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December 29, 2014

It's party time in Bronson Caverns!

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Package
Blu-ray

  A smart, well-made action-suspense-political intrigue thriller with plenty of star appeal: Gene Hackman's patriotic sergeant is framed for murder in a plot to assassinate important heads of state (not North Korea). The relatively young Tommy Lee Jones is the grinning killer with a high-powered rifle, while Joanna Cassidy's Colonel and Dennis Franz's cop go outside the law to help our hero. Plus we've got Pam Grier and John Heard in the cast. It's fast, intelligent and looks better than ever in HD. With this picture director Andrew Davis made a very good jump from Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris; Davis and Joanna Cassidy appear on video and in a commentary. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/30/14

and

Boy Meets Girl
DVD-R

  Another odd James Cagney picture, a screwball comedy that's always exciting and sometimes very funny, yet seemingly puts out far too much energy for the laughs it gets. Fast-talking Cagney and Pat O'Brien run wild at Royal Studios, driving producer Ralph Bellamy nuts. Then they get excited about making Marie Wilson's expected baby into a film star, to play opposite clueless cowboy star Dick Foran. The pace is frenetic and the satire fairly accurate but it still doesn't seem a good fit for Cagney, who ends up being just the most visible member of a clownish ensemble. With Frank McHugh as a cynical agent. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
12/30/14




Hello!

I guess this will be my last posting for this year, a year that seemed to disappear before I had a chance to fully enjoy it. But the finish was nice with a great family visit. It did result in a lack of reviews -- not only was time short, it would have been rude to walk away from people to watch movies.

What made things extra nice were the many notes from readers, some helping me fix errors and others just writing to say they enjoyed something on the site. I should look back to see if my messages have been sounding too 'needy' lately, but I think it's just being lucky to reach some nice people. I've even had some good exchanges with professional associates I haven't talked to much lately. So hey, this Savant racket is definitely a positive for me.

So what do we have here... Trailers from Hell has been hitting us with some great trailers + commentary that I can recommend -- Allen Baron's Blast of Silence with input from Joe Dante, Karyn Kusama's track for Amy Heckerling's Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Ti West for Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I still find Spielberg's show to be a wild ride -- it was maybe the last time he embraced truly dangerous content. And Ti West's remarks are pretty funny too.

I'm looking forward to getting back on the review treadmill -- vacation is great but after sixteen years it doesn't feel right unless I sit down to write every day. I'll be doing more Academy research in January for some new TCM work, which will be a nice change. That Margaret Herrick library is an amazing resource, just perfect for my needs.

Thanks for reading -- thanks for a great (if too fast) year --- thanks again! Glenn Erickson



December 24, 2014

Savant's new review today is:

Artists and Models
DVD

  (Part of the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection II, a 3-disc set.) Frank Tashlin's brand of comic-book surrealism gets its first full workout in this tale of romantic mixups in the comic book game, where Dean falls for gorgeous "Bat Girl" illustrator Dorothy Malone, but infantile Jerry passes up beautiful model Shirley MacLaine (in her second movie) for the 'fantasy' MacLaine when she's wearing her Bat Girl outfit. There's sublimated kinkiness all around, with gorgeous Technicolor-VistaVision images that indeed belong in a comic book. Gorgeous Anita Ekberg is a dazzling model, while Eva Gabor plays a sinister foreign agent. Tashlin's creative mark is a great match for Jerry's slapstick. The movie is practically abstract art from the Mad Men 1950s, the years when America's advanced tastemakers influenced the world. Under the silliness is a direct conduit to our culture's sex madness... Tashlin is the greatest. DVD from The Warner Archive Collection.
12/24/14




Hello!

A fine Christmas is happening here, with trips to the airport, fixing up rooms, cooking, dinner parties, going out to eat (+ gaining weight) ... more than enough to make me think at least once, 'Oh right, I still have this online Savant thing going." Actually, discs keep arriving, along with some nice greetings from readers and many more online... which feels great. I wouldn't call reviewing online a lonely activity, but it's really special to be able to respond to personal notes.

That's my excuse for having just one review today, but it was a fun one to write. Frank Tashlin at his best is truly wonderful... it's as if 60 years of subsequent graphics-oriented hip culture has yet to catch up with him.

Access to a viewing setup is tight right now, but here's what I have lined up to see right away ... Down to the Sea in Ships from the Fox Cinema Archives label is the one DVD I'm eyeing .... along with the Blu-rays I need to get to -- The Offence, Coming Home, The Package and Buffalo Bill and the Indians (KL Studio Classics), The Night Porter (Criterion), The Boys From Brazil (Shout! Factory); and Inherit the Wind and Heaven and Earth (Twilight Time).

Of special interest is Eclipse's Series 41 DVD set, Kinoshita and World War II. Not until recently have I seen non-genre Japanese movies available here on disc. The few movies with a civilian WW2 context tend to show a conscripted soldier passing through, or a mention by a family that the son is off serving. These five Keisuke Kinoshita films directly address homefront issues, which one would think would be 100% Tojo-approved propaganda. I'm eager to see what they're like -- especially the last one where Mom and Pop have to deal with the defeat.

↑   Oh -- a pal surely figured out exactly what would make Christmas fun and gave me the green monster model kit that I proudly display above, with Christmas trimmings. He's already green, and just needs a little Santa hat or something.

No newsletters until DVDtalk central is back in action... I hope your holiday is fun, and thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson


December 20, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Fortune
Blu-ray

  The great Mike Nichols takes a chance with a wild-hair idea scripted by Adrien Joyce and starring Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and newcomer/major talent Stockard Channing. A pair of dimwits get themselves into a mangle-a-twah with a dizzy heiress, and when it looks like she's giving away her money they decide that the logical next step is murder. It's Dumb, Dumber and delightful -- a kooky, risky farce that they should have known audiences would resist. See Warren and Jack try to drown Stockard in a bird bath! One of the better-looking and elegantly directed slapstick comedies of the '70s. In fact, it's the only slapstick comedy of its kind, of the 1970s. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
12/20/14

The Killers
Region B Blu-ray

  Robert Siodmak knocks 'em dead in this first-rank noir masterpiece. His direction is superb, including the first scene's recreation of Ernest Hemingway's short story. Loser Burt Lancaster is hoodwinked by fatal femme Ava Gardner; both actors became instant stars. Edmond O'Brien is on the trail of missing loot and Albert Dekker is quick to doublecross everybody in sight, even a character named Dum-Dum. Miklos Roza's nervous, authoritative music score set the standard for noir thrills and suspense. And it's packed with interesting extras, including a Jack Benny comedy spoof from his radio show. In Region B (UK) Blu-ray from Arrow Academy (UK).
12/20/14

and

The Missouri Breaks
Blu-ray

  It's Nicholson again, this time trying keep the movie from falling apart under the weight of Marlon Brando's anarchic fun and games. Brando wears dresses, tries out goofy accents and sometimes pouts instead of acts, but it's a great show just the same -- fine direction from Arthur Penn, excellent dialogue and a notable supporting cast (Randy Quaid, Kathleen Lloyd, Frederic Forrest, Harry Dean Stanton, John McLiam, John Ryan). Horse thief Jack finds it difficult to avoid 'regulator' Brando, whose idea of law and order is to shoot thieves with a long rifle, from half a mile away. And it's fun when our crooks think it will be easy to steal horses from those Canadian Mounties across the border... and finding out different. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/20/14




Hello!

Yes, the 25th is closing in upon us and the house has begun to fill up with guests ... so we'll see if Savant keeps up its normal schedule. Since mid-November I've been down two reviews a week, but a lot of that is because the Fall disc releases were so good that I invested more time on them.

←   Here's a link from Gary Teetzel, who always has his ear to the ground for anything resembling Godzilla-themed news. It's about a Japanese Godzilla-themed hotel. I don't personally get the appeal of this, but someone is surely banking on it. Why not have a film noir- themed hotel, where every room has a neon sign just outside the window, flashing, "KILL, KILL"? Actually, my college apartment had everything but that, including a creaky metal Murphy bed. But since I didn't smoke or have a pistol to load while leaning on the pillow, the full effect couldn't quite come together.

Over at Trailers From Hell is the trailer for Savant favorite Blood and Roses, aka "...et Mourir de Plaisir", hosted by Joe Dante -- it appears to be a favorite of his as well. A review I did for a German DVD of this show was one of the more pleasing write-ups of last year.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



December 15, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Long Hair of Death
Blu-ray

  Ring the bells -- it's time to celebrate whenever prime Eurohorror arrives in such good shape as this, and in Region A, to boot. Barbara Steele has a dual role as both victim and vengeful specter in Antonio Margheriti's medieval murder soap opera, with a little supernatural thrown in to add spice. It's not Margheriti's or Babs' best but it has plenty of what we like -- ample footage of Steele wandering through stone corridors, looking stoned with fear... or menace, depending on which scene. I lunghi capelli della morte had plenty of coverage in old Midi-minuit Fantastiques, and it's great to finally see it uncut, in both Italian (with subs) or English. Also starring George Ardisson, Halina Zalewska and Umberto Raho, in Blu-ray from Rarovideo.
12/16/14

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Blu-ray

  This fascinating story works equally well as a novel, a play or here in Ronald Neame's expertly directed movie version, which pits Dame Maggie Smith (in her Oscar-winning role) against the young contender Pamela Franklin. The dialogue is sharp, the sexual politics genuinely dangerous (a comedy with a teacher having sex with an underage pupil!) and the emotions deep. This is the kind of 'adult' film that the dropping of the Production Code made possible. With Robert Stephens, Celia Johnson and Gordon Jackson, music by Rod McKuen. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
12/16/14

and

Wicked, Wicked
DVD-R

  Twice the Tension! Twice the Terror! Filmed in split-screen "Anamorphic Duo-Vision", Richard L. Bare's exploitation horror film deserved better, just for being different. The acting and directing are nothing to crow about, but the split screen tricks are consistently clever, and well managed for a low-budget production. A mad killer is murdering blonde guests in the Hotel del Coronado, but the management wants to keep it quiet -- even when the hotel's lounge singer is attacked in her room. A pipe organist provides most of the film's musical soundtrack, playing the silent score from The Phantom of the Opera, an idea that works surprisingly well. Madeleine Sherwood, Edd Byrnes, Arthur O'Connell and Scott Brady provide name support, but get ready to hold your ears when the title song is sung. Savant argues the pros and cons of split- and multi-screen movie gimmicks. Seriously. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
12/16/14




Hello!

Thanks for the positive responses to, and proofreading help for, the list of DVD Savant Picks for the Most Impressive Discs of 2014. I like the list, they're all titles that I'd happily sit down and watch again, right now.

Just a couple of upcoming disc announcements today, forwarded by Gary Teetzel. Olive Films announced its titles for February, all from MGM: Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Wild Angels, Psych-Out, Caveman, 1969 and Kiss Me Stupid.

And for March: Beach Blanket Bingo, Muscle Beach Party, The Road to Hong Kong and How to Murder Your Wife.

More or less at the same time, The Criterion Collection's the press email for their March releases arrived: The Soft Skin (Truffaut), The Gates of Heaven / Vernon, Florida and The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris), Cries and Whispers (Bergman), Hoop Dreams (Steve James) and the quirky noir Ride the Pink Horse (Robert Montgomery).

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



December 13, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

DVD Savant Picks
The Most Impressive Discs of 2014

  There all here -- twenty favorites this time, each with Savant's squirrely rationalizations for why they're great. Actually, they are great, and 2014 was so good to collectors that a shorter list would not have sufficed. For the first time they're almost all Blu-rays, with a couple of Region B titles elbowing onto the list. Criterion ends up with the most winners -- not necessarily their most prestigious releases, but the most exotic and desirable. I notice that my favorite titles are decades old. The newest 'winner' is a documentary from just last year... about events that happened in 1931. This the fourteenth go-round for this DVD Savant tradition... a holiday look-back at the year in collector's discs.
12/13/14

The Lusty Men
DVD-R

  Nicholas Ray turns a humble rodeo film into an absorbing drama and once again elicits special performances from his actors. Arthur Kennedy is an ambitious contestant, Susan Hayward the wife hungry for the respectability of a house of her own, and Robert Mitchum the drifter who was once a champion. The interesting dynamics and unspoken sexuality on tap are unusually naturalistic for a Code picture. Even better is an opening featuring Mitchum returning to the shack he was born in, finding out that "you can't go home again". It really feels as if Ray was able to express his personal feelings in this one. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
12/13/14

Thieves Like Us
Blu-ray

  No, no, the title means "We're Thieves, Man", not "Thieves Are Our Friends". From the same source novel as Nicholas Ray's They Live by Night comes Robert Altman's laid-back, observational take on ignorant Southern bandits and the teenagers that fall in with them because they just don't know any better. It's one of Altman's best for atmosphere and easygoing story telling -- Keith Carradine is the boy who has been in prison since age 14, John Shuck and Bert Remsen are the loose-cannon holdup men who lead him astray, Louise Fletcher is the Black Widow in the family, and the amazing Shelley Duvall is the most touchingly innocent, heartbreakingly loyal girlfriend any cheap gunsel ever had. Altman tells his tale in a sloppy-floppy loose style that grows on us... we're soon believing what we see. Great cinematography by Jean Boffety. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/13/14

and

Time Bandits
Blu-ray

  Young schoolboy Craig Warnock joins renegade planetary groundskeepers Randall, Fidgit, Strutter, Og, Wally and Vermin for adventures in thievery through the ages, utilizing a map of time portals filched from the Supreme Being, Ralph Richardson. Terry Gilliam's breakout hit is a marvelous example of epic grandeur created with pure talent, craftsmanship and wicked humor. Ian Holm, Sean Connery and Shelley Duvall show up on the historical timeline, from Ancient Greece to the Napoleonic Wars. It's a triumph of the adventurous imagination, finally in a great restoration, in Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
12/13/14




Hello!

First up is an essential link, Turner Classic Movies' annual obit montage TCM Remembers. This year's role call is especially sad -- one wishes these people could be "there for us" forever.

A wild time at Savant central early Friday morning, with the strongest rain-and-wind storm I can remember. My house has a good roof but windows with seals that have more or less disintegrated over twenty years -- leaving me running with wastebaskets and towels from room to room at 3am. Living in California, we just don't think about the kind of severe weather others must deal with. Of course, when's the last time a big earthquake hit you folks not living on the volatile Pacific Rim?


Another fun link from the BFI -- a restored print viewable online of the hour-long 1913 British science fiction film A Message from Mars. The restoration is excellent, who needs Interstellar?

Over at Trailers from Hell is the coming attractions for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, hosted by Karyn Kusama.

And although it has already circulated widely readers as fringe-aligned as, Savant might have missed this, so here goes: Saturday Night Live's Star Wars Trailer.

Last note ... the slippery slope countdown to Christmas day has begun. No Savant Newsletter next week... so check back here around Tuesday. Thanks for reading... --- Glenn Erickson



December 08, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Robin Wright at The Congress
Blu-ray + Digital Copy

  Ari Folman (of Waltz with Bashir) pulls off a difficult existential science fiction movie adapted from ideas of Polish author Stanislaw Lem. An actress (Robin Wright) leases her digitized 'self' to a movie company for completely artificial CG movies; when she returns years later she finds that further improvements of virtual technology have created virtual worlds that one can enter with special drugs. The 'Animated Zone' hosts a Congress to divulge a new wrinkle -- the ability to cross over into a completely new existence in an alternate dimension preferable to life on the crumbling, ruined Earth. This half-animated show attacks some difficult challenges -- and mostly succeeds. Also with Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston, Paul Giamatti and the voice of Jon Hamm. In Blu-ray + Digital Copy from Drafthouse Films.
12/09/14

Hickey and Boggs
Blu-ray

  Robert Culp's only directed film is a superior detective show, starring Culp and Bill Cosby as downbeat flatfoots who know that people only hire them for dirty work. Their newest job puts them in the center of a dogfight between loan sharks, mobsters, revolutionaries and bank robbers, not to mention a police force determined to put them out of business. The detectives no longer know why they're working, as both have lost their wives and nobody's applauding their close calls with the bad guys. The vision of Los Angeles extends from a machine gun battle in the Coliseum to a radical hangout in a designer house ready to fall off a Santa Monica cliff. With early roles for Michael Moriarty, James Woods and Vincent Gardenia. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/09/14

and

Olive Films' Four Noirs
Blu-ray

  Four stylish Paramount films noir now available separately in HD: Alan Ladd in Appointment With Danger, Charlton Heston in Dark City, Burt Lancaster in Rope of Sand and William Holden in Union Station. Mail robberies, femme fatales, crooked gamblers, diamond smugglers and a clever kidnapping figure in tight-scripted crime dramas directed by Lewis Allen, Rudolph Maté and William Dieterle. Four separate-purchase Blu-rays from Olive Films.
12/09/14





Hello!

After a slight pause -- a mistake on my part -- some more Warner Archive Disks have arrived, so I'll be turning out reviews of Escape Me Never (Errol Flynn, Ida Lupino, Eleanor Parker, Korngold music), 'Til the End of Time (Dorothy Maguire, Guy Madison, Robert Mitchum), Wicked, Wicked (Duo-Vision), Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Vol.2 (with Artists & Models), Boy Meets Girl (James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Marie Wilson), Why Be Good? (Coleen Moore) and Nicholas Ray's great The Lusty Men (Robert Mitchum, Susan Hayward, Arthur Kennedy). The WAC also has a new Forbidden Hollywood 8 collection out, but it will have to wait until next time.

Also promised soon from Shout! Factory is a Blu of The Boys from Brazil. And so many good KL Studio Classics titles from United Artists are here that I may cover three or four a week instead of two, just to makes sure my favorites are spoken for.

My Cannon Group reunion at the Cat & the Fiddle on Sunset went well last Friday night. My old boss and later business partner came down from Idaho, plus I got to talk with my other boss from MGM Home Video, with whom I worked ten very good years -- you know, putting kids through college, that sort of thing. I also got to see another good fellow that did me a truly good turn at Cannon -- at the time I was circulating a resume that was perfect for what the Cannon Trailer Department wanted --- someone with experience with kid commericals for some fairy tales they were doing. But I neglected to put a phone number or address on the resume. He tracked me down anyhow. How can you not remember a guy like that? Sometimes it seems like I've had nothing but good luck.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



December 06, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Safe
Blu-ray

  Todd Haynes's 1995 film starring Julianne Moore is genuinely profound; it's really not about 'environmental allergies' but a psycho-social alienation factor that's a real-world result of the same kinds of fears fantasized in paranoid '50s science fiction. Eerie, convincing, resonant on all levels -- Moore's upscale housewife spends the whole movie apologizing for things beyond her control. The extras further convince us that something's really wrong with the affluent self-obsessed, although one doesn't have to be rich -- we can all feel the undertow. In Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
12/6/14

Vincent Price in
Six Gothic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Region B (U.K.) Blu-ray

  Region B fans finally get their Vincent Price fix, in a widescreen & color bonus box containing six Price-Roger Corman hits: The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror, The Raven, The Haunted Palace and Tomb of Ligeia. The extras include hour-long docus on Corman and Peter Lorre, literary comparisons by Kim Newman and an amusing piece in which author Anne Billson gives us the horrifying truth about cats in horror films. In Region B Blu-ray from Arrow Video (U.K.).
12/6/14

and

The Quatermass Xperiment
Blu-ray

  Val Guest brings Nigel Kneale's teleplay to the big screen with Yankee Brian Donlevy as a belligerent Professor Quatermass, the rocket project director and red-tape bulldozer. The movie is prime sci-fi gold with a premise that birthed a hundred copycats and variations. Richard Wordsworth is Victor Carroon, the courageous first man into space who comes back infected with a gruesome, horrifying parasite. Thora Hird: "Walking? It was kind of ... crawling!" With great extra interviews with Val Guest by Marcus Hearn. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/6/14





Hello!


On a tight schedule today... what's in the links bag? Wait a minute, we have big news coming in from Twilight Time... here's the dispatch now.


TT is picky with the transfers they choose, and to me they've chosen well for March and April, 2015 ... great stuff, no kidding:


March 10: The Bounty, Solomon and Sheba, First Men In the Moon, U-Turn and Journey to the Center of the Earth (new 4k restoration!)

April 14: The Story of Adele H., The Fantasticks, April Love, The Remains of the Day and Richard III. This gives collectors a second shot at Journey to the Center of the Earth, while First Men In the Moon should improve dramatically in HD. April Love is the first movie I remember associated with a pop song, which sounded great in 1957. MGM snuck The Fantasticks out a side door when I was there and my efforts to see the directors' cut were unsuccessful. And finally, if Richard III is presented with good subtitles, I'll better understand yet another Shakespeare play.

Twilight Time also reminded us of already-booked titles for earlier in the year. Savant's faves among them are The Purple Rose of Cairo, Breaking Away ("Refund!"), The St. Valentine's Day Massacre and Stormy Weather. It's been ten years, so maybe it's time to try out Zardoz again, too!

Yep, an all TT column today... but when they release exciting titles, that's what happens. Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



December 01, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Blu-ray

  Frank Capra's most successful movie (or close to it) is an audience grabber that shows a powerhouse cast (James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains) in top form. Yokel Senator Jefferson Smith is given a fast lesson in corruption, but proves that the American system wins against daunting odds. Gets the girl, too. The story wants to solve the problem of American innocence with the message that enthusiastic inexperience can clear up our political quagmire, and that "knowing what's right" is the most important ingredient in Democracy. Fine filmmaking, inspiring acting yet the film puts the 'D' in demagoguery. In Blu-ray from Sony.
12/02/14

Birdman of Alcatraz
Blu-ray

  Burt Lancaster and John Frankenheimer prove that less is more, in a more or less true story of the federal inmate who rehabilitated himself by raising birds and studying their diseases, all in a solitary prison cell. Fine performances from Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter, Neville Brand, Betty Field and Telly Savalas. The film skews the facts about the famous Robert Stroud, softening his character and actions, but the statements about the prison system aren't false. Music by Elmer Bernstein (with an Isolated Score Track) and great B&W cinematography by Burnett Guffey. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
12/02/14

and

The Long Goodbye
Blu-ray

  Robert Altman plays a game of Rip Van Winkle with Chandler's Philip Marlowe, giving us Elliott Gould moping around Los Angeles, driving a 1948 Lincoln and repeating "That's okay by me" even when it's really not. The laid-back and loose Gould may not look like Bogart but he's an equally dedicated believer in the private detective's White Knight Code. Marvelous hazy L.A. cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond and great acting from Sterling Hayden, Nina Van Pallandt and the most talented tabby cat in movie history. Altman makes Marlowe as nostalgic as old Hollywood movies, but our hero knows when he's had enough. With an excellent Altman-Gould interview; In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/02/14




Hello!

I saw three new pictures over the weekend that I can heartily recommend. Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman with Hilary Swank is really impressive, an unusual, honest western. If you think you might want to see it, by all means read NOTHING about it first.

James Marsh's The Theory of Everything shapes up as a surefire audience-pleaser and an intelligent and respectful handling of a delicate subject. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are outstanding; it's more of a romance than a story of an illness. Redmayne's impersonation of Stephen Hawking is dead-on, without the expected showboating.

The advance notice on Iñárritu's Birdman makes it sound intimidatingly difficult to understand, which is nonsense. It's entertaining all the way through, funny and likeable at all times, even at its spaciest. Michael Keaton's best performance? I'd have to say yes. I also like Ed Norton better than in anything else I've seen him in. The backstage camera gimmicks and the semi-fantasy trappings are hugely enjoyable.


Preview Review Notice: The KL Studio Classics Blu-ray of The Quatermass Xperiment just arrived and I checked it out ... it all looks good and the promised extras are in place. I hope to have that and a review of Arrow's U.K. Vincent Price Box polished and up by the weekend. It's hard to believe -- two of the top three classic Brit Sci-fi pictures, released within two weeks of each other!


It's December first, which gets me to thinking that I'd better start figuring out my Savant 'best of' list for the year. I've really made this a personal enterprise, by expanding the number of titles on the list and then renaming the list to remove any responsibility for my judgment -- it's a purely subjective list of titles that personally appeal. I order them by looking at the whole list, sifting out the also-rans and then judging the rest by deciding which I'd toss into a fire first. 'Subjective' means never having to say you're sorry, besides being a good dodge to avoid defending my choices!

Here are winners of the last three years. Note first that what I've chosen aren't the best movies in terms of movies or even the best-produced discs. Ten years ago that would make Criterion the winner in all slots, but now we have almost ten disc companies producing consistent quality discs of library favorites.

2013:  1. Zulu Dawn  2. Wild River  3. Gorgo  4. Dracula  5. Stromboli, Europe '51, Journey to Italy  6. Les Maudits  7. Cinerama South Seas Adventure  8. Hard Times  9. Loophole  10. The Puppetoon Movie  11. The Big Parade  12. Le joli Mai  13. Bullfighter and the Lady  14. No  15. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec  16. The Little Fugitive.

2012:  1. Death Watch  2. The Roots of Heaven  3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers  4. The U.P.A. Jolly Frolics Collection  5. Miracle in Milan  6. In Which We Serve, This Happy Breed, Blithe Spirit, Brief Encounter  7. On the Bowery: The Films of Lionel Rogosin Volume 1  8. The Nibelungen  9. The Most Dangerous Game  10. Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection  11. The Hanging Tree  12. Even the Rain  13. The Big Gundown  14. Lone Wolf and Cub: Complete 6-Film Collection  15. End of the Road.

2011:  1. Island of Lost Souls  2. The Constant Nymph  3. The Prowler  4. The Egyptian  5. The Complete Jean Vigo  6. Prohibition  7. The Breaking Point  8. Sweet Smell of Success  9. Adua And Her Friends  10. The Kremlin Letter  11. Park Row  12. Senso,  13. Treasures 5, The West: 1898-1938  14. Horror Express  15. The Primrose Path.

Why do we collect movies? I'd be happy to pull any of these off a shelf and show it to somebody right now. The link to these 'Favorite disc' articles is here on the front page, up top under the animated logo. They go back to 2001, forming a quickie history of discs that begins six years before Blu-ray. The hundreds of titles I'll be sorting through are listed farther below on this page, organized by month.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson


Don't forget to write Savant at [email protected].

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