Rupert Pupkin Speaks: November 2013 ""

Friday, November 29, 2013

Shirt-Tacular: Arcane Movie tees

Arcane Movie tees had me at their "Silver Shamrock Novelties" shirt. If that was the only shirt they carried I'd say they were brilliant. But add in a BURBS-related tee and you've hooked me completely. Let me give you a short tour of this Cult Movie themed t-shirt site:

First you have the above mentioned HALLOWEEN III inspired classic:
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/halloween-3-season-of-the-witchsilver-shamrock-novelties/
And this tribute to Joe Dante's brilliance:
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/hinckley-hills/

For droogs and fans of milk plus and ultraviolence:
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/a-clockwork-orange-korova-milk-bar/

 For folks with mental instabilities near Haddonfield:
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/haddonfield/

Game programmers and game players looking to beat the top score on Space Paranoids:
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/flynns-arcade-tron/

When in lovely downtown Neo-Tokyo, stop by:
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/kaneda/
Wanna grab a burger with THE MONSTER SQUAD and Scary German Guy?
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/phils-diner/
Or get your pesky TV fixed to keep your daughter from being pulled in?
(love their tagline)
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/cuesta-verde/
You could even just relax, chew bubble gum (until you run out) and then kick ass:
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/shop/cable-54/


All this and more over at Arcane Movie Tees!

http://www.arcanemovietees.com
https://twitter.com/ArcaneMovieTees 
https://www.facebook.com/arcanemovietees

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kino Classics: NOSFERATU and THE BLUE ANGEL on Blu-ray

NOSFERATU(1922; F.W. Murnau)
I was just recently listening to Patton Oswalt's book ZOMBIE SPACESHIP WASTELAND and in it he recounts the story of the first time he saw Murnau's NOSFERATU. Apparently he was quite young and with a group of kids at his local library. One of the librarians there thought NOSFERATU would be a nice little movie to project for the youngsters. In doing so, she apparently terrified them and Patton himself recalls it as a very formative experience for him. 
I have always been fascinated by the idea of children being exposed to films that frighten them at a young age. It seems a rather cruel thing at first, but in my experience and in talking to other movie fans, it often seems that a jarring first run in with cinema like this often has the effect of putting kids on the path of a fascination with film that is lifelong. I know that was the case for me. Horror movies seem to have a certain "gateway drug" quality about them. It kind of makes sense when you think about it. Films have the power to evoke in us such a wife range of emotions and fear being one of the biggest ones. Fear is of course such a primal emotion as well and one that we are aware of at a very early age. There is also a catharsis with fear and cinema that I think has certainly kept people coming back to them for a long, long time. So it stands to reason that a child experiencing what they might later understand to be that catharsis may find it memorable. The idea that something can scare you, even traumatize you but not actually physically harm you can be something of a revelation. And then there is of course that fragile grasp that some kids may have on what the difference is between reality and fantasy that plays in here as well. But for me, and I'm not sure of the first movie I saw that scared me (though it may have been YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN believe it or not), it created a fascination with this medium that has stuck with me my whole life.
I'm also kind of tickled by the fact that something made so long ago can still have an impact and leave a lasting impression. That is a true testament to the power of the moving image. One thing Murnau definitely has as on his side as far as lasting impressions go is Max Schreck. Talk about nightmare fuel. In all the 91 years since NOSFERATU's release, even with all the advances we've made in the field of special effects, few cinematic creations can rival the look and effect of Schreck and his character in this film. He really does not seem human. I can only imagine the impression he must have left on moviegoers back in 1922. I could see him being the impetus for making some folks believe vampires were a real thing. It is one of those performances and he is one of those actors that are truly unforgettable.

Features: 
"The Language of Shadows" - a 53 minute examination of Murnau's personal history and his early films, focusing on the making of NOSFERATU specifically. It goes into fine detail about the pre-production, locations and the process of filming the movie. The locations are one of the main focuses here and there are lots of present-day shot comparisons to show how little some of the locales haven't changed much since the time the film was made.
Also included as an extra are a collection of excerpts from Murnau including: JOURNEY INTO THE NIGHT (1920), THE HAUNTED CASTLE (1922), PHANTOM (1922), THE FIANCES OF THE GRAND DUKE (1924), THE LAST LAUGH (1924), TARTUFFE (1925), FAUST (1926) and TABU (1931).

Kino's Blu-ray transfer looks quite nice here and makes the disc a recommend. The fact that the film was tinted  in some scenes helps add to the otherworldly feel overall. And one nice thing about the Kino Blu-ray is that it has English intertitles as opposed to the subtitles of other releases. Some of these intertitles were preserved and some have been recreated.

Audio: 
The music feature here is Hans Erdmann's original 1922 score in both 5.1 and 2.0 mixes.

THE BLUE ANGEL (1930, Josef von Sternberg)
In this early collaboration between von Sternberg and his muse Marlene Dietrich,  she plays a nightclub singer who begins to obsess a prudish school teacher (Emil Jannings). The teacher stumbles across Lola Lola (Dietrich) because some of his students have been frequenting the establishment (a speakeasy) where she works.
I first read about THE BLUE ANGEL in Danny Peary's Guide For The Film Fanstic (my favorite book if all time), one of many many films I was in need of discovering at the time. Seeing the movie mentioned there not only made me want to see it, but also lent an air of legitimacy to it (via Peary's endorsement) that I had not previously attributed to the film.
Marlene Dietrich is one of those actresses that was just made for the movies. Or rather it seems like movies were invented to show off personalities like hers. Though THE BLUE ANGEL was not her first film, she was relatively unknown before it and it could easily be considered her "breakout" as we would call it today. Danny Peary said of her in THE BLUE ANGEL, "With her casual manner toward men. (She was ready to skip out on lovers when she got bored and restless) her lack of ego (but a profound knowledge that she is the only one who will take care of her), her ironic attitude toward the hypocritical world and its strict moral code--men like the tyrannical professor condemn her but secretly desire her--her willingness to satisfy her own physical needs no matter who gets hurt, and her tantalizing beauty, she personified sinful sex, available to any man who would get in line."
Dietrich performs one of her most famous songs in this film,  "Falling in Love Again", which Madeleine Kahn would later parody with her song "I'm Tired" in Mel Brooks' western spoof BLAZING SADDLES. The Beatles even covered the song at one point. And Christina Aguilera contributed her own cover version to the soundtrack of the 2008 film THE SPIRIT. The song has indelibly becoming iconic and this is due in no small part to Dietrich and her performance in THE BLUE ANGEL. Another factor is if course von Sternberg and his own personal obsession with Dietrich. This was the beginning of his technique of photographing her in a lovely soft-focus kind of way that would be a part of the six Hollywood films they would make together. It has often been said that von Sternberg 'discovered' Dietrich and it is one of the earliest accounts of a director doing so for an actress. To my mins it is also one of the earliest examples of a director photographing an actress in such a way as to accentuate her beauty and thus help create an obsession with her with a wife audience as well. Dietrich is quite captivating in THE BLUE ANGEL (as she always is, but here she is younger than I'm used to seeing her) and it's not difficult to see why she would become one of the icons of cinema for all-time.

Features:
Josef von Sternberg filmed German and English versions of the film concurrently and both (including a restored German version) are included in this good-looking Kino set. The original German version (with English subs) runs 107 minutes and the English clocks in at 104 mins.
Additionally, this set includes a scene con patio between the two versions, Dietrich's screen test for THE BLUE ANGEL and interview and concert footage from her as well.

NOSFERATU and THE BLUE ANGEL can be purchased via Kino's site or Amazon and other retailers.
http://www.kinolorber.com

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rupert's 2013 Film Geek Holiday Gift Guide

Okay, so I realize that I am certainly not the one to originate the idea of doing one of these things(I think Quint at AICN may have inspired me), but I've done a list the past few years so I thought I'd throw together some recommendations for you movie fanatics or those that have a fanatic in their life to shop for. What follows is a list of some of my favorite DVD and Blu-ray releases from this year as well as a few other trinkets like books, shirts and so forth that might also please your cinephile. Hopefully this list serves some use to someone!

P.S. here are my lists from the last two years if you want to peek at them as well:
http://rupertpupkinspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/11/ruperts-blu-raydvd-holiday-gift-guide.html
http://rupertpupkinspeaks.blogspot.com/2012/11/ruperts-2012-holiday-buying-guide-for.html

Where to even start? This year has been a lovely one for Blu-ray and DVD releases across the board. All the usual players stepped up and gave us some stellar films(which were often debuting on their respective formats). I'll start with the kids of releases I saw the most of and work my way down.

WARNER ARCHIVE:
http://shop.warnerarchive.com
WAC threw their hat into the Blu-ray ring late last year and have only had a few Blus so far in 2013 but a couple are absolutely worth picking up (both from the 1990s coincidentally):


THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (1994; Joel & Ethan Coen)


FEARLESS (1993: Peter Weir) 

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD - The Complete First Season

As for their DVD releases, WAC had a heckuva great year, putting out several great sets and many wonderful standalone DVDs as well. A few recommends:

FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD Volume 7

WHEELER AND WOOLSEY - RKO Comedy Classics Collection

VIVACIOUS LADY (1938; George Stevens)

THE NUISANCE (1933; Jack Conway)

THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS (1944; Jean Negulesco)

LOVE ON A BET (1936; Leigh Jason)

THE MERRY WIDOW (1934; Ernst Lubitsch)

DEATH IN SMALL DOSES (1957; Joseph M. Newman)

HEY GOOD LOOKIN'(1982; Ralph Bakshi)

HARRY O: The Complete Second Season

WAC also continued their streak of releasing some fantastic old Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 1970s and 80s:

SPACE STARS - The Complete Series

CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS - The Complete Series

HELP! IT'S THE HAIR BEAR BUNCH! - The Complete Series

THE COMPLETELY MENTAL MISADVENTURES OF ED GRIMLEY- The Complete Series

Also here are a few bits of clunky fun that I personally enjoy:

THE BEASTS ARE ON THE STREETS (1978; Peter R. Hunt)

HELLO DOWN THERE (1969; Jack Arnold)

There are obviously other Studios doing their own MOD releases, so here are a few other discs from those services that I recommend:

FOX ARCHIVES:

ME AND MY GAL (1932; Raoul Walsh)

SONY CLASSICS:

KNOCK ON ANY DOOR (1949; Nicholas Ray)

A few Film Classics collections from TCM (these both feature the DVD debut of at least a few films):

John Ford:  The Columbia Films Collection

Frank Capra: The Early Collection

Karloff: The Criminal Kind 

Warner Home Video also put out several long awaited catlog titles on Blu-ray this year:

THE RIGHT STUFF (1983; Philip Kaufman)

REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955; Nicholas Ray)

THE HAUNTING (1963; Robert Wise)

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946; William Wyler)

DISNEY brought out some nice Miyazaki on Blu-ray this year:

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988; Hayao Miyazaki)

NAUSICAA AND THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1984; Hayao Miyazaki)

HOWL'S MOVIE CASTLE (2004; Hayao Miyazaki)

Criterion put out a ton of great stuff this year as they always do. One I'd like to highloght though is one of my favorite old ghost story movies that never had a dvd (let along Blu-ray) release in the U.S. before this:

THE UNINVITED (1944; Lewis Allen)

TWILIGHT TIME:
TWILIGHT TIME is a boutique label whose output is great and on the rise in a big way in 2014. Here are some of my favorite Blu-ray releases from them this year:

THE DRIVER (1978; Walter Hill)

HARD TIMES (1975; Walter Hill)

THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN (1970; George Stevens)

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945; John M. Stahl)

SCREAM FACTORY:
Scream Factory absolutely killed it this year with their releases. I can't list all them, but I'll give you some highlights. They have more great stuff coming in 2014 too!

THE FOG (1980; John Carpenter)

PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987; John Carpenter)

THE VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION

NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984; Thom Eberhardt)

THE HOWLING (1981; Joe Dante)

LIFEFORCE (1985; Tobe Hooper)

NINJA III: THE DOMINATION (Sam Firstenberg)

THE BURNING (1981; Tony Maylam)

SYNAPSE FILMS:

DEMONS (1985; Lamberto Bava)
(LTD Edition Steelbook only available via Synapse-Films.com)

DEMONS 2 (1986; Lamberto Bava)
(LTD Edition Steelbook only available via Synapse-Films.com)

STREET TRASH (1987; J. Michael Muro)

OLIVE FILMS:
 (TIP: these are most cheaply ordered via ImportCDs.com)

SHACK OUT ON 101 (1955; Edward Dein)

CHINA GATE(1957; Samuel Fuller)
 
THE BIG COMBO (1955; Joseph H. Lewis)

PLUNDER ROAD (1957; Hubert Cornfield)

KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE (1950; Gordon Douglas)

TRUST (1990; Hal Hartley)

TICKS (1993; Tony Randel)

PLAIN CLOTHES (1988; Martha Coolidge)


KINO VIDEO:
LITTLE FUGITIVE (1953; Morris Engel)

NIGHT TIDE (1961; Curtis Harrington) 


THE HITCH-HIKER (1953; Ida Lupino)

KIDNAPPED (1974; Mario Bava) 

NOSFERATU (1922; F.W. Murnau)

For those with multi-region Blu-ray capability, there was much to be enjoyed this year as well! 
(Most of these discs can be acquired through Amazon UK)
P.S. - If you don't have multi-region, you may consider this inexpensive player (recommended by the guys over at CriterionCast.com):



ARROW VIDEO:

THE CAR (1977; Elliot Silverstein)

LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN (1982; Boaz Davidson)

THE LONG GOODBYE (1973; Robert Altman)

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986; John Carpenter) (Steelbook)

TIME BANDITS (1981; Terry Gilliam)


SECOND SIGHT:

THE BROOD (1979; David Cronenberg)

STREETS OF FIRE (1984; Walter Hill)

POSSESSION (1981; Andrzej Zulawski)

CREEPSHOW (1982; George Romero)

(and from 2012)

BASKET CASE Trilogy 

FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR (1986; Randal Kleiser) (region free)



EUREKA! (MASTERS OF CINEMA):

RED RIVER (1948; Howard Hawks)

THE TARNISHED ANGELS (1957; Douglas Sirk) 

STUDIO CANAL:

THE WICKER MAN (1973; Robin Hardy)

PORCO ROSSO (1992; Hayao Miyazaki)

KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE (1989; Hayao Miyazaki)

CONVOY (1978; Sam Peckinpah)

 Warner Bros:


POLICE ACADEMY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION





--------------
SHIRTS:
Film geeks need to wear their loves and influences literally on their sleeves. I've always felt that t-shirts can be disarming and help nerds connect with other nerds in a very simple way. "Hey that person is wearing a shirt for a movie I love, therefore, I have something to talk to them about."
Many of the sites listed below are UK based and I've only come across them this year, but I am so pleased I did. In some cases below, I have done a whole blog post about them so check those out for further details:
Dark Bunny Tees:
http://www.darkbunnytees.com/
http://rupertpupkinspeaks.blogspot.com/2013/11/shirt-tacular-dark-bunny-tees.html 


Nerdoh Clothing:
https://nerdoh.co.uk/
http://rupertpupkinspeaks.blogspot.com/2013/11/shirt-tacular-nerdoh-clothing.html

Found Item Clothing:
http://www.founditemclothing.com/
http://rupertpupkinspeaks.blogspot.com/2013/10/shirt-tacular-found-item-clothing.html


Rotten Cotton:
https://www.rottencotton.com/

 
Arcane Movie Tees:
http://www.arcanemovietees.com/

8 Ball:
http://www.8ball.co.uk/

LICENSE PLATES:
Celebrity Machines License Plates is a nice place for movie fans to find some fun, unique gifts. They exclusively do reproductions of license plates from movies. Want an "OUTATIME" or "ECTO-1" plate? This is the place(and they have so many others!):
http://www.celebritymachines.com/




BOOKS:
There are always tons of good film-related books that come out in any given year. Here are a few that I think might make lovely gifts for the right movie lover:

GUIDE FOR THE FILM FANATIC By Danny Peary
Despite being published in 1986, this book is still the best guide for young cinephiles to help get them on the track of watching great films. The book can be acquired very cheaply on Amazon even though it has been out of print for some time. It is my favorite book of all time and so it is no surprise I am actually making a documentary about Peary's books and their impact. (See interview clips here: http://www.youtube.com/user/dannypearydoc?feature=watch)


BLEEDING SKULL! A 1980s TRASH-HORROR ODYSSEY By Joseph A. Ziemba & Dan Budnik


ON THE CHEAP: MY LIFE IN LOW BUDGET FILMMAKING by Greydon Clark


THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION by Matt Zoller Seitz


ROMAN POLANKSI: A RETROSPECTIVE  By James Greenberg

JOHN BADHAM ON DIRECTING: Notes from the set of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, WAR GAMES and More By John Badham

GUILLERMO DEL TORO CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: My Notebooks, Collections and Other Obsessions By Guillermo Del Toro & Marc Zicree


THE DISASTER ARTIST: MY LIFE INSIDE THE ROOM, THE GREATEST BAD MOVIE EVER MADE By Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell

THE SLASHER MOVIE BOOK By J.A. Kerswell 

CAT PEOPLE (BFI FILM CLASSICS) By Kim Newman 

ALTERNATIVE MOVIE POSTERS: Film Art From the Underground By Matthew Chojnacki