Criterion’s new Blu-ray of D.A. Pennebaker’s Original Cast Album: “Company” (1970) is a fascinating glimpse of the intense physical and mental labour which goes into the process of artistic creation, closely observing the recording of the original cast performing the songs from Stephen Sondheim’s breakthough Broadway show Company in one long fourteen-hour session. Tense, exhausting and exhilarating, it depicts dedicated professionals doing their jobs under intense pressure to deliver under a near-impossible deadline.
Yet another mixed bag of viewing from classic westerns to Asian fantasy/horror, black comedies and science fiction, musicals and monsters.
Despite continuing rumblings about the demise of movies-on-disk, numerous companies continue to produce excellent editions on disk of a vast range of movies covering the entire history of cinema. Once again in 2018 there were far more releases than even an obsessive viewer could keep up with.
I’m a sucker for sales and recently spent a lot on-line buying stacks of Blu-rays from Arrow Films and Severin at discount prices, adding a lot of titles to my backlog. In recent weeks, I’ve started making my way through the new Arrow titles, which include an assortment of genre offerings, some completely unknown, others old favourites.
Indicator’s Blu-ray finally does justice to The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953), Dr. Seuss’ nightmarish musical plunge into childhood anxieties.
A round-up of recent reviewing across multiple genres – western, black comedy, musical, animation, road movie.
The ambitious and very expensive early sound-era musical King of Jazz, featuring Paul Whiteman and his band, gets a spectacular restoration which makes the most of the original two-strip Technicolor process on Criterion’s extras-packed Blu-ray.
2016 was an impressive year for movies on disk, with a wide variety of new and classic releases, prestige productions and exploitation, and some interesting rediscoveries … too many to pick just a handful of “bests”.
Sex runs through the history of the movies as both spectacle and disrupter of narrative; Russ Meyer reveled in it, while Charlie Kaufman finds in sex poignant emotional depths.
After a two year hiatus, the BFI has revived the Flipside series with three notable releases: Val Guest’s musical satire Expresso Bongo, Edmond T. Greville’s juvenile delinquent exploitation movie Beat Girl, and Jose Ramon Larraz’s “lost” horror film Symptoms.