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Aisle Seat 8-4: August Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/3/2020 - 10:00 PM
Long one of the most reliably poor-looking Abbott & Costello films on home video – the duo’s independently-produced 1949 comedy AFRICA SCREAMS (79 mins.) – is now, thanks to the 3-D Film Archive and Classic Flix, one of the best. Lovingly and painstakingly restored by Bob Furmanek and his team from the original 35mm nitrate film elements, this limited-edition Blu-Ray does justice to a picture that the comedy team produced outside their Universal Pictures deal – resulting in a myriad of terrible video releases since the film fell into the public domain once a distributor failed to renew its copyright.
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Aisle Seat Video Vault: WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S, A Summer Classic
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/27/2020 - 10:00 PM
Plenty of articles have been written about the Summer of 1989 – one of the last great seasons for movie-goers as every week brought with it what would become a long-time viewer favorite. What hasn’t been written about – but should be – is a tribute to one of the great sleeper hits of the decade. Yes, I’m referring to WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S – a silly looking comedy that became an unlikely success pitted against the likes of Batman, Indiana Jones, a “Lethal Weapon” sequel and a myriad of other, more expensive studio films populating theaters at the time. While a surprise success upon its July 7th opening, the movie has remained a perennial favorite at the Aisle Seat – so much that it feels like this summer is the perfect time to extol its virtues.
Comments: 4  (read on)
Aisle Seat 7-21: WAR OF THE WORLDS Remaster, Kino Lorber July Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/20/2020 - 10:00 PM
George Pal’s awesome 1953 production of H.G. Wells’ WAR OF THE WORLDS (85 mins., 1953) represents ‘50s sci-fi at its best. From the majestic opening with Sir Cedric Hardwicke’s narration and Leith Stephens’ score, to the first appearance of Pal’s saucers and the scenes of stars Gene Barry and Ann Robinson hiding in a farmhouse from the invading Martians, few other films captured the imaginations of sci-fi fans like director Byron Haskin’s movie. The original “War of the Worlds” set the standard for dozens upon dozens of fantasy films that followed in its wake and still ranks today as one of the greatest genre pictures ever made.
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Aisle Seat 7-7: July Sizzler Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/6/2020 - 10:00 PM
Sure to be one of the year’s top catalog releases on Blu-Ray, Kit Parker Films and MVD’s four-disc LAUREL & HARDY: THE DEFINITIVE RESTORATIONS serves up long-awaited new transfers – from original 35mm sources, no less – of the legendary comic duo’s finest shorts and features.
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Aisle Seat 6-23: Summer Start-Up Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/22/2020 - 10:00 PM
One of John Hughes’ best movies – PRETTY IN PINK – makes its long-overdue debut on Blu-Ray this month from Paramount, along with another title long coveted by movie buffs: John Travolta and Debra Winger’s 1980 teaming in James Bridges’ URBAN COWBOY.
Comments: 4  (read on)
Aisle Seat 6-9: JAWS Surfaces In 4K UHD
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/8/2020 - 10:00 PM
The original summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg’s JAWS (124 mins., 1975, PG; Universal) quickly became my favorite film growing up, having devoured it on VHS and on ABC’s Sunday Night Movie presentation (the one with the added footage) so many times I could recite some dialogue before I was out of grade school. Over the years I’ve been able to see it on the big screen (thanks to a visit with Lukas on Martha’s Vineyard back in the ’90s), but despite that – and having reviewed numerous laserdisc and DVD releases over the years – only with Universal’s Blu-Ray and now 4K UHD edition have I felt like I’ve completely been able to appreciate “Jaws.” The Blu-Ray offered a brilliant HD presentation that’s now been one-upped by a HDR/Dolby Vision-enhanced 4K transfer that does one notch better on an already-superb restoration, doing full justice to the classic 1975 screen adaptation of Peter Benchley’s bestseller.
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Aisle Seat 5-26: Tom Cruise in 4K UHD, Kino Lorber May Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/25/2020 - 10:00 PM
Because we’ve been stuck in the midst of a COVID-driven lockdown, I’ve found it comforting to revisit apocalyptic, end-of-the-world fare on home video over these last few weeks. If you think it’s been bad being locked up over the last two months – well, wait, an extraterrestrial invasion and being trapped in Tim Robbins’ basement could well be worse.
Comments: 2  (read on)
Aisle Seat 5-12: "Paramount Presents" Blu-Ray Remasters
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/11/2020 - 10:00 PM
The quintessential ’80s thriller that set the standard for a stream of imitators to follow, FATAL ATTRACTION (119 mins., 1987, R; Paramount) kicks off a trio of “Paramount Presents” Blu-Ray remasters, offering new 4K film transfers, collectible slipcovers boasting fold-out reproductions of each film’s respective one-sheet poster, and a few new extras.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 4-28: Police Squad, V - The Final Battle
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/27/2020 - 10:00 PM
The time and effort that went into the hit 1983 NBC mini-series “V” did not extend into the following season’s six-hour follow-up, V: THE FINAL BATTLE (267 mins., 1984; Warner Archive), which shows every sign of having been rushed into and out of production. Original writer-director Kenneth Johnson was replaced by director Richard T.Heffron and producers Daniel Blatt and Robert Singer, and a collection of nameless screenwriters (try seven of them!) to continue the story. While most of the cast returns, some of the minor supporting players have been re-cast and there are several scenes – particularly in the first part – that contain plenty of unintended laughs, looped dialogue, and signs that money was low and time was short during production. Despite this, somehow or other this 267-minute follow-up remains entertaining, especially once you reach its climactic installment.
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Aisle Seat Video Vault: The Other ROBIN HOOD
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/13/2020 - 10:00 PM
Seeing as the influx of new releases has slowed to a crawl – manufacturing and distribution systems are locked down like everything else – we’re going to primarily pivot here at the Aisle Seat towards older films I’ve recently revisited either on disc or streaming platforms. New releases that are, in fact, still being released will follow these “Video Vault” reviews for the time being. Enjoy!
Comments: 2  (read on)
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Today in Film Score History:
August 5
Abigail Mead born as Vivian Kubrick (1960)
Adolph Deutsch begins recording his score for The Matchmaker (1957)
Alexander Courage's music for the Star Trek episode "The Enterprise Incident" is recorded (1968)
Christopher Gunning born (1944)
Cyril Morin born (1962)
Fred Karger died (1979)
Henry Mancini begins recording his score for Mommie Dearest (1981)
Henry Mancini begins recording his score for Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his unused score for Gladiator (1991)
Michael Small begins recording his score for Comes a Horseman (1978)
Robert Prince records his first Mission: Impossible score, for the episode “Homecoming” (1970)
Stuart Hancock born (1975)
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