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Bradley Cooper Captures the Sad, Short Life of the Most Prolific Sniper In U.S. Military History

Nov 11, 2014 A taut, vivid and sad account of the brief life of the most accomplished marksman in American military annals, American Sniper feels very much like a companion piece — in subject, theme and quality — to The Hurt Locker. Starring a beefed-up and thoroughly Texanized Bradley Cooper as we’ve never seen him before, Clint Eastwood‘s second film of 2014 is his best in a number of years, as it infuses an ostensibly gung-ho and patriotic story with an underlying pain and melancholy of a sort that echoes the director’s other works about the wages of violence.  

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Terror That Melts From the Screen

Oct 4, 2013 In its way, preparing the Blu-ray release of “House of Wax” must have presented as many challenges to Ned Price, Warner’s chief preservation officer, as making the movie in the first place. The studio’s Motion Picture Imaging Facility had to scan and stabilize six different film elements (two sets of three-color separations, one for each eye); the colorist Janet Wilson had to tame the eccentricities of the in-house color process Warner employed in the 1950s; and Chace Audio had to reconstruct the film’s original four-channel stereo soundtrack from a single surviving original track (for the surround effects) and a mono remix from a later release. The effort is a triumph for everyone concerned.

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The Wizard of Oz Is Still Grand and Still Human, Even in 3D IMAX

Sept 18, 2013 The mad scale has never been clearer—or more overwhelming. Dorothy’s welcomed by more than 100 Munchkins, and for the first time you can truly see their faces, their flowered shoes, the ginger-tinged cowlicks and hair-horns appliquéd to their shaven heads.  

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‘The Wizard of Oz 3D,”Showing Just One Week in Cleveland, Is Truly Wonderful: Review

Sept 17, 2013 It’s all just enhanced in the newly restored, painstakingly converted 3D version. Though viewers had been asking for years, Warner Bros. would not sign off on altering their prized possession until they were sure the process would meet the high standards of the original black and white and color film. It began with a high resolution scanning of the original Technicolor negative. The restored 2D image was then transformed by creating a depth-map of each frame to construct 3D imagery and determine distances from the viewer’s vantage point. This was followed by the use of a rotoscope to refine distances and layer shapes. It was worth the effort.  

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‘The Wizard of Oz 3D’ Review: You’ll Feel Like You’re Off to See the Wizard Yourself

Sept 17, 2013 From the freckles on Judy Garland’s cheeks to the sculpted hairstyles of the Lollipop Guild, everything has a wonderful tangibility — even when it’s hopelessly fake Newly converted into IMAX 3D for a one-week theatrical run following two miraculous restorations on home video over the past decade, “The Wizard of Oz” celebrates its 75th anniversary looking younger and more vital than ever, simultaneously advertising good old-fashioned storytelling and the most advanced technology available.  

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The Wizard of Oz: 3D Reissue

Sept 15, 2013 The 3D effort was painstaking, and well worth it. The flattened nature of sepia-toned Kansas in the opening and closing sequences called for less three dimensional wizardry, but once Dorothy steps into Oz, that long slow take as she steps out of her once-spinning house is what the viewer also relishes. The fateful burning witch’s broomstick almost lands in your lap, but that is about the only ‘gotcha’ 3D moment. The folks doing the 3D conversion worked diligently to bring just the right amount of depth. Many scenes end with the foursome (Toto too) skipping on the yellow brick road, and it looks less like they are heading to the Emerald City than to the back of the sound stage, but that is something the conversion process could not cure.  

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The Hudsucker Proxy Blu-ray Review

Feb 28, 2013 The Hudsucker Proxy is that rare creature, a cult film made on a generous budget. The Coen Bros., Joel and Ethan, wrote the script with their friend, Sam Raimi, in 1985, when the Coens’ only finished film was Blood Simple and Raimi had yet to make Evil Dead II , let alone any of the Spider-Man films that would elevate him to the A-list. The trio knew the script would require major financing, which didn’t arrive until six years later in the form of super-producer Joel Silver, an enthusiastic Coen fan. Silver assembled a financing package from his own company, Warner Brothers, the now-defunct Polygram and Working Title Entertainment (now absorbed into Universal’s Focus Features). Hudsucker was made for a budget estimated at between $25 and $40 million, or about 3-4 times that of the Coens’ previous film, Barton Fink. It bombed.

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A few words about…™ Cabaret — in Blu-ray

Jan 19, 2013 Even at its earliest stages, the Academy Award-winning Cabaret (1972) was a most unlikely film to get made, or at least get well-made. A production of Allied Artists, which turned out to be the little engine that could, Bob Fosse’s Cabaret shines, four decades later, as a brilliant gem in the cinema firmament. Almost unique in modern annals, Cabaret also shares a major problem with a few other Academy Award winners.  While some may have problems with elements due to fade or damage, unless one goes back to the earliest days of the awards, one does not run into many missing original negatives. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one other that shares the honor – The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), which apparently was lost in transit. In the case of Cabaret, it seems that the OCN went missing before it ever reached Warner Bros. along with other Lorimar product. Luckily, it appears that a lab (presumably Technicolor) produced a top quality interpositive, which makes Cabaret shine on Blu-ray.

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An In-Depth Look at DIAL M FOR MURDER

Oct 2013 One of the greatest 3-D motion pictures of all time has just been released on Blu-ray. Before our review, here’s the background story on this classic Golden Age 3-D production. Click on the images to expand. Arch Oboler’s independently produced BWANA DEVIL had its world premiere in Hollywood on November 26, 1952 and set the box-office on fire. Following the phenomenal success of the first 3-D feature film in color, every studio in Hollywood made plans to jump on the 3-D bandwagon. Warner Bros. was first out of the gate to license the Natural Vision camera system used on BWANA DEVIL and announced production of their first 3-D film on December 27, 1952. When production rolled on THE WAX WORKS on January 12, 1953, just about every studio had a 3-D project in development. The popular myth is that DIAL M was not originally announced for 3-D and the process was forced on a reluctant director at the eleventh hour. That is not true. The first announcement hit the trades on April 5, 1953, four months before the first day of filming. With the headline “Hitchcock to film WB’s ‘M’ in 3-D,” Jack Warner expressed his confidence in the future of 3-D movies. The opening of HOUSE OF WAX on April 10 at New York’s Paramount Theater was a sensation. Warner Bros. truly captured lightning in a bottle. The film was an unprecedented success and to this day, […]

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G-Dog – Review

July 1, 2012   A Chanlin Films/American Film Foundation/Sanders & Mock Prods. presentation. Produced, directed, written by Freida Mock. With: Greg Boyle, Shayna Welcher, Hector Verdugo, Fabian Debora, Louis Perez, Kyle Shoaf, Brian Moon, Veronica Vargas, Kamala Harris. (English, Spanish dialogue) In an era with a paucity of real heroes, a genuine one emerges in “G-Dog”: the inexhaustible Jesuit priest Greg Boyle, whose Homeboy Industries has saved countless lives in Los Angeles’ gang-plagued neighborhoods. Freida Mock’s documentaries have been only as good as their subjects (and sometimes, as with her portrait of playwright Tony Kushner, not even that), but here she has made a movie that vitally captures an extraordinary character in extraordinary circumstances. Boyle’s story will reach across a long roster of fests and easily garner distrib interest, with socially minded tube play assured.    

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