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Review: DEEPWATER HORIZON, Heroes At the Mouth of Hell

Six years ago, nightmare images of an oil rig burning at night in the Gulf Coast seared themselves into memory. The fire raged high and furious against a pitch-black landscape, leaving one to wonder just what had happened ... and...

Review: I.T., A High Tech Throwback

Since nowadays we can’t go two seconds without checking our cell phones and everyone seems to be spending enormous amounts of time online, cautionary tales about our overdependence on technology have suddenly become all the rage. I.T. is the latest,...

Review: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Shoots for Remake Glory

When you put the word “magnificent” in the title of your movie, you’d really better be able to live up to it. Except, in the case of director Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven, the very title's been done before. For...

Toronto 2016 Review: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Rends With Savage Grace

If you are an honorable cinephile, right from the opening credit sequence of Nocturnal Animals, you will know you are in good hands. Hyper-glossy and daringly uncommercial in the same breath, it puts some fine Lynchian bonafides on the table...

Now on Blu-ray: VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and BEYOND, The American Dream Melts Into Psychedelic Mush On Criterion Blu

Brand new from the Criterion Collection this month is a pair of whacked out features that chronicle the decay of the American Dream in glorious high definition. Mark Robson's Valley of the Dolls is an adaptation of Jaqueline Suzanne's best...

Blu-ray Review: CAT PEOPLE, Subtle and Stunning, All Over Again

Shadows, shadows, and more shadows. Shadows are everywhere in Cat People (1942), and the first time I saw it, I thought it was an imaginative way to disguise its low-budget production. So it is, but it's also far more than...

Toronto 2016 Review: LA LA LAND Gives Our Senses a Feast

La La Land is a series of dichotomies, existing as both a delightful flight of fancy and a broad relationship drama. It’s a film oozing with both nostalgia and contemporary energy, feeling both classic and of the moment in the...

Review: SNOWDEN Means Well

Sturdy and sincere, Oliver Stone's Snowden is an admirable ox, intent on delivering a warning message about the dangers of the U.S. government and its surveillance program upon its own citizens. Simultaneously, the film diligently and respectfully canonizes Edward Snowden,...

Blu-ray Review: RAISING CAIN Re-Cut Rocks

Raising Cain is a film that had me screaming at the drive-in along with a friend in 1992 (yes drive-ins still existed then, and still do). John Lithgow's portrayal of Dr. Carter Nix and all his varied personalities and roles (Cain,...

Review: Hanks Sticks the Landing, But SULLY Fails to Soar

Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood helms this big screen reenactment of the “Miracle on the Hudson", when US Airways flight 1549 made an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River in January 2009. Tom Hanks plays Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who...

Venice 2016 Review: THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS Gets Derek Cianfrance Into Hot Water

Whether it's Blue Valentine's pitch perfect snapshot of a relationship in breakdown or the wonderful parallels and plot twists of The Place Beyond the Pines, one thing is for certain: Derek Cianfrance is ridiculously good at telling complex and unconventional...

Review: HANDS OF STONE, Fleet of Foot, Light on Insight

For more than three decades after Raging Bull was released in 1980, Robert De Niro wisely stayed away from the boxing world on screen. After all, once you've appeared in one of the most spellbinding and spiritually troubling cinematic experiences...

Now on Blu-ray: ASH VS. EVIL DEAD Scratches the Evil Dead Itch

When it was first announced that Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series was rising from the dead as a TV series last year, I jumped for joy. The Evil Dead films, and especially Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, were...

Review: KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Makes Thrilling Music

In ancient Japan, strange things are afoot. Magic, both good and bad, is coming to a head as a particularly animated supernatural dysfunctional family prepares for their grand showdown. Of course, “good” and “bad” are in the eye of the...

Blu-ray Review: On Criterion, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE Hits Too Close To Home

Earlier this year, the Criterion Collection released an edition of John Frankenheimer's classic political suspense thriller, The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Of course I'd seen the film many times prior to this. So many times, in fact, that when I got...

Review: BEN-HUR Races Against Expectations

Vividly re-imagined, the new Ben-Hur is a lot of fun to watch, in part because it follows the outline of William Wyler's famed film while injecting fresh new elements. It's not a classic, by any means, but it certainly exceeds...

Review: PETE'S DRAGON Doesn't Drag On

Does anyone remember Pete’s Dragon? I’m talking about the original version, an old-school blending of live action and cell animation delivering the titular human kid and cartoon dragon. By all appearances, it was the exact kind of thing that Disney...

Review: Scream Factory's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS Blu-ray

In 1978, Philip Kaufman's remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers hit theaters. The all-star ensemble cast included Art Hindle, Brooke Adams, Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy, and Veronica Cartwright. Whatever side of the ongoing remake debate you're on,...

Review: SUICIDE SQUAD, Not So Painless

Warner Brothers has aggressively set out to course-correct its still-fledgling DC Comics Cinematic Universe with Suicide Squad - a villain-fueled movie that wants you to believe it's off the hook, man! It's no lie that director David Ayer's (Fury, the...

Criterion Roundup: PHOENIX, FANTASTIC PLANET and THE IN-LAWS

Suspense, belly-laughs and a jaw-dropping bit of adult oriented animation round this series of Criterion Collection reviews. I highly recommend them all.   In April the label released an edition of Phoenix (2014) a film which was nominated for, and...