Jonathan Crocker

Editorial Director | Journalist

Archive for the ‘DVD/Blu-ray Reviews’ Category

DVD review: Lifeboat

Posted by Jonathan On August - 4 - 2010

One setting. Eight people. Lots and lots of aggro. Hitchcock’s sloshy wartime thriller anticipates Big Brother’s Darwinian bear-pit by 50 years and ups the ante with eviction-by-drowning. Memo to Channel Four?

Like Rope (one apartment, no cuts) and Rear Window (one apartment, no legs), it’s one of the fatman’s most memorable experiments in phonebox cinema: the survivors of a sunk luxury-liner trapped on row-boat in the Atlantic with the German U-Boat Captain (Walter Slezak) who torpedoed them. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Alice In Wonderland

Posted by Jonathan On July - 24 - 2010

Grim, bilious and maddeningly unsurprising, Tim Burton’s journey down the rabbit-hole Frankensteins together severed portions of two Alice books and Lewis Carroll’s epic poem Jabberwocky but ends up missing… what? Its “muchness”? Dodging a corset and a snooty suitor in the tedious intro, Alice (Defiance starlet Mia Wasikowska) is now a 19-year-old runaway bride who grapples with her own bodily changes and ill-fitting clothes before donning a suit of armour, decapitating a dragon and drinking its blood. This isn’t Uncle Walt’s Wonderland, for sure. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: The White Ribbon

Posted by Jonathan On April - 5 - 2010

Shot like a miraculously preserved old photograph, told like a great novel by its elderly narrator some 40 years later, The White Ribbonis subtitled “A German Children’s Story.” But this dark fable is really Michael Haneke’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events.

An invisible tripwire lashed between two trees sends a doctor crashing off his horse – and that mysterious ‘accident’ is just the start of the strange and increasingly terrible crimes in a quiet German village on the brink of World War One. Pets are killed, cabbages are beheaded, women are humiliated. But again and again, it’s the kids who get it bad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blu-ray review: When We Left Earth

Posted by Jonathan On February - 15 - 2010

when we left earthNeil Armstrong pulls a last-second eject before his malfunctioning lunar mobile crashes on to the runway below and disappears in a ball of flame. Apollo 14’s Alan Shepard takes out a club and starts playing golf on surface of the moon. One of the Hubble telescope’s discarded solar panels drifts away into abyss of space like a giant, shimmering manta ray. Highlights? Pick ‘em… Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: The Mysterious Cities Of Gold

Posted by Jonathan On February - 8 - 2010

cities-of-gold“Aaaaah! Aaa-aaa-aaa-aaaah! One day we will find, the Ciiities of Gold!” Today is that day. Two decades after dazzling pre-Akira audiences on the BBC, the great lost anime of the ‘80s emerges on a six-disc DVD set complete with deleted scenes, documentaries and – wait for it! – a Philip Schofield sing-a-long… Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Caligula

Posted by Jonathan On January - 4 - 2010

caligula“God help us!” The first words of Malcolm McDowall’s addictive DVD commentary say it all. Written by Gore Vidal (who disowned his screenplay), helmed by Salon Kitty saucepot Tinto Brass (who rubbed out his director’s credit) and produced by Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione (who personally put up the $17.5 million budget), Caligula remains a disaster of such astonishing epic oddness that it simply can’t be ignored. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blu-ray review: Crank 2 – High Voltage

Posted by Jonathan On December - 14 - 2009

crank-high-voltageTake it straight up, no chaser: a strobing, surging shot of cine-adrenaline to be snorted straight through your eyeballs. Unafraid to burst blood-vessels in its own brain in the pursuit of higher, harder, faster thrills, the psychotically inventive Crank 2 showcases not only its makers’ canny tapping of videogame aesthetics, cartoon wit and reckless ultraviolence, but the wrecking-ball spectacle of Jason Statham himself. Read the rest of this entry »

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30 Blu-rays You Must Own

Posted by Jonathan On December - 9 - 2009

planetearth1. Planet Earth
Shot on HD cameras and a £16 million budget, David Attenborough’s nature mega-doc might be Blu-ray’s most breathtaking visual experience: every colour, every hair, every tiny air-bubble and fish-scale leaps off the screen and hits your retinas like a drug.

2. Iron Man
Impossible to see where the CG starts and the live-action footage ends on Iron’s Man’s HD transfer. But it’s the lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio that really amazes: skip to Tony Stark’s first flight and feel your surround-sound ripple. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: David Lynch Shorts

Posted by Jonathan On June - 13 - 2009

the_grandmotherEyes wide open for six fascinating black bore-holes into David Lynch’s cinematic awakening. Dreams and reality, fears and desires, sex and death, innocence and adulthood… It’s all here. These short films, made as an avant garde art-student are pupating nightmare-glimpses of what would emerge from his amazing surrealist feature debut Eraserhead. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Festen

Posted by Jonathan On June - 11 - 2009

festen1Goodbye cake and balloons. Hello suicide and paedogeddon. Probably the worst birthday party of the 20th century, Danish bad-boy Thomas Vinterberg’s riveting family-meltdown drama is also the first, truest and best Dogma 95 film ever made.

Exploding inside a country inn, it sees various spouses, relations and friends gathered to celebrate patriarch Helge’s 60th. But the veneer of civility shatters like glass as the families deepest, darkest secrets spew out onto the table. Chekhov, Ibsen and Bergman would have eaten it up. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jonathan is a London-based journalist, critic and editor. He currently works for data visualisation agency Beyond Words.

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