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Tucker: The Man and His Dream (30th Anniversary) Blu-ray Review: This One Still Deserves Attention

Francis Ford Coppola weaves an interesting story of a car, a man, and a Dream.
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Under the hands of a lesser director, the story of a man obsessed with bringing out the car of his dreams in the 1940s, could have been quite a sel- absorbed mess. With Francis Ford Coppola at the helm, Tucker: The Man and His Dream turned into an inspiring and fascinating bio-pic. The 1988 movie has a 30th Anniversary release from Liongate on Blu-ray that brings the oft-forgotten film back for deserved recognition. The year 1988 was not great for film releases. The comedy was broad and the drama and action often revolved around war like Rambo III or Die

Tag Blu-ray Review: Chase This Down

Although Tag seemed to get overlooked in this summer’s box office competition, it’s well worth chasing down on Blu-ray this fall.
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Tag is based on the remarkably true story of a group of men who have kept their same childhood game of tag going for decades, risking their safety and careers in pursuit of pulling one over on their friends. It’s a ridiculous concept for a feature film that could have resulted in a real dud, but thanks to some solid casting and a hilarious script, it works so well that it’s easily my favorite comedy of the year. Each year for a month, the men play tag wherever they are, resorting to costumes and tomfoolery to track down their targets

Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji Blu-ray Review: Low on Blood, High on Social Commentary

Despite the lurid title, Tomu Uchida’s most famous work is more social commentary road movie than samurai action film.
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Director Tomu Uchida was an esteemed contemporary of Japan’s most internationally well-known directors, Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, and yet his work is barely known in the U.S. Arrow Academy aims to correct that oversight by presenting this remastered Blu-ray of his most famous film. The film follows a samurai and his entourage as they venture toward Edo (modern-day Tokyo), but rather than focus on swordplay action scenes one might expect from the title, it instead spends time on ancillary commoners they meet along the way, such as a poor orphan boy and shady man who seems to have gained

Tideland (2005) Blu-ray Review: Childhood, Love, and Necrophilia

Terry Gilliam's controversial tale of an innocent in a grotesque world is four parts beautiful, six parts repulsive.
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In a recorded introduction to Tideland, director Terry Gilliam states flat out, "Many of you are not going to like this film." And "Don't forget to laugh." I didn't find a whole lot to laugh about in Tideland, which earned Gilliam the worst reviews of his career and scared up very little in the way of box-office returns. Gilliam has never been a commercial filmmaker, though. A challenging vision coming from him isn't a surprise. And Tideland is not some routine carnival of shock and gore. It is more thoughtful in its repulsive elements, and more likely to get under

Mind Game (2004) Blu-ray Review: Endlessly Confusing, Endlessly Fascinating

Masaaki Yuasa's debut animated feature is a kaleidoscope of images and scenes that, miraculously, make a coherent (if confusing) film.
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The first couple minutes of Mind Game contains, after a brief scene of a girl being chased onto a subway train and getting her leg caught in the door, a montage. It lasts a couple of minutes, and contains scenes from various lives, put together without context, without any real sense of which character is which, who is who or when or where. Segments from TV shows are interspersed with scenes from daily life, and memories that are later shown to be incomplete. A similar segment plays at the end of the film, and while most of the context for

Beast (2018) Blu-ray Review: It's a Beauty

Jessie Buckley makes a name for herself in Michael Pearce’s directorial debut.
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While Jessie Buckley has made several notable appearances on television, Beast marks the first time she’s taken on a role in a feature-length project. And, boy, does she make a strong first impression. In Michael Pearce’s directorial debut, she’s placed at the front and center of the story, and there’s not a moment in which it seems like she has issues with taking the lead. There is a bright future for the young actress, and Beast shows that she is a force to reckon with. Set in an isolated community on the Channel Island of Jersey, Beast is loosely inspired

Deadpool 2 Super Duper $@%!#& Cut Blu-ray Review: It's a Family Film, Sorta

An entertaining mix of action and comedy for those with a high tolerance for vulgarity (like myself).
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Given the success of the first Deadpool, it wasn't a surprise a sequel was made. The foul-mouthed, wise-cracking mutant (or do I need to write “Merc with a Mouth” to help with Google searches and to look like I am in the know?) was featured in a movie that brought different sensibilities to the superhero genre earned its R rating with bloody action, filthy language, and meta humor. Plus, it was a vast improvement of the character that appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Deadpool 2 opens with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) trying to kill himself because of the responsibility he feels

The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review: Faster than Ever

You don't have to be a speedster to enjoy this series in a flash.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. Season Three of The Flash ended on a pretty dark note. Barry West/The Flash (Grant Gustin) was stuck inside the Speed Force. H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) sacrificed himself to save the world from Savitar. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) has disappeared for fear that she’ll remain Killer Frost forever. There were some really great moments that season and The Flash remains my favorite series in The Arrowverse, but there is no doubt what

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) Blu-ray Review: Plenty of Audacious Mischief

The adventures are thrilling for kids and those who remember being a kid.
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Kino Lorber Studio Classics has released The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in both its 1938 91-minute cut and its 77-minute cut when it was reissued in 1954. When released in 1938, it was the fourth adaptation of Mark Twain's 1876 novel and the first shot in Technicolor. Although the simplicity of the 19th century bucolic Midwestern town the story is set in and that of a 1930s family film may grow increasingly unfamiliar, Tom's adventures retain their appeal. Tom (Tommy Kelly) lives with his Aunt Polly (May Robson), her daughter Mary (Marcia Mae Jones), and Tom's annoying half-brother Sid, who

Deep Rising Blu-ray Review: Schlocky, B-Movie Fun

Kino Lorber Studio Classics gives Stephen Sommers’ silly monster movie a solid Blu-ray upgrade.
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Stephen Sommers’ Deep Rising was one of those movies I wanted to see when it initially released, but I never got around to it until now. I was in seventh grade, and, like most people in that age range, horror movies were something that we rushed out to see. We wanted to see something that was going to make us jump in our seats and entertain us. But, for some reason, I never saw it. It may be because I didn’t hear great things about it and decided to skip. That’s usually what I did and - to some degree
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray set reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer When we left off from Season Five, it was a big cliffhanger. Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) had Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and his son William (Jack Moore) trapped on a boat just off Lian yu where our hero had spent those mysterious five years. The first five seasons often had flashbacks to what happened during those years and was all culminating in a cyclical journey to cap off the last ten

Masters of Sex: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review: Undergraduate of Prestige TV

An entertaining series that isn't quite the classic it wants to be gets a very reasonable boxed set.
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Showtime’s Masters of Sex is the very epitome of Prestige Television. It is almost as if show creator Michelle Ashford took the Guidebook of Prestige TV and adapted every single bullet point. It is a period drama (it begins in 1956 and concludes in 1969) so it has loads of period details to get exactly perfect and it can stand at a distance judging the conservative morals of the day while shining a light on our modern imperfections. Its lead is an ahead-of-his-time genius with a dark past and emotional difficulties. His wife is a (more or less) atypical housewife

First Reformed Blu-ray Review: Praise Paul Schrader and Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke gives a stunning performance in Paul Schrader’s latest effort.
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It’s a subject in which Paul Schrader is very familiar, and also the one from which some of his best work comes: the focus on an individual whose life begins to spiral out of control for various reasons. It began with Taxi Driver in 1976 and has been explored in others such as 1980’s Raging Bull and 1999’s Bringing Out the Dead. All of them are terrific and haunting works of art that Schrader penned and, at least in those three examples, had Martin Scorsese direct. For First Reformed, Schrader tackles the subject as both writer and director. Borrowing mostly

The Terror: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: Utterly Terrifying

AMC's new horror anthology is relentlessly scary and impeccably made.
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In 1845, the British Empire was at the top of its game with colonies and territories all over the world. For decades they had been looking for a route to Asia through the northern Canadian archipelago. This so-called Northwest Passage would cut out enormous amounts of time and resources from the normal route across land or around Africa. Led by Captain John Franklin, two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, departed that year to try and find it. They made it to King William Island in the Nanavut territory September of 1866 and became iced in. They would never sail

Documentary Now! Seasons 1 & 2 Blu-ray Review: An Entertaining Anthology

"A [humorous] look back at the films that helped shape and innovate the world of documentary."
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One of the advantages to the expansion of television platforms, from cable to streaming, is that it has allowed network executives to take greater risks on material that doesn't appear to and may not have broad appeal. This provides artists a wider spectrum of possibilities from which to tell stories and entertain, such as the documentary-spoofing Documentary Now! created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and director Rhys Thomas, who all previously worked together at Saturday Night Live. Airing on IFC, which seems a natural fit or it would if they were still showing independent films, the premise of

Color of Night (1994) Blu-ray Review: Color Me Bad for Enjoying It So

Kino Lorber reminds us how great bad '90s erotic thrillers were with this two-disc Special Edition set featuring both the Theatrical and Director's Cuts.
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Much like director Richard Rush's 1980 cult classic The Stunt Man has never been the sort of film one could easily classify under just one genre, his following feature Color of Night isn't a movie anyone can describe as being merely "good" or "bad." For it is both of these things, and yet, neither. As unforgivably '90s as you could possibly ever hope to get, Color of Night is an unbelievably goofy psychological thriller with a heavy focus on sex ‒ and very little else. Making little to no sense throughout the bulk of its two-hour-plus runtime, Color of Night

Avengers: Infinity War Blu-ray Review: A Marvelous (pun intended) Superhero Movie

It was fun seeing so many characters interact, which helped distract from the plot issues.
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Starting with Iron Man (2008), the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gone onto to become a multimedia behemoth. It's been so successful that other movie studios have tried to create their own shared universes, but none have matched what Marvel has created. The 19th film in the franchise, Avengers: Infinity War, keeps that streak alive with over $2 billion at the worldwide box office. This was due in part to fans' anticipation of seeing what was billed as the biggest crossover event ever, and it was fun seeing so many characters interact, which helped distract from the plot issues. With the

What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Blu-ray Review: I Hope They're Not with Solange

The second part of Massimo Dallamano's "schoolgirl's in peril" trilogy gets an excellent release from Arrow Video.
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Two years after he directed the excellent giallo What Have You Done to Solange?, Massimo Dallamano helmed this giallo/poliziotteschi hybrid. It has some interesting moments but definitely feels like a step down in quality. It contains many of characteristics of a giallo - gruesome murders by a black clad; knife-wielding (or in this case, butcher’s-cleaver-wielding) killer; odd, off-kilter camera angles; a unique score; and a bold use of color - but in many ways the plot is closer to a poliziotteschi. It spends most of its run time following the police, detailing their procedures as they try to solve the

Dragon Inn Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Villains Check In but They Don't Check Out

Fans of the genre will do themselves a favor if they plan a stop at Dragon Inn.
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King Hu's second entry into the Criterion Collection is Dragon Inn (1967), his first film after leaving the Shaw Brothers Studios in Hong King and moving to seek greater artistic liberties as a director in Taiwan. Set against a backdrop of political intrigue, writer/director Hu does very well with both job duties, creating visually interesting action sequences that blend into an entertaining story. Set in 1457 A.D. during China's Ming Dynasty, eunuchs led by Cao Shao-qin (Bai Ying), who is “unsurpassed in the martial arts,” seize power. This gives them control over two espionage agencies, the Eastern Depot and the

Street Mobster Blu-ray Review: Gritty, Nasty Yakuza Drama

Kinji Fukasaku's brings docu-drama realism and brutal ugliness to the Yakuza genre in this gritty film.
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Street Mobster is a rough, often ugly story about Okita, a common street thug who tries to eke out a living as a low-level yakuza, but whose temper and inability to kowtow to his bosses lead him to disaster. He's not a gallant rogue or a tragic figure. His father was killed in the war; his mother was a whore who walked drunk into a river and was fished out dead the next day. He turned to crime as soon as he was capable, and one of his jobs was grabbing country girls who'd just moved to the city and

Marrowbone (2018) Blu-ray Review: A Cure for Insomnia

A talented young cast and impressive production pieces can't save this meandering debut from Sergio G. Sánchez.
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Based on its trailer, its look, and the fact that it has Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness), one could easily mistake Sergio G. Sánchez’s directorial debut, Marrowbone, for a horror movie. And while there are certainly horror elements that appear throughout, Marrowbone plays more like a drama about a family trying to stick together than it does a terrifying, haunted-house thrill ride. It’s especially frustrating because there are moments within the movie where Sanchez implements the tacky jump scare method and then retreats to focus on the issues the family faces - which

Gravity Falls: The Complete Series Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review: A 'Strange and Wondrous' TV Show

Highly recommend for fans and for those curious to learn about this marvelous series because both the show and the Blu-ray presentation are of such high quality.
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Described by creator Alex Hirsh as a cross between The X-Files and The Simpsons (presumably the early seasons back when both shows were great), Gravity Falls is an entertaining animated series that deals in science fiction and the supernatural. The two-season, 40-episode series is set in the town of Gravity Falls, OR where 12-year-old fraternal twins Dipper Pines (Jason Ritter) and sister Mabel (Kristen Schaal) are sent to stay the summer with their great Uncle Stan Pines (Hirsch), whom they call “Grunkle.” He runs the Mystery Shack, an appropriately named tourist trap/gift shop because mysteries abound inside as well as

Mac and Me (Collector's Edition) Blu-ray Review: E.T. Phone Lawyer

A blatant E.T. rip-off that is also the longest advertisement for both McDonald's and Coca Cola.
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It’s one thing to pay homage to a certain film. It’s another to do an almost beat-for-beat replica and try to pass it off as something original. Stewart Raffill’s 1988 flop, Mac and Me, certainly falls in the latter category. It’s a movie that so desperately tries to be like Steven Spielberg’s box-office hit, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it painfully shows with every passing scene and is heard with every note of Alan Silvestri’s musical score. It’s amazing that a lawsuit was never filed. Then again, the movie disappeared from theaters after two weeks due to low attendance. The damage

Irma La Douce Blu-ray Review: An Oft-forgotten Classic

Billy Wilder finds a way to work in another stellar project into his later career.
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In 1963, Billy Wilder is three years removed from a pinnacle movie of his career with The Apartment. His amazing decade of the 1950s almost goes unmatched among directors except maybe Hitchcock and Spielberg. A decade that started with Sunset Boulevard and included Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, and The Seven Year Itch among others. By 1963, Billy Wilder was basking in the freedom that a pattern of successful films brings to a director. This is the year that Billy brings back two of his favorites, Jack Lemmon (almost a stand-in for Billy one would believe) and Shirley MacLaine to

A Strange Adventure (1956) Blu-ray Review: An Unremarkable Thriller

Young Nick Adams highlights this entertainingly cheapo Republic Pictures crime flick, now available from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
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While the cliffhanger serial formula Republic Pictures would be so well remembered for had already been extinct by the time they cranked out the aptly-titled ‒ and noticeably cheap ‒ A Strange Adventure in 1956, I think it's safe to say the spirit of the ol' chapterplay was still alive and kickin' in this production. Helmed by ace serial director William Witney (The Adventures of Captain Marvel), this lukewarm hard-boiled thriller from writer Houston Branch (Mr. Wong, Detective) opens with Ben Cooper (as one very grown-up teenager) getting hooked on Marla English (The She-Creature). Alas, Marla is one of them

I Walk Alone (1947) Blu-ray Review: A Fine, Slow-Burning Film Noir

Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas go toe-to-toe for the very first time in this classic crime drama from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
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The first of what would ultimately tally up to be seven feature films starring the talents of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas ‒ a collaboration that would span nearly four decades, concluding with Tough Guys in 1986 ‒ I Walk Alone takes us back to when the two iconic performers were still essentially strangers to one another. In the case of this fine, slow-burning film noir from first-time (solo) director Byron Haskin (Robinson Crusoe on Mars, September Storm), the separation between the two leads only helps to add fuel to the fire. Here, Mr. Lancaster plays Frankie Madison, a one-time

Ready Player One Blu-ray Review: A Grand Spectacle Lacking Substance

The movie's story has lessons to pass onto viewers, yet somehow they are overlooked by the filmmakers.
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Based on Ernest Cline's book of the same name, Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One is a fantastic adventure in the vein of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Upon his death, video-game maker James Halliday set forth a way to pass on his ownership of the OASIS, the virtual-reality universe that has captivated the world, to whomever can solve the three puzzles he has hidden within it. The movie's story has lessons to pass onto viewers, yet somehow they are overlooked by the filmmakers. RP1 opens in in Columbus, Ohio, 2045, in an area called The Stacks, which is a

The Day After Blu-ray Review: Still Has a Probing Effect on Society Today

A slightly crude, but still chillingly effective TV classic about nuclear horror.
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When it comes to nuclear annihilation, there have been many successful cinematic attempts to truly justify the horrifying reality of doomsday, such as Fail-Safe, Threads, The War Game, and On The Beach. However, in my opinion, director Nicholas Meyer's 1983 landmark, The Day After, is the outing that most people remember. It may have been a TV movie, but that didn't stop it from traumatizing an entire generation, telling a story of nuclear catastrophe experienced by everyday people. Set mostly in Kansas and Missouri, the film takes place before, during, and after the U.S. and Russia go to war with

Super Troopers 2 Blu-ray Review: Stick with the First One

Although there are some laughs to be had, most of it feels recycled.
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One of my main concerns about a sequel to a film being released more than a decade later is the amount of callbacks that are going to be littered throughout. I remember watching one of the trailers for Jurassic World and - while listening to the slow, piano version of the original theme song - thinking that it was going to be filled with key moments that make the viewer remember how much they love the first one and also try to trick them in thinking the sequel is a good movie. In reality, it’s a terrible movie, filled with

Arrow Video Presents Director Vincent Ward's First Two Features

'Vigil' shows much of the talent and promise that would be delivered in 'The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey.'
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There's a funny thing about favorite movies. You can easily find people to share a love for anything Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. You can go a little further and find friends who enjoy 2001, On The Waterfront, or The Philadelphia Story. Then there's another level where you might mention a movie you love that not everyone has heard of but mostly they are aware of like Eraserhead, Freaks, or 8 1/2. Those are part of the popular-culture vernacular and you don't get weird looks when bringing them up in discussion. Then there's that final

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