The bridge to get you from here to there is usually filled with bombs, horrendous puns, and thoroughly awful wordplay. However, this week I’m going very short-and-scrappy on y’all. Let’s get down to it. Oi!
David Cronenberg’s massive cinematic tsunami of A History of Violence was one of my favorite films of last year. Insistence on character above all really regulated his brilliant piece based quite liberally on the graphic novel into the upper echelon of greatness (read Russ’ review here). Take, for instance, Viggo’s quietly intense Tom Stall. At first, he appears to be the more passive on in his relationship. That will change. He just wants to work at his diner and live a well-intentioned life with his wife (Maria Bello) and two kids. One of whom has incidentally inherited one of his father’s more pressing traits. This being Cronenberg, things aren’t always what they seem, and Stall’s hazy past catches up with him once a shifty one-eyed Ed Harris comes breezing into his town looking for a man named Joey Cusack after Stall dispatches two would-be robbers without so much a blink of an eye and some carefully constructed trigger pulls. The blood does flow freely; but the motives behind each act of violence are as necessary as your weekly viewing of Star Wars. Cronenberg manages one of his most mainstream efforts with his eyes focused solely on the prize between these characters and it’s a damn fine film; a restrained film, a film bursting with masterful excellence. Filled to the brim with essential scenes and little more, A History of Violence asks not what you can do for Tom Stall, but what Tom Stall can do to your ass should you get out of line. Insanely, highly recommended.
Ask him, Edie, how come he’s so good at killing people – with: audio commentary with David Cronenberg (which I hear is spectacular in its analysis), some deleted scenes with optional Cronenberg commentary, an hour-long documentary Acts of Violence, 3 featurettes (Violence’s History: U.S. vs. International Versions, Too Commercial for Cannes, and The Unmaking of Scene 44), and some trailers.
Clooney may use the sendoff Good Night, and Good Luck when throwing nightly conquests out of his Capt. Stubing pad (joke recycling!), but his actual film of the same name is fairly great. What else is slathered with goodness are Devin’s interviews – the first being Clooney and Co-Writer Grant Heslov (read it here), the other with David Strathairn and Patricia Clarkson (read it here). Clooney’s second film as a full-fledged director manages to be a good outing for his more pressing democratic instincts. It’s relevance towards what’s occurring right inside our borders today cannot be ignored – unless you continually think of him in a sleek black nipplesuit. Strathairn’s Edward R. Murrow is arguably one of his most polished portrayals and he seems to only get more fascinating as he takes on the thoroughly unscrupulous Senator McCarthy with his unique brand of free speech (a caveat sorely missing from today’s newscasts). As such, if you’re a fan of historical developments Good Night, and Good Luck is right up your derelict alley. However, while entirely entertaining and worthwhile, the film didn’t quite resonate with my bastard self as well as it should have. It’s good, but not spectacular. Clooney and Co. cram a lot of truthful facts into a scant 90 minutes and I kind of wish the film had taken longer with its characters. Still, the film as a whole is definitely better than Crash, so now you can continue to gripe about that until the day you spontaneously combust. Please be soon.
I’m a little busy bringing down the network tonight, Bill – with: audio commentary with Clooney and Heslov, a Good Night, and Good Luck companion piece, and the film’s theatrical trailer. I wouldn’t be surprised if they doubled dipped this thing, with its Oscar win. Be cautious. It’s a crap shoot on my guess, though.
In the tradition of all those other horrendously entertaining Shark fests – like everyone’s favorite Shark Attack trilogy (and of course Jaws 3-D, a movie so horrific, it actually is a mini-masterpiece of schlock) comes Spring Break Shark Attack. Not that it matters who’s in this pile of moldy feces, since I believe we’re all wandering into this one slightly inebriated, lubricated, or even lathered with good intentions to see bad acting and stolen shark B-roll footage. Naturally, there also has to be some haphazard plot about Sharks attacking young supple co-eds as they vacation off of the coast of Florida. Blame it all on F/X’s own Bryan Brown, whose destruction of nature causes those dastardly Selachimorpha to fire up their biting habits (and maybe blame his career trajectory as well, but that’s another rant). Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to see Kathy Baker as a concerned environmentalist railing against Brown’s evil habits, then Spring Break Shark Attack surely has enough sloppy goodness for you to sink your deformed teeth into. Allegedly abominable in every regard, consider yourself warned and slightly intrigued about flushing your own inhibitions right down Thomas’ Crapper.
Need a bigger boat – with: Nothing! You’ll get nothing and you’ll like it!
In what can surely fall into the ‘not-buying it’ category of “it’s for the wife” amongst CHUD’s own DVD reviewers, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio falls strictly into the more feminine genre we significant others have been so accustomed to viewing. Julianne Moore has this motherly market cornered fairly well – one only need look at Freedomland (on second thought, probably not), The Hours, The Forgotten, Far From Heaven, and even The Lost World. In short, she probably shouldn’t be looking after children. She seems to lose them to Dinosaurs, Aliens, and even whisperings of homophobic townspeople only to win them over again. In odd Ohio, Moore seems to have everything figured out entering jingle, poem, and slogan contests to feed her family of 10 and compensate for the alcoholic loser husband that is Woody Harrelson. Prize Winner is a tried and true uplifting dramedy of the human spirit, so if that makes you want to exorcise your own, you might want to keep a safe 500 foot distance.
Death by Jello is highly unlikely – with: audio commentary with Julianne Moore and Director Jane Anderson, a still gallery, and the film’s theatrical trailer.
Bennett Miller’s The Cruise is finally getting some recognition, considering it’s a great film held up by the presence of the wonderful Timothy "Speed" Levitch. He talks Scorsese fast; rattling off plump New York curios, facts, and pseudo-intellectual musings in between his daily jaunts with his love-hate relationship with the infamous Grey Line Bus Service. At first I wasn’t so sure of Miller’s film which is a portrait of the downtrodden artist as a force of nature, but once it hooks you in it’s a loving tribute to New York, Levitch’s own floppy heartbreak that he can’t seem to shake, and first-and-foremost an absorbing character study. Levitch is a most original entity in this shaky low-budget documentary (shot on video and blown up! – independent style), and the sheer amount of ridiculous New York specific trivia he throws at you is fascinating. Unless you’re a quirky poet and a great man already living there (- hey Steve!). You should check out The Cruise simply because Miller and his talented group of moviemaking maniacs hit some good beats, and I’ll hit yours if you don’t like it, jerk.
Fasten your seat belt – with: some trailers.
If you’re the type of person who was actually stupid enough to purchase duct tape and trash bags to ward off a biological attack, then you probably think everyone around you is a terrorist. You must really hate America. In Sleeper Cell, a curious group of multi-cultural floosies take your suspicions and ratchet them even higher in a very topical fashion. Lead by the Mummy’s Oded Fehr, his extremist toes a hard-party line with his quest to blow up the various enclaves that make up the weird City of Angels. But there’s a kink in his Islamic armor, that of an undercover Federal Agent currently infiltrating his group with his honky brand of whiteness and suburban Michael Douglas angst. Sleeper Cell garnered some fairly great reviews, but that most likely didn’t phase your in-the-dark ineptness towards other cultures anyways. In the New America™ everyone, including Brian Dennehy, is a suspected terrorist. The latter just because he made F/X 2 and happens to pay his credit card bills on time.
He will never eat, he will never sleep, and he will never stop – with: Episode commentaries with the show’s producers, some deleted scenes with commentary with Executive Producers Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, the documentary ‘Know your Enemy’, and a production diary on the making of the Series Finale.
Paul Verhoeven gives us moviegoers many reasons to celebrate. His brash brand of filmmaking is unparalleled. Plus he gave us an Alien with three breasts, a Detroit Cop that’s a Robot, and one of the most enduring moments of my fidgety puberty – Vegas strippers. And he loves sexual intercourse. As evidenced in every single one of his films. Like his European brethren, he doesn’t shy away from showing us the carpet and the drapes, and the little interior decorator in all of us secretly loves him for it. So return to simpler times, when Verhoeven was a giddy little hellion showing us what those crossed legs are actually hiding. Detective Michael Douglas (not what they’re hiding), delves deep and hard into the case, discovering many things in the process. The last being a fucking disgusting ice pick. Basic Instinct proved that Verhoeven doesn’t have many friends among gay-rights supporters or even women for that matter (and I mean probably all of their gender), but he also proved that he’s quite adept at being the horniest cinematic Dutchman on the face of the Earth and he certainly sold some Hermes scarves. The little horndog in you will be quite enthralled with the extra 42 seconds of footage, which is paltry compared to actually leaving your house.
I’m in love with you already, but I’ll nail you anyway – with: audio commentary with the Dutch tag-team of Verhoeven and De Bont (the film’s cinematographer), a new DVD Introduction and conversation with Sharon Stone, the documentary ‘Blood Poison: The Making-of Basic Instinct’, the featurette ‘Cleaning Up Basic Instinct’, screen tests, storyboard footage, and some trailers. Plus, as an added bonus – a pants tingling sensation.
While it’s certainly not the worst horror movie of all time as it’s being billed, Microwave Massacre does taint Jackie Vernon’s Frosty the Snowman voice into oblivion with its patented brand of cult preposterousness. Laughably bad in almost every regard, the film has no idea what it wants to be – a comedy? a horror film? a treatise on industrial relations between work and play? Vernon’s construction worker doesn’t even know either, as his simple request for a baloney and cheese sandwich turns into a cacophony of microwavable horrors – the first tasty delight being his lovely wife. Quickly turned on by the new flesh taste, Vernon goes about ripping up the place, placing prostitutes in his crosshairs and the firing pan on high. Bludgeoned in the process is a low-budget festival of shoddy effects work, terrible D-level acting, and enough bottoms bared to fully satiate your lifeless libido. Microwave Massacre is just as you’ve remembered it: terribly atrocious, ridiculously evil, and thoroughly unwatchable in its bad taste.
I’m so hungry I could eat a whore – with: nothing as far as I know.
Musician Jim White takes us all on a fateful journey of the seedy American South in Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus. White’s abilities to spin a tale filled with the most captivating people of all walks of life – preachers, workers, juke joint sinners, Truck Stop hussies, and Appalachian Mountaineers without the basic necessities of life (and yes, they still exist) – make for one hell of an adventure coupled with his signature sound. The cultural extremities between our world and theirs are odd, especially in today’s more globalized world. Just don’t make sure to tell Jerry Falwell the title of the film, lest he fire off some sort of tirade with the type of insane hate-speech that flows freely from his dirty mouth. Meanwhile, you might think the Director, Andrew Douglas’ name sounds familiar. That’s because he segued right from this into the Platinum Dune’s remake of Amityville Horror. So check this one out if you’re interested in the music first and foremost, the filmmaking second, and then where Douglas’ traits took shape.
You’re either an outlaw or you go to church – with: filmmaker audio commentary and some trailers.
On Tuesday, besides the above, you’ll notice these on shelves. Their Siren calls are irresistible. If you’ve become a snarky deviant like the rest of us here, it’ll be easy-peasy to quickly differentiate good, entertainingly nostalgic, and a plethora of double-dipping annoyingness. Then if not, there’s always ANGUS.
Every once and a while I’ll curiously misplace a title that is of great importance. And these past weeks have seen too many causalities come and go without so much a inept message from my unconscious self. Consider these now rectified and seek them out in your quest for unnecessary self-importance.
Coincidentally, you’ll find all of these out and about right now. Snatch them up, lathering your hairy chests with them, or just plain enjoy the hell of out everything, including the great Vice Squad.
Additionally, thanks to Davisdvd.com, we now have the semi-official Cover Art for the Erik The Viking: Director’s Cut. It was supposed to come out weeks ago, but has since been bounced from its date. I have no clue when Sony is preparing to release this. Hopefully soon for you Terry Jones aficionados.
Shut Up and Dance
A movie based on a play that was based on a movie should have some crazy rearranging patterns to deal with – but The Producers (read Devin’s positive review) is most likely a reboot with song and dance numbers from the genius that is Mel Brooks. As it was on Broadway, the infectious chemistry between Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick is thoroughly enjoyable – enough so that you’ll follow their skewed misadventures into creating a bonafide flop. The title just so happens to be Springtime for Hitler, written by Will Ferrell’s over-the-top Nazi sympathizer and the result is a surefire miss that will send Lane’s Bialystock and Broderick’s Bloom into the black after years in the red. Speaking of going rouge, your inner puberty will smile for miles at Uma Thurman’s leggy Swede, she’s the stuff that dreams are made of. The rest? It’s almost the same as the original, except with 110% more singing; Susan Stroman, the film (and stage) Director, has managed to pay homage more than a few musical comedies in the process (especially Astaire & Rogers), but I couldn’t help but notice the lifelessness of the movie as a whole. It’s quite old school in comparison to the other work being done currently. Check it out on 5.12.06.
Do I smell the revolting stench of self-esteem? – with: audio commentary with Susan Stroman, some deleted scenes, an analysis of a scene – ‘I Wanna Be A Producer’, and some outtakes.
I always hoped out for most of these titles in better Special Edition carnations, preferring to internally shout “that’ll be the day!” with all of my might. But, on 6.06.06, expect The John Wayne/John Ford Collection courtesy of those ever-loving life DVDpartners at Warner. Included are: The Searchers: 50th Anniversary Edition, Stagecoach: Special Edition, Fort Apache, The Long Voyage Home, Wings of Eagles, and the already released 3 Godfathers (via Target), They Were Expendable, and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Consequently, this is a terrific time to be an older film on DVD lover. This set is the cream of the adventure crop, filled with masterpieces near and far and some extraordinary films to boot.
On The Searchers, you’ll get: a newly remastered and restored film from original VistaVision film elements, an introduction from John’s son Patrick Wayne, audio commentary from Ford biographer (and excellent impersonator) Director Peter Bogdanovich, The Searchers: An Appreciation, A Turning of the Earth: John Ford, John Wayne and The Searchers, Behind the cameras (with these sub-features: Meet Jeffrey Hunter, Monument Valley, Meet Natalie Wood, and Setting Up Production), along with the film’s theatrical trailer. If you haven’t seen this film, see it – immediately. There’s essentially no excuse. It’s one of the greatest films ever made and Ford doesn’t disappoint with his confident style.
Stagecoach: Special Edition gets a new remastering courtesy of best available film elements, audio commentary with Scott Eyman, author of “Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford”, a new feature-length American Masters: John Ford/John Wayne: The Filmmaker & the Legend retrospective profile, a new documentary – ‘Stagecoach: A Story of Redemption’, an audio-only bonus – radio adaptation with Claire Trevor and Randolph Scott, and the film’s theatrical trailer.
Fort Apache gets digitally remastered and restored from original nitrate elements, a new featurette – ‘Monument Valley: John Ford Country’, and the film’s theatrical trailer. The Long Voyage Home has a new featurette – ‘Serenity at Sea: John Ford and the Araner.’ Wings of Eagles has been newly remastered in 16×9 format, enhanced for widescreen televisions (1.85:1 aspect ratio) and contains its theatrical trailer. As for 3 Godfathers, all it has is its trailer. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon has John Ford’s home movies and its theatrical trailer. And finally, They Were Expendable gets repackaged in a brand new Armory case with the same extra: a theatrical trailer.
Hey! Did everyone purchase Crash the first time around? Looks like Lions Gate is ready to cash in on its recent Best Picture status with Crash: 2-Disc Director’s Cut Edition on 4.04.06. The film was announced in a rerelease before its semi-surprising win at the Oscars, but now we’re going to be subjected to a plethora of plaudits and other assorted “it’s better than you!” commentaries from the marketing gurus. So be on the lookout for that. The film, as you might know, is a stereotypical telling of race relations in the metropolitan Los Angeles area and has enough slickness from all sides – even from the moral sledgehammer it slams down upon you. Paul Haggis is a competent, some might say manipulative, filmmaker and his film is technically great. But where the truth lies in not within people telling you it’s good. It’s whether or not you can figure it out for yourself.
You embarrass me – with: audio commentary with Paul Haggis, Don Cheadle and Bobby Moresco, a DVD Introduction with Paul Haggis, some deleted scenes with optional director commentary, "Behind the Metal and Glass" Making of Crash, several featurettes (On Paul Haggis, LA – The Other Main Character, and Unspoken), Bird York’s In the Deep music video – without the interpretive slow dancing, music montages, a couple of comparisons (Script-to-Screen and Storyboard-to-Screen), and some trailers.
Here’s a mini Cover Art explosion, with the recent pullback of Antonioni’s sought-after Nicholson owned The Passenger (I hear it’s amazing) – on 4.25.06, the fairly great Mamet-written Ronin: Special Edition – out on 5.09.06, and Steve Martin’s audience ignorefest of Shopgirl – on 4.25.06.
Region Free Surprise
The big one is that the UK is getting the fantastic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang today! – click here. Now!. Only problem being is that theirs has no extras while ours (while unofficially announced on 5.16.06) is going to get the documentary Long Shadows, Short Tongue and a gag reel.
It might have just come and gone from your theatres, but if you really dug Tamara (like Devin did in his semi-positive review) then you can purchase its UK DVD release. When? Right now, fink. In a Carrie like situation, the young Tamara is tormented beyond belief in her High School, and her untimely death explodes once a prank goes out of control. But what these kiddies don’t understand is that Tamara’s Mom dabbles in a little magical incantation and quickly sets about bringing Tamara back from Fulci’s dead. The afterlife throws her up and a changed sex fiend returns in her body. So onward and upward towards the rampage, seeking out all who done her wrong – it just so happens to be everyone. Tamara comes from the skewed mind of Final Destination writer Jeffrey Reddick, who allegedly manages some truly good things and then some adequate ones. It’s a crapshoot, but if you were a fan you can definitely check it out earlier than expected.
Revenge has a killer body – with: English audio and the kicker – Dutch subtitles. This is a Region 2 PAL DVD.
Here’s the artwork for Uk’s Nip/Tuck: Season Three – out on 5.08.06 + expect a US announcement soon, Match Point also on 5.08.06 (and I like its cover art a little better), along with the Belgian Region 2 release of Fincher’s underrated The Game, which is out on 5.08.06 as well. Extras include audio commentary with Fincher, Douglas, a featurette, a documentary on the making of, an alternate ending, storyboards, TV spots and trailers. Sadly, I can’t quite find it. E-mail me if you can with a link.
No matter how hard you try
You can’t stop our DVD reviewing funk. Click and ponder below.
Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Russ’ DVD review),
(also comes in a Collector’s Edition), Prime, Breaking News, Undertaking
Betty, Free Enterprise, Just Friends, Girl 6, Howl’s
Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, Whisper
of the Heart, No Way Out, House on Telegraph Hill, Fallen
Angel, Police Woman: Season One, Traffic: Criterion, Zu
Warriors, The Warrior, Nature Unleashed: Fire, I
Walk the Line, Den of Lions, The Tenants, and The
Buster Keaton Collection. Read last weeks’ Special Edition right here. Or perish, evildoer.
& Prejudice, Walk the Line, The Ice Harvest, 3
Extremes, Lady and the Tramp, Where
the Truth Lies, Werewolves on Wheels (Ian’s DVD Rack
Hearts and Coronets: Criterion, Dog Day Afternoon: SE, Network:
SE, The Controversial Classics Collection Vol. 2: Power of Media, Yours,
Mine and Ours, C.O.P.S.: Animated Series, Axe,
of 9 (Jeremy’s DVD Rack here),
Losers (Wade’s DVD Rack review),
Tunnel, Dog Eat Dog!, The Visitation, and Natural
City. Read the old and withered Special
Edition right here, then ask for
more Ovaltine, please.
DVD Reviews Forum
General DVD Discussion Forum
Another week, another round of savings. As I mentioned previously, the new color (this one) will denote a sale that is universal – in terms of happening at more than one store. Good luck deciding where your money goes. Sadly, mine goes straight to high-priced student loans.
Check out THIS MESSAGE BOARD THREAD for other Region Free DVD options as well.
History of Violence is $20.95
Good Night, and Good Luck is $23.89
Prize Winner of Defiance, OH is $20.38
Spring Break Shark Attack is $9.36
Basic Instinct: Director’s Cut is $12.38
Sleeper Cell is $20.78
The Cruise is $9.28
V.I.P. is $37.08
She Spies is $30.10
Ice Age: Cool Edition is $14.64
Remember the Titans: DC is $13.80
MacGyver: Season Five is $28.80
Babylon 5: Rangers is $14.51
Speed Racer: Vol. 4 is $14.24
Searching for Wrong-Eyed Jesus is $19.95
Star Trek: SE’s (Generations, First Contact, Nemesis, and Insurrection) are all $9.44/each
Billy Wilder Collection is $48.98
Amityville Horror Collection is $17.15
Breakin’ Collection is $15.79
Errol Morris Collection is $21.19
Robocop Trilogy is $17.15
Woody Allen Collection 1 is $43.87
Woody Allen Collection 3 is $33.98
Woody Allen 1971-1980 is $43.87
Woody Allen 1987-1992 is $26.68
Cinderella Man and The Constant Gardner are $14.96/each
Prize Winner of Defiance, OH is $14.96 (click on the Cover Art above!)
History of Violence is $16.99
Good Night, and Good Luck is $16.99
Prize Winner of Defiance, OH is $19.99
Basic Instinct: Director’s Cut is $13.99
Sleeper Cell is $27.99 + get a FREE $5.00 Target Giftcard
The Cruise is $9.99
She Spies is $27.99
Ice Age: Cool Edition is $12.99 + get FREE Ice Age 2 Moviecash
Remember the Titans: DC is $12.99
Microwave Massacre is $13.49
MacGyver: Season Five is $27.99
Babylon 5: Rangers is $13.99
Speed Racer: Vol. 4 is $15.99
Searching for Wrong-Eyed Jesus is $20.99
History of Violence is $14.99
Good Night, and Good Luck is $14.99