Recent Reviews

Pride + Prejudice + Zombies (Blu-ray)
::needle-drop to some stuffy classical piece::

Welcome, gentle reader, to volume 16, issue 5 of the DVD Talk Literary Journal. Joining us today is Maggie Tuten Tyner, destination editor of USA TODAY 10Best as well as upstate South Carolina's foremost Misterdarcyologist. My name is Adam Tyner, and I've devoured more movies with "dead" or "zombie" in their titles than you have. Today's roundtable -- or, well, whatever you call it if there are only two people -- focuses on the recent film adaptation of Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Let's begin, shall we?

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Adam Tyner: So, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies: the math checks out! I thought that this genre mash-up would use the original Austen novel as a springboard to something completely different, but it's more faithful than I ever would've guessed much of the way through. The original novel and plus-zombies alike both revolve around the Bennets, a family with a grand estate and some degree of wealth. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (Charles Dance and Sally Phillips) have no male heirs, and with the laws of primogeniture in those days, their five daughters stand to inherit little or nothing. To continue living comfortably, they must marry and marry well. In one corner is the dashing and impossibly wealthy Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth). In the other is the aloof, unyielding, and even more impossibly wealthy Colonel Darcy (Sam Riley). The attraction is mutual between Mr. Bingley and the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane (Bella Heathcote). Meanwhile, the...errr, revulsion is mutual between Col. Darcy and Elizabeth (Lily James). As desperate as Mrs. Bennet is for her daughters to marry into a certain station,...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Pride + Prejudice + Zombies]

99 River Street (Blu-ray)
"There are worse things than murder. You can kill someone an inch at a time."

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Sixty two bouts. Ernie Driscoll (John Payne) made it sixty two bouts without ever being knocked off his feet in the ring, he's up on the cards for #63, and with the beating he's giving Sailor Braxton, the guy's all of another round or two away from being crowned the new heavyweight champ. It's all over with a life-threatening stray cut: this fight, his career as a boxer, his future.

With yet another roll of her eyes, Pauline (Peggie Castle) turns the TV off. It's not that she was worried about the impact that this 'Greatest Fights in Boxing History' retrospective or whatever would have on her husband; it's just another reminder to Polly that she bet on the wrong horse. This one-time showgirl thought she was marrying some kind of sports hero, both on their way to certain stardom. She instead lives in a tiny apartment, toils away in a flower shop, and is anchored to a lowly cab driver. Ernie has a bad habit of wallowing and brooding, sure, but he aspires to something more than just another hack in a yellow taxi, saving up in the hopes of someday soon buying a filling station. Polly sneers at how low Ernie sets the bar for his dreams and is out the door. It's a night that starts badly enough and quickly gets a hell of a lot worse.

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I'm not going to spell out the plot of 99 River Street. A big part of the appeal is how it feints with a right and then connects with a left hook, so the less you know going in, the better. Let's just say that there's a struggling actress (Evelyn Keyes) with an unrealistic eye towards Broadway stardom, a diamond heist gone wrong, a hell of a frame-up (plural, even), and Ernie stuck with a fare that's not exactly breathing.

On...[read the entire Blu-ray review of 99 River Street]

Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia (Blu-ray)
Arrow Video isn't the first label to pair together Emilio Miraglia's two gothic gialli -- The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times -- but with a release this definitive, they just might be the last.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)
Although The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is generally classified as a giallo, it owes as much to Roger Corman's Poe adaptations as it does to, say, Argento's seminal The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Despite taking place in the then-present day, the film's imagery is decidedly gothic, set predominantly against the backdrop of a castle half-crumbled into ruin and a nearby crypt. A full hour passes before the first glimpse of an otherwise unseen killer's gloved hands. That's not to say that the body count hovers around zero prior to that point, though referring to them as "murders" may be a bit presumptuous. It's all but spelled out that the deeply troubled Lord Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen) has been routinely slaughtering the strippers and prostitutes he lures into his gothic dungeon, although their beaten, branded corpses are never seen.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave
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Then again, Lord Cunningham ensures that we only see what he wants us to. This depraved routine is one he long ago had honed to perfection. The fake license plates on his car are quickly disposed of, tossed aside with a convenient excuse before ever approaching his familial castle. The extravagant sums offered to his prey by this well-mannered gentleman lowers their guard, and even when they first step foot into what is unmistakeably a torture chamber, they shrug it off as the playthings of another rich kink. The whipping becomes less and less playful, he pulls the...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia]

More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 5/28: Pride + Prejudice + Zombies (Blu-ray)
  • 5/27: Spectre (Steelbook) (Blu-ray)
  • 5/27: 99 River Street (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 5/27: 99 River Street (Blu-ray)
  • 5/21: Captain America: Civil War (Theatrical)
  • 5/20: The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 5/19: The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (Blu-ray)
  • 5/18: The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 5/17: The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (Blu-ray)
  • 5/14: Venom (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 5/14: Venom (Blu-ray)
  • 5/14: The Hateful Eight (Blu-ray)
  • 5/13: Trailer Trauma 2: Drive-In Monsterama (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 5/11: Deadpool (Blu-ray)
  • 5/11: Trailer Trauma 2: Drive-In Monsterama (Blu-ray)
More of my boring video log...
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 5/27: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (Blu-ray)
  • 5/17: 99 River Street (Blu-ray)
  • 5/16: Pride + Prejudice + Zombies (Blu-ray)
  • 5/13: Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia (4-Disc Special Limited Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 5/13: Venom (Blu-ray)
  • 5/12: Orange Is The New Black: Season 3 (Blu-ray)
  • 5/11: Batman: The Complete Television Series (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)
  • 5/4: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 2 (Amazon Exclusive) (Blu-ray)
  • 5/4: The Witch (Blu-ray)
  • 5/2: Trailer Trauma 2: Drive-In Monsterama (Blu-ray)
  • 4/29: Deadpool (Uhd)
  • 4/25: Marvel's Agent Carter: Season 1 (Amazon Exclusive) (Blu-ray)
  • 4/20: Dolemite (Blu-ray)
  • 4/20: Suspicion (Blu-ray)
  • 4/19: The Revenant (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...

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