October rages on against the dying of the light. I’ve noticed that night is falling a little faster than normal lately. Perfect time for the ghouls, Guys in suits and the Zombies of the world to come out and play, or maybe just watch a flick with you in the comfort of your own home. What? You don’t care?
There are just certain places you equate evil nastiness with. Hill House has the Ghosts, The Hills have the Eyes (1 and 2), Elm Street has your Uncle and the stairs have those fucking People living under them. Pay some rent, douchebags. Pittsburgh has Zombies – and George A. Romero. Naturally, it’s considered a return to form when one comes back to show the kids how its done with the genre you pioneered several decades ago. So enter Land of the Dead (check out CHUD’s tag-team review and hope that Dave finishes his DVD review tonight), the 4th installment of Romero’s legendary saga, which pits the land of the living against the hordes of hell. Universally loved by everyone and their mothers, I found the film to be adequate and scary enough, but not as great enough as I was hoping for. Maybe it’s the over-the-top screaming of Big Daddy, the head Zombie for those not in the know, who gains a sort of childlike intelligence and finds itself leading an oncoming horde onto the denizens of the ‘burgh. It’s tough to decide, really, because there are some superb nuggets to be found (Zombies arising from the one of the Three rivers, the Zombies versus Scavengers hunts and the slimeball ways of one Dennis Hopper), but they just didn’t gel enough cohesively for me to fully be jumping up and down in my seat. Although I was a quivering mess as the group of the living, headed up by Simon Baker, has to bust loose from the stenches and the city that Steel built. Most Zombies fans shouldn’t be disappointed, and neither was I. It’s just that I wasn’t blown away like the rest of the CHUD crew. That’s probably blasphemy.
Zombies, man, they creep me out – with: audio commentary with Director George Romero, Producer Peter Grunwald and Editor Michael Doherty, 7 features (A Day with the Living Dead, Bringing the Dead to Life, The Remaining Bits, When Shaun Met George, Scenes of Carnage, Bringing the Storyboards to Life, and Zombie Effects: From Green Screen to Finished Scene), the Undead Again: The Making of Land of the Dead, and the so-called Scream Tests: Zombie Casting Call.
If you’ve been around this site long enough to take your own life into your hands by reading our Message Boards (beware! click here), you’d know that our faithful readers took a handful of our own staff to task for not liking Batman Begins (read Nick’s DVD review!) into the stratosphere (the same might be recounted of me for the above!). Read Devin’s so-so review before having a look-see at Nick, Russ, Micah, and Devin’s tag-team cage match around the film right here. I’m not sure which one of them has the tightest skivvies, though. I’ll go with Hans Gruber. Christopher Nolan, who made the wholly original Memento, takes the reigns of the man with parental issues and throws the boy who watched P-51 Mustangs fly over China into the life of crime fighting and being super sexy. Scrubbing all of the previous sins away from the cinematic landscape, Nolan and his talented group of thespians – including Liam Neeson as the typecast, Ken Watanabe sporting some scraggly beardle growth and Michael Caine adding some necessary gravitas as everyone’s beloved Butler – engage in a raucous time in Gotham City. As a bunch of low-life scum threaten to dislodge the whole landscape into a land not unlike Lowell, MA, a fairly excellent film emerges, that is – until the last couple of minutes or so. Specifically speaking, it’s filled with some many inept baddies who make fast friends with Mr. Hurt (not William) that the inevitable "here’s my plan to kill everyone" appears (thanks, Mr. Goyer) and the film slips into mild limpness. But I can overlook most of it, due to the great technical achievements on display here (Gary Oldman being a feat of the ages) to fully go along for the ride. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty good movie even with its shortcomings and should set off the inevitable sequels with Bale nicely.
Give Rutger Hauer a memo – with: 2 editions, but you’re going to want to get the spiffier Deluxe Edition which comes packed with an Exclusive collectible 72-page comic book containing: Detective Comics #27 (the very first Batman story), Batman: The Man Who Falls (a classic story that inspired Batman Begins), and an excerpt from Batman: The Long Halloween (a chilling story that also inspired the film) on top of 9 features (MTV’s Tankman Begins: a spoof, The Journey Begins: creative concepts, story development and casting, Shaping Mind and Body: Christian Bale’s transformation into Batman, The Tumbler: reinvention of the Batmobile, Gotham City Rises: production design of Gotham City, the Batcave, Wayne Manor, and more, Saving Gotham City: the development of miniatures, CGI, and effects for the monorail chase scene, Genesis of the Bat: A look at the Dark Knight’s incarnation and influences on the film, Cape and Cowl: the new batsuit, and the Path to Discovery: filming in Iceland), some Confidential files: Go beyond the movie and discover facts and story points not in the film, a Character/weaponry gallery, some character bios, and the theatrical trailer. Sadly, no commentary from Nolan and Bale, which would have been great (most likely) to hear.
Now’s as good a time as any for an excuse to revisit the steaming pile of excrement known as Batman & Robin, which comes coupled as a Devin-free hate bomb in The Batman Motion Picture Anthology (read Nick’s DVD review!). Personally, I’m a glutton for punishment and I can’t wait to watch the completely random shots of Clooney busting through Freeze’s window and then Schumacher cutting to a random Arh-nold dummy laying on the ground as Clooney whips his cape into the rest of the abominable plot. It’s been almost 10 long years that the Batman Franchise took a strange detour into the land of nipples and frivolous color and that scene never feels outdated, just awful. That’s why I must watch it endlessly. Many comic fans also feel the same way about the Burton versions as well, but considering I got into Batman way after most of you did, I was ecstatic with his results. In addition, Prince’s sexual feeling was on constant rotation all throughout my young life (you can’t argue with Batdance – so keep bustin’), although now looking back it might be one of the most misunderstood inspired by soundtracks ever. Keaton’s debut as the caped crusader is arguably the best (that is, until Bale came along), but Val Kilmer’s Batman did manage to seduce a very radiant Nicole Kidman, so lust points are awarded accordingly. And what about Clooney? Well, the less said about his portrayal, the better. He’s on to better roles (his Good Night, And Good Luck is excellent), so don’t hold anything against him. On second thought, my good friend has threatened to punch Schumacher in the face if he ever has the chance to meet him, so that might be punishment enough. Geeks unite! With this Anthology, you can watch as a feature film franchise is run into the ground as dark shadows and the suave Billy Dee Williamses of the World are replaced with the chiseled Male icons and extreme overacting by every single member of the cast who dons a costume, including the one you put on while waiting for Uma to finally ask you out.
Have Ekhardt think about the future – with: audio commentary by director Tim Burton, 4 documentaries (some multi-part) including On the Set with Bob Kane, Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (featuring Part 1 – The Road to Gotham City, Part 2 – The Gathering Storm and Part 3 – The Legend Reborn) and Beyond Batman (featuring Visualizing Gotham: The Production Design of Batman, Building the Batmobile, Those Wonderful Toys: The Props and Gadgets of Batman, Designing the Batsuit, From Jack to the Joker and Nocturnal Overtures: The Music of Batman), 3 Prince music videos (for Batdance, Partyman and Scandalous), 2 profile galleries (The Heroes and The Villains), the featurette Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence, and a theatrical trailer.
She is Catwoman.
Hear her roar – with: audio commentary by director Tim Burton, 3 documentaries – The Bat, the Cat and the Penguin, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (featuring Part 4 – The Dark Side of the Knight) and Beyond Batman (featuring Gotham City Revisited: The Production Design of Batman Returns, Sleek, Sexy and Sinister: The Costumes of Batman Returns, Making up the Penguin, Assembling the Arctic Army, Bats and Mattes and Dark Nights: The Visual Effects of Batman), Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Face to Face music video, 2 more profile galleries (The Heroes and The Villains), and a theatrical trailer.
Chicks dig the car – with: audio commentary by director Joel Schumacher, deleted scenes, 3 documentaries – Riddle Me This: Why is Batman Forever?, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (featuring Part 5 – Reinventing a Hero) and Beyond Batman (featuring Out of the Shadows: The Production Design of Batman Forever, The Many Faces of Gotham City, Knight Moves: The Stunts of Batman Forever, Imaging Forever: The Visual Effects of Batman Forever and Scoring Forever: The Music of Batman Forever), Seal’s Kiss from a Rose music video, 2 more profile galleries (The Heroes and The Villains), and the theatrical trailer.
Remember it well, for it is the chilling sound of ya doom – with: audio commentary by director Joel Schumacher (does he apologize to humanity?), a deleted scene (Alfred’s Lost Love), 2 documentaries – Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (featuring Part 6 – Batman Unbound) and Beyond Batman (featuring Bigger, Bolder, Brighter: The Production Design of Batman & Robin, Maximum Overdrive: The Vehicles of Batman & Robin, Dressed to Thrill: The Costumes of Batman & Robin, Frozen Freaks and Femme Fatales: The Makeup of Batman & Robin and Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman & Robin), 4 music videos (for the Smashing Pumpkins’ The End is the Beginning is the End, Jewel’s Foolish Games, R. Kelly’s Gotham City and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Look into My Eyes), 2 more profile galleries (The Heroes and The Villains), and the theatrical trailer, alongside with the various side-effects from watching this film, argued to be the worst ever made.
I’m sure the lot of you are mad enough to confront Larry with his homework and yell out what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass, in particular because The Big Lebowski – Collector’s Edition is not a proper representation of the films glorious excellence. You might say someone along the line took a big old piss on the DVD extras department’s carpet. Whether or not you’ve got the thousand dollars or so to make such a situation better (even if it does involve Hollywood’s most notorious party girl), allow me to destroy your own White Russian fun and say the ball has been dropped on this one, Dude. And not in that nihilistic way either, nope. I’m talking about in that fixin’ the cable way, straight out of fatuous city. Just make sure to look below, since this is one of the most suspect Collector’s Editions in quite some time. Since this website caters to the best of the human condition, we’ve all most likely seen Lebowski’s exploits (and if not, seriously, dude, what the fuck’s up with you?) so I think the general consensus will be: Fuckin’ A, man. This could have been so much better.
Don’t roll on Shomer shabbos – with: An introduction by Mortimer Young, Jeff Bridges’ Photography, the making-of The Big Lebowski and some production notes. Yes, that’s it. Unless you purchase Achiever’s Edition, which adds 8 Exclusive Photo Cards, 4 Character Coasters, and Collectible Bowling Towel. Sulking and crying optional.
The word documentary don’t inspire the type of discussion you’d think around these parts, but supposedly, the recent Mad Hot Ballroom is not only funny and poignant, but also just a good film. That is, unless you’re adverse to watching a group of eleven year olds shake what their mama’s gave ‘em into the world of Ballroom Dancing and the ultimate prize: NYC’s citywide competition. Personally, the premise sounds interesting enough. Like Rock School (another supposedly spectacular doc), the events unfold as bits and pieces of each contestant reveals a little about themselves and their own worlds as they struggle to find poise, manners, and a sense of themselves. At eleven, I might have been spouting off about how cool Van Damme’s Universal Soldier was, possibly even how scared I was when the T-1000 busted through and speared that guy in his kitchen. But the one thing I wouldn’t do is dance, let alone learn to be graceful and a gentleman. I wasn’t fortunate to have such noble pursuits in my young life, unless you count the time I was kicking some major ass in Gnat Attack on Mario Paint. As it stands, these fledgling kids, kicking up their heels and dancing with girls before I even knew what they were (hint: I still don’t), so it’s natural for them to be more mature than I was at that age, and arguably, than I am now. So, a hat tip and a mighty dip to the kids on display for this upbeat heart-stringing idea. Now if only they’d finally get around to doing a documentary on Earthworm Jim and its effects throughout a young adult’s life, I’d be satisfied.
Keep on dancin’ – with: absolutely no Special Features!
Finally, after a long wait and a period where you sprouted your own man-breasts, the Super Mario Brother Super Show‘s Legend of Zelda: Complete Animated Series arrives in its 13-episode magnificence. Racing home after school never felt so good, unless you were in High School watching this. Then I might have to raise some eyebrows and not just the one covering my whole upper brow. Anyway, if you’ve played countless hours of Zelda, you know of the story and if you don’t, you’ve missed out on an entire generation of video games tailored to the most awesome people on this Earth. So thanks for skipping out on that, asshole. Link, being the blonde haired buff machine he undoubtedly is, battles the weekly onslaught of villains culled together from the greasy and entirely un-kosher Gannon. The real tragedy, though, is the fact that Link just keeps repeatedly trying to kiss Zelda and the sexual deviant that she is continually pushes him away or causes worlds to collide, grounds to give way, and evil demons to subside, destroying the landscape into oblivion. After that point, I’d just give up. But Link’s what Eddie Veder calls the "better man" and he keeps chuggin’ along, sword in hand. His legacy is one of triumph, sore thumbs, and incredible synth like the world has never heard before.
Grab your "Triforce" – with: Five of the Super Mario Brothers Super Show wrap arounds (beginnings and endings to each episode) with Captain Lou Albano, Danny Wells, and other celebrity guests like Moon Zappa, Norman Fell and more! (hells yeah?), a Legend of Zelda trivia game, a Zelda match game, and an illustrated slide show to quell all of your Zelda/Link needs.
Threesomes usually never work out – just ask Kevin Bacon, Julian McMahon, and Peter North (actually don’t ask him, since he’s probably in dispose). In Matthew Parkhill’s Dot the i, the trio includes Natalia Verbeke, James D’Arcy, and Gael García Bernal. The last guy being the stranger who sets the ladies’ world on fire. As the sheets smolder all throughout the night, you’ve got to wonder what this type of affair is going to do to the upcoming union of Carmen (Verbeke) and Barnaby (D’Arcy). If anything at all, it should all boil over, since that’s how it works in real life, right? Well, if you’ve seen the Opera Carmen (hmm, a pattern is emerging), you’ll know that things that go bump in the night aren’t just the erect items of pleasure as Bernal’s simple presence can’t seem to stop the feelings within her own loins. A cover-up ensues, much like we’ve you’ve got mounds of illicit materials scattered throughout your own room and Mom walks in. I can’t even imagine how many relationships Mr. Y Tu Mama Tambien has destroyed. Allegedly, Parkhill’s film is filled with twists and turns that culminates in a strangely omni-present message, although word is out that it’s muddled compared to the bang the film has right out of the gate and into the satin sheets. This has been wandering around the globe since its 2003 Sundance Premiere, so know it’s entirely up to you to watch or ignore.
Hello Darkness, my old friend – with: audio commentary from Matthew Parkhill, some additional scenes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.
Frenchman Alain Delon is Jef Costello, the swinging hit man in a world of 60’s Mod cool. Delon’s fedora and trench coat wearing ways reach a boiling point when he allows a nightclub witness to live once he’s done destroying a life or two. Costello has no friends, and therefore no ties that bind him, so he’s a tough mother to pin down, a loner to the nth degree. Within this situation that has arisen, his boss takes out a contract on his life, and it’s only then that Costello has to proceed to unleash his own patented brand of killing cool on those who would cross his path. Quite simply, Jean-Pierre Melville’s film is a masterpiece. There’s no two ways around it. Whether its in the entirely suave ways Costello wrangles his way out of Police Lineup, or the masterful screen compositions he surprises you shot after shot, Le Samourai manages to retain all of those flourishes that made it such a sucker punch to the gut 40 years ago as it still successfully accomplishes today. Indirectly influencing Hill’s Driver and Woo’s Killer, Melville’s film and those other movies stacked up against it should have you running to the store right now to get it, unless you don’t wish to be enlightened and sufficiently aroused with his awesomeness.
Be a lone wolf – with: a new and improved English subtitle translation, a new restored high-definition digital transfer, some new video interviews with Jean-Pierre Melville historians Rui Nogueira and Ginette Vincendeau, a collection of excerpts from archival interviews with Melville and actors Alain Deon, Cath Rosier, Nathalie Delon, and Francois Perier, a 29-page booklet featuring film scholar David Thomson, filmmaker John Woo, and selections from Melville on Melville, and the theatrical trailer.
Henri-Georges Clouzot is considered to be France’s answer to Hitchcock, but there can be only one. Clouzot’s films are still in the same vein, but with an underlying dread that grabs hold of you and shakes you rotten. One of his best films – Wages of Fear – gets a deluxe upgrade courtesy of the fine film loving folks at Criterion and the result should be enough to consider checking it out (especially if you’re entirely virgin to this film). The suspenseful plot has a group of criminals from a blip on the South American map banding together to drive a cadre of volatile nitroglycerin across the unpredictable landscape of the jungle for $2,000 smackers. These volunteers are not simply crazy, they’re desperate enough to do whatever it takes for the money. It holds the allure of a promising future, at least one enough to smoke, drink, and screw away as they see fit. But it’s within these complications that a series of edge-of-your-seat situations arise, from a truck dangling perilously close to the edge of doom to a river of Oil sliming up a road. The group must then ford it with a ton of the nitro in their laps (Freidkin was in the same scenario when he remade this into Sorcerer). All in all, this makes for some pretty thrilling cinema and is highly recommended should you want to be played like a piano in the ways of suspense.
Blow up rocks – with: a new restored high-definition digital transfer, new and improved English subtitle translation, a new video interviews with assistant director Michel Romanoff and Henri-Georges Clouzot biographer Marc Godin, an interview with Yves Montand from 1988, Henri Georges Clouzot: An Enlightened Tyrant, a 2004 documentary on the director’s career, Censored, an analysis of cuts to the film made for the 1955 U.S. release, and a 24-page booklet featuring a new essay by novelist Dennis Lehane and a compilation of interviews with the cast and crew of the film, all spread out over 2 discs.
Let’s not forget these fine titles also coming out. A much forgotten Hitchcock film emerges in a Lifeboat and my anticipation rises. Elektra gets a Director’s Cut and the whole world shrugs. Saw gets a Uncut edition in a new "sexy package" (says Nick). Haskell Wexler Tell(s) Them Who You Are and Clooney and Soderberg team up to be Unscripted, which Mr. Peacemaker alluded to in Devin’s interview with him right here.
Force on Force!
Cover Art on the following should be enough to peak your interest, but should you call upon the thunder, you’ve got it. CHUD’s DVD reviews of a handful of these titles are going to arrive sooner than you think. Curiously enough, I think they also helped shape the sexual deviants we currently have rampaging through our Message Boards.
November brings Turkeys, Pilgrims, and drunken Uncle Mitch to your table. But should the talk subside, you can always bust out the following knowledge knowing you’re ahead of the game with our monthly onslaught of Criterion titles. Every title this month, from Bresson (11.08) to Kurosawa to Powell & Pressburger (on 11.22) should be considered mandatory viewing. You won’t be sorry. If you are – screw.
December’s Criterion crystal ball sees Shoot The Piano Player and Forbidden Games. January should see Young Mr. Lincoln, The Bad Sleep Well, The Virgin Spring, and The Children Are Watching Us. The latter a title that should be a warning for all you frisky parental units out there.
Like clockwork, the third week of every month allows me to assail your mind with thousands of titles you’re primed to forget. Hopefully you come back to make sure you have enough cash saved up for your bursting shelves. That’s part of the fun of building a collection, although with rising gas prices and consumer prices exploding faster than furry Gizmo spawn, it makes things a little tougher. Onward!
21 Jump Street: The Complete Fourth Season
Adventures of Pete & Pete: Season Two
Aliens of the Deep
All the King’s Men (2000)
American Chopper: The Series – Third Season
Brat Pack Movies and Music Collection
Monster Garage: Season Three
Office Space: Special Edition with Flair
Outer Limits – Season One
Robert Rodriguez Mexico Trilogy
Sex and the City: The Complete Series
Star Trek: Enterprise – Season Four
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Outer Limits – Season One
Robert Rodriguez Mexico Trilogy
Sex and the City: The Complete Series
Star Trek: Enterprise – Season Four
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Steve McQueen Box Set (Baby, the Rain Must Fall/War Lover)
War of the Worlds- Special Collector’s Edition
War of the Worlds: The Complete First Season
Beavis & Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection – Volume One
Big Fish – Special Edition with Collectible Book
Blue Collar TV: The Complete First Season
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers
Christmas in Connecticut
Christmas with the Kranks
The Devil’s Rejects
Different World: Season One
Dry White Season
DuckTales: Volume One
Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God
Edward Scissorhands: Anniversary Edition
Jay & Silent Bob Do Degrassi The Next Generation Unrated Director’s Cut
Jeopardy – An Inside Look
Jumanji – Deluxe Edition
Margaret Cho: Assassin
Partridge Family: The Complete Second Season
Pickpocket – Criterion
Remington Steele: Season Two
Robotech: Protoculture Collection
Space: Above and Beyond – The Complete Series
Ugetsu – Criterion
Warner Bros. Holiday Collection
The White Shadow: The Complete First Season
Beat That My Heart Skipped
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Chosen Collection
Charmed – The Complete Third Season
Cheers – The Complete Seventh Season
Fantasy Island – The First Season
Flintstones – The Complete Fourth Season
Frasier – The Complete Seventh Season
Friends – The Complete Tenth Season