Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

Nickelodeon has been in a tricky scenario over the last five years, in where the audience that once watched their hit shows is now becoming adults. Now they’ve scrambled for ways to appeal to a new generation, even aging their banner characters a bit. With “Dora the Explorer,” Nickelodeon has taken great pains in allowing her to blossom with her audience, and then revert back to the original formula that made her such a hit. With this feature film adaptation, they manage to pull off what is a loving tribute, a fun action adventure film, an adaptation that is never afraid to poke fun at itself every now and then, and a spotlight for latinx movie heroes we can root for.

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The Lion King (2019)

Jon Favreau’s “The Lion King” is very much like Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho.” It’s a glossy, new setting, with a bold new cast, but when you cut right through the nostalgia lenses, it’s basically the same movie all over again. “The Lion King” doesn’t leave a lot of room to surprise its audience, as it basically plays it safe and copies the original film almost verbatim. Why watch a remake of “The Lion King” when you can simply stay home and watch the 1994 original? I can’t think of much of a reason, save for the all star cast.

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The Bootleg Files: Minstrel Man

BOOTLEG FILES 688: “Minstrel Man” (1944 musical).

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:
No one is rushing to digitally restore this title.

When one thinks of the 1940s musicals, few people will automatically cite the Poverty Row mini-studio Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). Indeed, that cheapo endeavor gained a belated cult following for its thrillers, horror flicks and Westerns, but not for musicals. However, this scrappy little operation created at least one notable musical that snagged a pair of Oscar nominations and brought together an unlikely band of talent.
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Five Great LGBTQ Films

We’re in the thick of pride month (Go see “Booksmart”!) and as many online entities and blogs celebrate the month, we’re naming five of our personal favorite LGBTQ films of all time. They’re ordered by year, as I have a hard time naming my favorite of the sub-genre. These are only some of the many excellent titles, of course, as there are some banner films like “Brokeback Mountain,” “Jeffrey,” “The Bird Cage,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” and so much more.

Feel free to let us know what some of your favorite LGBTQ films of all time are, and celebrate with us. Happy Pride Month.

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A Star is Born (2018): Special Encore Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I’d almost be willing to bet money that Warner is planning a big deluxe boxed edition of “A Star is Born” for Christmas or perhaps the new year. Until then, fans of “A Star is Born” can double dip or opt for either edition that’s been released. While the original release is very good with some interesting extras, The “Encore Edition” is an okay release if you want the extended edition and a lot more material with what is an already great film. You can’t go wrong with “A Star is Born,” a wonderful remake that managed to be the best musical of 2018, bar none.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I’m all for movies that call out the inherent stupidity of romance comedies, and how we can often lose sight of reality if we spend too much time lost in fantasy and Hollywood manufactured clichés. “Isn’t It Romantic” is a confused comedy though, that can ironically be identified as a romantic comedy, even though it purports to be a movie that tears the whole illusion of Hollywood romantic comedies down all around us. It never seems to know if it’s endorsing the idea of romantic comedies, or still spoofing them. The results are a mediocre, flat, albeit occasionally charming film.

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The Bootleg Files: Elstree Calling

BOOTLEG FILES 678: “Elstree Calling” (1930 British musical revue co-directed by Alfred Hitchcock).

LAST SEEN: We cannot confirm the last public exhibition of this film.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On bootleg video labels only.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never made available for U.S. commercial home entertainment release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It is possible, but not a priority.

In 1930, the first British musical feature film was released under the title “Elstree Calling.” Today, most people are aware of the film only because of Alfred Hitchcock’s involvement in the production.

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I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

Robert Zemeckis’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is a charming, if flawed tribute to the Beatles and the rampant Beatles Mania that ran throughout much of the late sixties. I’m sure Zemeckis bear witness to a lot of the “Beatlemania,” and his film seems to come from a place of experience. For folks that loved movies like “American Graffiti” or “Dazed and Confused,” Zemeckis’ 1978 comedy is one of those movie set over the course of a night that centers on a group of teenagers that are so devoted to the Beatles, they risk just about everything to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show.

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