Hey folks, Harry here with the past two week of June Blu Rays and DVDs…. Ton of really great titles here. Check em out and as usual the images and links take you to Amazon where you can learn more on the title or purchase it, which helps to keep the column going, so thanks a ton! Here ya go…
Tuesday, June 4th, 2012
1986 – I was a Sophmore in High School. I had a regulation pool table in my bedroom. I saw THE COLOR OF MONEY. I watched this film and always paid attention to the placement of the cue upon the ball, the angles they shot, the type of stroke with the cue. I taught myself how to do most every shot in this movie. My mother was dating a Pool Hustler at the time, he’d go into honky tonk bars throughout North Texas, dragging my fat ass in. He’d get blind drunk and bet folks his “idiot redheaded stepchild” could beat them for double or nothing. I never lost. I even was given the nickname RoundTimbers Fats, my Ranch is in a place called Round Timbers. And yeah… We all have films that defined periods of our lives. The films we became obsessed with. Tom Cruise & Paul Newman? Directed by Martin Scorsese? The sequel to the legendary film THE HUSTLER, which I discovered around the time this movie came out. It came out the same year as TOP GUN, which was in turn, the same year that THX started to rock our lobes. Black shirt, levis, plaid overshirt… I remember them well. Playing pool is such an incredibly wonderful feeling. It is one of the number one things I can’t wait to get back to after I’ve left this chair. Don’t forget that John Turturro’s in this! Heh. Fast Eddie Felson is one of my favorite all time cinematic characters. I love him as the brash son of a bitch, and I love him as a guiding force in this. There’s a brilliant updating of his character… showing the scars of the previous film. I didn’t get an advance on this, but I’m picking it up today. Must see the felt of the table. Scorsese did a great job on this flick. So great!
I’ve always loved that John Lennon was a Texas Longhorns supporter in all the poster art for YELLOW SUBMARINE! But more than that, I love this Blu Ray. Here we have a 4K transfer, the original aspect ratio, original mono as well as the whizbangery of the Dolby Stereo version and the 5.1 DTS. There’s a commentary with the art director and producer, there’s special features out its ass. And at the end of the day you have the film looking more vibrant and beautiful than ever. This is the heaven release of this film for me. How many times have I seen this movie. I know most of the dialogue, can sing along with every song and I’ve had animation cels from it my whole life – they hung in my bedroom as a child. I can’t imagine not picking up this wonderful Blu!
One of the greatest films ever made, no shitting. First you have a pitch perfect adaptation of John Steinbeck’s great novel, but then… embodying the soul of Tom Joad, that astonishing everyman voice of Steinbeck’s? Was Henry Fonda, and in this film he looks out of that screen and scratches at your heart, he tears at your cynicism and he places root inside of you a better way of looking at the world. This is who I see when Springsteen sings of his ghost. Every aspect of production is pitch perfect. That’s due to director John Ford, who knew exactly what he was doing and shot it with the amazing eyes of Gregg Toland. I love this movie and this role of Henry Fonda’s so much, that I named one of the early AICN spies after him. Tom Joad, a filmmaking friend of mine that when I first met him, he was attending SXSW and sleeping in his car, while living in Oklahoma… and he bares a resemblance to Henry Fonda’s character. This is one for everyone’s collections. A film I feel all need in their soul.
I love the birth of the 20th Century. The literature, the spirit of the country, the artwork & ideas that led to the pop culture and imagination of the times we live in. 100 years ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs dreamt of something, not too different from what you see in JOHN CARTER. This is an absolutely fantastic film. In terms of pure popcorn awesome, only THE AVENGERS kicks its ass this year. Like many films ahead of their time and beyond their studios true understanding… we’ll have to add JOHN CARTER to those films that the world was not properly prepared, so its success will be a long one. Time will be kind to John Carter – so if you decided to let the negative market watch industry-tards and you stayed away. Give it a chance. If not in its premium format, then through Netflix or however you choose to watch your films. I think you’ll be likely smitten. Andrew Stanton made a helluva film. Generations will love this film. You’ll see. BTW – the BluRay is great, I’ve been waiting patiently with my disc, for the moment Disney’s Second Screen option comes digitally to life so I can watch the film that way. Today is when that option goes live. I’m giddy. The rest of the features on the bluray are outstanding. I’ve devoured them, obviously I’m insatiable upon this particular subject, so yeah, I want even more, but I’ll gladly buy the upgraded version in 5 years when everyone wakes up and sees… OH THAT’S HOW WE DO IT… and the sequel is greenlit. Yes, I currently have a zealot look upon my face.
You may notice – no 3D logo on this BluRay… for a movie originally issued in 3D. That’s because the process of converting the stereoscopic information from the original negative is an ongoing project – that when it is completed – you’ll love the living hell out of this title in the home 3D market. But while that experience is sure to be fucking amazing – HONDO in 2D is still a thoroughly amazing film. Based on a great Louis L’Amour Western Novel – that very much changed the tone of how we saw Indians in a John Wayne picture. John Farrow, who was John’s business partner at the time was directing this, but got double booked, and handed over the picture to some guy named John Ford to wrap up – and part of that “wrap up” is a HUMONGOUS BATTLE SCENE that I just love. This fight is text book how to shoot big Western Action. The way Ford shoots horses, nobody ever gets near to capturing a steed’s power like Ford. Really breathtaking work. Love Ward Bond in this movie – and my favorite special feature I’ve seen on anything ever, is the special feature on Ward Bond on this disc – You see… John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond were bar buddies and best pals. Ward Bond was Wayne’s best man and vice versa. You’ll love this story, it’s one of those great behind the scenes stories in film history that helps to inform their character choices and their dynamics in their films. Great to see the energy of that dynamic play out over the ton of features these three made.
Junior year of High School – I wanted to like this movie. I was a giddy Tom Cruise fanboy at that point. I loved the Beach Boys’ KOKOMO, totally drove all over most of North Texas singing that thing – and I scored a 100 harmonizing on that song at Karaoke with TaeKwonDo Instructor & Karaoke demi-god Brandon Toohey. I give him such credit because we managed to harmonize bad enough to perfectly fool the machine into awarding us 100 on a Beach Boys tune. That’s amazing. So watching COCKTAIL today… it’s still all rather silly, but you can’t deny… Tom Cruise looked his very best, Elisabeth Shue is gorgeous here. I like Bryan Brown, Sybok in paradise. Oh – and damn Gina Gershon was in this? Totally forgot that. It really speaks to the era in which it was made. Cruise learned some mad awesome bar skills. It’d be so cool to a 25th Anniversary screening for COCKTAIL with an afterparty that Tom serves at least one round of tricks while doing some crazy Cocktail moves. Do you think Tom retains all the skill sets he shows off in each film? I know that’s why he’s so good in the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise cuz that character acts like the cumulative total of Cruise-ian history. Make no bones about it, it’s a very silly flick to me. But it’s beautifully shot and the BluRay is just beautiful.
The film is intense. The acting is a bit all over the place, but the action is just sit back and wow. Watching professional warrior athelete elites do the action moves… well, this becomes a military fetish film. And that’s totally ok. If you own a movie like this, it means you dig hardcore action films.
I love the Blu-Book format – and with a film as classy and cool as THE STING is – it is just the way to go. First off, George Roy Hill’s classic has never looked better – the exquisite production design is on the finest of displays. On this disc is a look at Universal in the 70s. Talking about THE LOT and restoring the Classics. Along with the great THE ART OF THE STING special feature which features interviews with Newman & Redford. It is a damn shame that these two didn’t make a whole lot more movies together, because their chemistry on screen is just one of those magical movie things.
Way better than the first film, still hilariously kiddy. These are modern day, high budget attempts at doing that old Doug McClure genre. Except, instead of pasting fins on lizards, they do state of the art CG to make a totally CG lizard which more or less gives the same effect. Michael Caine is laughing through so much of the movie and I love him for it. Dwayne Johnson’s pec dance of love… truly amazing. That’s just the funniest damn thing in the film.
To me, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT is one of my Favorite Perfect Movies. You know those films. The one that you love so much that you can’t believe the film is as perfect as it is. Everything about this movie works. Stuntie Hal Needham’s penchant for vehicular insanity is on display, as are Burt’s many talents. The film made Sally Field sexy and forever erased the world’s thoughts of Gidget or The Singing Nun. But the gold mine filled with platinum and unobtanium of the movie is Jackie Gleason’s Buford T Justice. This Texas Sheriff is so perfect. Gleason’s slow burns and reaction shots are just so perfectly comedic bliss that I just can’t stop laughing at everything he does. Paul Williams, Jerry Reed… everybody in this movie is perfect. Love how sexy it still feels. Great stuff.
Marc Forster directed a helluva intense flick about an ex-druggie badguy, turned preacher, turned MACHINE GUN PREACHER and it is a true story. Shit is real. This guy, really did this shit and it’s stunning. There is real scary shit in this world, this is a story about a guy that saw it first hand and felt like, well… not on his watch. Michelle Monaghan plays his wife – and she too, as usual, is simply wonderful. Gerard Butler is on fire in this movie. Definitely worth checking out and I believe owning.
U.S. MARSHALS was that spin-off flick from THE FUGITIVE, that was Tommy Lee Jones’ character going after another high level fugitive – this time, instead of Harrison Ford, it’s Wesley Snipes. This film just didn’t blow me away. And it still doesn’t. There’s some fun to be had, but all parties involved have done better overall work than this.
I can’t seem to remember what I thought of RANSOM. I saw it. I remember watching it, but I seem to have memories that I wasn’t that in love with it. But I’m gonna pick it up to watch again, because I’m curious to see why the film has left my memory. I just ordered it. Curious.
You see that cover. Danny Trejo staring the piss out of ya… baseball bat and a fanny pack. He will kick your ass up and down both sides of the street with that fanny pack, so no smarting off. This is pure exploitation – and God bless! This also features Charles S Dutton. It’s what you want it to be!
Time has been kind to A PERFECT WORLD – when it opened, I remember critics being a bit tough on it locally here in Austin. The film was shot in and around here, but it wasn’t all that beloved. Now, people are rediscovering it. Discovering how good it was. Funny that this is coming out now. This weekend I was chatting with a Prison Guard that worked with Eastwood on this flick and he was telling tales about what a great guy Eastwood was, shooting the shit with the guards. The film is a lot better than folks were giving it credit for back in 1993. Not one of the greatest prison lam movies, but a damn fine one.
Been waiting on this Blu for a while, shit, this thing even has an HD DVD of it out there. But now we BLU addicts can finally get the HD goodness of this fantastic sexy tale. Al Pacino is great in this. Ellen Barkin is crazy great in this, but man I love John Goodman here! Such a great film, if you love sexy thrillers this is one of the very best. Just be prepared to have the song stuck in your head for like a week afterwards!
HOOSIERS is the movie that made me love Basketball. Before that, I was always disappointed that Basketball wasn’t like THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS animated show. I thought bouncing the ball into the basket was a far greater test of talent. Should be a 4-pointer. But then, I watched HOOSIERS. I was living on a ranch at the time. In one of the barns, we had a hoop set up – and the small farming community town in HOOSIERS – it resonated. Our boy basketball team didn’t play that great, but our girl’s team kicked ass regionally. But watching this film taught my eyes how to follow the strategy of Basketball, made me respect the tradition of Basketball. The print is superior to the old HOOSIERS BluRay from about 5 years back if I remember. On my screen, I could see different details and better image quality fairly instantly, but I still feel this could be done even better. I just doubt we’ll see that anytime soon. The best news is – we finally have awesome special features included upon our BluRay, even if they are Standard Def and not HD. The Writer & Director commentary is also nice. As a HOOSIERS fanboy, this is a required purchase.
This is a fantastic film – ideal for Blu Ray. This Cinemascope classic is something new for me. The second I got this, I slipped it into the Blu Ray player. I love adventure films – and this one has a helluva cast and was something of a discovery for me. Herbert Lom just continues to rise in my estimation. Lauren Bacall is amazing. The Rank Collection is doing us an exceptional treat by releasing this on Blu. It is just gorgeous!
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Just Got Word. There is NOTHING EXTRA about this. Only get it if you want that slipcase or if you don't already have it!!! WARNING! Money Grab.
Details are scarce on this edition. I didn’t get an advance copy, and nobody seems to have seen one yet. The hope would be that there would be an extra special feature or two focusing upon Brian Froud’s artwork… Or a booklet of work, or something. Surely it isn’t just the cover? At the very least, if you’re really stoned and you have this edition, you don’t have to search for the other one. It’s right there. SO convenient. $21 for both titles ain’t bad. If you get yours, before I get mine, let us know if anything extra special is in this set. I just love the movies so much, I have to check it out, if there’s even a chance of something extra.
Personally, I love this film. I genuinely enjoy the personalities of all involved. I love Jared Harris’ Moriarty. I really love Stephen Fry’s Mycroft Holmes. I even love Eddie Marsan’s Lestrade. But really, most of the love for this film comes upon the talents of Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. Nobody will ever really replace Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in these roles. But then I saw those repeatedly as a kid… nothing can trump nostalgia. Or the way you discovered something you’d love for the rest of your life. Right now I love that we have the BBC and Ritchie versions of these characters going. They’re getting so great. I find myself daydreaming of the next season and the next feature. It shows how Warners could be doing a Television series and a Film Franchise of its heroes, if the worthy resources were put into the creation of each entity. Now the coolest special feature is the MAXIMUM MOVIE MODE – where Robert Downey Jr takes you through Behind the scenes and the film as the film runs. Robert is hilarious on this. Very entertaining. Great special features.
Ghost Rider was one of those characters that Marvel created while I was alive. As soon as I saw GHOST RIDER – I was driven by his amazing character design. It was essentially THE WOLF MAN scenario… but in the silliest way possible. What Taylor and Neveldine did here was create a Biker Exploitation Comic Book Hero flick. For me, the acting is all over the place. Cage isn’t so much as performing, as he’s savoring his own performance. He’s absolutely on that razor edge of sanity as Danny in this 2nd Origin story. If Sony ends up completing their GHOST RIDER trilogy… I hope they go R-rated with someone like Neil Marshall with a hefty budget and complete insane freedom. I hated the first film, but love the second. Personally I prefer the film in its 2D form. The insane shooting of the film, sometimes induced a bit too much vertigo at times. The film is trashy fun. A B-Marvel movie.
It took a bit of time to settle into the animation style on this latest WB Animation, but once all the elements came together, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Joe Kelly’s writing is what really made this one of the very best Warner Brothers animated features. When you meet THE ELITE – they’re so cool. But where they go and what it does to Superman. This is one to definitely buy. Mainly because you’re going to watch the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS PART 1 featurette for the forthcoming animated 2-part feature adaptation of Frank Miller’s classic. I’m dying in anticipation now. Seriously. It looks so amazing. Overall, one of the best films they’ve done. Really love Manchester Black in SUPERMAN VS THE ELITE. The voice work and animation really create a wonderful character. Such a cool flick.
I was seven when I first saw MEATBALLS, at the Drive-In. Bill Murray became my image of a fucking badass awesome projection of my adult self. I was positive that I wanted to grow up to be an ounce as cool as this character. Bill Murray isn’t just a man doing a job. He’s playing Chess… evaluating his troops – and plotting to Bugs Bunny the competition. Bill Murray just owns the film. Reitman really kind of captures the time and feel of Summer Camp back then. In many ways, this wasn’t far off. The transfer is lovely. Reitman and his Co-Producer do a Commentary, which is quite good.
First off… SO FUCKING LOVE THE COVER ART! Clowes rules. But more than that… Just what a perfect transfer! The film has never looked better. This disc is just perfect. As much as I love the funny of HAROLD & MAUDE, it is its melancholy soul that makes this a favorite perfect movie for me. I love watching the film with THE GRADUATE for a crazy notion that they play well together. Start with GRADUATE, then this. It’s perfect. Criterion gives us a good deal of extras. But you should always buy HAROLD AND MAUDE for the movie – and this transfer is divine!
You get both the 1925 and the 1942 versions of Chaplin’s film. GOLD RUSH is one of the very best. The frozen prospecting and survival is just amazing. The starvation sequence is truly inspired. Brilliant gags and just a great great film. The 1925 version… we’ve never seen before. Criterion has resurrected Chaplin’s original cut of the film. A full 17 minutes longer. There’s the longer version out there – with an additional 7 minutes, but it’s only available on PAL DVD. Some day maybe we’ll see that version. We can hope. Here’s the extras they have in store for you….
New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural (1942)
Uncompressed monaural soundtrack
New 2K digital transfer of the reconstructed original 1925 silent film
New audio commentary for the 1925 version by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
Presenting "The Gold Rush," which traces the film's history Music by Charles Chaplin, featuring Timothy Brock
Visual Effects in "The Gold Rush," featuring Craig Barron and Roland Totheroh
Chaplin Today: "The Gold Rush" (2002), a short documentary
Four theatrical trailers
English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Luc Sante and more!
I remember back in 1994 when SHALLOW GRAVE opened up at the Village here in Austin, and goddamn what a movie. I remember marking Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston and Danny Boyle’s names upon first sight of the film. In many ways it is still my favorite Danny Boyle movie… in the same way that I love BLOOD SIMPLE for the Coens. It’s just when you think about loving those memories and then the joy of discovering everything that Boyle and the Coens did after that moment… it’s sort of like TOY STORY that way. Criterion has done a great job on this Blu.
This is Jesus Franco’s erotica remake of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME with a Countess Zaroff and everything! This is OUTSTANDING! If you like this kind of exploitation, you’re going to get exactly what you want. This is one of the most… giggle… perverse sick flicks of Franco’s career – and that’s a good thing. Fun stuff!
This is absolutely fantastic. Imagine you’re Alec Guinness on vacation, you meet a Count, that is your exact double. You visit him at his home, where the next day he is gone and everyone believes that regular Alec Guinness is the Count. Kind of a Prince & The Pauper kind of thing. There’s an evil plot and it’s just an awesome film. Bette Davis is great. But OB1 is in fine form here!
Focusing upon Robert Boyle, Henry Bumstead and Albert Nozaki – SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE tells the story of these three men, who happened to work at PARAMOUNT PICTURES together as three of the greatest Art Directors in film history. As great as the info is on the various movies they made is, what I really love is the story of their friendship. I talked about this title on my show last week, these sorts of Film docs are great. This one’s story is especially emotional and informative!
Ok, this came out my Junior year of High School, so me and all my friends road tripped it to the theater in Wichita Falls. We loved Dolph in his films, but all we knew was that we thought this was a Russian Superhero movie – which was fascinating to us. Watching Ivan Drago in that sort of thing was going to be awesome. But what we got was something quite a bit more than that. This Blu Ray is crazy – because not only is there a great transfer, but there’s a whole lot of extras, including Lundgren kind of going through his entire career leading up to the film – and it’s great! Love this film. It is funky as hell, but it has M. Emmet Walsh! It has Brion James!!!
Next week we will be back with EVITA Blu, SISTER ACT 1&2 Blu, WANDERLUST Blu, PROJECT X Blu, NEWSIES Blu, JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME Blu, CAT RUN Blu, WILFRED Blu, AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE Criterion Blu, GRAY’S ANATOMY Criterion Blu, THE SPACE CHILDREN Blu, THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK Blu, PROJECT X Blu, CARRY ON double bill and much much more!!!