Last year's funniest movie comes to DVD, and you can get it uncensored and unrated to boot. That means only one thing: more puppet sex! Those of you who saw it in theaters might be thinking that those puppets couldn't manage any more variety in their coupling, but the "Unrated and Uncensored" version of Team America proves that more puppet erotica is indeed possible. Watch out, because it gets real, real nasty.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone seemed a little frustrated with this one. They thought they were setting out to make a relatively easy motion picture, and the movie wound up kicking their ass while accomplishing only moderate box office success. That's a shame, because Team America deserved a whole series of films. This begs for a sequel.
It's a major accomplishment, not only from the vicious comedy standpoint, but as a triumph in art direction. This movie looks great, with the puppet creators and handlers coming up with marionettes more vital than most human actors. Their expressions, from the awkwardness of a guy trying to impress a woman to the throes of sexual ecstasy, are priceless. The death of that first Team America member, when his eyes go wide, is actually quite frightening.
In the world of Parker and Stone, nothing is sacred, especially if you are part of that little place called Hollywood. Actors are savaged (Alec Baldwin comes off as a harbinger of the devil) and portrayed as simpletons in alliance with terrorists like North Korea's Kim Jong-Il (a rather hideous puppet voiced hilariously by Parker). When Kim Jong-Il busts into the ballad "I'm So Ronery," it's a moment that was deserving of an Oscar nomination. It's much better than that crappy Counting Crows song.
Team America is super violent, and ultra hardcore, so don't rent or purchase thinking it's a good one to throw in the player for your kids while doing the bills. It stands a good chance of traumatizing those under 15 (I reiterate: The sex scene is unbelievably nasty). Let them wait a while before they partake.
Special Features: The film can be purchased unrated or in its original R-rated form. The special features go behind the scenes of the puppet creations, and it's semi-interesting. There are some outtakes (one of them, involving a puppet blow job, is extremely funny) and a few deleted scenes. No commentary, which is a bummer. Parker and Stone needed to do their famous drunken commentary for this one. Denied!
This isn't the recent television series or that mediocre movie that Steven Spielberg took part in. This is the real deal. Rod Serling and company started to find their rhythm with this season, which brought such classics as Night of the Meek (Art Carney as a drunken Santa) and The Odyssey of Flight 33 (an airplane goes way back in time). This season featured a few videotaped episodes (Billy Mumy's Long Distance Call being one of them) and its share of clunkers (Dust, where mercy is bestowed upon a drunk driver who kills somebody, is a little dated). Still, Serling was a god of science fiction, and the Twilight Zone was his church. It's a great thing to have these episodes at your disposal.
Special Features: A few sloppy commentaries (including a silly one by Don Rickles) are not required listening, but a couple of Serling interviews (one with a chain-smoking Mike Wallace) are definitely worth a look.
Director Tobe Hooper has made a couple of lasting impressions on the horror genre. His The Texas Chainsaw Massacre stands as one of the more famously unpleasant films ever made, and Poltergeist was a landmark in haunted-house movies. Internet chat rooms had been boasting that his remake of The Toolbox Murders was a capable slasher pic that returned the once-hallowed director to form. It's not. The movie is nothing but an excuse to dispatch people with various instruments from, you guessed it, a toolbox. The mystery behind the killer is banal; the deaths are crudely filmed, and the performances are weak. Angela Bettis (so good in May) wastes her time as a new tenant in a mysterious apartment building. When friends and neighbors start disappearing, she gets concerned and looks into some secret rooms within the structure; then all hell breaks loose. Don't bother trying to solve the mystery of the killer, because there is no mystery. Actually, don't watch this thing at all. It's not worth your time.
Special Features: Extended scenes of gore turn the stomach, especially a moment where a victim takes a drill through the back of her head that pokes through her mouth. (Fun!) There are couple of commentaries that you are advised not to partake in, for that would require watching the movie more than once, and that could hurt.