Blu-Ray review tagged posts

Criterion Collection: Jabberwocky

Director: Terry Gilliam

Writer: Terry Gilliam, Charles Alveron (screenplay), Lewis Carroll (poem)

Cast: Michael Palin, Harry H. Corbett, Annette Badland, John Le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Max Wall, Bernard Bresslaw, Deborah Fallender, John Bird, Rodney Bewes, Terry Jones, Gordon Kaye

Cert: 12

Running time: 105mins

Year: 1977


Film:
Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: In a medieval kingdom, the peasant Dennis (Palin) finds himself on a wild adventure that leads him to battle the Jabberwocky, a ferocious beast spreading fear, famine and death.

What’s the verdict: Though based on Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem, from grimy exterior to fantastical core Jabberwocky is pure Terry Gilliam.

His full directorial debut (Gilliam co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Jones), this birth...

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Criterion Collection: Carnival of Souls

Director: Herk Harvey

Writer: John Clifford

Cast: Candace Hilligoss, Sidney Berger, Frances Feist, Art Ellison

Cert: 12

Running time: 78mins

Year: 1962


Film:
Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: Young organist Mary is the only survivor when her friend’s car crashes off a bridge into a river. As she attempts to start a new life in a different town, a frightening stranger begins to stalk her.

What’s the verdict: British film fans skirting around the age of 40 are likely to have first encountered Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls courtesy of Alex Cox. Cox screened it in the summer of 1991 as part of his essential Moviedrome series (and his intro can be seen here).

Those of us who saw it that Sunday night were still reeling from the recently released The Silence of the Lambs...

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Criterion Collection: Lord of the Flies (1963)

Director: Peter Brook

Writer: None credited

Cast: Jack Aubrey, Hugh Edwards, Tom Chapin, Tom Gaman

Cert: PG

Running time: 92mins

Year: 1963


Film: medium_5
Extras:
medium_5


What’s the story: Young schoolboys, stranded on a tropical island after a plane crash, degenerate into warring beasts. Ralph (Aubrey) and Piggy (Edwards) attempt to maintain order. But, the other boys are more drawn to the violent choirboy Jack (Chapin).

What’s the verdict: Always depressing to declare a film about man’s innate barbarism is as relevant today as when released almost 55-years ago. But, Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies, adapted from William Golding’s novel published almost 65-years ago, remains a cautionary fable.

The irresistible premise was borne of Golding’s musing to his wife, how would the child characters...

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Criterion Collection: The Fisher King

Director: Terry Gilliam

Writer: Richard LaGravenese

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer

Cert: 15

Running time: 137mins

Year: 1991


Film: medium_5
Extras:
medium_5


What’s the story: Radio shock jock Jack Lucas (Bridges) falls into suicidal depression after his on-air remarks spark a tragic incident. He seeks redemption in helping Parry (Williams), a manic homeless man caught up in the event Jack inadvertently caused.

What’s the verdict: A welcome Criterion Collection release of Terry Gilliam’s romantic fairytale that doesn’t forget to add a generous pinch of the Grimm stuff.

Wounded by the difficult production of 1988’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the vagaries of Hollywood saw Gilliam returning three years later to Columbia, the studio that unceremoniously d...

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Criterion Collection: Les Diaboliques (1955)

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Writer: Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jérôme Géronimi (screenplay), René Masson, Frédéric Grendel (collaboration), Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac (novel)

Cast: Vera Clouzot, Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse

Cert: 12

Running time: 117 mins

Year: 1955


Film: medium_5
Extras:


What’s the story: Christina (Clouzot), the frail owner of a large French school, lives in fear of her husband, school director M. Delassalle (Meurisse). Together with Delassalle’s mistress Nicole (Signoret), Christina plots her husband’s murder. But, killing him could be the beginning of more trouble…

What’s the verdict: One of cinema’s great shockers, after more than sixty years Les Diaboliques (aka The Fiends or The Devils depending on which print you’re watching) is yet to creak.

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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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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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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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