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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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Aisle Seat 12-5: Holiday Gift Guide
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/4/2017 - 9:00 PM
It’s entirely likely that either you or a movie buff you know is ready to make the leap into the world of 4K this holiday season. Having spent the last year extensively researching the format and eventually jumping onboard (mostly because of the 4K UHD discs I’ve received for review), I have a few suggestions to keep in mind as visions of Ultra High Definition images dance around in your heads.
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Today in Film Score History:
March 18
Clinton Shorter born (1971)
Dominic Frontiere begins recording his score for Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975)
Frank Ilfman born (1970)
Guillaume Roussel born (1980)
John Kander born (1927)
John Phillips died (2001)
John Williams begins recording his score for The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Paul Baillargeon records his score for the Enterprise episode “The Crossing” (2003)
William Lava born (1911)
Yoko Kanno born (1964)
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