Hobbitses Everywhere! – Dracula (1931), The Iron Giant, Hobbit Extended in Theaters

I am all in favor of bringing back classics to theaters so they can be seen again as they were meant to, on the big screen.

Hobbit Extended

However, Peter Jackson’s deeply flawed Hobbit trilogy does not qualify as classic. Still we hardly get any fantasy movies. To celebrate the release of The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies extended edition, Fathom Events is bringing the extended versions of all three Hobbit movies to the screen for one night each.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – 10/5 at 7:30

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – 10/7 at 7:30

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies – 10/13 at 7:30

Because these are Fathom events, be aware that you’ll pay a premium price.

The Iron Giant

Fathom Events is bringing The Iron Giant back to theaters in a newly remastered version with additional scenes.

The Iron Giant – 9/30 at 7 and 10/4 at 12 noon

Dracula

Finally, to end the month, TCM and Fathom are bringing us a double dose of Dracula. They will be showing the Bela Lugosi original and the Spanish version that was filmed at the same time on the same sets but with different actors.

Dracula – 10/25 & 10/28 at 2 and 7 p.m.

The 50 Best Movies – 17 Netflix & 4 Amazon

This week’s Entertainment Weekly – hmm that seems unwieldy – The current Entertainment Weekly has an article entitled The 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen. They are only taken from the past twenty years so those haters of old movies need not fear. How many of these are available on instant Netflix? A whopping seventeen are available for your viewing pleasure.

Cold Comfort Farm (1995) – Rated PG

“When Flora Poste (Kate Beckinsale), a young society woman in 1930s London, becomes suddenly orphaned, she’s forced to take up residence with a group of her unsophisticated, oddball relatives at their farm. Despite protests from the bedridden, iron-willed matriarch of the farm, the aspiring lass tries to achieve some semblance of order and class in the house — and in her own life. Cast also includes Eileen Atkins, Ian McKellen and Joanna Lumley.”

Broken English (2007) – Rated PG-13

“Writer-director Zoe R. Cassavetes’s charming indie yarn follows 30ish New Yorker Nora Wilder (Parker Posey), a single woman in a dead-end job whose friends are all happily engaged or paired off in “perfect” marriages. Love seems to elude Nora until she meets an oddball Frenchman (Melvil Poupaud) who helps her discover life beyond her self-imposed boundaries. Gena Rowlands, Griffin Dunne and Drea de Matteo also star.”

Bubba Ho-Tep (2003) – Rated R

“In this black comedy, Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) is an elderly resident in an East Texas rest home who switched identities with an impersonator years before his “death” and missed his chance to switch himself back. When the King teams up with a fellow resident (Ossie Davis) who thinks he’s John F. Kennedy, the two old codgers prepare to battle an evil Egyptian entity that’s chosen their long-term care facility as its happy hunting grounds.”

Enter the Void (2009) – Not rated

“When Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a foreign drug dealer living in Tokyo with his stripper sister, Linda (Paz de la Huerta), is fatally shot in a police raid, his spirit leaves his body in a hallucinatory odyssey that merges his past, present and future into a chaotic whole. This riveting third film from provocative French auteur Gaspar Noe screened in competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Cyril Roy co-stars.”

Fish Tank (2009) – Not rated

“The life of hot-tempered teen outcast Mia (Katie Jarvis) takes an unexpected turn when her mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), brings home a handsome and mysterious boyfriend named Connor (Michael Fassbender), who pledges to bring sweeping positive changes to the household. British writer-director Andrea Arnold’s sophomore feature won Best British Film at the 2010 BAFTAs.”

Safe Men (1998) – Rated R

“When lounge singers Sam (Sam Rockwell) and Eddie (Steve Zahn) are mistaken for ace safecrackers, they reluctantly enter the criminal underworld in this madcap farce from writer-director John Hamburg (I Love You, Man, Along Came Polly). Jewish gangster Big Fat Bernie Gayle (Michael Lerner) sends Veal Chop (Paul Giamatti) to con real safecrackers (Mark Ruffalo and Josh Pais) into service, but the henchman mistakes the singers for the crooks.”

Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai (2000) – Rated R

“Inner-city dweller Ghost Dog rises above the chaos that surrounds him by adopting the strict lifestyle of the samurai warrior in director Jim Jarmusch’s crime drama, nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.”

Happy Accidents (2000) – Rated R

Ruby Weaver (Marisa Tomei) is tired of being the “enabler” in relationships and has decided to give up the role of doormat. She’s also on the verge of giving up on love when she meets a sweet, small-town guy, Sam Deed (Vincent D’Onofrio), who changes her mind. It seems Ruby’s finally found a sane boyfriend — until Sam divulges that he’s a time traveler from the year 2470. Now it’s up to Ruby to decide whether love can conquer all.”

The Iron Giant (1999) – Rated PG

“In rustic 1957 Maine, 9-year-old Hogarth finds a colossal but disoriented robot (of unknown origin), and the two form a strong bond of friendship. Before long, however, a government agent is on their trail — and he’s intent on destroying the automaton. This beautifully rendered parable based on British poet Ted Hughes’ feted short story features the voices of Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Harry Connick Jr. and Cloris Leachman.”

Last Night(2010) – Rated R

“During an evening apart, married couple Joanna and Michael encounter tempting opportunities to cheat on each other: Michael spends time on a business trip with his sexy colleague, Laura, while Joanna crosses paths with a former flame, Alex.”

Marwencol (2010) – Not rated

“After a terrible beating left Mark Hogancamp brain damaged, he began creating models of a fictional town, Marwencol, to process the trauma. Jeff Malmberg’s documentary explains how Hogancamp uses the elaborate dioramas as stand-ins for real life.”

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) – Not rated

“In the frozen beauty of Finland, local reindeer herders race against the clock to capture an ancient evil: Santa Claus. A single dad and his son are caught up in the chaos as scientists dig for artifacts. What they find endangers the entire village.”

The Rules of Attraction (2002) – Rated R

“Set at an affluent liberal arts college, this comedy offers a sardonic look at an emerging sexual triangle between co-eds Sean, a part-time drug dealer; Paul, who’s bisexual and has a crush on Sean; and Lauren, Paul’s ex-girlfriend.”

Together (2000) – Not Rated

“In 1970s Sweden, abused wife Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren) leaves her husband (Michael Nyqvist) and takes the couple’s daughter and son to live with her brother Göran (Gustav Hammarsten), who runs a crowded commune in a small house where just about anything goes. The largely leftist group living in the commune shares household chores — and occasionally bedroom arrangements — in this film about the last gasp of free living and free love in Sweden.”

My Summer of Love (2005) – Rated R

“Pawel Pawlikowski’s BAFTA award-winning film juxtaposes the secret longings of two very different young women: Mona (Natalie Press), who’s bored and tired of poverty, and Tamsin (Emily Blunt), who’s long ceased to be impressed with her well-heeled lifestyle. When their worlds collide unexpectedly, Mona and Tamsin sense an immediate attraction. But can their unusual friendship survive their differences?”

Two Family House (2000) – Rated R

“Blue-collar Italian-American Buddy Visalo (Michael Rispoli) has a record of failed business ventures. After buying a rundown home, his new scheme is to transform the bottom floor into a neighborhood bar. But first he must oust the current tenants — an abandoned Irish mother (Kelly Macdonald) and her half-black baby. Inspired by the true story of director Raymond De Felitta’s uncle, Two Family House won a Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.”

Walking and Talking (1996) – Rated R

“Amelia (Catherine Keener) and Laura (Anne Heche) have been best friends since the sixth grade. For the first time, their lives are taking different paths: Laura is in love and planning her wedding, while Amelia begins to despair that she’ll ever find the right man. But as they try to adjust their childhood friendship to the challenges of adulthood, these friends continue to laugh together at life and love.”

Tale of The Tape: Amazon Prime had a pitiful four out of fifty: Broken English, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, Happy Accidents, and Smiley Face. That is less than 25% of Netflix. Amazon Prime still has a huge way to go before being serious competition to Netflix.

The Iron Giant – Size Matters week

In honor of the wonderful Valentine’s/Birthday/Father’s Day/Christmas present my wife gave me, I am featuring giant things this week. Today it is a giant robot. The Iron Giant is currently available on instant Netflix.

The Iron Giant

WATCH: The Iron Giant (1999) – Rated PG for fantasy action and mild language.

“In rustic 1957 Maine, 9-year-old Hogarth finds a colossal but disoriented robot (of unknown origin), and the two form a strong bond of friendship. Before long, however, a government agent is on their trail — and he’s intent on destroying the automaton. This beautifully rendered parable based on British poet Ted Hughes’ feted short story features the voices of Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Harry Connick Jr. and Cloris Leachman.”

“A peaceful stay at home kind of day in a town very much like your own but then, suddenly, without warning ATOMIC HOLOCAUST!” – Beginning of a duck and cover school film.

“This is espresso – it’s like coffeezilla.”

Director Brad Bird made this film after an eight year run as executive consultant on The Simpsons (among other things). He does an absolutely marvelous job here. Later he would go on to both write and direct The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

Bird’s most important accomplishment here is capturing a wonderful sense of nostalgia. Even though it’s for a different era (late 50s instead of 40s), the closest comparison for this film would be A Christmas Story. We have a lovable beatnik (shades of Maynard G. Krebs), a duck and cover school film, worry about Sputnik. The best one is a brief glimpse of a horror movie on TV (The Brain from Planet Arous).

The details are simply marvelous. The cars aren’t generic – there are representations of an Oldsmobile 98, Chevy Pickup, Chevy Fleetmaster and more. There is a scene echoing and lit like the classic Bambi. The headline in Dean’s newspaper is a double joke – not only does it foreshadow an event but it also echoes a scene in The Lady & The Tramp.

Bird also has a wonderful time with directorial flourishes not normally found in animated features. There is a wonderful scene where our government agent gets back in his car. The camera then pans over to reveal half the car is missing. A scene of Kent Mansley explaining things and pointing his finger in the air cuts to a scene of Hogarth in the same pose.

This is one of those, admittedly few, animated features that appeal just as much to adults as they do to children. Don’t be put off by the fact that this an animated movie. Like most good science fiction, this is a parable.

Vin Diesel (with some manipulation) provides a wonderful voice for the robot. Harry Connick Jr. is the voice of our beatnik, Dean McCoppin. Jennifer Aniston is our harried waitress mother, Annie Hughes. Even with all the big names, it is Eli Marienthal who has to carry the film as Hogarth Hughes and he does a very good job.

I highly recommend this classic science fiction story. Netflix is nice enough to present it not only in its original aspect ratio but also in HD.

People Watch: The marvelous character actor M. Emmet Walsh voices Earl Stutz.