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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.
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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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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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Today in Film Score History:
March 23
Aaron Copland wins his only Oscar, for The Heiress score (1950)
Alan Blaikley born (1940)
Damon Albarn born (1968)
David Grisman born (1945)
Elliot Goldenthal wins his first Oscar, for the Frida score (2003)
Hal Mooney died (1995)
James Horner begins recording his score for Braveheart (1995)
James Horner wins his first and last Oscars, for Titanic's score and song; Anne Dudley wins the third Comedy or Musical Score Oscar, for The Full Monty (1998)
Lionel Newman re-records pre-existing Jerry Goldsmith cues for The Last Hard Men’s replacement score (1976)
Michael Linn died (1995)
Michael Nyman born (1944)
Philip Judd born (1953)
Richard Shores records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Burning Diamond” (1966)
Trevor Jones born (1949)
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