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Harry's DVD PICKS AND PEEKS for 2nd Week of December: Kurosawa, Bourne, Fellini, Potter, Disney, Jarmusch, Donald Duck & Oswald!

Hey folks, Harry here – This week’s column is very very late and I’m sorry – a combination of BNAT and my actual birthday being this week’s dvd release date meant… I was out of contact with my computer for too many hours. As usual, you can click on the images or links to go to Amazon where you can learn more about the item in question – or you can purchase it! Got some news that some of you BLU Rayers have been waiting for… Tuesday, December 11, 2007 (Harry’s Birthday) The big news this week is that I picked up this Sony Blu-Ray Disc Player

As I told y’all, I was simply waiting for the prices to come down a bit – and for my budget to get healthy enough to pick it up. Why did I go for this instead of the PLAYSTATION 3? I just don’t like game consoles, I need something horizontal, not vertical – and I like a player that is specifically designed exclusively with the idea of showing movies. I also picked up the following 5 Blu Ray discs: ROBOCOP, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, DAWN OF THE DEAD, RATATOUILLE and OLDBOY!!! And the player came with SPIDER-MAN. Now I haven’t hooked it up yet, nor have I hooked up the new Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD player that came packaged with 300 and BOURNE IDENTITY at BNAT 9 this past weekend. But I figure this weekend, I’m gonna be Wiring Lad!

While not my favorite of the series, it does have my favorite Wizard battle from the series (though it still isn’t nearly as awesome as the witch battle in STARDUST). What I love about this outing is you can feel Harry’s world just getting darker and darker. That goody two-shoes teacher bitch is one of the most loathsome characters of the series so far. I feel she’s more evil than Voldemort. And is it just me – or did it seem that the kids were learning more in that secret room than in the previous 4 years at Hogwart’s? I like this whole war thing coming… and seeing them fly around the modern world was more exhilarating in general than the safety of Hogwart’s. Can’t wait to see the next chapter. This also hit in BLU RAY and STANDARD DEF

Here’s my favorite action film of the year… well, so far… and probably sharing that honor with 3:10 TO YUMA. We really need more badass old fashioned smart action films – and for now, that seems to be the domain of Jason Bourne. From the Steve McQueen badassness of the car work, to the SEVEN DAYS OF THE CONDOR awesomeness of being smarter than the smart bastards after ya, to well… that brutal fight with that bastard – and can we hear a round of applause for smash facing with that book? I fucking loved it.

I haven’t seen this season yet, I got this set the Friday before BNAT – so I haven’t had time to do what me and Mrs Knowles do with LOST, which is wait for her day off, then veg and watch the entire season front to back – Btw – It is also available in BLU-RAY. I bought a BLU-RAY player today. This isn’t a title I bought with the first round of titles. Maybe down the line, but probably not.

HARRY POTTER YEARS 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set
Out this week in HD-DVD and BLU-RAY and Standard Def – the first five Harry Potter movies. My bet is that if you are just on regular DVD, you’ve probably already picked these up in order – you HD lovers – well this is the way to pick the whole series up on HD DVD and BLU-RAY. It looks absolutely Dazzling in HD, which is how I picked it up. My favorite is still the Cuaron episode.

Out in HD and Standard Def – if you don’t already have the previous two Bourne films, you’ll save a few acorns and get a great great great trilogy of badass films. I have all 3 in HD DVD and just can’t wait to add my other favorite spy titles to the collection in this format!

An absolute must own for anyone that loves “the happiest place on Earth,” DISNEYLAND!!! You get about five and a half hours of behind the scenes looks at archival footage of its creation, stories about the making of it by Walt himself – and then you have crazy stuff like ABC’s closed circuit look at Disneyland’s 1955 opening day live broadcast, which nobody nowhere has ever seen before. One of my favorite pieces on the disc is this awesome time-lapse photography of the creation of Disneyland… in color!!! Then there’s just info from Imagineering folks – and I like my original Disneyland Tickets that came in the tin – this is just frickin’ pimp!

I waffle on the question of my favorite classic Disney character… Mickey, Donald or Goofy. Personally, I love Pete, but I’m not supposed to confess that out loud. Sigh. But more often than not, I end up saying DONALD DUCK. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mickey and Goofy – especially Black & White Mickey, who I just feel is worth every second spent watching him, but Donald cracks me up. Ya gotta love a sailor – but in the late 40s through 1950 – the period of this set, you began to see Donald change from the ultimate bachelor, to a nephew watcher – a Daisy dater – and a suburban Chipmunk exterminator. He began to settle down, he wasn’t the hepduck that he used to be, but he was still hilarious. Here you have a great continuation of the previous 3 sets. Lots of fun extras too!

BLISS! That’s what this set is! Watching Oswald The Lucky Rabbit in his entirety is heaven. For a very long time, Ub Iwerks’ Oswald was owned by UNIVERSAL – but after some negotiations by some very smart Disney folks, Oswald has returned to the place he began… Disney. In addition to the 1926-1928 toons, you have the amazing documentary by Leslie Iwerks, THE HAND BEHIND THE MOUSE – about the original Disney animator – co-creator of Mickey Mouse and the man that named Walt Disney. In addition – you get extra Ub Iwerks treats including a remastered STEAMBOAT WILLIE!!!

If you know someone – a young film student, someone that loves film dearly and you can afford it – this is quite possibly this seasons’ single best DVD deal. Just at the surface, you’re saving over $200 on the initial price, but if you were to price these out individually – you’d find you were saving a great deal more. The packaging is exquisite and the quality of this collection is simply breathtaking. I’ve seen every film here – with very few exceptions – these are some of the greatest films ever made. They’re stored in a great compact binder style presentation slip case. Here’s what you get: Disc 1: The Woman In The Window P&S Disc 2: Red River P&S Disc 3: The Barefoot Contessa P&S Disc 4: Marty P&S Disc 5: The Night of the Hunter WS Disc 6: Dance with Me Henry P&S Disc 7: The Killing P&S Disc 8: Moby Dick P&S Disc 9: Twelve Angry Men WS Disc 10: Paths of Glory P&S Disc 11: Witness For The Prosecution WS Disc 12: The Big Country WS Disc 13: The Defiant Ones WS Disc 14: I Want To Live! WS Disc 15: A Hole In The Head WS Disc 16: The Fugitive Kind WS Disc 17: Some Like It Hot WS Disc 1 Disc 18: Some Like It Hot WS Disc 2 Disc 19: The Alamo WS Disc 20: The Apartment WS Disc 21: Elmer Gantry WS Disc 22: Inherit The Wind WS Disc 23: The Magnificent Seven WS Disc 1 Disc 24: The Magnificent Seven WS Disc 2 Disc 25: Judgment at Nuremberg WS Disc 26: The Misfits WS Disc 27: One, Two, Three WS Disc 28: Pocketful of Miracles WS Disc 29: Westside Story Disc 1 WS Disc 30: Westside Story Disc 2 Disc 31: Birdman of Alcatraz WS Disc 32: Dr. No WS Disc 1 Disc 33: Dr. No WS Disc 2 Disc 34: Manchurian Candidate WS Disc 35: The Miracle Worker WS Disc 36: The Great Escape WS Disc 1 Disc 37: The Great Escape WS Disc 2 Disc 38: I Could Go On Singing WS Disc 39: Irma La Douce WS Disc 40: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World WS Disc 41: Fistful of Dollars WS Disc 1 Disc 42: Fistful of Dollars WS Disc 2 Disc 43: The Pink Panther WS Disc 44: Topkapi WS Disc 45: The Greatest Story Ever Told WS Disc 1 Disc 46: The Greatest Story Ever Told WS Disc 2 Disc 47: The Fortune Cookie WS Disc 48: Persona P&S Disc 49: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Disc 1 WS Disc 50: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Disc 2 Disc 51: In The Heat of the Night WS Disc 52: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang WS Disc 1 Disc 53: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang WS Disc 2 Disc 54: Hang 'Em High WS Disc 55: Thomas Crown Affair (1968) WS Disc 56: Yours, Mine and Ours P&S Disc 57: Fellini Satyricon WS Disc 58: The Battle of Britain WS Disc 1 Disc 59: The Battle of Britain WS Disc 2 Disc 60: Midnight Cowboy WS Disc 1 Disc 61: Midnight Cowboy WS Disc 2 Disc 62: On Her Majesty's Secret Service WS Disc 1 Disc 63: On Her Majesty's Secret Service WS Disc 2 Disc 64: Fiddler on the Roof WS Disc 1 Disc 65: Fiddler on the Roof WS Disc 2 Disc 66: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex P&S Disc 67: Last Tango In Paris WS Disc 68: Lenny WS Disc 69: The Wilby Conspiracy WS Disc 70: Carrie WS Disc 71: The Missouri Breaks WS Disc 72: The Pink Panther Strikes Again WS Disc 73: Rocky WS Disc 1 Disc 74: Rocky WS Disc 2 Disc 75: Annie Hall P&S Disc 76: A Bridge Too Far WS Disc 1 Disc 77: A Bridge Too Far WS Disc 2 Disc 78: Equus WS Disc 79: New York, New York WS Disc 80: The Spy Who Loved Me WS Disc 1 Disc 81: The Spy Who Loved Me WS Disc 2 Disc 82: Coming Home WS Disc 83: La Cage Aux Folles WS Disc 84: The Last Waltz P&S Disc 85: Manhattan WS Disc 86: Raging Bull WS Disc 1 Disc 87: Raging Bull WS Disc 2 Disc 88: The French Lieutenant's Woman WS Disc 89: Heaven's Gate WS Disc 90: The Secret of the NIMH WS Disc 91: War games WS Disc 92: Red Dawn WS Disc 1 Disc 93: Red Dawn WS Disc 2 Disc 94: The Living Daylights - Disc 1 Disc 95: The Living Daylights - Disc 2 Disc 96: Baby Boom WS Disc 97: Child's Play Disc 98: Rain Man WS Disc 99: Road House WS Disc 100: Goldeneye WS Disc 1 Disc 101: Goldeneye WS Disc 2 Disc 102: Leaving Las Vegas WS Disc 103: Richard III WS Disc 104: The Birdcage WS Disc 105: The Man In The Iron Mask WS Disc 106: No Man's Land WS Disc 107: Bowling for Columbine WS Disc 108: Dark Blue WS Disc 109: Pieces of April WS Disc 110: Hotel Rwanda WS.

UNITED ARTISTS 30-Disc Deluxe Giftset
A smaller selection, but great all the same. Whether you get them or yourself this set or the previous – you’re going to have a great deal of fantastic viewing! Click above to see the titles, man, I’d love that first set!

TWO-LANE BLACKTOP – Criterion Collection
You want a great line up? Pick this up, get DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY, THE VANISHING POINT and DEATH PROOF and then sit back and have your ass peeled out onto the road, cuz these are films with a visceral kick like you would not believe. TWO-LANE BLACKTOP is one of the great Monte Hellman films and for Criterion to have chosen it to play with is fantastic. We’ve had fairly plain jane editions before – now we get the treatment we’ve been waiting for!

Want to see Daniel Radcliffe as an orphan that can’t do magic – but instead is just a wonderful heart-opening story that shows he has a chance at a career beyond the forehead scar thing? Did you miss it? Well, that can be fixed right quick here!

Along with BLACK CHRISTMAS and GREMLINS, my favorite ‘twisted Christmas’ title. The old grandpa’s story at the beginning of this film is the best thing ever! Well, that and the boy’s reaction… and then the happenstance Santa slaying… And then there’s the nuns… oh god – this film rules. It was actually banned in many locales as just being wrong. It isn’t that it’s graphic or grotesque – it’s just a perversion of everything Christmas. It rules!!!

These four Criterion FELLINI films are generally considered his very best films. These next four selections are not anything new, they just happened to be fantastic sets of 4 brilliant directors’ work on the Criterion label. The discs are all exactly the same things as have been issued before – only at a pretty great price break. But for lovers of Criterion’s work and these directors – these make brilliant gifts. Just pick the director and films that go with that studious film geek you know – or are… and let em fly.

And here we are with these three brilliant choices from Jean Luc Godard’s career. One would be rendered breathless wth the sense of contempt one would have for a band of outsiders that didn’t own these absolute classics! BREATHLESS and BAND OF OUTSIDERS are just two of the greatest crime films ever made… but CONTEMPT… god, it is one of the greatest films about filmmaking I’ve ever seen. You’ve got to love the cast.. Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, Brigitte Bardot and FRITZ fucking LANG as the Director!!!

One of the things I’ve always loved about Criterion – and this director series they have put together for Amazon is no different – is how they love the established great artists of all time, but then choose somebody from today that they feel is worthy of being held to that high level of accomplishment – and by picking Jarmusch here – they have again solidified my love for their programming staff. I love these three films and Jarmusch in general. Great collection!

Aha… here we are. Now I know that it is generally held that SEVEN SAMURAI is just about everybody’s favorite Kurosawa film… but dammit – ever since I saw THRONE OF BLOOD on the big screen here in Austin… I’m 100% sold on it. But ya know – maybe it’s because it’s the last one I saw on the big screen. I had the same feeling seeing YOJIMBO and SANJURO… as well as SEVEN SAMURAI and HIDDEN FORTRESS. This is a very fine grouping!

God I love Criterion – but Criterion, if you’re listening – go after Altman’s POPEYE – Robert Evans has extensive additional elements and a much longer cut of the film that Altman preferred. PLEASE go get this and put it out. Oh – sorry to turn the DVD column into a soapbox, but I love POPEYE just as much as I love SHORT CUTS or NASHVILLE or MASH or any of the other great Altman works. Dammit, he died didn’t he. Fucking hell, pisses me off.

Fiona Richmond is probably best known for playing the Queen in Mel Brooks’ HISTORY OF THE WORLD: PART 1, but back in the seventies she was quite something even more exotic. However, if you’ve ever wanted to see Adam West’s bare ass – here ya go. This is a crazy alleged biopic about Ms Fiona and her adventures as a sex symbol. You’ll also find Malcolm McDowell for a blink in this. Crazy film, bordering on unwatchable, but then… I watched it.
Once again, I’d like to apologize for the lateness of this week’s column, but BNAT is a time sapper and one helluva distraction. Next Column we’ll be looking at THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, The astonishing BLADE RUNNER 5 Disc Set, ONCE, STARDUST, KISSOLOGY 3, Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN, UNDERDOG, YOUNG INDY Vol 2, BRAVEHEART collector’s edition, THE MOD SQUAD season vol 1, NATIONAL TREASURE, BALLS OF FURY, HATCHET, EVIL DEAD Ultimate Edition, THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT – COMPLETE COLLECTION in HD, the NEW ADVENTURES OF THE LONE RANGER and ZORRO, The XXX version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and much much more!!!

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