Welcome back to this week’s installment. Today’s episode has Suzie stuck in a creepy dimly lit well, huffing and puffing her brains out. She’s not angry, but in labor! Only Thor Johnson can save her, but he’s stuck in traffic with his man thong. As the seconds blow by, Johnson picks up the phone, swiftly dialing chesty haired friend William. He’s closer to her than he is, and there’s only one thing he can do. Yes, trouble is brewing once his size 14 feet arrive. Buttons are popping right off. What’s going on down there?
Hardcore Bill Passage!
If a trailer of any typical action film is an indication of what you’re gonna get, then consider xXx: State Of The Union to be chock-filled with enough Ice Cube to wet anyone’s whistle. One of resident guru Dave Davis’ favorite films of the year ("so hilariously and unapologetically terrible") can now be enjoyed of the comfort of your own personal hell. One of the many items you’re most likely bombarding yourself with – at this very moment – is probably wondering where in the hell did Vin Diesel go? Well, if you were a fan of the previous outstretched film, just point yourself over to the previous Special Edition of xXx (purchase the ‘splosions and baldheadedness from CHUD here!) where you’ll be treated to a little segment called The Death Of Zander. All subtlety aside, Cube takes the reigns as Darius Stone, throwing all sorts of caution into the wind and roughly joining tha police after roughly telling everybody to fuck ‘em. Samuel L. Jackson can transform anyone into a secret agent, you see, and his Agent Augustus Gibbons is out sneaking around in the country to scour each corner for those willing and able to aid in a little National Security. It’s all in the name of a little action from the director of the promising Once Were Warriors (buy the amazing film from CHUD right here!) and Die Another Day. The contrived plot has former Secretary of D-fens (Willem Dafoe) using his wily blue eyes to train a top super-secret faction to stage a small quaint coup d’egad and assassinate the President of the United States … of funk. Gibbons, watching his back the like Mofo he is, turns to outside help in the form of Stone, a man currently locked up in maximum confines in the good old penitentiary (of big-budget action extravaganzas). Stone has had a run-in with Dafoe before, so it’s only a matter of time before we get the obligatory scene where the pair spar off, staring longingly in each others eyes, guns at the hilt. At least, I assume so. The plus side is that the film features Sunny Mabrey (who you’ll most likely see again in Snakes On A Plane, which is conspicuously titled Pacific Air Flight 121) as one of the various forms of female accompaniment. So, do with that what you will. As for me? I’m off to blow some shit up right quick.
"You shoulda killed that bitch!" – with: audio commentary with director Lee Tamahori, a visual effects commentary, 3 deleted scenes with optional director commentary, 3 featurettes (From Convict to Hero – The Making of xXx: State of the Union, Top Secret Military Warehouse and xXx: According to Ice Cube), on top of 4 Bullet Train Breakdown Angles with director Lee Tamahori’s introduction and some theatrical trailers.
No, it’s not the nickname you give nether regions after eating at Panda Express, but Steamboy is one of Devin’s least liked movies of the year. Unsatisfied that he’s ruining your priceless anime? Make sure to check out his review here, in-between focusing your intense hatred on his choice of phrases like "long, protracted origin story" and "the script doesn’t leave them much to do beyond shouting and grunting." Then, continue to get pissed off at Russ Fischer, for checking out the film at Toronto 2004 right here, where he states: "… the excesses are there, and they give Steamboy just that extra bit of mass to carry. Sometimes, that’s just too much." However, the power of personal freedoms on the internets allows you to transcend those things you disagree with and make up your own goddamned mind. So, Steamboy comes from via the imaginations behind Akira, which is well known for its sense of apocalyptic machinations set against
the backdrop of characters that jump to and fro against a rushing background while screaming "ahhhhh!". Don’t get me wrong, anime can be quite good, it’s just that to me, those are some of the defining characteristics (let’s not forget tentacle rape) in my blackest of black hearts. Meanwhile, in London, it’s 1866. "Ray Steam receives a mysterious package from his grandfather — a tiny ball that turns out to be a miniature super-powered steam engine whose power is greater than that of its largest counterparts. As it happens, Ray’s gift is regarded either as a technological marvel or a threat to the safety of the world depending on whom you ask, and a group of agents from the sinister but powerful O’Hara Foundation (who fall into the latter category) know about the tiny engine, and are determined to get it. Ray’s father, Eddie, has fallen under the sway of the O’Hara Foundation, and tips them off when he learns that Ray is hiding the engine at one of the pavilions of the Great Exhibition that is the toast of the city." These developments will then lead to an epic battle in my living room as to who says the snarkier comment, me or my roommate, in order to command destiny and shape the world as we know it.
Be mighty, mighty, and let it all hang out – with: the director’s cut of the feature film (which supposedly restores some semblance of coherency), an interview with director Katsuhiro Otomo, a featurette – "Re-Voicing Steamboy", a multi-screen Landscape study, some production drawings, Animation Onion Skins and the ending montage. The film also comes in a Gift Set, which includes: all of the above plus 10 Steamboy Collectible Postcards, a 22 Page Manga and a 166 Page Booklet containing character designs, mecha designs, and selected storyboard sequences. If you’re a fan of the film, you can’t go wrong with that.
The film that finally answers what it’s like to grow up like a poor black child has Steve Martin (although I almost typed CHUD guy Murphy) actually not knowing that he’s black as he sets out to understand his whiteness in The
25th 26th Anniversary Edition. The turn of events that will shape his transformation into the whitest of white boys will be brought forth by an easy listening tune. Like all those previous that have destroyed your car’s stereo in order for your aunt to appear to be ‘cool’. You know the ones. Martin, as Navin R. Johnson, sets out to discover the world of gas pumping in St. Louis when the brilliantly conceived idea of the Opti-Grab sets a hold of his consciousness, pulling the shades right off of his nose. In order to combat this pesky problem, his grab is "a combination handle and nose-brace for eyeglasses" that instantly sets the whole world aflutter, except for one man. Enter M. Emmet Walsh, the man who you love to caress late, late at night, all the while spewing forth phrases like: "don’t be so hard on yourself. How could you have known that was Iron Balls McGinty?". Walsh randomly sets his object of killing desires on Navin and forces him into the circus. Or was it against him in a Highlander competition? Nah, it was the place where they exploit the animals. No, not your house. There, Martin takes on a "guess your weight, height, and Kashyyyk sex" position, where he’s instantly smitten with local S&M enthusiast Bernadette Peters. She simply wants you and her boyfriend to make love and think of her. Just as long as you’re in there somewhere.
"Die, you random sonofabitch!" – with: Learn How to Play "Tonight You Belong to Me", the Lost Filmstrips of Father Carlos Las Vegas de Cordova, some production notes and the original theatrical trailer.
Wasn’t King’s Ransom out a few weeks ago? Reason being is that I swear to Harryhausen that I saw the film playing at the Cinerama Dome. Or at least it was on a billboard. Or maybe it was a premiere. Either way, it’s out with some intensive sprinting action, and America’s reaction to the theatrical release must have been something along the lines of shrugging before going to sleep. The plot is based around "a multi-millionaire [that] plans a scam that goes wrong in a great many ways in this comedy. Malcolm King (Anthony Anderson) is a wildly successful businessman who has gotten used to having things his own way. When King decides to divorce his wife, she’s none too thrilled at the prospect and makes it clear she will make him pay a huge settlement in exchange for his freedom. King isn’t keen on this idea, so he and his mistress hatch a scheme by which one of her friends (Jay Mohr) will "kidnap" King and demand a large portion of his fortune for his return, which will be kicked back to the businessman later. But King seriously underestimates the ineptitude of his would-be kidnapper — no to mention how many other people want a piece of his fortune." One of those people? Yeah, that’d be me, but in order to survive, I might have to sit through what I heard was a terribly mediocre movie. I might just do it. Nike.
Westward leading, still proceeding – with: audio commentary with Anthony Anderson and Jay Mohr, some deleted scenes with optional Director commentary, a behind-the-scenes documentary: "Down and dirty", some DVD-ROM features and the original theatrical trailer.
Mike Binder understands the spectrum of human emotions set against the backdrop of his name in The Upside of Anger. Just check out how many times his title pops up during the trailer. If you guessed three million, you’d be close. Contractual obligations are fun, aren’t they? I’m not sure, but I do have some questions, for instance: Where the hell did old junket guy Fred Topel go? Well, relive his former words right here, with interviews with Joan Allen (point, grunt, and freak out here) and Kerri Russell (click for the redheadedness!), even though Costner is nowhere to be found. "Terry (Allen) is a middle-aged housewife and mother of four teenaged daughters and gets the shock of her life when her husband, without a word of warning, leaves them behind to move to Sweden with his secretary. Going through a bender of depression and alcohol, Terry finds herself commiserating with Denny (Costner), a former baseball star turned unenthusiastic radio personality who was her husband’s best friend and a frequent presence at the house. With both Terry and Denny feeling down in the dumps about recent events in their lives, the two find themselves drawn to one another, and while Terry fights the notion of a new romance, her daughters — Andy (Erika Christensen), Hadley (Alicia Witt), Emily (Keri Russell), and Lavender (Evan Rachel Wood) — have different ideas." As for whether or not Costner appears bearded in the film, he doesn’t. Mystery solved. His mail delivery skills, however, are optional. He just walks to his closest box, and it’s not the girl next door. It’s her Mom.
"Hey! I know you, you’re famous!" "Yeah, I was …" – with: commentary with director Mike Binder, written, produced and sound edited by Mike Binder, audio commentary with Joan Allen moderated by former critic/filmmaker Rod Laurie, some deleted scenes with optional commentary with director Mike Binder, a documentary: The Binder factor and the original theatrical trailer.
Many of you could probably care less as you learn new sayings in-between your marathon viewings of Red Heat, The Running Man and My Stepmother is an Alien, but Errol Morris is one of the countries’ premiere documentary filmmakers (sadly, Frederick Wiseman should be here, but America just doesn’t get him, although France certainly does). The breath and scope of this man’s member, uh, I mean work, stands apart from the moment he busted out, Dolly Parton-style, onto the world stage with his master film The Thin Blue Line. Granted, he had been crafting his supreme blend of watchfulness over the denizens of society for quite some time, but it was that film, which is included in the boxed set that made his name. In 1978 Morris made Gates of Heaven, which is "surprisingly moving look at pet cemeteries, and the people who invest an extraordinary degree of emotion in their little darlings. Already Morris is locked into his straight-on camera style, which allows his subjects to soliloquize at length about their most obsessive notions." Morris then transcended these boundaries when being chased by that little creepy kid with the exacto knife in Maine, all the way to Vernon, Florida. There, he set up his camera in the panhandle and let the people fly with their verbosity and down-home country sayin’s. "It has always been an open question whether Morris’s blank stare encourages laughter at the expense of his subjects or simply wide-eyed wonder that folks like this carry on in the world, but Vernon viewers will likely be both amused and astonished." Afterwards, Morris hitched his way into a murder mystery, and actually made his way into the social implications of the judicial system, ultimately helping to free a convicted murderer from jail. "In November 1976, after his car broke down on a road outside Dallas, Adams had accepted a ride from a stranger, David Harris. Harris was driving a stolen car, and when Dallas police officer Robert Wood pulled the two men over to check on the vehicle, Harris shot and killed Wood. A jury believed that Adams was the killer, thanks to the perjured testimony of Harris and the misleading accounts of two witnesses." That’s the power of the documentary in full force, and its reverberations roller-coaster’ed it’s way into the annals of history. Like a bran muffin clearing out all the badness.
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees – with: absolutely no special features on Vernon, Florida or Gates of Heaven. Although on Thin Blue Line, you get the Mr. Personality "First Person" TV Episode. For some reason, like Living Colour, I want to call that Cult of Personality.
Separately from the boxed set, you can additionally think about Errol Morris’ First Person – The Complete Series when it arrives. "Errol Morris brings his unrivalled talents to the small screen for a stylized series of intimate interviews with a unique and fascinating array of people. With the aid of his "Interrotron" – an innovative camera device Morris invented to maintain merciless eye contact with his subjects – the director puts his odd assortment of eclectic characters and atypical topics under the microscope." Sounds like a look under the hood of our Message Boards here at CHUD, although in that case, eclectic really should read "pornography obsessed" and atypical should be "ranting and raving about their recent engagement."
INT. EXT. POV CON’T – with: pretty much nothing but the episodes spread out over three discs on rye. Mustard optional.
If you were ever a horny bastard, or rather, just one horny individual, chances are you caught one of these. It was probably at a friends’ house, or maybe in the confines of your little closet in your room after renting some of these from the ‘extreme drama’ section at Movie Gallery. Don’t worry; Mom didn’t notice the protruding wires when you moved the VCR and TV in there. But you’re damn well sure that Grandpa did. Things were arising in there, and I mean that like it was the European theatre during the war. Not to demean anything your Grandfather might have done, but he sure saw some things he hasn’t seen in a while. Now that I’ve effectively destroyed some sort of soul for today, make sure to relive the power in your pants and the glory of real-live flesh with these T&A titles (some even with Robert Davi!):
Unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses today are two Seijun Suzuki’s! He’s well known for his stylistic brand of infectiously bizarre yakuza thrillers (like Branded To Kill and Toyko Drifter, which is amazingly crazy) and "Japano-trash" instincts that would have made him right at home with those like Bava. However, his closest ally would be that of Fuller. This was because of his subversion of the studio system (Nikkatsu to be exact) in Japan which he worked around to create his spectacular films. Gate of Flesh is one of those films. "In the shady black markets and bombed-out hovels of post-World War II Tokyo, a tough band of prostitutes eke out a dog-eat-dog existence, maintaining tenuous friendships and a semblance of order in a world of chaos. But when a renegade ex-soldier stumbles into their midst, lusts and loyalties clash, with tragic results." Considered one of Suzuki’s strongest works, the film the first installment of his trilogy of flesh. Scandalous.
The second film was Story of a Prostitute and has "this melodramatic tale of sexual possession, revenge, and all-consuming passion under fire from another Tamura novel. Set on the Manchurian front in World War II, the antimilitaristic film moves from magnificent black-and-white vistas and thoughtful views of our wistful heroine Harumi to the grim realities of life on a remote military outpost as she flees romantic heartbreak by becoming a "comfort woman," a prostitute serving Japanese soldiers. When the brutal base adjutant claims her as his personal property, she seduces his loyal, straight-arrow attendant Mikami to help her plot his demise, only to fall helplessly in love with him. The affair stokes the adjutant’s pathological jealousy and tears Mikami between his duty and his uncontrollable lust." Suzuki is one of those people some you might never have heard of, and now’s the chance to check these films out. You won’t be sorry. Although if you hate them, it’s your own damned fault. Love and power might be what you need.
Each DVD gets the Criterion love with: an exclusive new video interviews with director Seijun Suzuki, production designer Takeo Kimura, and film critic Tadao Sato, a new essay by film critic David Chute and the original theatrical trailer on Story of a Prostitute. Gate of Flesh has: a new video interview with director Seijun Suzuki and art director Takeo Kimura, a stills gallery of archival production photos, a new essay by noted Asian cinema critic Chuck Stephens and the original theatrical trailer.
Just seeing if you were paying attention. Today also brings a slew of television titles for shows old and new. Whether or not they ring your bell is up to you, just make sure when they do, you wash your hands afterwards.
There’s even more coming out today, but these titles didn’t really inspire much indifference from the masses I polled.
X marks the Criterion spot
Because I stink vehemently and according to some people, "write the worst DVD column on the web", allow me to continue to be horrendous and mention that last week I forgot to include the upcoming Criterion slate for August. Therefore, I suppose I suck even more than before. That’s wonderful. Just make sure to send me the hate. I’ll respond in due time. Before all of this can occur though, Criterion last month announced their slate of August titles, sure to make most of you accustomed to newer films scratch your heads in bewilderment. The Flowers of St. Francis, Bondu Saved From Drowning and Harakiri all destroy the shelves on 8.23.05.
Additionally, you might notice Nick Roeg’s great film of The Man Who Fell To Earth. That comes out on 9.13.05 and I really just needed another image to make everything more balanced. In reality, I wanted to tease those of you who were excited. In September, be on the lookout for Bad Timing, An Angel At My Table, Masculine, Feminine and Naked along with Bowie. I’m sure they’ll announce October titles any day now, thus allowing me to be so far behind the times that my levels of sucktitude remain intact.
The Fucking Huge LIST!
Yes, I forgot this behemoth last week as well. Lucky you for not having to trudge downward into the depths of hell to find a title that makes you feel all disgusting inside. Last week, that is. You knew this was coming (and if you’re new, we like to do this every 3rd or 4th week ’round these parts, in-between viewings of Schlock and Kingdom of the Spiders), so here it is. Feel free to run, run, run away.
Alexander: Director’s Cut (Devin’s DVD Review is Coming Soon)
Alexander: Theatrical Version
Austin Stevens: Snakemaster – Volume #1
Berenstain Bears: Bears Out and About
Complete Thin Man Collection (Eileen’s DVD Review is Coming Soon)
Cosby Show: The Complete First Season
Dragon Tales: Sing and Dance in Dragonland
The Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete Fourth Season
Elvis Has Left the Building
A Fine Mess
Ghostbusters I & II Giftset
The Greatest American Hero: Season Three
The High and the Mighty (Special 2 disc Collector’s Edition)
Island in the Sky (Special 2 disc Collector’s Edition)
The Jeff Corwin Experience: Out On a Limb – Monkeys Orangutans and More!
Matt Helm Lounge Box Set
Swan Princess/Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure – Double Feature
When Billie Beat Bobby
The Wubbulous World of Dr.Seuss: The Gink, The Cat and Other Furry Friends
The World’s Greatest Athlete
The X-Files Mythology: Vol. 2 – Black Oil
Beauty and the Beast
Because of Winn-Dixie
The Big Black Comedy Show: Volume 3
Cartoon Network’s Grossest Halloween Ever
The Coast Guard
Columbo: The Complete Third Season
Dallas: The Complete Third Season
The Emperor’s New Clothes: Special Edition
The Eye 2
Hansel and Gretel
Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte
In Old Chicago
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Memories of Murder
Kung Fu Hustle
Kung Fu Hustle/The Medallion 2-pack
Look at Me
McCloud: Seasons One & Two
McMillan & Wife: Season One
The Muppet Show: Season One
The Muppets’ Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Murder at the Presidio
Off the Map
Oh Heavenly Dog
Oil on Ice
Profit: The Complete Series
Puss in Boots
Roswell: The Complete Third Season
Thundercats: Season 1, Volume 1
T.J. Hooker: The Complete First and Second Seasons (hell yes)
ABBA: The Movie
‘Allo ‘Allo!: The Complete Series Three
The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Third Season
Astaire & Rogers: The Signature Collection – Volume One Box Set
The Ballad of Jack and Rose
The Barkleys of Broadway
The Brown Bunny: Superbit (superbit blowjob!)
Dave Chappelle: For What It’s Worth
Follow the Fleet
The Glass Shield: Special Edition
I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season
Little Britain: The Complete First Series
The Man Who Copied
My Left Foot: Special Edition
My Neighbors the Yamadas
The Office: Season One
Phil of the Future: Volume 1
Saved by the Bell: The New Class – Season 4
Shall We Dance
The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season
That’s So Raven: Vol. 2 Disguise the Limit
Undeclared: The Complete Series
Walt Disney’s Timeless Tales Volume One
Walt Disney’s Timeless Tales Volume Two
The Wedding Date
Will & Grace: Season Four
21 Jump Street: The Complete Third Season
A Lot Like Love
ALF: Season Two
Billy Madison (Widescreen Special Edition)
Bliss: The Complete First Season
Boy Meets World: The Complete Third Season
Clear the Skies
Dust to Glory
Emergency!: Season One
The Essential Alfred Hitchcock Collection
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (single disc re-release)
Futurama: Monster Robot Maniac Fun Collection
Gladiator (Extended Edition)
Good Times: The Complete Fifth Season
Happy Gilmore (Widescreen Special Edition)
I Love You, Don’t Touch Me!
The Killing of Sister George
Kung Fu: The Complete Third Season
Layer Cake (Special Edition)
Life as We Know It: The Complete Series
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
New Jack City Two-Disc Special Edition
The O.C.: The Complete Second Season
Once & Again: The Complete First Season
Once & Again: The Complete Second Season
One Last Dance
The Ring Two (Rated and Unrated versions)
Ringu Anthology of Terror
Six Feet Under: The Complete Fourth Season
That’s My Mama: The Complete First Season
That’s My Mama: The Complete Second Season
The Truman Show: Special Collector’s Edition
Vincent & Theo
What’s Happening!!: The Complete Third Season
Without You I’m Nothing
Witness: Special Collector’s Edition
A World Apart
The Blues Brothers: 25th Anniversary Edition
Chef!: The Complete First Season
Chef!: The Complete Second Season
Chef!: The Complete Third Season
Clueless ("Whatever!" Edition)
Curb Your E