CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.
CHICAGO – They don’t make ‘em like Robert Mitchum any more. Every few years, there’s a DVD collection of classic movies that rises above the others for the holiday season. One of this year’s most star-packed entries includes not only Mitchum but John Wayne, Deborah Kerr, Kirk Douglas, Shirley MacLaine, Richard Widmark, Gene Kelly, Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Marilyn Monroe, and many more. Mitchum may be the face on the cover but the set is a trip through the golden era of Hollywood through more than just one star.
CHICAGO – “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” No film has as succinctly captured the truth of this brilliant Samuel Johnson quote as Stanley Kubrick’s masterful “Paths of Glory,” one of the best anti-war films ever made. It’s a work that often gets overlooked by the flashier projects like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” or “The Shining” that Kubrick would make later in his career, but it’s easily one the best works from one of history’s best directors and the Criterion Collection Blu-ray release of the film is another stunning beauty.
CHICAGO – I think nearly every film critic with an association card has bowed at the altar of Stanley Kubrick at least once in their life (if they don’t still do so). I can vividly remember first seeing “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Shining,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Dr. Strangelove,” and “Full Metal Jacket,” all films I could watch any day of the week and never grow tired of them. Despite saying that, I was never a huge “Spartacus” fan, a film I admire more than love. The new Blu-ray release has not changed my mind.