Results tagged “Bluray”

Beau Travail Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Mysterious, Haunting, and Transformative

Claire Denis' 1999 masterpiece of jealousy, erotic/repressed desire, and personal destruction makes it's long-awaited debut to the Criterion Collection.
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The great and visionary director Claire Denis is one the greatest cinematic poets of our time. She's a provocative and original filmmaker who has crafted an extraordinary oervue of films that offer richly observed and perfectly tuned portraits of cultural alientation and emotional/physical tension. Whether contemplating a father/daughter relationship (35 Shots of Run), the harmful awakenings of women (White Material, Let the Sunshine In), or erotic body horror (Trouble Every Day), she continues to be a singular voice of not just for female filmmakers, but for cinema as a whole. However, her second film, 1999's Beau Travail, is considered to

Town Bloody Hall Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Verbal Battle of the Sexes

An often funny, manic, and sometimes raunchy document of the continuous discussion of gender politics.
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Documentaries, more than any other category of film, successfully (or sometimes unsuccessfully) captures reality at its most uncomfortable means. Whatever the topic is, such as interesting, controversial, and often timely topics on all sides of humanity, you're obviously going to be exposed to different points-of-view, especially in terms of debate. And speaking of debate, the neverending theme of gender politics (whether sexual or otherwise) is always going to come up, at some point. This is the case with Chris Hededus and D.A. Pennebaker's brisk 1979 documentary Town Bloody Hall, which captured for a moment in time, the sometimes toxic elements

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Angela Winkler Is Sensational

A disturbingly relevant thriller that feels eerily modern to today's skewered politics.
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In today's uncilivilzed world where humanity comes second (or dead last) to politics and where the police take the law into their own hands and drag people through the mud just because they believe they can, the media sometimes can be the bad guy too and try to smear people for their own gain. Volker Schlondroff and Margarethe von Trotta's exhaustingly searing 1975 thriller The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, take these elements one step further...closer to reality. It's tale of misued power, individual freedom under fire, and innocent lives lost hasn't dulled its edge one bit. Adapted from a

Marriage Story Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Emotionally Brutal and Full of Life

Noah Baumbach crafts a searingly intense and sometimes humorous examination of a very broken marriage.
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I'm not an expert on marriage, but seeing many films about it, I guess I can at least say that from my viewpoint, it can be quite the emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically draining journey. There have been many films, including Faces, Kramer vs Kramer, Shoot the Moon, The Squid and the Whale, and most notably, Ingmar Bergman 1973's masterpiece, Scenes from a Marriage, that have put their own distinctive spin on the subject. I think it's safe to say that director Noah Baumbach's marvelous 2019 film, Marriage Story, is destined to join the ranks of highly accurate and piercingly

Attack of the Robots (1966) Blu-ray Review: Eddie Constantine Lays His Cards on the Table

Redemption Films brings Jess Franco's campy cult Eurospy spoof to Blu-ray, including an uncredited aural contribution by yours truly.
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Crafted in the wake of Jean-Luc Godard's immortal Alphaville ‒ a deadpan French New Wave satire of contemporary espionage and sci-fi films ‒ Jess Franco's Cartes sur table ‒ better known to English-speaking audiences as Attack of the Robots ‒ is a campy tale of tricks and traps. In fact, Franco's French/Spanish co-production even casts the same lead from Godard's cult classic: the one and only Eddie Constantine (a personal favorite film idol of mine), who sets out to discover just who is turning people with the rare "Rhesus Zero" (presumably a variation of the extremely rare Rhnull blood type)

Universal Horror Collection, Volume 2 Blu-ray Review: Atwill Employment, Mostly

Scream Factory brings us four classics from the vault starring the legendary talents of Lionel Atwill and George Zucco.
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The phrase "classic Universal horror" is most likely to get a vintage monster movie enthusiast to talk nerd shop about the timeless charm and chills of the iconic studio's best-loved creations. Dracula. The Frankenstein monster. The Mummy. The Invisible Man. The Wolf Man. You know, those guys. But there were many more ghoulish productions filmed on the proverbial backlot than some people may realize. In fact, Universal Studios made nearly twice as many non-canon horror movies compared to their major franchise entries. But it wasn't until Scream Factory unleashed the first volume of the much-needed Universal Horror Collection ‒ a

Let The Sunshine In Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Love Is...Brutally Human

There's no sunshine in Claire Denis's low-key and bleak anti-romantic comedy about the absurdity of what we do for love.
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For most people, love is a constant slope towards madness and eventual pain. We crave it, but sometimes, when it's not the type that we desire, we throw it away. Basically, adult relationships are messy, complicated, and according to celebrated director Claire Denis' 2017 bleak comedy, Let The Sunshine In, brutally human. With an amazingly complex and subtle performance by the usually compelling Juliette Binoche, Denis paints a frustratingly truthful portait of love that most directors couldn't or wouldn't touch. Binoche brilliantly plays Isabelle, a divorced but successful painter in Paris, whose frequent demands for love belittle her ultimate desire:

Diamonds of the Night Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Story of Youth Under Fire with a Brilliantly Fractured Eye

A startling and very tense debut from the most unflinching director of the now-ancient Czechoslovak New Wave.
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There are many similarities between Luis Bunuel and underrated auteur/director Jan Nemec. They both use surrealism to dictate the often limitless boundaries of human behavior. When it comes to their films, you don't really know which is reality, and which is fantasy. However, you want to watch their cinema repeatedly to uncover more details that missed the first time around. While Bunuel depicts human behavior with a satirical edge, Nemec directs his films with surrealist details, but which a more serious viewpoint, especially when it comes to war and how it affects people in a certain time and place. This

The Miseducation of Cameron Post Blu-ray Review: Understated and Challenging

Chloe Grace Moretz's amazing performance anchors this timely, funny, and at times difficult film of a sadly still existing subject.
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The fact that conversion therapy still exists is appalling to me, and it is still a controversial topic that rarely gets talked about. However, there have been at least a few films that dealt with it in their own satirical or dramatic ways, such as But I'm A Cheerleader (1999), and last year's Boy Erased. But for me, I think that director Desiree Akhavan's understated and challenging The Miseducation of Cameron Post, also from last year, gets it right the most with its mix of humor, drama, and honesty. Based on the acclaimed novel by Emily M. Danforth, the film

Monstrosity (1987) / Weirdo: The Beginning (1989) Blu-ray Reviews: Why? WHY?

Garagehouse Pictures releases a pair of awful horror obscurities which may either induce vomiting, blindness, or death, depending on how lucky you are.
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Just when I thought the world was starting to get over its nasty habit of not making a whole heck of a lot of sense, Garagehouse Pictures dropped a major bomb on me. Sure, on the surface, the HD offerings of two Los Angeles-made minor indie horror flicks from the late '80s may seem like good cause to rejoice. Alas, both 1987's Monstrosity and 1989's The Weirdo (or, Weirdo: The Beginning, as it is also called) stem from the sadistic and unimaginative world of the late Andy Milligan, so any and all signs of something amazing being found in these

The Real McCoy (1993) Blu-ray Review: Dammit, Kim!

Kino Lorber places Russell Mulcahy's heist stinker starring Kim Basinger and Val Kilmer on display for you to give or take.
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Like Kino Lorber's recent release of 1974's The Midnight Man, 1993's The Real McCoy is another Universal production filmed in the South about an ex-con who finds it isn't easy to change their stripes (so to speak). Of course, comparing The Midnight Man to The Real McCoy is like juxtaposing Highlander with Highlander 2: The Quickening. The subtle film reference joke there being that the latter three titles were all manufactured by a filmmaker one either loves or hates (or both, if they're a Highlander fan): one-time pop music video director Russell Mulcahy. Here, former Vicki Vale Kim Basinger stars

The Midnight Man (1974) Blu-ray Review: I Could Stay Here All Night

One of Burt Lancaster's most elusive (and intriguing) features finally hits home video in the U.S. thanks to Kino Lorber.
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Occasionally referred to by the relatively few who have seen it as a Southern precursor to David Lynch's Twin Peaks, 1974's The Midnight Man is an exceptional neo-noir starring the one and only Burt Lancaster as Jim Slade: an ex-cop from Chicago, who also happens to be an ex-con. Released from stir after serving a stint over a crime of passion (which is, thankfully, only alluded to), Slade accepts a job as a night watchman at a college in a tiny, sleepy-eyed town in the South; an invitation for a new life extended by his old friend, fellow ex-cop Quartz

The House That Would Not Die (1970) Blu-ray Review: A Clear Case of Repossession

Barbara Stanwyck's lackluster TV-movie debut is pulled out of the vault by Kino Lorber.
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Originally broadcast as an ABC Movie of the Week just four days before Halloween in 1970, The House That Would Not Die was one of umpteen-gazillion TV movies produced by the one and only Aaron Spelling. In this strange little blast from the past, former screen goddess Barbara Stanwyck ‒ one of many Hollywood stars who found much-needed work during the TV-movie heyday (in fact, she makes her debut in one here) ‒ stars as a silver-haired woman who has inherited a Revolutionary War-era home in Pennsylvania's Amish country. Yeah, it sounds positively terrifying already, I know. Moving into the

The Atomic Cafe Blu-ray Review: How I Learned to Keep Worrying, Laugh Uneasily, and Continue to Fear the Bomb

One of the most essential films, documentary or otherwise, in the history of Cinema.
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When converseing of satire about our deepest, troubling fear about potential nuclear catastrophe, Stanley Kubrick's 1964 masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, seemed for its time the only cinematic representation of very bleak humor of nuclear proportions. However, if there's one film that matches it for extremely black comedy, or ever betters it, it is the 1982 cult-classic documentary, The Atomic Cafe, which does the derision in such an absurd way that it actually remains as alarmingly vital as it obviously was almost 40 years ago. Mixed with Cold War blasphemy (or

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
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