If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Whereas there were a lot of releases this week, there weren't really a lot that qualified for the BIG THREE, but the three I did pick are pretty hard to contest...
THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE (Blu-Ray and DVD)
Okay, so SOME would argue with this 2011 Lee Tamahori-helmed film being included as a Big Three, but they can go blow. We here at Spill absolutely ADORED this movie, especially Dominic Cooper's astonishing double performance. He plays both Uday, the dangerously bat-shit crazy son of Saddam Hussein, and Latif, a Iraqi forced to act as his body double. Latif doesn't like Saddam as it is, but absolutely no one likes Uday, who is a full-blown psychotic that kidnaps, rapes, and kills at the merest whim. All that keeps Latif from running away is Uday's threat that he'll use Latif's family as his new playthings if he leaves. And let me tell you, Tony Montana has got NOTHING on Uday, although it's hard not to draw the connection at points to Brian De Palma's 1983 film nonetheless. "The Devil's Double" is not for the faint of heart, as its graphic depiction of the horrors this little piece of shit committed are all the more resonant when you realize this all actually happened, and the film in fact is based on the biography of the real life Latif. Something was apparently pretty off in that gene pool. The Blu-Ray looks fantastic (it's a gorgeous looking film, to be sure) and comes with bonus featurettes about the real Latif, and on how they did some of the special effects and makeup for Cooper's unforgettable dual roles.
DOCTOR WHO: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SERIES (Blu-Ray and DVD)
It's finally here. The complete season (because the BBC likes to put these out first in segments for the biggest cash-grab) that made me finally and completely admit that new show runner Steven Moffat, really knows what he's doing. Not that it should surprise me, given his excellent track record ("Coupling", "Sherlock", "Jekyll") but after his new Doctor (Matt Smith) had a somewhat uneven first season story-wise, I was a bit worried. Season two for Smith as the universe's most dangerous man begins with one helluva start in "The Impossible Astronaut", as the Doctor's current companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), and the enigmatic River Song (Alex Kingston) are summoned mysteriously by the Doctor to Utah, where they are made to witness his death and non-regeneration at the hands of a mysterious figure in a NASA space suit, only to realize shortly after that it's a Doctor (still Smith) from the future, and that the current Doctor doesn't, and maybe shouldn't, know anything about his future demise. I know, I know, but that's the whole timey-wimey stuff; kind of confusing by it's very nature. But screw it, I'm not gonna go over this with a fine toothed comb for logical inconsistencies, as this is Doctor Who, not Star Trek, and while everything may not always piece together just perfectly, it's so much fun, colorful, and just plain mind-bendingly insane, that it's hard to get too mad about unlikely science. While trying to figure out how to stave off the Doctor's doom, they've got to deal with some new baddies, The Silence, who rival the Weeping Angels as creepiest alien race ever. That's of course just one of the things the gang has to deal with in this 14 episode season (counting the superlative Christmas Special, one of my favorites ever, which presents an Whovian version of "A Christmas Carol"), including an anthropomorphized TARDIS, double Amy Ponds (I don't see the problem), a psychotic and murderous version of River Song, Cybermen, a London with all time lines collapsing on it at once, and...Hitler. I suppose it was only a matter of time (so to speak) before the Doctor ran into him. An even better reason to buy this new complete set is, believe it or not, LOTS of new bonus features, including commentaries, "Confidential" episodes, two Comic Relief sketches, five prequel shorts, five mini-sodes, and more "Monster Files" episodes. There's LOTS of reasons to pick this series up even if you watched the show as it aired.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series [Blu-ray]
Those folks over at Criterion are clearly big Wes Anderson fans; some of his films have gotten the rare honor of getting their initial release through them, with all the trimmings, bells, and whistles one comes to expect from their high quality releases. Although Anderson's big break film, "Rushmore", didn't originally make the cut, it wasn't long before Criterion fixed their error and put out a fancy DVD edition of the dramedy. Counting amongst my favorite Anderson films, and my favorite Bill Murray films to boot, there was no way this wasn't gonna make the Big Three this week. "Rushmore" is the story of Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), an inspired and brilliant high school kid who suffers from a heightened sense of self-importance (to say the least), and poor grades, as he spends so much time devoted to extracurricular clubs, and his elaborate stage plays, that regular school work is all but ignored. All but incapable of connecting with students his own age (with the exception of his young admirer Dirk), Max forms an unexpected friendship with a local depressed industrialist, Herman (Bill Murray), who admires Max for his go-to attitude, and a gradually unhealthy attachement to Rosemary (Olivia Williams) an elementary teacher at his school. Everything gets emotionally complicated when Rosemary and Herman form their own attachment, much to Max's outraged chagrin. Rather than the 'every-kid' coming of age tales we normally see, Max is a special case, as kids often are (certainly some of our Spill fans, at least), and his makes for a unique story that Anderson fills with unexpected laughs and pathos at every turn, all set to a fantastic soundtrack (and score by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh). So what's new about this just released blu-ray version? In terms of bonus features, well, nothing, really, although all the quality stuff from the previous edition is, of course, included. But in terms of picture and sound quality? The whole thing has been completely remastered again and it is a thing of real beauty. Frankly, it's one of those films I'd gladly buy again just for that; it easily ranks as one of my favorite comedies ever (neck and neck with Anderson's next, "The Royal Tenenbaums"). His brand of bittersweet humor doesn't appeal to everyone, but even with his stylistic flourishes, I find Anderson's characters to be amongst the most realistically human of any in cinema.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Rushmore (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]