Well, we all have to return to work tomorrow. In the meantime, check out what you can pick up afterwards.

Like A Good Neighbor

7 SAMURAIMuch is made of Akira Kurosawa’s towering masterpiece Shichinin no samurai, aka Seven Samurai. It’s been said that a DVD collection isn’t fully complete without it (check), it’s been called one of the greatest films ever conceived (double true), and hell, it’s even been referenced in Second Sight (lamentably). The Criterion Collection, making up for the film’s past transgression (if one can ever call it that), have seen to it that an atomic scrub-up and a warrior-load of extras are introduced. For this, the tale of the seven mighty warriors who take it upon themselves to protect a downtrodden village from sadistic bandits, instantly makes it a top contender for DVD of the year. It’s going to be tough to beat. The new anamorphic transfer makes supremely good use of Criterion’s commitment to the duplicate negative they produced, obliterating the older transfer’s previous imperfections. The images simply pop. Backed with a new (and optional) 4.0 Dolby Digital sound mix, this reissue of Seven Samurai is a no-brainer, a necessity that any collection, or film fan for that matter, would be lacking without.

DVDbeaver.com has a look at the insides:

Kill two – with:
- Special Edition Three-Disc Set
- An all-new, restored high-definition digital transfer
- A new and improved English subtitle translation
- Japanese Dolby 1.0 Mono and 4.0 Dolby Digital Stereo
- Two audio commentaries: one by film scholars David Desser, Joan Mellen, Stephen Prince, Tony Rayns, and Donald Richie; the other by Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck
- A 50-minute documentary on the making of Seven Samurai, part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
- My Life in Cinema, a two-hour video conversation between Akira Kurosawa and Nagisa Oshima produced by the Directors Guild of Japan
- Seven Samurai: Origins and Influences, a new documentary looking at the samurai traditions and films that impacted Kurosawa’s masterpiece
- Gallery of rare posters and behind-the scenes and production stills
- Theatrical trailers and teaser
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Peter Cowie, Philip Kemp, Peggy Chiao, Alain Silver, Kenneth Turan, Stuart Galbraith, Arthur Penn, and Sidney Lumet and an interview with Toshiro Mifune

United 93No matter if you felt that Devin discussed United 93 ad-nauseam (first off, read his exclusive interview with Paul Greengrass here), the stripped-down truth of it remains that Greengrass’ film is one of weighty power, of what Devin refers to as being neo-factualist, and its portrayal of the details and their emotions projected onto an audience ready, willing, and able to sustain themselves. It’s a film that doesn’t sensationalize the actions of the passengers and the terrorists more than is required, bringing a realistic credence to the doomed narrative developments. It is harrowing stuff, and Greengrass holds sway over the feelings and its people with a ceaseless command that neither calls attention to itself nor remains mired in subtlety. Instead, United 93 (read Russ’ review) has been seen as a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives in the service of doing the unthinkable during an unimaginable circumstance, whether or not you believe it is too soon. You’ll undoubtedly have to wrestle with your own biases even before watching it, but that choice is what will make it worthwhile.

Extras include:
- Feature Commentary with Director Paul Greengrass
- United 93: The Families and the Film, a 50-minute documentary
- Memorial Pages
- And, like Munich, Universal is putting out a 2-disc Limited Edition that is strictly going to be incredibly tough to find.

B13Running. Jumping. Bouncing off the walls. These are the things that Parkour creator David Belle does with a complete disregard to Newton’s gravity (read Dave’s Underground discussion here). In the futuristic sci-fi actioneer District B13 (or Banlieue 13 if your French-speaking asses want to get all technical), it’s 2010 and we’re in Paris (plus, read Devin’s review). The city’s most notorious arrondissements have become such a place for miscreants that they’ve been walled-off, shut down. Inside one area, it’s up to Belle’s crawling action to take down the local Crime Lord and his vicious band of buffoons and restore some semblance of order. As a piece of entertainment that cribs literally from the likes of John Carpenter and Luc Besson (who coincidentally co-wrote and produced), District B13 should keep your ADD eyes infused with just enough enjoyment. That is, if it’s not causing you to fall on your flabby cheeks imitating the sweet moves, dude.

Paris, se lève – with:
- The making-of District B13
- Extended Fight Sequence
- Outtakes
- Trailer

ACEThere are those who will be eager for the first title this week and then those who are flipping the fuck out that the Ace Ventura: Deluxe Double Feature is coming. In widescreen. I’ve been searching as best I could and cannot verify if Ace Ventura Uno will be the extended cut that pops on television now and again (when I stumbled upon it, I couldn’t help but elicit a “wtf” as new scenes were blitzing left and right like it was London). Tom Shadyac’s ode to the modern mysterious detective isn’t the greatest thing in the world (I’m tempted to shame his bluntly straightforward shooting style), but it does hit a few comedy beats with Saint Francis and Woodstock and those fishes, mandinga. On the whole, I prefer Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls a little more due to Steve Oedekerk. Or maybe it was the scene with the slinky. Either way, the point being is that I haven’t watched these films in almost 8 years but you probably have. Repeatedly.

Is that the red, or the white? – with:
- Selected cartoons from Ace Ventura: The Animated Series (featured on a bonus third disc)
- Audio commentary by Shadyac
- Making-of Featurette
- Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots (for both)

GOJIRAMen in Monster suits have a wholesome quality to them, as if the euphoric joy of devouring newborns were put into viewable form. Thankfully, if you were always one of those who sneered during the Raymond Burr edition of Godzilla, lamenting that they ruined it with their cutting and splicing and bastardizing, you can rest easy tonight, hombre. You’ve won. Yes, Gojira: Deluxe Collector’s Edition arrives in no time at all, and has all of the original rubbery goodness that you come to know and love and covet with the unnaturalness of all that is right in this world. Those who want their scaly cake and eat it too can cuddle up with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is also included as an afterthought, but nonetheless included. But back to the original, which is wonderful and dark and filled with fantastical scenes our puny little minds couldn’t comprehend. That’s why we left it to the Japanese.

As a Scientist and a Human Being, we can’t allow that to happen – with:
- Godzilla (1954 Japanese Edition – English subtitles)
- King of the Monsters (1956 U.S. Release Edition – English v/o dub)
- Audio commentaries
- Featurettes (like Making of the Suite and Godzilla: Story Development)
- The original theatrical trailers

Lost Season 2I hope the creators of Lost don’t keep stringing us along for a few more seasons. I’m already starting to lose interest. Most of the episodes of Season Two worked, when not flashing back and telling extraneous chunks about the characters (I’m thinking about a large chunk of the season’s middle episodes). While I feel that, yes, we need to know who these people are and what about their past is just so goddamn special, they also need to advance the plot along faster than the current snail’s pace. There needs to be development in the grand scheme of things. Season Two teased me just enough, but was on the razor’s edge. With the skewed choices like Michelle Rodriquez (whose character my friends detested) I can only hope that Season 3 is a return to form. As the pop culture extravaganza it’s quickly become, Lost needs us as much as we need it, I just hope that after telling us so little in such an extended period of time that the mysterious developments on the island get a little more freak-nasty in the coming months.

Look inside the burning death hole – with:
Lost Flashbacks – secrets revealed in all-new, never-before-seen flashbacks
- The Official
Lost Connections – shocking character connections are uncovered in this exclusive immersive experience
- Secrets From the Hatch – go inside to discover "The Swan"
- Mysteries, Theories and Conspiracies – the Virgin Mary statues, Alvar Hanso and snow globes – the truth revealed
- Lost On Location – an all-access pass to the set
- Fire + Water – an episode from concept to completion
- Deleted scenes, bloopers and more

DEAD MANS SHOESBritish Hooligans come out in full force in Shane Meadow’s Dead Man’s Shoes (read Devin’s review), which is in itself a kindred spirit of Peckinpah’s expertly crafted Straw Dogs. Paddy Considine, whom Devin and I both agree could be the next big thing to splash across our screens, is an ex-Army guy who serves up a nice cold plate of Klingon REVENGE, his throbbing trigger fingers thrusting at a group of nasties who terrorized his mentally-challenged brother months prior. What starts out seemingly innocuous turns into a weird, wonderful mixture. Nick called the film “wicked and odd and funny” in his vanished ten grabs column, which sums most of it up. The rest has Meadows flexing his people skills, as he both humanizes and humiliates the human body with portrayals of realism unsurpassed by most recent films. Dead Man’s Shoes, as a pretty engrossing film, certainly has some stones to throw. Unfortunately, it happens to be straight through your fleshy member.

Dance at my party – with:
- Audio commentary by director Shane Meadows, co-writer/star Paddy Considine, and producer Mark Herbert
- In Shane’s Shoes
- Deleted scene
- Alternate ending
- Trailer

BROKEN TRAILZWhen I think of Westerns on TNT, they usually are written by Larry McMurtry, or are part of the 13,000 episode continuing saga of Lonesome Dove (it’s also quite possible I keep seeing a different one every three months and think that it’s a new one). Naturally that pegged me like those horrific days playing t-ball in the backyard, especially when I saw Broken Trail with Robert Duvall of said 13,000 episode fame. What really excited me was the name Walter Hill, as most times he saddles up to the monitor and barks orders is a good day to ride. What I’ve been assured is that both Hill, Duvall, and Thomas Haden Church have had a hand in their own manifest destiny, giving Broken Trail a lived-in relationship that makes it easy to be entertained by. It also happens that they’re saving Chinese girls from brothels along the way. You have to pick and choose what excites you, is all I’m trying to say.

Stretch a fella – with:
- Making of Broken Trail
- Bonus previews

UNKNOWN WHITEYI can’t imagine losing my marbles and wandering around disorientated screaming Jackie Chan’s Who Am I?. That’s what Tuesdays are for. Rupert Murray’s Unknown White Male (read Devin’s interview with him), focuses on the man whose story this allegedly happened to. Doug Bruce is that man, waking up on NYC’s D train without a smidgen of intel from his life. He can’t remember who he is and more importantly, what the hell he’s doing. It’s at Coney Island Hospital Psychiatric Ward where he’s given the elusive moniker of Unknown White Male. From there, things get a little odd, as Burns starts to piece back the life he seemingly had vanish from his recesses. He has to learn everything over again as Doctors and friends (like Director Murray) are puzzled about his new-fangled amnesia. This, of course, brings up larger questions, endlessly fascinating ones about the truthfulness of such a story foisted upon us. Is it true? Is it tickling our balls for the big gullable?

What in the hell? – with:
- 2 featurettes (Visualizing Memory: Making of… and Where He Is Now)
- Interviews with friends
- Extended interviews with experts
- Q&A with the director and producer
- Original Sand Dune sequence

Criterion, not content with opening their September floodgates, allows Tati’s Playtime, Fellini’s Armacord, and Terry Gilliam’s sublime Brazil to come bursting out. As it stands, Brazil is a new anamorphic reissue and is basically being released in a single disc form. Those with the spectacular 3-disc might wish to upgrade. Fellini, on the other hand, gets a plethora of extras in his biographical Amacord (which I find wholly hilarious and spot-on) and a new transfer. See that one ASAP. Finally, Tati’s certifiable masterpiece Playtime (one of my favorite comedies), OOP since before I wrestled with puberty, returns triumphantly with a spankin’ new transfer (that isn’t 17% cropped like the previous one), even more pulsating extras, and an additional 4-5 minutes spliced back into the picture. I’m 100% upgrading that one. In all of this, I hope these three spectacular curiosities of world cinema don’t go unnoticed by the big gun, I mean, huge sword. Seek these out and as Jehovah said, thou shall be rewarded, fool.


Playtime has:
- An all-new, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Video introduction by Terry Jones
- Selected scene audio commentary by film historian Philip Kemp
- Alternate international soundtrack
- Au-delà de Playtime, a short documentary featuring archival behind-the-scenes footage from the set
- Tati Story, a short biographical film about Tati
- Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot’s Work, a 1976 BBC Omnibus program
- Rare audio interview with Tati from the U.S. debut of Playtime
- Video interview with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot
- Cours du soir, a 1967 short film written by and starring Tati
- Booklet with a new essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Amacord has:
- An all-new, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Commentary by scholars Peter Brunette and Frank Burke
- Fellini’s Homecoming, a new 45-minute documentary on the complicated relationship between Fellini, his hometown, and his past
- Felliniana, a presentation of Amarcord ephemera
- Video interview with star Magali Noël
- A deleted scene
- Fellini’s drawings
- Audio interviews with Fellini, his friends, and family by Gideon Bachmann
- A booklet featuring a new essay by Sam Rohdie and Fellini’s 1968 memoir, “La mia Rimini
- Trailers

Brazil has:
- All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Terry Gilliam, with a remastered Dolby stereo surround soundtrack—NOW IN ANAMORPHIC!!
- All other extras stay the same.

This week you might be wondering why I ain’t givin’ no love to Blade Runner’s newly re-re-re-released remastered Director’s Cut. The answer is simple. You should continue to hold out until Ridley Scott’s film gets the Ultimate treatment it so rightfully deserves in 2007. You can read more by clicking here and then scrolling downward half way. That’s why, Templeton.


It’s Good To Be The King

Ron Howard was on a bit of a winning streak. While I might be the only one on the planet that enjoyed The Missing, his Cinderella Man was a good story told in the vein of classical Hollywood with its heart and soul in the right place. Then he had to go and rip all of that out to make the soulless enterprise The Da Vinci Code (arriving on DVD 11.14.06), which by all accounts is a bad film. While I feel that Devin said a lot more than anyone in print ever wanted to say (read his negative review here), I found Dan Brown’s book to be more enjoyable than the film. Even though the book took me all of a long day to finish with its simplistically benign plodding. Howard’s cinematic adaptation is nothing short of a shrug and a punch to the testicles of more intelligent moviegoers out there. The puzzle pieces fit together like my writing and Albert Camus. Coincidentally, so does the plot development, including the like of Akiva Goldsmith designed bon mots like “I have to get to a library – FAST” or even “the more penises you have, the higher you rank.” Although the latter is delivered with gusto by Ian McKellan, clearly hamming it up. At least he had fun.

JESUS! – with:
- More than 90 minutes of extras shot in High-definition “exclusively for this release.”
- An additional Giftset will arrive, packaged in a cryptex, and available for a staggering $80 some-odd dineros.

CITY OF COMPTMEN It completely slipped my mind, but reader Chris Anthony slapped the news upside my head about the upcoming DVD release of City of Men, the wonderful television adaptation of Fernando Meirelles’ City of God. The original film is a masterpiece. There’s no excuse for not having seen it, since it’s part Scorsese, part sprawling epic, and part emotional rollercoaster. These parts add up and will blow you over. I’ve heard that the television show is the same, but whereas the film only had a few moments to expound on character development, the show now has episodes. And I hear they’re good, real good. Focusing primarily on the two friends who live, breath, and deal with the daily happenings of the slum outside of Rio De Janerio, the series attempts to paint that larger picture. Many people have told me through conjecture that it’s got to be grand. I think I might believe them. This whole set arrives at the end of this month – on the 26th to be precise – so place it atop your deviant radars.

Extras include:
- All 570 minutes of the series

FORBIDDEN WOODEver since the US Supreme Court ruled that motion pictures were not covered by the First Amendment (1915), people have had it out for the vivacious ways Hollywood presented itself. And it was not without merit, as some of the more subtle ways people like Alfred Hitchcock had to dance around were fully frontal in the late 20’s and early 30’s, right up before the infamous Hayes Code. The code was then scrapped for the system we have in place today. Subsequently, this is where Warner comes in again with their Forbidden Hollywood Collection, a series of three “classic” films that laid waste pre-Code and rubbed its hairy stank into the faces of those willing. In Baby Face, Barbara Stanwyck uses all Gawd gave her to get to the top. In Red-Headed Woman, Jean Harlow is the homewrecker to end all homewreckers while in Waterloo Bridge, Mae Clarke walks into a bar and straight into prostitution with James Whale at the helm. Make sure you see what all the fuss is about, so put this onto your own miscreant radar come 12.5.06.

Extras include:
- Disc One includes the New to DVD features Waterloo Bridge and Red-Headed Woman with an Introduction by Robert Osborne.
- Disc Two includes the New to DVD feature Baby Face in both its standard theatrical release and original, uncensored pre-release version. The theatrical trailer is also included.

For those who care (and there shouldn’t be many), Jonathan Hensleigh’s The Punisher gets an Extended Cut on 11.21.06, although I have this strange feeling that not even the 17 extra minutes of footage can add illumination. Call it a hunch. Speaking of those, you’ll most likely be doubled-over in laughter during Gymkata, which is arguably one of the greatest movies ever made. Shit, I meant inarguably. There’s no discussion on that one, since it arrives on 1.30.07. Finally, here’s your artwork for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which arrives on 12.5.06, although I think I just spared you a “sets sail” line that would cause spontaneous massive abortions from throngs of pregnant women.


Freak Out

HAUNT THISEven though it was recently announced here in the states (for 10.24.06) you can get a jump on An American Haunting – like now – by going the route of the Region Free. Out in the UK, Courtney Solomon’s supernatural thriller has many things going for it. First, there’s the fact that the UK cut is drastically different from the US one. Then, there was the effectively spooky trailer that held, to me anyway, the right amount of suspicious malice towards the main characters. Terrorized by the mystical spectre known only as The Bell Witch, Donald Sutherland’s family had to content with the things that go bump in the night, and I don’t mean his puritan sex drive. Then there was the semi-positive word of mouth (and even a friend who saw it early told me it was good). But there was Solomon’s last film, that of Dungeons & Dragons, which as you know, sucked the air right out of the room (read Devin’s soothsaying interview with him here).

This is the Ridleyest thing I’ve ever heard – with:
- Anamorphic (16:9) Widescreen Version
- Extended/deleted scenes
- Alternative endings
- Interview with director Courtney Solomon and Sissey Spacek
- Gag reel
- Trailer

This is a Region 2 PAL DVD.

GUITAR RAYNicholas Ray snuck by some fairly subversive films from the studios to you. In the process he helped shoehorn a legacy that stills calls out – especially when pictures like Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger than Life, and Johnny Guitar are kickin’ around. The Germans, always one to be culturally progressive when ignoring their past, have sought to it to release Guitar in their own special way. Meaning if you haven’t had the chance to procure yourself a copy, you probably should (although I hear, through some reputable sources, that France slathers their gallic love onto its Guitar disc). Ray’s film is a feverish dream of biases that breaks freely from the norm. The men don’t really fight and the women duke it out on a regular basis. How many movies can lay claim to Joan Crawford dispatching cowboys with the grace of ballet dancers? (full disclosure, Truffaut said the last part). Johnny Guitar is one of those movies that has to seen to be believed, so in the spirit of an enriched cinematic experience, believe it soon.

Be nothing but a railroad tramp – with:
- English & German Audio Options
- Optional English Subtitles
- Introduction by Martin Scorsese

This is a Region 2 PAL DVD.

Say Hello To My Little Friend

8/29: LotR: Fellowship of the Ring LE (Nick’s DVD review), LotR: Two Towers LE, LotR: Return of the King LE, Arrested Development: Season 3, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, The Sentinel, The Tick Vs. Season One, Friends with Money, Nip/Tuck: Season Three (Nick’s DVD review), Akeelah and the Bee, Trilogy of Terror, Lonesome Jim, Seduced & Abandoned: Criterion, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, Take the Lead, Water, White Nights: SE, Pretty in Pink: SE, Some Kind of Wonderful: SE, Jewel of the Nile: SE, Romancing the Stone: SE, Desperate Housewives: Season 2, Brother Bear 2, South Park: Season 8, After the Crash, and Chuck Norris: American Hero Collection. Whether you know it or not, last weeks’ Special Edition was the reason your parents divorced.

8/22: Poseidon, Silent Hill (Ian’s DVD review), The Wizard, Film Geek, Sketches of Frank Gehry, House: Season 2, Kicking and Screaming: Criterion, Wicker Man single disc edition, Just My Luck, Phat Girlz, Vernoica Mars: Season Two (David’s DVD review), State of the Union, Radioland Murders, Elizabeth I, Threshold: Complete Series (Devin’s DVD review), The Bill Cosby Show: Season One, This Island Earth, and Double Indemnity: Legacy Collection. Re-read the tiny bloop of the Special Edition returning to your lives right here.

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Bargain Bin

No frills edition.

Check out some of the SE’s approved multi-region DVD retailers:
xploitedcinema.com, HkFlix.com, diabolikdvd.com, Uk’s Play.com, DDDHouse, and YesAsia.com

Read THIS MESSAGE BOARD THREAD if you crave other Region Free DVD options.

Seven Samurai: Criterion is $39.86
Playtime: Criterion is $31.88
Amarcord: Criterion is $31.88
Brazil: Criterion is $23.89
United 93 is $21.77 (LE is $24.79)
Lost: Season 2 EE is $45.74
Dead Man’s Shoes is $20.42
District B13 is $20.42
Ace Ventura Double Feature is $13.37
Gojira is $13.15
Broken Trail is $22.14
Kinky Boots is $21.77
Commander in Chief 2 is $21.77
Jackass: Unrated is $13.67
Pretty Poison is $10.33
Unknown White Male is $19.94
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE on Anchor Bay Boxed Sets (click here)
Gigantic $5.98 sale (click here)
Black Hawk Down: Extended Cut, Brown Bunny, Dr. Strangelove: SE, From Here to Eternity: SE, Gilda, Funny Girl, Les Miserables, Monty Python and the Holy Grail: SE, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mysterious Island, Oliver!: SE, See No Evil Hear No Evil, Taming of the Shrew, Valachi Papers, Sleepless in Seattle: SE, and Merchant of Venice are all $11.91/each

Ghost in the Shell: Season 2 Limited Edition is $24.97 (click here)
Star Trek: Next Generation Boxed Sets 1, 2, 3, and 4 are all $44.97/each (click here)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4 are all $44.97/each (click here)
Wizard of Oz: SE is $13.99

Outpost.com (aka Fry’s):
X-Files: Seasons 1 through 9 are all $19.99/each

Seven Samurai: Criterion is $34.99 (most likely not available in store)
Playtime: Criterion is $27.99 (most likely not available in store)
Amarcord: Criterion is $27.99 (most likely not available in store)
Brazil: Criterion is $20.99 (most likely not available in store)
United 93 is $16.99 (LE is $20.87)
Lost: Season 2 EE is $37.99 + get a FREE $5 Giftcard
Dead Man’s Shoes is $20.19
District B13 is $16.99
Ace Ventura Double Feature is $12.87
Gojira is $16.49
Broken Trail is $22.99 + get a FREE $5 Giftcard
Kinky Boots is $19.99
Commander in Chief 2 is $19.87
Jackass: Unrated is $11.87
Pretty Poison is $11.19 (most likely not available in store)
Unknown White Male is $16.99

Circuit City.com:
Seven Samurai: Criterion is $39.99
Playtime: Criterion is $34.99
Amarcord: Criterion is $34.99
Brazil: Criterion is $49.99 (3-disc anamorphic set only)
Blade Runner: DC is $12.99 (hold out for the UE in 2007!)
United 93 is $14.99 (LE is $19.99)
Lost: Season 2 EE is $37.99 + get a FREE $10 iTunes giftcard
Dead Man’s Shoes is $19.99
District B13 is $19.99
Ace Ventura Double Feature is $15.99
Gojira is $17.99
Broken Trail is $28.97
Kinky Boots is $19.99
Commander in Chief 2 is $24.99
Jackass: Unrated is $14.99 + get