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Aisle Seat 5-23: Kino Lorber May Mania
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/22/2017 - 9:00 PM
A strange sequel that’s half “Alien” rehash and half “Prometheus” follow-up – albeit with none of the latter’s “bigger questions” actually being addressed – Ridley Scott’s ALIEN: COVENANT (**½, 123 mins., 2017, R) serves up a serviceable but ultimately unsatisfying ride over narrative terrain we’ve covered many times over by now.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-9: WILLARD & BEN, Together Again
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/8/2017 - 9:00 PM
A box-office smash that succumbed to the ravages of both time and distribution woes, Shout Factory has at last resurrected the rambunctious rodent-revenge thriller WILLARD (95 mins., 1971, PG) as well as its quickly-produced sequel, BEN (94 mins., 1972, PG). The former stars Bruce Davison as a put-upon young man who tilts over the edge after his mother’s (Elsa Lanchester) death, leaving him to cultivate a relationship with a nest of mice who follow his every command – both for friendship and, eventually, revenge. The latter was best known for spawning a hit song that climbed the charts all the way to #1 thanks to none other than a young Michael Jackson.
Comments: 3  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-2: May Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/1/2017 - 9:00 PM
William Wyler’s wide-ranging filmography encompasses everything from “Ben-Hur” to “Funny Girl” and “The Big Country.” During the ‘60s he branched out with the downbeat psychological drama “The Collector” before switching gears, again, for the candy-coated romantic comedy caper HOW TO STEAL A MILLION (***, 1966, 123 mins.), which kicks off Twilight Time’s limited-edition Blu-Ray releases for the month of April.
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Aisle Seat 4-25: April Assault Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/24/2017 - 9:00 PM
Kicking off this month’s new releases from our friends at Arrow Films is a features-packed Blu-Ray special edition of DONNIE DARKO (**, 132 mins., 2004, R). Some cult movie fans have turned Richard Kelly’s indie fave into a full-blown phenomenon, though my viewing of the “Director’s Cut” of “Donnie Darko” only confirmed my hesitation towards Kelly’s original theatrical version: namely, what’s the deal? This intentionally weird jigsaw puzzle of a film — complete with ‘80s tunes, pop culture references and a giant rabbit — gives you so little to go on that it’s not even up to sub-Lynchian standards, though some critics, and fans, have long proclaimed it a masterpiece so judge for yourself.
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Aisle Seat 4-11: April Horrors
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/10/2017 - 9:00 PM
One of the ’80s better horror-comedy hybrids was HOUSE (**½, 93 mins., 1986, R; Arrow), producer-director Sean S. Cunningham’s goofy haunted house thriller that met with solid box-office returns and even a few critical kudos when it was released in February 1986. Arrow Video has produced a lavish Blu-Ray set housing the high-def debut of “House” in the format, along with a massive 148-page accompanying book and the strange but fun sequel “House II: The Second Story.”
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Aisle Seat 4-4: Wanderers, Twilight Time, April New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/3/2017 - 9:00 PM
There were a handful of gang-related pictures made in the late ‘70s, from Walter Hill’s “The Warriors” to George Romero’s “Knightriders,” but the film that’s proven to be the most durable – even though it received the least exposure at the time – was Philip Kaufman’s superb, atmospheric THE WANDERERS (****, 117/123 mins., R). This 1979 effort from director Kaufman (“The Right Stuff”) isn’t just head and shoulders above its similarly-themed cinematic counterparts, but multiple viewings confirm it’s one of the finest films of its decade altogether.
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Aisle Seat 3-28: Spring Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/27/2017 - 9:00 PM
The New World Pictures vaults have opened up and B-movie fans have not one but two choice offerings thanks to Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics line this month, including the memorable Tatum O’Neal/Irene Cara team-up CERTAIN FURY (87 mins., 1985, R) and Sybil Danning’s oddball exploitation pic THEY’RE PLAYING WITH FIRE (96 mins., 1984, R). I remember seeing “Certain Fury” listed on a handful of “Worst of 1985″ lists, but was too young to actually sit through it. Decades later, all of us have that opportunity thanks to Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray and this insane exploitation picture – directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal (dad to Jake and Maggie) – does not disappoint.
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Aisle Seat 3-21: A KONG-Sized March Rundown
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/20/2017 - 9:00 PM
When you get right down it, for a pop-culture icon like King Kong, it’s surprising that the Big Ape hasn’t had a whole lot of cinematic success. Sure, the 1933 RKO original is an all-time masterwork, but you can’t say the same about its hastily produced sequel “Son of Kong,” its decent – if not somewhat overlooked – 1976 Dino DeLaurentiis remake, or that version’s own, terrible follow-up “King Kong Lives.” A pair of ‘60s Toho productions brought Kong to Japan – including a silly skirmish with Godzilla – and the best you can say about them is that they’re at least more fun than Peter Jackson’s self-indulgent 2005 remake of the original, which was both miscast and painfully overlong.
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Aisle Seat 3-14: Shout's Pre-Spring Blu-Ray Fling
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/13/2017 - 9:00 PM
In the annals of misguided, terrible sequels, ROBOCOP 2 (*½, 117 mins., 1990, R) stands out in a crowded pack. Hastily produced to lessen the financial burdens of fading Orion Pictures, haphazardly constructed with a script that was overhauled daily by a comic book scribe who had never written a film before, and directed by a Hollywood veteran who apparently recognized its problems (but wasn’t the film’s first choice), “Robocop 2″ made modest cash in the Summer of 1990 but still failed completely to fulfill its two goals – keeping Orion afloat and maintaining Robocop as a viable box-office presence of his own.
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Aisle Seat 3-7: March Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/6/2017 - 9:00 PM
Twilight Time’s quartet of February releases offer a fantastic Fox film noir, a return trip to Woody Allen territory, a Columbia Cinemascope vehicle starring Cornel Wilde, and a moody 1979 “anti rom-com” that’s the kind of film major studios wouldn’t touch these days.
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Today in Film Score History:
May 24
Bob Dylan born (1941)
David Ferguson born (1953)
Duke Ellington died (1974)
Franz Waxman begins recording his score for Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “In Theory” (1991)
Pierre van Dormael born (1952)
Sadao Bekku born (1922)
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