- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 30, 2020

One of the leaders of home entertainment celebrates its catalog of popular movies from the last century with Paramount Presents, a selection of Blu-ray, high definition releases culled from new 4K transfers.

Each offers a smattering of extras including new retrospective segments and new packaging featuring a foldout cover of the original movie poster and a vintage photo collage found on the insert of the plastic case.

Here’s a brief look at some of the classic films now currently available.

Pretty in Pink (Rated PG-13, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 97 minutes, $29.99) — Writer and filmmaker John Hughes (“Breakfast Club”) delivered another quintessential coming-of-age tale back in 1986 with help from director Howard Deutch.

In the traditions of “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the movie starred Molly Ringwald as Chicagoan Andie Walsh, a middle-class high school senior looking for normalcy in life while dealing with a depressed, semi-employed father.

She looks for romance and a prom date while dealing with the complexities of cliques, bullies, insecurities and a friend suffering from unrequited love.

Equally impressive as the movie’s sparkling debut in high definition in a screen-filling presentation is the chance to once again hear that classic 1980s New Wave soundtrack (a staple of Hughes’ films) featuring the Psychedelic Furs with the iconic title song played obsessively, New Order with “Shellshock,” Susanne Vega’s “Left of Center” and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s “If You Leave.”

Pop culture aficionados will also notice the supporting cast including Andrew McCarthy (Bratpacker) as Andie’s rich dream boyfriend Blane, Jon Cryer (“Supergirl”) as Andie’s good friend Duckie, Annie Potts (“Ghostbusters”) as Andie’s vintage record store owner friend Iona, James Spader (“Blacklist”) as Blane’s jerky rich buddy Steff and even an appearances by Andrew Dice Clay as a bouncer and Kristy Swanson (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) as a girl at the prom.

Extras include a new eight-minute “Filmmakers Focus” with Mr. Deutch as he reminisces about working with Mr. Hughes, the casting and creating a family atmosphere on the set.

Viewers can also watch a 12-minute look back at the rationale behind the original ending of the film that was changed after test audiences disapproved of Andie’s final love choice. I would have stuck with the original ending.

What’s missing is the coveted digital code.

Flashdance (Rated R, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 95 minutes, $29.99) — Director Adrian Lyne’s 1980s blockbuster offers the complex life of Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals in her first lead film role), a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day, exotic performer by night, as she dreams of becoming a professional ballerina.

Not quite delivering the emotional punch of a “Saturday Night Fever,” the film’s by-the-numbers’ plot tinged with romance and emotional heartache takes a back seat to the visual clinic in aerobic, double-jointed solo dance spots at the strip club (remember the water-dousing dance sequence) presented in a music video style format.

Miss Beals’ delivers a spirited performance as a fiery, take no lip, especially from guys, urban middle-class female attempting to make her own breaks in life.

Once again, the soundtrack is equally if not more potent than the action with co-stars including “Maniac’ from Michael Sembello, the Academy Award-winning “Flashdance … What a Feeling” sung by Irene Cara, “Gloria” by Laura Branigan and Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘N Roll.”

The film’s screen-filling remaster cleanly highlight the contrasts between the dreariest parts of Pittsburgh neighborhoods and its decaying steel industry versus the near fantasy-style, smoky yet crisp and color-saturated dance sequences.

Alex’s New Wave meets Kabuki meets the MTV generation dance sequence set to Laura Branigan singing “Imagination,” complete with strobe lights, leads the way.

Extras include a six-minute reflection on the movie with Mr. Lyne that covers making the movie, working with nervous executives and meeting Bob Fosse.

Vintage extras include nine minutes on the production and nine minutes on the how “Flashdance” was a critical disaster but became a pop culture, musical sensation with words from the director, editor Bud Smith, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and composer Giorgio Moroder.

However, disappointedly many extras from the 2007 release are missing as well as a digital code.

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