November 01, 2008

Notes From A DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

It’s not quite the Christmas season yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start looking for gifts, or for things to put on your list.  Here’s some stuff that might appeal to a genre movie buff.

First up is the giant pink Jedi in the living room:  Love ‘em or hate em, the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy has been out on DVD for some time, and if you’ve just been avoiding them altogether, now is your chance to get all three movies in one.  This special edition package contains all the bonus material from the previous releases, and has a documentary that hasn’t been previously released.  If you are going to own it, this may be the way to go.
Following on the heels of this is the computer animated "Star Wars: Clone Wars" movie, which covers the events between the 2nd and 3rd prequel movies.  This one looks pretty, and features the ultimate badass, Christopher Lee as the voice of Count Dooku.  It’s pretty much worth watching,  if only in order to hear Lee chew up the audio and CGI scenery.

Speaking of wonderfully flawed eye candy, "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army," directed by Guillermo del Toro, is making its way to DVD.  This one has all the gruff Ron Perlman action you can shake a stick at, a Danny Elfman score and of course, a Moody Albino Elf-prince.  Worth seeing at least once or twice.

One movie hitting DVD in November you should not miss is the new movie from Minami Kawasaki ("The Calamari Wrestler" and "Kani Goalkeeper").  It is called "Executive Koala".  Imagine the visual stylings of "Kung Fu Hustle," directed by David Lynch, telling the story of an anthroporphic koala/salary man in the seedy jungles of Japanese office life.  Okay? You got that in your head?  Now make it ten times more weird.  Don’t miss this one.

Another absolutely weird film from Japan is Takashi Mike’s "Happiness of the Katakuris".  This movie features a hotel where the guests keep dying before they can check out, claymation, and several musical numbers.  Very different from his horror material, but equally strange.  Think "Wallace and Grommit" meet "Motel Hell". . . except Mike makes it weird. . .

The really important movie from Japan hitting DVD this month is "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time," directed by Mamoru Hosoda.  It is an animated adventure/drama about a girl who discovers she has the power to go back in time.  Miyazaki fans should not miss this one, as it is right up your alley, and as powerful as anything the old master produced. And I don’t say that lightly.  I know I’m setting the bar pretty high, but this movie is pretty damn special.

And, from the vaults of Classic American Television, I give you "The Night Gallery," finally available on DVD.  Season One is already out, and Season Two comes out this month.  Season Two has a special place in my heart because the 19th episode is the adaptation of Manley Wade Wellman’s “The Devil is Not Mocked” which features Nazis and Dracula.  Nuff said.

Till next month . . . .

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