Weekly Release Roundup
The world of DVD coverage is STILL changing...
To keep up with the changes, we're introducing a new corner of The
Bits. Weekly round-ups. In place of the previous Doogan's
Views format, you'll find our look at the major titles
are coming and are recommended each week, and some smaller ones that
are worth picking up too. You can still expect more in-depth reviews
of key titles elsewhere on the site, but for the most part, you'll
get a nice introduction every Tuesday to the key releases of that
We're hoping you will like it. Expect things to change a bit here
and there with the format, and it'll probably grow a bit to be more
review-based as I find my legs. But all in all, I think you'll all
have fun taking a look at what's new each week.
So with all of that out of the way, submitted for your approval are
this week's recommended releases.
The big, must-have library title is, of course...
...from Paramount. Jack Black stars as a rock and roller in
training that poses as a substitute teacher at a private school to
earn some rent money, only to find that his students are actually
talented musicians. With a little bit of prodding, he turns then
into rockers and enters into a Battle of the Bands. Will they win?
Will he get caught? We're not telling. But it's a fun ride with some
really cute acting. Richard Linklater directs.
find School of Rock in
stores in two different versions: rental friendly full frame and
collector fave widescreen. Both feature very nice transfers with
equally good sound. But the real reasons to pick this flick up
are the extras. There are two commentaries, one with Jack Black
and Richard Linklater, and the other featuring the kids from the
film. One of the more fun extras is Jack Black's pitch to Led
Zeppelin, which finds Black pleading Zeppelin to let them use
their Immigrant Song in
the film. This bit looks like it was filmed on set during the
making of the Battle of the Bands scene, with Black getting the
crowd worked up to help beg. Equally fun and funny is the
episode from MTV's Diary
with Jack Black and his Tenacious D cohort K.G.. showing a day
in his life. If you ever wanted to see Jack Black' blurred-out
ass, this is the place. Also on board is a featurette (Lessons
Learned), trailers, a music video, a video diary shot
by the kids during the Toronto Film Festival and a fun
interactive feature called Dewey
Finn's History of Rock.
Got get yourself a copy of this very funny film. It's a kick ass
The next obvious must have is Warner's...
Chaplin Collection Volume 2
set collects remastered editions of City
Lights, The Circus,
The Kid, A
King in New York, A Woman
of Paris and Monsieur
Verdoux. Each and every one of those are huge, huge
Chaplin flicks. But rounding out the set is the two-disc
The Chaplin Revue, which
features Chaplin shorts made from 1918 and 1923. Here we get
A Day's Pleasure, Sunnyside,
The Idle Class and
Pay Day, as well as three
silent comedies - A Dog's Life,
Shoulder Arms and
The Pilgrim. Oh, and we
can't forget the exceptional Turner Classic Movies documentary,
Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles
Getting all of those films is their remastered glory would be
enough, except we also get a boatload of extras, including
behind-the-scenes footage of visitors to Chaplin's sets, footage
photo galleries, film posters, the shorts How
to Make Movies (where Chaplin shows the building of
his new studio) and The Bond
(a WWI propaganda film featuring Chaplin). And that stuff is
just on the Chaplin Revue
disc. This is a whopping box set, and if you enjoyed
first volume, you owe it to yourself to add this one to
your library. If you don't have the first set yet, what are you
Here are the rest of this week's major releases. If you're a studio
PR person and you want to bring your titles to my attention, and get
your discs listed in this column,
drop me an e-mail.
Warner is putting off the Batman box sets a little while longer and
throwing a couple of compilation discs our way first. Three in total
come out this week - two in the Adventures
of Batman & Robin series, Poison
Ivy/The Penguin and The
Joker/Fire & Ice, as well as a nice
Batman Beyond disc with two
story runs, School Dayz/Spellbound.
If you like animated Batman, then these discs are for you.
Tomorrow 1 and 2
Anchor Bay is re-releasing these two John Woo films as a
streamlined double-bill DVD. If you picked up the original sets,
hold on to 'em for a while though.
If you thought the Owen Wilson film was cute, check out 1969's
version of The Big Bounce
from Warner. It features a very nice 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer
and solid Dolby Digital Mono sound. No extras though.
No, it wasn't scary... which is too bad, because the trailer
was creepy as all get out. The Touchstone disc release looks
great in 1.85:1 anamorphic and it sounds good too. On board are
a by-the-numbers commentary with director Mike Figgis, eight
deleted scenes, a bonus alternate ending with optional
commentary from Figgis (and an introduction) and two
featurettes, Rules of the Genre
and Cooper's Documentary,
which are brief but stand up as good looks behind-the-scenes. If
you're anything like my Mom and enjoy lame Lifetime Channel
horror films, then Cold Creek Manor
might be for you. For everyone else, rent this one first.
From Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder comes a truly neat
cult film. Curdled stars
Angela Jones. For fans of Pulp
Fiction's "Gold Watch" section, she's the
taxi driver obsessed with death. Here she plays the same
character (Tarantino was homaging her in his film). She's a
literal cleaner of crime scenes and she finds a clue that leads
her to a charismatic murderer played by William Baldwin. Because
she knows too much, he has to kill her... except she's as
fascinated by death as he is. Is it a love match made in hell?
This DVD features anamorphic widescreen at 1.85:1 and Dolby
Digital 2.0 sound. It's packed with the Rolling Thunder
standards, including intro/outro by Quentin Tarantino,
behind-the-scenes featurettes and filmmaker commentary. It's
also carrying the two Curdled
film school shorts this film emerged from, as well as deleted
scenes, a trailer and photo galleries. It's a very cute bit of
90's independent filmmaking that is indeed welcome on DVD.
New Line gives us the lost Bruce McCulloch comedy starring Luke
Wilson. You remember Bruce McCulloch don't ya? He was the
funniest member of Kids in the Hall
and director of the underappreciated Molly Shannon vehicle
Superstar. Love him.
Dog Park is the story of a
guy named Andy, who's unlucky at love in theory... except he
goes from babilicious Kathleen Robertson to megababe Natasha
Henstridge. Loser. No extras here, but you do get very nice
anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen and dual 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks.
This may be a rental, but it's worth checking out nonetheless.
How could this one fail? Stiller and Barrymore in a film
directed by DeVito? Whatever it was in theaters, maybe it'll
have a second life on video. Still you should just rent this one
first. Look for this ultra-black comedy on DVD to have a
by-the-numbers behind-the-scenes featurette and a couple of
deleted scenes. It comes with full frame and 1.85:1 widescreen
anamorphic formats on the same disc (the way it should be), as
well as Dolby Digital 5.1.
Hmmm... it's not often that MGM releases a special edition
right off the bat, but here ya go. This kids' flick about
interstellar dogs and their boy is on DVD this week as a packed
release. We get commentary (billed as audio canine-tary) with
the director John Hoffman and select cast members,
A Dog-umentary: The Making of Good
Boy!, profiles of the dog characters in the film, an
interactive map, featurettes, theatrical trailers, deleted and
alternate scenes and stills. All this and a full frame transfer.
MGM's shooting for the kids here.
What is "It"? "It" is Sex Appeal and Clara
Bow had it in spades. To this day, most Hollywood starlets only
wish they could be as hot. It
was made for Clara to exploit her sexy image, and it did so
quite well. The film is a classic and very entertaining, even to
this day. Image and Milestone gives us a re-issue of Image's
previous release with new commentary by film professor Jeanine
Basinger and a new orchestral score by Carl Davis, as well as a
stills gallery and DVD-ROM material featuring director Clarence
Badger on the making of the film. Fans of classic titles will
really want this in their collection.
Tunes: Back in Action
It's not a good film, but kids like it. My wife and I took our
little goddaughters to an advance screening and they had a good
time. Joe Dante does a good job merging cartoons and live
action, but the whole thing feels flat rather in the end. But
what are you gonna do? It wasn't meant to be critiqued. Like I
said, the kids will love it.
And the kids will love this DVD too, 'cause it's built for 'em.
You get a new Looney Tunes short entitled Whizzard
of Ow, a montage of alternate footage, a tour of the
Warner Studio guided by Bugs and Daffy and a handful of kid
friendly featurettes (as well as an Easter egg). Warner also
includes deleted scenes as DVD-ROM extras. I guess kids love
computers, so that will give them something to do. But we hate
that crap here.
Fox's newest Studio Classics release is the 1957 granddaddy to
the soap opera. Weeeee! All the sex, murder and betrayal you
need in one easy to swallow helping. The film stars Lana Turner,
Arthur Kennedy, Terry Moore and Russ Tamblyn and is based on the
lurid pop-cult best-seller from Grace Metalious. Nice.
Peyton looks and sounds
fine on DVD. It's not as spectacular as some of the previous
releases in Fox's ode to Criterion, but it's still a good set.
First up extras-wise is a commentary featuring Terry Moore and
Russ Tamblyn edited together, which is nice and informative, as
well as the always entertaining AMC
Backstory. Oh... and don't forget the requisite
Movietone News shorts (we
get two with this one). It's not as extensive as some releases
in the line have been, but it's nice to get this classic in our
Fans of cheese from the 1980s should be quite happy with this
release. Spielberg's wife, Travolta's wife, Lea Thompson and
Joaquin Phoenix (before he changed his name), star as a crew of
students and their teacher who are sent into space accidentally.
MGM releases this fan favorite film to DVD (finally) as a
(sniff) non-anamorphic movie-only edition. Gosh... MGM really
needs to start doing new anamorphic transfers on their library
titles. Oh, well... we're glad to get this disc in our libraries
anyway. We just love Tish. She's like totally hot. Totally.
and Hutch: The Complete First Season
Just in time for the likely-to-be-a-hit Hollywood remake film,
you can bring the original series home on DVD. Word is the film
will serve as a prequel to the hit series, so now you'll be able
to continue the adventure. All 23 episodes of season one are
collected on five discs. They include a look at the new film,
new interviews with the original Starsky and Hutch (David Soul
and Paul Michael Glaser) and three featurettes. Hop into your
1974 Ford Torino and head down to the DVD shop and grab the set.
C'mon, you know you have one.
Job and Shove It
I dunno why, but I love this film. And now I have it on DVD. So
should you. It's a fun flick about a brewery executive who has
to return to his hometown and fire everyone. But going back to
his simple roots wakes something up in him and he snaps for the
better. Full of all sorts of country cliches,
Take This Job and Shove It
is cheap (c'mon it's based on a country song), but it works. If
you love beer, you should love this film. The DVD is a standard
anamorphic transfer from MGM. Wait, anamorphic? From MGM?
Well... there's nothing standard about that. Good work, MGM. No
extras... but hey, anamorphic!
Also this week, be on the lookout for:
SG1 Volume 6, Terry Jones' live action
Wind in the Willows tale
Toad's Wild Ride and Universal re-releases of
Dog and Glory and the cult classic
All in all, not a bad week for DVD. Well... unless you actually
want to save your money. Then it sucks. See you in seven.