Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992). Now you can check Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning performance in Monster against the real thing. Nick Broomfield's take on his subjects (Kurt and Courtney, Heidi Fleiss, Biggie and Tupac) may be controversial, but one thing you've got to hand to him: He knows a complex and intriguing story when he spots one. Writes Jonathan Rosenbaum, "In more ways than one, this grim, sordid, and violent Florida story is a tale of buffoons - apart from Wuornos herself, who seems sad, brutalized, and enraged well beyond buffoonery." [Rent]
Best Boy (1979). Ira Wohl's documentary was a winner at the Oscars, in Toronto and with the New York Film Critics Circle. Surely part of the film's enduring power lies in Wohl's resisting the temptation to go all maudlin and tear-jerky in his portrait of his mentally retarded 52-year-old cousin, Philly. Be sure to rent both discs to catch Wohl's follow-up 20 years on, Best Man. Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent].
The First Year (2001). Davis Guggenheim's doc for PBS on five (and on this DVD, six) teachers struggling through their first year on the job wins raves among IMDb users: "The insight these heroes give into the rights and wrongs of the teaching profession are emotional and inspiring. It is a film that every citizen of this country must see." [Rent]
5 Films About Christo & Jean Claude (1974 - 1995). Famed documentarians and brothers Albert and David Maysles, at times working with co-filmmakers, have been chronicling the adventures of one of the most fascinating couples of the art world - and you can truly call them adventures, from conception, through the often prolonged battles towards realization - for a quarter of a century. All three discs feature audio commentary by Albert, Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Ghosts of the Abyss (2003). James Cameron plunges once again into the wreckage of the Titanic. [Rent]
The Legacy Collections are re-releases featuring horror's most endearing and enduring monsters. Let's begin with Dracula (Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent]). Bela Lugosi stars in Dracula (1931), of course, but there's also the original Spanish version shot at night on the same Universal sets after Todd Browning and his crew went home. "While practically identical in many ways, [director George] Melford creates a more atmospheric set and has his camera prowling though it in key moments, resulting in a more stylish and smooth film," writes Sean Axmaker. Also in this package: Dracula's Daughter (1936), Son of Dracula (1943), with Lon Chaney Jr as the Count, and House of Dracula (1945), starring Chaney Jr as Lawrence Talbot and John Carradine as the vampire.
As for the Frankenstein Collection (Disc 1 [Rent]), Boris Karloff plays the monster in Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Son of Frankenstein (1939), and House of Frankenstein (1944); in Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), it's Lon Chaney Jr. Which leads us to the Wolf Man (Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent]): Chaney's The Wolf Man (1941), but he was preceded by Henry Hull in the lesser known Werewolf of London (1935). It's a Lugosi-Chaney face-off in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), and then the big twist: She-Wolf of London (1946)!
The great stalwarts of horror also rise again in their Hammer Studios incarnations: Both Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968) [Rent] and Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) [Rent] feature Christopher Lee while Peter Cushing stars in Terence Fisher's Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed! (1970) [Rent].
Blood Gnome (2002). This potent mix of horror and S/M played at the Fearful Tales Film Festival in San Francisco. [Rent]
Urban Ghost Story (1998). "Actually a very non-exploitive UK horror film which unfolds more like a Ken Loach urban drama than your typical horror flick," says Sisyphus. With a pre-Pippin Billy Boyd, by the way. [Rent]
Savage Island (2003). Well received at the Another Hole in the Dead independent horror fest in San Francisco. [Rent]
Adam and Evil (2004). As if the title weren't enough, how about that tagline: "One bad apple... ripe for revenge." [Rent]
The Bride of Frank (1996). Enthuses one IMDb user: "In 1972, John Waters made Pink Flamingos. He was a child of rich parents embracing the lower class. In 1996, Mr. Ballot created The Bride of Frank, a film I see as the Pink Flamingos actually made by the lower class. And I don't mean that in a bad way in the least." [Rent]
My Little Eye (2002). "Marc Evans is a talented director whose new picture is a tightly and consistently imagined horror film about a Big Brother-style situation that spirals into nightmare," writes Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian: "[T]his is a stylishly managed piece of work, elegantly designed and never dull." [Rent]
Among Us (2004). A brand new low-budget Bigfoot movie. [Rent]
ACTION and ADVENTURE
Freeway Speedway 4 (2003). More than a little Fast and the Furious-type action, this racing moving was banned in the country where it was made, Japan. [Rent]
Fast Company (1979). Sisyphus: "I like this early racetrack film from David Cronenberg, in which he photographs the car engines with the same sort of clinical care that he also brought to bodies in his horror works. Besides, it's got William Smith and Claudia Jennings as the leads." The bonus disc contains two early Cronenberg films, Stereo and Crimes of the Future. Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent]
A terrific batch of spaghetti westerns sees a re-release and DVD Talk's John Wallis has seen them all: Django (1966) [Rent] ("One of the key genre definers that capably took the Leone mantle and inspired hundreds of unrelated sequels that slapped Django in the title merely as a means to profit from the films success. While the basic and clumsily executed concept of the almost superhuman gunfighter entering a divided town, being beaten, and eventually gaining revenge is very Yojimbo or Fistful of Dollars, the atmosphere really sets it apart."), Django Kill! (1967) [Rent] ("an uncompromisingly surreal opus, more in line with Luis Bunuel or Ingmar Bergman than Sergio Leone"), Run Man Run (1968) [Rent] ("among the best Spaghetti Westerns I have seen") and Mannaja: A Man Called Blade (1977) [Rent] ("a really entertaining action adventure").
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977). "How often does one get the chance to a see a movie that features a man-eating bed, the ghost of Audrey Beardsley, and a cinematic style that recalls underground films of the sixties by Kenneth Anger and James Broughton?" asks Jeff Stafford of Turner Classic Movies. This rediscoved indie film is "equally strange, humorous and unpredictable." [Rent]
Troma galore! State of Mind (1992) [Rent] features Fred Williamson; Blondes Have More Guns (1995) [Rent] and more chainsaws, too, evidently; Go To Hell (1999) [Rent], in which a pro wrestler takes on a demon by the name of Bob Beezly; and Suicide (2004) [Rent], the "Uncensored Director's Cut."
El Santo Y La Tigresa (1973). Santo, the superhero from Mexico, teams up with a beautiful woman to fight evil bandits. [Rent]
Mad Dogs (2002). An independent sci-fi thriller set in London, and of course, in the future. The city is threatened by "Mad Dog Disease" which evidently has nothing to do with the noonday sun. [Rent]
Azumanga Daioh - Vol. 1: Entrance! (2002). "Quite possibly, one of the best animes ever, even though it has almost zero substance," says alibash. "It's like 26 episodes of lighthearted lovable fluff, goes down tasty!" [Rent]
Kaze No Yojimbo - Vol. 1 (2001). An anime series adapted from Akira Kurosawa's classic, Yojimbo. [Rent]
Saikano 1: Girlfriend. Another new series begins. "This is a great story about Chise and Shuji trying to get closer to each other during wartime. It's sad but not depressing like Grave of the Fireflies," says WConyers. [Rent]
Marmalade Boy: Ultimate Collection (1994). "If you like Kodocha, you might like Marmalade Boy," says OtakuNYC. "It's more mellow than Kodocha, but the first disc at least is worth checking out." Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Witch Hunter Robin. hneline1 calls this series "a dark sepia exploration of an undercover world where 'hunters' search for and incarcerate paranormals who do harm with their powers. It's all about atmosphere, from the cavernous stone mansion that serves as STNJ's headquarters, to the maniacal gleams of evil in the eyes of the hunted witches, to the unearthly grace with which Robin moves in her full length black dress." Vol. 4: Fugitive (2000). [Rent]
Superior Defender Gundam Force. GCers are rating the series in the 7s and 8s. Vol. 3: Heroes United [Rent] and Vol. 4: Unknown Dangers [Rent]
Happy Lesson. On sunitgir's "Anime... For GIRLS!" list. Vol. 3: Mama-Lama-Ding-Dong (2003). [Rent]
Harlock Saga (1999). Der Ring des Nibelungen goes anime. Eric "Scanner" Luce writes in EX: "For those of us who want more stories in [Leiji] Matsumoto's universe, this is indeed a welcome addition. For those who are new to the whole concept, they are bound to be confused by the history and the capabilities of the various characters, but the story itself will remain quite accessible to them. If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it." [Rent]
Infinite Ryvius. Vol. 4: Change of Command (1999). Thumbs up from zelpheri on the first volume. [Rent]
Inu Yasha. Vol. 17: Shattered Memories (2000). One of GCers' favorite series rolls on. [Rent]
Profiler. Season 3 (1998 - 1999). Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent], 4 [Rent], 5 [Rent] and 6 [Rent].
Dick Van Dyke Show: Season 4 (1963). One of the truly great American sitcoms. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent], 4 [Rent] and 5 [Rent].
Thomas and Sarah (1979). A spin-off of the classic British series, Upstairs Downstairs. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
The Last King (2003). A British mini-series based on the life of King Charles II. An impressive cast: Rufus Sewell, Rupert Graves, Diana Rigg and more. [Rent]
Mutant X: Season 2 (2001). Vol. 1. [Rent]
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