Welcome to The Special Edition. Straight to the column this week.

PaybackPAYBACK: STRAIGHT UP (DIRECTOR’S CUT)

When Payback was released, I remember hearing more about Mel Gibson and Brian Helgeland clashing and Gibson pretty much taking the movie out of Helgeland’s hands and tailoring it more to his liking. Well, talk has centered around what the movie would have been like if it had been more suited towards Helgeland’s darker vision. More than thirty percent of the movie was re-shot in the version that everyone has seen. The director’s cut will remove all the shooting that was done after Helgeland was booted and actually clocks in at 10-minutes shorter than the theatrical version. Payback was the remake of the movie Point Blank, which told the revenge story of a man named Walker who is double crossed and seeks revenge (and his money) from the man who betrayed him. Re-named Porter (the character in the book he was based on was Parker), Gibson stars as the man betrayed and hell bent for vengeance. In this version we lose the entire subplot with the kidnapped kid and Kris Kristofferson’s role is not to be seen. We also get a completely different ending with a completely different resolution. This, kids, is a completely different movie. You can barely compare Helgeland’s Porter and Gibson’s cleaned-up Porter. From a burnt out man with nothing left to lose to a guy who’s going out on a limb to save kids, the difference between the two is so vast that he’s nearly unrecognizable. This edition comes with the director’s cut and a very welcome commentary track. We can only hope Helgeland feels comfortable enough to cut loose a little bit here. I want juice and honesty in this commentary track. This has potential to be one of the best director’s cuts out there.

SPECIAL FEATURES
- Commentary by Writer/Director Brian Helgeland
- Paybacks Are A Bitch: On Location in Chicago
- Paybacks Are A Bitch: On Set in Los Angeles
- Same Story, Different Movie – Creating Payback: The Director’s Cut
- The Hunter: A Conversation with Author Donald E. Westlake

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Major LeagueMAJOR LEAGUE: WILD THING EDITION

Last week, The Natural was released and I mentioned how much I loved baseball movies. Well, after a full week of watching the real thing, we get a couple of baseball movie releases this week. The first I will talk about is one of my favorite comedies of all time. Major League was released eighteen years ago (damn, I feel old after saying that) and it holds up better today than most of the comedies they have been releasing lately. Charlie Sheen plays the hotshot (pun intended) pitcher this special edition is named after who leads the lowly Cleveland Indians to the playoffs to beat their ruthless, greedy owner who only wants to lose enough games to allow her to move the team to a warmer city. In real life the Indians were the worst team, with the longest period of futility in Major League Baseball. Sure the Cubs and Red Sox had not won the big one in years – the Indians had barely won any games at all from 1960 to 1993. Even after achieving a winning season in 1986, they followed with 101 losses the next year. The movie proved to be a prophesy for their real-life counterparts. Before Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle and Orel Hershhiser led the 1995 Indians to the World Series Willie Mays Hayes, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, Jake Taylor and Pedro Cerrano led the fictional Indians to the playoffs. In both instances, it was over the Yankees. That is a good reason why for a few years in the 90’s the Indians were my favorite team. This is a great movie, with quotable lines that really don’t get old. If rumors are true, the alternate ending sucks. Apparently, in the original ending Rachel Phelps admits before the final game that her bitchy persona was all an act in order to fire up the players. She says had they not had a good season, the team might have gone bankrupt. This totally blows the excitement when they win despite her. I am glad they redid the ending but it might be interesting to see how it was originally supposed to end. Another extra that really interests me is a featurette where real major leaguers talk about the movie as well as the commentary track with the director and producer. This is a big one, and will be the first one I look for Tuesday.

SPECIAL FEATURES
- Commentary by writer/director David Ward and producer Chris Chesser
- My Kinda Team Featurette
- A Major League Look at Major League Featurette
- Bob Uecker: Just A Bit Outside Featurette
- A Tour of Cerrano’s Locker Featurette
- Alternate Ending with Filmmaker Introduction
- Photo Gallery

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Phantasm IIIPhantasmPHANTASM
AND
PHANTASM III

When I was a kid, I remember fearing the Tall Man. I remember the fears of graveyards and mortuaries and silver spheres and dwarves and everything that made Phantasm a great horror movie. Sure, Michael Baldwin is a talent vacuum but man that movie had some inventive, creepy shit in it. Then I forgot about it. Jason, Freddy and Michael Myers began to put out movie after movie of the same old shit and the Tall Man and his spheres fell to the wayside. Well, memories resurfaced a few years ago when a buddy and me got a chance to go see Bubba Ho-Tep in a theater during it’s limited cross country tour. We re-introduced ourselves to the Tall Man and his dwarf army, and while time has not been kind to much of the movie, it was still some creative and crazy ass shit. I never saw the second movie or the third, but that first movie remains a horror classic. There are a few people who will always be known for their horror roles. Bruce Campbell will always be known as Ash to many fans. Robert England will always be Freddy Krueger. But just as much as they are known for their iconic roles, Angus Scrimm will always be known as the Tall Man. And Don Coscarelli will always be known as the man who was the genius behind Phantasm (and Bubba Ho-Tep). These movies will be awesome to own, but I still demand to know why region 2 gets the AWESOME five-disc Phantasm Box Set shaped like a sphere with all four movies included (check it out here). Regardless, here’s a chance to own some classic horror in the U.S.

PHANTASM SPECIAL FEATURES
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Don Coscarelli and Stars Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm and Bill Thornbury
- Phantasmagoria: The Making of Phantasm
- Phantasm: Behind the Scenes
- Phantasm: Actors Having a Ball
- 6 Deleted Scenes
- 1979 Phantasm Interview
- 1988 Fangoria TV Commercial
- Angus Scrimm 1989 Convention Appearance
- Interview Outtakes
- Theatrical Trailers from Phantasm and Phantasm III
- TV Spots

PHANTASM III SPECIAL FEATURES
- Audio Commentary with Stars Michael Baldwin and Angus Scrimm
- Phantasm III: Behind the Scenes
- Trailers for Phantasm and Phantasm III
- Screenplay (DVD-ROM)

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BobbyBOBBY

The Golden Globe nominated movie directed by Emilio Estevez comes out this week on DVD. The movie tells the story of several individuals who are at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968 on the day that Robert F. Kennedy would be assassinated. The movie is quite a step up for Estevez’s directing oeuvre. Then again, following Men at Work and Rated X, that was not hard to do. Much of the credit might be because of the cast of talent he gathered for this movie. Harry Belafonte, Laurence Fishburne, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Joshua Jackson, Shia LeBeouf, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood and Nick Cannon are just part of the all-star cast. Then again, maybe we should also give Estevez credit for putting out such a solid movie despite the presence of Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher, Freddy Rodriguez and Heather Graham. I kid. Maybe. Either way, the movie turned out to be quite a solid flick and even received a seven-minute long standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, three minutes shorter than The Fountain received. The movie does not actually go into the conspiracy theories of the assassination and instead only focuses on the lives of the people there at the time of the murder.

SPECIAL FEATURES
- Bobby: The Making of an American Epic
- Eye-witness Accounts from the Ambassador Hotel

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YankeesTHE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES: 65th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

I wasn’t going to talk about this release. However, I thought about it and with all I have said about my love of baseball movies, if I did not include something about this DVD and then went ahead and talked about a professional wrestling release, Nick would probably kill me. Well, I’ll make a little admission here: I have never seen this movie. A couple of reasons for that are that it was released almost thirty years before I was born and it is not something I have made a strong attempt to track down because – well, I hate the New York Yankees. I hate them with all by being. I hate George Steinbrenner. I hate the evil empire. Period. I don’t care about them now, I don’t care about them historically. However, this movie is considered a masterpiece. Gary Cooper stars as Lou Gehrig. It was released two years after Gehrig died of the disease that would be named after him. It also included cameos by his real-life friends Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel and Bill Dickey, who all played themselves. The film was adapted by Herman J. Mankiewicz, who is better known as the man who wrote Citizen Kane. It was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, winning one for editing. It also includes one of the most famous lines in sport’s history, when Gehrig told fans in his farewell speech that “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Another scene in the movie included one where Gehrig promised a young crippled boy that he would hit two home runs for him in a game, and after doing so encountered the boy later and found he could now walk, inspired by his heroes determination. That scene was amusingly spoofed in BASEketball. Yes, I have never seen it. And yes, I hate the New York Yankees. But I will be buying the movie when it is released and I will be watching it. You should too.

SPECIAL FEATURES
- Original Theatrical Trailer

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horsemenRIC FLAIR AND THE FOUR HORSEMEN

I know there are fans of professional wrestling who read this site. I am one of them. Recently there have been quite a few great DVDs released on the “Sport’s Entertainment” industry. The best of these DVDs take the form of career bios of the stars of yesteryear. Such legendary stars of the squared circle to receive great DVDs based on their careers include Bret “the Hitman” Hart, Jake “the snake” Roberts, The Undertaker, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. These DVDs rival any biographical DVD made. The WWE knows how to put these projects together with informative biographies that really pulls no punches. These are not about showing professional wrestling as much as they are about telling the story of a person’s life. This year there is a full slate of great WWE DVD’s coming out including one later in the year over WWE star “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. However, this Tuesday there is a DVD that I heard about last year that covers a group from the era when I was just beginning to watch wrestling – the 1980’s. That group was led by Ric Flair and is called the Four Horsemen. I know there are a lot of old school wrestling fans who read this site who stopped watching wrestling, but I know you would be interested in this DVD. The Four Horsemen were the Genesis of the "evil group" in professional wrestling. They were comprised of great wrestlers, who knew they were great, would tell anyone who would listen that they were great, and made fans hate them more than anyone in the industry. Like all the WWE DVDs, this 2-Disc set includes the documentary tracking the history of the Horsemen from their creation and is filled with exclusive interviews from many of the people who were part of this groundbreaking group as well as rivalry highlights and complete matches.

SPECIAL FEATURES
- Extended Interviews
- In Ring Promos
- Seven Complete Matches

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UPCOMING DVD NEWS

flagsTHE BATTLE FOR IWO JIMA 5-DISC COMMEMORATIVE COLLECTOR’S EDITION

Well, last week I told you about the Flags of Our Fathers special edition that was to be released on May 22. I mentioned that I would not be surprised to see it released as a special set with Letters from Iwo Jima once it was announced. Hell, I thought that they would force a triple dip by announcing it later. Well, they are actually doing it right this time. They announced the special edition of Letters of Iwo Jima (no bare bones on this one) to be released also on May 22. Extras will include a Red Sun, Black Sand: Making of Letters from Iwo Jima documentary, a Faces of Combat: The Cast of Letters from Iwo Jima documentary, a still photo montage, the November 2006 World Premiere at Budo-kan in Tokyo, and a November 2006 press conference. It will be priced just north of $30. Well, the good news: also on May 22, The Battle for Iwo Jima 5-Disc Commemorative Edition will be released. This will include the Letters From Iwo Jima, along with Flags of our Fathers, and the bonus disc Heroes Of Iwo Jima. This includes an A&E documentary (narrated by Gene Hackman), and the Oscar Nominated 1945 short film To the Shores of Iwo Jima. Retail on that will be $49.96.

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siegeTHE SIEGE (MARTIAL LAW EDITION)

The Siege, which stars Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis is set to be released in a special edition entitled “The Martial Law Edition” and will be available on May 15. This is a movie that I am quite surprised is getting released in a special edition, especially at this time in history. The film tells the story of terrorists who set off a bomb on a bus, in a Broadway theater and in the offices of the FBI counterterrorism, division. The bombings cause the president to call for martial law in New York City until the rest of the bombs could be found. Washington plays an FBI agent who is searching for the terrorists while Willis plays the military general who enacts the martial law. The two sides are at odds with each other the entire movie as Washington searches for the truth and Willis just blindly follows orders and becomes almost as dangerous as the terrorists themselves. The movie was considered offensive at the time as the Arab anti-defamation league stated that the film preached stereotyping that leads to hate crimes. When the World Trade Center was bombed three years later, the movie took on a whole new meaning, but still is ridiculed as breeding hate and fear towards Asian minorities. I don’t know if I agree with that, as the movie makes our own military look almost as bad as the movies other villains. Extras will include an audio commentary by director Edward Zwick and executive producer Peter Schindler, The Siege: Taking New York featurette, a Martial Law: Freedom Is History featurette, The Making Of The Siege featurette (1998), and the original theatrical trailers.

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hannibalHANNIBAL RISING

Hannibal Rising, which stars Aaron Thomas as the young Hannibal Lecter, will be released in both rated and unrated editions on May 29. The movie tells the story of a young Hannibal Lecter, and how he eventually became Anthony Hopkins. The movie flopped at the theaters and may not stand to do much better when it is released on DVD. Extras on the rated edition will include an audio commentary with director Peter Webber and producer Martha De Laurentiis, a Hannibal Lecter: The Origin of Evil featurette, an Allan Starski: Designing Horror and Elegance featurette. The unrated edition will include 5 deleted scenes, and presumably all of the above features too.

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fountainTHE FOUNTAIN

Warner Home Video have released artwork for a new cover of the Darren Aronofsky film, The Fountain. This cover is much, much better than the original one they announced. I don’t know if the old, shitty cover is going to be the full screen version and the better one for the widescreen, or if they are just putting out a different cover since the old one sucked so bad. Either way, it comes out on May 15 and will feature almost an hour of featurettes exploring the film’s various periods and settings: "Australia" (7:40), “The 21st Century" (10:20), “Spain-16th Century" (13:35), “New Spain" (10:00), “The Endless Field" (7:10) and “The Future" (15:13).

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THE BARGAIN BIN

* The Target ad online sucked this week, so I just looked up the prices of the main stuff. I think next week I’m gonna change up the bargain bin, make it a little easier to navigate through, easier to find new releases and find the best prices at all the retailers that I find.

TARGET

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 2, Volume II – $12.99
Bobby – $19.99
Scooby-Doo; Where Are You: Season 3 – $29.99
Major League: Wild Thing Edition – $9.99
Ric Flair & The 4 Horsemen – $19.99
Payback: Special Edition – $14.99
Phantasm III – $14.99
Pride of the Yankees – $11.19

CIRCUIT CITY

Bobby – $16.99
Ric Flair & The 4 Horsemen – $14.99 (2 DVDs)
Payback: Special Edition – $12.99
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 2, Volume II – $12.99
Charlotte’s Web – $19.99
Jump In: FreeStyle Edition – $19.99
Happy Feet – $19.99
Eragon – $19.99
Blood Diamond – $19.99
The Pursuit Of Happyness – $19.99
The Devil Wears Prada – $11.99
X-MEN 3: The Last Stand – $11.99
Little Miss Sunshine – $11.99
Talladega Nights; Ballad Of Ricky Bobby – $11.99
Phantasm – $12.99 – Circuit City Exclusive: Free Phantasm poster with DVD purchase
RENO: 911: Reno’s Most Wanted – $14.99 – Free 5 Episode Comedy Central DVD Sampler with purchase of ANY Comedy Central DVD
Chappelle’s Show: The Lost Episodes – $19.99 – Free 5 Episode Comedy Central DVD Sampler with purchase of ANY Comedy Central DVD
Mind Of Mencia: Season 2 Uncenored – $19.99 – Free 5 Episode Comedy Central DVD Sampler with purchase of ANY Comedy Central DVD
South Park: Season 7 / 8 / 9 – $34.99 each – Free 5 Episode Comedy Central DVD Sampler with purchase of ANY Comedy Central DVD

2 DVDs For $15: Willow, Roseanne: The Complete First Season, The Goonies, Tom & Jerry Movie: The Fast & The Furry, Chicken Run, Grandma’s Boy: Unrated, Fast Times At Ridgemont High: Special Edition, Phat Girlz, Life, Friday, The Big Lebowski: Collector’s Edition, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Unbreakable: Vista Series, Dead Presidents, Gotti, GoodFellas (1st Pressing), Blow, Monsters Ball (1st Pressing), Crash (1st Pressing), Rounders: Collector’s Edition , Heat (1st Pressing), Syriana, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid: 2 DVD Collector’s Edition, Belly, Above The Law / Hard To Kill ACTION Double Feature, Lara Croft. Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life, The Italian Job (Wahlberg / Theron / Caine)

$9.99 DVDS: Rest Stop: Unrated, Interview With A Vampire (1st Pressing), V For Vendetta, Undisputed II: Last Man Standing, ATL, Firewall, Poseidon, 16 Blocks, Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier, Braveheart, Aeon Flux (Theron), The Butterfly Effect 2, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, REDS: Special Collector’s Edition, Rough Riders, Jackass: The Movie – Unrated, Carlos Mencia: No Strings Attached, Katt Williams: The Pimp Chronicles – Part 1, Eddie Murphy: Delirious, The Wicker Man (Cage), The Notebook, The Lake House, Take The Lead, Titanic: Special Collector’s Edition, Last Holiday, Just Like Heaven, Failure To Launch, Wedding Crashers: Uncorked Edition, Dodgeball, Best In Show (1st Pressing), She’s The Man, How To Eat Fried Worms, HOOT, Dreamer, Shark Tale, Shrek, Shrek 2, Yours, Mine & Ours (Quaid / Russo), Madagascar, Beverly Hills Cop : The Complete Line Up

BEST BUY

Bobby  $16.99
JFK: 2 DVD Special Edition  $16.99
Major League: Wild Thing Edition  $9.99
Ric Flair & The 4 Horsemen  $19.99
Dora The Explorer: Musical School Days  $12.99
Pokemon Ranger: Temple Of The Sea  $12.99
Avatar The Last Airbender: Book 2: Earth – Volume II – $9.99 – Comes with exclusive tattoos
24: Season 1 – $19.99
Firefly: The Complete Series – $19.99
Family Guy: Volume IV – $19.99
Arrested Development: Season 3 – $19.99
The Simpsons: Season 3 – $19.99
Stargate: Atlantis – Season 1 – $39.99 – Save $10 Instantly with the purchase of Stargate: Atlantis – Seasons 1 + 2
Stargate: Atlantis – Season 2 – $39.99 – Save $10 Instantly with the purchase of Stargate: Atlantis – Seasons 1 + 2

HD-DVDs: 
Aeon Flux – $24.99
Babel – 29.99 Combo
M:I: III – $29.99
Children Of Men – $34.99
The Good Shepherd – $34.99 Combo
Miami Vice – $34.99 Combo
Scooby-Doo; Where Are You: Season 3 – $24.99

$7.50 DVDs:  Four Brothers, Hustle & Flow, Red Eye, The Fifth Element (1st Pressing), The Game, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1st Pressing), All Quiet On The Western Front, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Monster’s Ball (1st Pressing), Goldfinger, The Sixth Sense, My Cousin Vinny, The Jerk: 26th Anniversary Edition, Weird Science, The Ice Harvest, The Hulk, 2 Fast 2 Furious, On Golden Pond, High Tension, First Blood, King Of New York: Special Edition, Super Troopers, The Girl Next Door, Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior, Shakespeare In Love: Miramax Collector’s Edition, Armageddon

$12.99 DVDs (More titles to choose from in store & online): Boondock Saints: Unrated, Napoleon Dynamite: Like, The Best Special Edition Ever!, The Shawshank Redemption: 2 DVD Special Edition, Mr. & Mrs. Smith: Unrated, Rocky: 2 DVD Collector’s Edition, The Sound Of Music: 40th Anniversary Edition, Poseidon:2 DVD Special Edition

2 DVDs For $30 —- OR —- 3 DVDs For $40 (More titles to choose from in store & online):  Crank, SAW III: Unrated Edition, The Descent: Original Unrated Cut, Snakes On A Plane, Monster House, Employee Of The Month, All The King’s Men: Special Edition (2006), Talladega Nights: Ballad Of Ricky Bobby: Unrated & Uncut!

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That’s about it for the week in DVD. Flip me an e-mail at Chud1@starvingdogs.biz with any questions or comments and I’ll see you next week.