|Hey there, and
welcome to the newest informational (yeah, right) aspect of The
Digital Bits: Doogan's Views! The first thing I'd like to
do, is thank Bill for letting me be part of The
Digital Bits. Many people out there rely on The
Bits for honest reviews, the latest news and rumors about
DVD, and a little bit of sunshine. Me, I look forward to the
sunshine more than anything else, because I love Bill, his wife
Sarah, and everything he's doing on all of our behalf. Bill has been
a great friend and a strong ally in this world of DVD, and I
consider it an honor to be working with him (even though I haven't
met his punk ass yet!)
The Digital Bits is everything
I want to find in a website focusing on DVD. I read it before I
wrote for it, and even though I write for it now, it's the first
thing I read on the Internet everyday.
Because of my dedication to this format and the people who support
it, I want to make a promise right here and now to everyone who
reads this site. We're here for you. We're watchdogs for this
medium, and we're watching on your behalf. There are so many things
going on behind the scenes, so many titles in the works, and so many
titles coming out each week, that it is truly mind blowing.
I first got involved with Bill, so that I could help him beef up
his review section -- make it a one-stop for fans, to see if the
titles they were eyeing are worth the money. It's a slow go, but
Bill and I are hard at work making that happen.
Over the next few months you will see loads of titles being
reviewed, all with the same attention to detail that we have given
in the past. Like I said, it's a slow go -- but you will start to
see a change in the review section within a few weeks time -- with
more after that, and after that.
I have to say, that I've gotten a tremendous amount of positive
feedback. Not everyone agrees with some of my tastes in film, but
most of you know that Bill and I know a good disc from a bad disc,
despite whether we like the movie itself. I just want to tell
everyone out there, that even though we may not have reviewed a
particular title yet, that doesn't mean you have to wait. I've
personally viewed most everything that's come out on DVD, as either
a snippet or full watch through. If you EVER have a concern about a
title before you buy it, drop me a line at
If I have access to the disc, I will let you know in 24 business
hours what the deal is. I can't stress more, that The
Bits is here for you.
In Doogan's Views, you will
find information about special interest discs (that we may not have
time to give a full review for), interviews with industry insiders
or stars, and reviews of stuff that I think is cool (but may have
nothing to do with DVD, like video games, LaserDisc, or cult movies
on video tape).
Heck, I might even try and turn you on to a cult film playing in
theaters right now. For example, somewhere in America, on this very
day, there is a movie playing that everyone should see. It's called
Six String Samurai, and it
rocks. Yeah, for those of you that have seen it -- it's flawed in a
few ways. But based on the pure energy and love of cinema oozing out
of this film, it has to be seen. The best thing to compare it to is
Evil Dead. It has that sort of
energy to it.
Six String Samurai follows the
adventures of Buddy. In an alternate world, Buddy Holly is one of
the last survivors of a nuclear war between Russia and the US which
occurred in the 50s. Everything now has a 50s feel to it. Assassins
gear up together like a bowling team, Elvis is the king of the
remnants of the US -- which is basically Las Vegas -- and the
Cleaver family took their name a little too hard-core, and became a
cannibalistic family with an "oh geez" agenda.
Buddy is en-route to "Lost" Vegas to become the new king,
seeing as Elvis just kicked the bucket. On the way, he meets a young
boy whose mother has just been cut down by a band of crazies.
Shruggingly, Buddy (with a samurai sword and six string guitar
firmly strapped on) takes the kid under his wing, and they form a
bond. As if life wasn't hard enough on the road for these two
crazies, what with mad Russians and assorted misfits like the
bowlers and Cleaver family, they also have to deal with Death
himself. The movie has a strong first half, and an interesting
ending. It sort of comes unglued in the third act, but it's also an
over-ambitious first film, by an incredibly talented filmmaker named
Lance Mungia. It looks like no first time film you have ever seen --
this film is beautiful. If you get the chance to see it in theaters,
But for those of you just wondering if it'll be out on DVD -- the
answer is, uh -- well, let me have Lance answer that question. I had
the great pleasure of sitting down and talking with Lance, after his
film screened at the Midnight Madness portion of the Toronto Film
Todd Doogan for The Digital Bits :
Are you planning anything special for Six
String Samurai on DVD?
Lance Mungia: I'm so glad you
asked that, because Chris Blackwell (head of Palm Pictures) is
really, really excited by DVD. He says it's really the wave of the
future and he's very, very excited about the DVD release of Six
String -- and I know I'm excited by it because I think
we're gonna be able to do a widescreen release. We'll have
widescreen on there and commentary.
TD: It has to be every fanboy
filmmaker's dream is to do their own commentary track on their DVD.
LM: Yeah, yeah -- it's an
amazing thing. You'll be able to do a lot of neat things with it.
I'm really gonna kinda, like, pester them and make sure they do a
really good job.
TD: Is there lost footage?
LM: Nothing that is not in the
film, I think, deserves to be in the film. It's not like I'm gonna
come back 10 years from now and say, "Here's the Director's
TD: So what's going out now
is, in your opinion, the Director's Cut.
LM: This is the director's
cut. The producers where very cool about pretty much letting me do
what I wanted. There was one problem scene, that everyone knew had
to be cut down, and we weren't sure how we were gonna do it, and
ultimately we cut it. There are a couple of scenes that were missing
that I had to cut. One in particular that I really liked, but didn't
fit -- the tone just didn't quite fit, was the scene where they were
in the underworld, in kinda like the Hell region, and a taxi picks
them up. This taxi driver who works in the underworld and takes them
to Vegas. It didn't work. There's also a scene that actually kinda
explained the world I wanted to create, as seen through a child's
eyes. With Six String I really
wanted everything to have a child-like quality -- like being in a
kid's fantasy or nightmare. One of the things we shot, was when the
little kid was grabbed by the spinach monster, he gets pulled
underground, and he gets thrown in a cage with a bunch of other
little kids. I wanted to model the kid's costumes after pajamas in a
way. They were actually men's long johns, that we destroyed. I
wanted other little kids to be wearing these pajamas -- tattered
pajamas, different kinds, almost like something out of Alice
In Wonderland, where all these little kids have fallen
asleep somewhere, and were pulled away by the spinach monster and
taken here. I thought that would be a really cool thing to do, but
when we did it, the execution just wasn't there -- instead of five
kids, I had two. We tried to make it the way I wanted it to be, but
we didn't -- so I cut it out, and I'm glad that I did. Even though
the scene did have some merit.
TD: You still have it, so you
could add it as a supplemental . . .
LM: Yeah, but I wouldn't
TD: You wouldn't?
LM: If I though it really had
merit, I would have fought to have kept it in the film. So I didn't.
There's another scene with the Cleaver Family -- that I would never
show anyone, no one is ever going to see it -- it's going to be
burned, I swear. We didn't have time to do it right, the make-up
wasn't right, the lighting wasn't right -- the performances weren't
right. So everything that isn't in the film, was cut out for a
reason. You can never get everything exactly right the first time,
film is a process of going back and rethinking and redoing things
and molding and shaping and editing. I would be surprised if a film
was shot, edited one time, and it was perfect, and that was the one
film everyone loved and enjoyed.
Check out the official Six String
site at: http://www.sixstringsamurai.com
-- it'll give a great overview of the film, and show you where you
can go to see it's limited (for now) release.
That'll do it for now. Look for more of the same here at Doogan's
Views. Coming up, I'll be interviewing DVD wunderkind and
Synapse Films head Don May, Jr., we'll be taking an exciting look
inside Troma Team Video's madcap world. I'll also give you the
inside skinny on an independent film, being shot specifically for
DVD, entitled Save Yourself
from Atom Boy Filmworks and Microsoft.
Now, go out and buy a DVD player for someone you love.
As always, I'm Doogan, and thanks for reading The
Editor's Note: Write Doogan at
if you have any ideas for future inside looks, interviews, or you
just want to find out how great / crappy a DVD is. He'll write ya
back, and if he doesn't -- he's probably dead.