local Dick’s Sporting Goods, she always snickers, “Dicks…huh-huh…”

In fact, Lucy has a natural gift for turning a lot of words, phrases and images into filthy jokes, the kind that would make a sailor blush. As my own personal Beavis & Butthead rolled into one deceptively-meek young woman, she makes it fun to unleash my inner 12-year-old. I may be well-into middle age, but whenever I’m around her, turning normally innocuous language into something dirty never gets old.

For example, during a recent trip to the grocery store, we came across the section where specialty sodas are stocked, the kind bottled by smaller companies and generally sold individually. It was Lucy who had the brilliant idea to arrange three of them like this…

More recently, Lucy accompanied Mama Kitty and I to WinCo Foods, a store I like visiting because they carry budget priced Blu-rays and DVDs. While Mama Kitty headed down the breakfast aisle, I stopped to check it out. Most of what they had this time I either already owned or didn’t appeal to me, but I did find Hitchcock (Blu-ray $4.99), the biographical film about the making of Psycho, featuring Anthony Hopkins as the legendary director. I’ve always enjoyed movies about the movie business.

While dramatically slight, Hitchcock is nevertheless an entertaining - albeit brief - look at Hitch and his efforts to get the film made, despite plenty of opposition from studio heads and the Production Code review board. And, of course, Sir Anthony is always worth watching, as is Helen Mirren, who plays his often-beleaguered wife, Alma.

Standing next to me, Lucy pointed at the title and chortled, “Huh-huh…cock.”

“Huh-huh,” I added.

WinCo also has a bin filled with Hot Wheels. Even at my advanced age, I occasionally buy one, sometimes for myself - like a Batmobile replica from The Batman - sometimes for my kids if I find one that's unusual or cute (both of my daughters love cute things…even stuff not specifically aimed at their demographic). And the coolest thing about Hot Wheels? They’re still only a buck, the same price I used to pay decades ago. So naturally, after spotting this baby - and its ill-advised decal placement - buying it for Lucy was a small-but-heartfelt gesture she'd appreciate…

“Huh-huh…Ho,” she snorted when I gave it to her.

February 24, 2023

DEVOTION (4K): The "Other" Navy Pilot Movie

2022 / 139 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😺

When the dust settles and cooler heads prevail, some might consider Devotion to be the better of the two major Navy aviator movies released in 2022. Not to take anything away from Top Gun: Maverick, which is gobs of crowd-pleasing fun. But it’s essentially a high-concept thrill ride that owes as much to Star Wars as it does to the original Top Gun (in some ways, it’s practically a remake).

Devotion features similarly spectacular aerial sequences - mostly accomplished through practical special effects - which put the viewer right in the cockpit while buzzing over the terrain at dangerously low altitudes, close-quarter dogfights or flying through barrages of enemy fire. The film even throws in Glen Powell, fresh from his cartoon douchebaggery in Top Gun: Maverick, only this time his character feels like a real guy. Probably because he is.

It tells the true story of Ensign Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Lt. Tom Hudner (Powell), two pilots who are part of a squadron serving on-board an aircraft carrier at the beginning of the Korean War. Hudner’s the congenial new guy, while Brown is more guarded and cynical, largely due to the racism he’s experienced throughout most of his military career. We see some of that racism first hand, but Brown’s since learned to internalize his anger and turn the other cheek, so he’s concerned when Hudner feels repeatedly compelled to defend him against others. Still, the two develop a close friendship based on trust.

"Two more payments and this baby's all mine."
And herein lies the difference. While the aerial action scenes are thrilling and suspenseful, Devotion isn’t built around them. Instead, the narrative focuses primarily on the relationship between Jesse and Tom, as well as the ignorance Jesse faces as a black aviator (he’s especially resentful that he’s considered a novelty by the press and public). The film may be lighter on action than one might expect, but because it takes the time to get us invested in these characters, the battles - mostly during the last hour - carry a lot more dramatic weight.

Anchored by solid performances from Powell and Majors (who’s been really busy lately), Devotion isn’t always exciting or “fun”, but its heart is in the right place. Though perhaps a tad too long, the film is affecting, looks great - especially in 4K - and features great attention to period detail. So don't be surprised if it sticks with some of you longer than that other Navy pilot movie.


FEATURETTES - “The Aviation of a Forgotten War”; “The Legacy of Jesse Brown”


February 23, 2023

TRAINING DAY (4K): Delirious Denzel Gets an Upgrade

2001 / 122 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😺

Training Day doesn’t feature Denzel Washington’s best performance, but it is arguably his most uninhibited. We’re so used to him playing the hero - sometimes the flawed anti-hero - that watching him totally nail it as an irredeemable villain was sort of a revelation. That, more than anything, is probably why he took home an Oscar that year (and considering who he was up against, it was well deserved).

Over two decades later, he is the main reason Training Day remains compulsively watchable. It’s one of those movies where you just gotta drop everything to take in a little of Alonzo Harris' over-the-top badassery whenever it pops up on TV. Like Henry Fonda’s equally against-type turn as Frank in Once Upon a Time in the West, Alonzo is fascinating because he’s being played by Washington. He’s clearly having a good time being the bad guy and his enthusiasm is infectious.

Definitely not drinking decaf.
While Denzel’s scenery chewing tends to overshadow the rest of the cast, Ethan Hawke is also excellent as trainee Jake Hoyt, Alonzo's ethical antithesis. Though I suppose the role might seem comparatively thankless, Hoyt’s integrity and reactions are a frequent reminder that Alonzo is morally corrupt, remorseless and manipulative. Without him, chances are the audience would be rooting for Alonzo the entire time. Their increasingly adversarial relationship is tension-filled and compelling. More importantly, it smoothes over some of the film's weaker aspects, mainly a David Ayer screenplay that contains more than its share of plot contrivances and implausibilities.

As a modern action classic, Training Day is due for the 4K treatment. Perhaps overdue, considering the film’s enduring popularity. From a technical standpoint, the UHD disc is a significant upgrade from any previous releases, with a sharper, more vivid overall picture and a great Dolby Atmos audio track. Conversely, all the supplemental material - most of which are on the additional Blu-ray - is carried over from older versions. So this one is probably just for the videophiles.



TRAINING DAY: CROSSING THE LINE” - Making-of featurette.

2 MUSIC VIDEOS - “Got You,” by Pharoahe Monch; “#1,” by Nelly.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Antoine Fuqua.


February 21, 2023

THE POOP SCOOP: Rescues, Robots & Restorations

🙀M3GAN (Theatrical & Unrated Versions) on Digital February 24 and on Blu-ray & DVD March 21 from Universal.
M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a life-like doll programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by brilliant toy-company roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams, Get Out), M3GAN can listen and watch and learn as she becomes friend and teacher, playmate and protector, for the child she is bonded to. As Gemma faces pressure at work from her boss (Ronny Chieng, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) to deliver a finished version of M3GAN, she suddenly becomes the unprepared caretaker of her newly orphaned 8-year-old niece, Cady (Violet McGraw, The Haunting of Hill House). Gemma decides to pair the M3GAN prototype with Cady in an attempt to resolve both problems—a decision that will have unimaginable consequences. M3GAN is produced by masters of horror—Atomic Monster’s James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring, Anabelle) and Blumhouse’s Jason Blum (Halloween franchise, The Invisible Man, The Black Phone) and directed by Gerald Johnstone (Housebound). The M3GAN UNRAT3D VERSION delivers more distressing violence and profanity and features never-before-seen bonus content including a breakdown of the creation of M3GAN and behind-the-scenes featurettes showcasing the film’s complex stunts and gory deaths.

😺PLANE arrives on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (+ Blu-ray, Digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (+ DVD, Digital), DVD, and On Demand March 28 from Lionsgate.
In the white-knuckle action movie Plane, pilot Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) saves his passengers from a lightning strike by making a risky landing on a war-torn island – only to find that surviving the landing was just the beginning. When most of the passengers are taken hostage by dangerous rebels, the only person Torrance can count on for help is Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), an accused murderer who was being transported by the FBI. In order to rescue the passengers, Torrance will need Gaspare’s help, and will learn there’s more to Gaspare than meets the eye. Plane is scheduled for arrival on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand March 28 from Lionsgate.

😺STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION films arrive on 4k Ultra HD April 4th from Paramount.
All four big-screen adventures featuring fan-favorite Star Trek characters Picard, Riker, Data, LaForge, Worf, Troi, and Dr. Crusher arrive for the first time ever on 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision and HDR-10 on April 4, 2023, just in time for First Contact Day (April 5th, the day Vulcans first made contact with humans). The journey begins with original cast members Kirk, Scott, and Chekov in a story that spans space and time in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, continuing with a terrifying face off against the Borg in STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, a dangerous plot against a peaceful planet in STAR TREK: INSURRECTION, and a familiar old foe returning in STAR TREK: NEMESIS. The 4-Movie Collection includes each film on 4K Ultra HD, as well as fully remastered on Blu-ray, plus all legacy bonus content and access to Digital copies of each film.  The Collection is presented in a slipcase beautifully illustrated to complement the STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL 6-MOVIE COLLECTION, making this a must-own set to complete every fan’s collection.


😻Upcoming MAY Releases from CRITERION COLLECTION
Old Hollywood collides with New Hollywood, and screen horror with real-life horror in Targets (Blu-ray and DVD on 5/16), the startling debut feature from Peter Bogdanovich. Produced by Roger Corman, this chillingly prescient vision of American-made carnage casts Boris Karloff as an aging horror-movie icon whose fate intersects with that of a seemingly ordinary young man (Tim O’Kelly) on a psychotic shooting spree around Los Angeles. With Thelma & Louise (4K and Bluray on 5/30), Ridley Scott rewrote the rules of the road movie, telling the story of two best friends who find themselves transformed into accidental fugitives during a weekend getaway gone wrong. Propelled by irresistible performances from Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis (plus Brad Pitt in a sexy, star-making turn)—and nominated for six Academy Awards, the exhilaratingly cathartic Thelma & Louise stands as cinema’s ultimate ode to ride-or-die female friendship. Wings of Desire (4K, Blu-ray & DVD on 5/2) is one of cinema’s loveliest city symphonies. Bruno Ganz is Damiel, an angel perched atop buildings high over Berlin who can hear the thoughts—fears, hopes, dreams—of all the people living below. Made not long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, this stunning tapestry of sounds and images, shot in black and white and color by the legendary Henri Alekan, forever made the name of director Wim Wenders synonymous with film art.

February 20, 2023

THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN: Some Relics Should Stay Buried

1982 / 93 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😾

A lot of people nostalgically look back at the ‘80s as a great decade for movies. And sure, the decade gave us some awesome films that transcended their genres to become true classics. 

But the ‘80s was also the biggest decade for teen sex comedies. Like slasher flicks, they were cheap to produce and had a ready-made audience of teenage boys lacking access to porn. Largely inspired by the success of Porky’s (which I suppose is the genre’s Citizen Kane), most of ‘em were leering, sophomoric exercises in misogyny, where the quest to get laid was the comedy.

The Last American Virgin was the worst of them. Not because it’s ineptly made or anything, but writer-director Boaz Davidson bombards us with stupid dialogue, shallow leads and gobs of voyeuristic female nudity before having the audacity to shoehorn clumsy attempts at serious themes. Watching the movie back then, its contempt for the intelligence of its intended audience was obvious and the main thing I felt was second-hand embarrassment for the female cast. 

"Mom? When's dinner?"
Inexplicably, The Last American Virgin has had its defenders over the years, but I wonder how many of them have watched it lately. I can’t imagine anyone still thinking shit like this is funny or thought provoking. The film has aged badly, not just aesthetically, but the lame effort to sugar-coat soft-core sleaze and a cavalier attitude toward women with manufactured poignancy. The movie may end on a somber note - one that some viewers might have connected with back then - but it remains an archaic slab of teensploitation. 

On the other hand, The Last American Virgin has a great soundtrack featuring some of the biggest artists from the decade (too bad that wasn’t resurrected instead). And despite my misgivings, it's considered a cult classic in some circles (maybe for a few of the reasons I hated it). Those folks will certainly enjoy the retro-packaging and bonus material, not to mention a mini poster. For others, the film is a strong argument that some relics from the ‘80s should remain buried.


INTERVIEWS - Various individual interviews with actor Lawrence Monoson, actor Diana Franklin, director Boaz Davidson and cinematographer Adam Greenberg.





2022 / 95 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😺

If one’s gonna do a film about the obstacles facing a gay black man in the military, it only makes sense that it comes from a man who was actually there. 

Writer-director Elegance Bratton’s mother kicked him out of the house at 16, and he was homeless for nearly a decade before deciding - mostly out of desperation - to enlist in the Marines. The Inspection is based on his experiences in boot camp, dealing with the expected amounts of homophobia and a somewhat sadistic drill instructor. Some of it is fictionalized and names have been changed, but because Bratton is chronicling himself, we get the impression he’s not only trying to create awareness and empathy, but telling this story as a form of catharsis. 

Whatever the case, it's often an emotionally gripping film. Much of that is due to the characters and performances, particularly the protagonist. Ellis is emotionally fragile and certainly fallible, with a troubled past that isn’t delved into (nor does it need to be). At the same time, he’s smart, likable and ultimately very resilient. Jeremy Pope delivers a strong performance and it’s easy to see why he was nominated for a Golden Globe. Junior drill instructor Rosales (Raul Castillo) is also intriguing, a tough Marine who supports Ellis, mainly because he, too, is gay and forced to adapt to a largely homophobic world (by keeping his sexuality a secret). 

"Wow...I coulda had a V8."
Elsewhere, Ellis’ mother, Inez (Gabrielle Union), could be considered the main antagonist, especially since it sometimes seems like Ellis enlisted to earn her acceptance, but she is still portrayed with a certain degree of sympathy. We may not approve of her treatment of Ellis, but a small part might understand it. Even senior drill instructor Laws (Bokeem Woodbine) isn’t completely one-note. Sure, he’s vicious, cruel and borderline psychotic, but there are moments where he appears to grudgingly respect Ellis’ resolve. Speaking of Laws, despite the serious subject matter and tone, one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen recently involves his reaction to how Ellis applies war paint, followed by the latter's priceless response.

Sometimes The Inspection is a little too episodic for its own good, especially during the second half, with scenes that are interesting but feel more like stand-alone sequences and are therefore less impactful on the overall narrative. Still, this is an entertaining and enlightening film, made authentic by someone who lived it.


“PROTECT AND SERVE: MAKING THE INSPECTION” - Features interviews with writer-director Elegance Bratton and most of the principal cast.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By writer-director Elegance Bratton.



February 19, 2023


2021 / 96 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😺

Writer-director Christopher Rucinski throws a little shade on the current state of the world. Throughout Northern Shade, he’s consistently dropping references to such hot-button issues as police brutality, Black Lives Matter, COVID safety protocols, racism and the inherent threat of extreme nationalists (he's got a lot to say about those delusional dumbshits). Sometimes the message is subtle, sometimes not. At any rate, his heart is in the right place.

The story itself has traumatized, alcoholic war veteran Justin (Jesse Gavin) searching for his estranged younger brother, Charlie (Joseph Poliquin), after he disappears. He gets some assistance from private detective Frankie (Titania Galliher), who happens to be investigating the disappearance of another person (which could be connected to Charlie’s whereabouts).

Finding Charlie isn’t the problem. He’s fallen in with an extremist militia group led by a psychotic jingoist named Billy (Romano Orzari), and not only does Charlie resent Justin showing up to “save” him, he has no interest in repairing their fractured relationship. However, things take a darker turn when it becomes clear Billy is murdering people who interfere with his agenda (which includes a planned act of domestic terrorism). With local police reluctant to do anything, Justin takes it upon himself to demonstrate some tough love and try to rescue Charlie before it’s too late.

Justin charts his course.
Northern Shade tells a pretty intriguing story, and in light of certain incidents in recent years, perhaps more timely than we’d like it to be. But the film is just as much a character study about Justin living with his own PTSD, stemming from a horrific experience during the war. So while there’s some genuine tension and suspense, Rucinski is obviously has ambitions beyond cranking out just another standard thriller. 

For the most part, he succeeds. More deliberately paced than one might expect, Northern Shade nevertheless maintains interest, though viewers who demand closure probably won’t appreciate the resolution (despite being somewhat inevitable). With interesting characters and earnest performances, this is a small winner all around.


IN MEMORY OF ROB DENARO - A short tribute to the guy who loaned them the boat used in the film.