WOODSTOCK: 3 DAYS OF PEACE AND MUSIC 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 2 days ago

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I have always been fascinated by Woodstock.  The incredible music of so many legendary artists, the shots of the unfathomably large crowd (surpassed many times since but still uniquely spectacular), the peak of a generation that would so soon experience its unrecoverable abyss at Altamont—an event that should have failed in every way, should have been an epic disaster, and yet somehow resulted in peace, music and pure magic.

An event whose unique circumstances could never be repeated and thus never experienced again by another generation.  Fortunately for us all, Woodstock was documented on film (despite occurring in the pre- every instant of life captured on video era), thus allowing future generations a glimpse into the mythic truth.  Read my full Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music Blu-ray review after the jump.

ERASERHEAD and THE INNOCENTS Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 5 days ago

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Criterion has released two classics of gothic black and white horror with Jack Clayton’s The Innocents and David Lynch’s Eraserhead now joining their collection.  The former is a brilliant adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, while the latter is one of the most singular experiences in cinema history, a film that became a perennial midnight movie for a very good reason.  Criterion is celebrating Halloween this year in style, and my review of both films on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

THE ROVER Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 11 days ago

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There is probably a sizable percentage of people who hate Robert Pattinson for no good reason.  The Twilight star became an intense object of affection and lust for those team Edward, and for anyone who witnessed that obsessive fandom (especially those who saw it up close), it can be off-putting even if it bears little on the person’s talents.  Considering that Pattinson starred in five of the biggest movies of the last decade, he’s made some of the smartest career moves of anyone who has been suddenly thrust into superstardom: He’s now making an effort to work with talented auteurs in roles that only trade on his fame in the sense that he helps get the movies financed.  Not only has he made two movies with David Cronenberg, he also starred in the David Michod film The Rover.  And as for the latter, he’s excellent in it.  My review of the Blu-ray of The Rover follows after the jump. 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 16 days ago

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Blu-ray Review

Peter Parker can’t seem to catch a break. He’s constantly hunted by powerful villains, battling inner turmoil, and working through typical teenage angst, all while trying to solve the mystery of his parents’ death. Unfortunately, he has to add “surviving a mediocre Blu-Ray release” to his long list of life struggles.

In director Marc Webb’s second installment of the retooled franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker, A.K.A. Spider-Man (played astonishingly well by Andrew Garfield), once again finds himself struggling to maintain a balance in both this super-hero and alter ego lives.  Hit the jump for my The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-ray review.

NEIGHBORS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 20 days ago

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Seth Rogen’s acting career took off fifteen years ago when he was cast in Freaks and Geeks, and over the last ten years he’s become a movie star.  And though he’s nowhere near finished, one gets the sense that if Rogen ever had a wild period, he’s past it (it seems his biggest public faux pas is making a film like The Guilt Trip).  He’s married, he’s a successful writer, producer, actor and director, and though he still has a bit of a baby face, he’s no longer capable of playing schlubby twenty-something losers, and it seems that he’s intentionally moving away from those types.  Neighbors, as directed by Nick Stoller, suggests that though Rogen still has some of that party animal in him, he’s also transitioned into being an adult both onscreen and off.  My Neighbors Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 24 days ago

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Paramount committed an egregious faux pas last year with its release of Star Trek: Into Darkness by sprinkling different extras on different Blu-rays.  If you bought your disc at Target, you got one set of extras.  If you bought it at Best Buy, you got a different set.  If you wanted all of them, you basically had to buy multiple copies of the same movie, then vent your fiery wrath across the Internet.  Trekkies hit the roof and with good reason: it took the double-dipping crime to a whole new level.  The new Star Trek Compendium is intended to correct that issue, and I suppose it does… if you’re waiting for all those features in a single collection.  Unfortunately, it compounds the original sin with a whole new one and slaps a higher price on the results in the bargain.  That leaves a sour taste behind for a collection that should have come as a huge relief to long-suffering fans.  Hit the jump for my full review.

GHOSTBUSTERS and GHOSTBUSTERS II (Mastered in 4K) Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 27 days ago

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Ghostbusters was a cultural phenomenon, and hasn’t left pop culture since it was released in 1984.  Then again, it would be hard to forget considering co-writer Dan Aykroyd has been promising a third entry in the franchise since the nineties.  To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the first film (and the twenty-fifth of the sequel Ghostbusters II) Sony has packaged both together with new extras and the best transfers yet of the films.  The first film remains a classic, while the sequel is not without pleasures.  Both star Bill Murray, Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis, and Annie Potts, and both were directed by Ivan Reitman.  My review of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

NEED FOR SPEED Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 30 days ago

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There’s something thrilling about watching practical stunts in the digital era, which may be why Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed — despite numerous flaws — is just good enough to recommend.  Aaron Paul stars alongside Imogen Poots in this tale of a cross country journey in which Paul’s character wants revenge against the man (Dominic Cooper) who framed him for an involuntary manslaughter.  My Need for Speed Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 31 days ago

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Few can deny that we’re living in a Golden Age of television, as the explosion of new outlets and stations has created a need for unique original programming.  People complain (rightfully so) about the proliferation of sleazy reality shows, but we’ve also received the likes of The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Veep, Downton Abbey, Justified, The Americans, Archer, Boardwalk Empire… the list goes on into the sunset.  And none of them – not a single one – would have made it to the screen were it not for Twin PeaksChanging an entire medium is rare enough, especially if your show barely lasted thirty episodes.  But so strange and marvelous was its appearance on ABC in the spring of 1990, that even then we knew nothing would ever be the same.  Hit the jump for my full Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery Blu-ray review.

THE DOUBLE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 31 days ago

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While Richard Ayoade first came to prominence as a comedic actor on British TV series like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, The Mighty Boosh, and The IT Crowd, the guy is proving himself to be quite the formidable filmmaker.  He made his feature directorial debut with 2010’s delightfully funny and offbeat Submarine, and his follow-up film The Double marks yet a massive step forward for Ayodae as a filmmaker.  He really hones in on his aesthetic style with this darkly comic adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevski’s novella of the same name, and anchored by a terrific dual lead performance from Jesse Eisenberg, has crafted one of the more inventive films of the year.  Read my full The Double Blu-ray review after the jump.

Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN and TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 35 days ago

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Criterion has released two Spanish-language movies of a sexual nature, one from Mexico, one from Spain.  The former is Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mama Tambien (which translates to “And your mother too”), which Criterion has been promising for five years, while the other is Pedro Almodovar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, which was notorious for its NC-17 rated content at the time.  My review of both Criterion editions of these films follow after the jump.

THEY CAME TOGETHER Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 36 days ago

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When Wet Hot American Summer came out in 2001, it was released by USA Films – a company that eventually morphed into Focus Features, but at the time had no real footing theatrically.  That may explain why the film was barely released, but eventually found a cult audience.  Considering it was written by Michael Showalter and David Wain (the latter of whom directed the film), and featured many members of The State there was almost a guarantee it would be funny, but the fledging USA Films didn’t know how to sell it.  Originally Showalter and Wain wanted to follow that film with They Came Together, which they were unable to make until recently, and it was also given a small theatrical release (but was also put on VOD).  But now that it’s on home video, it seems likely it too will become a cult favorite.  Starring Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Cobie Smulders, Chris Meloni and many familiar faces, it is equally hilarious, and my They Came Together Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

ALL THAT JAZZ Criterion Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 40 days ago

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All That Jazz is a masterpiece.  The film transcends genre, as it’s a perfect blend of musical, dark comedy, biopic and fantasy.  It’s a self-portrait, really, of co-writer and director Bob Fosse, and it’s made all the more impressive by the fact that it marked the second to last feature film from the man who had already helmed films like Cabaret, Sweet Charity, and Damn Yankees—talk about going out with a bang.  It’s a seminal piece of cinema that is both wildly entertaining and introspective, ruminating on life and death in unique fashion, and the film has now been given the grand Criterion Collection treatment.  It’s an absolute must-own for any serious film fan.  Read my full All That Jazz Criterion Blu-ray review after the jump. 

WINTER’S TALE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 52 days ago

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Quentin Tarantino has complained about how one of the biggest problems with American cinema is that it’s afraid of big emotions.  Of melodrama that might descend into camp (or perhaps is camp to begin with).  And it’s true, more movies are likely to adapt an ironic distance than go for something earnest.  There’s a reason for that: when earnest doesn’t work, you get films like The Postman and The Room.  But that means some material just isn’t going to translate into American cinema, and that’s why Winter’s Tale is a boring disaster.  Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and Will Smith star in this story of star-crossed lovers and miracles, and my Winter’s Tale Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

FILTH Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 57 days ago

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Irvine Welsh made his reputation with both the novel and the filmed version of Trainspotting, with the latter creating the cinematic language that has been borrowed by every adaptation of his work that’s followed.  The most recent big screen Welsh adaptation is Filth, which was written for the screen and directed by Jon S.  Baird and stars James McAvoy as Detective Bruce Robertson, a corrupt cop who’s got some issues at home and in the workforce.  But where it has some of the flash of Trainspotting, it seems more like a Chuck Palahniuk adaptation, replete with a terrible third act twist.  My review of the Filth Blu-ray follows after the jump.

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