Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.
DVD Round Up, May 27, 2009: ‘Eden Log,’ ‘El Dorado,’ ‘Yonkers Joe’
CHICAGO – Welcome back to the Round-Up, a safety net to catch the DVD titles that fell off the mainstream tightrope. The titles this week have virtually nothing in common other than coming in two waves from two studios - a pair of classics from Paramount’s Centennial Collection and a trio of indie films from the great Magnolia Pictures.
All five titles were released on May 19th, 2009.
“Centennial Collection #8: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”
Synopsis: “”This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Behind the camera? John Ford, a director whose name is synonymous with “Westerns.” Gathered in front of it? An ideal cast – James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles and Lee Marvin. Now presented on two discs, with all-new special features, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance rides into town as classic entry in the Paramount Centennial Collection. Director Ford brings us to the lawless frontier village of Shinbone, a town plagued by a larger-than-life nemesis, Liberty Valance (Marvin). Stewart plays the bungling but charming big-city lawyer determined to rid Shinbone of Valance, and he finds that he has an unlikely ally — in the form of a rugged, local rancher (Wayne). The two men also share the same love interest (Miles). But when the final showdown becomes inevitable, one of the two will attempt to get the gunman … but the other one will wind up getting the gal.”
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” stars Lee Marvin, John Wayne, John Carradine, Vera Miles, Jeanette Nolan, James Stewart, and Lee Van Cleef. It was written by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck and directed by John Ford. It is not rated. The film is presented in widescreen and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.
Special features on “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” include “The Size of Legends, The Soul of Myth,” Commentary by Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich along with his archival recordings with John Ford and James Stewart, Selected Scene Commentary with intro by Dan Ford along with his archival recordings with John Ford, James Stewart and Lee Marvin, Galleries, and Original Theatrical Trailer.
“Centennial Collection #9: El Dorado”
Synopsis: “”I’m paid to risk my neck. I’ll decide where and when I’ll do it. This isn’t it.” Now a two-disc presentation with all-new special features, this Paramount Centennial Collection edition of El Dorado delivers the goods. Legendary producer-director Howard Hawks teams up with two legendary stars, John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, in a classic Western drama. Mitchum plays to perfection an alcoholic but gutsy sheriff who relentlessly battles the “dark side” of the Wild West – ruthless cattle barons and crooked “businessmen.” The Duke gives an equally adept performance as the sheriff’s old friend, one who knows his way around a gunfight. Featuring a supporting cast that includes James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix, Ed Asner and Christopher George, and filled with both brawling action and unexpected humor, El Dorado is pure gold.”
“El Dorado” stars John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Ed Asner, Michelle Carey, Paul Fix, Charlene Holt, and Arthur Hunnicutt. It was written by Leigh Brackett and directed by Howard Hawks. It is not rated. The film is presented in widescreen with a Dolby Digital English mono track.
Special features on “El Dorado” include Commentary by Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, “Ride, Boldly Ride: The Journey to El Dorado,” Commentary with critic and film historian Richard Schickel featuring actor Ed Asner and author Todd McCarthy, “The Artist and the American West (1967),” “Behind the Gates: AC Remembers John Wayne,” Original Theatrical Trailer, and Galleries.
Synopsis: “A man wakes up deep inside a cave. Suffering amnesia, he has no recollection of how he came to be there nor any idea who the dead man is at his side. The underground labyrinth is no ordinary cave but the abandoned labs of a company called Eden Log. Hunted by mysterious creatures, he must continue through this strange and fantastic world to escape their clutches. During his quest to the surface, he must uncover the secrets of what once lived in the caves and whether salvation exists above. A twisting hallucinatory parable, Eden Log is warning that the relentless exploitation of natural resources could incite nature to fight back in the most vicious manner.”
“Eden Log” stars Clovis Cornillac and Vimala Pons. It was written by Franck Vestiel & Pierre Bordage and directed by Vestiel. It is rated R. The film is presented in widescreen with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and with a Dolby English 5.1 audio track.
Special features on “Eden Log” include “French Language Version of Eden Log with English Subtitles”.
“Two Films By Wayne Wang: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers/The Princess of Nebraska”
“A Thousand Years of Good Prayers” Synopsis: “A woman in her early 40s moves from China to America to start a new life. Her father comes to visit her because of her recent divorce. Their social and generational conflicts end up revealing the darker lies and cover-ups within her family during the Cultural Revolution.”
“The Princess of Nebraska” Synopsis: “A China-born 18-year-old finds herself four months pregnant. She interrupts her studie sto travel from Nebraska to San Francisco to determine what to do about her pregnancy. It is a revealing look at a young woman growing up under the new economic prosperity of China over the last 20 years.”
Special features on “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers” include Interview with Yiyun Li, Interview with Henry O, and a photo gallery. Special features on “The Princess of Nebraska” include Interview with Yiyun Li, Sasha Video Diaries, photo gallery, and “Ling and Yan Yan - A Day in the Life of Young Chinese Women.
“Prayers” is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen with “Nebraska” presented in 2.35:1. Both films feature 5.1 audio tracks.
Synopsis: “An ode to old time gamblers, now outdated in an age of powerful upscale casinos, Yonkers Joe tells the story of a dice hustler (Palminteri) whose dertmination to make one last big score in Vegas is complicated by the reappearance of his son.”
“Yonkers Joe” stars Chazz Palminteri, Christine Lahti, Tom Guiry, Linus Roache, and Michael Lerner. It was written and directed by Robert Celestino. It is rated R. The film is presented in widescreen with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English 5.1 track.
Special features include Yonkers Joe Premiere, Behind the Scenes, “The Moves,” “The Look,” and “Meet Fast Jack”.