Still there is enough 3D to be noticeable and given the choice I would much rather watch this film in even muted 3D, then without. So worth a look. Grade: C- for the movie and C- for the 3D.
Now having seen it, I completely do not understand how this film is virtually never mentioned, even by die-hard Criterion experts and fans. This is clearly one of Criterion’s best and most essential releases.
As a fan of theatre, great theater is hard to translate to great film. While a fan of ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI the film, it pales to the power and immediacy of the theatrical presentation I saw. The same with nearly every version of RICHARD THE III I have seen, they pale to the experience of having attended a walking theatrical play of RICHARD III , conducted at night, in the rain, following the actors in an out of decaying edifices, with roofs gone, and nothing to stop the heavens to bearing witness. Great theater is hard to match.
Very rarely does that happen the other way, where the film can capture or surpass the theatrical presentation.
A few come quickly to mind, Branagh’s HENRY THE VTH (1989), Anthony Harvey’s THE LION IN WINTER (1968) and this film, Wim Wender’s PINA (2011) while not an adaption of any one performance, but rather the overview of a troupe’s body of work, offers an immediacy in how the camera is used, and the stereo imaging is used, that allow the artists to communicate with you in a way that transcends, perhaps by a little — perhaps by a lot, anything that you can experience sitting in the best seats of the best traditional theater.
p.s. THE CRITERION RELEASE OFFERS A MAKING OF, THAT IS ALSO IN 3D (SOMETHING I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE), as WELL AS A COMMENTARY. THIS FILM HAS A WEALTH OF CONTENT FOR NUMEROUS VIEWINGS and REVISITS. A RELEASE I LOOK FORWARD TO ENJOYING FOR YEARS.
“Dance. Dance! Or otherwise we are lost.”
These reviews were conducted using 3D Blu-rays, a region free 3D compatible Blu-ray player, and a short throw, full HD, 3D compatible short throw projector (Essential for a flexible/portable system) offering at least 3000 lumens, and high contrast, and active DLP glasses (one of the most important parts of any system)..
If you would like to purchase your own pre-assembled system you can use this link as well as clicking the images in this post to acquire the items depicted.
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If you have never watched THE RICH REBUILDS channel, which at its heart is about the love of getting the most out of your cars, this is arguably not the episode to start with. But for us long time fans, this is Rich at his most irreverant and funniest. I laughed and cringed all the way through this one. Comedic gold.
Both of these channels I found entertaining and I have highlighted above what i consider their best videos so far.
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“Do you like orchids?”
“Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, Their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.”
—From Drector Howard Hawks’ noirish paradigmatic film, an essentional framework of noir, 1946’s THE BIG SLEEP starring the first pairing of the immortals, Bogart and Bacall.
It was a film that was so convoluted that not even the screenwriter or director were able to tie up all the knots. However despite this, the power of the performances, direction, and charisma of the leads carries it over any lapses of plot.
Their on screen sparks, the 20 year old Bacall and the married 45 year old Bogart [they filmed THE BIG SLEEP in 1944 but it was not released until 1946], mirrored their off-screen sparks. They would be married three months after filming wrapped, and it would cement a love affair that would transcend both their lives.
One of the must watch films of the 20th century.
Click the image below to get the Blu-ray. I generally only purchase films if they include special features and audio commentaries. But I make an exception for this film, it is worth having even with this relatively bare-bones release.
I have not put CASABLANCA or THIRD MAN on this list, because although they have noir elements, there is an A picture scope to them in terms of not just budget but aspiration, that transcends the conventions of the noir, they ultimately tell larger tales than the fall or redemption of a single man, which is the heart of the noir aesthetic.
With that caveat aside, onto the list.
I don’t love the cover art for the Eureka release of Billy Wilder’s DOUBLE INDEMNITY (I think they should have gone with the art used for DVD and other releases) , but the film itself is magnificent, one of the greatest film noirs of all time. And a very good Blu-ray release. It is currently the must own version of this film.
3. MURDER MY SWEET (1944)
5 DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (1995)
7. THE BIG HEAT (1953)
8. THE BIG SLEEP (1946)
9. I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941)
10. RAW DEAL (1948)
2020 saw all ten of these films available on quality, feature rich Blu-Ray releases (eff barebone, questionable quality 4K releases — I despise the “no interior artwork, lacking new artwork” 4k releases. I also blame 4k for the further fragmentation and dwindling of a market, that can not survive anymore fragmentation. If you are going to do UHD releases, release them with the Blu-Ray and/or DVD in multi-packs. You eliminate having to have a DVD market and a Bluray Market and a UHD market, and the associated expenses of trying to package for 3 different formats ) for the first time in the relatively short history of physical media. And arguably by the end of 2021 these ten movies will never again all be available in quality, feature rich, physical media versions.
I like the dayglo covers of the above reprint editions (the first two are reprint editions, the last two are new printings). However, I like the covers of the original Icon editions (shown below) a little bit better. The contents and build of both editions are almost identical, I just think the below Icon Editions have covers that are more in keeping with the noirish, slow-burn, content of the interiors. Price being no object I would get the below editions. However the below editions are out of print, and going for multiple times the cost of the new reprints. So unless you get the first editions cheap, or are well off and buy what you want… get the above reprints. Cick the images to view more and/or purchase.
COLLECTING: FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #1-30, FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL (1963) #1
Collecting the greatest stories from the World’s Greatest Comics Magazine in one, massive collector’s edition that has been painstakingly restored and recolored from the sharpest material in the Marvel Archives.
COLLECTING: FANTASTIC FOUR 31-60, ANNUAL 2-4
These are some of the greatest adventures of all time! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #61-93 and ANNUAL #5-7, and material from NOT BRAND ECHH #5-7. All Ages
Celebrate 60 years of the World’s Greatest Comics Collaboration! Stan Lee and Jack Kirby conclude their record-setting tenures on the FANTASTIC FOUR, the book that birthed the Marvel Universe! In Kirby’s final issues, Doctor Doom lurks in the shadows, the FF save Apollo 11 from an alien threat, and the Sub-Mariner and Magneto team up to attack our heroes! Then, Stan Lee is joined by Marvel art legends John Romita Sr. and John Buscema to forge a new future for Marvel’s first family! Along the way, the Thing battles the Hulk, the Surfer is taken captive by Galactus, and the Overmind menaces Earth — leading to the strangest event in Marvel history: Doctor Doom joins the FF?! Guest-starring Black Panther, the Inhumans and more!
COLLECTING: Fantastic Four (1961) 94-125, Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure (2008) 1, material from Fantastic Four Annual (1963) 8-9
Okay now onto the issues you can afford to pick up in issue form, and the ones i recommend having:
For my money John Byrne invented the concept of wide-screen entertainment with his seminal early work on AVENGERS 164 thru 166. This is him a decade later, showing he is still the bar, by which super hero action will always be measured.
Without argument John Bryne was one of the best writers and artists on Fantastic Four (Right up there with Stan the Man Lee, Jack King Kirby, John Buscema and Roy Thomas ), but until you go back and revisit his lengthy run on The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine’you forget exactly how good he was. Issue 251 thru 265 is really one large, fluid story about— families lost and families found.
It was the world’s greatest comic magazine – again! Not since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had a creator so perfectly captured the intense mood, cosmic style and classic sense of adventure of Marvel’s First Family. Fresh off an earth-shattering and reputation-making run as penciler on UNCANNY X-MEN, John Byrne proved his writing talent was every bit the equal of his art as he pulled double-duty on FANTASTIC FOUR, launching Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny into realms of imagination and wonder into which few creators before had dared to travel. From the four corners of the globe to the farthest reaches of space to the deepest depths of the Negative Zone, the FF face off against foes old and new – including the Dr. Doom, Galactus and Annihilus! Plus: The FF aid the Inhumans, bid farewell to the Baxter Building, don new costumes and celebrate their 20th anniversary in style as Byrne reminds us all there’s a family at the heart of this team of adventurers!
Collecting: MARVEL TEAMUP (1972) #61-62; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50; FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #215-218, #220-221, #232-262 and ANNUAL #17; PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #42; AVENGERS (1963) #233; THING (1983) #2; and ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #4.
Superstar John Byrne’s legendary run concludes with one of the most innovative periods in Fantastic Four history! The sensational She-Hulk replaces the Thing, Sue Richards becomes the Invisible Woman, and Mr. Fantastic is tried for crimes against the universe! Also featuring the return of Dr. Doom, the fate of Reed and Sue’s unborn child, the resurrection of Jean Grey, and more — as the FF confront deadly foes including the Mole Man, Dr. Octopus, Terminus, the Beyonder, Mephisto, Psycho-Man and Annihilus! Plus: the unfinished “Last Galactus Story,” reprinted for the first time!
COLLECTING: Fantastic Four (1961) #261-295, Fantastic Four Annual #18-19, Alpha Flight (1983) #4, Thing (1983) #10 and #19, Avengers Annual #14, and material from Secret Wars II #2, Epic Illustrated #26-34, What If? (1977) #36, What The -?! #2 and #10, Thing (1983) #7, Fantastic Four Roast and Fantastic Four Special Edition — written by John Byrne, Mark Gruenwald, and Roger Stern; and illustrated by John Byrne, Mark Bright, Ron Wilson, and Jerry Ordway.
The original first run of the FANTASTIC FOUR ran 416 issues. For my money you can stop reading with the recommendations in this post. The series never gets better or as good as the issues listed above.
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