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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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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X Rated Alley: Peepshow Collection Vol. 32, Vol. 33, & Vol. 34 (DVD)

The long running series from Impulse Pictures continues chugging ahead and fans of classic and vintage pornography will enjoy what kind of time capsule these DVD’s bring to the forefront of film appreciation. While the DVD’s can be touted as porno, you can also appreciate these DVD’s as a film lover, film buff, film historian, or historian of pornography. The art of pornography has surely changed since the invention of moving pictures, and this continues the dive in to a great decade.

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Joker (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I think that when the smoke clears, director Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is going to be a lesson to Hollywood that—people want dark, violent comic book movies… which shouldn’t be what’s learned, if you ask me. “Joker” lends credence to the long held opinion that comic books are art and not just pop fodder for adults that refuse to grow up. Comic book movies, much like comic books, can be compelling art, and “Joker” proves that, even in spite of its inherent flaws. “Joker” is a shockingly good movie, even though it really wants to be a Scorsese film.

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Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

The thing about cinema is that it’s an often very literal art form that takes what is often very metaphorical or performance art about stage productions and has a hard time supplanting it for the audience. For “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” it’s a very good cult rock film that often feels like it has to be seen on stage in order to soak in the true experience. I’m not trying to take away what a cult classic John Cameron Mitchell’s musical drama is, but I couldn’t quite help but feel that “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” could have been much more appreciated as a live show.

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Silver Bullet (1985): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

I admittedly have a long relationship with “Silver Bullet” as it’s a bonafide childhood favorite horror movie that I’ve seen at least a thousand times. Years later, it’s managed to hold up very well, and that’s thanks to the fact that it embodies what often can break or make a Stephen King tale. There’s a strong sense of folklore and urban legend mythology behind the tale of “Silver Bullet” and King manages to combine so much from a murder mystery, a whodunit, a family movie, and a creepy werewolf picture in to a horror gem that earns its place in the pantheon of great King adaptations.

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The Fly Collection [Blu-Ray]

There’s an embarrassment of riches in the new set from Shout! Factory that manages to combine all of “The Fly” films in to a rich anthology. It’s a great opportunity to expose new fans to the classic monster movies and contemporary versions of George Langelaam’s original short story. This series and “The Thing” share a lot in common, as both are short stories adapted in to two vastly different versions by genius artists. Meanwhile the contemporary versions’ drastic re-imaginings are still considered iconic cinematic horror and science fiction that set a high bar. 

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It Chapter Two (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

At this point I’m just glad that the new “It” adaptation didn’t get split in to a trilogy. “It Chapter One” was great just as it was, I thought “Chapter Two” needed to be the book end. Thankfully it truly is the finale I was hoping for as a poignant, complex, and heartbreaking film about the horrors of the past, and trying to prevent the nightmares of our childhood from deciding who we are and can become as adults. Once “The Losers Club” is forced back in to Derry Maine, they have no choice but to confront their own personal monsters before fighting the physical manifestation of their demons known as Pennywise.

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