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Harry's DVD PICKS & PEEKS - DEC 18th 2012 edition: William Friedkin, Eastwood, Len Wiseman, Pitch Perfect and more!!!

Hey folks, Harry here...  I've been discovering the amazing joys of HD Projection 3D at home with the Shutter glasses and Holy Shit does it look many times better than the 3D in Theaters.  I'm genuinely shocked by how amazing it looks at home.   As usual, the images and links take you to Amazon where you can learn more on the title in question, or you can purchase it, which helps to keep this column's best efforts going.   Also, if you haven't picked up the Picks & Peeks App from the App store for i-Devices, do so now!   Otherwise let's get right into it!


Tuesday, December 18th, 2012


So I admit, I was skeptical of PITCH PERFECT, though by now I should know to just place my faith in Anna Kendrick and just let her work her magic, but this is an a cappella College coming of age comedy… It wasn’t an immediate home run, but by the end of the disc, I was hooked. Sure it’s just like BRING IT ON and STEP UP and GLEE and all that stuff… but if you watch to enjoy, you will. This is a very fun little flick.


If you want a notably pedestrian interpretation of TOTAL RECALL – with a very restrained color palate and the big science fiction is the elevator through the Earth from England to Australia (The Colony) – instead of a story involving Mars and Mutants. For me, this was a loose enough adaptation as to not be patently offensive – but at the same time – it was familiar enough that it constantly made me aware of how much better Paul Verhoeven’s film with Arnie was. This was just unneeded… especially by Len Wiseman.


If there’s an award for best first time director casting… Seriously what a great cast. Here, Eastwood plays the grizzled and cantankerous recruiting scout on his final run, needing help and the only person he can turn to is his lawyer daughter played with effortless cuteness by Amy Adams. I just love watching Eastwood on screen. The film is pretty by the numbers, but with this cast, that’s enough. They seem like they’re having a good time with the film. I know I did.


William Friedkin kicks more ass with this low budget, amazing cast sweaty noir than just about anything else I saw all year long. I have no problem believing that somewhere in Texas this is all happening right now. That seedy realization makes me stay in Austin. Where I don’t believe this is happening right now. That’s a delusion, but one I prefer to believe in. If this had been picked up by a larger company, Gina Gershon would be being bandied about for Best Supporting Actress nods. And I think Thomas Haden Church is doing work that I could see getting a Supporting nod of his own. But nobody is campaigning for this obsidian black humored film. See if your skin crawls in that scene with McConaughey and Ms Temple. And Matthew and Gina… hell, they work in the best spirit of Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange from their POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE remake. Sharp eyes will spot me in the extras helming the most wildly inappropriate Q&A I’ve ever done. Of course it winds up on the Blu Ray! Crazy.


I tend to love most of David Koepp’s directing work, and this is no different. Of course with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Michael Shannon headlining, a film would have to muster some powerful suckage to knock this one of the rails. Koepp’s another fan of Noir – and this reminds me of the DOA kind of scenario. A mystery suspense action flick that causes a high amount our eeeks out of me. I’m deathly afraid of collisions. If you double feature this with KILLER JOE, play this one first. KILLER JOE is a closer.


Here’s a film where Richard Gere plays a total prick, that I think I’m supposed to be rooting for, but everything he says and does makes my fucking skin crawl. So instead of rooting for him, I keep trying to manufacture ways for his life to suck more and usually it does. But I still think the movie is too nice to him. He’s just a rotten being. If you like a good prick movie, this one is mildly satisfying. I have no desire to really see it ever again.


This is one of my all time favorite Danny Kaye films. That’s saying something, because as far as I’ve seen, I’ve never seen a bad Danny Kaye flick. However, what puts this title above most of the others is the depth that he dove into the character. Too often, Kaye was used exclusively for comic timing and melodic contributions – and he’s funny and musical here… but there’s more soul in his performance as Hans Christian Andersen. This is a welcome addition to the Blu Ray library!


Ever wanted to see a film directed by Paul Newman & starring him… that was adapted from a novel that was written under the influences of LSD about Union Logging? Of course you did. This was Ken Kesey’s novel after ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST – and is not nearly as well known as that. However, Paul Newman’s film with Henry Fonda, the gorgeous Lee Remick and one of my fave character actors, Richard Jaeckel as Newman’s bro. Next to SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS – this is one of the great Logging films. Heh.


Nazi Ghost Ship vs GEORGE “Patron” KENNEDY? On Blu Ray? Forgettaboutit!!! This is an absolute must have. Alongside Rambo’s handler, George Kennedy ends up on a fateful voyage that brings him and his fellow passengers into intimate terror with the DEATHSHIP! That’s pretty much all you need to know. I love ghostly tales of the ships wandering the Earth wanting to kill you. Now just get me a SARGASSO OGRE movie.


This release was moved today to January 29th, 2013. But was scheduled to come out today, as of yesterday. Le sigh. THIS one can’t get here soon enough. FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR is awesome. If you want it now – you’ll have to seek out the German Import, but very soon this gets a full on domestic release.  You can pre-order it now it seems.

Then next week we have Christmas releases leading off with the tremendous LOOPER, which is about the only thing being released on Christmas day… so Next Tuesday I’ll have my picks for the best releases of the year! Stay warm and safe this Holiday season.

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