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Harry's DVD Picks & Peeks - 4th wk of Jan 2011: Jodorowsky, Noe, Brooks, Spielberg, Howard and more!

Hey folks, Harry here… Sorry I’m a couple days late. I just got my Portable Blu Ray player from Amazon a couple of days ago, which has helped me plow through and try my best to catch up. Without it… well, I was a bit lacking, some of these releases I saw before my incarceration into miracle medical treatment that I’m going through. I’m working harder than I’ve ever imagined. But thanks to my spine being fixed, everything is starting to come back, it’s a long road, but I can’t wait.

Meanwhile, here’s this week’s column. I’m only able to fit in about 4 movies a day here, and still do everything they ask of me, plus I’m usually able to squeeze in an extra 30 minutes to an hour of rehab a day. As usual, the pics and links take you to Amazon, where you can learn more on a title, but also you can purchase. If you do order, this column gets a small portion of the purchase price, and especially in my current situation – it helps tremendously, so thank you profusely to everyone that orders from the column. Here ya go…

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011


Ok – now here is an unbelievable treat. When the package from Severin showed up and I opened it and pulled out Jodorowsky’s SANTA SANGRE, my father, sister and I all squealed with delight. Our family loves Alejandro Jodorowsky’s too few film career. Too few, mainly because he is an artist, not a corporate storyteller. We’ve only just been able to get EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN on DVD in the United States… But for fans of Jodorowsky, you’ve been stuck having to get expensive foreign imports.
Now it all changes. Not only can you get SANTA SANGRE on DVD – But Severin has gone that extra mile and mastered it for Blu-Ray and that’s amazing. It is just flat out gorgeous. Not only do you get the bizarrely surreal, totally Jodorowsky story of a Circus performer, a crime of passion, his deaf-mute lover, his amazing parents: an armless mother and a tattooed strongman father. The film is so intensely unlike other films that it thrills you. Makes you wish less films were so ordinary, pedestrian and plain.
I haven’t yet dug into the extras, which I’ve heard will occupy me for 5 hours as I plow through the mind of Jodorowsky. For Cinephiles, there’s no possibility of not picking this up. It’s just a blessing to get


Like SANTA SANGRE – this is a film that is not necessarily for all audiences, it is art, and like a lot of art, it is subject to interpretation, taste and this film is an experience – not an experience that many of us could have had otherwise. It takes us to places we would fear to tread, gives us experiences that we might not savor in our personal lives – but we as viewers watching the film get intoxicated, drugged and invigorated by the sheer images and movement and – well… just the best damn P.O.V. photography you’ve seen in quite some time. BLU RAY is definitely the route to go on this. I watched mine at the house 3 days before I wound up in my current situation and now that I’m watching Blu Ray’s on a little portable player – well, at least I can still do my job, but man… totally different. ENTER THE VOID is something to watch alone, or with friends that appreciate the best of cinema, when it is more than a 3 act structure. Great film, great Blu Ray!

BROADCAST NEWS (Criterion Blu)

One of the best films of the 1980’s – James Brooks, who is mostly known for his amazing work on television – like THE SIMPSONS & TAXI… Delivered a knock out of a film. The 3 leads are amazing… You’ve got Holly Hunter, William Hurt and an amazing Albert Brooks in a very different from ANCHORMAN look at… well, Broadcast News. It is funny, but also extremely honest and a bit real. In particular revisiting this film, as I’m hearing about Aaron Sorkin crafting a series to look at the modern world of Broadcast News… I’m curious to see how they differ and what similarities, if any there are. It picked up 7 Oscar nominations, but that was the same year as LAST EMPEROR, WALL STREET & MOONSTRUCK… which all those titles and this one, totally fucked over BRIAN DE PALMA from getting his deserved Oscar and sweep for UNTOUCHABLES… sigh. But this is an outstanding film and as usual, Criterion has done an amazing job. Here’s what you’re getting:
New, restored high-definition digital transfer
New audio commentary featuring Brooks and Marks
New documentary on Brooks's career in television and film
Deleted scenes and an alternate ending, with commentary by Brooks
New video interview with veteran CBS news producer Susan Zirinsky
Featurette containing on-set footage and interviews
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Carrie Rickey


Watched this at FANTASTIC FEST, and I have to say, from the second I saw the first trailer with Helen Mirren blowing people away en masse… I was sold. Then watching the film, I instantly got just how much fun this film is. That’s all it wants to be is fun. There’s no great social commentary here, beyond the bit about senior citizens still being able to kick ass… but then all of us that know someone as badass as my dad – and possible some relative of yours – well… hell, my 93 year old roommate is a total awesome badass romantic! About the time Ernest Borgnine showed up, I was in my ideal situation. The audience was having fun with it, and Karl Urban, who is playing the “Agent Smith” kind of role in the film – is fantastic. But it is probably Mary-Louise Parker and Bruce Willis’ 39 STEPS-esque romance that really sealed the deal for me. You’ve got a good amount of Deleted scenes, a CIA Exposed feature and the Audio Commentary is with retired CIA Field Officer Robert Baer. Can’t wait to give that a listen.


Personally I prefer PHAR LAP and SEABISCUIT, but SECRETARIAT came in a powerful 3rd, as it is a really solid Horse tale. Now what Disney did with this film, is make one of the most handsome period tales I’ve seen this past year. BRAVEHEART writer, RANDALL WALLACE was directing and his attention to detail leapt from the page to the screen, which was quite awesome to see. In particular, this really made me wonder and crave to see what he has coming next for us. Here’s the special features you get on the Blu Ray:
• Heart of A Champion
• Choreographing the Races
• A Director's Inspiration: A Conversation with The Real Penny Chenery
• Audio commentary by director Randall Wallace
• 7 Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace
• Secretariat multi-angle simulation
• Music video - AJ Michalka "It's Who You Are"


I loved this last installmen of “THE GIRL WHO” series from Stieg Larsson’s world renowned series. If you haven’t seen this series, the BBC SHERLOCK 3 film series or the RED RIDING TRILOGY from last year, you’re really seriously missing out on a trio of terrific trios that were all delivered in 2010. In particular, I wish this and the SHERLOCK series would run forever. I love how this one returns to investigation, constant threat and crazy fucked up family weirdness. The best? Noomi’s crazy mutant assassin brother! He’s like a friggin time bomb for the whole thing. SO SCARY, he reminds me of that character from the Chuck Norris masterpiece SILENT RAGE! Anyway, this is likely to be the only complete run of the books on film, unless Fincher commits to all 3, which I kind of hope doesn’t happen, because I prefer Fincher doing different things and don’t want to see his talent being swallowed by any series ever.


I would only watch this in 3D BLU RAY if I had a 3D Blu Ray setup for watching them. But I don’t.


I loved this “origin” story film of the life of John Lennon – pre-BEATLES. For one, Aaron Johnson is just too good! This is a film that didn’t play everywhere and that people didn’t really have a chance to discover theatrically. If you’re a Beatles fan, and in particular a Lennon fan – you’ll love it. I’ve always enjoyed a great biopic. The sad thing is, I doubt seriously any of the awards groups will remember Kristin Scott Thomas’ Aunt Mimi – I’d totally nominate it.


An incredibly powerful film from Spielberg. One that he really wanted to win all the Oscars for. Whoopi and Oprah are amazing in the film. The shots are iconic throughout. The music, the costumes, the melodrama… It is THE COLOR PURPLE. And there isn’t anything else quite like it. The BluRay… well first – we don’t have nearly enough of The Beard’s films on Blu Ray! This is gorgeous. You’ll absolutely get why it was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, won none… OUT OF AFRICA won the big one. BRAZIL wasn’t even nominated. Of the nominees, I was rooting for WITNESS – but it was a crushing defeat for Steven. But hopefully he can see that the movie is a classic now – and that simply, that was a good tough year of cinema.


It’s the 10th anniversary of A BEAUTIFUL MIND – and that factoid all by itself is insane. A BEAUTIFUL MIND is 10 years old. Perhaps not my favorite of Ron Howard’s movies. That’s probably SPLASH or BACKDRAFT or GRAND THEFT AUTO… but beyond any doubt, A BEAUTIFUL MIND is the very best film he’s done, along with Akiva Goldsman. I love how he visualizes John Nash’s mind. I love every character in the film. The acting is superb.


If you enjoyed AICN’s Copernicus’ look at the Science of Avatar articles – and his interview with James Cameron… and if you love brilliant and enthralling looks at our universe, this documentary from National Geographic puts AICN’s Copernicus (aka Andy Howell) to work helping to guide you through the Milky Way Galaxy that we call home. I’m a space documentary geek. Love the stuff. Love taking in the enormity of the Universe. It makes me feel thin.


There’s no doubt that Eliot Spitzer’s dick got the best of him, but the thing is… SO WHAT. We seriously need to re-exam our criteria for public officials if fucking keeps a man that was trying to save us from the disaster that Wall Street created that has sent our entire country going down a toilet – economically speaking – for the last 3 years. Personally, if I were Obama, I’d get him to be Attorney General and turn him the fuck loose on Wall Street. Asses need to be kicked – and we need someone exactly like Spitzer… and hell, if it means we send him hookers every night, well, fuck it, he deserves a good lay. Of course that doesn’t play in the pews. Great documentary!


Jeff Mahler, this one is for you. Though, because the world continues to mock your love for SHE-RA – I have to tell you. There’s no extras, Jeff. I’m sorry. No behind the scenes, No remember the mania of She-Ra? Nope, but this does have all the episodes. And Jeff, because you’re rich, you will only have to pay $65.99 to have it all. Now, Jeff… you can ride your stuffed Pegasus, don your She-Ra panties – and talk to your imaginary Sorceress – all while enjoying the original toons that made you the gloriously awesome freak that you are.


Erotic cinema doesn’t get much better than when Henry Miller met the French New Wave in QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY. This gets quite explicit, but it is a very solid and great adaptation of one of the best books from Henry Miller. This was formally banned, and it’s quite nice to actually be able to have it today. Very sensual, sometimes a little silly, but well, that was the novel too. Beautiful looking BluRay


I’ve been curious to see this film for a bit of time now. I know sometimes people wonder why I put titles that I haven’t seen on here, and it’s because this isn’t a full REVIEW column, but my picks & peeks. Picks denotes things I’m interested in, Peeks- the ones I’ve seen. Now RED HILL played at FANTASTIC FEST last year, and it seemed to mostly receive very positive word of mouth. TRUE BLOOD’s Ryan Kwanten was in attendance, but even that didn’t help Yoko to like the film in the least. She kind of really disliked it. Along with a couple of friends, but then other people named it in their top 5 films of the festival. Thus, I’m really curious to see it for myself.


This is actually a really great collection of RONALD REAGAN movies, where he’s not such a goofball. I haven’t seen THE WINNING TEAM or HASTY HEART, but the others I’ve seen. STORM WARNING involves the KKK and is a crazy film. KINGS ROW has a brilliant score and is just a really solid film. In particular, that’s the film that probably contains Ronnie’s best career work as a serious actor. DARK VICTORY is more Bette Davis’ film. DESPERATE JOURNEY is a great Errol Flynn war flick. THIS IS THE ARMY is an Irving Berlin musical, using a lot of the military – and it is pretty damn awesome. KNUTE ROCKNE – is basically Ronald Reagan’s RUDY. Helluva football tale! You get the whole lotta Reagan for just $42 bucks.


That’s the Alligator God KROONA, pissed the fuck off and gonna go chomp chomp on a resort – and frankly, its about time. Now the original title for this was BIG ALLIGATOR RIVER, the film stars the gorgeous gals, Barbara Bach and Claudio Cassinelli! And beyond the sheer attraction of watching a crazy killer Gator… watching them is the next best thing. This is a full on sentient revenge crazy killer animal flick, so if like me, you love those… pick this up!

Once again, I’d like to apologize for being a couple days late. Here’s what we get into on February 1st. LET ME IN, ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Blu), NEVER LET ME GO, MONSTERS, HATCHET II, TILLMAN STORY, ALL ABOUT EVE (Blu), THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE (Criterion Blu), AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (Blu), YOU’VE GOT MAIL (Blu), PLEASANTVILLE (Blu), THE PROWLER, “10” (Blu), RAY (Blu), LUCKY LADY, DEATH HUNT/BUTCH & SUNDANCE: THE EARLY DAYS, BOYS DON’T CRY (Blu), NIGHT CATCHES US, BAD BOYS (Blu), 11 HARROWHOUSE, LORNA THE EXORCIST, HELL HARBOR & JUNGLE BRIDE, ROAD HOUSE (Blu) and really, can there be anything that follows ROAD HOUSE on Blu Ray… I think not. See you Tuesday hopefully!

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