THE SAPHEAD (BLU-RAY)

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 77 minutes

“The Saphead” is noteworthy as a piece of history — it was Buster Keaton’s first starring role after rising to prominence in Fatty Arbuckle’s shorts — but it’s not a particularly good film, and it features none of the physical comedy for which he would later be known…


Posted on July 11, 2012 by

THE 39 STEPS: CRITERION COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 86 minutes

Criterion’s new Blu-ray release of “The 39 Steps” gives this classic film the treatment it deserves, complete with bonus features that put it in the context of Hitchock’s early work in England, before he moved to America and became a household name…


Posted on July 7, 2012 by

THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM: THE COMPLETE SERIES (DVD)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 694 minutes

“The Sarah Silverman Program: The Complete Series” includes not only all 32 episodes but also enough commentaries, writers conversations, San Diego Comic-Con panels, behind-the-scenes bits, audition videos, webisodes, and other stuff to keep you busy for days on end…


Posted on June 21, 2012 by

THE GOLD RUSH: CRITERION COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 72 minutes

Criterion’s latest “film class in a box” features an in-depth look at Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 and 1942 versions of “The Gold Rush.” As an added bonus, your professor secured a painstakingly reconstructed copy of the silent edition…


Posted on June 20, 2012 by

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY (BLU-RAY)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 95 minutes

“The Secret World of Arrietty,” based on the classic “Borrowers” series of books, is another solid outing from Studio Ghibli, but this Blu-ray release leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to bonus features, which is a shame given all the background material just waiting to be mined…


Posted on May 28, 2012 by

BEING JOHN MALKOVICH: CRITERION COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 113 minutes

Some movies are clearly a product of their time. You get a sense while watching them that they are a reflection of their era, and they couldn’t have been made a decade earlier or a decade later. I’ve always thought “Being John Malkovich” was one of those films…


Posted on May 27, 2012 by

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XXIII (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 480 minutes minutes

Volume 23 in Shout! Factory’s excellent series of “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ collections (they picked up the numbering where Rhino left off) may not be a home run, but it’s a solid double that should satisfy the fans with its four solid episodes and smattering of bonus features that give us a little more insight into the series’ place in the Hollywood ecosystem…


Posted on April 19, 2012 by

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN AND GIRL IN GOLD BOOTS (DVD)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 180 minutes

Shout! Factory’s latest pair of standalone “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ releases offer two different looks at the series’ development: “The Wild World of Batwoman,” from season five, is Mike Nelson’s third as host, while “Girl in Gold Boots” is a season ten episode that showcases “MST3K” at its peak…


Posted on April 19, 2012 by

IN THEIR OWN WORDS (DVD)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 351 minutes

This excellent BBC series offers a wealth of insight from many of the greatest thinkers and novelists of the 20th century, including Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, Milton Friedman, Salman Rushdie, Marshall McLuhan, and many others…


Posted on April 18, 2012 by

WORLD ON A WIRE: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 212 minutes

The virtual reality explored in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1973 made-for-German-TV movie “World on a Wire” may seem quaint by today’s standards, but it was a prescient look at where technology was headed at a time when computers confused most people…


Posted on February 28, 2012 by

RAIDING THE LOST ARK

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 143 minutes

If you’re a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” fan, this 143-minute work is well worth your time on Vimeo. Benning makes his filmumentaries out of love for these movies, and it shows…


Posted on February 23, 2012 by

GODZILLA (1954): CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 96 minutes

This Criterion release digs deep into that history, along with the early days of the Godzilla franchise, the differences between the Japanese and 1956 American version of the film, and more…


Posted on February 9, 2012 by

TOKYO DRIFTER / BRANDED TO KILL: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

3 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: Tokyo Drifter 82 minutes / Branded to Kill 91 minutes

Criterion has released two of Seijun Suzuki’s seminal films, “Tokyo Drifter” and “Branded to Kill,” in new editions that feature digital restorations, improved English subtitle translations, new interviews with the director and one of his stars, and an archival interview with Suzuki from 1997…


Posted on December 29, 2011 by

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XXII (DVD)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 480 minutes

Whether a movie is good or bad, it’s always fun to learn the context of its place in history, and “Volume XXII” in Shout Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ series does a great job of that with the four films in this set…


Posted on December 10, 2011 by

12 ANGRY MEN: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 96 minutes

Like all of the company’s DVD releases, Criterion’s new edition of “12 Angry Men” digs deep into its subject…


Posted on December 6, 2011 by

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