Sunday, August 13, 2006


This is an idea I've been meaning to bring into existence for awhile. I have an ass ton of DVD's, and am only adding more to my collection every Tuesday it seems like. I decided I would make a list each week of upcoming releases, much like Chris does for the theatrical films. I'll do mini reviews of the ones I've seen, and talk about why it's probably worth checking out the ones I haven't. This won't be a complete list, this will be stuff I find the most interesting to purchase or throw on your Netflix list. And judging from the length of this week's it will have quite a bit on it. If you want complete lists, there are plenty of sites that offer that with links to Amazon and the like. DVDTALK.Com and are two good ones; if you're a Netflix member they also have a comprehensive list of all of the new releases. I will try to do this every week, but it takes awhile, so if I have a lot going on, I might miss one, but I'll try to cover it along with the next one.

I'll start off with what I consider the "DVD Pick of the Week." And then after that I will list the other titles of interest in alphabetical order. At the bottom I'm also going to include all of the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray releases. I have yet to purchase either one of these; kind of want to wait to see how this battle sizes up before I start throwing down some big dollars. But I know a lot of people either have one or are thinking about getting one, so I will mention the titles; right now it's only two or three a week for both formats. I would expect around the holidays, the volume will increase a bit.

Hope you guys enjoy. Let me know if there is anything you would like me to add to the column, or take away. Hell, let me know if you think it sucks. Whatever. I aim to please. Hope you enjoy.


Many fans of the show consider this to be the last of the great seasons of this much beloved show; this was when �The Simpsons� was at a creative high where every episode just seemed like a mad genius was working away the hours with great comedy coming out of every orifice in his body. Highlights of this season include one of my personal favorites, �Lisa�s Date With Density,� where Lisa develops a crush on Nelson and tries to change him from his bullying ways. This set also includes one of the most bizarre episodes of the series, �Mountain of Madness,� where Homer and Mr. Burns are trapped in a cabin for days and start hallucinating (Think about that whacked out episode of Looney Tunes where all of the characters eat the glowing carrots, and multiply that by a hundred.).The Treehouse of Horrors are almost always a mixed bag, but this season�s was one of the stronger ones: Bart meets his evil twin brother, Hugo; Lisa creates a mini-society from a baby tooth; and probably the most famous of these twisted episodes is the one where Kang and Kodos take over Bob Dole and Bill Clinton�s roles to try and become President, funny stuff. This season also includes the popular �Springfield Files,� which puts Mulder and Scully in Springfield to solve a case involving a possible alien sighting. Other highlights include the only musical episode that ever worked for me where they hire a nanny named Shary Bobbins; one of the more morbid episodes ever filmed, �Homer�s Enemy� where Homer gets competition at work in the form of Frank Grimes; and how can anyone forget �Homer vs. the Eighteenth Admentment,� in this episode Moe is forced to open a Speakeasy when prohibition comes to Springield, awesome. Over all, if you�re even remotely a fan of this show this would be a season to add to the collection.


I have to admit, �Apocalypse Now,� is a movie I appreciate much more than I love. It�s a very interesting, and well done film, that the three or four times I�ve seen it, I always feel like I should like it more. But other movies about Vietnam, �Platoon,� �The Deer Hunter,� �Coming Home,� and �Casualties of War� just always seem to stand out a little more for me in comparison. Don�t get me wrong, this is a good film, I just don�t know if I could ever think of it as a great one. But for fans of the movie, you can�t go wrong with this set. It includes the original theatrical release and the controversial Redux, where Coppola reinserted forty-five minutes of previously unseen material. There�s also some interesting extra features like Marlin Brando reading T.S. Eliot�s poem, �The Hollow Men,� curious to see what that�s all about. The one thing about the set I don�t get is that they didn�t include the brilliant documentary about the inane production of the film, �Hearts of Darkness,� which in a lot of ways is more interesting than the film itself. If you haven�t seen it and are a fan of the movie, definitely track it down. However, that curious deletion aside, at 19.99, if you don�t already own it and love it, this is a hard bargain to pass up.

One great thing about DVD is the restoration of a lot of older films from the what many consider the golden era of the Studio system. A lot of these popular actors have been getting some nicely priced sets released over the last couple of years, and Clark Gable gets one this week along with Jimmy Stewart (More on that one in a sec.). It�s nice to be able to go back and see these movies, most of them for the first time, in a batch like this, so you get a real feel of why this actor or actress were so highly appreciated. I haven�t seen a single one of these so I�m really looking forward to jumping into this as soon as I can get my hands on it. The set includes:

DANCING LADY � This is actually a Joan Crawford vehicle that stars a rather young Clark Gable as a play director competing with a playboy millionaire (Franchot Tone) for the hand of Crawford. The film also has the debut of Fred Astaire, playing himself, and includes cameos by Nelson Eddy and The Three Stooges.

CHINA SEAS � Gable plays a ship captain who does not know that his Hong Kong to Singapore voyage includes a gold shipment.

WIFE VS SECRETARY � This is one of the handful of movies that Gable made with Jean Harlow. She plays his secretary, and Myrna Loy plays his wife; craziness and fireworks ensue, I�m sure.

SAN FRANCISCO � This is an all-time favorite of a lot of Gable fans. It uses the infamous 1906 earthquake in San Francisco has it�s climax; think a 1940�s �World Trade Center.� The plot involves a love triangle; Gable�s Barbary Coast Joint owner competes with wealthy Jack Holt for Jenette McDonald, who plays a singer. Spencer Tracy got an Oscar nomination for playing a Priest in the film.

BOOM TOWN � Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable are teamed up again; this time playing oil prospectors trying to get rich quick. Considered by many to be a guilty pleasure.

MOGAMBO � This is an unofficial remake of another Gable film, �Red Dust,� where Gable plays an African Safari leader caught between Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly (Poor man). This was directed by John Ford, and is a much later film than the other ones (1953).

The cool thing about this set, is we�ve all seen �Gone With the Wind,� and �Mutiny on the Bounty.� Not to mention �It Happened One Night,� which is actually Columbia, so Warner Bros. probably couldn�t have included it anyway. But here we get to see some lesser known films, at least by today�s standards of one of our screen greats.

Anything Criterion puts out, even if I haven�t heard of it, I�m checking out. They always seem to pick films that while not always great, are always interesting to watch. At 32 bucks a pop, Netflix comes in real handy with these films. This selection is from New Wave auteur, Eric Rohmer. And while Rohmer is a critical darling, I have to fess up and admit I have never seen any of his films. Well in his eighties, the guy is still around and working; he�s got a film coming out this year, according to IMDB. This was a work he did from the late sixties to the early seventies, a series of films he called his moral tales. Don�t know much about them, but like I said, Criterion is doing it, so I�m checking it out.

I love me some Dario Argento, the Itallian horror meister who is most well known for his 1970�s offering, �Suspira.� Not as well known in the states, but known by most horror fans for the creator of the Giallo (Itallian Murder Mystery essentially). So, I never get to see his films until they�re released here on DVD; we rarely get to see his movies on the big screen here and that is a shame. This was actually a movie he made for T.V. in Italy. I�m not sure what their censors are like for television, but I�m assuming this won�t be near as gory as his other offerings which might make it the perfect introduction to the director for a newbie. Or it might suck balls. Argento could arguably be noted as being a little past his prime, but any Argento is better than pretty much all of the crap the studios are trying to pass off as horror movies these days.

HOOT (2006)
This is a film that was released earlier this year, and I really have no interest in seeing it. However, if you like to catch all recent theatrical releases coming out on DVD, then I thought I would mention it. The plot concerns some kids trying to save some owls, I think, from extinction, or something to that effect. It stars Luke Wilson along with a bunch of unknowns. And New Line is giving it it�s Platinum Series treatment. So, if you are a fan of the movie this would probably be a nice set.

Bad direct to video titles are a thing I�m a fan of. Maybe it�s not your thing, but if it is then what could be better than the further adventures of the hook man. The plot, I�m loosely calling it that, takes place a few years after the first film, and contains none of the original cast, of course. Some kids pull a �Hook Man� esque prank on the Fourth of July, the creepiest of holidays according to this series, with the help of the original hook,that one of the pointless teenagers purchased off E-bay. Gotta love the use of modern technology in your direct to video sequels. Someone really ends up dying, and the next summer these sex crazed, alcoholic teens are being killed by a mysterious dude with a raincoat and a hook. I won�t be buying this, don�t think I�m crazy, but it�s worth a notch on the Netfilx list if you love a good bad movie from time to time. This should be an excellent choice.

James Stewart is one of my all-time favorites, goofy voice and all, and unlike Clark Gable, I�ve seen the majority of his films, which makes me sad to say that I haven�t seen any of these. But I am looking forward to checking them out; a quick rundown of titles included.

THE STRATTON STORY � Stewart plays real life pitcher, Monty Stratton, who returned to the game after a tragic hunting accident where he lost his leg. June Allyson plays his love interest for one of the three times in both actors career (They were also in �The Glen Miller Story� and �Strategic Air Command�). And they have such a genuine chemistry together, I�m really looking forward to seeing this one. Plus, I love baseball.

THE NAKED SPUR � Stewart never seems to get noticed as much of a Western movie kind of guy, being around at the same time as John Wayne makes that easy to understand. However, Stewart made quite a few good ones, and this is supposed to be one of the best. The great Anthony Mann (El Cid) directed this, and it stars Stewart as a lawman seeking to bring down an outlaw played by the always intriguing Robert Ryan. The climax of this film is supposed to be a one of a kind; a Mexican standoff for the ages I�ve heard. So, I�m dying to check this one out as well.

THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS � Okay, I sort of told a fib. I said I hadn�t seen any of these, but I did see this one back when I was rather young, and really don�t remember a whole lot about it. This is a rather popular film where Stewart plays Charles Lindbergh, and the film chronicles his famous solo flight across the Atlantic. Also, this film was directed by Billy Wilder, I�m surprised to find out, so most likely, good stuff all the way around.

THE FBI STORY � I�ve always heard good things about this movie, but have always been reluctant to watch it. This was overseen by J. Edgar Hoover at the time it was made, so I always felt like it would be a rather glossed over interpretation of what the FBI was all about. Aint no way Hoover would want bad publicity. However, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon, I guess, than watching Stewart play an FBI agent taking on the likes of the KKK, the most wanted 30�s gangsters, and the Nazis. Go get them, Jimmy.

FIRECREEK � I�m starting to be ashamed I haven�t seen some of these films. One of two team-ups with another one of my favorites, Henry Fonda, Stewart plays the Sheriff, and Fonda plays the baddie. A lot of gunfights I�m sure, and a lot of great one-on-one scenes between two of our finest actors. How did I miss this?

THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB � This one just sounds awesome. Stewart and Fonda again and under the direction of Gene Kelley. It involves our two stars inheriting a brothel and Stewart hooking up with Shirley Jones as the hooker with the heart of gold. This was actually made in 1970, so it might not be as tame as you would think. And apparently this was box office bomb because the general public was in no mood to see Jimmy hooking up with a prostitute.

This should be a rather nice collection. And it�s only retailing for about 35 dollars, well worth the price.

Masters of Horror was a mixed bag for sure, but there were some really good entries into the series. Argento�s was one of the better ones. Argento mixes Zombies with Film Noir, and for the most part is successful with his little experiment. Steven Weber plays a cop who saves the title character from a goon about to kill her. He becomes strangely fascinated with her and they start humping like rabbits. Weber soon finds out this girl is not all that innocent and has a hell of an appetite for things other than sex. Argento falls prey to some of the other entries woes by feeling he has to tack on a twist at the end, and it really doesn�t pay off that well. But this is a great mood piece, if you will, and Weber actually gives a good performance. After this and the upcoming television series, Studio 60, I might actually start liking Steven Weber, go figure. Plus, two Argento DVD�s in one week; that�s like Christmas for a dork like myself.

TV on DVD is another one of the things I love so much about this format, and especially getting to relive these shows I grew up watching as a kid. Remington Steele could easily be looked at as a poor man�s Moonlighting, and that�s not completely off, but it did have a lot of charm in it�s own right. This was when the show really started winding down, and you could tell the stars didn�t really want to be doing it anymore. Pierce Brosnan wanted to be Bond, but couldn�t get out of his contract, and I�m not sure what kind of movie offers Stephanie Zimbalist was getting, but she didn�t want to be doing this for sure. Season 4 still has some pretty cool episodes though, and season 5 is a disaster. It�s actually three made for T.V. movies that the studio agreed to do when the stars were threatening to not come back at all. However, I�m a dork, and must complete my collection. And if you�re a fan of the show, it�s worth having.

HBO is the shiznit when it comes to television shows; I just wish they would mark down their prices on these sets. I found Rome, a depiction of the famous empire, to be a much more powerful show than the overrated �Deadwood,� a show that seems to care more about dropping the F-Bomb than telling a good story. I�ll catch some flack for that, but I think �Deadwood� sucks some pretty serious ass most of the time. However, �Rome� just gives us something different than anything we�ve ever really seen on T.V., and the lavish sets are nothing to balk at either. I can�t imagine how they are making their money back on this thing, but I�m glad they�re bringing it back for a second season. If you haven�t seen it yet, I can�t really encourage spending the 70 bucks for it, but I would definitely rent it. It�s a show that has to be seen to be believed.

SCARY MOVIE 4 (2006)
I actually kind of enjoyed what the Mr. Zucker did with �Scary Movie 3,� so I�m willing to check out this entry in the never ending series. I�m also madly in love with Anna Farris, and agree with Chris, that she is one of the funniest people working in film today. I�m sure it won�t be groundbreaking, but I�m sure it will be worth quite a few laughs. So, I�ll give it a go.

I watched the first half of this one season and out sci-fi show, and I�m not really sure why I quit watching it. I guess something else started coming on in the same timeslot; I really don�t remember. I thought it was better than anyone gave it credit for, but by no means groundbreaking. I�ll probably pop this on Netflix just to see how they decided to end it. If you love sci-fi television this was a hell of a lot better than say �Stargate� or �Mutant X.� Worth checking out.


We�re seeing a new slew of these types of comedies coming out with the success of movies like �Old School.� �Animal House� did more than just define the college comedy though, it pretty much defined the R-rated comedy. I know a lot of film buffs are going to claim �Slapstick� did that a year earlier, but �Slapstick� didn�t have the B.O. that �Animal House� did, so I�ll call a spade a spade here. Movies like �Scary Movie,� �Wedding Crashers,� and the fore-mentioned �Old School� would not exist if it wasn�t for this movie. Be that a bad thing to some, you can�t argue that the original granddaddy isn�t one of the funniest movies ever made.

This far and wide Jet Li�s best Hollywood output to date. A dark tale about a kept assassin (Li) breaking away from his boss/owner (Bob Hoskins, as nasty as ever) and finding the confidence of a blind piano teacher (Morgan Freeman). Sounds silly, and sometimes it is, but it�s also a really good action film with some really cool fight scenes. Luc Besson (The Professional) produced and co-wrote the script here, and it has all of his visual flair intact. Definitely a fun film for the men, and the ladies might enjoy it some too.


This film was a lot better than it had any right to be. Paul Walker plays a treasure hunter who has found the cream of the crop when he uncovers the location of a mythical stash of gold. He has to outrun a drug dealer (Josh Brolin) and his cronies who want to get the gold as well. Neat sequence at the end involving sharks biting guys in the crotches. Not for everyone, but like I said, a lot more fun than it has any right to be.

MEMENTO (2000)
One of Chris�s favorite films, and one I like a lot. The film that got Christopher Nolan the Batman gig, and who�s not happy about that? Follows Guy Pearce has a guy who has no short term memory trying to piece together clues each day to help solve his wife�s murder. The movie starts at the end and goes to the beginning; a neat trick that doesn�t come off gimmicky at all. I�m sure most of you have seen it, but if you haven�t, what the hell are you waiting for?

RV (2006)
Didn�t see it in the theaters, so I really can�t give you an honest opinion, but I can tell you it looked really stupid. And Robin Williams hasn�t made a good comedy in I don�t know how long at this point. But if you love those wacky road trip movies, I guess this will serve its purpose. I think someone gets attacked by a raccoon; I guess that could be kind of funny.

Man, these HD and Blu Ray releases are all over the map. �Sense and Sensibility� was one of the best films to come out of 1995, and it got an Oscar nomination to prove it. I thought it was a much better film than �Braveheart,� but what do I know? It stars Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet strutting their stuff in the Jane Austen universe. It�s what my mom likes to call one of those �Period Piece� things. So, if you like that kind of thing, this is one of the best in the genre.

Until next week, I hope you enjoy watching some of these.


At 8/13/2006 08:18:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Damn, I didn't know so much came out on a Tuesday; Monday night/Tuesday morning must be hell for a Best Buy guy.

I haven't see a lot of those classic Gable or Stewart movies either, and as a movie buff, I am rightly ashamed.

Keep it up, though, I like this stuff.

At 8/14/2006 10:16:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

This is less than half the movies that are supposed to be released. So, yeah, I would hate to be working at Best Buy on a Monday night.


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