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    January Preorders / The Cosmatos Connection

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    The new year brings new opportunities to discover afresh or become reacquainted with quality movies getting a renewed 1080p hi-def life. For January, Twilight Time unveils two intriguing stories that reflect the artistry and versatility of leading lady Jane Fonda, Comes a Horseman (partnered with James Caan) and Stanley & Iris (paired with Robert De Niro). Travel the French countryside on an exceptional excursion with two more screen giants, Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, debuting on TT in the ’60s-defining romance Two for the Road. And unleash the masterful menace of Vincent Price on your home theater with sinister 3D impact in the wonderfully creepy vintage horror tale The Mad Magician, which will also include the two sublimely silly and slapsticky Three Stooges 3D shorts Pardon My Backfire and Spooks! (If the terror and the laughter get too real, don’t worry. The disc plays fine in 2D as well.) Preorders open today at 4 PM EST/1 PM EST for these January 17 arrivals that will set your 2017 spinning with first-rate filmic thrills, chills and spills.On a personal note, today would have marked the 76th birthday of a bombastic, good-natured friend known for directing a handful of nifty genre films (three of which scored big with audiences) but also an aficionado and collector of fine art, rare books, film posters – and living life to as much of the hilt as the resources of a journeyman moviemaker would allow. The director of the Sylvester Stallone hits Rambo: First Blood Part II and Cobra, the Peter Weller-headlined horror thrillers Of Unknown Origin and Leviathan and the revisionist OK Corral/Wyatt Earp box-office hit Western Tombstone, George P. Cosmatos (1941-2005) could be courtly and cutting, bellicose and soft-spoken, grumpy and captivating – in multiple languages – all within seconds, but that came from a robustly international upbringing that started in Florence and spread to Egypt and Cyprus. His connection to the world of Twilight Time Blu-rays is tenuous: after studying at the London Film School, he became one of several assistant directors to Otto Preminger on the massive production of Exodus (1960). (His next stepping stone to the full director’s chair was as an assistant to Michael Cacoyannis on Zorba the Greek.) But his connection to the Southern California friends sharing a meal, a game of cards or conversations about movies in his later years was passionate and magnetic. Given that TT’s January slate involves scenic European travel, flamboyant showmanship, rugged Western clashes and working-class self-actualization, today’s Preorder Launch Date raises a glass of rare, fine wine in dedication to garrulous George, who always had time for a good cigar and a great story.