Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
At last available on DVD, Eleanor Coppola's 1991 documentary about her husband's tumultuous trek downriver remains, easily, the best film ever about the making of a movie and unmaking of a man. Francis Ford Coppola thought he was going to spend 16 weeks in the Philippines making his film about the Vietnam War, only to wind up lost in the jungle damned near forever — during which time he replaced his leading man and lost his mind on the "journey inward." "I'm gonna shoot myself," he says during a secretly recorded conversation with the missus, and she probably believed him. But the doc comes with a 62-minute happy ending: Coda: Thirty Years Later, about the making of the forthcoming Youth Without Youth, during which Francis is all back-to-biz grins and philosophical happy talk. The horror? Long gone.
— Robert Wilonsky
Nosferatu: The Ultimate DVD Edition
Kino has been stomping mudholes in the competition when it comes to rereleasing classic silent films — which, admittedly, is something of a niche. Latest is this F.W. Murnau vampire gem from 1922, which depicts Count Orlock (read: Dracula) in scary rat-faced-monster mode, as compared to the later, more popular old smoothie portrayed by Bela Lugosi, which gave the world vampire erotica. (Thanks, Bela.) As usual, the digital restoration is stunning. But if Kino has a fault, it's that it's so historically correct as to be stodgy. You'll understand why they attached the original score, but it's still a snooze; an hour-long doc, likewise, is scholarly overkill. Better is a selection of scenes from Murnau's other films, including mind-blowing images of a giant devil standing over a medieval village in Faust.
— Jordan Harper
Live Free or Die Hard
The best thing about this collection is the unrated version of the pretty-damned-good summer blockbuster — because something didn't feel right about a Die Hard movie in which "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker" was trimmed to keep it a kid-friendly PG-13. This Live Free or Die Hard plays lighter and looser than its theatrical counterpart (which is also present here); John McClane is no longer some sanitized, homogenized version of his former shambling self. As far as big sweaty booms go, the fourth Die Hard is the only one that matters after the original. Bruce Willis says as much, over and over, in his interview with Kevin Smith — a nifty bonus among the so-so extras, which include a lengthy making-of doc and (why?) a music video.
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