COPPOLA COLLECTION DAZZLES
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has obtained the distribution rights to some of the best works from one of cinema’s most influential and iconic filmmakers. Five of Francis Ford Coppola’s films are now available for the first time together on Blu-ray. The collection includes:
APOCALYPSE NOW and APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX
Widely praised by critics and movie buffs as “one of the greatest films of all time” (Chicago Sun Times), Coppola’s grand, exhilarating and horrifying 1979 epic of the Vietnam War was scripted in part by John Milius and based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The movie story has troubled Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) going up-river on a secret mission into Cambodia to execute rogue Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Extraordinarily crafted movie making on every level, the extended REDUX version (2000) tacks on about 50 minutes to the already sprawling epic, much of it on a French plantation. Yes, it finesses the story. There’s a fascinating, richly reflective and detailed commentary by Coppola that is a must for fans of this amazing film.
ONE FROM THE HEART
Shot “electronically” entirely on a studio stage, and set to the heartfelt and gritty music of Tom Waits, this 1984 experimental art film stars Teri Garr and Frederic Forrest as a couple who break up on July 4th and spend the night on the Vegas strip searching for their romantic fantasies. Beautifully brilliant in design with florid but memorable set pieces, this is a neon dream about betting on another roll of the dice and maybe getting lucky in love. Lots of cool extras, include making-of, deleted scenes, Coppola’s commentary and best of all, isolated Tom Waits score with alternate tracks.
An original screenplay and obviously personal story for Coppola, this not widely seen 2009 release is about Bennie (Vincent Gallo), a waiter on a cruise line who looks up his long lost brother Angelo while on shore leave in Buenos Aires. This is a poignant story about the friction, secrets and scars in a creatively driven family of Italian immigrants. Extras are generous and besides the routine commentary and behind-the-scene featurettes, includes the unexpected extended version of the play “Fausta: A Drama in Verse” that’s featured in the movie.
Meaningful on so many levels, this 1974 thriller works best as peek into the life of an isolated, lonely, obsessed wiretap expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman). The ironic last name of the actor does not dilute the powerful performance of a man haunted by his past tormented by the present. Hackman excels here in an astonishing performance that burns the screen and the heart. Caul’s motto of staying far removed from the personalities and passions of each assignment, on this one he gets sucked into a web of murder and dark secrets that threaten his life and sanity. Nice extras feature a look at Coppola dictating (!) the original screenplay and perhaps the best director’s commentary I have ever heard. There’s also a fascinating and revealing commentary by esteemed film editor Walter Murch and an archival on-set interview with Hackman.
BIG SCREEN PICK OF THE WEEK:
If off-the-grid documentaries are of interest, this one is a doozy that delivers astonishing images that dispute any lingering doubts about the rapidity and extreme of climate change. Here is ground zero where the disappearing ice masses, caps and glaciers meet the sea and vanish in thin air. Monstrous in scale, some of the walls of ice are taller than any existing skyscraper and dwarf the size of lower Manhattan. Some of the images are almost overwhelming in their beauty and majesty and horror. The film follows National Geographic photographer James Balog on a sometimes obsessive and daredevil quest to find ways to capture these astounding single photos and time-lapse footage of our vanishing landscape. Now showing at The River’s Century Theater in Palm Desert.