Sep/2017

Hi, Bryan Here….

Alright, just one day late, because there has been so much news, plus the interview, that I didn’t finish the column yesterday. But here it is in all its glory. There are some AMAZING releases this week.  Bluray releases are about to get heavy and numerous, so prepare yourself.  Anywho, let’s jump right in and get to all the goodies.  As usual in this article, you will get some info about the disc and the extras that come with the movie as well as a personal opinion about the movie and a picture-link to purchase the film over at AMAZON where you can save quite a bit of money, and it will give a small percentage kick back to this site so we can continue bringing you excellent stories and bizarre tales. So click on the pictures and start saving.

Enjoy and Here We Go!!

 

THE ARISTOCATS (BLURAY+DVD)

 

Finally, the animated Disney cat film is on bluray.  Not to be confused with the hilarious joke documentary, ‘The Aristocrats’.  That would be amazing if a family with young ones got those confused.  The Aristocats was the first Disney Studios animated feature to be produced after Walt Disney’s death. A wealthy woman leaves her vast fortune to her four cats: the well-bred Duchess and her kittens, Berlioz, Toulouse, and Marie. Jealous butler Edgar, eager to get his mitts on the cats’ legacy, abandons the felines in the French countryside. The four lost kitties are aided in their efforts to return home by the raffish country pussycats Thomas O’Malley and Scat Cat. In keeping with a tradition launched by The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats is top-heavy with celebrity voices, including Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Scatman Crothers, Hermione Baddeley, and the ineluctable Sterling Holloway. Assembled by the “nine old men” then in charge of animation, The Aristocats was a commercial success, essentially proving that Disney animated features could succeed without the involvement of the company’s founder.  Looks and sounds great, but I was hoping for better extras.

EXTRAS

  • Sherman Brothers Song Featurette
  • Deleted Song
  • Sing-Along Lyrics
  • Music Video
  • “Wonderful World of Disney” Excerpt
  • Bonus Animated Short Film
  • The Lost Open
BERNIE (BLURAY)

Richard Linklater’s film, Bernie, was inspired by an article in Texas Monthly Magazine by Skip Hollandsworth titled ‘Midnight in the Garden of East Texas’.  The article was an editorial about a murder committed in the small East Texas town of Carthage, Texas.  Hollandsworth’s editorial argued that the entire town supported the killer, rather than the victim.  Regardless of the fact that the killer confessed, the evidence proved his guilt, and a court sentenced him to life in prison, the entire town still believes he is innocent.  This real-life story translated into a hilarious dark comedy.  If you have not read the Hollandsworth article yet in Texas Monthly, I suggest you wait until after you see this film.  Let the movie surprise you with where it will go.  You’ll find yourself siding and bonding with a convicted killer.  Bernie is a great film, even if you come away feeling like you have gotten too close to a murderer and laughing all the way till the end of the film.
EXTRAS
  • True Story to Film behind-the-scenes featurette
  • The Gossips featurette on Carthage’s real-life townspeople
  • Special performance of “Amazing Grace” by Jack Black
BLACK MAGIC RITES (BLURAY)

I love 70’s horror.  Director Renato Polselli (Delirium) delivers yet another sadomasochistic shocker set in a gothic castle. Hundreds of years ago, a Jack Nelson (Mickey Hargitay) was restrained while he watched his lover Isabella (Rita Calderoni) burned at the stake for witchery. His threat that she will live again overtakes his life and he spends the next several centuries refining the method to reincarnate his precious lover. His obsession turns him into a monster, walking the Earth in search of virgins to kidnap in his attempt to raise his lover from the grave.  Great new transfer.
EXTRAS
– Theatrical Trailer
THE DICTATOR (BLURAY+DVD+DIGITAL COPY)

Sacha Baron Cohen returns to the big screen with another instant iconic character — Aladeen, ‘The Dictator’, and every religion, culture, and nationality is fair game for Cohen’s politically incorrect humor.  Cohen’s over-the-top offensive humor is not for everyone, but if you like tongue-in-cheek humor that plays off of every stereotypes and prejudice imaginable, you’ll be laughing hysterically as Cohen keeps crossing the line and reveling in his inappropriate jokes.  Cohen hit a home run with ‘The Dictator’, and I can easily say that this film is funnier than his Ali G, Borat, and Bruno characters combined. Cohen is the master at offensive comedy. While many will be offended by this film (there was a time when the entire audience was laughing at rape and pedophile jokes), you’ll find it difficult to hate the movie. Cohen’s film is brilliantly low-brow satire, and if you don’t take it too seriously, you’ll find yourself laughing the whole way through.  So far, this is one of the funnier films of the year.  Was surprised by the lack of extras this came with.
EXTRAS
  • Deleted and extended scenes
  • Larry King interview
  • Music Video: Best Love Song – “Your Money’s On The Dresser”
FREELANCERS (BLURAY)

The son of a slain NYPD officer joins the force, where he falls in with his father’s former partner and a team of rogue “Gotham cops.” His new boss, Sarcone (De Niro), will see if he has what it takes to be rogue through many trials and tribulations of loyalty, trust and respect. However, when the truth about his father’s death is revealed, revenge takes over and he won’t stop until justice has been truly served.  Has a couple of good cast members, but the film itself as a whole was a failure.
EXTRAS
  • Commentary with director Jessy Terrero and Curtis Jackson
  • Behind-the-scenes interviews with Jessy Terrero, producer Randall Emmett, writer L. Philippe Casseus, and actors Curtis Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Beau Garrett, Malcolm Goodwin, Ryan O’Nan, & Anabelle Acosta
  • Extended interviews with Terrero, Randall Emmett, L. Philippe Casseus, and actors Curtis Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Beau Garrett, Malcolm Goodwin, Ryan O’Nan, & Anabelle Acosta
GOOD WILL HUNTING: 15TH ANNIVERSARY (BLURAY)

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck co-scripted and star in this drama, set in Boston and Cambridge, about rebellious 20-year-old MIT janitor Will Hunting (Damon), gifted with a photographic memory, who hangs out with his South Boston bar buddies, his best friend Chuckie (Affleck), and his affluent British girlfriend Skylar (Minnie Driver). After MIT professor Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) stumps students with a challenging math formula on a hallway blackboard, Will anonymously leaves the correct solution, prompting Lambeau to track the elusive young genius. As Will’s problems with the police escalate, Lambeau offers an out, but with two conditions — visits to a therapist and weekly math sessions. Will agrees to the latter but refuses to cooperate with a succession of therapists. Lambeau then contacts his former classmate, therapist Sean McGuire (Robin Williams), an instructor at Bunker Hill Community College. Both are equally stubborn, but Will is finally forced to deal with both his past and his future.  One of the best films ever made.  This is a great release, even though most of you own it, I’d say pick this one up.  Tons of great stuff on this.
EXTRAS
  • Audio commentary with director Gus Van Sant and writers/stars Ben Affleck & Matt Damon
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Production featurette
  • Deleted scenes with optional audio commentaries
  • 1998 Academy Awards Best Picture montage
  • “Miss Misery” music video by Elliott Smith
  • The Era of Good Will Hunting
  • Cast and crew spotlight
  • Academy Awards: A Winning Season
  • Life Goes On
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Four-part Reflecting On A Journey: Good Will Hunting 15 Years Later featurette including interviews with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Gus Van Sant, Chris Moore, and Kevin Smith
  • Matt Damon Remembers Good Will Hunting interview session
HALLOWEEN 4: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (BLURAY)

I’m  a sucker for the Halloween films.  They are a lot of fun, and I love the character of Michael Myers.  This fourth entry in the Halloween franchise focuses on Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), the niece of ubiquitous masked killer Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur). Jamie tries to lead a normal life, but she can’t escape the vengeance of her “funny uncle,” who once more escapes from the loony bin. The only echo of the original Halloween — and a faint one at that — is the casting of Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis, who manages to get through his “We must stop him!” scenes as if mouthing the words for the first time. Though as predictable as they come, Halloween 4 is at least well acted, directed, and photographed.  Great addition to any horror collection.
EXTRAS
  • Audio Commentary
  • Featurette
  • Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (BLURAY)

In Halloween 5, one of the less successful of the series of sequels to the original Halloween, the infamous Michael Myers (Donald Shanks), returns to stalk his niece and kill her. Jamie (Danielle Harris) is hospitalized and unable to speak because of her trauma during Michael’s last killing spree. She has visions of where Michael will appear and kill again, and he intends to stop her. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) is working with Jamie to help her find Michael and lock him away. But, there is also another mysterious stranger following Michael. Halloween 5 is a routine slasher film and adds little that hasn’t been done before in this series. It has its moments, though, as well as a gory, flashy ending that will be remembered.  It was crazy how much I missed watching these films.  I miss my tin box versions of these.  Another great addition to the horror vault.
EXTRAS
  • Audio Commentary
  • Featurettes
  • Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
LADY AND THE TRAMP 2: SCAMP’S ADVENTURE (BLURAY+DVD)

Nowhere near as good as the original, but fun for a much younger audience.  Disney’s 1955 classic Lady and the Tramp is revisited in this new animated family video. The story finds Lady and Tramp the proud parents of a litter of pups that includes three well-behaved girls and one rambunctious boy puppy named Scamp (voiced by Scott Wolf). In search of adventure and a “real” dog life, Scamp strays far from home and meets the cute Angel (voiced by Alyssa Milano), Buster (voiced by Chazz Palminteri), and Buster’s gang of Junkyard Dogs. Although he found the adventure he was looking for, Scamp finds his thoughts returning to home and the loved ones he left behind.  If you are a collector of Disney films, then this should be added to your treasure trove, if not, this can be skipped.
EXTRAS
  • Pop-up Trivia Tracks
  • Sing-Along Songs
  • Making Of ‘Lady and the Tramp II’
  • 3 Bonus Pluto Shorts
POCAHONTAS/POCAHONTAS 2: JOURNEY TO A NEW WORLD (BLURAY+DVD)

Historically inaccurate, but a somewhat fun with historic characters.  I think Pocahontas was one of the last 2D Disney animated films I saw in the theater.  POCAHONTAS – In this animated retelling of one of history’s greatest romances, a beautiful American Indian princess saves the life of a European settler, and the pair enter into a lifelong love-affair that transcends race or borders. Much better than the sequel.  POCAHONTAS 2 – +1 for Billy Zane.  For this animated direct-to-video sequel to Disney’s 1995 animated Pocahontas, Irene Bedard returns to the title role — with Judy Kuhn once again providing Pocahontas’ singing voice. The story starts in colonial Jamestown before Pocahontas travels to England to meet with the king in hopes of preventing a British-Indian war. Her guide and companion is royal emissary John Rolfe (Billy Zane). They are attracted to each other, but Pocahontas yearns for John Smith (Donal Gibson, brother of Mel Gibson). After a conflict with the evil Ratcliffe (David Ogden Stiers), the missing Smith is presumed dead. Ratcliffe tells the king that the Jamestown Indians are savages, so Pocahontas enters high society, hoping to prove otherwise by presenting a civilized appearance at the Royal Hunt Ball. Ratcliffe schemes to sabotage Pocahontas’ plan. New songs by Marty Panzer and Larry Grossman include the closing-credits tune, Between Two Worlds.  Some good extras on this.
EXTRAS
  • The Lost Story of Hiawatha
  • Deleted Song
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentary
  • Music Featurette
  • Disney Virtual Vault
THE RESCUERS 35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION/THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER (BLURAY+DVD)

I was so happy this finally made it to bluray.  These were some of my favorite animated films growing up.  I watched them multiple times a week.  They did a splendid job on this release.  THE RESCUERS – Two fantasy novels by Margery Sharp were combined for in the Disney animated feature The Rescuers. The title characters are a pair of mice, Bernard and Miss Bianca. A little girl named Penny has been kidnapped by Miss Medusa. When the human law enforcement officials fail to locate the child, Bernard and Miss Bianca take over with the help of several colorful animal companions. In classic Disney tradition, the comedy element is offset by moments of genuine terror. Voices are provided by Bob Newhart (Bernard), Eva Gabor (Miss Bianca), Geraldine Page (Madame Medusa), Jim “Fibber McGee” Jordan, John McIntire, George “Goober” Lindsay, Joe Flynn (who died in 1974, not long into the four-year production), and a host of others. It scored at the box office, more than compensating for the $8 million investment and the half-decade of work it took to complete the film. In fact, The Rescuers remains one of the most popular of the Disney cartoon films produced after the death of Uncle Walt. THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER – Bernard (voice of Bob Newhart) and Miss Bianca (voice of Eva Gabor), the intrepid mouse squad from the International Rescue Society of The Rescuers, return to help a little boy from the Australian outback named Cody (voice of Adam Ryen), who has been kidnapped by an evil poacher named McLeach (voice of George C. Scott). Enlisting the air services of Wilbur the Albatross (voice of John Candy), the two mice travel to the wasteland of Australia. McLeach is a dark complexioned exploiter who scours the Outback in a giant hovercraft, intent on capturing endangered species and selling them for a hefty profit. Bernard and Miss Bianca befriend a Paul Hogan-type mouse named Jake (Tristan Rogers), but to battle against the evil McLeach, Bernard’s wisdom is required in order to save the day. Disney got its feet wet in computer animation with several impressive flight sequences, which bracket the film.  Decent extras and the film still looks amazing.
EXTRAS
  • Deleted Song
  • ‘Silly Symphony’ Short
  • Disney Nature Documentary – ‘Water Birds’
  • Sing-Along
A SEPARATION (BLURAY)

The academy award winning film is on bluray.  Set in contemporary Iran, A Separation is a compelling drama about the dissolution of a marriage. Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. Simin sues for divorce when Nader refuses to leave behind his Alzheimer-suffering father. Her request having failed, Simin returns to her parents’ home, but Termeh decides to stay with Nader. When Nader hires a young woman to assist with his father in his wife’s absence, he hopes that his life will return to a normal state. However, when he discovers that the new maid has been lying to him, he realizes that there is more on the line than just his marriage.  Great film.
EXTRAS
  • Commentary with Asghar Farhadi
  • An Evening with Asghar Farhadi
  • Birth of a Director behind-the-scenes featurette
SIXTEEN CANDLES (BLURAY+DVD+DIGITAL COPY)

One of the most beloved 80’s films of all time.  Do you remember the first time you watched this?  Man, I love this movie.  On the eve of her sister’s wedding, suburban teenager Samantha (Molly Ringwald) suffers silently as her family forgets her birthday. Even worse, some total dork (Anthony Michael Hall) keeps propositioning her with sophomoric innuendo when she really craves romantic attention from high-school hunk Jake (Michael Schoeffling). Moving from Samantha’s family home as it’s invaded by outre relatives to a high-school dance where nothing seems to go her way, this bittersweet teen comedy traces the hopes and disappointments of not only Samantha, but also a host of incidental but memorable characters, from a hapless Japanese exchange student to a prom queen and a posse of barely pubescent nerds. A climactic party scene at which these various strata of young America overcome their rigid hierarchies sets the stage for resolutions both tender and torrid.   Great release.
EXTRAS
  • Featurettes
  • BD-Live Functionality
  • My Scenes
  • News Ticker
  • pocketBLU app
  • DVD Copy
  • Digital Copy
THE TIGGER MOVIE (BLURAY+DVD)

I’m a fan of Winnie the Pooh, however this one didn’t resonate with me.  In this animated story for the whole family, Disney brings A.A. Milne’s classic characters from the Winnie the Pooh stories back to the big screen. Tigger is having a hard time finding anyone to play with him, so he decides to track down his family tree and find other Tiggers. Concerned that their friend feels sad, Winnie and his friends dress up like Tiggers so he won’t feel so alone. But once Tigger finds out who they really are, it makes him even more determined to find his real family. As Tigger heads out in search of others like himself, he accidentally makes his way into a snowstorm, and Winnie and friends must find him before he gets lost in the cold. The Tigger Movie was originally produced for home video and then upgraded to a theatrical release.  This looks amazing on bluray.
EXTRAS
  • Filmmaker Roundtable
  • 10 Mini Winnie the Pooh Adventures
  • Music Video
  • Sing-Along Song
WARGAMES (BLURAY)

Hell yes.  My favorite release of the week probably.  I loved this film growing up, as I was into computers.  Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club) star in this compelling drama filled with action, suspense and high-tech adventures! Featuring superb performances by Dabney Coleman and Barry Corbin, WarGames is “brilliant…funny…and provocative” (New York)a fast-paced cyber-thriller. Computer hacker David Lightman (Broderick) can bypass the most advanced security systems, break the most intricate secret codes and mastereven the most difficult computer games. But when he unwittingly taps into the Defense Department’s war computer, he initiates a confrontation of global proportionsWorld War III! Together with his girlfriend (Sheedy) and a wizardly computer genius (Tony Award® winner John Wood), David must race against time to outwit his opponent…and prevent a nuclear Armageddon. Highly recommend.
EXTRAS
  • Audio commentary from director John Badham and writers Lawrence Lasker and Walter Parkes
  • 4 Featurettes
  • Trailer
WEEKEND (CRITERION COLLECTION BLURAY)

Criterion rolls out the red carpet yet again with ‘Weekend’.  This sensual, remarkably observed, beautifully acted wonder is the breakout feature from British writer-director-editor Andrew Haigh. Rarely has a film been as honest about sexuality—in both depiction and discussion—as this tale of a one-night-stand that develops into a weekend-long idyll for two very different young men (exciting newcomers Tom Cullen and Chris New) in Midlands England. It’s an emotionally naked film that’s both an invaluable snapshot of the complexities of contemporary gay living and a universally identifiable portrait of a love affair.  Great transfer and excellent extras.
EXTRAS
  • New program featuring interviews with Haigh, Pontikos, producer Tristan Goligher, and actors Tom Cullen & Chris New
  • New interview with Haigh on the film’s sex scenes
  • On-set video footage shot by New and others, and two scenes from Cullen’s and New’s auditions
  • Video essay on the film’s set photographers, Oisín Share and Colin Quinn
  • Cahuenga Blvd. (2005) and Five Miles Out (2009), two short films by Haigh
  • Trailer
  • A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dennis Lim
That’s it for this week.  Stay tuned for next week for more cool releases.  Enjoy.

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