for the New Year!
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kiddies! It's your Unkie Doogan here, bidding you welcome to the
first Views column of the
ninth year of The Digital Bits.
A lot of things happened in those nine years. Friendships were
forged, relationships were torn asunder and a looooooot of discs
were watched. A lot.
But it's a new year and there are loads of big things ahead. 2006
is gonna be a big year for all of us, I'm sure of it. There are
plenty of new friendships to build and lots of new relationships to
destroy. Oh... and there are plenty more discs to view (in a
multitude of soon-to-be-released formats).
So let's please some of the publicity folks (and my editor and pal,
Mr. Hunt) and start clearing off review my pile. What do you say?
Good, I'm glad you're on board.
1972 (2005) - Hammer Film Productions (Warner Bros.)
The second to last Lee/Cushing Hammer Dracula
flick is oh-so dated. But it's actually pretty cool in its
datedness. That doesn't mean it's a good film, but it's still "cool."
It opens in 1872, with a hectic chase on a horse-drawn carriage.
The chase climaxes with a crash and DrakyBoy (Christopher Lee)
gets impaled on a wagon wheel. As he lies dying in time lapse,
Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), suffering from critical wounds,
fades out... his job finally done. But Dracula has an ace up his
velvety sleeve, when a wannabe scoops up a vialful of Dracula's
ashes and buries them outside of hallowed ground.
100 years later (in 1972, in case you're silly in the head),
the wannabe's ancestor, Johnny Alucard (Alucard? Did Ed Wood
write this?), brings together a bunch of psychedelic mod
hipsters, performs a seance/pseudo-orgie (with screen sirens
Caroline Munro and Stephanie Beacham in attendance, lucky dog)
and brings back Dracula using the ashes and Munro's blood.
Alucard wants immortality for his family loyalty, while Van
Helsing's ancestor (who is played by Cushing) wants to finally
destroy Dracula to keep his fangs out of his hot granddaughter
A.D. 1972 is silly fun, but the keyword there is fun.
This DVD looks damn good as far as I'm concerned. It's never looked
better... and that's coming from someone who used to catch all the
Hammer schlock growing up and has seen this thing looking damn near
haggard. On this DVD, it's presented anamorphic widescreen at 1.85:1
and features mono sound in English and French. The extras are
minimal, with just a trailer, but all in all the disc serves the
film well (even if the film doesn't). If you're a Hammer fan and a
completist (like me) this is a must own. Otherwise, just give it a
40-Year-Old Virgin: Unrated
2005 (2005) - Universal
Without a single doubt, 40-Year-Old
Virgin was the funniest flick of 2005 and the
funniest flick that I've seen in a long time. I laughed and
laughed and laughed at this thing, and I had no real good reason
to. Up until this point Steve Carell was a funny co-star, but
nothing that made me think he'd be a comedy lead anytime soon. I
was way wrong, but only partway. I still think Carell works best
in an ensemble, but he proves here that he can surely be the
star performer in that ensemble.
Virgin follows modern day
shyboy Andy Stitzer (Carell), as he comes out of his shell
amongst his co-workers and grudgingly reveals that he's still a
virgin. While his buddies (Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan and Romany
Malco) decide to take it upon themselves to help relive the
situation, all on his own Andy falls in love with a beautiful
woman (Catherine Keener) who's had enough of the after-divorce
dating racket and is willing to take it slow. All the situations
surrounding these plot points occur with rapid fire hilarity. In
fact, every funny scene you've seen in ads or the trailer pales
in comparison to the stuff you DON'T see in the trailer. But
with all the funny, there's a lot of real heart to this story.
This is not a Happy Madison flick.
looks and sounds great on DVD. The anamorphic widescreen video (at
1.85:1) is bright and somewhat clear. The transfer looks a little
old for some reason. Like they aged the film to look more like an
80s flick. Considering the film is sex-comedy homage, maybe they did
this on purpose. It doesn't look bad at all. It's just an odd thing
to notice on a film made and released this past year. Audio is in
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 and both sound nice and full. This is the
"uncut" version that has 17 minutes of extra story.
There's some great stuff in there, and it all flows together well. I
won't bother to list the new footage here, 'cause I don't roll like
that. Trust me, it's better just experiencing it yourself.
What I can discuss here are the extras. First up is a commentary,
mainly featuring director/co-writer Judd Apatow and actor/producer
Seth Rogan. Everyone else who had anything to do with the film pops
in too, making it a very hectic track. Not a whole lot of production
information comes up, but at times it can be funny. That said, it's
not a favorite commentary of mine, all in all. Next we get two
featurettes. One focuses on the multi-camera shoot of Carell getting
his chest waxed, while the other is a fake interview between Rogan
and one of the hottest porn stars currently working, Stormy Daniels.
Rounding out the set is a huge collection of deleted scenes,
alternate takes, a gag reel and extended sequences. There's a bunch
of funny scenes there, best among them longer versions of You
Know How I Know You're Gay? and Date-a-Palooza.
Selections among these feature alternate commentary with Apatow and
Trust me. Pick this title up for your library, and you won't be
1987 (2005) - Street Trash Joint Venture (Synapse)
My, oh, my... I hated this film. It's soooooooooo boring! I
didn't fall asleep watching it, but I kinda don't remember
anything about it, so that I feel like maybe I did. But I
didn't. I'm sure of it.
Anne Hathaway's boobs. Yeah, I know you guys. It's okay to
admit it. Anne Hathaway's boobs are why most of you wanted to
But you can forget it. They're very nice, but not nice enough
to make this movie worth watching.
Havoc looks great on DVD.
It's presented in 1.85:1 and couldn't look better on this
format. Audio comes in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 and sounds
a lot better than this film deserves. Oh, that's mean. But,
hey... they set us up with Hathaway's boobs and still don't
deliver a good film, so I guess I'm just angry.
Extras are non-existent unless you're a trailer whore, 'cause
there's a trailer. But I'm not a trailer whore.
Deep Throat - NC-17: As Seen In Theaters
2005 (2005) - Universal
Quick review. Honestly, all you need to know is: This is an
entertaining, if somewhat depressing and overly uneventful,
history of a classic adult film. That's pretty much it. This doc
uses a lot of talking heads and shows the ragged road this film
has walked over the years. The best thing about it though, is...
well, I now love Dick Cavett. This is a must view just so you
can fast forward between the interviews with Cavett.
He. Is. A. Frickin'. Genius.
That's all I got to say about that.
The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen and looks
fantastic. Seriously. Audio is also very good in Dolby Digital
Extras include two commentaries - one with the filmmakers and
one comprised of audio clips pulled from unused interviews with
subjects on the film. There's also about 14 deleted scenes
set-up as "featurettes," except they are simply unused
interviews (some actually feature people that didn't show up in
the film like Richard Dreyfuss). It's a great use of unused
material and could have easily been presented as a second doc.
If you're at all interested in the history of adult
entertainment, this is a very interesting documentary. But,
man... that Dick Cavett. He's the man.
it for this week. Bill's making me be more regular, and now that I'm
slowly getting my life back, I think I might actually be able to
post more. Oh... and we're going to have a new discussion board
soon. Bill will link to it on the front page, probably next week.
It's going to be a very cool place to come and discuss stuff this
Anyway, I'll be back soon with another handful of assorted tricks
Keep spinning those discs!
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