- Weekly Release Roundup
Pretty light week. Bill and I are gearing up for our San Diego
DVD-O-Rama-Palooz next week so that's probably a good thing.
Bourne Identity: Explosive Extended Edition
Movie tie-ins. Gotta love 'em. With The
Bourne Supremacy coming upon us theatrically, why not
re-release The Bourne Identity
with a bunch new stuff on DVD? Why not indeed. Jason Bourne
(Matt Damon) wakes up floating in the ocean with two bullet
holes in him. Not knowing who or what he is, he heads to
Switzerland where he finds out who he is, but opens a whole can
of worms on the what part. Grabbing a pretty young girl (Franka
Potente), he heads on a journey to learn what is going on and
find out why a bunch of people are trying to kill him. Identity
is a fun throw back to the old spy genre when the enemy wasn't
super powered or cliché and it was just good guys
fighting bad guys. Here the good guy is a former bad guy who
doesn't like the idea of who he was and wants to start over and
is willing to kill his old co-workers to do it.
re-releases this title as a new "extended" edition, but
don't be fooled. The extension is not part of the film. The transfer
is the same as the original special edition, but here is a new
opening thrown into the supplements non-anamorphically and the
alternate ending that was a "deleted scene" from the first
edition. The commentary from the first edition with director Doug
Liman is excluded, as is the DTS soundtrack. We do get some nice
(but fluffy) featurettes though. A New
Identity is an introduction to the extended footage by
producer Frank Marshall, writer Tony Gilroy and actor Brian Cox.
The Bourne Mastermind is a
look at Robert Ludlum, writer of the Bourne Trilogy. An interview
with writer Tony Gilroy is in AccessGranted.
A medical overview of Bourne's amnesia is called The
Bourne Diagnostic. Cloak and
Dagger focuses on the real CIA and how fiction and
non-fiction compare with the film. The
Speed of Sound is a look at the film's sound design. Inside
a Fight Sequence is just that and From
Identity to Supremacy is an interview with Matt Damon and
Franka Potente. Also on board are the four deleted scenes from the
first release, as well as the Moby video, production notes/cast and
crew bios and trailers for upcoming DVD releases from Universal. If
you don't already own the first release, pick this one up. The film
is actually pretty good. If you already own it on DVD, I don't see
why this would be a re-buy unless you're just a huge fan. But if you
do, don't loose the other copy -- it still has a nice commentary and
the DTS track.
There're two versions of this film on DVD, an NC-17 version and
an R Rated version, but why skimp on the details, huh? Get
yourself a copy of the NC-17. Even though the rating is scary,
Bertolucci's use of "offensive" sex and nudity is
handled beautifully. In my book, more is always better when it
comes to Bertolucci.
It all starts in early 1968 when the founder of the Cinematheque
Francais, Henri Langlois, is fired by the government. The
students and cinephiles aggressively protest - which slowly
leads to government instability with workers and citizens
starting to protest for their own reasons. The city of Paris is
thrown in utter turmoil and, and, and... you know what? That's
really not what this movie is about. That's the backdrop. The
overall reason the leads of the film connect in the first place,
but that's not what this film is about. The film is really about
the shattered innocence of three people: Matthew (Michael Pitt),
a young American college student from California who is in Paris
studying French but actually spending all of his time at the
Cinematheque. It is there that he meets "the twins"
Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel).
are the children of an unnamed French poet and his beautiful British
wife. When the poet and his wife head off to the seaside for a
month, the twins invite Matthew to stay at their huge Parisian
apartment where they partake in smoke, drink and a very liberated
At first Matthew thinks these twins are incestuously linked after
he spies them sleeping naked in Theo's bed or, when failing to
answer a movie trivia question, Isabelle "forces" Theo to
masturbate against a picture of Marlene Dietrich in The
Blue Angel. But he soon comes to learn that although they
are precocious and sexually flamboyant, they are as naive as he is
and their cocoon -- their way of dealing with life, is to live as
though they are perpetually 6 years of age when baths with your
sister or "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" are "appropriate"
(please don't get onto me about your feelings about whether or not
that behavior is EVER appropriate). And although Matthew plays
along, even going as far as falling in love with the two of them, he
can't get over the feeling that what the three of them are doing is
wrong. All this leads to a symbolic "growing up" for the
three of them when choices are made to either keep living the way
they always have, or move on to a turbulent world or even turning
around and walking away from the whole thing. Deep on psychological
symbolism, sly film trivia references and beauty found in trash,
The Dreamers is a thoroughly
engaging and fulfilling viewing experience. It's a wonderful film
and one I see myself watching again a few times in the near future.
And not because of the lovely Eva Green.
Fox releases this film on DVD as a nice special edition. The video
is clean and clear but not something that will overtly impress the
home theater fan. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just not an
obviously great transfer -- even if it is. Sound is rendered as a
light DD 5.1 and serves the film fine. The extras include a
commentary with Bertolucci, screenplay and novel source writer
Gilbert Adair and producer Jeremy Thomas. It's good, but a lot of
the ground covered here is covered on the video extras. Those are a
nice long BBC documentary on the making of the film entitled Bertolucci
Makes the Dreamers that brings us behind the scenes on
the film and the history of the events that inspired it. There's a
deeper historical look with Outside the
Window: Events in France, May, 1968 a freakishly
structured featurette from Mark Rance and his Three-Legged Cat
friends. It gives a nice historical overview, but it's so very
schizophrenic in it's structure (but what Rance featurette isn't
these days?) On the cute side is a music video with star Michael
Pitt for his Hendrix cover of "Hey Joe" and a selection of
theatrical trailers. All together it's a nice package and a worthy
film you should consider checking out.
Wolf & Cub: White Heaven in Hell
In this the sixth and final film of the series, Itto and his
son Daigro must continue their epic war against the Yagyu clan
and it's leader Lord Retsudo Yagyu. With most of his clan dead
at this point, Retsudo is getting desperate and sends in his
daughter Kaori, a master of a sword trick that never fails and
his illegitimate son Hyouei, a mystic taken in by a mysterious
clan of mountain people who use dark arts and the properties of
The Earth as their ultimate weapon -- vowing, in a nifty bit of
psychological warfare, to kill any person who Itto and his son
meet, talk to, touch, purchase from or even look at strange
until they can no longer take it and give themselves up. All
this leads up to the famous battle on a snowcapped mountain
where Itto must do battle with over a thousand warriors.
If you're looking for an end to the confrontation between Itto
and Yagyu, forget it. Even though this is the last film in the
series, there is no end in sight and that ends up being a bit
anti-climatic. There are other films based on the Lone
Wolf saga, but they don't feature Tomisaburo Wakayama
as Itto nor are they available here in the states. Oh, well.
Maybe someday. Animeigo does another great job with this DVD.
The anamorphic widescreen video is a solid transfer and the
sound is good in a simple DD mono. Extras include liner notes on
the disc and as an insert, and trailers for this film, Zatoichi
Meets the One-Armed Swordsman and both Lady
There's not much to review here, but it's worth a mention based
on all the people I know playing Texas Hold 'em. Hold 'em's like
the new Team Trivia. Everyone is joining together and having
Hold 'em nights at the local pubs. Since I don't know how to
play poker, I never get a chance to play. Now I have no excuse.
Co-hosts Barry Shulman and Chris Moneymaker, champion of the
2003 World Series of Poker (seen endlessly on ESPN lately; he's
the one with the cap and Oakley-type sunglasses) takes us
through the how and tos of playing poker with all the basic
rules, card sets and tricks you could ever need to get started.
He even has a few tricks for the mediocre player out there.
There's a lot of stuff to learn and you'll probably have to
gleam some stuff here and there, apply it, then come back and
review a few times before you "catch" everything, but
it's a good tool to get you started at least. It looks good in a
nice full frame and standard DD 2.0. Extras include a booklet on
slang and "hand rankings" of card sets.
Deux Trois Soleil
Bertrand Blier directs this often confusing, surrealist and
Felliniesque look at life, love and responsibility. But as
confusing as the film can be, it's hypnotically beautiful. Most
of that is due to the acting by Anouk Grinberg and Marcello
Mastroianni who play daughter and drunken father. The film flips
in and out of different age periods in Grinberg's life (with her
playing her different ages) which can cause you to not really
know what's going on and only assuming when she's making love to
Oliver Martinez (Faithful & SWAT) that she's of age. The
presence of Mastroianni solidifies its Fellini influences and
with all said and done, it's an interesting contemporary French
film worth your time and patience. This DVD from Home Vision
presents the film in a nice anamorphic widescreen with DD 2.0
sound. Extras include a liner note booklet written by Sue Harris
and filmography for Blier.
Meets the One-Armed Swordsman
Honestly, I JUST got this flick on DVD for review, and since
this is one I've never seen I'm going to give it a spin tonight
and come back with a review ASAP. Look to this spot for an
TV releases this week include...
Season 4, Volume 5 (which completes the series),
The Legendary Journeys - Season 4,
League: Star Crossed and
Also available today...
Image, Meg Ryan going against type (again) in
the Ropes. Without Hilary Duff, who cares?
Cody Banks 2: Destination London.
Counterfeit Traitor. Ron Howard isn't the only evil
Grrrls get it on too
Like It Like That shows that I don't.
Manchurian Candidate: Special Edition isn't very special
except for a new transfer that isn't much better than the old one
and mostly the same extras. When you're DMX you
Die Alone. I learned last week not to cover political
films because I LOVE AMERICA! But here's another one:
Robert Murdoch's War on Journalism.
Island, John Landis take a walk into the documentary world
Spy Who Came in from the Cold
and Danny Boyle's
Completely Nude in Paradise.
Until next time...