Hey folks, Harry here with the latest Picks&Peeks - and it’s a great one! Though in two weeks, it gets crazy! Can’t wait. As usual the images and links take you to Amazon where you can learn more or even purchase the title in question. If you do, a small percentage comes to help support the ongoing efforts of this column. The app linked above, which is good for both Android and iOS devices, has the entire decade plus history of this column organized easily for you – and searchable! Not only do you have the Amazon options through it, but you can see if it is on iTunes, Netflix and more! Updated as the updates come. Well, let’s get right into it!
Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG 3D Blu Ray Limited Edition with Book Ends!
Personally, I feel the only way to watch Peter Jackson’s HOBBIT series is in 3D. It just… it works SO MUCH BETTER. Like when Gandalf is fighting Sherlock Holmes in pure darkness form… watching it as a flat image, it feels like a bunch of sound and fury, but there’s not a lot of AWE to it. Watch the exact same sequence on a high quality 3D projection set up – and it’s like. WHOA! Watching the barrel scene is the same thing. It’s fun in 2D, but in 3D… it’s amazing to just watch someone that took what Tolkien wrote – combined it with the T-Rex River scene from Crichton’s original JURASSIC PARK – turned all attackers into Orcs, then threw in Elves – and you have a scene that is just breathtaking in 3D. Just amazing. But then… Then to have Smaug jut his snout into my living room… You’re talking major major joygasms. Flat – it feels of the world of LORD OF THE RINGS, for me… in my home set up, the 3D is just exquisite. Now – you get THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG webisodes, there’s a special ON SET feature – but if you’re a fan… you know and I know, it’s the Expanded Edition we’re craving. For me, as a lover of film – I do like having both versions. I’m of the mind that these films could just continue to get longer and longer. I am so enamored with the cinematic universe that Jackson has given us… that I rarely look at the theatricals, other than to remind myself what they were occasionally. This edition comes with those giant stone Dwarf Kings upon either side of the gateway to Erebor. That’s just cool. I like that. Now, it’d be even cooler if when they do the Expanded Edition Limited Edition with statuary, if it was the Gates of Erebor. Right? Naw, we want Smaug and Gold and Bilbo right? This will hold me till the holiday season when we finally are offered our most coveted version of the film. Till then, I’ll be watching this! It is a shame that there’s no trailer for the next film on here. I know there wasn’t a trailer for DESOLATION OF SMAUG with the first theatrical release… but I’m just dying to see glimpses of the war of five armies.
NURSE 3D Blu Ray
If as a fan of 3D cinema, you feel that there is an absolute lack of the female form in 3D… then look no further. Guys, this thing is hot. Gals, this is a horror film about a woman that dresses up slut-like to attract that Man Bastards that she’s hunting and killing in thoroughly delicious ways. Paz De La Huerta is so much fun in this role – that I kind of want a Cable television horror series based on this. Directed with style and flourish and a degree of visual fetishry… and it looks great in 3D. I love how Paz’s nurse is out thinking everyone, but when she’s unguarded and being herself… she unravels. It’s bloody good fun – and they’re willing to let this film spurt all over ya! As much as I feel guys will appreciate this film in 15 minute sequences… I think the female horror fans will like this film for the wicked sense of humor it has. For the sense of style and devilish fun that its playing with. NURSE 3D was outstanding fun for me and when I played it on our last Movie Night, my female movie night buddy just had a blast with it – specifically laughing at how easily a girl can win a girl’s trust. Disc comes with a Director’s Commentary, Video Diary and a making of Featurette. There’s not nearly enough horror available in 3D quite yet, so this is a welcome edition!
SABRINA Blu Ray
First – go to IMDB and look up Billy Wilder – print out his filmography – cross off the ones you’ve seen, and make it a point to see everything you haven’t. He’s that great of a filmmaker. Filmmakers from Spielberg to Cameron Crowe to Frank Darabont to countless others… they worship his work with great passion and sometimes feel like dismissing those that don’t know his work – and I can get that, because once you’re exposed… you love the films for life. SABRINA is one of THOSE films. A film you’ll love forever. It stars Humphrey Bogart as the older respectable stiff brother, William Holden as the handsome younger brother, then this chick named Audrey Hepburn. She’s unbelievably amazing in the film. The two brothers are unbelievably wealthy. Holden enjoys the wealth, Bogart adds more wealth to the pile. Audrey is the chauffeur’s daughter. She’s always had a crush on Holden’s David, growing up watching him be fabulous and date fabulous women, she just wanted to grow up to be THE woman for that man. David is engaged to be wed when he finally notices Audrey, but Bogart’s Linus will not allow her to ruin his plans for David to be useful to the family through his impending nuptials… so he hatches a plot to romance Hepburn’s Sabrina for himself and keep her as far from David as possible. Now the film has never ever looked better to me – and I have seen a 35mm print, albeit a dirty old one and not absolutely pristine. Warner Home Video did a great job on this – giving us an hour plus doc on Audrey Hepburn as a fashion icon, an eleven minute feature on the historical nature of the North Shore of Long Island. There’s 16+ minute Supporting Sabrina piece that focuses on the amazing character actors that Billy Wilder put in support of Audrey. There’s a nearly 30 minute doc on William Holden: The Paramount Years. I liked that a lot. Then there’s a nearly 12 minute Doc on the Sabrina production, which feels a bit light. Then there’s a weird 5 minute feature on Paramount’s Camera Department. Pretty neat, but odd for this disc for some reason. This is a very solid release – I quite enjoyed the Fashion Icon doc, but would have preferred something more focused upon the film SABRINA.
FUNNY FACE Blu Ray
As great as SABRINA is, FUNNY FACE, for me… swoon. I love Fred Astaire – and he’s a fashion photography tasked with finding a new face and comes up with nothing but Audrey Hepburn, whom he grooms for the fashion world while falling helplessly, madly and truly in love with Hepburn. The film is filled with great Gershwin tunes like the silly perfect “S’wonderful”! Looks great with its amazing Technicolor that just pops off the screen, in full on VistaVision!!! Stanley Donen nailed this flick. It’s so great. I love the charisma between Astaire and Hepburn. Fred has such a casual grace about him, he also communicates a world weariness that is just beautifully captured… and contrasted with Hepburn, who is that kind of girl that makes the sun perk up in the sky, when its light hits the flower petals freckled with dew, well, that’s when you begin to hear a Gershwin tune and she owns you. Hepburn’s little funny face is a face the world can’t forget, even all these years after she’s gone. She was one of the greatest icons of cinema. Astaire was another. Love this!
GRUDGE MATCH Blu Ray
TOMMY BOY director Peter Segal helms this conceptual comedy, that actually steers in better directions. Sure, there’s the obvious jokes to be made and they’re made… but here’s the thing, teaming up Alan Arkin as Sly’s elderly manager – well, it’s hilarious. Because Alan Arkin makes everything funny. Robert De Niro’s character is actually a pretty complicated story all its own. But the real secret of GRUDGE MATCH is it is an absolutely endearing film. You know that sense of belonging that TOMMY BOY had. Where things felt genuine. This has some of that genuine emotion going for it. In particular, I fucking love Jon Bernthal as De Niro’s bastard child. And I love Kim Basinger in this! This is a pretty solid film, where those obvious jokes, they’re the least fun of the movie. The real fun is caring about these characters – and I was a total sucker for that end fight. I really do like what Stallone and De Niro do in that ring. They shot a story in there, and it was a helluva good one. The playing with iconography is undeniable, but the film is doing some of its own. Man, I hope Bernthal gets cast in great fucking movies more. He was great in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, he was the best thing in SNITCH and on WALKING DEAD – he was tremendous. Anyway, check out GRUDGE MATCH, it’s surprising!
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES Blu Ray
In many ways this feels like a completely unrelated story to the main direction of the previous Paranormal Activity movies – but there’s some awesome stuff that kind of makes this the biggest WHAT THE FUCK of them all. Best seen with as many wussy friends as possible, so that your second and third viewings become high comedies as you watch friends freak. The changes in this edition feels very refreshing. Getting out of the suburbs is very good. I wouldn’t call this the best in the series as I’ve heard some declare, but it is another solid entry. That said, it’s pretty limp on extras.
CRY DANGER Blu Ray
Dick Powell. He’s a key reason to buy CRY DANGER, but then… so is Rhonda Fleming… This is a pseudo noir, made on a B-budget… what that means is it doesn’t kill time slowly developing shit, it moves. Dick Powell furls his brow and spits out the dialogue with a give a fuck delivery. He does it well. He’s an ex-marine recently released from the slammer for something he claims he didn’t do. It’s a perfect character for Dick Powell. I call this a pseudo noir, cuz it’s more of a Blanc Noir, cuz this is a very sunny film, that plays by a whole lot of other Noir rules. The transfer is real sharp, but it is a just the movie sort of disc. But that’s fine, this is a treasure.
A FIELD IN ENGLAND Blu Ray
It is England of the mid-17th Century. Apparently there was a huge battle, but a few combatants make their way through a very overgrown field, to find themselves no longer a part of the combat. They’re deserters, but there’s something more at foot now. There’s an Alchemist that urges the group to look for something. The film gets… weird. A tad psychedelic… and really really well done.
THE BAMBOO SAUCER Blu Ray
Made in 1968. Deep in the Cold War. We’ve got ourselves a story here folks. THE BAMBOO SAUCER. You see, a Chinese villager wrote a U.S. Senator that a U.F.O. landed in their village and the aliens died. Next thing we know we have a team of Americans heading to China, only to meet an opposing team of Soviets. Now, I thought this would be very cut and dry. Americans will be trustworthy and the Soviets would be evil on Earth. NOPE. The person in charge of the Soviet team is a Woman. The American pilot/UFO investigator played by Dan Duryea… well, a woman belongs in the kitchen. He laughs at the thought of women working and having professions. THIS MOVIE IS SO WEIRD. How are the FX? Funky as hell… but listen to what the team are talking about when discussing the power of the alien ship. It’s kind of awesome. Apparently, the UFO is powered by something that allows it to shut all gravity, save for the specific gravity it wants to go where it wants to. Allowing only the gravity of a specifc celestial body to pull the UFO in whatever direction it needs to go. I found that fascinatingly fresh for a UFO film from the Sixties… or even today. Nary a mention of ATOMIC anything. Have to say – the Americans are pretty much dicks in this film, the film is very fun to watch though. It has curious politics, gender roles and science. I found this to be my discovery of the week. Funky effects, but a fascinating little film.
BEST NIGHT EVER Blu Ray
I do know girls that can crack the world in two when they party. Hell, I married one. And when I realized this was a female themed HANGOVER-esque story of a group of girls doing the bachelorette party in Vegas… I knew I’d probably enjoy it. It’s crazy fun. That said, this is also a horror film. This time in Vegas is something to survive. They’re put through the ringer, things get really really crazy, but have faith they’ll come out the otherside… perhaps scarred for life. Perhaps invigorated. The film does what it sets out to do. Be a crazy girl party movie. And it’s pretty damn fun!
That’s it for this week, next I’ll be looking at MALLRATS Blu, DOUBLE INDEMNITY Blu, BREAKING THE WAVES Criterion Blu, TOUCH OF EVIL Blu, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Blu, RIDE ALONG Blu, REALITY BITES Blu, SLEEP MY LOVE Blu, THE NUT JOB 3D Blu, CONFESSION OF MURDER Blu, MEN IN WAR Blu, ALICE Blu, UNCLE BUCK Blu, BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY Blu, DATE AND SWITCH Blu, MOBIUS Blu and more… Till next week, keep watching cool movies!!!