|by Peter Sobczynski
Flying elephants, sheep's tongue and five-dollar milkshakes--these are just a few of the items on the latest menu of new DVD/Blu-ray releases for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy and don't forget to tip your cinematic sommelier on the way out. That means you, shifty
NEW AND NOTABLE
ANAHEIM ANGELS 2002 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR'S EDITION (A&E Home Entertainment. $69.95): Now that the Angels are out of the running for this year's World Series, baseball fans on the West Coast can take some solace with this 7-disc set chronicling every moment of their exciting 2002 triumph over the San Francisco Giants. Meanwhile, those of you on the East Coast currently mourning the collapse of the Yankees at the hands of the Detroit Tigers can take solace in "Yankeeography Collector's Edition DVD Megaset" (A&E Home Entertainment. $179.95), a 16-disc behemoth containing documentaries on the careers of 37 of the most notable players in the team's history along with an additional eight episodes on their history making their DVD debuts and boosting the collective running time to over 50 hours.
BRIDESMAIDS (Universal Home Entertainment. $29.98): Seeing as how I am apparently the whole person in the world who didn't find this raucous comedy about a borderline failure (Kristen Wiig) whose chaotic life is thrown further askew when she is asked by her best friend (Maya Rudolph) to be the maid of honor for her upcoming wedding to be especially funny or interesting (except for the presence of Rose Byrne as the Type A personality that Wiig finds herself locked into combat with), I will refrain from commenting any further on it. However, if you did like the film, you will definitely want to pick up the DVD as it is chock-full off deleted scenes, outtakes and other ephemera that will presumably have you laughing as well.
CARLOS (The Criterion Collection. $49.95): Acclaimed director Olivier Assayas swings for the rafters with this epic-length look at the life and crimes of the infamous terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, the politically motivated terrorist behind a series of increasingly audacious kidnappings, bombings and robberies through Europe and the Middle East during the Seventies and Eighties. Edgar Ramirez is magnetic in the title role and Assayas manages to keep things moving along at a hypnotic pace for a running time clocking in at nearly 330 minutes. If that isn't enough for you, the set also includes interviews with Assayas and Ramirez and documentaries on Carlos' career and the creation of the film's depiction of a key incident involving a daring raid on OPEC headquarters. Highly recommended.
DUMBO (Walt Disney Home Entertainment. $39.99): The earliest conscious memory I have is being taken by my mother at the age of three to the auditorium of what would eventually be my high school one Saturday afternoon to see Walt Disney's 1941 classic about an elephant whose freakishly huge ears make him the object of scorn amongst his fellow circus animals until he discovers that they give him the ability to fly. It was the very first movie I ever saw and, needless to say, it instantly began a fascination with the art form that has continued unabated to this day and it is still firmly lodged in my list of my five favorite films of all time. Now it makes its Blu-ray debut and it is just as joyful a viewing experience as ever and if you have wee ones of your own, it still makes for an absolutely perfect introduction to the world of cinema. Seriously, if you don't see this movie and instantly melt during the sequence in which Dumbo's mother, who has been imprisoned for defending her child against cruel taunts, comforts him by singing "Baby Mine," you are quite simply a monster and I don't want to have anything to do with you.
FAST FIVE (Universal Home Entertainment. $29,98): For those of you who were confused by some of the plot machinations in the latest entry of the enormously popular series combining the appeal of hot cars, hotter women and the romantic duo of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, your prayers have been answered with this extended edition that adds an entire minute to the running time that will hopefully answer all your questions. All kidding aside, this was actually one of the more pleasant surprises of the past summer's array of sequels thanks to its unapologetically cheesy tone, highly impressive stunt work and the addition of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson into the proceedings as a no-nonsense federal officer obsessed with catching our heroes by any means necessary. As a wise man once said, this is a load but at least it is the good load.
FOOTLOOSE (Paramount Home Video. $24.99): Just in time to coincide with the release of the exceptionally unnecessary remake, the infamously cheesy 1984 teen favorite about a hip kid who moves to a small Midwestern town and tries to overturn a local ban on dancing makes its Blu-ray debut for those so inclined. To be honest, the film, while hugely popular back in the day, was never particularly good and the ensuing quarter-century has not done it any favors. That said, it does have a couple of entertaining moments (like the famous warehouse dance) and the then-unknown stars (including Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Chris Penn and the filly version of Sarah Jessica Parker) bring enough charisma to the proceedings to save it from complete disposability.
THE GODFATHER OF GORE: THE HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS DOCUMENTARY (Image Entertainment. $14.98): This entertaining documentary looks at the career of the exploitation film veteran who changed the face (among other body parts) of American horror cinema with nothing more than a crazy dream, a budget in the low five figures and a sheep's tongue that he put together into "Blood Feast," an unexpected box-office sensation that essentially kick-started the use of graphic gore on the big screen. The film charts the production of that classic, not to mention such cheerfully lurid follow-ups as "2000 Maniacs," "Color Me Blood Red," "The Gore-Gore Girls" and "The Wizard of Gore," via interviews with the man himself and a collection of friends, colleagues and acolytes including his late producing partner David Friedman, critic Joe Bob Briggs and filmmakers John Waters and Frank Henenlotter. As a bonus, this week also sees the release of "The Blood Trilogy" (Image Entertainment. $17.97), a triple feature of ghastly delights contain the Blu-ray debuts of "Blood Feast," "2000 Maniacs" and "Color Me Blood Red."
THE LEDGE (IFC Films. $24.98): Part theological argument disguised as a thriller and part knockoff of an old Stephen King short story, this indie item stars Charlie Hunnam as an atheist who falls for the wife of his deeply religious neighbor (and since she is played by Liv Tyler, who can blame him) and when the neighbor (Patrick Wilson) finds out, he forces the newcomer out onto the ledge of their high-rise and forces the faithless one to choose between his life or the life of the woman he loves. This creation from writer-director Matthew Chapman starts off on an intriguing note but as it goes on, it steadily gets sillier and sillier and by the time its gets to the end, few viewers will care about how it turns out.
MICKEY SPILLANE'S MIKE HAMMER: THE COMPLETE SERIES (A&E Home Entertainment. $89.95): Although largely forgotten today, the legendary private eye created by celebrated mystery writer Spillane made his television debut via a syndicated series that ran from 1957-1959 with Darren McGavin in the lead role and while it was largely criticized at the time for containing violent content considered both excessive and gratuitous by the standards of the day, it was also a fairly big hit at the time, perhaps because that very same violent content. Anyway, the series holds up pretty well today, largely thanks to McGavin's portrayal of Hammer, and this 12-disc set contains all 78 episodes and includes guest appearances from the likes of Lorne Greene, Robert Vaughn, Dick Van Patten and Angie Dickinson. Other TV-related DVDs now available include "Body of Proof: The Complete First Season" (ABC Studios. $29.99), "Castle: The Complete Third Season" (ABC Studios. $45.99), "CSI: The Eleventh Season" (Paramount Home Video. $69.99), "CSI: Miami--The Ninth Season" (Paramount Home Video. $62.99), "CSI: New York--The Seventh Season" (Paramount Home Video. $62.99), "Happy Endings: The Complete First Season" (ABC Studios. $35.99), "Hawaii Five-O: The Complete First Season" (Paramount Home Video. $64.99), "Holly's World: Seasons 1 and 2" (MPI Home Video. $29.98), "How I Met Your Mother: Season Six" (Fox Home Entertainment. $39.98), "Kendra: Seasons 2 & 3" (MPI Home Video. $29.98), "Melissa & Joey: Season One, Part 2" (Shout! Factory. $24.97), "The Mentalist: The Complete Third Season" (Warner Home Video. $59.98), and "Modern Family: The Complete Second Season" (ABC Studios. $49.98).
PULP FICTION/JACKIE BROWN (Liongate Home Entertainment. $19.99 each): One of the few films that legitimately changed the face of cinema, for good and ill, Quentin Tarantino's violent, shocking and very funny crime triptych makes its long-awaited Blu-ray debut and despite nearly twenty years of movies that have referenced, spoofed or outright copied its combination of blood, guts, bullets, pop culture-heavy dialogue, off-beat casting and non-linear time sequencing, it still feels as fresh, vibrant and thrillingly alive today as it did when it first hit screens in 1994. This week also sees the Blu-ray debut of Tarantino's 1997 follow-up to "Pulp Fiction," a gorgeously executed adaptation of the Elmore Leonard best-seller "Rum Punch" that deftly balances the distinctive voices of both Leonard and Tarantino while also serving as a love letter to both the glory days of blaxploitation and to exploitation film goddess Pan Grier, who delivered the performance of her career in the title role of an aging flight attendant who tries to outwit cops and gangsters alike with nothing but her wits and the assistance of a lovestruck bail bondsman (Robert Forster in the performance of his career). While it may have lacked the giddy flash of "Pulp Fiction," it is just as great of a film and while it wasn't as successful at the box-office, it is one definitely worthy of reappraisal. Both films are absolute must-sees but then again, you probably figured that out already.
SCREAM 4 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment. $29.98): The groundbreaking horror franchise returns after taking more than a decade off with all the key players (director Wes Craven, screenwriter Kevin Williamson and co-stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette) hooking up with a new generation of potential victims/killers (including Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin, Hayden Panettiere and Alison Brie) as long-suffering heroine Sydney (Campbell) returns to her hometown and discovers that someone posing as the Ghostface Killer is once again slaughtering everyone in sight. Unfortunately, instead of taking a stab at the new horror conventions that have sprung up in the last decade, the film continues along the same path as the earlier episodes and despite a few bright spots (such as the alternately hilarious and shocking opening sequence, the best since the Drew Barrymore original), the usually inventive Craven cannot conceal his general boredom with the whole project and as a result, it is by far the weakest episode of the series[br]
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (Paramount Home Video. $29.99): Bigger, louder and dumber than ever, the long-running Hasbro toy line gets a final cinematic hurrah (one hopes), courtesy of auteur Michael Bay, in which giant robots bound the crap out of each other while the fate of mankind stands in the balance or some damn thing like that. Tell you the truth, outside of a few amusingly elaborate scenes of mayhem during the extended siege on Chicago that concludes and the equally striking introductory shot of model Rosie Huntington-Whitely (subbing for the M.I.A. Megan Fox), I have pretty much forgotten everything about this brutal and barely cinematic assault on the senses and if it is the same to you, I would just as soon keep it that way.
ALMOST FAMOUS (Paramount Home Video. $24.99)
BASKET CASE (Image Entertainment. $17.97)
BEN-HUR (Warner Home Video. $64.99)
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (Paramount Home Video. $29.99)
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (Warner Home Video. $19.98)
DEAD ALIVE ($19.99)
HARA KIRI (The Criterion Collection. $39.95)
THE LION KING (Walt Disney Home Entertainment. $39.99)
MIMIC: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (Lionsgate Home Entertainment. $19.99)
THE OTHERS (Lionsgate Home Entertainment. $14.99)
PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE (Warner Home Video. $19.98)
THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE (The Criterion Collection. $39.95)
SALO (The Criterion Collection. $39.95)
SCARY MOVIE 2 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment. $14.99)
TORSO (Image Entertainment. $29.98)
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originally posted: 10/08/11 07:41:46
last updated: 10/08/11 09:39:15