The merciless Holidays are upon us! As usual, this week is muted compared to others. Nevertheless, I think the high power is guiding us on our weekly digital quests.
Sit This One Out
I can imagine families gathering ‘round their overstuffed bellies this week, all in anticipation of The Punisher: Extended Edition (click here). The film grabs an extra 17 minutes from the circular file and proceeds to slather them back into the rather limp film with an illegal Sally Fieldian love. While the original cut is by no means an exercise into the skewed pathos of Frank Castle, Lundgren be dammed (lightly), it is, interestingly enough, wholly inadequate. Jonathan Hensleigh (writer of Bay’s testosteronean Rock and piss-poor Armageddon) seems to be content with culling together several bouncing tones at once and never demanding that they actually become, say, coherent. Aside from the masterstroke of casting Thomas Jane in the role that suits him like a Trojan Jumbo, Hensleigh’s film mangles John Travolta’s scenery chewing (“It’s your DUTY to make Castle DEAD”) and an infamous fight with a Russian that is just plain weird. This DVD does have the unfilmed animated Kuwait sequence, but as for those 17 minutes fleshing out anything worthwhile, I wouldn’t await anything spectacular.
Sic vis pacem, para bellum – with:
- Over 17 minutes of additional material
- Animated Kuwait deleted scene
- The Punisher comic book gallery
- Making-of featurette
I’d preferred they’d called it You, Me, and Sadness since the film’s trailer contained little resembling comedy, drama, or even exploitation. It felt like such a non-movie. Wait, scratch that. The exploitation on display comes from the film doing this to the audience (read Devin’s extremely negative review), where Devin explains “no one made even bothered to try to make a decent movie.” And that’s not even surprising, since every theatre I saw the never-ending trailer in didn’t seem to laugh enough to sustain interest. The Butterscotch Stallion plays the titular crashing houseguest, whose MO is wedged somewhere between Sinbad and Bringing Down the House. Kate Hudson and Matt Dillion costar as the couple whose pain you share (mostly because you’re sitting there watching them), and you have to wonder what attracted Joe & Anthony Russo, whose work on Arrested Development helped shape the show’s off-kilter visual style. I’m all for comedies retaining their inherent value to be entertaining above all, but as for this film, one wonders.
Do more with one testicle – with:
- Audio commentary with Anthony and Joe Russo
- Audio commentary with Writer Michael Le Sieur and Producer Scott Stuber
- "Dupree’s Memoirs" interactive scrapbook
- Alternate Ending
- Some deleted Scenes and Outtakes
Ralph Compton watches as his mother and someone who’s definitely not his father ride the baloney pony in the front seat of their car while the 1960’s last bastion of colonialism in Africa – Swaziland – engulfs them in the awkwardly titled Wah-Wah. Richard E. Grant, whose indelible mark on my childhood started with telling me about the wonders of eating sushi, naked, in the back of a Cadillac, stages his directorial debut with a fairly keen eye. Apparently, all of this craziness happened to him during this tumultuous years growing up and you’ve got to give it to him – that he endured is pretty krazee. His faux-family, made up of the belligerent alcoholic Gabriel Byrne, the Mother (Miranda Richardon) who ran away with her husband’s brother (“he’s decisive”), and his observant self are on a collision course rocketing downward; much like the political landscape around them. Rather disjointedly, Grant attempts to parallel the situations with one another and it feels a bit of a stretch. Not in that Swedish way, but certainly not without some variation of mild entertainment.
How very hubbly-jubbly for you – with:
- No extras, as far as I could tell.
The first Ice Age didn’t quite leave what one would call an impression on me enough to warrant rushing out to catch Ice Age: The Meltdown. What does, you ask? Meat. Clearly, Blue Sky (Chris Wedge’s animation company) has a couple of caveats to refine – although I certainly enjoyed most of Robots, with a few reservations – from the bellwether markers of the fine folks at Pixar. Their first journey had its share of silent moments that reverberated well enough at the time, but now, I’m having trouble conjuring the images, aside from Scrat’s scurrying. The Meltdown continues with the cadre of large animals as the descend into the madness of the Ray Romano’s Woolly love-life, especially since the filmmakers have to do so with tact and delicacy, items that don’t instantly scream “hairy beasts mating!.” While I’ve been privy to the words enjoyable and exciting for the ongoing adventures with the seemingly formulaic events – beasts meet, discuss, and rub it (just like life) – I say you make up our own eternally damned mind.
All unattended children will be eaten – with:
- Audio commentaries by Director Carlos Saldanha, Producer Lori Forte and the Production Team
- Crash and Eddie Blooper
- All–New Short – "No Time for Nuts"
- All–New Crash & Eddie Stunts – 3 Short Shorts
- Intro Into New Characters – "Meet Ellie" and "Meet Crash and Eddie"
- Lost Historical Films on the Ice Age Period: The Sloth "Nature’s Lovable Lisper," The Wooly Mammoth "Nature’s Beast of Burden," The Saber-Tooth Squirrel "Nature’s Nutty Buddy," The Saber-Tooth Tiger, "Nature’s Fearsome Feline," The Vulture "Nature’s Cleaners," and The Possum "Nature’s Spunky Spectacles"
- Sloth Dancing to Sid’s Sing-a-Long
- Set Top Games – Factoid Meltdown, Scrat’s Piranha Smackdown, Sid Soccer Game, Personality Match Game, Vivendi Universal Game Memory Challenge
- Silly Sid & John Leguizamo – A Featurette
Larry Clark, instantly touching your biases, points his roaming pubescent camera towards non-professionals once again with his critically-acclaimed Wassup Rockers (read Devin’s review) and in turn, infuses the plot with The Warriors by way of The Swimmer (two films if you’ve not seen, should be rectified immediately or I’ll deliver pain and anguish upon thee). Living in South Central Los Angeles has afforded the several teens populated throughout the film – Jonathan, Kiko, Eddie, Porky, and the well-received Spermball – something of a paradox: they stand out like needles in that proverbial fuck stack. While everyone else is listening to hip-hop, they’re onto punk. While battles are raging all around, they’re skateboarding and chasing girls – just being themselves without the hassle. That’s not really everything, as their journey into the heart of phony whiteness (Beverly Hills, click here) is peppered with the Man and periodic bouts of lingering, shirtless, for Clark’s framing purposes.
Oy, Oy – with:
- Audio commentary with Larry Clark
- Home Battle Scene
- Rockers Montage
- Wassup Rockers Theatrical Trailer
Woody Allen returned slightly triumphant from his previous skewed endeavors (read: the 90’s, early aught’s) with Match Point and continues the rejiggered ingenuity into his half murder/mystery, half comedy Scoop. In a role he specifically wrote for Scarlett Johnanssen (read Kara’s interview with her), she plays the intrepid American Journalism student who’s visited by the ghost of a murdered reporter (the motherfucking cocksucker, in the best way possible, Ian McShane. Read Kara’s interview with him here) who apparently has bragging rights to the information of the century. It doesn’t also help that she becomes romantically involved with the wealthy chiseled Peter Lyman (the workaholic Hugh Jackman), who may or may not be the Tarot Card Killer, currently terrorizing the public and the Police with his infamous, yet morbid system of trash disposal. Allen, naturally, plays the nebbish magician who becomes the Kitty to Johanssen’s Foyle – here he’s using all of his well known mannerisms to shutter and schtick and shimmy his way into the proceedings. Still, it works (reminding me somewhat of a little Manhattan Murder Mystery), and it’s certainly a lightly speckled film that blows Allen’s last decade or so right back to that car on 45th street.
Have your anxiety act as aerobics – with:
There are no extras, only subtitles and Allen’s standard Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.
Like him or not, you can’t assume Roger Corman of failing to see talent. From his earliest endeavors (with the likes of Jonathan Demme, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and even Ron Howard) to the previous ones (with the likes of which you’d probably still have a good, yet deadly harmless laugh – like Carnosaur, which makes it dangerously mediocre), he’s managed to keep afloat and like the good John Holmes taught us, it’s all about staying power. Flashing back to 1960, The Cry Baby Killer had then 21-year old Nicholson in his first starring role. The film’s a little wacky, veering off with quota-quicky qualities – bad overacting and shoddy sets abound like mad, but it should be interesting if you’re into a genesis formation. Also included on the disc is the original Little Shop of Horrors, and you certainly can’t go wrong with that. The second release, meanwhile, has Corman and Howard teaming up with Grand Theft Auto: Tricked Out Edition and infusing the plot with all-manner of speediness, as Howard’s innate classicism starts to slightly form in the face of a thousand car crashes (take that, public property!). It’s been described as “nutty” and honestly, that’s as true to form as I could ever relate.
Be Mister Ever-hard – with:
Cry Baby Killer/Little Shop of Horrors:
- New digital master with enhanced audio
- An all-new intro from Roger Corman
- The Little Shop of Horrors special feature: An all-new intro from Roger Corman
Grand Theft Auto:
- Audio commentary with Ron Howard and Roger Corman
- Introduction by Roger Corman
- A Family Affair
- Grand Theft Auto Original Trailer
As a curious independent, Bang certainly hits some high notes – in done in such a innocuous style, that it almost exudes charisma, and not from its pants. Unfortunately, most of the film is completely ham-handed; delving into the “day-in-the-life” formula with some fairly mediocre stereotypes and characters that don’t quite register. The plot, which heavily influences the rest of the film and its comment on societal living, has a young woman, currently destitute, trying on a Los Angeles PD Uniform through a rather weird situation, and living out the rest of the day with all of the trials and freestyle beatings that go with it. Still, Director Ash, who I believe has two hands, foists a rather ingenious $20,000 quickie narrative onto his characters – things feel somewhat real (one only has to look at the verité scenes involving what I assumed to be real-life Police Officers quizzically abounding). As a message picture about the roles society forces us to play, Bang is interesting enough to warrant a viewing, even with its myriad of engaging, spontaneous filmmaking foibles.
Kiss Kiss – with:
- Cast and Crew Interviews
- Alternate Ending
- Cast and Crew Profiles
- Production Notes
Preston Sturges had a very acute eye towards characters and comedy. Often times he’d put both at odds with one another (I’m reminded of Lady Eve – buy it from CHUD here, where Henry Fonda keeps getting a horse snout in his face) and watching the results, his screwball works were nothing short of magnificent. That’s why Universal’s Preston Sturges – The Filmmaker Collection, with the mature, maniacal gems like Sullivan’s Travels, The Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story, Hail the Conquering Hero, Christmas in July, The Great Moment, and The Great McGinty is an instant no-brainer of a purchase. Largely underrepresented amongst the recent sets, this is the largest collection of Sturges most spot-on works, ones that skewer both social settings and people, situations and circumstances; each with a fast-paced style effortlessly (and almost) unmatched. As a Writer/Director, Struges really makes quite the stamp amongst the times with his dialogue. It’s represented on display in the splendiferous Sullivan’s Travels, where Joel McCrea, after learning the people in Pittsburgh know what they like, comments “if they knew what they liked they wouldn’t live in Pittsburgh!.” This is but a fraction of his insanely witty bon mots, flying forth throughout the entire set. If you were smart, you’d just pick it up, no questions asked.
Everything is perfect… except for a couple of details – with:
- A great bargain with little-to-no extras.
In addition to the above, Tuesday will also arrive with these. Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient Truth is a real eye-opener, regardless of political affiliation. Should you feel like it, depending on the die-hard J.J. Abrams fan in you, enter our Alias: Final Season contest here, and finally, suffer from Backlash. Or not.
December isn’t quite the prolific month at the Collection. It does have more than a few choices to expand your cinematic horizons. Sadly, I don’t feel that many will flock to their upcoming treasures, preferring to stay firmly ensconced in their previous ones. I for one, have always had immense trouble tracking down Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One, that is until now. Apparently, it’s one of the most innovative looks into the moviemaking process. That right there should perk some bells mighty high. Criterion couples together that with Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take Two and a Half, which is the mostly unpublished sequel. Aside from that, there’s the Beals of Grey Gardens, which has Criterion reupdating their Grey Gardens repertoire with some recently discovered footage and a deeper look into the Beale legacy. That’s available separately, or together (with the already released Grey Gardens) in a boxed set.
Now January, that’s what we’re talkin’ about. Criterion high-fives Robert Bresson’s Mouchette – arguably the most depressing film ever made. Make sure to have the crisis hotline handy. Tears will be shed. Guaranteed. Then, expect Allison Ander’s Border Radio, The Atomic Submarine, First Man into Space, Corridors of Blood, and Haunted Strangler in their Murders and Madmen Collection, on top of recently updated offerings of Yojimbo and Sanjuro. All that Holiday cash will surely come in handy, if you haven’t spent it on drowning Long Island Socialites.
Here’s what’s upcoming to ask for the Holidaze.
1900: Special Collector’s Edition
24: Season 5
Animaniacs: Volume 2
After the Rain
Beerfest – Completely Totally Unrated
Black Christmas: Special Edition
Charlie Chan Collection: Volume 2
The Conformist: Special Collector’s Edition
Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete Seventh Season
Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Series
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Film Collection
Frank Capra Collection
Garfield and Friends: Behind the Scenes
High School Musical: Remix Edition
How to Eat Fried Worms: Platinum Series
Lies and Alibis
Look Both Ways
Mission: Impossible: The Complete First Season
My First Wedding
New Year’s Day
The Oh in Ohio
Pinky and The Brain: Volume 2
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pulse (also comes in an Unrated ed.)
Rocky: 30th Anniversary Two-Disc Collector’s Edition
Roseanne: The Complete Sixth Season
Someone to Love
Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season (1975-1976)
Survivor: Vanuatu – The Complete Season
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Volume 6
TCM Archives: Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume 1
Walt Disney’s Legacy Collection: True-Life Adventures – Wonders of the World
Walt Disney’s Legacy Collection: True-Life Adventures – Lands of Exploration
Walt Disney’s Legacy Collection: True-Life Adventures – Creatures of the Wild
Walt Disney’s Legacy Collection: True-Life Adventures – Nature’s Mysteries
The Year Without a Santa Claus
Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Final Season
Barnyard: The Original Party Animals
Bugsy: Extended Cut
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Four-Disc Extended Edition (also comes in a Giftset)
Dean Martin Double Feature
Devil Wears Prada
The Doors: 15th Anniversary Edition
Escape From Colditz
Fox and the Hound 2
Full House: The Complete Fifth Season
Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Complete First Season
The House of Sand
ames Bond Ultimate Collection – Volume 3
James Bond Ultimate Collection – Volume 4
Law & Order: Criminal Intent – The Second Year
Mozart and the Whale
Stacked: The Complete Series
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
World Trade Center
A Scanner Darkly
All the King’s Men: Special Edition
American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile
Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania
ER: The Complete Sixth Season
Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Fifth Season
Jet Li’s Fearless
Lady in the Water
Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines
Little Miss Sunshine
Married… With Children: The Complete Sixth Season
National Lampoon’s Pledge This!
My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Police Story: Special Collector’s Edition
Presenting Lily Mars
Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season
Walt Disney Treasures: Your Host, Walt Disney
Walt Disney Treasures: More Silly Symphonies
Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Pluto: Volume 2
Walt Disney Treasures: The Mickey Mouse Club Featuring The Hardy Boys
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
The Wicker Man
Airwolf: Season Two
Amar te Duele
Dane Cook’s Tourgasm
Jackass Number Two
The Last Kiss
Magma: Volcanic Disaster
Monarch of the Moon/Destination Mars
Mr. Fix It
Scrooge: Special Edition
The Simple Life 4: ‘Til Death Do Us Part
Two-A-Days: Hoover High – The Complete First Season
I really wanted to see Flyboys and not just because it seems to have reinvigorated the WW1 epic about flying daredevils – a subject, while not too couth these days, that is fascinating all together (see: Wings and Hells Angels). It appears that DVDActive has the skinny on its DVD release, currently slated for 1.30.07. As the typical piece de merde that I usually am, I promptly missed it, even thought the trailer with its bouts of aerial action and sweeping romantic majesty perked my interest ten fold. Friends who saw it told me that it unevenly balanced between the love and the violence (just like our contentious relationship) and the resonance just wasn’t quite there. The plot, meanwhile, is all about the young men of the Lafayette Escadrille – jumping into the war on the French side to become one of the first fighter pilots of our new, horrible modern era. If anything, the film could go two ways: it could enthrall one’s hardened veneer, or it could also pummel it with a sappy romanticism all too prevalent these days in lesser films. Advanced word is that it does a little of both.
Fear the hook – with:
- Extras are TBD.
Right in time for the annual shut-in that is Valentine’s Day, Warner is prepping to make your night at least enjoyable with their Director’s variety show of Neil Jordan’s The Butcher Boy, Tony Richardson’s Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Cammell & Roeg’s Performance, and Federico Fellini’s Ginger & Fred; all arriving on 2.13.07. Roeg and Donald Cammell’s film has been subject to controversy all throughout the years – exactly who directed? Roeg, as one knows, served as the cinematographer, while Cammell wrote the script. At least the insinuations will rage on again with this recent DVD release of the riff on Bergman. Naturally, I’ve always been partial to Richardson’s Loneliness, partly because I think Tom Courtenay’s performance, along with Richardson’s British New Wave visuals really created a yearning of anger, of a desirable fantasy that still fires on all cylinders. Jordan’s opus The Butcher Boy I have yet to see (for some reason, my young ass opted for In Dreams). And finally, Fellini’s Ginger & Fred, while made on his inevitable slide into old age, contains his directorial hallmarks that really make anything worthwhile. The film’s a bit too melancholic for my tastes, but it’s Fellini, so take heed, young virgins.
Extras on the above include:
- New featurette Influence and Controversy
- Vintage featurette Memo Song from Turner
- Theatrical trailer (on both Performance and Loneliness)
Extras on the above include:
- Commentary by director/co-screenwriter Neil Jordan
- Additional scenes
- Theatrical trailers (on both Butcher Boy & Ginger & Fred)
Christopher Smith seems to have learned a few things since making the atmospherically successful Creep (read our review here and then Russ’ interview with him here) and that’s presenting things creepier, better, and bloodier. For his new film Severance – oozing out in jolly ol’ on DVD on 1.8.07 – Smith returns to the darkness with a dash of enlivened comedy, creating what’s been called a rip-roaring crowd pleaser that should sufficiently deliver to those wishing to see the siren’s call between a rocket launcher and one of the main characters. Just in case you already hadn’t made up your mind, Smith’s film is all about friends. The team of Palisades Defense is subjected to some pretty hor