Browsing: Home Entertainment

Blu Review
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For a film concerning toxic societal encroachment, the environs of Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend are markedly pastoral, landscapes largely unfettered by human insistence. To be sure, the vistas contained therein, though spackled chromatically with pop-minded flourishes, focus mostly on the civilizational fringe, locales thought of more for their idyllic beauty than potential for industry. Though severed from what’s arrogantly presumed to be high society, the emphasis on both nature and natural tendency in this, Godard’s 15th full-length output, mirrors the ebb and flow of cultural evolution – how social constructs aren’t the offspring of spontaneity, but rather a symbiotic offshoot of countless organic processes. Sure, the hand of humanity can still be felt. Automobilist wreckage adds a touch of chaotic, consumerist décor to the proceedings, and the various driveways – which allot the narrative a guise of road-movie linearism – evoke feelings of a world we’re foolishly attempting to tame, perhaps conquer.

Home Entertainment
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On paper, in terms of stats, Hide Away seems like a slam dunk for the players involved, both behind and in front of the camera. You’ve got the obvious talents of the cast, director Chris Eyre who’s no stranger to drama (Smoke Signals), and shiny button of approval from the SXSW festival for its cinematography provided by Elliot Davis (The Iron Lady). And the initial story is ripe for a drama showcase: a down-and-out businessman (Josh Lucas) departs from his initial reality to spend the next year shaping up an old boat. While he’s there he befriends an old sailor (James Cromwell) and the bay’s local restaurant owner (Ayelet Zurer), and they help cope with the horrible trauma he tries to overcome. See? Slam dunk, right?

Blu Review
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Sunset Blvd. finally gets its close-up on Blu-ray. As one of the most cynical glimpses of Hollywood to ever hit the silver screen, Billy Wilder’s satiric masterpiece is classic cinema at its finest. Long revered as one of the finest films ever made, this seminal work marks a career high for Wilder who, at the time, was Hollywood’s most celebrated director, having recently won the Oscars for Best Director and Best Screenplay for The Lost Weekend (1945).

Home Entertainment
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That Rosemary’s Baby is a work that dynamically commingles youth and age at a moment when Hollywood found itself in transition in the late 1960s is a bit of an understatement. This detail is arguably fundamental to Rosemary’s Baby’s cinematic and cultural magnetism. With the film’s release on DVD/BRD today, Criterion provides an opportunity to either become reacquainted with or get to know the film. But whether it is the umpteenth or first viewing, Rosemary’s Baby remains a stunning masterwork of emotional control-manipulation, directorial vision, narrative choreography, and creative collaboration.

Blu Review
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When the news hit that an animated version of Frank Miller’s epic storyline The Dark Knight Returns was being developed, there were mixed reactions. Some felt that a single movie would not be enough to capture everything that makes the graphic novel so wonderful. Others worried that the voice actors cast would ruin the film, similar to what happened with the casting missteps from the Batman: Year One movie (adapted from another Frank Miller classic). The rest just put their faith in the production team that has brought us so many DC Animated hits thus far. Suffice it to say, the ones who did not worry are the ones who were proven correct as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 is another animated gem that not only successfully translates the story from page to screen, but also respects its content enough to make a two-part movie experience.

Home Entertainment
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Le Havre is perhaps one of Aki Kaurismäki’s most cinephilic films, from its nod to the colours of Jacques Demy’s Cherbourg; the faceless, lower-half bodies of Robert Bresson; the late neorealism of Vittorio de Sica; and to the studio-bound fantasy atmosphere of French poetic realism, Jean Cocteau’s Orphée (1950), and Luchino Visconti’s White Nights (1957). Yet over and above these references, the film is staunchly a Kaurismäki film for several reasons. One, it brings together these references to arrive at the disjunctive temporality that characterises all of Kaurismäki’s films.

Blu Review
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Fans of the video game franchise that belongs to the name of Tom Clancy might feel or think they’re being cheated due to the first movie outing is a 25-minute short film. But make no mistake, Ghost Recon: Alpha packs a hell of a wallop in that time frame.

Home Entertainment
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La promesse (1996) may have introduced sibling filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne to the international world, but in no way did it prepare everyone for their subsequent film, the astounding Rosetta. Even if the larger world is absent in a way that it is present in La promesse through the narrative of human trafficking, the drive behind Rosetta and the teenage titular character as an outcast who wants to re-enter society quietly implicates the state. Like Aki Kaurismäki, the Dardenne brothers present portraits of labour and economic depression. They do so not with sweeping, grand gestures and messages, but in a very insular way through a particular individual’s trajectory in a limited space and his/her encounters with several persons.

Home Entertainment
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La promesse, directed by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, presents the screen debut of Jérémie Renier at fourteen years of age, playing a son whose unemployed father is involved in the trafficking of illegal immigrants. While not their first feature film, the Dardenne brothers consider La promesse their official debut feature, insofar as it follows the disillusioning experience of their second fiction feature Je pense à vous (1992); and embodies on several levels the brothers’ documentary impulse and beginnings and mode of independent filmmaking that they had lost during the production of Je pense à vous. The title La promesse thus refers not only to the narrative but also to the Dardennes’ henceforth stubborn commitment to their distinct mode of filmmaking and economical, visceral cinema of often young outcasts bent on survival; of ethical encounters; and often set against the post/industrial landscape of Seraing, Belgium.

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