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Aisle Seat 6-21: Summer Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/20/2016 - 9:00 PM
June is typically a big month for home video releases – especially TV on Video anthologies, where CBS has repackaged both STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES (1966-69, aprx. 69 hours) and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (1987-94, aprx. 135 hours) in deluxe, complete-series Blu-Ray sets.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 6-14: Star Trek II, Rollercoaster, June Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/14/2016 - 9:00 PM
Though “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” was a hit, fans and critics were, by and large, disappointed by it. For that reason, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (****, 113 mins., 1982, PG; Paramount) is undoubtedly the reason why Star Trek is still alive and kicking in the 21st century. Trading in the evocative visuals but stilted story of “The Motion Picture” for a more exciting, action-packed, and far more human tale that – as director Nicholas Meyer explains in his commentary – touches upon old age, death, heroism, tragedy and triumph, “The Wrath of Khan” has basically become an iconic film of the early ‘80s, and not just for Star Trek die-hards.
Comments: 17  (read on)
Aisle Seat 6-7: The Early June Rundown
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/6/2016 - 9:00 PM
A killer snake is on the loose in London, putting a wrench into the plans of kidnappers who want to hold a rich 10-year-old boy hostage. That plot synopsis alone promises the potential of thrills for genre buffs, but what if I told you the movie also stars Sterling Hayden as the boy’s grandfather; Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed and Susan George as the villains; Sarah Miles as a vet specializing in deadly snakes; and Nicol Williamson as the cop on the case. The film exists, and it’s called VENOM (**, 92 mins., 1982, R; Blue Underground), but why is that, seemingly, nobody has ever heard of it?
Comments: 4  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-24: Memorial Day Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/23/2016 - 9:00 PM
Exploitation buffs, ‘70s action fans and those with a taste for bombastic film scoring ought to eat up KILLER FORCE (101 mins., 1975, R), also known as “The Diamond Mercenaries.” This Val Guest-directed action thriller is set in the diamond mines of the South African desert, where security expert Telly Savalas is charged with stopping a heist led by a team of experts – Hugh O’Brian, Christopher Lee and O.J. Simpson – while fellow company man Peter Fonda gets a covert invitation from his boss to join the villains by smuggling a single diamond out of the heavily guarded compound. If he succeeds, he’ll be able to infiltrate the group before they can steal millions in diamonds out of the company vaults…but there are surprises to be found in the script, credited to Guest, Michael Winder and Gerald Sanford, where the bad guys and good guys seem to switch places by the film’s end.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-17: May Horrors!
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/16/2016 - 9:00 PM
There are a handful of different trailer compilations available on Blu-Ray, with Garagehouse’s first volume of vintage “Coming Attractions,” “Trailer Trauma,” one of the best. Now the label is back with TRAILER TRAUMA 2: DRIVE-IN MONSTERAMA, which includes a whopping 3½ hours of horror, shlock, and vintage exploitation trailers that should warm the hearts of genre buffs everywhere.
Comments: 0  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-10: Shout May Wrap, Flicker Alley Noir
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/9/2016 - 9:00 PM
A minor but memorable early ‘70s chiller has been unearthed by Shout Factory this month on Blu-Ray. YOU’LL LIKE MY MOTHER (**½, 93 mins., 1972, PG) stars Patty Duke as an expectant single mother who takes a bus, in the middle of winter, to the Minnesota home of her mother-in-law (Rosemary Murphy) following the death of her military husband.
Comments: 2  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-3: May Day Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/2/2016 - 9:00 PM
Aaah, the summer of ’86. I still have Fox’s ad touting their slate of big sci-fi/fantasy films that were all released within a period of three short months: “Aliens,” “Big Trouble in Little China,” “Spacecamp,” “The Fly,” and THE MANHATTAN PROJECT (***, 117 mins., 1986, PG-13). Director Marshall Brickman’s entertaining “WarGames” clone manages to promote a no-nukes message at the same time that it wants us to sympathize with its brilliant yet misguided teen protagonist who builds an atomic bomb with materials stolen from quasi-befuddled scientist John Lithgow’s secret Ithaca, N.Y. lab.
Comments: 0  (read on)
Aisle Seat 4-26: April New Release Rundown
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/25/2016 - 9:00 PM
Alejandro G. Inarritu’s THE REVENANT (***½, 158 mins., 2015, R; Fox), the deservedly praised follow-up to his overrated Oscar winner “Birdman” is, if nothing else, a triumph of visual design and cinematography. Less successful is the movie’s basic, straightforward plot, wherein trapper Leonardo DiCaprio is left for dead by a fellow hunter (Tom Hardy), only to improbably resurrect himself and take revenge for the killing of his half-breed son.
Comments: 2  (read on)
Aisle Seat 4-12: Twilight Time Spring Fever
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/11/2016 - 9:00 PM
Exploitation fans have long coveted the weird 1977 Canadian/Italian production SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM (98 mins., R), a wacky blend of action-thriller and murder-mystery that’s not nearly as “arty” as its title would lead one to believe. In fact, this strange melding of seemingly disparate elements delivers trashy B-level thrills from start to finish.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 4-5: April Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/4/2016 - 9:00 PM
As any horror fan knows, John Carpenter’s career tailed off, fast, in the 1990s. After taking a four-year sabbatical following the conclusion of his Alive Films/Universal deal (that saw the mixed returns of “Prince of Darkness” and “They Live”), Carpenter returned to helm a major-studio project with one of the biggest budgets of his career. The result, alas, was “Memoirs of an Invisible Man,” the ill-fated – though watchable – Chevy Chase fantasy with a William Goldman script that was beset by problems and released to disappointing box-office in the winter of 1992.
Comments: 0  (read on)
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