DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Savant
HD Talk
Horror DVDs
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns




September 30, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Chef
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Download

  No, not Che!, that was last week. I just read that this is one of the most popular independent films of the year so far. Jon Favreau pulled together a group of friends to make a movie about a good-guy chef who enlists both friends and family to survive what looks like career suicide by Twitter. John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., Oliver Platt and Amy Sedaris give this charming foodie picture the spark of life. And I shouldn't forget to mention the Cuban music. In Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Download from Universal Home Video.
9/30/14

The Vincent Price
Collection II

Blu-ray

  This hotly-awaited seven-title collection finishes off American-International's prime Vincent Price pictures, with one from Warners (actually Allied Artists) and another from Fox. It's a great list: House on Haunted Hill, Return of the Fly, The Raven, The Comedy of Terrors, The Last Man on Earth, Tomb of Ligeia and Dr. Phibes Rises Again, all in HD. One must-hear item is a new commentary on Ligeia by its star Elizabeth Shepherd; commentator David Del Valle contributes to several other titles. The official release date is three weeks away but some orders are already being filled, so I rushed the review forward. In Blu-ray from Scream (Shout!) Factory.
9/30/14

and

Universal Classic Monsters:
Complete 30-Film Collection

DVD

  Yikes -- there's a heap of monster madness to be had here, with a king-sized repackaging of all of Uni monsterdom's Legacy Collections, plus what looks like every extra ever produced. Dracula! Frankenstein! Their Sons! Abbott & Costello! Seasoned collectors would probably rather see another Blu-ray package but this is perfect for deprived souls in need of a major monster fix -- or a gift idea. In DVD from Universal Home Video.
9/30/14




Hello!

Only three 'reviews' today but I must have watched seven movies and closely examined thirty more to make this (almost late) deadline. When I heard that Shout! Factory was shipping copies of the The Vincent Price Collection II early, I set aside most of the weekend for the task. Tomb of Ligeia looks better than I've ever seen it...

The other fun news is an invite I received to a special screening last night. Busy director and top man behind Severin Films David Gregory slipped me into a sneak of his brand new documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau. David's been rushing from England's Frightfest to Fantastic Fest in Texas, and he crept back to Los Angeles last night for a screening at the Egyptian followed by a Q&A session. The Spielberg Theater was packed by an audience of insiders (I would describe myself as across the street and up an alley from today's 'inside') and a scattering of freaks, like the pothead in line who asked me indecipherable questions and kept trying to touch me. The screening hosts passed a few beers into the audience and joked (?) about having hallucinogens for a follow-up screening on Wednesday. They then showed a new short film by James Sizemore called Goat Witch, 13 minutes of trendy gore that takes its Satanism seriously. The main course followed shortly thereafter.

Gregory's docu is a constantly surprising true account of what must be the most fatally screwed up major motion picture ever made. Wunderkind fantasy director Richard Stanley (Hardware) hit the jackpot when his Island of Dr. Moreau horror project was bumped up to major production status. He started filming in Australia with both Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer aboard. Everything possible went wrong, with plenty of blame to go around. But the real movie killer was the outrageous on-set obstructions and demands by the stars, and behavior by Brando that would destroy any film.

The filming was a nightmare out of Lewis Carroll and Franz Kafka, involving H.G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, a 19th-century African explorer, crazy stars, warring studio heads, witchcraft, Barbara Steele, an unbelievably tiny 'miniature midget' from Spain, scores of severely gross Stan Winston monster creations, a location too remote for practicality, a demoralized film company in unending party mode, aboriginal curses, destructive floods, and a director in over his head and unsupported by most of his crew. Gregory has great interviews with Stanley, actress Fairuza Balk, producer Edward Pressman, New Line honcho Robert Shaye and dozens of crew people still dazed and amazed by events that happened twenty years ago. Everybody took pictures and home video and David Gregory has it all -- to get started required tracking down the reclusive Richard Stanley to the French Pyrenees. Lost Soul brought forth howls of laughter and amazement... the insanity of its subject makes the ordeals of Burden of Dreams and Hearts of Darkness seem like walks in the park.

So who says Savant just sits around and types out reviews all the time? Every once in a while I get to dish out a well deserved plug, in this case for a truly talented filmmaker.

Thanks for reading! -- Glenn Erickson



September 26, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Che!
Blu-ray

  The most embarrassing movie biography of all time is a fascinating study of what happens when a Hollywood studio takes on a hot-button political potato. Omar Sharif is a dead ringer for Che, while Jack Palance... smokes cigars. The filmmakers do everything but backflips to avoid dealing with Che Guevara's ideas about revolution, and the screenplay treats crucial decisions in Castro's revolution as a sitcom tiff between obstinate roommates. It's an excellent film transfer in all respects, in Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
9/27/14

The White Tower
DVD-R

  RKO sent color cameras to Europe to film Paul Jarrico's tale of a daring attempt to climb a forbidding mountain. Claude Rains is an unhappy writer and Oscar Homolka a jolly innkeeper, and Alida Valli a young woman who wants to achieve what her father could not. But the real drama erupts between ex-flier Glenn Ford and the expedition's expert mountaineer, Lloyd Bridges. One's a calm American and the other a resentful German. Great location photography and realistic climbing scenes, even on the studio sets -- this is one of the better films of its type. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/27/14

The Young Savages
Blu-ray

  Rough tough Burt Lancaster puts his liberal brand on Harold Hecht's juvenile delinquency epic, with an assist from sophomore film director John Frankenheimer and a good cast that includes Dina Merrill, Telly Savalas, Shelley Winters and John Davis Chandler. Why did three Anglo hoods fatally stab a blind Puerto Rican kid? Lancaster's D.A. wants to find out, but everyone else is screaming for a quick murder conviction. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/27/14

and

Night of the Comet
Region B Blu-ray + PAL DVD

  This well-remembered '80s artifact sets up Valley Girls Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney as the last women on Earth, after an unfortunate date with a lethal astral body (a comet). It's a totally carefree shopping day until sinister scientists come to steal their blood. Mary Woronov and Robert Beltran star in a low budget, high spirited romp on the day after doomsday. With a number of featurettes and interview extras. In Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow Video (UK) .
9/27/14




Hello!

Last time out I posted Kino's first attempt at artwork for their upcoming Blu-ray of Hammer's The Quatermass Xperiment... so to be fair, here's a peek at the final disc cover, which we agree is a better fit for the movie. Kino also released an impressive list of extras for the disc. John Carpenter will be opinionizing on the show, along with a Val Guest interview and commentary with Marcus Hearn. Ernest Dickerson's Trailers from Hell entry, a trailer and the alternate The Creeping Unknown title sequence are listed as extras. Last up are two featurettes I edited in 2003 for an MGM Home Video Midnite Movies DVD release that never came about. One of the featurettes is built around another Val Guest interview by Greg Carson.

If you look again at my review for the Criterion disc of The Innocents, a new footnote has been added. Ex-child star Martin Stephens wrote in with a correction about his vocal performance in the movie. Mr. Stephens maintains an interesting personal website that has some amusing content. He doesn't look quite so sinister now, 54 years later.


I've got some heavy film screening to do this weekend ... besides the new releases of Chef and Edge of Tomorrow, the enormous Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection just arrived. I'll be reviewing it from the collector perspective -- most of us have some of those older Universal single releases on DVD (heck, and VHS), not to mention the "Legacy Collections" and the lavish Classic Monsters Blu-ray set. Is this new monster box something to own, or is it a gift opportunity for some lucky kid?

Thanks for reading, Glenn Erickson



September 22, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

To Be and To Have
DVD

  This delightful and moving French docu covers a year in a rural French grade school to show how ace teacher Georges Lopez motivates, inspires and socializes twelve fairly adorable kids. It's specialized work; the film presents dozens of privileged moments of truth and insight. Director Nicolas Philibert captures remarkably candid and true moments of childhood emotions; we fall in love with the kids too. Inspirational -- and it also makes us think about the terrible treatment of American teachers. In DVD from Kino Lorber.
9/23/14

The Moonshine War
DVD-R

  What a trap for a reviewer: Savant loved this movie at a young and impressionable age, and will only grudgingly admit that it has serious deficiencies. But I still have good things to say about the legendary Elmore Leonard's exciting, perfectly paced story, and the eccentric performances from favorites Patrick McGoohan & Richard Widmark, with Alan Alda, Lee Hazlewood and Suzanne Zenor. Hillbilly havoc breaks loose when gangsters try to horn in on a cache off illicit Kentucky booze. And don't forget "Old Sweetheart", the BAR rifle that McGoohan's corrupt prohibition agent keeps in a suitcase. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/23/14

The Killer Elite
+ Noon Wine

Blu-ray

  Sam Peckinpah fans can get excited about his 1975 spy-action tale starring James Caan and Robert Duvall, but the golden lining in this precious two-fer disc is its encoding of a newly-rescued color video copy of Sam's 1966 TV show Noon Wine. Starring Olivia de Havilland and Jason Robards, it did so well with the critics that it resuscitated Peckinpah's D.O.A. film career. And it's still a great show, an adaptation of a book by Katherine Anne Porter. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
9/23/14

and

Brute Force
Region B (UK) Blu-ray

  Jules Dassin's first noir masterpiece is a disturbingly violent and angry protest film that seemingly encourages revolt not just in prisons but against the world at large. Burt Lancaster heads an terrific cast of inmates to oppose Hume Cronyn's outrageous yard captain, a fascist monster who tortures prisoners to further his advancement to warden. Does it sound like your workplace? Dassin's direction deals with flashbacks to dames left behind, like Yvonne De Carlo and Ella Raines, but the emphasis is on intolerable oppression and savage combat. In Region B (UK) Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
9/23/14




Hello!

I guess I'm feeling self conscious today about reviewing so many violent action films, because I've slipped in Kino's wonderful little movie about teaching, To Be and To Have. It's a definite cheer-up movie, without a single gun or death threat in sight.

Correspondent Bill Migicovsky sends along Larry Getlen's conservative, tasteful New York Post article about The Notorious History of Drunken Hollywood. It's short and saucy and just the sort of thing DVD Savant should be ashamed to link to. Enjoy.

A fun turn-around from Monday... Kino uploaded prospective cover artwork for its upcoming (unannounced, I think) Blu-ray of Hammer's The Quatermass Xperiment... and promptly took it down after a regular fan brushfire erupted on the horror and Sci-fi discussion boards. The reason might be that the artwork chosen was derived from a French poster ... for the wrong movie, The Quatermass Xperiment's superb sequel, Quatermass 2. I personally think the dynamic graphic looks great, but it's indeed inappropriate -- its only design element are Q 2's bullet-helmeted 'zombie guards' that we know and love so well.

I don't mind pointing up the error as it's an honest mistake; Kino will appreciate the publicity and surely be happy to discover how intensely readers care about their upcoming disc. I have a horse in the race to some degree as well, as the new disc may include some work I edited eleven years ago. I won't know until the disc is announced.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



September 19, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

The 'Burbs
Region B Blu-ray

  Joe Dante and Tom Hanks have a scary good time in a comedy-horror thriller that forges its own offbeat style. Three judgment-challenged neighbors let their imaginations get out of hand when they decide that the weird foreigners in the creepy house next door may be serial-killing maniacs. With an eclectic sense of humor that veers from slapstick to replays of old cultural forms -- like the conventions of old TV shows -- the show is packed with unexpected laughs and surprises. Aiding and abetting Hanks are Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Rick Ducommun, Wendy Schaal and Corey Feldman, with an assist from jolly old Gale Gordon and The Poodle With No Name. In Region B Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
9/20/14

The Dogs of War
Blu-ray

  On-task mercenary tough guy Christopher Walken is beaten senseless during a reconnaisance/spy trip to a corrupt African dictatorship. He returns with a fighting force to kill the president and seize the country for a European platinum consortium. Tom Berenger, Colin Blakely and JoBeth Williams star in Frederick Forsythe's tale of international piracy, directed by John Irvin. The encoding contains both the theatrical and longer international cuts, and Jack Cardiff's cinematography looks great in HD. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
9/20/14

The Innocents
Blu-ray

  Celebrated as one of the most elegant and sophisticated horror films ever, Jack Clayton's adaptation of the Henry James tale seeks to be ambiguous about its ghosts and phantoms. Nervous nanny Deborah Kerr takes charge of two wealthy orphans (Pamela Franklin & Martin Stephens) and soon comes to believe that they are under the perverse influence of deceased servants. Featuring the much-admired cinematography of Freddie Francis, in razor-sharp Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/20/14

and

Hangmen Also Die!
Blu-ray

  Fritz Lang's noirish war thriller invents a complex conspiracy to dramatize the resistance of Czech patriots to their German occupiers, who are executing forty hostages per day. Brian Donlevy's patriot-assassin refuses to give himself up, while the daughter of a hostage discovers why resisting the Nazis is essential to the defense of humanity. Restored in HD, this disc also restores a crucial missing minute from the film's climax. In Blu-ray from The Cohen Film Collection.
9/20/14




Hello!

A good stack of reviews today ... as you can see, Hangmen Also Die! arrived today. So did more discs from just about every distributor, so I'm having a great time working my way through. Couldn't be more fun if they were made of chocolate.

The Warner Archive tally includes some desired titles Arrowsmith, Drum Beat, The Moonshine War and another bunch I've never seen: The Hunted, Lolly Madonna XXX, Nasty Habits and The White Tower. And I'm setting aside a special time to watch perhaps the last outstanding bit of Sam Peckinpah I've not seen before, the teleplay he directed of Noon Wine, which is on the Twilight Time disc of The Killer Elite. So this is going to be an important screening week.

Over at Trailers from Hell they've just finished with trailers for three Budd Boetticher / Randolph Scott Ranown westerns. The newest is Ride Lonesome, with commentary by John Sayles !

Have some extra money? Go put in your bids for prime memorabilia at the Ray Bradbury Estate Sale. Pictured above is the original Saturday Evening Post artwork for Bradbury's short story "The Fog Horn". Bradbury even kept a piece of artwork painted by Savant associate Mike Hyatt, from 1968!

Thanks for reading! -- Glenn Erickson



September 16, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Tragedy of
Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Blu-ray

  Roman Polanski's superlative film adaptation emerges as a grisly tale about the horrors of blind ambition. Incredible production values, great acting and razor-sharp direction -- it's one of his best. With Jon Finch and Francesca Annis as the murderous Thane and his scheming wife. Fine extras collect old featurettes and TV shows, plus a new interview documentary. In Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/16/14


Across 110th Street
Blu-ray

  It's not Blaxploitation, but a pure gangster drama that skips social messages in favor of straight-up action and suspense. When three gunmen take the mob for $300,000, the Mafia Don orders that Harlem be taught an ugly, violent lesson. Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto are the stars but there's great acting from Anthony Franciosa, Paul Benjamin, Ed Bernard, Antonio Fargas, Richard Ward, Norma Donaldson, and Marlene Warfield. Major bonus: a Tarantino-approved soundtrack by Bobby Womack and J.J. Johnson. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/16/14

Black Sunday
and
Black Sabbath
U.S. Release Versions

Blu-ray

  Note, 9/25/14: Release CANCELED. Now Kino releases a double bill of Mario Bava horror pix in their U.S. versions, as released by American-International in 1961 and 1963. Les Baxter's replacement music score is a big improvement for Sunday, and in Sabbath we finally get to hear Boris Karloff's own voice, performing in English. A.I.P. did major editorial surgery on both pictures. It's interesting to see how they reworked one horror episode that originally had a lesbian theme. In Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
9/16/14

and

Ghostbusters
and
Ghostbusters II
30th Anniversary Edition

Blu-ray + Digital Download

  For the 30th, Sony trots out new transfers and adds new extras with nostalgic memories from Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd. The original Ghostbusters is still fall-down funny, while the passing of time has been kind to the more family oriented and 'Yuppie-fied' Ghostbusters II. Number two is also a completely integrated sequel, with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson and David Margulies all returning. With beaucoup extras. Blu-ray + Digital Download from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
9/16/14




Hello!

Yes, yes, I'm running late again. These four reviews were more intensive than usual -- especially when one writes an entire piece and then thinks, "do you really believe anything you just wrote? Try starting over." I'm just the starting-over kind of guy, but I think it paid off. I studied the Mario Bava pictures in extra detail, and I changed my mind completely about the merits of Ghostbusters II ... it's a pretty good movie.


Today's big news is from faithful correspondent Edward Sullivan .... on November 17, the BFI is releasing a Region B Blu-ray of The Day the Earth Caught Fire, a confirmed Savant favorite and one of the best British sci-films ever. It may be director Val Guest's best as well, and certainly his most creative. Anyhow, the prospect of seeing it in HD is enough to make it this year's Can't Wait Movie, to replace last year's The Sicilian Clan. Here's Amazon U.K.'s listing. Ed also forwards an interesting BFI article, Panic On the Streets of London. For me, the bizarre weather phenomena in Caught Fire seem strongly related to our new awareness of Global Warming.

Thanks for reading, Glenn Erickson



September 13, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Eraserhead
Blu-ray

  David Lynch's head split open and let loose all these murky, morbid and gross dreams -- in a unique avant-garde picture that secured him one of the oddest of film careers. Jack Nance suffers through a Fatherhood from Hell, an unending, unendurable purgatory of misery and grotesque hallucinations. Is the Angriest Dog in the World tied up out back? Lynch appears to control the extras, which include six of his short subjects plus some unexpectedly candid video and text interviews. Oh, and the B&W cinematography is much improved, in Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/13/14

The Buddy Holly Story
Blu-ray

  This 1978 musical bio skates over the details but taps the essence of the great Buddy Holly, starting with Gary Busey's inspiring performance. The smartest move is that Busey, Don Stroud and Charlie Martin Smith actually play and sing the Holly songs live for the camera. There's no fat in this telling of the boy's brief but bright career. We love the scenes that establish the public hostility to Rock 'n' Roll, and Holly and the Crickets' awkward, hilarious New York debut before an all-black audience at the Apollo Theater. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
9/13/14

The Death Kiss
Blu-ray

  Talk about a cult picture that proves the strength of a cult star: Bela Lugosi has third billing, few dialogue lines and only twelve minutes of screen time in what isn't even a horror movie. We instead get a not-bad murder mystery on a Hollywood film set, with Lugosi only one of a handful of likely suspects. Horror fans will note that the real stars are David Manners and Edward Van Sloan, Lugosi's co-stars in Dracula. With Adrienne Ames. In Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
9/13/14

and

The Big Operator
Blu-ray

  Another Al Zugsmith howler, a crime film starring Mickey Rooney as labor racketeer Little Joe Braun. He's the kind of guy who has his political rivals tossed into a cement mixer. The cast is just plain goofy -- Steve Cochran and Mel Tormé are lowbrow machinists, Mamie Van Doren is a modest housewife and sinister Ray Danton is an incompetent hit man who likes to set people on fire. Zugsmith adheres to the chicken soup theory of filmmaking -- keep dropping eccentric people into the mix, like Vampira and Jackie Coogan. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/13/14




Hello!

It's a pleasant September around here, with plenty of time to write and still work on problems around the house. I'm catching up with emails, and if anybody cares to take a look, I've amended my On the Beach review with a stack of reader correspondence, followed by some notes about the film that I took from an NPR story a few years back.

What's cookin' on the threat board? Even after reviewing eight discs a week, I have a number of Olive and Kino titles from late August that I need to get to. Twilight Time's September discs (Peckinpah's The Killer Elite with his rare Noon Wine; The Dogs of War) are due momentarily, as are a couple of highly anticipated discs from The Cohen Collection, including Hangmen Also Die! I have received several September Kinos, among them The Party and The Great Train Robbery. Included with the Kino batch is Rarovideo's Iguana, by Monte Hellman. How often do we get to see a new Monte Hellman release?

Just in from England is Arrow's Region B BD of Joe Dante's The 'Burbs, and I'm eager to click through its extras. Hopefully Arrow's Brute Force and Merci pour le chocolat will be along soon. I didn't score a copy of the new Godzilla but am expecting an anniversary disc set of the two Ghostbusters pictures -- I've been trying to get those for review for a long time.


Universal's Chef has arrived early and is near the top of my screening list. I spent Friday night mesmerized by the new Blu of Criterion's Macbeth. Polanski's direction is just incredible, as is the improvement on the transfer. Jack Clayton's The Innocents is here as well, so it's time to re-evaluate that movie. I change my mind about it with every viewing.

Finally, this time around The Warner Archive has several desirable titles on the way -- Arrowsmith, Bloody Sunday, The White Tower and Drum Beat, among them. For me the big score is 1970's The Moonshine War with Patrick McGoohan, Alan Alda and Richard Widmark. It's written by the great Elmore Leonard, it's loud and corny and amusingly cynical. McGoohan is just weird, which is always good. I've always loved it.

Hope all is well and thanks for reading, Glenn Erickson



September 08, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Galapagos Affair:
Satan Came to Eden

DVD

  Illustrated with photos and movies from over 85 years ago, we see unfold the true drama of German pioneers on an uninhabited island in the Galapagos. A malcontent intellectual and his girlfriend, a homesteading family and a sexually liberated 'Baroness' with her two lover/consorts all seek differing notions of 'paradise'. They eventually clash in a mysterious mix of violence and unexplained disappearances. The absorbing true story is brilliantly assembled from diaries, news accounts and the testimonies of other Galapagos residents, witnesses to the strange events. In DVD from Zeitgeist Films.
9/09/14

The Great Race
Blu-ray

  Blake Edwards' most lavish production takes Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood on an epic, around-the-world automobile race. The extravagant, saga-length spoof of silent comedies contains an elaborate Wild West excursion, not to mention a farcical re-staging of the entire The Prisoner of Zenda, on a scale more vast than the classic originals. With Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn and the music of Henry Mancini. Remastered in Blu-ray for The Warner Archive Collection.
9/09/14

Distant Drums
Blu-ray

  Raoul Walsh and Gary Cooper team up for this independently produced battle epic about the historic Seminole Wars. Forget Indian politics, as this 1951 costume thriller casts its Native Americans as enemies, plain and simple. Coop's punitive raid against Spanish villains selling flintlocks to the Seminoles is one long combat in the swamps. Mari Aldon and Arthur Hunnicutt co-star, but the real attraction are the Florida locations in Sid Hickox's terrific Technicolor cinematography, here reproduced perfectly in HD. Great fun! In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/09/14

and

God's Pocket
Blu-ray

  Actor-director John Slattery top-bills his Mad Men co-star Christina Hendricks in a dark, nearly absurd story of small-time scheming and crime in a godforsaken borough of Philadelphia where everybody's got a racket. In one of his last performances, Philip Seymour Hoffman tries to keep his unhappy wife from bolting by finding out what really happened to her dead son, the victim of a workplace accident. When he pulls in a favor from his partner in thievery John Turturro, the mob gets involved. But newspaperman Richard Jenkins is assigned to the story, and when he sees Hendricks' desperate housewife, he goes after her as well. It's less a black comedy than a gritty update of an old-style Loser Noir... I liked it. In Blu-ray from MPI /IFC.
9/09/14





Hello!

First up today is a link to a comprehensive and detailed new article over at The 3-D Film Archive that deals with the development of Arch Oboler's improved one-strip 3-D process, "Space-Vision". Restoring a Landmark 3-D Motion Picture gives a wealth of documentation and film samples in its coverage of developments that led to the production of 1966's The Bubble, a science-fiction film with the same basic idea as this year's TV drama The Dome. The Trioptiscope Space-Vision Lens system developed for the picture became the standard for the 1980s wave of 3-D production.

I hope the 3-D Film Archive forgives me for swiping their cool 3-D demo frame image... maybe a plug will compensate. Also on their front page can be found info about three 3-D Blu-rays in release between now and November: Dragonfly Squadron (1954), Inferno (1953) and The Bubble as well.






Coming up in Los Angeles on September 26, Savant associate Arianné Ulmer Cipes will be speaking before a screening of her father Edgar G. Ulmer's classic horror film Bluebeard. It's happening at The UCLA Archives' Exile Noir festival. The co-feature is Douglas Sirk's superior Sleep, My Love; full details are at this page.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



September 05, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Queen Margot
Blu-ray

  What a find! Isabelle Adjani stars in this monumental French epic about The St. Bartholomew Massacre, a super production that has everything -- a great (and true) story packed with intrigues and conspiracies, murders and double-crosses. It's also loaded with sex and violence, plus an impressive romance. The terrific production won all the French film awards, and co-stars Daniel Auteuil, Virna Lisi, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vincent Perez, Dominique Blanc, Pascal Greggory, Miguel Bosé, Asia Argento, and Thomas Kretschmann. It's The Godfather of costume dramas. In Blu-ray from The Cohen Group.
9/06/14

Seizure
Blu-ray

  Oliver Stone broke into movies in a time-honored way -- he made a horror movie. A trio of fictional characters invade reality, to torture and murder the guests of the author who conceived them. Stone's literate, intense nightmare tale suffers from budget problems and director inexperience, but it can boast iconic genre actors Jonathan Frid, Martine Beswick and Mary Woronov, with Troy Donahue (!) thrown in for good measure. In Blu-ray from Scorpion Releasing.
9/06/14


The Secret of Santa Vittoria
Blu-ray

  Stanley Kramer didn't make the grade with this expensive, old-fashioned comedy-drama set in an Italian village in WW2. He's got Anthony Quinn, Anna Magnani, Virna Lisi and Hardy Krüger, but his show and its characters look like something we've seen before. The death blow was a release late in 1969, when youth-oriented post-Easy Rider films were all anyone talked about -- it was just ignored. In HD, its better qualities can finally be appreciated. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/06/14

and

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Blu-ray

  The Mighty Marvel steamroller of quality comic-book adventures scores another big hit in this immense, lavishly produced tale of S.H.I.E.L.D. being subverted from within by an older conspiracy called HYDRA. Chris Evans is a dashing Captain America, and he's helped/harmed by colorful characters played by Scarlett Johannson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan. In Blu-ray from Disney/Buena Vista/Marvel.
9/06/14





Hello!

First up, web radio producer Dick Dinman has finished the first two episodes of a Classics Corner On the Air six-part interview he conducted with singer and actor Vic Damone, which I'm told tells a backstage Hollywood story with anecdotes about Perry Como, Milton Berle, producer Joe Pasternak and Damone's wife Pier Angeli. Parts One and Two of Dick Dinman Salutes Legendary Vocalist Vic Damone are ready for download now.



And that prompts me to pay homage to Leonard Maltin, the friendliest film critic I know. I've seen Mr. Maltin at countless Hollywood screenings -- he often attended the same ones that attract me -- and one can't imagine a more congenial fellow. When you see him talking on a Disney release, it's no act, he's just that nice. When fans gather at the TCMfest, it's not at all unusual to see him talking about film with anybody and everybody he meets -- and folks rush over to hear him talk. In 1997 I screened the restored Kiss Me Deadly at an American Cinematheque event, and as soon as I was introduced he asked me all about how the missing ending was found, and what I thought it meant. It was like talking to a fellow student equally excited about a favorite film.

The news this month is that this year's edition of Leonard Maltin's annual movie guide is going to be the last (at least for now). I must have had four different editions of the book over the years; sometimes after I write up a movie, I just have to know Maltin's take on it. Even when I disagree, his concise four-sentence evaluations are well reasoned. Their consistency is a useful gauge when reading about a picture I haven't seen.

I thumbed through the new Leonard Maltin's 2015 Movie Guide and checked out some of my favorite titles. The very thick book seems to have most everything, and it has larger type than my previous edition. I remember my first Maltin movie book being a major improvement over my previous "TV Key Movie Guide" by Steven H. Scheuer. I keep the rags of that paperback still, just to enjoy some of its biased and outdated blurbs. Many decent sci-fi films were given *½ stars and dismissed as dreck; Scheuer often listed movies now recognized as classic Film Noirs as 'murky', or 'morally questionable'.

The Maltin reference book is apparently losing readers because people now expect everything to be online and free... I suppose I'm a contributor to that topsy-turvy state of affairs. But there's a lot to be said for an authoritative reference source that has some integrity behind it, not to mention accuracy. I've had a peek or two behind the workings of Maltin's book because an associate Bill Warren has been one of Maltin's permanent editors for years, helping to nail down good briefs on new movies, and to rejuvenate old entries that need reevaluation. Maltin's Guide is still the one to buy.




Finally, some friends and I exchanged jokes today about a new Frank Capra classic just announced for Blu-ray. The description of the extras reveals that almost all are hosted or authored by Frank Capra Jr., with Junior's name redundantly listed numerous times. As has become the norm with some great personalities, it seems that the heirs have 'legacy control' for their famous fathers... another name that comes to mind is George Stevens.

I won't reprint our snarky jokes, but the resourceful Stuart Galbraith IV found an online YouTube encoding of a hilarious old short subject called Raymond Rohauer presents "The Sneeze". It's a not-too exaggerated send-up of the self-serving titles that collector Rohauer would affix to the front of the classic silents he distributed. In case the joke is too obscure, the deal with Rohauer is that he'd claim ownership of titles that would seem to have been in the public domain. His copies often looked just terrible, and had one-size-fits-all music tracks. Sitting through Rohauer's endless, patronizing scrolling titles could be a real chore.

Rohauer did help save a lot of great films, especially those of Buster Keaton. I first saw Raymond Rohauer presents "The Sneeze" at Filmex, I believe in 1971 with a packed house of fairly savvy film fanatics at Grauman's Chinese, all of whom were waiting to see a Technicolor print of Mystery of the Wax Museum. It was greeted with roars of laughter and approval.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



September 01, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Juggernaut
Blu-ray

  Richard Lester enlivens this realistic and tense thriller-spectacle: seven bombs are hidden on a giant ocean liner from which the passengers cannot be evacuated. The screenplay overcomes our expectations on every level -- the potential victims don't panic, for instance. The movie also has a great sense of humor. Most of all, we're entertained by a terrific cast -- Richard Harris, Anthony Hopkins, David Hemmings, Omar Sharif, Shirley Knight, Ian Holm, Clifton James and Freddie Jones. Roy Kinnear is a standout as a cruise social director doing his best to keep spirits high. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/02/14

Vengeance Is Mine
Blu-ray

  Shohei Imamura's docudrama examination of the crimes of a real Japanese serial killer carry a chill factor missing from later American genre exercises -- the charming murderer covers his tracks well and succeeds in seducing women into keeping his secrets. It's cold, clinical and scary. Ken Ogata is Iwao Enokizu, a clever sociopath who undertook a 78-day killing spree before the cops finally tracked him down. In Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/02/14


What's New Pussycat
Blu-ray

  Woody Allen's first film as both writer and actor is a sex farce, a Paris-filmed "dirty foreign movie" that goes much farther than most U.S. pictures of its year. Peter Sellers can't get any, Peter O'Toole gets too much, and Woody... [insert Peter joke here]. It's beautifully designed, has music by Burt Bacharach and most of the jokes work. We also get the full benefit of four fabulous '60s actresses -- Capucine, Ursula Andress, Paula Prentiss and Romy Schneider. Believe me, in 1965 every sexually precocious 13 year-old was dying to see this one. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/02/14

and

Follow that Dream
Blu-ray

  The Mirisch Co. inked The King of Rock and Roll for two pictures, and the first is a strange satire (maybe) about squatter's rights, in which Elvis plays a Gomer Pyle or Forrest Gump- like "Magical Hick". Arthur O'Connell is his slick-talking, chiseling father; pert country girl Anne Helm and evil psychologist Joanna Moore compete to see which can arouse Elvis's dormant sexual instincts. And don't forget the peppy title tune, sung by Elvis as he lies on the beach, scratching flea bites. Actually, this colorful musical carries a reputation as one of Presley's better movie vehicles. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
9/02/14





Hello! I'm back with four more reviews... it's nice to see the column looking 'fat' again.

A quick notice for TCM cable subscribers that catch this column on Monday night -- in a few hours Turner Classic Movies will reportedly screen the restored version of the 1940 Our Town with William Holden and Martha Scott. Check your schedule to record. I've never seen a watchable copy of the Sam Wood/William Cameron Menzies classic and can't wait to nab it on my DVR. Apologies to readers that don't see this note until tomorrow.


On the subject of my recent reviews for On the Beach and Testament, several readers sent me a link for a YouTube video of an entire 1954 Motorola Television Hour live TV drama, Atomic Attack. It stars Phyllis Thaxter, Robert Keith, Walter Matthau and Patty McCormack. They're right -- it's very similar to Testament.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson


Don't forget to write Savant at dvdsavant@mindspring.com.

Advertise With Us

Review Staff | About DVD Talk | Newsletter Subscribe | Join DVD Talk Forum
Copyright © DVDTalk.com All rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise