Hey folks, Harry here… Frankly had a problem focusing to write the column this month, I kept watching everything without writing and it started to get intimidating, but I managed to finally crank the whole thing out. So here you go – an 8000 word edition of the DVD PICKS & PEEKS! Covering the rest of JULY! There’s a whole lot of absolute classics on the list here – so go through carefully. Jewels aplenty. As usual the images and links take you to Amazon where you can choose to purchase the title in question, in which case it helps support this column’s efforts. You can also learn more on the titles by clicking though. So after too much waiting, here ya go….
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Here's how to get the Harry and Stan toys and the DVD for the Morgan Spurlock directed COMIC CON EPISODE IV: A FAN'S HOPE, which pretty much everyone seems to be loving. I really do think it is an amazing document. That said, the notion that there are 20,000 of those Harrys in the world, does kind of frighten me. I highly recommend buying every one you can and then take bizarre photos with it. Right now my 12" Blue SnaggleTooth is clutching mine. Yes, I'm insane.ly happy.
INTERVIEWS with Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, Ellen Page, Kenneth Branagh, Todd McFarlane, Felicia Day, Frank Miller, Gerard Way, Grant Morrison, Harry Knowles, Joe Quesada, Jon Schnepp, Joss Whedon, Matt Fraction, Paul Dini, Robert Kirkman.
My how this film grows with every year that passes. BRAINSTORM was one of those films that I read about for years. When everything that happened with Natalie Wood went down, I was glued to the TV news reports. I was wildly curious about the film because of its director, Douglas Trumbull. Spending a few hours with Douglas this year has to be the highlight of my year. But as I sat to watch BRAINSTORM on Blu Ray this week, I was alone. Yoko is up enjoying the insanity of CONVERGENCE in Minneapolis and I very definitely missed her. I put in BRAINSTORM – and suddenly the relationship between Walken and Wood – it hit me on every level. We haven’t had the hard times they have had, but yeah…. NOW – questions about the Blu Ray. Yes, it handles aspect ratio changes with the BRAINSTORM sequence much like THE DARK KNIGHT blu ray. And the BRAINSTORM sequences… are stunning to watch. This film is so smart, emotional and still science fiction, all these years later. Louise Fletcher’s performance is still a wonder. So nice on Blu!
I love this flick. This was the one Crichton film that I had not seen. I’ve had lobby cards & posters for years. I knew it had to be great, but I was not expecting anything like what I got. I had no idea about the medical conspiracy levels, the utter paranoia and fucked situation that Genevieve Bujold uncovers. This is just crazy paranoid thriller material, done with the absolute nano-attention to detail that Michael Crichton brought to everything he did. Go in as cold as you can. Let this film kick your ass. Great stuff!
The movie flatly fucking rocks. Sean Connery… Peter Boyle… They’re two runaway trains headed at one another. I love this HIGH NOON in Space that Peter Hyams directed. Connery is fantastic in this film. LOVE the family drama. I love the idea of mining communites on planets. We’re beginning to approach those kinds of scenarios. People are planning such things. Not quite on this scale yet. It has to be proven to be done, but I love this wild west future tale. Looks spectacular on Blu – and man. So nice!
This film introduced me to the concept of trips. If you’re unfamiliar with Ken Russell’s ALTERED STATES… genuinely a great makeup and prosthetics masterpiece… while also being a tremendous work of science fiction. William Hurt gives one of his top two performances (for me the other is BODY HEAT and they orbit one another) If you know nothing about the film, William Hurt plays a scientist that is taking strange psychoactive native American substances while also going into a sensory deprivation chamber and… exploring the possibilities. Having a perfect print of this movie is truly tremendous.
The notion that TWINS OF EVIL exists on Blu Ray… that notion. It’s awesome. This is an absolutely fantastic Hammer horror. Peter Cushing… AMAZING! The titular twins are played Playboy centerfold twins, Mary & Madeleine Collinson who happen to be quite titacular in this film! Cushing is a badass witchhunter and slayer of the servants of satan… Leave it to a bastard vampire to lay claim to his delectable neices. The cast is exceptional and the Blu Ray from SYNAPSE is fantastic. There’s a feature length doc dedicated to the film, a wonderful PROP special featurette, deleted scene, isolated music and sound effects… It’s just a real great love letter to Hammer fans everywhere.
Mathmatical! This is pure imagination. The kind of wondrous wow that as you watch it, you wish you were 8-12… You wish you had that golden bladed sword and elastic limbs, if the universe was your playground. As I was reading the comments at Amazon, the quote that Robin E Johnson said, “Calvin and Hobbes meets Dungeons and Dragons? Is it Rocky & Bullwinkle on Acid? Pre-teen Miyazaki?” Exactly, it offers up that level of fandom. It is a truly great work of animation. And has been a source for wonderful Mondo posters! I just want a Blu-ray now though.
Are you ready to get mildly to seriously obsessed with Olympic mania? Well, here’s something to get them juices flowing. CHARIOTS OF FIRE. Firstly, the Blu Ray is amazing. But let’s get down to it. I have a fucking grudge with this goddamn movie. Oh sure, it’s absolutely fucking great. The adult in me is fully aware. But as so many of you like to point out, the adult in me rarely is in control of this Harry creature. And 9 year old Harry remembers screaming at his television in 1982 – “THAT’S NOT RIGHT! THAT WAS RIGGED! NO WAY A MOVIE ABOUT GUYS RUNNING ON A BEACH IN PAJAMAS BEATS RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK!!!” I was quite angry about this. I was absolutely furious. I first started to scream that night when Vangelis beat John Williams. I was enraged. Ironically, I can still play Vangelis’ tune on Piano, but no longer remember by memory how to do the Raiders opening bars. Loved the FOR YOUR EYES ONLY production number though. CHARIOTS OF FIRE marked the point in my life where I could become OUTRAGED by a perceived infraction via an Academy. This is a spectacular Blu Ray. The film’s stunning cinematography has never looked better at home. Really great!
They’re taking 50% off the blu-ray. A mere $9.99 to just squarely shit in your eyeballs. I’ve a real love/hate relationship with this. It was in that time where we all wanted to believe that Superhero movies could be so much better than what Hollywood was giving us. This is also when CG was really a bad idea. But then, there are so many mistakes. Lighting issues, just performance insanity. The film takes performers that could have owned the characters and roles and just was incredibly lazy with the writing and the direction. This film was fucking clown shoes, when it could have been a contender. Honestly, if you’re unfortunate enough to possess on DVD, I think the bad resolution would perhaps be an improvement. But shit still stinks with my glasses off.
I love this film. It is great to finally have a great copy of this. That BLADE blu ray kinda wasn’t awesome, but this does have a great and proper transfer release. The only suck is the lack of special features. Perhaps there will be a new and improved release when PACIFIC RIM (also controlled by Warner Brothers) . I love Ron Perlman in this. Guillermo did good. I absolutely believe there will one day be a much stronger release, but I can’t imagine the geek that would wait, cuz man, I had to get this right away! The film transfer is great.
Really tremendous father-son story performed magnificently by De Niro and Dano. Paul Weitz really knocked this film out of the park. Dano & DeNiro are just amazing, I just wish the title had stayed the same as the book by Nick Flynn that Weitz brought to the screen. ANOTHER BULLSHIT NIGHT IN SUCK CITY: A MEMOIR. Something about the title BEING FLYNN kept a lot of folks away I feel. But this is very definitely a movie to check out.
Yeah, I just couldn’t stand this thing. It’s just boring lameness I thought. It just doesn’t sizzle or pop as you’d hope it would. Avoid.
As film geeks, we all know that we can never ever go wrong with Buster Keaton. Now, I happen to be a freak that prefers Chaplin if put to the sword to choose between the two – and Moriarty and I have come to blows many times over this, the defining issue of Film Love… But that’s like saying I prefer the BEATLES over Elvis… I still have a poster from one my fave Elvis movies up in the house. KEATON was the stronger film innovator, he was playing with the conventions of cinema in a way that still makes people’s heads spin. I just am a sucker for the pathos of Chaplin and the soul of his films. BUT having said that – I love KEATON nearly as much. THE SAPHEAD is yet another stunning release from KINO – Now Keaton didn’t direct this, in fact this was very early for him. Here he’s the onscreen talent – and you will be dazzled by Keaton. It’s a very sweet performance and the conclusion is something that will delight just about anyone. KINO has an alternate version of the film, which is made up of entirely different angles and a different score. There’s also a featurette outlining the subtle differences in these two tellings. There’s a 30 minute audio recording of Buster Keaton circa 1962 entertaining guests at a house party. This is gold. Overall a great release!
Here’s another Nikkatsu release – and this is brutal bizarre stuff. Playing a bit like a Giallo, but don’t expect the finesse perfection of early Argento. Instead we get something that feels a bit wrong. Like something that’s a tad evil. The nudity and sex isn’t quite at the Hardcore level, instead it’s just fucking disturbing. There’s a murderer, there’s rape, there’s all manners of wrong. It’s just crazy. But then, what’d you expect from a release entitled ZOOM IN: SEX APARTMENTS. Now – did I like it? Yeah, I did. There’s something genuinely shocking about it – and it is all done better than you’d expect.
Women in Prison is a genre of exploitation that is just crazy insane through and through. If you saw TRUE STORY OF A WOMAN IN JAIL: SEX HELL, this is the sequel – and yeah, that film was unfuckingbelievably whoa. This picks up and continues to scrape the emulsion from your eyeballs. This is depraved insanity and is for people that have an appreciation for the Women in Prison genre. The Japanese do it in a way that’s all their own. Purchase at your own sanity risk.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of Zhang Ziyi – and I love that she does all manners of work, not just Kung Fu movies – which is basically all we get to see her do over here in the West. Zhang plays Sophie, a comic strip writer who plots to win her fiancé back from a film star named Joanna. The whole thing has a comic manic sensibilitiy that is irresistible. At least for me. I love stuff like this! Really fun.
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
AFI’s pick for the #1 film Musical of all time is… SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN – if you watch my YouTube show, you saw me go all gooey for Gene Kelly’s signature film. Everytime I’ve walked in the rain, I hum SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN to myself. (Yes, I’m aware it’s been a while, smart alecks) This 60th Anniversary Collector’s Edition is a lot of fun. I love the big boxes when it comes to landmark titles. Here you get a SINGIN IN THE RAIN Umbrella! You get the opportunity to get reproductions or the full Door Posters for the film, but most of all you get an absolutely pristine version of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN – and the new documentary about the film and its influence with modern artists is actually quite touching. In particular – wait till you see it – it brought a tear to my eye more than once. This one is forever.
Part of the reason this last month’s columns were so behind is that there were so many titles that I could do nothing but watch. You can’t work during HIGH NOON, it won’t allow you. Gary Cooper won’t let you turn from the screen. The film creates such an atmosphere and vibe, it’s electrifying. HIGH NOON is a kind of film that it seems we will not see the likes of again. Mainly because we don’t have Gary Cooper, we certainly don’t have Grace Kelly around. The biggest issue is that we don’t have a lot of a filmmakers that have the patience to tell a story quite like this. The realtime nature of the film is fantastic. The dread and the constant ticking to High Noon. This looks great on Blu! Carl Foreman’s script is just perfection. I love Lon Chaney Jr’s retired sheriff. Fred Zinnemann’s direction is note perfect, not a false moment in the entire film. Everyone that wishes to know how to build tension and fear, watch this film – study the shots, the use of music and the understated power this film wields over its audiences for the entirety of it’s 60 years on Earth!
Just bliss. This is one of those films that Dad raised me with. I’ve seen Don Siegel’s version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS so long that I have trouble going to sleep, not necessarily consciously because of it… but I think the reason I rarely get to sleep till 6am most days is because somewhere in the recesses of my media soaked brain, I think someone has placed a pod outside the window of my bedroom and if I nod off… the soulless unloving, completely dispassionate version of myself will replace me. And I would no longer be the exact weirdo that I am. And I like who I am. Identity issues. Sure, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is a metaphor for – well whatever you want to make it about, but like many things of the era – McCarthy looms. Jack Finney’s novel is great – and I love watching this with the 1978 film – and I love the way these films play together. You must have the original though!
I oscillate between this and SILENT RAGE as being my favorite Chuck Norris film… there’s just something about SILENT RAGE and its conclusion that still gives me chills. It’s also why I have no interests in abandoned wells. But CODE OF SILENCE, one thing I can say for certain is that I don’t believe Chuck Norris, himself, has ever been better in a film of his. His acting is elevated, his fighting is succinct and gets the job done. He gets his own knocks and trauma – and I love it. Henry Silva is in the midst – and he’s great as usual – though not near SHARKY’S MACHINE levels. This is such a wonderful film for Chuck, essential before EXPENDABLES 2!
You wake up with little memory of what happened the night before, but you’re not at your place… there’s a hot girl… the world outside has seemingly slowed to non-existent level – and… There seems to be a large alien craft looming over the city. There’s a stalker obsessed with the girl in the apartment – and she has a boyfriend. But the addition of that ship above the city… it changes things, creates paranoia. Here, Nacho Vigalondo creates a film set in a world with a looming Saucer, but it isn’t about why that saucer is here, it is how small stories would happen in its shadow. The most interesting story of all is how we would react. Nacho’s second feature is completely different from TIMECRIMES, but is absolutely wonderful, smart and popping. Wish Focus had put this out on Blu Ray!
This is the best thing that the Farrelly Brothers have done in years. I had begun to think it was a hopeless cause, and really – it didn’t matter that the word on this was good, I just didn’t want to see this film in theaters. MY LOSS. This is hysterical and fun. I honestly hope they make a sequel… But have them end up in different genre situations. Sort of like what the THREE STOOGES did, don’t remake their films – create new stories for them. Can’t believe I liked this. I never would have predicted that.
The film is pretty much a steaming turd in space. EXCEPT – that Guy Pearce’s character is the singular standout. He’s doing his best Snake Plissken – and let’s face it, LOCKOUT is essentially what ESCAPE FROM EARTH by Carpenter with Russell was supposed to be… but that never got made. This does not in any way, shape or form fixes that catastrophe. No, somebody should give John Carpenter $75 million, then pay Kurt Russell whatever it would take… and make a 3rd Plissken flick and make it awesome. Instead, there is this. The film wants desperately to be R-rated, but the film doesn’t have balls. Guy Pearce seemingly does, but the camera never catches them. And that crazy chase on Earth opening is one of the worst visual effects sequences I’ve seen in a really long time. SO – should you see it. Sure. Do so using the cheapest or free-est manner you have. This is just really funky. I saw it at 10am. That’s the wrong time. If you’re partly shit-faced, surrounded by smart ass friends and in the mood to HAVE A GOOD TIME with a trashy glue-sniffing scripted film… you could have it here with this thing. But it wouldn’t be my first choice and it shouldn’t be yours either.
I still can’t believe that the only theatrical play this got was via AICN’s screenings, but folks… as most everyone that attended those screenings can attest… GET THE GRINGO rocks. There is no reason that this film shouldn’t have had 1400 screens across the country – Mel’s fans deserve to see this film big, but that is a battle that is in the past. Here’s the Blu Ray – and it will you’re your machine a few times. This is the kind of film we love Mel Gibson for. And the crazy Mexican Prison he gets tossed into – is based on the actual one that exists in Mexico. You’ve never seen this sort of prison before. Just wait till you meet the Kid. He’s so awesome.
Early Martin Scorsese – with impossibly young people that somewhat resemble Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel. This is the film that truly kickstarted the legend of Scorsese. The film exploded critically. Instantly De Niro became De Niro. His Johnny Boy is one of those roles and characters that actors pine for. De Niro not only got it, but knocked it way the fuck out of the park. This film is a terrific addition to Blu Ray. You love Scorsese? Then you don’t need me to tell you how great this is. Marty does a commentary with Mardik Martin and Amy Robinson. And there’s a Vintage Featurette that I liked quite a bit.
I can’t do the Pony-Tail man nearly the justice that Vern could. There’s always been something about Seagal that made me giggle. I think it was the pony-tail, which always reminded me of Bob Layton, the comic artist, who in the late 80’s and 90’s had that little samurai tail. But I don’t mind saying that one of the reasons I love this movie… SO MUCH… is because I have loved Kelly Le Brock since the first time I saw her in Gene Wilder’s THE WOMAN IN RED. In fact, Kelly LeBrock’s career started off with 3 films where she was just note perfect. We had WOMAN IN RED, then John Hughes’ WEIRD SCIENCE – where she was the literal personification of teenage fantasies… that I was 13 when I saw that… I was sold. Barbie, Bras on head… check. Computer, had that. THEN… 5 long years of waiting for the next Kelly LeBrock joygasm – and it came with HARD TO KILL. Oh yeah, Kelly LeBrock was married to Steven Seagal – and it was HARD TO KILL that I found that out. And that made Steven Seagal… all the way cool in my mind. Rewatching this on Blu is fun. Good ol revenge fun, Seagal style. Good stuff.
Bela Tarr is a filmmaker of awesome power and many fear that this will be his final film, he chose to film a small tale from the life of Friedrich Nietzsche, the brilliant German philosopher. The tale as told leaves a lot to your mind to peer through – but I found an incredibly poignant story. If you find yourself in love with this film, may I suggest checking out Tarr’s DAMNATION and THE MAN FROM LONDON. After that – you’ll track down the rest on your own. Like a great film geek should.
Jim Jarmusch’s DOWN BY LAW starring Tom Waits marks the beginning of Jarmusch’s drifting trilogy that continued in STRANGER THAN PARADISE and then MYSTERY TRAIN (my fave). Now you have to understand – I have a deep and powerful dislike for Roberto Benigni – this is the sole exception. Jarmusch is such a wonderful filmmaker that he enabled me to see Benigni as a character and not as Benigni. This story about three ne’er do wells sitting in a Louisiana jail cell together is captivating and entertaining. Criterion does Film God’s work bringing it to us like this, here’s the extras:
High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Thoughts and reflections on the making of the film from director Jim Jarmusch
Interview with director of photography Robby Muller from 2002
Footage from the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, including a press conference
Music video for Tom Waits's cover of Cole Porte's "It's All Right with Me"
Q&A with Jarmusch in which he responds to fans' questions Recordings of phone conversations between Jarmusch and Waits, Benigni, and Lurie
Production Polaroids and location stills
Isolated music track
Optional French dub track, featuring Benigni
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Luc Sante
I’m sorry – but if this doesn’t become the title on this list that you go… CLICK upon, let’s see if I can get you to do just that. Sydney Greenstreet… Peter Lorre. You may have seen them in CASABLANCA or THE MALTESE FALCON… if you haven’t seen those films, then hop on it. They are easily a pair of the greatest films ever made. That’s not hyperbole, but pretty much established fact. To be a great film geek, you need to start obsessing on CHARACTER ACTORS – these are the best actors ever. They play our favorite characters, there names hardly ever become the biggest names ever – and certainly PETER LORRE was a marquee player – starring in his own series – making brilliant films with Fritz Lang and Hitchcock at the earliest of times. But you put Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre together and you have a film that I will never not buy. SO what is THREE STRANGERS about? Well it’s about a fabled object, the stuff that dreams are made of. The legend tells us that if 3 Strangers come together and make a common wish before the idol of Kwan Yin, then that wish will be granted. This is a Film Noir about wishes and idols with Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet – and you’ll probably come away loving Geraldine Fitzgerald most. This is my favorite kind of thing.
So Peter Cushing is investigating murders and his daughter is currently in the sway of a Moth Creature/Woman. They released it on Blu Ray so you can appreciate everything perfectly. Good on them. This isn’t great genre stuff, but it is certainly better than utterly soulless overproduced dreck. I believe checking out Peter Cushing in just about anything is a perfect use of one’s time allotted upon Earth. There are certainly better Peter Cushing titles and many that I would have recommended to release, no begged to have released in the pristine eye yum of Blu before this. But certainly… yeah, I kind of dug it. Peter Cushing alive and moving in and out of light & shadow and talking out loud. These are basic holy things to me. It’s a film to relish with those made of similar mustard as yourself.
There are people out there that might claim to be too good for NEXT OF KIN, but they’re fucking assholes. NEXT OF KIN is good shit. There’s an Appalacian badassery at play here that I can’t to admit to fully understanding. But by God, I fucking respect any culture that claims Patrick Swayze and a funny talking Liam Neeson are kin. You know what that knowledge tells me. YOU DO NOT FUCK WITH THEIR FAMILY. I mean was so Badass that he would make Dancing films and Ass-Kicking Films. He didn’t fucking care. And LIAM NEESON? You know. Then – also in this amazing film you have this hatchling of an actor named Ben Stiller and he’s so young looking that you’ll laugh and point. But then there’s Swayze’s lil brother… BILL PAXTON?!?!? Oh and if you have Paxton, you gotta know Helen Hunt is in this. This is a wonderful flick. Swazye is a badass – and Neeson gives a really great performance in this. To put next to the other Swayze flicks you own. Right?
People don’t seem to like Abel Ferrara’s unrated, very frank and even sexual look at how Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh relate knowing that the very eminent end of Earth, to the second. 2012 and our general desire to end the world with us being where it ends… I’m absolutely fascinated by all these melancholic explorations of END TIMES. I could absolutely imagine the apocalyptic film festival having an Abel Ferrara chapter to unfold on screen… and yes, Willem Dafoe should absolutely be up there. This isn’t a very science fictiony big splashy effects end. This is about how some of us would cope. Hole up and fuck and drink and just Skype with loved ones. It’s probably far more realistic than us having a way out of the situation and really… with all of these films, they are all big questions. If it was the end of the world, we knew it, there was no escape… How would you like to go out. Me, I’d host an end of the world festival at the Alamo Drafthouse. This wouldn’t make the cut.
I love discovering the films of Carol Reed. For too long, I only knew THE THIRD MAN. But here we get a Carol Reed Patriotic chest-heaver shot with a very doc-like feel. Now that it stars David Niven, who is perfect… joined by the amazing Stanley Holloway, so great in THE LAVENDER HILL MOB, BRIEF ENCOUNTER, and most notably as Eliza’s rotten Dad in MY FAIR LADY. This film is wonderfully written by Peter Ustinov and Eric Ambler. If you love Carol Reed films, it’s a must. But if you like war films, it’s kind of a sure fire hit with ya.
Here you have a Film Noir starring John Garfield, Walter Brennan and Geraldine Fitzgerald who will kick your ass in THREE STRANGERS earlier in this column. If you read that, you read me going on about character actors, and I’m here to tell you that there aren’t that many actors with as much character as Walter Brennan. If you go over the roles he’s played and the performances he’s given. It’s just… He’s a fucking God. He taught me about HEELOTS, he’s fuck all amazing in RIO BRAVO, but as SERGEANT YORK’s pastor… just aweome. He’s the guy that Claude Rains stole the bicycle from in THE INVISIBLE MAN!! But his ‘Colonel’ to Cooper’s John Doe in Capra’s MEET JOHN DOE… To me, Walter Brennan’s wisdom in that film trumps YODA. He’s just magic there. His Sam Blake in PRIDE OF THE YANKEES. It’s just there comes a time where you see an actor in maybe 50 some odd movies and you realize, you’ve never not loved them. And so you take a risk, but not really – I mean John Garfield is one of those actors that I feel pound for pound could very well be amongst the best actors that the rest of the world doesn’t seem to crow about nearly enough for my satisfaction. This is a solid Noir with outstanding performers. Great stuff. Shouldn’t be surprising, the script was by W. R. Burnett, the unbelievable badass behind SCARFACE (1932), HIGH SIERRA, THE GREAT ESCAPE, LITTLE CAESAR, THIS GUN FOR HIRE, WAKE ISLAND, CRASH DIVE, THE RACKET and THE ASPHALT JUNGLE. Seriously one of the great screenwriters of the crime genre. As well as war stories. His script on this does not disappoint.
I liked Simon Pegg & Andy Serkis’ remake, but when I put on this 1972 version of the story… This feels like a product of the Swinging London Seventies and the music as well as the general bawdiness of the proceedings… well the film is a bit schizophrenic. At one level it is all about BURKE & HARE, the bodysnatching evil buggers from history, but the tale interlaces this Bordello that the doctors who worked on the cadavers went to wet their willies. This stuff is silly sexy fluff that you’ll be morbidly fascinated with – and even aroused by. Weird fucking movie. This is such a bizarre train wreck, but I’ve watched it a couple of times now with friends and we really laugh about this odd flick.
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
I have been and always shall be a Trek fan. Love the good stuff and Season One of STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION was always a very good thing for me. BUT – I never particularly liked the way the show looked. On TV it was fine… but as we’ve entered higher resolution home entertainment options, I’ve found the look and feel of this series to be lacking. I watched because I love the characters, the actors, the stories and the future it purports to tell us about. I dearly love the message that Roddenberry was broadcasting loudly with the show. But remember how stunning it was when the Next Gen hit the big screen. Suddenly it just looked SO MUCH BETTER. The show always seemed soft, NOW – the restoration on this series is perhaps the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen done for a TV show. I love the sheer wealth of extras that THE TWILIGHT ZONE series gave us – but here, where they not only went back to the original film elements to put the show back together from essentially scratch, in terms of post, is just amazing. They are essentially giving us a product that simply has never existed before in a quality like this. Suddenly it doesn’t look so cheap. Suddenly that big blur on FarPoint looks like awesome James Cameron underwater Abyss things – as it was created, but Video effects from the time that were layered cheaply on top… Now, wow. It looks amazing. It’s not widescreen, because the show’s producers and directors absolutely did not anticipate that, so usually the shots were locked off and just off camera on the sides are reflectors and crew folks shooting the show. Fans – this is just the best thing to ever happen to Next Gen in terms of home video. Wow. I was so impressed, that I rewatched the entire first season. And I don’t think you know what that means for me. I could not work as I watched. The last time I watched STAR TREK Next Gen dedicated was when I was Wesley Crusher’s age watching it. Suddenly, Riker is so damn sexualized, hitting on anything. I really can’t believe how much Picard and Crusher have the hots for each other… and I Deanna looks real good in 1080p… and Tasha sure didn’t last long. I remembered the episode the second it started, but I didn’t remember how quickly it came in the season. And the gore. It was so awesome rewatching this.
I’m waiting to watch this with a friend or Yoko… or Yoko and some friends – and to get a lot of good sushi and enjoy this film and weep that our sushi is no where near as good as THAT Sushi. I want this film to make me understand the metaphysical perfection of being THE sushi master. And how he goes about life, can only better my life. To live a blissful life is to watch and apply the lessons of films like JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI. At least, that’s exactly how I feel after watching the TRAILER. Everyone I know that has seen this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED IT TO ME. Just finding the night when the people that will get the most out of this convene in the mood for Sushi, I trust that’s how you plan to watch the film at home?
The single funniest behind the scenes story I know regarding Hollywood was once related to me by the person whose visual effects job it was to paint out Marlon Brando’s cock & balls from a lot of the film. That white tent thing he’s wearing was fairly transparent – and Brando was fine with letting it hang. The stories about the making of this thing are legendary – and hell, I like the Burt Lancaster/Michael York version – so I look at this film as the latest adaptation failure of this great tale. THE ISLAND OF LOST SOULS remains and most likely will always be the best version of this story… Unless a director who strives the capture something primal and atmospheric takes a shot at it. This is a very watchable train wreck. But wow, yeah it misses widely.
I love this film, but not nearly as deeply as Yoko. Whit Stillman captures a scene in this movie – and in so doing he gets my favorite Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny performances to date. If you’ve ever been a part of a scene and saw that scene decay and die, then LAST DAYS OF DISCO will resonate with you. That group of friends that you did “that” with – and “that” stopped. It’s that kind of story. Whit Stillman needs to be given his turn at larger things. He’s a consummate story teller, great with his camera and actors. Bristling dialogue. C’mon. How can Criterion be the only folks that get it! Here’s the extras:
Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director
Audio commentary featuring Stillman and actors Chloe Sevigny and Chris Eigeman
Four deleted scenes with commentary by Stillman, Eigeman, and Sevigny
Audio recording of Stillman reading a chapter from The Last Days of Disco
Stills gallery with captions by Stillman
Original theatrical trailer
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by novelist David Schickler
Here’s Whit Stillman’s debut film which examines Preppy society and I can’t look away. It feels like it comes straight out of the early years of David Lean, when he was teamed up with Noel Coward and just creating astonishing whimsical looks at society. But it’s completely modern and every bit as dry witted and I eat this stuff up! Again, it’s capturing a scene. Studying it and giving us a wonderfully literate and delightful look at its own particular “cool scene”. He’s going to make a film that will eventually change the world’s mind about what it is he’s capable of… but when you see movies this good, this smart and this well performed, you just want to see more and often. Again, great thanks goes to Criterion for fighting the Whit Stillman fight! Here’s the extras:
Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Whit Stillman
Audio commentary by Stillman, editor Christopher Tellefsen, and actors
Rare outtakes and alternate casting, with commentary by Stillman
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Luc Sante
We’re getting some pretty outstanding noirs this month, and perhaps the finest of the bunch is THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE. Story of an ex-GI turned Black Marketeer, who then gets muscled into the drug scene – which he rebels against, then things start to turn dark. The movie takes turns, changes genres and suddenly you’ve seen a film that you’re excited for having seen. It’s that kind of flick. Starring Trevor Howard, the dumb fuck that didn’t listen to Brando’s JOR-EL. Ya know, that’s what all those stupid fucking Kryptonian SCIENCE-DENIARS got… BOOM! Anyway, Trevor is tremendous as Clem. KINO did a really great job on this title. GREAT STUFF!
I watched this 2 weeks ago. I can barely recall anything from the story. But I remember quite coherently that everything looked fucking cool, just whatever the actors and characters were doing, I was just thinking, Damn that looks cool. Jason Yee is appropriately stoic. Sasha Grey looks hot. And the action didn’t suck. It just wasn’t really about anything that mattered. If that makes any sense at all. They wanted to create a hyper stylized film noir style story and the look is very well accomplished, just the dialogue and characters didn’t solidify as much as the aesthetic they captured.
Anyone that loves lesbian vampire flicks should be familiar with Countess Bathory and the true legends about her. But I have to say – no film has ever told the BATHORY story as well as this. This is actually really really good. Check it out!
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
There was a big Twitter Spat thing going on today regarding the awesome or lack of awesome that is inherent to the Paul Verhoeven TOTAL RECALL. Some very notable folks are on the “Not my cup of tea” Wagon – To which I say, your loss buddy. I love TOTAL RECALL, always have. From the opening titles to the very end, I’m a part of that film. I love the inventive junkfood sci-fi eye-candy. Very proud to have my own Wall screen. Want a Halloween mask that comes off like Arnold’s mask. I love the goofy mind fuck is it or isn’t it sense of play that the film has. I also get why it is all bullshit to those that hate it, because the film cheats. It shows us scenes that Schwarzenegger isn’t a part of – which forces our hand to saying reality. But the whole film is structured to make you believe it could be a dream – and yes the film works against itself… but that’s what I love about it. I love that the film is cheating, this film winks at the audience in several places – but I love it. I love Sharon Stone’s crazy awesome performance in this. And yeah, I love her in BASIC INSTINCT too. But not the sequel. The first release on TOTAL RECALL was lacking, well here they did it all right. Great transfer, the Verhoeven taking us through the process is great. Love the extras. I see the new one Thursday. Decided to try and just see what I see. But I do have a massive hard on for the original.
Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe Technicolor 1080p. YES. This is where Marilyn sings “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” And that’s as pure movie magic as just about anything you’ll see on your screen. I can’t wait to get these, alas I have yet to see them. So I’ve ordered all the Marilyn titles on the column for today.
The film Hitler could not stop, despite his absolute best efforts. Renoir’s LA GRANDE ILLUSION is the camera as an artist’s eye looking at the man the world loved to hate, Erich Von Stroheim, the German Captain of the World War 1 Dr Doom style military jail. I always imagined as a kid when mom and Dad would watch this, that it was a Captain America movie, where he doesn’t show up. Mainly because I have always thought that Stroheim had to play opposite Cap. But seriously – This film about two French prisoners of war, who escape and escape until they get put into Stroheim’s care. This anti-war film had FDR promoting it as a bastion of Democracy and the Axis out and out trying to destroy every known print of it. One of the greatest films of all time. After you see this, look Stroheim up and see as much as you can get your hands on. Tremendous films to discover!
You have Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall starring in this gold digger tale of these three women hatching to land some prosperous single fellas, and of course it gets complicated, before being pure magic. As with all the Marilyn’s – I’ve ordered them and am awaiting delivery.
Love RIVER OF NO RETURN – because it isn’t really like anything else she did. And that’s because of Robert Mitchum. There’s a dynamic between these two that is absolutely not like this in any other film she did. Mitchum is electric in this film. Those two and this magnificent Canadian river will all look spectacular on Blu – can not wait to devour these!
This Entertainment family tale is something to behold. Dan Dailey and Ethel Merman are the strong parents with 3 kids played by Johnnie Ray, Mitzi Gaynor and Donald O’Connor… making them the Donahues. Marilyn puts a wrench in thins… But man… Watching Marilyn doing her HEAT WAVE number. It’s otherworldly. It’s just so much sexual wow coming out of the screen. But the film belongs to Donald O’Connor and Mitzi Gaynor – who is just so damn talented that you’ll just die. Less of a Marilyn film, but still a classic from all sides.
Watched this tonight. Couldn’t look away. Demi Moore, Thomas Jane, Jay Hernandez, Gina Gershon and Miley Cyrus. The adults in the film are really wonderful actors, but the story and type of person that Miley plays is one of those – live through your phone people that listen to friends trying to cover their own ass, believing them then tormenting her boyfriend with the lies and innuendo of wrong doing. None of these kids are particularly wonderful in the film, I found myself wishing the story would stay focused on the adults and away from the teens, because they’re just written to be LAME. Her bitch fit in school was ridiculous. Who acts that way. As the really handsome teacher that one of the teenage girls wants to fuck told me on Twitter, the movie isn’t aimed at me. I will do my utmost that if I’m fortunate to have a young daughter that they would have better taste than this LOL.
I watched this the other night with a friend and we were fully prepared to yank it if we hated it, but it kept getting more intense and even has an ending that’s pretty chilling. Admittedly, really stupid situation. BUT if you give them the premise. If you imagine these idiots parked a half mile from the enclosed ATM. If you say they all left their phones in the car… and that this happens. Well, once you have the 3 people in the enclosure – they’re pretty fucked. There’s not a lot of options. The fucker out there in the dark is a Henry, Michael Myers, inhuman nightmare kind of bad guy. He doesn’t want them to just die, but to suffer throughout. But if you watch it with a friend, you can’t help but play – WHAT YOU WOULD DO – with the film. And I’m pretty reserved that given the situation… I’d be totally fucking dead. Except, I always have my phone.
Made by Abraham Polonsky, who was totally fucked by the McCarthy Blacklists, but as you watch this amazing film with John Garfield, you have yet another Noir, this time concerning the bullshit numbers rackets that the bad guys have been exploiting. Garfield plays a lawyer working with the Mob to take over these rackets, including one that his brother is operating. It’s circling the drain kind of awesome. That inevitable payoff to being evil. Great film. Just great.
Ok – so you call yourself an aficionado of the greatest Boxing movies of all time. If you don’t have BODY AND SOUL on your list, you need to see it. John Garfield got a nomination for Best Actor for this work. Rightfully so, he’s doing powerful work here. He has to deal with a corrupt syndicate – but the main thing is this was shot by James Wong Howe – one of the greatest DPs in history – and when you see how he shoots that final fight. It is something. Just incredible. The script was by Abraham Polonsky and garnered a nomination. The film won for editing. A great fight pic!
That’s it for July 2012. Sorry again for being a punk this month, but I really got caught up in watching these releases. But I will endeavor to do better throughout August. Which will have me lookin at THE LORAX, GROSSE POINTE BLANK Blu, CLUE THE MOVIE Blu, IRON SKY Blu, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING 25th Anniversary Blu, WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE Blu, HIGH FIDELITY Blu, RIO GRANDE Blu, SPACEBALLS 25th Anniversary Blu, BOOGENS Blu, ROMY & MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, JOHNNY GUITAR Blu Ray, INCREDIBLE MR LIMPET Blu, BOUND Blu, FULL METAL JACKET Blu Book 25th Anniversary, FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD Collection Vol 5, KILLING BONO Blu and that’s about it. Before I let you go this week, ShockTillYouDrop posted this news today, just click the pic to read the scoop. SO WANT THAT BLU NOW!!!