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DVD Talk reviews for Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Old 08-23-19, 03:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

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Night on Earth (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

One of writer-director Jim Jarmusch's most accessible, entertaining features, Night on Earth (1991) serves as a good introduction to the uniquely independent filmmaker. The unusual premise divides his 129-minute film into five vignettes, all set during the same evening aboard taxicabs in five different cities: Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki. The tone and characters of each segment is different from the others. As with all anthology films, some segments play better than others: I hadn't seen Night on Earth since its initial release yet, nearly 30 years later, the one segment I didn't care for at all then I still don't like, while those I did still hold up well, and in some ways are even more impressive viewed in today's moviemaking climate.

I...Read the entire review »

 

Highly Recommended
Dinosaurus! (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

The third of three independently produced sci-fi films from the team of producer Jack H. Harris and director Irvin "Shorty" Yeaworth, Dinosaurus! (1960) is by far the weakest, though it has a dogged likeability in spite of itself.

Harris and Yeaworth first teamed up for The Blob (1958). Harris, like many indie producers of his generation, started out as a movie theater usher who gradually worked his way up the ladder into regional film distribution. Yeaworth was a director of educational and especially religious films, working out a small studio in, of all places, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The Blob was made for just $110,000 yet eventually earned around $4 million, a phenomenal return for such a cheap movie.

The reasons for its success are pretty clear. It had an outrageous, funny title (and title song); unlike most cheap films of the time it was shot in vivid color; and it...Read the entire review »

 

Recommended
Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

Whatya expect watching a lot-budget genre hybrid called Billy the Kid vs. Dracula? A masterpiece of American cinema? Of course not.

It's not a good movie, but nor is it all that terrible. Star John Carradine called it the worst movie he ever made. Of his prolific film career, he said, "I only regret Billy the Kid vs. Dracula. Otherwise, I regret nothing." Really? The truth is that Carradine made movies far worse than this, The Astro-Zombies (1968) for one, the trailer for which is included on Kino's sparkling new Blu-ray disc. It's not even Carradine's worst Dracula movie.

The picture exhibits sloppy direction and writing, with many obvious goofs and narrative inconsistencies. That said, it is a professional, if low-budget film, populated with good actors who'd appeared in Universal's classic horror films of the 1940s and, more significantly, classic Westerns. A surpris...Read the entire review »

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