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7-16-24: OCN Summer Rundown
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/15/2024 - 10:00 PM
Guiseppe Tornatore’s ENNIO (156 mins., 2021; Music Box) has at last reached the shores of the U.S. after having been released elsewhere around the world over the last couple of years. So what took this terrific documentary so long to find a U.S. distributor? One wonders, since Morricone’s legacy – a list of literally hundreds of movie soundtracks and concert works, plus a massive influence on both Italian and worldwide pop music that came before them – spans decades of popular film scores, some of which transcended the cinematic creations they originally accompanied.
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Aisle Seat 7-2: 4th of July Fireworks, From Kung Fu to 4K
Posted By: Andy Dursin 7/1/2024 - 10:00 PM
Growing up in the ‘80s, Saturday afternoons on local Boston affiliate WLVI TV 56 used to include a “Creature Double Feature” of Godzilla fare, followed sometimes by an Abbott & Costello movie or, occasionally, a kung-fu adventure. These often didn’t star Bruce Lee but “Bruce Li,” and would offer cheap genre action with limited dramatic engagement – it was all about the martial arts, and these quickly-paced genre exercises are now the centerpiece of one of the year’s best Blu-Ray box sets. Severin’s THE GAME OF CLONES: BRUCEPOLITATION COLLECTION VOL. 1 streets next week and provides no less than a full dozen wild and woolly kung fu flicks with ersatz Bruce Lee stand-ins, mostly low budgets but lots of energy to spare, plus fantastic extras which put this entire, bizarre filmmaking era into proper historical context.
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Aisle Seat 6-25: Summer Arrival Edition
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/24/2024 - 10:00 PM
The ‘60s were filled with “caper” movies, many of the international variety with stars from around the globe hoping to sell their respective collaborations to markets far and wide. The genre was wrapping up by the time THE BURGLARS (114/126 mins., 1971, PG; Sony) was made, which is unfortunate because this is an irresistible late entry in its field, filled with gorgeous Greek locations and exciting action set-pieces. And what more needs to be said than, at one point, star Jean-Paul Belmondo does his own leaping from one moving bus to another while trying to avoid corrupt local cop Omar Sharif?
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Aisle Seat 6-10: Godzilla, Lynch & A Mute Witness
Posted By: Andy Dursin 6/9/2024 - 10:00 PM
The thrill of watching Godzilla take on assorted monsters on the old “Creature Double Feature” has been, more or less, reproduced with the release of GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE (115 mins., 2024, PG-13; Warner). The latest “Monsterverse” effort manages to ditch the pretentious components of this series’ Godzilla standalone films, as well as any “adult” elements, in a movie that became one of the biggest hits in the series for a central reason: it’s for kids, and in this case, that’s not a bad thing.
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Aisle Seat 5-28: Kino Lorber May Wrap, Imprint & New 4K Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/27/2024 - 10:00 PM
Though a box-office hit at the time of its release, the 1979 rom-com STARTING OVER (105 mins., 1979, R; Kino Lorber) doesn’t get a lot of discussion even in movie buff circles. Perhaps that’s because it’s an anomaly in star Burt Reynolds’ filmography of the era, a “serious” comedy having made inbetween “Smokey and the Bandits” installments with Reynolds lacking his trademark mustache.
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Aisle Seat 5-14: THE CROW Flies in 4K
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/13/2024 - 10:00 PM
A film that’s long had difficulty rendering its dense, dark visuals in the home video medium, THE CROW (101 mins., 1994, R; Paramount) has, at last, generated a spectacular release for fans on 4K UHD courtesy of Paramount. This new Dolby Vision HDR enhanced presentation finally gives director Alex Proyas’ cult classic the richly detailed image it deserves, besting Lionsgate’s decent (but now inferior) Blu-Ray from over a decade ago.
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Aisle Seat 5-9: Cinematographe, OCN New Releases
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/8/2024 - 10:00 PM
Elmore Leonard adaptations became all the rage in the late ‘90s following the success of Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Get Shorty” in 1995. Everyone from Quentin Tarantino (“Jackie Brown”) to Steven Soderbergh (“Out of Sight”) tried their hand at a Leonard movie, sometimes to great success…and occasionally to non-existent box-office, in the case of Paul Schrader’s TOUCH (96 mins., 1997, R), a picture that basically ceased to exist after its low-profile original theatrical release. Cinematographe has restored this seldom-screened curio in a new Blu-Ray limited-edition that, for all the movie’s faults, should be of major interest for fans of Leonard, Schrader, and stars Christopher Walken, Bridget Fonda and Skeet Ulrich.
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Aisle Seat 5-7: 4K Spins & Arrow, Imprint, MVD Wrap
Posted By: Andy Dursin 5/6/2024 - 10:00 PM
Ernie Fosselius blasted onto the comedy scene when his parody HARDWARE WARS (13 mins., 1977; MVD) became a cult phenomenon in the late ‘70s. An amusing compendium of gags in extended, faux-trailer form, narrated by the great Paul Frees, “Hardware Wars” is funnier in its sub-15 minute run time than Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs” is in its totality, from its googily-eyed Sesame Street-esque Chewbacca knock-off to its non-cutting edge technical effects with household appliances zooming around a galaxy very, very close to home.
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Aisle Seat 4-30: FLETCH, HIGH NOON & More New Discs From Kino Lorber
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/29/2024 - 10:00 PM
Filmmaker Nancy Savoca’s works received widespread critical acclaim in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Bursting onto the scene with her Cannes Grand Jury winner TRUE LOVE (89 mins., 1989, R; Kino Lorber), Savoca followed her feature debut triumph with the Warner Bros. funded DOGFIGHT (93 mins., 1991, R; Criterion), which never made it outside a limited theatrical run. Heading back to her independent roots, Savoca turned out the generally well-received HOUSEHOLD SAINTS (126 mins., 1993, R; Kino Lorber), yet the film’s rep has long been hampered by a lack of visibility. Fearing the latter may be a “lost” movie, Savoca was able to at last obtain original elements and restore the movie in 4K, leading to this month’s trilogy of restorations: all three of her features are at last back in circulation, all on Blu-Ray, for audiences to revisit or, in many cases, discover for the first time.
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Aisle Seat 4-23: Severin Chillers on 4K UHD
Posted By: Andy Dursin 4/22/2024 - 10:00 PM
The annals of “Jaws” rip-offs run the gamut from giant alligators and piranhas to mutated grizzly bears, crocodiles and…well, we’re back to alligators again with THE GREAT ALLIGATOR (89 mins., 1979; Severin Films), one of the many films in this genre that features unsuspecting victims running afoul of something in the wild that wants to take a bite out of them. Not to be confused with either John Sayles’ superior “Alligator” or the gross-out Thai import “Crocodile,” this Sergio Martino-helmed Italian production goes down nice and easy – a movie that comfortably debuted in the U.S. on the CBS Late Movie, and one that makes you feel like having a frozen slushy and throwing on George Benson’s “Living Inside Your Love” double LP for good measure.
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Today in Film Score History:
July 18
Abel Korzeniowski born (1972)
Barry Gray born (1908)
David Shire records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Hell Toupee" (1985)
James William Guercio born (1945)
Nathan Van Cleave begins recording his score for The Lonely Man (1956)
Richard Markowitz records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Golden Cobra” (1966)
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