Harry's 33rd & 34th PICKS & PEEKS of 2013: SHANE, BETTY BOOP, SECONDS, MUPPET MOVIE, THE DAMNED, Aussie Nam & More!
Hey folks, Harry here… We now have Android and i-Friendly apps available for these columns!!! Woo Hoo! The tabs above will take you to them! Or you can go to PicksANDPeeks.com where you can check out what the scoop is on the Apps! But today’s releases were a bit slight, so I doubled up the columns. Also, I get a bit lengthy whilst talking about the day’s greatest release, a volume of classic BETTY BOOP cartoons which are the greatest thing ever placed upon the format. I’m just saying! Heh. As usual, the pics and the links take you to AMAZON, where you can learn more on a given title or you can go ahead and purchase the item in question, which gives a bit back to making this column to keep going. Heck, this week, I actually had to get my Blu Ray laser replaced in my PS3, cost $80 fyi. I didn’t know you wear the laser out. Hmm, learn something new all the time. Now – check out these fantastic titles:
Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
SECONDS Criterion Blu Ray
To fully appreciate SECONDS by John Frankenheimer, I highly recommend checking out THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, because many of us cineastes call these three films Frankenheimer’s Paranoid Trilogy – and SECONDS is the most paranoid of all. Frankenheimer worked with Saul Bass and Jerry Goldsmith to make this one of those great nightmarish works of tension and even terror. This is filmmaking at it’s best. Criterion has again done wonders by presenting this film for many of you to discover for possibly the first time. The film is about a man who is given a chance to reboot his life, but he’ll have to fake his own death and well… becoming reborn has never been this harsh… Surgery, psychological conditioning – and gobs of paranoia! The extras are completely worth it. You get a John Frankenheimer commentary, a piece by Alec Baldwin talking about Frankenheimer and this classic. A program talking about the making of SECONDS, an interview with Frankenheimer from the year I was born, 1971 and more! Discover this classic – but like I said, acquire MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and SEVEN DAYS IN MAY and make a great night out of it!!!
SHANE Blu Ray
This Blu Ray has spectacular image, sound and even has a commentary with George Stevens Jr and Associate Producer Ivan Moffat… but this is one of those films where I wish I had my show – just so I could fully and passionately express my deep love of this film. SHANE is one of the greatest Westerns ever made. And the film to watch as the second part of your evening double feature is PALE RIDER by Clint Eastwood, who obviously loves George Stevens’ SHANE – and while I really do love PALE RIDER, SHANE… it’s the masterpiece of the two. Everything that Gore Verbinski got wrong in LONE RANGER in terms of Western Myth-Making is done perfectly in Stevens’ classic SHANE. Van Helfin’s farmer is brilliant – Heflin is one of my favorite character actors, who has shined so brightly opposite so many great classic stars like Gene Kelly and Errol Flynn… but here, opposite the amazingly iconic titular character played by the great Alan Ladd, better known for his Noir turns… well… Genius. And Jean Arthur in her final role, so great. But Jack Palance’s gun for hire is just… to be seen. The cast goes deeper with Ben Johnson and Elisha Cook Jr peppering the cast with just the right spice. Behold this gorgeous film with Victor Young’s great score!
THE MUPPET MOVIE Blu Ray
Being 7 years old when THE MUPPET MOVIE hit in 1979 – I was THE TARGET AUDIENCE for THE MUPPET MOVIE – Watching this tremendous film, you just fall madly in love with Jim Henson all over again. The film has never looked or sounded better at home, but I do feel that the extras are a trifle thin for a film of this awesome magnitude. That said, director Jim Frawley’s 18 minute camera test is something very special, and having this film on Blu Ray is of the utmost importance to all the children of The Muppets, of which I’m 1st Generation and proud. But when you sit down to watch this – marvel at the pure magic of Paul Williams’ songs. Marvel at how beautifully the film is shot. The magic that Jim was adamant in capturing with the Muppets out of the studio and in our wondrous beautiful world. Also, you may want to randomly pause the movie to catch some fun extras. I really would love a robust Blu on this title that seeks out every puppeteer that was a part of this and have them tell stories. To have Paul Williams discussing the creation of this stunning music. This Blu Ray is adequate, but doesn’t fulfill the exemplary promise that this film’s legacy actually has.
THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC Blu Ray
The U.S. Distribution World is completely broken. I offer up for your perusal as evidence… THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC. Directed by Luc Besson is this brilliant adaptation of Jacques Tardi’s brilliant comic of the same name. Set in 1910 Paris, this is an adaptation of Tardi’s PTERROR OVER PARIS, which is about a Pterodactyl loose upon the city of Paris. I can’t even begin to express how much I love this story about a smart female adventurer that the U.S. doesn’t seem to be able to touch. However, if you love this film – discover Tardi’s original comics which have recently been reprinted and translated into English. Her adventures are spectacularly odd and wonderful. If you’re a geek girl that feels underrepresented in the hand-drawn and film worlds… Adele Blanc-Sec is exactly what you’ve been missing. That U.S. Distributors didn’t get this into theaters that rewarded AMELIE… well, they’re clueless. This was a great missed opportunity to shine the light on a great female protagonist and mummies and pterodactyls and weird strange professors and magic. I wish this was a long series of films. It’s great!
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN Blu Ray
I really do like Antoine Fuqua’s OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, though… I have to admit, it’s mainly for the initial takeover of the White House and assault on our great capital city. Why? Because if you watch just this sequence… it’s soberingly frightening to watch. Fuqua’s blocking of this sequence, which to a degree we’re witnessing from Gerard Butler’s perspective outside of the White House. It’s just brutal in a way that film often avoids. This film earns its R rating. That said… The South Korean dignitaries being North Koreans undetected seems awfully fear mongering. Maybe it is that I married Yoko, whose family are off the boat South Koreans, that really do love this country and theirs – and yeah, I do find it kind of funny – especially to tease her. But with Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman headlining with a cast that is really really spectacular – this film will sober you, until it starts getting its silly on. Personally, I love the silly stuff, so opinions should vary based you’re your threshold for the silly stuff. Fuqua did pretty damn good on this one.
GIRLS: Second Season Blu
I watch this show with Yoko and her friends and I have to tell you, if you know a group of twenty-something gals, watching GIRLS with them is an absolutely fascinating window into their brains. Some feel the second season is lesser, but I disagree… at this point I love these characters and watching them change and move through their particular lives… well, it’s grand. I think one of the most brilliant episodes of television that I’ve seen is in this season, it’s ONE MAN’S TRASH, which features Lena Dunham’s Hannah and Patrick Wilson’s Joshua. I’ve discussed this episode with so many directors that are fans of this show – and we all seem to gravitate to this episode for why the show is just brilliant. It is a stunning portrait of an avenue explored, but terrifying to stay upon. I’d recommend this season, just for that single episode alone. It is that great. Check it out!
EMPEROR Blu Ray
Again – a great film that you never got to see in theaters. Tommy Lee Jones is General Douglas MacArthur – seizing control as the Supreme Commander of the U.S.’ occupying forces in Japan in the aftermath of WWII. Matthew Fox plays General Fellers, who is tasked by MacArthur in bringing war criminals to trial for the crimes they committed during the war, including Emperor Hirohito. Much of the film is about whether or not Hirohito knew what his country was doing during WWII and it is a fascinating film. Should have been in theaters. The scene with MacArthur and Hirohito meet… is electrifying. I found it amazingly touching and humbling. Every aspect of this film is top notch and I find that with the sillification of Hollywood that keeps serious filmmaking from reaching our theaters… I get the financial realities of marketing, but they’ve got to find a way to bring films like this to theaters as well as our home theaters. This is a wonderful film.
THE COMPANY YOU KEEP Blu Ray
Robert Redford’s latest has him playing a radical from the 1960’s that was named as being responsible for a bombing that took a life. He’s discovered by Shia LaBeouf’s investigative reporter who is on his tracks like a proverbial bloodhound, shaming the government with his tracking ability, but he completely comes across as a charismatic douchebag in this film. The film features Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson, Stanley Tucci, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins and Anna Kendrick – and they’re all great in their respective roles. Redford’s character has his life flipped upside down, but he has the skills to disappear and the foresight to get his daughter legally and safely where she couldn’t be touched. In a very odd way, I saw this as a flipside to THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, only here… printing the truth will undo decades of presumed guilt. Redford still has it!
HATCHET III: Unrated Director’s Cut Blu Ray
I loved HATCHET, but only liked HATCHET II. HATCHET III – may very well be my favorite of the series now. Mainly because it opens up the scope of the tale and it is just so much fun. The ejaculatory celebration of spewing gore that is just an absolute giggle magnet. Here, the police finally get involved – and as you realize that paramedics and police are flocking to the haunted home of Victor Crowley… the giggles start to take hold, because you know… you just know, the shit is gonna hit the fan and blood will go everywhere. Adam Green produced with BJ McDonnell directing and the story of Victor Crowley just keeps getting more fun and more scary. Kane Hodder is again playing Victor Crowley – and physical stature and the way he holds himself is perfect. Lots of fun cameos, but it’s the gore that will keep you coming back, this is a film made for FANGORIA lovers everywhere. HATCHET III is no hatchet job. It’s outstanding fun!
THE HOT SPOT / KILLING ME SOFTLY Blu Ray
THE HOT SPOT was one of those legendary Austin films for a bit of time, if only because when I was 18, like most film geeks, I was crazy in lust with Jennifer Connelly – and when it got out that she shot a topless scene in a Hill Country body of water… the air became sweeter in Austin. THE HOT SPOT is an ok shot at a noir, but I’ll be damned if thinking about the film leaves me with any thought other than Jennifer Connelly topless in that tiny body of Hill Country water. There should be a historical marker where they shot that scene. It’s important. The film stars Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Barry “Piss on a sparkplug” Corbin and William Sadler. It’s pulpy and fun. But there’s at least one moment in the film where you’ll love that you’re seeing this on Blu. As for KILLING ME SOFTLY, it’s nowhere near as good a film as THE HOT SPOT, but it is definitely even more titillating. The film involves incest (Brother/Sister) between 2002 era Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes – the film features a high degree of sexualized imagery, but the story does next to nothing for me. That said, the hot stuff does get under your skin a bit.
PRESIDIO Blu Ray
I like Peter Hyams’ PRESIDIO quite a bit. One, I’ve always loved the look of Hyams’ films – and his OUTLAND with Sean Connery is one of my favorite non-Bond Connery flicks. Here you have Connery teamed up with Mark Harmon, who has always given me the creeps ever since he played Ted Bundy so chillingly on TV back in 1986… Here, they’re basically in a buddy cop formula film, but with Meg Ryan, Jack Warden and the great Don Calfa backing them up – it’s going so good! Harmon’s character is dating Connery’s daughter “Meg Ryan” which gives them the antagonism they need to make this a very fun flick. Give it a chance – this is one of those films where the Military and Police have to work together to stop a series of murders. The cast and Hyams’ direction and camera work make it worth owning!
THE CAPTAINS CLOSE UP
This isn’t a quick cash grab from that THE CAPTAINS documentary that William Shatner did a while back, but you get 30 minutes upon each of the Captains. Pine appears within the Shatner half hour. If you’re a Trek geek like me, not owning this isn’t really an option. The Captains are our captains. These aired originally on EPIX, but since I don’t have that, these were new to me.
A BAND CALLED DEATH Blu Ray
The more I explore music, film, literature & art, the more you realize you only know what you’ve seen, read and heard – How could we not have known about a proto-Punk all-Black group called DEATH that were doing PUNK when everyone was hopped up on Disco. Drafthouse Films found this amazing documentary – and like everything else that label has brought us… It opens your eyes. Confronts what you think you know about music history and introduces you to what could be alternate history that everyone will be learning from this point on. More than that though, it’s about an artist unwilling to compromise his vision and finally being recognized as the visionary they were. Love this doc and you’ll love it if you give it a view! If you love music, you’ll love this dearly.
THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES Blu Ray
If you’ve ever been waiting for a film with a Latin Translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead while spending a few nights in Utah’s Governor’s Mansion doubling as a Haunted Mansion… with John Ireland and John Carradine having spooky fun with you… LOOK NO FURTHER! This film is for you. I love the horror genre. All at once I can love the great films in the genre and then I also love these other… more particular… films that requires a love of the genre to get you through. You watch for the moments that surprise and delight you, you giggle at the logic flaws and you delight at just having one more John Carradine movie. I just love having a film like this on Blu – I have friends to show this to.
THE GUILLOTINES Blu Ray
When this Blu Ray was ripped out of the envelope in which it came – I was excited. A new Andy Lau film does that to me. But when you title the film THE GUILLOTINES and you have that elbow decapitator on the cover surrounded by red light… I’m thinking… FINALLY someone is taking on MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE… I mean, it is time for that. BUT THIS MOVIE JUST FUCKING SUCKS THE LIFE OUT OF ME!!! It has no joy for the taking of heads. And seriously, if you’re such a badass that you and your mates are known as the Guillotines – then… for crissakes… unleash like a motherfucker. Pop a billion heads clean off. I want the Bellagio fountain of GUILLOTINE movies… and this came up desperately inadequate. This film is a silent fart that you leave the room during.
DAMNED Blu Ray
This is a really great film! Directed by Rene Clement, THE DAMNED is a French film noir set in the twilight days of World War 2 and follows a group of Nazis fleeing to south America in a submarine hoping to evade capture. The sub setting adds to the claustrophobic nature of fleeing your homeland because you’re being hunted. I always love these films, because your forced to see the world from the Nazi perspective – asking yourself if you want them to get away or get captured. I dug the hell out of this title, looked great and with really strong performances.
THE ODD ANGRY SHOT Blu Ray
Being raised by Hippie Comic Movie loving parents, I was constantly aware of Vietnam films. As a family we went to all of these… I can remember talking to Dad after DEERHUNTER and APOCALYPSE NOW. After my parents divorce I saw a few Vietnam films with some Vets that worked for my Mom on her ranch like PLATOON and BORN OF THE FOURTH OF JULY and CASUALITIES OF WAR. But when I received this Blu Ray last week and gave it a watch… I was captivated. Absent from the film was the bleak soul tearing drama of the war – and as an Australian Vietnam film about an Aussie Unit that fought in Viet Nam, I found the film amazing from their perspective. It’s a very frank film that takes the time to really give us some horrifying shots of the Jungle foot rot and how to care for it. It shows tragedy frankly. But it’s how these Aussies weather the war that fascinated me. And the final shots. I really really love. I also love how important BEER was to their well-being in the war. So many American films focus upon the rampant drug use… there’s just something incredibly charming about a war film that feels sponsored by Fosters. Warning – there is a Spider vs Scorpion fight to the death and a lot of Australian man parts on display. However, Synapse has a real wonder on their hands here. Love the young Aussie cast – let’s see how many faces you recognize!
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
BETTY BOOP: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION Vol 1 Blu Ray
If I have a favorite thing in this universe. That thing that never ever fails to remind me why I love my family and life on Planet Earth. It’s Max Fleischer’s BETTY BOOP cartoons. My parents had over sixty of these on 16mm film when I grew up. My mom and dad LOVED these so much, my mom collected Betty Boop memorabilia and my sister inherited my mother’s mania… But more than likely if you ask me to sing a song off the top of my head, it will be a song from a Betty Boop cartoon. If there is any film that I would kill to make, it’d be a live action vfx crazed BETTY BOOP period musical that would rule the universe from up on high. Friends that run soundtrack companies constantly hear from me advocating for a CD set of all the music from the Betty Boop cartoons – because it is AMAZING! People get their rocks off on ADVENTURE TIME… folks – go here now! I had no clue this set was coming out, but it was zero time from the moment this arrived to the moment it was played. Disappointment? Well, I have to admit that the first thought when I saw a blu ray with Betty Boop on the cover was… IS IT ALL OF THEM NOW? Then seeing that it was just twelve of them. I would love to do a full episode of AICwHK that showcased my sister’s collection of BETTY BOOP stuff which is quite extensive, along with Dad and her just geeking on why BETTY BOOP can center your universe and make the bad things better. Betty Boop is sexy, a flirt, a real go-getter that puts a beat in her step even though the world would love to have their way with her. Now – what you’re getting on this BETTY BOOP: TECV1 is:
CHESS NUTS (1932) – this wasn’t one that we owned, so I love that it starts things – with two live action old men playing chess – and as one’s cigar drops upon a chess piece that Betty comes out of… then the chess pieces come to stop motion life, then they became animated. Bimbo as a Chess King makes be giggle. It’s very appropriately surreal. The quality of the print is that of a very nice played print.. this hasn’t been cleaned up – and given that the studio has never taken particular care of these classic cartoons, I shouldn’t be surprised. You do see Betty in her panties in this one – and tied up. Fave moment, the Chess King sings, “Can’t you see the love in my eyes?” and his pupils become lit candles, better blows the candle’s flame, as the candle deflates limply in the King’s eyes! It’s a perfect Betty moment!
Next is BETTY BOOP, M.D. (1932) – I love the classic Betty Boop theme – it is not at enough Karaoke Bars. Betty Boop is a traveling miracle liquid healer going from town to town with an animated Frog as a barker. KoKo does insane body tricks that defy reality. Then asks who’ll buy Jippo. The crowd forms locks on their pockets. So Betty comes out to do an adorable musical number – Elmer Gantry couldn’t compete! The first bottle is sold to a string bean man that becomes a healthy Harry shape! An an old man approaches! What does JIPPO do to him… well you’ll have nightmares for weeks – it’s so good! I’m not entirely sure if I know what JIPPO does to you, but I’m convinced I want it done to me. Cuz JIPPO does miracles! Love the amputee gag! However, this is also where Fredric March makes his Boop debut!
BETTY BOOP’S BAMBOO ISLE (1932)- with songs by THE ROYAL SAMOANS featuring a live action opening number with Hula Girl… SO BLEEDING COOL! The Toon starts with Bimbo with a uke in a little motor boat in the ocean traversing impossible distances and disobeying all laws of physics before crashing into Betty’s arms and his motor turning into a dog as the boat becomes his doghouse. But it’s ok, cuz Bimbo sings Samoan style to Betty as his leering eyes become Betty pulling down the shades. The singing Samoan tree people sing sorrowfully to still the ticking of Bimbo’s heart. This toon… It’s one of my all time favorites. It’s very racially insensitive, but I hold that the film actually has the proper comeuppance to a character that would attempt blackface! BUT – the physical animation in this cartoon is simply amazing. Just watching it is hypnotic, how Fleischer’s people used rotoscope… is amazing. But Betty’s classic topless hula before the sun with a well placed Lei that does reveal briefly! It is one of my all time favorite animation moments. Betty hulas like no other! It’s magic. One of the great cartoons!
BETTY BOOP FOR PRESIDENT (1932) is every bit as vital today as it was 81 years ago. We want Betty! Betty’s impersonations are just stunning! I also love the chanting crowds, But MR. NOBODY is genius! “Who will protect the voter’s rights?” MR. NOBODY!!! “Who cares what becomes of you?” MR. NOBODY! Then when you see Betty in the House with a full assembly split between donkeys and elephants – we get the ultimate truth about American politics nailed so precisely that will absolutely make you laugh no matter your political affiliation. Betty’s public works projects like having a privacy fence around all fire hydrants so dogs can be descreet is amazing, but it’s Betty’s electric chair that delivers the most stunningly unPC moment of all. I can lip synch to this cartoon btw. This was on the most played reel of Betty cartoons that Dad made. The cartoon is pure awesome happy and calls for an end to prohibition, GOD BLESS BETTY BOOP!
BETTY BOOP’S PENTHOUSE (1933) Bimbo and Koko are working on concotions and inventions to make things better for the world. Drinks that really make you wild, when they spy Betty taking a hose bath on our penthouse lawn, and yes Betty is in a stunning 1 piece bathing suit and her song about her lonely penthouse in the sky… I just, if you’re a girl or have ever wanted love a girl, BETTY BOOP is just the right tonic for the body… But Bimbo and Koko’s concotions become an inhuman monster with the hots for Betty. The stocking, bloomers and bra dancing off the clothes line is so hot. But when Betty sprays fertilizer upon the creature it becomes a dancing flower – THIS IS THE POWER OF BETTY BOOP!
BETTY BOOP’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (1933) is probably what developed my own lunatic obsession with having fun birthdays. However, because Betty is about truth, it shows Betty toiling away washing cloths old school style! When her friends suddenly surprise her with a party. That I had a weiner dog and Koko gave Betty a weiner dog… meant significant things to me as a boy! However, when the piano gets whipped out… Betty starts playing – and something happens that never fails to make me belly laugh. I DARE YOU TO DEFY IT! This cartoon also taught me to eat corn on the cob! It also shows you why Giraffes can not live on donuts! This is an important life lesson!
BETTY BOOP’S MAY PARTY was always significant because my Mother’s birthday was in May – and now my Sister’s is too. SO obviously Betty Boop was celebrating my mother and sister’s birthday long before the rest of the world did. You’ll learn how elephants can be turned into camels by just one swinging fat dude – and you’ll respect me. However, you’ll learn why it is dangerous to tap a rubber tree… but it sure looks fun! The amazing twisting of space time and all of reality makes this a party to watch!
BETTY BOOP’S HALLOWEEN PARTY is why my family has always had a Halloween Party – since always and for always. This cartoon is perfect from second to second. My favorite rendition of Jack Frost! When a shivering scarecrow gets a passing invitation, you begin to see some early influences on Ray Bolger’s SCARECROW dance in WIZARD OF OZ or at least what I’ll always claim! Giggle. I also really would like to have Betty’s paint – it is amazingly efficient! This cartoon has been known to brain melt some! That’s a good thing. Also, important safety tip on why you don’t play swing the apple on a string and try to bite it out of the air at a party! The big drunk ape that crashes her party gets appropriately hazed by the powers that Betty Boop manifests as some of the best Ape abuse in cinema history gets underway!
BETTY BOOP’S RISE TO FAME (1934) has a reporter interviewing Max Fleischer at the office as he creates Betty Boop and brings her to life for the reporter… This furthered my belief that cartoons and their creators could actually interact with one another. And this was a highlight reel cartoon. I love that this cartoon is self-reflective of its own process. As apparently a single background represents a gateway to entire other dimensional exploits via a single scene. This unleashes the concept of toon hopping in my mind. I’ve been happier ever since. This cartoon is why I can do a Maurice Chevalier imitation. Or… essentially a more masculine version of Betty doing Maurice Chevalier! This led me to discover his work. Here we get a replay of Betty on the beach from Bamboo Isle – and you will not mind at all! But when Max’s pen becomes an undulating dancing ass… life is too great! The reprieve of OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN – The Greatest Cartoon EVER… So agreed upon by Cartuna and I that he roto’d the Old Man into a Harry toon on this site! Btw, Betty was the first hot girl in a bottle, way before Barbara Eden!
BETTY BOOP’S TRIAL (1934) starts with Betty driving an awesome cartoon car, when Freddy, a stalkerish motorcycle cop decides to abuse his power into causing Betty to be a vehicular menace to avoid his pursuits! Betty keeps her license on her Garter – and when asked what she does, she tells the truth! Nobody pleas a case like Betty Boop! The power to scat is apparently of paramount importance! Oh – and the power of a blown Betty Boop kiss is the power all girls have! This is a basic truth if you believe it.
BETTY BOOP’S LIFE GUARD (1934) begins with a very inaccurate depiction of how Tsunamis work. Again, this toon features known molester Freddy as a Lifeguard. Betty’s inflatable horsey bursts beneath her antics, leaving Freddy to do his best Hasselhoff, but with less manboob jiggling. Betty drowns, but transforms into a MERMAID! This is another Betty I didn’t own. I absolutely love her Little Mermaid musical number – eons before Disney did it, but many gags are emulated. Wisely! However, Betty is still the more surreal joygasm! When the dragon fish tries to kill mermaid Betty – things get really good! The odd Jewish fish is weird. Love the SWORD FISH – everything in the underwater part of this cartoon is a great tattoo to have! The last cartoon is
THE FOXY HUNTER (1937) – This teams Betty Boop with Pudgy, a cute little annoying puppy and suddenly she has a little boy in the home that is gun obsessed. I love the Fleischer kid design, cuz they freak me out. This little brat has destroyed Betty’s house and dreams of killing tigers. Betty is revealed to be in the kitchen slaving away. Folks – this is the Hayes Code at work. Dress covering the knees. Betty is a single Mom. The kid and Pudgy are going out into the wild to lay terror upon the natural world. Pudgy is a total puss! I hate Pudgy, he’s so adorably cute, but WORTHLESS! Have to say, Betty’s kid would do well in The Walking Dead, he’s a dead shot. Problem with this cartoon is that this is a kid and Pudgy cartoon with too little of Betty for my tastes. It’s still fun, but cute characters getting just deserves feels too… Family Circus for my free willing Betty to be associated with. But then the goose trying to explain its righteous indignation as Betty holds her spoiled kid and puppy down to the ire of the goose is pretty classic Betty.
I hope on a future volume or some great ultimate set that will eventually come out that Paramount and Olive produce some real great extras! There such a wealth of Betty history that’s awesome out there! Needless to say, this Blu Ray is a treasure at my home!
EPIC Blu Ray 3D
This is one of those… There’s a tiny world that we humans are too slow to see happening all around us, all the time. This will soon be revealed by nature documentarians filming life at 2000fps, no doubt… But as of now, we’ll have to have the ICE AGE folks reveal it to us in the greater glory of their cgi animated epics. The film is actually pretty neat, especially in 3D at home. The only real complaint that I would have with the film is that the celebrity voice casting actually got in the way of the story for me at times and especially so with Yoko. Remember when animated voices were great character voices? Sigh. Best character is Jason Sudeikis’ father in super slow motion. It’s awesome. And fun. Christophe Waltz is the main highlight of the film though for me. Isn’t he always?
X-RAY / SCHIZOID Blu Ray
I’ve known SCHIZOID for years, but X-RAY was unknown to me. X-RAY kicked my ass. Barbi Benton check into a local hospital for a checkup type of examination, but things escalate. She’s soon strapped to tables hysterically screaming about a psycho serial killer loose in the hospital dressed as a doctor, but nobody believes her. Nurses hear this shit all the time and they just treat her like a raving lunatic. The tension is FANTASTIC! Love these two films, SCHIZOID has Klaus Kinski – which if you’ve learned anything about film at all, you know that means you’ve GOT TO SEE THAT PERFORMANCE. A simple truth to cinema is, if Klaus Kinski is in the film, he’ll be interesting! The prints on both these films are outstanding, X-RAY has an interview with the Director and SCHIZOID has an interview with actress Donna Wilkes. So overall, great blu ray double feature!
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE Complete Second Season Blu Ray
These Blu Rays of Enterprise, I’ve been really grateful for discovering. This was the only Trek series that I didn’t watch on commercial television, I’ve been discovering it on Blu Ray and I’ve come to some decisions about the show. One, worst opening theme song ever. I fucking loathe it, but thanks to the miracle of chapter skips, I only have to hear a couple of notes before I advance to the meat of the story. I like the pre-Prime Directive Starfleet universe. I love that Captain Archer is flying by the seat of his pants. I fucking love it when Jeffrey Combs is an Andorian! There’s this mining episode with Klingons, that again, I love. I love how Archer is becoming instrumental in solving century old Vulcan problems. I love how closed minded the Vulcans are at this point. And I just adore how they have to constantly use Shuttlecrafts – and the amount of first contact incidents. This show is far better than I heard it was, and yeah – I totally want the captain to hook up with T’Pol – who is crazy hot on this show. But mostly, I love the frontier spirit of man boldly going that’s here. Bakula is a helluva Captain.
DEATH HUNT Blu Ray
Ok, so the three leads are Charles Bronson, Angie Dickinson and Lee Marvin. If you haven’t Bought It Now, I don’t know what I think of you. Each of those names is an absolute reason to purchase a film. All 3… a must. Especially when Charles Bronson is a hunted man that kills a man under completely justifiable circumstances, but when the cop that comes to get you is LEE MARVIN, I don’t blame Bronson for running and fighting. Directed by Peter Hunt (ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE) this film. Bronson versus Lee Marvin in frozen mountainous locales… lick your lips, cuz it’s gonna get real good! I love this film. Loved rediscovering it on Blu Ray, this is one I saw at a Drive In back in the day. The film is beautifully shot, a gorgeous blu!
ON THE DOUBLE Blu Ray
Here, Danny Kaye treads in Chaplin territory – playing two characters in a PRINCE & THE PAUPER variety. One a happy go-lucky meek soldier and the other a famed British Colonel that the Nazis wish to assassinate. So the meek is used as bait to capture the real Nazi assassins – and it’s all so much zany fun. You either grok Danny Kaye or you’ve a miserable soul that hates life. Danny Kaye can solve any crisis by simply being entertaining. It is a truth. If you can amuse folks… You may have a reprieve. Danny Kaye is outstanding in ON THE DOUBLE!
RAPTURE-PALOOZA Blu Ray
Amusing at times… but if I didn’t find Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daley and Craig Robinson all absolutely compelling to watch… the terrible writing and direction would’ve overwhelmed me… but because they’re charming enough… I found the film mildly amusing, even if the trailers spoiled all the very best sight gags. That said – this film needs the help of alcohol or pot. Watching it straight up would simply result in massive dissatisfaction. Which basically means that you should only watch this friends that can comment on the gleeful badness in a manner that you’ll find more amusing that the film itself. It does provide good banter if the night is not a strictly respectful watching experience. The more fun YOU have with the film, the better it’ll play.
KNOCK ON WOOD Blu Ray
You’ve seen MAGIC with Anthony Hopkins right? How about DEAD OF NIGHT with Vanessa Redgrave’s dad Michael? That’s a real great Ventriloquist possessed dummy movie. BUT… did you know that Danny Kaye made a parody film in the mid-fifties that features the possessed ventriloquist dummy, which lands him into a psychiatric clinic and… the resulting screenplay was nominated for Best Screenplay at the Oscars? Yeah – and it’s fucking great! I discovered this on Blu and boy am I greatful… Cuz wait till you see Torin Thatcher in this movie – yeah! The Sorceror from 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD! This is a fantastic thrilling comedy!
ROADIE Blu Ray
This is very likely the best movie you’ve never seen. MEATLOAF plays a Roadie for Alice Cooper, Hank Williams Jr, Roy Orbison and BLONDIE. Played by themselves. This is the very very good stuff. I know of the film, because my parents had a pair of friends that worked on the film for a couple of weeks as extras and they used to tell my parents stories about Meatloaf and the making of ROADIE, but Dad’s the guy with those stories. I’ve just heard some of them a half dozen times. Giggle. The Blu Ray is unexpected and a delight.
Next week we’ll be looking at THE GREAT GATSBY 3D, PAIN & GAIN, THE WALKING DEAD Season 3 Limited Edition, THE MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH Blu, DARK ANGEL Blu, KON TIKI Blu, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT Blu, TO BE OR NOT TO BE Criterion Blu, A COMPANY MAN Blu, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE Blu Ray, IDOLMAKER Blu, ONLY THE VALIANT Blu, PENNY SERENADE Blu, THE PAINTING Blu, KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE Blu, FLAT TOP Blu, THE BARBARIANS / THE NORSEMAN dvd, CAPTAIN HARLOCK Complete TV Series, UNCLE VANYA dvd and that’s about it! See you next Tuesday!
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