Film & TV

‘Wanderlust,’ ‘Big Miracle’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

As the U.S. economy struggles, it’s easy to see the appeal in leaving the technology-driven corporate world and settling into something more organic. But, as “Wanderlust” co-writer and director David Wain notes, dropping out comes with its own set of challenges.  The setup of the film is solid, and Rudd is an extremely talented comedian. Unfortunately “Wanderlust” doesn’t give him much good material, and Aniston has never proven herself to be more than a one-note actress. 

Where Have You Gone, Stanley Kubrick?

David Barwinski

The  much-admired (and emulated) Martin Scorsese, for one, is an outstanding auteur and easily one of the best directors  working today, yet he cannot rightly be ranked alongside the titans of the golden years when cinema was emerging as a serious art form: Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Ingmar Bergman, Jean Renoir, and the list goes on.  These masters were, and remain, larger-than-life legends.

‘Sherlock Holmes,’ ‘In Darkness’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

When director Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Snatch”) and actor Robert Downey Jr. updated the Sherlock Holmes mythos in 2009, they delivered an appealing blend of action, drama, mystery and suspense. Sadly, their return to the well is less appealing. That’s not to say “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is a disaster. Downey Jr. is still outstanding in the title role, most notably because he gives the master detective a sense of brutishness that isn’t typically seen in the character. 

‘John Carter,’ Safe House’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

“John Carter” had a disappointing theatrical run in the U.S., but one has to wonder if that’s because it lacks an A-list cast. The film itself is first-rate and can stand proudly alongside 2012 blockbusters like “The Hunger Games” and “The Avengers.”  “John Carter” boasts an excellent blend of character development, special effects and action.  

Why HBO’s Controversial ‘Girls’ Strikes a Nerve

Loren DiBlasi

For something to be great-- truly great-- does it have to actually be good? Not always, it seems. Before it even premiered on April 15, HBO’s “Girls” was making headlines across the country. Created by 26-year-old Lena Dunham and produced by Judd Apatow, “Girls” is a comedy that was supposed to change the way that women in their early 20s are portrayed on television, from their love lives to their bank accounts. The only problem was, not everyone thought that the change was for the better.

Welcome to the Poignant World of Filmmaker Wes Anderson

John McGovern

The sparse dialogue in Wes Anderson’s films captures detachment and suppression – a part of all human relationships. Yet, his films also portray misfortunes and difficulties we encounter with those closest to us in a warmhearted, positive light. His films manage to capture the joys of relationships, despite their challenging complexities. Anderson’s success rides largely on his unique depiction of these two conflicting sides of human behavior -- our social tendencies and our hermetic ones. 

‘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?

 

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