Blu-ray Must own Masterpiece of the Day : Criterion’s THE BALLAD OF GREGORIO CORTEZ (1982)

THE BALLAD OF GREGORIO CORTEZ – What first strikes you is the unique way the film is shot. By Director Robert M. Young (who also rewrote the script). There is a wonderful strangeness to its palette (starting with the striking choice of a lemon lime ocher sunset as opposed to the more often seen red one), and an originality to how it is shot, a lyricism that is at once somber and plaintiff and passing strange. Edward James Olmos, known for his taciturn performances, here gives his most emotive and impassioned channeling, as a family man, who one day at the hands of an alien and hostile law, has all sense leave his world.

A film about a rough miscarriage of justice in 1910, unfortunately remains sadly timely and prescient of the same type of miscarriages and abuses occurring, at the time of this writing, in 2020. The history we do not learn from we repeat. And it is not Latin history, or Anglo history, or Pan-African history, or Asian history, it is simply history.

The film could just as easily be called THE BALLAD OF KENNY WALKER. [ An active case as of this writing, Walker (the Boyfriend of Breonna Taylor), who tried to defend Ms. Taylor and their home, when  men, later identified as law enforcement; broke-in, opening fire, and shooting the naked Ms. Taylor eight times.]

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982)

Film, the best of it, helps us internalize the missteps of history, and codifies a sense of morality, that urges us away from such similar follies. Never preachy, in simple strokes THE BALLAD OF GREGORIO CORTEZ tells us of outrages past, and if we be of human stuff, we may learn from it a better perspective of and answer to, outrages present.

Criterion has produced a simply must own Blu-ray release, sporting a not to be missed 2018 interview with Edward Janes Olmos, and adorned by the most striking and beautiful artwork/Blu-ray design; if you can own only a few Blu-rays, this Criterion release without a doubt should be among them. Grade: B+.

 

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2019 Year in Review : Favorite TV Shows

2019 Year in review : Favorite TV Shows

I tried quite a few shows in 2019 UMBRELLA ACADEMY, LUCIFER, GOOD OMENS, THE WITCHER, BLACK MIRROR, GAME OF THRONES but my favorite TV shows, BY FAR, were the following:

 

THE TERROR 1st Season – One of the most grueling and terrifying and brilliant things I saw on TV in 2019

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BODYGUARD 1st and only season- One of the best action/spy shows I’ve seen since SPOOKS and the first season of JACK RYAN.

THE GRAND TOUR – One of the worst mistakes TOP GEAR made was pissing these guys off and forcing them out. TOP GEAR has become an un-watched joke, and THE GRAND TOUR … simply fun and brilliant.

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HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE Season 1- After THE TERROR, the 2nd most terrifying tv show I saw in 2019. And that one episode with the reveal of the hanging lady, is just horrible to think about. The more you think about that episode the more effed up it becomes, and the more you feel for that character. A brilliantly written show.

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LUKE CAGE Season 2- Speaking of a brilliantly written show, LUKE CAGE season 2 when you get past some cringe worthy scenes in the early episode ( I do not want to see Shades and Black Mariah kissing on each other, the less of that the better) but when you get past that bit of self indulgence, it really takes off and has a story that is more complex than people hitting each other. Which kinda is why I lost interest in the other Marvel/Netflix shows. It is the small moments where this series sings, like the scene of Cage and Rand just talking as they overlook Central Park. That is one of my favorite scenes, and not a punch in it, just people talking. And the Antagonists were so rich, no clear good, or clear evil, but people in varying degrees of pain. Add to that just the best ending/cliffhanger of any of the Marvel/Netflix shows. Really hope this comes to Bluray soon.

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MANDALORIAN Season 1 – Baby Yoda Rules! And the show is great, a nice back to basics western in space.

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THE BOYS Season 1 – Jaw Dropping, and one of the best examples of the adaptation being superior to the source material. Not a fan of THE BOYS comic, loved this show,

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THE EXPANSE (Seasons 1-3) – I’ve praised this show often. It is the best scifi show currently being aired.

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PENNYWORTH – Only saw 3 episodes, that was all that was available for free, but what a 3 episodes. Phenomenal and fun and gripping.

 

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WATCHMEN – Only saw the first episode, but what an episode. Had my doubts about this show, the first episode made me a believer.

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With an honorable mention to BABYLON 5 as a show I revisited in 2019. Currently on season 4. Holds up as one of the best shows of all time. Straczynski creating the first novel for TV.

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