Monday, July 24, 2006

DVD Tuesday: Final Destination 3, Benchwarmers, Halloween 4&5, & More! - Xoanon @ 10:46 PST
Final Destination 3: Thrill Ride Edition (Buy Widescreen 2-Disc Special Edition) Original director James Wong returns for the third go-round of the horror franchise defined by elaborate and absurd chain reactions that end in a dead teenager splattered all over the screen. This one finds survivors of a rollercoaster disaster dispatched by tanning beds, weight training benches, nail guns and a runaway engine block, all guided by the relentless hand of death who doesn't like to be cheated out of his appointed souls. Sullen control freak Mary Elizabeth Winstead and wide-eyed nice guy Ryan Merriman do their best to overcome their fate. The premise is pure genius -- chaos theory (the survivors become veritable engines for random phenomenon) meets intelligent design (these elaborate Rube Golberg-esque chain reactions are too complex and coincidental to have arisen by chance), calculated with fuzzy math -- but by this time the filmmakers just seem to go through the motions. This "Thrill Ride Edition" offers a different kind of interactive viewing experience, with a "Choose Your Fate!" version that offers viewers the chance to choose alternate scenes and change the destiny of the otherwise doomed teens, including alternative deaths. Details: Color, New Line, Widescreen anamorphic, 2.40:1. Supplements: "Choose Their Fate" feature--New interactive feature lets YOU decide the fate of the characters; Additional scenes; Alternate endings; 10-part documentary "Kill Shot: The Making of FD3" ; Featurette: "Dead Teenager Movie" - in-depth look at a sub-genre of horror films; Original animated short "It's All Around You"; "Planned Accidents" a look at the making of the rollercoaster . Audio: English (DTS 6.1 ES) and English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Commentary by filmmakers. Optional Spanish and English subtitles.

Ask the Dust(Buy Widescreen) Academy Award winning screenwriter Robert Towne spent decades trying to mount his adaptation of John Fante's Depression-era novel when he finally landed Colin Farrell to play the second-generation Italian immigrant Arturo Bandini, an aspiring writer trying to shake his Italian identity. Salma Hayek co-stars as the fiery Mexican barmaid looking to assimilate by marrying a wealthy American and winds up in a tempestuous romance with Bandini. Donald Sutherland, Eileen Atkins, and Justin Kirk co-star, with cinematographer Caleb Deschanel providing a dusty golden hue to the evocative period look. Details: Color, 116 mins, Paramount Classics, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Supplements: "The Making of Ask the Dust" featurette; Theatrical trailer. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Commentary by director Robert Towne and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Optional English subtitles.

Somersault(Buy Widescreen) Cate Shortland's Australian indie charts the awkward relationship of a troubled teenage runaway (Abbie Cornish) who looks for affirmation in sex and a free-and-easy single man (Sam Worthington) in a winter tourist town with his own intimacy issues. They may not be made for each other, but are, in their own odd ways, good for each other, and according to Shortland that's enough to make it worth it The story is secondary to the drama of the unsettled emotional states and Shortland has a sensitivity to the confused, unformed, irrational feelings that swirl around them. Details: Color, 102 mins, Magnolia, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.78:1. Supplements: "Inside The Snowdome: Making Somersault" featurette; Deleted scenes with commentary by director Cate Shortland; "Shooting Somersault" interview with cinematographer Robert Humphreys. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo). Optional Spanish subtitles.

Zizek!(Buy Widescreen) Astra Taylor's lively introduction to maverick Slovenian philosopher and Academic rock star Slavoj Zizek attempts to put Zizek's philosophy into practical, accessible terms. Accessible, of course, being a relative term -- key concepts are dropped through the film in snippets and sound bites that are gone before you've had a chance to real chew them over. The colorful figure ultimately overshadows his ideas, but the intellectual tour, however, is a lot of fun. Details: Color, 71 mins, Zeitgeist, widescreen, 1.85:1. Supplements: Deleted scenes; Additional interviews and lecture excerpts; Slavoj Zizek on Boston cable news show Nitebeat; Original theatrical trailer; Zizek Easter Egg; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; "Guilty Pleasures: Slavoj Zizek," from FILM COMMENT magazine. Optional English subtitles.

Electric Shadows(Buy Widescreen) (China) Think of Xiao Jiang's nostalgic drama as the Chinese equivalent to Cinema Paradiso -- the title itself is the literal translation of the Chinese word for cinema). It open in contemporary Beijing and then drifts back for to a story of growing up in the days of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution and escaping in the misery in the movies that came to her village. The sticky drama pulls at your heartstrings with the light touch of an Olympic archer. Details: Color, 95 mins, First Run Features, widescreen. Supplements: Director's introduction & biography; Film notes; Photo gallery. Audio: Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0). Optional English subtitles.

The Benchwarmers(Buy Widescreen) Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder are (barely) grown men who survived a childhood of being bullied and fight back by forming a 3-man baseball to team to take on a bullying little league team. Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn, Molly Sims, and Tim Meadows co-star in the comedy produced by Adam Sandler for his former SNL buddies and directed by Dennis Dugan. Details: Color, 85 mins, Sony Pictures, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Supplements: Commentary by director Dennis Dugan; Commentary by actors David Spade and Jon Heder; Deleted scenes; "Mr. October" - Behind the scenes with Reggie Jackson; "Nerds Vs. Bullies" featurette; "Play Ball" - cast and crew discuss America's pastime; "Who's on Deck?" - Howie's greatest moments. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) and Thai (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Optional Spanish, Chinese (Unspecified), Korean, Portuguese, French, English and Thai subtitles.

Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story(Buy Fullscreen) Rob Corddry (of TV's The Daily Show) plays paintball's first superstar in this sports spoof about a disgraced athlete who returns from a scandal to reclaim his title (with a team of misfits) and his reputation. Paul Scheer, Ed Helms, Dannah Feinglass, Rob Riggle, Rob Huebel, Curtis Gwinn, and Seth Morris co-star. Details: Color, 91 mins, Shout! Factory. Supplements: Commentary by actors Rob Corddry, Paul Scheer, and Rob Riggle; Commentary by filmmakers Brant Sersen, Brian Steinberg, and Chris Lechler; Outtakes; Deleted scenes; Bobby Duke's Video Diary. Optional subtitles.

Robert Ludlum's Covert One: The Hades Factor(Buy Widescreen) 2006 TV mini-series, based on the Robert Ludlum novel, about an elite undercover team racing to locate the source of a deadly virus. Stephen Dorff stars as the disease specialist and former Covert One agent enlisted to lead the team. Mira Sorvino, Angelica Huston, Blair Underwood, Sophia Myles, and Danny Huston co-star and Mick Jackson directs. Details: Color, 165 mins, Sony Pictures, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.78:1. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.0). Optional English subtitles.

Where Eskimos Live(Buy Widescreen) Bob Hoskins plays a thug who poses as a relief worker in war-torn Bosnia and picks up a street-wise orphan to sell in a black market adoption ring, but has a change of heart as he bonds with the boy while they escape the violent region. Winner of the Best Screenplay Award as the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Tomasz Wiszniewski directs. Details: Color, 89 mins, Image, widescreen, 1.85:1. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo). Optional English subtitles.

Hussy(Buy Fullscreen) (1980) Helen Mirren stars as a hostess and prostitute in a posh London nightclub, working to support her young son, who falls for a mysterious American (John Shea) with criminal ties and a murky past. Matthew Chapman directs. Details: Color, 95 mins, First Run Features. Supplements: Photo gallery; Trailers. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0). Optional subtitles.

White Coats(Buy Widescreen) Dave Thomas directs and stars in this Canadian comedy about six young interns in their first rotation at a troubled hospital. Originally titled Intern Academy, it co-stars Carly Pope and Lynda Boyd and features appearances by Dave Foley, Dan Aykroyd, Maury Chaykin, Matt Frewer, and Saul Rubinek. Details: Color, 96 mins, First Look, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Supplements: Behind the scenes footage; Cast auditions; Gag reel; Previews. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional Spanish and English subtitles.

Cello(Buy 2005) (South Korea) Asian horror about a brilliant cellist (Sung Hyun-Ah) who survives a fatal car wreck and retires from performing to teach at a college, only to be haunted by memories of the accident and a supernatural force that seems to seek vengeance from her and her family (including a daughter who starts to play ominous music from her cello). Lee Woo-chul directs. Details: Color, 92 mins, Asia Extreme/Tartan, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Supplements: Director's commentary; Behind the scenes with cast and crew; Original theatrical trailer; TV spot. Audio: Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1) and Korean (DTS 5.1). Optional Spanish and English subtitles.

Feed(Buy Widescreen) Brett Leonard directs this high-concept Australian thriller set in a grotesque underworld of Internet porn where men turned on by obese women ("feeders") create veritable dungeons to force-feed the objects of their obsession ("gainers"), even to their death. Alex O'Loughlin, Patrick Thompson, Gabby Millgate, and Jack Thompson star. Details: Color, 98 mins, Danger After Dark, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.78:1. Supplements: 10 Deleted Scenes; Alternate Ending; Final Day Interview with Director Brett Leonard; Interviews with Alex O'Loughlin, Jack Thompson and producer Melissa Beauford; "Feed In Philadelphia: the North American Premiere" featurette; Behind-the-scenes footage; Infomercial. Audio: English (DTS) and English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional English subtitles.

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer(Buy Widescreen) The teen horror movie franchise goes direct-to-video in its final installment, where a new collection of kids winds up killing a friend in a Fourth of July prank and then get picked off on the anniversary a year later by "The Hook." Brooke Nevin, David Paetkau, Torrey DeVitto, Ben Easter, and Don Shanks star. Details: Color, 91 mins, Sony Pictures, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Supplements: "Making Of" featurette; Director's commentary. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Optional French and English subtitles.

Magdalena's Brain(Buy Fullscreen) Science fiction thriller about a reclusive surgeon (Amy Shelton-White) and her crippled scientist husband (Sanjiban Sellew) working in solitude on radical artificial intelligence research that upends their isolated world. Warren Amerman directs the indie production. Details: Color, Heretic. Supplements: Commentary by writer/producer Marty Langford and writer/director Warren Anderson; Behind the scenes featurette; Deleted scenes; Gag reel; Music videos; Heretic trailers. Optional subtitles.

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (Buy Divimax Edition) (1988) Danielle Harris plays the young orphaned daughter of Laurie Strode and Ellie Cornell is her babysitter in this sequel made without the participation of John Carpenter. Donald Pleasance is back to take on masked killer Michael Myers. Remastered in the High Definition DiviMax process. Details: Color, 88 mins, Anchor Bay, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Supplements: Commentary by actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris; Commentary by writer Alan B. McElroy; "Halloween 4: Final Cut" making-of featurette; Trailer. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo). Optional subtitles.

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers(Buy Divimax Edition) (1989) Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, and Donald Pleasance return for the another tussle with the knife wielding boogey man, Michael Myers. Remastered in the High Definition DiviMax process. Details: Color, 98 mins, Anchor Bay, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Supplements: Commentary by director Dominique Othenin-Girard and actors Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman; Introduction by stars Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell; "Inside Halloween 5" featurette; "On The Set of Halloween 5" footage; Trailer. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Optional subtitles.

Asphalt Wars(Buy Fullscreen) Action drama set in the world of illegal street racing, where the reputation of the champion (Gilbert Chavarria) lands him a job as a getaway driver for a dangerous gang. Henry Crum writes and directs and Roger Corman produces. Details: Color, 83 mins, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Academy Ratio, 1.33:1. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional Spanish, French and English subtitles.

Scorpius Gigantus(Buy Fullscreen) In case the title is too obscure, this B-movie is about a giant scorpion on the rampage. Direct-to-video vet Jeff Fahey stars as the military hero sent to stop the six-legged freak. Details: Color, 92 mins, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Academy Ratio, 1.33:1. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional Spanish and English subtitles.

Ladybugs(Buy Widescreen) (1992) Rodney Dangerfield is a salesman looking for a little respect who takes on coaching the company-sponsored girl's soccer team and brings in a ringer: his fiancée's son (Jonathon Brandis) in drag. Jackée Harry and Vinessa Shaw co-star. Details: Color, 89 mins, Paramount, Widescreen anamorphic. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Optional English subtitles.