Latest DVD Reviews
Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season (2012)
Disney's latest grand experiment in televised synergy has old-fashioned, corny charm—just newfangled with girl power and CGI.
Killing Season (2013)
Comes full up with heavy-handed signifiers, from Ben's choice of reading (Hemingway...) to a hammered motif of lapsed Christianity (the climax takes place in a rotting church) that underlines the theme of living with the sins of the past.
Regular Show: The Complete First & Second Seasons (2010)
There are sometimes twisted lessons to be learned from their misbehavior, but it's more about the silliness, punctuated regularly by frat-boy gesticulation and verbal high-fives.
From Up on Poppy Hill (2013)
Sunny days, blue skies, and rippling blue waters lined with greenery...Plain nice, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (1970)
In many ways,
Spearhead from Space
is terribly clunky...[but it] remains an historically important adventure and one with recognizable influences on stories to come...
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
For all its apocalyptic fate-of-the-world theatrics, this...[adaptation of] the 2011 graphic novel
by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert...has an emotional core to give purpose to its crazy amounts of mayhem.
A highly personal tale of undergrown men and overgrown boys experiencing the growing pains of love turned unrequited, and the realization that nothing—not freedom, not security, not innocence, not love—lasts forever.
It's hard not to see
today as a corny contraption...
The Devil's Backbone (2000)
Pure, uncut del Toro. The filmmaker accomplishes riveting scenes of suspense and scares he honestly come by, sticking the landing of every effect he attempts.
Lord of the Flies (1963)
While showing great fidelity to his source, Brook succeeded in delivering a version of
Lord of the Flies
that could best be described as psychological horror...
Wild Bill (2013)
With a concept and influences consciously in mind; fine performances by Creed-Miles, Poulter, and Williams; and approving cameos...Fletcher is able to put his best foot forward in this creditable debut.
The Driver (1978)
Hill has remained a steadily stylish presence in the idiom of action cinema. His genres of concern tend to be the Western and the urban crime drama, and the twain meet in neo-noir
In the Family (2011)
In the Family
is an 'issue movie'...But in practice, it's a made-to-scale love story and a thoughtful family drama. In other words, it's a true rarity of contemporary cinema.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Season Four (1987)
Under the leadership of head writer Michael Piller...the series broke the mold with the outstanding character piece 'Family.' That episode title would also serve as a pithy summation of the fourth season's primary theme.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Redemption (1991)
Perhaps the most commonly applied adjective when it comes to the Klingon homeworld episodes of
...is 'Shakespearean'...[given] a certain unity of voice, as well as compelling throne-room drama and civil-war intrigue.
Doctor Who: The Snowmen (2012)
In the show's grand tradition of family entertainment, with scary creatures, exciting chases, chaste romance (with a buxom companion), and more than a few choice laughs on the off chance anyone might start taking the show too seriously.
Robot Chicken DC Comics Special (2012)
'Blackout comedy' for the Comic-Con set, the nerd's
...all in good fun.
Breaking Bad: The Fifth Season (2012)
The show continues to grow in dimension and in scope, a reality that's also meaningful within its fictional universe.
Safety Last! (1923)
is a certified treat, but in packed movie houses, with audiences invariably gasping and giggling on every cue, it's a near-religious experience.
In Old Arizona (1929)
The first major Western in sound...One can occasionally feel the filmmakers showing off the technology, with close-ups of a crying baby or sizzling ham and eggs.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Oz the Great and Powerful
gets saved from the junk heap by Franco and especially by director Sam Raimi, who happily treats the enterprise as a sandbox.
The Newsroom: The Complete First Season (2012)
By setting the show in the recent past, Sorkin can productively remind or inform a broad audience of the pith of important news we've lived through...a subplot about [NSA] wiretapping...[even] gets ahead of the curve...
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Once blithely acceptable as American id, McClane's become the archetypal American idiot.
Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season (2011)
Cannily plays in equal measure to the sci-fi TV crowd and families, to red states and blue states, and it's a formula—refined in Season Two—that seems to be working.
What remains most striking about
may be the...conspicuous emphasis on intense close-ups. They force an inescapable emotional intimacy in relation to issues the mainstream, at least at the time, would rather have looked away from.
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Distinguished by its thoughtfulness regarding the nature of Western heroism, as defined not only by dead-eye gunplay, but by family, community, and moral rectitude.
Stand Up Guys (2012)
The awfulness of the narrative is plain to see, and yet...no one can say
Stand Up Guys
Shanghai Noon (2000)
Though the film nakedly seeks a wide audience through conventional plotting and characterization—and despite being (like most action movies) guy-centric—
provides good, clean 'family' fun.
Shanghai Knights (2003)
This innocent, sixties-style, big-budget comedy-romance-action-adventure romp is solid family entertainment that would make any self-respecting kid's jaw drop for a good two hours.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—The Best of Both Worlds (1990)
As good as, if not better than, any of the feature films that would later star the
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Season Three (1989)
Not only did the third season mark a quantum leap in non-niche popularity for the series, but a greater consistency in the show's writing and execution that meant a precipitous drop in fan complaints.
The Pink Panther (1964)
All the ingredients for a great evening at the movies: lively music, eye-catching scenery, larger-than-life comic set pieces, suave men and beautiful women, and odd-man-out Clouseau, played to perfection by the one and only Peter Sellers.
Day-Lewis...wears well the weariness of the office and Lincoln's puckish yet subdued sense of humor, scaling the man closer to life-size than Mount Rushmore monumental.
A Royal Affair (2012)
Supplements its palace intrigue with the good old-fashioned pull of romance and costume drama...Mikkelsen's magnetism and sly expressiveness hold the film's center with a quiet potency.
Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
can boast a screenplay with a highly unusual moral complexity and a deeply philosophical bent...Yes,
is a film that name-drops Schopenhauer, but it's also damn funny...
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
By most cinematic measures,
Zero Dark Thirty
is one of the best-made films of 2012. It also probably shouldn't exist.
Life of Pi (2012)
In the hands of Ang Lee, a true film artist,
Life of Pi
elegantly walks Martel's philosophical line while also brilliantly using every modern cinematic tool to spin an epic yarn.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Built for fun...in its dazzlingly elaborate production design and kinetic 3D action...perfect casting...
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
-esque video-game-character cameos, and a cramming of clever comic touches...
The Master (2012)
begs for a reorientation of the viewer, perhaps requiring more than one viewing...there's nothing easy or conventional about this account of a doomed search for external meaning, doubling as a meditative tone poem on human frailty.
A Star Is Born (1976)
While in its romantic and romanticized particulars, this
A Star Is Born
can often seem silly, hoary, disjointed or meandering, the essence of the showbiz narrative still exerts a powerful pull...
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