July 29, 2009


Also this week: Dollhouse, Fast & Furious, Dragonball Evolution, Torso

Highlight of the Week

Repulsion (Criterion) Roman Polanski’s second feature — and the first instalment in his unofficial apartment trilogy (followed by Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant) — is visibly influenced by Cocteau and Hitchcock and has gone on to inform the work of such modern artists as David Lynch and Darren Aronofsky. Though the director criticized his own film’s construction and blamed a lack of resources, its meek production values were in fact a great asset, foregrounding the intimate and increasingly surreal confines of the set. Equal acclaim should be given to 20-year-old star Catherine Deneuve for her character’s slow-burning deterioration into psychosis. Whether you spin this on DVD or Blu-ray, Criterion’s effort is the definitive way to experience Polanski’s monochrome early masterpiece. Extras: exceptional commentary featuring Polanski and Deneuve, revealing making-of doc, 1964 TV doc shot on set, trailers, essays. 

Also Available

Dollhouse: Season One (Fox) TV mastermind Joss Whedon returned to the small screen last February with this highly anticipated sci-fi series. Expectations were not met. Yet Whedonites who held fast through the show’s bumpy takeoff were rewarded when Dollhouse began a midseason ascent (see TV, page 19). It’s still a ways off from the heights of Whedon’s TV masterwork, Buffy, but it has been picked up for another season. As for this release, what fan hasn’t been jonesing to check out the notoriously nixed pilot included in the extras, which also boast commentaries, an additional never-before-seen episode, featurettes and deleted scenes. 

Fast & Furious (Universal) Hot wheels, honeys, ’splosions… we know the drill. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez slide back behind the wheel of this overcooked franchise to do what they do best: look rad whilst pretending to drive riced-out cars really, really crazy and stuff. Extras: commentary with director Justin Lin, eight featurettes, short film written and directed by Vin Diesel (jackpot!), gag reel, music video. 

Dragonball Evolution (Fox) There’s not much to love in the Stephen Chow–produced live-action adaptation of the nerd-tastic manga series. The remake includes unintelligible fight choreography, the obnoxious son from War of the Worlds, Chow Yun-Fat dressed in a Hawaiian shirt as comic relief and, saving best for last, an actor legally named Texas Battle. Extras: featurettes, deleted scenes, music video, gag reel. 

Torso (Blue Underground) In this sufficiently pervy giallo from one of the genre’s more prominent directors, Sergio Martino, four college students flee a masked, hacksaw-wielding killer. Reasonably stylish, with a multitude of underdressed hardbodies. Extras: two trailers.