Recent Reviews

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Blu-ray)

"Is that how you see me?"
"It's not only me."
"What do you mean, not only you?"
"There are rules, conventions, ideas."
"You mean there's no life? No presence?"
"Your presence is made up of fleeting moments that may lack truth."
"Not everything is fleeting. Some feelings are deep. The fact it isn't close to me, that I can understand. But I find it sad it isn't close to you."

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That Marianne (Noémie Merlant) has been commissioned to paint a portrait is nothing unusual; this is how she's able to eke out a living as an artist in an era when female painters were summarily disregarded. It's the nature of the assignment that's unique, given that Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) refuses to pose. This bridal portrait is intended not for her but for a wealthy Milanese nobleman she's never so much as met. That arranged marriage too has been forced upon Héloïse, who was pulled from a Benedictine convent to take the place of her late sister at the altar. Marianne has been instructed to pose as a walking companion for Héloïse, sneaking glances and painting from memory as best she can in secret. The artist's gaze is soon returned. The deception falls. Héloïse, once an unknowing subject, becomes an active participant in Marianne's art, and she soon comes to mean so much more.

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire is, at its core, a story of sisterhood. Though there are no male roles of any consequence, the dominance of the patriarchy still influences every element of the film. And yet when the last vestige of male power leaves this remote island – Héloïse's mother (Valeria Golino), who sees her daughter as an asset to secure wealth and comfort in a man's world – everything changes. The lines that had previously delineated roles – between artist and muse,...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Portrait of a Lady on Fire]

Zombie (Ultra HD Blu-ray)

"...but my father's father said that when the dead rise from the grave, the living will give them their blood."
- Lucas, Zombi 2

"The father – my father always say 'when the earth spit out the dead, they will come back to suck the blood from the living.'"
- Lucas, Zombie

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A sailboat bobs around aimlessly in New York Harbor, stumbling into the path of seemingly every ship and ferry that tries to make its way across. One attempt after another to raise the crew fails, and a helicopter circling overhead is unable to spot any signs of life. Harbor Patrol is dispatched to take a look, not expecting to find much more than a drunken skipper passed out in the cabin. As one of the cops skulks around below, a bloated corpse – swollen like a tick from having devoured the ship's crew – breaks down a door to feast again. A couple shots from a pistol later, this...thing tumbles off the sailboat and sinks into the bay. The chaos unfolds too quickly for the surviving officer to make any sense of it. That he'd stared down a zombie obviously never occurs to him. It's not immediately understood that the fallen officer met his end courtesy of a bite to the jugular. No one's sure what the hell has just happened.

Newspaper reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) and the daughter of the sailboat's missing owner (Tisa Farrow) are hellbent on uncovering the truth. It's a search that takes them thousands of miles away to the Caribbean island of Matool. Whether it's some sort of previously unidentified disease or a voodoo curse, no one knows for certain, but something is making the dead on Matool rise from their graves to feed upon the living. The infection has consumed nearly everyone on this remote speck of an island. Only a few straggling survivors remain, and the ravenous legions of...[read the entire Ultra HD Blu-ray review of Zombie]

An Ideal Place to Kill (Blu-ray)

Brace yourself, Italy! An end to your sexual repression is on its way.

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But, y'know, revolutions don't come cheap. Lodging, petrol, sandwiches: the costs quickly pile up. But Dick (Ray Lovelock) and Ingrid (Ornella Muti) have figured out a way to finance their travels across Europe and continue spreading their message of sexual liberation. Porn! At least circa 1970, it was a mighty challenge to get your hands on the stuff in a Catholic-majority country like Italy, but their yellow roadster is packed to the gills with smut. They buy it cheap, sell it at a huge markup, and live high on the hog. And when the lira runs dry...? Snap some dirty photos of Ingrid and start it all over again.

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The two of 'em are having a blast. Hell, even when they're flat broke and the authorities demand that they hightail it outta Italy, their smiles never fade. And perhaps they've stumbled onto some sort of sanctuary. Their car runs out of gas just outside the palatial estate of Barbara Slater (Irene Papas), the wife of some American military bigwig. They don't exactly hit it off at first. Barbara is already in some sort of panic on the phone, pretending not to hear the happy young couple as they ring the doorbell incessantly. They siphon gas from a fancy car in the garage, she accuses Dick and Ingrid of casing the joint, yadda yadda. But before you know it, they're soon the best of friends and indulging in all sorts of Bacchanaliac excess. Booze! Youth! Lust!

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The only thing is that...well, that would be telling. Though An Ideal Place to Kill is often classified as a giallo, it doesn't embrace the trappings so often associated with that style. No one would mistake this for a body count movie. There is...[read the entire Blu-ray review of An Ideal Place to Kill]

More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 7/2: The Queen (1968) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/30: Casanova Brown (Hdtv)
  • 6/29: Million Dollar Mermaid (Hdtv)
  • 6/28: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/27: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Hdtv)
  • 6/26: Barefoot in the Park (Hdtv)
  • 6/26: Captain America: Civil War (Steelbook) (Uhd)
  • 6/25: Dr. Strangelove (Uhd)
  • 6/24: Brief Encounter (Blu-ray)
  • 6/23: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Uhd)
  • 6/22: Blithe Spirit (Blu-ray)
  • 6/21: The Deer Hunter (Uhd)
  • 6/20: A League of Their Own (Uhd)
  • 6/19: Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn (Hdtv)
  • 6/19: Def By Temptation (Blu-ray)
More of my boring video log...
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 7/2: The Queen (1968) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/2: The Kiss of the Vampire (Blu-ray)
  • 7/1: Crimson Peak (Arrow) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/1: Death Smiles on a Murderer (Blu-ray)
  • 7/1: Gosford Park (Arrow) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/1: The Far Country (Blu-ray)
  • 7/1: The Major and the Minor (Blu-ray)
  • 7/1: The Apartment (Arrow) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/29: Laura (Blu-ray)
  • 6/19: The Elephant Man (Uhd)
  • 6/19: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/15: Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (Uhd)
  • 6/15: Dr. Who and the Daleks (Blu-ray)
  • 6/15: Dr. Who - Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (Blu-ray)
  • 6/15: Superman: Red Son (Uhd)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...

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