Landing on the shelves this week are several special editions of previously released DVDs. Sin City, Airplane!, and Mel Gibson's Gallipoli each get a makeover, while Michael Bay's The Island tries to slip quietly onto the New Release wall.
- Bad News Bears: Collector's Edition- Richard Linklater's rougher, meaner remake of the classic 1976 film. A rag-tag group of screw-up kids are mentored to victory by an alcoholic ex-baseball pitcher (Billy Bob Thorton). Thorton plays the part of grizzled coach Morris Buttermaker with such aplomb that it's hard not to wonder if he might be like that in real life. Fast forward to present: Angelina Jolie tabloids it up with Brad Pitt.
- The Island- If you blinked, you missed it. Michael Bay's (Armageddon, The Rock) The Island scraped by at the box office back in July, but its borrowed plot (think Gattaca, Logan's Run) might hold your attention long enough to warrant a rental. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson find themselves in a utopian society run amok. Who would've thought? It turns out that McGregor and Johansson are clones, spare-parts for their aging human counterparts. They run. Also starring Ewan McGregor's hair. And a helicopter. And a fast car. And a bridge. Possibly also some explosions and an existential crisis.
- Sin City: Recut, Extended, Unrated - Robert Rodriguez's cutthroat adaptation of the ink-noir Frank Miller comic book/graphic novel. In the perpetually crooked Sin City, the characters beat each other bloody in the name of love, revenge, and sadism. (One of its Amazon.com keywords is "cannibalism.") With Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Clive Owen, there are enough stars to fulfill anyone's Hollywood idolatry. Special features include fresh commentary by Frank Miller, special guest director Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez. There's also film school and cooking school with Rodriguez, an interactive game, a blooper reel, mini-docs on everything from costuming to cars, the complete Sin City graphic novel "The Hard Goodbye," and 20 minutes of additional footage. And that's the short list.
- Airplane! The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition - The tag-line for the film was "What's slower than a speeding bullet, and able to hit tall buildings at a single bound?" Oops. This absurdist take on air travel is part Monty Python, part National Lampoon, but now rings eerily true as the frenzy of holiday travel descends upon us. Ted Striker (Robert Hays) is a traumatized pilot who finds himself aboard a plane-in-peril. Bizarre comedy ensues, and believe me, there's enough of it to warrant a frame-by-frame analysis. This special edition includes deleted scenes, interviews, and commentary by producer Jon Davidson and writer/directors Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker and David Zucker.
- Gallipoli: Special Collectors Edition - The first real "film" introduced to me by my sixth-grade History teacher in our after-school film club, and one of the world's first glimpses of Mel Gibson back when he still had his Australian accent. Gallipoli won several well-deserved awards for it's portrayal of two young men thrown willy-nilly into the trenches of World War I. The film's final shot is an arresting iconographic eulogy to all "the innocent doomed" of war. Directed by Peter Weir.