Hey folks, Harry here with the 44th Picks & Peeks of 2013. It’s a short one. Studios missing out releasing last minute horror title releases – dang it. If you like these columns, check out my Android & iPhone App that has organized all 10 years of this column. It’s at PicksAndPeeks.Com. Meanwhile, the column as usual has links and pics that will take you to Amazon if you click. There you can learn more on the title and if you choose to pick it up, then this column gets a small percent to support it’s best efforts, so thank you. Now, on with the column…
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Blu-Ray 3D
I liked MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, but I love MONSTERS, INC. Here we get the origin story for Mike and Sully’s irresistible friendship and chemistry. Don’t get me wrong, I like it – the film looks stunning in 3D – but I really wanted to explore more of the Monster universe than what we got in this film. I didn’t need to see the origin story, I just wanted a great adventure comedy. For what it is, which is essentially a very Jack Davis-MAD Magazine monster take on college. But if you mixed it with a watered down REVENGE OF THE NERDS class warfare upon campus. I know, I’m being a bit hard on it, but ya know. This is PIXAR – I expect more than a riff on a genre. I want a reinvention. I want to be BLOWN AWAY. And MONSTERS UNIVERSITY just didn’t do it for me. I still like Mike & Sully – and a few of the other characters, but I’ve seen this story told better before, whereas… MONSTERS INC – got me right in the heart. Everything felt like a discovery, not a gag. But because it is Pixar – they do a great job with the material, I just wish it were richer material.
R.I.P.D. Blu-Ray 3D
This is the damnedest darn film. I like the premise, the actors but the material is just flat. You see visual effects folks killing themselves over a bunch of stuff that’s just never sold in the story particularly well. Now if you’re watching this on the 3D Blu – then you might have a lot of fun with it, cuz the 3D is very very out there and fun. But this is one of those shiny turds that you stare at a while before flushing. It just does not work. It should. All the right elements are there, but it just wasn’t captured. The director missed it. It’s like Jeff Bridges was trying to be enough personality for the entire film – and the director was in awe and forgot to direct the rest. I find it a bit painful to watch cuz I can see how much work went into this, that it stars folks I like… but man… does not work. At all. Well, the 3D is cool, but that’s reaching. A movie to stare at.
BYZANTIUM Blu Ray
The key name here is Neil Jordan. As a director, I’d follow him to the very end. His eye is one of the best. I love what he chooses to reveal and focus upon. Here, he’s playing with Vampires again… This is an adult Vampire tale – that doesn’t mean T&A, it means the very take upon the material is handled with weight and power. Take Saorise Ronan’s Eleanor… she’s 16-17 forever. It’s been that way for 200 years. She meets Caleb Landry Jones, the creepy awesome fucking actor from the brilliant ANTIVIRAL!!! He’s just a local ignorant type… But she’s interested in him. Sure he’s food, but she responds to something in him. He might be something more than food, but how do you find that out. It’s the same age of kids being vampire and food as the TWILIGHT films, but without the graceful deerhunting, rather than devouring a human for their warm blood. That’s one layer. Gemma Arterton’s Eternal Whore Vampire is… kind of amazing. Jordan explores vampire mythology and the results are just absolutely worth the watch! The way you become vampire in this universe… AWESOME! Just watch. It has eroticism to it, but it’s headier than that and it’s really really great! Love Neil Jordan!
CARS 3D: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu Ray
The Pixar Post-Apocalyptic nightmare is now in 3D! Where are the PEOPLE!!!!!!!????? This is the future of MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE! Mankind has been wiped up and CARS have evolved to be utterly ridiculous. Tractor Tippin’ and all manners of Redneck behavior. You might even think some of these characters are lovable, until you checked their treads for the blood of humanity! That ain’t transmission fluid anymore. CARS kind of creeps me out, I’m not gonna lie. It is beautiful though. Lasseter evoked exactly what he wanted to capture… the surrealistic landscapes… a complete universe rich in merchandizing potential. Real stroke of genius, not one of my favorite Pixar films, but I love Paul Newman’s character like crazy. The 3D is real real nice. And in 3D, the wide open empty spaces… like the seats of the CARS that are driving themselves. GOOGLE gets their way, and this is our future. Solar operated Self-aware Cars with individual psychotic man killing personalities. Then when we’re gone, the CARS will rule the world! So frightening.
LA NOTTE Criterion Blu Ray
You dig real adult dramas about bored married couples that have infidelity problems… Think EYES WIDE SHUT. Nobody did that theme better than Michelangelo Antonioni! Especially when he was working with Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni! They keep me electrified to their issues. Studying the boredom of familiarity. This is great work. Criterion did a great job on the print, the extras are interviews with film critic Adriano Apra and historian Carlo Di Carlo, this is great – fascinating discussion and analysis of everything going down between the principles. It’s great. And an interview with Professor Giuliana Bruno, who analyzes the visual style that Antonioni used with LA NOTTE. Good stuff!
BEAUTY OF THE DEVIL Blu Ray
Rene Clair does Faust! And he does it as a light fun affair. And I love it! I’ve always been a fan of Faustian adaptations. The Deal with the devil scenario – and this is a truly great one! There’s documentary featurette on the film here, a couple of trailers… but the film is the jewel. I dare you to not be entranced by Michel Simon’s Mephisto – (a character I can’t wait for Marvel to cinematically break out!) – I vote for Daniel Day Lewis. Ahem. Anyway, Michel Simon’s MEPHISTO is a great father of lies!
HARLEQUIN (aka DARK FORCES) Blu-Ray
I ain’t gonna spoil a goddamn thing. This one is all yours. If you dare.
Next week, we kick off November 2013 with THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Blu Ray 3D!!!! Oh… and TWILIGHT FOREVER: THE COMPLETE SAGA BOX SET Blu Ray, WHITE HOUSE DOWN Blu, GROWN UPS 3 Blu, PARKLAND Blu, THE RIGHT STUFF Blu Ray, DOCTOR WHO: Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu Ray Giftset, MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL Blu Ray, LOVELACE Blu, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES Blu, GIANT Blu Ray, BISHOP’S WIFE Blu, A CHRISTMAS STORY 30th Anniversary Blu, NAKED CITY: THE COMPLETE SERIES, DePalma’s PASSION Blu, UNDER THE DOME Blu, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE Blu, EAST OF EDEN Blu, AS I LAY DYING, INTOLERANCE Blu, GAME OF THRONES Seasons 1,2&3, SCROOGED Blu, MY NAME IS NOBODY Blu, ELF Blu, THE BEACH GIRLS Blu, THREE FACES OF EVE Blu, OLDBOY Blu, TOPAZ Blu Ray and THE GREEN WAVE wraps it up. Whew, next week’s a doozy of a week! Seen some of that, but waiting on a bunch of it. Till next week, keep watching!