It’s time for another look at (relatively) recent Blu-Rays and DVDs aimed at the hardcore movie lover — though more casual viewers looking for something beyond Hollywood’s latest mass-market offerings are certainly allowed to kibitz at the Corner as well. Today’s selections are from Hollywood, off-Hollywood, England, and France and were made mostly in the 1930s or the 1970s, though we will be looking at one from 1998 — only yesterday!
And so we begin…(after the flip, that is.)
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Will Harris was recently invited to New York City to take part in the press junket for Focus Features’ new thriller, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” and along with partaking in some roundtables with the cast and crew, he also got a chance to sit down for a one-on-one interview with star Gary Oldman. Though the veteran actor had plenty to discuss regarding his role as iconic spy George Smiley, he also had something interesting comments about past performances as well, like how he based the character of Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg from “The Fifth Element” on Bugs Bunny and Ross Perot, and this entertaining story about creating the look of Drexl Spivey for “True Romance.”
You know what? There’s a story behind that. I was putting together that character, and I had no rehearsal and…I was on another movie, so I actually finished on a Sunday evening, drove home, and started Drexl the next day. And I had to kind of put him together, I had to work on him while I was doing something else. Because there just wasn’t the time to meet with Tony (Scott). I wrote him a letter, sent him a note, saying, “I would like dreadlocks. What do you think?” And he said, “Yeah, great.” So I knew Stuart (Artingstall), who had been the wigmaker on “Dracula,” so he made me that wig in about 48 hours. And I went to a dentist – I was working here in New York – who made the gold teeth, and I got the eye from the prop department at the…well, it was one of the eyes I wore for “Dracula”! And I put ‘em all together and walked on the set and hoped Tony liked it.
Be sure to read the full interview on Bullz-Eye, as well as Will’s other “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” interviews with co-star Colin Firth and director Tomas Alfredson and writer Peter Straughan. And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out our celebrity spy feature, “They Were Spies.”
When you interview a guy like Mickey Rourke, you can be sure that you’re going to walk away with at least one or two tasty pull quotes, which is exactly what the actor delivered when Bob Westal sat down to talk to him about his new film, “Immortals.” But while he chatted extensively about working on the Tarsem Singh action fantasy, it was in a discussion about an earlier projects — the 1986 film “9 1/2 Weeks” — that made our day:
I never watched that movie until about five years ago… I saw it [again] about a year or so ago, like little pieces of it, and I said, “That fuckin’ Kim [Basinger] was hot as shit!” I used to go home with a boner every night. Really. That was no fun…
Head over to the Bullz-Eye Blog to read the full interview, including more about “Immortals,” his experience working with directors Darren Aronofsky and Francis Ford Coppola, and how he feels about some of the newer technological advances in film.
Today we’re talking about three deluxe Blu-Ray releases of three highly notable films, each hugely important and influential in their own way. Coincidentally, each film also deals with what happens when European powers decide they’d really like to control a piece of the Islamic and/or Judaic world.
* “Ben Hur”— I finally caught up with this most popular of religious epics many moons ago at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, where it was introduced by it’s then elderly but still fairly hale star, Charlton Heston. Heston might have still been in good shape in the late 1990s or early 2000s, but the 35mm print that was shown on the giant screen, theoretically the best then available, was washed out and wan.
That disappointment is now a thing of the past with a restoration made frame-by-frame from the original 65mm negative that was so painstaking this “50th Anniversary” edition of the 1959 film actually arrives 52 years after the original “Ben Hur” release. At last, the spectacle looks as spectacular as a spectacle should, even if it’s now on relatively small home screens. (My 42 incher is by far the biggest TV I’ve ever had, but it’s obviously not the Cinerama Dome.)
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The ratings for “Two and a Half Men” keep dropping after the huge ratings for the opening two episodes. The reviews on the new character created for Ashton Kutcher have not been very good. Even with the drop, however, it’s still the top-rated sitcom, but we’ll see if the trend continues.