Monday, August 21, 2006


Another week, and another onslaught of relases on DVD. From now through the holidays we should see a pretty steady amount of cool releases, and this week is no different. There are especially some great titles coming out for T.V. lovers out there, so I made sure to mention those. Enough talking, onto the list. And remember these are only titles I find of interest; for more complete lists there are a number of websites out there you can visit.


Owning this for any fan of film is a must. It doesn�t matter if you�re not that big into film noir or mysteries, or have some strange aversion to Fred Macmurray because he was in all of those stupid Disney films. Even with all of the great films Billy Wilder made (Some Like It Hot, Stalag 17, The Seven Year Itch, etc.) this is far and away his best. What would seem like a pretty simple story of a sexy and bored wife (Barbara Stanwyck, who never looked better on screen) deciding to have her husband killed so she can pull an insurance scam is anything but simple. This is as complexly plotted if not more so than all of the films it has influenced, �Body Heat� being the most notable since it was essentially an uncredited remake. And I have to go back to Macmurray here, because he gives one of the greatest performances an actor has ever given in this role; you wonder what his career could have been more like if he had stayed away from �The Shaggy Dog� and �Flubber� films. The only thing I wish is that they had packed this Special Edition a little more. It has a couple of audio commentaries from some film historians, and it also has a 1973 Made for Television remake that I never knew existed, and there�s probably a reason for that. However, it could be a fun bonus, or as disappointing as the �Columbo� box sets including those episodes of the failed spin-off Mrs. Columbo. Thank the gods of DVD that this is finally being released; buy it on Tuesday, you will not be disappointed.


I too have found it a bit of a crying shame that not only this movie won best picture in 1990 over �Goodfellas,� but also that Kevin Costner got the Best Director nod over Scorcese. However, over the years, and having seen this film half a dozen times or so, I can appreciate that it is still a hell of a film. This is when Costner was actually acting, and was having the luck of the Irish with the projects he was picking. It�s not my favorite of Costner�s films, but it comes a close second to �No Way Out.� Costner also proves in this film that he is a very good director when he wants to be just as much as he proved how bad he can be at it with �The Postman.� So, I still say it�s no �Goodfellas,� but it�s not that far off. There�s actually already been a special edition of this released last year, and it�s got a lot of extras on it. This is a cheaper buy, and is also the �Extended Cut� making a long movie longer. So, it depends on how much you want those extras. Not having seen the extra footage, I don�t know if it�s worth it or not, but wanted to mention the fact that a great movie like this was being released.

HOUSE � SEASON TWO (2005/2006)
I really don�t get into this show, but I understand its appeal. Dr. House is basically a modern day medical Sherlock Holmes with about three Dr. Watson�s at his side. Every week there�s a new medical mystery for him to figure out, and he always catches his disease�you know what I mean. What has always thrown me off though is the way they write the main character as such an unlikable bastard, and this is no knock on Hugh Laurie, who is great in the role that he�s been given. I just wish he was a little more likeable; he is supposed to be our hero after all. But I know this coming out would interest a lot of our readers, and Chris is a huge fan, and he has good taste. Maybe I�ll give it another go and see what I think. You never know; I could be transformed into a fan.

This is actually the complete series, since as far as I know it�s not coming back anytime soon. I watched the first half of this, and lost interest pretty quickly. A lot of people, including Chris, have told me that it picked up a lot of steam in the second half, so I think I�m at least going to put this on Netflix, so I can see how it paid off. Chris said it had one of the more interesting season finales, so I am intrigued.

No, Criterion did not go nuts and decide to add their touches to that Will Ferrell comedy from last year. This is 1995�s Gen-X slacker comedy, and was the always intriguing Noah Baumbach�s (The Squid and the Whale) directorial debut. This was a near miss on my �DVD of the Week� pick. It�s probably the funniest movie of its type to ever be made; the mid-nineties were a primetime for this kind of film. It�s basically the same story as �Reality Bites� and the like with a group of recent college graduates trying to figure out what the hell they want to do with their lives, and it really adds nothing new to the genre. However, it is well written; very sharp, and it has an engaging cast of characters. Eric Stoltz is especially endearing as the guy in his early thirties who has been in college for the past ten years, and has no inclination of leaving anytime soon; think Van Wilder, but funny. Trust me; you�ll be quoting this thing for days. And with Criterion behind it you know it will be a nice edition of a well deserved cult classic.

This unfortunately got released only a few weeks after the monster hit, �The Sixth Sense,� and most people thought it looked too similar. It�s a shame because it�s a really creepy and well told ghost story, and doesn�t resemble �The Sixth Sense� in anyway, except there are ghosts. Kevin Bacon is very good in the lead here as a guy who, well, he does see some dead people. It�s well worth checking out if you missed it the first time around. This has also already been released, and Amazon has no info on it, but they have it priced at $26.99, so I�m assuming it�s a special edition. Either way, well worth owning.

With �Surface� coming out last week and �Invasion� and this coming out now, we�ve exhausted all of the failed sci-fi shows from a year ago. And out of the three, this was by far and wide the best and it only got 13 episodes in before it was canned. This had the unfortunate Friday night timeslot to start off the season, and when they moved it to a different night, no one followed. This could have been a hell of a thing depending on which way they went with all of the mysteries that were unfolding. This also had a hell of a cast with Carla Gugino (God, is she ever hot), Peter Dinklage, and Brent Spiner. I found this to be the saddest loss of last season. While it�s not great, I think it could have been, and it�s a shame we�ll never get to find out.

Come on guys out there; you know what I�m talking about. I love the films of nostalgia for my generation. Fifth grade year, aint no one talking about anything else on the playground for a couple of months. Yeah, this is a piece of crap film, and we�re all hoping Michael Bay can actually make a cool live action film out of this material; I kind of doubt it, but I have hope. For the Weird Al �Dare to be Stupid� sequence alone this will be worth reliving. If this write-up doesn�t mean a damn thing to you, you wouldn�t be interested in this anyways, so for those who know what I�m talking about, enjoy.

This was my favorite show of last season, and you would know that if you read my top tv picks from a couple months ago. As I said there, more mysteries and intrigue than �24� and �Lost� combined, and the resolution was well thought out and actually made a hell of a lot of sense. This, like �Prison Break� is the perfect type of show to watch on DVD without all the rerun months and what not to bog you down. And it�s got easily one of the best ensembles on T.V. right now. The new season doesn�t start till October, so you have plenty of time to grab this and the first season and be well caught up. I know, on the outset it looks like a show only teenagers should be watching, but believe me, it�s smarter than just about anything out there. If you haven�t given it a shot, this is the perfect format to check it out in. You will not be disappointed; I promise.

This is a very popular cult film from the seventies; one of those creepy horror films that only the British seem to know how to do. It concerns a cop looking for a missing child on an island that has a Jim Jones esque leader ruling over it�s population. I saw it many years ago, and don�t remember much about it, but I do remember finding it more interesting than good, much like this week�s �Silent Hill.� Christopher Lee is always worth watching in anything, and if you just want to see the original before the remake comes out with Nicholas Cage in a couple of weeks, here�s your chance.


I Actually enjoyed this adaptation of Jeffery Deaver�s popular novel; the first in the Lincoln Rhyme series. Denzel Washington plays Rhyme, a former forensics expert for the NYPD who was injured on the job and became a quadrapalegic as a result. Angelina Jolie, as sexy as ever, plays Amilea Sachs, who becomes Rhyme�s eyes and ears at the crime scenes of a sicko, serial killer who they dub �The Bone Collector,� of course. It�s a �paint-by-numbers� thriller, and brings very little new to the table. However, Washington (Who I will watch read a phone book on screen) and Jolie have great chemistry, and you wish the movie had done a little better so we could see some more of these novels from the series adapted to the big screen. They did change the identity of the killer from the book, which is something that always confuses me since the rest of the movie plays out pretty much verbatim. It actually works for the most part, but just seems kind of pointless. It�s a good rainy, Saturday night film to pop in the DVD player.

Throw away my �Guy� card if you must, but I have never cared much for �Caddyshack.� Somehow, the genius of Rodney Dangerfield (Who I loved in the underrated �Back to School�) goes a little over my head here. Bill Murray is pretty funny here; as usual he goes way beyond the strength of the material he is given. But a lot of people love this movie, so I�m sure this will be a pretty big deal to some HD/DVD guys out there. Don�t really know how the HD format is going to be worthwhile on a little comedy from the eighties, but I�m sure it will sell.

I definitely wouldn�t have nominated this for best film last year, but it is a really good film. Clooney doesn�t set himself back with his sophomore effort which is quite a bit better than �Confessions of a Dangerous Mind� (Which is also a good film). This will be the first test of black and white in the HD format, and I�m sure it�s going to look absolutely brilliant. It�s definitely worth picking up for the high-definition quality alone.

Great stuff here for John Wayne and John Ford fans. This is my personal favorite of their team-ups, although some days I�ll say the same thing about �Stagecoach� or �The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.� Either way, a hell of a film; this title alone almost makes me want to go buy a player this week; looks like I�ll be getting one soon anyways.

SPY GAME (2001)
This is one of those films I have never gotten around to seeing, so I can�t really give my opinion on it. I think Chris likes it quite a bit, but I could be wrong. I know that Brad Pitt and Robert Redford are spys, and Tony Scott directs them. I�m sure there�s a lot of nonsensical action that only someone like Tony Scott can bring us, and I�m sure Redford and Pitt spout off to each other quite a bit. I�ve heard it�s a pretty good movie, so might be worth a look.


This made my top ten best films list last year; made Chris�s top ten mediocre films list, I would guess. It�s a movie you�re either going to like or dislike; probably not going to be too many in-between votes. However, if you�re a fan of film, I highly recommend you give it a shot. It�s Rob Zombie�s ode to films like �Bonny and Clyde,� and I found it to be a great and fun character piece with a lot of underappreciated actors like William Mosley and Sid Haig getting meaty roles, and hitting them out of the park. And if you weren�t a fan of Zombie�s previous effort, �House of 1000 Corpses,� don�t be deterred. I hated that film myself, and loved this one.

I wrote a review of this when it came out earlier this year, and having seen it a second time, I stand by every word of it. I strongly suggest anyone with a love of film to give this a shot. It is a very strange studio product, and while it doesn�t work completely for me, I know some people out there are going to love the hell out of it, and I can�t blame you one bit. It�s probably the most direct translation of a video game to film we are ever going to get, so if that�s something you want to see then make sure you don�t pass this one up. This is also coming out on standard DVD as well this week.


At 8/21/2006 06:51:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

The Devil's Rejects did not make my Worst 10, but I certainly didn't like it very much. I'm really surprised it has the cult status it does; there are people who give it four stars and all that. Maybe I was cranky watching it really late at night.

As for "House," they do make House fairly unlikeable for awhile (of course, it's really damn funny) but he's got a lot of softer side that shows in most of the episodes.

Speaking of "House," a young Jennifer Morrison shows up as the ghost in Stir of Echoes, which is probably one of my favorite nobody-saw-it flicks ever. A great trailer, too.

Kicking and Screaming is hilarious--just the fact that someone walks in the room and asks everyone, "Anyone beat off today?" should get the uninitiated to watch this.

I really don't remember much about Spy Game but I do remember liking it OK.

At 8/21/2006 09:13:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

My favorite line from "Kicking and Screaming" as always been: "A Dictionary? Cool. I'm going to look up blowjob." Another good one is: "Of course they'll get the stain out, Otis. They always get the stain out."


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