An Angel, a Lady and a Ballplayer

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD Here’s a delightful, often overlooked gem from director Howard Hawks, starring a notoriously suave and daredevil Cary Grant and the always lovely, bewitching Jean Arthur, and featuring Hawks’ penchant for verbal wit and visual craftsmanship. “Only Angels Have Wings” (1939) stars Arthur as a traveling entertainer who gets more than she […]

‘Star Wars’ Reboot Gets Help From Oldsters

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD Star Wars: The Force Awakens This first of three sequels to “Star Wars” shattered box office opening-week records to become the highest grossing U.S. film of all time with over $930 million domestic, and the second-highest worldwide grossing film (behind “Avatar”) with $2.82 billion worldwide. Thirty years following the battle of […]

‘From the East’ to the West

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD Highlight of the week is the impressive five-disc set, “Chantal Akerman: Four Films.” Among the many films that Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (1955–2015, best known for her 1975 masterpiece “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels”) made over 40 years, four documentaries stand out. Beginning with “From the East,” filmed across […]

We Knew Them Well

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD   Two films critical of the 1960s status quo — one an undiscovered gem, the other a verified classic — get the Criterion Collection treatment this week. First up is “I Knew Her Well” (1965), a disarmingly delightful portrait of the days and nights of a party girl in sixties Rome. […]

‘Diamonds’ Are Forever

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD Nikkatsu, the oldest film studio in Japan, inaugurated a star system in the late 1950s, finding talent and contracting to their Diamond Line for a series of wild genre pictures. “Nikkatsu Diamond Guys – Vol 1” (1958/59) celebrates these “Diamond Guys” with three classic films from directors Seijun Suzuki (“Branded to […]

‘Llewyn Davis,’ ’60s Folkies Play for Criterion

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD The Coen brothers’ 2013 hit “Inside Llewyn Davis” gets The Criterion Collection treatment this week and what a splendid release it is. Their film — about a singer barely eking out a living on the peripheries of the flourishing Greenwich Village folk scene of the early sixties — captured the angst […]

‘American Friend’ Gets Criterion Treatment Jan. 12

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD There’s two knock-out releases from The Criterion Collection, headed up by one of the greatest films of the modern cinema: “The American Friend” (1977). Wim Wenders pays loving homage to rough-and-tumble Hollywood film noir with “The American Friend,” a loose adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel “Ripley’s Game.” Dennis Hopper oozes quirky […]

‘Blood Rage,’ ‘Burroughs’ Shake Things Up Dec. 15

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD What do you get if you combine Thanksgiving, American TV star Louise Lasser (“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”), killer 80s synths and some of the most gruesome special effects in all of slasher history courtesy of Ed French. Why, it’s “Blood Rage” (1983) of course! Todd and Terry seem like sweet kids […]

Yakuza ‘Battles’ Begin Dec. 8

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD “Battles Without Honor and Humanity” (1973), a violent yakuza saga that has influenced filmmakers from Quentin Tarantino to Takashi Miike. Made within just two years, the five-film series brought a new kind of realism and ferocity to the crime genre in Japan, revitalizing the industry and leading to unprecedented commercial and […]

The Times They Were A-Changin’

DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD This week’s highlight is The Criterion Collection’s release of D. A. Pennebaker’s seminal “Don’t Look Back” (1967), which captured Bob Dylan on-screen as he never would be again. The legendary documentarian finds Dylan in London during his 1965 tour, which would be his last as an acoustic artist and marked a […]

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