The Fault in Our Stars

dvd of the week The hugely successful tearjerker starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, earned my tears, even if the filmmakers took a few shortcuts to get them. Unless you’ve managed to ignore all of the advertising and hype surrounding the movie, you know the movie is a story about kids with cancer. The narrator [...]

Dog Day Afternoon

dvd of the week While you don’t need to see Dog Day Afternoon to understand The Dog, seeing it will help you appreciate both films more. Directed by Sidney Lumet at the height of his powers and written by great Frank Pierson, Dog Day Afternoon is one of the great films of the 1970s, which [...]

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

dvd of the week The sequel to the criminally underrated Captain America: The First Avenger is the fun and surprisingly political thrill-ride Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In the present day, the Captain (Chris Evans, a fine, if not terribly exciting, square jawed hero) is a member of the superhero team the Avengers and he [...]

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The second of Marc Webb’s reboot of the Spider-Man franchise starts shortly after the events in the previous film. Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) is a superhero-about-town, trying to balance his heroics with his relationships with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) is determined to find a [...]

The Normal Heart

dvd of the week HBO’s stunningly good production of The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s iconic play about the early years of AIDS in New York and the founding of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, arrived more than 29 years after the play’s premiere. Kramer’s alter ego is Ned Weeks (a searing Mark Ruffalo), a neurotic gay [...]

Only Lovers Left Alive

dvd of the week In Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, an incandescent Tilda Swinton plays Eve, an achingly-sweet, centuries-old aesthete who happens to be a vampire. Her similarly afflicted husband Adam, played by Tom Hiddleston (who is Loki in the Thor films and The Avengers), is a glum musical genius who hides from the [...]

Locke

dvd of the week As I was walking out of Locke, a man behind me told his wife, “That’s my worst nightmare.” I was thinking of other clichés, too: for Ivan Locke, the events in the film are a shitshow, a tsunami, his Waterloo, a perfect storm. Most American audiences know Tom Hardy, who plays [...]

Divergent

dvd of the week In the world of Divergent, everyone who has survived a horrible, global war now lives in Chicago, which is surrounded by a massive wall and where the population has been divided into five factions: Abnegation, who are selfless civil servants; Amity, who the peaceful, hippy famers; Candor, who are honest lawyers; [...]

Cuban Fury

dvd of the week Despite promises from the film’s distributor, Cuban Fury was never shown in San Diego. Now this delightful film is on DVD. Nick Frost plays Bruce, a chunky Brit with a job in middle management. As a teen, he had been something else: a confident champion salsa dancer. On his way to [...]

Dom Hemingway

When Jude Law is peeling the paint off the walls with his intense recital of writer-director Richard Shepard’s fabulous and filthy monologues, Dom Hemingway is mesmerizing. The plot does not live up to the promise of the many great individual scenes, but those scenes! The plot – involving bank robbers, car crashes, murderous madmen and [...]

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