Hey folks, Harry here – and it is nice to be back on schedule in the New Year! These first few columns of the New Year won’t be the most spectacular, mainly because the studios tend to hold back a bit at the start of the year. That said, there’s some pretty fine releases this week… I kept y’all all waiting too much that past month, let’s get it going… Oh – and like usual, the images and links take you to Amazon, where you can purchase and learn more about the item in question. Each purchase helps keep the columns coming. So much fun to be back doing the column after a bit of a break. Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
A ridiculous amount of fun. Hysterically controversial thanks to Fox News and the Drudge Report… with some, not so funny results for the Texas Film industry, which is still being screwed over by a legislature with it’s collective head up its collective and vast ass. Robert Rodriguez directed this with Ethan Maniquis – and it still comes out feeling 100% like a Robert Rodriguez exploitation joygasm. The crazy cast this thing has is amazing, and thank God it “Introduces Don Johnson” because the world rather desperately needs to get reintroduced to the sockless one. The number one reason this needs to be in your collection? Steven Seagal as a Bad Guy – and a film headlining Danny Trejo. ABOUT TIME!
Now this is the release of the week for me. I can watch EL MARIACHI and DESPERADO repeatedly and without stop – for quite some time. EL MARIACHI is the film that birthed not just the legend of the man with the guitar case, but the far greater legend of Austin’s own Robert Rodriguez. The most gung ho, carpe diem filmmaker on the planet. No excuses, get off your asses and make movies, stop bitching and do it. Then there’s DESPERADO, the large budget reimagining of the Mariachi Legend that brought us not only Antonio Banderas in the U.S. but man… when Robert introduced Salma Hayek in this film, not since THE GIRL CAN’T HELP IT, has there been such an intro. I love it. Love it. The sex scene that was shot for this – is just kind of amazing fun to watch. Not only is Salma a goddess, but they really are having fun throwing each other about. This is where Robert did his John Woo flick.
Director Robert Rodriguez Commentary
Director's Commentary MovieIQ
The Cutting Room
10 Minute Film School
Robert Rodriguez's Student Film: "Bed Head"
10 More Minutes: Anatomy of a Shootout
Los Lobos with Antonio Banderas - "Morena De Mi Corazón"
Tito & Tarantula- "Back To The House That Love Built"
There’s a lot I like about it, and more that I don’t. I think ultimately, this film needed to be more ambitious and better funded. It just doesn’t feel like they quite had enough time to get fully Leone with it, and that’s what I had dreamt for this film. I still would love to see Johnny Depp’s character in a Spinoff from Rodriguez. That would be something. That said, the action set pieces are pretty great.
The performances from Patrick Fabian as Cotton Marcus and Ashley Bell’s Nell are extraordinary. Watching Cotton Marcus is legitimate performance art. He’s got his Elmer Gantry down pat. But better than that – here’s a cynical disenfranchised tent-raising preacher that has lost his faith and is letting a documentary crew follow him for one final Exorcism. And it feels authentic to that. Director Daniel Stamm does some amazing work here – and Eli Roth seems to have found a winner in THE LAST EXORCISM. I wasn’t expecting to love this, but I did. One of the best horror films of 2010.
Ok, that does it, I need to update my system so I can fully appreciate 3D in the home. I love CORALINE, and the 3D on it was amazing. Did you know, it wasn’t shot with the vaunted Cameron system, and it wasn’t turned to 3D in post. Instead, every shot was shot twice, with the same camera and a calculated increment, due to the miniaturization of the puppets and the world. Cuz, regular 3D would be too far apart. They had to create doll size 3D perspective, and they did it with math and patience. Wow. The work absolutely comes to life. The previous BluRay was in 3D, but that 3D was anaglyph, meaning the RED & BLUE. This is the vastly superior 3D at home, with those magic glasses. So great!
Alright – so here ya go with all 5 seasons of ROCKY & BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS. This is only good news if you’ve been holding off purchasing any of the sets until now. If you’ve been buying all along, you’re currently screwed out of anyway to get Season 5, other than this set. I’m sure that nightmare will be cured eventually, but till then – it really does give the middle finger to everyone that had been buying all along. That said, if you’ve been patient, this gets you each season at around $13 a pop, which ain’t that bad. And it comes with extras like these:
Dear Bullwinkle segments
Classic commercials and promos
Rocky & Bullwinkle saving stamp club
Many Faces of Boris Badenov, classic Cheerios commercials June Foray interview Moose Calls—Best of Bullwinkle Sings Bullwinkle puppet clips Best of Bullwinkle Follies audio outtakes from voice record sessions mini comic and commemorative booklet Also includes collectible extra (reproduction fan award/ribbon with certificate) and an 80-page booklet filled with memorabilia, writing from Keith Scott (author of The Moose that Roared), and a note from Tiffany Ward (daughter of Jay Ward)
I think in a lot of ways, this is my favorite Ron Howard feature. Zimmer’s score is amazing. The cinematography is breathtaking. Kurt Russell is so damn great in his dual role. Then you’ve got Robert DeNiro – just perfect. And there’s Donald Sutherland as a career demented firebug – just genius. And there’s Scott Glenn being a badass. Oh – and William Baldwin is very good as Russell’s lil quitter brother. This film really finds the animal in fire and shows it for all of us to safely sit in awe of. Great film for the format!
Wins the award for best performance from James Franco in 2010. Franco becomes Allen Ginsberg, This film is about the indecency trial that was brought against the publisher of HOWL, and everything said in this film comes directly from that case. Jon Hamm is fantastic here, proving MAD MEN isn’t a fluke. Also David Strathairn is amazing as the D.A. in this absurd feeling trial. But when you think about how outraged people were about HOWL – you can only imagine how freaked out those folks must be with the world today. Love Bob Balaban as the Judge. This is exactly the film I hoped it would be, and one of the best films of the year.
I wish the BluRay had more supplemental material. When I spent some time talking to Nev and his cohorts at the Austin screening, they talked about a wealth of extra scenes they wanted to bring to the BluRay release – and that is not here. What is here, is an incredibly compelling story, whether it happens to be true or not, there is a lot of truth here – but the mere fact a camera was present and was being controlled by Nev’s older brother might have polluted the objectivity of the overall piece, but that does not make the story less frightening, or less important as a cautionary tale. We all know the dangers of the internet, in a year where SOCIAL NETWORK could be THE film of the year, this is it’s dark shadow.
Alright, I told ya there wasn’t much this week. But next week we’ll be looking at THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Blu Ray), DANCES WITH WOLVES (Blu), PIRANHA 3D (Blu Ray), ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (Blu Ray), VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, UNIVERSE: SEASON 5, ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (Criterion Blu), ROB ROY (Blu), ARMY OF SHADOWS (Criterion Blu), RAGING BULL (Blu Ray), LENNON NYC (Blu), THE ENDLESS SUMMER (Blu Ray), LONG RIDE FROM HELL, THE GREEN HORNET, SINS OF MADAME BOVARY, CHINESE KAMASUTRA,