This package stands as a bittersweet reminder that one of the greatest filmmakers is no longer with us. This set is scores better than prior releases of Kubrick's work. Viewers who think they'll be able to purchase this and watch the films over time might find themselves sadly mistaken: One film reminds of Kubrick's greatness, and it becomes mandatory to keep watching.
Missing from this package are Spartacus, Barry Lyndon, Lolita and Dr. Strangelove. (Strangelove got a fine stand-alone release recently, and you are advised to go get it.) You get 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. Also included is the enjoyable documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures.
Movie grades: They all get an A (including the documentary), with the exception of Eyes Wide Shut, which gets an A-.
Special Features: Commentaries, new featurettes and interviews galore! All films come as two-disc sets, with the exception of Full Metal Jacket. Jacket gets a new commentary featuring actors Adam Baldwin, R. Lee Ermey and Vincent D'Onofrio. Major standouts among the features include Vivian Kubrick's making-of documentary for The Shining. It's a carry-over from a prior disc, but it now includes a commentary from Stanley's daughter. Of all the commentaries, Malcolm McDowell discussing his experience on A Clockwork Orange is the most precious. The man is an engaging speaker. The Clockwork disc is my favorite of the lot. I managed to see both 2001 and The Shining in HD-DVD, and I can tell you that Kubrick's films have never looked better on a TV.
It was here that Gary Oldman established himself as an exemplary character actor, physically becoming Sid Vicious, the bassist for the Sex Pistols. Oldman even managed to get Sid's trademark padlock necklace from the late star's mother, and he wears it throughout the film.
It wasn't just the physicality that Oldman got right. (It appears he lost weight to the point of near starvation.) He performed his own vocals, including a re-creation of Sid's music video for "My Way." Oldman sounds exactly like Vicious, from the slow, mocking intro to the screeching finale. As Nancy Spungen, Vicious' whiny girlfriend who he allegedly murdered during a drug binge, Chloe Webb manages to capture the spirit of a woman who would be crazy enough to date Sid Vicious.
Special Features: Fans who purchased the out-of-print Criterion Collection DVD are among the lucky ones. That disc featured a commentary from Oldman and Webb, excellent documentaries and interviews with Vicious and the Sex Pistols. This edition carries over none of those features. All you get are a couple of strange documentary shorts featuring nobody from the film or the Pistols. Critics like Rolling Stone's Joe Levy and Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman talk about what they think they know about Vicious while a collage of movie stills and clips attack the screen. Not surprisingly, John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten) doesn't pop in to reminisce about ice cream treks with his former bandmate.
If you are a Peaks fan, you probably have the two seasons on DVD already. Get ready to spend again, because this edition boasts special features that the other collections don't possess, and they are very good.
Lynch changed broadcast television forever with this series. Kyle MacLachlan (undoubtedly using Lynch as a model) was perfection as Special Agent Dale Cooper, visiting the Northwest town of Twin Peaks after its homecoming queen, Laura Palmer, washed ashore wrapped in plastic. Critics bashed Season 2, when Lynch reluctantly revealed Palmer's killer. Even at its worst, Peaks was better than anything on TV at the time. Hell, it's better than anything that has aired since.
The set includes the pilot for the first time on American DVD, including both the American and European versions. The European cut featured an ending that revealed Laura Palmer's killer way early.
Special Features: A Slice of Lynch is a delightful interview conducted by the director in a dark diner. He gets a piece of cherry pie and stares; the strobe starts, and cast members MacLachlan and Mâdchen Amick appear for candid, funny recollections on the series. Secrets From Another Place includes new interviews with much of the cast and crew, including co-creator Mark Frost, who reveals that Season 3 would've been a humdinger involving Cooper's evil doppelganger. Deleted scenes and hilarious overseas commercials make this a must-have. Regrettably, the commentaries from the prior Season 1 DVD package are not carried over, so collectors will probably want to keep the first version.