I've always had a deep hatred for the Friday the 13th films. The original, a truly bad, reverse-Psycho dreck fest, was aired on broadcast television (unedited) when I was 13, and I remember staying up late one Saturday night to watch something that truly sucked. I was a Halloween fan, and in those days, many horror fans saw Friday the 13th as nothing more than a cheap John Carpenter rip-off. Over the years, the series has been resurrected many a time. (I thought for sure it would all end with the fourth film, The Final Chapter, for that is what the title implied.) Alas, it's been going on for nearly 25 years now, with 11 films involving camp-counselor killer Jason Voorhees (although it was his mommy doing the dirty deeds in the first movie). I admit that I'd forgotten Jason didn't start wearing the hockey mask until Part 3 (one of the worst 3-D movies ever made), although Corey Feldman wearing a bald cap and going nuts with a machete remains a vivid image in my head. This package contains the first eight films, so fans of Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X will have to make separate purchases. Of course, last year's Freddy vs. Jason was the first time a movie involving the hockey masked one was worth a lick, but that's not here, either.
SPECIAL FEATURES: As much as I hate these movies, Paramount has given the eight films some nice treatment. There's the Friday the 13th Chronicles, where each film gets a decent little documentary involving cast and crew. Hey, Corey Feldman shows up to talk about his role in Final Chapter, and that's worth the price of the package right there (well ... almost). It should be duly noted that Feldman, after a long stretch of being supremely uncool, can now be considered super cool again. (Corey Feldman rocks!) An extensive Behind-the-Gore featurette, Tales From the Cutting Room Floor, and Crystal Lake Victims Tell All provide more than enough stuff for series fans. For finicky grouches like me who hate this stuff, the special features make this a decent item.
This was one of the sickest shows on television during its three-year run. Amy Sedaris was willing to make herself look mighty bad for the role of Jerri Blank, the 40-plus-year-old bad girl who returns to high school to take drugs and have unprotected sex. The series had a strange, Afterschool Special quality to it, and by the time it was winding down in its final year, it had lost a little of its punch. Still, episodes like "Jerri's Burning Issue," where Jerri must wrestle with the notion of letting her hot new boyfriend know she's given him syphilis, are definitely worth a look. A feature film is in the works.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Just a blooper reel and a compilation of dance scenes. No big deal.
So far, this is my favorite documentary for 2004. Sure, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a decent movie, but documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eats 'til he barfs in this film. That's dedication! Spurlock came up with the rather shocking notion to eat nothing but McDonald's for a month, and seeing this relatively sprightly lad fall apart before your very eyes is reality moviemaking at its best. It helps that Spurlock is a likeable, entertaining host, which also makes it a little sad to see him nearly kill himself on Big Macs. He is currently alive and well (and fit), so it's OK to enjoy this.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Some decent new interviews, and a commentary featuring Spurlock and his vegan girlfriend, are all good.
This movie took a critical beating when it came out, but I'm a sucker for corny disaster flicks like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, so this was right up my alley. The scene where New York gets trashed by a tidal wave is one of the better special effects sequences the year, and Dennis Quaid's trek to rescue his trapped son (Jake Gyllenhaal) is passably good. The whole premise of the film, with global warming bringing about all sorts of nature calamities in rapid fire succession, is a bit nuts, but it sure does make for some good disaster scenes.
SPECIAL FEATURES: It includes a couple of feature-length commentaries and deleted scenes. I imagine there will be a super colossal edition of this movie somewhere down the road, so you might want to wait.