Shorts Round Up of the Week: 5/29/20

We have a second installment of Shorts Round Up of the Week, and Emilie Black steps in to the driver’s seat once more, to bring readers some reviews for five more of the latest short films from very unique indie film voices.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers. 

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The Bootleg Files: Bob Hope on the Road to China

BOOTLEG FILES 730: “Bob Hope on the Road to China” (1979 television special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube in a truncated form.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Out of circulation for many years.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

On January 1, 1979, President Jimmy Carter established U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Two months later, the longtime rivals established embassies in each other’s capitals. Remarkably, the two countries retained their diplomatic ties despite NBCs ‘s broadcast of the astonishingly atrocious “Bob Hope on the Road to China” in September that year.
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You Have to See This! The Vast of Night (2020)

With the accessibility of independent filmmaking, often times filmmakers have chosen to pay homage to the Grindhouse era, and with often varying results. It’s not too often we can sit down to watch a genuinely scary film that pays tribute to the atomic age and the classic anthology series from the golden age of television. Andrew Patterson’s “The Vast of Night” is absolute accomplishment. It’s a movie I reviewed during Slamdance 2019 and have yet to quit talking about or boasting about since it was scooped up by Amazon Video. It’s a cinematic gem filled with horror, mystery, science fiction, and pure suspense that will hook audiences the moment the film begins.

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Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Psiconautas, los niños olvidados) (2015) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

I freely admit that I didn’t quite enjoy “Birdboy” when it was titled “Psychonauts, The Forgotten Children” back in 2016 for the Fantasia Film Festival. While typically I’m a big fan of animation of most kinds, “Birdboy” failed to click with me. I just could not find any real reason to recommend it when I’d finished it, and struggled to even finish it, when all was said and done.

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Shorts Round Up of the Week: 5/26/20

It’s the return of Shorts Round Up of the Week! And this week, Emilie Black steps in to the driver’s seat bringing readers some reviews for four of the latest short films from very unique indie film voices.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers. 

Continue reading

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The Bootleg Files: Gabe Kaplan as Groucho

BOOTLEG FILES 729: “Gabe Kaplan as Groucho” (1982 television special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and LaserDisc.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Out of circulation for many years.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In 1976, the producers of the popular sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” planned to have Groucho Marx make a cameo appearance in an episode called “Sadie Hawkins Day.” The script called for Gabe Kaplan to do an impression of Groucho, only to have the real Groucho come in and react to the unreasonable facsimile. Unfortunately, the 86-year-old comedy icon was in extremely frail health and it was decided that he would not go on camera. Instead, Groucho posed for publicity photographs with the show’s cast – but these were not released to the media and only surfaced many years later.
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Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) [Blu-Ray]

I’ve come to appreciate “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” more and more over the years, as it’s managed to separate itself from the other vampire films in the sub-genre. While other of its ilk manage to flaunt the concept of the vampire without much substance, John Hancock and writers Sheridan Le Fanu and Lee Kalchiem take an opportunity here. Here, the monster is brilliant used as a means as a dread filled allegory for paranoia, fear of unraveling sanity, and our latent fear of infidelity.

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