Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale”: The One Historic Epic that the Oscars Won’t Touch

The Academy is always a fan of the historical epic. They love movies about perseverance to hard times during a bygone era, from “Lincoln” and “Glory” to “Amadeus” and “Saving Private Ryan.” One of the movies that they didn’t touch in 2020, despite being a relatively mesmerizing picture, was Jennifer Kent’s 2019 “The Nightingale.” Despite it being a virtually gritty and gruesome journey in to darkness a la “The Revenant,” the Academy never offered the film its due, even in the realm of cinematography and or acting. There’s not even a best original screenplay nod handed to the thriller, and it’s a shame. Jennifer Kent’s revenge period piece is the antithesis of the glossy Oscar fodder that they stumble over themselves to honor every year.

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Millennium Actress (2001) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

Satoshi Kon’s “Millennium Actress” has become one of the most celebrated animation masterpieces of all time, and for good reason. It’s managed to transcend everything about its medium to convey a tale that everyone can relate to. A big departure from “Perfect Blue,” his grim polemic about fandom, Kon gifts us “Millennium Actress,” a film that is a great and often riveting celebration about life.

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Mack Sennett’s “Hypnotized”: A Pre-Code Oddity

One of the strangest films of the Pre-Code era was Mack Sennett’s 1932 comedy “Hypnotized” starring the blackface duo Moran and Mack. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” film historian and broadcaster Geno Cuddy offers insight on the history of this highly irregular production and the distinctive talent behind its creation.

The episode can be heard here.

White Snake (Bái Shé: Yuán Qǐ) (2019) [Blu-ray/DVD]

I originally checked out “White Snake” when it was at the Fantasia Film Festival last year, and it’s not what I’d call the best anime movie to open 2020 with. While I love and appreciate the brilliant animation, “White Snake” is somewhat of a shallow and dull anime epic that packs in a lot of sub-genres and themes involving demons, war, the supernatural, dragons, and a very exhaustive reliance on ancient mythology. It would probably help the experience of “White Snake,” but having to do research to enjoy a movie is not appealing, even for movies that garner my interest.

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The Bootleg Files: Hawaiian Punch Commercials

BOOTLEG FILES 717: “Hawaiian Punch Commercials” (long-running series of comically violent advertising).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial reissue for a home entertainment anthology of these commercials.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Utterly unlikely.

In concept, the notion of an advertising campaign anchored on deliberate physical abuse seems like a spectacularly bad idea – especially if the target audience is children. However, one of the most successful campaigns in advertising history involved a series of television commercials for a sugary drink that featured a strange little man who almost always punched a pleasant but dimwitted soul in the face, knocking him flat on his back.
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Bad Boys For Life (2020)

As Disney soaks up just about every viable property and franchise in Hollywood, studios have sought out some of the more vacant properties, and here comes the long dormant “Bad Boys” series. With the nineties as popular as ever, “Bad Boys For Life” is a great property to revive. The new sequel acts as a soft reboot that could potentially help it live past Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and in to the “Fast and the Furious” long road. “Bad Boys For Life” is a shockingly good restart for a new series, and I like how the producers take the titular heroes and allow them to grow in a world that’s becoming harder to keep up with.

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The Boris Karloff Experience

On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we consider the remarkable career of Boris Karloff, celebrating his iconic horror films and his diverse dramatic and comic work on screen, stage and television. Film historian Troy Howarth is our guest expert.

The episode can be heard here.