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.
To get something out of the way first, no, this is not a remake nor has anything to do with the film of the same title by Jean-Luc Godard. So if you were sweating, you can stop now. While this Breathless now on Blu Ray doesn’t have Godard behind it, it’s still a solid, entertaining piece that deserves a look.
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.
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.
[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.
[rating=3]Starring: Meredith Monroe, Bonnie Dennison, Michael Welch, David Chokachi Director(s): Jared Cohn Writer(s): Jared Cohn
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.
[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 Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, M, Freaks, Vampyr, 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.
[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.
[rating=2]Starring: Peta Wilson, Warren Christie, Chelan Simmons, Sonya Salomaa Director(s): David Lister Writer(s): Lindsay James
Last summer’s tail end saw the piranhas, but this one belongs to the sharks. Presumably to capitalize on the buzz from Shark Night 3D, Malibu 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.
[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.