Hey folks, Harry here… and here’s another week’s DVD PICKS AND PEEKS column. It starts with something that I hope you open yourself up for. Seriously, JOHNNY STACCATO is just about one of the coolest things ever created on this planet – and as a reader of AINT IT COOL you deserve and have earned the right to be on the advance line of cool film geeks to know about JOHNNY STACCATO and to beat your friends to it. Trust me, you gain senior status on all so called filmphiles if you spring this on them. Besides – you really do need to know who the coolest detective ever was. Fuck SHAFT! Anyway – as usual the pics and titles are linked to AMAZON where if you go, you’ll learn more on the title in question – and if so motivated, you can pick it up, which will help keep this column going. And seriously – JOHNNY STACCATO is the living end! Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
There is a reason that this is at the top of this week’s column. It’s because you won’t find it at the top of any other list of DVD & BluRays coming out today. And the reason is… Those people didn’t have Nicky Katt passing them a copy of his VHS tapes of Johnny Staccato. Folks. Have you ever in your life felt like you needed the absolute definition of “COOL” – then you need look no further than the startling brilliance of JOHNNY STACCATO – a TV series that hit the antennas in 1959… If you’ve seen BORED TO DEATH – a show I love, but isn’t a hair on the ass of the cooler than absolute zero JOHNNY STACCATO. You see… Johnny, the titular character was a Jazz Musician, who became a tougher than nails Private Dick for hire. He jams with his Jazz buddies in WALDO’S JAZZ CLUB – you will become obsessed with this place. Why? Well, you’ll see 1959 era Johnny Williams (yeah, JOHN WILLIAMS) – along with some other jazz greats at the time. You’ll see some of the typical Cassavetes characters rooting around – but folks like Martin Landau, Shirley Knight, Michael Landon, etc. There’s just 27 episodes. I’d wager that a great many of you have never ever heard of JOHNNY STACCATO – if you have, you’re buying this instantly. If you don’t – and you’re a Cassavetes maniac – well you’ve already bought this. BUT I AM TELLING THE REST OF YOU… ALL OF YOU… This is the good stuff. This is that thing you share with friends, you share with your parents, you share with everyone. This isn’t some modern take on the pulpy detective – this is the distillation of the entire era of the tough as nails private eye. Cassavetes as a private dick that plays jazz is so fucking blistering your eyes and ears will boil and pop. I LOVE THIS SHOW! Now it is time to salute the absolute genius of this show. The utter brilliance of John Cassavetes – in 27 BRAND NEW TO MOST OF YOU – black & white John Williams playing along Jazz scored bits of the coolest thing that has EVER been on the boob tube. Seriously. This is it. If anyone can present something as frostbite cool as this – throw down. I’ve yet to see anything that has ever been on Television that is as cool as this. You tell me, after you see.
It is funny how many people thought I was absolutely crazy when I wrote my review praising HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON kicked unholy ass. I tried to explain why the initial advertising in no way properly reflected the absolute magic this film had. The real emotional bond between that kid and that dragon. How the kid had a very real story in the Viking village – or just how awesome the Viking village was. Everything about HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON worked – even the 3D was spectacular. Now we have it here at home. I haven’t seen the Blu-Ray yet – but here’s what’s on it: Blu-ray includes: Legend of the BoneKnapper Dragon: Hiccup and the gang return to search for a mysterious dragon in this all-new adventure The Animators’ Corner Enhances the Movie-Viewing Experience through Picture-in-Picture Storyboards, Behind-the-Scenes Footage and Insightful Interviews Uncover More Dragon Fun Facts through Pop-Up Trivia Three Deleted Scenes are Revealed Author Cressida Cowell Shares Her Inspiration Learn to Draw Toothless Take the Viking Personality Test Race for the Gold in the Viking Winter Games Build Your Own 3D Dragons And More Fiery Fun! DVD Disc: Filmmakers’ Commentary Viking-sized Cast The Technical Artistry of Dragons
Man, don’t ya just love Ingmar Bergman flicks? THE MAGICIAN is one of those films that feels authentically bizarre and wholly realistic. This is one of my favorite Bergman flicks, and watching it on Blu – it made me feel a kindred nature to THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR PARNASSUS… They’re very different films, but that same vagabond/Elmer Gantry-esque existence, but back in this particular era… was fascinating. Magic Love Potions, that only work as an excuse for pent up sexual frustration being released… but you get why they’d pay what they could pay for it. It simply gave them the excuse to fuck. But that’s a minor moment. The real show is with Max Von Sydow’s Dr Vogler. I love how they are treated when they arrive. As being slightly above the status of SERVANT, but not exactly as Human Beings. By the time you’re at the end of the film, your mind will be properly blown by the ultimate ultimate of it all. There’s a class and an atmosphere that you can just bathe in while watching THE MAGICIAN. It is a very fine thing. Here’s what Criterion cooked up for this release: New, restored high-definition digital transfer New visual essay by Bergman scholar Peter Cowie Brief 1967 video interview with director Ingmar Bergman about the film Rare English-language audio interview with Bergman New and improved English subtitle translation PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoff Andrew
I haven’t seen it. Everyone that I know has seen it, kinda hates it at a pretty primal level. But I sense there’s a possibility that I could go off reservation for this, when I finally check it out. But in my heart, I believe what I’ve heard. I just don’t want to have to hate a JONAH HEX movie. First off – it is a bleeding miracle that the character of JONAH HEX got translated. From what I hear – it is a shame it got translated – because it unfortunately continues a belief in the death of the modern big budget western genre. A genre that when I was given my chance to Produce at REVOLUTION STUDIOS – I came up with my own take on the Western Genre with the great Paul Dini writing it. After the death of REVOLUTION, I’ve been holding off working to get it set up, until after some other projects that I’ve been quite aggressive with get done. So, I kinda have to buy this and watch it today. But… as Han Solo always says, “I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This!”
I love the weird world of Wes Anderson… I put this on while writing the last DVD column. I watched it 4 times that night. Why? Because it is just such a great movie to dedicate a devoted watching of – but then, the music, the imagery and the awesome banter – well, I find them inspiring as I work – Wes Anderson makes me wish I was smarter, makes me want matching luggage and to travel by train in India. And while I love my sister… this film kinda makes me wish I had brothers – but that’s alright by me. Because I’ve had a series of life long guy friends – that I’ve got to con into going to India with me. Or maybe I’ll hit a film festival there some day. Here’s the Criterion Goodie list: New high-definition digital transfer approved by director Wes Anderson Anderson's short film Hotel Chevalier (part one of The Darjeeling Limited) Audio commentary featuring Anderson and cowriters Behind-the-scenes documentary by Barry Braverman Anderson and filmmaker James Ivory discussing the film's music Anderson's American Express commercial On-set footage shot by Coppola and actor Waris Ahluwalia Audition footage, deleted and alternate scenes, and stills galleries Original theatrical trailer PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Richard Brody
This is incredible – but I didn’t get this Blu Ray sent to me and the “ENGLISH” is scaring me, because that is not the native language, but SURELY they have the native Swedish track with Subtitles… But I don’t KNOW that – if so, this is definitely one to add to the collection if you love CRUSADES style stories. This is way better than the theatrical release of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. And personally, I like the film more than Ridley’s Director’s cut. Let me or a talkbacker find out for sure about the Language issues first. Unless you prefer dubbed movies… and then I owe you a lecture, and go ahead.
Oh man – I would really love to tell you that this kicks unholy ass – but it doesn’t. But it is kinda fun. And the more Corey Feldman was on screen, the more this film actually had a chance…. And it isn’t a total disaster. It is tolerable – and will produce perhaps a few more smiles than screams of anguish. Honestly – if everyone around Feldman was better. This could’ve rocked. Cuz Corey has got the character down. The film does have the right kind of Frog Brother ridiculousness – but almost all the Vampires are just fucking lame in comparison to the Frog Brothers. Which, of course, shall always rule as Frog Brothers rule. So I’d say, if the cult of Corey is about you – you’ll enjoy the shit out of this. There’s a great “the Coreys” moment in this. Done right.
There’s some things right about this set – You should own these cartoons. The only thing is – most of us already do. What I’m waiting on from Warner Brothers – is the same respect that Disney had when they started putting together the Mickey, Donald & Goofy sets. In fact Warners should just do Vol 1-however many – 25 cartoons a set, in order of their release for every Warner Character – beginning with the Black & White Porky Pigs – through Daffy & Bugs’ entire careers. Do the classy COLLECTOR’S route. Just release them all in order – like ya do on iTunes. Ok. But like a BluRay or even just a DVD. Just do it right for once, ok. Here’s what you get: Disc 1: * Elmer's Candid Camera (1940, Jones) * Excerpt from "My Dream is Yours" (1949) * A Wild Hare (1940, Avery) * How Bugs Bunny Won the West TV special (1978) * The Old Grey Hare (1944, Clampett) * Bugs Bunny Wild World of Sports TV special (1989) * Baseball Bugs (1946, Freleng) * Carrotblanca (1995, McCarthy) * Hair Raising Hare (1946, Jones) * Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas (2003 [unreleased], Kopp/Shin) * Haredevil Hare (1948, Jones) Disc 2: * 8 Ball Bunny (1950, Jones) * Rabbit of Seville (1950, Jones) * Ain't I A Stinker (2010 mini-documentary) * Rabbit Fire (1951, Jones) * Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers (1992, Ford/Lennon) * Show Biz Bugs (1957, Freleng) * Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over (1980, Jones/Monroe) * Knighty Knight Bugs (1958, Freleng) * The Carnival of the Animals (1976, Jones/Klynn) * What's Opera Doc? (1957, Jones)
This is actually the release of the week that has me most excited, as I haven’t seen it, but I’m one of those drunk on the notion of LOVE kind of guys. Anybody that knows me will tell ya so. Hell, like you people need me to tell you. I am one of those people that is in love with every experience of life. The pain we feel, the loss we ache from, the angsty withdrawl we get in the shadowy valley between loves… I’m sick in the head with love. Yoko is a similarly inflicted person, thank god. As a result – this is the film we’ll be buying tonight – when we come back from the club, we’ll cuddle up and watch – and we bet we’ll love it. When has Tilda not delivered?
I watched the first disc of this and really really liked it. When I get a shallow week of releases, I plan on finishing it. It kind of serves to catch me up with some of the X-Men lore that came since the point when I had a complete run from X-MEN 1 to whatever the issues were that came out around 1995. Once I started AICN, I dropped a lot of my dedicated passions. I sold a lot of my X-MEN collection to pay the bills during the early days of AICN. I’ve only recently been trying to recapture that collection. At some point I’ll devour the last 15 years of X-MEN. I’ve heard I’ve missed some of the best.
A film that should have seen at least 2000 screens. That should have seen more than festival screens – but it seems a new strategy in the modern era – is to use the festival circuit to market and build awareness – then instead of financing a theatrical campaign, they release straight to DVD for all intents and purposes – and I suppose that’s alright at some level, most people seem to experience films at home anyways. But what sticks in my craw is that this is an AUDIENCE FILM. Audiences become part of the movie – and the film creates a great energy. I am incredibly impressed by Tim Blake Nelson’s direction in LEAVES OF GRASS – and man – all those names on the box art… From Ed Norton to Susan Sarandon to Keri Russell to Tim Blake Nelson and especially RICHARD DREYFUSS – who is AWESOME in the film. Don’t miss seeing this movie. It is really killer!
If anybody ever makes a movie about Tim League – I hope Spike Jonze gets cast to play Tim League. He’s the only man that could be Tim. I base a lot of that thought upon this movie and Spike Jonze’s performance. Not that Tim is anything like this character – from what I hear, Spike is much closer personally… But everytime I watch THREE KINGS – I can’t help thinking Tim League. This is a fantastic film. This is one of those great Hybrid films. Every critic worth their salt can list off 4 or 5 movies that all the main elements of this film come from… but I don’t fucking care. I love it still. There’s 2 very entertaining commentaries on this. One from the always polite pushover David O Russell… and his Producers on this film in a separate commentary. I found the difference entertaining. Along with all the additional scenes, behind the scenes, Russell’s personal Video Journal, a real look at Ice Cube’s process as an actor, TWILIGHT director Catherine Hardwicke – who is the Production designer on this – she has a Tour of the Iraqi Village set – and then the DP Newton Thomas Sigel has his own special feature. This is a great Blu Ray of a great film.
This is my pick for the most erotic film ever made. The best ADULT story told that is about love, sex, tragedy, joy – and mostly it is about Lucia and that island that that light house is on. I don’t thing there’s a more erotic romantic film that at one level plays like a fantasy – but also feels so genuinely human and fuck all hot. This film is beautiful. I’ve watched it with a number of girl friends and I’ve yet to find one that didn’t love it. And every single guy I know – starts to drool a bit when they talk about the film – and begin wondering a bit about Latin women and the fire and passion. But seriously – this is my nomination for being one of the bests ever made in this field. Just brilliant. And arousing.
Doesn’t it comfort you, that the citizens of Eternia know that Jesus Christ, our lord and savior died also for their sins… not just here on Earth, but there on Eternia too. In fact, one could say that this video is proof positive that Jesus Christ died to redeem Skeletor’s soul. I really must pick up a Battlecat and superglue a santa hat to his head. This is genius. A must for the cool Christmas household!
For $52 you get all 10 of the Astaire and Rogers films. If you’d been holding off – this is what you were holding off for. The complete collection. Astaire & Rogers is what is best in life. Watching these films – it just. It is magic. And not because of GREEN MILE. It is magic because they don’t move like humans. They float – there’s a grace and a power that is entirely their own. Humans don’t move like that. They’re mutants, fairies, vampires – they just can’t be real people – because I’ve watched real people for the entirety of my 38 years and I’ve never seen a single soul, much less two souls be so perfect together. When you can honestly smile like Fred Astaire – you’ve reached a higher level of being. It’s a genuine smile, sometimes tired, but always genuinely happy that he can still smile. It is an earned and confident smile. He also is quite aware of just how awesome Astaire is. As for Ginger. Swoon. I love Ginger, and I love her in FOOTLIGHT PARADE in the next set. But she’s best with Fred. And honestly he was best with her. Here’s what you get – and you’ll never regret it… All 10 Astaire & Rogers Movies Restored and Remastered. Extensive Special Features on Each Movie Plus Bonus Disc Documentary Profile: ASTAIRE AND ROGERS PARTNERS IN RHYTHM FLYING DOWN TO RIO • Comedy Short Beer and Pretzels with Ted Healy and His Stooges • Classic Cartoon I Like Mountain Music • Theatrical Trailer THE GAY DIVORCEE • 2 Musical Shorts: Show Kids and Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove • Classic Cartoon Shake Your Powder Puff • Audio-Only Bonus: Hollywood on the Air Radio Promo • Theatrical Trailer ROBERTA • Musical Short Starlit Days at the Lido • Classic Cartoon The Calico Dragon • Audio-Only Bonus: Hollywood on the Air Radio Promo • Theatrical Trailer TOP HAT • Commentary by Fred Astaire's Daughter Ava Astaire McKenzie and Film Historian Larry Billman • Featurette On Top: Inside the Success of Top Hat • Comedy Short Watch the Birdie with Bob Hope • Classic Cartoon Page Miss Glory • Theatrical Trailer FOLLOW THE FLEET • Featurette Follow the Fleet: The Origins of Those Dancing Feet • Musical Short Melody Master: Jimmie Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra • Classic Cartoon Let It Be Me • Theatrical Trailer SWING TIME • Commentary by John Mueller, Author of Astaire Dancing • Featurette The Swing of Things: Swing Time Step by Step • Musical Short Hotel a la Swing • Classic Cartoon Bingo Crosbyana • Theatrical Trailer SHALL WE DANCE • Commentary by Songwriter Hugh Martin and Pianist Kevin Cole • Featurette The Music of Shall We Dance • Musical Short Sheik to Sheik • Classic Cartoon Toy Town Hall CAREFREE • Musical Short Public Jitterbug No. 1 • Classic Cartoon September in the Rain THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE • Musical Short Happily Buried • Classic Cartoon Puss Gets the Boot THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY • Featurette Reunited: Astaire and Rogers Together Again • The Passing Parade Short Annie Was a Wonder • Classic Droopy Cartoon Wags to Riches • Theatrical Trailer ON EACH MOVIE: • Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Main Feature. Bonus Material/Trailer May Not Be Subtitled).
Like the above set of Astaire & Rogers – this is just a repackaging of the two separate previously existing sets. And unlike the Fred & Ginger set – this is not a complete collection, just two of the collections. There’s still missing Berkeley flicks – and I want them all. That said – these are most of the highlights. Life smiles when watching 42nd STREET, FOOTLIGHT PARADE, DAMES, GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933, 1935, 1937… And the others are pretty snazzy to. My favorite of all the Busby films is FOOTLIGHT PARADE – if only because Cagney trumps all. And that fucking Shanghai Lil number is probably responsible for my instant love for Yoko. Seriously, she’s my Shanghai Lil. And I knew it instantly because I saw it here. I really want all this on Blu Ray. Or on Netflix HD
I dearly love this film. This film disturbs the hell out of me. Fats is the single most disturbing ventriloquist doll ever created. And I think anyone that has ever seen MAGIC wonders if Anthony Hopkins is actually sane. Or is he just fooling us most of the time? This also made me forever adore Ann-Margret as a woman. My god she’s beautiful in this film. One of the great curl up by a fire beauties. Then there’s William Goldman’s blessed script – and the brilliant Burgess Meredeth. This Blu-Ray looks fantastic. You see Hopkins’ sweat all the better. I can’t watch the film alone. It freaks me out.
Next week we’ll look at the 3 Blu Ray release of APOCALYPSE NOW, PREDATORS, PSYCHO Blu, ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW Blu, season one of THE BIONIC WOMAN, AGORA, SEVEN SAMURAI Criterion Blu, MOULIN ROUGE! Blu, Ultimate Edition BluRay of HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN & GOBLET OF FIRE, WALLANDER, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, ROMEO + JULIET Blu, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Complete Collection, The Psycho Legacy, VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL (Blu Ray), GIALLO, THE STRING, and much more!