Cinema

The cycle of revenge in Saulnier’s “Blue Ruin”

December 20th, 2014

Jeremy Saulnier contributes a worthwhile addition to the family revenge thriller with “Blue Ruin,” a sharp live wire that transcends both its modest budget and the familiar expectations of the genre through the filmmaker’s keen intellectual investments. The umpteenth story to track the efforts of a driven protagonist en route to a climactic bloodbath, “Blue Ruin” unfolds with many of the hallmarks of tales in which the dire consequences of payback offer little in the way of…

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​How to turn cans into camels ... and most anything else

December 18th, 2014

By Jessica Steinke

On a sunny summer day in Wahpeton, N.D., 4-year-old Olivia runs along the fence of the camels' habitat at the Chahinkapa Zoo. Her blonde curls bounce with excitement as she examines her favorite animals. Olivia is a frequent patron of the Chahinkapa Zoo, where she enjoys seeing her beloved pair of Bactrian camels. As she's poised along the fence, the brown camels stand on their lumpy knees, gnawing their daily rations of grain. Their two humps, heavy eyelashes and…

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​New Blu-rays complete collection of Cinerama classics

December 18th, 2014

“Seven Wonders of the World” and “Search for Paradise,” the remaining two of the five 1950s travelogues filmed in the revolutionary Cinerama process have recently been restored and released on Blu-ray last month from Flicker Alley. Of course, viewing the two films at home, even on a large HDTV, can never quite compare to seeing them in a genuine Cinerama theatre, but projecting the “Smilebox” Blu-ray onto a large home screen with a good surround sound system gives an…

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​Places in the World: Reichardt Makes “Night Moves”

December 12th, 2014


Filmmaker Kelly Reichardt continues to build her reputation as a storyteller of remarkable skill with “Night Moves,” a pressure cooker of a movie that observes the actions of a trio of radical environmental activists who plot to blow up a dam in the Pacific Northwest. Like her recent work, including “Meek’s Cutoff,” “Wendy and Lucy” and “Old Joy,” “Night Moves” operates with visual precision and thoughtful staging. Rather than depend on dialogue-driven exposition…

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​Quintessential Italian masterwork finally on Blu-ray

December 10th, 2014

Last week I reviewed still-active Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci’s breakthrough film “The Conformist,” but that’s not the only Italian classic new to Blu-ray. The legendary Federico Fellini (1920-1993) is probably the best-known director of Italian cinema around the world, by name at least, even among people who have seen few, if any, of his films. He has influenced not only numerous other directors but popular culture itself, with his own name turned into the adjective…

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​Innocence and experience: “Ida”

December 5th, 2014

Warsaw-born, UK-based Pawel Pawlikowski delivers one of the year’s most rewarding cinematic experiences in “Ida,” a stark, monochromatic treasure set in Poland in 1962. Quiet, introspective and deliberate on the outside, the movie’s interior life is by contrast filled with the most tumultuous emotional upheaval imaginable. Raised by nuns and now on the verge of becoming one herself, Anna is instructed by her mother superior to seek out the aunt she never knew she had. Reluctant…

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​Visual masterpiece ‘Conformist’ finally on Blu-ray

December 4th, 2014

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci has been making movies professionally for half a century, from 1962 through 2012. Arguably his best film, the groundbreaking “The Conformist” (1970) came out on DVD eight years ago and the Blu-ray upgrade released last week by Raro Video has been long overdue.

“The Conformist” is one of the most beautifully photographed movies ever made. Every shot is a work of art, with the style of lighting and composition changing as the film goes on,…

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​Visual masterpiece ‘Conformist’ finally on Blu-ray

December 4th, 2014

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci has been making movies professionally for half a century, from 1962 through 2012. Arguably his best film, the groundbreaking “The Conformist” (1970) came out on DVD eight years ago and the Blu-ray upgrade released last week by Raro Video has been long overdue.

“The Conformist” is one of the most beautifully photographed movies ever made. Every shot is a work of art, with the style of lighting and composition changing as the film goes on,…

Read more...


​The limits of control: “Whiplash”

November 26th, 2014

Late in writer-director Damien Chazelle’s sophomore feature “Whiplash,” monstrous music teacher Terence Fletcher states, “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.” By this point, the viewer will have formed a few troubled thoughts about Fletcher, who berates and belittles his students in much the same way R. Lee Ermey’s Parris Island drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman shouts down his U.S. Marine Corps recruits in “Full Metal…

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​Classic 3-D on 3-D Blu-ray

November 25th, 2014

Three-dimensional movies may be regarded by many as the latest in 21st century technology, requiring modern digital cameras and projectors. The concept of 3-D photography actually goes back to the mid-19th century, and various attempts at 3-D movies have been around since the early 1900s. In an attempt to compete against television, Hollywood had a short but intense period of 3-D film production from 1952-54, followed by sporadic specialty films in 3-D and a brief revival during the…

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