Film Reviews by Adam Long

NOW IN THEATERS:

Elvis (2022) (***) Baz Luhrmann, a director whose body of work ran hot and cold for me up to this point, has turned in his most accessible work with his new biopic about the King of Rock N Roll. The film is a pretty much straight forward retelling of the life of Elvis Presley but what makes the film enjoyable is Luhrmann’s command of the medium, resulting in a pure adrenaline rush that’s sorely needed in today’s cinematic climate of staid CGI nonsense. It’s also quite moving at times which was totally unexpected for this jaded viewer. Add to this the great lead performance by Austin Butler and the surprising attention to detail, unlike such recent sloppily researched biopics as the insufferable hit, Bohemian Rhapsody. Tom Hanks’ performance as Colonel Tom Parker may run hot and cold but why carp? This is the type of cinematic spectacle that’s becoming a rarefied species these days. See it on the big screen for maximum effect.Theaters, Streaming & Disc

The Black Phone (2022) (** ½) The latest film from the Blumhouse horror universe, the tale of a serial child kidnapper (Ethan Hawke) on the prowl and what happens when his latest prey turns out to have psychic connections, is a hit and miss affair that gets all of the period details right. Unfortunately, this adaptation of a short story by author, Joe Hill, never manages to truly ascend to the frightening heights one might anticipate. There are a few well timed jump scares and it’s never boring but it’s a mystery why this one was bumped from its original January release and primed as a summer event. It’s a by the numbers affair that should have been a lot better although a film that uses the phenomenal Free Ride by The Edgar Winter Group over its opening credits has to be given some credit.

NEW TO DISC:

Arrow:

True Romance (1993) Tony Scott’s immensely entertaining adaptation of the Quentin Tarantino tale of newlyweds (Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette) on the run from Chicago to Los Angeles, with cops and gangsters tailing them for good measure, gets the 4K UHD treatment this week. Extras include new interviews along with archival extras.

MPI:

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952-54) The first two seasons of the beloved 1950s sitcom have been digitally remastered and issued separately in two sets that include 39 episodes each.

Criterion:

This week’s new releases from the label include Pink Flamingos (1972) and The Worst Person in the World (2021). Both have new transfers and extras.

Kino:

The label is issuing 4K UHD releases this week of Stanley Kubrick’s Killer’s Kiss (1955) and Out of Sight (1998). Both have new extras.

Paramount:

Boomerang (1992) The Eddie Murphy comedy about the romantic complications of an advertising exec gets its first ever Blu Ray issue in time for its 30th anniversary. Extras include commentary and extended/deleted scenes.

The First Wives Club (1996) The comedy hit featuring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton gets its first ever Blu Ray release as part of the Paramount Presents line of titles.

Other new Paramount releases include Harlem Nights (1989).

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Austin Butler in Elvis