Classics and Other Films on DVD

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD from 2010 and earlier.

The 39 Steps

Stephen Carty @ Flix Capacitor

The American Astronaut

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: McAbee brings a particular and peculiar set of personal preoccupations to the project: space operas, psychobilly, Monty Python, German Expressionism, cowboy movies, Lewis Carroll, film noir, Busby Berkeley, the wide-eyed innocence of childhood, Ed Wood, and Dadaism, among others. It’s a galaxy of influences with competing gravities, and whether they appear as a meaningful constellation or just a meaningless mass of lights may depend on where the viewer is standing. The movie probably makes the most sense when seen from Mars.

Animal Kingdom

A.J. Hakari @ CineSlice

Bed and Board

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

  • Excerpt: It’s in the third Antoine Doinel film, 1970’s Bed and Board, that Francois Truffaut’s series of films becomes a series proper. Now there is a set style and tone, the happenings vacillating between romantic drama and whimsical comedy, the loose narrative only reflecting traditional plot structure in an overarching sense. In relating the life of Antoine Doinel, small moments are equal to the big changes any individual encounters in his or her worldly progress.

The Bourne Identity

Stephen Carty @ Flix Capacitor

The Bourne Supremacy

Stephen Carty @ Flix Capacitor

Downhill

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Due Date

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: A comedy of mass frustration.

The Dunwich Horror

A.J. Hakari @ CineSlice

The Farmer’s Wife

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Alan Bacchus @ Daily Film Dose

GoldenEye

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: To its benefit, GoldenEye moves Bond forward while still keeping some of the trappings of what a Bond film should be…

Grey Gardens

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Grosse Pointe Blank

Thomas Spurlin @ DVDTalk.com

The House of the Seven Gables

A.J. Hakari @ CineSlice

The Hunger Games

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: Entertaining . . . but wow is it unpleasant!

Imitation of Life (1934/1959)

Marilyn Ferdinand @ Ferdy on Films

  • Excerpt: Two different versions of a women’s film centered on two widows, one black and one white, highlight the state of race relations and views of women in the 1930s and 1950s. Neither is particularly flattering.

The Incredible Mr. Limpet

John J. Puccio @ Movie Metropolis

  • Excerpt: The story and characters in “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” seem like a good fit for a fifteen or twenty-minute short feature.

Jaws

Alan Bacchus @ Daily Film Dose
Luke Bonanno @ DVDizzy.com

  • Excerpt: It is sort of bizarre to think that the summer blockbuster only dates back to 1975. Summer vacation for schools in America began in the 1840s. Movie theaters were a popular destination all the way back in the 1920s. Somehow though, the movie industry didn’t quite recognize a link between those two facts until Jaws, the hit movie credited with popularizing the word “blockbuster” and giving birth to a cultural phenomenon still extremely fashionable.

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

  • Excerpt: While the more easily exploitable elements are what is used to sell The Life and Death of a Porno Gang, viewing this film reveals there is much more than what’s on the surface.

Lisztomania

Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat

  • Excerpt: While it may lack narrative sense, this is, without a doubt, one of the most unpredictable and hypnotic viewing experiences you could ever hope to have.

Lone Wolf McQuade

Luke Bonanno @ DVDizzy.com

  • Excerpt: In the title role, Chuck Norris plays Texas Ranger J.J. McQuade, a law enforcer who plays by his own rules. The character resembles a young Cordell Walker (of “Walker, Texas Ranger”), the part Norris played longer than any other, only without his edges softened to suit CBS’ old viewership and Norris’ evolving Christian values. The film’s opening sequence finely establishes this bold character, whom the editor likens to a wolf, in numerous close-ups of his beardy face. McQuade calmly watches police officers bungle a job before he steps in to save the day. McQuade beats up or kills every bad guy in sight, also blowing up a car in the process.

Love Happy

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Meek’s Cutoff

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: It is not really about the story that’s being told, it is about the people telling it.

Mona Lisa

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

  • Excerpt: Packing a late-stage twist which unbalances everything that has gone before, Mona Lisa is a thriller that will really keep you guessing. It’s gritty and grim in traditional British style but this gives it a pleasing authenticity. Jordan is perfectly capable of dazzling us with beauty when he wants to; the drabness of the day to day world he depicts only adds to its impact and to the poignancy of its central characters’ yearning. Any danger of it slumping into sentimentality is undercut by Caine, whose bouts of viciousness are terrifying to behold and yet utterly believable.

The Phantom (2009)

A.J. Hakari @ CineSlice

Private Hell 36

Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk

  • Excerpt: Don Siegel’s Private Hell 36 is an effective, if maybe unremarkable, crime picture. It stars Steve Cochran and Howard Duff as two honest cops tempted by ill-gotten money, and co-writer Ida Lupino as the not-so-fatal femme who leads them to the loot. There are some good moral questions raised here, some solid action sequences (shootouts, car chases, and the like), and an excellent performance by Lupino–all of which is enough to make recommend Private Hell 36.

Rachel Getting Married

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: Perfect dramatic center that never feels manufactured. And the best performance of Anne Hathaway’s career.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Luke Bonanno @ DVDizzy.com

  • Excerpt: This is absolutely a Wes Anderson film and unmistakably the most unbridled of his first three. That would be a disastrous recipe for a filmmaker who needs guidance, but Anderson proves here he needs nothing of the sort. I’ve appreciated all seven of Anderson’s directorial efforts to a large degree, but I think it’s pretty clear that Tenenbaums represents his richest, most complex, and most satisfying work to date.

Sarah’s Key

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: One half of a good movie, with an intrusive framework.

Scenes from a Marriage (Ep. 1, 2, and 3)

Carson Lund @ Are the Hills Going to March Off?

  • Excerpt: Feeling little need for visual acrobatics, non-linear storytelling maneuvers, or sly metaphors, [Scenes from a Marriage] presents life in a direct, unadorned fashion, knowing that human emotion over the course of time is beguiling enough.

Scenes from a Marriage (Ep. 4, 5, and 6)

Carson Lund @ Are the Hills Going to March Off?

  • Excerpt: Bergman’s own sympathies seem to jockey back and forth throughout Scenes from a Marriage nearly as often as Johan and Marianne’s power roles reverse during conversation.

The Sins of Rachel Cade

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

  • Excerpt: If one cut out everything else in The Sins of Rachel Cade, with only the close ups of Angie Dickinson remaining, one is left with a visual poem even more beautiful than what Joseph Cornell did after whittling away all that was extraneous in East of Zanzibar, leaving the viewer to admire only Rose Hobart.

Tarzan’s New York Adventure

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

There’s No Business Like Show Business

A.J. Hakari @ CineSlice

The Thin Blue Line

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: Odd, strange and brilliant, like all of Erroll Morris’ work.

The Tigger Movie

Luke Bonanno @ DVDizzy.com

  • Excerpt: The Tigger Movie does right in just about every creative decision it makes. Its appealing world is instantly familiar from the Disney animation that’s preceded it. And yet you’ll notice the visuals are smoother and more polished than ever before. Even computer animation, something that seems so in contrast to the film’s simple, artful 2-D, is tactfully integrated in scenes of snow and honeybees. The vocal cast is spot-on, most having settled into the parts in TV and videos. The story maintains a style that’s true to Milne’s world. Wordplay and misunderstandings produce smiles in appreciative older viewers, while younger audiences will more vocally enjoy the broad personalities and physical comedy.

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