Moriarty's DVD SHELF: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, A MIGHTY WIND, WILLARD, CIRCUS OF FEAR, RUSSIAN ARK and DREAMCATCHER
Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Okay... looks like the MATRIX RELOADED reviews have started landing online. I saw one at DVD Talk, another at The Digital Bits, and there's a fairly disappointed one from Nick Nunziata over at CHUD. Sounds like it’s got great sound and picture, and decent extras. The lack of any commentary is going to make some fans crazy, but I’m willing to bet we never hear one from the Wachowskis. They’ve been pretty clear about not wanting to explain the films, wanting to let them speak for themselves. I’m debating if I’m going to pick the disc up now or if I’m going to just wait and get the inevitable box set that’ll be coming some time next year. I’m not saying it’s been announced, or even rumored, but come on... you know it is. There’s no way Warner is going to ignore a potential double-dip that sweet. Just create an extra disc of stuff we haven’t seen... maybe even stuff they intentionally hold back... and put that in as the bonus, and we’ll all pony up to get the entire trilogy. I’m sorry. Does that sound paranoid? Or is that just the abused consumer in me, knowing that I’m going to do exactly what they want and give them the money both times? I’ll kick and scream, sure, but I’ll still cough up for the films more than once.
I’m going to kick today off with my featured review, and it’s not a new title... but it seems like a timely one, since we never got around to doing the right thing earlier in the week...
FEATURED REVIEW: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
It’s the easy choice when you think of Donald O’Connor. After all, “Make ‘Em Laugh” is one of the most joyous and energizing musical sequences in all of film. It’s one of those things that never fails to entertain me, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. It is the very definition of classic, and it’s amazing how, as good as it is, it’s not his best moment in the film. O’Connor’s at least as great in the “Moses” number, a comic duet of sorts with Kelly.
And, astoundingly, that’s not the best moment in the film, either. Which is why SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN endures, year after year, and should always be on the short list when someone asks, “What’s the best musical ever made?” As Latauro pointed out in his comments in yesterday’s AICN Down Under column, the film’s song score was assembled from songs that were performed first in other movies, something that almost never resulted in something special. The screenplay by Adolph Green and Betty Comden is a thing of sublime joy, one of the most knowing comedies about filmmaking ever. This is a wonderful look at the moment when movies switched from silence to sound, and the effect it had on the people who were already stars at that point. Jean Hagen is brutally funny in the film, a monstrous powderpuff, and Debbie Reynolds is adorable. There’s a sunniness to her performance which manages to never be cloying or overly sweet. Kelly and O’Connor are hilarious together, and as good a musical this is, I always think of it as a comedy first.
When Warner Bros. released SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN on DVD last year, they set a standard for their own releases that they have yet to surpass. First of all, they got everyone to record material for the audio commentary. Debbie Reynolds, O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, the screenwriters, and even Baz Luhrmann, who talks about the influence the film had on him. Then, on the second disc, you get to look in-depth at the songbook that influenced the writing of the film with excerpts of the songs in other films. It’s wild, seeing “Singin’ In The Rain” as performed in THE HOLLYWOOD REVUE OF 1929, or “Good Morning” from BABES IN ARMS. Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown wrote these songs, and it’s in the flexible nature of how they can be performed and how they play in different contexts that the songs are really proven. The sound and picture on this disc is as good as it can be. Colors are rich and vibrant, and it looks like the absolute best restored print possible. This is one of those titles that any serious film collection must feature, and watching it again this week, I was touched by just how eternal the performance of Donald O’Connor was. How many musicals are there that you can recommend even to people who hate musicals? Not many, but consider this one.
FROM THE SHELF
While I’m thinking about Warner Bros. and musical comedies, one of the titles that I saw for the first time this week was Christopher Guest’s A MIGHTY WIND, the latest in his series of improvised comedies starring a sort of rotating ensemble of comic character actors. I had heard over and over that A MIGHTY WIND was the weakest of the three films he’s made like this, so I went into it expecting very little. Overall, I think WAITING FOR GUFFMAN is the broadest and most obvious of the films, I think BEST IN SHOW is the funniest, and I think A MIGHTY WIND is the most honest. It might not be as fall-down funny as the earlier films, but these performers have really hit a stride together, and the result is something that I didn’t expect, something that becomes quite moving.
In particular, I want to say that Eugene Levy deserves a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work as Mitch, one half of a folk duo that fell apart when their romantic relationship crumbled. One of several acts reunited for a tribute concert to a recently-deceased manager who once represented all of them, Mitch and Mickey (Catherine O’Hara) are the reason to watch the film, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong... there’s great chemistry between Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Guest as The Folksmen, a folk trio who frequently opened for Spinal Tap over the years. By now, these three actors have been playing music together for so long that they’re not pretending to be an old band, reunited. They really are an old band. The exact opposite is true of The New Main Street Singers, a “neuftet” headed by John Michael Higgins that also includes Parker Posey and Jane Lynch. They are the prototypical plastic cornball folk act, hilarious in their polished phoniness. Posey and Lynch both had to learn how to play the guitar to be able to play their parts, but to their credit, they seem perfect in the final film. There are also great comic turns by Larry Miller, Jennifer Coolidge (who may be the single strangest person working in movies right now), Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., and the always uproarious Fred “Wha’ Hoppened?!” Willard, who Guests professes to be stumped by in the audio commentary. “I have no idea where Fred gets it.” This sort of film is perfect for many of these performers, allowing them to improvise and craft these characters.
The payoff to the whole thing is with the work done by Levy and O’Hara, though. These two have been working together since the old days of SCTV, and I always loved the way that cast played off of each other, the way they seemed to take such great delight in each other’s bizarre creations. It always made the show more cohesive than SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, more lived in, more real. One of the rules of great comedy is that it skirts dangerously close to the sad. Pathos has been an important tool for comic filmmakers since the silent days. Levy has proven himself to be one of the most reliably funny men in movies over the years in films like SPLASH and AMERICAN PIE, and he was a big part of the success of BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE earlier this year, something I recognize even if I despise that film. Maybe the runaway blockbuster status of that film will help, though, in the effort to get him a Best Supporting Actor nomination for A MIGHTY WIND. And make no mistake... he deserves it. What starts as a cartoon somehow becomes something very real and very moving. Part of it is the surprise of Levy’s singing voice. He’s really good. The songs that were chosen for Mitch and Mickey really aren’t funny in an obvious way. Written for the most part by Michael McKean and his wife Annette O’Toole, the songs are lovely and lyrical, and one number is set up as their signature, “The Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow.” One of the big questions in the film is how they’re going to handle the song at the reunion concert, and I was surprised how much I got invested in the moment. I’ve heard many people say the film brought them to tears, and I thought they were exaggerating. Then I saw the film, and now I understand. Levy. Best Supporting Actor. The nomination is the right thing to do, and I hope Academy members don’t overlook this pitch-perfect work when handing out the kudos in a few months.
The DVD is great, with an informative and conversational commentary track by Guest and Levy together, and the deleted scenes add nearly a half-hour of smart and funny material to the mix. Sound and picture is excellent, and my one big complaint is about the shitty Warner Bros. cardboard snap case thingamajig. Still, as I understand it, those are on the way out and Warner has reconsidered the way they’re going to package future titles starting with THE MATRIX RELOADED. Can’t wait to see the packaging to see if it’s truly an improvement. Let’s hope.
An example of a disc that is so overstuffed that I actually doubt I’ll ever get to the extras is New Line’s WILLARD. First thing I did when I popped the disc in was find the Crispin Glover video for “Ben” and play it real, real loud. What a freakshow. Even better, there’s audio commentary by Crispin about the video, and it reveals Crispin to be enormously entertaining and engaging, and he makes sure to plug both of the feature films he’s self-funded, something I admire. He has been really smart about how he mentions the films at any opportunity, since they’re micro-budget movies that are very personal to him. When he works in studio features and does publicity for them, he always takes advantage of the opportunity to steer attention to his smaller work. That’s cool. The video’s less than three minutes long, so Crispin’s talking at an incredible rate from the moment the thing starts, and it ends up being packed with info. I haven’t heard the feature commentary, which also includes the director, Glen Morgan, as well as co-producer James Wong and R. Lee Ermey, but I hear it’s pretty good. In fact, the commentary and the making-of documentary “The Year Of The Rat” have both been given great reviews, so I’m sure I’ll go back and check out the documentary as early as possible. First time through the disc, I just enjoyed the great transfer and the excellent sound reproduction. It’s a full anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer, and it handles the film’s darker palette quite well.
Overall, I don’t think the film’s particularly great, but it’s so rare that anyone casts Crispin as the lead in something that I’m probably willing to forgive a lot. And it’s not a bad film. Morgan does a nice job of heaping crap on Willard (Glover), and his relationship with the rats that live in his basement unfolds with a certain dreamlike inevitability. It’s not very surprising, though. Basically, people treat Willard badly, he gets some revenge, and then things get out of control and destroy him. It’s very faithful to the original, right down to reproducing the first film’s narrative weaknesses. What ultimately carries the film is the performers themselves. Glover does some great work and hits some high notes, and I have no doubt that it’s Ermey’s aggressive asshole routine here that won him a role in the CHAINSAW remake. If you flipped for this one in theaters, or if you’re in the mood for some solid Glover insanity, then WILLARD is a heck of a nice disc, and worth picking up.
Blue Underground, a specialty label that’s put out a few cool titles so far, including the Larry Cohen films I mentioned a few columns back, just put out a Christopher Lee Collection that consists of THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU, THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU, and THE BLOODY JUDGE. They’re also selling them separately, which is how I picked up the fourth title in the box, CIRCUS OF FEAR. Short review: whole lotta circus, not nearly enough fear. Which is not to say that it’s a bad film, because it’s not. It’s just not the horror film the title would imply. Instead, it’s a small-scale British crime film in which a robbery leads to double-crosses, old scores are settled by people long though dead, and a mysterious masked lion tamer may be the key to all the secrets. Christopher Lee plays a good portion of the film with a ski mask on, meaning we just get his eyes, but he manages to steal the film from every actor around him just the same. The film’s been given the best transfer I would imagine is possible based on the source material. It’s a 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer, and it looks surprisingly clean overall. There’s an audio commentary with director John Moxey, and I would hope it focuses on the film’s rather rough history. Originally, when it played America, it was only printed in black and white and had 22 minutes cut from it. Retitled PSYCHO CIRCUS, I would imagine it must have been incomprehensible. This DVD not only restores the 22 minutes and returns the film to color, but it actually adds another 8 minute sequence that was never in the original prints. If you’re a fan of crime films and are looking for something you’ve probably never seen to satisfy your Christopher Lee jones, then CIRCUS OF FEAR is a sweet little gem well worth your time.
This past week, we finally made it to “The Box Part I” and “The Box Part II,” the Quentin Tarantino episodes of ALIAS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON. He didn’t direct. He didn’t write. He’s just an actor, and he looks like he’s having enormous fun playing a really sleazy former SD6 agent who shows up to take his revenge and get hold of something in the vaults of the LA bureau. Director Jack Bender pays obvious tribute to McTiernan’s DIE HARD (right down to a McTiernan Supply truck in the parking garage), and he has a lot of fun with the conventions of the genre. Jennifer Garner delivers some darn fine ass kickin’ in this particular episode, and every character takes a beating at one point or another. I love the way people carry damage from one episode to the next on this show, and the fate of Sloane’s finger made me particularly giddy.
I also finally finished up POINT OF NO RETURN, the BABYLON 5 Season Three box set. What a brutal, evil cliffhanger. J. Michael Straczynski’s goal to create a five-season novel seemed to being paying off beautifully at this point in the show’s run, and the most remarkable thing about this mid-point is that he wrote every single episode for the season, something I can’t recall ever seeing anyone else do on a one-hour dramatic series. I can understand why he felt like he had to micromanage this particular year of the series, since so many of the show’s important storylines, set in motion over the 44 hours prior, finally pay off here in spectacular fashion. It’s been a delight to discover the show this way, and out of all the TV series so far on DVD, this one has most proven to me the value of doing these season-by-season collections for people who have never seen a show before.
Saw RUSSIAN ARK late on a Saturday night, in one of those hazy end of the week moods, just looking to disappear into something. Turned out to be an absolutely fascinating choice, too. There’s no other film like it that I can name. Imagine taking a guided tour of the Russian Heritage museum with Stanley Kubrick as your guide. That’s sort of what it feels like to get absorbed by this one of a kind masterpiece. I’m a big fan of Godfrey Reggio’s films (KOYAANISQATSI and POWAQAATSI), and my reaction to this film is similar... almost purely visceral. On one level, the film is a game, a dare of sorts. An hour and a half, one unbroken take, a cast of thousands... it sounds impossible, and I found myself waiting for the cheat, the hidden edit that never came. Besides... after a while, you lose track of the technical trick and just get pulled in. There’s so much going on here at every moment, as well as an unsettling, surreal quality to everything, and the way we gradually piece together what’s going on is engrossing. It’s a ghost story, a history lesson, and a brain-bending headgame all at once. Essentially, we are walked through either Russian history or a recreation of it (and we’re not sure which at first) by a mysterious figure, the Marquis. At times, we pause to look at this detail or that from the various paintings on display, or we dip into a scene as we wander past, only to suddenly move on to something totally different. I’m not sure I know any more about Russian history now than I did before I saw the film, but I think maybe I have a better idea of how Russians feel about that history.
On the other hand, I’m absolutely sure that I am dumber for having seen DREAMCATCHER. Yes, I know you warned me. And I laughed when you warned me. “No, no, it can’t be that bad,” I said. “Lawrence Kasdan. William Goldman. Look at that cast.” Oh, lord, why didn’t I listen? I had no idea just how incredibly wrong-headed a film it was, and now, having seen it, I’m having a hard time believing that I really sat through it. One of the biggest problems is with the source material itself. Written as Stephen King was recovering from his life-threatening car accident, DREAMCATCHER is a mess, a hodge-podge of ideas from other earlier books and dark, cynical ruminations on recovering from an accident and ‘50’s alien invasion movies, and it never gelled into a coherent whole on the page. But that’s okay... King’s books frequently flounder in the actual plotting. It’s his remarkable voice that carries readers through his lesser efforts. No matter what he’s writing about, King always writes so well that he can fool you into thinking you’re reading something worthwhile.
But seeing this brought to life onscreen... even with a cast as good as this and a technical crew that gives the film an insanely polished look and state of the art FX... even with all of that, it just lays there, a Frankenstein monster with no spark to bring it to life, bits and pieces that have no business connecting. The film never figures out what story it’s trying to tell, and by the time it starts trying to bring old friends with a childhood secret, psychic powers, aliens from space, monsters that live in your butt, psycho military guys, and a retarded superbeing together, it’s so hopelessly out of control and off the tracks that you just have to sit and marvel at the absurdity of the entire enterprise.
There are many nice technical touches here, but for every one thing I liked, there were at least five things that were just stupefying. What’s with Damien Lewis and his “Mr. Gray” voice? Is it typecasting to ask a Wahlberg to play retarded? What’s with Morgan Freeman’s eyebrows? Do the psychic powers really serve any narrative purpose other than giving Goldman a shortcut to exposition? Is the “warehouse of memories” one of the goofiest ideas to be realized on film this year? Are the shit weasels a totally wasted and ultimately boring menace? Is this really the same Lawrence Kasdan who wrote RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK?!
I’ll give Warner Bros. this much... the disc looks and sounds great. If you’ve suffered blunt force trauma to the head and you have a burning desire to watch and rewatch this sad spectacle, then you can’t go wrong with the presentation here. For anyone who values their grey matter, don’t even pick this one up off the rental shelf. It really is one of the year’s worst, and a low point in the film legacy of Stephen King.
I’ve got so many other titles I wanted to write about, and I want to go over stuff coming out this week, and I wanted to mention that I’m going to attend a Lucasfilm presentation about the INDIANA JONES discs next Saturday, but right now, I’m about two hours away from being picked up by a shuttle that will take me to the airport where I am actually going to take a real vacation. Not a long one, but a real one. I’m not even taking a pen and paper with me. I won’t sign on to a computer the whole time I’m gone, and I won’t be seeing a single DVD this week. I’ll be back in LA late Friday night, I’ll try to sneak in a midnight show of KILL BILL somewhere, since I won’t have seen it yet (unless some kind employee at the Walt Disney World AMC theaters at Pleasure Island would like to sneak me into an advance screening by calling Harry and asking him how to get hold of me... hint, hint), and then I’ll be back here with a new column for you a week from now. Next time, we’ll cover the SCARFACE collector’s box, 2FAST 2FURIOUS, the Criterion STRAW DOGS, the recent BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET release, a bunch of Errol Flynn titles (KIM, MASTER OF BALLANTRAE, and of course ROBIN HOOD), that amazing new KIDS ARE ALRIGHT DVD, and much more.
Until then, the Question for Discussion is this: what is your favorite adaptation of a book to film that is NOT currently available on DVD?
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 6, 2003, 7:08 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
The Wachowskis haven't done a MATRIX commentary, and that's what I was referring to. They've said over and over that they don't want to explain the films. And Harry sent me that FARK link earlier. He seemed quite giddy about the pictures.
Oct. 6, 2003, 7:09 a.m. CST
Donnie Wahlberg's not that bad of an actor, in all seriousness.
Oct. 6, 2003, 7:39 a.m. CST
Actually watching 'The Kids Are Alright' at work right now. F*ckin' Moon man! What a Tap Head!
Oct. 6, 2003, 7:45 a.m. CST
by Cash Bailey
I don't know if it's available in other parts of the world but I'd love to get a DVD of THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD.
Oct. 6, 2003, 8:07 a.m. CST
Writes a lot of complete seasons for his shows. Just an FYI
Oct. 6, 2003, 8:08 a.m. CST
by The Guy Who Nods
If not, there's my answer. And about those fark.com pictures, I told you guys Harry was a evil leprechaun wizard!!
Oct. 6, 2003, 8:26 a.m. CST
I think that a Mighty Wind is the funniest of these mockumentaries since Spinal Tap. Best in Show didn't do a thing for me, and Waiting for Guffman was okay but hinged too much on the joke that the Corky St. Clair was gay. But I love music, and there's a lot of humor in both Spinal Tap and Mighty Wind that will go over your head if you don't know much about music. Some you'll get, but then there are jokes for musicians in there, and it made me laugh harder than the other two Guest directed films. And I agree--Jennifer Coolidge is funny, but also the strangest person out there.
Oct. 6, 2003, 8:55 a.m. CST
Mighty Wind is Guests' best comedy since his work on Tap. But then again, Guest has been skewering music all the way back to his National Lampoon days with bits like "Middle-Class White Well Intentioned Blues" that he wrote and sang on the Nat Lamp Radio Hour.
Oct. 6, 2003, 9:15 a.m. CST
Thank God those idiots aren't around anymore. sk
Oct. 6, 2003, 11:12 a.m. CST
by Osmosis Jones
Maximum Overdrive, anyone? It isn't even the worst film of this year (that would be Basic). It *is* lame, but technically well-made (especially John Seale's handsome photography). I'll never watch it again (or read the book, most likely), but I think people have overreacted to it.
Oct. 6, 2003, 11:18 a.m. CST
Moriarty, you hit it right on the head. In the talkbacks of last week's column, I declared (as I have many times before here) that Eugene Levy deserves a Supporting nod for Mighty Wind. Absolutely spot-on! Thanks for noticing...The word must be spread!
Oct. 6, 2003, 11:27 a.m. CST
Schindler's List. For God's sake, Mr Spielberg, Where is it? The greatest film of your career!! You better do a commentary too, pal, or you'll have ME to answer too!! Rant over. Where the hell is it??!!!
Oct. 6, 2003, 11:40 a.m. CST
The best book-to-film adaptation that has yet to be released on DVD is The Innocents. Based on Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, Jack Clayton's lyrical 1961 masterpiece is bar none the best ghost story ever filmed. The Scope cinematography by Freddie Francis is gorgeously atmospheric, simply wondrous to behold (and can only be seen on the OOP Fox laserdisc...for which I gladly shelled out the big bucks for on eBay). Deborah Kerr has the role of her career as the repressed governess, and young Martin Stephens was one eerie prepubescent; he made both this and Village of the Damned just a few years apart. Seriously, folks. The spell this thing weaves is incredible, from the opening credits to the vastly disturbing finale. The film hasn't aged a day, which sadly can't be said for its closest competitor in old-school ghost chillers, The Haunting. (Don't flame me...I still love Wise's film, and Julie Harris is brilliant...but much of it simply hasn't aged well.) Ultimately, The Innocents attains what every literary adaptation should aspire to: it makes a novel incredibly cinematic while retaining the author's spirit and intentions; in this case, the ambiguity of James' plot. Is the governess really seeing ghosts, or is her repressed sexual attraction to her young charges driving her insane? One could make a case for either point. Anyways, I'm rambling. If you have any love for horror films, you must see this film. Try to find the widescreen laserdisc, but if all you can get is the VHS, the movie's good enough to tolerate the P/S hackjob. And to Fox: Get this out quickly while Deborah Kerr's still available to record a commentary; she did one for An Affair to Remember...I'm sure she could be persuaded to do one for this, as well.
Oct. 6, 2003, 11:42 a.m. CST
I mean we know it was bad, but it was hillarious! The killing of the aliens with morgan freeman yelling KILL EM ALL!!! the Voice of mr. Gray , apparently a british alien. And the Retarded Duddets who basically did it all himself in the end and had no need for the worthless fantastic 4. dreamcatcher is a classic.
Oct. 6, 2003, 11:52 a.m. CST
I'm taken aback by how much vitriol's been leveled at this film. In the annals of Stephen King adaptations this is one of the most faithful(excepting the ending). I stopped salivating for new King around the time of Insomnia, but still check in to see what he's up to now and then; Dreamcatcher(the novel), while a sort of pastiche, is far from self-parody, or creative bankruptcy. I enjoyed the film(dvd) much more than I thought I would post the excoriating blasts of repulsion coming from the fans. Reasons why viewers didn't get it: 1. They didn't read the book, hence had no foreknowledge of the multi- split narrative 2.many filmgoers these days want to be handfed whatever particular genre whets their appetite(Dreamcatcher isn't obvious, alien invasion, military thriller, buddy pic) 3. viewers have a problem with naming the enemy a "shitweasel" 4. the set up is to long for those with short attention spans...neglecting to mention that character-building/identification leads to the horror 5. Stephen King backlash redux 10 Dreamcatcher's well-made, the memory warehouse device is derived from the memory palace of antiquity, the effects are exceedingly well done, the retarded characters don't have many lines, it's faithful to the source material. Cons: the child actors are pretty sucky, the ending works, but it's fairly absurd, Stephen King's reliance upon the repetition of catch phrases and colloquialisms CAN work in his books, but NEVER works onscreen. Dreamcatcher's not a masterpiece by any means. What it is is a well-made, faithful adaptation with mainly decent acting, and good effects(excepting the shitweasel wrestling).
Oct. 6, 2003, 11:53 a.m. CST
If it's one thing I hate about DVD, it is the George Lucas Consumer Milking Syndrome that goes around. Release a bare bones film version now, then release a full blown special edition half a year down the road, ala Lord of the Rings. And release it as a two disc set and charge 'extra' for that. I can understand some of the older titles that are flippers or created in DVD's infancy, but not recent films now that the DVD format is mainstream. And if some of you doubt DVDs mainstream status, Circuit City no longer carries VHS and Best Buy will remove all remaining VHS title this or next week. I just hate having two copies of one movie. And I also hate how damn hard it is to get into a DVD now. You spend 8 minutes cutting those damn antitheft seals on all sides of the damn packaging!! Fear the slobot!! www.uterinefury.com
Oct. 6, 2003, 12:08 p.m. CST
Easily Soderbergh's 'King of the Hill', which is far and away my favorite Soderbergh film. I'm sure there are other solid picks out there (probably some more notable ones), but that's the one I've been lusting for for the last few years. C'mon Criterion - do this film justice for us!!
Oct. 6, 2003, 12:20 p.m. CST
by Trav McGee
Steve McQueen as The Kid, Edward G. Robinson as The MAN! Tuesday Weld, Karl Malden, Rip Torn, and Ann Margret at her slinkiest, purringest, sluttiest, bloodthirstiest. And a hell of a good poker game! (Bonzillion-to-one odds of that last hand notwithstanding, but at least the drama was about the betting...) Give me that DVD! "That's what it's all about, isn't it? Making the wrong move at the right time."
Oct. 6, 2003, 12:25 p.m. CST
by Filthy Fox
It seems whether or not you enjoyed this film depends on how you felt about Eugene Levy. I never related to this character and couldn't even view him as a character, the whole time I felt I was watching Eugene Levy playing a retard. Every scene with him, and every joke with him jsut fell flat to me. But if you liked his character, I could understand likeing the movie. It just didn't work for me and I love Guffman, and Best in Show.
Oct. 6, 2003, 12:34 p.m. CST
It just burns my ass when someone watches a movie and never reads the book or a book period, Then blame the author for a bad movie. Fisrt of all if you think that stephen King is a bad author I suggest reading The Dark Tower series, then again it may be too complicated for you. On the other hand all of the LOTR "MOVIE" fans, please go to your local library and check-out the book(s) you will be totally surprised and infuriated how Peter Jackson ass-raped one of the greatest novels ever written. Now of course all of the "movie" fans will shout in their collective voices "Fuck You", but I challenge you to read a few books before saying whether or not the author or the moive in question is any good.
Oct. 6, 2003, 12:36 p.m. CST
Why, if you already know that a movie or series is going to be released later in an expanded format, would you buy the cheaper/leaner version now? Assuming something like the Matrix box set is a 'must have' for you, why not RENT the first edition they release and save your cash to BUY the boxset. Likewise, why buy the Alien Quadrillogy when there's obviously another Alien movie in the works!? Unless they aren't going to make that part of the series. Either way, I can't imagine being upset about the multiple issues of a title-- if you're smart enough to figure out the way these things work, why not be smart enough to save the money for the big one?
Oct. 6, 2003, 12:43 p.m. CST
novels and films are very different art forms and to blame an author (at least solely) for a bad movie adaptation is too simplistic. On the other hand to get your panties in a bunch everytime a film leaves out something that was in a book is absurd. some things that work in books just won't work as movies, so you have to take them as separate art forms. i thought that dreamcatcher was a festering piece of crap (no pun intended) but I love stephen king books (and most SK movies). Also, having read the LOTR trilogy and the hobbit, and in fact every book tolkien ever wrote about middle earth, i have to say that i thought to date that PJ has captured the soul of the books and the world impecably. but hey, there's no accounting for taste, or at least most people like to pretend there isn't.
Oct. 6, 2003, 12:48 p.m. CST
I'm not talking about what was left out of LOTR but rather what Foreskin (a useless piece of flesh)Jackson added to the films that was unnecessary!
Oct. 6, 2003, 1:10 p.m. CST
by The Gline
From what I understand, the rights for the movie are in dispute, so it may be a while before we ever see it on DVD, if at all.
Oct. 6, 2003, 1:13 p.m. CST
I am talking about rereleases of DVDs that you do NOT know about. I bought that Aliens SpecED when it came out now there is another version coming out even better??? ERRRR!!!! Or the new T2 Extreme Edition or whatever lame thing it's called? When I buy the Indy trilogy this month, will there be a special edition next year? This is intentional milking and causes a paranoia within me everytime I buy a DVD nowadays.
Oct. 6, 2003, 1:32 p.m. CST
I buy the DVD when it comes out if I'm going to watch it more than 4 times (i.e. cheaper than renting it). If a new edition comes out and I'm going to watch it 4 times or more, I'll buy it. No biggie. But then again, I'm not obsessed with 'extras' like most people, whatever happened to just enjoying the film?
Oct. 6, 2003, 1:34 p.m. CST
At the "Indy" thing next week, can you find out if the "Raiders" title is going to be changed in the film, or just on the packaging? Or has that already been answered? I don't care what they do with the packaging, but if the film actually says "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark," I'm gonna be pissed.
Oct. 6, 2003, 1:40 p.m. CST
Who cares if it's Indiana Jones and the ... ??! IT'S STILL THE SAME MOVIE. [shatner]GET A LIFE, PEOPLE[/shatner]
Oct. 6, 2003, 1:42 p.m. CST
by SLEAZY DINOSAUR
How is she so strange? And even if she is strange, I don't understand how she could earn the title of "the most strange" person in movies, especially considering Crispin Glover was also being discussed. She just looks like a semi-attractive, somewhat talented, middleaged actress to me. Is there something about her personal life I don't know about?
Oct. 6, 2003, 1:53 p.m. CST
by Gray Mattre
Promised Land. Book by Robert B. Parker. Starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks. It's the pilot for the "Spenser:For Hire" series and also the best ep of the series.
Oct. 6, 2003, 2:41 p.m. CST
by Sith Witch
The Reivers, starring Steve McQueen. It is like a late-sixties Disney movie on crack. A little boy gets to hang out in a whorehouse and act like a real man...
Oct. 6, 2003, 2:45 p.m. CST
........or the Sixth Sense.
Oct. 6, 2003, 2:53 p.m. CST
Periodic re-releases are the norm now. KILL BILL is going to be released in two separate DVDs (not one two-disk DVD, two separate DVDs), and then in a box set sometime later. And Mostow has said that T3 will definitely be released in a quick, no-frills version as soon as possible, and then a "special edition" later, when he has time to compile it. What used to be called "gouging" is now the standard business model for genre films. You have to decide for yourself whether to buy a movie two or three times (or, in the case of STAR WARS, infinite times),
Oct. 6, 2003, 2:55 p.m. CST
Since there are more than just rumblings of a 4th installment of the Indiana Jones saga, doesn't it seem prudent NOT TO BUY the trilogy box set right when it comes out? Yeah, if you are going to watch it 4+ times, then it may be cheaper than a rental, but otherwise, there's bound to be a 4 film collection one day. Star Wars is the best case of this-- they packaged Episodes I & II together as a box?!? I mean, if you bought that and thought you had the definititve collection, that's just beyond stupid. Milking the fans is lame, I agree, but being a smart fan is mostly the answer. T2 SUPERFANTASTIC EDITION is a great example of a milk-job, but with things like Aliens/Indy/Star Wars/etc-- I think there's probably enough reason to rent and wait.
Oct. 6, 2003, 2:58 p.m. CST
Watch the Back to the Future commentary by the director and producer. That guy may be one of my favorite actors, but man oh man, his ideas for George McFly are so horrendously terrible. And he was an asshole about it too. Now I finally understand why he's not in the second two movies. Seriously though, it's a great laugh, check it out. www.rockithardcore.com
Oct. 6, 2003, 3:18 p.m. CST
When I had heard two years ago that Dreamcatcher was on its way to the screen, I had to wonder how the hell it was going to happen. I loved the book (which, while borrowing aspects from his other novels, it *does* have its own life), but its also a giant read with too much going on to translate well to a 1.5 - 2.5 hour-long film. I thought that perhaps if WB had picked it up to give to HBO for a week-long Mini-series, akin to what ABC used to do with the King works, this thing could rock! Of course, that wasn't to be, and the results on the screen are exactly what I figured it be. A mish-mash. There's a lot of stuff that'll make sense to a person whose read the book because they can fill in the blanks, but for the most part, there's just too much going on here. In the "extras" on the DVD, Kasdan mentions that he added stuff to the script that Goldman thought couldn't be done well on screen. It'd be interesting to see a "Goldman Cut" perhaps the tale is more concise and therefor more tense. All that being said, I've seen this thing twice - once on opening day, and once on DVD - and it gets better the second time 'round. For fans of the book, I highly recommend checking out the alternate (re: better) ending. -savagexp www.savagexp.com
Oct. 6, 2003, 3:56 p.m. CST
First of all, I have Dreamcatcher, I enjoy that movie, it's very entertaining even though it has no real artistic merit whatsoever. And second Venger91 I am a fan of LOTR and I say fuck you to you because I do enjoy the books, but I also find the films to be brilliant and not ass rapings. Thank you very much.
Oct. 6, 2003, 4:57 p.m. CST
I try not to be biased when it comes to books versus movies. But when a director has to change a story to fit his needs when the story has survived for 60+ years is egotisyical. Either do it right or don't do it at all!
Oct. 6, 2003, 4:59 p.m. CST
Huh? There has been one, ONE, SINGLE, SOLO, UNO release each of the two prequels. ONE. And for both movies, it was a fully loaded special edition. ONE RELEASE, COMMENTARY, DELETED SCENES, DOCUMENTARIES. There has yet to be any fucking milking of the sort. You're now INVENTING reasons to bitch about Lucas, and it's fucking pathetic. I don't see you griping about having to pay twice for both LOTR movies. Somehow Lucas takes shit from you for doing something he hasn't done, which if he had done, would be the same thing as the guy you praise for actually doing it.
Oct. 6, 2003, 5:15 p.m. CST
by vroom socko
I'd have to go with Murder on the Orient Express. Not only does it have a stellar cast, not only is it directed by the great Sidney Lumet, but it's based on the best Agatha Christie novel of all time. Where's the DVD?
Oct. 6, 2003, 5:24 p.m. CST
by user id indeed!
"Black Sunday." Boy, that's hard to find. Really great book, and I wish Harris would revisit those characters (at least the very few who survived) as often as he's revisited Lector. I read a while back that there is a DVD coming out later this month. Anybody know if there are any features? I'll probably buy it, regardless.
Oct. 6, 2003, 5:38 p.m. CST
the brilliant "Last Night" in WIDESCREEN, cuz I cant stand full screen, I mean cmon, its a great film, definitely worthy of a widescreen format...then Safe Men, which is Sam Rockwell at his finest, and Big Fat Bernie Gale AND fucking Veal Chop, its a crime this isn't on DVD yet...then lastly, Niagra Niagra, which I thought was fantastic however its not out on DVD...these three would make my fuckin week...
Oct. 6, 2003, 5:46 p.m. CST
"Fuck off, fish!"
Oct. 6, 2003, 6:29 p.m. CST
Go troll your lame website somewhere else. It's embarrasing...
Oct. 6, 2003, 7:37 p.m. CST
Making a list of "Best Musical" is like trying to come up with a top 10 list of best-scented animal feces. In the end, they're all shit. C'mon -- singin' in the rain, for christ's sake? How can you even listen to that dialogue without cracking up and then putting in Pulp Fiction just to get the bad taste out of your mouth. Retard.
Oct. 6, 2003, 7:38 p.m. CST
by Jack Burton
One of the best flicks in a while. Fred Willard and Bob Balaban were both damn funny, as was everyone else! While it's not a book, I've really been pissed off I can't find the movie adaptation of the play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" with Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, and Richard Dreyfus. I freaking love that movie and now I can't even find that damn thing to rent on VHS!
Oct. 6, 2003, 8:16 p.m. CST
As if the film hadn't been ludicrous up till that point, when the retard puts his arms in the air and shouts triumphantly "I DUDDITZ!" everyone in my theater fell out of their seats laughing. There is nothing worse than a film that wants to be serious and winds up being hilarious.
Oct. 6, 2003, 9:17 p.m. CST
Keep pushing the good news and hope you enjoy the rest of the series !
Oct. 6, 2003, 9:37 p.m. CST
by dr. robert
Why do all of Universal's recently released 1980s DVDs not include the theatrical trailer NOR the standard chapter insert card/booklet? Why is the CGI in Dreamcatcher so bloody terrible? Is Dreamcatcher worse than Kasdan's I Love You To Death? Why do I have a feeling Kill Bill will gross no more than $65 million at the North American Box Office? When will the brilliant but questionable anti-Asian Year Of The Dragon be released on DVD? Why do so few remember Jennifer Coolidge's very funny appearance in the soon-to-be Cult Classic, Pootie Tang? Why on earth did Paramount issue Death Becomes Her in full-frame? When will Walter Hill's The Driver be released on DVD? Will John Carpenter ever make a decent film again? Will I see a Goodfellas Special Edition DVD released in my lifetime? Did Jennifer Connelly have breast reduction surgery? Why in God's name does J-Lo's Enough deserve a new, Special Edition DVD? Is Dreamcatcher worse than De Palma's Mission To Mars? Why does The Elephant Man DVD have no chapters?
Oct. 6, 2003, 9:59 p.m. CST
Am I imagining things or is Willows' lesbian lover in a tampax comercial?
Oct. 6, 2003, 10:06 p.m. CST
If you don't realize how many versions of the Star Wars films there have been on VHS, how many soundtrack releases there have been, and, hell, how many merchandise variations there are, you need to wait a little longer before you emerge from your step mom's basement and befoul the world with the stench of your ignorance. Yes, there's been only one DVD release. What about when THOSE special editions come out in the future? What about when all three prequel films have come out? Collector's Prequel Trilogy Box Set? How about Star Wars Saga 6 DVD Collector's Widescreen Version That You've Never Seen Set? And if you don't think Lucas will do that, you don't know Lucas then, do you?
Oct. 7, 2003, 1:15 a.m. CST
See, sometimes people own these things called "websites." They put them at the end of their comment as a "signature." GeorgeNewman was trolling for my site, I told him to stop. I used to troll a few months ago, but now I try to just fucking comment and if I post my website as my sig, who gives a fucking shit? Really, you don't have to go, my man. It's a way of contacting me. Leave a fucking comment of substance for a change. Jesus. If you're looking for someone to blow, go to www.rockithardcore.com, that's where you can reach me.
Oct. 7, 2003, 4:39 a.m. CST
by Cash Bailey
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is out on Region 4 DVD from Universal if you're interested. No extras to speak of but the movie is so fucking awesome you don't really need any. Mind you, I DO prefer Ustinov as Poirot.
Oct. 7, 2003, 7:56 a.m. CST
..the dialog in Pulp Fiction is just as made-up, and put-on as anything in Singin' in the Rain?
Oct. 7, 2003, 10:17 a.m. CST
Here it is: when those future versions that you don't want finally come out....DON'T FUCKING BUY THEM! Yes, I know there were a lot of releases of Star Wars on vhs. I bought one of them. ONE. And as for the soundtracks? Same fucking thing. ONE. And then yes, they got rereleased with different packaging and whatnot, but I didn't fucking buy them, because I already had them! Wow, what an idea! And somehow, by acting in this manner, Lucas was unable to steal money from my pocket, as you claim he did from yours! A guy makes a movie that you apparently like enough to buy over and over, and somehow this is a failing of his? It's just another example of bitchy fanboys going out of their way LOOKING for things to bitch about.
Oct. 7, 2003, 11:01 a.m. CST
by Ed McBain
Our magazine got the Indy Trilogy to review a few weeks ago. We had one big viewing of the trilogy in celebration The image quality is excellent, totally cleared up, I noticed little in terms of defects. The sound one ROFL and TOD was okay, nothing great, but TLC was great. The plane/bkie chase scene sounded amazing with the rears coming into full action. And no, "Indiana Jone and the" is not added to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in the film, it's only on the packaging.
Oct. 7, 2003, 12:29 p.m. CST
Don't get me wrong, I know it's not a "good" movie by any stretch, but I enjoyed how implausible and insane the whole enterprise was. The film kept me interested with one bizarre development after another. To me it was like a big budget version of a Roger Corman movie that would have been shot in a week for no money. They had money, they had William Goldman, they had the guy who wrote Empire and Raiders, a great cast and... we got a psychotronic shitsterpiece. Get high and watch this thing, you'll have a blast. (I wasn't, by the way)
Oct. 7, 2003, 2:31 p.m. CST
Yes, Slaughterhouse-Five was released on DVD, as I bought it a couple of years back for ten bucks. No extras, though. Maybe a trailer? I forget. Elephant Man has no chapters because Lynch doesn't think you should be able to skip around in a movie, but watch the whole thing in sequence. As far as I know, every Lynch DVD, except perhaps the early press of Blue Velvet, contains no chapter stops. My vote for movies that need to come out on DVD NOW? Easy. FREAKS and KING KONG.
Oct. 7, 2003, 3:11 p.m. CST
Oct. 7, 2003, 3:12 p.m. CST
Please remove your mouth from George's penis now, ok?
Oct. 7, 2003, 3:15 p.m. CST
a really cool alien dvd i want is the very cool "Fire in the Sky". anyone know any news on when this one is coming out? Spielberg's Taken looks like it might be cool, but i'll get it used i think. I'm saving for the Indiana Jones Trilogy and the Aliens Quadrilogy. Shoplifters of the World Unite!!!!!!
Oct. 7, 2003, 3:22 p.m. CST
Orson Welles' best film, made for next to nothing. Not released on DVD because his wife or whoever owns the rights is a litigation-junky and hands out law-suits like m&ms.
Oct. 7, 2003, 4:49 p.m. CST
I know, it's hard being you, what with all the guns to your head from directors MAKING you buy dvds. You poor thing, having to spend money on things like movies, sometimes more than once. I'm sure all those in the world having trouble scraping together rent or paying for baby formula or healthcare really feel bad for you. Cry me a fucking river, bitch.
Oct. 8, 2003, 12:27 a.m. CST
by hank quinlan
Dreamcatcher is a sad soulless film. It actually had an interesting premise in the movie but got sidelined with very lame, maudlin junk. The "special kid", the butt aliens, the cliched miltary guys. Thomas Jane was good. Nicely shot. But it's a sad train wreck. But my vote for a few movies from books that need to be on DVD. Point Blank and Ice Station Zebra. And while we are at it I want Night Moves and Once Upon a Time in the West. And where the hell are those special editions of To Live and die in LA and SOrcerer.
Oct. 8, 2003, 3:08 a.m. CST
that was quite possibly the most annoying and horrible shit i've ever seen. that's coming from a huge chris guest fan. jesus i hated that character, so grating and horrible and blah. god damn, man. that's going to ruin my night.
Oct. 8, 2003, 8:01 a.m. CST
Here are MY questions... Is DREAMCATCHER not realistic enough? Or... Is DREAMCATCHER not escapist enough? I've been reading reviews on both angles and can't decide if eveyone is pro or con. CHOOSE A SIDE, DAMMIT! Is it good enough to just watch and enjoy, or am i supposed to belive it could really happen? Having read all of King's books I know not to take anything seriously... just let the story go... But people see so focused on 'Can you believe it?' OF COURSE NOT! Jeese! It's fiction! Let it go and enjoy the damn thing! - Andrew
Oct. 8, 2003, 2:45 p.m. CST
How about Keith Gordon's adaptation of THE CHOCOLATE WAR? Great cast, photography, editing, plus Jenny Wright and Bud Cort.
Oct. 8, 2003, 4:38 p.m. CST
I went into DC expecting a fairly straightforward sci-fi thriller; I was flabbergasted with joy to witness the deranged cult freakshow that ensued. This film is chock full of priceless black humor and off-the-wall weirdness, and fortunately for us it doesn't take itself too seriously. Yeah, it's a regurgitation of everything King has done before, and yes, Kasdan and Freeman were clearly slumming, but I'll be damned if their movie isn't one of the best guilty pleasures I've seen in years. If I die before seeing Dreamcatcher again at a midnight screening in a metropolitan theatre that's packed with inebriated movie geeks I'll be disappointed.
Oct. 8, 2003, 9:08 p.m. CST
by Joe Mammary
Oct. 8, 2003, 11:44 p.m. CST
by Big Papa
Probably either King Kong or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997; Mia Sara; made for TV movie; not even available on video yet the crappy Journey to the Center of the Earth TV movie got a video release!)
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