There’s really not much I can say this week. The courage I’ve mustered up in weeks past is all dried up and sitting all gooey-like next to my dignity. So in order to vomit all of this DVD craziness onto your platter, we might as well get down to it.
They Broke And You So Paid
Nicholas Cage, rocking his seriously fake Russian accent, saunters up to the immortal task of international gun running in Lord of War. Cage’s Yuri Orlov contents with his fair share of craziness; from Ethan Hawke’s Interpol Detective hunting him down to the baby-faced Jared Leto stealing Cage’s teenage girl base away from his side of the screen. He must eat babies to stay so young. It’s safe to say that not many of us understand the complexities of arms dealing, but filmmaker Andrew Niccol (read his interview with Devin) blasts a stern indictment into the lives of such despicable characters. And while some of them are certainly as charming as Nicholas Cage, they still don’t have the necessity of the freaking out arms-flailing acting experience like he does. That in itself is cause for a celebration of the illegalities of Cage’s life, so revel in all of the bad stuff he does while innocent people mercilessly die at his decisions. Wait, isn’t this supposed to be thought-provoking and entertaining?
Sell to leftists, rightists, and pacifists – with: two editions. The first is the 2-disc Special Edition which has audio commentary with Director/Writer/World Uniter Andrew Niccol, some deleted scenes, The Making-of Lord of War, the features Making a Killing: Inside the International Arms Trade and Weapons of the trade, and a photo gallery. The Single-disc Edition comes with trailers and nothing else.
Al Pacino’s no spring chicken anymore, and I can’t help but wonder why he’s hunkered down over a decade’s worth of mentor-esque pictures to his credit. I’m sure the money’s good – he is the man we once knew as PACINO, so it will always make a little part of his former greatness crack when he continues to teach the newest barrel chest a thing or two about life. This week it’s Matthew McConau**** in Two for the Money (read Devin’s negative head-shake here), as the former foosball player finds himself wrapped up under Pacino’s high-octane sports betting tutelage. But while Pacino has been at his best when working with filmmakers such as Michael Mann (who, as we know, had him extol the virtues of having heads all the way up nice backsides), Two for the Money saddles him with the unprecedented task of working around the villainous Armand Assante. Sadly, our heroes don’t have to battle his antiquated ABC robot of doom.
You’re all fucked up! – with: audio commentary with Director DJ Caruso and Writer Dan Gilroy, the Making-of Two for the Money, the so-called Insider Interview: The Real Brandon, some deleted scenes with optional audio commentary, some Universal trailers, and the film’s theatrical trailers and TV spots.
The universally reviled Samuel L. Jackson-Eugene Levy rumble of The Man (CHUD’s DVD review arrives soon!) has somehow managed to find itself on home video a mere 4 months after it destroyed audience’s patience in theatres. Most of us wish it could have been longer, considering if the trailers evidenced anything, it was that you were most definitely in for the ride of your pathetic life. Essentially playing their onscreen characters they’ve honed through various mediocre roles, Samuel L. shouts loudly and furrows his brow at the escapades of the neurotically challenged Levy while they both float through a wafer-thin plot involving some sort of mistaken identity gun dealing shenanigans. In other words, this is primed watching if you want to hurt someone. Bad. It’s most likely what you’d expect from the man behind Flubber, Blue Streak, and American Outlaws. Then again, he did shepard Encino Man into the hearts and minds of the young Weas enthusiasts out there, so does that account for anything?
Have the front of your Car smell like ass – with: some deleted scenes, a gag reel, and the film’s theatrical trailer. These many features might be too kind to such an alleged atrocity.
Since we covered the bad, it’s high-time we discussed something actually good. In this case it’s Junebug, the debut film from Phil Morrison with the dude from The OC in it (speaking of which, that show went downhill into repetition mighty fast). The breakout performance, which I’m sure we’ll all be hearing about, lest any publicist wish to suffer the wrath of Oscar doom, is that of Amy Adams. But wait – who is she? If you were privy to Catch Me If You Can she was the bracefaced lovelorn lusting after DiCaprio’s goods. Here she uses all of her skills to infuse her pregnant wife of Benjamin McKenzie into someone searching for the relationships you just can’t get in rural North Carolina. And I don’t even have to mention them without your brain filling in several of ‘em. She’s arguably one of the best things in a picture filled with small moments once the plot about a recently married couple returning to the husband’s roots starts churning in the right direction.
Be obviously influenced by someone’s, you know, high-falutin’ talkin’ – with: audio commentary with Embeth Davidtz, 10 deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, an “outsider” art gallery, and loads of previews.
Like everyone else I hardly know, I missed Asylum in theatres, most because I don’t remember it even playing for a week, or a day, or even a midnight show of death. Still, it answered my question of whether Ian McKellen was either punching the Reaper nightly or working steadily under the Internet radar (i.e. meaning no Superhero movies). Here, Sir Richard III stands mostly out of the way for Natasha Richardson’s bottled up 50’s English housewife living inside of the title building, especially since she’s started an affair with a convicted killer (by the name of Marton Csokas). But when things start to get tricky, McKellen has to rock around the clock with the freak nasty relationship beat, prodding the inner workings of such a perspicacious pairing. What makes me most excited in all of these shady dealings is Director David Mackenzie, who was last fogging up my DVD shelf with the steamy Young Adam, a movie I find growing on me every single time I watch it. Please call a Specialist to get it off.
Let – him – go! – with: nothing but moments filled with unbridled passion – i.e. screwing for my blunt high school friends. Adult themes!
Continuing on the same theme, there’s Venom, which was in and out of theatres faster than your furious lovemaking sessions with Mr. Sheep. That doesn’t mean it can’t slip by CHUD’s notorious grip, and our own Ian was wise enough to brave the few hours of sleep deprivation to watch the DVD, commenting that it’s a mediocre ride through beautiful people-killin’ ville in his DVD Rack here. Meanwhile, those fans of slipshod horror presented in I Know What You Did A Decade Ago and It Was Cotton Weary’s Fault should be getting all emotional over their newest creation: Mr. Jangles. Seemingly a man possessed with 13 souls (and no fan of subtlety), his goal is mere modesty: decimate a group of hardbodied young twentysomethings (including Blue Car’s Agnes Bruckner and Jonathan Jackson) gallivanting around in the former sprawl of ‘Nawlins. With only voodoo in their possession, I’m sure you can imagine where it goes from there. Everyone, except for Bruckner, dies! Oh, spoiler!
I haven’t seen the movie – with: cast auditions, Voodoo Nightmare: The Making of Venom and a Storyboard-to-film comparison.
Finally you jerks can see a movie where Andy Serkis plays a human for more than one fourth the films’ running time. Coupled with ex-Hacker Johnny Lee Miller in The Escapist, Serkis plays dastardly smooth criminal Ricky Barnes. It just so happens that he’s pummeled Miller’s wife into oblivion and the spiky-haired wonder ain’t too happy about it. Mental breakdown time ensues, and the writhing in agony and pulling out of hair (Whedon fans feel your pain) allow Miller to focus his energies into more fruitful pursuits – hunting down Serkis and showing him a thing or two about life. The only problem is that he’s going to have to be sent into the most maximum security prison ever: Sullen Voe. For those scratching their heads wondering where the hell it is, I’m not spilling the beans.
Have kidney pie in ‘yer eye – with: nothing! Probably because the film had it’s UK debut in 2002.
Somehow it was in that Second Season (read David’s DVD review) where things clicked a little more between the Man o’ Steel and the lady who aroused your frowning loins in Tango & Cash. There’s a truckload of greatness to be found in Lois & Clark’s adventures, most of which had to do with their impending romance (‘just goddamn kiss already!’ – my Grandfather shouted every week before being knocked over by his boner). Let’s not forget about that smashing Lex Luthor and his tuft of perfectly coifed hair. Then again, it was also in the sheer amount of celebrity firepower the creators packed into each episode – from Roger Corman to the Jeffersons to The Chin, Raquel Welch, Peter Scolari, Peter Boyle, J.T. Walsh, Dick Van Patten, Charles Napier and Bronson Pinchot – a who’s who of eighties television that really captivated my young unwarped mind. But perhaps in all of this, it’s not really mine to say. So I leave it in the hands of one Amazonian who states: “It made me depressed. Guys never found me attractive. Why Can’t I get guys!” Well, Ms. Grand Blanc, Michigan, I hope that you’ve since found what you’re looking for, or at least taken out all those who cuckolded your desires. Dean Cain is here to help.
Hello? Duh! Clark Kent IS Superman! – with: audio commentary with Cain on the episode he wrote – Season’s Greetings, Lois & Clark: Secrets of Season 2 and Marveling Metropolis: The Fans of Lois & Clark.
The tagline for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is Find out where all your money went, and I was thinking about this while wallowing in my underage prostitutes and imported cashmere sweaters (though you should read Devin’s positive review here). However, that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the common folk, people like my ex-girlfriend whose very familial existence was impacted by the rash of corporate scandals that oozed out across our land. It seems like someone’s friend of a mother’s uncle’s cousin’s former roommate (ha, fooled you!) was impacted in someway from the soulless exploits of Kenneth Lay and his cronies, and what gets my knickers in a twist is that these robber barons in suits still have yet to get their just deserts with two scoops of prison and rape. This documentary does shed light on some of the more pressing issues of the day and you’ll find it best to go to your window afterwards and pull a Peter Finch.
Hello! – with: audio commentary with Writer/Director Alex Gibney, some deleted scenes, "The Making of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" featuring research footage and exclusive interviews with writer-director Alex Gibney and investigative journalist Bethany McLean, some Enron company skits, an Enron commercial, a Where are they now? feature – updates on the executives, traders, and whistleblowers, a gallery of Enron cartoons and the original Fortune magazine articles, all to lather yourself in nasty greed.
No, this is really real. Puppetmaster vs. Demonic Toys. Let that sink in for a while, since I’m sure most of us missed this sparkling gem on Sci-Fi in 2004. Then, think about the two leads – Corey Feldman and Vanessa Angel. Still sinking? I’m not talking about a career trajectory for the former Goonie and Kingpin magnate, but your own expectations while watching this surely to be crowned masterpiece. Not only does the plot have Andre Toulon’s great-nephew (stretching much?) Robert reincarnating everyone favorite brand of twisted strings, but Angel is also hatching a plan to unleash the made-for-TV fury of her papa’s cussin’ and scrappin’ playthings the World over. The stage is immediately set for one crazy time in the dream factory, that is, until you start waking up subsequent nights crying for Mom to make the hurt stop. Just like the Army only the brave need apply.
Baby Oopsy kicked my ass – with: trailers!
Also, because I got a lot of flak about not including their retail status debut’s last week – here’s the mention of David Lynch’s Eraserhead and his Short films. Eraserhead is still one of those films I find drawn to, yet inexplicably confused with every turn in the narrative. Then there’s that baby. I continuously have frightening dreams of that. Still, these two DVDs represent the whole genesis (especially the variety of short films, from animation to Cowboys and Frenchmen) of the man we know as David Lynch and his Lynchian dreams run rampant through our hearts and minds and severed ears in fields.
This week also brings out these gingervitis stepchildren. What’s funny is how quickly these films reach the mass-market DVD consumer and in essence, how fast you scan over most of them at the shelf. Granted, some of these have retained their viewing properties, others have regressed into Robin Williams zaniness (read Ian’s DVD review of a Dead Poets SE here) and one even has Gabrielle Anwar jumping into pools on the backs of horses. That’s still a weird scenario to me these years later.
Festival of Criterion-ification
The third week of every month brings us another batch of upcoming Criterion titles, as you might know. February is a special month – not only because I celebrate yet another abominable year on this Island Earth, but rather the wonderful workers at Criterion have seen to it that you both laugh and get all misty eyed. That’s quite the apt situation for your life, isn’t it?
You probably have no idea who Jean Renoir is, but if you’re smart, you’ll seek out some of his films (Rules of the Game being your first stop). Working with the classic Emile Zola novel (seek out his Masterpiece) La bête humaine, Renoir presents the tortured life of the journeyman train engineer. In doing so, he’s also created a fantastic mini-noir, one you should check out on 2.14.06. Those who purchased the Alec Guinness Anchor Bay set a while back (sigh, like me) should be brought into a tizzy at the sight of a Kind Hearts and Coronets 2-disc Special Edition (out on 2.28.06). The film, which has Guinness taking on all 8 characters of the infamously doomed D’Ascoyn family has inspired moments of absolute comedy. This one comes highly recommended by me, you scallywag.
Whit Stillman fans are running up and down their blocks, shouting to the high heavens that his astute Metropolitan arrives on 2.14.06. Following a cadre of silver spooned adolescents through their Christmas vacation on the high-society enclave we call Manhattan, Stillman gives us a portrait of the artists as young spoiled little antisocialists. As such, you’ll either love it or hate it, and if the words independent and non-professional actors scare you into whatever schlocky DTV B-list crap is out there, you’re better off not wasting your precious time, douche. And finally, Criterion pulled a fast one on all of us this month anticipating John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln (which now streets on 2.14.06). Ford’s story has Hank Fonda taking on the early days of America’s most revered President, one who to this day draws the ire of most Republicans in the South. Still, this is one treasured piece of pure cinematic Americana, and it’s worth it even if you’re a pinko liberal.
Welcome To The Jungle
Instead of fun and games, we’ve got the list of upcoming February DVD titles. If you want, though, I can mispronounce Serpentine with as many e’s as possible. I think the only way we’re gonna both get through this barrage is via a heavy Slash riff, so fire it up if you’ve got it.
13 Going on 30 "Fun & Flirty" Edition
Andy Colby’s Incredibly Awesome Adventure!
Batman: The Complete First Season
Best of The Electric Company
The Best of Youth
Blue Collar TV: Season 1, Volume 2
Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Anniversary Edition
The Cary Grant Box Set
The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold
Doom – Unrated Extended Edition
Elizabethtown – Special Collector’s Edition
Emergency!: Season Two
Everything You Want
The French Connection: Collector’s Edition
Grounded for Life: Season One
Growing Pains: The Complete First Season
Just Like Heaven
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Moonlighting: Season Three
National Lampoon’s Adam & Eve
The Net 2.0
No Dessert, Dad, ‘Til You Mow the Lawn
Poltergeist: The Legacy – Complete First Season
Rage and Discipline
Revenge of the Red Baron
The Richard Pryor Collection
Ryan’s Daughter: Two-Disc Special Edition
Second to Die
Sex and the City Essentials: Breakups
Sex and the City Essentials: Lust
Sex and the City Essentials: Mr. Big
Sex and the City Essentials: Romance
Shadow of a Doubt
Shadows in the Sun
The Simpsons: Kiss and Tell – The Story of Their Love
Survivor: Pearl Islands Panama – The Complete Season
Teen Titans: The Complete First Season
Touched by an Angel: The Third Season, Volume 1
The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Two-Disc Special Edition
A Very Unlucky Leprechaun
Waiting… (comes in 2-disc SE as well)
Wallace & Gromit 2 DVD Cracking Collector’s Set
Wallace & Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
When Eagles Strike
Wire in the Blood: The Complete Third Season
The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Fifth Season
Charles in Charge: The Complete First Season
Deal of the Century
Disney Princess Learning Adventures: The Enchanted Book of Letters
Disney Princess Sing Along Songs Volume Three: Perfectly Princess
For Richer, For Poorer
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Third Season
The Frisco Kid
Gimme a Break!: Season One
The Golden Girls: The Complete Fourth Season
Goof Troop: Volume One
Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete First Season
La Bete Humanie: Criterion
Living Single: The Complete First Season
The Mechanik (aka Russian Specialist)
Overhaulin': The Complete Second Season
Pretender: The Complete Third Season
Quack Pack: Volume One
Roast of Pamela Anderson (Uncensored)
The Thing About My Folks
Ultimate Gretzky- Special Edition
Up the Academy
Who’s That Girl
Young Mr. Lincoln: Criterion
Zathura: Special Edition
3rd Rock from the Sun: Season 3
Action: The Complete Series
All the President’s Men – Two-Disc Special Edition
Beverly Hillbillies Ultimate Collection Volume 2
Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber
Daddy Long Legs
Death in Gaza
Erik the Viking – Director’s Cut
A Father… a Son… Once upon a Time in Hollywood
The Gospel Live
Left of the Dial
Memory of a Killer
Midnight Cowboy- Collector’s Edition
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Deluxe Edition)
NYPD Blue – Season 3
The Prince & Me 2: The Royal Wedding
Rent: 2-Disc Special Edition
Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild – Special Edition
Twist of Faith
Ultimate Avengers: The Movie
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Volume 1
Weekend in Havana
Bleak House (2005)
Charmed: The Complete Fourth Season
Controversial Classics Vol. 2: The Power of Media
Dog Day Afternoon Two-Disc Special Edition
Drew Carey: TV Favorites
Fear of Clowns
The Ice Harvest
Kind Hearts and Coronets: Criterion
Lady and the Tramp: SE
La Ultima Noche
Network 30th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition
Newsradio – The Complete Third Season
Night Court: TV Favorites
Pride & Prejudice
The Real Ghostbusters Volume 1
The Real Ghostbusters Volume 2
The Real Ghostbusters Volume 3
Soldiers of Chance
The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till
Welcome Back, Kotter: TV Favorites
Where the Truth Lies
Yours, Mine and Ours- Collector’s Edition
I take one week slow and look what happens: a milky discharge of celluloid treats.
I enjoyed the hell out of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (read Devin’s gushing review here), but that still doesn’t make it as masterful as Azkaban. It does, however, rank it mightily above Chris Columbus’ vanilla efforts and in terms of sheer excitement, Harry’s 4th adventure has it in spades (it’s out on 3.07.06). The tone here is significantly darker and the evil lurking behind every surface (and in the sky! Voldemort is coming!) is palpable enough to scare even my lonesome self under Mother’s covers. Goblet of Fire was a welcome change for all of the crap I sat through the last half of the year, and its imagination, moody qualities, and willful explorations of prepubescent sexuality should allow it to run rampant in Dave Davis’ mind.
As usual, there’s two ed