Blu-ray/DVD Reviews

My Beautiful Laundrette, out now in a new, restored 2K digital transfer on Criterion Blu-ray, takes place in a specific setting and with such specific characters that, even though the place and time feels very unfamiliar, is rendered relatable with an expressionistic tone by a humanistic director who coached some true, raw performances — including one from then up-and-comer Daniel Day-Lewis.

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The 1927 Ernest Hemingway short story The Killers was adapted to film twice in a span of less than 20 years, producing two fantastic films which share some of the same themes, but in every other respect couldn’t be farther apart. The fact that The Criterion Collection has updated their previously issued double-movie DVD and has just released it on Blu-ray is real cause for celebration.

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While this might be least-known of director Jack Hill’s efforts, even within the pantheon of work he did for Corman’s New World Pictures, it’s definitely worth a closer look.

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On the surface, this 1970 movie from Czech New Wave auteur Jaromil Jireš seems like a softcore porn Alice in Wonderland but without quite enough nudity to qualify.

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The Bridge is one of the best anti-war movies I’ve ever seen. Certainly its about the futility of war, but it goes farther than that.

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Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD release of the 1969 Nazisploitation/sexploitation flick The Cut-Throats — limited to 1,500 copies — is a very basic one. It has a 2k restoration, along with the original trailer, and that’s about it.

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Beloved Sisters, out now on Blu Ray and DVD through Music Box Films, is a dull slog through Enlightenment-era Europe about two aristocratic sisters who fall in love with German writer Friedrich Schiller.

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Damian Szifron’s extraordinarily fun and twisted movie Wild Tales, out on Blu-ray tomorrow, was nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar earlier this year.

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Chappie, out on Blu-ray now, may be a mess, but it has a strange kind of staying power, amidst all the madness.

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Red Army, out on Blu-ray now, runs parallel to the events that led to the fall of the Soviet Union and reiterates Communist ideals through the sport of hockey.

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In the classic 1941 comedy Sullivan’s Travels, available now in a sterling new digital restoration on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection, writer/director Preston Sturges stumps for the value of pure, unadulterated laughter in motion pictures.

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Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD/Blu-ray combo release of Don’t Go in the Woods … Alone! is an excellent-looking version of a very cheap movie that appeals to a very specific subset of people that I now must consider myself part of.

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Two new DVD releases from Music Box Films explore unusual communities. Happy Valley shows the collective denial of a community shaken by accusations of abuse against one of its most prominent members, while Antarctica: A Year on Ice romanticizes a group that chooses to live far from civilization.

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Despite being billed as being from “master of Filipino sleaze, Cirio Santiago,” the exploitation flick “The Muthers” is surprisingly good-natured.

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With this new Criterion Blu-ray (and DVD) reissue, Ride the Pink Horse should take its place among the film noir genre as one of the greats.

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