MMC! keeps our creepy October rolling with Dave Fleischer’s spook-errific animation classic, Snow-White (1933). This Betty Boop masterpiece was animated almost single-handed by Roland Crandall over six months, his reward for loyal service to Fleischer Studios. The short features an array of creepy gags and set-pieces, the highlight of which is the Mystery Cave portion where a rotoscoped Cab Calloway performs “St. James Infirmary Blues” as a ghostly Koko the Clown. I first saw Snow-White in a class on the Disney Company where the very knowledgeable professor cited the rotoscoped appearance of Cab Calloway as an introduction of realism into the film, something I never understood given the very fantastic animation applied to the phantom Koko transforms into and the almost unnatural, counter-intuitive physics of Calloway’s glides and moonwalks. Snow-White has been preserved by the National Film Registry and can be found on Blu-ray in Volume 4 of Olive Films’ Betty Boop: The Essential Collections.
Thoughts of the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal (just underway) and various other fantastic film festivals still to come has me reflecting on cinematic weirdness and my attendance to the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival back in October. Among my favourites were Daniel Moshel’s two bizarre shorts, MeTube: August Sings Carmen ‘Habanera’ (2013) and MeTube 2: August Sings Carmina Burana (2016). The former is a hallucinatory tribute to awkward YouTube performances. Featuring Swiss tenor August Schram as a nerdy opera wanna-be and Elfie Wunsch as his grimly attentive mother, the short transforms a reserved and amateurish rendition George Bizet’s Habanera from Carmen into an EDM-infused, pan-sexual bacchanal, and it’s weirdo-glorious. Moshel’s crowd-funded sequel takes MeTube‘s classical mindfuck to the streets with a flash-mobbed carnival of “Opera on Acid.” For more by Moshel and a peek into the making of the films, check out his YouTube and Vimeo pages!
I’m working on our next proposal (an underappreciated comedy for the Shout Select label) so hopefully that will arrive soon. TCB, baby!
IT WAS THE GREATEST ROCK EVENT EVER … UNTIL THE PLACE EXPLODED!
It is December 31, 1982. Ring in 1983 at the Saturn Theater’s annual New Year’s Eve concert – featuring the far-out Captain Cloud and the Rainbow Telegraph, the king bluesman himself, King Blues, Nada and her pop bubble gum/New Wave/punk ensemble, rock icon Reggie Wanker, and folk-rock legend Auden!
The Saturn Theater’s New Year’s Eve concert is an institution to its owner, master showman Max Wolfe (Allen Garfield), but when Max has a heart attack hours before the concert and villainous promoter Colin Beverly (Ed Begley Jr.) enlists Max’s nephew Sammy (Miles Chapin) in a plot to ruin the event and have the venue signed over to Beverly, its up to stage manager Neil Allen (Daniel Stern) and visiting former stage manager Willy Loman (Gail Edwards) to ensure the show goes on. Luckily Allen and Loman can rely on the dedication of their crew, the professionalism of their acts, and the case of pharmaceuticals provided by the spectral Electric Larry to see the concert through. Boasting musical performances by Lou Reed, Malcolm McDowell, Lee Ving, Bill Henderson, and Lori Eastside, Allan Arkush (Rock ‘n’ Roll High School) presents a hilarious concert movie spoof celebrating sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll as only the 1980s would have it.
- New high definition digital transfer
- High definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD Presentation
- Original Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Surround Options
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Introduction by director, producer and writer Edgar Wright
- Audio commentary by director Allan Arkush
- There Will Be No Encores – a new documentary on the making of Get Crazy featuring new interviews with Allan Arkush, Daniel Stern, Malcolm McDowell, Gail Edwards, Allen Garfield, Ed Begley, Jr., Stacey Nelkin, Dan Frischman, Franklyn Ajaye, Robert Picardo, Dick Miller, and Mary Woronov
- Hot Shots – a new documentary on the music of Get Crazy featuring new interviews with Allan Arkush, Malcolm McDowell, Howard Kaylan, Lee Ving, John Densmore, Lori Eastside, Fabian, and Bobby Sherman
- Gone Crazy! – director, producer and actor Eli Roth on Get Crazy
- Theatrical trailer
- Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by cult film scholar Mike Watt
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Adapted from the critically acclaimed off-Broadway hit, John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch tells the story of an “internationally ignored” rock singer and her search for stardom and love. Born an East German boy named Hansel, Hedwig marries an American G.I. to get over the Berlin Wall to freedom and suffers a botched sex-change operation in the process that leaves her with just a one-inch mound of flesh. Finding herself high, dry, and divorced in a Kansas trailer park, Hedwig pushes on to form a rock band and encounters a lover/protegé in Tommy Gnosis, a young Christian army brat who eventually leaves her, stealing her songs to become a huge rock star. Left to stalk Tommy’s stadium tour with her group, the Angry Inch, Hedwig crisscrosses America intent on exposing Gnosis and claiming her rightful position in the pantheon of rock icons.
- New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director John Cameron Mitchell and cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Audio commentary featuring Mitchell and DeMarco
- Deleted scenes with optional commentary
- Whether You Like It or Not: The Story of Hedwig, a feature-length documentary on the musical and the film
- I am Hedwig, new interviews on with Mitchell, Neil Patrick Harris, Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, Darren Criss, and Taye Diggs, the stars of Hedwig‘s Broadway productions
- Follow My Voice: With the Music of Hedwig, Katherine Linton’s documentary on the lives of four students attending the Harvey Milk School for LGBTQ youth and the recording of Wig in a Box, a tribute album raising funds for the institute operating the school
- Anatomy of a Scene, a making of featurette on the adaptation of the musical at the Sundance Institute
- New video appreciation by critic Kim Morgan
- Theatrical trailer
- PLUS: An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek
“Bugsy Malone is the last great musical.” – John Burgess, THE GUARDIAN.
Get splurged with this offbeat slapstick gangster musical that features ruthless mobsters, gin hall singers and hard-nosed cops .. played exclusively by a cast of children. Showcasing the talents of a pre-Chachi Scott Baio and a 13 year-old Jodie Foster (fresh off playing a child prostitute for Martin Scorsese in Taxi Driver), Sir Alan Parker’s Bugsy Malone is the most elaborate game cops and robbers ever attempted. Baio is Bugsy Malone, a small-time boxing promoter who gets mixed up with some pint-sized gangs competing to take over the “sarsaparilla racket” with a cache of “splurge guns” – Tommy Guns that shoot gobs of custard and take their victim out of commission. Goofing on cliches of prohibition-era gangster pics, the film plays off the absurdity of miniature mobsters talking up dancers at speakeasies and chasing each other in Model T pedal cars, all while supported by Broadway-style song and dance numbers written (and sometimes performed) by Paul Williams. This gangster epic will appeal to kids and adults alike, and the only thing criminal is how cute these crooks are as they wage their pocket-sized mob war.
- Audio commentary with writer-director Sir Alan Parker
- Optional “Sing-A-Long” version
- “From Sketch to Screen” – rough shot sketches synched to the film’s soundtrack
- After They Were Famous: Bugsy Malone, a 2003 retrospective on the film made from British television
- Photo Gallery
- Production Art Gallery including sketched and full painted concept art
- 32-page booklet featuring an essay by Sir Alan Parker on the making of the film and a new essay by film scholar Kier-La Janisse
Splurge Edition – Package Includes:
- Bugsy Malone on Blu-ray or Standard DVD featuring over 3 hours of bonus material!
- DRM-free Digital Download of the film in 1080p, 720p, and mobile/tablet formats
- Instant download of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Paul Williams
- 27″ x 40″ reversible poster
- Parker’s graphic novel adaptation of Bugsy Malone, illustrated by Graham Thompson
“Imagine a Laurel & Hardy skit directed by Salvador Dali.” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“More original than almost anything you’ve seen this millennium.” – SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
“Now that’s entertainment!” – FILM THREAT
“Surprising and hilarious! May be the most wonderfully strange film experience you have this year.” – ELLE MAGAZINE
Space travel has become a dirty way of life dominated by derelicts, grease monkeys and hard-boiled interplanetary traders such as Samuel Curtis. Written, directed and starring Cory McAbee of the legendary cult band The Billy Nayer Show, this sci-fi musical-western uses flinty black-and-white photography, Lo-Fi sets and the spirit of the final frontier. We follow Curtis on his Homeric journey to provide the all-female planet of Venus with a suitable male, while pursued by the enigmatic killer, Professor Hess. The film features music by The Billy Nayer Show and some of the most original rock ‘n’ roll scenes ever committed to film.
Also included are McAbee’s hour-long, genre-defying space western Stingray Sam, his 52-minute fantasy Crazy & Thief, and his award-winning short films Reno, The Ketchup and Mustard Man, The Man on the Moon, and Billy Nayer, collected together here for the first time and providing a comprehensive review of one of America’s most audacious independent filmmakers.
- Live audio commentary with writer, director, and star Cory McAbee
- Gallery of production stills, storyboards, graphic designs, and sidewalk drawings
- Ceres walk test footage
- Stingray Sam, McAbee’s 2009 musical-comedy, sci-fi-western serial recounting Stingray Sam and the Quasar Kid’s mission to save a kidnapped girl, with behind the scenes extra footage
- Crazy & Thief, McAbee’s 2012 fantasy about a seven year-old girl who takes her two year-old brother on a voyage through a world of homemade mythologies
- Reno, a 2007 short starring McAbee as a singing cowboy bragging about his travels through Nevada
- The Ketchup and Mustard Man, a stream of consciousness-narrated musical
- The Man on the Moon, McAbee’s short film about a dejected husband exiled on the moon, shot on a Fisher Price Pixel Camera
- Billy Nayer, an animated short film direct by and starring McAbee as a singing bar patron
- 24-page booklet of photos, production stills and promotional materials, plus a new interview with Cory McAbee
“Hertz Donut” Edition – Package Includes:
- The American Astronaut on Blu-ray or Standard DVD
- DRM-free digital download of The American Astronaut and other films by McAbee on 1080p, 720p, and mobile/tablet formats
- Instant Download of the Original Motion Picture Soundtracks by The Billy Nayer Show for The American Astronaut and Stingray Sam
- 27″ x 40″ posters for The American Astronaut and Stingray Sam
- Stingray Sam Film Program
- The American Astronaut and Stingray Sam T-shirts
- The American Astronaut and Stingray Sam stickers