Faith has failed us.
Do your ‘wurst…
You won’t believe this one!
Jailbreak! Amnesia! Gunfights! Dubbing!
A story of chance.
For this woman… he broke God’s own commandment!
Winner takes all!
You’ll pay to get in…and pray to get out!
Two more hours of the greatest martial arts mayhem in motion picture history!
All love is created equal.
The whale is feeling Peckish John Huston’s legendary telling of Herman Melville’s classic story of blubber and metaphors lands on a Twilight Time Blu-ray, which, of course, means that by the time you read this all available copies will have long since left retail, only to be later found somewhere buried deep within the submerged catacombs of Oak Island. You know the story: Ishmael is the lone survivor of a lost whaling vessel. He brings back with him the unbelievable story of a violent encounter with an ill-tempered white whale–as well as the saga of pathological, one-legged vengeance in the form of Captain Ahab (Gregory Peck). Through storms and whale hunting and oil boiling and blubber harvesting the crew of the Pequod power through, willing to follow their maniacal captain to the gates of watery Hell. They, of course, get their wish eventually as Ahab leads them right into the teeth of the fearsome Moby Dick. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Moby Dick, but this one holds up well. The sense of adventure on the high seas is present and accounted for, even if it is obvious that much of the whale-on-man action was filmed with miniatures in a water tank. But, hey, there’s something cool about this practical, nuts-and-bolts movie-making. And the final confrontation with the great whale still manages to be a thriller (even if it’s obvious it’s dolls in a tub). Of course, it’s all about Gregory Peck, who brings a gravitas and a half to the role of Captain Ahab. The guy cuts a mean figure with his pegleg and nautical beard and unbridled desire deliver all of his dialogue with a salty, guttural bellow. His final descent into madness in the final battle is still a sight to behold. Solid presentation from Twilight Time: 1.66:1, 1080p and a 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio are joined by a featurette on the creation of Moby Dick (the whale), an isolated score track, a film historians commentary. THE VERDICT Thar she blows. Not Guilty. Save
They make something wonderful out of being alive!
When you love someone you can’t just throw it away.
Every industry has its first family.
The strangest things can happen suddenly.
To save their lives, and their fortune.
A mother’s love leads to murder.
Every family needs a hero.
A radically ordinary family.
“More women died on the back seat of Senator Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz.” –David Irving.
Packing a (period) piece. Hey, you know what network has the best original TV shows going right now? It’s not HBO. It’s HBO’s horny, hyperactive cousin, Cinemax. I’ve been a Max devotee since Strike Back Season 2 blew me away, with the unsheathed, pulpy id of Banshee close behind. Even The Max’s dalliance with gothic horror–the bizarre, engrossing Outcast–was a humdinger. Now the network is back with something else daring and unique, a show unlike anything else you’ll find anywhere. Quarry is based on the the potboiler mystery novels by Max Allan Collins, which tells the story of a recently returned Vietnam vet and the trouble he finds in his hometown in Memphis. Mac Conway (Logan Marshall-Green) is back after serving two years in Vietnam. He returns under a cloud of controversy as his unit had been fingered for war crimes. The life as he knows it has evaporated; his wife Joni (Jodi Balfour) was unfaithful, no one wants to hire him for work and, worse, his best friend and former squadmate gets himself killed trying to be a hitman. Mac finds himself drawn into the seedy world of contact killing, pressed into working for a mysterious man known only as The Broker, forced to pay down his friend’s debt and save his family. As you can imagine, this leads to all manner of unsavory situation and domestic mishap and before it all ends, Quarry will have to face his own demons. And there are demons aplenty in this broody, atmospheric series, an eight-episode tour de force that kept me utterly transfixed the whole time. There weren’t humongous explosions or colorful villains or outlandish plot threads or sex galore or any of the elements you might think would characterize a Cinemax show. No, Quarry is a hardboiled, gritty, ultra-realistic drama, a tale of a broken man with a damaged soul who can’t extricate himself from his violent past or the promise of a violent future. The acting is top-shelf throughout, headlined by Marshall-Green as the tortured anti-hero (and I mean anti) and Balfour as his desperate wife. The two are exceptional talents and their relationship offers as compelling a caricature of a troubled, but loving marriage. Their connection is the emotional core of the show and it works brilliantly. The thrust of the narrative is Quarry’s attempts to negotiate the dark corridors of his new, bloody profession, while trying to preserve his relationship with his wife. Meanwhile, he’s being tracked by a tenacious law officer and The Broker is funneling him towards deadlier and deadlier contracts. It’s all set against the backdrop of the racial powder-keg that is ’70s Memphis. Quarry takes it time to let its plot breathe; this isn’t a slam-bang action thrill ride. But hang with it and you’ll be richly rewarded with some of the very best performances on television, a unique setting, a story that builds gravity a it rolls on and, finally, a one-shot Vietnam War flashback sequence that rivals True Detective’s gold standard continuous sequence. Great Blu-ray set: pristine video (1.78:1, 1080p) and audio (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) joined by audio commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, music videos and interviews. THE VERDICT Hard-boiled mustachioed goodness. Not Guilty.
High-octane mediocrity. Here’s an interesting situation. If you compare the Rotten Tomatoes average score with the IMDB user rating you get two very different stories. Now I’m not one to wholly subscribe to either metric as a bulletproof way to gauge a film’s worth, but here’s what’s interesting: RT has Death Race 2050 at 100% fresh (out of six reviews) and and the IMDB user scale clocks in at a paltry 3.6 out of 10 stars. That’s quite the discrepancy. And, honestly, I’m square on the IMDB user side–why anyone finds this film compelling is beyond me. The latest installment in the Death Race franchise attempts to return the series to its outlandish, campy, black-comedy roots that appears to have largely evaporated with the most recent remakes. The year is 2050 and Earth has become overpopulated. To thin out the people herd, the Death Race unleashes mayhem on the elderly, as drivers rack up points by mowing down geriatric bystanders. This year, each driver is paired with a sidekick who totes VR headsets to give home viewers the chance to live vicariously through their terrible deeds. As usual, the main stud behind the wheel is Frankenstein (Manu Bennett, Arrow), the enigmatic, leather-clad sociopath who routinely leads the wold in Death Race points. But there’s something off with this year’s Race. There’s a resistance afoot, an underground movement to topple the corporation that controls the Race and controls the people. As the carnage piles up and the big, fat, greedy fanbase devours the destruction, he ground-level combat turns into a fight for something that maybe, kind of, sort of looks like liberty. Look, Death Race 2050 tries real hard. Real hard. And that’s the problem. In its efforts to achieve full-on cult status, the strains of contrivance show throughout its runtime. The satire is about as on the nose as it gets (corporations own the country!) and the humor is broader than Lake Huron (look at that fat person eat a giant hot dog!). Add to that the assumed-necessary ingredients for schlock, like random, anonymous breasts and gore effects. Though I will say much of the gore was practical, so a tip of the hat to the special effects crew. On the other hand virtually all of the car action was CGI so, poop. In the end, Death Race 2050 just ended up being a cacophonous mess, a desperate attempt to take the excesses of the original and pump them full of silicone and red food coloring. I say this with no joy in my heart; we can always use more schlock in our lives and I’m always pulling for Manu Bennett. But this one’s running on fumes. THE VERDICT Turbo-jalopy. Save
Two classic silent films in one great package!
A thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world.
“To you, I’m an atheist. To God, I’m the loyal opposition.”