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Yet more delayed reviews...
I know it sounds like the girliest thing ever, but if you're even vaguely a fantasy or animation fan, it's imperative that you take me at my word that the 1982 adaptation of the classic Peter S. Beagle novel by Rankin Bass animation is essential viewing. Not because of the animation, which is admittedly, not the greatest in the world, even though Rankin Bass farmed out a lot of it to a pre-Studio Ghibli. Not because of the songs, which, unless you're a huge fan of the band America (and seriously, outside of that "Horse With No Name" song, who alive today and not on medicare is?), they're kind of rambling and weird. No, it's because of the story itself. Not a lot of fantasy stands the test of time, but this book keeps enchanting new readers and, even with its shortcomings, this animated version manages to capture most of it's melancholic, Campbellian, whimsy with aplomb. The story is of a unicorn (Mia Farrow) who, upon discovering she may be the last of her kind, sets out on a quest to discover what happened to the others. Along the way she hooks up with an incompetent magician (Alan Arkin), an aging forest-type, um, maid chick (I don't really how to qualify her identity here, but Tammy Grimes does a wonderful job with her voice), and eventually, after the magician turns her into a human girl to protect her from a unicorn-attacking giant red bull (without wings, mind you), a heroic prince (Jeff Bridges) who becomes totally smitten with her. But this isn't a typical fantasy all about getting your prince and princess to run off together, no. This is the kind of story that feels as if you've dreamed it before, that even though things don't go the way you want or expect them to, it's the way they're supposed to go. It's a story that, despite its atypical fantasy elements, is clearly going to be around for awhile. I think it's well past time for another, shinier adaptation, but in the meantime, Lionsgate's new cleaned up version of the film on Blu-Ray will do just fine.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Last Unicorn (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
127 HOURS (Blu-Ray and DVD)
Well, you've got to hand it to this 2010 Best Picture nominee, it certainly was disarming. Not ham-fisted at all, as some of us expected to be (I'm looking at YOU, Leon), but surprisingly limber, largely through director Danny Boyle's dynamic storytelling style. Thinking back, it stumps me how anyone managed to make a 94 minute film that largely is just James Franco trapped in a cave by himself, and make it so gripping (next year, maybe Boyle should direct Franco at the Oscars if he wants a REAL challenge). Even so, there were some moments that, while I wasn't exactly ready to pass out in the theater, as some patrons famously have around the country, even I had to take five. There's more than a few times in the last 20 minutes or so, that everything reaches an extremity of intensity that I could barely stand to witness. So, probably not a great movie for those who can't even get a grasp on horror (which is rarely as terrifying as this is). The Blu-Ray edition will probably make it easier viewing, as you can always cut it off when it gets to be too much. There's also a sizable alternate ending, seven deleted scenes, in-depth featurettes about the making of the film and the real rock star himself, Aron Ralston. Whew. Can't believe I got all the way through that review without making a single pun.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY 127 Hours [Blu-ray]