Drew pours himself a glass of bubbly, pushes the pizza from its card box box and gives the DVD player something to chew on.
The Last of the Mohicans : Ultimate Edition
Owing to the presence of Daniel Day Lewis – the man so deeply into the craft of acting he does all the extreme tricks to assure the integrity of his character (staying in character throughout the shoot, etc) – and Michael Mann behind the megaphone, I expected much more from this film and was disappointed that it turned out to be little more than a period potboiler.
It’s more interesting from a historical angle as you learn about the Native American tribes who aligned themselves with the British and French armies doing battle for the colonies. Day Lewis is Hawkeye, a white man bought up by the Mohican tribe who fights alongside the British and rescues the daughters of a local officer from a bloodthirsty attack from another tribe.
As he falls predictably in love with the beautiful, headstrong and soft-spoken elder sister (Stowe), the menacing leader of the tribe who attacked is gunning for them all out of vengeance for the loss of his family in the war, tracking them relentlessly through the forests. There were a few turns in the story I couldn’t understand and the whole thing seemed melodramatic rather than just dramatic.
The newly-released ‘Ultimate Edition’ Blu-ray, from Aussie label Via Vision, features an audio commentary and a featurette but more so, two versions of the film.
Lock Up (4K)
Completely hatstand Stallone vehicle with ”Rocky” much too far behind him, already the same bland can-do, hero-for-hire in every movie.
He plays a Wrongfully Convicted Man whose innocence gives him the unique gift of being able to do anything. If there’d been a helicopter there he’d have flown it.
The Sadistic, Power Hungry Warden is Donald Sutherland, so hammy he was almost twirling a moustache and going ‘Bwa ha ha ha’.
What? You don’t know anything about the plot? Of course you do. If you recognise the above archetypes or you’ve ever seen Fortress, Cool Hand Luke or a million other prison breakout movies then trust me, you know the plot.
Apparently based on a true story, and produced by the Kassar/Vajna Carolco partnership that would end up a train wreck.
Fans of the film (clearly not Drew – ed), will be glad to know the newly-released 4K edition is the best the film has ever looked and sounded. So at least there’s that.
Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves : Ultimate Edition
At the absolute pinnacle of his powers in Hollywood, this was the quintessential Kevin Costner movie – he hadn’t become too serious, dour or obsessed with sports movie by then, and while his take on the classic myth was a complete Hollywood fabrication it was such a rollicking good time nobody cared, audiences virtually ignoring the more faithful Patrick Bergin starrer released around the same time.
In what must have been the hundredth adaptation of the story (and they show no signs of slowing down, Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett attached to one as I write this), it starts by giving Robin of Loxley an imaginative backstory. A soldier of the Crusades, he escapes from the clutches of the Arabian hordes and makes good his escape back to England with a fellow captive, the Middle Eastern Nazeem (Freeman) in tow.
Arriving home, Robin wants nothing more than to tend his late father’s estate and woo the beautiful Maid Marion (Mastrontonio), but the corruption and evil of the local Nottingham Sheriff’s rule is making life difficult for Robin and impossible for his peers, so he recruits a band of rogues and goes underground, redistributing wealth among the poor the old fashioned way.
It’s every inch and unapologetically a romantic action adventure. Just watch as Robin escorts Marion down in the makeshift elevator of branches and pulleys in the Merry Mens’ beautiful wooded hideout, or Robin’s apparent delight in his rivalry with Nottingham, which he seems to view as a contest or duel as much as righteous indignation.
At the height of his career, Costner’s star burned brighter than that of Cruise, Pitt or Schwarzenegger. Here he’s the hero out of a thousand romance novels – rough and ready, boyish, skilled and determined, as good with a bow as he is with the winsome Marion in his grasp.
But as he did in “Die Hard” only a few years before, Rickman walks off with the whole movie, effortlessly stealing every scene he’s in with a panto-style evil that fits perfectly in with the rest of the film’s tone.
And as well as being the movie that bought Morgan Freeman to world attention, it was also the first of three pairings between star and director Reynolds before their very famous falling out over “Waterworld”.
Via Vision’s new ‘Ultimate Edition’ Blu-ray features a striking transfer and comes complete with a massive selection of extra features, including two audio commentaries, featurettes, interviews and a vintage live rendition of ‘that song’ by Bryan Adams.