This is late. I know. I’m not going to apologize, but I’m also not going to get down on my knees and ask forgiveness either. We’re both hardworking adults who deserve respect. Otherwise we’d be blowing one another into the sky. Vagueness intentional.
Take That, Peace
Steven Spielberg’s Munich (read Devin’s review) is an assured continuation of his darker themes culminating in largely his best film since A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. It’s certainly not an easy film to tackle, and the questions he and his collaborators (writers this time out include the great Tony Kushner and Eric Roth) bombard your own perceptions about vengeance with don’t come with simplistic answers. None of it detracts from the inherent power it commands; Spielberg’s film is a masterstroke of framing, image, and sound. The middle of which, with Janusz Kaminski’s breathless manipulation of lighting, creates arguably his best cinematographic work in a long time. Working tirelessly with his co-conspirators – such as John Williams, whose score is magnificent, and Michael Kahn, whose editing harkens back to the time when political thrillers actually meant something – Spielberg presents the story of Avner (Eric Bana) and his quest to root out the Black September Terrorists with an effortlessly stripped down style. Munich was my favorite film of last year, not only because its filmmaking on display was top-notch, but also because it will resonate with you all the way out the theatre door.
Need receipts – with:
- An Introduction with Steven Spielberg
- Several Excellent Features (Munich: The Mission, The Team, Munich: Memories of the Event, Munich: Portrait of an Era, Munich: The On-Set Experience, Munich: The International Cast, and Munich: Editing, Sound and Music)
- The Widescreen version has an Introduction by Spielberg himself.
Terrence Malick makes movies about as much our contributors get laid. Which is to say not that often (- maybe I meant myself?). Malick’s Elephant mates quite carefully with the prickly beast that is filmmaking. Often times you’ll find yourself fuming over his choices (as I was originally with Thin Red Line, but now have grown to love it) or possibly transfixed at his constructed multitudes of interesting situations (Days of Heaven springs to mind). The two situations aren’t mutually exclusive, but it appears as if in his newest – The New World (read Devin’s review and then onward to Russ’ here) – that Malick’s signature style takes a slight beating in its truncated form – 135 minutes for the DVD, down from the almost 3 hour version both Devin and Russ’ reviewed. Having not seen this new cut, it would be unfair to comment on its merits or even demotions, but I can say I am jazzed about the new possibilities. Malick’s meticulously crafted choices (such as shooting the entire film in available light) were very organic to the retelling of Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) and his historic adventures into the unknown with Pocahontas (Q’orianka Kilcher). So much so, that this world he creates is evident right off the bat. But if you’re that type of person who can’t stomach Malick’s insatiable style, then maybe it’s best to rethink your position. Since you’re missing out on a lot, like not getting down and dirty with your bad self.
Deny love when it visits us – with:
- The 60 min. documentary Making The New World
As an aside, I seriously hope New Line is considering releasing the almost 3 hour original cut to audiences through an SE DVD later on down the line. Granted this is speculation on my part, but with would be interesting to compare the two.
The unapologetically disappointing Masters of Horror continues its singular rollout, this time with Don Coscarelli’s Incident On and Off a Mountain Road (the first episode aired) and with series creator Mick Garris and his Chocolate (read his interview with Devin here). Quite honestly I grew apathetic to the series after Landis and Dante’s contributions, through no fault of the premise of something extraordinary (its title heralds gigantor expectations) that turned out to be downright adequate. Garris’ film follows Henry Thomas (the amazing child prodigy in E.T.) as a man who works in a confection factory experiencing visions of a woman he may/may not have met. Throw in Matt Frewer and you’re starting to get it. Consequently, if you’re a fan of Garris’ television work, then you should have no problems succumbing to his intense relishing of the horror genre here. If not, you might end up as I keep finding myself with the entire series – wishing it were just a tad better.
Get a whiff of the hot stuff – with:
- Audio commentary with Garris
- 3 featurettes (The Sweet Taste of Fear – An Interview with Mick Garris, Working With A Master: Mick Garris, and Behind The Scenes: The Making of Chocolate)
- 2 On Sets (with Henry Thomas, the other with Lucie Laurier)
- Fantasy Film Festival: Mick Garris Interviews Roger Corman
- Mick Garris Bio
- DVD ROM features (Original short story, screenplay, and screensaver)
- Still Gallery
Coscarelli’s Incident On and Off a Mountain Road starts off fairly well, but ends up being short on plot and long on chase sequences. While filled with a maddening fanboy-dream of Angus Scrimm, the mood is generally punctured with dread and not too many scares. Seeing people disemboweled nailed to wooden stakes does strike fear into my lame state, but the general malaise I felt towards the rest of the story focuses in and around the muddling subplot about Bree Turner’s skewed love/hate/run for your life relationship with a seriously deranged Ethan Embry. That and the show’s evil presence isn’t as scary as he is oddly intriguing. Moonface, as he’s called, represents the pure evil evident to push the plot forward, but doesn’t feel like a force other than to cause the stunning Turner to run flailing her arms in the woods. It’s an acceptable start for the show, but it seemingly goes awry shortly after. My roommate, whose horror opinions I trust (and he sees everything) summed it up by shrugging his shoulders.
Act like a whore – with:
- Audio commentary with Don Coscarelli and writer Stephen Romano
- 3 featurettes (Predators and Prey – An Interview with Don Coscarelli, Working With A Master: Don Coscarelli, and Behind The Scenes: The Making of Incident On and Off A Mountain Road)
- 2 On Sets (with John De Santis, the other with Ethan Embry)
- Don Coscarelli Bio
- DVD ROM features (screenplay and screensaver)
- Still Gallery
Replacing directors can be a tricky business, just ask Warner Brothers when they gave original director Ted (Ocean’s Eleven) Griffin the heave-ho on Rumor Has It (he does end up with screenwriting credit). Who’s to say what exactly happened, but the pinch-hitter was old reliable Rob Reiner, the man responsible for a bunch of mediocre films for what feels like an eternity (remember Alex & Emma?). Reiner’s signature brand of vanilla is constructed for maximum effect – aside from some of his most well-known films he really doesn’t inspire much recognition from our populace. One thing that does is the story behind the Graduate. Griffin’s script takes it for a quickie spin on its head, as this time Jennifer Aniston discovers that her Grandma (Shirley MacLaine) is the basis for Mrs. Robinson. Focusing in on Kevin Costner’s playboy friend, Aniston’s suspicions traveling around the world faster than your hyped up LAN parties. I think everyone’s already dashed onto the next DVD.
Be the most screwed-up person in the room – with:
- Theatrical trailer
Now believe it or not, Rumor Has It makes Home Video History (oh, Warner Brothers) with its recent pilfering of the HD-DVD world. Now available will be the first "HD-DVD on one side, DVD on the other" combo, just in case you upgrade and don’t want to repurchase it (good call). It’ll retail for about $15 more than you’d normally pay to be lulled into a false sense of enjoyment.
Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison production company know how to market to your base desires. Or maybe just Chet Donnelly’s fetishes. Just check out the Grandma’s Boy DVD Cover Art Slipsleeve for more proof. What scares me are those who are hankerin’ for a hunk of ‘Scantily Clad Geriatrics’, but I know it takes all kinds to mold the type of village we’re (decimating) here at CHUD. Still, Sandler cohort Allen Covert is a videogame tester by day and by night an adventurer dreaming up the next big X-Box Game. Sound familiar? It’s not quite your life, considering Covert’s Alex is kicked out of his own house with one option left – living it up with Grandma and her two Reaper-punching roommates. What follows are some inane shenanigans involving Monkeys, drugs, and Freaks and Geeks’ own Linda Cardellini. Just make sure to marvel at the fact that Covert’s own former Personal Assistant now makes his directorial debut, and all should be well. If not, learn to live with the advice of an Amazonian poster, who states: “Grandma’s Boy is the best movie ever made. Thank you.”
Give Charlie Chaplin a handjob – with:
- Audio commentary with director Nicholaus Goosen
- Audio commentary with actors Allen Covert, Nick Swardson and Peter Dante
- 3 featurettes (Covert Whacks It, Monkey, and Casting Session)
- Montages (Scenes That Went Up in Smoke, Unsmoked Material, and Smoke This)
- Some deleted scenes
- Music video
Those Godforsaken squiggly lines get the deluxe digital treatment with Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist: Season One. So do the revolving door of comedians (such as Bill Braudis and Dom Irrera!) whose acts get featured all over the seasons; some hilarious, some downright just okay. The main pulse through my veins is the essence of the show, which proved a training ground for me to understand the complexities between fathers and sons, considering my Dad was always off fighting the good fight against effervescent Canadian Mountie Sergeant King. Katz’s own son Ben proved to be quite the tool to vent my own pubescent angst rebelling against my own parents, provided that I wore two different colored socks while soaking up those unemployment rays. And while I did give my Grandfather a heart attack, at least I wasn’t down at Jacky’s 33 with strangely attractive Julie and Stan. Although I sure as hell wanted to be.
Do what I say and don’t be an idiot – with:
- Audio commentary with Dave Attell, H. Jon Benjamin, Jonathan Katz, Ray Romano, and Tom Snyder
- The feature The Biography of Dr. Katz
- Short Attention Span shorts
- The original Squigglevision short Shrink Wrapped
Honestly, I was ridiculously frightened by the transformation of thespian Emma Thompson at the hands of the make-up artists for Nanny McPhee. Her bulbous nose protruded outward like something unwrithing from a Harryhausen film, especially as her magically walking stick seems to tame even the lamest of children. It’s nightmare inducing just thinking about it. Imagine the unassailable power at your beck and call. And boy do the children – even that kid who played Liam Neeson’s son in Love Actually – feel it. As their dad, played by Colin Firth, struggles to deal with his wife’s demise and the seven bottomless moneypits that have engulfed his every move. Scaring away caregivers left and right, Firth can only take the oncoming advances of one Academy Award Winner/Screenwriter as she weaves her magical way into the bowels of hell and comes out the other side with something gooey and entirely family-friendly. I’m sure you can guess what happens from there, so if you have children let this serve as both a warning and a heads up for the ‘quintessential’ Britishness about to pop its head your quivering way.
EAT THE BABY! – with:
- Audio commentary with director Kirk (Waking Ned Devine) Jones and Children
- Audio commentary with actress Emma Thompson and producer Lindsay Doran
- 4 featurettes (Casting the Children, Village Life, Nanny McPhee Makeover, and How Nanny McPhee Came to Be)
- Deleted scenes and an Alternate Opening
- A gag reel
After an exhaustive battle filled with infighting, the fans have spoken revealing the final Cover Art for Rescue Me: Season Two. But first, make sure to read Nick’s DVD review of Season One right here. Season Two keeps the hits on coming as Leary’s firefighter grapples with the separation from his wife and kids as he battles his alcoholism in a lowly Staten Island fire house. Sounds like the kind of plot you rally the kids up for after keeping them awake seventeen straight days. Leary’s own demons continue informing the rest of this fairly good show – almost filled with enough real people and situations to cause Republicans to demand they pay their own fair share. The situations sometimes do get a little intense throughout the thick and thin, and credit that to Job creators Leary and Peter Tolan, whose perennial brand of intensive heat is almost like the last kitchen fire you burned down your house to.
What in the sweet chocolate Christ is a metrosexual? – with:
- 6 behind-the-scenes featurettes (The Second Season, Filming in New York City, The Kitchen, Working with the Cast, Diane Farr Talks to the Real NYFD, among others)
- 35 deleted and extended scenes
- Blooper reel
- Sneak peak at Season Three
When I saw Ronin back when I was a fidgety pile of neuroses, I was mesmerized on its basic masculinity. Particularly the scene where it repels downward through the European locales to turn Stellan Skarsgard into that guy who catches the cup and says a McTiernan-esque “they die hard” into the camera before pummeling my awesome factor into the stratosphere. That makes me excited again for the Ronin: Collector’s Edition, although its extras aren’t up to snuff. Former Director and Human Being John Frankenheimer keeps everything ratcheted to the taut factor, punching in his signature style of car chase (strapped onto the chassis, via his own Grand Prix) as DeNiro pulls the e-brake and wheels around through oncoming traffic to send my pants rising, ultimately blocking the screen. When it all comes down, Ronin’s pseudo-political intrigue manages to enthrall with DeNiro’s world-weary master-less Intelligence Agent at the center. Frankenheimer, much like the play on his name, stitches together past works and cool bluish tones to craft the testosterone into Barry Bonds levels of illicit excitement. That should be enough to revist, or finally see it.
Get your two front teeth for Christmas – with:
- Audio commentary with director John Frankenheimer
- Alternate Ending
- Original Venice Film Festival interviews with Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, and Natasha McElhone
- The documentary Ronin: Life in the Fast Lane
- 5 featurettes (In the Cutting Room with Tony Gibbs, Composing The Ronin Score, Natascha McElhone: An Actor’s Process, The Driving of Ronin, and Through the Lens)
- Animated Photo Gallery
Ozu’s films are compelling, if only because he breaks the third wall time and again, sending your normal A-to-B editing skills into the wastebasket for a schooling not unlike that time in Philly. With Tokyo Story years ahead, Ozu settled in for the haul of craziness with Late Spring, arguably one of his finest films (along with I Was Born, But…). Ozu’s signature style is ruing the day, as Late Spring firmly plants his feet into the shomingeki, or social comedies focusing in on the lower-middle class families and their interpersonal relationships. Ozu’s movement is sparse at best, as most of the time his mismatched camera angles and unconventional editing techniques require some getting used to. You won’t need it for the story, which is centered around a daughter who is about to be married. Ozu muse Chisu Ryu convinces the young’un that she isn’t needed anymore, hoping to send her reeling from the home to happier pursuits; namely ones involving courtship. Ozu certainly takes his time in drawing out situations, moments, but in the end you might be pleasantly surprised with the results.
- A newly restored High Definition Transfer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- Audio commentary with Richard Peña, program director of New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center
- Tokyo-Ga (1985, 92 mins), legendary director Wim Wenders’ tribute to Yasujiro Ozu
- New essays by critic Michael Atkinson and renowned Japanese-film historian Donald Richie
One wonders why Criterion would rerelease Truffaut’s masterpiece 400 Blows again. Especially with something like this (click here!) already out on the market. And that latter is HIGHLY recommended for anyone interested in a starting point in Truffaut’s filmography (and Jules et Jim, naturally). As long as it gets more viewers to experience Antoine Doinel’s adventures, I’m all for it. Almost like that time in Tijuana. Back to Truffaut, this is simply a free-wheeling force of a film that will blindside you with its infectiousness and breezy interplay between your own inhibitions and those swirling all around the young Doinel. Then there are the scenes; stealing the Citizen Kane stills. Borrowing the typewriter. Spending the night in a jail cell. Wondering where the father is. That immortal freeze frame. Raising hell like no other, but arguably in the name of self-expression; finding oneself amongst a harried family life. If only I could see it again for the first time, like those uninitiated. They’re in for a treat.
Lie now and then – with:
- Audio commentary with film scholar Brian Stonehill
- Audio commentary with Truffaut’s lifelong friend Robert Lachenay
- Rare audition footage of young actors Jean-Pierre Leaud, Patrick Auffay, and Richard Kanayan
- Newsreel footage of Leaud at the film’s Cannes premiere
- Excerpts from French TV interview with Truffaut discussing his youth, critical writings and the origins of Antoine Doinel
- TV interview with Truffaut discussing the global financial reception of the film and his own critical impressions
While you’re running around on Tuesday smashing tiny worlds into smithereens, consider these other titles (make sure to read Nick’s DVD review of West Wing Season Six right here). Some will haunt your dreams, especially if Martin Lawrence is in a fat suit.
We’re All Dead – Like Tony Danza’s Career
You might also stumble across these in your purchasing frenzy on Tuesday. Irwin Allen, we all know from creating Lost in Space (for those hopped up kids out there, it’s not the Matt LeBlanc steaming pile of Gargoyle semen), also helped bring in the era of the big-budget effects-laden star-studded hyphen (on my part), ushering in cycle of things going horribly fucking wrong in The Towering Inferno and The (original) Poseidon Adventure. Poseidon you should watch to heckle the remake and sound smart and smarmy. But just for major assholic effect, since I know some like to pretend their enthusiasts. As for Earthquake, other than the semi-amusing ride that grows tiresome in Orlando, it’s one of the final films for Mark Robson, who worked tremendously well with horror maestro Val Lewton decades prior.
Han Solo shoots first, and so might you. Reason being is that (in case you’ve been living in another J. Edgar Hoover phase) Lucasfilm has announced, quite quickly (read Dave’s original holler here) that the DVDs of the original Star Wars features – that’s Episodes IV, V, and VI for you dunces out there – will be unlocked and unloaded under the watchful guise of the man himself. Each 2-disc set will have the 2004 Special Edition on it, and the other disc will contain the original unILM’ed theatrical exhibition that all of you old dudes remember seeing (I was 1.1 when Return of the Jedi came out the first time). So in essence, not only will Han shoot first and ask questions later, but Hayden Christensen will be nowhere near the ghostly image of his son later on (well, on the second disc at least), and even Mos Eisley’s landscape will be depopulated with creatures. Seems different, but there are those for which this idea will realize a life-long dream – they’ll get to fork over even more cash! Plus, in the meantime, check out our unnecessarily long MB thread here, and wonder why people are looking to the past when they should be eagerly awaiting those ‘art films” (a la THX-1138) Mr. Lucas will eventually film and release. Most likely they’ll be chanting – It’s coming. Sometime in September. For a limited time.
Extras have yet to be confirmed, or even Cover Art. Other than the whisper that the Originals “won’t look as good” and have Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound. But everyone and their overbearing Mother beat me to the punch on this one.
Billy Wilder is one of those terse acidic filmmakers whose works leapfrog over all others, and still, millennia later have the power to prod, enthrall, and titillate all over again. While his later works started to unravel and become lesser, Wilder’s streak of unparalleled films – Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, Spirit of St. Louis, Seven Year Itch, Sabrina, Stalag 17, Irma La Douce, The Fortune Cookie – can now add another masterpiece; that of the granddaddy film noir Double Indemnity. Cynical to its dirty rotten core, Insurance Salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) gets seduced by the ultimate femme fatale: Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck). If Neff can kill her husband, his insurance policy should pay for their travails the rest of their greedy little lives. Except there’s a hitch, and that’s the snooping form of G-man Edward G. Robinson, whose sleuthing skills trump all. Working with Raymond Chandler, Wilder creates a lived-in world whose characters ooze pure misadventure from the start. If you haven’t seen it, choose 8.29.06 as the day you rectify that.
Be a Medford Man – with:
- Audio commentary with Film Historian Richard Schickel
- Audio commentary with Film Historian / Screenwriter Lem Dobbs and Film Historian Nick Redman
- The Double Indemnity TV Movie (1973, 75 mins.)
Plus more extras TBA as the date approaches.
Meanwhile, condense your inner rage at Hugh Hefner and his Girls Next Door (out on 8.01.06) and their bedroom antics, your outer thief in Safe Men (out on 8.15.06), and finally your inner mustachioed cop with Bruce Willis and his trek through 16 Blocks (read Devin’s negative review here, plus it’s out on 6.13.06).
You’ve got a Region Free Player, Dave.
So ask her yourself. Obliviously.
Ninjas have been known to drop in from time to time. One even raped my best friend in the jungles of ‘Nam. Ninja cinema arguably reached its apex with the Cannon film magnum opus Ninja III: Dominion and a low point around the time the Douglas Brothers saddled up to beat Hugo Snyder. Leave it to the Swedes to resurrect the dying breed (circa 1989) and blow it all up again with a Russian Ninja, no less. Helmer Matts Helge, who wrought forth all of your rising desires with Ninja Mission (also a Scandinavian film of epic eighties proportions), kicks it up a notch or two, or even a hellacious three in order to bring you the gigantic teaming of an American Spy and a Russian Agent who band together to strike down a notorious Terrorist hell-bent on ruining both of their countries. One can only image what Ronald Regan would think. Long only available on bootleg DVDs, xploitedcinema.com has seen to it that you can relive whatever shreds of childhood dignity you have left, at a cheaper price than that hooker you thought about.
I don’t like to kill a woman – with:
- English audio
- Optional Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian subtitles
- Trailers for other releases
This is a Region 0 PAL DVD, requiring the use of a Region Free thingamajig.
At first I almost was quick to call Beneath Still Waters The Good Son 2: Waters Run Deep. The Spanish thriller has two friends, both whom aren’t Macaulay Culkin or Elijah Wood, making a Herculean promise to one another to seek out adventure in the face of massive fear. The pact starts off once their former town is cleared to make way for a man-made lake and with it the former lives and dreams of everyone in it. Completely uninhabited, the boys set out on their trek and quickly learn that things aren’t as they seem. For starters, as evidenced in the Cover, there’s a really huge fucking Yeti about to clamp its jaw down on them. Otherwise, it might be my Uncle’s last fiancée. Whoa was she something. Jettisoning all other logic and reasonable doubt, the town’s lost secrets appear to inform a thing or two about the nasty plot about to rear its ugly head. Must have spent time with my family.
- English 5.1 and Russian 5.1 Audio Options
This is a Region 5 PAL DVD, meaning you need a Region Free DVD Player, jerk.
Check These Out
Complete First and Second Seasons, Second in Command, Family
Stone, Hoodwinked, 8 Days a Week, Nathalie, Tennessee
Williams Film Collection (Streetcar Named Desire: SE, Cat
on a Hot Tin Roof: DE, Baby Doll, Night of the Iguana, Roman
Spring of Mrs. Stone, and Sweet Bird of Youth – read Ian’s DVD reviews), Flight
93, Lucy & Desi Collection, Last Holiday, King
of the Hill: Season Six, Red Dwarf VII, Horses of Gettysburg, and
Warrior. Check out last weeks’ Special
Edition somewhere in here.
Flux (David’s review),
Point, The Detonator, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Inspector
Gadget: Complete Series, Casanova (Ian’s DVD review),
(Rob’s DVD review), The
Passenger, Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory (It’s Always Fair Weather,
Follies, Summer Stock, Three Little Words, Till
the Clouds Roll By – read Thor’s DVD review),
Dad: Season One, Bachelor Party Vegas, Flickers,
and Dolls: Deluxe Edition, Don’t Go in the Park, Dr.
Dolittle 3, 12 Days of Terror, Casualties of War: Extended Edition,
Extended Edition, Crumb: Special Edition, Wedding
Singer: Totally Awesome Edition, Windtalkers: Director’s Cut, Replacement
Killers: Extended Cut, Fists in the Pocket: Criterion, and Elevator
to the Gallows: Criterion. Read the two week old Special Editionright here.
DVD Reviews Forum
General DVD Discussion Forum
Clash of the Tartans!
In Like A Bargain Bin
This is where you might find some sweet-ass deals. Squealing like a stuck Irish Pig is on your own terms. I’m off to slick back my hair.
Munich is $21.77
Munich: LE is $27.98
The New World is $20.99
Rumor Has It is $19.86 (HD-DVD/DVD Combo is $33.84)
Nanny McPhee is $21.77
Grandma’s Boy is $20.88
MoH: Chocolate is $9.98
MoH: Garris/Coscarelli is $14.86
Rescue Me: Season 2 is $37.39
Dr. Katz: Season One is $13.67
Big Momma’s House 2 is $21.45
West Wing: Season Six is $30.25
Summer is $12.09
Ronin: CE is $19.66
Earthquake is $9.43
Towering Inferno: SE is $14.64
Poseidon Adventure: SE is $14.64
Late Spring: Criterion is $31.88
400 Blows: Criterion is $23.90
Maniacs, Undead, Creep, Aristocrats, and Santa’s Slay are all $12.32/each
Munich is $16.99
Munich: LE is $27.99
The New World is $19.99
Rumor Has It is $16.99
Nanny McPhee is $20.99
MoH: Chocolate is $12.69
MoH: Incident is $12.69
MoH: Garris/Coscarelli is $22.49
Rescue Me: Season 2 is $37.99
Dr. Katz: Season One is $13.99
Big Momma’s House 2 is $20.99
West Wing: Season Six is $39.99
Ronin: CE is $16.99
Earthquake is $11.19
Towering Inferno: SE is $13.78 ($12.99 online)
Poseidon Adventure: SE is $13.78 ($12.99 online)