Hey folks, Harry here… Even though I’m doing FANTASTIC FEST and Rehab and business meetings, I called everything off to get this week’s column to you on time! I’ll probably pay for it tomorrow, but hey – so many Fantastic Festers really made with kiss kiss due to this column. SO for all of you that love this column, here ya go. As usual the images and links will take you to AMAZON where you can choose to order and throw a small portion of the purchase price back to help support this column’s best efforts. Plus you can learn even more about the discs from the reviews on the other side of them links. Now – here we go – some great titles to close out a a FANTASTIC September! Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
Here’s a film that was essentially hidden from you. EXTRACT is a hilarious comedy from the director of OFFICE SPACE and IDIOCRACY – both of which were initially buried, before their awesome hilarity and genius were discovered by folks that were never even given an opportunity to see the film upon initial non-releases and pathetic marketing campaigns which were funded to the tune of food stamps. It’s so aggravating to see such an incredibly talented comedic director being given the high hat by what should be helpful studio partners. ALAS. Every actor is hilarious in this. Discover it at home, as we’ve basically had to discover all of Judge’s non-animated films. Fuckers. CHECK IT OUT NOW!
Buster Keaton also faced a great deal of adversity throughout his career. Especially later in his life, but KINO loves him – Thank God – and so does everyone that gives him a looksee. The real jewel on this release is this new transfer on BATTLING BUTLER which positively looks amazing on Blu-Ray. GO WEST is nice – and the better movie, but wherever they found the print for BATTLING BUTLER – just wow. My fave extra is a Hal Roach short called GO WEST from 1923 – only completely acted out by… MONKEYS!!! This is more brilliant than the whole output of the modern film industry. I’ve known of potential genius using monkeys today – but studios continue to underfund these essential simian cinema endeavours. Let our Apes and Monkeys & Gorillas tell us new tail tales! So yeah, I like monkeys!
Ok – so I opened up the manilla envelope containing this – and this is a film… I was wholly unaware existed. As I read the packaging from Criterion… I found myself reaching for my knife – and removing the plastic wrap. This I had to see. 90 years ago, a Swedish filmmaker by the name of Victor Sjöström. In 1920, he decided to make a film about how the last person to die on the final stroke of midnight upon the final night of the year… that person is tasked the gather the souls of the dead, tirelessly – constantly and without rest for the next year. This is.. amazing. If you love the amazingly macabre images that this era gave us. CHECK THIS OUT! It’s really just amazing to watch. Amazing. For a cold October night, this and a cozy fire is exactly what the doctor ordered!
New digital transfer, restored in collaboration with the Archival Film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute
Two scores, one by acclaimed Swedish composer Matti Bye and the other by the experimental duo KTL
Audio commentary featuring film historian Casper Tybjerg
Interview with Ingmar Bergman excerpted from the 1981 documentary Victor Sjöström: A Portrait, by Gösta Werner
The Bergman Connection, an original visual essay by film historian and Bergman scholar Peter Cowie on The Phantom Carriage’s influence on Bergman
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by screenwriter and filmmaker Paul Mayersberg
Are you aware of Frank Henenlotter? I really hope so. I really do. It’s better if you are. If you are, my wicked sense of depraved graphically conjured sense of humor – definitely owes a bit to the genius of Frank Henenlotter. I became personally aware of Henenlotter around the same time that I saw Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE. Even though the film was from 1982. BASKET CASE is tonally an amazing horror film. The imagery is so bizarre and unreal. Really basic stop-motion at times, but the full size stuff is just gold. But it all works. The film isn’t played for laughs – though it is visually absurdist, while still being… somehow horrifyingly disturbing. This film is really – just amazing on Blu Ray! Somehow the funky filmstock translates beautifully on Blu-Ray. I’ve never seen BASKET CASE on film. The first time was a 3rd generation vhs – remember that fuzzy bad generation tape look? Yeah, to my eyes it looked like how I perceived VIDEODROME’s show within the film’s image upon a warped screen. And BASKET CASE is some VIDEODROME-y fucked up awesomery. This is an outstanding film, seek it out soon!
New full-frame HD transfer preserving the original 16mm camera ratio
New video introduction by Frank Henenlotter
Audio commentary by director Frank Henenlotter, producer Edgar
Rare outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage from the Director's
Two theatrical trailers plus TV spot
2001 video short: In Search of the Hotel Broslin
Two rare Basket Case radio spots
Gallery of Basket Case exploitation art and behind-the-scene
Ok. I love Craig Brewer’s completely modern telling of FOOTLOOSE. But when I saw FOOTLOOSE, I had just moved to Seymour, Texas – from a divorce. I was from Austin. Kids had actual discos you could go to. When I moved up there – not too far away in nearby Oklahoma, the original events that inspired the film went down… FOOTLOOSE visually, culturally & personally very much represented my High School memories. The hairstyles, the religion, the opposing music tastes. I was the kid that brought the boom box onto the band bus so we could all sing along to KNIN out of Wichita Falls. Rewatching FOOTLOOSE on this gorgeous, cheap BluRay – I just had a flood of memories pour back into my skull. That’s something that the new FOOTLOOSE can’t really do for me. Instead, I watch the new one and I see the differences between myself and a modern small time life, yet it feels absolutely genuine to me. I recognize it on drives through Texas. This Blu-Ray also is filled with extras:
- Commentary by Craig Zadan and Dean Pitchford
- Commentary by Kevin Bacon
- "Let's Dance!" Kevin Bacon on Footloose (HD)
- From Bomont to the Big Apple: An Interview with Sarah Jessica Parker (HD)
- Remembering Willard (HD)
- Kevin Bacon's Screen Test (HD)
- Kevin Bacon Costume Montage (HD)
- 2004 DVD Archive
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
Then there’s this tiny little film. BEN-HUR. The empty pursuit of revenge. Part of what defined Christianity to me. That made me a pacifist. Taught me the evils of being colonialists. That made Charlton Heston even bigger than Moses. The Chariot race – so brilliant that action filmmakers – throwing tens upon tens of millions on some action scenes – and still coming up desperately short. Why? It isn’t THE CHARIOT RACE that’s brilliant, it’s everything that built that moment. It is a scale of filmmaking that is essentially impossible these days. I love this film so much. Miklos Rozsa’s score is what I hear in my skull when I visit cathedrals. Stephen Boyd is the fucking ASS of all times in this film. I mean, just fuck this guy. He’s so immensely uncool. The most evil Nazi ever. Just an amazing character. Then there’s Sam Jaffe and Christ! Wow! This film is the very definition of MAJESTIC. There is so much to learn through this movie. Heston’s determination to return and reclaim his family – it’s the sort of determination that tells you that you will persist. You will survive. You will not be beaten and destroyed. BEN HUR is the beginning of what I wanted to do with JOHN CARTER OF MARS – and watching this film, I really miss what Kerry Conran was going to do with it. So how awesome is this set? Look at the extras folks…
DISCS 1 AND 2: MOVIE
The 1959 Winner of a Record-Setting 11 Academy Awards®* – Including Best Picture, Actor (Charlton Heston) and Director (William Wyler) –
Restored Frame by Frame from the Original 65MM Camera Negative and Remastered in Stunning 1080p High Definition for Maximum Picture and Audio Clarity
Commentary by Film Historian T. Gene Hatcher with Charlton Heston
Music-Only Track Showcasing Miklos Rozsa’s Award-Winning Score
DISC 3: SPECIAL FEATURES
NEW FEATURE-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY CHARLTON HESTON & BEN-HUR: A PERSONAL JOURNEY
Retrospective on the Ben-Hur Star Written and Directed by His Son Fraser C. Heston,Featuring Never-Before-Available Images and Footage from the Heston Family Archives
THE 1925 SILENT VERSION – Thames Television Restoration with Stereophonic Orchestral Score by Carl Davis
Vintage Documentaries Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema and Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic
Ben-Hur: A Journey Through Pictures – Audiovisual Recreation Via Stills, Storyboards, Sketches, Music and Dialogue
Highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards® Telecast
CHARLTON HESTON: THE BEN-HUR DIARIES
Reproduction of Charlton Heston’s Personal and Insightful Diary from January 1958 to April 1960, Chronicling His Time Before Production Started Through the Academy Awards
EXCLUSIVE BOOK WITH RARE PHOTOS, PRODUCTION ART AND REPRODUCTIONS FROM THE ORIGINAL THEATRICAL PRESSBOOK
It has been quite some time since I’ve revisited MIMIC. The existing DVD cut of the film… which is the original theatrical cut. I had problems with. Now, the only problems I have with the film – is just the knowledge of what Guillermo wanted to do that he never had a chance to even shoot. But this cut. Now it really feels like a Guillermo Del Toro movie through and through. I remember some incredibly jarring moments in the original that felt like they absolutely did not belong. Just visually – they didn’t match the majority of the film. They felt clumsy. Well, that wasn’t part of Guillermo’s original vision. Now those are gone. Guillermo gives a great commentary taking us through this cut and some of the stories about this, his most difficult filmmaking experience to date. If nothing more, this cut and commentary illustrate exactly the depth of Guillermo’s passion for filmmaking, his ability to learn from mistakes – and just why he’s so fucking good at what he does. Definitely check this out. Much better film.
• Video Prologue with director Guillermo del Toro
• Audio commentary with director/co-writer Guillermo Del Toro
• “Reclaiming Mimic” featurette
• “A Leap In Evolution – The Creatures of Mimic” featurette
• “Back Into The Tunnels – Shooting Mimic” featurette
• Deleted scenes
• Storyboard animatics
• Gag reel
• Theatrical Trailer
It is absolutely barebones. Just the movie. There will be a vastly more robust Blu-Ray of this coming later this year. However, if you don’t care about extras – at all. And you just want the movie looking and sounding fantastic… well this version is here for you. I imagine most families with little kids – well, they’ll insist on getting it now, but just realize – this is the cheapo money grab edition. Still amazing to watch.
Very much the father of modern graphic horror… Herschell Gordon Lewis’ films creak in a beloved manner. This horror geek in me loves these films. Fuad Ramses of BLOOD FEAST – he’s like my favorite Thanksgiving Horror film host. Watching BLOOD FEAST makes me want a smoking jacket and a mixed drink and kidney bean living room tables. These films are of an era that’s just hokey and fun. Because they’re not terribly realistic on any level, I find the films to be pleasant things to watch. SOMETHING WEIRD BluRay has had a couple of great releases this week. Hope we see more. Here’s the extras:
3 audio commentaries by Herschell Gordon Lewis and David Friedman
Carving Magic with William Kerwin and Harvey Korman
Blood Feast theatrical trailer
Two Thousand Maniacs theatrical trailer
Color Me Blood Red theatrical trailer
Galleries of exploitation art
I can’t wait to pick this up after Fantastic Fest. I really love DREAM WARRIORS – this is where I absolutely fell in love with Freddy. When he got really really surreal. When the “teens” fighting back were just awesome! I also love the 2nd film. But really, it’s 3 we all love mostest right? I haven’t heard how the prints are yet. But they’re not bereft of extras. The 2nd film has 4 featurettes, DREAM WARRIORS has 7, plus the original DOKKEN “Dream Warriors” Music Video – which I also love. It was after the third film that Freddy hit the walls of my bedroom. The idea of having powers in your dreams was something that became never ending in my dreams after this film. DREAM WARRIORS was also around the time that Dad introduced me to Winsor McKay’s LITTLE NEMO’S ADVENTURES IN SLUMBERLAND. I’ve always wanted to do the great A++ Krueger flick. The one that made full use of the grandest of dream imagery. The nightmares I love to dream of! I doubt we’ll ever see the character of Krueger really reach an epic level. Well, when some future filmmaker that loves Freddy gets to the height of popular filmmaking… perhaps then. But I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
Do you remember that amazing version of TREASURE ISLAND with Charlton Heston as Long John Silver and Christian Bale was young Jim Hawkins, the bravest boy ever. And when Christopher Lee was Blind Pew? And fucking Oliver Reed as Billy Bones? YEAH! This is a fantastic telling of the tale. My fave will always be the Disney version. But then I love me some Robert Newton eye-rolling! If you’ve never seen this – SEEK IT OUT QUICKLY! It is a treasure.
Now get ready for a time machine. With filmed images of the West going back all the way back to 1898. Think about that. Filmed images 113 years old. The lawman that captured the real WILD BUNCH doing a reenactment for cameras in 1915! A 16 minute version of TRUE GRIT before the novel was written… 101 years ago. You’ve got Clara Bow, Tom Mix, Broncho Billy… and so much more. Like what? Like this:
The Tourists (1912, 6 min.), Mabel Normand runs amuck in Albuquerque’s Indian market.
The Sergeant (1910, 16 min.), first surviving narrative shot in Yosemite.
Salomy Jane (1914, 87 min.), Gold Rush tale with America's first Latina movie star Beatriz Michelena.
Sunshine Gatherers (1921, 10 min.), canning California fruit, in Prizmacolor.
Deschutes Driftwood (1916, 10 min.), riding the rails along the Deschutes and Columbia rivers.
“Promised Land” Barred to “Hoboes” (1936, 2 min.)
Last of the Line (1914, 26 min.), cross-cultural tragedy, with Sessue Hayakawa.
The Indian-detour (1924, 16 min.), in the Southwest on a Fred Harvey Company motor tour.
Native American in Newsreels (1921–1938, 5 min.), Indians Invade Nation’s Capitol and 4 other stories.
We Can Take It (1935, 21 min.), Civilian Conservation Corps at work.
Over Silent Paths (1910, 16 min.), daughter avenges her father’s murder.
Life on the Circle Ranch in California (1912, 12 min.), cattle ranching in Santa Monica.
Broncho Billy and the Schoolmistress (1912, 14 min.), America’s first cowboy star courts a pistol-packing schoolmarm.
How the Cowboy Makes His Lariat (1917, 3 min.), Pedro Leon demonstrates the vaquero’s art.
Mexican Filibusters (1911, 16 min.), intrepid woman does her bit for the Mexican Revolution.
The Better Man (1912, 12 min.), Mexican bandit proves his worth.
Ammunition Smuggling on the Mexican Border (1914, 41 min.), Texas sheriff reenacts kidnapping by revolutionists.
Lake Tahoe, Land of the Sky (1916, 6 min.), travelogue celebrating the new auto road.
Mantrap (1926, 71 min.), wilderness comedy with Clara Bow and a woman-hating attorney.
From The Golden West (1938, 8 min.), oil wells, drive-ins, and more in Kodachrome home movies.
Lady of the Dug-Out (1918, 64 min.), Al Jennings plays himself as a bank robber with a heart of gold.
From Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaw (1915, 13 min.), Bill Tilghman reenacts his capture of the Wild Bunch.
The Girl Ranchers (1913, 14 min.), comedy in which sisters inherit the Rough Neck Ranch.
Legal Advice (1916, 13 min.), Tom Mix falls for a lady attorney.
From Womanhandled (1925, 55 min.), sparkling Gregory La Cava in which a modern ranch poses as the Old West to fool New Yorkers.
Beauty Spots in America: Castle Hot Springs, Arizona (1916, 6 min.), spa for the rich and famous.
Romance of Water (1931, 10 min.), how L.A. got its water.
A New Miracle in the Desert (1935, 1 min.), bringing Colorado River water to California.
The West in Promotional Travelogues (1898–1920, 22 min.), tours in 7 states, including Seeing Yosemite with David A. Curry.
If you’re not sure if you want the triple feature quite yet, check out this documentary on Herschell Gordon Lewis. You’ll foster an appreciation and an education for how HG changed horror films forever. The influence of this man’s work is actually pretty amazing. The documentary is fun, insightful and a great quicky education about a man, that many of us have been reading about for most of our lives. The way my dad described his films… just scariest things ever to a kid.
So yeah… this does it for me. I’m sorry. I’m really not sorry.
Ok – so sometimes being the awesome Uncle that I am… I plan things perfectly. Right now, my nephew fucking loves him some fire breathing flying killer giant turtle action! But all he’s seen. All he knows about… are the OLD films. This Blu Ray set is of the R-rated badass fucking 90’s editions. That’s GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE, GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF LEGION and GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS. I’ve been waiting on these 3 to hit on Blu Ray – so his mind can be properly blown completely out the back of his skull. These movies are like lighting a bonfire of awesome for kids that dream of giant monsters. I have the discs, but haven’t had a chance to put them in yet. I’m saving it for Gio!
Prior to Osama Bin Laden, who Carlos the Jackal would’ve eaten for breakfast btw, the most infamous and famous terrorist ever was CARLOS. Director Olivier Assayas made this mini-series about CARLOS starring the amazing Edgar Ramirez as a total badass. This is fantastic on Blu. Such a great long-form film experience. Great work. Criterion does it right, here’s the supplementals:
New digital transfer, supervised and approved by directors of photography Denis Lenoir and Yorick Le Saux, with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
New video interviews with director Olivier Assayas, Lenoir, Le Saux, and actor Édgar Ramírez
Twenty-minute making-of documentary on the film’s OPEC raid scene
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critics Colin MacCabe and Greil Marcus, plus biographies on selected historical figures portrayed in the film, written by the film’s historical adviser, Stephen Smith
On this Blu Ray – you’re going to get a stunning film transfer of the uncensored U.S. English Language cut of the film… and the even longer and superior Italian cut by Director Sergio Martino himself. You’ll have Eli Roth making sweet camera love to the film. Which is sweet of him. But if you’ve never seen TORSO – it’s sort of like – if Russ Meyer’s disturbing males were cast in a film opposite the women of Roger Vadim’s taste level, then you took the David Cronenberg serial killer from NIGHT BREED – and you had them tell a sexy graphic and brutally stylized version of the tale with incredibly hot Italian clothes, hair and makeup from the stunning Seventies. This film is kind of fucking epic. I love it. LOVE THE FILM. The interracial lesbian scene is one of the great hot teases of the Giallo world. YOU MUST CHECK THIS OUT IMMEDIATELY!!!
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!
That’s it for this month, to kick off next month we’ll be watching THE LION KING on Blu, FAST FIVE, PULP FICTION on Blu, JACKIE BROWN on Blu, SCREAM 4, AFRICAN CATS, DEAD ALIVE Blu Ray, PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE Blu, CINEMA PARADISO Blu, THE WALKING DEAD: 1st Season deluxe Blu Ray set, CIDER HOUSE RULES Blu, ALMOST FAMOUS Blu, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Blu, HARAKIRI Criterion Blu, SPACE JAM Blu, SUBMARINE, PLANET EARTH Limited Edition Blu, SALO OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM Criterion Blu, THE PEE WEE HERMAN SHOW on Broadway Blu, DAFT PUNK: INTERSTELLA 5555 Blu Ray, GRANDVIEW USA, AMER Blu, I’M A CYBORG BUT THAT’S OK, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN Blu, THE LONG SLOW DEATH OF A TWENTY-SOMETHING and that’s about it.