Hey folks, Harry here with this past week’s column as well as this coming Tuesday’s edition of PICKS & PEEKS! Both weeks were light on having a ton of titles, but together it’s a nice size column. If you haven’t checked out the App yet, click on that link above and give it a whirl. It’s a really fun tool. Now as usual, the images and links take you Amazon where you can learn more on a title and if you like you can purchase it. On the app, you can jump straight to Netflix to see the title or add it to your queue. And there’s even more tricks. Now if you purchase any of this from Amazon, a small portion of the price goes to help keep this column’s best efforts coming. This week, it helped me to get a new computer after my trusty laptop died a miserable and unexpected demise. Now – let’s get on with the show… dig in…
Tuesday, July 2nd 2013
TOWER BLOCK Blu Ray
James Nunn’s debut feature film, TOWER BLOCK, played at Fantastic Fest and instantly impressed me. It’s a small film, but a bit terrifying. A sniper has targeted the top two floors of a mostly abandoned Block in London. The remaining tenants have no idea what is going on, only that they wake up and they’re being shot at. The sniper has thought of seemingly everything. He’s cut off the elevators for them, rigged the doors. They’re all alone and nobody is coming to help them. They try to figure out how to survive this death trap, but the unseen force has kept ahead of them. Really well done small thriller – if you like this fun thrillers – this one will have you!
THE PRODUCERS Blu Ray
One of the funniest movies ever made. Mel Brooks’ original PRODUCERS has been out on Blu for awhile, but only as a part of that big Mel Brooks Collection. If you didn’t pick that up, then by all means now’s your chance. This was, astonishingly, Mel’s first time directing a movie – and he just nailed it. Parodying the entire entertainment biz in a razor sharp comedy. The pairing of Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder is still just one of the finest things we’ve ever seen. SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER – inspired insanity – that really does hurt the ribs it’s so funny. If you don’t have it, if you have somehow never seen it – here’s your chance to just be amazed by Mel Brooks, an international treasure!
THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE Blu Ray
KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE is an insane movie. Insane. It is made up out of a series of skits that are so hilarious – they’ve been a part of my mind… my entire life. A FISTFUL OF YEN – is one of my favorite things ever. It’s a spoof of ENTER THE DRAGON that is so note perfect – it’ll give you problems breathing. Now, not all the skits are as great as that one, but they’re pretty dead on. As great as the film is… it’s actually the Commentary by John Landis, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and its producer Robert K Weiss that just makes it a priceless addition to a film lover’s collection. It’s great. Just great. The Blu also has an over hour long conversation with the Zuckers that dives into this film – as well as the rest of their careers. I know a lot of folks that have a real fond spot for this crazy skit flick. You may join them
TAI CHI HERO Blu Ray
I just don’t feel this movie lives up to its own ambition. That said – there’s a whole lot of fans of this two part film which began with TAI CHI ZERO and ends with TAI CHI HERO. The steampunk element is the most fun aspect, but the film just never really gets me involved with the characters or actors. The crazy vfx are a fun destraction, but it is far from being a great film. At least in my eyes. As I’ve said – there’s a whole lot of folks that love the film, and I do not deny its ability to delight some film fans, a few of my friends really dig it too. It just wasn’t for me.
6 SOULS Blu Ray
I’m one of those people that will just see everything that Julianne Moore does. I love her. She’s just one of my favorite actresses and her being in a supernatural psychology thriller… well, I’m invested enough in her as a performer that I’d finish it, but Jonathan Rhys Meyers made it even more interesting, but who I liked most in this film is Jeffrey DeMunn, who discovers the multiple personality Meyers – and uses his amazing case to get his daughter out of the doldrums she’s in after the death of her husband. But, after his runs in all the Darabont projects – and his exit on a popular TV show that Darabont started… I’ve missed him. That the film could have and should have been a whole lot better – I can’t blame any of these actors, that all did their best. I just think the scope of the film was a tad small, that last act should have just gotten crazy crazy. Give it a view on Netflix when it becomes available – then decide if you want to own it. I decided to hold on to my copy. I’m curious to see how some friends think of it.
THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY Blu Ray
First thing you’re gonna notice with this utterly delightful Hitchcock film – and in particular the Blu Ray – is just how beautiful Shirley MacLaine was in 1955. She’s just stunning. This is a wonderful Hitchcock Dark Comedy – and it isn’t a laugh a minute type – it’s that comedy that makes you smile throughout and wonder where it is all gonna go. For me, this is the great middle “BODY” film that starts with STAND BY ME, then you play THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY – then you play WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S – because obviously you’re intoxicated at this point. Other than just staring slackjawed at Shirley – you’ll fall in love with Edmund Gwenn, he plays the character that thinks he shot and killed, “HARRY”. I’ve obviously been a fan for this film as soon as I realized there was a movie all about a dead guy named HARRY. The blu ray is beautiful. There’s a 32 minute special feature that has Hitchcock’s daughter Pat, John Forsythe – one of the great leads in the film and the screenwriter to discuss the difficulty Hitchcock had making this film. It really is a wonderful little addition to the film. Discover THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, it’s a light hearted Hitchcock that frankly makes the man adorable as a result. I love this movie!
MISS SADIE THOMPSON dvd
Those of you that follow Butt-Numb-A-Thon history – know that this was actually the very first 3D movie shown at a BNAT. This DVD is not 3D – but Sony would be doing a Great Thing to remaster the stunning 3D print that exists and put out on Blu Ray 3D. I can’t imagine watching the film in 2D, simply because once you’ve seen a turned on Rita Hayworth in extreme close up… or watching her turn on a room full of marines in 3D – you know the power of 3D. Most of that you’ll feel a hint of in 2D, but this is my favorite vintage 3D movie. Right now, there’s no plans to make use of the stereoscopic print, but that’s a crime. C’mon Sony, do it up right! Rita plays a retired lady of the night that’s been trying to turn her life around, when a ship comes in with a ton of sailors, she’s recognized. Jose Ferrer is such an incredible fucking asshole in this movie. I hate him SO MUCH here. Aldo Ray has a tent for Sadie like you wouldn’t believe. Man I wish this was Blu 3D!
Tuesday, July 9th, 2013
COHEN & TATE Blu Ray
Now – if you’re a hardcore film geek, then you know the name of Eric Red. For me, I caught his name when I saw THE HITCHER, film made a helluva impression upon 14 year old me. Then when I was 15, there was NEAR DARK. He wrote both of those films. Their success paved way for this, his feature directorial debut – and folks… COHEN & TATE is just a great fucking movie. Two hitmen / assassins – are tasked with killing some folks and bringing their kid back to Houston for some filthy lucre. One is played by Roy Scheider – he’s an aging hitman that doesn’t like to do things flashy. He’s efficient and deadly. Adam Baldwin is the exact opposite. He’s young and reckless – he might fill someone with bullets, but he won’t finish them off proper. But the real fucking awesome of this film is Harley Cross… the fucking kid. This kid is so fucking awesome. You just root for him, hold your breath and squeal a lot! Sure the film is incredibly violent, but for me – you show this to your kid and show them that they can be smart in a terrifying situation. Because – this situation is fucking terrifying for a little boy… SHOUT! Has done a great job releasing this film. It is one that not everybody knows – but hopefully after this release that will change. It fucking rocks so hard!
BLOOD & SAND Blu Ray
Another of my favorite golden age leading men of cinema is Tyrone Power and in 1944 he made this remake of the Rudolph Valentino silent Bullfighting classic – and 20th Century Fox did it up spectacularly! Joining Tyrone Power is my relative Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth and Nazimova. If you know your actresses you know just how hot they are. On the sausage side you have George “Superman” Reeves, Anthony Quinn, John Carradine and the great J. Carrol Naish. Alfred Newman’s score is fantastic for this film, but the real reason to pick this up is the stunning Technicolor that makes this film glow off of your screens. Really wonderful classic film!
SPRING BREAKERS Blu Ray
I love to think of this utterly insane Harmony Korine film as a fairy tale for the modern world. 4 girls go on Spring Break, they meet the big bad wolf – and they have an adventure. Korine knocked this one out of the park. I’ve watched the Blu a couple of times already and I just love that I saw this the day after I saw Franco as Oz. I love that it is cast with kid friendly stars that were branching out – cuz watching Selena Gomez doing a bong hit – is shocking. Watching what Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson do… is even better. But I love how all 4 of the girls have their threshold. The point they can’t go beyond. And James Franco is truly Alien. You have got to check out his shit! I’m telling you, that scene is hysterical, but nothing compared to Franco’s cover of a Britney Spears number… which makes me giggle a lot! SPRING BREAKERS is a movie that every parent should watch before sending their girls off on this celebratory rite of passage. Remember, Franco may get them! The disc has a ton of extras – and they’re kind of hysterical. And remember, SPRING BREAK FOREVER!!!
THE HOST Blu Ray
When Yoko read Stephenie Meyer’s book of the same name, she thought it was fucking weird. Having seen the film, I concur. It is fucking weird. Essentially Saorise Ronan gets turned alien, but her inner humanity is too strong, and influences the alien presence in her body to run to sanctuary. Where her boyfriend is, but the alien is actually attracted to another boy – and so when Alien Soarise is locking lips with the non-boyfriend, she’s freaking out, but when she’s kissing her own boyfriend, she’s just as pissed off. I find the film kind of hysterical. Andrew Niccol is a solid director, if you have to see a film of his, I’d recommend the GATTACA release this week. And if you just have to see a movie called THE HOST, I recommend the Korean film. It’s the best by far.
THE JERK Blu Ray
This is THE JERK’s debut on Blu Ray, but it has been available on the dearly departed HD-DVD format for eons. I haven’t seen this disc yet, so I can’t comment on whether it is the same cut version that was issued on DVD – but I’m certainly ordering the Blu in hopes that it is Carl Reiner’s original classic. I’ve never been able to forget that Steve Martin was born a poor black child and I never will. If this is the original – you must worship this classic comedy. But the judgement is still up in the air.
HANDS OF THE RIPPER Blu Ray
This Hammer horror is all about the daughter of Jack The Ripper, who has become a street walker in London – and after a séance, she’s a bit of a problem child. I love the hell out of Hammer films and Synapse doing this release right is enough to bring a great big smile to my face. SO not only is this a Jack The Ripper film, it is also a Possession film – actually if you pick up Julianne Moore’s 6 SOULS – you’ll have essentially a very similar plotline, only done far better here. HANDS OF THE RIPPER is great fun film. HAMMER film lovers will be utterly delighted with this Blu, and for those of you lucky followers that are discovering this for the first time. ENJOY!
GATTACA Blu Ray
This has come out on Blu before, but now hits at the under $10 price, hoping to entice those THE HOST fans to check out the director’s earlier better work. And I have to support that. It does have the DVD extras, which I don’t believe were available on the earlier disc, but I may be wrong, it’s been forever since I’ve whipped that sucker out. I actually think before seeing ELYSIUM this could be a fun film to revisit. And it does seem to becoming closer to reality now, than when it came out. Well, it hasn’t gotten this bad yet, but you know it’s just waiting for us down the road. The relationship between Jude Law and Ethan Hawke in this film is kind of great. But this is a future that I actually find a bit too disturbing. But with 30 GM babies crawling the Earth right now, I wonder how soon customizable babies will come onto the market. The film has never looked better. Lovely Blu!
STREET TRASH Special Meltdown Edition Blu Ray
If you love this movie, we could probably be friends. This would be a great film to watch alongside HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN or THE TOXIC AVENGER – it’s got that hyper colored reality feel – only on severe doses of Acid. Gore at this level is rare in any age, but this is awesome disgusting gore at a level that must be celebrated. Having a perfect 1080p version of STREET TRASH is a must own for gorehounds around the world and Synapse does it up so good. You get a couple of commentaries and a 2 hour documentary on the making of this STREET TRASH film here. It’s outstanding. You’ll get the 16mm short film that started it all! Celebrate, STREET TRASH is on Blu Ray! Can you believe it?!?!?
That’s it for the first two Tuesdays of July, but upon the third Tuesday we’ll be back talking about 42, EVIL DEAD, BULLET TO THE HEAD, SOLOMON KANE, BLACK SABBATH Blu, LORD OF THE FLIES Criterion Blu, GODZILLA (98) on 4k Blu, GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN Blu, SPIDER-MAN 2 4k Blu, EVE OF DESTRUCTION Blu, ARLINGTON ROAD Blu, HEAVY TRAFFIC Blu, Bava’s KIDNAPPED Blu, ADVENTURES OF TARZAN and that’s about it. Till then, happy viewings!