Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2011 and earlier.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
- Excerpt: Harryhausen spearheaded a turn from scifi monsters to mythology and adventure for the first time with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, crossbreeding special-effects-based spectacle with traditional swashbuckling heroics.
Beverly Hills Cop II
- Excerpt: [Nothing] really, except a delivery system for Murphy. But Murphy in those days was appealing enough that this proves to be very nearly sufficient.
- Excerpt: If Masaki Kobayashi were a Sinatra-style crooner, he’d have good cause to sing about how 1956 was a very good year. The third movie released in those twelve months, Black River, was his most confident yet, gathering up some of the pulpier aspects of the crime genre and arranging them on a contemporary Japanese landscape.
Le Combat Dans L’ile
The Dark Half
Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]
- Excerpt: As with Stromboli where Rossellini juxtaposed Bergman’s star-quality with the non-professional actors that rounded out the cast, here the director uses the ostentatious apartments of the rich, and the illusion of movie wealth, to illuminate the other side of life.
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
- Excerpt: The interval between 7th Voyage of Sinbad and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is telling, less in the look and quality of Harryhausen’s work and the film, which does a great job of evoking the saturated colour and epic craft of the earlier film, but in the approach it takes to the same basic story: where 7th Voyage is bouncy and comic book, Golden Voyage is terser in dialogue and storyline, tougher and less primly naïve, if also less spectacular and vibrant.
I Will Buy You
- Excerpt: I Will Buy You is, for all intents and purposes, a baseball picture. But not one that spends much time on the field.
In the Line of Fire
- Excerpt: One of the more rugged and enjoyable examples of how early-’90s mainstream cinema worked when it was being made sensibly and effectively.
The Inheritance (1962)
- Excerpt: The Inheritance is, in a way, a play on the traditional closed-door murder mystery: which of these suspects, all of whom had motive and opportunity, is guilty of the crime? The twist is there is no murder here, at least not centrally, the people of interest won’t be directly responsible for the death of the man the majority of them will wrong.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Marcio Sallem @ Em Cartaz [Portuguese]
Journey to Italy
- Excerpt: While plenty of folks lately have been invoking Godard’s famous line about all you needing to make a movie is a girl and a gun, Rossellini and those who followed in his footsteps all do without the gun. The girl and a guy provide plenty of drama without firearms ever getting involved.
- Excerpt: If nothing else, the peepshow satisfies our inner Freudian voyeur.
Les misérables (1995)
- Excerpt: Belmondogives not just the best performance of this film but one of the best of his long and admirable career.
Masaki Kobayashi Against The System
Skin Game (1971)
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939)
- Excerpt: Stromboli, in both style and script, is designed to showcase the lead performer. It’s Bergman’s triumph or failure to have, depending on how well she does her job.
The Thick-Walled Room
- Excerpt: Kobayashi and Abe tell their stories through a narrative that alternates between the day-to-day of prison life and flashbacks. As we get to know the characters in the present, we also see their past.
Things to Come
- Excerpt: Even if the film is a washout, it’s still massively intriguing to see the filmmakers and actors grapple with it.
- Excerpt: The movie seeks to redeem a character with whom we begin in sympathy; a strange emotional arc, but one that works for many people.