SFFF Day 5 – J&B Straight Up!

After packing in 200 or so people for the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival’s second annual Saturday Morning All You Can Eat Cereal Cartoon Party, Day 5 was all about director Joe Dante, actress Belinda Balaski, and a trio of features film celebrating their work. Screenings of The ‘Burbs (1989), Gremlins (1984), and The Howling (1981) were each introduced by Dante and followed by a Q&A session. All three films looked great on the big screen and Dante and Balaski were open and affable with the SFFF audience, answering questions and recounting stories. Dante discussed working as a consultant to an upcoming animated Gremlins prequel and briefly acknowledged that his long desired project about Roger Corman, The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes, was being produced by SpectreVision and should see production in 2020. Balaski recounted a popular story about how the designers of Gremlins’ Gizmo obtained Steven Spielberg’s elusive approval of the creature when she recommended that they take inspiration from the King Charles Cavalier Spaniels Spielberg had recently acquired. When asked which of their films they felt deep-diving fans should explore, Balaski cited Mark L. Lester’s youth culture/crime drama movie Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976) while Dante nodded at his under-seen (and unfortunately prescient) political satire The Second Civil War (1997). The pair were generous with their time, even sitting down on the Broadway Theatre’s stage floor to sign programs and badges for remaining diehards, and they proved to be excellent guests for the SFFF’s landmark 10th year.

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Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (Francois Girard, 1993)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould.

criterion logoFrançois Girard provides in this unconventional bio-pic a compelling and memorable exploration of Canadian musician Glenn Gould, arguably the 20th Century’s greatest classical pianist. Through thirty-two elegantly constructed vignettes mixing drama, documentary, animation, and avant-garde, Girard reveals glimpses of Gould as performer, recording artist, humorist, outdoorsman, speculator, recluse, and iconoclast. Taken together, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould offers a prismatic understanding of Gould’s complex genius and his personal struggles without dispelling the enigmatic power of his legend.

Disc Features:

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Ghost Stories (Late Night Work Club, 2013)

Next up, we offer a short film of short films – the indie-animated anthology Ghost Stories (2013). Containing 11 minimalist shorts, Ghost Stories is the product of various members of the Late Nite Work Club crafting these pieces between projects and classes. MMC! is particularly fond of Charles Huettner’s The Jump, Caleb Wood’s Rat Trap, and Alex Grigg’s Phantom Limb, although Ghost Stories is an impressively satisfying effort throughout. In fact, the omnibus format of Ghost Stories produces a convivial effect, expanding the regard for these shorts by placing them alongside one another and creating a whole greater than its parts.

Milocrorze: A Love Story (Yoshimasa Ishibashi, 2011)

“Almost impossible to define – it has samurai fights, oddball fantasies and retro musical dance scenes.” – Mark Adams, SCREEN DAILY.

Drafthouse Films LogoFrom visionary artist Yoshimasa Ishibashi comes Milocrorze: A Love Story, an epic collection of tales on obsessive love and the lengths men will go to for it.  Three distinct tales of love gone wrong are offered, each featuring rising Japanese star Takayuki Yamada, moving between the candy-colored world of an innocent, lovelorn man-child to the uproarious realm of Japanese television and an overbearing relationship coach dispensing dubious advice to the cyberpunk-infused world of a vengeful samurai on a quest to reunite with his lost love.  Amid its elaborate musical numbers and jaw-dropping slow-motion sword battle, Milocrorze provides a sincere vision of romantic love through a slightly warped lens, making this 2011 Fantastic Fest multiple award winner “one of the most uniquely structured and entertaining anthology pictures to come out in quite some time” (Adam Charles, FILM SCHOOL REJECTS).

Special Features:

  • Interview with filmmaker Yoshimasa Ishibashi
  • Interview with star Takayuki Yamada
  • Making of featurette
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 24-page booklet of photos, production stills, and promotional materials, plus an interview with filmmaker Yoshimasa Ishibashi

Verandola Gorgonzola Edition – Package Includes:

  • Milocrorze: A Love Story on Blu-ray or Standard DVD
  • DRM-free Digital Download of the film in 1080p, 720p, and mobile/tablet formats
  • 27″ x 40″ one sheet poster designed by Mondo Artist Matt Taylor

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Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer, and Basil Dearden, 1945)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Dead of Night.

criterion logoFive tales of the macabre interwoven by four master directors of British cinema, Dead of Night is the prototypical example of the heritage horror film and cinema’s finest achievement in anthology filmmaking.  Architect Walter Craig arrives at an all-too-familiar country home convinced he’s dreamt of the visit before and that it concludes in a terrible, violent end.  Guests of the home seek to reassure Craig by recounting their own brushes with the supernatural, offering tales of phantoms and madness.  Basil Dearden, Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton and Robert Hamer combine their efforts to produce this chilling collection of stories, including standout sequences “The Haunted Mirror” and “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy.”  A perfect compliment to a dark and stormy night, Dead of Night‘s haunting visions continue to influence and inspire.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary anthology by British horror film scholars Peter Hutchings and Tony Williams, Ealing Studios historian Charles Barr, and director Martin Scorsese
  •  A new video piece with genre film writer Tom Weaver on the American cut of Dead of Night
  • Two 1947 radio productions of “Dead of Night,” the audition pilot for Out of This World and the 1947 inaugural episode of CBS Radio’s Escape
  • Gallery of production stills, vintage advertisements, and lobby cards
  • PLUS:  A booklet of essays by BFI contributor Mark Duguid, film critic and historian Philip Kemp, and film historian Bruce Eder

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In the Midst of Life (Robert Enrico, 1963)

criterion logoThe Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents In the Midst of Life.

Robert Enrico’s triptych of Ambrose Bierce adaptations, “The Mockingbird,” “Chickamauga” and “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” is a rarely seen masterpiece of French cinema.  An eerily complex film fashioned through unreliable narrators and subjective experiences, each story oscillates uncertainly between the brutality and bloodshed of the American Civil War and the idyllic, pastoral existence interrupted by combat.  These puzzling works of the macabre were promptly broken into separate films following its initial release, but In the Midst of Life is finally available after 50 years in its original format.

Disc Features:

  • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Introduction by filmmaker Steven Spielberg
  • Complete 1959 Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
  • Complete 1964 The Twilight Zone episode presenting Enrico’s La rivière du hibou
  • Radio dramatizations of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” for Escape and Suspense, featuring starring performances by Harry Bartell (1947), Victor Jory (1956), Joseph Cotten (1957) and Vincent Price (1959)
  • Dreaming Forward, a new video piece on Bierce’s fantastical literary legacy, featuring interviews with The Sopranos creator David Chase, Lost creator J.J. Abrams and filmmakers Christopher Nolan and Terry Gilliam
  • PLUS:  A booklet featuring essays by scholar Richard J. Hand and Twilight Zone historian Marc Scott Zicree, as well as artist and critic Steve Bissette’s 1988 article for Deep Red magazine

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