THE WEEK OF MAY 19th, 2009


Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Peter Yates
  • Audio commentary featuring Yates
  • Stills gallery
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Kent Jones and a 1973 on-set profile of Robert Mitchum from Rolling Stone

The Friends of Eddie Coyle

is one of those films that I followed for years, as it tried to make its way to a propr DVD. Robert Mitchum plays gun-runner Eddie Coyle in this gritty crime drama from Peter Yates. Recently pinched and facing a second length stretch in prison, Eddie has to decide whether or not to snitch on his hoodlum friends. Taking a hard look at the Boston underworld, we get to see how far loyalty goes among thieves. If you ever wanted to know why Mitchum is a bad-ass, watch this flick. Also, check out Peter Boyle in this. Boyle was ruined on the younger readers due to his Everybody Loves Raymond bullshit. But, the man was a hell of an actor.


Special Features

  • Commentary by Tom Cruise, Bryan Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie
  • Commentary by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander
  • Featurettes:
  •                  The Journey to Valkyrie
  •                  The Valkyrie Legacy

should’ve been the crappiest vanity war movie this side of Inchon. What happened was the British supporting cast went out of their way to upstage Tom Cruise and try to save the film. Sure, they couldn’t save the entire movie from being a mess. But, you’ve got to admire the spirit of a Branagh, an Izzard or a Wilkinson to combat Tom Cruise aka The Pope of Crazytown.


Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Commentary with the Cast and Crew
  • The Truth about Fanboys
  • Star Wars Parallel
  • Four Fanboys and One Fangirl
  • The Choreography
  • Disturbances in the Force: A Series of Webisodes

doesn’t endear itself to the viewer. I first saw it almost a year ago and I was indifferent. I couldn’t say that I thought the movie was terrible, as the young cast really worked their asses off to make you care. But, I saw it again recently. Too many cameos financed by the Weinstein/Sheinhardt Wig Company. Too many attempts to downplay the cancer storyline. Too many dumb Lucasian jokes. That and they gave Ray Park work. If you keep giving him money, he won’t go away.


I had an idea for a subset column for The Special Edition. Many people
want to have Criterions in their collection. Many people pretend to
like half of the films that Criterion releases. But, what about those
people that honestly can’t be bothered to be told what to like. What
about them?

That’s why I want to test the waters and see if
this floats. I want the readers of CHUD and this dear article to head
to the Boards and nominate their Personal Criterion Collection entry. I
want to see explanations and not just mindless listing of entries,

All titles eligible are previously released DVD/BR media that you believe to be essential/necessary to the collection of the Home Entertainment enthusiast.


1. The Fountain

2. Videodrome

3. Seven Men from Now

4. Stalker

5. The Last Days of Disco
6. Paris, Texas
7. Vanishing Point
8. The Stunt Man
9. The Deer Hunter
10. The Third Man
11. Southland Tales
12. Head
13. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
14. Sorcerer
15. Henry V (1989)
16. The Great White Hope
17. Fixed Bayonets
18. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary
19. The Ballad of Cable Hogue
20. Gates of Heaven
21. The Dirty Dozen
22. Opening Night
23. Birdman of Alcatraz
24. Elmer Gantry
25. The Band Wagon
26. Five Guns West
27. Detour
28. Jubal
29. Affair in Trinidad
30) Experiment in Terror
31) Seconds
32) Coffy
33) 1984
34) Special
35) Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense
36) The Fortune Cookie
37) Executive Suite
38) Two People
39) The Sand Pebbles
40) The Iron Horse
41) Watermelon Man
42) The Girl Can’t Help It
43) Diner
44) Rumble Fish
45) Pale Rider
46) High Plains Drifter
47) Lady Snowblood
48) Help
49) The Bank Job
50) The Hudsucker Proxy
51) Tommy
52) The Pawnbroker
53) Imitation of Life (1959)
54) Desperate Living
55) In Harm’s Way
56) The Dam Busters
57) The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant
58) Blood and Lace
59) Two-Lane Blacktop
60) Saint Jack
61) Saaraba
62) Meet the Feebles
63) Bob Roberts
64) Love Streams
65) Barfly
66) Billy Jack
67) Shock Corridor
68) Jason and the Argonauts
69) Curse of the Demon
70) Basket Case
71) Searching for Bobby Fisher
72) Safe
73) Deep Cover
74) Blow Out
75) The Mission (Johnny To)
76) Fresh
77) The Glass Shield
78) Dolls
79) He Got Game
80) King Rat
81) Zabriskie Point
82) Belle du Jour
83) Johnny Guitar
84) Inserts

and today’s entry suggested by Reggie-Wanker.

85) The 36th Chamber of Shao-Lin. (click on box art tobuy this at Amazon)

Lau Kar-Leung’s 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN is owed an enormous debt by
just about every action film made afterwards that has placed a heavy
emphasis on unorthodox training methods. I can’t imagine what KARATE
KID or ROCKY IV would have looked like had this film not been made…
never mind the hundreds of Hong Kong, Korean, and Taiwanese imitators
that it spawned.

The vast majority of the film’s action is training, with no villain to
be neutralized, only puzzles to be solved or skill sets to be mastered.
While it was in production with an unknown star, Gordon Liu (who
debuted his signature bald-headed look in this film), there was a lot
of doubt as to whether or not audiences would be engaged by a film that
revolved so heavily around a man’s internal conflict rather than his
ability to take out scores of enemy fighters singlehandedly. To master
the Shaolin disciplines, he must temper his obsession with avenging his
family, which is what led him to the temple in the first place. He
learns to channel his anger in a more constructive direction – as a
teacher motivated by a desire to help people defend themselves against
oppressors so they don’t have to suffer as he did, not
as a direct agent of vengeance. This was A Big Deal At The Time, nearly
as offbeat as Lau’s decision to make a China vs Japan martial arts film
where nobody dies with the later HEROES OF THE EAST.

There are martial arts films where people use kung fu to solve whatever
conflicts the story presents them with – think POLICE STORY. Then there
are films that are inexorably about
martial arts – remove the martial arts from the film and you remove
everything. You could take the martial arts out of POLICE STORY without
changing the story much at all. You can’t do that with 36TH CHAMBER OF
SHAOLIN, where the martial arts training changes the protagonist in
ways beyond increasing his ability to kick lots of ass. Is Jackie
Chan’s character substantially changed by the events of POLICE STORY?
Heavens, no. But here, Gordon Liu is completely transformed by his
experiences in the Shaolin chambers – even his name changes by film’s end.

Cinematographer Arthur Wong provides some of the strongest work of his
career on this film. Each shot is beautifully composed, and usually
there is a second
perfectly composed shot hidden within the first, as quick zooms are
often used to replace traditional edits here – but never carelessly,
and almost never as a substitute for dollying the camera, as is often
the case on lesser kung fu films; in 36TH CHAMBER Wong’s camera is
plenty mobile. In a genre often plagued by sloppy camerawork, this
film’s visuals are downright meticulous. There aren’t many films that
use the “scope” frame as well as this one does – it’d be nearly
impossible to pan & scan something visually coherent out of Wong’s
careful, frame-filling compositions.

This is a highly influential film that is very well made, with a strong
main character the viewer can relate to, who grows and matures before
our eyes in a genre not known for such things. It provided the starting
point for one of kung fu filmmaking’s internationally recognized stars,
and established Lau Kar-Leung as a very talented director, not just an
expert choreographer. One of Hong Kong’s best cinematographers does
some of his most impressive work on it, nearly doing double duty as
editor thanks to the heavy use of zooms in place of cuts. Lau was very
lucky to have a supportive producer in Mona Fong, who didn’t put her
foot down to restrain Lau’s experiments in genre-tweaking (here and in
other films) when she could have easily done so. 36TH CHAMBER OF
SHAOLIN is eminently
worthy, and amazingly the currently available US release is definitive,
one of the handful of Dragon Dynasty discs that’s not fucked up in any



  • Bank Robbery Collection: The Great Bank Hoax/The Great Bank Robbery
  • Billy Jack
  • Bollywood Horror Collection, Vol. 3: Mahakaal The Monster/Tahkhana The Dungeon
  • Charles Bronson Collection: Telefon/St. Ives
  • Debauched Desires: Four Erotic Masterpieces By Masaru Konuma
  • Detective Bureau 2-3: Go To Hell Bastards!
  • Detective Story
  • Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts
  • Dr. Dolittle Double Feature: Million Dollar Mutts/Tail To The Chief
  • Dragon Ball Z: Season Nine
  • Dragon Ball Z Double Feature: Fusion Reborn/Wrath Of The Dragon (Steelbook Packaging)
  • Driven To Kill
  • Eden Log
  • El Dorado (Paramount Centennial Collection)
  • Fanboys
  • Fist Of The North Star: The Movie
  • Friday Night Lights: The First And Second Seasons (Two-Season Value Pack)
  • Friday Night Lights: The Third Season
  • The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (The Criterion Collection)
  • Girl On A Motorcycle
  • Intimidad
  • Kobe Doin’ Work: A Spike Lee Joint
  • The Last Horror Film (Uncut Special Edition)
  • Malcolm McDowell Collection: A Clockwork Orange/O Lucky Man!
  • Man Hunt
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Paramount Centennial Collection)
  • Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus
  • My Bloody Valentine 2D
  • My Bloody Valentine 3D (One-Disc Standard Edition)
  • My Bloody Valentine 3D (Two-Disc Special Edition)
  • National Geographic: Titanic – How It Really Sank
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation: The Ultimate Collection
  • Nightmare Castle
  • Outlander
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop
  • Peyton Place, Pt. 1
  • Pigs, Pimps, And Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamaura (The Criterion Collection)
  • Pufnstuf: 1970 Movie
  • Russell Brand In New York City
  • Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1960s, Vol. 1
  • Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s, Vol. 1
  • Sisterhood
  • 17 Sinister Street
  • Steve McQueen Collection: Bullitt/Papillon
  • Steven Seagal Collection: Above The Law/Hard To Kill
  • The Sweet Pussycats
  • 3 Seconds Before Explosion
  • The Top Secret Trial Of The Third Reich
  • True Blood: The Complete First Season
  • 24: Season Seven
  • Valkyrie (One-Disc Standard Edition)
  • Valkyrie (Two-Disc Special Edition)
  • Wandering Ginza Butterfly
  • Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler
  • WWE: Wrestlemania XXV – 25th Anniversary
  • Yonkers Joe


  • Batman: 1989 Movie (Book Packaging)
  • A Bug’s Life
  • Changing Lanes
  • Circle Of Iron
  • Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts
  • Dragon Ball Z Double Feature: Fusion Reborn/Wrath Of The Dragon
  • Driven To Kill
  • Eden Log
  • Enemy At The Gates
  • Fanboys
  • Fast Company
  • Lions For Lambs
  • The Machinist
  • My Bloody Valentine 3D
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop
  • Paycheck
  • Sisterhood
  • Spy Game
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Skynet Edition)
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Limited Edition)
  • 3 Days Of The Condor
  • True Blood: The Complete First Season
  • 24: Season Seven
  • Valkyrie
  • WWE: Wrestlemania XXV – 25th Anniversary



*Blu-Ray prices are in BOLD BLUE

Paul Blart: Mall Cop $16.99

My Bloody Valentine  $16.99

Valykrie  $16.99

True Blood Season 1  $34.99

24 Season 7  $32.99

Paul Blart: Mall Cop  $26.99

My Bloody Valentine  $25.99

Valkyrie  $25.99

True Blood Season 1  $44.99

24 Season 7  $44.99



*Blu-Ray prices are in BOLD BLUE

My Bloody Valentine 3-D  $26.99

Valkyrie $25.99

My Bloody Valentine 3-D $17.99

Valkyrie $15.99

Paul Blart: Mall Cop  $25.99

Paul Blart: Mall Cop $15.99

True Blood: The Complete First Season $44.99

True Blood: The Complete First Season $32.99

Friday Night Lights: The Third Season  $19.99

Fanboys $14.99
Wrestlemania: 25th Anniversary $24.99
Dragonball Z: Season Nine  $34.99

24: Season 7 $44.99
24: Season 7 $32.99

A Bug’s Life $29.99
Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Skynet Edition $19.99
Batman: 20th Anniversary Digibook Packaging $27.99



The Illusionist
The Transporter 2
Scent of a Woman
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (Original 1998 DVD release)
SNL: The Best of Will Ferrell
City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold


I Am Legend
V for Vendetta
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines