Of this week's vintage offerings, the most highly coveted may be the Blu-ray debut of Chinatown. It may have taken the Paramount Pictures' centennial to encourage this release, but Roman Polanski's classic noir is now available on the HD format. Thirty-eight years after its theatrical premiere, the film still maintains its power to entrap and disturb audiences, thanks to taut direction, Robert Towne's labyrinthine script, and Jack Nicholson's subtly controlled lead performance.
The picture is one of Hollywood's gems, and Martin Liebman's Blu-ray review confirms that fact, calling Chinatown "an all-time classic picture...The kind of movie that's representative of the reason why people love movies, an escapist experience grounded in realism but playing with a larger-than-life heartbeat that takes over its audience's very essence until the gritty, unflinchingly bold and dark finale."
Almost as anticipated is Twentieth Century Fox's Blu-ray edition of The Grapes of Wrath. Fans of the John Steinbeck novel from which screenwriter Nunnally Johnson based his adaptation have long found fault with the screen version; most notoriously, the movie alters Steinbeck's bleak conclusion in favor of a markedly more hopeful dénouement. However, as a piece of pure cinema, The Grapes of Wrath is an unqualified success. Director John Ford recreates Depression-era America with atmospheric dynamism, and he gets wonderful work from his actors, including Jane Darwell, John Carradine, and Henry Fonda.
Beginning this Tuesday, Online retailer Screen Archives will sell the Blu-ray exclusively. The film then expands its retail schedule everywhere on June 5th.
The spirit of John Ford (as well as Victor Fleming, David Lean, and David O. Selznick, among others) runs deep within Steven Spielberg's Academy Award-nominated War Horse. More than just an adaptation of the Michael Morpurgo novel, this WWI epic finds Spielberg paying homage to the filmmakers who shaped the grandly theatrical cinema of yesteryear.
War Horsehas polarized audiences and critics alike; the film is relentless in its melodramatic and visual excesses. Still, regardless of one's affinity for the material itself, the picture remains a fascinating exercise in Spielberg's body of work because it provides the clearest throughline between the director and his cinematic inspirations.
Finally, PBS' Great Expectations Blu-ray arrives this week. Directed by frequent Game of Thrones-episode helmer Brian Kirk and starring Ray Winstone and Gillian Anderson, this telefilm reimagines Charles Dickens' classic novel in an even more moody and forbidding light. Though Great Expectations first aired in the United Kingdom last year, PBS is making it available for U.S. viewers through concurrent means; Masterpiece Theater hosted the program Sunday night, with a Blu-ray release the following Tuesday.
Chinatown is on the way to my door, Warhorse tomorrow from Target with $5,00 coupon, Grapes of Wrath from Amazon in June ast it is $5 cheaper that Screen Archives and maybe get Prophecy for $9.99 fromAmazon later this week. It'd be a lot cheaper if nothing interested me.
Just Chinatown. Still deciding if I can wait 2 months for Grapes of Wrath or if I will be the bullet and get from Silverscreen Archives. Sometime down the line I will get War Horse and We Bought a Zoo.
No one said anything about forgiving his deviant behavior. But the talent and the behavior can be separated and judged accordingly. He can be (and is) a brilliant director that isn't necessarily "accepted" because of his behavior. I would say in most countries his behavior and acts have been deemed "unacceptable". But his films are still brilliant.
The only Blu ray I will be buying tomorrow is of course the only one that is NOT shown above. The Poseidon Adventure (1972) This is the one film I have been waiting for to be released since I bought my blu ray player 2 and a half years ago. It's coming out tomorrow as a Walmart (my only complaint as I hate Walmart and wouldn't step into one except for the fact that I have to go if I want to pick up this title....Damn you FOX) exclusive from 20th Century Fox...
I already have a viewing party planned with several die hard Poseidon fans!
In later weeks I will probably pick up Truth or Dare, War Horse and of course Chinatown! Two Big Thumbs Down to blu-ray.com for not mentioning that The Poseidon Adventure is FINALLY coming to blu ray!
@middleman6573 - He's been accused of statutory rape, which is completely different than forcible rape, roughly 30 years ago, in which he has never been tried for since he fled the country, but the story is that the girl lied about her age and allegedly had a history of promiscuity. Both Polanski and the girl were drunk at a party at Jack Nicholson's home in Hollywood at the time of the incident. So it's difficult, in my mind, to make a judgement about the man's overall character given the circumstances. Also, this was at a period in Polanski's life where I would think he'd be very vulnerable from a psychological point of view considering that his wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered at the hands of the Manson "family".
@Lordy: They were not drunk at a party. Polanski picked up the girl, ostensibly for a photo shoot, and brought her to Nicholson's empty house. They were alone. The sexual event with the 13 year old was coerced (read: lacked consent). He gave her pills and alcohol to lower her inhibitions and he persisted in his advances even after she said no. Make no mistake, this was premeditated. He knew exactly what he was doing. Whether or not a rape victim is a virgin at the time she's raped is irrelevant. Polanski was a predator. The 43 year old had also had a relationship with 15 year old Nastassja Kinski just year prior. And Sharon Tate was killed nearly 8 years before any of this happened so to contend her death had anything to do with his attraction to minors is absurd.
Chinatown is one of my favorite movies--I love Frantic too--but let's not let our admiration for good movies confuse things.