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Classic Movie Review: Le Samouraï (1967)
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Le Samouraï Criterion

Le Samouraï
Blu-ray
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Written by Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring: Alain Delon, Francois Perier, Nathalie Delon, Cathy Rosier, Michel Boisrond
Release Date: October 25, 1967
Criterion Blu-Ray Release Date: November 14, 2017

– Why, Jef?
– I was paid to.

A simple line of dialogue like this has a tremendous amount of substance behind it. The hitman’s ruthless, taciturn response here embraces the rigid mentality of almost all of French director Jean-Pierre Melville’s characters. In essence, they all remain true to their word. His characters are obsessively dedicated to their particular craft or talent, rendering them masters at what they do.

Just like some of his most memorable ones, such as the priest in Leon Morin, Priest, the gangsters in Le Circle Rouge, the resistance fighters in Army of Shadows, and the Nazi officer in Silence de la Mer, the hitman in Le Samouraï is governed through an austere, lonely landscape by an inexorable code they must adhere to. His code and his talent as a scrupulous assassin are everything he owns.

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Classic Movie Review: A Woman Under The Influence
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A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence
Directed by John Cassavetes
Starring: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Katherine Cassavetes, Lady Rowlands, Fred Draper, Eddie Shaw
Theatrical Release Date: November 18, 1974
Criterion Collection Release Date: November 4, 2008

American director John Cassavetes once stated that “marriage isn’t a romance totally. Very sparse moments do you have to be romantic in a marriage.” His 1974 film A Woman Under the Influence beautifully reiterates his philosophy tremendously. The idea of love and relationships always had an enormous impact on all of Cassavetes’ pictures. While watching A Woman Under the Influence while being familiar with the aforementioned quote you realize how little romance is shown in the quintessential romantic way.

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Classic Movie Review: Taipei Story
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Taipei Story

Taipei Story
Directed by Edward Yang
Starring: Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Chen Tsai, Su-Yun Ko
Theatrical Release Date: April 22nd, 1985
Criterion Collection Release Date: May 30th, 2017

There is such an abundance of longing lingering within each frame of Edward Yang’s 1985 film Taipei Story. It is impossible to neglect since each scene that passes tends to be more sorrowful than the last.

The Taiwanese nights, filmed impeccably and beautifully by Wei-Han Yang, tend to be grieving and pulsating with life. Still, nothing seems to truly satisfy the city (it always wanting more on its way to modernity and being globalized) or the characters (who are not pleased with the present). Hence, their infinite longing. There is always going to be a particular something, be it the past, a career, or an ex-lover, that will be in the way of not only happiness but of contentment as well.

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Classic Movie Review: Only Angels Have Wings (The Criterion Collection)
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Only Angels Have Wings review

Only Angels Have Wings
Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Howard Hawks
Starring: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, and Richard Barthelmess
Criterion Collection Release Date: April 12, 2016

The treacherous landscape of a South American village is where our adventure takes off. Nothing new here. Chameleonic director Howard Hawks has an unmatched affinity with environments that have such an immediate influence on his characters. Sometimes rendering them helpless and other times it influences his characters to rise to the occasion. Think of the ruthless wild west evidenced in Rio Bravo, the unforgiving terrains in Red River, the extraordinarily corrupt neighborhood in The Big Sleep, or the abundance of violence running amuck everywhere in Scarface. All of his films are completely disparate when it comes to genres and themes. The one commonality all of them abide by is the ferociousness of their landscape. 1939’s Only Angels Have Wings is no different.

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Blu-ray Review: The Red Shoes (The Criterion Collection)
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The Red Shoes, The Criterion Collection Blu-ray

The Red Shoes
The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray Edition
Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Starring Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Leonide Massine, Robert Helpmann
Theatrical Release Date: September 6, 1948

How would you define ballet, Miss Neston?
Well, one might call it the poetry of motion perhaps, or…
One might. But for me it is a great deal more. For me it is a religion. And one doesn’t really care to see one’s religion practiced in an atmosphere…such as this.

In what seems to be a film paying the highest tribute possible to the world of ballet, we are taken aback when the film ends when we realize what it really has been about the entire time. The Red Shoes is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale about a girl who finds a pair of red slippers, puts them on, and cannot stop dancing. The film’s narrative approaches that subject and then ventures away from it.

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Blu-ray Review: I Knew Her Well, The Criterion Collection
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I Knew Her Well review

I Knew Her Well
Directed by Antonio Pierangeli
Starring Stefani Sandrelli, Enrico Maria Salerno, Ugo Tognazzi, Mario Adorf, and Jean-Claude Brialy
Criterion Collection Release Date: February 23, 2016

From the film’s erotic opening that begins with a panning camera religiously observing from toe-to-head the delicate, beautiful, porcelain skin of Adriana as she obliviously basks in the morning or afternoon sun (time hardly matters to her) and who has an unswerving intent to meet up after with one of several men she easily attracts, one would scarcely be able to decipher a dull moment in the life of Adriana. Music, cocktails, parties and affairs are just as common as breathing and sleeping.

If only the camera could burrow a few inches deeper and penetrate her soul we would be spectators to a profound emptiness. But like the men in her life the camera observes her from a distance, simply admiring her beauty and only on rare occasions wanting to know her well.

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Blu-ray Review: Five Easy Pieces, Criterion Collection
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Five Easy Pieces Criterion Blu-ray
Five Easy Pieces
Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Bob Rafelson
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush, William Challee, Lois Smith, Susan Anspach, Ralph Waite
Blu-ray Release Date: June 23, 2015
Theatrical Release: September 11, 1970

For a brief moment of time Robert Eroica Dupea (Jack Nicholson), in probably the first time in a very long while, finds himself totally immersed in something that makes him oblivious to all the chaos and rampant disorganization plaguing his life. After a grueling day of work in a California oil field Bobby finds himself stuck in traffic with his friend and coworker Elton (Billy Green Bush).

The heat is unbearable and Bobby’s patience has long been approaching an inevitable explosion. Unable to restrain himself he gets out of his car mid-traffic to see what the hold-up is. Looking far ahead by standing on other vehicles stuck in traffic Bobby sees nothing responsible for the jam. Absolutely commanding his attention, though, is an upright piano on the bed of a truck that is being hauled away somewhere. He leaps on back of the truck, throws off the sheet covering the piano and displays his magnificent talent, that, up to this point in the film, we had no clue he possessed. Completely consumed by his playing he quickly forgets the bustle surrounding him, paying no attention when the truck begins to drift out of traffic and on to an exit that takes Bobby to a different part of town. But he doesn’t care.

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Digital Wire Blu-ray Releases: Selma, Inherent Vice, and Cult Horror Classics
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Inherent Vice Blu-ray Releases

This week’s edition of The Digital Wire DVD and Blu-ray Releases is making up big time for last week’s stunning lack of noteworthy home video news announcements. We’ve got some critical favorites, horror cult classics, and a precious jewel of a film made by one of our finest directors that is finally getting the release it deserves. Just don’t blame me if you end up blowing your paycheck here.

Below you’ll find info on several future home video releases complete with technical specs, release dates, and links to pre-order at Amazon, as well as a list of titles coming out this week.

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The Digital Wire Blu-ray/DVD Release News: Romero, Reynolds, and the (Stephen) King
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Time Bandits

Autumn is here at last and there’s no better way to mark the occasion than by checking out this week’s edition of The Digital Wire….well, actually you could take a stimulating walk around your neighborhood on a brisk and sunny day, perhaps start getting your Halloween decorations and plans in order, or maybe make yourself a hot cup of tea and sit out on your porch as the most gorgeous of sunsets begins. When you’re done with all of that, check out this week’s edition of The Digital Wire because we’ve got a crowded field of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and action releases on home video all battling for your attention and the funds you have stored away in that Christmas Club savings account.

Below you’ll find info on several future home video releases complete with technical specs, release dates, and links to pre-order at Amazon. We would greatly appreciate it if you use those links to order because a small percentage of each order helps keep this website running at max power. The cover art for certain titles has yet to be finalized.

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The Digital Wire Blu-ray/DVD Release News: Aliens, Bigfoot, Jack Nicholson, Metallica
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Edge of Tomorrow Movie Review by Adam Frazier

Welcome back to another edition of The Digital Wire. For this week’s roundup of the coolest upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release news, we have a sorely neglected summer sci-fi thrill ride, an epic documentary about one of the world’s greatest heavy metal bands, a Bigfoot movie made by a stand-up comedian, a pair of obscure westerns starring a baby-faced Jack Nicholson, and an Oscar-winning comedy starring Dustin Hoffman in drag.

Below you’ll find info on several future home video releases complete with technical specs, release dates, and links to pre-order at Amazon. We would greatly appreciate it if you use those links to order because a small percentage of each order helps keep this website running at max power.

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