Sunshine Superman (DVD)

By Marah Strauch
Rated by Michelle H.
Jun 23, 2016

Sunshine Superman tells the story of Carl Boenish, an intrepid explorer pushing the limits of physical experience, and an inventive cinematographer of that boundary’s edge. He was a skydiver, whose footage from the 70s and 80s shows people seemingly capable of the ultimate assault on reality. They could fly. 

Lest we think Boenish jumps out of airplanes and off of buildings for the dopamine alone, documentarian Marah Strauch looks at the motives behind his love of jumping. She shows us interviews, offers reenactments, discusses what it means to goad gravity, and delicately handles two

May 19, 2016

If you have something to build or fix, consider searching our collection of instructional videos. They offer expert demonstrations, uncover hidden aspects to specific trades, and film the most talented specialists. And they celebrate the mastery of crafts often overlooked because of their association with sweat and toil.

Drywall: Hanging and Taping with Myron R. Ferguson will take you on a journey of discovery as much about teamwork and ingenuity as about the building of smooth interior walls. I am amazed at the beauty of the entire endeavor, from hauling sheetrock to mudding it, all of

May 1, 2016

Viewers might think Les Blank's film A Poem is a Naked Person is solely about legendary piano player Leon Russell as he is featured prominently in the title and cover design. But the documentary is more an artifact capturing Oklahoma folk culture in the early 1970s. More specifically, it captures the hot hypnotic mess of hippie blues and booze that orbits Leon Russell, which may have caused Russell and Blank to argue about its release. Only recently has the film been distributed to a wide audience.

Fans of either the filmmaker or musician will enjoy this documentary, and I hope viewers new

The Lunchbox (DVD)

By Ritesh Batra
Rated by Caitlin T.
Apr 30, 2016

Director Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox is a must-see movie for food enthusiasts. Ila, played by the stunningly beautiful Nimrat Kaur, is a lonely housewife in Mumbai, India who desperately wants to please and attract her emotionally distant husband. Every day she takes great efforts to prepare his lunch in a unique (at least in our western culture) stacked tin lunchbox which is picked up by a local delivery system and brought to him at work. Our story opens with this lunchbox being delivered to the wrong person, a Mr. Saajan Fernandez, played by Irrfan Khan. Saajan is an equally lonesome man on

Apr 21, 2016

Danny Garcia begins following and filming The Clash after their manager, Bernie Rhodes, has lifted the band to the heights of commercial success. Rhodes is ferociously competitive, blinding him to the idea that there is no place for success as he imagines it for The Clash. They’re part of, and play to, an angry underclass. They’re searching for an authentic voice (and find it, early on). But by the 1980's they’ve become stadium rock, their image looks bought not made, Mick Jones quits listening, quits collaborating, and Joe Strummer has a crisis of conscience.

Clash fans are the intended

The End of the Tour (DVD)

By James Ponsoldt
Rated by Michelle H.
Mar 28, 2016

What I love about James Ponsoldt’s film is the focus on big ideas presented through dialog and their inevitable courting of philosophy. Dramatizing an interview between Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace, The End of the Tour follows the author as he promotes Infinite Jest. Wallace’s thoughts transcribed through Jason Segel’s superb acting shows the writer capable of cutting through the surface of things – society, culture, the life we think we lead - to notice instead what else might be happening.

My purpose in reading is often to discover perceptions I recognize as

Amy (DVD)

By Asif Kapadia
Rated by Michelle H.
Mar 9, 2016

Any film about a musician who tragically dies early is bound to be sad, but nobody’s story is only sad. Filmmaker Asif Kapadia weaves together testimonials and footage, creating a documentary that ultimately supports not only Amy Winehouse’s music but also her unique swagger.

Midway through the film, an interviewer asks Amy: “Has anyone tried to shape you into something?” With neither annoyance at the question or hesitation in a response, she replies that yes someone once tried to shape her into a triangle but it didn’t work, brushing off with a simple joke the idea that someone else could

Magical Universe (DVD)

By Jeremy Workman
Rated by Michelle H.
Mar 6, 2016

Al Carbee’s entire home and its many ramshackle additions are filled with Barbies situated within dioramas - environments rich with every conceivable option for the doll. Filmmaker Jeremy Workman is responsible for bringing Carbee’s work to our attention. He frames Magical Universe in such a way that the artist’s eccentricities are accentuated for effect rather than in support of his art, yet over time (filming lasted 10 years) their relationship becomes increasingly tender, almost symbiotic. Carbee is so inventive that it’s difficult to tell who is in control of the film, particularly when he

Mad Max Fury Road

By George Miller
Rated by Rachel C.
Feb 27, 2016

I've been sitting on this review for months, unable to express my feelings for this movie. I watched all of the originals, I remember when Max was a cop, I know who runs Bartertown, and I was incredibly leery of rebooting an old property like that. Except this isn't a reboot. It's just a story in the mythology of a man named Max in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. And it is, start to finish, incredible.

I'm into words. Language is my thing, not images, and yet this movie, with what probably amounts to six pages of dialogue, tells an incredible story with sparse words and lush images. It also

Montage of Heck

By Brett Morgen
Rated by Michelle H.
Jan 29, 2016

In Montage of Heck, filmmaker Brett Morgen uses personal sketchbooks and videos of Kurt Cobain's, and combines them with animation that matches Cobain’s own aesthetic. There’s also footage of Nirvana and interviews with family, but what carries the film is the access it gives viewers to Cobain’s tumultuous life and unique genius.

Viewing an intimate record of a brilliant person whose life spun wildly out of control comes at a price, however. Morgen’s animated additions give the film artistic vision, but they don’t muffle the looming wonder we may have as we witness something that isn’t

Iris (DVD)

By Albert Maysles
Rated by Michelle H.
Jan 17, 2016

Documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles is known for treating his subjects with distance, allowing them to show themselves in ways that make us forget that they’re being filmed. In Iris, at the age of eighty-eight Maysles films Iris Apfel, herself also at a late age.  Candid and at home in front of the camera, she appears to us as if nothing is staged or otherwise manipulated.

Apfel has curated a collection of clothing and accessories, and wears them in innovative arrangements. What she’s done is visionary, actually, considering how limited we all are in terms of what’s considered acceptable

Jan 3, 2016

Say what you will about David Lynch’s 2001 masterpiece Mulholland Dr., the film is a puzzle of strange, overlapping characters and storylines that at once confound and intrigue. Is it a portrayal of Hollywood as a Machiavellian embodiment of sinister control and corruption masquerading as entertainment? A knotty and deliberately confusing mishmash of pointless narratives and characters lost in some Californian noir fever dream? One of the best films of the last twenty or thirty years?  

The Criterion Collection’s brand new edition of Mulholland Dr. is a godsend for fans who’ve waited a very

Mr. Nobody

By Jaco Van Dormael
Rated by Megan C.
Dec 5, 2015

There are so many fantastic things about Mr. Nobody that I would definitely recommend it, but there are also many annoying things that could turn someone off. So here is my endorsement, with caveats.

See it: The story jumps all over time and parallel existences. We (try to) follow the protagonist, Nemo, as he lives different lives as himself. It’s not chronological, so sometimes it takes a moment to orient yourself in the storyline. Despite the potential for confusion, the multiverse is actually one of the strong points of the film, if you let yourself be carried along by the stories. You


By Joe Hill
Rated by Diane H.
Dec 4, 2015

Don’t watch Horns if you can’t, or don’t want to, imagine Daniel Radcliffe as anyone but Harry Potter. Admittedly Horns has supernatural elements. And it does deal with moral issues – doing what’s right even if it means a personal sacrifice. But there the similarities end. Horns is a murder-mystery/dark fantasy/horror/revenge/love story.

The protagonist in Horns, Ig Perrish (brilliantly portrayed by Radcliffe), is accused of killing his girlfriend. Despite repeatedly and passionately denying the accusation, everyone around him, including his family, believes he did it. They see him as evil

Into the Woods

By Stephen Sondheim
Rated by Caitlin T.
Dec 3, 2015

What a fabulous movie version of this amazing musical! This is arguably Stephen Sondheim's best musical with lyrics that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you rewind to listen to them again. Though I was nervous when the movie rights were sold to Disney, I was delighted to find they did not sugarcoat the potentially risqué topics of infidelity, child abandonment, and death.

The singing is fabulous with the two exceptions being the two biggest names, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences clearly disagrees with me though, since Ms. Streep

Nov 28, 2015

Thomas Hardy, an English author, spun a classic and spectacular tale of love in his novel, Far From the Madding Crowd. Adapted for the screen by David Nicholls and starring Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby), Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone), and Tom Sturridge (Waiting Forever), the movie stands on its own with this convincing cast of actors. In the beginning of the film, the protagonist Bathsheba Everdene, convinces us she is too independent to need a husband or to be courted by a man. Her first suitor is Gabriel Oak, who is hard not to like with his chivalrous characteristics and the

Machine Gun Preacher Documentary

By Zac Simpson
Rated by Edward R.
Nov 18, 2015

When a documentary is made about a polarizing figure, the film itself may receive praise simply for existing rather than earning acclaim as a well thought-out film. Zac Simpson’s documentary about Sam Childers, otherwise known as the Machine Gun Preacher, has capitalized on Childers notoriety. Already in the spotlight through a successful biography, news stories, and even a feature film starring Gerard Butler, his transformation from a drug dealer and user, as well as a member of a biker gang, to a born-again Christian that patrols South Sudan with a gun in his hand, has been well documented

Ex Machina (DVD)

By Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander.
Rated by Debbie F.
Nov 4, 2015

Ex Machina poses the question: "What makes us human?" Caleb, a young computer genius, is told he has won a week long stay at the house of Nathan, the CEO of the world's most popular search engine. Nathan has built a humanoid robot named Ava with Artificial Intelligence. He wants Caleb to administer the Turing Test to Ava, a test designed to measure artificial intelligence and its ability to persuade a human to believe it is real. Caleb's task is to interview Ava numerous times to determine whether she can truly think. While conducting an interview a power shortage occurs and Ava tells Caleb he

Sep 25, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed the early 2000s TV show, Alias, starring Jennifer Garner. And I’ve been missing it ever since – I mean, what actor since has shown such facility for multiple identities and costume changes? I have found the answer: Tatiana Maslany, the star of Orphan Black. Maslany plays Sarah, a woman thrown into the midst of a bizarre conspiracy, and who, despite battling her own demons, finds herself having to take on the trials and hang-ups of many other characters as well. But in recompense, she is privileged (and sometimes haunted) by the unique answers to “what ifs”

Jul 24, 2015

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the single best movie in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The exploration of friendships and trust was stunningly well done.  Friendships betrayed over ideals, history forgotten in new circumstances, and the risk you inherently take in opening your heart to someone—and not a hint of romance to cloud the issue!  Combined with brilliant performances, adrenaline-packed action sequences, and world-changing scope, this is just the best MCU movie to date.

Of course, it doesn't exist in a vacuum, so be sure to watch the first Captain

Fury (DVD)

By David Ayer, Director
Rated by Jed D.
Jun 29, 2015

Take one part 300, one part Das Boot, and one part Inglourious Basterds, and you have Fury, a brutal and overly-earnest tank battle movie. Set in the final days of WWII, five American soldiers are trapped in a disabled tank and must fend off hordes of Germans. Brad Pitt, the commanding officer named Wardaddy, leads Michael Peña, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman and Jon Bernthal in an exciting and bloody fight for their lives. The non-stop action is entertaining, but the numerous war movie clichés make Fury mostly forgettable. Also of interest to some, LaBeouf was reportedly involved in behind-the

Into the White (DVD)

By Peter Naess
Rated by Katie S.
Jun 14, 2015

Into the White portrays the true story of soldiers aboard German and British fighter planes after they are shot down over the wilderness of Norway on April 27, 1940. The three German soldiers stumble upon an abandoned cabin after trekking through the snowy landscape for days only to find two British soldiers wanting to use the shelter as well. Out of pity, the Germans take the British soldiers in as their prisoners and they begin a push-and-pull for power as the days drag on. Cold, hungry and with one wounded soldier, all five men learn that in order to survive, they have to work together. In

About Time (DVD)

By Richard Curtis
Rated by Debbie F.
May 31, 2015

Starring Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, About Time is a sentimental movie about a unique family with a special gift. At twenty-one, Tim learns from his father that all the men in the family can travel in time, back to any moment in their own life.  Tim becomes determined to make the most of his talent and use it to find true love. It doesn't work out great at first but a chance meeting with Mary starts a journey of a lifetime. About Time is charming, clever, intelligent and very funny. In the end, Tim learns to appreciate life and cherishing the people around him. It's a great date movie

Jimi: All Is by My Side

By John Ridley
Rated by Katie S.
May 20, 2015

Everyone famous has to be discovered at some point in time. Jimi Hendrix was discovered in 1966 while playing guitar for a funky rock group in one of Manhattan's numerous clubs. Linda Keith, then girlfriend of Keith Richards, becomes captivated while Jimi plays and begins a frantic search to make him a star. She eventually lands Chas Chandler from the Animals as Jimi's new manager and whisks him away to London which is where, in the middle of the historical rock-and-roll scene, Jimi makes his mark on the music world and begins his journey to stardom.

Although this movie focuses less on his

The Hundred-foot Journey

By Mirren, Helen
Rated by Melody M.K.
May 16, 2015

The movie The Hundred-foot Journey begins in India where an Indian family that loves cooking has a family restaurant. Touched by tragedy during a fire in their restaurant, the head of the family decides they should move to a new country. After some trial and error in finding just the right spot, they come to a lovely village in the south of France and happen upon an empty restaurant for sale. The sale is made and they begin restoration, moving in with not one thought of the 3-star French restaurant across the road from them. Then begins the lovely story of the Indian young man and the French

The Staircase (DVD)

By Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
Rated by Heather B.
Apr 28, 2015

Did Michael Peterson kill his wife Kathleen, or was her death--as he claims--a tragic accident? This is the question addressed by the 2005 documentary The Staircase, directed by Academy Award winning (for his previous documentary, Murder on a Sunday Morning) filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. Starting mere weeks after Kathleen's death and continuing throughout the trial, the team of filmmakers has seemingly complete access to Peterson, his defense team, his children, and other supporters. The viewer is so completely enmeshed in Peterson's life and version of the story, and his defense team's

The Hunt

By Vinterberg, Thomas
Rated by Megan C.
Apr 16, 2015

What are the limits of friendship? The Hunt explores this question when a misinterpretation of facts unleashes a chain of consequences in a small town in Denmark. Lucas, a newly divorced father and kindergarten teacher, is tested to the limits of his emotional endurance as he slowly becomes an object of suspicion and mistrust among his coworkers, the townspeople, and even his closest friends. The plot builds to a level of exquisitely wrought tension that keeps you holding out for some kind of relief as Lucas reaches his edge.

This film has many strengths but what stood out most for me was

Bell, Book and (DVD)

By Director: Richard Quine
Rated by Nancy B.
Mar 24, 2015

Long before Samantha and Darrin, there were Gillian and Shep. Bell, Book and Candle (1958) is a romantic comedy directed by Richard Quine and is based on the successful Broadway play by John Van Druten. The film stars Kim Novak as the brash, sexy siren Gillian Holroyd. Jimmy Stewart plays the mild-mannered upstairs neighbor, Shep Henderson,  lured in by her spell. Blithely seducing Shep away from an old college nemesis, Gillian finds herself caught in a web of her own making. Soon she must decide: Is love worth losing everything?

This beautifully restored film (released on DVD in 1999) is

Much Ado About Nothing (DVD)

By Shakespeare, William
Rated by Nancy B.
Mar 15, 2015

In what master’s work will you find Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves as brothers? Shakespeare, of course. The 1993 movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing also stars Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, and Micheal Keaton. It is a rollicking tale of mistaken identities with dashing princes, sharp tongued wenches, and evil plots.

The valiant knight Claudio yearns for the virginal Hero. Noble Don Pedro promises to arrange it, while The Evil Prince vows to break the lovers apart. Meanwhile, Beatrice and Benedict break everything but each other’s heads on their rocky road to

Crazy Love (DVD)

By Dan Klores
Rated by Heather B.
Mar 11, 2015

This is a rather mind-blowing documentary about the twisted "love" story of Burt and Linda Pugach. Maybe love is the wrong word. Obsession certainly fits. Darker descriptors may also apply. At the outset, their story seems like the kind of fairy tale love story cheesy romance movies and novels are made of. Burt was a successful young lawyer, and Linda a beautiful young woman. He sees her walking down the street and decides she's the one, and begins wining and dining her, and taking her for rides in his flashy cars and private planes. But something is clearly bound to go wrong, or else why