Every week MTV.com takes a look at the most promising DVD releases, from recent big-screen hits to Hollywood classics to television shows finally getting their due.
Season 3 (2005)
Any casual TV fan can quote from “Chapelle’s Show” or join water cooler discussions about the latest episode of “South Park.” But it takes a real Comedy Central connoisseur to appreciate “Reno 911!” Since 2003, the improvised show has skewered reality television as it follows the fictional adventures of seven of Reno’s finest, led by short-shorts enthusiast Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon). The third season featured weddings, blizzards, serial killers and a SARS scare, and this DVD set should serve as a perfect primer for next year’s big screen spin-off, “Reno 911!: Miami.”
Paramount Home Entertainment has included the following extras:
- Extended outtakes and action figure promos
- Audio commentary from cast and crew
- A “special surprise” from the deputies of “Reno 911!”
“Basic Instinct 2” Unrated Edition (2006)
Fourteen years after the original “Instinct” film made Sharon Stone (and certain features of her anatomy) famous, crime novelist Catherine Tramell has relocated from San Francisco to London where, big surprise, she is implicated in a murder. Criminal psychologist Michael Glass (David Morrissey) begins to investigate Catherine and, big surprise number two, winds up being seduced by her, instead, getting sucked into a web of deception and, big surprise number three, murder. The film delivers exactly what it promises: lots of sex, lots of death and lots of what made Stone famous in the first place.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has included the following extras:
- Alternate ending
- Commentary with director Michael Caton-Jones
- Ten deleted scenes with optional director commentary
- “Between the Sheets: A Look Inside Basic Instinct 2” featurette
“Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story” (2005)
There’s something very British about making a movie about an attempt to bring an un-filmable novel to the big screen. The book in question is Laurence Sternes’ “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Esq.,” an anarchic 18th-century novel full of tangents, half-finished anecdotes and dead ends. While “Tristram Shandy” (the movie) begins as a fairly standard adaptation of the novel, the film soon transforms into a mockumentary about the making of itself, poking fun at its own cast and crew in the process. In the middle of all of this is star Steve Coogan (“Around the World in 80 Days”) in the triple roles of Tristram Shandy, Tristram’s father Walton and Steve Coogan, star of a film based on the novel, “Tristram Shandy.” Get it?
Warner Home Video has included the following extras:
- Commentary by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon
- Extended interview with Steve Coogan conducted by Tony Wilson
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Deleted scenes
- Extended takes
- Theatrical trailer
“Cromartie High: The Movie” (2004)
Cutting-edge Asian films like “Oldboy,” “Alive” and “Initial D,” all based on Japanese manga, are proof that these comics, once thought to be un-filmable, are ripe for live-action adaptations. Even so, few are as wildly off-the-wall as “Cromartie High: The Movie.” Based on Eiji Nonaka’s comedic manga of the same name, “Cromartie” follows Takashi Kamiyama (Takamasa Suga), a normal high schooler who unwittingly enrolls himself in the worst school in Japan. Bullies, gangs and delinquents are bad enough at any school, but Cromartie High ups the ante even further by including a wise-cracking robot, a luchador, a Freddie Mercury impersonator and a live gorilla among Takashi’s whacked-out classmates.
“Negadon: The Monster From Mars” (2006)
Billed as “the world’s first completely computer-generated monster movie,” “Negadon” is first-time director Jun Awazu’s loving homage to the “kaiju” films of yesteryear, complete with flimsy clap-board sets and scratched, grainy film stock. In the year 2025, Mars has been colonized, but when a spaceship returning to Earth crash lands in downtown Tokyo, it unwittingly releases the giant, horrific monster Negadon, who can only be stopped with Dr. Narasaki’s experimental robot.
US Manga Corps Video has included the following extras:
- Interview with director Jun Awazu
- “Making of Negadon: The Monster from Mars” featurette
- Film shorts: “Magara: The Giant Monster” and “Magara: The Final Showdown”
- Digital liner notes
- Art gallery
- “Kaiju A-Go-Go Fan Art Exhibit”
- Original Japanese trailers
- U.S trailer
“Shogun Assassin” (1980)
Love him or hate him, Quentin Tarantino has enough of an impact on pop culture that even the films that inspire him gain popularity. Case in point: In “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” darling BB’s favorite bedtime film is “Shogun Assassin.” “Assassin” was cobbled together from the first two installments of Kenji Misumi’s blood-soaked samurai epic, “Lone Wolf and Cub,” by American director Robert Houston, who proceeded to dub over the dialogue, add an original score by Mark Lindsay from ’60s band Paul Revere and the Raiders and then sold the whole thing to Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. Animeigo has restored “Assassin” from the original film elements so that it looks and sounds even better than it did the day it was first released.
Animeigo has included the following extras on this DVD:
- Program notes
- “Daigoro’s History Lesson”
- Restoration gallery
- Original trailers
“Pink Floyd: Pulse” (1994)
If Pink Floyd’s reunion at last year’s Live 8 whetted your appetite for more from “the first band in space,” then wrap your mind around “Pulse,” a concert film of Floyd’s 1994 “Division Bell” tour that features three members of the group’s famed lineup (David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright — no Roger Waters or Syd Barrett, alas). Chronicling Floyd’s 14-show stand at London’s Earl’s Court, the film captures classics such as “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” and “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2).” But the real gem is the performance of “Dark Side of the Moon” in its entirety — the first time such a feat was captured on film.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has included the following bonus features:
- “Screen Films” for “High Hopes,” “Shine On…,” “Learning to Fly,” “Speak to Me,” “Money,” “On the Run” and more
- “Bootlegging the Bootleggers”: “What Do You Want from Me,” “On the Turning Way,” “Poles Apart,” and “Marooned”
- Videos for “Take It Back” and “Learning to Fly”
- Shorts for “Money,” “Speak to Me,” and “Time”
- Behind-the-scenes footage
“Godannar” Vol. 6, Deep Penetration (2003)
It makes sense that the first wave of anime to hit this country were sci-fi series, most of which relied purely on action. In the years since, every genre of anime, from soap opera melodrama to kiddie fare, has found its fan base and, having come full circle it was only a matter of time before the anime parodies would begin to pop up here in the states. “Godannar” spoofs the giant-robot genre, complete with heroic pilot Go, the beautiful damsel-in-distress Anna and a host of evil aliens, the Mimetic beasts. Here, however, Go marries Anna after her rescue, and the two of them pilot robots (male and female, of course), which interlock to form an even more powerful robot to combat the Mimetic beasts. Although nearing the end of its run, “Godannar” has consistently delivered a steady stream of beautiful babes, battling ’bots, action and laughs.
In addition to episodes 21-23 of the series, ADV Films has also included the following extras on this DVD:
- Clean open and closing animations
- Japanese “Godannar” TV spots
- Production sketches
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