October 7, 2009

Not Quite Hollywood

Also this week: Trick 'r Treat, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, Three Monkeys, Audition, Visioneers, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Highlight of the Week

Not Quite Hollywood (Mongrel) Mark Hartley’s dizzying assessment of “Ozploitation” cinema is better than a bevy of obscure trailers. The doc goes straight for the trash bin of Australia’s movie business in the ’70s and ’80s and rummages through it with cast, crew and celebrity-fan interviews. (Quentin Tarantino — who else? — drops in regularly to wax genre) Playing like some deranged VH1 special, Not Quite Hollywood is not quite for everyone, but courageous cineastes will find a lot to learn and love in this gaudy tour through Antipodean smut. Extras: director’s commentary with various Ozteurs, Tarantino interview, film fest panel, more.   

Also Available

Trick ’r Treat (Warner) Originally slated for Halloween ’07, Superman Returns co-scribe Michael Dougherty’s ambitious underdog was put on the back burner despite being well-received at festival circuits and test screenings. After two years of petitioning, direct-to-DVD is the ruling. Was all the bickering worth it? Kinda. Though it’s not groundbreaking, as we were led to believe, this remains a timely treat for old-school, campfire horror buffs. Blu-ray extras: director’s commentary, featurettes, additional scenes, more.  

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (Paramount) Beware! Ken Burns’ 12-hour doc on the history/expansion of US national parks will have you addicted in minutes flat. Filmed over six years, Burns’ latest features great insights and spellbinding photography characteristic of his prolific oeuvre, creating a feast for the eyes that nearly rivals his 1990 masterpiece, The Civil War. Extras: making-of, mini-docs, shorts, more. 

Three Monkeys (Mongrel) Not exactly the tour-de-force that Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan is known for (see: Distant and Climates), this narrative-driven noir throwback is rich in technique but goes overboard with fancy framework. Extras: just the trailer. 

Audition (Shout! Factory) At long last! Takashi Miike’s slow-burning surrealist classic, which has had too many needless DVD re-releases, gets the treatment it deserves thanks to drastically enhanced AV and appetizing extras. Note to first-timers: brace yourselves for what you won’t see coming. Extras: director and screen-writer’s commentary, two hours of new interviews, essay insert. 

Visioneers (Alliance) We wanted to enjoy this impenetrably deadpan dark comedy starring Zach Galifianakis as a man living in an Orwellian alternate universe — but from Metropolis to Schizopolis, we’ve seen much better. Extras: intro to Jeffers Corp., behind-the-scenes doc, more. 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney) The world’s first-ever animated feature inaugurates Disney’s new-fangled Diamond Edition line, boasting the best presentation this timeless classic has ever seen. Extras: commentary, featurettes bonanza, more.