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Harry's DVD Picks & Peeks: The Month of Feb. 2010: Eastwood, Zombies, Crisis, Planet Hulk, Melies, Exploitation & more!!!

Hey folks, Harry here. I have to just admit this. I’ve sat down pretty much every night this month meaning to write a much shorter version of essentially what you see here today, but each time… I’d rather play Farmville… I’d rather Tweet… Chat with friends and I kept finding excuse after excuse to just not do it. The reason was relatively simple. I just got burnt out. I kept writing out the list of titles, and when I got to the point where I copy and paste code around, but before I write the text of the piece… I just frankly didn’t want to do it. I just didn’t find myself wanting to write about DVDs and Blu Rays. I’ve been busy with a lot of different projects, but frankly none of those took up the time that I’d need to do this column. But tonight, I sat down – and I didn’t do one week of the list, I did the entire month – and with each little write up, I found myself giddy to be writing the column again. Seriously. I just had a lot of fun with it. And ultimately that’s what I want the column to be. Not just a list, but one that is fun to go through. Another secret. I write the openings and closings of these columns after I’ve finished all the pieces in-between. Last paragraph first, then I end with this intro. And just as always, you’ll find the images and titles linked to Amazon, and if you purchase something from that link, I’ll take it as a sign that you appreciate the column. But rather you do or don’t click a link, I’ll be back weekly with the first column of March. Thanks to you Talkbackers that have been burning a candle and bitching at me daily. You keep me honest. Thanks. So here’s the month of FEBRUARY including this upcoming Tuesday of releases:

How much fucking fun is this film? The writers behind this film are now writing… um… EVERYTHING IN HOLLYWOOD, so take a look at this film, because it is the first in a line of films that are being made and that I hope maintain a sense of fun, but I’m hoping will mature a bit. The main cast of Woody, Jesse, Emma and Abigail are all irresistible to not enjoy, but it is the celebrity cameo that really knocks this film out of the park in a wonderful way. That said, the best Zombie spoof is still, in my opinion, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and after that, SHAUN OF THE DEAD. But this lines up right after those two. Very much a party zombie movie! Very sharp Blu Ray.

Last year a really great CASABLANCA Blu Ray came out with beautiful packaging and stuff like a Passport holder and other goofy fun things. It was pretty pricey, now we have this edition, which has all the same video content and a price of $14.50. Arguably the greatest film ever made in Hollywood. It continues to get better with every viewing. This is what they don’t know how to make anymore.

Instead we get drivel like this.

I like this film quite a bit. But this documentary is no HOOP DREAMS, at least not for me. I think it is the knowledge of just how popular LeBron James is today… somehow, that crazy level of success kinda took me out of the film in a way. Perhaps when I revisit this film, after LeBron’s story in the spotlight has faded a bit… perhaps then I’ll feel better about this. Instead, it felt a bit like publicity. It’s a very strong film, but it didn’t blow me away.

Stunningly beautiful photography – there’s something about this film that made me dream of what a CONAN film could be with a lean Conan. In terms of being a sequel, it is – in a very Buddhist way. I love the way this film ends… how it instantly is found to be relatively insane to most Western eyes. I love this film so much. But the movie is a very dense thing. Tony Jaa obviously had so much he was trying to put into this first film, that it really does lose some that see it, but I love the karmic nature released upon a hero narrative.

If you liked the comic storyline that this Animated feature adapted, you should love the film. I hadn’t read the comic story, so I went in thinking it was probably going to be a funky flick with the Hulk playing Russell Crowe, but in some ways – this storyline is a lot more fun. Personally, the substitution of BETA RAY BILL for the Silver Surfer was something that I LOVED. If only because I’m a Beta Ray Bill junkie. To each their own.

God I love this movie. Saw it as a little kid and from the second it was over, I wanted to play in a marching band. Which of course I did in High School, playing both Tenor Saxophone and Trombone. As a result, for me, this is a film I’ll watch and revisit over and over again for the rest of my life. I honestly feel that Robert Preston gives one of the most amazing performances in the history of film here. He is astonishing in the film and electric. You can’t take your eyes off of him. And little Ronny Howard is just AWESOME! It is actually Ron’s part in this… not AMERICAN GRAFFITI or HAPPY DAYS or that cop show from way back… that makes me love Ron most. This is one of those movies, that I wish I could live in. I love the world of it so much, it reminds me of how I would imagine life would be if you lived at Disneyland.

Someday, after THE RUM DIARY comes out… I would like to imagine we’ll see a truly deluxe rerelease of this on BLU RAY, but with shit tons of extras. Easily one of my favorite Terry Gilliam films, as well as Johnny Depp films and Benicio DelToro films. This was one of the early films in AICN’s history where the writers on AICN were in complete disagreement with the larger critical community and audience that loathed this film with exceptional vigor. However, the years have been kind to FEAR & LOATHING… not quite to the degree that the world now seemingly forgets that THE BIG LEBOWSKI was “the worst Coen Brothers Film ever” upon its release. But ya know… just having this film on Blu Ray makes me happy, even if it isn’t a grand treatment.

This might not be the Scorsese film that is fondly rewatched over and over again, but I will watch it upon the slightest excuse. Daniel Day Lewis is so amazing in this film, that he unbalances the entire affair. Upon my initial viewing – I just wanted more of him. Much more of him. But upon further watchings, I find myself really appreciating the rest of the film with newfound vigor each time. Diaz is good here. DiCaprio is very good here. Broadbent and John C Reilly and Henry Thomas? ALL VERY DAMN GOOD. The detail for the era is extraordinary and the story…. Really Great. Transfer to Blu Ray is gorgeous and has a healthy dose of extras.

”Friedkin’s Finest Hour,” is a bold statement. After all, Billy did make FRENCH CONNECTION, EXORCIST, CRUISIN, BUG and my personal career fave, SORCEROR which has yet to find its way to DVD much less Blu Ray! Argh! But ya know what… the great thing about each of the films I’ve mentioned in this short piece feels like Friedkin’s Finest Hour at some level. Hell, I think the only reason that I have SORCEROR as my fave Friedkin flick is just cuz I can’t see it nearly as often as his other work. But I have to tell ya, I fucking love TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. I do wish though… everytime I see it, that it had the box office success of LETHAL WEAPON, just so I could get some amazing 3 film trilogy out of Friedkin with Petersen… oh well…

I still don’t like this movie. I watched this Blu Ray the other day… and I hadn’t watched the film since I didn’t like it in theaters back in 2003. Every now and again, I find a movie that I didn’t like at the time, that I find that I like later in life. Nope. I still feel that the movie I would have preferred, would feature Eli Wallach, for two hours working a liquor store. Every other actor in this is ‘acting their asses off’ and Eli is so awesomely filled with character and life – that he destroys everything else in the movie. Bores the fuck out of me.

One of my fave films for 2009. I know most of you haven’t seen THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, but let me take you aside here and you’re your ear a bit. THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL is a perfect film. That isn’t an exaggeration, it is absolutely fucking perfect. You can tell that the director, Ti West, set out to make a very specific type of film. He wanted to make a 1980’s horror film. But not really that broad. Specifically, he wanted to make a 1980’s horror film that felt like a 1970’s one. There’s not many of those. The film isn’t entirely period – as those of you with eagle eyes will spot on some street scenes. BUT – other than those couple of cars, it is perfect. The hair, make-up, the furniture, the colors, the photography. This is a loving and fetishistic swan dive of a fucking feature. For me, it is that fucking beautiful. He named his dive, and then he nailed it. I love this film. Seriously. This really should have been released with a major push. This is film as fetishistically note perfect as what Tarantino does, but without that invention and reinvention of genre. If you get my meaning. Break out a rotary and the long cords… it is on here!

Ok – so I guess that’s about how long you had to wait till you could buy GODFATHER and PART II, but not endorse, support or purchase Part III. That’s right, they’re individually available – the original 2 part saga. As it was always meant to be… in the Seventies. I’ve heard people complain about the image, but I’m certainly not seeing it with either of these discs. Brilliant film that has most of life’s answers.

So how do you make a movie that’s better than THE GODFATHER? Well, you make it non-linear, and in addition to having Brando, you cast Robert DeNiro as a young Brando. And yes, your movie will be better than the fucking Godfather. And there’s no denying it. This film is better than THE GODFATHER and that was no miracle, it was sheer brilliance that Coppola was acutely tapped into better than any other filmmaker in the Seventies. Holy shit, right?

Your Project Mayhem orders for the day is to buy multiple copies of this film. Then go to the DVD rental company of choice and replace the Emile Hirsch film with this! It will MELT BRAINS! I’m talking serious ear bleeding and mind fucking. To introduce people expecting the mild amusement of that would be RISKY BUSINESS clone… to this? You’ll be doing the lord’s work. Seriously!

Doesn’t this movie just make you want to be a Dad? I mean… then you get to call The Babysitters… all of whom are just so incredibly willing to have sex for their babysitting fee. Cuz this happens in every neighborhood in America. It’s why you move here from other countries, and finally a documentary spoils this knowledge to every wife, who apparently was never a babysitter, in the world. WAY TO GO David Ross! Actually, this is a really well made Skinamax flick. Yes, it is dirty as hell, but when you’re not blind with holier-than-thou rage, you’ll find it kinda hot and great fun during roleplay. Cuz this can’t ever be real, right?

Man, seriously… you really would have to groom a girl from childhood to get her to marry you later in life if you had Timetravelinitis like Eric Bana in this flick. There really is a creepy as fuck nature to this movie and story. I mean. Even if you could travel back in time and have a conversation with the little girl version of your wife… WHAT THE FUCK? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? And if you knew that it was your wife, why would you ever go talk to her – and dude… it is just fucking creepy. That this shit then becomes lapblanket masturbation fodder for folks is even creepier. Now I get, that this is a unique kinda thing, then they make a little girl that can time travel, but she can control it. What’s that life gonna be like? Cuz she’s like 9 and already stalking her parents but when they were young and horny. HOW CREEPY! Fucking creepy use of time travel. Creepy movie. Ewww.

Valiant first effort from director Peter Billingsley. I kinda just can’t imagine this situation as ever being reality. I mean. Seriously. Can you imagine when you’re a married couple… going through marriage doubts… reaching out to some of your couple friends to all go to this fabulous tropical island to go through therapy together? No. I can’t imagine that. It just doesn’t seem real at any conceivable level. But, it is the situation you have to believe in order to join and enjoy the fun little romp that is COUPLES RETREAT. So I tried to imagine it. So there I was on a tropical island with my friends Gordon and Kim and Fitz and Rebecca and Rick and Nikki… and it was vastly more hysterical than this film, but this was pleasant. But my god. To see that group, all on an island, all having to go through therapy in paradise. It really makes me cry laughing thinking of that scenario with my real couple friends. But no. No. It will never ever happen. Never.

I know this film is in English. I know it was shot here in the United States of America. And yet, I still feel it should win BEST FOREIGN FILM of 2009. The film is spectacular. Dense and impenetrable, but in a way I don’t resent. I know, that I’ll watch this film a few times over the course of the rest of my life, and I don’t expect to get any less lost, nor blissfully lost, than the film leaves me now. Sometimes it is bliss to be lost. You discover little things tucked around the corner of frames… little set dressing gems and lovingly odd looks and reactions. This is a film with many beautiful and exotic facets that just catches my eye. I, and the world, would be shocked to see this win Best Picture… but I kinda have to say… I’d snicker all night long if it did.

THE GUILD: Season Three (Amazon Exclusive)
Exclusively available through Amazon is the best Web Series that I know of. THE GUILD is simply wonderful. Nice to have the 3rd season to take home. Where I originally saw it online.

God Awful. Just. There’s shit in this that makes BATMAN & ROBIN seem badass. By far, the worst Arnold movie… cuz HERCULES GOES BANANAS is just too fucking funny, right? As cheap as you remember this film looking, Blu Ray is merciless. It all looks so bad. So bad. I’d kill to see Brett Ratner do a remake.

I think I’ve deluded myself into thinking I love this movie. Now, I haven’t watched the Blu Ray on this, because the disc won’t play in my player… but I keep trying. And I want it to play, but it won’t. And all I have are fond memories of going to the advance screening of this movie, and then the next thing I know, the girl sitting next to me began making out with me at the screening. I dated her for a brief period in 1996, which Merrick will never ever let me live down. I can hear Merrick’s cackle even now. I’m still wondering if the movie was as good as that blowjob. “Thrilling!” indeed.

Bad Girls of Film Noir, Vol. 1 (The Killer That Stalked New York / Two of a Kind / Bad for Each Other / The Glass Wall)
Bullet Bras and Sweater Gals. Square shoulders and sculpted hair. Badass dames from the Film Noir period are a fetish that film geeks have… Ms Lake and Bacall were the crown jewels, but here you have the best of the B-Noirs. Here we had the B-babes of the genre – and I think it is kinda funny that they’re selling the films from the bad girl angle instead of the lantern jaw of Charlton Heston or the confused brow of Edmund O’Brien. But man, you can’t knock Lizabeth Scott’s lines or those awesome eyes of Gloria Grahame. My fave of this set is “THE KILLER THAT STALKED NEW YORK” mainly because… while it is totally a film noir… it is also, primarily an awesome Pandemic flick about the spread of Small Pox. LOVE IT! But they’re all good flicks!

Bad Girls of Film Noir, Vol. 2 (Night Editor / One Girl's Confession / Women's Prison / Over-Exposed)
Ok – you need this set before Volume 1, because you need to see NIGHT EDITOR by Henry Levin immediately. Seriously great film that I hadn’t ever heard of. It stars absolutely nobody that I know, but damn if I wasn’t IMDB’ing Janis Carter afterwards to see what else she’d done! Seriously, get this set now to own NIGHT EDITOR – and you’ll discover that you’ll also like a lot ONE GIRL’S CONFESSION and OVER-EXPOSED and you might even dig WOMEN’S PRISON. I didn’t, but you might.

Remember when critics were telling you there was this awesome fucking actor named Eric Bana in this movie called CHOPPER and the critics just knew he’d be a star? Well, many of those same critics said the same thing about Russell Crowe with ROMPER STOMPER. Well… that’s how I feel about TOM HARDY and BRONSON. This film is a runaway escaped train filled with all your favorite things spiraling out of control towards a gorge filled with the most awesome balloons ever. BRONSON is nuts. Insane. But based on a true story, which gave Tom Hardy the excuse to create this AWESOME truly AWESOME character. The man that plays BRONSON can do ANYTHING and is so fucking grotesquely charismatic that I could watch the film for a week solid and smile throughout. BRONSON is the single best performance by an actor in film this past year.

Agonizingly torturous beyond all realms of reason. This pain lingers. Don’t inject it in either eye ever!

If you love 70s and 80s genre cinema, this is pretty much a blissful experience. The DVD with zillions of mp3’s of old radio spots are GOLD! I find I can lose an entire afternoon listening to them as I surf the web. In all this has tons of awesome trailers and weird stuff that makes people that love both just happy as hell. Romano did a great job with this!

You know what I love about getting older? I mean, I’m nearly 40 years old now. For the past 27 years, I’ve been fairly aggressive in tracking down every scrap of everything that Orson Welles was a part of, and then something like this shows up in the mail. This was Orson Welles’ Television debut. He plays KING LEAR. It is fucking jawdroppingly awesome. Welles almost never looks as clearly Welles-like as you see him on the cover of this amazing DVD. He’s nearly invisible in the film. You know he’s King Lear, but you can’t really SEE HIM as King Lear. Even his voice, it is very specifically different than what I expected. Again. This fucker surprises me with a nuanced and brilliant performance. And now… I get to ask friends, “Hey, you ever seen Orson Welles’ KING LEAR?” and when they all say no, I get to feel awesome because I have this and not only do I have it, but I can put it on and enjoy the hell out of it. Wow.

Throughout the seventies there was a host of films that were little more than a ripoff of Friedkin’s EXORCIST. Most were dreadful, and I wish I could tell you that this was one that bucked the trend, but I can’t. This is pretty bad. But it has nude Italian women from the 70s in it, and I’m kinda easy that way. But honestly, it isn’t really worth it. But it’s also named SATAN’S WIFE – and how can you not see SATAN’S WIFE. The title beckons one’s mind into a regretful experience. And that’s the god’s honest truth of the matter.

Generally I like Sergio Martino flicks – and this does have the ungodly lovely Edwige Fenech, but the film just didn’t do it for me. I kinda dig some of it, but it’s mainly the vibe of this era of Italian Giallo. But it is ultimately disappointing. Glad I’ve seen it though.

For a little under 18 dollars, you get this 4 DVD set that really is great. I’m a huge fan of Paul Robeson’s EMPEROR JONES, and I love me some Lena Horne in THE BRONZE VENUS… I even own that one-sheet. Then the two sports Bio-pics… well they’re damn good too. Each crying to be remade with a great filmmaker behind them. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the hell out of these films.

One of my very favoritest movies ever made. Two lobby cards adorn my living room wall, one of which signed by Paul Williams. This is my very favorite telling of the Faust tale. My absolute favorite work of Brian DePalma – and most likely the reason we all really hate Tom Rothman. At least we know that you can’t directly kill Tom Rothman, you’d have to like burn his contract and get Murdock as well. Cuz that’s how these Faustian bargains work. Always some trick to dying with loopholes and fine print on it all. This is one of those films that you have to love for me to like ya. One night Guillermo Del Toro and I agreed that nobody that didn’t like PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE could be cool. And then we spent many hours as he told me why he wanted to remake it as I spent hours convincing him that it would never be as brilliant as the original. Then Guillermo cried in my arms and suckled upon my thumb. At least. That’s how I remember the conversation. I’ll never forget BNAT 1. Guillermo screened his 35mm print of this as we sat together, annoyingly singing out loud every lyric from memory. Paul Williams is a god and PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE is his Bible by way of St. Brian. This is an expensive import. But it is the kind of film that you get the expensive import for. Because it’s the sort of film that is accessible in France because… they really do appreciate the best of America.

I like so much of this movie, and then… I don’t. I despise how this movie wraps up. I absolutely hate it. Here you have the best possible start for an on-going character – and then they blow it. It really bums me out. Love everything about the film till that point. Then I’m just really disappointed.

I have very weird history with this movie. Long before this movie played at Sundance last year, I saw the film… and HATED IT. I mean, I haven’t hated on a film like that with a group of friends for a real long time. We watched it, then spent 6 hours, till dawn, bitching about everything that didn’t work and wasn’t funny about the film. But for some damn reason I never wrote about the film. You know what it is. I like Michael Jai White too much. I met him on the set of KILL BILL in China – and I just loved him. Such a great guy. And when I saw the trailers, I was just crazy in love with the idea of this film. I think I imagined it to be a LUKE CAGE movie set in the seventies. Instead of a direct parody flick. But earlier this month when I rewatched the film on Blu Ray… and the small nips and tucks helped, but actually – it was knowing what it was that helped. I had a complete reversal of my first reaction. All of a sudden it just worked. Then I invited a couple of friends over to watch it – and they loved it too. I just wish I had liked the film, when I was in that strip club with Black Dynamite in Vegas. But I still hated the film at that point. Which allowed me to enjoy the environment more.

Here’s what you get: 1. Where Eagles Dare, 1968, 2. Kelly's Heroes, 1970, 3. Dirty Harry, 1971, 4. Magnum Force, 1973, 5. The Enforcer, 1975, 6. The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976, 7. The Gauntlet, 1977, 8. Every Which Way but Loose, 1978, 9. Bronco Billy, 1980, 10. Any Which Way You Can, 1980, 11. Honkytonk Man, 1982, 12. Firefox, 1982, 13. Sudden Impact, 1983, 14. City Heat, 1984, 15. Tightrope, 1984, 16. Pale Rider, 1985, 17. Heartbreak Ridge, 1986, 18. Bird, 1988, 19. The Dead Pool, 1988, 20. Pink Cadillac, 1989, 21. White Hunter, Black Heart, 1990, 22. The Rookie, 1990, 23. Unforgiven, 1992, 24. A Perfect World, 1993, 25. The Bridges of Madison County, 1995, 26. Absolute Power, 1997, 27. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, 1997, 28. True Crime, 1999, 29. Space Cowboys, 2000, 30. Blood Work, 2002, 31. Mystic River, 2003, 32. Million Dollar Baby, 2004, 33. Letters from Iwo Jima, 2006, 34. Gran Torino, 2008, 35. The Eastwood Factor short film. Now, that’s an amazing collection. And to get all of that for under $130 is pretty damn amazing. Seriously. That’s an amazing deal. But I’m spitting mad that they don’t have a $250 Blu Ray set. Cuz man. In a heart beat. There’s films there that I don’t like. But I’d love to get the whole film collection, but in the best format around. That makes collections like this less prestigious. It’s like they’re telling you it’s worth it, to a degree. All I know is this isn’t the format that I’d like these in. And wouldn’t you kill for an OUTLAW JOSEY WALES Blu Ray? God that’d be sweet!

REVANCHE (Criterion Blu Ray)
This is kind of the ideal Criterion film. In all liklihood this will be the first many of you have heard of this film called REVANCHE. The only Austrian actor most of us know is the Governor of California, but last year there was an exceptional Austrian film released. Not that it had a release of any real scale in the United States, but it caught the eye of Criterion’s programmers – and they’re giving it to us on Blu Ray. This is a powerful film that is all about the big themes as told in a very gritty realness that some are calling neo-noir. Take the leap of faith that Criterion has asked each of us at one point or another and you’ll come away happy as can be. Damn fine film.

LOLA MONTES (Criterion Blu Ray)
And then there’s this… Holy sweet jesus is this amazing! The reviews on AMAZON are not for the Criterion Blu Ray, but some shoddy version that hit on DVD long ago. This is actually the fully restored film, in breathtaking technocolor. When I played this on my screen at home, the colors seemed to be two inches in front of my screen. Just gorgeous. Peter Ustinov is amazing as the ringmaster – Brilliant film from Max Ophüls and I promise – you haven’t seen a film quite like this. It is absolutely a trip.

HUNGER (Criterion Blu Ray)
If you liked Michael Fassbender in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, then check out his work in HUNGER. Wow. Prison Horror films are always so effective because they don’t require anything than what they are. Prison would be Horror. I don’t think any of us would ever like to be in prison. Prison pretty much represents our collective nightmares. Well imagine trying to make a political statement that changes the system, from the inside. When you have almost nothing but yourself to torment. And that’s exactly what IRA leader Bobby Sands did back in 1981. I was about 10 when this happened, but I remember the reports on Television about it. My parents paid attention to stuff like that. Well director Steve McQueen does a brilliant job with this film – and a great deal of that falls upon the shoulders of Michael Fassbender – who is terrific as Bobby Sands. Great work.

RAN (Blu Ray)
Wow. RAN on Blu Ray maybe bliss. Ok – it isn’t perfect, but it’s the best it has ever looked on home video. I have my old Criterion, its what I watched 2 months ago when I was devouring my Criterion KUROSAWA set, and wanted to see the rest. And this image is much better than that, but I agree with the other online folks that say pretty much the same, while also desiring an even better print. There’s also some annoying subtitle translation typos that drive me nuts. But dammit, it’s the best we got so far.

After watching CABIN FEVER on Blu Ray – and seeing the Unrated Director’s Cut – all lingering issues I had with the film went away. I always had a tonal problem with the film. The weird bizarre moments always seemed to come out of left field. Well, strangely… I think I just hadn’t thrown enough crazy parties yet. But the last few NEW YEAR’S and HALLOWEEN parties have been crazy enough, that I’m now very much familiar with all the characters that appear in this film – including Pancakes boy. So now, it feels absolutely real. Which may be even more frightening, when life reflects CABIN FEVER, shouldn’t you run?

This sequel picks up, pretty much immediately after the first film. And it is a High School Prom meets the Flesh Eating Virus film. And while there’s parts that don’t work with other parts of the movie, when it is trying to be High School Prom meets the Flesh Eating Virus… it’s pretty much bliss. Don’t get me wrong, it is far from being great, but I found it very watchable – and I think I might even share it with some friends soon.

A film so great that the Coen Brothers thought they should remake it. That’s possibly one of the greatest honors you can imagine. To make something that the Coen Brothers would like to remake. Can you imagine being that good. God, I’d kill to see GAMBIT released on Blu Ray. Or hell, I’d love to see TRUE GRIT on Blu Ray! One of the great Alec Guinness performances, just insane looking! You have to see him in this film!

I love film within film films. Even moreso, I love arguing that CQ is the best one, and the other people chocking me. Until I finally admit that it is actually BODY DOUBLE. Then we scream about SINGIN IN THE RAIN and 8 ½ and yes, this CONTEMPT, but we always settle on SHERLOCK JR, unless they haven’t seen that, in which case we amaze them. Heh. The case can be made for each, and then you’ll see Welles’ DON QUIXOTE as put together by Jesus Franco and you’ll change your mind again. What’s your fave? And have you seen all these? Got some more?

This was one of my fave flicks out of SXSW last year, and this year, I’m dying to see the sequel, ELEKTRA LUXX which follows the porn star character from this movie, as played by Carla Gugino… and click you’ve bought the Blu Ray. This is a film with twelve lovely ladies and one girl that’s getting close to being the 13th. Simon Baker, Josh Brolin and director Sebastian Gutierrez had to have been all smiles during this very sexy, very funny and very complicated fun film. This really does look like a film where everybody had a blast. And that’s a good thing.

Melies Encore: 26 Additional Rare and Original Films by the first Wizard of Cinema
I’m still waiting on my copy to get here, all I know is the box claims to have 26 Melies films. That just sounds blissful, right?

My 9 year old nephew said after it was over, “That was the best Justice League ever!!!” and then… he began asking me about Alternate Earths – and he and I discussed the infinite possibilities upon infinite realities and how we could all be girls that laid polka-dotted eggs on one, and how on another we could be Na’vi and yet again on another we could be sentient rocks that get angry at being thrown around by kids, and on and on. But then the conversation turned how to make this reality the best reality you can by making considerate and thought out decisions in life. Because wrong decisions make our reality the suck reality. And really… isn’t that a conversation you want to have with the young kid in your life? Besides that… it fucking rules. BUT NOT NEARLY AS MUCH AS THE SPECTRE short film on here! My god. Not only is it amazing because it is THE SPECTRE and holy shit, there’s a SPECTRE short film produced by DC animation as a stand alone. And that, just by itself is fucking awesome. But then… they went and got Steve Niles to write it. And yeah, I thought that would annoy all the Niles haters below in every talkback of an article that mentions him… but then… I saw it. And it is amazing. Imagine if THE SPECTRE was a Detective Giallo Animated Horror Cartoon from the Seventies. Not just that, but all of a sudden, while you’re watching it, you realize… The greatest movie the world would ever see would be THE SPECTRE movie as directed by Brian DePalma… set in the Seventies and shot by Vilmos Zsigmond with a Pino Donaggio Score. And that is a dream worth wanking over. Seriously. The short is good enough to make me dream of that. Sigh. I wish I had my own fantasy studio for like 5 years. Wouldn’t that be cool. (not sure what my brain was doing confusing THE SPECTRE with THE SPIRIT, but my brain did it, though I absolutely know the difference in the characters. My only excuse is... MASSIVE BRAIN FART - hey, I was kinda watching THE GODFATHER Part 1 & 2 while typing this column in a marathon session. And I woke up to correct this, before finishing a little Sunday afternoon nap)

This just fell flat for me. None of it really works. The tone just feels wrong. I kept wishing it was more like SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, but it is nowhere near the same ballpark as that. And that’s the standard for juvenile horror for me. Did any of you really like this?

I really thought that Steven Soderbergh deserved a nomination for Best Cinematography for this film. And how in hell Marvin Hamlisch’s score didn’t pocket the nomination… I’ll never understand. Brilliant score and brilliant cinematography. And frankly, I just loved everything about this film. The scary thing is, I thought it was probably pretty accurate to reality. In the same way that I accept GOODFELLAS as its particular reality and the GODFATHER as its particular reality. I believe in THE INFORMANT. Sure it seems absurdist, but I’ve got a feeling that that’s just what this guy’s particular reality was. God we live in one weird fucking world.

It just doesn’t work for me. I’ve loved everything that Richard Kelly has done till this film. And there’s a lot of this film I like and I get the weird atmospheric choices and the odd quirks. I’ve watched this a couple of times now here at home and I do like it a bit more than in theaters, but I just don’t feel this works as a feature narrative. I’m not sure which weird element makes it not gel for me, but I still can’t put my finger on it. I like James Marsden and Frank Langella. I don’t dislike Cameron Diaz, but I don’t believe I like her limp very much, it just kinda feels a tad too much. In fact, that’s the phrase I keep coming back to in my head, it all feels a bit… much. But I wonder how the film will age.

Just a stunning film from Hollywood’s golden era. This is a film that plays like a revelation. The second you see it, you get furious at the fact that you’ve only just discovered it. How. How did this film not reach me, when I’ve seen so many great films from the mid-1930’s. This is a film that’s literally overflowing with great character actors and performers. And it will absolutely tear the soul straight out of your chest. Just amazing. LOVE THIS FILM! And again, let us give thanks to the joyous crew at Criterion for underlining this film’s awesomeness by releasing it. Thank you!

Are you or have you ever been a LegoManiac? This past Christmas was my nephew’s first LEGO Christmas. When thinking what to get him for Christmas, I thought about my 9th Christmas a lot. That was 1980. I was very into the new Space Lego sets – and I had two drawers of my dresser filled to the top with Legos. My friends and I built endless cities we trampled, we made rayguns and creatures and landscapes for our Star Wars and Buck Rogers and Star Trek action figures. Yes. Life was good. So I decided it was time to spoil the boy something fierce on Legos. So I bought him about 3 complete lines of LEGOS. Turns out, he had like 4 sets of the Star Wars line, which I avoided just due to a sneaking suspicion that if anyone had got him some Legos it would be them. Well, I was his hero this Christmas. And now, his room is covered with Lego sculptures. And then this shows up in my mail box. Imagine a feature length animated film, that mixes up the Star Wars and Indiana Jones and The World Of Warcraft Lego sets – and crosses them with the Space Police and MINERS sets and then mix it with the sense of humor from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones and Batman video games – and you get a clue. I’m just hoping that next Christmas… that there are TRON Legos. Cuz. If I could go back in time and tell me that one day there would be TRON Legos… I’d just die happy. I don’t know why. But I want Glow In The Dark TRON Legos. Oh. BTW. This is a lot of fun. Seriously. It actually is cute, kinda subversive and a helluvalot of fun. Just like LEGOS should!

Warners is putting out a series of these DOUBLE FEATURE Blu Rays. I haven’t received any of them yet, so I can’t comment on whether they’re flip discs, two discs, one disc with both features on the same side, or what. But I will say, I love these films. This is the Harrison Ford I miss. Before he was President. Back when he was just a guy. A guy up to here in bad news. (my hand was right under my chin when I typed that, no really!) In particular, FRANTIC continues to get better and better for me. I sure hope this double feature disc is high quality.

This is the other disc I’ve gotten in the last few months that just won’t play on my Blu Ray player and it is really frustrating. Cuz I really would like to have THE CRAZIES play on Blu Ray. Blue Undergrounds always does a great job, and I’m sure I just got a bad disc. And I’ll pick one up this Tuesday. But if you see THE CRAZIES this week, I hope you also pick up Romero’s original. It is a really strong film. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say the remake is better, as much as it is just a different version that I also like a lot.

Really, what are you expecting? It is slightly better than that. Slightly.

Don’t get lured in, they’re not really noirs, strictly speaking, and in addition, they’re not very good films. Give this a pass.

At long last, a film… that is amongst my most desired on Blu Ray is available. And it isn’t crazy pricey!!! $17! I am very pleased! For me, this is Miike’s FIGHT CLUB and I love it appropriately. Watching this film, I can’t help but think the world is melting outside. It still just kinda blows my mind. ICHI THE KILLER is one of my top picks of the 2000s.

Because there’s too few Stanley Baker films, it pains me to say this was just fucking dreadful. At its best it could have been DARK OF THE SUN, at its worst… it is what it is. How bad was this film? This was one of those films that was so bad, I looked the director up, made note of him, and looked at his whole filmography to mark off my list of films to see. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to have directed much feature work. Perhaps he had evil producers and there was some sort of gas leak during the production. I don’t know. If a movie can be retarded, this is retarded. Otherwise, it would seem like it should be great.
And that ends FEBRUARY… and the longest break in the 6 year history of this DVD column, but seriously I was burnt out. But ya know what, after finishing this, I have to tell you – I’m really anxious to get to this upcoming week. There’s things I discover when doing this column that I miss if I don’t. Movies that I ordered instantly like discovering that PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE import. Click. Heh. And, honestly, I really do love the column. I’m back in play – and it is with that feeling that I say, next week, we’ll be looking at: 2012, PONYO, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, MY NEIGHBOR TORORO, CASTLE IN THE SKY, John Carpenter’s ELVIS, KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE, CLASH OF THE TITANS on Blu, the 1933 ALICE IN WONDERLAND which will blow your minds, THE NEVERENDING STORY on Blu, BITCH SLAP, THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN on Blu, GENTLEMEN BRONCOS, THE WRAITH, for Jeff Mahler I’ll look at KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC and that’s about it!

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