Hey folks, Harry here with the 45th PICKS & PEEKS of 2013! There’s a great bunch of titles this week, including some real film geek jewels! As usual, the images and links take you to Amazon’s site, where you can learn more on the title and if you feel like it, you can purchase it through the link which helps to keep the best efforts of this column kicking. Also if you like the column and have yet to pick up our iDevice and Android Device friendly app at PicksAndPeeks.com to pick it up for yourself or to gift it to someone you feel could use it! Now, let’s get on to the column!
Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY EXPANDED EDITION 3D BLU Giftset
Ok, this is obviously for Tolkien lovers and lovers of Peter Jackson’s cinematic doses of pure happy – and that pretty much perfectly describes me. I love this Expanded Edition in the same kind of crazed happy I was with all three Expanded Editions of LORD OF THE RINGS. I no longer watch the theatrical editions. When I want to watch those films… I want every ounce that I could possibly get… Here, everything is golden, from little kid Bilbo and his wooden elvish looking blade… to the greater glory of Dwarf song & bathing in Rivendell… in fact every thing in Rivendell is like a gift to the happy centers of my brain. Like Bilbo’s conversation with Elrond… or even just Martin looking like the most wistfully contented and happy hobbit ever there in Rivendell. I just love it. LOVE IT! However, that’s nothing next to the utter fucking ruleage of the GOBLIN Song! This absolutely had to introduce the Goblin King character. Having it removed in the theatrical essentially just has his character billowing to life on screen… well, in this version he explodes. Goblin band. Goblin backup singing. This is the sweet nectar for my Goblin loving brain! I love Goblin culture. That reminds me, the revelation of Goblin King’s throne in the Appendices… GENIUS! I watched all 8 hours that makes up the two Appendices – and often throughout them, I felt as though this is the product I wanted all along. The Expanded Editions with 8 hours of Supplementals…. RIGHT THERE! That’s the happy Harry! Yes, QUINT’S IN THE FILM! And he has the biggest shit-eating grin ever & A FLOPPY HAT!!! So envious of the FLOPPY HAT! I’ve watched the Expanded Edition of the film 3 times already – and it even comes in 3D! Now – if we can get a home theater delivery for the HFR 3D… I’ll be completely happy. The extra Dwarf on Goblin violence is also highly appreciated. And for me, just as with the LOTR EE – the story seems to flow faster now and be even more satisfying. It really doesn’t get much better than this. Well, until this cycle is complete and sitting on my shelf to be watched as the whims possess me. This is incredibly sweet!
TWILIGHT FOREVER: THE COMPLETE SAGA BOX SET Blu Ray
It always used to bug me that the TWILIGHT series was snug up against my precious Rod Serling TWILIGHT ZONE blu rays… and when this set came to review, I was able to take down all, but the Expanded BREAKING DAWN Part 1 Blu… However, that particular film belongs snug with TWILIGHT ZONE, cuz… have you watched that birth/transformation thing? I could see it ending before the turning and Serling talking about a young girl in a curious kind of cautionary love with a creature of darkness. A tragic night… in the TWILIGHT ZONE. But Bella doesn’t die, she comes back from the dead for more awesome crazy antics in the final. The real gold from this set though are the TWILIGHT FOREVER: EDWARD’S SAGA and JACOB’S SAGA. It’s sort of like when Francis Ford recut the GODFATHER to play out chronologically… but it’s with fucking TWILIGHT Saga… taking every beat of their personal character’s journey into these hour and fifty minute – FILMS? There’s just enough booze in the world that I can imagine inviting ever gal I know over to the house and watch them go batnuts silly over these two special features. In fact, I’m suggesting that to Yoko manana! Otherwise – you’re getting the exact releases that you already have. But the presentation is nice and silly cute. But the gold that your shilling out are the 5 hours of extras on the just for this release discs! At $45 from Amazon, it’s a pretty great gift for that TWILIGHT fan in your world!
WHITE HOUSE DOWN Blu Ray
Roland Emmerich’s entry into the “Let’s Completely Fucking Wreck The White House” year of film. This time, it’s an inside job. It was in OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN too, but this time Jamie Fox is playing PRESIDENT and Channing Tatum is playing Daddy, who wants to be a Secret Service agent real bad – and whose precocious daughter knows EVERYTHING about the White House. Which will come in handy. I love crazy ol James Woods in a movie! Especially with a conspiracy at the White House tale. I guess it was a good day to have Duke touring the White House. The disc forgoes any lengthy doc, for a whole hose of lil mini-pieces on the making of the film. Which total up to having a little over an hour of content. It gets silly, but in a fun way. Ultimately, I had fun with it, but it is missing the teeth and gore of OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN.
GROWN UPS 2 Blu Ray
There’s some funny shit that randomly happens once in a blue moon that makes me laugh for about 2 minutes at a time… But inbetween are numerous groans, WTFs and frustration. There’s a whole lot of talent in this. The cameos are amazing – and it’s filled with actors and actresses that I love as well as personally loathe… so it’s a sweet & sour kind of film, but if the sour tasted like shit to you. At least that’s how this played for me. I will never watch it again.
PARKLAND Blu Ray
I found this to be truly affecting. Of course, right befoe I watched this, I had just finished the Kennedy chapter of Oliver Stone’s UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES – and watching this very step by step of the Kennedy assassination and aftermath… the subsequent investigation, the work at the hospital, PARKLAND, where both Kennedy and Oswald were taken for treatment. Tom Hanks produced – and you’ve got Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder and Zac Efron as the young Doctor that treated Kennedy when he arrived. It isn’t pretty. The story is told very straight forward and raw. Can’t wait for the THIRTEEN DAYS release next week too!
THE RIGHT STUFF Blu Ray
YES! Pristine, gorgeous transfer. Sound to rattle the frames on your walls! Select scene commentaries. 11 minutes of deleted scenes. A feature length documentary on John Glenn! 47 minutes of docs – but most of all… THE RIGHT STUFF! One of my very favorite films. Caleb Deschanel’s photography, Bill Conti’s Oscar winning score… both have never been better. For fans of this GREAT film, this book edition is fully loaded and they didn’t spare a pixel, this is perfectomundo! This is exactly as great as THE RIGHT STUFF deserves to look at home!
THE GAMBLER Blu Ray
Before TRON, Before BABYLON FIVE… Bruce Boxleitner was playing cards with Kenny Rogers in THE GAMBLER… and while I do indeed love the film of the same title starring James Caan – and is VERY different. But Kenny Rogers in THE GAMBLER is one of those perfect films for a perfect time and place in history. I know there’s a lot of folks out there that are like me and loves THE GAMBLER, well, it has never looked this good! What’s this? You’ve no nostalgic yearning for this film? Maybe that’s why you frown all the time and I always look so damn happy and fulfilled with life. This film does that for you. You have so much to learn from Brady Hawks… seriously. This is important stuff! This film produces a warmth in my chest that fills me with spirit. You must watch it enough to learn the song… and once you have the song, the world is your oyster!
DOCTOR WHO: Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu Ray Giftset
This comes with a Universal Remote Control that happens to look exactly like…. A SONIC SCREWDRIVER – yes, control your Who with a twirl of your Sonic Screwdriver. As for Series 1-7… …well, they’re fantastic. Like many of you, I’m currently addicted to THE WALKING DEAD, but what THE WALKING DEAD can never quite do, that DOCTOR WHO does – all too often… it’s the wonder of it. The big wow of Doctor Who. There’s HOURS of it. This is what I devoured that made me love DOCTOR WHO, these 7. The delights waiting for you are really spectacular. And for those of you in the know… This Blu Ray Gift Set is your way of having the best copies for that rainy week when you’ve just got to WHO it up! Filled with extras. That comic is exclusive to the set, as are those cards. This is exactly how to spend those Christmas to New Years hours!
MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL Blu Ray
I like MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL a lot, but this is a terrible transfer that has been so cleaned and scrubbed that you have more actual detail on your DVD copy than you will out of this one. There’s no real extras concerning the making of this film, which is awfully lame, but they do place a few classic Disney toons on here. Overall, pass on this one – Disney often does great work with their films, this isn’t one of those times.
LOVELACE Blu Ray
Amanda Seyfried does a great job of playing the 3 faces of Linda Lovelace… the innocent, the porn star and the survivor. Peter Sarsgaard is a thousand times creepier, scarier and just YUCK as the charismatic fiery turd of a humanoid. There’s quite a bit of adult subject matter, but don’t think of this as anything particularly erotic. Instead, the drama takes over – and the performances of Amanda and Peter as Linda and Chuck… they’re not likely to be forgotten.
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES Blu Ray
William Wyler is generally best known for directing BEN HUR… should be best known for directing THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, his greatest masterpiece. Fredric March, Teresa Wright, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews – all in a film about soldiers returning from WWII, but could just as well be about today’s service men. We should do our best to not only watch this film, but to show it to others. I would have liked fuller extras, but the intro by Virginia Mayo and the 7 & a half minute interview with Wright and Mayo is such a juicy taste of what should have been. This is a film to interview other filmmakers about. This is one of the GREAT films – the transfer and sound quality are excellent. But get out there and discover this one!
BISHOP’S WIFE Blu Ray
This is one of my favorite Christmas films and yet another mark on the Cary Grant Rules board! David Niven is a stressed out Bishop, trying to raise funds for a new cathedral all while turning a deaf ear to the needs of his bride, Loretta Young. Cary Grant is an angel sent to be Cary Grant, which is to be… irresistible – and he does that as a reflex action. Grant is stunning in this. You’ll laugh, cry and smile… all while getting into the Christmas spirit. Amazing film.
NAKED CITY: THE COMPLETE SERIES
About 119 hours of the best damn cop show that has perhaps ever existed. Starring talent that only a TV show from 1958-1963 could generate. Folks like crazy young Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford and William Shatner - along with Burgess Meredith, Claude Rains, Peter Fonda, Mickey Rooney, Robert Morse, Christopher Walken, Henry Hull, Frank Gorshin, Hume Cronyn, Telly Savalas, Leslie Nielson, Ed Asner, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman and it just keeps coming. You get all six thousand and sixty-three minutes of this landmark and captivating show. The city has 8 million stories, here’s a ton of em. They’ll absolutely amaze you. So great!
PASSION Blu Ray
Brian De Palma is back with PASSION, the 2012 erotic thriller with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. Yes, it’ll go there. I’ve seen the film only once, but remember thinking the casting felt a bit off, but by no means did I not enjoy this film. For some reason though it all feels a bit more like something that Joe Eszterhas was involved in. That said, I will watch this film a few more times in my life, cuz I just appreciate all of De Palma’s films multiple times. I find if I don’t like one, I tend to keep watching until it finally clicks. They usually do. That’s why you got to own them!
JAMES DEAN ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION Blu Ray Set (REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE / EAST OF EDEN / GIANT )
In addition to the three James Dean features, you’ll also get 3 feature length docs: JAMES DEAN: SENSE MEMORIES, JAMES DEAN: FOREVER YOUNG and GEORGE STEVENS: A FILMMAKER’S JOURNEY. Then there’s the mountain of extras. I sampled each of the features – which seemed to have really great and vibrant transfers, but due to the volume of this week’s column, I couldn’t begin to touch seeing all that is in this set! The three Dean features – I love. I’ve been brought up loving them. I did rewatch all of EAST OF EDEN, mainly because it’s the title I saw least of the three. Dad’s a huge REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE fan and my mother was a huge GIANT fan – so I grew up curious about EAST OF EDEN, which is similarly great. However, the most iconographic shots are in REBEL and GIANT. But it really is Dean’s work in EAST OF EDEN that really makes me yearn for more from him. FYI – if you seek this title out via AMAZON UK, you can get it for about half the price of the American AMAZON – and it is an All Region Blu apparently!
INTOLERANCE Blu Ray
BTW – you’re getting a triple feature on this Blu, in addition to the stunning INTOLERANCE by D.W. Griffith, Kino is throwing in THE FALL OF BABYLON and MOTHER AND THE LAW. But getting a pristine print of INTOLERANCE is key, just so you can actually take in everything going on. The scale of the set builds was truly unlike anything we’ve seen before. Truly amazing work. If you liked The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer’s CLOUD ATLAS – check this out. They do very similar and completely different things, but boy they explore their themes through time! No far flung future here though!
MY NAME IS NOBODY Blu Ray
I can’t seem to find out a thing about this Blu Ray – and wasn’t sent a copy to preview, so I’m ordering it right now. Why? Because when Terence Hill and Henry Fonda make a film produced by Sergio Leone – that’s one of the great Western Comedies of all time… you can damn well bet I care.
THREE FACES OF EVE Blu Ray
Joanne Woodward in THREE FACES OF EVE… well it’s one of those film roles of a lifetime. Woodward’s Eva/Eve/Jane personas are fascinating to watch. And the great Lee J Cobb is up there too! Woodward scored an Oscar for Best Actress – and once you’ve seen the film, you’ll absolutely get it. She’s amazing. However, I’ve always dreamt of this film with the director’s first choice for the titular role, Judy Garland, but she couldn’t pull it together for the film. So Joanne Woodward got the role that launched her career to a whole different level. One of the great ACTRESS movies!
What a friggin week, but then we’re getting into the big holiday season when releases come at us fast and furious. So we’ll kick off next week chatting about the MAN OF STEEL Blu, TURBO Blu, AKIRA 25th Anniversary Blu, THIRTEEN DAYS Blu, CITY LIGHTS Criterion Blu, NOSFERATU Kino Blu, JFK 50 Year Commemorative Blu, FRANCES HA Criterion Blu, BODY BAGS Blu, DEXTER: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION Blu, ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN Blu, FIRST TIME / ORIENTAL BABYSITTER, LION OF THE DESERT Blu, IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT Blu, OUI GIRLS, FAMILY TIES: THE COMPLETE SERIES, MOD SQUAD: COMPLETE COLLECTION, THE BEACH GIRLS Blu, I DECLARE WAR Blu, BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL / TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE Boxset, BEST OF SESAME STREET Collection, THE MESSAGE Blu, NOT FADE AWAY Blu, SHOOT THE SUN DOWN Blu, GAME SHOW MODELS and that’s about it. See what I mean!?! Keep watching the screens! I will!