world of DVD coverage is changing...
More and more, we as DVD critics are having less original things to
say about a disc's transfer, audio quality or worthiness of extras.
It's enough to make one give the whole thing up. Seriously. If I'm
forced to think of something original to say about another disc's
spotless transfer again, I think I'll pull the rest of my graying
hair out by the roots and call it a day.
Which, in a way, is what I did. People have been asking, "Todd,
where did you go?" or, "Bill, where did Todd go?" And
the truth is, I went away for a while. DVD coverage has bored me to
no end. I can't even read other people's reviews anymore, because my
eyes just start glazing over. DVD quality has gotten so good, it's
to the point where it's become all standard.
But I can't quit doing this. I love movies too much.
So, the way Doogan's Views
will work in the future is this: I'll review what I see and talk
about what makes the film good or bad. I'll do it almost as a diary,
but I won't talk about everything in detail unless it really
warrants discussion. Generally, you won't hear me discuss the video
and audio quality of the disc, unless it's either so good or so bad
as to be worth mentioning. And I won't run down all the specs
either. But if there's a supplemental item on the disc of particular
note, I'll let you know. This way, you'll learn what you really need
to know, and I'll be able to cover a lot more ground with each
DVD is all about the films. That's the whole point for us here at
The Digital Bits. And that's
never been truer these days. More and more great films are coming to
us on disc, and every one of them deserves a viewing - at least
once. But to help you all make the most of your time and money, I'll
watch 'em for you and weed out the crap.
So... submitted for your approval, here's my thoughts on a bunch of
discs I've watched in my down time in the last few weeks. I hope you
Views - Main Page
of Lost Souls (aka The Hazard City)
2000 (2002) - Chimera Entertainment (Ventura Distribution, Inc.)
This film is a real blast. Cult superstar director Takashi Miike is
churning out film after film with no signs of slowing down.
City of Lost Souls isn't what
you'd expect Miike to give us after seeing his incredibly creepy
Audition. It's a full-blown
romantic action fest with kinetic visual style and a sucker punch
ending... whereas Audition was
full-blown anti-romance with kinetic visual style and a sucker punch
ending. Hmmm. Anyway, based on a novel by Seishu Hase, which in
itself seems very much inspired by Tarantino's True
follows Brazilian/Japanese Mario as he keeps his Chinese girlfriend
Kei from being deported out of Japan. Using a tour helicopter and a
bunch of bullets, Kei and Mario escape and head for town, where they
break up a very big drug deal between the Triad and the Yakuza.
You'd expect things to get out of hand... and boy do they. I won't
spoil things for you, except to say that if your tastes are similar
to mine, you'll love this flick. If you're at the DVD shop and you
like the cover art, then buy this disc 'cause it's truly worth it.
There's not a lot in way of extras, but it's a great little gem of a
Doogan Says: It's a solid B+
1992 (2003) - PBS (Warner)
To me, one of the saddest, most horrifying chapters in American
history is the Donner Party tragedy. And after watching this spooky
as hell documentary, you'll see just how stupid the whole situation
was. Maaaan. Directed by Ken Burns' brother Ric, this is one of the
best docs I've seen in a very long time. No question goes
unanswered, and for the astute film fan, you might catch the
references to the Donner-friendly film The
Shining. After watching this, I started really wanting to
see a dramatic film about these events. The nuances and tragedy of
it would make for a very cool feature. If history is your thing, do
check this disc out.
Doogan Says: A
Sexuelles (aka Fly Me the French Way)
1973 (2002) - Synapse Films
There's no story to speak of, it's French and it's full of the
absolute hardest soft-core sex I've ever seen. If you love lesbians
(and who doesn't) then walk, don't run, to the local video store to
check this ode to nothingness. Synapse gives us another king's
treatment of a lost classic... and if I had anything more to say, I
would. But what can you say about a film where two girls love on one
another until an abduction... after which they go and love on a
bunch of other people? Not much more to mention really. Except, if
you're a fan of Synapse's work in the past, this is one of their
better "preservation" acts.
Doogan Says: B-
Spit on Your Grave: Millennium Edition
1978 (2002) - Elite Entertainment
I doubt the "rape film" genre will ever fully take off,
even though if pushed hard I could come up with five or so films
that center on a rape. But without a doubt, I
Spit On Your Grave is the king daddy of rape films. Half
the film is a prolonged gang rape, and it's some tough s**t to take
in. When a city girl finally decides to tackle the great American
novel, she sets up in a small cabin in the "country". And,
being a modern woman, she wears her sex appeal with naïve
honor. So it's not surprising that the town bad boys decide she's "asking
for it" when they bum rush her in her canoe and take turns
raping her as she crawls home. So what's a modern woman to do once
she's been turned inside out by a bunch of rednecks? Get revenge.
And so she does, in a variety of stomach turning ways.
I Spit is a cult classic and
it's a surprisingly good film. It's actually not as in your face as
you'd expect, but it's definitely hard to watch. My wife, who's
pretty "feminist", watched the film with me and she
instantly saw the value in the film, not finding it gratuitous in
the least. So that must be saying something. The extras mainly
include commentary tracks - one that appeared on the previous
incarnation of this disc and a new one with Joe Bob Briggs, who
brings a nice fan boy touch to the film without being insulting to
your intellect or your morals. If you know the work of Joe Bob, then
you know what to expect and it's all pretty good. I don't know why
Elite felt the need to Millennium this film, but it is an
improvement over the earlier release.
Doogan Says: B
2002 (2002) - Miramax
You know, I was actually very surprised to like this flick as much
as I did. I shouldn't be, considering Walter Hill is consistently an
incredible filmmaker and doesn't get the due he deserves.
Undisputed is well crafted,
well acted and very well written. It's a good prison film and an
even better boxing movie. Ving is great, Wesley is great and even
the supporting players leave a mark. Wesley plays a boxing champion
who's in prison and has become the prison system champion. Ving, who
is the world champ on the outside, is sent down the river for a case
of date rape. Is he guilty? It doesn't matter, because to prove he's
no bitch, he challenges Wesley to a fight. And when it happens, the
true definition of champ will be told for the entire world to see.
Well... at least the prison world. Extras are light, but there is a
nice set of interviews with the two stars.
Doogan Says: B+
Playboy Video Playmate Calendar
2002 (2002) - Playboy
What can you really say about Playboy
videos? If you like naked women, then you'll love these discs. I'm a
bigger fan of the Playboy
looks behind particular shoots, like the Joanie
Laurer spread. But for pure fluff, you can't get much
better than this. In fact, there's some unintentional humor involved
with the 2003 Calendar
edition, and I always prefer unintentional humor over the
intentional variety. Watch it and see if you can figure out the
mainstream pop song the composer is stealing the music from, by
adding new lyrics. Essentially this disc is nothing more than slow
moving shots of naked women doing the stuff that naked women do...
like wash their goodies, rolling around on a bed and kissing guys
who look like they'd rather be kissing other guys.
Doogan Says: C+
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