Scarecrow Suggests

Scarecrow Suggests: December 2016

The Asphalt Jungle

Staff at the renowned video store and nonprofit archive highlight the best in this month’s new DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Dec. 2
The T.A.M.I. Show / The Big TNT Show
These two concert films from 1964 and 1966 feature live, raw performances by nearly every notable star of the era—the Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Supremes, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and a seminal set by James Brown, who said, “I danced so hard my manager cried.” The backup band was legendary LA session band the Wrecking Crew, which included Leon Russell and Glen Campbell. –Mark Steiner

Dec. 6
Phantasm Remastered

This 1979 cult classic spawned four worthwhile sequels and continues to attract devoted “phans,” including JJ Abrams, whose Bad Robot Productions created this 4K restoration. It spins a surreal dreamscape based upon its own unique mythology involving alien grave robbers, a creepy tall man, a groovy ice-cream man, a mysterious woman in lavender, muscle cars, severed fingers, angry bugs, hooded dwarves, a spooky mortuary, fortune tellers and goopy yellow blood, blurring nightmares with reality and presenting more mysteries than it solves. –Spenser Hoyt

Dec. 13
The Asphalt Jungle

John Huston was a master of adaptation and his take on W.R. Burnett’s heist novel is note perfect. Sterling Hayden carries the film as surly, professional thug Dix Handley, who leads a crew into a diamond heist masterminded by an aging criminal. Of course it’s doomed, and of course Marilyn Monroe (in her breakout role) has a hand in this fate. Criterion’s 2K digital restoration should look spectacular, and their typical bounty of extra features could be a masterclass on film noir. –Mark Steiner

Dec. 20

Late in Clint Eastwood’s chronicle of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s emergency water landing of US Air 1549 (aka the “Miracle on the Hudson”), Sully (Tom Hanks) turns to his co-pilot (Aaron Eckhart), saying, “We did our job.” That pretty much sums up this simple story of pragmatic collective heroism and cool thinking in a state of crisis. –Matt Lynch