Weekly Release Roundup
Well... Happy Frickin' Birthday to me. Okay, enough of that. I'm
getting old. So, getting back to the real important stuff: DVD. I'm
happy to report that today is actually a pretty good day to be a fan
of the format. It's also a good day to have lots of expendable
income. Lots of great stuff for horror film fans, comedy fans and
comic book fans. Box sets galore. Don't believe me? Take a look for
Saddles: 30th Anniversary Special Edition
I don't have to discuss this film much do I? It's one of the
greatest comedies of all-time and keeps getting better every
year it's out. This new edition nicely replaces the previous
release. Blazing Saddles
now looks and sounds incredible with anamorphic widescreen and
remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Thank you, Warners. Extras
include a funny commentary with the maestro Mel Brooks, a
reunion of cast and crew from 2001, a look at the lovely
Madeline Kahn, the TV pilot Black
Bart based on the film, and some additional/deleted
scenes that have been pulled from the TV version. All in all, a
very good re-release to a library must-have.
Long, pretentious, but beautiful to look at, Cold
Mountain is a film you either love or hate. I'm in
the middle. But I usually am. I see what Anthony Minghella was
trying to do, and at times he is quite successful, but the scope
of the film may be too much for even the best director to
tackle. It's a love story, it's a war story, it's a story about
man at his worst and man at his best. It's an epic concerning
the American Civil War and it's an epic concerning a woman's
fight to stay alive. Sweeping in its arc, and well-told by some
of the greatest actors of our time, Cold
Mountain is a movie worth checking out just for the
performances. Maybe you'll be one of the ones who fall in love
with it. Or maybe not.
This 2-disc special edition presents the film in a very nice
and clean anamorphic widescreen. Colors are solid, with nice
blacks and good skin tones. Audio is presented in DTS and Dolby
Digital 5.1 and both sound wonderful. Extras include a very
informational commentary with Minghella and editor Walter Murch,
a long but choppy making-of documentary entitled Climbing
Cold Mountain, a standard issue EPK, another long
documentary looking at the music of the film, a featurette on
the scared harp and a 20-minute collection of deleted scenes. If
you didn't see this in theaters, you should at least check it
out as a rental. If you love the film, this disc is a keeper.
Ugh. I dunno why I'm giving this one ink. The always lovely
Chase Masterson (Deep Space Nine)
stars as a shamed scientist who played God and now spends her
time tracking down her creation: a lizard-man (awful, awful man
in suit) who has a dark connection to her past. Masterson tracks
down her enemy as it stalks a group of movie teens hanging out
in a cabin where they are spending the weekend honoring one of
their friends who was lost in these very woods (hmmm). All
together, it's not a good film at all. The special effects are
not especially good either (which is a head-scratcher
considering the director is major Special FX guy Michael
Burnett) and the acting is even worse all around. The DVD from
Razor Digital features a full frame transfer (original aspect
ratio) and looks about as good as a VHS. Audio is Dolby Digital
5.1 and sounds fine. Extras include a short behind-the-scenes
featurette, a special effects reel and bloopers. Weeeeee. If you
like bad Sci-Fi Channel afternoon movies, then this one might
float your boat. Otherwise...
Before Bob Clark gave us Porky's
and A Christmas Story, he
was working on a nice horror career with Children
Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, this film and Black
Christmas. I like his films, always have. I wish he
had a bigger career. Anyway, Deathdream
is an entertaining horror film disguised as a somewhat political
look at the effects on the Vietnam war on the guys coming home.
Andy is a Vietnam soldier who is seemingly killed in combat and
the news is so unbearable that his mother can't believe it and "urges"
him to come home alive "Monkey's Paw" style. What
comes back isn't Andy and that fact tears everyone in his
community apart - literally. Remarking on the zombie-like states
many vets were coming home in, it's not hard to see the
parallels. Blue Underground brings us this cult classic in an
anamorphic widescreen transfer that shows its low budget roots.
It looks as good as you'd expect coming from Blue Underground
though. Sound is a solid Dolby Digital mono track. Extras
include two good commentary tracks: one with Clark and the other
with co-writer Alan Ormsby, a trailer, a poster and stills
gallery, an interview with Richard "Andy" Backus, an
interview with Tom Savini, alternate opening titles and a
different ending. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
It's the standard lottery story: Dumb
and Dumber's Mike Starr stars as Johnny, a real
schlub of a guy. He owns a deli with his mother that he's
moments away from loosing because he's up to his neck in
gambling debt. His mother likes to play the numbers, so
week-in/week-out he sends the numbers in and week-in/week-out
she looses. Of course, the one week he decides to pocket the
money, she wins. Uh-oh. If she finds out, his already shitty
world will get a whole lot shitter. The
Deli is a cute independent film, made that much cuter
by the wall-to-wall cameos from just about every New York actor
who ever strutted and fretted on The
and beyond. Synapse Films does another bang up job presenting
the film in a very pleasing anamorphic transfer that serves the
film nicely. Audio is an undistinguished mono but sounds fine
for what it is. Extras include commentary with director John
Gallagher and a short selection of deleted scenes. If you're
looking for a quirky and entertaining smaller film, check The
Abel Ferrara is a legendary filmmaker. I mean, he gave us Bad
Lieutenant, The King of
New York and The Blackout.
Okay, forget Blackout -
but believe me when I say he's a filmmaker's filmmaker. The
Driller Killer then should be noted because it was
one of his first full-length films. It should be noted on DVD
for his fans, because it also includes his short films, making
it a must own. Other than that, Driller
Killer is a forgettable pile of steaming crap. But I
say that as a loving fan of Ferrara. The film follows Ferrara as
Reno, a starving artist who is driven insane by a nagging
girlfriend and her girlfriend, painter's block and a newly
arrived punk band vibrating the walls of his crappy apartment.
Looking out at the dregs of society, he decides one night to put
everyone out of their misery with a new fangled cordless drill.
Blood and guts abound. Often compared to Taxi
Driver (in tone, not execution), Driller
Killer shows an artist on his way, but not quite
there yet. The DVD presents the film in non-anamorphic
widescreen, which doesn't look all that great. Granted the film
is old, shot for a nickel and probably hasn't had the best
storage history, but it still looks crappy. Although, who's to
say that this isn't the best it's ever looked? It might be.
Sound is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track and isn't very good
either. It's probably, once again, as good as you'd get, but I
would imagine someone like Don May at Synapse could have done a
better job with the presentation of this film on DVD. Extras
include a commentary with Ferrara being Ferrara, an isolated
commercial seen in the film and the trailer (all on Disc One).
Disc Two contains three of Ferrara's short films: Could
This Be Love, The Hold Up
and "Nicky's Film".
The first two have commentary from Ferrara. There's also a
trailer for Ferrara's porno Nine
Lives of a Wet Pussy and liner notes written by Brad
Stevens (who wrote the book "Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision").
Not a bad set for a gritty, raunchy flick. Not a bad set at all.
I just wish the flick looked a tad bit better.
One of Bill's most favorite films of all-time. Read his
G-Men from Hell is a comic
book film based on a side story in Allred's Madman
comic series. The G-Men are two guys who escaped from hell and
start up a detective agency so they can do good deeds to get
into heaven. In the comic, they were bad guys doing good, but
here they are good guys who were framed and murdered and
confused for bad and are now doing good. The film is well made
for what it is and, in its own way, it apes the comic world it's
based in quite well. When held side-by-side, director
Christopher Coppola does an interesting job matching Allred's
world. Look to the comics-to-film comparison special feature
included on this DVD for proof. If you're a fan of Allred's
work, it's an interesting film to watch, but I don't think may
others will gravitate towards it. The cast is interesting as
well, because not only did Coppola get a who's who to be in the
film, the cast really do look like the people they play. Tate
Donovan and William Forsythe are the G-Men, Vanessa Angel and
Kari Wuhrer are femmes, Gary Busey and Zach Galligan are cops,
Robert Goulet is the Devil and Bobcat Goldthwait and Paul
Rodriguez play baddies. I'd give it a shot if you like comic
films, but it may be too campy for most. This is another Razor
Digital title and this one actually looks pretty good. It's in
its original full frame. The colors and blacks are both well
represented. Audio is a solid Dolby Digital 2.0. Extras include
the above referenced side-to-side comparison, an interview with
Allred, trailers, commentary with Allred and his wife and
colorist Laura (where they talk about the comic and the film and
what was changed). There's also the short indy film Allred shot,
called Astroesque, but to
fully appreciate it you have to go out and get the Red
Rocket Seven comic and CD. It's a tri-pointed
artist's vision that gets lost in pieces and can't really be
dissected by itself. G-Men from Hell
is another quirky flick that is worth your time. Especially if
you dig Allred and his work.
Always pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, Takashi Miike
pushes those boundaries again here... by not pushing any
boundaries and delivering a by-the-book traditional period
drama. Sabu and Eiji are best friends since childhood, until one
day Eiji simply disappears. Sabu conducts some investigations
and discovers that his old friend was framed for a crime and
sent away to prison camp. No one wants him looking into the
situation, nor does anyone want him visiting Eiji at the camp,
and the closer he gets to the truth the more he pushes his
friend away and the more he starts bring attention to his
investigation. Sabu is a
bit anti-climatic and not anywhere close to the films most of
Miike's fans know him for, but it's a beautiful film and well
worth your time. ArtsmagicDVD presents the film in anamorphic
widescreen and it looks okay. Sound is a simple Dolby Digital
2.0 Japanese and serves the film as well as can be expected.
Extras include trailers, biographies and filmographies for cast
and crew, two video interviews with Miike, two video interviews
with the actors and actresses and a short making of featurette.
Not too shabby. I'm liking the treatment Miike's films are
getting on DVD from ArtsmagicDVD. I'm looking forward Miike's
Black Trilogy in August.
I have to give this one press for three reasons: one, I think
Debbie Rochon is both hot as hell and smart as a whip. She wrote
the story and produced it as well. Two: I like Trent Haaga as an
actor and as a person. He's a very swell guy, and I think he
deserves more credit than he gets. Three: it's actually a pretty
good independent horror film. Suburban
Nightmare follows a couple that has their problems,
like most every married couple in the world. They fight, they
argue and they blame. But they have another side to them:
they're vicious serial killers. What happens when two people who
start to not like each other snap and attack one another with
the same glee they attack everyone else with? This is a cool
little flick with some nice twists and turns. And there's good
acting and directing as well. The guys at ei
Independent/Shock-O-Rama did a nice job with this one; it looks
good in full frame and sounds good in Dolby Digital 2.0. Extras
include commentary with director Jon Keeyes and his editor, a
whole slew of making of featurettes, a music video, three short
films and trailers. Suburban
Nightmare is actually a well-made horror flick that
will make you think and squirm all at the same time.
William Lustig and Larry Cohen's grab at a holiday themed
horror film has a new release on DVD. Previously available from
Elite Entertainment, it's only appropriate that a newer, better
version come from Lustig's own personal company Blue
Underground. Uncle Sam is
fluffy and goofy and not all that good, but it's campy fun and
if you're looking for a nice Fourth of July flick to watch in
the wee hours of the festivities while chowing down on cold hot
dogs and warm beer, this might do the trick. It's the story of a
war vet come home and come back to life to kill all those who
don't love their country. The murders are ridiculous, as are the
effects, but like I said, it's a fun little flick. This new DVD
showcases the film in a nice anamorphic widescreen with both
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 sound. No complaints from me. Extras
include a new commentary with Lustig, Cohen and producer George
G. Braunstein, as well as the original release commentary with
Lustig and co-star Issac Hayes. You'll also find a trailer,
stills gallery and a look at the fire stunts performed in the
a few good TV releases as well...
Park: The Complete Fourth Season
Still one of the better shows on TV, the fourth season of South
Park is a classic. Cartman's
Silly Hate Crime 2000, Timmy!
2000, Quintuplets 2000,
Cartman Joins NAMBLA, Do
the Handicapped Go to Hell?, Probably, Trapper
Keeper, Fat Camp
and The Wacky Molestation Adventure
are just a few of these groundbreaking episodes from a few years
back. All look great on DVD with nice sound. No complaints.
Extras are light, with short commentaries from Matt Stone and
Trey Parker discussing the show and how they make it. They only
talk for 4 to 6 minutes each episode, and I wish it were more.
But all together, I'm glad this set is on DVD.
The '67 Collection
Wow. The original show is so campy, so cheese ball, so silly...
that it's perfect. This is the show that got me into comic books
in the first place. I love Buena Vista for putting out this set.
There are no extras, but every episode - all 52 - is included.
And they look gorgeous. Truly, these cartoons look better than
they should. Sound is a standard Dolby Digital 2.0, and it
works. The package is also pretty sweet. I know some will be a
bit put off on the lack of extras, but I don't think it matters.
Just having all of these pieces of caramel covered popcorn is
enough for me.
Woman: The Complete First Season
I love Wonder Woman - probably more so because my wife is a
huge, huge, huge Wonder Woman fan. So I greatly anticipated the
release of this show on DVD. This set features the complete
first season, which takes place in the WWII-era. Lynda Carter
perfectly captures the role of Wonder Woman, and the show is fun
and represents the classic comic book well. Warner's DVD is full
frame and looks incredible for a TV show done in the 70s (and
utilizing stock footage from the 40s). Big ups to them. Along
with the 13 episodes that comprised the first season, we get the
1975 90-minute pilot The New Original
Wonder Woman and that features commentary with Carter
and producer Douglas S. Cramer. There's also a new, 20-minute
featurette Beauty, Brawn and
Bulletproof Bracelets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective
that includes interviews with cast, crew and fans/experts about
the origins of the character and the show. Pretty neat. Oh, and
it's worth mentioning that the packaging kicks major ass as
well. This is a great TV on DVD set. Pick it up.
TV on DVD titles this week include...
Miami - The Complete First Season,
Creek: The Complete Third Season,
Joe: Season One, Part Two,
Land of The Lost: The Complete First Season,
House on the Prairie: Season Five,
Caesar: Buried Treasure,
Caesar: Fan Favorites,
Hung: Hangin' with Hung and
Evolution: Enemies Unveiled.
Also look for:
2: Back in Business which proves two times may be too
many. Campy fun with
Mommie, Die. More Mel Brooks:
Dead and Loving It.
Pants and the double
for You/Here Comes the Groom from Paramount. Stuart
Gordon's triumphant return with
of the Ants, a straight-to-DVD must own. More Jubei in
Scroll. Volume 3: Deliverance. Demi Moore all hot and shit
Small Affair. Scarlett acts her age in
Perfect Score. Troma releases Sam Fuller's
Gina Gershon makes
watchable. The classic
of Suzie Wong arrives and learn to dance like the stars in
Got Served: Take It to the Streets instructional video.
Oh, it's on.
I'm out of here. I just wanted to take this time to thank everyone
for reading our site and coming back time and time again. This is a
labor of love and I'm glad I can be part of all of your daily
Internet trolling. You guys make this worth it week-in and week-out.
On a personal note, I want to wish my mother well. She's in the
hospital right now and I want to throw a digital coin in the
fountain for her. I love you, Mom. Get well soon.
See you all next week. Have a safe and sane Fourth of July. Eat a
hot dog for me. Extra coleslaw.
Until next week,