May 25, 2010

True Blood: Season Two

Also this week: The Road, Django, City of the Living Dead, Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog

Highlight of the Week
True Blood: Season Two (Warner) Two years and too much Twilight after Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball’s soapy/sexy return to HBO, True Blood is still top-notch pop entertainment, as confirmed by a sophomore season that contained a stronger supporting cast, meatier metaphors and altogether juicer plotting. Of course, all the hit-and-miss vampire drama remains intact, in between some of the most intense gore I’ve ever encountered on television. (Note: it’s not TV, it’s HBO.) This fab collection of sex, blood and bloody sex should give us something to sink our fangs into while we wait for Season 3. Buffywho? Extras: commentaries, featurettes. Blu-ray extra extras: interactive awesomeness.  
Also Available
The Road (Alliance) Nearly a half-decade after giving us one of the best post-revisionist westerns ever, John Hillcoat adapts Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize–winning bestseller. The pic is well mounted, well acted and well adapted, but it is hardly a fun sit-through. Yet, in a year full of disaster flicks (2012,Terminator: Salvation), this ranks the highest. A poetic portrait of a dismal American landscape and, moreover, a heart-rending story about a father and son, The Road proves that Hillcoat may be up for the task of taking a stab at the mother all McCarthys, Blood Meridian. The film’s appropriately drab palette gets a perfect transfer to Blu. Extras: commentary, making-of, deleted scenes, more.
Django (Blue Underground, E1) This definitely gets my vote for best spaghetti western not directed by Sergio Leone. Franco Nero stars as a coffin-carrying roamer who rescues a captured woman and subsequently slings his gun against an army of bandits. How does he dispatch so many ruthless rebels? Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi trilogy was clearly influenced, so you do the math. One of the more savage westerns out there, 1966’s Django went on to inspire 50 unofficial sequels, only one of which starred Nero. The film has already seen several home-video incarnations, but this hi-def’r offers the finest presentation in all its ├╝ber-grainy glory. Extras: old-school spaghetti western doc, interviews, nifty short featuring Nero, best trailer ever.
City of the Living Dead (Blue Underground, E1) Lucio Fulci has made some of the trippiest zombie flicks out there, but this one creeps the most. When the seven gates of Hell are opened, the dead walk the earth, maggots rain from the sky and people begin to barf their own guts. More so than Zombie and The BeyondCity of the Living Dead is a surrealist shocker that will gross out even the most seasoned sleazy-horror buffs. Its narrative weirdness is actually what makes the film so effectively terrifying. There is no place to hide from zombies that appear out of nowhere and rip gooey brains right out of your head. Logic is for pussies. Extras: sweet new making-of, interviews, poster galleries, more. 
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog (E1) During that pesky writer’s strike, Buffy mastermind Joss Whedon (sorry ’bout that earlier jab — totally didn’t mean it, btw) gave us this online, free (!) three-part musical about a would-be supervillain blogger, his overly heroic nemesis and their mutual sweetheart, all set to a toe-tappin’, finger-snappin’ musical. Now you can pay to see it again, but in snazzy hi-def, and with most non-horrible extras like an incredible musical commentary, normal-speak commentary, three making-ofs and “Evil League of Evil” application vids.