Bird on a Wire

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/21/21;
Kino Lorber;
Comedy;
$24.95 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13.’
Stars Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine, Bill Duke, Joan Severance, Stephen Tobolowsky.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to advertise a movie. For its 1990 release, the poster for Bird on a Wire was little more than the faces of stars Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. The pair had such clout at the time that the poster only listed their first names.

It ended up grossing $138.7 million against a budget of around $20 million, and was the top movie upon its release in May 1990 a week before being bumped from the spot by Back to the Future Part III.

The story is little more than an excuse for some madcap fun and romance involving its leads, so it relies mostly on their chemistry, which is plentiful. The plot involves Goldie as a corporate attorney named Marianne who runs into Mel at a gas station, and recognizes him as her former fiancé, Rick, who disappeared 15 years earlier.

He denies it, but it turns out that’s exactly who he is. After testifying against a corrupt DEA agent (David Carradine) named Sorenson, Rick has been bouncing around the witness relocation program. Thinking his cover as a mechanic could be blown, he calls the FBI to ask for a new identity, but his new handler (Stephen Tobolowsky) is on the take and feeds Rick’s location to Sorenson.

Unable to fight her curiosity, Marianne heads back to the garage to confront Rick, only to show up at the same time as Sorenson and his hit squad. As the bullets fly, Rick and Marianne hit the road, hoping to find Rick’s old handler and find a solution to his predicament. Along the way, Rick returns to some of his former identities from his time in hiding, setting up some easy gags as Marianne struggles to reacquaint herself with the man she once loved.

Kino’s new Blu-ray edition of the film uses a new 2K master that looks pretty sharp, but does get a bit splotchy depending on how well the original scene was lit.

The disc includes a pretty good audio commentary with director John Badham, joined by producer/second-unit director Rob Cohen and film historian Daniel Kremer.

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Billy Wilder’s ‘The Apartment,’ Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Serpent’s Egg,’ De Niro-De Palma Teamings Highlight December Disc Releases from Arrow and MVD

Films from Billy Wilder, Ingmar Bergman, Robert De Niro and Brian De Palma are among the December Blu-ray releases coming from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Up first on Dec. 4 is The Serpent’s Egg from director Ingmar Bergman, who teamed with Italian director Dino De Laurentiis. In this mystery, David Carradine stars as an out-of-work circus performer that gets caught up in a tangled web when he begins to ask questions about his brother’s bizarre death. Special features include audio commentary with Carradine; “Bergman’s Egg,” a newly filmed appreciation by critic and author Barry Forshaw; “Away From Home,” an archival featurette including interviews with Carradine and Liv Ullman; “German Expressionism,” an archival interview with author Marc Gervais; a stills gallery; a theatrical trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring two artwork choices; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Geoffrey Macnab.

Due Dec. 11 is the boxed set “De Palma & De Niro: The Early Films,” showcasing Robert De Niro on the big screen for the first time and highlighting the beginnings of his relationship with director Brian De Palma. The set includes three films from the duo — The Wedding PartyGreetings and Hi, Mom! — all of which have been newly restored. Special features include new commentary on Greetings by Glenn Kenny, author of Robert De Niro: Anatomy of an Actor; a new appreciation of Brian De Palma and Robert De Niro’s collaborations by critic and filmmaker Howard S. Berger; a new interview with Charles Hirsch, writer-producer of Greetings and Hi, Mom!; a new interview with actor Gerrit Graham on Greetings, Hi, Mom! and his other collaborations with Brian De Palma; a new interview with actor Peter Maloney on Hi, Mom!; the Hi, Mom! theatrical trailer; newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin; a limited collector’s edition booklet featuring new writing on the films by Brad Stevens, Chris Dumas and Christina Newland; and an archive interview with De Palma and Hirsch.

The ‘80s slasher film Bloody Birthday is due Dec. 18 with a new 2K restoration. In the Ed Hunt-directed film, a trio born on the same solar eclipse develop a habit for murdering adults. Special features include a new audio commentary with Hunt; a new interview with actress Lori Lethin; “Bad Seeds and Body Counts,” a new video appreciation of Bloody Birthday and the killer kid sub-genre by film journalist Chris Alexander; a archival interview with producer Max Rosenberg; the original theatrical trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Timothy Pittides; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Lee Gambin.

Coming from Arrow Academy Dec. 11 is the classic comedy The Apartment, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemmon. The film, which took home five Academy Awards including Best Picture, features a new 4K restoration from the original camera negative produced exclusively for this release. Special features include audio commentary with film producer and historian Bruce Block; “The Key to the Apartment,” a new appreciation of the film by film historian Philip Kemp; select scene commentary by Philip Kemp; “The Flawed Couple,” a new video essay by filmmaker David Cairns on the collaborations between Wilder and Lemmon; “A Letter to Castro,” a new interview with actress Hope Holiday; “The Writer Speaks: Billy Wilder,” an archival interview from the Writers Guild of America’s Oral Histories series; “Inside the Apartment,” a half-hour making-of featurette from 2007 including interviews with Shirley MacLaine, executive producer Walter Mirisch and others; “Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon,” an archive profile of the actor from 2007; a theatrical trailer; and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ignatius Fitzpatrick.