Hey folks, Harry here… this is a really eclectic week of releases – one that really really should excite most all serious film lovers. Can’t wait to get into it. That said, as usual all the pictures and links take you to AMAZON where you can learn more on a title or purchase it. If you do purchase through one of the links below, let me THANK YOU up front for supporting the column. It is my favorite thing to do here at AICN. Now – buy BLOW OUT now! Amazon has a helluva deal on it…
Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Absolutely tremendous fucking film. BLOW OUT is such a great film. My favorite John Travolta performance of all time. Nancy Allen is so amazingly adorable in this film. John Lithgow is the personification of fucking scary evil bastard. Oh – and Brian De Palma knocked this one out of the park. Travolta plays a sound engineer on trashy exploitation low budget films. He had formerly been a sound engineer that recorded and brought down some dirty cops – some years previous to the start of the film. While recording some ambient sounds to add to his sound library, he happens to record the audio of a car crash, which ultimately claims the life of a very important and political person, but he thinks he heard something before the BLOW OUT – pursuing that truth becomes the impetus for one of the very best Brian De Palma films ever made. Now – when will Criterion visit PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE? De Palma is one of the great cinematic sponges of film history – he watches, is influenced and then produces his answer – here he took his love for Hitchcock, a passion for BLOWUP and there’s even some Harry Caul for good measure. A film about paranoia and one hell of a haunting scream. Love this film dearly! From Vilmos Zsigmond’s amazing cinematography to Pino Donaggio’s creepy and tense scoring… everything about this film just works. Now – what goodies does Criterion got for us?
The best is MURDER A LA MOD (1967) – the experimental feature film from De Palma about a guy searching for the killer of his girlfriend.
Then there’s NANCY ALLEN INTERVIEW – a 26 minute HD interview where she goes over all aspects of BLOW OUT. This is a new interview!
GARRET BROWN INTERVIEW – this fella invented the steadicam – and talks about shooting the film within the film – “CO-ED FRENZY” – a film I would love for Brian DePalma to shoot someday. Totally serious.
Then there’s a nearly hour long interview between NOAH BAUMBACH and BRIAN DE PALMA – this is fascinating, in HD and new!
In addition to these truly superior extras – you get a collection of set photos taken by Louis Goldman, there’s the original trailer and a booklet which has Pauline Kael’s original interview from the NEW YORKER!
Over all – if you love cinema – this is a must! A great film! A great Blu Ray!
Is this Criterion version of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS truly worth 3 times what the regular Blu Ray would cost ya? ABSOLUTELY! For one, the transfer is vastly superior. Now take a look at the overall package that Criterion has put together:
Digital transfer, approved by director Terry Gilliam, with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and an optional 5.1 mix
Three audio commentaries: one with Gilliam, one with stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro and producer Laila Nabulsi, and one with author Hunter S. Thompson
Deleted scenes, with optional commentary by Gilliam
Selection of Thompson correspondence, read on camera by Depp
Hunter Goes to Hollywood, a short documentary by filmmaker Wayne Ewing
A look at the controversy over the screenwriting credit
Profile of Oscar Zeta Acosta, the inspiration for Dr. Gonzo
Collection of artwork by illustrator Ralph Steadman
Audio excerpt from the 1996 spoken-word CD Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, featuring filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and actor Maury Chaykin
Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood, a 1978 BBC documentary with Thompson and Steadman Storyboards, production designs, stills gallery, theatrical trailer, and TV spots
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman and two pieces by Thompson
For lovers of Terry Gilliam’s brilliant film FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS accept no substitute. This is how to own the film.
I find writing about Jodorwosky to be a difficult endeavor. There’s just nobody else like him. I mean – Terry Gilliam is the mainstream version to a degree – but Jodorwosky is the tops at what it is he does – which is bringing surrealism to cinematic life. I was introduced to this film originally from doing a Cult movie show with Roger Ebert back a decade or more back. Roger wanted to present EL TOPO as one of his cult picks, but he couldn’t find anything other than a very badly dupey video tape – and asked me to see if I could find something better. Turns out Guillermo Del Toro had a foreign Laser Disc – so I took Guillermo’s Disc up to Chicago for the show – after watching with Guillermo – and that began my Jodorwosky journey. Afterwards, I dove in and was frustrated to find that I could only see a few other films. FANDO AND LIS, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, TUSK, SANTA SANGRE and THE RAINBOW THIEF. This is easily one of the strangest films that has ever kind of looked like a Spaghetti Western ever. But make no mistake, it is not that. To have this and this next title on Blu Ray really does feel like some kind of cinematic miracle. These were films that for decades could only be seen via black market dupes of dupey dupes. To have the film so damn pretty and with extras… well, we live in blessed times! Here’s the extras: El Topo original theatrical trailer Original script exerpts El Topo photo gallery On camera Interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky Feature commentary by Alejandro Jodorowsky English feature dub track English, French, Spanish, Brazilian, and Portuguese Subtitles
Then there’s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN – and folks – I have no hesitation in the slightest in saying – this will most likely be the most amazing film experience that you’ve ever had – IF you pursue the strange and unusual. Produced by John Lennon and Yoko Ono (who actually financed the film entirely) – Jodorowsky seeks enlightenment – and this isn’t about a story but about that journey to see. Along the way, you’re likely to see things that will flummox you. That’s alright, this is a film that opens up like a flower over the course of your life. You’ll see and interpret things differently as you visit it over your life. THE HOLY MOUNTAIN blows minds. It’s what the film does. However, if you’re the slightest bit square, it could be impenetrable to a closed mind. Brilliant film. And holy shit, it is on Blu Ray. Wow.
You ever seen Francis Ford Coppola’s horror film for Roger Corman circa 1963? Made upon the set of another Corman film, Coppola got his film directing debut with DEMENTIA 13 – which Corman rushed into production as a reaction to PSYCHO. Because Roger wanted his own psychotic flick. Francis quickly put together a script and the next thing he knew he was directing his first film. I love axe murderers – they really are the best choppers in the slasher film world. This has been a Blu Ray long in coming. But this time, it really is shipping! Ya gotta have the first Coppola flick, right?
When Disney bought Marvel – I was hopeful – hopeful that beyond adding Disney’s marketing and synergistic super powers to the Marvel Universe’s quest to rule the world… well, I liked it. But what I really wanted, was incredibly brilliant Animated MARVEL series & animated movies. Watching DISNEY animate a great MARVEL series would be a dream. SO they quickly announced this AVENGERS series – and it seemed to come out of nowhere on DISNEY XD – and it kicks a lot of ass. Rivaling some of the DC work – which is something Marvel hasn’t typically done in the Animated Television world. This first set shows the various characters on a series of individual adventures – before bringing them all together as THE AVENGERS when the situation gets truly outrageous! Awesome.
It is in this set that you really begin THE AVENGERS story in earnest. We get the AVENGERS MANSION, Cap is defrosted and the last two episodes of this set are just killer. Personally – I’m not a fan of releasing just 6 episodes to a set, I prefer whole season releases, but well… with THE AVENGERS shooting in this world of ours – we take what we can, right?
I don’t watch a ton of Anime personally. The style sometimes leaves me a bit cold. But when Anime kicks ass – it does it in a way that is just incomparable. THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME is a crazy awesome multiple genre hopping story that is gorgeous on Blu Ray! If you like really great Anime, you should love this. I do.
Directed by Roger Corman – but with some scenes ghost-directed by everyone from Jack Hill to Francis Ford Coppola to Jack Nicholson! Oh and Jack stars in this with the amazing Boris Karloff. Corman had finished THE RAVEN and THE HAUNTED PALACE ahead of schedule, so he rushed this into production. I really want a return to period horror films. Watching this – and realizing that it was made in a matter of days and on next to no money, but still it is a great story, a wonderful flick.
Yeah, I love this. And this sort of insane fun is a great way to spend an evening with friends – this is very unrealistic action and violence, but that’s the entire point. It’s cartoonish, exploitive and crazy as hell. And that delights me and most everyone that I know. It isn’t as great as ICHI THE KILLER, but it is also not quite trying to be that. It wants to blend ICHI with the fun of Pink Violence cinema. The result is something all its own. And now it is on Blu.
Junk food cinema. That’s what this is. These are fun flicks that are as complicated as a coin. It’s just so damn goofy though – and I love that. Not for everyone.
Bless SYNAPSE and this release. This is a slasher film from the 80s that I missed. This is a played straight horror flick – that isn’t tongue in cheek. Instead, I got more than I was expecting in terms of gore and thrills. I love that Daphne Zuniga is in this. I can’t help but think about giving her back her real nose. Giggle. Sorry, SPACEBALLS moment. The transfer is pretty much the best that could be expected. Films like this don’t usually have the best elements surviving to make a truly great transfer – don’t worry – this doesn’t have scratches or splotches or any of that noise – but it has a deep and natural grain to the stock and the colors are there, but not crazy vibrant. That said – I kinda was expecting the print to be trashed and when it wasn’t – I was very very pleased with this disc. You get a feature audio commentary from the directors, a feature of Christopher Young talking about Horror music and this his first score, there’s a Make Up special feature with Matthew Mungle. You get the original trailer along with the trailer for the alternate title release of PRANKS. OH – and you get a standard def DVD copy. Great little release and a very fun flick.
Great Rock Documentarian D.A. Pennebaker is a fly on the wall during Dylan’s 3 Week European tour during the Spring of 1965. Pennebaker is a non-obtrusive documentarian – listening and watching, but not affecting. The result is an amazingly up close and personal look backstage and at Bob Dylan and the scene he was a focal point of. No Dylan fan and no Musical Documentary geek can do without this. Great release!
I like DAYLIGHT quite a bit. And every time I’ve entered the Holland Tunnel since seeing it, I make note that I am on the set of a Stallone film! Oh – and you get Viggo Mortensen and Stallone! My god! Rambo & Strider! What a team up that’d be. Directed by the infamous Rob Cohen – and the film plays like it. I also like seeing Sage Stallone on screen. It always makes me think of Fulci!
For the first time in it’s original theatrical aspect ratio on home video – and on Blu Ray comes one of the most beautiful films you’re likely to ever see. This is a film that is about observation and senses. A 10 year old Vietnamese girl growing up in Saigon. A film to watch on Blu. Just stunning.
I wish I could tell you how amazing this is – but I still haven’t seen it. I’ve tried for years to get a film print of this to screen at BNAT, but one has yet to be found. When Warner Brothers sent me a screener of this release, that screener would not play in my machines… I tried 5 different DVD playing devices that I have. And none of them played it. I was told there was a DVD authoring mistake and I would be sent a new disc shortly – it never came – but I must order this because this is a feature length ballet film directed and starring Gene Kelly. It has been called genius and a disaster. I, for one, can not wait to see where I weigh in on this one. First time on DVD.
I played this last Movie Night. I knew nothing about the film – other than it was Korean and involved a genetically engineered wild boar that eats people. Frankly, that’s all I needed to know. Then, about 50 minutes in I realized… Oh my god. This is JAWS. This is JAWS set in the mountain farming area of South Korea. It is essentially a beat for beat remake, but in a mountain town that has a crop festival that brings a lot of revenue to the town. And the dialogue isn’t aped, but the intention of scenes are. As the film continues – you begin to wonder… Are they going to keep this up? How’re they going to blow it up? Will the Quint character die stabbing at the boar with a machete? There in is the fun of this film. To see HOW the Koreans adapted JAWS. And they most certainly adapted JAWS. What’s fascinating is how the differences culturally impact the story. I enjoyed the hell out of this. It’s nowhere near as great as THE HOST, mainly because it is such a close adaptation – but man – watching that giant funky wild boar do its thing. PRICELESS!
That’s it for April – next month kicks off with THE GREEN HORNET, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN Blu, THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH / THE SKULL Blu Ray, HALLOWEEN H20 Blu, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME Blu, TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH Blu, SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT Criterion Blu, HOUDINI/THOSE DARING YOUNG ME AND THEIR JAUNTY JALOPIES Blu, TAPS Blu, STUDENT BODIES/JEKYLL & HYDE TOGETHER AGAIN Blu, FAT GIRL Criterion Blu, ALL THE RIGHT MOVES Blu, CROW 2 Blu, THE YARDS Blu, A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN, THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER, UPSTAIRS AND DOWNSTAIRS, SIMON AND LAURA, THE WAY TO THE STARS, TO PARIS WITH LOVE, X2 Blu, KUNG FU DUNK, VALLEY OF THE DINOSAURS, CALL ME SALOME and more…