SDCC 2017: Brigsby Bear Bares His Heart To Hall H

Comic-Con 2017As much as Comic-Con likes to bring in the major studios to Hall H to show off footage and more for their upcoming blockbusters, there are also the smaller panels that put a highlight on other things. Brigsby Bear is one such thing. Here’s an upcoming indie film co-written by and starring Saturday Night Live‘s Kyle Mooney and produced by The Lonely Island. I’ve actually already seen the film and can say it’s a quirky comedy-drama with a lot of weirdness and heart. The panel for Brigsby Bear held onto that weirdness, as the Mooney and other cast and crew members went into how this film came about, following a presentation of the first 12 minutes of the film.

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SDCC 2017: First Look At Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling

Comic-Con 2017What better way to have fun at Comic-Con than by revisiting some old favorites. Thursday at SDCC featured a panel focused entirely on the 90s Nicktoon Rocko’s Modern Life. The show creator Joe Murray, along with the original voice cast, took the stage to discuss the show’s legacy. Additionally, the audience was treated to a first look at the upcoming TV special, Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling. It was a real treat, as I was always a big fan of Rocko and was happy to not only relive some memories but also get a look at what’s to come for my favorite wallaby.

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‘Valerian’ Packs An Incredible World Into One Big, Visual Rollercoaster (Movie Review)

About halfway through writer/director Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, my main thought was how I just wanted more of this. The film had not even concluded, but I had already bought so much into this sci-fi/fantasy world that I was ready to see further adventures of Valerian and Laureline. Fortunately, the film is based on a French comic from the 1960s with plenty of additional stories and Besson is a filmmaker full of imagination, with a deep investment in this series. That’s great news, as even when Valerian feels more like it’s just taking diversions for the sake of seeing more funky-looking creatures, this movie is a joy to watch.

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‘Dunkirk’ Spirals Upwards Into An Intense And Superb Experience (Movie Review)

In the time since seeing Dunkirk, writer/director Christopher Nolan’s tense World War II survival story, I’ve thought a lot about how essential the use of structure and time was to the film. Nolan played around with narrative structure in his early films such as Memento and Batman Begins. He used time as a primary narrative conceit in his previous film, Interstellar. Time is a theme that’s less talked about for the acclaimed filmmaker, compared to other noted elements in his films. For Dunkirk, time plays a critical role, as Hans Zimmer’s score literally functions as a ticking clock. Keeping structure in mind, it’s amazing how these two particular components combine to deliver such a precise film that deserves to be viewed on the biggest screen possible.
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Barry Lyndon, Twin Peaks, Personal Shopper & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in October 2017

This October, Stanley Kubrick’s breathtaking period epic Barry Lyndon will join the Criterion Collection in a new 4K restoration. Our edition will feature a host of supplements that explore how Kubrick and his team brought the eighteenth century to life with unprecedented achievements in cinematography and production design. Then, it is happening again: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, the centerpiece of David Lynch’s newly revived Twin Peaks saga, receives its first standalone Blu-ray release, featuring ninety minutes of deleted scenes and new interviews with members of the film’s cast and crew. And in time for Halloween: Vampyr, the hallucinatory horror masterpiece by Carl Theodor Dreyer, on Blu-ray for the very first time; The Lure, a flesh-eating mermaid musical hot off its theatrical run; and Personal Shopper, a genre-bending ghost story from Olivier Assayas that features the magnetic Kristen Stewart in her most mesmerizing performance to date.  And there’s more: Orson Welles’s towering Shakespeare adaptation Othello, in an edition featuring two versions of the movie, and now including Filming “Othello,” the great filmmaker’s last completed feature.

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Free Fire (Blu-ray Review)

I love seeing various action movies that show you two extremes. On the one side, you get a vintage John Woo flick like Hard Boiled, where Chow Yun-fat can equip himself with dual pistols and slide down a staircase banister while hitting plenty of bad guys. The other side leads something like one of my favorites, The Way of the Gun or the subject of this Blu-ray review, Free Fire, where people are terrible at shooting guns, regardless of distance and it’s a complicated process to actually put someone down for good. This action-comedy from director Ben Wheatley delivers on its simple premise, making for an incredibly entertaining ride through one sloppy shootout. While it came and went in theaters, Free Fire is now available on Blu-ray for all to see.

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Juice – 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Juice, one of the few notable “hood” movies to come out during a time when Spike Lee had made a name for himself and opened up a path for other directors to make films about black culture in LA and NY. Fittingly, Juice was written and directed by Lee’s frequent cinematographer at that point, Ernest R. Dickerson, who would go on to make many more features (Demon Knight) and become a regular mainstay on big television series, such as The Wire and The Walking Dead. While not as highly acclaimed, Juice joined films such as Boyz N the Hood and later on Menace II Society and also provided an early look at how charismatic and compelling Tupac Shakur was on the silver screen.

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Their Finest (Blu-ray Review)

Here’s a good little movie that many should check out. Despite plenty of praise coming out of a few film festivals and an eventual release that allowed the film to hold onto screens in arthouse theaters for a few months, Their Finest still only went so far at the box office. A bit of a shame, as the film is a solid period drama/romantic comedy that received strong reviews. That said, hopefully it will be found over time, especially since it has a connection to the Dunkirk evacuation, which is about to become much more of a known event to people outside of the U.K. With a film like this, which has a lighter touch, I could see a unique double feature coming out of it.

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Loneliness Found In ‘A Ghost Story’ (Movie Review)

Writing about A Ghost Story feels similar to deciphering the recent films from Terrence Malick. That may already sound like a nice comparison for this movie from writer/director David Lowery, but I’m getting more at the nature of these movies. How do you critique a mood? Sure, plenty of actors and filmmakers were involved in committing this story to the cinematic medium, but a careful analysis of a film so deliberate in its execution only allows for so much analysis when little time has passed after one screening. Were A Ghost Story to have a significant impact, it could be discussed more in years to come, with a better handle on what else was under the covers of this film. For now, I’ll just have to go into what I’ve initially gotten out of this atypical haunted house film.

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The Lost City of Z (Blu-ray Review)

Based on the look of this film, it would be no surprise to learn how difficult it was to make The Lost City of Z. I’m not speaking of just the shots of a wooden raft traveling down the Amazon River. No, it’s the look on the faces of these actors, which displays more than what makeup can accomplish. With echoes of David Lean and John Huston, writer/director James Gray (The Immigrant) certainly took on an ambitious project this time around, outshining his previous films in terms of scope. The result is a solid adventure story, divided into parts that explore just what it is that can drive someone to head into danger for the sake of possible discovery. Now the film is available on Blu-ray for all to see.

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Ugetsu – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Here’s a tale of love, family, and ambition set during a time of war. That would seemingly be the kind of film anyone would be able to relate to. I am admittedly less familiar with Kenji Mizoguchi, compared to other acclaimed Japanese filmmakers, but Ugetsu was a movie with a level of acclaim I could hardly avoid hearing about over the years. Winner of the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1953, this new release from The Criterion Collection provides an update from the DVD edition, allowing the film to look and sound better than ever, in addition to its presentation of an excellent archival documentary that goes over the life of Mizoguchi. Cinephiles will be happy to see this upgrade.


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Frank Capra’s LOST HORIZON Arrives on Blu-ray October 3 to Celebrate its 80th Anniversary

Celebrate the 80th anniversary of the lavishly produced Frank Capra classic, LOST HORIZON, based on the best-selling novel by James Hilton. Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt star in this unique journey to the enchanted paradise of Shangri-La, where time stands still. Now restored in 4K and featuring an additional minute of rarely seen footage long missing from the film, LOST HORIZON is a sumptuous experience for lifelong fans and newcomers alike. Continue on to learn more about this release.

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Staff Picks For 2017’s Best Films Of The Year So Far

We have reached the end of June, which means it may be fun to take a look at what we’ve really liked in the world of cinema so far this year. So the Why So Blu crew decided to put together their picks for the best films of the year so far, which once again range from superhero flicks to smaller indies. This set of eclectic lists reflects the range of films that have been released so far, with focus also still going towards what the rest of the year has to offer. Additionally, if you have anything to add as far as your own picks, feel free to leave those thoughts in the comments. Now, without further ado, let’s start off with our fearless leader.

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The Perks Of Being A ‘Spider-Man’ (Movie Review)

There’s a sequence in the very enjoyable Spider-Man: Homecoming where Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is in pursuit of a van and taking shortcuts through the backyards of a neighborhood. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off so clearly inspired the scene that director Jon Watts (Cop Car) even shows a clip from that film playing on a TV in one of the yards. Fun fact: ska punk band Save Ferris got its name from that 80s John Hughes classic. I only mention this because the fun of this whole sequence feels like the result of the unofficial “Save Spider-Man” project that has come from Sony teaming up with Marvel Studios to produce this movie.

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Cult of Chucky Trailer Is Here! Comes to Blu-ray This October

Fans of the world’s most demonic doll are in for another blood-spattered treat as Chucky continues his reign of terror behind the locked doors of an insane asylum in Cult of Chucky, coming to Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital and On Demand on October 3, 2017, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The most terrifying unrated chapter yet of the Child’s Play saga reunites franchise creators Don Mancini and David Kirschner with the iconic cast in a twisted tale of terror that will outstrip audiences’ wildest expectations.


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Hail Caesar In ‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’ (Movie Review)

I remember feeling fairly alone in my anticipation for 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The franchise had lain dormant since Tim Burton’s 2001 remake, and the idea of a prequel/reboot didn’t seem to build into genuine anticipation for many. Regardless, the film was a surprise hit, leading to the massive critical and financial success that was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Now there’s War for the Planet of the Apes, a strong third chapter in a series that takes organic turns as far as the overarching story and makes another incredible case for giving serious awards attention to Andy Serkis. That in mind, his motion-capture performance as Caesar is just one of the many things that have made this iteration of Planet of the Apes so successful.

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‘Despicable Me 3’ Finds The Right Zany Balance (Movie Review)

I’ve been somewhat harsh on Illumination Entertainment over the years. With no real affinity for minions, in particular, it’s been hard to jive with their Looney Tunes-inspired antics. It’s a shame, as I like the premise for the first Despicable Me and really would have liked to have taken to it. Well, perhaps I’ve been worn down or maybe Sing was the start of a new breed of Illumination films, as I enjoyed Despicable Me 3. It may not be trying as hard to hit certain emotional beats like the first two films, but perhaps that worked in its favor. The zany antics kept me smiling, there were new, catchy Pharrell songs to be heard and best of all, I was amused by the minions this time.

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‘Baby Driver’ And The Beats (Movie Review)

There was really no world where I wasn’t going to enjoy Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. As a filmmaker, Wright speaks a cinematic language that I quickly picked up back with Spaced and Shaun of the Dead. Like his other films, Baby Driver takes a central concept, strips other movies for parts, and builds a Frankenstein monster of a finished product that is so wonderful to watch it’s scary. In this case, we have a car chase/heist movie that also happens to be a musical. However, Baby Driver is not a musical in a traditional sense. Music informs the film in a way that allows for a great sense of rhythm to play throughout this fun ride.

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