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DVD Talk reviews for Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Old 02-15-19, 03:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Thursday, February 14th, 2019

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Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers (Blu-ray)
by Tyler Foster

When it comes to the history of film, there has been an increased effort in recent years to help raise the profile of the women who helped create the basic grammar of filmmaking, and who were instrumental in laying the foundations of the art form we know and love today. When I reviewed Flicker Alley's "Early Women Filmmakers" Blu-ray and DVD box set in 2017, Kino Lorber had already announced plans for their own box set. Over a year and a half later, the result is "Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers", a stunning six-disc Blu-ray box set (and an abridged, separately released DVD counterpart) that spotlights the work of Alice Guy-Blache, Lois Weber, Mabel Normand, and many more. Although there is minimal crossover, and film fans should consider seeking out both Kino and Flic...Read the entire review »


Highly Recommended
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Blu-ray)
by Oktay Ege Kozak

The Movie:

With the gender-flipped remake, The Hustle, coming out soon to theatres, what better time to revisit one of the greatest con artist comedies ever made, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels -Which itself was a remake of the David Niven/Marlon Brando flick Bedtime Story-? Frank Oz's now classic take on Bedtime Story evens out a lot of the sexist themes with its famous third act twist, while also improving on the original with pitch perfect casting. Michael Caine and Steve Martin go so well together as the snobby, high-class con artist and the zany rapscallion small time conman, respectfully, that their odd couple dynamic is half of what makes Dirty Rotten Scoundrels special.

Caine is Lawrence, a suave cat who scams rich women with dramatic stories straight out of their favorite bus stop novels while he enjoys a lavish lifestyle in the French Riviera. His monopoly ...Read the entire review »

The Hate U Give (Blu-ray)
by William Harrison


Well acted and topically resonant, The Hate U Give is a satisfying adaptation of Angie Thomas' young adult novel of the same name. This drama, from director George Tillman Jr. (Notorious), follows 16-year-old Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) as she walks the line between two very different societies. Carter lives in a poor, largely African-American neighborhood, but attends a prep school across town filled with wealthy white students. When Starr's childhood friend, Khalil Harris (Algee Smith), is shot during a traffic stop, Starr becomes an unwitting witness and lightning rod for social justice. The Hate U Give tackles some weighty current affairs and weaves them into a simple, effective coming-of-age drama to produce a satisfying film.

After another of Starr's childhood friends...Read the entire review »


Overlord (Blu-ray)
by William Harrison


Revisionist history can be fun, particularly when it involves killing Nazis ala Inglourious Basterds. The latest actioner blending history with fiction is Overlord, from director Julius Avery and Producer J. J. Abrams. In this alternate World War II reality, American paratroopers parachute into occupied France to take down a German communications tower and discover the Nazis are conducting horrible experiments on the local citizens. Using an ancient tar found under a church, the Germans create a super-soldier serum that has horrifying side effects. The survivors look to complete the mission and save the world from Nazi zombies.

At the end of the day, Overlord is less fun than it sounds, though it's still an entertaining B-movie. The film opens on the eve of D-Day ab...Read the entire review »

Sharp Objects (Blu-ray)
by William Harrison


If nothing else, Sharp Objects has an expertly curated soundtrack, offering tunes that run the gamut from artists like Led Zeppelin, Tupac, LCD Soundsystem, The Doors, The Acid, and Mark Batson. The show is pretty good, too. An eight-episode miniseries from HBO, Sharp Objects is an adaptation of Gillian Flynn's ("Gone Girl") novel and stars Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson. Part murder mystery and part simmering family drama, Sharp Objects offers plenty of scenery to chew on and more than a little bit of Midwestern small-town sass. Largely involving and gorgeously lensed, Sharp Objects kept my interest throughout its extended running time.

Camille Preaker (Adams) returns to Wind Gap, Missouri, after being released from a psychiatric hospital for self-harm and alcohol addiction. Still employed by a St. Louis newspaper, Camille is t...Read the entire review »


Rent It
The Lego Movie 2
by Olie Coen

Director: Mike Mitchell
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett
Year: 2019

The second Lego movie has a different director than the first, which is incredibly important and painfully obvious. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are complete lovable idiots, and their stuff is ultimately enjoyable, if ridiculously over the top. Their humor works perfectly in a kids movie because they are boys who never grew up, and yes that gets tiresome after a while, but in small doses that can mean a ton of fun. They wrote the screenplay for this film, but they passed the director's chair over to Mike Mitchell, the guy who brought us Deuce Bigalow, Sky High, Shrek Forever After, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The SpongeBob Mov...Read the entire review »


Skip It
River Runs Red
by Olie Coen

Director: Wes Miller
Starring: Taye Diggs, George Lopez, John Cusack
Year: 2018

I adoringly follow John Cusack both cinematically and politically, but I have limits on both fronts, and it seems like we just reached the point down the film road where, if he's gonna pull over here, I'm staying in the car. He doesn't always choose the best projects, but then he drops something like Love & Mercy and you feel glad you stuck by his side all these years. On the flip side, sometimes he costars in River Runs Red for no other reason that you can discern other than money, because you know that's the only way they could get you to show your face in something...Read the entire review »

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