Archive for the ‘DVD’ Category

NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950)

Posted: May 11, 2011 in 1950s, 9.0, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/17/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

Jules Dassin is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors.  The guy was way ahead of his time, and his movies have a sense of realism that is missing from even the (generally accepted) greatest movies of the period.

The fact he was blacklisted during the making of NIGHT AND THE CITY is a fucking travesty.

Rating:  9.0

INSIDE MOVES (1980)

Posted: March 18, 2011 in 7.5, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/13/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

Richard Donner has made some really good movies over the last 30 years, but he’s also kind of hit-or-miss.  INSIDE MOVES demonstrates his better movies haven’t been accidents, because this is a story that easily could’ve been boring and/or overly sappy, but instead it’s pretty enthralling.  There is some flat-out wonderful character work by David Morse and John Savage here.

Rating:  7.5

CALVAIRE (2004)

Posted: February 17, 2011 in 2000s, 7.5, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/9/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

Belgian horror, it turns out, is very similar to French horror (surprise!) — evidently all French-speakers are just as terrified of the countryside as Americans.  But CALVAIRE is better than most domestic movies of the same ilk.  Somehow, director Fabrice Du Welz manages a comedic undercurrent that pulls at the viewer during even the most horrific scenes.  The humor helps to give the movie a sense of purpose that is lost in most bumpkin horror I’ve seen.

Rating:  7.5

Date viewed:  2/6/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

As a life-long fan of the Clash (well, since I bought London Calling when I was 16 anyways), I was not expecting to not like JS:TFIU, and I definitely did not not like it.  I was surprised how honestly it portrayed Joe Strummer, by not only praising his genius and political awareness, but also coloring him as a bit of a fame whore who wouldn’t hesitate to sell out his bandmates if it meant a better chance of success.  Still, by the end you can’t help but feel a profound sense of loss that Strummer was only 50 when he died in 2002 (from a congenital heart defect).

Oh, the sound mix on the DVD is wonderful and the songs sound better than ever.

Rating:  8.0

MARATHON MAN (1976)

Posted: February 8, 2011 in 1970s, 8.0, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/1/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

Obviously, MARATHON MAN is considered classic thriller, and I sure can’t come up with any evidence to refute this reputation.  There are two standouts scenes that are legendary in their intensity, and they hold up really well even today.  And like most good political thrillers, the story is amazingly convoluted for 3/4ths of the movie before finally coming together for the last act.

Oh, and Roy Scheider is the f’ing man here.

Rating:  8.0

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960)

Posted: February 1, 2011 in 1960s, 7.5, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  1/30/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

It’s strange how they used to put effort into remakes.  Even though THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is a little “dumbed down,” in terms of the characters (when compared to SEVEN SAMURAI), it is still a supremely entertaining film.

I was surprised to find Charles Bronson had more charisma and screen presence than his more revered fellow cast members, including Steve McQueen (whose appeal outside of his looks is still lost on me) and Yul Brynner.

MARTYRS (2008)

Posted: January 28, 2011 in 2000s, 8.0, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Dated viewed:  1/26/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

MARTYRS blends horror sub-genres and well-worn conventions in ways I haven’t seen before.  And it all builds to a vaguely uplifting(?) ending that I’ve been thinking about for two days.

I stayed away from MARTYRS for two years because I was under the impression it was more-of-the-same torture porn, but I was mistaken — it’s damn near thoughtful, and in parts it’s absolutely terrifying.  This is challenging material, in more ways than one, but it’s entirely worth the effort.

MARTYRS is my favorite of the recent “extreme” French horror films, and it’s one of the best horror movies I’ve seen, period.

Rating:  8.0

PRINCE OF THE CITY (1981)

Posted: January 25, 2011 in 1980s, 9.5, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  1/23/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

I’ve always been fascinated with the work of Sidney Lumet.  The corrupt cop drama is one of my favorite genres, and Lumet has sort of specialized in that particular subject matter for much of his career.  PRINCE OF THE CITY may be my favorite thing he’s done.  Much of the tension and struggle (both internal and external) made explicit in PRINCE may be implied in similarly-themed movies, but conversations take place here that I have not heard anywhere else. Lumet’s ambivalent attitude towards the many moral questions asked in PRINCE captivated my attention and still hasn’t let go.

Rating:  9.5

THE FOG (1980)

Posted: January 24, 2011 in 1980s, 6.5, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  1/16/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

Being a big John Carpenter fan, I suppose it was purely the subject matter that kept me from watching THE FOG for so many years.  The prospect of a killer fog is pretty cool, but I learned long ago about the true nature of the killing force at work here, and it seemed rather cheesy.  Actually, it is cheesy — and not scary — but it’s also fun (that word comes up for me when discussing ’80s horror movie more than any other time…perhaps it’s a reflection of taking it easy on the genre).  I’m glad I finally saw it, but it’s certainly not a top-shelf Carpenter movie.

Rating:  6.5

SID AND NANCY (1986)

Posted: January 21, 2011 in 1980s, 6.5, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  1/16/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

This one is tricky.  SID AND NANCY is clearly a very good movie, and it contains a couple incredible performances, by Oldman and Chloe Webb, but man, what an unpleasant experience.

Sid and Nancy are probably my least favorite people in the entire universe — there’s not a single redeeming quality between the two.  So spending a couple hours with them (almost exclusively) was a bit of a chore.  I’ll never watch it again, but it’s an impressive movie nonetheless.

Rating:  6.5