Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor

With its inspiration coming from both ’70s paranoia thrillers and today’s headlines, there’s a lot of background to cover for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Basically, the list of movies to watch for this new Marvel sequel could simply be: all post-Watergate conspiracy theory movies from around 40 years ago and all documentaries of the last 10 years dealing with post-9/11 fearmongering and domestic surveillance. But I’m going to be a little more specific with those targets while also highlighting some directly referenced movies, some earlier features starring cast members of The Winter Soldier, a new documentary about one of the supporting players and more. We’ve actually already featured a whole trilogy that compliments the plot of the Captain America sequel, which you can read about over on our sister site, Nonfics. Unlike that post, this one is hopefully pretty light on spoilers. However, I like to give the warning with these lists that it’s best to actually see the movie in focus before reading ahead. 

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IntroRevenge

As the Oldboy remake approaches, the subject of revenge is no doubt teeming in everyone’s heads – at least in terms of punishing the people who decided to remake Oldboy. While there are so many lists out there about the most “brutal” or the most “satisfying” revenge films, perhaps it might be fun to explore the strangest, if not most laughable ways people enacted their justice.

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ds die hard 25th

The fifth film in the Die Hard series hits theaters in less than two weeks so it makes sense that 20th Century Fox would want to cash in on the impending excitement with the 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection. Sure the first four films have already been released as a set with the same transfers and features, and sure they could have waited until A Good Day to Die Hard makes its way to Blu-ray/DVD this summer to include it… but it’s not like film fans have ever shown an aversion to double or triple-dipping. And cynical commentary aside, I’m one of those fans. The new set includes all four current films as well as over a hundred minutes worth of new special features. The movie discs are essentially unchanged from their previous appearances, but Fox has vastly improved the case by making it a sturdy book-like model that slides into an outer sleeve with discs that slip into waxed sleeves instead of popping onto plastic buttons. It’s  a solid release on the outside, but how does it stack up inside? Keep reading for a look at Fox’s new Die Hard 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection.

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thisweekindiscs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Woodsman and the Rain (UK) A small mountain town in Japan is invaded by a film production crew making a zombie movie, but few of the locals seem all that interested. Katsu (Koji Yakusho), an older lumberjack, takes issue with their presence but soon comes to befriend the inexperienced director. The two men learn from each other This is a sweet and unassuming little film that manages laughs alongside a small amount of light drama. The townspeople’s reaction to the film crew ranges from indifference to awe, and it’s a joy seeing Yakusho in a fun, lightweight role. His enthusiasm once he joins the crew is infectious and clear on his face, and it’s an expression anyone who loves movies has shared more than once. Also available on Blu-ray. [Extras: Deleted scenes, interviews, trailers] *NOTE: This is a UK region 2 release meaning US residents will need a region free player to watch.*

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Not to take anything away from the fine people who create digital effects in films, but there are certain things that just look better when done for real. One of which has and always will be chases, crashes, and explosions. Trains are a solid example of this, so I’ve opted to share what I consider to be the best train crashes done primarily through practical methods such as model work or – in some cases – by just blowing up a damn train.

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Over Under - Large

If one were to conduct a scientific study meant to determine what the most successful action movie of the 90s was, chances are pretty dang good that Speed would be near the top of the candidates for consideration. A success both financially and critically, this high-octane tale of a bomb on a perpetually moving bus solidified Keanu Reeves as one of Hollywood’s go-to leading men, launched the gigantic career of Sandra Bullock, and even gave its director, Jan de Bont, a success to add to his resume. All of that should be enough to solidify Speed’s place as one of the most important 90s action movies already, and we haven’t even factored in how it also managed to introduce the phrase, “Pop quiz, hotshot,” into the cultural lexicon. So, pop quiz, hotshot: Die Hard was the greatest action movie ever made, but its sequel, Die Hard 2, was a derivative bore churned out by one of the most prolific manufacturers of schlock of the last few decades, Renny Harlin. What do you do? You get the director of the original, the inimitable John McTiernan, to come back for the third film, Die Hard With a Vengeance. DHWAV, from what I can tell, isn’t hated. It’s widely considered to be the second-best entry in the Die Hard franchise, it certainly made its makers some money, and it doesn’t get derided as the death of the franchise like the belated fourth sequel, Live Free or Die Hard, does. But it doesn’t get […]

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When Zoolander came out on September 28, 2001, the production had digitally removed The World Trade Center’s Twin Towers from the New York City skyline in an effort to avoid displaying a devastating image in the middle of a comedy about the world of fashion. If they’d have left it in, it wouldn’t have been the first time the buildings had been featured on film or television. Since they didn’t, it marks the first time the buildings were ever erased. With the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 coming this Sunday, it’s impossible not to be consumed a bit by the gravity of an action that killed so many and lowered a different world view onto all of us. Landon and I talked on Reject Radio regarding the effect that the day had on movies and movie-watchers, but that mostly dealt with the last decade – the world that came after that morning. As a counterpart, here’s a simply-edited montage of the past. Dan Meth has built a view to the movies where the Twin Towers either stood proudly in the background, made prominent appearances in the front of the action, or acted as the set. It’s stirring in its matter-of-factness, and it’s more than a little moving, but it’s ultimately a celebration of a symbol that no longer (physically) exists. Check it out for yourself:

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Samuel L. Jackson has been in 7,000 films, but we took on the cyclopean task of finding the Ten Best. We also got a Word-of-the-Day calendar and have been dying to use ‘cyclopean’ in a sentence.

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