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Aisle Seat 11-30: Kino Lorber November Rundown
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/29/2021 - 10:00 PM
Making its eagerly anticipated 4K UHD debut from Kino Lorber this month, Philip Kaufman’s acclaimed remake of the ‘50s Don Siegel sci-fi classic INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (115 mins., 1978, PG) hasn’t aged quite as well as its predecessor, in part because of its bleak ‘70s ending – a “gotcha” moment that works best the first time around as opposed to repeat viewing. Still, while I feel there’s a tendency to over-rate Kaufman’s film, it’s nevertheless a compelling, intelligently presented version of the Jack Finney tale, with Donald Sutherland starring as a Bay Area health inspector who begins to wonder what’s going on with the body-switching paranoia overcoming the region.
Comments: 3  (read on)
Aisle Seat 11-23: Mad Max & Middle Earth in 4K; Paramount Remasters
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/22/2021 - 10:00 PM
Director Milos Forman’s RAGTIME (154 mins., 1981, PG; Paramount) may have been a film that didn’t entirely live up to its lofty aspirations, yet seen afresh in Paramount’s 4K-mastered new Blu-Ray transfer, it’s a beautifully mounted, sumptuously designed adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s celebrated novel, spectacularly shot by the great Miroslav Ondricek and memorably scored by Randy Newman.
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Aisle Seat 11-9: An Autumn Catalog Harvest
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/8/2021 - 10:00 PM
Halloween may be over but Fall is still the season for creepy cinematic happenings, with Warner Archive jumping into the fray with a number of genre titles debuting on Blu-Ray. Among them is the weird MGM/Filmways production EYE OF THE DEVIL (96 mins., 1967), a troubled shoot that saw star Kim Novak reportedly squabble with producer Martin Ransohoff en route to her departing the movie deep into filming. Novak was replaced with Deborah Kerr, who mostly goes through the motions in a moody yet tension-free piece that would be one of the studio’s last to be shot in black-and-white.
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Aisle Seat 10-26: Kino Lorber October Cornucopia Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/25/2021 - 10:00 PM
Three directors, two cinematographers, several writers and all kinds of production trouble made THE PURSUIT OF D.B. COOPER (104 mins., 1981, PG) a problematic movie that somehow made its way into theaters to meet Universal’s promised November 1981 release date. One of those films that’s more interesting for what happened off the screen than on it, this Polygram Pictures product kicks off Kino Lorber’s October release slate, one that’s filled with a varied array of titles from the pre-Code era through the late stages of Michael J. Fox’s box-office appeal.
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Aisle Seat 10-20: A Second Smashing Round of Sony 4K Classics
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/19/2021 - 10:00 PM
For 4K UHD owners, one of the most lavish and collectible releases in the format to date was last year’s “Columbia Classics Collection,” which compiled a handful of award-winning films from the studio, remastered in new 4K transfers, for the first time. Some 18 months after the set was first issued, that package commands a high price on the secondary market as the bulk of the included films have yet to be released separately, meaning it’s still the only place one can find the UHD of “Lawrence of Arabia” among others. This year Sony is back with COLUMBIA CLASSICS 4K ULTRA HD COLLECTION: VOLUME 2, housing another half-dozen classics, and if its predecessor is used as a guide, fans of any of these films should snag a set before they inevitably sell out.
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Aisle Seat 10-19: No Time To Die, Universal Monsters in 4K
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/18/2021 - 10:00 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 10-12: PRIME TIME Entertainment From Fun City Editions
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/11/2021 - 10:00 PM
The made-for-television movie has always received scant attention in the age of home video: not just Blu-Ray but DVD and laserdisc before it. Hundreds of well-crafted films produced for the small-screen haven’t been seen since their original network broadcasts, burying a swath of gems that have – considering Hollywood’s modern focus of producing worldwide blockbusters from regurgitated IPs – likely weathered the years better than you might’ve thought. Fun City Editions rolls the dice where other labels have mostly never ventured with a 3-disc Blu-Ray PRIME TIME PANIC set that salutes a trio of early ’80s network “Movies of the Week” from producers Leonard Hill and Philip Mandelker, each with young stars and superb craftsmanship behind the lens.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 10-5: Arrow, Criterion, Warner Archive Harvest
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/4/2021 - 10:00 PM
A cult favorite and still one of the crown visual jewels in Ridley Scott’s filmography – which, of course, is saying something – LEGEND (113/89 mins., 1986, PG; Arrow Video) has been revisited on Blu-Ray in a new deluxe Limited Edition from our friends at Arrow Video. In addition to reprinting my FSM interview with home video producer Charlie deLauzirika, the set offers a treasure trove of supplements, a fresh transfer of the compromised U.S. Tangerine Dream theatrical cut, and – in the case of both that version and the far superior “Director’s Cut” – notably improved audio soundtracks. It’s out there now, sitting on store shelves like the pot of gold Tom Cruise and his band of forest-dwelling friends find in Scott’s lavish ’80s fantasy.
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Aisle Seat 9-21: Kino Lorber September Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 9/20/2021 - 10:00 PM
A buried gem – still unreleased – in John Williams’ early filmography is STORY OF A WOMAN (90 mins., 1971, R; Kino Lorber/Code Red), a quaint Universal adult drama from the early ’70s: rated R for topless footage of star Bibi Andersson yet otherwise so tasteful and placid it’d be the sort of thing your grandmother might be watching on a rainy Sunday afternoon, this Leonardo Bercovici-directed film sits somewhere between a stodgy 1960s studio product and the more “daring” sexuality of the 1970s. Yet “Last Tango in Paris” this isn’t, even as Bercovici serves up a storyline involving a Swedish woman (Andersson) who has a fling with a married medical student (James Farentino) before settling into a proper marriage with an American diplomat (Robert Stack).
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Aisle Seat 9-14: 24th Anniversary Edition!
Posted By: Andy Dursin 9/13/2021 - 10:00 PM
As we kick off the Aisle Seat’s 25th season, September is shaping up to be one of the most exciting – and priciest – months for Blu-Ray/UHD owners in recent memory. And, frankly, we’ve earned it: the horrific last 18 months have been a nightmare in more ways than one, especially where movies and the art of the theatrical experience are concerned. With more and more audiences staying home – because of COVID, or content, or for some of us, both – studios seem to be seizing the moment, remastering classics and cult favorites for both high definition formats in brand new transfers that let them shine in new and exciting ways.
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Today in Film Score History:
December 5
Cliff Eidelman born (1964)
Dave Brubeck died (2012)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score to Coma (1977)
Jerry Goldsmith records his score for the Room 222 pilot (1968)
John Altman born (1949)
Johnny Pate born (1923)
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Manuel De Sica died (2014)
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Osvaldo Golijov born (1960)
Richard Gibbs born (1955)
Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Outrageous Okona" (1988)
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