I have to start the column with the announcement of Anchor Bay’s new DVD line called Cult Fiction. These new DVD releases will have pretty much no special features on them and are not really worth spending money on since there are better releases of them already out there. Titles will include Class of 1984, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Wicker Man, Long Good Friday, and The Quiet Earth. Why do I mention it if the releases aren’t worth your time?

Release Date: March 18, 2008

I really liked I am Legend. I thought it was an interesting vehicle for Will Smith and turned out quite well. One thing I was concerned with going in to the movie was the ending. Based on the novella by Richard Matheson, the ending of the story was very dark and the entire purpose of the story, as well the reasoning behind the name of the story itself lied in those final scenes of the story. I was happy because the movie did not give off that typical Hollywood happy ending. One look at Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds demonstrates what happens when you end a movie with a reveal that says “hey, the world has almost been destroyed but this family will live happily ever after.” I am Legend is not a happily ever after story. I don’t disparage the ending I saw in the theater because while it did show there was hope to be found, it was not that happy of an ending. But, the ending was completely different from the novella. On March 18, you have four choices when deciding how to buy I am Legend. First, you get the vanilla disc with the movie and 4 animated comics (Death as a Gift, Isolation, Sacrificing the Few for the Many, and Shelter). The big news is the 2-Disc Edition, which will include “all that” plus an alternate version of the movie with a “controversial ending.” I want that controversial ending to be the ending in the book. It would only require a few minor changes to incorporate that plotline into the original theatrical cut and I am holding out hope that is what it is. Anything less would be a disappointment. The other two versions are Blu-Ray and that other near-obsolete version that will include the alternate version as well.

It’s a slow week with no real good DVD news, so let’s take a moment to update our Criterion calendar for the month of February along with small quips from Criterion.

February 12

Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard) – DOUBLE DISC EDITION – “Pierrot le fou is one of the high points of the French new wave, and was Godard’s last frolic before he moved ever further into radical cinema.”

The Last Emperor (Bernardo Bertolucci) – FOUR DISC SET!!! – “The Last Emperor is an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy.”

Walker (Alex Cox) – SINGLE DISC EDITION – Featuring a powerful score by Joe Strummer and a performance of intense, repressed rage by Ed Harris, Walker remains one of Cox’s most daring works.

Oh, and this beauty is dedicated to Moltisanti