SO CLOSE TO FINISHING... YET SO FAR.
I'm still working on the damn picture, and, the closer it *looks* to being finished, the more infuriating it gets as the naughty little niggling details which I need to put in to make the picture look as realistic as possible are a lot more time-consuming than you may think.
And my review of Howl's Moving Castle
is just taking... too long to write. I don't know, I just lost my train of thought.
Anyway, just to make an entry worth posting, I made a list of five of my favourite DVDs over in this entry in the X-entertainment.com "blog"
In no particular order besides alphabetical:Dawn of the Dead: Ultimate Edition:
Three different cuts of the film spread over three DVDs plus a fourth disk with all sorts of behind the scenes features, including Document of the Dead, a documentary about George A. Romero's technique with segments from 1978 and 1989; the 1989 stuff is mostly Tom Savini setting up a special effects shot from a long-forgotten film, it's boring and drags on too long, but the 1978 portion is precisely the sort of "point-the-camera-and-shoot" documentary I prefer that's largely raw footage from around the Monroeville Mall with minimal narration. Also, there's a shorter segment with footage of how the Monroeville Mall looks now. By the way, despite what some people may think, I think that the U.S. theatrical cut of Dawn of the Dead
is superior to the extended cut, since the extended cut, for the most part, just has longer versions of the same scenes, mainly longer "takes" with very little "new" worth seeing (very, very few of the extra 18 minutes of footage involve zombies at all). The theatrical cut just feels much tighter.The Incredibles:
In my opinion, this was quite possibly the best animated film made since Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service
in 1989, and the extras on the second disk were spectacular, a notch above even the Toy Story: Ultimate Toybox
triple-disk set. I especially like the files on all the "Supers", complete with fake interview clips.Independence Day:
I know it's fashionable to bash this film now, but I still think it was one of the finest of the 1990's summer "event" films, and I think much of it, like President Whitmore's jingoistic speech towards the end, is quite intentionally cheesy. It's a spoof of sci-fi films done with a mostly straight face. I love the old "Five Star Collection" series prestige edition of this film. (I wish Fox hadn't retired the "Five Star Collection" moniker when two-disk sets became almost the de facto standard way to release nearly every film on DVD; I'm such a sucker for that shiny silver box with the holographic rainbow effect.) You get the normal DVD features, including 2 different cuts of the film and 2 commentary tracks, but you also get a 22-minute "mockumentary" about the aftermath of the invasion, and the absolute most unique feature of all is the Easter Egg where you can see over an hour of video clips that they shot for the television screens in the movie.Project A-ko: Collector's Series:
A hyperkinetic anime comedy classic which deserves more recognition. I once wrote about Project A-ko
, "This movie is proof that not all anime films are insightful, haunting, poetic, elegaic, or philisophical with deep subtexts on the nature of existence, asking what makes us human. Some anime films are about schoolgirls with powers and big robots and spaceships and panties and wacky mayhem." The "Collector's Series" version of the DVD features a remastered picture with a restored full-screen image (this movie was animated full-screen and then "matted" for widescreen), a subtitled commentary track from animation director Yuji Moriyama, and a Japanese behind-the-scenes special from 1986 that's unintentionally hilarious because the animators are so sexist (and so is the narrator). Project A-ko is also a notable anime film because it's one of the first anime films to feature music and songs composed by Americans, Joey Carbone and Richie Zito, and the songs were also performed in English (and one of the singers was Samantha Newark, who was the speaking voice of Jerrica Benton a.k.a. "Jem" of the Holograms), so the "Collector's Series" DVD case also includes a CD of the soundtrack making the Project A-ko DVD an incredible bargain now that Central Park Media/U.S. Manga Corps is selling it for a reduced price.Rushmore:
I spent a pretty penny on the Criterion Edition of this back in 2000, but it was worth it, because I find it to be a very elegant single disk presentation, where, somehow, they were able to cram not just a movie and commentary track onto the disk, but also a full hour of Charlie Rose
featuring Bill Murray and Wes Anderson, a behind-the-scenes documentary shot, also in the narration-light "point-the-camera-and-shoot" style, by Wes's brother, Eric Chase Anderson, and lots of other assorted goodies including three short movie parodies, of Out of Sight
, The Truman Show
, and Armageddon
, performed on stage by the "Max Fischer Players", made for the 1999 MTV Movie awards. Eric Chase Anderson, who is also an illustrator, drew the art on the cover, the inserts, the disk label, and even the disk menus, and you get a mini-poster "map" of the places from the film.
A NEW RECORD FOR "BARE-BONES" DVDs...
(well, at least of those I own.)
I was at the HMV in the Rideau Centre on Saturday, shopping for a Father's Day gift. One film from last year he finds himself watching repeatedly on The Movie Network is the remake of The Stepford Wives
, so I thought I might get him that, but, surprisingly, the DVD was like $40 Canadian (and it was the normal version, nothing extra). So, instead, I got him Martin Scorsese's The Aviator
, which I think he'd enjoy, being more straightforward than The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
(though Howard Hughes' descent into paranoid dementia gets a little "weird" towards the end, which is, of course, the point).
Anyway, while I was there, I decided to check if they had Cloak & Dagger
, the 1980s children's spy thriller that actually has the guts to show violence with serious consequences. It's a long-forgotten 1980s kid's movie that deserves as much recognition as The Goonies
, as both films do not underestimate the intelligence of children viewers and also both films really pushed the envelope as to what's considered acceptable to show in an (older) children's movie. (I get the idea that they just wouldn't do a kid's flick with a statue penis joke today... too risqué.) If you ever want to have a 1980s kid's film "theme night", Cloak and Dagger
and The Goonies
would make a great double feature.
Sure enough, HMV had Cloak & Dagger
, and, although it's a recent DVD release, the price was only $12 Canadian. I wondered why it was priced at almost a direct-to-bargain-bin price-point.
I found out when I put the DVD in the player.
I was expecting a bare-bones presentation, but, after the legal stuff and the Universal logo, the movie immediately started. So it's a "plug-in-and-play" DVD. I have a couple of those. But I wanted to know what they did for the menu, so I pressed the "Menu" button, and just got the icon for "not available". Then I tried the "Top Menu" button... same thing. There is absolutely nothing in the way of "features" on this DVD, not even a fricking menu! I wasn't expecting a huge multimedia presentation for the menus, but I was just expecting a static shot of the cover or something. Those are very easy to do. My brother's even done one for a DVD of his film school films. There's no alternate language audio, but I don't know if this is the sort of film that ever got dubbed in French in the first place. There are chapter stops, but you have to access them using the "SKIP" buttons, or, for those of you that have mastered every single button on the remote control, the search and chapter buttons.
Not that I'm complaining. I'm just happy to get a copy of the film with a decent anamorpic widescreen transfer (not the best transfer I've ever seen, as the colours look a bit "soft", but, for a 1980s kid's movie that gets an ultraminimalistic treatment on DVD, it looks better than I'd expected), this being the first time I've ever seen it in a non pan-and-scan format.
Just, since there are no extras, they probably didn't use all the available storage space on the DVD. Hmm... maybe there IS something else hidden on the DVD. That must be why the old woman with the two fingers missing and her husband were following me!
Just been feeling lazy over the past few days, and I've been a bit busy, doing a few things I might talk abour or maybe not.
I'm not going to make any promises, since my promises have a tendency to bite me in the ass, but I pretty much only have small details left to add on my Piccadilly Circus drawing, so you may be seeing the final result by the end of Wednesday.
I saw Howl's Moving Castle
on Friday at the AMC and have a review half-written (been feeling too lazy to complete it), so I'm not going to say how I felt yet. But the AMC Kanata 24 is a nice theatre, and the sprawling Kanata Centrum outdoor shopping complex is neat, though I wish the Chapters had a French section. It had plenty of English manga, though mostly the teeny-bopper stuff fangirls buy, but nothing in French. Also, there's not too many fast food places around that area. There's a McDonald's, but it's only in Wal-Mart, and that closes at 10 p.m., and, after seeing Howl
at 7 p.m. and then going to Chapters at 9 p.m., I only had about 15 minutes left until Wal-Mart closed at 10 p.m. and I don't like being "rushed" when I eat.
My parents rented The Life Aquatic
and hated it. Especially my father, who thought it was too much like the Coen Brothers' Barton Fink
, which is his mental template to deride all movies he finds pretentious. Eh, I guess Wes Anderson is just an acquired taste... I really don't know if he'd be happier with the relatively less "quirky" Bottle Rocket
Oh, I spent the money I would have otherwise spent seeing Batman Begins
Finally, an important Public Service Announcement about an upcoming movie:
Because, you know, Hitler was the father of Volkswagen, and the entire front end is allegedly based on some sketches Hitler himself drew in the early 1930s. So, for a completely unoffensive summer movie from Disney, Herbie: Fully Loaded
, I thought it would be mildly amusing to make a picture spoofing the famous "When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler"
World War II propaganda posters. I know, completely and utterly tasteless, but I find bad taste amusing. I don't think this is any more offensive then The Producers