Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

" Failure is not quite so frightening as regret "
The Dish

MRQE Top Critic

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DVD & Blu-ray

These are our most recent DVD and Blu-ray reviews. Skip to the bottom of any review ("How to Use This DVD") for advice on which extra features are worth watching and which ones are a waste of your time.

Genesis 2.0


Do all three stories make for one good documentary? Maybe not.

“There’s strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold...”
— Robert Service, The Cremation of Sam McGee

Good Manners


Good Manners’ strongest point is its unrelenting humanity.

How many times have you wondered to yourself, “Can Brazil make a good scary werewolf movie?” I can now tell you that the answer is “Yes!” and that movie is Good Manners. It’s a solid horror film and a lot more bedsides.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed


This set is a must-have on the shelf of any student of animation art.

Somewhere within the Big Diagram of Film History there is a line drawn from Windsor McKay’s Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), that rises up through Disney’s Fantasia (1940), and arrives at today’s Bowjack Horseman. Peppered below Gertie are a variety of random cases of proto-animation all starred with asterisks (*close but no movie cigar). Gertie marks the point at which the figure on the screen not only moves but tells a story. In Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence , the tour de force of the animation art itself is the star of the show. Bowjack gets a nod from me because it’s the most engaging animation I’ve seen currently, dumbing down the graphic art in the modern manner but going beyond the Simpsons in its writing. So, in a way, Bowjack is the culmination of animation art... or sure sign of its demise, your choice.

Strange Victory


Would have been positively radioactive had you tried to show it in the 1950s

There are many strange things about director Leo Hurwitz’s Strange Victory, perhaps the strangest, given the film’s politics, is the time and place in which it was made: 1948/USA. Stranger still is that Strange Victory survived the 1950s Extinction Event of the American Left. Now, 70 years later, it is being reissued on DVD and Blu-ray  by Milestone Films. Perhaps with the resurgence of a new American Left, Strange Victory will finally find a home.

The Dumb Girl of Portici

1916, Lois Weber

Lois Weber finally starts getting credit among film historians

A funny thing happened on my way to the review of The Dumb Girl of Portici. I stumbled upon its director, Lois Weber.

Viva la Liberta

****2013, Roberto Ando

Here on Earth 2.0, on the other side of the Looking Glass, anything is possible.

What a difference a day makes. The day I have in mind is Election Day, November 8, 2016 when we all passed through the Looking Glass. Off in a quiet corner of the filmmaking art, a clever Italian movie from 2013 was also turned on its head. (Well, of course what wasn’t?) In this case though, its almost as if Viva la Liberta was made into a new film. Let me explain.

Stray Dog


Granik walks the razor-thin line between exploitation and revelation in Stray Dog.

“My mind’s got a mind of its own!”, sang Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “It takes me out walkin’ when I should have stayed at home.” Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall’s mind has taken him out walking his whole life. It took him to the Army, to Korea, to Viet Nam, afterwards to a veteran’s hell. When we meet him he is an aging rebel biker trying to rehab his life. Ever the rebel, Ronnie Hall’s mind is now rebelling its way back to Earth.

The Champion


This is Milestone Film’s latest two-DVD set of and about silent films.

Colorado Springs once had an opera house. For any up-and-coming Western American town, having your own opera house meant you had left the sketchy existence of a frontier settlement and become a real place on the map.  The Springs had to wait until 1911 before its opera house, the Burns Theater, was built whereas the mining towns of Central City and Leadville had built their opera houses decades earlier... well, better late than never.

The Champion


Sentence (no


The Magic Box: Project Shirley Volume 4: The Films Of Shirley Clarke 1929-1989

2016, Shirley Clarke

Like finding a twenty-dollar bill at the back of a drawer

Anyone who’s ever moved their household knows there comes a time in the move when the big stuff is gone, the good stuff is packed and what’s left are the odds and ends of life lived in one place. It’s that catch-all drawer with all the strange stuff that is an archeological history of what you’ve been up to. Milestone’s Volume 4 of their tireless Project Shirley is that catch-all drawer at the end of the move. It is filled with material that will bore the unimaginative and fascinate the students of Shirley Clarke. In short, yes, there are home movies.

Suicide Squad


Suicide Squad bombs out.

Suicide Squad bombs out.

Suicide Squad had a chance to set a corrective course for DC’s burdensome, heavy-handed approach to creating a movie universe along the lines of Marvel.

Jason Bourne

2016, Paul Greengrass

Damon and Greengrass return with preposterous action set pieces

If you want to spend a couple of hours watching Matt Damon play a character who’s running for his life, Jason Bourne — the latest in the series about an amnesiac spy — might be the movie for you.

Jason Bourne

**2016, Paul Greengrass

Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass miss an opportunity to do something new with Jason Bourne.

After a 9-year hiatus, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass miss an opportunity to do something new with Jason Bourne.



A great American story competently told, but it’s one that remains stubbornly grounded.

Like its eponymous subject, Sully is pretty low-key and soft-spoken. That’s not entirely complimentary, given the life-altering drama that thrust Capt. Chesley “Sully”  Sullenberger into the headlines.

The Magnificent Seven

***Antoine Fuqua

The Magnificent Seven packs the ammo, but needs more soul.

This modern take on the classic Western could use a little more soul, but it serves up almost everything else in heaping helpings.