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Harry's DVD PICKS & PEEKS - 1st 2 wks of Jan 2012: CONTAGION, SWASTIKA, JOHN FORD, PECKINPAH, Aussie Sexploitation & More!!!

Hey folks, Harry here… HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Taking 8 days to go vacation with the family at DISNEYWORLD and UNIVERSAL’s theme parks gave me a much needed break from all things digital. Really being the first time I’ve been truly unplugged in years. The SPIDER-MAN ride at Universal’s ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE is truly spectacular! Anyway – this first week of the new year is so lacking, that I decided to go ahead and give y’all the first 2 weeks of releases all at once. Really – we don’t get a great week of releases till the final week of the month. You’ll see. As usual, the images and links take you to Amazon where you can learn more on the titles or purchase items directly from Amazon, which gives a small portion of the purchase price to help keep this column going for another year. Enjoy and thanks for reading…

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012


I really love CONTAGION, but I’ve got to stop watching it. Ever since I got my first screener for CONTAGION, I’ve had some lingering coughy, stuffy head funk… for pretty much the past 2 months. I begin to think about every contact that could have made me sick – and investigating the path to illness has become an idle freak out of mine. Soderbergh has made the best nightmare scenario virus film to date… The cast is absolutely electrifying. In particular – I love Kate Winslet in this film. I love how quickly the film moves, how all the different characters that we follow are compelling, with no weak links. Ordinarily in films that are structured like this, I find myself wishing that 4 or 5 of the storylines would have been jettisoned so the film could have concentrated on a single storyline. But the mystery, the problem solving, the paranoia, the opportunity and the solemn reality of the situation just absolutely captivated me. This is a superior film, fantastic work by all involved. And as evidenced by the last 2 months of 2011… I totally would’ve died.


This is such a good movie. Making a black comedy buddy cop flick with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle… That’s pretty much all I needed to know. Add Mark Strong into the mix and this becomes one of those have to watch films. It feels a bit like FARGO, but set upon Ireland and while the cinematic skills telling the story are not at Coen standards, the acting and fun that is being had is right up there. You do not want to miss this film, it’s aces!


I love scary child peril films. I find these are cautionary tales to watch as parents – so that you learn how not to let your kids get killed by scary fucking things living in the shadows of big scary old houses that you shouldn’t fucking be messing around in, in the first place. Troy Nixey’s debut work as a film director is quite accomplished. The production design and look of this film are so drenched in atmosphere, that watching this at home on Blu-Ray affords you the ability to stop the film and stare at the artistry that has gone into it. The little girl in this is wonderful. Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes… well they’re not the brightest parents in the world. Had this been Yoko & I as the parents, we’d been way the fuck out of there pronto. Can’t wait to watch this again! Going out to get the Blu in a bit.


I haven’t seen this film yet, but I’ve heard from friends that it is either a complete waste of time, or a ridiculously fun piece of shit. I suppose I’ll probably find out eventually. I’m gonna wait to watch this on Netflix.


I still prefer the Joan Crawford original, but Kate Winslet’s MILDRED PIERCE performance may be my favorite actress performance that I saw in 2011. She’s just fascinating to watch here. Evan Rachel Wood plays an amazing cuntish daughter in this, just absolutely the nightmare daughter of nightmare daughters. Classy soap opera stuff that I found irresistable. HBO really does knock these shows out of the park!


I really can’t stand this film. I know it is beloved by all manners of awesomely cool chicks I know. Like Annette Kellerman and my wife Yoko… But I can’t abide Freddie Prinze Jr and Matt Lillard. They’re like my kryptonite. Their mere presence makes me want to just hurl tomatoes. Rotten tomatoes. I was shocked to realize that Anna Paquin was in this – I just didn’t think of her as being in this film. However, this film is amazingly popular with people whose tolerance for Freddie & Matt is stomachable.


This is a fascinating documentary. Using footage shot by Hitler’s girlfriend, Eva Braun… home films shot in Technicolor, the documentary dares to provide a look at the domestic and private life of Adolph Hitler and his fellow Nazis. The documentary has no narration to provide direct context. It allows you to watch Hitler with children, dancing and being a sympathetic leader. The purpose of the film by Philippe Mora was to give us a look at the man who became the most demonized man, perhaps in history. But this footage shows Hitler, Goebbels or Albert Speers. The various “Joy through Strength” demonstrations by Eva Braun are particulary odd to behold. This film has been banned in Germany since it’s creation. Watching it is hypnotic. What you’ll find is actually a bit disturbing. Watching Nazis at play is just bizarre. Fascinating stuff though.


THE SEARCHERS and THE WILD BUNCH are easily 2 of the very best westerns ever shot in the history of film. HOW THE WEST WAS WON is a spectacle western, unlike any you’ve seen. You get all 3 Blu-Rays in this triple feature for under $23. That’s a deal.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012


I watched this the day before BNAT13WOLF was to begin – and I have to say – I would’ve loved to have seen it with that audience, because this piece of Australian Sexploitation is a hysterical sexy absurdist filmmaking. There are images and scenarios created as the film is literally going through the alphabet, creating scenarios and teaching tools for every letter – in a 1970s pop-art and fun sense of progressive sexual awareness. Get some friends together and be prepared to laugh your ass off. There’s some seriously funny stuff here.


Ok – the version of the Blu-Ray I have linked above is the existing BOOK Blu that was released February of last year. You see, there’s a regular edition of ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN coming out today, but it is the exact same Blu-Ray as the previous BOOK edition, but is charging $4.50 more than this original Blu-Book edition which is, frankly the better route to go – as the Book is cool in and of itself. Don’t be suckered into spending more for an inferior edition. ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN is too good to be gypped on.


I like MONEYBALL, but I have to say… the numbers side of Baseball… the statistical super freaks… to me, it kills the joy of the game for me. It just feels mystical and evil. Yeah, I’m terribly old fashioned when it comes to Baseball. My favorite player is Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. This just isn’t how I like to look at the game. The film is fascinating – and watching Jonah Hill and his big brain rewrite how modern Baseball gets played was very cool.


I love BOARDWALK EMPIRE’s first season. Watched it as it came out on HBO HD – and as with all things Blu-Ray – it just looks that much better. As a life long fan of Steve Buscemi – it is fan-frickin-tastic to see him essentially headline a show like this. Scorsese done good with this show – and the cast which has Michael Pitt & Michael Shannon – along with a long line of great Gangster-esque actors and molls… just wonderful. Can’t wait to check out season 2, just haven’t had the chance to yet. The Blu-Ray has some audio commentaries, making ofs, plus PIP features on all 12 episodes and more. HBO did it up right!


Not a remake of Peckinpah’s original THE KILLER ELITE with James “The Dream” Caan. So get that out of your head. Statham and DeNiro play killers for hire. Statham retires in the pre-credits sequence, only to find DeNiro kidnapped by some Islamic bad guys that want some British SAS men responsible for the deaths of a dying bad guy’s sons… Jason must kill the 3 men responsible if he wants to free DeNiro. Clive Owen is a retired British SAS agent responsible on keeping SAS guys safe. The resulting action is pretty great. I had fun with this flick, though it never flows particularly smoothly. I did enjoy, but it is more of a rental than a purchase in my book.

1911 (Collector’s Edition) Blu-Ray

Remember THE LAST EMPEROR? Bertolucci really made a great movie out of that. 1911 – is set at the same point in history – where China changed forever. This is Jackie Chan’s 100th feature – and in it, he’s a supporting character, no matter how he is billed on the cover. The movie is epic and actually really damn good. The toppling of the Qing Dynasty is a huge story and they’ve done right by it. All fans of Jackie Chan would do good to check this out. It isn’t light-hearted fare, but it is epic.


The original BluRay is out of print, so they’ve reissued this ever popular title again. There really are no big extra features of any kind, but you do get this rather awesome classic tale of two unlikely friends that eventually have to fuck. Because, well guys and girls can’t be friends. Right? Sex always comes up. Right? Or did I miss the lesson here. I’ll have to watch it again. That said, I’m sticking to my original Blu. This has no perks to upgrade for.


Surprisingly not a piece of shit. When I picked this up out of my mail, I dismissed it as being a likely turd. Bored one night, I decided to give it a shot. I like Sean Patrick Flanery – and Tom Berenger always deserves the respect of your eyes. This is a pretty intense Cops and Bad Guys tale that gets really brutal. You should dig it. Director William Kaufman does quite a lot on the small budget he had to work with. Very curious to see what he does next. Definitely give it a look.


Nothing I say can possibly do this the justice that it deserves. Look at this cover and then try to imagine it going insane. Cuz that’s exactly what AUSTRALIA AFTER DARK does. This is insanity. And you won’t be able to look away.

When next you join us, we’ll be talking about THE IDES OF MARCH, ABDUCTION, REDLINE Blu, BELLE DE JOUR Criterion Blu, DEAD POETS SOCIETY Blu, TRAFFIC Criterion Blu, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM Blu, LICENSE TO DRIVE Blu, THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN Blu, DIRTY GIRL, BAD GIRLS Blu, THE LAST HARD MEN / SKY RIDERS, PROJECT X Blu, IL CAPPOTTO and that’s about it. The next week though… that’s a golden one. So good! You’ll see!

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