DVD Reviews For 10/22: “We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes.”
By Peter Sobczynski
Posted 10/21/10 21:19:17
If you haven’t already taken the plunge into the wonderful world of Blu-ray, this week might prove to be the tipping point as several of the greatest films ever made make their long-awaited arrivals in the format, along with a long-lost offering from the world’s greatest band and one of last summer’s most notorious flops .
NEW AND NOTABLEAPOCALYPSE NOW: FULL DISCLOSURE EDITION (Lionsgate Home Entertainment. $59.99): Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam war epic, one of the true landmark works in the history of cinema, makes its long-awaited hi-def debut in this three-disc behemoth that includes both the original 1979 cut and the slightly inferior 2001 extended edition, the fascinating 1991 behind-the-scenes documentary “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” and a plethora of bonus features both old (including a commentary from Coppola, a interview with Coppola conducted by Roger Ebert at Cannes after the premiere of the “Redux” version, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes and a recording of Marlon Brando reciting T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Man”) and new (such as new interviews with Coppola, Martin Sheen and co-writer John Milius). Best of all, the film is finally being presented in its original 2.35 aspect ratio instead of the oddly cropped version that has been cinematographer Vittorio Storaro’s preference for years. Although no home video presentation of this film can possibly compare with the experience of seeing it on the biggest screen possible, this comes pretty damn close.
ARN: THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR (E1 Entertainment. $24.98): Stellan Skarsgard stars in this historical epic about a swordsman who is enlisted into fighting the Crusades as a Knight Templar for 20 years as the result of falling in love with a woman betrothed to another. Originally produced as a six-hour miniseries in Sweden (where it was later released theatrically in two parts), this is a cut-down and redubbed version that apparently emphasizes action over character and narrative.
DOLLHOUSE: SEASON TWO (Fox Home Entertainment. $49.98): Although this Joss Whedon effort, something about an covert organization that imprints and erases the memories of its operatives in order to suit the needs of their clients, never really quite came together as a series (which explains why its second season would prove to be its last), it nevertheless contained some interesting ideas here and there, not to mention a compelling lead performance from the always-watchable Eliza Dushku. Other TV-related DVDs available now include “The Bionic Woman: Season One” (Universal Home Entertainment. $39.98), “CSI Miami: The 8th Season” (CBS DVD. $62.99), “Dexter’s Lab: Season One” (Warner Home Video. $24.98), “The Ghost Whisperer: The Final Season” (CBS DVD. $62.99), “The Real L Word: The First Season” (CBS DVD. $36.98), “Tales from the Darkside: The Final Season” (CBS DVD. $36.98) and “The Tudors: The Final Season” (CBS DVD. $42.99).
I AM LOVE (Magnolia Home Entertainment. $26.98): Tilda Swinton stars as the Russian-born wife of a rich Italian businessman who finds her perfectly ordered life turned upside down when she falls for a much younger man and begins an affair that has disastrous results for everyone involved. Swinton is amazing--when is she not?--but the movie itself is little more than an overheated soap opera that eventually gets a little too ridiculous for its own good.
JONAH HEX (Warner Home Video. $28.98):Yes, this adaptation of the lesser-known DC comic book about a heavily scarred Old West bounty hunter (Josh Brolin) who can communicate with the dead was a massive flop with critics and audiences alike during its brief theatrical run last summer. However, while it is hard to defend it on many levels--the whole thing is a narrative mess that never quite finds the right tone and which was clearly hacked to bits in the editing room in an attempt to make it coherent--I have to admit that if you go into it with appropriately lowered expectations, its weirdo charms and offbeat nature help to make it a watchable mess at the very least, which is more than I can say for a lot of the other films that came out last summer.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES (Eagle Rock Entertainment. $14.98): Rarely seen since its brief 1974 release and never before available on home video, this concert film captures the Rolling Stones over the course of four nights in Texas during their tour promoting their classic album “Exile on Main Street.” Although this is one of the weaker Stones concert films--it lacks the drama of “Gimme Shelter,” the technical achievement of “At the Max” or the skillful cinematic style of “Shine a Light”--but even so, this is a chance to see one of the greatest rock bands at one of their all-time creative peaks and is therefore pretty much a must-see for any serious music fan.
MIRRORS 2 (Fox Home Entertainment. $22.98): The supremely crappy Keifer Sutherland horror film that I guarantee you have already forgotten about gets its very own direct-to-video sequel that basically tells the same story a second time, only with cheaper and lesser-known actors. However, those of you with a perverse fetish for second-tier Disney starlets may be interested to know that the cast does include Christy Carlson Romano, Kim Possible herself, and she does take time out to hit the showers at one point.
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (E1 Entertainment. $24.98): In this remake of the 80’s-era cult horror item, a bunch of good-looking dopes (including Shannon Elizabeth, Monica Keena and Diora Baird) throw a wild Halloween party that literally goes to Hell when a group of demons attempt to possess their bodies in order to escape an ancient curse. Of course, I think they just be using that as an excuse.
PREDATORS (Fox Home Entertainment. $29.98): Otherwise known as the horror movie arriving on DVD this week that star Adrien Brody isn’t trying to sue to prevent the release of, this Robert Rodriguez-produced reboot of the “Predator” franchise in which a motley group of strangers (also including Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Alice Braga and Laurence Fishburne) wake up on a strange planet and discover that they are the latest targets of the deadly interstellar hunters. Okay, it is better than “Predator 2” or those “Alien Vs. Predator” boondoggles but it isn’t that much better--outside of a couple of amusing kills, this is just another noisy epic that evaporates from the mind almost as soon as it ends.
PSYCHO: 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (Universal Home Entertainment. $26.98): Alfred Hitchcock’s low-budget 1960 shocker--one of the greatest horror movies ever made and arguably the most influential--makes its Blu-ray debut (only the second Hitchcock title to hit the format) in a special edition that includes all of the special features seen on previous editions (including the fascinating feature-length documentary “The Making of Psycho,” a commentary track from Stephen Rebello, author of “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho,“ excerpts from the legendary interview with Hitchcock conducted by Francois Truffaut and storyboards showing how the infamous shower scene was put together) and adds in a newly created 5.1 digital audio track that should scare the crap out of your neighbors if cranked up loud enough late at night. If that isn’t enough “Psycho”-related stuff for you, this week also sees the release of “The Psycho Legacy” (Shout! Factory. $19.99), an interesting documentary covering the history of the film and its sequels that makes up for its relative lack of clips from the movies with plenty of fascinating material, the best of which is a video of the late Anthony Perkins discussing the film as part of a 1988 horror convention panel.
SCORE (Cult Epics. $29.95): Seventies-era soft-core maestro Radley Metzger directed this cult favorite about a married couple who are dedicated swingers who decide on a whim to seduce a newlywed couple staying with them in their lavish villa in the French Riviera. Sure, it is trash but it is well-made trash and reasonably sexy to boot, especially whenever cult favorite Lynn Lowry (whom you may recall from such favorites as “The Crazies,” “Shivers” and “Cat People”) is on screen.
THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY (E1 Entertainment. $24.98): In this direct-to-video comedy, Tim Allen plays a much-married man whose apparent death kicks off a series of wacky conflicts involving estranged daughter Elisha Cuthbert and his many exes, who include Andie MacDowell, Paz Vega and Jenna Elfman. With a cast like that, you may wonder why this never got a theatrical release but after watching for a few minutes of this fairly limp effort, you will quickly figure out why.
THE DARJEELING LIMITED (The Criterion Collection. $39.95)
MAGIC (MPI Home Video. $24.98)
THE MAGICIAN (The Criterion Collection. $39.95)
MOULIN ROUGE (Fox Home Entertainment. $34.99)
RED DRAGON (Universal Home Entertainment. $26.98)
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (Fox Home Entertainment. $34.99)
THE SEVEN SAMURAI (The Criterion Collection. $49.95)
SEX & LUCIA (Palm Pictures $29.99)
THREE KINGS (Warner Home Video. $24.98)
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S ROMEO & JULIET (Fox Home Entertainment. $34.99)