Hey folks, Harry here with the 30th & 31st editions of My Picks & Peeks! - you click that to discover the wonders of our iCompatible App – and very soon – it is coming to Android (that’s being beta tested right now!) Check this out – there’s some really fantastic titles in the column this time! As usual all the images and links take you to Amazon, where you can learn more about the title and if you purchase it, a small portion of you price goes to help keep this column kicking. Here ya go:
Tuesday July 23rd, 2013
GRACELAND Blu Ray
I have a friend that I watch these types of movies with. We call them, “Worst thing ever Movies” – Those are films, where over the course of the movie, if you identify with the central character and his family is yours, his story is yours and he has to try to survive an impossibly fucked situation. We’re talking about THE NIGHTMARE. First off – just this guy’s job is vile. He’s Morgan Freemaning this corrupt Filipino Politician named Chango. Chango likes to fuck little girls. Our “hero” is Marlon Villar – who drives the girls home and gives them money. He also drives Chango’s daughter to school every morning along with his own daughter of the same age. These two have become best friends. Then mayhem occurs – it is terrible. Just terrible. Death, Kidnapping, Political intrigue, Revenge, black-market organ dealing… you name it – if it sounds like terrible times told brilliantly – it’s in GRACELAND. The thing is, Marlon is a God-fearing man. Prays with his daughter for his wife’s recovery. This is a truly tremendous film! Come with a great making of, deleted scenes and a different ending. Plus 2 commentaries. Check it out!
TRANCE Blu Ray
Danny Boyle’s TRANCE is a wonderful take on the Film Noir Art Heist type of genre. Or – we could just consider this another in a line of Amnesiac Recovery films. So altogether there’s something hypnotically dreamy about the whole thing… I love the leads, James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson (whom won my heart forever for CLERKS 2). I love following the reality bending story as it contorts and twists and surprises me with its fun. Aurally and visually this film is a stunner, like every Boyle does. He gets it. The… Where’s the multimillion dollar great painting? Is a great one. How she recovers that damaged memory – well, this film is yet another wonderful cinematic experience from Danny Boyle. Let’s have a ton more!
WELCOME TO THE PUNCH Blu Ray
Ok, so you just saw TRANCE and you’re wishing there was another James McAvoy film that you hadn’t seen that really shows him off in a completely different way. Alright, in WELCOME TO THE PUNCH he’s a badass. Ridley Scott produced and the director of SHIFTY (Eran Creevy) raised his game tremendously with WELCOME TO THE PUNCH. One, there’s the cast… MARK STRONG – who really is fantastic in this film. Then there’s David Morrissey! Oh and Peter Mullen! This is a very aggressive testosteroney flick. Lots of gun pointing and discharging – and there’s no certain loyalties. Ammo is used in this film. Lots of it. I was surprised by this one. Liked it much more than I thought I would.
THE ICE STORM Criterion Blu
In many ways, this is still the film of Ang Lee’s that I think I admire most. A lot of that has to do with just a jaw dropping cast. A film about early 1970’s Bored Upper Middle Class having a holiday shindig would be a bore, but it is anything but. Watching Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Katie Holmes and Elijah Wood in this… well it was THE sign that said these people will be stars. Then with Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline and Henry Czerny round out the adult side of the cast – and they’re just great. The story is adult, honest and oddly nostalgic for all that watch it. The Keys scene is one that everyone talks about after the film – it’s such a great scene. Criterion has done a great job of transfer, but also in providing excellent supplementals: • Restored high-definition digital film transfer, supervised by Ang Lee • Audio commentary featuring Lee and producer-screenwriter James Schamus • Documentary featuring interviews with actors • Interview with novelist Rick Moody • Deleted scenes • Footage from a 2007 event honoring Lee and Schamus • Visual essays featuring interviews with the film's cinematographer • Theatrical trailer • PLUS: An essay by critic Bill Krohn
KISS OF THE DAMNED Blu Ray
I really am quite taken with KISS OF THE DAMNED, it’s directed by Xan Cassavetes and stars Milo Ventimiglia and Josephine De La Baume – and for a good deal of the screentime – the story is focused upon these two. She’s a vampire, he’s a screenwriter… This is a sexy hot and twisted take on the Vampire Love genre. Love the look that Tobias Datum’s camera captures for the film. When Michael Rapaport shows up things are very very fun. Should play, unless you’re just played out on the Sexually Hot Vampire genre. Me, I can tap that vein all night!
BABETTE’S FEAST Criterion Blu
I was lucky enough to see this film on initial release while visiting Dad for a weekend. It was one of the early Danish film experiences that I had, which over the years has only made me curious how much we’re missing. This film is an incredible film experience set in 19th century Denmark. Word of warning though… I’d say – watch this after a hearty lunch, but with enough time to go to the Grocery Store afterwards, cuz you’re gonna want a very good meal and some red wine with this flick. Fast food will not cut it. Do your best Gourmet imitation after this. Excellent smart date film – and the Oscar winner for 1988’s Best Foreign Film. The transfer on this will have you thinking you can smell the food. Criterion has done another excellent job with this one! Here’s what you get:
New 2K digital film restoration, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio
New interview with actor Stephane Audran
Karen Blixen: Storyteller, a 1995 documentary about the author
New visual essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda
New interview with sociologist Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Mark Le Fanu
NEW WORLD Blu Ray
OOOOOOH YEAAAAH!!! Choi Min-Shik in a Korean Gangster Movie!!! Since THE DEPARTED we haven’t really had a great gangster flick, though I would point at DREDD and THE RAID to counter that statement, but what I meant was a dramatic Gangster flick. The film is spectacularly well made, it’s written and directed by the screenwriter of I SAW THE DEVIL – and he’s got some directing chops. The tail end of this film isn’t nearly as great as everything that proceeds it, but this is just an outstanding film. If you’re a fan of Korean cinema, this is a real good one!
PIETA Blu Ray
Kim Ki-Duk’s PIETA was distributed in the U.S. by Drafthouse Films, again underlining the importance of their efforts. Kim Ki-Duk is one of the most important and vital directors from South Korea for as long as AICN has been around. THE ISLE blew me away, as did 3-IRON and SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER.. AND SPRING. PIETA was the South Korean film they put up for the Academy to consider – and I think they found it a bit darker than they were feeling comfortable with. PIETA is another fantastic film from Kim Ki-Duk and if you’ve been following him, this tale of a violent man reunited with his mother – well, it’s powerfully great stuff! They’ve also got an Audio Commentary by the director and leads, there’s interviews with them all, along with Behind the Scenes and a digital download.
THE SILENCE Blu Ray
Want a German thriller that really does just chill you. You know that film that you watch, and when you next open the front door and go outside, the world feels… dangerous. This is a film to heighten your awareness and as you dedicate yourself to the viewing, you’ll get freaked a bit. It starts with murder and it ends… well, just check it out. The acting is tremendous, the tension is really ramped up. There’s also something about the films with fields of grain harboring evil that just gets to me. We grow wheat on our farmland and films like this makes you wonder about ever field you drive past. Filmmakers have dripped fear into those fields. This isn’t the first time, but damn this is a great film. Give it a shot. It’ll shake ya.
TWIXT Blu Ray
I love that Francis Ford Coppola, rather than go commercial, has gone experimental. He’s risking his own money and making films that I find quite compelling. Here, we end up with an investigation into a murder by an author played by Val Kilmer, his investigations lead to wonderfully shot Coppola nightmares and then Elle Fanning’s a ghost… Film works on dream logic, which means for some of you, it won’t make a lick of sense and you’ll just fucking hate it. Then there’s others that might connect with the dreams and it becomes brilliant. I can’t tell which you’ll be – but for my money, Coppola going gothic horror makes me giddy. Check it out!
HARLOW Blu Ray
My mom saw this movie at a very impressionable age and fell madly in love with Jean Harlow, once she and my father began exploring her career on Home Video, I was along for the ride… only, I hadn’t seen the film that started her addiction, until now. I’ve only seen stills and lobby cards from the movie, which made me think… Carroll Baker is nowhere near as hot as Jean Harlow – bah. What a stupid way to think. Carroll Baker is amazing as Jean Harlow. Red Buttons plays her agent, and you’d think that agents worked real hard and cared personally for their clients if you see this film. Ah, the good ol days. Angela Lansbury plays Harlow’s mom and Raf Vallone is AMAZING as the possibly lascivious Step-Father/Impressario! Just love his performance so much. Peter Lawford’s turn as an executive wooing Harlow – again, what a great turn by him. Definitely give it a watch, me, I’m glad I own it!
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION 3D Blu Ray
In just about every way possible, a far better G.I. JOE movie. But much like THE WOLVERINE which is in theaters now as I write this, they are still attached to their original films and carry over some of those flaws. However, costumes across the board are vastly improved. The cast is definitely up a few notches. But if you have a 3D system at home, you want this for the crazy fucking amazing mountainside ninja battle starring SNAKE EYES! It is something to behold at home with perfect 3D! The Rock adds some much needed balls to the G.I. JOE franchise – his Roadblock is going to become a fave. However, my fave is Jonathan Pryce who gets to ham it up and be disgusted at himself so well through the film. I can not wait to see more from this franchise! They’ve just hit on all cylinders!
JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX Blu Ray
First off – it’s a helluva yarn. Second off – the voice cast is the shit! You have Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman as God intended, but then you also have Kevin McKidd as Batman (you’ll understand when you see) but then you got Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan, Cary Elwes as Aquaman (who is a badass!), Justin Chambers as The Flash, C Thomas Howell as Professor Zoom, Michael B Jordan as Cyborg!!! I mean, really this cast is amazing. You got Dana Delany as Lois, Sam Daly for Superman, Danny Huston as General Lane, Dee Bradley Baker for Etrigan and RON PERLMAN as DEATHSTROKE!!! Yeah, so the voice cast is just awesome. This is one of those Flash ran back in time and totally fucked everything up kind of story. I love this film’s use of butterfly effect A LOT! And it shows Aquaman to be the badass he is. Stupid haters. My fave special feature is the one about the history of time travel as a device – including it’s use through DC comics. It’s a really good one.
THE FOG Blu Ray
If put to the sword and asked what my favorite John Carpenter film is… I’m likely to say THE FOG. His best is THE THING & STARMAN. But THE FOG is just a perfect little ghost story. I love the opening on the beach at night, campfire surrounded by children listening to the best ghost story voice ever… JOHN HOUSEMAN and by the time he’s finished his monologue you’re HOOKED! With a cast featuring the talents of Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook and the man god, Tom Atkins! Well, it’s just a perfectly contained ghost story – and Carpenter’s score works my spine into a wiggle and raises hairs on my neck. When I saw this as a kid, it scared the living shit out of me. Now, it dazzles me that it can still give me the creeps. How great is that? Once the air gets crisp, every year, THE FOG goes in the machine! SHOUT! Did a great job on this new mastering. It is stunning. The disc is loaded, as it should be! Here’s what’s on it:
• New 1080p High-Definition Transfer Supervised By Cinematographer Dean Cundey
• Audio Commentary With Writer/Director John Carpenter And Writer/Producer Debra Hill
• New Audio Commentary With Actors Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins And Production Designer Tommy Lee Wallace
• New Interview With Jamie Lee Curtis
• Tales From The Mist: Inside The Fog Featurette
• Fear On Film: Inside The Fog Featurette
• The Fog: Storyboard To Film Featurette
• Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – A New Look At The Film’s Locations
• Theatrical Trailers
• TV Spots
• Photo Gallery
Isn’t it the best when a great fave is treated perfectly like this?
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION Season 4 Blu Ray
Starting with THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Part 2 – Next Gen’s 4th Season became one of my faves. FAMILY is an amazing episode, tremendous performance by Picard and his brother. BROTHERS is a Brent Spiner tour de force, But then I love Spiner in LEGACY, which has Yar’s sis seducing him. I also love FINAL MISSION which has Picard & Wesley in a survivalist horror film. Then there’s my personal fave episode of Season 4… THE nTH DEGREE – Barclay as the most brilliant human ever is simply the shit of legend. Feel bad, put THE nTH DEGREE on and you’ll be strutting in no time. Barclay and Troi fanfic starts here in earnest. Then the season ends in a great Klingon politics episode… REDEMPTION. And if you can’t wait for the conclusion, Paramount is ready to take advantage by releasing a special snazzed up REDEMPTION united Blu Ray. I like it too! This is a great Blu Ray. And a Great season.
THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE Criterion Blu Ray
I have a deep love for THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE – as in many ways, it singlehandedly got Guillermo Del Toro back on his feet as director – and he made one of the great ghost stories on film. I love how I see the film as an echo for NIGHT OF THE HUNTER by Charles Laughton, only while that film clings to religion, DEVIL’S BACKBONE rebels and goes supernatural. I love it. I also love the politics and history of the film. From the Mignola cover art to the extras that follow… Excellence is throughout!
New 2K digital film restoration, approved by director Guillermo del Toro
Audio commentary featuring Del Toro
Video introduction by Del Toro from 2010
New interviews with Del Toro
Que es un fantasma, a 2004 making-of documentary
Spanish Gothic, a 2010 interview with Del Toro about the genre
Interactive director's notebook, with Del Toro’s drawings
Four deleted scenes, with optional commentary
New featurette about the Spanish Civil War as evoked in the film
Program comparing Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches
Selected on-screen presentation of Del Toro's thumbnail sketches
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Mark Kermode
THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN Blu Ray
High Resolution Home Entertainment was invented to capture every molecule of Rick Baker’s absolutely insane work in this just amazing film. This is one of those Astronaut Horror films – like LIFEFORCE or PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES or FORBIDDEN PLANET – only this one is about an Astronaut that went exploring the rings of Saturn brought something terrible back. Today, a remake would scale this up – and everything that happens would be the pre-credit before THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN melted into a body of water and the alien whatever causes all mankind to melt… eventually – so… we could show a lot of melting people. Cuz more is better. SHOUT! Did a great job on this, there’s a William Sachs commentary, and a great interview with Rick Baker, Greg Cannom and William Sachs. Blu Ray is really amazing. Getting to have a film like this looking this crazy awesome is just a blessing. This is just insane stuff. Love it.
PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED Blu Ray
This film is a crazy time capsule of smiles. First off, it’s 1986 Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Helen Hunt, Joan Allen – and they’re all crazy young! At the time, a whole lot of asshole film critics decided this was a drecking halfass effort on Coppola’s part – but to people that do not demand that directors do the same heavy lifting on every project, but love for variety from their fave directors, just like our fave writers and directors. Anybody that can throw a musical into their career gets big smiles from me. I go gaga over this movie while watching it. One – there’s just the fact that everyone looks amazing. This is 27 years ago. Watching a charming romantic comedy filled with some actors being absolutely adorable. This film can rule you if you let it.
THAT TOUCH OF MINK Blu
I got this one on 16mm, but it is missing the first reel. This Blu Ray – Waaaaay Better, cuz it’s like a whole movie, but we always treated it like we’d changed the channels with the movie already in progress. Ah, the stone age. Wow – now I really get it. Cary Grant and Doris Day are just doing that thing they do and they’re terrific. The cast is great with Gomez Addams’ John Astin, Gig Young and Dick Sargent and Audrey Meadows. The film also kicks ass cuz it features Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra – they’re a whole lot of fun. This is a meringue film.
THE COURT-MARTIAL OF BILLY MITCHELL Blu Ray
The origin story for the U.S. Airforce. Gary Cooper plays Billy Mitchell, a Brigadier General who in direct violation of command begins to develop an armed air force. His Court Martial became a media circus that revealed the clusterfuck that was the military at that time and how one dedicated man drug the U.S. Military into the future. Directed by the great Otto Preminger, this is another… just amazing casts. Darren McGaven, Peter Graves, Jack Lord, Elizabeth Montgomery, Charles Bickford, Ralph Bellamy and Rod Steiger. Blu Ray is just the film, but what a film!
LOVE ME TENDER Blu
This is Elvis Presley Movie Actor Movie #1! Here you can see Elvis actually becoming a character rather than just playing the icon. Confederate War story – Elvis marries his thought dead brother’s sweetheart, and ya know… Brother ain’t dead – so there’s trouble. The songs are roughly fit in – and it’s totally studio over story, but damn if I don’t like those songs! Discover the King!
THE DEMENTED Blu Ray
Don’t be curious. This is one of those movies you watch, but by the time it’s done, you’re like FUCK THIS MOVIE! And you want to kick and stomp it for being just a complete waste of time, but being compelling enough to watch the whole thing. But the end, it’s a fuck you. Seething hatred awaits you. It can be yours for $13.50!!! You too can be this angry!
FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE
The thought of exploring Jupiter’s moons has long been with us. Before Kubrick, we had FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE – and rather than giving us confusing deep thoughts to ponder for the rest of our lives… you get a completely charming alien society made up of really hot women that lounge in Roman digs and dance for you. Yeah, this is what motivates exploration. Alien Chicks! Discover the truth! Some people claim this to be one of the worst films of all time. Those people should see more movies. This is excellent funkiness!
Next week, we’ll kick off August by looking at OBLIVION Blu, MUD Blu, Disney’s ROBIN HOOD Blu, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES Blu, THE SWORD IN THE STONE Blu, OLIVER & COMPANY Blu, CHARLIE CHAN: COLLECTION, ISHTAR Blu, SWAMP THING Blu, SILVER STREAK Blu, WEST OF MEMPHIS, A BOY AND HIS DOG Blu, GARDEN OF WORDS Blu, THE PAGEMASTER Blu, BRUCE LEE LEGACY COLLECTION Blu-Ray/DVD, CAVALCADE Blu, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA 35th Anniversary Blu, SMILEY’S PEOPLE Blu, THE EARRINGS OF MADAME DE… Criterion Blu, ACTION JACKSON Blu, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH Blu, FREAKED Blu, TOWER OF EVIL Blu, AFTERSHOCK Blu, THE PICK UP ARTIST Blu, TOMBOY Blu, QUICKSILVER Blu, THE SUPER 6: The Complete Series, TOM & JERRY’S GIANT ADVENTURE Blu Ray, EDDIE THE SLEEPWALKING CANNIBAL, ANTIVIRAL Blu, ACROSS THE BRIDGE and that’s about it. Whew. See you next Tuesday!