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Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier

Paramount Home Video
Movies Original Version A; Redux A-
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 9 (out of 10)

Nearly 30 years later, this one stands as more of a commentary on the dark side of man rather than a straightforward film about the Vietnam War. It's doubtful that junior high history classes will be watching this in the future for background on the conflict. However, film classes will display this one as long as the medium exists. It remains a remarkable movie.

This package contains both the original cut and Apocalypse Now: Redux, where director Francis Ford Coppola put an extra 49 minutes back into the picture. Some of the additions are quite surprising, including an upbeat sequence where Martin Sheen's Willard steals Kilgore's (Robert Duvall's) surfboard. The notorious French plantation scene was restored as well, and it feels a bit unnecessary. The original remains a better offering.

Nothing went right during the production of this movie. Typhoons wiped out sets; stars were replaced (Sheen took over the role of Willard from Harvey Keitel). Marlon Brando showed up grossly overweight for his role as Col. Kurtz, refusing to read the script and driving his director nuts. The healthy looking Sheen suffered a heart attack on set and punched a real mirror during the film's opening sequence. (That's real blood he smears on his face.)

Coppola pulled his amazing movie out of hundreds of hours of footage shot over 16 months (his significantly over-budget film was originally scheduled for a four-month shoot). It's a swirling, chaotic cinematic experience that doesn't make much sense, and it's damned near perfect.

Special Features: There are some rather remarkable deleted scenes, including the Dennis Hopper photojournalist character's death at the hands of Scott Glenn's Colby. Glenn's character never actually spoke in the original cut, but a couple of the deleted scenes feature him talking (and dying). These deleted scenes are pretty substantial, and they would've dramatically altered the tone of the film had they not been cut. There's also audio of Brando reading the poetry of TS Eliot over random deleted footage from the filming. It's weird hearing Brando reading the bizarre text over film of crew techs touching up the blood on extras playing corpses. Coppola provides commentary for both versions of the film, and it's fun to hear him talk about his craft. He points out that Donald Rumsfeld was the secretary of defense and refused to lend the production military equipment. This was one of the reasons the production took to the Philippines (President Marcos had plenty of American military equipment to rent). Other features include The Post Production of Apocalypse Now, which discusses the madness of making the movie out of a million feet of film. The film's legendary sound design is also studied.


South Park: The Complete Eighth Season

Paramount Home Video
Show A
Special Features C
DVD Geek Factor 6 (out of 10)

Geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone had Mel Gibson pegged in 2004, labeling Mel Gibson as a madman in "The Passion of the Jew," their utter desecration of the phenomenon that was Gibson's Jesus movie. Ending with Gibson blasting a shitty fart in Cartman's face, Parker and Stone saw Gibson as a madman, and boy, were they right.

Season eight was also the year the boys took aim at Michael Jackson, portraying the man-child in a rather unflattering light. These fellows are unafraid of burning bridges, and many a suspended roadway got scorched in these 14 episodes. Here's to them making these things for as long as they're alive. It gets better every year.

Special Features: As usual, you get the Parker-Stone mini-commentaries, and that's it.


Jenifer: Masters of Horror

Anchor Bay
Movie B
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)

Showtime's anthology series, where notorious horror directors are given an hour to go nuts, is getting some nice treatment from the folks at Anchor Bay. Good god, this is one of the most disgusting movies I've ever seen. Director Dario Argento's contribution to Showtime television's Masters of Horror series has to be the most repugnant thing to ever air on television. In other words ... it's cool!

Proceed with caution if you should choose to watch this. Steven Weber plays Spivey, a police officer who finds himself taking care of a young woman with a killer body to go along with a disfigured face. When he takes the girl home, she proceeds to eat his cat, the little girl from next door and a teenage boy. While all of this is going on, Spivey has frequent, graphic sex with Jenifer, which is pretty sick, because she has pustules all over her tongue. Hey, she's got a killer body!

This is a disgusting, yet oddly entertaining, ode to sexual obsession and eating your neighbors. Argento (who is probably most famous for the horror film Suspiria) revels in the opportunity to put sick images on screen without worrying about a PG-13 rating.

Special Features: The DVD is loaded with commentaries and interviews. One of those interviews includes deleted footage where Jenifer is chewing on a victim's penis. Blecch!

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