It is currently Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:00 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 90 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:51 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:03 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD
I just got the French collector's edition DVD of New Rose Hotel. (this one) A review said it had an anamorphic transfer so I was hoping for something superior to the R1 non-anamorphic 1999 Millennium Series release. A disappointment. Hazy, some digital artifacting. It doesn't look terrible, but neither did the 1999 DVD, and in fact the look of it reminds me a lot of how I remember that disc looking; wouldn't surprise me if they'd just taken that transfer and converted it to anamorphic. (What do we call that? Cropping? Upscaling?) Special features are nothing to write home about; a booklet with the original short story in French and English, and on the disc there's the trailer and some cast/crew bios (in French). The screenwriter commentary and DVD-ROM screenplay that the '99 disc had are not present.

I wish this'd get a blu-ray release, (And a soundtrack release! I love the music.) but as a film that not many have seen and very very few have liked (though I love it and I know it has some defenders around here) I think it's probably a prime candidate to slip through the cracks.


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
I've been re-watching most of Ferrara's work recently and it only serves to remind me just how incredible so many of them are: to my mind, King of New York, Bad Lieutenant, The Addiction, The Blackout and New Rose Hotel are all bona-fide masterpieces, and 'R Xmas and Dangerous Game are both marvellous films which don't fall far behind; even those which I wouldn't rank as highly, like Body Snatchers, The Funeral, and China Girl, are magnificent and brilliant and mesmerizing in so many ways. (Note: my major blind spot remains Ms. 45, which I hope to remedy soon). That run from King in 1990 to Xmas in 2001 really is one of the greatest by any filmmaker in the history of cinema; then again, I may have to extend that second year if I find myself warming up to his more recent films like Mary and Go-Go Tales on a second viewing -- unfortunately, I've found everything since Xmas (including the noxious, pointless Welcome to New York, maybe his worst feature) to be mediocre at best, not quite possessing the formal and philosophical audacity and clarity of purpose of the aforementioned films.

I'm gushing, but there's just something so sublime about Ferrara at his best: the calmness of the camera in Bad Lieutenant, and all the narrative folds and surreal scene-parallels (e.g. Keitel's two sons in the car in the beginning becomes the two rapists in the final sequence, or the sharply edited consecutive scenes of the Korean grocer's daughter/Zoe Lund's junkie/Virgin Mary statue & Nun/Keitel's little daughter... this seemingly "improvised" or off-the-cuff film is in fact one of the most brilliantly constructed works of cinema of the past few decades); the dreamy, red, opiate haze that enshrouds the first half of New Rose Hotel, until all of the human is wiped out like a computer file in the recycle bin and Dafoe retreats to the titular coffin to dream it all up again for us, this time filtered by the inherent imperfection of human perception, the unknowable nature of the Other, so that even the "scenes we've seen before" are viewed from a different angle, all memory is in flux and ultimately untrustworthy; or the purely cinematic pleasure of the opening minutes of King of New York, where so much is conveyed via silence and light and Murnau-esque shadows, with the imposing bars and fences that block our view as Walken leaves prison later being reprised in the penultimate scene as Walken leaves the subway station and enters an anonymous, commercialized Times Square, just another face in the crowd.

Ferrara is a brilliant director, and I hope in the future he will get his due as one of the greatest American artists (not just "mavericks," or "exploitation" directors, because he moved past the latter many years ago anyway). And on a more concrete, practical note: someone, anyone needs to put out a decent widescreen release for Region 1 of The Addiction, The Funeral and The Blackout. All three have good widescreen DVDs in Region 2, but they really deserve the deluxe treatment -- a Criterion of Addiction/Funeral would be great (maybe Blackout/New Rose, too, while they're at it), seeing as those two films are so often grouped together (were they really released in theaters at the same time? It seems that they were separated by a year at least).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:10 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:48 am
Location: Atlanta
Very nice appreciation of Ferrara, oh yeah. My only addition would be to not forget about The Driller Killer either, an intoxicating mix of exploitation film, punk rock documentary, and even a hint of 60s Godard in the interior apartment scenes. It has a real energy to it that's infectious.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:37 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:35 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
I haven't paid any attention to his career after seeing The Bad Lieutenant , which I liked a lot. Judging by imdb ratings though, it doesn't look like I've missed much, but his new one, Pasolini, looks promising (in spite of Willem Defoe speaking only English & French). Criterion just posted the link to the trailer on its facebook page.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:02 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
Oedipax, Driller is also one of my blind spots with Ferrara, unfortunately; I do want to see it, but I got so carried away with watching and re-watching the 90's stuff that I forgot.

Lowry -- to each his own, but I'd hardly use IMDb ratings as any kind of decent judge for whether a movie's worth seeing. If one were to go by those, then Ferrara pretty much only made two worthwhile films (and even then, both King of New York and Bad Lieutenant barely rate a 7; I think both were hovering around 6.9 for quite a while). I understand that his style, especially in the late 90s and beyond, is divisive, but really... a 5.7 for 'R Xmas? A measly 5.9 for the lean, mean genre piece (and much more) Body Snatchers? Only a 6.6 and 6.4 for the acclaimed Funeral and Addiction, respectively? It's all rather ridiculous. And when a film as non-mainstream and confounding and polarizing as Lynch's Lost Highway can rate an impressive 7.7 on there, I don't see how Ferrara's films so consistently stay in the 4-5-6 range.

On another note, I just re-watched New Rose Hotel yet again as part of my semi-chronological Ferrarathon, and I was even more impressed than ever before; formally, the thing is just a knockout, one of the most beautiful and sensual aesthetic experiences of recent years for sure. It's a film that may be a little confused and silly in places but I just love the world it creates and the dreamy way it's shot and composed and color-coordinated. After Bad Lt., probably his best film.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:37 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
I definitely agree on that 90s run, though I still have not yet had the chance to see anything post-The Funeral yet (The Blackout and 'R Xmas sound great, and as a Asia Argento, Juliette Binoche (and perhaps more pertinently, Matthew Modine) fan I'm sure I'd find something interesting about Mary and Go Go Tales).

Even Body Snatchers, though the least of the three official adaptations, still has a few inventively memorable set pieces and scarily committed performances (particularly the ranting Forest Whitaker at the opening and Meg Tilly's 'evil' stepmother!) and is worthwhile particularly to see Ferrara utilising the whole widescreen frame to create maximum paranoia! Has he worked in a 2.35:1 ratio before or since?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:05 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
Body Snatchers was indeed Ferrara's only use of 2.35:1, and that may be part of why it's such a visually stunning picture (I'm a sucker for films shot in that AR). Bojan Bazelli, who also shot China Girl and King of New York, was the DP, and it's interesting to compare his work on those films -- lavish and very stylized, often yellow-tinted**, lots of use of shadows and expressive movement of the camera -- with the style of Ken Kelsch, who shot all of Ferrara's other 90's films, and has a more classical and comparatively "invisible" style less prone to wild camera movements and color filters, but is nonetheless an equally brilliant artist (The Addiction is a masterpiece of expressionist B&W photography). Anyway, Snatchers also has a big Hollywood budget to its benefit, and I think this is why the film is so aesthetically exacting and precise in a way Ferrara usually isn't. If it weren't for a somewhat mediocre final 20-25 minutes I'd rank the film even higher; it's really eerie stuff and its tautness is a great virture, with barely a superfluous minute. I'd love to see another Ferrara film with a really big budget, but that doesn't seem very likely!

Continuing with my marathon, I just re-watched 'R Xmas and it remains one of my favorites for its beautifully elliptical, minimalist style (with an exquisite use of slow, dreamy dissolves as central editing device), plus its surprising tenderness and restraint -- not to mention a great performance from Drea de Matteo and a wonderfully bittersweet "happy" ending. It's also funny how similar the film is to Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut in a few key ways.

**In fact, it's the prominent use of yellow filter in Snatchers that makes me wonder if the latest blu-ray and DVD special edition transfers of King are really accurate compared to the bare-bones old DVD which had a very yellow cast throughout.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:08 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack
For anyone curious to see what made Ferrara so angry—not that winding up Abel Ferrara is any real achievement—the UK Blu-ray of Welcome to New York includes the truncated made-for-IFC cut as an unhelpfully-titled "exclusive alternate version." Apparently the recut is more than just a bowdlerization, with some deleted scenes restored to the film and at least one alteration that radically changes the narrative. Of course that doesn't excuse taking it away from Ferrara, but the alternate version should be more interesting to watch and compare than a simple "softcore" edit.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:05 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
So apparently Dangerous Game got a blu-ray release from Olive last year. There are no extras besides a trailer but it does apparently include both the theatrical cut and the NC-17/director's cut of the film! Which is fantastic -- I'm just wondering which cut was included on the previous MGM DVD, which is the only version of the film I've ever seen. The MGM DVD does say it's "unrated" and is 109 minutes, which is the purported length of the Director's Cut, so I don't know... anybody able to give some insight?

Anyway this is pretty much an instant buy for me. Can't believe I didn't hear about it sooner. Let's hope for more Ferrara on blu ASAP, particularly New Rose Hotel and The Addiction and The Funeral.

It's weird because Amazon says the release is Region B but everywhere else I can find states it's clearly Region A.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:31 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
Napoli Napoli Napoli also just got a Blu release.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:59 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
knives wrote:
Napoli Napoli Napoli also just got a Blu release.

That's good. I still need to see that as well as pretty much all of Ferrara's other docs, but I have to say that from what I've seen of them they don't seem particularly interesting. It's almost as if his fiction films are already documentaries of a sort, so making something completely real just feels flat. I dunno.

Anyway, I have the Dangerous Game blu now and the quality is definitely worth the upgrade from the MGM disc, but the idea of including both Unrated and Rated cuts is much less impressive than it sounds! Apparently, as you can see here, there is only the most miniscule difference between the cuts -- the Unrated adds 27 seconds more to the rape scene in the film-within, and uses some more explicit footage for a few frames of Sarah's sex tape. I thought there must have been a much bigger difference, but it really is that small. I admire the intention, but it's not exactly fascinating to compare. Now if they somehow got a hold of the early workprint of the film -- which, I think clocks in at around 4 hours, and is described in detail in Brad Steven's exhaustive Ferrara book... that would be something.

Oh, and I forgot when mentioning ideal Ferrara blu releases above -- the most ideal of all would be Bad Lieutenant with the original Schoolly D track restored! Maybe Criterion can make Jimmy Page an offer he can't refuse...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:36 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
Apparently Body Snatchers got a well-deserved blu release from Warner Archive last month. No special features of course but the transfer seems to be quite good from what I've seen.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:51 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am
So the Dangerous Game Blu is definitely good?

Really pleased with the Arrow DRILLER KILLER and Warner Archive BIDY SNATCHERS.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:51 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
Definitely good, in the sense that the Body Snatchers blu seems to be (i.e. no extras but a good enough, if not extraordinary, transfer).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Abel Ferrara on DVD
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:56 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am
Excellent, I was very happy with the Body Snatchers Blu, so I'll be grabbing Dangerous Game.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 90 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group




This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection