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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, December 24th, 2018

Old 12-25-18, 04:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, December 24th, 2018

Highly Recommended
The Serpent's Egg (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

Let's give Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman some credit: given a big budget for his first (and only) "Hollywood" production, he did anything but sell out and make something frivolous like, say, a Smokey and the Bandit movie. Indeed, The Serpent's Egg (1977) is one of Bergman's most relentlessly dark and disturbing features. Set in 1920s Berlin, during a time of rising anti-Semitism and runaway inflation (a beer will cost you a billion deutschmarks), the setting becomes German Expressionist Hell on Earth. Though regarded as one of Bergman's lesser works, the look of the film is mesmerizing if not exactly an ideal date movie. Watching Arrow's Blu-ray, I was particularly struck by how obviously this must have been a major influence on Adrian Lyne's 1990 film (written by Bruce Joel Rubin) Jacob's Ladder, which clearly emulates it in myriad ways. Surely I'm not the first to notic...Read the entire review »

 

Recommended
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (Blu-ray)
by Ian Jane

The Movie:

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is widely regarded as the worst film in the series, and it's not really that hard to see why. Sure, the movie might have some A-list actors in it in the form of young Ren e Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, but star power doesn't always relate to quality. Written and directed by Kim Henkel, the man who created the story and co-wrote the screenplay for the original film with director Tobe Hooper, it is a mess of a film. But it's a fascinating mess with some interesting ideas and a few moments that actually impress. While there are logic gaps aplenty and plenty of questionable choices on display, if nothing else the film is never boring.

The film is set in 1996 and it follows a group of high school students at their prom. Our lead is Jenny (Zellweger), a nerdy girl who comes from an abusive home, who has arrived with bo...Read the entire review »

 

Rent It
Learning To See: The World Of Insects - Special Edition (Blu-ray)
by Randy Miller III

If you judge a movie by its cover, Jake Oelman's Learning to See: The World of Insects (2016) looks like a standard nature documentary about...well, bugs. Yet the write-up and short text introduction reveals a more personal film: it's about Jake's father Robert, who became dissatisfied with his career as a psychoanalyst and, in the early 1990s, moved to Columbia -- the South American republic, not the city -- after reading Love in the Time of Cholera. After purchasing a hillside home and surrounding farmland for roughly $40,000, he befriended a local family and took up macro photography. This eventu...Read the entire review »

The Happytime Murders (Blu-ray)
by Jesse Skeen

In the pre-internet days, it was quite a novelty to see characters aimed at kids (cartoons or puppets mainly) engaging in things that would never be allowed in a kids' show or movie such as swearing, having sex or committing graphic acts of violence. When the trailer for The Happytime Murders appeared online this summer however, I got the impression that its makers thought they were being really edgy but what I saw seemed to be just a re-hash of things that had been done before. I still wanted to see it as it was probably still funny, but it just seemed that those behind it thought a lot more of it than it was worthy of. I figured that second-rate talent was likely behind it, but my eyebrows raised quite a bit when I realized it was directed by none other than Brian Henson, son of Muppets creator Jim Henson. That seemed to me like someone with a connection to Disney directing Read the entire review »

Aquaman
by Olie Coen


Director: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe
Year: 2018

People who decry the failure of DC forget that Marvel has had its bumps as well, and took some time to get in the proverbial groove. I'm not defending the majority of what DC has given us to this point, far from it, but Wonder Woman was a legitimate success and Aquaman looks to be a relative win as well, so perhaps this universe has found its place in the stars. Who would have thought that Wonder Woman and Aquaman would be the figures to save the franchise that Superman and Batman put in jeopardy, but here we are, and the future could still be bright. That's the state of the DC union, but that's not exactly my opinion. While I did thor...Read the entire review »

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