November 11, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Hellboy II - The Golden Army

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.

Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles and what follows are not necessarily reviews. It is my opinion based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists that I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations upon them are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.

That said, as I looked over this week's release list I cannot say that I saw all that much that excited me. Yes, there are plenty of good titles, just not the volume. I guess they are waiting to get closer to the holidays to spring everything on us.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The scope of The Golden Army is much bigger and more epic in tone than the first film, and while that initial film was quite necessary in introducing our heroes, The Golden Army outdoes that movie every way. The story is simultaneously bigger and more personal, and combines a strong narrative that is more than just dealing with the primary antagonist with a fantastic set of visuals. Hellboy II: The Golden Army is not a perfect film, but it is enormously entertaining and a big step up from an already entertaining original movie. The problem is that there are no egregious problems and anything I come up with would most likely fall under the banner of nitpicking. So, rather than pick at it, I would rather just marvel at Guillermo Del Toro's seemingly endless imagination and enthusiasm for anything he is involved in.

Scrubs: The Complete Seventh Season. I love this series. It is endlessly imaginative, laugh out loud funny, and heartwarming. I am eagerly anticipating the start of the eighth season on ABC (whenever that happens). It is too bad this season was cut short by the writers' strike, but these things happen. So, I need to pick this up along with a few other seasons to finish up my collection.

Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald, Vol. 4 - 1951-1961. Of this year's crop of Treasures tins this is the only one that I have any interest in. Donald is one of my favorite Disney characters, right up their with Goofy. Still, it is hard to go wrong with any of them, Disney puts a good deal of effort into these tins and they make nice companions to the Looney Tunes Golden Collections.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Not nearly as good as it could have been, not nearly as bad as some would have you believe. It may just be an extended trailer for the television series, but it is still fun, despite its best attribute being the strong sound design. Not sure it is necessary to own, unless you are a Star Wars completist, but worth a rental.

The General: Ultimate 2-Disk Edition. Classic silent comedy from one of the heavyweights. Buster Keaton stars as a man rejected by the Confederate army who sees a path to redemption when his beloved locomotive and woman are taken hostage. This comedy classic has been restored by Kino to as close to the original look as possible and includes three scores to choose from. Other extras include filmed intros by Gloria Swanson and Orson Welles, clips from other Keaton films, and a tour of the original locations. This looks to be a very nice set.

WWE: Viva La Raza - The Legacy of Eddie Guerrero.
Not to sound like a broken record when it comes to my wrestling enjoyment, but that ship sailed some time ago. Still, I do enjoy some of the stuff from my years of fandom and the late Eddie Guerrero never failed to disappoint. This three disk set includes a number of matches spanning his entire career.

Opeth: The Roundhouse Tapes. I reviewed the CD release of this some time ago and it is one of the finest live albums I have ever heard. If you like metal you will want to get your hands on this. I know I am surely interested in seeing the performance after having listened to it.

Sukiyaki Western Django. Takashi Miike is one fascinating director. The man is nothing if not prolific and endlessly imaginative. This time around he has set his eyes on the western genre and brought Quentin Tarantino along for the ride. The trailer looks wild and I am really looking forward to checking this out.


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