Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

This post-apocalyptic environmentalist fable, by Hayao Miyazaki based on his manga, drops you into another world from the start. Nausicaa is a beloved princess in a village threatened by the Toxic Jungle, where giant insects menace her people and everyone outside must wear a mask to protect them from poisoned air. The beginning is slow-moving, as we and Nausicaa explore her world and she narrates to us what she’s seeing and doing (a characteristic other cast members share, with the […]

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Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy

Review by Johanna and KC Carlson The 25th Anniversary Trilogy edition of Back to the Future totally justifies the purchase of our Blu-ray player. The excellent picture quality (newly restored for this release) made me feel like I was watching it for the first time. As for special features, the set is so comprehensive it’s almost overkill. You have the movies on both Blu-ray and DVD. You have all these extras (some redundant, but extra points for being complete). You […]

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The Social Network

KC and I went to see The Social Network last week. You can probably tell how much I enjoyed it by considering that it took me this long to get around to writing up my thoughts. I don’t regret seeing it, but it wasn’t as entertaining as I hoped. The Social Network is a Citizen Kane for our time, looking at a media mogul — in this case, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, played by Jesse Eisenberg — who is […]

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Sherlock Holmes

I hadn’t seen this Victorian action movie in theaters, so I was glad to see the DVD come out only three months later. I knew there’d been lots of debate over whether this version was really Sherlock Holmes or not, and I wanted to see for myself. The movie doesn’t play much on what Holmes has come to mean as a brand, but since it’s billed as a “bold reimagining”, fair enough. The Sherlock Holmes film is faithful to the […]

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Ponyo

Ponyo is the newest Studio Ghibli movie to come to DVD in the U.S. Thanks to Ed’s laptop, I was able to sample this in Blu-ray. (Although we had a bit of trouble getting the thing to talk to my television. I thought it would be as simple as plugging in the cable to the HDMI port, but it seems that you have to disable the laptop screen to get the TV image to show; otherwise, the software gives you […]

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Condorman

I was thrilled to discover that Disney had made Condorman available on DVD. I got mine by cashing in Disney Movie Rewards points, or apparently you can get it through their Disney Movie Club (a subscription service). I have fond memories of this 1981 goofy superhero/spy spoof. It stars Michael Crawford, who went on to greater fame as the original musical Phantom of the Opera, and Oliver Reed as the Russian baddy. Crawford is Woody Wilkins, a comic artist and […]

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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Yesterday was the first really hot day of the year. KC emailed me at work: “Brain melting. Let’s go to the movies! They have industrial AC!” Since we’d already seen Up, we chose Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. As expected, Amy Adams playing Amelia Earhart was the best thing about it. I like Ben Stiller (as lead, guard Larry Daley), but at times here, he seemed too tired and reserved for all the special effects mayhem going […]

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Voices of a Distant Star

In the near future, an interstellar war separates two teens in love in Voices of a Distant Star. This short anime, while competently created (apparently by one guy on his home computer) appeals not because of the visuals — the character designs are familiar and uninspired, and the cross-cutting choppy — but because of the mood. I describe the two as “in love” because it’s the closest I can get to describing them (and “lovers” sounds silly, because it’s not […]

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