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Aisle Seat 4-23: Criterion's Police Story, Kino Lorber April Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/22/2019 - 9:00 PM
Though not strictly classified as a horror movie, Universal’s 1940 production of THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES (89 mins.) fits comfortably alongside some of its strongest monster rallies. In fact, this Nathaniel Hawthorne adaptation falls somewhere between an A-grade studio project and a superior B-effort, sporting George Sanders as the conniving member of a colonial New England family who dreams of lost treasure laying about their ancestral home. Vincent Price, meanwhile, contributes one of his most sympathetic turns as Sanders’ brother, framed for their father’s death and sent to waste away in prison, leaving his beloved fiancée (Margaret Lindsay) behind.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 4-16: April Assault '19
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/15/2019 - 9:00 PM
Kicking off this week’s Aisle Seat are two new, impressive restorations of vintage – and rarely screened – widescreen films from Flicker Alley: the German-produced 70mm travelogue FLYING CLIPPER, known as MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY upon its U.S. theatrical run (158 mins., 1962), and the once long-lost Cinerama feature THE GOLDEN HEAD (115 mins., 1965). The latter was never released in North America and ended its London theatrical run early, where it was replaced by “Flying Clipper” – now both of them have been collected in a pair of terrific new Blu-Ray combo packs, the latter with a 4K UHD presentation as well.
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Aisle Seat 4-2: April Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/1/2019 - 9:00 PM
If you’ve been a regular Aisle Seat reader over the years, you know that one of my sources of cinematic kryptonite is the over-the-top horror/sci-fi extravaganza. Gems like “Lifeforce,” “Dreamcatcher” and John Frankenheimer’s “Prophecy” have gotten a fair shake in these quarters, even if my reasons for enjoying all of them have little to do with how the pictures were intended to be appreciated. In just a few weeks Scream Factory brings us another of these guilty pleasures — William Girdler’s massively entertaining, bizarre horror epic THE MANITOU (103 mins., 1977, PG), which answers the question “what might’ve happened if Blake Edwards directed a horror movie in the style of ‘The Exorcist’ the year after ‘Star Wars’ was released?”
Comments: 3  (read on)
Aisle Seat 3-19: March Madness Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/18/2019 - 9:00 PM
Big, colorful and refreshingly unpretentious, AQUAMAN (***, 143 mins., 2018, PG-13; Warner) finally sets the DC Universe on an upbeat, escapist course that’s far removed from the dread-inducing (and at times dreadful) Zach Snyder productions that characterized the post-Christopher Nolan era of the brand’s cinematic endeavors. Gone are the mopey Batman and guilt-ridden Superman, and in their place is Jason Momoa’s hard-drinking, charismatic Arthur Curry — the half-breed son of the Queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman) who finally battles for his rightful Atlantean throne just in time to prevent his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) from igniting a war with the “surface people.”
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Aisle Seat 3-12: Ridley Scott Revisited, Oscar Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/11/2019 - 9:00 PM
This year’s reigning Best Picture winner, GREEN BOOK (***½, 128 mins., 2018, PG-13; Universal), is a winning “road trip” movie that provides stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali with two plum roles. It also manages to be heartwarming and unpretentious, preferring a humanistic, at-times comic approach to its subject matter – and in a year that saw “Black Panther” somehow net scores of award nominations, it’s unquestionably one of the most rewarding pictures of 2018.
Comments: 3  (read on)
Aisle Seat 2-26: 4K Rundown, Shout Wrap, New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 2/25/2019 - 9:00 PM
A number of 2018 releases saw a clear divide between audience reaction/interest and supposed critical consensus, and no film summed that up better than BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (***, 136 mins., 2018, PG-13; Fox). A movie with a troubled production history — one that reportedly included confrontations between the cast and director Bryan Singer, along with the latter’s eventual dismissal after being a no-show on-set – Fox’s musical biopic of the rock-band Queen nevertheless became the most surprising hit of the year. Generating over $800 million worldwide, this tuneful, mostly upbeat picture didn’t satisfy the critics who wanted a “Trainspotting”-like chronicle of lead singer Freddy Mercury’s famously troubled life, yet the accessible, PG-13 approach netted huge commercial gains, mixing music with a still-effective chronicle of Mercury’s struggles with his sexuality, drugs and fame in general.
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Aisle Seat 2-12: Valentine's Day Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 2/11/2019 - 9:00 PM
Burt Lancaster co-directed THE MIDNIGHT MAN (***, 119 mins., 1974, R), a Universal murder-mystery adapted from the book “The Midnight Lady and the Mourning Man” by David Anthony. The film’s plot was reconfigured to suit Lancaster’s talents with the veteran star playing an ex-cop from Chicago, out on parole after shooting his wife’s lover, who settles into a job working security at a southern college…only to find himself quickly embroiled in a co-ed’s murder and an eventual (and quite convoluted) conspiracy plot. While this production was much criticized for being little more than an extended, R-rated episode of “Columbo” at the time of its release – these days, you have to ask yourself, what’s wrong with that?
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Aisle Seat 1-29: Super Bowl Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/28/2019 - 9:00 PM
Some classics hold up to the test of time – and a few seem to get better with age. That’s the feeling I had while watching Alfred Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS (****, 101 mins., 1946) in Criterion’s highly-anticipated new Blu-Ray, which delivers the expected technical benefits from a newly remastered 4K transfer and enhances a suspenseful, romantic, thrilling film that may just be Hitchcock’s finest.
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Aisle Seat 1-15: January Rundown Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/14/2019 - 9:00 PM
Ringing in the new year with one of my favorite unsung movies of the mid ‘90s is Kino Lorber, whose Blu-Ray (eagerly awaited – at least by me) of Roland Joffe’s THE SCARLET LETTER (135 mins., 1995, R) gives viewers another chance to evaluate this handsomely produced, “freely adapted” take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel – one that was derided both for the casting of Demi Moore as heroine Hester Prynne and ample alterations from its source material.
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Aisle Seat Christmas & New Year's Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/23/2018 - 9:00 PM
Chances are many of us have had long relationships with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (149 mins., G) over the years on home video. From bulky, cropped VHS tapes – one of which I recall renting from our local Major Video to show in my 6th grade class – to the first widescreen presentations in Criterion’s laserdiscs, “2001” is a film that’s received endless video releases over the decades. While Warner Home Video’s 2007 Blu-Ray was certainly an upgrade on what we had available to us previously, the studio has one-upped that presentation in both Blu-Ray and now 4K UHD thanks to a stellar new remastering that presents a technical evolution for viewers in savoring the director’s 1968 masterwork.
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Today in Film Score History:
April 25
Alec Puro born (1975)
Brian May died (1997)
David A. Hughes born (1960)
Franz Waxman records his score for Stalag 17 (1952)
Gary Hughes died (1978)
Georges Delerue records his score for L’Homme Qui Revient De Loin (1972)
Heinz Roemheld's score for Union Station is recorded (1950)
John Williams begins recording his score for How to Steal a Million (1966)
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