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Aisle Seat 3-14: March Madness Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 3/13/2023 - 10:00 PM
The “Golden Age” of Italian director Dario Argento has become well represented on 4K UHD over the last couple of years thanks to the collective efforts of labels like Arrow and Synapse Films. The latter’s superlative edition of his classic “Suspiria” remains one of the top catalog discs in the UHD format, and this month brings fans a newly restored release of a later Argento title that’s offbeat even by the director’s standards: PHENOMENA (116/110/83 mins., 1985; Synapse), which was released in the mid ’80s by New Line in a butchered form as “Creepers.”
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Aisle Seat 2-28: Marathon Man 4K, New Kino Lorber Discs
Posted By: Andy Dursin 2/27/2023 - 10:00 PM
One of the most exciting mid ‘70s thrillers, the all-star Robert Evans production of William Goldman’s novel MARATHON MAN (125 mins., 1976, R) became a box-office hit in the Fall of ‘76 and remains a suspenseful, superbly helmed ride from director John Schlesinger. One of many classics hitting 4K UHD this year, Kino Lorber’s new 4K scan of the Original Camera Negative results in a marvelous transfer with Dolby Vision HDR, adding fresh layers to Conrad Hall’s cinematography, including enhanced depth and shading absent from previous home video releases, even Paramount’s earlier Blu-Ray.
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Aisle Seat 2-13: 4K, Warner Archive, Imprint New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 2/13/2023 - 10:00 PM
2023 is already shaping up to be quite the year for 4K UHD catalog titles, as seemingly every week brings about an announcement (or several) of classic films coming in the format. While we eagerly await the likes of “Rio Bravo” among others, this month marks the release of one of Hollywood’s legendary westerns, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (128 mins., 1960; Shout! Factory), in a Dolby Vision HDR presentation and 4K restoration of the original camera negative.
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Aisle Seat 1-31: Kino Lorber January Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/30/2023 - 10:00 PM
Growing up in the ‘80s, The Cannon Group was a frequent part of Friday night video rentals, birthday parties and sleepovers in my life. Those wild and wacky Israeli filmmakers, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, gave us countless movies to hoot and hiss at, and the legacy of their Cannon label remains (almost) untouched in the annals of B-grade cinema over the last few decades. This month brings us new Kino Lorber releases of films from two of Cannon’s biggest ‘80s collaborators – stars Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson, who if not quite dominating the box-office with these films at the time, became reliable home video performers afterwards.
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Aisle Seat 1-24: Vinegar Syndrome, MVD Rewind New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/23/2023 - 10:00 PM
Few movies scream “’90s” as much as FREEWAY (104 mins., 1996), a very odd staple on the home video circuit in the late VHS/pre-DVD era – and a movie now brought to 4K UHD by Vinegar Syndrome in a features-packed 4K restoration. It’s a movie that also showcases two big stars at a relatively low ebb in their respective careers: Kiefer Sutherland, prior to relaunching his career with the hit series “24,” and Reese Witherspoon, here moving into “young adult” roles but yet to achieve the kind of superstardom she would soon hit with “Cruel Intentions.”
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Aisle Seat 1-17: Jackie Chan Collection, New in 4K
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/16/2023 - 10:00 PM
Growing up in the ‘80s – in the days before the internet – pure word-of-mouth would make you aware of, say, a cult action movie that some fellow 5th grader found “cool” on HBO or whose Dad would rent on VHS. That’s how a lot of us initially heard about martial arts superstar Jackie Chan, who in the early to mid ‘80s, tried to push into the American market after achieving success in Hong Kong with numerous films from the “wuxia” genre – movies included in Shout’s terrific new Blu-Ray retrospective THE JACKIE CHAN COLLECTION Vol. 1 (1976-82; Shout! Factory).
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Aisle Seat 1-10: New Year Chill Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/9/2023 - 10:00 PM
It’s just been one of those weeks – I went to upload this week’s Aisle Seat on Thursday morning when the entire column froze during a laptop crash. When I went back to open up the document, the column was replaced with a number of pound signs! Thus this week’s Aisle Seat had to be rewritten from scratch and I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors – yet I can’t delay this column any longer because I’ve received a number of exciting new releases since the holiday column went live.
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Aisle Seat Holiday Edition 2022: 4K Gifts, Blu-Ray Treats
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/19/2022 - 10:00 PM
Putting a cap on what’s been a spectacular year for 4K UHD catalog releases is Kino Lorber’s all-new restoration of Joseph Sargent’s tense, terrific 1974 thriller THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE (105 mins., R). For those unfamiliar with this classic New York City-set picture, Walter Matthau stars as a subway transit chief plunged into a terrorist situation when a trio of armed robbers (led by Robert Shaw, just before he set sail in “Jaws”) take hostage of a subway train. Shaw’s plan? Extortion, of course, but despite being assisted by Martin Balsam and Hector Elizondo, Matthau has a few tricks up his own sleeve that prove to be a bit more than the terrorists can handle.
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Aisle Seat 12-13: The December Rundown
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/12/2022 - 10:00 PM
Two Paramount catalog titles highlight Imprint’s latest limited-edition Blu-Ray premieres, each sporting solid transfers and exclusive special features. As for the two films, there’s a little bit of irony in that SAVE THE TIGER (100 mins., 1973, R), the picture heralded by more critics of the day – albeit mostly for its Oscar-winning lead performance – comes off poorly in relation to its predecessor, THE MOLLY MAGUIRES (126 mins., 1970, PG-13), which was a box-office bomb that’s held up much better in comparison.
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Aisle Seat 11-29: New Kino Lorber 4K & Blu-Ray Reviews
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/28/2022 - 10:00 PM
The 1999 comic book spoof MYSTERY MEN (122 mins., PG-13; Kino Lorber) seemed to arrive, in many ways, just before its time. Before super-heroes became the cinema’s preeminent movie genre, a short time prior to star Ben Stiller having a breakout hit with “Meet the Parents,” and just ahead of co-star Geoffrey Rush suiting up as the villain in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise there was this late summer ’99 Universal box-office disappointment – one worthy of some reappraisal in light of the veritable hundreds of comic book projects we’ve seen over the many years since.
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Today in Film Score History:
March 25
Bronislau Kaper wins his only Oscar, for the Lili score (1954)
Elton John born (1947)
Henry Mancini begins recording his score for 99 & 44/100 % Dead (1974)
John Massari born (1957)
John Williams begins recording his score for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Ken Thorne begins recording his score for Superman II (1980)
Luis Bacalov wins his only Oscar, for Il Postino; Alan Menken wins the first Comedy or Musical Score Oscar, for Pocahontas
Maurice Jarre wins his third and final Oscar, for the A Passage to India score (1985)
Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for The Great McGinty (1940)
Riz Ortolani born (1926)
Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Royale" (1989)
Tan Dun wins his first score Oscar, for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001)
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