DVD Spotlight: 11/18.

DVDs, 11/18.

The General "The General is a peephole into history and by any definition an uncannily beautiful film," writes Gary Giddins at Slate. "Indeed, for a first-time viewer, I would emphasize the beauty over the comedy."

"With a star-powered trio of Roberts (Ryan, Mitchum and Young) sharing the one-sheet for a film noir produced by the studio that helped define the post-war style, Crossfire really should be a lot better than it is," finds Scott Marks. And then there's Flying Leathernecks. Nicholas Ray "possibly undertook the project in part as a preemptive defense against HUAC who viewed him as a left-leaning, Tinsel Town liberal. They were right, of course, but Ray never went down for them. Undoubtedly Ray and Robert Ryan, both leftist liberals, locked horns with the Duke and his favored GOP co-star Jay C Flippen. Sadly, very little of their off-screen tension found its way into the finished product."

David Lynch Lime Green Set Dennis Lim in the Los Angeles Times on the David Lynch Lime Green Set: "The retail price of $179.95 might seem steep for 10 discs, with only four feature films among them. But for Lynch cultists, it's the trove of supplemental esoterica - in particular, one tantalizingly labeled 'mystery disc' - that will be the main attraction."

"I just can't often get my head around [Japanese pop culture], or see the opportunity to try, or track what kind of creative idea spawned something like Pokémon or Sailor Moon or the tentacle-rape epic Urotsukidoji or Satoshi Kon's Paprika or gold-plated poop-shaped cell-phone trinkets, or take you pick." Michael Atkinson for IFC: "I think Minoru Kawasaki, the cheapskate Japanese pulp satirist semi-extraordinaire, shares my bafflement, and has converted it into derision."

 "DW Griffith, one of the most celebrated figures in American film, is probably the only silent-movie director whose name is known to the general public," writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times. "And yet, as a new boxed set from Kino, Griffith Masterworks 2, reminds us, he is still underappreciated, with much of his work waiting to be rediscovered."

Dr No "Dr No was more than just the first entry in a successful film series," argues Roderick Heath: "it came at a point when a new type of pop culture was colonising the cinema screen."

"Generally speaking, the explosive pairing of Elvis with Ann-Margret is the reason that Viva Las Vegas is one of Presley's most well-liked movies," observes suzidoll at Movie Morlocks. "Her charisma with Elvis is unmatched by that of any other leading lady in any of Elvis's musicals."

"With Tropic Thunder, [Ben] Stiller is moving beyond the confines of his own identity to ridicule a group of people different from him," writes Simon Augustine for FilmCatcher. "The feat takes wit and humanity. He has the former, but not the latter."

"Diary of a Lost Girl was shot only a few months after the premiere of Pandora's Box and shares many of the earlier film's thematic and stylistic features," writes Ian Johnston at Not Coming to a Theater Near You. "Again, [GW] Pabst gives us a critique of bourgeois society, although now it's made even more explicit. The [Louise] Brooks character Thymian, while very different from Pandora's Lulu - for one thing, her character in the early scenes is one of virginal innocence corrupted - still becomes in Pabst's hands a force of sexual allure that blazes through the film, casting an array of weak males into the shadows. And in Diary Pabst further develops his rich realist style, one that allows for the expressionism of extremes of character and actions but is grounded in the physical details of the world he is observing, the rooms and staircases, the doorways and windows, the exteriors of street or beach, the interiors of bourgeois home, chemist shop, reformatory, or brothel."

What kept 7 Men From Now "buried for almost 50 years"? John McElwee tells the tale.

Josef Braun:

Kid Galahad

Nicky Donati (Edward G Robinson) handles fighters, a vocation that allows him to pull the puppet's strings with one hand while collecting the take with the other. They pass through cities, living out of hotels, shrugging off the coming and going of small fortunes, Nicky and his partner Fluff (Bette Davis), while Nicky's beloved mother (Soledad Jiménez) and sister Marie (Jane Bryan) are cloistered in the countryside and the convent respectively, away from the mugs, bon vivants and hangers-on. From Fluff, too. So at the heart of Kid Galahad (1937) is a man with a double life, a more forgiving existence if you need to seriously bend your ethics and still be able to look ma in the eye.

Glenn Kenny's Lovely Wife on the early Our Gang shorts: "This is like watching someone else's fever dream." Meanwhile, Glenn's "Tuesday Morning Foreign Region DVD Report" in the Auteurs' Notebook this week is on the Sean Connery-Sidney Lumet collaboration, The Offence.

Online viewing tip. The NYT's AO Scott on The Grapes of Wrath, "the most topical movie for right now" and "a very sophisticated piece of filmmaking. It's not propaganda; it's art."

DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker, Paul Clark (Screengrab), DVD Talk, Ambrose Heron, Noel Murray (LAT), the New Yorker, PopMatters, Slant and Michael Tully (Hammer to Nail).

And new reviews are up on GreenCine's Guru, too.


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