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Reviews

Monday, November 24 2014

A Newsroom in an Apocalypse: ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’

Val Guest's newsroom drama take on the apocalypse is a product of its nuclear war-obsessed times and a prescient commentary on the present day.


Friday, November 7 2014

‘Leviathan’ Is a Schlocky Horror Take on Hitchcock

Leviathan plays like a cheap, schlocky, caffeine-hyped attempt at sci-fi Hitchcock, with a healthy dose of John Carpenter horror thrown in for good measure.


Wednesday, November 5 2014

‘Ilo Ilo’ Is Too Understated for Its Own Good

The debut feature from director Anthony Chen features strong performances, but its understated quality makes the film struggle to make a lasting impression.


Tuesday, November 4 2014

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Places Seth MacFarlane’s Ego Front and Center

Perhaps MacFarlane will learn from his experiences, but with any luck, he'll learn the biggest lesson of all: his talents are required behind the camera, not in front of it.


In ‘Maleficent’, Angelina Jolie Channels Shakespeare’s Richard III

Like the great antiheroes of history, Angelina Jolie's seductive performance as Maleficent gets you to root for her even as she commits acts of evil.


Monday, November 3 2014

‘Love Streams’ Is a Masterful Swan Song From One of America’s Great Artists

The once widely unavailable Love Streams gets a thorough Criterion reissue, a well-deserved feat for John Cassavetes' final masterpiece.


In ‘Child of God’, the Evil is Banal

James Franco's attempt to adapt Cormac McCarthy's novel Child of God for the screen confuses merely depicting horrendous evil with saying something interesting about it.


Friday, October 31 2014

‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ Hides Serious Themes Behind Comedic Fluff

Alfonso Cuarón's highly sexualized film is deceptively serious, hiding weighty themes behind comic banter and, yes, plenty of sex.


Wednesday, October 29 2014

‘Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut’ Fully Realizes the Director’s Vision

This is the release Nightbreed fans have been waiting for.


‘Snowpiercer’ Encapsulates Class Warfare In a High-Speed Train

By compressing its revolutionary struggle into such a tightly compressed and void-encircled space, Bong Joon-Ho’s evocative post-apocalyptic actioner becomes furiously kinetic but metaphorically overburdened.


Monday, October 27 2014

In ‘The Party’, Peter Sellers’ Brownface Is the Elephant in the Room

While Peter Sellers' role as an Indian man in The Party may represent just another one of his masks, it also does problematize this 1968 film.


Friday, October 24 2014

‘The Battery’ Is a First Act in Search of a Plot

Amounting to one feature-length inciting incident, the low-budget zombie film The Battery will test the limits of even the most devoted horror fans’ patience.


Thursday, October 23 2014

‘Gorky Park’ Is a Cold War Film That Avoids National Stereotypes

This violent murder mystery is atypical among Cold War era films and stands up well today, but this Blu-ray could use a little more "special" in its "features".


Wednesday, October 22 2014

‘Ghost in the Shell 25th Anniversary Edition’ Is a Classic Anime Given Paltry Extras Treatment

Ghost in the Shell remains an excellent milestone in anime, but this barebones release is devoid of the extras that would truly make this edition special.


Tuesday, October 21 2014

‘Queen: Live at the Rainbow ‘74’: Still Killer Queen, After All These Years

Live at the Rainbow '74 doesn't contain all of Queen's biggest commercial hits, but features some of their heaviest rock from their amazing early days.


Monday, October 20 2014

‘The Vincent Price Collection II’ Is a B-Movie Lover’s Dream

Vincent Price brought class to everything he did, a quality evident even in the B-movies of The Vincent Price Collection II.


The Waters Aren’t Choppy Enough in ‘Killer Fish’

There's hardly enough killer fish action in Killer Fish to keep the film afloat.


Thursday, October 16 2014

‘The Essential Jacques Demy’ Captures the Director’s Breezy, Bluesy World

The Essential Jacques Demy provides an insightful look inside an auteur who may finally be getting the recognition he deserves.


Wednesday, October 15 2014

‘Million Dollar Arm’ Is a Million Dollar Idea With a Ten-Cent Film Plot

Million Dollar Arm is a film that picked the wrong protagonist.


Tuesday, October 14 2014

The Bully at the Pulpit: ‘Elmer Gantry’

Richard Brooks's adaptation of Elmer Gantry lives and dies on Burt Lancaster's strangest, most unforgettable performance.


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