Results tagged “Drama”

Platoon Leader / Soldier Boyz Blu-ray Review: The Dudikoff Abides

Kino Lorber gives us a double feature offering of two 'lesser' Michael Dudikoff actioneers.
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Yes, that's right, kids ‒ our favorite American Ninja has returned to kick a little ass on Blu-ray once more. This time around, the folks at Kino Lorber have given us a double feature of Vietnam-focused films to star the one and only Michael Dudikoff: 1988's Platoon Leader and 1995's Soldier Boyz. Our first selection, Platoon Leader, hails from the Dudikoff's propitious Cannon days. Oddly enough, however, this was one of very few Cannon releases to not actually be produced by company founders Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus; rather, this drama set during the Vietnam War (and filmed in South

The High Commissioner (1968) Blu-ray Review: The Accidental Spy from Down Under

Kino Lorber brings us a fun tale of an abrasive detective wrapped up in international intrigue starring Rod Taylor and Christopher Plummer.
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The notion of a Eurospy movie was hardly anything new in 1968. If anything, it was becoming rather mundane to European filmgoers who had been bombarded by a jaw-dropping assortment of bastardized 007 clones by the time our film in question first hit screens. And yet, the makers of The High Commissioner (aka Nobody Runs Forever) nevertheless managed to give their project a unique twist: an abrasive, unsophisticated copper straight from the Outback as the protagonist. Made before fellow Aussie George Lazenby engaged in his shortlived stint as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the late great Rod

Lady Bird Movie Review: Greta Gerwig Soars in Her Directorial Debut

Lady Bird takes the tired coming-of-age genre and makes it feel refreshing and naturalistic.
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Actress Greta Gerwig has proven her naturalistic acting chops in films like 20th Century Women, No Strings Attached, and Jackie. But now, she has announced herself as an exciting new filmmaking voice with Lady Bird, her solo directorial debut. Lady Bird may tread into a familiar genre: The coming-of-age dramedy. Yet, it feels distinctive because of how it hits close to home. It may be about a teenager trying to navigate high school but it also speaks to those who long to escape their small-town life and the parents who work tirelessly to make sure their children have a better

Only Noirs and Horses: Four Flicks from the Warner Archive

From classic psychological thrillers to obscure westerns, these WAC releases are worth betting money on.
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In keeping with their tradition of debuting and re-issuing timeless and forgotten classics alike, the Warner Archive Collection has recently brought forth four titles from its vaults. Among this quartet is the classic psychological thriller Undercurrent, and three new-to-DVD rarities: Full Confession, which may very well be the darkest "religious" film I have ever seen; the fascinating western noir Cow Country; and ‒ branching out from the cowboy motif ‒ the long lost '50s family-friendly adventure, The Lion and the Horse. Undercurrent (1946) By and far the most recognized title in the mix, Vincente Minnelli's Undercurrent (also known as You

God's Own Country Movie Review: Love Abounds On-Screen

An emotionally sensitive look at intimacy and identity.
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The tentative steps towards understanding one's sexuality has been a staple of cinema since sex itself was allowed on-screen. As sexuality has become more fluid, the stories about love from a homosexual perspective have come forward, most prominently Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. This year alone sees the glossy Call Me By Your Name attempt to tell a similar story about first love between two young men, and it is that feature which pairs alongside - and yet is completely removed - from Francis Lee's feature film debut, God's Own Country. The bucolic setting will draw comparisons to Lee's film, but

The Big Knife (1955) Blu-ray Review: Cuts Like a Life

Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, and a barely restrained Rod Steiger star in this dark exposé of '50s Hollywood from Arrow Academy.
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Trying to classify The Big Knife as one particular film genre over another isn't an easy task. But then, there weren't too many movies in the 1950s which brought up the possibilities of Hollywood corruption and cover-ups to light. Nowadays ‒ especially in the wake of the once-powerful movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's fall from the limelight ‒ it's easier for the public to imagine the sort of depths studio executives would sink to. And that's precisely the sort of pickle The Big Knife's tormented protagonist Charlie Castle is up against in this 1955 "exposé" from the acclaimed director of Kiss

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) Blu-ray Review: It Happened One Time

Odd, compelling, and strangely satisfying, this unique and controversial film returns to shock contemporary audiences for entirely different reasons.
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Hailing from that time before the Southern Gothic tale somehow transformed into hicksploitation, Suddenly, Last Summer extends from the creative talents of both Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal and co-stars Montgomery Clift. That right there should indicate to most out-ward viewers there will be a certain subject matter hidden in the story's proverbial closet. In the hands of The Barefoot Contessa writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, however, the subdued element of homosexuality is about as subtle as, well, Liberace. And yet, somehow, they got away with it in 1959, mainly thanks to an element many exploitation filmmakers of the time would

Kid Galahad (1962) Blu-ray Review: Elvis. Bronson. Sold.

Twilight Time brings us the only film in history to feature Elvis Presley and Charles Bronson, which automatically makes it awesome by default.
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Despite having appeared in several dozen movies, there are relatively few things you can actually see Elvis do on-screen. One of them is actually get a chance to act. The other is something even more amazing: Elvis Presley training under Charles Bronson. And that right there is good enough reason for me to recommend Twilight Time's new Blu-ray offering of Kid Galahad. A musical remake (uh-oh) of the 1937 original starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart, this 1962 color dramedy finds The King himself as a young lad fresh who journeys to the remote countryside community he

The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975) Blu-ray Review: Deep Red Something

Sergio Martino's wild giallo/poliziotteschi/comedy hybrid is just as jaw-droppingly amazing as it sounds.
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An ordinary man of an artistic nature witnesses a brutal murder, only to meet a cast of kooky characters as he sets out to find the killer since the local police captain can't or won't do anything. Even if you've only ever seen one Italian giallo in your life, the aforementioned synopsis would go on to become one of the most conventional themes in an the otherwise unconventional subgenre. The motif is especially prominent in the early (and even later) works of Dario Argento, who changed both the face and style of filmmaking forever throughout the first half of the

The Moderns (1988) Blu-ray Review: Land of the Lost

Keith Carradine, Linda Fiorentino, and a dolled-up Wallace Shawn highlight this fascinating piece set in Roaring Twenties Paris.
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At one point in time, filmmaker Alan Rudolph described his 1988 film The Moderns ‒ a project which took him a full 12 years to nurture ‒ as "the most rejected screenplay in Hollywood." That in itself is the sort of thing which should fuel more artistically-inclined minds to take note of this underrated cult drama, particularly once you stop to take a good long look at the very sort of cinematic ilk the industry has descended into cranking out on a perpetual weekly basis ever since then. Set in 1926 Paris (and doubled by Montreal), Rudolph's fascinatingly oddball character

The Crimson Kimono (1959) Blu-ray Review: A Crash Course in Orientation

Samuel Fuller's powerful (and still topical) look at racism gets a beautiful HD release from Sony Pictures and Twilight Time.
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As someone whose entire adolescence coincided with the late '80s and early '90s, I was able to witness firsthand a remarkable movement in Hollywood during that time. It was a period on the calendar when the term "political correctness" first started to become an actual thing. Sure, it would eventually culminate in some really ridiculous casting as the years rolled by (to say nothing of what it did for a serial womanizer such as the character of James Bond), but, all in all, there was one really fascination thread in particular to emerge out of the period. For you see,

State Fair (1962) Blu-ray Review: Suppose They Held an Exhibition and Nobody Came?

Jose Ferrer directs Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, and Ann-Margret in an awkward musical remake of a musical remake.
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Were Twilight Time's double-bill of the Reader's Digest-produced early '70s musical adaptations of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn just not enough to satisfy the song-and-dance movie lover in you, don't worry. Because now they've added another musical remake of a classic tale to their lineup with Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair. But this isn't the famous 1945 musical remake of the original non-musical 1933 pre-Code film State Fair, boys and girls. Rather, this particular version is the (hold onto your straw hats, kids) musical remake of the musical remake of the original non-musical movie. You may take a

Tom Sawyer / Huckleberry Finn Blu-ray Review: Wild Oates and Foster Kids

Twilight Time proudly proclaims "I'll be your Huckleberry" with these '70s Mark Twain musicals from Arthur P. Jacobs and Reader's Digest.
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Years before they preyed upon lonely elderly folks with unfulfilled promises of winning phony lotteries even Ed McMahon wouldn't stamp his name on, the folks at Reader's Digest set out to lure entire families into theaters for motion pictures they produced. Thus begins one ‒ or rather, two, as it were ‒ of the strangest incarnations of Mark Twain ever to appear on any screen, big or small: the Reader's Digest Musical Adaptation. Appearing on the worn-out heels of a now-forgotten cinematic fad ‒ that of MGM's Children Matinees, wherein classic features were re-released and targeted at kids with nothing

Running on Empty (1988) Blu-ray Review: Fam on the Run

Sidney Lumet's stunning drama, featuring a standout performance by an Oscar-nominated River Phoenix, hits BD from the Warner Archive.
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While I may not be able to recall every single feature I have ever seen in a moviehouse (and, believe me, there have been many), Sidney Lumet's 1988 drama Running on Empty has always managed to stand out in my mind for some reason, despite the fact that I really don't remember much of the movie itself. And yet, at the same time, I found myself saying "Oh yeah, this happens" an awful lot upon my recent second viewing of the film, nearly 30 years after seeing it on the big screen in '88. I suppose the film must have

Where the Boys Are (1960) Blu-ray Review: Life Was a Beach Even Then

The Warner Archive Collection unveils the film that inspired the whole Beach Party Movie genre.
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Three years before the marketing genii at American International Pictures first discovered there was gold in the banks beside the sea with what would become the Beach Party series (and the many bad clones that came with it), the folks at MGM were having a little soiree in the sand all to themselves. Much like the later AIP franchise (which, technically, saw its roots in the late '50s via a couple of drag racing flicks), Henry Levin's Where the Boys Are features a group of kids heading off to the beach for a little fun ‒ something that, amazingly enough,

Beggars of Life (1928) Blu-ray Review: All Aboard

Kino Lorber reveals the dynamic Silent Era offering starring imposing vagabond Wallace Beery and a crossdressing, rail-hoppin' Louise Brooks.
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Although it was technically the first moving picture for Paramount to include a newly (however crude) developed invention known as "sound," William A. Wellman's 1928 classic Beggars of Life was never intended to be classified as a "talkie" by its creators. The year before its theatrical release, Warner Bros. unveiled the groundbreaking Al Jolson musical The Jazz Singer, effectively calling out to the industry to bring the curtain down on the Silent Era. With the forthcoming medium approaching them like a runaway train, Wellman reluctantly went along with the studio's request to incorporate sound into his project. Alas, the proverbial

Hell and High Water (1954) Blu-ray Review: CinemaScope Claustrophobia

Richard Widmark and Samuel Fuller sink to new heights in this wonderful Cold War sub thriller, now available in HD from the folks at Twilight Time.
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Ever the cinematic pioneer, director Samuel Fuller broke new ground ‒ by removing it completely ‒ with his 1954 Cold War thriller Hell and High Water, which would prove to be the first time audiences were exposed to a different kind of submersion. Previously, the wonders of CinemaScope (Hollywood's fancy way of pulling people away from their newly purchased 500lb TV sets at home) were limited solely to majestic Biblical epics, sprawling western dramas, and romantic comedies. Fuller, however ‒ hailing from that rare breed of filmmaker, the kind who created his own path ‒ sensed 20th Century Fox's newfound

The Quiet American (1958) Blu-ray Review: Silent, But Deadly?

Twilight Time gives the overlooked Americanized version of Graham Greene's bestseller an opportunity to speak up and be accounted for.
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Based on bestselling author Graham Greene's 1955 novel of the same name, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's motion picture adaptation of The Quiet American has remained fairly silent since its debut in 1958. Though, when one notes the radical departure Mankiewicz's screenplay takes from its anti-American source material and, more importantly, the pressure Hollywood was receiving from the witch hunters in D.C. at the time, it's not all that surprising the film takes a decidedly pro-American view towards the subject matter. Ultimately, novelist Greene would publicly disavow the feature, though the dynamic dramatic quality of Mankiewicz's film is not the sort of

The Valachi Papers (1972) Blu-ray Review: Pulp Non-Fiction

Twilight Time gives us a chance to tear into an underappreciated European Charles Bronson mafia flick from James Bond pioneer Terence Young.
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While it may have debuted in its native Europe more than two months before Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather forever changed the face of mobster movies, Terence (Wait Until Dark) Young's half-exploitation feature The Valachi Papers didn't see a stateside release until many months after the fact. By that time, however, full-time exploitation artists like Duke Mitchell had already cranked out or had started work on their very own low-budget rip-off of homage to Coppola's flick, thus ensuring The Valachi Papers didn't see a lot of action. The fact Charles Bronson would later be quoted as saying The Godfather "was

The Creep Behind the Camera / The Creeping Terror Blu-ray Review: Creepshots, Redefined

Synapse Films releases a docudrama about one of cinema's most inept movies, along with a new 2K scan of the original creature feature.
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Sometimes, the most interesting aspect of a movie is its production history. Especially when the movie in question is something as legendarily awful as Vic Savage's 1964 magnum oopus, The Creeping Terror ‒ a film so bad, it makes even the worst Ed Wood flick seem like fine art by comparison. Indeed, the story behind the infamous black-and-white no-budget monster movie messterpiece has garnered the interest of several twisted minds throughout the years, most notably by the honorably dishonorable mentionings of said in two of Harry and Michael Medved's books, The Golden Turkey Awards (1980) and Son of Golden Turkey
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