RT on DVD: Final Futurama Flick, Pirates II, and Akira on Blu-ray

Plus two Dario Argento classics and the original Last House on the Left.

by | February 23, 2009 | Comments

This week we recommend the fourth and final Futurama movie (Into the Wild Green Yonder), but only for diehard Planet Express devotees; otherwise, your new release options are rotten (Sex Drive, The Haunting of Molly Hartley). Horror fans, however, have something new to cheer about (Wes Craven’s original Last House on the Left Collector’s Edition, Dario Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet), as do those with more esoteric tastes (Noah Wyle as The Librarian in Curse of the Judas Chalice and Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge). Blu-ray viewers have the best choices of the week, with new remasterings to devour (Akira, The French Connection, Vanishing Point, and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage).

When fans first heard that the well-loved animated series Futurama would be reborn on DVD (via four direct-to-video films), cheers of joy echoed throughout New New York. Unfortunately, that joy gave way to mild discontent as the first three Futurama DVDs debuted with mixed results. This week, the fourth and final Futurama film hits shelves; will you be delighted or shake a fist in frustration at Beezlebot?

Into the Wild Green Yonder follows Fry and Co. as Amy’s dad attempts to expand his mini-golf empire into the galaxy, destroying entire planets in the process; can Leela’s eco-terrorism efforts or Fry’s newfound mind-reading powers save the universe? More importantly, will the two ever consummate their series-spanning romance? Die hard fans will want to give this Futurama flick a whirl to see their favorite characters in one last hurrah — especially supporting ones like the head of Richard Nixon — and check out the wealth of cool extras that accompany the DVD. (Extras include a feature length commentary, behind-the-scenes peeks, How To Draw Futurama, Bender’s Movie Theater Etiquette, and more.) Below, watch a deleted scene!

Next: Sex Drive

2. Sex Drive — 46%

Forty-six percent on the Tomatometer ain’t too shabby for a road trip-sex comedy involving a high school virgin, a stolen GTO, a giant donut suit with a sombrero and Amish teens gone wild. Does that mean you should give Sex Drive a go? If your brand of comedy trends towards the Porky’s and American Pies of the movie world, maybe so. The 2-Disc “Unrated and Cream-Filled” DVD (yes, that’s really what Summit Entertainment is calling it) comes with a raunchy filmmaker commentary and a handful of making-of featurettes.

Next: The Haunting of Molly Hartley

Gunning for next year’s Moldy Tomato award, The Haunting of Molly Hartley came in at a robust three percent on the Tomatometer after being not screened for critics (and rightly so, apparently). The tale of a teenager (Haley Bennett) whose soul belongs to the Devil (and to Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford, who plays Bennett’s devilishly handsome love interest) scored so low with critics and audiences alike, we can’t in good conscience recommend it. The DVD boasts cast and director interviews, though not even a box set’s worth of bonus features could have made this release watchable.

Next: Last House on the Left Collector’s Edition

4. Last House on the Left Collector’s Edition — 68%

Revisit Wes Craven’s 1972 horror exploitation classic (if you have the stomach for it) with a new Collector’s Edition, released just in time to coincide with next month’s remake. The disturbing tale of a band of rapists and murderers hunted by the parents of one of their own victims — itself an update of Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring — earned its controversial reputation for portraying particularly grotesque sadism onscreen, though contrary to his assessment of the similarly-themed revenge thriller I Spit on Your Grave, critic Roger Ebert praised Last House as a guilty pleasure “on par with Night of the Living Dead.” Owners of previously-issued editions will find much of the same bonus menu materials, though new Craven interviews and select scenes have been added.

Next: The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice

5. The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice — N/A

Remember when Noah Wyle seemed poised for success in Hollywood? If his tenure as the world’s most resourceful librarian-turned-action hero is any indication, he’s totally made it to the big time. TNT’s made-for-TV film The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice hits DVD this week and is a must-have for you Librarian fans who already own the first two films (The Librarian: Quest for the Spear and The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines); you know who you are. This time around, Wyle heads to New Orleans in pursuit of a mystical chalice that will resurrect Dracula, falling for a smoking hot vamp (Stana Katic) along the way. Incidentally, The Librarian 3 is directed by actor-director Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek‘s Riker!), so if you’re any sort of self-respecting nerd, this is a must-own title.

Next: Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge

6. Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge — N/A

Those of you familiar with the first Pirates movie — and we’re not talking about Pirates of the Caribbean — will want to take a gander at its sequel, Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge; after all, who can resist owning not one, but two pornographic pirate adventure comedies re-cut to an R-rating? Director Joone picks up where he last left Jesse Jane and Evan Stone (who is surprisingly well endowed…with comic timing), while Sasha Gray and Belladonna join the cast. Porn stars acting! Who’d have thought that would ever be so entertaining…

Next: Akira Blu-ray

7. Akira Blu-ray — 88%

This week is not lacking in great new Blu-ray offerings, beginning with the high definition reissue of Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 anime classic about psychics in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. While its presentation isn’t perfect — the movie’s 30 years old — it sure beats standard definition, and boasts a newly-remastered 192khz/24-bit audio track. Expect, however, to be disappointed with the disc’s lack of bonus materials. Although a 32-page booklet and over 4000 high resolution storyboards are included, additional featurettes (including those previously released) are missing — because, amazingly, they simply couldn’t fit on the disc.

Next: The French Connection Blu-ray

8. The French Connection Blu-ray — 98%

There’s a lot to admire in director William Friedkin’s 1971 film, based on the true story of how a network of smugglers shipped heroin from France to New York City, the simplest admiration being that Friedkin pulled it off at all. In this week’s Blu-ray release of the multiple Academy Award-winning film, Friedkin, walking along the Brooklyn street where he filmed an integral car vs. train sequence, tells of how he shot the high speed chase with a stunt driver and no traffic control at all, weaving quite dangerously through the crowded streets to achieve what has since become celebrated as one of the best chase scenes ever shot. Although The French Connection suffers the negative side effect of older, grainy films given the high def treatment — dancing shadows, distracting at times — it’s still a wonder to behold, and one of the best to come out of the American New Wave. The title includes a commentary with Friedkin and stars Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, plus new behind-the-scenes features.

Next: Vanishing Point Blu-ray

9. Vanishing Point — 71%

The 1971 cult classic Vanishing Point has long been a flick for movie geeks in the know, but it wasn’t until the biggest geek in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino — name dropped it in Death Proof that a new generation of hipster movie buffs heard the name. If you’re one of said hipster movie buffs, then the Vanishing Point Blu-ray is simply a must-have; after all, if QT owns it, so should you! Vanishing Point stars Barry Newman as Kowalski, a former cop and current adrenaline junkie on an interstate road trip in a 1970 Dodge Challenger; a filmmaker commentary, new featurettes, in-movie trivia, the UK cut with ten minutes of additional footage and more are included.

Next: Four Flies on Grey Velvet DVD/Bird with the Crystal Plumage Blu-ray

Horror buffs and fans of stylized 1970s cinema should take note of our two favorite releases of the week: Dario Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972), and his earlier film The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970, on Blu-ray), two of the best thrillers of the Italian Grindhouse genre known as “giallo.” The tale of a rock ‘n roll drummer being driven mad by an unknown killer captures a 1970s European vibe with panache, thanks to Argento’s tense atmospherics, a score by Ennio Morricone, and one of the most memorable visual twists in movie history. Hard to find on home video for years, Four Flies is being released on DVD for the first time (we first watched it on a bootlegged copy).

Meanwhile, the folks at Blue Underground are bringing another celebrated Argento giallo to home video: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Argento’s first film as a director follows an American in Rome who witnesses an attempted murder but can’t quite piece together the details of what he saw; remastered from its original camera negative, Bird with the Crystal Plumage on Blu-ray also includes the U.S. and Italian trailers, interviews with Argento, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, composer Ennio Morricone, and actress Eva Renzi as well as a commentary with RT’s own Kim Newman!

Until next week, happy renting!

Tag Cloud

psychological thriller remakes south america See It Skip It award winner docudrama zero dark thirty Rom-Com black LGBTQ San Diego Comic-Con dragons Dark Horse Comics Pet Sematary Martial Arts The Academy indie Marathons historical drama Christmas 1990s adventure Binge Guide live action supernatural twilight medical drama Trophy Talk quibi christmas movies President Creative Arts Emmys Summer First Reviews werewolf Family high school cancelled TV shows Mary Poppins Returns scene in color disaster toy story golden globes cooking worst video on demand Marvel Studios Walt Disney Pictures Netflix toronto Set visit golden globe awards independent Black History Month Rocketman Food Network Television Academy latino A&E basketball comedies cancelled news RT History Paramount Kids & Family Awards Tour adaptation PBS festivals archives Superheroes Hulu cartoon rotten movies we love Box Office Certified Fresh stoner HBO Max Polls and Games Amazon Country television Nominations superhero Film Festival X-Men Paramount Plus worst movies Sundance psycho Academy Awards YouTube Winter TV Freeform Emmys Biopics best BBC One FX on Hulu ViacomCBS Sundance TV TV One TCM Holiday comic crime Photos Tarantino E! harry potter hidden camera Apple TV Plus 45 unscripted Bravo Spring TV japanese cinemax FXX movie Netflix Christmas movies Action 20th Century Fox Lifetime Christmas movies new star wars movies 2016 heist movie tv talk politics TLC DGA TCA 2017 Valentine's Day TV Land Interview The Walking Dead mission: impossible Countdown boxoffice 90s discovery breaking bad binge Peacock Disney Plus composers Year in Review singing competition comics cults kong NBC mockumentary football Mudbound cars nfl National Geographic blockbuster Video Games spinoff Hear Us Out Musical Holidays documentaries IFC robots movies Nickelodeon Chernobyl satire spanish zombies cancelled TV series 71st Emmy Awards Pixar VICE Columbia Pictures child's play GIFs rt archives YouTube Premium casting Britbox NYCC Crackle CBS All Access Broadway Ellie Kemper pirates of the caribbean transformers foreign LGBT ABC Signature ABC Writers Guild of America space parents 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Thanksgiving indiana jones Epix adenture godzilla Winners OneApp Mindy Kaling TV Best and Worst obituary New York Comic Con Lucasfilm diversity Apple police drama The Walt Disney Company venice ESPN 2017 dogs VOD GLAAD Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt know your critic 21st Century Fox Fox News classics TV movies GoT finale Nat Geo screenings Heroines crossover APB Arrowverse spain comic books facebook Baby Yoda Discovery Channel Emmy Nominations saw DirecTV Amazon Studios marvel cinematic universe sitcom sports versus halloween 93rd Oscars Ovation sequel Vudu ID Shondaland TIFF Trivia hispanic batman james bond 2015 halloween tv Grammys Disney Channel Comics on TV Animation series Exclusive Video Horror Acorn TV Wes Anderson Apple TV+ ratings Starz USA monster movies AMC romance Logo deadpool chucky Cartoon Network The Witch crime thriller Sony Pictures a nightmare on elm street HBO telelvision Red Carpet crime drama Esquire nature dark CNN FOX elevated horror Star Wars dceu Masterpiece YouTube Red Tokyo Olympics Character Guide streaming biography sequels Avengers Image Comics children's TV documentary Disney Superheroe canceled king arthur ghosts spider-man PlayStation suspense A24 natural history thriller theme song FX streaming movies cancelled television australia TruTV ABC Family anthology social media Sundance Now all-time critics Rock japan 2020 Pop razzies game show 99% Schedule game of thrones Hallmark Christmas movies DC streaming service Mary Tyler Moore docuseries spanish language stand-up comedy OWN target Adult Swim Watching Series HBO Go Comedy Central Election YA TCA Winter 2020 DC Comics Showtime Teen Tubi new zealand fast and furious TCA cats Awards Comedy Toys revenge Disney+ Disney Plus The Purge miniseries TCA Awards fresh MSNBC Lionsgate 24 frames zombie king kong Drama Western Ghostbusters concert Sneak Peek talk show Amazon Prime Video strong female leads E3 renewed TV shows Brie Larson American Society of Cinematographers political drama Elton John sag awards History Travel Channel Oscars 4/20 reviews WGN directors vampires Black Mirror Tomatazos MTV BET Awards Comic Book free movies Disney streaming service hollywood The Arrangement RT21 new york IFC Films spy thriller serial killer TNT Song of Ice and Fire CBS Fantasy ITV Warner Bros. popular blockbusters Anna Paquin Reality Competition Captain marvel rotten period drama DC Universe Marvel Television criterion Musicals dc 2019 Amazon Prime NBA Stephen King animated comiccon war boxing emmy awards Mystery women BBC America universal monsters Syfy Spectrum Originals travel VH1 Cannes scorecard Paramount Network Turner Classic Movies olympics Trailer rom-coms El Rey joker hist romantic comedy trailers films screen actors guild Shudder kaiju Fall TV Turner Music Rocky science fiction Lifetime stop motion Legendary name the review Crunchyroll The CW mutant Endgame wonder woman Fox Searchlight BET USA Network Classic Film Quiz what to watch anime based on movie BAFTA 2021 book adaptation witnail Podcast 007 Infographic CMT Alien Premiere Dates jamie lee curtis Film BBC slashers First Look reboot PaleyFest teaser canceled TV shows Reality Funimation Opinion 2018 nbcuniversal green book french justice league Universal Extras festival Pop TV international lord of the rings Spike technology Hallmark scary movies Women's History Month Television Critics Association franchise jurassic park Cosplay SXSW cops Mary poppins video italian Pirates Sci-Fi SundanceTV dramedy Tumblr TV renewals Pride Month doctor who SDCC WarnerMedia kids die hard richard e. Grant blaxploitation Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Super Bowl laika TBS aliens CW Seed prank 72 Emmy Awards Calendar Marvel Star Trek superman MCU Comic-Con@Home 2021 true crime asian-american book legend aapi Pacific Islander