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Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits
page added: 10/31/06



Wow, this Ben Cooper Costume is getting really tight!

Doogan's Views - Main Page

Happy Halloween kids.

It's my favorite day of all the year and you know where I'll be tonight, don't ya? Yep, curled up on my couch playing Dead Rising. The hardest, most addicting zombie video game ever made. God I love this thing.

As for the rest of ya, well hopefully you're having monster movie pizza parties or trick or treating with the kids.

I just hope my "Help Yourself: One Piece of Candy" honor system candy bowl out front will work. It just takes one bad apple though.

Anyway, enjoy this week's release schedule picks by me and have a happy and safe holiday.

Boo!


New Releases

Not a whole lot of original releases going on this week. I guess studios were expecting Tuesday to be dead at the store because of Halloween. Maybe that's why the biggest titles of the week came out yesterday.


Heartstopper

Heartstopper

In time for Halloween comes this serial killer turned demonic monster horror film from FX master turned first-time director Bob Keen. The story follows a recently executed serial killer who rips the hearts out of his victims literally rubbing elbows with a suicide survivor. She claims to know the killer is really alive and looking for her because he wants to send his murderous soul into her body. Of course, the deaths start piling up and her claims start making more sense to the various bystanders at the creepy mental hospital the film takes place in. What Heartstopper lacks in a credible storyline, it makes up for in special effects and adrenaline. It's a pretty non-stop flick. Robert Englund makes an extended cameo appearance in the films instead of truly starring, but this isn't the first time credits fooled us into watching something. Presented in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1, Heartstopper looks and sounds as good as possible for a low budget horror film. Extras are light but interesting, including two interviews one with Englund and the other with Keen.

Keeping Up with the Steins

Keeping Up with the Steins

For a Jewish kid, the big teen moment has to be the bar/bat mitzvah. I wouldn't know, with a name like Doogan. But still, I can relate. Keeping Up with the Steins features Jeremy Piven in full-on a$$hole mode. It's almost an alternate reality movie for his Entourage character. Piven stars as Adam Fiedler, a high powered Hollywood agent whose son Benjamin is celebrating his entrance into manhood. His dilemma is simple: how does he top the super spectacular bar mitzvah the Steins gave their kid. And how does he juggle his childhood trauma of being abandoned by his father during the same time in his life, especially when Grandpa (played by the director's father Garry Marshall) has come back into his life just weeks prior to the special event? It tries to be a cultural flick in the mode of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but falls on its face more than a few times; mostly due to Piven's inability to be at all sympathetic. The Video is 1.85:1 anamorphic and looks pretty good. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and does what it has to. Extras are pretty impressive considering the film is basically straight to video (I mean, I didn't see it get released) and includes two commentaries: one with the writer and director and one with the director and his father/star. There are also deleted scenes with alternate commentary with the director and writer and a short making of (along with the standard House of Mouse promotional trailers). Not a bad set for a not a bad film. I didn't like it, but maybe you will.

Mission: Impossible III

Mission: Impossible III

Do I need to tell you what this one is about? An army of intergalactic aliens are headed to the Earth... wait, that's not what the film is about. That's what Tom Cruise is about. This one is JJ Abrams making an Alias film starting Cruise. And it actually works, for the most part. The only thing hurting this film is Cruise's behind the scenes antics. And that shouldn't hurt the film at all. But, yeah, we're fickle and judgmental filmgoers, so that's exactly what we do. Video is a fantastic visual representation of the theatrical release. The anamorphic widescreen is busting at 2.35:1 - not bad, even if it's not HD. Audio is a full and fully immersive Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras depend on the set: there's a single disc with trailers, a collection of deleted scenes, a BAFTA Excellence in Film montage and a commentary by Cruise and Abrams. The better bet is the 2-disc set with the commentary, deleted scenes, the BAFTA thingy and making its debut: a nice making-of featurette on disc one. Disc two houses the real meat and potatoes: six in-depth production featurettes, a Moviefone interview between Abrams and Cruise, a MTV salute to Cruise, promo materials (trailers and TV spots) and some Easter eggs.

Assorted Others

So, here's were we can talk about the really fun discs coming out this week. The Cult Films, Music Themed Release, Kink ('cause I think there's an audience for it) and whatever else floats my boat this week. You know you want 'em. Well, come and get them.


42nd Street Forever: Volume Two - The Deuce

42nd Street Forever: Volume Two - The Deuce

Synapse's second release of Grind House trailers looks to be just as good as the first one. A must have library title for any fan of obscure flicks.

Daughters of Darkness

Daughters of Darkness

Looks like a straight port re-release of Blue Underground's release of Harry Kümel Vampiros Lesbos classic. If you don't own the original release, now's your chance to pick up a classic erotic horror flick.

The Devil's Rain

The Devil's Rain

From Dark Sky, the guys behind the stellar Texas Chainsaw Massacre re-release comes The Devil's Rain - one of the most audacious horror films ever made. I mean, look at the cast: Tom Skerritt, Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, Eddie Albert and John Travolta. That alone makes this one worth picking up. Yes, the film is bad, but c'mon - you know you want it.

Future-Kill

Future-Kill

Here's another god awful film, and yet it's so bad and so well represented on DVD, you almost have to pick it up. Yes kids, Future-Kill the film more famous for having two stars of Texas Chainsaw (Marilyn Burns and Edwin Neal) is now out on DVD. Now, like most of you, I was sucked into this film back in the day when VHS rental racks could be found at the local convenience store. The icon cover makes this film look like one of the greatest things ever. HR Giger art staring out at you has that effect. But don't be fooled. This is no high-brow sci-fi opus. It's more Troma than some Troma films, and yet, it has that thing... that thing that once it's inside your player you just can't turn it off until it's over. Take equal parts Animal House (no, I'm not kidding), Terminator, The Warriors and, oh what the hell, Class of 1984 - mash it all together and you have a gloopy start to understanding this film. A group of shamed frat kids have to go into a part of town recently rendered uninhabitable by a nuclear accident in order to keep their standing on campus. What starts as a prank goes bad when they kidnap (like you would a rival schools mascot) the leader of a group of socio-political peaceniks who dress as futuristic mutant punks to make a point. The only problem is: these punks have in their ranks a true mutant punk who was made in the nuclear accident and is part machine and all crazy. And once he's set in motion, these college kids have to do whatever they can to make it out of the city alive. Sounds cool, and most of it is fun, but it's still a bad film.

When I say it's a bad film made better on DVD I wasn't kidding. Subversive Cinema jumps onto this one like they were releasing a true classic and they class this sucker up something good. The anamorphic transfer is really nice. The film never looked all that great, and thanks to this being a super shoe-string low-budget affair, I can't imagine this film looking any better anywhere else. It shows a lot of grain and gets muddy in spots, but it's certainly not a fault of the transfer. Audio is DD mono and does its job. Extras include a commentary with director Ronald W. Moore and star/producer/co-writer Edwin Neal. These two are old friends and have a lot of fun discussing the film's shortcomings. They know it's bad, but they love it like a family member. You'll also find an on-camera interview with Neal (this guy is a walking cartoon character) where he discusses just about everything you'd want to know about him and his film (including the fact that he sold the Giger painting to buy a houseboat), trailers for other Subversive releases, text bios for Burns, Neal and Moore and credits for the DVD production. Like I sad a classy disc.

If you're a fan of bad films with kick-ass DVD to back 'em up, do yourself a favor and check out this release. It's got a shiny cover, a poster insert and a bunch of extras. And the film is watchable. Yeah.


Girl Boss Guerilla & Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom

For those of you unlucky enough to pick up the hard to find Pinky Violence Collection from Panik House, here's your chance to pick up two of the better films in that set. There really isn't anything better than tough-as-nails Japanese girls with a mad-on for "The Man."


Girl Boss GuerillaTerrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom

Gonin 1 & 2

Gonin 1 & 2

Two Japanese heist flicks from the guy who brought us Black Angel, Evil Dead Trap, Freeze Me and the Angel Guts series all on one DVD set? I haven't seen the set, but color me intrigued.

Gorillaz: Phase 2 - Slow Boat to Hades

Gorillaz: Phase 2 - Slow Boat to Hades

So yeah, as a huge fan of Gorillaz I have to say, I will be picking this one up this week. This is just the first in a windfall of Gorillaz items coming this holiday season. New vinyl figures from Kid Robot (link), a book (link) and God only knows what else. I'm excited.

Irving Klaw Classics

Irving Klaw Classics

I haven't seen these, but it looks like a new repackaging of the various Bettie Page DVDs out from Cult Epics, including Volume 1: Bettie Page Films, Volume 2: Wrestling Films, Volume 3: Fetish Films and Volume 4: The Dance Films. Could be cool, could be a double (or quadruple in this case) dip.

Parts: The Clonus Horror

Parts: The Clonus Horror

Mystery Science made fun of it. The Island allegedly ripped it off. See the Original Clone Epic yourself this week!

KISS: Kissology Vol. 1: 1974-1977

KISS: Kissology Vol. 1: 1974-1977

I loved KISS as a kid. Today, I'm not so much of a fan. But I have to say I'm probably going to pick this set up. Four concerts from their glory days remastered for digital and presented for us to consume. I may just be giving more money to Gene, but I can think of worse things to do with my cash.

Splatter: Naked Blood

Splatter: Naked Blood

Three women are unsuspectingly given a new drug that turns their pain into their pleasure and go on a spree trying to get off better and better. And it's Japanese. It has to be good, right? Right?

Tales of the Rat Fink

Tales of the Rat Fink

I haven't seen this one either (which kinda pisses me off) considering I'm a big fan of both Ron Mann's documentaries and Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's impact on pop culture and Low Brow Art. I can't imagine that my basket will not contain this title when I'm standing in the check-out line.

TV on DVD

Again, I got nothing to say this week TV related. If you're a fan of any of these, then you're of course gonna want these releases.

Note that Baywatch: Seasons 1 & 2 are incomplete and came out on Monday.

Baywatch: Season 1, Baywatch: Season 2, CSI: Miami - The Complete Fourth Season, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig - Complete First Season box set, Hardcastle and McCormack: The Complete First Season, The Hitchhiker: Volume 3, Kids in the Hall: Complete Season 5, Party at the Palms: Season 1, Speed Racer: Volume 5, Spongebob Squarepants: Whale of a Birthday, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Volume 2 and Tales from the Crypt: The Complete Fifth Season

And for the heck of it, and because I love you: here's the art ...

Baywatch: Season 1Baywatch: Season 2CSI: Miami - The Complete Fourth Season

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig - Complete First SeasonHardcastle and McCormack: The Complete First SeasonThe Hitchhiker: Volume 3

Kids in the Hall: Complete Season 5Party at the Palms: Season 1Speed Racer: Volume 5

Spongebob Squarepants: Whale of a BirthdayThe Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Volume 2Tales from the Crypt: The Complete Fifth Season

Once again, be safe when trick or treating. Avoid the kids with street clothes carrying bags of groceries - they're up to no good. Pick a costume with good peripheral vision and carry something reflective. It's a dog eat dog world out there, and Halloween is the doggiest dog eating dog day of all.

Happy Halloween and we'll see you back here next week with a new collection of must have DVDs.

Til then, I remain,

Doogan
todddoogan@thedigitalbits.com
Atlanta, GA 10/30/06


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