Hey folks, Harry here… No excuses, I’ll attempt to do much better. This week has some great releases… including some brilliant Snow Globe horror action. Ahem. Oh yeah and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA! Yeah, that’s in here and one of the greatest Film Noirs of all time. As always, the pics link to Amazon where if you are so motivated you can learn more about the release and even purchase it, which helps to support this column, which has been ridiculously lacking as of late. I’ll do better.
Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
My favorite non-popcorn Spielberg flick! I dearly love this movie. It was the last film that I saw at my beloved childhood AMERICANA theater – and then I watched it on cable every time it was on – and once I got it on VHS, I sung along with Christian Bale. One of my favorite war experience films ever made. When those Cadillacs of the Sky show up… I seriously just stare in awe as they speed by in slow motion. It’s just beautiful. The soul going to heaven moment never fails to just kill me. This is a film for Blu Ray! I just wish it was at the top of more lists this week. There’s a couple of really cool extras on here. A Behind the scenes doc on the making of EMPIRE OF THE SUN, and a neat piece on Warner Brothers’ propaganda department during the time of World War II. Hopefully, this Blu’s release will get the film the love that it truly deserves!
Pixar’s latest is beautiful to watch. There’s a part of me that wishes I could time travel back to when my sister was about 6 years old and show her this movie. Sure, lil Sister Satan loves the movie as the adult she is, but at that age, this movie would have been her favorite film ever, simply because she really needed this exact animated heroine at that age. A powerful cartoon image. A girl at odds with her mother, tom boy at heart. As a result I really do love this film. It’s a great Ginger tale! The film looks stunning at home. Another for the Pixar collection.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA on Blu Ray. Yes, it is everything that was promised and more. A new high-water mark for WOW. Transfer is stunning. Now why buy this giant oversized boxed set with a jacked up price? Because you’re a real film geek – and you want that 3rd Blu Ray disc that feature a never-seen scene that you ain’t ever seen. Scorsese on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, which is just something that if you need me to explain why you need that in your life… perhaps you should just trust me and take it on faith that if this special feature happens to be your introduction to Scorsese talking about film… you will find yourself obsessively tracking down his numerous comments upon cinema over time. Then there’s all the archival interviews with folks about Lawrence like more Scorsese, but also folks like Pollack and Friedkin. AND you get a 70mm film frame from some prints that some sadist cut up for your edification. So display proudly and mourn the passing of film to something like a paperweight… a tale to tell future generations that will laugh at the very notion of a continuous strip moving in front of a bulb with a shutter creating movies. It’s like explaining the grooved slabs of vinyl. There’s a lot of interesting film geek moments buried all in that 3rd Blu Ray that you can only get with this particular set. And you can always used an 88 page coffee table book and the soundtrack on CD… though I can’t imagine you don’t already. This is LAWRENCE OF ARABIA... One of the really truly unforgettably brilliant and great works of cinema in history. And this Blu Ray will help to remind you of how movies are just flatly amazing. Truly magical.
Oliver Stone’s latest – a film about the increasingly complicated world of pot in California. And a perfect illustration of why we need to just make it legal, commercialize it like alcohol and get rid of the fucking tension and waste of resources we have trying to enforce something that can’t be enforced. And that the population is finally at a point of change, finally. Watching SAVAGES, it is a film that truly feels like a PROHIBITION movie. Violent criminal mobsters, small time still operation and the cops corruptly “handling it all”. Benicio is, of course, great. Travolta is kind of fascinating to watch in this film. Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively both give us their very best work to date. Aaron Johnson is also great. But Salma Hayek is just outstanding as the… well, best if you just find out. SAVAGES is a modern crime film, one that will help explain the era to folks years from now when this period is looked at in laughter.
KEY FILM NOIR! Need a film to fully whet your appetite for Film Noir? A film that cleanly and brilliantly lays out most of the rules of the genre – in an unforgettably great feature? Here it is. John Garfield and Lana Turner… Just amazing. The artistic repression of the era made it perfect for films rich in subtext. The screen comes to a frothy boil as Lana and Garfield pop the mercury. An absolute essential!
I love PRESTO, PARTLY CLOUDY, SMALL FRY and DAY & NIGHT – and only like the others. But there’s no way I wouldn’t buy a disc that had just those 4 upon it. And PIXAR’s shorts work is always at least amusing. At best, something that expands the goodness in your soul. So worth it.
My spiffy edition of choice on this title was that Amazon Exclusive Nite Owl Ship edition. But then I have the original comics, a trade paperback & my Owl Ship edition. Now, I don’t have a copy of this set, but from best I can tell, it has the same content as the big Director Cut edition that came out – but with the Graphic Novel thrown in. $50 might be a little much though.
I love this set. Yes, I’m older than most hardcore Turtle Maniacs, but you have to understand. My sister and I bonded over the Turtles. She collected animation cels from the show, all the toys… ALL THE TOYS. My faves were always the Universal Monster Turtles. So cool. But having the entire set in a Turtle van. Feels goofy and cheesy and kind of epic sitting there.
I’m curious to check this out tomorrow. As far as I can tell nobody has seen pixel 1 of this disc, but I do wonder how spectacular a treatment they would be giving this – if “the powers that be” know they’re about to make the third. But I’m hoping that when I purchase this, I find myself happy as hell and surprised to find a stuffed Blu Ray. I’m just not betting on it.
From the director of SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM comes a trilogy of artsy raunch amidst Scorsese’s production designer and with Morricone scores. This series of cultural tales were given the bawdry go of it by Pasolini. A highlight is the trip to hell in THE CANTERBURY TALES. Kind of a must to be seen. And I’m dying to dive into ARABIAN NIGHTS. The first two were excellent. Criterion kicked ass on this set, just see:
New high-definition digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
New visual essays by film scholars Patrick Rumble and Tony Rayns on The Decameron and Arabian Nights, respectively
New interviews with art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone about their work with Pasolini, and with film scholar Sam Rohdie on The Canterbury Tales
The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a forty-five-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a forty-seven-minute documentary by Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
Via Pasolini, a documentary in which Pasolini discusses his views on language, film, and modern society
Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Form of the City (1974), a sixteen-minute documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Burnatto about the ancient Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia
Deleted scenes from Arabian Nights, with transcriptions of pages from the original script
Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track for The Canterbury Tales
New English subtitle translations
PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Colin MacCabe; Pasolini’s 1975 article “Trilogy of Life Rejected”; excerpts from Pasolini’s Berlin Film Festival press conference for The Canterbury Tales; and a report from the set of Arabian Nights by critic Gideon Bachmann
All I really knew going into watching this was that Amy Heckerling (Fast Times At Ridgemont High & Clueless) was shooting a reunion pic with Alicia Silverstone – where she was a vampire. I was good with just knowing that much. I never flipped the Blu Ray over to read the details, I had all the knowledge I needed to know to put it in. I have so much fun with this movie. The cast is one of the great surprises of the film. Face after face that I love. But Krysten Ritter stole the show for me. Especially how she moves. Their boss vampire, don’t want to ruin the casting, but WOW! Just WOW! I had a lot of fun with this one, way better than I thought it needed to be.
Did ya know that the first movie to carry the name JOHN WAYNE was a 70mm Epic by one of the great film directors? Raoul Walsh! For the first time we’re getting that 70mm widescreen version of the film. 1930. Think about that? And Tyrone Power is the heavy. A story that hugs the banks of the mighty Mississippi and chills in the snowy peaks of the Oregon Trail. It’s things like this that make me love Blu Ray so much!
I seemed to have the exquisite luck of having an event I was hosting opposite every single critic screening of Spielberg’s LINCOLN. Once this week gives me a chance to see it, I will. But getting to revisit Walter Huston’s performance tonight – well that was a great treat indeed. The father of John Huston, and if you know YANKEE DOODLE DANDY with James Cagney, Walter Huston was George M Cohan’s Dad. Or THE DEVIL & DAN WEBSTER. Here, Huston plays Lincoln like an articulate gentle soul of a man. The film shows its age, but never in the performance of Walter Huston. Wonderful performance. Can’t wait to see Daniel Day’s.
6 Drink Coasters, 3 hanging Car Fresheners, an enormous LIGHTER looking metal case that contains a Blu-Ray set that has all 3 of the dazzlingly hilarious adventures of our modern Hope & Crosby by way of Cheech & Chong. Yoko has apparently never seen a Harold & Kumar film. This may explain her constant overage of energy. It might be something to keep secret from her. What do you say? Should I show Yoko HAROLD & KUMAR? I’m thinking NPH makes it an essential. Along with Waffle-Bot. What do you say?
I don’t know how to not watch these trashy super low budget flicks. The CG is truly awful. Just really bad. The acting is cardboard as fuck. But did you know that this movie has a magic snow globe that fucks everything up in Jumanji/Zathura sort of way? Oh yes, this shit happens. The movie is insane. I don’t know if I can really recommend it, but… it is a SNOW GLOBE OF DOOM story and that’s actually enough to do it for me. I mean, who doesn’t press all the buttons and winds up all the windy thingees that they get their hands on? I would totally be responsible for this going down. But it’s also why, although I do collect snow globes, I’ve always had a superstition about getting a snowglobe for where you live… JUST IN CASE THIS EXACT SCENARIO goes down. Best to shake your snow globe and wreak havoc from 1000s of miles away. I’ll become the super-villain THE RED GLOBE! Muhahahahaha
Well folks, that’s it for this week. Hopefully I’ll see you back next week with another thrilling edition of the DVD PICKS & PEEKS column. I’ve got to hit the sack, have a secret BNAT screening in 4 hours.