Results tagged “Blu Ray”

Zombie: 40th Anniversary Limited Edition (1979) Blu-ray Review: A Real Eye-Opener

Blue Underground gives Lucio Fulci's groundbreaking "massacre-piece" a gorgeous new 4K restoration, and the results are even more shocking than ever.
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It's hard to keep a good zombie down, and the regular re-emergence of Lucio Fulci's seminal Dawn of the Dead rip-off onto home video is quite the indication it will never go out of style. One of the most quintessential Italian splatter flicks ever made, this epic bastard sequel to George A. Romero's masterpiece launched the horror movie career for director Fulci, whilst simultaneously leaving a noticeable boot print on the map for Italy itself. Known around the world by an oft-bizarre assortment of alternate titles ‒ including Zombi 2 (its original title, as christened to cash-in on the release

Gas Food Lodging Blu-ray Review: A Moving Study of Women on Their Own Terms

A wonderfully somber portrait of women at a crossroads.
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As I have mentioned time and time again, the essence and importance of women filmmakers continues to be taken for granted. It is really a damn shame, because women have excellent ability to make their own films about life, love, and everything in-between. And fortunately, director Allison Anders is definitely one of them. With her stunning 1992 landmark, Gas Food Lodging, she elevates familiar territory while adding her own distinctive flair for women in emotional peril. Based on a novel by Richard Peck, the film takes place in a small New Mexico town where Nora (Brooke Adams), a single mother

Distant Voices, Still Lives Blu-ray Review: Accurately Captures the Battle of the Sexes

A minimalist, but masterful portrait of harrowing family dynamics.
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Stories about troubled families doesn't hit cinema too often, but when they're done well, such as in Rachel Getting Married, Ordinary People, Hannah and Her Sisters, and A Family Thing, they can hit hard. Such a case is director Terrence Davies' 1988 breaktrough masterpiece, Distant Voices, Still Lives, which brilliantly tells an all-too-real harrowing story, but with music, humor, and unsentimental truth. Loosely based on Davies's own upbringing, the film is told in two parts of the lives of a family in 1940s/'50s Liverpool, where siblings Tony (Dean Williams) and Maisie (Lorriane Ashbourne), along with their mother (Freida Dowie), gather

Cabin Boy (1994) Blu-ray Review: Still Floating After All These Years

Kino Lorber bravely launches a Special Edition release for one of the most hated films of the mid '90s.
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Though I never saw the film in its entirety until much later in life, I was nevertheless present when Adam Resnick's Cabin Boy briefly flickered onto silver screens near and far in 1994. I was also there when word began to spread (and quickly, at that) regarding just how popular of a title it was at the time. But my personal favorite Cabin Boy story hailed from a secondhand account, wherein a former acquaintance of mine enjoyed the movie's many, many flaws so much, that he exited the cineplex in tears, resulting in one very confused usher walking up to

Gold (1974) Blu-ray Review: Always Believe in Your Soul

Kino Lorber digs up this strange British mish-mash of just about every genre under the ground starring Roger Moore, Susannah York, Ray Milland, and Bradford Dillman.
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For years, finding a copy of Gold in its original unaltered form was about as rare as the eponymous mineral itself. Thankfully for a wide array of vintage offbeat film enthusiasts, Peter Hunt's unsung mashup has been refined for a new High-Definition release from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. And boy, oh boy, what a strange little "dig" this one makes for! Set (and mostly filmed) in South Africa during its infamous apartheid regime, Gold stars the late great Sir Roger Moore (who had only inherited the role of James Bond from Sean Connery the year before) as the very manly

A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die (1968) Blu-ray Review: And Nearly Two Hours to Snooze

Kino Lorber unholsters one of the most boring, cynical, shallow, and violent attempts to cash-in on the Spaghetti Western craze.
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If you had the good fortune to grow up in or around video rental stores during the '80s and '90s, then there's a darn good chance you saw a very generic-looking videocassette cover for A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die (Un minuto per pregare, un istante per morire) on the shelf at one point or another. I know I certainly did, and I was always a little put off by the lack of its "enticing" artwork. Nevertheless, when teenaged me beget his Spaghetti Western phase and I had burned through all of the more popular-looking titles, Franco Giardi's

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

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

Tiger by the Tail (1970) Blu-ray Review: The Lyons' Tiger's a Bear, Oh My

Christopher George, Tippi Hedren, Charo, and a lot of wood paneling star in this odd little thriller from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
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Outwardly, there isn't much for the average contemporary moviegoer to get excited about over R.G. Springsteen's Tiger by the Tail. But before you go wandering off in search of something else to view, consider what this fairly tepid, tiny thriller has to offer internally. Shot in the late '60s, this, the final film from one of the most prolific B-western directors ever, centers on a slightly disgraced Vietnam veteran who gets caught up in a thoroughly predictable web of conspiracy after his racetrack-owner brother is murdered during a hold-up coordinated by one (or more) of his corrupt colleagues amid the

Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973) Blu-ray Review: Please, Don't Act So Sheepish

The American Genre Film Archive and Something Weird Video present something so delightfully awful, it'll leave you ecstatically screaming "Ewe!"
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Even established connoisseurs of strange little motion pictures generally regarded as "bad" can occasionally step into something they are wholly unprepared for. And that can certainly apply to anyone who decides to leap off the beaten path only to set foot into the sulphuric pile of sheep dip that is Godmonster of Indian Flats. The fourth and final feature film from recently departed artist/filmmaker (and Cornell graduate also, I might add) Fredric C. Hobbs, this bizarre 1973 offering is truly difficult to categorize, as it appears to be an environmentally-conscious retrograde science fiction/horror hybrid about an eight-foot-tall mutant sheep housed

The Martian Chronicles (1980) Blu-ray Review: Is There Life on Mars?

Kino Lorber Studio Classics blasts off into the crazy surreal cosmos of this sci-fi mini-series.
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Despite the fact that it has been released on virtually every form of media since the dawn of home video itself, it wasn't until I sat down to review Kino Lorber's Blu-ray release of Michael (Logan's Run, Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze) Anderson's The Martian Chronicles that I witnessed the TV mini-series for the very first time. And what an interesting endeavor it proved to be. Boasting a rather enviable list of names with their own individual cult followings, this 1979 co-production between the UK and the U.S. has not aged very well over the years. In fact, it

Jack the Giant Killer (1962) Blu-ray Review: The Original Mockbuster

Kino Lorber Studio Classics debuts the infamous Harryhausen knock-off in HD, complete with the incredulous musical variation as a bonus.
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"If they could do it, I can do it!" At some point in life or another, some of you have found yourselves saying something along those lines. You may also have also found yourselves coming to the realization shortly after that you could not do whatever it was the other person(s) succeeded in doing so well, usually due to pesky annoyances such as experience and training. Indeed, that was essentially the entire reason for producer Edward Small's 1962 fantasy flick Jack the Giant Killer ‒ which is now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics ‒ being summoned into

The Addiction Blu-ray Review: A Very Disturbing but Highly Intelligent Tale of Urban Vampirism

I definitely have to recommend this shocking and masterful film.
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As a filmmaker, Abel Ferrara has always stepped outside of the mold to deliver highly provocative works of humanity going completely awry. Whether it's insanity (The Driller Killer), female revenge (Ms. 45), hip-hop culture (King of New York), or police corruption (Bad Lieutenant), you can always count on him to piss off critics and audiences everywhere. He is a director of amazing extremity and unapologetic cruelty, and his very underrated 1995 cerebral horror classic, The Addiction, represents both at its most low-key and uncomfortable stride. Shot in crisp black and white, the film stars the always amazing Lili Taylor as

Smash Palace Blu-ray Review: Defies Convention and Cliche

The late Bruno Lawrence's stunning performance highlights this gritty story of separation and brutal masculinity.
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Sometimes films about divorce and parental miscommunication are difficult to swallow, especially because of how terrible they can be for the children involved. There are American films like Kramer vs. Kramer, Shoot the Moon, and Hope Floats, which are good but a little sugary. However, director Roger Donaldson's stark 1981 classic, Smash Palace, defies convention and cliche with harsh truth and blunt authenticity that typically goes unnoticed in modern film. It also shows how the location (in this case, New Zealand) can bring out certain facets to a film's plot. Based on a newspaper article, the film centers on the

The Hanging Tree (1959) Blu-ray Review: Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

The Warner Archive Collection knots it up with this captivating western starring Gary Cooper, Maria Schell, Karl Malden, and first-timer George C. Scott.
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Several years before a more somber wave of performers rode into town, Gary Cooper was ‒ as he had done so eloquently before ‒ pioneering a unique protagonist who would fit right at home in a '70s revisionist western. In Delmer Daves' The Hanging Tree, released two years before one of the genre's quintessential heroes passed away, we witness the stalwart High Noon icon delivering his final lead performance in a cowboy picture. This time, however, Cooper does not play a man haunted by what he must do. Rather, he's tormented over what he has done. Set in the tiny

Schlock (1973) Blu-ray Review: The Dawn of Landis

John Landis' campy homage to classic monster movies surfaces in High-Definition for a limited time from Turbine Media Group.
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The first feature film of cult filmmaker John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Innocent Blood) Schlock serves as a exemplary reminder we all have to start somewhere. Shot over the course of 12 days on a measly $60,000 budget in one of the many suburbs of Los Angeles, Schlock is a campy homage to horror and science fiction movies of the past, as seen through the eyes of one very eager 21-year-old filmmaker. A small community is besieged by a wave of baffling, unsolved murders, committed by an entity whom authorities and the media alike have dubbed "The Banana

Bruce's Deadly Fingers (1976) Blu-ray Review: How Low Can You Go?

VCI keeps the memory of Bruceploitation alive and kicking by cloning a German Blu-ray release for this one.
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Though contributions to what has since become known as the "Bruceploitation era" were numerous, those who dare consider themselves loyal to the less-than-esteemed subgenre of ripoff filmmaking generally tend to hold three particular titles high above all others. Amazingly managing to reach a zenith within a cataclysmic cinematic nadir such as this, Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave, The Clones of Bruce Lee, and Bruce's Deadly Fingers have become as holy to bad kung fu movie lovers as has Clint Eastwood's The Man with No Name Trilogy has with Spaghetti Western enthusiasts. Apart from the occasional music cue shamelessly

The New Centurions (1972) Blu-ray Review: Blue Lives Shatter

Twilight Time books a classic, slow burning cop drama starring George C. Scott and Stacy Keach.
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Columbia Pictures' The New Centurions was filmed and released during a particularly interesting era: a time when the lives and actions of police officers was present in just about every form of media, be they negative, positive, or somewhere in-between. In the instance of this 1972 cop drama, we find ourselves planted directly in the epicenter of the two, where moments of lighthearted comedy can give way to heartbreaking tragedy at any moment. The film was adapted for the screen by the prolific Stirling Silliphant (Village of the Damned, The Killer Elite), as taken from former law enforcement officer and

The Seven-Ups (1973) Blu-ray Review: This One Gets Seven Thumbs Up

Twilight Time proudly unleashes the intense, unofficial sequel to "The French Connection". And it's nothing short of awesome.
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Off the record, there were two sequels to William Friedkin's 1971 action-packed Oscar-winning cop thriller The French Connection. Officially, only John Frankenheimer's 1975 follow-up French Connection II ‒ a film which has always failed to live up to its predecessor in my opinion ‒ falls into that category. From a decidedly less official point of view, however, Philip D'Antoni's 1973 action classic The Seven-Ups is a motion picture that many feel is entirely more deserving of the honor. Though neither film shares the same director, the late Mr. D'Antoni was nevertheless one of the most significant denominators (or, "connections", if
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