How to Spend $20 (firefly mention)
By David Mumpower
mardi 24 août 2004, par Webmaster
How to Spend $20
August 24, 2004
Taking a look ahead at the week’s DVD releases is always dicey for your wallet. Nearly every week, there’s a disc that would fit nicely into any size collection. When it comes time to decide what to buy, there are really two determining factors : how much you love the content and the quality of the extra features on the disc.
As a result, decisions will be totally subjective The massive unreleased studio (film and television) back-catalogue means that every week there’s likely something for every film fan. So before you think to yourself, "I don’t like roller skating, Disco Stu is my least favorite Simpsons character, and I was actively rooting against Linda Blair in the Exorcist, but I will gladly pay to see a movie that makes Xanadu look like Citizen Kane" stop ; ask yourself, "Why !?" and then check to see if Roller Boogie (or your disc of choice) is one of the weekly BOP DVD recommendations.
For people who enjoy the sheer pointlessness of a 0-0 tie : Shaolin Socccer
After sitting on the Miramax shelf for approximately 230 years, Shaolin Soccer was finally given a token release. But the studio was always expecting that the real strength of this title would be demonstrated on DVD. A strong niche market of Hong Kong cinephiles (those who haven’t already imported the multi-region disc anyway) will be treated to one of the oddest slapstick sports comedies since...well...Slapstick. Comedy just doesn’t get any broader than this.
For people who enjoy strange introductions : Boy Meets World : First Season
Fred Savage’s younger brother, Ben, stars in this harmless vanilla teen comedy series. The most notable tidbits about the show are that : A) it co-stars the voice of KITT B) it co-stars someone actually named Ryder Strong and C) it co-stars BOP fave Will Friedle, aka the voice of Ron Stoppable on Kim Possible.
But the larger point about this release is that Ben’s Boy Meets World now has more seasons released on DVD than Fred’s classic program, the Wonder Years. And that is pathetic.
For fans of enslaved princesses...but not in a dirty way : Ella Enchanted.
Anne Hathaway is the outsider in the Tiger Beat competiton waged between Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan. Part of the reason is that she’s older than her counterparts and has no ambitions to add a singing career to her resume. In fact, Hathaway’s next project, Havoc, is a departure from her teeny bopper affairs. It includes rampant nudity and constant sex scenes. Lohan and Duff don’t have to go through that phase of their careers for another five years or so.
The premise of Ella Enchanted is that a voluptuous princess has been cursed. She must obey the commands of anyone she encounters. But the real fantasy aspect here is that nobody uses this advantage for dirty stuff. Instead, she is made to sing and hop on one foot and such.
For Tara Reid : Chastity
I have no idea what this movie is about. I just wanted to make that joke.
For easily confused fans of that short-lived TNT series that want to know what it was based on : Witchboard
Presumably, there is a witch and a board of some sort. There is not, however, a Yancy Butler sighting, so the film is innately flawed. Witch*blade* is the DVD you want for that. This one is for Tawny Kitaen fans only, and after what she did to baseball pitcher ex-husband Chuck Finley, I can’t imagine there are any of those left.
For Lisa, Wendy, Jessie, Jerome and the New Power Generation : Purple Rain
If you don’t know anything about this movie, I may only conclude that you are some sort of recently unfrozen caveman. In that case, I want to extend my congratulations that you have already mastered the Internet. Your friends Grog and Donkax would be very proud of you had they not been eaten by dinosaurs several millennia ago.
For the rest of you, Purple Rain is no mystery. This is Prince’s first acting attempt, but unfortunately not his last. Unlike Madonna, he did quickly figure out that he was better off sticking to singing. But alas, that failed to happen before Under the Cherry Moon and Graffiti Bridge were unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. Purple Rain somehow manages to avoid the issues of those films and entertains from start to finish.
The special features here include a new featurette on the Minneapolis music scene, a documentary on the making of the movie and a documentary on the film’s impact upon pop culture. The two disc set also includes music videos from Prince such as Let’s Go Crazy, Take Me with U, When Doves Cry and the titular Purple Rain. Even better, some of the other stars from the movie get their videos included. Apollonia 6’s *ahem* subtle erotic anthem Sex Shooter bolsters the lingerie factor on the disc. But the real treasure here is that Morris Day and the Time classics Jungle Love and The Bird are immortalized with their inclusion on the disc. Bawk ! Hallelujah !
For Kobe Bryant : Laws of Attraction
Pierce Brosnan is apparently out as James Bond. That makes his work in films outside the realm of spy thrillers the future. Unfortunately for him, this attempt to return to the glory days of Hepburn/Tracy and other classic screwball comedies was not well received. And it’s not like he can blame it all on co-star Julianne Moore, a woman who has recently done quite well for herself in other films. Brosnan simply was not able to create the chemistry with her that he showed with Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair. On a seemingly unrelated note, The Thomas Crown Affair 2 has been greenlighted. If you can’t wait that long, The Laws of Attraction might make an acceptable substitute.
There are six deleted scenes on the disc, including an alternate ending. Otherwise, the disc is largely featureless except for the two trailers for the film and a trio of advertisements for upcoming releases from the studio.
For the lucky person in Hawaii who just found out Asia Carrera has just bought the condo beside him : The Girl Next Door
This movie is one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. Unexpectedly gentle and sweet at first, it kicks into a higher gear once Deadwood star Timothy Olyphant arrives. At that point, The Girl Next Door becomes one of the edgiest, most raucous comedies in recent memory. It would be understandable to have lowered expectations about Elisha Cuthbert due to her work on 24. But she proves to be quite winning here as a wise, empathic porn star who can’t help but fall for the naive but talented high school student who chases after her so passionately. Highly recommended.
For Catwoman : Dogville
Nicole Kidman signed on to portray Grace Margaret Mulligan in a trilogy of films created by American-hating auteur Lars von Trier. She enjoyed the experience of making the first movie so much that she promptly picked several other projects rather than make the sequel. Dogville is a three hour cautionary tale about the innate dangers of our society. Critics loathed it as too pretentious even by von Trier standards. But if you are a Nicole Kidman completionist, your compulsion will drive you to buy it anyway.
For Fox tv execs. Seriously, how do you jacktards sleep at night ? : Futurama : Season 4
Oh yeah, Fox has no problem marketing seventeen zillion classic reality shows such as Paradise Hotel, Joe Millionaire 2, Temptation Island 3 and the like. The fact that this garbage has a shelf life shorter than already-spoiled milk is irrelevant. They are much more concerned with finding the next big thing than increasing awareness for a quality show already on the schedule.
After all, this group of einsteins spent an entire month of playoff baseball advertising a show, Skin, that they gave exactly two weeks for viewers to find before cancelling it. There was no more ubiquitous Internet banner in existence last fall than "HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY !", but most of the time it was shown, the show was already cancelled. That is Fox television in a nutshell (and don’t get me started on their propaganda...err, news channel). Movie studios more fully understood the value of Firefly than its own network did.
The worst mistake ever committed by Fox, though, was the way it treated Futuama. Perhaps they sought to make a point to Matt Groening about who was in power without jeopardizing the franchise, The Simpsons. Maybe they failed to appreciate the damage caused by frequently failing to air promised episodes due to NFL games inevitably running long. Or maybe they were just incompetent.
The reason is water under the bridge now as the show died an undeserved early death despite its tremendous quality. What we are left to do now is enjoy the last batch of episodes to be released on DVD and root for more.
The hope would be that at some point down the line, an enterprising group will realize that such a great show would be commercially viable, as has happened with The Family Guy. Since there is less of an issue with actors aging with cartoons, the window of opportunity is much wider than normal here. The Jetsons theatrical release is a prime example of what could feasibly happen to the show if it holds up well...which it will.
Stating the obvious, Futurama, Vol. 4 is the DVD pick of the week, the month and maybe even the year. In addition to 16 deleted episodes from the show’s final season, there are also storyboards, galleries and even "How to Draw" tutorials. Also, audio commentary is included for every episode. Hopefully, a nice blend of alcohol and bitterness will lead to some fitting assaults upon Fox execs a la Joss Whedon in the Firefly package.
August 24, 2004
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