Monday, July 10, 2006

DVd Tuesday: Marilyn Hotchkiss, Blackbeard, Negadon & More! - Xoanon @ 10:30 PST
Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School: Robert Carlyle is a widowed man who agrees to fulfill a dying man's (John Goodman) last wish and attend a very special ballroom dancing class, which changes his life in more ways than he could ever predict. The film is a bit clumsy and juggles far too many stories, but its heart is in the right place and it features an impressive cast (including Marisa Tomei, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, Danny DeVito, Donnie Wahlberg, Adam Arkin, Sonia Braga, Ernie Hudson and Miguel Sandoval, among others). Features widescreen and fullscreen versions on the same disc. The disc also features Randall Miller's original 1990 short film Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School. Details: Color, 104 mins, Sony Pictures, Widescreen anamorphic, 2.40:1. Supplements: Audio commentary; Short Film: Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School (1990); Full screen and widescreen presentation . Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0). Optional subtitles. [Order]

National Geographic: Blackbeard - Terror at Sea: Go inside the cunning mind of a charming criminal genius as National Geographic tells the dramatic story of this fearsome pirate who preyed on Caribbean trade routes. Blackbeard: Terror at Sea charts the exploits of Englishman Edward Teach, an intelligent and charismatic leader who confounded the powers of England and Virginia as he overtook and pillaged 40 ships in two years, stealing hidden cargo and precious exports to and from the Caribbean. Featuring sea chases, cannon battles and swordplay Blackbeard: Terror at Sea provides an exciting dramatization of one of the most notorious men in American history. [Order]

Negadon - The Monster From Mars: A returning spaceship crash-lands on the streets of Tokyo, unleashing a deadly cargo: Negadon, a giant, vicious monster from Mars! Now, only Dr. Narasaki and his long-abandoned robot Miroku can save the Earth. It's giant robot versus space monster for the fate of all mankind. [Order]

Pitch Black (Unrated) [HD DVD]: Owing a major debt to Alien and its cinematic spawn, Pitch Black is a guilty pleasure that surpasses expectations. As he did with The Arrival, director David Twohy revitalizes a derivative story, allowing you to forgive its flaws and submit to its visceral thrills. Under casual scrutiny, the plot's logic crumbles like a stale cookie, but it's definitely fun while it lasts. A spaceship crashes on a desert planet scorched under three suns. The mostly doomed survivors include a resourceful captain (Radha Mitchell), a drug-addled cop (Cole Hauser), and a deadly prisoner (Vin Diesel) who quickly escapes. These clashing personalities discover that the planet is plunging into the darkness of an extended eclipse, and it's populated by hordes of ravenous, razor-fanged beasties that only come out at night. The body count rises, and Pitch Black settles into familiar sci-fi territory. What sets the movie apart is Twohy's developing visual style, suggesting that this veteran of B-movie schlock may advance to the big leagues. Like the makers of The Blair Witch Project, Twohy understands the frightening power of suggestion; his hungry monsters are better heard than seen (although once seen, they're chillingly effective), and Pitch Black gets full value from moments of genuine panic. Best of all, Twohy's got a well-matched cast, with Mitchell (so memorable with Ally Sheedy in High Art) and Diesel (Pvt. Caparzo from Saving Private Ryan) being the standouts. The latter makes the most of his muscle-man role, and his character's development is one more reason this movie works better than it should. [Order]