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    The Agony and the Ecstasy (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 3rd, 2014

    “The Sistine Chapel. The masterpiece of a sculptor who did not want to paint.”

    Remember when Michael Jordan quit basketball, tried his hand at baseball, and then returned to the NBA less than two years later? Well, imagine if Jordan had actually made it to the majors with the Chicago White Sox and put up a .375/50 HR/50 SB mark on his way to winning the American League Rookie of the Year/MVP awards, along with a World Series ring. The artistic equivalent of that was Michelangelo — one of the most significant figures of the Italian Renaissance, but a sculptor by trade — painting the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
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    The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 10th, 2014

    You have to interfere in what is wrong to make it right.”

    When a movie is described as a “timeless classic,” the implication is the film contains a level of artistic merit and cross-generational appeal that has made it relevant decades after its release, and will make it watchable decades from now. The flip side is the type of film that is very much of the time it was created. Despite what ought to be a universal message about caring for one another, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness — making a welcome debut on Blu-ray as part of the Fox Studio Classics series — belongs in the latter category.
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    Sunrise (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 16th, 2014

    This song of the Man and his Wife is of no place; you might hear it anywhere at any time.”

    The aching simplicity of the story in Sunrise is the reason the silent film remains thoroughly watchable almost 90 years after its release. It’s also why the movie will remain thoroughly watchable another 90 years from now. Then again, the reason F.W. Murnau’s 1927 effort goes beyond simply remaining watchable — and enters masterpiece territory — has less to do with what the story is and much more to do with how it’s told.
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    On the Riviera (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 10th, 2013

    During his mid-20th century prime, Danny Kaye was one of the greatest entertainers in the world. He was a terrific actor, singer, comedian and dancer. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t read a note of music and never took a single dance class. On the Riviera is not Kaye’s best (nor his best-known) movie; that title belongs to White Christmas, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or Hans Christian Andersen. However, this soufflé-light musical comedy — now making its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Fox — is a nice showcase for Kaye’s considerable talents.
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    A Letter to Three Wives (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 23rd, 2013

    “To begin with, all the incidents and characters in this story might be fictitious, and any resemblance to you or me might be purely coincidental.”

    Right off the bat, the unseen, all-knowing narrator of A Letter to Three Wives lets her audience know the characters in the film aren’t the only ones who are about to have their heads profoundly messed with. That sort of smart playfulness is one of the many reasons you should check out this terrific romantic dramedy from legendary writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz now that it’s on Blu-ray for the first time.
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    Cavalcade (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 19th, 2013

    All Best Picture winners are not created equal. Some of them achieve cinematic immortality, while others are viewed as outright travesties. Then there’s the group of Oscar winners who have arguably suffered a fate worse than the derision and mockery of movie fanatics: the forgotten Best Picture winners. Cavalcade — described in this Blu-ray’s commentary as “not a particularly well-remembered Academy Award winner” — certainly falls in that category.
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    Bus Stop (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 31st, 2013

    For most modern moviegoers, Marilyn Monroe is probably more “famous for being famous” than she is for her cinematic body of work. (Of course, she’s also infinitely better known for an entirely different “body of work.”) That’s not totally fair because Monroe has at least one bona fide classic (Some Like It Hot) and a handful of indisputably indelible images among her movie credits. Those of you interested in exploring her filmography are in luck: Fox has just released two titles from her mid-1950s superstar peak on Blu-ray, including her turn as an ambitious showgirl in Bus Stop.
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    Niagara (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 30th, 2013

    For most modern moviegoers, Marilyn Monroe is probably more “famous for being famous” than she is for her cinematic body of work. (Of course, she’s also infinitely better known for an entirely different “body of work.”) That’s not totally fair because Monroe has at least one bona fide classic (Some Like It Hot) and a handful of indisputably indelible images among her movie credits. Those of you interested in exploring her filmography are in luck: Fox has just released two titles from her mid-1950s superstar peak on Blu-ray, including her femme fatale turn in Niagara.
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    In Old Arizona (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 13th, 2013

    For a significant part of the last century, the Western was the dominant form of entertainment, ruling the Hollywood roost on both the big and small screen. Some of moviedom’s most iconic sounds — galloping horses, trusty six shooters, Ennio Morricone’s best work, “In this world, there’s two kinds of people: those with loaded guns and those who dig” — have come from the genre. And it all started In Old Arizona.
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