Stigmata (1999)

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Stigmata (1999) Amazon
Director: Rupert Wainwright

Patricia Arquette whose work includes the great TV series Medium (nominated for 3 Golden Globes) stars in this very cool and stylish movie. Gabriel Byrne and Jonathan Pryce also star in Stigmata. I chose this primarily because I just love Patricia Arquette but, secondarily because Rupert Wainwright directed it. I wish he directed more films – we have not seen him directing nor producing in the past few years. The special features on this disc are few but good nonetheless.

    • Deleted Scenes: Father Alameda’s Suicide, Frankie and Steve get it on, Everything Goes Wrong at Work, Steve Scares Frankie, Frankie Stabs Herself, Alternate Ending
    • Director’s Theatrical Release and Alternate Ending Versions of the film
    • Natalie Imbruglia Music Video
    • Collectible 8-Page Booklet

The running commentary by Rupert is super. Except for the fact that you don’t have the option of English subtitles whilst the commentary is playing. Bad move IMO. What I really liked is the enthusiasm and love for movie making that Rupert has. He talks about the locations and how they impacted the film. In the introduction of Gabriel Byrne, he talks about how the camera work impacts our first impressions of Father Andrew. Also in the beginning of the commentary, he describes the weeping statue and how the effect was created as he does with many of the effects through out. Rupert discusses the music and how the editor Kenneth Karman brings it together for a particular scene. There is so much in the commentary. You have to check it out. He is a superb director.

The deleted scenes include: Father Alameda’s Suicide which was a discarded opening scene. There is no director commentary. Frankie and Steve get it on which sets up their relationship. Everything Goes Wrong at Work, extended version of what’s in the film. Steve Scares Frankie, showing the tension between them. Frankie Stabs Herself, deemed too graphic for release (during the possession scene). The Alternate Ending, I actually prefer the alternate ending to the theatrical release version.

The music video . . . well, it’s the music video.

The included booklet is pretty good too. A director’s introduction to the DVD. And in regards to the alternate ending he states: “I felt strongly that you — the home audience — would appreciate the chance to decide for yourselves which you prefer.” For me, I did prefer the alternate ending. In this booklet are: Stigmata: of Science or Miracles?, The Holy Inquisition, Power, Passion and Possession, Not Looking to a Saint, Byrne’s Confession, Divine Power . . . for a Pryce, The Lost Gospel of St. Thomas, Resurrecting an Un-Dead Language, Provocative Style for a Controversial Film, and Let’s be Frank. They are short pieces as the booklet is only 5 pages long.

Have you ever heard of an “Easter Egg?” That’s what hidden special features on DVD’s are called. You can find a lot of them online. There is one for this film too. Go to the disc’s main menu and there press the ‘arrow up’ key on your remote control (or computer keyboard) to highlight the circle on top of the Stigmata logo. If you press ‘Enter’ now, you will see a very cool Pre-Production Animatic piece of the subway scene that the folks from MGM have hidden there.

This DVD has something for everyone. I’m giving it 4 of 5 stars because there is no sub title during the commentary and there are so few extras. Directors and actors will like this DVD the most.

I give it ★★★★☆

Victor

Contact (1997)

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Contact (Snap Case) (1997) Amazon
Director: Robert Zemeckis

One of my all time favorite movies. I must have watched this DVD a hundred times. The special effects are truly wonderful. A special place in my heart as I was once a 3D computer graphics and animation specialist working for big studios and small companies.

It stars Jodie FosterMatthew McConaughey, and Tom Skerritt. And is based on the book by the eminent astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, and author Carl Sagan.

There are a numerous extras on this disc.

    • Cast and Crew (text based feature)
    • From Novel to Screen (text based feature)
    • Creating a Fantastic Event (text based feature)
    • The Message (text based feature)
    • Constructing the Pod (text based feature)
    • Alien Encounters
      • Audio Commentaries
      • The Special Effects (all videos)
        • The Making of the Opening Shot
        • The Making of the NASA Machine Destruction
        • The Making of the Harrier Landing
        • High Speed Compositing Reel
      • Computer Animated Concepts (short videos)
        • The Machine Fly-By
        • Hadden’s Plane
        • NASA Control Room
      • Theatrical Trailers
      • Special Edition Credits

The Jodie Foster running commentary is a great piece for the student of acting. Her comments are thoughtful and concise. She talks about the art of acting, a bit of reminiscing, thoughts on the production, motivations, etc . . . She describes the talent and skill of Zemecks, the amazing talents in the SF/X crew, and her cast members. It was great to hear her talk about her experiences (be sure to have subtitles on so you can follow the story as Jodie talks). During the scenes of her in the shaking pod, she describes how sick it made her and she even got vertigo because of it (she did multiple full days of being shaken in those chairs).

The Robert Zemecks and Steve Starkey running commentary is mostly reminiscing but there are a few gems in there too. What I did like was the bits of analysis describing the motivations of the actors in their portrayals. But, IMO, it was uninspiring as these two show no enthusiasm for their craft. They sounded like a director and a producer who had done a few too many films. May be it’s just me . . .

The running commentary by Ken Ralston and Stephen Rosenbaum was the best extra on the disc. They describe in detail the processes for all of those absolutely incredible special effects in this ground breaking film. The opening sequence (completely CG BTW) was purely theoretical as we don’t really know what’s actually out there! But, relying on their own research and the artistry of John Lomberg (who was Carl Sagan’s primary illustrator for his books and the series), they did an astounding job. So much of what they did to make this film the best they possibly could is truly amazing. I really liked the fact that these guys are passionate about their craft.

Under Alien Encounters subhead: The Special Effects, Ken and Stephen talk about the opening scene in detail. This is a 20 minute extra feature. It took 6 to 8 weeks to choreograph the fly-through sequence alone. It’s a 3 minute long SF/X sequence. 4,710 frames, 117,384.16 hours of CPU time, 98 layers in the composite! You also get to see some of the source material used in their research. There is a cool wireframe animatic which was used for the timing, rhythm and transition choreography and they walk us through it in great detail. The remaining three features under “The Special Effects” are equally impressive.

Under Alien Encounters subhead: Computer Animated Concepts, Tim Wilcox talks about and shows a fly-through animation of “The Machine” which he worked on. He also takes us through the development of Hadden’s plane interior. In the NASA Control Room feature he gives a very brief description of the work done here.

Aside from the director & producer commentary, I loved it. The SF/X artist, the student producer, and even the actor will appreciate the many features on this disc.

So, I’d say you have to check out the extras on this DVD.

I give it ★★★★★

Victor

Hard Candy (2006)

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Hard Candy (2006) Amazon
Director: David Slade

The controversial movie of the year. And Ellen Page’s masterful acting role. So, I saw this movie in a good sized Seattle theater and sadly I was the one of two people in the audience. It won 5 awards and 9 nominations but, looks like it only broke even. No matter—onto the extras.

One of the best extra feature sets I’ve seen. Thanks to the detailed commentary by a very articulate director David Slade.

Special Features

    • Commentary by director David Slade and writer Brian Nelson
    • Commentary by actors Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page
    • “Creating Hard Candy” featurette
    • “Controversial Confection” mini-featurette
    • Deleted and extended scenes
    • DVD-ROM: Production notebook (PC only)
    • Theatrical trailer

The best extra on this DVD is hearing David Slade talk about the twists and turns of making a quality movie on a low budget. Really fascinating stuff. 18 days for production and a one million dollar budget. He goes into all aspects of the craft that is film making. Two of my favorite cool things talked about is the fact that the film was made on Super 35 (which is basically 35mm sized stock using lenses made for 35mm film, but the image is cropped FROM the 35mm format) and the genius work of Jean-Clement Soret the colorist on the film. Love it when film makers push and pull technology to create art.

The running commentary by Patrick and Ellen is pretty much reminiscing about their time on the set. They do talk about the performances and the production of the movie. If you are big fans of these two actors, it is a nice extra feature.

The running commentary by David Slade and Brian Nelson is totally awesome, IMO. David does not miss a single aspect of movie making. And he goes into great detail with many of them. The cinematography, the production design, the scripting, the acting, and so much more. Really one of the best commentaries I’ve seen.

Too bad the Production Notes on the DVD-ROM is not supported by MAC OSX. BUT, it is accessible on a PC. And it is the best presentation of production notes ever. You get the entire 149 pages of the script on the right and on the left all the director’s notations and they are synchronized so as you flip to the next page of the script you get to see the corresponding director notes on the left. Very nice stuff.

The “Creating Hard Candy” featurette is presented by David Higgins Producer, Brian Nelson, David Slade, and the actors. A real treat – you’ll love it. And it is broken down into the following chapters:

    • Introduction
    • An independent idea
    • Casting
    • A Director’s visual style
    • Produciton
    • Post Production
    • Marketing and Release

The “Controversial Confection: The Soul of Hard Candy” mini-featurette is a nice 8-1/2 minute piece. David Slade, David Higgins, and Patrick talk about the controversial nature of the film’s wild plot. I especially liked Patrick’s view on his character.

After seeing the extras on this DVD you have got to give props to Patrick’s skill and dedication as an actor, David Slade’s incredible directing talent, the amazing writing skill of Brian Wilson, the heart and dedication of David Higgins as a producer, and the supreme acting talent of Ellen Page.

So, I’d say you have to check out the extras on this DVD.

I give it ★★★★★

Victor

English Vinglish – Hindi (2012)

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English Vinglish Hindi 2 DVD Collector’s Edition (2012) Amazon
Director and Writer: Gauri Shinde

Indian cinema – Hindi Movies are amazing (especially Bollywood Movies IMO). I am not totally sure but, I think this movie English Vinglish was produced for the USA market. This is one of my favorite movies as of late. Sridevi is terrific  There is good use of subtitles and the extras are pretty cool.

The main characters in this movie are: Sridevi as Shashi Godbole, Adil Hussain as Satish Godbole, and Mehdi Nebbou as the Frenchman Laurent. All get a bit to say in the extras.

The extras features on this 2 DVD disc set are:

    • Music Videos (disc 1)
    • Previews of other EROS International Hindi movies (disc 1)
    • Censor Certificate Trailer
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Behind the Scenes
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Sweet Gay
    • Girls Always Problem
    • Missed You Mamma
    • Gauri’s first short film – Oh Man!

You can “play all” of these extras on Disc 2. There are about 25 minutes worth. The Censor Certificate Trailer is a little strange, a little cute, and a little long. Sridevi reads a wall sized English/Hindi worded certificate, in character. You get a lot of behind the scenes footage and you can tell the actors had much fun on the set. Most all of it is in English.

These extras are aimed at fans of the movie and probably fans of Gauri Shinde. Yet, I think there might be something for the independent film director and something for  actors in these special features.

On Disc one you’ll find 6 music videos using clips from and about the movie and they are  set to the original music. Lots of fun.

This particular edition is an all region set. This is the Hindi version. There is a Tamil version at Amazon as well.

So, I’d say you still have to check out the extras on this DVD.

I give it ★★★☆☆

Victor

The Matrix (1999)

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The Matrix (1999) Amazon
Director: Andy WachowskiLana Wachowski

The classic movie. The first and original—and the best in my opinion. You know the main characters: Neo (Keeanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) and Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). Although this is an ancient movie (technologically speaking), 1999 after all, the most interesting extras on this DVD are in the effects stories. You have to remember that most of the effects are primarily “practical effects”, unlike today, where they are mostly CG. What they were able to accomplish is truly astounding.

    • HBO: Making The Matrix
    • Running Commentary
    • Cast and Crew
    • Music Only Track
    • Follow the White Rabbit
    • Take the Red Pill
      • “What is The Concept?”
      • “What is Bullet-Time?”
    • DVD ROM PC
      • “Are You the One?”
      • Screenplay and Storyboards
      • 7 Special Essays and Articles
      • “Do you know Kung-Fu?
      • Trailers
      • Website

Under Cast and Crew, several of the main characters are highlighted in text notation. Career, public life, movie listings, etc… these tidbits are referred to as the “Data Files.” Pretty boring IMO. 

“The Dream World” is your access point into the extras. It features a running commentary by Carrie-Anne Moss, John Gaeta (visual effects supervisor), and Zach Staenberg (film editor) and a featurette called “Making the Matrix.” I don’t quite know how to categorize this commentary. It had a mix of stories about the production, remembrances of influences used to develop the movie. Not too much into the technical realm, but enough to keep me interested. Carrie-Anne chimed in on occasion. Mostly it was John and Zach doing the talking.

By clicking on the red pill you will be taken to the first of two features: “What is Bullet-Time?” a special effects video examination of the technique, setup, equipment, etc… You’ll see the entire process with “behind the scene” footage and you also hear about the problems and limitations encountered while developing the techniques. In particular you get an in depth view of the revolutionary camera rig setup and compositing technique. Very cool stuff.

The second feature is “What is The Concept?” Click here for Google Links. It features an 11 minute piece with “storyboards to film” analysis. You’ll see many of the models, CG effects, and stories behind the “Concept.” You get a very good sense of the process that takes the film maker from concept sketches, to animatics, from pre-visuals to wireframes, to fully rendered footage. It does not have any narration (sadly missing, IMO).

Now, in “Making the Matrix” you have a 30 minute video commentary featuring the directors, producers, actors, and production personnel talking about the movie. It is really cool. You get a lot of great “behind the scenes” video, a sense of what it was like on the set, and some of the excellent story boarding. It was very important to have the actors do as much as was possible in their stunts, including the fight scenes — no CG. You get to see Woo-ping Yuen in action training Keeanu.

There is a Music-Only track with commentary by music composer Don Davis. He talks about the process he goes through and why he composed in a certain way and what effect he was going for. Be sure to turn on the subtitles while you view this extra feature (there are a lot of blank areas in his commentary—as it probably should be, I guess).

Follow the White Rabbit is a feature that shows a pop of a white rabbit icon where ever there is “secret” footage related to the scene.

The  DVD-ROM features (file:///E:/WHV/INDEX.HTML) features:

    • Launch to the Matrix Events (defunct links to Special DVD Web Events)
    • The One (Are you really the one?)
    • Alternate Realities (Essays Inspired by the Matrix)
    • Programmed Realities (Screenplay and Storyboards, Do You Know Kung-Fu)
    • Original Theatrical Website (defunct link)

Of the 5 chapters in the DVD-ROM; only Essays Inspired by the Matrix (found in Alternate Realities) and Screenplay and Storyboards (found in Programmed Realities) are of any real value – mainly because of expired links.

In Alternate Realities, you have 7 chapters to explorer— essays all in text.

      1. Essays on Martial Arts found in Everybody Loves Kung-Fu Fighting,
      2. Comic Books in the Cinema found in From Script to Screen,
      3. Science Fiction Films found in Infinity and Beyond, an article by Herbert Muschamp for the NY Times called If the City is Only a Dream (the link does not work so click here for the article),
      4. An article by Edward Rothstein for the NY Times called A Hacker’s haunting Vision of a Reality Within Illusion (the link does not work so click here for the article), 
      5. Maximizing the Matrix by N’Gai Croal for Newsweek, Popular Metaphysics by Richard Corliss for Time

Screenplay and Storyboards gives you the script on the right side, and storyboard sequences to flip through. At the bottom are thumbnails of the 38 storyboards you get to interact with. Most of the functionality is still there with  the exception of the non working video clips.

On the left navigation panel there are links to several Warner Bros. sites but they are not accessible from this menu. There is one interesting one called the Matrix Code. It plays a loop of the screen showing those green characters flowing down the screens in the movie. Does it say something? I don’t know if there is a secret hidden message in them – you may need to know how to read the matrix!

So, I’d still say you have to check out the extras on this DVD. It has something for everyone. I’m giving it 4 of 5 stars only because technology has move forwards quite a bit nowadays and the running commentary while enjoyable it is not “educational.”

I give it ★★★★☆

Victor

Sunshine (2007)

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Sunshine (2007) Amazon Director: Danny Boyle I love this movie. The imagery is fantastic, the storyline is fascinating, the acting is incredible, the directing is spot on, the production is perfection. The casting is great. It stars: Cillian Murphy as Capa, Chris Evans as Mace, Michelle Yeoh as Corazon, Hiroyuki Sanada as Kaneda, Cliff Curtis as Serle as more. Anything Danny Boyle directs is way up there for me. This movie did not do well at all at the box office. Too bad. I think it was just not marketed correctly.

    • Deleted Scenes with Danny Boyle
    • Alternate Ending
    • Web Production Diaries
    • Two Short Films with Intro by Danny Boyle
    • Audio Commentary by Danny Boyle (Director)
    • Audio Commentary by Dr. Brian Cox (University of Manchester)

Man, Danny Boyle LOVES movies. This guy is really enthusiastic . . . or may be just a few too many espressos. But, seriously, the running commentary by Danny is rich with insight into the craft of directing.

The deleted scenes are terrific. There are several scenes shown and discussed. Danny narrates each scene with details about the making of the scene, how it was to fit into the movie, and why it was eventually cut. Including an alternate ending. You also have the option of turning off the commentary for these deleted scenes.

As much as I liked the running commentary with Danny Boyle, the second running commentary with Dr. Brian Cox is even more fascinating. Did you know that the Sun burns 600 million tons of fuel per second!?!? For me this extra feature is worth the price. Separating science fiction from science fact gives you a whole new appreciation for this movie and every other science fiction movie you’ll ever see.

The two short independent films are introduced by Danny and he explains having them on the extra features of the DVD allows such films to be distributed where they would not see any sort of distribution at all. A really nice concept.

Now. The best extra feature is the Web Production Diaries. Here you get to watch interviews from several of the cast and crew. Some are funny, revealing, educational, all are very interesting. Danny introduces this extra feature and it includes, amongst others, Hiroyuki, Cillian, a piece about Pre Visualization techniques, the Science of the Sun with Brian, Zero Gravity Flight, etc…

This DVD has something for everyone. From students of directing, production and actors, it is a must have DVD.

So, I’d say you have to check out the extras on this DVD.

I give it ★★★★★

Victor

Everlasting Moments (2008)

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Everlasting Moments (2008) Amazon
Director: Jan Troell

This has quickly become one of my favorite DVDs. Ever since the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series came out, I’ve begun to revisit Swedish movies and this one is a gem. Here is the plot in brief: “Sweden, early 1900s – an era of social change and unrest, war and poverty. A young working class woman, Maria Larsson (played by Maria Heiskanen), wins a camera in a lottery. The camera grants her the eyes to view the world, and empowers her over several decades to raise and nurture her family of six children and an alcoholic, womanizing and sometimes violent, although ultimately loving, husband Sigfrid Larsson (played by Mikael Persbrandt).”

The performances and the direction are superlative. Jan is an amazing Swedish director. I think if you are a student of film making the extras are a must view.

Extras are on disc two. The first disc contains the new HiDef digital transfer movie.

  • New high-definition digital transfer
  • Jan Troell’s Magic Mirror, an hour-long documentary about Troell’s life
  • “Troell: Behind the Camera” Short documentary on the making of Everlasting Moments
  • “The True Story of Maria Larsson” Documentary featuring photographs by the real Maria Larsson along with narration
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Armond White

Troell Behind the Camera is a wonderful documentary featuring Jan and most of the principle actors. jan talks about his thought process during production and before production giving you a bit of insight into his directing style. It is filled with on set videos showing cast and crew working. He also goes into the editing room as he makes critical decisions with his editor.

The True Story of Maria Larsson. As narrated by her distant relative Agneta Ulfsater-Troell and features the actual photos taken by Maria. She talks about the people, the places, the times in which Maria and her family lived.

Troell’s Magic Mirror is a documentary on the work and life of the director Jan Troell. It is fairly long at some 60 minutes, but it really shows the breath and significance of this international film maker.

It helps if you speak Swedish to get a more clear understanding, but the subtitles are a welcomed feature!

Along with this Criterion Collection DVD is a wonderful booklet by Armand White (film critic for the New York Press).

So, I’d say you have to check out the extras on this DVD.

I give it ★★★★★

Victor

Ghost (1990)

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Ghost (1990) Amazon

Director: Jerry Zucker

What a classic movie. The late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn, Whoopi Goldberg, and others make up a fantastic acting team. All the performances were incredible. The movie won 2 Oscars, 15 wins and 24 nominations.

  • “Ghost Stories: The Making of a Classic” featurette
  • “Inside the Paranormal” featurette
  • “Alchemy of a Love Scene” featurette
  • “Cinema’s Great Romances”
  • Photo gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Ghost Stories: The Making of a Classic”is a 13 minute long extra featuring Jerry Zucker, Bruce and the the principle actors. A special thanks goes out to Lindsay Doran who brought the Ghost script to Jerry’s attention. There is a funny story about it where Bruce Joel Rubin (the screenwriter) cringed at the thought of Jerry directing his movie (Jerry was known for the “Naked Gun” series of comedies. Patrick, was another seemingly odd choice for the role of Sam Wheat. But, Patrick knew it was a great role despite its original characterization and Jerry eventually came around to seeing the potential. Patrick was the driving force behind Whoopi getting the part. You hear stories about how the movie came about and clips featuring short interviews and clips from the movie itself. It is a nice extra feature. Actors will like reviewing this piece.

“Inside the Paranormal” is a 7 minute extra which features several spiritual medium/psychics talking about their gift and what it is like. Interspersed throughout are clips from the movie. One of the more famous psychics is James Van Praagh.

“Alchemy of a Love Scene” This was all about the famous pottery scene with remembrances by Patrick and Demi, Bruce and several others. Wow, Demi was so young, so different than she is now. Very interesting hearing her talk. They also talk about the music. In particular, “Unchained Melody” and its role in the scene. Bruce talks about how this scene changed the script. How the sensuality of this pottery making scene negated the need for the original “love making” scenes.

The extra feature: “Cinema’s Great Romances” is presented by AFI Historian, executive editor, and author Patricia Hansen introduces cinema’s greatest love stories. Also featured in this 20 minute extra feature is Professor of Critical Studies at USC Drew Casper (amongst others). many movie greats are examined from A Place in the Sun, to Love Story, from Harold and Maude to Roman Holiday and many other greats.

What really interested me was the fact that such a movie had so many great companies behind it. Companies like Richard Edlund (Boss Films), Bruce Nicholson (Industrial Light and Magic), John T. Van Vliet (Available Light Ltd.), Maurice Jarre (Conductor). I don’t know, for some reason it was a great surprise to me. Did you know Maurice has 167 conductor credits in IMDB.com?

There is a newer release of this DVD (2013). It has 2 discs. But, I don’t know what is on it. Perhaps, the extra disc contains a digital copy.

So, I’d say you still have to check out the extras on this DVD.

I give it ★★★☆☆

Victor

RoboCop (20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) (1987)

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RoboCop (20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) (1987) Amazon
Director: Paul Verhoeven

On this 20th anniversary edition disc set you’ll find both the theatrical version and director’s cut. There is no running commentary for the director’s cut. However, there is for the theatrical version.

  • Villains of Old Detroit
  • Special Effects: Then and Now
  • RoboCop: Creating a Legend
  • Flesh + Steel: The Making of RoboCop
  • Shooting RoboCop
  • Making RoboCop
  • Storyboard  Comparison

RoboCop: Creating a Legend. Fabulous commentary featuring Peter Weller, Paul, and Jon Davison (executive producer), et al. Terrific insight into what Peter had to go through to develop his part. A lot of the extra focuses on the RoboCop suit/costume and how it affected the performance, the character, Peter’s transition to and into the character. Actors will love this extra.

Special Effects: Then and Now features William Sandell (production designer), Rocco Gioffre (Matte Painter), Paul Verhoeven (director), the great Phil Tippett (ED-209 sequences creator), and Craig Davies (ED-2000 creator & designer) in the commentary. It is a great extra. You have to remember this movie was in production in the mid-eighties so stop animation with maquettes, hand painted back plates, practical models. Wow. What a craft it was. Lots of details on the full size ED-2000.

Villains of Old Detroit Features. Great 5 minute extra for actors. You’ll have some good fun and insight into character motivation and you’ll have a good laugh at the “bitches” portion. You’ll just have to see it. Poor Paul.

With the audio commentary (theatrical version only) you get to hear Paul, Edward Neumeier (writer), and Jon Davidson talk about the production of the movie. Paul talks about this being his first action movie, the problems with the violence and ratings, lots of anecdotes. These guys really have been drinking too much coffee. Non stop talking for the entire movie. Luckily, its all about the movie! You get a chance to hear what was going on in the minds of these guys on this landmark movie.

Flesh + Steel: The Making of RoboCop. Paul Sammon (RoboCop expert), Jon Davidson, et al. Paul really finds his “over-the-top groove” with this film. It talks about the how Paul came to this movie and how Peter came to become the star of the film. “A satire of the Regan (Ronald Regan and his Starwars years)” It actually encapsulated the entire 80s IMO. Paul talks about how the crucifixion and resurrection played into the story.  Basil Poledouris (original music) talks about the music produced for the movie.

Miguel Ferrer (Bob Morton) introduces the extra Shooting RoboCop in character. Ed Neumeier, Kurtwood Smith (Clarence Boddicker), Miguel , Peter, Dale Martin (special FX), and others add commentary during the shoot with behind the scenes footage. Making RoboCop is very similar but more like a making of trailer (albeit 8 minutes long).

One of the better storyboard comparison extras. Phil Tippett describes, in detail, many of the special effects storyboards (overlaid onto the actual footage).

Five raw deleted scenes (but no commentary! – disappointed). And there are a few other  bits and pieces. None worth mentioning.

So, even though only the theatrical version has a commentary track, I’d still say you have to check out the extras on this DVD. It has something for everyone.

I give it ★★★★★

Victor

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010)

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Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (2010) Amazon
Director: Mat Whitecross

The biopic of Ian Dury his life, his band (The Blockheads), the iconic, pioneering and eclectic British rock/punk performer. This his official website: http://www.iandury.co.uk/

  • My Tribeca Story with director Mat Whitecross
  • An interview with the team
  • Audio commentary
  • Deleted scenes

The running commentary is easy to listen to considering the subject matter. Director Mat Whitecross, actor and star of this film Andy Serkis, writer Paul Viragh, and producer Damian Jones contribute to this commentary. So, what you get is a light conversation about their remembrances of the movie, their thoughts on how to bring the story to life, the craziness of the characters (in real life – not the actors), and the difficulties of creating an independent movie. If you are familiar with the Blockheads and Ian Dury you like the extras on this DVD.

The extra named “My Tribeca Story” seems more like an advert for the Tribeca Film project. Mat talks about some of the craziness of getting this film made. Only a couple of minutes long, but it is cool nonetheless.  the The extra named “An interview with the team” also seems more like a trailer. Mat, Andy, and Paul all chime in for this 2 minute extra feature.

“Deleted scenes” is pretty cool. It only shows two deleted scenes but, they are quite revealing though there is no director voice over on this extra, they do talk about them in the running commentary.

One big problem for me with this release is the lack of movie subtitles when you are listening to the running commentary. A “must have” in my opinion.

So, I’d say you still have to check out the extras on this DVD. Especially if you are a fan of British Punk or just a fan of independent movies.

I give it ★★★☆☆

Victor