Onibaba 10/19/21

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

“Put on the MASK!” That line comes from a different horror movie, but its impact is a tight fit for Kaneto Shindo’s harrowing costume creepshow about mother & daughter feudal peasants that make a living by murdering lost soldiers that drift their way. Mix superstition with greed and murderous revenge and the result is some big shocks, combined with eerie, unforgettable imagery. Put on the mask, alright… but can you take it off?  I’m looking forward to reviewer Charlie Largent’s take on this horror classic, in a new special edition, on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
10/19/21

Audrey Hepburn 7 – Movie Collection 10/19/21

Paramount Viacom CBS
Blu-ray

It’s been said that American women of the 1950s admired Marilyn Monroe, but they wanted to be Audrey Hepburn, who projected an entirely different appeal. Hepburn had talent, grace, a dazzling smile and the strength to overcome any obstacle. Paramount now rounds up their Audrey Hepburn holdings to release this seven-picture ode to the great actress, the sentimental favorite. Several are near-perfect entertainments, great films everybody should see. All are handsomely remastered in HD, in their proper aspect ratios: Roman Holiday, Sabrina, War and Peace ’56, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Paris When It Sizzles and My Fair Lady. I’d consider this definite holiday gift-giving material. On Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment.
10/19/21

Ad Nauseam 10/19/21

1984 Publishing
Book Review

Charlie Largent dares open the pages to the sleaziest of the sleazy — the movie ads that found 101 ways to dare us to take in the who-the-hell-knows-what? abominations playing at the drive-in, promising all manner of horrors and sometimes delivering them. Author Michael Gingold ushers us into the smeary newsprint realm of the ‘ad mat’ — which for aberrant horror meant come-on lines like, “If this movie doesn’t make your skin crawl. . . it’s on too tight!” and “To avoid fainting just keep repeating it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie. . . ”  Charlie assures us that these 368 pages of pure guignol nostalgia also constitute good reportage — it’s amazing how many re-titlings some of these pictures incurred. Now In Print from 1984 Publishing.
10/19/21

Corridor of Mirrors 10/16/21

Cohen Media Group
Blu-ray

Let loose some airy English film aesthetes with a big budget, a French film studio and a theme somewhere between Marcel Proust and Jean Cocteau, and back comes this strange, slightly off-balance but extremely impressive objet d’art. Eric Portman is really good, Edana Romney not so much. English actresses Barbara Mullen and Joan Maude compensate greatly — they’re haunting, actually. For his first job of direction Terence Young gives us a flash of Christopher Lee in his first film, along with pretty Lois Maxwell. Content-wise this has the screwiest construction … its style and obsessions are split between the two films presently rated the best ever made!  Expect something different: the baroque style may prompt some viewers to reach for the ‘eject’ button. On Blu-rayfrom The Cohen Group.
10/16/21

Gray Lady Down 10/16/21

Powerhouse Indicator
Region B Blu-ray

Military ensemble pictures work well when the excitement is all about the job and working under pressure: Charlton Heston, Stacy Keach, Ned Beatty and even David Carradine are excellent in this credible story about a near-impossible rescue of submariners trapped 1400 feet below. It’s a solid Navy disaster scenario, unusually authentic and realistic — until the dramatists require actor Ronny Cox to act like an emotional idiot. Those U.K. disc producers do it justice with some excellent extras, including a piece with a Navy specialist who worked with the rescue craft seen in the movie… and who later became a well-known film historian, author and film series organizer. On Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
10/16/21

Universal Classic Monsters Icons of Horror Collection 4K 10/12/21

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
4K Ultra HD + Blu Ray + Digital

Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and The Wolf Man get the boost to 4K. Those Blu-ray sets nine years ago were pretty darn impressive; what’s the improvement here?   The deluxe gift-ready package naturally comes with all of Universal’s many extras accumulated over the last twenty years. I haven’t seen Karloff for a while, and he’s more impressive than ever; plus this time we can appreciate how much performing Bela Lugosi does with just his hands. Also starring Claude Rains and Lon Chaney Jr., in their top Universal horror appearances. On 4K Ultra-HD + Blu-ray + Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
10/12/21

A Night at the Opera 10/12/21

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent takes on the Marx Brothers’ biggest hit for MGM, a combo operetta and Marx Mania laugh fest that includes some of Groucho’s best comic interactions with Margaret Dumont. A pack of notable writers contributed to this with and without credit; Metro must have wanted to ‘raise the culture level’ one way or another. And heck, we love Kitty Carlisle, and Allan Jones sang here around the same time he was in Showboat over at Universal. Will Otis B. Driftwood ever have his way with Mrs. Claypool?  Who knows, this time the movie may be different. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
10/12/21

Inglourious Basterds 4K 10/09/21

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
4K Ultra HD + Blu Ray + Digital

“We in the killin’ Nazi bizness. An’ cousin, bizness is boomin’!” Brad Pitt scalps his enemies, Mélanie Laurent serves up a killer double bill for the Führer, Michael Fassbinder is a movie critic turned secret agent, and the amazing Christophe Waltz makes all previous movie villains seem lightweight. Now on 4K Ultra HD, Quentin Tarantino’s brutal-but-funny war movie is really a critique of Hollywood escapism. It’s the ultimate wish fulfillment fantasy for every trigger-happy Audie Murphy Jr. who ever attended a matinee. I thought the movie would be tarred and feathered by America’s guardians of war nostalgia; instead it took eight Oscar noms plus a win for actor Waltz: “That’s a Bingo!”  With Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, Rod Taylor and Mike Myers. On 4K Ultra-HD + Blu-ray + Digitalfrom Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
10/09/21

The Fortune Cookie 10/09/21

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond’s comeback comedy performed decently enough at the box office, but its real accomplishment is vaulting Walter Matthau into mainline stardom. Matthau embodies the most venal ambulance chaser alive: Whiplash Willie Gingrich. His sad insurance scam scramble for unearned, undeserved loot is more of an exposé of sagging American values than anything particularly satircal. Jack Lemmon is the straight man this time around. He spends much of the movie in a medical collar, being victimized to make a fast buck. But Matthau hits the laughs out of the park — it’s an inspired performance that won him a Best Supporting Oscar. “You know Willie. He could find a loophole in the Ten Commandments.” With Ron Rich, Judi West, and Cliff Osmond. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
10/09/21

The Incredible Shrinking Man 10/05/21

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Criterion gives this classic its first exposure on Region A Blu-ray!  A new 4K remaster puts the story of a guy too tiny to escape from his own cellar in its very best light — Scott Carey’s combat with the spider is still a scary delight, with a newly-fixed imperfection. Criterion’s extras lean toward fan-oriented fare: Tom Weaver tops the stack with a fine commentary and we get good input from Ben Burtt, Craig Barron, Richard Christian Matheson, Joe Dante and Dana Gould — plus thoughtful liner notes by Geoffrey O’Brien. And don’t forget those excellent movie trailers narrated by a breathless Orson Welles. Robert Scott Carey should have his own statue in Los Angeles, like Rocky Balboa in Philadelphia. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
10/05/21

The Last Sunset 10/05/21

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Kirk Douglas and Rock Hudson can’t quite bring this all-star western fully to life, even with Robert Aldrich at the helm and a storyline that toys with (then) lurid, adult subject matter. Screen-written by Dalton Trumbo and filmed in Mexico, it perhaps packs too much edgy psychodrama into a simple cowboys & sixguns saga. Dorothy Malone and Carol Lynley give fine support and the locations are nice, as is Ernest Laszlo’s cinematography. Also with Joseph Cotten, Neville Brand, Jack Elam and Regis Toomey. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
10/05/21

The Silence of the Lambs 4K 10/02/21

KL Studio Classics
4K Ultra HD + Blu Ray

The best horror film of the 1990s and perhaps the only serial killer picture post- Psycho that can stand on equal terms with Hitchcock’s classic, Jonathan Demme and Ted Tally’s adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel is a standout experience in every way. Not all 4K Ultra HD encodings are worth crowing about but this one is — the added visual detail and especially the contrast range really make a difference. Kino offers a good selection of extras as well, including a teaser trailer I haven’t seen for years and a fine Tim Lucas commentary. Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine star in this multiple Oscar-winner. On 4K Ultra-HD + Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
10/02/21

As Good as It Gets 10/02/21

Viavision [Imprint]
All-region Blu-ray

Once upon a time a movie could really send you out of the theater with a smile on your face (Don’t make me explain what a movie theater was). James L. Brooks scores here with another fine entertainment, creating yet another character for Jack Nicholson to hit out of the park. But the generosity of characterization anoints the entire cast, especially Helen Hunt, the most emotionally deserving working woman since Shirley MacLaine’s Fran Kubelik. Nicholson’s miserable curmudgeon is once again a guy who learns how to be a mensch, at least a little bit. It’s an old story but Brooks makes it new again; both Nicholson and Hunt won as Best Actors and the film nabbed five other nominations. On Region Free Blu-ray from Viavision [Imprint].
10/02/21