Posts by: robertr

DVD Review Modern Times

Over the summer, when fresh 35mm prints of some of Charlie Chaplin’s best films started touring the country and rumors that perhaps Criterion might get into the Tramp business, I excitedly shared the news with a friend, knowing that he was both a fan and someone who taught the films.  I expected mutual enthusiasm, but […]

Interview with Ken Winokur – 3 Silent Classics of Josef von Sternberg

A few weeks ago, Criterion released an excellent box set–a collection of early Josef von Sternberg films.  They are a must own for anyone interested in cinema, especially in this new incarnation.  The set contains commentaries, documentaries, essays, and two brand new scores from the Alloy Orchestra.  I had the opportunity to catch up with […]

DVD Review: Paths of Glory

In the span of two months Criterion has given us two of the best American war films ever made.  And again, as with some of the best films about combat, it balances the destruction on and off the battlefield.  Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick’s version of the trials of three soldiers accused of desertion during […]

DVD Review: The Darjeeling Limited

As the brothers Whitman run toward the train, the slow motion photography kicks in, as do the Kinks, and the crescendo of obvious dialogue, “This baggage isn’t going to make it,” is uttered, you may find yourself exhausted.  Indeed, when I first saw the film at a press screening half a decade ago, one of […]

DVD Review: The Thin Red Line

What is this war in the heart of nature? This is the question—left unanswered—at the heart of Terrence Malick’s masterpiece, The Thin Red Line.  And we are all the better for it.  This nearly three hour poem of cinema lingers, asks us questions about life and death, light and shadow, horror and sacrifice, presenting us […]

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

From the opening sequence of Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, it is clear that the film’s focus is style. An elaborate weave of colors and textures create a kaleidoscope that slowly morphs into the action of the film. Well dressed Parisians float through beautiful spaces in a glamorous Opera Hall waiting for the 1913 presentation […]

White Material

One of the few things even resembling a consensus that you will find among film fans is that Claire Denis is the best working female director. Whether she is the greatest female filmmaker of all time or the finest working director period are both up for debate (for the record, I’d say she’s pretty high […]

After watching Bigger than Life in all of its glorious, controlled, expansive, vibrant, claustrophobic, screaming Cinemascope glory I watched it again. But this time I watched it without sound, and let Nic Ray’s framing, colors, and movement take over the storytelling.  Even without James Mason’s frightening performance as the suburban father slowly losing his grip […]

Toy Story 3

It’s hard to believe fifteen years have passed since the release of the original Toy Story. I was four when it came out, and all I remember from that first screening is being absolutely terrified by some of the damaged toys. Of course, now that film is more remembered for introducing the public to the […]

The Last Airbender

You know, I really wanted M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender to be good.  It’s been too long since the last good fantasy action movie that I was willing to try to go easy on it because it’s a kid’s film and there’s no fun in trashing Shyamalan for his decade-long losing streak anymore, and […]