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“Torchwood: Miracle Day”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) & Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) are back! After the disbandment of Torchwood, following the events of Children of Earth, Jack Harkness found himself wondering the galaxy looking for answers, if not forgiveness, and Gwen and her husband Rhys moved to an isolated cottage in Whales to raise their daughter away from the madness of the world. It was only a matter of time until an unforeseen event would undoubtedly bring these two together again, and that event came to be known as “Miracle Day.” It’s the day where no one died. Not a single person. All across the globe, the sick and injured continued to live. And the next day, and the next, and the next, it’s as if the entire planet had become immortal over night. Well, not the entire planet. The earth’s one immortal man from the future, Captain Jack Harkness, finds that he is once again just a mere mortal man, and that whoever, or whatever is behind the miracle wants Torchwood out of the picture once and for all.

The concept behind Torchwood: Miracle Day is great! It really makes you realize just how fast our systems and governments would start to fall apart if an event like this were to ever actually happen. The camps and the treatment of the undead, or “Category Ones” as they’re called on the show, would be unreal! It’s funny to think about just how quickly the rich and powerful can adapt to creating a system that would benefit their needs and interests. Did I say funny? I meant sad.

As great as the story is, one might say, and when I say “one” I mean a Doctor Who fan, that the story is far too big of an event for the Torchwood team to handle alone, and I agree. I think something of this scale would warrant the Doctor’s attention, but that’s just merely a nerd’s gripe. My biggest problem with the show is that that it took ten episodes to tell this story. It really only should have been about six. I understand that creator Russell T. Davies wanted to have the story unfold in a very true and believable manner, but this series was introducing the Torchwood franchise to a much wider U.S. audience, and I think it ultimately hurt them in the long run. With that being said, I really like that they didn’t just reboot the show in America the same way they did with Being Human or Skins. I’m really glad that they just simply created a story that would bring the surviving Torchwood team members to the States. The new American cast members were also outstanding! Bill Pullman’s portrayal of the murdering pedophile Oswald Danes is amazing! The show truly captures the way the media today can turn a disgusting monster into a media poster child. Speaking of the media, Lauren Ambrose’s portrayal of the public relations consultant, Jilly Kitzinger or is it Lucy Statten Meredith now (a little inside joke for those of you that have already seen Miracle Day), makes you realize just how soulless the profession can be at times, and yet she’s still somehow likeable. Mekhi Phifer and Alexa Havins effortlessly gel their way into the team dynamic of Torchwood. And Barrowmen and Myles are as strong as ever! It’s really great to see just how far Gwen Cooper has developed as a character over the last few years. Torchwood: Miracle Day might not be the strongest of the series’ ventures, but it’s definitely worth checking out!

Rating:

 

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Astonishing X-Men: Gifted
a review by Darby O’Gill

When I first got my screener copy of Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, I was really excited to watch it, but then I quickly realized it wasn’t an animated movie of the hit comic book series, but rather a motion comic on DVD. For those of you completely lost right now, I’ll take a moment to clarify; a motion comic takes the original art from the comic books and manipulates the images into a somewhat animated format. With the addition of voice talent, the comics come to life… Well, as much alive as they can, when they’re not being fully animated. As you can probably tell, I’m not that big of a fan of motion comics, which pretty much catches everybody up. So as I was saying, when I found out that Astonishing X-Men: Gifted was a motion comic, I was really disappointed. And, that would probably be the end of this review, if I hadn’t received this DVD as a screener. But, luckily I did. And because of that, I made myself sit down and give it a fair chance.

When a so-called “mutant cure” is developed, the X-Men find themselves once again battling against science, prejudice, a newfound alien threat and not to mention themselves. I was already a really big fan of the Joss Whedon penned comic book series when it first came out, and knew that the story would be fantastic, but I still didn’t think it would be strong enough to save it. So, I sat down and decided to watch at least two out of the six, almost fifteen-minute episodes, and before I knew it I was on episode five. Okay, I was wrong. Not about motion comics. I’m still not a big fan, although in this series they did start to grow on me. No, I was wrong about the writing not being strong enough. It was the story that made me want to keep watching them, and I think the longer you watch them the easier it is to get into the motion comic aspect of it all. There’s only one thing I would like to see different on the next volume of this series, and that is a play all, which this DVD has, but you still get the open and close credits popping up every fifteen minutes. I realize that the biggest market for motion comics is on the iPhone and iPad as downloadable content, and the episodes are pre-packaged as fifteen minute shorts with those downloads in mind, but a play all with no interruptions would probably be a nice selling point for the DVD sales. Just an idea. I know, I would have enjoyed not seeing those end credits every ten minutes. Surprisingly, I find myself looking forward to the next release in this series, and I’m glad I gave this one a chance. I must say it did surprise me.

Rating:


DVD Special Features:

  • A Conversation with Joe Quesada and Neal Adams
  • Behind-The-Scenes Look at Marvel Knights Animation
  • Visual History of the Characters
  • “Rise Up” Music Video
  • Trailers
  • And More!

The interviews and behind-the-scenes footage does manage to give you a better idea of the reasons for making a motion comic, but I personally would have liked to have heard from Joss Whedon somewhere on the special features. It would have been great to hear how he came up with the story idea, and his thoughts on the way his story came to life through the use of the motion comics. Oh well, maybe next time.

DVD Special Feature Rating:


“Wesley Willis’s Joy Rides”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Many of you probably have never heard of Wesley Willis, but I do know there are a healthy handful of you out there that do. For those who don’t, Wesley Willis was an artist, a poet, and even a rock star. You could even say he could really whip a horse’s ass. At first glance Wesley may have seemed like nothing more then a homeless chronic schizophrenic, but for those of us who took a moment to take a look closer, we got to see an amazing human being that never let his lot in life get in the way of his dreams. Wesley Willis’s Joy Rides is a documentary, I’m sorry “It’s a Rock You Mentary,” about the life and times of the Fabian Road Warrior himself. The really nice thing about this film is that they don’t just focus on his music and the cult following that followed, but they also spent a great deal of time showcasing his artwork, which is quite outstanding. My only problem with this film is that it seemed to lack a solid structure. We just seem to hang out with Wesley, which is cool, but I would have just liked a little bit more of a narrative on his life. The documentary does have moments like this, but I think a little more insight would have brought this film to the next level.
I’ve been a fan of Wesley’s since college, and I even got to see him perform at a small venue in Columbus, Ohio. To this day, I’m so glad I didn’t let that opportunity pass me by. In the last eight years here in Los Angeles, I’ve been able to see a lot of amazing performances, by some of the biggest names in music, in a room of maybe ten people, and to this day seeing Wesley still tops a lot of those moments. I’m proud to say I was head bunted by Wesley Willis one night at Bernie’s in Columbus. This documentary may not mean that much to you if you’re new to the world of Wesley Willis, but for those of us that do remember him, this movie is a must see. Say Rah… Say Raow… And, you just made Wesley very happy wherever he might be right now. The world is a better place having had you in it big guy.

Rating:


DVD Special Features:

  • Photo Album
  • Art Gallery
  • Deleted Scenes
  • “The Dead and the Dying” Short Film featuring Wesley Willis
  • Audio Conversation Clip

Not a ton of special features, but what it does have is pretty good. The art gallery is fantastic! It’s really great to be able to freeze the images on your television screen to see all the amazing details in his drawings. There’s a healthy helping of deleted scenes, and a really bad short film called “The Dead and the Dying,” featuring Wesley for all of a minute; but it’s a nice thing it have. I’m not really sure of the reason for including the eight minute audio conversation clip, but it’s there if you want to listen to it.

DVD Special Features Rating:



“Trick ‘r Treat”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s Halloween night, a night full of tricks and treats. Well, mostly tricks. But, the real treat is finally getting Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat released. I know it’s not the theatrical release we were all hoping for, but it is finally out on DVD. In the spirit of Creepshow, Trick ‘r Treat takes four tales from one Halloween night and intertwines them into one fantastic story. It’s like Robert Altman and Wes Craven had a baby, and named it Trick ‘r Treat. Take a high school principal moonlighting as serial killer, a young woman searching for the perfect date, a childish prank that ends with disastrous consequences, and an old man that learns the true meaning of trick-or –treat, and what you have is one hell of a ride. Trick ‘r Treat was made in 2007, and spent two years just trying to get into theatres. It was receiving rave reviews at all the horror festivals, but for some reason Warner Brothers just didn’t believe in it enough to put it in theatres. It’s sad really. Great movies like this have to fight to see the light of day, but pieces of shit like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, have no problem finding their way into theatres. You know, there was another little horror film that was made in 2007 that couldn’t seem to find distribution. It was a little movie called Paranormal Activity. Ever hear of it? Maybe this will finally make Hollywood wake up. Most likely not, but it would be nice if other little movies like these would finally be given the chance they deserve, and not have to fight for two years just to see the light of day. I know. I know. It’s never going to happen. But, let’s get back to subject at hand. Trick ‘r Treat is a must see. With an amazing story, some brilliant cinematography, and fantastic performances, Trick ‘r Treat is a guaranteed Halloween classic. Oh, I haven’t even mentioned little Sam, the trick-or-treater demon that oversees the night’s events. He is a greatly welcomed addition to the Freddy and Jason’s of the horror community. I really hope they make more of these. I can’t wait to see Trick ‘r Treat 2! I just hope next time it’ll be in theatres on Halloween night, and not just a straight to DVD blow-off. Warner Brothers is sitting on a goldmine. They could make a new Trick ‘r Treat movie every year like the Saw franchise, but I guess we’ll just have to wait for them to realize that on their own. Until then, we’ll just have to keep fighting the good fight.

Rating:
5 Little People


DVD Special Features:

Sadly, that’s it. One bonus feature, if you can call it that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to see the animation short that became this movie, but come on! This movie had an incredible journey for two years, and you’re not going to do a commentary track for the feature film?! How about some behind the scenes footage, or maybe some deleted scenes? Hell, I’d be happy with even a trailer at this point! My only guess is that Warner Brothers was really on the fence about putting it in theatres, but at the last minute pushed it to DVD, and wanted to get it out before Halloween. If that is the case, we’ll hopefully get a Special Edition DVD at some point, but until then it’ just sad.

DVD Special Features Rating:
1 Little People


“Dollhouse” Season 1
a review by Darby O’Gill

What if you could do anything, be anyone, and nothing you did ever had any consequence? Take one part Quantum Leap, one part Charlie’s Angels, add a truck load of Joss Whedon’s imagination, and you’ve got one hell of a show. If you missed the first season of Dollhouse, you’re in luck because the DVD is out now, and it’s time for you to play catch up. A few of my friends tuned out after episode three, but as I told them, you really need to hang in there till episode six. Episodes one through five are basically stand-alone episodes, to please the network I would imagine, but episode six is a real game changer and is truly where the series shows it’s full potential.

In Dollhouse we follow Echo, played by Eliza Dushku, a seemingly unwilling Active in the Dollhouse, an underground organization that for the right price will program human beings to fit your every need or desire. Actives have had their brains wiped, and are imprinted with new personalities, and abilities, that allow them to become anyone or anything to achieve their objective. What illegal underground organization would be complete, with out an obsessed F.B.I. agent determined to bring them down? Agent Paul Ballard, played by Tahmoh Penikett, finds himself filling that role, and the deeper he digs the more entwined he seems to get. When we first get to the Dollhouse, an Active, codename Alpha, has gone rogue, and in the process has left a trail of bodies in his wake. For some unknown reason Echo was spared. But, that’s not the only unique thing about Echo. She also seems to be retaining, or recalling memories while in her wiped doll state, raising the question, can you ever truly clean a slate?

This show is a dream on so many different levels. For one, it’s an actor’s dream, because they can be a doctor, a lover, a spy, an assassin, or maybe just someone there to help someone that can’t help them self. In episode four, Eliza Dushku and Dichen Lachman play the same character, when Echo and Sierra get imprinted with the same imprint.  Two actors playing the same character, with the same traits and speech pattern at the same time! This is what truly makes this show unique. The cast is amazing! The amount of talent on this show, in front of and behind the camera, truly boggles the mind. The other thing about this show is that it raises smart and intelligent questions dealing with morality. Whether it be slavery, human trafficking, or just basic human rights, Dollhouse once again enforces the belief that mankind will always exploit and abuse any and all technologies they discover. I think the part I liked the most about re-watching season one, was knowing all the twists and turns, and being able to see things I might have missed the first time around. I’ll say it once again; Dollhouse is an amazing television series! Don’t believe me? Well, why don’t you get the DVD, and tune-in to Dollhouse season two this year, and see for yourself? Feel free to thank me later.

Rating:

5 Little People

DVD Special Features:

  • 3 Audio Commentaries on Selected Episodes

Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku do a commentary track for “Ghost,” where they talk about the show’s shoe budget, and while Eliza’s strawberries maybe loud, Joss’ tummy commentary is louder.

Joss Whedon does a commentary track for “Man on the Street,” and talks about the importance of the turning point in this episode.

Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen do a commentary track for the infamous unaired 13th episode “Epitaph One.”

I would have liked a few more commentaries on some more key episodes, but three is better than none.

  • “Epitaph One” Never-Before-Seen 13th Episode

The infamous unaired 13th episode stars Felecia Day and Zack Ward, and takes place in 2019. I would suggest not watching this episode if you want to be surprised by the upcoming relationships and events of the Dollhouse series. It doesn’t tell you the hows and whys, but it does show you things they hope to do with the series. Could be a spoiler for some; you’ve been warned.

  • Original Unaired Pilot “Echo”

This is the pilot episode that Joss pulled the plug on and thus decided to take a three week hiatus to rethink the show opener. I for one am glad he did. The episode moves too fast and gives away way too much. But, it wasn’t a complete loss, because they ended up cutting it up and sprinkling bits and pieces here and there throughout the season.

  • Deleted Scences

  • Making Dollhouse Featurette

A behind the scenes look at the making of Dollhouse

  • Coming Home Featurette

The Cast & Crew share their stories and memories of working on other Joss Whedon shows, Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngelFirefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

  • Finding Echo Featurette

A look at Eliza Dushku’s important role as producer and star, and how she and Joss developed the idea for the show.

  • Designing the Perfect Dollhouse Featurette

Joss Whedon takes us on a tour of the soundstage that houses the Dollhouse.

  • A Private Engagement Featurette

The Cast & Crew talk about what their ideal doll would be.

DVD Special Features Rating:

4 Little People


“The Lost Boys”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, with all these Lost Boys reviews, I figure it was only fair to re-watch the original. Now, I haven’t seen The Lost Boys in at least 15 years, if not longer, and I’m sad to say it doesn’t quite hold up. It’s not that it’s a bad movie; it just isn’t the movie you remember. But, for those of you that might not remember, let’s recap shall we.
When the Emerson family moves to Santa Carla, California to live with their grandfather, the last thing they ever thought they’d have to adjust to was vampires. Sam Emerson, played by Corey Haim, stumbles upon a comic shop, and the Frog brothers. Edger and Alan Frog are not only horror comic experts, but also the town’s first defense against the town’s vampire infestation. Watching Corey Feldman play Edger Frog, back in 1987, just makes you realize that Feldman has always been trying too hard to act. Was Feldman really so big in the late 80’s, that no one could have told him that a 15 year old boy does not talk like a Vietnam vet that smokes four packets a day? But, let’s get back to those pesky vampires. Michael Emerson, played by Jason Patric… What’s that? No, Michael Emerson is the character’s name. No, it has nothing to do with the Emmy award winning actor Michael Emerson from LOST. I think it’s just a coincidence. Can I get back to the review now? Okay, thanks. Like I was saying, Michael, whose last name just happens to be Emerson, makes the classic 80’s mistake of making eyes at the lead vampire’s girl. He quickly gets mixed up in the wrong crowd, drinks the head vampire’s blood, eats some maggots, and slowly starts to turn into a vampire. When Sam discovers his brother is becoming a blood sucker, it’s up to him and the Frog brothers to find and kill the head vampire, before Michael makes his first kill.
As with most movies you grew up with, this one doesn’t quite playback as bad assed as you may remember, but one thing is for sure, Kiefer Sutherland’s mullet is scarier than his bite. The pacing in the original movie is much better than that of Lost Boys: The Tribe. I think the whole point of The Lost Boys, is what would you do if you found out that vampires are real, and your brother was becoming one? The movie really isn’t about the vampires. I think when they made the sequel, all they wanted to do is show bad ass vampires, but if they hadn’t sacrificed the story they would have had a shot at a good movie. If you haven’t seen The Lost Boys in a long time and love the way you remember it, I would suggest replaying the memory, and skipping the rental.

Rating:

3 Little People



DVD Special Features:

I didn’t get to watch any of the special features yet, but I will at some point. I’ll post an update hopefully in the near future.

“Lost Boys: The Tribe”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Hey, remember that great 80’s movie The Lost Boys? Yeah, well this ain’t it. Actually, it’s the exact opposite. No really, the exact opposite. You know how in the first movie the older brother turns into a vampire? Yeah, well in this one, it’s the younger sister. It doesn’t stop there. Remember how the original film focused on Michael’s slow transformation into a vampire, and Sam’s realization of that fact? Yeah, well in this one, you drink the head vampire’s blood one night, and you’re one of the tribe the next. I just realized, I’m getting a little ahead of myself; let’s just start over.
It’s been 21 years since we last visited Santa Carla, California, but surprisingly their vampire population is still going strong. Only now I guess they’re surfers. I don’t know. I stopped looking for the sense in these kind of movies years ago. There is still one familiar face in Santa Carla, and that would be Corey Feldman’s Edgar Frog, not that he remains untouched by the update. Instead of working at his parents’ comic book shop, Edgar is now a surfboard shaper… Of course, that makes total sense. Having been a comic book nerd that becomes a full-time vampire hunter, why wouldn’t he take up surfing as a hobby? Did anyone even try to write a decent story for this movie? As many of you may already know, Corey Haim was going to be in this movie as well, but on the account of his being a… What’s the word? Disaster? They ultimately ended up cutting his performance out completely. Really, how screwed up do you have to be, to make Corey Feldman look like he’s the one that has his shit together? (We’ll talk more about that in the special features section.) I would go more in depth with the plot, if there was one. Look, I’m all for a good sequel. A good sequel. But the thing that I don’t get, is how so many sequels always seem to get it wrong. I mean half the work is already done for you. The characters and story setups are already in place. All you have to do is come up with an original new place to take them; or in this case, new characters to inhabit an already existing world. It’s really not that hard. But once again, instead of coming up with something new, Hollywood just flips the original story and repackages it, and somehow seems to think we won’t realize what they’ve done. It’s the same movie, you idiots! If I wanted to watch The Lost Boys, I would have rented The Lost Boys! Oh wait, I guess I sort of did. Only this version seems to be a sucky bizarro version of the one I remember. Word of advice; if you do rent The Lost Boys make sure Kiefer Sutherland is in it, and not his half-brother Angus Sutherland. You’ll thank me.

Rating:

1 Little People



DVD Special Features:

  • Lost Boys: The Tribe – Action Junkies

This is just a behind the scenes look at the totally tubular extreme action, dudes! I thought this movie took place in 2008?!

  • Edgar Frog’s Guide to Coming Back Alive

This is an interview with Corey Feldman, in character as Edgar Frog, raspy voice and all. However, he doesn’t really stay in character the whole time, and it also feels like no one ever really asked him to be in character. It seems like they went into Feldman’s trailer to interview him about being in the movie, and this is what they got. I could be wrong, but this is Feldman we’re talking about.

  • Alternate Endings

Yeah, endings plural. They all pretty much have to do with Corey Haim’s inability to perform in the movie, forcing the production to work around him, which is kind of too bad. I sort of liked where they wanted to go with this story arch. But, it’s still no excuse for making a shitty sequel. The alternate endings also deal with Edgar’s brother, Alan Frog, once again being played by Jamison Newlander from the first film. Here’s where you got it wrong, once again Hollywood, this isn’t the end of the sequel! This should be the beginning of the sequel!

Uh, okay.

  • 3 Yeah Whatever Music Videos

That’s not me making fun of them. The groups name is Yeah Whatever, which is perfect, because that’s how I feel about this feature.

I was at least hoping for a commentary that talked about all the drama dealing with the two Coreys during production, but I guess this is the best they could do.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

0.5 Little People



Tokyo!
a review by Darby O’Gill

In the spirit of Four Rooms and Paris, Je T’aime comes Tokyo! a collection of three short films about Tokyo, as told by three visionary directors, Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-Ho. We’re going to take a look at the three films individually, and then rate the project as a whole.

First we have “Interior Design” by New York based French director Michel Gondry. Gondry based his short on a graphic novel by Gabrielle Bell, called “Cecil and Jordan in New York.” In Gondry’s version, it’s the story of a young couple moving to Tokyo, and crashing at a friend’s flat as they look for one of their own. Hiroko, played by Ayako Fujitani, was the more together of the couple, but seems to find herself being the less than useful one in Tokyo. As days turn into weeks, Hiroko finds herself more and more out of place. Until one day a strange event leads her to find her place in the world. All the stories in this collection are that of surrealism, but Gondry’s is definitely the most surreal. Wonderfully shot, and with an amazing special effect shot you would only come to expect from Michel Gondry.

Next we have “Merde” by French director Leos Carax. Now I have to say this one surprised me. Not the short itself, but the fact that it wasn’t directed by Bong Joon-Ho. I honestly watched this entire short thinking it was Joon-Ho, and even thought I was seeing signs of his film style throughout. Wow. It’s not Bong Joon-Ho, but it is Leos Carax’s short, and quite simply the best of the collection. It’s the story of a “creature,” or more like a homeless full grown leprechaun, that crawls out of the sewers and wreaks havoc on the streets of Tokyo. A frightened Tokyo reports various sightings of the creature on the news and even holds a bizarre trial for the creature. I mean, you can see why I thought it was Joon-Ho: a creature that lives in the sewer, has a smoky white eye, spreads horror across Tokyo via newscasts, and is a plot heavily laced with offbeat humor. This short is fantastic! The cinematography is amazing and the performance of Denis Lavant as the creature is purely stellar. “Merde” is anything but shit. I would love to see more of this story some day.

And now, sadly, we have to talk about the last short in this collection, “Shaking Tokyo,” by South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho. I honestly have to say, that I was really looking forward to this director’s piece. The Host was an amazing film that I’m so glad I heard about in time to be able to see it when it opened in theatres, and was more than excited to see something new from its director Bong Joon-Ho. I just wish it was “Merde” and not “Shaking Tokyo.” The story in “Shaking Tokyo,” is that of a man that is a shut-in that has shut himself out of the outside world for the last ten years, but it’s in the eleventh year that his world crashes down around him. I’ve got to say this story is really weak. It wants to be grand; but it’s a short, and doesn’t have the time to take its time. It also keeps the viewer in the dark, which is the case in all three of these stories. But, in “Shaking Tokyo” it keeps you in the dark, and never really lets you know what the hell is going on. Joon-Ho has an amazing sense of the characters in his films, and this is no different. His characters don’t have to say a word, and yet just looking at them through his lens seems to speak a thousand words. I only wish the story had more time, to make it worth telling. It’s just sad that the movie has to end its collection with this short. It might have been better off in the middle of the film.

Rating:

3.5 Little People


DVD Special Features:

  • Making of “Interior Design”
  • Making of “Merde”
  • Making of “Shaking Tokyo”
  • Director Interviews
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailer

The “Making of” featurettes are outstanding! No, truly. They’re even longer than the short films themselves. Each one gives you an amazing look into the very distinct directing style of each visionary director. Gondry likes to keep the film rolling. By doing so he feels it doesn’t let the actors get out of the moment. It’s quite ingenious really, because when a film crew cuts, they stop down for a good ten or twenty minutes. Hair and make-up step in, the lighting team checks lights, and actors stop being their characters. This concept is new to the “Tokyo!” actors working on “Interior Design,” and it takes a little while to warm-up to the idea of not cutting at the end of a take. Also, during the behind the scenes interview with Ayumi Ito, it sounds like someone’s having sex in the background, but it’s just the interviewer. It took me a few minutes to figure out. She should just quietly listen to what the actors have to say.

When it comes to Leos Carax, I was amazed to find out that he shot the first street scene at least, without a permit and in a total gorilla filmmaking style. In his “Making of,” we watch the cast and crew rehearse, step by step, the pacing of the scene off site. It’s truly filmmaking at its best. Also, watching Carax and Lavant develop the character of the creature is fantastic. Which brings us once again to Bong Joon-Ho, but this time it’s good news. His “Making of” finally let us in on what he was trying to say. I think the real downfall of his short is that he’s not the type of director that can be rushed or given a time restraint. I’ve never seen a director pay more attention to the timing of a shot and his actors, almost to a fault. But it’s clear that is what makes his filmmaking so unique. Sadly, this project just doesn’t lend itself to that style of filmmaking. The one saving grace is that in the “Director Interviews,” it seemed clear, to me that is, that even Joon-Ho wasn’t pleased with the outcome of his short. Seeing him talk about what he was trying to do in the short definitely helps you see the short in a different light; but it still doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t work.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

4 Little People



“Ali G Indahouse”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What’s that? You didn’t know there was an Ali G movie? Well there’s a good reason for that… it’s God awful! This 100% scripted movie takes the character of Ali G and throws him into the storyline of a bad ‘90’s SNL movie. I know! “Ali G Indahouse” was released in 2002, between Season 1 & 2 of the American series of “Da Ali G Show” for HBO. It’s nice to know that something in the U.K. can get so popular, that even they will rape it for the price of a movie ticket. And here I always thought that was just an American thing. Something that shocked me even more, was when I saw some of the people they got to be in this abomination. One of my favorite actors from “The Office,” Martin Freeman, plays one of Ali’s friends. But the worst part is that he beat-boxes in it… so sad. They even got proper actors like Michael Gambon and Charles Dance to somehow agree to be seen in this film. The story in a nutshell is, Ali works at a community center; but wait, it’s going to be shutdown. Oh, no! But don’t worry, somehow Ali becomes a member of Parliament, and becomes a pawn in a plot to overthrow the Prime Minister, but then helps to return the Prime Minister to power, which he then uses to save the community center. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Wow. No, really… wow! It’s amazing we got a decent Borat movie after this bomb. Speaking of which, Borat does make a cameo appearance that is shot like a big, oh my god, but they’re the same guy, how can this be, kind of moment. I can’t even go on. I respect you, my readers, too much to subject you to this any longer. Just go back to not knowing that it ever existed and your life will be better for it. Let’s just rate this crap and move on.

Rating:

1 Little People

 

DVD Special Features:

  • Side-Splitting Commentary From Ali G
  • Hysterical Deleted Scenes & Outtakes Too Wild To Show In The Theatres
  • Go Behind The Scenes With Ali G
  • Learn To Talk Like Ali G
  • Photos From The Shoot
  • Trailers

Please let the record show that I did not name these special features, they are written that way on the back of the DVD. I would also like the record to show that I didn’t watch any of these special features, because I watched it on my Xbox’s Netflix account. But for the sake of thoroughness, I will be reviewing them once the disc arrives in the mail. So look forward to that wonderful little nugget of an update.

 

“Da Ali G Show: Da Compleet Seereez”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Season 1 DVD:

Going back to where it all began, well for the U.S. at least, Sacha Baron Cohen shows us just how great he can be. If you’ve never seen “Da Ali G Show,” I highly recommend picking up this DVD set. Originally airing here in the states on HBO, this six episode series would have made Andy Kaufman proud. Baron Cohen uses his three alter egos: Ali G, Borat, and Brüno, to travel cross America to interview unsuspecting politicians and celebrities. Now this is as real as it gets. I truly wonder how many agents and managers were fired for setting up these interviews. If you watch closely, at times you can see Sacha trying to hold it together, as even he can’t believe just how far the interview has managed to go. Ali G’s interviews with Buzz Aldrin and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in this season are instant classics.

Rating:

4 Little People

 

Season 1 DVD Special Features:

  • The unedited ‘Spyz’ Movie that Ali G pitches in Hollywood

This ten minute short is hilarious and I would love to know the longest it played before being turned off by a Hollywood executive.

  • Unseen footage of Borat at the Hampton’s Horse Show and the American Patriotism Event

This is just uncut footage from the show.

Sadly it’s only on the first episode, but it’s better than nothing. The nice thing is that even though it’s only the one commentary, you do get a real insight into the making of one of these episodes. They talk about the planning of one of these interviews; from how they write a list of things they would like to happen, to a list of crazy things they could only hope to happen. And more often than not they make it to the crazy list.

  • Glossary of Ali G jargon

Not really needed, but there if you want to look at it. It’s just an on screen list of words and phrases. I didn’t really look at all of it.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

2 Little People

 

Season 2 DVD:

Ali G, Borat, and Brüno are back for another six episodes of interview hijinks. The one bad thing about this series is that there are not nearly enough episodes. It’s basically more of the same as season one. But let’s be honest, is that really such a bad thing? This series could also be called a collection of the most awkward, whitest fist pumps ever. One of the best interviews of this season has to be Ali G’s chat with Pat Buchanan. Repeatedly in this interview Ali G asks Mr. Buchanan about B.L.T.’s in Iraq. At no point does Buchanan correct him that they are W.M.D.’s, and not B.L.T’s, but he even repeats it back to him. This is one of those moments that you can clearly see Sacha trying to push it as far as he can. After talking about the possibility of B.L.T.’s in Iraq, with or without mustard (gas), Ali then asks, “Is it ever worth fighting a war over sandwiches?” This is why this show is so great. Where else can you see a man be interviewed, that has no idea of what’s really going on… besides Fox News that is. And this series truly does save the best for last. On the credits of the last episode, Ali G interviews, well tries to interview, Andy Rooney. Offended. Confused. Pissed off. These are only a few words that could possibly describe Mr. Rooney’s mood. You really have to see it to appreciate it.

Rating:

4 Little People

 

Season 2 DVD Special Features:

  • Ali G gives a commencement speech to the graduating class at Harvard

This is the whole speech, which runs a little long, but funny none-the-less. The best part of watching this, is watching the uptight kid sitting behind Ali G sweat and scan the audience as Ali delivers his raunchy speech.

  • Ali G holds an educational summit, interviews linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, and visits an historic naval vessel.
  • Borat learns American football in Texas, gets a hunting lesson at an exclusive ranch, and lunches with the Arizona Republican Party.
  • Brüno dishes gossip with a Hollywood stylist, and visits a psychic to speak to his late boyfriend, and much more. (Well not really. These four things are the only special features on the DVD. I really hate when they pull this shit.)

This is just unused footage, it runs just under forty minutes, and has some nice moments in it. One of the best is when Borat is hunting in Texas and outs a hunter’s dislike for Jews. Little does the hunter know that he is talking to a Jew.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

2 Little People