(Cross-posted with GreenCine Daily.)
For James Wolcott, Daisy Kenyon "is a fascinating chamber drama shot in deep-volumed noirish black and white (every room looks like a cove), with dialogue that tears through sentimentality with sharp little teeth and a clutch of tough, wary, ultra-observant performances by Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews (even more prickly with postwar dissatisfaction than in The Best Years of Our Lives), and a deceptively easy-going Henry Fonda.... If you haven't seen Daisy Kenyon (and you probably haven't, being so buried under the backlog of all your Wire and Battlestar Galactica DVDs), you really must give it a dark whirl."
"As with pre-codes, a lot of smaller musicals along the lines of Born to Dance had to wait until the emergence of TCM before fans could really enjoy them again," writes John McElwee at Greenbriar Picture Shows. "DVD release has done the rest. Warner's Classic Musicals From The Dream Factory series has been the fulfillment of dreams for fans who've waited lifetimes to see these favorites truly showcased as they deserve."
"Long before she was an ambassador in real life (to Ghana in 1974 and Czechoslovakia in 1989), [Shirley Temple] seemed, to Depression-era audiences, like an emissary from another world, one where ships were made of candy and there were no bread lines in sight." In the New York Times, Dave Kehr reviews the America's Sweetheart Collection, Volume 6.
Bill Hare, author of Hitchcock and the Methods of Suspense, on the Noir of the Week: "Strangers on a Train: Hitchcock's Rich Imagery Reigning Supreme."
"A social problem film par excellence, [Gentleman's Agreement] represents the directions of the postwar prestige film, particularly the house style of 20th-Fox," writes Chris Cagle.
The Observer's Philip French revisits the highlights of Anna Magnani's oeuvre.
"Though it may seem unfair at first, let's pick up Joe Swanberg's Hannah Takes the Stairs heft it in our grips for a moment, and then use it to beat this thing called 'mumblecore' to a pulp." And Michael Atkinson proceeds to go right at it for the IFC. Then: "[F]lowers do arise out of the sludge, and in Hannah Takes the Stairs, it's the title character, as conceived by Swanberg's ensemble and defined by Greta Gerwig's performance." Meanwhile, as Scott Macaulay notes at Filmmaker, the cover's drawn quite a bit of commentary.
"It's not often a film should be praised for its lack of originality, but The Orphanage is a satisfying horror movie in large part because it is also a veritable compendium of horror-movie conventions," writes Dennis Lim in the Los Angeles Times. "[F]irst-time director Juan Antonio Bayona borrows heavily - and smartly - from the familiar repository of shock tactics and psychological anxieties that have sustained the genre for decades. A primary influence, no surprise, is his producer, Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro, whose taste for melancholic ghost stories is readily apparent here."
A dissenting voice: Ed Gonzalez in Slant.
"In The Castle, surely the least well-known of [Michael] Haneke's early films, and one made for television to boot, we have what seems to me far and away the best of his Austrian films." Ian Johnston at Not Coming to a Theater Near You.
For Stream, Austin Bunn talks with Brent Hoff, creator of Wolphin, McSweeney's DVD magazine.
"The best news about the new Cloverfield DVD is that you can pause it whenever you want in case - ya know - halfway through you feel a little motion sickness," writes Erik Davis. "It's been touted as 'The Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla' or 'a monster movie for the You Tube generation,' but when it was all said and done Cloverfield turned out to be an original, captivating piece of filmmaking that took risks where other films of the genre would've played it safe." Also at Cinematical: Monika Bartyzel on Charlie Wilson's War and Matt Bradshaw on Women's Prison Massacre.
In the New York Sun, Gary Giddins tells the story behind an upcoming release of Disney's Latin America-themed wartime animated musicals.
DVD roundups: The AV Club, Sean Axmaker (MSN), Paul Clark (ScreenGrab), DVD Talk, Bryant Frazer, Harry Knowles (AICN), Peter Martin (Cinematical), Noel Murray and Dennis Lim (Los Angeles Times) and Slant.
And as always, keep an eye on the Guru.
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