Archive for category: Film Reviews

Videophiled: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I’

3 March, 2015 (17:27) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Editor

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD), the number one box office hit of 2015, follows the lead of the Harry Potter and Twilight series by splitting the final book into two film installments, making this the third of four films. For anyone who has read the books that might seem like […]

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Videophiled: ‘The Wild Angels’ and ‘Psych-Out’

28 February, 2015 (09:44) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Before Easy Rider there was The Wild Angels (Olive, Blu-ray, DVD), directed by Roger Corman and starring Peter Fonda as Heavenly Blues, the leader of a California chapter of Hell’s Angles. This is a gang of disaffected drop-outs and scruffy road rats who live to ride in packs and parade their colors (black leather, mostly, […]

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Film Review: ‘Song of the Sea’

26 February, 2015 (05:06) | Animation, by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

It didn’t cop the Oscar on Sunday, but the good news is a few hundred million people have now heard of Song of the Sea. The Best Animated Feature category often includes a title or two that—while utterly obscure by Disney or DreamWorks standards—are at least as impressive in the realm of cartoon art. This […]

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Film Review: ‘A Fuller Life’

26 February, 2015 (05:03) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

If you are already a fan of Samuel Fuller’s uncompromising pulp cinema, you’ll be delighted by this new documentary tour covering the life and career of the director,writer, and producer. If you’ve never encountered one of his two-fisted yarns, you’ll almost certainly wonder how you got this far without stumbling across this flabbergasting character. A […]

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Film Review: ‘Focus’

26 February, 2015 (04:55) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

A good con-artist movie isn’t that much different from a good con. It’s all about distraction and sleight of hand, creating a false narrative to draw the viewer’s attention away from the real plot playing out behind the feint, and leaving behind a story that the mark can hang on to. In Focus, Will Smith […]

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Review: French Connection II

25 February, 2015 (08:37) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 42, July 1975] I liked The French Connection a lot in 1971, but I’m rather afraid to look at it again because I think I remember most of what’s there. Not that I don’t remember many other films vividly, films I’ve no doubt I can revisit any number of times […]

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Videophiled: Oscar winners ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Big Hero 6′ on disc and VOD

24 February, 2015 (17:00) | Animation, Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Two freshly-anointed Oscar winners arrive on home video this week: Whiplash, which won awards for Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons and for editing, and sound mixing, and Big Hero 6, this year’s Best Animated Feature, debut on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD. In Whiplash (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, VOD), music competition is a bloodsport and J.K. […]

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Videophiled: Twilight Time’s bloody ‘Valentine’

21 February, 2015 (06:32) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Editor

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (Twilight Time, Blu-ray) gave Roger Corman the biggest budget of his career to date. After more than 40 films, most of them for the budget-challenged AIP, he was hired by 20th Century Fox and given the resources of their studio, casting department, and backlot for his recreation of 1929 Chicago […]

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Film Review: Girlhood

19 February, 2015 (05:48) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

There’s no parallel between the American film Boyhood and the French film Bande de Filles, except that a clever marketer thought it would be useful to have Girlhood be the title for the latter movie. Can’t blame them for that one, but Girlhood stands on its own as a thoughtful, nonjudgmental look at a lost […]

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Film Review: Hard to Be a God

19 February, 2015 (05:45) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Perhaps it is hard to be a god, according to the title of this sprawling Russian epic. But everybody else looks miserable, too. We are in a world called Arkanar, invented by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky for a speculative 1964 novel that must be easier to understand than this film. Arkanar is a pigsty, a […]

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Film Review: McFarland, USA

19 February, 2015 (05:39) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Disney has really carved out a genre for itself: the underdog sports story as cultural melting pot, complete with the Middle American white coach/scout/father figure whose preconceptions are overturned by scrappy kids who overcome every hurdle with heart and hard work. That guy was Jon Hamm in Million Dollar Arm and Josh Lucas in Glory […]

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Videophiled: Tommy Lee Jones is ‘The Homesman’

17 February, 2015 (08:30) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Homesman (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD), one of my favorite films of the year, was overlooked by critics in the rush to praise more conventional and less resonant films. It deserves a second look. Tommy Lee Jones directs, co-writes, and stars in the film as George Briggs, a drifter saved from a lynching by Mary Bee […]

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Videophiled: Jacques Rivette’s Paris in ‘Le Pont du Nord’

15 February, 2015 (17:37) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Making its stateside home video debut on Tuesday, February 17, is Jacques Rivette’s Le Pont du Nord (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD), a dark sister film to his more buoyant and whimsical Celine and Julie Go Boating. Longtime collaborator Bulle Ogier stars with her daughter, Pascale Ogier, and they co-wrote the film with Rivette and Suzanne […]

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Videophiled: Jean Renoir takes ‘A Day in the Country’

15 February, 2015 (10:11) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

A Day in the Country (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) – Jean Renoir has long been called the cinematic successor to the French Impressionists—he is, after all, the son of Auguste Renoir, and his generosity and humanism and interest in the lives of working class folks is in the spirit of the movement. But while his style […]

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Review: Leviathan

12 February, 2015 (05:28) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

No shocker that Leviathan is one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie is ambitious and serious and takes on issues of society, all ingredients for nominee status. The surprise is that Russia officially submitted it to the Oscar committee in the first place (each country gets to choose a […]

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