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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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Aisle Seat 11-22: A Thanksgiving 4K Feast
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/21/2022 - 10:00 PM
Movie buffs hoping for a few remastered 4K transfers of holiday favorites have much to celebrate this month, with brand-new HDR presentations of “A Christmas Story” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (two of my favorites) leading the way from Warner and Paramount jumping into the fray with a new UHD of PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES (93 mins., 1987, R; Paramount), writer-director John Hughes’ perennial favorite that’s highlighted by over an hour of previously unreleased deleted scenes.
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Aisle Seat 11-15: MAVERICK Flies in 4K
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/14/2022 - 10:00 PM
It might be an overstatement to call Tom Cruise “The Last Movie Star,” but it’s hard to argue in 2022 there’s an actor still working today who commands a project, and the screen itself, the way Cruise still can. It’s a commendable feat that’s no small accomplishment when you analyze the constrained marketplace that is the U.S. box-office in these post-pandemic times – an era in which movies where teenagers aren’t the central demographic have become a nearly extinct species, dominated instead by super-heroes and recycled “Intellectual Properties” owned by massive corporations. TOP GUN: MAVERICK (131 mins., 2022, PG-13; Paramount) is still, obviously, a revisit of one of the all-time ’80s blockbusters, but it’s been produced with so much skill and soul that it scarcely resembles the generic sequels and comic book films taking up residency in our nation’s multiplexes in the 21st century.
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Aisle Seat 11-8: Imprint’s Latest Limited Editions
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/7/2022 - 10:00 PM
The great Akira Kurosawa virtually never ventured outside Japan for his cinematic sojourns, making his 1975 epic DERSU UZALA (142 mins.) a picture to treasure. This rugged, Serbian-shot outdoor adventure offers a straightforward story of a Russian military officer (Yuri Solomon) who’s charged with surveying the Mongolian frontier shortly after the turn of the 20th century. To his aid comes a resourceful local guide (Maksim Munzuk), who not only saves his life, but represents an old, nature-based world slowly being eradicated by the rise of civilization.
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Today in Film Score History:
February 1
Alan Silvestri begins recording his score for The Perez Family (1995)
Alexander Courage records his score for the Lost in Space episode "The Cave of the Wizards" (1967)
Barry Gray begins recording his score for Thunderbird 6 (1968)
Bruce Broughton begins recording his score for Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996)
Herbert Stothart died (1949)
Howard Shore begins recording his score for The Score (2001)
Karl Hajos died (1950)
Lyn Murray begins recording his score for To Catch a Thief (1955)
Miklos Rozsa records his score for The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Rick Wilkins born (1937)
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