Weekly Release Roundup
My lord, there's a lot of stuff coming out this week.
Oh, I'm sorry... I disappeared again, didn't I? I promised many
glorious things and didn't deliver. Well, I wish I could say that
I'm sorry. But I can't. My life has gotten a bit complicated lately.
That's an understatement of course. But I'm slowly getting things
back and as I do, I will go back and fill in the two gaps in the
weekly review columns.
That's more for the press people than it is for the readers though,
'cause most of you have already moved on and don't give a rat's butt
what I think about something that came out two or three weeks ago.
Don't lie - I know it's true.
I'm heading for a bitch of a surgery next week and will try very,
very, very hard to get my column to Bill this coming weekend so he
can post it before I go under the knife. More on that next week.
Enough about me, what say we just jump into the review pond, shall
First up is...
Lion's Gate doesn't love me, but they love Jahnke. I don't
blame them. I just met the guy last month and he's a dream. Read
What do you get when you take your everyday chick in the city
story, mix in A Knight's Tale's
sensibility and Shrek's
humor? You get this. I'm still not sure if it's any good.
There's a message, and as so many of you alerted me to with my
review of 13 Going on 30
that's really important in teen girl films. Why we need a movie
to tell our children that's it's alright to be yourself and that
you hold all of the power in making your own choices and
creating your own destiny, I'll never know -- but as long Anne
Hathaway is helping make that point, I'll watch. She's a dream.
(I'm going to try and use that in every review today, see if it
The DVD looks and sounds great. I can't complain. It's
anamorphic with Dolby Digital 5.1, so it's got it going on.
Extras are worthy of your average Disney release, even if this
is a Miramax title. There's a music video by cute and spunky
Kari Kimmel, a fluffy making-of featurette hosted by Hathaway
and her co-star Hugh Dancy, a red carpet premiere featurette
with a lot of making-of stuff in it, a gaggle of deleted and
extended scenes, and commentary with the director, Hathaway and
Dancy. If you thought the film was cute, you'll want to own this
DVD. If you didn't, you're just a jaded mutha and probably need
to subject yourself to it anyway, so get to it.
Girl Next Door: Unrated Edition
That Elisha Cuthbert is a dream, ain't she? I was really hoping
that this film would explore the ramifications of having a porn
star who digs you, living next to you, but alas... it just
don't. It's really more of what I thought it would be: Risky
Business 2004. Here, Emile Hirsch plays Matthew, a
kid who instead of interviewing to get into the college of his
choice, already is in. But he has to give a speech that will
decide if he gets a full scholarship. So it's different there,
right? Uh-huh. Anyway, his parents don't go away, but his
neighbor does, and currently living at the house is his
neighbor's beautiful niece who happens to be a porn star. Her
producer (or pimp in RB)
shows up and makes Matt's life a little hellish and takes
something he needs (but not a crystal statue). To repair
everything, Elisha brings in her fellow porn star friends
(remember when Cruise became the hooker's business manager?) and
they save the day. It's cute, but derivative and it could have
been so much cooler. Oh, well.
derivative as the film may be, Girl Next
Door on DVD pretty much rocks. This is the Unrated
edition, which is the only edition as far as I'm concerned. It's
presented in a very nice anamorphic widescreen and has Dolby Digital
5.1 sound. Nothing stood out as being problematic and everything
looked and sounded great. Extras include a handful of extended and
deleted scenes (that don't add much) with optional commentary, a gag
reel, a pop-up video style "commentary" track, a very fun
and easy to listen to commentary with director Luke Greenfield, two
short scene specific commentaries by Cuthbert and Hirsch, a fluffy
EPK making-of and a very funny look at the AVN Awards with actor
Chris "Eli" Marquette in character at the show. There's
also some trailers, stills and a fun Easter egg. All in all, it's
not a terrible film - it's actually quite cute and funny in spots.
The DVD helps it go down a bit better though and I recommend it to
anyone looking for a good coming-of-age flick.
A by the book thriller and a by the book DVD. Jim "Call Me
Jesus" Caviezel stars as a guy hunting down a madman (Colm
Feore) who killed his wife in a hit and run. The two cat and
mouse and the dreamy Rhona Mitra gets involved. It's really
nothing to see, even if it's not a terrible film. New Line
releases this as a movie-only DVD with both the anamorphic
widescreen and full frame video presentations on one side. Both
look fine. Audio is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0,
along with fuller DTS 5.1. Extras include trailers. That's it.
This film is Federico Fellini's snapshot of five young men
taken at the moment they are forced to grow up and live a life
defined by themselves. The five guys, slackers who live off
their families, must come to grips with choices they've made or
that are made for them. They have to start living lives instead
of playing at it. It's a beautiful film both visually and
emotionally. Although only his third film, I
Vitelloni represents an unsurrealistic, or
non-Felliniesque view of many of the themes he would go on to
explore in his "greater" films. The personification of
the town, immature men, streets at night, broken marriage and
movie theaters are just a few things you'll find in this film
that filter through the works of this legendary filmmaker. It's
a pretty impactful work. In fact, many of our own American
young-men-into-responsible-men films like Diner,
American Graffiti and any
number of films those two inspired owe a debt of gratitude to
this film. It's good. It's important. And I guess that's why
Criterion saw fit to bring it to our homes on DVD.
treatment is just a dream, as stellar as you'd expect. The source
has seen better days, but it looks wonderful on DVD. It's presented
full frame, in black and white with mono sound. Extras are a bit
light but include a short documentary with interviews of actors,
crewmembers and friends of Fellini's, a collection of stills broken
into four galleries, a trailer and liner notes by Tom Piazza. If you
love films as much as I do, do yourself a favor and check this one
out. It's definitely worth your time.
I really thought this was a cute film. I dreaded putting it in,
but in the end I really liked it. It's a throw back to those
quick-witted MGM romance comedies. Pierce Brosnan and Julianne
Moore play a pair of star divorce attorneys in NYC who fight off
falling in love and try to make the best of it. The poo hits the
fan when they "accidentally" get married while taking
depositions in Ireland (watch the film - it makes sense). The
issue of what divorce means and the questions it plays with are
tackled in a very funny and loving way. The acting is great, the
writing is fun and the directing is spot on. It's just a very
good little comedy. Both a widescreen transfer and full frame
presentation are included and they look great. The sound is
presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 and raised no
complaints. Extras include some extended scenes and an alternate
ending, as well as some trailers. I would have liked a little
more, but this flick didn't really make any noise in theaters
and New Line probably just sent out a standard disc. Maybe
someday people will come to appreciate this film more and we can
revisit it as a dreamy special edition. Someday being 10 years,
'cause I ain't buying this disc again right away New Line.
Rain: 20th Anniversary Special Edition
Under the Cherry Moon
Prince's trilogy is complete and on DVD. The only one getting the
super stellar treatment: Purple Rain.
But is that surprising? Not to me. Purple
Rain is the semi-autobiographical story of The Kid and
his rise, stumble and rise higher. Prince stars as himself along
with his band and his favorite other band, Morris Day and The Time.
This is one of the greatest rock films ever and supports one of my
favorite CDs of all-time. Check it out. This new DVD special edition
looks and sounds wonderful. It's anamorphic widescreen with a nice
full Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Extras include commentary with
the director, producer and cinematographer. It's interesting, but
not too enlightening. Disc Two features more extras like a look at
the making of the film and a historical overview of Prince's First
Avenue, the venue featured in the film. There's also a featurette on
Prince's impact on pop culture, a whole bunch of archived music
videos and a weird slice of Americana: MTV's premiere footage.
Under the Cherry Moon, is a
cute little black and white Cole Porter homage flick known more for
discovering Kristin Scott Thomas than for anything else. It also
features a nice anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Digital 2.0
sound. Extras include the trailer and some more music videos.
Finally, Graffiti Bridge is a
sequel of sorts to Purple Rain,
but is more Broadway musical than film. It's not very good, but it
has a certain look to it that keeps it from being totally dismissed.
It also features a very good anamorphic widescreen as well as Dolby
Digital 2.0 sound, a trailer and music videos. All in all, these
three films prove to be quite dreamy and worth your money,
especially if you're a Prince fan.
Stephen Chow plays Sing/Brother No. 5, a shaolin monk who's
looking for a way to apply his special talents to a more modern
world. First he thinks he can incorporate song and dance and
entertain the world, but that proves to not work. Then, by
accident, he meets up with a fallen soccer star who dreams of
coaching a team. The two of them recruit the rest of Sing's
shaolin brothers to start a team and defeat the standing
champions: Team Evil. Can Sing, his new coach, his teammates and
his new Tai-Chi powered love interest (the dreamy Vicki Zhao
hiding behind bad skin and bald head at various points in the
film) save the day? You bet. Thankfully Miramax releases this
DVD with both the badly chopped American release and the
original Chinese version on one disc. Both look good, but the
preferred version for you should be the Chinese edit. It's more
fun. The anamorphic widescreen transfers look good and the sound
also kicks with Dolby Digital 5.1. There are no real extras, but
having the original Chinese version is a bonus in my book.
Zatoichi and the Fugitives
The last three of the Home Vision Zatoichi films have arrived at
last... and that makes Bill and I very happy boys. We'll be updating
complete look at these awesome flicks very soon, so stay
on DVD this week:
Munsters: The Complete First Season
This is, without a doubt, my all-time most favorite TV show. So
I'm pretty stoked that it's finally out on DVD. At least the
first season, so far. Herman and his happy family of monsters
with hearts of gold invade our homes in this very nice box set
containing the first season's 38 episodes, plus the 15-minute
preliminary pass pilot for My Fair
Munster, the show's second episode. The episodes
themselves look great in their full frame glory and sound good
too in Dolby Digital 2.0. Sadly, there aren't any extras outside
of the pilot. But maybe Universal is saving something for the
next and last set (for Season Two).
I'll keep my fingers crossed. Everyone hop into your Dragula,
get to the store and pick yourself up a copy of the best damn
show ever to grace our TVs.
Gallery: The Complete First Season
So much hubbub online over this one. Is this DVD release a
historical, archival presentation? No. It's not. But it ain't
bad either. This was Rod Serling's follow up to Twilight
Zone, and it's almost as revered. Maybe not as
classic, Night Gallery is
still a creepy and well-made TV series and a worthy addition to
all of our TV on DVD collections. The episodes themselves look
fine. They're presented full frame and they've been cleaned up.
They're not flawless though. The pilot movie suffers the most,
but it's still watchable. There are no extras and that's a
shame, but we're finding with these classic presentations on DVD
that the studios aren't going out of their way. It's nice when
they do, but it's not common. The only things on here that could
even remotely be considered "extra" are the six bonus
episodes from other seasons. Hopefully, they're not here because
Universal has decided upon a wait-and-see approach to whether or
not additional season sets will follow. If not, then this set
came out simply because they wanted to get the Spielberg
directed episode on DVD and that's it. Either way, if you liked
the show or you like Zone-esque
fare, you'll be plenty pleased. You rabid fans will probably not
be, but you knew that already.
TV titles out this week: The earthquake scare-a-thon
I'm fired? F-you! You're bankrupt!
Apprentice: The Complete First Season. More than meets
Wars: Transformers - The Complete Third Season. A small
place in my heart will always exist for this man:
Hill: Compete and Unadulterated - The Naughty Early Years Set 1
(1969-1971). I don't care. Do you care that
Meets World: The Complete First Season comes out this
week? When does JR get shot? Probably not in the
The Complete First & Second Seasons. Who else can't
wait for the movies?
Complete Third Season Boxed Set. Looks like I'm heading to
the DVD store right now:
Unrated Edition - now with more lesbianism and boobs! No,
the cartoon isn't any better than the film:
The Series - The Monster Wars Trilogy.
Realm: The Complete Series. Spike Lee's joint:
Brown: All-American get released. Why didn't I get this
for review Brentwood?
Zoo Revue: Season 1. I love these two TV movies, don't
Stalker/Night Strangler (Double Feature). Jamie Foxx is
World at War is great and so is Fairuza Balk in one of her
first roles, the HBO kids film
Also available today: No, it's not Anaconda
vs. Python, Sonny and Cher loved making this film so much
they named their daughter after it:
Debbie Rochon stars in
Are Forever. Dolphins rule in
New Adventure. In case you like your gloriously shot in
widescreen horror films cut down to full frame, run out and get
Hannibal Lecter Anthology - Manhunter,
Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.
He kissed Jesus and next week it's all about Jesus so here's
Collies rule in
of Lassie and
of Lassie. I got nothing for these two:
Jim. I always loved the poster for this flick:
of the Demons. A new edition of
Victor Vargas streets. Linda Blair goes from possessed to
Boogie. The chick who played a car buffer in a Whitesnake
video stars in
and there's a new version of
out this week.
See? I told you. Lotta stuff came out this week.
Next week is just as voluminous. Hopefully I'll be able to get
through it before I go nighty night and wake up in the happy land of
painkillers. God, I hope I don't get addicted. That would suck and
cramp my style as an alcoholic.
See you sooner than later...