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Harry's DVD Picks & Peeks - 2nd wk of June 2011: Crime in Harlem & Saigon & Cleveland. Harry Potter, Steve McQueen & Charles Bronson. HEAVY METAL & POINT BLANK BLUS!!! & More!

Hey folks, Harry here…

Just watched the Making of Superman III documentary and it is so cool to watch it. My nephew hadn’t seen SUPERMAN III, it put him to sleep, but I just watched it with Nostalgic and goofy tolerance. It was a different time. I love the camp of it, the enormity of physical effects work, and just the fun of it all. Anyway that Making of – it’s pretty much Superman candy for me. Anyway – it’s an ok week of releases, but there’s some duds I had to comment on. I watched them, so I deserve to. As usual the images and links take you to AMAZON, where you can learn more about a given title or purchase it if so inclined. If so, thanks. A small portion of that price goes to keep this column going, so again… sincerely, thanks.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011


Paul Winfield returns from his Green Beret unit in Nam to a drug wasted Harlem, a dead wife and a shit load of ass kicking that needs to get done. He contacts his all-black Green Beret unit and they systematically destroy the Drug Trade in Harlem. Directed by Ossie Davis – and I love it. I love the team he has, how they gather intelligence, and especially how they clean up the streets of Harlem in the Seventies.
Then you have OFF LIMITS which is perhaps one of the great pulpy cop flicks that I’d never even heard of. Starring an incredible cast headed by Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines as a pair of Military Police investigating a prostitute serial killer mystery which apparently involves, possibly, a high ranking officer in Nam. As a result, these “cops” beat is Saigon. You have TREMENDOUS performances from Scott Glenn, Fred Ward, David Alan Grier – and one of my all time favorite Keith David performances. You’ll be doing his lines from this for a while.
OUTSTANDING double feature – and I watched it as such, very cool flicks!


Another of those films I missed during my medical incarceration – and I’m happy to say Jonathan Hensleigh has mad the first really wonderful Ray Stevenson movie. I love everything about this crime story. I love Ray and Val Kilmer’s story. Really love Christopher Walken and Ray’s story. I love that it is a Cleveland tale. You’ve got Vincent D’Onofrio, Linda Cardellini, Paul Sorvino, Steven Schirripa, Vinnie Jones and man I love Robert Davi’s turn in this. This is a fist in mouth kind of crime flick. Ray’s swagger in this film reminds me of the physicality that John Wayne gave off – but with a completely different tonal beat. That this is all based on a true story shows me why I want nothing to do with living in Cleveland on the 70’s. Can you even imagine living in a modern American city in a summer where 36 bombs went off? Makes me think we live in a vastly safer world today. And that’s even more frightening. Can’t wait to see Hensleigh’s next – and definitely I’m there for everything Ray does! He’s very impressive here & always.


Before the movie becomes the film they’re advertising on the front of the box – There’s a World War 1 scene where Donnie Yen does a series of the most fucking impressive holy shit fucking wow things that I’ve ever seen in a European War flick. Yen is playing the same character that Bruce Lee played in FIST OF FURY, but in a very different story. I could watch Donnie Yen fight on the enormous scale of World War 1 all fucking day and night long. It is unbelievably inspired. Alas – it’s the opening sequence, before it falls into the quasi-Superhero story – that I ultimately don’t think it needed to be. That said, it absolutely entertained me – it’s just the earlier part is so breathtaking that it essentially cock blocks itself. That’s fine… Kinda have some of the same issues with THE ROCKETEER which I love.


Wow I hate this movie. It just. Wow. The film is beautiful to look at in places, but overall – you can tell a lot about Catherine Hardwicke’s directing ability – by watching Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried in this. Here are two actors that I love. Gary Oldman because as I’ve grown up, he’s just consistently been one of my favorite actors – but he is terrible here. He’s trying to give something, anything to this film – but as a result his performance is in an entirely different movie. Amanda Seyfried, who has been doing solid work in films like JENNIFER’S BODY, CHLOE, LETTERS TO JULIET. She’s an incredibly attractive young lady with amazing eyes – and in RED RIDING HOOD – what she does is just kind of painful to endure. I mean – this film has great actors – Lukas Haas, Julie Christie, Virginia Madsen… but everyone is just so fucking boring. By the time Amanda is doing her “My what big teeth you have” sequence I was dying. I did watch all the way to the end so I could fully earn the spite I have for this movie – but wow. I love Catherine Hardwicke’s design sensibility as a Production Designer, but as a director – other than THIRTEEN and LORDS OF DOGTOWN, there’s nothing that truly impresses.


Still haven’t seen this. Hope to soon. Never got a screener – and the film was something I didn’t see in theaters due to medical issues when it was out in theaters. SO… Talkbackers… should people pick up BATTLE: LOS ANGELES? What’d you think?


I like the Farrelly Brothers, but man. I mean, I really love Owen Wilson when he’s in a Wes Anderson or Woody Allen film – or anything that really engages him as a talent. But man. THIS. This was a whole bunch of awkward stupidity. The premise of a HALL PASS is interesting, but here… these two Husbands are so incredibly lame. So effortlessly clueless – that I could barely make it through the film. Yes, I know – it’s an R-rated comedy from the guys that did THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. I do love that film. This isn’t worth the splooge they put in Cameron Diaz’s hair. Really unlikable film. One that almost makes me want to reconsider MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – except – no. That movie is great.


These Ultimate Editions are seriously some of my favorite Blus. Of course – I do love the Harry Potter films – they’re superior children’s entertainment and one of the most ambitious long series ever finished by a studio. That said – poor David Yates – he came to the series and so I can’t help but blame him for the incredible dark turn the series took with him. The real reason for this series is two-fold. First the Maximum Movie Mode feature where Daniel Radcliffe personally takes you on his point of view through the running of the film. Love this. But more so – the gold in the second Blu Ray – This time – it takes us in a discovery of the tricks behind the Magic in the world of Harry Potter… But far more than that. Here’s what you get:
Featuring Maximum Movie Mode. Daniel Radcliffe leads a unique, personal exploration of the movie while you watch!
• Picture-in-Picture
• Focus Featurettes
• Scene Comparisons.

Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 6: Magical Effects
o Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Behind the Magic

Additional Scenes in Hi-Def

J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life: A Personal Look at the Journey in Creating and Launching the Final Book

Close Up with the Cast of Harry Potter: Cast Members Are Your Personal Guides to Aspects of Moviemaking That Include Editing, Makeup, Stunt, Set Design, Props, Costumes and More!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Get a Sneak Peak at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort

What’s on Your Mind?: Lightning-Round Q&A with Cast/Crew

One-Minute Drills: Cast Members Sum Up Their Characters

Gallery of Five Distinctive Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ABC Family Promo Spots

Theatrical Trailers Collectibles include: 44-Page Book with Rare Images from Years 1-7
Year 5 Lenticular Card, Limited Edition Character Cards: #11 Draco Malfoy & #12 Albus Dumbledore


Here’s where David Yates joined the team. His greatest character introduction is the horrifyingly nightmarish pink covered creature played with brilliant unlikable evil by Imelda Staunton – this character terrified me more than any other. She reminded me of my History teacher in High School, Ms. Foy – a tiny woman with a Bride of Frankenstein beehive that just had the ability to send shivers to the core of my soul. THEN I saw this and saw the Hogwarts version of that teacher and I feared deeply for all the students, faculty and things that I had become accustomed to. I love that she makes Hogwarts uncomfortable, scary and frightening in a way that Voldemort hadn’t really fully established yet. Now, she’s nothing in comparison to Voldemort – but she’s more terrifying than that noseless bastard cuz she works in the system and even perverts that system into something so frightening that kids create their own classes out of fear of her own incompetence. That’s outstanding. LOVE IT! Here the extras take an intense look at the Evolution of the series, how they dealt with changing Hogwarts, changing directors, Cast additions and the darkening of the Potter Verse. Here’s what you get:
with In-Movie Experience! Explore the People, Places, Creatures and the Moviemaking Magic Behind Them, All As You Watch the Movie

Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 5: Evolution

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Behind the Magic

Building the Magic: The Sets of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The Rebellion Begins

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Fulfilling a Prophecy

Additional Scenes in Hi-Def

Trailing Tonks: Natalia Tena (aka Nymphadora Tonks) Leads a Very Personal Film Set Tour

Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing: Director David Yates and Editor Mark Day Show What a Difference a Good Edit Makes

Theatrical Trailers
Collectibles include:
48-Page Book with Rare Images from Years 1-7

Year 5 Lenticular Card
Limited Edition Character Cards: #9 Luna Lovegood & #10 Dolores Umbridge


Kon Ichikawa directed my personal favorite film on the horror of war, FIRES ON THE PLAIN – and his BURMESE HARP is just great. So when I received a “new to me” Ichikawa flick from Criterion I eagerly checked it out. This isn’t much like those two films for me, but it is a look at the decaying value system and respect for culture in Japan as it affects these sisters that make Kimonos. It is a contemplative and poetic work. One that I think folks with inner peace will enjoy. The print is stunning, but the extras are pretty bare here. You get a trailer and a booklet. Slim pickings for a Criterion release. But the jewel is the title alone.


First off – it is stunning to just watch the photography of the film – and Ellen Page’s narration is actually quite perfect… But the reality is – we do have a Bee problem – and without them – life on Earth is going to literally be one helluva bitch. Watch this film – if you care about vegetables, flowers and the continuation of our species – well, watch this great and beautiful documentary on the issue!


Norman Jewison turns his societal eye towards backroom gambling and casts it with Steve McQueen, Edward G Robinson, Karl Malden, Ann-Margret, Rip Torn and ol Busby Berkeley film star, Joan Blondell. I love these kinds of films – and specifically this is one of the great poker flicks, though I think Altman wins… personally. Once again though – Steve McQueen is one of the cinematic measures of a man – LEARN FROM HIM BOYS! You’ll get a commentary by Jewison, poker scene commentary by CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN hosts and a vintage featurette on the film. The image quality is sterling and man… it’s fucking McQueen – pony up!


This release has been a BEST BUY exclusive for a better part of the year, but has only just now come to Amazon and the world at large. I know this film like I know ENTER THE DRAGON, GHOSTBUSTERS, STAR WARS, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD< KING KONG, ROAD WARRIOR, THE THING, Weismuller TARZAN films, Busby Berkeley musicals, WIZARD OF OZ and PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. This film totally and completely rocks me. I blame it above all other films for my permanent juvenile love for sex, big boobs, 80s rock and for causing me to read every issue of HEAVY METAL magazine that I could lay my hands on since I was a kid. I love this film in a profoundly goofy manner. The artists that inspired each sequence – well, it just isn’t like any other American animated film – and I dream of Fincher’s take. I’m very happy with the Blu – the film was always a grainy movie and it should probably undergo the rather pricey grain removal process that happened to ALIENS – but it’s fine. I still love this pressing.


I’ve yet to watch this – and I’m somebody that loves Nicolas Roeg’s work. From PERFORMANCE to WALKABOUT to DON’T LOOK NOW and THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH to THE WITCHES… I love me some Nicolas Roeg. I planned on watching this during the weekend but my nephew has been staying with me, but he’s the sort of kid that directs what gets shown. And I don’t think a film about look alikes for Monroe, Joseph McCarthy, Albert Einstein & Joe DiMaggio walk into a NYC hotel and have a … well whatever happens in there, but while I haven’t seen the film, I know of it’s reputation which is sterling. At the very least I’m dying to see Tony Curtis’ take on McCarthy.
Newly restored digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Nicolas Roeg and producer Jeremy Thomas, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
New video interviews with Roeg, Thomas, and editor Tony Lawson
Making Insignificance, a short documentary shot on the set of the film
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Chuck Stephens and a reprinted exchange between Roeg and screenwriter Terry Johnson


If Kathryn Bigelow should’ve won BEST PICTURE or BEST DIRECTOR for anything – I vote that it should be POINT BREAK. Here’s a film that just kicks a lot of ass. BTW – if you watch this with INSIGNIFICANCE – you’ll have a Gary Busey double feature. Play this one second. Ahem. This is one of those films that critics do not get – because most critics are not fun. They’re serious folks – and they’re seriously wrong about – POINT BREAK is a great DUDE movie. Put it on and simply enjoy. Swayze & Reeves are tremendous together. Busey is perfectly insane. This is a mainline of testosterone that … wow. Swayze is gone. Ya know, as we get older – it’s strange to have our heroes die – even if they’re playing villains. Swayze is just so fucking alive in this film. That Skydiving scene? So much vitality and personality. There’s people in our lives as film fans that go – that just make no sense. Christopher Reeve, Bruce Lee, Patrick Swayze… It doesn’t affect the film much, except this time when I saw the film, I thought about the fragility of life and how Swayze absolutely fucking lived it. I mean. Watch this film. The man is one of the best likable bad guys since James Cagney. Thank God the Academy came to their senses. There’s some kind of rule about not admitting their being wrong, so they give it to her for some other film. Personally – I want more than 4 DVD featurettes. I want Bigelow to come fucking OWN this film and do a commentary talking about this masterpiece of machismo. I want a group of modern day action directors talking about what they love about this film – and I want that same group recorded talking about other films they agree as having its dick out. I just feel deeply that this is a film to recognize and celebrate as absolutely getting it right. They don’t fully own their TESTOSTERONE EDITION label. The film does, but nothing beyond that on the disc does. I want Keanu back talking about this film, I want to hear him love on this film and his Johnny Utah. This is just a fantastic film.


I’m not usually an S&M guy, but this isn’t goofy gimp attire – this is a shot on 35mm real erotic masterpiece that has been stunningly restored on Blu Ray. This is an X-rated film, just not like the ones most people are used to today. This is the good stuff.


Ok – as much as I love Keanu in POINT BREAK – is how much I hate him in JOHNNY MNEMONIC. Had Keanu played a half dozen JOHNNY UTAH films – we’d be the best of movie going buddies, but he has to have that sad wet worked fucking dolphin – and then there’s Dolph Lundgren in this. It is. It’s something. I’m not sure what it is, but Robert Longo is guilty for it. Unlike Paul W.S. Anderson, Longo seemed to get the message. He hasn’t directed since. There’s a reason. This film is one of those messes that if you looked too often upon it, it could drive you mad. I believe it. I began to rewatch it, but I felt my mind going. I saw visions of dog eating a donut – and I started freaking out. That my dog did actually somehow find a donut (not mine) (No, really, I swear) and began eating HALF of it as I stared at the screen in gasping horror at what was done to William Gibson. I mean, Gibson wrote the script. It’s just. LOST IN TRANSLATION via Longo. This film is batshit crazy. I’m serious about the madness bit. If you watch this too much, you’ll lobe Beiber.


Yeah, this is just not very strong. I love the stop motion, but really truly dislike the story, characters and performances. It’s just not there. On either.


In Mandom, your camera is cool. I’ve never seen this… but I will soon. The write up on Amazon was just too much. Must see.


This isn’t great, but ya know – it’s got all the right things going for it and at the end… I really dig it. The lead is attractive and pulls off the character. The revenge is duly deserved and you’ll like how it is carried out. Good stuff. It’s essentially about a girl trying to find out what happened to her sister, who got captured in a human trafficking / prostitution scheme – and she goe in to exact bloody revenge. If you like that kind of thing, you’ll probably be with me on this one.


I have no conception at all what this movie is. It is Unrated, 3 reviews on Amazon rate it 5 stars – each from various regions of the country. Apparently these two characters build a giant machine that does something. I don’t know what, but the effects are supposed to be good – and one guy calling himself MOVIEGEEK recommends watching it on TESLA’S BIRTHDAY. Now, look at that box art. It just. I want to be able to say I own SVEENER & THE SHMIEL. That’s just… somehow important to me. I can’t explain it. But what if it is amazing? I’ve got to know. Look at that box art again. What the fuck is it man? I’m terrified and curious. It taunts me.

Next week we’ll get paranoid with Liam Neeson in UNKNOWN and with Matt Damon in THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, we’ll be bored shitless by THE EAGLE & THE ISLAND, Bnatters will rush to pick up Criterion’s KISS ME DEADLY on Blu, we’ll laugh at CEDAR RAPIDS, Then we’ll TAKE A HARD RIDE to RIO CONCHOS, check out THE WOMEN IN CAGES Collection, then muse about ELEKTRA LUXX like Joseph Gordon Levitt, I’ll actually recommend MEGA PYTHON VS GATOROID, but insist you check out SPINE TINGLER! THE WILLIAM CASTLE STORY, before venturing TOWARD THE UNKNOWN, celebrate MANCHESTER UNITED SEASON REVIEW 2010-2011 DVD, marvel at THE ROMANTIC ENGLISHWOMAN on Blu, we’ll be amazed at having MISTER T: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, before talking about Ian McKellen as D.H. Lawrence in PRIEST OF LOVE, then relax to a few ANTI-NAZI CLASSICS then talk fondly of D.W. Griffith’s SCARLET DAYS. After all that, I’ll see what else I can find that’s hitting and that’ll be next week. I hope you enjoyed.

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