PAIN HURT Many agree Road House is special. Who wouldn’t want to see a Mercedes driving, NYU philosophy major with Zen-like instincts connect four on ignoramuses? The virtues of David Lee Henry & Hilary Henkin’s script lie somewhere between the paper-thin level of both good and bad; the pros outshines the cons, to which there are many: Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara) and his goons. The town of Joplin, Missouri is the prescient benefactor of his ills but also is a place where the likes of Dalton mentor Sam Elliot can roam free and spout bon mots like “I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.” Until that time, however, Swayze’s beefy bouncer has to content with ripping out a few throats, ‘cause let’s face it – we know what pain don’t do. Rowdy Herrington directs the chaos with a “my way or the highway” sheen, glossing over everything until it looks purdy enough to date, with reservations. I don’t think you’ll need any of those, though, as Road House still continues to pull mighty punches as it traverses the road less traveled, ending up back where it started: calling your mama a whore.

I thought you’d be bigger – with:
– Audio commentary with Rowdy Herrington
– Audio commentary with
Road House fans Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier
– 2 featurettes (What Would Dalton Do? and On the Road House)
– Trivia track
– Theatrical trailer

HOUSE 2 The straight-to-DVD Road House 2: Last Call looks like a cheap ploy to cash in on the original’s successful formulas. Jonathan Schaech, who did That Thing You Do along with writing Last Call, is an undercover DEA Agent who is put into the same situation as the first. His Uncle Nate’s bar is the catalyst for the whole entire plot, and just typing this out made me question my own immortality. If you’ve ever wanted to see Schaech mix it up with Will Patton (playing Nate) or even Jake Busey (playing ‘Paycheck Cashing Man’) then good on ya. Absolutely no one involved with the first movie shows up here, so let that both be a warning and a message that you’re really gullible for watching all 86 minutes of this.

Don’t eat the big white mint – with:
– Previews

There’s truth, there’s justice, and there’s the Chin’s unique trial by fire. In The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Jack of all Trades, he did both well and with a chutzpah that remains unparalleled in all of your homoerotic desires. Brisco County coupled a cast the reads like a nightly wet dream – John Astin, Billy Drago, R. Lee Ermey, and Kelly Rutherford – at least it was a hell of a time, quite possibly pure and enjoyable – I say this because right now I’m hazy at conjuring up the various episodes I watched over a decade ago. The DVD (and Dave’s review) will rectify what drugs and stupidity have taken from me. And although you might be scoffing at the alleged retail price (for some it might be like highway robbery), it’s well worth it and breezily nostalgia shattering. As for Jack of all Trades: The Complete Series, Bruce’s blending skills rendered both swashbuckling heroes and Chuck Jonesian antics as his post-Revolutionary War tales brought him to the South Pacific island of Polau Polau by way of Thomas Jefferson’s edict and Napoleon’s advances. The latter of which ended quite like my own – with waterworks. Still, Campbell’s badboy glee is distinctly pleasurable in just about everything he finds himself in, whether it be your fan trailers or even your wall collages of love.


Is that where you’re from? – with:
– 27 episodes on eight discs
– Audio commentary by Bruce Campbell and Carlton Cuse on the pilot
Brisco’s Book of Coming Things: video catalog of the show’s signature references to future items and ideas
– "The History of Brisco County" – retrospective documentary
Tools of the Trade: interactive Brisco lore featurette gallery
A Reading from the Book of Bruce
A Brisco County Writer’s Room: round table with key series creative personnel
– Booklet liner notes by Bruce Campbell

Sadly, Jack of all Trades includes all 22 episodes on 3 discs and no special features.

AMAZING DVDSNBC greenlit an entire two season commitment without seeing almost anything for Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories (consequently, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything in the column as hyperbolic as that title). I call that power. He’d more than earned it, and his wild eighties oeuvre shows a director in search of elusive stories, of slippery slopes to better himself as a filmmaker. In Amazing Stories: The Complete First Season, Spielberg garnered (without James, mind you) a crew list that speaks volumes – Brad Bird, Matthew Robbins, Menno Meyjes, Peter Hyams, Mick Garris, Bob Balaban, Phil Joanou, Clint Eastwood, Joan Darling, Joe Dante, Thomas Carter, Richard Matheson, Irvin Kershner, Martin Scorsese, and Burt Reynolds. We’re not even on the talent yet and already my eyebrows have shot off my head. As a young pup I’d regularly sit down and immerse myself in these stories (Dante’s Boo! and Spielberg’s Ghost Train stand out) without thinking too much into them. As the grey set in, I caught some of them in rerun mode and discovered they’re actually fairly proficient as stand alone works of entertainment, each one that I caught standing up and jabbing time right in ye olden eye. Revisiting them won’t be a chore.

Best. Showzen. Ever. – with:
– 24 episodes on 4 discs
– 20 minutes of deleted scenes

TSOTSISkipping out on Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi is like missing out on a profoundly cinematic experience; a wholly original one at that, like Oldboy, Birth, or even Highlander 2. Presley Chweneyagae, earning his chops in his first major outing, is the uncompromising titular bastard whose hard edges have defined the years of major abuse on his and others fractured psyches. Firing the trigger into a woman, the revelations come into play where a baby is left abandoned. Tsotsi must then live with its quandary – care for it or leave it be. Miraculously taking the first part as the only equation, the insight from knowledge gained isn’t all that far behind. Hood, stylistically non-intrusive in most regard, presents a film of powerful intentions that fully backs them up. Environments and emotional developments feel fresh, lived-in, real. That’s some of its inherent power, although the rest will have to come from your reactions.

Extras include:
– Audio commentary from Hood
– Original language track: Tsotsi-Taal
– Alternate endings with optional commentary with Hood
– Deleted scenes with optional commentary with Hood
The Making-of Tsotsi
– Director’s short film: The Storekeeper
Zola music video
– Theatrical trailer

EDISON, THOMASMy red flag goes up when you have accomplished thespians like Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Piper Perabo, and LL Cool J working together in a straight-to-DVD release alongside Justified Timberlake. Originally called Edison, it has now been rescrubbed with the added addition of Force. Just how much that has been optioned is up for debate. Timberlake’s central performance as a journalist infiltrating the F.R.A.T. division of Edison’s ridiculously corrupt P.D. takes some getting used to, since when I originally saw selected scenes of this (as Edison) he was using his serious face to convey emotion to Freeman’s seasoned print veteran. Heavily soaked in professional atmospherics, Edison Force attempts to make a worthy comment on the nature of integrity and its cost, but ends up feeling like a diminished expose during a Super Bowl half-time show.

Cry me a River – with:
Absolute Power: Behind the Scenes of Edison Force (unfortunately, Gene Hackman does not grace the featurette with his presence)
– Previews

SHES A MANPrepubescent sexuality is odd (has Dave Davis seen this film yet?) – evident in the sultry poses both male and female strike to propose She’s the Man. Cut from the same cloth as Shakespeare (Twelfth Night) and Dennis Feldman & Jeff Franklin (Just one of the Guys), it certainly doesn’t inspire much from the masculine agenda we push through here like poker chips in Senator Ted Steven’s internets tube. Peppy Amanda Bynes dons the signature shorn wig and octave reduction, looking like a cross between Bynes and Bynes in a wig. The plot twists, as it were in Willy’s time, have people liking people and dressing up and getting down to confuse everything into a torturous mixture. Unlike anything you’ve ever experienced (unless you’re Ted Levine), I wonder what the Bard would think about his creation mixed with mini-skirts and a topical pop-soundtrack. Like my Wednesday nights, there’d probably be screaming.

– Audio commentary with Director Andy Fickman and cast, including Bynes
– Some deleted scenes
Making the Man featurette
– A gag reel
– Dave Lichens music video: Let Go
– Cast photo album
– Pop-up trivia
– Theatrical trailer

REN AND STIMPY LOSTSlurping up Ren & Stimpy when I was younger, I had nary a clue that John Kricfalusi (read Devin’s interview with him) was actually a boundary-pushing cartoonist whose ideas would have scarred my fragile mind a little earlier (although he didn’t. Praise be to Predator and Commando). Now that Ren & Stimpy: The Lost Episodes have arrived, we can look into the crystal ball of the future to see a different side of the beloved show – one of nudity, of Adult Party Cartoons, and of salacious situations that will have you eyes wide and open like your first bris. The box reads “no kiddies!” and I suppose that’s apt (although I would love to be in the houses across America that buy this and plunk a plethora of sleep-over kids in front of it. I wish I could revel in that destruction). Ren & Stimpy’s selected travails entitle them to cough up more hairballs, deal with breasts and other assorted bodily functions, and even return to those comforting magic nose goblins. Your memories are at peril, so venture cautiously.

What the hell are you doing? – with:
– Interviews with the artists… and more goodies
– Meet Dave Feiss, creator of Cow and Chicken

CLEANWhen looking at Oliver Assayas’ new-old film Clean (it premiered in 2004), I thought that the id of Nolte’s Hulk had escaped, tormenting Maggie Cheung and her wee little one. Cheung’s contentious relationship with former husband Assayas produced Irma Vep, so naturally one thinks that Clean must be up to the same standards. Tentative word is that it has (and see 2046 for her stunning performance and Wong Kar-Wai’s deft handling of cinematic possibilities), although rounding up someone to watch a heroin junkie and her life unravel might be a fun time. Her husband succumbs to the H, and her child is taken away from her at a moment’s notice, so Cheung freshens up and attempts to get the life she once had back on track, much to Nolte’s dismay (and constantly hovering). Assayas’ style has bounced around a bit in the past (his last film demonlover, exposed the seedy side of internet pornography), so Clean marks a kind of grounded reality for his abilities. Plus, you’ll probably ignore it, so your loss!

Throw away your booty – with:
– Original soundtrack in English, French, and Cantonese
– Interviews with director Olivier Assayas, actors Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte, and musicians Tricky and Metric
– Previews and weblinks
– US Theatrical Trailer

NOIR 3There’s a need-to-see disc called Film Noir: Bringing Darkness Into Light in Film Noir Classics Collection Volume 3. Interviewing such luminaries as ruffian James Ellroy, Drew Casper (he has huge biceps, a USC friend tells me), and Sydney Pollack, it’s most notable for a series of vintage Noir shorts – under the heading Crime Does Not Pay. They’re wholesomely kitschy, but also riveting as a continuation of the genre’s thematic elements. The rest of the box is stuffed with great films like On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray’s exemplary detective noir with Robert Ryan), Border Incident (Anthony Mann’s detached melodrama with Ricardo Montalban), The Racket (with Mitchum, Ryan, and a sultry Lizabeth Scott), Raymond Chandler’s adaptation of his own Lady in the Lake, and the unfulfilling slapsticky His Kind of Woman, each one expounding on the interplay between darkness, light, and the shady characters that inhabit each world view. For fans of the genre or even causal movie lovers, Warner’s pitch-perfect record with sets like these (Volumes 1 and 2 contain the noir throughline that gives even the uninitiated a base to fall on) is to be commended and relished with thematic lust.

I borrowed this image from DVDbeaver.com to illustrate what you can expect inside:

People who write usually don’t know the facts – with:
Border Incident:
– Audio commentary with Film Historian Dana Polan
– Theatrical trailer
His Kind of Woman
– Audio commentary with Film Historian Vivian Sobchack
Lady in the Lake:
– Audio commentary with Film Historians Alain Silver and James Ursini
– Theatrical trailer
On Dangerous Ground
– Audio commentary with Film Historian Glenn Erickson
– Theatrical trailer
The Racket
– Audio commentary with Film Historian Eddie Mueller
– Theatrical trailer
Bonus Disc (exclusive to set)
– Documentary: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light
– Vintage shorts (Woman in Hiding
, You, the People, Forbidden Passage, The Luckiest Guy in the World, and A Gun in his Hand)

TOUGH GUYZIn the thirties Warner Brothers made their niche for the working-class, of men who made their beds in socially realistic films, of films with fast-paced economy (it has been said that Warner, under Hal Wallis, led an executive order to splice one frame from every shot to reign-in each film). Warner was also the studio of the Gangster and of conflicted tough as nails slap-happy Men. Naturally, I’m ecstatic that they’re releasing The Tough Guys Collection with City for Conquest, Bullets or Ballots, G Men, Each Dawn I Die, San Quentin, and A Slight Case of Murder. The masculinity on display could power an Orphan bank for decades, as Edward G. Robinson, Bogie, Raft, and Cagney display their testosterone fueled punches and hair-brained schemes that made them the true icons of cinema. Largely regulated to the ‘classics’ section, they inform performances today (and tomorrow). Today’s more diverse pictures all have their roots within the personas laid out in these films. This set represents a bold feat for Warners and countless hours of pure machismo for those willing to submit prison-style.

Get them cornered – with:
Bullets or Ballots:
Warner Night at the Movies 1936 short subjects gallery: vintage newsreel, musical short George Hall and His Orchestra, classic cartoon I’m a Big Shot Now
– New featurette Gangsters: The Immigrant’s Hero
– Audio commentary with film historian Dana Polan
How I Play Golf by Bobby Jones No. 10: Trouble Shots
– Breakdowns of 1936 studio blooper reel
– Audio only bonus: 4/16/1939 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast with Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart
– Theatrical Trailer
Each Dawn I Die:
Warner Night at the Movies 1939 short subjects gallery: vintage newsreel, documentary short A Day at Santa Anita, Oscar-nominated classic cartoon Detouring America
– New featurette Stool Pigeons and Pine Overcoats: The Language of Gangster Films
– Audio commentary with film historian Haden Guest
– Breakdowns of 1939: studio blooper reel
– Bonus cartoon Each Dawn I Crow
– 3/22/43 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast with George Raft and Franchot Tone
– Theatrical Trailer
G Men:
Warner Night at the Movies 1935: vintage newsreel, comedy short The Old Grey Mayor starring Bob Hope, classic cartoon Buddy the Gee Man
– New featurette Morality and the Code: A How-to Manual for Hollywood
– Audio commentary with film historian Richard Jewell
How I Play Golf by Bobby Jones No 11: Practice Shots
Things You Never See on the Screen: Breakdowns of 1935 studio blooper reel
– Theatrical Trailer
San Quentin:
Warner Night at the Movies 1937 short subjects gallery: vintage newsreel, Oscar-nominated Broadway Brevity short The Man Without a Country, classic cartoon Porky’s Double Trouble
– New featurette Welcome to the Big House
– Audio commentary with film historian Patricia King Hanson
– Breakdowns of 1937 studio blooper reel
– Theatrical Trailer
A Slight Case of Murder:
Warner Night at the Movies 1938: vintage newsreel, Oscar-nominated drama short Declaration of Independence, classic cartoon The Night Watchman
– Audio commentary with film historian Robert Sklar
– New featurette Prohibition Opens the Floodgates
– Theatrical Trailer
City for Conquest:
Warner Night at the Movies 1940: Vintage newsreel, Oscar-nominated short Service with the Colors, classic cartoon Stage Fright
– New featurette Molls and Dolls: The Women of Gangster Films
– Breakdowns of 1940: studio blooper reel
– Audio-only Bonus: 2/9/1942 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast
– Commentary by Richard Schickel
– Theatrical Trailer

For the rest of the week, these titles will grace already bulging shelves. One of the things I can’t understand is why MGM would release a Some Like it Hot: Collector’s Edition and seemingly ignore all of their other Billy Wilder films, each one begging for a little CE love as well (like Witness for the Prosecution or The Apartment). Maybe we should be expecting double dips in the future? Anyone else know?


Augustus Criterion

Unless you’re remotely interested in Eric Rohmer, then August is mostly a crapshoot. Rohmer, who was one of the driving forces behind the Nouvelle Vague, collaborated with the hellions at Cahiers du Cinema to change the way most think about films, crafting deeply personal responses to the movies that provoked him (Hitchcock’s being one of the many). What Rohmer did, years later, was to create a series of film based around temptation during his modern society, which now appears a little more dated. That still has yet to diminish his Six Moral Films emotional impact, and Criterion is using the entire month to bring us the tales (which are The Bakery Girl of Monceau, Suzanne’s Career, La Collectionneuse, My Night at Maud’s, Claire’s Knees, and Love in the Afternoon). However, those wishing to see Noah Baumbach’s sublimely entertaining Kicking & Screaming will be enthralled come 8.22 while the lone Pietro Germi fan (who reads the site) probably already knows his Seduced & Abandoned sweats it all out the same day as well.


September is easily a month in which many will fork over their salaries to the Collection. Expect The Seven Samurai: 3-Disc Special Edition (buy it from us here), updates of Tati’s masterpiece Playtime (buy it now!) and Fellini’s masterful Armacord in 2-disc form, as well as a rehash of Brazil in a single disc edition and The Spirit of the Beehive and Jigoku. Thanks to Jesus.

Lammas List

Riding around dating Playboy playmates on its Harley, August has been known to sport a pony-tail or two. As is your want every third week here at the Special Edition, plan your upcoming spending habits with the following.


CURB 510.5: Apocalypse
Alice in Wonderland (1985)
America’s Funniest Home Videos: Athletic Supporter
Beavis and Butt-Head, Vol. 3: The Mike Judge Collection
Best of Elmo’s World
Black Hole
Blue Collar TV: The Complete Second Season
Broken Saints: The Complete Series
The Comeback: The Complete Only Season
Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Fifth Season
Dallas: The Complete Fifth Season
Girls Next Door: Season One
Good Times – The Complete Sixth Season
Hazel – The Complete First Season
VENDETTA SEHow Art Made the World
Mr. Moto Collection: Volume 1
Mrs. Harris
My Summer Story
Richard Pryor: Live in Concert
Roving Mars
Severed: Forest of the Dead
The Shaggy Dog
Star Trek Fan Collective – Klingon
Veggie Tales: Larry-Boy & The Bad Apple
V For Vendetta (also comes in a 2-Disc Special Edition)
Wasabi Tuna
What the Bleep Do We Know?: Rabbit Hole Edition

BRICKAdam & Steve
Beautiful People – The Complete Series
Boohbah: Umbrella
Brak Show: Volume Two
Bring It On: All or Nothing
CSA: The Confederate States of America
Curse of King Tut’s Tomb: The Complete Miniseries
Don’t Come Knocking
The Frat Boy Collection
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Fourth Season
Grounded For Life: Season Three
INSIDE AWESOMENESSHellraiser III: Hell on Earth
Hidden Blade
Inside Man
The Jayne Mansfield Collection
Laguna Beach: Season Two
Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
Last Mogul
Lost City
Noah’s Arc: The Complete First Season
Prison Break: Season One
Sealab 2021: Season IIII
Sorry, Haters
Tromeo & Juliet: 10th Anniversary Edition
Ultimate Avengers 2
Xiaolin Showdown: The Complete First Season
The Wire: The Complete Third Season

NOW!3rd Rock From the Sun: Season Five
Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier
Clark Gable Collection: Volume 1
Don’t Tell
The FBI Story
Flying Nun: The Complete Second Season
Full House: The Complete Fourth Season
Hard Corps
Henry Fonda: The Cheyenne Social Club and Firecreek
Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Fourth Season
Hong Kong Phooey: The Complete Series
Hoot: Platinum Series
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

JIMMY STEWART - YESJames Stewart: The Signature Collection
Jeffersons: The Complete Fifth Season
Knute Rockne All-American
L.A. Riot Spectacular
L’Enfant (The Child)
Madness of Henry the VIII
Magilla Gorilla: The Complete Series
Masters of Horror: Argento / McNaughton
Masters of Horror: Haeckel’s Tale
Masters of Horror: Jennifer
The Naked Spur
Napoleon’s Final Battle
Rome: The Complete First Season

Ronald Reagan: The Signature Collection

Safe Men: Collector’s Edition
Scary Movie 4
Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season
The Spirit of St. Louis
The Stratton Story
Surface: The Complete Series
Survival Island
Survivor: Paulau – The Complete Season
Weird Al Yankovic Show: The Complete Series