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Movie Review: The Bad Batch
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

The- Bad Batch Header

The Bad Batch
Written & Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, Jayda Fink
Annapurna Pictures | Neon Films
Rated R | 115 Minutes
Release Date: June 23rd, 2017

In 2014’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour showcased her unique style, blending genres while maintaining a minimalist approach. Her Iranian vampire/spaghetti western film earned international acclaim, but also garnered a lot of reviews uttering the phrase “style over substance.” In her latest film, The Bad Batch, she adheres to all of these traits, positive and negative, again. The Bad Batch is at times brutally violent, at times wonderfully poignant, and all together completely bizarre. It’s one of those films where it ends and you kind of just sit there pondering for a few seconds as the credits roll. What did I just watch? Did I love this movie or hate it? The one thing that sticks with me is what I wrote mid-film, “This is like if Mad max f*cked The Neon Demon.”

Spoilers below.

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Movie Review: Transformers: The Last Knight
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Transformers: The Last Knight feat Bumblebee

Transformers: The Last Knight
Director: Michael Bay
Screenwriters: Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan, Art Marcum
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Jerrod Carmichael, Jim Carter, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Omar Sy, Peter Cullen
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Rated PG| 149 Minutes
Release Date: June 21, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight continues the franchise’s long line of large-scale visuals, epic explosions, poorly written scripts, and lack of care for its own continuity. Even after four of these films, the new Transformers installment fails to learn from any of the previous lessons, and instead, chooses to double down (or should I say quadruples down) on them. So let’s not stand on ceremony and just say what we already know: Transformers: The Last Knight is just another two and half hours’ worth of explosion porn fest with a nonsensical script that has plenty of sexual overtones and characters that play to their racial stereotypes. Oh, and let’s not forget all those explosions and shouting matches. Check out my full review below.

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TV Review: Blood Drive 1.1 “The F…ing Cop”
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

Blood Drive 101-01

Blood Drive
Season 1 Episode 1: “The F…ing Cop”
Directed by David Straiton
Written by James Roland
Created by James Roland
Starring Alan Ritchson, Christina Ochoa, Thomas Dominique, Marama Corlett, Colin Cunningham, Andrew Hall, Darren Kent
FOX
Air Date: Wednesday, June 14th, 2017, 10pm

Midnight Grindhouse debuted Blood Drive Wednesday night on Syfy. With a story straight out of a cheap schlocky drive thru double feature, and promising splatter effects akin to Peter Jackson’s early filmography, James Roland’s Blood Drive offered something wholly different from what you’re used to in mid-week cable dramas. Cars with engines that devour human beings, heroes that curse, and all sorts of horror-themed “grindhouse” characters… Blood Drive has it all. The previews promised all sorts of “grindhouse” inspired baddies like cults, cannibals, monsters, and all the raunch you can throw in. Plot and acting are not what is important here. This show proudly attempts to be as in your face and graphically visceral as possible. I’m genuinely excited to see not if the show crosses the line, but how far past the line the show can go.

Spoilers below.

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Movie Review: Cars 3
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Cars 3

Cars 3
Director: Brian Fee
Screenwriters: Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, Mike Rich
Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Lea DeLaria
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Rated PG| 109 Minutes
Release Date: June 16, 2017

One of the things that continues to impress me about Pixar’s Cars franchise is its resiliency and heart. Though it is considered to be one of Pixar’s weakest franchises, it managed to become a trilogy. It may not resonate as much with fans as some other Pixar films do, but Cars has continually shown that it has what it takes to be great. Even if it that means it needed to take two “very safe” films to get there. So Cars 3 doesn’t take any huge risks, it takes an unconventional approach to possibly ending Lightning McQueen’s (Owen Wilson) story.

While that is a bit refreshing for the franchise, it does come with its own set of issues and concerns. All of it depends on how you look at it. Check out my full review below.

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Movie Review: 47 Meters Down
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

In 47 Meters Down, Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) get up close and personal with sharks while cage diving in Mexico

47 Meters Down
Director: Johannes Roberts
Screenwriter: Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera
Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine, Chris J. Johnson, Yani Gellman, Santiago Segura
Distributor: Entertainment Studios
Rated PG-13 | 85 Minutes
Release Date: June 16, 2017

The late Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert once said, “No good movie is too long, just as no bad movie is short enough.” By that measure, 47 Meters Down was the longest 85 minutes of my life. It’s precious time that I’ll never get back. It’s time I would have gladly spent stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic or at the dentist’s office getting holes drilled into every tooth in my head.

Co-written and directed by Johannes Roberts (Storage 24, The Other Side of the Door), 47 Meters Down is a horror-thriller starring Mandy Moore (This Is Us) and Claire Holt (The Vampire Diaries) as sisters who go looking for adventure and find it in a shark-diving excursion that goes horribly wrong.

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Book Review: Storied Bars Of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go To Drink By Delia Cabe
Olympus Athens   |  @   |  

Storied Bars Delia Cabe Header

Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go to Drink
Hardcover | Kindle
Written by Delia Cabe
The Countryman Press
Release Date: June 6th, 2017

Where did Dylan Thomas drink during the last day of his life?

What bar has seen the likes of Willa Cather, Allen Ginsberg, Dylan Thomas, and Jack Kerouac all within its walls (though not at the same time)?

Where can you get a “Serpent’s Nectar?”

New York City has always been a hub in the artistic world. Writers, artists, dancers, and actors congregate to “the city that never sleeps” as one of the cultural centers of the world. What Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go to Drink by Delia Cabe has gifted us with is part historical / part tour guide where readers and writers can immerse themselves in the places where words went to grow, both inside the book and inside the bars.

More below.

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Blu-ray Review: Disney’s Bambi
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

Bambi Blu-ray Header

Bambi
Signature Collection 2017 / Anniversary Edition
Blu-ray
Director: David Hand
Writers: Vernon Stallings, Melvin Shaw, Carl Fallberg, Chuck Couch, Ralph Wright
Cast: Hardy Albright, Peter Behn, Tim Davis, Donnie Dugan, Ann Gillis
Distributor: Disney Studios
Rated G | 70 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 6th, 2017

75 years ago, a young white tailed deer named Bambi frolicked into the hearts of America. Disney’s Bambi celebrates his diamond anniversary with a brand new anniversary edition Blu-ray from the Walt Disney Signature Collection that arrived in stores last week. The film introduced viewers to Bambi, his friends Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk, and shows the trials and tribulations of these woodland animals as they navigate childhood, love, and loss. The film features one of the most heart wrenching scenes in film history as Bambi’s mother is shot dead by a hunter. This scene was so impactful that the American Film Institute listed “man” as their #20 greatest villain in their 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains list. Bambi overcomes, and soon the animals grow up, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

Check out the special features below.

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Music Review: The Last Stand’s ‘This Is Real’
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

The Last Stand This Is Real Header

The Last Stand
This Is Real
CD | MP3
Label: Irish Voodoo Records
Release Date: June 9th, 2017

If you’re a fan of New York Hardcore, then you have probably heard the music of The Last Stand before now, perhaps without even realizing. Each of the members has been around the hardcore scene making headbanging music for well over 20 years. Lead singer Michael Scondotto was vocalist for Inhuman, and bassist Dion De Nardo, guitarist Stephen Della Croce and drummer Jimmy McCormack were all members of Shutdown. The Last Stand got together in 2010 and released their self titled record in 2011. This past Friday, June 9th, they released their latest record, This Is Real on Irish Voodoo Records on vinyl and CD. The album features 4 original songs as well as a couple of covers, and provides all the face smashing power one would expect from the genre.

More below.

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Movie Review: The Mummy (2017)
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Movie Review: The Mummy (2017) Sofia Boutella

The Mummy (2017)
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Writers: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Russell Crowe
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 107 Minutes
Release Date: June 9, 2017

“Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.”

If you’re a moviegoer in the year 2017, odds are you’re familiar with the concept of a “shared cinematic universe.” Whether it’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s The Avengers or the DC Extended Universe’s upcoming Justice League, we understand that these franchises are built on standalone stories set within the same continuity, leading to crossover events and team-up films.

The idea of a shared cinematic universe came into being over 70 years ago with the emergence of Universal Monsters. Following their popular silent films, 1923’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and 1925’s The Phantom of the Opera, Universal Studios began developing talkies based on other classic horror characters. 1931’s Dracula and Frankenstein got things started, followed by The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man (1941).

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Blu-ray Review: Beauty and The Beast
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

Beauty and the Beast Header Image

Beauty and the Beast
Blu-ray
Director: Bill Condon
Screenwriter: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Based on the original screenplay by Linda Woolverton
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson
Distributor: Disney Studios
Rated PG | 129 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 6th, 2017

Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast has already grossed close to $1.2 billion worldwide, and it debuted in theaters less than 3 months ago! The film received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. It somehow managed to retain the magic and aura of the 1991 animated Best Picture nominee (the first ever animated film to receive the honor), all the while breathing new wonder into the timeless story. Given 25+ years to review the original classic, the writers and Director Bill Condon covered up some of the continuity errors, and added a few beautiful new songs to mix alongside some of Disney’s most famous tunes like “Be Our Guest” and the titular number. Featuring a star-studded cast headlined by a radiant Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite films of 2017 thus far, as well as my 6-year old daughter’s, who loved every minute.

Check out the features below.

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