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    Soapdish

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on October 11th, 2011

    An aging soap opera starred, played by Sally Field, is the target of a jealous supporting cast and a conniving producer (Robert Downey Jr.). The head writer of her show (Whoopi Goldberg) seems to be the only ally she has as a former love’s character (Kevin Kline) is recast to throw her off her game, along with a mysterious family member barging into her world and work life.
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    North by Northwest

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 6th, 2010

    If you’re reading this review, you must surely already know what the movie is about. We’re talking, after all, about what must surely be the single most celebrated case of mistaken identity in the history of film. Cary Grant stands up in a lounge at just the wrong moment and is mistaken for a man who doesn’t exist. That utterly perverse mix of chance and paradox, leading to ever more dangerous situations for Grant, in an ever more complicated tangle of battling conspiracies, is so utterly Hitchcockian, it might just as well be trademarked.
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    Wall Street (20th Anniversary Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 17th, 2008

    “Greed is Good.”

    No other cinematic phrase described the 1980’s better. And no other movie captures the financial corruption of the 80’s better than Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.

    The film celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a 2-disc re-release that includes never-before-seen special features. And while Wall Street is very dated (my wife and I cracked up at the fashion and decorating styles), it still works as a morality tale in the era of big business.
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    New York, New York

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 22nd, 2008

    World War II has just ended, and the recently discharged Robert De Niro hits New York on the prowl for sex. He runs up against WAC Liza Minnelli, and the more she resists his advances, the more determined he becomes. There is more: he is a saxophonist, and she (of course) is a singer). So begins a tempestuous relationship between two artists whose enormous talents and equally enormous personalities mean they can neither live with nor without each other.
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    An Affair to Remember (50th Anniversary Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 29th, 2008

    Fox re-releases this beloved weepie in a new edition with a number of new extras. Beyond those additions, this version is identical to the one reviewed here previously. Therefore, my deathless prose once again: “On a luxury ocean liner, playboy Cary Grant meets singer Deborah Kerr. Each is involved with someone else, but they fall deeply in love with each other. Upon arriving in New York, they decide to part and, if all goes well, reunite in six months at the top of the Empire State Building, by which time their lives should be in order. If you’ve seen Sleepless in Seattle, you know what happens next. Though this is one the most celebrated weepies ever, I found it curiously uninvolving.
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    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on January 12th, 2008

    When Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out in 1977, a young Steven Spielberg was coming off of the unexpectedly phenomenal success of Jaws. This was the director’s chance to solidify his career as a well-respected filmmaker, and build a lifelong career. While most directors would have either gone the route of making Jaws II or picking up a no-brainer script from a proven scriptwriter, Spielberg wagered his success on the odd tale of a possibly mentally deranged individual’s belief in extra-terrestrial life. What he came away with was a film that won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, was nominated for four Golden Globes (including Best Picture and Best Director), and has become synonymous with the legacy of the famed director.


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    Selena (10th Anniversary Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 5th, 2007

    There are few things as tragic as potential that is unrealized. Whether it’s by choice or by extenuating circumstances, to see a life cut down before it has a chance to develop and make an imprint on the world is sad to see. And it seems to happen disproportionately among musicians. In most casts, drugs frequently has been the main culprit (see Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin), or suicide in some cases (Kurt Cobain being the more notable name in recent memory). But when an entertainer is murdered, the abrupt nature of the crime seems to shake many to the core. It was sad four decades ago when Sam Cooke was murdered, and equally disappointing two decades later when Marvin Gaye was felled by the hands of his father. When Selena Quintanilla was murdered by her business manager in 1995, it sent shockwaves through the Latin music community. Here was a young woman on the fast track to superstardom, gunned down before her full promise could be delivered.


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    Poltergeist (25th Anniversary Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on November 4th, 2007

    Everybody remembers the first scary movie that gave them nightmares for days and months after they saw it. For some, it was the Exorcist and for more recent folks perhaps it was Scream or Saw. For me, it was Poltergeist. I was but seven years old and thought it would be something like E.T. Phone Home, but with swirly demons and ghosts? It was PG, how bad could it be? In the next two hours, I was treated to something that resonates with me to this very day. From the moment I heard “They’re Here”, I knew I would never see static on televisions the same way.
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    The Jungle Book (40th Anniversary Platinum Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 1st, 2007

    There are two very distinctive schools of thought about Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book. There are the Kipling fanatics who have never forgiven Disney for taking a story considered sacred in literary circles and creating something that honestly bears (pardon the pun) little resemblance to the original work. These folks rightfully point out that the story contains almost nothing recognizable about the story and characters from Kipling’s beloved classic. I have often condemned projects that take names like The Night Stalker and Battlestar Galactica and create a vision incompatible with the traditions I associate with them. Therefore this review might seem a bit hypocritical when I tell you I side with the other camp that considers this film to be a milestone, not only in Disney animation, but in animation history itself.
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    The Dark Crystal

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 22nd, 2007

    Although it arose from the talented minds behind The Muppet Show, this 1982 fantasy classic is no kids’ film. While The Dark Crystal can be enjoyed by kids, it’s a little too dark and a little too abstract for your average seven-year-old.

    Set in “another world, in another time…in the age of wonder,” The Dark Crystal represents a monumental creative undertaking, and the first live-action feature film to not have any humans appearing on screen. While this 25th Anniversary Edition release appears to be a quadruple-dip, it just might be worth your attention.


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    Spawn – The Animated Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on July 28th, 2007

    I still remember the first time I watched a Spawn animated episode. I was with my parents in my younger years on what I believe was the last vacation we ever took together. It was a hotel we were staying at which had HBO (I never had that channel growing up). I had read Spawn but didn’t even know of the animated series. The fact it was late at night and on a premium movie channel meant it had to be good. I was simply blown away and remember telling my parents that we had to be back at the hotel to watch it again the next night. I remember that later I would procure used copies of the series.
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    The Last Unicorn

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 16th, 2007

    I can’t say I’m too familiar with The Last Unicorn, I mean overall, animated children’s films were in the midst of a decline in the ’80s. However my wife was more than familiar with it and enjoyed it a lot growing up. And Lion’s Gate has presumably cleaned up the film and thrown some extras on it just in time for the film’s 25th anniversary.

    Based on a novel by Peter Beagle and directed by the animation team of Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin (who helped produced such shows as the stop motion of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and The Hobbit animated version back in the ’60s and ’70s), the unicorn in question is named, well, Unicorn (voiced by Mia Farrow, The Omen), who walks around rather peacefully in the countryside.
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    Forbidden Planet

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 22nd, 2006

    Few science fiction films of the 1950’s left as much of an impact as Forbidden Planet. Gene Roddenberry often cited the film as the birth of Star Trek. It is in this film that he took away the interactions of an interstellar craft’s bridge crew. Even the United Planets organization in Forbidden Planet heralds Trek’s United Federation of Planets. Robby the Robot would become a science fiction icon and lead to a great number of copycats, most notably the Lost In Space robot. Robby even made a cameo on that show. MGM …
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    Reds (HD DVD)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 10th, 2006

    Warren Beatty attempts directing for the second time in Reds, a film based on the life of John Reed during the Russian Revolution. I didn’t know what to expect from this film, as I had never heard of it prior to its release on HD DVD. I have never seen a movie based on this subject matter, so the movie covered all new grounds for me. Upon investigation I discovered the movie was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won three, including Best Director for Warren Beatty. Boasting an impressive cast including W…
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    Transformers – The Movie

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 6th, 2006

    20 years after its theatrical release, Transformers the Movie is available on DVD. This is indeed a treat for all Transformers fans, since the VHS version of the movie has apparently been out of print for several years.

    This 2-Disc set is a significant upgrade from the VHS version, boasting a remastered image, commentary tracks, and tons of extras.

    In order to properly understand how this movie fits into the saga of The Transformers, we must go back to 1984, when the s…
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    Rocky Horror PIcture Show/ Shock Treatment

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 24th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Staid middle-class couple Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) wind up, one stormy night, at the gothic mansion of the cross-dressing Dr. Frank N. Further (Tim Curry). Many songs and sexual awakenings ensue. Seriously, people, if you are reading this and require a summary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, then the movie is probably not for you. Shock Treatment, however, is less well-known. Once again we have Brad and Janet (this time played by Cliff De Young and J…
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    Reds

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 11th, 2006

    Synopsis

    For those who enjoy the films of Warren Beatty, perhaps his quintessential film, the epic Reds has finally arrived on DVD. The film, which earned 12 Oscar nominations in 1981, including a remarkable four for Beatty (as Director, which he won), Actor, Writer and Producer), the film was a clear labor of love for the left-leaning political activist. Beatty plays John Reed, an American political writer who becomes more and more enamored with the ideas and concepts behind a blossoming ideological…
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    They All Laughed

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 9th, 2006

    Peter Bogdanovich’s The All Laughed is a classy, bittersweet film. It’s plot is pretty thin, but here’s the gist: a New York City private detective agency is hired to keep tabs on two women suspected of infidelity. Things get interesting when the gumshoes on the trail begin falling for their lovely targets.

    The best part of this film is its cast. Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzara, John Ritter, Dorothy Stratten, Patti Hansen, Colleen Camp, Blaine Novak and George Morfogen all fit their parts so well, it’s not surprising to learn in the bonus material that Bogdanovich wrote the parts with exactly these actors in mind.
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    L.A. Story

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 22nd, 2006

    Steve Martin plays a wacky TV weatherman, who develops a close friendship with an electronic freeway sign in the sleeper hit comedy L.A. Story. I found the critically acclaimed film to lack hilarity, but it does get marks for inventiveness. Martin is enjoyable in most anything he’s in, even if the material is not-so-great. L.A. Story is one such example of an actor rising above said material. Most of the over-the-top silliness misses the mark, and Marilu Henner has little more to do than play the cliche…
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    Fried Green Tomatoes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 2nd, 2006

    Kathy Bates and the late Jessica Tandy star in Fried Green Tomatoes, a wonderfully surprising film about four strong women finding friendship, loyalty, and strength in each other. Sounds boring, right? I thought so, too, until I actually sat down and gave the extended anniversary edition a chance. The film, based on Fannie Flagg’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, is really two stories in one. Bates plays an unhappy Southern woman stuck in a marriage routine, which doesn’t favor her n…
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    Sybil

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on July 23rd, 2006

    Sybil is one of those movies that has turned into something of a running joke. It certainly didn’t start out that way, though. Probably no other made-for-TV movie is as famous as this one, based on a true story about a woman that had an astonishing 13 distinctly different personalities. Looking back on the film now, there are some definite cheesy moments. However, the vast majority of the film is really quite compelling, especially when the viewer reminds themselves that this is a true story.

    Sa…
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    Sgt. Bilko – The Phil Silvers Show

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 20th, 2006

    The Phil Silvers Show was groundbreaking for several reasons, but to look at the list of those who appeared on the show during its four season run is to look at a “Who’s Who” of television ancestry and history. Allen Melvin played Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch, Harvey Lembeck previously appeared in Stalag 17 and his son Michael became an accomplished television director. Joe Ross played one half of the cop team in Car 54, Where Are You? next to a guest star of the show, a guy named Fred Gwynne, who also appeared in a show called The Munsters.
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    Ten Commandments, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on April 12th, 2006

    Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments hits store shelves in a new three-disc special edition, just in time for the release of the new made-for-TV mini-series. While the film classic is no stranger to DVD, it has yet to be released with this kind of gusto. At over three-and-a-half hours long, the film is simply too much for one disc to hold. The first disc contains the first 140 minutes, while disc two finishes up with the last 80. Plus, as a bonus, we get the original 136-minute silent version (also a DeMill…
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    Breakfast at Tiffany’s

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 16th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Audrey Hepburn is Holly Golightly, a young woman to her name born. Flighty, hopping from party to party, she waits for her life to match her ideal. Into her apartment moves writer George Peppard, who is certainly not the millionaire our heroine imagines will sweep her off her feet. Peppard himself is a kept man, and his keeper is Patricia Neal. Peppard does have a more realistic view of how life works, in the long run, and that is a lesson that Hepburn must learn before romance can follow it…
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    Five Heartbeats, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on February 5th, 2006

    The concept of the musical biopic is nothing new. We have seen many films come and go, some good and some bad. A majority of these musical biopic films try to tell the rising of a group, whether or not the group is a reality, in a manner that will connect with the audience. Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats is a prime example of a film that connects with its audience by taking this concept of the musical biopic just that one step further than we might expect from a film like this.

    The Five Hea…
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