October's DVD Reviews,
From Netflix to my eyes out my fingertips and
through this series of tubes some people call the Internets, here are more
Robert Anton Wilson: Maybe
You've probably never heard of
the guy, but he's a hilarious philosopher (of sorts). Unfortunately,
he's in his twilight years suffering with post-polio syndrome, so he isn't
at his most cinematic at this stage. Hollywood missed out on a great
performer, but this is still a good introduction to the man and his entertaining
and mind-enhancing ideas.
Excellent documentary on the portrayal
of homosexuality in cinema. Of particular interest is how subversive
filmmakers were at getting veiled references and the like onto the screen.
I'm a big documentary watcher, and this one is outstanding (if a bit dated
by thankfully changing times).
Season 2.5: Disc 2, 2004
Still the BEST SHOW ON TV.
No, I'm not fucking with you. I swear, this show is like heroine.
Dani asks me when the next series of discs are going to come out like she's
a three year-old jonesing for Christmas.
Season 2, Disc 1
Okay, I finally get the "I'm Rick
James, bitch" reference. (It has a completely different meaning with
the comma, by the way, you stupid bitches.) Maybe it's because I
remember Eddie Murphy from when he was funny. I just didn't see anything
new and original here.
Sure, it had it's excesses, but
it was still pretty good. It helps if you watch it in FF (which I
always do) since every scene in this movie is to a regular movie what King
Kong is to Clyde from Every Which Way But Loose.
1: Discs 5&6, 2004
I forgot to include previous discs
of this show on earlier lists since I've been getting these from the library.
It's amazing the way you can get sucked in with as old a plot device as
a cliffhanger, but it works every time. I also like the escaped convict
chick who wears jeans in every other episode.
I LOVED THIS MOVIE. Yes,
I'm a huge fan of most things Cronnenberg has made, but never got around
to this one until now. Very cool movie, although some will probably
be disturbed by it. Which is probably the crowd who should go see
it. (Incidentally, this is not to be confused with last year's "Best
Picture" with the same title... also pretty good, but I like this one better.
No, it's not a remake.)
Season 1: Discs 5&6, 2004
Again, these are from the library,
not Netflix. I guess this series is sort of a "Twin Peaks lite."
It's a David Lynch production in the mold of Blue Velvet only without the
Lynch-isms. That's unfortunate because it ends up coming off as a
campy version of "thirtysomething" (which actually was a great show, btw).
Still, it's addictive the way any relationship is where you always get
a bite but never the whole pie.
Season 2.5: Disc 3, 2004
This is STILL the BEST SHOW ON
TV. No, I'm still not kidding you. This was the season finale.
Now I feel like I'm going into detox after a really huge bender.
How much longer before they put Season 3 out?!
& Friends: Live Jazz a Vienne, 2004
You like Django Reinhardt?
This was a great (really long!) concert of the best gypsy jazz players
around (in France anyway). Terrific performances for those who like
the stuff. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, then it's
a great introduction (or check out a few tracks on Django's myspace profile;
he's on my friends list).
2: Disc 3, 2002
Obviously the writers are manipulating
me, but I still love being lied to and then finding out the "truth" (however
mercurial) in episode after episode. Did I mention the crush I have
on Jennifer Garner? (She's still the best thing Ben Affleck has been
Season 1: Disc 1, 2005
I grew up watching the original
series from the John Pertwee doctor through the Tom Baker years and up
to the Peter Davidson incarnation. The writing hasn't improved considerably
in this updated series, but that's probably a good thing since the campiness
was part of its charm. As far as special effects have advanced, these
still look appropriately cheap by today's standards, so it feels like home
This was the first move Leonardo
DiCaprio made after Titanic. It's directed by the guy who did Trainspotting.
It isn't a great movie by any stretch, but it was interesting when it tried
to be experimental, even if it wasn't artistically successful in any measureable
Sean Penn directed this sorry
movie that beats you over the head with a point so obvious you could literally
get it from the plot synopsis. If it takes you two hours to read
one of those, then this movie is for you.
Story of Queer Cinema, 2006
This is kind of the unofficial
sequel to The Celluloid Closet, although the emphasis is on indie
movies from the decade after that documentary. Nothing groundbreaking
here, but that's a positive. Honestly, if you're shocked by movies
about gay people in 2006, then you probably ought to get out more.
2: Disc 4, 2002
Seeing Jennifer Garner in the
lingerie was nice as always.
UFO: Vol. 1,
This was the first disc of a short-lived
sci-fi show on network tv. They could barely afford any of the special
effects, so it's an unintentional comedy by the guy who produced the Thunderbirds
series with those cool model vehicles and those creepy-looking marionettes.
The vehicles are still around, but the live actors actually seem more wooden
than the puppets, remarkably enough.
Bio pic about the artist no one
really ever heard of before he was the subject of a bio pic. It's
actually a pretty good movie, although it's kind of free form (Think Cassavetes
with producers strong-arming him to be commercial enough to recoup their
Season 4: Disc 4, 2002
I still have no idea why I watch
this show, but I feel like I'm missing out on something if I don't.
Documentary about the original
skate kids depicted in
Lords of Dogtown (which sounds more like
a period art film). It isn't bad, but for all the original footage,
there didn't seem to be enough material to flesh things out into a compelling
PICK OF THE
(first half of the) MONTH:
(Also, you need to start watching Battlestar Galactica so you can
tell me how right I am.)
DVD Reviews, Part II
Since I started including the movies I checked
out from the library, this list got a bit longer...
I doubt anyone still believes
the Academy has any credibility when Reece's Silverspoon can win playing
herself in the role of a redneck Jesus freak with a husband known for his
infidelity... while Felicity Huffman gets passed over for one of the best
performances in any film in the last decade. The movie isn't pushy
or try to make any profound statements. The issues aren't the primary
focus at all. Overall the film isn't spectacular, but it is very
engaging and I happened to love it. Dani seconds this review.
Former Child Star, 2002
This was just an excuse to get
my parking validated at the checkout desk of the library, but it turned
out to be better than expected. It was completely predictable, of
course, but the pace was fairly quick and the jokes weren't always as obvious
as they could have been.
After watching the remake last
month, I went back to see the original which I hadn't viewed in a few years.
This really is a fantastic movie in terms of its effects, although I don't
know that most viewers are willing to sit through it for that alone.
However, there are good extras including a documentary on Peter Jackson's
attempt to recreate lost footage from the original, which is almost as
fascinating as seeing that Peter Jackson lost 70 lbs and got Lasik.
In spite of the fact that this
is HIGHLY derivative of 1984, Farenheit 451, and The Matrix,
it turns out to be a pretty good movie. I went into it merely watching
it for a piece I'm doing on sci-fi conceptions of the future, but it developed
enough substance that I got into it.
This was cute, if not terribily
original. Will Smith is honestly a good (if underrated) actor, but
I still would rather see him fight aliens and act like a smartass most
This is the funniest comedy you
never heard of. It's brilliant satire and a profound allegory.
The first ten minutes alone will hook you. When I was in college
they used to show this on the Sundance channel all the time. Somebody
there must have loved it as much as it deserved because it appeared on
the schedule at least a couple times a month for two years or more.
It finally came out on dvd just this year.
Season 1: Disc 2, 2005
They brought the Daleks back in
this one! Pretty good stuff. Silly, but then again, that's
what this show is.
I mostly rented this because some
extras have been added (i.e., a commentary track and a mini-documentary
with interviews of Clive Barker and others involved). After I watched
it through once with the commentary, I went back and watched it again.
It's actually a pretty good movie! I would so love to be Pinhead
for Halloween were it not for the fact that Dani vetoes this costume every
year the way I veto her Raggedy Ann and Andy idea.
4: Disc 4, 2005
Natalie has no personality, but
she's still pretty cute. Especially in jeans.
Season 1: Disc 3, 2005
I didn't mean to jam another one
of these discs into the queue so soon, but the show is still fresh to me.
Also, even though the show is never especially clever, I think I realize
why I like it. No, not just because Billie Piper is cut and always
wears jeans. It's because Dr. Who is an ENTP on the Myers-Briggs,
and I would probably be a lot like him if I had a time machine instead
of a nose job.
2: Disc 5, 2002
This series is starting to morph
a little. I wondered how they were going to keep it fresh for the
entire run without changing the premise. Well, they started to do
just that. (No, Jennifer Garner didn't get implants! I wouldn't
be watching it anymore if she did.)
She's the queen of camp, and this
if a perfect vehicle for her. The idea is to skewer the old Hammer
horror films the way Mel Brooks did to westerns with Blazing Saddles.
They do a pretty good job, but like I said, it is incredibly campy.
Richard O'Brien also stars, which is a nice treat, especially considering
I dressed up for him (albeit nearly thirty years younger back when he was
playing Riff Raff) for Halloween.
Damn, Milla Jovovitch is hot.
Unfortunately, the movie is completely vacuous. You know how movies
about movies will show a generic-looking action scene as a send-up of those
types of scenes? Well, that's what this entire movie consisted of.
Apparently it was trimmed down by the studio from a more intelligent cut
by the director (the guy who did Equillibrium), but the library
didn't have that version. Skip this edit and possibly check out the
other if you're curious.
PICK OF THE
(second half of the) MONTH: Putney Swope falls just short of
greatness, but has so many other redeeming qualities that it is worth the
trouble to seek out. Transamerica is pretty damned
good, too, just on the acting alone.