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A day in at the movies

DVD

The Problem Child 3-pack and Black Book both arrived today from Play. After checking the first two films and verifying that they were indeed in widescreen and that Problem Child 2 was uncut (they are, and it is - 1.85:1 nunchuk action ahoy!), me and Lyris steeled ourselves and popped in Problem Child 3, as prepared as was humanly possible for the horrors that this made for TV sequel, with the key roles recast, could inflict on us. And it was… surprisingly bearable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a load of crap (not that the first two Problem Child films were ever going to win anything, of course - not even a Razzie), but it made us laugh, and the shift in tone wasn’t as dramatic as in, say, a Disney cheapquel. It’s a hell of a lot more surreal, even going so far as to include a couple of physical gags that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Tex Avery cartoon, and the guy playing Ben Healy (William Katt - who was in Carrie, by some coincidence) is about as poor a match for John Ritter as you could ever hope to find, but the scenes with the three returning cast members - Jack Warden, Gilbert Gottfried and Eric Edwards - provide much merriment. There is also some rather sly humour, some of it surprisingly twisted by network TV standards. Am I suggesting that everybody rushes out to see it? No - like I said, the film (if you can even call it that) is garbage by anyone’s standards, but it was a painless enough way to kill an hour and a half.

DVD

I also finally sat down and watched Pan’s Labyrinth, and I’m exceedingly glad I did, as it’s probably the best new horror movie I’ve seen since The Descent… although perhaps “horror” isn’t the best way to describe it as, contrary to what the marketing campaign would have you believe, only small portions of it take place in the world of make-believe. The rest of it is all unsettlingly real, taking place in Spain in 1944, with the country under the grip of General Franco’s fascists, and the military stopping at nothing to root out and destroy the resistance forces. The film is absolutely beautiful to behold, and the designs and effects work on the various creatures that the protagonist meets are astounding. In some ways, it reminded me of a twisted live action Spirited Away: a dark fairytale for adults.

Now I’m seriously considering picking up the French HD DVD, due for release on July 4th (my birthday!), even though it doesn’t have any English subtitles (I suspect the film can be enjoyed without the intrusion of translation anyway). Annoyingly, though, it will only be available in a 5-disc box set, packaged with the standard definition release and the score, rather than as a stand-alone HD DVD. It will also be the first HD DVD title to be THX-certified, which means… bugger all, of course.

PS. Black Book is my 600th DVD.

 
Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2007 at 10:43 PM | Comments: 6
Categories: Cinema | DVD | HD DVD | TV | Technology

 
Comments

1.

I guess I'm going to have to upgrade from my R1 Problem Child Tantrum Pack to the R2 box set now!

Glad you liked Pan's Labyrinth. It's a work of genius.

Posted by: Philly Q, June 3, 2007 12:28 AM

2.

I'm still waiting for that Criterion edition of Problem Child!

Posted by: Phantom, June 3, 2007 6:26 AM

3.

"PS. Black Book is my 600th DVD."

I've never dared to count mine. I'd be horrified by how many there are and how much I've spent.

Posted by: Philly Q, June 3, 2007 10:46 AM

4.

I didn’t realise you were both fans of the classic Problem Child!

By the way, Phil, although I said Black Book was my 600th DVD, I’ve probably “only” got about 450 in the house what with all the ones that I’ve resold. I’ve got a whole bunch stacked up in a corner to punt whenever I get the chance, including ones that are out or should be coming out in HD soon.

Posted by: Whiggles, June 3, 2007 4:38 PM

5.

Just out of interest, which Problem Child set did you get?

HMV had two - for £18, a thickish cardboard box with a white/red cover saying "Tantrum Pack" and for £10, a single DVD case with the 3 discs unceremoniously stacked on top of each other (haven't seen that before, except for the Death Carries A Cane LE, sort of). Both said 2007 and seemed to have the same content, so in the interests of saving both money and shelf space, I took the cheapskate option.

Hope I haven't missed out on a jam-packed extras disc or a director's cut or something...

Posted by: Philly Q, June 3, 2007 9:33 PM

6.

The one I got was the single-case edition with the discs stacked on top of each other… although the one I ordered at Play.com displayed the cover art for the boxed version. As far as I’m aware, the discs are exactly the same.

Posted by: Whiggles, June 3, 2007 9:35 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

https://www.landofwhimsy.com

 

 
 
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