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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Crawford, May 11, 2013.
The Mill Creek Blu-ray disc of The Ugly American has arrived so I'll be watching that tonight.
You guys got to me. We watched Great Buster last night. I liked it very much but now I gotta go watch The General again. I blame both of you.
The House of the Seven Gables (Kino BD) 1940. Directed by the German expat Joe May, whose Hollywood career was not as stellar as the one in his native Germany. Excellent performance from a favorite, Margaret Lindsay; ably supported by George Sanders and Vincent Price. Good adaptation of the Hawthorne classic. Very good PQ.
Little Old New York (Kickstarter DVD-R) 1923. Library of Congress restoration of a Marion Davies' film. Davies plays an Irish lass who emigrates to NY and masquerades as a boy in order to inherit a fortune. She helps Robert Fulton build his first steamship. Fanciful comedy/drama with the usual suspects of early 19th-century NY. Produced by Hearst and directed by Sidney Olcott. One of the top hits of 1923, saved from oblivion.
Escape Room (2019): Decent horror flick about an escape room from hell. Six people are invited to experience the greatest escape room of all time, with a reward of $10,000 to anyone who solves it. Nastiness ensues. The progression of rooms is pretty cool and inventive, and I was entertained throughout the movie. It should be obvious, don't expect much logic to it all. Like so many movies of this type, the main concept is thought out better than the resolution. I was reminded of Cube and a little bit of Legend of Hell House. A decent diversion.
August 28th, 2019 Wednesday
4K UHD Blu-ray
Dolby Atmos 7.1.4
Streamed exclusively last night:
Craig's Wife (Criterion Channel) 1936. Directed by Dorothy Arzner. Fine version of the Pulitzer-prize-winning play. Last watched in a very good 35mm print in NYC sometime in the Stone Age.
Damn the Defiant! (Criterion Channel) 1962. Alec Guiness and Dirk Bogarde. Very fine film about British navy conditions in 1797. Good action sequences. Last watched this in a 35mm 'Scope print in '63.
Stepping Out (TCM app) 1931. Racy pre-Code comedy from MGM starring the irrepressible Charlotte Greenwood. Enjoyable. Had never seen this one.
Gambit (TCM) 1966. Ronald Neame directed this delightful caper film starring Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine. Saw this one when it came out, and not since.
On Blu-ray from Warner Archive:
Visuals were stunning but one can't help but compare to the original animated and it comes up short. Worth the watch but not on the re-watch pile.
Not very good. But I think most people knew that already:
Bruce Willis should get better scripts.
With over-the-top-what's-his-name at the helm, I was hoping for something more extreme, but it was kind of tofu.
Le Professionel (Kino BD) 1981. Belmondo directed by Georges Lautner. Tight revenge plot of rogue agent betrayed by his government bent now on getting even. Very cynical. There will be casualties. Scored by Ennio Morricone.
The Champagne Murders (Kino BD) 1967. Chabrol and Audran combined always mean murder. Who is killed in this sick, very sick thriller? Stars Anthony Perkins, Maurice Ronet, Yvonne Furneaux. Minor Chabrol but still compelling. Audran is simply amazing in tricky role.
They Might Be Giants (Kino BD) 1971. Scott and Woodward in a fizzy cocktail written by James Goldman and directed by Anthony Harvey. Funny and touching fable touching on the power of faith and love.
Between reviewing two TV box sets, I spent the evening with June Allyson. First was Good News, a musical I have seen and loved many times.
Then I watched High Barbaree, a film with her and Van Johnson that I had never seen before. I knew that some of the tornado special effect footage from The Wizard of Oz was used in this film, but that was all I knew about it. I was surprised how much I liked it telling in flashback the story of a boy and girl who were fated to be with one another. Great supporting cast, too: Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell, Geraldine Wall, Cameron Mitchell, Henry Hull, and Claude Jarman, Jr. as the young Van Johnson. I know the movie didn't do well at the box-office when it was released, but I enjoyed it.
Edward II (Film Movement Classics BD) 1991. Derek Jarman's unorthodox but brilliant adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's play. Tilda Swinton won the Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival for her galvanizing performance as Edward's queen. A highlight of the film is the scene where Edward bids farewell to his lover, Lord Gaveston, both clad in their pajamas, dancing slowly and tenderly to the lovely rendition of Cole Porter's bittersweet ballad Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye performed indelibly by Annie Lennox. Impeccable PQ and audio.
The Tiger Makes Out (TCM) 1967. Arthur Hiller directs Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson as they recreate their stage roles. Amusing comedy that goes to unexpected places. The leads are wonderful together (real-life married couple).
Justin de Marseille (Pathe BD Zone Free) 1935. Directed by the great Maurice Tourneur. Rival gangs, drug trafficking, white slavery, honor among thieves: a heady mix directed with bravura and a sure hand. Exquisite use of light and camera movement. Restored and it looks it. Highly recommended.
Disobedience (2017): After the death of her father, Ronit Krushka (Rachel Weisz) returns to the orthodox Jewish London community she abruptly left ten years earlier. Her father was a highly respected Rav, and she has had no contact with him, or anyone from her childhood since her departure. She has spent the last ten years working in New York as a photographer, using the name Ronnie Curtis.
It's probably best to go into a viewing of Disobedience not knowing many more details than that. Like a lot of movies, trailers, reviews and synopses reveal far too much. I didn't know any more than I've already said, so I'll just talk about generalities. I think this could have been a great movie, and it does have a lot of great moments. There are several related themes playing out, but I feel there was a desire to increase the movie's popularity by including scenes that are distractingly salacious. To me, they ground the flow of the movie to a halt and sold the greater concept short. The movie is rated 'R', but I was a little surprised it wasn't 'NC-17' due to that five minutes.
That one (to me, annoying) flaw doesn't erase the rest of the story, which is definitely powerful. It deals with the paradox of Faith, Orthodoxy, Grace, and Free Will, and takes them on head first. In fact, I'd say that the final 25 minutes are as good as drama gets. A wonderful example where everyone sacrifices and nobody gets what they (think they) want, but they all ultimately follow the guidance of their mutual love for each other.
Alessandro Nivola is the real surprise here. He is outstanding.
BTW, it's free on Prime.
Well, doesn't that sound... interesting.
Peg and I took time tonight for:
Jean Arthur was a revelation. I don't think I've ever seen her in a film before.
Not even in Shane? Mr. Smith Goes To Washington?
I used to love Jean Arthur when I was in my twenties and thirties. Now, I can see the calculation and that she uses the same mannerisms repeatedly.
She's not a Stanwyck nor Davis, but Arthur was a fine comedic actress despite your critique of her acting style.
Yes, I would have thought you'd have stumbled across Shane, Mike.