December 26, 2006
DVDs, 12/26.Following a list of lists from DK Holm, who's recently gone on a holiday viewing binge for Quick Stop Entertainment, a few more lists and DVD-related items. Though a host of DVDs are still coming out, if indeed not flooding the Christmas-decorated Borders and black-wreathed Towers, some of the better review web sites, such as the DVD Journal, are taking a holiday break, no doubt exhausted by the sheer achievement of covering over 500 new platters in the past year (the Journal will be back in action on January 2). So this becomes a time for catching up, for reflection, and for adding one's voice to the croaking chorus of year-end reviews. To the lists mentioned here at the Daily so far - Dave Kehr's for the New York Times and DVD Savant Glenn Erickson's for DVD Talk - the DVD Journal's, posted unsigned on the homepage, is a mix of the conventional and the unexpected. Top pick: Stagecoach: Special Edition ("Perhaps the year's most significant DVD release was the debut of a film that defined an entire cinematic genre"), followed in descending order by Double Indemnity: Legacy Series, Pandora's Box (in which Louise Brooks gives a "deft, restrained, effortlessly erotic performance") and an unexpected showing from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Notable comments: Junebug ("This little-seen indie comedy deserves more attention than it got, and not just because of Amy Adams's ambrosial charms in the role that earned her an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actress"), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby ("alternate materials on the DVD" show "just how hard the cast worked with their setups until they got it so perfect it's almost sublime") and Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party (in which the character actor proves to be "a naturally affable raconteur at ease telling his friends funny, epiphanal, moving, and often bizarre tales from his life"). Entertainment Weekly is the only mainstream magazine to thoroughly cover DVDs for its readers, and the magazine's reviewer, Ken Tucker, offers his list, not yet available online. It commences with Sam Peckinpah's Legendary Westerns Collection ("presents a wider, more inclusive vision of this genre than any other filmmaker's") and continues with Cary Grant: Screen Legend Collection ("the classiest act from the movies' classiest male star") and eight more. If Entertainment Weekly's list is the most streamlined and TV oriented, the DVD Savant's list is the most thorough and comprehensive of the lot. As with Kehr and the DVD Journal, Erickson mentions runners-up, but his list consists of over 100 additional titles - enough to keep any viewer fully occupied throughout the next year.
Tim Lucas introduces the Video Watchdog staff favorites: Rebecca and Sam Umland go heavily for Italian classics; Kim Newman's glad Adam Adamant Lives!; Richard Harland Smith picks several Hollywood horror classics; David Kalat's list is quite a mix; and Sheldon Inkol's #1 is Equinox, which "was the only title to appear on three different primary lists," TL adds, "followed by Sony's The Passenger, Paramount's The Conformist and 1900, and Criterion's The Complete Mr Arkadin, each of which scored twice." Tim Lucas's own list, or rather, collection of lists is quite extensive and is topped by Criterion's release of Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales. Dennis Lim in the Los Angeles Times on Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films: "[T]here's hardly a film here not worth getting to know intimately." Dave Kehr on the first results of Warner Home Video and Amazon's "DVD Decision": "Film buffs are certainly an eccentric lot, as I can personally attest, but somehow I suspect that the Warner nominees are based less on pent-up demand from video consumers than on which films with good negatives the company still has sitting around." "In many ways Bullet in the Head is the quintessential John Woo film, a picture he not only directed but also wrote, edited and produced for his own company thus giving himself a level of direct control that he had never had before and would never have again." At Twitch, Todd reviews "the new digitally remastered, all region edition from Hong Kong's Fortune Star - the very first opportunity for those outside the UK to see the film with a crisp, clean transfer and the much talked about alternate ending intact."
Posted by dwhudson at December 26, 2006 5:10 AM