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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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Aisle Seat 9-3: Labor Day Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 9/2/2018 - 9:00 PM
John Krasinski seems to be in the right place at the right time these days, having directed and starred in the year’s biggest surprise hit (“A Quiet Place”) as well as taken over the role of Tom Clancy’s intrepid CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, in a new Amazon series. To coincide with that show’s debut, Paramount has dusted off all five prior Clancy film projects with the anthology THE JACK RYAN COLLECTION, offering the premiere of the series in 4K UHD and Dolby Vision.
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Aisle Seat 8-21: Kino Lorber Rundown & Scream Madness
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/20/2018 - 9:00 PM
The fall of 1984 brought movie-goers three different pictures all related to the struggle of American farmers – one a period picture (Robert Benton’s “Places in the Heart”), the others contemporary pieces (Mark Rydell’s “The River” and the Jessica Lange/Sam Shepard drama “Country”) that even share identical sequences of farmers, unable to pay back their loans, having to suffer the indignity of seeing their equipment sold off at auction. Their politics aside, however, it’s interesting to note that the film that received more mixed reviews – namely, Rydell’s Sissy Spacek/Mel Gibson vehicle – is actually a notably superior film, offering a grander cinematic scale than COUNTRY (108 mins., PG), which mostly plays out in a slow-going malaise before its grandstanding climax.
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Aisle Seat 8-14: August Assault Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/13/2018 - 9:00 PM
There’s a certain irony involved with Warner Archive’s long-awaited Blu-Ray release of SUPERGIRL (**½, 125 mins., 1984, PG) this month. Warner Bros. was supposed to release the film in the U.S. during the summer of 1984, but decided after seeing the final product that they’d be better off not to. Tri-Star – then a fledgling studio funded by the triumvirate of Columbia Pictures, CBS and HBO — then rescued the movie, but cut some 20 minutes out of the completed print and released it during a busy Thanksgiving season during which it was all but lost in theaters.
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Aisle Seat 7-31: Twilight Time, Arrow Round-Up
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/30/2018 - 9:00 PM
Leading off Twilight Time’s summer roster of limited-edition Blu-Rays is Mark Rydell’s CINDERELLA LIBERTY (***, 1973, 116 mins., R), a flavorful character study of a sailor (James Caan) who falls for a troubled call girl (Marsha Mason) while on an extended “Liberty” pass.
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Aisle Seat 7-24: Shout Summer Showdown Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/23/2018 - 9:00 PM
James Cameron likely wishes that his inaugural directorial outing was somewhat more distinguished than PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING (**, 94 mins., R), the in-name-only 1981 sequel to Joe Dante’s 1978 cult classic. While nothing to write home about, there are far worse cheapjack horror movies from the early ’80s available on video, and Shout! Factory has delivered a superb Blu-Ray of the film with one of its most satisfying catalog transfers in recent memory.
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Aisle Seat 7-10: July Sizzler Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/9/2018 - 9:00 PM
It seems as if cinemas are filled with two kinds of studio films these days: bloated franchises based on pre-fab brands, and modestly budgeted horror outings like last year’s hit “Get Out” where directors seemingly have more freedom to tell their stories. This year has brought another unexpected commercial success, John Krasinski’s A QUIET PLACE (***½, 95 mins., PG-13; Paramount), and this one is even better than Jordan Peele’s intriguing if overrated film, dabbling in some familiar genre elements but doing so in such a unique and effective manner that it’s one of the most exciting film-going experiences I’ve had in years.
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Today in Film Score History:
October 19
Fiorenzo Carpi born (1918)
George Fenton born (1950)
Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “True Q” (1992)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Johnny Harris records his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Return of the Fighting 69th” (1979)
Recording sessions begin on James Newton Howard’s score for Falling Down (1992)
Victor Young begins recording his score to Scaramouche (1951)
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