Here we go. A while back, my friend and I used to play around in a giant factory, jumping into a rousing game of tag, throwing fists at one another, being generally belligerent. That was, until I threw him into a vat of Toxic Waste. When he returned, scared, intelligible, and completely mental, he did the next best thing.
Tell The Manager
In the particularly nasty cinema department, this week drubs up the incomparable Street Trash from the alluring dregs it camps out in. Other than my nightly dreams, the film, equal parts jaw-dropping and modern commentary on our fragile society, is also the stuff of pleasant nightmares. There aren’t many films rounded around the suspicious lubricant Viper, and fewer still that transform those unfortunate into melted mush. If there were, I’d have watched ‘em all already. And even though the plot, in case the foolish haven’t suffered gladly, has the good Bums saddling up against the bad Bums, it still will elicit hearty screams. Especially if you happen to be a male (the words “hot penis” probably will ring a deviant bell loudly). Street Trash, by its very delicate nature, isn’t the type of film I could see families viewing with reckless abandon (if they did, it’d sure as hell be awesome) although those with the intestinal fortitude to soldier up and watch two grimy people slap tongues will find it like many – with a tinkle in their shriveled hearts.
Have chicken in your pants – with:
- Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer Supervised by Producer Roy Frumkes
- New 5.1 Dolby Digital Remix and Original 2.0 Mono Soundtrack
- Two Audio Commentary Tracks with Producer Roy Frumkes and Director James Muro
- "The Meltdown Memoirs" – An All-New Two Hour Documentary on the History and Making of.
- The Original 16mm Street Trash Short Film
- A Long-Lost, Never-Before-Seen Street Trash Promotional Teaser
- Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery
- Original Theatrical Trailer
As the finality in Chan-wook Park’s Vengeance trilogy, (Sympathy for) Lady Vengeance (read Russ’ Toronto review) is as Devin mentions, “in many ways the bleakest film in the trilogy but also perhaps the most optimistic.” As the titular beast whose burdens outweigh her rationale, Lee Young-ae is spot-on while dodging the complex issues of what revenge truly means to those around you and how those ripples expel their deadly poison. As previously exalted, just don’t go in expecting Oldboy 2. Or even the level of violence inherent in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Keeping his visual style firmly in check (and bounding it forward exponentially), Park’s film is more or less the ruminations on those heady themes, and whether or not you’re ready for them is totally up to your chicken assess. Not that it mattered anyway, since Lady Vengeance is a fairly good flick, one of both a continuation of a director whose work we should all be following closely and a story that will, to so plainly put it, rock your little world.
Big atonement, small atonement – with:
- Exclusive Commentary with Richard Pena
- Interview with the Director
- Selected Scenes from the other two installments of "The Vengeance Trilogy"
- Original Theatrical Trailer
Chances are you’ve seen Fernando Meirelles’ masterful City of God. Here’s a more interesting development – that of the mini-series City of Men (watch a clip). Taking the same story (including that hyper-kinetic style) and modifying it for a more buoyant approach, Meirelles, along with several other key collaborators (I’d list their names, but I don’t think they’ll ring a bell to ones US tunnel-vision cinematic eyes), expands the ghetto stories. The first episode even waxes poetic with the history of Napoleon as transposed within the cultural drug dealing structure of the two main characters lives. Speaking of which, those two, Acerola and Laranjinha, allegedly serve as our unofficial tour guides, parading their ways through the complex and twisty moral situations breaking down daily in those Rio de Janeiro streets. If you missed this one on the Sundance Channel a while back, now there’s no excuse.
Read only the pictures – with:
- All 19 episodes from all 4 seasons
- Attempting to find extras has been spotty. One thing I would have preferred would have been the Region 2 artwork (click here), which I feel does a more representational job.
I don’t need to discuss Nightmare on Elm Street and the film’s shocking power to steal chiseled teens from their beds and sexualize them with the power of a thousand Cravens. I know I’ve bagged on Craven more often than not around these parts for his PR-proclaimed moniker and lack of scares in his graying years, but I cannot fault his more proficient filmmaking during this period (because, let’s face it, he was cranking out some truly wonderful films. Swamp Thing excluded). One thing one can fault is the horrific timing of New Line, since I’m sure there’s a bunch of frumpy ones out there who’ve purchased the large pulsating Elm Street box with the full intention that was it. The end. Sadly, I feel like the Infinifilm logo isn’t through with the series yet, and for that, most might have to go ape-shit locking our doors and grabbing our crucifixes while Mommy figures out how to kill him.
Morality sucks – with:
- Newly remastered picture and sound restored from the original film negative
- Audio commentary with Craven, stars Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, and director of photography Jacques Haitkin
- Some alternate endings
- 3 featurettes (Never Sleep Again: The Making of A Nightmare on Elm Street, The House That Freddy Built: The Legacy of New Line Horror, and Night Terrors: The Origins of Wes Craven’s Nightmares)
- Pop-up Prompts
- Nightmare Fact Track
- Video Clips
- Exclusive "Infinifilm" ROM content
Ed Norton plays a conflicted cowboy in Down in the Valley and Devin positively gushed over him, commenting “it’s a rich, engaging film." Norton’s romanticized Harlan Carruthers enjoys a good Stetson hat, much to the chagrin of pretty much everyone fucking around him. And I mean that in its literal sense. Since it’s the valley. Norton, throwing himself into the role, sides not with one character more than the other (that one being a “normal” human who understands life isn’t lollipops and BJs) and that’s what makes his portrayal more fascinating. Even when the westernized one is paling around with Even Rachel Wood’s Tobe, several years his junior. But, as the eighties taught us, there’s more than meets the eye with each narrative turn, the film owing a tremendous debt to the by-gone era where characters meant something, dammit, even if those final moments buckle.
That’ll be the day – with:
- Audio Q & A with Norton and Director David Jacobson (Dahmer)
- Some deleted scenes
- The Making of Down in the Valley
- Trailer gallery
- Theatrical trailer
Cédric Klapisch made a really good down-to-earth film called When the Cat’s Away that informed his follow up L’auberge Espagnole (otherwise Americanized as The Spanish Apartment). That film hits both highs and lows with a detached precision, as most of the situations were rooted in the realism. There was a natural charm at play that I really enjoyed. This brings us to Russian Dolls, Klapisch’s extension to Espagnole. This is not to say that I’m slathering love all over his film, since I haven’t seen it. I do, however, think Klapisch’s handling of clumped human relationships is observationally deft, so that plays well into his favor. The plot, 5 years later, has Xavier tackling the little jobs to scrape by while the people around him turn his life into that cacophony of craziness Klapisch handles well. Consider me piqued. And, as they say, rempli de merde.
All of these fucking questions! – with:
- The Making of Russian Dolls
Mary Harron (who fashioned the sadistic greatness of American Psycho) and Gretchen Mol throw up their thoughts at the life of one Notorious Bettie Page (Devin’s so-so review). By comparison, today’s more modern audience isn’t even in the same league as Page’s naughty pictures, since we’ve crossed that line, smothered it in smegma and then stuffed it inside of a midget amputee. Not that I’ve seen that. I’m sure you can find it online. Still, as the explosion of the American risqué that precedes those little homemade snaps the attendant at WalMart fainted over, The Notorious Bettie Page doesn’t really cohesively gel together to create a realized portrayal of the former pin-up queen. Mol, frustrated and busting out as Page, exhibits a fairly interesting life that, unfortunately the film doesn’t seem to give two squeezes about. For that, one little prepubescent thirteen living that small town life will probably say “forget that,” sauntering over to Hollywood Video’s extreme drama section.
Victor Slezak! – with:
- Audio commentary with Mol, Director Harron, and Co-Writer Guinevere Turner
- Pin-Up Queen of the Universe
- Presenting Bettie Page – archival footage with the real life Bettie Page
- Theatrical trailer
Takashi Miike’s Imprint was banned from Masters of Horror’s viewing receptacle Showtime. In fact, series ringleader Mick Garris discussed that decision with Devin. Honestly, if an episode featuring gratuitous gnawing of limbs from a severely disfigured woman of the night, while also throwing in chains, whips, mouth extenders, sodomy, eye-ball puncture, floating drowned fetuses, needle and rope torture, more dead fetuses, and Billy Drago is considered even the slightest offensive while they continually play Captain Ron, then this country is in more dire need of help than we thought. Garris even said it was “definitely the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen." This makes it high time for Miike’s magnum-scarus and as part of both the referential Asia Extreme (where his code name, as iconsoffright.com so astutely puts it, has to be “Holy Fucking Shit What The Fuck Am I Fucking Watching I Need A Shower And Then Maybe Church”) and a Master of Horror, his mission in indeed accomplished.
Get that man’s attention – with:
- Commentary by critic and American Cinematheque film programmer Chris D. (side note – we like Chris D.!) and writer Wyatt Doyle
- 3 featurettes (I Am the Film Director of Love: An Interview with Takashi Miike, Imprinting: The Making of Imprint, and Imperfect Beauty: The Make-up and Special Effects of Imprint)
- Takashi Miike Bio
- Still Gallery
- DVD-ROM Screen Saver and Original Screenplay
As a remake of the infinitely entertaining Korean film Il Mare, The Lake House has a few things to learn – mainly that of exciting the base of people willing to share in Keanu and Sandra’s supernatural experience mailing letters. Argentinian Alejandro Agresti, who made the fairly enjoyable Valentín, corrals up both of the Speedy thespians and attempt to sustain their letter-writing campaign for a full 98 minutes, even as Dennis Hopper’s God-like complex can be heard shouting “You know I’m on top of you!”. I’ve heard the film should instantly put those who love the above title on watch – deathwatch, maybe. Still, pairing Keanu and Sandra together again as fate intertwines and fucks royally with their pre-destined lustful fantasies could be worth it. As a final note, I see the movie is rated PG for “some language and a disturbing image”, as one wonders if that image would be akin to the end shot in Fight Club.
Eat clown for breakfast – with:
- Additional scenes and outtakes
- Theatrical trailer
Tobe Hooper’s majestic Texas Chainsaw Massacre is getting yet another dip. This time it’s the Ultimate Edition with extra footage. I just wish they’d figure out how many times they want to repackage this onto the consumer, then maybe they can be done with it. This trend skews the negative zone, and we’re reaching Anchor Bay shenanigan levels. If you’re willing to bite into this apple once again, then do so. However, if you’re Region Free and into such PAL pursuits, consider the following comparison with extras and more spiffy packaging. In my mind, anyway. Surely that has to inform some part of you – and hopefully it’s not a deformity lurking below.
Extras on the Region 1 include:
- HD transfer from original 16mm negatives
- Commentary by actors Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Allen Danziger, and art designer Robert A. Burns
- Commentary by director Tobe Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl, and actor Gunnar Hansen
- 73 minute documentary Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth and the 74 minute documentary Flesh Wounds
- Tour of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre house before and after remodeling, conduced by Gunnar Hansen
- Deleted scenes and outtakes
- Blooper reel
- Outtakes from The Shocking Truth
- Still galleries
- TV and radio spots
The Region 2 PAL DVD comes with:
- English 2.0, German 5.1 and German 2.0 Audio Options
- Full length commentary with Tobe Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl and actor Gunnar Hansen
- 72 minute documentary The Shocking Truth (in English)
- 60 minute documentary Family Portrait (in English)
- Interviews with Tobe Hooper & Kim Henkel
- Deleted scenes and alternate footage
- Props and Sets
- Stills, posters and lobby cards
- Sequel trailers
- Original TV ads and Theatrical trailers
Like that infamous “pizza’s not dinner!” commercial, Universal beats you and then sinks its teeth into your necks for their most beloved gothic tales – Frankenstein and Dracula: The 75th Anniversary. Presented as part of their ongoing excellent Legacy series (not to be confused with their par excellence Legacy Collection), each film gets a more polished transfer and extras that are splashed out between the old (such as Philip Glass and Kronos’ audio only option, along with the Spanish version of Dracula. Frankenstein gets that fascinating commentary with Rudy Behlmer) and the new (like Kevin Brownlow’s 95 minute Universal Horror and Joe Dante gushing about his love in the 36-minute Lugosi: The Dark Prince, while Frankenstein also receives Universal Horror and audio commentary with Sir Christopher Frayling). In short, one wonders if Universal is going to be doing this for The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the immortal Invisible Man (one of my favorite films of all time). Are these triple-dips really necessary? If you’re a fan seeking that better transfer, yes.
It’s Alive, yo! – with:
- Audio commentary with Film Historian David J. Skal
- Audio commentary with Steve Haberman, Screenwriter of Dracula: Dead and Loving It
- Score By Philip Glass Performed By the Kronos Quartet
- Lugosi: The Dark Prince: A tribute to the film career of Bela Lugosi, with director Tod Browning
- Monster Tracks: Interesting interactive pop-up facts about the making of Dracula that can be read while watching the film
- The Road to Dracula: Documentary on the making of the film
- Dracula (1931) Spanish version with introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner
- Universal Horror: Documentary, narrated by Kenneth Branagh. Directed by Kevin Brownlow
- Poster Montage
- Audio commentary with Rudy Behlmer
- Audio commentary with historian Sir Christopher Frayling
- 2 featurettes (Karloff: The Gentle Monster and The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster)
- Feature-length documentary Universal Horror
- Monster Tracks: interactive pop-up trivia
- Frankenstein Archives: poster and stills galleries
- Boo! A Short Film
- Theatrical trailer
Come Tuesday you might also be browsing the shelves and stumble across these dollops of cinematic bliss. The veracity of implying that Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is bliss might be too hard to bear for some, but there’s always Nick’s DVD review to sort out those waffling thoughts. Plus, should you so choose, there’s usually no excuse, save for an impromptu viewing of Mafia vs. Ninja, to not see Dust Devil.
And we’re not even through yet. Expect these as well:
Eaten Alive: SE
Benny Hill: Complete and Unadulterous: Vol. 5
Ellen: Season Four
Best of Kids in the Hall
Mama’s Family: Season 1
One Tree Hill: Season 3
Riptide: Season One
Whose Line is it Anyway? Uncensored
Save the Last Dance: CE
Slight Case of Murder
Finally, the HD-DVD debacle is about to see some good movies. The first being Curtiz and Keighley’s jewel, The Adventures of Robin Hood. The second being John Ford’s emotional powerhouse The Searchers (which is already out). Word is that both films take full advantage of the medium, showcasing the reasons why true HD images can support a full-fledged Technicolor/Vistavision spectacle. If you’ve been fortunate and lucky (and rich) enough to secure yourselves either of these films, let me know how they stack up, technologically and visually.
George Bush Doesn’t Care About These
I know it’s a tasteless joke, but I needed a segue. DVDActive.com is reporting that Spike Lee’s must-see (and I mean that, see it – immediately) When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts is out on 12.19.06. It might be the greatest documentary he’s ever produced. And I absolutely am heartbroken and fascinated with the skill on display in 4 Little Girls and its terrorism roots. Setting his sights on Katrina and the bungled governmental response, Lee doesn’t take sides because he doesn’t need to. You saw it on television, but you haven’t quite seen it like this – a realistic, no-bones, heartfelt look into the lives that were destroyed on an epic scale. Lee and his team present the sides of everyone, so don’t fool yourself into thinking there’s more of a story there. There isn’t. This is laser-focused. In terms of being the most thorough, executed whole document of everything that went wrong, When the Levees Broke is riveting television and a necessity for all those seeking truth in front of the mismanagement. It’s the best thing I’ve seen all year.
- Nothing as of yet.
It’s surprising, but I guess no one thought a “chick flick” (and my apologies for using that dreadful kiss of death) could cross party lines and poke all three sexes. I was sure under the impression that Lauren Weisberger’s novel would appeal to a select base of people, but color me badd. The details of such a film seem rooted in the annals of pre-collegiate shedding; person finds job, job discovers person, person races to catch up to demands; job slowly crushes windpipe of fame, fortune, and ambition. Not that those things really happened to Anne Hathaway’s Andrea on her way to the top, plopped right down in the world of haute-couture by way of the overbearing entirely demanding Meryl Streep. But the things that do occur – like those interesting daily demands (finding unpublished Harry Potter books chief among them), that are partly to blame for allowing The Devil Wears Prada accessible for all. At least I heard it was better than Superman Returns, so take that and run with it to the 30.
Bet your size 6 ass – with:
- Audio commentary with Director David Frankel, Producer Wendy Finerman, Costume Designer Patricia Field, Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, Editor Mark Livolsi, and Director of Photography Florian Ballhaus
- 4 featurettes (Trip to the Big Screen, NYC and Fashion, Fashion Visionary Patricia Field, and Getting Valentino)
- 15 deleted scenes
- Gag reel
- Theatrical trailer
It seems like it wouldn’t be another column without a mention of Superman, so here’s your prerequisite mention. Warner, not content with plunking down The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection (out on 11.28.06), allows the entire 14-disc Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition (arriving the same day). It contains all 4 films in the Reeve Collection, the Richard Donner cut (see blurb below for artwork), the documentaries Look up in the Sky!, You will Believe: Cinematic Saga of Superman, and Bryan Singer’s Journals (The Extended Experience) as well as the 2-disc SE of Superman Returns. Everything minus Supergirl, since this is one sexist boxset. For the low estimated retail price of $99.92 + tax, you too can flail around in your undersized Supes tighty whites, reliving all of the glory years where no one could hurt your feelings.
Here’s your art attack:
And the features remain the same, previously mentioned in this column, so as to paraphrase Mel Gibson by way of M. Night, “search away.”
On the same level as cover art attacking and decimating your interior thought processes, check out these fine artistic endeavors. Al Gore’s sublime Inconvenient Truth arrives on 11.21.06 in “100% post-consumer waste recycled paper, inks and coatings formulated to emit virtually no volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere, no inserts, no laminates and no plastic.” Take that! And in the guilt by association department, here’s Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut’s artwork. To end this quickly and efficiently, here’s your art for Reservoir Dogs: 15th Anniversary, chopping off ears on 10.24.06.
You might feel a kindship to the Reeker, but only in the aromatic sense. I certainly hope you’re not killing people. Just those who deserve it. It’s not like I’m advocating that, but I’ll tell you one thing – the Reeker smells like one bad ass. Take that as many ways as you can. The plot, on the other odorous hand, sniffs of rehash. Teens congregating at a rave party? Running out of gas? Didn’t I see this on USA Up All Night? Too many questions aside, the seedy Motel on the edge of town provides the backdrop for the mysterious affair, as the Reeker plots his pungent revenge. Toss in the damning revelation that their Motel acts as sort of a transmitter between the living and the deader than dead, and somehow, it gets even more interesting. However, I can’t let my senses be dulled into the horrific bouquet wafting down the halls, especially since it’s been getting mixed results.
- Interviews with Director and Cast
- Making of and Behind-the-scenes
Watch the trailer here. This is a Region 2 PAL DVD.
Peter Jackson made Brain Dead. You watched it as Dead Alive. The nerve endings in your body probably shot up to 11, jacking themselves into the ratcheted atmospheric O-zone before rushing out of your mind, joyously enrapturing all that is (un)holy. All conjecture aside, there’s no point in discussing the flick – those who haven’t seen it should have (read: yesterday) – other than to discuss the so-called ‘red edition’ to your Region Free section. Additions to the film include “more gore and more plot,” so your boundless imagination at such a scenario can be free to wander about and plunk down all over again, ready and able to succumb to Jackson’s labor of love. If it doesn’t rip your heart out first, ‘cause it should.
This is a Region 2 PAL DVD.
Violating The Verbal Morality Statute
Proposition, Stay Alive (Ian’s DVD review),
It, Hard Candy, Ghost Hunters: Season Two Parts One and Two,
and Daniel Johnson, Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5, Ultimate
Sci-Fi Collection (available through Best Buy only), Gilmore
Girls: Season Six, Backdraft: Anniversary Edition, The
Unit: Season One, My Name is Earl: Season One, Roar:
Complete Series, Chucky: Killer Collection, Grease:
SE, Henry Fonda: Signature Collection, Spirit of the Beehive: Criterion,
Criterion, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and the Boris Karloff Franchise
Collection. Last week’s Special
Edition spent a cold day in hell
Wars: A New Hope Limited Edition, Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back Limited
Edition, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Limited Edition, Masters
of Horror: Dance of the Dead, Lucky Number Slevin, The
Great Yokai War: SE, The Office: Season Two, The
Wild, Kill Zone: Ultimate Edition, Black. White., Beavis
and Butthead Do America: CE, International Cinema Collection
(with Day for Night, Death in Venice, The
Damned, Gloomy Sunday, and A Very Long Engagement), SpongeBob
Squarepants: Season 4 Vol. 1, Taps: SE, Grey’s Anatomy: Season 2 Uncut,
Magic, Goal! The Dream Begins, Diagnosis Murder: Season One, Stella:
Season One, Smallville: Season 5, and the
This old Special Edition digitally
inserted the sun where it don’t shine.
DVD Review Forum
DVD Discussion Forum
Clash of the Tartans
The Bargain Bin
These deals are going to touch your ass. And then your wallet.
Street Trash: SE is $19.92
City of Men is $24.92
Lady Vengeance is $18.61
Nightmare on Elm: Infinifilm is $20.57
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is $21.77
Curious George is $17.21
Down in the Valley is $13.54
Notorious Bettie Page is $20.56
Russian Dolls is $19.94
The Lake House is $18.21
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: UE is $21.60
MoH: Imprint is $10.19
Dust Devil: SE is $19.92
Thriller: Season 1 is $47.97
Brotherhood: Season 1 is $21.09
Dick Tracy: Animated Series is $23.93
Beowulf & Grendel is $17.99
Frankenstein: Legacy is $19.65
Dracula: Legacy is $19.65
Save up to 54% on these titles
Save up to 46% on these independent films
Their Big DVD sale – click here
Street Trash: SE is $26.99
City of Men is $24.69
Lady Vengeance is $15.99
Nightmare on Elm: Infinifilm is $17.99
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is $16.99
Curious George is $16.99 (