RT on DVD: Fast & Furious, Dragonball: Evolution, Battlestar Galactica

Plus, Polanski gets the Criterion treatment.

by | July 27, 2009 | Comments

If you missed last weekend’s Comic-Con (see RT’s full coverage
here), you’re
in luck; it’s a particularly geeky week for DVD. Kicking things off are Fox’s
live-action adaptation of one of Japan’s best loved mangas (the disappointing
adventure Dragonball: Evolution), the fourth in a franchise for car lovers (Fast
& Furious
, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker), and DC’s latest animated
feature (Green Lantern: First Flight). But what could be nerdier than this
week’s new TV series on DVD? Pick from Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5,
Battlestar Galactica The Complete Series, Dr. Who, Torchwood, and Joss Whedon’s
Dollhouse Season One! Read on.

the previous three franchise films were too fast, too furious, then the fourth
flick about gear heads and racers is what we like to call “faster and more
furious to an even greater degree.” Of course, it’s also about brooding bromance,
as we find former buds Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul
Walker) together again for the first time since 2001’s The Fast and The Furious.
Reunited under tragic circumstances, Dom and Brian must work together undercover
to infiltrate the inner circle of a drug runner; naturally, we get car chases,
explosions, and hot eye candy galore.  DVD extras make for a great time if
you’re into autos, as you’ll find plenty of features reveal the making of the
film and the many import and muscle cars that appear — as well as the
Diesel-directed short film Los Bandeleros, which shows the gang’s adventures in
the Dominican Republic leading up to the fourth film. Yes, a prequel to the
prequel; Fast and Furious 4.5?

Next: Anime comes to life in Dragonball: Evolution

in its development, 20th Century Fox’s Hollywood adaptation of the
long-running Dragonball manga/anime property got lost in translation. The
result, a big-budget fantasy adventure that cherry-picked characters and story
lines and homogenized most of its cast (led by Justin Chatwin as Goku and Emmy
Rossum as Bulma), was too unfaithful to its source for fans, and too confusing
for newcomers. Add to that some awful creature make-up that had poor Buffy alum
James Marsters growling under green make-up and prosthetics as the evil,
misunderstood Piccolo, and you’ve got one big Asian fusion mess. Special
features include deleted scenes, stunt and behind-the-scenes featurettes, and
interactive games.

Next: Get close with Zoe Bell, Angel of Death

you’re familiar with the works of Quentin Tarantino, then you’re probably
already a fan of stuntwoman-turned-actress Zoe Bell, a woman so awesome that
Tarantino wrote an entire role for her in his Grindhouse flick, Death Proof.
(Remember the game of Ship’s Mast? That was her.) This week, Bell gets her first
starring role in Angel of Death, a web miniseries now being released as a
feature-length DVD. Like a female Jason Bourne, Bell plays an assassin who loses
her memory (a knife to the head’ll do that for you) and sets out to destroy her
former employers; Bell’s co-stars include Xena buddy Lucy Lawless (for
whom she stunt doubled), Ted Raimi, and Doug Jones.

Next: Supersized Japanese monsters get real in Big Man Japan

Big Man Japan


hard to describe Big Man Japan, but here goes: a middle-aged divorcé
(writer-actor-director Hitoshi Matsumoto) in contemporary Tokyo lives alone with
few joys in life, thanks to his day job as Japan’s national hero, which requires
him to morph into a supersized building-smasher to battle the giant kaiju
creatures that come to wreak havoc, Godzilla-style, on the country. But hard
times have befallen the superhero niche; Dai-Nipponjin (translated: Big Man
Japan) finds himself subject to the fairweather adoration of the public, who
watch his battles on television, and even his publicist has taken to selling ad
space on his enormous body. With public interest waning and his confidence
shaken, what’s Dai-Nipponjin to do? Shot documentary style, this satire is a
Japanophile’s delight; a making-of featurette and deleted scenes are included.

Next: Raise the Green Lantern

wonder this year’s Comic-Con was overrun with nerds in Green Lantern tees! The
latest feature-length animated DC film, Green Lantern was such a hit last
weekend in San Diego, programmers added a second screening for fans. First
tells the origin story of Hal Jordan (voiced by Law & Order‘s Christopher Meloni), an earthling who unexpectedly receives the Green Lantern ring and must
then prove his worth to the intergalactic Lantern Corps while battling a
sinister frenemy named Sinestro (Victor Garbo). Con reviews pegged this
anime-tinged feature as a bit light on back story, but you fans already know
what’s up; why not get to the brutal action and space opera dramatics? Among the
disc’s extras, find a sneak peek at the next DC Animated flick, Batman/Superman:
Public Enemies

Next: Bart Got a Room (and a DVD release)

Bart Got a Room
— 71%

the real star of Bart Got a Room might just be William H. Macy’s glorious jewfro
(pictured above), critics enjoyed this sweet high school comedy about a band
nerd (Steven Kaplan) torn between wooing his hot carpool crush (Ashley Benson)
and taking the girl next door (Alia Shawkat) to prom. First time director Brian
Hecker based this American Pie-like tale on his own dateless teen years — an
experience that lends Bart  an air of authenticity, albeit a
cringe-inducing authenticity.

Next: An Affair that’s hard to remember?

Mol and Cameron Bright star in this poorly received piece of historical fiction
about a teenage boy (Bright, soon to be seen in The Twilight Saga: New Moon) in
1963 Washington, D.C., whose crush on a hot neighbor (Mol) leads unexpectedly to
a conspiracy plot to assassinate President Kennedy. Clichés muddle the plot,
which attempts to mash together a coming-of-age tale and a political thriller,
with mixed results. Fans of Mol, however, will enjoy the actresses’ steamy (and
scantily clad) scenes.

Next: Sci-fi TV DVDs galore!

TV nerds, take note: your pocketbooks are going to get a lot lighter this week.
We’ll begin with the piece de resistance: the 20-disc, four-season Battlestar
: The Complete Series box set. Packed in a BSG cube (with an 8″ Cylon
Centurion figure included), this set ain’t cheap ($349.99 list price) but
contains just about every BSG-related item known to man, including the
Miniseries and an unrated and extended version of the Razor telefilm. A
newly-filmed introduction by creator Ron Moore kicks off each section, leading
over 70 hours of bonus content. You can literally spend almost three days
straight watching the extra features alone, people!

The Battlestar complete set is being released in
conjunction with Season 4.5, which is also available separately. If you already
own the previous seasons, picking up S4.5 on its own will be a far more
affordable way to complete your collection. Deleted scenes, tons of featurettes,
and cast and crew commentaries supplement the four-disc set.

As if that weren’t enough to sate your geek thirst
this week, put these TV on DVD titles on your shopping list: Dr. Who: Planet
of the Dead
, extending a select episode of celebrated doc David Tennant;
Torchwood: Children of Earth, a five-part miniseries spun off from Dr. Who;
and Dollhouse Season 1, Joss Whedon’s latest creation starring Eliza Dushku.

Next: Criterion attracts serious movie watchers with Repulsion

Polanski’s English-language debut starred a young Catherine Deneuve as Carol, a
schizophrenic woman whose paranoia turns to madness over the course of the film.
Polanski heightens the tension with horror movie tricks, playing up Carol’s
psychologically-fabricated hallucinations to great effect. Presented on Blu-ray
by Criterion, Repulsion has been digitally restored and includes a 1994
commentary with Deneuve and Polanski, an archival set feature, a 16-page booklet
with critical essay, and more.

Next: Get close and personal with this Torso

— N/A

it gives you any indication of what this film contains, Eli Roth once told RT
that Torso was one of his favorite horror movies. The 1973 Italian giallo
film is  favorite among exploitation cinema watchers, although its plot is
relatively simple: when murders start happening on a college campus, four co-eds
flee to the countryside, unaware that the killer has followed them! British
actress Suzy Kendall (recognizable from the giallo classic The Bird with the
Crystal Plumage
) stars.

Until next week, happy renting!

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