As Amazon.com starts the future with their digital downloading service (and Apple too), I guess the future of movies continues in a question mark. I’m all for watching movies on your computer. I sat hunched over it through college before I purchased my television. Those were fun times, filled with discovery. Now, ipods I’m not quite for. The screen is too small and things like 2001 would be an unparalleled awful experience. Imagine seeing that on an ipod first. Then the big screen. It would be like getting a kick in the nuts and then magically sprouting bowling ball sized pleasure domes.
I Have You Now
Lucasfilm’s tight grasp of all things Jedi managed to slip a little, hence why the fan outcry can be seen as a direct correlation for the unaltered epic arriving onto DVD. That and the almighty dollar. Unfortunately, those same vocal people are still going to be pissed, once again proving you can’t please all of the illustrious manchildren all of the time. Each transfer is regulated to the most basic – non-anamorphic, about as identical to the 1993 LD – status. The audio department has Dolby 2.0. As ahead of the technological curve as Lucasfilm purports itself to be, we should have received better. One could look at this situation with the same gaze towards how unchanged Lucas’ eye has been towards the original versions – he felt as unfinished as they were, these versions aren’t as worthy as the SE’s. However, as an artist, he has every right to change his vision as he sees fit. Most likely that’ll cause some to shoot first, simply because this is a disappointment to those whose hearts muster the courage to beat for a franchise that arrives in muted celebration – on disc 2.
If you’re still jonesing for the “OT,” your best bet would be Best Buy’s Exclusive Tin (seen below), pissing off the other retailers out there. It’s a hefty $59.99. If money is of an object to you, Circuit City has each, minus that tin, for $14.99.
My way, or the intergalactic highway – with:
- Disc 1 on each film contains the SE of the film and unchanged commentary with its various participants (including Lucas). You’ll also have Dolby 5.1 EX surround sound. None of these special features have changed, if you bought the trilogy when it arrived many moons ago.
- Disc 2 contains the ORIGINAL version of the film in Dolby 2.0 surround
- XBox Playable Game Demo (for all 3 films)
- Lego Game Trailer (for all 3 films)
Much like the entire series, Masters of Horror’s Dance of the Dead is competently directed and not a smidgen scary. Atmospheric, yes, but it contains nothing so repulsive that you’ll be fist-pumping for awesome. Tobe Hooper directs the carnival of jiggling dearly departed souls, the likes of which are lorded over by one seriously deranged (and hamming it up) Robert Englund. His club, a place where the survivors of a post-apocalyptic world go to enjoy themselves, is a series of slammed images, where corpses get their shake on quicker than a teenage boy alone in the rectory. Hooper fleshes out the backstory and its effect on a stunning young lady. She ends up getting more than she bargained for going out for a night on the town. Sadly, the swaying corpses don’t frighten as much as they titillate, the carnivorous scenes don’t shock as much as they interest, and coupled together it’s downgraded by the dearth of a truly engaging experience.
Step right up – with:
- Audio commentary with Director Tobe Hooper
- Audio commentary with Writer Richard Christian Matheson
- Interviews (Primal Screams with Hooper, The Written Word with Matheson)
- Working with a master: Tobe Hooper
- On Set: Interviews with Jessica Lowndes, Jonathan Tucker, and Robert Englund
- Hidden Features: Masters of Horror: Visual Effects + others
- Behind the Scenes: The Making of Dance of the Dead
- Stills and Storyboard galleries
- Tobe Hooper biography
- DVD-ROM: Screenplay and Screen saver
For all its powerhouse hitters – Willis, Freeman, Sir Ben Kingsley, Forster, Tucci, and Danny Aiello – the unpropitious-titled Lucky Number Slevin felt a little too flash-in-the-pan for a thriller. Interestingly enough, it is and it isn’t, both due to Paul McGuigan’s choices to pump the plot developments with a sly black humor that shouldn’t have worked, and sometimes it doesn’t. Plus, Morgan Freeman as a mob boss? The way he plays it is with warmth, just enough so that sunshine and lollipops comes raining down on you – in bullet form. Coincidentally, Freeman happens to live across the way from Kingsley’s abode, and the paranoid pair haven’t left the house in a while, lest they get the killin’ vapors. Hartnett factors in when he’s put into the uncontrolled middle, and the rest wiggles their way by way of Tetris-like narrative bricks that are stacked until someone makes the mistake. Explaining these sequences to a friend might take the Micro Machines guy.
Fuck, Shit, Jesus is right – with:
- Commentary with Director Paul McGuigan
- Commentary with Actors Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu and Writer Jason Smilovic
- Making Lucky Number Slevin
- Deleted scenes and alternate ending
I’ll tell you what – Miike doing a kid’s film warms my deviant cockles. He stuffs everything his mind can think of into a bulging narrative, and it may get the best of him, but The Great Yokai War (read Russ’ Toronto review) is filled with flights of fantastical fortunes. Tapping into an unexplored culture filled with Monsters (yes!), Miike presents the tale of Tadashi, a young’un who is ceremoniously picked as the famed Kirin Rider and given dispatches to aid the graying Yokai spirits in their centuries-old quest to rid the world of evil. Chiaki Kuriyama stands in the way, summoning her pwned powers against them, the evil dark Lord waiting behind her. But all is not lost, due to Miike’s hyperkinetic insistence upon bringing a message – of recycling. Thankfully, his unique brand of imagination keeps everything up in the air and flashing around like Times Square during the golden 70’s, so see this at your earliest convenience.
Make you hungry – with:
- Shorts (Whose hotcakes are these?, Who is the most annoying?, and Another Story of Kawatera)
- Documentary of the Yokai World
- The Great Yokai World
- Announcement of the film’s completion
- Documentary of Ryunosuke Kamiki and A Summer Vacation of Ryunosuke Kamiki
- Interviews with the cast
- Yokai War profiles
- Stills gallery
The Office is one of those shoes that people miss. As an Arrested Development benefactor (the two not mutually beneficial to one another), they’re also skipping out on one of the best most funniest. Unlike the original British counterpart that slayed Dragons and bequeathed a kingly chef d’ouevre upon our independence, our colonized version miraculously manages to keep the spirit willing and in check, lest it slap the taste out of its mouth (as an aside, the British version is simply required viewing). Steve Carrell is just a part of the magic, since I feel that each character brings their own needs into the puzzle that is this wonderful show. What I haven’t seen the show do yet is misspell failure, since the humiliation that is inherent within the situations feels real, and downright hilarious. Season Two continues to spread the awkwardness into the realm of ‘see, do, now’ even if it won’t let us steer the Booze Cruise boat.
Be collar-blind – with:
- Commentary on 10 episodes by the Actors, Writers, Directors, and Producers
- Some deleted scenes
- Fake PSAs
- Blooper Reel
- Olympics promo
- Steve on Steve
- Faces of Scranton video
- Webisodes from nbc.com
It’s not beneath me to be unoriginal, but I liked The Wild a lot better when it was called Madagascar. If you’ve seen DreamWorks’ film, you’ll know how funny and poignant it was – and not just because it partially eschewed their insistence upon shelf-life pop culture jokes. What The Wild does is shave off bits and pieces of that formula – animals escape NYC Zoo, head for greener pastures, both of which happen to be on the African continent. I’m not sure if the filmmakers (who include Director Steve “Spaz” Williams, one of the defining ILM guys behind The Mask and Jurassic Park) intended it to be so alike the previous film, including moments of Ice Age thrown in for good measure. The Wild it just feels like a rehash of the previous material for monetary gain. Even slapping “NEW!” onto the cover feels odd. The voice talent is extensive – Shatner, Keifer Sutherland, Izzard, Belushi, and even Garofalo get into the act – but one wonders if everyone knew what they were getting into.
Sprechen Sie Koala? – with:
- Audio commentary with the Filmmakers
- Some deleted scenes
- Blunders & bloopers: Eddie Izzard unleashed
- Everlife music video for Real Wild Child
Donnie Yen takes it yet again to the streets, this time with Kill Zone (originally called Sha Po Lang). What’s getting everyone excited enough to twirl their panties around their heads is that Yen is triumphantly returning to City Noir, where bleakness over shined the good that’s left in the world. And in Kill Zone, it’s few and far between, as Yen’s character has a terminal brain tumor and a newly instilled mission: fight fire with fire. The flaming spits come in waves, thanks to triad boss Sammo Hung and his modus operandi to quash everything that comes his way. But Yen and his cadre of law-abiding men understand that it’s all or nothing with all coming all the way, through each trigger squeeze they can muster. Wilson Yip’s film has been garnering a hellish load of good word on it, even if it happens to be released by the Weinstein’s new Dragon Dynasty label unbastardized. You can thank that last part due to Brian White, formerly of Hong Kong Legends.
Fisticuffs! – with:
- Audio commentary with capital E Expert Bey Logan
- 5 featurettes (Born to be Bad, First among Equals, Echoes of Darkness, A Dragon Rising, and A Man Apart)
- 2 Anatomy of a Scene featurettes with optional commentary with Yen and Logan (Alleycats and Challenge of the Masters)
- Making-of Kill Zone documentary
- 4 Hong Kong TV Spots
- Hong Kong Theatrical and US Promotional Trailers
Now here’s a sociological study I find interesting – the show Black. White. It’s only six episodes, but the ramifications of the reality show are more than worth pointing out. From Ice Cube and his production company, the show brings credence to the racial problems still evident in our society today. The show’s genesis is that two families, one black, one white, “switch” skin color (through prosthetics, make-up, etc.) and discover what it’s like. This being a reality show, there are more than a few problems, including clashes over conflicting personalities. Critics were evenly split when discussing such a show, lamenting that while stirring, the eventualities that arose weren’t predicated around revelations. Instead, as they’ve mentioned, the show finds itself using racial stereotypes yet again, without delving deeper into the situations before and after. Still, whether or not you tend to agree is part of the necessary discussion that still needs to be brought to our table.
- Audio commentary from the show’s Participants and Producers.
- Ice Cube’s original Black. White. Music video
- Footage from Rosemary’s poetry slam
- Make-up application featurette
- DVD-ROM study guides for teachers
While Mike Judge’s Idiocracy flounders in its predestined amount of theatres (see this before it vanishes), what won’t be left fidgeting at the altar is Beavis and Butthead Do America – Special Collector’s Edition. The last time I saw the film was right after it hit home video; it’s been a while. Naturally, the things my deformed cranium remembers are purely topical: The Chili Peppers’ Love Rollercoaster as the duo transcended on Vegas. The colorful peyote montage sequence and the gigantic fart. Demi Moore’s ampleness. In all of this, Judge continues his blissful series of events that has the boys outwitting, rather plausibly in fact, every government agency and ne’er-do-well that’s rendered in his signature wit. Certainly, as a road movie, Beavis and Butthead’s misadventures have some merit in a time of half-baked ideas. If only I could remember why the hell it had a primary impact on my fragile soul.
Whack off in a camper – with:
- Audio commentary with Judge and Animation Director Yvette Kaplan
- Retrospective making-of segment, The Big Picture
- We’re Gonna Score! – with Judge and Composer John Frizzell
- The Smackdown montage
- Celebrity Shorts
- Tv Spots
- Teaser trailers
Warner Brothers has prepackaged some brilliant films into their International Cinema Collection. If you have none of these films, then I’d suggest tempting fate and pilfering a copy. The biggest title is Truffaut’s Day for Night, one of the greatest films about making movies ever (alongside Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy). Completely grand, Truffaut neither strives for more than he can present or gets out of hand. His masterpiece feels so authentic it’s impossible to not fall in love with. Meanwhile, Visconti gets his take on The Damned and Death in Venice, the results both engaging and steeped in his neorealistic imagery. Rolf Schübel chimes in with his debut, Gloomy Sunday, and its focus on love in Budapest with the Nazi involvement. Finally, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s exemplary A Very Long Engagement, a movie that I find both straddles the line between tragedy and comedy very well, gets in on all of the waffling cinematic tastes curiously represented here. For those with a curious inkling towards any of these fine films, this set should service those needs quicker than an hour in Nevada.
Find me a Cat who knows how to act – with:
- 4 documentaries (Truffaut in the USA, La Nuit Americaine: four interviews with the French participants, Day for Night: An Appreciation, and Day for Night interview with Jacqueline Bisset)
- Vintage 1973-74 original release materials (Making-of documentary and Two Truffaut interviews – Day for Night)
- Visconti Featurette, profiling the director at work on the set (The Damned)
- Theatrical Trailer (The Damned)
- Behind-the-scenes featurette: Visconti’s Venice (Death in Venice)
- A Tour of Venice stills Gallery (Death in Venice)
- Theatrical trailer (Death in Venice)
- Audio Commentary with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Engagement)
- The Making of A Very Long Engagement
- 2 documentaries (Paris in the 20’s and Before the Explosion: A Documentary about the Zeppelin Explosion)
- Some deleted scenes (Engagement)
- Theatrical trailer (Engagement)
Shelves Tuesday should also see the following placed neatly onto them. Should the above not spark your skewed fancy, the titles below surely could, and would caress your digital needs nightly. Plus, just because I find it mildly humorous, in French he’s called Bob L’Eponge. It has a nice ring to it.
One of my favorite movies of the year is Monster House (arriving on DVD 10.24.06), and it was surprising that it managed to crack my hardened veneer. The idea – that an evil house possesses organic, sometime supernatural powers that eat people – originally went over with some curiosity on my part. I’m not the greatest fan of go-motion capturing; I feel that the technology hasn’t hit its stride … yet. Monster House is a step in that right direction, and one wonders what Zemeckis and Co. have in store for Beowulf. First-time Director Gil Kenan (read Collider.com’s sublime interview with him here and our own George Merchan’s set visit from last year right here) clearly has grown up on the sort of flicks both you and I have, and he infuses the narrative with a sense of bedeviled wonderment. It’s clear that he’s having fun behind the lens, and it spills out. Completely unpretentious in every regard, the film as an entertaining romp doesn’t stop often to skew in different directions. It remains a focused, assured piece of cinema, and for that it comes highly recommended on my end.
Love the vacuum cleaner dummy – with:
- Filmmaker audio commentary
- 7 featurettes (Imaginary Heroes, Beginner’s Luck, The Best of Friends, Lots of Dots, Black Box Theater, Making It Real, and Did You Hear That?)
- Multi-Angle Evolution: Eliza vs. Nebbercracker
- The Art of Monster House- Photo Gallery
- The Adventure Continues Online With DVD-ROM Link To Exciting Games, Downloads & Activities
We expected him to die, but Fox is making sure that’s not happening anytime soon. Hot on the heels of the Ultimate Editions over there in Blighty, the good old misguided US of A is getting both James Bond: Ultimate Editions in a 2 wave platform – the first two on 11.7.06 and the last two on 12.6.06. Conspicuously enough, just in time for Casino Royale (with Cheese). Since both you and your Mom have already checked out the release for the dastardly British (and I mean that with love), Collection 1 will be made up with Goldfinger, The Man With The Golden Gun, Diamonds Are Forever, The Living Daylights and The World Is Not Enough. Collection 2 is stitched together with Thunderball, A View To A Kill, The Spy Who Loved Me, License To Kill and Die Another Day. Collection 3 spills out its insides with and Goldeneye, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia With LoveOn Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Collection 4 hob-nobs with the rich and famous with Dr. No, You Only Live Twice, Octopussy, Tomorrow Never Dies and Moonraker. Now that your snickety attention spans have been alerted, here’s the cover art for 1 and 2 (combined, Amazon lists them as a $110 deal). Put that in your Martinis and shake it.
Warner Brothers has rocketed their Christopher Reeve Superman box covers at us, and they’re rather drab. The set, as you know, arrives on 11.28. Superman III comes without the inclusion of Richard Pyror. Instead, the Robot Lady, as most affectionate grownups have dubbed her, is represented mightily. For shame.
Here’s a shot of the box, courtesy of Supermanhomepage.com:
And then, here’s the individual covers:
As if you didn’t receive enough cover art already to destroy multiple third world countries, here’s a look at Paramount’s Il Conformista, Bernardo Bertolucci’s premiere masterpiece of sight and sound, on 12.5.06. The Da Vinci Code gets wretched art to go with its mediocre narrative on 11.14.06, while finally, Dennis Hopper goes postal in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: Gruesome Edition on 10.10.06. All hail.
The Horror, The Horror
Famed surrealist Jan Svankmajer is responsible for brining Little Otik into the lives of many and promptly ruining said lives until they were good and buried. Otik, as a piece of reactionary cinema, runs the gamut of responses every time I’ve been subjected to a screening. That makes part of the reason why it’s completely wonderful. Svankmajer continues his descent into madness and ecstasy with the aptly titled Lunacy, based on two short stories of Eddy Allen Poe, and the kicker – inspired by the Marquis de Sade. Instantly, that puts these works along the lines of “I have to see this,” before running down young and old alike in my hopped up 84 Charger. The nightmares that arise (from the film) come in the form of a funeral and an orgy, the items so closely related to one another, I don’t know where to begin. If I must, then I’ll say, Jesus, and be done with it. Fascinating.
Serve lust’s passion – with:
- Czech.1 and Czech 2.0 Audio Options
- Optional English, French DTS, Czech 5, German and Spanish subtitles
- Behind the Scenes (Czech with English subtitles)
- Photo and Poster Gallery
This is a Region 0 PAL DVD.
The guys who made the heartbreaking Lost in La Mancha – Keith Fulton & Louos Pepe – have ventured into feature form with Brothers of the Head. It’s an ambitious project, as two conjoined twins both grabbed straight from toiling in obscurity and placed into a 70’s boy band. Russ, who saw it a long time ago in Toronto (right here), called the film “a wonderful faux documentary, with credible performances and some unexpectedly great music.” Allegedly grounded in realism more than glam, the film portrays sibling rivalry as just that, a living, breathing fleshpot that attacks from within and destroys from without. The two leads, Harry and Luke Treadway, have been receiving all sorts of accolades for their seemingly fearless performance of the two competing wunderkinds, as they make their quest into infamy more interesting once their Punk Rock intentions grab ahold. I’ve heard nothing but good things, so I’m sharing as I put this on my list as well.
Really don’t like it – with:
- English DD 5.1 Audio
This is a Region 3 NTSC DVD.
You can’t see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin’
Samurai: Criterion, United 93, District B13, Ace
Ventura: Deluxe Double Feature, Gojira: Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Lost
– Season 2 Extended Experience, Dead Man’s Shoes, Broken
Trail, Unknown White Male, Blade Runner: DC, Pretty
Poison, Population 436, Commander in Chief: Vol. 2, Kinky
Boots, Jackass: Unrated Collector’s Edition, Shock Treatment: SE, Hu$tle:
Season One, Escape/Return to Witch Mountain double feature, Frankenstein
Unbound, Legend of Lucy Keyes, Night Train to Paris, Amarcord:
Criterion, Brazil: Criterion (with anamorphic transfer), and Jacques
Tati’s Playtime: Criterion reissue. Last weeks’ Special Edition made defamatory remarks towards me and my family
and all I got with this lousy link.
Fellowship of the Ring LE (Nick’s DVD review),
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),
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.
This old Special Edition raped,
pillaged, and burned down several northern
DVD Review Forum
DVD Discussion Forum
Clash of the Tartans
The Bargain Bin
Back for yet another round.
Star Wars: New Hope LE is $25.82
Star Wars: Empire LE is $25.82
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi LE is $25.82
MoH: Dance of the Dead is $10.19
Lucky Number Slevin is $21.19
The Office: Season 2 is $32.39
Great Yokai War is $21.86
Kill Zone is $18.14
The Wild is $21.77
Taps: SE is $14.64
Black Magic: SE is $13.29
Stella: Season 1 is $19.66
Smallville: Season 5 is $43.55
Black. White. is $19.75
Grey’s Anatomy: Season 2 Uncut is $45.74
SpongeBob: Season 4, Vol. 1 is $26.62
Beavis and Butthead do America SE is $13.67
International Cinema Collection is $58.03
Movie, Great Muppet Caper, Trainspotting: SE, Bad Santa: DC, and 25th
Hour among others.
$5.55 Disney DVDs – click here
$5.98 Columbia/Sony DVDs – click here
(click HERE for all the Star Wars titles)
Star Wars: New Hope LE is $17.87
Star Wars: Empire LE is $17.87
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi LE is $17.87
International Cinema Collection is $55.99 (click)
(click here for a small photo of Star Wars exclusives)
Star Wars: New Hope LE is $16.99 + get a FREE exclusive mini-poster inside
Star Wars: Empire LE is $16.99 + get a FREE exclusive mini-poster inside
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi LE is $16.99 + get a FREE exclusive mini-poster inside
MoH: Dance of the Dead is $11.99
Lucky Number Slevin is $16.99
The Office: Season 2 is $34.99 + get a FREE DVD/Video Blog of the Booze Cruise episode
Great Yokai War is $20.99
Kill Zone is $16.99
The Wild is $16.99
Taps: SE is $14.99
Black Magic: SE is $14.99
Stella: Season 1 is $18.87
Smallville: Season 5 is $39.99 + get a FREE $5 Giftcard
Black. White. is $18.89
Grey’s Anatomy: Season 2 Uncut is $37.99 + get a FREE onpack DVD
SpongeBob: Season 4, Vol. 1 is $25.55
International Cinema Collection is $55.99 (probably not available in store)
Web, Me Myself & Irene, Entrapment, and Almost Famous (non Bootleg edition)
DVDs – ATL, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Rumor Has It, and March of the Penguins
DVD sets – Gilmore Girls: Season 3, Firefly: The Complete Series, Wing: Season 6,
Rescue Me: Season 2, Grey’s Anatomy: Season 1, The O.C.: Season 2, Nip/Tuck:
Season 2, Family Guy: Seasons 1 & 2, Charmed: Season 4, Seinfeld: Season 5
(click HERE for a small image of the FREE Lithographs)
Star Wars: New Hope LE is $14.99 + get a FREE Lithograph
Star Wars: Empire LE is $14.99