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Blu-ray Review: Peer Into Cinema's Great Missing Link With Criterion's THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS

Has a movie ever had a more compelling opening twenty minutes than Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons? The director's 1942 follow-up to the "best film of all time" Citizen Kane (and, perhaps therefore, the ur-text of the supposed "sophomore curse"...

Blu-ray Review: URBAN LEGEND and URBAN LEGEND FINAL CUT

Scream Factory's has just released Urban Legend and Urban Legends: Final Cut, the first two films in the francicse. They're both out now, and both given nice releases with plenty of extras. Both films look good, but you may drive yourself a bit...

Review: RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, Cute Corporate Propaganda

Cute, colorful and cloying corporate propaganda, Ralph Breaks the Internet is occasionally amusing and insightful, but, more often, it's simply noxious, lacking any imaginative reach. Really, it's baffling, because Wreck-It Ralph swam in nostalgia for what it portrayed as the...

Review: THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, The Coens Struggle on Netflix

Netflix's seemingly low-key ongoing rebrand tripped over frustratingly familiar stumbling blocks with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Originially conceived of as a series -- and only quite recently announced as a converted feature -- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs definitely bares...

Review: WIDOWS, a Rip-roaring Robbery Is Just the Icing on the Cake

Steve McQueen's whip-pan transition from Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave to a star-studded commercial remake of a British TV-mini series, Widows, is crafted with such care and visual sophistication that even Viola Davis' character, Veronica, dropping off her poodle at the...

Review: GREEN BOOK Delivers Familiar Bromides With Fresh Brio

Delivering familiar bromides with fresh brio, Green Book is an altogether pleasant and very entertaining trip back in time that is more relevant than ever. More than anything else in the career of director Peter Farrelly, it reminds me of...

Blu-ray Review: Criterion's THE PRINCESS BRIDE Whiffs On New Features, But You're Going To Buy It Anyway

Perhaps the worst confession I could make at the top of this review of Criterion's glittery new Blu-ray release of Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride (spine #948) is to offer up the fact that I haven't seen the movie, or...

Blu-ray Review: SINGLE WHITE FEMALE Remains Creepy

The early Nineties were the era of the psycho thriller, particularly those of the sexually charged variety. One of the most well-known films of that genre was Single White Female, directed by Oscar nominee Barbet Schroeder (Reversal of Fortune, Barfly). Adapted...

Review: BOY ERASED Exposes the World of Gay Conversion Therapy

“The Truth Cannot be Converted”.  So goes the tagline for the new film Boy Erased.  Being that it’s the most heavy handed aspect of this critic’s entire Boy Erased experience, the line can only be considered an ugly failure. Fortunately, the same can...

Blu-ray Review: TRICK 'R TREAT Does the Season Right

It's hard to believe, but it's been 11 years since Michael Doughtery's landmark horror anthology Trick 'r Treat was released. It's been almost as long as that since I've seen the film, and it's always interesting to reflect on how much I've...

Blu-ray Review: VALLEY GIRL is Totally Tubular

Until now, I've never seen Martha Coolidge's 1983 film, Valley Girl. I'm not usually one for romantic comedies, but having recently lived in "the valley," I was interested. Of course, this is also the film that was Nicolas Cage's first...

Blu-ray Review: HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, a Fun Product of Its Time

The 1999 remake of William Castle’s (1959) House on Haunted Hill by William Malone was a very strange film, and not one I’d seen in a long time, possibly since its video store days. Going back, its quite “Nineties,” down...

Review: HALLOWEEN, Michael Myers Is Back For Laurie Strode In This High Profile Retcon

Forty years after that immortal Halloween night in 1978, the butcher of Haddonfield returns to finish the job he started in David Gordon Green's Halloween. The co-writer and director reunites the original stars of John Carpenter's iconic slasher cycle starter...

Blu-ray Review: MY MAN GODFREY Gets Spruced up by Criterion

With the Great Depression in full effect, the eloquent and witty Godfrey (William Powell) quickly and hilariously goes from “forgotten man” to “my man.”  The possessor in question is Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard), the youngest and least abrasive woman of...

Review: BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE, Crime Thriller With A Split Personality

There are at least two sides to every story, and writer/director Drew Goddard uses that conceit to craft a meticulously told tale of crime and punishment in Bad Times at the El Royale. This twisty, turny tale of mischievous double...

Review: FIRST MAN, Incredibly Cinematic and Nerve-Wracking

Damien Chazelle has not disappointed. Now onto his third excellent feature in a row, safe-hands Chazelle seems to be on a roll that knows no bounds -- and in many ways, First Man is a perfect, meteoric success. Perhaps Chazelle's...

Busan 2018 Review: FAHRENHEIT 11/9 is More Hot Air than Hot Take

14 years after his Palme D’Or winning Fahrenheit 9/11, documentarian Michael Moore seizes the opportunity to conveniently flip his title and train his satirical eye on American politics once again. Asking simply “How the fuck did this happen?!” Fahrenheit 11/9...

Review: VENOM, A Cleaned Up, Toned Down, Baffling Misfire

Over the past two decades very few Marvel supervillains have been as visible to non-comic enthusiasts as Spider-Man's nemesis, Venom. Since his introduction to the world at large in The Amazing Spider-Man #300, the evil black goop from outer space...

Vancouver 2018 Review: THE SISTERS BROTHERS

The Sisters Brothers is an excellent movie, but it is being marketed in all the wrong ways. I suppose if it results in a financial success, then all's well that ends well. I worry, though, that once general audiences see...

Review: DIETRICH & VON STERNBERG IN HOLLYWOOD on Criterion Blu-ray

"Shadow is mystery and light is clarity. Shadow conceals, light reveals. To know what to reveal and what to conceal and then what degree and how to do this is all there is to art." - Josef von Sternberg  In...