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personal DVD catalog

These are the movies that I've accumulated on DVD, and a brief mention of their merits and origin. Also, there's much talk of extras.

Some films I like as visual wallpaper; either during a party or during the rest of life, it's like having a window with a busy city (or surreal landscape) teeming outside.

Patton A wild classic about a deranged general. Beautiful to behold. Richard Nixon's favorite film. Now you can hear the reverberating trumpets receeding into the mountains in throbbing quality sound.
The War Room No frills DVD containing a fantastic political documentary on Clinton/Bush 1992.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Fun movie, good replay value. Lively commentary. Fun menus.
Maltese Falcon A great movie, and many extras. Hven't watched a one yet.
The Searchers Old western, with John Wayne, directed by John Ford. The movie is a bleak Western odessey. The extras are hilarious, some "documentary" behind-the-scenes type stuff filmed at the the time when the movie was made. I got this one cheap after they discovered that the DVD had been transferred at the wrong aspect ratio - parts were cropped. They plan a rerelease. I hadn't seen any of the movie, so I'm happy to see most of it.
Annie Hall This has incredible replay value, but no extras. A hilarious movie. I loaned it to wayne, he couldn't seem to get into it like Amy and I have. maybe it's too jewish left-wing intellectual socialist summer camp.
Manhattan Murder Mystery John Joh bought this and sold it to me.
After enjoying Annie Hall so much I bought Manhattan Murder Mystery just to have some more of that snappy New York patter on hand. It's mature - middle aged people using crime as a foil for their relationship struggles. Fun, no extras. Woody Allen doesn't seem to like to watch his own films and talk over them like some directors will.
A Woman Under the Influence A Cassavetes's film that Amy said she loved. I bought it and made it halfway through - it reminded me much of Chandra. Unsettling.
Natural Born Killers John Joh
Oliver Stone's exploration of violence sex and media. A bit wild and over the top, but important as a record of a time and a feeling surrounding cultural production. Includes many extras - the content is too strong to delve into regularly, but if I'm feeling naughty I let in run in the background. Or maybe during a party?
The Abyss A beautiful film I was mezmerized by in the theatre. At least until the aliens landed in the middle of a undersea suspense thriller and I was thrown for a loop. The DVD is packed with technophile stroking extras; the documentary on underwater filming was more enticing than the eighteen-hour remix of the film provided here.
Kentucky Fried Movie John Joh
A random bunch of sketch comedy pieces I pissed myself laughing over when I was twelve. It is still funny, sorta. Haven't watched it much, but I have enjoyed the funny "Enter the Dragon" sendup.
Do the Right Thing John Joh
Spike Lee's brilliant film exploring race in New York during one hot summer abides as an important film that's fun to watch. Brilliant acting, great visuals - I love to play this film. Not too much additional stuff; in Spike Lee's written bio, they mention a neighborhood party that was held to thank Bed-Stuy for participating in the film - why wasn't there any footage or photos of that?
Three Kings Steve Rhodes pointed out this great film to me and I it for the first time on DVD. Almost like a theatre piece, with famous actors, in the desert. I enjoy Ice Cube onscreen, and the extras were funny.
Young Frankenstein John Joh
Mel Brooks's classic vintage horror spoof is still funny - excellent performances. Lively extras too.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective I hadn't seen any of the old Jim Carrey movies, and I heard some people at work say he was funny, so I bought this used somewhere. And it's not that funny. Whew. So much "bathroom" humor. I think that sort of thing can be well done! This ain't.
Enter the Dragon Bruce Lee's biggest film. Articulate physical prowess and philosophical moments against a backdrop of freaks visiting the island kingdom of a nefarious "oriental" drug lord.
A Clockwork Orange Stanley Kubrick's interpretation of Anthony Burgess's novel set in future england. The lives of hoodlums up against a state with far more potential for violence than they have. And they have a lot of potential for violence. Sparse but strong futurist sets and ugly behaviour; it can be hard to watch.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest John Joh
I rented this once and kept it late and then returned it after not watching it. Somehow I remembered the book too vividly and I wasn't excited to see the same tale retold in human action. But the film is strong, with great performances.
Gattaca Some science fiction I hadn't seen was on sale used at a video game store. Still haven't seen it.
Sleepy Hollow I very much enjoy the visual stylings of Tim Burton's films. Sleepy Hollow was a cute film, a love story wraught in drastic gothic overtones. It was simple and well-executed for what it was - a fable retold. I play this film while I'm working or puttering around sometimes.
Erin Brockovich Impulse by at Electronics Boutique.
The DVD extras reveal this film to be mostly a Hollywood ripoff of a powerful story. We see behind the scenes footage of effete LA snobs talking about how strange and genuine this person of Erin Brockovich is, and how she shares the same "energy" as Julia Roberts. So then we see Julia Roberts in a yellow shirt flashing some push-up tittie-tops, and Erin Brockovich in a waitresses outfit preparing for her cameo. Goddamn entire movie is a distracting hooker fashion show. Important content was conveyed but at the price of some very silly base content contrivances - one woman looks good when another woman is made to look stupid. Hot clothes on a skinny chick make moral content palatable. Money and new cars are the best reward. Hollywood people love genuinely moving content about human suffering, when it can be made sexy. An interview with Brockovich reveals her to be such an extremely thorough and inspiring person, the type of truth and beauty that the film aspires to. At best, the film is a cheeky cute compact fable. What did I expect? At least I bought it used.
The Insider Bought used at FuncoLand
Good film about the media and big industry, anchored by strong male performances. Similar to Erin Brockovich perhaps, with less personal interest, or at least personal interest painted in heavy masculine terms that appeal more to me.
American Psycho Purchased used at Funcoland
People kept mentioning this movie around me so I figured I should watch it. I'm not excited; I've owned it for months now without watching it.
American Graffiti John Joh
George Lucas's American classic film that gave him the reputation and cash necessary to make Star Wars.
Dark Crystal John Joh
Dark puppetry.
Charade Old Audrey Hepburn film, bought when I was in a nostalgia mood.
Titan A.E. Modern American science fiction animation drama. Well-executed, though not compelling or visionary in the way that Akira is, for example. Drew Barrymore did a voice - she elicits a reaction from me.
Scooby Doo's Original Mysteries I enjoyed this cartoon show so much as a child. I should have held on to my memories. The show is fine enough, but of all the things I should be watching, this DVD reminds me of the more challenging animation out there. Mostly from Japan.
Strange Days I believe in science fiction. I like to see what people think "the future" will look like. This is one vision, commenting on media, technology and personal boundaries. I think it's a thoughtful exploration.
Dancer in the Dark Lars von Trier and Bjork. I haven't had the guts to watch it since my Mom bought it for me (at my request) XMas 2000.
DeathRace 2000 Future American Road Race: Kill Pedestrians for Points. Roger Corman B-Movie from the 1970s with David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. Video room used - one of the crown jewels of my movie collection. Includes fantastic movie previews ("Big Bad Mama," Ron Howard car crashing movies, and a jailed women flik). This is the movie I have shared most from my stacks.
SNL 25 years Disappointing - it has most all of my favourite memorable Saturday Night Live skits, but they are severely abridged, far more foreshortened than the 15th anniversary special (duh). And there is no skit search! That's a real bummer - if they had done the DVD right, you could go from skit to skit through a menu. Instead they are lumped by decade and crammed only little tastes in.
Apocalypse Now (review) A favourite movie, finally I get to see the widescreen version with nice surround sound. Oo - those helicopters are in my bed! One deleted scene, an alternate ending of sorts, with Coppola's commentary, but otherwise, disappointing extras. They're releasing this movie, so this DVD will be replaced I imagine.
The Exorcist "Special Edition" Gosh, how many ways can you love the Exorcist? How about widescreen, with commentary, a documentary, deleted scenes, trailors, everything. I had never seen the movie before I got the DVD and this was a fantastic introduction. I swear, all these extras could make the worst movie seem like a collector's classic film. But here, this is a great movie, so it's all fascinating.
Goldfinger If you have to have one James Bond, this one has most all of it - great gadget loaded car, grand plots, Pussy Galore. And it's got so many extras, like funny radio spots for the film from the 1960s. But one James Bond is not enough - they're like potato chips or something - greasy and addictive.
Freeway Ultraviolent and edgy comedy/fairy tale with Reese Witherspoon in her first big movie roll. Listening to the director's commentary made me realize this guy Matthew Sweet is like a later-day Russ Meyer. Has some replay value - mostly people who haven't seen it.
Monty Python & The Holy Grail Coworker John ordered two copies or something - bought it cheap.
Bulworth Funny contemporary politics and culture film. I enjoy Warren Beatty. No memoable extras. Cheap, used for sale at the Video Room.
Austin Powers Funny movie. Came with my DVD player. Lots of extras. So What?
Hard Boiled Fantastic action movie - quintissential Hong Kong action drama. Extras include great movie previews, and a film John Woo made as a student. Mono sound though! Ug.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Not too many extras, cast bios, but a good movie to have around. Very surreal and fun.
Alien Beautiful, if dark, space horror film from the director of Blade Runner Ridley Scott. So many extras I can barely stand it.
Juliet of the Spirits I asked Howard, what's your favourite movie? And he mentioned this early on. I bought it and loaned it out and just got it back.
Blade Runner Something I had to have, for occasional visual orientation. Steve Rhodes says a better version is coming out soon. I can see why - for a movie fetishized by the tech community, this DVD has barely nothing by way of extra stuff.
Women in Revolt Andy Warhol film, purchased used cheap at Video Room.
Strange transsexual soap opera, where Warhol's strung out art buddies sit around mostly naked and hurl invective at each other. They seem largely unconvinced of their lines. It's like bad acting for the heck of it.
South Park Funny as shit. Will it still be in five years? Who cars.
Japanese Films

Violent Cop Gangster film by the Japanese director Takashi Kitano. A deeply grim story emerges from the seemingly mundane business of a cop with a temper. A film that sneaks up on you and makes you feel as though you have been punched and kicked around.
In the Realm of the Senses Extended retelling of a modern Japanese story of two lovers gone awry. It appears to be a film that consists almost entirely of sex scenes - it was initially banned and quite controversial in the late 1970s. I ordered it in Japanese with subtitles so I could learn from it; Buy.com sent me the wrong version. I played the English one during much of a party; it affected the mood maybe a little. Introduced by Melanie.
A Taxing Woman Celebrated Japanese comedy from the man behind Tampopo and The Funeral.
Double Suicide Purchased as part of my Japanese study. As yet unseen.
Go Go Second Time Virgin Japanese film from some reknowned "underground" director from the 1960s. More violence and sex; as yet unseen.
Yojimbo Akira Kurosawa's Western type work, the basis for the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone "spaghetti westerns" I watched in High School. Slow pacing.
Grave of the Fireflies The story of the firebombing of Tokyo during WWII, told from the perspective of two little kids. Gut wrenching anime.
Ninja: Resurrection Unofficial sequel to Ninja Scroll, an excellent feature length animation set in a medieval Japan beset by evil mystic ninjas. This film sucks, and I'm a tolerant filmwatcher. Strange Christian plot twist and poor animation. Unofficial for a reason.
Macross Plus 1 & 2 John Joh
Japanese Animation. Intergalatic space drama involving artificial intelligence, pop idol singers, jet pilots and romance. Eminently watchable, considering the absurdity.
Serial Experiments: Lain Beautiful anime series. (review).
Neon Genesis: Evangelion Attractive humorous Japanese animation. High school students responsible for driving giant robots to save the world! Can they keep their hormones and insecurities in check? Religious overtones and extensive exploration of fatherhood and distance.
Cowboy BeBop Jazzy fast paced space cowboy adventure pits the trickster and his merry band against the universe. About as mature as you'd want any space cowboy series to be, and still maintain a lively sense of fun. One character has a dream where Charlie Parker is quoting Goethe.
other DVDs I've loved before

Pillow Book I bought this and it seemed not to be in widescreen. That was so tragic, considering the overwhelming visual information Greenaway had to present in this film, I was really hoping for an over the top DVD with extras and widescreen, and etc. But if there is only one DVD of this film out there, I might need to get it for occasional visual orientation (when we were living together, Amy and I watched movies now and then to refresh our perception with other favoured perspectives. At least I think that's what we were doing. Amy wants to be a director, so for her it's like studying. Me, I think the stuff looks cool).
I gave my first copy to my boss at the time Joel since he had just gotten a DVD player and didn't have any DVDs. Everyone should have a Greenaway film in their house I believe.
Dark City Commentary, by the director and writers, and separate commentary by Roger Ebert. Great stuff!
The Usual Suspects My first brush with Director's Commentary - good stuff!
Slums of Beverly Hills My first brush with cast and crew biographies - nice!
Indian DVDs Friend Ryan Junell did some web design for an Indian ecommerce web site, and they gave him a bunch of DVDs. They're great! There's one DVD of excerpts from Indian musicals, like music videos - Songs from V. Shantaram's Classic Collection Volume 1. Except with elaborate and surreal sets, and spirited dancing and singing. And little irony, it seems. I like to leave these running during parties.
DVDs That I Can't Get

Black Lizard Classic, strange camp film written by and starring in a statue-cameo Yukio Mishima. Very strange film. Japan 1960s.
I.K.U. Written as a sort of sequel to Blade Runner, this is neon future porn from Japan.
The Celebration Swedish director Thomas Vintenberg's "Dogme 95" film about a family torn asunder, told with handheld cameras and intimate filmmaking. I've never seen such painful content writ so smart. I wish I could get myself a quality copy!
Akira Finally heading for DVD in fall 2001.

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