Dusty Somers

3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: On the Verge of a New Cinematic World

The FilmsThough their collaborations were largely overshadowed by the scandal of their romance, Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman proved to ...
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A Letter to Three Wives Blu-ray Review: A Bit of a Trifle, but an Enjoyable Trifle

The FilmA mildly clever conceit, a very capable cast and the sure-handed direction of Joseph L. Mankiewicz make A Letter ...
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Slacker Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Formally Fascinating, Warmly Hilarious Film

The FilmRichard Linklater's Slacker is a film that sounds like a doodle on paper, a fun little experiment from the ...
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Me and My Gal DVD Review: A Pre-Code Delight from Raoul Walsh

Oh boy, it's another mixed blessing from the burn-on-demand department, that simultaneous lifter and dasher of cinephile hopes and dreams. ...
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To the Wonder Blu-ray Review: Another Malick Masterwork

The Film Terrence Malick's second film in three years hasn't been met with quite as much enthusiasm as its predecessor, ...
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Niagara (1953) Blu-ray Review: A Decidedly Different Marilyn

The FilmIt sometimes seems like director Henry Hathaway wasn't sure if Niagara was a lugubrious melodrama or a white-knuckle thriller, ...
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The Life of Oharu Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Mizoguchi’s Breakthrough Masterpiece

The Film The film that made Kenji Mizoguchi an international sensation and the first in a string of masterpieces that ...
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Cinema Sentries

Things to Come Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Overly Didactic Technical Marvel

The Film An impressive technical achievement, even if its didacticism threatens to overwhelm all other elements, H.G. Wells' Things to ...
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Masaki Kobayashi Against the System DVD Review: Angry and Elegant Political Films

Known for his exemplary samurai film Harakiri and three-part World War II humanist epic The Human Condition, Masaki Kobayashi wasn't ...
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Richard III Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Ravishing Technicolor Beauty

The Film The last of Laurence Olivier's three Shakespeare adaptations, Richard III is unquestionably one of the great Shakespeare films, ...
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The Kid with a Bike Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Another Major Work from the Dardennes

The Film It's time for yet another reminder to be grateful for the Dardennes, those Belgian masters of unmatched cinematic ...
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The Insider Blu-ray Review: An Engrossing, Troubling Thriller

The Film An exceptionally engrossing thriller and a chest-beating indictment of corporatization, Michael Mann's The Insider features the filmmaker firing ...
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Photographic Memory DVD Review: An Intriguing Essay on Images and Memory

Documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee has built a well-regarded career on introspection, and it's no different with his latest, Photographic Memory, ...
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Pina Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Striking Elegy for an Artistic Giant

The Film Wim Wenders' gorgeous and touching tribute to modern dance pioneer Pina Bausch is a film birthed out of ...
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Cosmopolis Blu-ray Review: Cronenberg and DeLillo are a Perfect Match

The Film Another triumph for David Cronenberg, Cosmopolis sees the director further extending the definition of a “Cronenberg movie” with ...
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This is Not a Film Movie Review: Maybe Not a Film, But a Masterpiece Nonetheless

Jafar Panahi's defiant, playful, mundane, formally adventurous and consistently surprising This is Not a Film is one of the greatest ...
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Jackie Brown Movie Review: Yes, This is Quentin Tarantino’s Best Movie

A new Quentin Tarantino movie is generally a cause for excitement, even if the filmmaker is often his own worst ...
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Sound of My Voice Blu-ray Review: A Taut, Controlled Thriller

The Film An impressively controlled and thoroughly transfixing thriller, Sound of My Voice is a film where almost nothing is ...
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Quantum of Solace Movie Review: A Rebooted James Bond Takes Two Steps Backward

The second Daniel Craig Bond film is a good reminder that despite a new actor, new visual aesthetic, and new ...
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Eating Raoul Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Equal Parts High Camp and Urbane Comedy of Manners

The Film A delightful black comedy that's equal parts high camp and urbane comedy of manners, Paul Bartel's Eating Raoul ...
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Die Another Day Movie Review: The Epitome of 007’s Descent into Dumb Action Tropes

The final outing for Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, Die Another Day doesn't seem totally execrable -- but that might ...
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Holy Flying Circus Blu-ray Review: A Docudrama in the Style of Monty Python

The Film A wildly inconsistent but generally enjoyable docudrama about the controversy surrounding Monty Python's Life of Brian, Holy Flying ...
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Diplomatic Courier DVD Review: A Sturdy, if Unremarkable Cold War Thriller

It’s not particularly stylish and there’s little subtext to Henry Hathaway’s 1952 Cold War espionage drama Diplomatic Courier, but it ...
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Weekend (2011) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Moving, Deceptively Complex Film

The Film When I first saw Andrew Haigh’s Weekend last year during a blitz of awards-season catch-up, I appreciated its ...
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Glee: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review: Lower Your Expectations and Enjoy

The Show Severely lowered expectations are a major boon to the third season of Glee, a show I’ve long given ...
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La Promesse Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Stunning Breakout from the Dardenne Brothers

The Film The cinematic worlds of Belgian filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne are raw and unadorned, filled with broken people ...
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Kidnapped (1938) DVD Review: An Engaging if Forgettable Adventure Film

One of a plethora of film adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel of the same name, 1938’s Kidnapped is a ...
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Lisztomania DVD Review: An Outrageous Biopic from Ken Russell

One of the least conventional biopics ever made, Ken Russell’s delirious, hilarious, utterly batshit insane Lisztomania revels in excess like ...
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Way of a Gaucho DVD Review: An Atmospheric, Unconventional Western that Deserves Better

Studio made-on-demand programs like the Warner Archive and MGM’s Limited Edition Collection have been something of a mixed bag for ...
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The Last Days of Disco Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Witty Look at the End of an Era

The Film There’s not a hint of irony in Whit Stillman’s 1998 film The Last Days of Disco despite there ...
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Chariots of Fire Blu-ray Review: A Fine Presentation for an Overrated Film

The Film Eminently respectable but not exactly cinematically sound, Chariots of Fire is a film whose merits have been considered ...
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The Outside Man (1972) DVD Review: A Contemplative Mob Thriller

An enjoyable conflation of French gangster cool a la Melville and reinvented 1970s American noir, the little-known The Outside Man ...
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Gray’s Anatomy / And Everything is Going Fine Criterion Collection Blu-rays Review: A Spalding Gray & Steven Soderbergh Double Feature

The extraordinarily talented monologist Spalding Gray gets a pair of releases from the Criterion Collection this month. Both films are ...
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Frank Sinatra Film Collection DVD Review: Ol’ Blue Eyes at His Most Mediocre

Despite the fact he’ll always be more famous as a singer than an actor, Frank Sinatra often excelled on the ...
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La haine Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Seething Portrait of a Vicious Cycle

The Film Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 triumph La haine doesn’t pull any punches — it’s right there in the title, which ...
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The Innkeepers Blu-ray Review: A Carefully Crafted Genre Exercise

The Film One thing's for sure about indie horror filmmaker Ti West — he's a superb craftsman with an astute ...
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A Hollis Frampton Odyssey Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Essential Collection of Avant-Garde Treasures

The Films There isn’t much experimental film represented within the Criterion Collection library, but when the good folks there do ...
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Saving Grace (1986) DVD Review: An Unsentimental Look at True Religion

A gently comedic drama about finding religious fulfillment in action rather than ceremony, the little-seen 1986 film Saving Grace is ...
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Domain (2009) DVD Review: A Magnetic Lead Performance Saves a Muddled Script

Béatrice Dalle’s extraordinary ability to sensually descend into madness will be forever enshrined in Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Betty Blue, a film ...
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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Blu-ray Review: Both Extremely and Incredibly Shameless

The Film I’m not sure if it’s the nauseating amount of precious quirk or the hammering lack of subtlety that’s ...
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David Lean Directs Noel Coward Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Four Distinctly British Films From a Fruitful Partnership

Before his name became synonymous with the widescreen epic, David Lean began his directorial career working closely with playwright Noël ...
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Cinema Sentries

The Sitter Blu-ray Review: A Formless Mass of Unfunny

The Film With every new David Gordon Green film, there’s generally a round of bewildered bemoaning about the transformation of ...
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Conversation Piece DVD Review: A Probing Penultimate Film from an Italian Master

Luchino Visconti’s second-to-last film, Conversation Piece (Gruppo di famiglia in un interno) is a sure-handed, character-driven chamber drama that may ...
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Sinful Davey DVD Review: Pleasant But Hardly Memorable Adventure Comedy

By no means the worst John Huston picture you’ll ever see, but certainly nowhere near his top tier of work, ...
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The Visitor (1963) DVD Review: A Nuanced Look at Romance

An increasingly nuanced and complex portrayal of the things we do for security and love, Antonio Pietrangeli’s The Visitor (La ...
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3 DVD Review: A Playful Menage a Trois

After one entirely dull, far too self-serious attempt at a big-budget Hollywood crossover in The International, it’s nice to see ...
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Bullhead Movie Review: Oscar-Nominated Drama as Meat-Headed as Its Protagonist

After spending its first act setting up a rote narcotics syndicate narrative — freshened ever so slightly by cattle hormones ...
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Special Treatment DVD Review: Prostitution and Psychotherapy Overlap in Underwhelming Film

There’s a promising movie in the middle of Special Treatment, a low-key comic drama that’s at turns too programmatic in ...
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The Bed Sitting Room DVD Review: Post-Nuclear British Satire Hits the Mark

An absurdist minor masterpiece, Richard Lester’s The Bed Sitting Room in many ways follows in the same vein as Lester’s ...
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2012 Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Short Films Review: A Mixed Bag of Nominees

Before the 84th Academy Awards take place on Feb. 26, you still have time to catch up with some of ...
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2012 Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films Review: Five Strong Nominees Vie for Gold

No matter how much of an Oscar completist you are, by the time February rolls around, it’s usually the short ...
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Halls of Anger DVD Review: Turgid Race Drama Enlivened by the Performances

A racial drama lacking the stylistic bravado to match its potentially incendiary subject matter, Halls of Anger retains any kind ...
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Busting DVD Review: ’70s Buddy Cop Film Elevated by Elliott Gould

As far as little-seen ’70s buddy cop films go, Peter Hyams’ Busting isn’t as bizarrely transgressive as Richard Rush’s Freebie ...
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The Moment of Truth Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Heady Symphony of Sound and Image

The Film Francesco Rosi doesn’t waste his time on extraneous details in The Moment of Truth, a lean symphony of ...
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The Overcoat (1952) DVD Review: A Genre-Bending Satire from the Age of Neorealism

Made when the Italian Neorealist movement was still prominent, Alberto Lattuada’s The Overcoat sounds like a prime example of the ...
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Traffic Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Thrilling and Uncompromising Look at the War on Drugs

The Film One of the predominant narratives used in describing Steven Soderbergh’s career is that he’s a director capable of ...
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Eat This New York DVD Review: Jumbled Restaurant Documentary Proves Unsatisfying

There are two movies duking it out in Andrew Rossi’s and Kate Novack’s Eat This New York, a 2004 documentary ...
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Sid & Nancy Blu-ray Review: Grotesque and Sublime Doomed Love

The Film I had to laugh when reading the back of the newly released Fox/MGM Sid & Nancy Blu-ray, which ...
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I’m Glad My Mother Is Alive DVD Review: Study of Post-Adoption Scars Falls Flat

There are some severely displaced feelings at the center of I’m Glad My Mother is Alive, a 2009 French film ...
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Sabu! Criterion Collection DVD Review: Adventures With The Immensely Charming Child Star

Plucked from obscurity as an elephant handler in southern India and vaulted to international stardom largely by the efforts of ...
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The Moon in the Gutter Blu-ray Review: Ponderous Movie, Worse Blu-ray

The Film After his art house crossover hit debut feature Diva, Jean-Jacques Beineix followed it up with The Moon in ...
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Stars and Stripes Forever Blu-ray Review: A Deadly Dull Biopic

The Film John Philip Sousa occupies an undeniably important place in American music history, and Henry Koster’s 1952 Technicolor biopic ...
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Come Have Coffee With Us DVD Review: Italian Sex Comedy Subverted

A bitterly ironic and slyly subversive Italian sex comedy, Alberto Lattuada’s Come Have Coffee With Us mostly succeeds in spite ...
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Behind the Mask (1946) DVD Review: Inert Pulp Adaptation

One of a number of films based on pulp magazine hero The Shadow, Behind the Mask (also known as The ...
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Under Fire: Journalists in Combat Movie Review: Slapdash Production Values Undermine Compelling Content

Oscar shortlisted documentary Under Fire: Journalists in Combat has one major factor in its favor — its subjects are all ...
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The Music Lovers DVD Review: A Spirited Symphony of Excess

The first theatrical feature in Ken Russell’s series of unconventional composer biopics, The Music Lovers must be a frustrating experience ...
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The Sleeping Beauty DVD Review: French Provocateur Catherine Breillat Re-imagines the Fairy Tale

French director Catherine Breillat’s depictions of sexual awakening can be shocking — consider the seemingly out-of-nowhere conclusion to her 2001 ...
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Rushmore Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Wes Anderson’s Best Film Dazzles in High-Def

The Film By and large, there’s been quite a backlash against the films of Wes Anderson, and even though I’m ...
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Identification of a Woman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Futile Search for Romantic Fulfillment

The Film Among those disinclined to enjoy films without a clear story arc, well-defined conflict, and a resolute conclusion, the ...
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Kuroneko Criterion Collection DVD Review: Expressionistic Horror in Feudal Japan

A spooky, poetic Japanese ghost story, Kuroneko is the kind of film that captivates you by virtue of an astonishing ...
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Le Havre Movie Review: Another Low-Key Delight from Aki Kaurismäki

Aki Kaurismäki’s films often require the viewer to get on a specific wavelength in order to appreciate the wry tone ...
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Leap Year (2011) DVD Review: A Painful Portrait Of Isolation

There’s not much respite for Laura (Monica del Carmen), the plain freelance journalist who’s onscreen nearly every second in Michael ...
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O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray Review: An Epic High-Def Upgrade

The Film A bit of a trifle compared to more exactingly crafted Coen Brothers films, O Brother, Where Art Thou? ...
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The Phantom Carriage Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Spooky Silent Cinema That Transcends Genre

The Film Victor Sjöström’s intensely atmospheric, technically brilliant The Phantom Carriage was highly influential on the career of Ingmar Bergman, ...
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Le Beau Serge and Les Cousins Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The True Origins of the French New Wave

The Films The French New Wave evokes thoughts of two films above all others — François Truffaut’s and Jean-Luc Godard’s ...
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Dressed to Kill Blu-ray Review: Brian De Palma Conflates Sex and Death

The Film Exhibit A of the “Brian De Palma just rips off Hitchcock” trope has to be Dressed to Kill, ...
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Orpheus Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Cinematic Magic from a Familiar Tale

The Film Jean Cocteau had a knack for applying a distinct surreal stamp to familiar tales. He did it in ...
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The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara DVD Review: Diverse Dispatches from the Japanese New Wave

Watching the five films in Criterion’s latest Eclipse offering, The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara, one gets the sense that ...
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La Rabbia DVD Review: A Politically-Charged Italian Oddity

Differing opinions don’t get much more diametrically opposite than those put forth in La Rabbia or The Anger, a two-part ...
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The Big Lebowski Blu-ray Review: Not Quite a Gutterball, but Close

The Film There’s no film in the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre quite like The Big Lebowski, which seems to have generated ...
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The Battle of Algiers Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Political Powder-Keg

The Film The Battle of Algiers doesn’t simply tack on a cinema verité veneer to achieve a sense of realism; ...
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Donnie Darko 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review: Nothing New to See Here, Folks

The Film A bona fide cult classic and champion of the home video era after a disastrous post 9-11 limited ...
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Wedding Daze Blu-ray Review: Agreeably Low-Key Rom-Com

The Film For a movie about a spontaneous marriage proposal, the stakes feel pretty low in Wedding Daze, essentially a ...
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Leon Morin, Priest Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Sex and Religion on the Mind

The Film Léon Morin, Priest is a somewhat atypical film for director Jean-Pierre Melville and star Jean-Paul Belmondo, at least ...
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The Myth of the American Sleepover Movie Review: Naturalism and Awkwardness in Equal Measures

It’s to writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s credit that he takes the concerns of his teenage characters seriously in his debut ...
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Make Believe Movie Review: Teen Magicians Vie for Glory

Somewhere, there’s a stack of embarrassing pictures of me as a kid, dressed in one of my dad’s suit coats ...
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Park Row DVD Review: Samuel Fuller’s Energetic Ode to the Newspaper Business

I bet I’d have a hard time finding a journalist who wouldn’t have a soft spot for Samuel Fuller’s Park ...
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Adua and Her Friends DVD Review: A Moving Italian Drama

Antonio Pietrangeli isn’t a particularly well-known filmmaker within the United States, but his wonderful 1960 film Adua and Her Friends ...
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The Misfits (1961) Blu-ray Review: An Overlooked American Classic Looks Stunning In High-Def

The Film With the powerhouse combination of writer Arthur Miller and director John Huston behind the camera and the star ...
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The Horse Soldiers Blu-ray Review: One of John Ford’s Lesser Films

John Ford elevated the western from sturdy B-picture to bona fide art form with his 1939 film Stagecoach, and would ...
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Some Like It Hot Blu-ray Review: A Timeless Comedic Classic Impresses on Blu-ray

An enduring classic that’s often considered one of the finest American comedies ever made, Some Like It Hot is a ...
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The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Blu-ray Review: Effective, if Dated, Political Paranoia

The Film Political thrillers don’t get much more famous than The Manchurian Candidate, John Frankenheimer’s entry into the pantheon of ...
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Summer Children DVD Review: A Lost Film Is Found Again

Never properly released after it was shot in 1965, Summer Children was recently unearthed by producer Jack Robinette and finally ...
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