Category Archives: DVD of the Week

DVD of the Week – Island of Lost Souls (1932)


Charles Laughton stars as one of the maddest of mad doctors in this adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, with Richard Arlen as the castaway hero and Bela Lugosi as the man-beasts’ leader. The new Criterion Collection DVD/Blu-ray of Island of Lost Souls (1932) is the first time the film has been available on DVD. Surprising for one of the famous pre-Code horror films… until you learn the negative is lost, and this release is a restoration pieced together from several print sources and digitally cleaned up to remove dust and scratches. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Review of The Thing (1982)


In 1951, Howard Hawks (Scarface, 1932; Rio Bravo, 1959) directed a horror classic called The Thing from Another World. It featured a slew of American Air Force officials and scientists at an arctic station who encounter a hostile alien creature. The film kept the monster’s appearance hidden until the end, ratcheting the suspense up to 11. The reason for the film’s enduring popularity is that, just like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), there’s a the huge metaphor embedded in the story’s center: communists hiding in plain sight inside the US. They looked just like everyone else and spoke just like everyone else and were virtually impossible to detect. A nationwide scare was in progress and the fluoride scare was soon to follow. America in the mid-20th century was a particularly interesting country. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Terri (2011)


Terri (Jacob Wysocki) is an overweight high-schooler who wears pajamas to school because they’re comfortable. He lives in a small house with his uncle James (Creed Bratton), who suffers from dementia or possibly Alzheimer’s, and both of their lives are rather quiet and melancholy. Terri slowly descends into boredom, which can be seen in the slower pace in which he walks and the way in which everything seems like a chore to him. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Four Baseball Movies for Baseball Fans


Some baseball movies transcend their genre to reach beyond their natural fanbase. Some baseball movies are just plain bad movies. This post is given to four that occupy the middle ground of good baseball movies made for baseball fans.

Rhubarb (1951)

Ray Milland plays the press agent for a major league baseball team whose new owner is the recently deceased prior owner’s pet cat in this charming family comedy. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Spotlight On… Kino International


An occasional series profiling companies putting out high-quality DVD/Blu-ray releases of classic, independent, and foreign films.

Kino International’s tagline is “The Best in World Cinema.” The company’s more than 500 title strong catalog redeems that pledge with an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary films.’s “About” page proudly lists “films and filmmakers…introduced to North American film audiences since 1980” that includes many important directors such as Shoehei Imamura (Japan), Aki Kaurismaki (Finland), Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong), Amos Gitai (Israel), Bertrand Tavernier (France), and Im Kwon-taek (Korea). Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Review of You Kill Me (2007)


Frank Falenczyk (Sir Ben Kingsley) is a hitman for the Polish mob, if ever there was such a thing. Problem is he has a terrible alcohol problem. One night while on duty but drunk, he falls asleep in his car while his boss’s competition boards a train that he “wasn’t supposed to.” Frank is picked up in the morning by his peers and his boss Roman (veteran character actor Philip Baker Hall) sends him to San Francisco to sober up. That’s where the film picks up its humor and never lets up. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Review of The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)


The Magnificent Ambersons is Orson Welles’ second masterpiece, following his surprising commercial flop Citizen Kane (1941). This film is far less flamboyant, contains a more stark visual style, and borrows strongly from Eisensteinian dramatic compositions and editing techniques, which is a very good thing. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Review of Everything Must Go (2011)


Based on Raymond Carver’s short story “Why Won’t You Dance”, Everything Must Go tells the story of Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell), an alcoholic who recently relapsed. As a result, he loses his long term job and also his marriage; his wife locks him out of his own house, his joint bank account is frozen, his car is seized, etc. This is only the first ten minutes of the film and it may seem grim, but this is an indie film that’s full of wonderful moments that left me smiling. Nevertheless, there are some dark moments too and they’re the best parts of the film. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Review of Jane Eyre (2011)


Jane Eyre is the classic, Gothic tale of an orphan that was born in misfortune. Jane (Mia Wasikowska) grew up with a family that detested her and was eventually sent to a boarding school where she finally made a friend. But the school was hell, the children were beaten, and her best friend died of illness. This was before Jane was even a teenager. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Back to School with the Classics


To mark back to school season, here are three films adapted from literary or cinematic classics. These movies are not just entertaining and educational, but instructive too: how-to guides to navigating the social pitfalls of high school.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Continue reading