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Aisle Seat 2-18: 4K February Thrills, New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 2/17/2020 - 10:00 PM
Roland Emmerich’s passion project MIDWAY (138 mins., 2019, PG-13; Lionsgate) fared moderately well at the U.S. box-office despite getting mixed reviews, yet (once again) the Rotten Tomatoes critical crew missed the boat. While lavishing praise on the likes of “Birds of Prey” and “The Last Jedi,” they mostly brushed aside this sturdy war film with a commendable attention to the historical record – bringing to the screen more actual history than was contained in Universal’s at-times melodramatic 1976 Sensurround extravaganza chronicling the same battle.
Comments: 2  (read on)
Aisle Seat 2-11: Kino Lorber, Doctor Sleep, Shout February Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 2/10/2020 - 10:00 PM
The novels of Jules Verne had been adapted into a myriad of memorable cinematic adventures during the 1950s and ‘60s, from the Ray Harryhausen-laced thrills of “Mysterious Island” to the Oscar-winning “Around the World in 80 Days” and Disney’s classic “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” At the end of the cycle, the latter’s star, Kirk Douglas, looked to Verne’s final novelTHE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (128 mins., 1971, PG; Kino Lorber), for inspiration, but nothing could prepare viewers – especially the family audience the film was seemingly marketed towards – for the brutal violence this underappreciated – yet purely adult – adventure contains.
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Aisle Seat 1-28: January Chiller Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/27/2020 - 10:00 PM
Kino Lorber’s terrific, varied slate of January releases offers high Technicolor adventure from the 1940s, a moody British character piece, a ‘70s revisionist western, Michael Ritchie’s follow-up to “The Bad News Bears” and, for B-movie buffs, a truckin’ adventure from the AIP vaults. These “Studio Classics” Blu-Rays come alongside the exciting news that Kino Lorber has made a new deal with Universal for a reported 200 releases coming this year and beyond, with a few 4K UHD titles hopefully a part of that equation.
Comments: 3  (read on)
Aisle Seat 1-14: The 2020 Kickoff Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 1/13/2020 - 10:00 PM
There aren’t a lot of opportunities to talk about movies that push storytelling boundaries and employ technology in new and exciting ways, but Sam Mendes’ spectacular 1917 (****) is happily one of those instances. A unique war movie that works as – and was intended to be – an immersive cinematic experience, this is a truly breathtaking piece of filmmaking – a dazzling trip into the battlefields of WWI that’s unquestionably the best film of this year (or the last few, for that matter).
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Aisle Seat 12-31: New Year's Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/30/2019 - 10:00 PM
Brought back to salvage the concluding chapter in Disney’s so-called “Skywalker” series, director J.J. Abrams does something interesting with STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (142 mins., PG-13): he and co-writer Chris Terrio basically act as if its tepid, divisive Rian Johnson-helmed predecessor, “The Last Jedi,” never existed. Did that visit to the intergalactic casino ever happen? Where are the “Jedi Kids”? Are characters played by Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro even canon now?
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Aisle Seat 12-24: Christmas Eve at The Aisle Seat
Posted By: Andy Dursin 12/23/2019 - 10:00 PM
Released at Christmas ’84, Francis Ford Coppola’s THE COTTON CLUB (138 mins., R; Lionsgate) was the subject of much controversy: the big-budget mix of character drama and mob thriller, bolstered by song & dance numbers and ample period detail, made more news off the set than on the screen. Feuds between Coppola and producer Robert Evans, budget issues, squabbles over the film’s editing and, finally, mixed critical notices sank the picture even before it hit theaters. When it did, the movie sputtered and quickly exited the multiplex, relegated to just a few home video releases – and very little discussion – since.
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 11-26: DRACULA! BIG TROUBLE! A Thanksgiving Feast
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/25/2019 - 10:00 PM
In the late ’70s, the vampire genre had nearly run its course. Decades of fanged Draculas – from from the Bela Lugosi era through Hammer’s seemingly endless succession of Christopher Lee efforts – had turned the undead into a cliché that often bordered on self-parody. With George Hamilton’s box-office success “Love At First Bite” still in theaters, Universal, producer Walter Mirisch and director John Badham attempted to revitalize the classic Dracula mythos with their own adaptation of DRACULA (***½, 109 mins., 1979, R; Shout! Factory).
Comments: 1  (read on)
Aisle Seat 11-19: Cops, Robbers & Christmas, Too!
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/18/2019 - 10:00 PM
Two of Don Siegel’s contemporary crime thrillers, a long-forgotten Italian production featuring Roger Moore on a 007 hiatus, and a film with one of the all-time strangest back stories highlight Kino Lorber’s November Blu-Ray release slate – one that seems especially suited for ‘70s movie buffs.
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Aisle Seat 11-12: November Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 11/11/2019 - 10:00 PM
Debuting in HD for the first time this week is a superb, Complete Series Blu-Ray release of BATMAN BEYOND (1095 mins., Warner), the thrilling continuation of “Batman: The Animated Series” from the same producers of that critically-acclaimed, fan-favorite show (Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, and Paul Dini).
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Aisle Seat 10-29: Omens, Blobs & The Final Halloween Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 10/28/2019 - 10:00 PM
This Halloween has already provided a dynamic roster of releases for horror buffs, as evidenced by my past two columns that have featured the likes of Warner’s spectacular 4K UHD edition of “The Shining” and a fascinating slate of genre curios from Kino Lorber. This week brings two major releases in Arrow’s “An American Werewolf in London” and Shout’s five-disc THE OMEN COLLECTION: DELUXE EDITION, a superior Limited Edition package apparently concocted before Disney completed their sale of Fox’s entertainment assets and locked up their back catalog from further licensing (for now anyway).
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Today in Film Score History:
February 22
A.R. Rahman wins the Original Score and Song Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire and its song "Jai Ho" (2009)
Alexandre Desplat wins his first Oscar, for The Grand Budapest Hotel score (2015)
Angelo Francesco Lavagnino born (1909)
Gary Chang born (1953)
James Horner begins recording his replacement score for Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
Jerry Goldsmith records his score to Hawkins on Murder (1973)
Maurizio De Angelis born (1947)
William Loose died (1991)
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