The Oscars, and the quiet emergence of the Standard International Edition

Due to a lack of contextual images, we're using the Random Actress Heliometer (RAH). Illustrated: Senta Berger. Happy, isn't she?

Well, Sunday’s show was pure Meh: familiar, bland, safe, non-threatening, blah, and as many viewers seemed to predict, er, predictable. Having seen none of the films so far (I have more matter to see, but I’ll get there in bits & pieces), I still had an inkling The Artist would win the major prizes, making Harvey Weinstein very, very happy. Not bad for a guy who started out in the business with The Burning in 1980 (and a film, quite frankly, that’s more fun that it deserves to be).

Picnic (1955), The Roots of Heaven (1958), and Twilight Time’s Julie Kirgo

"My... What big wet biceps you have... but how did you get all those wrinkles?"

Once upon a time during the peak years of DVD, studio and indie labels were packaging their DVDs with booklets bearing liner notes, mini posters, and stills, and the catalogue titles sometimes included commentary tracks, featurettes, and documentaries.

No this isn’t the beginning of another rant - I made the point tenfold in the Editor’s Blog for Part 1 of our Twilight Time label profile - but I raise the issue here a little differently. While Universal’s first DVDS – Waterworld, The Paper – were released full screen and in jewel cases, other labels like Criterion and Warner Home Video figured there was more than enough room to not only present a film widescreen (technically speaking, anamorphic transfers take up less space than full screen & non-anamorphic widescreen), but create new / port over laserdisc extras, and for a while this was the norm for many new and older films.

Festivals-a-Go-Go + Battle Royale

Although the Shinsedai Cinema Festival runs July 12-15, the organization alerted fans  on their website of a special screening next week of Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale (2000), presented in conjunction with Fangoria’s Fright Nights at the Projection Booth, and to help launch Anchor Bay’s long, LONG awaited North American home video release.

Suburban Tales IV: Durham County, Season 3

"For God's Sake, someone love me"

Out this week is Canada’s Durham County: Season 3 (Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada / Muse International), probably the final time we’ll see how worse things can get for the Sweeney family unless the series creators go for a fourth season, or a possible feature-length film (which, quite frankly, is possible, since there’s only one really big loose end left).

Festivals-a-Go-Go + Francis lets Napoleon return to the Big Screen

A swingin' week if there ever was one!

Running Wed. February 22 thru Sun. Feb. 26 is the Reel Artists Film Festival, with documentaries and assorted shorts practitioners in painting, photography, and other visuals arts. From a quick gleaning of the roster, most of the docs are about the artists, and several films come from Germany. A full listing of the intriguing programme is at the organization’s website, and the films are being screened at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Interview with composer Andrew Lockington + Soundtrack News & Reviews

Because of time, I must restrict all editorial blather to bare minimums, so this one’s going to be quick!

New stuff:

Just uploaded an interview [M] with Andrew Lockington, were he discusses travelling to Papua, New Guinea, for research prior to writing the full score for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, the sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Both were filmed in 3D, and feature standout, full-blooded orchestral scores by Lockington.

Festivals-a-Go-Go + Robert Bresson, Part I

This past Thursday the TIFF Bell Lightbox began their latest series, the much-touted The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson, the first retrospective of France’s idiosyncratic director in 15 years, and the offering is every one of his films. (Only his debut, the 1934 comedic short Public Affairs / Les affaires publiques, was unavailable).

The series of 13 films begins with A Man Escaped [M] (1956), his best-known work, and perhaps the prototypical prison escape  drama. Naturally, it's not available on DVD in North America; alongside L’Argent (1983) and Lancelot of the Lake (1974), Escaped was released by New Yorker, but perhaps it may reappear, now that the once-dead label has been resuscitated by new owners.

Mysterious Island (1961), Twilight Time’s Nick Redman, and readjusting the concept of MODs

PART I:  Mysterious Island on Blu, and Twilight Time Turns One

In less than a month, indie home video label Twilight Time will celebrate its 1 year anniversary, and I’m pretty sure its founders, employees and contributors will look back with pride at what was accomplished.

This could apply to any label that aspires to essentially fill a void that’s kept niche fans hungry for ages. I use the term niche deliberately, and with some regret, because that’s what seems to happen as a generation of film fans (or film music fans) age, and titles that were once cherished just doesn’t impact people the way they used to.

Return of Intruder (1989)

Yup, you get to see the before, the during, and the after of this poor chum.

Scott Spiegel’s Intruder [M] (1989) is more notorious for its gore sequences and the casting of brothers Sam and Ted Raimi (both of whom die violently as night shift workers in a soon-to-be-shuttered grocery store), but shorn of these key elements, Spiegel’s directorial debut is pretty much a ‘meh’ effort; not awful, but not brilliant, even though there are several strong aspects to the film (notably the location).

For Raimi fans, Synapse’s new Blu-ray is a welcome addition to the collection, given the film’s first VHS release was snipped of its nastiness, and the prior uncut DVD edition from Wizard was a bare bones release. This is the definitive release, and it helps fill in those little gaps that make up the early efforts by members of Sam Raimi’s filmmaking clan.

Festivals-a-Go-Go: Feb. 3-5 + R.I.P. The Cinesphere?

Before I roll off a quick tally of interesting things screening at interesting venues this weekend (bobby-pins, please), here’s a video released by NASA this week showing the dark side of the moon, proving Pink Floyd does not have a secret base in crater XB-14.
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