Hey folks, Harry here with the latest DVD Picks and Peeks! This is a double edition, to make up for the missing week. I had a pulled hamstring that made sitting at my desk writing very difficult with that leg fully extended and being stretched out. BUT the leg is better and so I have no excuse to not pull long marathon writing sessions. Plus, I do love writing the column and getting to talk about so many different types of films. The images and pics link you to Amazon where you can purchase the item in question, which does result in supporting this column monetarily… THANK YOU… or you can just learn more about the release in question. Now, let’s get into it… Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
This is the film that Peter Jackson made that made me a lifelong fan of his. DEAD ALIVE was the first Peter Jackson film I saw. I then tracked down BAD TASTE, saw MEET THE FEEBLES at the Dobie, then HEAVENLY CREATURES… so yeah, by the time FRIGHTENERS came out the year of AICN, I was a huge fan. The first half of Peter Jackson’s career was brilliant in a totally different manner than the second half. DEAD ALIVE is gore at near it’s highest level of absurd perfection. Baby Selwyn! The Lawn Mower. “I KICK ASS FOR THE LORD!” and so so so much. Look for Forrest J Ackerman in the ZOO. He was actually shot months later when he visited New Zealand for a Fan event and Peter convinced him to run to the Zoo with him. If you watch DEAD ALIVE and don’t love it. Our friendship is pretty much not possible. DEAD ALIVE is beautiful on this Blu. It still isn’t the treatment I really want for this film though. I’d love for Peter to get a shot at putting together a really pristine Blu ray with him and Richard Taylor really sitting back and laughing about the film and how it was made. This film is a masterpiece of Horror, Romance & Comedy.
Just as great as a film about film gets. Winner of Best Foreign Film. Most of all this is the sweetest Projectionist story ever told. I’ve known a whole bunch of projectionists in my life. My “uncle” Bob, John Stewart of the Paramount theater, old Charlie Osborne – who first started projecting films in the silent era – and thrilled me with stories of the green tinted version of FRANKENSTEIN he projected in 1931. Projectionists are to film, what priest are to churches to me. A theater with a great projectionist that has stories about projecting films for decades… The best friends to ever have. CINEMA PARADISO captures it in an amazingly beautiful manner. A true film lovers film. Gorgeous transfer!
PULP FICTION is the shit. The film is intoxicating, creating a cinematic high that makes you increase the speed of your own dialogue, you find yourself noticing the little things in your life, and compare them to the little things they talk about. The film makes each of us as cool as a pair of badass hitmen. At least, that’s how it feels. It’s a film I’ve seen so many times now that I know it beat for beat. Watching the Blu Ray… it played fresh. My eyes drinking in the detail lost to years of 420p at best. Seeing all the gory details of Marvin’s brains. Hearing the soundtrack perfectly. The film just has an electric life on Blu. The extras are particularly awesome. I just watched “Not Your Typical Mindless ChitChat” which is essentially the cast of PULP FICTION recalling how they came to become aware of the script, their memories of casting process, in particular – Sam Jackson’s recollections of his audition are priceless… then there was the filming memories, in particular Travolta really comes across amazingly in these recollections. There’s a lot of other extras on there for me to dive in, but for some reason I decided to save them for subsequent screenings of the film, so that I’d discover something new each time. GREAT release!
JACKIE BROWN is the Brandy of Tarantino’s career. A film to sip, savior and grow accustomed to with age. It’s a fine cigar. Quentin doing Elmore Leonard directly is simply bliss. I’ve often referenced this film along with movies like JUNIOR BONNER and even WILD BUNCH and BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID… They’re all films about growing old. Trying to hold on. As I begin to stare 40 coming up on the otherside of this hill of a year I’m climbing, I can’t help but evaluate my life routine and want desperately for it to change a bit. I’m fighting hard for it this year. Working every day to recapture my physical life. It’s less action packed. No guns. Just the good drugs. But JACKIE BROWN is a film about badasses thinking about the rest of their lives and knowing it doesn’t necessarily get better from here on out. If you don’t like JACKIE BROWN, give it a decade and try again. Eventually you will come around. One day it may be your favorite.
I have friends that feel, honestly, that Tim Burton attained the pinnacle of his career when he made PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE – and I have to say… I would absolutely kill to have Tim Burton team up with Paul Reubens and do a truly psychedelic Fleischer-esque PEE WEE adventure on a very large scale. But I’m really really weird that way. PEE-WEE’S REALLY REALLY BIG ADVENTURE. But I’m fine with this one. I do want that Bicycle – and I would totally focus on one day riding it around. It’s a fetish object you can obsess over. I absolutely get Pee Wee’s love. I love Large Marge! And yes, the ALAMO’s basement! So awesome! Pretty damn fine disc. Commentary by Pee Wee and Tim Burton. A score track that also has Elfman commentary. And more! Great Blu!
Yeah, DISNEY did a great job on this! Watching those warm golden scenes take over the screen – damn. Just gorgeous. That said, I’ve grown a tad cold to the film. I think it’s all the really juvenile butt jokes that just feel well crass. When the film is above that, it soars. That was always sort of, kind of… well, a mix bag for me. I get how it plays great for small kids, but it kind of makes me wince a bit. I like the film, but it is nowhere near being the King of Disney films. For me, that belongs to PINNOCHIO.
Sadly – you should stay away! Really shabby quality!
It took them 5 films to nail it perfect. But now that I’ve seen the 5th film, it’s almost like there was mad genius at play for the whole series leading up to this film. This film has definitely expanded the “FAST-Universe” and it seems that Universal is making that F-U even bigger with what I hope will be called FURIOUS SIX… but it won’t. This film makes every character seem monumental, but none moreso that Vin and Dwayne. They’re simply superhuman in this film. Crushing furniture, fracturing concrete… wantonly defying the laws of physics and reality as we know it, but ya know what? I could give a shit, because I’m too busy loving it. Justin Lin and this universe are simply perfect for each other. The film has an aggressively packed Blu.
Man, I was a religious BIONIC WOMAN watcher as a kid. When the third season kicked off with a two parter episode introducing THE BIONIC DOG… well, a few years later I was comparing C.H.O.M.P.S. to these episodes – and yeah, I still loved C.H.O.M.P.S. I didn’t fully understand why Jamie fell out of love with Steve Austin and instead was interested in this new… non-Bionic douche. It confused me as a kid. Later as an adult I discovered it was because of the Network shift. Damn corporate walls! It destroyed the sanctity of Bionic Love and completely dashed all hopes of a Bionic Wedding. Sigh. Bittersweet this season is, for after this, there were no more!
If you remember, back when the initial Blu Ray set came out for THE WALKING DEAD… we were all bitching about inadequate extras and wanting more special features – and how we thought the initial BluRay was a money trap… Well, none of us really could resist, and yeah – this is the much better release. Lots of extras, commentaries on everything, Darabont specially calibrated a Black & White version of his Pilot episode! So awesome. The new season is starting soon. So nervous. Loved Season one quite a bit. Seems everything is changing this season. Hope I still love it.
Nordling gave me this Blu Ray back when I was living in that damn Hospital earlier this year. Way back in March this came out as a Best Buy exclusive and is only just now becoming available at large. The 162 minute cut of the film is now one of my favorite things. I love it. Absolutely love it. Because it’s like a really rewarding and complete TOUR now. If I could spend weeks with these characters I would. They’re just wonderful to be in the room with. Ya know? It’s good times and great memories. Perhaps Crowe’s masterpiece. Had the Blu-Ray just been the 162 minute cut of the film, I’d been ecstatic, but it really came loaded! Special features include:
* Audio commentary with Cameron Crowe and Alice Crowe
* Audio introduction by Crowe
* Featurette: The Making of Almost Famous
* Interview with the real Lester Bangs
* Cameron Crowe's Top Albums of 1973
* Music video: "Fever Dog"
* Stillwater's Cleveland Concert
* "Small Time Blues"
* "B-Sides" behind-the-scenes footage
* Seven Rolling Stone articles with audio introduction by Crowe:
o The Allman Brothers from Dec. 6, 1973
o Led Zeppelin from March 13, 1975
o Neil Young from Aug. 14, 1975
o Peter Frampton from Feb. 10, 1977
o Fleetwood Mac from March 24, 1977
o Van Morrison from May 19, 1977
o Joni Mitchell from July 26, 1979
I’m clicking on this link and ordering tonight. Yoko and I have checked all our local Blu Ray purchasing haunts and have not found it anywhere yet. So getting it from Amazon is the only avenue left. Why the desperate hunt? Well Yoko was brainwashed with this film as a kid. Plus, it’s a AICN Year One flick, and I collect those.
Taking Marquis De Sade and applying it to a Fascist Italy of the Forties is just like the evil dark perverted twisted flip side to MALENA – which I can actually enjoy greatly. SALO is a blackeye film. A movie that tests one’s limits of what they can see. Brilliant and absolutely disturbed. And I don’t believe you can really debate that. The film is amazing. Criterion is the perfect company to handle difficult material like this. Here’s what they have for you with this release:
High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Salo: Yesterday and Today, a thirty-three-minute 2002 documentary
Fade to Black, a twenty-three-minute 2001 documentary
The End of Salo, a forty-minute documentary about the film?s production
Video interviews with set designer Dante Ferretti and director and film scholar
Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Neil Bartlett, Breillat, Naomi Greene & more
I really do love working to PLANET EARTH on my projection system. This series is simply one of the most breathtaking experiences you can have on Blu Ray. The first set was coming out when Blu ray was making its waves. Now you get the whole of PLANET EARTH – and in this really kind of awesome packaging. In particular – I love the inside of the globe. It feels kind of magic.
You’d look at that cover and instantly believe you were looking at an old Italian Giallo poster from the Seventies. And you’d be wrong. It is an Italian Giallo, but it is from 2009, oh… did I mention that it isn’t really Italian. It seems it. But it’s actually a Belgian film. The film is a film geek’s delight, because it visually echoes some of the great stylists of cinema. Definitely worth checking out!
October 11th, 2011
I love this film. I love scary psychotic little girls. There’s something amazing about an outright evil little girl that nothing can stop. THE BAD SEED features one of the all time great little girl performances from Patty McCormack. She got a nomination for Best Actress. But Henry Jones’ Leroy… one of my all time favorite characters in screen history. Just fantastic. I’ve seen some sites complaining of a softness in the image, but THE BAD SEED is a soft film. I have an original 16mm print that was from the time. Gorgeous print, but THE BAD SEED was shot to sort of look like the 1950’s Television happy world. Which was always a bit soft. I compare it visually to LEAVE IT TO BEAVER… if suddenly Beaver had a cleaver! And I’ve always dreamt of seeing that done via modern digital wizardry. But it’ll never be as perfect as THE BAD SEED. The disc has a Commentary by Patty McCormack and Charles Busch. This is a great film!
One of the great Adventure films of all time. If you have never seen the magic of Zoltan Korda… Behold his FOUR FEATHERS via Criterion’s stunning Blu Ray release. I appreciate the remake quite a bit, but the original is just something I can’t help but love. Ralph Richardson’s performance alone… Brilliant. It also helps to create a fuller appreciation of Sir Ralph Richardson’s greatness. Many of us know his work in films like DRAGONSLAYER, GREYSTOKE and his amazing voice in WATERSHIP DOWN… but check this out, then seek out his ANNA KARENINA, THINGS TO COME, THE FALLEN IDOL or EAGLE IN A CAGE. The man did brilliant work in cinema for a very long time! There are scenes captured that defy the brain to imagine modern Hollywood matching in spectacle. Korda’s framing and the gigantic massive scenes he constructs. Truly amazing filmmaking. Must be appreciated! The incredible Technicolor must be seen in 1080p. Stunning.
New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Audio commentary by film historian Charles Drazin
New video interview with David Korda, son of director Zoltan Korda
A Day at Denham, a short film from 1939 featuring footage of Zoltan Korda
Subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow
Technically it gets released on the 14th of the Month, but that’s between columns, but it feels like it should be in this one’s. I will officially only be watching the Extended Cut of this movie for the rest of its existence. The film originally was going to have quite an extensive introductory scene to the formation of who Hal Jordan was as a human being. The scene was powerful in the script, and when it was missing from the film… I really did miss it. Now that I’ve seen it in the Extended Cut, I can’t imagine ever watching the film without it. To me, it’s the soul of the film, the pathos that completely gives the character everything that was missing originally. SO MUCH BETTER! I liked GREEN LANTERN. Sure there’s things in the film that are just visually insane, but that’s exactly what a GREEN LANTERN movie should look like. The bugnuts Helicopter Hot Wheels scene? Well, GREEN LANTERN does crazy stuff like that. Because he can simply IMAGINE it into existence. I love that. It’s like having the power of a cartoonist’s imagination and being able to create anything. Like if Chuck Jones gave you DUCK AMUCK powers. I love that. There’s a lot of extras on here. And the Maximum Movie Mode has not yet been explored.
The movie is simply transcendently beautiful. A true work of art. I do not have the Blu Ray yet. Sadly. I will have it tomorrow though. It reportedly has a 30 minute documentary on the making of the film… that also has Fincher and Nolan talking about their love for the movie. I very much can’t wait to pick this up!
I really didn’t like this film. Sadly. I just found it tedious.
I’m not a huge fan of this musical version of SCROOGE, mainly because I think I always wanted a straight version of the tale with Alber Finney playing Scrooge. In fact, I still want one. In 20 years, let’s make one with Liam. But I do enjoy the film and music. I put the Blu Ray on about 4 days ago and was struck with how beautiful the film was. They’ve done a really nice job with the transfer. Looks very sharp to me.
Saw this my first year of college. It felt like a slug in the gut. I had always thought of 1950’s America as the period where everything was hunky-dory. Then I saw this flick based on Herbert Selby’s great novel, which I picked up about a month after seeing the film. It’s even better. I saw the film because it starred Jennifer Jason Leigh, upon whom I’ve had a crush since seeing FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH at a highly impressionable age. Not due to parents, but my own addiction to cinema and theater employees that didn’t care. God bless them. Well, I wasn’t ready for LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN. It’s so much harder than even something like MAD MEN. Great film, looks fantastic on Blu!
This was made for TV horror at its finest in my opinion. Directed by the novelist behind AUDREY ROSE, which was later adapted into a pretty damn fine horror film of its own. But I saw this on TV back in 1981. I was a voracious TV GUIDE reader as a kid, knowing what was on TV was empowering to me as a child. I’d read the articles and this thing is actually really damn scary and atmospheric. That said, I didn’t get sent an advance copy of the Blu, but I’ve ordered it already. Hopefully it’ll show up with today’s mail! I really can’t believe this is on Blu, mainly because the DVD release is coming out today for the first time too! So VHS was the only way many could see it. I, only had a bad dub copy on VHS that a buddy taped for me back in the 80s. This is a real surprise and treat!
I love William Lustig’s MANIAC COP! I love Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins in it. And I really love MANIAC COP 2 too. Watching the original always pumps me up for watching the 2nd, but alas, I’m gonna have to wait for it to hit on Blu. This looks so damn good on Blu! I love that William Smith and Richard Roundtree are in this! Here’s what you get on the Blu: • Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1 • DTS 6.1 Surround Sound • Maniac Cop Memories Featurette • Out the Window - Interview with Tom Atkins • Three Minutes with Danny Hicks Featurette • Motion Still Gallery • Additional Japanese TV Scenes • Theatrical Trailer • TV Spots Spanish Radio Spot
Alright, well next week I’ll kick off the report with a loving write up of DC Animated’s triumphant BATMAN: YEAR ONE which I would love to see theatrically released! PIRATES 4, BAD TEACHER, THE CROW Blu, THE GOONIES Blu, THE CAPTAINS – A FILM BY WILLIAM SHATNER, IT TAKES A THIEF, RED STATE Blu, ZOMBIE Blu, WILLY WONKA 40th Anniversary Collector’s Blu Edition, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE Blu, CAPE FEAR remake Blu, PAGE ONE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES, CAPTAIN AMERICA / CAPTAIN AMERICA II: DEATH TOO SOON, KURONEKO Criterion Blu, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY Blu, the complete LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, THE HOWLING REBORN, THE LAST CIRCUS, THE ROBBER, DARKNESS FALLS Blu, FREERUNNER, CLOWNS Blu, THE PYX, ATTACK ON LENINGRAD, DEATH WILL HAVE YOUR EYES and more!