New on DVD

From music biopics and music videos to sexy international dramas, from anime to long lost cult films (thanks to Legend Films), from TV to lotsa comedies, June comes in with a ton of eclectic new DVD releases. Come check 'em out.

Blog entry 06/03/2008 - 11:17am
Blog entry 05/29/2008 - 1:44pm

Criterion's Thief of Bagdad.

Cross-posted from GreenCine Daily.

The Thief of Bagdad "[F]or all of its implication in its historical moment, The Thief of Bagdad plays - in the newly remastered DVD from the Criterion Collection - like a timeless fantasy, a pure and naï expression of, as Sabu puts it in his famous curtain line, the search for 'some fun and adventure, at last!'" writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times.

"Re-watching The Thief of Bagdad... is not unlike rereading Treasure Island," suggests Gary Giddins in the New York Sun. "Conceived to enchant children, they both requite the adult longing for formative influences that withstand disillusionment and fashion. Unlike Treasure Island, an exemplary display of English prose and plotting, with one of the finest first sentences in fiction, The Thief of Bagdad (1940) occasionally sputters, losing tempo and continuity; yet it, too, survives as a model of its kind, reveling in cinematic craftsmanship - not least the then-novel techniques of color and trick photography - and boasts one of the most magisterial opening shots in cinema."

Blog entry 05/27/2008 - 12:58pm

Many fine new titles out on DVD today - docs, anime, Criterion, Woody, Swedish action (!?), a classic TV miniseries and oodles more, so let's get right to it (oh, and there will be reviews of some of 'em on Guru, our DVD review blog).

Blog entry 05/27/2008 - 11:30am

"In his extraordinary film, Great World of Sound, [Craig] Zobel takes the hypocrisy of the [American] dream and brings it to the grassroots, to the embryonic moment when the expectation of fame meets the con of possibility," writes Tom Hall at Hammer to Nail.

Read more about what critics and film bloggers are saying about new (and old) DVDs in this week's spotlight.

Blog entry 05/20/2008 - 3:37pm

This week's batch of new releases are an odd mixture but there are plenty of gems to be had. If not many "big" new releases, there are some great reissues, anime, horror both new and old, TV, indie films, international cult items and more. So dig on in!

Blog entry 05/20/2008 - 10:50am

(As first seen on GreenCine Daily.)

The Big Trail "Had it been even marginally successful, Raoul Walsh's 1930 epic western, The Big Trail might have changed the course of film history." Dave Kehr explains in the New York Times. Fascinating stuff. Also: reviews of two films by Mitchell Leisen, "[t]he very model of the crack studio director": "the 1937 Easy Living, with Jean Arthur and Ray Milland in a romantic comedy written by Preston Sturges, and the 1939 Midnight, a Parisian farce with Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche and John Barrymore, from a screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett."

"Like Luis Buñ, and in particular, like Buñ's main heir, Manoel de Oliveira, Resnais's career trajectory seems to have been to quickly abandon evocations of a subjective consciousness in favor of a blatantly theatrical, questionably objective style that dryly notes the precise behavior of delusional people acting only on the logic of their own emotions, which isn't very logical at all," writes David Pratt-Robson in the Auteurs's Notebook, reviewing Mé. "But only for Resnais has the move been frequently disastrous, with his hypocrites way too systematically hypocritical, and with his occasional attempts to sympathize with these idiots via cute camera tricks and sound effects coming off as feeble nods to avant-garde roots by a man who is himself mired in outdated Vaudeville gimmickry."

Blog entry 05/15/2008 - 10:37pm

While there may not be a ton of intriguing "new" movies on this week's DVD release list, there are many rewards to be found -- classic reissues, Westerns and first-time-on-DVD titles, including two notorious Louis Malle classics from Criterion -- as well as some choice international horror and drama titles. Enjoy!

Blog entry 05/13/2008 - 11:23am

(reposted from GreenCine Daily.)

Frontier(s) "There's enough blood in the unrated French horror film Frontier(s) to satiate even the most ravenous gore hounds," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "The real surprise here is that this creepy, contemporary gross-out also has some ideas, visual and otherwise, wedged among its sanguineous drips, swaying meat hooks and whirring table saw."

"Xavier Gens may pledge allegiance to 70s grindhousers, but like the garbage hauled out at least once a year from Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production house, or the two-headed, razor-studded dildo formed by Hostel and Hostel II, the style of the French director's career-making torture porn is very much a sign of our times: a capitulation to base pop appetites," writes Ed Gonzalez in Slant.

Blog entry 05/10/2008 - 10:29am

(Cross posted on GC Daily)
Morris Engel The Films of Morris Engel (with Ruth Orkin) represent "such an unassuming clutch of cinema that it'd be easy to overlook the revolution they represented . without Little Fugitive, there might not have been a French New Wave or John Cassavetes, and therefore, perhaps, no new wave movement at large," writes Michael Atkinson on the IFC. Further up that same page, Bamako: "Malian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako may have made the one African film everybody needs to see - at least for its disarming fugue of frank political awareness and state-of-the-quotidian African life."

In the New York Times, Dave Kehr reviews Abel Gance's 1922 film La Roue, which "still fascinates as a grab bag of experimental techniques, which do not all belong in the same movie, but which clearly dazzled audiences of the time with the formal possibilities of this still relatively new medium."

Blog entry 05/06/2008 - 4:05pm

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