Hey folks, Harry here… still in Rehab, maybe for another 2 weeks. Beginning to go a little stir crazy. The noise, interuptions, lack of sleep, substandard film watching ability… On the good side, the work is great. They’re kicking my ass – and I’ve come very far, very quickly, but I’ve still so much further to go. I miss home though. Yoko, the dog, my desk… Can’t wait to do the out-patient/Gym/AICN thing. There just seems like so much wasted time. I want to be busier, work harder… but I’m impatient. But hey… I had enough time to get through the column for all you good folks – so here it is. As usual, the images and links will take you to Amazon where you can purchase the item in question, or learn more about it. A small portion of that price goes to help keep this column coming. As you can imagine, it really does help – that’s why I’m taking the time to do it in here. That… and it keeps me sane. Love all ya! Here ya go…
Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
When I got my portable Blu Ray player in Rehab, my first BluRay I put in was ALICE IN WONDERLAND… I love this film. It is my favorite version of the tale. It’s so vibrant and the colors and characters so perfectly designed and whimsical. As Disney does on all their classic animated films, the extras are great. It’s wonderful to see Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice and the visual model for her, talking about the film. This was exactly the kind of joy one needs in my situation to keep myself young, amongst the very old. Highest possible recommendation!!!
o Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland - View the movie in this special mode and discover references to the original Lewis Carroll classic - introduced by the voice of Alice, Kathryn Beaumont.
o Disney View - Watch the movie in this expanded viewing experience with new Disney art in the wings of the screen o Painting the Roses Red game - Help paint the roses red in the Queen's garden. Careful, or someone could lose their head
o Walt Disney color TV introduction (1959) - A never-before-seen color TV intro by Walt
o Reference Footage: Alice and the Doorknob - Kathryn Beaumont provides an introduction to this newly discovered reference footage of Alice talking to the doorknob
o Pencil Test: Alice Shrinks - Kathryn Beaumont introduces a newly discovered pencil test of Alice shrinking
• PLUS, Classic DVD Features:
o Reflections on Alice o Operation Wonderland (now in hi-def)
o "I'm Odd" newly discovered Cheshire Cat song and intro
o Thru the Mirror Mickey Mouse animated short (now in hi-def)
o One-hour in Wonderland
o An Alice Comedy: Alice's Wonderland
o Original theatrical trailers (1951 & 1974)
When I first saw the film, I called it E.T. with Teeth, and I stand by it. This is a very different film from LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. In some ways, it is more disturbing, more visceral – and more… friendly. Chloe Moretz has so much pure charm – that what lies beneath is all the more horrifying. Kodi Smit-McPhee plays the shy, odd boy perfectly. He’s not a bad boy, just one that bullies target and that has trouble fitting in. His mother is an alcoholic going through a divorce and his whole world is upside down. It isn’t as deliberately paced as Let THE RIGHT ONE IN, but frankly… I see this as a great missing 80’s kids film. Yes, the horror is intense, but the kid that befriends the kid vampire is essentially safe. It is all realistically handled and I love the film. Love it.
It is a complete failure of the Academy Awards and their voting body, that NEVER LET ME GO was completely shut out of the Best Picture Top Ten. The performances, the emotion, the power of the story is so strong, so amazing, that this joins a long list of embarrassments for the Academy… that seems to need Box Office and forceful overpriced campaigns to even recognize a title. Mark Romanek’s NEVER LET ME GO is life affirming, powerfully viscerally honest. Being in Rehab and thinking about this film. Thinking about some of the scenes – and knowing some of these people around me… this is just a chance at some dignity before they fall completely into shadow… it’s this film that I think of, that reminds me how precious every moment we’re given on this planet is. Just 2 weeks ago, I thought I would die in the midst of a complicated 5 ½ hour through the chest operation – and I felt at piece. I had some regrets, “I want more life, fucker” did cross my mind… but mostly I just felt good about my life. Felt strong about what it was I was doing and had done. Mainly I was concerned for my family and wife. But I felt it wasn’t over – and luckily the whole thing became a miracle. Films like this are important films. So much more than a good 6 of the other Best Picture nominees. This film was never pushed at you strongly, other than by a few writers here and there – now that it is coming home, do not pass
The Giant Monster movie that Terrence Malick would’ve made. Low budget to an extreme… and now he’s directing a giant GODZILLA movie and the mind boggles. Easily the most unique giant monster movie I’ve ever seen. And that is an exceptionally awesome thing.
One of the most awesomely bitchy comedies ever made – it owns a ton of Oscar gold – and is one of the greatest performances in Bette Davis’ amazing career. This Blu Ray is filled with extras – which any fan of the film will love. In particular, I love the Vintage features on there. They make me smile! Here ya go:
Commentary by Actor Celeste Holm, Mankiewicz Biographer Ken Geist and Christopher Mankiewicz
Commentary by Author Sam Staggs
Joseph L. Mankiewicz: A Personal Journey
The Real Eve The Secret of Sarah Siddons
AMC Backstory®: All About Eve
Vintage Bette Davis Promotion
Vintage Anne Baxter Promotion
Fox Movietone News
Almost immediately banned from theaters for reasons beyond my wildest notion. HATCHET II is not pornographic, it is bloody as hell, but never in a serious manner. The gore is never particularly realistic – and in no way the sort of thing that could possibly be emulated by any impressionable mentally disabled swampbilly vengeful ghost spirits that may watch the film. This is haunted house horror, but in a swamp – and it is blissfully silly – and relentlessly fun. The humorless fucks that gave it an NC-17… and then the prickish theater owners that pulled it from their theaters are… I don’t even know. It just all seemed utterly absurd. NOW – nobody can get between you and your Victor Crowley. You get commentaries from the behind the camera crew as well as one with Green and Tony Todd and Kane Hodder. There’s also a behind the scenes feature. If you love practical gore – you’ll have a blast with this – and besides – you must see the most ridiculous chainsaw in film history.
A great film. Absolutely great. A film about the illusion of perfection, and how that is just an illusion after all. How the ideals of the past are exactly that – the ideals of the past. That wishing for them, and trying to roll back to them, well, it is impossible. Personally, I love the film. The movie is a perfect visual effects premise – and it is stunning. The contrast between Black & White and the stunning Color – and the photography, costumes design – and just the way it all works is just… amazing. The film is naughty, innocent and an absolute delight. It is my favorite work of Gary Ross’. It is a film that I want everyone to know as well as I know it. It is hard to believe this was 13 years ago – the film plays timelessly…
I’m a sucker for the Nora Ephron Romantic Comedies… especially if they have Meg Ryan in them. I don’t know what it is about her. Maybe it is the way her eyes sparkle, or the way her cheeks get big with that silly wistful smile of hers. She just seems like she’d be a helluva nice woman to know. To spend time with . And Tom Hanks, he’s that kinda guy. I’ve met – and gotten to spend a bit time with him, and he’s as awesome a fella as he always seems – so instantly, I want these two to be together. Their chemistry just works. Never mind how much I loathe the actual “cinematic portrayal of EMAIL” which drives me insane. Or how much I prefer Ernst Lubitsch’s original THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER. But this is a sweet enough film, and it happens to be one of the movies that Yoko loves. Actually, I’ve known a lot of ladies that love YOU’VE GOT MAIL – and I am on record as having enjoyed this from the date of release forward.
Now here’s a remake that I vastly prefer to the original, and that’s just because… well nobody is quite as awesome as Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. I love this film. This is one of those movies I saw as a kid and it helped define romanticism to me. It inspired a romantic series of dates that I had once in the late 90’s – where I met a girl in a video store, and neither of us had pens to write our numbers down, so we made a date at a location, and if we both meant it, we’d be there. We were there. She was a wonderful girl. We then made the next date, I was having to do some traveling for the site, but it was going to be two weeks - again, we both showed. Then she had to go to visit her grandparents up North in St Louis… I knew that DOCTOR ZHIVAGO was playing at the Paramount Theater in Austin, and I told her that I would attend all 3 showings of it, 3 days in a row – and if she came, we’d exchange numbers and continue. She didn’t show – and I never found out what happened to her. It also killed just a hair of my romanticism. And from that point forward – I always secured the phone numbers. But that was all because of this wonderful silly movie, and those few dates we had were incredibly passion filled, no nets… no excuses… and when we hooked up, it was great. I know this has little to do with AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, but my attitude was totally because of this film, and most definitely not the Boyer or Beatty versions. But any movie that inspires romance is a wonderful film. This BluRay is loaded with extras, as it deserves:
Commentary by Singer Marnie Nixon and Film Historian Joseph McBride
Affairs to Remember: Deborah Kerr
Affairs to Remember: Cary Grant
A Producer to Remember: Jerry Wald
The Look of An Affair to Remember
AMC Backstory®: An Affair to Remember
Fox Movietone News: An Affair to Remember Shipboard Premiere Attracts Celebrities
Ok – here’s an early fifties film noir starring a pair of my fave underappreciated actors… Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes. But what makes this movie great, is the words and the story behind it and that was crafted by the future Blacklisted brilliant writer Dalton Trumbo. I saw this on 16mm years and years ago – it’s a legitimate GREAT film – just greatly unknown by most. This is one of those black & white movies that’s so great, that you will find yourself completely enthralled by every scene of the film. It is positively claustrophobic & tense. If you’re a film noir junkie – and every good film geek should explore the genre deeply, this is one that in all likelihood, well… it’s avoided your gaze till now. It’s the first time on Home Video. And they’ve done a really great job on this DVD.
Documentary featurette "The Cost of Living: Creating The Prowler," with James Ellroy, Christopher Trumbo, Denise Hamilton and Alan K. Rode,
"Masterpiece in the Margins": Bertrand Tavernier on The Prowler,
On the Prowl: Restoring The Prowler.
The Film Noir Foundation and UCLA Film & Television Archive Partnership,
Audio Commentary by Film Noir Expert Eddie Muller,
Original Theatrical Trailer
You know – I look at a film like HALL PASS, and then I think about “10” – I mean, in the real world – do people really get Free Pass to go have affairs – or is it, dangerous like in “10”. Blake Edwards’ film created a terminology for babes… and Bo Derek for a time in the Seventies defined a Perfect 10. Once you’ve seen this film, Bolero – becomes 20 times more sensual than you’ve ever known before – and the thing that’s great about Dudley Moore is he’s kind of the “every” man kind of guy. He’s not a crazy handsome stud, but he’s just a lucky schmuck. For him to go after Bo – it could ruin his life, but when the opportunity arises… how could he possibly pass it up… but there’s always something going wrong, usually caused by his own nerves. The film is funny, seriously sexy & erotic… and it really makes you wish you were Dudley Moore. And yeah, BluRay? It was made to capture the laidback fuckability of Bo Derek… although 70mm 3D would be even better, but that shit will never exist.
For $18, you get 4 of the absolute best swashbuckling romantic adventure films of all time. ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is tied with KING KONG as my personal favorite film of all time. In fact today, where I’ve felt a little on the flat side here in this hospital, I asked Yoko to bring me my BluRay of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD – because it reboots me. The film is a life philosophy bottled into a children’s fairy tale. The score makes me soar, the action is thrilling, the costume design is perfection, the costumes are not the drab period ware of the day, but the dream of what it was, the classic Hollywood cinematic wow that the period was best known for. Reality and historical accuracy are overrated when dealing with fantasy – and Robin Hood is Childhood Fantasy at its best. The other three films are all wonderful. CAPTAIN BLOOD and THE SEA HAWK are still the best two pirate movies ever made, followed closely by BLACK SWAN (not the new one, silly wabbit) – and THE ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN – it shows Flynn as an older man, who can still swash and unbuckle. Flynn is just a man that defined action & romance. Nobody has ever done it better – and this is a great, cheap way to really get hooked and spoiled by Flynn!
History has distorted what the BLACK PANTHER movement was about in a very core way. Back in the 1960’s – my father attended a screening of KING KONG (1933) that Huey Newton and the Black Panthers sponsored as a metaphor for the Black Slave experience. But more so, it was originally about protecting Black neighborhoods from a period of extreme racism and prejudice that was very real in that time within the law enforcement community. It’s all nice to look back at it today and call it “terrorism” all you want, but until you really realize just how fucked up things were during that period of social change, and seeing that happen to the people you love and live with – I’m not really sure how anyone can blame them. This is a great film that is set within the Black Panther world in 1976. Anthony Mackie is incredible in the lead role. The story will grip you and challenge the way you think of that place and time. Rightfully so. The world has changed, but we’re still so far from perfect. Really great film that deserves to be seen.
There’s a romance to Rum Running… and in this particularly bizarre musical, comedy, sex & violence flick from STANLEY DONEN that happens to star Gene Hackman… Liza Minnelli… and BURT FUCKING REYNOLDS! Well… who is better than Burt Reynolds at moving alcohol where it doesn’t belong? Maybe Robert Mitchum, but nobody does it with half the style of Burt. Now this is a Prohibition era tale – and the film is very much – one of those – bizarre awesome mix-genre jewels that lots of people dismissed out right because they didn’t know whether to laugh or be in shock. God forbid a movie surprise you and allow you to discover a myriad of weird and awesome scenes. LUCKY LADY is one of those 70’s oddballs that was actually just crazy ahead of its time. Donen wanted to throw in sex and the violence of the era, while still preserving the awesome fun of the era.
Everybody saw Sean Penn in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH – but those lucky and adventurous filmmakers of the early 80’s also saw that stoner turn into an incredibly awesome actor – that you would absolutely take seriously… in this, BAD BOYS. Don’t expect any Bay-isms. Instead, be prepared… actually, you probably won’t be prepared, this is raw genius Sean Penn firing on all cylinders. He’s AMAZING in this film. If you feel like watching the birth of a really great actor – watch BAD BOYS and discover an amazng Penn performance – in this prison flick that also has the great Clancy Brown!
This is fucking awesome. Right off the bat, I’m not a big fan of Charles Grodin. He destroyed the KING KONG remake for me… Though I did like him opposite Muppets. But this – this is my favorite Charles Grodin film… hands down. This is a story about stealing $12 Billion Dollars in Uncut Diamonds. The cast is, kind of amazing. You have Trevor Howard as this arrogant fucking prick of a rich man, John Gielgud as a real prick in charge of this giant diamond holding fortress, that nobody knows about. Then there’s James Mason… who just flat out rules. Then you have Charles Grodin as this diamond smuggler, who is hired by Trevor Howard to steal $12 Billion in Diamonds. Oh – and Grodin’s girlfriend, who is rich and crazy damn awesome is Candice Bergen. That the plan requires the use of a cockroach is AMAZING – and thus requires everyone to see how you steal $12 Billion dollars in Diamonds – cuz… seriously, that’s useful information. Now, it is on NetFlix instant, but ya know… Give it a look – personally, I am real glad I own it, because well, after it drops from the Instant world… how else will ya see it?
Heh. Trust me. Heh.
It’s a bunch of the best Belushi moments on SNL. I’ve watched it all about twice here. Belushi was my hero as a kid, I was always pudgy and I loved how John moved. He was a large man that could move gracefully, he could seemingly do anything – and he was effortlessly hilarious. Pulling laughs from the ether. I once spent a weekend in the room he died in off of Sunset. It was one of the creepiest weekends of my life. The pipes made noise – and I didn’t request the room, but when I was taken to my room, the man told me, “This was the place Belushi died.” - Way to fuck with my head. Here though, you just see the early genius of Belushi. My fave was his pre-Blues Brothers – Blues Mozart – which just owned. That, and his Brando / GODFATHER. Just wow. So many more. So good.
Next week, I’ll be back with the two I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE blu rays, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2, UNCLE BUCK on Blu, LEGENDS OF THE FALL Blu, THELMA & LOUISE Blu, ONG BAK 3, AMARCORD Criterion Blu, MY SOUL TO TAKE, SPACE JAM, STILL WALKING Criterion Blu, TAMARA DREWE, MIDDLE MEN, THE RIVER WILD, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, PRINCESS & THE FROG Blu, ENCHANTED Blu, BRINGING UP BABY, FIVE CORNERS Blu, WUSA, THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF and much more…