Get this not this! Eureka HARAKIRI Bluray release vs Criterion HARAKIRI!!

Two companies enter, one leaves as winner!!!

This installment THE COMBATANTS ARE:

Harakiri (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]      VS  Harakiri (Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD) [Masters of Cinema] [1962]

First let me say i am a HUGE fan of both these companies, as well as all the other companies releasing physical media. That said, companies will some times have the same release, and sometimes one companies release, in either mastering or special features or packaging, will be the more attractive option.

And that is not a hard and fast rule. It varies from title to title. One day Criterion will have the better release of a titele, and on a different title Eureka or Arrow or Indicator will have the better release.

In many cases the same mastering job is used by the differing companies, so in that case the special features or packaging is the deciding factor.

So yeah, no hate for any of these companies, this is just to help the consumer who has a region free player, purchase, in my opinon, the release of the movie that gives him or her the most bang for his or her buck.

The winners is (drumroll please!!!!!!) —–

Harakiri (Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD) [Masters of Cinema] [1962]

EUREKA’s MASTERS OF CINEMA release of HARAKIRI takes top honors just edging out the Criterion release.

While both this and the Criterion release offer booklets and an older interview with the Director, neither offer an informative commentary. Also both have presentation issues; while I do prefer the EUREKA cover art, I do not like the rating symbol that is printed on the art (thankfully newer European releases get around this requirement by using an easily removable sticker or a double sided cover with the reverse not having the rating symbol).

So the deciding factor became the little things. In this case that became the picture mastering and the format. As DVD BEAVER points out in his review the CRITERION release appears to be slightly cropped compared to the EUREKA release. That was the main deciding factor for me, add to that the Eureka release is mutiformat, giving you the Bluray and the DVD. And I like that. I am not really on the 4K bandwagon, but having the BLuray and DVD I find useful. I can use the DVD when pulling images on my laptop for reviews, or when on the road. Or if you wnated to give the DVD to a friend to check out the movie, I just like that multiformat option.

So final Verdict—– Winner Eureka’s MASTERS OF CINEMA HARAKIRI Bluray!!!!

Click the images above to order!!

Currently Watching : Criterion Blu-Ray THE CRANES ARE FLYING (1957) by Mikhail Kalatozov

Letyat zhuravli (1957)

“I believe in poetic cinema. Poetic cinema is the cinema created in especially vivid form… by great masters like Eisenstein, Pudovkin, and Dovzhenko. In my own work I strive to affect a viewer’s consciousness and soul by means of poetic cinema.”
-Kalatozov in a 1961 interview. Available on the Criterion Blu-ray

Tatyana Samoylova in Letyat zhuravli (1957)

Tatyana Samoylova in Letyat zhuravli (1957)

THE CRANES ARE FLYING (1957)-Three things period Russian films do just about better than anyone else, is tragedy and beauty and grandeur, and Director Mikhail Kalatozov’s THE CRANES ARE FLYING is overflowing with all three. You get the deep focus cinematography immortalized by Orson Welles married to a balletic, spiraling, intimate ground breaking, “you are there” camera movement, that is uniquely Russian. what kalatozov himself would call— poetic cinema.Letyat zhuravli (1957)

Almost 7 decades later and without any need for CGI, and 20 years before the invention of the Stedicam – the cinematography in this film (by the equally acclaimed Sergei Urusevesky) remains— both unbelievable and sublime. It is a film that draws you in from frame one, and holds you and the characters like a lover— deeply, afraid to be parted.Aleksandr Shvorin in Letyat zhuravli (1957)

All in all, a transfixing and haunting viewing experience, greatest of which is the beauty of Tatyana Samoylova, whose beauty captured here for all time, is so great –- and her performance so affecting—- that at times looking at her – is like looking at the sun.

One of the great Russian beauties, she becomes the mythical Helen – whom all young men seek to impress with war; and ‘changed by the war’ young men; seek only to hold in peace. THE CRANES ARE FLYING is up there with I AM CUBA/SOY CUBA (another Kalatozov cinematic achievement, with this time a stunning Cuban beauty) as a milestone of Russian cinematography, and by extension a milestone of world cinematography; up there with Welles CITIZEN KANE and Lean’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS. There is no putting this movie on, and not being captivated by it.

THE CRANES ARE FLYING is another masterpiece lovingly provided by the Criterion Blu-ray label. I am on a hunt now to see the other available Kalatozov directed films, as well as Tatyana starring films. Kalatozov,while IMDB lists 20 directing credits for him, most of those appear to be documentaries or shorts or state sponsored work. It really appears he only has 6 or 7 feature films to his name, all coming toward the end of his career, especially once he found a kindred spirit in his cinematographer, Urusevesky.  So I look forward to adding THE FIRST ECHELON, LETTER NEVER SENT and RED TENT to the list of Kalatozov films to add to my collection. Grade: It is a simple enough story, but the visuals just make it, cinema undeniable— A+.Aleksey Batalov in Letyat zhuravli (1957)

Click the image below to get the best price on the feature rich Blu-ray, and you also earn a few very appreciated pennies for this blog! A win-win!

Letyat zhuravli (1957)

Currently Watching : Second Sight’s Blu-ray of Roger Corman’s X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES

“Have you come to be saved?”

“Saved? No. I’ve come to tell you what I see.”

Quite a few posts back I did a review on the movie X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES, which I saw courtesy of Amazon Prime, and I was quite complimentary to this 57 year old film, and stated I would pick up the beautiful looking Blu-ray release by Second Sight Films. Well I have picked up the release, have watched, the film, have watched both commentaries, and have watched all the interview featurettes. And I am an even bigger fan of the film. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely a B movie, it is arguably not a great movie, but there is greatness in it.

For those of you counting, that is lots of hours of watching devoted to one film, and I have to say— it says a lot about this film, and the fascinating and compelling nature of the commentaries, that I’ve watched this film 3 times back to back (of course I’m doing other things at the same time, organizing, cleaning, writing, cooking, etc,; which is the magic of commentaries) and I find each viewing/listening illuminating.

Roger Corman’s commentary was the main reason I wanted this Blu-ray, and it does not disappoint. for anyone with a love for film and film-making, for an interest in the process, Corman’s commentary is a master class from one of the most influential and iconic filmmakers of the latter half of the 20th century. Corman made low budget genre films, B & C films, that turned a profit and he could crank out at an incredible rate, (he shot X in 15 days, while working -in various stages- on several other movies at the same time) and he understood I think better than any filmmaker before him, that these genre films were worthy and had an audience. The genre films of Corman, X arguably being his best, set the stage for an age where genre films would become the A films of the day… for a day of AVENGERS and AVATARS and CONJURINGS.

In addition to Corman’s commentary, the Tim Lucas commentary, while his usually informative overview, this may be his most lyric. His love for this film comes across. Add the featurettes, double sided poster, and included 36pg booklet and it is a most own Blu-ray release, of a film that is one of the best existential horror films , not too far below Jack Arnold’s masterpiece, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN.

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Bluray DVD Physical Media Label Overview : ARROW VIDEO Weekend Sale!

Arrow Video has HUNDREDS of titles on sale for you to choose from. For my money, these are the ones to get.

 

 

 

The United States and the tolling of a Bell -The failure of the led, is the failure of leadership!

United States has been the joke of the world since the 2016 election, and the selection, not election, of the most qualified person to run the country into the ground.

Corporations you work for, and exclusionist news stations you watch, abc, cbs,nbc,fox,cnn did a one two of bad cop good cop, to get this travesty of an administration in place (we talk about cops and choke-holds, what is of far more danger is bigoted , agenda driven, [in upper levels] diversity-less  media conglomerates, that have a choke-hold on the minds of people, a choke-hold we mistake for the truth. Bad media, forms bad outlooks on the world, forms bad cops to support that outlook of the world. We must take the fight to the master, not the dog).

And here four years later in 2020, the hits keep on coming. When other countries have handily resolved this Corona issue, America has become the epicenter of this malady, specifically in those states (Texas, Florida) Where the leadership (Governors, Mayors) treated social distancing, the way they treat human and civil rights, as a fiction to be ignored.

And now those specific states, are becoming potential patient zeros of a new global surge. So heck yeah, other countries are right to ban Americans  from their shores. The unfortunate thing is the states and populations that are and have been doing it right, and seeing numbers decrease, are now suffering because of the callous poor leadership of the Trumpian states.

The failure of the led, is a failure of leadership.

Any buck private can tell you that. And better yet any good sergeant or commander can tell you that. The failure of states like Texas and Florida, and those unneeded deaths lie squarely on the head of those respective governors. And the failure of the nation as a whole, this spike of deaths and contracted cases, that is on the head of the selected President, this resident of the United States.

You fire people in the real world, for a fraction of this level of gross incompetence and negligence.  You incarcerate them, when the negligence costs lives. These guys, Governors and Resident, should  not only be out of jobs, but heading toward prison for the people who have died and continue to die under their watch.

Some things are acts of God, but even those can be exacerbated, by the culpability of men. And when that happens, those are criminal acts.

***

Favorite Comic Book Writers and their top ‘must read’ works and best unknown works! Alan Moore’s FROM HELL!

There is no way to do a list of favorite writers and not list Alan Moore.  There is a ton of work to choose from – from Alan Moore, and most of it is great, but if I have to direct you to the most impactful – right now, it would be:

FROM HELL- I’m not really sold on the color version  yet. The stark B&W nature of the original version, lends itself to the predatory nature of Moore’s story. So I’m not sure about the color version, but I provide links to both. Click the images above.

I would also have to say pick up Alan Moore’s ABSOLUTE SWAMPTHING while you can (and pre-order Volume 2) . A lauded book, finally in a lauded format. It is arguably the must own collected edition book of the last few years.

 

 

 

Now going from Alan Moore’s most lauded work, his virtually unknown work – which in my opinion is simply a must own, is his spoken word/music cds/collaborations with David J.

There are about 7 cds total, all of them I highly recommend. I will do a link to the only one that is still available— and one that is— a mind expanding work of art, that takes you from the beginning of the world to the end of it.

 

 

The other CDs to be on the lookout for are  the following. THE MOON AND SERPENT GRAND EGYPTIAN THEATRE OF MARVELS is THE WATCHMEN of Spoken Word albums.

The Birth Caul
1996 • Alan Moore, David J. & Tim Perkins
The Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels
1996 • David J., Alan Moore & Tim Perkins
The Highbury Working
2000 • Alan Moore & Tim Perkins
Angel Passage
2002 • Alan Moore & Tim Perkins
Snakes and Ladders
2003 • Alan Moore & Tim Perkins
Brought to Light
1998
Unearthing
2010 • Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins