Hey folks, Harry here with the day's DVD PICKS & PEEKS column. There's some pretty cool stuff on this week's list. This first title though is the one you simply have to get on Blu. So awesome. Currently I'm checking out next week's releases, which are spectacular titles. As usual, the images and titles link over to Amazon, where you can find out more about the title - or if you choose, you can order the title, which gives a small percentage of the purchase price back to support the column. So thanks for that folks.
Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Imagine if the Animation director of KILL BILL’s animated sequences – had to do a feature length HEAVY METAL segment themed to interstellar land racing. And imagine it being the coolest fucking thing ever animated – and then imagine odd erotically charged side effects making the whole thing drip of sexy cool animated fucking great times… and that’s REDLINE. REDLINE is an aggressive, propulsively assaultive great time. It taps a vein. I haven’t been this excited by an ANIME in years. So I agree with the brilliant critic they quoted on the cover, REDLINE SHOULD NOT BE MISSED!!! The style of animation is so fetishistically cool that the film will not be denied. All you have to do is put it on for a minute and you’ll be hooked! I saw this at Fantastic Fest 2010 and lost my fool mind for the movie. Since getting this Blu-Ray – I’ve watched it four times & we’re talking about having friends over for another screening of it this week. Yeah, it’s that kind of Anime. The ones where you invite your friends that never watch the stuff – and they lose their minds too. Truly outstanding work – and the Blu Ray is outstanding. The doc about REDLINE is kind of spectacular I feel. But I’m sold on everything REDLINE – and I wish there were sequels produced at this level available now.
Have you see BELLE DE JOUR? It is Bunuel’s brilliant film about a bored housewife with some particularly lurid fantasies turned Brothel girl by day in Paris of the late sixties. The film stars Catherine Deneuve as the titular BELLE DE JOUR – and men have been searching for her ever since. Watching this Blu Ray last night was a fantastic highlight. The mere thought of watching required me to uncork a good Pinot Noir. Catherine Deneuve is stunning in this film. Her elegance & poise is just to be in awe of. This is a complicated woman – and Bunuel does a masterful job of capturing the story of his BELLE DE JOUR. The film has an effortless eroticism that smolders off of the screen. Criterion’s transfer is ideal. They’ve done a great job with the extras as well, here’s what you get: New high-definition digital restoration
Audio commentary featuring Michael Wood, author of the BFI Film Classics book Belle de jour
New video piece featuring writer and sexual-politics activist Susie Bright and film scholar Linda Williams
New interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière
Excerpt from the French television program Cinéma, featuring interviews with Carrière and actress Catherine Deneuve
Original and American release trailers
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Melissa Anderson and a 1970s interview with director Luis Buñuel
I just don’t feel like the modern political arena interests me anymore. Watching THE IDES OF MARCH – which is so deeply cynically entrenched into the modern reality of politics that I just can’t get into it. The story is incredibly topical. But I’m kind of OF THE MIND – that Clooney should have just run. Rather than spend the time directing a movie, just do it. Except that with the movie, you see why he doesn’t. Schwarzenegger and I talked about some of the issues with politics versus the world that Clooney is in, and that Arnold is returning to. It has to do with the basic mentality shift between the people that make movies and the people that handle our politics. One is about building, the other is about deconstruction and pettiness. The movie is handsomely mounted, wonderfully acted… but for me, it was sort of another film talking about the problem. About reason why we’re stuck in the screaming idiot match that we watch on News networks and joke about nightly. I just miss the hopefulness of Frank Capra. He dreamt big when he took on politics… he dealt with the negativism, but set out to give us some old fashioned indomitable spirit in there to. I know it was fantasy, but I still dream of leaders that lead for the good of the nation. This is another film about why good men can’t remain that way in the system we’ve allowed to get grotesquely grotesque. You’ll get a commentary with Clooney and Grant Heslov, a doc on the development of the story and educating the audience on what a political consultant does exactly. Nice film, just not what I was in the mood for.
16 years ago there was a film about The Tuskegee Airmen called exactly that. It starred Laurence Fishburne, Cosby Show’s Theo, Andre Braugher and Cuba Gooding Jr – and the film was quite good. I like this quite a bit, but watching the Blu hasn’t dampered my enthusiasm to check out RED TAILS as soon as I can. At the very least – Lucas’ production got this title on Blu Ray sooner rather than later – and that is a good thing!
Peter Weir’s DEAD POETS SOCIETY is one of those films that came out right after I graduated High School – and made my way to Austin for College. I saw the film and was lit up by the film. It made me cherish the college experience all the more. The comraderie of my friends, and most importantly to listen to my heart about what it was I wanted to do with my life. Not what my mother had planned for me. The semester after this film’s release was when I started taking film classes, started taking journalism classes, creative writing classes – and promptly set about auditioning for movies, getting parts and living life for myself… to never forget the phrase CARPE DIEM. I even started going to poetry slams. Yeah, this film hit me in an incredibly impressionable youthful state – and watching it again on Blu – I wistfully remembered why. This is a film about individuality and the precious nature of that. It’s a spectacular film. There’s a doc on the piece that really is perhaps one of the most touching tributes to a film’s director, that I’ve ever seen. A good deal of the cast talk about how Peter Weir was the real teacher of the film, they speak with such a degree of love and respect for Weir that you can’t help but feel touched by their tribute. Really love this disc.
I’m sorry that I included this on the list. The mere fact that I looked at the cover has Robin Williams screaming out the title searing my skull non-stop now. There’s a lot more to the film, than just Robin’s hook for every broadcast. That said – there is a secret part of me that would love nothing more than Robin Williams to have a 2 week programming and Radio Hosting bit on XM/SIRIUS doing 100% news and music from his character’s time in Vietnam. I would be glued to it. The film, it isn’t my favorite Vietnam title. That’s FULL METAL JACKET of THE GREEN BERETS. Giggle. The transfer isn’t the best, the digital cleaning wasn’t done exquisitely – and it shows. Watching this after DEAD POETS was a bad idea. Cuz that disc is beautiful. There’s a 35 minute making of – and my fave is a 13 minute track of Robin just doing what Robin does. Tremendious. This isn’t quite worthy of a 25th Anniversary Edition. Hopefully next release they’ll get the transfer right.
Benicio Del Toro completely imbalances TRAFFIC by being too fucking great. The problem with having an actor being as great as Benicio is in this movie, you begrudge every scene and plotline that takes you away from his character. Soderbergh takes a similar structure for CONTAGION – but the stories did a far better job of complementing and balancing each other through the telling of the tale. TRAFFIC is still a pretty damn fine film from Soderbergh, ultimately had it been less ambitious – it would have been more successful, at least in my eyes. The special features on this Blu are the real reason to pick this up. For one it takes you through Soderbergh’s entire color grading process for this movie. There’s 3 different audio commentaries. Then there’s 25 deleted scenes and optional commentary by Soderbergh and Gaghan – and more than that – there’s nearly 50 minutes of additional unused footage presented with that nifty multi-angle view option. And then there’s even more stuff. Even though I don’t exactly love the film, I did go through it hoping to hear more about why Harrison Ford dropped out of the Michael Douglas role. But didn’t get any gory details. Darn it.
An absolutely abysmal experience in a whole new dimension to suck in. Hate doesn’t quite cover the absolute disdain that I have for this utter shit film experience. I really do wonder – what the hell were they smoking?
The Coreys rule this film. Just remember – it is worth it, just to have it next to LICENSE TO KILL. It simply makes people stop and take notice at your sophisticated sense of class. And yes, this was exactly like my teen years. Exactly.
Matthew Broderick tries to save monkeys from death. This movie is also exactly like my early grown up years when the military wouldn’t let me fly due to my weight and I was put in charge of the Chimps they were experimenting upon. Instead I taught the chimps to write and gave them code names like Moriarty, Quint, Merrick, Nordling, Mr Beaks and Jeff Mahler. Wait. None of that is true, but had I done those things, I would have had a life kind of like PROJECT X – and I have always felt that my life has been far too chimp-lite. That’s why having this on Blu-Ray is so damn important. My maternal Grandfather had a Chimp. He was cooler than me.
Remember that film with Thora Birch, called THE HOLE… Nick Hamm directed that – and now this. This is the story of not U2. I love edge of success stories. Pete Postlewaite is in this and his lecherous landlord is a hoot. Hate that we won't be seeing more of him. He adds so much. I really do feel this film is something special. I've only just discovered the film - but I can't wait to show it to a couple friends in particular.
Alright. BAD GIRLS – when I saw this – I knew it wasn’t a great film. I knew it wasn’t great filmmaking. But I knew that about 5 times as I watched it in theaters utterly smitten with Madeline Stowe, Mary Stuart Masterson, Andie MacDowell and Drew Barrymore. It was a very fun, sexy action film – in the same goofy spirit of YOUNG GUNS. Always wished Kathryn Bigelow had directed this.
Now for those of us that saw BOYS IN COMPANY C upon release – when R. Lee Ermy showed up in FULL METAL JACKET we got a shit eating grin, because his Drill Sgt was on fine display here. This film has a similar structure and tale – but for me, Kubrick is just Kubrick and he takes my breath away with the camera and sound. BOYS IN COMPANY C is an excellent Vietnam flick. The BluRay does a good job of giving us a great look at it. It does have audio commentary and delightfully… LOBBY CARDS! I like that.
I haven’t seen either of these two films, but I’ve had movie paper on THE SEXPLOITERS. But reading up on PLATINUM PUSSYCAT makes it sound of particular interest to me. It mixes black & white and color footage. Has the Mob and FROGMEN! So yeah, sounds great.
Next week is an amazing line up of titles like Woody Allen’s ANNIE HALL & MANHATTAN on Blu, Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND, NOTORIOUS & REBECCA on Blu, Criterion’s GODZILLA Blu, STRIPES on Blu, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3, Lucky McKee’s WOMAN, 1st Best Picture WINGS on Blu, 5 Jean Rollins directed Blus… and so much more. It’s a really outstanding week, I’m having fun previewing it.