Hey folks, Harry here… with this week’s DVD Picks & Peeks column! There’s some great stuff here – and like usual the pics and links take you to Amazon, where you can learn more about the items in question or purchase the item which continues to help support this columns’ best efforts. So thank you. Now – let’s see what’s out…
Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
I love this film. I never got to see it back in the day, not until it hit DVD a few years back. But THE DEADLY SPAWN was shot on Super 16mm and blown up for 35mm – which happens to result in my favorite grain for film. There’s something about that process that just makes a film look amazing. THE DEADLY SPAWN is an awesome film geeks versus an alien threat film that is geeky awesome b-movie fun. There’s commentary, behind the scenes – but mostly what you get is a outrageously fun monster in the basement flick. Why is Blu-Ray important? For one – check out the set dressing. The geek gold is everywhere. Two: I love the detail of the fun puppets and b-movie gore. This is a ridiculously fun flick. A film to watch with friends. A film to have on hand for the month of October. Really really fun stuff.
LADY AND THE TRAMP is one of the most delightful Disney films. I’ve been in love with Lady as a character for a very long time. In many ways – she acts very much like Yoko & mine’s Rosy. I love how she moves… She’s just such a lovely cocker spaniel. I love that the animators were able to give Tramp that rascally charm. In many ways, I’ve always felt that Lucas kind of mined LADY & THE TRAMP for Han Solo and Princess Leia’s relationship. Watch in EMPIRE… when Leia is awkwardly and reluctantly attracted and visually caring for Han. Carrie Fisher’s eyes… she has some of LADY in there. Like with all of Disney’s classics that they’ve beautifully placed on Blu-ray… I’m relatively certain that never in my life has LADY & THE TRAMP looked so beautiful and flawless. No dust or hairs…. No scratches. Just beautiful. My fave Disney Blu is still SLEEPING BEAUTY, but the widescreen beauty of LADY & THE TRAMP. As usual on these editions, Disney has pulled out treasures like never before seen deleted scenes and a deleted SONG! You also have the tremendous Inside Walt’s Story Meetings on Disney’s Second Screen. I haven’t dove into it on this disc yet, but on BAMBI… It was downright addicting. I’ll probably do that this weekend. Then there’s just a great making of documentary. For me, the Disney Classics are exactly that – and I must have them all. At least the ones that don’t suck, and this one really really doesn’t suck! And then there’s the greatest truth about love… Sacrifice a Meatball… with your nose and she’ll love you forever. This is true. It never fails. And the noodle kiss always rules. This is such a great little film! Especially them evil cats! For your enjoyment, here’s the deleted song, “I’M FREE”
I have a wonderful Love/Hate relationship with THE TWILIGHT SAGA. These are absolutely ridiculously goofy films… I mean, this film is literally all about one girl’s psychotic desire to fuck a glittery vampire as often as she could, until she got knocked up with some undead hybrid baby… that doesn’t seem to be glittery… but that baby has one fucking disturbing fucking stare at Jacob. It doesn’t look like a Baby Love stare either… It sort of looks like Robert Pattinson’s I FUCKING HATE YOU JACOB stare… during some bizarre Bestial-Pedophillic mental fantasy. AND YET… this movie is HUGE. Gigantic. Enormous success. And did I mention that Yoko utterly eats this shit up? Know why? Because she loves how utterly fucked up it all is. I get it. You see these type of stories told in Korean and strange Fucked up Foreign flicks – and we’re applauding and lauding, but here it is… being told to a TEENAGE crowd… and I look back and think about how my generation all kind of lost our minds for pretty much similar funk from other ages. That said… This series is meant to be seen at home where you can actively argue with the film. This is a participatory experience. My problems don’t lie at Bill Condon’s beautifully manicured toes… instead, it just goes to Stephanie Myers. This is her crazy fetish trip and MILLIONS of fans embrace it – and I kinda can see how it works. Living with one of the freaks, makes seeing the appeal very plaintive… But this is a movie to laugh at, get pissed at, howl laughing at – and just stare as you see poor Kristen Stewart – made to look like the worst MethMother ever on screen, but shot in lovely light surrounded by freakily good looking people all shooting the weirdest fucking looks at one another. And I just laugh. It’s so fucking bizarre. THIS IS MODERN BLOCKBUSTER ENTERTAINMENT? Bestial-Pedophillic Mental Bonding? Glamrock Necrophilia Til The Bed Breaks? This is trash novel filmmaking at a highart and I find it ridiculously funny. The notion that it has an entirely other meaning for target audience doesn’t bother me a bit. In fact, God Bless. But for me, this is seriously ridiculous. This is crazy weird shit. I understand that the second part isn’t really about anything in particular. How’s the Blu Ray… YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE THE HILARIOUS Bella & Edward WEDDING VIDEO. It is crazy trashy lame.
Yoko has created a new kitchen nook, where she’s been watching DOWNTON ABBEY Season 2 on her iPad, because I just want to watch them all in a run on this BluRay that I’ve had for like 3 weeks. But she’s making me wait till this current season is over before we’ll watch them together. I kinda play at being slightly annoyed, but at the same time, it amuses me the level of DOWNTON ABBEY geek that Yoko is. The show is tremendous. Can’t wait for Shirley MacLaine to join the cast next season!
I’ll watch this even when it isn’t Christmas time. It’s very funny – and the first 3D BLU that really makes me want a 3D Blu set up, but I’m way too into my enormous projection screen to take the dive. However, while the 3D in this film is indeed an entirely different level of fun, watching the film in 2D managed to allow me to laugh just as often as before. Because, this is a hilarious flick. I do think this is the very best of this series of comedies.
In advance of seeing this film, I was fairly convinced that this was some seriously silly bullshit. But I’ll be damned it was actually a pretty damn fascinating story, that I don’t believe, but if it were true, this seems like a perfectly likely scenario for why William Shakespeare is a dirty dirty fraud. But my fingers began smoking as I typed that, so that can’t be true. Rhys Ifans is fantastic here. Emmerich has, of course, shot the hell out of the story, putting you right there in the era of Shakespeare – and the result is a very captivating what if story. As a fan of Comic Books, I love “WHAT IF” stories… and I’m looking forward to this year’s big “What If” of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. The disc has commentary with the screenwriter and Emmerich. A doc on “Who is the real William Shakespeare,” and more. The cast is excellent – and I love Vanessa Redgrave’s ELIZABETH. Surprisingly solid film.
If you like your comedies rather intensely silly & goofy and old-fashioned… This film is for you. This film features Buddy Hackett, Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, Milton Berle, Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny, Jonathan Winters, Buster Keaton, Don Knotts, Jerry Lewis, The Three Stooges, Phil Silvers, Sterling Holloway, Carl Reiner, Spencer Tracy and there’s a lot more folks. I mean, this film is just one of those movies that you watch and the constant tidal wave of talent makes the movie a delight to watch. That this film was shot in 70mm is also… resulting in a stunning Blu-Ray transfer that gives you a look at these classic stars in a manner that is just kind of breathtaking, between the laughs. I can’t recommend picking this up enough. It’s a tonic for what sometimes ails ya. There’s nearly an hour of extended scenes in Standard Def and an Hour + vintage featurette about the making of this rather amazing comedy. Enjoy!
Just a perfect film. I love LOVE STORY. I watched it last night for the first time since I’ve been married and holy fuck… Don’t do that. I wept like Brad Pitt at the box. Intellectually, I knew the story of LOVE STORY. I’d seen the film before. My mom & dad watched this a bunch when I was a kid. My great-grandfather was quite a bit like Ray Milland in LOVE STORY – so they saw it as a metaphor for them to a degree. Mom, more so. She always believed she would die early, and she did. But watching LOVE STORY, it’s such an emotionally sadistic film – and I suppose I’m an emotional masochist, because I watch, sniffled and openly wept in all the right places. Cursing myself for putting myself through the maelstrom of melancholy that this film conjures… But my god it is great. Ryan ONeil and Ali McGraw… they’re just wonderful in the film. Honest and real. I wish we had real romantic films again.
I’ve never really been able to love this film. Instead, it is a movie that I’ve stared at. Waiting for it to do something to me. Make me laugh. Piss me off. Get me going. Sadly, with the massive amount of my fave actors – it just feels a bit lifeless to me. I love Woody Allen, Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, David Niven, Charles Boyer, John Huston, William Holden, Deborah Kerr, Ursula Andress… but I’ve never been able to enjoy them in this film. I find this incredibly odd to me, because I definitely love weird and silly shit – and this has a lot of weird and silly shit. That it satirizes James Bond should be a bonus for me, but instead… it just lays there… I haven’t seen the Blu Ray yet… I’ll pick it up because I’m a completist. However, I’m not entirely sure if my enjoyment of this disc will go further than oogling Barbara Bouchet’s Moneypenny. I prefer the Daniel Craig film of the same title. And Eva Green.
Have you seen this? Stephen Frears’ DANGEROUS LIAISONS is fantastic. There’s a wonderful sexual menace to this film. I’ve always loved the corseted tales of the powdered wig period. This when is sexual and scary. With Malkovich and Close as pretty sick fucks – and with Michelle Pfeiffer as… liquid sex… This garnered fistfuls of Oscar noms and the adapted screenplay won – and when you see the film, you will have no argument. Frears has a commentary on here with screenwriter Christopher Hampton, but there isn’t a lot on the extras side beyond that. Image is nice. But see this film, you’ll love it.
So you loved RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. This is even better. Directed by James Marsh, who gave us the brilliant documentary MAN ON A WIRE a few years back, which just blew everyone away – well, he’s back with a film about a real chimp that was raised to be human. The story is, frankly, amazing. As a lover of KING KONG, the hubris of man to do something like this… well, Carl Denham had some lessons for us.
OUTSTANDING! I’ve seen Season 1. Just started watching Season 2 last night and it distracted me enough to not be able to finish this column for morning publication. I have to say – I have always had a crush on Angie Dickinson. Be it from the days of RIO BRAVO to the years of POLICE WOMAN or later still with DePalma! Angie is just all woman. And as POLICE WOMAN, she’s tough while remaining feminine. With co-stars like Earl Holliman and Roddy MacDowell, James Darren, Joan Collins and even more… the show is just exciting, fun, sexy and even a gritty.
Let me ask you something… Do you love 12 MONKEYS? If you love 12 MONKEYS you owe to yourself to check out LA JETEE, the incredibly influential science fiction short film that Criterion has put out on this BluRay with the fantastic feature SANS SOLEIL, both by Chris Marker. This is what Criterion does better than anyone. In addition to these two very influential works – you get a host of extras – my fave being Chris Marker on French TV discussing his obsession with VERTIGO. Although I do love the inclusion of Bowie’s “JUMP THEY SAY”. I’ve never see LA JETEE look this good – they’ve done a fabulous job of cleaning the dust and scratches off and giving us something really amazing.
This is actually my favorite version of A STAR IS BORN. The subsequent tellings of the tale – well, Janet Gaynor feels like a starry-eyed farm kid to me. Whereas with Judy Garland and Barbara… I just always saw their personalities first and foremost. They were ALREADY the STAR in my eyes. Also while I love James Mason… Fredric March is just outstanding in this. Also the early color photography is just breathtaking… especially on Kino’s Blu-Ray! There’s not a lot of extras on this… Trailers, publicity materials… but the best is the Wardrobe test. It is short, but beautiful.
Alrighty kids… I know it is hard to sometimes get you excited for old 1930’s black & white films… but if you love V FOR VENDETTA… this is V’s favorite film, which he shows Natalie Portman on 16mm in his lair. For those of us that already knew the film, far in advance of the creation of even the comic for V FOR VENDETTA… let me tell you, I absolutely understand V’s love for the Robert Donat version of COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. It is kind of perfect. A sublime work of entertainment that thrillls like few films of today. Sadly this isn’t on Blu Ray… but it is a nicely done DVD.
There was genuine concern at Fantastic Fest 2011, that the star of this documentary, James Quinn McDonagh would actually kill Tim League at the Fantastic Fest fights. Instead, it was Copernicus that did the killing that night. But the next day, when I saw KNUCKLE at Fantastic Fest – I was fascinated by what I saw. I’m a fan of John Ford’s THE QUIET MAN – so I’ve heard of Irish Clan fist fights that last forever, but what these blokes do. It’s insane. Watching this sort of reminded me of the fist fights I’ve read about in books that would go on for a horrifyingly long time with faces beaten till they looked like Jack Palance. There’s a lot of soul here. Fighting for family pride, clan wealth and just flat out bragging rights. Really great stuff!
This is silly absurdist violence fun. I’m not always on board Sakaguchi’s films, but I’ve seen enough Yakuza films from Japan, that the parody works for me. If you’ve seen enough absurd flicks you’ll see things that’ll remind you of WHAT’S UP TIGER LILY and Seijun Suzuki work, but keep in mind, I’m not equating this film to the quality of the work of those… but it reminds you of those films at times. This is a fun drinking film for you and your friends, if you like weird crazy stuff. This is for you. Sakaguchi never fails to deliver weird shit you haven’t seen before. This is a fun film from him.
This is one of those SYFY junky B-sci-fi romps. Here, strange alien shit gets on a Russian satellite and crashes in the middle of nowhere. Two opportunistic idiots take this satellite wreckage to the local junkyard to sell… The Junkyard man? He’s built something that looks like a giant killer robot. Now – he feels he has just built a golem… Until alien shit gets on it – and suddenly… it is in fact now a giant killer robot. Now the movie is ridiculous. Characters so stupid that you yell at their every decision. But that’s half the fun of these silly things. The real question is… Is there a reason to? Not particularly, but if you happen to have a Robot fetish… you’ll get a little bit of joy. But because it is SyFy it is never as hard as I would particularly like. But if you got some younger genre addicts, it’s absolutely playful fun for them.
This is a masterpiece of Film Noir. Discover Lucia Bose… she’s amazing to watch in Antonioni’s STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR. Her husband is suspicious of his young smoking hot wife’s unknown past hires a detective to dig, but as a result, it happens to reignite a past passionate relationship – which results in the plotting of the murder of her husband. What happens? Watch and see. This is a fantastic film. So captivating. Can not recommend highly enough!
That’s it for this week. Next week we’ll take a look at Depp’s RUM DIARY, HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2, THE DEAD, TAKE SHELTER, WOODY ALLEN: A DOCUMENTARY, THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI Blu, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRON Blu, PERFECT WEAPON Blu, MAN IN THE IRON MASK, ROCK-A-BYE BABY, ELITE SQUAD Blu, TINY FURNITURE Criterion Blu, NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS, THE GEISHA BOY blu, BOEING BOEING Blu, SWINGERS MASSACRE and that looks like it.