Category Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Mulholland Drive

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch

Cast: Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Justin Theroux, Robert Forster, Michael J. Anderson, Angelo Badalamenti

Cert: 15

Running time: 146 mins

Year: 2001


Film:
Extras: medium_3


What’s the story: Aspiring actress Betty arrives in LA hoping for movie stardom. She meets glamourous amnesiac Rita, and the two begin a dangerous journey to uncover Rita’s past.

What’s the verdict: According to David Lynch, the abc studios executive who viewed the Mulholland Drive pilot, did so at 6am in the morning. While working on other things. With the sound turned low so as not to disturb him. Said exec declared Lynch’s effort at a follow-up to the abc bankrolled Twin Peaks, “boring”.

Shot in 1999, the pilot languished for 18 months as an aborted projected...

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Eureka Blu-Ray Review: The Entity

Director: Sidney J. Furie

Writer: Frank De Felitta

Cast: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, David Labiosa, Alex Rocco

Cert: 18

Running time: 125 mins

Year: 1982


Film: medium_3
Extras: N/A


What’s the story: A young, single mother begins suffering sexual attacks from a malevolent unseen force. How can she convince others she is telling the truth?

What’s the verdict: Easy to see why The Entity has avoided remake treatment, despite its name-recognition title. The premise, a working class single mother is repeatedly raped by an invisible spirit, requires characters to question her story. Putting any remake in the difficult position of not believing a rape victim.

Sidney J...

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Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: 12 Angry Men

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Reginald Rose

Cast: Henry Fonda, Lee. J Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec, Martin Balsam, John Fielder, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Robert Webber

Cert: U (extras PG)

Running time: 96 mins

Year: 1957


Film: medium_5
Extras:
medium_5


What’s the story: 11 men on a jury believe a young man guilty of first degree murder, for which he’ll receive the death penalty. One juror has doubts.

What’s the verdict: When weather turned bad on location for She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, an assistant to director John Ford asked what could they shoot now. Ford replied, “…the most interesting and exciting thing in the world: a human face.”

12 Angry Men boasts a gallery of interesting, exciting faces. And not just the jurors’...

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Alien: Covenant

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: John Logan, Dante Harper (screenplay) Jack Paglen, Michael Green (story)

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Guy Pearce

Cert: 15

Running time: 122mins

Year: 2017


medium_2


What’s the story: Crew members of a space vessel carrying colonists to a new world investigate a mysterious transmission emanating from an uncharted planet. The reception they receive is not friendly.

What’s the verdict: A long time since we’ve been loving the alien. But, Ridley Scott’s 1979 original and James Cameron’s 1986 sequel are sci-fi masterpieces, so hope remains the next Alien movie will facehug your affections.

2012’s Prometheus saw Scott back and calling the shots. The result was an incoherent mess...

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Blu-Ray Review: Tampopo

Director: Jûzô Itami

Writer: Jûzô Itami

Cast: Tsutomo Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Ken Watanabe, Kôji Yakusho, Kinzô Sakura, Rikiya Yasuoka, Yoshi Katô

Cert: 15

Running time: 114 minutes

Year: 1985


Film:
Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: Timid Tokyo ramen shop owner Tampopo (Miyamoto) begins a journey of culinary and self discovery when the gruff Goro (Yamazaki) teaches her how to make the perfect bowl of noodles.

What’s the verdict: Oh, what torture reviewing one of cinema’s greatest food movies. How tasty look those clichés. The urge to call it “flavourful”, “a feast for the eyes” or “a banquet for the cinematic palate, presented with Michelin-star worthy élan”.

We quite like that last one…

Ah, shame be flambéed...

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Rules Don’t Apply

Director: Warren Beatty

Writer: Warren Beatty (screenplay), Warren Beatty, Bo Goldman (story)

Cast: Warren Beatty, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Matthew Broderick, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Steve Coogan, Taissa Farmiga

Cert: 12

Running time: 127mins

Year: 2016


medium_3


What’s the story: Young Marla (Collins) is brought to 1950s Hollywood as one of billionaire Howard Hughes’ many movie star ingenues. She and sensitive chauffeur Frank (Ehrenreich) are soon pulled into the dangerous, exciting orbit of Hughes (Beatty).

What’s the verdict: Warren Beatty’s return to the big screen fifteen years after the catastrophic failure of Town & Country, may be the now octogenarian’s final silver screen outing.

Befitting its subject, OCD-crippled billionaire Howard Hu...

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Blu-ray Review: The Life of Oharu

Welcome to Cinematic Greens

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Kenji Mizoguchi, Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Saikaku Ihara (novel)

Cast: Kinuyo Tanaka, Toshiro Mifune

Cert: PG

Running time: 137 mins

Year: 1952


Accolades:
1952 Venice Film Festival
International Award

Electric Shadows rating: medium_5
Criterion Extras: medium_3


What’s the story: In 17th century Japan, noblewoman Oharu is exiled from Kyoto for the crime of loving someone belonging to a lower caste, beginning a lifelong struggle against misfortune.

What’s the verdict: Winner of the International Award at 1952’s Venice Film Festival, The Life of Oharu proved Japanese cinema did not start and stop with Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, grand prize winner at Venice a year before.

Where Rashomon was kinetic and visceral, The Life of Oharu was c...

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Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Director: Rupert Sanders

Writers: William Wheeler, Jamie Moss, Ehren Kruger (screenplay), Masamune Shirow (manga), Kazunori Ito (1995 movie)

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Chin Han, Peter Ferdinando, Danusia Samal, Michael Pitt, Rila Fukashima

Cert: 12

Running time: 107 mins

Year: 2017



What’s the story: In New Port City, a Far Eastern metropolis of the future, Major (Johansson), a human brain planted into a cyborg shell after a terrorist attack, is a front-line soldier in the city’s counter terrorism unit. A cyberhacker killing high ranking personnel at technology company Hanka is her greatest threat to date.

What’s the verdict: Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell, based on Masamune Shirow’s manga, hit Hollywood influencers with...

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Blu-Ray Review: Fright Night (1985)

Director: Tom Holland

Writer: Tom Holland

Cast: William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys, Jonathan Stark

Cert: 18

Running time: 106 mins

Year: 1985


Film:medium_5
Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: High school student Charley Brewster is convinced his new, debonair next door neighbor Jerry Dandridge is a vampire. Can he make anyone believe him before it’s too late?

What’s the verdict: Ah, the 1980s. When vampires were monsters and vampire films had sexual subtext without a glaze of wan-faced mopiness.

Released in 1985, a now-unthinkable time when vampires were passé and slasher movie villains sat astride the horror throne, little was expected of Tom Holland’s Fright Night...

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Blu-Ray Review: Lone Wolf and Cub Box Set

Director: Kenji Misumi (films 1-3 & 5), Buichi Saito (film 4), Yoshiyuki Kuroda (film 6)

Writer: Kazuo Koike (screenplay), Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima (manga)

Cast: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Tokio Oki, Minoru Ôki, Tatsuo Endo, Go Kato, Isao Kimura, Yuko Hamada, Michi Azuma, Tomomi Sato, Akihiro Tomikawa

Cert: 18

Running time: 506 minutes (6 films)

Year: 1972-1974

  • Sword of Vengeance (1972)
  • Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)
  • Baby Cart to Hades (1972)
  • Baby Cart in Peril (1972)
  • Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973)
  • White Heaven in Hell (1974)

Films: medium_5
Extras:


What’s the story: A ronin, a masterless samurai, pushes his three-year-old son around Japan in a wooden baby cart, seeking vengeance on those who killed his wife and clan.

What’s the verdict: We’re talking six films here (and spi...

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