Looks like the DVD Gods are punishing me for taking a couple of weeks off. First, we got a butt load of new discs this week and now we get the mother load of DVD goodness in the Coming Soon column as well. If the DVD Gods are indeed punishing me for slacking, they are rewarding you with some GREAT DVDs to add to your collection over the next few months.
THE STANLEY KUBRICK COLLECTION
October 23, 2007
Lets start this week off with a big one. There has been a relatively expensive Stanley Kubrick Collection out for a while now. I say expensive, because most the movies in it are pretty slim with very little extras. Well, that is about to be rectified. There is already a very nice Dr. Strangelove 40th Anniversary Special Edition with 2-Discs and a ton of special features (and it costs under $20, so if you don’t have it, you suck and need to buy it). Well, many of Kubrick’s other movies are about to get the special editions they deserve as well. First of all, the special features have not been announced yet, but it should not matter. Any special features will make these movies more than worth your money. Each movie will be listed at between $19.97 and $26.99. It is not certain if Full Metal Jacket will be included on it’s own, but it is included in the full box set that will retail for $72.92 (without Barry Lyndon or Lolita).
Oh well, here are the movies:
2001 A Space Odyssey (2 Disc Special Edition) – $26.99 SRP – 2001 is an epic movie that you either love or hate. Taking place in the future, it tells the story of a space craft that’s computer decides to take control. It is almost completely dialogue free (except for HAL, the computer) and has some of the best transitions a film student will ever study. It may seem long and tedious to some, but is beautiful none-the-less and deserves its standing as a masterpiece.
A Clockwork Orange (2 Disc Special Edition) – $26.99 SRP – “There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.” Thus began the incredible journey through A Clockwork Orange, a cautionary tale of what happens when you try to change someone using any tactics possible. With a great deal of the old ultra-violence and a little bit of the in-and-out, the movie is not for all tastes, but I think it’s great.
Eyes Wide Shut (2 Disc Special Edition) – $26.99 SRP – The one Kubrick movie that is considered by many Kubrick fans to be his greatest failure. Is it because of the star wattage of the “It-Couple” of the time – Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Maybe it was just because not everyone can make a classic every time out. Or, maybe it just wasn’t that bad, and would have been better had Kubrick not died, allowing his film to be digitally manipulated before release, possible changing his intentions altogether. I am not certain if the version here will be Kubrick’s pure version or the one we saw in theaters, but we are sure to see something more about the anomaly in the extras.
The Shining (2 Disc Special Edition) – $20.97 SRP – This is a hell of a time for Stephen King fans. Last week I announced the releases of Misery and Cujo and this week I get to announce the re-release of one of his greatest big screen adaptations. While King hated the version that we saw on the screen, it still remains a wonderful horror movie. For those who don’t know why King hated it, the reason is because in the novel the haunted house is the main antagonist and it slowly drives Jack Torrance crazy. In the movie, Jack is wacky from the beginning and the house is just a way to isolate the man and his family from help. King tried to bring his vision to life in a TV movie, but this version remains the one true great film based on the book, and this special edition is highly anticipated by the King fan in me.
Also, Barry Lyndon and Lolita will be re-released in what looks to be regular editions and the 2001 documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures will be re-released as well. Finally, the Full Metal Jacket (Deluxe Edition) will be released, but it is not known if a regular DVD will be released, or if it will just be part of the collection. However, with the SRP for the collection at $79.92, and the individual prices of the discs involved (all but Barry Lyndon and Lolita) clocking in at $121.91 (not including Full Metal Jacket), why buy them separately at all. This is a great deal for all film fans, and October can’t come fast enough.
The Jazz Singer
October 16, 2007
One of the most mis-quoted lines I have ever heard comes from this movie. It is also good trivia: What was the first line spoken in a “talkie” movie? Well, the first movie to ever use spoken dialogue was The Jazz Singer and the line was – “You ain’t HEARD nothin’ yet.” Yeah, it was remade in 1980 by Neil Diamond and many less fortunate only know that version. Well, the original is about to be required viewing for anyone in love with cinema history. It is time for the 80th Anniversary Edition of The Jazz Singer to be released (and it just seemed like yesterday). The movie starred Al Jolson, a man who inspired such entertainers as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Jackie Wilson and Jerry Lee Lewis. He played a man who had to defy his father to become a great jazz musician. Well, the movie is not the only reason to buy this 3-Disc Special Edition. The first disc will include a commentary track by film historians and a batch of rare cartoons and short films. The second disc includes a feature length documentary about the advent of sound in films, two rarely seen Techicolor excerpts from Gold Diggers of Broadway (a lost film) and five studio shorts celebrating the introduction of sound to film. The third disc includes over 3 and a half hours of historic comedy and music shorts. You also will get behind-the-scenes Photo cards, original release Lobby card reproductions, original release Souvenir Program book reproduction, booklet with vintage document reproductions and DVD features guide and a reproduction of post-premiere telegram from Al Jolson to Jack L. Warner. There is a lot of great stuff here but the shorts and the documentary makes this a must-buy for any lover of film history.
September 25, 2007
Well, last week I talked about the new release of Showgirls, one of Paul Verhoeven’s “misunderstood masterpieces.” Or something like that. Well, Verhoeven got sick of being disrespected in the United States, as his true masterpieces (Robocop and Starship Troopers) were overlooked and his lesser outings (Hollow Man and Showgirls) were ripped apart. People seem to forget that Total Recall and Basic Instinct made a fortune. I guess, you can tell by my name dropping, that I don’t have much to say about this new movie. Well, as I said, Verhoeven got sick of the American treatment and went back home (The Netherlands) where he made this movie – Black Book. With his return, he was welcomed with a heroes greeting. The host of the Netherlands Film Festival called it "The return of a hero" and Black Book won 3 Golden Calves at the festival, including one for Verhoeven as Best Director. The film tells the story of a woman who used to live in Berlin before World War II, and who is now hiding from the Nazi regime in the occupied Netherlands. The DVD will include a commentary with Verhoeven and a making of featurette.
September 11, 2007
Looks like September 11 will now be known for more than just the release of FaceOff. The movie that is known for the lines “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me” is about to be released in a great special edition. I swear, I have said it a few times in this column, but this is a great time for those of you who love movies. Dustin Hoffman’s greatest role is about to come to life in a 2-Disc Special Edition as The Graduate (40th Anniversary Edition) will be released this September. Hoffman plays a college graduate who has an affair with Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father’s business partner. He finds things more difficult when he falls in love with her daughter. The movie has been referenced in more movies and songs than maybe any other movie in the history of film. With everything from the recent Kevin Costner movie Rumor Has It, claiming to be a close sequel to the movie to the opening line of Rob Zombie’s Never Gonna Stop Me having an exact line from the movie (Do you want me to seduce you, is that what you’re trying to tell me?) to a short film from the new TV reality show On The Lot, lifting a scene from the movie, it is one of the most respected movies to exist. The fact that it is 2-Discs is kind of misleading, but it should not stop you from grabbing it for what is on disc one: NEW Audio commentary by Actors Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross, NEW Audio commentary by The Graduate Director Mike Nichols and Director Steven Soderbergh, NEW Retrospective documentary featuring today’s filmmakers and film critics talking about the influence of the film. Participants include Buck Henry (writer of The Graduate), Lawrence Turman (producer of The Graduate), David O. Russell (director of Three Kings), Richard Roeper (critic), Alexander Payne (director of Sideways), Marc Forster (director of Finding Neverland), Peter Bart (Variety editor), Henry Rollins (actor/musician) and more, NEW “Coming of Age: The Making of The Graduate” featurette, NEW “Would You Like Me To Seduce You: The Seduction Scene Revisited” featurette, Screen tests with video introductions, One on One with Dustin Hoffman, Behind the scenes documentary and the Original theatrical trailer. The reason I say the two-disc is misleading is because disc two is the Simon & Garfunkel CD soundtrack (Sound of Silence, Mrs. Robinson, Scarborough Fair / Canticle, April Come She Will). With all this announced, there is not much reason to continue on with the column. I would not want your heads to explode.
Chinatown and The Two Jakes
November 06, 2007
Yet, I tempt fates anyway. I own the DVD for Chinatown, a movie many claim is the greatest ever, and even those who don’t still claim the screenplay is a masterpiece of writing. And what is on the DVD? A retrospective. Crap for such a great movie. Well, that is about to be remedied. Yes, in the column where I brought you Kubrick, the first talkie ever and The Graduate, I bring you news on the release of a special edition of Chinatown. The Roman Polanski directed film tells the story of a detective (Jack Nicholson) who stumbles upon a conspiracy involving the city’s water supply. It is much more than that, though. The original screenplay by Robert Towne (who won an academy award for it) was a spiraling epic that everyone involved had a hard time following. The ending, which Towne wrote as a happy ending was changed by Polanski to the tragic ending that worked so well. The immortal twist at the conclusion of the movie was enough to give it a cult following, but the performance by Nicholson and the direction by Polanski made it a classic. Now it finally gets the edition it deserves. While not as deep as the other special editions announced this week, it does come with four nice sounding featurettes. It won’t set the world on fire, but it is restored and some special features are better than none. The Two Jakes, the follow up (and what was supposed to be the second in a trilogy), is also coming out in a special edition with only one featurette. For those curious, there will not be a third in the trilogy, thanks to the hard feelings between Robert Towne and the studios over his treatment during the production of the first two movies.