Friday, October 13, 2017

INTO THE NIGHT (1985) (Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review)

Collector's Edition Blu-ray 

Label: Shout Factory/Shout Select

Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 115 Minutes 

Audio: English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 with Optional English subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: John Landis
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Farnsworth, Irene Papas, Kathryn Harrold, Dan Aykroyd, Bruce McGill, David Bowie

In John Landis's insomnia-thriller Into the Night (1985) Jeff Goldblum (The Fly) stars as Ed Okin, a sleep deprived man deeply unsatisfied by his job as an aerospace engineer who has just discovered that his wife is having an affair with her co-worker. On the strange advice of his friend (Dan Aykroyd, Spies Like Us) he heads to LAX airport to try to get some shuteye, which is where he encounters the gorgeous jewel thief Diana (Michelle Pfeifer (Batman Returns) who literally lands on his car, and thus begins a surreal, all-night odyssey of quirky mystery and intrigue. 

This is a strange little all-night thriller that features our duo making their way through Los Angeles trying to survive the night, on the run from a British hitman played by David Bowie (The Hunger) and four Iranian henchmen, one of whom is a mute character played by director John Landis. The movie is simplistically convoluted in a Hitchcockian by way of the Coen Brothers (Blood Simple), with Goldblum as the everyday man caught up in a web of intrigue, and Pfeiffer as the gorgeous blond femme fatale, the story line involving emeralds stolen from the Shah of Iran and some shady real estate deals, but the emeralds are just the McGuffin of the story that set in motion a series of events, and this movie could easily be described in unfavorable terms as just a series of events, but I love it.

In typical Landis fashion there are a metric ton of director cameos in the movie, be on the lookout for David Cronenberg (Shivers), Paul Bartel (Eating Raul), Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemeont High), Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat), and Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs)just to name a few. Also appearing in various roles are Bruce McGill (Animal House) as an Elvis impersonator, the lovable codger Richard Farnsworth (Barton Fink) as an old man on his deathbed, Vera Miles (Psycho), 80's celebrity body-builder Jake Steinfeld, and genre legend Clu Gulager (The Initiation) as an FBI agent, seriously half the fun of this movie is just cameo-spotting.

Where the movie arguably falters is that this thriller has no defined comeuppance or knot-tying finale, it's more about Goldblum's depressive and insomniac journey through the strangeness of L.A., a quiet but madcap thriller. Thankfully the chemistry between Goldblum and Pfeiffer is pretty great, for one she is stunning but also very funny, it's no wonder both went on to huge stardom soon afterward, they're both magnetic, Goldbum as the quirky every man and she as the alluring mystery woman. I myself would happily fall into her labyrinthine of intrigue if she landed on top of my car screaming for help, of that I have no doubt. 

Audio/Video: Into the Night (1985) arrives on Blu-ray from Shout Factory imprint Shout Select with a new HD scan framed in 1.85:1 widescreen  and it look simply wonderful. Colors are rich, black levels are deep, and the fine detail is lush, there's some really nice depth the image, too. Audio comes by way of an English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 Mono track with optional English subtitles, the track is clean and buoyant, dialogue is sharp, and the strange blues-licks/80's synth score from Ira Newborn (Innocent Blood) and B.B. King come through smoothly.  

Shout! compliment the film with a few new extras, brand new interviews with both director John Landis and star Jeff Goldbum! John Landis shows up for a great 26-minute interview recounting all the casting that didn't happen, beginning with flying to Aspen, Colorado to meet with Jack Nicholson whom he wanted to star in the film, obviously Nicholson turned him down, but it's a fun story. He also speaks about wanting Gene Hackman (Night Moves) for the film but the studio head balked at the idea, and more talk of Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) who dropped out of the project to star in a film with Travolta, that movie was the jazzer-cising Perfect (1983), and it was awful! Landis also goes into how he came to appear in such a large role in the film as one of the Iranians, also addressing how hard it is to make David Bowie look unsightly in a movie, he just looked so good no matter what they did to ugly him up. He also address the B.B. King/Ira Newborn score and how that was composed, with B.B. King playing along to the movie and then Newborn went in and composed instrumentation around those guitar licks, resulting in the strange blues/synth hybrid we hear.  

Goldblum shows up for a fun 22-min interview, he's funny, self-deprecating, seemingly realizing in the moment that this is kind of an homage to Hitchcock's Vertigo. He observes that he wasn't quite an actor at this point in his career, feeling he didn't really capture the character's transformation they way he could have, describing his style as "primitive and unsophisticated". He also speaks about some of the locations then and now, and how Landis referred to the lines for the day as "the jokes", which he calls fun and "kooky". He pitches an idea for a sequel at the end, which I would love to see. 

Also on the disc is the B.B. King documentary 'B.B. King Into the Night' which was directed by Landis.  This one features a music video for King's song "Lucille", a video featuring Goldblum and Pfeifer, in addition to Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, and Steve Martin as performers in the band, it's a bit of a fluff piece but fun just the same and does relate to the film, and features fun performances of the aforementioned "My Lucille", "Into the Night", and "In the Midnight Hour", plus a great vintage live clip of King playing "The Thrill is Gone" from 1973. The disc is finished-up with a trailer for the film.  

This single-disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with the a-side featuring the original movie poster artwork, the b-side featuring a scene from the flick.The disc itself features a purple washed background with Pfeiffer's character on it.  

Special Features: 

- NEW Restored Master
- NEW John Landis: “Back Into The Night” (26 min) HD 
- NEW Jeff Goldblum: “Requiem For An Insomniac” (23 min) HD 
- Award-Winning Documentary B.B. King Into The Night 926 min) SD
- Original Theatrical Trailer (2 min) SD

I'm kind of sad that this insomnia-fueled thriller got by me for so long, on the other I am happy that my first viewing was this gorgeous Blu-ray from Shout Select. If you're a John Landis fan like myself who missed out on this one for so long you need to seek it out, this is a great edition with wonderful A/V presentation and some excellent extras. It's been a great few months for Landis fans, with Innocent Blood (1992) on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive, and now Into the Night (1985) from Shout!, and this one has some great extras, unlike the former.