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This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this episode, David and Trevor discuss Eclipse Series 20: George Bernard Shaw on Film.
About the films:
The hugely influential, Nobel Prize–winning critic and playwright George Bernard Shaw was notoriously reluctant to allow his writing to be adapted for the cinema. Yet thanks to the persistence of Hungarian producer Gabriel Pascal, Shaw finally agreed to collaborate on a series of screen versions of his witty, socially minded plays, starting with the Oscar-winning Pygmalion. The three other films that resulted from this famed alliance, Major Barbara, Caesar and Cleopatra, and Androcles and the Lion, long overshadowed by the sensation of Pygmalion, are gathered here for the first time on DVD. These clever, handsomely mounted entertainments star »
- David Blakeslee
After nabbing an Oscar nomination for the delightful “A Cat in Paris” in 2012, the French team of Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol get more ambitious with “Phantom Boy” (July 22), combining an ethereal superhero with a wacky crime thriller. No wonder Gkids smartly grabbed distribution rights to this one as well.
Leo, a sensitive young New Yorker, undergoes treatment for a serious illness in a hospital, where he discovers the strange ability to leave his body for short periods of time and communicate with some of the unconscious patients. This invisible transport allows him to assist a wounded cop and female reporter in thwarting a mysterious villain from destabilizing the city with a computer virus.
“We prefer working in a context and setting that are realistic but with one fantasy element,” said Gagnol, who wrote the script. Felicioli provided the flat, angular, retro graphic design. “It’s a fantastical, dream image of New York, »
- Bill Desowitz
★★★☆☆ Adapted from the stage play, Heaven Can Wait, Alexander Hall's 1941 Here Comes Mr. Jordan is notable mainly for its numerous remakes and its position as arguably the first supernatural comedy. Following his untimely demise, boxer Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) is taken to heaven only to meet the eponymous angel Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains), who agrees to find Joe a recently-deceased body in which to live out his life. Things are complicated, however, when Joe occupies the murdered body of Bruce Farnsworth, a roundly despised corporate tycoon whose possession by Pendleton diverts his tarnished legacy on to a better path.
- CineVue UK
Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.
Forget the Cloverfield connection. The actors who were in this film didn’t even know what the title was until moments before the first trailer dropped. Producer J.J. Abrams used that branding as part of the wrapping for its promotional mystery box, but the movie stands perfectly alone from 2008’s found-footage monster picture. Hell, 10 Cloverfield Lane perhaps doesn’t even take place within the same fictional universe as that film — although a friend asked if it’s secretly a Super 8 sequel, and, honestly, you could think of it as one without contradicting anything in either movie. Whether the Cloverfield name fills you with wariness or enthusiasm, it would be unwise to burden Dan Trachtenberg‘s film with such prejudices. – Dan S. (full review)
45 Years (Andrew Haigh)
Andrew Haigh’s third feature as a director, 45 Years, is an excellent companion piece to its 2011 predecessor, Weekend. The latter examined the inception of a potential relationship between two men over the course of a weekend, whereas its successor considers the opposite extreme. Again sticking to a tight timeframe, the film chronicles the six days leading up to a couple’s 45th wedding anniversary. Though highly accomplished, Weekend nevertheless suffered from a tendency towards commenting on itself as a gay issues film, which at times overrode the otherwise compelling realism. Despite treating material arguably even more underrepresented in cinema – senior relationships – Haigh avoids this same self-reflexive pitfall in 45 Years, pulling off an incisive and emotionally ensnaring tour de force. – Giovanni M.C. (full review)
A sophisticated supernatural Hollywood comedy whose influence continues to be felt, Here Comes Mr. Jordan stars the eminently versatile Robert Montgomery as a working-class boxer and amateur aviator whose plane crashes in a freak accident. He finds himself in heaven but is told, by a wry angel named Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains), that his death was a clerical error, and that he can return to Earth by entering the body of a corrupt (and about-to-be-murdered) financier—whose soul could use a transplant. Nominated for seven Oscars (it won two) and the inspiration for a sequel with Rita Hayworth and two remakes, Alexander Hall’s effervescent Here Comes Mr. Jordan is comic perfection. – Criterion.com
Jean Renoir’s ruthless love triangle tale, his second sound film, is a true precursor to his brilliantly bitter The Rules of the Game, displaying all of the filmmaker’s visual genius and fully imbued with his profound humanity. Michel Simon cuts a tragic figure as an unhappily married cashier and amateur painter who becomes so smitten with a prostitute that he refuses to see the obvious: that she and her pimp boyfriend are taking advantage of him. Renoir’s elegant compositions and camera movements carry this twisting narrative—a stinging commentary on class and sexual divisions—to an unforgettably ironic conclusion. – Criterion.com
Also Arriving This Week
Eddie the Eagle (review)
Hello, My Name is Doris (review)
Get a Job (review)
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See all Blu-ray deals.
What are you picking up this week?
- The Film Stage
“A Heavenly Beginning”
They must have done something right. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) has proven to be a timeless and universal movie that keeps on giving, and the welcome new release from the Criterion Collection attests to it.
The premise of the film has been around for a while. Most of our generation know the remake better—Heaven Can Wait (1978, starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie)—which is a superb Oscar-nominated romantic comedy in its own right. Another remake in 2001, Down to Earth, starred Chris Rock.
But that’s not all. It wasn’t until I’d viewed the supplements on the new disk that I appreciated the fact that Mr. Jordan was indeed the first of several Hollywood pictures dealing with “heavenly” concepts—angels, the afterlife, and second chances. In a video discussion, critic Michael Sragow and filmmaker/distributor Michael Schlesinger reveal how the picture’s popularity actually began a trend of similar movies throughout the 1940s—A Guy Named Joe, Angel on My Shoulder, A Matter of Life and Death, It’s a Wonderful Life, and even Mr. Jordan’s direct sequel, Down to Earth (1947, not to be confused with the Chris Rock remake), which features both James Gleason and Edward Everett Horton again playing their roles from the first movie.
Here Comes Mr. Jordan was a major release and surprise hit from Columbia Pictures, a studio that always struggled to be one of the majors despite having director Frank Capra on their team in the ‘30s. Critically and popularly acclaimed, the picture successfully blends fantasy, romance, comedy, and intrigue, creating a delightful, and sometimes thought-provoking, piece of entertainment. It was nominated for Best Picture of 1941, Best Director (Alexander Hall), Best Actor (Robert Montgomery), Best Supporting Actor (James Gleason, and he steals the movie!), and Best B&W Cinematography. The film deservedly won the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story, for Sidney Buchman and Seton I. Miller.
The story concerns Joe Pendleton (enthusiastically played by Montgomery in a stretch from his usual sophisticated tuxedo-clad characters) as a prizefighter with a heavy New Jersey accent who crashes in his private plane. His soul is saved by the Messenger (Horton), an angel whose job is to escort to Heaven the departing souls from his “territory.” In the mist-filled outskirts of Heaven, Mr. Jordan (benevolently portrayed by Claude Rains), a sort of St. Peter in a three-piece suit, checks in the new souls as they board another plane to take them to their afterlife homes. But Joe’s soul was accidentally taken before his body actually died—and therefore Mr. Jordan grants Joe a second chance. However, his consciousness must be placed into a recently deceased person—so Joe winds up inside a rich, corrupt banker’s body. Joe, in his new persona, sets about turning the banker’s life around for good, and he also attempts to continue his prizefighting. For the latter, he calls in his former manager, Corkle (Gleason) to train him. First, though, he’s got to convince Corkle that he’s really Joe inside the new man’s form. To complicate things, Joe falls in love with the daughter (Evelyn Keyes) of a man the banker destroyed financially and sent to prison. Joe also doesn’t know it yet, but he will have to jump bodies one more time before the story plays out.
The comedy and romance work like a charm, and the fantasy elements of Mr. Jordan are surprisingly effective. The movie is intelligently written and treats its subject matter with respect; and yet it has fun with the mechanics of death and the philosophical discourse of what we think the afterlife really is. The audience is tricked, in a way, into pleasantly enjoying a movie about death. What happens to Joe Pendleton at the end isn’t the norm for a romantic comedy. Technically it’s not a happy ending—and yet, it is. It’s a feel-good movie with a bittersweet center. This is a testament to the quality of writing in Here Comes Mr. Jordan.
The new 2K digital restoration looks fabulous. It has an uncompressed, monaural soundtrack. Along with the aforementioned video conversation about the film, the supplements include a long audio interview with Elizabeth Montgomery (daughter of Robert Montgomery, and, yes, the star of Bewitched) about her father and the movie; the Lux Radio Theatre radio adaptation starring Cary Grant (who was originally approached to star in the film—one can only imagine what it would have been like with Grant), Rains, Keyes, and Gleason; and a trailer. An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme adorns the booklet.
A little gem from Hollywood released just prior to America’s entrance into World War II, Here Comes Mr. Jordan is a genuine classic, arguably superior to its many remakes and imitations. You will believe...
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- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Here's a sterling example of what Hollywood excelled at back in the golden age: Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains and Edward Everett Horton star in possibly the most magical of movies known as Film Blanc. A cosmic goof leaves a man with fifty years yet to live without a body -- so heavenly troubleshooters try to find him a new one. Here Comes Mr. Jordan Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 819 1941 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 94 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date June 14, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains, Rita Johnson, Edward Everett Horton, James Gleason. Cinematography Joseph Walker Art Direction Lionel Banks Film Editor Viola Lawrence Original Music Frederick Hollander Written by Sidney Buchman, Seton I. Miller from the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall Produced by Everett Riskin Directed by Alexander Hall
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Some movies are so entertaining that it's best to tell people, »
- Glenn Erickson
Our series on remakes continues with a movie which is ironic because it’s about a man who can’t be seen but in reality, it’s actually the movie which shouldn’t be seen. This week, Cinelinx looks at The Hollow Man (2000).
The Hollow Man is a modern reimaging of the oft-copied Invisible Man story, first brought to the screen by Universal Studios in 1933. The story is based on H. G. Wells' famous science fiction novel “The Invisible Man”, published in 1897, which told the tale of a scientist who develops an invisibility serum and uses himself as a test subject, becoming both invisible and dangerously insane.
The 1933 classic The Invisible Man, which was part of Universal Studios cluster of successful horror film franchises, was directed by James Whale, who also directed Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein. The 1933 version has an impressive 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was selected »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
The word in Hollywood right now is that Russell Crowe is in early talks to join Universal Pictures’ classic monsters universe alongside Tom Cruise in The Mummy. Crowe would play a Dr. Jekyll type of role. The Mummy is planned as the first film in a series of interconnected monster films as Universal hopes to build a cinematic universe out of its vault of classic creature features.
It is unclear whether this could lead to a future spinoff for Crowe. The only other undisclosed monster film might be The Invisible Man with Johnny Depp poised to play the role originated by Claude Rains.
Alex Kurtzman is directing The Mummy from a screenplay written by Jon Spaihts. Details of the story are being kept under wraps. Universal recently tapped Kurtzman and Fast & Furious producer Chris Morgan to oversee their classic monster franchises such as Dracula, Bride Of Frankenstein, The Wolfman and »
- Kellvin Chavez
Following through on its promise to launch a monster movie universe, Universal has set a Feb. 15, 2019, release date for its third monster film.
The studio tapped Alex Kurtzman (“Transformers”) and Chris Morgan (“Furious 7”) in November to revive its monster franchises such as the Mummy — which began shooting in April in the U.K. with Tom Cruise starring — along with other pictures centered on Dracula, Van Helsing, Bride of Frankenstein, the Wolfman and the Invisible Man. The idea is to re-imagine the classic monster films for a modern audience and release them at a rate of one per year.
“The Mummy” has been dated for June 9. Kurtzman is directing and producing alongside Morgan as well as Sean Daniel. The film also stars Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Marwan Kenzari and Courtney B. Vance.
Earlier this year, Universal selected April 13, 2018, for its second monster movie but it has not yet provided details of that title. »
- Dave McNary
Watching the final few episodes of “Downton Abbey,” including the series finale (and Spoiler Alert if you haven’t yet), brought to mind the accusation leveled at Rick, Humphrey Bogart’s character in Casablanca,” by Claude Rains’ Captain Renault: “As I suspected, you’re a rank sentimentalist.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that in this case, as series creator Julian Fellowes clearly exhibited an affection for his cast, and a desire to see them enjoy the equivalent of an uplifting ride into the sunset on this towering PBS drama.
Granted, the way of life represented in the series has been living on borrowed time for a while. And just as “Downton” began with the sinking of the Titanic and encompassed the tumult of World War I, the specter of World War II looms over the future of all these characters, or at least those likely to be around another 15 years or more. »
- Brian Lowry
Various screen adaptations of Wells' work have taken place over the years from the most faithful version with the 1984 BBC mini-series, to more elaborate cinematic spins such as John Carpenter's "Memoirs of an Invisible Man" and Paul Verhoeven's "Hollow Man".
The project currently has no director or writer attached, but is a part of the studio's attempt to build a new cinematic universe around its classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
Having brought in Tom Cruise a couple of weeks back to star in The Mummy, it looks like Universal are looking to go after Hollywood’s ‘big guns’ for their Monsters Universe, as Deadline are reporting that Johnny Depp has signed to star in The Invisible Man.
There’s no word yet on a director for the movie, but Alex Kurtzman (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is overseeing the whole universe and will direct The Mummy, which is set for release on June 9 2017. The Invisible Man will join Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, Creature From The Black Lagoon and The Wolf Man before they all come together for a team-up movie, rumoured to be Van Helsing.
No word yet on whether Depp will play The Invisible Man, but it assumed he will.
- Luke Owen
The Universal Shared Monster Universe is coming together quite nicely, with Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella set to star in their Untitled Mummy Reboot, which is set for release in the summer of 2017. Many have wondered what project will be next for this shared universe, and it seems we may now have our answer. Deadline is reporting that the studio has signed on Johnny Depp to star in their remake of The Invisible Man.
Back in November, we reported that Universal plans to release a new horror movie every year, starting with the Mummy Reboot, which Alex Kurtzman is directing. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2016, with the studio already setting a June 9, 2017 release date. The report also revealed that other movies centering on Dracula, Van Helsing, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man are set to follow. There was a rumor last year that The Wolf Man »
The film is based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name, which was notably adapted into a movie in 1933 starring Claude Rains. In the film, Rains plays Dr. Jack Griffin, a chemist who concocts a serum that turns him invisible, then infamously wraps his face in bandages and embarks on a killing spree.
Despite the news of Depp's involvement neither a release date, »
Universal's Monster reboots just nabbed another A-list star in the form of Johnny Depp -- you may have heard of him! The aggressively quirky thesp will take the "stupid money" once again to (presumably) play the title role in The Invisible Man, the latest announced installment in the studio's interconnected, Marvel-style series of films that will serve up new iterations of iconic silver-screen ghouls including Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster and The Wolf Man. Tom Cruise was previously announced as the star of The Mummy. Based on the H.G. Wells novel about a scientist who goes insane after discovering a way to become invisible, the Invisible Man was originally played by Claude Rains in Universal's 1933 version. Kevin Bacon played the character most recently on the big-screen, in Paul Verhoeven's 2000 film Hollow Man. [Deadline] »
- Chris Eggertsen
He's played a pirate, an outcast, and a mobster, and now that Johnny Depp is set to star in The Invisible Man, the prolific actor could add "iconic Universal Monsters character" to his list of memorable roles.
Deadline reports that Depp is lined up for the lead role in The Invisible Man. The character was created by legendary author H.G. Wells in his 1897 novella, The Invisible Man. In the novella, a scientist named Griffin engages in criminal activities after performing an irreversible experiment on himself that causes his body to become unseen by the human eye.
It's not yet known who is writing The Invisible Man script or who will direct the movie, but it is a part of Universal's new shared cinematic universe featuring iconic characters from the studio's history, including Wolf Man, Dracula, Van Helsing, the Bride of Frankenstein, and The Mummy.
The lattermost of those characters will »
- Derek Anderson
Morgan and Kurtzman will now look to tap a writer to pen the reboot; no timetable has been set for production. Exec VP Jon Mone and VP Jay Polidoro will oversee production for Universal.
- Justin Kroll
Deadline is reporting tonight that Johnny Depp will star in Universal’s upcoming remake of The Invisible Man, the next piece in the puzzle of the studio’s new, classic movie monsters universe, which technically began with 2014’s Dracula Untold. We say technically because recent reports have led us to believe that due to that film’s poor performance, the character may be seeing another reboot to fit in with this new cinematic universe.
In addition to Depp, Universal also landed Tom Cruise for The Mummy, which Kurtzman is directing. Also in line for reboots are the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man, among others. So, it’s clear that »
- Michael Briers
Exclusive: Johnny Depp has been set to star in The Invisible Man for Universal Pictures, part of the studio's new production initiative to reestablish the classic movie monsters that is a cornerstone legacy for the studio. That effort is being led by Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who’ll produce. Universal’s first foray into the character was a 1933 adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel that starred Claude Rains as a scientist who finds a way to become invisible. The price… »
Universal Pictures are really courting the highest level of A-list talent for their upcoming Monster Movie Universe and they've just landed another extremely big fish in the form of 3x Academy Award-nominee Johnny Depp. Deadline is reporting that Depp has signed on to star in The Invisible Man, which will be a reimagining of the 1933 original that starred Claude Rains as a scientist who discovers a way to make himself invisible, but loses his sanity in the process. Further details on the film's development were unavailable, but The Hollywood Reporter adds that Ed Solomon (Men In Black) will likely pen the script. Alex Kurtzman & Chris Morgan, the architects of the Monster Movie Universe, are on-board as producers. Depp, who recently had an acclaimed turn in Warner Bros.' Black Mass and will be seen next in Walt Disney Pictures' Alice in Wonderland: Through The Looking Glass in May and »
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