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Bright Star (Review)

Sony, 2009, Rated PG

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Jane Campion’s love letter to the brief but passionate romance between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his neighbor Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) does its best to combat the inherent limitations of the biopic genre, breathing life into characters whose unfortunate fates are known from the get-go.  

Bronson

Magnolia, 2009, Rated R

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Charles Bronson is Britain’s most dangerous prisoner. No, not the badass American actor of Death Wish fame. Charles Bronson is the nickname of Michael Peterson, a criminal incarcerated in the British penal system for the past 34 years — 30 of which have been spent in solitary confinement.  

View from the Couch

A discerning list of 2009’s best DVD releases

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Year-end “best-of” lists give me the jitters. Yes, I know: poor Phil. It’s true, though. Ranking 12 months’ worth of DVD releases is an overwhelming task. Worse still is the mad rush to watch as many as possible as the year fades in an effort to catch an overlooked title. The stacks of unwatched screeners that skyscraper over my desk only compound the nerves.  

Not Quite Hollywood (Review)

Magnolia, 2009, Rated R

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Australia immediately stirs the imagination. Outback regions populated by Aborigines and exotic animals. Free spirits devoted to surf and sand. Apocalyptic, anti-authoritarian warriors tearing up the landscape with hellcars.  

It's Garry Shandling's Show (Review)

Shout Factory, 1986-1990, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 2, 2009
There are many reasons why you might not have heard of this fine sitcom. It initially ran on Showtime, before pay cable was a hip destination for original programming. A broadcast outlet picked it up, but FOX was only two years into its existence and audiences were still finding out about the “fourth network.”  

Taxi: The Fourth Season

Paramount, 1981-82, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Every now and then, some entertainment publication tries to come up with a list of the funniest sitcom episodes of all time. There are a lot of great choices to be sure. “Soup Nazi” (Seinfeld), “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” (Friends) “Turkey’s Away” (WKRP in Cincinnati), the list really could go on and on...  

Tyson (Review)

Sony, 2009, Rated R

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 21, 2009
James Toback’s documentary should be subtitled Mike on Mike: It’s 90 minutes of a recently interviewed Tyson speaking directly to the camera — a single-minded perspective that proves both frustrating and fascinatingly intimate. Rambling, emotional and often surprisingly articulate, Tyson ruminates on everything from his troubled childhood and meteoric rise as a boxer.  

Mutant Chronicles (Review)

Magnolia, 2008, Rated R

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 21, 2009
In a distant future, competing corporations have divided the Earth, turning it into a non-stop war-field of nationalistic, Orwellian proportions. Battles rage across the globe, and during one particularly brutal frontline assault, an ancient, dormant race of mindless killer mutants is unknowingly unleashed from a prison deep within the planet’s bowels.  

The Big Band Theory: 2nd Season (Review)

Warner, 2009, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 21, 2009
At first glance it’s easy to dismiss The Big Bang Theory. Some might have no time for what appears to be clichéd aspects of geekdom. Indeed, there’s lots of video game playing, comic book collecting and Star Trek references to be had here.  

Une Femme Mariee

Koch Lorber, 1964, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The career of French auteur Jean-Luc Godard can be viewed in stages: a celebrated debut with the Nouvelle Vague; a controversial, confrontational, Maoist phase; and an uncompromising, artistically vibrant period that runs into the present and finds the onetime enfant terrible of the press working far from the spotlight.  

Zabriskie Point

Warner Bros., 1970, Rated R

1 Comment · Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Just before making Zabriskie Point, Michelangelo Antonioni — one of cinema’s great existential modernists — had paired his view that the world makes little sense but has great beauty with the swinging London of the 1960s, resulting in the enduring masterpiece Blowup. So the next logical step was to put the Italian filmmaker’s vision up against California youth culture of the day.  

Cities of the Underworld: Season Two

A&E, 2008-09, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more really interesting buried places, Don Wildman is back sinking to new depths. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). The 11 episodes of season two find Wildman returning to Germany, this time to explore Berlin’s hundreds of World War II bunkers. In New York, it’s secret societies, not unlike his trip to Boston in season one.  

13 Most Beautiful ... Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests

(Plexifilm) 2009, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Andy Warhol’s “screen tests” — in which he used a stationary 16mm Bolex camera to shoot silent, black-and-white 100-foot rolls of film studying guests to his Factory between 1964-1966 — are among his most mesmerizing and beautiful (and painterly) work. They have been too rarely seen. Plexifilm has partnered with Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum for this first-ever official DVD release of 13 of the choicest screen tests, paired with a newly commissioned soundtrack by Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips.  

Under Full Sail: Silent Cinema on the High Seas

(Flicker Alley) 1927-1933, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Flicker Alley, a leading curator, restorer and distributor of lost and forgotten cinema gems, digs up a particularly niche bunch for its latest collection. Under Full Sail: Silent Cinema on the High Seas details early celluloid depictions of the grand vessels that sailed the world’s waterways at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The five films (one full-length and four shorts, all excellent transfers) are snapshots of a forgotten time when mammoth ships with masts to the heavens took seafarers to adventure.  

Caprica

(Universal) 2009, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Maybe it’s because the fad hasn’t worn off, but prequels seem to be far less objectionable than sequels. It makes sense in that with a prequel you have to be somewhat loyal to an end point, whereas a sequel has to make up a bunch of new stuff that might or might not live up to the original. So is the situation the producers of Battlestar Galactica found themselves in when their series recently wrapped up. The notion of Carpica telling the back-story to BSG was formulated in the latter’s second season and came to fruition late last year.