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Aisle Seat 8-3: August Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/2/2021 - 10:00 PM
RANCHO DELUXE (93 mins., 1975, R) is a terrific slice of ’70s cinema. At last brought to Blu-Ray thanks to Jonathan Hertzberg’s Fun City Editions, this is a wonderfully offbeat little movie that shows what Hollywood was willing to bankroll back at the time, especially compared to the bloated, risk-free spectacle of 21st century “franchise cinema.”
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Aisle Seat 7-27: Kino Lorber July Rundown
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/26/2021 - 10:00 PM
Moody, visually arresting and offbeat, Georges Lautner’s ROAD TO SALINA (96 mins., 1970, R) is exactly the kind of unusual cinematic exercise Kino Lorber has gratifyingly given us on Blu-Ray since their “Studio Classics” series was initiated years ago. Shot in English in the Canary Islands (doubling for Mexico) by a predominantly French crew, this hothouse drama is vividly shot in scope and offers Robert Walker (Jr.) as a young hippie who stumbles into the wrong gas station where a grieving mother (Rita Hayworth) and her troubled daughter (Mimsy Farmer) immediately believe he’s Hayworth’s long-lost son returned from the road – or possibly grave.
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Aisle Seat 7-13: MAJOR DUNDEE Rides Again
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/12/2021 - 10:00 PM
In 1964, Sam Peckinpah – fresh off the success of his Randolph Scott western “Ride the High Country” – was hired by producer Jerry Bresler to shoot his first big-budget studio picture. “Major Dundee” starred Charlton Heston as a tough, uncompromising Union officer guarding a jail full of Confederate soldiers and other deviants in New Mexico. After a renegade Apache warrior ransacks a ranch – killing nearly everyone in its path, from Union soldiers to young children – Heston takes charge of tracking him down by any means necessary, including the recruitment of Confederate prisoners to join the cavalry.
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Aisle Seat 7-6: Warner Archive, Criterion New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/5/2021 - 10:00 PM
By the end of the 1960s, the movie western had undergone a major shift in tone, with the old-fashioned Saturday matinee fun of yesteryear’s cowboy idols replaced with the stylistic Italian flourishes of Sergio Leone and the bitter nihilism of Sam Peckinpah. There were several movies that seemed caught in that transitional moment, and come off as fascinating glimpses of disparate styles being forced upon one another – one case in point is THERE WAS A CROOKED MAN… (123 mins., 1970, R; Warner Archive), a movie that tries to mesh the modern, R-rated sensibilities of writers David Newman and Robert Benton (their first film coming off “Bonnie and Clyde”) with the old-school establishment embodied by producer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The result didn’t click with me but is regarded by some viewers as an underrated black comic piece with a great cast.
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Aisle Seat 6-22: A Kino Lorber June Festival
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/21/2021 - 10:00 PM
After turning out a number of teen movie classics in the 1980s, John Hughes essentially bid adieu to the genre with the 1991 comedy CAREER OPPORTUNITIES (83 mins., PG-13; Kino Lorber). This Universal release was mostly disposed of by the studio, opening in March 1991 after months of delays, and generating scant box-office – especially compared to the juggernaut of Hughes’ production “Home Alone,” which was still playing in theaters at the time. While Hughes himself was about to continue down a path of increasingly family-friendly big-screen fare, “Career Opportunities” is nevertheless worth seeking out as an attractively lensed widescreen effort that features the especially attractive Jennifer Connelly at the height of her on-screen appeal.
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Aisle Seat 6-15: Indiana Jones, Godzilla & Kong on 4K UHD
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/14/2021 - 10:00 PM
Freshly remastered in its most spectacular presentation yet on home video, INDIANA JONES: 4-MOVIE COLLECTION (Paramount) is unquestionably going to rank as one of the essential format purchases for 4K UHD owners. Paramount’s five-disc set – configured similarly as its 2012 Blu-Ray predecessor – includes the UHD, Dolby Vision-enhanced debuts of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” on UHD with a fourth disc of extras and a fifth (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”) that most fans likely feel is best left as a beverage coaster. It’s an eagerly awaited set that delivers the goods on every level: the Dolby Vision transfers offer the same crispness of Paramount’s Blu-Ray releases with the addition of finely-tuned HDR and a slightly cooler color tone, while the Dolby Atmos audio mixes are even more immersive than the Ben Burtt-mastered tracks from prior editions.
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Aisle Seat 6-1: Revisiting EXPLORERS
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/31/2021 - 10:00 PM
The summer of ’85 was a good time to be growing up and going to the movies. “Back to the Future” and “Cocoon” were two of the season’s biggest genre hits, and are just a couple of the many films from that year that are still entertaining viewers decades later (not to mention “Lifeforce,” of course!). Not every film released that summer was a hit, though, as the summer of ’85 had its share of box-office disappointments – one of them was Joe Dante’s EXPLORERS (106 mins., PG; Paramount), which was the genre auteur's highly awaited follow-up tpo his smash hit "Gremlins" from the preceding year. 
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Aisle Seat 5-25: Memorial Day Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/24/2021 - 10:00 PM
Blue Underground is off to a robust start in the 4K UHD format, and this month debuts a spectacular new Dolby Vision presentation of THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (102 mins., 1980, PG). Kirk Douglas produced and starred in the 1980 time travel adventure as the captain of the U.S.S. Nimitz, an aircraft carrier that finds itself inexplicably caught up in a vortex that sends it, and its crew, back to 1941…just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
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Aisle Seat 5-18: Kino Lorber May Round-Up
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/17/2021 - 10:00 PM
Cross-country comedy “road trip” movies seem to have a perennial appeal, at least when we talk about the likes of “National Lampoon’s Vacation” or “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Not every one of these films, of course, has enjoyed a lasting success – and in the case of John Schlesinger’s 1981 attempt at making a real change of pace film, HONKY TONK FREEWAY (107 mins., PG), this expensive comedy became one of the biggest box-office wipeouts of all-time. Unavailable on domestic home video for nearly 20 years, Kino Lorber has resurrected this infamous, strange pastiche of broad comic stereotypes, shot through the prism of an Oscar-winning British director, in a superb Blu-Ray that makes for a compelling view for any curious movie buff.
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Aisle Seat 5-11: KING KONG Resurrected, FAST TIMES Remastered
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/10/2021 - 10:00 PM
Sometimes there’s no apparent reason why it takes a prolonged amount of time for a certain movie to be released on Blu-Ray. In some instances it’s because of a lack of a peripheral connection to a sequel or remake – but in the case of Dino DeLaurentiis’ 1976 version of KING KONG (135 mins., PG; Shout! Factory), there have been no less than three films starring the Big Ape to reach the screen in the last 16 years for Paramount’s home video division to take advantage of. It may forever remain a mystery why the film was MIA in the U.S. high-definition format for so long, but Scream Factory has at last rectified the situation with a two-disc Blu-Ray Collector’s Edition offering a quality presentation of the movie, the first-ever full release of the three-hour network TV version, and a smattering of supplements produced under the constraints of a pandemic.
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Today in Film Score History:
August 5
Abigail Mead born as Vivian Kubrick (1960)
Adolph Deutsch begins recording his score for The Matchmaker (1957)
Alexander Courage's music for the Star Trek episode "The Enterprise Incident" is recorded (1968)
Christopher Gunning born (1944)
Cyril Morin born (1962)
Fred Karger died (1979)
Henry Mancini begins recording his score for Mommie Dearest (1981)
Henry Mancini begins recording his score for Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his unused score for Gladiator (1991)
Michael Small begins recording his score for Comes a Horseman (1978)
Robert Prince records his first Mission: Impossible score, for the episode “Homecoming” (1970)
Stuart Hancock born (1975)
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