Knives Out (2019)

By all accounts, Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” should not have been such a stunning success. It’s an original murder mystery with an eye toward paying tribute to Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie, and yet it’s such a brilliant work of cinema through and through. “Knives Out” is a traditionalist murder mystery ensemble piece but one that also evokes modern sensibility without resorting to pandering to a younger audience. You’re either in for the ride with “Knives Out,” or you’re not as it takes its time unfolding what is a sly, slick and fantastic crime thriller that kept me grinning from ear to ear from beginning to end. 

Continue reading

Killer of Sheep (1978)

There isn’t really an overall narrative or story arc present in Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep,” and that’s the point. There’s really nothing more dramatic meant to be expressed in “Killer of Sheep” beyond the experience of drudgery of poverty, and the inevitability of committing and experiencing crime in the throes of poverty. “Killer of Sheep” is a tightly paced and often compelling urban drama about life in the LA ghettos, and it’s worth the watch as a piece of film history nearly lost to the ages. It’s held up in the face of age, more so than many other classics as its managed to represent overtones and themes that are still relevant today.

Continue reading

You Have To See This! Masters of the Universe (1987)

I was a hardcore He-Man fan when I was a child. He’s pretty much the precursor to my obsession with Superman and for many years fueled my love for fantasy and action. My love for He-Man is long and storied, especially with how he helped me appreciate the fantasy genre, and I look forward to a time where he can come back and enthrall a new generation of fans. It seems like the time for a He-Mannaisance is rapidly approaching, thankfully, and I couldn’t help but think back to “Masters of the Universe.” In 1987 studios were still searching far and wide for their own “Star Wars” that would allow them to pump out action figures and all kinds of merchandise for young fans.

Continue reading

TV On DVD: Krypton: The Complete Second & Final Season [Blu-Ray/Digital]/Swamp Thing: The Complete Series [Blu-Ray/Digital]

Unless you’re in the Berlanti-verse, DC and Warner doesn’t seem to know what the heck they’re doing with their properties on TV these days. After a surge in TV shows based on their IP’s, they suddenly were all wiped off the air and left for future discussions on what could have been, by comic book geeks all over the world. It’s a shame because, since while all of DC and Warner’s TV series don’t re-invent the wheel, they’re at least bold enough to try something new and unique. Your mileage will vary when it comes to “Krypton” and “Swamp Thing” Blu-Ray releases, but you have to give them credit for at least thinking outside the box.

Continue reading

When a Stranger Calls Back (1993) [Blu-Ray]

Fred Walton returns for what is such a ridiculous sequel to an already abysmal thriller that I’m stunned there was any demand for it. Walton already spent ninety minutes stretching a five minute campfire tale in to a full fledged crime thriller, but this TV movie sequel watches like a ludicrous episode of a mediocre crime series. This is a premise so absurd and void of real tension or suspense. It seems like the writers spent so much time looking for a concept to resuscitate this concept and they fail with a tedious piece of genre claptrap.

Continue reading

When A Stranger Calls (1979) – Retro VHS Style [Blu-Ray]

Fred Walton’s “When a Stranger Calls” is what happens when you take a quick but creepy, classic urban legend and pad it out in to a dull, tedious “Halloween” knock off that’s more drama than anything else. Where as John Carpenter’s slasher chiller was about babysitters being stalked by a masked maniac, “When a Stranger Calls” attempts a horror thriller centered on an actual depraved maniac and the babysitter that he is inexplicably obsessed with.

Continue reading

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

After some um—rather interesting internet ballyhoo, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is finally brought to the big screen in what is a shockingly good adaptation. Although I’d argue that the “video game movie curse” ended in 2018 (ahem–“Tomb Raider”), “Sonic the Hedgehog” does open the door for more, higher quality video game movies down the road. While I’d be hard pressed to say that “Sonic” re-invents the wheel, it also dodges a lot of video game movie pitfalls by side stepping cloying pop culture references, and paying homage to the source material.

Continue reading