Online Film Critics Society

The World's Oldest Organization of Online Film Critics

Classics & More on DVD (Feb. 22, 2016)

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

About Elly

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Adventureland

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • Excerpt: … the cinematic answer to an outlaw folk song.

The Babadook

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Barbara (2012)

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Batman Begins

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • Excerpt: Nolan gets the character right: Bruce Wayne is the secret identity and Batman is the real persona.

The Big Trail

Roderick Heath @ Ferdy on Films

  • 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

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • 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

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Gosford Park

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Inside Man

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Laura

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • Excerpt: Laura (1944) is elegance incarnate in a genre known for its hard edge, the sleekest, silkiest noir of all.

Lost in Translation

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

The Mission

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Moonrise Kingdom

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • 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.

Troubled Water

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

(more…)

Classics & More on DVD (Feb. 22, 2016)

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

About Elly

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Adventureland

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • Excerpt: … the cinematic answer to an outlaw folk song.

The Babadook

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Barbara (2012)

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Batman Begins

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • Excerpt: Nolan gets the character right: Bruce Wayne is the secret identity and Batman is the real persona.

The Big Trail

Roderick Heath @ Ferdy on Films

  • 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

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod

  • 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

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Gosford Park

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Inside Man

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Laura

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • Excerpt: Laura (1944) is elegance incarnate in a genre known for its hard edge, the sleekest, silkiest noir of all.

Lost in Translation

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

The Mission

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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.

Moonrise Kingdom

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • 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.

Troubled Water

Sean Axmaker @ Stream On Demand

  • 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

(more…)

This Week, Part 2 (Feb. 19-21, 2016)

Because of embargoes, a lot of our critics aren’t able to share links with you until release day. Here are some last-minute reviews for this weekend’s upcoming films. We’ve kept in all the reviews posted yesterday as well so you can have more help in deciding what to see (if you haven’t already).

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Feb. 19-21, 2016

Wide (United States)

Race

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Risen

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Witch

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Embrace the Serpent

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A cross-cultural masterpiece set in the Amazon.

2015 & 2016 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

(more…)

This Week, Part 1 (Feb. 19-21, 2016)

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Feb. 19-21, 2016

Wide (United States)

Race

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Risen

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Witch

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Embrace the Serpent

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A cross-cultural masterpiece set in the Amazon.

2015 & 2016 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

(more…)

Reviews: Mountains May Depart (2016)

mountains_may_departHere are review links for this film submitted by our members:

Reviews: The Witch (2016)

witchHere are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • [New – 2/25/16] | Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: Eggers patiently threads his needle with themes of faith, family, and fear, and sews it up into a mélange of unsettling mood and unshakable images; it’s a movie that drifts along, haunting yet manageable, and then it clobbers you.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Writer/director Robert Eggers…has made a masterpiece right out of the gate. This production is absolute perfection in every regard, from its well researched screenplay and art direction to its great ensemble cast and unnerving score
  • [New – 2/25/16] | David Crow @ Den of Geek
    • Excerpt: And as the third act surrenders to that blackest magic, hurdling audiences into a kind of Puritan fever dream, the palpable dread that you’re partaking in something truly wicked will grab hold of you as sure as hellfire.
  • Jim Dixon @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: There’s something so alarmingly primordial about “The Witch” that you begin to understand why people are afraid of the dark. The relentlessness of “The Witch” is close to punishing. But for those who can handle it, this is a remarkably intelligent and genuinely frightening movie.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: In a uniquely twisted way, The Witch is a condemnation of religious fanaticism, as well as the stubbornness of ideas and ideals that comes with it.
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
  • [New – 2/25/16] | Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal
    • Excerpt: ‘The Witch’ is a skilfully creepy thriller that chronicles a family’s destruction triggered by supernatural interference or simple paranoia.
  • [New – 2/25/16] | Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: This engrossing saga of a Puritan family’s worst nightmare is extremely artistic. That makes this horror film rather unique in this day and age.
  • Courtney Howard @ Sassy Mama In LA
    • Excerpt: This prickly, shifty, unnerving psychological nail-biter turns the screws slowly, resulting in a vise grip of terror.
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: Eerie and sinister, operating on a more psychologically incisive level than the typical horror flick… until it tosses it all with a cop-out of an ending.
  • Steve Katz @ The Alpha Primitive
    • Excerpt: The Witch does not hide its malevolence offscreen, but it does not overplay its hand either, opting instead for disjointed flashes of…something…that so often defies description. Anything and everything seems possible, and Eggers uses that unease to his advantage by pumping the gas sparingly but with bone-chilling effectiveness.
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: …the first truly accomplished horror film of 2016 thus far.
  • [New – 2/25/16] | Benjamin Kramer @ The Voracious Filmgoer
  • Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • [New – 2/25/16] | Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: The Witch holds you in its grasp with a chilling exploration of how evil chooses some people to be its victims and others to do its bidding.
  • Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See
    • Excerpt: The Exorcist filtered through The Crucible, Rosemary’s Baby by way of the Salem Witch Trials, The Witch marks a stunning debut, and is a movie that will leave a long-lasting impression in horror and beyond.
  • [New – 2/26/16] | Jared Mobarak @ Jared Mobarak Reviews
    • Excerpt: Don’t expect to jump at all because Eggers isn’t interested in cheap tricks. He’d rather lull us into a state of trepidation and subtly bring forth his evil from the shadows as though it was there all along.
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: A study in paranoia that creates a deepening mood of unease and dread…[and] despite a few stumbles (most notably a miscalculated final scene) is genuinely creepy.
  • Andrew Wyatt @ St. Louis Magazine
    • Excerpt: What ultimately makes the film so absorbing and haunting is not its rustic folktale terrors, but its potent depiction of a Protestant household—that alleged rock of American life—coming spectacularly undone amid snarls of deception, sorrow, and psychosexual tension.

From Our Members' Desks (Feb. 16, 2016)

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

Top 14 Favorite Classic Movie Couples

Kristen Lopez @ Journeys in Classic Film

Awards Coverage

Top 14 Favorite Classic Movie Couples

Kristen Lopez @ Journeys in Classic Film

Interviews

Eli Roth and Lorenza Izzo – The Green Inferno

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Francis Gary Powers, Jr. on the Cold War and “Bridge of Spies”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Jack Huston and Douglas Booth

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Jim Whitaker on “The Finest Hours”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Justin Theroux – Zoolander 2

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Lily James and Bella Heathcote

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Luca Guadagnino – A Bigger Splash

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Nicholas Sparks on “The Choice”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick – Deadpool

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Thelma Todd Biographer Michelle Morgan

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig – Zoolander 2

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Festivals: General Coverage

(more…)

From Our Members’ Desks (Feb. 16, 2016)

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

Top 14 Favorite Classic Movie Couples

Kristen Lopez @ Journeys in Classic Film

Awards Coverage

Top 14 Favorite Classic Movie Couples

Kristen Lopez @ Journeys in Classic Film

Interviews

Eli Roth and Lorenza Izzo – The Green Inferno

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Francis Gary Powers, Jr. on the Cold War and “Bridge of Spies”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Jack Huston and Douglas Booth

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Jim Whitaker on “The Finest Hours”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Justin Theroux – Zoolander 2

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Lily James and Bella Heathcote

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Luca Guadagnino – A Bigger Splash

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Nicholas Sparks on “The Choice”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick – Deadpool

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Thelma Todd Biographer Michelle Morgan

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig – Zoolander 2

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Festivals: General Coverage

(more…)

Classics & More on DVD (Feb. 15, 2016)

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Black God, White Devil

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: [VIDEO ESSAY] “Black God, White Devil” is a cinematic call for the audience to reject all political and religious doctrine in favor of an individual liberty at one with nature, something you could call sustainable.

Bringing Up Baby

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Howard Hawks’s “Bringing Up Baby” is the go-to example of screwball comedy that critics and film-lovers reference most as the definitive model of the genre.

Gilda

Donald Jay Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Lemonade Joe

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: Communist propaganda, surreal Czech sensibilities, and an honest appreciation for the entertainment value of early Hollywood films collide to create a homegrown retro-Western musical spoof that could almost have come from the mind of Guy Maddin.

Libeled Lady

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

The Lovers on the Bridge

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: The bravura sequence that everyone remembers shows the lovers drunkenly dancing across the bridge as fireworks burst behind them, with the music changing from a polka to a waltz to a rocker every couple of seconds. It’s the kind of scene a movie can hang its hat on, and a director can make a reputation with.

Man Bites Dog

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: [VIDEO ESSAY] Self-reflexive social satire rarely comes with such a hilarious fury of black humor as it does in this ingenious mockumentary about filming a serial killer’s pursuits.

Panique

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

Reform School Girls

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: [VIDEO ESSAY] Although critically scorned and criminally overlooked, co-writer/director Tom Desimone’s punk rock-inspired indie sexploitation flick has it all.

Spirited Away

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: [VIDEO ESSAY] Animation legend Hayao Miyazaki’s divinely imaginative display of madcap surrealism is virtuosic in this episodic coming of age classic.

The Sword of Doom

Donald Jay Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

Recent Home Video Releases

(more…)

Online Film Critics Society © 1997-2016