In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Banana Split

The film looks beautiful, using natural locations and available light, all of which creates a real sense of the environment.

The Scheme

There may be no March Madness this year but there’s something truly insane related to college basketball this Tuesday.

Other reviews
Review Archives

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other reviews
Great Movie Archives

Home Entertainment Guide: December 12, 2019

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

"Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery"
"Bonnie and Clyde"
"Cool Hand Luke"
"Deep Blue Sea"
"The Departed"
"Hustle & Flow"
"It Comes at Night"
"The Long Kiss Goodnight"
"Malcolm X"
"Primal Fear"

10 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"The Anne Bancroft Collection"

From Bette Davis on Criterion in November to Anne Bancroft in December, it's a great time for fans of great actresses. The "high brow" section of Shout Factory known as "Shout Select" has assembled this reasonably priced collection of some of Bancroft's most-renowned performances from 1952 to 1987. Across eight films, you can really gain a greater appreciation for Bancroft's range from her deeply dramatic core to her skill with comedy. The films included, in chronological order, are "Don't Bother to Knock," "The Miracle Worker," "The Pumpkin Eater," "The Graduate," "Fatso," "To Be or Not To Be," "Agnes of God," and "84 Charing Cross Road." Admittedly, there is some deviation in quality across these eight movies, but what doesn't change is how much Bancroft delivers to every single one of them. 

Advertisement

Buy it here

Special Features
No bonus material

"Hustlers"

Lorene Scafaria's "Hustlers" has been a fascinating study in how a well-made film can be embraced by an under-served audience. Despite shallow comparisons to things like "Magic Mike" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," there aren't a lot of movies out there like "Hustlers," and so fans are holding tight to it this awards season, hopeful that Scafaria gets an Oscar nod for Best Adapted Screenplay and Jennifer Lopez matches her with a well-deserved Supporting Actress nod. Personally, I think the film has more problems than its defenders—Wu is a bland lead and I wish it had more visual energy (after the "Criminal" sequence, of course)—but I get why people are placing this movie on a pedestal, and I hope that it leads to more films for/by/starring women that have this kind of energy and claim their popularity with as much bravado.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Feature Commentary with Director Lorene Scafaria
HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK

"It: Chapter Two"

Sure, this epic movie is messy and weird and long, but the truth is that a vast majority of Stephen King's books are also messy and weird and long. The wild tonal shifts and deep melodrama fit perfectly with King—trust me, I've read almost all of them—and I think this film understands things about King and the source material that other films, including the first chapter, don't. "It" is about trauma, and that's reflected more in this half of the experience than the first, and it doesn't hurt to have great performances from Bill Hader and Jessica Chastain to anchor the film ways that one doesn't. Perhaps my positive response to the film can be partially explained by being let down by the first. Being a huge King fan, I was excited for that film and disappointed, so I then expected this to be disappointing as well, and it's not. It's funny how that works sometimes. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Audio commentary by Director Andy Muschietti
Pennywise Lives Again!
This Meeting of the Losers Club Has Officially Begun
Finding the Deadlights
The Summers of IT: Chapter One, You'll Float Too
The Summers of IT: Chapter Two, IT Ends

"The Limey"

Steven Soderbergh's thriller has never been available on Blu-ray ... and still isn't sadly. But we're putting it in here because it's available in HD for the first time ever with a 4K digital-only release this week. And it's a masterpiece. Terrence Stamp stars as an ex-con who comes to L.A. to solve the mystery of how his daughter died in one of Soderbergh's tightest and best films. Critics took to this movie when it was released, but I still feel like not enough people saw it then or even now. Maybe it's because a generation has been raised on tough talkers in movies but I feel like "The Limey" would be much bigger today. And it could be released exactly as is. After all, you don't mess with perfection. (Except maybe to actually release it on Blu-ray!)

Advertisement

Buy it here 

Special Features
None

"Millennium Actress"

Satoshi Kon's 2002 anime drama is one of the most beloved modern animated films for a reason. Based on the life of Setsuko Hara and Hideko Takamine, "Millennium Actress" is a great entry point into the work of Kon, a masterful director and visual artist (make sure to see "Perfect Blue," "Tokyo Godfathers" and "Paprika" too), and it's never looked better than it does on the new Blu-ray release. It's a wonderful example of an artist using animation to tell a story in a way that live-action simply couldn't come close to achieving as the line between reality and movie magic blurs through the narrative about an actress telling the story of her life. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Video interviews with:
Masao Maruyama
Taro Maki
Laura Post (Eiko)
Abby Trott (Young Chiyoko)

"Old Joy" (Criterion)

The list of our best working female directors continued to expand in 2019 with great debuts from the likes of people like Lulu Wang and Mati Diop, along with an incredible sophomore effort from Greta Gerwig. However, if you asked me who was the best female director now (maybe other than Claire Denis), I would probably say Kelly Reichardt, who quite simply has not made a bad film. It's been nice to see her embraced by Criterion, who released her excellent "Certain Women" and now digs deep into her catalog for her breakthrough film "Old Joy." 

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 2K digital restoration, approved by director Kelly Reichardt and cinematographer Peter Sillen, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interviews with Reichardt, Sillen, and author Jonathan Raymond
New conversation between actors Daniel London and Will Oldham
PLUS: An essay by film critic Ed Halter and (on the Blu-ray) the short story by Raymond on which the film is based

"Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood"

One of the most critically acclaimed film of the decade finally comes home in multiple editions, including a standard Blu-ray, 4K release, and a gorgeous Collector's Edition that comes with the kind of collectibles that fans of Quentin Tarantino movies love. In the box set for the director's latest, you'll find an exclusive Mad Magazine spoof of "Bounty Law," a 45 with two songs from the movie, a poster, and more. And then there's the movie itself, which we just named the third best of the year. Love it or hate it, I guarantee you that people are still going to be watching "OUATIH" for generations. It has a timeless quality as well as being incredibly rewatchable. It's not the kind of thing you rent, it's the kind of thing you buy. Do so below before they run out of the Collector's Edition. 

Advertisement

Buy it here 

Special Features
Over Twenty Minutes of Additional Scenes
Five exclusive behind the scenes pieces including:
Quentin Tarantino's Love Letter to Hollywood
Bob Richardson – For the Love of Film
Shop Talk – The Cars of 1969
Restoring Hollywood – The Production Design of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
The Fashion of 1969

"Ready or Not"

Samara Weaving is fantastic in this action/horror movie, one of several pieces this year about class conflict turned bloody. The story of a new bride's discover that the family she just married into are a bunch of murderous devil worshippers has some great moments, almost all courtesy of Weaving's ace timing, even if I did wish it had a little more bite to it. Still, this is a solid rental with some fine ideas that's mostly well-executed (sorta pun intended). And I truly believe Weaving is going to a massive star in the not-too-distant future, which should make revisiting this even more fun.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Let the Games Begin: The Making of READY OR NOT
Part 1: A Devil's Bargain
Part 2: The Le Domas Name — A Family Brand
Part 3: 'Til Death Do Us Part
Gag Reel
Audio Commentary by Radio Silence and Samara Weaving

"The Story of Temple Drake" (Criterion)

The window between the development of sound and the Hays Code is a fascinating one as there are films like this 1933 drama that couldn't be made just one year later. Miriam Hopkins is phenomenal as the title character, a woman basically punished for her freedom in a story that contains more violent threads than you're used to seeing in works of this era. Some of the filmmaking isn't as interesting as I hoped it would be from the film's set-up, and I'm not sold too much on the ending or the film's overall message, but as a film flung out of time in a way that it's not what most people expect from "classic" movies, it's consistently fascinating and Hopkins alone makes it worth seeing. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New program featuring a conversation between cinematographer John Bailey and Matt Severson, director of the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, about the film’s visual style, as well as archival materials relating to its production
New program featuring critic Imogen Sara Smith on the complexity of the film and its central performance by Miriam Hopkins
New interview with critic Mick LaSalle about the film, censorship, and the Production Code
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

Advertisement

"Until the End of the World" (Criterion)

The masterful Wim Wenders spent almost a year of his life shooting his epic road movie that he considered his masterpiece, but then was shattered to learn that no one would release the 4.5-hour cut that he deemed complete. He was then forced to trim it down to 2.5 hours and the result was a shallow mess that bombed with critics and viewers. Wenders was smart enough to hold on to the full version, knowing someday he would get it released, and this 4K restoration is that full version of his vision. And it's great. This movie needs to be rambling and sometimes incoherent to achieve the poetic tone for which it's reaching. It's a mesmerizing film, more so now with Criterion's 4K restoration and fantastic soundtrack (the original songs by bands like REM, U2, and Talking Heads made for one of the best soundtracks of its era). More people came around to admire this film when this version was released in 2015 and our own Peter Sobczynski wrote eloquently about it 2017. Now you can and should see it for yourself. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, commissioned by the Wim Wenders Foundation and supervised by director Wim Wenders, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New introduction by Wenders
New interview with Wenders about the film’s soundtrack
New conversation between Wenders and musician David Byrne
Japanese behind-the-scenes program detailing the creation of the film’s high-definition sequences
Interview with Wenders from 2001
Up-Down Under Roma, a 1993 interview with Wenders on his experiences in Australia
The Song, a 1991 short film by Uli M Schueppel detailing the recording of “(I’ll Love You) Till the End of the World” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Deleted scenes
Trailer
PLUS: Essays by critics Bilge Ebiri and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on the film and its soundtrack

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Cloud Atlas in the Time of Coronavirus

While the pandemic will pass, our awareness of each other should not.

How We Choose Our Favorite Film, and Why Mine is Joe Versus the Volcano

An essay on the art of choosing a favorite film.

Stuart Gordon: 1947-2020

A tribute to the late director, Stuart Gordon.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus