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Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi: Doctor Who Season One & Jack the Giant Killer

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 16, 2018 07:16pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to this month’s Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi, where I review recent Blu-ray releases. Both of these Blu-rays came out in the past three months.

Doctor Who: Tom Baker - Complete Season One, BBC Video:
These are the episodes that first introduced the Doctor Who franchise to the American public. The series Doctor Who Season Onehad already run for more than a decade in England where the venerable Doctor had long been considered a national icon and a variety of stars had already played the role of the Doctor, but Tom Baker is the face and personality that made him beloved by legions of North American fans. So it makes perfect sense that these would be the first episodes of the long running series to get a deluxe Blu-ray upgrade here in the US. These were originally shot on video so there has been a lot of handwringing online about how good these would look due to the low quality of the original source materials. Many fans have questioned whether it is worth upgrading from DVD to Blu-ray. Well, as soon as I popped in the first disc of this and saw the beautiful sharp picture quality and heard the flawless sound, I realized this was a total no-brainer. This set is a huge improvement over the DVDs and possibly the best restoration I have ever seen of something that was originally shot on video. The image quality is flawless. Once in a blue moon there is a weird lighting artifact that the restoration couldn't cover up, but these are few and far between. Yes, this does reveal many of the shortcomings of the special effects. Now you can see like never before that all the monsters are made of bubble wrap and paper mache, but that is actually half the fun of this set. The production budget for these shows was comparable to what you would see for a local high school play. The special effects crew did the best they could with what they had and there is a funky low-fi style to their effects, which looks charmingly nostalgic in the harsh naked light of this Blu-ray.

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The Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 18, 2017 01:57pm | Post a Comment

Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2018

Has Criterion gone punk?? Based on the top selling Blu-rays at Amoeba this year it looks as if the primo purveyors of classic, foreign, and arthouse films found much of their success in alternative and cult-y titles by such provocateurs as Alex Cox, Terry Zwigoff, and John Waters. Perhaps it's a slight exaggeration, but based on the thin presence of films for Francophiles and classic film buffs, it seems that the prestigious label has gotten more angsty and alternative. Regardless, Criterion, as always, released a stellar collection of films in 2017. Here are the 10 best-selling Criterion Blu-rays at Amoeba.

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Sid & Nancy Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music

10. Sid & Nancy 
Directed by Alex Cox, 1986
Released Aug 22, 2017

The long overdue Blu-ray release of Sid & Nancy has been one of the most anticipated Criterion releases in recent memory, and it couldn't have come at a more poignant time in lead actor Gary Oldman's career. Now regarded as a Hollywood mainstay, and garnering Oscar buzz for his recent portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hours, Oldman broke through to audiences in Cox's kinetic cult flick about the infamous, short lived, heroin-fueled relationship between Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen (played by an equally fascinating Chloe Webb), before her gruesome, unsolved death by stabbing. Packed with extra documentaries, archival interviews of the real Vicious and Spungen, commentaries by the cast and crew, and more, this is the ultimate edition of the beloved punk-classic. 4K digital restoration.
Rebecca Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 9. Rebecca 
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1940
Released Sept 5, 2017

Considered a favorite by many die-hard Alfred Hitchcock fans, Rebecca was the director's first production in Hollywood, after making a name for himself across the Atlantic. Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier star is this psychological melodrama, in which the bliss of their new marriage becomes overshadowed by the memory, and possibly spirit, of Olivier's dead first wife. Filled with visual style, atmospheric special effects, and superb performances, Rebecca signaled the arrival of a new master in Tinseltown, and took home the Academy Award for best picture. The new Blu-ray is filled to the brim with special features, including various archival interviews with cast and crew members, three radio adaptations (including one by Orson Wells), screen tests, and a new conversation by legendary film critic Molly Haskell with Patricia White. 4K digital restoration.

Psychomania is Back From the Grave

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 9, 2017 07:18pm | Post a Comment

Psychomania

By Brett Stillo

Get on your bikes and ride! That devilish blackguard Tom Latham and his gang of shaggy-haired, cycle-Psychomaniacrazy delinquents, the Death Wheelers, have come back from the grave—AGAIN—in a deluxe Blu-ray/DVD release of the 1973 horror favorite, PSYCHOMANIA!

Psychomania is an Aleister Crowley-on-Wheels, black-magic-meets-black-leather tale of witchcraft, reincarnation, myth, and motorcycles. The aforementioned Tom ('70’s favorite Nicky Henson, displaying brutish charm and swagger) and his motorcycle gang, The Living Dead, tear up the English countryside while his spiritualist mother (Beryl Reid) and her sinister butler (the elegantly satanic George Saunders in his final screen appearance) conduct weird séances at the family manor. What more could a saucy lad like Tom ask for, except maybe immortality by way of a suicide pact with the Dark One in the guise of a frog?

From there, Psychomania opens the throttle as Tom convinces his gang of baby-faced Bikers (who look like members of Badfinger) to kill themselves so they too can return to this world as indestructible, undead hooligans. The horror shifts to action as Tom and his gang roar down country roads and Psychomania Nicky Hensonancient, fog-shrouded cemeteries on their classic British racing bikes, terrorizing the local villagers.

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Top 10 Horror and Exploitation Blu-rays of 2016

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 26, 2016 05:24pm | Post a Comment

by Gabriel Wheeler

Most of us live in world where we can stream movies 24/7, but there are still quite a few of us who want physical copies of our favorite films, whether it’s for the artwork or the inclusion of extras like commentary, alternate cuts, behind-the-scenes photos, and more. Many amazing horror and exploitation movies found their way to Blu-ray this year, so without further ado here are my top 10 sleazy and scary Blu-rays for 2016.


Blood Father10. Blood Father (2016. Jean-Francois Richet. Lionsgate Films)

This is the only movie on the list that actually hit theaters in 2016. Mel Gibson plays John Link, an ex-biker on parole who runs a tattoo parlor out of his trailer in the desert. Out of the blue, his missing daughter gives him a call asking for money and so begins their high-octane journey full of mayhem. This is the ultimate dad film mixing elements of Breaking Bad and Mad Max. Also available on DVD.


 

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Jackie's 2016 Favorites on Blu-ray

Posted by Amoebite, November 23, 2016 04:45pm | Post a Comment

Hi. This is Jackie G, Movie Buyer for Amoeba Hollywood. Here's a list of 2016 Blu-ray titles I really liked.



HELL OR HIGH WATER

Modern day western noir directed by David Mackenzie (Starred Up, Young Adam) from a screenplay by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario). Chris Pine earns his dramatic chops, Ben Foster delivers as always. Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham are a treat to watch as two Texas Rangers. There’s also an unforgettable scene with a feisty steakhouse waitress. My favorite film of the year so far.
Buy it!


GREEN ROOM

Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) wrote & directed this taut siege thriller. Stars the late, great Anton Yelchin as a member of a punk band who gets caught up against a villainous Patrick Stewart and his group of criminal skinheads.
Buy it!

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