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News From the Lake for July 16th, 2014


On tap for this week’s News From the Lake: Some upcoming screenings, another classic movie reboot, and plenty of DVDs and Blu-rays.

Universal Taps Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan To Relaunch Classic Movie Monster Franchises

A week or so ago I talked about Universal putting out Complete Legacy Collections for their Universal monsters. Apparently, they aren’t done with the group yet because Deadline is reporting early talks are happening regarding rebooting the Universal stable of monsters! Alex Kurtzman of Transformers fame (second time in the last two weeks I’ve referred to that franchise) and Chris Morgan who worked on five installments of the Fast and the Furious series – gotta love how well-versed these people are with monsters…note sarcasm – are in talks to write a script that will “expand and unify a network of classic characters and stories.” I take that as, they’re not rebooting individual films, so much as creating a Monster Squad-type story where the monsters are all sharing the same universe. So Marvel meets monsters? That’s the idea, but first they’re planning on a 2016 reboot of The Mummy and moving from there. As with Disney’s live-action Dumbo, I’m very disturbed about where this could go. What say all you?

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What’s new on the screenings front? National theater chain, Cinemark Holdings, Inc. is pairing up with Best Movie Fest Ever to put on a monthly film series at ten Cinemark theaters nationwide. The inaugural theme is “My Favorite Musicals” and two of the three films screening are classics: the newly restored print of Oklahoma! and Hello, Dolly! There’s talk of special celebrity guest introductions, giveaways and more at the ten theaters but no specifics have been revealed. The screenings will be held July 26th and July 29th. If you want to see what theaters will be showing these, you can find the original article here.

Specter of the Rose (1946)

If you’re in the L.A. area this weekend head over to the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood Village for another awesome screening presented by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. This weekend they’re showing the rare Ben Hecht-directed noir Specter of the Rose (1946). The screening starts at 7:30pm on July 19th and will welcome Bryan Cooper and Debra Levine as guests. Full details are up at the UCLA Film & TV site.


On the film festival circuit, it’s almost time for 50th anniversary of Cinecon, an L.A. film festival focused on classic film. This year’s event runs over Labor Day weekend (specifically August 28th-September 1st). This year’s coup is the U.S. premiere of East is West (1922), newly restored by the EYE Institute. A huge treat to hear about is the screening of a little seen Veronica Lake movie, Hold That Blonde (1945), a rare Lake comedy that’s never been released on DVD. Hopefully, a screening at Cinecon might change that and I wish I could watch Veronica, first-hand. You can read the schedule and get information at the Cinecon website.

New on DVD and Blu-ray

Cohen Media: It’s been awhile since anything from Cohen Media came past me, but the studio’s announced plans to release Fritz Lang’s Hangmen Also Die (1943) on DVD and, for the first time, on Blu-ray. You can purchase it on September 9th.

20th Century Fox: Two more releases via Fox Cinema Archives. First off, Charles Coburn leads Colonel Effingham’s Raid (1945), while the Jones Family meet Down on the Farm (1939). These are both¬†available starting July 29th.

Criterion: Some fantastic releases via Criterion are planned for October. First off is John Ford’s My Darling Clementine (1946) coming out October 14th; then there’s Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960) on October 21st, and Orson Welles’ quasi-documentary, F for Fake (1975) on October 21st. There’s rumors of additional releases, something horror based possibly, but these three releases look amazing! Each comes with a wealth of bonus content so if you’re interested in a specific release, be sure to head to Criterion’s website.

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Warner Archive: Mr. Alan Ladd is the man of the week over at Warner Archive with a quartet of releases, all Westerns; Drum Beat (1954), The Big Land (1957), The Deep Six (1958), and Guns of the Timberland (1960). All of these are manufactured on-demand and can be purchased at Warner Archive’s website.

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

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