TROUBLE CITY

THE SPECIAL EDITION - 04.30.07

Home VideoShawn S. LealosComment

Straight to the column this week:

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Little ChildrenLITTLE CHILDREN
d. Todd Field
c. Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley

Read the review by Devin Faraci: “Little Children is a movie that aims high and more often than not achieves that altitude. Field and company have crafted a film that entertains as well as speaks to us about ourselves and the world we live in. Too few films bother to try that, and even fewer succeed.” - 9.5/10

Little Children is a movie that I was not very knowledgeable about prior to the award’s season. I was so wrapped up in proclaiming Children of Men as the best movie since Moses created cinema, that I failed to notice another Children movie that was, maybe, just as beautiful. Nominated for three Oscar’s (best writing for Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, best supporting actor for Jackie Earle Haley and best actress bridesmaid Kate Winslet), Little Children is a great movie by a great filmmaker that deserves all the accolades heaped upon it. Todd Fields (In the Bedroom) tells the story of middle class suburban parent’s whose lives slowly unravel as a convicted child molester, played by former child actor Jackie Earle Haley (Bad News Bears), returns to the neighborhood to live with his mother. Tales of infidelity, distrust, hatred and insecurity are told by a master filmmaker who puts together a slow burning film that hits on almost all levels. Ready for the bad news – There is nothing on the DVD. Zero. Nada. Ziltch. Don’t expect anything more, as In The Bedroom never got more than a barebones release either. Sad.

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DreamgirlsDREAMGIRLS
d. Bill Condon
c. Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Jennifer Hudson

Read the review by Devin Faraci: “…when you walk out of Dreamgirls you’ll be humming the songs and realizing that the state of cinema is just a little bit better than you thought it was before the movie started.” - 9.5/10

The movie that pretty much swept the Golden Globes, including winning best picture, only to be completely left out of that category at the Oscars, is about to come out on DVD in both a single disc edition and a 2-Disc Showstopper Edition. As angry as I am about the poor release of a masterpiece like Little Children, my wife is extremely happy about this lush, jam packed release of Dreamgirls. The movie swept the awards season in great style. The career of Eddie Murphy was revitalized (and has since been re-buried by drek like Norbit) in this movie as he plays legendary singer James “Thunder” Early in a performance most kids today would never believe he was capable of. He was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for his work here. The movie was mainly known however for the breakout of former American Idol loser Jennifer Hudson. The woman took the role of a singer alongside Beyonce Knowles and ran circles around her more experienced co-star. She also out-sang the pop diva. Hudson would go on to win both the Oscar and Golden Globe in this, her first film. The single edition DVD includes deleted scenes and a Beyonce music video. The double disc edition includes a number of featurettes, stills, screen tests and more. It is jam packed with goodies.

Regular Edition
Extended and Alternate Scenes:
Music Video "Listen" by Beyonce Knowles

2-Disc Showstopper Edition
Extended and Alternate Scenes:
Music Video "Listen" by Beyonce Knowles
Building The Dream -- Feature-length documentary in nine chapters
Dream Logic: Film Editing
Dressing the Dreams: Costume Design
Center Stage: Theatrical Lighting
Auditions and Screen Tests
Pre-visualization Sequences
Image Gallery with over 1,100 images

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Alpha DogALPHA DOG
d. Nick Cassavetes
c. Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Harry Dean Stanton

I knew this film initially as the “Justin Timberlake movie,” and really didn't care about it one way or the other. Then I began to hear news that it was actually pretty good and Timberlake might have a career in film if he so chooses. Then the controversy hit and I was now officially interested. The movie centers on the true story of Jesse James Hollywood, a tale which follows a young drug dealer named Johnny Truelove, and his involvement with the kidnapping and murder of Zack Mazursky. Hollywood would go on the run and become the youngest man to ever be on the FBI’s 10-most wanted list. The controversy came when the defense tried to block the release of the film, due to it pretty much crucifying their client. The judge involved watched the film and ruled that it could be released after all. The movie has held up the case however, as the deputy district attorney released many files to the filmmakers, and served as a consultant, and it is currently being decided whether or not his involvement in the case is now a conflict of interest. The back story is amazing. The movie includes such top names as Bruce Willis and Harry Dean Stanton and others like Sharon Stone and Emile Hirsch. The DVD only has a couple of features, including a making of and a timeline.

SPECIAL FEATURES
A Cautionary Tale: The Making of Alpha Dog
Witness Timeline

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FletchFLETCH: THE JANE DOE EDITION
d. Michael Ritchie
c. Chevy Chase, Joe Don Baker, Tim Matheson, M. Emmet Walsh

The news came this week that Zach Braff has backed out of the movie and the production of the Fletch Won has been pushed back even further, as they look for a new leading man. Well, who cares about that and prepare for the re-release of the original Chevy Chase starring comedy in this special edition. Chase plays Irwin "Fletch" Fletcher, a Los Angeles journalist who published articles as Jane Doe that has caused several key figures to fall. Disguised as a bum, he lives at the beach, researching drugs and their dealing. One day, Fletch is offered $50,000 to by cancer-ridden Mr. Stanwyk to kill him, so that his wife will get the insurance money. Returning into his normal life, Fletch begins to search for clues into Mr. Stanwyk and ends up deeper than he imagined. Chase was perfect as Fletch, and it will take a pretty good comedy actor to fill in those shoes in any kind of remake. For now, enjoy the original and it’s special features.

SPECIAL FEATURES
Just Charge It to the Underhills: Making and Remembering Fletch
From John Cocktoaston To Harry S. Truman: The Disguises
Favorite Fletch Moments
Theatrical Trailer

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HitcherTHE HITCHER
d. Dave Meyers
c. Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton

The horror remake trend continues. There seems to be two bases of horror remakes working today. First, you get the low budget remakes of “classic” movies, bringing these smaller B-movies to the present day audiences (Dark Castle Entertainment – House of Wax, House of Haunted Hill). Second, you get the Michael Bay production company, Platinum Dunes, that brought us remakes of actual classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and now this, The Hitcher. The original starred Rutger Hauer as a maniac hitchhiker who tormented C. Thomas Howell, and even went so far as to kill Jennifer Jason Leigh in a quite horrific manner. While many people want to see the original released in a special edition, we just have to continue waiting, as the remake has now come to DVD, and nothing of the original has even been mentioned. The new remake has a great bad guy in Sean Bean, but it supplants the main protagonist from the male Howell to a female Sophia Bush. I assume it is now the male counterpart who gets the vicious demise. Music video director Dave Meyers was brought in to direct the movie and I don’t expect much from it. What scares me more than what this movie offers, is that the next Platinum Dune remake will be Hitchcock’s The Birds. It also look as though they might also go after the underrated 80’s vampire classic, Near Dark.

SPECIAL FEATURES
Deleted Scenes
Dead End
Road Kill: The Ultimate Car Crash
Fuel Your Fear: The Making of The Hitcher
Chronicles of a Killer

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officerAN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN: SPECIAL COLLECTOR’S EDITION
d. Taylor Hackford
c. Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith. Louis Gossett Jr.

The 1982 film, An Officer and a Gentleman, is being re-released this week as a special collector’s edition. The Richard Gere movie, which earned two Oscar’s (one for Louis Gossett Jr. for best supporting actor and the second for the song “Up Where We Belong) and was nominated for four others, is getting pretty good treatment on this special edition. Gere stars as Zack Mayo, a young man with emotional problems stemming from his mother’s suicide and his father’s lackadaisical parenting. He tells his father (Robert Loggia) that he plans to join the Navy. The movie centers around Mayo’s eventual growth to maturity. Along the way he encounters a strict drill sergeant (Gossett Jr.), meets a woman who would fall in love with him (Debra Winger) and loses his best friend (David Keith) before the final famous scene where he “rescues” Winger from the factory that she feels imprisoned by and helps fulfill her dreams. The movie received great praise when it was released, Roger Ebert claiming it is “a wonderful movie precisely because it's so willing to deal with matters of the heart.” I guess I can see what is good about it, but my wife completely loves the movie and can actually quote lines from it. It holds up well today, and might be a little more suited for the female audience, but the extras look great.

SPECIAL FEATURES
Commentary by: Director Taylor Hackford - Dolby Digital 2.0
An Officer and a Gentleman: 25 Years Later
Return to Port Townshend
True Stories of Military Romance
The Music of An Officer and a Gentleman
Gere and Gossett: Hand-to-Hand Combat
Photo Gallery

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Van DammeVAN DAMME: THREE DISC COLLECTOR’S SET
KICKBOXER

d. Mark DiSalle
c. Jean Claude Van Damme, Tong Po, Dennis Alexio, Dennis Chan

REPLICANT
d. Ringo Lam
c. Jean Claude Van Damme, Michael Rooker, Catherine Dent

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER
d. Roland Emmerich
c. Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Jerry Orbach, Ally Walker, Ed O’Ross

After talking about a movie that really is geared towards a female audience, I figured I would go ahead and mention a new box set that is pretty much geared exclusively towards males. Jean Claude Van Damme, the king of straight to video, is releasing a box set this week that includes three of his movies, two of which were actual theatrical releases. In Kickboxer, Kurt Sloane (Van Damme), seeks revenge when he watches his brother (Dennis Alexio) become paralyzed by a merciless fighter (Tong Po). He seeks out training from Xian Chow (Dennis Chan), a trainer in Thailand before returning to gain revenge against Po. The movie is strikingly similar to Bloodsport, the movie that released Van Damme upon us to begin with. The second movie in this set is Replicant. Van Damme plays dual roles in this movie, the most recent one in the set. A serial killer (played by Van Damme) is on the loose. Jake Riley (Michael Rooker, Slither) is on the trail of the killer, who kills women and sets them on fire after they are dead. Once Riley retires, the NSA offers him an opportunity. They can create a replicant, or a clone of the killer to help Riley finally find the real one. Universal Soldier was out in 1992 and was set up as a pretty big deal at the time. Lots of advertising, a larger budget than most Van Damme movies, two major 80’s action stars (Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren), an up-and-coming director in Roland Emmerich proved to be a big step in Van Damme’s career. Luc Devreux (Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Lundgren) are US soldiers who kill each other in Vietnam when Devreux tries to stop Scott from massacring a friendly village. Their bodies become part of an experiment that revives them and turns them into super-soldiers. Devreux starts to have flashbacks to his past and becomes more and more human, until he finally escapes. Scott and the military are hot on his trail and he makes his way back home. I’m sure those who love Van Damme already have these, but for those who don’t or who are late for the DTV party, here you go – three for one VERY low price.

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COMING SOON: THE DVD NEWS

RenoRENO 911: MIAMI
d. Ben Grant
c. Thomas Lennon, Kerry Kenney-Silver, Robert Ben Garant, Wendi McLenden-Covey
release date: June 19, 2007

With all the talk of the eventual DVD release of The State, the alum's recent TV show’s movie spin off is also about to be released on DVD. Reno 911: Miami comes to us from Fox Home Entertainment and will be released in rated and unrated editions. While the movie sounds like nothing more than Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, the writers of this series prove that it could be a lot more than that. A terrorist act disrupts a police convention in Miami and it is up to the Reno 911 officers to save the day. I believe this is the first complete reunion by all the members of The State’s cast as well. The extras have me VERY excited. Extras on the unrated edition will include a commentary by Lt. Dangle, Deputy Junior, Deputy Wiegel and Deputy Williams, a second commentary by Deputy Garcia, Deputy Johnson, Deputy Jones and Deputy Kimball, a third commentary with Director/Writer Robert Ben Garant and Writers Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney-Silver, and extended scenes with optional commentary. Completing the package will be some Public Service Announcements, a Fox Movie Channel Presents: World Premiere feature, trailers, and more. The rated edition will not include the cast member commentary tracks. I think one of my favorite commentary tracks is the “Elvis” commentary by Bruce Campbell on Bubba Ho-Tep. These cast commentary tracks have the chance to trump that.

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darkmanTHE DARKMAN TRILOGY
d. Sam Raimi, Bradford May
c. Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand. Ted Raimi, Arnold Vosloo, Kim Delaney, Jeff Fahey
release date: August 07, 2007

Before he created the amazing Spider Man movies, Sam Raimi created a different super hero of his own. Liam Neeson stars as Darkman, a tragic hero, scarred and mentally unstable, as he seeks revenge against the men who caused his misfortune. With a synthetic skin that can replicate anyone, he sets out to track down the men who hurt him, while mourning the loss of his life and of his love (McDormand). Written partially by Raimi, Rob Tapert and Ivan Raimi, and scored beautifully by Danny Elfman, the movie is a great example of what Sam Raimi would later accomplish with a larger franchise. The movie was followed by two sequels, which are included in this 2-Disc set. In the sequels, Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy) takes over Neeson’s role and Bradford May directs them. The Darkman Trilogy includes the Sam Raimi directed Darkman, and the straight to video Darkman II: The Return of Durant, and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die. Extras are still to be announced, if there are any at all.

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FlashFLASH GORDON: THE SAVIOUR OF THE UNIVERSE EDITION
d. Mike Hodges
c. Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max Von Sydow, Timothy Dalton
release date: August 07, 2007

Universal Home Video has announced the release of Flash Gordon: Saviour of the Universe Edition. The movie might be best known for the soundtrack, completely done by Queen, and their theme song, then by the actual movie itself. Flash (Jones) is a football star who ends up battling the evil Ming the Merciless (Von Sydow), who is intent on destroying Earth and taking Dale Arden (Anderson) to be his wife. It is a nice piece of nostalgia that will be revisited this August, although the special edition looks to be missing some of the items that was on the already released region 2 DVD, including a commentary track. The extras on this edition will include a Alex Ross on Flash Gordon featurette in which world-renowned comic artist Alex Ross talks about his favorite movie of all time, Flash Gordon, and about how the film has inspired him in his life and work, a Writing a Classic featurette with screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr, and a Flash Gordon 1936 Serial Episode (chapter one of Planet of Peril).

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Little Children - $17.99
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Alpha Dog – $17.99 – Save $5 if you buy with The Hitcher
Fletch – $14.99
The Hitcher – $17.99 - Save $5 if you buy with Alpha Dog
An Officer and a Gentleman – $9.99
Van Damme Collection – $14.99
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Little Children - $16.99
Dreamgirls – $14.99
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Alpha Dog – $16.99Save $5 if you buy with The Hitcher
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The Hitcher – $16.99 - Save $5 if you buy with Alpha Dog
An Officer and a Gentleman – $12.99
Van Damme Collection – $15.99
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Little Children – DeepDiscountDVD.com - $19.15
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