The Bottom Shelf
Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:55

In Memory of Mickey Rooney

Even with all the plaudits and platitudes, not enough was written upon the passing of Mickey Rooney. I don’t know, actually, if there could ever be enough.

Lord Laurence Olivier once called Mickey Rooney “the greatest actor of them all,” and Marlon Brando said he was “the best actor in films.” [Read on here…]

All right, we’re closing out the week with a new Blu-ray review and bit of additional announcement news.

First, though, just wanted to say thanks for your patience over the last few days. If I haven’t seemed quite as on top of posting new reviews and other content, it’s because we had a visitor here. You’ll recall that a long time Bits staffer, and our very dear friend, Barrie Maxwell passed away a couple of years ago. We had the pleasure of a visit this past week with his wife Sue. She came to town for the TCM Classic Film Festival, which is something that she and Barrie had wanted to do together but never got the chance to, and then she came down to Orange County and stayed with Sarah and me for a few days. We watched lots of movies, took her down to the beach, and just had a great time. She sends her best to all of you Bits readers, and wanted you to know how much Barrie appreciated that you enjoyed his writings on classic films here at The Bits and also hearing from you via e-mail. Anyway, it was a great visit. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve got a bunch release news for you today...

First though, we’ve got a new Blu-ray review from Dr. Jahnke for you this afternoon. It’s a newly-released Warner Archive title from 1970 directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg, and starring Mick Jagger and James Fox – Performance. Do check it out.

My Star Trek: Enterprise – Season Four Blu-ray review will be up very soon. Sorry for the delay getting it posted, but there’s good reason. We have a special guest staying with us here this week: Sue Maxwell, the wife of our longtime (and dearly departed) Bits staff writer Barrie Maxwell. She’s been in town for the TCM Film Festival and now she’s visiting with us this week before returning home to Canada. So anyway, I appreciate your patience. And Sue sends her best to all of you! [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got another Blu-ray review for you today: Tim Salmons has checked out Robert Rossen’s All the King’s Men (1949) from Twilight Time. Enjoy!

Also today, a couple of quick announcements…

First, we’ve finally got a look at the new Blu-ray packaging for Sony’s re-issued Breaking Bad: The Complete Series, which is due on Blu-ray and – for the first time – DVD on 6/3. You can see it on the left there. Here’s the best part: The SRP is MUCH lower. Amazon has the SRP set at $230.99 for the Blu-ray, plus 30% for a final price of just $160.99. Meanwhile, the DVD is $160.99 SRP minus 30% for a price of just $113.49. That Blu-ray price is less than half the $399.99 of the original BD set, so good news indeed for fans. Click on the links in the text (or on the cover art below) to pre-order. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We’ve got a couple things for you here at The Bits today...

First, our own Tim Salmons has turned in a pair of new Shout! Factory Blu-ray reviews, including The Slumber Party Massacre and the new Darkman: Collector’s Edition. Both are well worth a look. Enjoy the reviews!  [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
Friday, 14 March 2014 12:05

The Sundance Kid Rides into Town

I can probably state as fact that many of you reading this are not familiar at all with the general manager of your local cable company – I guess most are bean counters, flesh pressers and empty suits. Oklahoma City, from whence I hail, has been very fortunate with Cox Communications – their company is very community driven and its management staff very public and outgoing.  [Read on here…]

First up today, our very own Todd Doogan has checked in with a review of Spike Lee’s recent Americanized remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 Korean action-thriller Oldboy, which was itself adapted from a Japanese manga from the late 1990s. The Lee film is now available on Blu-ray from Sony. Turns out it’s... interesting. Check out Todd’s review - he’ll tell you all about it.

In release news today, select retail sources have reported to us that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is gearing up to release a number of Godzilla double-feature Blu-rays on 5/6 (SRP $19.99 each) as part of Godzilla’s 60th anniversary celebration this year. A quick search, reveals that Amazon.com is already taking pre-orders (see the following title links). Among them are Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)/Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003), Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995)/Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)/Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992), and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)/Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994). We’re working to confirm this officially with the studio, so stay tuned. We’ll update here as soon as we hear back.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve got a nice piece of release news for you guys today, as well as a trio of new Blu-ray reviews for you to enjoy. Let’s have the reviews first…

The good Dr. Jahnke has checked in with his thoughts on a true classic of French New Wave cinema: Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, newly re-issued in Dual Disc (Blu-ray and DVD in the same package) by our friends at Criterion.

Also today, I’ve offered up my take on what might be my favorite film of 2013: Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, now available on Blu-ray from Paramount. Having grown up in the Plains States, I can say with some authority that I’ve not seen it so perfectly captured on film since the Coen Brothers’ Fargo. The film is poignant, filled with great character performances, and it’s damn funny too. Nebraska made me laugh hard and often. I hope you enjoy it.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

What follows is a completely thought through and double checked top ten list for the year 2013 and, and, like those who write for Film Comment magazine, I usually don’t create this puppy until I have seen just about every movie which might, in fact, be good.  

Here are the top ten, in no particular order:  [Read on here…] 

“There Was No Quiet On The Western Front!”

The Digital Bits presents this retrospective on The Blue Max, the World War I adventure-drama starring George Peppard, James Mason and Ursula Andress and highlighted by aerial dogfighting and music by acclaimed composer Jerry Goldsmith. Directed by John Guillermin (The Towering Inferno, the 1976 remake of King Kong) and based upon the novel by Jack D. Hunter, The Blue Max was hailed by Newsweek as “Magnificent!” and characterized by The New York Times as, “Devil-may-care dogfights in the skies... devil-may-care love affairs on the ground.” Recently released on Blu-ray Disc from Twilight Time and soundtrack CD by La-La Land Records, The Bits celebrates this classic war film with a detailed listing of its original, major-market roadshow engagements in the United States and Canada as well as an interview with film music authority Jeff Bond, who discusses Jerry Goldsmith’s musical contribution to the film. [Read on here...]

 

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