Hey folks, Harry here... The Toronto Trip, plus my head not just being in writing - as I became obsessed with reading every review I could find of COMIC CON EPISODE IV: A FAN'S HOPE... Then when I did get the writing bug, individual subjects called my attention. But here's last week and this week's releases and I hope you enjoy them. I get carried away with some of the releases - but then, they're the kind of releases its fun to have fun writing about. Here ya go...
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
This is another Vietnam Vet comes back to a fucked Domestic America scene where a military buddy gets royally fucked over by urban crime, and becomes a badass vigilante mutherfucker that we wish had a PUNISHER Shirt on. This is a film of limited budget, but big balls. I love Vigilante movies. Even better when it is being done in the name of a Nam Brother. It just fluffs everything just right. That you can get a movie like EXTERMINATOR on Blu-Ray… it’s just more proof that us Film Geeks are living in some dreamland. Like THE 10TH VICTIM below, this is just great period genre fun. The gangster and the industrial meat grinder machine scenes are totally worth the price of disc!
Bliss. I’ve had some great screenings of this film in my life. I remember first watching it with my father in the PARAMOUNT THEATER as a boy – and that night – as he and his film school friends took us out to dinner and just went on a lovefest talking about CITIZEN KANE – how our theater looked like a façade for the movie itself… Or the time my Dad, Sister and I were staying at a Cliffside Motel in the shadow of San Simeon, watching the film on the rented VHS tape and shitty TV, with the curtain open looking up at Hearst’s Xanadu… Then watching Ebert going frame by frame through the last third of the film aboard the M.M.S. MAARSDEN and the FLOATING FILM FESTIVAL… but you know… Everytime I watch CITIZEN KANE it is a great fucking time.
It is a story of a man’s life as told by those he left behind… Friends, Enemies, Lovers, Business associates, etc….
For me, everytime I watch the film, it makes me deeply introspective. Big surprise, I so associate with every film, but what can I say… I relate to the stories I see. I empathize with the characters and what they’re going through. But KANE is an entire life story… It’s also a rookie film by a wild daring societal wunderkid making his first film a MAD magazine satire of his age’s Rupert Murdoch. And he did so with historic innovations that he simply applied from his experiences on the stage and upon the Radio – where he was equally hailed as Genius. The Mercury Theater actors are simply brilliant. Everyone. Watch the fire in Orson Welles’ eyes. He’s amazing. Just amazing.
It isn’t like anything we see today, where movies are striving so much for realism, that they lose the power of impressionism. This film is filled with bold powerful images. Montages that sear sequential images into the mind. A score that shames everything you’ll hear this year. Brilliant makeup! Hilarity! Soul-searching. The only films I’ve seen released in my lifetime that I love at the same level as this are GODFATHER II and THERE WILL BE BLOOD… but neither is as boldly wonderfully theatrical. CITIZEN KANE does everything those films do, but manages to be effortlessly fun throughout.
This is CITIZEN KANE and it’s one of a kind folks!
So how does it look on Blu? Wonderful. Truly Wonderful. This is a film that you should come to at some point in your life. And think… what would these types of people say about you, if you died 3 days ago. If you watch it and don’t get what the big deal is… Watch the documentary on it. Listen to the commentaries. This is a film you appreciate, then as you grow as a film lover… discovering more about the ages of cinema, marketing, personalities of the era, the scandal of the film, what Rosebud might’ve really meant, ya know… The more you learn, the more you read, the more you watch… the more you realize that this isn’t only THE GREAT FILM of FILM HISTORY – and that it isn’t just a pretentious CRITIC thing to say, but that you REALLY MEAN IT, and you REALLY GET IT… Well, that’s just a fantastic sensation. In a weird way, this is that great movie geek beer talk, wine talk, brandy talk… I’ve had some of the greatest film geek talks in a Vegas Strip Bar, upon that Cruise Ship, at Burger Stands, in Video Stores, at Movie shows and elsewhere… just talking Welles, Kane, Hearst, Cotton, Agnes, Bernard, Wise, Manny… and fucking Rosebud.
Kane is a quasi-religious obsession. You get drunk on the movie, high on the movie… energized by what a filmmaker given carte blanche, being brilliant and left utterly to his own devices… and he makes a film that I, 70 years later can just sit here at a keyboard and fall for all over again. This is an excellent box to buy to begin a magnificent obsession with.
The American movie poster for this movie – and the really trippy lobby cards have been familiar to me for a very very long time, as my Dad and I have every size and type of poster that this movie had in the United States… but I’d never seen the movie. Now that I’ve seen it, if you happened to flip to this poster at my store, I would now say… “You like crazy Sixties foreign trippy sci-fi aesthetic like Bava’s DANGER DIABOLIK or Vadim’s BARBARELLA? You know the film within the film sequences of Roman Coppola’s CQ? Yeah, this is that kind of awesome!” This is a film along the lines of Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal” or Stone/Tarantino’s NATURAL BORN KILLERS or Paul Mazursky’s DEATH RACE 2000? This is a film, set in a universe were corporations hire assassins to assassinate folks exclusively to SPONSOR with their Brand for Live Television. It is absolutely bugnuts beautiful and stylistically weird. I love these crazy corporate future stories like ROLLERBALL or RUNNING MAN. I could totally see this being badly remade!
I’ve already written a few thousand words about this set. At that time, I hadn’t fallen in love with the DOCUMENTARYS or the SPOOFS sections of the 3rd Extras disc. This is the only version you should buy, if you’re thinking of picking any of the flicks up on Blu Ray right now. Only this set has the real jewels of the set… the deleted scenes and 40 hours of extras. I’ve seen about 29 hours of the stuff so far and it really is fantastic. Getting ready to start diving into the Prequel behind the scenes disc… The period Television Special documentaries hosted by Mark, Carrie and Billy Dee are just fantastic. Saw those upon original airing – and man, what a nostalgic mainline injection! STAR WARRIORS is a Doc not to miss. I love the 501st!
Absolutely love the film. I absolutely can’t wait for future adventures, be they in AVENGERS or in THOR sequels. Everyone pictured on this Blu Ray cover is fantastic in the film. In particular, Natalie Portman’s love interest is just so effortlessly pleasing. I like how just smitten she is with Hemsworth. It has High School crush intensity and giddy energy, and I find it adorable in my COMIC BOOK NERD FEST! Just as I did with Jane Foster in her very different character history in those books. I always loved that superheroes always had girlfriends… The wanton heterosexuality of the Marvel & DC universes fit right in with my obsession with PLAYBOY culture. Seeing that kind of energy in this film was a cherry I was happy to find a top a very solid first outing for the mighty THOR. The Branagh Commentary is one of the most hypnotic and genuinely amusingly fascinating commentaries. Just hearing Branagh talk so enthusiastically about THOR… it’s just… fetishistically correct. This is sat by my PS3 for heavy constant rotation purposes! I’ve devoured everything on this disc. Love the extras. I’m frustrated that the AVENGERS special feature doesn’t show pre-production art and a full on trailer… just because I’m incredibly impatient and want more!
I really like this direct sequel to the original brilliant Carpenter low-budget awesomery. BUT… it just doesn’t have his deft touch. There’s something effortlessly perfect about John’s original. This feels related, fun… but it just isn’t quite as magic. Nice Blu Ray! Just realize that this will get played maybe 1/5th as much as you will the original, if you’re like me.
I kind of think this is a headbanging version of SHANE. I’m gonna leave it at that. Oh, and it rules.
Once I realized there was a heavy amount of Eva Green nudity in this series, it instantly became IMPORTANT to watch every episode. Along my lascivious way, I discovered that I like everything about this 1 season show. They’ve turned the Arthur story on it’s ear – and yet all the elements are there… just twisted slightly like a Rubik’s Cube. I don’t quite love it like that first season of SPARTACUS… but I thoroughly enjoyed this in a way that I couldn’t like FIRST KNIGHT or a slew of shitty Arthur reinventions. But don’t worry, BOORMAN owns this mythology for all time in my opinion.
Further proof of the genius of the Coen Brothers. The film is a long and constant smile. The soundtrack of the film is nearly the reason to have this on Blu-Ray – if it wasn’t for the fucking unbelievably gorgeous cinematography. The combination of the two is absurdly perfect in the way that THE BLUES BROTHERS is absurdly perfect and that THE BIG LEBOWSKI is perfect. The wit of the writing, the seemingly effortless flourish that the Brothers wield with their filmmaking… it is just. Bless it. Bless them. Clooney’s Dapper Dan Man, is just as brilliant as self-obsessed as Bruce Campbell’s Ash or Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton or Jeff Bridge’s Kevin Flynn… Fun anti-heroes on epic unexpected journeys. Quests. One of the great absurd films of all time.
As old as AICN… 15 years old. This was a film that made me drunk on the awesome that Indie cinema was whupping my ass. Rewatching this on Blu the other day… Yoko had never seen or heard of the film. She was 9 when it came out. She was tired and wanting to go to sleep, but the movie captured her… Grabbed her by veins of her eyeballs and shouted, “PAY ATTENTION!” TRAINSPOTTING is an aggressive dose of cinem mainlined into your skull. It is ferocious, kinetic, powerful, nightmarish and it LOVES itself in an exhilaratingly original manner that guaranteed that Danny Boyle was prepared to make you forget his previously brilliant SHALLOW GRAVE. If you haven’t seen this… do so. It makes FIGHT CLUB seem a bit pussy.
Before he was Jesus, He wanted bloody revenge. Alexandre Dumas is about to be wantonly violated by Paul Worthless Shit Anderson, but this is by far my favorite classic literature brought to life by the hands of Kevin Reynolds… and the performances by James Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris and Michael Wincott are all killer. But the reason I kinda love the movie, is the inexplicably bizarre casting of Luis Guzman in this film. I know people freaked on Russell Brand’s work in Taymor’s TEMPEST – but this is bizarre casting that just makes me constantly giggle. And in a tale as dark as MONTE CRISTO is… it’s like Herbert Mundin’s Much the Miller’s son from THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD… This is nowhere near as great a film as Curtiz’s masterpiece… but this is a very rich telling of the tale.
Another 15th Anniversary – original AICN year flick. THE FRIGHTENERS was one of those films like DARK MAN that never found a mainstream audience, but that most geeks I know… well we love it. The box office failure of this movie and it’s critical bashing by many made the choice of Peter Jackson to direct LORD OF THE RINGS, confusing to most folks in the industry of talking about films. But it was that short-sighted lack of long term memory, that gave them such fits. FRIGHTENERS is the first film that Peter Jackson got all the toys for. The studio never understood it. The movie was tonally odd – a funny gotcha ghostly serial killer flick with a wicked black sense of humor. Featuring one of Jeffery Combs’ most wildly bizarre and particularly off characters – as you’ll ever see in a movie. This disc has everything you could ever want for the film. Great transfers, extras, audio…
I love crazy awesome fantasy legendary martial arts films. I love the training sequences. The brutality. The high camp feel. The amazing martial arts on display, but this is full on Chinese Superhero shit! Jack Burton may talk about shaking the pillars of heaven, but in TRUE LEGEND, it could be a literal character action. That crazy looking bastard with the clenching fingers… AWESOME. Total party flick. Once again Yuen Woo Ping reminds us… He’s the Master!
I just saw this for the first time tonight. It drug everything to a halt. Julie Taymor isn’t interested in reality, thank God. Making films echo reality is such a constant state of our theaters, that when something wild like TEMPEST comes along, folks just don’t know what to do. This film actually reminds me of a very old Shakespearean film adaptation… William Dieterle & Max Reinhardt’s adaptation of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM… and that’s wholly appropriate. Taymor’s film is just drunk with the possibilities of cinema. Stylized in a wildly exciting manner – it’s trying to match the imagination of Shakespeare’s original work. Dieterle is one of my favorite classic directors. His HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER, PORTRAIT OF JENNIE… so many great films. Taymor is fiercely experimental – and you’ll either fight it or dig it. For me, I’m still angry that my surgery kept me from seeing this in a theater. Just stunning work.
Raise your hand if this is your favorite Hannibal Lecter tale. I’m not quite there with ya, but I really do love William Petersen and Brian Cox. My only problem is that Cox just reminds me so much of his character in ALIEN… and that’s by no means a bad thing, but Hopkin’s Lecter just… it’s the character in my mind. I missed MANHUNTER when it originally was released and didn’t discover it until after I saw SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, so Hopkins owned the character in my mind. MANHUNTER just didn’t play the mall theater at Sykes Center in Wichita Falls… When I did finally see it, it became my second favorite William Petersen flick… behind TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. That said, Mann directed the best cinematic Lecter tale. This film has a sick dread that just atmospherically rules this movie. Picture looks great on this, just wish it wasn’t a barebones theatrical cut.
The TWILIGHT cover art is just fucking hysterical to me. This is a very fun movie – and totally different from the greater series. The guy that conceived this… he’s doing an AVENGERS movie. What a career path. I can’t wait to discover the specific Whedon quirk he gives to that, but I just wish Whedon did a commentary on this release. It’d make it a MUST buy – as opposed to this basic release. I think Buffy fans want a geekier release.
The reason we pay attention to Lasse Hallstrom. MY LIFE AS A DOG is just brilliant. Just as great a flick really gets. This is one of those films that haunts a filmmaker, who has made some really good movies, but this is just great. The performance from Anton Glanzelius is one of the great kid performances.
Like HALLOWEEN II, I like this movie, but the LOVE is held for the amazing original. That said this is possibly an even freakier and more disturbing film. The scenes are not as effortlessly iconic as the original. This would be a great double feature with Kevin Smith’s unhinged and wickedly fun RED STATE. In fact that’s how I watched these two. Kevin’s on pay-per-view and this on Blu. Kevin’s film is better, for the record. This disc looks quite handsome.
If you lived in Hot Texas of the late seventies and had a daily swimming pool addiction like me… Patrick Duffy’s MAN FROM ATLANTIS is nostalgic bliss. His patented full body wave swimming technique whilst making dolphin squeals is something I can’t help but still do while swimming at least once every time I take a dip. It just delights me in a very specific geek quadrant of my brain. Watching the pilot… wow. CRAZY this was on a network after that, but the show got… well, there were more after that, and this is all of them. But you have to understand, for a kid growing up in a time right before SUPERMAN happened… MAN FROM ATLANTIS was as superhero-esque as it got. HULK didn’t debut to the next year. Linda Carter and Isis were around though… thank god!
Tuesday, September 20th 2011
I just didn’t really like this that much. There’s some undeniably funny scenes, but I just didn’t really love the characters at all. Oh well. I couldn’t help but compare it to my wife’s Bridesmaids… they were all crazier than any of these crazy women!
I always get the Disney discs well in advance of release, but this time I haven’t seen DUMBO in any of my mail packages yet… I love DUMBO. I’ve got some animation art from the film, and my circus fetish is likely due to seeing it a year before STAR WARS during one of the great 70’s – the year of Rocky, Carrie, Taxi Driver, Network, The Omen, Logan’s Run, All The President’s Men, Josey Wales, Dino’s Kong, Bugsy Malone, Obsession, Bad News Bears, Assault on Precinct 13 and a whole lot of other great flicks! 1976 was such a great year of releases. I saw this at what is now the Alamo Village. Back when it was a 2 screener. Disney does brilliant jobs on their classic film releases, this will be no different. A must own for me.
Play this in reverse and your household doggy will become a Dogite requiring you to go all Ash on your pet. Best to not risk it.
Amenabar just nailed this film. THE OTHERS is atmospheric creepy horror awesome. Nicole Kidman is amazing in this. A film that I feel is a relative of the modern Spanish horror films we’ve come to depend upon… for awesome scares. If you loved this, go check out DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK which is out there right now! It’s awesome too! Real steal for $9.99. Gorgeous Blu!
So wait a minute. You’re telling me that once upon a time, before Kolchak was Kolchak, before Kolchak’s kid shot his eye out, that before all that… Kolchak was Mickey Spillane’s MIKE HAMMER… Before Stacy Keach defined the character to my maladjusted generation. But as all BNATTERS know… Ralph Meeker is really THE Mike Hammer… but what about this Kolchak Mike Hammer? Ya know what? It is fucking terrific! This set came in, I took a look at 3 episodes and set it next to my desk to occasionally work my way through. You’ll see Angie Dickinson, Bones McCoy, Captain Adama and the chick from SPACE 1999 showing up in this show! Good stuff.
Masochists apply here
French New Wave Numero Uno! And it started out really well with the help of Claude Chabrol’s Hitchcockian LE BEAU SERGE. To really appreciate this film, you really do owe it to yourself to pair it with Chabrol’s LES COUSINS down below. They form a Yin Yang in ways that are most impressive. Both are fiercely well thought out and told films. I like that this is on a column with CITIZEN KANE, as in a similar fashion, it kicked off a great period of film evolution. That said, I prefer Kane. Here’s what Criterion has for you…
New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
New audio commentary featuring Guy Austin, author of Claude Chabrol Segment from a 1969 episode of the French television series L’invité du dimanche in which Chabrol revisits Sardent, the town he grew up in and the film’s location
A 2011 documentary by filmmaker Pierre-Henri Gibert on the making of Le beau Serge
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty
A very odd couple of cousins. Completely at odds. Of these two films, I prefer LES COUSINS which is a bit more wicked and tasty. Shares the same leads as Chabrol’s first film, but playing characters completely diametrically opposed to their previous incarnations under Claude’s direction. Fascinating to watch if only to compare the two films. Great Triangle in this flick. Criterion does a great job with both these releases. Here’s the supplementals:
New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Audio commentary featuring film scholar Adrian Martin
A 2011 documentary by filmmaker Pierre-Henri Gibert about the making of Les cousins, featuring director Claude Chabrol, star Stéphane Audran, assistant directors Charles Bitsch and Claude de Givray, and others
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty
If you’re absolutely phobically, curiously fascinated with the freakshow that was Grace Jones in the late 80s… You kinda have to have this. She was with Conan and James Bond – and she’s weirdest here! That said, I haven’t seen this MIDNIGHT MADNESS release yet, but the HILLS HAVE EYES release they put out two weeks ago was total shit. I’d hold off till you hear positive word on the disc. I am.
Like the VAMP release, I haven’t seen this disc yet. But I’ve ordered it anyway, just because DEAD HEAT is kind of fucking awesome. Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams… some really fun make up, ridiculously goofy fun. God I hope this is a great release visually. I just can’t count on it from IMAGE.
Somebody at an Austin Network Affiliate really had a thing for Danny Kaye movies, because as a kid – I saw a whole lot of Danny Kaye flicks – and I love the films that star him. One, he was a redhead, big deal to a kid like me. Two, he was ridiculous, also important to a ridiculous kid like me. In particular his scenes with Walter Slezak rule, because Walter is just such an amazing character actor. Here they play gypsy performers and scammers – running a grift on a whole township… kinda accidental like… but hilariously musically so. I definitely have a Danny Kaye fan streak in me.
Reuniting Michael York and Jenny “pant pant” Agutter from LOGAN’S RUN, I’ve never heard of THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS. Pretty sure my parents must have missed it, because I saw every Michael York film that came out in the Seventies… My mom had a thing for him, and I thought he was really cool and badass as a kid. He was my hero of choice till Harrison Ford and Christopher Reeve, Kurt Russell and Mark Hamill took over. This is a turn of the century sailing tale shot beautifully I hear. I’m checking this out whenever Amazon sends me my ordered copy. Like the two leads way too much to not give it a try.
This has 8 first time on DVD Soviet narrative & documentary flicks from the silent and early sound era. I got sent this set – and I love what Russian cinema I’ve seen from the era. I definitely put on Sergei Eisenstein’s last silent, OLD & NEW. Click through to Amazon to read more – it is likely going to be a while till I get through the set. There’s 8 features here!
A MUST SEE. Read Nothing.
Roy Ward Baker, the director of FLAME IN THE STREETS, was one of those directors that I discovered through his Hammer work first… I grew up with QUATERMASS & THE PIT, SCARS OF DRACULA, THE VAMPIRE LOVERS and DR JEKYLL & SISTER HYDE. ASYLUM scared the shit out of me – just as a trailer on my Dad’s Horror Trailer real. His LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES is one of the great Genre and Studio mash-ups in film history. To me at least. But before that Roy Ward Baker existed, there was a very different director. He made DON’T BOTHER TO KNOCK with Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe… a very good film. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, which is probably your favorite TITANIC film if you’ve happened upon it. Before Poitier did GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER – Roy Ward Baker did a tougher racially charged tale that was similar called FLAME IN THE STREETS and it is great! If you love films that challenged society to face racism… this is one not to miss. Great little film from a director that delivered!
That’s got me caught up. Be sure to check back next week with BEN HUR Blu, TRANSFORMERS 3, MIMIC Director’s Cut, GAMERA Triple Feature Blu, Heston’s TREASURE ISLAND, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 & 3 Blu, CARLOS Criterion Blu, THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE Criterion Blu, TORSO Blu, BASKET CASE Blu, THE BLOOD TRILOGY Blu, Roger Corman Quadruple Feature, Buster Keaton’s GO WEST blu, MOTHER’S DAY Blu, GODFATHER OF GORE Doc and more!