THIS WEEK'S DVDS
The Superman: Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Warner)
The Superman: Ultimate Collector’s Edition houses all four of the Christopher Reeve Superman’s as well as Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (inarguably the worst film of 2006). You’re unlikely to find better versions of Superman and Superman II: Not only does Superman come in a four-disc (!) package, housing both its 1978 and 2000 Expanded Editions as well as two full discs of bonus documentaries and goodies, but Superman II gets a double-disc treatment, as well. Most intriguing here, though, is the Richard Donner Cut of Superman II. Long thought lost by Superman fanboys, this recent reconstruction of the popular sequel is (supposedly) closer to original director Richard Donner’s vision for the picture than the Richard Lester hack-job theatrical release. The crap of it, though, is that this Richard Donner version is painfully, almost unbearably silly and contrived, and it doesn’t make the film any better (in fact, one could argue that the infrequent highlights of Lester’s version are all but ironed-over in Donner’s hands). And, to add insult to injury, if you buy this box set, you’re not getting the new cut of Superman III (due to a production error, the newly-made disc for that film was not included). And everybody knows that Superman IV just kinda sucks. Here’s Mike’s recommendation: If you must, buy the Superman and Superman II releases as stand-alones, and rent the Richard Donner cut of Superman II just to get it out of your system. You’ll be appalled at how yicky it is.
NCIS: The Complete Second Season (Paramount)
JAG: The Complete Second Season (Paramount)
CSI: The Complete Sixth Season and CSI: Miami: The Complete Fourth Seasons (Paramount)
Serious TV is just too much. Cases in point: NCIS: The Complete Second Season (Paramount); in which Mark Harmon and his band of gypsies solve crimes with Navy or Marine Corps ties while swapping cheesy jokes and talking about each others’ love lives: Think CSI with a surprisingly unfulfilling 7th Heaven streak. And even with high-definition transfers, the show looks bad (proof positive that just because something is mastered in 16×9 doesn’t mean it looks fantastic), and the pitifully shallow four featurettes included on this six-disc set is enough to make one disregard Mark Harmon completely (well, except for Summer School—that’s still great). JAG: The Complete Second Season (Paramount); in which David James Elliott and Catherine Bell do exactly what Mark Harmon and his patsies do in NCIS, only without any sense of humor whatsoever. They do wear snazzy military uniforms, though (eat that, Harmon!). And if the series itself isn’t dull enough for you, check out the handful of audio commentaries on this set. They’ll make you want to go AWOL. CSI: The Complete Sixth Season and CSI: Miami: The Complete Fourth Seasons (Paramount); in which simple detective prowess isn’t enough—teams of forensics experts have to use trillion-dollar equipment in order to find the DNA that ties your neighbor to those dead hobos you’re “not supposed to know anything about.” But both CSI’s are the cream of the crop as far as dramatic TV goes: Not only are they implicitly watchable series (serieses?), their DVD presentations are absolutely spot-on. Gorgeous 16×9 transfers, ear-melting sound mixes, and bonus features that rival those on most Hollywood blockbuster DVD releases. They’re not the best things ever, but if you’re forced to watch a show like this with your grandma, at least you can turn this one up to 11 and zone out for a bit.
John Tucker Must Die (Fox)
Oh, John Tucker Must Die (Fox): Why are you so terrible? Entertainment Today sat down with teen movie expert (and Buenos Tiempos Films producer) Tansy LaVundah in an attempt to get as professional an opinion as possible about this teeny-bopper movie about four oversexed high school vixens who get really bent out of shape when they all discover they’ve been blowing the same guy and decide to repay his philandering by staging an all-out plot against him. Eh. So what’s the point of having stellar audio (5.1 Surround) and video (1.85:1 Anamorphic widescreen) quality when the film itself is so terrible? And look at these extras: Director/editor commentary, deleted scenes (with optional director commentary), four featurettes, a music video, and a quiz—sure, it’s nice to have goodies, but to have such voluminous bonuses here is the equivalent of pouring acid on yourself after having torn every inch of skin off your person. And you’re out of luck, pervos—the “unrated” version of the film here doesn’t feature any balls, boobs, or butts that you didn’t get in the PG-13 version. ‘Tis a shame.
Wondering if you should pony up $40 for that two-disc spectacular? For all your DVD questions, ask Mike at [email protected] .