This week we’ll start off just like in Kindergarten. Cease the name-calling and grumbling for a goddamned minute. Get that glue out of your nose. I see your habits stick around for a while, Ms. Love. Take a seat, cool off for a while and let the soothing sounds of my annoying writing style degrade itself over you as I regale you with yet another column about the land of DVD. Grab a towel. But first…
Get a tongue-lashing!
Lickity split. Oldboy, a film Devin, Dave, Nick and Russ have all given intense manlove to, is a mighty achievement and a damned fine film to boot. First, though, you’ll want to check out the review that put Devin on an RT pedestal right here. Then, if you ever have the nerve and check out our Message Boards, you’ll know that the boys over in the incredibly long ass Asian films thread were talking this film up to death over a long period of time when not discussing how fucking sexy Anthony Wong is. In those numerous conversations Oldboy kept springing back up, so I told myself -self, check this bad boy out at Kim’s Video. As an aside (I know people love these things!), Kim’s is the place where you want to live, as their selection and staff, when not making fun of you behind your hipster back, is as knowledgeable as Devin is about Communism, Nick about devil heads and Dave about prepubescent girls. As for the film itself, it packs an incredibly monstrous wallop to the side of your own frontal lobes as the main character Oh Daesu is locked up, without warning, a letter, or a note from mom saying: "your father reaped one too many, we’re getting a divorce." It’s when he’s released – 15 years later – that the real journey begins, as Oh Daesu must figure out who has done what to whom and tie up the dangling threads of his life – inside and out, like eating live Octopi. The real joy in all of this is the narrative conventions director Park Chan-wook uses to his advantage, all under the guise of a conventional revenge flick (assuredly, it’s anything but). If you hated the film (and live in the metropolitan Somersworth area), you’ve most likely ignored the fact that unlike other genre films before it, Oldboy takes everything that you’ve retained thus far and breaks it down, allowing you to be left alone with your own questions about revenge and its effects. We here at CHUD cannot recommend Oldboy enough, and now, the silvery Scrimm ball is in your court.
Laugh here and no one laughs with me. Weep with these special features: audio commentary from Director Park Chan-wook and Cinematographer Jeong-hun Jeong, a production interview and some deleted scenes. Note that Oldboy also hits today on PSP and contains 5 deleted scenes that Tartan somehow wouldn’t allow onto the regular DVD.
Remember those horribly misshapen faces the victims of The Ring made when you first discovered them? Just last week one passed through my visage when I thought about The Ring Two. The general rule of numbers is that when your first film rakes in over $100 million at the domestic box office (something 4496 hasn’t a clue about), then you’re going to see a sequel. The producers assumed you liked it, so they gathered up everyone again, sans Gore Verbinski and added kamikaze digital deer. Truly a cornerstone of any modern day film, the digital deer this time storm the car of the lovely blonde Venus Naomi Watts, irreplaceably forcing her to abandon all hope and just go along with the rocking motions of her under-attack car (along with what I heard was her barely-there obligation). Don’t worry, it’s like when Renny Harlin reaches around and destroys your sacred stuff in all of his latter films. This time for the inevitable, the evil corpse-haired well-dwelling girl Samara has packed it up and followed Watts and son to the sleepy community of Astoria, OR(they) where they’ve been living unassuming lives as a newspaper reporter and her son. It’s when someone mysterious dies, as a result from watching that damned VHS tape (can’t evil upgrade to DVD?), that Watts begins to put the puzzle pieces together. As the evidence continues to pile up, Devin warns you in his review, stating: "it’s a solidly middle of the road effort." Surprisingly enough, Ring Two marks the US debut of Asian horror-man Hideo Nakata, who directed the original Japanese one, but as Devin mentions, he’s hampered by the less-than effective pacing, much like my writing style.
Don’t be anyone’s fucking Mommy – with: the rated and unrated shenanigans. The rated version comes with some deleted scenes, an HBO first look and the featurette: Faces of Fear, sadly not about your favorite direct to death video series. Be very alarmed that the rated version ONLY comes in fullscreen, so keep your damned dirty paws off of that one. The unrated version comes with Rings – an exclusive short film marking the connections between The Ring and The Ring Two (as if you couldn’t figure it out), some deleted scenes and two featurettes (Fear on Film: Special Effects and The Power of Symbols). Oddly enough, both versions don’t have the same special features, thus sending fans of the film into an intense tizzy.
Welcome to it, because it’s going to be a rather adequate ride. Seat belts are optional. On the whole, Layer Cake (I will never, ever put the haxor 4 in there) is a standard gangster film, featuring enough twists, turns and hair raising sequences of British people acting cool that you’re most likely to follow along and be mildly entertained. The fact is though (check out Dave’s agreeable review here), it doesn’t burn down any new London bridges, although first-time Director, long-time Guy Ritchie wrangler Matthew Vaughn does have a serious sense of style and the abilities to juggle multiple characters in a very interwoven fashion. Moving back, the events here are all wrapped around Craig’s desire to retire early, but the forces pulling him the opposite of forward conspire to seek his help on recovering a Boss’ addict daughter and negotiating a huge ecstasy purchase with a gaggle of screw-loose cannons. As everything begins to explode in his face, Craig must soon duck and weave against a stealthy assassin in a rather public park and make sure the higher ups of his business are kept happy, even though they’re out for blood as well. What saves you for being brought along a by-the-numbers gangster flick is the stellar cast, and Daniel Craig, as the unnamed protagonist XXXX (a man clearly not going to be inducted into NSA by Darius Stone for the extra letter alone) leads them all.
Wish your spit was so fucking good – with: Matthew Vaughn and cast commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, alternate endings, some deleted scenes and a music video. This is a far cry from the Region 2 2-disc SE out quite some time ago.
I always though that The OC (read Will’s First Season DVD review) was going to be stupid, rather annoying and thoroughly steeped in the 90210 conventions of drama that I disliked so. Then, something happened. Season Two arrived and I miraculously tuned in, due to the persistent peer pressure brought forth by my roommates. First and foremost, though The OC is not spectacular television, though it is enthralling and addictive, for reasons I still can’t figure out. Maybe it’s the characters, like Caleb and his crotchety old-man devil horns (I picture him McQueen bitch-slapping everyone in his meetings), or quite possibly it’s the nerdy Seth or even Marissa (who my friend comments, "looks like a praying mantis"). Perhaps it was the way the show subtly presents its information, covering it in a bubblegum flavor of guilty pleasure emotional situations. As Season Two begins, Seth has returned to the enclave where everything was so fucked up. Ryan leaves his ex-girlfriend to venture back into the choppy waters as relationships spark up again and familial relationships grow apart due to addictions. Julie Cooper’s skin baring past comes back to maliciously haunt her and Marissa explores a relationship with another skinny person of the same sex. Let’s not forget about Seth, Summer and Luke engaging in a three-way around comic books, lust and George Lucas. The season for shooting first and asking questions later is upon you, even if its been digitally enhanced.
Live way above your means – with: audio commentary from creator Josh Schwartz and Bob DeLaurentis (on The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t), commentary from Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, Alexandra Patsavas, and Matt Ramsey (on The Rainy Day Women), an extended creator’s cut of Rainy Day Women (most likely nothing special), the feature Beachy couture: How O.C. fashion is made (for all you Pratt and Fashion Institute peoples), The O.C. – Obsess Completely: retrospective TV special and gags and goofs from Seasons 1 and 2.
You will most definitely be entertained, particularly because Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott have teamed up on their first commentary track. I hope that it’s not a particular wank-fest of "you’re spectacular … no you’re particularly special" comments, but rather brought forth like conquering heroes … filled with enough cigar-smoking, wanton hardcore swearing and phone throwing the likes of which haven’t been seen since their last group of individual escapades. The film we’ve all watched a couple of times arrives with three discs of excellentness, although I’m wondering if I can slog through the opening sequences, while building character and development for the future plot events, now seems rather boring and plodding. Personally, I’m excited again to play "spot the fake CGI dead man" Oliver Reed, whose exploits from his previous past most likely made for some amazing table conversations between Crowe and Joaquin (or as my Aunt calls him – Wackin’) Phoenix during production. The amazing 3/4ths set of the Coliseum made for some hand wringing and suspenseful moments, especially those with Crowe and his chain-buddy, the getting-better-all-the-time Djimon Honsou. You wish you could slay tigers and lions and Rome Warrior bears like they do. If anything though, it’s fascinating enough to see a slave become more powerful than the allegedly wimpy Emperor of Rome. Thumb that in your general (Commodus) direction.
What you do in life, echoes over three discs. Disc One has: an all-new, widescreen extended version of the film, including 17 minutes of additional footage, audio commentary by Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe (this is why you should check it out!), an introduction to extended edition by Director Ridley Scott, an "Are You Not Entertained?" trivia track and the original theatrical trailer.
Disc Two comes out swinging with: "Strength and Honor: Creating the World of Gladiator" – an extended-length (200 mins!) documentary features never-before-seen footage. Finally, Disc Three continues the destruction of your free time with: a Production Design Featurette and Gallery, Storyboard Demonstrations, Comparisons and Gallery, some Ridleygrams: Ridley Scott’s Own Sketches of "Maximus’ Journey", a Costume Design Gallery, Behind-the-scenes and Cast Portrait Galleries, Visual Effects Explorations: Germania & Rome and a lot of abandoned sequences. Kudos shall be given to the DVD team that worked on this, as it appears stacked enough to warrant another season on Fox.
The previous overseer of The Special Edition absolutely loved Jim Carrey and shoved it down our goddamned throats every so often (I kid). So, I’m sure he scans the websites and retailers enough to know about The Truman Show: Special Edition (read Nick’s blast from the past unsatisfied review right here). Peter Weir, who you might know directed Witness and the splendid Picnic at Hanging Rock (purchase the masterpiece from CHUD here), brings forth his up-skirt cam footage to the life of the unsuspecting Truman Burbank. Carefully calculated all around him are those paid Central Casting extras who interact with his daily life, but Truman’s not satisfied with not being able to travel, the basic necessity of all humans, unless you live down South. You’d probably not want to travel anywhere else because it’s too "blue." The one thing that always bothered me was naming the antagonist (Monte) Christof, a not-so subtle reference to your b-ball playing homeboy in the heavens. Plus to counter the bad, it’s always good to remember Paul Giamatti as Christof‘s right hand man, and the only thing I can remember is that he seemed to eat pizza a lot. Maybe I’ll do that as well while we go into …
It’s hard to believe that Lucas Haas started out as a little Amish boy before saving the world against dastardly Martians with the earsplitting Indian Love Call. Harrison Ford tags along too, as a by-product of easy city livin': driving cars, eating hot dogs and being caressed into submission by graphic porn shops in the lower East Village. The tagline for Witness: Special Edition always suggested that Ford knows too much, so therefore he must escape into the world of the Amish. That world, as we all know, is sheltered under the guise of one William Hurt, and with his crew of people, he dresses up and scares the living daylights out of all of those who wish to escape. Wait, uh, stupid white people. Ford has to give protection to the young’un Haas, as he has witnessed a murder in a Philly bus station. I saw these all the time when using the Chinatown bus. Ford thinks it’s all part of some conspiracy though (and he’s not even Mel Gibson), so he hightails it outta The Phillyist and gets his ass on over to Amish country, taking on the name Hezurkial and proceeds to milk cows and build barns. It’s there where he starts to fall in love with Haas’ Mom, played by Kelli McGillis, and both she and Ford take the highway to the Danger Zone, quite literally.
Why is Dad dressed like a homeless man? – with a two-part making-of documentary The Making-of The Truman Show, four deleted and extended sequences, a photo gallery, two TV spots and two theatrical trailers. Witness is shuttled into the protection program with: a 5 part documentary: Between Two Worlds: The Making of Witness, a deleted scene, some TV spots and the theatrical trailer.
First things first, and that’s Devin’s positive review, in which a man on a decaying bombed out bridge in France told him to tell Kutcher to ‘earn this.’ That’s the second positive review he’s given an Ashton Kutcher movie this year, and while I don’t think CHUD is going all soft on you (especially with the great Slither footage), it might be safe to say that Devin received quite the extra load of angry e-mail regarding that one. Trudging back into the recesses of our repressed memories (didn’t this come out like three months ago?), A Lot Like Love pairs Kutcher and the lovely Amanda Peet together for prepubescent teenage girl hi-jinx and laughs which the readership of the site will probably drink down with a glass of 160 proof alcohol. As it slowly renders all of your functions moot, maybe then it’ll be time to check out the film, when you’re not convulsing and writing in sheer agony. The plot, which I’m sure no one cares about except for that underage girl you’re wooing at Electronics Boutique, has Kutcher and Peet being the bestest of friends ever, after they’ve met and stuck their privates in each other’s faces (off camera of course). They keep meeting up again months and years afterwards, so it’s like a relationship with definitely no strings attached other than those emotionally scarring ones. Ah, memories.
Be clichéd yet endearing with: an audio commentary from the director (of the previous film Calendar Girls) and the producer, some never-before-seen deleted scenes, an Aqualung music video (oh hell yes!) and a blooper reel, to wash away any taste of you actually liking the thing.
With Wes Craven’s supposedly competent Red Eye flying high this past weekend, maybe it’s sheer genius on MGM’s part to release his incredibly underrated Swamp Thing to those unsuspecting people wishing to have a colon blow early and often. Bringing back the man-in-a-suit film took some stretching (especially on the suits part), but Craven manages to allow the Grand Guignol style of his film to give a nod, a wink, and a toilet flush back to those wonderful early 50’s horror films that featured giant ants and huge man-eating tarantulas. Using 80’s babette Adrienne Barbeau (after her great turn in Creepshow), Craven allows her to be subjected to his studio-mandated moniker and the slimy advances of science gone wrong, much like when someone somewhere greenlit Vampire in Brooklyn. Having GiGi‘s Louis Jordan in the film was probably some sort of mad experiment gone terribly off the tracks, but he’s incredibly good in the most awful way possible. Quite possibly this movie is a minor type of brilliant splotch on someone’s career, but for that unattainable answer, I don’t think we’ll ever know. We should all probably get on with our lives and see Heather Locklear and Swamp Thing‘s Louis Jordan in The Return of Swamp Thing (purchase it from CHUD here!). Words cannot describe that ethereal experience.
Howling II (purchase the great original from CHUD here) was one of those up all night films where the cable station would gratuitously cut away when it was time to show all of any female’s natural endowments, so that would be left over to you pestering your father for hours on end at the video store to rent. The one thing I remember was that Christopher Lee makes his contractually obligated appearance, this time as a strange "interloper" who makes his mark in more ways the one. Battling the evil in Transylvania, the film does include a busty Vampire hunter (code words for puberty and rising), and a bunch of people wandering around hunting for lycanthropes in the most deft way imaginable. Afterwards, don’t get suckered into watching Howling III: The Marsupials, because no one needs to go through that session ever. Unless you’re Barry Otto. He was pretty good in Strictly Ballroom, though.
Consider yourselves lucky, because neither DVD has any special features.
Because every week has a thousand titles and each time I try and pick and choose the best, certain ones fall to the wayside. Thankfully, there’s always dependable cover art, which clues you into the goods. Don’t forget to check out David’s New Jack City: Special Edition DVD review before robbing the rich to succeed in Regan’s strange era.
All of these stations and not a goddamned thing to watch
Tuesday sees no less than 16 TV on DVD sets, including one I’ve already mentioned. Make sure to read and then discuss (that part is the key) Adam’s DVD review of Alf – Season Two, because chances are time hasn’t been good to you either. The Futurama Set is just a repackaging of Groening and X. Cohen’s favorite episodes, so fans who’ve purchased the previous season sets most likely understand.
Criterions you’ve never heard of
That’s probably wrong, but I think the above might be entirely true. I don’t see foreign films get discussed a lot here on our Message Boards, other than the most popular ones that have just come out. Everything else is smushed into Top 10 lists populated by people who post in just those and disappear.
Criterions you have heard of
September starts another amazing month courtesy of the folks over at Criterion, as they usher in a ton of director-approved editions with their patented film-loving stamp. A diverse amount of films (and filmmakers) are going to be unloaded onto any unsuspecting viewer, but above all, there are some incredibly exciting titles arriving. Most of the following streets on the 20th, however, the 27th will see psychoanalysts with their affairs along with the immortal Bowie.
The list of digital life
As you may recall around these parts, every third week of the month I unspool a tremendous amount of titles upon you. The result is that I’m priming you for the future, stimulating your digital senses in order to fully have your attention in the coming weeks. All foreplay aside, the 6th sees a veritable truckload of titles that will surely destroy your wallet and plunder your savings into the danger zone. I sense the job market going back down when all you sonsofbitches have to take on second jobs to afford your nasty dark habit.
21 Jump Street: The Complete Third Season
3-Iron (Devin really enjoyed this film, so take that as you will)
Bela Lugosi Collection
Boogeyman (1980)/The Return of the Boogeyman (1994)
Cabinet of Caligari
Charles Dickens Collection
Charmed: The Complete Second Season
The Chase (1994)
Cutting Edge: The Magic of Editing
Deer Hunter – Legacy Series
Degrassi Junior High: Season Three
The Doctor and the Devils
Doctor Who: Episode 92 – Horror of Fang Rock
Doctor Who: Episode 45 – The Mind Robber
Doogie Howser, M.D.: Season Two
Dressed to Kill (1941)
Fraggle Rock: The Complete First Season
Garbo: The Signature Collection
Girl in the Cafe
Harry & Tonto
House on 92nd Street
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Killer Tomatoes Eat France!
Killer Tomatoes Strike Back
Lipstick & Dynamite: The First Ladies of Wrestling
Lost: The Complete First Season
MacGyver: The Complete Third Season
Millennium: The Complete Third Season
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
Omen IV: The Awakening
Our Mutual Friend
Paris is Burning
Pretty Woman: 15th Anniversary Special Edition
Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends – The Complete Third Season
Sherlock Holmes: Prelude to Murder (1946)
Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night (1946)
Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital: The Beginning
The Sting – Legacy Series
Stranger Wore a Gun
TCM Archives: Garbo Silents
To Kill a Mockingbird – Legacy Series
Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition
Written in Blood
Alone in the Dark – Special Edition
Ben-Hur Four-Disc Collector’s Edition
The Brady Bunch: The Complete Third Season
Carlito’s Way – Ultimate Edition
Cheers: The Complete Sixth Season
Chicago – Collector’s Edition
Coal Miner’s Daughter – 25th Anniversary Edition
Cowboy Bebop: Remix, Volume 1
Da Ali G Show- Da Compleet Second Seazon
The Director’s Label Box Set, Volume 2
Escaflowne: The Movie: Special Edition
Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Fourth Season
Frasier: The Complete Sixth Season
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Last Time I Committed Suicide
Las Vegas: Season Two
One Tree Hill: The Complete Second Season
Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie
Rumble Fish: Special Edition
Smallville: The Complete Fourth Season
Soccer Dog/Soccer Dog: European Cup
Taxi: The Complete Third Season
Today You Die
Transformers: Cybertron – A New Beginning
The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D (also comes in a 2-D version)
Batman The Animated Series: The Man Who Would Be
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete First Season
Born into Brothels
Crime Story: Season Two
Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season
Die, Monster, Die! / The Dunwich Horror Double Feature
Don’t be a Menace: Special Edition
From A Whisper To A Scream
From the Earth to the Moon: The Signature Edition
Gone in 60 Seconds: Collector’s Edition
The House Where Evil Dwells
Inside Deep Throat (comes in R and NC-17 versions)
It’s All Gone Pete Tong
Lady in White
Major Dundee: Extended Version
Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Extended Edition
Ned and Stacey: The First Season
The Outsiders – The Complete Novel
Over the Edge
The Pretender: Season Two
The Ren & Stimpy Show: Complete 5th & Some of 4th
Scary Movie 3.5
See Arnold Run
Voodoo Island / The Four Skulls Of Jonathan Drake Double Feature
Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures
Amazing Race: The Complete First Season
Are We There Yet?
Beethoven Pooch Pack
Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power
Chico and the Man: TV Favorites
Creature Comforts – The Complete First Season
Dr. 90210: The Complete First Season
Evil Dead 2: Book of the Dead – Special Edition
Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – 2nd Gig, Volume 1 – 3-Disc Special Edition
Gilmore Girls: The Complete Fourth Season
Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Second Season
A Knight’s Tale: Extended Cut
The Land Before Time: 2 Dino-Mite Movies (III