May 10, 2005

DVD Pick of the Week.

This week's pick is Assault on Precinct 13. I approached seeing this theatrically with trepidation. I was a fan of the original film from John Carpenter, which itself was a remake of Rio Bravo, and had already been remade, by John Carpenter again as Ghosts of Mars. My curiosity over took the trepidation, I wanted to see what director Jean-Fran├žis Richet could bring to the table.

This version differs greatly from the Carpenter original. Sure it retains the setting, sure it retains the isolationist factor. What it changes, is the bad guys. In the original, the cops and villains trapped in the station were under siege from an army of faceless gang members, this time the villains are given a face, they are the police. On top of that they are given a reason for being on the offensive. Plus, the trapped have more interpersonal drama.

This ended up being a very good action thriller. The story held together better than I expected. The performances was good as well. Laurence Fishburne gives an imposing visage, Ethan Hawke is good as the burned out cop, and Drea de Matteo had fun with her role. Give this one a chance, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Other titles for the week:
  • 12 Monkeys: SE. It loses the DTS track from the earlier release, but it reportedly has a much improved transfer. Plus it's a great movie!
  • Alone in the Dark. Ugh, avoid this piece of junk.
  • Appleseed. A new CG film based on a manga series. I do not know much about it, but the trailer I saw made this sci-fi epic look intriguing. It is available in 3 flavors, single disk, 2-disk in a metal tin, and 2 disk tin with a figure.
  • Fury. Fritz Lang's first American film and it stars Spencer Tracy. I have seen it described as a pre-noir classic.
  • Hoop Dreams: The Criterion Collection. I have heard that this one of the best documentaries of the modern era.
  • In Good Company. One of the best films to come out so far this year.
  • Joan of Arcadia: The First Season. This first season was a wonderful family drama.
  • The Life Aquatic: The Criterion Collection. Disappointing in theaters, weird for the sake of being weird. May play better in the home venue.
  • Marillion: Marbles on the Road. Very good concert video from this long lasting prog band.
  • Nang Nak. Asian horror film has a lot of good word surrounding it.
  • Racing Stripes. This was a fun, yet forgettable, family film.
  • WWE: Wrestlmania XXI. The latest incarnation of wrestling's biggest show.

That's it for this week.

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