If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Another week, another stack of DVDs and Blu-Rays to sort through while making the big decision...which will you buy? While I'm sure my generous providers would rather the answer be, 'All of them', I'd advise more caution, so let's take a closer look at what your options are....
HUMAN PLANET (Blu-Ray and DVD)
You know, kids, you can't just stay inside all day and watch cartoons, movies, and television shows about superheroes and whatnot. That's entirely unhealthy. Sometimes you need to take a break and experience nature at its fullest. Thank FSM the BBC puts out these amazing documentary series like "Human Planet" so we can do that and not actually have to get up or go outside or anything. Their new 8 part series takes a look at the relationship between humans and some of the harsh environments they have adapted to survive in. Chapters cover Oceans, Deserts, Arctic, Jungles, Mountains, Grasslands, Rivers, and Cities. And begorrah....this is beautiful, haunting, unforgettable stuff to see. I mean, sure, it's way interesting and all hearing John Hurt describe how people survive by doing intensely crazy shit just so they can live off a whale shark or some such thing for an entire winter, but watching these visuals on my big wide screen HD tv in blu-ray through surround speakers...holy cow. Did I mention 4/20 was this past week? Yeah. Either way, this is one of the most gorgeous documentary series since the last major one from the BBC ("Life") and is well worth the purchase price.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Human Planet [Blu-ray]
...and then there's the rest...
BUNNY AND THE BULL (DVD)
I'm not overly familiar with the BBC cult hit series "The Mighty Boosh" and "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace", but those who are will definitely want to take notice of this first cinematic effort from one of the regular writer/directors of both of those shows, Paul King. The story follows a neurotic shut-in named Stephen (Edward Hogg) who is reliving memories of his European trip with his best friend, the wildly hedonistic Buddy (Simon Farnaby). Their trip and love triangle with their eventually added passenger, the sultry Spanish Eloisa (Veronica Echegui) take on "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" tones, as we see his memories filtered through the current environment of his home; it's hard to explain, as such surreal representations tend to be, but it's unforgettable, original, and, surprisingly, not confusing at all to follow. Most of the humor relies simply on the sheer oddness of it all, which may or may not be your thing, but the characters are endearing and likable enough to make you want to keep following their story, regardless of how bizarre the fashion is with which it's being told. Mark my words: this is a cult hit in the making. Maybe I need to go back and give "The Mighty Boosh" a second chance...
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Bunny & The Bull
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (Blu-Ray)
All that kept this from beating out "Human Planet" for being my pick of the week, was that I already had the DVD version of Terry Gilliam's masterpiece of drug culture and Americana, his adaptation of Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". Not that I was any less excited; a movie this intense visually and cerebrally deserves the type of pristine treatment that only Blu-Ray can deliver (along with Criterion's expected boat-load of extras all upgraded to 1080i as well). Certainly it wasn't a film that pleased everyone (and in fact was a bomb at the box office), but how could it be? There was no way this completely non-Hollywood-ized movie was ever going to speak but to a small percentage of the populace. Neither could Thompson's insane book, but that hasn't stopped either the book or the movie from having a dedicated and growing following over the years. The story follows Thompson (Johnny Depp) and his 'lawyer' (Benicio Del Toro) as they take every drug that existed in 1971 while on a hallucinatory and practically mythical version of Thompson's trip to Las Vegas to cover two events as paid journalist for Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated. Sorting through the mayhem is almost a puzzle, but a colorful, entertaining, and worthwhile journey exploring the American Dream and its eventual failure through Hunter's own drug-fueled trip down the rabbit hole to Americana at it's most unfiltered and pure: Vegas, baby. One of my all time favorite films. I can only feel pity for those of you who don't enjoy this as much as I do.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
THE HOLY MOUNTAIN / EL TOPO (Blu-Ray)
Okay, now this is just getting weird(er). Pretty much everything coming out this week so far requires a certain amount of either A: mild to extreme hallucinogenic substances or B: a fully warped brain, to fully enjoy. This really should have been last week's line up. But in some healthy households, it's always time to stretch the consciousness and test the boundaries of art. I can tell you right now with some amount of certainty, that no one, arguably in the entire history of film, has ever done this as challengingly and as rewardingly as the Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. While "Santa Sangre" remains my favorite of his maddeningly and violently surreal filmic investigations of religion and meaning, "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain" are the champions of his cinematic insanity. "El Topo" follows a gunfighter (Jodorosky played the role himself) on a bloody quest for meaning across the west. "The Holy Mountain", partially funded by John Lennon who was a great admirer, crosses the Tarot with Catholicism for a completely bat-shit (but awesome) exploration of, um, I'm not entirely sure, but it's well worth multiple watches to try to find out. Both are finally getting a much-needed upgrade to HD along with new extras and commentaries. Not for the light-hearted film fan (or those sensitive to extremely disturbing imagery), Jodorowski's films nonetheless are important works that you don't watch so much as study and interpret.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY El Topo [Blu-ray]
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Holy Mountain [Blu-ray]
If this seems like a short list, that's because it is, dummy! Go here for Part Two of "This Just In...New Releases for 4/26/11"...