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Labyrinth (Blu-Ray)

SONY

MOVIE B+

SPECIAL FEATURES B

DVD GEEK FACTOR 7

(OUT OF 10)

I hadn't seen this film in the 20-plus years since I first rented it on VHS. Jim Henson's ambitious directorial venture away from Kermit and friends (following his equally cool The Dark Crystal) remains a true treat.

A very young Jennifer Connelly plays Sarah, an imaginative teen pissed off that she has to baby-sit her little brother. When she angrily wishes for goblins to take him away, they do, and she must outwit the notorious Goblin King (David Bowie) in order to get her brother back.

The puppet creations are extraordinary, and the script (provided by Monty Python's Terry Jones) has a hilarious British tone. (I love the repeatedly farting Bog of Eternal Stench.) Bowie provides some decent music, and Henson makes it all come together nicely.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Some new picture-in-picture interviews, a commentary by Brian Froud (who helped design the film's world), documentaries and more.


Audition: Collector's Edition (Blu-Ray)

SHOUT FACTORY

MOVIE A-

SPECIAL FEATURES C+

DVD GEEK FACTOR 7.5

(OUT OF 10)

This film has eluded me over the years. I've had various incarnations of it lying around my home, but I never popped it in for a viewing.

After seeing it on the Blu-Ray rack, I purchased it (again) and took it home, determined to watch it this time. Then a friend of mine demanded that I see it last week, and I finally set out to take the damn thing in.

Wow, I loved this movie! The character of Asami (played hauntingly by Eihi Shiina) is an all-time-great horror-film icon, one of the creepiest characters to ever grace the screen. I will not tell you what she does, or what her problems are. I will let the film reveal her horrific afflictions.

Ryo Ishibashi plays poor-bastard Shigeharu Aoyama, a sad widower who wants a new wife. He and a friend come up with a plan to audition women for a movie, allowing Aoyama to choose from the candidates. He falls for Asami, and they begin a rather sweet courtship. Or so it seems.

This movie has garnered a notorious reputation over the years, and it's justified. The payoff is a doozy, and the performances are first-rate. You will never look at acupuncture in the same way again.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A commentary from director Takashi Miike, and some new interviews.


Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered

BBC WARNER

SHOW A

SPECIAL FEATURES B+

DVD GEEK FACTOR 9

(OUT OF 10)

John Cleese followed up Monty Python's Flying Circus with this classic hotel comedy about grouchy hotel proprietor Basil Fawlty and his long-suffering staff. Cleese based the character of Fawlty on a real hotel owner that gave the Pythons a difficult time during their stay. (He had real contempt for his guests.)

There were two series, four years apart, for only 12 total episodes. In just those 12 episodes, the series has attained acclaim as one of history's best sitcoms. Cleese did the show with Connie Booth, who was his real-life wife when the series started and his ex by the time it concluded. The character of Manuel (played by Andrew Sachs) got laughs every second he was onscreen, especially when he was enduring Cleese's physical assaults.

If there is any Cleese project ripe for a revisit, it's this series. All the main stars are still alive, and seeing Cleese doing Basil 30 years down the road would be something special. Somebody please throw millions of dollars at the man and make it happen.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The three-disc set is surprisingly full, with a slew of new commentaries and interviews with Cleese, who looks awfully pleased to be participating. Among his stories is his account of the hotel proprietor who inspired Fawlty throwing Eric Idle's suitcase over a wall because it was ticking; he thought it contained a bomb.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live

TIME LIFE

PERFORMANCES VARY, BUT MOSTLY A

SPECIAL FEATURES B

DVD GEEK FACTOR 8

(OUT OF 10)

This nine-disc set contains a collection of live performances by inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over the last quarter-century. The likes of Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, U2 and Metallica all performed on their induction nights, and now you get to see them.

Some of the inductions, like that of The Who, didn't feature big televised productions, so the footage is a little more intimate and rough. As things progressed, and VH1 started televising the events, the production values improved.

The performances are not gathered in chronological order; instead, they are categorized on the discs with such titles as "Light My Fire" and "Come Together." Each disc provides plenty of variety, with a full range of artists from the entire span of the performances.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Rehearsal footage, induction speeches and backstage material are featured on each disc.

More by Bob Grimm

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