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1st PICKS & PEEKS of April 2015: SILENT RUNNING, HOOPER, SHARKY'S MACHINE, BREATHLESS + More!

Hey folks, Harry here… with our 1st Picks & Peeks of April 2015! There are some absolute classics on here this week! Rollicking fun flicks, dramatic, powerful. Good good stuff. As usual the images and links will take you to Amazon, where you can learn more about the film in question or you can pick it up, which will help keep the best efforts of the column going, cuz there’s a small portion of the price that helps keep it going! Now, let’s get to HOOPER!!!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015



HOOPER Blu Ray

The film that kicked off the last BUTT-NUMB-A-THON is finally available on Blu Ray!!! This movie just kicked the audience’s ass. For the folks around my age, this is a film we watched habitually. Watching Burt Reynolds pop pain pills and swig alcohol… then get in a fist fight, fall out of a helicopter, get in a chariot race, scream a bit with Sally Field before kissing and making up, and… well he’s a sad legend of a man that just knows how to be the way he is! Burt plays the titular HOOPER – the best stuntman in the world, and Jan Michael Vincent plays the young gun trying to out-Burt Burt. He really can’t. Then you’ve got Robert Klein roasting Peter Bogdanovich and you Brian Keith playing not only Sally Field’s character’s father, but that character is actually based on Sally’s real life father, the great Jock Mahoney – legendary stuntman & TARZAN. HOOPER is the most personal film of Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds’ careers. They were this crazy awesome! The shame here is that there’s no extras. The print is nice and solid, but all you’ll get is a trailer! A very fun trailer, btw. Everybody needs a little HOOPER in their lives! A film to shout and clap and laugh and have a damn fine time with!





THUNDER ROAD Blu Ray

In SMOKEY & THE BANDIT it was Coors, in 1958, when you were driving like a bat out of hell with a trunk of explosive Moonshine facing the trigger happy cops chasing ya… well, that meant you were driving in THUNDER ROAD – a sweaty pulpy badass king of the MOONSHINE movies! Robert Mitchum sweats cool throughout this movie. If you’ve ever dug him, for my money, THUNDER ROAD is his WILD ONE! This flick came after his Marijuana arrest, so the role played to his well hyped bad boy image and on screen he slaps a lot of relish on it. However… what kicks more ass than you’ve had kicked before… it’s Ballad of Thunder Road the theme song written and sung by Robert Mitchum himself and it fucking rocks! You’ll be singing it for days afterwards, and you’ll do it in Mitchum’s warble. It’s great! That song and the imagery of this fantastic film will absolutely stick with you. Don’t miss this one!





INVADERS FROM MARS Blu Ray

Tobe Hooper’s remake of one of the greatest 1950’s Science Fiction films ever made… William Cameron Menzies’ INVADERS FROM MARS. The original is one of the most beautiful color science fiction films made. It’s a favorite of Martin Scorsese’s and I’d try to kill for the one-sheet. I grew up with the orignal, my “uncle” Bob had an I.B. Tech 16mm color print of the original, so in 1986 when Tobe Hooper released his version, I went in highly skeptical. But you couldn’t keep me away. It walks an amazing line of aping and trying to out-gross the original film, and it’s quite effective I feel. I adore Hooper’s version, but it doesn’t quite do the phenomenal leap that Carpenter’s THING did over Hawks’ version. And that was what I was hoping for. Still… there’s no fucking unseeing Louis Fletcher choke down that frog – and even just typing that caused a shiver of EWWWWWW that has been with me since I saw this film when I was 14. At 14, you’re intimidated by stern looking teachers and Louise Fletcher is just a nightmare of a teacher – just seeing this movie made me freak out about Ms. Foy that year. I was convinced she was a frog swallower. She taught American History. She was hard. The Mr. Potato Head monsters rule. But the scariest part is the same as from the original film… The idea of being a child, when your parents are taken over by aliens and nobody believes you! It has happened to all of us… the CRAZY PARENT moment where they just can’t be the same parent they were yesterday! This movie plays with that phobia and it’s an effective and evocative one, especially if you had a parent go nuts. But the alien that got her made her more like Barbara Stanwyck in CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA. Which was kinda scarier when earlier in life she was a Den Mother Janis Joplin type. Scream has done another great job on a Blu, here, the 36 minute “The Martians Are Coming: The Making of INVADERS FROM MARS” It’s really really great. Then you get an always fun Commentary from Tobe Hooper himself, which is quite informative. Watch it with Hot Cocoa! Little Marshmallows are key, they look like the melted earth tunnels. There’s also a 14 minute gallery of William Stout’s production artwork from the film! Outstanding work! And there’s 4 minutes plus of Storyboards! Great Blu!





SILENT RUNNING Blu Ray

I freaking love this movie! SILENT RUNNING, made for a million dollars by Douglas Trumbull, making use of half-men in Robot Costumes as Huey, Duey and Louie!!! Using Joan Baez to sing across the bio-domes floating through the cosmos and it rules! The Space Hippie environmentalist set in charge of this Noah’s ark of plant samples! Possibly the last forest in the universe… and it’s BRUCE DERN!!! He’s surrounded by time-punchers that just want to get back home. He’s on a sacred mission, they’re just waiting for the order to go home. Directed by the visual effects artist of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and visual effects genius of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE, BLADE RUNNER… Inventor of IMAX, Douglas Trumbull! Having Douglas Trumbull in the Basement for those talks was amongst the most amazing conversations I’ve had. Watch this film, it’s a wonderful and serious work of science fiction. Now – this Blu Ray is more than just a beautiful print, there’s a Making of, SILENT RUNNING By Douglas Trumbul, A Conversation with Bruce Dern, and a featurette called DOUGLAS TRUMBULL: THEN AND NOW, which is terrific! And an Audio commentary with Douglas Trumbull and Bruce Dern for the film! HOLY SHIT! Absolutely fantastic! If you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a treat! And if you’ve seen it a hundred or so times, it’s a treat too!





SHARKY’S MACHINE Blu Ray

SHARKY’S MACHINE is Badass Burt Reynolds – and he wanted to do this movie so right, that he directed it himself, though he had tried to get John Boorman to do it, and I have to say… if Boorman was what Reynolds was aiming for, he landed a tad somewhere between Boorman and DePalma here. Seriously, SHARKY’S MACHINE is just terrific. If – right now, you don’t know a damn thing about what happens or who else is in this movie. Fuck it, go in cold, it will you’re your ass 6 ways from Sunday! It’s a gritty, cut-throat film that escalates past any rational level, and does it kind of sleazy and bloody as all hell. This is one of my fave Reynolds films period. The film looks beautiful! Shame there’s no extras beyond the trailer, but man, the film looks absolutely terrific. If you’re a fan, you’ll love it – and if you’re seeing it for the first time, man. Henry Silva… you’ll never see him the same again! Phenomenal!





DETROIT ROCK CITY Blu Ray

We partied like it was 1999 at DETROIT ROCK CITY world premiere in Los Angeles and KISS played the post party and the world was the most fucking awesome. So yeah, I love DETROIT ROCK CITY. As a kid that had the 12 inch KISS dolls, that had a KISS Patch on my Levi PINBALL WIZARD jacket in the Seventies… Yeah, I had the magazine printed with their blood! Btw, all 4 original KISS members provide a Commentary here, Also Director Adam Rifkin has a commentary, along with a Cast & Crew Commentary. There’s some fun Deleted scenes and two music videos from the film! This movie rocks!





SINGLES Blu Ray

Cameron Crowe has always made films that absolutely work for me. SINGLES hit in 1992 between his SAY ANYTHING… and JERRY MAGUIRE – and sometimes it gets a little lost between those, but man… this movie and its soundtrack pushed a scene nationwide in a cinematic way. The Seattle music scene provided the film with a vibe we all grooved to. Mudhoney, Pixies, R.E.M., Jane’s Addiction, Screaming Trees, The Lovemongers, Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam. I was still in College when the film hit and everyone had this soundtrack playing! At least most everyone I knew. The movie evoked the Austin scene, as I was going to clubs and seeing most of those bands and folks like SONIC YOUTH, ED’S HALL and Cher that year. That was weird and awesome. Anyway, the film kinda bottled a bit of the early 90’s. That’s just the right amount of cool. Tons of deleted and extended scenes, These include reconstructing the full relationship between Fonda and Bill Pullman! There’s a gag reel, and 3 live performances from Soundgarden & Alice In Chains! Nice Blu!





IMITATION OF LIFE original & remake Blu Ray

That’s right, you get both the 1934 Claudette Colbert Best Picture nominated IMITATION OF LIFE along with the brilliantly stunning masterwork that has become known as Douglas Sirk’s IMITATION OF LIFE starring an otherworldly beautiful & brilliant Lana Turner. This just got here today, along with a huge pile of Blus and I just haven’t gotten to this disc yet, but I did pop the Sirk 1959 version to check the print real quick and that color is so sweet!





JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN Blu Ray

I love science fiction cinema from every decade… there’s something wondrous about Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN… After this, they did SPACE: 1999! And yes… UFO and FIREBALL and THUNDERBIRDS and all those Super-Marionation series. Plus it stars THE INVADERS’ Roy Thinnes! The space mission? Well, we detect that there is another planet sharing the same orbit as Earth, only, on the exact opposite side of the sun, so we can never observe it! So… They’re gonna go check it out as Astronauts would – and stuff gets complicated and awesome! Love this flick.





BREATHLESS Blu Ray

A remake of one of the greatest French films of all time, and… it fucking rocks! McBride’s BREATHLESS – with Richard Gere reading Silver Surfer comics instead of the original’s use of BOGART and it works fabulously, the film’s color palatte sizzles off the screen. That’s not the only thing sizzling either, this film is hot. Written by the recently departed L.M. Kit Carson with director Jim McBride. Valerie Kaprisky is stunning here, and Richard Gere’s just amazing to watch in this thing. 1983… impossibly young. Such a great film!





MANHATTAN: Season One Blu Ray

The series about the Manhattan Project… You know, the super top secret World War II project to beat the Nazis to the invention of the Atomic Bomb. I’ve been watching this series all night tonight, and I’m 7 episodes in and I love it because it freaks me out. Like when the guy swallows plutonium and they give him a ton of beer to flush his system. Ya know… it was a very different time. Also, it’s great to see the characters of history come to life trying to do something horrible for the very first time… messing with things probably best left alone. But they were in a time crunch. Under the gun, so to speak. Watching Oppenheimer and Niels Bohr and Frank Winter and rest working on giving birth to the genie we can never fully contain. Really great series!



We’ll be back next week looking at METAL HURLANT CHRONICLES Blu, ZARDOZ Blu, SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS Criterion Blu, THE BABADOOK Blu, ODD MAN OUT Criterion Blu, BATMAN VS ROBIN Blu, CLASS OF 1984 Blu, BIG EYES Blu, EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS 1 & 2 Blu, LONG WEEKEND Blu, RETURN TO OZ Blu, TALES OF TERROR Blu, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE Blu, SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON Blu, REMAINS OF THE DAY Blu, RICHARD IIII Blu, THE TOXIC AVENGER Part 2 Blu, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS 2 Blu, I AM STEVE MCQUEEN Blu, KIDNAPPING MR. HEINEKEN Blu, ECHOES Blu, ENTER THE DANGEROUS MIND Blu and ZOMBIE CATS FROM MARS Blu… that’s about it! Holy shit there’s some great ones there! Till then, keep it cool!!!

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