Latest Home Video Reviews
House of Cards: Volume Three (2013)
'Do what you have to do.'...Netflix's flagship series addresses this dictum to many characters grappling with tough choices, but the core subject of [Season Three]...is the marriage of Frank and Claire Underwood.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
Shows little strain in maintaining its cute factor, thanks to the drily winning personalities of the likes of Smith, Dench, Nighy, and the comic ebullience of Patel.
The Bridge (Die Brücke) (1959)
That it is Hitler doing the exploiting has little relevance to the overriding theme of tragic history humanity remains doomed to repeat: sending naive young men—and, at some times and places, boys—to their ends.
André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films (2015)
In Criterion's Blu-ray and DVD boxsets titled
André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films
, we can ponder the full cinematic depth (and much of the theatrical depth) of the collaboration between two complementary creative souls.
I fervently hoped that some particularly annoyed soul would create a 'Slapheads Yell "Chappie"!' supercut...to refine the movie to its purest form of annoyance. As of this writing, internet, you disappoint me.
Wild Tales (2015)
Like Tarantino's films,
will rub some the wrong way by taking glee in the violence that comes from our worst selves, but the catharses have a positive social function...there's no doubt Szifron intends cautionary
Welcome to Me (2015)
Wiig plays her role with total commitment, fearlessness, and lack of vanity...the movie we deserve in the age of social media and cable television, a satiric child of Paddy Chayevsky's
in its autopsy of "vox populi" viral video...
Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles (2014)
Workman has done a service in making a broadly accessible history of Welles that stands a chance of drawing younger generations of film buffs, like moths, to 'the master''s flame.
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015)
Our American addiction...bloodsucking from humanity in order to maintain the lifestyle to which we are accustomed. By the time Hess wearily muses, "I'm tired of this existence," it's more or less clear he means a spiritually empty capitalist existence...
Zvyagintsev literally and allegorically depicts modern Russia's runaway corruption but also captures universal fears about the shaky ground on which we construct our lives.
Masters of Sex: Season Two (2013)
Showrunner Michelle Ashford has played slow and loose with the facts, but in ways that achieve thematic resonance in a speculative, provocative dialogue with history.
Mr. Turner (2014)
Revives an era in astonishing, delicate detail, then moves through the space with a documentarian's eye. Leigh takes Turner out of art history and puts him back in the world.
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2015)
Has a smattering of effective moments and a creepy cinematographic look to it, but the sequel's redundancy to its predecessor and pulseless feints at tapping into human emotion leech the suspense out of the picture.
Big Eyes (2014)
Burton pokes fun at Keane's art, but he kids because he loves, and
productively asks the question of whether the paintings are art or kitsch (probable answer: both).
A satisfying excursion, a secular but spiritual journey of self-discovery.
101 Dalmatians (1961)
Then and now, Disney fans of all ages have thrilled to the animation-ambitious sight of the titular pack, and chilled at the villainy of mad diva Cruella De Vil.
Porco Rosso (2015)
Though the story touches on politics and even profundities of the human experience, Miyazaki's light touch and overriding sense of fun promise that children of all ages will give themselves over to ninety-four minutes of fantasy that do a heart good.
Need for Speed (2014)
Like throwing a pile of car parts at the wall to see what'll stick. Spoiler: nothing.
Fading Gigolo (2014)
At times thuddingly earnest...at times, jazzily, goofily endearing...Turturro's romanticism keeps undercutting the humor before it has a chance to get satisfyingly irreverent. Call it comoedia interruptus.
Operation Petticoat (1959)
Hasn't aged especially well. Still, on the strength of Grant and co-lead Tony Curtis, Edwards' film remains a diverting enough escape from reality.
Radio Days (1987)
[A] ridiculously entertaining nostalgia exercise...
emerged from a highly fertile period for [Woody] Allen, and the film bubbles with creativity and Allen hallmarks.
Le Week-End (2014)
Little satisfies more at the movies than the relatively cheap special effect catalyzed by putting together a couple of great actors and letting them (figuratively speaking) dance a lengthy pas de deux.
Blue Ruin (2014)
A hauntingly memorable, even thoughtful shoot-'em-up.
An Adventure in Space and Time (2013)
Thrilling—you are there at the inception of
!—and deeply poignant, sometimes at the same time...with actors like Bradley and Cox in place, it's difficult to imagine a better treatment.
Rio 2 (2014)
was pretty generic to begin with, and the follow-up doesn't fly far from the nest...[it's the] vocally virtuosic amorous aria, 'Poisonous Love,' that is the picture's hands-down highlight.
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
It's more than a movie; it's a key artifact (minus must or muss) of a cultural phenomenon.
Masters of Sex: Season One (2013)
Like Bill Condon's seriocomic film
Masters of Sex
takes a sociohistorical perspective on a subject of inherent fascination to us all.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Chain of Command (1992)
Considerably ahead of the curve in taking on the character and meaning and consequences of torture as a fruitless and brutal human rights abuse...shows
The Next Generation
operating at the top of its game.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Season Six (1992)
By its sixth season,
Star Trek: The Next Generation
had figured out how to maximize its cast and characters.
The Honeymooners: Classic 39 Episodes (1955)
Sincere in enobling the working class, and there's something magical and poignant in the way these 'low-rent' stories came on each week to the tune of the romantic, impossibly swanky 'You're My Greatest Love'...
The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1 (1960)
A network sitcom with predictable conflicts meandering their way to 'all's well that ends well' resolutions, but the show—starting out on its now-historic eight-year run—functions not unlike its bucolic setting: it's a nice place to visit.
Two Rode Together (1961)
Ford may have made it for a quick buck—or perhaps as a favor to Columbia chief Harry Cohn—but the impact of the resulting film is far more that of a provocative drama than a tossed-off oater.
I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 (1951)
There's never been a comedian quite like Lucille Ball before or since: with beauty she was entirely willing to contort for laughs and phenomenal comic instincts...the redheaded star was and remains impossible not to love.
Star Trek: Enterprise—Season Four (2001)
If not everything works in
's Season Four, it's certainly the most consistently entertaining and well-written season of the show, a bitter irony for a show that was doomed to cancellation.
August: Osage County (2014)
Absent the electricity of live-wire live performance, the play's paucity of depth becomes more obvious. What's left to carry the day are a nasty streak of black comedy and the redoubtable acting ensemble.
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
The play of light and dark elements in what's arguably Akira Kurosawa's most broadly appealing and entertaining picture...explores a dichotomy of the idiocy of greed and the rewards of sacrifice.
Though Coogan's the avowed funnyman, twinkly-eyed Dench makes beautiful comic music with him...and though Dame Judi's the classically trained tragedian, Coogan holds his own when matters get serious.
The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) (2013)
Plays at times like a more conventional, less daring version of 1972’s
...On its own merits, Sorrentino’s film ain’t half-bad, but it’s no Fellini picture.
King of the Hill (1993)
King of the Hill
—or to discover it—is to realize how seldom American cinema deems it worthwhile to tell a child's story with anything approaching serious psychological intent.
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
A fitfully crackerjack picture with astonishing mise-en-scène...some memorable set pieces to take advantage of same, and flashes of Hitchockian wit...
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