BLOGS

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, July 3, 2012

by Ethan Alter July 3, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Celebrate the Fourth of July by watching this duo slay some of your fellow Americans.

God Bless America
Bobcat Goldthwait's latest directorial effort is a blood-soaked screed against what he sees as the dumbed-down, reality-TV crazed, looking out for number one state of contemporary America. The film's mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore anti-hero is Frank (Bill Murray's brother, Joel), a middle-aged divorcee who puts down his remote control and picks up a gun -- as well as a teen sidekick (Tara Lynne Barr) setting off on a cross-country road trip to restore some sanity to his beloved country... by killing off some of his more useless fellow Americans. After a strong satiric start, God Bless America loses much of its drive midway through as Goldthwait struggles to maintain control of the film's tone and funnel his outrage into an actual story. But it's worth sticking around for the apocalyptic finale, which turns the stage of an American Idol-like singing competition into a shooting gallery.
Extras: A commentary track and additional interviews with Goldthwait, Murray and Barr; deleted and extended scenes and outtakes; two making-of featurettes.
Click here to read our original review

Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy
One of the daffiest, campiest and most enjoyable science-fiction movies ever made, Roger Vadim's 1968 cult classic Barbarella stars his then-wife Jane Fonda as the titular interstellar warrior, who is tasked with a dangerous mission by the President of Earth to find and retrieve the inventor of a deadly weapon, the Positronic Ray. But don't concern yourself too much with the details of the plot; Barbarella is first and foremost a candy-colored romp filled with funky '60s costumes, hairdos, backdrops and eccentric supporting characters, John Phillip Law's angelic Pygar being the standout. After checking out Barbarella (and really, if you haven't seen it yet, you must) be sure to watch Roman Coppola's CQ, which contains an expert parody of this midnight movie staple.
Extras: Sadly, just the theatrical trailer. A one-of-a-kind classic like Barbarella really cries out for its own retrospective making-of documentary. Get on that, someone.

Born on the Fourth of July
The second chapter of Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy (preceded by 1986's Platoon and followed by 1993's Heaven & Earth), 1989's Born on the Fourth of July was Tom Cruise's bid to show he was more than just the pretty boy who flew planes in Top Gun and danced in his underwear in Risky Business. And his Oscar-nominated performance (the first of three nominations to date) as Ron Kovic -- an idealistic, patriotic small-town kid who volunteered to fight and wound up in a wheelchair for his trouble -- is probably still the strongest thing about this movie, which otherwise suffers from Stone's occasional tendency towards bloated narratives and self-important speechifying. The film's best scenes take place in the hospital purgatory that comes between the battlefield and the homefront, when Kovic has to adjust to his new wheelchair-bound life. These moments demonstrate the depth of Cruise's commitment to the role, as well as Stone's compassion for the experiences his fellow Vietnam vets.
Extras: A commentary track with Stone and an archival featurette about the film.

Also on DVD:
The movie that almost single-handedly killed Disney's comeback, Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition was a lavish outer space take on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel that became the John Carter of its day, in terms of its disappointing reviews and box office take. Like Carter though, it's slightly better than its reputation suggests, although it could use a lot less Martin Short as the obligatory comic relief. On the other hand, Home on the Range is almost exactly as bad as its reputation suggests. With stinkers like this one, it's no wonder that Pixar's John Lasseter was put in charge of Disney after the two companies merged for real. In live-action kiddie entertainment, the latest American Girl feature An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars hits stores today, just in time to seize on the gymnastics fever that will be going around when the Olympics start in a couple of weeks. Long unavailable on DVD, the awesomely terrible Hulk Hogan vehicle No Holds Barred pits the Hulkster against Tiny Lester in a battle of Rocky III proportions. Finally, Willem Dafoe headlines the adventure yarn The Hunter, as a mercenary who goes on a hunt for an elusive Tasmanian tiger at the behest of a high-paying client.

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