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Aisle Seat 6-20: 1492, June Horrors
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/19/2017 - 9:00 PM
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. In 1992, two big-budget movies sank like a stone at the global box-office, failing completely to find an audience as the world celebrated – more or less – the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World. The two competing pictures – Ridley Scott’s expensive 1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE and Alexander Salkind’s “Christopher Columbus: The Discovery” – were heralded at Cannes as far back as 1989, when the Salkind picture was first announced.
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Aisle Seat 6-13: Lawnmower Man, Shout June Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/12/2017 - 9:00 PM
For reasons I still don’t understand, THE LAWNMOWER MAN (108/141 mins., 1992, R) opened in Rhode Island during February 1992, several weeks ahead of the rest of the nation. Even the Boston Globe’s review, from a critic who was sent south to cover the film, mentioned this oddball fact, enabling those of us in the Ocean State to brag about seeing the Pierce Brosnan/Jeff Fahey virtual reality thriller before everyone else. If only social media was prevalent back in the early ‘90s, we could’ve also warned the movie-going public to avoid this goofy turkey, which nevertheless managed to gross a potent $30 million on a budget that threw nearly all of its funding behind then-cutting edge CGI animation.
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Aisle Seat 6-6: Wonder Woman, 4K Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/5/2017 - 9:00 PM
The fact that we haven’t had many female super-hero flicks makes WONDER WOMAN (***, 143 mins., PG-13) a novelty by itself – and within the parameters of the genre, this lavish DC Comics adventure is a sturdy and well-made fantasy that pits the Amazon Princess against the German forces of WWI…or, to be more precise, Aries, the God of War, whom Diana (Gal Godot) believes is the source of all of mankind’s horrifying military struggles.
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Aisle Seat 5-30: Memorial Day Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/29/2017 - 9:00 PM
For a studio that must have dollar bills plastered all over its walls, it’s disappointing how poorly Walt Disney has treated its live-action back catalog, particularly on Blu-Ray. The studio that once broke away from “kiddie product” to form Touchstone Pictures back in the mid 1980s has absolutely turned its back on that mission from decades ago, eschewing “adult fare” for a steady diet of animated films, Marvel comic-book flicks, and Star Wars sequels. That has left a void in the care of its box-office hits that weren’t aimed at little tykes, with even blockbuster smashes like “Three Men and a Baby” – the singular highest-grossing film of 1987 – still never having been released in widescreen on home video at all, much less Blu-Ray.
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Aisle Seat 5-23: Kino Lorber May Mania
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/22/2017 - 9:00 PM
A strange sequel that’s half “Alien” rehash and half “Prometheus” follow-up – albeit with none of the latter’s “bigger questions” actually being addressed – Ridley Scott’s ALIEN: COVENANT (**½, 123 mins., 2017, R) serves up a serviceable but ultimately unsatisfying ride over narrative terrain we’ve covered many times over by now.
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Aisle Seat 5-9: WILLARD & BEN, Together Again
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/8/2017 - 9:00 PM
A box-office smash that succumbed to the ravages of both time and distribution woes, Shout Factory has at last resurrected the rambunctious rodent-revenge thriller WILLARD (95 mins., 1971, PG) as well as its quickly-produced sequel, BEN (94 mins., 1972, PG). The former stars Bruce Davison as a put-upon young man who tilts over the edge after his mother’s (Elsa Lanchester) death, leaving him to cultivate a relationship with a nest of mice who follow his every command – both for friendship and, eventually, revenge. The latter was best known for spawning a hit song that climbed the charts all the way to #1 thanks to none other than a young Michael Jackson.
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Aisle Seat 5-2: May Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/1/2017 - 9:00 PM
William Wyler’s wide-ranging filmography encompasses everything from “Ben-Hur” to “Funny Girl” and “The Big Country.” During the ‘60s he branched out with the downbeat psychological drama “The Collector” before switching gears, again, for the candy-coated romantic comedy caper HOW TO STEAL A MILLION (***, 1966, 123 mins.), which kicks off Twilight Time’s limited-edition Blu-Ray releases for the month of April.
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Aisle Seat 4-25: April Assault Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/24/2017 - 9:00 PM
Kicking off this month’s new releases from our friends at Arrow Films is a features-packed Blu-Ray special edition of DONNIE DARKO (**, 132 mins., 2004, R). Some cult movie fans have turned Richard Kelly’s indie fave into a full-blown phenomenon, though my viewing of the “Director’s Cut” of “Donnie Darko” only confirmed my hesitation towards Kelly’s original theatrical version: namely, what’s the deal? This intentionally weird jigsaw puzzle of a film — complete with ‘80s tunes, pop culture references and a giant rabbit — gives you so little to go on that it’s not even up to sub-Lynchian standards, though some critics, and fans, have long proclaimed it a masterpiece so judge for yourself.
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Aisle Seat 4-11: April Horrors
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/10/2017 - 9:00 PM
One of the ’80s better horror-comedy hybrids was HOUSE (**½, 93 mins., 1986, R; Arrow), producer-director Sean S. Cunningham’s goofy haunted house thriller that met with solid box-office returns and even a few critical kudos when it was released in February 1986. Arrow Video has produced a lavish Blu-Ray set housing the high-def debut of “House” in the format, along with a massive 148-page accompanying book and the strange but fun sequel “House II: The Second Story.”
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Aisle Seat 4-4: Wanderers, Twilight Time, April New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/3/2017 - 9:00 PM
There were a handful of gang-related pictures made in the late ‘70s, from Walter Hill’s “The Warriors” to George Romero’s “Knightriders,” but the film that’s proven to be the most durable – even though it received the least exposure at the time – was Philip Kaufman’s superb, atmospheric THE WANDERERS (****, 117/123 mins., R). This 1979 effort from director Kaufman (“The Right Stuff”) isn’t just head and shoulders above its similarly-themed cinematic counterparts, but multiple viewings confirm it’s one of the finest films of its decade altogether.
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Carly Simon born (1945)
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