Welcome to CHUD’s Special Edition! Let’s just skip all of the minor small talk and get right down to destroying our lives, wallets, and DVD pants with the latest DVD announcements that can tell if your friends asses got kicked by sharks.
Atrocities Against Humanity!
There are many who’ll disagree with me, but I feel that Be Cool (read Russ Fischer’s review) is the worst movie I have seen in the year of Peter Benchley’s Creature, 2005. F. Gary Gray, a competent director who shepherded such movies as Set It Off, The Negotiator, and the remake of The Italian Job (which is fun in a so-adequate-its-kinda-good way) appears to be on auto-pilot as he allows the entire cast (several of whom are back from the original Get Shorty) to eat their ham sandwiches and chomp mightily. Smacking into the annals of awfulness is John Travolta, who teams up with widow-cum-sex pot Uma Thurman. You can imagine what happens there, as Gray and Co. makes the pair dance the night away, just like they did in Pulp Fiction (yawn.) The comparisons don’t stop there; as the plot just basically rehashes some sort of nonsense involving a new starlet (Christina Milian, whose vocal chords barely crawl out of this thing unscathed) and Chili Palmer’s racist Shylock speak about bouncing from movies to music (much like the exact career move in Get Shorty.) Thrown into the unleavened mix is Vince Vaughn as a pimp suit-wearing fake Gangsta (who I liked to call Soul Destroyer, for purposes of this film), Harvey Keitel as his bearded mogul boss and James Woods as the sleepwalking surprise man (wait and see! he’s only in the film for approximately 08 Seconds, then he’s off the bull as Luke Perry curses him into obscurity.) Cedric The Entertainer (not living up to his namesake) and André 3000 show up, but don’t really pull their things out to bang. Bombs Over Baghdad. Outshining everyone is Dwayne Johnson, who ditches his macho preset ‘character’ and becomes the sole sexually vague comic relief in the midst of this concert of mismatched intentions. Hell, even Steven Tyler, the man who rocked other worlds with his pants, lips, and perfectly coiffed handkerchiefs, doesn’t inspire much confidence towards the rest of the film. Consider me disappointed, and fooled one too many times. A wise man once famously crooned – "yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh!", wait, I meant – "meet the new boss…"
Squint and hold back your free flowing tears of mediocrity with: some deleted scenes, a gag reel, Be Cool, Very Cool: a 22 minute behind-the-scenes documentary (which should shine some light on nothing), 05 Close-Up featurettes (Dance Partners, The Rock, André 3000, Cedric The Entertainer, and Christina Milian), and the original theatrical trailer.
Even before Christian Bale bulked up for Batman Begins (eating doughnuts and steak must be hard, just ask Dom Deluise) he slimmed down, way down, into the dark and shady tinted Jungles of The Machinist (read Devin’s review here.) Brad Anderson (whose Session 09 I consider to be a creepily effective tale that shows the results of the Big Dig on people’s psyches) tells the tale of Trevor Reznick (a nine inch waist with teeth), local insomniac and general paranoid industrialist. Not having slept for a year will do that to you, as those all-nighters you pulled in college (and in your dead-end job) emerged to the deep sound of ‘FINISH HIM!’ while Mr. Noob Saibot squeaks out, femininely yelling: "toasty!" Reznick’s working for the Man in a machinist shop and its only when he accidentally cuts off Michael Ironside’s arm (seriously, don’t do that) where he learns the true nature of Overdog’s evil, evil ways. As Reznick attempts to figure out what’s going on with him, things get a little, strange, to say the least, partly because there’s a strong old timey Zither-infused score floating around at all times (by a man whose name could translate to Rock Baths.) Brad Anderson’s film is uniquely interesting; keeping you involved long past if you’ve already figured out where it’s going (like Devin ultimately did, although as for me, I’m incredibly gullible and stupid), even with fish heads in freezers and all. Owing a bit to those creepy thrillers of days past, The Machinist also allows Jennifer Jason Leigh to show her hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold side and screw everything into a Cleveland Steamer© of dirty, dirty sheets.
"I know who you are. I know who you are. I know who you are" with: an audio commentary by director Anderson (sadly, no screenwriter Scott Kosar insights), the featurette The Machinist: Breaking The Rules, 08 deleted scenes, and the original theatrical trailer.
Kevin Spacey’s alleged labor of love (but just how much? – I heard that he made prospective viewers at a Q&A of the film wait for hours as he drove from Malibu and was ‘stuck in traffic’) was Beyond The Sea (check out Ian’s DVD Review.) Transporting himself into the role of crooner Bobby Darin, whom many of you know as "who the hell is that?", Spacey charges out front and center into the bio-pic’y film that caused a massive American public to shrug their shoulders in apathetic triumph. Spacey then grabbed his Smith & Wesson and proceeded to shoot down all those who disagreed with him, much to his delight. As the streets were littered with bloody bodies and dismembered copies of former teacher of mine – Amos Poe’s Rocket Gibraltar (buy the film from CHUD!), when Spacey decided to Pay It Forward and thrust his version of justice across the heartland. Kansas was spared no mercy (luckily Slater escaped.) Bringing our imaginations back down to the hell we call Earth is the lovely and now very skinny Kate Bosworth, who takes on Sandra Dee and becomes the buoyancy for Darin’s love life. As the pair crisscrosses their stardom with hit records and movies, the oncoming decade of the 60’s is looming, and there’s nothing to stop Peckinpah from unleashing his graceful balladic violence onto the public. The film has quite a number of narrative twists that aid in Darin’s weak heart palpitations, so it’s up to you to watch as we collective hold our breaths, turning blue.
Have your song remade for the Finding Nemo end credits with: director/actor Spacey audio commentary, a making-of featurette, and exclusive bonus musical performances by Spacey himself. Sashay, chantey, work it now.
Thoroughly demented and lacking a finesse of the diminutive stars’ previous exploits, Seed Of Chucky arrives and scares some of you out of your pants into making demonic babies. Director Don Mancini (check out CHUD’s interview with him here, sans Hawaiian shirt) brings an interesting mix of scary scenes and over-the-top humor to the proceedings, angering my brain because it contains some spectacular moments (such as the shot following a father falling all the way down 02 stories onto the floor as a knife plunges into his chest) coupled with thudding parts of mediocrity (Method Man, I’m looking at you, then turning away, then looking back, then turning away.) Then of course, there’s the "I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter" ending, where I slapped my head incredibly hard (call me Special Agent Special) and blinked into the throes of Einstein levels of intelligence. Mancini’s no Patent Clerk, but he does understand what it takes to be entertaining (this is part of the Chucky franchise after all…) and not let your audience down (most of the time.) Still, I can’t help but feel when it comes down to it, Chucky and Tiffany’s quest to adopt a spawn and continue their reign of terror, rings a little hollow, although I can’t fault John Waters for hamming it up and playing to the best of his strengths as a Paparazzo. Bravo? Question mark! Exclamation point. Period.
Once is a blessing and twice is a curse, thus explaining your sister with: an audio commentary from director Mancini and busty actress Jennifer Tilly, Ms. Tilly on The Tonight Show, fuZion up-close with the stars, text and photo galleries, a slide show, Jennifer Tilly’s diary, cast & filmmakers information and a theatrical trailer.
Faster than you can say ‘hinting at school girl lesbianism!’ came D.E.B.S. (Dave’s DVD Review – Coming Soon), in and out of theaters. Director Angela Robinson, who parlayed her short film made at NYU into the feature film version, relies on a 60’s mod-sense of humor (think Fathom, Modesty Blaise and their ilk), where everything is fair game in her world of silliness. Her short (which was just on Sundance Channel the other night) was notable for containing the basics for this whole version, but also had that raw sense of talent and hilarity you don’t quite get with various other student shorts (myself included!). Either way, "sultry crime boss Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster) is back in the states and the D.E.B.S.- an elite team of paramilitary college co-ed superspies- are hot on her trail. But when their top agent, gorgeous Amy Bradshaw (Sara Foster), mysteriously disappears after coming face to face with the attractive young villainess, the D.E.B.S. begin a full-scale search for Lucy’s secret lair, never suspecting that Amy may not want to be rescued after all, in this smart and sexy spy spoof about love at first gun sight." Discipline, Energy, Beauty and Strength should contain enough scenes for a certain webmaster to be energetically enthralled, and if he’s not, well then, I’m totally wrong. And I might be fired. Robinson now goes on to Herbie: Fully Loaded, which is a much bigger platform for herself. D.E.B.S. now goes on to live in the digital realm with Devon Aoki as a French model turned D.E.B., so it should be interesting to least watch that.
Frenglish is not a language (it isn’t?) with – an audio commentary by Robinson, a cast commentary, a making-of featurette, a photo gallery, "Into The Morning" music video, Animatics, some deleted scenes, and some bonus trailers. Both the full screen (don’t you dare watch this) and the widescreen versions are included on the film. You know which one to choose.
Perhaps I am a bit in awe that Dan Harris came straight out of school (the big, bad gentrified streets of the upper west side in NYC) and right into the filmmaking community. This doesn’t happen often (entirely true, unless you happen to know a writer with a shark of an idea.) What brought him there? A combination of items, from his script of Imaginary Heroes (Devin mentions it in the Prognosticator here) to Urban Legend 03, which then lead to his co-writing gig (with partner Dan Dougherty) on X2: X-Men United which then lead to millions for some guy in some tights (and a collaboration with Peter Gruber, which probably lead to him wanting gigantic metal spiders). Harris focuses on the impersonal subject of suicide, bringing with him a whole wealth of story. "Teenaged son Tim (Emile Hirsch) views his life as a bad dream. His father, Ben (Jeff Daniels), tunes out and treats his wife and children like strangers. His mother, Sandy (Sigourney Weaver) sharpens her tongue with sarcasm and dulls her senses with pot while struggling hard to conceal a secret that threatens to ruin them all. With elements of pathos, salty humor and self-discovery, the Travises learn to accept one another as family – warts and all." Imaginary Heroes was released last year for a qualifying awards run, but it failed to create much of a spark among the seasoned voters. Now you can shake your fist at them furiously as you sit back and watch the deeveedee. I spelt that wrong intentionally. Thanks for getting on my back about it.
"I hated High School. I hated all of you and I hope you all rot in hell" with: an audio commentary with Dan Harris, Emile Hirsch, and Sigourney Weaver, some deleted scenes and a bunch of trailers.
I just finished all 1000+ minutes of the first season a little while ago (buy it from CHUD! and read Rob’s DVD review) and Paramount one ups me again (Brad Grey is quick), throwing out MacGyver: The Complete Second Season into the fray. I don’t know about you, but wherever I am, I can hear those opening bars of synthesized freedom and I’ll hope and pray for a gigantic fireball explosion of titles that reveals my name, followed by an epic title card: Produced By Mr. Henry Winkler. One day, Winkler, one day. Angus still doesn’t need a gun, choosing to use his hyper advanced sense of smell, touch, and taste, thrusting paperclips into tiny holes, squinting in delight at having cracked open some giant box, and squeezing his way into one too many hairy situations (something anyone who works with Will Ferrel understands…) Season Two brings MacGyver into The Human Factor, sneaking into a top secret weapons lab (giving a major FACE to the Pentagon in the process), against (or was it with?) George Takei in The Wish Child, rescuing a nun and some ungrateful kiddies, versus some angry Mobsters in Three For The Road, and of course, remembering friend and spy Jack Dalton (played by the great character actor Bruce McGill). Hopefully, like the first season, the second will have those nifty images on the DVDs themselves (I like simple things, people) and poke a little fun at the nature of the show. Enjoy this season while you can (and as fast as you can!) because surely, Season Three can’t be that far off, and then, the end of the show after Season Seven. Synth!
Winkler produced Special Features include a spectacular amount of nothing, other than some bonus trailers.
Remember a couple of months back? Hell knows I don’t, as I’m under a haze of awkwardness, social problems, and various inabilities that restrict everything about me. Fox quietly snuck in their first Film Noir Series, three titles that defined what it means to define something about Film Noir. It’s hard to tell what they were doing because it was shrouded in shadows with little light. Shifty eyes darted back and forth, and motives weren’t clear-cut. Now, they’re back again, defining more titles and slamming their definitions into Webster’s pithy little face like there was no tomorrow. If there was, there’d surely be some explaining to do.
Was it a coincidence that I just finished Forty Guns the other night (a spectacular achievement of naked gun lust … with a whip) and now coming out of the gate is another amazing Samuel Fuller film – House Of Bamboo? The answer is no, because I was planning it all along, so ne’ner. Fuller, a journalist, advanced human, spectacular lover, amazing cook, uniter of nations, man of the people, constitution signer, fearless pioneer, and cigar connoisseur understood how cinema works. Give them powerful imagery coupled with hard-hitting dialogue, all carefully swirled around in a piping hot bowl of riveting cinema. "This brutal gangster film was the first American production to shoot in Japan, and Fuller exploits his locations to the max, up to and including a climactic gun battle around a Tokyo rooftop facsimile of the turning Earth… [as a] gang of American expatriates is robbing U.S. military ammunition and supply trains, and using military tactics to do it. They’re a ruthless bunch, killing not only any troops and police that get in the way but also their own wounded. Robert Stack has a satisfyingly dark-edged role as an American drifter who’s drafted into the gang, and Robert Ryan is mesmerizing as the psychotic crimelord. The action is tough–there’s a genuinely shocking killing in a bathhouse–and Fuller’s canny deployment of the newly widened screen is just as forceful." House Of Bamboo is well known by today’s crowd as being the film that wafts in the background on the sheet in Minority Report. Leave it to another visionary to bring an older grizzled visionary to unsuspecting audiences.
Robert Stack! – with: audio commentary by film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver, Fox Movietone News: Behind-the-scenes footage, Landing in Japan, the Spanish trailer and the original theatrical trailer.
Tyrone Power is one son of a bitch. I just say that from watching Wilder’s Witness For The Prosecution among others. He’s wily. He’s unpredictable. Just about everything you’d want in a so-called anti-hero. Now he’s in a spot called Nightmare Alley, where the Kruger has nothing to do with it (although would make a tasty remake … New Line?) Power is "Stan Carlisle, the predatory charmer who snakes his way through this bracingly unwholesome story. A spieler for–and lover of–carnival mind reader Zeena (Joan Blondell), he displays uncanny skill at "reading" the susceptible rubes, including a tough sheriff who turns to jelly after Stan psychs him out. Once Stan’s mastered the intricate code used in Zeena’s act, he’s set to dump her for the younger, sexier Molly (Coleen Gray) and go bigtime as nightclub psychic "Stanton the Great." After that, it’s only a blasphemous bank shot to superstardom as a miracle worker with his own tabernacle and radio show." Supposedly Power finds out what it truly means to be a geek, and somehow miraculously doesn’t involve Lucas, Raimi, Corman, Carpenter, Craven (master of horror? – irony!) or any of the other pop culture references that I am so clearly adroit at. Is anyone giving out medals? Or how about a pat on the back?
Nightmare Alley made me watch their friend dance and then stole my wallet with: an audio commentary by film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver and the theatrical trailer.
Come on Fox, you’re saying, why release the original film that House Of Bamboo took some plot points from? Shouldn’t we get something else, like Kiss Of Death? Well, friends and enemies (it seems like there’s more of the latter every day), KOD is koming soon (October, I believe), and I think it’s a skilled move, a Rook to Knight 04 if you will, for Fox to release The Street With No Name. "Alec Stiles (Richard Widmark), [is] a menthol-sniffing asthmatic in a snap-brim hat who’s nailed down the organized-crime franchise for a burg named Center City, and who runs it "scientifically," using methods he picked up in uniform during WWII. He can even tap into the databanks of the FBI. Which, by coincidence, is gearing up to bring his mini-crime wave to an end." Long awaited on DVD, The Street With No Name finally arrives and Shel Silverstein is probably hoping that it goes nowhere near Where The Sidewalk Ends (although Otto Preminger knows, and he knows well!).
I love the tagline for this film – COUNTER ATTACK! – so I got nothin’ else here. The Special Features include: an audio commentary by film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver and the original theatrical trailer. Such a great tagline.
Bruce Dern. Walter Hill. Bruce Dern. Ryan O’Neil. When the four of them team up (Dern is twice the man, even with the frizzy hair, believe you me) you happen to get the neo-noir cult classic The Driver. It’s even so cool that it happens to be Hills sophomore effort, a film birthed onto audiences who didn’t seem to quite know what to do with it. "An audacious, skillful film noir by Walter Hill, so highly stylized that it’s guaranteed to alienate 90 percent of its audience. There’s no realism, no psychology, and very little plot in Hill’s story of a deadly game between a professional getaway driver (Ryan O’Neal) and a detective obsessed with catching him (Bruce Dern). There is, however, a great deal of technically sophisticated and very imaginative filmmaking." Walter Hill knows how to make a great film (although where has he been lately?) so this’ll be interesting for all of those out there who are unsure of his reputation and his ability to make great films from pieces of spectacular narratives. The Driver is widely considered to be one of this best, although I wouldn’t expect the rumored 130-minute version on DVD any time soon.
For less than $10.00 you can check it out and maybe get into the rare business yourself. Features include an alternate beginning that runs a little over three minutes.
MGM invested some serious cash into this production (to the tune of $15 million 1980’s dollars, which equals $3.628 Billion today) only to keep it out of theaters. Much like how Bakshi and Crumb used animation for adults, Rock & Rule was for teens looking for a right to party in 2-D. Infusing music into the proceedings, with bands like Cheap Trick, Blondie, and IGGY POP!, the animated film lusts for the life of a futuristic time. "An aging superstar, Mok, plots to raise a demon and unleash its evil powers for his own diabolical ends. Mok’s plans involve a search for a very special voice, the kidnapping of a singer named Angel, and a trip to the post-apocalyptic metropolis known as Nuke York. The action soars as Angel’s band, led by her boyfriend Omar, attempts a daring rescue." Believe it or not, Mok’s singing voice and band are done by that rascally superstar Lou Reed, who assumingly took some sort of walk on the wild side. Created in Canada, there are two different versions of the same film. One is a Canadian version, because they have to be different. Unseen for some 20 odd years, its DVD release is upon you!
Remember kids – evil spelled backwards is "live" and we all want to live, don’t we? Spoken as a man of the kids. The 02 disc SE comes with: a director’s audio commentary, a making-of documentary, a sketch gallery, Peter Roe liner notes, and a fully restored HD transfer among other items.
Every so often, filmmaker Jonathan Demme breaks out from his regular cinematic mold and delivers a documentary (whether it be based around music – like Stop Making Sense, or around tragic real life events – like My Life, without Michael Keaton). Demme was friends with an Agronomist named Jean Dominique, who at the time of their formed friendship was a radio personality and journalist. Before you run to dictionary.com, an Agronomist is a person who happens to have extensive knowledge in the aspects of soil development and field production, useful techniques to farmers in rural communities, much like the ones Dominique helped out in Haiti. Started as informal interviews way back in 1991, Demme set his camera on Dominique abroad and at home (when Dominique was a political exile for a time being). "As owner and operator of his nation’s oldest and only free radio station, Radio Haiti Inter, Dominique was frequently at odds with his country’s various oppressive governments and spent much of the ’80s and early ’90s in exile in New York, where Demme continued to interview him over the years. Dominique fought tirelessly against his country’s tyranny from corrupt political regimes and overwhelming poverty. But it was Dominique’s shocking and still unsolved assassination in April of 2000 that gave the director the impetus to assemble more than a decades worth of material into a celebration of this dynamic man and his legacy." Alongside Wyclef Jean, another Haitian who broke free, Demme works to bring about the unsolved questions present in Dominique’s relationship with his homeland and the repercussions wrought after the tragic series of events.
The Agronomist‘s Special Features include: commentary by Demme and Jean and the widescreen version of the film.
It’s going to be a busy Tuesday because there’s a lot of new titles coming to punch your wallet into submission. Purchasing is going to be tough, and restraint is probably going out the window. If you don’t have a window, then out the door. If you don’t have a door, then we’ve come to a plausible impasse. In the meantime, salivate at these upcoming titles, also released on Tuesday. Nick’s DVD Review of Rescue Me: The Complete First Season is Coming Soon (so waiting is what we do!), while the Stripes Extended Cut and Peter Sellers DVDs I covered a while back. I felt that these titles are well known enough that just the cover art would do it. If not, then I’m a failure. A huge beast of a failure.
Also arriving are:
Coyote Ugly: Unrated Director’s Cut (CHUD’s DVD Review – Coming Soon)
Gone In 60 Seconds: Unrated Director’s Cut (CHUD’s DVD Review – Coming Soon)
Father Of The Bride: 15th Anniversary SE (CHUD’s DVD Review – Coming Soon)
Sling Blade: Special Edition
Tears Of The Sun: Director’s Extended Edition
Karate Kid: Special Edition (single disc release)
Karate Kid: Part II (single disc edition)
Karate Kid: Part III (single disc edition)
The Next Karate Kid (single disc edition)
Wish Upon A Star
IMAX: Space Station (narrated by Tom Cruise)
Heller In Pink Tights
The Far Horizons
Screamers (w/ Peter Weller, in space!)
Star Trek: Insurrection – Special Edition (since this movie stinks, it goes here)
Dead Ringers (non Criterion, re-release)
Dutchess and The Dirtwater Fox
Unfaithfully Yours (w/ Dudley Moore)
Television Barrage Of Doom!
TV on DVD is heating up like no one’s business. Check out this MB thread, partly inspired by a recent Hollywood Reporter item a couple of days ago, on our Message Boards. Just today there are 17 Season Sets being unloaded onto you, and that’s more titles than I can barley mention in this already bloated beyond belief column. In a way, if you’re a gigantic fan of the television medium, then you win. If not, then skip it. It works for all of you. The following are just some of the titles that I was unable to cover in more depth. Laziness and I win!
The Dead Zone: Complete Third Season
Father Of The Pride
Frasier: Complete Fifth Season
Home Improvement: Complete Second Season
Sanford And Son: Complete Sixth Season
It’s Been A While!
What in the name of Thor has come out? Leave it to me, my young Barbarian killer. Shall we pillage towards the newest of the new? I’d yargh, but I’m all yargh’ed out.
On August 09th, Kung Fu Hustle (read Devin’s interview with director/writer/star/producer/Miramax émigré Stephen Chow right here) arrives on Region 01 DVD. Granted, it’s already been out in several other countries for a while now, but if you’re not Region Free, then look no further. If you already have looked further into the future (and why aren’t you there yet? seriously!) then consider the wealth of special features on this disk. Chow, as a force of nature, has found a nice dash of hilarity to intersperse with his fondness for action (in terms of what’s on screen) and older films (such as the Astaire-Rogers dancing films). He desperately yearns to get involved with the Notorious Axe Gang in 1940’s China. What he doesn’t bargain for is his involvement with a rag-tag group of residents in a slum on the outskirts of the city who happen to have some extraordinary fighting powers. What expires has its share of the funny, filled with some gut-busting instances of forced urination, firecrackers, fists of fury, musical instruments of death (trust me), wrist rings of fury (a good name for a band), and general hijinx alongside the likes of any American cartoon. Chow somehow manages to make the whole film work in tandem with the intensive violence, not once making you squirm or feel uncomfortable. On top of all of this, it’s entirely believable. It works! That’s part of the good natured charm Kung Fu Hustle resonates, and why it’s such a fun film – various shortcomings or not.
"You may know Kung Fu… but you’re still a fairy" with: an audio commentary by the cast and crew, 02 deleted scenes, a blooper reel, a TV Special – Behind the scenes of Kung Fu Hustle, a Ric Meyers Interview with Chow, and an International Poster Exploration Gallery (surely something Steve Zissou might have on his ship.)
Dear S.D. (and A.S.), since you both just recently bought Gilmore Girls: The Complete Third Season, I figured that you’d like to know that Gilmore Girls: The Complete Fourth Season has just been announced, and it’s coming out on 09.27.05. Steve (and Anna, when you go back), it’s probably going to be expensive in NYC, because you know, everything is, but it’s all cool, right? Try Circuit City (or Best Buy, but they’ve been expensive with these sets). I believe that the Fourth Season was the one that I missed (because of that awesome senior thesis that took up my whole year), and now we’re in the what? Fifth Season, yes. Lorelai and Rory come back from Europe before Rory goes off to Yale to begin her year of turmoil and utter craziness. Luke is particularly angry when it takes all day to move Rory in, but that’s college Luke. He should have known. Lorelai and Sookie’s inn runs into some problems, Adam Brody leaves the show to be on The O.C., Rory and Paris still continue their rocky relationship, and a whole slew of other items. So, there you go, guy and gal. Is it celebration time?
Gilmore Girls‘ Special Features include: additional scenes, a Stars Hollow interactive trivia game, a montage of the season’s "best hookups" called – Who Wants To Get Together?, and various fun facts that appear on screen during selected episodes called – "Goodies & Gossip."
Ice Cube continues his reign of cinematic terror with XXX: State Of The Union. Vin Diesel abandoned this franchise right quick (focusing in on Pitch Black instead), so it was only natural they go from a body building muscular man who can kill you in two moves to a rapper who was in N.W.A. Lee Tamahori, who brought the Bond franchise back to a semblance of goodness (although Die Another Day is no Goldeneye), moves onward and upward from his promised path after We Were Warriors. "Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) of the National Security Agency has successfully dealt with a number of threats to America’s safety, but he faces a whole new challenge when he discovers a potent terrorist cell that has ties to the upper levels of the American military. Gibbons learns that George Deckert (Willem Dafoe), the secretary of defense, has been training a secret military faction to stage a coup against the United States by kidnapping and assassinating the president of the United States (Peter Strauss). Convinced there’s no one he can trust within his circle of operatives, Gibbons turns to Darius Stone (Ice Cube), currently serving time in a maximum security penitentiary. Stone once served with Gibbons in the Army, and also took part in a mutiny against Deckert; despite his reckless side, Gibbons is certain Stone’s fearless nature and peerless fighting skills make him the one man who can take on Deckert and his troops." Dafoe as a villain should make some of you giddy, but if the sequel’s anything else like the first XXX (as in those shots of boats being blown to bits over a bridge), it will mostly likely contain mindless action, horrendous dialogue and about 30 minutes that should have been cut left in the finished version.
Special Features include: audio commentary by Tamahori, visual effects team commentary, some deleted scenes, a documentary: From Convict To Hero: The Making of XXX: State Of The Union, Top Secret Military Warehouse XXX: According to Ice Cube, and a Bullet Train breakdown.
August 02nd brings the re-release of those two cinematic masterpieces, Ghostbusters 01 and 02. The first film being the one that most of us will feel entirely too old remembering (and thus making our departures even more inevitable), although your fantasies of "being slimed!" still ring a little odd. Less strange was the sight of the Statue of Liberty wandering around the streets of NYC. Other than suspending an intense amount of belief (how can she walk that that? The steel alone would bend and snap structurally), it brings smiles to my cold, cold heart. Ghostbusters 02 is more notable for the variety of aural hits Bobby Brown and others unleashed across my unsuspecting mind, opening me up for harmonies that kicked me in the ‘estomach. Ditties like "On Our Own" "We’re Back" "Flip City" and of course, "Higher and Higher." Little minds were melded in their image, and social anxieties started forming for those years to come. Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!
The gift set looks to include: both films in anamorphic widescreen, Ivan Reitman commentary, some deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, 02 animated episodes from The RealGhostbusters, and a Collectable scrapbook. Be forewarned that most of those items look to be on the First films’ DVD (from way back when), and 02 could just be a repackaging (like 01) with this nifty little slime spewed cover.
Region Free Of All Political Strife
As always, the following titles are Region Free. If you bought a DVD player in America (Region 01, NTSC) and attempt to play any of these titles, you’re going to be shit out of luck. Much like Hoffa when he was destroyed into the netherworld. Don’t let them do that to you! Consider purchasing a Region Free player. As a lover of movies, all shapes and sizes, no one has the right to tell you what you can see and can’t. The world is your oyster, and it’s all shiny and round, filled with little 01’s and 00’s for your viewing pleasure.
Breck Eisner is very lucky. It’s tough not to connect the dots all the way to his famous powerful dad, Michael Eisner, a man who ran Paramount in the 80’s and now is sitting in luxury atop Disney. Now, those Russkies over in Russia are releasing Eisner’s first big-budget film, the hundred million dollar plus Sahara (read Devin’s review of the film right here.) My problem with the film (other than being too flashy, quick, and intense) is that its purpose to take you on two adventures leads it towards the ways of boredom. It’s not like you haven’t seen any of these adventure type movies before, and Sahara really doesn’t do much to help the cause of advancing the moment into the stratosphere of political rallies in the Mall. McConaughey is Dirk Pitt, the new strangely named name of adventure, a eerily tanned adventurer along with his trusty steed, Steve Zahn. Zahn plays to his strengths here, and that means playing the sidekick much like he’s played the sidekick in every other film of his. Pitt and crew (along the way they pick up Penelope Cruz) are looking for a buried amount of Confederate Gold lost in an old blockade runner from those wonderful days of lore. Except that they weren’t really wonderful, but the film paints this time as a land of magical mist and squinty eyed Johnny Reds. It’s while they’re searching that the film veers 180 degrees right, getting mixed up with Lambert Wilson and his nasty French sneering, all having to do with toxic waste and poisoning the locals. Their adventures involve punching, jumping, and seventies rock music the likes of which Budweiser is salivating at, so it’s natural for my hardened sarcastic shell to call shenanigans on the film early and often. Voting my way into the halls of vocal criticism, Sahara‘s just not a good film.
The Russian Region 05 PAL release includes: absolutely nothing but Russian subtitles which are unremovable when the film is playing it’s original English audio track.