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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, September 9th, 2019

Old 09-10-19, 03:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, September 9th, 2019

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A Foreign Affair (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

One of director Billy Wilder's best yet lesser-known comedies, A Foreign Affair (1948) is both sweetly charming yet also bitingly satirical, even brutal, in its depiction of early postwar Berlin. It features a very fine performance by Marlene Dietrich, and male lead John Lund is also good, but the film belongs to the radiant Jean Arthur, whose comic timing just dazzles. Both women were in their late-forties; indeed, it was Arthur's penultimate film, she retiring from the screen after Shane (1953), though she did a little bit of TV work after that.

Written primarily by Wilder and his associate of the period, Charles Brackett, the satirical targets - soldiers fraternizing with one-time Nazis and Soviet occupiers, buying and selling on the black market, while military brass try to bamboozle members of Congress sent to investigate - is slyly understated, the story's dizzying romantic trian...Read the entire review »

 

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

Despite a life-long affection for Japanese monster movies and professional/scholarly ties to that genre, having written books, audio commentaries and the like, I realized going in that Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) was not made for 53-year-old me. To expect anything resembling the "classic" Godzilla movies of my youth would have been unwise. I therefore accepted from the start that this would be a film targeting an 18-24-year-old demographic of mainstream moviegoers drawn to high-concept entertainment.

But surely even 18-24-year-olds deserve something better than this stupefyingly bad movie. I didn't anticipate liking it all that much, but figured it might be clever or interesting here and there, and assumed, at least visually, that it would be reasonably spectacular. Instead, I sat dumbfounded by its continual onslaught of awfulness.

The first American-made Godzilla (1998),...Read the entire review »

A Dog's Journey (Blu-ray)
by Oktay Ege Kozak

The Movie:

I'm a sucker for the recent crop of movies that covers the life of a dog as told through our four-legged buds' symbiotic connection to us humans. I liked the critically panned A Dog's Purpose, praising it for leaning on its schmaltz with a hefty dose of love and compassion for its many canine characters' devotion to making our lives better on this planet. I even enjoyed the now-forgotten A Dog's Way Home. Check out my fawning review of The Art of Racing in the Rain, which I love especially because it doesn't shy away from its strong melodramatic elements.

But schmaltz needs conviction to work. If it's phoned in and lazy, it will just come across as condescending and cheap. ...Read the entire review »

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