Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Demko's DVD shelf

To start off with anything else today would just be a crime. After years of sitting on the vault doors to keep them firmly shut, Georgie Lucas has finally released the theatrical versions of "A New Hope," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" on DVD.

These three movies have had more impact on some people than any movie ever should, but put in proper perspective they're still pretty damn good. "Empire" stands the tallest, with "A New Hope" a close second and "Jedi" beginning the slide to what would come later.

There's not much I can tell you about these you don't already know. The main thing I remember is that we were on vacation in California when "Empire" came out, and my parents gave up most of a day so my brother and I could stand in line for what seemed like forever to see it. How could you not be hooked on movies after that?

Along with the theatrical versions, of course, you'll get Lucas' bastardization of each flick, side-by-side in dual disc format. I don't think my feelings toward his reworking of these great flicks will grow any warmer, but it will be interesting to view them together (so you can, of course, see Han shoot first, then Greedo.)

The supplements for each flick include a commentary by George Lucas, Carrie Fisher and others, a XBox Playable Game Demo and Lego game trailer.

Sure, Mr. Lucas has built up some ill will by sitting on these gems for so long, but just admit it; you'll be there right beside me, gobbling these up.

"Goal!" "The Miracle Match"

"Goal! The Dream Begins" is a movie so cheesy it should never work, but somehow it does, very well. The first in a planned trilogy, it stars Kuno Becker as Santiago Munez, a soccer-mad Latino in L.A. who gets scouted to join Newcastle United in England and suddenly finds himself in a whole new world. You can feel the implausability of it all as you're watching, but if you just give in to its infectious spirit, I guarantee you'll enjoy a rousing sports flick. This would have easily been my pick of the week if not for that certain other trilogy of flicks.

Supplements include "The Beautiful Game," a featurette about world soccer; "Behind the Pitch," a making-of featurette; the Happy Mondays music video "Playground Superstar," and a "Golden Moments of the FIFA World Cup" featurette ( I can only assume this won't include Zisou's disgraceful headbutt in the 2006 final - I think we've all finally seen enough of that.)

Soccer cheese of a much more rank variety is offered up in the rather putrid "The Miracle Match," which was once titled "The Game of Their Lives." By any name, it's a lousy flick that belittles one of the greatest accomplishments in U.S. soccer history, its 1-0 victory over England in group play of the 1950 World Cup. This is indeed one of history's greatest upsets, but it's only cheapened here with horrid acting and even worse storytelling. Avoid at all costs.

Inspector Lewis

I'm a sucker for PBS' Mystery series, and Inspector Morse was always one of my favorite gumshoes. Now that he's dead, his old partner Inspector Robert Lewis (Robert Whatley) walks the beat with a new partner.

This time, he's on the case of a murder in Oxford that may have ties to an old Inspector Morse case. It's as good as almost anything in the Mystery canon, and well worth a rental.

The Office - Season Two

I can still remember watching the pilot for the American version of "The Office" and just scratching my head. For those who may have forgotten or missed it, it was pretty much a word-for-word re-creation of the British show's pilot, and was just creepy to watch. Since this misstep, the series has distinguished itself in its own right as the funniest thing on TV right now (after the death of "Arrested Development.) Steve Carell was just robbed on Emmy night for his work here.

The season two set includes 22 episodes on four discs; commentary on 10 episodes by the actors, writers, directors and producers; deleted scenes; the "Faces of Scranton" video (from the episode "Valentine's Day"); fake PSAs; Webisodes from nbc.com and a blooper reel.

"TAPS - 25th Anniversary Special Edition"

I'm sure this one doesn't live up terribly well over time, but i'm still looking forward to seeing if I like it as much as I did when I was 11 years old.

For anyone who's forgotten, this one stars Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise as military academy cadets who take control of their school after they learn it's about to be closed and sold to a real estate developer, and George C. Scott (naturally) as the academy commander. It's all pretty ridiculous, but Penn's performance definitely shows he was well on the way to becoming a one-of-a-kind screen presence.

Supplements for this special edition include a commentary by director Harold Becker; "Sounding the Call to Arms: Mobilizing the Taps Generation" featurette; "The Bugler's Cry: The Origins of Playing Taps" featurette and TV spots.

"Beavis and Butt-Head Do America- Special Collector's Edition"

I've been railing to anyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot about the shoddy treatment of Mike Judge's "Idiocracy," but that's a different subject for a different time. Today's it's all about this very funny animated adventure, in which our two philosopher kings hit the road to find their stolen TV set. It's all extremely crude, of course, but what can I say ... I liked it quite a bit.

Supplements for this new edition include a commentary by director/creator Judge and animation director Yvette Kaplan; "The Big Picture" retrospective making-of segment; "We're Gonna Score!" featurette with Judge and composer John Frizzell; "The Smackdown" montage; "Celebrity Shorts"; TV spots and teaser trailers.

But enough from me for a Tuesday morning. I hope you found something here worth watching. Peace out.


Terence Towles Canote said...

I am so happy that Lucas finally decided to release the theatrical versions of the original trilogy. I think regardless of whether one prefers the originals or the re-workings, most of us can agree the theatrical versions should be out there for our viewing pleasure. Personally, I am anxious to see them again (I don't know about Empire... or Return..., but I always preferred the original A New Hope myself.

Reel Fanatic said...

Return of the Jedi is a fine film, Mercurie, except I just can't stand those damn Ewoks!

D said...

I think that these will be Star Wars dvds that I'll finally go out and buy. I've waited so long. So very, very long.

Carrie Lofty said...

Oh Reel, that's not very original - everyone has a go at the Ewoks! I was seven when Jedi came out and the Ewoks did just fine for me. Empire is, of course, one of the best films ever made, but when my parents took me to see it, I fell asleep just after the AT-ATs. Times change, but Lucas never should have changed these, the asshat. Can't wait to own them coz then I can ditch my VCR at last!

madaboutmovies said...

I walked by a poster for "Goal" at Blockbuster over the weekend and I was only mildly interested but it looks like I may have to rent it after all.

I've decided that the time has come to invest in "The Office" dvd's. I wasn't sold on it from the first couple of episodes but I saw some re-runs the other day that nearly made me pee my pants.

Beavis and Butt-Head finally on DVD! YEY!!!!!!


Reel Fanatic said...

I know they're an easy target, Salome, but believe me, my irritation was and is genuine .. I was 13 when "Jedi" came out, just the perfect age I guess for cute to turn to annoying

Divinity said...

While I was living in London, I was constantly surprised at how many American sitcoms that I had grown up with were word-for-word rip-offs of British shows. Watching "Man About the House" was a surreal experience. I kept waiting for Robin to rip a rubber mask off ala Mission Impossible and reveal himself to be John Ritter. Sanford and Son were actually Yorkshiremen. And Friends... well, never mind.

Reel Fanatic said...

You're definitely right about that, Divinity, but The Office has really grown into an exception I think ... It has taken its own unique personality ... besides, you have to admit, Sanford and Son was just plain funny

Lori said...

Gotta love Uncle George...going for the all-time record for the most video releases of the same three flicks. Effin' jerk. But of course, like everybody else, we'll be buying them too.

Robert Frust said...

Nice blog, I don't remember a lot of the Star Wars movies, but I remember loving the scenes when Luke and Darth came face to face.

Also, thank you for a great mini-review of Hollywoodland. I've heard only good things about it and am lokking forward to sinking my cub teeth in it.
I haven't seen Chasing Amy, but I disliked Goodwill Hunting.

Robert Frust said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sadie Lou said...

Leave the Ewoks out of this! I love them. I also love those movies that are all about the Ewoks like, The Battle for Endor. That movie is cool.
I love The Office, both the BBC version and the American one. I like:
Dawn better than Pam
Dwight better than Garreth
Jim better than Tim
but both bosses are great in their own way.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think you're right about the two casts, Sadie .. if they could mix and match, it would be fantastic .. I'd definitely take over Dawn over Pam too, and Dwight is the funniest thing by far about the American show

D said...

The best thing about Star Wars Batlefront is being able to be the Empire and kill Ewoks. Not that that has anything to do with anything, but that's just the first thing I though of after hearing talk of Ewoks. Return to your civilized discussion.

Marty said...

I loved all three SW films, personally. I was a kid at the time, and he could have put Jar Jar in there and I might have liked it. Well, ok, maybe not JAR JAR. But ewoks? I never had a problem with ewoks!

Thank The Maker for the new DVD release.

RandolphG said...

What's the deal with Judge's "Idiocracy"? Was it realeased, is it to be released? "Office Space" is an all-time fave comedy of mine, after that flick you'd think he'd get a good chance on his following flicks...

Reel Fanatic said...

From what I can tell, Randy, Idiocracy, despite warm reviews from all the sources I've seen, is only being released in Judge's home turf of Austin, and then only in select cities ... what a sham

Terence Towles Canote said...

Oh, I agree. I liked Return... except for the Ewoks...

Passion of the Weiss said...

Idiocracy is the best movie I've seen all year...there needs to be an online campaign for its wider release...I just posted my review today...saw it last night...it's the most savage satire I think I've ever seen...

Reel Fanatic said...

I'll definitely sign on, Weiss ... I just read your review, and now I'm just angrier than I already was .. great review, though

Paul Adams said...

Hi Friend! You have a great blog over here!
Please accept my compliments and wishes for your happiness and success!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my dvd releases site.
Have a great day!