‘Never Cry Wolf’ is a perfect, beautifully told story about one man’s journey to find himself

Charles Martin Smith in 'Never Cry Wolf'
Charles Martin Smith in ‘Never Cry Wolf’

When I was a kid, Never Cry Wolf was the first film I went to see alone. It was 1983, and I was 8 years old. I went to see the movie 13 times, 12 of which alone.

I don’t know what struck me about the film, but I was completely taken by it. Fascinated. I loved the story, and continually scratched together the five to six bucks I needed to see the movie, and buy a soda and popcorn.

Read more‘Never Cry Wolf’ is a perfect, beautifully told story about one man’s journey to find himself

Lena Dunham is excellent in ‘Tiny Furniture’

Lena Dunham wrote, directed and starred in 'Tiny Furniture'
Lena Dunham wrote, directed and starred in ‘Tiny Furniture’

In what I had thought was a wholly unique experience, I spent my initial post-graduation days at home in limbo, unsure of where I was heading or if I’d even get started on that journey. But now it appears that it wasn’t just me, as Jill of all trades Lena Dunham draws on that precise situation and feeling in her breakthrough film, Tiny Furniture. This 2010 film, which won best narrative feature at South by Southwest and best first screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards, has finally found its way to DVD and Blu ray thanks to the Criterion Collection.

After graduating from college in Ohio, Aura Freeman (Dunham) returns to her New York City home to live with her mother Siri (actual mother Laurie Simmons) and younger sister Nadine (actual sister Grace Dunham). Neither particularly care that she’s come back, and the more into the film we get, it becomes clear that they treat Aura’s presence as more of a burden. In a strange — and fitting for the purposes of this story — coincidence, Siri and Nadine look like each other and don’t resemble Aura physically all that much. It’s almost like Aura was adopted. One has to wonder if Lena herself ever feels that way.

Read moreLena Dunham is excellent in ‘Tiny Furniture’

‘Godzilla’ roars with Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray beautiful black-and-white

Godzilla (Gojira) first trampled through Tokyo in 1954
Godzilla (Gojira) first trampled through Tokyo in 1954

[rating=4]Starring: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Takashi Shimura, Raymond Burr
Director(s): Ishiro Honda
Writer(s): Shigeru Kayama (story), Takeo Murata, Ishiro Honda (script)

Godzilla, the creature who was baptized in the fire of the H-bomb and survived. This film icon that’s crossed international and generational lines has been with us for nearly 60 years. Films, video games, television, and music videos inside Japan and out continue to draw inspiration from it. Now the 1954 film that started it all has been added to the Criterion Collection in a new digital restoration on DVD and Blu-ray.

Read more‘Godzilla’ roars with Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray beautiful black-and-white

‘Straw Dogs’ remake cannot compare to Dustin Hoffman’s original

Kate Bosworth in 'Straw Dogs' (2011)
Kate Bosworth in ‘Straw Dogs’ (2011)

[rating=1]Starring: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, James Woods
Director(s): Rod Lurie
Writer(s): Rod Lurie

In 1971, Straw Dogs starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George and directed by Sam Peckinpah was released to much attention. Over 40 years, it has become a classic that stands as one of the finest achievements of the director and actors.

Read more‘Straw Dogs’ remake cannot compare to Dustin Hoffman’s original

B-movie ‘Born Bad’ gets good grade

[rating=3]Starring: Meredith Monroe, Bonnie Dennison, Michael Welch, David Chokachi
Director(s): Jared Cohn
Writer(s): Jared Cohn

Michael Welch stars in 'Born Bad'
Michael Welch stars in ‘Born Bad’

Born Bad is the product of quite an unusual union.

The Asylum is a low-budget independent film (okay fine, B-movie) studio known for movies with former ‘80s teen idols fighting giant sea creatures. And their collaborator? Lifetime, equally as big a titan in the guilty pleasures field. However, this film is one I’m not ashamed to say was good.

Read moreB-movie ‘Born Bad’ gets good grade

‘Island of Lost Souls’ still retains its power to horrify

Kathleen Burke in 'Island of Lost Souls'
Kathleen Burke in ‘Island of Lost Souls’

[rating=4]Starring: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen
Director(s): Erle C. Kenton
Writer(s): Screenplay by Philip Wylie, Waldemar Young; based upon the book by H. G. Wells

The early 1930s is thought of as the golden age of horror films, and for good reason. This was the era that gave us DraculaFrankensteinDr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeMFreaksVampyr, and King Kong. And now thanks to the Criterion Collection, Island of Lost Souls officially makes its way to DVD and Blu Ray for the very first time.

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‘Secrets in the Walls’ only worth watching for Jeri Ryan

Jeri Ryan in 'Secrets in the Walls'
Jeri Ryan in ‘Secrets in the Walls’

[rating=2]Starring: Jeri Ryan, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Kay Panabaker, Peyton List
Director(s): Christopher Leitch
Writer(s): William Penick, Chris Sey

A family moves into a new home, which seems like an improvement from where they last lived. It doesn’t take too long after that for someone, most likely one of the children, to realize there are things going bump in the night. The protagonist character is skeptical but decides to do some digging and discovers that these strange events have some connection to a cold case crime from long ago. Then it’s up to our hero, possibly with the assistance of someone who dabbles in the supernatural, to set the wrongs of the past right and make the home a happy place again.

Read more‘Secrets in the Walls’ only worth watching for Jeri Ryan

‘Malibu Shark Attack’ is a poor man’s ‘Shark Night 3D’

[rating=2]Starring: Peta Wilson, Warren Christie, Chelan Simmons, Sonya Salomaa
Director(s): David Lister
Writer(s): Lindsay James

Is that supposed to be a shark in 'Malibu Shark Attack'? Apparently
Is that supposed to be a shark in ‘Malibu Shark Attack’? Apparently

Last summer’s tail end saw the piranhas, but this one belongs to the sharks. Presumably to capitalize on the buzz from Shark Night 3DMalibu Shark Attack has finally found its way to DVD. Made for television and airing on the Syfy channel two years ago, ARC has put the film out as part of the Maneater line.

This movie, which I think can be best described asJaws meets Baywatch meets Hurricane Katrina, succeeds a bit in being an entertaining diversion, but suffers from some key problems, ones that even the most casual viewers will find.

Read more‘Malibu Shark Attack’ is a poor man’s ‘Shark Night 3D’

‘Gojira: Deluxe Collector’s Edition’ is a beautiful DVD set from Classic Media

Godzilla terrorizes Japan in 'Gojira'
Godzilla terrorizes Japan in ‘Gojira’

[rating=4]Starring: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, Fuyuki Murakami
Director(s): Ishirô Honda
Writer(s): Screenplay by Ishirô Honda, Shigeru Kayama; Story by Takeo Murata

Much of my childhood was spent watching Godzilla movies on channel 9 here in New York. We’re talking the early films from the 1960s and 1970s, including that goofy one where Godzilla has a son. I loved those movies. This weekend I sat down to watch the film that started it all, Gojira, the unedited Japanese film that launched that giant lizard upon the masses.

Read more‘Gojira: Deluxe Collector’s Edition’ is a beautiful DVD set from Classic Media