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Aisle Seat 3-20: Lion in Winter, The Burbs Revisited
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/19/2018 - 9:00 PM
One of director Joe Dante's weaker films, the Tom Hanks “comic thriller” THE ‘BURBS (**½, 102 mins., 1989, PG) has managed to net something of a cult following over the years. Between Hanks’ involvement and the movie’s engaging premise, it’s easy to understand, though the finished product – sabotaged by a writer’s strike that prevented a much-needed polish to Dana Olsen’s script – is markedly uneven and seldom more than mildly amusing.
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Aisle Seat 3-13: March Madness Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/12/2018 - 9:00 PM
When Jim Henson passed away in 1990, the creator of the Muppets left us with only a few, fleeting glimpses into his potential as a purveyor of fantasy projects beyond the scope of Kermit and Miss Piggy. Henson only directed three theatrical features in his career: the second, and best, Muppet movie (1981’s “The Great Muppet Caper”); the epic fantasy “The Dark Crystal” (1982), which he co-helmed with Frank Oz; and “Labyrinth” (1986), a live-action fantasy, produced with George Lucas, that flopped at the box-office.
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Aisle Seat 3-6: March Mayhem Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/5/2018 - 9:00 PM
It’s hard to imagine there are many major studio films left from 1970 onwards that have yet to receive a home video release, much less one with talents like Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward involved. Twilight Time has unearthed one of them this month, at last giving the oddly-titled THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON MARIGOLDS (101 mins., 1972, PG) a domestic home video release 46 years after its theatrical debut.
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Aisle Seat 2-27: Tom Jones, Darkest Hour
Posted By: Andy Dursin 2/26/2018 - 9:00 PM
A movie that’s often cited as being both boldly influential as well as dated and overpraised, Tony Richardson’s TOM JONES (128 mins., 1963; Criterion) is a picture that’s hard to classify. Is it a legitimate classic that served as a springboard to a renaissance of British cinema during the 1960s – or is it a silly, overlong confection that holds more relevance to its era than it does today? Criterion’s painstakingly restored Blu-Ray conveys that it’s a little bit of both, though its legitimacy is certainly enhanced by a transfer that does this Best Picture Oscar winner justice on home video at last.
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Aisle Seat 2-13: Olympic Edition!
Posted By: Andy Dursin 2/12/2018 - 9:00 PM
Our pre-schooler loves dinosaurs – brontosauruses in particular – and has worn out every entry in the “Land Before Time” saga (including its short-lived series) over the last year or so. You would imagine he’d be a perfect audience for BABY: SECRET OF THE LOST LEGEND (***, 95 mins., 1985, PG), yet I’m going to hold off on a viewing of this early Touchstone release with him until he’s ready for some oddly placed violence which makes an otherwise entertaining African-set adventure unsuitable for what should’ve been its main demographic.
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Aisle Seat 1-30: Super Bowl Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/29/2018 - 9:00 PM
By equal measure a mix of “Serpico,” “Law & Order” episode and B-grade actioner, the very entertaining SHAKEDOWN (***, 96 mins. 1988, R) makes its Blu-Ray debut this month from Shout! Factory. A well-reviewed Shapiro/Glickenhaus Entertainment production that met with modest box-office after being picked up by Universal for theatrical release, “Shakedown” stars Peter Weller as a burned out NYC defense attorney assigned to represent a drug dealer (future “Law & Order” prosecutor Richard Brooks) who guns down a “Blue Jean” (undercover) cop he claims was in self-defense.
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Aisle Seat 1-16: It, Blade Runner Debut in 4K
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/15/2018 - 9:00 PM
The modern preoccupation with belated film sequels and remakes has trickled down to even “Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi classic that drew neither widespread critical kudos or commercial acceptance when it was first released in 1982. A cult favorite that’s obviously been more warmly embraced as the years have passed, Scott is onboard as a producer of BLADE RUNNER 2049 (***, 163 mins., R; Warner), an ambitious follow-up from one of its predecessor’s original writers and director Denis Villeneuve, architect of glacially paced works like “Sicario” and “Arrival.”
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Aisle Seat 1-9: January Freeze Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/8/2018 - 9:00 PM
Shout! Factory kicks off the new year with a most welcome Special Collector’s Edition of Joe Dante’s MATINEE (***½ , 99 mins., PG), a charming character piece starring John Goodman as Lawrence Woolsey, a William Castle-esque B-movie producer heading down to the Florida Keys right as the Cuban Missile Crisis is about to play out. His efforts to sell his newest epic – the B&W chiller “Mant!” – are contrasted with the lives of local teenagers, including an army brat (Simon Fenton) whose little brother is as excited about watching Woolsey’s new flick as he is terrified by its subject matter of a “half-man, half ant!” creature running amok.
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Aisle Seat Christmas & New Year's Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/24/2017 - 9:00 PM
Considering that directors are being thrown into Hyperspace left and right, one wonders what’s cooking over at Disney when Kathleen Kennedy and her fellow executives decided to leave Rian Johnson to his own devices with STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (**). “Episode VIII” in the “official” saga is a poorly conceived, overwritten slog of a sequel that shows flashes of inspiration along with several embarrassing moments and one particular plot thread that should’ve been jettisoned altogether.
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Aisle Seat 12-19: 4K Holiday Wrap & New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/18/2017 - 9:00 PM
Christopher Nolan’s new film DUNKIRK (**½, 107 mins., PG-13; Warner) is likely to divide viewers into two camps: those who feel the picture is a brilliant piece of cinema, and everybody else. Despite the mostly positive reviews, I regrettably found myself in the latter camp as this clinical “immersive viewing experience” played itself out.
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Today in Film Score History:
March 21
Alex North begins recording his score for Spartacus (1960)
Alexander Courage records his score for the Lost in Space episode "The Mechanical Men" (1967)
Alfred Newman wins his seventh Oscar, his second for Score, for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1956)
Antony Hopkins born (1921)
Gary Hughes born (1922)
Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Journey’s End “ (1994)
John Williams wins his fifth Oscar, for his Schindler's List score (1994)
Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score to The Green Berets (1968)
Mort Lindsey born (1923)
Nicola Piovani wins his first Oscar, for Life is Beautiful; Stephen Warbeck wins the final Comedy or Musical Score Oscar for Shakespeare in Love (1999)
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