Hey folks, Harry here with the latest edition of the Picks & Peeks. I like a lot of the stuff this week. Getting ready for SXSW and we’re in the crunch time on the YouTube show. But I will endeavor to do my best to get next Tuesday’s column no matter what. As usual, the pics and links take you to Amazon where you can learn more on the titles and you can purchase the items if so motivated. If you do, a small percentage of the purchase price will help go towards keeping the best efforts of the column going forward.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2012...
Initially I wasn’t a believer. The explosion of hype that birthed GAME OF THRONES set my expectations for fantasy far higher than the show met. SO I dropped off after a single episode. But the hype continued. People that loved it from episode 1 to the end loved each more than the previous. And the conclusion of the season left people drooling to speed up the harvest, so we could see season two. I say “we” cuz, when I got sent the Blu-Rays I decided to commit to just watching it through. GOD DAMN! This show is one of the greatest artful teases of a show ever. They commit to building expectations and have yet to really knock my dick in the dirt. But I get the impression that season 1 was footsie. I have no idea of just how big the show can get, as I haven’t read the books… Peter Dinklage is just superior. He’s amazing to watch navigate this world. His character could very well be the most dangerous character introduced. And I love that. OH – now that I’ve seen this – the photo I have of Momoa trying to rip my head off in a Bowler hat… it rules. Khal Drogo … man, can’t wait for Season 2. The Blu-Ray has a ton of extras – I like the Complete Guide To Westeros. My sis is checking this out now. Amazon currently has it at half off.
I’m getting this tomorrow and watching it tomorrow night. Life gets crazy busy, and I never did find my way back to the theater to see IMMORTALS to complete it. I had a massive SICK attack the first time and missed the last third of the movie. But what I saw, I was really really digging. I’m interested in this Henry Cavill… our future SUPERMAN. I liked his Theseus quite a lot. I have no bead on his SUPERMAN yet. The style of the film is double-fisted & gaudy, but in a way that somehow seems pulled off. Mickey Rourke is just such a particular presence in this thing. I just don’t know if you would ever feel safe for a second around that guy. He’s a very bad guy.
As an example of what humanity at its absolute best can accomplish… A true cure all for whatever ails ya… It’s MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. I can’t wait to watch this with my wife & nephew. Then scream about mere fleshwounds! Should be required viewing before every U.N. meeting. Before every session of Congress. The world would work better. I guarantee. Laughing together is something that fixes most problems, cuz after you laugh, you get to work. Bury the bullshit and get the work done. That’s what MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL does – it clears and refreshes the very essence of a person. It is effortlessly brilliant. And all at once, it consistently feels like the most important thing ever. Like there is truth to be found in this precise absurdity. It compels me to watch. Love the look of this Blu. And extras? Here:
Terry Jones Introduces the Outtakes
Enlightening Commentaries by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones, Plus General Complaints and Back-Biting by John Cleese, Eric Idle & Michael Palin
Join Michael Palin and Terry Jones in their Special Documentary: The Quest For The Holy Grail Locations
Monty Python And The Holy Grail In Lego!
How To Use Your Coconuts (An Educational Film)
BBC Film Night
Terry Gilliam Introduces His Lost Animation Reel
Meanwhile, King Arthur & Sir Bedevere...
Elephant & Castle
The Tale of Sir Robin
The Tale of Sir Lancelot
Three Mindless Sing-Alongs
Cast Directory Photo Gallery
Holy Grail Blu-ray Credits
So as you can see, they really scrimped. BLISS.
Craig Brewer made a damn fine film out of FOOTLOOSE. It’s strange how different the film is from the original, while basically being the exact same story. There’s a tonal shift and Brewer completely made his own particular FOOTLOOSE – that’s what a good revival will do. For me, the original just holds an ability to transport me back to a station in my life that seems so remote and different from the life I’ve made for myself. Then all again, it feels near. I didn’t see the original FOOTLOOSE in a theater, but years later on HBO. We danced in barns, the county was dry. The odd thing is Craig’s film reminds me of my friends from that period – in a different way, wondering what they’d say about this film and the original and what we remember of the times when it was a really poignant film. Strange how movies and their remakes can play. This is a really good film, give it a shot.
It was strange watching TO CATCH A THIEF on Blu a couple of weeks ago. This is one of the very few Hitchcock films that I don’t believe I’ve seen theatrically. I know it from VHS and I believe I watched it on DVD at some point. But watching it on Blu in my home, it felt like I was discovering the film completely anew. For one, Cannes came to life for me. I’ve been three times, but watching TO CATCH A THIEF late at night, alone… it is a treat to indulge one’s self with. Cary Grant’s “retired CAT” is fantastic. And then there’s GRACE KELLY. Grace is just otherworldly. I still think I love her more in REAR WINDOW, but the vistas are just spectacular here… and REAR WINDOW is a tightly constrained film. So I love them both for their differences. As for the extras:
Audio Commentary with Film Historian Drew Casper.
A NIGHT WITH THE HITCHCOCKS (nearly 24 minutes): Q&A with Alfred’s daughter and granddaughter at USC with students. Very cool.
THE MAKING OF TO CATCH A THIEF (About 17 minutes) Would’ve loved an even longer piece, but this is nice.
EDITH HEAD: THE PARAMOUNT YEARS: love this highlight.
WRITING AND CASTING TO CATCH A THIEF: it’s alright.
BEHIND THE GATES: CARY GRANT & GRACE KELLY: kind of a puff piece.
ALFRED HITCHCOCK & TO CATCH A THIEF: An Appreciation: a great breakdown on Hitch’s style of filmmaking.
There’s a Travelogue. & a piece on Censorship in Hollywood and upon TO CATCH A THIEF. Overall an excellent Blu Ray!!!
A Brutal Film. Many of you have grown up in a world where scenes in DEER HUNTER get lampooned in all too well known parodies, but watch the film from the beginning, and all that comedy drains like blood from a punctured body. This is a film that years and years since its release – fucking Walken? I mean, he’s just amazing. You look at young Walken and just marvel. He’s amazing. De Niro and Streep – JESUS! John Savage? How about Vilmos Zsigmond’s amazing cinematography? It won Best Picture, Director, Best Christopher Walken, Editing & Sound! Then there’s John Cazale’s final performance – and Jesus what a way to go. Be sure to look for that John Cazale documentary, it is terrific!
Fucking Pacino. Jesus. There are things you can’t unsee, so please don’t bother.
This is a terrific romantic tale. It is also heartbreaking. You can see two people tormenting themselves over an idea they had when they were even younger and more innocent. As they grow up, reality takes hard whacks at their love. They make so many mistakes – that I almost felt like screaming advice at them. Anton Yelchin is fantastic in the film and Felicity Jones is great too. If you love cuddle and tear movies, this is a good one.
There’s a reason why higher resolution is a good thing… and when Adrian Lyne has 1986 versions of Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke in this banging hot bit of steamy erotica… It is a very good thing. Mickey’s performance is electric. Kim Basinger has never been better. Her Elizabeth in this is just a ball of tussled nerves. The ice. So nice. This is sexy great filmmaking. This should be owned on Blu Ray!
It is like drinking Mr Pibb from a crystal wine flute. Kinda hilarious. The quality of Blu-ray when held next to the cinematic masochism that is loving Edward D Wood Jr… All the better to laugh at. All the better to just marvel in stunned erratic states of the giggles. The box says “IN COLOR” and that is true, but it is also true that the original Black & White is here too. Also on here are some Ed Wood shot commercials and home movies. I really would love a commentary track for this film with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. But alas – that bit of awesome does not yet exist.
This is one of the films that my parents have owned in 16mm, my entire life. I’ve seen THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS more than just about any other film… it is up there with KING KONG, STAR WARS, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, CASABLANCA, JAWS, TREASURE OF SIERRE MADRE, ROAD WARRIOR as being one of my most oft seen movies. Mainly because so many of you have only seen the Rick Moranis musical theater version – and while I surely love that remake with a passion – and especially love watching crazy girls that love to sing all of Audrey’s songs… loudly, proudly. But the original, it’s just a perfect little low budget film. The dialogue is snappy. It is uniformly hilarious. But there’s something that makes me feel like at any moment Spider-Man would swing into Mushnick’s and fight AUDREY JUNIOR. Or maybe that Reed Richards would buy roses for Sue Storm. But maybe that was just me. The film is presented in fake Color and real Black & White. Go with the Black & White. It’s the right thing to do!
BENJI could kick that THE ARTIST’s dog’s ass. Benji is on of the most charismatic and expressionistic dog performers on celluloid and if your kids have been brought up with those crappy terrible dog movies that pass for animal entertainment these days – put on the Blu-Ray for BENJI and watch your kids fall in love. It’ll happen, doesn’t have a chance of not happening. BENJI is great, plain & simple. This was an independent film made right here in Texas – and it is great. An independent family film which spawned a franchise. Nice to see this Blu look this good!
Next week we’ll look at THE DESCENDANTS, TINTIN, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, HAPPY FEET TWO, THE THREE MUSKETEERS shit edition, YOUNG ADULT, MELANCHOLIA, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST Criterion Blu, AMERICAN PIE trilogy on Blu, WALLACE & GROMIT: WORLD OF INVENTION, TRIAD Trilogy Blu Ray, WIZARDS Blu-Ray, FIVE ELEMENT NINJAS Blu, VIRGIN WITCH Blu, ALFREDO ALFREDO, CLASH OF THE WOLVES, KILLER’S MOON Blu Ray and that’s about it…