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Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits!
page added: 8/13/04




8/13/04 - Weekly Release Roundup (for the week of 8/10)

And we're back. See? I wouldn't leave you hanging. We flashed back to last week in my first column, now we're looking at some of the funky stuff that came out this week. There are plenty of great titles, which mostly I didn't get so I can't tell you about 'em. But, there are a few cool pieces that I did get, so we'll look at those.

First up, the completion to a cult classic in the making...



Kill Bill: Volume 2
Kill Bill: Volume 2

Q & U's second (but "might-not-be-final") volume to the fan fave Kill Bill: Volume One hits stores this week, and surprise! As a movie it works a lot better than the first one. And when viewed side-by-side with the first one, you can see a little more method to Tarantino's madness. Is Kill Bill a brilliant opus? Actually, it might be. Time will tell. Volume Two has The Bride going up against Bud (brother to Bill), Elle Driver and of course, Bill. This one's filled with odes to spaghetti western, Kung Fu and QT buddy Robert Rodriguez films instead of giallo, samurai and American exploitation films as the first one did. It's a tighter film, a little bit funnier and a whole lot more satisfying because of the resolution. Kill Bill: Volume Two is a badass flick and worth picking up. Who knows when the full blown collected version will street.

The anamorphic widescreen picture quality is on this DVD is fairly good. Bill is noticing an overly digital look to the image on his huger-than-huge rear projection system, but on standard sets it looks pretty darn good. The sound is presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, rip-roaring on both fronts. This one is a little more packed with special features than the last one. First we get a deleted scene starring Michael Jai White. His kung fu is sweet, his acting is awful and I can see why this was killed. There's also a nice "video" of Robert Rodriguez's band Chingon performing a song featured at the end of the film and a making-of featurette which is fluffy in it's own way. Tarantino is a sort-of host (clad in his Tarantino-as-Simpsons-character T-shirt) and explains the making of the film as only he can. It's a worthy addition to the first DVD and will sit well in your library.


The Lost Boys: Special Edition

The Lost Boys: Special Edition

I love this fuckin' movie. I swear I do. I forgot how much I did until I popped this bad boy in my player last weekend. I remember just about everything from it, and guess what? I'm not embarrassed by that. Lost Boys is like the anti-brat pack film, directed by the guy who made the ultimate brat pack flick: St. Elmo's Fire. Michael (Jason Patrick) and his brother Sam (Corey Haim) move with their recently divorced mom (Dianne Wiest) to Santa Carla, California - the murder capital of the world. There they discover the reason for that motto: it's infested by vampires led by 24's Kiefer Sutherland. Michael is turned and Sam must align himself with self-styled vampire hunters Edgar and Allen Frog (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) in order to get his brother back and end the threat. But is there more to the story than even Michael, Sam and the Frog Brothers know about? Yes. Oh, sweet baby yes. The Lost Boys is completely badass and cool. It hasn't aged a bit, even the clothing styles Haim tromps around in work in that even then (1987), no one in their right mind would wear them. Like I said, I love this film.

Warner treats it really nice on disc, too. I was very excited to get this DVD and find how good it looks. The anamorphic transfer is beautiful, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is full and well-rendered. The special features are also quite cool. Disc One features a commentary by director Joel Schumacher discussing the origins of the film, the casting, the shoot and the effect it's had on pop culture. It's a very good commentary and worth a listen. Covering most of the same ground, but with additional voices like D.P. Michael Chapman and actors Keifer Sutherland, the two Coreys and Edward Herrmann, is the making-of documentary on Disc Two. It's good, but not entirely satisfying. Better is a look at the vampire effects by Greg Cannom and a video montage of his work. There's also four shorter featurettes, a very silly mini-commentary by the two Coreys and Jason Newlander set up as a multiple angle featurette and a very stupid look at vampires across the world done as an interactive map. Oh, and there's a video for Lost in the Shadows by Lou Gramm. Neat. All-in-all, this is a pretty good set for a great late-80s vampire film. Definitely find money to pick this up.


Sada
Sada

The story of Sada Abe has been told before, most notably in the film The Story of Sada Abe and the classic "Pink" erotic film In the Realm of the Senses. Here, director Nobuhiko Obayashi tells a very theatrical tale, allowing us a surreal look inside the head of Sada herself. We start with her rape, her self-imposed exile into the world of prostitution and onward to the crime that rocked Japan in 1936. Yeah, as a man, I don't really want to discuss that one. It's a very over the top production, but somehow this film is so hypnotic and its subject matter so enthralling that it works. Home Vision presents the film in it's original full frame with mono sound and it looks and sound very nice. Extras include a trailer, bio and filmographies for cast and crew and a liner note booklet by Richard Kadrey with an introduction by Obayashi.



Alf: Season One
Alf: Season One

Not a whole lot to say about this one. If you're a fan of Alf you'll want 'em. The good: the menus are hosted by Alf himself and they're pretty funny. The transfers are pretty good, but there's some video drop outs here and there. And the original pilot is included and is pretty funny. The bad: the packaging sucks. But truth be told, this is an okay set for a classic 80s TV show a lot of us hold dear. Check it out if you wanna.


Late Night with Conan O'Brien: 10th Anniversary Special
Late Night with Conan O'Brien: The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog

Mr. Adam Jahnke hasn't been sleeping well these days. So to fill his sleepless night up, he's been logging time in with the ol' TV on DVD machine. He lovingly calls 'em TVD, which works for me. Check out his newest column where he gives waaaaay too much word count to these two titles.


Alf: Season OneAlf: Season One


Other TV titles available today: the classic HBO comedy concert Bill Cosby: Himself, it's a dyno-mite time with Good Times: The Complete Third Season and there can be only... five? Highlander: Season 5 that is.

Good Times: The Complete Third SeasonBill Cosby: HimselfHighlander: Season 5

Also available today...

Predator: Special EditionZatoichi in Desperation Good Bye Lenin!

... colorize the stooges with The Three Stooges: Goofs on the Loose and Stooged & Confoosed. Evil can come in child-sized packages: The Bad Seed. Ralph Macchio makes another deal with the devil in Crossroads. Bette Davis, not Jeremy Irons stars in Dead Ringer. One of us! Freaks. Looking for a cute foreign film? Check out Good Bye Lenin!. Ya know, I've always said it, now here's the proof: Hilary Duff: The Girl Can Rock - The Concert. Vacation without Chevy Chase? I dunno: Johnson Family Vacation. National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze: Unrated. Something to keep you away from the theater: Predator: Special Edition. The Prince & Me. Wacky kids: Village of the Damned/Children of the Damned and two Ichi flicks from Animeigo: Zatoichi in Desperation and Zatoichi's Conspiracy.

See you next week...

Todd Doogan
todddoogan@thedigitalbits.com


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