Hey folks, Harry here with this week’s DVD Picks & Peeks – my preview and picks for the DVDs & BluRays that I’ve either checked out – or that I’m definitely picking up. As always the pictures and titles link to AMAZON, where if you wish to click you can learn more or purchase the item in question, which in turn gives a small portion of its purchase price to help support this column – and is very cool of you. Now – let’s get into the drama of this week’s column which begins with this very first title… Tuesday,
April 12th, 2011
I’ve ordered it. Though Amazon has no image & there are zero details… But if SHOUT really does have a BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS blu coming out tomorrow – and nobody nowhere has an image of it, and if it comes tomorrow – I’ll be the happiest boy in the world, who has barred his door from the interloping of one Senor Massawyrm and his hell bent drooling hardon with which he’d be attempting to beat down my front door demanding to sit and watch instantly… because this rather amazing film – is amongst his favorites – and he’s not insane for thinking like that. This is a low budget, 1980’s science fiction version of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN – by way of Roger Corman, with James Cameron handling many of the effects – and scores of delirious fanboys that worship Sybil Danning forever. God I hope this is a real release! If SHOUT! does release it, it’ll have a ton of extras – like everything else they make.
Speaking of SHOUT! here’s a release that I do have and have seen… for a couple weeks now – and it is a goody! Wish like hell this were BluRay – but getting a miracle like that would just be too amazing. No, actually it wouldn’t… it’d just plum be awesome to have. Here’s a pair of great Peter Fonda starring films that came out in quick order after EASY RIDER changed the film biz.
DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY is a tremendous film. And a genuine shock success. It made 14 times it’s budget upon initial release – But for some reason, after 1974… it was kind of an underground thing. It never became a huge home video title, though it should have. It just sort of – disappeared from most minds. Then Quentin Tarantino played it at one of his QT fests – and like that, in the minds of an cool films of yesteryear blogging group of film geeks – DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY became super awesome. I’m one of those. Adam Roarke and Peter Fonda have a robbery in mind. Susan George crashes their scene. Then you got a huge chase that is simply amazing to watch. This film is a film that if you don’t know it – read nothing additional about it. Just buy it, because it is great – and you’ll have a great time watching it. There’s shit that happens in this film that just would never happen today. Key among those is Susan George, whom Peckinpah made us amazed by with STRAW DOGS – well – she’s just a miracle in this flick.
RACE WITH THE DEVIL is probably my personal pick for 70’s flick most needing of an amazing fucking remake. And I’m not talking a rinky dink one. I’m saying – get a great director, a cast at least as awesome as Peter Fonda and Warren Oates. I mean, they’re just fucking great. The film takes some awesome twists and turns – but is never quite as big and holy fuck as you’d want it to be, though it is all totally there in the story. They just couldn’t bring what they had in mind, to life. Prior to ROAD WARRIOR – RACE WITH THE DEVIL was the best highway assault upon a single large vehicle that I’d ever seen. ROAD WARRIOR is miles more exciting, but this still has enough WOW to keep me watching even though I’ve seen it about 9 times theatrically and on 16mm. And man… A remake made with the cinema ecstacy of ROAD WARRIOR & the full fury of our visual effects geniuses… Wow. I love this film, but it definitely hits to wall of its own budget. And like DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY – I can not recommend enough not reading anything additional about either film. Just pick it up. Do not read the box – or AMAZON – they have spoilers. Trust me on this – they’re both cinematic awesome!
The single best superhero film ever. And it was never even a comic book. THE INCREDIBLES is pretty much every geek’s dream for a Pixar sequel – but we’re all unified in belieiving that it can only come from Brad Bird. When he’s ready to tell a story with these characters, we will get it. And hopefully the characters will all be at a different point in their lives. But man… THE INCREDIBLES is so damn great. Watching it on Blu Ray here at home was just amazing. Seriously. Just gorgeous. This is one of those films to watch, smile & hug with your toes! Watching the Pixar folks talking about the film – well, it just makes me smile. There’s a ton of great extras. Here’s some of em:
• The Incredibles Revisited: Filmmakers Roundtable
• Paths to Pixar: Story Artists
• Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday
• Ending With a Bang!: Making the End Credits
• Interactive! "The New Nomanisan" Island: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan
• Plus classic DVD features
Yeah, this is a huge arrival at Geek HQ – as Yoko and I are pretty addicted to Potter films. And watching this on Blu Ray tonight – well it just reinforced that I really do feel this is, beyond any doubt in my mind, my very favorite of the Harry Potter films. I know now why as well. It leaves Hogwarts behind, and takes our three heroes into a world of magic, politics and deadly serious affairs. I like how the kids are at wits’ end with what they are to do. They’re still kids. I mean, essentially straight out of High School & the fate of the world is in their hands… and at best, they have incomplete… to just flat out incompetent instructions regarding… oh yeah, how the fuck to kill Voldemort – who, by the way, is kicking Potter’s ass right about now. I mean, seriously. Holy fuck has Voldemort got Ace of Spades. It is about all they can do, to just escape this film with their lives. It is grim, but I have faith that JK Rowling is not an evil head fucker of an Arnofskian proportion. BUT – I can’t even imagine Harry Potter getting his rotten ass out of the sling that it is in. One of the deleted scenes actually made me tear up it was so good. But I totally see why it was cut. Great extra though. Here’s what you get:
Maximum Movie Mode
The seven Harrys
On the green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver, and James
Dan, Rupert, and Emma's running competition
Behind the soundtrack
This is the PIXAR film that I am absolutely immune to, thus far. One, whose charms absolutely do not touch me one bit. This is a money grab release. Believe me, when CARS 2 hits on Blu Ray next year – there will be a great rerelease and a box set of both that’ll be worth the wait, and that’s if you don’t already have this on BluRay – which many of you probably do. So I’d say pass on this release.
You probably don’t need me to tell you how great the output of Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn was when they starred together in these 7 films. But if you do – if you don’t know how fucking amazing these two are? If you don’t realize that the characters they play over the 25 years it took to create this particularly amazing body of work… that those characters are essentially a guide into being a perfectly happy couple for your entire life. I love Spencer Tracy so much – and Katharine Hepburn, who should bother me… doesn’t – and it’s because I love her so. She’s just an amazing LADY. All caps, four-letter-word, LADY! She’s just a woman that makes you laugh and makes you furious. You will be in awe, and think at moments how horrible it would be to be stuck with her. But she’s just amazing. One of the great LADYs of all time. Spencer Tracy? My god what a man! Integrity. Stubborn. Charismatic. Just a great man. They live through multiple genres – but in an odd way – it tells you alternate world stories of the true love that Tracy and Hepburn had for each other. These films represent their relationship which is one of the most romantic relationships ever. And you can see that fire between them in every film. A truly great set. Amazon has it at a little more than $6 a title. Check them out!
A great film! Jean-Pierre Melville is back with Alain Delon in his trench coat smoothy best. Alain Delon is simply one of the most beautiful men to have ever been sculpted of clay and breathed life on screen by French Gods of Cinema. A more action packed and complicated film than LE SAMORAI – but I like the stillness of that film more. That said, I’d kill to go to Santi’s. Criterion has a beautiful transfer here – rich colors, beautiful blacks. Which for a film as stylistically pretty as this in places – you’ve simply got to have. Here’s the Supplimental Materials upon the Blu:
Restored, complete, uncut version, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Excerpts from Cinéastes de notre temps: “Jean-Pierre Melville”
Video interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueria, the author of Melville on Melville
Thirty minutes of rare on-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil
Original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures rerelease trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation from director John Woo
How often do you get to buy Christopher Lambert on a Criterion Blu? 2 years ago, Claire Denis made a film that absolutely fits with the quality and excellence that we’ve come to expect from Criterion. This is a film in Africa in the midst of a Civil War – the center, stunning performance is Isabelle Huppert, who is going absolute batnuts insane – and you know you have a fun film, when the sanest character is played by Christopher Lambert! Seriously – check this out – it might have you rethinking things a bit. Criterion’s batch of extras consist of:
New digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Claire Denis and cinematographer Yves Cape, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
New interviews with Denis and actors Isabelle Huppert and Isaach de Bankolé
Short documentary by Denis on the film’s premiere at the Écrans Noirs Film Festival 2010 in Cameroon
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film writer Amy Taubin
I love Surfing documentaries. The photography is truly just eye candy – but when you add real life drama and by every instinct in my body – INSANITY – well, it makes for a very necessary Blu! I love STEP INTO LIQUID and DUST TO GLORY, but for me – this may very well be Dana Brown’s best work.
Have young kids. Tired of THOMAS THE TRAIN ENGINE and his like? Go for the original Acid Childhood with The World Of Sid & Marty Krofft and their most bizarre creation: H.R. PUFNSTUF. Watching this and playing with my Bobble-headed H.R. – well, I’ve decided that I really do need a Magic Flute! I mean, for Pufnstuf!
Love real life spy stories? This is a spy thriller set in the midst of the Reagan period of the Cold War. This is just a fucking great movie. Other than Dafoe – you most likely won’t know anybody else – but that’s kind of why we love Willem Dafoe – he brings us to movies we wouldn’t otherwise find. Great flick!
Here Dorian Gray has been transplanted into the swinging London of the Sixties – as a way of boning up for the X-MEN: FIRST CLASS – I simply insist everyone check out THE SECRET OF DORIAN GRAY. Helmut Berger plays the titular character – and the fantastic Herbert Lom as Henry Wotton is, in my opinion, my favorite Henry Wotton. And the ladies… shit – they’re hot as hell. This flick is great risqué material. Love it.
Directed by Leslie Zemeckis – the wife of Robert Zemeckis and professional Burlesque performer, as well as being a writer & a producer on a number of projects. But this documentary – which takes a look on the Burlesque business of the classic era – interviews the ladies and really tells ya what it was like is… frankly fascinating. I really dig the hell out of this doc, but then I’m a total perv with a respect for the Perv-Arts and their history. Learn yourself some goodness! Such a great doc.
This is a creepy fucking movie! When I saw the trailers for this – I was intrigued, mainly because I love Jim Sturgess – and Yoko totally crushes on him – I had no idea what a dark pit of awesome I was getting myself into. All I can say is this – Man, never ever steal Satan’s lil girl. What the fuck! I mean, I know technically he isn’t Satan, but let’s get real – he totally is. I love takes on the Faust legend, and this one is pretty awesomely fucked up. You would not want to be in Sturgess’ place. Seriously. This would be major suckage. That said, it’s a pretty great little film.
So – how would you like to see a classic Warner Brothers film starring Olivia DeHavilland and Ida Lupino as Emily & Charlotte Brontë - Yes, those Brontë Sisters. The you add to that CASABLANCA buddies like Paul Henreid and Sydney Greenstreet… well, you should know that I’ve never found a bad Olivia DeHavilland film – and that tradition comes to life. This is studio melodrama – but I’ve always loved those quirky and dark Brontë sisters’ JANE EYRE and WUTHERING HEIGHTS – and I loved watching this classic Hollywood biopic about them. Excellent work.
If you’ve seen Francois Ozon’s SWIMMING POOL or UNDER THE SAND – this is pretty much a must. For those unfamiliar with Ozon, I’d suggest starting with SWIMMING POOL to get your mind wet, then that RICKY out for a stroll. You shouldn’t read much of anything about what makes RICKY – that adorably freakishly cute baby on the DVD cover so special – and it is more than those cheeks, I guarantee. I love Ozon.
You see that cover? That’s why DAMNATION ALLEY needs to be revisited. Something that sears like this cover is what I’ve always wanted from the film… and I love DAMNATION ALLEY. I mean – you could even use most of the original cast – I mean. Seriously, bring back Jan-Michael Vincent, Liam Neeson, Paul Winfield and Jackie Earle Haley. Ok, ok, Liam Neeson wasn’t in this, but George Peppard was – and we all know Liam has George in his quill of possibilities. Revisiting Roger Zelazny’s novel would be the first stop. I’d have Michael Giacchino riff on Jerry Goldsmith – and man – DAMNATION ALLEY could be so cool. Alas – I doubt seriously there’s enough cult support to rebirth this fucker – that’s why you need to see DAMNATION ALLEY – of course before that happens, I’d rather see someone take on Zelazny’s AMBER series. Right?
Next week, I’ll take one last look at THE KING’S SPEECH, SOMEWHERE and RABBIT HOLE, along with MORTAL KOMBAT Blu, IP MAN 2 Blu, THE WAY BACK Blu, GULLIVER’S TRAVELS blu, Kazuaki Kiriya’s GOEMON Blu, THE ERNIE KOVACS Collection, CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS, KES Criterion Blu, SHORT CIRCUIT 2 Blu, THE LAST LEGION, TOKYO GORE POLICE Blu, BORN TO RAISE HELL, ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST Blu, LONE RANGER, SWEETIE Blu, MONAMOUR Blu, SPACE KIDETTES / YOUNG SAMSON, GAUMONT TREASURES V.2 1908-1916, SEXTETTE, TO PARIS WITH LOVE, SALON MASSAGE and more…