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Enter the Dragon: Special Edition

Warner Brothers
Movie B-
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)

When I was but a young spud, my father had more than one conversation with me about Bruce Lee's ability to turn up in films five years after his death. The man was a major film presence in the mid-to-late '70s, yet he wasn't breathing after 1973.

Though it's been more than 30 years since his mysterious death, his most famous film now gets the special edition treatment. While this film is a bit slow when the kicks aren't flying, the fights are spectacular, especially those involving Lee. This is the film on which most of his legend is based, and watching him work is often an incredible thing: His final battle with the evil Mr. Han is a classic, especially when he tastes his own blood from that abdominal wound.

Special Features: The two-disc set contains feature-length documentaries, including Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey, notable for its reconstruction of footage from Lee's The Game of Death. Lee died during its filming, and its eventual release contained body doubles. (Even cardboard cutouts!) Footage has now been restored, with the intention of getting closer to Lee's original vision.


The Weather Underground

Docu Rama
Movie A-
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 5 (out of 10)

The Weatherman, a group of young Americans, emerged from a radical group of college students called Students for a Democratic Society in the late '60s. Their movement declared that it would overthrow the U.S. government and strike out against the Vietnam War and racism. Their campaign resulted in many bombings--including the bombing of the U.S. Capitol Building--and even broke Timothy Leary out of prison. This documentary, narrated by actress Lili Taylor and nominated for an Academy Award, stands as an amazing record of one of the more remarkable anti-government movements in U.S. history. It's shocking to see what the Weatherman were able to achieve during their 10-year campaign.

Special Features: The disc includes an interview with David Gilbert, a former Weatherman jailed for life after his involvement in a clash with police and the Black Liberation Army in which three officers were killed. His interview, in itself, gives a decent overview of the Weather Underground and its objectives. Former Weatherman Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers contribute commentaries.


Flirting With Disaster

Miramax
Movie A+
Special Features C
DVD Geek Factor 5 (out of 10)

One of the funniest, most underappreciated films of the last 10 years, this could be Ben Stiller's best film to date. When adopted Ben wants to find his birth parents, he goes on a strange trek with his wife (Patricia Arquette), infant and Tea Leoni in tow. It all leads up to an acid-spiked quail that causes one of the funnier drug trips ever put to screen. Mary Tyler Moore and George Segal are hilarious as Stiller's adoptive parents, and supporting performances from Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin also score laughs.

Special Features: This second DVD-release of Flirting comes as part of Miramax's 25th anniversary peek back at some of their classics. Unfortunately, they couldn't coax writer/director David O. Russell or Stiller to deliver commentaries, and the deleted scenes and outtakes are pedestrian stuff (although George Segal in jail has its moments). The movie itself is worth the purchase, but the film deserves bigger treatment than this disc delivers.


Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Line

Disney
Collection A++
Special Features N/A
DVD Geek Factor 10 (out of 10)

This is absolutely mind-blowing stuff. When the United States joined World War II, Walt Disney basically turned his animation studio into a propaganda factory, turning out educational shorts, "morale boosters" and even full-length features (Victory Through Air Power) for the war effort. If you're looking for some nutty Saturday night fare, get a hold of this collection, which is sure to drop your jaw more than a few times. An Education for Death: The Making of a Nazi is a stunner, depicting a young boy being indoctrinated into the Nazi Party. Der Fuehrer's Face features Donald Duck waking up in a Nazi occupied land, and Donald Gets Drafted has the cantankerous duck screwing up during basic training. The release is part of Disney's Treasures collections, which also include volumes dedicated to Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Tomorrow Land. Each collection includes introductions by film critic Leonard Maltin, certificates of authenticity and lithographs. The collections are all indispensable.

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