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Exclusive Interview: Kimberly Peirce on Directing Carrie







        Last week the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel from the 1970s was released on Blu-ray and DVD, and director Kimberly Peirce sat down with me to answer a few questions. As if that weren’t enough, in honor of the classic climactic sequence of telekinetic prom destruction, Peirce dropped a bucket of faux blood on my head. Click here for a video of the interview and the here for my brief moment of glory as prom queen. Click here for the review of Carrie on Blu-ray and DVD.

 

Carrie Blu-ray Review

Actors: Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde
  • Director: Kimberly Peirce
  • Writers: Lawrence D. Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
  • Producer: Kevin Misher
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM
  • Release Date: January 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 100 minutes





  •         Stephen King’s novel about the outcast teen with telekinetic powers has been adapted previously; once in the 1976 theatrical release by Brian De Palma, and again as a TV movie a little over a decade ago. This was the first of King’s novels to be adapted into a film and was such a phenomenal success the first time around that it comes as no surprise that there have been skeptics of a new version. If anyone is equipped to handle this content in a new way, however, it is director Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry, Stop-Loss). For my exclusive interview with Peirce, click here.

     

            In some respects, this material needs a feminine perspective to guide the story, refraining from the type of exploitation which would ultimately damage the film’s message. There are actual teenagers cast in the roles of high school students, rather than the unnecessarily nubile twenty-year-olds from De Palma’s version. Rather than simply offering up the prerequisite skin and gore for a horror film, Peirce’s Carrie is an introspective look at the damaging effects of bullying built into a brutal revenge film.

     

    New to Blu-ray: Rififi (1955)

         Format: Black & White, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Release Date: January 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 118 minutes







  •         Hollywood is a hungry monster, almost like the alien mass in the classic science-fiction horror film, The Blob, constantly absorbing all that comes into its path. This often includes an assortment of foreign directors, whose success in their home country and native language can provide the chance to become a part of this beast. This tradition has been a constant since World War sent foreign film industries into a tailspin and the seclusion of Hollywood made it an ideal point of escape. It is so common for Hollywood to integrate foreign talent that it is easy to forget the significant moments in history which have sent American talent overseas in search of opportunity.

     

            Jules Dassin may have an extremely French sounding name, but he was an American with a distinctly Hollywood style of crime films under his belt before making his first film in France. Rififi (1955) was the result of an unfortunate set of circumstances, and one of the few instances in cinema’s history where filmmaker’s had reason to escape from rather than to Hollywood. Dassin had established himself in the hardboiled crime genre with masterpieces such as Brute Force and The Naked City until accusations of Communist activity forced him to flee Hollywood in 1951.

     

    Plus One DVD Review

         Actors: Rhys Wakefield, Ashley Hinshaw
  • Director: Dennis Iliadis
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 97 minutes



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            Plus One is almost a great film, but there are a few contradictory ideas within the film which destroyed the illusion for me. Comparisons have been made to Donnie Darko and Primer, combined with Project X for the trashier party elements of the storyline, but the difference between this film and those other two independent time-travel cult films is the way in which the hold up upon further inspection. Plus One seems to fall apart in terms of themes and character actions where Donnie Darko and Primer withstand excessive scrutiny that comes with cult status, but the fact that it had me thinking about it enough to find the tears in the fabric was impressive in itself.

     

            Set during an unrealistically over-the-top party held by a teenage college student, an unexplained phenomenon causes a strange rift in time. Suddenly the events from earlier in the evening begin to occur, with all new duplicates of everyone attending the party. This phenomenon remains a mystery for large portion of the film due to the shifting nature of the party’s events, so that everyone is outside when their doubles appear in the house. Only three friends who remained inside are aware of the duplicates, and must decide how to react without causing panic.

     

    Terraferma Blu-ray Review

         Director: Emanuele Crialese
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: January 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 88 minutes


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            Immigration is a topic clearly close to the heart of filmmaker Emanuele Crialese, first with his remarkable portrayal of Italian natives on their journey to Ellis Island in The Golden Door and now with an examination the same topic in modern Italian society. The message of Terraferma often feels heavy-handed and predictable in the melodrama of specific plot twists, mostly due to the fact that Crialese is able to convey his ideas more than adequately through the use of contrasting imagery.

     

            Like Respiro, Terraferma takes place on a remote island located near Sicily. This island is a remote vacation spot during the summer, and otherwise a difficult home to fishermen dwindling in numbers as quickly as the fish are in the sea. The film follows the struggle between an old code of the sea which the fishermen uphold and the conflict this has with modern immigration laws. Immigrants traveling from Africa by rafts are to be left in the sea, but one family finds their livelihood in danger after rescuing a mother and her child from the sea.

     

    A Single Shot Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Ted Levine, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs
  • Director: David M. Rosenthal
  • Format: Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: January 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 116 minutes



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            A Single Shot provides a moderately engaging viewing experience, mostly because of way that even the film’s narrative twists and turns seems comfortingly familiar. There are no real surprises in this film and little beyond the performances stands out in the memory after it has been watched. The rest almost seems to be there simply to service these wonderfully colorful characters that the actors play.

     

            Sam Rockwell gives a wholehearted performance as John Moon, a backwoods poacher who has seen bad luck that lost him his family farm and wife in a short period. This streak of bad luck continues when Moon accidentally shoots a woman while hunting for deer, and while stashing her body he discovers a box full of cash. This seems to be a stroke of luck until his newfound wealth brings all sorts of unwanted attention from some out-of-town visitors.

    New to Blu-ray: Sunrise (1927)

       Format: Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: January 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 94 minutes



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            The integration of sound into cinema came in a transitional period of stages, with an all-out dialogue-filled film being the end result. Before that were scenes of dialogue or music in an otherwise silent film, and even after the advent of sound there were silent films being made. Some of these utilized soundtracks before they did dialogue, because the sound effects could be added after the filming was already completed as a way of enhancing the silent film for audiences on the cutting edge.

     

            Sunrise utilized the groundbreaking Fox Movietone sound system to provide the audience with a soundtrack to match the magical visuals in F. W. Murnau’s melodrama masterpiece. This 1927 film was released only a month after The Jazz Singer, which contained cinema’s first spoken (and sung) words. Though Sunrise was a technical masterpiece with groundbreaking soundtrack work, it failed to impress audience because it had no spoken words.

     

    New to Blu-ray: In the Heat of the Night (1967)

         Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • Release Date: January 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 110 minutes



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                    Filled with stark and profound images of racism over the backdrop of a murder mystery and the winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture, In the Heat of the Night is more than deserving of an anniversary edition release on Blu-ray. As MGM celebrates their 90th Anniversary, this classic from 1967 is transferred to high definition. The special features are simply transferred over from the 40th Anniversary DVD release.