Archive for category: Blu-ray

Videophiled: ‘Transcendence’ and ‘Sabotage’ fail

22 July, 2014 (18:36) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Transcendence (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, Cable VOD) marks the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, Oscar-winning cinematographer to Christopher Nolan. His visual intelligence, however, doesn’t transcend the dead weight passing as a script in this confused science fiction thriller starring Johnny Depp as a computer science genius whose mind is uploaded to an experimental computer […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Performance’

22 July, 2014 (08:37) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Festivals | By: Sean Axmaker

To many fans, Performance (1970) is legendary as the dramatic feature film debut of Mick Jagger. Though released in 1970, the film–about a short-fused punk of a London gangster named Chas (James Fox) who hides out from the cops and the crooks alike in the basement flat of a reclusive rock stars’ (Jagger) dilapidated mansion–was […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Big Gundown’

20 July, 2014 (10:15) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

Sergio Leone is unarguably the godfather of spaghetti westerns. He directed its first international smash of the genre, defined the spare, savage style and mercenary sensibility, and made stars of journeymen actors Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. But he was far from the only director who made his mark in the genre. Among the […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Wind and the Lion’

19 July, 2014 (17:17) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

John Milius occupies a curious place in the culture of American filmmakers of the seventies. In the age of new, young, maverick voices, he’s the rugged American individualist with conservative politics and iconoclastic heroes. He’s fascinated with military culture and imperialist adventure, caught up in the tension between American isolation and intervention, in debt to […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Man From Laramie’

19 July, 2014 (12:15) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

James Stewart roughed up his all-American nice guy image in five westerns he made with director Anthony Mann, the best of the seven films they made together in the 1950s, most of them for Universal Studios. The Man From Laramie (1955), their final collaboration, was made for Columbia and it was the first film that […]

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Videophiled: Scarlett Johansson gets ‘Under the Skin’

15 July, 2014 (18:08) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Under the Skin (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, Cable VOD) isn’t a film that wants to make things easy for the viewer. The experience is not unlike that which I suppose its unnamed protagonist, an alien reborn in the body of a human host (Scarlett Johansson), goes through as it (she?) settles in to its new body […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Sleep My Love’

14 July, 2014 (22:46) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Douglas Sirk, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

A romantic thriller in the Gaslight vein, Sleep, My Love (1948) is a shadowy melodrama with an atmosphere of Gothic thriller by way of high society film noir, and it grabs your attention immediately with a kicker of an opening: a train speeding through the night, Claudette Colbert waking up in a sleeping car with […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Nutty Professor’ 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition

12 July, 2014 (17:18) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Whether you believe Jerry Lewis is a comic genius, a braying clown, a shrewd show-biz pro who carefully cultivated a popular stage and screen persona, a hopeless egotist with a cringing need for attention, or simply a comic with a gift for manic physical humor that clicked with audiences in the fifties and sixties, most […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Il Sorpasso’

9 July, 2014 (19:00) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Vittorio Gassman is a force of nature in Dino Risi’s 1962 road movie Il Soprasso, an odd couple odyssey that begins on a whim and drives off into one long detour from the staid, serious, self-repressed life of a bookish law student. Gassman’s Bruno roars into the film, screeching his Lancia Aurelia convertible through the […]

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Videophiled: Imagining ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’

8 July, 2014 (17:33) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Jodorowsky’s Dune (Sony, Blu-ray+DVD Combo, Cable VOD) is probably not “the greatest science film never made,” as the movie poster tagline insists, but this journey through the most improbable screen epic embarked upon in the seventies isn’t really about mourning what could have been. Alejandro Jodorowsky, director of the aggressively trippy cult classics El Topo […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Sorcerer’

5 July, 2014 (08:36) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

“Despite all the problems and setbacks, bruised egos and shattered friendships, I felt then and still do that Sorcerer is the best film I’ve made.” – William Friedkin After William Friedkin’s career took off with the consecutive successes of The French Connection (1971) and The Exorcist (1973), he used his clout to make a passion […]

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Videophiled: Errol Morris explores ‘The Unknown Known’

2 July, 2014 (09:31) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Unknown Known (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray, DVD) is not exactly a companion piece to The Fog of War, Errol Morris’ documentary on former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara. But like that 2003 documentary this takes on a former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and a foreign war that was launched and (mis)managed under his […]

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How Indie DVD Label Shout! Factory Has Survived the Digital Age

28 June, 2014 (17:28) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Industry | By: Sean Axmaker

If physical media is dying, as the business pundits have been telling us for years, then someone forget to send the memo to Shout! Factory. Born ten years ago out of the DNA of the original Rhino Records crew, Shout! Factory is the pop culture geek squad of home video and it has carved out […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Color of Lies’

28 June, 2014 (08:17) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD | By: Sean Axmaker

Claude Chabrol can do a traditional murder mystery and detective procedural as well as anyone. Just see his Inspector Lavardin films (released earlier in 2014 by Cohen) or his final feature Inspector Bellamy with Gerard Depardieu (on DVD from IFC). But it’s not where his heart lies. Chabrol, who has been called “the Gallic Hitchcock,” […]

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Videophiled Classic: Georges Franju’s ‘Judex’

26 June, 2014 (19:04) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD | By: Sean Axmaker

Judex (Criterion, Blu-ray+DVD Combo, DVD) – Georges Franju’s 1963 dreamy remaking / reimagining of Louis Feuillade’s 1916 pulp crime fantasy serial of crime and retribution almost defies the definition of remake. On the one hand it is oddly faithful to the bizarre plot of Feuillade’s original, about a masked vigilante (played with an impassive, blank […]

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