Blu-ray/DVD Reviews

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is Roger Ebert’s sole screenplay credit and it’s gonzo as hell. He takes a bunch of stock characters (and c-list actors and former Playboy playmates) and grinds them through enough ridiculous conflict to put a season of American Horror Story to shame.

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Son of Saul is a one-of-a kind immersive experience that gives stark glimpses of death-camp murder and madness with a frightening frankness.

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‘Brief Encounter’ is David Lean’s exquisite romantic drama that seems simple on the surface, but even in the face of the extra-marital affair at is heart, it has a heightened sense of morality.

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At the height of the Cold War, the chilling thought that we couldn’t tell the enemy from ourselves was too much to for audiences, who turned a cold shoulder to The Manchurian Candidate. Now that’s its on Criterion Blu-ray, don’t make the same mistake.

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It’s easy to fall for Sisters’ natural charm and just let the movie work on you. Sure, it’s a silly premise with all kinds of moments that don’t quite ring true as realistic, but if we’re going to have one more dumb man-child comedy, at least this one has Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in it.

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There’s little fault to find in Coming Home, which tells a heartbreaking story using components of a cultural upheaval that most of the world, China included, knows little about.

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The Danish Girl, out on Blu-ray now, pulls back every time there is an opportunity for an in-depth exploration of Lili’s psyche or an examination on Gerda’s part for the guilt and regret she may feel for encouraging this.

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The Graduate is on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection, mastered from a 4K digital restoration with a wonderful new 5.1 surround sound remix, approved by Nichols before his death last year, and tons of extra features.

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Death by Hanging is made all the more remarkable by the fact that it was released in 1968. New on Blu-ray from Criterion today, this absurdist satire from Nagisa Oshima shows a man executed by the government whose body refuses to die.

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Now that it’s out on Blu-ray, ‘Steve Jobs’ can be seen and appreciated by a wider audience for the engaging biopic that it is.

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A lean story with some unlikely poignancy, with director Daniel Barber squeezing the most suspense out of it possible. There’s not a lot of twists and turns; it’s just one sustained mood of dread and and ending that makes puts the entire thing into a wider, scarier perspective.

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Director Tetsuya Nakashima is hellbent to that end in The World of Kanako, his ultra-violent, ultra-stylized 2014 extreme revenge flick. It was released in America last fall by Drafthouse Films and comes to Blu-ray today.

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Gilda is out now in a fantastic-looking 2K restoration Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection that reveals what a anomaly the movie truly was.

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In the documentary ‘I Am Thor,’ out now on Blu-ray, “nice guy” Canadian bodybuilder-turned-stripper-turned-heavy-metal-rock-star John Mikl Thor decides one day in the mid-1990s to try to regain a sliver of the fame he had in the crazy, sexed-up 1970s.

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There is so much to be learned from Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Bitter Rice, even today. It is a perfect surprise, proving how important and how much fun it is to discover older movies with fresh eyes.

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