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Moriarty's DVD SHELF! SOAP! CAT SOUP! PRIZZI'S HONOR! And THE MEANING OF LIFE!

Published at: Oct. 14, 2008, 5:52 p.m. CST

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

I’ve got two days worth of column here in one fell swoop. Enjoy.

TUESDAY

Okay, so I’m not exactly petite.

Maybe that’s what makes the sight of me dancing around the apartment so disconcerting. I don’t care, though. It’s Tuesday, and I got new DVDs.

First and foremost, I got SOAP. Susan Harris created one of television’s great comedies when she decided to write a show that was a wicked send-up of soap operas, but which also managed to comment on the changing social scene of the ‘70s with a scalpel-like precision. The show was always anchored, in my opinion, by two great performances, the very model of what great TV acting should be. Richard Mulligan never got the respect he deserved. No matter how much success he had, it was never enough. Burt Campbell is one of my favorite things, a simple and pure pleasure, a decent guy driven barking mad by a herd of loonies he inherited only because of the woman he loves. Katherine Helmond is equally touched by the divine as Jessica Tate, wife to Chester (Robert Mandan), a pathetic snivelling cheater who ignores her utterly. Jessica is matriarch to the very screwed up Corrine (Diana Canova), Eunice (Jennifer Salt), and Billy (Jimmy Baio). Her sister Mary (Cathryn Damon) is Burt’s wife, and she’s raising two sons from her previous marriage, Jodie (Billy Crystal) and Danny (Ted Wass). Jodie’s gay, Danny works for the mob, and Burt killed Mary’s first husband. He’s got two sons of his own that he hasn’t seen in years. One is a lunatic with a dummy attached, Chuck (Jay Johnson), and the other is Peter (Robert Urich), a local tennis pro who is sleeping with both Jessica and Corrine.

And that’s just where the show starts. The joy of the series is watching how gleefully the show embraces and then destroys soap opera convention. Over the space of those first twenty-five episodes, a ridiculous amount of ground is covered. Someone dies, someone goes crazy, there’s an absurdist murder trial, and people both keep and tell secrets with wild abandon. Somehow, the mechanics of it all never overwhelm the simple pleasure of watching this outstanding cast dance around each other. Ted Wass and Richard Mulligan have a great rapport as performers, and the way their particular relationship develops is hilarious. There are endless opportunities to relish Robert Guillaume as Benson, the housekeeper for the Tates, as he takes great delight in torturing Chester whenever possible. The Major is always fun to see turn up, and no matter what, Helmond’s blissful ignorance about the dark and miserable side of life is a lesson in optimism.

I’ve only seen three episodes since buying the disc, but as soon as the moment presents itself, I’ll down the whole thing in one gulp. I guess I’d come across as ungrateful if I complained about the woeful lack of extras on the discs. I mean, I’m just damn delighted to have all the first season episodes collected, looking and sounding about as good as can be expected from a shot-on-video ‘70’s sitcom. But right now, when so many of the principle people responsible for the show are still alive, why not shoot some interviews or, god forbid, record some commentaries? Barring that sort of effort, do you think maybe you could at least have provided some subtitles and captions? That’s about as bare bones a request as I know how to make.

Actually, allow me to digress for a moment. What’s the goddamn problem with putting subtitles on DVDs? For a large part of the audience, they make the difference between being able to enjoy a movie or not being able to understand it at all. As I’ve said before, my girl is from Argentina, and she speaks great English. Still, she likes being able to put on the Spanish subtitles while we watch a film just in case there’s a word she doesn’t know or she doesn’t understand something in context. For her, it’s a convenience. For her mother, it’s a requirement. She’s still new to America, and her English is about as good as my Spanish. We love having her over for movies, but if something isn’t subtitled, she can’t really understand. The thing that makes me most crazy is the random nature of it. Some films have them, some films don’t, and it’s not even a company-by-company thing. It appears to be title-by-title. Latinos are the largest minority is the US now. That’s a huge market that studios routinely ignore, and I guess, more than anything, it baffles me.

Next up was THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG. Yeah, that’s right. Like I said, we watched all those Don Knotts films that Universal released recently, and there wasn’t a single commentary on any of them. My co-writer noticed that the new Disney release of GANG had a track with Don Knotts and Tim Conway together, and he figured it would be fun. Wasn’t, but it was worth the try. It’s a painfully dull commentary that consists largely of Conway describing what’s happening onscreen. As a DVD producer, if you’re going to take the time to put together a track like this, realize that not everyone is going to be a natural at it. Think of that unintentionally hilarious commentary on the CONAN THE BARBARIAN DVD, where Arnold “I Wahnt To Be Guhvuhnuh” Schwarzeneggar sounds befuddled not only by the purpose of the commentary, but by the film itself, like he’d never seen a frame of it before. Some of these people need coaching. A great commentary track should enrich the experience of watching the movie, or our understanding of it. Anecdotes about the making of the film, the way key creative decisions were made... these are the things that really make it worth switching over to that alternate track. I will say this for Disney. They go above and beyond. I like their habit of including cartoons and short films that are thematically related to the feature on the discs now. There are also great segments from their TV shows that they can include, like a feature about the backlot that APPLE DUMPLING GANG was shot on. They can really fill out a title like this one or the WITCH MOUNTAIN films from a few weeks back. Their sticker price is a little high, but the sound and picture is always impressive. Sometime this weekend, I look forward to opening SLEEPING BEAUTY and giving it a peek.

Another episode of ALIAS was next, and then we put on the Anchor Bay edition of Dario Argento’s INFERNO, which I just picked up used. This semi-sequel to SUSPIRIA is stunningly beautiful, with a demanding color palette that really put my TV to the test. It’s reproduced with great clarity and almost no discernible picture bleed, an impressive feat. Argento’s films are an aural assault, and it’s a pleasure to turn this disc up. The mix of the Keith Emerson score is rich and crystal clear, and I have no doubt my neighbors got their fill of INFERNO today. The film doesn’t make a lick of literal sense, something about Death and architecture and the Three Mothers, but Argento’s best work doesn’t depend on narrative coherence. He plunges you into a nightmare world and it’s up to you to make sense of it. The underwater room, death by cat or rat, the guy in the basement with the creepy arm, those yellow eyes peeking in the door... there are plenty of images from INFERNO that stick with you, and it’s one of those titles I’m glad I finally added to the collection. There’s a good, if brief, interview with Argento on the disc, and Anchor Bay deserves special praise for what a great job they did mastering the disc on the whole.

Tuesday ended early and unexpectedly for me, before I got a chance to put this column together, but sometimes, sleep catches up, and there just ain’t no arguing with it...

WEDNESDAY

... and besides, it gave me plenty of energy so that on Wednesday, I hit the ground running. A few more episodes of SOAP and the last two unviewed episodes of FAMILY GUY from Disc Three of Volume Two got the day off to a good start.

The first feature we put on was CONFIDENCE, which Lions Gate just released on Tuesday. I didn’t see the film in theaters. I’m actually allergic to Ed Burns, so normally I’d do myself blunt object trauma before sitting through one of his films. He didn’t write or direct this one, though, which gave me some reason to hope it might not be horrible. I like James Foley when he’s got the right material. AFTER DARK MY SWEET and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS make him worth paying attention to, even if those were all he’d ever done. I’d heard mixed reactions to this one, but found it for such a good price used that I went ahead and picked it up, sight unseen.

By now, the con game film is very familiar. We know that we’re going to get a lot of slang about grifters and shills and marks and the like. We know what whatever scam we’re watching unfold on camera, there’s going to be some other scam going on that we’ll only fully figure out at the end of the movie. The fun of watching someone get it right lies in the strength of the characters and the ease with which they handle the mechanics of the thing. It’s great fun watching some sucker get took, especially when they deserve it. Ed Burns is, to my great surprise, pretty good in the film. He’s got an oiled smarm that works well for the role. I still want to push his face in, like always, but it works for the character. Paul Giamatti is very good in his supporting role, and Rachel Weisz seems to be having more fun than usual, all boobs and flirt and pouty looks as she plays bait for the scheme. Donal Logue, Andy Garcia, and Luis Guzman all have great fun as scuzzy members of of various law enforcement agencies, all with their hands out, while Dustin Hoffman brings his A-game to his role as “The King,” a hyperactive runt with just enough money and muscle to make him dangerous. It’s very good work, a reminder of just what Hoffman is capable of summoning.

Excellent sound and picture make up for an otherwise lackluster package, and in the end, it was a lot better than I expected. I always love being surprised.

Another ALIAS next. Three discs out of the six done now. I wish Season Two was going to be out before Season Three begins, but I guess I’ll just wait and catch up with the whole series next summer.

After all the kicking and screaming I’ve heard about Universal’s new 2-disc version of MONTY PYTHON’S THE MEANING OF LIFE, I decided to finally check it out for myself. I bought it a few weeks back, but never got around to opening it. I’ve got a Sony NS715P progressive scan player, one of the ones supposedly affected by Universal’s “cutting-edge technology,” but I’ll be honest... I didn’t see anything wrong with the transfer. I was looking, too. Overall, I thought the film looked about as good as it can. The print is thrashed in places, but I’m willing to bet there’s nothing that can be done about it. Having now see the “director’s cut” once, I doubt I’ll watch it again. The new footage didn’t really add anything, and in most cases, it slowed the film down. I love this movie, uneven as it is, and all of the Pythons get their moments to shine. The extras are all fittingly silly on the second disc, but here’s where the mastering issues kicked in for me. The disc was enormously temperamental, almost determined not to work. If you’ve personally had trouble with the disc, do me a favor... drop me an e-mail detailing your trouble. I’ll continue to follow up on this in the days and weeks ahead.

Wednesday night, I was looking forward to relaxing with PRIZZI’S HONOR, an old fave that MGM just issued this week. It’s just wrapping up now as I write this, and I’m so irritated that I can barely look at the screen. I feel like I just got mugged. Let me be quite clear about this: do not buy this title. The disc is a piece of shit. It’s a non-anamorphic transfer (frankly, unforgivable at this point in the game), and there are snowstorms of pixilation that mar the image anytime there’s any degree of black onscreen. I know this wasn’t a particularly big-budget film, but it had to look better than this. The image is soft, grainy, and considering how there’s nothing else gobbling up storage space on the disc, you’d think they could manage a better job than this overcompressed mess of digital noise. This is an entirely substandard release, and it kills me. The film itself has aged pretty well. Even on the other side of all sorts of high profile mob comedies and such memorable work as GOOD FELLAS and THE SOPRANOS, this is still one of the best looks at how honor and codes of conduct can tie people in knots. I love Jack Nicholson as Charlie Partanna, one of the few genuinely dumb louts he’s ever played. Oh, sure, Charlie’s got a natural survivor’s instinct, but he’s thick, easily manipulated. Enter Irene. Kathleen Turner was on a roll when she made this one, and she’s great as the mystery woman who sweeps Charlie off his feet. The film belongs to Anjelica Huston, though, as Mae Rose, one of the great passive-aggressive monsters in film history. By the time we get to her final sunny “Holy cow,” she’s proven herself to be the real black heart of the Prizzi family. Too bad such a gem had to suffer such an undignified fate on DVD. It’s like someone at MGM just wiped their ass with the movie and stuck it in a keepcase. Thanks, guys. Again... my strongest warning to anyone considering the purchase. Don’t. You’ll be sorry.

Originally, I was going to go to bed after PRIZZI’S HONOR, but it irritated me so much that I wanted to watch something that would put me in a better mood.

Did I mention that I got a little SOUP to go with my SOAP this week? CAT SOUP, to be precise. Central Park Media has finally released NEKOJIRU-SO, my favorite film of 2001, on DVD here in Region 1. Hallelujah. I don’t hate the new title for it. It’s fitting, based on one memorable sequence, but I wish the original Japanese language title was on the packaging somewhere just so people know what it is.

I’m not the world’s biggest anime fan. I have very specific tastes. ADV Films has always been great about sending stuff to look at, and I’m willing to try almost anything. Most of it just strikes me as being overly familiar. Most original TV animation here is the same way, so it’s certainly not a problem unique to anime. Whatever CAT SOUP is, it’s not familiar. It’s beautiful, lyrical, dark and disturbing, like a dream you only half-remember when you wake.

The transfer for the 32 minute film is outstanding. I think it’s deceptively simple in terms of design, but the more you pay attention to all the details of the piece, the more impressive it becomes. You can see the influences of Dali and Magritte right alongside homages to HELLO KITTY in this film. Hats off to the extras, too. Here’s a title that almost no one in this country cares about, and DVD producer Stephanie Shalofsky still goes the extra mile, doing both a video interview and an audio commentary with director Tatsuo Sato.

There was so much urban myth around this film when I first saw it, and so little has been written about Nekojiru in English, that this really is my first concrete information on the development of the film and the manga it’s based on. I loved the interview and found it both informative and entertaining, and I would have gladly watched more of it.

If you have even a casual interest in animation, seek this out. It’s one of the coolest DVDs I’ve purchased in a hell of a long time, and well worth your effort.

BROWSING

It’s all about The Digital Bits today. They’re the ones that ran the newest rumor about the possible release of STAR WARS on DVD. I’ve heard vague rumblings about a Fall 2004 release for the SPECIAL EDITIONS as well, and it would make perfect sense in terms of marketing for Lucasfilm. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this turns out to be accurate, and if it does happen, expect this to be the last time you see the Special Editions that we saw in theaters in 1997. After this, Lucas will replace them with the Ultimate Editions that he’s been working on for a while now, versions of the films that will attempt to bring the entire six movies together under one visual umbrella, so to speak.

Fox appears to be sending out confirmation about both BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON FIVE (I can’t wait... Herc tells me he’s got a free copy of SEASON FOUR waiting for me the next time I see him) and FIREFLY: THE COMPLETE SERIES. Both titles drop on December 9th, and you can find details at DVD File, along with word of when AMERICAN WEDDING is headed home.

And have you poked around TV Shows On DVD at all? You should. It’s fun.

That’s all for this morning. I’ll catch you bright and early tomorrow, and until then, here’s a Question For Discussion for you: if you could have a commentary track for any film or TV show with any participants, living or dead, what film would it be and who would be on it?

While I dream of my ENTER THE DRAGON with Bruce Lee commentary, you guys hit me with some answers, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

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  • The Crimson Permanent Assurance is the best short film I have ever seen in my life. Bunch of old accountants suddenly turning into pirates. I mean actual avast ye mateys, walkin' the plank, skull and crossbone pirates. It's absolutely wonderful, and better than the actual movie that follows it. If you're holding off on buying the disc because of technical snafus, but haven't seen this short yet, do yourself a favor and at least rent it at the first available opportunity.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:23 p.m. CST

    another proud limping spectacle of torn narrative tissue

    by BilboFett

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Soap

    by zer0cool2k2

    was one of the funniest things ever on television. Don't remember which season it's in, but the scene where Burt, Danny, Chuck, and Bob (The puppet) get drunk still makes me laugh out loud.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Cat Soup

    by Z-Man

    I'm glad that you're championing this film, M. Know that if nothing else, you brought it to my attention. I've loved it crazy and the dvd is on my wishlist now. And thanks again, because I would never have even known it was out!

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:42 p.m. CST

    (off-topic)

    by SmutGirl

    What does it take to get an "Enterprise" talkback around here? The captain tortures information out of the alien making Kirk look like a hallowed saint, the moral of the story is 'the end justifies the means,' I come here looking for the talkback on the episode and NADA. _____ _____ Sorry, carry on.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Fishy, fishy, fishy, FISH!

    by walnutr113

    "Better?" "Better get a bucket im going throw up."

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Dream Commentary

    by mrbeaks

    Of course, it would have to be Orson Welles and John Houseman *in the same room* for CITIZEN KANE.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Trivia

    by Roj Blake

    "Farscape" Executive Producer and writer David Kemper's first Hollywood job was as an usher for the "Soap" studio audience. So you actually *can* start at the bottom and work your way up.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Dream commentary

    by vroom socko

    Tim Burton and Ed Wood doing a commentary track for "Ed Wood."

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Way too obvious choices for commentary....

    by Jaka

    Since you said living of DEAD - my head was immediately flooded with oldies that I would love to have good commentaries on: Clarke Gable - Gone With The Wind (and the other principle actors and crew), Humphrey Bogart - Casablanca (with Ingrid and crew) and African Queen (with Catherine and crew), The Wizard of Oz (everyone), Walt Disney on all the early Disney features, Alfred Hitchcock on every film he ever made, James Stewart and Frank Capra together on It's A Wonderful Life just so there would be something new about that movie for me, Orson Welles on Citizen Kane so maybe he could explain to me why this movie is so good. Those are just a few that popped into my head. I've heard so much ABOUT all those films from "film people" - it would be cool to hear about them from the people in them and responsible for making them. I must admit though that out of all those films the only one I have seen on DVD is It's A Wonderful Life - so maybe some of them have good stuff one them. There are just so many DVD's to buy that I haven't gone back very far yet.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 12:59 p.m. CST

    SmutGirl - I agree 100%

    by Jaka

    Enterprise is interesting so far this season (2 eps - plus last season finale really). I hope they can maintain the tension and keep it interesting. I have to say that one of the things that has grabbed me this year is that it has occasionally boardered on cheese. There have been a couple scenes where it looks like LESS money was spent and I think it has served the show well. I will never be OK with the complete re-writing of Star Trek history(although if they make it to next season I suppose this will become accepted) but I think they are getting the tone right for the first time since DS9 ended.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:10 p.m. CST

    My dream commentary would be for THREE KINGS

    by Vegas

    And it'd consist of the following participants: Schwarzkopf, Powell, Bush Sr. and Jr., Clinton and Gore, Albright, Reno, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Blair, Cohen, and for a little levity, the Iraqi Minister of Information. THAT would be a commentary with some meat on the bones.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Invader Zim

    by FarfrumWorkin

    My dream DVD Comentary would be an Invader Zim full season sets with commentary like what is on theFuturama DVDs, with creator, writers, voice talent on it. INVADER ZIM rocks!

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:34 p.m. CST

    i thought another film took the top spot in 2001

    by Acne Scarface

    i seem 2 remember quite strongly that moriarity placed cat soup in the number 2 spot in his faves of 2001 list. i don't remember the film that surpassed it.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:37 p.m. CST

    Star Wars DVD's

    by RingLord

    Special Edition, Ultimate Edition, what I want to know is when, or ever, will they relaese the Original Edition.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:49 p.m. CST

    If it weren't for watching Soap as kid....

    by mortsleam

    I never would have grown up to be a gay ventriloquist priest with an alien child who's possessed by Satan and thinks he's in WWII. I love that show...

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:54 p.m. CST

    since dark crystal's been mentioned lately...

    by Acne Scarface

    i just got a reissue of the world of the dark crystal book compiling artist brian froud's work on the film. beautiful stuff. the writing that accompanies the art makes it seem like an archaeology/anthropology text surveying this fantastic world. also included is a facsimile booklet containing concept art used 2 obtain financing 4 the film.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Smutgirl (OT)

    by Mad_Radhu

    I dunno, it was still just kinda blah. Not nearly shocking as seeing the president torture one of his national security advisors to find out what he knew about a nuclear bomb on US soil. Now, THAT was gut-wrenching to see.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Mori! Mori! Or anybody who has seen CONFIDENCE. I need your h

    by JonQuixote

    Does my Rachel Weisz get nude in it? Might be the difference between a rental or a blind buy. HALP!

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Dream Commentary

    by KID AB

    Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski. In the same room for that film they did where a boat is pushed up a mountain. I saw a bit of documentary about it, and i would love to hear the commentary with them in the same room.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 3:50 p.m. CST

    commentary

    by Anomaly

    I would love to hear a Harry Knowles commentary on the upcoming Matrix Reloaded DVD.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 4:14 p.m. CST

    I'd love to hear Peckinpah comment on BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFRE

    by Cash Bailey

    That movie is fucked up. Almost like the sequel to THE GETAWAY that never got filmed.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Off the top of my head...

    by Dward

    I'm sure that I'll think of loads of better choices as soon as I post this, but here we go with my dream commentaries: Jim Henson on The Muppet Movie and The Dark Crystal; Marcia Lucas on Star Wars; Billy Wilder on The Apartment; Lawrence Kasdan on Raiders of The Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi; D.W. Griffith on Birth of A Nation and Intolerance; Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh on Heavenly Creatures; John Patrick Shanley on Joe Vs. The Volcano; Joss Whedon on everything that he has ever had a hand in; David Bowie and Iggy Pop on Velvet Goldmine; Peter Hedges on What's Eating Gilbert Grape; David Lean on Lawrence of Arabia; Spike Lee on Malcolm X and Crooklyn (and also with Griffith on Birth of a Nation :)); Martin Scorsese on The Searchers; and (of course) Kubrick on anything in his body of work.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 4:39 p.m. CST

    "I do not hit. It hits all by itself".

    by Andy Travis

    The only line with which I can do a decent Bruce Lee impression (I can also do a mean Palpatine, but only to the line "And now young Skywalker, you will die"). Dream commentary...hmm...I'd love a Lean/O'Toole/Guinness/Sharif/Quinn Lawrence of Arabia commentary (maybe split btwn one David Lean track and one cast track). I can do a pretty mean "Take no prisoners!!!", as well...

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 4:43 p.m. CST

    No nude Weisz in Confidence, by the way.

    by Andy Travis

    But you may want to check out "Stealing Beauty" and "I Want You", if you haven't already. Did I mention that I think she's a very talented actress?

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Good question, easy answer....

    by RobinP

    Okay, that's sooooooo easy. I'd give body parts for the Universal classic monster movies on dvd with a commentary by the stars...imagine the coolness of Frankenstein with the somber tones of Boris Karloff, Dracula with commentary by Bela Lugosi Wolfman with Lon Chaney JR. Now who dares say THAT wouldn't rock ??

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 4:55 p.m. CST

    "I'm dead and I move"

    by Mumbleboy

    How great would a Crow DVD with Brandon Lee and James O'Barr be? Pretty great, methinks. And lets throw Proyas on there as well. And of course, the entire Matrix trilogy with the W. brothers. Maybe Peter Jackson on Brain Dead/Meet the Feebles/ Bad Taste. I would even like to hear an Episode 1 commentary with Jar-Jar. Just to torture myself. Just got Ong-Bak yesterday. No subtitles of course. Still an amazing film. Maybe I'll just overdub my own dialogue.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 5:08 p.m. CST

    summoning the dead to do commentaries

    by epitone

    My picks would have to be Orson Welles for KANE, LADY FROM SHANGHAI, or TOUCH OF EVIL; Hitchcock for 39 STEPS, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, or THE BIRDS; and Billy Wilder for anything. Or, Billy Wilder and Cameron Crowe doing a commentary together on ALMOST FAMOUS.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Mori I'm proud of you.....

    by Manaqua

    ..you been keepin the updates rollin! me likes! Keep up the good work. OK. M

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 5:34 p.m. CST

    BilboFett

    by Darlef

    True, very true

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Commentary...

    by Truman_Burbank

    It was discussed a couple days ago in the previous column, but I'd kill to have Trey and Matt do a "Cannibal: The Musical" style commentary for "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut". Aside from that, I'd love to hear Charlie Kaufman talk about "Being John Malkovich" and "Human Nature", Kubrick talk about "Dr. Strangelove", and Jim Morrison talk about "The Doors". Oh yeah, and Roger Waters do a commentary on "Wizard of Oz", and Buster Keaton on any of his, and whoever said Harry on "Reloaded" is the winner.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 6:29 p.m. CST

    "Soap" is a great show, but the DVD transfer is NOT flawless

    by Pardon_My_Zinger

    Okay, I confess: I only RENTED it; but I'm four episodes in as of this writing. No doubt, the show is great: amazing ensamble cast, very funny; and of course the fact that there's a hardcore continuing storyline which could rival "24" makes is nearly impossible to watch only one episode at once. I'm sure alot of people re-discovered the show recently when TV Land began airing the reruns late on Friday and Saturday nights (until they recently replaced it with another great sitcom from about the same time period, "WKRP in Cinncinnati," which hopefully should also go to DVD at some point). Still, TV Land seemed to be airing the same handful of shows - all from season two if I'm not mistaken - over and over and not in chronological order. Huh? If there's any sitcom in history which needs to be run in order... ! Well, in light of that, thank goodness we have the DVDs. As I recall, in the first or second episode of season two (SPOILER) was possibly the show's all-time classic moment, when Benson grabs "Bob" the dummy away from Chuck and throws him out the window. Hey, about whom... I'm four episodes in as I mentioned, and no sign yet of ventriloquist Chuck, played by Jay Johnson (or Bob, for that matter). Well, nobody tell me when they first show up, please... I'll find out for myself. Now, if you've read this far, you're probably wondering what about my Subject Heading, about the DVD's transfer? Well, I just noticed that at various times on the DVD, it seems to randomly skip a couple of frames. So everyone be forewarned. Later.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 6:48 p.m. CST

    On guard

    by Mumbleboy

    While I have no idea why I feel the need to defend my statements... but, there will always be a better film. It's not about being the best, biggest, greatest thing since (your favorite here), it's about keeping the audience entertained for the length of your running time. Ong-bak kept me extremely entertained, surprising me with the levels of violence it reached. It "amazed" me because it was the first Thai film I've seen, and it looked so polished. Not to mention that it entertained me without ever becoming more of the same old thing. One more thing, boooya.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 6:56 p.m. CST

    Common commentaries

    by The Handsome 12th Doctor

    I agree with anyone who said any Hitchcock film. That would be high quality indeed. My completely ideal commentary track would be for Blade Runner, with Philip K Dick, Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford. There is of course the possiblity that we could still get one with Scott and Ford on it, and that would be pretty darned funky. Here's hoping.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Hmmm...

    by earl_roberts

    Dream commentaries, very hard. Gonna try to only list a few as OBVIOUSLY there are tooooo many: Orson Welles primarily on THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS so he can tell us how he actually felt about having it destroyed and fill us in on what is missing seeing as we're never gonna see it. Actually it would be nice just to get this film on DVD after getting KANE so long ago. Welles again on KANE and Welles, Leigh and Heston on TOUCH OF EVIL. Katherine Hepburn, Howard Hawks and Cary Grant on BRINGING UP BABY {Just imagine it!!!} Elia Kazan, James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Minero on REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE {could throw Dennis Hopper on it too!} Finally, Hitchcock on both VERTIGO & PSYCHO {plus REBECCA too} My most wanted to those alive would be Coppola on APOCALYPSE NOW, Seijun Suzuki on both TOKYO DRIFTER & BRANDED TO KILL and De Palma, Spacek, Irving, Soles, Allen, Travolta and everyone else on CARRIE oh and Tarantino on PULP FICTION and....... BTW any potential anime fans {this includes you Moriaty, I know you can get into it} check out STUDIO GAINAX. EVANGLEION and FLCL are must have on DVD and HIS AND HER CIRCUMSTANCES {Hideaki Anno's final anime} is coming in a boxset on Sept 30th! I've never heard of SOAP but it sounds funnnny. Gotta look out for a rent if it comes to the U.K.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 7:23 p.m. CST

    about my Hitchcock suggestions

    by earl_roberts

    on VERTIGO and PSYCHO. They should also include Francois Truffaut. Another essential one would be Wilder, Monroe, Lemmon and Curtis on SOME LIKE IT HOT.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 7:26 p.m. CST

    I'd love some commentaries...

    by Cap'n Chaos!

    for the classic MGM and Warner Bros. cartoons with the orginal talents like Mel Blanc, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and the like. *sigh* They could at least try to assemble something like the Disney commentaries for some of the early features.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Kong on "King Kong", The Big "G" and Mothra on any Toho film, an

    by Monkeybrains

    Brings a tear to me eye just thinking about it.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Spielberg on all of his films. Also De Palma.

    by Osmosis Jones

    The former because he comes across as so personable and chatty in interviews, and the latter because his films are so technically briliant, they positively SCREAM for De Palma to deconstuct the visuals. Plus, P.T. Anderson on Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love, Lawrence Kasdan on Body Heat and Silverado (assemble the cast for the latter), Quentin Tarantino on all of his films (his solo track on True Romance is terrific), Stan Lee on the Marvel comic movies, and as for dead people? How about Moe, Larry and Curly on some of their best Three Stooges shorts? A dual Alfred Hitchcock/Jimmy Stewart track on Vertigo (and Hitch/Cary Grant on North By Northwest)? Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw on Jaws (yeah, the former two are still with us)?

  • Sept. 19, 2003, 1:31 a.m. CST

    family guy commentary

    by DondarKo

    well, i don't know how much this counts since some commentaries are on the DVDs, but i'd be pretty happy if fox sacked up and released the commentaries for every episode of Family Guy instead of picking and choosing a few on each disc in the set. supposedly there's one commentary track where seth macfarlane comments on the episode as both brian and stewie, but that was one they decided to leave off. i don't get it; you take the time to get all these people together to record these tracks, then you only use a fraction of the,

  • Sept. 19, 2003, 3:16 a.m. CST

    a Fritz Lang commentary !

    by Gorgomel

    That would be cool especially on all the Mabuse film ! Monte Hellman on Two-lane Blacktop, Saul Bass on Phase IV and Quest, Jean-Pierre Mocky on Litan, Tod Browning on Freaks, Terence Fisher on all his films, Tarkovski on all his films, Brian De Palma on Obsession, Roger Corman on The Intruder, Vincent Price and Robert Fuest on The Abominable Dr. Phibes.

  • Sept. 19, 2003, 3:45 a.m. CST

    Buffy DVDs

    by Latauro

    If you really want Buffy on DVD, just order it on Region 4. On October 22, I'm picking up Seasons Four, Five and Six for a total of $210 (AUS), as well as the first three Angel seasons for the same price. There's a big sale going on. And I'm pretty sure the extras stay the same when it comes out on Region 1. Want Once More With Feeling on DVD? It's here!

  • Sept. 19, 2003, 5:48 a.m. CST

    suggestion

    by ph27

    I'd like to hear a mary whitehouse commentary on a girls gone wild dvd or a porn film or even better on an the mary whitehouse experience dvd.

  • Sept. 19, 2003, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Dreamin'

    by kingGirlfriend

    It would've been great to get Mario Bava on any one of his movies. Pasolini on Salo would be fun. Everyone who's mentioned Hitchcock or Kubrick is right on. A guilty pleasure for m'self would be Linklater on Dazed and Confused. Hopefully that could still happen someday.

  • Sept. 19, 2003, 10:59 a.m. CST

    DONKNOTTS is the only one who gets it...

    by mortsleam

    William Randolph Hearst on CITIZEN KANE. Brad Pitt on LIVING IN OBLIVION. Ed Gein, Ted Bundy & Jeffrey Dahmer on SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Fidel Castro & Marilyn Monroe on JFK. And, of course, Quentin Tarantino on CITY ON FIRE.

  • Sept. 19, 2003, 1:49 p.m. CST

    I'm glad you don't hate the "new" English title...

    by dj_joezoo

    ...cause "Nekojiru" actually means Cat Soup. (The "sou" kanji, when I looked at the original cover online, appears to be the same as "kusa," or grass. I haven't seen the movie, but another website said it's based on a manga called "nekojiru udon", which would be thick udon noodles in cat soup/broth, so maybe grass is used instead of noodles in this scene?) Please pardon me if I'm coming off like the arrogant guy who knows a little Japanese and therefore thinks he's king of the world, but... the point is, Moriarty's only real comments about the DVD regard the new title ("I don't hate the new title for it") without bothering to investigate what the original title means. Would you still be complaining if the "Japanese" title were on the cover... in Japanese? The Criterion DVD of Seven Samurai doesn't have the kanji for "shichi-nin no samurai" anywhere on the packaging, but no one laments the "new" title they gave it.

  • Sept. 20, 2003, 3:29 p.m. CST

    KEEP THIS UP, MORI

    by Tony Mike Hall

    These are great! Honest columns (see: Prizzi's Honor) that read like a friendly conversation. I damn well near orgasm when you and Harry write these "DVD Shelf" and "From the desk of" columns. Always very informative. You've set a high standard for yourself (daily? are you nuts?). I'd settle for weekly, as long as you keep it coming. Thanks man.