Dracula 75th Anniversary Edition DVD
In the iconic horror classic Dracula (1931), Bela Lugosi's performance in the title role still stands as one of the greatest matchups of actor and character in cinema history. The movie has been out on DVD since 1999, but on the 75th Anniversary Edition, its picture quality has been significantly improved. While the new edition carries over the key bonus materials from earlier DVD editions, it also provides some excellent extras not previously available.
Frankenstein 75th Anniversary Edition DVD
The year 1931 produced a second iconic horror classic in Frankenstein, which features an unforgettable performance by Boris Karloff and was given a memorable visual style by director James Whale. The movie has been out on DVD before, but it has been digitally remastered for the 75th Anniversary Edition. While the new edition carries over the key bonus features from the earlier DVD versions, it also provides some excellent extras not previously available.
Good Night, and Good Luck DVD
Nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) is my idea of a nearly perfect little movie. The film is entertaining and thought-provoking, and the lead performance by David Strathairn is among the best I've ever seen. The movie takes on big themes such as media responsibility and governmental abuse, yet it generally avoids being overly didactic. The DVD contains a lively, informative and entertaining commentary track, which mostly features co-writer/director George Clooney, although co-writer/producer Grant Heslov is heard from as well.
An Inconvenient Truth DVD
Before seeing An Inconvenient Truth (2006), I had not given much thought to global warming, and I certainly had no expectation that any politician could bring the topic alive for me. But I was stunned by Davis Guggenheim's film, a compelling version of Al Gore's presentation on the topic. The movie is intellectually and emotionally engaging, and it merits watching whether you agree with Gore or not. The DVD would be worth buying for the feature film alone, but it comes with worthwhile extras, including Gore's half-hour update on the information given in the film and a good director's audio commentary.
Mr. Arkadin Criterion Collection Three-Disc DVD Set
Long before there was a Sundance film festival, Orson Welles was forced to become an independent filmmaker. So it's not surprising Welles' Mr. Arkadin (1955) is fresher and more entertaining than many new movies. With its mix of melodrama, pulpiness, and Wellesian theatricality, this is one of the strangest films I've ever seen, but I found it fascinating. This highly stylized movie is visually striking, the superb dialogue is laced with sardonic humor, and the narrative is compelling. The DVD set has a variety of extras, including three different film versions of Mr. Arkadin.
Munich (2005) is an emotionally and intellectually engaging film that reminded me of cinema's power as an art form. The film is about a five-man squad sent out by Israel when 11 members of its 1972 Olympic team were murdered in the German city that gives the film its title. Led by Avner (Eric Bana), the squad is tasked by the Israeli government with tracking down and assassinating Palestinians in Europe. Munich is a daring film because it takes on difficult issues and provides no easy answers. The DVD set has a variety of bonus materials that helped me to better appreciate the movie.
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