DVD)/The Life and Times Of
Judge Roy Bean
(1972/National General/First Artists/Blu-ray)/Reckless
C+/B/C Sound: C+/B/C+ Extras: C/C-/C- Films: B-/B-/C-
Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
Blu-ray and Reckless
DVD are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
are three comedies you should know about, no matter the results....
newest is Paolo Virsi's The
(2017) based on the best-selling book about a couple in one of my
favorite kinds of films, the road trip movie. This time, the couple
is elderly, married for a long time and played in an excellent moment
of casting by Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren. They are so good
here that no matter what happens here, you cannot stop watching, but
Virsi proved his directing capacity with Human
(reviewed elsewhere on this site), so the result is an underrated gem
more people need to see.
couple is supposed to spend time with their children in a visit, but
when they get there, the parents have flown their empty nest and
taken the Winnebago vacation vehicle of the title. That is amusing
and we get nice little moments like that throughout, but along with
the comedy that works almost all the time is a sadder story that has
this as their last trip ever as she is not well and he is suffering
something akin to dementia or the like, yet the script does not focus
on that or wallow in it (avoiding that 'disease of the week' pothole)
and becomes a character study of the love and pain the couple has
from their many years together told in ways that never rings false.
does not mean the script does not hit a few bumps or that we have not
ever seen any of this before, but it is done with such freshness and
honesty that I am shocked this has not received more critical
acclaim. I hope it gets discovered by surprise as a big home video
Life and Times Of Judge Roy Bean
(1972) is also a satire with Paul Newman as the title character, who
goes from rundown victim to self-made man... and myth. Produced by
Newman's great First Artists company, he and Huston are
deconstructing the Western and at this point, go for both Spaghetti
Westerns without the humor becoming Blazing
the genre in general in a look at it not unlike Robert Altman's
& Mrs. Miller
(both reviewed elsewhere on this site). Ultimately, it is a Western
by people who love westerns for Western fans that takes its time and
tells a story over a few generations, but manages to do this without
dragging. This is the longer version of the film.
you, if you don't like Westerns, it will seem longer and for those
persons, once will likely be enough for this film, but it is
something different, not always politically correct, deals with more
overt violence than you might expect and also continues Newman's long
look at Southern life throughout his career that is not always noted.
This starts with his Billy The Kid in the great Arthur Penn's early
his bold turn in Richard Brooks' Cat
On A Hot Tin Roof
(both 1958), his brilliant performance in Martin Ritt's masterpiece
(1963), a remake of a Kurosawa classic with The
(1964), challenging turn in Hombre
(1967), another classic with Cool
(1967), massive blockbuster Butch
Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
(1969) and after this film, Altman's Buffalo
Bill and the Indians
(1976), though fans might add a few more. I'll quit there.
that took a serio-comic look at the West were not uncommon at this
point, but Huston (who actually shows up as Grizzly Adams here!) was
going to get everyone's hands dirty all the way and the result are
some surprises that were shocking then and after the backwards mall
movies, mostly bad recent retro-Westerns that look like bad TV movies
and safe releases since the 1980s, shocking all over again. Huston
proved he could direct as good as anyone and Newman reenforced his
dual success as one of the biggest box office draws and lead actors
anywhere in the world.
looking realistic, you get an amazing supporting cast including Tab
Hunter, Jacqueline Bisset, Anthony Perkins, Stacy Keach, Roddy
McDowall, Anthony Zerbe, Richard Farnsworth, Ned Beatty, Jack Colvin,
a young Victoria Principal and Ava Gardner. Now THAT'S a cast!
and rather least is Australian comedy actor Yahoo Serious' second
film, the self-directed comedy Reckless
(1993) his second big film picked up by Warner Bros. in part because
of Paramount's Crocodile
success and in part because the U.S. has always had an Aussie Mania
going for it. Warner, the studio that landed up picking up all the
sequels to date, first picked up and amusingly promoted Serious'
feature film debut, Young
(1988) remembered more for his wacky ultra-red hair (David Bowie and
Annie Lennox had nothing to worry about) than any jokes or box
office. The film did make money, yet this next film took a good few
years to finish.
time, he plays the surviving member of an outlaw gang (the title
referencing Australian criminal legend Ned Kelly) still robbing
banks, but one man (Hugo Weaving) foils him so badly, Kelly goes to
the U.S. hoping to improve his bank robbing gains. This includes Las
vegas, Hollywood and all the gaudiness lands up throwing him off
track in unexpected ways. Too bad the script has no idea where to
go, what to do or how to be funny.
a shame because there are some talented actors here including Alexei
Sayle, a truly funny man who gets a good supporting role here and
already was know for a hit TV show so funny, he was rightly being
compared to no less than Benny Hill. Like some of Hill's own feature
film appearances, this script holds him back, but made me wish his TV
show would hit DVD.
biggest problem is that Serious just tries too hard when he could be
funny without as much effort. He just stuffs too much into all this
(a long 80 minutes) and actually keeps undermining anything that
might be funny, Aussie humor notwithstanding. Now a curio of sorts
if anyone knew about it, those 'seriously' interested might want to
chance losing over an hour of their life to watch, but it is quickly
forgotten despite potential in parts. Too bad.
for playback performance, the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition
image on Judge
looks nice and gritty, stylized and grainy as it I supposed to, well
restored and even showing us how good it must have looked in 35mm
three-strip Technicolor prints that
would make its West all the more palpable and occasionally colorful.
Director of Photography Richard Moore (Winning,
In The Streets,
is an underrated cameraman who delivered better than he got credit
for, so you can see why both Huston and Newman liked to have him
lensing their films. Thanks to this Blu-ray, you can see just how
far he went to deliver a density that has aged excellently and few
could do today.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVDs are not bad, with
being one of the better HD shoots I've seen lately and it makes me
wish this were on Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray, with fine composition and
good editing throughout. Kelly
comes from 35mm material that needs some work, has some dirt on it
and at least has decent color throughout, shot in real anamorphic
for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on
shows its age, though the Maurice Jarre music score is a plus and
Andy Williams gets one of his last big single song pushes with
''Marmalade, Molasses and Honey'' penned by Alan & Marilyn
Bergman. Too bad this was not even simple stereo.
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Seeker
DVD is dialogue-based as expected, has some music and is as good as
it can be in this older codec. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on
has Pro Logic surrounds and was a Dolby analog theatrical release.
The mix has some issues, but sound was supervised by the great Phil
Judd (not the great one of of Split Enz, one of the greatest music
bands of all time out of New Zealand, but long time film and music
sound man) with a selection of songs. Some are odd cover tunes, but
oh well. The credits imply that older Dolby A-type analog noise
reduction was used, but like a few films at the time, it was
eventually issued in the more advanced Dolby SR (Spectral Recording)
system and I would actually be curious to hear this one in lossless
sound to see if I am missing anything.
in all three cases include the Original Theatrical Trailer, but
adds a Making Of featurette.
order either the The
Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
Blu-ray and/or Reckless
DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive