Results tagged “Drama”

Not as a Stranger (1955) Blu-ray Review: Robert Mitchum, Sociopathic Surgeon

Kino Lorber brings us Stanley Kramer's first directorial effort starring Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra.
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Any movie which conjures up the mental image of a motorcycle bound Lon Chaney Jr. going out in a drunken blaze of glory certainly deserves a special place in history. However, when that same movie also happens to star Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra ‒ along with a first-rate supporting cast including Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Lee Marvin, Harry Morgan, and the aforementioned Mr. Chaney ‒ its significance in the world of film increases substantially. Now toss in the superb production values and social commentary filmmaker Stanley Kramer was (and still is) so well known for, and

The Violent Years (1956) Blu-ray Review: Ed Wood's Teenage Girl Gang Terrorists

With everything from original production materials to a bonus feature Ed allegedly worked on, this AGFA/SWV BD is packin' a lot of Wood.
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The list of filmmakers best known for helming the worst movies ever made is a long and varied one. In fact, it grows more and more with each passing year. But even as contemporary contenders and waning wannabes vie for some sort of misplaced honor (or misattributed attention) in the awkward world of unintentionally terrible motion pictures, one name still manages to frequently take the lead: that of amateur auteur Edward D. Wood, Jr. Since Wood's untimely passing in December 1978, his delightfully delirious titles ‒ including the early (if totally bizarre) LGBT drama Glen or Glenda? and the sci-fi/horror

The Pirates of Blood River (1962) Blu-ray Review: A Dish, Out of Water

Twilight Time unsheathes an enjoyable Hammer Films outing with ex-Sinbad Kerwin Mathews and a smoothly sinister Christopher Lee.
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Your friends might argue a pirate movie won't float without water. Or an actual pirate ship. Heck, even an award-winning 2005 pornographic cash-in of Disney's Pirates of the Carribean had a boat, for porn's sake! But then again, so did Renny Harlin's Cutthroat Island and Roman Polanski's Pirates ‒ a pair of box office failures regularly cited as two of the worst pirate films ever made today. And, while forcing your friends to watch those two flicks may provide an easy win to such a foreseeable argument. Ultimately, however, the best way to succeed in winning a disagreement over whether

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953) Blu-ray Review: Sunken Leisure

Young Robert Wagner sinks to new depths ‒ literally ‒ in this early CinemaScope effort, now available in a beautiful, uncut, widescreen HD transfer from Twilight Time.
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The advent of CinemaScope in the 1950s brought with it many changes to Hollywood. Sadly, in the case of 20th Century Fox's 1953 Technicolor adventure film Beneath the 12-Mile Reef ‒ the third movie to be filmed in the studio's lavish new way of luring moviegoers back in theaters ‒ director Robert D. Webb seemingly forgot to include enough subject material to fill up the width of the widened screen. The story ‒ a pivoting, bore-a-minute tale pitting sponge divers against fishermen ‒ finds young Robert Wagner as the son of aged Mexican-American actor Gilbert Roland. Naturally, they're cast as

Captain from Castile (1947) Blu-ray Review: A Power-fully Fun Swashbuckler

Twilight Time foils foes with a splendid classic Hollywood adventure tale starring Tyrone Power.
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Even at 141 minutes in length, Henry King's lavish big-budgeted adaptation of Samuel Shellabarger's 1945 novel Captain from Castile only covers the first half of its source material. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you ‒ the 1947 swashbuckler epic from 20th Century Fox still captures the grace and beauty of classic historical adventures. It also serves as a great reminder of how outrageously preposterous Hollywood's old-school casting agents could get back then, as evidenced by co-star Lee J. Cobb (The Exorcist, Lawman) as a roaming adventurer named Juan García. One wonders if it didn't inspire Russell Mulcahy's casting

The Long, Hot Summer (1958) Blu-ray Review: Climax Change

Twilight Time heats things up with Martin Ritt's Southern Gothic tale starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Tony Franciosa, and an inarticulate Orson Welles.
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Though the notion of someone ‒ anyone ‒ being labeled as a "barn burner" in this day and age may give you an inkling as to how outdated The Long, Hot Summer may be, the various tawdry emotions and tempers depicted in this mish-mash of several William Faulkner works sprinkled with a dash of Tennessee Williams is just as fresh as ever. Especially to anyone who may have lived in a small town. Beating Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to screens by just five months, The Long, Hot Summer finds acting legend Paul Newman as a vaguely regular rogue

Night Moves (1975) / Scarecrow (1973) Blu-ray Reviews: The WAC Gets Hacked

The Warner Archive Collection rescues two neglected classics with Gene Hackman, including his one and only pairing with Al Pacino.
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One of the most difficult acts to follow from 20th Century film history, the great Gene Hackman returns to astonish classic filmgoers (and maybe a few Millennials curious as to why everyone else shakes their head over the mere mention of Welcome to Mooseport or Heartbreakers) in two recent Blu-ray releases from the Warner Archive Collection. Night Moves (1975, Warner Bros.) The inimitable Mr. Hackman ‒ at the height of his career as a leading man here ‒ stars in this gripping neo-noir from director Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, The Chase). One of several thrillers written for the silver

A Quintet of Pre-Codes from the Warner Archive

The WAC has more early '30s fun to offer, featuring young Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, leading man Edward Everett Horton, and a pre-wheelchair Lionel Barrymore.
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While the days of their Forbidden Hollywood sets may be behind us now, the folks at the Warner Archive Collection have nevertheless kept their promise we would see more Pre-Code rarities released to DVD. In recent months, the Warner Archive has unleashed several forgotten ditties from the vaults to MOD discs, all of which feature the classic same risqué elements, lovely lassies, and ambiguously fey men of the era whom we have grown to admire in the decades that have since passed. Among the talent included in these individually released titles are the likes of Alice White, Edward Everett Horton,

I, Tonya Movie Review: Using Camp to Deconstruct It

Although an imperfect film, I, Tonya celebrates the imperfections of its leading lady with surprising emotional resonance.
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If the year was 1994, and you were to turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper, or chat with friends and family, all discourse would be about the epic scandal known as Tonya Harding v. Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya, a lower-class figure skater from Portland, Oregon is suddenly entrenched in a social, not to mention legal battle to defend her name - a name that, until this point in time, did not really seem to matter. But after her triumph at U.S. figure skating, jettisoning her to the 1994 Olympics, she soon became a household name. Well, that and the

Call Me by Your Name Movie Review: A Deeply Felt Ode to Unrequited Love

Transcending tropes of the genre, Call Me by Your Name is a wondrous feat in expressing emotions often left unspoken.
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It’s a lazy summer somewhere in northern Italy. The year is 1983, and Elio (Timothée Chalamet) a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy lounges about his house, spending his time transcribing music or reading German poetry with his university professor parents (Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar). Every year, though, his parents take in a graduate student for the summer, and much to Elio’s chagrin, in walks Oliver (Armie Hammer), the “usurper,” as Elio calls him. What initially begins as a contentious relationship between the two, Elio and Oliver bond over shared interests, sunbathing out by the pool, riding their bikes into town together.

Cop-Out (1967) Blu-ray Review: A Boring Stranger in the House

Kino Lorber's dated mod pic features a drunken James Mason, Bobby Darin as a total creep, and that's about it.
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By the time Belgian author Georges Simenon's 1940 book Les Inconnus dans le maison was adapted into a 1967 British movie by Bulgarian exile Pierre Rouve, the source material was probably already fairly out of touch with modern times. Looking at Rouve's Stranger in the House now, however ‒ or, Cop-Out, as it is known to the select group of American audiences who have actually heard of or seen it ‒ it seems about as dated as could be. Its story, set within the era of England's counterculture of the late '60s, finds the one and only James Mason as

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
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