Archive for the ‘Blu-Ray’ Tag

Kubrick’s First Feature Film “Fear and Desire” Finally Has A Release Date For The First Time Ever On Any Video Format. The Cult Of Kubrick Rejoices Yet Again.   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

It was reported a few months ago that Kino Lorber would be releasing Stanley Kubrick’s earliest unreleased works to HD in the fall, and the first Blu-Ray finally has a release date:

Stanley Kubrick’s first feature, Fear and Desire, along with The Seafarers streets October 23rd for all you Kubrick-files out there like me.

Lorber has released a restoration comparison for Stanley Kubrick’s 1953 Fear And Desire.  It was recently restored by the Library of Congress and mastered in HD from 35mm archival elements.

Just the fact that we get films like this from Kino in HD is pretty amazing. A long hole in my collection can finally be filled with an official fully restored release. Strong strong work.

With any luck we might  get a good doc on the disc and some interesting special feature as well. Info to follow as it comes in.

LONG LIVE THE CULT OF KUBRICK.

Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.

J.

September Is Shaping Up To Be A Pretty Epic Month For Blu-Ray Releases Starting With Today…   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

The longer any video format in around the obvious lack of great releases begins to set in years after inception. Blu-Ray being in its 6th year already you would think there’s very little to get excited about at this point.  Being a big fan of the format, September 2012 offers one of the best release months for 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and new releases movie in years. Some great old classics, action, comedy films, and there’s also a few discs you might want to buy just to BURN so there is one less copy in the world. I know I will be with one title in particular, but you may absolutely do what suits you.  A few details and box art below, please enjoy.

SEPTEMBER 4th:

Sixteen Candles (1984) director John Hughes-The first movie of only 8 that Hughes directed out of so many he wrote in the 80’s and early 90’s. It still surprises me how many moments I remember so perfectly from this film. I’m not really sure how many times I saw this on either cable or VHS video in the 80’s, but it must have been quite a lot because I still have dialog mesmerized even though I’ve only watched it 3 times in the last 15 years. A true comedy classic,  you see how good Anthony Michael Hall was for the 80’s geek character. Ringwald always had her best work in the Hughes films she did. A really fun film that gets better with time.

Fringe 4th Season(2011-12)- I actually very much enjoyed the 4th season of Fringe. If you’ve been waiting for things to start paying off and being explained, if you make it to the end of this season you most likely will have most of what you want explained straight out for you. After the scare of possibility of  being canceled after season 4 , the creators really got to laying things out in the last 10 episodes here. I am glad that Fringe does get one more full season to wrap things up but it really feels as if they decided to give the fans of the show the things that they were craving to know and see at the end of this season. I hope the 5th season has something in store to end it all with a bang.

Re-Animator (1985) director Stuart Gordon- A great straight out gore fest very loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft’s work. Any fan or student of practical FX work or gore films with find something to love here. A great classic 80’s horror flick all the way round.

SEPTEMBER 10th:

Titanic 3D/ 2D (1997) director James Cameron- Straight in the fire place she goes. The only Cameron film I have zero love for. Saw it twice in the theater and it was two times too many.

SEPTEMBER 11th:

Snow White And The Huntsmen (2012) director Rupert Sanders- I haven’t seen it yet but my Grip friend Shae Vera had seen it on a date and said it he was amazed how shitty it was, so I’ll most likely never bother with a viewing but it you’re into to shit. this might be right up your alley.

Ghosts Of The Abbyss (2003) director James Cameron- This is the one where  James Cameron and Bill Paxton after filming Titanic, travel to the final undersea resting place of the fated ship of dreams. I’d rather watch this shit a hundred times in a row than have to sit though Titanic one more time. Not a bad watch if you haven’t seen it before.

SEPTEMBER 18th:

Indiana Jones Blu Ray Collection (1981-2009) director Steven Spielberg- I think this has a best chance at the best Blu-Ray set of the year. Indy fans can finally rejoice that they can actually see the 3 good Indy films in HD come September 18. I know the wife and I will be picking up a set and watching all 3 back to back immediately. Can’t wait.

Cabin In The Woods (2012) director Drew Godard- Loved this and am glad it got a theater release after sitting on the shelf at MGM for a few years. It’s extremely inventive, fun and gory as hell. This is the direction I love to see Hollywood go with horror films again. Enough PG-13 remakes and shit storms, please take note,  Cabin In The Woods is a fucking awesome film that every horror fan should be rushing out to pick up in September. Come on humans, start supporting Hard R horror again.

The Great Mouse Detective (1986) directors Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener and John Musker- Loving these classic Disney animation releases on Blu-Ray. The format was made for Animation, the way the picture just pops off the screen is beautiful. We picked up The Rescuers two pack a few weeks ago and were pleasantly surprised by the picture quality again. I’m sure The Great Mouse Detective will look just as good as it did in the theater in ’86.

Supernatural Season 7 (2011-2012)- Really digging this show and the 7th season keeps things rolling strong. Funny, great lore through out all seasons and all the actors walk the line of seriousness and comedy perfectly, a great show to be discovered. I’ll be sad to see it come to an end next year but at least we will have 8 rad seasons total for this cool as hell horror mythos series. The best thing McG will ever be involved in, still can’t believe he is EP. Regardless though, a kick ass series for all horror fans worldwide.

SEPTEMBER 25th:

Avengers (2012) director Joss Whedon- I love me some Avengers, My original review here: https://celluloidpopculturejunkie.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/after-the-avengers-movie-in-imax-3d-i-wanted-to-walk-back-into-the-theater-and-see-it-again-and-again-and-again/.

The Blu-Ray I’m sure will not disappoint being that Disney usually pack there big earners with a ton of bells and whistles. I’m looking forward to watching this a few more times and rewinding the greatest Hulk moments ever put on film. HULK going to SMASH the shit out of records again come September 25. I know they’ve got my loot.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Set (2008-2012)- 6 film set- If you haven’t for some reason bought any of the “Phase One” Marvel Studios movies on Blu-Ray and are suddenly in the mood to splurge,  here’s your chance to own The Incredible Hulk,Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor, Captain America: First Avenger and Avengers all in one fancy collectors pack made to resemble the suit case Nick Fury uses to carry the Tesseract cube in the Avengers film, pretty slick fokes.

Dark Knight Returns Animated Part 1 (2012)- 76 minutes- This looks very interesting and the other few DC animations I’ve seen over the last 3 years have been pretty good. I’m expecting very special treatment to be given to this material and hope DC has made a great film here. I will be checking this one out as soon as I get the chance. I hope one of the greatest Batman comics ever has been translated well, otherwise it could be war on DC. Fingers crossed.

Bond Collection “50 years” Blu Ray Set (1962-2008)- 22 movies, 130 hours of special features, 50 years of Bond and this set has them all. There were a few film unavailable on HD till now. I’m glad I waited on the full deal, I like the way they’ve designed the set, looks very cool.  A definite needed up grade to a great series, good or bad all Bonds are a must own classic.

The Game Criterion Collection (1997) director David Fincher- The news of Criterion putting out Fincher’s “The Game” on video have been rumored since the release of the film in the theater. Being my favorite film of the director, I am over joyed to finally have them giving me a Blu-Ray presentation that will be how I remember that first viewing in the theater in the late 90’s. So Happy to finally be getting me some David Fincher’s The Game in stunning Criterion HD. Paint me stoked.

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (1942-1976)-  Saboteur / Shadow of a Doubt/ Rope / Rear Window / The Trouble with Harry /  The Man Who Knew Too Much /  Vertigo / North by Northwest / Psycho / The Birds / Marnie / Torn Curtain / Topaz / Frenzy / Family Plot- 15 films- director Alfred Hitchcock- What more is there to say, 15 Hitchcock films in HD in one set. I pity anyone who doesn’t see the pure awesomeness in this release, so many great classic in one set is unlikely to happen ever again. This would be the perfect set for that young film enthusiast in your life, this is film school in a box if I’ve ever seen it. Pure Ultra Cinema Gold.

So many superb releases to get your hands on this month. I know I’m already lock in for a bunch in this group, some great watching ahead.

Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.

J.

Supremely Awesome Once Again Kino! Kubrick’s Early Documentaries And First Feature Film, Fear and Desire Coming to Blu Ray   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

Kino Lorrber  is  planning to release a  Blu-ray  collection of early films directed by Stanley Kubrick, 

Day of the Fight (1951)

The Flying Padre (1951)

Fear and Desire (1953)

and The Seafarers (1953)

…will all be included in the set. Looks like they’ll street fall 2012, I know I’ll definitely be picking up a set to replace my bootleg VHS and DVD copies.  Finally able to complete that hole in my Kubrick Blu Ray collection, good show Kino.

Till Next Time. Stay Tuned

J.

The Best Tip Top 13 Blu Rays Of 2011- Part 1 of 2   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

2011 was still a great year for the growth of Blu-ray , lots of old classics, odd obscure cult films and a long awaited sci-fi saga made their debut in HD. All of them looking better than ever in 1080p and showing the true latitude in the Blu-ray format solidifying it as simply the best true film experience available at home . Here is  my top 13 Blu-rays of 2011, with all the great releases this year  it was a struggle to get it down to just 13, enjoy part 1 kids…

13- THE HOLLY MOUNTAIN (1973) Director Alejandro Jodorowsky- This film is direct  proof of massive drug use and counter culture taking over in the movie industry in the 70’s. It really is a type of film that just doesn’t get made anymore, filled with esoteric and religious symbolism, incredible psychedelic imagery and breaking every rule they say you should never break when making a film; but it’s a kind of brilliance that doesn’t get nurtured anymore by mainstream culture as it did by the flower power/rock n’ roll culture out of the 60’s into the 70’s. This true original film is unlike any other filled with amazing images that will affect you one way or another for a long while after viewing them. With the amazing job on the print transfer to HD I was blown away at the brilliance of Jodorowsky’s attention to detail and ability to hold your attention with only images and simple score. To say it is a vast improvement over the DVD transfers would be a true understatement. If you are a fan of this and El Topo you owe it to yourself to pick them both up. I truly love what the 70’s brought to the film world, this is one of the jewels.

12- ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951) Directors Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske- There’s only a few classic Disney animated films that really resonates with me for some reason,  the 1951 Alice In Wonderland is definitely one of them. The colors, crazy characters, psychedelic imagery and great storytelling still hold up so well (kicks the shit out of the latest Burton/Depp shit bomb), It’s hard to believe it’s 61 years old. On Blu-ray these hand drawn films absolutely pop off the screen, the format was made for animation lovers. Pick up a few of these and you will want to own them all, this true classic is  looking better than ever.

11- DUMBO (1941) Directors Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, John Elliotte- Disney continues their superb effort this year with the ever brilliant Dumbo. I forgot how much this one taps into your inner child and upon viewing the bitter, worry ridden adult starts to melt away. No matter how much you don’t feel like watching it, the breath taking imagery done by the first animation masters of their craft will have you finding yourself lost in this film. The reason I love this one so much is the really odd dream montage with the surreal elephants and other experimental animation in the middle. So cool and out of character for Disney these days. Again the treatment of the material to HD is amazing. It’s very hard to believe something looks so good yet so natural made in 1941 and presented in a digital format. Love the Blu-ray.

10- PULP FICTION (1994) Director Quentin Tarantino- This is one of those films I never get tired of and as many times as I’ve seen it, it still has me laughing in all the same places. It’s about as good as mainstream American film making got in the 90’s. It started out a smaller independent film that changed the way things were done once again in the entertainment industry. A lot of people tried to come up with their own versions of what Pulp Fiction did so well, but no one succeeded in the same way as Quentin. Now after watching all his other films, you know no one does it like Tarantino a true American auteur director.  Pulp has never looked better than in this release and we also get a “look back” doc that has some great insights from some of the players in the film. I especially like Travolta’s  anecdotes about Quentin, very entertaining.

9- CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) Director John Milius- Some movies from when I was a young kid play a lot different on reviewing them 30 years later. A very few hold up to what my interpretation was of “good film making” at 5 to 10 years old, most are so shitty on a production stand point it’s hard to make it through them or even remember why I liked them so much as a youngling. There are those few and far between that hold up and even surpass my original memory. The 1982 “Conan The Barbarian” is one of those film experiences that to me hasn’t been done quite so raw, with dark humor and shot so close to the look of the Frazzetta paintings of the character since maverick American director John Milius went to Spain,  with 20 million dollars and a virtually unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger to film the fantasy epic. Since this film was released on VHS video tape and on cable TV  in the mid 80’s I must have seen it 25 times minimum and until the Blu-ray release I’ve never really grasped the true beauty of the photography of Conan. In a time before CG, the film to me plays much better than most fantasy adventure films up to the late 90’s. Schwarzenegger really does have a brilliant screen presence that for an actor who was unknown, his choices and physical confidence was unexpected and perfect for the character, and hasn’t been matched to this day. With a great array of classic moments from punching out the camel, drunken Conan and company,  to the vicious sword play all the way though,  I now remember why this film has stuck in my head for so many years and will continue to make the rounds into my Blu-ray player for many years to come. Arnold really did kick some serious ass in the 80’s, which is a hard act to follow especially if that act is yourself.

8- TRON (1982) Director Steven Lisberger- One of my favorite sci-fi movies of the 80’s and I think it holds up better and makes more sense today, than it did in 1982. The film was a financial bomb as far as Disney was concerned. Even though they did an amazing job with the 17 million dollar budget, the 33 million US theatrical gross wasn’t enough for another Tron film to be considered in the 80’s. With the advent of home video and a growing cult following, Tron had really found an audience and large enough fan base that Disney did a sequel 18 years later in 2010 and a third on its way in the next few years. This means they hit a chord that was so far ahead of its time, it took the rest of the world almost two decades to catch up to what most of my friends knew who saw the film at 6 years old. That shit kicks ass! Tron is absolutely the most brilliant sci-fi story telling which mirrors what is happening in society in the 80’s and more so today. The presentation on the Blu-ray is so amazing and so far ahead of the DVD image quality I can only imagine a 70mm projected version beating this viewing experience out. The documentaries are some of the best I’ve seen and enjoyed. This is a must own for all sci-fi and FX fans, and for you film nerds out there this is the first feature film to use CG imagery for entire sequences on screen. Neat stuff for sure.

Part 2 coming soon…

Till Next Time. Stay Tuned

J.

The Wookie Factory Finally Releases Details And Features About The Impending Star Wars Blu-Rays. Lucas Primed To Convert All Humans To Blu-Ray Consumers September 2011.   1 comment

Hey Everybody,   Lucas has finally announced the details of the Star Wars Blu-Ray set due in September. With a whole swack of unseen extras, deleted scenes and most likely other tweeks to all six films in the Saga (Here’s hoping that Han will be back to taking the first shot in the Cantina again). Any geek or fanboy/girl who hasn’t up converted to the HD disc world yet will have a hard time passing up this set and purchase of  a Blu-Ray player of some sort at the same time.   For me it was seeing the leap in picture quality from DVD  in the initial 5 Kubrick released films that convinced me to get into Blu-Ray  (2001:A Space Odyssey, Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal jacket and Eyes Wide Shut ) for many this will be the set to finally get them to make the leap into the format. I figure it will be the big seller at X-mas this year, breaking all sales records and providing more loot to keep the machine at Lucas running another few years or so; Or at least to get things primed for the impending 3D theater releases the next 6 years, and more licensing of every product known to humans and beyond. Long live the Empire, keep that money rollin’ into old uncle George’s mitts kids, otherwise he might have to shut the Wookie factory down interrupting our flow of  pure concentrated Midi-chlorian we’ve been accustom to low these many years. My God Yoda No!

Here’s the full press release dealio from StarWars.com:

Bring home the adventure and share Star Wars with your whole family — when STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGAcomes to Blu-ray Disc from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment! To be released beginning on September 12 internationally and on September 16 in North America, the nine-disc collection brings the wonder of the entire Saga direct to your living room, where you can revisit all of your favorite Star Wars moments — in gorgeous high definition and with pristine, 6.1 DTS Surround Sound. Dive deeper into the universe with an unprecedented 40+ hours of special features, highlighted by never-before-seen content sourced from the Lucasfilm archives.The comprehensive collection also features numerous deleted, extended and alternate scenes, new documentaries and a cross-section of the countless Star Wars spoofs that have appeared in pop culture over the past three decades. Marking the first time ever that the full Saga is available in one complete collection, STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA ON BLU-RAY also features a coveted peek into the making of the Saga with vintage documentaries, audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes moments, interviews, prop and costume turnarounds, retrospectives and more.

Episodes I-III and IV-VI will also be available as distinct Blu-ray Trilogy collections.

Fans will get an exclusive first look at some of the collection’s extensive special features at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International — which marks Lucasfilm’s 35th anniversary as a Comic-Con presence. In 1976, the fledgling film company was looking for innovative, grass-roots ways to promote its underdog release, a film no one expected to succeed — a space opera known (at the time) only as Star Wars. One of the first film companies to reach out directly to core audiences by way of fan conventions, Lucasfilm will return to the venue to showcase the full evolution of the epic story with a special first look at STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA ON BLU-RAY.

Special Features:

STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA ON BLU-RAY is presented in widescreen with 6.1 DTS Surround Sound. Special features include:

  • Disc One- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
    • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires
    • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • Disc Two – Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
    • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow
    • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • Disc Three – Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
    • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Rob Coleman, John Knoll and Roger Guyett
    • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • Disc Four – Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
    • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
    • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • Disc Five – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
    • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
    • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • Disc Six – Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
    • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
    • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • Disc Seven – New! Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III
    • Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; a flythrough of the Lucasfilm Archives and more
  • Disc Eight – New! Star Wars Archives: Episode IV-VI
    • Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; and more
  • Disc Nine – The Star WarsDocumentaries
    • NEW! Star Warriors (2007, Color, Apx. 84 Minutes) – Some Star Wars fans want to collect action figures… these fans want to be action figures! A tribute to the 501st Legion, a global organization of Star Warscostume enthusiasts, this insightful documentary shows how the super-fan club promotes interest in the films through charity and volunteer work at fundraisers and high-profile special events around the world.
    • NEW! A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later (2010, Color, Apx. 25 Minutes) – George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and John Williams look back on the making of The Empire Strikes Backin this in-depth retrospective from Lucasfilm created to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the movie. The masters discuss and reminisce about one of the most beloved films of all time.
    • NEW! Star Wars Spoofs (2011, Color, Apx. 91 Minutes) – The farce is strong with this one! Enjoy a hilarious collection of Star Wars spoofs and parodies that have been created over the years, including outrageous clips from Family Guy, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother and more – and don’t miss “Weird Al” Yankovic’s one-of-a-kind music video tribute to The Phantom Menace!
    • The Making of Star Wars (1977, Color, Apx. 49 Minutes) – Learn the incredible behind-the-scenes story of how the original Star Warsmovie was brought to the big screen in this fascinating documentary hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2. Includes interviews with George Lucas and appearances by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
    • The Empire Strikes Back: SPFX (1980, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) – Learn the secrets of making movies in a galaxy far, far away. Hosted by Mark Hamill, this revealing documentary offers behind-the-scenes glimpses into the amazing special effects that transformed George Lucas’ vision for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Backinto reality!
    • Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi (1983, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) – Go behind the scenes — and into the costumes — as production footage from Return of the Jediis interspersed with vintage monster movie clips in this in-depth exploration of the painstaking techniques utilized by George Lucas to create the classic creatures and characters seen in the film. Hosted and narrated by Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams.
    • Anatomy of a Dewback (1997, Color, Apx. 26 Minutes) – See how some of the special effects in Star Wars became even more special two decades later! George Lucas explains and demonstrates how his team transformed the original dewback creatures from immovable rubber puppets (in the original 1977 release) to seemingly living, breathing creatures for the Star Wars1997 Special Edition update.
    • Star Wars Tech (2007, Color, Apx. 46 Minutes) – Exploring the technical aspects of Star Wars vehicles, weapons and gadgetry, Star Wars Tech consults leading scientists in the fields of physics, prosthetics, lasers, engineering and astronomy to examine the plausibility of Star Wars technology based on science as we know it today.

Like most collectors I’m hook in for a full set of this bullshit, got my loot again you bastards. Oh well, I have to digress to some human eccentricities or I really love me some Star Wars Yo, Gimme Gimme Gimme!

Brainstorming about potential deleted or changed scenes for the trilogy. Here one I would like to see below:

You guys?

Till Next Time. Stay Tuned

J.

Specific Star Wars Blu-Ray Details To Be Revealed On May 4th. The Money Machine Rolls On.   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

Lucasfilm has announced that all will be revealed about the Star Wars Saga Blu-ray sets in 4 days, with an e-mail message sent out pointing humans to the May the 4th Be with You – Star Wars Countdown page on StarWars.com.

With an image from the beginning of the first STAR WARS movie showing Princess Leia storing crucial information for Obi-Wan Kenobi inside R2-D2 , they want all humans to visit the site on May 4th at 6 AM Pacific Time, where the much awaited details of the upcoming multi-disc Original Trilogy, Prequel Trilogy and Complete Saga Blu-Ray sets are to be revealed to the delight, expectations and I’m sure critical scrutiny of Star Wars consumers and the general consuming humans. All who have been arduosly awaiting this release since the first days of the Blu-Ray format.

Of course Star Wars fans can be more ravenous that a thousand hungry zombies. They’ll consume everything Jedi related in their path no matter how shitty the quality of the product and still criticize down to the smallest detail every angle of the product and then still go out to buy more, more, more of the same.

So, it goes without saying that the Blu-Ray release of the Star Wars Saga with break all kinds of sales record in the fall. I’m sure A lot of people will be getting the set for X-Mas and Boxing Day. More money into the machine.Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.

J.

Holiday Movie Watch List and Review Day 5 : December 23rd 2010   Leave a comment

DAY FIVE : DECEMBER 23rd 2010

Hey Everybody,

This time of the year for me means constant consuming of movie content all day every day. Now those of you who know me might wonder how this differs from my daily life in any way. Regardless I use the holiday lull to catch up on what I may have missed or re watching my favorite classics, mostly on Blu-Ray this year which is a great joy for me. It’s like re living the first viewing of all my favorites and classics alike. I hope everyone is enjoying the Holiday season and able to get into some good movies on your break.

  1. The Criterion Collection THE RED SHOES Blu-Ray (1948) directors Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger –  One of the greatest films ever made. The achievement in Technicolor picture quality and beauty alone deserve several viewing from anyone who considers themselves a true film connoisseur.  Technicolor founders Herbert T. Kalmus and Natalie Kalmus considered this film the best example of Three-Strip Technicolor process. During the filming, however, Natalie often complained that Jack Cardiff (the director of photography) wasn’t following the rules laid down for Technicolor films and demanded that they re-shoot various scenes. But Michael Powell always backed up Cardiff and they got the film they wanted. Other amazing technical achievements for this film from 1948 are pretty obvious once you make it to the title ballet sequence; Which took six weeks to shoot and employed over 120 paintings by Hein Heckroth. The dancing newspaper was achieved through careful cutting and use of wires.  Being Martin Scorsese’s favorite movie his Film Foundation and the UCLA Film & Television Archive took on the task of  restoring an HD print of the masterpiece. Involving many years of work they went right back to the original negatives, digitally repairing any scratches and misalignment. The restored print was shown at Cannes 2009 to great acclaim and was used for this Criterion Blu-Ray release. if you’ve never seen this one now is your chance to see one of histories great films in mind popping HD. Unforgettable.
  2. MIRACLE OF 34TH STREET Blu-Ray (1947) director George Seaton –  When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. With only day away from the big event the X-Mas movies start to make their way off the shelf and into the daily rotation. And really if your going to do it you might as well do it right with the classics. Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his performance as Kris Kringle, and when you watch this it’s easy to see why. the whole is film is a great joy even if you hate and loath X-Mas shit. It makes you smile with a tear in your eye, you can’t help but feel good after each viewing of this holiday classic.
  3. The Criterion Collection NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) directors Charles Laughton & Robert Mitchum (uncredited) – Another film that is considered one of the top 5 American movies ever made. It plays more like a early 70’s character piece, much like Welle’s Touch Of Evil far far ahead of it’s time, Robert Mitchum’s seminal role as Harry Powell, Murdering preacher on the hunt. You will love this movie if you’ve never seen it,  Mitchum is beyond creepy and the direction of the kids is a must see for any aspiring directors out there. Flat out brilliance from start to finish. A True American classic, a must must see.
  4. THE BIG SLEEP (1946) director Howard Hawks – Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he’s seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. This is the epitome of film noir and Marlow is my favorite Bogart character. I must have watch this one a dozen times by now and I still am charmed by it every dam time. This is everything I love about a great detective films all rolled into one. SUPERB.

End of another day and we are getting really close now. I hope everyone is having a great holiday.

TILL TOMORROW. STAY TUNED.

J.