James Rocchi Biography

Retro Rental: Re-Watching 'The Valley of Gwangi'

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by James Rocchi November 15, 2012 08:47 AM
Warner Bros.
Last week, I did something incredibly foolish and re-watched what was my favorite film when I was, let's say, 12. That statement sounds a little inverted -- Why would watching a fave film from the past be a bad idea? -- but let me also add that this was a film I had not seen since I was, let's say, 12, and thus one that lived now, as the narrator says at the end of 'The Road Warrior,' "only in my memory." But I had a head cold and Netflix and, you know, these things happen. I was fighting a cold, too, and no one, and I mean no one, who has a head cold ever said, "Hey, let's just get some tea and soup and watch 'Munich,'" you know?

Retro Rental: 'Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection' -- Blood and Champagne

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by James Rocchi November 09, 2012 10:13 AM
Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions/Universal Studios
Let us, for now, put aside the question of if Alfred Hitchcock was one of the greatest directors of all time -- he was, but... -- and instead contemplate how no director before or after Hitchcock has been as public, and as perfectly matched to their public persona. Sure, Scorsese and Spielberg and Shyamalan all get out in front of their flicks, to an extent, but not in the clever, in-on-a-joke way that Hitchcock became Hitchcock. It is, interestingly, one of the things that gets in the way of actually looking at the films -- Hitchock's life was more fractured and flawed and unforgiving than that of even most directors. But this new Universal set, 'Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection,' confronts you with such a dense chunk of his filmography so well-presented and restored, in a package as stout as the man himself, that it physically confronts you with his actual work.

Retro Rental: New York and 'The Taking of Pelham One Two Three'

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by James Rocchi November 01, 2012 08:55 AM
MGM
Like the caged bird looking to the sky through their bars -- or, less poetically, a kid in a small Canadian town back when we had winter and meant it -- I saw a lot of the world through movies; I saw parts of the world I thought I would never see. And the city you saw on film the most -- in my house, anyhow -- was New York.

New to DVD and Blu-ray: Male Strippers in 'Magic Mike,' and the 'End of the World'

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by James Rocchi October 23, 2012 09:29 AM
Focus Features/Warner Bros./Magnolia Pictures
New on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming this week, one of the year's surprise best films comes home to show off its assets, while love and politics get complicated.

Retro Rental: 20 Scary Movies to Get You Ready for Halloween

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by James Rocchi October 18, 2012 12:22 PM
Universal/Overture Films/New Line Cinema
[Depending on what's in theaters, what's in the news or what's on his mind, film critic James Rocchi brings you The Retro Rental, an older film on disc or download that connects with the here-and-now. ...] It's easy to feel ambiguous about Halloween...

Retro Rental: 'Sinister' Is as Freaky and Fragile as 'One Hour Photo'

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by James Rocchi October 11, 2012 10:00 AM
Summit Entertainment/Fox Searchlight
[Each week, depending on what's in theaters, what's in the news or what's on his mind, film critic James Rocchi brings you The Retro Rental,  an older film on disc or download.]
Around the time I saw the new Ethan Hawke-led horror film, 'Sinister' -- a film a lot of critics seem to like, and, at the most begrudgingly, a film that I wish were better, if that makes sense, as it has some smart things in it -- I was cleaning out my desk in a fit of procrastination. Among the USB keys of Alexandria and product registration cards was a Kodax Max camera, six of its 27 pictures used, its bright disposable body either shining yellow or solid utilitarian black, with a "Develop before 09/2005" emblazoned on it. And while it wasn't a series of reels of Super-8 being dropped off by an elder God who feeds on both story and sorrow as in 'Sinister,' that Kodak Max camera out of nowhere did make me turn my head and ask: Hmm, what's on you?