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Moriarty's DVD Shelf! New Release Tuesday For April 18th!!

Published at: April 17, 2006, 4:03 a.m. CST by staff

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

I’m working on bringing all the contents and the daily pace of my DVD blog back here to AICN, so we can create a much more active DVD section here, and as a result, I’d like to hear what sort of content you guys would like in addition to the non-stop reviews. I consider the DVD blog a really successful test-run of a format I’d like to use here, and hopefully we’ll make that happen very soon. For today, I’ve got the weekly new release list for you, and it’s nice to see that it’s a better week than it was last week. I hate it when you have to really dig to find anything of interest to discuss, and this week makes it easy to put a list together.

And even though I was out of town last week, I’ve been working on another story about the format war, and I hope I’ll have that for you soon. Until then, check out this week’s list, starting with a film I like a whole hell of a lot:

BREAKFAST ON PLUTO

When Neil Jordan puts it all together, the results can be intoxicating, and that’s the case here with the story of Patrick “Kitten” Braden, played with verve and charm by Cillian Murphy in his best film work to date. Kitten’s got it rough, growing up an unapologetic cross-dresser in a small Irish town, but he copes by simply not taking any of it seriously. There’s an episodic nature to the screenplay by Jordan (adapting the Patrick McCabe novel), but that’s not a detriment. Instead, it allows Jordan to trace the full arc of this life lived at full volume. Kitten is determined to track down his mother, who abandoned him on the steps of the home of Father Bernard (Liam Neeson), the local priest, at birth, and his journey to find her leads him to connect (however briefly) with characters played by actors like Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson, and, most hilariously, Gavin Friday.

It’s a great-looking film thanks to the cinematography by Declan Quinn, and the non-stop barrage of pop tunes from the era works because of the specific choices Jordan made and because of the joy that the music conveys, even at the darkest moments of Kitten’s life. It’s a great transfer, too, with a full-length commentary by Jordan and Murphy that is enlightening and entertaining in equal measure. There’s a brief behind-the-scenes feature, but nothing special. Still, this is probably my most fervent recommendation of the week.

COACHELLA: THE FILM

I used to be a freak for live music. I used to make any effort required to see my favorite bands live. But right around the time I started yelling at the local kids to stay off my yard, I found myself increasingly unwilling to go out to see concerts except in certain circumstances. I wish I still had the stamina to go to the big giant outdoor festivals like Coachella. For fogeys like me, though, Coachella is finally putting out a DVD filled with two hours worth of highlights from the last few years. I wish it were a longer collection, as I’m sure they could easily have given us four or even six hours of performances, but still... how much complaining am I going to do when the DVD includes Spearhead, The Mars Volta, Belle & Sebastian, The White Stripes, Iggy & The Stooges, Prodigy, Oasis, Bjork, Roni Size, The Polyphonic Spree, Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, Cut Chemist, The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method, The Pixies, The Flaming Lips (I’m hoping it’s the infamous bubble walk), Beck, Mos Def, and my favorite, Radiohead.

So... yeah. A little something for everyone.

THE COMPLETE MR. ARKADIN (Criterion)

Orson Welles was an undeniably gifted filmmaker, but he was also an undeniably frustrating filmmaker, a man whose prodigious gifts were often eclipsed by his own slow work pace and his willingness to walk away from something when challenged.

One of the most annoyingly incomplete films in his entire career is MR. ARKADIN (or CONFIDENTIAL REPORT), and there’s been quite a bit of ink spilled over the years on the subject of all the different versions of this film that are floating around out there. The project began life as an episode of The Lives Of Harry Lime, a radio show that Welles created after the success of THE THIRD MAN. Welles tried out several character and story ideas on that show that eventually found their way into MR. ARKADIN, and several of those episodes are included as part of this set. The film ran into the typical troubles of a Welles films, like lack of budget and producer interference, and as a result, it was taken away from him and recut in a variety of ways.

Criterion’s team has put together what looks like an exceptional package, featuring three different cuts of the film as well as a wealth of extras that trace the origin of the project and the differences between each cut. For Welles historians, this is a dream come true. For casual film fans, this is still a must-own because of the way it illustrates how minor changes can totally change the purpose of a film. I’ll be picking this up and reviewing it soon, and I can’t wait to dig in.

CROSS OF IRON

From Orson Welles to Peckinpah... you certainly can’t complain about lack of heavy-hitters this week. Sure, CROSS OF IRON isn’t Peckinpah’s finest hour, but it may well be one of his last solid moments, and it’s worth revisiting for war movie buffs, for James Coburn fans, or for people who want to see how Peckinpah’s work changed over the years. This was pretty much the last moment he was working on something he actually controlled, and the result is an uneven but interesting war movie about an officer played by Maximillian Schell who is obsessed with earning an Iron Cross for valor. When his moment arrives, he cowers in fear in his bunker, letting one of his men (Coburn) lead the others into battle. After the attack is successful, Schell demands that his men lie about his involvement so that he can get his medal, setting up an ethical conflict along the lines of a PATHS OF GLORY. The action scenes are rousingly staged, but some of the drama is obvious and falls flat. Even so, it’s worth checking out, and I’m curious to see the transfer from Hen’s Tooth Video.

EVENT HORIZON: SPECIAL EDITION

For many people, this represents the high watermark of Paul “Not Thomas” Anderson’s career, and I guess I can see their point. I still think the film falls apart in the second hour in a big way, and that the art design is just plain goofy and over-the-top, but this new disc from Paramount looks and sounds damn good, and fans are going to have a blast with the second disc, which goes more in-depth than I’d expect.

HOSTEL

You know what finally pushed me over the top in my appreciation of this film? It would have been very easy for this to be the “torture porn” film that it was accused of being, but it avoids that in a very smart way. By grounding the film’s perspective with Jay Hernandez and refusing to simply cut away so we can watch all the torture sequences as dispassionate third parties or even from the perspective of the people doing the torture, the film remains morally centered. It’s a tricky balancing act, but it refuses to wallow, and that surprised me. So often today, filmmakers seem to think that just because you can show something, you should show it, and HOSTEL manages to walk that tightrope very skillfully. Considering I wasn’t the world’s biggest CABIN FEVER fan, color me impressed, and I think this is a clear indication that Eli Roth may well live up to the hype that’s surrounded him for the last few years.

The disc is almost overstuffed with extra features, with no less than four audio commentaries. Somehow, they don’t just become redundant, as each one focuses on a different way to discuss the film. As much fun as the one with Tarantino, Boaz Yakin, Scotty Spiegel, and Eli is, and as much as I am contractually obligated to mention the one with Harry “My Boss” Knowles on it, the one I liked the most is the one where Eli goes it alone. When I recently spoke with George Folsey Jr., he talked about how incredibly professional and prepared Eli was, and that comes through loud and clear in this track, where you get a sense of how seriously he takes his job when he’s actually making a film.

Sure, Eli loves the rock star side of being a director, but when it’s time to buckle down, he does, and I’d recommend this to aspiring filmmakers even if they aren’t fans of the film.

MICHAEL PALIN: SAHARA

Either you understand the sublime pleasures of a Michael Palin travel show, or you don’t. Personally, I think the guy could make a trip to the grocery store seem compelling, and the way he seems to be slowly but surely documenting every corner of the planet is fascinating. This is one of the series he did that I haven’t seen yet, but I wouldn’t hesitate to pick it up based on his other work. Evidently, this time he travels from Gibraltar to Tangiers and the Arab world and then back into Africa. At 236 minutes, this disc set offers a lot to digest, and should make for a lovely weekend’s viewing in the near future.

MORTUARY

Tobe Hooper takes a lot of shit from horror fandom, and personally, I think it’s a shame. When you make one of the five or ten best independent American films of all time early in your career, you’re inevitably going to be held to that impossibly high standard for the rest of your career. Lately, Tobe seems to have reconnected with his love of filmmaking, and even if I didn’t think THE TOOLBOX MURDERS or “Dance Of The Dead” were the greatest films ever made, I can at least see signs of life, and that pleases me. MORTUARY is his latest, the story of a mother (played by Denise Crosby) who is offered a chance to run a mortuary fresh out of mortician’s school. She moves her two sons to the small town, only to learn that all is not as it seems. Which horror fans pretty much expect. The disc also features a full-length commentary by Hooper and a one-hour behind-the-scenes documentary.

MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS

I really didn’t have any interest in seeing this one when it played theaters last Christmas, but a director friend who was casting a film at the time asked me what I thought of Kelly Riley, one of the young stars.

I hadn’t seen it, so I couldn’t answer, but his enthusiasm for her stuck with me, so when The Weinstein Company sent this over for review, I felt compelled to throw it on. And damn if it’s not an enjoyable, well-made film about how we carry on in the face of tragedy. Dame Judy Dench plays a recent widow who decides to use her inherited fortune to buy and maintain a theater in London where she can present a musical revue under the direction of Bob Hoskins. Eventually, in order to keep the place open, they introduce nudity into the show, and what could just be a cheap joke actually becomes a nostaligic piece about life in wartime London and a serious look at the effects of grief on those who are left behind when loved ones die. The performances are strong across the board, which you’d expect from seasoned pros like Dench and Hoskins, but I agree with my friend... Kelly Riley does have something special going on. She gives the film a dramatic weight, and director Stephen Frears does excellent work at establishing both a specific tone and a real sense of time and place. Good stuff.

NATURAL CITY

Tartan’s Asia Extreme line does a nice job of releasing a cross-section of films, never focusing on just one genre or style of film. This month, it’s NATURAL CITY that they’re releasing, a film I bought a few years ago as an import. NATURAL CITY isn’t terribly original, but as shameless BLADE RUNNER ripoffs go, it’s one of the best so far. And that’s not a bad thing, per se. Min Byung-chun has made a fairly serious, somber SF action film that has some gorgeous visuals, a couple of pretty great fight scenes, and a lead character who is grappling with moral and romantic dilemmas that Rick Deckard just barely touched upon. R (Yu Ji-tae) makes the cardinal mistake for a cop who hunts down killer cyborgs. He falls in love with a sex model named Ria (Seo Rin) during the last days of her life, and he’s determined to figure out a way to give her more days. He’s a prick to everyone around him, distancing himself emotionally even as he channels all his energy into doing the right thing by Ria. There’s a melancholy that settles over the entire film that is pretty well-done, and the DVD features behind-the-scenes material, deleted scenes, and cast interviews. Considering how derivative this is, there’s still a lot to enjoy, and any SF fan should consider checking it out.

LASERDISC2K6

And now here we are... ground zero. Launch day. Come hell or high water, the studios are planning to put out the first batch of HD-DVD titles this week. Of course, no one’s sure if the players for those discs are going to be in stores as well, but that’s what makes this format war so much fun... the sheer half-assedness of it all so far.

Here’s what early adapters have to look forward to when they hit whatever stores are actually stocking these titles tomorrow. If you’re one of the people who go, drop me a line and let me know what you find and where.

THE LAST SAMURAI

I wasn’t crazy about this wanna-be epic by Ed Zwick, and I thought Tom Cruise was miscast, as he always is in period films. Still, there’s a few good action sequences and a nice supporting performance from Ken Watanabe, and the photography by John Toll is lush and rich, which should give an HD-DVD player a nice test drive.

MILLION DOLLAR BABY

I’ll tread carefully here, since I’m tired of getting letters from the Paul Haggis Fan Club every time I mention him. This movie has many fans, but it seems odd to me that Warner Bros. would pick an intimate character drama, even one that was as acclaimed as this, as a launch title of a format that is supposed to show a marked improvement in visual quality.

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Joel Schumacher finally managed to wrangle Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical onto the bigscreen, and although I really don’t like the film at all, this might make a strong test disc based on the cinematography and the soundtrack. Of the three films Warner is releasing today, this is probably the best candidate if you’re just looking to test how much of an improvement HD really is.

SERENITY

Of course, you could skip the Warner launch titles altogether and just go straight to this, Joss Whedon’s space western, beautifully shot by Jack N. Green. Here’s the exact sort of title Warner should have used as their opening shot... an FX driven action film. I’ve talked to someone who has seen this transfer, someone who actually works in the production end of the DVD business, and they were knocked out by the picture quality on SERENITY. Of course, when they saw it, the mastering team couldn’t get half the file to play... but I’m sure that’s been worked out. If you’re looking to make your machine sit up and dance right out of the box, here’s your one safe bet for the week.

So there we go. Another week of new releases down. And before I wrap up, I want to apologize. I must sound like a broken record here at AICN lately. Both Harry and I have been absent more often than we’ve been present lately, and I’ve gotten a number of (entirely justified) complaints about that from you guys. I’ve let any number of articles stack up and I’ve blown off deadlines altogether as I’ve been prepping my next MASTERS OF HORROR episode for its May shoot. This past week, I went to visit two film sets, and I have a ton of transcription I’m working on for those articles and for other articles as well. I’m also finally heading back into some screenings, so I’ll be returning to some regular reviews of upcoming titles. All that’s in addition to the anniversary articles I’ve been working on. After ten years, you guys deserve more than the occasional half-hearted piece from me, and I am doing everything I can to deliver the goods. Thanks for being patient if you have been, and if you haven’t, I completely understand. Time to wrap it up on this article and get busy on the next. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

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  • April 17, 2006, 4:08 a.m. CST

    Looking forward...

    by Smerph

    to some content, then.

  • April 17, 2006, 4:08 a.m. CST

    dvd

    by stushort

    hahahaha

  • April 17, 2006, 4:38 a.m. CST

    10the Anniversary pieces

    by Dickie Greenleaf

    Looking forward to those articles celebrating AICN's first ten years - I'm sure you're not gonna divulge exactly what content you're working on, but I hope there might be a top 25 films released during that time, top 25 performances etc. I'm always a sucker for nostalgia and I think there really has been a lot of work truly worth recognising during AICN's lifetime.

  • April 17, 2006, 4:54 a.m. CST

    Phantom of the zzz...

    by CuervoJones

    Good luck with your Masters of Horror story!

  • April 17, 2006, 5:22 a.m. CST

    HD DVD

    by Shawn F.

    A friend of mine got his player and two films (Samurai and, ugh, Phantom of the Opera. They had not rec'd Serenity or Million Dollar Baby as of yet) on Saturday at Best Buy so the product is definitely going to be in stores on Tuesday. Both looked and sounded great. Looking forward to seeing what Blu-Ray looks like later on this summer so I can start deciding where to take the plunge into Laserdisc2K6.

  • April 17, 2006, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Joel Zwick?!

    by Edward Brock

    If I thought that guy had directed The Last Samurai, I would've hated it too, belive me!

  • April 17, 2006, 6:50 a.m. CST

    Serenity overrated

    by jimmy_009

    Serenity lost focus in the last half hour. The story became a jumbled mess. For instance: after it's explained to them what happened on the planet in shameless exposition by that hologram, they take off and practically the next time we see them they have Reavers on their tail. Fair enough. But all of a sudden the 'planet' made up of broadcast stations (or whatever) is suddenly right there as well. Very handy, since in the rest of the film, it was never mentioned or shown anywhere near the Reaver zone. I must have just missed something, but this was all confusing to me. The final action scene just seemed patched together.

  • April 17, 2006, 7:39 a.m. CST

    We got em....

    by HolyCalamity

    I work at a smaller Best Buy in MN and last week I opened up a couple boxes that had all the HD titles...I'm guessing that if we have them, all the other BB's will as well! Happy Hunting..........

  • April 17, 2006, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Serenity

    by indiephantom

    wasn't that already released?

  • April 17, 2006, 7:54 a.m. CST

    And the shameless hyping...

    by Childe Roland

    ...of that shit film Hostel continues. The only way Eli Roth could possibly live up to the hype that's surrounded him ON THIS SITE ONLY would be to stop making his shit films altogether so we can finally stop hearing about him. He is truly a worthless human being and an even less worthwhile artist. Anyone shocked to see he got his buddy Harry to do the commentary?

  • April 17, 2006, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Here's a thought, Mori...

    by JohnGalt2006

    Stop reviewing video-game DVD adaptations on the Blog and review something someone who isn't a total loser might ACTUALLY consider watching.

  • April 17, 2006, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Beerfest

    by Henry Jones Jr.

    Mori, where the BLE#P is your beerfest review? I'm a huge Broken Lizard fan, and I must know about their new flick! BTW- thanks for the heads up on Natural City, just added it to my Blockbuster queue.

  • April 17, 2006, 8:21 a.m. CST

    'Serenity' was already released on DVD, yes

    by Ribbons

    Ditto 'Last Samurai,' 'Million Dollar Baby,' etc. The last collection of DVDs Mori reviews are "Laserdic2K6" or whatever, which means that they're on a different format. ***** btw, I agree with you jimmy009, it was indeed awfully convenient that the "TV planet" (I don't know the name either) just so happened to be the mysterious Miranda's neighbor in 'Serenity.' That sorta bugged me as well.

  • April 17, 2006, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Michael Palin's Sahara is disappointing

    by speed

    In his earlier travel doco's you got the sense that he was really excited to be doing these things. A perfect example of this is what happened at the end of around the world in 80 days where he complained about being back in grumpy London at the end. BUT in Sahara, it's all PIP PIP, TALLY HO I'm from the British Empire and I can't wait to get back there. You get the feeling that he doesn't have the sense of wonder or excitement for it anymore even though he wants to. Seems like he's become a bit of a fogey...fair play given his age i guess.

  • April 17, 2006, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Having said that about Hostel....

    by www.valiens.com

    Does the unrated version NOT cut away on those scenes?

  • April 17, 2006, 8:32 a.m. CST

    BBC documentaries...

    by danowen

    Just curious -- how many Americans watch BBC documentaries? Where are they shown -- BBC America, I guess? Are people across the pond aware of the brilliant Blue Planet, or the recent Planet Earth.. heck, basically everything from the great David Attenborough? Or do you just get Walking With Dinosaurs (cos of the fx) and Michael Palin (cos he's only of those Python guys from the 60's...)?

  • April 17, 2006, 8:45 a.m. CST

    HDDVD vs BluRay

    by Itchy

    It's good to know that Hollywood and the Consumer Electronic's Industry is still being run by monkeys. I mean, Betamax versus VHS was not THAT long ago, was it ? PICK A DAMN FORMAT YOU IDIOTS. I'm the biggest "early adopter" around, but I'm not going near a new DVD format until there's a clear winner.

  • April 17, 2006, 9:13 a.m. CST

    TopHat, about 2 months ago.

    by HypeEndsHere

    Mori wrote it and referenced that it's over at Latino Review.

  • April 17, 2006, 9:23 a.m. CST

    here's the link

    by HypeEndsHere

    http://www.latinoreview.com/scriptreview.php?id=19

  • April 17, 2006, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Not Joel Zwick, but Ed Zwick

    by mechashiva

    This is the guy who directed Glory and Legends of the Fall, not Fat Albert.

  • April 17, 2006, 9:29 a.m. CST

    I can't fucking believe...

    by Mr Brownstone

    that they're "launching" HD DVD with only four marginal titles like that. Don't get me wrong I dug Serenity, but not one those movies strike me as an ideal or even smart choice for hyping a new format on it's first week of existense. Four movies? Thats fucking pathetic.

  • April 17, 2006, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Harry's Hostel commentary

    by photoboy

    The review of Hostel on IGN mentions that on Harry's commentary track he says he would only post a bad review for an Eli Roth film on the AICN site to laugh at it. I'm really impressed with Harry's impartiality! Er... not.

  • April 17, 2006, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Hostel: Euro Trip dipped in blood!

    by Psychobilly

    It

  • April 17, 2006, 9:50 a.m. CST

    I guess it's one of the rare times I disagree with Mori

    by Roguewriter

    ... but man, for the life of me, I will just never understand anyone who looks at THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE as ground-breaking American cinema. I think it's one of the worst exploitation trash-flicks ever made, and its few (VERY few) merits, such as the striking visual style and occasional jolt of horror, were overshadowed by crappy editing, sound, plotting and especially acting. I know it's playing round-robin to say such things, especially since modern slashers owe a debt to that era's work, but if something as intellectually fuckadelic as HAUTE TENSION had existed when MASSACRE came out, we all would have laughed MASSACRE right off the stage. Even the most basic stalker/slasher horror has become more sophisticated, more subtextually rich today than it was then (to SOME degree, at least... excepting the obvious 70s examples -- seriously, before you smack me too hard, MASSACRE really is one of the few 70s "classics" I've never been able to put on a pedestal). The MASSACRE remake was slick, inventive, harrowing, chilling, and ghoulish good fun. The original may have been inventive for its day, but compared to a buttload of other offerings at the time -- and what has come since -- it provided me almost no other pleasure. My challenge to the filmmakers of today, who seem hellbent on spawning these discussions by churning out more and more remakes and reinventions and reimaginings, is to find horror's next great phase. I'm done with Japanese weirditry (man, after watching AUDITION this weekend and losing THAT 105 minutes of my life forever, I'm done with Japan altogether!!) and I'm done with zombies (for the moment, only for the moment) and I'm done with snuff-horror (HOSTEL aside, I'm pumped for that one!) and I'm done with meta-horror (SLITHER, yer a fuckin rental, Mal Reynolds or no Mal Reynolds) and I'm soooooo done with vampires. What's next, y'all? What's next?

  • April 17, 2006, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Sorry, I said "meta-horror" when...

    by Roguewriter

    ... I was actually thinking "self-referential comedy-horror." Birds of a different plumage, they. But put meta-horror on the list of over-and-done-with too. If I see one more winking, smug "I'm a HORROR movie character!" performance, I'm gonna hurl my jujubees right at Wes Craven's head (and hey, I LIKED the Rachel McAdams suspenser RED EYE!) ;)

  • April 17, 2006, 10:07 a.m. CST

    I agree with Roguewriter...

    by Psychobilly

  • April 17, 2006, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Cross Of Iron?

    by Doom II

    I've had that dvd for a couple years now. I believe it is fullscreen and NOT the original cut that all the Peckinpah fans want. Hostel was a nice surprise, but moved too fast during the last 45 minutes. It was an entertaining character drama with good dialogue and then BOOM! Dusk Till Dawn action sequences thrown at you at non-stop until it ends. Still entertaining. Event Horizon, unless it contains an extended or new cut of the film...not interested.

  • April 17, 2006, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre- Groundbreaking Cinema

    by Lovecraftfan

    It is easily one of the most horryfying and disturbing horror films Ive ever seen. There is something about that film that is truly hard to watch despite the almost complete lack of blood and gore. Its just great filmaking that inspires the dread. The family dinner scene is a truly insane piece of cinema.

  • April 17, 2006, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Serenity- Yet another reason why I dont get you guys

    by Lovecraftfan

    How is Serenity overrated nobody went to see it. I think you guys need to look up the defenitions of overrated and underrated again. Serenity is vastly underrated. It has fun snappy writing, an engaging plot, ad great characters.Everything great space opera should have. Ill never understand why you guys just decided that Serenity sucked. Is it the bizzare Joss Whedon is evil prejudice that has encamped here.

  • April 17, 2006, 10:51 a.m. CST

    Roguewriter...Audition

    by Doom II

    I agree. What an overrated bore-fest that was. 90 minutes of drama and boredom followed by 15 minutes of sadism and torture. Some nudity or gore would have helped, but it was almost bloodless as well! I rented it after Bravo said it was the #11 most shocking horror film ever made. It's not even worthy of drinking the vomit (this is Audition we are talking about) of films like Halloween, The Thing, Dawn Of The Dead or even The Ring.

  • April 17, 2006, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Tobe Hooper's MORTUARY

    by godoffireinhell

    Absolutely hated it. And that comes from someone who thought that his TOOLBOX MURDERS redux was pretty awesome. MORTUARY never knows where it wants to go, if it wants to be serious, a comedy or what. Then add how obviously low budget it was and you got yourself a real disappointment. It's not a total waste of time if you're looking for a rental on a rainy Saturday evening but by all means keep your expectations as low as possible.

  • April 17, 2006, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Movies that don't know what they want to be...

    by Roguewriter

    Saw a good example of that on Skinemax or Blow-time last night, chewing the insomniac furniture: THE PUNISHER. What was with the zany fight in the middle with the big Russian, where everything got a little Buster Keaton for a bit? Gawd, what a dreadful movie. Followed it up at 1 a.m. with a viewing of TRESPASS, the absolutely mindless funfest w/ Bills Paxton and Sadler and Ices T and Cube shooting it out over some long-lost gold in an abandoned St. Louis apartment block. If you ever want to see a movie so overloaded w/ testosterone and brainlessness, that's the one. Thoroughly delightful. =)

  • April 17, 2006, 11:37 a.m. CST

    re: Orson Welles

    by beamish13

    He was an incredibly prodigious director whose imagination was only limited by budgetary constraints, unscrupulous producers, and sheer bad luck. He has two full-length films that are essentially in the can and have never seen the light of day in their entirety (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND starring John Huston and THE DEEP with Jeanne Moreau and Laurence Harvey, which utilizes the same source novel as 1989's DEAD CALM).

  • April 17, 2006, 11:40 a.m. CST

    HOSTEL WAS SHIT!!!

    by Dr_Zoidberg

    Because of the final act, the whole "revenge" thing. *SPOILERS* It's just horribly insulting to believe that everyone, even a huy who was IN ANOTHER FUCKING COUNTRY appears in the town just to get RUN OVER by our "hero". Hostel starts as a dumb teen flick, then tries to become a dumb horror film but fails to achieve either. The film is just REALLY BAD!!!! Of course, I almost thought the ending was like the ending to Brazil, where our hero doesn't actually escape but starts hallucinating just like Jonathan Price in Brazil. Now that is a GREAT FILM! Oh, and HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, not touching them until one of them is dead and buried. I have nearly 500 DVDs, and don't have any HD capable equipment and I'm a student so not gonna have any money any time soon. Also, I love Serenity but I have the DVD... It's almost like the companies want HD to fail.

  • April 17, 2006, 11:40 a.m. CST

    To answer your question danowen

    by Miami Mofo

    Yes, I have watched many a BBC documentary here on the west side of the Atlantic. They can be found on PBS, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel as well as BBC America.

  • April 17, 2006, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Lovecraft Fan

    by jimmy_009

    I think you're mistaking overrated/underrated for box office take. Yes no one went to see it, but it's still incredibly overrated by fanboys. I agree, the dialogue is good, the characters are good, etc. I love the show. But like I said, the ending wasn't good, and the vast majority of reviews were positive. People that liked the show automatically seemed to praise the movie, but the movie had problems. I'd still watch it again, but it's overrated.

  • April 17, 2006, 12:44 p.m. CST

    ASIA EXTREEEEEEMMMMEEE!!!!!!

    by Harry Weinstein

    Tartan needs to fuck off with this EXTREME crap. As marketing, it's cheesy and does a disservice to the films they're trying to sell. I liked NATURAL CITY for what it was, and particularly for them having the decency to use real models instead of CGI for many of the effects - it pays off in the look of the film. But EXTREME it is not. I hope Tartan picks up MY LIFE AS MCDULL, I really do - great film, and I'd love to see the ASIA EXTREME release of it. Rated G, but it's an EXTREME G!!!

  • April 17, 2006, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Hostel is still being discussed because

    by Vern

    it comes out on DVD tomorrow. As explained in the column. I'm sure it will rent like crazy but give it a couple months and you won't hear about it again until Hostel 2 comes out. (I didn't think it was so hot either, but I never noticed it sucking on animal parts. It was just a heavily flawed movie with some good parts near the end.)

  • April 17, 2006, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Harry's Reviews

    by Thunderpants

    Mori, does Harry review DVDs anymore?

  • April 17, 2006, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Serenity- You dont have to be a fanboy. Thats fact

    by Lovecraftfan

    See this is one thing that really annoys me about this board. I think it is inconcievable in all of your minds that someone can love Serenity and not be a fan of the show. I never saw Firefly and am not a Whedon fanboy but absolutely loved the movie including the somewhat abrupt ending.

  • April 17, 2006, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Oh, Christ -- Tonay Incoming in 6...5...4...3...2...

    by Leto III

    Mori, you shouldn't've gone and brought SERENITY up like that. We're so fucked.

  • April 17, 2006, 5:41 p.m. CST

    serenity

    by kobetca

    Is season 2 of Firefly ever gonna happen?? The movie made enough money right?

  • April 17, 2006, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Also, re: FIREFLY and "Fanboys"...

    by Leto III

    ...it's not the casual fans of the show that disgust many of us. It's the FANATICAL "fanboys" that do it. The "fanboys" are not people who have seen and liked the movie. "Fanboys" were the people swamping messageboards with requests to go and vote it a "10" on IMDB as soon as it was listed there, many months before its release. Fanatics were the people who were out telling everyone they know and everyone they *didn't* know to see it. The people seeing it 9 times in a weekend. The people buying 10 tickets every time they see it just to get the grosses up. The people buying out ENTIRE screenings and trying to give away tickets to strangers. THEY'RE the "fanboys."

  • April 17, 2006, 5:56 p.m. CST

    I've listened to Harry's Hostel Commentary...

    by eppdude

    He phoned it in--literally. It's around chapter 13 on the Hostel disc, and Harry is on the phone talking to Eli, and Eli lets Harry preen about how it was all his idea. Really boring. And Harry doesn't hold back on the flagrant Eli Roth dick-sucking. Seriously, I think he has a crush on the guy. What's funniest is that after about fifteen minutes, Eli tries to cue Harry to bring things to a close, but Harry just won't shut the fuck up! So finally Eli just interrupts Harry and just goes, "OK, thanks, Harry" - totally cutting him off. Really funny. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Harry can no longer consider himself a true film critic if he's going to sell out to the industry like he has. Bought and paid for.

  • April 17, 2006, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Michael Palin

    by Cash Bailey

    SAHARA isn't my favourite of his series' but it's still essential viewing for anyone who's curious about the world outside their parent's basement. If only we could get FULL CIRCLE released I'd be a very happy chappy.

  • April 17, 2006, 8:54 p.m. CST

    you all realize that HDDVD...

    by McLuvin

    you all realize that HDDVD can only output 1080i right?? that means you'll be shelling out $400 for a toshiba player that can do the same thing a $150 upconvert player can do with an HDMI cable. if you are hell bent on getting one of these new formats, blu ray will actually give you the better picture.

  • April 17, 2006, 9:30 p.m. CST

    Miranda/TV Planet

    by grendel824

    It made sense to me that the "TV Planet" was relatively close to "Reaver territory" - it'd be out on the edge somewhere if what the Numb3rs guy was doing was as illegal as it seemed. Where else would it be but someplace that the authorities don't bother going to?

  • April 17, 2006, 9:49 p.m. CST

    Don't expect Spider-Man movies nor James Bond on HDDVD

    by IAmJack'sUserID

    ..either. Blu-Ray is superior because it can not only hold more data, but can have many more layers than an HD-DVD.

  • April 17, 2006, 10:33 p.m. CST

    McLuvin

    by diggedyxl

    Your post is way off. How is an upconverting player even going to come close in picture quality to a player outputting native 1080i or 720p? Taking 720x480 and blowing it up to 1920x1080 is not 'the same thing'. If it was then there would be no need for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray.

  • April 17, 2006, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Serenity - TV Planet again

    by Fernwick_

    Yeah, remember that he didnt want to be bothered by anyone. But I mean come on, its a movie, its not gonna be perfect. And yes nutty fanboys are in every genre thats true, but this is a truly fantastic show and film. I just hope it EVENTUALLY gets back on the air. Anyone know how many copies Serenity or Firefly have sold by the way? You know, to make it profitable enough to continue? Anyone?

  • April 17, 2006, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Nope on the actual number on DVD sales..

    by torpor_haze

    Studios for some reason like to keep their DVD sales secret for some reason. For Firefly the rumor was half million more than a year ago, but its always top 20 on Amazon.

  • April 17, 2006, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Poor Quality Wins

    by Fernwick_

    See thats what I dont get, they will finance utter crap like this Cable Guy movie, and make a crapload of horrible direct to Video DVD's from Disney, you know, Bambi III Bambi's Revenge, and they cant make a freaking seaons of a AWESOME TV show. Hell even Arrested Development was going to go to Showtime until the creator fucked it up. Jeez. Fernwick www.theidiottestament.com

  • April 17, 2006, 11:49 p.m. CST

    Could product dumping hurt the new HD format?

    by Psychobilly

    Why pay full or sale prices for new HD product when you can be loading up on many titles currently getting dumped at $3.75-$7.00?! Currently, at Wal-Mart, one can buy Ben-Hur (Flipper) and Troy in a $7.44 double pk. You can also get Night at the Opera and Day and the Races and a bunch other stuff for the same price. In the Wal-Mart stores, studios have been dumping all sorts of stuff for $4-5. Some online sites are dumping some pretty good Disney, Sony and Paramount titles for less than six bucks. Let

  • April 18, 2006, 1:48 a.m. CST

    This just in...

    by LeiaDown&FuckHer

    Cross Of Iron is one of the best war films ever, Hostel was an absolute piece of nigh on unwatchable shit, and Tobe Hooper is an over-rated hack who hasn't made a good film in around 25 years (no, Lifeforce doesn't count). News at Eleven.

  • April 18, 2006, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Tartan Asian Extreme...

    by brycemonkey

    Yes, I agree that it appeals to the lowest common denominator mentality. However, without them I wouldn't have titles like Battle Royal, Ichi The Killer and others. So I'll take what I can get, they do good work.

  • April 18, 2006, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Hostel- Do you guys actually hate the movie?

    by Lovecraftfan

    I dont see why you guys hate it so much. I thought it was pretty fun. not really disturbing but a ton of fun. I have to wonder if any of the hate is happening really because of the whole Harry is selling out or not debate. You guys are like the imdb boards. ITS THE WORST FILM EVER

  • April 18, 2006, 10:28 a.m. CST

    I saw Hostel last weekend...

    by brycemonkey

    I think I need to see it again (with commentaries). Yes, it was formulaic, but then again that does work (see Hustle & Flow for good formula movie). It was good but nothing I haven't seen before. It didn't blow my socks off but it didn't suck either. More tits/hot lesbo sex couldn't hurt :-P

  • April 18, 2006, 11:38 a.m. CST

    On Hostel...

    by LeiaDown&FuckHer

    I don't hate it for any grand conspiritorial reason, I just thought it was an utterly crap paint by numbers film that more often than not irritated rather than entertained. That said, if you enjoy it then more power to you. And NOWHERE is worse and more inbred idiotic than the IMDB boards, no, not even here on this place's worst day.

  • April 18, 2006, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Rougewriter

    by blackwood

    I'm a big TCM (original) fan, and throw my lot in with those who call it a classic. I find it appalling/hilarious that you trumpet the worth of its glossy-budget remake in the same paragraph as you attempt to tear down horror film conventions, of which it was nothing more than a grab-bag; and in the same place you've decided to attack a lack of subtext, you fail to recognize that the original TCM was an exercise in 70's nihilism. Similarly, to say Haute Tension is "intellectually" anything other than embarassing shows that you've sprained your critical thinker. I dig that film, but there's nothing thoughtful or unique in it - a slasher flick that wears its misogyny/homophobia on its sleeve can be given points for honesty alone.

  • April 18, 2006, 4:31 p.m. CST

    blackwood, I appreciate your insights...

    by Roguewriter

    I guess I'm gonna have to go back to the well one more time and see if I can discern the original TCM's merits (though I continue to shake my head in wonder at the idea that "glossy" equals BAD in the horror realm). I maintain, however, that in regard to horror subtext in the 70s, TCM doesn't even begin to scratch the balls of DAWN OF THE DEAD (consumerism, our swelling prescription drug culture, the numbing of the soul, the delightful televising of the end of the world, which we gleefully watch over snacks n' Jack, like Roger and Peter), THE EXORCIST (rebellious teens, loss of faith in God/the church), THE BROOD (see above) and about two dozen other classic horror achievements from that period. Yeah, you may be right about my sprained critical thinker in regard to HAUTE TENSION -- that one just absolutely brainfucked me... and I guess I mainly find myself delighted that I'm not as jaded and world-weary as I'd imagined I was when it comes to horror... It's actually nice to know a movie can still surprise me, hell, pull the rug out from under me. And all with those delicious, delicious boobies. =) Oh, and while I thank you for your comments, really people, is it that fucking hard to spell Rogue correctly? ;) Nuff outa me.

  • April 18, 2006, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Anyone else find those Wolf Creek banners misleading?

    by diggedyxl

    What's with the wolf teeth when you roll over the banner? People will go out buying it thinking it's a werewolf film!

  • April 18, 2006, 7:15 p.m. CST

    another

    by frank cotton

    vote in the TCM sux column. it had a couple of good scenes, sure, but half of it was so dark they might as well have left the camera off - gave me a fuckin' migraine - and don't try to call that anything but poor lighting. DOOMII - sorry, dude, no director's cut for EVENT HORIZON - anderson even mopes on the commentary about that - just 3 deleted scenes. i like the film, but i'm passing on this.

  • April 20, 2006, 3:07 p.m. CST

    The Arkadin thing sounds great...

    by CatVutt

    But where the hell's a Magnificent Ambersons DVD already??? WTF?

  • April 23, 2006, 3:49 a.m. CST

    Amen, Zoidberg

    by BannedOnTheRun

    Just saw Hostel yesterday, and it's not a horror film as much as a (cliched) revenge fantasy. I was watching the time-remaining counter and thinking, damn, they're gonna have to wrap this up pretty quickly...and they do. Let's take all the bad guys and line them up in front of a speeding car...that'll do. Quick and cheap. Way overhyped.