Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hans Holzer, 1920 - 2009

We were very sorry to hear of the passing of ghost hunter extraordinaire Hans Holzer at age 89 (and we’ve already made all the appropriate jokes about him being easier to contact now, so don’t bother.) Like most, we were first exposed to Hans through the childhood milestone of In Search Of, on which Holzer served as a producer, consultant, and guest. His seemingly endless enthusiasm and curiosity for the paranormal fed our own, and I can vividly remember being disappointed that our small local library had almost no information on Bigfoot. But Holzer’s biggest claim to fame were his investigations on the experiences of the DeFeo and Lutz families at 112 Ocean Ave in Amityville. Holzer and his team were largely responsible for the Indian burial ground theory of the haunting, and believed that Ron DeFeo Jr, was possessed by the spirit of an Indian Chief when he murdered 6 members of his family while they slept on November 13, 1974. Holzer and his team took a series of photographs in the house in 1977 that, faked or not, are truly, madly, deeply creepy.

We learned about Holzer’s good works primarily on the Coast to Coast AM radio show – essentially a one-stop shop for all news regarding UFOs, black helicopter conspiracies, myths & monsters, etc – where he was always taken a good deal more seriously than the garden variety ghost hunter. We believe (or at least, want desperately to believe) that Holzer was the genuine article; his approach was so much more scholarly than the current variety of charlatan that populates the airwaves of reality television.

We look forward to hearing from Hans in the not too distant future. If communication from the beyond is even remotely possible – this is the guy who will find a way.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Confirmed - Galactica Series Run Released to Blu-Ray in July

Frankly, I’m more then a little surprised that Universal isn’t making BG fans wait until closer to Xmas for the super-deluxe full series run, but as a fan whose only home video purchase has been the HD-DVD of the first season (yes, we certainly do know how to future-proof around here.) we loved the second season, liked the first half of the third, and wasn’t crazy at all about what it turned into during the final season and a half. Seriously, how irritating were those women in that bizarre religious cult that sprouted up around Baltar, effectively sidelining one of the most interesting characters in a dead-end plot thread? And enough with the “One God” Cylon religious mania! We were sad to see some of this seeping into the just released Caprica, and hope that executive producer Moore thinks better of it as he shoots the rest of the season.

The Blu-Ray and SD-DVD sets are both out on July 28th, and looks to include all the previous commentaries, featurettes, video blogs, and deleted scenes, and the Blu-Ray set looks to have several exclusive features. That makes 25 DVDs and 20 Blu-Rays in each set at the understandably whopping retail price of $279.98 and $349.98, respectively (there may or may not be some sort of collectable figure enclosed as well.)’s current price for the Blu-Ray set is $244.99 and that’s still pretty damn steep. Honestly, we might just pick up the first season or two and give the rest a miss. The final leg of Ronald D Moore’s reboot made us pine for the simpler days of Glen A Larson’s original – humans vs. robots, good vs. evil, they chase and we run – I guess we don’t require that sci-fi actually have all those complicated layers after all.

And who didn’t love Dirk Benedict’s double-take during the A-Team credits when the Cylon walked by? We miss you, Face!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Enchanted Whatsit?

No, you haven’t stumbled onto the wrong site.

Every once in a while, it’s healthy to remember that there are things in life other than horror and the horrible. It’s in that spirit that we pass on this news – the immensely popular Enchanted April, which has been bewilderingly unavailable on DVD in America, is finally getting a stateside release from Miramax Studios on May 5th (I guess their April release calendar was full.) From the press release:

Coming to DVD for the First Time Ever on May 5, 2009

Two proper Englishwomen find romance, hope and renewal in the Italian countryside when Enchanted April makes its highly anticipated DVD debut on May 5, 2009 from Miramax Films. Enchanted April’s breathtaking scenery and charming story make it the perfect movie for anyone who has ever dreamed of an unhurried sojourn in Italy. The DVD includes audio commentary by the director and producer. Josie Lawrence (“Eastenders”) and Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) head a stellar ensemble that also includes Joan Plowright (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Polly Walker (“Cane”), Alfred Molina (Spiderman 2) and Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent (Best Supporting Actor, Iris, 2001). Gorgeous visuals and top-notch acting, directing and writing made Enchanted April an international hit and earned the film three 1992 Oscar nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriter Peter Barnes, Best Supporting Actress for Plowright and Best Costume Design for Sheena Napier. In addition, the film received two Golden Globes, one for Richardson (Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical) and one for Plowright (Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical.

All-New Bonus Feature • Feature Commentary with director Mike Newell and producer Ann Scott

In a temporary escape from their drab lives and inattentive husbands, Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) and Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson) rent a magnificent villa on the Italian Riviera. To be able to afford a month of this luxury, they must share expenses with two unlikely companions – Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright), a crusty widow living in the past and Caroline Dester (Polly Walker), a charming, but bored aristocrat. The mismatched housemates find that the spectacular villa and lush Italian setting hold a special magic that soon sparks friendships and reminds the women of ways to live and love that have long eluded them. Gorgeously photographed and superbly acted, Enchanted April is like taking a little mini-trip to a sunny Italian paradise.

Enchanted April on DVD is priced at $29.99 (US) SRP. STREET DATE: May 5, 2009 Pricing: DVD US: $29.99 SRP Feature run time: 95 minutes Rated: US: PG Technical specifications may only apply to feature Aspect ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1) Aspect ratio - Enhanced for 16X9 Televisions Sound: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Languages: Spanish and French Subtitles

So, why post this here? Well, the Scribe knows someone very special who adores this film. Under normal circumstances, reading this blog more closely resembles a chore than a pleasure for her, so we hope that she happens upon this post.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Fine Cause, Pilgrim

If the Scribe’s backyard were 20 miles wide and turned northward, then Pleasantville’s Jacob Burns Film Center would be right in it. Whenever we the place mentioned in national news, we feel proud to have it in the county. The Digital Bits has been a prime source of news regarding the restoration of John Wayne’s The Alamo by Robert A Harris. The nearly half-century old film got a memorable box set laserdisc release many moons ago, a complete roadshow version that was a little rough around the edges, but was the first time since its original release that anyone had seen director Wayne’s original version.

Regarded as a sort of jingoistic joke for much of the later 60s and 70s, time has been kinder to the narrative then to the actual film stock. Wayne’s first of only two directorial efforts (including the significantly more trouble-plagued The Green Berets) The Alamo has its share of hoary dialog passages and superfluous speechifyin’, but all those years spent in the company of the greatest American filmmakers like Howard Hawks and John Ford taught Wayne a lot about pacing an adventure film and handling performances. Richard Widmark is positively magnetic as Jim Bowie and Scribe favorite Laurence Harvey brilliantly plays off his own natural un-lovableness as the stiff-backed marionette, William Travis. Restoration expert Harris has performed near-miracles before, in famous cases like Vertigo and Lawrence of Arabia, and though some take issue with some of the choices made by his team, the fact that without his efforts the very negatives for these films may have simply ceased to exist cannot be forgotten.
The JBFC is now officially handling donations for the incredibly expensive restoration process.

Checks can be mailed to:

Jacob Burns Film Center
405 Manville Road
Pleasantville, NY 10570
Att: Dominick Balletta