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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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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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Today in Film Score History:
September 17
Basil Poledouris wins his only Emmy, for Lonesome Dove Part 4: The Return (1989)
Billy Goldenberg wins the Emmy for his King score; Jimmie Haskell wins for See How She Runs (1978)
Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for Guns of the Magnificent Seven (198)
Franz Grothe born (1908)
Georges Delerue begins recording his score for American Friends (1990)
James Horner begins recording his score for Extreme Close-Up (1990)
Jay Chattaway records his score for the Enterprise episode “Carbon Creek” (2002)
Joel Hirschhorn died (2005)
John Barry begins recording his score for The Black Hole (1979)
Lalo Schifrin records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “The Contender” (1968)
Recording sessions begin for Leigh Harline’s score for The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1958)
Stephen Barton born (1982)
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