"Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) on Blu-ray -- How to Make a Horse Opera!

This is yet another film which has benefitted greatly from revisionist reviews. The ORIGINAL reviews, particularly in the US, were dismissive, if not downright scathing. Vincent Canby in the New York Times wrote along the theme, "If you can ignore the fact that this is a really bad movie, you will find it is both interesting to look at and fun." How's THAT for hedging your bets?

Since then, the film has gone on to achieve more than mere cult status, and now is viewed by critics as a seminal film, and possibly one of the BEST Westerns ever made! There's some good analysis of this arc in the Extras and Commentary. The film is now considered "ahead of its time" in that it was one of the first "films about films" -- a film which deliberately quotes elements from other key films of a genre.

The term "Operatic" is also used -- a LOT -- noting the exceedingly slow pacing of critical scenes, as in an opera, where no one can die before everyone sings about it for 15 minutes or so. One commentator goes so far as to suggest, "In this film, stares in close up serve the place of arias!"

Read More

Face Palm: Luchino Visconti's "The Leopard: Original Italian Version" (1963) on Blu-ray. OR, Why People Hate Art Films!

This is Luchino Visconti’s study of the end days of aristocracy in Sicily in the 1860's. Sicily, already resigned to being conquered time and again, will now join the united, Italian republic where it will be pretty much ignored.

3 Hours 5 Minutes long.

No time off for good behavior.

Read More