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Aisle Seat 6-30: A Catalog Spectacular
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/29/2015 - 9:00 PM
When I first heard the tragic news of James Horner’s death last week, I immediately thought about his music and its influence on my life and interest in the arts. His career essentially started when I was a kid, watching “Star Trek II” back in the early ‘80s, and was one of the major discussion points when I first met Lukas Kendall, through a Starlog letter to the editor, when both of us were in high school. In fact, it’s not hyperbole to say that Horner’s music was one of the cornerstones of Film Score Monthly’s development – something that came at a time when Horner, Williams, Goldsmith, Barry, Jarre, Bernstein, Poledouris, and so many others were still working in their prime.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 6-23: Summer Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/22/2015 - 9:00 PM
The most cartoonish live-action film that producer Steven Spielberg has been involved with since “The Flintstones,” JURASSIC WORLD (**, 127 mins., PG-13) broke every record last weekend at the domestic and international box-office. That doesn’t excuse the fact that the picture is an insult to both Michael Crichton’s original "Jurassic Park" novel and the type of cinematic sci-fi that Spielberg himself captured in his 1993 screen version. While that groundbreaking blockbuster was flawed, it was at least an honest attempt at incorporating enough real-world science that one’s suspension of disbelief was minimal for a story about bringing dinosaurs back to life.
Comments: 5  (read on)
Aisle Seat 6-2: Early June Rundown
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/1/2015 - 9:00 PM
Saddling up in time for Father’s Day later this month is Warner’s five-disc Blu-Ray anthology JOHN WAYNE WESTERNS FILM COLLECTION, which isn’t exactly comprehensive even by studio output (“The Cowboys” isn’t included) but nevertheless offers a decent overview of The Duke’s sagebrush sagas, with two late-era, generally underrated Wayne titles premiering in this set.
Comments: 3  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-26: Memorial Day Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/25/2015 - 9:00 PM
At last available on Blu-Ray June 2nd, 1776 (****, 165/168 mins., 1972, PG; Sony) is Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone’s unique musical on the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The straightforward Columbia film version, directed by Peter H. Hunt – repeating his stage duties – captures the essence of its source with a top notch cast mostly returning from the Broadway stage, including William Daniels as John Adams, Howard Da Silva as Ben Franklin and Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson.
Comments: 0  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-19: Olive, Warner Archive & MAD MAX
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/18/2015 - 9:00 PM
Bombastic, blaring and bursting with action, George Miller’s long-gestating MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (***) is the very definition of a “hardware movie”: a spectacularly assembled collection of set-pieces that, ultimately, comprise one long, sensational chase through a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Comments: 0  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-12: Shout New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/11/2015 - 9:00 PM
My own prejudice against future Oscar winner Patricia Arquette was enough to make me stay away from STIGMATA (**½, 91 mins., 1999, R) in theaters back in 1999, though this well-acted supernatural chiller – one of MGM’s minor hits from the decade – is reasonably entertaining given its genre.
Comments: 2  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-5: May Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/4/2015 - 9:00 PM
At some point during the carnage of THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (**), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) quips “none of this makes any sense.” Indeed, Joss Whedon’s sure-fire box-office behemoth doesn’t need to make any sense, because the film pushes enough buttons to satisfy most 8-year-olds and comic book fans, but does so in such a workmanlike, uninspired fashion that it’s hard to imagine most audiences holding the same affection for the sequel as they did its predecessor.
Comments: 2  (read on)
Aisle Seat 4-28: Olive New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/27/2015 - 9:00 PM
The revelation that there are no less than 16 remakes/sequels coming out between now and Labor Day has been greeted with enthusiasm by some (“this is the year everything you loved is coming back again!”) but I can’t quite muster the same collective excitement for a parade of cinematic “reboots” we’ve already seen before. That makes a series of Blu-Ray catalog releases like this week’s new Olive offerings so interesting, as it reflects back to a time when studios took chances – both good and bad – on theatrical releases marketed outside of teen audiences.
Comments: 0  (read on)
Aisle Seat 4-21: Resurrecting THE FANTASTICKS
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/20/2015 - 9:00 PM
After nearly six years on the shelf, director Michael Ritchie’s big-screen version of the classic musical THE FANTASTICKS (***, 109/87 mins., 1995/2000, PG) hit theaters and home video in early 2001, albeit sadly in a recut version that drastically edited Ritchie’s original film. Twilight Time’s new Blu-Ray edition gives viewers, for the first time, the opportunity to see the picture in Ritchie’s 109-minute presentation courtesy of a standard-definition transfer, along with a new HD edition of Francis Ford Coppola’s now even-more disposable 87-minute “recut.”
Comments: 7  (read on)
Aisle Seat 4-14: Shout's April Delights
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/13/2015 - 9:00 PM
“Cult” is definitely the most appropriate word to describe Mark L. Lester’s 1982 exploitation fave CLASS OF 1984 (***, 98 mins., R), a film that I’ve come to believe is one of the most purely entertaining films of its kind ever made: a delirious blend of “To Sir With Love” and “Death Wish,” capped by its unique place in the cinematic spectrum. Where else can you see a film that crosses the paths of Roddy McDowall and Michael J. Fox, or has an Alice Cooper theme song – written by Lalo Schifrin?!
Comments: 2  (read on)
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