Jonathan Crocker

Editorial Director | Journalist

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

DVD review: Carnival Of Souls

Posted by Jonathan On April - 15 - 2009

carnivalofsoulsA truly unique horror curio. Armed with a $30,000 budget for their first and only film, director Harold Harvey and writer John Clifford were shooting for “”the look of a Bergman and the feel of a Cocteau.” Somehow, they nearly pulled it off.

Stylishly skewed right from the opening credits, this dreamlike ghost story sees a brittle blonde (Candace Hilligoss) and two of her friends crash off a wooden bridge into the river below after a drag-race goes wrong. Dazed and dripping, the woman finally drags herself from the muddy depths. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Tales Of The Black Freighter

Posted by Jonathan On March - 1 - 2009

blackfreighterGuts spilling from bloated corpses. Blood clouding the ocean. Gulls picking out eyeballs. For sure, it’s not squeamish. Just 20-odd minutes long, Watchmen‘s meta-comic Marooned floats on to the screen Animatrix-stylee to complete Zack Snyder’s adap and Alan Moore’s annoyance. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: The Elephant Man

Posted by Jonathan On August - 1 - 2008

elephantman“You’re a mad man! I love you! You’re in!” With those words, producer Mel Brooks signed up David Lynch after gawping through his surreal debut odyssey Eraserhead. It’s just one of many delightful recollections on the disc’s 24-minute interview with Lynch, whose second film again eyeballs a strange man’s lonely existence in an industrial nightmare-world: John Merrick, aka ‘The Elephant Man’, a grotesquely deformed 20something who went carnival freak-show to one of the most famous men in 19th-century London. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Posted by Jonathan On June - 23 - 2008

beforethedevil1Powered by demonic black energy, Sidney Lumet‘s family crime thriller has all the ingenious, agonising horror of a Greek tragedy. The less you know the better – Kelly Masterson’s diabolical script just keeps opening trapdoors under your feet. And with each sickening drop, shock and twist, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead grips tighter and tighter. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Buster Keaton Chronicles

Posted by Jonathan On April - 16 - 2008

buster1Look at him. He’s one of cinema’s most beautiful faces. Forget Garbo – did she ever battle hurricanes, leap from speeding trains or play billiards with a hand grenade? As a baby, Joseph Francis Keaton was hurled – very literally – into his parents’ violent slapstick vaudeville show. Never smiling, ‘Buster’ just took it on the chin. The world has always been a chaotic, dangerous place. He’d just make sure it was a hilarious one, too. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Stanley Kubrick Boxset

Posted by Jonathan On February - 26 - 2008

spaceodysseyNearly a decade has drifted since his sudden death, but Stanley Kubrick‘s astonishing oeuvre  – and it’s easy to forget he made just 13 films – continue to loom like a monolithic shadow. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Candy

Posted by Jonathan On April - 23 - 2007

heath_ledger_candyBefore slashing on The Joker’s rictus grin, Heath Ledger returned to Oz for this toxic love story. He’s a poet. His blonde angel Candy (Abbie Cornish) is a painter. But really they’re both just young, boho junkies on a quivering tailspin through sunshine passion, cold turkey and the fresh, harried nowhere of addiction.

Drug-drama cliché roadblocks any new revelations here, but Candy does find a niche away from Requiem For A Dream’s hyperbole and Trainspotting’s swagger. Underplayed and acted to the max, it engrosses through heartbreaking moments (horrific still-birth, domestic meltdown) and keen observations (“For every 10 years you’ve been a junkie, you’ll have spent seven of them waiting”). Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Performance

Posted by Jonathan On April - 17 - 2007

performanceBirthed in the genius/mentalist brainpan of virtuoso artist Donald Cammell, Performance was pitched to Warner Bros as the smash-hit cocktail of cinema’s two hottest genres: pop-star vehicle and Swinging London flick. With Rolling Stones demi-god Mick Jagger co-directed by brilliant cinematographer Nicolas Roeg and libertine intellectual Cammell, this would be the first Swinging London flick by swinging Londoners. When one exec’s wife began vomiting at Performance’s test-screening, one thing became clear: A Hard Day’s Night, this was not. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: Ben-Hur

Posted by Jonathan On April - 17 - 2007

benhurSeven years in the making, $15 million budget, 10,0000 costumes, 8,000 extras, 300 sets, 222 minutes runtime, $80 worldwide gross, 11 Oscars… Ben-Hur’s staggering stat-attack bulges further with this monolithic Collector’s Edition: four discs and 10 hours of bonus material. Fitting treatment for a widescreen mega-epic that saved MGM’s lion from the wolves, rescued cinema from the tube and finally convinced Charlton Heston that he was indeed bigger than Jesus. Read the rest of this entry »

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DVD review: The Seven Year Itch

Posted by Jonathan On April - 16 - 2007

7yearitch2In showbiz, they say you’ve only achieved true fame when you’re known simply by your first name. By 1955, Marilyn Monroe was so famous her screen character no longer needed a name at all. In Billy Wilder’s midsummer-night’s sex comedy, she is simply The Girl – a ditzy, curvaceous bombshell who lives upstairs from neurotic publishing-house everyman Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell). 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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