Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.
Reviews of Classic Films
Adua and Her Friends
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Excerpt: Watch it with the trivia pop-up option. That and a sparkling new transfer make for a great viewing experience.
- Excerpt: It’s experimental theater meets cinéma verité with a self-aware sensibility: a drama in documentary form.
A Day in the Country
- 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
A Hard Day’s Night
Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Excerpt: Leave it to Preston Sturges to create the sexiest and most grown-up romantic comedy of his day.
Le Pont du Nord
- 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.
- Excerpt: It’s probably safe to say you’ll enjoy this movie when pigs fly.
- Excerpt: [Director Richard] Rush appreciates the energy and the idealism of the culture at its best while acknowledging contradictions in the individuals within.
- 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?
- 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
- 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
- Excerpt: … a portrait of emptiness and hostility, a social revolution spiraling into narcissism and self-destruction.
Recent Home Video Releases
The Breakfast Club: 30th Anniversary Edition
Candyman (UK Import)
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh
Dear White People
- 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
- 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
- Excerpt: … this story presents the West as a hard place that creates hard people and destroys the rest.
Into the Woods (2014)
- 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.
New Year’s Evil
- 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
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
- 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)
Vice and Virtue
- 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?
- 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
The End of Violence
Enter the Void
- Excerpt: A bold, unique, singular, visionary work about terrible people I didn’t engage with doing terrible things I didn’t care about.
- Excerpt: A hybrid of disparate elements that shouldn’t really go together, much like the human-plant monsters who menace the characters.
- Excerpt: It’s the end of the world as we know, and this vision of the end is unfailingly polite.
- Excerpt: Cinema Fearité Presents ‘Night Terror’ – Valerie Harper On The Run From A Killer In A Car
Ride the Pink Horse
João Pinto @ Portal Cinema [Portuguese]