July Blu-ray News & Reviews
Dr. Strangelove (1964) (****) Regarding this film, there isn’t much that this reviewer can say that hasn’t been said more eloquently elsewhere so I’m not going to try. Suffice it to say that if you haven’t seen Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant Cold War satire, there’s no better time than now since Criterion has just issued a beautifully remastered edition, which includes such attributes as a new 4k transfer, documentaries on the making of the film, audio interviews with Kubrick, new interviews with Kubrick’s colleagues and even an excerpted 1980 interview from The Today Show with Peter Sellers. It’s a must own.
Hail Caesar (2016) (** ½) (Universal) is the latest effort from the celebrated Coen Brothers but the satire of 1950s Hollywood pales in comparison to the Coens’ other take on Hollywood, Barton Fink. Extras include documentaries/featurettes.
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) (** ½) (Paramount) The quasi sequel to the 2008 hit Cloverfield is half of a good film, part hostage drama and part sci-fi picture. The two different halves, however, never congeal into one good whole, although John Goodman turns in some excellent work in the film. Extras include featurettes.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016) (**) (Universal) The sequel to the surprise hit of 2002 features the original cast members plus a few new additions. Here the couple deals with a troubled teen and another Greek wedding. Extras include a gag reel.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (** ½) (Paramount) The true story of NY Times reporter Kim Barker, who opted to quit her desk job and head to Afghanistan in the early 2000s. The film is an uneasy blend of comedy/drama that sometimes works but is a mixed bag on the whole. Extras include featurettes.
Peter Sellars in Dr. Strangelove
Anomalisa (2016) (***) (Paramount) The 2016 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature is a touching film about lonely people attempting to find each other, written/co-directed by the one of a kind Charlie Kaufman and features great voice work by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan. Extras include featurettes.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) (*** ½) (Paramount) is certainly one of the best of the Star Trek film series as the crew take on one of the most memorable villains in the Star Trek canon, Khan. It’s a great blend of action/human drama that still holds up. Director’s cut runs four extra minutes and there are several new documentaries that have been added to this release.
Eye in the Sky (2016) (Universal) (***) features Alan Rickman in his last performance in this interesting take on the moral dilemmas presented by drone warfare. Aaron Paul and Helen Mirren also star. Extras include 2 featurettes.
The Crush (1993) (Scream Factory) (** ½) is a fun variation on Play Misty For Me/Fatal Attraction with Alicia Silverstone as a teen fixated on a much older man (Cary Elwes). Extras include new commentary and interviews with the film’s stars.
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:
Rollerball (1975) (***) is director Norman Jewison’s dystopian tale of a future (2018!) where the national pastime is the violent sport of the film’s title. James Caan is the star of the sport, who’s being forced out by the power’s that be and refuses to go along with their plans. The action sequences really rock. Extras include director commentary, isolated score and featurettes.
The Panic in Needle Park (1971) (***) stars Kitty Winn and Al Pacino (in a career making performance) as two fated heroin addicts in NYC. It’s one of the best of the early 70s drug films to be sure. Extras include isolated score track, featurettes and the film’s trailer.
The Member of the Wedding (1952) (** ½) stars Julie Harris in this film adaptation of Carson McCuller’s celebrated play about a twelve-year old girl who wants to escape her humdrum existence. It’s a bit stagey but well made, featuring great supporting work by Ethel Waters and Brandon DeWilde. Extras include commentaries and featurettes.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) (***) The Hammer studios version of the classic Sherlock Holmes tale is, without a doubt, the best of the many adaptations of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story and this one has the added bonus of having Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in its cast. Extras include score track, commentaries and featurettes.
Romeo is Bleeding (1993) (***) Gary Oldman and Lena Olin provide the onscreen cinematic fireworks in this early 90s nod to the film noir genre as hitman Oldman is hired to take out assassin Olin, the latter of which outwits him at every turn. Extras include score track and the film’s trailer.
Inserts (1975) (* ½) Richard Dreyfus stars as a down on his luck 1930s movie director whose life has been reduced to directing stag films in his house. Bob Hoskins and Jessica Harper also star. The film has a cult following, although its charms were lost on me. Extras include score track and theatrical trailer.
Coming soon: I Saw the Light, Green Room, Everybody Wants Some, Demolition, Batman V. Superman, Return of the Living Dead: Collector’s Edition, Nighthawks, The In Laws.
Questions or comments? Filmfan1970@hotmail.com or find me on Facebook.