Archive for category: Blu-ray

Blu-ray: ‘Face to Face’ and ‘A Reason to Live’ – The spaghetti western beyond Leone

23 August, 2015 (19:21) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

The spaghetti western was not an inherently political genre but in the 600+ Italo-Westerns that poured out in the decade or so of its brief reign, among the shamelessly derivative pictures cranked out to cash in on the boom started by Sergio Leone’s international hit A Fistful of Dollars are a handful that draw upon […]

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More Blu-rays from the Warner Archive – ’42nd Street,’ ‘Ladyhawke,’ and more

20 August, 2015 (16:17) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker | By: Sean Axmaker

Last year I surveyed a number of Blu-ray releases from the Warner Archive, which is predominantly a line of manufacture-on-demand DVD-Rs offering films that otherwise wouldn’t support a traditional DVD release. It also, however, releases a few choice Blu-rays each year. The difference between the formats is that the Blu-ray releases are in fact pressed discs […]

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Blu-ray: The original 1931 ‘The Front Page’ rescued from video neglect

12 August, 2015 (16:41) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Front Page (Kino Classics, Blu-ray, DVD) – The original 1931 screen version of the rapid-fire newspaper comedy written for the stage Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur stars Pat O’Brien as the crack reporter Hildy Johnson, ready to leave the beat for marriage and an office job, and Adolph Menjou as the crafty editor who […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Night and the City,’ ‘He Ran All the Way,’ and more film noir debuts

5 August, 2015 (15:14) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Just days after the final night in the Turner Classic Movies “Summer of Darkness” series—eight successive Fridays dedicated to film noir—comes the debut of four examples of the distinctly American film genre on Blu-ray, two of them making their first appearance on home video in any form in the U.S. Night and the City (Criterion, […]

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Blu-ray / DVD: ‘Cemetery Without Crosses’

1 August, 2015 (02:46) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

A spaghetti western with French seasonings, Cemetery Without Crosses (1969) is a Franco-Italian co-production shot in Almeria, Spain, the definitive badlands landscape of the Euro-western. The director, screenwriters, two stars, and even composer are French and the supporting cast largely Italian. And while this is not shot in the widescreen dimension of CinemaScope, de rigueur […]

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Blu-ray / DVD: ‘Here Is Your Life’

26 July, 2015 (17:32) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD | By: Sean Axmaker

Here Is Your Life (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD), the 1966 feature debut of Swedish director Jan Troell, is ambitious by any measure: an epic (over two-and-a-half hours long) coming of age drama based on the semi-autobiographical novels by Nobel Prize-winning author Eyvind Johnson set in rural Sweden during the years of World War I. It was […]

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Blu-ray: Two takes on Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Killers’

7 July, 2015 (09:29) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Killers (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) is an ingenious double feature: Two crime classics inspired by the Ernest Hemingway short story. Criterion originally released a DVD double feature over a decade ago. Both films have been remastered in HD for the set’s Blu-ray debut and a new DVD edition. The first 15 minutes of Robert Siodmak’s […]

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Blu-ray: Jack Hill’s ‘Spider Baby’ and ‘Pit Stop’

5 July, 2015 (16:30) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD | By: Sean Axmaker

Spider Baby (Arrow, Blu-ray+DVD) is one of the greatest blasts of creative B-movie inspiration to hit American drive-ins and grindhouses. It was the solo directorial debut of Jack Hill (whose Coffy and Foxy Brown both recently hit Blu-ray from Olive), a low-budget film that was financed by real estate developers who wanted to get into […]

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Videophiled: Neil Marshall’s ‘Dog Soldiers: Collector’s Edition’

25 June, 2015 (20:28) | Blu-ray, DVD, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Editor

Dog Soldiers: Collector’s Edition (Scream Factory, Blu-ray+DVD) – “If we engage the enemy, I expect nothing less than gratuitous violence from the lot of you.” Neil Marshall ransacks and revitalizes every cliché in the book in this howling good reworking of the werewolf tale. Borrowing liberally from the “survivors under siege” classics Aliens and Night […]

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Blu-ray / DVD: ‘The Bridge’ – Germany confronts the legacy of World War II

23 June, 2015 (22:44) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Bridge (1959) (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) is a landmark film of post-war German cinema. Filmmakers (and perhaps audiences as well) were reluctant to confront World War II and its legacy in the years after the surrender to the Allies. Bernhard Wicki’s 1959 film, adapted from the semi-autobiographical novel by Manfred Gregor (the pen name of […]

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Videophiled: ‘Killer Cop’

20 June, 2015 (11:25) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Given the title of Killer Cop (Raro / Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD) a 1975 poliziotteschi from Italy, you might expect a rogue cop thriller, and ambitious young Commissario Matteo Rolandi (Claudio Cassinelli), a rising officer on a major drug case, certainly has good reason to go rogue. His case gets caught up in a major […]

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Videophiled: ‘Run All Night’ with Liam Neeson

17 June, 2015 (08:56) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Liam Neeson is back in action in the gritty crime thriller Run All Night (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD), his third and most satisfying collaboration with filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Non-Stop). Neeson once again has a very specific skill set—his nickname isn’t Jimmy the Gravedigger for nothing—but he’s been pickling it in booze for years to […]

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Videophiled Classics: Dziga Vertov – ‘The Man with the Movie Camera’

13 June, 2015 (11:44) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

Dziga Vertov: The Man with the Movie Camera and Other Newly-Restored Works (Flicker Alley, Blu-ray) presents four features (and one newsreel short) by the great Soviet filmmaker, all making their American Blu-ray debut. They have been newly scanned from the best sources available and digitally remastered by Lobster Films in France. The collection is a […]

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Videophiled: Politics on ice in ‘Red Army’

10 June, 2015 (09:12) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Red Army (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD) – Director Gabe Polsky, the Chicago-born son of Russian immigrants, dreamed of playing pro hockey and ended up making movies. This documentary, his directorial debut, finds the intersection of sports triumph, political gamesmanship, and personal sacrifice in the story of the powerhouse Soviet national hockey team of the eighties, […]

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Videophiled: ‘Man, Pride and Vengeance’

27 May, 2015 (12:26) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

Man, Pride and Vengeance (Blue Underground, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD) – There were hundreds of spaghetti westerns produced by Italian studios in the sixties and early seventies. Only a small percentage of them were particularly good, and fewer still genuinely great. You’d think we’d be running out of discoveries by now but Man, Pride and Vengeance […]

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