Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Top Twenty DVDs

Jerry Stratton, February 15, 2009

Also, check out All Mimsy movie reviews.

Fear and Loathing in Las VegasOverall rating: 9Reviewed May 24, 1999Buy it!
Perhaps the purest of Thompson’s searches for the American Dream because it is untainted by politics; or perhaps the most pointless for the same reason, as politics have tainted the American Dream since the Adams anti-sedition acts almost as soon as the country was born. (Read more…)
Carnival of SoulsOverall rating: 9Reviewed May 31, 2009Buy it!
There are places in this world where the other world intrudes: old carnivals; deserted highways; busy bus stations… This seminal horror movie contains no blood, no knives, and for the most part, no budget, but it was well-written, beautifully shot, and carefully directed and acted. Inspiration from this movie can be seen in later films from “Night of the Living Dead” to “Beetlejuice”. (Read more…)
Almost FamousOverall rating: 9Reviewed January 15, 2002Buy it!
This is the best DVD I’ve seen yet. It has not one, not two, but three discs: the third disc is a CD with music by Stillwater, including the Led Zeppelin-like “Fever Dogs”. Thought the snippets of that song was cool, it was too bad they didn’t write the whole thing? Fret no more, they did write the whole thing, and at least five other songs, all on the CD. (Read more…)
A Star is BornOverall rating: 9Reviewed October 9, 2000Buy it!
Probably Judy Garland’s best movie, released in 1954 with James Mason, directed by George Cukor (of “Philadelphia Story”) and produced by none other than her husband. Production values are high, acting is top-notch, and the singing is Judy Garland. The DVD has a few nice extras also. (Read more…)
The Wizard of OzOverall rating: 9Reviewed November 27, 1999Buy it!
This is a wonderful transfer of the 1939 classic musical. If you missed the 1998 re-release to the theaters, you’ve almost certainly never seen this movie this good. And the disk itself is chock full of wonderful extras. MGM’s “The Wizard of Oz” DVD is a great buy. (Read more…)
Detroit Rock CityOverall rating: 9Reviewed March 31, 2001Buy it!
Four Cleveland high school kids ditch school in 1978 to see KISS at Cobo Hall in Detroit. Along the way they pick up Natasha Lyonne. What a trip! (Read more…)
CasablancaOverall rating: 8Reviewed May 29, 1999Buy it!
Ah, Play it, Sam! If this isn’t the most-quoted movie outside of Macbeth, you’re in the wrong country. This is a beautiful DVD. The movie is presented in the original full-screen format. Languages are French and English, both spoken and subtitled. It also includes a nice documentary hosted by Lauren Bacall. (Read more…)
The MatrixOverall rating: 8Reviewed October 15, 1999Buy it!
Wow! People are already talking about this movie as the new Star Wars, and they may not be wrong; the future will decide. It has all the right elements: action, story, mythical heroes, perhaps an overemphasis on the messiah bit, but otherwise a kick-ass movie. (Read more…)
The Blues BrothersOverall rating: 8Reviewed October 26, 1999Buy it!
The Blues Brothers is a brilliant comedy slash musical with great blues music. Director John Landis set out to include musical numbers--all with blues--covering all the possible musical number ‘types’ that had been used in movies up to that time. The DVD includes longer footage from some of the performances, as well as previously deleted scenes. This is a “collector’s edition”, not a “director’s cut”, and at least one of the scenes that is restored is also ridiculed by the director in the very interesting and detailed “making of” feature. This DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with English, Spanish, and French dialog and subtitles. For some reason, the DVD has disabled the ability to mark your place and come back to it later. (Read more…)
The Philadelphia StoryOverall rating: 8Reviewed October 8, 1999Buy it!
Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn. Suave at its best. James Stewart runs away with it. The movie was originally a play, and Katherine Hepburn got the movie rights and got George Cukor to direct. What’s to tell about the story? Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn play an upper-crust ex-couple, and James Stewart and Ruth Hussey play the working class reporters covering their story. The DVD is presented in the original full-frame format, in English, with English, French, and Spanish subtitles. (Read more…)
The Ruling ClassOverall rating: 8Reviewed October 24, 2002Buy it!
When Jack’s aunt asks him how he knows he’s God, Jack replies, “Simple. When I pray I find I’m talking to myself.” (Read more…)
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the DesertOverall rating: 8Reviewed June 22, 1999Buy it!
Wild outfits, ping-pong balls, ABBA, and not a single kangaroo in sight. Priscilla involves three drag queens from Sydney driving a huge bus across some great Australian desert to a three-week gig at a tourist trap. Beautiful views of the desert. Wonderful costuming. The DVD is presented in both letterbox (2.35:1) and pan & scan, with English or French dialog and English and Spanish subtitles. The case slides out the bottom instead of opening up, and the DVD is not as easy to remove as it should be. Currently out of print, unfortunately. Hopefully it’ll come back with an Anamorphic transfer and commentary? (Read more…)
Groundhog DayOverall rating: 8Reviewed August 8, 1999Buy it!
Bill Murray gets stuck reliving the same day over and over again: Groundhog’s Day in a hick town in Pennsylvania. Every morning at six o’clock he wakes up to the sound of Sonny & Cher, and every day the same things happen over and over again until he takes control. (Read more…)
The ApostleOverall rating: 8Reviewed August 15, 2000Buy it!
Robert Duvall is a “holiness preacher” in Texas and Louisiana. With wonderful performances by Duvall, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Bob Thornton, June Carter Cash, Miranda Richardson, and a number of “found” actors, this movie is not to be missed. (Read more…)
All the President’s MenOverall rating: 8Reviewed July 18, 2009Buy it!
Probably one of the most influential events in journalism history made into one of the best films of the seventies. (Read more…)
HalloweenOverall rating: 8Reviewed October 12, 1999Buy it!
The first really good screamer flick I saw. Jamie Lee Curtis kicks butt! I’ve got this one on order. Note that the unlimited edition is less expensive, and doesn’t include the television presentation and its extra footage. It does contain most of the other extras, if not all of them. (Read more…)
BladeOverall rating: 8Reviewed April 4, 2001Buy it!
The best modern vampire movie I’ve seen, this is not a horror movie at all: it’s an adventure, related as much to comic books as to movies. And it’s almost an early “screen test” for “The Matrix”, related to “The Matrix” through “Dark City” and Hong Kong action films. This is an action film. You know right from the first scene that this movie is here to show asses being kicked. (Read more…)
MallratsOverall rating: 8Reviewed August 17, 2000Buy it!
This is Kevin Smith’s sequel to “Clerks”, with a massively bigger budget but still tiny compared to other movies. (He wanted to reduce the budget to lower than six million, and the studio told him they weren’t allowed to make a movie for less than that.) I’m not sure why, but it apparently bombed. It’s a funny movie. If you’re a Marvel Comics fan from the eighties, or if you just liked “Clerks”, check it out. (Read more…)
Animal HouseOverall rating: 8Reviewed October 18, 1999Buy it!
The most riotous and influential movie of my generation. Geez, but that’s disgusting. This was one of the first movies I ever saw in the theatre, possibly the first movie. My dad took me to see it when I was about fourteen—and after seeing some of the nudity, just said “we don’t need to tell your mom about those scenes”. Me, I didn’t care so much about the nudity. I was hooked on John Belushi’s craziness. (Read more…)
This is Spinal TapOverall rating: 8Reviewed October 8, 2000Buy it!
This take-off on bands like Queen worked pretty well, although some of the satirical songs didn’t even go as far overboard as the originals did. Yeah, I know they were supposed to be just ‘bad’, but there’s nothing so pretend bad that you can’t find something worse done for real. But make no mistake: this is a hilarious rock-and-roll send-up, and a great DVD. (Read more…)
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