The summer’s biggest oohs and ahhs (and guffaws) hit DVD this week, as Wall-E and Tropic Thunder hit shelves with tons of bonus content for fans. Cineastes will be rewarded by the latest from Harmony Korine (Mister Lonely) and David Lynch (the multi-film Lime Green set), while early gift hunters should check out a 300 Limited Collector’s Edition and Columbia’s massive Best Pictures set.
Ah, what gifts Steven Spielberg hath given us. Twenty one years after filming a bit part in Spielberg’s WWII drama Empire of the Sun, comedian-turned-filmmaker Ben Stiller cobbled together an idea for a comedy about a big-budget Hollywood war movie run amok on location, and Tropic Thunder was born; Empire‘s child star didn’t do too bad for himself either. This week Tropic Thunder — The Unrated Director’s Cut hits arrives, which means the biggest laughs of the year are moments away from your DVD player.
The jungle antics of Hollywood shills Tugg Speedman (Stiller), Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), and Method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) are on full tilt in the 2-disc Unrated edition, which comes packed with bonus features that capitalize on the movie’s meta-leanings; like the fake trailers within the film (The Fatties: Fart 2, Scorcher IV: Global Meltdown, and the controversial Satan’s Alley), the faux-documentary Rain of Madness captures the “actors” of Tropic Thunder during their hectic production. The release also includes tons of behind-the-scenes featurettes, filmmaker and cast commentaries, deleted and extended scenes, an alternate ending, and more.
Watch an exclusive clip from Tropic Thunder below!!
Indulge in one of the best-loved films of the year when Disney-Pixar releases WALL-E in bountiful DVD and Blu-ray releases this week! The grand tale of a Chaplin-esque lonely robot named WALL-E who finds love and meaning on a cross-universe quest captured the hearts of moviegoers last summer, while critics nudged it a hair’s breadth over The Dark Knight to name it the best-reviewed wide release of the year (so far).
Whether you pick up the 3-disc DVD or the more expansive Blu-ray set, you’ll find a full complement of WALL-E extras and goodies for Pixar fans, including the short films Presto, which played before WALL-E in theaters, and BURN-E, a spin-off short featuring one of WALL-E‘s supporting characters. More making-of featurettes, a Pixar documentary, shorts “from the Buy n Large archives,” and a digital copy are also included. Blu-ray viewers can make additional use of the BD-Live chat function, get picture-in-picture commentary, a “Geek Track” full of obscure pop up trivia, and access to retro-style WALL-E-themed video games.
Next: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
Back in 2005, we learned that one pair of magical jeans could unite BFFS across international lines; this year, we learned that bigger star power didn’t necessarily make for a significantly more successful sequel. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 returned its four stars — Alexis Bledel, Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrara and Blake Lively — to their worn-in roles, though the former pair had become Ugly Betty and a Gossip Girl, respectively; critics were less impressed, though the box office improved marginally.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 catches up with Bridget (Lively), Carmen (Ferrara), Lena (Bledel), and Tibby (Tamblyn) as the college freshmen leave girlhood behind and embark on their first grown up adventures. In addition to the film, watch additional scenes, a gag reel, and a featurettes on the “exhilarating” final sequence.
Next: 300 Limited Collector’s Edition
Zack Snyder’s breathtaking treatment of Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s graphic novel is back in a splendid Limited Collector’s Edition that includes previously-released bonus features, plus an all-new bonus disc with the making-of documentary To the Hot Gates: A Legend Retold, and a bonus digital copy of the film, so you can watch heavy metal-scored decapitations in slo-mo wherever you go. The set also comes with a handsome hardcover art book featuring a personal message from Snyder, a Lucite display, and six collectible photo cards. Your favorite Spartan will thank you.
Next: Mister Lonely
Harmony Korine has made a career out of films about outsiders, but his latest, Mister Lonely, is perhaps his most universally-appealing yet. A young Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) meets a wannabe Marilyn Monroe (Samantha Morton) while performing in old folks’ homes in Paris; she brings him into a commune full of celebrity impersonators who live blissfully in the Scottish Highlands, until reality catches up. While reviews were mixed on this gentle, bizarre tale — which features a cameo by director Werner Herzog in a side plot about a skydiving priest — it’s still Korine’s most accessible tale yet, and worth checking out for the adventurous at heart.
Next: Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series
The wildly popular UK science fiction series Doctor Who has been running for so long that the Guinness Book of World Records named it the longest running sci-fi series in the world; consider Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series then, to be a chunk of British pop history that you can own.
In the latest incarnation of the show, whose fourth “series” (AKA season, to you Americans) hits shelves this week, David Tennant jumps through space and time willy nilly as the Doctor — though he recently announced his tenure would end in 2010. Look for appearances by Kylie Minogue, Billie Piper and Alex Kingston.
Next: David Lynch the Lime Green set
Filmmaker David Lynch is one of Hollywood’s best-loved eccentrics — which you might already know if you subscribe to his official site, drink his personal brand of coffee, or listen to his daily weather reports. This week, celebrate Lynch with his self-distributed Lime Green set — a must-have for Lynch super fans — which contains his films Eraserhead (along with its soundtrack), Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, The Elephant Man, The Short Films of David Lynch, the animated series Dumbland which aired on his website, and Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted, a 1990 short avante-garde musical that featured a pre-Wild at Heart Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, with music by Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti. Oh, and there’s an additional “mystery disc” full of exclusive material to pique your curiosity.
Next: Southland Tales on Blu-ray
Neo-Marxists, porn stars, and The Rock converge on greater Los Angeles county in Richard Kelly’s beautiful disaster of a sophomore film, which hits Blu-ray this week. Kelly fans who were waiting for the director to explain his epic vision in a commentary track should be relieved, as he at last waxes poetic on his ambitious sci-fi-philosophical actioner. Also navigate three prequel graphic novels to more fully understand the Southland Tales saga. We just want to watch the movie’s best scene — Justin Timberlake lip-synching to The Killers in slow motion — in glorious HD.
Next: Columbia Best Pictures Collection
In a year where Batman is garnering Best Picture buzz, hearken back to the old days of Oscar with Columbia’s massive 11-film box set of Best Picture winners! From Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934) to Sir Ben Kingsley in Gandhi (1982), this ripe collection of oldies-but-goodies spans nearly half a decade of classic Oscar winners, each with its own set of featurettes, commentary tracks, and special features. Combined, the collection of Best Pictures share 57 Academy Awards.
Also in the set: You Can’t Take it With You (1938), All the King’s Men (1949), From Here to Eternity (1953), On the Waterfront (1954), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), A Man for All Seasons (1966), Oliver! (1968), and Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), plus three additional discs of bonus material.
Next: Executive Koala
Lastly this week, we recommend the awesomely zany hijinks of Executive Koala. The wacky Japanese thriller — about a businessman who happens to be a man-sized koala bear — comes courtesy of Japanese director Minoru Kawasaki, whose previous effort, Calamari Wrestler, was about a man who turned into a giant squid. Part kaiju, part American Psycho, Executive Koala follows the life of salary man (and koala) Tamura whose life turns upside down when his girlfriend is found dead — and he’s the prime suspect. Watch a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the film, which was reportedly shot in only seven days.
Until next week, happy renting!