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Crumb

CRITERION

MOVIE A

SPECIAL FEATURES B

DVD GEEK FACTOR 8.75

(OUT OF 10)

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Nobody draws like R. Crumb. The guy has, let's just say, a unique perspective on the world around him—one that is borderline psycho. But, man, the guy can draw, and Terry Zwigoff's incredible documentary, now celebrating its 15th anniversary, is a harrowing, brutal look at the life of the artist.

Crumb's powers as an illustrator are the results of a talent that seems to be hereditary. The documentary shows that his brothers, Charles and Maxon, are incredibly gifted artists in their own right. But something crazy went on in their household, because Charles and Maxon are maladjusted, to say the least. In almost any situation, Robert Crumb could be seen as eccentric and withdrawn—that is, until you compare him to his brothers. Compared to them, he's a social butterfly.


Charles still lives at home; his room is overrun by books, and his mother is constantly yelling at him. Maxon, who has had run-ins with the law thanks to his tendency to pull women's pants down in public, sits on a bed of nails for hours while swallowing cloth to cleanse his intestines. As they speak or display their strange behavior, Robert just laughs, with a mixture of amusement and obvious discomfort.

While the film is an incredible study of a dysfunctional family, it is also a fascinating study of the Crumbs as artists. Maxon's paintings are marvelous distortions of reality. Charles actually may have the most talent in the family; his early drawings of pirates are the true inspiration for Robert's legendary style.

The movie gives time to accusations that Robert is a sexist and a racist. While he might be neither, he does have some major issues that are being worked out in his drawings.

Charles killed himself before the release of the movie, after Robert moved to the south of France. Thus, Crumb can be a painful experience. Charles definitely had major talent, and had he won the battle with his demons, I think he could've achieved high levels of success, as did his little brother.

Meanwhile, Robert continues to amaze, especially with the recent release of his illustrated The Book of Genesis Illustrated.

One thing is for sure: Daddy Crumb must've been a real asshole. His boys had some serious issues.

SPECIAL FEATURES: There's a new commentary from Zwigoff, along with an older one he did with Roger Ebert. If you like this film, you must watch it with the commentaries. Zwigoff isn't afraid to talk about how he got crazy stuff on film. There's also a good chunk of unused footage, a gallery of stills and a copy of a Charles Crumb art test.


Rambo: The Extended Cut (Blu-ray)

LIONSGATE

MOVIE C+

SPECIAL FEATURES B-

BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 5.75

(OUT OF 10)

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Sylvester Stallone's "director's cut" of his fourth and apparently final Rambo story (now titled John Rambo) adds a little more dimension to the iconic character's motivations for helping out the American idiots who headed into Burma to spread Christianity.

In my review of the first DVD release, I said that the film was growing on me, and that perhaps I would finally get over the hump and like it after I watched it again. Well, I still don't like it, because every character other than Rambo is lame and poorly written. Still, people get blown up nicely in this film. It gets high marks for carnage.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Hold on to your older Blu-rays, because this one doesn't have the Sly commentary or featurettes of the prior release. It only has a production diary—but that production diary is quite engrossing.


Batman: Under the Red Hood (Blu-ray)

WARNER

MOVIE B+

SPECIAL FEATURES B+

BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 7.75

(OUT OF 10)

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This is a nice animated feature about the second Robin and the strange things that happened after his death. Bruce Greenwood provides a great voice for the Caped Crusader, and Neil Patrick Harris is cast well as Nightwing (the first Robin all grown up). I can't really tell you what happened to Robin 2 ... you have to watch the movie. Know that it contains the Joker, a great villain called the Red Hood, and a surprising amount of darkness. These animated Batman films are great.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A gripping Jonah Hex short and interviews with the creators about the origins of the two Robins make this a must-have for true comic fans.





Elvis on Tour (Blu-ray)

WARNER

MOVIE B-

SPECIAL FEATURES C+

BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.25

(OUT OF 10)

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This film chronicles a 15-city tour that Elvis took in the early '70s, shortly before everything went to shit for the King. It has a haphazard style—with random insertions of footage of Presley's Ed Sullivan appearances and Elvis movie clips—but it's worth getting for the music. It includes nice renderings of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Burning Love" and "Suspicious Minds."

SPECIAL FEATURES: It comes with a nice collectible book. That's all.

More by Bob Grimm

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