Movie Journal
J. Hoberman on movies and movie-related things

MOVIE JOURNAL: J. Hoberman on movies and movie-related things

Archive for the ‘DVD’ Category

The Edge of “Night Tide”

Literally as well as figuratively, Curtis Harrington’s first feature—the stilted but effectively moody nocturne “Night Tide”, newly out in a restored Blu-Ray—is a product of the Hollywood fringe.

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“I Married a Witch”: Whatcha See, I Don’t Get

Rene Clair’s 1942 fantasy “I Married a Witch” has some distinguished artists among its fans. Jack Smith included it in the syllabus for a class he never ever came close to teaching; Guy Maddin writes a long appreciation for the new Criterion DVD, out in time for Halloween. But I’m afraid I can’t join the club.

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Before “Jaws” there was Sam Fuller’s “Shark”

“Shark,” originally called “Caine” and re-released as “Man-Eater,” is the first movie that Samuel Fuller made after the slap in the face that was “The Naked Kiss” effectively terminated his Hollywood career. It was shot in Manzanillo, Mexico during the Summer of Love and returns to us now courtesy of the intrepid catalog scroungers of Olive Films.

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R.W. Fassbinder, Eternal “Katzelmacher”

Katzelmacher” wasn’t the first movie by Rainer Werner Fassbinder I ever saw—that would have been “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant,” for which I bought a ticket at the 1973 New York Film Festival. (As I wrote last year in a piece on Fassbinder’s American reception, I recall enjoying “The Bitter Tears” while at the same time being distracted by the action around the screen right exit in Alice Tully Hall. After half an hour it was like happy hour in a Western saloon. The door was swinging open and banging shut, as people fled in droves.)

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Madhouse Politics: Nicolae Ceausecsu on DVD

The new found “found footage” political documentary “Our Nixon” is scheduled for released later this summer; in the meantime Kino Lorber has just brought out its monumental precursor “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu” by Romanian filmmaker Andrei Ujică.

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“In Another Country”: Hong Meets Huppert

A fixture at Cannes and a disciple of Eric Rohmer, Hong Sang-soo is not only the most consistent of South Korean directors but, as I’ve said, the most Frenchified. He’s already set one of his 14 features, the 2008 “Night and Day” in Paris; “In Another Country” (newly out on DVD from Kino Lorber) brings France to the sleepy Korean resort town that seems to be Hong’s favorite setting, in the person of the great, apparently ageless Isabelle Huppert.

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“Last Summer Won’t Happen”: East Village 1967

Thinking about the ‘60s, I took a look at a new DVD release from Icarus Films: “Last Summer Won’t Happen,” a film hour-long bit of reportage by Peter Gessner and Tom Hurwitz, shot mainly in the East Village, during the autumn of 1967.

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“A Horse, a Horse!” Olivier’s Greatest Vehicle

Not that it needs a peg but, newly remastered by Criterion, Laurence Olivier’s 1956 version of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” is unexpectedly topical thanks to the confirmation that a skeleton discovered beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, was indeed that of a much reviled 15th century British monarch.

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Ulmer’s “Ruthless”–The Way It Was

The least predictable and most wide-ranging of DVD outfits, Chicago-based Olive sneaks an obscure auteurist touchstone onto the market with a clean and crisp Blu-Ray copy of the UCLA-restored, 104-minute version of Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1947 “Ruthless.”

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“Visions of Ecstasy”: Blasphemy Lite

Going through the pile of new and newish DVDs that’s mounted up next to my TV, I found “Visions of Ecstasy,” the 18-minute, 1989 item written and directed by Nigel Wingrove, irresistibly billed as “the only film in British history ever to be banned for blasphemy.”

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