Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2011 and earlier.
Assault on Precinct 13
- 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
- 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 …
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
- Excerpt: There’s a lot of straining nonsense in between the genuinely great monster moments.
- 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
- 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
- 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.”
- 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
- Excerpt: Review of the new box set.
- 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.
- Excerpt: Unsatisfying pulp-fiction adventurous flag-waver melodrama from WW2.
Margot at the Wedding
- Excerpt: Synthetically dull, manipulative and emotionally clunky, Baumbach’s mawkish melodrama is a pretentious and garrulous character study that sits idly in its moping gibberish.
Miss Sadie Thompson
- Excerpt: Though its temperature has cooled over the decades, the sweat-soaked love affair of Miss Sadie Thompson still serves as an entertaining vehicle for its star, Rita Hayworth. The actress delivers a mature, world-weary performance as the title character, a woman of ill-repute trying to outrun her past and head for sunnier climes.
Mothra vs. Godzilla
- Excerpt: As much fun as any movie about giant monsters ever has been, from any period and any country.
My Name is Nobody
Nosferatu: 2-Disc Deluxe Remastered Edition
- Excerpt: Filmmaker John Carney’s Once is definitely not enough…and probably the best musical movie to grace the big screen in quite some time. Thoroughly inspirational, lyrical, charming and cheeky, Carney’s ode to heartwarming song between two soul-searching individuals bound by music and personal motivation is a unique take on how toe-tapping tunes can lend cinema its artistic merit.
Rebel Without a Cause
- Excerpt: Nicholas Ray’s powerful, profound Rebel Without a Cause (1955) is the ultimate expression of teen alienation and inarticulation in an adult world of its era.
Road to Victory
- Excerpt: This is a thought-provoking, intimate film that is timely based on today’s headlines where self-medicating and ill-advised usage of steroids and other unassuming agents are the unpredictable detriment to promising and established upstart/collegiate/professional athletes.
- Excerpt: It’s a delirious piece of cinema, a metaphor for the transporting power of artifacts and art and historical preservation to sweep us into the past, and a work of filmmaking as graceful as ballet. There is nothing else like this.
- Excerpt: A Biblical side story from the Gospels, Salomé fleshes out the characters involved in the death of John the Baptist. Rita Hayworth stars as the young princess who first opposes the prophet but then comes around to his way of thinking.
Starting Out in the Evening
- Excerpt: Intelligent films about artistry and romantic/familial relationships aren’t necessary a dime a dozen in abundance. Writer-director Andrew Wagner’s Starting Out in the Evening is the epitome of sophisticated cinema that echoes this particular sentiment.
Subversive Saturday: Chelsea Girls (1966)
- Excerpt: … a resolutely modern portrait of post-war Japan, where western fashion defines the business culture and traditional dress is reserved for home, and careers and success increasingly dominate the lives of the rising generation.
- Excerpt: Tokyo Story is a masterpiece by all measures and standards. The immensity and frankness of its dramatic elements will continually attract the attention of neophyte cinephiles while the pared-down mastery of its images and form will enrapture the most jaded cinematic pedants among us.
Trouble Every Day
- Excerpt: Overall, Trouble Every Day may have a haunting urgency that some may regard as refreshingly outlandish and strangely germane, but this romance thriller is a punishing and unfocused spectacle merely trying to grab your attention… without much idea of what to do with it.