Let me say right off the bat that I love Stan Lee. If he hadn’t revolutionized superhero comics at Marvel back in the 1960s, I don’t know what I would have done with my free time from 1977 through 1981, which was primarily spent reading hundreds of comic books featuring characters he created. I would have had to go outside or something, and that probably wouldn’t have ended well. But Stan is 93 now, and while I’m thrilled he still seems healthy and active, let’s face it: The man will say anything that pops into his head, as people who’ve lived 93 years on this planet tend (and deserve) to do. Hence the interview resulting in the headline, on Epicstream.com: “Stan Lee Says Star Wars/Avengers Crossover Film Could Happen.” Now, Stan Lee hasn’t been central to the Marvel brain trust in decades, and certainly not since Disney bought the company in 2009, so this would be about as relevant in the real world as a story that says, “Stan Lee Says Zombie Apocalypse Could Happen,” or …
Straight onto Blu-ray for Compton and other hits.
Ip Man in theaters, warrior women from Asia on Blu-ray.
Matt Damon leads a stellar ensemble cast in Ridley Scott’s “The Martian.”
Here’s your chance to win a Blu-ray of the thrilling adventure “Everest.”
On the road to Academy Award gold.
Start 2016 with assassins, cannibals, and ghosts.
Forget the slick Hollywood sequel and go straight for the New Zealand import. “Deathgasm” kicks ass!
Enter to win of copy of “Sinister 2” and get your pants scared off of you!
Out with the old, in with the new.
Enter to win a Blu-ray of M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller.
Here’s a chance to win a copy of Eli Roth’s terrifying tale of cannibalism!
Radiohead released their rejected James Bond theme song over the holidays. How did it stack up against the accepted songs of the series?
A woman, a mop, and destiny.
Sometimes I wonder, “Why doesn’t Hollywood call to ask my opinion about what kinds of movies they should be releasing? Surely I have the type of incisive man-on-the-street insight they’re looking for.” And then I think about the movies I predicted would be hits this year, and I remember that I’m an idiot. If you recall, last January I came up with a list of 10 movies that didn’t have “Star Wars,” “Avengers” or “Jurassic Park” in the title that I predicted would be the box office hits filling in the blanks around those tentpole blockbusters. What I learned from that endeavor is that it’s probably not a good idea to base your pre-release opinion of a movie on the official studio descriptions. Apparently they’re notorious for failing to mention when the movie will suck. But don’t take my word for it — here are the 10 films I picked, along with a roundup of how they actually performed. (Grosses via Box Office Mojo.) 1) “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water” Rotten Tomatoes score: …
Money. It’s a crime.
A look back at a Christmas special that failed to become a holiday classic.
Quentin Tarantino’s got your number this Christmas.
So it’s the time of the season, when I get into that reflective mood and begin working my way backwards over the year’s music, books, movies, etc. And 2015 was equally as rich as 2014 was, so I thought I’d share some of what I feel are the highest of nearly-innumerable high points over these last twelve months. I acquired quite a lot of music – some purchased, some sent for review; I saw as many shows as my schedule would allow and read as much as my free time would give – which, of course, also means that my own new album is slower in coming along than I’d hoped (actually, it’s just stalled at the station for the time being), but it’s worth it. And this year-end review is to help turn some of you on to these good/great/amazing things, in case you hadn’t heard about them previously. So let us begin: TOP 3 ALBUMS FOR 2015: these were the three albums that I listened to most often, after their respective releases. There …
There are few people I can think of who come close to the sheer/unadulterated musical genius, skill and chops of Jaco Pastorius – the nearest that comes to mind is the late John Entwistle, the bass player extraordinaire for The Who. But Entwistle was firmly entrenched in the rock world and Jaco Pastorius was clearly from a different, more fluid musical realm. The argument could be made that he is one of the founding fathers of what became “jazz fusion” in the 1970’s – the melding of jazz, rock and soul/funk to create a groove of its own. This brilliant documentary is a labor of love from Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo who co-produced it along with John Battsek; it was directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijak, and through the help of crowd funding, tells the story of the celebrated but tragic bass-master/legend in straightforward detail, memories and footage through family, friends and fellow players. Among the giant names interviewed are Bootsy Collins, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Flea and Wayne Shorter; two of Jaco’s …
Have old friends over for dinner to watch.
A whale of a tale.
Kurt Cobain’s first solo record – recently released 21 years after his 1994 suicide and paired with a suspect “documentary” film project of revisionist mythmaking and iconography – is a jumbled, scraping-barrel-bottom mess of an affair. It’s not to say that, for die-hard fans, there are not things to like about it. There are moments of, I’ll go so far as to say, genuine beauty. The opener “The Yodel Song” shows how easily Cobain could toss off a Nirvana-style melody without giving a second thought, and tunes like “The Happy Guitar” make you feel like, alone sometimes, Cobain genuinely just had a good time making music, even if – maybe especially if – there was no audience to intrude sans himself. And, yes, the acoustic take on “And I Love Her” and the instrumental “Letters To Frances” are sweet. But for every engaging moment (an epic “Do Re Mi,” a frequently bootlegged “Sappy” demo, the Melvins-ish “Reverb Experiment”) there’s a lot of grime. The scattered montages and audio collages, while interesting ephemera, are dated sonically and haven’t aged …
From their first appearance in 2010’s Despicable Me, the little banana-colored henchmen known as the Minions have instantly become favorites – of children and adults alike (present company included). Their presence in the two movies (including the 2013 sequel) made the movie even funnier and added a certain innocence and sweetness. These are simply entertaining and lovable characters. This past summer, the Minions’ story was told from the beginning in the box-office runaway smash hit, Minions. As the synopsis tells you: “evolving from single-celled yellow organisms at the dawn of time, Minions live to serve, but find themselves working for a continual series of unsuccessful masters, from T. Rex to Napoleon. Without a master to grovel for, the Minions fall into a deep depression. But one minion, Kevin, has a plan; accompanied by his pals Stuart and Bob, Kevin sets forth to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. Their search leads them to Scarlet Overkill, the world’s first-ever super-villainess.” (played hilariously by the always-delightful Sandra Bullock). Amongst the voice talents that …
Objectivity be damned; this is The Beatles we’re talking about. The single, most important cultural entity to happen in my lifetime; merely a rock and roll band who re-shaped traditions – musically and on a grander, far deeper social scale. But not to quickly digress, they also made the most memorable and beloved music in modern history. Two of them are now dead and they continue to live on as new, younger generations are finding them/finding out about them and how crucial they were and are, most importantly, musically. So here’s another repacking with a neat addition. The stripped down and wildly successful 1 collection (originally released in 2000) has now been remastered and reissued with a restored DVD/Bluray set of the band’s promo films – some actually shot when the Fabs were a going entity – to create 1+. The pictures are sharper than before; the sound is dynamic and, of course, the music is just as thrilling now as it was then. From the CD edition, you get all the singles that reached …
Going the distance, via a different route.
Read all about new Blu-rays and DVDs.
Amy Schumer and Bill Hader are a perfect match in the Schumer/Judd Apatow film, “Trainwreck.”
Bruce Campbell travels back in history to fight zombies. A documentary on this new Blu-ray tries to rewrite history, tainting an otherwise wonderful release.
Observations as Bond 24 goes down.