Cinema

​Crime, passion, and both together in new Blu-rays

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 21st, 2017

A couple of classic courtroom dramas and a romantic melodrama about theatrical ambition, all adapted from popular novels of their day, are among the recently released Blu-rays by Kino-Lorber. All were made by major filmmakers with famous stars, yet each is relatively obscure today and deserves to be better-known.

“Marjorie Morningstar” (1958) was a best-selling romantic saga by noted author Herman Wouk, probably best-remembered today for “The Caine Mutiny” and “The Winds of…

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​“Thoroughbred”: Cory Finley’s promising Sundance debut

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 21st, 2017

First-time feature filmmaker Cory Finley adapts his own play and comes up with one of the year’s most diabolically pleasurable movies in “Thoroughbred,” a taut exercise in moral darkness.

One of the most sure-footed debuts at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, the movie is certain to attract a devoted audience when distributed by Focus Features.

“Thoroughbred” injects jet-black comedy into the tightly and deliberately constricted premise of carefully plotted parricide, placing…

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​Legendary tough guys on Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 14th, 2017

Kirk Douglas (1917- ), Burt Lancaster (1913-1994), and James Cagney (1899-1986) are iconic movie “tough guys” who had long film careers.

Only nine of Cagney’s numerous films are currently on Blu-ray, the latest being his final starring role (not counting a TV movie made shortly before his death) and one of his rare comedies, released last week by Kino.

Douglas and Lancaster are much better represented on Blu-ray, with over 20 of Douglas’s films and over 30 of Lancaster’s,…

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​Hawks into doves: ‘Wonder Woman’ arrives

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 14th, 2017

Wonder Woman has, since 1941, been so many things to so many people, that the decidedly mixed bag of her long-delayed big screen headliner comes as little surprise.

Directed by Patty Jenkins following a disheartening gap of years since 2003’s Monster, Wonder Woman at least makes good on its promise to expand the long(ish) term prospects of the DC cinematic universe. And no true fan will root against the sorely needed step in the direction of gender-based superhero egalitarianism at…

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​Far, far away and far, far out

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 7th, 2017

“Star Wars Nothing But Star Wars” celebrates 40 years of the franchise

The prodigiously gifted team of collectors, archivists, programmers, and aficionados of movie madness operating as Cinefamily celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of George Lucas’ game-changing blockbuster with “Star Wars Nothing But Star Wars,” a wildly entertaining mixtape of gems, oddities, outtakes, clips, interviews, fan films, newscasts, commercials, public service announcements, and all sorts…

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​First 3-D musical now on 3-D Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 31st, 2017

After reviving the 3-D craze in the mid-2000s, Hollywood is still making some movies in 3-D (or converting movies shot in 2-D into 3-D), especially digital animated movies.

However, for some reason after ballyhooing 3-D television sets since 2010, HDTV manufacturers have been quietly dropping 3-D models from their 2017 lines over the past several months, so anyone thinking of switching to 3-D should consider buying a 2016 or older model as soon as possible, or (perhaps a better choice)…

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​Love outside the bubble: “Everything, Everything”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 31st, 2017

WARNING: The following review reveals plot information. Read only if you have seen “Everything, Everything.”

Planted squarely in the heart of YA-adapted teen fantasy, Stella Meghie’s film of Nicola Yoon’s 2015 novel “Everything, Everything” doesn’t always capitalize on its absolutely bananas premise, but logs excellent mileage from charming lead Amandla Stenberg.

Following in the contaminant-free footsteps of “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” and “Crystal Heart” (but…

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​Killer serial makes Blu-ray debut

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 24th, 2017

“Daredevils of the Red Circle.” Who are they? What is it? Before the internet, before television, serialized drama was still a significant part of popular culture. Novels were serialized in magazines and newspapers going back to the 19th century.

By the time the movie industry was firmly established in the mid-1910s, weekly chapters of movie mysteries and adventures had become a regular part of many theatres’ programs, with unresolved “cliff-hanger” endings designed to draw…

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​Mad monster party: Vigalondo goes ‘Colossal’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 24th, 2017

“Colossal,” Nacho Vigalondo’s highest profile film to date, mashes genres with a premise so otherworldly that it nearly gets away with its distressing supply of missed opportunities.

The gonzo suggestion that the actions of a giant monster looming over Seoul, South Korea are directly, psychologically linked to an American alcoholic will attract curiosity seekers.

Others will be intrigued by the presence of Anne Hathaway in the lead role of Gloria, whose booze-soaked…

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Diverse classic indie films new to Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 17th, 2017

The number of vintage films getting new high-definition video masters and/or restorations has been increasing over the past year, with numerous new releases to the home market on Blu-ray from specialty distributors like Olive, Twilight Time, Criterion, and especially Kino-Lorber through its “Studio Classics” division.

Sadly, these rarely are carried in stores, so must be ordered online from the companies themselves or other online retailers. Last month two very different independent…

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​Natural sleep aids

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Live and Learn

​The other shoe

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