13 items from 2014
Movies such as Out of the Past are what movie blogging should be all about. While it's undoubtedly important to keep up with the new titles hitting theaters, finding hidden gems within the glut of watered-down, mass audience studio releases, it's just as important to look into the past and find the movies that have shaped cinema into what it is today... or, at least a reminder of what great cinema used to be, and is now mostly (un)seen within the confines of independent releases. As someone who only started delving deep into cinema's rich history about eleven years ago I still pay attention to a variety of sites and bloggers, hoping to hear of films I've never heard of or seen, something to shake up the monotony. Typically this comes in the form of a Criterion Collection release, the gold standard (at least domestically) in ensuring classic cinema remains alive, »
- Brad Brevet
It was a great week of movie watching for me that included three films playing the Toronto Film Festival, which means I'll be able to have reviews ready for the fest, opening up my schedule for even more movies. Those three included Leviathan, Wild Things and Whiplash and I've already seen The Guest (a Midnight Madness entry). I also have at least one more to come right before I leave, which will put me five films ahead before I even begin. Also this week I saw Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and we all know how that turned out and I watched Frank (my review here). Then, on Saturday, I went nuts and watched Warner Archive's new Blu-ray for Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past, which I'll be writing about this week followed by Snatch and then finished off with David Ayer's Sabotage, which was as »
- Brad Brevet
The release of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For inspires James to look back at its film noir roots, and some classic examples of the genre...
We're at the shadowy back-end of the summer blockbuster season and darkness is entering the frame. Here comes ultraviolence, sleaze, crime and death, all beautifully shot in macabre high-contrast monochrome. Just when you thought you'd got yourself clean and were all peppy after some upbeat family-friendly popcorn thrills, here's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For to darken up the doorways. (And it will light up a cigarette in those doorways and spit out some tough dialogue from between its bloodstained teeth while it's lingering there.)
We're back in the Basin City of Frank Miller's graphic novels again, once more brought to vivid screen life by the comics creator »
It may be in 3D this time around, but Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s monotone, monochrome comicbook universe feels flatter than ever in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” Rare indeed is the movie that features this many bared breasts, pummeled crotches and severed noggins and still leaves you checking your watch every 10 minutes. But that’s the dubious accomplishment of this visually arresting but grimly repetitive exercise in style, set against a sordid neo-noir landscape populated almost exclusively by tormented tough guys and femme-fatale fetish objects. Nearly a decade after the first “Sin City” grossed more than $158 million worldwide, it’s doubtful whether the directors’ overlapping fanbases can muster the same level of excitement for a picture about which the best one can really say is, “It sure beats ‘The Spirit.’ ”
- Justin Chang
This week’s new Blu-ray releases include a wonderfully compelling drama told entirely from the confines of a car, a quartet of older animated Disney films getting an HD upgrade, a new Muppet movie, and more. Briefly: Locke [Blu-ray] - $21.24 (15% off) Muppets Most Wanted (Blu-ray) - $22.99 (43% off) Hercules [Blu-ray] - $17.99 (40% off) Tarzan [Blu-ray] - $17.99 (40% off) Bedknobs & Broomsticks [Blu-ray] - $19.99 (33% off) Out Of The Past [Blu-ray] - $18.69 (15% off) Filth [Blu-ray] - $17.99 (40% off) Disneynature: Bears (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) - $22.99 (43% off) Breathe In - Blu Ray [Blu-ray] - $22.49 (10% off) The Railway Man [Blu-ray + UltraViolet] - $24.96 (29% off) A Haunted House 2 (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD with UltraViolet) - $22.99 (34% off) Batman: Assault on Arkham [Blu-ray] - $16.99 (32% off) The Blacklist: Season 1 [Blu-ray] - $34.99 (54% off)
- Adam Chitwood
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Tom Hardy stars as a construction foreman who's driving to London to attend the birth of his child. You really shouldn't have stressful conversations on your cell while driving, but Ivan (Hardy) doesn't care. He has to make sure his big job tomorrow goes as planned, confess to his wife that he cheated on her with a co-worker, and coaching the aforementioned co-worker through the premature birth of their baby. Yikes.
Why We're In: Hardy is more than capable of commanding the screen for the entirety of the movie. Although you hear other characters' voices, it's all Hardy, all the time. Who could argue with that?
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"Love Streams" (Criterion)
- Jenni Miller
Over at The Telegraph, Robbie Collin has chosen to take on the impossible, he's set out to create a list of films that tells the story of Hollywood "in terms of how one picture or director led to the next." It's a daunting task that creates an interesting narrative and he prefaces his ten selections saying: ...none of the individual works is "great" or "important" enough to drown out the others. I've avoided films such as Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Singin' in the Rain, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather, not just because we already know they're great, but because their greatness might throw the story off-balance - although I wouldn't hesitate to describe any of the films that are on this list as a masterpiece. So how does his list shape outc Have a look: One Week (1920) - dir. Buster Keaton It Happened One Night (1934) - dir. »
- Brad Brevet
There are at least 26 good reasons to straighten your stocking seams, touch up your lip rouge, and queue up for Film Forum's Femmes Noir series, running from July 18 through August 7. Here are just three: Joan Crawford's long-suffering, pie-making matriarch in Mildred Pierce (July 18, 19 and 31); Gene Tierney's ravishing, murderous schemer — one possessed of the most stunning overbite known to man — in Leave Her to Heaven (July 20 and 21); and Jane Greer's predatory faux angel, who comes shimmering along in a saucer-shaped halo of a hat, in one of the most unsparing and bleakly beautiful of all films noir, Out of the Past (also July 20 and 21).
But of all the femmes vying for our attention here, perhaps the most willful and terrifying is p »
The DC Universe Animated Original Movies line has delivered some absolutely terrific comic book adaptations (Jay Oliva’s two-part Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comes to mind), and also some thoroughly mediocre ones (like most of the Superman entries). It’s impressive how much work goes into animating these direct-to-video titles, but a fair share of them have been unfortunately sidetracked by stilted voice acting and weak writing.
Son of Batman, which loosely adapts Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s “Batman and Son” arc, is far from the worst of the Dcu Animated titles, though that’s probably the highest praise I can give it. While the animation is damn-near flawless, and the voice acting is mostly above average, this tonally dissonant offering ends up taking on more story than it can handle.
Opening in grand fashion, Son of Batman introduces us first not to the Caped Crusader, but to his young son Damian, »
- Isaac Feldberg
The video team here at HitFix constantly impresses me with not only the volume of work that they produce, but also the quality. We've gotten very lucky with the people we've hired, and they make any of our collaborations both easy and fun. Last week, they approached me about a new ongoing feature that they wanted to do, and tomorrow, we're going to shoot the first episode of "Ask Drew," which is exactly what it sounds like. I am constantly asked questions via e-mail and Twitter and in our comments section, and I feel like I never fully answer all of them, something that makes me feel terrible. I am grateful for each and every reader of the work we do here at HitFix, and if I can answer something, I try to. To that end, we are going to try something a little different here starting tomorrow. I want »
- Drew McWeeny
Written by Niven Busch
Directed Raoul Walsh
In a small, dilapidated home in the middle of the New Mexico desert, the beautiful but worried Thor Callum (Theresa Wright) arrives to convene with her on-the-run lover Jeb Rand (Robert Mitchum). From whom or what he is fleeing is unclear at first, but he seems convinced that the conclusion to his arduous adventure is near. In the calm before the approaching storm, Jeb recounts the tale from the beginning to fill in Thor and the audience on all the details. As a child, Jeb is adopted by Thor’s mother (Judith Anderson) when the latter found him asleep and alone under a trapdoor in his home, the same place seen in the opening sequence. Unaware of how or why his family died, Jeb is haunted by mysterious visions of the eventful night through much of his life while living on »
- Edgar Chaput
Justice League: War is yet to hit shelves, but promotional is already well underway on the next instalment of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series; Warner Bros. has already debuted the trailer and cover art for Son of Batman, and now we have a list of the special features set to accompany the direct-to-video release, including a sneak peek at the next feature, Batman: Assault on Arkham....
Blu-ray Special Features:
-Strange Blood Ties
-Damian Wayne, The Fang, and the Demon Head: The League of Assassins
-Designing the Characters with Phil Bourassa
-A Sneak Peek at Dcu Batman: Assault on Arkham
-4 Bonus Cartoons:
- Gary Collinson
Spoof mini-series The Spoils of Babylon is coming soon, so what finer time to tip our hats to the epic, emotional heavyweight classics of the genre from the 70s and 80s?
This Saturday sees the start of star-studded parody The Spoils of Babylon on Fox, in which Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins and Tobey Maguire take aim at the epic (and epically cheesy) American mini-series of the late 70s and early 80s. In preparation, here's our guide to six of the best original shows. (Note: yes, Roots is a 70s mini-series, but it's also a serious drama and too good for inclusion here.)
Rich Man, Poor Man (1976)
The daddy of them all. This adaptation of Irwin Shaw's bestseller told the tale of two opposite (and opposed) brothers, good boy Rudy (Peter Strauss) and bad boy Tom (a show-stopping Nick Nolte). There had been other mini-series before Rich Man, »
- Sarah Hughes
13 items from 2014
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