le 17 août 2014
PANIC sur FLORIDA BEACH [`MATINEE']  [Blu-ray] Matinee: A Cinematic Love Letter to the Films of William Castle!
`PANIC sur Florida Beach' [‘MATINEE’] is a 1993 period comedy film directed by Joe Dante. It is an ensemble piece about a William Castle-type independent filmmaker, with the home front in the Cuban Missile Crisis as a backdrop. The film stars John Goodman, with Cathy Moriarty, Simon Fenton, Omri Katz, Lisa Jakub, and Kellie Martin. A then-unknown Naomi Watts has a small role as a character in a film within the film. The film was written by Jerico Stone and Charlie Haas.
Showman Lawrence Woolsey [John Goodman] introduces Key West [a small coastal town] to a unique movie experience and capitalises on the Cuban Missile crisis hysteria with a kitschy horror extravaganza combining film effects, stage props and actors in rubber suits in this salute to the B-movie. Although Matinee is set in October 1962, its other film within a film, the family-oriented gimmick comedy "The Shook-Up Shopping Cart" (featuring an anthropomorphic shopping cart), is a reference to some colour Disney comedies that came later in the decade
FILM FACT: The original score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Several cues from previous films were also used, arranged and conducted by Dick Jacobs, including "Main Title" from ‘Son of Dracula’ ; "Visitors" from ‘It Came from Outer Space’ ; "Main Title" from ‘Tarantula’ ; "Winged Death" from ‘The Deadly Mantis’ ; two cues from ‘This Island Earth’ , "Main Title" and "Shooting Stars;" and three cues from the ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ trilogy: "Monster Attack" from ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ ; "Main Title" from ‘Revenge of the Creature’  and "Stalking the Creature" from ‘The Creature Walks Among Us’ . Although ‘Matinee’ is set in October 1962, its other film within a film, is the family-oriented gimmick comedy ‘The Shook-Up Shopping Cart’ (featuring an anthropomorphic shopping cart), is a reference to some colour Walt Disney comedies and the film features a then-unknown Naomi Watts.
Cast: John Goodman, Cathy Moriarty, Simon Fenton, Omri Katz, Lisa Jakub, Kellie Martin, Jesse Lee Soffer, Lucinda Jenney, James Villemaire, Robert Picardo, Jesse White, Dick Miller, John Sayles, David Clennon, Lucy Butler, Georgie Cranford, Nick Bronson, Cory Barlog, George Carson, Joe Gonzalez, Belinda Balaski, Charles S. Haas, Mark McCracken, Archie Hahn, Naomi Watts, Chris Stacy, Allison McKay, Richard Rossomme, D. Christian Gottshall, Elizabeth Dimon, Jacob Witkin, Timothy Bass, Jeff Breslauer, Molly Conole, Peggy O'Neal, Colette Piceau, Steve DuMouchel, Kurt Smildsin, Michael T. Kelly, Ike Pappas, Brett Rice, Robert Cornthwaite (uncredited), John F. Kennedy (archive footage) (uncredited), Art Linkletter (uncredited), Kevin McCarthy (uncredited), Sherrie Peterson (uncredited), William Schallert (uncredited), Adlai Stevenson (archive footage) Elijah Vorrasi (uncredited) and Valerian Zorin (archive footage) (uncredited)
Director: Joe Dante
Producers: Michael Finnell and Pat Kehoe
Screenplay: Charles S. Haas and Jerico Stone
Composer: Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography: John Hora
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio and French: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio
Running Time: 99 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Universal Pictures
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: A hilarious and poetic chronicle of America's early 1960's a beautiful declaration of love for cinema, by the immense Joe Dante. If there's one director who has paid dearly for his insolence towards the powerful Hollywood industry is Joe Dante. His name is often unknown to the public and it is a real injustice. The man, formerly protected by Steven Spielberg, will indeed have staged a series of small masterpieces that will have a profound impact on children of the 1980s. If the brilliant ‘The Howling’  is now mainly known genre film enthusiasts, the explosive ‘Indoor Adventure’  and especially the fantastic ‘Gremlins’  cult films remain for a generation of moviegoers. In reviewing these beads, they can measure their chance to be born at a time when the "family film" was not synonymous with weakness and politically correct, but irreverence and fantasy. Because of its ability to infuse a real breath staff at all blockbusters that will have had under his responsibility, Joe Dante remains one of the most emblematic of these blessed years filmmakers.
It is October 1962 and the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, that is happening in the small seaside town of Key West in Florida. We met Gene, a teenager a little dreamy, and his brother Dennis, who live on the military base in the city; their father, who is in the Navy, is in urgent mission aboard a submarine. The country is in turmoil since the televised announcement of President Kennedy explaining that Soviet missiles were spotted in Cuba and that the Communist offensive enemy is more than likely. It is in this climate of terror that the director and "showman" Lawrence Woolsey is presenting his latest film attraction "MANT!" of changing a man into a giant ant, following a nuclear accident! Gene meets Lawrence Woolsey, who he admires, and helps in the preparation of its dramatic effects in the cinema while around them, plus there is the nuclear threat that will amplify...the feeling that the end of the world is nigh? Joe Dante's `Matinee' is a beautiful little film that is guaranteed to appeal to children and adults. At its heart, it is a great tribute to the '50s and '60s monster films, which Joe Dante admired as a child. It is also full of energy and enormously entertaining.
John F. Kennedy interrupts television sets across the nation to warn of the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba, and filmmaker Lawrence Woolsey decides to capitalise on the atmosphere of fear that is taking hold in Florida after the announcement. Lawrence Woolsey's latest film ‘MANT!,’ happens to be about killer ant-human hybrids who attack only after atom bombings turn them into frightful creatures. Where better to open a film like this than Key West, Florida, with its military base and close proximity to an apparent atomic threat? In addition to bringing his film to Florida, Lawrence Woolsey decides to drum up even more publicity for his film by bringing along a couple of pals who will pretend to protest his film.
Ambitious exploitation director Lawrence Woolsey [John Goodman] has just arrived in Key West where his latest film will have its premiere. He is hoping for a warm reception and a big cheque from the owner and Manager of the local cinema [Robert Picardo] that will save his career, possibly even his relationship with his beautiful mistress, Ruth [Cathy Moriarty], who has grown tired of following him around the country. To hype up the film, Lawrence Woolsey has secretly brought a few old friends to protest its amorality in front of the theatre. When people gather to see what the fuzz is all about, he begins handing out free tickets. Many are discussed by the protest and decide to attend the screening to support Lawrence Woolsey.
Soon after, Lawrence Woolsey wires the theatre seats with buzzers, and hires a guy to dress like a monster and run inside the theatre once the film begins. He wants the screening to be special so that people would want to see the film again, and again, and again and pay for it again, and again, and again. Meanwhile, Gene [Simon Fenton], who is obsessed with monster films, cannot believe that Lawrence Woolsey has come to Key West. He is so excited that he has almost forgotten about the fact that his father, a navy officer, has been sent to Cuba.
The film works because its characters are alive. There are so many of these 'feel-good' films nowadays where the characters utter their lines and the viewer immediately feel that they are meaningless. In ‘Matinee,’ the lines are funny and awkward. They make sense because kids often say and do things that make perfect sense to them but not to us. The excited kids also look genuinely excited when they enter the cinema because they know that the next two hours will be magical, even if the film was bad, like the one Woolsey hypes up, we would see it again and again, because the atmosphere in the theatre was so special.
The film's serious side is also credible. With the world on a verge of a nuclear war, the adults look genuinely confused and scared. For a while, a few act as if everything is under control, but then they become paranoid, like everyone else. The script has this same sense of self-awareness, with Lawrence Woolsey pointing out "scientific" evidence to his audience and trying to emphasis the "IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!" aspect of his latest story. Just as much credit must be given to Charles Haas as to Joe Dante for this film's success as homage to the horror-corn of the past, since Charles Haas wrote the screenplay.
And what would a William Castle tribute/spoof be without a nod to his famous cinema gimmicks? In the case of Lawrence Woolsey's ‘MANT!,’ the director announces that the film will be accompanied by "Atomovision." Little buzzers are attached to the seats in the local theatre, just as they were for William Castle's ‘The Tingler.' Attendees must sign a contract with a "nurse" in case they die during the screening. Lawrence Woolsey even shows up at the cinema and hands out free passes to his latest film to counteract the fake protest he created!
`PANIC sur Florida Beach' [`MATINEE'] is fun because of its seriousness to tell an extraordinary story, by its way to live a character in science fiction in an ultra-mundane, everyday world. The actors all play in making tons. We also understand, through ‘MANT!’ shows how horror films were distilling their political discourse. For ‘MANT!’ the ant is simply the foreign element that will slowly devour the soul of a brave American lambda. In a curious scene, military and scientific clash over how to fight the enemy, either by science that brings compassion either by arms. William Castle's influence is most apparent, though, and Joe Dante and Charles Haas clearly have all of the knowledge of and respect for William Castle's work required to pay tribute to it successfully. Even the duality of fright and silliness in William Castle's films is emphasised by ‘Matinee' with younger brother Dennis becoming frequently scared during that ‘MANT!’ preview in the opening, while Gene acts aloof... but finds himself jumping, too, eventually.
As always with Joe Dante, the cast is outstanding, starting with the young actors, all of a very high accuracy. The supporting roles are no exception. Besides the presence of several faithfuls of the director, like the excellent Dick Miller and Robert Picardo in the lead, we note the performance of Cathy Moriarty, whose humour deadpan laugh scores at each of its replicas. Note also the brief appearance of the young Naomi Watts, who made his debut here in an American film. Regarding the hilarious Lawrence Woolsey producer, it is interpreted by the always great John Goodman, who just book one of the best performances of his career. Genuine cartoon character unto itself, both businessman, showman and great kid trapped in an adult body, it is the master of ceremonies of the most beautiful declarations of love that we have in the Cinema was given to see.
Note that in `PANIC sur Florida Beach' [`MATINEE'], there is another parody, this time pastiche family Disney productions with Dean Jones in the early 1960s that Joe Dante hated: ‘The Shook-Up Shopping Cart.’ At that time, Disney liked to animate objects in a human soul. Dante to imagine an old man reincarnated as supermarket trolley. Same slapstick humour, outrageous same direction, same stupid dialogues but the female lead is held by a young unknown actress then Naomi Watts. Note that this is in ‘The Shook-Up Shopping Cart’ that we can see nuns walking down the street, figures that Joe Dante likes to fit in all his films. So I consider ‘Matinee' a must-see for all fans of William Castle genre or for mid-century film buffs of any type. It's an extremely entertaining film in its own right, but is especially enjoyable for its homage to one of my favourite filmmakers William Castle, the king of the corn.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and encoded with a stunning 1080p encoded transfer. Joe Dante's `PANIC sur Florida Beach' [‘MATINEE'] arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French distributors Carlotta Films. Aside from some sporadic softness, the high-definition transfer is very good. Outside and inside the theatre detail is very good, clarity pleasing, and contrast levels stable. There are no traces of overzealous sharpening. Some minor corrections have been applied, though while viewing the film they are practically impossible to spot. If I had to, I would speculate that they were inherited, because obviously the high-definition transfer was not struck during the last year or two. Colour reproduction is very pleasing. The variety of reds, blues, greens, browns, and blacks are stable and look not manipulated. There is no serious banding or aliasing issues. The high-definition transfer is also free of large damage marks, scratches, and debris. All in all, the presentation is very pleasing. (Note: This is a Region B/2 "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a Multi-region Blu-ray Player to access its content).
Blu-ray Audio Quality – There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc and they are an English 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio and a French 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio sound track. For the record, Carlotta Films have provided optional French subtitles for the main feature for people in French who wants to watch the original English Soundtrack. The English audio track is stunning. It has a wide range of dynamics that open up the entire film very well. The final third of the film, in particular where things go seriously wrong, has some excellent sequences and check out the one where the balcony collapses. Award winning composer Jerry Goldsmith's score also benefits from the stunning treatment, though its role is mostly to enhance the unique atmosphere in the film. The dialogue is crisp, stable, and very easy to follow. For the record, there are no sync issue or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Paranoia in Ant Vision: MANT! [1080p] [32:00] In this exclusive interview, Joe Dante talks about his cinematic influences and comes back on the genesis of the film, to suit many personal anecdotes. It's always the same joy to see and hear the director of ‘Gremlins’ tell filming and problematic genesis ‘Matinee.’ It also sceptical about the film, especially in relation to the recovery of the American paranoia in 1962 bristling anecdotes, Joe Dante is critical, as usual, on the modern world and the cinema today. Directed by the great Michael Henry Wilson (author of famous interviews with Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood), this documentary is still a very nice gift from Carlotta Films. In English with optional French subtitles.
Special Feature: Foreword by Joe Dante [1080p] [6:00] Director Joe Dante discusses the special effects in Lawrence Woolsey's ‘MANT!’ and this wonderful interview is with Michael Henry Wilson, where the filmmaker Joe Dante, as usual, proved prolific in lots of anecdotes and explains how he made this gem of ‘MANT!.’
Special Feature: MANT! [Ant-Man] [16mm Black and White]  [1080p] [17:00] This is the true gift of this edition to the integral of ‘MANT!,’ the film within the film, an idea already present in the original script Jerico Stone. In his remarks, Joe Dante liked to say that it was not his work but that of Lawrence Woolsey. The film is portrayed by some iconic players from the past, Kevin McCarthy `Invasion of the Body Snatchers' and Robert Cornthwaite, one of the stars of `The Thing from Another World.' Built in less than ten scenes, he draws strength from its ultra-serious way of telling a story aberrant. Like the works that inspired it, especially the film ‘THEM!’ which was directed by Gordon Douglas, the various scientific exposes some big words to make about credible absurd premise: transformation after irradiation of a shoe salesman in ant. Postulate that obviously focuses children's fears of Matinee at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. Joe Dante plays with sequences and stolen several films dialogues. We'll let the filmmaker in his copious interviews careful to explain what his main influences and finds.
Special Feature: MANT! Trailer [1080p] [4:00] This is a Trailer for Lawrence Woolsey's film ‘MANT!’ and it also opens as a masterpiece in itself which immediately echoes the nuclear threat. We leave it to future audiences the pleasure of discovering the absurd and hilarious slogans.
Special Feature: Making of time [1080p] [4:00] This is a short promotional making of the documentary. In English with optional French subtitles.
Special Feature: Photo Gallery [1080p] [2:00] A gallery of stills from the film with a Music only track.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p][2:00] The Original Theatrical Trailer for ‘MATINEE,' which ends with a scene in the film where we see a the youngster say that he "will see it twice." In English with optional French subtitles.
Finally, I am massive a big fan of Joe Dante's work, and of course I absolutely loved his `PANIC sur Florida Beach' [`Matinee'] and is really wonderful charming film, and very big on nostalgic, but very original and very entertaining. The film also looks absolutely stunning on this Blu-ray disc. Joe Dante's `PANIC sur Florida Beach' [`Matinee'] is a brilliant re-watchable period piece film from beginning to end and I highly recommend this Blu-ray! Joe Dante also pays tribute to another great child through the character of Lawrence Woosley, and that is inspired filmmaker William Castle who invented in the 1950s films attractions, like plastic skeletons released in theatres and vibrating chairs etc. Joe Dante is a man who took pleasure in terrifying his audience to better restore their comfort once the session is over. Joe Dante, it is ultimately the lover of practical jokes, beautiful monsters and abundant imagination, but also the rejection of convention and austerity imposed adulthood and all the while gently making fun of his country. In the land of Joe Dante, nostalgia is king, and the satire is his servant. What is also beautiful about this French Blu-ray release is the stunning designed Slip Cover and the actual Blu-ray printed cover is also a beautiful and is printed both sides, but for us English speaking countries, all information is printed in French. When I first had this on an NTSC LaserDisc, it has always been an all-time favourite film of mine. Then I moved onto a NTSC DVD, which was still a good looking film, but now I have the ultimate edition in this stunning 1080p encoded Blu-ray disc and I cannot understand why it has not been released on the Blu-ray format in America. This is a Region B/2 "locked" disc, so people in the North America Region would have to purchase a Multi-region Blu-ray Player to view this film, because adding `PANIC sur Florida Beach' [`Matinee'] to your Blu-ray collection is definitely the ONE for you. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom