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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Espionage > Movies > TV > History > Biography > Art > Industry > Surrealism > Sexuality > Thriller > Cold > Bond Vs. Bond: The Many Faces Of 007 (2015/Paul Simpson/Hardcover/Race Point Books)/Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World (2014/KimStim/Icarus DVD)/The Defector (1966/Seven Arts/Warner Archive DVD)/Jack Taylo

Bond Vs. Bond: The Many Faces Of 007 (2015/Paul Simpson/Hardcover/Race Point Books)/Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World (2014/KimStim/Icarus DVD)/The Defector (1966/Seven Arts/Warner Archive DVD)/Jack Taylor Of Beverly Hills (2008/IndiePix DVD)/The Wolfpack (2015/Magnolia Blu-ray)


Picture: X/C+/C/C/B- Sound: X/C+/C+/C/B- Extras: X/C/D/C+/B- Book: B/Main Programs: B-/C+/B-/B-



PLEASE NOTE: The Defector DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below, while Jack Taylor is part of a really nice 10-DVD set called the IndiePix Mix 10 Collection in time for the holiday season & sold through Amazon here at http://amzn.com/B01577BN8S.



Here are some new releases that take us behind the scenes of movies and movie culture...



Bond Vs. Bond: The Many Faces Of 007 (2015) is a new book by Paul Simpson that might suggest one that merely compares the three most successful actors to play Bond or all six of them to date. Instead, this latest of many Bond books in the long, continuing line of publications attempting to examine the Bond legacy does more that its cover suggests with high quality bound pages and high quality print. Not only are the actors and film series covered, but so are Ian Fleming, his original novels, the sequel novels and both the spoofy 1967 Casino Royale and the rarely-discussed 1954 hour-long TV version from the CBS anthology series Climax! with Barry Nelson (Kubrick's The Shining) as 'Jimmy' Bond and Peter Lorre as The Chief.


Though I might not agree with all of Simpson's ideas or categories, I have read through most Bond books and this is a pleasant surprise of a volume with the release of the big budgeted SPECTRE (not included here) that sells itself short oddly, but is worth your time.



Belinda Sallin's Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World (2014) is a documentary biography of the recently deceased, groundbreaking, surreal artist whose influence has only just begun. If your not an art fan, you might have seen his work and not known it, or you've seen his album cover art including for Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Progressive Rock album classic Brain Salad Surgery, but he is best known for designing the terrifying title creature in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979), extending to its sequels and amusing knock-off Species (1995), which called for Giger to build a new creature that worked.


We also meet the man, his family, visit his amazing home with his art all over the place, along with his cat and mini-train built into the house. Interviews show us how kind and generous he is, how much people & fans love him, but also underpaid he was all these decades. It is his swan song and we see how he can still produce remarkable, articulate, stunning, challenging art and distinctive images creating a density only the world's greatest artists could make. I just wished this was longer.


Extras include an illustrated paper pullout with an essay by Bilge Ebiri, while the DVD adds a solid Giger Photo Gallery and Making Of documentary featurette.



Raoul Levy's The Defector (1966) is part of a cycle of spy films that played like they were serious thrillers, yet also wanted to emulate the Bond films a bit. This one has Montgomery Clift (after his near-fatal accident) as a scientist asked to go to East Berlin by the CIA (Roddy McDowall shows up) to meet a scientist there secretly, but it will never be that simple. With a good cat, good acting and some suspense, this is not bad, but not great or too memorable either. It has not dated well, but not badly.


Hardy Kruger also shows up, which is a plus, making it worth a look for spy and action fans. It is also better than most such film and TV shows in the genre of late (save Bond, Bourne and M:I) that play more like bad police procedurals than spy tales, so thats something to consider.


There are unfortunately no extras.



Cecile Leroy Beaulieu's Jack Taylor Of Beverly Hills (2008) is a too-short look at the legacy, history and incredible work of Jack Taylor, a distinctive clothes designer who dressed some of the biggest male movie and entertainment stars ever from Cary Grant, Jackie Gleason, Danny Thomas, the Rat Pack, Monty Hall and many, many more. It is also a look at style, the peak of style, a not soon pretty decline thereof, a rare look behind the scenes of the custom clothing business and is loaded with interviews including Taylor telling it like it is.


His wife also has plenty to share and becomes a look at the entertainment industry its history and serious ideas of what fashion is. Now, people of this talent and this calibre don't get enough respect and more than ever, can be seen as true artists. Recommended!


Extras include feature length audio commentary track by Director Beaulieu, a timeline of Mr. Taylor's locations and Deleted Scenes.



Crystal Moselle's The Wolfpack (2015) is the story of how an overprotective father made his six sins stay in their apartment all the time because he was afraid of what would happen to them in their New York neighborhood, not even going to school in what is a form of child abuse. The wife/mother of the house enables this, but the work here never vilifies anyone as it also does not ask enough questions. Eventually, one of the Angulo Brothers goes out on his own against house rules and the police discover everything.


Remarkably, this does not turn out as horribly as it sounds and this work has too much of the brothers recreating their favorite films. Moselle is borderline exploitive here resulting in some odd moments, but it is worth a look if you are very curious. Others may be a bit uncomfortable.


Extras include separate interviews with the brothers and director, two short films by the brothers in their entirety with Behind The Scenes clips, a great trip the brothers take to Hollywood, including meetings with David O. Russell and an especially amazing meeting with William Friedkin and an Original Theatrical Trailer.




The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer in Wolfpack can show the age of the older materials used (plenty of analog and old digital video), but it has the best playback image on the list, followed by the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Giger which I wish was in HD and has good shots throughout. It also has rough older footage, but not as often. The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Defector is a bit soft and has light debris throughout, along with a few jumping frames. It's not bad-looking a film, but needs some work on it.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image all-video shoot on Taylor is also softer than I would have liked, especially since the clothes look so good. The Sinatra film clip from Robin & The Seven Hoods is also in bad shape, esp. versus the recent, mixed Blu-ray we reviewed elsewhere on this site.


Wolfpack has the best sound with a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that gets monophonic and has location audio issues at times, but is well-edited enough. Tying for next best audio is the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Giger and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Defector, which sound pretty good throughout if not stunning. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Taylor is softer throughout with location audio issues, so be careful of volume switching and high playback levels.



To order The Defector DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.warnerarchive.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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