- Weekly Release Roundup
This is a huge, huge, huge week for DVD.
July opens with a serious bang.
Too bad I only got a few titles to review from the studios. I guess
I'm going to be in the same boat most of you guys are in: standing
in line with copies of The Name of the
Rose, Red Sonja and
Wanted: Dead of Alive tucked
under my arm.
Some days it's really cool being a DVD Reporter, and others... well,
that's silly. It's always cool being a DVD Reporter.
Check out the goodies hitting shelves this week.
Butterfly Effect: Infinifilm
Although not a great film, The
Butterfly Effect is pretty neat and brings up a lot
of interesting ideas. It's a bold film, and it's utterly dark
nature is so anti-established Hollywood, that you have to give
the filmmaker's props. Except for one thing: Ashton Kutcher
brings this film way, way down.
I'm not knocking Kutcher. I like him as a comedy actor. The
problem I have is he just doesn't seem to do drama very well.
Originally, Leonardo DiCaprio circled around this project, and
if he was in it, I think it would have been a much better film.
The character as written is pitch perfect, and even if Aston
isn't great in the role, he's still watchable in it. Ultimately,
The Butterfly Effect is a
good film, but it could have been a great film with the right
film follows a guy named Evan Treborn who discovers that by reading
his diary journals, he can go back in time to places that he
mysteriously blacked out. While in these time holes he can make
improvements and changes as he sees them, only in true chaos theory,
every change he makes leads him or the ones he loves down a horrible
road in the future when he pops back into his live now. In the end,
it's sort of like a It's a Terrible Life
where everyone really would be better off if you weren't around. So
much for happy endings, huh?
This DVD from New Line does the Infinifilm brand proud. It contains
two versions of the film, the theatrical version and a new
director's cut that features a cleaner edit and more character
development as well as a very twisted ending that is only my second
favorite of the four provided on the disc (my first in the
theatrical version). We'll get to the other two in a sec. Both
versions of the film look great as could be in anamorphic
widescreen. The theatrical version has a Dolby Digital EX and DD 2.0
whereas the director's cut has DTS 6.1, DD EX and DD 2.0 and all of
the tracks sound stellar.
Because this is an Infinifilm you can expect a lot of extras even
above a second version of the film. There's a commentary track with
director's co-writers Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber that is a very
insightful listen. These are two lucky guys that have played the
game to their advantage. There's also real world featurettes on the
psychology or chaos theory and the realities of time travel. There's
also a "fact track" subtitle feature, making of
featurettes, the film's trailer and a handful of deleted scenes
including two additional endings that serve no purpose. There's also
some DVD-ROM material including script-to-screen, a stills gallery
and an interactive commentary digest with director's notes.
All in all, it's another killer Infinifilm release from New Line.
Five incredible noir films, five incredible DVDs for noir fans.
This Film Noir Collection
from the Brothers Warner serves as a very nice primer to film
noir and it's sensibilities. Any long time reader of this site
knows about our devotion to the form, but for you newbies, film
noir is the genre of film dedicated to the darker elements of
the world. The term "film noir" was coined by French
film critics, and means "dark or black cinema." Enough
with that. Each of these films represents a "school"
of thought within the film noir form.
The Asphalt Jungle
directed by John Huston is the dead straight heist film. It's
remarkable in execution and a must own for any film fan. Gun
Crazy holds elements of the carnie world, naive
guy/manipulative girl relations and a bloodthirsty crime spree.
It's a fun film and a great example of classic noir. Murder,
My Sweet is the standard private dick tale with Dick
Powell as the legendary Philip Marlowe. Private eye film fans
owe themselves a watch with this one. Powell brings something to
Marlowe that even Bogart left out. Out
of the Past is classic femme fatale with some nice
flashback story progression thrown in. This is one of THE noir
films, and a glorious film at that. Finally there is the smaller
gem The Set-Up which wraps
the boxer story up with an often used noir trick of "real
time." It a small film but very effective and very good.
five of these films look and sound remarkable. Warner did a really
great job presenting these for our enjoyment. On the extras front,
Warner didn't skimp a bit. Each and every one of these discs has
commentary from various film critics and experts on noir.
Jungle has American film
expert and USC professor Drew Casper along with interview clips of
actor James Whitmore. There's also an archived introduction to the
film by Huston himself and the theatrical trailer. Gun
Crazy has DVD film reviewer and noir fan Glenn Erickson
from DVD Savant discussing the film and noir style quite well. He's
a good listen. Murder is a
laid back and informative Alain Silver as well as the film's
trailer. James Ursini, co-editor with Silver on the seminal "Film
Noir Reader" essay series, provides commentary for Out
of the Past and discusses the finer points of noir. It's
a great track, the best of the bunch actually. Finally the
Set-Up is directors Martin Scorsese and Robert Wise,
recorded separately. It's okay, but not as cool as we would have
hoped it would be. Film fans, noir fans -- we're one and the same,
and this box set contains some really great films that are all must
owns. Pick yourself up a copy today.
The 2000 Presidential Election - 2004 Campaign Edition
Just in time for this year's election, how about a documentary
about the travesty in Florida during 2000's? Yep. If you thought
Fahrenheit 9/11 was the
bomb, then you'll want to check this one out. Although the humor
is out the window, this is a very good overview of the
situation, the how's and why's and what it all might have meant
for us as Americans. If you don't care, maybe you're part of the
problem, 'cause the underlying theme of this is: the 2000
elections was the first coup to take place in America and if it
can happen once, it WILL happen again. Scary stuff. Check it
out. This DVD is full frame and looks and sound good. Extras
include 5 additional follow-up vignettes that could easily fit
into the film as well as an updated section on the film itself
on the perils of electronic voting. Cue organ music.
interesting TV releases came out this week as well...
The Animated Series - Volume 1,
of the Super Friends: Season One,
Drink the Water,
of Rock 'n Roll,
Feet Under: The Complete Second Season,
Trek: Voyager - Season Three, and
Prey for the City - Season 2, Part 1.
Also coming this week...
the indy film
Brothers & a Bride. When it comes to movies, Pee-Wee's
just not the same without Tim Burton:Big
Top Pee-Wee. I'm sure Chinese-Americans everyone will be
Charlie Chan: Chanthology which includes the films (also
Chan in The Secret Service and
Shanghai Cobra. Dudley and Daryl are
People. An unfunny Richard Pryor poses as a doctor in
Condition. If there really was a Devil Man, then there
must be a
Lady: The Complete Collection. Mr. Furley returns in the
Knotts: Reluctant Hero Franchise Collection including The
Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The
Reluctant Astronaut, The
Shakiest Gun in the West and The
Love God?. Eddie Griffin is puttin' the funk in
Family. I almost didn't list this one:
Escort Company, but then again, why not, huh? Walter
Matthau and Jill Clayburgh star in
Monday in October. Ice Cube stars in
Glass Shield. Trigun
Volume 1: Beyond the Grave. Jack!
Monster/Chamber of Fear and Walter (again)!
Gotta love this: The
Gordon Lewis Collection including The
Gore Gore Girls, A Taste of
Blood, She-Devils on Wheels,
The Gruesome Twosome, The
Wizard of Gore and Something
Weird. It's all about the artistic process with
Belle Noiseuse. Look, two cool Japanese films:
of the Devil and
& Pop. It's wedding day in
and Other Strangers. Of boys Turkish deli owners and
Ibrahim. Scorsese looks at Italian cinema:
Voyage to Italy. A must own:
Name of the Rose. Sex and politics star in
Politician's Wife. Not a great film, but stupid fun:
Sonja. We're already living this one:
They Gave a War and Nobody Came? I scream, you scream we
all scream for
Care of My Cat? No. Woody Allen at his funniest:
the Money and Run. More cool ass noir, Universal Noir
Gun for Hire. The unofficial sequel to The
Hunter with Steve McQueen:
Dead or Alive. Dudley again in
Moses! and anime from Adult Swim:
Rain - Leader of the Pack
Oh, and Disney decided to unleash a whole buncha library titles as
well. Look for:
Cat from Outer Space,
The Lonesome Cougar,
One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band,
Lead & Cold Feet,
a Dull Moment,
Deposit, No Return,
North Avenue Irregulars,
Three Lives of Thomasina and
See... told you this was a big week. Until next time...