October 16, 2007

DVD Pick of the Week: Planet Terror

This week brings us a fine selection of movies and television shows, many of which you are probably going to want to add to your own personal collection. Thankfully, I am here to help you navigate the treacherous waters of the new release stacks. I am here to help guide you toward those that are truly worthy and those that should be thrown back. Of course, I am not going to do your job for you. You are still going to be required to do a little work yourself. Meaning, the choice and subsequent list found below are just a portion of what will be available. I go through the new release list at Amazon.com and comment on my number one title of interest and select others that are of interest, for better or worse. Hopefully this list will help you find the right title for you.

The top title this week has to be Planet Terror, Robert Rodriguez offering for the Grindhouse double feature this past Spring. Tarantino's half, Death Proof, came out a few weeks back. Now that both are here we begin to recreate the theatrical experience. Although, we still won't have all of the fake trailers to go in between, or the theatrical Grindhouse cuts of the films. I am going to assume that we are going to get a complete Grindhouse release down the road. With that distinct possibility it should be part of you decision-making process whether or not to get this set or wait for that set, whenever (if ever) it does arrive. I know I will be getting it, I really enjoyed this film and look forward to the extended cut.

Planet Terror is a tale of a toxic gas which turns people into flesh eating mutants. It is delivered in genuinely grimy fashion, with much in the way of dirt and marks digitally added in. It tells the story of a depressed go-go dancer, Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) who meets up with an ex-boyfriend, Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) who is a mechanic and a gun runner, and together with a motley crew of townsfolk, band together to defend themselves against the encroaching horde of the pustule covered, flesh eating former humans who are intent on devouring flesh.

Planet Terror lurches forward on its on inventive energy. It may not be a good movie, but it is one that seeks to raise its low-balled ambition to the level of art. It moves along at a furious pace and is drenched in blood and guts, not to mention Rose McGowan at her sexiest, that will keep you distracted from the distinct lack of direction that the film has. The story has the McGowan and Rodriguez leading the ragtag team which features the sheriff, a BBQ restaurateur, a doctor husband, and wife intent on killing each other, and a few other random folk. The group of heroes must fight through the flesh eating creatures to find a cure for the gas that has fell upon the town. The story doesn't really amount to much, but it is fun.

The centerpiece of the story is Rose McGowan's loss of her leg, which, as we ramp up to the explosive climax, is replaced with a high powered machine gun. It is put to great use, cutting down the creatures and anyone else getting in her way.

Special features include: Feature Length Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Robert Rodriguez, Audience Screening Track, 10 Minute Film School, Sickos, Bullets And Explosions: The Stunts Of Planet Terror, The Badass Babes Of Planet Terror, Casting Robert Rodriguez’s Son Rebel, The Guys Of Planet Terror, The Friend, The Doctor And The Real Estate Agent, International Poster Gallery, and International Trailer.

Also out this week:
  • Transformers. Love it or loathe it, the summer blockbuster arrives on DVD looking to get a jump on the other big films as we head toward the holiday season. It will be released in single disk and two disk editions, as well as on HD DVD. I thought the movie was fun, but could have been more. Bay knows how to blow stuff up!
  • AC/DC: Plug Me In. Available in 2 and 3 disk editions, this is a mammoth collection of AC/DC videos and love footage. Hands down one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The Complete Series. Here is a show that I really wish was coming back for a second season. Aaron Sorkin takes us backstage at an SNL-type show and the professional and personal dramas that it contains.
  • That 70's Show: Season Seven. A show that I definitely thought lasted longer than it should have, and I like the show.
  • A Mighty Heart. This was a very good movie, an intimate look at a horrible event. Angelina Jolie gives an excellent performance.
  • The Jazz Singer: Three Disk Deluxe Edition. Most notable for being the first talkie feature. Featuring some dialogue and some singing, this will be remembered for starting the talkie era upon its release in 1927.
  • Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman (The Giant Claw, Creature with the Atom Brain, Zombies of Mora Tau, The Werewolf). Not familiar with Katzman, but it is hard to argue with classic horror, particularly in October.
  • Jimi Hendrix: Live at Monterey. How can you go wrong with Jimi? The things he could do with a guitar...
  • The Hoax. Richard Gere stars in this film based on the true story of a man who sold a book that did not exist, a biography of Howard Hughes.
  • The Reaping. Awful Biblically themed thriller starring Hillary Swank.
  • The Invisible. Mediocre thriller that has a good concept but middling execution which sinks it in the end.
  • Return to House on Haunted Hill. Was this needed? Who knows, it's direct to video and who knows? Maybe it will actually be fun.
  • Casshern. Visually stunning science fiction film from Japan that I am eagerly looking forward to getting my hands on.
  • Hollow Man: Director's Cut. Can this be better than the theatrical cut? I guess it can't be any worse.
  • Jingle All the Way: Family Fun Edition. Twenty minutes longer. Over two hours of Arnie searching for Darth Vader's Christmas present. Yeah.
  • Murder Party. The title alone makes this work taking a peak at. Well, that and the guy on the cover with the chainsaws.

So, what will be making it into your queue?


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