Hey folks, Harry here with today’s DVD Picks & Peeks. Nice to say that. Like I said, things have been crazy around here… now that the basics of the set and show have been set up, things are starting to calm down, which has allowed me to catch up on this column for all of you. Some great stuff this week, but none better than this first offering. Wow. As usual the images and links take you to Amazon where you can learn more on the title – and even purchase the item which helps to support this column!
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Tennessee Williams play… Elia Kazan’s brilliant direction… Brando’s supreme iconography – the man was just existing on an entirely different plane of existence, creating a performance often referenced but never equaled. Then there’s Vivian Leigh. Just wow. Her Blanche DuBois… it’s just so aching and real. Then there’s Kim Hunter’s Stella. This is cinema beating it’s chest and getting down to the essentials of performance, writing and film that boils. This film sweats, it increases the humidity – and this Blu Ray is just something miraculous. This Blu Ray is flawless. You get a commentary that has some feedback from Karl Malden and some film historians. There’s the hour and fifteen minute ELIA KAZAN: A DIRECTOR’S JOURNEY. There’s a piece called A STREETCAR ON BROADWAY, then another on A STREETCAR IN HOLLYWOOD. There’s a piece on CENSORSHIP AND DESIRE. A feature on Alex North’s amazing score! A brief look at Brando – and Marlon Brando’s screen-test for A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE which is awesome. There’s 15+ minutes of outtakes and more than that in Audio Outtakes. The only problem I have is that all the extras are Standard Def. But hell, I can live with that.
I love this movie. Love it. I love Johnny Depp’s performance and I love Marlon Brando’s gloriously sexy fat man! Not only that, but this is the film where I truly fell in love with Faye Dunaway. She’s so beautiful in here. I love her and Brando as an old married couple recapturing their spark and fire. I love the drunk on romance of this film. I love the way Depp teaches you to see how women move as a source for their beauty… the way the clothes hug the skin and form of a woman. This movie is in love with love and the power of cinema to romanticize. It is perhaps this film, more than any other, for which I love Johnny Depp – and always will. He’s awesome here.
I’m that particular breed of geek that just can’t imagine the person that doesn’t pick up Season Three of NIGHT GALLERY. Sure, if you don’t have Season 1 & 2, you should see those first. They are the better seasons, but Season 3 has a healthy dose of the fantastic. You’ve got performers like Burgess Meredith, Mickey Rooney, VINCENT PRICE & LEONARD NIMOY… You have THE OTHER WAY OUT and FINNEGAN’S FLIGHT – which are arguably some of the best work that Serling was ever involved in. Then on this DVD – you get the two LOST episodes. You get Audio Commentary on THE RETURN OF THE SORCERER… great episode that one. This is just the stuff of legend from my childhood. NIGHT GALLERY was the shit. I’m still hoping for a great remastered BLU RAY treatment of the whole thing to equal the amazing TWILIGHT ZONE Blu Rays! But that’s not even in the planning stages as best as I can tell. So good!
This film was released a month after Kent State in 1970, but had been shot long before that terrible moment in U.S. history. Starring a young Bruce Davison and Kim Darby, who was straight off of TRUE GRIT and 3 years before DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. If you’re one of those people that were horrified by our country’s recent handling of student protests – check out this film. This was a movie at the time that was trying to wake people up to what was going on. Advocacy filmmaking – and the movie is good stuff. Really underlines this kind of nightmare.
I kind of hated this do nothing movie that didn’t illuminate me an ounce on who Margaret Thatcher was as a human being. I was not a fan of Streep’s performance which sounded like an incredibly stiff Julia Childs to my ear. The embalming that the Makeup artists performed on her just made the film the second worst makeup of the year behind J. EDGAR. I remember Thatcher as definitely having that painted quality – but I had a hard time taking Streep serious as this character. Mainly because I felt we never got to discover who she was. I can’t imagine wanting to own this.
Commence Nerdgasms. There was a time in the 70s where many geeks believed this show was the greatest thing ever. I remember the conventions with dozens of folks in Sandman costumes. I shit you not. They’d argue with the Trek gets that the future was LOGAN’S RUN, not STAR TREK… Just as HUNGER GAMES is doing now. And like HUNGER GAMES, there’s genuine quality at play here. The LOGAN’S RUN complete series is a damn fine show. Written by folks like D.C. Fontana and Harlan Ellison, along with a troupe of great sci-fi minds. This was an ambitious show. Ever since it aired, it’s basically been impossible to see these, except through bootlegs – and it’s entire fanbase has existed via those Video Tape dealers at conventions that have stuff that 99% of the world doesn’t know about, but that makes us geeks go nuts. I love that official versions of this stuff is coming out! The quality is just tremendous. Watching Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies on these sets are just so cool.
This is an American apocalyptic adventure sci-fi horror about strange energy beings that just start killing everything. It’s pretty goddamn awful – but I was sitting there watching it when the notion hit me. Holy shit, a crappy sci-fi movie starring Americans is shooting Red Square and Lenin Square and on the Academy of Science Plaza… and I know that’s technically not a big deal – but within my lifetime that was once unthinkable. Sometimes I love thinking about what we’re seeing from that perspective – simply because nothing on screen was particularly giving me anything to care about, so my brain just began to wander. I thought about how much the world has changed and how we’re even making crappy movies in Red Square. That’s… kinda amazing. Much moreso than anything else in this movie. It has a nice look – it’s just total bullshit though.
Folks – I’m sad to report this has problems. There’s some sync problems with the scores. There’s a lack of options on the color restoration… And the disc does cost $30. It could be better. There’s a great documentary with wonderful interviews with a bunch of filmmakers. But I’d be lying if I wasn’t a bit disappointed on this. That said – if you turn the sound off on the restoration of the original hand tinted restored print of A TRIP TO THE MOON… you’ll just be in awe. Truly one of the great short film achievements in cinema history. So iconic.
DARK SHADOWS fans, your time has come. Thanks to the media blitz that naturally accompanies everything that Johnny Depp and Tim Burton get involved in… You can now add to your collection 131 DVDs containing all 1,225 complete episodes of DARK SHADOWS in a Coffin Container where the end art ends up displaying Barnabas in his coffin. Too cool. There’s over 120 cast and crew interviews. Bloopers, BTS, a booklet. It weighs over 15 lbs. And running an epic 470 hours… it’d take nearly 20 consecutive 24 hours to watch them all. How committed are you to being the authoritative DARK SHADOWS fan before the release. Here’s your chance to really dive in. It’ll set you back over $500, but really… this is a helluva big set.
I ate a lot of Chinese food in Conroe, Texas as a child. It was when my mom & dad took me to the Texas Renaissance Faire where they sold their artwork. Watching Werner Herzog’s documentary set in Conroe, Texas… all about a 28 year old Death Row inmate… and it’s Herzog exploring the phenomenon of execution. He talks with the men that help strap down the condemned – and he shows the toll it can have on those men. He lets the condemned know that he doesn’t necessarily like him. It’s brilliant. I live in a very odd state. Austin is as liberal as they get, and yet, we’re the minority. Having to live with State Sanctioned Execution and a host of other things that drive us crazy. Herzog underlines this and I thank him for it. We need more people calling attention to the insanity of the state I love.
KING KONG’s Bruce Cabot plays the Wes Studi character from the Michael Mann film of Magua… But Randolph Scott plays a fantastic Hawkeye… maybe not quite at the level of Daniel Day Lewis, but it is a very different film. And going into that, take it with you. This is LAST OF THE MOHICANS being done at the top of Hollywood’s powers in 1936 with Randolph Scott being just about as heroic a Hawkeye as you could imagine. I love this version, but it is one of those tales that I just love. One of the great American adventure stories ever told. It fires the imagination. That’s still the power of James Fenimore Cooper. Good buy!
Starring Sean Connery and Ian McShane in 1975, THE TERRORISTS is generally considered one the lost Sean Connery films – as it has been very nearly impossible to see for quite some time. Thankfully Anchor Bay is putting out this Blu Ray which officially makes it great to see. It had come out on VHS, but this is its first time on a superior format. Woo Hoo. Connery is a charming dogged hunter of terrorists and he’ll capture you and make you cheer and love him for getting the terrorists. And now we know the truth behind Connery’s “retirement” mhmmm… He’s keeping the world safe. You know it.
For less than $10, you can get this great Cliff Notes version of DARK SHADOWS. You get the episode where Barnabas returns to Collinwood for the very first time. You have the Séance that gave you the ghost of Sarah Collins. There’s the werewolf. The zombie return of Quentin Collins. The costume party and more. These will give you a working knowledge of what’s up. At some level. I really enjoyed this set. 9 complete episodes!
Here you get another 9 episodes for under $10 with these purporting to be the best Barnabas episodes, these are episodes that are meant to suck you into the mythology of the show and the mystique of Barnabas himself. I haven’t gotten started on this set yet, but I will. I’d probably need to take a month off of doing anything just to get through that whole Dark Shadows set. One can dream.
An inexperienced and bored housewife decides to allow herself to be exploited in a Japanese sex club to learn more about sex in this very perverse and depraved PINK film. That said – it’s a fascinating one. This is really dirty stuff – but isn’t full on porn. It’s… well, a PINK film. If you like this stuff, this is a good one.
There’s a serial killer that is targeting handicapped women. Jacqueline Bisset (god I love her) plays a “beautiful” mute girl staying at her uncle, played by Academy Award winning actor Christopher Plummer. This is fucking great, a wonderful suspense thriller starring one of my biggest all time crushes and Christopher Plummer too! Check this flick out, it’s great.
Next week we’ll be looking at MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL Blu, SHAME Blu, HIGH ROAD TO CHINA Blu, THE DIVIDE Blu, Season 1 of YOUNG JUSTICE, Roger Corman’s NURSE pictures, ROADRACERS Blu Ray, BUCK PRIVATES Blu Ray, THE ASPHYX Blu Ray, ALAMBRISTA! Criterion Blu, THE SKY’S THE LIMIT, LIVING IN A BIG WAY, THE DOORWAY TO HELL, OPERATION CONDOR 2: ARMOUR OF GOD Blu, Lost Detective Classics, Rare Sound Shorts, CANNIBAL ISLAND and that’s about it. Thanks for being understanding. Glad to be caught up.