Hey folks, Harry here... I really love the releases this week, but next week is possibly even stronger. Man, we've got great stuff hitting! Got this one done a bit early, which means I get well rested for the show tomorrow!
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
The last of the great Calvary Trilogy which began with FORT APACHE, which was followed by SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON – and RIO GRANDE was the film that John Ford never particularly intended to make. Republic Pictures basically blackmailed Ford into making it… if he wanted them to finance QUIET MAN, which Ford had Wayne and Maureen O’Hara on board to make, but nobody wanted to make it – as it wasn’t in Ford’s cash genre. SO he had to make a black & white western with some of his QUIET MAN cast if he wanted to make that film. This is where lessor directors would have phoned in a film. But Ford had no quit in him, so he gathered up Wayne, O’Hara and the great Victor McLaglen… along with folks like Chill Wills, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr. and Wayne’s own son – and he made another classic Calvary film. I love Ford’s films – mainly because he understood the frame of film and how to bring emotion, power and majesty to it. Watch the opening of RIO GRANDE, no dialogue, but watch how much is conveyed through pure imagery. Watch the Roman-Riding scene with Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr – and realize… that’s them guys doing that crazy fucking stunt work. It is breath-taking… not only that, but that jump? INSANITY. My copy of the Blu Ray did have a flaw… on the special features page it has a listing for THE MAKING OF HIGH NOON… when you click it though you will get THE MAKING OF RIO GRANDE hosted by Leonard Maltin and featuring a good many folks that were a part of this classic film. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – and a must for real cineastes!
The Wachowskis have made 3 films that I have watched an awful lot. I’ve watched SPEED RACER and THE MATRIX an awful lot, but my favorite film from this powerhouse of cinematic DNA team has got to be BOUND. First off, Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly are just incredibly hot in this film. Just wow. But beyond them being just amazing eye-candy, the characters these two play are just perfect. I like how Tilly seems to have BIMBO written all over her, though she’s anything but. And that Gina Gershon’s character has LOSER written all over her, but again… I think those qualities are outward projections that keep folks at bay. But when these two get together, FIREWORKS. And fucking Joe Pantoliano?!?!? LOVE HIM! He’s such a great target for the scam that is in play. Here is where the Wachowskis began to just put everything in place. Look at Bill Pope’s camera work here. I remember reading the script for THE MATRIX and watching BOUND and just knowing, this film is going to look fucking amazing. Everything the Wachowskis have going is on display here. Smart, tight and beautiful film work. It started here and like many filmmakers’ first, there’s something about that first dose of cinema from a filmmaker(s) that you know, you’re going to follow for a long time. I’d love for them to do another smaller film that put them back in a lean & mean mode. When you can do this, you don’t need crazy vfx, just cameras, lights, great actors and a script that sizzles like this one. This film looks just jaw-dropping on Blu.
This was another of my mother’s favorite films – and when she divorced my father and became a rancher, she mined Joan Crawford’s character from JOHNNY GUITAR and dressed just like her and even that hairstyle and stark makeup. And yeah, my mom, when she drank enough totally had that scary ass Crawford stare. Oddly, that personal history doesn’t tarnish an ounce of this great Nicholas Ray film for me. The titular character is played by Sterling Hayden, who will always be Sir Gawain to me from the old PRINCE VALIANT movie, while for everyone else – one look and you’ll be thinking about “precious bodily fluids” most likely. But Hayden’s Johnny Guitar is something special. I love the dynamic testy relationship between Joan and him. Even more, I fucking love Mercedes McCambridge (voice of Linda Blair’s demon in EXORCIST) as the crazy fucking power-mad She-Bitch out to wipe Crawford and her business out of this two-horse town. The cast has Ernest Borgnine and John Carradine in the mix, along with the great Ward Bond. This Blu is beautiful. Ray created a western unlike any other. Although CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA with Barbara Stanwyk and Ronald Reagan is just about the other feminist power western that I can think of, that doesn’t go exploitive. BTW – that’s a great double feature with this, I’d start off with CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA first that night if I were you.
Is there any doubt that Don Knotts would have been the creepiest denizen of INNSMOUTH, Massachusetts? Knotts, no doubt, had a fishy face – and when the part of Mr Limpet came his way, we were all given a very non-Dagon take on his scaly transformation. And for everyone that thinks fucking Aquaman is a stupid superhero – fuck cleanly off. Mr Limpet proves what a mere fish could do – and Aquaman controls all the things in Earth’s seas, including Great White Sharks. This film is a wonderful story about a man that wants to serve his country during WWII, but like Steve Rogers, he flunks out – but he had no super-scientist to turn him into a super-soldier, instead he simply made a wish and became the strangest fish in the sea. I love this film. Kids of all ages, even 40, will love it too. Live action and 2D animation look spectacular on this Blu. If you’ve never enjoyed it, watch it with friends – you’ll be delighted. Then put on THE LOVE GOD and discover Knotts at the height of his powers!
You know what I love? (besides apparently everything?) I love that I’ve been a movie obsessed monkey for the entire time on this plane of existence – and every time I am relatively certain that I’ve seen every 1980’s horror film, there comes something that somehow I missed, that none of you readers happened to mention to me – and that the countless horror fans just have never randomly brought up. So it feels like months ago that I watched this BluRay and ya know what… this is a pretty damn creepy fucking lil 80’s horror flick. First off, it has to do with opening up an old abandoned mine and well… it was a mine they definitely should not have fucked with. Over the story we will learn, beyond any doubt that mine’s that were closed on purpose by a bunch of people that ain’t around no more… well, best leave it the fuck alone, because there’s bad monster juju going on in this – and of course, the mine has tunnels that lead all over the town – which means once you blast that one spot – shit will happen everywhere. If you want your kid to stay the fuck out of the basement, SHOW THEM THIS!
This is so good. I watched this as a double feature with ROMY & MICHELLE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, and yeah – that was a great double feature – two radically different reunion films. In this one, John Cusack accepts a mission to assassinate a target in his old home town, which also happens to place him there for his own High School reunion. Old relations come into play, but most of all, his old love played with the awesome that is Minnie Driver… well, she starts weaving that old magic upon him – but what really makes this film crackle, besides the great script, is the supporting cast. Joan Cusack is great as her brother’s keeper… and Dan Aykroyd as his rival assassin – just great. Alan Arkin? Yeah, this film is just about as perfect as it could get. This movie hasn’t aged a day. So great!
Ok – so the second this Blu Ray was in my hands, the plastic came off and the disc was in the PS3. I have a serious jones for HIGH FIDELITY. I spent enough time in a place called Inner Sanctum here in Austin, which was a great Vinyl shop here in Austin – and I had vinyl friends by the ton back during college through the early days of AICN, so HIGH FIDELITY, I felt like I knew those characters. The three store jockeys… I know people in my life that resemble all 3. I love Cusack’s listmania. I love how he revisits the past loves of his life. I love the soundtrack to this film, like mad. In many ways, Jack Black was at his best here. And the whole cast is spectacular… though the fantasy/nightmare vision in Cusack’s mind of his upstairs neighbor fucking his most recent ex… well Tim Robbins is the best evil bad guy, that’s doing your ex… ever. Nick Hornby’s great book was pitch perfect material for Cusack and the rest of this group. And yes, I would love to see Edgar Wright do a remake set in England.
I watched this as a double feature with FULL METAL JACKET as a great Vincent D’onofrio double-bill… obviously with this playing second. What?!?! Kubrick followed by ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING? Yeah, I take that kind of whiplash in stride. ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING was a film that used to be a guilty pleasure for me. There was a point in time, when I felt ashamed for my love of this film. But in 1987, when this Merry Marvel Marching Society member saw a little girl obsessed with THOR – and saw that character as being pure hope for our society. NO, NOT LIKE THAT. I showed this film to my sis, repeatedly. She loved that girl and Shue. And I was a crazed maniac screaming about how Vincent D’onofrio should fucking play THOR in a John Milius scripted and directed THOR epic. Yeah. I know. I have always been a basket case, but I like my basket. Rewatching this the other day, I suddenly realized… There’s no shame to be felt. This is a solid fantasy film. ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING might sound like a light-weight piece of puff, but it really isn’t. I love how oddly adult all the situations are. Shue is amazingly beautiful here – and Penelope Anne Miller is almost unrecognizable as her distraught friend. OH – and I’ll love BABYSITTING BLUES forever. This is one of my favorite Chris Columbus directed films. Nice to have on BluRay – but miserable when I read… 25th Anniversary. Really? It’s that fucking old? Jesus.
All these newer films from this title up, all arrived the exact same day, and the film that Yoko lost her mind over was ROMY & MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION – and after HIGH FIDELITY – I put this on, much to her delight, and I remember seeing this film in 1997 and it not phasing me a bit. I reacted completely neutral to it. Watching it with her… REVELATORY. This really is a fucking hilarious film. And Lisa Kudrow is actually really really cute in this – and I no longer dislike her. I’ve always loved Mira Sorvino. But Kudrow was so good in this. I love the GAMBIT-like device that is used here. Janeane Garofalo is just hysterical throughout – and Alan Cumming? So much fun. Going from this to GROSSE POINTE BLANK – just a surprisingly strong double feature. Get some old friends together and watch. It’s a good time!
This is one of those films that I had simply never seen. I’m a John Landis freak, so how did it escape me? Well, when it came out, the 3 different endings actually kept me out of the theater, because I only had access to one theater and hated the notion of having no possibility to see the other 2 endings at the time. So I decided I’d just wait for another opportunity. For some reason or another, I just never got to it. I’ve had friends preaching the faith, that this film is awesome – and with that cast, I never had a doubt. The other night, my friend Baby Face Nelson was over and when he realized I hadn’t seen CLUE – he made me put it on – and wow. Giggle. I’m so happy I saw it with him! The production design is note perfect. The performances by all are fantastic, but Tim Curry… WOW. Just fantastic. That said, I am going to plan a small engagement where we each come as a character from the gameboard, we play CLUE, then watch it. It’ll be a fun night! And yes, you can watch the film with each ending attached, or with a random ending played. Very cool!
I liked THE LORAX. Of course I did, coming from Austin… home to a very Druiditic Tree-worshipping culture, the story of the legendary Lorax… well, it plays very well. Everything is just so damn pretty – and I wouldn’t mind a few inflatable trees and hedges from time to time. This is cool kids entertainment. Mainly though, I just love the character of The Lorax as brought to life with the voice of Danny DeVito. That’s just perfect. And yeah, the 3 fish chorus. Awesome.
This is the exact same transfer as on pervious FULL METAL JACKET releases – and I still see artifacts in the skies. So pisses me off that we don’t have a great perfect transfer of this film. It isn’t consistently awful, but you should never ever have a quality issue with a Kubrick film. The mere fact that his name is on the film means you have something of the utmost quality and should be an automatic excuse for the folks mastering to put forth their very best effort. This is not that. This movie is still getting the short stick.
This is a long, four and a half hour period epic about a Seediq tribe of 300 men, women and children, that gave the Japanese nightmares between 1895 – 1945. Produced by John Woo, this film is one of those ZULU-esque stories about a technologically superior fighting force being given a lesson in tactics and military combat. The Seediq were a fiercely brutal fighting tribe, proud of their heritage and their leader, Mouna Rudo is just awesome. And that one kid – wow. This is a powerful film, the most expensive Taiwanese film ever… and it definitely shows. This is just an amazing story taken right from the little read pages of history. Check it out!
I haven’t seen this disc yet, but it doesn’t sound like there’s anything that would get me to replace my previous version, which I was wholly satisfied with. But if this is a superior disc – I’ll revise this when I pick it up, if I do.
I love these FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD sets, they always have very interesting and racy films, from an era that society had kind of suppressed for generations. I’m most curious to see JEWEL ROBBERY, LAWYER MAN and MAN WANTED, as not only did all 3 of those come out in 1932, but they were all directed by William Dieterle, one of the great directors of the era. The casts have folks like William Powell, Joan Blondell, Loretta Young and the gorgeous Kay Francis. Can’t wait to dive into this and the next set!
Haven’t got this yet either, but given it has a James Cagney film I can cross off his filmography, that I haven’t seen (HARD TO HANDLE) – well, that’s reason enough to get the whole set for me. The other films are nothing to sneeze at, but Cagney, I see every Cagney flick I can get my hands on.
Here’s a “I coulda been a contender” kinda story, focusing on a pair of brothers that wanted to be Rock Gods in and around the exact same area and time that Bono & U2 suddenly came about. Not only that, they knew one another – and at one point, one of the brothers could have been a member of U2, only… well, that’d be telling too much. This Belfast tale is just a wonderful film about living in the shadow of tremendous success and how that success can poison you. Very cool flick!
Next week, we will be taking a look at JAWS on BluRay – not only that, but Quint & I are shooting in the Basement, a full on JAWS tribute episode today, for Next Thursday! Oh – and there’s also a little film called THE HUNGER GAMES coming out and: THE RAID: REDEMPTION on Blu, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS Criterion Blu, GODZILLA VS MEGALON, FALLEN Blu, IRON SKY Blu, PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY, JUAN OF THE DEAD, NEW JACK CITY Blu, FATHER’S DAY Blu, LES VAMPIRES Blu, SHAFT (original film) Blu, DEATH WISH 2 & 3 & 4 on Blu, ROSETTA Criterion Blu, HICK, ROMEO MUST DIE Blu, LA PROMESSE Criterion Blu, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A PORNO GANG, KORCZAK, ART IS… THE PERMANENT REVOLUTION, STALLONE COLLECTION Blu, THE CROSS OF LORRAINE, THE HANGING TREE, BLACK HAND, THE DEVIL MAKES THREE, PILOT NO. 5 and that’s about it. Helluva week coming up! But I’m still thinking about next month’s release of this…