July 29, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Dark City - Director's Cut

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope that this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.

This week brings a nice selection of films that includes some comedy, a little drama, some romance, a splash of blood, a director's cut, and more. I know there are a few here that I am looking forward to checking out, as well as some that I am eager to see for the first time. Read on and see if any strike your fancy.

Dark City: Director's Cut. When this movie first graced the big screen, I loved it and I wasn't alone as it was Roger Ebert's favorite film for 1998. In the years between then and now there was always talk of another cut, now it is finally here. This movie was fascinating, with Alex Proyas exhibiting a unique screen vision. The original DVD release was quite good and featured a great Roger Ebert commentary track. I am really looking forward to getting my hands on this new cut, which runs 15 minutes longer and is said to have improved effects and a new sound mix. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Stargate: Continuum. Surprisingly, I have not yet seen the first Stargate DVD film, so I need to catch up on that, but that does not make any less interested in this release. This is also the last work that Don S. Davis completed before his recent passing (RIP). This film dispenses with the Ori and returns the Goa'uld to their place as main baddie. Looking forward to seeing if this one delivers. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Shine A Light. Martin Scorsese's follow up to the Oscar winning The Departed is not another fictional epic, but a music concert/documentary on the Rolling Stones. I never did get to see this on the big screen, but seems to be an ideal rental candidate. I have heard good things about the film and the trailers looked impressive. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Witchblade: The Complete Series. I remember enjoying this short lived TNT series when it was on a few years back. I think I'd like to revisit it on DVD. Yancy Butler starred as the cop who comes into possession of the Witchblade, an ancient weapon that gives her great power. A feature film is in the early stages of development, could this release be used to gauge potential interest? (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Robin Hood: Season Two. This BBC series is quite good, from the couple of Season 1 episodes I have seen. This is definitely a series I would like to watch a little bit more of. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Looking for some stupid fun? This definitely fits the bill. It is dumb, it is goofy, and it has Neil Patrick Harris. As far as dumb comedies go, this is one of the better ones to come around in awhile. Cho and Penn make a good on-screen duo. Now, it may not be to the same level as the films coming from the Judd Apatow camp, but still definitely funny. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Freakazoid: Season 1. I remember catching a few episodes of this cartoon superhero, it was wild and wacky fun and definitely in the vein of the WB tradition. I am looking forward to seeing if it holds up. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Lost Boys: The Tribe. Will this be any good? I cannot really imagine that it will be, but there is always hope. There is one returning cast member, Corey Feldman (although Haim really wanted to be in it). Other than that, I have not looked too deeply into this release, but I am curious to see how it stands up to the original. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Doomsday. Neil Marshall delivers the goods with his third film. It does not quite reach the claustrophobic, frightening heights that The Descent reached, but it is a vastly different film. This feels like exorcising of his cinematic demons, the culmination of his lifelong love of the cinema. Perhaps it would be best to view this as a love letter to the genre films that initially drew him into the world of film making. This is a blast from start to finish. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

WarGames: The Dead Code. Unnecessary "sequel" to the 1983 drama. This one attempts to update the story for the current world situation but suffers from poor writing and poor performances. Possibly worth a rental, but nothing more. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

WarGames: 25th Anniversary Edition. Yes, it's dated and yes it is not quite a classic, but it is definitely an enjoyable film with good writing and a likable lead performance. Not sure if this release differs from the earlier one, but it could be worth looking into. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Band's Visit. This is a movie I had wanted to see on the big screen but did not get the opportunity. It looks like a nice film. It is about an Egyptian police band that travels to Israel to perform at an Arab cultural center, but gets dropped at the wrong town. Sounds simple enough, but the movie looks delightful. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Never Back Down. This is Step Up for guys. It follows the same formula except instead of dancing they fight. It is not terribly exciting. If you want a fight movie, you could do a lot better than this one. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Tai Chi Master. Previously released in a chopped up form called Twin Warriors, this Jet Li/Michelle Yeoh film from 1993 arrives uncut and in its original language, not to mention anamorphic widescreen. I cannot wait to get my hands on this. Jet Li films are always entertaining and will be a part of my collection. This is coming under the Dragon Dynasty banner, and they have done some nice work. I hear that Fist of Legend is coming in September. Sweet! (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Inglorious Bastards. 1970's era war exploitation film and the chief inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's next film, featuring the same title. Fred Williamson and Bo Svensen star in this film as a group of escaped criminals shooting for the Swiss border before finding themselves on a mission in occupied France. Never seen it, never heard of it before now, but am definitely intrigued. This is coming in a 3 disk set featuring a soundtrack CD. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Hair Extensions (EXTE). Japanese horror film that centers on killer hair extensions. That's right, human hair that has a mind of its own. It is from the director of Suicide Club, so it is sure to be strange. It stars Chiaki Kuriyama of Battle Royale and Kill Bill Vol 1. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Lips of Blood. A Jean Rollin erotic vampire film that I hear is one of his best. I have never seen any of his films, but this is now up there with The Grapes of Death on the ones that I want to see list. It focuses on a man who is having surreal nightmares of vampire women coming for him. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Permanent Midnight. A Ben Stiller comedy/drama based on the life of Jerry Stahl (played by Stiller). Stahl was a television writer making $5,000 a week, balanced by a $6,000 a week heroin habit. I have not seen this in a long time, but remember it being quite good. Elizabeth Hurley and Owen Wilson co-star. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)


Post a Comment