Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Demko's DVD Shelf

Competition was tough for my pick of the week, but by a nose I had to give the nod to Jack Black and "Nacho Libre" for a singular feat: They saved my summer.

A trio of fairly awful flicks, "Poseidon," "X-3" and a player to be named later (at the end of this post), had left a really bad taste in my mouth at the beginning of this summer. The end, with "Little Miss Sunshine" and other late gems, was much sweeter, but the first great confection was "Nacho Libre."

It's no "Napoleon Dynamite," but Jared Hess' flick about the orphanage cook who just yearns to don the stretchy pants of a chupa libre wrestler is simply fun to watch, and Jack Black is as charming as he is funny.

For the initial DVD release, we get a commentary by funny men Black, Hess and writer Mike White; deleted scenes; five "behind-the-scenes" featurettes and, apparently, something involving Jack Black singing, which always works for me.

Slither

This B-movie madness from Troma vet James Gunn, which performed criminally poorly at the box office, is my runner-up for pick of the week.

What more do you need in a movie? You get superfunny Nathan Fillion, supersexy Elizabeth Banks, and Michael Rooker being consumed by some kind of really creepy slugs. I guess horror and comedy just aren't the potent mix they used to be, but it certainly worked for me.

Supplements: Deleted scenes; extended scenes; a gag reel; several featurettes, including "Bringing 'Slither's' Creatures to Life", a Slithery set tour with Fillion, a "Making Of" and "The Sick Minds and Slimy Days of 'Slither' ", plus a commentary by Gunn and Fillion.

Many, many of you apparently skipped this one in theaters, but it's definitely worth a rental.

Monster House

There were only three animated flicks I really liked this summer: "Over the Hedge," "Open Season" and this oddity, which is actually aimed more at nostalgic adults than kids.

This style of animations still kind of creeps me out, with the people looking something other than human, but the story had heart and a lot of great voice work from the likes of Steve Buscemi and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Once in a Lifetime

This doco about the crazy New York Cosmos soccer team easily gets the award this week for worst title. But with Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and a host of other soccer greats telling this story, it's well worth checking out, which I will soon seeing as it's No. 1 in my Netflix queue right now.

Highlights in the supplements are, well, soccer highlights, from the1980 Soccer Bowl: Cosmos vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, 1981 Soccer Bowl: Cosmos vs. Chicago Sting, and from Pele's farewell game. I could watch Pele play soccer all day and not get bored, so this should just be cool.

Body Heat - Deluxe Edition

When I was 11 years old, "Body Heat" was forbidden fruit, so when I finally got to see it I thought for a short time that it was just about the coolest movie in the world. Subsequent viewing has knocked that assessment down more than a few notches, but you still get Kathleen Turner and William Hurt in a better-than-average modern film noir.

And in this new edition, you'll get three new featurettes: "Body Heat: The Plan," exploring the script and the cast, "The Production," about the making of the film, and "The Post-production," focusing on the editing, the music and the theatrical release; lifted scenes, plus 1981 interview footage with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt.

Saturday Night Live: The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse

These wicked creations from the mind of Robert Smigel, really the only good reason to tune into SNL for many years now, are also my TV pick of the week.

Smigel apparently has something in the works for FOX's Sunday night animated lineup, but until then you can pick this up and get Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert as "The Ambiguously Gay Duo," "X-Presidents," "The New Adventures of Mr. T" and other favorites. It also promises some cartoons that haven't aired yet.

That's My Bush! The Definitive Collection

Can you really have a definitive collection of a show that only lasted eight episodes?

This fairly funny spoof from "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone couldn't have had worse timing, debuting as it did shortly after 9/11, but Timothy Bottoms does a very funny take on W, so I say give it a second look.

Creature Comforts - The Complete Second Season

I can only imagine that this one is timed to coincide with next week's release of "Flushed Away," but that move may backfire for the newer flick. Though it looks like a souped-up Aardman flick (as it sort of is), it won't have the wit of Nick Park.

For that, take a trip to the zoo in this stop-motion creation for the BBC. It's sometimes a little too cute, but more often very funny. Also this week, in a separate release you can get the holiday special "Creature Comforts: Merry Christmas, Everybody."

Dog of the Week

It pains me to give this title to Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff, both of whom I usually like quite a bit, but "Art School Confidential" was just plain awful. It was never as funny as it thought it was, instead opting for just being mean, and that murder plot tacked on at the end was just stupid.

Surely we will get much better offerings in the future from the men that brought us the sublime "Ghost World." The IMDB is silent on what Zwigoff is up to at the moment, but Clowes has his name attached to intriguing projects.

He is definitely writing a script based on Rudy Rucker's novel "Master of Space and Time" for director Michel Gondry (huzzah!). He's also apparently messing around with a script for a flick about those three crazy fanboys who made their own shot-by-shot remake of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

I'll definitely be keeping my eyes on these, because I'm certain Daniel Clowes can do much, much better than "Art School Confidential."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Slither. Good stuff. Nacho Libre--not my cup o' joe.
Anyway, let's talk TV, last night's GG was the first of the new season that actually felt right--Lor and Ror's phone conversation harkening back to the heyday. Comments? Concerns?

Reel Fanatic said...

I liked episode two quite a bit too, Jeremy, but last night's was also very good .. It pains me to see Rory be such a pushover, but I think that's gonna change soon, and Lorelai and Christopher are slowly starting to grow on me as a couple, but I'll need at least a few more episodes to really accept it

Annie in Austin said...

I loved 'Nacho Libre' in the theater, and will want to see the DVD, both for the movie and the extras. And after seeing previews for "The Holiday", whether the reviews are good or cruddy, I'm going! The idea of Jack Black with Kate Winslet is too much! So that part has to be fun, and Eli Wallach has a small role... Lordy that 90 year-old just amazes me -he was wonderful on Monday's Studio 60.

When "Body Heat" first hit the theaters it was a sensation, and one great date movie when seen on a big screen - I'm not sure a DVD could have quite the same effect.

Annie the garden blogger

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm not sure I will be able to sit through "The Holiday," Annie, but I'm at least with you that seeing Jack and Kate together should be fun ...

marina said...

Agreed. Slither is perhaps the best release this week (with Monster House a far second). As for "Art School Confidential"....it was such a huge disappointment!

Sadie Lou said...

I loved, LOVED Monster House. It was so damn, good. Seriously.
Sorry. Got carried away.
:)

Reel Fanatic said...

No need to apologize for getting excited about how good a movie is, Sadie