New on DVD (11/07/06)...
Rather than movies, for me the exciting DVDs of the week are TV sets.
First is the hysterically funny (if, at only six episodes, extremely short-lived) Police Squad. This is the series that led to the films, and all the best gags were stolen from the program. Not only is the show funnier than the films, but it doesn’t feature O.J. Simpson, so I can watch it without being weirded out.
Camp fans, meanwhile, will swoon with delight to see the typically horrible and stilted ‘70s Saturday morning live-action program Ark II hit the shelves. Brought about as an excuse to use those moronic tri-wheel trucks from the movie Damnation Alley, this show centered on a team of unitarded (and just ‘tarded) do-gooders--along with, naturally, their similarly attired chimp (!)--who roamed an ecologically blighted future American whilst teaching people Valuable Lessons. Al Gore, call Ted Turner, and get this show remade on the double!
Other TV DVDs this week include Beverly Hills 90210 S1; The Complete Harveytoons Collection (not quite complete, actually); Doctor Who: The Hand of Fate; Doctor Who: The Mark of the Rani; Grounded for Life S4; JAG S2; MASH S11; She-Ra Princess of Power S1; West Wing S7
As for movies:
First, Warners is going nuts this week. First, it’s releasing a large series of triple movie sets, all at cheap prices. I’m not going to go through all of them, but genre fans will enjoy the chance to get all three of the Larry Cohen It’s Alive movies for around $10.
Warners is also packaging a large selection of their pre-existing actor/actress/director sets, each of which themselves collect up to ten films. For not much more than $400, you can get the Mega Signature Collection, bringing together sets featuring Hitchcock, Bogart & Bacall, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Liz Taylor, Errol Flynn, Garbo, Henry Fonda, James Stewart, John Wayne, Judy Garland, Hepburn & Tracy, and Ronald Reagan. That’s got to be nearly over 125 films covered there. Wow!
Even more amazing is the Warners Mega Collection, which supposedly (although I doubt it) DVD Pacific is selling for $1,400, in lieu of the $4,250 suggested price. Maybe so, though, because Amazon has listed it for $1,900. Anyway, that set features 198 separate DVDs.
Meanwhile, hardcore film buffs will also want to keep in mind Criterion’s Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films, of 50 of the truly greatest movies ever made for about $600. If I didn’t already own a bunch of the Criterion discs covered, I’d have agnonized over buying that set myself.
Other titles this week:
Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York Costas Mandylor (the poor man’s Michael Pare) and Alexandra Paul of Baywatch fights…well, you know.
The Chairman is a cold war suspenser starring Gregory Peck as a spy in China with a bomb in his head. You know, just in case.
The Blue Max stars the A-Team's George Peppard as a WWI flying ace.
Fallen Idol: Criterion Collection Classic suspense tale about a butler put in danger during a murder investigation by his young charge’s hero worship of him.
The Fountainhead Gary Cooper (?) stars in this Ayn Rand adapation.
It’s Alive Collection All three of the killer baby movies.
James Bond Collections More even lavisher sets of the Bond films, for those who don’t mind double (or triple) dipping or didn’t buy them the first time. Warning, the sets are not in ‘order.’
Jungle Girls Pack (Diamonds of Kilimanjaro, Golden Temple Amazons, Amazonia) Three sleazy Euro jungle flicks. Jesse Franco Alert!
March of the Wooden Soldiers Beloved (by me, anyway) adaptation of Babes in Toyland, with Laurel & Hardy as workers in Santa’s toyshop. A great, very weird, movie.
Poison Ivy Collection All three of the dangerous skanks movies, including turns on Drew Barrymore and Alisa Milano.
The Seduction Camptacular (I have to assume) ‘80s stalking-murder drama starring the great thespian Morgan Fairchild.
Shockwave "Killer military robots run amok." When will they learn? Stars Michael Dorn (ouch) and Alexandra Paul of Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York.
Wordplay Another in a growing list of well received documentaries featuring some sub-culture or other; pro bowlers, Scrabble enthusiasts, spelling bee contestants, serial cinema attendees, compulsive collectors of 8-track tapes, etc. This one covers Will Shortz, the storied crossword puzzle editor of New York Times and his acolytes.