Wednesday, March 12, 2008

DVD notes 3/12


If you've got a hankering for something new from the zombie genre -- like, say millions of zombies doing battle with cyborgs in a utopian society -- you should check out Appleseed Ex Machina, which came out yesterday. A feature-length anime, Ex Machina is animated in a way that previously only existed in Brad Bird's nightmares (can't imagine what it would look like in Blu-Ray). You really have to see it to get an idea of how amazing it is -- it seems to be the next evolution in what Richard Linklater did with A Scanner Darkly, only the characters are still "drawn," but still move like they were motion-captured. Still with me? Like I said, you have to see it. Visually amazing, Ex Machina is a bit of a letdown as a movie considering the potential of its story. Somewhere in the far, far future there's a utopia called Olympus protected by a cyborg police squad, but lately they've had a problem with the cyborg terrorists becoming increasingly badass. Who's supplying them? And what's with these new iPod-like thingies that people are wearing on their heads? Turns out the gotta-have-it gadgets of the future can take control of the user and turn them into zombies more mindless than they already were. It seemed the story had a chance to become something meaningful, but it's pushed to the side to make way for more scenes of airborn cyborg combat (never a bad thing, but it gets a little tiresome here). Ex Machina is a huge release in anime circles, but give it a look if you want to see some out of this world animation (and a few million zombies).

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COSTCO CRITERION MAGIC: Despite its limited selection, Costco has always been one of the best places to find great DVD deals on quality titles. Box sets like The Alien Quadrilogy and the new 007 sets are sometimes far below other stores' prices. So with this in mind, it was quite a sight this weekend to see a number of Criterion Collection titles on sale at Costco, all going for $24.95! The Criterions on sale were all good ones: Days of Heaven, The Third Man, Gimme Shelter, Night on Earth, Stranger Than Paradise, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Ace in the Hole and The Ice Storm .... which doesn't come out until March 18, but there it was on the shelf! The Third Man is probably the biggest steal of this lot, it's a blockbuster of a release that rarely dips below $35. Since Costco rotates its DVD stock pretty frequently, it will be interesting to see if they continue to sell Criterion and what titles will be available.

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SPEAKING OF MAGIC: When Xanadu makes its DVD debut on June 24, it will be a big day not only for roller skate groupies who want to see Gene Kelly on wheels, but also for those of us who wish for soundtracks to be included on DVD releases. Xanadu's rocking soundtrack featuring ELO and Olivia Newton John will be featured on a CD with this release -- and I think I'll pick it up for that reason alone. Outside of the opening and closing sequences, I can do without Xanadu (thought I would love to see it on Broadway), but it's a solid soundtrack and how often do you get a CD with your DVD, especially one with as many hits on it as this one? It's a great feature that I wish was more prevalent.

4 comments:

Moviezzz said...
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Adam Ross said...

I didn't even realize Xanadu was on DVD (guess I could have done 10 seconds of research). That last sequence is definitely fun to watch, and the song isn't too bad either. I like the opening because of how unintentionally hilarious it is: Michael Beck's ridiculous line "forget it, guys like me shouldn't dream anyway" and the mural coming to life with ELO's "I'm Alive" in the background -- wow.

Piper said...

I didn't read about this movie until just now and of course it was playing at the Alamo Drafthouse right after Be Kind Rewind and of course I didn't see it because I'm a big dumb idiot.

Nate Y. said...

If you want to see Gene Kelly on rollerskates and avoid Olivia Newton-John, you can always check out "It's Always Fair Weather". He has a very impressive dance on skates there.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfJIarhYYZQ