It seems like yesterday that John Travolta had his career revival with Pulp Fiction and he was on top of the world. He proved with that movie how, even after all the years, he was still the king of cool. He even followed it up with a great turn in Face/Off (although he was upstaged by Nic Cage). I was watching a movie the other day, one of the best movies to come out of the independent scene of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Do the Right Thing presented a devastating look at life on a small New York City street and showed us a racial inequity that really did not preach to anyone, but remained strong and poignant. A young actor named Martin Lawrence debuted in that movie. He even followed it up with a very fun performance in the two Bad Boys movies. I remember a TV show called Home Improvement – never mind. Needless to say that Martin Lawrence’s career has been mainly a joke (remember Black Knight?) Needless to say, John Travolta has made some horrible career choices since he became a Scientologist. Needless to say, Tim Allen never really had a good career (although Galaxy Quest is really underrated). Well the three of them are united in this movie with William H. Macy (what the …) in a movie that pretty much the City Slickers of the 2000s. Except instead of mid-life crisis men hitting the old west, they hit the roads as bikers. Instead of running afoul of Curly Washburn, these guys run afoul of a biker gang called the Del Fuegos. We do get a cameo by Peter Fonda that pays homage to his character from Easy Rider, so that is something.
- Bikes, Brawls and Burning Bars: The Making of Wild Hogs
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentary with director Walt Becker and writer Brad Copeland.
- How to Get Your Wife to Let You Buy a Motorcycle
- An Easter Egg
I read a small comment about the new David Lynch movie on our message boards that said David Lynch had lost it with this movie. I think back to his past film catalogue and wonder what the poster meant. David Lynch has never really “had” it when it came to his movies. They are all a bizarre, mishmash of ideas and scenes that really are something that no one else has came close to mastering. David Lynch is an auteur that plays by no ones rules (I don’t even think he has his own set of rules) and gives us movies that either makes us think or confuses the hell out of us. Regardless, he makes movies that are amazing to watch, even if we are just looking at the images flicker by without ever comprehending what we are supposed to be taking in. Whether you have been with him since the beginning with Eraserhead, know him through his critical successes of Blue Velvet and Elephant Man, know him from his brilliant television show Twin Peaks, or just know of his recent output such as Mulholland Dr., you know how great his films can look and how brilliant he can be visually. If it sounds like I am torn on the man, you are correct. A good example is Lost Highway, which I love, despite not really understanding everything he threw up there for me to see, despite taking a class completely dedicated to his movies. Much like another David (Cronenberg), David Lynch is an artist that needs to be allowed to keep doing what he does best. Film is only better off thanks to men like these. You may also notice that I have not given a description of the movie. It is better that way with David Lynch. It is a LIMITED EDITION, 2-Disc set, and as I have said over and over, don’t procrastinate on limited editions or you won’t be getting them at all.
- 90 minutes of Deleted Scenes.
- Includes the short film "Ballerina".
- Lynch 2 (behind the scenes of INLAND EMPIRE with David Lynch).
- Talks with David Lynch and Laura Dern.
- More Things That Happened (Additional Character Experiences).
- Theatrical Trailers (3).
- Stills Gallery (73 Photos).
- David Lynch cooks Quinoa.
Ryan Gosling is one of the best young actors working today. However, in the film business, you got to cash in on it while you are still hot because there is still another “best young actor” around the corner (hello Shia LaBeouf). Anthony Hopkins was one of the best actors working in films, but lately his output has been quite disappointing. I remember when he talked retirement a couple of years ago. Instead of retiring, he gave us The Human Stain. I didn’t want him to retire, but now looking back at it … Well, Gosling followed up his Oscar nominating turn with a cash payout for this thriller that was trumped by the new “best young actor’s” latest movie Disturbia. Gosling plays a young attorney who is trying to prosecute a man (Hopkins channeling Hannibal Lecktor) who killed his wife. Hopkins is his most maniacal as he twists and turns the story, turning Gosling’s character’s life inside out. And then there are more twists and turns. It is directed by Gregory Hoblit, who directed Frequency (which I profess much, much love for), and is 71% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, so it can’t be all that bad.
- Deleted scenes/alternate scenes
- Two alternate endings
- Theatrical trailer
Wow, this movie received a lot of hate. I love the cartoon, but each one is only 15 minutes long, so what happens when you make a movie that is over six times that length? Well, with The Simpsons, you strike gold. It was on for hundreds of years before it was released, though. And despite falling in favor of it’s old fans, has garnered enough kindness over the years to make it a hit. ATHF, however, has been on only a few years and is a show that alienates people. You either love Meatwad, the Mooninites, Carl, and the rest or you hate them. I personally like them. Meatwad makes my wife laugh everytime he opens his mouth. The Mooninites always inspires a chuckle from me. Lowbrow humor? Yeah, so? I won’t pass judgment on the movie, but will say that the cartoon works well for short bursts of 15 minutes, much like the old Warner Bros cartoons in the past. What will be done with the feature length movie is still a mystery to me. I have read good reviews that says it is really funny if you ignore the plot. It has pretty good extras (it is a 2-disc presentation). And it does feature Bruce Campbell, so there is that.
- Filmmaker Commentary
- Sizzle Reel
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- Dana Snyder / Bob Odenkirk Interview
- Fake Endings
- Deleted Scenes
- Music Videos
- Pete Promos
- The Deleted Movie
It was the summer of the Hitchcockian thrillers. Last week, we saw the release of Disturbia, which was a loose re-telling of Rear Window. This week, we get the thriller that owes a bit to Psycho, with the motel thriller Vacancy. Much maligned Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale star in this thriller as a husband and wife who are on the brink of divorce. When their car breaks down they end up taking a room at a small motel. They turn on the TV and notice that the movies they are watching on TV are low-budget snuff films that all took place in the room they are currently in. The movie then turns into a horror/thriller as the two try to escape from the motel before they are the next victims of the film makers. The movie was pretty much a flop, making back it’s budget, but not competing at all with the similar Disturbia. With the lack of big settings and the story, it could have been a nice success if the budget had been kept at Saw levels, but as it is, it is a commercial failure.
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Extended Snuff Films
Remember when I was talking earlier about the “greatest young actors” of our era? Well, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was well on his way after his breakout performance in Brick. After that movie, he took a couple of small roles (Havoc and Shadowboxer) and starred in the adaptation of one of my favorite Elmore Leonard novels Killshot (which has still not been released). So, it took awhile for people to see him in another starring role and when The Lookout was released this year, he had already been forgotten and replaced with new “great young actors.” He plays Chris Pratt, a promising young high-school athlete whose life is turned upside down after a horrible accident that leaves him with a brain damage that leaves him with short term memory loss. He has since taken a job as a janitor at a bank who is now roommates with the blind Jeff Daniels, who is trying to help Chris overcome the memory problems. Chris is targeted as a patsy by some thieves and they manipulate him into being a lookout as they rob the bank in which he works. I really wanted to see this movie while it was in theaters but missed the chance. I still think Gordon-Levitt is a great actor and has a big future ahead of him if he gets some good scripts. This one sounds good, but may be a little cookie-cutter for most readers of this site. I say give it a chance, if for nothing more than the actors.
- “Behind the Mind of Chris Pratt” – A feature exploring Joseph Gordon Levitt’s critically-acclaimed portrayal of the main character
- “Sequencing The Lookout“ – Making-of featurette
- Audio Commentaries – By writer/director Scott Frank and director of photography Alar Kivilo
CLASSICS AND RE-RELEASES
Martin Scorsese during the brilliance that was the 1970s. Mean Streets. Raging Bull. Taxi Driver. All greatness, and Taxi Driver is now getting the two-disc edition that Raging Bull received not that long ago. If you remember that upgrade, the DVD was stacked and is a great edition to any collection. Taxi Driver will be no different. I will do a little comparison here to help you make your decision. On the Collector’s Edition released in 1999, you got a 70-minute making-of documentary, an interactive screenplay feature, and picture galleries. How’s that for a Collector’s Edition? On this one, you get two commentaries, one with writer Paul Schrader, three documentaries, four featurettes, and the picture galleries, screenplays and storyboard to film comparisons. This set it stacked.
- New Feature-length Commentary by Writer Paul Schrader
- New Feature-length Commentary by Professor Robert Kolker
- “Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver” Featurette
- “Producing Taxi Driver” Featurette
- “God’s Lonely Man” Documentary – Writer Paul Schrader and Professor Robert Kolker discuss the loneliness themes as seen in the film. Schrader also talks about what circumstances lead to writing the screenplay
- “Influence and Appreciation” Documentary – Robert De Niro, Oliver Stone, Roger Corman and others pay tribute to Scorsese and the film
- “Taxi Driver Stories” Featurette
- “Making Taxi Driver” Documentary
- “Travis’ New York Locations” Featurette – An interactive map with visits to the famous New York City locations in 2006, while comparing them to the same locations in 1975
- Storyboard to Film Comparisons with Martin Scorsese Introduction
- Animated Photo Gallery – “Including Scorsese at Work” Photo Montage
- Original Screenplay Read Along
I talked about these movie in a coming soon column a while back, so I’ll just copy what I wrote then here, so they will still be listed where you know they are coming out. In The Dark Crystal (1982), the ideas of good versus evil are explored as Henson uses his Muppet creations to tell the story of a war on Thra, a planet with three suns. To really go into the storyline would be a waste of time to a person who has not seen the movie. It gets rather confusing to say the least. However it is a fun story that won Henson a Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film, which is more impressive since it had tough competition from Conan the Barbarian that year. I would say it would have won more awards if it had not been released the same year as E.T., The Wrath of Kahn, The Thing, Poltergeist and Blade Runner. Great year for Sci Fi/Fantasy/Horror films, you would have to say. In Labyrinth (1986), a young girl named Sarah (played by a fifteen year old Jennifer Connelly) is left to baby sit her baby brother. When the youngster would not stop crying, she said she wished the Goblins would come and take away her baby brother. Well, it happened and Sarah has to enter into the fantasy world of the Goblin King (played by David Bowie (Note from Ian: and Bowie’s pants!)) and his own personal labyrinth that she must conquer to save her baby brother.
SPECIAL FEATURES (THE DARK CRYSTAL)
- New commentary by Brian Froud (creature/conceptual design)
- Original Making Of Documentary “The World of Dark Crystal”
- Deleted Scenes
- Work Print Scenes
- Character Drawings
- Perfections of the Dark Crystal “Light on the Path of Creation” & “Shard of Illusion” Two all-new behind-the-scenes documentaries that include rediscovered footage from the Henson archives and newly recorded interviews with the people who created The Dark Crystal
SPECIAL FEATURES (LABYRINTH)
- New commentary by Brian Froud (creature/conceptual design)
- Original Making Of Documentary "Inside the Labyrinth"
- Journey Through the Labyrinth “Kingdom of Characters” & The Quest for Golden City” Two all-new behind-the-scenes documentaries that include rediscovered footage from the Henson archives and newly recorded interviews with the people who brought Labyrinth to life
I know absolutely nothing about this release, except it is a Criterion release, so I’ll let Criterion tell you about it. Carlos Saura’s exquisite Cria cuervos… heralded a turning point in Spain: shot while General Franco was on his deathbed, the film melds the personal and the political in a portrait of the legacy of fascism and its effects on a middle-class family (the title derives from the Spanish proverb: "Raise ravens and they’ll peck out your eyes"). Ana Torrent (the dark-eyed beauty from The Spirit of the Beehive) portrays the disturbed eight-year-old Ana, living in Madrid with her two sisters and mourning the death of her mother, whom she conjures as a ghost (an ethereal Geraldine Chaplin). Seamlessly shifting between fantasy and reality, the film subtly evokes both the complex feelings of childhood and the struggles of a nation emerging from the shadows.
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Portrait of Carlos Saura, a documentary on the life and career of the Spanish auteur
- New interviews with actresses Geraldine Chaplin and Ana Torrent
- Original theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Paul Julian Smith
THIS WEEK IN TELEVISION
BEWITCHED: COMPLETE SEASONS 1-5
DOCTOR WHO – ROBOT (EPISODE 75)
DOCTOR WHO – SURVIVAL (EPISODE 159)
DYNASTY – THE SECOND SEASON
THE FUGITIVE, SEASON 1, VOL. 1
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL – THE COMPLETE SERIES 7 COLLECTION
AVATAR – THE LAST AIRBENDER – BOOK 2 EARTH, VOL. 4
MCLEOD’S DAUGHTERS – THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
THIS WEEK IN HI-DEF
WHAT DREAMS MAY COME [HD-DVD]
MEET THE FOCKERS [HD-DVD]
ERIN BROCKOVICH [HD-DVD]
MERCURY RISING [HD-DVD]
OTHER DVDs TO SPEND YOUR CASH ON
CHARLIE CHAN COLLECTION, VOL. 3
KISS KISSOLOGY, VOLUME II
LES PAUL – CHASING SOUND
DOCTOR STRANGE! THE SORCERER SUPREME
BRIAN REGAN: STANDING UP
WAGNER – TRISTAN UND ISOLDE
GOD GREW TIRED OF US
51 BIRCH STREET
PSYCHO ii / PSYCHO III / PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING
ELVIS: THE MINI-SERIES
MASTERS OF HORROR: WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM
MASTERS OF HORROR: VALERIE ON THE STAIRS
THE BARGAIN BIN
No bargain bin this week.