THE COSMOS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 169 minutes

This is a nice introduction to astronomy for anyone who wants a broad overview of the subject. Host Adam Hart-Davis does a good job of picking up where people like Carl Sagan left off; he’s an affable guy who comes across as if he’s your uncle chatting with you during a holiday gathering…


Posted on April 14, 2011 by

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XX (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 360 minutes

Unfortunately, this set isn’t quite as good as some recent ones, particularly the recent “Volume XIX,” but we can’t expect Shout! Factory to hit a home run every time…


Posted on March 8, 2011 by

STAR WARS BEGINS (DVD)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 139 minutes

This fan-made film takes us through “Star Wars” and liberally sprinkles in commentary bits, interview clips, behind-the-scenes footage and photos, on-set and alternate audio, and deleted scenes as it seeks to chronicle the film in a new way…


Posted on February 28, 2011 by

MST3K: BEGINNING OF THE END + THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES… (DVD)

3 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 180 minutes

The stars I assigned to these DVDs does not reflect the quality of these episodes — like other “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ fare, they’re solid shows with plenty of laughs. My problem is that neither has any bonus features…


Posted on February 21, 2011 by

BROADCAST NEWS: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 132 minutes

Criterion’s new edition of “Broadcast News” offers a smattering of bonus features that help place this influential film not only in the context of movie history but also in the context of prolific writer/director/producer James L. Brooks’ long career.


Posted on January 25, 2011 by

GET LAMP (DVD)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90 minutes

“Get Lamp” is an exhaustive look at the history of text adventures, but it can also appeal to anyone who’s curious about the early days of home computing…


Posted on November 20, 2010 by

MODERN TIMES: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87 minutes

Criterion’s latest “film class in a box” features an exhaustive look at Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” his last (mostly) silent film and a final send-off for The Little Tramp, complete with copious amounts of social commentary…


Posted on November 16, 2010 by

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XIX (DVD)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 360 minutes

Shout! Factory is back with another four-disc set of episodes from this classic TV show…


Posted on November 12, 2010 by

PATHS OF GLORY: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 88 minutes

This Criterion release of Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” features new interviews with producer James B. Harris, Jan Harlan, Kubrick’s longtime executive producer, and Kubrick’s widow, Christiane, along with archival interviews with Kirk Douglas and Kubrick and a “film studies in a box” commentary with critic Gary Giddins.


Posted on October 27, 2010 by

THE MAGICIAN: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 101 minutes

Ingmar Bergman’s “The Magician” is considered a classic, but it’s also weighed down by the director’s desire to get revenge on his critics and seemingly put that ahead of crafting a solid narrative. However, like all of Criterion’s releases, this is one that fans of the film will appreciate…


Posted on October 19, 2010 by

THE DARJEELING LIMITED: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 91 minutes

Another Wes Anderson movie gets the Criterion treatment. This two-disc set expands on the original single-disc release with a commentary track, a fly-on-the-wall behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, a discussion of its soundtrack with James Ivory, and more…


Posted on October 19, 2010 by

THE POWER OF MYTH (DVD)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 342 minutes

Bill Moyers’ seminal 1987 interviews with “Hero With a Thousand Faces” author Joseph Campbell are back on DVD, this time with more bonus features, including a never-before-released interview between the two from 1981…


Posted on September 21, 2010 by

CRUMB: THE CRITERION COLLECTION EDITION (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 120 minutes

This Criterion edition of Terry Zwigoff’s classic 1994 documentary features 50 minutes of cut footage, a stills gallery, the Zwigoff/Roger Ebert commentary from 2006, a new commentary track with Zwigoff, a booklet with an essay about the movie, and a reproduction of Charles Crumb’s Famous Artists Talent Test…


Posted on August 10, 2010 by

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XVIII (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 360 minutes

Volume 18 in Shout Factory’s “MST3K” series is — I know, this will be a shock — another solid effort from the company. It’s highlighted by some excellent making-of material for “The Beast of Yucca Flats,” a 1960s Cold War film starring Ed Wood regular Tor Johnson and featuring an incomprehensible plot, lots of off-screen dialogue, and hilariously ominous narration. Three other episodes round out the set…


Posted on July 22, 2010 by

LOST KEATON (DVD)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 307 minutes

“Lost Keaton” brings together 16 1930s era Buster Keaton shorts that have mostly languished on a shelf, forgotten since they first played in theaters. They may not hold up next to “The General” or Keaton’s other classics, but they’re still worthy efforts, particularly the Keaton-written “Grand Slam Opera.” Are they timeless? Ask my kids…


Posted on July 6, 2010 by

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