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Aisle Seat 9-22: Autumn Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 9/21/2020 - 10:00 PM
We’re long enough into the Blu-Ray format’s lifespan that an influx of fascinating curiosities are coming our way every month, and independent label Fun City Editions leads the way this week with a compelling, remastered release from the short-lived Atlantic Releasing Corporation. ALPHABET CITY (85 mins., 1984, R) stars Vincent Spano, fresh off “Baby It’s You” and “The Black Stallion Returns,” as a drug dealer in the rough-and-tumble NYC neighborhood of its title. After too many deals and run-ins with lowlifes, Spano’s Johnny decides it’s time to get his mother (Zora Lamphert) and sister (Jami Gertz) out from the muck before his mob overlords come for them – along with his girlfriend (Kate Vernon, daughter of “Animal House”’s Dean Wormer), an artist also taking care of their infant daughter.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 9-8: The 23rd Anniversary Edition!
Posted By: Andy Dursin 9/7/2020 - 10:00 PM
In a weird year that’s going to end up being a patchwork of new releases and catalog titles, there’s little doubt the most noteworthy UHD package in the latter category will likely be Sony’s stupendous COLUMBIA CLASSICS VOLUME 1 (Sony). This Limited Edition deluxe set includes the premiere of no less than six varied titles from Columbia’s filmography, each one presented in glorious new 2160p HVEC encoded transfers with ample extras. As of now, the films in this gorgeous set – which also includes a bonus DVD and a glossy, photo-packed book – aren’t scheduled to be sold individually, making this the only way you can appreciate these Sony 4K restorations.
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Aisle Seat 8-18: Kino Lorber August Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/17/2020 - 10:00 PM
Most gaps in Clint Eastwood’s filmography have been addressed on Blu-Ray by now, though Eastwood’s third directorial outing, BREEZY (106 mins., 1973, R; Kino Lorber), has been exclusive to international markets for several years. Kino Lorber finally rectifies this omission with the first U.S. release of the movie in high-definition, and while regarded as a minor film in which Eastwood doesn’t appear (sans a background cameo), “Breezy” is a worthwhile, affecting and highly appealing movie that’s less a “product of its time” than its premise would suggest on the surface.
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Aisle Seat 8-4: August Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 8/3/2020 - 10:00 PM
Long one of the most reliably poor-looking Abbott & Costello films on home video – the duo’s independently-produced 1949 comedy AFRICA SCREAMS (79 mins.) – is now, thanks to the 3-D Film Archive and Classic Flix, one of the best. Lovingly and painstakingly restored by Bob Furmanek and his team from the original 35mm nitrate film elements, this limited-edition Blu-Ray does justice to a picture that the comedy team produced outside their Universal Pictures deal – resulting in a myriad of terrible video releases since the film fell into the public domain once a distributor failed to renew its copyright.
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Aisle Seat Video Vault: WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S, A Summer Classic
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/27/2020 - 10:00 PM
Plenty of articles have been written about the Summer of 1989 – one of the last great seasons for movie-goers as every week brought with it what would become a long-time viewer favorite. What hasn’t been written about – but should be – is a tribute to one of the great sleeper hits of the decade. Yes, I’m referring to WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S – a silly looking comedy that became an unlikely success pitted against the likes of Batman, Indiana Jones, a “Lethal Weapon” sequel and a myriad of other, more expensive studio films populating theaters at the time. While a surprise success upon its July 7th opening, the movie has remained a perennial favorite at the Aisle Seat – so much that it feels like this summer is the perfect time to extol its virtues.
Comments: 4  (read on)
Aisle Seat 7-21: WAR OF THE WORLDS Remaster, Kino Lorber July Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/20/2020 - 10:00 PM
George Pal’s awesome 1953 production of H.G. Wells’ WAR OF THE WORLDS (85 mins., 1953) represents ‘50s sci-fi at its best. From the majestic opening with Sir Cedric Hardwicke’s narration and Leith Stephens’ score, to the first appearance of Pal’s saucers and the scenes of stars Gene Barry and Ann Robinson hiding in a farmhouse from the invading Martians, few other films captured the imaginations of sci-fi fans like director Byron Haskin’s movie. The original “War of the Worlds” set the standard for dozens upon dozens of fantasy films that followed in its wake and still ranks today as one of the greatest genre pictures ever made.
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Aisle Seat 7-7: July Sizzler Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/6/2020 - 10:00 PM
Sure to be one of the year’s top catalog releases on Blu-Ray, Kit Parker Films and MVD’s four-disc LAUREL & HARDY: THE DEFINITIVE RESTORATIONS serves up long-awaited new transfers – from original 35mm sources, no less – of the legendary comic duo’s finest shorts and features.
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Aisle Seat 6-23: Summer Start-Up Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/22/2020 - 10:00 PM
One of John Hughes’ best movies – PRETTY IN PINK – makes its long-overdue debut on Blu-Ray this month from Paramount, along with another title long coveted by movie buffs: John Travolta and Debra Winger’s 1980 teaming in James Bridges’ URBAN COWBOY.
Comments: 5  (read on)
Aisle Seat 6-9: JAWS Surfaces In 4K UHD
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/8/2020 - 10:00 PM
The original summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg’s JAWS (124 mins., 1975, PG; Universal) quickly became my favorite film growing up, having devoured it on VHS and on ABC’s Sunday Night Movie presentation (the one with the added footage) so many times I could recite some dialogue before I was out of grade school. Over the years I’ve been able to see it on the big screen (thanks to a visit with Lukas on Martha’s Vineyard back in the ’90s), but despite that – and having reviewed numerous laserdisc and DVD releases over the years – only with Universal’s Blu-Ray and now 4K UHD edition have I felt like I’ve completely been able to appreciate “Jaws.” The Blu-Ray offered a brilliant HD presentation that’s now been one-upped by a HDR/Dolby Vision-enhanced 4K transfer that does one notch better on an already-superb restoration, doing full justice to the classic 1975 screen adaptation of Peter Benchley’s bestseller.
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Aisle Seat 5-26: Tom Cruise in 4K UHD, Kino Lorber May Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/25/2020 - 10:00 PM
Because we’ve been stuck in the midst of a COVID-driven lockdown, I’ve found it comforting to revisit apocalyptic, end-of-the-world fare on home video over these last few weeks. If you think it’s been bad being locked up over the last two months – well, wait, an extraterrestrial invasion and being trapped in Tim Robbins’ basement could well be worse.
Comments: 2  (read on)
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Today in Film Score History:
September 25
Alan Silvestri begins recording his score for The Bodyguard (1992)
Danny Elfman and Steve Bartek's score for the Amazing Stories episode "Mummy Daddy" is recorded (1985)
Dmitri Shostakovich born (1906)
Eric Rogers born (1921)
Jay Chattaway records his score for the Enterprise episode “Fight or Flight” (2001)
Michael Gibbs born (1937)
Randy Kerber born (1958)
Richard Harvey born (1953)
Rod Temperton died (2016)
Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Where No One Has Gone Before" (1987)
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