(1936/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The
(1983/Coppola/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Set)/Lucky
(2007/*all Film Movement DVDs)/Sisters
Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: C+/B/B/X/C+/C+/C+ Sound:
C/B-/C+/B-/C/C/C+ Extras: C-/B+/B/B/C-/C+/C- Films: C+/B/B-/B
(longer cut) B- (theatrical cut)/C+/C+/C+
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
awards season here, a big group of dramas for you to know about...
Isaac Chung's Abigail
(2012) is the first of three films here by the Minari
director, all getting issued on DVD at the same time by Film Movement
to expose the filmmakers early work. All are sparse, simple and
naturalistic attempts to tell a narrative, even if they are all
limited in their own way.
great Amanda Plummer is the title character, helping the blind in all
kinds of ways, including reading stories to them, but one about a
woodcutter saving a deer starts to sort of come to life when a
stranger shows up unexpected to help her. Interesting, if not
totally effective at 80 minutes, at least it gets to the point and
has its moments.
Interviews and a trailer are the only extras.
(1969) is a key film about the French Resistance during WWII, which
Melville himself was a part of, telling the story of a group of
people fighting Nazi occupation against heavy odds. A long, dark
film, adding to the ugly tales of Axis terror, it is based on a novel
by Joseph Kessel and stars Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre
Cassel, Simone Signoret, Claude Mann, Christian Barber and Paul
and filled with all kinds of suspense, twists and turns, one thing I
like about it now more than ever is its throwback to the analog era
and the tougher, more inventive means even more suspense to match the
remarkable lighting and atmosphere for its very well-written script.
We recently covered another such film about the darkest side of WWII
also issued by Criterion, Visconti's The
so I hope we see more of these films soon.
include another high quality booklet on the film with illustrations,
tech info and an essay by critic Amy Taubin, along with (for the
Blu-ray) a piece by historian Robert O. Paxton and excerpts from Rui
Nogueira's Melville on Melville, Feature-Length Audio
Commentary from 2006 featuring film scholar Ginette Vincendeau,
Interviews from 2007 with Lhomme and editor Françoise Bonnot,
On-set footage and excerpts from archival interviews with director
Jean-Pierre Melville, cast members, author Joseph Kessel, and
real-life Resistance fighters, Jean-Pierre Melville et "L'armee
des ombres" (2005), a short program on the director and his
film, Le journal de la Resistance (1944), a rare short
documentary shot on the front lines during the final days of the
German occupation of France, Restoration demonstration by Lhomme and
Original Theatrical Trailers.
(1936) is the legendary director's first film in the U.S., involving
a relevant-as-ever about an innocent man (a fine early turn by
Spencer Tracy) who becomes the target of an angry mob who is out of
control and wants to kill him by lynching!
always dealt with the the worst in people and never turned away,
especially at a time when he had just fled Europe to get away from
the Nazis in real life. Sylvia Sydney is his fiancee, looking
forward to a happy, easy life with him, when things take a few ugly
turns no one was expecting. Longtime character actor Bruce Cabot
Diamonds Are Forever)
is one of the main instigators of the madness and though Lang was not
able to keep full control of the film (what we now call final cut,)
the conclusion is a classic that influenced other such films and even
Archive has restored and saved this early must-see and everyone
should see it at least once, especially serious film fans.
include an outstanding feature length audio commentary track by film
scholar and filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich with audio clips from Fritz
Lang and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
(1983) is the second of a trilogy of smaller films he made after the
(1979) that some tried to write off as some kind of retreat, but was
really a new groundbreaking direction of making smaller films with
more density in acting, ideas and new techniques, as he was always
experimenting throughout his remarkable career and this just made him
better and better.
of taking a long break after One
From The Heart
(1981, reviewed elsewhere on this site) bombed after critics decided
to destroy it before they saw it (costing him his American Zoetrope
Studios space) and tried a new approach to a music film while
reviving the old black style classic Hollywood film frame, he
immediately tackled this popular and beloved S.E. Hinton novel and
came up with a cast of often then-unknowns, helping to put them on
the map. Playing various street gang members in 1966 Tulsa,
Oklahoma. They include Matt
Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Ralph
Macchio, Emilio Estevez, Leif Garrett and Patrick Swayze.
Barry Levinson's Diner
a year later, we managed to get a solid cycle of these films (Coppola
would film Hinton's Rumble
next, also a part of the many Matt Dillon films about teens growing
up) as a serious counterpart to the comedies, gross out comedies,
indie comedies and nerd/teen genius cycle of the time and makes it
among the most underrated coming-of-age films. A shorter version was
issued, with complaints (starting at the time) that fans which it
were longer and you 'have to read the book anyhow' myth which is
insulting to the book author and filmmakers.
the longer, better 2005 version delivers much more and has a more
leisurely flow that is absolutely more book-like and also shows how
much of a grasp Coppola had on the book and how it worked. More than
just a curio over the cast in their early years, they all deliver
convincing early performances that only a Coppola could have managed
to get out of them and it has all aged very well. Its great to have
the longer version and in 4K no less, so definitely give it a good
look. Fans will want to go out of their way for this one.
include Digital Copy,
while the discs add (per the press release, but only the longer
version has all the extras): NEW Restoration Interview with
Cinematographer Stephen Burum, Zoetrope Head of Archives and
Restorations James Mockoski and Colourist Gregg Garvin, NEW Deleted
Scenes, NEW Francis Ford Coppola Introduction, NEW Francis
Ford Coppola: Anatomy of a Scene,
House New Home
featurette, Audio Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola, Audio
Commentary with Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe,
Ralph Macchio and Patrick Swayze, Staying
Gold: A look Back at "The
S.E. Hinton on Location in Tulsa, The
Casting of "The
and Deleted and Extended Scenes.
Isaac Chung's Lucky
(2009) is the second of three films here from the Minari
director, this time dealing with a young man (Kenyon Adams) who has
terminal cancer and the trip he takes with some friends as time runs
out. More than just a 'disease of the week' entry and based on
Gerald Stern's poetry, it has its moments at 97 minutes, but was also
a little too open-ended for me and still had more than a few things
we've seen before.
mature and ambitious, those interested will want to give it a look.
trailer is the only extra.
Isaac Chung's Munyurangabo
(2007) is the last of three films from the Minari
director (his feature film debut), this time about racism,
discrimination, hate and life as the title character wants to avenge
his murdered parents against the Rwandan Genocide that also ruined
his life, so he steals a machete and is joined by Sangwa, who wants
to see his former home there that had to be abandoned for civil war
reasons, et al.
territory, though there are some comic and disarming moments here and
there during its 98 minutes and of course, Sangwa's parents reject
his new friend. Using mostly non-actors, this is an ambitious debut
project and worth a look for those interested, but I again felt I had
seen some of this before.
Behind-The Scenes footage and a Director's Commentary are the extras.
we have Yamina Benguigui's Sisters
(2020) has Isabelle Adjani as the oldest of three sisters looking for
their missing brother for three decades, apparently left in Algeria
by their father. Even with the Internet Age, no luck, so the eldest
decides to write a whole play about it all, hoping (if he is still
alive) their brother will hear about it and wonder if it is him.
drama with some comedy, it is an interesting idea, but the results
are mixed thanks to the script and directing getting a little more
bogged-down than it should have. Running 100 minutes, it has little
political digs throughout too (a poster for the classic film Battle
(see my review of the Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) is an
is hard to take your eyes off, always delivering a solid performance,
which extends to the rest of the cast, including Rachida Brakni and
Maiwenn as her younger sisters. They are just about convincing
enough as such, but this could have been shorter or used its time
more wisely in the down parts. Otherwise, it is at least ambitious.
trailer is the only extra.
for playback performance. The 2160p HECV/H.265, 2.35 X 1, HDR (10;
Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on both cuts
of The Outsiders looks as good as the film ever has thanks to
the superior remastering by Coppola, though I would add that he might
not have always been able to get the kind of high quality print
treatment (or not enough of it) for this film over the years. Shot
in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision by the great Director of
photography Stephen H. Burum, A.S.C., it offers a superior use of the
scope frame (like a counterpoint or companion to George Lucas'
American Graffiti (1974) that Coppola produced) with an
authentic period look and fell throughout that not only holds up, it
gets better with age.
two cuts have slights different lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
soundtracks. The theatrical cut is in 5.1, while the longer Complete
Novel version is in 5.0,
though the film was issued in Dolby's older A-type analog noise
reduction format (succeeded in 1987 by the SR format, then joined by
Dolby Digital in 1992) and the film was the first Coppola film not to
have 6-track 70mm magnetic stereo surround since the originally
monophonic Godfather, Part
II in 1974, so the sound
has some sonic limits and can be on the quiet side. This is as good
as this film will ever sound (in either cut) and matches the era in
which it takes place at least.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Army Of Shadows
is an excellent new HD master from the original 35mm negative and the
original theatrical mono sound has been remastered for the original
magnetic soundmaster in both French PCM 2.0 Mono and a new surround
version in lossless DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo. Impressive all the way!
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer of Fury
can show the age of the materials used in spots, but this is far
superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film on home
video thanks to the impressive results of Warner Archive's
restorations efforts. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix of the original
theatrical mono is as good as it likely will ever be, but at 85 years
old and going, even with MGM's then state-of-the-art technology, its
age issues are more permanent. Still, this is impressive.
anamorphically enhanced DVDs (2.35 X 1 on Abigail and Sisters,
1.78 X 1 on Lucky Life, 1.85 X 1 on the rest) all look as good
as hey ever will in this older format, but audio can differ with most
of them offering both lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo mixes,
but Munyurangabo and Sisters only offer lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes. They all sound as good as they could,
expect the three Lee Isaac Chung films: Abigail, Lucky
and Munyurangabo. No mater the mixes offers, they are
transferred at too low a volume level and it is not just any location
audio issues, so be careful of high volume playback and volume
order the Fury
Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great