Aisle of the Damned: 02/14/17- What’s Shannon Elizabeth Up To?

He's thinking he's back.

Welcome back! Kent and Bryan talk about the 90s for a while before moving into some new films that run the gamut from terrible to kick ass: Monster Trucks, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Resident Evil: Final Chapter, The LEGO Batman Movie and John Wick: Chapter 2. 

Our recommendations bring up Joe Bob Briggs and Scott Bakula (two fine gentlemen), discuss the problem of putting 90’s special effects driven shows on blu ray, and we talk a little bit about movie news.

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

Music:
The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
The Black Angels- Don’t Play with Guns

Aisle of the Damned: 10/17/16- Tim Burton’s X-Men

Tim Burton's X-MenDisney is weird and we talk a little bit about their current remake process as Kent discusses the new version of Pete’s Dragon, along with some other theatrical features like Morgan, Blair Witch and Tim Burton’s latest, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

We also discuss some films for the season with the “Bad Robot” restoration of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm and the blu rays of Conjuring 2 and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Oh yeah, and we have our recommendations and our commentary on Paramount screwing the proverbial pooch again with Star Trek Beyond.

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

Music:
The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
Dave Gardner- Mad Witch

Five (or six) More Movies I (and Possibly I Alone) Want to See on Blu Ray

AMP1. The Absent-Minded Professor- This is more of a call to Disney to finish their promise from years ago to release the Fred MacMurray classic in hi-def. (If they include the sequel, Son of Flubber, even better!) I love black and white movies on blu ray and this is one that Disney said was coming a long, long time ago. They can include the colorized version if they want (yuck!) but I would buy the crap out of the original version of this movie. I loved it as a kid and always recognized its superiority to both the big-screen remake, “Flubber,” and the small-screen version with Harry Anderson. Judging by the DVD, I’m guessing the materials are in pretty good shape, so let’s see that lunatic basketball game and flying jalopy in all its glory, Mouse House!

poster 70x100 Slither nl nieuw 5.indd2. Slither- With James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy dominating the box office, how about we finally get a winning release of his horror comedy that provided a bigger role than “girl Steve Carrell hits on” to Elizabeth Banks, featured Nathan Fillion in one of his best roles and starred some Gunn regulars that populate his instant Marvel classic. (Michael Rooker, anyone?) To call Slither a true classic would be a bit of a stretch, admittedly. But it’s damned solid and it deserves better than the treatment it’s gotten, which is to say a Canadian blu ray that isn’t even in true 1080p. After watching Shout Factory’s excellent Lake Placid release, I sent them a suggestion to pick up the title since it would be perfect as part of their Scream Factory line. I would humbly request you do the same. More Gunn is always a good thing.

GCHI3. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?/The Girl Can’t Help It – Frank Tashlin, the Looney Tunes director extrordinaire, made what would commonly be considered his best live-action films in the 50s when he partnered up with Jayne Mansfield for these loopy reels full of as many cartoon hijinx as he could muster for the era. (It helped that Mansfield was basically a cartoon version of Marilyn Monroe that seemed like she could have been dreamed up by an animator, and I mean that as a sincere compliment.) The films, besides still being fairly hilarious send-ups of the music/film/advertising biz, are Technicolor wankery at its finest, just begging to pop out of your screen in a cavalcade of eye-melting hues.

AoD4. Army of Darkness (Director’s Cut)- Call me old-fashioned… or a primitive screw-head… but I hate it when we see a step backwards from one generation to the next. I have a two-disc DVD set with both versions of Sam Raimi’s “Medieval Dead” capper to his trilogy and the differences are fascinating. I actually prefer a good portion of the theatrical cut (one of the main reasons being the inclusion of some of Ash’s best lines, for example “Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.” as opposed to the underwhelming, “I ain’t that good.”) but the end battle with the army of the dead works better in the director’s cut than the chopped up theatrical version, giving you a much better sense of an actual battle with a plan rather than a chaotic free-for-all. Now, honestly, I’m sure the director’s cut is in pretty sad shape. Let’s just call the spade what it is. But it still stinks that on the blu ray release, we only get one version of a film that has already seen multiple releases of multiple cuts. I realize you and Anchor Bay like milking us for all it’s worth to try to recap your losses on this one since it’s a cult favorite, Universal. But, despite the fact that it would certainly decimate the worth of my limited edition set, let’s finally get a definitive hi-def release of this puppy with both versions and all the suppliments. Mm-kay?

cutie-honey-logo15. Cutie Honey- A live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese anime, Cutie Honey is directed by the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion. But you wouldn’t know it to see it. There is no incoherent religious subtext or endless ocean of ennui here. Instead, it is absolute bonkers animated insanity cranked up to 11 and kawaii as hell. My personal favorite parts are the strange, photo-animated effects sequences as, for example, Honey dodges missiles shot out by the crazy-make-upped bad guys. Just in general, it operates along that bizarre “WTF” level that is occupied by films such as Detention. The eventual American DVD release was pretty meh, even by anime release standards, so an upgrade would be nice. More than that though, this is a film that has a visual look to it that deserves to be seen in a high quality format. Those who have seen Speed Racer on blu with a nice, big TV have an inkling of just what kind of visual crack can be achieved with a movie that exists in such a stylized universe. I’m not saying Cutie Honey is on that level (it wasn’t nearly expensive enough), but to my eyeballs, it is akin to Crazy Harry dynamiting a Katy Perry concert. Like Speed Racer, it is very, very close to being a cartoon, despite being populated with flesh and blood humans. This is my favorite kind of movie imagery to suck into my view-holes, like a filterless Lucky Strike for my visual pleasure centers. I want to see it as it deserves to be seen.

Better Living Through Filmography Episode 1.5- Cat People

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In Better Living Through Filmography, co-host Kent views classic films for the first time and discusses them through a lens of movies, pop culture and life. Episodes of the first season post every other Wednesday.

In Episode 5, Kent talks about the black and white horror film Cat People and goes off on a big rant about streaming versus blu ray when it comes to how he likes his movies. He also recorded it at 9:00 am, so he’s even froggier than usual.

Music:
Laurie Johnson– Happy-Go-Lively
Woolf Phillips and his Orchestra– Cocktails in Bermuda

Five (or Seven) Movies I (and Possibly I Alone) Want to See on Blu Ray

Just for fun, I thought I’d make a list of some movies that I, as an avowed physical media die hard, would love to see finally get pressed on that most sweet of plastic discs, the blu ray. This is probably the first of many of these lists. Though at least I don’t have to add Hercules and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad since Disney is finally down to the stuff that they’ve been putting off forever.

5. Tropic Thunder: The Theatrical Cut tropicthunder-bannerSure, we have the “director’s cut” of Ben Stiller’s masterpiece on blu ray, but damn it, I want the version that I originally fell in love with. The one that includes the immortal line, “When we get back to the world, I’ma finally teach you how to juggle.” Like most comedic director’s cuts, especially those from the post 40-Year-Old Virgin world, the recut slows down the great pacing and includes material that had originally been cut for a reason. Take Anchorman for example. I loved that film from the first time I saw it, but the “unrated” (aka R-rated for language) cut practically ruined the movie for me. I honestly don’t mind including unrated or director’s cuts on blu ray. Hey, it’s a great extra and simply adds value to your purchase. In fact, the ability to do that is one of the reasons I love the format and continue to support it. It still blows my mind a little bit having worked at a video store stocking VHSs for idiots who would complain about “them black bars” for widescreen titles that people can watch multiple seamless versions of movies. But it drives me absolutely bonkers on those few occasions when studios make a seemingly arbitrary decision to not include the original film you went to see. In this case, the one for which Robert Downey Jr. deservedly got nominated for an Oscar.

4. The (original) Star Wars Trilogy SWtrilogyThis one I know I’m not alone on, though I’m much, much less rabid about it than many fans. We did get the option of getting the original release trilogy on DVD after all, even if it wasn’t animorphic, so I don’t feel like Lucas was trying to screw fans as much as a lot of people. I’m not a fan of everything that was done in the Special Editions. The Sarlaac Pit in particular just felt like the wrong way to go. But I also feel like there were a lot of things that I would consider improvements. Like almost everything that was done in Empire. Still, having the original films, warts and all, makes for a fascinating historical record of what made people fall in love with these movies in the first place and it would be great to have them in the best format available. Lucas has claimed they no longer exist in those forms, but that’s undoubtably hyperbole. Good prints certainly are out there. Hell, the Library of Congress has at least one of Star Wars and one of Empire since they were both selected for preservation under the National Film Registry. Now that Disney is in charge of the materials, I have a surprising amount of optimism that they will partner with Fox to release them. Maybe it won’t be right away. They are concentrating on creating new content after all. But there’s too much money to be made from them to not see it through. If the Batman TV show rights can finally be hammered out, this definitely can.

3. Fiend without a Face fiend lobby
One of my favorite old horror films, I want to see this atmospheric Cold War creature feature in hi def. Especially from Criterion, since they put out a great DVD of it. It would make a great companion piece to the fantastic Blob release they did. I love the brain monsters with their spinal chord tails and slug-like eye stalks. I love the creepy stop motion they use for them when we finally see them in the end. I love the jelly-like blood that comes out of them when they get shot. And I love the nonsensical but awesome origin for them. Blu is mostly known for producing fantastic color images, but I honestly feel it sometimes is even more impressive when it’s used for a great black and white transfer that makes the shadows inky and the whites pop. I long to see many, many classic monster/horror/sci-fi films on blu. I also would enjoy seeing Cat People, Them, War of the Worlds, The Thing From Another World… the list goes on. Fiend could be seen as a placeholder for them. But it is near the top of the heap for me and hopefully because of its association with Criterion it’ll see release someday.

2. The Iron Giant the-iron-giant-posterSpeaking of the Cold War, IG may have tanked at the box office due to the poor efforts of a confused Warner Bros marketing team, but it is widely beloved by those who’ve fallen under its spell. Besides simply being the most gorgeous animated film to come out of Warner Bros’ short-lived animation department with its wonderfully stylized character design and beautiful 2D animation (with some CGI assistance that is not overpowering), the film is important for being the debut feature of Brad Bird, who went on to create Pixar classics and direct the best Mission: Impossible film. So you’ve got exactly what blu-ray was made for: fantastic visuals, historical and artistic significance and a great story all coalescing to be worthy of a truly special release. Sure, if Warners releases the film as a bare-bones disc people would probably just be happy to have it. (Assuming it has a top-notch transfer.) But given how important it is and how underappreciated it was, it screams for context. Give us some commentaries! Give us some deleted scenes in hi-def! Give us production art! Give us features that are actually special and don’t just put it out as a kiddie title. Please. This film deserves more.

1. Baseketball Baseketball
This movie did not do very well when it was released to theaters, though I went and was immediately a fan. I don’t know that it did that well when it was released on DVD, though I bought it. I haven’t seen the sales figures. But dammit, this weird little attempt to turn Matt Stone and Trey Parker into live action stars is the Top Secret of it’s era. A Zucker parody film that actually sticks it to a genre instead of slapping together disparate scenes and/or characters from other movies in unclever mash-up scenarios like most everything we’ve gotten lately. In addition to the South Park guys being widely involved in something they didn’t create for what feels like the first and only time, you are basically getting the only anti-bro sports movie ever made. You have a host of great character actors appearing, some of which we’ve now lost. Ernest Borgnine, Robert Stack and Robert Vaughn among them. There’s Yasmine Bleeth showing she’s better at comedy than fake lifeguarding. I had a poster of her pretty much because of this movie. You have Jenny McCarthy back when MTV was determined to make her a star and she was game to do some impressively weird and crude stuff. And thankfully was not yet a crazy anti-vaxer.baketl
The appearances of Reel Big Fish as the Milwaukee Beers’ house band immediately sealed its legendary status with us third-wave ska kids. But mostly, the movie is actually really funny. While not everything has aged well (does anyone still remember Women Who Run with the Wolves?) I still quote lines from it. “No you don’t, you like Taco Bell” and “It certainly does seem to be raining sh@t on Joe Cooper right now” being a couple of notable examples. It’s a perfect encapsulation of who I was and what I loved when I was 18 years old. Some people have Animal House. Some people have Breakfast Club. But for me, it is calling people in khakis “cock,” jamming to Beer and dicking around in the driveway playing games with your friends.