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My Beautiful Laundrette [Blu-ray]
My Beautiful Laundrette [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Daniel Day-Lewis
Price: $24.99
22 used & new from $9.90

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Daniel Day-Lewis' Early Films Gets the Deluxe Blu-Ray Treatment!, July 28, 2015
The Criterion Collection’s new Blu-Ray transfer successfully preserves My Beautiful Laundrette’s grungy 16mm film stock in an aesthetically pleasing way. This is the way the film was meant to be seen.

Producer Colin MacCabe interviews director Stephen Frears. He talks about how he got his start, working his way up first as an assistant for the likes of Lindsay Anderson in the 1960s and then getting regular work at the BBC in the 1970s. They discuss how Margaret Thatcher’s assent to power changed British cinema and television. He also talks about how he was given the script for Laundrette and his impressions of its subject matter.

Hanif Kureishi is interviewed and talks about some of the film’s themes. He was influenced by American writers like Jack Kerouac and J.D. Salinger, and rock ‘n’ roll music like Jimi Hendrix and especially David Bowie. He also talks about the origins of his script and working with Frears.

The founders of Working Title Films, producers Tim Beaven and Sarah Radclyffe, point out that Laundrette was originally going to be a T.V. movie. They got their start with a music video company and wanted to work with film directors. To this end, they got them to direct videos and met Frears as a result. They also talk about how they got Laundrette made.

There is an interview with Oliver Stapleton, the film’s cinematographer. He got his start on music videos and talks about how he got involved with Laundrette. He also talks about working with Frears and his method of filmmaking.

Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.

The Black Stallion [Blu-ray]
The Black Stallion [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Kelly Reno
Price: $27.74
26 used & new from $21.55

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Beloved Classic is Given the Much-Deserved Deluxe Treatment!, July 27, 2015
The Blu-Ray transfer is nothing short of stunning, highlighting Caleb Deschanel’s masterful cinematography. There is a wonderfully warm, filmic look that has been preserved, here.

There is a collection of “Short Films” that director Carroll Ballard made before The Black Stallion. “Pigs!” (1965) is an 11-minute documentary about pigs on a farm. “The Perils of Priscilla” (1969) is a 17-minute film about a cat that escapes from its home and survives on the streets of Los Angeles. “Rodeo” (1969) is a 20-minute doc. about champion bull rider Larry Mahan. “Seems Like Only Yesterday” (1971) is a 47-minute doc. that features interviews with 12 centenarians as they recount how L.A. has changed over the years. Finally, “Crystallization” (1974) is an 11-minute educational film shot through a microscope about the patterns created through the formation of crystals.

“Carroll Ballard and Scott Foundas” features the film critic talking to the director briefly about his early life and how he got into film. From there, he talks about cutting his teeth on educational and industrial films. Ballard says that he was in bad financial shape when he got a call from Francis Ford Coppola, an old classmate, who wanted to work with him. Used to working with small crews and very little money, he was terrified working on a large scale and was almost fired from the project. Ballard recounts several fascinating filming anecdotes on this wonderful extra.

“Caleb Deschanel” is interviewed and talks about working with Ballard and the man’s working methods. He recounts his experiences working on The Black Stallion including how they found certain locations and working with a Canadian crew vs. an Italian crew. He talks about the challenges of working with animals and children.

Still photographer Mary Ellen Mark talks about her experience photographing the cast and crew on location in Toronto and Sardinia. She shares her views on many of the photos she shot and her impressions of Mickey Rooney and Kelly Reno.

Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.

The Fisher King [Blu-ray]
The Fisher King [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jeff Bridges
Price: $25.25
26 used & new from $19.95

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I am the janitor of God.", June 30, 2015
The Criterion Collection comes through again with a superb transfer supervised by director Terry Gilliam. There is an excellent amount of detail and no signs of debris and defects. The colors all look excellent and I daresay The Fisher King hasn’t looked this good since it first debuted in theaters.

There is an audio commentary by Gilliam that originally appeared on Criterion’s 1991 laserdisc. He starts off stating the three rules that governed his filmmaking and that he broke them all on this film. He eloquently analyzes the prevailing themes of the film while also recounting anecdotes about making it in his trademark engaging fashion. He also talks about the role New York City played in the film and the challenge of shooting on location. This is a must-listen for Gilliam fans and admirers of The Fisher King.

There are six deleted scenes with optional commentary by Gilliam. They are interesting for completists but it is obvious why they were cut.

“The Tale of The Fisher King” consists of two short documentaries featuring new interviews with Gilliam, producer Lynda Obst, screenwriter Richard LaGravenese and actors Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl and Amanda Plummer. They take us through the origins of the project, including how they all got involved. LaGravenese says that the script was a reaction to the harsh materialism of the ‘80s. Ruehl had studied the Fisher King myth and was very familiar with it. Plummer knew nothing about the myth but was really drawn to the character of Lydia. This is an excellent, substantial look back at how The Fisher King came together.

“The Tale of the Red Knight” features artists Keith Greco and Vincent Jefferds looking back at the challenges they faced creating Parry’s nemesis the Red Knight using practical effects. They actually dig through the surviving props and talk about the materials they used to achieve what Gilliam wanted.

“Jeff’s Tale” features Bridges taking us through behind-the-scenes photographs he took while making the film. He recalls anecdotes behind many of the photos in this engaging extra.

“Jeff and Jack” features behind-the-scenes footage of Bridges rehearsing his shock jock material. The actor takes us through how he prepared for it, including some of the things he did. This extra provides fascinating insight into the prep work involved.

“Robin’s Tale” is a 2006 interview with Robin Williams as he recalls working on The Fisher King. Not surprisingly, he speaks highly of collaborating with Gilliam and what he loved about the man’s work. He recounts some of his favorite moments working on the film, including being naked in Central Park at night.

“Costume Tests” features footage of the four main actors trying on various outfits for their respective characters.

Finally, there is a collection five trailers for the film.

The Rose [Blu-ray]
The Rose [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Bette Midler
Price: $26.19
27 used & new from $14.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Gives Under-appreciated '70s Gem its Deluxe Treatment!, June 18, 2015
This review is from: The Rose [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray transfer has a wonderfully textured quality that preserves its filmic look while showcasing its vibrant colors, especially during the concert scenes.

There is an audio commentary by director Mark Rydell that was recorded in 2003. He covers a variety of topics including casting of not just the actors but the band that backs Midler’s character throughout the film. The director talks about the changes made to the screenplay when it no longer was about Joplin and recalls the logistics of shooting the concert sequences.

There is a wonderfully candid interview with Bette Midler who doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinions about the shortcomings of early drafts of the script or how she didn’t care for Paul Rothschild’s rehearsal methods. She also recalls working with Rydell and the cast, including her backing band.

Rydell is also interviewed and discusses how he got involved in the project as well as getting Midler on board while also dealing with her difficult manager. Some of the material covered on his commentary track is repeated, including the challenges of shooting the concert scenes in front of 6,000 people.

Cinematographers John Bailey and Vilmos Zsigmond, the latter of which worked on The Rose, talks about Midler’s performance as well as delving into technical aspects, like the lighting that was used, the color scheme that was adopted and the composition of specific scenes.

There is an excerpt from NBC’s Today show that featured Tom Brokaw interviewing Midler and Rydell during filming.

Finally, there is a 1979 interview with Midler by film critic Gene Shalit. She talks about her character and is her usual charming self.

Sullivan's Travels [Blu-ray]
Sullivan's Travels [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Joel McCrea
Price: $21.32
22 used & new from $17.50

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Gives Sturges' Beloved Comedy a Blu-Ray Upgrade!, April 21, 2015
This new Blu-Ray transfer is a pleasant upgrade from the Criterion Collection’s previous DVD incarnation. While there is the occasional blemish, there is also plenty of detail with a sharp image that preserves the filmic qualities of Sullivan’s Travels.

“Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer” is a fantastic documentary that originally aired on PBS’ American Masters series in 1990. It takes a look at Sturges life and career in great detail.

There is a 2001 interview with Sandy Sturges, author of Preston Sturges on Preston Sturges. She talks about the man’s beginnings as a playwright and how that informed his views of Hollywood. She also touches upon his relationships with key Hollywood players, like Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea.

New to this edition is a video essay entitled, Ants in Your Plants of 1941 by filmmakers David Cairns and Bill Forsyth that takes a look at the socio-political aspects of Sullivan’s Travels.

Also included is a short radio interview with Sturges originally broadcast in 1951.

There is a homemade recording that Sturges made of himself reciting Justin Huntly McCarthy’s poem, “If I Were A King.”

There is another homemade recording of Sturges singing “My Love,” which was a song he composed and appeared in two of his films, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944) and Hail the Conquering Hero (1944).

Finally, there is an audio commentary by filmmaker Noah Baumbach, Kenneth Bowser and actors Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, which is an amusingly affectionate appreciation of Sturges and his film.

Tootsie [Blu-ray]
Tootsie [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Dustin Hoffman
Price: $22.33
26 used & new from $18.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Gives Tootsie the Deluxe Blu-Ray Treatment!, February 24, 2015
This review is from: Tootsie [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Tootsie has never looked better with a superb Blu-Ray transfer that shows fantastic detail, restores the filmic qualities and looks as good as I’m sure it did on opening night.

Ported over from the Criterion Collection’s 1991 laserdisc is an audio commentary by director Sydney Pollack in which he provides thoughtful observations about the film.

Also included are three trailers for Tootsie.

There are nine deleted scenes that run 11 minutes. They are interesting to watch, especially for fans of the film, but were rightly cut.

“Screen and Wardrobe Tests” features fascinating archival footage of Hoffman from 1980 when Hal Ashby was the director. This extra offers a brief, tantalizing glimpse at what his vision might have been.

“A Better Man: The Making of Tootsie” is a retrospective documentary from 2007 that features interviews with Hoffman, Pollack, Garr, Lange and others. It takes us from the screenplay to Pollack’s apprehension with the premise to how Hoffman transformed himself into Dorothy. This is very well done with lots of anecdotal information.

“The Making of Tootsie” is a making of documentary made during the production. It offers intriguing behind the scenes footage of Pollack working with Hoffman and the filming of key scenes.

There is a new interview with Hoffman where he reflects, at times, quite emotionally, about making Tootsie.

Also included is a new interview with writer/producer/actor Phil Rosenthal who talks about his experiences on the film.

Finally, there is unused footage of T.V. film critic Gene Shalit interviewing Dorothy Michaels, which is fun to watch.

Time Bandits (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Time Bandits (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Sean Connery
Price: $22.99
24 used & new from $18.99

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion's NEW Blu-Ray Upgrade is Excellent!, January 22, 2015
Gilliam supervised this Blu-Ray transfer and it looks great with a lot of detail visible and the filmic quality preserved. This is a significant improvement from Criterion’s previous DVD incarnation.

Carried over from the DVD version is an audio commentary by director Terry Gilliam, co-screenwriter Michael Palin and actors John Cleese, David Warner and Craig Warnock. Rather fittingly, Gilliam starts off talking about the film’s origins. He excels at recounting filming anecdote and discussing some of the themes. He also recounts a story about how he accidentally injured Shelley Duvall during filming. Warnock recalls his experiences as a child making his first film. Cleese chimes in on his memorable cameo as Robin Hood and his take on the character. Gilliam and Warnock recall working with Connery as the former talks about how helpful the veteran actor was in working with the latter.

“Creating the Worlds of Time Bandits” features production designer Milly Burns and costume designer James Acheson as they talk about their work on the film. It was a dream project for them because they got to work on a variety of designs for all the time periods depicted in the film. They also talk in detail about what they wanted to do, accompanied by sketches, stills and clips from Time Bandits.

There is a conversation between Gilliam and Peter Von Bagh at the Midnight Sun Film Festival in 1998. The director talks about what influenced him as a filmmaker and what it was like growing up in Minnesota. He speaks highly of the surreal comedy of Ernie Kovacs and the animation of Walt Disney and Tex Avery.

Also included is a 1981 interview with actress Shelley Duvall on Tomorrow, an American talk show hosted by Tom Snyder. She talks about working on Time Bandits while also touching upon some of her other work. Duvall comes off as a charming and earnest person.

There is a stills gallery of rare, behind-the-scenes photographs of Gilliam and co. at work.

Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.

Y tu mamá también (Blu-ray + DVD)
Y tu mamá también (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Diego Luna
Price: $26.19
25 used & new from $16.83

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny, poignant road movie gets the deluxe Criterion treatment., August 20, 2014
This new Blu-Ray transfer has been approved by director Alfonso Cuaron and the film’s director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki. It looks great with lots of detail and preserving the filmic qualities.

There is T.V. spot and trailer for the film.

“On Y Tu Mama Tambien” includes a 10-minute featurette made during the production with interviews with director Cuaron, co-writer Carlos Cuaron, director of photography Lubezki and actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Maribel Verdu. They take us through its inception to filming with the actors talking about what drew them to the project. Also included is a 40-minute featurette from 2014 that has all the aforementioned participants look back at the film. They recount all kinds of filming anecdotes and it is interesting to hear their thoughts on Y Tu Mama Tambien after all this time.

“The Making of the Film” is a 22-minute featurette from 2001 that offers all kinds of behind-the-scenes footage during principal photography and sheds light on how Cuaron works. We also see the dynamic between him and his cast and crew.

Also included are three deleted scenes that are entertaining in their own right, but were justly cut from the film.

Philosopher Slavoj Zizek talks about the socio-political context of Y Tu Mama Tambien. He examines how Cuaron sheds light on Mexican politics in the background of certain scenes.

Finally, “You Owe Me” is a 2002 short film that Carlos Cuaron wrote and directed about family secrets that are kept submerged by the characters.

The Big Chill (Blu-ray + DVD)
The Big Chill (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Glenn Close
Offered by Tax Free Rarities
Price: $48.97
21 used & new from $19.88

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kasdan's Ode to Baby Boomers Gets the Deluxe Blu-Ray treatment!, July 30, 2014
This new Blu-Ray transfer is easily superior to any DVD incarnations of The Big Chill, preserving the texture of the film stock Kasdan used. In a nice touch, Criterion has offered two audio options: the original mono track and a 5.1 surround sound track that really showcases the film’s selection of memorable tunes from the ‘60s.

Included is a trailer for the film.

“Success in the System” is a new interview with writer/director Lawrence Kasdan who talks about working within the confines of Hollywood. He also talks about using his clout from writing successful screenplays for blockbuster films to write and director his own personal films. Naturally, he discusses the central themes of The Big Chill among other things.

“The Big Chill: A Reunion” is a 1998 retrospective documentary that runs just under an hour and features Kasdan and his cast reflecting back on the film. It takes us through the genesis of the project, including the origins of the film’s title. This documentary also takes us through the production in wonderful detail and it is great to see the cast speak admiringly of it.

“Thirtieth Anniversary Q&A” was held at the Toronto International Film Festival and featured Kasdan with key cast and crew members reminiscing about the film. This is a fun and engaging extra as everyone speaks highly of their experience on The Big Chill.

Finally, there are just over nine minutes of deleted scenes. Unfortunately, the flashback sequence with Kevin Costner that was cut by the studio is not included and it is pretty obvious why this footage was taken out.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2015 1:08 PM PDT

Scanners (Blu-ray + DVD)
Scanners (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Jennifer O'Neill
Offered by Tax Free Rarities
Price: $25.79
18 used & new from $17.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shape of Rage Gets the Deluxe Blu-Ray Treatment, July 28, 2014
This review is from: Scanners (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
This Blu-Ray transfer for Scanners was supervised by Cronenberg himself and sports subdued colors with rich earth tones. In keeping with other Criterion transfers, this one preserves the texture of film stock in a very pleasing way.

There is a trailer and also a few radio spots promoting the film.

“The Scanners Way” takes a retrospective look at the film’s impressive special effects with interviews with director of photography Mark Irwin, special makeup artists Stephen Dupuis and Chris Walas and others who talk about working with Cronenberg. They also talk about the production and how he was rewriting the screenplay on a daily basis. The participants recount engaging filming anecdotes and explain how some of the memorable effects were created.

“Mental Saboteur” is a fascinating interview with actor Michael Ironside who talks about how he got involved with Scanners and what it was like working with not just Cronenberg, but also some of his co-stars. The veteran actor also touches upon his time as a struggling actor in Canada in this engrossing extra.

“The Ephemerol Diaries” is an interview with actor Stephen Lack. He got his start as a performance artist in Montreal and had no traditional training as an actor. He candidly recounts the breakneck pace of the production and the problems Patrick McGoohan had understanding the material.

Also included is an excerpt from an episode of “The Bob McLean Show,” which aired on the CBC in Canada. Cronenberg is interviewed about Scanners with clips shown from his earlier films as well.

Finally, for Cronenberg fans his 1969 feature film debut Stereo is included. With its medical experiments and telepathy, it anticipated Scanners.

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