A fun adventure in the woods, just don't stay too long...
Two brothers go for a stroll in the woods only to find that their surroundings have turned grim and twisted. Over the Garden Wall is a fun, whimsical story for kids and a terrifying take on fairy tale adventures for adults. If you enjoy 14 plot twists a second interspersed with catchy songs and pants full of candy, I cannot recommend this cartoon miniseries enough.
When two middle-aged siblings stumble across a beautiful clifftop mansion for sale at a bargain price, they pool their money and quickly move into their new home. However, within a few nights, they begin to hear a woman crying every night at the same time. Rooms stay frigid cold, and flowers wilt upon arrival. The siblings begin to ask around town, and they soon find that their new house has a dark and twisted past. Unfortunately, the ghosts are the only ones interested in exposing these secrets. This spine-tingling ghost story will keep you guessing as the plot slowly unravels. This is the perfect film for a dark and stormy night, and a must-see for fans of classic horror.
Looking for a mystery series with longevity? LOOK NO FURTHER! Columbo is on the case! Featuring the ever heart-warming Peter Falk, the series follows the lovable Lt. Columbo - a man whose brilliance is often cloaked by his bumbling appearance. Each episode begins with the villain committing the "perfect" crime, only to have to desperately cover their tracks as Columbo takes the case. It's not the WHO that is compelling, but the HOW. How will they cover their mistakes? How will they react when the pressure's on? How will Columbo finally crack the case?
Showtimes Shameless follows the lives of the six Gallagher children and their comically-inept alcoholic father in South Side Chicago. The children, which range in age from toddler to high school dropout, find (and get) themselves into both devastating and comically outrageous situations that are rooted in common coming-of-age issues. The characters, each very different from each other, have the same self-sabotaging tendencies that make you consider the age-old debate of nature versus nurture. Throughout the series, the family has ups and downs, but one thing remains the same: no matter how ridiculous the situation they find themselves in, they always have each others backs.
This movie takes place several years after the popular TV series, and features all the original fabulous characters you've grown to love. The new voice actors were barely noticeable; you can hardly tell the difference. It is a great addition for anime fans who love the original Trigun series!
Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a well-reviewed grindhouse beat-'em-up from the director of the similarly grisly Bone Tomahawk. It features Vince Vaughn in the lead role in a return-to-form performance. Vaughn plays Bradley (never "Brad"), a taciturn tough guy turned family man who is drawn back into a life of crime after losing his job. Through a series of unfortunate turns, Bradley finds himself in prison, with his family under threat unless he agrees to assassinate an underworld figure in cell block 99. Over the course of the film, Vaughn draws the audience in by letting his imposing frame - and shaved head - do the talking. Supporting cast includes a hilariously vulgar Don Johnson and German film legend Udo Kier, who delivers one of the most stomach-churning threats in film history. A slow burn at first, this movie packs a punch. Destined for cult status.
Ed Wood tells the story of Hollywood's worst/most delusional/optimistic filmmaker. A desperate and determined outsider sticks to his guns despite his own lack of talent, the indifference of studio executives and the wavering loyalty of his loved ones. Squeezing every last ounce of value out of his friendship with washed-up Bela Lugosi, Wood sets out to make his most famous failure, Plan 9 from Outer Space. An early outing for the team of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, this film lacks a lot of the zany production design and over-the-top characterizations that the duo are known for. But the film is all the better for it. The relative subtlety with which the story is told allows it to be that much more personal and affecting. A career-best for both Depp and Burton, Ed Wood is definitely worth revisiting.
This movie exceeded my expectations given the overabundance of boring cartoons produced in the past few years. This movie was light-hearted and entertaining - and not just for kids! There's plenty of gross-out humor while still being appropriate for children. Characters were quirky yet relatable. This movie makes one believe in the power of friendship and the strong bonds we create as children, and it makes you feel like anything is possible!
Best film version yet of Murder on the Orient Express
Every film in this collection is worth owning. Three Act Tragedy is one of my favorite Agatha Christie mysteries and Hallowe'en Party is unexpectedly good as one of Christie's later books. The Clocks is just fun. But, although all of these films are good, the greatest in this series is its version of Murder on the Orient Express, starring David Suchet, Jessica Chastain, Toby Jones and Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville. This adaptation moves quickly, but allows each character their moment to shine. The phenomenal acting by all involved proves true the old adage: there are no small parts. This is my favorite version of one of my favorite books, and I've loaned it out to many fellow fans, who have all agreed: this is the film version to own of the classic mystery.
I've seen many interpretations of Agatha Christie's famous sleuth in TV and film. Kenneth Branagh played him for laughs. Peter Ustinov seemed lost and less shrewd than the character of the books. Albert Finney came close to the Hercule Poirot I pictured, but none can truly compare to the wonderful David Suchet. For over twenty years, Suchet played the Belgian detective like no one else has or ever will. He mastered the mannerisms, the accent and the ability to share some of Poirot's thoughts with the audience. Although some of the books adapted for this collection are not among my favorites, no real fan can fail to have Curtain in their collection. Poirot's last case is one of his best and reason alone to buy this set. I got teary watching it, knowing that the best Poirot of my lifetime had hung up his padded waistcoat and mustache.
A rare instance when the movie is better than the book
This adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Pale Horse was a marvelous surprise. Although it's more than twenty years old, the cinematography and staging made the movie feel very modern. And yet, the story is set in 1960s England. The movie captures the setting perfectly, from the hairstyles and clothes to the music in the background. The original novel was one of my least favorite Agatha Christie mysteries, with neither Poirot or Marple. Its plot of alleged witchcraft and targeted victims falling dead seems to combine Dame Christie's urge to modernize her plots with a fear of the future. However, the film version is exemplary. I was absolutely riveted even though I read the book.
Phillip K Dick's cautionary tale about government surveillance and drug abuse
Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly is less interested in telling a straightforward mystery than it is in making the viewer increasingly uncomfortable with every new nightmare scenario. The future is bleak, and the world is under constant government surveillance. Increased tensions and stoked fears lead to an outbreak in substance abuse. Keanu Reeves lives a relatively mundane life in suburbia. His two strung-out friends (played by the scene-chewing Robert Downey, Jr. and Rory Cochrane) are in a constant state of paranoia due to their drug abuse. It is revealed that Reeves remains close to these incompetent men because he is secretly an undercover cop investigating a drug ring. As the mystery unravels, Reeves finds it harder and harder to separate his dual identities. While Reeves battles his own addiction, reality itself becomes increasingly warped, leaving him questioning his own existence. This movie comes highly recommended for its amazing use of rotoscoping (a unique animated style that comes from hand-painting over every frame of live-action film) and its off the wall performances. It leaves the viewer questioning what kind of world we live in, where sometimes someone can be sacrificed without even knowing it.
Hellsing is a great anime with a mix of classic anime tropes and great supernatural horror! The main character, Hellsing, is, as you probably guessed, based off of the character of Dracula. Hellsing has great action and humor, and you will love all the characters and creatures. If you are looking for a good horror anime, Hellsing is right up your alley.
First, I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of Lev Grossman's book The Magicians. That's why I was pleasantly surprised to find myself instantly drawn into the SyFy Network's adaptation. The first season follows Quentin Coldwater and his introduction to magic - first at Brakebills University, and then in the mythical land of Fillory. Along the way he acquires a band of friends, all of whom are "Magicians" like him. As many people have noted, the plot is a combination of Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia (on purpose, I think). But don't be fooled - these magicians are as jaded as they come. And the series is definitely NOT for kids. If you enjoy awesome fantasy combined with a dark and twisted sense of humor, this show is for you.
Scott Pilgrim is not a particularly great guy. He's aloof, irresponsible, and doesn't treat his girlfriend with the respect she deserves. But when seven evil exes show up to challenge his love for the enigmatic and alluring Ramona Flowers, you can't help but be swept up in rooting for him to succeed. This film is packed with delightful visuals and tropes any fan of comics or video games will recognize, and it is simply a joy to watch. Adapted by Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver fame), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is an excellent representation of how his sharp filmmaking injects an underlying empathy to all of the larger-than-life characters on screen. Everything that happens in Scott's world is heightened and colorful, and the characters are exaggerated versions of people you know in real life. Ultimately, it's a movie about the relationships young people have while they're trying to find themselves, and it has so much fun telling you its story that you'll have fun too.
Bump your number one action movie down a notch, because nothing compares to this intense action thriller. With a gritty surprise after each turn, there's no doubt you will be on the edge of your seat. It all takes place in one apartment building, using only a handful of sets. The cinematography and fight scenes are THE BEST I have ever seen.
Employing three telescoping timelines (one week, one day, and one hour), Christopher Nolan tells the tale of 400,000 British soldiers marooned in enemy territory and the Herculean efforts to bring them home. By expanding his focus beyond a single character's point-of-view, Nolan is able to convey the scope and scale of the Dunkirk evacuation. By combining his talents employing unconventional story structure with his most human subject matter yet, Nolan crafts a tale that exceeds his Dark Knight trilogy or Inception. Simply put, Nolan's finest work yet.
Blade Runner 2049 benefits greatly from the fresh perspective of Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve. Villeneuve's eye for stunning visuals - as demonstrated in award-winning films like Arrival and Sicario - is in full effect here, bringing new elements to this iconic setting. While we still spend plenty of time in the sprawling neon-soaked slums of future Los Angeles, the story also takes us to new locales - including the massive garbage dump once known as San Diego and an abandoned, ghostly Las Vegas. Just like the visuals, the soundtrack screams "Blade Runner, but more so," updating Vangelis' original score with the Zimmerian "BWAMs" we know and love (or at least learned to live with). If you loved the original, this sequel will feel like coming home again.
Inspired by Douglas Adams' novels, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency might be a series you're familiar with. The novels were adapted by BBC America in a "not exactly by the book" kind of way. The only character truly from the books in this new adaptation is Dirk himself, played by the ever hysterical Samuel Barnett. The first season starts with a new character named Todd (played by Elijah Wood) and follows him as he is pulled into Dirk's crazy mysteries as his new (albeit unenthusiastic) assistant. The show quickly becomes a wacky buddy comedy full of weird characters, unexpected plots and a mystery so strange you'd be frustrated by it if it wasn't so hilarious. Centered around the main theme that "all things are connected", this show takes that common mantra to a whole new level. Prepare to binge two seasons of shark-cats, rowdy punks, time travel, assassins, and giant purple people eaters.
This movie takes place over the course of one night, and mostly within a restaurant owned by two brothers (played by Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub). The brothers are Italian immigrants trying to bring their love of food to America. So far, their restaurant is not performing very well. A friend / business owner recommends that they use all their remaining capital to host one large event, in the hopes this will draw people to the restaurant. Shalhoub is particularly charming as Primo, the master chef at the helm. Primo wants to be able to create food for people to enjoy on a deep, spiritual level. His brother, Secondo, wants him to make food to appease customers so they can make money. Be prepared to crave some fine Italian dining after watching this movie.