From this to disc: Brazil Criterion Bluray
Well, Criterion finally got there act together and released one of their most requested titles on bluray. Of course i am talking about Terry Gilliams sci/fi masterpiece Brazil. Arguably the best film he’s ever made. To try to explain the plot would be almost impossible but lets just say that it involves a daydreamer (played to perfection by Johnathan Pryce) whose stuck in a dead end job in a very nightmarish world that takes place far into the future. The new High Def transfer looks stunning and is far better than the universal bluray that was put out about a year and a half ago. This is also the version we have been waiting for, the directors cut of the film. The universal version was only the U.S. theatrical release which many of us were disappointed in.
The transfer is dead on and looks as good if not better than universals version. But the audio quality is much better on the criterion disc. The detail in the sets are simply divine and the audio is much louder than the previous disc that was released. Robert DeNiro also gives one of his funniest performance’s as Archibald Tuttle, a rebel repair man who befriends Pryce’s character and has some hysterical scenes even tho he isn’t in the film that much.
This release come loaded with bonus features. There is a whole on set documentary on the making of the film which shows how the sets were created and how some of the shots were done. Also included is a production notebook straight from Gilliam on what he used to get all the sets he wanted to build and how he wanted them to look. Next up is a brilliant documentary titled the Battle of Brazil. Gilliam had to fight with producers in order to get his vision of the film onto the big screen and this documentary goes into great detail on what he had to go through in order to get the version he wanted. Also included is the love conquers all cut of the film which was edited by the studio and shows just how much a movie can lose its intentional meaning if someone messes around in the editing room with your film when you are not present. This version of the film really shows how a great film can become a terrible one. And last up is a commentary with a Brazil expert who gives great insight into the film and how the directors cut version was nearly ruined by the terrible love conquers all version.
Panning thoughts, for those of you who have the universal release and aren’t sure whether to upgrade or not i assure you, you will not be upset with your purchase. But for those who do not have this masterpiece on bluray yet i could not recommend the new Criterion version enough. Its by far the best version out there of the film and comes with a great amount of bonus features that you will be able relish in.
From this to disc: Rosemarys Baby Criterion Bluray
Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby is perhaps one of the finest if not the finest psychological horror film ever made. The sheer psychological horror that this film depicts has rarely been outdone in any horror movie made since then. Sure there are a few great films that come to mind like The Shinning and The Exorcist but both those films took their notes from Rosemary. Arguably its one of Polanski’s best films if not the best. From everything to the script, direction, acting, music, editing and sets the film is absolutely flawless on every level possible. It might actually be my favorite Polanski film next to Chinatown, Repulsion, and The Tenant.
Criteirons new bluray is for me the bluray of the year. I was floored when i first saw that it was being released into the collection. The high def transfer of the film is brilliant in detail and the film has never looked better in my opinion. Polanski is a master of psychological terror and this film pretty much demonstrates his talent to its full potential. Not too mention the film is also scary as hell. Mia Farrow gives a wonderful performance as a mother to be who seems to think her overly friendly neighbors played by Ruth Gordon (in an oscar winning performance) and Sydney Blackmer are trying to take her baby and use it for some kind of satanic ritual. To give any more away would simply ruin the film for those who haven’t seen it. This film perfected the slow burn horror film and contains some of the most disturbing dream sequences ever put on celluloid .
The bonus features on this disc are pretty great. There is a brand new documentary about the film that includes interviews with Polanski, Farrow, and Robert Evans the producer. It contains some very interesting facts about the film. There is also an interview with Ira Levin the author of the book where he talks about how he came up with the story and where he got the ideas from. And then probably the best one of all is Komeda, Komeda. A feature about the late brilliant Kryzstof Komeda who was Polanski’s composer for all of his earlier work up until he died. His music was flawless and went perfectly with Polanski’s sense of dread and Rosemary’s Baby was arguably the best score he ever did. It matches the eerie tone of the film perfectly. The transfer is presented in full High def and for sure looks the best the film has ever looked.
For fans of the film i urge you to get rid of that awful paramount dvd back from god knows when and pick up this masterpiece of horror in a new pristine edition that Criterion put so much work into perfecting. And for those who have not seen the film but are fans of the genre than i urge you to go out and pick up this title ASAP.
From this to disc: Heaven’s Gate Criteiron Bluray
Masterpiece or failed epic, box office bomb or mis-understood upon its release. Heavens Gate is possibly all of those and more. Michael Cimino’s (The Deer Hunter) film was probably one of the most controversial films ever made but seems to be gaining the respect that it deserves about 30 years after its initial release. With an all star cast including Christopher Walken, Kris Kristopherson, Brad Dorif, John Hurt, and many many more. The film is brutal, bloody, long, and beautiful. But for some reason when it was first released in 1980 the film was at the center of hollywood criticism and ended a whole generation of filmmaking and ushered in the new Hollywood era where the auteur no longer had the power they wanted (or needed) to make their films.
If you don’t know the story of the film lets just say that at the time it was considered the worst movie ever made and also the most expensive movie ever made. The film ran so far over budget that it bankrupt United Artists and ended the company completely as we knew it. The story was of the Johnson County War which took place in Wyoming in the late 1800’s and involved a plot sanctioned by the government to rid the land of all its immigrants in order to take there land and the cattle they owned. A list of 125 names was put together to have the immigrants executed. Maybe it was a story that no one wanted to hear or see at the time but now the film seems more relevant than ever and with Criterion’s new bluray release of the film it may (or may not) be getting the recognition that it finally deserves. No matter what the film still ended the career of a brilliant director and put a well known film studio into the ground.
Heavens Gate is undeniably an epic film. Though it runs almost 4 hours long the film is stunning to look at and it is wonderfully directed by Cimino. The attention to detail put into this film is impeccable and the new Criterion transfer is also a thing of beauty to wonder being that the film was only given a shoddy non-anamorphic DVD transfer back in 2000 by MGM. The new high definition transfer looks almost perfect and it is definitely light years better than the dvd MGM put out 12 years ago. The bonus features are a little light but still great non the less. The second disc contains a new audio interview with Cimino and his producer on the film which is a rarity because he has not done an interview in i don’t know how long and refused to talk about Heavens Gate until now. Next up is a new video interview with some members from the cast including Kristopherson were he talks about some interesting things that went on during the making of the film like over 50 takes for almost every scene. Other than that all that’s left is a trailer and a T.V. spot. This cut of the film is a new directors cut which runs 216 minuets about 3 or 4 minuets shorter than the MGM DVD.
For fans of the film (which there are some actually, including me) I could not recommend this new version of the film enough. Its by far the best the film has ever looked and you get the interviews on the second disc. But for someone who knows of the film and what its notorious for and have been waiting to finally see it in a good transfer look no further, this is the version that you want. And for someone who is an adventurous viewer and can stand a film that runs over 3 hours and has a pace that is beyond slow than i would recommend this film to you if you are fans of The Deer Hunter or some of the films of Terrance Malick. Another nick nack to look for is a little documentary called Final Cut: The making of Heavens Gate which goes into great detail on the films production and you can watch this on youtube as of right now.
One For The Team: The First 30 Minutes of Breaking Dawn Part 2
Every so often, there is a film released that the entire staff of Above The Film does not want to see, either due to lack of interest or underwhelming previews. However, one of us occasionally decides to answer the calling, and therefore, take One For The Team.
The Evil Dead Remake Seems Pretty Confident
As I believe I have mentioned before, one of the biggest highlights of New York Comic-Con this year was the world premiere of the red-band trailer for the remake of The Evil Dead. Like the original must have been in the late 70’s/early 80s, this film looks like it will be full of nothing but holy sh*t moments and I can not wait for that. They have now also released the first one-sheet poster, and it promises exactly that.
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Our Thoughts: 007 Skyfall
James Bond (Daniel Craig) is back in action when a brilliant hacker/criminal (Javier Bardem) takes aim at MI6 in order to score a personal vendetta against M (Judi Dench) in the Bond-film that finally bridges that gap between gritty reboot and classic 007.
Apple Trailers Releases World War Z
After an unexpectedly extended production period with numerous script rewrites and actor vs. director drama abound, the trailer for the much hyped and widely anticipated World War Z has finally made it to the internet over at iTunes Trailers. And it looks…..mediocre at best.
Seeing that this is the movie coming out of all the rewrites and drama makes me wonder how much worse it was to begin with. It seems they are trying to smash 28 Days Later and 2012 into one film and if there were ever two films that needed to be as far away from each other as possible it would be Wizard of Oz and Sleepaway Camp…but those other two shouldn’t be combined either.
The CGI of the fast zombies turning into a tidal wave of human bodies looks ridiculous and honestly brings back bad memories of I Am Legend.
I’m calling it now, this movie will be Brad Pitt’s I Am Legend. Max Brooks must be spinning in his non-existent grave full of all the money they gave him to make this.