Hey folks, Harry here with the second Picks & Peeks of the month! As usual there’s some cool stuff on the list, but not as much as I’d hoped. Couple of great new series! As usual, the images and links take you to Amazon where you can learn more about the title in question, or order it which helps keep this columns best efforts going! So thanks. Now – here we go… Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY Blu Ray
The anti-science folks scare the living shit out of me. Everything that’s cool about the modern world is due to science. Knowledge is a joyful celebratory series of discoveries and with each revelation, I marvel at COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY. I love how Neil Degrasse Tyson frames science and history, context is everything. Neil is immensely charismatic and a joy to watch play upon his ship of the imagination. Bill Pope’s photography is beautiful – and the effects work is truly beautiful. I love watching and supporting this show more than any other. When friends bring kids over, I inevitably put the show on to capture their imaginations… and spawn great conversations. I’m already sad that the season has ended, but the blu-ray provides the best visual look at this amazing show. You get an audio commentary on the premiere episode. COSMOS at Comic Con special feature. The Library of Congress Dedication and a COSMOS: THE VOYAGE CONTINUES – which takes us through the process of the making of the new series and its mission statement. I really love this show. If you love learning, like being amazed by the discoveries we’ve made about existence… this show is for you. Very friendly for the whole family! Even young kids get captured by it.
TRUE DETECTIVE Blu Ray
If you do not have HBO… and you haven’t seen TRUE DETECTIVE… Drop what you’re doing, get this Blu Ray and discover this AMAZING show. Completely enthralling show. Absolutely absorbing. The character work being done by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson… it’s just fucking better than anything I’ve seen in a theater this year. Seriously. THE BEST ACTING OF THE YEAR thus far. As you get to the end of the season, you will be terrified. It’s amazing. Just amazing. The particular EVIL of this show is kind of epic beyond words. Southern Gothic Crime & Intrigue. Exquisite filmmaking and story-telling through and through. It just doesn’t get much better than this. Nice extras, nothing amazing though. But every bit
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT Blu Ray
I really do love what Kenneth Branagh made here with JACK RYAN SHADOW RECRUIT. Pine continues the tradition of playing the smartest guy in the room, only this time… from his entrance into the CIA. I like everything about this film. But that Branagh made SORRY WRONG NUMBER a big part of the film… well, it are those nods that make me happy. I always hope that it’ll push a whole group of folks to discovering that magnificent movie. That said, I thought this was a terrific Jack Ryan yarn. I’ve enjoyed all the Jack Ryan movies made. I like the fluidity of the role to slip from one actor to another easily. It would be fun if as the series continued if they’d let Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford or Ben Affleck or Chris Pine back in the role… Or still yet another. The film looks quite impressive on Blu, the extras go into their particular adaptation process, a look at Branagh both as director & actor, there’s a feature about making the Russians our villains again, and a few deleted scenes. For me, I’m quite happy to add this to my Jack Ryan series and hope for more!
NON-STOP Blu Ray
Really silly bullshit thriller where you have Liam Neeson as an Air Marshall being driven quasi-crazy by text message torturing and manipulation. This is the perfect movie for a long flight! It is absolute looney tunes! But we’ve reached that point in society where seeing Liam Neeson go fucking nuts… non-stop, well… yeah, we like that. The complexity to this particular scenario is kind of beyond belief, but if you’re with friends and in the mood for something a bit silly and badass – this can play. But it’s one of those that falls apart upon reflection. Still enjoyable though! Pretty weak extras.
TIGHTROPE Blu Ray
I love TIGHTROPE. There’s more to it than DIRTY HARRY IN NEW ORLEANS… but there is that too. It’s the most overt sexual and perverse Detective story that Eastwood was in – and the film is a damn fine flick! Sadly there’s no special features, besides a trailer, but the film looks good at the very least. I love the sexual themes that make this film feel so different from the rest of Eastwood’s flicks. In particular Clint’s great here. Maybe it is New Orleans, or the subject matter, but this feels a touch Noir-ish, which is a very good thing. Great to have on Blu Ray, wish it was a better Blu!
SPIKE LEE JOINT Vol 1 Blu Ray ( THE 25TH HOUR & HE GOT GAME )
I absolutely love THE 25TH HOUR… I love Ed Norton, Rosario Dawson, Brian Cox, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and the great Brian Cox. I love that car ride SO MUCH! The film works because of David Benioff’s script from his own novel. Today we worship his GAME OF THRONES work – Spike put an amazing team together and it is so nice to have it on Blu at last. There’s a Spike Lee Commentary and a separate David Benioff commentary. Plus a new commentary with Lee and Ed Norton! Deleted scenes and a Ground Zero tribute. HE GOT GAME is another great Spike Lee Joint! It doesn’t get near the extras that the other disc gets, with just a commentary with Spike Lee and Ray Allen. This is a great value!!!
BUSHIDO MAN: SEVEN DEADLY BATTLES Blu Ray
It isn’t the prettiest thing… but as these things go… It’s a whole lot of fun… and weird fight flick. It involves a student telling his master about a series of duels he fought and the scrolls he’s brought to his master. This is WEIRD! But there’s a cumulative charm that is irrepressible. There’s a single blow at the end of the whole thing that got a squeal of glee that is hard to match. A perfect gag! That single moment elevated this to HAVE TO HAVE. I’ve got to show this to some fools! Heh.
KLONDIKE Blu Ray
Produced by Ridley Scott, this 7 hour series about the Klondike Gold Rush is pretty harrowing and cool! Just watching the adventure of this made me appreciate the pure grit of the generations that carved the world up into opportunity. Know that amongst the cast you’ll find Sam Shepard, Tim Roth and Tim Blake Nelson being GREAT! Don’t forget to grab a blanket, this film will psychologically lower the perceived temperature of the room by 10-15 degrees. It is a COLD show. Beautifully shot, this is a great show for Robb Stark (aka Richard Madden). This really did surprise me, I hadn’t heard of it at all, but absolutely enjoyed it thoroughly!
MIRAGE MEN DVD
Did you love the X-Files and believed that while the show was fiction, the “Truth is Out There” paranoia pointed towards something very real and very wrong about the way things are done within secret shadow realms of the government? Yeah? Me too! That’s why I enjoyed this documentary about an alleged ex-Air Force counterintelligence officer and his part in the creation of the UFO cover story for American Tech secrets. This played at FANTASTIC FEST and I found it very diverting. Not sure if I believe any of it. Not sure that really matters. It’s a wicked tale!
That’s it for this week, next we’ll be looking at THE LEGO MOVIE 3D Blu, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK Criterion Blu, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Blu, HOUSE OF CARDS The Second Season Blu, JUDEX Criterion Blu, HEARTS AND MINDS Criterion Blu, JOE Blu, ERNEST & CELESTINE Blu, WALK OF SHAME Blu, 13 SINS Blu, THE FINAL MEMBER Blu and that’s about it. Till then, keep watching your screens!