Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: First Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron,' Brings Mass Destruction Along With Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Watch: First Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron,' Brings Mass Destruction Along With Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Watch: 'Star Wars' Prequels Recut Into 2 Hour 40 Minute 'Turn to the Darkside: Episode 3.1' Watch: 'Star Wars' Prequels Recut Into 2 Hour 40 Minute 'Turn to the Darkside: Episode 3.1' Edward Norton Says He Didn't Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More "Diversity" In His Film Roles Edward Norton Says He Didn't Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More "Diversity" In His Film Roles Oscar Buzz: Who Could Be Set For Nods In The Supporting Actress Race? Oscar Buzz: Who Could Be Set For Nods In The Supporting Actress Race? Juliette Binoche Says Her Performance In 'Godzilla' Made Quentin Tarantino Cry Juliette Binoche Says Her Performance In 'Godzilla' Made Quentin Tarantino Cry Listen To Chvrches "Get Away" From The Rescored Version Of Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive' Plus Check Out The Trailer Listen To Chvrches "Get Away" From The Rescored Version Of Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive' Plus Check Out The Trailer The Essentials: The 10 Best Michael Keaton Performances The Essentials: The 10 Best Michael Keaton Performances George Lucas Says Studios "Don't Have Any Imagination And Don't Have Any Talent" George Lucas Says Studios "Don't Have Any Imagination And Don't Have Any Talent" Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 7 ‘Friendless Child’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 7 ‘Friendless Child’ Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Baz Luhrmann's Chanel No. 5 Short Film "The One That I Want" Starring Gisele Bündchen Watch: Baz Luhrmann's Chanel No. 5 Short Film "The One That I Want" Starring Gisele Bündchen WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting Gone Girls And Gone Boys: 11 Films That Dissect Marriage Gone Girls And Gone Boys: 11 Films That Dissect Marriage Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

DVD Is The New Vinyl: Famous Pimps, Infamous Early Fassbinder & 'Q: The Winged Serpent'

The Playlist By Aaron Hillis | The Playlist August 28, 2013 at 5:10PM

“Truthfully, DVD is not the new vinyl," a reader recently confronted me, arguing that the beloved analog qualities of records (the richer, warmer recording; that nostalgic hiss and crackle) are fetishized in ways that most movies on digital discs are not. Sure, the latter may be closer in spirit to CDs and don't get any better with age like ye olde phonographs, but tell that to Twilight Time, the below-the-radar, two-man boutique label that has been making cineaste tongues wag over their limited-edition, lovingly remastered Blu-rays of film classics like "The Big Heat," "Bonjour Tristesse" and "Enemy Mine."
0
Q The Winged Serpent

"Q: The Winged Serpent"
1982, dir. Larry Cohen
(Shout! Factory, available on BD)
Less than a mile uptown from King Kong's Empire State Building lies the Chrysler Building, nesting home for the eponymous, man-eating, stop-motion animated Aztec god (full name: Quetzalcoatl) in this deliciously oddball, Ray Harryhausen-inspired creature feature by way of lowlife crime thriller. Written and directed by the idiosyncratic, deadpan humored, socially conscious Cohen, an under-acknowledged genre auteur ("It's Alive," "The Stuff," "Black Caesar") who deserves at least some of George Romero's hype, "Q" stars a jittery, motor-mouthed Michael Moriarty ("Law and Order") as a two-bit thief and wannabe pro pianist who discovers the plumed beast's skyscraper dwelling. Leveraging his knowledge to get into the good graces of NYC police investigators David Carradine and Richard Roundtree, our hapless, self-serving rogue tries his best to not get murdered by gangsters and the religious cult-invoked fiend who squawkingly beheads window washers and flies away with topless sunbathers to flay and feast on later. TheClaymation F/X (not to be confused with Cohen's "Special Effects") are charmingly dated, even as a low-budget throwback to '50s and '60s monster movies, but what makes this B-movie transcend its schlock value is its believable, gritty characters, and especially Moriarty's eccentrically unhinged, heavily improvised performance.

The Skinny: Moriarty and Cohen have had a lucrative collaborative relationship, working together on "The Stuff," "A Return to Salem's Lot," "It's Alive III: Island of the Alive" and "Pick Me Up," a fan-favorite episode of the Showtime anthology "Masters of Horror" that placed Cohen in the same respected camp of contributing genre veterans as John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Tobe Hooper and Joe Dante.

Bonus Round: Cohen's commentary track starts a bit frazzled but eventually finds its anecdotal groove, with a tangentially shaggy overview of the film's production (it was put together in a 24-hour scramble after Cohen was fired from an adaptation of Mickey Spillane's "I, Jury") and an early test screening that went awry when the crowds walked out after realizing it wasn't a preview of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Makes a "Larry Cohen's Finest Hour" Triple Feature with: "Bone," "God Told Me To"

Betty Boop

WORTH A SPIN:

"Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 1" (1932 - 1937, Olive Films, on BD, DVD) – With doe eyes as big as her puckered lips are tiny, Max and Dave Fleischer's cartoon jazz doll "boop-boop-a-doops" her girlish way through 12 early one-reelers, which are surreal and racy and far darker than anything Disney made in that era. Essential, indeed.

"The Big City" (1963, Criterion, on BD, DVD) – With his trademark warmth and wit, India's greatest director Satyajit Ray explores one woman's pursuit for independence in then-contemporary Kolkata. Simultaneously, Criterion releases Ray's 19th-century set "Charulata," another elegant, progressive, femme-centric melodrama.

"The Painting" (2012, Cinedigm, on BD/DVD combo, DVD) – Looking for meaning in their painted lives, "Alldunns," "Halfies" and "Sketchies" populate the vibrantly animated world of Jean-François Laguionie's sweet, sophisticated fantasy "Le Tableau" (as it's known in its native France), a visual feast for children and adults alike.

"Post Tenebras Lux" (2012, Strand, on DVD) – Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas ("Silent Light") regularly delves into the existential and spiritual anguish of his characters, and won Best Director at Cannes for this impressionistic, bizarrely autobiographical drama featuring a family in crisis, bathhouse swingers, and a bright red demon.

"This is Martin Bonner" (2013, Monterey Media, on DVD) – A Sundance award winner, Chad Hartigan's low-key but note-perfect drama concerns an ex-con (Richmond Arquette) who is taken under the wing of an aging Australian expat (Paul Eenhoorn). Who knew such a small film could be a smart, profoundly redemptive and devastating character study?

This article is related to: DVD / Blu-Ray, DVD Titles You Should Know, DVD Labels, DVD Is the New Vinyl, Features, Brian De Palma, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Larry Cohen


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates