On the plus side, Tower Heist has a well-cast ensemble and makes great use of its mid-Manhattan location, including an incursion into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (I was more absorbed in those scenes—and trying to figure out how they were filmed—than I was in the “thrill” footage set many stories up in the sky. Now that computer imagery has made the impossible possible, it’s hard to be invested in those kind of stunts because we know—
I’m delighted to see that the Weinstein Company is re-releasing one of the year’s most overlooked films, Sarah’s Key, the moving adaptation of Tatiana De Rosnay’s international best-seller. It’s one of the year’s best films. Kristin Scott Thomas plays an American-born journalist who lives in France with her husband and daughter. While researching an article about the fate of French Jews during World War Two, she stumbles onto an incredible story involving a little girl named Sarah (played by newcomer Mélusine Mayance) who is separated from her family. An unexpected connection with Sarah turns Scott Thomas’ journalistic enterprise into a personal odyssey.
It’s a cultural crime that the greatest comedy team of all time has been so forsaken on DVD…until now. Therefore, I’m happy to report that Laurel & Hardy The Essential Collection (Vivendi) fully lives up to its name. It includes all of the team’s talkie shorts—including the ones they made in foreign languages for the international market—and most of their feature films for producer Hal Roach. (A handful of these films were released several years ago, but in slipshod fashion, using syndicated TV masters with fade-outs for commercial breaks!)
I wouldn’t have thought there was a market for Grace Kelly dolls, but I’m wrong. She’s been Barbie-ized, and the latest in Mattel’s series of collector dolls features her in a famous Edith Head high-fashion outfit from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window!
Two pieces of feedback on yesterday’s piece about spook shows are too good not to share. First, Bob Burns was kind enough to send along a newspaper ad for a 1948 show at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles that promised lucky kids a chance to see both Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein’s monster (Glenn Strange) onstage. As Bob says, “What a thrill to see Bela and Glenn in person!” The ad was given to him by Strange, a lifelong friend of Bob’s who played the monster in a number of the 1940s Universal features—including the one on this bill, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
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