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Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits
page added: 10/24/06



The Return: This Time It's Personal

Doogan's Views - Main Page

Alright kids... I'm bringing back the Weekly Round-Up. Why? Well, like most of you out there, I have to buy my stuff. Between the way the studio publicity machine works now that Blu-ray and HD-DVD are on the shelves, and the fact that my real-life has gotten in the way of my DVD hobby, I don't get much sent to me for early review. So I find myself at the store on Tuesday just like a lot of you to buy my faves. Now, up until recently, I was finding Moriarty at AICN a reliable source for my shopping list. But he's got a real life more hectic than mine (hard to believe, but true), and so he's been disappearing on us for long stretches. So I figured, if I'm culling together a list of stuff to buy for myself, why not do it for all of you? Thus, the Weekly Round-Up has been brought back from the dead.

There's just one problem. I don't have a single one of these titles for review (I just have PR material), so I have no idea what's really on them or if the transfers are any good. Oh, well - buyer beware or something else Latin. It's just a list right?

With that, I give you the Doogan's Views Weekly Round-Up for October 24, 2006.


New Releases

These are the discs making their premiere on DVD this week...


An American Haunting

An American Haunting

Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek lead the cast for this cinematic telling of one of the first American ghost stories: the tale of The Bell Witch. As legend has it, it's also the only documented case, on American soil at least, of a person being killed by a ghost. Makes you think, doesn't it? But no, not a single person dies in Poltergeist. Still, that's not a true story is it? And Amityville Horror doesn't count either, because it was a wigged out dude with a shotgun that killed everyone. Oh, and while we're at it, The Shining shouldn't count either, 'cause that was an axe. In any case, this is actually not a very good film, but I'm sure there's an audience out there for it. If you have to, pick up the Unrated version. The disc is presented anamorphic widescreen at 1.85:1, and includes with a "making of" piece, a blooper reel, deleted scenes, promos and interviews from the set.

The Kid and I

The Kid and I

I haven't seen this one, nor do I have any idea what it's about. But Penelope Spheeris directs, and if she can make Heavy Metal rockers funny (in Decline 2), then there's hope for Tom Arnold. The disc should contain both full frame and anamorphic widescreen video, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a blooper reel, outtakes and promo material.

Monster House

Monster House

Well, I've seen this one, and I have to say; it's cute. It's not a great film, but it does its job and it gives me some hope that CGI toons can be stylized works of art when it comes to human characters (and actually work). Monster House marks a major step in the evolution of the medium. The disc, produced by Bits friend Charles de Lazurika, contains the film in anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1) video and adds an audio commentary with the filmmakers, a small pile of featurettes and DVD-ROM goodies for the kids. Not a bad set.

My Dead Girlfriend

My Dead Girlfriend

Like Nekromantic and Return of the Living Dead 3, My Dead Girlfriend proves that no two things go better together than the dead and love stories. Is this horror/comedy hybrid any good? I dunno, I haven't seen it. But it's coming out from the guys who gave us Dead Next Door and Ozone, so I have hope. The film is presented in full frame as it was shot (it's a low-budget Canadian production) with stereo audio. Extras include a commentary with director Brett Kelly and the crew, a short film from Kelly and plenty o' promo trailers from Tempe (the before-mentioned guys behind Dead Next Door and Ozone).

Nacho Libre

Nacho Libre

Star and force of nature Jack Black, writer Mike White (don't think I'll ever shake the image of him in Chuck & Buck) and director Jared Hess come together to give us the fun and charming tale of a Mexican (or Lucha Libre) wrestler with a heart of gold. It may not be as iconic as Napoleon Dynamite or School of Rock, but it's still a good flick. Nacho gets a nice anamorphic widescreen presentation with 5.1 and 2.0 sound (a French 2.0 track is also included for our French Canadian friends). Bonus material includes a commentary with Black, White and Hess, a horde of featurettes, video of Black singing some Mexican tunes, a couple of deleted scenes, promo material and a photo gallery.

Slither

Slither

Writer/director James Gunn, better known as the guy who wrote Dawn of the Dead (2004), Scooby-Doo and Tromeo & Juliet, brings us this tongue-in-cheek creature feature, that's essentially what we'd get if Troma could secure B-list talent and a couple of million dollars in shooting funds. Slither is good old fashioned invaders from space type film, with zombie-like creatures and gross out effects. You know... your type of flick. Think Cronenberg's Shivers, mixed with The Blob (either version will do) and 80s cult horror-comedy Night of the Creeps. It's funny, gross and a good ol' Halloween view. Slither comes in anamorphic widescreen with 5.1 sound. Extras are plump with a commentary by Gunn and star Nathan "Firefly" Fillion, a nice selection of featurettes, 8 deleted scenes, 4 extended scenes, a gag reel and a video diary with Mr. Troma and my adoptive uncle Mr. Lloyd Kaufman.

Suicide Girls: Italian Villa

Suicide Girls: Italian Villa

I'm a big fan of Italy and a big fan of Suicide Girls, so if this is anything like the previous Suicide DVD, The First Tour, count me in.

The World According to Sesame Street

The World According to Sesame Street

I'm pretty torn here. Based on the story itself, this documentary would be the one disc I planned to buy on Tuesday, as it follows the creation of Sesame Street shows across the globe. You see, instead of repacking episodes that air here in North America, the producers at Children's Television Workshop create original shows for children in (amongst others) Israel, Germany, Bangladesh, Kosovo and South Africa, hoping to educate them on concerns from their country. Where we have to learn how to open and close things in Spanish or share our toys; kids in other countries have to learn about land mines and how to prepare suitable drinking water. The problem is, a lot of reviews of this doc claim that it fails in living up to the story. A lot of things are left unexplored and many references are illustrated while leaving the viewer frustrated. A personal viewing will help me decide better, but this may end up being a rental instead of a must buy. Instead I may have to pick up the Sesame Street disc listed below in the TV section.

The Ol' Double Dip

You may already have these on DVD. Are they worth the upgrade? I have no idea, maybe...


Body Heat: Deluxe Edition

Body Heat: Deluxe Edition

Lawrence Kasdan's ode to film noir makes a return to DVD. The original disc featured an only okay transfer, so this one is bound to be better. But if you upgrade, upgrade for the extras. Here you get 5 deleted scenes, 3 nice long featurettes on the making of the film, the original trailer and a pair of archival interviews with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt.

Porky's: Special Edition

Porky's: Special Edition

I'm not sure, but I think the only way this flick was available on DVD before was as a double feature with Porky's II: The Next Day. I have to say that the original presentation was pretty good, so I can't imagine this being THAT much of an improvement and I don't really know what's on this edition to make it special. So, I'm putting it here because if you don't own the double feature edition, this is a good flick and you should own it. If you like guy humor at all, this is one of the kings of the genre.

Reservoir Dogs: 15th Anniversary Edition

Reservoir Dogs: 15th Anniversary Edition

Hmm... well it's been five years since the 10th anniversary and everyone having to collect all of the different color variant covers. And yes, I have all of them including the rare Mr. Brown cover, so there. This edition simply screams MILKING to me. Especially when one of the extras focuses on the upcoming multi-platform video game release from EIDOS. But, in its defense, there is some other new stuff on here worth picking it up for. Plus there's the packaging (a matchbook inside a gas can) which is pretty sweet. I want it, but I hate it. Damn you Lionsgate. Damn you.

Saw II: Special Edition

Saw II: Special Edition

See, I was smart about this one. I knew a special edition would come out after seeing the semi-sweet special edition of Saw last year. So for me, this is less of a double dip than the others. I could care less about the first Saw, but this one was okay, so I may pick it up.

TV on DVD

Do I really have the time to write something about all of these shows? No, I don't. But damn, look at this list! If you're a fan of TV on DVD, this is either a good week or a bad week. Good because there's so much. Bad because you'll be missing your rent/mortgage next week. On behalf of the studios: sorry. Anyway, here's the list...

The Addams Family: Volume 1, Batman Beyond: Season Two, Bewitched: The Complete Fourth Season, Creature Comforts: Merry Christmas Everybody, Creature Comforts: The Complete Second Season, Degrassi Season 4: Next Generation, The Facts of Life: The Complete Third Season, Greg the Bunny: The Best of the Film Parodies, Groovie Goolies: Saturday Mourning Collection, Hannah Montana: Volume 1 - Livin' the Rock Star Life, I'm Alan Partridge: Series 1, Justice League Unlimited: Season 1, Krypto the Superdog: Volume 2, The L Word: The Complete Third Season, MacGyver: The Complete Final Season, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, The O.C.: The Complete Third Season, SCTV: Best of the Early Years, Sesame Street: Old School, Volume 1 - 1969-1974, SNL: Best of Saturday TV Funhouse, The Swan: The Complete Series, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season 2, Volume 1, Wings: The Complete Third Season, That's My Bush: The Definitive Collection

And here's the the artwork...

The Addams Family: Volume 1Batman Beyond: Season TwoBewitched: The Complete Fourth Season

Creature Comforts: Merry Christmas EverybodyCreature Comforts: The Complete Second SeasonDegrassi Season 4: Next Generation

The Facts of Life: The Complete Third SeasonGreg the Bunny: The Best of the Film ParodiesGroovie Goolies: Saturday Mourning Collection

Hannah Montana: Volume 1 - Livin' the Rock Star LifeI'm Alan Partridge: Series 1Justice League Unlimited: Season 1

Krypto the Superdog: Volume 2The L Word: The Complete Third SeasonMacGyver: The Complete Final Season

Nightmares & DreamscapesThe O.C.: The Complete Third SeasonSCTV: Best of the Early Years

Sesame Street: Old School, Volume 1 - 1969-1974SNL: Best of Saturday TV FunhouseThe Swan: The Complete Series

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season 2, Volume 1Wings: The Complete Third SeasonThat's My Bush

The Criterion Collection Corner

So, because I've supported Criterion even before they took a wait and see approach to DVD, I've decided to pull them out and spotlight them for you each week. You know you want these, because having a gap in your collection sucks.


Sweetie

Sweetie

Jane Campion's first full-length film finally makes it to Criterion's line-up. And it's a welcomed addition. The film focuses on the tense relationship between two sisters: the uptight and upright Kay and her polar opposite; the sensual and free Sweetie. It's a tense, emotional and gorgeously shot film that will suck you right in. Of course, the film will look gorgeous on DVD. Extras include a commentary track, interviews and three of Campion's shorts from the early 1980s: Peel, Passionless Moments and A Girl's Own Story. Don't let this one be a gap in your collection.

Hands Over the City

Hands Over the City

Francesco Rosi's docudrama studies the effect of bureaucratic corruption on society. By focusing on a building's collapse in 1960s Italy, he explores responsibility, corporational responsibility and humanity. Thoughtful, yet emotionless, Hands Over the City may have you thinking in terms of modern times, which is probably why this film was deemed important enough to release by Criterion. Rod Steiger stars with Carlo Fermariello. The film transfer is anamorphic at 1.85:1, with sound in Italian mono. Extras include the feature length documentary Neapolitan Diary, which has Rosi going back to Naples in 1992 to revisit the film, its locations and themes. There's also a selection of interviews with Rosi, film critic Tullio Kezich and filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin, and a video discussion with Rosi, co-writer Raffaele La Capria and film critic Michel Ciment. The liner notes booklet features an essay by Stuart Klawans and a full text interview with Rosi. Pick this one up.

Special Mention Box Set

This is where we can showcase a super expensive but worthwhile product. In this case, it's...


Astaire & Rogers: Ultimate Collector's Edition

Astaire & Rogers: Ultimate Collector's Edition

Ah... the Astaire & Rogers collaborations. For those many of you who have been wondering where the RKO films were on DVD... well, here you go. With this one box you get Flying Down to Rio, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, Carefree, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle and The Barkleys of Broadway. That's a lot of bang for your buck, my friend. A lot of bang. Not a single bad film in there. If you're a fan of classics or dance, there are worse ways to spend your dollars.

Alright, that's it for this Tuesday. Check back in with me next week and we'll go over more new releases waiting for your bucks.

Until then, keep spinnin' those discs.

Doogan
todddoogan@thedigitalbits.com
Atlanta, GA 10/23/06


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