Hey folks, Harry here… I can literally blame the slight lateness of this column upon Osama Bin Laden. The news of his death captured my brain like a new CAPTAIN AMERICA trailer – and man… It wasn’t until 8pm yesterday that I even realized it was Monday – and at that point an angel dropped the latest Tarantino draft of DJANGO UNCHAINED – and well… a combination of Osama & Tarantino… but this is a less crazy week, so I was able to bang it out. As usual, the pictures and links take you to Amazon, where you can learn more or choose to purchase the item through the link, which helps to keep this column going, as a small fragment of the purchase price goes to support the column. So again, thank you! Now – get that Stellan flick! Oh and tomorrow we find out the details of the Star Wars Blu Rays!!!
Tuesday May 3rd, 2011
Of all the 3D enabled Blu Rays that I have, this is the one that I wish I could watch properly – once I’m out of the rehab costs, I plan to upgrade to where I can fully check out the features upon these 3D discs – but in the theater – I absolutely loved Michel Gondry’s use of 3D in THE GREEN HORNET – the warping of backgrounds – that stunning DePalma-esque steadicam shot that continues to divide on screen – each window having depth… loved it. That said, I could only watch the Blu Ray – which is pretty damn great on its own. Here’s what you get on this disc:
Jay Chou Audition
Double Barrel 3D Animated Storyboard Comparisons
The Green Hornet Cutting Room
"Trust Me" -Director Michel Gondry Writing The Green Hornet
The Black Beauty: Rebirth of Cool
The Stunt Family Armstrong
The Art of Destruction
I fucking love FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. That said – though listed at under $10 over at Amazon – this is a crap release of the title. Wrong aspect ratio. Colors out of whack. Seriously – how does this even happen? Not worth $10 like this.
This is a blessing – two outstanding British Hammer Horror titles. The better of the two is obviously THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH, but THE SKULL has a fun kitsch factor that I’ve always loved. It was written by PSYCHO’s Robert Bloch and stars Peter Cushing. Then THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH, while I love Terence Fisher’s remake of THE MAN ON HALF MOON STREET, I’ve just always preferred the original 40’s take on the story. That said, this version has Christopher Lee in it – and Anton Diffring as the titular character – and if you love him, be sure to check out CIRCUS OF HORRORS which is even better! Love more obscure titles like this getting a quality Blu treatment.
Based on a great novel from Richard Matheson… which is superior to the film, but Vincent Ward’s film is stunning to watch. This afterlife tale is one of those that touches a willing soul. Meaning, if you’re open & non-cynical and you allow the story to take root – it could absolutely make you love the film entirely. The production design – and the notion of living in paintings – and this take on the afterlife is amazing. Less of a fan of Cuba Gooding Jr’s character – but once Max Von Sydow joins the story – wow. Robin Williams is the center of this – and he’s great. As a Blu – it is one of those titles that just looks amazing.
• Feature commentary with director Vincent Ward
• About the Visual Effects
• Making-of featurette
• Alternate ending
• Photo gallery
• Theatrical Trailer
Brilliant Gregory Peck film. Of all the stars I’ve ever met – the one that literally makes me glow thinking about my interaction with – is Gregory Peck. From GUNS OF NAVARONE to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to ROMAN HOLIDAY to MOBY DICK to… well the man’s filmography was just brilliant – and as a man’s man – he was just the best. Take this – this could’ve been just an action adventure type of film – but they decide to make it nail-biting by dealing with the very real issues of Battle Fatigue that occurred through these daily bombing missions from the UK to Germany. And man… you’ll think 100% differently about Dean Jagger when you see the supporting role here that he won an Academy Award for. Holy Shit great! Another Peck essential!
This was my mother’s favorite Ingmar Bergman film. Me, I always preferred a great chess match with death, but mom loved this film. As a kid – I was not in love with the film. But after my mom died, I rewatched the film and could remember her laughing & having tears at the same time. Watching this film is an extraordinary personal experience for me. Because when it plays, my mother is alive. I know this means next to nothing for many of you – but it is how I look at the film. It won an award at Cannes for “Best Poetic Humor” and when you see it – you’ll get that. The Blu Ray transfer on this is stunning. Of course, I’m just used to the old VHS copy my mom played too often.
Digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Video introduction to the film by director Ingmar Bergman
Video conversation between Bergman scholar Peter Cowie and writer Jörn Donner, executive producer of Fanny and Alexander
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by theater and film critic John Simon and a 1961 review by film critic Pauline Kael
Forget the second title. It’s a fun little flick, but ultimately forgettable. However, HOUDINI – as produced by George Pal – starring Tony Curtis & Janet Leigh… and fucking TORIN THATCHER – my personal favorite character actor of all time. I love this film. Love it, not because it is an accurate telling of the life of Harry Houdini – who I’ve been obsessive about ever since I learned I shared his first name. But because… Janet Leigh looks so incredibly hot in ever single second of this movie that you’ll sit hypnotized by her. Curtis’ Houdini is fine… but for me, this and THE VIKINGS represent the great Tony Curtis & Janet Leigh screen romance, which is a big deal because it produced Jamie Lee Curtis – which is a big deal all on its own. But this film has a dear spot in my heart. Can’t say the same for THOSE DARING YOUNG MEN AND THEIR JAUNTY JALOPIES… it just isn’t as great as the animated WACKY RACERS… in my opinion.
I really do like Harold Becker’s TAPS. He hasn’t done a terrible lot of titles – but I love THE ONION FIELD, TAPS, VISION QUEST and my fave… SEA OF LOVE, but TAPS is a particularly interesting film. Here you get to see George C Scott and Ronny Cox in a film about a Military Academy for young men – with Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise as the major kids I n the story – who take over the school to guarantee that the school will not be closed. The resulting film was a bit of a fantasy for me. My alcoholic mother used to threaten me with MILITARY SCHOOL throughout my Junior High and High School years – and I often thought about how I would take over the school. This film later meshed in my over-cinema-saturated brain with RED DAWN – and tried to imagine what this same group of kids would do when the Cuban Commies and Russian Commies descended upon campus. But that was probably just me. This looks pretty damn great on Blu by the way…
This is not an easy film to watch. There’s ugly in this – and I’m not talking about the titular character, I’m talking about the world that surrounds her and her attractive older sister. There is some fairly graphic scenes of both the sexual and violent variety. That said, director Catherine Breillat creates a brilliant film about the pressures of sisters, sex and how one relates to a myriad of extreme situations. There is a rape in this. I say that, because you should be aware of it – I know a lot of folks that get profoundly upset about this sort of thing – and this is an upsetting one. Criterion has done a great job with this release – check it out!
High-definition digital restoration, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
Behind-the-scenes footage from the making of Fat Girl
Two interviews with director Catherine Breillat, one conducted the night after the film’s world premiere at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival, the other a look back at the film’s production and alternate ending
French and U.S. theatrical trailers
Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, a 2001 interview with Breillat, and a piece by Breillat on the title
I’ve never loved this film. There’s just something that felt off about it for me. I generally love Tom Cruise flicks – and I love Football stories, but this film never got me beyond worshipping Lea Thompson – which is something I’ll never stop doing. What’d you think of ALL THE RIGHT MOVES?
I have nothing but absolute hatred and disdain for this piece of shit. I really and truly hate this film.
If I had to recommend a single title from this week’s column that I figure most of you wouldn’t have a clue about – something that you really need someone that sees everything to single out… point at… and declare it to be an absolutely brilliant great fucking movie that will knock you the hell out – I’d say it is the rather delightfully titled A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN – and that’s an outright cheeky title for this film.
The titular character is played by Stellan Skarsgard, and we see Stellan given the short shift quite a bit in cinema… I think his fans feel he should have the title role in just about everything he’s in. I mean… I’d love to see Stellan as an old THOR. He’s just one of my favorite working actors.
Here, he’s released from prison where he did time, never ratted out anybody – and he comes out to a fairly different world. His son is about to become a father. His ex-wife is working at a diner. His crime family boss has him set up in a place FROM HELL… It’s all about a criminal trying to get his life together as the old criminal ways are trying to drag him back. There’s a lot of Stellan sex in this film – and this isn’t super model shit – it’s Skarsgard sex. This film is hilarious and awesome. Can not highly recommend enough!
If you want a great alternative telling of the UK Bombing team stories from TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH – look no further than this! THE WAY TO THE STARS stars Sir Michael Redgrave and John Mills and Trevor Howard and the stunning Jean Simmons. This isn’t about the bombing raids, what happened in the air – this is about the pub afterwards – and it takes you through the entire WWII bombing runs. Begins before the Americans have arrived, we then jump to the eager Americans joining the fray… then the latter part of the war. This is a really great little film.
Bit of a ripoff – and nowhere near as great as SHAOLIN SOCCER, but I was amused enough to see Jay Chou in something other than GREEN HORNET. He’s an interesting martial arts actor – be interesting to see how he develops. Wouldn’t recommend this for an outright purchase – Netflix queue.
Soon to be adapted into a modern Spielberg Television series… giggle. Just kidding. That series has nothing to do with this. But goddamn it, how cool would it be to have a domesticized baby stegie? Sigh. Cartoons were better when I was a kid. (old man grumble) I seriously loved this as a kid. Rewatching a few episodes for this release I have to say… I had good taste!
Next week discover my thoughts on JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER, NO STRINGS ATTACHED, BLUE VALENTINE, BLACK DEATH, SOME LIKE IT HOT Blu, THE ILLUSIONIST, I SAW THE DEVIL, THE HORSE SOLDIERS Blu, ALIENS Blu, SOMETHING WILD Criterion Blu, ALIEN Blu, PATTON Blu Book, MISFITS Blu, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID Blu Book, STRAIGHT TALK Blu Ray, THE USUAL SUSPECTS Blu Book, ALMIGHT THOR, V.I. WARSHAWSKI Blu, BRAVESTARR Complete Series, COUGARS INC, THE SIGN OF THE CROSS, CONSENTING ADULTS, TOP GUN Blu, SLEDGEHAMMER, CROPSEY, SLIME CITY MASSACRE, THE GUN IN BETTY LOU’S HANDBAG Blu, HANG EM HIGH Blu, EYES OF THE CHAMELEON and more…