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dana martin

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Last Night's Double Feature Presentation
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finished up the last two titles, this is an all around excellent set, and for those that missed out on the limited edition, well Arrow has released this standard edition, like a week ago, with just the four blu rays, , comes in a nice slipbox, with two UK double disc cases, and reversible cover art, Four solid films, with Outstanding special features and the transfers are as they should be.

not the best of the bunch, but gotta love the big combo , just for the cast alone, any film that can have a secondary cast of
Brian Donlevey, Robert Middleton, John Hoyt, Lee Van Cleef, Earl Holliman, Ted de Corsia, Jay Adler and filmed by John Alton cant be bad at all :D
 

Robert Crawford

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Last Night's Double Feature Presentation
View attachment 76278 View attachment 76279 View attachment 76280

finished up the last two titles, this is an all around excellent set, and for those that missed out on the limited edition, well Arrow has released this standard edition, like a week ago, with just the four blu rays, , comes in a nice slipbox, with two UK double disc cases, and reversible cover art, Four solid films, with Outstanding special features and the transfers are as they should be.

not the best of the bunch, but gotta love the big combo , just for the cast alone, any film that can have a secondary cast of
Brian Donlevey, Robert Middleton, John Hoyt, Lee Van Cleef, Earl Holliman, Ted de Corsia, Jay Adler and filmed by John Alton cant be bad at all :D
I bought this box even though I already had all four movie titles on Blu-ray. It's an outstanding set with plenty of bonus material which fueled my desire to buy this box set.
 

dana martin

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I bought this box even though I already had all four movie titles on Blu-ray. It's an outstanding set with plenty of bonus material which fueled my desire to buy this box set.
the supplements were great, at deconstructing the films, i actually found my self watching all of them prior to viewing the films themselves. The radio plays were just the icing on the cake, would be nice to see if another set like this materializes from Arrow, and i am so happy that I picked up this set on Arrows recent Summer Camp Sale. Need a small break from Noir just for a moment, maybe something with the Grandkids this weekend.
 

Robin9

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And hoo, boy, this Warner Archive DVD-R is not ready for Blu-ray. Lots of dirt, damage, reel cues, etc. I doubt we'll ever see a Blu-ray of it.
I too have many Warner Archive DVD-Rs which indicate the elements are in very poor condition and entirely unsuitable for high definition. This simple point is frequently overlooked by those who continually complain about Warner Archive not releasing all their favorite movies on Blu-ray disc.

Last night I watched Dodsworth which I hadn't seen for a long time. I think it's a brilliant film and I found it fascinating to see David Niven and Paul Lucas playing romantic opportunists. Mary Astor, as always, was superb.
 

bujaki

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Murder! (Kino BD) 1930. Hitchcock's 2nd sound feature already finds him further exploring the medium and expanding the possibilities of sound. Most impressive is the scene of the jury deliberating the fate of the accused and the reading of the verdict. There are flashes of humor scattered throughout. There are also some dead spots where the action just slows down and could have used some tightening. The final reveal hinges on a shockingly racist attitude! The transfer is very good. The print shows a few instances of damage, but nothing serious. First viewing in over 45 years.
Mary (Kino BD) 1930. Featured as a bonus on the Murder! disc, this is the German-language version of said film, also directed by Hitchcock, albeit with a German cast. It is a tighter film, but it also omits many felicities from the British version. Now I can claim to have seen all of the Master's films save for the lost one. Essential viewing if only for that reason.
Paranoia (Severin BD) 1969. The X-rated version released in the USA of Lenzi's Orgasmo. It is a shorter version, making less sense than the Italian version, but adding a bit more female nudity (much more of Ms. Baker). So the two female leads show a lot of flesh, though not everything, but the male lead just shows his slightly pudgy belly. Nothing lost, really. Best to stick to the Italian Orgasmo, a much better film.
 

Dave Moritz

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August 1st, 2020 Saturday

Last two days of my vacation!

The Avengers
4K Blu-ray / HDR
Dolby Atmos 7.1.4


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Terminator 2: Judgement Day
4K Digital / HDR
5.1 Dolby upmixed to Auro 7.1

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Jake Lipson

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Tonight:

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The announcement of the imminent new 4K release got me in the mood to watch these films again, so I started with the original tonight. I'm not sure if I will need the new edition or not because I'm not 4K equipped, but watching it reminded me why I would consider another dip. This film is almost perfect. I haven't watched it in a while, but I still found that I remembered all of it with precision, and I don't mind at all. It's just as effective now as the first time I saw it, and that's not always the case.

For whatever reason, I didn't have the VHS growing up. I first saw it as a rental from my library in I think summer 2002 or so when I would've been about 13 or 14. It even (mostly) worked in crappy pan and scan! I remember saving up my allowance to get the DVD set when it came out in December 2002, which was more expensive than most of what I would get because it was three movies. But it was worth it.

Although the 1985 stuff was current when it came out, both sections of the film were period pieces by the time I saw it, but that didn't matter. Even though both years depicted in the film are well before I was alive, it felt contemporary to me in the sense that there was no barrier between me and empathizing with Marty. He is so well-defined as a character, both in the way that he was written and in the way that Michael J. Fox played him, that I instantly invested in his journey regardless of our time difference. He is easily on the shortlist as one of the best movie protagonists of all time.

Prior to seeing this film, I had seen Christopher Lloyd in a few things, but my favorite was his work as the voice of Rasputin in Anastasia. I knew he could be likable from Angels in the Outfield, but still; to watch someone that I knew terrified me in Anastasia film suddenly become this hilarious, warm-hearted guy was quite a shift. But that he pulled both off is a credit to the range of his abilities. I also tended to gravitate toward friendships with adult mentor figures when I was younger, so I totally bought the close friendship between Marty and Doc from the beginning.

The film became a favorite of mine before I even finished the first viewing and has held up every time since. The existing Blu-ray is pretty great -- it didn't look deficient to me as I was watching it tonight -- but if Universal's new remaster can actually make it look even better, that is something I would probably want. As a huge fan of musicals, I'm really curious about the new bonus features about the stage musical. I hope that can come back at some point as I'm really interested in how this would work as a stage show, and I would buy a cast album if they get to do one; however, the coronavirus shut it down almost as soon as it began. Previews started February 20 and it shut down on March 12.

I noticed tonight, though, one thing that struck me as odd The film attributes the quote "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything" to Doc Brown as something that he "always" says. It then gets passed around from character to character. But Doc Brown never actually says it. Obviously, the movie works like gangbusters either way, but it seems odd that Zemeckis and Gale never found a spot for him to say it despite crediting him as the original source of the sentiment. It seems like he could've said it at least once when seeing that the time machine works, either in 1985 when testing it with Einstein or in 1955 after Marty returns to 1985.

I'll probably continue with Part II tomorrow. That one is now inexorably linked in my memory with a complete fiasco involved with seeing it in theaters on October 21, 2015, which was supposed to be such a fun event but could not have possibly gone worse. But of course I still love it.
 
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Adam Lenhardt

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Just Mercy
Originally Released: 12/25/2019
Watched: 08/01/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Apple TV app via Roku Ultra

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I moved this movie to the top of my viewing queue after listening to an extended interview with the real Bryan Stevenson on Ezra Klein's podcast. I wanted to learn more about this fascinating individual.

But this movie isn't really about Bryan Stevenson; Michael B. Jordan gives a terrific performance as Stevenson, but the role of Stevenson as a character is to provide the audience a skilled and knowledgeable window with which to view an uncomfortable facet of American life.

Most courtroom dramas are about individuals: the victim, the accused, the defense attorney, and the prosecutor. We therefore tend to view justice or injustice on those same individualistic terms. Jamie Foxx is phenomenal as the central defendant in this movie, Walter "Johnny D." McMillian, whose story is both incredibly compelling and incredibly heartbreaking.

But this movie is much more interested in the systems that create injustice and propagate it. If most movies assume that our legal system is just, and that miscarriages of justice are notable outliers, this movie comes close to assuming the opposite: that, for certain demographics, our legal system is inherently unjust, and that cases where justice is actually achieved are the notable outliers.

While it is a period piece, it's a period piece that takes place entirely within my own lifetime, from 1987 through the mid-nineties. Movies like The Long Walk Home and Mississippi Burning confront issues of racial injustice as historical events from the bad old days before the civil rights movement carried the day. But Walter McMillian was sitting on death row for a murder he didn't commit, and that the DA knew he didn't commit, when both of those movies hit theaters.

While this movie charts McMillian's case through the courts, it also interrogates circumstances that led to him ending up on death row to begin with: A high profile murder case with no easy answers, racism, coerced testimony, inadequate counsel for a defendant of limited means, discriminatory jury selection, judicial overrides of jury sentences (repealed by the Alabama legislature in 2017), and so on.

Notably, it doesn't portray McMilliian as saint-like and unblemished; an interracial affair behind his wife's back is noted as one of the things that put him on the police's radar. But it argues forcefully that you shouldn't have to be entirely without sin to deserve justice. Another inmate, in the cell next to McMillian's, actually did kill someone. The facts underlying his conviction and death sentence are not in dispute. But the movie takes time to understand this man as a human being, and to present an argument for why his life deserves to be spared even though he is guilty of taking a life himself.

For a movie grappling with such weighty ideas, there is an understatement to it that makes it more effective than a more dramatic telling would have been. Almost as much of the runtime is spent in municipal clerk offices and county records rooms as is spent in courtrooms.

It also helps that so many of the characters are allowed to be three-dimensional, including a few of the people responsible for McMillian's unjust punishment. Short Term 12, a previous collaboration between Destin Daniel Cretton and Brie Larson, featured a similar combination of nuanced, specific characterization and earnest advocacy.
 
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Robin9

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I watched the Criterion Blu-ray disc of The Cranes Are Flying yesterday. I don't think the film's the great masterpiece that some people say, but it is a good and interesting movie. I've always wanted to see this film ever since my mother expressed a wish to see it when it first came out. I'm not sure she ever did see it.

I'll try the "supplements" today. If they're not interesting - and most "extras" bore me - I'll watch The League Of Gentlemen.
 
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HawksFord

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Nowhere in Africa (2001) - I'm not sure I had even heard of this Academy Award winning film before buying the Kino Lorber blu-ray. I know I had not seen it previously. It's a German film about a relatively prosperous, urban Jewish family who leaves Germany during the rise of the Third Reich and tries to make a life in rural Kenya. They have to deal with suspicious British, a native culture they don't understand, the poor farming conditions where they first settle, as well as their own differing expectations. There are some very good performances here and the Kenyan setting is stunning. We both really liked this one. The blu-ray includes some interviews and a "making of" documentary all of which are informative.
 
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BobO'Link

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My youngest grandkids are at my house for a few days (ages 4, 6, 9) and their 10yo cousin (my daughter's youngest) is here to play so we watched:

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And I still find them quite funny - stupid at times, but funny.
 

bujaki

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Watched 7 films yesterday starting with a silent Western, ending with a Technicolor one. I was starved for color because all the other films were in glorious B&W.
The Virginian 1923. A Blackhawk print that claims footage has been lost to time. Serviceable version of the story with a welcome performance from Florence Vidor. In subsequent days I'll rewatch the '29 and '46 versions. Now, if I could get my hands on the first silent version...
Brown of Harvard 1926. The movie that made William Haines a star with his persona of brash, entitled young men who are taught a life lesson in humility before the fade out. He is good here and so is Jack Pickford (Mary's brother). This film is notable as the debut of a certain John Wayne playing football for Yale.
Paracelsus (Kino BD) 1943. A film that had escaped my net. Directed by GW Pabst during the Nazi regime, it is a biopic in the WB mold of Pasteur and Zola, following a few years in the career of Paracelsus and his battle against a rigid regime of medical stupidity, governmental rigidity, commercial cupidity in the face of the plague. His recipe for survival: strict quarantine of the city and the closure of all commerce. Sounds familiar? It worked! Anyway, some very interesting set pieces, including a dance of St. Vitus which has to be seen to be believed, and a march of flagellants.
Abandoned (Kino BD) 1949. Busting a baby racket that includes murder most foul. Raymond Burr is menacing but he's a pussycat next to Mike Mazurki and the cold-blooded Marjorie Rambeau. Moves at a fast clip with Dennis O'Keefe as the journalist helping the young woman and the DA's office. William Daniels (Garbo's DP) shot it.
Angel (Kino BD) 1937. Neglected--albeit beloved--wife of diplomat meets man and has a one-night stand with him. This, being a Lubitsch film, will create myriad, but subtle, complications to this triangle. The choice between the 2 men will be Marlene's, but the real choice will be made by the husband after a lady or the tiger struggle in which everything seems lost to him. Charles Lang's cinematography shines.
The Flesh and the Fiends (Kino BD) 1960. First viewing, opted for the Continental version with lots of naughty parts and raw violence. The picture quality is soft and variable but the film is so good that one just soldiers on. Cushing is excellent as a matter of course, but Pleasance and Rose are unforgettable as Burke and Hare, grave robbers, murderers and corpse suppliers to Dr. Knox. Disc includes the cut American version. Why bother?
Whispering Smith (Kino BD) 1948. First viewing. Closing with a Technicolor Western. And a fine one at that. Ladd and Robert Preston, old friends who wind up on opposite ends of gun barrels. Very good transfer of a very good film that I enjoyed very much.
 

Matt Hough

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I started watching Ken Burns' The Civil War tonight. I think I missed an episode or two during its PBS broadcast, so I'm happy now to have the entire series to watch at my leisure.
 

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