Blu-ray News & Reviews
In a Lonely Place (1950) (** 1/2) was one of two films released in 1950 to feature a washed up Hollywood screenwriter as its protagonist, the other film being Sunset Boulevard. This one falls short in comparison to that Billy Wilder classic. Still, Humphrey Bogart is terrific as the writer of films who is wrongfully accused of murder and winds up falling in love with the only woman who can provide an alibi (Gloria Grahame). Unfortunately, I find the film to be a bit uneven for my tastes. Extras on the Criterion release include audio commentary, documentaries and an essay booklet.
Where To Invade Next (2016) (***) (Anchor Bay) is documentarian Michael Moore’s latest film as he travels the world in search of great ideas that can be utilized back home in the United States to make life better for our citizens. If you’re a fan of Moore’s work you’re likely to dig it. Others beware.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016) (** 1/2) (Paramount) is director Michael Bay’s take on the battle of Benghazi. It’s a decent film as long as one doesn’t scrutinize the facts too closely. There are rousing action scenes to be sure but the film does satisfy from time to time. Extras include several documentaries.
Triple 9 (2016) (**) (Universal) features an all star cast in the tale of a couple of Atlanta cops who are working both sides of the law and are responsible for a slew of bank robberies. Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie and Chiwetel Ejiofor are among the film’s impressive roster of talent. Extras include deleted scenes and documentaries.
Twilight Time, whose releases are limited to a pressing of 3000 units for each of their titles, has issued a new batch of classics during the month. Their product can be ordered via www.twilighttimemovies.com and www.screenarchives.com. This month’s offerings include the following titles:
Eureka (1983) (** ½) This is a very interesting but forgotten piece of cinema from director Nicholas Roeg (Don’t Look Now, Man Who Fell To Earth). The tale of a gold prospector (Gene Hackman) who finds fortune but not happiness is wonderfully aided by a great supporting cast (Joe Pesci, Rutger Hauer, Theresa Russell) and, of course, Roeg’s prowess as a director. As a film it doesn’t always succeed but it's well worth a look. There are copious amounts of special features on this one including a Roeg commentary, isolated music score and several featurettes.
Lee Marvin won an Oscar for Cat Ballou
Cat Ballou (1965) (** ½) is regarded as one of the benchmarks in western comedy and even netted the film’s co-star, Lee Marvin, an Oscar. I, however, find it to be nowhere near as funny as its reputation suggests. Jane Fonda is good in the title role, a woman whose singular goal is to avenger her father’s death, and the film does feature a great supporting cast. Special features include commentary track, isolated score track and the original trailer.
Appassionata (1974) (**) Two girls come of age and vie for the attention of the father of one of the girls while the unhappy wife of the man struggles with finding meaning in her life as well. That, in a nutshell, is the plot of Appasionata, a 1974 film by director Gianluigi Calderone that occasionally rises above the average mid 70s adult film to which it is often compared. The disc features an isolated score track as a bonus.
I Could Go on Singing (1963) (** ½) served as Judy Garland’s cinematic swan song. In the film, Garland stars as a songstress who regrets abandoning her son many years ago and is attempting to make amends, much to the consternation of the boy’s father (Dick Bogarde). Judy memorably performs four songs in the film and the film’s sumptuous widescreen is nicely captured on the Twilight Time release. Extras include several commentaries, including one with the film’s producer. There’s also an isolated score track.
Also coming in June to retailer shelves: Hail Caesar, Anomalisa, The Martian: Extended Edition, Zootopia, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Star trek II (Ultra 4K), Eddie the Eagle, Jaws 2-4 and a collection of all of the Airport films.
Garden of Evil (1954) (***) Hugh Marlowe stars in director Henry Hathaway’s western tale of a man trapped in a gold mine located on Native American soil. His wife (Susan Hayward) hires a trio of gold miners (Gary Cooper, Richard Widmark, Cameron Mitchell) to comandeer a rescue in this above average western from director Henry Hathaway. The film features outstanding Cinemascope lensing and a great score by renowned composer Bernard Herrmann, a score that can be found on an isolated track as an extra along with several commentaries and the film’s trailers.
Kino Lorbre has issued some classics from the vaults and a few of their recent releases include:
Back Roads (1981) (**) stars Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, respectively, as a hooker and a call girl who fall in love on the way to California. This was the second of the great director Martin Ritt’s collaborations with Field which began with the Oscar winning Norma Rae two years prior. Unfortunately, the film has a generic feel in spite of its great widescreen photography by the great John A. Alonzo.
Candy (1968) (** 1/2) This is writer Buck Henry’s adaptation of the Terry Southern novel about a girl’s journey to sexual discovery and starring Ewa Aulin in the lead. The cast alone, which features Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Walter Matthau, John Huston and Ringo Starr, makes this one worth a look. Extras include an interview with Buck Henry and critic and historian, Kim Morgan. The disc also comes with a new 2k restoration of the film.
Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me (1971) (**) stars Dustin Hoffman as a rock musician having a mid-life crisis and features music by Shel Silverstein. Its narrative, however, is so disjointed that it makes the film hard to digest in spite of some great performances by Hoffman and Barabara Harris, the latter of which received an Oscar nod for the film.
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