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Aisle Seat 12-11: Holiday Gift Guide
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/10/2018 - 9:00 PM

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It’s been a phenomenal year for Warner Archive releases, with all kinds of films – and genres — treated to long-awaited high-definition renderings. This week alone perfectly showcases that mix with movie buffs able to wrangle with Dracula, swing along with Tarzan and Errol Flynn, belt out Broadway tunes and fly along with one of Robert Altman’s stranger ‘70s odysseys, all on Blu-Ray for the first time.

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Aisle Seat 12-4: December Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/3/2018 - 9:00 PM
Arguably the most legendary “lost movie” of all-time, Criterion’s new and eagerly anticipated Blu-Ray of Orson Welles’ THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (88 mins., 1942) still presents the compromised RKO released version of the writer-director’s oft-hailed “Citizen Kane” follow-up. Yet, it does so in such a vividly restored 4K transfer – and with a rich assortment of special features – that buffs may feel it easier than ever to gain a sense of Welles’ original vision, even if it’s still heartbreakingly out of reach.
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Aisle Seat 11-21: A Thanksgiving Feast
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/20/2018 - 9:00 PM
Unquestionably one of 2018’s top home video releases, Time Life’s ROBIN WILLIAMS: COMIC GENIUS serves up a treasure trove of material for fans of the late, great comic, encompassing his stand-up work, TV talk-show appearances and other forums where Williams’ improvisations were ideally suited. Housed in an oversized cardboard case, this massive, 22-disc DVD anthology is both lovingly presented and superbly compiled, graced with new interviews and priceless clips
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Aisle Seat 11-13: 4K Superwrap, Dracula in ’72
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/12/2018 - 9:00 PM
It’s a big month for 4K UHD enthusiasts, as multiple studios have launched a series of classics in the fledgling format. Most of these films need little introduction to fans, who are likely to wonder if they’re worth plunking down additional funds for the umpteenth time. Thanks to the restoration of the movie’s 6-track 70mm soundtrack, the answer for SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (****, 143 mins., 1978, PG) fans, at least, is an unqualified “yes!”
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Aisle Seat 10-30: Halloween Edition Part 2!
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/29/2018 - 9:00 PM
After producing the likes of “The Dead Zone,” “Firestarter,” “Cat’s Eye” and “Silver Bullet,” Dino DeLaurentiis lured in Stephen King with the promise of directing with MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (97 mins., 1986, R) for this fledgling DEG studio. Now, I have to confess I have fond memories of seeing this picture in theaters – it was one of the first R-rated films I was allowed to watch, thanks to my friend’s movie-buff dad, George Coombs, who reviewed movies on WKRI-AM in Warwick, RI. Mr. C received free passes to the local theater chains (General Cinema and Showcase), which allowed us to see loads of films together during my formative years, and “Maximum Overdrive” was – along with “Witness” and “Aliens” – one of my earliest R-rating movie-going experiences.
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Aisle Seat 10-23: Halloween Edition Part 1
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/22/2018 - 9:00 PM
After too many sequels and imitators to count, the smartest thing the filmmakers behind the much-anticipated HALLOWEEN revival did is forget everything that came after John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic. So sayonara to “Halloween II,” throw out vague memories of the late ‘80s sequels, toss out the “Miramax years” and happily discard Rob Zombie’s putrid reboots – this straight-ahead follow-through to Carpenter’s original is a smart, savvy and suspenseful continuation that’s appealing and fun. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel – but what film in the hack ‘n slash genre possibly could at this point?
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Aisle Seat 10-9: The Other Side of Halloween
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/8/2018 - 9:00 PM
Fox went into the summer of ‘77 thinking THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT (166 mins., R; Twilight Time) would be its top ticket, relegating a little movie named “Star Wars” to secondary status on the studio’s promotional radar. What they got instead was a picture that has attained a certain level of affection among “Golden Turkey” fans, though truth be told, the movie is neither as campy or fun as its reputation suggests.
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Aisle Seat 10-2: So Bad They're Good
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/1/2018 - 9:00 PM
Ridiculed as one of the all-time “Bad Movies,” EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (117 mins., R) stormed theaters during the “Star Wars” summer of ’77 and made an unholy amount of money at the box-office in its opening weekend. However, once word got out that the expensive, hotly anticipated sequel was a dud of epic proportions (stories surfaced that audiences threw popcorn at the screen around the country), director John Boorman immediately took scissors out, cut seven minutes and had new prints shipped just days after its release. By then, though, it was much too late to try and save the ship: “The Heretic” set a new standard for major-studio botch jobs, a Golden Turkey that’s lost none of its ability to bewilder and horrify viewers (for all the wrong reasons) on their first viewing.
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Aisle Seat 9-25: Universal Horror!
Posted By: Andy Dursin 9/24/2018 - 9:00 PM
No series in the history of the cinematic horror genre has endured as long as the Universal Monster classics of the 1930s and ’40s – a time marked by the Great Depression, the rise of Hitler’s Germany and America’s eventual involvement in WWII. At the outset, the Universal films were hugely successful with audiences seeking an escape, but by the time the U.S. became embroiled in the conflict, the popularity of the studio’s trademark monsters became less inviting to viewers, who turned their attention to war-time enemies as the cinematic nemesis of choice. Before that happened, however, Universal established a litany of Monster Classics that would inspire long-running franchises and become favorites of viewers for generations to come.
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Aisle Seat 9-18: The 21st Anniversary Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 9/17/2018 - 9:00 PM
Having expectations set low admittedly might help, but nevertheless, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (***, 128 mins., PG-13; Universal) is a fairly energetic fifth entry in the “Jurassic” series and, if nothing else, a cut-above its immediate adventure. In fact, I had a good amount of fun with director J.A. Bayona’s strange attempt to launch the “Park/World” franchise into “something else.” What that is in the long-term is up for debate, because it’s hard to envision another path that will reprise this film’s scenario of dinosaurs running around an “Old Dark House.”
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Today in Film Score History:
December 19
Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for Going Ape (1980)
Fred Karlin begins recording his score to The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1973)
Galt MacDermot born (1928)
Herbert Stothart begins recording his score for Northwest Passage (1939)
Michel Magne died (1984)
Paul Dessau born (1894)
Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for The Bride Wore Boots (1946)
Robert B. Sherman born (1925)
Roger Webb died (2002)
The Thief of Bagdad premieres in London (1940)
Walter Murphy born (1952)
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