In honor of this sacred day, let’s kick the bums straight where it hurts.
The engine block of Cars suggests that it’s a raging Dauer 962 LeMans, but in reality, it’s more or less missing that 2.6 second speed acceleration. For starters, the film is too long. The creative geniuses at Pixar have stuffed this film with more bulging ideas and technology than ever before, and the thing that suffers the most from it is the story. As best an idea that Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is forced to find himself in the slower pursuits of Route 66’s eclectic denizens (which include Paul Newman’s Hudson Hornet and Larry the Cable Guy’s dimwitted, Mater), there’s a missing sense of exploration from their previous films – there is more insistence upon driving home slower ideals. Connecting with anything, therefore takes time and I’m an impatient scallywag. While those characters populating off the beaten path are quite wonderful (and I look at Luigi and Guido, even while clichéd, to be amusing as all get-out), it’s still the plot they trudge through that needs, quite frankly, a tire rotation. Sadly, I’ve never been good with vehicular double entendres, except if I’m mowing down geriatrics outside the Sizzler.
Do THAT in a cup – with:
- Academy Award-nominated animated short: One Man Band
- All-new animated short: Mater and the Ghostlight
- John Lasseter’s inspiration for Cars
- Ratatouille teaser trailer
- Deleted scenes
You may notice that for a Pixar DVD, the above is lightweight. Hopefully with their immersion into the Disney family, they become adverse to the three-tiered Special, Collector’s, and Ultimate edition platform. Unfortunately, I can see something along that line for the future.
Not only does MGM throw the martini in your face, but they then bring in a larger, more polished glass to hold on their throne of pain. The James Bond Ultimate Editions are, for lack of a better catch-phrase, bigger, badder, and sexier, although the last part is complete conjecture with people like Michael Lonsdale running wild in the streets. If you were that person who loudly bellowed that The Living Daylights wasn’t thumping your briefs in its current state, prepare to be parting with them in utter remastered, A-HA making-of bliss. Aside from tossing a whole SPECTRE load of extras on these discs (for which it would take half of this column to unload – so read here for them), the transfers have even been rescrubbed for the better – unfortunately, they cannot take away the pain of reliving the interminable World Is Not Enough. If you’re free-wielding with your questionable income and uninhibited with your ridiculous purchasing power, this set is worth one in the hand (Goldfinger remains one of my favorite films simply ever), and two if you’ve got a Benjamin. Expect Volumes 3 and 4 on December 12th and your free time somewhere around April.
Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 includes all-new two-disc editions of The Man with the Golden Gun, Goldfinger, The World Is Not Enough, Diamonds Are Forever, and The Living Daylights. It certainly, as Amazon might have you believe, wasn’t accomplished like Rome – in the year Anno domini 1974.
Bond’s Ultimate shenanigans continue with all-new two-disc editions of A View to a Kill, Thunderball, Die Another Day, Spy Who Loved Me, and License to Kill.
Devin’s been said to want to be “all up in this Helen Mirren,” but with ShadowBoxer, he might want to think twice, especially with her hands on the trigger. Mirren, currently smoldering scenes on PBS and with the “movie of the week” The Queen, lodges one high-five on an unlikely accomplice: Cuba Gooding, Jr. The pair, deadly assassins looking to erase Raising Helen and Boat Trip from their resumes, delve into the guidance of Director Lee Daniels (whose familiarity with you remains as the guy who produced Monster’s Ball, The Woodsman, and Justin Timberlake’s upcoming continued descent into Tennessean “acting”). In reality, the whole affair sounds strangely intriguing, since Mirren and Gooding, Jr. find themselves ensconced in a wholly FUBAR’ed up series of events involving the failure to kill their bosses’ pregnant wife. Man, if I had a nickel that happened… I’d still have a nickel. While you may have never heard of this film, you have now.
Feeling protective is very seductive – with:
- Commentary from Lee Daniels and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
- The Making-of Shadowboxer
I enjoyed Little Man better when it was on during Looney Tunes and called Baby Bunny Buggy. Granted, I’ve never seen Little Man: Loaded with Useless Crap Edition (there’s truth in marketing, finally!). If it’s anything like the Wayans’ Brothers previous “exploits” (a word I think might even be stretching it, like the zeros on the checks they cash) – like White Chicks and Scary Movie 1 through 18, I consider myself unscathed. The cartoon, which is close to a masterstroke, contains a little Gangsta-faced hooligan falling into the life of Bugs and breaking all hell to get his bank-robbing loot back until the word “Finster” becomes part of your daily vocabulary. Little Man is basically the same thing, but with “masterstroke” replaced with “by the numbers” and “good” replaced with whatever language barrier needed to hurdle to get to “hackneyed.” In addition, it’s been said that the film contains repetitive groin decimations, and besides my daily routine in a prison shower, I think one’s gotten enough of that, merci beaucoup.
Look like Fred Sanford on crack – with:
- Audio commentary with The Wayans Brothers
- The Making-of Little Man
- The visual effects of Little Man
- 2 featurettes (Method or Madness and Linden’s World)
- Some deleted and extended scenes
A lot of the movies your childhood ended up loving and leaving like a cheap $3 Utah hooker are exactly how you’d picture if you’d return to such a quest – withered and graying. Transformers: The Movie 20th Anniversary Edition is of no such exception. Being Orson Welles’ last film, it’s not quite the caliber of other last mortal shuffles like De Souza’s Street Fighter, but it is completely silly and, above all, more clunky than my feeble attempts to Free Willy. If you’ve rediscovered this film recently and found more to love than head-scratch over, I must ask what your M.O. is. With its incessant discarding of important characters moments in (I’d have rather had a giant typed “spoiler alert” flashing for 10 minutes) and the laughably trite dialogue “Bah weep granah weep ninni bong,” indeed), I still can’t believe it could be conceived as being adequate. And even though the film’s prophesizing predictions never came true, it’s 2006 dudes, and my matrix hasn’t light my darkened way home. The extras on this disc, for fans, will dirtily probe and shame them. This makes it an instant Wall Street buy.
Me Grimlock no like you!
- (16×9) Theatrical widescreen version
- Autobot Matrix of Knowledge (full length movie featuring fun facts and trivia)
- Commentary with Nelson Shin (director), Flint Dille (story consultant) and Sue Ble (Voice of Arcee)
- Fan commentary
- Scramble City episode with commentary
- Remastering side-by-side comparison
- All new featurettes: "Death of Optimus Prime", "Cast and Characters" and "Transformers Q&A" with Nelson Shin (director), Tom Griffin (producer), Joe Bacal (producer), Flint Dille (story consultant) and Sue Blu (Voice of Acree)
Promotional trailer with commentary
- Test, deleted/alternative footage with commentary
- Cinex and credit test
- Photo gallery
- US and Japanese toy commercials, plus Scramble City commercials
- DVD-Rom link to exclusive content
- Easter Eggs on both discs
- Transformers 2007 live action movie trailer and special sneak peek
- Original theatrical trailer and TV spots
Bring the Pusher Trilogy back to your mind’s forefront, since it’s as Russ mentioned, “raw and intense.” While surely not unlike a furious internet session, The Pusher Trilogy gazes its deviant eye on the seedy underground streets in Copenhagen, Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Fear X) following with a relentlessly roaming camera to capture bad deals, even worse motivations, and people’s reactions to the horrors inflicted upon them. Pusher I has Frank becoming entwined with the things he loves, and in turn, those things loving him back… with a vengeance. But let’s refer back to Russ, who said “it’s difficult not to be torn between sympathy and revulsion for the guy.” Pusher II: Blood on My Hands, continues with Frank’s associate Tonny, and Russ blows it all out of the water. “This is the gangster stripped bare, and watching is like walking in on your parents having sex.” While that might be something of a cautionary instance, in Pusher III: I Am the Angel of Death, it’s the literal truth, with Refn dropping all pretense and presenting the gangster as a cold-cocked killer. Whether or not you tread into this series is up to you, but you’d be foolish to ignore.
- Commentary by director Nicolas Winding Refn and critic Jonathan Romney on Pusher II and Pusher III
- Feature length documentary Gambler
- Clips from the 2007 Bollywood remake of Pusher
- Street Casting
- Cooking With Milo
Crosswords aren’t just for the douchebag reading the NYTimes huddled over a large croissant and jiggling his pinkie with the utmost furor. It’s also for people like you and me and by all accounts, I am not one with the puzzling universe (I have been called a douchebag on numerous accounts, however). Other people damn sure are connected, celebrities like Jon Stewart and Bill Clinton and Ken Burns and even the mustachioed presence of Will Shortz and his right-hand man Merl Reagle, the men of whom The United Nations affectionately dubbed “smarter than – your Mother.” In all seriousness, their documentary – Wordplay (read Devin’s interview with Shortz and Reagle) – isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Whether or not you know it, there’s a whole subculture out there whose sheer lives are predicated on the predicaments presented in the little up and down boxes of hell that have spited me with intense hatred. But I respect them billions more than Magic.
Become an Unkind Donut – with:
- Audio commentary with Director Patrick Creadon, New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz and crossword constructor Merl Reagle
- Waiting for the New York Times: A short film by Patricia Erens
- The 5 Unforgettable Puzzles Ever
- Wordplay goes to Sundance
- Gary Louris music video: "Every Word"
- Interview and photo galleries
- Some deleted scenes
While you shake and stir and jump into all sorts of other devious circumstances, Fox brings more suspicion and bright colors into the fold with their older spy films, sure to make your Walther PP7 discharge. The Chairman has Gregory Peck and J. Lee Thompson back at their tricks again, this time as the Cold War rages on under dubious devices – like a ticking time bomb inserted into Peck’s noggin. In the land of succinct gun-totin’, ass-kickin’ cover art, this one ranks high. In Michael Anderson’s The Quiller Memorandum, George Segal (!?) is called on by Alec Guinness (?!) to infiltrate a Neo-Nazi gang, not fire his weapon once, and use the knowledge interred to go tete-a-tete with Max Von motherfucking Sydow (!!). Your interest should be piqued. As a complete after-thought, there’s the Ultimate In Like Flint Collection, which couples everything already released and adds a disc filled with extras that should have been in the original releases. I think Gang of Four said it correctly: “this Heaven gives me migraine.”
Be a non-pleasure unit – with:
Chairman contains no extras.
- Commentary with Film Historians Eddie Friedfeld & Lee Pfeiffer
Flint gets on both:
- Audio commentary with Film Historians Eddie Friedfeld & Lee Pfeiffer
Flint’s Extra disc has:
- Dead On Target-TV Movie
- The features The Musician’s Magician, Future Perfect, Spy School, Feminine Wiles, In Like Flint – Puerto Rico Premiere, Spy-er-rama, A Gentleman’s Game, Spy Style
- The Making of Bouillabaisse
- Screen tests for Gila Golan for Our Man Flint, James Coburn & Gila Golan for Our Man Flint, and Deanna Lund for In Like Flint
Brando’s abilities as actor merely went beyond appearing. Instead he simply became one with his characters. His more known films – Streetcar Named Desire, Wild One, Fugitive Kind, The Chase, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, On The Waterfront, Last Tango in Paris – definitely, brought the butter, so-to speak, but it’s in the others Warner Brothers presents in their Marlon Brando Collection. You’ll get his towering achievement as Marc Anthony in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s mixed adaptation of The Bard’s infamous play. You’ll receive his excessively fastidious portrayal (and some say ruining) of Fletcher Christian, and the sumptuous widescreen photography of Robert Surtees, even though both Carol Reed and then Lewis Milestone contributed to the oft-told on-set turmoil. As for John Huston’s Reflections of a Golden Eye, it’s more or less a fire-starter of a situation, with Brando’s lacking homosexual Major Penderton stirring things up in between bouts of Robert Forster’s oracular naked horseback riding. Rounding things out is Teahouse in the August Moon and Formula, both of which have Brando becoming an Okinawan interpreter Sakima and tracking down a secret Nazi fuel concoction with George C. Scott in the latter. For the claims of this set being a mixed bag, it’s still worth it.
Be collard, dragged, and thrashed by a naked woman – with:
Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
- Alternate prologue and epilogue sequences not seen theatrically
- Four vintage featurettes: Story of the HMS Bounty, Voyage of the Bounty to St. Petersburg, Tour of the Bounty, and 1964 World’s Fair promo
- Marlon Brando movies trailer gallery
- New featurette After the Cameras Stopped Rolling: The Journey of the Bounty
Julius Caesar (1953)
- Introduction by TCM host Robert Osborne
- New featurette: The Rise of Two Legends
- Theatrical Trailers
The Formula (1980)
- Audio Commentary by director John G. Avildsen and screenwriter Steve Shagan
- Theatrical trailer
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
- Vintage behind-the-scenes footage
- Theatrical trailers
The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956)
- Vintage featurette Operation Teahouse
- Theatrical trailers
Gary Cooper perfected his taciturn ways throughout his storied career, and it’s within Warner’s Gary Cooper: The Signature Collection where those roles that helped shape his persona came into play. The giant bulge of the set is his terrific portrayal in Howard Hawks’ masterpiece, Sergeant York, where the jingoistic ideals revered throughout our countries’ history make way for the new breed of a man just doin’ his job in the most entertaining way possible. Cooper then segued into a bunch more roles, jumping into the adaptation of The Fountainhead with particular gusto, delivering a towering performance among more subversive phallic imagery, to which he blows kingdom come. Hitchcock even wanted to get in on the action of The Wreck of Mary Deare, but oddly enough the film has Cooper and Charlton Heston working with Michael Anderson. Springfield Rifle has Cooper working with one-eyed André De Toth, crafting the western mythos in a stoic continued direction, much like Dallas, in which Cooper rides into town huntin’ and gamblin’ and dealing with the ways of the devil. In evidence of full disclosure, I’ve not seen all of these films, but knowing Warner’s penchant for delivering time and again, I can only transform into Walter Huston in Sierra Madre, singing and dancing and being quite foolish to get my hands on it.
Be no good ‘cept for fightin’ and hell raising – with:
Sergeant York (1941)
- Commentary by Jeannine Basinger
- Classic Cartoon Porky’s Preview
- Vintage short Lions for Sale
- Cooper Trailer Gallery
- Two documentaries
The Fountainhead (1949)
- New featurette The Making of The Fountainhead
- Theatrical trailer
Springfield Rifle (1952), The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959), and Dallas (1950) contain no extras.
We’re not even finished with Tuesday’s releases, all of which are going to reach out like the People Under the Stairs. There will be less tongue action, though. I’ll point out a couple of things on your journey downward, the first being Fallen Idol’s Criterion release, in which Carol Reed and Graham Greene start their fruitful collaboration in typical fashion – by knocking socks off. A fairly under discussed film is Errol Flynn’s WW2 Objective, Burma! in which he handily treks 150 miles in enemy territory to piss off the British. It’s particularly riveting, and emotionally engaging. It’s also $13.49, as part of a triple bill with Never So Few (read my old-ass DVD review), and Go For Broke!. Finally, with the relative stunted reaction of Clerks II, Kevin Smith attempts to rally his base with An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder.
There’s a moment in Little Miss Sunshine where I thought, “wow, they went there.” It’s played for maximum effect, but in a way, it also is a natural extension for the film. It really feels like it was bound to happen anyway. Matthew Broderick’s former Assistant, Michael Arndt, has fashioned a script with fruitful and humorous pathos. These characters feel real, lived-in, completely unencumbered with pretension. There’s talk of suicides and bowel movements and pornography – and that’s mostly from Alan Arkin, whose penance in some really shitty films is almost washed clean in his crumbly portrayal of one of the greatest Grandpas ever. The rest of the dysfunction revolves around the family’s steadfast descent into insane road-tripping pageantry, and with it comes moments of sheer greatness – I, for one, was sublimely amused with Paul Dano’s wordless verbal tirades. They’re in there. Little Miss Sunshine wasn’t really ignored like every other film we love here, but many more still need to see this. Rectify that on 12.19.06, even if it causes second degree burns on your Johnson.
Have Nazi bullets in your ass – with:
- Audio commentary with Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (who made that Smashing Pumpkins video you pretended to hate) and writer Michael Arndt
- 4 Alternate Endings with optional commentary by directors Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
- “Till the End of Time" performed by DeVotchka from the soundtrack
While The Prestige is causing spontaneous combustion in the snark department from others, the other Magician movie – The Illusionist – has remained unmarred with such false swagger. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know that Edward Norton’s revered Magician dons a goatee in order to battle the coiffed strands informing the visage of Paul Giamatti’s Chief Inspector. While the beards don’t do battle in the physical sense, they certainly must come to grips with one another, even as Giamatti’s orders come directly from the skeazy Crown Prince Leopold (the wide-eyed angry Rufus Sewell). Now it just so happens that Leopold’s smoking-hot fiancée, Jessica Biel, has taken her years-old interest with Norton into the forbidden zone, and with it comes a trip not unlike the joyous rapture floating through the Sixth Dimension’s intestine. Devin commented that Norton really doesn’t have much to do, but that might be all for naught if you’re interested in such cinematic sleight of hand.
Make us disappear! – with:
- Audio commentary with Writer/Director Neil Burger
- Making of The Illusionist
- Jessica Biel on The Illusionist
- Theatrical Trailer
Brian DePalma’s classicistic interpretation of film noir reaches a kind of quasi-apex in The Black Dahlia (out on 12.26.06 to brood you, and make sure to check all of our interviews here). The film’s fairly good (read Devin’s review), as DePalma and screenwriter Josh Friedman navigate the trickery inherent in narration, flawed anti-heroes, and Scarlett Johanssen. Having never read James Ellroy’s sprawling ode to Los Angeles and dead people, I can safely say I wasn’t enraged and spewing bile as some – liberties are taken all the time (just ask my parents when they conceived) – so the unsolved murder hasn’t quite sullied my warped thoughts. Not that it mattered, since DePalma’s sense of style, character, and craftsmanship is front-and-center, begging you neophyte grumblers to check it out.
Nothing stays buried forever – with:
- "Reality and Fiction: The Story of the Black Dahlia" – A conversation with best-selling novelist James Ellroy, who gives an in-depth perspective on the crime and how he turned fact into fiction
- "The Case File" – A behind-the-scenes look at the filmmakers, actors and crew that brought this infamous mystery to the screen
- "The De Palma Touch" – A look at how acclaimed director Brian De Palma brought his unique and shocking visual style to the film
Unbeknownst to us mortals, DePalma decides not to grace his vocal skills this time around.
Categorizing Irreversible (which gets a Collector’s Edition on 12.4.06) is a bit like figuring out the rolls swimming in my belly-sea. It’s impossible. A little bit of horror, a pinch of sadism, a dash of realism, and a hearty groin undercut is only a fraction of its calculated evilness (no, we’re not talking about my gut anymore). For that, I respect it. I might never watch it again, since I can’t really stomach the rape scene with Gaspar Noe’s insistence upon plopping the camera down and letting us observe. There’s an unnerving sensibility at “play,” and that’s definitely the wrong word. It’s the screams and cries. Unsettling. Not unlike the filmmaking on display; something of a crazed fever dream of excellence, with Noe’s camera sweeping and rotating and doing all manner of extremes that left me scratching my head in excitement and awe. I can’t even begin where to figure out the hellacious taxi scene without wondering how it was done without CGI. Because it was. Shit. Maybe I’ll have to watch it again and then take thirty cold showers.
Time destroys everything – with:
- DTS Dolby Digital – this is frightening to me. Imagine this, if you’ve seen it.
- Audio commentary with Gaspar Noe, Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel
- Noe’s short film Intoxication
- Special effects feature – Le Rectum
- Music videos for Stress and Outrage
This is a Region 2 PAL DVD.
When someone says Ultimate Vengeance Boxed Set, you better perk up with whatever appendage is necessary. Chan-wook Park’s revenge films – Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance – have know been repackaged in a snazzy case that comes complete with a laser-engraved hammer/bottleopener. Just watch out for your tongue. With each film’s underlying themes becoming more and more well-made throughout the cycle, Park’s bravura filmmaking is just as revelatory with each new glimpse of information, with each new discovery. Honestly, I find myself finding more and more interpretations into his flawed anti-heroes. These are the films that make anyone’s perceptions open wide-eyed because they’re just that good. Now if I haven’t talked it up enough, the special Oldboy box of which it’s inspired also comes with three lobby cards and a gun blueprint poster. Just don’t kill anyone. Without just cause, that is.
Weep alone – with:
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
- Korean DTS, Korean 5.1 and Korean 2.0 Audio Options
- Optional English subtitles
- Audio commentary with Chan-wook Park (Korean with optional English subtitles)
- Interview with Chan-wook Park
- Production Featurettes
- Cast and Crew Interviews
- Teasers and Trailers
- Korean DTS, Korean 5.1, Korean 2.0, English 5.1 and English 2.0 Audio Options
- Optional English subtitles
- Audio commentary from Director Park Chan-Wook
- Audio commentary from the Director and Cinematographer
- Audio commentary from the Director and members of the Cast
- UK theatrical trailer
- "The Autobiography of Oldboy" (210 mins) – An exhaustive three-and-a-half hour long shooting diary
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
- Korean DTS, Korean 5.1 & Korean 2.0 Audio Options
- Optional English subtitles
- Director and Actress Commentary
- Director, DP and Art Director Commentary
- Critic Richard Pena Commentary
- The Making of Lady Vengeance
- Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary)
- Character Interviews
- Lady Vengeance in Venice
- Teasers and Trailers
This set costs a hefty $119.95 and is a Region 0 PAL DVD.
I don’t normally do this, but I wanted to remind everyone that if you’re region free, The Wind that Shakes the Barely, the big winner at Cannes this year, streets in the UK. Additionally overseas, cover art sometimes becomes a bit more polished, better. UK’s Miami Vice release streets there on 11.27.06. And finally, since there’s no real excuse, other than laziness, financial destitution, and/or apathy, you should get the Complete Collection of George Méliès, which busts your eye on 11.8.06.
Impossible 3, The Devil’s Rain, Fast
Food, Keeping up with the Steins, Bird Flu: Fatal Contact in
America, Heart-Stopper, It’s a Wonderful Life: Collector’s Edition,
of the Rat Fink, The Human Factor, Baywatch:
Season 1, Baywatch: Season 2, CSI: Miami Season 4, Ghost
Whisperer: Season 1, Tales from the Crypt: Season 5, Kids
in the Hall: Complete Megaset, Martin & Lewis Collection: Vol. 1,
Tarzan Collection: Vol. 2. There was no Special Edition last week. Instead, comfort yourself with these already-past deals.
House, An American Haunting, Road to Guantánamo, Reservoir
Dogs: 15th Anniversary Edition, Nacho Libre, Saw
II: Special Edition, Looking for Kitty, That’s My
Bush!: Definitive Collection, The O.C.: Season Three, Mini’s
First Time, The Snowman, Body Heat: DE, Greg
the Bunny: Best of the Film Parodies, Justice League Unlimited:
Season 1, Pizza, Nightmares & Dreamscapes,
La Commune (Paris, 1871), The Kid & I, Last
Voyage, Hands over the City: Criterion, Sweetie:
Criterion, and The Astaire & Rogers: Ultimate Collection
(also came in a Partial Ultimate Collection, through Amazon.com
Read the Viagra-poppin’ old Special Edition right here.
DVD Review Forum
DVD Discussion Forum
Clash of the Tartans
The Bargain Bin
Cars is $17.11
James Bond: Ultimate Vol. 1 is $58.39
James Bond: Ultimate Vol. 2 is $58.39
Pusher Trilogy is not sold as a group, each is $14.01 seperately
Wordplay is $19.94
Little Man is $21.72
Transformers: 20th Anv SE is $13.15
Evening with Kevin Smith 2 is $21.72
Beverly Hills 90210: Season 1 is $35.77
Melrose Place: Season 1 is $35.77
The Chairman is $14.64