September 18, 2007

DVD Pick of the Week: Death Proof

September truly is a month of television, and you don't need to rely on cable or satellite to deliver it to your screen. Each week there are more and more titles being released for your enjoyment, and the Tuesdays of September are loaded with them. Despite their massive proliferation, however, none of them made it to the top of my wish list this week. There are a few that I am definitely interested in, just not number one. That honor goes to a feature film. Perhaps next week will be television's week.

My pick this week is one half of Grindhouse. Grindhouse was a theatrical experience brought to the big screen earlier this year by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. For those of you who have not seen Grindhouse, here is the basic idea behind it: In the 1970's and 1980's the grindhouse was a cheap theater that specialized in exploitation films and low to no budget features. Tarantino and Rodriguez sought to bring the experience back by pairing up a couple of films, adding fake trailers and bumpers, adding marks and scratches to the prints and dropping frames. They went so far as to remove an entire reel from each feature.

That brings me to the pick. This week sees the release of Tarantino's contribution, Death Proof. The films are sadly getting separate release, but they seem loaded enough to stand alone. I was not the biggest fan of this half when I first saw it, but my estimation has grown a bit in retrospect. So, I am looking forward to seeing it again.

Tarantino's Death Proof turns to old car films such as Vanishing Point and Gone in 60 Seconds. It is a mash of the slasher, car chase, and revenge flick tossed together in a mash which is alternatively exhilarating and sleep inducing. It is an odd concoction which seems much more straight up, plot wise, than the prior feature, but isn't as unrelentingly fun as I had hoped for.

Kurt Russell stars as Stuntman Mike in full on badass mode. Mike is not a nice guy, in fact, he is a stone cold killer. That is how it begins, showing Mike going about his business using his car as his office and weapon of choice. There is a shift at the mid-point when Mike goes to do it again only to have the tables turned on him by a trio of young women. This leads to one of the most exciting car chases to hit the big screen in some time.

Special features include: Finding Quentin’s Gals, The Guys Of Death Proof, Kurt Russell As Stuntman Mike, Introducing Zoe Bell, Quentin’s Greatest Collaborator: Editor Sally Menke, Double Dare Trailer, and the International Poster Gallery. Not to mention that it reinserts the missing reel.

Also out this week:
  • Smallville: The Complete Sixth Season. I liked the early years, but the past couple have been getting progressively worse. Hopefully the upcoming seventh season will pull out of the tail spin.
  • Family Guy: Volume Five. As funny as this series is, and as much as I'd like it, I do not like how they cut the season in half and kept the price so high. Better luck next time.
  • Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Third Season. With Stargate: SG-1 gone, we are left with this to carry the torch. The show has gotten progressively better, so sci-fi fans should check this one out.
  • Boston Legal: Season 3. Never watched the show, but it seems to be pretty popular, and I have this season sitting in my room waiting to be watched.
  • Superman: Doomsday. The fantastic series which brought mainstream attention to the book has been animated in the fashion of the great animated series. I really hope this is good.
  • Brothers and Sisters: The Complete First Season. I watched the premiere, didn't care for it and never looked back. Now it is here waiting to be relived by the fans.
  • We Are Marshall. Another inspirational sports drama. I missed this in the theaters, is it worth checking out?
  • Robinson Crusoe on Mars. I've been wanting to see this one for some time. Criterion is putting it out, which nearly guarantees a great release.
  • Ghost Whisperer: The Second Season. I watch this sporadically, and it is always a pretty entertaining show. How can anyone not like Jennifer Love Hewitt?
  • Cruising. Controversial Al Pacino starring, William Friedkin directed excursion into the gay S&M underworld. It is getting its first release on DVD.
  • Troy: Director's Cut. The Wolfgang Petersen film getting a new cut. I wonder if it makes it any better? One would hope. It is being released in a special edition with a photo book.
  • Wall Street: 20th Anniversary Edition. The Oliver Stone film which told us greed is good is 20 years old!
  • Commando: Director's Cut. Arnold and Mark Lester try to save Alyssa Milano. I remember enjoying this actioner, although it has been years since I've it.
  • Lucky You. Ignored in the wake of Spider-Man 3, this drama is actually pretty good and definitely worth checking.
  • Josie and the Pussycats: The Complete Series. Another old school cartoon arriving on DVD for the first time.
  • Deliverance: Deluxe Edition. Here to make you squeal all over again.
  • The Condemned. Simply awful action film starring Stone Cold Steve Austin.
  • Bloodrayne 2. The first was a piece of garbage, any doubt that this will be the same? Well, House of the Dead 2 was fun and a definite step up from its predecessor. I guess one can always hope.
  • Roger Corman Collection: Bloody Mama / A Bucket of Blood / The Trip / Premature Burial / The Young Racers / The Wild Angels / Gas-s-s / X. Corman classics. I have not seen one, now is the time to make up for that.
  • Blade: House of Cthon. The premiere of the short lived TV series starring Sticky Fingaz. This was actually pretty good. I only wonder why they didn't release the series?
  • Zoo. Be warned, I have heard this is good, but its subject is bestiality.
  • Severance. I hoped to see this on the big screen, but that is not to be. UK horror/comedy about an office outing into the woods which gets a little bloody.
  • Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things. Bob Clark's cult zombie film. Made prior to his family classic: A Christmas Story.
  • Dragon Heat. Action film co-starring Sammo Hung, Maggie Q, and Michael Biehn.
  • The Dead One. A horror movie starring Wilmer Valderamma? Can that be right? The premise reminds me a bit of The Crow, not to mention the black and white face paint.

So, what's in your Netflix queue?


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