Since its inception a few years back, Severin Films has been on point, tracking down and unleashing cool and obscure genre fare that you won’t find anywhere else on DVD. And they’re back at it again with a new pair of nice Blu-rays of late 70s action and exploitation films, “The Wild Geese” and “Ashanti”.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
I couldn’t think of any clever or interesting takes on the end of the year list, so I’m going to stick with the old standby: the top ten (or so). These aren’t necessarily intended to be the best movies of the year in an objective sense. That’s a tough case to make for many of these. Regardless, here are my favorites of the year.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 spaghetti western, “Django”, is legendary as the film that launched 100 unofficial sequels. This is obvious hyperbole and urban legend—to date only 30-something are accounted for—but it still spawned a crap load of badass westerns. These movies run the gamut from trying to recreate the grim tone and setting of the original, to offerings like “Sukiyaki Western Django”, Takeshi Miike’s manic mod take on two feuding frontier clans.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Having never read Victor Hugo’s novel, nor seen the legendary stage production, the vast majority of what I know about “Les Misérables” comes from an episode of “Animaniacs”. That said, I do love a good musical, and I rather enjoyed this long awaited film adaptation, though it is an up and down ride at times. Even if you’re not familiar with the play, you’ve heard these songs before, the cast is fantastic across the board, even people I don’t usually care for (Anne Hathaway, I’m looking at you), and the costumes and production design do a great job of making you feel like you’re in 19th century France. Everyone, even the upper class, are suitably grubby and smudged so that you believe they’ve spent their entire lives living in filth.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
At this point you know exactly what you’re getting into when you sit down to watch a Judd Apatow movie. You’ll start out with some raucous, improvised humor—think frequent use of the word vagina and cursing at inappropriate moments. After a while there’s a big life complication that needs to be worked out, and at the end everybody hugs. This is the pattern for the movies he produces, the movies he writes, and the movies he directs. His latest opus, “This is 40”, never strays from this formula for a moment, and while it has worked for him in the past, it fails in comparison to his other films.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
It’s impossible for me to talk about “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” without first discussing the delivery mechanism. Over the past few months there has been much back and forth over the fact that director Peter Jackson planned to show the film in 48 frames per second, instead of the traditional 24. I’ve got to say, I don’t like it too much. The images do have a stunning clarity to them. In close up shots you can practically count each and every pore on an actor’s face. And it does seem to alleviate some of the eyestrain that pops up with 3D.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
On the surface, Stefan Ruzowitzky’s crime-thriller “Deadfall” has a huge upside. When brother-sister robbers Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) knock over a casino—Liza’s first big score—and make a clean getaway, things look good. On their way to the Canadian border things take a turn for the worse and problems arise, for the characters and the film. When they hit a deer and wander into the wilderness, a harsh Michigan blizzard forces them to separate and fend for themselves in the bleak, windswept tundra.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Many of us spent last season desperately waiting for something, anything to happen on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. With the exception of last week’s episode, season three has done a fine job rectifying this situation. The mid-season finale, “Made to Suffer”, delivers more of the same.
Spoilers are waiting to tear into flesh, so tread lightly, lest you have your little mind blown.