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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Enlisted: The Complete First Season DVD Review
Dec 27 2014 02:56 PM
The Fox television network doesn’t have the greatest track record for giving its shows time to build an audience. For every Bones, Fringe, or Brooklyn Nine-N... Read More
The Maze Runner Blu-ray Review
Dec 26 2014 02:48 PM
After the enormous success of The Hunger Games, every Hollywood studio went looking for its own young adult action franchise. 20th Century Fox has come up wi... Read More
Yentl Blu-ray Review
Dec 24 2014 02:56 PM
If the auteur theory hadn’t already been in existence, it would have had to be created for Barbra Streisand’s Yentl. The 1983 introspective musical version o... Read More
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Blu-ray Review
Dec 23 2014 02:46 PM
Cinematic school teachers are almost always charismatic individuals who inspire their charges either through their undeniable skills or through their overwhe... Read More
Dec 18 2014 12:28 AM | Kevin EK in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
I Am Ali rope-a-dopes its story onto Blu-ray, with an edition that gives this celebration of Muhammad Ali a good high definition presentation, but cannot escape the film’s lack of depth. Clare Lewins’ examination of Ali’s life and career includes a healthy amount of film and audio of Ali speaking his mind, but there’s unfortunately very little substance presented. Fans of Muhammad Ali will enjoy the visits with his family and the tapes we hear of him talking to his daughters over the phone, but even they will wonder about the deeper issues that this movie fails to examine.
Dec 16 2014 02:35 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
With the Oscar and Emmy-winning duo of Steven Spielberg executive producing and Halle Berry starring, there was much pre-premiere buzz surrounding the futuristic science fiction CBS series Extant. Despite an intriguing premise, outstanding actors in some key roles, and terrific production design that produced a believable and identifiable near-future, the show never really took off in the way that CBS’ Under the Dome had in the summer of 2013. Though the series received a surprising renewal for another season at the end of the summer, the program has logic and character problems that should require some major retooling before the producers get to work on another series of episodes for 2015.
Dec 14 2014 04:39 PM | Richard Gallagher in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Oscar Wilde's only novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," was brought to the screen by M-G-M in 1945 under the able direction of Albert Lewin, who also wrote the screenplay. It is in effect a horror film about idle wealth, privilege, and debauchery in Victorian England, but also is a cautionary tale about the unintended consequences of getting what one wishes for. The Picture of Dorian Gray is now available in a stunning Blu-ray from the Warner Archive.
Dec 13 2014 02:45 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
After ten world titles and three Olympic gold medals, figure skater Sonja Henie relinquished her amateur status, turned professional, and brought her ice show to America where it was seen by 20th Century Fox’s Darryl F. Zanuck who promptly snapped her up for the movies, and the rest is history. Thin Ice was the second of her splashy Hollywood ice skating musicals, and it was such a big hit that it propelled the Norwegian athlete into the ranks of the top ten box-office stars of 1937. As with most of Fox’s star musical vehicles, the songs and (skating) numbers are dropped into its slim plot like so many raisins into a pudding, but with a first-rate cast of supporting players and top notch production values, the movie’s lapses don’t really matter, and the movie proves to be agreeably light if forgettable entertainment.
Dec 10 2014 02:28 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
The 1942 war thriller Manila Calling was produced early enough during the war for America for there to have been some doubt about the effectiveness of the Pacific campaign up to that point. The film still shows Allied heroism above and beyond the call of duty, and it mentions those famous words of General Douglas MacArthur that he would eventually return to the Philippines to reclaim the area, but viewers of the movie might be surprised at the number of protagonists’ lives lost and the true sacrifice played out in this tense, taut little B-movie action picture.
Dec 09 2014 10:11 AM | Todd Erwin in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon was a fixture on Comedy Central in the 1990s, devoting an entire day to some of the best episodes of the series, often with new, original bumpers created specifically for that broadcast. Shout! Factory tries to replicate that marathon with their latest collection of episodes by including new introductions By Joel Hodgson, with help from Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot (voiced by Josh Weinstein and Trace Beaulieu).
Dec 07 2014 02:15 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Though its title suggests an abbreviated biography of its subject, Carol Reed’s The Young Mr. Pitt pretty much covers the entire career of England’s youngest-ever Prime Minister. The movie suggests that William Pitt the Younger sacrificed his health, his wealth, and his greatest love in leading his country through one of the most trying periods in its history, but as the screenwriters rather shrug away his sacrifices as they occur, the importance of the things Pitt gave up for his country must be left up to the viewer to decide, a rather curious if refreshing decision made by the writers and ace director Carol Reed that make this biographical film unique if nothing else.
Dec 07 2014 05:24 AM | Ken_McAlinden in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Dolphin Tale 2 reassembles all of the major cast as well as the director of the inspirational 2011 tale of Winter, a rescued Dolphin fitted with a prosthetic tail who became an inspiration to humans with disabilities. As with its predecessor, the filmmakers of Dolphin Tale 2 have adapted subsequent true life events (taking generous amounts of dramatic liberties) into an uplifting family friendly film.
Dec 06 2014 01:27 PM | Richard Gallagher in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is one of the most famous and beloved films ever made. It was nominated for no less than eleven Academy Awards in a year which saw the release of such classics as Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach, and The Wizard of Oz, to name just a few. Sony has now released it on Blu-ray with a nearly-pristine transfer and a nice array of special features.
Dec 04 2014 02:36 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Liliana Cavani's The Night Porter is one of those films whose notorious reputation in no way reflects what’s really going on within the movie (unlike, say, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom whose infamous reputation is fully justified by its content). Pauline Kael called it “gothic porn,” but it’s actually neither of those things; rather, it’s an ambitious if ultimately flawed attempt to bring past and (then) present together in a psychosexual tale of perverse lust and need. There is some wonderful craft here even if the story itself penned in part by the director needed a thorough rewrite.