September 5, 2006

DVD Pick of the Week: Gojira

This week has a nice selection of cult type films, television releases, and new films coming to DVD. There is one that stood head and shoulders above the rest. This week's top choice is a film that has never been released on Region 1 DVD, for that matter, it has never been in the US on VHS, and until recently it had never been seen theatrically.

This week's pick is none other than the Japanese monster classic Gojira, better known in the US as Godzilla. The film was originally released in 1954 in its native Japan, where it was a big hit. Two years later it was rejiggered for a release in the States. This retooling involved cutting footage deemed to be "too Japanese" and the inclusion of newly shot footage featuring American actors. That was to give American audiences someone to identify with and something to use as a framing device with which to tell the story. This introduced us to reporter Steve Martin, as played by Raymond Burr. On a side note, Burr reprised his role in Godzilla 1985, but due to the emergence of comedian Steve Martin, he could only be referred to as Mr. Martin.

I was fortunate enough to see this theatrically last year, and loved every minute of it. This cautionary tale of the nuclear age in post A-bomb Japan is a true horror film. The effects are good, and the tone deadly serious, in stark contrast to what Godzilla would become in the late 1960s into the 1970s. It will be a pleasure to add this to my collection.

As an added bonus, this release will also include the American version.

Also out this week:
  • Lost: The Complete Second Season. Get caught up know, before the series starts back up next month.
  • Supernatural: The Complete First Season. This was a surprisingly good show that I am looking forward to seeing return. Sort of a cross between Angel and The X-Files.
  • United 93. Powerful film from Paul Greengrass. Not sure how much replay value it will have, but it is definitely worth seeing. It is also available in a 2 disk version with a feature length documentary.
  • Seven Samurai: Criterion Collection. Newly remastered release of the classic Kurosawa film, with all new extras.
  • The Flinstones: The Complete Sixth Season. Who doesn't like Fred and the gang?
  • Blade Runner: The Director's Cut - Remastered Limited Edition. A consolation prize until the big multi-disk, multi-version set comes next year. This will be available for 4 months only and features a newly remastered anamorphic transfer, stereo audio, and no extras.
  • Brazil: Criterion Collection. Remastered re-release of this film, available and single and 3 disk flavors. This is a wonderful film from Terry Gilliam.
  • Gigantour. A nice concert disk of the 2005 Megadeth headlined concert. It has week cover art, but the disk is definitely a keeper.
  • District B13. This Luc Besson produced French originating action film is an exciting romp that any action aficionado will want to check out.
  • WWE: The History of the Championship. A three disk retrospective of the WWE's top belt, is stacked top to bottom with some classic matches over the past 30+ years.
  • Kinky Boots. A shoemaker takes his inspiration from a drag queen to reinvigorate his business. Looks pretty funny.
  • Shock Treatment. The sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show finally arrives on DVD, for better or worse.
  • The Bela Lugosi Box: 15 Frightful Films. A collection of films from Lugosi's career from his silent era through his years with Ed Wood.
  • Dead Man's Shoes. A revenge film from England, all I have seen is a trailer, but it looks excellent.

What are you getting this week?


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