Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.
Reviews of Classic Films
Blu-ray Review: Hiroshima Mon Amour
- Excerpt: Resnais had a preoccupation with time throughout his career – his next feature Last Year at Marienbad would step outside of it almost almost entirely – and Hiroshima Mon Amour drifts backwards and forwards through it to groundbreaking expressive effect.
Conspirators of Pleasure
- Excerpt: Svankmajer’s essay on the erotic and ridiculous nature of creativity is funny, fascinating and, at the end, quite disturbing.
Escape from the ‘Liberty’ Cinema
- Excerpt: Polish director Wojciech Marczewski was no stranger to his country’s censors – giving up film direction altogether after 1981’s Shivers due to the return of martial law and film censorship. He exploited his experiences to the full in his fabulous absurdist comedy, Escape from the ‘Liberty’ Cinema.
Fando y Lis
- Excerpt: Here, Jodorowsky has found, but not perfected, his unique voice: it’s as if he’s working with individual sentences, rather than complete paragraphs.
- Excerpt: Titanic hasn’t aged so well, it’s true. Yet it still leaves you with the sense that, for better and worse, you’ve just had the kind of experience for which the movies were invented.
Recent Home Video Releases
The Complete Lady Snowblood
Inside Llewyn Davis
Figures in a Landscape
- Excerpt: In digging out of relative obscurity Joseph Losey’s stark prisoners-on-the-loose thriller Figures in a Landscape and treating it to a sterling A/V presentation, Kino Lorber has managed an early curatorial highlight of 2016, though the disc’s dearth of extras leaves plenty to be desired.
Monster High: Boo York, Boo York
Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights
Other Reviews from 2014 and earlier
Along Came Polly (2004)
- Excerpt: A comedy like Along Came Polly is basically critic proof. You can only report back that you either laughed or you didn’t laugh. Sadly, try as it may, the movie didn’t make me laugh. Not once. Not at all. Not even a meager smile. That has nothing do with my mood at the time, which was silly and perfectly ready for a movie like this. I went in with the same mood that I took to There’s Something About Mary and hoped that his movie would have that movie’s comic zeal. This was not to be. Despite the movie’s good-hearted intentions, it couldn’t register anything with me but stone-faced indifference.
The Amityville Horror
- Excerpt: he Amityville Horror is a haunted house movie with termites. It doesn’t really move so much as it slowly ambles its way from one cliché to the next and about every 20 minutes an object will move by itself – I prefer to think that it’s trying to escape the film. The characters here have no personality and no energy to speak of. Even the ghosts exude a measure of lethargy and compared to the actors that’s pretty swift. If you can imagine a Corona commercial that runs 117 minutes you get the idea.
Batman Returns (1992)
- Excerpt: It can only be hoped that “Batman Returns” is not representative of the state of Tim Burton’s mind. If it is, I’d like to recommend extensive therapy. While it’s true that Batman has always been about the dark weathers of the human soul – particularly to outsiders – Burton’s movie does little to explore them.
Being John Malkovich
- Excerpt: Most descriptions would probably focus on the “weird,” but Being John Malkovich is never weird for its own sake. Rather, Kaufman is really playing it for laughs.
- Excerpt: By the time something resembling a plot, in the shape of David Hemmings as Mordred, waltzes into the throne room, nearly two-thirds of the film have passed and even then it barely registers.
- Excerpt: Superbly unsettling. Pointedly highlights how incarceration dehumanizes inmate and guard alike. Kristen Stewart’s steeliness is perfectly suited to its ironies.
Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]
The Cover Story
Evil Dead II
- Excerpt: In the end it’s a completely different beast than The Evil Dead so the two films can stand apart as separate entities rather than continuous chapters. This might actually be best because it allows me to appreciate the first as the horror staple it is and the second as the beginning of the comedic saga still going strong today.
- Excerpt: Much to my surprise, I am not as angry with “Hellraiser” as I assumed I would be. It might be easily dismissed as a just another disgusting, gory cycle of cinematic oblivion if I weren’t forced to admit that it tells a story that I found interesting. That’s not to say that it tells it well, or that this is even a good movie, it’s only to say that it is mounted on an idea that I found mildly intriguing.
- Excerpt: This is a great movie, but not one that I can watch very often. It is art for art sake, sort of Allen’s attempt as a Bergman-type film. He does well but – OH! – this movie is so sad. It’s so achingly sad from beginning to end that in recent years I have only seen it twice. It’s too much pain, too much sadness, too much drama. It’s a great movie, just not a lot of fun.
Last Night (1998)
- Excerpt: What would you do if you knew that the world was going to end at midnight? If we knew it was absolutely the last night on earth and we had ample warning, how would we spend it? Some would spend time with family and friends. Others wouldn’t wait until midnight. Some would spend it in church. Some would settle old scores either with apologies or with a gun. Others would spend it on a sexual free-for-all. Many, I suspect, would turn to violence and destruction – that is, if I now humanity the way I think I do.
Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
- Excerpt: There’s no scene here that matches or equals the majesty of the first time we saw the Brachiosaurus in “Jurassic Park.” Everything here is cold and efficient and kind of mean-spirited. Not to mention forgettable. Seeing it again last night I realized that while the movie opens well, it quickly degenerates into a retread of the earlier movie.
- Excerpt: Cinema Fearité Presents ‘Maniac’ – Dwain Esper’s Scaresploitation Classic
Movies of the Day Blog: Shallow Grave (1995)
- Excerpt: ‘Shallow Grave” is a movie that depends on how we feel about people who find themselves doing horrible things to feed their own greed. The closer they get to being caught, the more we have to care about them in order to feel for them.
A Night in Casablanca
- Excerpt: Originally written as a true Casablanca spoof before changing gears to send-up the genre instead, I wonder if the first choice would have been better since I really couldn’t care about the original mystery presented. The main fault is that Marx Brothers characters Rusty, Corbaccio, and Kornblow are just periphery players.
Punch Drunk Love (2002)
- Excerpt: I am in sort of a conundrum with Punch Drunk Love. Here is a movie that I dearly loved, a movie I had to see three times before I really began to appreciate it, and yet it stars an actor that generally has the same effect on me as an ice cream headache. I’ve never found a reason to like Adam Sandler. His brand of comedy has a tone of anger and malevolence that makes me uncomfortable. His characters are always self-involved, angry malcontents who get on my nerves; even on ‘Saturday Night Live’, there was something creepy about his gallery of characters that I never found funny.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Excerpt: Having been in the theater with this movie, I’m obliged to report that I can see the fun people have, but away from the theater I can see also that the movie isn’t much without the theater experience
- Excerpt: Saw is an unpleasant, macabre little piece of business that, for ninety minutes wallows in illogical nonsense and human suffering. It might be a total washout if I didn’t admire that fact that the screenwriter obviously spent hours and hours over his word processor trying to weave this clockwork plot into something better than your average horror movie knock-around. Where most horror movies are simply brainless trash, this is a hard working screenplay that isn’t brilliant but at least gets some points for effort.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
- Excerpt: t is flawed, confusing and some would say downright unnecessary. For me, it comes with mixed feelings. Every time I revisit the film, I go in with an open mind, and an open heart.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
- Excerpt: “Attack of the Clones” is certainly a deeply flawed film. It’s too long. It has structure problems. It has pacing problems. It drags in many spots. It has far too many attempts at fan gratification. It’s overloaded with too much CGI. And of course there’s the dialogue. Written by Lucas and with no help from anyone else, the dialogue here is flat, dull, bland and colorless, and that sinks a lot of the drama. Yet, I wonder if the public reaction would have been so vitriolic if the dialogue had been better because underneath its problems, “Attack of the Clones” does tell a good story.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
- Excerpt: “Revenge of the Sith” is not the first movie I grab when I want to watch a Star Wars movie. It’s too grim, too sad, too heavy for just an evening’s viewings. I have to make it part of the journey, working my way through the series in order to fully appreciate it.
Superman III (1983)
- Excerpt: Superman III suffers from a serious identity crisis. At once it tries to be a slapstick comedy, then it tries to (I think) be a dark examination of Superman’s duality. Yet, the final result is a movie that is grim and mean-spirited and unpleasant.
The Supreme Price
- Excerpt: An enlightening documentary on the troubles of Nigeria and the rise of a female leader who is an impresario of change.
Under the Skin (2014)
- Excerpt: I’m always in for a movie that is challenging, and no film fits that description like Jonathan Glaser’s ‘Under the Skin’. Some day I’m going to sit down with this movie and a notebook and write down all my theories, ideas and questions about this movie and try and piece them together.