Adapting the entirety of the arc of the Death, Reign and Return of Superman was always a heavy ambition for DC and it’s a shame that they never quite get it just right when it comes to putting it on the small screen. I loved “The Death of Superman.” And while I thought “Reign of the Supermen” was a pretty damn good movie all in all, it suffers from a lot of the major flaws most DC animated movies do. It rushes through so much important exposition, and doesn’t give its four main characters enough screen time to warrant caring a lot about them, or even rooting for them for that matter. When all is said and done, “Reign of the Supermen” is a very good follow up to “The Death of Superman” with some great action set pieces, and wonderful animation.
The Charlie Chan film series from 1931-1949 went through three lead actors and two studios over 44 films while still maintaining consistent popularity with moviegoers. In this episode of “the Online Movie Show,” James L. Neibaur, author of “The Charlie Chan Films,” discusses the appeal of Hollywood’s most popular private eye.
As one of the most popular horror authors of the 1990’s who penned two very popular series of horror novels “Goosebumps” and “Fear Street,” author R.L. Stine had a humongous influence on kids everywhere. He helped introduce many to the joys of spine-tingling horror and tongue-in-cheek mystery, as well as the art of storytelling. “Goosebumps” and “Fear Street” thrived on creating unique and realistic protagonists, along with introducing genuine plot twists and ironic endings that channeled Rod Serling and Richard Matheson. “Goosebumps” books a hallmark of school book fairs and local libraries across the country, and as a horror buff myself, I can attest to cutting my teeth on everything the man wrote at the time.
By the time “The Howling III” rolled around, the studios basically stopped continuing the storyline from the original Joe Dante movie and just turned the movie series in to an anthology. The only connection “The Howling” movies have with one another is that they have werewolves in them. The rest of the movies are basically of varying quality with drastically different narratives. Ironically latter day sequels (The Howling: New Moon Rising) would use clips from the former films as a crutch to make up for lack of story and the painfully low budget.
In 2017, Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule promoted what was promising to be an expensive but highly attended music festival called Fyre. After promising patrons would be given luxury suites and hob knob with models and music stars, news broke when festival goers met with less than accommodating conditions. Chaos would soon ensue as lives were put at risk and public safety became a major concern spawning one of the biggest scandals of the year. The Fyre festival debacle was an event that was begging to be turned in to a film and director Chris Smith chronicles the creation of what promised to be one of the most elite and luxurious music festivals.
With “Stan & Ollie” now in theaters, fans might find the newest release from Mill Creek of some interest, as it gathers a lot of interesting relics from Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. While it by no means features some of their best shorts and features, it definitely will spark some conversation by hardcore movie buffs, as it includes a list of movies that feature both comedic actors, and their shorts and films that they worked on as solo performers. It’s not the best collection but it’s a fascinating release that will help fans of the comedy team dissect a lot of the work that both men did outside of their team as well as what worked, and what just didn’t.
BOOTLEG FILES 668: “Up in the Air” (1940 Monogram feature starring Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It would be great if this little film was digitally restored.
The 1940 Monogram Pictures feature “Up in the Air” may not be the best film of its era, but its surplus amount of ideas crammed into a compact 62-minute running time certainly makes it the busiest. Part-mystery and part-comedy, with musical numbers and a strange mix of egregious and progressive attitudes on race, this little B-level production has more pep than most A-grade flicks.
It’s fascinating to watch “10 to Midnight” today and explore how dated it’s become and how much the themes and overtones it presents have been somewhat flipped on its head. J. Lee Thompson attempts to appeal to the folks that love their Dirty Harry’s and Lee Marvins by basically trying to turn Charles Bronson in to something of an aged vigilante that we can root for. But he basically comes off as an anti-hero, and “10 to Midnight” ends up becoming a war between a psychopath and a corrupt cop, both of whom never actually come out looking pristine once the film draws to a close.