Film & TV

‘Man on a Ledge,’ ‘Gone,' 'Ingmar Bergman Classics' Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Viewers who demand strict realism from their movies will have big problems with “Man on a Ledge,” an intense thriller about a person pushed to the breaking point. Sam Worthington plays Nick Cassidy, a former cop convicted of a diamond theft that he swears he didn’t perpetrate. After an unlikely escape from prison, he makes his way to a lofty, Manhattan hotel, climbs out a window and threatens to throw himself to the street below. 

‘Woman in Black,’ ‘This Means War’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

When an actor spends years playing an iconic role, it can be difficult for him to achieve success with another part, but Daniel Radcliffe is intent on proving there’s life after Harry Potter. In his first major post-Potter role, Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, an early 20th-century solicitor hired to liquidate a creepy estate in the English countryside. 

‘The Dictator’: Sacha Baron Cohen and the Comedy of the Absurd

Maggie Hennefeld

Larry Charles and Sacha Baron Cohen’s work often plays on this thematic of mimicry. “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (2006) and “Bruno” (2009) both juxtapose Cohen’s over-the-top, staged performances with various documentary and news conventions such as candid footage, voiceover narration, and face-to-face interviews. Although “The Dictator” for the most part refrains from “Borat’s” and “Bruno’s" documentary aspirations, the thematic of impersonating political authority remains central to the film’s narrative.


Legendary Directors and the ‘Inspired Lunatic Tradition’ in Filmmaking

Christopher Karr

The movie director plays the creator of a miniature world, the organizer of a controlled sphere. As Ingmar Bergman once said, “To shoot a film is to organize an entire universe.” It’s a demanding task, playing master of a mini-universe. And major problems occur whenever humans decide to play God. For instance, what happens to the actors and technicians who devote themselves to a God who’s a tad insane?


‘Albert Nobbs,’ ‘The Grey’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

“Albert Nobbs” didn’t set box office records during its theatrical run, but it garnered enough critical acclaim to earn three Oscar nominations, including nods for best actress and best supporting actress. Glenn Close landed in the former category for her outstanding portrayal of the title character, a 19th-century Englishwoman pretending to be a man so she can retain her job as a hotel waiter. 

Is Streaming Another Fad or a Lasting Trend in At-Home Entertainment?

Gabriella Tutino

How movies are made will affect the format of the home-video and video rentals. VHS had petered out by the mid-2000s with the introduction of the DVD. The DVD format had a higher resolution and better sound quality than VHS, but it was expensive to remaster films for the new format This issue has repeated itself with the existence of Blu-ray discs -- most classic films aren’t available on Blu-ray because of the digital and photochemical process it takes to change formats. But more and more companies are switching to streaming.

'Underworld: Awakening,' 'The Vow' Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

With stories about vampires and werewolves more popular than ever, Sony saw fit to deliver a fourth entry to the “Underworld” franchise. Like the previous films, “Awakening” meditates on the complicated, and mostly adversarial, relationship between werewolves and vampires, but with a new twist. But “Awakening” is a bad movie even by “Underworld” standards, and the bar isn’t particularly high.

Joss Whedon’s ‘Avengers’ Take on (Old) Calcutta

Sandip Roy

West Bengal’s chief minister promised to turn Calcutta into London. But Joss Whedon in the Marvel comics saga, The Avengers, has gone backwards instead. Calcutta in the age of superheroes looks suspiciously like the one described in the City of Joy circa 1985 – cramped, squalid and leprous. Mark Ruffalo is Dr. Bruce Banner, keeping his inner Hulk under control by saving the eternally ill slum-dwellers of Calcutta.

Top Ten Comedies Every Highbrow Should Watch

Kurt Thurber

Even the most highbrow of highbrows needs to relax and, on certain days when a retreat to the solarium in a favorite alpaca sweater while sipping on a red from the Bordeaux region simply doesn’t cut it, there is another outlet. The comedic offerings of film from across the ages to relax the wary mind burdened with the world’s problems.  The highbrow thinkers of  the world can indulge in film entertainment between solving global warming by using algorithms from a Harvard library window and discussing why James Joyce hated punctuation over tea at 4 o’clock Greenwich time. 

“Haywire,” “George Harrison – Living in the Material World” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

With “Haywire,” mixed-martial arts (MMA) star Gina Carano has completed her transition from fighter to actress, and the result is impressive. “Haywire” takes Carano’s career to new heights by allowing her to anchor a feature film while acting alongside Hollywood heavyweights, including Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas. 


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