Song of the Day: HALLELUJAH by the late, great Jeff Buckley

One of the reasons I love the Snyder Cut Trailer, despite the fact I do not think a reedited film will make that C-/D+ movie substantially any better ( though I would love to be pleasantly surprised, the trailer does look great), is simply because I love the song HALLELUJAH. Many years ago I listened to the Jeff Buckley version, and my –appreciation– for that song remains undiminished, regardless who sings it. But for that song at its best, you have to go to the Jeff Buckley version, of the Leonard Cohen classic.

First let’s start with the OG, Leonard Cohen.

Now let’s move on to the version that made me a fan of the song:

And finally this live performance video is not Buckley’s best performance of the song. It is tired and worn and imperfect, and tortured, but for all those reasons, it is an essential glimpse at Jeff Buckley before his untimely passing, and an essential inspiration to all of us, in what it means to perform, even when you are not sure if you have anything left to perform with.

 

 

 

After doing this post I checked and to my dismay realized I did not have the Legacy CD version of GRACE. For a physical media head like me, that’s an unforgivable omission.

Come the beginning of the world or the end of it there are a few things every man or woman of note should have: A good pickup truck, a good shotgun, a good knife, some good books, some good movies, some good CDs, and a portable DVD player to platy them all on.

Jeff Buckley’s GRACE should be one of those cds.

Get yours by clicking the image above.

And get a decent portable player, as well as the headphones I recommend, here:

 

 

Jeff Buckley Lyrics

“Hallelujah”
(originally by Leonard Cohen)

Well, I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Well, baby, I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor (you know)
I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Well, there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do ya?
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah…
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah…
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

KINO LORBER Boutique Blu-ray Label Overview PART 2: FIVE FOR FRIDAY

Last installment I covered some recommended titles from Kino Lorber’s ‘While Supplies Last’ sale. This time I just wanted to cover five titles in general that caught my attention and are on my ‘to buy’ list.

Without further ado, here they are!

p.s. As a hint I generally do not purchase films that do not offer special features. At a minimum I need a film commentary.  Physical media should give you more than you can get from just watching it on streaming, or why pay for it.

So yeah if I own it, or recommend it, it has special features. The only exception for that is titles that may not be available streaming, or 3D titles, or other scarce titles, where we are just lucky to still have the film.

Okay, now we get to it!

 

 

Very interesting sounding film from the Director of DUEL AT DIABLO. And since I have that film, I have to get this one.

This one just sounds bonkers in all the right ways. Not because the movie is going to be great, I have my doubts about that. But just the backstory behind it, namely getting relatives of famous stars to star in an exploitation movie. The commentary on this one seems poised to be full of amazing Hollywood anecdotes and backstory.

This movie sold me on its names. Name One: Director Budd Boetticher, I am now interested in seeing more of his films after picking up Arrow’s sold out FIVE TALL TALES boxset. Name Two: Jeff Chandler who has never given a bad performance and was great in a jaw dropping performance in TEN SECONDS TO HELL Name Three: Sidney Poitier. Hell you could have led with that. I have picked up every single Kino Lorber release with the great Sidney Poitier (DUEL AT DIABLO, almost sold out, Gals and Ghouls! 🙂 ). So yeah, this one is a must buy.

I love the films of John Sturges, and not only have I never seen this film, I have never heard of this film. And another film that is sold by its names: the aforementioned John (MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) Sturges! Richard (One of my favorite Movie and radio actors ever) Widmark! And Borden (I wrote two of the best westerns ever, RED RIVER and WINCHESTER 73) Chase!! What?!!! This is an easy must buy.

I did not love this film the first time i saw it, however it is possible i did not give it the attention it deserved. And considering this is one of the most ‘special feature’ rich releases, from the typically bare bones Kino Lorber, this is a must buy, for the special features alone.

Honorable Mentions:

I can not recommend this Blu-ray because it does not have any commentary or special features, but it sounds incredibly interesting. I’m going to look on streaming for this one. I really want to see if it is as good and interesting as it sounds.

 

I do not currently have an affiliate link with Kino Lorber, however you can click on the images above and they will take you to the item on Amazon. If you use the link you get a great item, and this blog gets a very appreciated couple of pennies. A win-win!

Amazon Prime DEAL of the Day! SOLAR POWER GENERATOR

After hundreds of hours of research here is my recommendation for a sub $400 Solar Accepting Generator to purchase. I should not have to sell you on the need for having a generator or multiple generators.

 

LOOKING AT THE WORLD OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR  SHOULD DRIVE HOME THE NEED TO BE … PREPARED.

Our DEAL OF THE DAY is:

Now Ideally if money is no object you want something that will support as many watts as possible, at least a 1000 watts. However most of us, can not “fly into flying”, to take a line from COMING TO AMERICA; Meaning most of us have to start smaller and more affordably.

In that case the BEAUDENS is a nice starter system for a few reasons. Most notably is the type of battery it uses, LiFePO4 will last for more charges than conventional lithium-ion batteries. You arguably will get a third more life out of this unit than comparable units using the more conventional Lithium-ion batteries found in other generators.

The other thing is it uses pure sine wave circuitry, meaning sensitive DC equipment running off the beaudens’ DC circuitry is not in danger of being under-powered.

AND CHARGING WISE, YOU CAN CHARGE IT FROM THE INCLUDED POWER ADAPTER OR A SOLAR PANEL (NOT INCLUDED) OR IN A PINCH FROM YOUR CAR’S CIGARETTE LIGHTER. SPEAKING OF THE SOLAR PANEL IT HAS A BUILT IN MPPT CONTROLLER MEANING IT IS MORE EFFICIENT AT CONVERTING AND USING THE ENERGY IT GETS FROM YOUR SOLAR PANEL, COMPARED TO A SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT HAVE A BUILT IN MPPT CONTROLLER.

AND LASTLY I DID MY HOMEWORK AND RESEARCHED THE FEEDBACK ON PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY PUT THIS GENERATOR THROUGH ITS PACES.

ADD ALL THAT UP, ALONG WITH THE COMPETITIVE PRICE THIS IS SELLING FOR,  AND IN MY OPINION THIS IS A MUST BUY.  THIS IS NOT WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND FOR YOUR REFRIGERATOR OR INDUCTOR BASED KITCHEN EQUIPMENT (I WILL CREATE A SEPARATE POST FOR A GENERATOR TO SUPPORT YOUR KITCHEN EQUIPMENT), HOWEVER TO KEEP IN YOUR LIVING ROOM OR BEDROOM IN ORDER TO POWER YOUR LAMPS, OR PHONES, OR RADIOS, OR  TV OR ROUTER OR LAPTOP IN THE EVENT OF A POWER OUTAGE; WELL THIS BEAUDENS IS GREAT TO OWN AND KEEP CHARGED UP FOR JUST SUCH AN EMERGENCY.

IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, KEEP ONE CHARGED UP IN EACH MAIN ROOM OF YOUR HOUSE, AND ONE IN YOUR CAR. BUT I WOULD RECOMMEND AT LEAST OWNING ONE.

IF YOU FOUND THIS POST USEFUL PLEASE LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, AND IF MOVED TO, USE THE LINKS BELOW. YOU GET A GREAT ITEM, AND THIS BLOG EARNS A FEW WELCOME PENNIES TO KEEP THE PROVERBIAL LIGHTS ON. 🙂 .

 

 

 

 

CLICK ON THE IMAGES FOR MORE DETAILS OR TO ORDER.

Amazon Prime DEAL of the Day!

Alberto Breccia is recognized as one of the greatest international cartoonists in the history of comics and Mort Cinder is considered one of his finest achievements. Created in collaboration with the Argentine writer HĂ©ctor Germán Oesterheld, best known in the U.S. for his politically incendiary sci-fi masterpiece, the Eisner Award-winning The Eternaut, Mort Cinder is a horror story with political overtones. This episodic serial, written and drawn between 1962–1964, is drawn by Breccia in moody chiaroscuro. The artist’s rubbery, expressionistic faces capture every glint in the eyes of the grave robbers, sailors, and slaves that populate these stories; while the slash of stripes of prisoners’ uniforms, the trapeziums of Babylon, and more create distinct and evocative milieus.—Amazon

 

One thing that does not come across when reading about this book, or even seeing pictures of it, is the actual build of this book. I absolutely love the build and feel of this book. It is a cushiony hardcover quite unlike any other hardcover I have come across.

Being a Bibliophile, a lover of books, when I come across a uniquely designed book, whether it is James Jeans REBUS, or the ABSOLUTE ALAN MOORE SWAMP THING, or Boom Studios THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIAN STELFREZE or Morpheus International’s THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI or Dark Horse’s FRANKENSTEIN by Bernie Wrightson, said book is something that gives me great enrichment to peruse, to view, to read, to flip through, to own and have on my shelf; not just as a container for something that can be recreated digitally, but as an art object, in and of itself, that cannot be recreated digitally.

Fantagraphics books’ MORT CINDER brilliantly designed by Jacob Covey, is one of those must own books. And it can currently be purchased at a, quite frankly, deal of a price, for under $30. Try picking up some of the books I list above for $30 now, and you will understand the value of picking up MORT CINDER sooner rather than later.

Click on the image above to get your copy today!

Criterion Blu-Ray of the Day : Jeffrey Wright on the phenomenal film RIDE WITH THE DEVIL

Like the war it pivots around, Ang Lee’s RIDE WITH THE DEVIL, is a troubling property.

A box office failure on its release in 1999, the film came and went from theaters, virtually unseen. The release of the movie on Blu-ray, from respected Blu-ray Boutique label Criterion, finally gives audiences a chance to (most for the first time), see and explore what may be the most challenging film, from a director known for taking on eclectic and challenging material.

It is not an easy film, filled as it is with absurdities, and contradictions and stupidities reflective of the time. However stick with it, as it is a rewarding film, as much for what it says about the mistakes this nation has made, as it is prophetic and timely about the mistakes this nation is currently making.

Is it a great film? It has moments of greatness, and is never quite what you think it is.

It is ultimately a film I bought simply upon Jeffrey Wright, mentioning it as one of his favorites; and one I am very glad I bought. The beautiful criterion release offers a great interview with Jeffrey Wright, snippets of which I have provided below. However, please watch the film before indulging in the full special features.

In an age of streaming, this Criterion release of RIDE WITH THE DEVIL makes a case for physical media just in the gorgeousness of the gestalt. From the striking and handsomely designed packaging, to the overflowing with special features director’s approved and remastered release, to the eye-catching booklet filled with informative essays on the film; in every way this film is as much a tactile and dimensional experience, as a visual one.

A must own release. Grade: B+.

 

“I think that’s what separates this film from other films about the civil war, and other films that deal with historical racial dynamics in this country, that Ang was open to the complexity of it. That war is a seminal event in the character of American history, and it continues to inform who we are today, and who we will become. The story is a non-conventional look at historic race relations in this country. “

“I understood the attack they had planned, and I understood the subtlety of the character they had drawn. Holt, the character I played, that Ang described as an emerging character, and I thought it worked on multiple levels, relative to the film. Interestingly that was the first role I got, not having had to audition. Ang said that he had seen my work, he had seen Basquiat prior to that and maybe some of my stage work and said ‘There was something in your eyes that I saw, that was right for the character.’ That as well gave me a lot of confidence in the way that he worked, and  the way he understood what acting was.”

“Black folks in the south, in the years before the civil War did not have a voice. Holt, is reflective of the nature of Black folks relation to society at that time. And ultimately as he emerges out of that silence, what he does say is all the more heightened, and all the more powerful.”

“I think it has gained a core audience since then — an expanding audience, it’s a film that’s going to survive. RIDE WITH THE DEVIL is the last film about the Civil War of the 20th century, and I think the arc from BIRTH OF A NATION, at the beginning of the 20th century to RIDE WITH THE DEVIL is an evolution of our ways of portraying this critical and defining point in our history, through cinema.”

Get your copy here!

Streaming Movies of the Day : Amazon Prime Hits and Misses!

NOT WORTH FINISHING:

Mark Heap, Sean Verey, Danny Kirrane, David Mumeni, and Timothy Renouf in Fubar (2018)

GOOD:

It stumbles in the 3rd act, but most of it keeps your attention, and plays initially like a smarter and less gory SAW.

GREAT:

Riveting and dangerous and endlessly surprising viewing experience. A great debut feature film by writer, director Marvin Choi, and marvelously performed by Darnel Powell and Joseph Price. All of these men, are talents to watch. Grade: B+. Highly Recommended.

MATEWAN By John Sayles – A masterpiece made in 1987 that is absolutely relevant in 2020

 

‘You think this man is the enemy? Huh? This is a worker! Any union keeps this man out ain’t a union, it’s a goddam club! They got you fightin’ white against colored, native against foreign, hollow against hollow, when you know there ain’t but two sides in this world – them that work and them that don’t. You work, they don’t. That’s all you got to know about the enemy.’

-MATEWAN [2 syllables, pronounced MATE(as in your spouse)- WAN (as in WAND)]

 

Matewan

Click on the above image to purchase.

 

People use words like masterpiece and great, and sometimes the true weight of what you may be getting across may be lost.

Let me therefore explain MATEWAN to you thusly, I just finished watching the film yesterday. And I’m watching and listening to the, newly cut 2019 Criterion interviews today. (quick aside, i really appreciate that criterion went to the expense of doing new interviews and features for this film, which is something i am critical of them not doing, in other films. These 2019 featurettes are really— stunning, and on top of the greatness of the film, make the blu-ray a must own purchase.)

 

This morning I watched the news of Resident Trump dressing up essentially unidentified strike breakers and thugs, and letting them loose in Portland Oregon, and calling it the law.

 

“If you have vacation benefits, if you have unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation— these things weren’t given to you; they were fought for by people throughout this country. And i’m passionate about the fact that people have actually made an effort to fight for other people’s rights.”

—Karen VuRanch, THEM THAT WORK (2004) Documentary/featurette on the Matewan Massacre

 

Watching MATEWAN, a stunningly beautiful film, referencing a caustic bit of American history,  from exactly 100 years ago, gives me, and I think it will give you, one of the greatest gifts art can can give— perspective. Perspective on the mistakes we have made, and the tyranny we have allowed.

And perspective helps us deal with the present, without ignorance, and if not without fear, without hopelessness. Because we can see others have seen these days of Gethsemane, and endured it, triumphed over it.

You can go many days of your life without gaining that type of perspective, that barest hint of —- grace. Looking at the world, many people go their whole life without finding the type of perspective, that glimpse of grace— that MATEWAN hints at.

For $30 to $40, Criterion’s MATEWAN blu-ray is one of the best purchases you can make. And ultimately, what it has left me with, like the best of true art, is priceless.

 

 

 

” The way she poured herself into her song— it can make a doubting man religious.”

—James Earl Jones on Hazel Dickens’ song in the film

Currently Watching : CONFUSION NA WA (2013) by Kenneth Gyang on KANOPY

Confusion Na Wa (2013)

I love discovering an exciting new voice, an exciting new filmmaker;  and Kenneth Gyang’s CONFUSION NA WA is that calling card  of  a wonderful new cinematic voice. CONFUSION NA WA is such a biting, smart script, extolling the frenetic, whiplash swings of nations caught between the crushing extremes of a past of colonial theft and a present of  globalization enacted disenfranchisement. You will need subtitles for this, as the patwa some characters speak, can be heavy to decipher in places. But the meaning is surprisingly always crystal clear.

It swings between bitingly funny and horrific and tragic and disturbing, sometimes within the same minute. It is an adroit balancing act of a film, and a nation, always on the brink of glory and chaos. It is a weird movie in that the characters are at turns likable and vile. In other words to differing degrees, they are like us the viewer, heroes to some people we know, and villains to others. And one of the highlights is a conversation on the LION KING that will have you amazed by its wit, and amazed by perhaps something else, a hint of something insightful and perhaps profound beneath the humor.

The film ultimately is about all these disparate lives intersecting, in the wake of a lost/stolen phone, in surprising, entertaining, and horrific ways. If this film does not grab you in the first 15 minutes it is not for you. However, if like me, you will find that it just keeps getting more and more compelling

“I’m trying to stop a moral decline occurring in my own country!”

I have to tell you, I surprisingly really enjoyed this film. The more i think about this film the more I like it. I’ve seen French New Wave and Italian Neo-Realism films that could learn a thing or two from this movie. As debut films go, this is one to remember. You can currently view this film on your Roku or Fire TV device, by loading the KANOPY channel.

I really look forward to future films by director Gyang, and hope to see this movie get a feature rich Blu-ray release by a company such as Criterion or Arrow or Kino Lorber. I think it is that good. Grade: B+.

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)