Harry's 12th PICKS & PEEKS of 2013: Malick, Hooper, Jackson, GORGO, Bigelow, Powell & Pressburger & more!
Hey folks, Harry here with the latest Picks and Peeks - which showed up magically to your iPhone this morning. Good news for Android users – Mike’s getting closer to getting that version going. Another great week of releases, let’s hop to it. The images and links take you to Amazon where you can learn more or purchase the item in question. If you do, it helps keep the best efforts of this column going. So thank you, and now… here’s the releases:
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
GORGO Blu Ray
I don’t recollect the exact circumstances that GORGO became one of my childhood favorites. I think my “Uncle” Bob had a 16mm print, I know for a fact that I had the poster for the film on the wall of my bedroom as far back as I can remember – and I know that the film was a genre film that my mother and I shared a great love for… But as I watched this on Blu Ray, I have to say – I was overwhelmed with happiness to find that this artifact of early youth… well, it actually rocks. In 1961, GORGO broke out into the pop-culture scene. There were comic books. But the Lobby Card set had this shot of Gorgo’s claw looming over a pair of men in a boat – and it’s my strongest impression of GIANT MONSTER and scary. GORGO is actually one of the greatest Mommy movies ever. Gorgo is actually the baby – and when Mama comes to the UK to get her baby… the shit hits the fan and we’re in awesome giant MAN IN SUIT versus intricate Model London – and it rocks so hard. Mom and I used to watch this film on Mother’s Day… because she was awesome. Even if she did go crazy. The Blu Ray is a delight, with an actual making of Gorgo doc – which just makes me crazy happy. And the Gorgo video comic and cover gallery is also on here. In fact – you’ll delight in the extras, especially if you love GORGO as I do. And even if you don’t, you better fucking recognize the genius of GORGO or else I’ll just really act the child.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Blu-Ray 3D
Ok – upfront – there will be an expanded edition of the film. Peter Jackson said so at Butt-Numb-A-Thon, and I’m hoping against hope that the PS4 will have the ability to output a 48fps version of this in home 3D… but it’s probably just an empty hope – but for right now – this second – the best possible version of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY is this 3D BluRay. It has all the Video Blogs – and your digital file redemption code will also allow you to take part in the big only debut of THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG… footage that is going to be some manner of only through this promotion can you see… So yeah, I’m excited to see that like many of you. I wholly love THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. I pretty much have it memorized at this point. I got Critic’s screener of the film back in December and I marveled at the film at 420p – and at 48fps 3D and 24fps 3D DBox. I wish that the BluRay could output the 48fps – and I’m not completely technically proficient to understand why it can’t while Video Games can output at an even higher framerate. All I know is as great as this looks in home projection HD 3D, there was a life that I felt everything had at 48 that is missing. All the Video Blogs are on here – but we both know the extensive BTS will be saved for the Expanded Editions, which can’t come soon enough for me.
LES MISERABLES Blu Ray
I loved this production of LES MISERABLES. Every line is felt as it is sung, I believe that the characters are feeling everything they sing as an extension of their souls – and I love it. I love the pretension that Russell Crowe embues in Javert, and I know it isn’t kindest to the ear, but for me, it works for the character to set himself apart and above all. Anne Hathaway is just flat out amazing. Just wow. I have to say though, that I was really blown away by Amanda Seyfried. I’ve liked her in a few of her more B-movie parts, but Cosette was enchanting. Eddie Redmayne was also fantastic here. Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean was his best Wolverine performance yet, sewers and all. I thought he did a tremendous job here and Tom Hooper’s decision to capture the on-camera sound, it might have made it a bit rougher, but I feel it captured lightning in a bottle. This was how I discovered the musical. I’ve since listened to Broadway recordings and a London Cast that was outstanding. I felt the film worked not as realism, but as legendary presentation. To me, the story of Jean Valjean… it feels like a bigger than life story. To me, the film feels bigger than life. I wasn’t expecting that. Ultimately I was just really surprised how much I loved this. I love musicals generally, but not always the Broadway adaptations. I’ll revisit this quite a bit, I love working to musicals.
ZERO DARK THIRTY Blu Ray
I am still undecided on ZERO DARK THIRTY. I appreciate the craftsmanship of the film, which is wonderfully assembled, but I don’t know if I like rushing a Bin Laden movie out. This could have been a story that I think will only improve with the distance and clarity of that day when all the facts are out and not in dispute. But will that day every really come? Taken as a detective story, I think it pretty much rocks. Jessica Chastain is great in the role. I have thought a lot about the film and I think my estimation of the film will grow over time. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quite hold it in the high level of esteem that I have for something like ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, but then… that’s in my Top Ten. So I wouldn’t sweat it. If you’re a fan of the film, you’ll be happy with the Blu Ray.
BADLANDS Criterion Blu Ray
BADLANDS was a film that was held in high reverence in my house. Mom and Dad loved it – and the way they spoke about the film, I just couldn’t understand it for years. It was alright, but CARRIE was way better with that redhead girl. Then I saw this at a college screening – and I got it. I had only ever seen a pan & scan VHS. Watching it theatrically… it’s the way to experience Terrence Malick’s films. It is all about the fidelity of the image and the emotional reality that the actors in his films… well they feel alive, not acting to me. BADLANDS is a great movie, but if you want a fun double feature… Watch BADLANDS and then watch THE FRIGHTENERS. Trust me, it’s crazy how related the films are. Your favorite Martin Sheen film is probably APOCALYPSE NOW, unless you’re an evil Commie, in which case you probably prefer THE DEAD ZONE, but I respect you Red! But if you haven’t seen BADLANDS – you’re missing an amazing Martin Sheen performance. He’s just a kid in this thing, and he’s brilliant. Sissy is so haunting to me in the film. And yes, this Blu Ray is a completely valid way to experience this. Just wait till you see DAYS OF HEAVEN.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP Criterion Blu Ray
If you’ve been reading the 11 years of these columns I’ve written, then you should be well aware of my love for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger movies. They simply made some of the best films ever made. Beautiful and supremely influential on the art of Martin Scorsese, which is just a happy bonus. And if you love Scorsese, then you love seeing Marty all fired up and communicating his love and appreciation for great filmmakers – and you’ll get that on this blu ray. Some consider this to be the greatest British film of all time. I’m partial to THE THIRD MAN and THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY – and then I’d argue for A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, but I’d get beat out on technicalities. But THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP did have the notoriety of daring to portray a sympathetic German at a time where… that just wasn’t done. All joking aside, it really is tremendous in every level. The structure of the film is unique, the way the story is told is just breathtaking – and this 4K master is stunning Technicolor. Spend a Sunday listening to the commentary between Scorsese and Michael Powell. That’s a treat. You a movie lover? Have this in your collection.
THIS IS 40 Blu Ray
I saw this when I was 40 and just didn’t relate. Or at least that’s what I would like to think, but there’s some aspects of life at 40 that it gets dead on. I just didn’t find it as funny as I felt it was sad. I love Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd – but I didn’t really care for this particular story. I just want Apatow to be making better films than this. It has places that it shines, but more often than not, the film lost my interest. I haven’t watched the unrated edition yet, can’t imagine it’ll change my mind much.
PORKY’S Blu Ray
If you thought the AMERICAN PIE movies were awesome… man, this shit will kill you! Bob Clark, the man behind BLACK CHRISTMAS and A CHRISTMAS STORY – brings that old black magic, got you in its spell…. Oh man, LASSIE was how I was introduced to Kim Catrall, and she’ll always be this character for me. Yes, even in BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, I can’t get PORKY’S out of my head. Not saing which head either. This had been a Wal-Mart exclusive, and has finally hit everywhere else. The extra resolution is important here. Trust me folks.
TIMERIDER Blu Ray
Ever since I discovered William Dear’s name as being the director of the Mummy Daddy episode of AMAZING STORIES, I’ve been a fan. When I discovered he was the director of ELEPHANT PARTS, which I my father loved, Michael Nesmith was in a band with my Dad in college. (Yeah, Dad rules) But William Dear kept showing up directing cool stuff. I mean, you love HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS and some of you love the hell out of ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD. But then there’s TIMERIDER. For those of us that haunted VIDEO STORES – we know the box cover as that film in the SCI FI section that you picked up and looked at maybe 12 times before you actually rented it. Fred Ward plays a champion Motorcycle racer who happens to get sent back a hundred years into the past – so he can run into Peter Coyote and his thugs. My fave of his companeros is Tracey Walter aka “BOB THE GOON” the Joker’s right hand… or REPO MAN!!!! This is all kinds of hokey, but man, the cast is solid enough to really pull this film off. And maybe I just love that Michael Nesmith co-wrote this! This is a classic funky fun 80s bit of sci fi! Great transfer. Really kind of amazing actually.
SCHOOLGIRL HITCHHIKERS Blu Ray
Jean Rollin is responsible, so obviously that means class. Ahem. These girls stumble across jewel thieves that tie them up and do wrong, but it was made in a time of sexploitation and amazing chateaus. The film gets pretty comic – while being morally repulsive in the best Rollin ways. Never exceeds softcore sexy. It’s an erotic thriller definitely… but the whole heist caper aspect makes me giggle. If this is your thing, you’ll dig it. You know who you are.
ZETA ONE Blu Ray
BARBARELLA and FLESH GORDON were two of my early experiences that made me forever love alien chicks and an absolute sucker for a movie with this kind of box cover art. I had to check it out. I mean, look at that box. BORING! It did not hold my interest in the least. A complete waste of time, I felt. Made in 1969, it’s just a complete snoozer.
SHADOW PEOPLE Blu Ray
Ok – look at this box art. This actually made my Movie Night buddy, who considers herself a horror lover primarily… the Shadow People thing was something she didn’t want in her head. I was actually saving it to watch with her, because I didn’t want to watch the movie in the dead of night alone. And that’s just what I did, and it’s actually incredibly underwhelming. It’s one of those movies where they imbue the story with a grotesque amount of exposition, without ever really doing anything actually scary… except telling you a ton of a stuff to be worried about in a droning radio voice. No, you will not see them too. This is not SINISTER, not by a long shot.
THE GREAT MAGICIAN Blu Ray
Now this is a completely delightful Tony Leung magical story. Some fun cameos for Hong Kong film lovers. Is Tony Leung an illusionist, a magician or an actual sorceror. That’s something you’ll be guessing at throughout. But I’ve always loved a good magic movie – and Burt Wonderstone didn’t quite cut it. Tony Leung did. His fireball and painting trick will dazzle, guaranteed. Supplies are temporarily limited at Amazon, because I think the word is growing on this. I really love the music for the film, it feels like magic. You’ll see, hear.
Next week we’ll check out LINCOLN, STAR WARS LEGO: THE EMPIRE STRIKES OUT, KILLING THEM SOFTLY, MST3K:XXVI, FROM BEYOND Blu, PHANTASM II Blu, FUTUREWORLD Blu, THE COLLECTION Blu, STAR TREK ENTERPRISE Season 1 Blu, JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, THE SANDLOT, THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES, McLINTOCK! Blu, VEEP Blu, A MAN ESCAPED Criterion Blu, MUSIC OF THE HEART Blu, MONSIEUR VERDOUX Criterion Blu, CHINA GATE Blu, PANIC IN THE STREETS Blu, LITTLE FUGITIVE Blu, THE ATOMIC KID Blu, DEAD SUSHI Blu, RUTHLESS Blu, BANGKOK REVENGE Blu, BEST OF THE BEST 3 Blu and more!
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