The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970Eagle Vision
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)
This concert film captures The Who in the midst of what a friend of mine calls "The White Jumpsuit Phase," in honor of the garb group leader and guitarist Pete Townshend sported for their gigs circa 1970. While Woodstock has long been heralded as the mother of all rock concerts, and a seminal moment for the group, Isle of Wight attracted far more people and featured a better set from the quartet. Much of Tommy was performed, as well as some songs (Water, I Don't Even Know Myself) that would be aborted from Townshend's ambitious Lifehouse project, a double album sci-fi concept that would wind up being the stellar single album, Who's Next. I just saw what's left of The Who (Townshend and Roger Daltrey) play a rousing set at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif. That made watching this disc somewhat of a sad experience. Not because the band isn't still breathtaking (the guys are 60, and they still kick ass); it's just hard watching smiling, enthusiastic drummer Keith Moon, who only had roughly eight years to live at the time of filming. (He would die of a prescription drug overdose in '78.) Entwistle, possibly the greatest bass player that ever walked the planet, died in 2002 as the result of some recreational drugs mixed with a stripper. The combination of these four men resulted in one of the best live rock acts to ever surface. If you don't believe me, get this disc and watch their performance of cuts like Water, Heaven and Hell and Shakin' All Over. It's downright apocalyptic.
Special Features: A big bonus for Who fans: Townshend does a new, 38-minute exclusive interview explaining his problems with The Who and this particular gig. While these are subjects that have been approached before by Townshend, he manages to make his anguish and tensions sound fresh every time he revisits the memories. That's it for special features, and for fans, that's more than enough.
Star Trek: The Original Series (Season One)Paramount
Special Features C-
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)
When I was a kid, I absolutely hated Star Trek and everything associated with the series. I thought everything looked "fake," although the big-headed creepy alien in the closing credits always freaked me out. Hell, I couldn't even watch the Leonard Nimoy series In Search Of because Spock epitomized all that was boring to me. You see, the series used to run ad nauseum in syndication, and stations would often use it as filler when a ballgame got rained out. Being that I lived on the East Coast, that happened a lot, so I had to watch "The Trouble With Tribbles" 15 times! After the movies series started (actually, not until Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), I looked back on the series more lovingly, and now I actually find myself enjoying its campiness and sad production value. The series only lasted three seasons, but its legend makes it seem like it aired forever. Season one consisted of such Trekkie favorites as "Space Seed," the episode that would later be used as inspiration for Wrath of Khan, and "The Enemy Within," in which William Shatner's Captain Kirk splits into good and bad beings.
Special Features: A couple of OK documentaries, but William Shatner talking about his goddamn horses qualifies as one of the lamest DVD features I've come across as a reviewer. There's some text commentary on the episode titled The Menagerie.
After HoursWarner Brothers
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 9 (out of 10)
Hard to believe, but this 1985 Scorsese masterpiece has never been available on DVD until now. Griffin Dunne plays Paul Hackett, a computer programmer stuck in New York City's Soho Village after his last $20 blows out a taxicab window. He has an ill-fated encounter with a beautiful but disturbed woman (Rosanna Arquette), gets mistaken for a Village thief and is pursued by a lynch mob led by a demonic ice cream truck. Teri Garr, Catherine O'Hara and Cheech and Chong offer great supporting help, but the film is all about Dunne's tightly wound performance, and a refreshed and energized Scorsese. The film can also be purchased within a Martin Scorsese gift collection, which also features new releases of Goodfellas (reviewed last week), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Who's That Knocking at My Door and Mean Streets.
Special Features: Great deleted scenes, including a Catherine O'Hara temper tantrum and a funny moment involving an unwelcome strobe light. The commentary is just a mish-mash of interviews spliced together to seem like a commentary. It's always interesting to hear Scorsese talk about his craft, but a more in-depth commentary would make this a better package. Still, getting to see this film again (my video copy is long gone) is exciting.