Hey folks, Harry here with PICKS & PEEKS for the first 3 weeks of August. First let me apologize for the delay on these columns, it started with travel, then my PS3 was in the shop – and the time to just watch all of this… Some great great titles here. Some favorite films of mine… As always, the images and links will take you AMAZON where you can learn more about the titles in question and can purchase them, which helps to support this column’s best efforts… and now – let’s just jump right to it ok?
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE Blu Ray
I love this film at a crazy level. For years, I had this stupid annoyance with ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, because I believed that cult audience would absolutely love PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, if they ever gave it a chance… and in my opinion… the film is flatly brilliant on so many different levels, that I could go on talking about the film… as I have, my entire life. I bought a Phantom of the Paradise helmet and the awesome Doll from Japan, and meeting Paul Williams was a major life achievement – but… this is one of those films that for fans of the movie… life in America has sucked. We’ve bought foreign imports for the Blu Ray, DVD, LASERDISC, CD (soundtrack) & Vinyl. I’ve had my French Import Blu Ray for years now – and it’s a wonderful wonderful Blu Ray. In fact, personally, I prefer the transfer on the French Blu, which has completely different also awesome extras. That said… Even if the print of the film was complete crap, which it isn’t. Hell, most reviewers think it is spectacular… It’s only because I’m so used to and in love with the old French Import, where the whites aren’t quite so hot and the contrast isn’t so contrasty. BUT – that’s apparently more a problem TO ME, than any of the other reviewers that absolutely loved this release. I do love this release. More of you will discover the film, which is in constant need. Until we can fill a football stadium for a Paul Williams Stadium Show of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE – I’ll not be satisfied. This is a quest. A dream. There are few films that actually make me as happy as this film does. It might be the moment where December 11th, 1974 flies across the screen… or just every beat and pulse of the film. The crazy stylized awesome of it all. Paul Williams’ performance as SWAN is one of my all time favorite villains in history! It’s just. Amazing. Or that I can sing along loudly with the movie, just by shutting my eyes. I can’t begin to count how many times I have seen the film, and I’ve watched this Blu 3 times already! The 33 minute Brian De Palma Backstage at the Paradise is great. The nearly 35 minute Paul Williams Soul Inspiration feature is just amazing. The ALTERNATE TAKES feature in split screen I watched about a half dozen times already. LOVE IT! There’s a commentary with Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and The Juicy Fruits – along with another commentary with the legendary Jack Fisk! Then there’s a DVD with a pile more of extras… Including a conversation between Guillermo Del Toro and Paul Williams that goes on for a blessed hour and twelve minutes and feels way too damn short! (glutton for this stuff, I tell ya!) What SHOUT! has done on the special features side of this release is nothing short of spectacular – especially because it doesn’t duplicate the material on the French Blu Ray – so it’s all win win! JOIN THE CULT! Only then can you truly appreciate what Paul Williams working with DAFT PUNK really means. It’s just… beautiful.
WITHOUT WARNING Blu Ray
Saw this at the drive in with my parents back in 1980 – and it’s been a fave in-joke movie beween Dad and I as starting the Alien Frisbee sub-genre of Sci-fi-horror. The other one was I COME IN PEACE, only they CDs that were shot out, which is why WITHOUT WARNING is cooler… because it isn’t flying CDs, but Monster-Frisbees… that when they hit you, attach to your body and start doing really horrible things to ya. Now – if you’re a real movie geek, there’s a lot to love here. First off, it stars Jack Palance and Martin Landau and Ralph Meeker and Larry Storch and Cameron Mitchell and a babyfaced David Caruso who is just adorable here. Heh. When the monster alien frisbee’s big red dog cock pierces into the victims bodies… YOU FUCKING NEED 1080p… because man… seeing classic funky awesome B-pic gore is just a joy in life. It is. Part of the reason I love the gore of this film is that Dean Cundey was fucking shooting it. ( ILSA HAREM KEEPER OF THE OIL SHEIKS, JURASSIC PARK, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, THE FOG, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, GALAXINA, ROMANCING THE STONE, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, BACK TO THE FUTURE, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, APOLLO 13) so basically one of our favorite DPs ever – and he shot this movie the same year that he did BACK TO THE FUTURE – and the film, while cheap… LOOKS GREAT! Always been a fan of the look of WITHOUT WARNING! Cundey actually gets a great 15 minute interview on the disc! And SHOUT! has loaded the disc with a ton of great stuff, including a Director’s Commentary from Greydon Clark.
OCULUS Blu Ray
I had a fucking scary blast with OCULUS… first off, it’s completely taken from an old Boris Karloff THRILLER episode “THE HUNGRY GLASS” which if you’re a worshipper of William Shatner’s you obviously remember or have sought out that classic episode – It is a great fucking episode! I’d actually bet that the writer/director Mike Flanagan probably hasn’t seen that. But anyway, like in that old episode of television, OCULUS is a story about a mirror that feeds off the energy of those around it, causing terrible things to happen. It’s a cursed, possessed object with a history… that’s just awesome. But I didn’t know that till I watched the film… what got me to watch the movie instantly? It stars Karen Gillan aka AMY PONDS aka NEBULA… aka AWESOME! She has obsessed her entire life about the fucking mirror that she blames for the worst night of her life. Her brother is released from a sanatorium where he spent a very long time forgetting or explaining away his “crazy” memories of that night… only to be confronted with a revenge hungry sister out to prove she isn’t crazy with a fucking evil mirror that’s just like DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS, but a mirror…. I love these stories – and this film gets weird as hell, but that’s fine… you’re telling a cursed/possessed object tale… you’re permitted to get weird. This actually got me a bit scared, have to say. Good stuff. Nothing legendary mind you, but definitely worth a watch or two or three.
DIVERGENT Blu Ray
I love that this is a world, where the deepest darkest secret you could ever be is to be Divergent, meaning you’re equally talented in all the bullshit Soviet Education analysis crap zones, so… YOU HAVE THEM TATTOOED ALL DOWN YOUR BACK… I just don’t know how smart that character may be. I watched it, but I’m not proud of that. Not that anything is particularly awful, it’s just… You’re spending money creating alternate future verses and this is the shit you wanna make believe? Kinda weak sauce frankly. Don’t get me wrong, Shailene Woodley is a talent… but man, when she joins the dumbfuck group of the future, that basically do stupid shit till they one day die doing it… ya know. Antonio Banderas has a movie coming out later this year… it’s called AUTOMATA… fucking loads better Sci Fi future shit! That film… GREAT! This? It’s just… weak. Boring. No exciting plot or design choices for the entire film. I think this future should have no future. Big yawn.
NEED FOR SPEED Blu Ray
Imagine if you mixed CANNONBALL RUN with VANISHING POINT… now drain all the inherent cool that is dancing in your mind’s eye and spend 3 minutes looking at your next turd and realize this is better time spent than watching NEED FOR SPEED. Aaron Paul seems dazed by the flaccidness of the material. Michael Keaton might have shot his whole part in a set all by himself, but he thinks he’s the star – and it’s kinda mind numbing to have these two talents in this – and then I’ve loved Dominic Cooper before, but man… his character isn’t given anything to work with – and the driving scenes felt undynamic. There was never the thrill of driving nor the exhilaration that Burt Reynolds would’ve given us in the day. Frankly, I just didn’t care for it. And after I finished it, it just kept pissing me off and the reason is… I fucking love auto-insanity films… this just wasn’t involving. These actors, this kind of story… could’ve been something… alas… this one came up short.
THE FULL MONTY Blu Ray
If you have the soundtrack, you’ll pick this one up, because the movie just feels so fucking good as it plays. This is a robust fun full film. One that warms you, tickles you and puts a huge smile on your face. You get a commentary with Peter Cattaneo and Mark Addy, and the other with producer Robert Carlyle! The disc has interviews with everyone, deleted scenes and a ton of trailers!
I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN Blu Ray
I love fun Time Travel stories – and that this one intersects with a tale of a brilliant young man (Haley Joel Osment) whose father (Rufus Sewell) just disappeared one day. His mother is played wonderfully by Gillian Anderson. She’s a mess… she’s never recovered from the day her husband just vanished from Earth as we know it. Meanwhile… for years, smartypants Grandpa played by Victor Garber has been trying to figure out his son’s disappearance and has come up with a possible scenario, where his son might have gone back in time to have a conversation with Albert Einstein… and I’m gold. There’s a whole lot of personal bad shit going down in Haley’s life… but I love that he is committed to righting things and I dig that. This is a quite surprising Time Travel Daddy issues movie! Good job!
Tuesday August 12th, 2014
OUT OF THE PAST Blu Ray
Mom & Dad recognized an early love of horror in me as a kid – and 3 of my father’s favorite childhood horror films were THE CAT PEOPLE, THE LEOPARD MAN and CURSE OF THE DEMON… so when I started getting curious about Film Noir, the first one he showed me was OUT OF THE PAST. Fun thing is, they were all directed by Jacques Tourneur! One of my fave black & white directors of all time. I loved how that man used shadows to make a frame scream atmosphere. Never hokey… but deadly serious. Shadows are scary, and when he married everything he learned in Horror and applied it to Film Noir, he made one of the genre’s greatest masterpieces… OUT OF THE PAST! Also – if there’s any hope at all of you possibly being cool… you must be a Robert Mitchum geek, and you can not start anywhere better than by watching OUT OF THE PAST! (Then, I’d recommend THE LOCKET, THE RACKET, MACAO, WHITE WITCH DOCTOR, RIVER OF NO RETURN, CAPE FEAR, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, THUNDER ROAD… then anything after that is pure cream! Mitchum is a whole different flavor of cool all his own. Arrested for Marijuana possession after being narc’d on by fucking square Ronald Reagan… And it just HELPED his image! Love it. Then you’ve got Kirk Douglas as a great heel/gambler, and he’s just great! Then there’s Jane Greer and Rhonda Fleming… and this is one of those films that has to be in your DNA. It’s just one of the great movies period. The print quality is outstanding, but it’s pretty shit for extras, which is a damn damn shame. This deserves more love!
THE TOXIC AVENGER Blu Ray
So… now that Lloyd Kaufman has entered the Marvel Universe… can we please get a Toxic Avenger cameo in an AVENGERS movie? Heh, can you imagine? I can too! Love our brains! I love Toxie. I love that this is the film that started it all. I also happen to think CITIZEN TOXIE is cinema brilliance! Best news is we finally get Toxie in his correct aspect ratio… because, goddamnit, this is ART! 30th Anniversary of the Toxic Avenger is something rather amazing all by itself, cuz I remember the moment I saw it on the video shelf and took it home to rent on VHS and being introduced to the greater glory of Tromaville! I love this first film. It felt like an underground comic book come to life with a punk rock tongue in cheek attitude and an unadulterated love for gore… that I just can’t possibly fault them for. This Blu Ray is finally the product we’ve been wanting. Film has never looked better. Lots and lots and lots of extras! Director and Cast commentaries and exhaustive interviews and behind the scenes… it’s the whole thing! For the fans! Which would be you too! Go on, give Toxie a ride! He’s awesome!
MOTEL HELL Blu Ray
I believe the immaculate moment of brilliance that sealed this movies place in the awesomest hall of fame was when what ever super fucking genius cast Rory Calhoun to play a roadside cannibal! This movie is a genuinely CHARMING nightmare! In the warmest fuzziest ewwiest ways! There are simply not enough movies with this exact flavor to them. There’s just an unspeakable wholesomeness to Rory Calhoun’s Farmer Vincent. He’s sweet… but he so isn’t. I just get the feeling that if Farmer Vincent was just left alone, he’d have given us a Cannibtopian Society where we all had his sweet Vittles… kind of a plotline in CLOUDY CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 btw. So awesome! Cannibal films have a multitude of tastes. This one is country flavored. Love this film! So good. I’m a big fan of Kevin Connor’s brand of genre films… specifically as a kid I grew up with his Burroughs adaptations of THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT and AT THE EARTH’S CORE and THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT and WARLORDS OF THE DEEP! He also did the great WIZARDS AND WARRIORS TV show. Then he just started making TV stuff and I miss his fun play in the genre filmscape. MOTEL HELL is that crowning achievement. It’s kind of a perfect movie. It is perfectly what it is – and that’s being MOTEL HELL. There’s so many great extras on this SHOUT! release that it makes me wish they did every vintage release… I mean, their OUT OF THE PAST release would just slay! Very flavorful cannibal film! Love the garden! Just. Amazing.
Disney’s TARZAN Blu Ray
There’s genius in Disney’s TARZAN. It was in Glen Keane pencil. Watching his imagination of what Tazan could do, how his muscles moved… the joy of Tarzan… the exhilaration and loneliness of Tarzan… The small moments. Everything. It’s just brilliant character animation at a dynamic level that is amongst the best that Disney’s animation department has ever done. I also am quite fond of Minnie Driver’s Jane. But… I FUCKING LOATHE ROSIE O’DONNELL’s fucking TERK. I also hate Wayne Knight’s TANTOR. They feel like bad Don Bluth characters… in a film with the right enough brain to have cast Brian Blessed as CLAYTON!!! I mean, there’s great stuff here… but it feels like two tellings pulling each other in opposite directions. The Glen Keane movie might have been the greatest thing ever. The awesome fearful wild animal deadly Tarzan of the novels have still never really been captured. I kinda dug the recent Kellan Lutz version, even though it has it’s own case of the serious stupid’s to it… it gets the spirit eventually! I wish that Disney would release the first Pencil version of the film at its roughest state, because the animation I saw from that stage was some of the most brilliant animation work I’ve seen from Disney in my life time. Bold stuff. The extras are fine… you get commentary, a bunch of features, some deleted scenes and that alternate opening which is the best. Scary. Good stuff. Still could have been so much better had it ditched the Disney formula and stayed on the Burroughs one!
HERCULES Blu Ray
I really can’t stand HERCULES. I despise the style used for the film. I don’t like the songs. The character design just was atrocious I thought. And… it was BAD! I love mythology and the story of Hercules will only be right when Marvel does it I suppose… giggle. After all, Marvel made a much better Raccoon & Talking Tree movie than Disney, so who knows what’s just around the river bend. I feel exhausted asking for ALADDIN on domestic Blu ray – and I really hope they pull out all the stops for that disc. Disney is as enthusiastic about this film as I am, barely putting on any extras. A scant 17 minutes of extras, 5 minutes being a terrible Ricky Martin video.
MUPPETS MOST WANTED Blu Ray
Now this is what I’m talking about! MUPPETS MOST WANTED is spectacularly fun! Great songs… Constantine’s Kermit is genius. “BAD FROG” “GOOD FROG” = Awesome! The human cameos are all just on target and it plays with the desire to belong to a family in a beautiful way. And… Kermit in Prison… it’s too good. Those other inmates? Incredible! Tina Fey kills it! We’ve seen it here 3 times already! Annette Kellermen was genuinely shocked how much she loved it – and her little merboy howled laughing throughout. I hope that one song gets nominated though – and there’s a live performance with Muppets at the Oscars!
THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD / FUN AND FANCY FREE Blu Ray
When Disney had Disney, they were never better – and this Blu Ray has a whole metric ton of awesome on it. You get the classic Headless Horseman animated along with Disney’s WIND AND THE WILLOWS adaptation focusing upon the greater glory of the most awesomest of all creations Mr. Toad aka Guillermo Del Toro’s Spirit Animal! Then you also get FUN AND FANCY FREE, which has that wonderful story about Bongo… but the real treasure of FUN AND FANCY FREE is MICKEY AND THE BEANSTALK – which is actually the last time Walt did Mickey’s voice… so that’s AWESOME. But it Donald & Goofy with Mickey in a great adventure that includes Jiminy Crickett… and introduces us to the awesome Willie The Giant – and I love that magic Harp! I’m even fond of the live action component of this one. It’s well fun and fancy free described it! But what isn’t on the cover… is an HD 1080p copy of another feature… THE RELUCTANT DRAGON in the special features area of the disc – so basically you’re getting 3 Disney classics the price! Excellent!
BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS Blu Ray
Disney films have magical family memories connected for almost all of this. BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS came out earlier in the year that I was born, but it was rereleased in 1979 while I was spending a week staying with my Grandparents in San Antonio – and Granny made me promise to not tell my cousin that she took me, cuz she wanted to see it, but she wanted to take me too! I thought this was an excellent plan. This was the film that introduced me to Angela Lansbury, who was someone that my Granny personally based her style upon… and who I’ve forever associated with her, so I can’t watch this movie and not wistfully remember that wondrous spring break screening at that San Antonio Mall with the big boots. I’ve played this at Saturday Morning Kids Club at the Alamo and watched it absolutely entrance a whole new generation of viewers. I mean… Angela Lansbury uses magic to fight off the Nazis, Roddy McDowell is a priest! The film is wondrously playful and whimsical and I love it completely. Now for the fucking problem. There’s 22 minutes missing from this fucking movie! What happened? The print of the film that Disney leases out to theaters is the full one, why can’t we get it on BLU? So frustrating to get all excited to relive a cherished family film memory, then find the film edited for reasons beyond reason. So ultimately – I have to advise you to pass on this one!
BATMAN: ASSAULT ON ARKHAM Blu Ray
Didn’t love this one. It is a PG13 animated feature – and it’s really a Suicide Squad story, that kinda involves Batman… but I just didn’t care for the story or the execution. Which sucks cuz it’s Kevin Conroy’s magnificent return to the cowl – and he’s awesome, but really isn’t in it much. Cuz as I said, this shouldn’t be sold on BATMAN cuz this is a Suicide Squad story – and a weak one at that. I hate ever being negative on a DC animated release, because I want them to continue doing great work, but this was lacking I felt. Had strong elements, but just didn’t come together for me.
MR. MAJESTYK Blu Ray
In 1974 there was a proto-Rambo film called MR. MAJESTYK that was directed by the always awesome Richard Fleischer and starred Charles “Mandom” Bronson as the titular MR. MAJESTYK! An ex-Vietnam Vet who just wants to grow melons, but the world will not let him be and so he has to kill a fuckload of scummy bastards that never deserved to draw a breath. It is magnificent. I love the film. I love it for Bronson’s eyes, that face, that voice and that particular brand of man action badassness that only he brought! It is a shame that the only extra is a trailer, but I love the film so much I have to recommend a print this nice.
THE UNFORGIVEN Blu Ray
There’s something not quite right about John Huston’s THE UNFORGIVEN, but I’ve such reverence for his work… that I care not to dive into the negative, but rather… what’s right about THE UNFORGIVEN. First off, it’s Alan Le May, so the writing is sharp and has more going on between the lines than a cursory viewing would reveal. The cast, with Audrey Hepburn as the American Indian girl raised White… yes, this is the flip of John Ford’s THE SEARCHERS (Novel by Alan Le May) – but then you’ve got Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, John Saxon, Doug McClure, Charles Bickford and LILLIAN GISH – all in this thing – and because I’ve always had a healthy love for Texas tales, THE UNFORGIVEN has been loved in my family… but folks that study the work of Huston… well they consider it a lesser film of his. I see it, as simply a different film of his. There’s still a lot of magic happening here. Great print, no real extras again.
YOUNG JUSTICE: SEASON ONE Blu Ray
I have to admit, I wasn’t instantly drawn to YOUNG JUSTICE. Honestly, I’d kill for about 40 other DC series before I would’ve come up with YOUNG JUSTICE. That was all without seeing it. Now, I wasn’t closed off to the show’s possibilities, but a friend stepped in and refused to allow me to be blind to what he felt was a truly magnificent animated series. I’ve seen the whole show now, but finally being able to pick these up on Blu is nice. Hopefully this will sell like nothing DCAU has ever seen before, so we get the 2nd season soon – and that sells so amazing that we get the show started up again. It looks spectacular on Blu!
VIVA LAS VEGAS Blu Ray
There’s a missed opportunity with this 50th Anniversary Blu ray – and that’s that Ann Margret is alive and amazing and should have had a featured interview for this celebration of the magnificence of VIVA LAS VEGAS which does not reside with Elvis alone. The King is in incredible form with this one, but Ann Margret is more woman than Elvis can handle and I FUCKING LOVE IT! It’s got a commentary by Elvis super-brain Steve Pond, and there’s a 20 minute Elvis and Vegas thing… but come on! We have a responsibility to history to archive the knowledge we have with us today and I for one would’ve loved to have seen Ann talk about this film at length on this Blu! The film has never looked better… But I just feel they could have done better.
TINTO BRASS: MAESTRO OF EROTICA CINEMA Blu Ray (CHEEKY! / BLACK ANGEL / PRIVATE / MONAMOUR / TINTO BRASS: MAESTRO OF EROTICA CINEMA)
If you’ve ever explored the arena of cinematic erotica, you know Tinto Brass, few know how to arouse in the manner that Tinto does so well. Take CHEEKY! – I absolutely adored this film, BLACK ANGEL – it’s Nazi Erotica… which is always so bizasrre. I’ve yet to put on PRIVATE or MONAMOUR yet, but the Documentary TINTO BRASS: MAESTRO OF EROTICA CINEMA is a real jewel, especially if you choose to let this fabulous set of his more modern work… that doc will give you a shopping guide for the highlights and more! But watch CHEEKY! And see if it doesn’t get ya. It’s silly, but undeniably sexy. Great collection!
Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
FADING GIGOLO Blu Ray
This is absolutely fantastic! FADING GIGOLO directed by John Turturro – where he’s starring as Woody Allen’s bitch. Not that Woody Allen is having sex with him, no… Woody Allen is John Turturro’s Pimp. And he pimps John to SHARON STONE… SOFIA VERGARA and the amazing VANESSA PARADIS! There’s an amazing quality to this film. Seriously, beyond the premise being just irresistible… you get surprises… like sadness, melancholy and euphoria. This is the Dark Chocolate and Wine of films. Fantastic! Turturro does do a commentary! Some nice deleted scenes, but no making of. No interviews with the cast, all of whom would be more interesting than 90% of the extras on discs. But still… FANTASTIC film!
LEVIATHAN Blu Ray
It feels like I haven’t seen LEVIATHAN since I saw it in theaters around the time of DEEP STAR SIX… but the experience was nearly completely washed clean from my mind by the absolute greatness of James Cameron’s THE ABYSS ( then later his director’s cut which is about as great as it gets) – and I think every time I’ve thought to watch LEVIATHAN, I put on THE ABYSS Director’s Cut. However, when this Blu arrived in the mail and I held it in my hands and flipped it over to the back of the case… And you see the cast… Peter Weller, Meg Foster, Hector Elizondo, Daniel Stern, Richard Crenna, Amanda Pays and ERNIE HUDSON! And it was directed by one of my fave cult directors for me, and that’s George Cosmotos (God rest his soul) – but then David Webb Peoples wrote the script and Stan Winston’s boys did the crazy! Rewatching this on Blu was awesome! As it played, I remembered everything about seeing the film back in 1989 and about halfway through I remembered EXACTLY what pissed me off about the film – and that’s that I liked it just fine. THEN. They made a decision that pissed me off so much that it made a film that I was rooting for and instead made me flip the film off. If you don’t remember the scene, if you see it… I’ll let it hit you the same as it did me back in 1989. Winston’s crew did some really crazy practical monster stuff – and it’s at varying levels of quality… but they did a feature interview on LEVIATHAN with Stan’s Boys… they’re all legends – and they talk about what happened on LEVIATHAN – and because this is SHOUT! – it is no-holds barred…. The most honest and frank 40+ minutes of behind the scenes – these guys love Stan Winston, respect George Cosmotos… but it’s just… spectacular. One of my all time favorite special features, because it is filled with amazing stories about what it was like to make this film – and the insanity of how they shot it. It’s bliss! More like this please! Then they a 12+ minute featurette with Hector Elizondo and at 15min ERNIE HUDSON Featurette that rules! This is a great Blu for fans of practical visual effects work and its lore.
THE SACRAMENT Blu Ray
Stuff like this scares me. I’m not afraid of the slasher monsters… I’m afraid of crazy fucking religious cults… like that doc KIDNAPPED FOR CHRIST… scary scary stuff. This film is a slow burn, that reels you in… makes you think… this isn’t so bad. I showed the film to my nephew – and for a good portion of the film he thought everything in the film looked like it was pretty cool. Suffice to say he didn’t drink the Kool-Aid I’d made for him. Ti West makes superb Indie Horror films and they’re unrelentingly smart. VICE was so smart to sign off on this film, because it works perfectly – and given the events of our current day of Journalists in peril… THE SACRAMENT is somber powerful horror. The horror around us. The Blu has a commentary with Ti West, AJ Bowen & Amy Seimetz… A 21+ minute making of, a Ti West featurette and another featurette that focuses on a key sequence in the film. Overall, if you love powerful horror, this may be for you!
LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE Blu Ray
Do you love some one? If the answer is YES, then this is a film you need to know. Doesn’t matter what kind of love you’re in, this works with all of them. Watch this film, take notes of what is being consumed and at what point in the film – and then treat your lover to this movie and the flavors, smells and magic that this film has to offer. The Alamo Drafthouse does this at Valentines Day some years, but it can be done by an individual for another – and it will make one or two to swoon. It’s that great a film. Key about this is the quality of the image, and Blu Ray is exactly how you want this to play… Films like this and the BIG NIGHT you can taste. For under $10 you’re getting pure romantic magic laid out for you. EXPERIENCE THIS!
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Blu Ray 3D
This thing is fucking insane. You press a button on the back of Jamie Fox’s creepy blue head and it starts lightening up inside. It’s actually bizarrely cool. Especially if you mostly enjoyed the film. More than anything, I felt they rushed things terribly by dealing with the Gwen Stacy storyline! I just feel it’s a waste of astonishing chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in both of their Spidey flicks. But… when the Silver Age brain shuts down – and I’m a kid… in my home… watching a crazy visual Spider-Man story – and while it isn’t perfect, I still enjoy it greatly. There were some really bizarre tone choices, but Andrew and Emma anchor the film. I really like Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborne, but again Sony rushes the story needlessly. The 3D Blu Ray is really spectacular in a home projection situation. The vertigo through the web-slinging sequences is incredibly dynamic. Really. It’s my preferred viewing method for the film, it’s just crazy to have wall sized 3D of two Peter Parker / Gwen Stacy movies. Spider-Man is a character that lives in a lot of souls – and we all love him in a different way. For me, Andrew Garfield’s Parker/Spidey is by far my fave. It is much closer to the wise-cracking web-slinger that I love. Now going all ULTIMATES – Once Foxx becomes full on Electro (Ultimates style) there’s some fairly awesome visual effects sequences that did dazzle me. But I do long for a more stylized live action version of SPIDER-MAN that genuinely feels classic. There’s some solid extras on here, but I still wanted more. Best thing about the Glowy Head of Jamie Foxx? Make props for it so you can transform Glowy Foxx into all his film characters, but with the bonus feature of making the head go ZAPPY ZAPPY! Now, don’t ya want your glowy Jamie Foxx head thing!?!?!
Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN Criterion Blu Ray
Still my favorite Alfonso Cuaron film! This film is thoroughly alive and vibrant. It feels like a celebration of possibilities of youth unleashed – and I love it. It’s a completely adult film in subject matter, and we don’t ever get movies like this. As frank and real feeling. The film blew my mind in 2001 and for all Cuaron’s film tricks, it is this film that captures my soul. It’s a film about living life and having no regrets or apologies. Gael Garcia Bernal is genius here. Same with Diego Luna! But Maribel Verdu steals my heart every time. She’s great! You would not believe how awesome this Blu looks. Criterion has done a perfect transfer – and in their supplementals are real good – in particular there’s a THEN and NOW thing that has Cuaron at the time of the film talking about how it came to be, and then there’s the NOW – with Cuaron of today discussing the film for 41 minutes and it is electrifying. I loved that so much!
TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! Criterion Blu Ray
1989 – I graduate High School and come to Austin for some learning and to move in with Father Geek – and two weeks later the Austin Chronicle was giving away free passes for a movie called TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! And we got the passes and went to the screening at the old Village Theater pre-Alamo owned… and Holy Shit was that a refreshing film experience. In fact every time I see the film it feels refreshing, but that’s how I feel about Pedro Almodovar, who has excelled at making Almodovar films – This one though… SEXY KINKY AWESOME! Criterion has the film looking spectacular and sizzling! Victoria Abril and Antonio Banderas in this film are just… made of sex. Every particle of them. Then there’s the fucking awesome Ennio Morricone score… great. Criterion pulls out some great extras here – my fave being the PEDRO & ANTONIO filmed conversation.
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE Blu Ray
Jim Jarmusch has made an existential vampire film with Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton and we get to sit back and let that magnificence roll over us and the result is… we feel… so fucking cool. And satisfied, completely. If I could do that Barbara Eden thing and make this an inexplicable Global Thing… I would. Cuz I believe that if a film like this were actually that popular, people may consider their actions before taking them. The world would just suddenly GET IT. Finally. But – this is a film that film geeks and Tom Hiddlestone worshippers and hipster goths will worship for a good long time. You do know that Jim Jarmusch’s movies are cooler than the things most anyone thinks as cool. MYSTERY TRAIN can change your fucking life! I relish this film. I’m so completely taken with the flavor of this film experience. One of my faves I’ve seen this year.
SORCERESS Blu Ray
Roger Corman pushed this into existence with the great Jack Hill helming and the feeling that now was the time to capitalize upon DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s shocking success for CONAN THE BARBARIAN (the industry was shocked) – They made this! And this played on Cable TV a lot – I seem to remember WGN playing it late at night and thinking that was awesome! That’s largely due to Leigh Harris and Lynette Harris – they’re special. There are some on this planet that think this is the worst film they’ve ever seen. They should loosen up. This is a film to laugh and have fun with. It is weird and that is awesome. And you’re never expecting the effects you’re about to see next. It’s special and crazy. This has a Roger Corman interview about the film. There’s one with John Carl Buechler talking about the crazy effects! Then there’s the interview with the writer Jim Wynorski and another with an Editorial Department Employee and I’ll let you discover why!
That’s the first 3 weeks of August, next Tuesday I’ll be discussing THE WALKING DEAD 4th Season Blu, Criterion’s ALL THAT JAZZ Blu, THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE Blu, GODZILLA VS MEGALON Blu, ON THE BEACH Blu, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS Blu, BLENDED Blu, VENGEANCE IS MINE Criterion Blu, HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD / RATS Blu, THE DOUBLE Blu, WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT? Blu, HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL Blu and more!