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by Michael Barrett

26 Oct 2016


Vamp (1986)

These ten Blu-rays refurbish classic and sometimes less than classic films calculated to give you goosebumps. Intellectually speaking, some are closer to a speedbump. Which are which in this season of the witch?

Perhaps all these films take seriously Picasso’s observation that good taste is the enemy of creativity, but that doesn’t mean the absence of the former is sufficient to the latter. That’s why you have intrepid reviewers to sit through this stuff for you, Dear Reader, and separate the Tricks from the Treats.

by Michael Barrett

24 Oct 2016


Astro Zombies (1968)

As Kino Lorber continues its Blu-ray avalanche of classic, semi-classic and non-classic horror titles, we confess to being a little overwhelmed. There are hardly enough hours in the day to keep up with these low-budget cult offerings while still sleeping and eating. If you feel like buckling down for a Halloween marathon, here’s a sampling of recent releases in chronological order by year.

by Michael Barrett

23 Oct 2016


José Isbert and Nino Manfredi in The Executioner (1963)

In ‘60s Spain, under the dictatorship of General Franco and amid an influx of international tourists, handsome young José Luis Rodríguez (Nino Manfredi) works as an undertaker. It doesn’t exactly make him a magnet for the ladies.

On assignment at a prison, he meets an old man with an even more undesirable job: Amadeo (José Isbert) the executioner. The dumpy old fussbudget uses a garrote, a metal device that strangles the victim when screws are tightened. Amedeo’s pretty daugher Carmen (Emma Penella) is in a situation similar to José Luis—she can’t get a date, thanks to the family business.

by Kelli Marshal

6 Oct 2016


Plenty of stories surround the classical Hollywood musical On the Town (1949). A skinny Frank Sinatra was forced to wear prosthetics to fill out the backside of his sailor pants. Jules Munshin was so terrified of heights he had to be tied to another person while performing atop the Empire State Building. And the Hays Office, ever concerned about morality, changed the lyrics of “New York, New York” from “it’s a helluva town” to “it’s a wonderful town”.

But perhaps the most often cited bit of trivia about On the Town is that it’s the first film musical to be shot on location, using major New York City landmarks as its backdrop.

by Michael Barrett

30 Sep 2016


Joan Crawford as Vienna in Johnny Guitar (1954)

While Criterion set the standard for releasing DVDs and Blu-rays with bonus material, a little company called Olive Films has been releasing bare-bones discs of collectible titles, sometimes obscure and occasionally famous. Now they’re dipping a toe into upgrading some of those famous titles into a new bonus-packed line called Olive Signature, and they’re kicking off with Johnny Guitar.

This 1954 classic was analyzed by PopMatters here. To refresh your memory, it’s an unusual, heady western famous for pitting two mighty women against each other in a no-holds-barred seething hatefest that drives the plot in the same way that opposing men usually drive the plot in the other 98 percent of westerns.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Here Comes the Bloom: Timothy Bloom Takes Hip-Hop to the Sock-Hop

// Sound Affects

"More sock-hop than hip-hop, soulster Timothy Bloom does a stunning '50s revamp on contemporary R&B.

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