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Moriarty's DVD Shelf! JADE CLAW! THE OFFICE! THE WHO! NAQOYQATSI! And INDIANA JONES!

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

Man, I love you guys... if anyone wants to understand why I would never sever my ties with AICN and all of you readers, this should go a long way towards explaining it.

I mentioned the film JADE CLAW in my KILL BILL review last week as a movie that I hadn’t been able to track down since my first viewing of it, and I got almost 100 immediate responses telling me exactly where I could find a copy, motivating me to poke around. Sure enough, I picked it up at Amoeba for under $10. Thanks to every one of you who steered me in the right direction.

In the meantime, I’m sorry. My week of vacation translated to a full week of rushing to catch up on work. As a result, that meant two weeks of no column.

And I’ve been watching a lot of DVDs in that time, meaning there are several columns worth of stuff ready to go for this week. My featured review today is for THE ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES, the week’s biggest release, but before we dig into the pros and cons (and, yeah, there are some cons), let’s dive in and do some browsing to see what I’ve missed in the last two weeks as far as news goes...

BROWSING

I don’t know about any of you, but I like to keep a current, running list of upcoming releases. Just makes things easier. And I don’t mean some all-inclusive obsessive-compulsive list of every title from every distributor, either. I don’t honestly give a shit about two-thirds of what gets put out. The whole reason I compile my own list is to narrow it down very specifically to the things I want to keep my eyes open for. The last two weeks have seen enough announcements to mean that my list has grown considerably.

Over at DVDFile, there are all sorts of announcements. Can’t wait for the new ALICE IN WONDERLAND that Disney is putting together. Even if I don’t like some of their films, they sure do put together great discs, and for something I actually want to own, I’m sure it’ll be worth picking up. That PLANET OF THE APES special edition sounds excellent, and the ANGEL SEASON THREE specs released the same day are encouraging. Fox is really racing through that show and BUFFY at this point. Now if they’d only pick up the pace on SIMPSONS and FUTURAMA. January’s releases of A PIECE OF THE ACTION, UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT, LET’S DO IT AGAIN, and SUPERFLY are all reasons to celebrate here at the Labs, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way at the notion that FREDDY VS. JASON will hit disc on January 13th.

Over on The Digital Bits, they ran a story on Oct. 10th that suggested we can expect a 2004 release for SCHINDLER’S LIST. Man, I hope that’s true. They also mentioned the oft-repeated rumor that STAR WARS is going to make its debut around this time next year. I’ve been hearing that same thing... a box set, all three SPECIAL EDITIONS... but until we hear the Lucasfilm announcement, don’t hold your breath. For now, the coolest confirmed Lucasfilm rumor is that they’re working on a YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES box set. I remember when Frank Darabont first told me about YOUNG INDY, way back in the early ‘90s, and the eventual plans for home video. What he described then... an interactive educational archive of TV episodes... seemed far-fetched. DVD technology has definitely caught up, though, and I’ll be curious to see if Lucas holds true to his original dream of what YOUNG INDY could be. That same rumor column mentions some upcoming Paramount special editions like SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT and THE UNTOUCHABLES and TITANIC. Hopefully we’ll see those sooner rather than later.

If you just want to read some good reviews, you can stop by over at The DVD Journal and check out some quickies by our own Mr. Beaks for titles like BLACK SUNDAY, THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS, Del Toro’s CRONOS, or AFTERGLOW. Beaks sees as weird a mix of movies as I do, looks like. Can’t wait to see his reaction to his birthday present this year. As film geeks, we are obligated to gift each other with films. First time I ever met him face to face was at my 32nd birthday party, where he gave me a DVD copy of IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. And, yes, the sex afterwards was fantas... er, I mean, we’re just friends. Seriously.

Over on DVD Answers, they’ve got the artwork for the cover of the upcoming Region One release of AVALON. About freakin’ time, Miramax. Thank you so much for giving this gem your prompt attention.

Oh... wait... looks like I missed one of the cooler rumors on The Digital Bits. I’m not much of a STAR TREK fan, but if I were to buy any of the TV stuff, it’d be box sets of the original series. As much as STAR TREK fans have ruined any and all enjoyment of the show for me (seriously... people... has there ever been a group more rabidly devoted to something who seem to have so little fun?!), I can admire the writing of the original series and the way the characterization grew sharper as the series wore on. Given room to grow, this might well have turned into something great. Unfortunately, it got cut short, and as a result, I know I won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get all of it when this finally happens. 2004 would be just fine, Paramount, but if you have to push it until 2005 to get the sets right, please... take the time and give us something really nice.

I think that’s it for browsing, so let’s see what I’ve been watching lately...

FROM THE SHELF

Holy crap, do I love THE OFFICE.

I know that viewers of BBC America have been aware of this show for a while, but thanks to some brain-damaged quirk of my DirecTV package, I can’t get the channel. As a result, I’m late to the table on this one. If this is all old news to you, you can probably skip this part, but if you’re unfamiliar with the show like I was, then read on, ‘cause I plan to gush to an embarrassing degree.

For many years, I’ve been quite firm in my belief that THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW was the best-written TV comedy. Ever. There was an emotional bravado to that series that still surprises me when I see old episodes. In particular, the character of Hank Kingsley struck me as a sort of milestone in bad behavior, the gold standard of schmucks. Part of it was that amazing performance by Jeffrey Tambor, who deserved an Emmy every single year that show was on. A lot of it, though, was the way the writers never flinched from the unsympathetic, the real, the ugly and sad that makes up so much of life but so little of television. Finding the humor in that is remarkable, and it’s the reason SANDERS still holds up for me.

THE OFFICE, in its first series of six episodes, manages to create not one but two classic characters along the same lines, David Brent and Gareth Keenan. David is played by Ricky Gervais, who co-writes and co-directs the series with Stephen Merchant. Mackenzie Cook plays Gareth, and he’s so great that as soon as you recover from the immediate sight gag of your first exposure to him, the remarkable depth of his work becomes obvious. Both actors seem to be pushing comedy to brave and strange new places with their work, and if that’s all THE OFFICE had going for it, I’d still tell you to pick it up immediately.

But wait! There’s more! A lot more, actually. See, unlike most situation comedies, THE OFFICE isn’t about wacky people in wacky situations doing wacky things and dropping just the right one-liners at just the right moments.

Think of something like JUST SHOOT ME, for example, an office sitcom where everybody falls into some easy category that defines them completely for every single episode, like the drunk slut or the sarcastic nerd or the dim-witted boss or the fiery feminist. Everyone parades through each scene, all their pre-packaged eccentricities all turned up to high, and your tolerance for it all depends on how entertained you are by hearing David Spade find a clever way to call Wendy Malick a whore for the four-hundredth time.

THE OFFICE, on the other hand, is about observation. It’s about the little details that make up the daily lives of a bunch of characters who strike me as 100% authentic. David Brent is the Regional Manager for the Slough branch of Wernham-Hogg, a paper company. He’s one of those guys who obviously failed his way up the corporate ladder, just personable enough to make it to middle management, and too much of a knob to ever make it any further. He is, as Stephen Merchant says in the documentary on disc two, “a tit.” He thinks he’s everyone’s friend, but no one likes him. He thinks his constant joking is hilarious, but no one is laughing. He’s in a constant state of emotional freefall, and he’s only ever partially successful at concealing it.

The people working under David cope with him and each other as best as they can. Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman, the English answer to Topher Grace) is the most likeable one there, but even he’s got some issues to sort out. He’s 30, still living with his parents, and he’s just starting to realize that he really, really hates his job. In particular, he resents being stuck with Gareth, a fairly original comic creation. Gareth talks incessantly about kung-fu, sniper secrets, and his time in the Army. Tim, in response, tortures Gareth constantly. He has to. It’s all that keeps him sane. One particular prank call from Tim to Gareth made me laugh so hard I had to pause the show to keep from missing the next scene. The interplay between these two is priceless, always evolving as the first series wears on. They remind me of Rimmer and Lister from RED DWARF, but toned down and played much more real. There are all sorts of subtle jokes that play out over an arc of episodes, ongoing tortures that come back, and the effect does indeed appear to be cumulative, not just shaken off at the end of each week’s show.

Dawn Tinsley (played perfectly by Lucy Davis) is the receptionist, which gives her a whole lot of nothing to do all day except flirt with Tim, who makes her laugh all the time. She detests David and Gareth as much as Tim does, and they seem content to make each other laugh as a way of handling the stress. Tim obviously fancies Dawn as much as he fears her boyfriend Lee (Joel Beckett), who works in the warehouse. There’s big quiet Keith (Ewan MacIntosh) from Accounts, a sometimes DJ who loves his scotch eggs and PEAK PRACTICE. There’s Malcolm (Robin Hooper), one of the few people in the office who can’t even feign patience with David’s bizarre antics, especially when they involve slapping Malcolm on the head a la BENNY HILL. There’s Ricky (Oliver Chris) and Donna (Sally Bretton), a temp and an intern who may be having an office affair, and there’s Sheila (Jane Lucas), who almost seems invisible at times, and they all have moments to shine over the course of the six episodes. They all do solid work in the background until Gervais and Merchant push them to center stage, and everyone rises to each of the occasions presented. Having an ensemble you can trust that’s as large as this provides you with unlimited ability to push and bend and twist your basic premise.

Oh... and a stylistic note. The whole thing is handled like it’s a documentary, sort of like the Christopher Guest films from the last few years or like RENO 911, the new Comedy Central take-off on COPS. Characters look into the camera, there are talking head interviews interspersed through each episode, and nothing happens in the show that probably wouldn’t happen in front of a real documentary camera. David in particular is a big fat phoney, and the moment anything real happens that makes him look bad or that makes the office look complex, he does his best to gloss it over, shake it off, make a joke and run for cover. I’ve had a few bosses like David over the years, and they just end up making you miserable. They’re miserable. That’s why they want everyone else to be the same way. David describes himself as “a boss second, a friend first, and probably an entertainer third.” I think “idiot” should be first, and watching the supplemental disc’s documentary on the making of the show, I’m not sure how much is an act and how much is simply Ricky Gervais giving free reign to his own inner git. Sometimes, the best performances are by non-actors who are cast close to their own personality, and that may be the case here.

Stephen Merchant tells the story of how he ended up working at the BBC under Gervais, who was Director of Speech for the network, and it sounds like the short film that served as a sort of demo for THE OFFICE grew out of Merchant’s own real-life frustrations with Gervais, who had no interest in actually working. “If you’ll do my work, I’ll let you get away with murder,” he told Merchant early on. Watching the two of them together, it’s obvious that much of David’s particular energy came out of Gervais and the way he really is with people. He’s like a hyperactive six year old who desperately wants your attention, and he doesn’t care how he gets it. I think my favorite episode on the disc has to do with a special seminar day and David’s constant efforts to steer all attention back to himself, or perhaps the quiz episode. Overall, the episodes don’t really have big stories. They’re more like random collections of loosely related incidents. This is great stuff, I can’t wait for the second series collection, and curse DirecTV for denying me my BBC America and keeping me from this show for so long.

Another very English disc that I just picked up is the outstanding new DVD release of THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, the Jeff Stein documentary about The Who. From the opening clip from the SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR appearance to the version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” that marks Keith Moon’s last live appearance with the band, this is a film that is definitely meant for fans of the band only. There’s no concession to a wider audience, no attempt to woo the uninitiated. It’s crammed full of amazing footage, great interviews, and wonderful performances, and I’ve just barely begun to dig into the package as a whole. All I know is, I spent a full Sunday afternoon with this thing cranked up, annoying the neighbors and making my co-writer deaf, and I loved every second of it. If you’re at all interested, the sound and picture is worth every penny, and I’ll let you know later if the second disc is as good as the first.

Another very loud disc was 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, a film I watched out of idle curiosity. Eva Mendes is in this film, and I used to say I could watch Eva Mendes do anything. Well, thanks to John Simpleton, I now know that’s not true. Of course, it’s not like she’s given anything to actually do in the movie except stand around and model nice slacks. And it’s not like this film is aimed at giving her a real role to play. This is car porn, and nothing but.

Biggest problem: I just don’t care. I thought the first film was a lame POINT BREAK remake, and considering how little I thought of POINT BREAK, it seemed like an exercise in futility. This time out, Paul Walker steps up to take the full weight of the franchise on his shoulders, and that’s not a good thing. Walker’s a blank onscreen, a sort of vortex of charisma. Sure, he’s a good-looking guy, but there’s nothing going on behind those eyes. He gets blown offscreen by his lover in the movie, Tyrese. Just like in the first film, the two male leads circle each other and deal with all their manly feelings towards each other by grappling and getting all sweaty and driving really, really fast. Nothing like the hum of the motor and the stick in your hand, eh? It’s all blatant looks of longing and barely repressed energy, and even the presence of cutie-pie Benihana heiress Devon Aoki and the forementioned Eva Mendes can’t disguise the main agenda here. Paul Walker and Tyrese are hurt, but they want to love again, and eventually, they find solace in each other’s... cars. The one bright spot in terms of performance is by Cole Hauser, who seems to be channeling his dad, b-movie scumbag Wings Hauser. Cole has learned his lessons well, and even though his part is ridiculous, he manages to convince the viewer that he just might be crazy, and something truly awful might be just around the corner at every moment. If he wants it, he’s probably got a career ahead of him doing the exact sorts of things his father did, and if he chooses to, he’ll be great at it.

Is John Singleton done yet? Maybe it’s a cheap shot altering his last name like I did above, but when was the last time this guy mattered? Talk about pissing away a promising start. I’ve talked to many people who have worked with him, and no one seems to have much good to say. Overall, he just doesn’t seem too interested in filmmaking. His movies are flabby, lazy, unfocused. The CGI car racing stuff here is absurd and becomes boring almost as soon as it begins. I’ll say this... if you liked this film and you want to pick it up on disc, Universal’s put together a very nice overall package, and the sound and picture is top-notch. But when I look at how many films they dump into the marketplace without a single extra, and then I look at how overproduced this 2-disc set is, it just chaps my ass all over again. Priorities, Universal. Set some fucking priorities, please.

In addition to 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, I caught up on a couple of other summer titles that I missed completely, and I was surprised by what I saw to varying degrees. THE ITALIAN JOB always seemed like a strange choice for an American remake. It’s not like the original was ever the hit here that it was overseas. In fact, I don’t think many people even knew the title here before the remake. To Paramount’s credit, they did a decent job of putting this new film together. The cast is good, if not spectacular, and Mos Def, Jason Statham, and Seth Green establish a nice comic rhythm early on in supporting roles. Mark Wahlberg is one of those guys I like in the right role, and he’s not as miscast here as he was in THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE, but he’s also not exactly the guy I’d put in the role of a mastermind who plots elaborate schemes. There’s just such a big lug quality to him that I don’t buy that he’s the guy pulling all the strings. Donald Sutherland? Sure. Absolutely. Unfortunately, he’s out of the film early on, and we’re left with the young guys. Wahlberg squares off against Ed Norton, who basically sleepwalks through his scenes. Charlize Theron tries to bring a little heat to things, but she remains frustratingly distant, as in all of her films so far. I can’t tell if she’s a good actress in search of a strong director or a bad actress who’s just hot enough to hide her weaknesses. At any rate, she barely registers here. A lot of people told me this was one of their favorite films this summer, and I can see how it would be an agreeable two hours in a theater. The stunts are fun at times, the set-up painless. But it’s a Teflon film. Two hours after you see it, it’s gone. No stick. It just doesn’t have any weight to it, and even the charm of the film’s opening seems to give way to a sort of thudding inevitability by the end.

The exact opposite is true of HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE, which wasn’t what I expected at all. Ron Shelton’s comedy is actually funny, and Harrison Ford appears to be actually awake for the full running time. The result is something that entertained me in a number of ways. I like the premise about cops who moonlight in other jobs on the side, and the way their second lives end up intangled with their lives as officers. There’s some rich material there, and Shelton finds some of it. The script is schizo, though, and doesn’t always work, and Josh Hartnett just doesn’t seem to have the gravitas to pull this off.

With both HOMICIDE and ITALIAN JOB, the discs are good transfers with excellent sound mixes, and they seem to fall into that category that so many major studio releases do these days: entirely professional. All I ask regarding my DVDs is that I get the best transfer possible, and the standards are set pretty high. These aren’t amazing films, films you’re going to want to keep and revisit time and again, but they’re treated well enough by their respective studios that if you are a fan, you’re going to get something worth keeping. The bare minimum of respect is all I ask, and it’s nice to see that for some companies, that’s a matter of course.

I also have to give credit to Paramount for releasing the original THE ITALIAN JOB on DVD at the same time as the remake, encouraging the comparison. It’s especially big of them considering how completely the original outclasses the remake. Noel Coward’s performance as Mr. Bridger, his last appearance in a film, is great stuff, and the whole cast is filled with colorful characters, great faces. So much of what Guy Ritchie did for his first few films comes from THE ITALIAN JOB. The group of guys. The nicknames. The way the humor is mixed in with the action. The very British sense of character. And the ending... if this film’s final moments didn’t in some way inspire the conclusion of LOCK, STOCK, & TWO SMOKING BARRELS, I’ll eat my DVD. I mentioned Benny Hill earlier, and it’s great to see him in this movie in a supporting role. He made me laugh every time he showed up and did something to remind us of his love for “big women. BIIIIIIIG.” Michael Caine, front and center here, is stone-cold charming in the whole thing, and there’s a casual amorality to his character that makes the whole film fun. I can see why this was huge in England but had trouble traveling to other countries. It’s all about national pride and putting one over on Italy, and any chance they get to remind the viewer of how great England is, they take it. I think it gives the film character to spare, and I’d say you owe it to yourself to see the original if you never have, or to check it out again if it’s an old fave. The transfer is spectacular, and it perfectly preserves the inventive cinematography and action shooting of Douglas Slocombe, the same gent who shot all three INDIANA JONES films... which we’ll talk about in just a moment.

A few more quick impressions first, though. Like I said, I’ve got a lot of discs to get through.

NAQOYQATSI closes out Godfrey Reggio’s haunting and hypnotic trilogy of meditations on the state of life on our planet, a trilogy he’s been working on since the late ‘70s. I bought both KOYAANISQATSI and POWAQAATSI last year when they came out, and then promptly missed this one in the theater. In some ways, I’m glad I saw it at home. It’s a very personal experience, one of Reggio’s films. These aren’t crowd-pleasers, and they’re not narratives, and what may look like random montage to one person’s eye might be emotionally devastation to another. I found this to be a very difficult viewing experience. Like POWAQAATSI, this film feels angry, like something’s been torn loose inside Reggio. The world isn’t what he wants it to be, and his one outlet, the one thing he knows he can do in order to impose some sense of control, is make these movies. These are prayers, meditations on where we are right now, how we got here, and where we might be going. Technology has changed radically since Reggio started making these films, and it’s crept into the filmmaking and into his thoughts and fears. There’s computer animation in this film, and a level of sophisticated editing that would indicate Reggio has finally embraced the power of the Avid. Yet the title of the film, another Hopi Indian word, means “Life At War.” Every day, we face a struggle for our soul between the secular and the technological and the emotional and the divine. And every day, we are faced with battles we never chose, attacks we never provoked, and our fair share of lumps and bruises and scrapes and swipes. And every day, we get back up and face it all again, because that’s just what we do. We keep going. The ones who don’t get swallowed up or crushed or just plain lost, and some days, it feels like all that keeps us moving is forward momentum. I was hypnotized and transported by this film, just as I was with the first two, and I give this a very strong recommendation. If you’re at all adventurous, give this one a try. The sound and picture is fantastic, one of the better transfers and mixes I’ve seen from Miramax lately. I haven’t gotten into the extras yet, but there are a number of special features on the disc, an unexpected pleasure. I would have been content with just the film here, but knowing I have Reggio on disc actually talking about his films makes me giddy, and I’ll finish up with all the extras in the days ahead.

And finally, there’s a title that many of you told me to get. And like I said, I listen...

So now I am pleased to report that I have seen CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL with the “drunken commentary” track, and it is indeed more fun than it has any right being. The film itself is a fairly awful student film that found its way into the hands of Troma. The fact that Trey Parker and Matt Stone were involved guaranteed it would get a release once SOUTH PARK hit, but this isn’t a forgotten gem. A few nice moments are overshadowed by a lot of terrible writing and terrible directing. Doesn’t matter, though. Once you see the film with that audio commentary playing, it’s the funniest film ever made, and you’re just hanging out with the guys, listening to them roast each other and the movie and themselves, and it’s so entertaining that you don’t care how the film plays. All the things that seem lousy when you’re just watching the film are suddenly hilarious when you hear the context in which it was filmed or the backstory on a name or the reason Parker wrote the film in the first place. As the commentary was recorded, everyone was drinking, a lot, and you get a real sense of that. At one point, the commentary audio vanishes for eight minutes or so, and they explain that they were all too drunk to be working the tape recorder. And now that this stack is out of the way, let’s get to it... today’s main event...

FEATURED REVIEW

THE ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES is a solid release by Paramount Home Video that is not quite the slam-dunk that many geeks wanted. The bonus materials, produced by Laurent Bouzereau, disappointed me overall. There is some good material here, but not a lot of it, and all told, I was able to whip through the whole disc in less time than it took to watch any of the three films. Considering how well documented the shoots for the INDY films were, there’s no excuse for what we get here. Having said that, I ultimately don’t care about the bonus materials. The transfers of the three films are so amazing, so beautiful, that if you are any sort of fan at all of this trilogy, then stop reading, run to the store, and add this to your collection. Right. Freaking. Now.

I saw Steven Spielberg’s personal show print of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK projected a few years ago. And the DVD version looks better. Significantly better. Credit Lowry Digital Images for their painstaking restoration, a stunning example of what can be done now.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that INDIANA JONES & THE LAST CRUSADE looks better here than it did in the theater, and so does TEMPLE OF DOOM. These films have a visual pop to them now that is almost surreal for those of us who have seen our videotapes and our laserdiscs over and over. For one thing, there are the digital fixes in RAIDERS, just two of them that I spotted. They removed the bars on either side of the boulder in the opening scene and they took out the snake’s reflection on the glass. But before you start freaking out, that’s it. That’s all they touched that I’ve been able to spot. And I’ve seen RAIDERS probably 200 times since its release in 1981. Everything else is exactly the same, right down to the title the way it is shown on the screen at the start of the film. “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK” is all you see. Don’t worry about the packaging... the film is intact.

Over the years, my fondness for the films has shifted, depending on who I was when I saw them. I hated TEMPLE OF DOOM on its first release because I saw it as a betrayal of the sense of fun from RAIDERS. It was too dark, too hung up on the evil side of things, and Willie Scott was the single most unpleasant female lead I could ever remember seeing up to that point. Now, I look at the film with totally different eyes, and I think the craftsmanship on TEMPLE OF DOOM is amazing. Both Spielberg and Lucas sort of badmouth the film in the documentary on the bonus disc, something I find amazing. I wish there was more of that here, moments where they talk about the development of these films and how ideas evolved. “I was going through a bad divorce” is the most Lucas says about the origins of TEMPLE OF DOOM, and the film certainly seems to reflect a foul mood. There are some great set-pieces in it, though, and Short Round is so cool as a sidekick that he almost makes up for how profoundly lame Willie Scott still is, even after all these years. TEMPLE OF DOOM stands alone in the INDY series as a rather dour experience, but if you set the other two films aside, it works pretty damn well on its own.

On the other hand, LAST CRUSADE seems worse now than it did when it came out. I like Ford. I like Connery. I like Connery with Ford. But on the whole, the film is a mess, disjointed and poorly plotted, and there’s only one set piece here that even comes close to being on the same level as the earlier films.

Watching River Phoenix as Young Indiana Jones makes me ache. This guy could do it all. He was poised to become the biggest movie star on the planet if he wanted to be. Yes, he’s doing an impression of Harrison Ford in the film’s opening sequence, but that’s not all he does. He brings Indy to life. We can picture him aging into the Indiana Jones of the previous films with no effort whatsoever. He gets every detail of his performance right, just like Spielberg gets every beat of the sequence right, and just like John Williams contributes one of his best pieces of chase music for the sequence. It’s one of those things that just comes together perfectly, and I’ve actually watched just that sequence three times since I got the box set last Friday. Watching the rest of the movie, though, I’m reminded of why it has never really worked for me. First and foremost, the characterizations are crap. They just discard everything we’ve learned about these characters from the previous films. Poor Denholm Elliott seems to get the worst of it. The Marcus Brody of RAIDERS strikes me as a former adventurer, someone who’s been where Indy is on many occasions, and although age has slowed him down, it hasn’t tamed him. Sallah, played so beautifully by John Rhys-Davies in the first film, was a cultured man, a family man, a digger who was well known, a good friend to Indy. The Sallah of LAST CRUSADE is a cartoon, a fat greedy Arab stereotype who is more concerned with stealing some camels than he is with helping his old friend. Watching these characters return, only to be totally misused, actually stops my enjoyment in its tracks every time.

Connery and Ford are wonderful together. There’s no disputing that. Connery wasn’t happy with early drafts of the script, and he pushed to make sure that Henry Jones Sr. has quirks and eccentricities and a sense of life to him. Ford seems challenged by Connery’s impeccable timing and effortless cool, and he turns it all up any time he’s sharing the screen with Connery. That’s a good thing for the audience. It means those scenes are all electric, fun to watch every time. The eventual payoff comes for me at the moment where Indy is hanging, trying to reach the Grail, and his father says quietly, “Indiana. Let it go.” It manages to be moving, despite the fact that the script’s handling of their relationship arc is perfunctory at times, too easy and too glib. Ford and Connery make it deeper because of the skill they bring to their roles.

And then there’s RAIDERS. The best of the bunch. Maybe one of the most effortless bits of perfection in Spielberg’s career. This is a commercial monster, a tremendously entertaining adventure film that never seems to get dated or silly, no matter how much older I get, and no matter how many times I watch it. By now, I’ve internalized all the editing in this film, the rhythm of the truck chase or the continuity mistakes, and when I’m watching it, it’s like being home. It’s safe. It’s incredibly comforting. Karen Allen is easily my favorite of the three women from the three films, and in addition to the great work Denholm Elliott and Rhys-Davies did in this one, there are the performances of Paul Freeman and the great Ronald Lacey to consider as well. I think Belloq is one of the great screen villains, and a big part of what makes him special is the way Paul Freeman never takes him over the top. The scene where he meets Indiana Jones in a bar in Cairo after the “death” of Marion is one of my very favorites in the whole series. Ford’s great, Freeman’s great, and it’s almost like they’re provoking each other, spurring each other on to better work. Lacey is just one of those guys who was born to play a certain role. Think of how he looks... how else is Toht going to look? By casting like that and finding just the right people to play the parts, Spielberg used to really make his job easy. RAIDERS is much closer, stylistically, to the realistic fantasy approach of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or JAWS than it is to anything being made or released right now. There are some great nuggets amidst the extras on disc four, including screen tests featuring Karen Allen, Tim Matheson, Tom Selleck, and Sean Young. It’s fascinating to see what Lucas and Spielberg saw when thinking about the first movie. The things we hear, the anecdotes and the memories, are good, but there’s so much material that isn’t covered that it may become frustrating to those of you who are already steeped in INDY lore. Lucasfilm and Paramount didn’t make this box set for the hardcore obsessive superfreak, although I’m sure they’ll be happy you buy the set. Instead, they seem to have made these discs for the casual fan, the one who hasn’t seen ‘em in a while, and who’s curious about what went into making the films, but no so curious he’s just going to sit through six hours of extras for each movie. A couple of featurettes? A few trailers? That’s the extent of what you’ll get. Each of the extras seems well-produced, but added up, they left me completely unimpressed.

And that’s it for today. It’s new release Tuesday, of course, so let me know what you pick up while you’re out there. I guess the TENACIOUS D thing got pushed back, and I didn’t find a couple of the titles I was looking for when I hit the Virgin Megastore on Sunset right at midnight, like DRAGONSLAYER or CAPTAIN KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER, but there’s plenty to talk about anyway. I’m sure many of you are going to spend the day immersed in the INDY set, and I hope you enjoy. It’s great stuff if you’re primarily interested in the films. Me, I’ve got a meeting later this afternoon, and I need to do some work in the morning. I'll be back for Wednesday, with another stack of stuff I want to talk about.

Time to wrap it up. I’ll be back with more, but for now, though, I’ll leave you with Vroom Socko’s © ™ ® (2003) QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: should there have been an INDIANA JONES 4 teaser trailer included on these DVDs?

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 21, 2003, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Brent is God

    by reni

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 7:05 a.m. CST

    First?

    by BirdMnJr

    First? Second? What the hell. Homicide was terrible, nowhere near as good as that review, and the review was sub-par

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 7:11 a.m. CST

    I guess if we don't get a Lord of the Rings 12 hour, stuffed-to-

    by Andy Travis

    Sorry to be so negative, but we've become pretty jaded as far as DVD extras go. Just sit back and enjoy what there is. It's Indy! Now if you excuse me, I'm gonna turn up the sound system and rattle the walls to THE GREATEST MONKEY DEATH SCENE EVER!

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 7:20 a.m. CST

    I'd say no on the Indy trailer

    by Heleno

    Because it's too early to do anything but leave us writhing in frustration, and I don't want a trailer for a film which they then fail to make (and I won't believe in Indy 4 until the credits roll on teh opening night). Can't wait for this to arrive from Amazon - damn my strategy in ordering it together with TTT!

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 7:33 a.m. CST

    They shouldn't make Indy 4...

    by Erik_Richmond

    As much as i love the Indiana Jones films, I don't think they should make a fourth one. Three's the magic number, always has been. Way too much time has passed. The original 3 were all made within 3-5 years and it's been 15 since the last one. Look at Harrison on the bonus dvd. He looks and sounds like a zombie, do you really think he's up to been thrown about and punched and riding a horse etc. He would just look laughable, like Roger Moore in A View To a Kill. The Last crusade was a decent end to the Indy series, they all ride into the sunset, the last crusade for the grail and the last crusade for Indiana Jones. Don't piss on the series and leave a bad taste in my mouth. A fourth Indy film is as unnessessary as Back to the Future 4 or Godfather prt 4. Don't do it guys, we'll all regret it...RANT ENDS

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 7:50 a.m. CST

    It's true, TEMPLE OF DOOM is downright stygian.

    by Cash Bailey

    Especially when Indy drinks the blood, you don't doubt for a second he'd kill Short Round and any other fucker he can get his hands on. An amazing performance by Ford. Easily his deepest, most introspective performance as Indy. That movie always freaked me out, but in retrospect only now do I realise how cruel and utterly bad-ass it is. No wonder Ol' Steve hates it.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Temple is by far the best...

    by TheTARDIS

    ...and hopefully this DVD release will inspire more people to watchit again. Whenever anyone says they hate Temple, inevitably it's because they haven't watched it since the 80's. It was ahead of its time, brilliant filmaking. Speilberg's second best film, behind Jaws.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Temple:Indy::Empire:Star Wars

    by TheTARDIS

    If you haven't seen Temple of Doom since you were a kid, go back and rewatch, and relearn. Temple was my least favorite for a long time, then I rewatched it when I hit my mid-20s. That's when the beauty and weight of the film finally came into focus. I realized, like Empire, Temple of Doom is the dark and glorious movie the director *wanted* to make the first time around, but wasn't allowed to by the studios. Then, when the dumb masses (say it fast) complained that it was too dark and not enough like the first one, the studios got involved again, and like Jedi, the third installment was a sad shadow of the original. Temple of Doom has the power of Speilberg's more "serious" films like Shindler's List and Saving Private Ryan combined with the character development and jaw dropping set pieces of Jaws. Do yourself a favor and watch it again before you flame me... Indy vs. an ultimate elemental evil, not just stereotyped Nazis, a female companion that's an opposing force to his character rather than a Minnie Mouse to his Mickey. (i.e same character with a skirt.) Temple is the closest I've ever seen to the perfect action adventure movie. (With the possible exception of the 1933 King Kong... which is really more "Monster Movie" than strictly action adventure, but I digress.) Watch an Indy marathon and you'll agree, like the Star Wars trilogy, the sophomore installment is the superior film.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Why not?

    by Quint

    Hell, the one trailer that was left off the DVD set was the teaser for TEMPLE OF DOOM, which I have in my personal 35mm collection... They could easily match the TOD trailer now, even though no film has been shot and the final script isn't ready... Anybody remember the TOD teaser? All it is is the Raiders March and a narrator saying the locations for the movie as the red line/airplane thingy runs all over the globe. Then it says the title: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, then has the footage from Raiders of Indy at Marion's bar. "Trust me." They could do that now... they'd just need the title. But I digress... it was cool hearing Williams talk about wanting badly to do Indy 4 so he can revisit the material... Cool set. Can't wait to take a more complete look at it in the next few days.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 8:55 a.m. CST

    What Scared Me...

    by Macclint

    Was the concern that I would open the DVD container, bright light would bathe my face, and my head would melt as I cried out: "IT'S BEEEE-YOOO-TEE-FULLLLL!!!"

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 9:03 a.m. CST

    The biggest problem with the office dvd is.....

    by SIR-SLEDGE450

    Getting the discs out.HAS ANY OF YOU MUTHERFUCKAS TRIED IT??? impossible.Series 2 is only

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Marion is the sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet!

    by jimmychitwood

    since they took out the plate of glass from the well of souls scene...shouldn't we call this the indy jones special edition?!?!?!

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 9:39 a.m. CST

    "a female companion that's an opposing force to his character ra

    by minderbinder

    Marion absolutely rocks, one of the main reasons Raiders deserves its place of honor is the inclusion of one of the best female characters in an action/adventure movie, ever. Capshaw is just an annoyance. And I'm curious to see TOD again, I remember it as a decent movie but not a great one (Capshaw alone nearly wrecks it, you're practically rooting for her to fall to her death, Jar Jar style). And I'm not getting my hopes up about Last Crusade, it was fun watching Connery with Ford, but Steve and George just phoned that one in. And just for the record, I'd love to see twelve hours of extras, Raiders is one of the rare movies that deserves it.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Can't win with geeks regarding the Indy 4 trailer.

    by Vegas

    It's not on there, so the fanboys will whine, despite the fact that no footage has been shot yet. However, back when the Jurassic Park dvd came out, there was a teaser for JP3, when no footage had been shot yet, and the fanboy whined because it was a lousy teaser with no footage from the movie. Which the Indy 4 trailer would have been. Because no footage has been shot yet. The only people who'd gripe about its omission are the same ones who'd have griped about its inclusion.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Moriarty liked "Young Indiana Jones"?

    by rev_skarekroe

    Cool. I thought the only people in the world that dug that show were me, my mom, and George Lucas. And maybe George Lucas's mom. sk

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 10:15 a.m. CST

    4 discs for 1.5?

    by poopoodle

    It's a bummer that these aren't available as seperate discs becasue I would LOVE to have Raiders. I quess I'm in the Temple is ok camp but I think Last Crusade is horrible. i didn't like it when it came out and I don't like it now. So I have to buy a 4 disc set to get one movie I adore, 1 movie I could take or leave, 1 movie I'll never watch again and 1 disc or dissapointing supplements?? Can someone recommend which version of Raiders I should seek out on Laserdisc?

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 10:20 a.m. CST

    So What Was the ONE SET PIECE In LAST CRUSADE?!

    by Drath

    Was it the Nazi Castle? The Venitian Library/crypt? The Tank? The Grail Tomb? Surely not the Zeppelin! Seriously, what did you think was the most worthy set piece in Last Crusade? At least put it in parentheses so I'm not waiting for the other shoe to drop!

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 10:55 a.m. CST

    FOX is not dragging its feet on the Simpsons, Groening is

    by ScreamingPenis

    It was reported somewhere that the reason Season 3 took so long to come out on DVD was that Groening and the other crew were so busy that they didn't have time to record their commentaries. Quality first.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 11:23 a.m. CST

    uh, drath

    by simon72

    I think if you actually read the rest of the article it becomes pretty obvious that the set piece he's talking about is the opening sequence with River Phoenix.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 12:13 p.m. CST

    liking last crusade a question of age and synchronisation?

    by drjones

    the indy-films were the reason i started to love movies. they were the key films. and i was 13 when i watched them on tv! i always can`t decide what film i like most. and now and here i have to say it: LAST CRUSADE ROCKS!! well...of course it depends on our taste and maybe it`s because i always watched the german synchro version and i had another backround watching that flick. whatsoever...let

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 4 p.m. CST

    uh, simon72

    by Drath

    I don't think that's obvious because a sequence and a set piece are two different things. The train set wasn't too bad, but he never got back to it. I think if you'd actually read the whole thing, you'd know that too.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Just bought the set - my thoughts

    by Hopewell

    First I can't bring up this trilogy without referencing the Star Wars Trilogy. They are just too connected. Both start out with a straight forward adventure story followed by a darker, almost horror story, then bounce back with a lighter, funnier (sometimes goofy) finale. But I remember being a kid in the 80's and everyone loved the third ones for being more "fun" than the darker, depressing middle chapters. Of course now we value the darker tales. But what I love about both Indiana Jones and Star Wars is that it was the first time I had seen heroes that suffered, lost, and screwed up. Most of the other films of that time showed us that the good guys always won and were rewarded. The beauty of these movies and the lesson we can take from them about heroism in real life is summed up in Moriarty's favorite sequence where Young Indiana gets his hat "You lost today kid. But that doesn't mean you have to like it." Those movies taught us that trying to do the right thing in the world will often bring you a world of hurt. You'll get dragged by a truck, beaten, maybe even have your hand cut off and suffer several losses, but that doesn't mean you have to accept defeat and stop trying to do the right thing. God I love these flicks!

  • You're kidding, right? Oh and speaking of Schindler's List I certainly hope they bring it out on DVD in 2004.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 5:55 p.m. CST

    I love Temple of Doom...

    by ZeroC

    but I don't see how people could put it above Raiders. Raiders of the Lost Ark is pure perfect filmmaking.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 6:10 p.m. CST

    Nah.

    by Cap'n Chaos!

    When they actually do some work on Indy four and it's guaranteed to be made, then I'll be looking for the trailer. Personally, Temple used to be my favorite if the three simply because it was so different and so mean. When I was a kid, I loved it. Then I went through something of a period of estrangement with it and now I like it again. The big turning point on ToD for me was seeing a widescreen presentation on Sci-Fi. For someone who hadn't gotten to see them in the original theatrical run, the cinematrography is incredible when you finally get to see the whole thing. The lack of extras on the set is surprising, but just having the three with great transfers is all I really care about. I rarely have time for bonus material anyway nowdays. Unless it's something truly special like the Menace doc, the Cannibal commentary (which is way better than the movie) or the Spiderman outtake from X-Men I usually just watch the movie again. For some reason I will pour over everything on a Kevin Smith disc, though. The View Askew people know how to put together a disc.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Temple of Doom

    by boba_rob

    I like Temple of Doom, better than Last Crusade. Yes it was dark, which is what made it cool. Kind of like Empire compared to New Hope and Jedi. Sure, Capshaw is annoying, but Short Round makes up for it. The look, the suspense of the film is great. The scene right before Indy cuts the rope bridge-genious. The opening sequence where they hide behind the gong while the bad guys fire away-cool. But Raiders is the best, probably the best action film ever.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Does anyone know why only one season of "Larry Sanders" has been

    by Carson Dyle

    The 1st season came out about two years ago... and that's it. What gives?

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Mental note... ewoks, kids and slapstick fathers ruin trilogies.

    by Flexfill

    Temple of Doom is a steaming pile and Last Crusade is even worse. Just Raiders please... release it on its own.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 8:53 p.m. CST

    Barbara Streisand???

    by W.Payton34

    What about the rumored footage of Barbara Streisand in a dominatrix outfit whipping Harrison Ford on the set of Temple of Doom, as a result of one big gag? I've heard that it was filmed, is it on the box set anywhere? Or as a hidden easter egg?

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 9:07 p.m. CST

    dawn loves tim

    by the_shrink

    Just watched series 2 of the office on dvd. Better in every way than the first. It seems there is some benefit to living in the UK after all. Moriarty if you have a multi-region player and i see you in december i'll bring you a copy.

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Star Trek FANS do have fun!!!!!

    by warp11

    I swear there are hundreds of people who are hard core Star Trek fans that rock out to that Star Trek band Warp 11 out in California. The band was filmed for Trekkies 2. When people see the film they will see how much fun some hard core trek fans can have. nuff said.

  • Okay, I know all about how it's considered chic these days to think cool stuff is bad and bad stuff is cool, though come on kids; Temple of Doom is and always will be the WORST of the Indiana Jones films. Here's half a dozen (of many) reasons why: 1) the whole story of a

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 11:44 p.m. CST

    NOOOOO

    by Ribbons

    People will probably make an eloquent case for why there should have been, but I don't think promotional tie-ins belong on DVDs, especially landmark ones such as this. Then again, there's just gonna be a "Quadrilogy" box set released after the fact, but this is a fairly comprehensive look back at the Original Trilogy, if that makes sense. Plus, they'll have trailers on the Indy IV DVD anyway

  • Oct. 21, 2003, 11:55 p.m. CST

    Point Break

    by Kon-El

    Point Break is an excellent film, certainly one of the best actioneers of the 90s, and definitely the best of Keanu's career, well, aside from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." Reeves was cool, Busey was cool, Swayze was ultra cool, and come on, guys, Lori Petty... with the short black hair... You gotta love Point Break.

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 12:09 a.m. CST

    I remember paying $40 for the first Raiders on VHS...

    by The Ghost of Scrappy Doo

    ...it was one of the first videotapes marketed for purchase in the 1980's as opposed to rental, back when all videos in the USA were priced at anywhere from $59.99 to over a hundred dollars. So in that context it doesn't seem so bad to fork over $45 (discount price at Best Buy for the five disk version) and finally get Raiders on DVD. Now if only we can find a way to force Lucas the Hut to release the TRUE "Solo shot Greedo first" version of Star wars on DVD....

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 3:19 a.m. CST

    "Star Trek fans that rock out "

    by DocPazuzu

    Sounds like one of those "When animals go bad" shows -- only funnier.

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 4:17 a.m. CST

    my short round encounter

    by Acne Scarface

    i attended alhambra high school in california during the first semester of my freshman year. ke huy kwan, whose english name is johnathan methinks, was in the same math class. didn't really fraternize with him. one day, when our classroom door opened 2 let us in, he told me 2 go in first. now worship me. WORSHIP ME!

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 5:26 a.m. CST

    The Office

    by Salamander

    I only came to see the office midway through its first season after hearing a load of hoopla about it. its a weird off the wall type comdey but dam if it dont just work!! its so funny and i couldn't wait to see the second series which was just as good and you get to see David Brent in a different light as he is competing for his job. The only bad news was the fact that it was annnounced that there will be no third season but then again i guess you can only take this series so far before it would end up repeating itself or gets less funny ala the later series of red dwarf compared to the early series. The only ight on the horizon is that they are making a two-parter x-mas special (so we are told) to tie up loose ends.

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Birth of a Nation (1915), Citizen Kane (1941), and Raiders of th

    by magyarman

    That's it folks.....not necessarily the three "best" movies of all-time, but the three most ground-breaking, original-for-their-time, innovative landmarks in cinema history.

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Two out of three is bad

    by McPartlin

    I just don't get it. Moriarty, why make such a song and dance about this DVD release, when you basically go on to say that you used to think Temple was shite, now you think it's a wee bit better, and you used to think Crusade was good, now you think it's a bit shite. So basically both are pretty ropey, Raiders is the only true truimph, and yet still this DVD release is a success. I just don't get it....

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 9:18 a.m. CST

    I too considered waiting for "Raiders" alone...

    by zer0cool2k2

    ...but the Fry's Electronics store by my house had the box set for $34.99. Couldn't pass that price up. I did have to make an additional trip to Best Buy to pick up "CA: Full Throttle" since Fry's hadn't received it yet. (Mock me all you want, but that movie is cotton candy, pure goofy fun). Now, it's not that I hate Crusade or Temple, it's just that I can watch Raiders over and over, and i'm not sure I'll do that with the other two. I'm not a big viewer of most of the crap that makes up DVD extras, but I'd watch well done stuff on this trilogy. Wish they could have included that recreation of Raiders those kids did, that would have been cool. (And I'll agree with the other poster that Kevin Smith discs are always chock full of good extras).

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 9:39 a.m. CST

    they didn't fix ALL the reflections

    by jamawalk

    watched the Raiders dvd last night. its like a brand new film. crisp, clean, bright. it looks magnificent. it'd been so long i'd forgotten what it looked like other than vhs. HOWEVER, whereas they took out the reflection of the cobra that gets in Indy's grill, they left in alot of the other snake reflections. most noteably when Marion first sees the Cobra. what's wierd is, i don't think i noticed that one on VHS, only on the cleaned up print. so i wonder why they didn't bother to clean that up too... it just seems kind of sloppy. but, hell, i'm just glad Lucas didn't replace all the Nazis with flashlights or some stupid shit like that.

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Suspension of disbelief, dammit!

    by cheisok

    Look, I realize that Temple of Doom has its moments of lark and whimsy, like the inflatable falling raft or the "glowing rocks". But then what the hell is the haunted Ark filled with ghosts in Raiders? Or the whole "Cup of Life" end sequence in Last Crusade? Why the hell is that so much more believeable? It's all mythos and schlock, but it's the way in which it's directed that makes us care and believe. I care about the IJ character so much that I can reasonably accept some of this. I happen to dig 'Temple' cuz some dude gets his heart ripped out of his chest and that bald, villian dude is creepy and Kate Capshaw, though annoying, is a juicy piece of ass. So stop bagging on it. Sure, it's fluff, but all three are fluff. In their own way. P.S. Boycott BNAT, Harry's an elitist.

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Hey, not one but TWO full seasons of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" we

    by Pardon_My_Zinger

    I only got Season 2 so far, 'cause they're just a bit pricey. But I've watched about a half-dozen episodes so far and they're just as great and laugh-out-loud funny as ever. Also, while it seems that most full season set contain 22-25 episodes, this one is 32! (I guess they produced more shows per season back then). And I like the precident which this sets of releasing for than one full season at the same time, so we have the choice of buying both, or just one (I'll get Season 1, hopefully soon). Now someone please relase season sets of "The Odd Couple" already! But in the meanwhile... "Dick Van Dyke"... DVD!!! Come on, it was a natural.

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Hopewell

    by Darth Thoth

    You expressed the sentiments of many of us. Good job.

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 2:38 p.m. CST

    hey lady, you call him Dakta Jones!!!!

    by mudpie

    yes, i bought the Indiana Jones boxset yesterday and watched the first two. man, it was a awesome experience to watch these in it's restored glory. i was floored with just how beautiful and unflawed these movies looked. kudos to the peeps who worked on these films, they did a great job. they deserve a raise. i purposely put off watching Last Crusade until today (because it's not my favorite--- maybe the tank fight scene is all i'll watch). Raiders was cool, but i think Temple was the best. At least the last 45 minutes made me sit at the edge of my beanbag and laugh and listen to the minecar chase at full blast. Raiders didn't have a loud scene where it didn't test my home theatre system. Plus, "dark" movies rule anyway. and i can't wait when Episode Three when we see Anakin with long hair and gets pulled to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader. For a pic of a dark Anakin, check out the new Star Wars Magazine y'all. Very chilling to say the least, to see that lil kid we grew to despise and hate in Phantom, has become the evil Vader. i hope Lucas does this film it's due justice and make it as dark and sad as possible. more scenes of natalie showing some skin at least... well i think i've said my piece. i'm going back to watch the new Rush In Rio Dvd i picked up yesterday. cool concert flick and Neil Peart rules!!!

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Hollywood Homicide - Interesting Idea

    by twistedtim

    I completely agree that Homicide is a "schizo" movie. The best parts of this film are the parts that aim to deconstruct the typical copy buddy film. You can tell that Ron Shelton was aiming to show a more realistic, funny approach to the standard cop flick (similar to how Tin Cup and Bull Durham tear apart the standard sports flick to let the goofy reality shine thru). Yet, he never pulled it apart enough. We're still stuck with the too much standard cop buddy crap - like the whole last half hour. Wish they just spent more time polishing the script. It could have been a great film and one of Harrison's best roles in years (he still looks pretty damn in good in this inevitably warmed over film).

  • Oct. 22, 2003, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Your hatred of Short Round is my love for Short Round.

    by Hung-Wei Lo

    So let's leave it at that. I was a kid when this came out, and I enjoyed all of his quips. I still enjoy listening to his banter as I watched it today. Granted, TOD is still the worst of the three, but I'll take this "worst" over, say, Godfather III, or Alien 3, or...you get the idea. TOD is not perfect, but I also think that it is above average. And Last Crusade is on par with TOD in my opinion. Raiders, on the other hand, is in the small classic league of perfect films. Long live Short Round!

  • Oct. 23, 2003, 3:02 a.m. CST

    TheTARDIS: Right on, TEMPLE is my favorite.

    by Mosquito March

    I just wish its creative team would quit apologizing for something that needs no apology. Even if you like TEMPLE the least in the trilogy, it's still miles and miles and miles above average entertainment. And, people who complain about Kate Capshaw need to cool it. If they'd made a tomboyish clone of Marion, people would complain about THAT, too. I think one of the greatest sequences - comedic or otherwise - that Spielberg ever devised was the bedroom sequence from TEMPLE. Every time I watch that film - which is more often than the other two, though I love them intenseley - I rewind that scene multiple times. The timing and acting and especially the music came together so beautifully. It's a classic screwball love scene that even manages to incorporate mortal danger without compromising the humor. If I ever met Steven Spielberg, that sequence would be the first thing I'd talk to him about.

  • Oct. 23, 2003, 3:20 a.m. CST

    And, lay off Shorty.

    by Mosquito March

    TEMPLE was filled with darkness, including Indy's first impulse - to use the Sankara Stones for his own purposes. Shorty is the only non-self-involved character in the entire film, and that's exactly why he's in there. Shorty doesn't just get the most memorable lines in the movie - he is the moral center of TEMPLE, he's its inherent humanity, and his unconditional love for Indy is what ultimately saves everyone from Mola Ram's power. Shorty was also living a wish of mine, as a kid - to go on an adventure with Indiana Jones, who became my childhood idol after my dad took me to see RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in '81. I loved the Indy movies even more than STAR WARS. Since I wasn't yet old enough to be Indy, I wanted to be Short Round. My friends who grew up during the same period have all said the same thing.

  • Oct. 23, 2003, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Dj Smitty: Watch it, man.

    by Mosquito March

    I've always loved TEMPLE the most. And, as far as you or I know, so has everyone in this talkback who's stated that it's his or her favorite. Not everybody buys into the seemingly institutionalized hatred of TEMPLE OF DOOM.

  • Oct. 23, 2003, 9:28 p.m. CST

    DJ Smitty 2

    by Mosquito March

    You may not see it in your own writing, but your comments about TEMPLE are almost universally derisive. You even told us how "bored" your parents said you were when you saw it as a kid. I mean, what the fuck is that saying? Doesn't sound like you like it, man. And, you tagged all that onto a slam against people who said they love the movie, accusing them of being the same people who had been bashing the movie for 20 years. Don't be shocked if your opinion isn't interpreted in the way you expect.

  • Oct. 23, 2003, 9:32 p.m. CST

    DJ SMitty 2 1/2

    by Mosquito March

    Don't you see the irony in bashing the alleged TOD bashers, and then turning around and using a phrase like "worst in the series"?

  • Oct. 24, 2003, 12:02 a.m. CST

    Just a little constructive criticism on your column Mori....

    by bava's ghost

    Just a little constructive criticism... you kicked off your dvd column a few weeks back with hopes of making it a one-stop info center for all things dvd. Great, I for one am thrilled to have someone with common interests and more resources wade through the ever growing weekly pile of discs. But since you've started this column, Treasure of the Sierra Madre has come out on dvd...finally. You made small mention of it's release date, but little else. I would argue this is one of the absolute best releases this year in terms of film quality and the package of extras that were included. But i don't have to argue that the film is one of the cornerstones of American cinema and deserves a close look on any dvd review column, that is a fact.

  • Oct. 24, 2003, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Spielberg is SO damn PC now, it's sickening...

    by SK909

    First, let me say that if you want to see some great behind-the-scenes stuff, get the Great Movie Stunts and The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark videotape. It took me years as a child before I accidentally let the tape play past the Great Movie Stunts credits to actually realize that there was another, much better, more in-depth documentary called The Making of Raiders immediately afterwards. I sat there the first time and was mesmerized by how much behind the scenes footage there was. Outside of Heart of Darkness, it's probably the best making-of film I've ever seen because it doesn't really have a POV, it just shows you a lot of behind the scenes stuff and a very limited number of interviews. Really great stuff... if that doesn't make you want to go out and make a film, I don't know what will. Back to the dvd's... I HATE how Spielberg tries to disown TOD, and constantly talks about it as if he was forced to jerk Lucas off for a year after the divorce from Marcia"Like Amy Irving, I disapprove of the films my husband does as childish immature crap, and yet I still found reason to marry him" Lucas. And that's not saying I don't disapprove of Lucas and Spielberg lately either, but the condescending way that Marcia Griffin and Amy Irving talked about their men even while they were married to them makes me sick. It was as if they were screaming "Marty! Francis! Hell, even Paul Schraeder! Please give me work on one of your films so I can be taken seriously!" Guess they didn't realize they should have been bedding Warren Beatty or Hal Ashby if that's what they wanted. Although Marcia did get to help out editing Taxi Driver, and I believe she got work on New York, New York. ANYWHO... The whole thing about changing the title is the dumbest thing I can think of to get upset over. And Alexandra Dupont is right about that Behind-the-scenes footage of Kate Capshaw making bedroom eyes at Spielberg during filming. Spielberg looks like a deer caught in headlights who simultaneously has sprung a boner. How he actually finished the day's shooting... or even the film for that matter, knowing that she wanted to mount his Paramount logo is anyone's guess. This alone makes him a great director...

  • Oct. 26, 2003, 5:04 a.m. CST

    Sorry, can't help myself...

    by DocPazuzu

    Hulk Hogan should play a nazi in Indy 4. "Der Amerikaner, er k