Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.
Reviews of Classic Films
Bay of Angels
- Excerpt: Jeanne Moreau’s Jackie is a classic femme fatale. And Bay of Angels is essentially a crime film without any actual crime.
The Big Chill
- Excerpt: …THE BIG CHILL was an impactful film that started the conversation in middle America that, for better or worse, has evolved into today’s culture wars
- Excerpt: Judy Holliday is a delight, a master of physical comedy and also a killer with both slow burns and quick witticisms. It’s that most wonderful of romantic movies where the object of affection seduces the audience at the same time as the folks in the movie.
Cleo from 5 to 7
- Excerpt: During Varga’s 13-chapter story, Cleo sheds her self-and-societally-imposed disguises toward exposing her true identity. “Cleo” isn’t even her real name.
First Men in the Moon
- Excerpt: A 50th Anniversary Celebration of Ray Harryhausen’s 1964 adaptation of H.G. Wells
- Excerpt: The film confirms that dreamers and their obsessions can give us otherwise unimaginable moments of pure beauty.
Grace Kelly Collection
- Excerpt: …with a grand total of only 11 movies in a film career that only spanned 5 years, who knows what Kelly was truly capable of with more seasoning.
Tell Your Children
Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]
- Excerpt: “Wild Strawberries” is a thematically abundant film that fluidly condenses a lifetime’s worth of experience into succinct cinematic fragments under Ingmar Bergman’s complex construction of abstract corollaries.
Recent Home Video Releases
- Excerpt: Cowriter (with Lauren Thompson)/director Zachary Donohue puts a new spin on the ‘found footage’ genre with this incredibly clever and creepy film that delves into our worst online fears.
Love in the City
- Excerpt: Not just nostalgic about the musical hits and dapper outfits of the radio golden age, Radio Days sets out to recognize the lasting impression the first form of true mass media has left on modern society with whimsical mirth. Allen is rarely this authentically sentimental, and his sappiness is balanced with style and wit that rank the film among the auteur’s finest.
Spinning Discs: A Hard Day’s Sale
- Excerpt: New Criterion discs reviewed.
Other Reviews from 2012 and earlier
Arch of Triumph
- Excerpt: Set in Paris just before World War II, Arch of Triumph stars Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer as two refugees on the run who find solace in one another, only to have it jeopardized by the same circumstances that brought them together. Lewis Milestone directs everything with the same gloomy perspective, creating a dour romance that goes on too long and never really gives audiences something to root for.
Candice Breitz: ‘Him + Her’
- Excerpt: Bretiz’s Meryl Streep/Jack Nicholson piece might be one of the most fascinating studies on screen acting, star performance, and the incalculable wealth of gender roles and stereotypes embedded within the characters the stars play.
- Excerpt: Crude but effective variation on the ventriloquist dummy scenario.
- Excerpt: Oliver Stone’s psychologically superficial treatment of Morrison feels deliberate, partly because Stone clearly wanted to use Morrison as a totemic figure to explore the spirit of an era, an exemplar for a generational and a fatefully schizoid quality in his society.
- Excerpt: Though clearly ambitious, Alexander Sokurov’s Faust left me feeling conflicted. I was overwhelmed by its technique, underwhelmed by what it actually had to say.
- Excerpt: The smiles on the faces of these guys as they meet and reminisce, and as they get out their instruments and let the music take them back, is irresistibly infectious. The movie has been much compared to The Buena Vista Social Club, and musically it’s an apt comparison.
Hell Below Zero
The High and the Mighty
- Excerpt: For me, you’re stuck convincing yourself The High and the Mighty is a masterpiece when it really isn’t.
Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte
- Excerpt: Everyone casts aside their mantle of perfection to get down and dirty with glorious results.
The Kentucky Fried Movie
- Excerpt: La calidad es muy irregular, con momentos que no hacen gracia, y otros tan tontorrones que te ríes a carcajadas.
- Excerpt: …there’s just too much of what we’ve watched in previous Davis films of the period.
Ocean Predators – 3D
Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]
The Other Love
- Excerpt: The legendary actress [Barbara Stanwyck] stars in The Other Love as a piano player who, while on rest from tuberculosis, is caught in a romantic triangle between the doctor that promises to cure her and the racecar driver that will give her a swift ride out of there. It’s as passionless as it is contrived, wasting a solid lead performance on a mediocre script.
Polar Bears 3D: Ice Bear
- Excerpt: It might be too reductive to call it an ‘80s artifact; even in the ‘80s, none of this made any sense, so maybe we should deal with ‘Road House’ (which celebrates its 25th anniversary this summer) not as a goofy action movie, but as something akin to science fiction, set in a world without even a passing resemblance to our own, governed by an alien logic.
A Summer’s Tale
- Excerpt: In this third of his Four Seasons cycle, the great Eric Rohmer explores, as he so often does, the natural rhythms of young love, with its agonies, awkwardnesses, and ethical dilemmas. There’s a lot of talk, and just as much unsaid. It’s Rohmer.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Throne of Blood
When Harry Met Sally
- Excerpt: To be clear, I like ‘When Harry Met Sally’; I saw it on its initial theatrical release, laughed heartily, quoted its best lines, and revisited it frequently. But in the subsequent years, as I spent more time with the filmography of Woody Allen, I noticed how much of ‘Harry’ seemed… familiar.