Hey folks, Harry here with the latest DVD PICKS AND PEEKS – This has been another hard week of Rehab, but the column, and going through the BluRays and DVDs prepping for it – well… it’s my simple pleasure through this whole process. This is literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It isn’t so much the building of muscles, so much as reestablishing connections with the muscles and my mind. Through it all, some days – it’s just watching these films – gathering my thoughts that actually centers me and keeps me going. After all – 15 years ago when I was paralyzed… that’s how this whole site started. Now, it’s helping me again. Thank you for being there for me to write to and provide this content. As always, the images and links will take you over to Amazon, where you can learn more about the items in question – and purchase them, if you feel so motivated. If you do, a small portion of the price goes to keep this column going – and to frankly helping me out with some of these hospital bills which – well, every bit helps. So thanks to all that shop with this column. It is greatly appreciated.
Tuesday, February 8th, 2011
Now this – this was an absolute delight. This came out when I was a Sophmore in High School, I’m pretty sure it never played Wichita Falls – and I never caught it on Cable and nobody had ever mentioned it. On the worst day of Rehab – when I was exhausted – and just about everything felt shitty – I climbed back into bed, put this movie on – and was enraptured for the duration. Starring crazy young versions of Jodie Foster, Tim Robbins and a fucking jaw-dropping John Turturro – this post-Assassination of MLK & JFK, but pre RFK… This is about a specific neighborhood in the Bronx… and I swear to Christ that John Turturro is playing KING KONG, that Jodie Foster is Fay Wray and that Tim Robbins is Bruce Cabot. Turturro does shit that will shock you, thrill you and delight you. He is a beast of a man, unleashed from prison and determined to be extinguished quickly. Everything about this film is electrifying. I absolutely love it. I love the red arrows, the elevator flirtations, the St Bernard, the Penguins and a host of other weird shit that just keeps the film from ever being even the slightest bit ordinary. If great acting and story telling is your thing – this is for you!
The colors on this transfer just pop! So vibrant. This is an exploitation film about rape and revenge. Instantly, that is not for many people. That said, I don’t feel this film is a film to get erotic pleasure from, the acts are truly horrifying – I actually find myself wondering what would become of Camille Keaton’s character after the end of the film. Where would her life take her? This is an infamous film – pure exploitation and a beloved title in that brand. Personally, I prefer the atmosphere of this film to the sequel – it feels… natural. Although… well, I’ll get to that with the next one.
If you can’t handle the original film, there is no way you’ll be able to take the remake. BUT – if you like the HOSTEL movies – in particular, the second film – then I would whole-heartedly recommend this film. Again, it is about the loathsome act of Rape and Revenge. Sarah Butler’s degradation is simply horrifying, and the humiliation along with brutality is something that can not easily be forgotten. That said, the revenge is much more elaborate than in the first film – with a couple of them being some of the most seriously fucked up revenge things that I’ve ever seen. Lesson? Don’t ever rape anyone.
Technically not a 2, but a prequel, just the second one released. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 is generally considered by many to be a superior film to the original. I’m not allowed to watch it till Yoko gets back from Vegas, where she’s been for the last several days. The world conspired against us seeing it in theaters, which sounds crazy, but honestly – we prefer to watch these films when it is just the two of us – and at our creaky house with it’s own… personality. Because it is scarier – and when watching spook-fests, it is sometimes best to watch them when you’re silly reaction will not disturb others. I’m mainly talking about Yoko – cuz she gets crazy silly.
There’s something about LEGENDS OF THE FALL that just falls flat for me. It is a stunning watch, beautifully photographed, a wonderful score… but it falls painfully short of being an epic for me. I think it really comes down to me not being able to imagine Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn all being related in the slightest. Then Julia Ormand… well, she didn’t take me. There’s just something limp about the whole thing, even if Brad Pitt is pretty damn great in the film. That said, it is an incredibly lovely film. Just one I don’t really enjoy. If you do love it though, you can’t beat watching it on BluRay – it is stunning.
I fucking hate this movie. I hate it completely. I can’t even watch it for just the action. The film is just complete trash next to the first two. The fight scenes are over edited, the story telling is sloppy – and Tony Jaa – who has the capacity to be incredibly charismatic… is not in here. I’m not real sure which person at AICN said that “The Fight Sequences Are Second To None” – but if I found out, I’d sit them down and show them a good 20-30 films with superior fight sequences – including ONG BAK and ONG BAK 2. That isn’t to say this is in the top 50 Martial Arts films of all time, that’s just how much patience I would have with properly educating the AICN writer that got blurbed for this shit. Rent it or Netflix it if you must, but under no circumstances will you be happy with this purchase.
A film that literally makes me gleefully happy. I love UNCLE BUCK – I love that it’s by John Hughes, I love Macaulay Culkin in the film – but most of all… I love John Candy. John Candy was one of those actors, like Belushi and Farley – that I just loved. All 3 died early and what work of theirs that we do have is what makes these guys live on. That said, this is my personal favorite John Candy film. It has continued to grow on me, and I think that is mainly because… well now I’m an adolescent Uncle. This Blu-Ray is under $10 at Amazon – and man… if that doesn’t get you clicking… you must be a little dead inside. Cuz this $10 buys you a lot of smiles!
20th Anniversary – that’s crazy. When I was in my second year of college, I got a preview pass for this – The film is one of Ridley Scott’s very best. Geena and Susan are amazing. Brad Pitt is physical perfection. And the film is a legend for women. The infamous ending is one of those that I love talking about. It’s just, the most over the top – but for me – I see it like I do SHANE. Or the end of EL CID. “and they rode into Legend!” Here’s the extras you get:
◦ Ridley Scott
◦ Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis and Callie Khouri
• Deleted and extended scenes
• Extended ending (with commentary by Ridley Scott)
• Documentaries and featurettes, including "Thelma and Louise: The Last Journey"
• Original theatrical featurette (with and without promotional narration)
• Multi-angle storyboards: The Final Chase
• Music video: Glenn Frey, "Part of You, Part of Me"
• Trailer and TV spots
I might just be terribly bored in the hospital, but I’d heard this was just a loathsome pile of shit – and I found it anything but. Looking at the cover of the BluRay, I saw that cast and just thought… Ok – so this is one of them Kevin Williamson-esque slasher flicks – but what I found when I watched it was kind of hilarious – and I don’t think it was unintentional. I mean, when you have a Jesus Freak High School girl telling a kid, “If it gets too hot, turn up the Prayer Conditioning” – how do you not laugh. In fact, my favorite aspect of this film is the utterly ridiculous High School dynamic which feels like SCREAM cross-bred with MEAN GIRLS. Utterly unrealistic – and to such a degree that you wonder if anyone in the film has ever even been to high school. And as a result, I found it funny. Then – the horror aspects – yeah, there’s a tad of SCREAM… but it’s the whole FIRST POWER aspect that killed me. And beyond anything, I had a blast with the opening of this film. It was just very fucked up and kind of cool. Sue me, I liked it. It’s definitely a bit trashy – and far below what I expect and want from Wes Craven, but ya know – I had fun with it.
I loved AMARCORD long before I ever saw it. How can I say that? Simply. In High School, I got a Nina Rota soundtrack collection from my father for Christmas – and I fell in love with the music for this film. AMARCORD’s score is made up of stuff from throughout Fellini and Rota’s partnership and the film is a crazed false recollection that bounces about and involves all manners of amazing and unconventional story telling devices. The characters that Fellini peppers this film with do more with their brief moments upon screen – that most major characters in modern cinema. The film is absolutely delightful. Spielberg did blame AMARCORD for why he was not nominated for Best Director for JAWS – but I’m sure that Spielberg could hardly begrudge the master. Even if somewhere in Quint is hatred for this film! I’m sure of it. Criterion did an exquisite job on this Blu Ray – and here are the rich collection of extras:
Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Audio commentary by film scholars Peter Brunette and Frank Burke
Fellini's Homecoming, a forty-five-minute documentary on director Federico Fellini's complicated relationship to his hometown and past
Video interview with star Magali Noël
Fellini's drawings of characters in the film
Felliniana, a presentation of ephemera devoted to Amarcord
Archival audio interviews with Fellini and his friends and family, by film critic Gideon Bachmann
American release trailer
Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by scholar Sam Rohdie, author of Fellini Lexicon, and the full text of Fellini's 1967 essay My Rimini
Sexy, Funny & true. The story of the guys that literally changed the entire world of commerce and the result is something so much crazier than anything in THE SOCIAL NETWORK. I mean, the most scandalous thing in that film was a guy feeding a Chicken some chicken or maybe some drug use. But in MIDDLE MEN… there’s bodies. The mob is involved. There’s Porn Stars. Violence and it is all kinds of amazing. I can’t recommend checking it out enough. If you love BLOW – you’ll love MIDDLE MEN.
Here’s one of the films that I greatly prefer to KING’S SPEECH. Stephen Frears’ TAMARA DREWE is the best comic book adaptation of 2010 at the very least. Of course, technically it was a Graphic Novel by Posy Simmonds and instead of superheroes and non-stop fights, this is the story about a young lady who had a nose job and suddenly became a stunning beauty, the title character – Tamara Drewe. Once stunningly beautiful she decides to use her newfound beauty… well – you should just see the movie. The original graphic novel was informed by Thomas Hardy’s FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD – but I have to say – you should love this film. This is the film I’ve been waiting for from Gemma. After you see this, you see how wasted she was in CLASH and PRINCE. She was capable of such wonderful sexy and subtle work – filled with emotion and presence. This really should be seen by a large large audience, it was terribly overlooked last year.
This is magic from Robert Redford. One of the most magically shot films ever. Captured beautifully upon Blu Ray – and it really really is something to see. Watching it here in the hospital on my tiny portable Blu Ray player – just kind of drives me batty, because I know that on a big screen, it would be, just astonishing. There are scenes in this movie that are so beautifully captured that you just sit with a goofy grin wishing you could fly fish with even an ounce of the skill that you’re seeing in this movie. I love it. For one, I’m a huge Tom Skerritt geek. And he’s wonderful in this film. Brad Pitt also shines in this early role. Yeah, this is just one of those films that you watch with your parents – you watch you’re your kids before a fishing trip – or… just to remember exactly how beautiful our world can be when captured by someone as talented as Philippe Rousselot. Just jaw-dropping!
Watched this the other day, had never heard of it. This is a Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (his wife) flick that also has an incredibly creepy Anthony Perkins. WUSA is a conservative Radio Station in New Orleans that reports the news with a very staunch Right Wing slant – who knows –Rupert Murdoch might have seen this film around the same time that Rush Limbaugh did and just decided… Yeah, this is what I want to do. After all this is a film from 1970. The most amazing performance in the film is Pat Hingle’s conservative Station Owner – and all manners of scary oddness takes place here. That said – this film takes twists and turns that you will not expect. The film is totally worth checking out for Hingle – and for Perkins’ bizarre photographic predilections that will just kind of disturb you because… you know… he’s Norman Bates.
Ok – as we all know – the ALIEN ANTHOLOGY Blu Ray that came out last year was clearly the best fucking set that came out last year. The mastering on those Blu Rays were simply as great as I’ve ever seen. Not only that, but the presentation in that book was one of the sweetest that I have. Absolutely exquisite. For me – that’s the version to have. It’s cheaper than this, which sells on AMAZON for $149.99 – but here – you get a SIDESHOW COLLECTIBLE case that holds the whole set. Everything you got in that book – is here… plus a pretty damn sweet Alien with an Egg… the perfect EASTER present for the Geek in your family! SO – it all depends how you like to have your BluRays and Home Entertainment. I have a few sculptural BLU RAY cases around – my fave being the OWLSHIP and the JACK SKELLINGTON Bust… So take a look and think if you or someone you love has a need for this baby! The BLU RAYS are amazing.
I hated this movie. And for a long time, I hated Elijah Wood for it. I remember when I was talking with Robert Rodriguez about THE FACULTY and he told me he had cast Elijah in the lead role, I asked him – “Do you want me to hate the film?” It wasn’t that Elijah was a bad juvenile actor – he wasn’t. It was just… man – FLIPPER, I hated. So the first time I met Elijah, I asked him… “Dude, why’d you make FLIPPER?” And Elijah looked me dead in the eye and said, “Ya know – I just thought it’d be fun to spend a summer swimming with dolphins when I was a kid.” And I totally felt like an asshole. Shit, how cool would that be. Rewatching this – it is still, not a very good movie, but if you watch Elijah – you can see how happy he is with that dolphin. Plus, hell – he got to hang out with Crocodile Dundee! That said – I recommend watching THE COVE instead.
More deviant sick awesomery from Jess Franco. I really enjoyed William Berger’s DR ORLOFF quite a bit, but then I love the notion of crazed demented hypnotists with an evil agenda. If you like Jess Franco flicks, this is another good one.
I find these hilarious. Old educational films that they used to show in schools when teachers would break out with a 16mm projector – you look at them today and god forbid you try to use them to teach your kids about oh – a Schoolhouse Fire, Child Molestors, and other bits of crazyness. Pretty awesome stuff. If you’re into it.
Salesman films – wow. This shit is hilarious. And bizarre.
The opening 14 minutes are so are amazing. The film was once planned to be basically be the dream of what Willis O’Brien and Ray Harryhausen had always dreamt of. Just a film about the life of prehistoric Dinosaur times. No talking Dinosaurs – just a beautiful look in a time that most geeks would kill for a great look at. Sadly, the film devolves from there. There’s gorgeous animation at work, but it just isn’t what it could have been. That’s a shame. But I do love watching that opening, especially in 1080p.
Next week, we will take a look at UNSTOPPABLE, WAITING FOR SUPERMAN, LAST TANGO IN PARIS (Blu), RAIN MAN (Blu), NETWORK (Blu), MOONSTRUCK (Blu), THE STRANGER (Blu), ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (Blu), CHAPLIN (Blu), TWILIGHT ZONE: Season 3 (Blu), GAME OF DEATH, KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (Blu), THE LAST LOVECRAFT: RELIC OF CTHULHU, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 2-Movie (Blu), WILLIAM S BURROUGHS: A MAN WITHIN, WEB OF DEATH (Blu), CHINESE GHOST STORY III (Blu), PRISON ON FIRE (Blu) and that’s about it. Hopefully I’ll be seeing some of these in my home. At last. If not, I’ll do this from the hospital.