Home / Tag: DVD reviews
04.11.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Russia has successfully beaten off invaders from the West time and again, and the epic struggles to preserve the nation�s identity against outside enemies have given rise to many excellent films. One of the greatest, Come andSee (1985), is a visionary depiction of the struggle against Nazism during World War II; another, AlexanderNevsky (1938), influenced Star Wars in its portrayal of Russia�s b...
04.03.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
The first thing you notice watching an episode of �Columbo� isn�t that we know who committed the murder but the relatively long buildup to murder. Jerry Orbach and the �Law and Order� squad would already be grilling the suspect by the time a �Columbo� victim finally falls dead. And that�s part of the fun: the episodes are longer than an hour, billed in their day as �mystery movies,� and the adde...
04.01.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
The world is heading for a cliff at high speed and the breaks are failing. And according to the documentary Crude Impact (out now on DVD), the car wreck is not being driven by the global economic meltdown. Filmed before recent events and circulated on the film festival circuit, Crude Impact is about the energy crisis. Specifically: as the world keeps using more and more petroleum, the supply is ...
03.24.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Although Italian director Luchino Visconti was a pioneer of the grungy, grit-and-all filmmaking style called neorealism, he also loved all things grand and operatic. His final film, L�Innocente (1976), was in the latter mode, a costume drama in the high style of �70s art house film. It�s out now on DVD. Based on the novel by early 20th century author-adventurer Gabriele D�Annunzio, L�In...
03.21.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Peter Bogdanovich was part of a generation of 1960s film critics who brought serious analysis to the products of old Hollywood. Soon enough he became a filmmaker, and although he felt at odds with the early �70s generation of Hollywood mavericks, he made some of the decade�s great movies with The Last Picture Show (1971) and Paper Moon (1973). The last years have not been busy for Bogdano...
03.20.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Landmines are the threat that keeps on threatening. Years and even decades after the end of a conflict, the mines that were sown remain, always underfoot and ready to kill or maim. The documentary Disarm (out now on DVD) concerns the efforts by activists to enforce and extend the Ottawa Treaty banning the production, use and stockpiling of landmines. Problem: President Bill Clinton refuse...
03.18.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
The Axe in the Attic opens with footage shot four months after Hurricane Katrina in a misty, ramshackle district of Louisiana. The camera takes in the scene from above before proceeding at an elegant pace up a rutted road, past trees turned to kindling and the rubble of unrepaired houses. Someone lived there once, and The Axe in the Attic worries that no one will ever live there again. ...
03.10.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
East of Eden was among the great Hollywood films of the 1950s. Director Elia Kazan tuned its Woodrow Wilson-era story to the underlying minor key of the Eisenhower era in the dawn of a restless and uncertain generation. It worked as well as it did through the presence of James Dean as the misfit son Cal, staring through wounded eyes at a world of phonies and doubtful conventions. Everyone...
03.07.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Robbie Coltrane never became a big star except in the most literal sense. But this hulking elephant of a man should at least have become a major character actor up there with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. His role in the British television series �Cracker� was a tour de force of versatility, whether mordantly funny or in deadly earnest, intensely focused or under the influence. � Cracker: The C...
03.05.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Recently the New York Times cautiously advanced the word �depression� into articles on the current downturn. It�s a scary term, but maybe staring it down might not be a bad idea. Examining the last depression could be helpful if the correct conclusions are drawn from its example. The History Channel�s four-part series �The Great Depression� is out now on DVD. Former New York governor Mari...

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