film Archive

Barbara HARBACH: Orchestra Music III, Portraits in Sound – London PO/ David Angus – MSR Classics 

Barbara HARBACH: Orchestra Music III, Portraits in Sound – London PO/ David Angus – MSR Classics 

Barbara HARBACH: Orchestra Music III, Portraits in Sound – London Philharmonic Orchestra/ David Angus – MSR Classics MSR 1614, 62:54 [Distr. by Albany] ****: Volume 11 in this impressive series proves a winner This is the eleventh volume of MSR’s extraordinary commitment to Barbara Harbach, polyglot extraordinaire, by the looks of her resume one of the busiest musicians on the planet, wonderful keyboardist (organ and harpsichord), and, at times, a very fine composer. In fact, her prolific output defies all normal ideas of time management, and she must spill out music like Mozart with a never-ending sense of inspiration. If I seem cautious it is because I detect an unevenness in the composer’s output. Of course, one could argue this about any composer, but sometimes Harbach’s music seems incomplete to me, or at least lagging in ideas that were perhaps put down on final paper too soon. I am happy to report that most the works on this symphonies disc fall into the “excellent” category, and are quite moving and enthralling. Her style doesn’t vary too much—I can’t see her music existing without other of the “American” school like Harris and Thomson—but her ideas, in many instances, bolster the exceptional […]

20th Century Women, Blu-ray (2016)

20th Century Women, Blu-ray (2016)

A well-made feature with a fine achievement from actress Annette Bening. 20th Century Women, Blu-ray (2016) Cast: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann, Billy Crudup Director & Writer: Mike Mills Studio: A24/Lionsgate [3/28/17] Video: 180p 2.00:1 for 16:9 screens, HD color Audio: English, DTS-HD MA Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH Extras: Audio Commentary by Mike Mills, “Making 20th Century Women,” Cast of film Length: 118 min. Rating: **** Writer-Director Mike Mills surprised us over six years ago with his Beginners. This one is a character study of five people in the late 1970s.  Two young people – Abbie and Jamie – are important parts of the story. Bening plays sad or lonely Dorothea in an excellent job of acting.  This film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Dorothea gets some help from the young Abbie, a punk artist boarding in her house, and the teenage neighbor Jamie, as well as from a handyman who also rooms in the house.  This makeshift family seems to inspire its members. A thoughful script and good cast make the very realistically portrayed characters all most believable. The title hangs on its portrayal of the various women. Mostly talking heads but what […]

Solace, Blu-ray (2017)

Solace, Blu-ray (2017)

Hopkins plays a consultant with psychic powers to solve a series of murders. Solace, Blu-ray (2017) Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish, Colin Farrell, Matt Gerald Director: Afonso Poyart Studio: Lionsgate Premiere (3/14/17) Video: 2.40:1 1080p for 16:9 screens, HD color Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish Extras: Commentary track with director, “Visions and Voices: The making of Solace,” featurette, Trailer gallery Length: 102 min. Rating: ***** This is a thrilling and well-done tale of a brilliant retired psychic who is hired by a younger friend on the FBI force investigating a series of three bodies with identical wounds, cryptic notes and no other evidence. At first the woman involved in the team doesn’t believe him, but he proves to her conclusively that he can see the past and future. He also sees what will happen to each of the people close to him. It turns out that all who have been murdered by the serial murderer – who is a step ahead of the psychic – have some sort of terrible physical ailment which they will shortly die of and he is supposedly saving them all the suffering involved. The killer’s mission almost […]

SAINT-SAENS: Piano Concerto No. 2; RAVEL: Piano Concerto; GERSHWIN: Second Rhapsody; MASSENET: Meditation – Andrew von Oeyen, p./ Prague Philharmonia/ Emmanuel Villaume – Warner Classics

SAINT-SAENS: Piano Concerto No. 2; RAVEL: Piano Concerto; GERSHWIN: Second Rhapsody; MASSENET: Meditation – Andrew von Oeyen, p./ Prague Philharmonia/ Emmanuel Villaume – Warner Classics

Pianist Andrew von Oeyen embraces his twin cultural loyalties with brilliant elan. SAINT-SAENS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in g minor, Op. 22; RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G Major; GERSHWIN: Second Rhapsody; MASSENET: Meditation from Thais (trans. Oeyen) – Andrew von Oeyen, p./ Prague Philharmonia/ Emmanuel Villaume – Warner Classics 019029508485, 66:05 (1/13/17) ****: Pianist Andrew von Oeyen (b. 1979) considers himself a Parisian-American, so little wonder that his debut album for Warner Classics (rec. 21-25 August 2015) embraces compositions – rather flashy and jazzy in their own respect – from both musical cultures. That Oeyen finds a natural, virtuoso vehicle in the 1868 Concerto No. 2 by Saint-Saens comes as little surprise – Andre Watts did much the same in early days when I heard him at Lewisohn Stadium in New York.  Oeyen plays with requisite strength and optimism, dashing through the Bach prelude evolves into a lovely theme attributed to Gabriel Faure. The breadth of musical line and the plastic contours from the orchestra suggest that the several Artur Rubinstein renditions of the work served as models for the present reading. The second movement Allegro scherzando relies much on Saint-Saens’ great fondness for the fourth of the Chopin scherzos. […]

Talking Sticks (2016)

Talking Sticks (2016)

Not just a film bio of Arthur Lipner but a trip around the earth viewing many aspects of mallet instruments worldwide. Talking Sticks (2016) Cast: Arthur Lipner, Gary Burton, Mike Mainieri, Vida Chenoweth, Bernard Woma and other top percussionists Studio: Living Arts Productions Video: for 16:9 screens, color Audio: English DD stereo Length: 63 min. Rating: ****1/2 A fascinating global percussion journey, as Lipner goes everywhere there are seemingly some sort of mallet instruments and players and builders of them.  I had no idea that the marimba/xylophone was so widespread over the earth. He visits Mexico, Ghana, Iceland, Brazil, and perhaps the most amazing are the ice mallet instruments created in Norway which melt when the sun finally comes out. Lipner is searching for  deeper personal connections with various cultures and creativity thru his music, and is obviously nuts for mallet instruments – and I wasn’t aware there were so many of them. This is a wonderful documentary which probably would not have been possible before cheap and portable video equipment which meets film standards. It should appeal to more than just the aficionados of music. The several talks with Burton and Mainieri are especially interesting. This film should inculcate […]

Deepwater Horizon, Blu-ray VR (2017)

Deepwater Horizon, Blu-ray VR (2017)

A very dramatic portrayal of the real-life worst oil spill accident ever. Deepwater Horizon, Blu-ray VR (2017) Cast: Kurt Russell, Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, James DuMount, Douglas M. Griffin, Joe Chrest, Kate Hudson, Gina Rodriquez Director: Peter Berg Based on story by: Matthew Sand Studio: Summit Entertainment/ Lionsgate (1/10/17) [2 discs] 4K Blu-ray Combo Pack Video: For 16:9 screens, HD, color Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish DD 5.1, English DD 2.0, English Optimized for Late-Night Listening Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish Extras: (on Blu-ray) Beyond the Horizon – an hour-long five-part series: “Captain of the Rig,” “The Fury of the Rig,” “Deepwater Surveillance,” “Work Like An American” (tribute to America’s blue-collar workers. Length: 97 min. Rating: **** Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg head up this true story of the most major oil spill accident ever. Russell provided wisdom on the set which ultimately improved the film. The 126 real-life heroes aboard the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig began their day like any other. But before it ended, the world saw one of the greatest man-made disasters in U.S. history. The film shows the brave acts of the men and women aboard who rose to the unbelievable challenge and risked all […]

Audio News for January 13, 2017

Things Alexa Cannot Yet Do – The shortfall of Alexa’s IFTT integration is the lack of any actions whatsoever. You cannot complete a task for have Alexa play a tune. You must divide every command into its own statement – no trying to get Alexa to do more than one thing at a time. There are currently no notifications, audio or visual. It would be nice if Alexa spoke the name of the person calling you, but no. Only three words wake Alexa devices: Alexa, Amazon or the name of the device – no customized wake words. There is no voice-memo function – you cannot leave messages for others in your household. Alexa does not distinguish different voices. If you have multiple Amazon devices around the house, you cannot speak to just one of them and Alexa will not stream the same music to all your Echo speakers, but you can with Google Home and Chromecast. “This Decade Belongs to Gustavo Dudamel and His Innovative Ways” is a statement by the author of an article Can Classical Music Survive With Shedding Its Obsessions with Purism? It came about due to the current musical film La La Land, which has swept […]

Three Three Muskateers (Silent) (1921/2016)

Three Three Muskateers (Silent) (1921/2016)

The first Three Muskateers film, starring Doug Fairbanks in 1921! Three Three Muskateers (1921/2016) Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Adolphe Menjou, Mary MacLarn, Nigel De Brulier Director: Fred Niblo Writer: Alexandre Dumas Studio: Verdoux-vision/ Synergy Ent./ Undercrank Productions/ Silent Cinema Presentations Inc. 2016 Restoration: Karl Malkames New theater organ score: Ben Model Video: 4:3 B&W, tinted Audio: stereo PCM Length: 119 min. Rating: **** This is the 95th anniversary remastering of the original Douglas Fairbanks film, and a very good job they have done. The success of The Mark of Zorro in 1920 gave Fairbanks the impetus to create his own production, set in France hundreds of years ago, with lavish sets, a large cast and magnificent costumes. The swashbuckling Fairbanks found his place as a celebrity and creator of fine films with this one. D’Artagnan turned out to be a role Fairbanks was born to play. He looked to the exuberant Gascon young man as his ideal screen self, and this was a sort of a career leap to the sort of action film which is popular today. Fairbanks showed bravery, arrogance and a fine touch of humor thruout the film. He was also a fine athlete who did his own […]

The Secret Life of Pets, Blu-ray 3D (2016)

The Secret Life of Pets, Blu-ray 3D (2016)

Another great family animated film, and in 3D! The Secret Life of Pets, Blu-ray 3D (2016) Voice-overs: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper Director: Chris Renaud Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy Studio: Universal Studios 61181890 (2 discs) [12/6/16] plus digital HD and Ultraviolet Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 screens, color 3D Audio: English DD 2.0, French DD 5.1 Subtitles: French, Spanish, English SDH No region coding Extras: Three mini-movies, All About the Pets, Animals Can Talk: Meet the Actors, Hairstylist to the Dogs, The Best of Snowball, How to Make an Animated Film,  Anatomy of a Scene Length: 174 min. Rating: **** This animated film answers the question of what our pets do when we are not home.  When the owners leave for the day, all sorts of pets from the building get together and gossip with their friends, satisfy their sweet tooths, and throw fantastic parties. When a pampered little dog (played by comedian C.K.) and a new huge brown roommate from the pound (voice of Stonestreet) get themselves lost in the urban jungle of NYC, they learn to put aside their differences in order to survive the epic journey they must make to get back […]

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), Blu-ray (2016)

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), Blu-ray (2016)

A fine Spielberg-directed family film combining live action and cgi. The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), Blu-ray (2016) Actors: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall Director: Steven Spielberg Studio:  Walt Disney Enterprises 133894 (11/29/16) Video: 2.39:1 for 16:9 screens, color HD Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1 Subtitles: English, French, Spanish Extras: Bringing the BFG to Life, The Big Friendly Giant and Me, Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of The BFG, Giants 101, A Tribute to Melissa Mathison Length: 118 min. Rating: ***** This is an imaginative tale and a Roald Dahl classic, and surprisingly the first Disney movie for Spielberg. It will remind some viewers of Spielberg’s beloved E.T., and the same screenwriter who did that one also wrote this one. There is a moving tribute to her included because she died soon after the film was finished. A little girl in an orphanage named Sophie is launched on an enormous adventure when she meets the Big Friendly Giant, partly due to her being up at night in the English orphanage since she an insomniac. The BFG is actually small compared to the evil giant cannibals around him in Giant Land. He […]

Joe Weed – The Vultures – TopMusic

Joe Weed – The Vultures – TopMusic

Joe Weed – The Vultures – TopMusic TM-SACD9801.2 stereo-only SACD, 34:33 ****1/2: This is a terrific hi-res release of updated ’50s and ’60s rock/pop instrumentals.  (Joe Weed – guitars, mandolin, fiddle; Jim Boggio – accordion; Todd Phillips – bass; Rob Ickles – dobro-, Joe Craven – percussion; Norton Buffalo – harmonica; Steve Pefley – drums; David Grisman – mandolin; Rich Ertelt – guitar) Hold onto your hats, Joe Weed is going to reinvent surf, rock and pop instrumentals in quasi-bluegrass instrumentation. Even better, this session has been re-mastered to SACD in stereo. With an all-star band (Norton Buffalo/harmonica; David Grisman/mandolin; Rob Ickles/dobro; Todd Phillips/bass; Steve Pefley/drums; Jim Boggio/accordion), Weed breezes through these classics with verve and style. And what better way to get the proceedings started than a cover of the 1960 Ventures hit “Pipeline”. Without sacrificing the pulsating rhythm, Weed leads the group in an organic, breezy take. His guitar lead is precise and clear. Rob Ickle picks up the second verse on dobro. The addition of percussion (not just drums) by Joe Craven and accordion by Jim Boggio is flawless. At 3:15, it is still a small gem. “Apache” had been a hit for The Shadows, a British […]

Finding Dory, Blu-ray (3D available) (2016)

Finding Dory, Blu-ray (3D available) (2016)

A wonderful Pixar animated sequel to the original film of 2003. Finding Dory, Blu-ray (3D available) (2016) Voice-overs: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy Studio: Pixar/ Walt Disney Studios 138050 (11/15/16). 3 discs = Blu-ray, DVD & Extras|Director: Andrew Stanton Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 screens, 1080p HD color Audio: English, DTS-HD MA 7.1, 2.0 descriptive audio, DD 5.1 Spanish & French Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French Extras: (over two hours) Film commentary track, Short: Piper, New mini-short Marine Life Interviews, Deleted Scenes, “Animation & Acting,” “The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar,” “Deep in the Kelp,” “Casual Carpool,” “What Were We Talking About?,” “Creature Features,” “Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer,” “Dory’s Theme,” “Rough Day on the Reef,” Finding Nemo told by emojis, Living Aquariums, Fish Schticks Length: Film: 97 min. Rating: ***** B01FJ4UGF0 Most sequels and re-makes end up being less good than the original and some are really bad (the re-make of Hitchcock’s Psycho, for example), but this one is even better than the first one, Finding Nemo (which won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003).  It has a complex and interesting story and Dory the blue tang fish (and DeGeneres) are definitely the […]

The Marx Brothers  = The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup – Blu-ray (3)

The Marx Brothers = The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup – Blu-ray (3)

A Silver Screen Blu-ray collection of the first five (and funniest) Marx Bros. movies. The Marx Brothers  = The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup – Blu-ray (3) (1929-1933/2016) Cast: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont Directors: Victor Heerman, Norman Z. McLeod, Joseph Santley, Robert Florey, Leo McCarey Studio: Paramount/ Universal Studios Home Ent. 61181320 (10/18/16) Video: 1:33 for 4:3 B&W Audio: English mono PCM Subtitles: English SDH, French Extras: See below Length: TT: 408 min. Rating: *****   At least three of the four Marx Brothers are the reigning kings of comedy on film and they remain one of the most iconic comic teams of all time. And these – their first five films for Paramount – are the most hilarious of all their work – the later ones for MGM get more serious are are not filled with comedy sketches, witty dialogue and plenty of gags like these five. The first one, from 1929, was actually the first all-talking and music sound film – The Jazz Singer only has a part with sync sound. And this was when many films had the sound on separate discs that had to be synced […]

GREGORY PECK Centennial Collection – To Kill a Mockingbird & Cape Fear + Extras, Blu-ray (1961 & 2/2016)

GREGORY PECK Centennial Collection – To Kill a Mockingbird & Cape Fear + Extras, Blu-ray (1961 & 2/2016)

A fine remastering of one the most important films ever made. GREGORY PECK Centennial Collection – Remastering of To Kill a Mockingbird & Cape Fear + Extras, Blu-ray (1961 & 2/2016) Cast: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Brock Peters, Robert Duvall, Phillip Alford Studio: Universal Pictures 61181322 (10/11/16) 2 discs Directors: J. Lee Thompson & Robert Mulligan Producers: Sy Bartlett & Alan J. Pakula Writers: James R. Webb & Horton Foote Music: Bernard Hermann for both films Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 screens, black & white Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 & 2.0 & mono, French DTS-HD MA 2.0 Subtitles: French, Spanish, English for the hearing impaired, All regions Extras:  A Conversation with Gregory Peck, Fearful Symmetry: The Making of To Kill a Mockingbird, Academy Award Best Actor Acceptance Speech, American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, Excerpt from Tribute to Gregory Peck, Scout Remembers, Feature Commentary Track with Director Robert Mulligan & Producer Alan Pakula, 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics, Theatrical Trailer, BD-Live, My Scenes, Pocket BLU App Length: TT: 236 min. Rating: *****  The big thing is not only the wonderful remasterings of both great motion pictures, but also the many extras concerning the terrific contributions which Gregory Peck made to the first film,  and as a […]

Audio News for October 14, 2016

Astell & Kern Hi-Res Players Get Tidal Integration – Tidal support is beginning to roll out to A & K players via an over-the-air (OTA) firmware update. This isn’t the first streaming service built into A & K players, but earlier services such as Groover+, MOOV, and Deezer were liited in terms of where they could be used. Tidal, on the other hand, is available in more than 50 countries. It features lossless audio, though Spotify and Apple Music still lack this feature. Tidal’s standard plan is $10 a month, with the lossless audio plan $20 a month. A 30-day free trial is available. (Tidal reportedly owes a great deal and is having trouble staying afloat.) Naim’s New Uniti Hi-Fi Kit – Audiophiles loved Naim’s wireless speakers and they sounded good.  Now they have introduced the Naim Uniti star at about £3000. You will of course need good speakers with it. It supports all hi-res audio formats, it will rip from CDs to a USB stick and multiroom with existing Naims via iOS or Android apps, and there’s a five-inch color screen on the front. There’s also a half-sized unit without the CD drive for £1600. DTS:X Has a Scalable […]

Into The Forest, Blu-ray (2016)

Into The Forest, Blu-ray (2016)

A very realistic apocalyptic story that rings as perfectly true prophesy. Into The Forest, Blu-ray (2016) Cast: Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella, Callum Keith Rennie Director: Patricia Rozema Studio: Lionsgate  (10/4/16) Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 screen, 1080p HD color Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Extras: “The Making of Into the Forest,” Audio commentary track with writer/director Patricia Rozema Length: 104 min. Rating: **** Set in the near future, this riveting apocalyptic drama follows two sisters whose heretoforth fairly peaceful lives are disrupted by a world-wide power outage. The sisters (in the NorthWest) must work together in order to survive, and their world becomes increasingly treacherous. Their father dies suddenly and they are left alone some miles from the nearest town with only enough gas to get there for an emergency. All transportation, internet, electricity, gas and deliveries are stopped. One of the sisters is raped by a neighbor and they have to birth and care of the baby. When they return to their house after the birth of the baby in a hut nearby, the house is full of black mold and one of the sisters suggests burning it down, so they do. One […]

“Into Great Silence” (2007)

“Into Great Silence” (2007)

A magnificent and entrancing glimpse into the sounds of silence. “Into Great Silence” (2007) DISC ONE, THE FILM Director: Philip Gröning Actors: The Carthusian Order Studio: Zeitgeist Films Z1094 (10/23/07) Video: 1.85:1, 16:9 transfer, created from hi-def elements Audio: English, French, Latin DD 5.1 Subtitles: English Region 1 coding Extras: U.S. theatrical trailer DISC TWO, THE EXTRAS: The Making of Into Great Silence : With behind-the-scenes footage, Location photos and handwritten notes from monks Additional scenes, including a segment on the preparation of the Carthusian’s world-famous Chartreuse liqueur; Night Mass The Carthusian Order: An informative guide to the rules, architecture, and daily schedules of the monks and the monasteries; Photo, poster, and press kit galleries Producer: Shannon Attaway Video:  for 16:9 screens, color, no music or narration (2 DVDs) Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Subtitles: English No region code Length: 162 min., Extras: 53 min. Rating: ***** B000OYNVOY The Carthusians have always been one of the most esoteric and mythical of all the western religious orders. For those who aren’t familiar with them, they were founded by Saint Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and include both monks and nuns. They are a Catholic religious order of enclosed monastics that combines both seclusion […]

Captain America – Civil War, Blu-ray 3D (2016)

Captain America – Civil War, Blu-ray 3D (2016)

A noisy cgi-filled adventure with Marvel comic book characters. Captain America – Civil War, Blu-ray 3D (2016) Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle Directors: Anthony & Joe Russo Studio: Walt Disney Studios/Marvel 135201 (9/13/16) 3D (2 discs) Video: 1.29:1 for 16:9 screens HD color 3D Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1 Subtitles: English, Spanish, French Extras: Audio commentary by directors and screenwriters, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of Captain America: Civil War”- Part 1 & 2, “Captain America: The Road to Civil War,” “Iron Man: The Road to Civil War”, Sneak Peak at Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Gag reel, Deleted & extended scenes Length: 147 min. Rating: *** All the reviews at Amazon are very positive, but not being a Marvel comics fan or even having seen previous Avenger movies (only the Iron Man pair) I found it confusing, overly violent, too explosive and full of various super-heros about which I knew nothing. I had no idea that many of them could become suddenly very tiny or Godzilla-like giants, which only added to the confusion. Don’t expect anything to do with the American Civil […]

Backtrack, Blu-ray (2016)

Backtrack, Blu-ray (2016)

Basically a horror film, but without the demons and gore. Well done. Backtrack, Blu-ray (2016) Cast: Adrien Brody, Sam Neill, Robin McLeavy Director: Michael Petroni Studio: Lionsgate (4/26/16) Video: 2.40:1 for 16:9 screens, 1080p HD color Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, DD 5.1 Subtitles: English, Spanish Extra: “The Psychology of Backtrack” featurette Length: 89 minutes Rating: ***** This is a very well-developed and directed paranormal mystery film with a suspenseful plot twist near the end. I didn’t realize until I saw one of the Amazon reviews that the older psychiatrist (Sam Neil) for the star, Adrien Brody, was also a ghost and referred his patients to Brody. This film really hits on the “I can see ghosts” bit of Sixth Sense, and Brody does a great job of playing the nervous, gloomy and put-upon man whose young daughter had been killed a year earlier in a bicycle accident when he looked away briefly in a store window. A new young patient who doesn’t talk appears in Brody’s psychiatric office, and she appears and disappears suddenly. It turns out that all of Brody’s patients are ghosts, and all have one thing in common, which is the wreck of a train near […]

Kenny Barron Trio – Book Of Intuition – Impulse!

Kenny Barron Trio – Book Of Intuition – Impulse!

Kenny Barron Trio – Book Of Intuition – Impulse! B0024648-02, 58.23 ****: A master class in taste, swing, and imagination. (Kenny Barron – piano; Kiyoshi Kitagawa – doublebass; Johnathan Blake – drums) Kenny Barron is one of those pianists who is “beyond category” as it relates to taste, swing, and imagination, along with the likes of other now departed luminaries such as Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, and Cedar Walton.  In this latest release entitled Book Of Intuition, Barron uses his own compositional repertoire as the foundation of the session, with a couple of Thelonious Monk’s more obtuse themes, plus a delightful Charlie Haden number. Working with his long time compatriots bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake, Barron uses sympathy and understanding from his band-mates to provide an elegant and smart mainstream session. “Magic Dance” sets the pace with a lively swinging Brazilian-styled excursion that has all the elements needed to engage the participants. As the name implies, “Bud Like” has Bud Powell written all over it from the strong single-note lines and blistering pace to the Powell phrasing. Barron takes advantage of Blake’s rhythmic drumming to both “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”. In 2010, the film Another […]

Misconduct, Blu-ray (2015)

Misconduct, Blu-ray (2015)

A thriller with a twist, demonstrating that “Ambition can be deadly.” Misconduct, Blu-ray (2015) Cast: Josh Duhamel, Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins Director: Shintaro Shimosawa Studio: Lionsgate (4/19/16) Video: 2.40:1 for 16:9 widescreen, 1080p HD color Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Subtitles: English Extras: “The Making of Misconduct” featurette; Deleted scenes; Trailer Gallery Length: 93 min. Rating: **** This thriller begins with an ambitious young lawyer played by Josh Duhamel getting involved again with his former mentally unstable but sexy girlfriend even though he is married. He finds evidence incriminating the corrupt wealthy pharmaceutical executive, who has produced a medicine that has killed numerous people. He soon finds himself stuck in a power struggle between the medical company magnate and his firm’s senior partner (played by Al Pacino). Hopkins is his usual best as the cool medical magnate. It takes awhile at the beginning to figure out what is going on. The case suddenly takes a deadly turn and the lawyer may lose not only his wife but also his career and possibly his life. Pacino is so good at playing a real baddie, that we know in the end he is going to be the one behind this mess, and […]

The Hateful Eight, Blu-ray (2016)

The Hateful Eight, Blu-ray (2016)

A typical bloody Tarantino film, but a good story, fine acting and lovely widescreen 65mm cinematography make it a great experience. The Hateful Eight, Blu-ray (2016) Director: Quentin Tarantino Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh Studio: The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay 8063848, 2 discs (3/29/16) Video: Shot on 65mm film at 2.76:1 for 16:9 display, 1080p HD color Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Extras: “Beyond the Eight” – Behind the Scenes, “Sam Jackson’s Guide to Glorious 70mm” Length: 187 min. Rating: ****1/2 If you didn’t already get it, this is the eighth feature film by Tarantino. For the story’s winter Wyoming landscape, the film was shot using 65mm lenses and cameras which hadn’t been used since the 1970s, around Telluride, CO. And it was presented in 70mm as a Road Show Attraction at the few special theaters equipped for it, such as the Hollywood here in Portland. It has five chapters and is set around a decade after the Civil War. The film got three Academy Award Nominations but was aced out by The Revenant. The film opens with bounty hunter John Ruth (Russell) trying to get his handcuffed-to-him […]