Latest Home Video Reviews
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Once blithely acceptable as American id, McClane's become the archetypal American idiot.
Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season (2011)
Cannily plays in equal measure to the sci-fi TV crowd and families, to red states and blue states, and it's a formula—refined in Season Two—that seems to be working.
What remains most striking about
may be the...conspicuous emphasis on intense close-ups. They force an inescapable emotional intimacy in relation to issues the mainstream, at least at the time, would rather have looked away from.
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Distinguished by its thoughtfulness regarding the nature of Western heroism, as defined not only by dead-eye gunplay, but by family, community, and moral rectitude.
Stand Up Guys (2012)
The awfulness of the narrative is plain to see, and yet...no one can say
Stand Up Guys
Shanghai Noon (2000)
Though the film nakedly seeks a wide audience through conventional plotting and characterization—and despite being (like most action movies) guy-centric—
provides good, clean 'family' fun.
Shanghai Knights (2003)
This innocent, sixties-style, big-budget comedy-romance-action-adventure romp is solid family entertainment that would make any self-respecting kid's jaw drop for a good two hours.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—The Best of Both Worlds (1990)
As good as, if not better than, any of the feature films that would later star the
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Season Three (1989)
Not only did the third season mark a quantum leap in non-niche popularity for the series, but a greater consistency in the show's writing and execution that meant a precipitous drop in fan complaints.
The Pink Panther (1964)
All the ingredients for a great evening at the movies: lively music, eye-catching scenery, larger-than-life comic set pieces, suave men and beautiful women, and odd-man-out Clouseau, played to perfection by the one and only Peter Sellers.
Day-Lewis...wears well the weariness of the office and Lincoln's puckish yet subdued sense of humor, scaling the man closer to life-size than Mount Rushmore monumental.
A Royal Affair (2012)
Supplements its palace intrigue with the good old-fashioned pull of romance and costume drama...Mikkelsen's magnetism and sly expressiveness hold the film's center with a quiet potency.
Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
can boast a screenplay with a highly unusual moral complexity and a deeply philosophical bent...Yes,
is a film that name-drops Schopenhauer, but it's also damn funny...
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
By most cinematic measures,
Zero Dark Thirty
is one of the best-made films of 2012. It also probably shouldn't exist.
Life of Pi (2012)
In the hands of Ang Lee, a true film artist,
Life of Pi
elegantly walks Martel's philosophical line while also brilliantly using every modern cinematic tool to spin an epic yarn.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Built for fun...in its dazzlingly elaborate production design and kinetic 3D action...perfect casting...
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
-esque video-game-character cameos, and a cramming of clever comic touches...
The Master (2012)
begs for a reorientation of the viewer, perhaps requiring more than one viewing...there's nothing easy or conventional about this account of a doomed search for external meaning, doubling as a meditative tone poem on human frailty.
A Star Is Born (1976)
While in its romantic and romanticized particulars, this
A Star Is Born
can often seem silly, hoary, disjointed or meandering, the essence of the showbiz narrative still exerts a powerful pull...
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Tease[s] out the provocative and liberating properties of art. Add extraordinary, emotionally generous performances, and
Blue Is the Warmest Color
grasps enough moments of truth to justify its extensive reach.
The Sessions (2012)
Gets it right, in the essence of its true story as well as the social discomforts surrounding disability and sane discussion of sexuality.
Our Man Flint (1966)
To the extent that
Our Man Flint
works, it does so due to its tossed-off wit...and the sheer oddity of Coburn, the toothy, gangly character actor who nevertheless charms his way into stardom here with laid-back cool.
In Like Flint (1967)
It's a shame that
In Like Flint
plays as such a defensive reaction to on-the-rise American feminism...in most other respects, it's a worthy-enough sequel to
Our Man Flint.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
From its jazzy main titles to its gentle fadeout,
has something that money can't buy. It's likeable.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Observe the white, middle-class American Catholic teenager in his natural habitat...Though we have, perhaps, never flaunted the fetching eyelashes and perfect skin of these curious creatures...have we not, in a sense, been there?
All Superheroes Must Die (a.k.a. Vs) (2011)
Written in four days and shot in fifteen, this homegrown indie shows its seams...in cinematic terms, it's pretty weak sauce.
The Paperboy (2012)
Anatomy of a Murder
, and Daniels' own
rolled into one wacked-out bloody Southern Gothic that's considerably less than the sum of those parts...
Flipping the cautionary themes of Mary Shelley’s original source material,
plays out as a primarily pro-science parable...goes out of its way to encourage free-thinking square pegs to avoid gaping round holes.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012)
Even for an episodic kiddie farce,
seems overly familiar in its comic premises (oh no! peeing in the municipal pool!) and conflicts...but it’ll all be new to its intended audience...
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Just remember, kids, you’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you…or your movie dollars.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Season Two (1988)
became famous in large part for its (often corny) science-fiction morality plays...Few episodes of either series achieve this goal more elegantly than Melinda Snodgrass' 'The Measure of a Man.'
Finding Nemo (2003)
Though some scary parts may make the very young fret unduly, the film also puts forward some thoughtful messages for both children and their parents.
It's beginning to seem as if Pixar's delivery of one of the very best films of the year will be an unstoppable annual tradition.
Men in Black 3 (2012)
Has no MSG. I mention this because many will probably want to make a meal of it and, it should be said, it's both pretty tasty and will leave you feeling hungry an hour later...
Even when it's not quite running on all cylinders, LeRoy's
is never less than cute, and sometimes, it's a good deal more.
It would be criminal to reveal how the plot unfolds, other than to say it's impressive dramatic origami, manipulated deftly by an ideal cast and one of Hollywood's all-time top directors.
The Watch (2012)
According to an old showbiz saw, the key to comedy is timing. Well, the new big-budget sci-fi comedy
has a problem there.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
'Be excellent to each other.' Out of the mouths of babehounds...
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
One character innocently asks Peter, as he looks for an ID badge, 'Are you having trouble finding yourself?' Maybe just a little, but consider the franchise relaunched...
This version...won't be remembered as a major one—it's too faithful and too wobbly for that—but it's an entertaining novelty version, largely justified by the casting and Gemignani's slavish devotion to the original Broadway orchestrations.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Strikes just the right balance of irony and sincerity...genuinely heartwarming, from its opening dedication to Henson and Hunt to its joy-to-the-world finale.
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