Hey folks, Harry here with the 48th PICKS & PEEKS of 2013! Which starts off with a film geek holy grail set. Man, it seriously can’t get here soon enough! This wraps up November for us and puts us on the final month of the year next week! That said, if you have a film geek that loves Samurai movies, this first set is their fondest wish right now! As usual the images and links take you to AMAZON where you can learn more about the titles and if so motivated you can go ahead and order them. If you do, it helps keep the best efforts of this column coming. So thanks for that! If you gain any film knowledge or enjoyment from these columns, be sure to check out my App for iDevices and Android devices! It organizes 10 years of this column and will continue to be updated so long as I write these suckers – and I do love doing it! So thank you for keeping it popular.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
ZATOICHI: THE BLIND SWORDSMAN! The Entire 25 Film Saga Criterion Blu
Nobody got sent this set for review as far as I know… but for those of us that know the ZATOICHI series – this could very well be the release of the year. This is just… so exciting. Shintaro Katsu’s Zatoichi is one of my most beloved cinematic heroes. A profound influence upon Frank Miller, and I always hoped that Tarantino would create a Blind Darryl Hanna badass with a sword assassin series following her second plucked eye in KILL BILL VOL 2. Alas. You can get the set for $199 on Amazon – and frankly… if you love badass samurai myth-making, you will glance at that price… pull in your belt two holes and budget it in! I love ZATOICHI’s cane sword and I love that his profession is as a healer of bodies via massages and sometimes even acupuncture. He’s a man that profits from a pair of dice and his skill tossing them. But, should trouble arise (and sisters… brothers… boy does it ever in these films) out comes that badass cane sword and you’re gonna have moments to live. ZATOICHI also protects the innocent – but really – he’s Daredevil with a cooler cane. I wish I could give you more on this set, I really really do. But I tell you, this series is just one of the great great things in cinematic life. Once you see it, you just want to be a blind samurai – cuz the only thing as cool is a Lone Wolf & Cub!
Here’s the titles:
THE TALE OF ZATOICHI, THE TALE OF ZATOICHI CONTINUES, NEW TALE OF ZATOICHI, ZATOICHI THE FUGITIVE, ZATOICHI ON THE ROAD, ZATOICHI AND THE CHEST OF GOLD, ZATOICHI’S FLASHING SWORD, FIGHT ZATOICHI FIGHT, ADVENTURES OF ZATOICHI, ZATOICHI’S REVENGE, ZATOICHI AND THE DOOMED MAN, ZATOICHI AND THE CHESS EXPERT, ZATOICHI’S VENGEANCE, ZATOICHI’S PILGRIMAGE, ZATOICHI’S CANE SWORD, ZATOICHI THE OUTLAW, ZATOICHI CHALLENGED, ZATOICHI AND THE FUGITIVES, SAMARITAN ZATOICHI, ZATOICHI MEETS YOJIMBO, ZATOICHI GOES TO THE FIRE FESTIVAL, ZATOICHI MEETS THE ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN, ZATOICHI AT LARGE, ZATOICHI IN DESPERATION and ZATOICHI’S CONSPIRACY! It will contain a 1978 doc on the Shintaro Katsu. But really… this is pure cinematic bliss. I hope my order gets here soon!
KNIGHTRIDERS Blu Ray
George Romero’s KNIGHTRIDERS is something beautiful and odd. A traveling Biker Renaissance Faire at first glance wouldn’t seem like much, but ya know what… There’s a genius to this movie. The characters in this story are really odd and stylized… Motorcycle Jousting does sound like the craziest thing ever – and it would take absolute crazies to do so… but these guys and gals… they believe in their own mythology. The King (ED HARRIS) is an idealist that is attempting to preserve the integrity of this alternate lifestyle, which could all go away if he loses a joust. His loyal right hand is “Lancelot” and his guide? Merlin. The biker that’s gunning for him? That’s Lancelot played with loving relish by the great Tom Savini!!! I love Friar Tuck – and as they come across real world prejudice and corrupt police… their story just gets grander. It’s a great! The SHOUT release sports commentary and a Doc! KNIGHTRIDERS treated right!!!
RED 2 Blu Ray
The film brings back Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker and John Malkovich. Only this time we’ve also got: Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Storm Shadow, David Thewlis, Brian Cox and Neal McDonough. Unfortunately that does not add up to a better film than the original. Here… it all feels a bit forced to me. Wish I could say otherwise. It has its fun moments and it’s definitely worth a viewing, I’m not sure if it quite stays on my shelves. It just didn’t do it for me.
JOBS Blu Ray
Having known JOBS – I just couldn’t quite accept Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs. I didn’t know Steve closely, but our interactions over the years… I just didn’t feel Kutcher captured the man I was privileged to interact with. Then there’s also the TOO SOON factor that I can’t get past. I find the rushed biopic to be one of my least favorite sub-category of film. I just don’t think JOBS is a film that examines Steve with any real detail. I’d rather have had a film that focused on a specific period of his life and really dug in deep. This just felt a bit of a missed opportunity to me. Not a terrible effort, glad I watched the film. I just think there’s a lot more than was captured here.
GETAWAY Blu Ray
Most definitely not the Steve McQueen movie. This GETAWAY stars Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez and Jon Voight. And as someone that has been watching a host of Hal Needham flicks… well, this is a bit of a throwback film… a car crash extravaganza that does it with a lack of CG and a whole lot of stunt work. I appreciated that, but the… oh aren’t we so cute and smart – while actually being neither… well that makes the film lame. Hawke’s character is underwritten while Selena’s just won’t shut up. And Voight barely appears, while also being omni-present. Really though, it just isn’t that great. UNLESS you want to see a
CANYONS Blu Ray
From the pen of Bret Easton Ellis and the eye of Paul Schrader comes Lindsay Lohan and James Deen in THE CANYONS. How is it? Seedy as hell! Porn Star James Deen’s psychotic character is Lohan’s boyfriend of record, meanwhile she’s started balling an old ex that comes on the scene. Deen has her fucking other girls and guys in a swinger type of situation – and Deen is a director… who also has voyeur tendencies and massive control issues. Lohan feels trapped in the relationship and well… it kinda goes without saying that this is a very dark affair. There’s a great deal of nudity by pretty much all the cast members and the seediness of the film will temper your threshold for either liking or raging about the film. Me… It felt like a Bret Easton Ellis story directed by Paul Schrader – and it didn’t feel like a train wreck although it actually kind of is. But that’s kind of what the film had to be. These characters, these people, their lives… we’re witnesses to multicar pileup of their lives. Deen is a very scary boyfriend. Such a sociopath. Lindsay’s performance as she tells her ex-bf why they can’t be together is actually kind of amazing – if only because Lohan hasn’t been this good in anything for a long time. I couldn’t look away. I found it fascinating.
SCI-FI TRIPLE FEATURE (LOGAN’S RUN, OMEGA MAN, SOYLENT GREEN) Blu Ray
For less than $14 you can get three of my fave 70’s pre-STAR WARS & ALIEN sci-fi flicks. I love all three of these films with an incredible passion. They’re all on 1 disc and I have the better individual releases – but if you don’t have these greats. Seriously, pick them up. All three films are wonderfully different takes on the post-apocalypse. LOGAN’S RUN is a society that has started over with rather strict controls on aging. OMEGA MAN is the I AM LEGEND story by Richard Matheson – told with Charlton Heston as Neville. He’s the Last Man on Earth and he has a MACHINE GUN! Love it! Then there’s SOYLENT GREEN, which has an amazing final performance by Edward G Robinson, who knew he was dying while making the film – and like Raul Julia in STREET FIGHTER, he puts every ounce of himself into the role. Amazing performance. The three movies are great great great!
THE HORROR SHOW Blu Ray
In the genre of serial killers that die and attain strange supernatural immortality…. Well… THE HORROR SHOW is proof that this genre is almost bullet proof! Brion James is the killer… Lance Henriksen is the cop that caught him… and unknown to all, Brion James had spent a lifetime getting used to electricity – so once he got the chair… he simply used that electricity to transcend his mortal form to become an invincible asshole. Yeah, I loved it. But then, Brion James is one of the greatest character actors there has ever been. His ability to just make lines immortal… well, very few have his uncanny knack. SHOUT! did this up right!
DAY OF THE ANIMALS Blu Ray
To me… This is a great film to play with again! DAY OF THE ANIMALS is a cult classic. I love Animal Attacks movies. BIRDS, PIRANHA, JAWS… when nature has had enough, I love the idea that we all become pathetic food for the critters. That said – this PG movie is the perfect film to you’re your kids before going to the zoo or one of those drive through animal parks or a photographic safari. Yeah. Just the thing. It’s PG, how much harm could it be? Giggle. Fucking love this movie. You’re gonna love Leslie Nielsen. I love pre-AIRPLANE Nielsen so much. Before he became only the clown. A great clown, but still… The FORBIDDEN PLANET star was capable of so much more. This movie… it is INSANE BONKERS AWESOME. Really and truly!
That’s all for this month, next we kick off December with a huge column including: THE WOLVERINE, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES, NASHVILLE Criterion Blu, SATURN 3 Blu, ARGO Extended Edition Blu, SERPICO Blu, IRON MAN & HULK: HEROES UNITED Blu, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT Blu, ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY Unrated Rich Mahogany Blu Ray, JESSE JAMES Blu, INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION Criterion Blu, HANGOVER Trilogy Blu, DESK SET Blu, BATMAN: BRAVE & THE BOLD 1st Season Blu, ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE Blu, THE ACT OF KILLING Blu, JACK RYAN Collection Blu, CARMEN JONES Blu, THE OCTAGON Blu!!!!! Sorry, had to accentuate that one! Also we have FRENZY Blu, CALL OF THE WILD Blu, DRIVE-IN CULT COLLECTION, TALES OF TERROR, FAMILY PLOT Blu, PAIN & GAIN with Extras and that’ll be it. Till then, sweet viewings!