Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Matt's DVD Rack: Samurai, Blades...and Tights?

Welcome to a new series of blog entries where I'll subject you to some DVD titles I feel are worthwhile. I may cover new releases or some catalog titles worth tracking down. Most of us who love film scores love the films they accompany (Timeline excluded), so why not discuss some of those other shiny discs?

A few new releases this week. First up is arguably the greatest film ever made, if not one of the most influential. Akira Kurosawa's classic Seven Samurai revolutionized the jedai-geki genre with its effortlessly entertaining combination of character, action, and philosophy. Kurosawa's mastery of the craft is at its height here, creating an epic that still stuns today. Criterion has reissued the title as a lavish 3-disc set. Featuring a sterling new fine grain transfer, this definitive release contains two commentaries and several lengthy documentaries featuring modern film scholars, rare archival footage, and a candid interview with Kurosawa-san himself. This is a must have.

Ridley Scott's visually stunning future-noir Blade Runner has finally emerged from legal hell, making way for a highly anticipated multi-disc set, currently in the works (it's rumored to include all the previous cuts of the film, and a new "final cut" from Scott). In the meantime, Warner has quietly reissued its lackluster original Director's Cut DVD with a gorgeous new transfer. Sadly, the audio remains a thin Dolby 2.0, but the wonderfully detailed image is the best this film has ever looked on home video. This disc is slated to go on moratorium once the new set is released.

Finally, an old favorite (and an odd bedfellow for the two classics above). Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights seems to be an overlooked gem in the Brooks canon. Long overdue on DVD, Fox has finally released the adventures of an English-accented Robin Hood, his trusty blind companion Blinkin, and the one-and-only Rabbi Tuckman. Just overlook the rap sequences and enjoy a witty, hilarious parody of the legend (and the Costner epic Prince of Thieves).

That wraps up this entry. Stay tuned for more additions to Matt's DVD Rack!

CLICK HERE to purchase Seven Samurai - Criterion Collection 3-Disc Set
CLICK HERE to purchase Blade Runner - The Director's Cut (Remastered)
CLICK HERE to purchase Robin Hood: Men in Tights

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