Hey folks, Harry here with a big make-up column. The good news is… there really wasn’t a ton of stuff to go after this month. December is usually not a great month of releases, beyond a few Holiday releases, but this year – there’s quite a bit to cull from the weeks that made up this month. With the site going down, BNAT, my birthday, the holidays & a billion award screeners to go through – I’ve been terribly distracted. I know, y’all deserve better, but sometimes there’s only so much I can do on a regular basis. Watching films non-stop can be an exhaustive procedure, especially when you’re given the whole of the Award season screeners to work through – that column gets folded into my end of the year list. Also… every year – after BNAT – my brain has a system failure. I don’t want to work through the holidays. I want to spend it with my family and friends and just relax. Enjoy the releases – and I always end up doing this catch-up column. So again, I apologize to those of you that depend upon this column to create your own viewing and shopping lists. Here ya go – all mixed up and well… this first one is a must see for action fans! Seriously. Fucking amazing film. December DVDs
I love MERANTAU. Here you have a story about a man that grows up out on a farm. Learns his martial arts from his father, and like all men, there comes a time in his life when he must go into the city and try to discover his life and trade. I saw this film at FANTASTIC FEST, not this year, but the year before. MERANTAU is an emotional, quality film that happens to have extraordinarily cool action. This movie doesn’t have a crazy budget and remarkable visual effects. What it has instead is a story that captures you – and action scenes that get progressively more violent and increasingly powerfully choreographed. By the end of the film – you could in fact be so emotionally caught up in the story that you could find yourself… well, as in love as me. This film is one of those that Todd from TWITCH brought to our attention – and I have to say. WELL DONE TODD! Invite friends over when you screen this. It’s awesome.
Just about as exquisite an action film has ever been made. I was 19 when I saw HARD BOILED at Hogg Auditorium at the University of Texas – and I still remember people running out of the theater afterwards having finger gun battles. We were all so energized by the film. In the various GEEK articles that wonder about how difficult it was to actually see these films – let me tell ya. If you missed that HOGG AUDITORIUM screening – you had to find illegal dubs of Pal Video Tapes that you couldn’t find a player for back then. Without the internet there was no way to search. You had to go to conventions and scour the tables of Dealers that made shady copies. It was this magic period in the late 80s early 90s when whispers about the films from Hong Kong started to spread. If you had this, you could get ANYBODY over to your house. It was a film of Legend. And it absolutely deserves that reputation still today. I keep awaiting John Woo to reemerge – to own cinema as he did then. I still believe, especially after watching this on Blu. Wow.
This is one of the great, underseen Robert Duvall films. Tarantino brought down a 35mm print of this to the Drafthouse ages ago, but I still have the singe marks from the blast that this film was. Karen Black, Joe Don Baker, Robert Ryan, Elisha Cook Jr… Just an awesome crime film taken faithfully from the pages of Donald Westlake’s novel.
I love this film. Love it. From the poster to every frame of the movie, this flick seeps early seventies coolness. It isn’t set then, it’s just the vibe of the film. It’s paced for a different era and allows you to see the character think, rather than telling the story through dialogue. Clooney is saying so much in every scene… and he barely speaks. A film that instantly feels like a classic – and I know that phrase is thrown around a lot, but it really did feel that way to me. Can’t wait to show some friends this BluRay!
A tremendous BluRay. The behind the scenes and extra features are quite cool. For many, this is their favorite film of the year. Others proclaim it as being the very best of the year. Me. It just doesn’t work for me. Almost every element of the film can and deserves to be applauded at a technical and performance level. I really regret that I’ve never been able to just enjoy it though. I find the film to be a bit tedious and monotonous. And I absolutely hate that. This is one of the films that I’m not allowed to discuss with Yoko, because she gets furious at my take on it. That said, much of the behind the scenes I found fascinating and far more interesting than the film. Here’s what you get:
Disc 1 Movie Extraction Mode: Infiltrate the movie's imaginative landscape to learn how Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the cast and crew designed and achieved the film's signature moments
Disc 2 Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious: Can the dream world be a fully functional parallel reality?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and leading scientists take you to the cutting edge of dream research Inception: The Cobol Job: Comic prologue in full animation and motion: see the events that led to the beginning of the movie 5.1 soundtrack selections from Hans Zimmer's versatile score Conceptual art, promotional art, and trailer/TV spot galleries Via BD-Live: Project Somnacin--Confidential Files: Access highly secure files that reveal the inception of the dream-share technology
This is an incredibly solid set. COVER GIRL, GILDA & SALOME are all excellent films. But MISS SADIE THOMPSON is actually my favorite 3D movie that I’ve ever seen. It isn’t 3D here… but if they actually put together a 3D BLU RAY of MISS SADIE THOMPSON it would melt people’s minds in the Home 3D Market. Hell, rerelease it into theaters as a classic. The polarized 3D IB TECHNICOLOR print that exists for this is one of the most beautiful prints I’ve ever seen in my life. Rediscover this underseen classic of the 3D Genre. Well, if they ever deliver it that way. And as for TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT, I’ve yet to see that one. So that’s my treat! COVER GIRL is a great little film with Gene Kelly, that is amazing. GILDA just rocks.
An incredible look at 90 Minutes in the Afgan Korengal Valley, where you're completely there with the team as they spend 15 months in Hell, taking fire 4-5 times a day, all while establishing a new forward base called RESTREPO after a fallen comrade. Emotional, raw and real. Liberal, Conservative, non-political - you should all see this. National Geographic does a brilliant job with excellent material that is unlike any that I've ever seen from wartime.
One of Chuck Jones’ finest long form animated works. With the vocal talents of the amazing Mel Blanc and Eddie Munster, this thing just never fails to delight me. Watching this and comparing it to most children’s films… well. This makes a kid think and want to learn. This film can help a child get on the right path at school. Seriously, if you have a young kid that is having trouble learning, SHOW THEM THIS MOVIE and talk about Milo. It works and has worked for generations. And it doesn’t feel preachy, because Chuck Jones makes it magical. MILO RULES!
I just ordered this tonight. I love those classic Drive In spots, and I’m not sure how many are on here. The running time is 2 & a quarter hours, but the description says it also has classic movie trailers from the 40s, 50s & 60s. Hope this is cool!
I remembered this as being something awesome when I was a kid. I was 8 when this came on, and I was watching. It was a barbarian with a light saber. At least to my logic filled brain. So when I got sent this set I looked at it and smiled. YOKO lost her fool mind as she realized that Thundarr was her imaginary friend growing up & not HE-MAN like she had thought. The second she saw the cover she was flipping out. Well, when I did put the first of the four discs in. This is the complete series. But when I put this on, I thought I was going to have one of those… eh, childhood memories had rose colored glasses. BUT NO! THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN is awesome. Jack Kirby conceived and designed a lot of this – but man – the score of this show… WOW. Action beats that kick ass. The look of the show was a science fiction fantasy Barbarian show with JOHNNY QUEST style graphics. I love it! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
So weird, I get sent everything from KINO, but this has not arrived. I find this incredibly appropriate as I have a curse regarding THE BLACK PIRATE. The world will not let me see this movie. This is the first Technicolor epic. Douglas Fairbanks – being amazing. I hear. People love this film. Everytime it has ever played Austin, which is semi regularly – something happens. I had a traffic accident that kept me attending once. Prior commitments. It was airing one night on cable – I was all excited about seeing it – and the POWER went out in a storm. When I saw this was released this month – I laughed. Of course this was an over sight. But seriously – this is an astonishing looking film. This is a silent, color film. And one day I will finally get to see this.
This is a truly extraordinary BluRay set of a classic science fiction series from the 1970’s that was three sheets to the wind in love with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. You look at this show – and you can tell they had one film as a direct influence for everything that they did. This was a pretty damn big show for those of us that grew up in the greater part of the Seventies. They had a good deal of merchandize. With Dolls, Rayguns, space ships, lunch boxes… all sorts of things, but one thing is for damn sure… the show never looked this good in 1975. For one, nobody had TVs that even came close to what we have now. More than that… they’ve actually gone in and done some rather stunning color correction and digital archiving of the material which makes this like a brand new show, with vintage hair & make-up – and a loving embrace of 2001. Martain Landau and Barbara Bain are fantastic. The show played fast and loose with science, but as a kid – it all felt right. Now, that naïve stance is replaced with nostalgic wonder, that I ever believed the implausible initial premise… much less the rest of the story devices that get pretty damn crazy. This is a great BLU RAY set for all Science Fiction super-geeks!
You know, one of the things about Hammer Horror – when it wanted to be erotic, it was erotic. When it wanted to be strange and bizarre, it was exactly that. When it wanted to be scary and creepy, it nailed that too. VAMPIRE CIRCUS is a very strange film about a vampire whose revenge plot is rather intricate and has taken quite some time to actualize, but that’s the problem with the undead, they have a damned eternity to get their revenge. Wait til you see some of the crazy awesome stuff in this film, in particular the striped panther girl. Wow. Strange and amazing even today. Synapse did a great job on this BluRay – you should definitely check it out!
It is rather hard to believe that this rather stunning transsexual epic is now nearly 20 years old. This is a lot more intense that you’d initially think, especially in comparison to the other films with it’s period and look. It just goes places those films chose to avoid or ignore. The BluRay comes with the following extras in addition to the gorgeous image quality:
Commentary with Director Sally Potter and Actress Tilda Swinton
Orlando Goes to Russia
Orlando in Uzbekistan
Jimmy was an Angel
Venice Film Festival Press Conference An Interview with Sally Potter Select Scenes
Commentary with Director Sally Potter
One of my favorite films of 2009, that wasn’t really seen in the United States till 2010 – and one of the infamous BNAT1138 titles. Moreso, of all my memories from 2010, one of the absolute high water marks – has to be the screening of MICMACS at the Paramount Theater during SXSW where I got to share the stage with Jean Pierre Jeunet – and with an audience 1200 strong that were in awe of the fact that right there in Austin, Texas was the great Jeunet. This man’s films have given such a great whimsical explosion of joy – bringing Rube Goldberg’s mechanical devices a physicality in the cinematic world that just make one smile like a schoolyard boy. His films feel so crafted and slaved over – yet never seem slavish. This story about a man taking revenge upon the arms makers that were responsible for his father’s death and the bullet in his own head… all while teaming up with an incredibly eclectic group of human wonders, that you must make it a priority to discover for yourself. This is a great one. Jeunet provides commentary, a making of and more. Beautiful on Blu!
I know it’s easier to be glib and hateful at this series, but that’s not how I feel. Sure, I prefer films like VAMPIRE CIRCUS from Hammer, but I find this to be exactly what it is… a show that is constantly about sex, not that it happens in the film. Instead of Sex, there’s fights where apparently heads were torn off and it all rather grim, but instead – this is a film about an oh so adorable Kristen Stewart being in a tent, with her boyfriend the Vampire (who is crazy cold), and her other off-again on-again boy friend the Werewolf, who runs so hot he hardly wears clothes – and the whole scene is about them all wanting to cuddle and get dirty – but oh no. They won’t go there, but it IS THERE all the same. It’s a story to giggle with. If you have no giggle in you, you should just stay away.
Speaking of giggling, there’s LEGENDS OF THE SUPER HEROES. For most people this is something unbelievable. Did you ever see the Justice League versus the Hall of Doom live action show, that was run a bit like a roast? Oh – and it starred Burt Ward and Adam West as the infamous Caped Crusaders… but they were there with Hawkman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Solomon Grundy, Sinestro, Frank Gorshin’s Riddler and more. People wonder how I can be enthusiastic about the new GREEN LANTERN movie – watch this – this is how they treated my heroes when I was a child. We’ve come… soooo far…
You know what I love about Zombie films? I love the set-ups, I love to see how different classes of people handle the Zombie Apocalypse. This is a French Zombie film, that starts off like a Crime film. At the beginning of the film, we’re introduced to a group of officers at a funeral – all mourning a fallen comrade of some kind. We quickly discover that this group is going to extract bloody revenge for their fallen. They don ski-masks, they’re armed to the tooth. They’re precise, methodical… until they get their asses almost completely wiped out by some badass mutherfuckin’ Nigerian sonofabitches like you wouldn’t believe! And while they’re being tortured on their way to certain death… BAM! Zombie Apocalypse hits. It’s one of those nights. There is some shit that goes down in this film that I’ve never seen in any Zombie film. They’re never given the rules. They simply shoot and beat and go to town on the zombies until they’re really dead. Watched this at my last Movie Night – and holy shit did it have us screamingly excited! So good!
BAGHEAD is still my favorite film of the Duplass Brothers – but this is a far more complete film. Finally, they have wonderful actors to play with – and John C Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and Catherine Keener are all awesome in this. In some ways – this is Jonah Hill’s best work to date. It’s funny and emotional. I think I loved this film at a greater level than the recognition this film ever got. CYRUS is far better than a lot of the Academy Award talked about films. It just was never really treated that way. It is a shame. Tomei and Hill deserve a look for acting noms.
Directed by the awesome Kinji Fukasaku – GREEN SLIME is one of those childhood delights for me. When this artwork debuted on the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland – and I saw it, I wanted to see the film. That my parents had the 16mm trailer with the pop song, GREEN SLIME… it’s one of those crazy insane songs that you can never ever get out of your head. In fact, like a bad acid flashback, it can end up in your head without the slightest provocation. The film, never ever lives up to that astonishing artwork on the cover, but it is every bit that much fun. I’ve always loved Richard Jaeckel in this flick! Great B-flick!
I’m not particularly in love with this film. You know what it is? It just seems so incredibly dumbed down to me. Those excruciatingly cute MINIs just do nothing for me. They’re too cute to have ever been designed to be evil. That when they do shrink the moon and bring it to Earth – that there are not cataclysmic results here on Earth. It’s all premise, with no ramifications. It’s all about the cute orphan kids, but never about the real driving plot of the story – to “steal” the moon, that has dire resulting issues. I know this is a KIDS FILM – but dammit, if in the 70’s on SPACE 1999 – they at least got some of the science right – in that… if the moon was gone, Earth was fucked. Sigh. I guess I wasn’t in the right headspace for this one.
Yet another chapter in the hopefully endless School Girl Report series from a long long time ago – available now thanks to the wonders of IMPULSE video! But for all of us pervs that love our 1970’s EuroHotties – well – this is another for the collection, which can never be too extensive!
Be prepared for that tough THANKSGIVING movie programming block! That’s right – carve that turkey with Spencer Tracy and Gene Tierney and the always complaining Van Johnson. This is the Mayflower story – and their facts are oddly accurate. This isn’t shown very much, but it needs to get back into rotation!
I think the reason this film fails so mightily to me, is that they decided to try to give THE A-TEAM a more fleshed out origin and an arch-nemesis. It’s also an awful lot of implausible action created from the safety of CG – or at the least, it feels that way. I like the charisma of all the actors – but the film just fell flat for me, and the director is someone that I really do love a lot. I’m not entirely sure how this went so wrong for me. Maybe it was that I grew up watching every episode of the original show – and I just missed that they weren’t helping people, but themselves.
Now this is a great fucking movie. I loved this thing. I love everything about it. But nothing moreso than how it seems to have absolutely gotten everyone the fuck off of Ben Affleck’s back. He’s far far better than people give him credit for, and this film fully shows all his strengths. Jeremy Renner is my pick for all Steve McQueen roles from here on out. He just has that tone in his eyes. I wish this movie had INCEPTION’s success. Amongst the best Armored Car Heist films ever made. Mainly because it is about a lot more than just that.
It is so very nearly on a shelf with SECRET OF NIMH, but doesn’t quite get there – mainly due to an inexplicably awful & utterly unneeded pop-song montage that absolutely does not fit the film at all. And it drives me insane. That said – even though I hate that sequence of the film with every flailing limb I can flail – I’ve seen the film about 5 times so far – 3 of those on BluRay when I’ve been showing off just how beautiful the animation in this film is. Wow. Beautiful and exceptional work done. I really love the use of the AMAZING STORIES theme throughout though. Definitely worth the pick up!
Here’s the classic TRUE GRIT with John Wayne. I prefer the Coen’s version, mainly because I prefer every acting decision, dialogue decision and overall look of the film – to the original. But the original TRUE GRIT feels like a blanket. It makes you feel warm and happy. And for some, that’s probably what they want from TRUE GRIT, I get that in spades from the Coens, and I get that from this. Paramount did a nice job with the transfer and damn Robert Duvall is young here.
Documentary? Farce? Art? Definitely some of those. What is it exactly? Why is there confusion? See it. Here you have a film that sets out to document and archive the history of an artform – and this purported documentary comes from the genius of the form, BANKSY – the mysterious every-no-man. The set comes with some fun inserts, but none better than the star framed glasses with prismatic lenses for awesome entertainment uses. But the film needs to be seen a few times to get a grapple on what it is you’re being told, shown and presented. What is the truth? I doubt it is contained in EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP – but the film is one of the best films of 2010 and a must for all with any avant garde in them, especially if you have a sense of humor about that.
There’s some absurd stuff going on in this film. But I’ll be damned if I don’t love watching Angelina Jolie do all of it. Live Schreiber is great in this too – and you’ve got yourself a fun Philip Noyce spy-adventure tale based on some very improbable somewhat truish situations. But this is silly Hollywood fun. If you’re in the mood for that, this’ll do the job.
This high school take on THE SCARLET LETTER is one of the most purely entertaining and satisfying films I saw in 2010. I’d rather watch this 20 times than see THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT 1 more time. And I mean that. This film feels more REAL, than that absurd film. Not only is Emma Stone great, but her supporting cast is exemplary. Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow and Stanley Tucci are all outstanding, heartfelt and funny. Feels like a teen film of today – that feels as fanciful, yet real as those teen films we love from the 80s. Give this a shot!
I’ve watched this twice at home since getting the BluRay. The first time with Yoko, in the midst of one those unbelievably great days one lives maybe once in a few years. The second time was the last movie night, when I found my friend hadn’t seen it. Directed by the Dowdle Brothers and produced by M Night Shymalan, this was a film that the world came out wanting to hate from the trailer alone. I saw the trailer 5 different times, and the second that M Night’s name hit the screen, the audience began laughing. I can’t even remember the last time that happened to a director that was once at the stature that M Night once enjoyed. They didn’t do local press screenings, and nobody I knew seemed to want to see it. So when I had the BluRay – I figured, ok – let’s have one thing horrible happen to us today. And I put this in.
Holy shit. What a fun movie! This is a very deliberate movie. The Devil is at work – and the faster you accept that, the more fun you’ll have with this film. This film treats the Devil like a boogie man. “Devil is gonna getcha” is how I describe it. The film creates a mythology for the Devil, that is just simply irresistibly fun to play with. “Jelly side down” indeed.
How do you not love THE GUILD? Obviously, you just haven’t seen it yet. Cure that. This is Season 4 – the other 3 rule just like this season. Catch up!
Ok – that was DECEMBER for me. I’d write a preview, but I’m going to attempt to actually now finish this week’s DVD column. Thanks for the patience.