Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

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" Keep cool brothers, we’re the saviors of soul "
— Johnny Murphy, The Commitments

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DVD & Blu-ray

These are our most recent DVD and Blu-ray reviews. Skip to the bottom of any review ("How to Use This DVD") for advice on which extra features are worth watching and which ones are a waste of your time.

Viva la Liberta

****2013, Roberto Ando

Here on Earth 2.0, on the other side of the Looking Glass, anything is possible.

What a difference a day makes. The day I have in mind is Election Day, November 8, 2016 when we all passed through the Looking Glass. Off in a quiet corner of the filmmaking art, a clever Italian movie from 2013 was also turned on its head. (Well, of course what wasn’t?) In this case though, its almost as if Viva la Liberta was made into a new film. Let me explain.

Stray Dog

***2014

Granik walks the razor-thin line between exploitation and revelation in Stray Dog.

“My mind’s got a mind of its own!”, sang Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “It takes me out walkin’ when I should have stayed at home.” Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall’s mind has taken him out walking his whole life. It took him to the Army, to Korea, to Viet Nam, afterwards to a veteran’s hell. When we meet him he is an aging rebel biker trying to rehab his life. Ever the rebel, Ronnie Hall’s mind is now rebelling its way back to Earth.

The Champion

****

This is Milestone Film’s latest two-DVD set of and about silent films.

Colorado Springs once had an opera house. For any up-and-coming Western American town, having your own opera house meant you had left the sketchy existence of a frontier settlement and become a real place on the map.  The Springs had to wait until 1911 before its opera house, the Burns Theater, was built whereas the mining towns of Central City and Leadville had built their opera houses decades earlier... well, better late than never.

The Magic Box: Project Shirley Volume 4: The Films Of Shirley Clarke 1929-1989

2016, Shirley Clarke

Like finding a twenty-dollar bill at the back of a drawer

Anyone who’s ever moved their household knows there comes a time in the move when the big stuff is gone, the good stuff is packed and what’s left are the odds and ends of life lived in one place. It’s that catch-all drawer with all the strange stuff that is an archeological history of what you’ve been up to. Milestone’s Volume 4 of their tireless Project Shirley is that catch-all drawer at the end of the move. It is filled with material that will bore the unimaginative and fascinate the students of Shirley Clarke. In short, yes, there are home movies.

Suicide Squad

**

Suicide Squad bombs out.

Suicide Squad bombs out.

Suicide Squad had a chance to set a corrective course for DC’s burdensome, heavy-handed approach to creating a movie universe along the lines of Marvel.

Jason Bourne

2016, Paul Greengrass

Damon and Greengrass return with preposterous action set pieces

If you want to spend a couple of hours watching Matt Damon play a character who’s running for his life, Jason Bourne — the latest in the series about an amnesiac spy — might be the movie for you.

Jason Bourne

**2016, Paul Greengrass

Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass miss an opportunity to do something new with Jason Bourne.

After a 9-year hiatus, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass miss an opportunity to do something new with Jason Bourne.

Sully

***

A great American story competently told, but it’s one that remains stubbornly grounded.

Like its eponymous subject, Sully is pretty low-key and soft-spoken. That’s not entirely complimentary, given the life-altering drama that thrust Capt. Chesley “Sully”  Sullenberger into the headlines.

The Magnificent Seven

***Antoine Fuqua

The Magnificent Seven packs the ammo, but needs more soul.

This modern take on the classic Western could use a little more soul, but it serves up almost everything else in heaping helpings.

The BFG

***

Like a dream, Spielberg’s first Disney movie will likely have its impact felt for some time to come.

Like a dream, Spielberg’s first Disney movie is likely to have its impact felt for some time to come.

Florence Foster Jenkins

***

It’s a slight but entertaining look at one of the most unlikely stars in music history.

“People may say I couldn’t sing, but no one can say I didn’t sing.”
- Florence Foster Jenkins

The Secret Life of Pets

**1/2

It’s lively and colorful, but The Secret Life of Pets is hard to get excited about.

It’s lively and colorful, but The Secret Life of Pets is hard to get excited about.

War Dogs

***

War Dogs pulls the right strings in crafting a raw look at the modern age.

It’s pretty funny, a little insightful and utterly ridiculous. And War Dogs is based on disgraceful true events.

Finding Dory

**1/2

Finding Dory flounders.

Finding Dory flounders.

Sure. A lot of it is relative. Finding Dory is better than the typical animated fare coming out of Fox studios, but it’s still a victim of Pixar’s own successful formula. This one simply doesn’t rank with the best of Pixar and it falls somewhere in the mix of the weaker entries (Cars 2 most notably).

Alice Through the Looking Glass

**1/22016

Alice Through the Looking Glass is lavishly mounted, but lacking an emotional resonance.

It’s lavishly mounted with loads of eye-popping visuals, but Alice’s latest trip to Neverland never manages to reach its emotional core. Curious.