Gets passed the ignorance of racism
For the first time ever, finally, Hal Ashby’s The Landlord is now available on Blu-ray, thanks to the prominent boutique label, Kino Lorber. Before May 7, 2019, the only way to see this movie was to buy an overpriced DVD on eBay. I patiently waited for an inevitable Blu-ray release, and Kino delivered.
Starring a young and handsome Beau Bridges, The Landlord follows Bridges’ naive and rich 29-year-old brat still living off his parents money who buys an apartment building in an inner-city section of Brooklyn (Think Rod Daniel’s masterpiece, The Super with Joe Pesci, but good). Having no idea what he’s doing, he learns he’s way in over his head and there’s more that comes with being a landlord than just owning the building. It’s deemed a comedy and a satire on gentrification, but I didn’t see that. I saw an exceptional love story. It does touch on topical elements like racism and how narrow-minded the rich can be (and often are), but I found it more moving than funny.
With an aspect ratio of 1.85.1 restored in 1080p from the film’s negative, The Landlord fills your screen, making the movie larger than life. The look is crisp but still has that old school 35mm feel and look. Just the way films made before the digital age should look, even when cleaned up. Audio is DTS sound.
Hal is know for his profound early, seminal work: Harold and Maude, Being There, The Last Detail, Coming Home (where he nabbed a Best Director Oscar nomination), and In the Heat of the Night (where took home the Best Film Editing Oscar). The Landlord bombed when it first released but gained a cult following decades later. I’ve been trying to watch this movie forever and hat tip to Kino for giving it a proper Blu-ray release.
There are two great companion pieces for this release: Oscilloscope’s Hal, which is an exceptional documentary about Ashby, and Warner Archives’ The Super (yes, the 90s Joe Pesci movie). Both The Landlord and The Super have so many things in common but are world’s apart, yet both are similar in almost every way possible.
Blu-ray Extra Features
Reflections - New interview with star Lee Grant
The Racial Gap - New interview with star Beau Bridges
Norman Jewison and Hal Ashby - Style and Substance: New interview with producer Norman Jewison
Buy The Landlord here.
When you put in Rhinoceros, ff you find yourself, what the hell am I watching? Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. You’re watching the farce Rhinoceros starring late comedy greats, Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel (who both just came off the wild success of Mel Brooks’ The Producers). These two were two of the best character actors of their time, and perhaps all time.
Here’s the synopsis, stay with me. Wilder stars as Stanley, an alcoholic, with bloodshot eyes as red as a rose, with a crush (on the gorgeous Karen Black) whose friends, family, and well, everyone around him, are turning into rhinoceroses.
You still there? Good.
Rhinoceros reminds me of Robert Altman’s Brewster McCloud. Their underlying themes are the same, and they both start with talking about a species and how it relates to mankind and it tells you what you’re about to watch but in a clever, bizarre way. And Like Brewster McCloud, this movie is an absurd slapstick comedy that was way ahead of its time.
Rhinoceros is a reason why I love Kino Lorber — they find great obscure movies I would never have seen without them. I will say this in every Kino review: you don’t buy Kino reviews for the extra features, you buy because of the film and remarkable restoration.
I’ve seen a lot of Wilder movies, and everyone knows he’s a master at physical comedy, and he really hams it up for this movie. The same can be said about Mostel — these two both loved making people laugh at their own expense.
The film is presented in 1.78:1 full screen format, and restored in 1080p. Rhinocreos is presented by The American Film Theatre, which was popular in the 70s for adapting plays into films (Rhinocreos was adapted from Eugène Ionesco’s play of the same name, where Mostel played the same character and won a Tony for his performance). The restoration looks and sounds great, no complaints here.
Blu-ray Extras Features:
Interview with director Tom O’Horgan
Interview with Edie Landau
“Ely Landau: In Front of the Camera,” a promotional film for the American Film Theatre
Gallery of trailers for the American Film Theatre
English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Who doesn’t love a good heist movie? I’ll do one better, who doesn’t love a good heist movie from the director of Bullitt and The Friends of Eddie Coyle? Peter Yates directs Robbery, a lowborn heist movie with a big payoff. What’s so fascinating about Robbery is seeing how heists were cleverly pulled off back in the 60s without modern technology which has helped make robberies easier (and to be fair, harder because of cameras, social media, etc.)
Robbery is presented in 1.85.1 (full screen) with a colorful restoration. The audio is presented in DTS and is at times difficult to hear, but for the most part, it sounds as good as any restored movie form 1967.
Blu-ray Extras Features:
New Audio Commentary by Film Critic Nick Pinkerton
If you love Mystery Science Theater 3000, Sex Madness Revealed is just for you. “The movie” stars Patton Oswalt as The Film Dick, a podcaster who watches obscure movies “live” and reveals “facts” and goofs about the movie. Please note the facts in quotes, because for comedy sake, the fact with fiction is blurred. And over the course of the movie, things get… interesting.
One more time to bring it home, fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will love this. Sex Madness Revealed is presented in various formats because it’s live commentary on the film, as well as the viewer seeing what The Film Dick is looking at on his computer, and more.
Blu-ray Extras Include:
Audio commentary by director Tim Kirk and co-writer Patrick Cooper
Sex Madness: The Original (1938, 59 min.)
Other Side with Zabrecky (2019, 6 Min.), a short séance featuring Rob Zabrecky
5.1 Surround or 2.0 Stereo
Optional English SDH subtitles
Theatrical Trailer of Director’s Commentary: Terror of Frankenstein