Widescreen tidbits: Classic baseball, animation and action
"I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing AstroTurf and the designated hitter. I believe in ... opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days."
-- Crash Davis (Kevin Costner)
I believe in "Bull Durham" -- one of the finest films about America's finest sport -- which celebrates its 30th anniversary on July 10 with a new 4K restoration on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of The Criterion Collection.
Costner's Crash is the Durham Bulls' veteran, journeyman catcher. Tim Robbins is Nuke LaLoosh, a young hotshot pitcher with a wild arm. And, in perhaps her finest performance, Susan Sarandon is Annie Savoy, a minor-league baseball groupie who catches the eye of both players. (Sarandon caught Robbins' eye in real life, too.) It's funny, it's sexy, it's honest, it's bawdy -- Costner wields profanity in this movie like Jon Lester wields a fastball cutter.
The Criterion release of "Bull Durham" boasts remastered picture and sound; audio commentaries with Costner, Robbins and director Ron Shelton; numerous archival interviews about the film; and even a 1993 NBC News piece on the stadium where the film was shot. You can get it at criterion.com -- and if you don't need all the bells and whistles, you can rent the movie across most digital platforms or stream it on Hulu or Amazon Prime.
A 1957 teenager discovers a 50-foot-tall alien robot in the 1999 cult classic "The Iron Giant," presented on the big screen next week in Elk Grove Village.
Before 'The Incredibles'
Director Brad Bird's superhero family is approaching the $500 million mark with a big sequel in theaters now. In 1999, Bird's first animated feature barely cracked the $20 million mark, but has since become a cult classic on video. On Wednesday, July 11, thanks to the Chicago Film Critics Association's Critics Classics series, you'll have another chance to see "The Iron Giant" on the big screen.
Starring the voices of Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel and Chicago's dearly departed John Mahoney, this hand-drawn tale of a robot who crashes to America in the thick of post-Sputnik paranoia has a pacifist message, a cool late-'50s vibe and a grand musical score by Michael Kamen ("Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves").
Chicago-area critic Brian Tallerico of rogerebert.com hosts the screening at Classic Cinemas Elk Grove Theatre, 1050 Elk Grove Town Center, Elk Grove Village, and will conduct a short Q&A afterward. Tickets cost $5 and are available at classiccinemas.com.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) hangs out on the Burj Khalifa in "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol."
Light the fuse
Speaking of Brad Bird, his "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" is among the five films in Tom Cruise's long-running action series getting the 4K treatment ahead of the July 27 theatrical release of "Mission Impossible -- Fallout."
All five previous films in the franchise, which began with Brian De Palma's 1996 adaptation of the classic TV show, are now available in combo packs containing a remastered 4K Blu-ray, a standard Blu-ray and a digital copy. From the looks of the trailer, "Fallout" seems to be a direct continuation of 2015's superb "Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation" that also brings back Michelle Monaghan as superspy Ethan Hunt's wife; we first saw her in J.J. Abrams' "Mission: Impossible III" in 2006. You can't go wrong with any of them, really -- even the silly "Mission: Impossible II," with its endless slow motion shots and Limp Bizkit soundtrack, gives us Thandie Newton and Anthony Hopkins in supporting roles.
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.