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Friday, August 16, 2019

Underrated '89 - Kevin Maher

Kevin Maher is a writer-producer and the host of KEVIN GEEKS OUT, a live video variety show. You can see his video essays at

1989 saw the start of the Bush presidency and the demise of “7-Up Gold”. Mel Blanc died, and Jake Lloyd was born. Movie theaters were showing a number of franchise sequels and launches, but here are six films that didn’t get their due.

SONNY BOY (dir. Robert Martin Carroll)
Filmmakers like Jess Franco talk about combining grindhouse and art house, SONNY BOY delivers. The result is a polarizing cult film, which some viewers will inevitably call “difficult to watch.” But the rest of us will be thrilled to see weirdo character actors in starring roles: Paul L. Smith shines. Brad Dourif showcases an array of hairstyles over the film’s 20-year story. Plus, Sydney Lassick with a fake mustache.
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THE TALL GUY (dir. Mel Smith)
This British rom-com puts the “light” in delightful. THE TALL GUY is structured as a charming triptych, alternately focusing on West End revues, a love story and high-concept musical theater. (Director Paul Smith and screenwriter Richard Curtis were old pros of sketch comedy, so they do for ‘80s revues what 30 ROCK did for TV Sketch shows.) Plus, it’s Jeff “Brundlefly” Goldblum playing an actor playing the Elephant man in a stage musical.
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LEVIATHAN (dir. George P. Cosmatos)
The summer of ‘89 included a rash of undersea adventures. LEVIATHAN is like an Italian knock-off of THE ABYSS, copying bits of JAWS, ALIEN, and DIE HARD for good measure. This is by no means a “hidden gem waiting to be rediscovered” but a late ‘80s action movie that’s better than its reputation. The secret weapon is Ernie Hudson.
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Satire doesn’t deal in lot of laugh-out-loud moments, even more so when it’s British Satire. This critique of advertising is preachy, but bizarre. Plus, a superb performance by Richard E. Grant. For best results, go back in time and show this film to your impressionable teenage self.
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SKIN DEEP (dir. Black Edwards)
By 1989, Blake Edwards’ brand of comedy was an endangered species. (Not because of its dated sexual politics, but because of the gag-driven approach.) This was the second-to-last theatrical feature from the director of THE PINK PANTHER, VICTOR/VICTORIA and THE PARTY. Watching SKIN DEEP today, it’s refreshing to see the lack of ad-libs and lengthy improvisation. Here’s a filmmaker constructing comedic scenarios and letting them play out like a farcical Rube Goldberg machine, filled with a horny lothario, a hateful mother-in-law, zany car accidents, and a tough-talking shrink (played by choreographer Michael Kidd!)
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(Buy this poster here:
THE ‘BURBS (dir. Joe Dante)
It took me multiple viewings (over several years) to “get” THE ‘BURBS, the same way people require repetition to unlock THE BIG LEBOWSKI or Radiohead’s OK Computer. In 2016, Joe Dante screened it as a double-feature with IT’S A GIFT, and I understood how parts of THE ‘BURBS play like a W.C. Fields film.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Just The Discs - Episode 119 - "Odds & Ends" Vol. 1

In this new series, I take a big pile of discs I've been meaning to talk about on the show, but haven't necessarily had time to watch and run through each one briskly. Some labels discussed on this episode include Shout Factory, Scream Factory, MVD Entertainment, Mill Creek, Arbelos Films, Twilight Time and also - Scorpion Releasing, Disney Movie Club, and GarageHouse Pictures (all three of which have not gotten much air time thus far).

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Discs Covered on This Episode:
SPACE: 1999 - THE COMPLETE SERIES (Shout Factory)

SILENT HILL (Scream Factory)

THE MAFU CAGE (Scorpion Releasing)
20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (Disney Movie Club)


DOUBLE TEAM (Mill Creek)



FOES (GarageHouse Pictures)

WARLOCK (Twilight Time)



Monday, August 12, 2019

New Release Roundup for the week of August 13th, 2019

VICE SQUAD on Blu-ray (Scream Factory)

THE NEW KIDS on Blu-ray (Mill Creek)

BLACKMAIL on Blu-ray (Kino Lorber)

MURDER! on Blu-ray (Kino Lorber)

WAGON MASTER on Blu-ray (Warner Archive)

WHITE LINE FEVER on Blu-ray (Mill Creek)

TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI on Blu-ray (Kino Lorber)

PORT OF SHADOWS on Blu-ray (Kino Lorber)

GALAXY OF TERROR Steelbook Blu-ray (Scream Factory)

FORBIDDEN WORLD Steelbook Blu-ray (Scream Factory)

ENDLESS LOVE on Blu-ray (Shout Factory)

ROXANNE on Blu-ray (Mill Creek)

RADIOLAND MURDERS on Blu-ray (Universal)

FIERCE CREATURES on Blu-ray (Universal)

WAKING THE DEAD on Blu-ray (Universal)

MOONFLEET on Blu-ray (Warner Archive)

THE INLAND SEA on Blu-ray (Criterion Collection)