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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Relationships > Melodrama > Coming Of Age > Slice Of Life > Japan > Loner > Music > Conflict > Stage > All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Baby The Rain Must Fall (1965/Sony/Columbia*)/Blue Velvet (1986/Criterion Blu-ray)/J. T. LeRoy (2017/Universal Blu-ray)/Yanks (1979/Universal/*bot

All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Baby The Rain Must Fall (1965/Sony/Columbia*)/Blue Velvet (1986/Criterion Blu-ray)/J. T. LeRoy (2017/Universal Blu-ray)/Yanks (1979/Universal/*both Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)

Picture: C+/B/B+/B/B Sound: C+/B-/B/B/B- Extras: C-/C+/B+/D/C+ Films: B+/C+/B/C+/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Baby The Rain Must Fall and Yanks Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, are limited to only 3,000 copies each and can be ordered from the links below while supplies last.

Now for a wide variety of dramas, including a modern classic...

Yuichi is your average high school boy, decent grades, but his passion is listening to his idol singer Lily Chou-Chou. He listens to her music to escape reality, the bullies and the stress in life. He posts online as 'Philia' a self-proclaimed number one fan/manager Lily Chou-Chou fansite, but as real life continues to beat on him the violence escalates, can Lily be enough to save his soul?

In Shunji Iwai's All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001), Yuichi is/was a good boy, but his 'friends' he hangs out with are low-lifes, bullies and thieves. He is bullied, beaten, ridiculed and only used as a piggy bank or scapegoat. Both he and his friend Hoshino were potential school valedictorians with a good future, but both fall from grace and the only way they can avoid being bullied is become bullies themselves.

They become involved in crime from shop lifting, stealing, even rape, but still Yuichi holds on to Lily Chou-Chou as his life line as if it is the one thing that could forgive him and save him. But the final straw is when Yuichi and Hoshino end up at a Lily Chou-Chou concert and he is back stabbed by Hoshino when he takes his ticket and destroys it. Yuichi waits until the concert is over and stabs and kills Hoshino as the crowd leaves, forever tainting Lily Chou-Chou concerts and fans for murder.

This was an coming of age film, watching it was hard, it reminded you what was like growing up in high school, having hopes and dreams ...and then being shattered by life and bullying. And like any teenage boy, they try to find escape through fantasy... but when the fantasy is destroyed so are they.

Robert Mulligan's Baby The Rain Must Fall (1965) is an early example of many things,m including a more naturalistic, realistic and honest filmmaking in U.S. cinema and Hollywood cinema at that, it is an early lead role for Steve McQueen and one of the earliest feature films to be built around a hit song. Ironically, we even know of a silent film that did just that, but the MTV 1980s accelerated such productions and most of them were awful. This film is not.

McQueen is a singer/musician who wants to be a success and is playing bars in a small town that is new to him, but his little daughter and her mother (Lee Remick) are on their way to visit him and he (as well as the people he knows) are not expecting this. He also gets into his share of fights and is not always fitting into the more laid-back town.

This did not hurt the 'cool guy' reputation that eventually made McQueen a legend and is not a bad film, but it can also be a little flat and predictable, yet I like its moderate flow enough that if you are interested, you should give this one a look. Based on a Horton Foote play and co-produced by Alan J. Pakula, it arrived as a New Wave of filmmaking was coming to the U.S. and does what it does much better than most serious dramas and slice-of-life films have tried since. Don Murray also stars and in this case, the song was made for the film, not made as an afterthought after a hit record.

David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) is back, this time as an expanded Criterion Blu-ray edition, but we did cover the older Blu-ray and you can read more about the film's plot, et al, here...


The improvements in the new edition are amazing, even more so when you compare both directly and even better, it is interesting how the film has aged so well and still is ahead of its time in ways no one could have imagined when it first arrived in movie theaters worldwide. The performances more remarkable, the risks taken more stark and Lynch is vindicated in his vision here as well as as an overall filmmaker and auteur. His fans can celebrate that and that the film has received such great, deluxe treatment.

Justin Kelly's J. T. LeRoy (2017) is based on a true story of how a writer (Laura Dern) made up a male persona to sell a book... as a young gay man. However, the success means she needs someone to pretend to be this person who does not exist ands gets it with a young lady (Kristen Stewart) who slowly gets involved. At first, the writer is nice and seems like a laid-back retro-counterculture type, but friction slowly develops and that's when things start to run into trouble.

The leads are fine and I like them both very much, always have, but despite great efforts from them and a solid supporting cast, I was not totally convinced by the film, though the story is very viable. The script and director just get into too much evenness in the narrative and maybe a few things are not made clear enough, and/or a little too much is assumed. Still, it is a film worth a look if you like the actors or are interested in the story, so you might want to catch this one if so.

Diane Kruger, Jim Sturgess and even Courtney Love also star.

Finally we have a personal epic from John Schlesinger, Yanks (1979) with Richard Gere and Chick Vennera as best friends fighting WWII in the Northern U.K. and how that effects everyone, plus how so many people land up changing each other's lives. Gere gets involved with the daughter of a young shop owner (Lisa Eichhorn) and William Devane with Vanessa Redgrave. Running a very long 139 minutes, it shows Schlesinger can handle epic filmmaking versus the personal kinds of films hie is most known for, but can hit some dull spots (think Day Of The Locusts) while still delivering important things to see and say.

This was only the second time I ever saw the film and the same problems remain, but I got more of what he was trying to say so many years later and realize it is a more remarkable film because it would cost much more money to make this today, as well as the fact that most studios and production companies would not even back it.

Though handled by Universal in the U.S. and funded by German money, it is mostly a British film because of the talent behind and in front of the camera, but especially Schlesinger. I can see why it is coming out as a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray, but it deserves to be available as such along with the Schlesinger films (Sunday Bloody Sunday (reviewed elsewhere on this site, Midnight Cowboy) Criterion has already issued, so get it while you can if you want it.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Lily has some good shots, but it also has more than its share of shots that look off, have definition issues and make the transfer uneven, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix (Dolby Digital theatrical) is dialogue-based and shows its age, so only expect so much there too.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Rain can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and has been very well restored by Sony. I was even impressed by some of the shots throughout and not just close-ups.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Blue Velvet is a new transfer co-supervised by Lynch, from a new 4K master that manages to definitely outdo the older Blu-ray that looked good for its time and pleased many a fan. However, the detail, depth and further color range is stunning, richer, wider and gives the film a new impact it has never had anywhere but on the very best film prints. Shot with J-D-C Scope lenses, it is (give or take Cimino's Year Of The Dragon, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) best use of these lenses ever (Return Of The Jedi is the most commercially successful use of these lenses to date) and this is yet another stunning Criterion Blu-ray that pushes the limits of the format. Note the clearer difference between how indoor and outdoor shots are filmed.

Finally, the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Yanks looks as expected from the original release of the film (on its 40th Anniversary) and it has a slightly dark look to match and evoke the period in which it takes place without overdoing it. Fans will be pleased.

As for sound on the rest of the films, LeRoy and Blue Velvet are here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, both dialogue-based, but you would think LeRoy would be the sonic champ, yet Lynch and company created a deceptively complex soundtrack and this is the same soundmaster used on the older Blu-ray, but it sounds just marginally better and can more than compete with any film here. Nice.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on Baby and Yanks are from films originally issued in optical theatrical mono, but the restoration efforts have brought out the best possible in both, so they sound as good as they can here and probably will anywhere, so that's good too.

Extras on Lily include making of the film featurette and trailers. Baby and Yanks have illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo and Original Theatrical Trailers, plus Yanks also adds an Isolated Music Score Track with some Sound Effects and a feature-length audio commentary track by Kirgo, Nick Redman (who is no longer with us, so it is one of his last) and actor Chick Vennera from the film. LeRoy has no extras, but Blue Velvet is loaded with them and it includes...

Alternate original stereo soundtrack, "Blue Velvet" Revisited, a feature-length meditation on the making of the film by Peter Braatz, filmed on-set during the production (though we get many stills, much of the footage is Super 8mm film format and is very interesting), The Lost Footage, fifty-one minutes of deleted scenes and alternate takes assembled by Lynch, Mysteries of Love, a seventy-minute documentary from 2002 on the making of the film, an Original Theatrical Trailer and an illustrated booklet with tech info and essay by Kristine McKenna called A Suburban Romance, Only Different.

To order Baby The Rain Must Fall and Yanks limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Lily)


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