Latest Home Video Reviews
August: Osage County (2014)
Absent the electricity of live-wire live performance, the play's paucity of depth becomes more obvious. What's left to carry the day are a nasty streak of black comedy and the redoubtable acting ensemble.
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
The play of light and dark elements in what's arguably Akira Kurosawa's most broadly appealing and entertaining picture...explores a dichotomy of the idiocy of greed and the rewards of sacrifice.
Though Coogan's the avowed funnyman, twinkly-eyed Dench makes beautiful comic music with him...and though Dame Judi's the classically trained tragedian, Coogan holds his own when matters get serious.
The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) (2013)
Plays at times like a more conventional, less daring version of 1972’s
...On its own merits, Sorrentino’s film ain’t half-bad, but it’s no Fellini picture.
King of the Hill (1993)
King of the Hill
—or to discover it—is to realize how seldom American cinema deems it worthwhile to tell a child's story with anything approaching serious psychological intent.
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
A fitfully crackerjack picture with astonishing mise-en-scène...some memorable set pieces to take advantage of same, and flashes of Hitchockian wit...
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Though the film, by necessity, expands Dahl's original story and fuses it to the sensibility of Anderson, author and auteur share a common tone of twisted twee...
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Nervy and unnerving...arguably the purest expression of Allen's cinematic vision.
The wild pulp adventure that prefigured Raimi's eventual direction of the
franchise...If you've a taste for Hollywood-funded outré,
is one of those rare films that fits the bill.
The Fifth Estate (2013)
Cumberbatch gives a commanding performance, but corrective rewrites to the worrying early drafts of the script obviously were too little, too late to do justice to the nuanced complexities of [Assange] and his revolution.
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (2013)
A culminative reflection on the reboot's characterization of the Doctor, a respectful hat tip to the decades that preceded the show's return to the airwaves in 2005, and a jumping-off point for...the next fifty years of
20 Feet from Stardom (2013)
Neville does a good job of highlighting songs that are especially characterized by backup singers, like Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side,' and introducing us to some of the 'unsung' talent that made those hits possible.
Archer: The Complete Season Four (2009)
is coming for you. Phrasing. Boom!
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Prompts 'The Cosplay Kid' of the Comic-Con era of cinema to swallow the sins of our forefathers and the ones we countenance today.
Mary Poppins (1964)
One of the great movie musicals and of that rare breed of deathless family entertainment that's guaranteed to transfix children, well beyond this, its fiftieth anniversary.
Frances Ha (2013)
Brims with funny ideas both verbal and visual that are finely tuned by Baumbach and his cast, and sharply edited...
Makes an epic impact, fully exploiting cinema to chase the intensity of a live musical while also allowing time for intimate expression of character.
Robot Chicken: Season 6 (2012)
Say what you will about stop-motion sketch-comedy show
, but there's nothing else like it on television.
Doctor Who: Complete Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-ray Giftset (2005)
It's Christmas morning for Whovians with the release of the entire rebooted
series in 1080p high-definition on Blu-ray.
Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series (2010)
[A] family-friendly science-fiction series redefined for the new millenium by an especially grand, generous spirit to its storytelling.
Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series (2011)
The Doctor dead? Not on your life.
Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series (2012)
In the penultimate batch of episodes before
's jubilee year, executive producer Steven Moffat continues to marvel with his ability to keep the time-and-space-travelling Doctor in ever-so-complicated trouble.
Doctor Who: The Complete First Series (2005)
Thundered back onto the BBC in a manner that honored the series' canon while also injecting new energy and reestablishing a show previously aimed primarily at children as one sophisticated enough that adult geeks could love it unabashedly.
Doctor Who: The Complete Specials (2009)
Davies, and especially Tennant, made
more catchy than campy...
Shrek the Musical (2013)
The good-natured show...has a winningly inclusive spirit, a fantastical appeal, and a Vaudevillian comic showmanship that evoke
The Wizard of Oz
(surely a conscious inspiration).
Monsters University (2013)
May be the most thoughtful and, in social terms, realistic film ever made about the college experience.
Much Ado About Nothing (2013)
Whedon goes for a kind of radical naturalism, an understated approach that suggests the characters could be your friends and neighbors.
The East (2013)
Intrigues not with good guy-bad guy shtick, but with the conundrum of how to live morally in an inherently immoral West.
Chasing Ice (2012)
While more detailed scientific analysis and greater discussion of impacts would have been welcome, the film's visual rhetoric is solid.
Supernatural: The Complete Eighth Season (2005)
The stars still deliver, the supporting cast (especially Collins and Mark A. Sheppard as demon Crowley) remains prized, and the writers keep coming up with witty variations on the show's
The X Files
Sons of Anarchy: Season Five (2008)
Sutter knows how to conceive inconceivable violence, and while it's fair to question whether or not such disgusting ideas are just cultural poison, one can't argue that he ignores the consequences of each act.
With a man-against-the-elements adventure like this one, the emphasis is, and should be, largely on spectacular depiction of the environment, and [the] directors...make use of the biggest budget yet afforded to a Norwegian film...
To Be or Not to Be (2013)
To Be or Not to Be
has all the hallmarks of a Lubitsch comedy: a solidly constructed plot, good comic pacing, a light touch, and strong performances from top to bottom.
The Iceman (2013)
The main selling point here—and it's a considerable one—is Shannon, who shows new shadings in the role of Kuklinski...
Haneke has hit upon the most accessible, most universally understood experiential vehicle to explore his career-defining obsession with nihilism, or he has made his most emotionally sensitive film yet, a true love story.
Star Trek: Enterprise—Season Two (2001)
Season Two of
put a lot of fans to sleep in 2002, but out of that context of 'franchise fatigue,' these twenty-six episodes...are entertaining, well-executed
Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season (2012)
Disney's latest grand experiment in televised synergy has old-fashioned, corny charm—just newfangled with girl power and CGI.
Killing Season (2013)
Comes full up with heavy-handed signifiers, from Ben's choice of reading (Hemingway...) to a hammered motif of lapsed Christianity (the climax takes place in a rotting church) that underlines the theme of living with the sins of the past.
Regular Show: The Complete First & Second Seasons (2010)
There are sometimes twisted lessons to be learned from their misbehavior, but it's more about the silliness, punctuated regularly by frat-boy gesticulation and verbal high-fives.
From Up on Poppy Hill (2013)
Sunny days, blue skies, and rippling blue waters lined with greenery...Plain nice, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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