The biggest news of the week was broke by Devin concerning the announcement of the release of Hearts of Darkness on DVD. For those not in the know, Hearts of Darkness was taken the name of the novel Apocalypse Now was based on and was the documentary that followed the creation of that film. While Apocalypse Now was a masterful movie in its own right, the story behind the movie is just as amazing. Martin Sheen was going through a bad period during this part of his life, battling alcoholism and almost dying of a heart attack during the making of this movie. It was this incident that cleaned Sheen up once and for all. Marlon Brando showed up grossly overweight, having refused to read Hearts of Darkness, not knowing any of his lines which he ended up having to improvise. All this is trivial compared to the complete breakdown Francis Ford Coppola had while directing this movie. His marriage almost fell apart, he had a nervous breakdown and allegedly threatened suicide on three different occasions. Hearts of Darkness is arguably one of the greatest making-of documentaries ever made and will finally be available to own November 20. It will include an extra documentary, called CODA: Thirty Years Later, and a commentary with Francis Ford Coppola and Eleanor.This one, you cannot miss.
I guess this is where I am supposed to bitch about how many times The Evil Dead has been re-released over the years. I can’t bring myself to do it, though, since The Evil Dead is one of the movies that made me decide to get into filmmaking myself. Instead, I’ll just pull my Book of the Dead edition off the shelf and compare what is different in this release – The Evil Dead Ultimate Edition. The new edition includes 3 discs and the biggest addition is the original full screen edition. Before you think of full screen as a bad word you should know that The Evil Dead was originally shot in full frame, and has not been seen on the recent releases. Cropping and the loss of specific FX has resulted in the forced transfer to widescreen and in this version you get the full version as Sam Raimi originally meant for it to be seen. The commentary tracks (I assume they are the same as you have heard before) are still included, but split between the two versions. Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert’s voice track will be included with the widescreen version and Bruce Campbell’s track will be voiced along with the original full screen version. Other features include a One by One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of The Evil Dead documentary, some new Treasures from the Cutting Room Floor, a Life After Death: The Ladies of The Evil Dead featurette, a Ladies of The Evil Dead Meet Bruce Campbell featurette, and an Unconventional featurette with the cast and crew. Completing the package will be a Q&A with a drive-in audience of hardcore fans, a Reunion Panel, a Discovering The Evil Dead featurette that looks at the British video release of the film, makeup tests, a Poster & Memorabilia Gallery, a still gallery, and the trailer. The featurette about the British video release is a repeat feature. While there was a Ladies of The Evil Dead featurette on the earlier versions, the version on this DVD is apparently a new version. All the other features are brand new. I know people are sick of this movie being released over and over, but I will buy it when it is released on December 18.
Shoot ‘Em Up, this year’s answer to Crank, will be released on DVD on January 01, 2008. Looks like my first movie of 2008 will be one of the more fun movies of 2007. Clive Owen stars as a man who ends up helping a mother (Monica Bellucci with both assets lifted for our enjoyment) save her baby from hit-man Paul Giamatti. Special features will include a commentary from director and writer Michael Davis, deleted scenes with commentary from the director, some scene animatics with director commentary, a Ballet of Bullets – Making Shoot ‘Em Up” documentary, and trailers. It will also be released as a Blu-Ray release with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and a picture-in-picture option which allows viewers to watch behind-the-scenes footage and on-screen commentary concurrently with the running feature. HD-DVD will get a version also later in the year.