Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Today's New DVDs- 8/18/09

Tyson: James Toback's documentary portrait of the former champ's long, hard fall is a riveting, fascinating long-form confession; Toback's stylistic choices are sometimes questionable, but it's still awfully good.

Last House on the Left (2009): When I finally saw Wes Craven's original Last House last spring, in preparation for this remake, I was rather underwhelmed; so much of it doesn't work, I had to contextualize to understand why it had made such an impact. Dennis Illiadis's remake is slicker and frankly scarier, more even in its tone. But modernized and stacked against today's Hostel-infected horror environment, it's also immediately forgettable.

Husbands: This has been the long-time Cassavetes holdout on Region 1 DVD; it wasn't included in Criterion's box set a few years back (I had to watch it on VHS when I saw it for the first time a few months back). It's a distillation of the essense of his work-- it's rambling, self-indulgent, overlong--and it's honest, raw, and devestating.

Just For Laughs- Over The Edge: The good comics are up for sets that are too short, and some of the material hasn't aged well. But there's still plenty of funny stuff here, particularly from Lewis Black and the late Mitch Hedberg.

Go (Blu-ray): When it was released in 1999, most thought of Doug Liman's Swingers follow-up as a subpar Pulp Fiction knock-off. But it's got a tremendous energy to it, and foreshadows the slam-bang aesthetic that Liman would hone in later pictures like The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. That, and the first Timothy Olyphant performance that made you sit up and say, "Who the hell is that guy?"

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