Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2010 and earlier.
Aladdin and the King of Thieves
- Excerpt: As the capstone to a franchise that never actually needed to be a franchise in the first place, it acquits itself tolerably well.
Assassination of a High School President
- Excerpt: The combination of optimism, tragedy, and the fuzzy warmth of new love is absolutely flawless.
Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb
- Excerpt: A film that has the full-on grand guignol atmosphere at which Stoker excelled, with ancient artefacts and terrible curses and gushing blood, but which manages to hang together as a story much better than it did on the page.
- Excerpt: For Catherine Breillat, the transition to deceptively simple, visually lush period fairy tales has yielded fruitful results, and Bluebeard is yet another assured and thought-provoking effort alongside the restrained and mysterious The Last Mistress (my favorite of the three) and the deliciously surreal The Sleeping Beauty.
- Excerpt: Part one of an occasional series exploring the work of Paul Thomas Anderson.
The Cinema of Jean Rollin Pt. 3
- Excerpt: More often than not, even when they are buried beneath seemingly needless sex scenes and hampered by his lack of budgets, Rollin’s films exude a kind of life and energy that is hard to ignore.
Cruel Gun Story
- Excerpt: affy Duck is the star of the Warner Bros. cartoon DUCK AMUCK. Ready to work on a thrilling adventure film, Daffy finds that he has entered the Twilight Zone instead. There isn’t a soul alive who can’t relate in some way to the sometimes cruel and unrepentant ways Big Brother takes over our lives and makes a holy hash of our plans and assumptions.
DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp
- Excerpt: The core is sturdy enough to withstand a lot of narrative missteps, particularly with Alan Young’s commanding and authoritative performance of Scrooge leading the way.
- Excerpt: Tim Burton’s first time in the director’s chair since helming his second of two turn-of-the-’90s Batman movies, “Ed Wood” dialed down commercial expectations while seemingly cranking up its maker’s passion for the subject matter.
- Excerpt: Tim Burton’s ED WOOD, spun from a screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, is as much a film about the art and the idea of Wood and what they meant and could mean for other artists and filmmakers, as it is a traditional biopic.
Female Teacher: Dirty Afternoon
- Excerpt: Ignore the salacious title. If you cut out the requisite sex scenes, what is left is a superb drama about alienation in contemporary Japan.
For a Few Dollars More
- Excerpt: It is a lot of fun to see Eastwood and Van Cleef, so memorable as adversaries in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, team up in this earlier film, their similar manners clashing amidst heavy skepticism and buried respect for one another. For a Few Dollars More isn’t as strongly plotted or iconically executed as the actors’ next pairing, but it still delights in much the same way.
- Excerpt: The Game does not get as much credit as David Fincher’s other films, but I maintain that it is one of his best. This ’90s thriller gets the lavish treatment it deserves in Criterion’s satisfying Blu-ray Disc, which delivers a fantastic feature presentation and a good collection of supplements.
The Godfather of Green Bay
A Goofy Movie
- Excerpt: Makes its title character the second banana to a protagonist and a scenario entirely unworthy of him, mired in instantly-dated sops to early-’90s pop culture.
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures
- Excerpt: The “Indy” films, now on Blu-ray, are among that rare breed that have their tongue planted firmly in their cheek but never ridicule the action-adventure style.
- Excerpt: One of the strangest films from one of cinema’s largest legends, “Macbeth” is an oddity amongst the library of Shakespeare-based films, but its mad genius is intoxicating. Welles stages the Scottish play in a surreal landscape, decking his royal personage in furs and surrounding him with rocky walls.
Manos: The Hands of Fate
- Excerpt: Manos: The Hands of Fate is a film that will live in infamy.
- Excerpt: The fact that the film acknowledges Japanese interment camps quickly elevates Midway about other rah-rah war films and tries to give voice to a low point in the treatment of citizens whose only crime was being the wrong ethnicity.
- Excerpt: Quadrophenia is about the origin of oneself, about gathering all the disparate elements of who you are, the pieces being pulled in different directions, and consolidating them into a whole–a lesson well remembered at any age. What I think does come across now that I am older, though, is recognizing the full scope of Roddam’s production.
- Excerpt: Stuart Gordon’s “Re-Animator” is comic-trash pop-art at its best.
The Return of Jafar
- Excerpt: About what you’d expect from a television pilot abruptly promoted to feature film status over the objections of its own creator.
Secret Beyond the Door
- Excerpt: Not Fritz Lang’s best, but even subpar Lang still has plenty to make it Recommended.” Secret Beyond the Door” is a pretty blatant “Rebecca” rip-off, but Lang’s version has a salacious preoccupation with murder and is full of amusing psychoanalytic explanations for the same.
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Taking Father Home
- Excerpt: Titanic can never be judged as just a movie. It is more than that: an event, a landmark, a launchpad and advancer of careers, and an apex for the commercially potent, all-audience adventure that drove much of the filmmaking world for the latter 20th century.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
- Excerpt: …although there is a touching story at the film’s core and beautiful imagery scattered throughout, I’m afraid that the production errs too much on the side of providing “Twin Peaks” fanservice, with multiple dream sequences each trying to outweird the previous one, scenes that serve no purpose but to address passing inconsistencies from the TV series, and the shoehorning in of beloved characters who logically should play no part in Laura’s story.
A View to a Kill
- Excerpt: What says “outlandishly dumb action film from 1985″ better than a plot to flood Silicon Valley and corner the world’s microchip market?