Hey folks, Harry here… sorry I didn’t have this up first thing this morning, but spending a full day at SXSW, when I got home, I gnawed on pain pills and had to crash, staying up wasn’t the option with how I was feeling, but I did have it half done from a couple of days ago, so I woke up today, skipping SXSW to get this out to you today. This first release in particular you should pay attention to. These are some great great films that you’ve probably not had an opportunity to indulge in. But definitely should. As usual the pics and links take you to Amazon – where you can purchase the item linked to, thus giving a small portion of that purchase price to continue to keep this DVD column going, and you can find out more about the title in question over there. Now – let’s get on with the show…
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
This is THE release of the week. Oh, I know the very next film is an Academy Award winner and later on we have the greater glory of BMX BANDITS on Blu Ray – but dear reader – this is a treat.
With my attendance at all of the QT fests here in Austin, those vintage film festivals that Quentin Tarantino has thrown here in Austin, I’ve come to have a greater exposure and passion for the films of the Italian maestro, Fernando Di Leo. These 4 films are fanta stic Italian Mob features. Di Leo didn’t hold Coppola’s elegant affection for the Mob, he lived with it. The crime eating away at his city, country and people. The blood in the streets – and he made films showing the disgusting low life crime infested bastards for what they were… in his eyes. Their women were sluts, the men were bastards that all deserved what they got. These are vicious crime films. Brutal, bloody and kind of sleazy. THE ITALIAN CONNECTION and THE BOSS are two films that I would put up against just about any action crime films out there and say – GODDAMMIT THESE KICK ASS! Seriously. They’re that great. RULERS OF THE CITY is also fantastic, and the only one that I hadn’t seen prior to receiving this set some weeks ago was CALIBER 9, upon watching it… I was instantly delighted to see that Maestro Di Leo had again wrapped me up with his mob hatred and delivered another great yarn. This begins with the single best mob killing that I think I’ve ever seen. Seriously – just incredible. With actors like Henry Silva, Woody Strode, Richard Conte and Jack Palance – the films have great talents. Then there’s the hot Italian babes like Gisela Hahn, Antonia Santilli and the yummilicious Barbara Bouchet (pant pant). Then there’s just the great Italian men that kickass in these films. These are crime films seething with unsavory actions and acts.
These films have been released previously dubbed in English only. These discs have the original Italian along with the English and French dubs. All the titles are widescreen and immaculately presented. Outstanding!!! Can not recommend highly enough. Wonderful stuff!
An extraordinary film from David O Russell, perhaps his very best work yet – and I say that because what this film captures in terms of a crazy fucking dysfunctional family – that has Bale in his Academy Award winning role as a Crack/Meth-head – and Wahlberg as the little brother trying to grow out beneath the shadow of his crazy brother along with his horrorshow of a mother and group of sisters. I mean. The horror. The horror. But hey, he does get to bang Amy Adams – so there’s some joy in his life. We all deserve an MTV girl. I personally wish the BluRay had a commentary from the entire Eklund clan. Because – they’re amazing. But we do get one from David O Russell, a nice documentary on the shooting of the film. Deleted Scenes and more. One of the best films of last year – and one of the many amazing performances from Christian Bale! Although Melissa Leo may steal the whole damn show as this terrifying mother.
Not a very good movie in my opinion, and almost impossible to watch after the Japanese Tsunami footage on TV. The Tsunami action that hits in HEREAFTER is stunningly realized, but not the sort of thing you will probably want to watch soon, this is really one of the only Matt Damon films that I just don’t care for. In some ways, I found the extras more enthralling than the film itself – here’s what you get:
Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon lead a journey into Hereafter to explore the world of skeptics, psychics and mediums, and the possibility of life after death. Featuring 9 Focus Points:
- Tsunami! Recreating a Disaster
- Is There Life After Death?
- Clint on Casting
- Delving into the Hereafter
- Twin Bonding
- French Speaking French
- Why The White Light?
- Hereafter's Locations
- "Casting" the Silent Characters
- The Eastwood Experience The Eastwood Factor: 90 minute documentary in HD
With Jonah Hex, Kamandi, Adam Strange, Sherlock Holmes, The Demon – and the amazing singing episode… Seriously The Music Meister episode had my jaw dropped for the entirety of its play time. Still not a fan of Booster Gold – but I love me some Dr Fate and Omac. Yeah this stuff is just geek crack, I feel. Still wish Warner would have just released it as a full season set, but now that I have both halves, I’m pleased.
Have you folks been checking out the Gamera 2-fers from SHOUT!? SHOUT! Has been doing amazing releases with Roger Corman, musical releases like the Tami Show and that amazing James Brown release. But GAMERA – it’s what you need for your 10 year olds. Gamera is the shit! Nothing like a pinwheel firework flying Tortuga to just brighten one’s MAN IN SUIT mornings! This is the last two GAMERA films they can release, so complete the collection and enjoy! Hell, there’s no other option!
Make no bones about it, SHARKTOPUS is fucking retarded. BUT… it is SHARKTOPUS – and it is produced by Roger Corman – and does feature that incredibly fetching box art… but in the interest of full disclosure – this was sent to me upon my first day of REHAB – and came with a Plush Shartopus – which I played with constantly throughout my stay – as my only cuddly – in Hospital toy. That said, I did watch the film. Playing with SHARKTOPUS was way better. He’s a wonderful design, in a – THIS IS INSANE way! The effects are hokey and never ever meant to be realistic. Would’ve preferred for it to just be a few grades up.
If you love the story & mystery of Mallory’s attempt to conquer Everest – this film from National Geographic Films is just amazing. Narrated by Liam Neeson – and featuring the voices of Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Hugh Darcy and Alan Rickman – you’ll have the amazing true story of Conrad Anker – finding Mallory’s remains upon Everest and the uncovering of the legend that has haunted the Everest adventurers since Mallory’s disappearance 87 years ago. BluRay is a must – to capture the true beauty of this. Worth checking out over and over again.
Louis Malle’s wonderful film fron 1987 detailing the Autobiographical story of Malle’s time growing up in a Catholic Boarding School in Nazi occupied France. The film is amazing. Personally I recommend this sort of stuff for young kids that can read subtitles – as it will instantly provide the kid with a perspective about how lucky they are… because this is not the way to grow up. Criterion has done another great job, this had only been available on VHS and now we get this stunning Blu Ray. And as for Extras, here’s what the masters at Criterion have for us:
Restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Renato Berta, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack Video interviews with biographer Pierre Billard and actress Candice Bergen, director Louis Malle’s widow
Joseph: A Character Study, a profile of the provocative character from Au revoir les enfants
The Immigrant, Charlie Chaplin’s 1917 short comedy, featured in the film
Audio excerpts from a 1988 AFI interview with Malle
Original theatrical trailer and teaser
PLUS: A book featuring essays by film critic Philip Kemp and historian Francis J. Murphy
Ya know, I dug it. I don’t know the history on this particular Chinese period epic, but I do love Andy Lau, spectacle and crazy awesome sword play. And this movie has that in spades. This involves a city under siege and an unexpected heroic leader that was… just passing through. Love these sorts of stories, in an odd way it makes me think of a grander Clint Eastwood kind of story. For $16, it’s a pretty sweet flick to see on Blu!
Did you like the crazy romantic ninja flick, SHINOBI? Same director, taking on a vampiric sexy murder mystery and it’s kind of fun. Director Ten Shimoyama definitely has a wonderful eye – and captures some striking imagery and an involving light pulp-ish story. For me though – this is all about watching Aya Sugimoto playing an older vampiric lady. Worth checking out for you Vampire lovers.
SNOOPY COME HOME killed me in rehab. As a healing boy in a facility that is clearly, “NO DOGS ALLOWED” and missing my lil stinker Rosy – the terror of Geek Headquarters… SNOOPY COME HOME is in my estimation – the saddest film ever. The idea of Snoopy choosing someone other than Charlie Brown devastated me as a kid, and as an grown kid, it still gets me. That simple betrayal from your pet hit me hard as a boy. Man’s best friend running off to some hospitalized hussy… fuck that little girl, she has a cat. Gross. And it would split up Woodstock from Snoopy – and that shit just can not happen. Then there’s a A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN – which isn’t nearly the emphatic hellhole that is SNOOPY COME HOME, instead it’s more fun. SNOOPY COME HOME? Emotional Bitchslapping. A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN is a stomach raspberry. Filled with giggles.
The high fashioned wizard, Brian Trencard Smith – discovered the cutest littlest Nicole Kidman I’ve ever seen in this absurdly goofy and fun BMX BANDITS. Here’s Nicole in the XANADU of Bicycle movies. Nicole’s hair was meant to be captured in the resolution of 1080p…. and Severin Films knew that – and have delievered it. From the director of THE MAN FROM HONG KONG, DEAD END DRIVE IN and the fabled STUNT ROCK comes this amazing archaeological discovery from Nicole’s past. Very much a fun fun movie.
Next week I’ll look at THE TOURIST, YOGI BEAR, SKYLINE, STAND BY ME (Blu), ROBOTS (Blu), Buster Keaton’s OUR HOSPITALITY (Blu), ANASTASIA (Blu), THE SANDLOT (Blu), ELIZABETH/ELIZABETH THE GOLDEN AGE (Blu), RIDDICK COLLECTION (Blu), JACKSON COUNTY JAIL / CAGED HEAT, GALAXINA / CRATER LAKE MONSTER (Blu), FIREBREATHER (Blu), THE LOST MISSILE, D’JANGO & NOW THEY CALL HIM SACRAMENTO (Blu) and THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK. Til next week, take care…