Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.
Reviews of Classic Films
- Excerpt: The set-up recalls Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’avventura but this mystery becomes a vehicle for social drama and sharp observations of friendships and marriages under pressure.
- Excerpt: Adventureland is less outrageously funny than Superbad but more savvy. They may be technically adults, but their social behavior hasn’t matured much beyond high school …
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
- Excerpt: … the cinematic answer to an outlaw folk song.
- Excerpt: The Babadook, one of the best and most original horror films in years, raises goosebumps with old-fashioned scares, relatable characters, and a provocative psychological foundation.
- Excerpt: …where there’s a rough, stormy beauty to this seaside village, it’s also something of a prison without walls, which is not lost on this inmate.
- Excerpt: Nolan gets the character right: Bruce Wayne is the secret identity and Batman is the real persona.
The Big Trail
- Excerpt: As a film, The Big Trail shows its age in places, but its general vigour and expanse is still breathtaking. As a depiction of the travails of early pioneers, it still dwarfs many amongst generations of imitations.
Bird of Paradise
- Excerpt: The rhapsody of desire and the illusory promise of complete freedom, the eyes shining in the dark and squirming skin in moonlit water and the glow of the volcano god’s promised wrath burning against the stars – King Vidor’s Bird of Paradise paints in vivid monochrome but evokes fervent colour.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
- Excerpt: … the film, shot in high-contrast black-and-white widescreen almost entirely at night, is like an Iranian film noir by way of a crime drama with supernatural edges.
The Good Thief
- Excerpt: A faithful remake, a spirited updating, and a deft, colorful, thoroughly entertaining heist film swimming in character and atmosphere, Neil Jordan’s The Good Thief (2002), his reworking of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob Le Flambeur, may not be his best film, but it is one of his most purely enjoyable.
- Excerpt: … Robert Altman brings his gift for big, sprawling dramas knit with a fine weave of characters and a massive cast up to the task of filling them up with lives to the Merchant Ivory idiom of the manners and manors of Britain’s upper crust of yesteryear, 1932 to be specific.
- Excerpt: It doesn’t seem to play to his strengths yet it’s a perfect crucible for Spike to explore his pet themes of race and class in the lumpy melting pot of New York City and a great set-up for what he does best, tossing characters together and letting cultural opposites clash, argue and vent, not to solve issues but to air them.
- Excerpt: Laura (1944) is elegance incarnate in a genre known for its hard edge, the sleekest, silkiest noir of all.
Lost in Translation
- Excerpt: Sofia Coppola’s sophomore film (following the gently assured The Virgin Suicides) is another exploration of delicate relationships and uncommunicated frustrations, this one in a beautifully composed atmosphere of isolation.
- Excerpt: Johnnie To took over the crown of Hong Kong’s king of crime thrillers after John Woo left for Hollywood and The Mission (1999) is the film that put him on the throne.
- Excerpt: It’s funny, it’s playful, it’s full of nostalgic blasts and period trappings, but most of all it is loving: accepting of the headstrong kids determined to find their place in the world, forgiving of the oblivious adults around them, affectionate in its storybook imagery and narrative playfulness.
Short Term 12
- Excerpt: hat could be a portrait of instability and institutional failings, however, becomes quite a moving story of the commitment of two counselors (Larson and John Gallagher Jr.) who came through the foster system themselves and take their jobs very seriously.
The Silence of Lambs
- Excerpt: Silence’ was one of the most influential films in recent memory – you can see its bloody fingerprints on pretty much every serial killer thriller that followed, on film and television. Yet the film’s most interesting innovation was director Jonathon Demme’s groundbreaking use of the subjective camera – in a way that has, oddly, seldom been replicated or even attempted since.
- Excerpt: There’s a lot of talk of God (Jan plays the organ with a passion but can’t reconcile a benevolent God with his world) and forgiveness and confession but the film is ultimately about responsibility and accountability, and not just for Jan.
Recent Home Video Releases
- Excerpt: Blu-ray review
- Excerpt: NeoRealism meets noir.
- Excerpt: Blu-ray review
- Excerpt: Drug War is [Johnnie] To’s most streamlined picture to date.
The Dungeonmaster / Eliminators
- Excerpt: Blu-ray review
Gangs of Wasseypur
- Excerpt: Inspired by a true story, Gangs of Wasseypur is technically a Bollywood musical (it has 25 original songs, according to film notes) but without the characters breaking into song and dance (the music plays as accompaniment or commentary) and without the florid romantic complications.
- Excerpt: While the reputation of Hitch-Hike is that of an exploitation film, there is more going on than the featured sex and violence.
The Iron Ministry
The New Land
- Excerpt: Blu-ray review.
Other Reviews from 2014 and earlier
Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)
- Excerpt: While perfectly suited for the classroom to disseminate factual history, it’s far from an engrossing work that audience members will exult upon leaving the theater. No, Abe Lincoln in Illinois is solid and little more: excelling at its term paper veracity but merely serviceable in entertainment value.
The Better Angels (2014)
- Excerpt: We feel the love and the fear, death and rebirth, because we’ve experienced these same moments ourselves in our own way. Rather than start at a place of legend wherein this great man does the great things he’s been immortalized for, Edwards shows us the inauspicious beginnings so far removed from the history books that Denney could be portraying anyone.
My Country, My Country (2006)
- Excerpt: What she achieves with My Country, My Country isn’t to explain what went wrong or what went right, it’s merely to show the world what happened beyond George W. Bush declaring the elections a resounding success.
See No Evil
Hugo Gomes @ Cinematograficamente Falando … [Portuguese]
That Demon Within
- Excerpt: Routine old-fashioned western, now outdated.
When a Stranger Calls
- Excerpt: Cinema Fearité Presents ‘When A Stranger Calls’ – The Movie That Scared A Whole Generation Away From Babysitting