‘My Dinner With Andre’ a feast for the ears

Wallace Shawn in My Dinner With Andre on Criterion Blu-ray

Three and a half decades on, "My Dinner With Andre" remains a succulent piece of filmmaking. The ultimate talkie has lost none of the charm, mystery and wisdom that turned it into an indie hit back in 1981. Somehow, the film about two intellectuals talking in a Manhattan restaurant became a cultural sensation -- this in the time of "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Raiders of the Lost … [Read more...]

‘Limelight': Chaplin’s melancholy dance

Claire Bloom and Charlie Chaplin in Limelight

"The cycle is complete," the not-so-great Calvaro says in Charles Chaplin's "Limelight." It was more than a line from a self-pitying clown. Chaplin's 1952 film completes the circuit between the pure joyous comedy of his youth and the time-weary art of his advanced years. Chaplin, fully expecting "Limelight" to be his last film, made it his last testament. To this day, the audiences don't … [Read more...]

‘F for Fake': Welles’ last magic trick

Orson Welles in F for Fake

File "F for Fake" under truth in advertising. After all, this is not a real Orson Welles movie -- at least not in the sense of "Touch of Evil," or even "The Magnificent Ambersons." Welles took an unfinished documentary shot by someone else, tacked on some hocus-pocus at the beginning and end, mixed in spicy footage of his mistress and called it his latest movie. A scam perpetrated by an … [Read more...]

‘A Hard Day’s Night’ on Blu-ray

Fab Four in A Hard Day's Night

The long-awaited Blu-ray of "A Hard Day's Night" comes with the prominent subtitle: Directed by Richard Lester. Truth in packaging, as the Criterion Collection's smashing release of the Beatles' film puts the focus squarely on the iconoclastic director, whose vision and bravery under fire made what could have been a forgettable "jukebox musical" into a classic of several genres. "A Hard … [Read more...]

Fuller’s ‘Big Red One’ botched on Blu-ray

Robert Carradine played the young Sam Fuller character in The Big Red One

Sam Fuller's "The Big Red One," a lost platoon of a movie that was cut to shreds upon initial release, finally came home to a hero's welcome in 2005 with the release of "The Reconstruction." What appeared to theatrical audiences of 1980 as a ragtag chronicle of young men at war now stands tall as one of the dozen or so great movies about World War II, thanks to a intensive effort that returned … [Read more...]