Hey folks, Harry here… this week’s column is over 4000 words long and with a ton of awesome – and next week is great too! Sorry it is a tad late, but last night, my back screamed for me to hit the bed early, so I had to finish up this morning, woke up at 8:30am just to do that – and I’m just now finishing. Hope you enjoy it, there’s some great stuff here. As usual the images and links take you to AMAZON where you can learn more on the title or purchase it. If you do bother to click a link and purchase through it, this column gets a small kick back from the purchase price – which is greatly appreciated and keeps the column going strong. So thank you. Now – let’s hop straight in…
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Dying to watch this, it’s my number one got to get today. I love THE SECRET OF NIMH, probably my favorite 2D animated release of my lifetime that wasn’t done by Disney. Mrs. Brisby just kills me. Love her, and when that amulet gets going… wow. The special effects animation in this film is just something to behold. Bluth never did quite nail it the way he nailed this story. Brilliant. A truly outstanding animated effort.
All 14 Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce Universal SHERLOCK HOLMES movies! One of the greatest filmed serial movie series ever made. Intellectually, I realize that Nigel Bruce’s bumbling mumbling Watson is not strictly speaking the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But in terms of filmed entertainment – this works brilliantly. The chemistry between Bruce and Rathbone is absolutely perfect. One of those casted cinematic friendships that makes you want to find a friend to grow old with – and have crazy wacky adventures. The transfers are beautiful on the 7 films of this set I’ve watched. The other day, I showed Yoko, THE SPIDER WOMAN and THE PEARL OF DEATH… she had never seen any of this series. The crazy thing is, she’s read all the SHERLOCK HOLMES stories – I just can’t imagine doing that without having Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in your head. I’ve always loved PEARL OF DEATH, because it features Rondo Hatton! The Creeper! You know who I’m talking about, you saw ROCKETEER. Here you get to see the real man that Rick Baker brought to life, but against Basil Rathbone’s SHERLOCK HOLMES – and it is genuinely hair-raising! Great stuff!
I saw this series originally as a post-Late Night News movies, for 14 Saturday nights in a row as a kid, I’d wager to guess I was 6 or so at the time. I became obsessed with mysteries – and this character combined with Leonard Nimoy’s SPOCK helped me to love knowledge & logic. Every kid growing up should have this series to watch! Great entertainment, better role-models!
Love this film, watched the Blu Ray last night – exquisite transfer, wonderful behind the scenes look. My only problem with the film is an incredibly petty one. The title. It is absolutely perfect for the film, but I kinda hate that now people will forever associate this brilliant performance by Natalie Portman, in this 4th Brilliant film in a row from Darren Aronofsky with the title, BLACK SWAN – instead of the brilliant Technicolor pirate epic starring Tyrone Power. But that’s alright – that film doesn’t have an incredibly hot, Ecstacy fueled lesbian romp with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis – which is… frankly… amongst the greatest things ever committed to film… other than the utterly brilliant cinematography capturing these dances, which still is the number one thing that takes my breath away watching this film. Those long shots, where the camera is another dancer following Natalie through the entire dance. It is frankly incredible… Watch the extras to see behind the scenes of how they did it. BTW… I am devastated that Aronofsky isn’t doing WOLVERINE. Absolutely heart-broken. Sigh.
Here you get the 3D Blu-Ray, The Blu Ray version, The DVD and a Digital Copy for all your lil media forms… which is a great thing if you have munchkins, because the bet is… those wonderful lil princesses of yours will be clamoring to see this, just like mine. YOKO demanded that we watch this together, then we watched all the extras – and I have to say, I do really really really like TANGLED. The songs just don’t take me to the love category. Mainly because they don’t take root in my skull like the classic music from Disney’s past. Here’s what you’re getting:
•2 original storybook openings
•50th Animated Countdown
2-Disc BD Combo Pack (BD+DVD
) •DVD features plus
•3 deleted scenes
•The Making of a Fairy Tale
•2 extended songs
•9 Theatrical Teasers
4-Disc BD Combo Pack (BD 3D+BD 2D+DVD+Digital Copy)
•DVD features plus
•3 deleted scenes
•The Making of a Fairy Tale
•2 extended songs
•9 Theatrical Teasers
The greatest Bible story ever put to screen, in my opinion. I love THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. I received a special presentation “Hold The Date” press release saying we’re getting an incredible BEN HUR – which to me, is the greatest Religious Epic of all time, but strictly speaking isn’t a Bible story, like this. Here, Cecil B DeMille put together a pitch perfect cast of incredibly charismatic and iconic actors to tell this story in a way that will live forever. My only wish is that Paramount would pay to have the matte work cleaned up ever so slightly. Much like what Warner Brothers did on AFRICAN QUEEN, which made that film eerily perfect. That said, this is a spectacular Blu Ray, and this amazing set – which comes with a reproduction of the original playbook, a ton of original sketches for costume designs, which are really stunning. Plus you get to part the red seas for your very own 10 Commandments. Come on Jeff, how can you pass this up? Plus you get these special features too:
• An all-new, never-before-seen, hour-long documentary on the making of The Ten Commandments, “Making Miracles.”
• Commentary by Katherine Orrison, author of “Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille’s Epic, The Ten Commandments” on both the 1956 Feature Film and the 1923 Silent Film.
• Newsreel footage from the 1956 World Premiere in New York.
• An extensive photo gallery packed with never-before-seen photos from the Cecil B. DeMille’s BYU Archives.
• A “Making of” Trailer from 1956 as well as Theatrical Trailers for subsequent re-releases of the film
• Hand-tinted footage of the Exodus and Parting of the Red Sea Sequence from the 1923 Silent Film.
I If you’re an AICNer from the beginning, you’ll remember the 1996 coverage of the making of SCREAM and the living hell that Wes Craven went through just to get this movie past the MPAA without tearing it to shreds. Watching this film today, it is kind of hard to believe it even received an R, especially when you see Aja’s PIRANHA or any of the SAW films. I suppose the pervasive nature of the film is that all this violence could be emulated, but who would ever want to be the bad guy from SCREAM? Well, a shit ton of the Halloween costumes have been sold, but I’ve yet to hear of a SCREAM killer. That said, I’ve always been a tad negative about the SCREAM series. Kevin Williamson’s film helped lay the groundwork, in some ways for the modern film geek. When SCREAM came out – the character of Randy instantly latched on and it gave a ton of folks an identity to play with. Luckily, the real Randys tended to broaden their horizons beyond just slasher films. Earlier last week, I watched the SCREAM trilogy all in a row – and I think I can safely say this is the best of the series.
• Audio Commentary by Director Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson
• Production Featurette
• Behind the scenes: "On the Scream Set" and "Drew Barrymore"
• Q&A with the cast and crew • Theatrical trailer
SCREAM 2 is the college chapter, where Sidney and Randy are at college, you also get Dewey (the Kenny of the series) and that intolerable bitch he’s in love with, Cox! This was better than I remembered. It still pisses off a lot of folks, especially for one killing that takes place. I still don’t believe that character would be stupid enough to get that close to the van. I’m totally serious. It pisses me off. STAY in the middle of the field. What the hell? That character was too smart to get offed that way. Still bitter.
• Audio commentary with director Wes Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena and editor Patrick Lussier
• Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by Wes Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena and editor Patrick Lussier
• Producer Marianna Maddalena, and Editor Patrick Lussier
• Outtakes, Featurette
• Theatrical trailer
The seriously ridiculous chapter of the trilogy. Here you have Sidney living off in the woods somewhere as a dial in, victim helper – and I actually really loved that character beat, but the rest of the film – RIDICULOUS. As opposed to the “realistic” first two? Giggle, ok, you got me. It’s been long enough, and I no longer take this series as seriously as I did back during the original period. That said, with the killings moving to a movie set, all with the purpose of flushing out Sidney. Who really must be insane to have not simply gone anywhere else on the planet, but to the location where people are getting killed. Right? That said, when she ends up on the Woodsboro set – it is kinda classic.
• Audio commentary with director Wes Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena and editor Patrick Lussier
• Deleted scenes and alternate ending with optional audio commentary by Wes Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena and editor Patrick Lussier
• Behind the Scenes montage
• Theatrical trailer
The original Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise is our lord and savior Jesus Christ in KING OF KINGS – and it was this little geek factoid that brought me closer to Jesus as a kid. I mean, if an actor could be the captain of the Enterprise and the Technicolor son of God – who was I to choose science fiction over religion. Especially when it is directed by REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE director, Nicholas Ray – and Jeffrey Hunter is very definitely a Rebel With A Cause in this film. The Miklos Rosza score is enough to recommend this film all on its own, but Ray Bradbury’s written narration is simply great. A very geek friendly telling of the greatest story ever told. You only really get a vintage featurette on this. It’s more about getting this beautiful movie on BluRay!
My favorite part about Max Von Sydow playing Jesus Christ in George Stevens’ take on the story of Jesus is that… well. Ming The Merciless Died for your sins! That’s kinda killer! The biggest issue with this release is that the quality is so high that you can tell the matte paintings are matte paintings, but I like that. There’s something about religion that needs and asks to be painted by hand. At least in my geek religious Blu-Ray library! This is a bare release though.
I’m really shocked that Doritos didn’t name their Green Salsa Chips – SOYLENT GREEN – because that would’ve ruled! Plus I find it funny, that on the day that we get Heston & Eddie G in 10 COMMANDMENTS, we get them in this very cynical view of the future of man. I’ve witnessed geeks taking communion with green crackers before – so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me – but it is just too much fun, to not mention. Seventies Charlton Heston was pretty awesome. This and THE OMEGA MAN were my two faves. This hasn’t been remade yet, and I have to say I am a little surprised, mainly because of the Doritos SOYLENT GREEN tie-in that simply must happen in our lifetimes. I kinda love the treatment this film has gotten on Blu Ray. You get a Richard Fleischer & Leigh Taylor-Young commentary, then there’s a 10 minute vintage look at “the world of Soylent Green” and I love vintage looks. There’s also a brilliant, all too short, Tribute to Edward G Robinson’s 101st Film that is just kinda awesome. Robinson died days after wrapping his work on this film – and if you’ve seen the film with that knowledge, you know how powerful his performance is. GEEK REQUIREMENT!
I held a special AICN/SXSW premiere of IMAX: HUBBLE back last year, with Astronaut Mike Massimino – who is featured showing why manned missions to space are an absolute requirement, because sometimes you need dogged human determination and sweat… even in Zero G. Then in this brilliant little film, you get the real treasures, which is when you begin to fly into Hubble images, in what is the very best looking space stuff I’ve ever seen. This is the shit that makes you tear up because there is no Enterprise to really do this. This is pure inspiration for the human race – and I love it.
Amongst my very favorite Mike Leigh films is TOPSY TURVY – and I really do love how Criterion handled this release, but also decided to release the classic THE MIKADO as a separate release, but one that film geeks like me have to watch as a double feature. Mike Leigh got on my radar with the brilliant SECRETS & LIES, but when I heard Leigh was going to play with Gilbert & Sullivan and the adventure which was the creation of The Mikado – I got giggly. As soon as Jim Broadbent was cast, I was sold. Criterion’s transfer is crazy great on this – and here’s the treats they have for you on this release:
Director-approved digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Dick Pope, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Audio commentary featuring director Mike Leigh
New video conversation between Leigh and the film’s musical director, Gary Yershon
A Sense of History, Leigh’s 1992 short film written by and starring actor Jim Broadbent
Featurette from 1999 including interviews with Leigh, stars Broadbent and Allan Corduner, and other cast members
Theatrical trailer and TV spots
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Amy Taubin
1939 is generally considered the best year of cinema in the history of film. When talking about that year, this is a film that is simply never ever mentioned. It is one of those films that only the fans of musical theater really know, but boy is this a film to not overlook, because it is stunning. For one, you have the greatest form of Technicolor ever… creating the most beautiful of colors – but then you have one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s finest plays being performed beautifully. Just fantastic. How many other great films does 1939 have to drop on us? Here’s the extra fun:
Newly remastered digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
New video interview with Topsy-Turvy director Mike Leigh on The Mikado and its adaptation for the screen
New video interview with Mikado scholars Josephine Lee and Ralph MacPhail Jr., tracing the 1939 filmed version of the opera back to its 1885 stage debut
Short silent film promoting the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’s 1926 stage performance of The Mikado
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
I kinda love this crazy film! First off, you just have to give it to Jeffrey Dean Morgan for going full fucking crazy creepo on this film. I mean, his father is Christopher Lee… in a HAMMER film… so you know he can’t be normal. But I’m pretty sure in Christopher Lee’s long and fabled filmography, he has never masturbated in a woman’s bathtub while she was out. And I’m not quite sure why that fucks with me, but the idea of a stranger masturbating in your bathtub… freaks me the fuck out. Just ewwwwwwww. And that’s the nicest thing he does in the movie. Hilary Swank plays a young, HOT – and I do mean HOT – doctor that needs a new place to live after a bitter breakup. She unfortunately chooses this place. The perfect film to give a single girl if she thinks her landlord is cute.
After the success of the remake of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE with Jack Nicholson & Jessica Lange, Taylor Hackford decided to remake one of the greatest Film Noirs of all time, OUT OF THE PAST – that towering noir starring Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas. Here he cast Jeff Bridges, James Woods and Rachel Ward in the leads. I probably like this movie more than I should… to me though it is just so entertaining to just compare Mitchum to Bridges and Douglas to Woods… and this has some pretty humid scenes… if you get my meaning. You get a director and cast commentary, some deleted scenes and a trailer. Part of that 80’s Noir revisit – that’s best efforts were BODY HEAT and BLADE RUNNER.
If you loved Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in MILK – you really do owe it to yourself to check out this outstanding documentary on the life and times of the real Harvey Milk, it is just an amazing story – and you’ll see that as great as Sean Penn’s performance was, he was a shadow of Harvey Milk – a real social hero. When this documentary came out – there was a period of time that it was featured as a complete documentary to watch here on AICN. This is, however, a great Criterion release – and as such it has an amazing supplemental section of features that really give you a great look at his story. Here ya go:
Director-approved digital transfer, from the meticulous UCLA Film and Television Archive restoration, with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
Audio commentary featuring director Robert Epstein, coeditor Deborah Hoffmann, and photographer Daniel Nicoletta
New interview with documentary filmmaker and UC Berkeley professor Jon Else
New program about The Times of Harvey Milk and Gus Van Sant’s Milk, featuring Epstein, Van Sant, actor James Franco, and Milk friends Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg, and Nicoletta Postscript containing interview clips not used in the film
Rare collection of audio and video recordings of Harvey Milk
Interview excerpts from Epstein’s research tapes
Footage from the film’s Castro Theatre premiere and the 1984 Academy Awards ceremony
Panel discussion on Supervisor Dan White’s controversial trial
Excerpts from the twenty-fifth anniversary commemoration of Milk’s and Mayor George Moscone’s assassinations
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic B. Ruby Rich, a tribute by Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk, and a piece on the film’s restoration by the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s Ross Lipman
The “sequel” to SUSPIRIA – which never has a sequence as great as the great sequences of SUSPIRIA – this is still a damn awesome and scary film. Blue Underground did good releasing this on Blu Ray. They have two HD interviews on here with Leigh McCloskey and Irene Miracle. Then there’s the interview with Argeno and Lamberto Bava. Plus Dario introduces the film. Nicely put together Blu Ray!
Just love this film. Produced by Roger Corman – and brought to home video from those awesome bastards of SHOUT! FACTORY – is CAPONE – starring Ben Gazzara as CAPONE. But this amazing cast doesn’t stop there, it begins there. You get Sylvester Stallone as fucking Frank Nitti!!! You get John Cassavetes as Frankie Yale and Harry Guardino as Johnny Torrio. Not only that – but because Corman produced this, the blood is flowing, the tits are showing and this film is mind blowing! Can not recommend enough to Drive In lovers and cineastes as well. Oh – and Susan Blakely is great in this too!
I miss Geena Davis. I loved her as a femme badass, and in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT – with a Shane Black script and Samuel L Jackson as a partner in action, even Renny Harlin couldn’t fuck this up. I love this movie. It isn’t quite THE LAST BOY SCOUT good, but it is close. Also – any movie with David Morse is one worth owning. Right?
Ok – so it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards and it won the Un Certain regard prize at Cannes last year… but is it any good? This Greek horror film – and make no bones about it, this is horror. This is BLACK SWAN style horror, where what plays out is just freakishly horrific and all kinds of awesome. Highly recommended to check out. You should love this film, don’t read a lot about it. I won’t write a bunch either.
Vincent Cassel must be seen in this – the second part of the MESRINE story! This is just an incredible two part story. If you bought the first half, the second half, in my opinion is even better. Because this is where things really get crazy. The EMPIRE quote at the top of the box is to be trusted. This feels like vintage Coppola & Scorsese – no shit. Jean Francois Richet – do not miss any of his films!
I’ve always liked Michelangelo Antonioni’s film about well to do youths that go murderous. This is a triptych set in Paris, Rome & London. The film is a fascinating look at why kids that have every opportunity to be great in this world, could actually be the basest of human forms, a murderer. Saw this in Film History class and I was hooked on Antonioni. Believe this is the first time it has been available on DVD. Right?
Low budget, but very fun! Shortly after ROAD WARRIOR – Mel Gibson landed a role alongside Sam Neill and John Phillip Law – where they play 3 Australian Commandos set loose in WWII on a particular mission to rescue valuable survivors from a plane crash in the South Pacific. Mel positively looks like a kid in this film. Don’t have this BluRay, but I have ordered it.
It is the duty of every man, woman and child reading this to buy a copy of TEEN WOLF on Blu Ray – scratch the disc badly – and resend it to Jeff Mahler of North Hollywood, CA 91602. It’d be inappropriate for me to give you his full address – but rest assured, the U.S. Postal service will locate him from that zip code. Jeff is a bit like Santa Claus… except, jewish and obsessive with TEEN WOLF, which he feels is the greatest movie ever created. But we can’t allow him to see it, so we must buy a copy of TEEN WOLF, scratch it, replace the disc, whatever mean little trick you can think of – and send it to him. I double dog dare ya!
Next week we kick off with TRON & TRON LEGACY on Blu!!! Oh – and also there’s THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, TAXI DRIVER Blu, LITTLE FOCKERS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Blu, I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS, A.I. Blu, ARTHUR 1 & 2 on Blu, CASINO JACK, BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER Blu, KUNG FU PANDA Blu, THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS, THE HEROES OF TELEMARK, ARABESQUE, BABE Blu, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Blu, THE PEOPLE Vs LARRY FLYNT Blu, …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL Blu, THE COVE Blu, PETER PAN Blu, BENNY & JOON Blu, Roger Corman triple feature, ROPE OF SAND, THE MOUNTAIN, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL Blu, KUBRICK’S ODYSSEY and THE RULES OF ATTRACTION Blu.