Classics and Other Films on DVD (Mar. 23, 2015)

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Adua and Her Friends

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: … what really charges up the film is the feeling of accomplishment and ownership as they work their way through each problem and, almost without noticing, create a successful business out of the restaurant.

Army (1944)

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: Army (1944), Kinosuke’s fourth and final film of the war years, pushes the patriotic drumbeat to extremes and sneaks in a sly portrait of the nationalistic fervor that drove Japan to war.

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: Handsome with a touch of aloofness (the dress dummies sprawled through each scene add a note of alienation), it’s a quintessentially Fassbinder portrait of doomed love, jealousy, and social taboos, bouncing between catty melodrama and naked emotional need.

The Breakfast Club: 30th Anniversary Edition

James Plath @ Family Home Theater

  • Excerpt: Watch it with the trivia pop-up option. That and a sparkling new transfer make for a great viewing experience.

The Connection

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: It’s experimental theater meets cinéma verité with a self-aware sensibility: a drama in documentary form.

A Day in the Country

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: It’s a bucolic little film with a wisp of a story that builds great emotional resonance from what appears to be a slight, meaningless dalliance.

From Hand to Mouth

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

A Hard Day’s Night

Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

James Plath @ Family Home Theater

  • Excerpt: Count me among those who think that the first and third films in the trilogy would have become stronger had Jackson split the material into two films, as he originally thought to do. That said, fans of fantasy and action films may like The Battle of the Five Armies as is, since there’s probably no less character or plot development here than there is in a genre blockbuster like The Expendables.

In The Land of the Head Hunters

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: The storytelling is rudimentary but the imagery is often gorgeous, with Curtis’ photographer’s eye capturing dramatic images set against striking coast landscapes and seascapes.

A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin must count as one of the most eye-catching and well-made works during the vogue for the “giallo” style of Italian horror movie.

Morning for the Osone Family

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: Morning for the Osone Family (1946) offers a scathing indictment of the culture that drove Japan into war through the intimate story of a family shattered by it.

The Palm Beach Story

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: Leave it to Preston Sturges to create the sexiest and most grown-up romantic comedy of his day.

Le Pont du Nord

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: The scenes were worked out with the performers and then partially improvised and have a playful, meandering quality held together by Rivette’s dashes of humor and visual punning and the bond created between the two women.

Porco Rosso

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: It’s probably safe to say you’ll enjoy this movie when pigs fly.

Psych-Out

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: [Director Richard] Rush appreciates the energy and the idealism of the culture at its best while acknowledging contradictions in the individuals within.

The Rewrite

James Plath @ Family Home Theater

  • Excerpt: Thus far Grant has starred in four of Lawrence’s lightweight PG-13 comedies, and while Music and Lyrics remains the best of the bunch—partly because of the chemistry that Grant had with co-star Drew Barrymore—The Rewrite is better than Two Weeks Notice and Did You Hear About the Morgans?

The Skin

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: This isn’t about war, it’s about civilians caught between invading powers and soldiers in their downtime, and Cavani enjoys the chaos of this world in upheaval without letting us lose our way through.

Viva Las Vegas

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • Excerpt: Whether or not the on-set affair between Presley and Ann-Margret was all it was cracked up to be, what’s plain is the spectacle of the pair getting off on each-other throughout Viva Las Vegas, to a degree that’s almost like watching fully-clothed pornography.

The Wild Angels

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: … a portrait of emptiness and hostility, a social revolution spiraling into narcissism and self-destruction.

Recent Home Video Releases

La Bamba

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

The Breakfast Club: 30th Anniversary Edition

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Candyman (UK Import)

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Dear White People

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: … a sharp, smart, ambitious satire of race, racism, privilege, prejudice, and power at an Ivy League college that has drawn comparisons to Spike Lee.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

James Plath @ Family Home Theater

  • Excerpt: In the Bible, Jesus turned water into wine, but the way remakes are going these days, you get the feeling that a contemporary director would have him making frozen margaritas instead. Exodus: Gods and Kings will probably appeal most to lovers of action-adventures and audiences not that familiar with the biblical version. Like Noah, it’s a slick-looking action film that looks great in HD and includes a fully immersive DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack.

From Asia with Lust, Volume 1

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee

The Homesman

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: … this story presents the West as a hard place that creates hard people and destroys the rest.

Into the Woods (2014)

James Plath @ Family Home Theater

  • Excerpt: I was surprised to see that the filmed performance of the Broadway version is rated higher at Amazon than the Disney version. To my way of thinking, the cast and singing are just as strong, and the Disney version will hold more appeal for young viewers. If your family likes musicals, this is a good one for family movie night.

Jennifer (1978)

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Munich

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

New Year’s Evil

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Nightcrawler

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: It takes place almost entirely at night and director of photography Robert Elswit (an Oscar winner for There Will Be Blood) carves out a marvelous neo-noir atmosphere of Los Angeles at night with his razor-sharp photography of the streets after dark…

Squirm: Collector’s Edition

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: Corman is adept at creating human moments between the plot points, reminding us of the little guys caught up in the war and the human cost of the violence…

The Sure Thing (30th Anniversary Edition)

M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com

Vice and Virtue

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee

Whiplash

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: This is as much psychological thriller as musical drama and it turns on the increasingly toxic chemistry between two clearly damaged people, to the exclusion of pretty much anyone else in the film.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Sean Axmaker @ Parallax View

  • Excerpt: This is pure midnight movie, all energy and whimsy and cartoonish displays of violence with yakuza soldiers dressed as samurai swordsmen.

Other Reviews from 2012 and earlier

52 Pick-Up

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

The End of Violence

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

Enter the Void

Daniel Lackey @ The Nightmare Gallery

  • Excerpt: A bold, unique, singular, visionary work about terrible people I didn’t engage with doing terrible things I didn’t care about.

The Freakmaker

Daniel Lackey @ The Nightmare Gallery

  • Excerpt: A hybrid of disparate elements that shouldn’t really go together, much like the human-plant monsters who menace the characters.

Jackpot

Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

Last Night

Daniel Lackey @ The Nightmare Gallery

  • Excerpt: It’s the end of the world as we know, and this vision of the end is unfailingly polite.

Night Terror

James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture

  • Excerpt: Cinema Fearité Presents ‘Night Terror’ – Valerie Harper On The Run From A Killer In A Car

Paris, Texas

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Ride the Pink Horse

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

Vanishing Waves

João Pinto @ Portal Cinema [Portuguese]

Vice and Virtue

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

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