Sunday, October 18, 2009

DVD Picks of the Week: October 13, 2009

Yeah, you got that right, I'm late again. Here we go.

Drag Me to Hell [DVD][Blu-ray]

What the hell else do you think I'd put first? I was lucky enough to watch this, the best horror film of 2009 (so far), in 720p and it looked splendid. The film is as effectively entertaining as it was the first two times I saw it in theaters. I can't say more than my review can, but I will add that you should definitely watch this one with either a good sound system or the sound turned up. It really adds to the whole thing. If anyone is wondering about the "director's cut" and what was added or taken away, the answering is nothing much. I counted one short addition to a scene that I recognized that wasn't in the theatrical cut, and it's debatable as to whether it actually benefits the film or not. Like director Sam Raimi said, he didn't make this film with ratings in mind. He just made it. And it ended up being PG-13. That isn't a sin when you know what you're doing.

Stop Making Sense [Blu-ray]

I was shocked to find this among the releases for this week. Stop Making Sense, for those that don't know, is the Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) directed concert film featuring the unbeatable Talking Heads. David Byrne and company made for one of the best concert films I've ever seen, and the fact that this is getting a Blu-ray release is completely justifiable and terrific. "Hey, I got a tape I wanna play," says Byrne right before playing a solo version of "Psycho Killer" as the first member of the band to appear on stage. Song by song the entire band eventually makes their way onto stage, and once that full group is together, the show is electric. This is a must see for fans of the band and should convert those unfamiliar with their music.

Eclipse Series 18: Dusan Makavejev - Free Radical [DVD]

Criterion's spin-off series Eclipse has just released their 18th box set. This time it features the films of Dusan Kakavejev. Free radical is one way to describe him. The video clip I just checked out began with a black cat crawling on top of a naked woman's bum. Intriguing. But then it translated to a woman cooking in the kitchen, and now I don't know what to think. Further researched tells me that the Yugoslavian Makavejev made films in the 1960s about about political and sexual liberation, both revolutionary and raucous. Criterion describes wonderfully, saying: "Across these, his wild, collagelike first three films, Makavejev investigates—with a tonic mix of earnestness and whimsy—love, death, and work; the legacy of war and the absurdity of daily life in a Communist state; criminology and hypnosis; strudels and strongmen." So that all sounds cool. It make take some patience to watch these films, but they certainly seem historical. I trust the Eclipse series, especially after that terrific Nikkatsu Noir collection.

Hardware [DVD][Blu-ray]

Just watch this sci-fi horror film's trailer. I can't explain it better than it can.

The Stepfather [DVD]

I suppose there is one thing that I like about all those unnecessary horror remakes. Their original counterparts usually get nice new DVD releases when the remake is set to come out in theaters. Such is the case this week with The Stepfather. Instead of talking more about this film or the remake I'm just gonna embed a video of my beloved Craig Ferguson making great jokes about the remake and how non-blood relatives are getting a bad rap.

Happy Birthday to Me [DVD]

I freaking love horror films. And I really want to see this one. Mainly because I want to find out about this whole shish kabob on your birthday business. And then the whole getting apparently murdered by a shish kabob killer. Of course that might be way off the point of the film but I don't care. It's intriguing enough.

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