I’m fresh outta the hospital and desperately trying to catch
up on my DVDActive.com reviews (I’ve got a couple dozen Blu-rays looking at me expectantly),
but I even more desperately need to catch up on my CHUD Blogging. I’ve been to
sick to see most of the ‘good’ movies this year, but even in my ignorance I’ve
been comparing 2008 to 2007. 2007 should go down as one of ‘those’ years. I can
think of five classics to come out of the year just off the tip of my head – a
rarity for any year. Yet 2007 still can’t quite stand up to the best cinematic
year of my short life, 1999.
As an obsessive compulsive DVD collector I can’t help but
notice that it will soon be 2009. This means we should expect some tenth
anniversary releases of some of 1999’s best films. Hopefully we can look
forward to full-on special editions, as many of the original 1999 and 2000 DVD
releases were pretty bare-bones by modern standards. Here’s a list of some
film’s coming up on their tenth anniversary that haven’t seen a hi-def release,
or a re-release special edition DVD as of yet, that perhaps we can expect in
the next year. I would like to note that I’ve heard nothing about any of these
possible releases yet, so don’t get your hopes up, and wait for
Yeah, it hasn’t aged as well as I may’ve hoped, but American
Beauty is still an interesting slice of the end of the ‘90s, and Conrad Hall’s
Oscar Winning cinematography would look pretty great in 1080p hi-def. It might
be a good time for a retrospective documentary, I’d personally like to know
what the cast and crew thing of the film looking back, especially talent
squanderer Wes Bently, and director Sam Mendes, who hasn’t seen similar box
office or critical receptions since. There’s also the matter of all those hours
of deleted and alternate footage that we’ve heard so much about. Could Dreamworks
perhaps let us see that?
I suppose high definition video is entirely unnecessary, and
the commentaries and behind the scenes footage of the original DVD release are
solid, but one can’t help but wonder what has transpired for independent
filmmaker and family man Mark Borchardt over the last ten years. I notice he
still hasn’t finished Northwestern, or any other film since, perhaps a
retrospective documentary will kick him into gear.
Being John Malkovich
The film that introduced the greater filmic world to
director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman hasn’t had any re-release on
home video since the first release in ’99, and though entertaining, the extras
weren’t really satisfying. Now that Jonze and Kaufman are
interesting for a retrospective look at one of the strangest studio releases
The Blair Witch Project
I’m not sure I could ever watch Daniel Myrick and Eduardo
Sánchez ultimately boring horror experiment ever again, but that doesn’t change
the fact that the film changed the filmic landscape, especially concerning the
relationship between film and the internet. Like American Beauty, there are
apparently hours of deleted and alternate footage we still haven’t seen, and
the disappearance of the cast and crew since calls for a pretty extensive
documentary look back.
Bringing Out the Dead
My pick for Martin Scorsese’s most underrated picture has
never seen a decent DVD release. Bringing Out the Dead is an incredibly good
looking movie, and another I’d love to see in high definition. Extras-wise I
to put a lot of effort into a Blu-ray release, but Scorsese is always a perfect
commentator, and there aren’t a lot of film’s left in his filmography without commentary
tracks any more.
Renny Harlin’s dumbass smart shark movie isn’t one of 1999’s
favorite moments, but it’s a personal guilty pleasure, and I have hope for a
decent hi-def release. I don’t actually need any new extras, and I doubt the
film’s ten or so fans do either.
Alexander Payne’s Citizen Ruth follow-up is a vastly
underrated entry in his often Oscar nominated filmography, and yet another Paramount
DVD release without ,much in the way of extra features. The director’s thoughts
post-Oscar noms are of interest, and it’d be nice to aim some focus on what I believe
is Reese Witherspoon’s best performance. The colorful photography would be nice
in 1080p too.
David Fincher’s anarchic masterpiece is perhaps the crown
jewel of a fantastic year. Ten years of misunderstandings, and a post release
popularity that has since overshadowed the film’s initial box office flopping
and critical spanking. If ever I wanted to see a retrospective documentary on a
film, this would be the one. Fincher’s aggressive audio/video production also
lends itself to the Blu-ray format like few other as yet unreleased films.
Brad Bird’s nearly perfect animated adventure was released
as a ‘special edition’ a few years back, but the extras were pretty weak. Iron
Giant has a rich pre-production history, including 1986 musical interest by
none other than Pete Townsend, so a real making of documentary would be much appreciated.
The original DVD release of Magnolia features a fascinating
making-of documentary, and I don’t think director Paul Thomas Anderson really
likes looking back on his movies enough to record a commentary, so extras aren’t
an issue, I mostly just want to see the film in high definition, and hear Ammie
Mann’s music in DTS-HD Master Audio. The film’s structure might lend itself to
some interesting Blu-ray extras, like an on screen relationship tree or
The Sixth Sense
Disney has already re-released a special edition of M. Night
Shyamalan’s first good movie, and a nearly bare-bones Blu-ray disc, and perhaps
the director’s now blue whale sized ego may make a look back a bit
mind-numbing, but there has to be something new to say about the film. Perhaps
a commentary with the now M.I.A. Haley Joel Osment about his Oscar nomination?
People seem to have forgotten about how great David O.
Russell’s pre-George W. Bush, pre-9/11, and pre-Iraq War II post-Desert Storm
dark comedy was. The planned 2004 re-release didn’t go so well when Russell’s
newly shot documentary about the current conflict, Soldier’s Pay, was deemed
too controversial for release with a special edition DVD. Perhaps now that W.
is leaving office and the tenth anniversary is coming Warner Bros. will see fit
to release the originally planned special edition on Blu-ray. Newton Thomas
Sigel’s bleach bypass photography will look pretty good in 1080p too.
Toy Story 2
Even after Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton took the stories to
brave new places, and in the wake of giant leaps in technology, Pixar’s one and
only sequel still gets my vote as the studio’s best film. The extras from the
original Toy Box release still stand up pretty well, I just want the film in
hi-def, no full re-release is really necessary.
Other re-releases I might be looking forward to:
Audition (though the latest special edition was pretty
Dead or Alive
My Best Fiend
Tarzan (the last great Disney cartoon, minus the Phil
Titus (someone has to like it, right?)