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Home Movies/Out on Digital 12.29.2016

Dec. 27, 2016
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“The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series on Blu-ray”

“Classic” television shows continue to be reissued in new packages but truth is, most aren’t classic in any sense except for being old. “The Twilight Zone” is one of the exceptions: a vintage program well written, well produced under tight budgets, influential and still captivating. The interest is more than historical or nostalgic.

“The Twilight Zone” has just been released in a Blu-ray set containing all 156 episodes. They are marvelously compact half-hour stories with nary a wasted second. As announced by tight-lipped narrator-writer-producer Rod Serling, they occupy “the middle ground between science and superstition.” Occasionally they were science fiction; often they followed ordinary people who veered into the extraordinary. They suggested the malevolent machinery underlying reality, the fear within the shadows, the disquiet hiding in everyday life. Faces full of sweaty anxiety filled the screen; askew camera angles sometimes magnified the unease of characters confronted by the uncanny.

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Neither Heaven Nor Earth

At a French army base in the Afghan mountains, perched in a rugged alien landscape, soldiers are disappearing. The captain blames the Taliban, but upon encountering one of their patrols, realizes that their men are also vanishing. Directed by Clément Cogitore, Neither Heaven Nor Earth becomes a quietly unnerving accumulation of facts that refuse to fit. Are the nearby villagers correct in saying that there are places in the hills where people sleep at their peril?

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The Park is Mine

Tommy Lee Jones is unusually stilted in this 1985 TV movie as a Vietnam veteran who seizes control of Central Park. He’s a little crazy a la Hollywood stereotypes, but is trying to make an anti-Establishment point. “My whole life has been directed by other people,” he proclaims. Now, with an arsenal of weapons and his jungle warfare skills, he’s in charge. 1980s nostalgia abounds in Tangerine Dream’s synth soundtrack and Jones’ ultimatum—delivered via pay phone. 

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