August 1, 2004

It's Couch Potato Time!

...aka DVD reviews. Nothing major - just some recommendations should Blockbuster not have your fave new release, or if you want to start a Netflix queue.

Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric - When I first saw this episode from the 1989 (and final) season of DW, I thought it was, well, pretentious crap. I had no idea what the heck was going on...thank BBC Home Video (through Warner Brothers) for not only providing the episodic version, but a reedited "Special Edition" on Disc 2, which has now convinced me that this is a flat-out masterpiece. Get this disc, watch the special edition on disc 2, and...well, I am more than willing to argue that Joss Whedon watched this constantly when he was formulating the Buffy series. This, plus all the extra goodies (including a revealing interview with Ian Briggs, the writer) make it a must-have and must-watch.

Shadow of a Doubt - According to reputation (and the testimonials on the making-of featurette), this was Alfred Hitchcock's favorite film. It's mixture of sinister happenings in small-town America make it an instant classic. It won't get the ink of, say, Vertigo or Psycho, but this shows the master of suspense at his finest.

Justice League: Starcrossed - This animated DVD, taken from the 2nd series closer, packs more character development/drama/overall action punch in 63 minutes than most Hollywood fare. It's basically a reintroduction of the Hawkman character (although not introduced as such), it's a setup for the Justice League Unlimited series to air this fall on Cartoon Network. However, don't let that stop you from getting this disc...

The Killing - The first collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and Jim Thompson, author of The Killer Inside Me, The Grifters, A Hell of A Woman, and other excellent novels. This noir masterpiece - an admitted influence on Pulp Fiction - features a racetrack robbery, a non-linear storyline, one of Thompson's best endings, and great acting. It's done something that very few movies do - makes me want to reread Thompson's books. (Also, check out their second and last collaboration, Paths to Glory - a classic antiwar film).

Founding Fathers - My mother and I kid my father, who enjoys the History Channel, because there's very little suspense. "Hey, Dad, who do you think will win World War II?" However, this documentary - focusing on the American Revolution, is very revelatory about the forces that shaped our country. (By the way, you might also want to read Founding Brothers and Walter Isaacson's biography of Benjamin Franklin - great reads, and very insightful). You will learn a lot more from this DVD than you did in history class. That's a promise.

No comments: