If you’re a fan of classic Film Noir, then too often you’re forced to watch star driven hyper-sexualized riffs on genre that more often was about losing one’s soul, about losing everything from reaching so high. An Icarus genre if there ever was one, I love FILM NOIR. I love it because it doesn’t require a quarter of a billion to make – and with great writing, great acting and great style – a film can be made that not only compares to the best Hollywood can make, but far exceeds it. THE SQUARE isn’t a movie filled with movie stars, but perfect performances. Faces whose names you don’t yet know. But you’ll absolutely believe who they are – and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Nash Edgerton’s THE SQUARE was my favorite film from 2009’s SXSW film festival. I’ve seen it 4 times theatrically – and will relish watching it and showing it to friends here at home. Now, in addition to the utterly superb and beautifully photographed film, THE SQUARE – the extras on this disc would help anyone looking to make a smart low budget film. Here you’ll see how Edgerton used Pre-Vis economically and how he used Visual effects to make everything look that much better. In addition, you’ll have a great special addition on the disc, Nash’s short film, SPIDER – which is excellent. Very nice disc for a great little film noir!
I first saw this film in 2001 at the 5th edition of the Quentin Tarantino film festival on Italian Crime Night. We started off with a Charles Bronson film called THE FAMILY that was kind of a remake of OUT OF THE PAST, then we watched THE ITALIAN CONNECTION by Mob master, Fernando Di Leo. But the kicker for the night was this release… MACHINE GUN MCCAIN. Now, if you’re not just the casual film geek, just seeing John Cassavetes’ name on this title is all you need to know. Cassavetes was an actor of such fucking awesome, that he could, all o n his own… he could elevate a film into being FASCINATING. Once you discover Cassavetes – you’re hooked, you’ll go through everything he’s ever done. After watching this movie, Nicky Katt and I got hooked on watching Cassavetes’ TV show, JOHNNY STACCATO. Seriously brilliant television show that needs, cries for a Criterion Release. Yeah, a TV show worthy of Criterion, you heard me right. But with MACHINE GUN MCCAIN, Cassavetes isn’t alone. Here you get to see Peter Falk doing Scorsese’s Joe Pesci, decades before there was Scorsese’s Joe Pesci. Now my favorite thing about Britt Ekland – is looking at her and knowing… This was the bride of Peter Sellers – and then mentally I give Peter Sellers a “High Five” for shooting for the moon and landing. But she’s amazing in this. Essentially this is a Casino Heist picture, where the Casino never reports the crime to the cops, but instead puts the word out through the Mafia to hunt these folks down. One of the scariest most awesome Mob films ever made. And Gena Rowlands… I love her! The Blu Ray has an interview with director Giuliano Montaldo, the man behind GRAND SLAM!
Now I don’t dump on the whole of Season Six, just because the final episode was as satisfying as a stalk of celery, because frankly, I was in love with season 6 all the way up until that final impenetrable mess of a final episode. There were things I liked about that final episode, but they were moments, not anything that I could umbrella to cover the whole, but that’s the problem with a series predicated upon the notion of the secret. Knowing is never as good as not knowing – and frankly, I never needed to know what I didn’t know. So – are you completing your run of LOST or not? As usual they have good extras, here’s what you get: Plus: A Lost Blu-ray & DVD exclusive - Go deeper into the world of LOST with a much-anticipated new chapter of the island's story from Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse... and starring some very familiar faces The End: Crafting A Final Season - Join the LOST team along with other producers of some of television's longest running shows as they examine the challenges of ending a landmark series A Hero's Journey - What makes a hero? Which survivors of Oceanic 815 are true heroes? These questions and more are explored See You In Another Life, Brotha - Unlock the mysteries of this season's intriguing flash sideways Bloopers Deleted Scenes Audio Commentaries Lost University: The Masters Program
Or you can score all 6 seasons in this LOST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION set that comes in a mysterious looking ancient Lostian relic. You’re gonna get 1 disc that is only available here that… well, I think it actually transports you to the Island if you get your BluRay disc to play backwards in your player. Here’s what ya get: • One full disc of never-before-seen content • Special edition collectible Senet game as seen in Season 6 • Custom LOST island replica • Exclusive episode guide • Collectible ankh • Black light • Plus all episodes and 30+ hours of bonus from Seasons 1-6
Now – here we have the 13th season of the show that will never end. The Simpsons seems to have found a perfect style in which to constantly comment upon society, pop-culture and the world around us. Much like its naughtier Toon neighbors in South Park – I really could imagine these shows 20 years from now still doing what they’re doing and that’s kind of amazing. There’s almost nothing else like them. I really loved PARENT RAP and as usual the Treehouse of Terror from this season, but there’s a lot to like as usual.
Now this is just a damn shame. About a week ago I got a box in the mail, I open it up and inside are 4 Handmade Pictures releases on BluRay. WITHNAIL & I, TIME BANDITS, MONA LISA and THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY. Three of these four are correctly mastered in 1080p. However, TIME BANDITS is not. TIME BANDITS is on 1080i. For me, with my system the difference is mainly noticeable in the lack of contrast and the gray shadows. There’s a general lack of oomph to the image, which should gleam upon my screen. Instead, it’s a murky 1080i. The release is only $13, but let us hope an adequate release comes along. This one is lacking in quality extras as well. If you have a Criterion on this – just keep that close to the player, it is still the better disc to own.
I can see what he was trying to do here, but he just didn’t have the actors to pull it off. I like to imagine this film with one patriarch played by George C Scott and the other by Kirk Douglas… but with Zombies too. Alas. This is only a dream I had after the reality of this. There’s some fun stuff here, it must go next to the others, but only because I’m anal retentive when it comes to some of the things I must own, like every Romero Zombie Film, period. That’s a must, but I hope the next chapter won’t feel like an obligating purchase, but a drooling can’t wait to get my hands on kind of an affair.
I love the story of DORIAN GRAY, and not only because of its inspirations upon PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE which is easily the best ever Faustian film made ever or will ever be made. I’m watching the film right now, and a certain @petershall on Twitter says “DORIAN GRAY is the sexiest horror movie Masterpiece Theater never made.” And the whole production seems mighty handsome thus far. Seems dusty and smoky. It seems interesting enough so far, but it isn’t blowing my mind just yet. But then there’s nobody here to compare to George Sanders.
I was 8 years old when I saw this awesome sauce. What you have before you is the greatest possible condensing of the separate films, “SWORD OF VENGEANCE” and “BABY CART ON THE RIVER STYX,” but what came of those two wonderful films is SHOGUN ASSASSIN – which is better than either separate film. This is absolutely a great time. If you have ever loved LONE WOLF & CUB and wanted to quickly hook a friend to the larger story, SHOGUN ASSASSIN is the way to do it. Marc Lindsay’s score is just fan-fucking-tastic! Even Tomisaburo Wakayama is more… fuck it, he’s more HAN SOLO than he ever was before. I LOVE THIS MOVIE! Seriously. After Bruce Lee and before Jackie Chan… this is what had me hooked. There is nothing more satisfying than a badass rogue Samurai hacking limbs off of everybody that pisses in his path. And that this is on Blu Ray. It is a very desired High Def release for me, and I’ve pre-ordered it, because I can’t conceive of any of the local BluRay stores carrying it. And I must have it, tomorrow… in the mail. Yes please. Yes.
You probably have both seasons of FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS already, if you like them, and I’m not sure if I am so hard core of a fan that I’d buy this set if I owned those separate seasons. However, if I hadn’t bought either, then this is definitely the route to go. In addition to the 22 episodes of the show, you get: Flight of the Conchords: One Night Stand--Never-before-released 30-minute special Flight of the Conchords: On Air documentary feature Dave's pawn shop commercials New Zealand Consulate meetings with Murray and Greg Outtakes Deleted scenes Which are all absolutely entertaining. But after watching the Documentary and that 30 minute special, I handed this set to my sister, because she doesn’t have either season and after watching the extra special stuff, I don’t think I have to have it to see again. But then I’m a casual fan of the show.
I’ve been a lifelong fan of Josef Von Sternberg – and I know that sounds like some crazy boast, but no… In my house as a child, it was well understood that the master of the black & white lens was Josef Von Sternberg and his Marlene Dietrich collaborations were the proof that my mother used to make her case whenever the question was so much as raised. You see, my mom was also a Film School grad – along with my father – and it is from her that I fell in love with Sternberg’s Nitrate Prints. There’s a richness to the photography of his films… the way everything is just so… and how there’s a mist to life itself. Now, I haven’t watched this set just yet. It’s right beside me here – and I think I’ll begin with DOCKS OF NEW YORK, if only because I’ve owned the one-sheet for that film for over 3 quarters of my life, and it’s time to watch it. That said, both UNDERWORLD and THE LAST COMMAND are quite exciting to get a look at. Here’s what Criterion put together for us: New, restored high-definition digital transfers Six scores: one by Robert Israel for each film; two by the Alloy Orchestra Two new visual essays; one by Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton 1968 Swedish television interview with director Josef von Sternberg A ninety-six-page booklet featuring essays
If you are of a certain generational existence and British – WITHNAIL AND I is a film you can quote effortlessly. If you’re American, you’ll feel the need to possibly put on the English subtitles to “hear” the dialogue proper. This is an awesome film, incredibly influential in British film. It’s kind of impossible to ponder Simon Pegg & Nick Frost without the influence of WITHNAIL & I. The Blu-ray has a lovely image – I’ve never seen the film look this sharp before, but then, I’ve never seen WITHNAIL & I theatrically. And yes, I am upset about that. Hilarious film.
I saw this upon original release. Haven’t seen it again until this Blu Ray came with the others. I’m someone that just loves Neil Jordan’s filmography. I love his films, even when I don’t. There’s just something about his vibe with film that makes his films incredibly watchable. Here with Michael Caine, the nearly always awesome Bob Hoskins and the beautiful Cathy Tyson. Now This and the next film were the way audiences got introduced to Bob Hoskins – just right before Robert Zemeckis cast him as Eddie in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT and put him on the household name status. There’s just something amazing about Hoskins in this stage of his career. A ferocious amount of energy, even when he’s passive. So intense.
With a blisteringly awesome score and a shot straight out of gun performance from Bob Hoskins, THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY is a tremendous British Gangster film. If you’ve seen the Guy Ritchie & Matthew Vaughn nods in that genre, you really do owe to yourself to check this out. It looks good on my screen, but IMAGE didn’t do near the job that they should’ve on their 4 Blu Rays this week. The TIME BANDITS 1080i is just an embarrassment, but here – they should have done more.
Ya know – it is kinda fascinating to check out. It is animated in multiple styles, but using the original soundtrack – since the movie is in the Public Domain – which has given the world free reign to exploit it thusly. As far as exploitive works go though – this is kinda fascinating – and I know I already said that, but it is true. I kinda dug it a lot.
They had no money, but it does have a low-budget glee that made it watchable… but it doesn’t really live all the way up to the dream of NINJAS VS ZOMBIES… but that’s because they couldn’t go to Japan, and do an A-budget version of the tale… That said, this is Ninjas Vs Zombies and maybe that is just enough for you, it wasn’t quite enough for me. Fair effort though.Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
So totally worth it. Has beautiful transfers for both the original 1.33:1 and the 1.85:1 widescreen blowup. But man – that original 1.33:1 – if you have a great projection set up – it actually kinda creates vertigo due to the camera movement. LOVED IT. This has an all new commentary with Campbell, Raimi and Tapert. A special extra DVD that’s pure extras… which you probably have on a DVD somewhere if you’re like me. But hot damn, original aspect ratio in 1080p. Yes please!
As Stephen King says, “The Best Horror Television Series In History” – and that’s absolutely true. I’m about halfway through the first season and I find the quality of the writing and the performances to just be stellar. Karloff’s introductions are classic, but the real treat is the writing. That first episode – just right out of the gate, they came guns a-blazin. There’s a murder that takes place that is just so eerily accurate to what I would imagine it would be like that it actually did send chills down my spine. Single Ladies, you’ve been warned about the first episode. Nightmares. The good kind. Beyond the 67 episodes, which make up the complete series – you’re also going to get 27 audio commentaries on special episodes throughout the set. Some isolated music from Jerry Goldsmith and all manners of other lil extras. THIS IS A GREAT SET. With the month of Halloween approaching, this is a great set to make your way through. If you love TWILIGHT ZONE and OUTER LIMITS – this shit is GOLD I tell ya!
So annoyed that I haven’t seen this yet, I need to get out and pick this up when I’m picking my new phone up today. That said, I’ve had extensive conversations about this film and have pretty much learned that if you liked GRAN TORINO – I think you might prefer this, because Caine out and out goes to an awesome revenge themed place where badassness is born. The thing that I’ve heard is that the violence in the film is considered by many to be very accurate to the actual plight of the elderly in the crime ridden areas that BATMAN should prowl. Very much looking forward to this.
Some folks have gone so far as to say this is better than THE GODFATHER… better than GODFATHER 3, no doubt, but as great as 1974 is, it isn’t a better film than either of the first two GODFATHERs and the 1980 and the 1983 parts of the trilogy are really outstanding, but not nearly as great as 1974, which features an amazing performance out of Andrew Garfield. I’m actually angry that I never saw this in theaters. I watched it at home on Blu Ray about 2 weeks ago – and was blown away by Andrew Garfield. Between this and his performance in the upcoming SOCIAL NETWORK – which I hear will back up his casting as Peter Parker in a way that will get the rest of ya drooling for his SPIDER-MAN. But for those of you that are unaware… the RED RIDING trilogy is about a very corrupt police force and government in a region of England. The crimes are real, the drama is created. Well, the crimes are based on real crimes. Just a tremendous way to spend 5 and a half hours. A very important cinematic experience that most of us will only experience via the glory of Blu Ray and NetFlix.
The original OSS 117: CAIRO, NEST OF SPIES was awesome – and one of the very few films that I’ve ever gone after for BUTT-NUMB-A-THON that I couldn’t get due to a really annoying & rude French Lady at the distribution company that made me believe in the practice of murder as a hobby. Anyways – last year at BNAT1138, I played one of my fave obscure Jean Paul Belmondo films, LE MAGNIFIQUE – and have had so many people that love me for introducing them to that absurd, gory, sexy flick. Well… the OSS series in in that comedic spy vein, but without that story device from LE MAGNIFIQUE. 100% faithful in design and look to the period they’re recreating, this is a film geek’s spoof – not like the shit we get in this country that pollutes our screen with that SPOOF banner. This is the real deal!That’s it for today… Next week I’ll be looking at: SOLITARY MAN, FORBIDDEN PLANET Blu Ray, The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows starring THE BEATLES, MACGRUBER, STARDUST BluRay, TOMMY THE MOVIE Blu, MARS ATTACKS! Blu, THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, THX 1138 Blu Ray, PRIME SUSPECT, PLAYING FOR TIME, LOST IN SPACE Blu, IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHARLIE BROWN Blu, Bugs Bunny’s Howl-Oween, IN COLD BLOOD Blu, CRITTERS collection, THE PLAYER Blu, THAT EVENING SUN Blu, HATCHET Blu, THE SKELETON KEY blu, JOHN RABE, Hammer Horror TCM Collection, TCM Gangster Collection, POLTERGEIST Blu, THE BLACK DAHLIA Blu, A SCANNER DARKLY Blu and more!