Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

DVDs/Home Viewing

01 Jul 2016
by  - 
Two Icelandic sheepherding brothers who haven’t spoken in four decades face tragedy when their neighboring herds become infected and must be slaughtered in the fantastic film Rams. Gummi (Sigurour Sigurjonsson) and Kiddi (Theodor Juliusson) have developed a rivalry over the years, with Kiddi winning local “best sheep” competitions. A jealous Gummi reports that his brother’s sheep might be ill—and the report winds up ringing true. Doctors recommend that all of the sheep in the valley be destroyed—wreaking havoc on their lives. Gummi comes up with a strange plan to salvage some of the herd, forcing Kiddi to join him on a mission to save the sheep. Writer-director Grimur Hakonarson’s hauntingly beautiful movie is a fine story of sibling rivalry. We never really find out what has caused the brotherly rift, and we don’t really need to know. The two actors (forgive me … I just don’t want to retype those…
20 Jun 2016
by  - 
After seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark, 12 year-old Eric Zala got the idea to remake the movie, shot for shot, as an experiment with his buddies. Over the course of the next six years, they did just that, doing a remarkable job of re-creating the legendary Spielberg film note for note. Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made captures the creative team as they set out to film the one shot they never got: the massive airplane explosion after the fight with the big, bald Nazi. There’s a lot of fun stuff about the making of the movie, including the time the boys almost burned a house down. They also almost burned one of the actors, and nearly suffocated another with a plaster mold on his face. Another amusing fact: They used a little puppy instead of a monkey for the infamous Nazi-salute monkey scene. The…
14 Jun 2016
by  - 
Remember when a Stephen King movie was an event? Remember when a John Cusack movie was an event? Remember 1408, the John Cusack/Stephen King movie in 2007 that was pretty badass? Well, it’s 2016 now, and Cell, the latest Cusack/King vehicle, is getting an on-demand release shortly before a limited theatrical run. Produced three years ago, this film was better off staying on the shelf: It is easily one of the worst adaptations ever of a King story. Cusack, re-teamed with his 1408 co-star Samuel L. Jackson, plays Clay, a graphic artist estranged from his wife and son. Shortly after placing a call to them on an airport payphone, Clay watches as cell-phone users spazz out and get transformed into a zombie-like state as the result of some sort of pulse sent through the phones. Director Tod Williams is utterly lost; he makes this a humorless piece of horror-satire wrought…
30 May 2016
by  - 
The second of four films in the Adam Sandler Netflix era after the horrible The Ridiculous 6 is still pretty bad moviemaking, but The Do-Over is a step in the right direction. Director Steven Brill made two of the better Sandler vehicles in Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds, and their third pairing has its moments. That’s thanks in large part to the pairing of Sandler and an effective David Spade, who is cast against type as Charlie, a nebbish nerd looking for new start on life. Sandler plays Max, who shows up at their high school reunion, takes pity on Charlie and fakes both of their deaths so they can smoke joints and drink for the rest of their lives. The plot isn’t that simple; the two wind up being pursued by a killer in a fairly funny homage to Die Hard. The film is put together better than most…
24 May 2016
by  - 
Jason Bateman follows up his strong directorial debut, Bad Words, with The Family Fang, a loopy tale about a quirky, dysfunctional family. Unfortunately, the movie never really finds its way. The film gets off to a good start as Bateman plays Baxter Fang, a down-and-out writer trying to put together his next novel who is taking odd writing jobs in the meantime. He winds up doing a feature on potato guns, and eventually gets shot in the head by one. Enter Annie Fang (Nicole Kidman), his actress sister; she used to be an indie-film queen, but she’s reached that stage in her career where taking off her clothes is mandatory. She comes home to assist Baxter, which gets them ruminating on their childhoods. Their parents, Caleb and Camille (played in their older versions by Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett), were infamous pranksters. They would stage bank robberies and other public…
16 May 2016
by  - 
Critics got all excited about The Witch, focusing on a New England family leaving a 17th century settlement to live in the woods on their own. We tend to perk up when movies are nearly perfect. As for mass audiences, not only did they stay away; I saw some pissed-off, freaked-out people walking out during screenings. Now that The Witch is out on Blu-ray and available to stream, you’ll get a new chance to be spooked by strange goats, creepy kids, way-too-religious parents and baby-mulching ghosts. In what stands as the performance of the year thus far, Anya Taylor-Joy is terrific as Thomasin, the eldest daughter of William and Katherine (Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie). She and her four siblings—eldest son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), a pair of boy and girl twins, and a toddler boy—are making do in their new surroundings. Not even 10 minutes into the movie, Thomasin loses…
09 May 2016
by  - 
Director Ben Wheatley, who made a couple of weird films with A Field in England and the brilliant horror-comedy Sightseers, gets even weirder with High-Rise, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel about class warfare inside a high-rise building. Tom Hiddleston is Robert, a doctor who moves into the building to get a new start on life. He has an affair with the beautiful woman downstairs (Sienna Miller), makes himself some new friends, and even gets to know the building’s eccentric architect, Royal (Jeremy Irons). Things are going relatively well, other than a couple of control panels and elevators breaking in the building, when an occupant falls to his death. That sets off a chain reaction during which the tenants fall into an anarchic state. They rape; they pillage; and they paint their own apartments with no authority to do so. Wheatley’s movie has echoes of Gilliam and Kubrick, although…
03 May 2016
by  - 
Tale of Tales is one oddball movie. Imagine if David Lynch had made The Princess Bride instead of Rob Reiner. Italian director Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Reality) adapts three fairy tales and sort of mixes them together, creating one semi-consistent and relatively cohesive narrative. In one of the stories, John C. Reilly plays a king (he actually looks like the Burger King) who must stalk a sea monster and get its heart so that his queen (Salma Hayek) can devour it and become pregnant. In another, Toby Jones plays another king who becomes fascinated with a flea, feeding it blood and steak until it grows to the size of a large sow. In yet another, Vincent Cassel is a king who falls in love with the voice of what he thinks is a fair maiden, but it turns out to be an old lady. All of these characters share the same…
28 Apr 2016
by  - 
The Revenant didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar, but it damn well should have. Leonardo DiCaprio won a much-deserved Oscar for playing the legendary Hugh Glass, a real man who actually survived a bear attack and sought revenge from the men who left him to die. Director Alejandro G. Inarritu (winner of the Best Director Oscar two years in a row) made a film that doesn’t stick to Glass’s actual storyline all that much. (The real life guy was actually too tired to do anything to the guys when he eventually found them.) His script works in a Native American son (Forrest Goodluck) and a deranged trapper (Tom Hardy, also nominated) along with Glass’ insatiable revenge lust. DiCaprio doesn’t say much with his mouth in the movie, but he says an awful lot with those eyes. His performance is a masterwork. Equally good is Hardy, who portrays John Fitzgerald as…
18 Apr 2016
by  - 
Yes, Mr. Right is yet another one of those hit-man comedies—but this one is pretty good, largely because it has Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick in it. Actually, it’s good only because it has Rockwell and Kendrick in it. Kendrick plays a woman who just broke up with her boyfriend after catching him cheating. (She has a drunk-closet scene that is very funny.) Rockwell plays a hit-man who wears a clown nose, likes to dance when he kills, and usually kills those who hire him—because killing is wrong. Of course, the two meet in a store and start an unorthodox relationship. They like the same sort of things, and both have the ability to catch knives thrown at their faces. She eventually finds out he kills people, and that sort of complicates things—yet they still give it a go. The film covers stupid, well-worn territory, but the leads are good,…
11 Apr 2016
by  - 
Dinner parties tend to suck, don’t they? You bring a stupid bottle of wine that nobody will like. You have no small-talk topics for others other than the weather and your stinky-feet problem. And in the case of the dinner party in The Invitation—a film which freaked out the Independent’s Brian Blueskye when it was part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival back in January—the hosts may or may not be trying to kill you. Will (Logan Marshall-Green) is visiting his ex-wife, Gina (Michelle Krusiec), at a dinner party. Gina has been away for some time, and she’s gotten all smiley in the wake of a tragedy through which she and Will suffered. Her new boyfriend, David (Michiel Huisman), is a bit of a weirdo—happy and perhaps a bit too pleasant, especially since he shows the party a video of a woman, surrounded by members of some cult, dying…
05 Apr 2016
by  - 
What an amazing treat Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens has been. It provided a nice afterglow at the end of 2015, and now you have the pleasure of watching it at home in 2016. The Blu-ray version and the digital download are both stunners, providing the best in video quality and sound—sure to stretch the limits of your home-entertainment system. It was a blast in theaters, and it’s equally fun on the home front. Newcomer Daisy Ridley gave the best dramatic performance not only in this film, but in all of the Star Wars films thus far. She should’ve been an Oscar contender. It was no small feat to become the star of history’s biggest movie franchise—and she rocked it. For great acting, look no further than her interrogation scene with the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). She more than holds her own with Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher,…