When I was decimating innocent pedestrians in my battered vehicle this past week, I kept wondering about the future of DVD. The watery blood trickling down my windshield kept necessitating that I pull over; but I ignored it. My thoughts were too important. It was only after mowing down some 35 people that Los Angeles’ finest popped out my tires and I staggered out of the car, a little dazed, but pensively wondering about what Tuesday had in store. I snapped out of it once the Officer started barking orders. Goddamn it.
Get Down With Your Bad Self
Eli Roth’s decisive brand of filmmaking births its deformed head in Hostel and you pancake-loving freaks wooed over by Cabin Fever should have no problem succumbing to his welcoming torture slap. Or should you? Devin enjoyed the film enough to recommend it (read his review) but Russ (read his slap-happy review here) called it “a movie with no conviction” – before rubbing some faces in the dirt. Don’t mess with Russ, man. Roth focuses his tale on the horny exploits of a trio of backpacking Americans with little to no regard for anything other than Capt. Johnson. So it makes sense that they all vamoose to an Eastern European Hostel free-flowing with buxom beauties who love Mid-Western cornholes. But the rub outside of their deviant ways is within Roth’s ability to run with his gruesome set-up and create something in the vein of Miike’s Audition and its insane narrative. Roth’s head is certainly in the wrong place; as it turns out he might just squeak by on technicalities and sheer chutzpah while cutting a bloody swath not seen since I drunkenly ate raw meat. If anything, it might rival Hostel’s experience.
Come all the way from Iceland – with:
- Several audio commentaries (one with Roth, one with Roth and Executive Producers Quentin Tarantino, Boaz Yakin and Scott Spiegel, one with Roth and Producer Chris Briggs & Documentarian Gabriel Roth, and finally, one with Roth and Actors Barbara Nedeljakova and Eythor Gudjonsson, Editor George Folsey Jr. and everyone’s favorite Harry Knowles)
- A behind-the-scenes three-part featurette “Hostel Dissected”
- The multi-angle interactive feature “Kill the Car!”
Neil Jordan explores the homosexual side in his foray on Breakfast on Pluto (read Devin’s review). And whereas the man burned a haunting secret into our eyes (and ruined my Uncle’s sex drive) via the fleshy Perpendicular pickle delves into a world of 70’s Gays, he not only continues there – preferring to bring along prostitution and the Irish Republican Army. Even Devin had to ask “what’s with Neil Jordan, the IRA and transvestites?” We as moviegoers might not be ready for the answer, but we can be prepared for Cillian (Batman Begins) Murphy’s titular Patrick "Kitten" Braden; lover, pacifist, seeker of items low and high. Although he’s never sure if he’ll get what he’s after – as Jordan crams the book by Patrick McCabe into a cacophony of self-serving situations, each informing the other. By the end, you might be smitten by Kitten’s adventures or possibly making excuses to ignore it like a weekend Egg-hunting jaunt at the White House. Either way, Breakfast on Pluto reminds us all of the power of sub-par DVD Cover Art that can ruin preconceived notions.
Be serious, serious, serious – with:
- Audio commentary with Neil Jordan and Cillian Murphy
- The featurette – behind-the-scenes on Breakfast on Pluto
Paul W.S. Anderson’s magnum opus – Event Horizon – was most notable, to me anyway, for turning Dr. Grant into a blood-spewing minion of Satan. The rest of it was an exercise wooing the loins of impressionable thirteen-year old boys (to which some still exist in 32-year old form), culminating in some fairly good performances by Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, and the uber-attractive Joely Richardson. That doesn’t include its laborious plot which while creepy, detracts from the more pressing elements at stake – like your sanity. Anderson’s eye for composition has never been above-and-beyond; watch those scope shots where the focus between characters pulls you into the middle of the frame and you’ll be given a glimpse into the Mouth of Madness. Yours, that is. This haunted spaceship movie had tremendous potential, but in the end it’s semi-squandered on a variety of moments that could percolate your head faster than when you realize Pudding Pops are still being sold.
Save yourself from Hell! – with:
- Audio commentary from Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt
- A 5-part documentary – The Making of Event Horizon (with Into the Jaws of Darkness, The Body of the Beast, Liberate Tutume Ex Infernis, The Scale to Hell, and The Womb of Fear)
- The Unseen Event Horizon: The Unfilmed Rescue Scene; Conceptual Art: Montage of paintings and drawings of uniforms, ships and more
- The Point of No Return: The Filming of Event Horizon
- A video trailer
- Theatrical trailer
Coupling the words Dame Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, and NUDITY into a trifecta of eye-widening horror beamed my warped mind into a fragile journey that might have even offended Dante – that is, if it hadn’t ignited his hallowed bones first. It appears as if Dench’s Mrs. Henderson, downtrodden by life itself, decides to give soldiers a goodbye that only our UK contingent would fully appreciate in Mrs. Henderson Presents. Yes, she eats them. Snapping up a local theatre, Dench proceeds to bring a little risqué into the into the lives of departing servicemen – scheming her way into allowing for nudes to remain onstage, but only if they qualify as art. Now, if you’ve ever visited our Message Boards, you’ll known there’s tons of skeevies floating down there stinging away their lives on a Mullet and a prayer. But they all have nothing on Bob Hoskins, whose Vivian Van Damm is elected to run the show and cover the pieces of the ladies’ naughty bits. At least he can say he’s been with a girl for realz, yo.
Need British nipples – with:
- Audio commentary with Director Stephen Frears (High Fidelity)
- A making-of featurette
Knowing it’s Peckinpah should be sufficient enough to send you into the Cross of Iron: Special Edition, but if not, make sure to check out Russ’ reviews of the seminal Peckinpah works right here. The man was a Gentleman of the utmost order – that is to say when he was expounding of the nature of masculinity, its merits, and how to use Warren Oates properly (Alfredo Garcia serves as a high-water mark). Cross of Iron is a war movie (Peckinpah’s only) told through the eyes of the Germans as they trek alongside disaster in 1943 Russia; the Germans being pummeled into a heaping Cleveland Steamer and looking for ways out. Peckinpah uses James Coburn as the disillusioned leader Steiner, whose loyalties rest skewed compared to the other jackals. Leave it to the rest of his group – Maximillian Schell, David Werner, and even James Mason (yes, that one) – to stir up all sorts of feelings that bring an off-kilter movie even more towards the dark front. While entirely unbalanced, Cross of Iron is still thoroughly engaging – it’s considered to be Peckinpah’s lesser effort. Make no mistake, though, as it’s a prime example of moviemaking on his terms; with a drug-fueled bandana on his head and a screaming megaphone in the other.
Be a myth – with:
- Audio Commentary by film scholar Stephen Prince, author of Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies
- Photo Gallery of German Lobby Cards
- Original Theatrical Trailer
The above are the only extras I could find, but if so, that’s a flimsy SE.
The annihilation of the Return of the Living Dead franchise continues rolling towards the Apocalypse with Part 4: Necropolis. As it was with Part 5, which also premiered on Sci-Fi, both films were shot back to back and left festering like my washing habits. These films aren’t quite original in the strictest sense; you’ve most likely seen/dreamt the type of plot machinations that rotate amongst the sorry excuse for advancement in hundreds of better films. Even jingling-keyed Peter Coyote doesn’t emerge unscathed through the halls of Necopolis, joining the ranks of thwarted villainous Scientists everywhere when two of his own family members go up against the reanimated chemicals that are concocted in his secret laboratory. The clichéd group of Noxzema’ed teens runs rampant through the facility, hoping to spring their friend and splatter some Zombies in the process. Except that the end for these poorly-made slapped-together television movies is probably the highlight of your night. As it was for the teens – fight the power.
Send more Security Guards – with:
The younger kids who paw through this site looking for the next big thing to feed their insatiable desire probably never considered a gestating Maverick (no, he doesn’t fly F-14s and slap the ass of Iceman) named Robert Altman to bring them hours of entertainment. But he can. Fox brings us The Robert Altman Collection, which by all accounts is filled with one bonafide masterpiece codenamed M*A*S*H and three films that even I was lax in remembering – A Perfect Couple, Quintet, and A Wedding. The latter trio being ignored in his oeuvre. Quintet is Altman’s stab at the Sci-Fi genre, with Paul Newman. It seems that a nuclear holocaust has thrown the world into another Ice Age and Newman and family, wandering the desolate Earth, finds another group of the living playing the strange titular game. A Wedding is a part of his wildly unbalanced films (along with OC & Stiggs), while A Perfect Couple is Altman cooling his heels in the conventional waters of plain narrative filmmaking. And M*A*S*H? If you need to be reminded to see it, you’ve most likely missed out on a lot more. Altman isn’t for everyone, like The Hydra, but when he’s on, he’s scorching hot with improvising techniques, overlapping sound, and zoom lenses that will light your own inebriated fire.
Kiss your hot lips – with:
- Commentary with Robert Altman (on M*A*S*H)
- An AMC Backstory featurette (on M*A*S*H)
- Stills Gallery and Theatrical Trailer (on M*A*S*H)
- Perspective on Altman’s Perfect Couple (on A Perfect Couple)
- Theatrical trailer, along with Trailers for Quintet, M*A*S*H, and A Wedding (on A Perfect Couple)
- Developing the World of Quintet (on Quintet)
- Theatrical trailer, along with Trailers for A Perfect Couple, A Wedding, and M*A*S*H (on Quintet)
- A Wedding Altman Style (on A Wedding)
- Theatrical trailer, along with Trailers for A Perfect Couple, Quintet, and M*A*S*H (on A Wedding)
You should also note that M*A*S*H is a repackaged single-disc and jettisons the more focused extras on the recent 2-disc Special Edition.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was demoting Orson Welles, the greatest deceased American filmmaker, into a life that promised many monetary gifts, only to never follow through. He spent a lot of his busy time searching for dinars to finish everything from pre-to-post production on most of his films (read about making Othello for a taste). Another one of his sad stories is with the misfortunes that befell Mr. Arkadin, now getting the Criterion send-up with The Complete Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report). Welles dreamt up the story of the eccentric Billionaire while doing the Harry Lime radio program. His Gregory Arkadin hires fledgling American smuggler Guy van Stratten to dig up his own past, the impressionistic ruffian discovering a mind-bending tale of espionage, powerplays, and the unmaking of a larger-than-life man at the hands of society. What followed after filming is an entirely different story. The film’s producer banned Welles from the editing room and recut his entire narrative. Welles was none too pleased. The producers went even further and proceeded to release countless number of versions throughout the years (one being the European Confidential Report), some of which were haphazard bastardizations of what he had originally intended. Mr. Arkadin was supposed to be a feast of sight and sound; instead, it turned out to be hackneyed into oblivion. Criterion now attempts to reconcile – presenting not only the American cut, the European cut, and even the hotly-anticipated Cornith Version, which is allegedly the bee’s knees. Forget everything else this week, as Mr. Arkadin is the one to see and do.
A fool is a man who pays twice for the same thing – with:
- Audio commentary by scholars Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore on the Corinth Version
- Interviews with Orson Welles biographer Simon Callow, star Robert Arden, radio producer Harry Alan Towers, director Peter Bogdonovich, and film archivists Stephan Droessler and Claude Bertemes
- Three half-hour episodes of the radio program The Lives of Harry Lime, upon which the film is based
- The new featurette On the Comprehensive Version
- Outtakes, rushes, and alternate scenes from the film
- Extensive stills gallery
- Mr. Arkadin, the novel, with a new preface by Robert Polito and a booklet featuring J. Hoberman; Rosenbaum, historian Francois Thomas and Droessler on the three versions
- 36-page booklet with essays on the film and its different versions
Should all else fail to lather your viewing power into frothing frenzy, consider these titles, also out on T-day. Nostalgia arrives again in the form of Thundercats: Season Two Volume One (only one more Volume to go before it’s over like James Garfield), Moonstruck gets a much-needed Deluxe Edition (“you know, it’s for the wife”), while people clamoring for the Sentinel can finally shut the hell up about it. THERE.
I’ve been quiet discussing the influx of HD-DVD mania onto the market (and by proxy, its doppelganger Blu-Ray) because of several factors. The first being that while we like to stay technically ahead of the lame curve here at CHUD, I don’t quite think Americans have fully embraced HD-Television sets enough to warrant it becoming ridiculously must-have… just yet. We still have until 2009 (via a congressionally mandated bill – your gov’t works!) to upgrade, and there’ll be lone holdouts, most likely in New Hampshire.
Do you know anyone with an HD Television set? I know of only one person, and he’s richer than Nick Nunziata and his Meg millions. But I kid. I think it’s going to be a while before we see a full-fledged embrace of this new technology; DVDs were just introduced into our lives not less than a decade ago and most people are adverse to change. Consumers are going to grumble about the switch, the pricing, and even buying the DVDs and hitting their old non-HD players wondering why it won’t work. That’ll happen. The collateral damage won’t stop the future from coming, but because DVD was so embraced by our culture and our secretive files on My Computer (p.s. Mom knows) it’s not like DVDs are going to disappear into Dom Deluise’s sweet, sweet nether regions. Studios haven’t even begun to mine their home video units – and I think the best is yet to come for fans of non-HD DVD.
HD-DVD/Blu-Ray represents the 100 proof to the 50 shot of DVD. I’ve been so mum on the subject because I’m still learning, much like yourselves, about the format, the HD/Blu-Ray units, the terminology, the fact that I am too poor to afford the basic equipment (which should quietly street tomorrow, barring any problems). It’s tough when you have things like beer, strippers, drugs, pornography, ritualistic animal sacrifice, and three weekly viewings of D.C. Cab getting in the way. But expect more from my feeble brain as I learn more on the subject, to report back to you fellow simpletons so we can throw our bleached bone into the sky, screaming in Neanderthalian unison.
Tuesday is a major date in the history of innovative digital entertainment – HD-DVD arrives. The future trucks through with multiple titles, and Joel Schumacher is part of it. Remember that. Warner is releasing these titles, each retails for around $19.98. Universal’s Serenity is a bit more expensive – $24.98. Not bad, but you’re also going to have to drop around $499.99 for Toshiba’s HD-DVD player (Blu-Ray should be around a pithy $999.99 for a player), which you can purchase through CHUD by clicking on its photo below. Behold, and enjoy as the Format Wars loom. We’ll talk some more later, and separately from this lumbering giant column.
What Potent Criterions Hath Honest May
May is not particularly an explosive month for Criterion, but look closer and you’ll see a lot of greatness hidden deep. Yasujiro Ozu’s Late Spring (out on 5.09.06) is a masterpiece. See it. Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County (out on 5.23.06), U.S.A. is an honest portrait of hardworking Americans brought to their knees during a strike. Watch it. And finally, Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana (out on 5.23.06) continues his surrealist tendencies to the max, culminating in nothing short of a transcendent experience. Enjoy it.
June shows even more promise with Dazed and Confused: Criterion Collection (oddly endearing, isn’t it?), À Nos Amours, and even Dennis Muren’s Equinox, a cheeky fun time through a science-fiction land of imaginative invention.
Peter North Loaned Me His MASSIVE LIST
Time flies fast when life is berating you like Daddy. Here’s what you can expect through the annals of May, smelly beads and all. Note that everything is subject to change at a shit’s notice. They usually do.
3rd Rock from the Sun: Season 4
Battle in Heaven
Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons
Eight Days a Week
Don’t Trip… He Ain’t Through with Me Yet!
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: Volume 3
I Love Lucy: The Complete Sixth Season
Kate & Allie: The Complete First Season
King of the Hill: Season 6
Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Second Season
Mystery Woman: Mystery Weekend
The Nanny – The Complete Second Season
Omega Factor: The Complete Series
Red Dwarf VIII: The Original and Extended Series
Second in Command
A Streetcar Named Desire: Special Edition
Tennessee Williams Film Collection
The Ultimate Film Noir Collection
American Heroes Collection
The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Sixth Season
The Best of Boris and Natasha: Volume 1
Big Momma’s House 2
Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams
Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist – Season One
Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Sixth Season
Facts of Life – Complete First and Second Seasons
Forty Shades of Blue
Golden Girls: The Complete Fifth Season
Grandma’s Boy: Unrated
Life Goes On: The Complete First Season
The Long, Long Trailer
The Lucy and Desi Collection
Masters of Horror: Chocolate
Masters of Horror: Coscarelli / Garris
Masters of Horror: Incident On & Off A Mountain
Munich (also comes in 2-Disc Limited Edition)
The New World
Northern Exposure: The Complete First and Second Seasons
On the Outs
Poseidon Adventure: Special Edition
Puff, Puff, Pass
Queer as Folk: The Final Season
Rescue Me – The Complete Second Season
Ronin: Collector’s Edition
Rumor Has It…
Scrubs: The Complete Third Season
Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show – 50th Anniversary Edition
That ’70s Show: Season 4
Towering Inferno: Special Edition
West Wing: The Complete Sixth Season
Work and the Glory: American Zion
Arms and the Man
The Big Valley: Season One
Body and Soul
Brilliant But Cancelled: Crime Dramas
Brilliant But Cancelled: EZ Streets
Con Air: Extended Unrated Edition
Crimson Tide: Extended Unrated Edition
The Dark Mirror
The Devil’s Disciple
Enemy of the State: Extended Unrated Edition
Every Time We Say Goodbye
George Bernard Shaw Collection
Grounded for Life: Season 2
Here Come the Brides – The Complete First Season
Hill Street Blues: Season 2
Monarch of the Glen: The Complete Series 4
Napoleon Dynamite: Like, the Best Special Edition Ever!
New Police Story
Secret Beyond the Door…
That Girl: Season One
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
Walt Disney’s It’s a Small World of Fun: Volume One
Walt Disney’s It’s a Small World of Fun: Volume Two
When a Stranger Calls
4400: The Complete Second Season
BloodRayne: Unrated Director’s Cut
Boondock Saints: Unrated Special Edition
Boston Legal: Season One
Catherine the Great
The Cecil B. DeMille Collection
Cheaper by the Dozen 2
Classic Crime Collection: Street Justice
Classic Western Collection: The Outlaws
Closer: The Complete First Season
Deadwood: The Complete Second Season
Dirty Dozen (Double Feature)
Heroes of War Collection: Frontline Combat
Heroes of War Collection: Navy Battles
Heroes of War Collection: Soldier’s Stories
Hollow Man 2
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: The Definitive Collection
Kingdom of Heaven: 4-Disc Director’s Cut
The Longest Day: Special Edition
M*A*S*H: Season 10
Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey
New Frontier (1935)/New Frontier (1939)
One Last Thing…
Patton: Special Edition
Samurai Jack: Season 3
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Cheri Oteri
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Commercial Parodies
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Tora! Tora! Tora!: Special Edition
Who Gets to Call It Art?
Will & Grace: Series Finale
Wings: The Complete First & Second Seasons
WWE: Wrestlemania 22
X-Men Evolution: The Complete Third Season