Harry's DVD PICKS AND PEEKS Does The 1st Week of October 2007 - THE WAR - JUNGLE BOOK - I PASSED FOR WHITE and More!
Hey folks, Harry here to shock you with the return of my DVD column. I’m sorry it has been gone for so long, but… well, it’s been quite a year for me – and I hope you’ll forgive me. However, I intend to keep these up. Now if you’re reading this column for the first time – realize this is by no means a complete look at the DVDs coming out. It is simply the ones that I’m interested in, that I’ve watched and that I’m looking forward to. At this point, I’m not including BLU-RAY in that, simply because I don’t own a player yet, I will be getting one this holiday season – and regret that I don’t have one this week, because Romero’s DAWN and DAY hit along with Bram Stoker’s Dracula – and Robocop next week. But I’ll just have to bury my tears with TOP GUN. Heh. Here’s my Picks and Peeks for the week ahead!
Ken Burns is a brilliant documentarian – one so good, that you don’t need me to tell you about him, because you’re already familiar with his continual success as the number one name in televised documentaries. This time his subject is World War II – and here he attacks the subject with a point of view that we haven’t really seen – how World War II affected the people that fought it, worked to support it, and… well, just about the most comprehensive and personal look at the war. Working with his co-director Lynn Novick and with celebs like Sam Jackson, Alan Arkin and Tom Hanks involved – he’s again succeeded beyond expectations. This, along with DEATH PROOF were the DVDs I took my father to watch while he was spending his time in the hospital recovering from his TIA. The doc is an essential for anyone that is a junkie on WWII.
THE JUNGLE BOOK (2-Disc 40th Anniversary Platinum Edition)
Finally I get to own JUNGLE BOOK in the right aspect ratio!!! That by itself is a reason to acquire this DVD. That it also has a digitally cleaned up and restored original soundtrack – it’s amazing. As is typical of Disney’s Platinum Edition – you’ll get stuff you’ve never seen before… like the deleted songs which I’d never heard before. As for THE JUNGLE BOOK – it is one of the most wonderful Disney animated films. Louis Prima and Phil Harris’ voice work was absolutely classic! Fantastic work. If you have a family or if you’re just a kid at heart – you’ve got to have THE JUNGLE BOOK.
FANTASTIC FOUR – RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER (The Power Cosmic Edition 2-Disc Set)
This is by no means a great FANTASTIC FOUR film. It’s not even a really good movie, but it is a fun one. The simpleton playing Doc Doom should be destroyed. If FOX ever got their shit together and had the right writing team and the right director – they’d have a film that would blow away their box office expectations and make all the fans happy, forever. Alas – this is the best they could do with the lack of talent they went with – and the result is – fun. Doug Jones’ work as the Silver Surfer is exemplary. As was Spectral Motion’s work on the Surfer and the digital enhancement work that went into the creation of the SILVER SURFER. And yes, the SILVER SURFER is not a complete CG creation – no matter what Fox publicity is telling you. It’s worth owning – for the man on the cover of this edition. The Silver Surfer rules – period.
CALIGULA (3 Disc Imperial Edition)
One of the oddest film experiences you’ll ever have. This… crazy ass edition with extra overload is well… to be expected with something so infamous. Personally – the commentaries by Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren are worth the disc by themselves. But the interview with Tinto Brass is also fun. There’s also a high def transfer of the film – and they have a pre-release version of the film with stuff we’ve never seen. Oh – and there’s billions of photos, a long documentary – the screenplay, Penthouse features and more. If you want to see the most crazy x-rated film produced with A-list folks – look no further, but remember – this shit is deviant as hell – so venture at your own risk.
TOP GUN (HD DVD)
I know it is very uncool to love this movie, but fuck that. I love this movie. I loved this movie as a 14 year old – and the 35 year old version of myself thinks that 14 year old kicked ass and is right on with his assessment of this film. This film will look so fucking good on my HD player – I can’t wait.
1408 (2 Disc Collector’s Edition)
Here’s a film that I missed on theatrical run – mainly due to s much going on with my wedding. That said – as soon as the film arrived in my hands for review, I put it in, because I’d heard realy good things on the film. Now it isn’t one of the GREAT haunted films. But it is a very good one. That said – next to films like THE CHANGELING, THE HAUNTING, THE SHINING or even the upcoming THE ORPHANAGE – it’s just a page turner. Sam Jackson and Cusack are wonderful in the film – and room 1408, well it is the real star. The second disc on this version has the longer director’s cut which is frankly, a better version.- it has a writer and director’s commentary – there’s also deleted scenes and a making of. It’s very good.
THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER, Vol 2
Ok – I alerted y’all to the first set of Kenneth Anger films – they were the rare, hard to find films. Here – you have some powerfully hard to take cinema. If you’ve never seen SCORPIO RISING of LUCIFER RISING or RABBIT’S MOON – I’m betting you haven’t a clue how rough film can be. SCORPIO RISING is a brilliant harsh vulgar film that will shock you if you’ve never seen it. Also in this set you have KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS, INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER.
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (Collector’s Edition)
I love Francis Ford Coppola’s BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA. It is wildly theatrical, it uses every trick of silent cinema and beyond – the use of in-camera tricks thrill – and Gary Oldman is beyond amazing. The score is stunning, the photography, costume design, sets – everything is spectacular. The wolf creature, the bat creature superb. Neo and the Rocketeer aside – this film is brilliant. This collector’s edition comes with commentary by Coppola, a documentary, fantastic deleted scenes and more. You should also be aware that it is available this week on Blu-Ray!
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – Complete Series
It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since we were introduced to Captain Picard and his crew at ENCOUNTER AT FARPOINT – but then those of us that watched that initial broadcast… anxious to see it suck or succeed – well, I remember being incredibly blown away. Not so much by that first episode, but by the cast and the characters. I was genuinely interested to see them in action. And for the following 7 years, I don’t think I missed an episode. I still prefer the classic Trek, if only because it had better writers, more audacious concepts and a perfect trifecta of command. But here on this set you get every episode aired. 49 Discs – 8085 minutes of Trekker love. Now for the bad news. Paramount really didn’t do much of anything with this edition. You won’t find commentaries or special features on a per-episode basis. There is A special features disc, but that’s like a kiss on the ass of a cadaver. Too little. Too late. Still – the $305 price at Amazon is $151 off the “retail” price and is a very nice way to go through this set. The packaging is a tad on the annoying side. Without any clear labeling as to where the seasons begin and end, but again – this is the cheapest way to pick up this amazing set. – However, I wouldn’t be surprised if PARAMOUNT does a spectacular set to promote and push to help enhance the visibility of the STAR TREK brand around the release of JJ’s Trek relaunch. I’m glad I have this set though. I get to brainwash my new wife.. I’ve got the binding chair and the eye moisteners set up…. Now she’s just got to watch 8085 minutes non-stop… I love the espresso drip machine I’ve constructed! Wow – Yoko is as old as STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION… now I feel dirty.
FUNNY FACE (50th Anniversary Edition)
Stanley Donen, Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Yeah – it’s S’wonderful, s’Marvelous! I love this film – that black leotard suit she wears… dreamy. They’ve finally added some special features, but alas – Astaire and Hepburn aren’t around to add to them. They’re nice, but the real jewel is FUNNY FACE itself. It’s one of the classics. I just can’t wait for Paramount to release every title, day and date, in HD. Because 50’s Technicolor looks stunning as hell in HD. Cie la vie.
FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: OUTBREAK ON A PLANE
Saw this at Fantastic Fest. It’s a goofy fun forgettable addition to the Zombie genre. There’s some neat gags, but the casting and low-budget hurts the production – and the direction is threadbare. However, if you like ridiculous funky zombie movies – you might squeeze some enjoyment out of it.
MISERY (Collector’s Edition)
My favorite Rob Reiner film. I love MISERY. I love it because it’s about a writer and his fans. It’s about the eccentricities of writing, the method, the ritual of writing. The superstition of success. Then there’s Annie. She’s the ultimate Talkbacker – that fan that demands that George Lucas do it right. That Fox make a great FANTASTIC FOUR movie – and she’s willing to go all the way to making it happen. To strapping Jorge down and hobbling his ankles until he makes Star Wars kick ass the way they always dreamt of. This movie is in the back of the minds of every creative person when a fan walks up and says those deadly words, “I’m your number one fan!” This edition has commentaries by Rob Reiner and another by William Goldman – and it is genuinely difficult to decide which is better. Then there’s a lot of special features, my fave being the series of “Stalker” documentaries and the CELEBRITY STALKERS feature. Great stuff and genuinely scary.
THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932)
A brilliant film. I absolutely love it. Now we come to the controversy of the digital coloring of these films and the using of Ray Harryhausen’s name upon films he was not a part of. Frankly, I’m fine with it – the digital coloring has come a long way since it’s early Turner days – and with the other versions, the original versions so readily available, I don’t feel threatened. For me, upon this title the best version is the Criterion version - that said, I always love checking out these versions – they remind me of the lobby cards and movie poster art from the films. A fantastical color, not real, but then this is a film that was not striving for realism, but theatricality. Call it a curiosity and I enjoy curiosities – how about you?
If you loved BLACK SHEEP, UNDEAD or FEAST – this is your sort of candy. It’s a low budget film by a promising filmmaker that we should all keep our eye on. It’s bloody fun – and this is your first chance to give it a look. It’s worth looking at. Especially for those in love with comical over the top gore and craziness.
Welcome To Grindhouse: THE HELLCATS / CHAIN GANG WOMEN
Frankly, I’d recommend picking up every film in the “Welcome To Grindhouse” series – simply because – if you can’t attend The Alamo Drafthouse’s SOMETHING WEIRD WEDNESDAY series – it can serve as the next best thing. This edition contains a wonderful exploitive double bill of THE HELLCATS and CHAIN GANG WOMEN. HELLCATS is about a wild female biker gang – and CHAIN GANG WOMEN is self explanatory. Both films are presented in their original aspect ratios and looking pretty fabulous. If you like to see rough and tough women being handled and handling other roughly – this is a delight. It’s funky and fun.
MYSTICS IN BALI
If that box art doesn’t say everything you need to know to want this title – then the film isn’t for you. Suffice to say – the film is actually weirder than the box art and delivers even more. This is one of those foreign films that’s taken 26 years to reach our shores, but let me tell you, it’s been worth the wait. It is a strikingly bizarre work that will leave you wondering what the hell you’ve just seen – throughout the film.
I PASSED FOR WHITE
In 1960, this film was stunning and a shocker. Today it’s a bizarre picture to compare how far we’ve come. If you love societal exploitation – you’d love a chance to see this film. I first knew about this film when we had the one-sheet in my father’s poster collection. It was such a lurid one-sheet – so naughty and edgy. Now it’s just a fascinating bookmark of history.
See you next week with looks at titles like 28 Weeks Later, The Lodger, Poltergeist, Degrassi High, Black Sheep and Lon Chaney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. Till then, enjoy your DVDs!
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Sept. 30, 2007, 4:54 p.m. CST
Harry Flight of the Living Dead was better than that. It was actually one of the better films overall from the festival. I was talking with Tim League and he agreed that it was much more fun and crazy than Snakes on a Plane. http://tinyurl.com/pv8do
Sept. 30, 2007, 4:59 p.m. CST
by barnaby jones
I can't wait to see it in HD. A longer cut of 1408 sounds good too, does the ending make any more sense ??
Sept. 30, 2007, 5:02 p.m. CST
by DArque Bishop
You know, if Harry really loved Misery that much... you'd think he'd remember that "Misery" is the name of the character in James Caan's characters books. Kathy Bates's character was named Wilkes.
Sept. 30, 2007, 5:03 p.m. CST
by DArque Bishop
Still, I got closer to the name than he did. :-)
Sept. 30, 2007, 5:04 p.m. CST
by georges garvaren
Funny face is very cute from start to finish and Audrey looks perfect no matter the pixelation.
Sept. 30, 2007, 5:32 p.m. CST
The Silver Surfer was perfect - the only redeeming aspect of the entire film (besides Chris Evans, he nailed his character). The reason I didn't hate RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is because it gave me hope that the SILVER SURFER spin-off film will be incredible. Unless Tim Story directs it, then it'll be shite.
Sept. 30, 2007, 5:42 p.m. CST
by The Handsome 12th Doctor
I'm sure The War documentary is well put together, but to call it a comprehensive look at WW2 when the box says 1941-1945 is an insult to all the people who fought or suffered in Europe from 1939 to 1941.
Sept. 30, 2007, 5:46 p.m. CST
by Alonzo Mosely
You say it every time you resurrect this Harry... It'll last 3 weeks, then disappear for 2 then reappear with a promise that you'll keep up with it, then disappear for 4 months... But hey, I love the things, so I'll take what I can get...
Sept. 30, 2007, 6:05 p.m. CST
...is a shit, shit film. I urge you all NOT to pick it up; you'll be hugely disappointed. I was expecting a cheap and cheerful gorefest in the vein of Peter Jackson's early stuff, but it's shot on what looks like the director's mam's camcorder, features shitty acting and even shittier effects, and is definitely not as clever as it thinks. Avoid at all costs. Harry, I usually agree with your reviews (FF2 not withstanding), but saying Jake West is 'one to look out for' after this and shitfest 'Razor Blade Smile'? He's like the UK version of Uwe Boll!
Sept. 30, 2007, 6:09 p.m. CST
Everytime I think of that scene, I bust up laughing.
Sept. 30, 2007, 6:22 p.m. CST
continually scares me every time I watch it. Just the concept of being trapped in that situation is terrifying, and that shot of her with the lightning. Like honestly, being stuck in a bed, and then pissing off this woman, what would you do? You try and back peddle, but she's so irrational. And her forcing you to burn what you consider to be your best work. It's more of internal horror than anything, but it's such a good movie.
Sept. 30, 2007, 6:37 p.m. CST
It's actually pretty interesting but, I guess I'm used to the same old same old...
Sept. 30, 2007, 6:53 p.m. CST
How many times have we heard that on this site?
Sept. 30, 2007, 7 p.m. CST
by Mirthquake Cartoons
Harry, RE: Dracula — I've been waiting for Criterion to put this out on DVD, as I'm not sure anything else will compare to their stunning LVD set. How does this new DVD set compare, features wise?
Sept. 30, 2007, 7:26 p.m. CST
This film should of been all about the Surfer though,with the F4 as the guest stars.God bless Doug Jones.
Sept. 30, 2007, 7:35 p.m. CST
I wish Alan was involved, alas it is his son Adam.
Sept. 30, 2007, 7:41 p.m. CST
Can't wait to see it!
Sept. 30, 2007, 7:55 p.m. CST
awaiting tb in 3 2 1...
Sept. 30, 2007, 8:01 p.m. CST
Without you. I know it's a pain to put together, but I really appreciate it. It's great for catching up on things I've missed.
Sept. 30, 2007, 8:11 p.m. CST
by Larry of Arabia
A lover of cinema would never, ever go for a colorized film. It violates what the director and cinematographer worked for. The lighting, makeup, and staging were... aw fuck the ENTIRE FILM INDUSTRY has already been through this. The real question is what's wrong with you that you can still accept it and consider yourself a lover of film?
Sept. 30, 2007, 8:21 p.m. CST
by Big Dan
came out last week on a Criterion DVD release. I know it's goofy by today's standards but I've loved it since I was a kid. Glad to have it back. as info.
Sept. 30, 2007, 9:11 p.m. CST
Jungle Book and Silver Surfer will be the ones that I buy this week. 1408 will be worth a rent but I might just break down and buy it just to add another horror movie to my collection. Misery is so good, i migt not be able to pass that one up either.
Sept. 30, 2007, 9:13 p.m. CST
Dude, a film geek like you shilling a colorized DVD that isn't the stoner version of 1968's "Night of the Living Dead". Just because color has been available for a while doesn't make it proper or necessary to add it to films that were great on their own merits. Watching "The Most Dangerous Game" colorized would be like asking me to rape my own butthole... which is to say I won't. Colorization can eat my ass and anything that comes out of it.
Sept. 30, 2007, 9:32 p.m. CST
...and how the war affected its citizens. It is a comprehensive look at WW2 from an American standpoint. If you want total comprehensiveness, then get The World at War. And if anyone starts the usual bitching about only showing WW2 from one standpoint, tell your country to produce its own film/doc, don't watch American films/docs, and shut the fuck up.
Sept. 30, 2007, 9:34 p.m. CST
Every version they've come out with has been shitty as hell. Even the so-called "Superbit" version was pretty dull and grainy
Sept. 30, 2007, 9:42 p.m. CST
Alot of films were made in black and white on purpose even though the ability to film in color was available, and those that couldn't film in color because the lack of technological innovations were made with the belief that their films would be seen in black and white and thus many many decisions were made in regard to this situation. Colorzing black and white films is bastaradizing a film lovingly made my the film maker, It would be like me going back and recoloring technicolor films cause I didn't like how the color turned out in them and they didn't look as realisitic as todays cinema. Or even going in and changing todays films to a color that is more preferable to mass market entertainment rather then the artistic direction of the film maker. Shame on you.
Sept. 30, 2007, 9:45 p.m. CST
I agree: Silver Surfer and Johnny were the only enjoyable characters in this movie.
Sept. 30, 2007, 10:04 p.m. CST
Sept. 30, 2007, 10:10 p.m. CST
HE should have done superhero films. Damn.
Sept. 30, 2007, 10:12 p.m. CST
by Osmosis Jones
"I think it may be...!" ~ "It's..." ~ "The Bike Song!" ~ "This one's got, an orange gas tank, this one's got, shiny chro-ooome, this one's got..."
Sept. 30, 2007, 10:45 p.m. CST
I just watched Preminition the other day. Dr. Doom was HACKTACULAR in that as well. That 3 strikes in three movies. He's out. Maybe if they need somebody to play "pointless" in a movie, he would fit perfectly.
Sept. 30, 2007, 11:35 p.m. CST
"Colorizing ruins film." Amen dude you are 100% right. DPs light differently for B&W and colour film. That is partly why colourized B&W films look so crappy. They were never intended to be seen in colour. Conversely, colour film converted to B&W can look flat. In B&W you compose the frame using light and shadow separation. Colour film uses colour separation. Studios should leave the films the way they were intended to be viewed.
Sept. 30, 2007, 11:56 p.m. CST
Disney's "Jungle Book", like other films of the era, was animated in 1.33:1 (with television broadcast in mind) and subsequently matted for theaters. So with this Platinum Edition you're actually LOSING picture information at the top and bottom that was present on the earlier bare-bones DVD. Someone reading your article who wasn't aware of this fact might assume they'd be GAINING picture on the sides with this new DVD. I realize that there's room for debate as to how the animators "intended" the film to be seen in its ideal presentation, and the new transfer certainly adds detail ... but as UltimateDisney.com's screencaps demonstrate, the effect on the film's composition is mixed. Disney really should have included both versions on this supposedly ultimate edition, as was done with the recent "Secret of NIMH" SE. Personally, I found the cropping on Disney's recent "Robin Hood" reissue to be significantly distracting, and I'll be saving my money on this one. (As an aside, TCM premiered the National Film Archive's restoration of Korda's 1942 "Jungle Book" last night, and it looked FANTASTIC! The colors and audio were clearer than I've ever seen/heard them! I'm crossing my fingers this ends up on DVD soon.)
Oct. 1, 2007, 12:44 a.m. CST
Harry, I just wanted to let you know I look forward to your DVD section more than anything else on the site. I love to get news about upcoming stuff, but your weekly breakdown is often the difference between me hitting the retailer for DVD's in a week and me not hitting the retailer for DVD's in a week. Thanks buddy. Keep it up.
Oct. 1, 2007, 6:24 a.m. CST
...of all time in Germany! Just some trivia.
Oct. 1, 2007, 6:34 a.m. CST
by Virtual Satyr
Making it look like a book...that is definately going in my collection.
Oct. 1, 2007, 8:26 a.m. CST
by Spandau Belly
I was really missing this column and greatly appreciate its return. It's my favorite column on this website.<br>Cheers
Oct. 1, 2007, 8:39 a.m. CST
by Internet Thug
So has this been re-mastered with better pic and sound or is it just new box art and added crap to fool the suckas?
Oct. 1, 2007, 9:01 a.m. CST
Absent Minded Professor <P> We watched the colorized version in elementry school at least 3-4 times a year (go movie day). It was painful to watch them spill some yellow dye whereever the heck the wanted and pretend it was colorized. Stupid colorization.
Oct. 1, 2007, 9:48 a.m. CST
Also, only Harry said it was a "comprehensive" look. Ken Burns has repeatedly stated that no one man or film could tell the entire story. Everyone should watch, it's good.
Oct. 1, 2007, 10:54 a.m. CST
...for best song....
Oct. 1, 2007, 1:03 p.m. CST
I mean, what the fuck was Scorsese thinking?
Oct. 1, 2007, 1:25 p.m. CST
hop on the power cosmic edition ff:rotss and fly around new york.
Oct. 1, 2007, 2:21 p.m. CST
Thank god this weekly article is back, its my favorite part of the site. Thank you Harry for coming back, dont leave again.
Oct. 1, 2007, 3:38 p.m. CST
That movie kicks ass. I know it has it's haters...but they're idiots so who gives a crap what they think anyway?
Oct. 1, 2007, 3:50 p.m. CST
this is the speech he gave in the 1994 romcom Sleep With Me: 'Maverick's on the edge, man. And you've got Iceman and all his crew. They're saying, 'go the gay way.' Kelly McGillis, she's heterosexuality. She's saying, 'no, go the normal way.' he goes to her house, all right? They're going to have sex. They don't have sex. He gets on the motorcycle, drives away. Next scene, she's in the elevator. She's dressed like a guy: she's got the cap on, she's got the aviator glasses, she's wearing the same jacket that Iceman wears. She is, 'okay, this is how i gotta get this guy. I'm gonna dress like a man.' The REAL ending of the movie is when they fight the MIGs, all right? They are this gay fighting fucking force, all right? And it's over and they land, and Iceman's been trying to get Maverick the entire time and finally he's got him. And what is the last fucking line they have together? Ice comes up to Maverick and says, 'Man, you can ride my tial any time!' And what does Maverick say? 'YOu can ride mine!' Swordfight! Swordfight!"
Oct. 1, 2007, 3:50 p.m. CST
We've been asking... how's the picture on Dracula? Same as old releases or better?
Oct. 1, 2007, 4:45 p.m. CST
Not only does the new transfer make it impossible to see what the hell is going on in all the night and dimly lit scenes, they also filtered out all the blue light effects. It's a shame because I wanted this for the extras but now I'll stick with my Superbit DVD.
Oct. 1, 2007, 5:56 p.m. CST
That adaption with Rory Calhoun on Gilligan's Island was great.
Oct. 1, 2007, 6:33 p.m. CST
by half vader
As in, even most of his television stuff sucks arse. Seen his Australian work have you? Huh? Huh? <p> ;)
Oct. 1, 2007, 7:08 p.m. CST
by half vader
is that there's absolutely NOTHING that says on that cover that it's from the American perspective. The net ads are even worse and yes made me angry because they imply more clearly (ironically through their lack of clarification and qualification) that the 2nd World War started in 41. Yes we both know that's when America entered the war, and we also know Burns makes docos about America. <p> The point is that lazy maketing/advertising people have done something incredibly disingenuous here that wasn't necessary. I don't like to think that it was done on purpose although I wouldn't put it above marketing people (work with them all the time). You don't 'play' with the facts on something like this or leave out incredibly pertinent information (that's called propaganda), and also it goes against the respect and level of accuracy and authenticity Burns strives for. Seems like a conflict. He's not the director of something like that jingoistic "Flyboys" bullshit after all. Yes we know the facts, but how many barely literate highschoolers do for example? Point is, do it right and do it with class. It's not like it was harder to add those few words. There's enough self-important American media coverage and American revisionist history without adding to the pile. Remember 911 after the first few days of just reporting what was actually going on how they started with the mock fucking sincerity and melodrama (like you needed to hype it!?!)? It was like a fucking Olympic games broadcast or something. Things were bad enough without 'milking' it and spending time on ornate 3d spinning titles and graphics. Didn't they think it needed "more emotion"?! <p> Having said that I'd like to see it because I like Burns' stuff.
Oct. 1, 2007, 7:59 p.m. CST
Thanks for bringing it back, Harry.
Oct. 2, 2007, 7:27 a.m. CST
Unless 1.78:1 is equivalent to 1.37:1
Oct. 2, 2007, 3 p.m. CST
That was kind of an underwhelming write-up. Scorpio Rising is one of the most important experimental films ever made, and has never been available on DVD before, or even a proper VHS version, so that's a majorly important release. His images and ideas have been ripped off and appropriated as often as Hitchcock's.
Oct. 2, 2007, 7:20 p.m. CST
Top Gun still kicks all kinds of unholy ass! My only problem with the movie was Kelly McGillis - I can appreciate her beauty and the time that went into the clothes, make up, etc. But what I really wanted to know was where is the chase and how can I cut to it? If anyone has the answer let me or Chris Griffin know.
Oct. 3, 2007, 12:28 a.m. CST
Seriously Harry, what crowds are you hanging out with? There ain't nothing uncool about Top Gun, a film so cool it caused a generation of pick-up artists co-opt the term "wingman." I mean, it's got everything: the bald guy who calls everyone a slacker in every film he's in, highway to the danger zone, she's lost that lovin' feeling, Iceman with his awesome bite gesture, and the need for speed. As for FF: Rise of the SS, I enjoyed the hell out of it. The Surfer, Human Torch, and Thing made that movie. The Surfer's awesome and I love how they made this Jonny's movie. It's all about the Torch. One thing though, last time you did one of these DVD reviews you promised the arrival of a region 1 unrated Eyes Wide Shut in 2006? What the fuck happened???
Oct. 3, 2007, 2:52 a.m. CST
Well, I picked up the new DVD after all (at the price I got it, it was worth it for the special features alone), which has given me a chance to compare the aspect ratios in greater detail. Contrary to my earlier post, some visual information IS added to the sides of the frame -- not much, but some. For me, however, it remains a mixed bag. While some shots seem perfectly composed for the wider ratio (Mowgli approaching the fallen Baloo, for example) the film can feel a bit vertically cramped at times, especially during action sequences where characters are bouncing all over the frame. On the other hand, the "open matte" of the previous DVD sometimes makes activity seem lonely in the middle of the frame (and as the new transfer reveals, it does crop the sides slightly). In my mind there are compromises in both versions. If I'd been the exec making the call, I might have vertically opened up the frame slightly on the new transfer. This would have led to minor window-boxing on HDTVs, but I think it would give the film a little more room to breathe. In any event, it's a real shame Disney didn't give buyers the option to choose between aspect ratios, because the new transfer simply blows the old "Limited Issue" DVD out of the water. Maybe next time around. In the meantime, ratio issues aside, the vast improvement in color vibrancy and image clarity on the Platinum Edition will probably make it my version of choice... for now. Still glad to have the old DVD, though.
Oct. 3, 2007, 9:16 a.m. CST
You can hear an interview with the producer of the upcoming BOTTLE ROCKET Criterion DVD by visiting: http://blogtalkradio.com/hostpage.aspx?show_id=101825
Oct. 3, 2007, 1:41 p.m. CST
It's too dark and grainy as hell and the soundtrack was a bit tinny and distant. Also, the subtitles are all brand new and look player generated and not burned into the film as they should be. The font is certainly not the same. Get the standard version for the features and Superbit for proper picture quality and subtitles.
Oct. 4, 2007, 2:47 a.m. CST
Cloverfield is Frankenweenie.
Oct. 4, 2007, 3:27 a.m. CST
It seems that the BR transfer was overseen by a Zoetrope representative. Note the "representative." Also note that there is a laserdisc that was personally overseen by both F.F. Coppola and Roman Coppola. That transfer is what the theatrical cut looked like. I should know given I saw it 3 times and immediately bought the VHS when it became available a month after my final viewing. This new BluRay transfer is botched. The proof is in the HD scenes shown in the documentaries. They are vibrant and not dark. They look great, and there's also the TV version in HD that looks like the old transfer(s). Well, I'm keeping the BR version for the features, but I just rebought the Superbit DVD because it looks like what Coppola really wanted it to look like. That Harris guy that does restorations (like Lawrence of Arabia) says the "answer print" to the movie looks exactly like this movie. The prints that get sent out to theaters are supposed to match the answer print. Given the DRAMATIC changes to the BR version look nothing like the theatrical print, I say Mr. Harris is full of shit. I don't care how respectable he is or what he has done, his comments contradict the fact that the two versions look nothing alike. Also, there is a major conflict of interest given he restored or had a hand in restoring the Godfather movies. I can only pray that those films don't get slaughtered like Bram Stoker's Dracula. I also hope that the transfer is simply some kind of technical glitch and that a The Fifth Element style re-release will occur. I mean, c'mon now, how in the hell could this transfer be what Coppola really wanted. In some of those dark exteriors, you can't even tell what in the hell you're looking at. It's so dark that virtually the entire screen is black. The Superbit version actually has greater detail in certain scenes because of this. There are dramatic changes made to the color palette in some cases. These are intentional color timing changes made for this transfer (and piss on Mr. Harris saying these color changes are what the original answer print looked like).
Oct. 4, 2007, 11:45 a.m. CST
by half vader
I mean JFP, that sucks, although your sledging of Harris does sort of discredit you, considering the fantastic (and faithful) work he's done in the past. There's a good point about the answer print, as release prints are so much thinner ('brighter') and Coppola did originally intend this film to be all about the costumes BEING the scenery and hardly have backgrounds to speak of, which terrified the studio. I don't know if it's possible that something went wrong AFTER the restoration and during transfer of the telecine/encoding to disc, but anyway I'm glad you brought this up as I was going to order it automatically. Now I'll wait for some reviews. <p> Luckily for me I have the laserdisc. Thanks for the heads-up.
Oct. 7, 2007, 12:19 a.m. CST
by half vader
You're not Dave Mack are you?!
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