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June 08, 2010


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Owain Wilson

Fantastic. This is pretty much my dream Blu-ray review guide.

I'm so relieved that Universal have done a good job with the Carlito's Way Blu-ray. Poor back catalogue transfers are what cheeses me off the most about the Blu-ray industry, and Universal are one of the worst offenders. It drives me nuts, and makes me wonder if the studios are actually trying to convince people not to buy the format.

Anyway, I'm crazy about Carlito's Way. It has a very special place in my heart for all sorts of reasons, and now I'm all excited about buying it. Incidentally, this is the film where, as far as I'm concerned, it all ended for Pacino. The actor on screen, laying waste to all his competition with a fantastic movie star performance, is nowhere to be seen post-1993 (with the exception of The Insider),

I sure hope Universal don't screw up the Blu-ray of one of my all time favourite films, Born On The Fourth Of July. A stunningly photographed film.

Michael Adams

Informative and entertaining. Thanks for acknowledging The Edge. It is what some call a guilty pleasure, but there's no need for feeling guilty about something this intelligently written and well directed. The greatest bear performance ever, too.


This is an invaluable guide. Of the discs you've reviewed, I already own Potemkin, City Girl, M and Stagecoach and share your enthusiasm for each. Based on your reviews of the other discs, I'll be purchasing Shutter Island and at the very least renting the Blue Underground titles, By Brakhage, Doctors Parnassus and Zhivago, Walkabout and The Wolfman.

I noticed you didn't review any New Line titles. From my experience, they seem to be the worst offenders of applying excessive "noise reduction", which ends up making films shot on film look like films shot on HD - you know, shiny and smooth but also less detail. I'd like to see them called out on this more.

Anyway, I greatly look forward to future installments of this feature.


I don't even own a Blu-Ray player and I read every word of this thing. Wonderfully done, sir.

Owain Wilson

Funny thing about The Edge's Lee Tamahori. How can a director who dresses up in drag and gets arrested for offering to sell blow jobs on the streets of LA go on to make such bland studio fare?


I love THE EDGE. It's a vastly underrated thriller, in my view. The bear attack that kills Harold Perrinau is genuinely disturbing, and it's full of great little moments, like Hopkins trying to fish with his watchbob as bait. He's kneeling over the creek, and nothing's happening. You can tell he's thinking "I may not know as much about this stuff as I think I do."

Tony Dayoub

Invaluable and exhaustive, this post recalls your consumer guides from way back when over at Premiere. Like I plan on doing with this one, I would photocopy those and bring them to the store if I was interested in picking something out for purchase. Not to belabor the point, but this is extremely well written,and relevant (I love how you worked in a reference to the recent unearthing of the silent film treasure trove).

Thanks for giving us the lowdown on CARLITO'S WAY, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, and DUNE in particular, films I was on the fence about because I own so many version of them already.

PS: "...a good deal of the films I'm treating here were provided to me by the studios, but I'd say a third were paid for out of my own pocket, which I'll likely continue to do, as I'm a compulsive consumer..."

I'm definitely going to steal this quote whenever I have to justify a purchase to my wife. For that you definitely get a little something in the tip jar.

Dan Coyle

You know, Caruso gave a terrific lead performance in Kiss of Death, which I thought was a cracking thriller. I figured maybe he'd pull out of the PR mess his NYPD Blue tomfoolery had caused him.

Then Jade was released.

The movie did Linda Fiorentino no favors either.

These reviews are great, Glenn. Interesting point about Sherlock Holmes. When I was a kid I LOVED Dreamscape (and Innerspace, I just thought Dennis Quaid was so cool). I do hope this becomes a regular feature.


Doctor Zhivago always makes me think of "Dr. Z" subway ads.


Great reading.

I own a decent amount of these, basically some of the Criterions, City Girl and Tetro, and concur completely with your assessment of them. Wonderful stuff. It's fairly expensive importing American releases, but (mostly) worth it. I definitely appreciate this feature.

But in regards to The Banquet, I was wondering, whether you knew if the MegaStar import has the same transfer as the British Metrodome (so far a Play.com exclusive, I think).


This excites me to no end. WOW.

Sal C

Wow, if you keep these coming monthly (again, ala Christgau) I would be a very, very happy man. Excellent start

Andy Li

I believe M is not restored by the Murnau Foundation. It's pretty much a cooperation between TLE-Films and Criterion.


All shall bow to JADE.

CARUSO POWER. Also awesome car chase, but the thing that's low-rent about it is, in the old '70s movies, they'd be driving some awesome CHARGER or LE MANS or something. Caruso's all racing through SF in a FORD TAURUS. Fiorentino looks about 54 years old and like she should be working at Mel's Diner, shot through enough cottony soft focus to clean the ears of collective America for three generations.

But it's still got that angry, nihilistic, hopeless FRIEDKIN vibe. I hope he did a commentary for it where he rants MY MOVIES ARE ABOUT THE THIN LINE BETWEEN COPS AND CRIMINALS! for two hours.

Plus it's one of the few American movies ever that explicitly about anal sex.


Robert Merk

Just what the doctor ordered…

Good luck with the new column. Based on your comments pertaining to the new “Django” release, I believe you and I are seeing the same things with regards to this new format. It will be nice having another set of “trusted” eyes out there helping me with decisions.

Glenn Kenny

@ Andy Li: actually, we're both wrong, at least in terms of what I was saying in the capsule. The actual photochemical restoration was done at the Netherlands Film Museum. The TLE website discusses the company's work on the Eureka!/Masters of Cinema Region-B locked version but not the Criterion. My Murnau snafu was a result of a mixup in my notes.

@ LexG: hey, I'm not saying "Don't see 'Jade';" just that this ain't a particularly good way to see it...

Nick Wrigley

You're still a bit mixed up about M, Glenn. TLE's website is talking about the old Eureka DVD edition of M from 2003. TLE created the HD master that was used for both the Criterion and the MoC BD, except they did extra tweaking on the Criterion version. MoC didn't do any further work on it, and there's a whole thread on it at the Criterion Forum about why. Thanks for a great article and your kind words about CITY GIRL!

Dan Coyle

Well I can say one thing in Jade's favor: It's not Blue Chips.

Mr. Peel

Will there ever be a better Seth Rogen moment than him saying, "Be David Caruso in JADE"?

I was going to ask which version of JADE this is, but I guess it doesn't matter. Why is Linda Fiorentino, essentially the lead character, almost entirely absent for the first hour? Was she stuck on another shoot? Why was a Federal law passed in 1995-96 which said that Chazz Palminteri had to be in every movie? When David Caruso observes, "Cristal, Baluga, Wolfgang Puck…It’s a f***house," don't you wish they would cut to The Who singing "Won't Get Fooled Again"? And I think Fiorentino looks better than Lex does, but isn't she the worst screamer ever?

I say all this, but I still enjoy rewatching it every now and then.

Tom Russell

Caruso was great in HUDSON HAWK. Yeah, I said it.

Seriously, a great overview, and while I'm not quite ready to go diving full-blast in the Blu-Ray waters just yet-- I own precisely four of them, one of which is STAGECOACH, which my darling wife gave me for the upcoming annual celebration of my birth-- it does give me a couple titles I'll want to pick up, such as ZHIVAGO.

Also, I think I may have seen VAMPYRES before, unless there's another lots-of-red-and-brown-and-ridiculous-amounts-of-female-nudity vampire movie out there.

Jeff McMahon

I picked up the Brakhage set and have been loving it, hadn't expected to care about the Dr. Zhivago release but now I feel like it'll get picked up, thanks for the insight.

And why is Universal so slow in putting out their catalog stuff? There's Touch of Evil and a whole crapload of Hitchcock movies that deserve the HD treatment.

Robert Merk

The one thing I would like to add to your review of “The Wolfman” disc is please stay with the unrated director’s cut and avoid the theatrical release. It is a much better paced and character defined version of the picture (in particular the relationship between Benicio Del Toro and the lovely Emily Blunt).


Hens Tooth is still around. They released Peckinpah's Cross of Iron, complete with Stephen Prince commentary.


Grant L

My favorite snarky line about the collection of tics that is Caruso's "performance" in CSI, paraphrased from a fella on a chatboard from a few years ago, whose name I forget: "He shuffles around, shoulders slumped and crooked, eyes perpetually watery, as if after all these years he still carries the weight of the American public's failure to make him a box office star on his shoulders, and he cries himself to sleep every night over it."

Pete Apruzzese

Great article, Glenn. My opinion of the image/sound quality on these titles pretty much aligns with yours.

Mike D

Thanks, Glenn. When it comes to this stuff, ya bring out the big guns. The "Dune" Blu-ray made me fall in love with the film, and nearly made my sister lose her dinner over the clarity of the Baron's boils.

I can't wait for "The Man Who Would Be King" to hit Blu-Ray.

And "Sorcerer".

david hare

I agree with you about the Walkabout disc Glenn. Part of that rawness is the visual grain quality of the opticals - notably those surreal travelling mattes of brick wals into the desert, or the page turning wipes as the boy recites his book text to Agutter during their early journey. The labwork (which may well have been done by Roeg at an old, long gone Sydney facility called Ajax films) is flawless, with a higher registration of grain that is just dead right.

The Stagecoach disc is sublime. The shot of the cavalry escorting the wagon train through Monument valley is so sharp and detailed and perfect it made me cry out. And Im blowing these things through a PJ onto 130 inches diagonal of white paint.


I'm also astonished WALKABOUT didn't get more notice. Part of me wonders if it's because it's one of those "revamped" Criterion releases (that is, it was already released on Criterion, but with not as many extras), and part of me wonders if Nicolas Roeg has fallen that much out of favor (BAD TIMING, which I will defend to the death, was similarly ignored). At any rate, I'm glad you mentioned it.

Dear God, I hope you didn't have to pay for JADE. My candidate for worst movie ever made. Friedkin may be a good technician, but he has little to no taste in scripts, and this proves it.

I got into a disagreement with a customer over SUMMER HOURS - I said it was much more than "the stereotypical French family drama," by comparison to A CHRISTMAS TALE, which I thought was just another family drama, and it turned out the customer preferred the latter. At any rate, I'm glad Criterion decided to spotlight Assayas' deceptively simple film. Oh, and by the way, the reason why I don't mind Criterion's deal with IFC is before this, IFC had an exclusive deal with Blockbuster, which meant any other video store was shit out of luck when it came to getting their movies (our store still doesn't have Chabrol's A GIRL CUT IN TWO).

I also share a fondness for TETRO (a nice combination of small film made in THE GODFATHER style), though I disagree with you about the color sequences - I think they play fine in widescreen.

Aaron Aradillas

Caruso deserves better.

First Blood, An Officer and a Gentleman, China Girl, King of New York, Mad Dog and Glory, the first (and best) season of NYPD Blue, Kiss of Death, Session 9, Proof of Life...

He's always had a '40s-style character actor intensity that most people don't seem to know how to appreciate.

I'll take the pulp-trash fun in a CSI: Miami marathon over the jokiness of either NCIS show. (Caruso can act circles around Mark Harmon.)

Glenn Kenny

Hey, I bow to no one in my admiration for Caruso in the likes of "China Girl" and particularly "King of New York." But he's bad in "Jade," and he's worse on "CSI." And yes, of course "NCIS" is ghastly. But that's neither here nor there.

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