Latest Home Video Reviews
Cinematic poetry...As that greatest of screen rarities—a potentially mainstream experimental film—the writer-director earns a bit of slack in gratitude for the strange and wonderful gift
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Too measured to be lively, too skittish to be provocative, too dramatically slack to be more than a ploddingly literal book-on-film.
The Infiltrator (2016)
A sturdy but uninspired crime docudrama that’s neither convincingly colloquial nor thrillingly stylish.
The main draw remains Serling, whose story seems every bit as relevant—indeed, more so—today. There is efficiency but also music in his theatrical language...
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)
The fact that
Mike and Dave
will inevitably turn into a rom com blunts its potential as a black comedy of comeuppance for the titular jerks.
Blood Simple (1984)
Simpleness and crime have consistently fascinated the pair, who may as well be praying at the temple of Atë...the Coens preach a healthy respect for the randomness and chaos that ensues from our desires.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
As far as 'Classic Disney,'
Beauty and the Beast
pretty much has it all. Y'know, for kids (of all ages).
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
A direct sequel to
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
...a crazy-cool superhero team-up/smackdown movie to make
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
look like a tea party, and a franchise-launching introduction to the new Spider-Man...
A Bigger Splash (2015)
The significant visual appeal and magnetic turns by the leading players make this four-hander a diverting dip into human nature: specifically, jealousy and the folly of opting for interiority over communication.
Why is Marguerite so funny to us, and why is her public humiliation allowed to continue for so long? The answers plumb both the best and worst instincts of human nature, and give Giannoli’s film a strong heartbeat.
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939)
The story, the effective acting, and the period-specific recreations of Kabuki would be enough for most films, but this one has Mizoguchi behind the camera, applying his rigorous formalism.
Night Train to Munich (1940)
Double-crosses and disguises, captures and escapes make up the momentum of Reed's nicely pacy adventure.
The Night Manager (2016)
A story that succeeds in the telling: in the work of Hiddleston, Laurie, and Colman and the steady hand of their director: notable feature-film helmer Susanne Bier.
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
Not only can the center not hold, but there is no center to begin with...The story mostly speeds along at an obnoxious rate and pitch, the better to misdirect from the next dumb abracadabra plot twist, but good luck hanging in for over two hours of it.
The Immortal Story (1968)
A dreamy fable of just-so proportion and asethetics...this literate and richly strange film has layers of meaning available to the viewer.
Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two (2015)
An abundance of fun, with high-spirited action (including dazzling space battles and impressive lightsaber duels), dry wit, and dramatic contributions to the
The Jungle Book (2016)
Favreau and Marks have obviously put some thought into the film’s visual approach and the messages...: the animal kingdom’s unexpected threats and opportunities...the work Mowgli puts in to come of age...his casual kindheartedness...
Too closely resembles the narcotic world it depicts. Without ever doing anything conspicuously wrong,
plays like one big miscalculation...
Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970)
I'll say this for
Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon
. It's a film that takes a big roll of the dice. Is it wrenching? Is it wacky? Well, it's definitely weird.
Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete First Season (2015)
It's difficult to imagine how
Ash vs Evil Dead
could be any more fan-pleasing than it is...packed with all sorts of looney fun that conjures back up the "splatstick" style Raimi and friends popularized.
A Taste of Honey (1962)
Pushed the culture-shock of kitchen-sink drama further with its female protagonist and depictions and discussions of interracial coupling, teen pregnancy, the possibility of abortion, and homosexuality.
Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words (Jag är Ingrid) (2015)
Bergman's effortlessly poetic diary and letters provide more evidence, though patently unnecessary, of her artistic temperament, her lyrical view of experience.
Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season (2011)
It's comforting to know
Once Upon a Time
is there as an entertainment families can rally around, and one that will challenge them thematically as much as it panders by playing in the Disney sandbox.
The Blacklist: The Complete Third Season (2013)
Season Three of
upped the show's game with slightly more adventurous writing that made the show a more consistent bet from week to week.
Mother's Day (2016)
A movie so far up its own posterior that it includes the threatening exchange 'They made a womb float for Mother’s Day?' 'I can’t wait to see what they do for Father’s Day!' Well, I can.
The Boss (2016)
Needlessly starting out on such a false, bombastic note emblematizes the film's mistake of blowing up the character past what made her recognizable, and thereby funny, in the first place.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)
For Zeus's sake...as warm and fuzzy and comforting (or not) as a Disney Channel show marketed more to parents than to their kids.
only reluctantly comes around to its crime-solving story, that’s understandable: the good stuff resides in the characterizations and the morality play around them, decrying fear of the other.
Kill Your Friends (2015)
As adapted by screenwriter John Niven from his own novel,
Kill Your Friends
has a decidedly been-there, killed-that feel to it.
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
In a way, the amusing, preposterous
, for all its arch postmodernism, becomes what it pastiches, resembling the kind of '50s film we can now watch and admire for a kind of cultural reflection without exactly considering it a success.
Triple 9 (2016)
A dark crime drama the rough-and-tumble Samuel Fuller no doubt would have loved.
The Witch (2015)
for what it is: a refreshingly baroque respite from the jump-scares that typify today's horror.
The Finest Hours (2016)
One can easily understand why this story swiftly became Coast Guard legend...but its dim wall-of-grey visuals and narrative longueurs make much of the two hours a challenge to the attention span for viewers of any age.
Where to Invade Next (2015)
Moore finds a galvanizing climax by rallying around the notion that idealism trumps, if you’ll pardon the word, defeatism.
Son of Saul (2015)
One man’s last grasp at humanity amidst the dehumanizing horrors of Auschwitz...dramatizes those extraordinary circumstances under which even the meanings of life and death become foreign and in desperate need of rediscovery.
The Lady in the Van (2015)
Though at times precious, Bennett’s sly script masks that deeply sentimental core with comic edge and a writer’s willful, mercenary remove.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
[A] general absence of something to say...Recycles the filmmaker’s own work: the leaner if no meaner dog-eat-dog plotting of
...and a roster of no-longer-shocking offenses...
Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series (1999)
Had a lot going for it: a strong creative vision from authorial forces who would go on to take Hollywood, a talented cast that would essentially do the same, and that premise.
Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (Special Edition) (2015)
There's nothing to take this show over the top, and in a crowded marketplace of quality TV storytelling, that's a troubing knock, but the show does a good job of wedding weekly genre thrills to creeping plot and character developments.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 (2015)
If the franchise continues to feel a bit dull—heavy on the drama and light on the excitement, with pageantry long in the rear-view—there’s a respectable purity in the films’ political cynicism and populist fervor.
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