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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.
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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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Aisle Seat 9-7: Warner Archive, Paramount Presents Catalog Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 9/6/2021 - 10:00 PM
Warner Archive’s Blu-Ray release of Savage Steve Holland’s nutty 1986 romp ONE CRAZY SUMMER (93 mins., 1986, PG; Warner Archive) marks a splendid way to cap the unofficial summer season: a guilty pleasure with high-spirited fun and plenty of laughs. A sequel of sorts to Holland’s semi-classic teen comedy “Better Off Dead,” “Summer” reunites stars John Cusack and Curtis Armstrong in a tale of a high school graduate who ventures to Nantucket for the summer.
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Aisle Seat 8-24: Kino Lorber August Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/23/2021 - 10:00 PM
There is something so profoundly creepy about watching WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT FEELING GOOD? (94 mins., 1968) – so much that our current predicament of COVID-era masking policies and general public health measures had to have been one reason why this long-forgotten 1968 Universal comedy with George Peppard and Mary Tyler Moore was dusted off specially for Blu-Ray this month from Kino Lorber. In this George Seaton-directed farce, an epidemic hops off a boat, passed on by a toucan that rages through late ’60s New York City, requiring the use of masks made readily available by a government that freely hands the cloth coverings out to one and all – except here, it’s not COVID, but rather a virus that causes those who get “sick” to free themselves and become uninhibited and blissful.
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Aisle Seat 8-17: Criterion's Choice COMPANY
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/16/2021 - 10:00 PM
This week Criterion debuts on disc ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY (53 mins., 1970; Criterion), the legendary Broadway documentary from D.A. Pennebaker, who captures the late night Columbia recording of Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 hit “Company.” Intended to be utilized as a (failed) pilot for a prospective series circling around how Broadway albums were made, this is a sensational, fly-on-the-wall work that takes you behind the scenes of Sondheim’s groundbreaking musical: Pennebaker’s camera showcases the indelible work of the cast (including Elaine Stritch and Dean Jones, who would leave the show shortly after it opened) while Columbia producer Thomas Z. Shepard interjects quite a few suggestions related to how the songs are miked and, occasionally, performed.
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Aisle Seat 8-10: Blake Edwards' SKIN DEEP on Blu-Ray
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/9/2021 - 10:00 PM
One of Blake Edwards’ better, un-PC “man-child” comedies, SKIN DEEP (103 mins., 1989, R; Mill Creek) is also one of the only watchable films from late in the director’s career. Essentially a remake of “10” (and other Edwards works in a similar vein), “Skin Deep” functions primarily as a vehicle for John Ritter, here playing a sexist, immature writer who leaps from one escapade to another, skirting moral responsibility before finally tackling his demons – drinking and sex.
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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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Today in Film Score History:
October 18
Allyn Ferguson born (1924)
Bernard Herrmann begins recording his score to The Wrong Man (1956)
Cristobal Tapia de Veer born (1973)
Frederick Hollander born (1896)
Howard Shore born (1946)
Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Game” (1991)
John Morris born (1926)
Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score for East Side, West Side (1949)
Pete Carpenter died (1987)
Peter Best born (1943)
Rene Garriguenc born (1908)
Sergio Moure de Oteyza born (1969)
Wynton Marsalis born (1961)
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