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New on Disc: 'Mesrine,' 'Behind the Burly Q' and more …

11 Apr, 2011 By: Mike Clark

Mesrine — Part 1: Killer Instinct, Part 2: Public Enemy #1

Music Box, Drama, B.O. Part 1 $0.6 million, B.O. Part 2 $0.3 million, $29.95 each DVD, $34.95 each Blu-ray, Part 1 ‘R’ for strong brutal violence, some sexual content and language, Part 2 ‘R’ for bloody brutal violence, a scene of sexuality, nudity and pervasive language.
Stars Vincent Cassel, Gerard Depardieu, Cecile De France, Ludivine Sagnier.
The home release of France’s four-hour crime gangster saga has likely caught a bigger break than its subject gave many of his victims. In the interim between Mesrine’s two-part theatrical release and recent two-part launch (a month apart) on DVD and Blu-ray, lead Vincent Cassel got a lot of ink and exposure to mainstream moviegoers by appearing as the ballet maestro in Black Swan. Directed by Jean-Francois Richet, who did the not-bad 2005 remake of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, this is a tough movie to gauge artistically, and I understand why reactions were somewhat polarized. Given a protagonist who at times expanded his operation into the United States and Canada as well — and broke out of jail several times and once broke back in to spring pals — it is inevitably episodic. On the other hand, it is no everyday achievement to fashion a movie of uncommon length that has very few lulls or at least no lulls of consequence. A lot of this is due to Cesar winner Cassel’s constant charisma.
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Behind the Burly Q

Street 4/12
First Run, Documentary, B.O. $0.02 million, $27.95 DVD, NR.
On balance, the mostly aged former burlesque strippers that filmmaker Leslie Zemeckis interviews for this talking-heads remembrance claim to have had a jolly good time of it and speak of the now quaint old profession with fondness. A major high point is hearing Alan Alda reminisce about his long-ago backstage time as a “child of burlesque” because father Robert spent his early career working in the burly-q trade.
Extras: The DVD extras include a tribute to several performers who died during the documentary’s long production process. The extras also include a reunion party of many of the featured principals.
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The Mountain

Olive, Drama, $24.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, Claire Trevor, Anna Kashfi.
One time, it actually happened: Paramount Pictures made a movie set in the Swiss Alps in which the mountain that figures so prominently in its plot (and, of course, title) looked nearly identical to the studio’s famous logo minus the surrounding stars. And they shot it in resplendent VistaVision for images that still are almost beyond belief. In truth, there are a lot of Blu-rays, especially of current movies, that aren’t up to the visual wonders that this standard DVD from Olive Films routinely boasts in every frame. But this is a movie that’s significantly more fun to talk about than sit through, not that the latter is any particular chore. But this was one very weird project. The story, fairly simple, has to do with an airliner crashing in the mountain as winter’s coming on and the difficulty of assembling a party to rescue the mail on board.
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Yolanda and the Thief

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Musical, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer, Frank Morgan, Mildred
Natwick, Mary Nash, Leon Ames.
Yolanda is mostly exasperating to sit through, but you can’t dislodge its abject dreaminess from your brain. The Fred Astaire/Lucille Bremer “Coffee Time” number is one of my 20 favorite movie scenes ever.
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