If it's crap ... We'll tell you
BAD LIEUTENANT (Blu-Ray)
With all the talk about this year's completely weird Werner Herzog directed, erm, re-imagining of this classic 1992 arty-exploitation crime film, I suspect many haven't even gotten around to watching the original movie. Shame on you only if you don't take advantage of its new HD upgraded edition out now. Harvey Keitel will be VERY disappointed. And does he look like the kinda guy you'd want to disappoint? Or really, have anything to do with at all?
Keitel plays the titular cop who is never even given a proper name, but boy, is he ever bad. He's addicted to about everything you can be addicted to, abuses the hell out of the street trash he deals with every day, even to the point of stealing drugs from the dealers and forcing sex on the prostitutes. This is a guy that, even when he's confronted with a chance for redemption, you just know isn't gonna have a happy ending no matter what he decides to do.
The new blu-ray has an audio commentary with director Abel Ferrara and his Director of Photography, and a multi-part retrospective documentary that interviews everyone BUT Harvey Keitel. Kinda defeats the point, if you ask me, since the movie is entirely about him. Maybe even he is so repulsed by the depths of depravity that the character he once portrayed sank to, that he couldn't bring himself to come back and talk about it. I know I felt kind of sick once the credits started to roll. It was hard to get through this incredibly tense and ugly thriller and those who have trouble with negative protagonists might want to skip this one, but be aware, you're missing a film that Martin Scorsese called the fifth best movie of the 90's. On the other hand, his fourth best film was "Eyes Wide Shut" so, you know, big grain of salt.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Bad Lieutenant (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Blu-Ray/DVD)
Way, way, WAY on the other side of the movie spectrum lies Disney's animated masterpiece, "Beauty and the Beast". The 1991 film was the first (of only two) animated films to be nominated for 'Best Picture' at the Academy Awards and is largely considered to be the top of the heap when it comes to the animation 'Disney Renaissance' of the nineties. It also began a rash of bestiality incidents across the world, as pre-teen girls everywhere became determined to turn the family dog into their own personal Prince Charming, but I'd rather not discuss such disturbing things here. Even if I did just totally make that up. I should seek help, I know.
This classic story Disneyfies the classic French fairy tale, introducing Belle (Paige O'Hara) the geek chick of her time, as she'd rather read her books than evince any interest in local boorish hero-type Gaston (Richard White), who is positively gobsmacked by her lack of worship. When Belle's father accidentally stumbles upon the enchanted castle of the frightening looking Beast (Robby Benson) in the woods, he is taken prisoner and Belle offers to exchange herself for him, a bargain if I've ever heard of one. Even with the menagerie of friendly singing servants who have been transformed into kitchenware, Belle is slow to warm to all the cool stuff in the castle, not to mention the Beast's nicer side, which melts out all over the place in a big gooey mess whenever he gets around her. So, as you might imagine, Belle is the kind of girl who walks it like she talks it: physical appearances mean little to her when true love is at stake and besides, she probably used to want to marry her horse when she was a little girl anyway. Oh, crap, did I bring it back to that again? Somebody stop me!
This new blu-ray release came pretty close to being my 'pick of the week' (but the Devil prevailed in the end) as it's a typically solid Disney upgrade. As you might expect, it's almost flawlessly spectacular in both look and sound, great care having been taken to soup it up for HD sets as much as technically possible. The set has a DVD and blu-ray copy of the film as well as an extra blu-ray disc of bonus features that include an interactive documentary as well as other featurettes about aspects of the production, various games, lots of deleted scenes, alternate takes, an entire deleted musical number, animation tests, music videos, karaoke....pretty much everything you'd need to keep your kids occupied for weeks on end and plenty to interest the more serious adult animation buffs as well.
See, I have to defend against the whole, 'what's a grown man doing watching Disney cartoons with such affection for' thing. If you don't know, the child inside you is long dead and I'm curious as to why you're reading reviews on Spill.com in the first place. Didn't the whole regular discussion of comics, genre films, video games, and even (when Leon is around) action figures clue you in?
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Beauty and the Beast (Three-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo