Classics and Other Films on DVD (Apr. 14, 2014)

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Published on: April 14, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Badlands

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: [VIDEO ESSAY] Terrence Malick’s self-penned feature debut is a haunting road movie pitched in ‘50s Americana. The film’s razor-sharp tone of poetic irony is unique. Its inquisitive mood and regard for natural imagery suggest a childish quest for a utopia that already exists but somehow goes unrecognized.

Bang The Drum Slowly

Sarah D Bunting @ Tomato Nation

The Bold and Brave

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

  • Excerpt: Even if The Bold and the Brave might not be good enough to be accorded classic status, it’s worth seeing as a high point in a very long career. In the best of his performances, Mickey Rooney conveyed his own experiences as someone who knew well both the pinnacle of success and the depth of failure.

Cairo Road

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: A worthy deep cut from the archives of British crime cinema.

Cry Danger

Stacia Kissick Jones @ ClassicFlix

The Death of Maria Malibran

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Eika Katappa

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Happy Mother’s Day, Love George

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: The lone feature film directed by TV star Darren McGavin, Happy Mother’s Day, Love George is something of a lost, unpolished gem amidst the enormous panoply of ‘70s horror cinema.

The Immortal Story

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

  • Excerpt: Clocking in at barely an hour, Orson Welles made the film for French television, and it was intended to be part of a longer anthology of Dinesen adaptations…What remains, then, is a short curiosity in the great director’s canon, far from his best work and possibly the most dispassionate movie he ever directed.

Impact

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Man in the Dark

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Paid

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Run Lola Run

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Werid Movies

  • Excerpt: Stylized within a heartbeat of its life, ‘Lola’ is as proudly and defiantly artificial as Franka Potente’s Strawberry-Shortcake-with-her-head-on-fire dye job.

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Apr. 7, 2014)

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Published on: April 7, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Airplane!

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Throwing non-stop jokes, gags, and snarky movie references at the wall proved a surefire method for getting humor to stick, slip, and split wide-open.

Badlands

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Terrence Malick’s self-penned feature debut is a haunting road movie pitched in ‘50s Americana. The film’s razor-sharp tone of poetic irony is unique. Its inquisitive mood and regard for natural imagery suggest a childish quest for a utopia that already exists but somehow goes unrecognized.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: It plays like a pulp noir thriller by way of a road movie of the damned, marinated in mescal and left to rot in the desert sun.

Capital

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Emperoro’s Naked Army Marches On

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The Expedition (1962)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

Girl Shy

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Heathers

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: Even seen this far on, when its faces have become familiar, its catchphrases iconic, its cynicism marketable, and its synthed-up music time-capsule comical, Heathers still pulses with the visceral thrill of getting away with something — both on- and off-screen.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: Lon Chaney created a lot of twisted wretches, vengeful villains, and criminal masterminds, but Quasimodo remains his most sympathetic screen character. He gives a big, broad performance befitting the film and the character, a simple creature with the look and strength of a beast and the innocence and loyalty of a child.

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Mar. 31, 2014)

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Published on: March 31, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

The Amityville Horror

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: Delapidated.

Black Devil Doll from Hell

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: All this incompetence would be intolerable, if the core idea of a supernatural rapist who looks like Rick James turned into a ventriloquist’s dummy wasn’t so inherently bizarre and ludicrous… you keep on watching not because it’s entertaining, but out of awe that something like this even exists.

Company Limited

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Coward (1965)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Elephant God

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

An Enemy of the People (1989)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Home and The World (1984)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

L’ Immortelle

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

The Lady in Question

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Vidor and screenwriter Lewis Meltzer have fun with the story, including allowing for B-stories for some of the more colourful side characters. It’s not the best work of anyone involved, not by a mile, but it’s still funny and sappy and enjoyable in all the right ways.

Leave Her to Heaven

Craig Skinner @ Film Divider

The Miracle Woman

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: The 1931 drama The Miracle Woman is the kind of movie that few folks besides Frank Capra could pull off. It’s a film that manages to simultaneously be a sincere portrayal of faith while maintaining a healthy sceptical cynicism in regards to human nature.

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

Stacia Kissick Jones @ Spectrum Culture Online

Repo Man

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

  • Excerpt: The repo men are a little bit like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, and Cox’s film has its roots in the western as much as anything else, even if there is some rejection of the tradition…

Slumber Party Massacre

Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat

Something to Live For

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Tales from the Quadead Zone

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: [Chester Turner's] works aren’t outsider art—they’re outsider schlock. But they are uniquely his, and, unpolished as they might be, there is always something endearing about singular, sincere incompetence.

Tess

Danny King @ The Film Stage

Universidad Criterion – Persona

Mario Alegre @ Primera Hora

Universidad Criterion – The Freshman

Mario Alegre @ Primera Hora

Zombies of Mora Tau

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: One of the bright spots in the generally sparse and dismal ranks of ‘50s American horror films, and a singular little by-product, a starkly atmospheric, expressionistic morality play set in an entirely psychological Africa.

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Mar. 24, 2014)

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Published on: March 24, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Big City (Mahanagar)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Branches of the Tree

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

A Brief History of Time

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

  • Excerpt: Based on Stephen Hawking’s book of the same name, as well as his similarly titled memoir A Brief History, Morris’ film is a concise and fascinating biography of the brilliant astrophysicist that engages with the man’s life by accepting that the product of his work is as essential to his story as any of the life events that led to him becoming who he is.

Foreign Correspondent

Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder

  • Excerpt: …this is a proto-action film, a forerunner of the type of blockbuster that rules the summer box office today.

The Lady from Shanghai

Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder

  • Excerpt: Welles acknowledges the story makes little sense in the bizarre, unrealistic way he frames character actors like Glenn Anders, Ted de Corsia and Everett Sloane (as Hayworth’s rich, crippled husband), all enlarged in the foreground like some Jim Steranko comic book panel.

The Long Day Closes

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: This remembrance of 1955 Liverpool has been recreated in a studio, where Davies’ control has enabled an idealized recreation of his past, designed and art directed to a perfection possible only through the glow of memory.

The Lower Depths

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Pete Walker: Two Feasts of Flesh

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

The Sandpiper

Stacia Kissick Jones @ Spectrum Culture Online

Sikkim

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Straight-to-Video Horror Masterpieces of the 1980s

Anton Bitel @ Grolsch FilmWorks

The Swimmer

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Tess

Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder

  • Excerpt: Though, on the surface, among the most genteel of Polanski’s films, TESS is among the most spiritually violent of his oeuvre if one really thinks about it.

What Price Hollywood?

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: What really makes What Price Hollywood? sustainable, however, is that it manages to have its cake and eat it, too. Like the best behind-the-scenes exposés, Cukor’s film loves and hates its subject. He subverts the emerging tropes even while revelling in them.

Yesterday Girl

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Mar. 17, 2014)

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Published on: March 17, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Cat People (1982)

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: Calling this a remake isn’t really accurate, even with a couple of notable homages to the original film. … It still equates sex with the animal inside, but along with the fear of unleashing that force is the exhilaration and freedom it brings.

The Chess Players (1977)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Distant Thunder

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Drums Along the Mohawk

Matthew Lucas @ From the Front Row

  • Excerpt: While Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz are often regarded as the standard bearers of Technicolor photography, it’s hard to fathom why Drums Along the Mohawk isn’t mentioned right alongside them. Here is a film from a man who would give us the sweeping Monument Valley vistas of The Searchers 17 years later, flexing his considerable Technicolor muscles for the time, and the results are absolutely stunning.

Eden is West

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Epic of Everest

James Marsh @ Twitch

Frankenstein Created Woman

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: Frankenstein Created Woman plays less like a classic Frankenstein tale than a ghost story or possession horror, with the dead driving the living to carrying out his vengeance.

Invictus

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The Jungle Book

Matthew Lucas @ From the Front Row

  • Excerpt: It has become something of a classic thanks to its catchy Sherman brothers songs like”Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You,” but seeing it again after all these years, I was surprised just how uneventful it was.

The Lower Depths

Dona Levi @ FilmSnobbery

Man in the Dark

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: This 1953 production is a true oddity. Not only is it the only 3D film noir, it beat “House of Wax” to the theaters (by two days!) to become the first 3D feature released by one of the major studios.

Night Train to Terror

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: The idea is this: take three el-cheapo horror movies that no one wants to distribute, cut two-thirds of the exposition out of them (leaving just the “good parts” behind), write a wraparound premise about God and Satan watching these stories on a train as they debate the fate of their protagonists, and—what the hell—the MTV is popular with the kids now, so let’s spread a music video throughout the movie, too.

Regeneration (1915)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Salome (1972)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Trans-Europe-Express

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: [Alain Robbe-Grillet] directed ten features in a career that spanned over 40 years and Trans-Europ-Express (Kino / Redemption, Blu-ray, DVD), a lighthearted play with spy movies, erotica, and storytelling from 1966, was his most popular success and most audience-friendly production.

Vera

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: When “Vera”‘s imagery is on, it’s mind-meltingly sublime, but there are too many times when the CGI isn’t up to the tasks Athié sets for it. The movie serves as a reminder of why you should always shell out the big bucks for the top-shelf peyote, and not save a few pesos buying the shriveled-up buttons on sale for half off.

The Visitor

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: The Visitor (Drafthouse, Blu-ray, DVD), a 1979 Italian giallo-esque supernatural horror with an American cast and a former Fellini assistant taking the directorial reigns with more imagination than storytelling discipline, is not the first Exorcist knock-off to come out of the Italian genre factory. It may, however, be the least coherent.

What’s Up Doc?

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Barbara Streisand takes over the feminine human incarnation of Bugs Bunny’s free-spirited cartoon character in Peter Bogdanovich’s enthusiastic homage to the screwball comedy.

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Mar. 10, 2014)

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Published on: March 10, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

After Live

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Dark Habits

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Five Fingers

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Five Fingers is a solid spy thriller that starts off slow, but it builds tension and steam as the story progresses. Based on a true story, Five Fingers stars James Mason as a man working for the British ambassador in Turkey during World War II who sold diplomatic secrets to the Nazis.

For Ever Mozart

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Get On The Bus

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

The Long Good friday

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Mephisto

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Soft Spoken Germans / Hard Silent Yanks

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

  • Excerpt: Well if my Mom only knew I was writing about vintage erotic movies, she would probably say something to the effect that I should be writing about more high-minded cinema, and then laugh about it with her friends. of course I could remind her that she got me out of high school to attend the advanced critics’ screening of Midnight Cowboy, and it was a slippery slope from that point on.

Sunset Boulevard

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Billy Wilder’s deft weaving of gothic elements, not the least of which is Nora’s decrepit mansion, casts a spell from which Joe is unable to break free. He, like the audience, is stuck in a frightful place awaiting an equally terrible fate.

The Year of the Cannibals

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Mar. 3, 2014)

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Published on: March 3, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Airplane!

Dustin Freeley @ MoviesAboutGladiators.com

Battle of the Japan Sea

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: Sweeping in scope but essayed essentially as a series of interlocked vignettes held together by Toshiro Mifune’s star presence, Battle of the Japan Sea is an awkward but intermittently strong film that seeks to sustain a simultaneously grand, but also nuanced approach to the subject matter: for a film about a great national victory, this is a surprisingly thoughtful, restrained work.

Big Wednesday

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: If the filmmaker lurches into sentimentality during brief voice-over philosophizing about God and where the wind comes from, it’s a forgivable affectation that honors a personal belief-system authentic to the surf culture of the era.

Clueless

Dustin Freeley @ MoviesAboutGladiators.com

The Long Goodbye

Matthew McKernan @ FilmWhinge

  • Excerpt: Robert Altman’s odd, modern and much misunderstood The Long Goodbye has been getting a lot of attention lately, presumably because of a re-release on DVD and Blu-ray, which got me wondering, “Is it not only the best adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel, but one of the greatest films ever made?”

Michael Collins

Matthew McKernan @ FilmWhinge

  • Excerpt: By an odd coincidence, I watched Braveheart on the same day as Michael Collins, which offered, by way of contrast, a useful insight into why Neil Jordan’s influential biopic of one of the heroes of Ireland’s fight for independence just doesn’t work.

Napoleon (1927)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Night of Generals

Roderick Heath @ Ferdy on Films

  • Excerpt: Peter O’Toole is ferocious in The Night of the Generals, a fascinating and very neglected film, one of the most singular by-products of the era’s tumultuous screen culture. Produced on a lavish scale by Sam Spiegel, who had fostered O’Toole’s stardom in producing Lawrence, it’s a big-budget war movie with scarcely any combat. Rather, it’s essentially military noir, combining an early variation on the serial killer hunt motif with a typically ’60s fascination for antiheroic and antiauthoritarian narratives.

Salvatore Giuliano

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Salvatore Giuliano influenced directors like Gillo Pontecorvo, Glauber Rocha, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese. It is truly a seminal film whose innovative cinematic inventions breed insight into a complicated cultural reality splintered into many contentious factions.

The Seven-Ups

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: The Seven-Ups isn’t quite a classic, but it stands on its own two feet as a gritty drama of the period, and after an awkward first half-hour begins to hum.

Something Evil

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: Young Steven Spielberg’s direction of this early telemovie chiller, as in immediate predecessor Duel, certainly looks and feels cinematic, not particularly hampered by a more visually and conceptually limited format and quietly ebullient in technique.

Strange Deception

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Feb. 24, 2014)

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Published on: February 24, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

3 Women

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: Tucked away on the long stretch of nowhere between “Persona” (1966) and “Lost Highway” (1997) lies 3 Women, the 1970s iteration of cinema’s recurring dream about sliding identities.

Alexander Nevsky

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Being John Malkovich

Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]

The Birds

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: After 50 year, it just doesn’t fly

City of Pirates

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The Crimson Kimono

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Samuel Fuller’s 1959 hardboiled crime drama “The Crimson Kimono” tackles expected subjects like sex and murder, but as part of a larger narrative about race and the basic connection between human beings. In this case, a Japanese American police detective played by James Shigeta falling in love with the white witness Victoria Shaw, and him having to learn to stop worry about the prejudicial monsters he imagines under the bed and allow his passions to catch fire.

Foreign Correspondent

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

  • Excerpt: It’s worth noting that Hitchcock actually made the movie for an American studio, and he considered it the first where he got to express himself fully. It’s long been held that Hollywood was ahead of the curve in working to convince Americans of our need to stand with our European allies in World War II, and there is perhaps no more irrefutable example of that than “Foreign Correspondent”.

Ghostbusters

Roderick Heath @ Ferdy on Films

  • Excerpt: The business of commercialism as the new inescapable paradigm in the go-go ’80s is a key conceit in Ghostbusters, echoing outwards into life, as the boys’ company logo is also the film’s advertising image and the idea of paranormal battle as just another home service industry gave the film’s inimitably bouncy theme tune, by Ray Parker Jr, its refrain.

Godzilla vs. Biollante

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Bill Weber @ Slant

The Loving Story

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

RoboCop (1987)

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

RoboCop 2

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

RoboCop 3

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

Teeth

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: Writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein chooses to play the concept (mostly) as a straight horror movie. Since the other possibility would be to go for a horror/comedy hybrid that would inevitably degenerate into juvenile genitalia jokes, his choice seems like it should be the correct one; but based on the results here, I’m not so sure this material wouldn’t have played better with more icky genital wackiness…

Titus

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Julie Taymor’s extravagant production of “Titus”, one of Shakespeare’s more obscure plays, stands some fifteen years on as a singular creation. It is audacious and colorful and brilliantly realized.

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Feb. 17, 2014)

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Published on: February 17, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

A Chorus Line

Dusty Somers @ Cinema Sentries

Darkman

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: It’s a little shaggy when compared to his Spider-Man movies, more in line with the anything-goes approach of Army of Darkness, endearingly sloppy with details and filled with invention flourishes and a film-lover’s fun when it comes to playing with genre conventions.

The Epic of Everest

Dusty Somers @ World Cinema Paradise

Fantasia

Josh Spiegel @ Sound on Sight

Fantasia 2000

Josh Spiegel @ Sound on Sight

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: There’s an admirable modernity amidst the old-fashioned elegance of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), a romantic ghost story with a strong-willed young widow and the salty but gentlemanly spirit of a sea captain.

The Jungle Book

Josh Spiegel @ Sound on Sight

The Legend of Suram Fortress

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: …like flipping through a beautiful old illustrated fairy tale storybook written in a language we don’t understand.

The Long Day Closes

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

  • Excerpt: To describe The Long Day Closes is to try to summarize the plotless. Davies’ film recreates his childhood growing up in 1950s Liverpool. It’s a string of anecdotes filtered through memory.

Many Wars Ago

Dusty Somers @ World Cinema Paradise

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Mamet’s script could almost be divided in half. There is the stuff leading up to the murder, and then the aftermath of the crime and what happens when these two volatile people are stuck with each other with no one to come in between.

Reflections in a Golden Eye

Carson Lund @ Are the Hills Going to March Off?

  • Excerpt: Framed in widescreen, obscured by a great deal of shadow or forest haze, and scored to a creeping, tension-filled medley of flutes, clarinets, strings, and glockenspiels by Toshirô Mayuzumi (the composer for several key films by Mizoguchi, Oshima, and Imamura), Reflections drifts along like a dream, with many muggy lulls punctuated by sudden bursts of heightened emotion.

Rififi

Dusty Somers @ Blogcritics

Tomorrow Night

Edwin Davies @ A Mighty Fine Blog

  • Excerpt: In the end, Tomorrow Night winds up feeling like a series of arbitrary, off-kilter events which happen to a collection of grotesques. That’d be fine if the film itself was, on average, pretty funny, and while it does have some moments that are really, really amusing, it lacks either the comedic consistency or the genuine warmth to get away with how weird and off-putting a lot of it is.

Toy Story

Josh Spiegel @ Sound on Sight

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Feb. 10, 2014)

Comments: No Comments
Published on: February 10, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Black Cat, White Cat

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: …the kind of script Leonard Elmore might have written if he’s been born a Bosnian gypsy.

Black Rain

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Man in the Dark 3D

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: An entertaining B-grade noir, Man in the Dark may have started off as a gimmick picture to capitalize on 3D, but the 1953 thriller holds up as a sometimes strange, fast-moving crime narrative.

Man of Iron

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The Naked Jungle

Roderick Heath @ Ferdy on Films

  • Excerpt: The Naked Jungle is, for most of its length, squarely and as unabashedly as you could get in the ’50s, about sex.

Passing Notes…On Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets

Carson Lund @ In Review Online

  • Excerpt: If The Big Shave, Scorsese’s microbudget short film from 1967, can be said to foreground the director’s defining concerns in miniature, can we say that Mean Streets lays a more comprehensive roadmap for the future, and if so, in what ways?

The Saragossa Manuscript

Donald Levit @ R

Sex Hunter

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Terror of Mechagodzilla

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Feb. 3, 2014)

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Published on: February 3, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

The Black Swan

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: They set sail against Maxfield Parish skylines and battle in a riot of indigos and royal blues and crimson reds with flourishes of gold.

Call of the Wild

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: he 1935 screen adaptation Call of the Wild, the first sound version of the adventure, makes Buck a supporting character in the human story of Jack Thornton, a brash, cheerful miner who begins the film by gambling his entire fortune away in a saloon and sets out with an old buddy to start again, this time with a map to an unclaimed mine that may or may not be reliable.

Cat People (1982)

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: Alan Ormsby’s screenplay doesn’t just update the story, it reimagines it with a backstory mythology that is both more literal and more dreamlike than the original and Schrader paints it with a palette of old world atmosphere and modern, unreal colors.

Cry of the City

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: Imagery and style aside, what makes this such classic noir is the world of corruption and betrayal and desperation.

Fearless

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews

  • Excerpt: The simple tale of how a high school senior spent one glorious spring day playing hooky after faking an illness. It doesn’t sound like a saga destined for greatness, but Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has become iconic.

The General

Phil Concannon @ Little White Lies

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

Just a little… funny. Dr. Strangelove on its 50th anniversary.

Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix

Khartoum

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: Basil Dearden is no epic director (the grandiose sweep of the rationed spectacle is courtesy of second unit director and legendary stuntman Yakima Cunutt) but he plays the game of wills and wiles with a nice understanding of imperialist realpolitic maneuvering.

The Killing Fields

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: It’s the first feature directed by Roland Joffe, who came from TV and stage, and he shoots the drama with an unforced realism, lent a terrible grace by the handsome images and smooth, unobtrusive long takes of cinematographer Chris Menges …

Nurse Girl Dorm: Sticky Fingers

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Rififi

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

The Sack of Rome

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Sunrise

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: A deliriously romantic fable on a magnificent scale, F.W. Murnau’s 1927 Sunrise is a story of reconciliation and renewal and a Utopian vision of paradise lost and regained.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: After 40 years, the buzz still has bite.

La Vie de Boheme

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

  • Excerpt: Kaurismäki has a good time with the classic story, infusing it with his own kooky sense of humor while also having fun with the conventions of nineteenth-century dramatic novels.

Zulu

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: You could argue that it’s something of a flag-waiver but Zulu is not about triumph. It’s about survival and luck, about arrogance and the cost of colonialism and occupation.

Recent Home Video Releases

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Jan. 27, 2014)

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Published on: January 27, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Recent Home Video Releases

I Used to Be Darker

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Co-writer and director Matt Porterfield has a keen eye for behavior, and he peppers his movie with lots of insightful moments. The only downside is they never really add up to a complete something.

Other Reviews from 2011 and earlier

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Jan. 20, 2014)

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Published on: January 20, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Recent Home Video Releases

Barbara

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Hell Baby

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Other Reviews from 2011 and earlier

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Jan. 13, 2014)

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Published on: January 13, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Recent Home Video Releases

Argo: Extended Edition

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: Affleck adds about nine minutes of footage to the film, almost all of it dealing with Tony Mendez’s family life…. The additions fill out the character of Tony Mendez and what’s on the line for him personally as he undertakes yet another covert mission.

Byzantium

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: Byzantium is rich with metaphor and sexual politics, almost overwhelmingly so. It’s a Gothic tale with a twist of conspiracy and a radically different take on vampirism as ancient earth force tightly controlled by a male cabal who treat the transformation like a birthright.

Don Jon

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Insidious: Chapter 2

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

The Sound of Music Live!

Phil Hall @ Film Threat

  • Excerpt: You’ll want to “climb ev’ry mountain” to get away from this mess!

Spinning Discs: In With the New

Bob Cashill @ Popdose.com

  • Excerpt: Reviews of new DVDs and Blu-rays.

Static – 3D

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Upside Down

Norm Schrager @ Meet In the Lobby

  • Excerpt: …takes on the genre with the swoony rush and sloppiness of a lovesick preteen.

Other Reviews from 2011 and earlier

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Jan. 6, 2014)

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Published on: January 6, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Recent Home Video Releases

Elysium

Nick Hartel @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Elysium is a film that will hopefully endure as a return to classic sci-fi form, not an a-level choice, but far above the countless genre entries that have come and been forgotten.

Fruitvale Station

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: A remarkable debut feature from writer/director Ryan Coolger, the based-on-true-events docudrama Fruitvale Station is a real eye-opener, turning the spotlight on a horrible tragedy and unnecessary death that touches on a lot of difficult topics that relate to our times, particularly given the ongoing debate about “post-racial” America.

Jayne Mansfield’s Car

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: When I worked at an indie video store some time ago, a customer once told me, “The more famous people in a movie you’ve never heard of, the less chance it has to be good.” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jane Mansfield’s Car, actor Billy Bob Thornton’s return to directing.

Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear

Brent McKnight @ Beyond Hollywood

  • Excerpt: Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear is straight up, badass action that brings to mind Chuck Norris in his prime.

Post Tenebras Lux

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: It unmistakably gets under the skin, it’s most unnerving achievement being creating that exact nagging self-doubt, causing me to fret over whatever it was that maybe I missed. One could almost call it a Mexican Upstream Color, a movie that fascinates and somehow entertains, all the while glossing over the emptiness of the exercise.

Riddick

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Other Reviews from 2011 and earlier

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Dec. 30, 2013)

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Published on: December 30, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Recent Home Video Releases

The Berlin File

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

The Firefox Gift Guide for Cinephiles

Peter Gutierrez @ Firefox News

Other Reviews from 2012 and earlier

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Dec. 23, 2013)

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Published on: December 23, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Recent Home Video Releases

Elysium

Phil Villarreal @ COED.com

JFK: A New World Order

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Kick-Ass 2

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

The Lone Ranger

Josh Spiegel @ Sound on Sight

Standing Up

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Toad Road

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Other Reviews from 2011 and earlier

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Dec. 16, 2013)

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Published on: December 16, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Recent Home Video Releases

Berberian Sound Studio

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: This twisty psychological horror yarn from writer/director Peter Strickland is the best kind, one that is open to many interpretations but can be enjoyed on its own creepy and insinuating surface.

Hannah Arendt

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

Prisoners

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Prisoners is a challenging, complex thriller fueled by intriguing ideas, moral consequences, and a strong ensemble cast. Lives intersect when two little girls go missing during the holidays, leaving two families to grieve and luring one cop into a deeper mystery than he bargained for.

The Rooftop

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Other Reviews from 2011 and earlier

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Dec. 9, 2013)

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Published on: December 9, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Recent Home Video Releases

Night Across the Street

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: Different permutations of the story coexist, overlapped onscreen: it’s a surreally garbled tale of murder, a young boy’s ominous premonitions of the future, an old man’s dying dream, a self-conscious metafiction, and the memoirs of a ghost, all at the same time. It ends as a haunted house tale set in a cursed boarding house, a place where the ghosts are haunted by their own meta-ghosts.

Saving General Yang

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

  • Excerpt: Most of the time though, Saving General Yang plays like Yu’s Lawrence of Arabia, only with a shorter running time and better action sequences.

Spinning Discs: Rebel Yell

Bob Cashill @ Popdose.com

  • Excerpt: Blu-ray and DVD reviews of new releases

Other Reviews from 2011 and earlier

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Dec. 2, 2013)

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Published on: December 2, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2011 and earlier.

City Lights

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Faces

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Frankenstein Conquers the World

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

  • Excerpt: Only the hypnotic oddness of what the film does to the Frankenstein mythos keeps it from dragging altogether.

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

  • Excerpt: The human half of the narrative is so captivatingly loopy and well-expressed, that the film would be just as good if there were no monsters in it at all.

Heaven’s Gate

Michael Pattison @ idFilm
Sam Turner @ Film Intel

  • Excerpt: ‘finds its message amongst the rise of big, rich America, and the feeling that the poor have no place, voice or right’

The Hitch-Hiker

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Ladies of Leisure

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Though not amongst Frank Capra’s best, the 1930 romantic comedy Ladies of Leisure is a pleasantly enjoyable early vehicle for Barbara Stanwyck. She is a bright spot in a somewhat tepid script, already developing her persona as a tough gal ready to make tough choices, both in life and in matters of the heart.

Le Joli Mai

Jamie S. Rich @ Oregon Live

  • Excerpt: At nearly three hours, “Le Joli Mai” meanders, but it remains potent when it gets personal, even if the political aspects can seem a little dated.

Martin Scorsese Presents: The World Cinema Project – Volume 1

Sam Turner @ Film Intel

  • Excerpt: ‘these are films which it was worth Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project saving (aren’t they all) but that simultaneously aren’t that interesting or accomplished’

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Nov. 25, 2013)

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Published on: November 25, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2011 and earlier.

Assault on Precinct 13

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: [John] Carpenter turns his dingy set into a claustrophobic cage and builds the tension as the gang takes out the besieged members one by one, forcing the survivors into the corner for a last stand.

The Bells of St. Mary’s

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: The story is pure feel-good hokum but the odd relationship between the worldly Father, brought in to help right the floundering ship, and the stubborn Sister, determined to compromise neither her moral duty nor her commitment to the school and its pupils, keeps the film interesting …

Carlito’s Way

Joseph Proimakis @ Popaganda.gr [Greek]

  • Excerpt: Brian De Palma’s richest work and one of film noir’s best gangster films is a meta-autobiographical treasure chest

Dogora

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

  • Excerpt: There’s a lot of straining nonsense in between the genuinely great monster moments.

Driller Killer

Matthew Blevins @ Nextprojection.com

  • Excerpt: Do not approach Driller Killer expecting a shocking parade of exploitation and horror because you will only be disappointed and miss the sublime squalor of Ferrara’s early artistic sensibilities.

East of Eden

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: The film is set in 1917 but Dean feels completely modern and contemporary, a boy not quite comfortable in his body. He’s never still, constantly fidgeting or shrugging or pacing. He drops his eyes in uncomfortable moments and slips into giggles when conversations become too personal.

In the Mouth oif Madness

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: Those addicted to H.P. Lovecraft’s influential style of occult horror—a universe where the Old Gods slumber uneasily, waiting to be awakened by foolish mortals so they can assume their rightful dominion over our world—will appreciate this occasionally clever tribute to the perverse imagination of “the gentleman from Providence.”

Jane Eyre

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: The 1943 Jane Eyre (Twilight Time, Blu-ray) stars Joan Fontaine as Jane, the heroine of Charlotte Brontë’s classic gothic romance about a meek orphan hired by a brooding aristocrat to be governess to his young ward, but it’s Orson Welles who dominates the drama with both his dark, electric presence as Edward Rochester and his influence behind the scenes of the production.

JFK 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Bob Cashill @ Popdose.com

  • Excerpt: Review of the new box set.

Juno

Frank Ochieng @ TheWorldJournal.com

  • Excerpt: The winning teen pregnancy comedy Juno is a remarkable triumph because it does the small things correctly. Cunningly perceptive and hip in its irresistible skepticism about the comforts and uncertainties of love, Juno is enchantingly bright and breezy in its effecting resonance.

(There’s still more to this post. Click here to continue reading…)

Classics and Other Films on DVD (Nov. 18, 2013)

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Published on: November 18, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2011 and earlier.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

Bruce Lee: A Warriors Journey/Pursuit of the Dragon

Nick Hartel @ DVD

City Lights

Matthew Blevins @ Nextprojection.com

Gorath

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

  • Excerpt: It’s more cheaply-made than it perhaps ought to be, and the science is giddily bad, but the ideas being explored have weight and thoughtfulness behind them.

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

  • Excerpt: Superb performances by Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum help make this lightweight survival pic a small gem.

Interview with the Vampire

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Mothra

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

  • Excerpt: For all its daftness, this is kind of a terrific film on its own terms.

Tank Girl (1995)

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

David Graham @ eyeforfilm.co.uk

  • Excerpt: TCM2 was never going to match its predecessor’s intensity but it does achieve a debauched delirium all of its own.

This Sporting Live

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Trouble Every Day

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Wild Style

Nick Hartel @ DVD

  • Excerpt: There’s not an argument to be made, that after 30 years, “Wild Style” is anything less than mandatory viewing.

Classics and Other Films on DVD (Nov. 11, 2013)

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Published on: November 11, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2011 and earlier.

Assault on Precinct 13

Patrick Bromley @ DVD Verdict
M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

The Beauty of Devil

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: [Rene Clair] and co-writer Michel Kelber concoct some deviously clever machinations in the battle of wills, and Simon makes Mephistopheles into a black-hearted trickster behind the manner of a clown, taking pleasure in corrupting what was once a soul dedicated to truth and discovery.

The Best Years of Our Lives

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: By all rights, the 1946 homecoming drama The Best Years of Our Lives (Warner, Blu-ray) should have been another well intentioned film left to the dated dustbins of history, but World War II vet William Wyler (working from an original Robert Sherwood script) put more soul into this picture than anything else in his career.

Chairman of the Board

Patrick Bromley @ F This Movie!

Godzilla Raids Again

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

  • Excerpt: The human story, though a little on the prosaic side, is simple enough and sweet enough that it feels like a complement to the monster action, rather than a distraction.

Gunda

Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

Humanity and Paper Balloons

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Lifeforce (1985)

Nuno Reis @ SciFiWorld Portugal [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Em segundo o realizador conseguiu dar a visão certa a uma história que podia tomar um rumo demasiado erótico, ou terrorífico ou mesmo científico. Com o balanço ideal entre os três, criou um produto que agrada a todos os públicos que procurem um destes géneros.

Night of the Comet

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

La Notte

Sean Axmaker @ Cinephiled

  • Excerpt: This was one of the films that inspired Pauline Kael’s “Come-Dressed-as-the-Sick-Soul-of-Europe Parties” essay, a portrait heavy on the Antoni-ennui of beautiful people narcotizing themselves on small talk, cocktails and sex.

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Nov. 4, 2013)

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Published on: November 4, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2011 and earlier.

El Barón del Terror

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: The black sense of humour here feels again anticipatory of the bolder bent of many later horror filmmakers…

Barricade

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

  • Excerpt: Absurd prestige western, whose muddled story doesn’t make sense.

Black Sunday

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

  • Excerpt: A tremendous start to what would end up being one of the most brilliant careers in all of horror.

Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb

Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy

  • Excerpt: Turns out that the only thing keeping mummy films from reaching their full potential as troubling stories of murder and psychosis were the mummies.

Child’s Play

Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix

Confessions of an Opium Eater

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Creepshow 2

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Dois de Brisseau

Victor Bruno @ O Caminho Alternativo [Brazilian Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Brief notes on Céline and De bruite et de fureur, two films by French filmmaker Jean-Claude Brisseau

The Exorcist

Roderick Heath @ Ferdy on Films

  • Excerpt: Whilst its reputation as a classic of the horror genre has only grown stronger in the intervening 40 years, the impact it had in its day seems practically unreproducible now, as it’s hard to imagine a modern horror movie driving as deep into the secret anxieties and wrenching such phobic reactions from such a large audience.

The Fast and the Furious (1955)

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

  • Excerpt: Uninvolving minor crime drama.

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Classics and Other Films on DVD, Oct. 28, 2013

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Published on: October 28, 2013

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2011 and earlier.

Billy Rose’s Jumbo

James Plath @ Family Home Theater

  • Excerpt: Call it the wholesome, light and fluffy alternative to the dark and brooding Water for Elephants.

Body Double

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: Brian De Palma makes movies about the movie experience. He takes great pleasure in playing with the artificiality of movies, with audience expectations and the way we identify with characters, with the idea of playing parts and giving performances.

A Boy and His Dog

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: It’s been almost forty years since A Boy and his Dog debuted and it is still the most faithful screen adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s work.

Brink! (1998)

Benjamin Kramer @ The Voracious Filmgoer

  • Excerpt: Brink! plays upon the viewers’ patience for blandly photographed skating sequences.

Carrie (1976)

Kevin Ranson @ MovieCrypt.com

  • Excerpt: It’s a cautionary tale that suggests that fear of the unusual justifies any action to displace the potential danger; destroy everything strange and every stranger before we’re corrupted, too. My, how times have changed.

The Desperados

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Die Another Day

Dustin Freeley @ MoviesAboutGladiators.com

  • Excerpt: Pierce Brosnan’s run as Bond ends with a messy convulsion.

The Driver

Sean Axmaker @ Turner Classic Movies

  • Excerpt: [Walter] Hill has always had a penchant for dropping pulp fiction ideals of gangster code and loyalty under fire in a gritty existence, shaped and stylized into a rarified, at times insular world where the rest of the population is either backdrop to their story or simply absent from the frame.

Enter Laughing

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary

Brent McKnight @ Beyond Hollywood

  • Excerpt: If you think any movie is scarier than “The Exorcist” you’re wrong, sorry.

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