Streaming VOD Movie of the 2nd Week of 2020 : MANDY Shudder Amazon Prime

 

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

MANDY (2018)– Finally catching this 2018 released film courtesy of SHUDDER. And I have to say… stunning. A lurid and at times lucid nightmarish primary color tinged, cosmic fueled descent into the Maelstrom; a revenge flick that goes to damnation and beyond. Panos Cosmatos has created a singular vision of the places that wait beyond our reason, places horrid , and awe-inspiring, and unrelenting. And all we must offer up… is everything.

A stunning film by Cosmatos, fueled by a great score by (I have just found out) the late and uber talented Johann Johannsson (composer of one of the best scores of recent memory, SICARIO… he will be missed), and powered by transformative performances by all; but particularly by Nicholas Cage, who takes us into the maelstrom with him, into hearts of darkness.

Nicolas Cage has really been taking some rough roles, brutal roles recently. That will take much out of any actor, and he does it again here, but going further than anyone should have to, into places dark and demanding. And it is so great to see the legendary Bill Duke in a film, he just raises the bar of everything he is in, and does so here. Panos Cosmatos (the son of George Cosmatos who directed one of my favorite films, TOMBSTONE, also an iconic film, with revenge, pushing the wrong man too far, at its core conceit)  with only his second film, the first the equally magical realism imbued BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, has cemented himself for me, as a director to seek out, and to purchase his films when available.

And Kudos to producers Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah for helping champion these criminally underused (and in one case, seemingly blacklisted) visionaries, and working with them to get their films out to a wider audience again. MANDY is very much a gift, from a filmmaker who we have not heard from since 2010. Also very much looking forward to their collaboration with Richard Stanley.

Final thoughts on MANDY… Hypnotic and an experience, that is… compellingly watchable and re-watchable. It is a rabbit hole, and will suck you in. Highly recommended!

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

When you have viewed it courtesy of streaming, ‘tried before you buy’ so to speak, and are as impressed as I am, then I suggest buying on Bluray. However I would hold out until they release a steel-book or digi-book with special features to include commentary. The Bluray on the market now lacks any commentary or really notable special features, which I think is a big misstep, to release a bare-bones disc. These days I do not buy a disc, unless it is loaded with special feature to include a commentary track.

In the age of streaming you really need to step up your game with the special features to make the Bluray worth it. Here’s hoping a full fledged disk will be released soon, this film deserves it.

 

2019 Year in Review : Favorite TV Shows

2019 Year in review : Favorite TV Shows

I tried quite a few shows in 2019 UMBRELLA ACADEMY, LUCIFER, GOOD OMENS, THE WITCHER, BLACK MIRROR, GAME OF THRONES but my favorite TV shows, BY FAR, were the following:

 

THE TERROR 1st Season – One of the most grueling and terrifying and brilliant things I saw on TV in 2019

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

BODYGUARD 1st and only season- One of the best action/spy shows I’ve seen since SPOOKS and the first season of JACK RYAN.

THE GRAND TOUR – One of the worst mistakes TOP GEAR made was pissing these guys off and forcing them out. TOP GEAR has become an un-watched joke, and THE GRAND TOUR … simply fun and brilliant.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE Season 1- After THE TERROR, the 2nd most terrifying tv show I saw in 2019. And that one episode with the reveal of the hanging lady, is just horrible to think about. The more you think about that episode the more effed up it becomes, and the more you feel for that character. A brilliantly written show.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

LUKE CAGE Season 2- Speaking of a brilliantly written show, LUKE CAGE season 2 when you get past some cringe worthy scenes in the early episode ( I do not want to see Shades and Black Mariah kissing on each other, the less of that the better) but when you get past that bit of self indulgence, it really takes off and has a story that is more complex than people hitting each other. Which kinda is why I lost interest in the other Marvel/Netflix shows. It is the small moments where this series sings, like the scene of Cage and Rand just talking as they overlook Central Park. That is one of my favorite scenes, and not a punch in it, just people talking. And the Antagonists were so rich, no clear good, or clear evil, but people in varying degrees of pain. Add to that just the best ending/cliffhanger of any of the Marvel/Netflix shows. Really hope this comes to Bluray soon.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

MANDALORIAN Season 1 – Baby Yoda Rules! And the show is great, a nice back to basics western in space.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

THE BOYS Season 1 – Jaw Dropping, and one of the best examples of the adaptation being superior to the source material. Not a fan of THE BOYS comic, loved this show,

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

THE EXPANSE (Seasons 1-3) – I’ve praised this show often. It is the best scifi show currently being aired.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

 

PENNYWORTH – Only saw 3 episodes, that was all that was available for free, but what a 3 episodes. Phenomenal and fun and gripping.

 

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

WATCHMEN – Only saw the first episode, but what an episode. Had my doubts about this show, the first episode made me a believer.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

 

With an honorable mention to BABYLON 5 as a show I revisited in 2019. Currently on season 4. Holds up as one of the best shows of all time. Straczynski creating the first novel for TV.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

 

If you dug this list then please like, subscribe, and give the below Bonanza store some love:

Shop here for Today’s Deals!

Must own Bluray/DVD in the age of Streaming : THE QUEEN OF SPADES (1949)

https://cdn.cinematerial.com/p/500x/cyas1p6h/the-queen-of-spades-movie-cover.jpg?v=1456685350

QUEEN OF SPADES

Thorold Dickinson made 13, by all accounts , WELL RECEIVED FEATURE films in his career, most dealing to some degree with guilt, and the horrible vagaries of the human heart. The queen of spades is by all reports his masterpiece.

I have not seen most of those other films (exception being 1940s GASLIGHT another phenomenal Gothic, horror tinged period piece) , but I have seen his 1949 THE QUEEN OF SPADES… it is by any standards… a masterpiece. A visual feast, with haunting use of sound, to tell a tale of an officer grasping for riches and status, at any cost.

Anton Walbrook, as that central figure, delivers one of the great performances in cinema, as a man scraped raw by his own desire for… more. It is truly a brilliant film, a florid drama/fable, made gothic and horrific by the stunning visual flourishes and cinematography. The feature rich Kino Lorber/Studio Canal Bluray looks phenomenal and is a must own.

I’ve seen this film three times now, once to listen to the Nick Pinkerton commentary, and while I don’t like the commentary (can get a little droning, monotone and bloated and chaotic) the film itself, simply just gets better everytime.

A highly recommended film and Bluray to own in the age of streaming. Highest Recommendation!  Grade:  A/A+.

 

Get it here!

Streaming TV Series of the 1st Week of 2020 : Amazon Prime’s THE EXPANSE 4th Season

THE EXPANSE – So the 4th season of THE EXPANSE has dropped on Amazon Prime, and I said in a recent post having tried the first episode of the new season, I wasn’t loving it. This coming from someone who raved about the first 3 seasons of THE EXPANSE.

However, getting into episode 2 and later episodes of season 4, and the breakneck pace, and engrossing storyline, I’ve come to love kicks in, and it becomes the addictive show I’ve grown to acclaim. It also reminds me that THE EXPANSE has always been a slow burn of a show. The 1st season took a long time to get good, not really hitting its stride till the 2nd and 3rd seasons. And the 4th season is that in a nutshell, slow start, strong finish.

It is dangerous, this continued weak start of THE EXPANSE. These days with so many demands for a viewers time, the first episode really needs to stick the landing, as the saying goes you seldom get a 2nd chance, to make a first impression.

Not everyone made it through the weak first season, to see the amazing show it became. And likewise I’m sure they lost people with that weak first episode of the 4th season. But I can tell you, if you power thru you will be rewarded with an addictive, compelling season. Though not the biggest fan of ending on a cliffhanger, particularly when another season is not definite.

Final verdict: Slow start and some annoying characters aside, it remains the best SciFi show since FARSCAPE. Not as emotionally riveting and likable as FARSCAPE, but far more imaginative and complex and sophisticated in its world building. A very good show. Grade: B+.

Streaming TV Series of the 1st Week of 2020 and Quite Possibly the Year : NetFlix’s DRACULA

https://occ-0-465-472.1.nflxso.net/dnm/api/v6/6AYY37jfdO6hpXcMjf9Yu5cnmO0/AAAABZBxBccr341eawj1UA0hf34zikLVwUqCiYVDJ5JNY5nU_E3gOjpHytmLrJOIHolYFumHmyBwrgP2ZvHGsduQVULc4Bi2.jpg?r=058

Netflix’s DRACULA – I have been looking forward to this series ever since i saw the first teaser trailer a month or so ago. The series has finally dropped on Netflix, and I have to say… the first episode exceeds my expectations.

Smart. Lavish, Biting, Charming and Ironic and irreverant when it needs to be, and above all dripping with gothic athmosphere and horror, this adaptation of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA is off to a phenomenal start.

I’ve been underwhelmed by most of the new shows recently, 2nd season of JACK RYAN, WITCHER, even the 4th season of THE EXPANSE… not really wowing me yet, but DRACULA… yeah, I’m on board. Looking forward to upcoming episodes, and to see if the 3 episode mini-series sticks the landing.

Grade: A/A+.

2019 Favorite YouTube Channels and Channels that did and did not make it to 2020! Edition A-B!

Favorite Youtube Channels of 2019:

 

 

The above were some of my favorite channels, and with a few exceptions, are all still on my subscription list here in 2020.

Other channels in letters ‘A to B’ that I am subscribed to in 2020 are:

AARON PYNN (we do not have the same taste in films, but I like being introduced to films I would otherwise not be aware of or give a try. And being a physical media guy he has been helpful in 2019 in keeping me abreast of Dvd/Bluray sales), ADAM CELADIN (knife thrower), ALTER (some of the best short horror films), ALTERNA COMICS (really a fan of the sub $2 model this comic book company is providing, and they and Image comics $1 reprint books, I think are a big reason the big two offered $1 reprint books of their own), AMATEUR FILIES (one of the best Dvd/BluRay coverage channels), ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, AVANTGARDEVEGAN, AXANAR,  BADDAD320, BARBARIAN_KUNGFU, BARGAINHUNTERSTHRIFT, BATINTHESUN, BELLA’S TOY CHEST, BERNIE’S BOOTLEGS, BLADE HQ (helped get me into knife collecting in 2019), BLU RAY COLLECTOR, BLU-RAY BENN, BLURAY DAN, BRAVE WILDERNESS (one of our top 10 favorite channels), BUDGETBUGOUT.

 

Channels that have gone dark in 2020:

ANDY BORDERS

BATAVENGER