A New Year and a New Crop of Movies

Normally the first of the year brings a slew of new movies on Netflix and, unfortunately, just as many expirations. This year seems to have fewer than in previous years but it looks like a bunch of Bollywood films showed up.

I’m not a fan of Bollywood but that’s probably only because I haven’t been exposed to much of it. One of my daughters swears by them. Dhoom, Dhoom 2, Doosra Aadmi, Mashaal, Chandni, and dozens of others just became available. Hopefully I’ll get to that genre someday.

There is an excellent French thriller, Point Blank, that I caught at an Asheville Film Society screening last year. I hope to watch it again and write it up this week but I can go ahead and wholeheartedly recommend it.

For concert enthusiasts, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Usher: Live from London, Seth MacFarlane: Swingin’ in Concert and comedians Russell Peters: Red, White and Brown and Louis CK: Hilarious.

For those that enjoy TV, the biggest one that became available is probably the very popular Downton Abbey. Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, Shameless, and Frasier are available and the U.S. version of Being Human joins the U.K. version. I have yet to watch the U.S. version but the U.K. one was pretty entertaining. Supernatural is supposed to be available soon.

Sunday Musings – Netflix & Roku & Warner oh my

Ugh – first post of the new year and it’s already the 8th. I really have to get back to regular writing.

This is the face of the new Roku. Not content with making a media box the size of my hand, they have now reduced it to a stick that can be plugged into a TV’s HDMI port. It only works on “MHL” HDMI TV’s of which there are only a few currently but the concept is pretty neat. I am always in favor of decluttering, especially since my Xbox and Roku won’t play Blu-Rays and my Blu-Ray player won’t play Hulu or Amazon (yes I know spoiled first world problems).

Poor Warner Bros. They are having such financial problems. I’m not sure what their thought process is but instead of that four week window that Netflix and Redbox had to wait to rent out new titles from some of the major studios, Warner is now going for a 56 day blackout for not only Netflix and Redbox but Blockbuster as well. Warner is hoping this will boost DVD sales of new releases since apparently people were willing to wait the four week period and not buy.

Warner apparently doesn’t understand that it’s not the period of time that makes the difference but the paradigm shift in how movies are delivered. Fewer and fewer DVDs are purchased, particularly at the vastly inflated initial release prices. For most films, you can wait just a few months and get if for half-price (or far less if you are willing to buy used from Blockbuster). Add to that that I simply do not have the time to watch even most of the movies that are available on instant Netflix (and that I get unlimited streaming for a per month charge that is less than half of a single new release). Hrrrm tough choice – I can buy six new releases or I can watch UNLIMITED films on Netflix for a YEAR.

Warner and the other studios absolutely refuse to learn any lessons at all from what the music industry went through. Well okay they have learned a few lessons – movies are now available on home media in a mere few months instead of the previous standard of six (and before that 12). They also do some good tie-ins by putting movies on sale in the same week that their sequels are released theatrically. I especially love the free movie ticket promotions like the one currently on the Underworld Blu-Rays.

The Tomb of Ligeia

The Tomb of Ligeia is currently available on Amazon Prime.

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

“A widower falls in love and marries an exact replica of his first wife. The second wife soon discovers her husband’s fixation with his dead spouse and becomes the object of evil happenings. In HD.”

“She will not die because she willed not to die.”

The Tomb of Ligeia is the last of Corman’s eight Poe adaptations. Like Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia was filmed in Britain to take advantage of the subsidies.

The Tomb of Ligeia is far more subdued than the other adaptations. Not much actually happens during the course of the film but an atmosphere of dread permeates the whole feature.

I love Corman’s elaborate sets but I really enjoyed that he opened up The Tomb of Ligeia (so to speak). A majority of Tomb takes place outdoors. We have cemetery scenes, scenes among the ruins and in fields and a fox hunt.Even the indoor scenes in The Tomb of Ligeia are spacious.

The outdoor ruins of Castle Acre Priory and Stonehenge are fabulous. It is great to see Stonehenge, albeit briefly, without all the ropes and safeguards in place. I envy my wife getting to have a champagne breakfast there with her father but I digress.

Vincent Price is wonderful again here, alternately subdued and manic, haunted and doomed. He is our haunted protagonist and does not get to fall back on his villainous persona this time.

Elizabeth Shepherd, taking a page from Price’s book, gets to play a double role here. She plays both Ligeia and Lady Rowena Trevanion. She was actually cast as Mrs. Peel in The Avengers (1961) but somehow lost the role to Diana Rigg. Ligeia was her big movie role – she moved back to television afterward.

The rest of the cast is stable but do not make much of an impression. Richard Vernon, who plays Dr. Vivian, had just finished playing Smithers in Goldfinger. He would later play Slartibartfast in the 1981 adaptation of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Cat lovers may want to skip this one and the ending feels forced but Elizabeth Shepherd and Vincent Price are fun to watch, the feeling of dread is nicely communicated, and the sets and scenery are nice to look at.

Remake-itis: This was remade, sort of, as The Tomb (2010) starring Michael Madsen, Wes Bentley, and Eric Roberts. It is called The Tomb and has a female character named Ligeia but it is set in modern times and bears almost no resemblance to the Poe story.