Monday, March 28, 2011
With the release of TRON: LEGACY to theatres last December, there was a great demand for people to watch the 1982 original TRON again (or for the first time). Unfortunately, the DVD, released ten years earlier, had gone out of print. Copies were hard to find.
Now, TRON and its sequel TRON: LEGACY are being released together in a 5 disc Blu-ray set. The films are also available individually on DVD and Blu-ray.
The original TRON may not have the best reputation.
On an episode of THE SIMPSONS from the mid-90’s, Homer, stuck in a computerized world, asks “Has anyone seen TRON?” Everyone around him, Chief Wiggum, Bart, the rest of the gang, all say “No.”
Because it wasn’t a big box office hit, most believe it was a bad film.
That is even though critically, it received fairly positive notices, including a 4 star review from Roger Ebert (who a few years back showed it at his Overlooked Film Festival).
TRON has always been popular with computer geeks though, being a huge inspiration for a generation.
I saw TRON on its original release and was one who loved it. It looked like no film had before. And the idea of entering into the world of a computer (which in those days had yet to make it into the home) was a fascinating premise. Today, the talk of “users” and “programs” is a lot more natural than it was in those days before the home computer
On Blu-ray, the film looks better than ever. This may have been the first time that I picked up on the cameos by Pac Man and Mickey Mouse. The film also sounds terrific.
The Blu-ray contains the extras from the original DVD that includes an almost 90 minute making of documentary. Also included is a new feature, PHOTO TRONOLOGY where director Steve Lisberger and his son go to visit the Disney archives to look at the material that they have about the production. Steve tells his son stories about the making of the film. There is also a feature where the cast of the remake discusses the original.
One interesting fact in the extras, the average cell phone has more power than the computers used to create the FX for the original film.
TRON: LEGACY may not be quite as successful as the original. In theatres, in 3-D, I will go so far as to say that the 3-D effects were stronger than AVATAR in allowing the audience to feel a part of the TRON world. That is, even though it wasn’t used for dimensional effects, with nothing flying out at the audience. So, 2-D home viewing won't really lose anything.
The story, about Jeff Bridge’s son entering a computer to track him down, has its moments. But, it isn’t quite up to the original. While it looks great, it is a bit overlong and rather uninvolving. For fans of the original, it is well worth viewing.
The Blu-ray contains several new featurettes (most around ten minutes) about the making of the film along with a Daft Punk music video.
In addition to the films on Blu-ray, the set contains a copy of TRON: LEGACY on 3-D Blu-ray (that I wasn’t able to review), a copy of the sequel on standard DVD, and a disc of a digital file of the film.
Not included, unfortunately, is a copy of the original video game, still the greatest arcade game of all time.
TRON and TRON LEGACY will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on April 5, 2011 from Walt Disney Home Video.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Thanks to a comment over on the Amanda Peterson story, I discovered this.
Many of the cast members along with the writer of CAN'T BUY ME LOVE (minus the director, Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson and Seth Green) had a screening and Q&A about the film at the NuArt Theatre in LA on February 11, 2011.
The 40 minute video posted above is EXCELLENT, even though the room is so dark you can't see who is talking.
Among the highlights of the conversation
- Writer Michael Swerdlick was working in the mailroom at William Morris when he was invited to a party with all the top agents. Because he had a model as his date, he was paid more attention to by the agents who suggested he write a script.
- He sold the script, then called BOY RENTS GIRL, to Tri-Star. In a meeting with the studio, a female exec hated it and put it into turnaround.
- He was asked to submit a writing sample to do a rewrite on a BMX film called WINNERS TAKE ALL (that starred CBML stars Gerardo Mieja and Courtney Gains). His agent sent over BOY RENTS GIRL. The production company said forget about rewriting WINNERS, lets make RENTS!
- The film was shot in Tucson for $1.8 million. It was a non-Union shoot, with picketers seen in the distance of some shots.
- After production, one of the friends of the filmmakers (who had appeared in a mall scene) had become the head of acquisitons at Disney. He suggested that Michael Eisner and Jeff Katzenberg take a look at the film.
- The writer asked if his family members could screen the film. They arranged a screening. Right before his family was to see the film, Eisner and Katzenberg entered the screening room. They laughed several times, but left before it was over.
- Disney then decided to buy the film for $6 million.
- They had some reshoots, only by the time of the reshoots, the lawns were dead. For the final scene, riding away on the mower, they had to spend $15,000 for a new lawn.
- It cost $125,000 to use the title song, and they had to show the film to the owner of the song, Michael Jackson. A print was taken to Neverland. Michael loved the film.
- Marisa Tomei was a favorite to play the female lead but that didn't work out. Uma Thurman also read for it.
- Marc Price, "Skippy" from FAMILY TIES was initially offered the lead. He was unhappy about his offer of $35,000. While they were waiting, they were told about Patrick Dempsey. After finding him, they were hoping that Price wouldn't sign. He didn't so Patrick was cast.
- Chuck Lorre (the creator of TWO AND A HALF MEN and THE BIG BANG THEORY) wrote one of the songs in the film.
- Choreographer Paula Abdul had trouble getting the cast to take things seriously.
- Gerardo "Rico Suave" Mieja, who according to the castmembers wasn't all that friendly during his Suave years, is now "a good guy again" and is a pastor in Orange County. Gerardo says he has little memory of the Suave years.
- And, Darcy DeMoss who acted as guardian to Amanda during her time in Hollywood in later years, had talked to Amanda a few days before. She had to go through four old numbers to find her, finally reaching her mom. She talked to Amanda who has a little girl who is in school so she couldn't make it to the reunion.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
The trailer proclaimed "The two stars you've always wanted to see together". Bogart plays Geoffrey Carroll, a painter. He meets Sally (Stanwyck), even though he is married. He poisons his wife (with a sinister glass of milk). But after marrying Sally, will she meet the same fate when he meets someone else?
THE TWO MRS CARROLLS isn't a great film. It does have one fun line, Bogart, upon being introduced to someone, calls back a classic line stating "I have the strangest feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful hatred".
Based on a stage play by Martin Vale and directed by Peter Godfrey (who had directed Stanwyck's CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT), the film was made in 1945 but wasn't released until 1947. Yet, even though it may not be among the stars best films,it is well worth seeing. Stanwyck and Bogart in anything is more worthwhile than a film with most of the stars of today.
As with other Archive titles, the only extra is a trailer. The film is remastered and looks quite good.
THE TWO MRS CARROLS is available now from the Warner Archive.
Posted by TALKING MOVIEzzz at 11:00 AM