Tuesday, November 29, 2005

DVD Merry Go Round!

A bunch of stuff that I've either already blabbed about or don't really deserve their own posts.

War of the Worlds (2005): That Spielberg kid is gonna be big one day, I tells ya. I still dig it. It's a tight, focused little global invasion movie. And that first tripod erupting from the Earth is just some fine, high tension cinema. The disc looks and sounds wonderful. I ponied up for the two-disc because I liked that cover better. Yes, I am that shallow.

Paradise Lost: Man, that Damien kid is lying his balls off. I've got no hard evidence to back that up. But that feeling right in the pit of my stomach is profound. His face is full of tells on the stand, too. I used to be a big supporter of the WM3...but after watching this and having read the actual court transcripts I'm a little more grey on the whole thing. There are some glaring omissions by the filmmakers. Well, I just don't know...

Battlestar Galactica: I sort of put this aside when my wife wanted to go through Lost. Glad to be back to it. I'm even over my Starbuck hate. I like how that character changes. And I fucking love Baltar and Number 6.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Post-Gluttonous Rampage, uh, Post.

The feast of non-avian flu sporting poultry is over. It should be done on Thursday as you're succumbing to that tryptophan coma, but at my house that shit lingers.

So apart from turkey and pumpkin pie (ugh) movies were devoured en masse. It's a tradition from whence I was a wee lad. Since me, my father, and my father's father could give a fuck about any sporting event; movies have been the chosen form of Thanksgiving entertainment.

We started early Thursday morning, the girls and I, with a viewing of Raiders of the Lost Ark up in the Dollar Theater Room. It was LOVED. We followed that up straight away with Temple of Doom downstairs so I could cook and watch a demonic shaman pull a human heart out of a sacrifice. The girls LOVED it, I think a bit more than Raiders. They dug that a kid saved Indy. And that Indy and the kid saved a bunch of other kids. Saving peeps is a big deal around here. On to The Last Crusade. I'm not a fan. Kids dug it, but maybe a little less. Although, I'm certain their enjoyment of stuff is directly proportionate to my enthusiasm.

FEAST HAPPENS.

No movies during that time or my wife murders with her eye lasers.

Now with the dirty dishes in the sink. The kiddos stuffed and drowsy. I throw on some coffee and all of us hit the Dollar Theater Room for the big show.

KING KONG.

It is astonishing how magical this movie is. Not only for me but my girls, 5 & 3, were enraptured. With all the CGI they've seen, this crudely but imaginatively animated puppet can still affect them in all the right ways. I think all the technical limitations work for it. The herky-jerky movement, his too-white eyes and teeth, the over the top acting ...it all works serendipitously. They were drawn in totally. And when Kong tumbles off the Empire State Building all breathing in the room stopped. It's literally magic. That is what movies are all about for me.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I shall be asking Satan Claws for this.

I wish Star Wars maintained it's dignity...

The Froo-its of the DDD 20% Off Sale.

ENTOURAGE-1ST SEASON
One of those things that trusted sources say rocks and I never got around to picking up. Situation rectified. My Kevin Dillon collection keeps on a rolling.

PICKPOCKET (CRITERION)
Bresson. I caught this at a week long retrospective a couple years ago. Insta-love.

LE SAMOURAI (CRITERION)
Replacing my shitty jewel case boot. The cinema of "cool" begins with this one right here.

HENRY-PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER
One of the very few films I actually think is scary. I remember watching this alone in my old basement apartment in DC, sipping Jamesons, and thinking 'what is wrong with me for watching this?'.

EVIL DEAD 2-BOOK OF THE DEAD 2
I had NO intention of buying this until I realized I gave my old one away a few months ago because I thought this one was going to be some huge new thing. Ah well. My kiddos love the 1st Book of the Dead and this one screams so, YAY.

PARADISE LOST
I've been waiting on this one. Although, I think what's so disturbing about this isn't the crime per se (although it certainly is) but the way a horrific crime like this keeps twisting the people in it's orbit for years afterward. It's a great work. I'm also keen to check this out again as my thoughts on the verdict are drastically different then they were 10 years ago.

MALLRATS (EXTENDED/10TH ANNIVERSARY)
I'm a completist. It was $12-something. That's about the strongest case I can make for buying this again. Still love Kevin Smith, though.

FRAGGLE ROCK-1ST SEASON
X-mas gift for my daughters. Although, I do love those little construction worker guys.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-SEASON ONE /SEASON TWO
Not purchased at DDD, but Amazon was selling both seasons for a little over $30 so I jumped. One of the few TV shows I made a concerted effort to watch (and like the other shows I enjoyed was recently given the heave-ho. Fuck You, television.). High-fucking-larry-us. Consistently, and that's the real trick. This thing is always funny.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

KONG IS KING

The fortunate sons at DVDBEAVER have posted an in-depth look at the new KING KONG set that hits steets next week.

Check it hither.

DVD Review: Office Space


I finally gave the new edition of Office Space a spin. I never got the old DVD because even when it was brand new it was the old DVD with it's dirty, filthy non-anamorphicness and dearth of supplements. Office Space - Special Edition with Flair (DVD Peeps, that shit is retarded.) is more a stop gap to a really kickass set. The only saving grace is the much obsessed-over-by-me anamorphic enhancement and it can be purchased for just a few paltry sheckles.

The flick itself has been on the cusp of being ruined by nerds since it's rabid embrace by tech geeks on video. You people do realize that when you quote the annoying people over and over in this movie that you essentially BECOME THEM? Essentially the greatest thing about Office Space is that it's a mirror being held up to a huge swath of folks who really don't have their pain materialized in some form of popular entertainment. I can't think of anyone who hasn't teetered on the bottom (or middle) rung of corporate America and been immune to this movies charm. And those that are probably traded their soul for that reserved parking spot. A personal favorite moment is during the opening credits when Michael Bolton is blasting his gangsta rap and sees a black guy in the median, he locks his car door and turns the music down. That slays me every time.

The DVD really is a half-assed affair. The transfer comes in nice and clean displaying the innate resplendent beauty of cubicleland. Audio is fine...you can hear the quietly evil hum of the flourescent light in the rear channels.

The only extra I had the energy to get through was the Out of the Office: An Office Space Retrospective with Mike Judge. I guess the operative word here would be 'serviceable'. I love hearing Mike Judge talk 'cause Hank Hill is like right there just an octave lower. There's some funny stuff about Judge having "Fuck You" money. Aniston's bits are from an old interview (looks really EPK-ish). Overall it's pleasant enough.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Coffee and Cigarettes


Jim Jarmusch reminds me of Indian food. To the film dilettante Jarmuschs work seems impenetrable. His narrative mannerisms can be slightly off-putting. But if you give yourself over to his particular flavors, to his lyricisms you will find yourself jonesing for his work.

Coffee and Cigarettes is a drug movie. Not the usual bleak rise and fall drug movie. But a celebration of our America's two most prized legal stimulants illustrating how they cause people to jitter and bump off each other. There's something ritualistic in partaking of caffeine and nicotine in a greasy spoon and letting the conversation drip-drop out of your brain.

Through a series of vignettes, Jarmusch pits actors of various range against each other with the titular drugs the only between them. The opening piece is perhaps the most obvious, staging manic Roberto Benigni, who never EVER should be allowed to drink coffee, in contrast to the deadpan comedian of yore, Steven Wright. While the former vibrates like he's got a living snake up his ass, Wright struggles to maintain his trademark composure.

In another segment, punk rock forebear Iggy Pop sits across a diner table from growling troubadour Tom Waits and they both engage in a subtle game of one-upmanship. Later on in a similar themed bit Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan enjoy tea and French smokes while Molina gushes and Coogan acts the uppity twat. The hands down best segment is Bill Murray, The RZA and GZA enjoying a coffee break together.

Some of the segments don't quite jell or feel a bit forced. Meg White and Jack White sound ridiculous and phony talking about Nikolai Tesla's scientific accomplishments. Cate Blanchett's dual role piece strays too far from the rest of the tone of the film. Extremely well acted as it is, I was glad to get back to the shithole diners and more grounded setups.

Friday, November 11, 2005

FINALLY, My Ball Dropped!!!!

Behold:




Boooooooy!

Amazon.UK, thou art the salve on my chafed loins. My love for the Phantasm saga (yes, 'saga' -- shut it) is equivalent to some people's love for the Evil Dead series. The difference being that ALL of the Phantasm movies are good (once again, shut it). So everything in my DVDs to-watch pile gets the shaft in favor of The Tall Man and his ball of murderousness. I'll let all nine of you know how fucking awesome it all is. Again.

Also: Region 1, you suck. Seriously...why can't you be cool like Region 2? Pick your pants up from around your ankles and be a man. This is a DVD package, son. If you ever want to be in my favor again, Region 1 you'll act more like Region 2. Except without the annoying red age restriction circles.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

DVD Confessional

Reeling from post-election depression I bought this:




"Two great tastes that taste great together!", as they say.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Feel Good Movie of the Year Awaits You on DVD Today




Safe to say this is going to be on my top ten of 05. I've spewed enough love about this delightful little monster...so just go get it.

Ialsopickedupcharlieandthechocolatefactoryandjumanjiyouknowforthekidsshush.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Titanic

I finally picked up the Titanic 3-Disc set. For the princely sum of $15, it was most definitely worth the wait. The transfer and DTS 6.1 are amazing. And coming right after screening SITH that's not faint praise.

I still like the movie a great deal. Although, I find it sort of unsettling that given the nature of Rose's journey in the movie the success of the film led the director to declare him a King of the World on national television and put his own face on the front cover of this DVD set.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

"...Now I am the Master."



My schizophrenic love-hate-love-like-hate-dislike-love is at an end. The DVD has arrived and been watched.

I'm at a place where I can accept the failings of the entire saga yet still enjoy it overall. These are kids movies. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Even my beloved Empire clearly operates in a realm of black and white emotions. It transcends nothing. It celebrates everything wonderful about movies and specifically genre movies.

I've come to accept what Lucas did to the character of Darth Vader. He made clear that this wasn't the icon of evil that pop culture understood him as. Darth Vader is very much a victim of arrested development. A pathetic boy who failed everyone who loved him. A selfish kid whose inherent greed kept from seeing the obvious lies used to yoke him back into slavery. That's a decent spin on the classic Man in Black villain archetype.