Mar 23, 2010
OK, I jumped the gun last Tuesday when I included the 2009 AMC miniseries remake of The Prisoner among last week's new releases. It actually comes out today, from Warner Home Video. You can read more about it in last week's post (or read my original review of the miniseries here), but I will say that the physical DVD has a lot in common with the miniseries itself: it sure looks nice. The case (a three disc flipper the size of a single DVD), the slipcase (classy!), the booklet and even the discs themselves are all very well designed. If you're at all like me and you still respond to tangible, old-school media, if you're quick to judge a book by it's cover, this release is satisfying on those counts. As for the content, well, you know... you can dress up a cow, but she'll still be a cow. Is that the saying? I do find myself enjoying dipping into it more than when it first aired, though, and taking pleasure in the purely aesthetic side of the undertaking. The story is just as infuriating as ever, and just as inferior to Patrick McGoohan's brilliant original. I'll have a full review soon.
The other spy release of note this week comes from Anchor Bay: The Men Who Stare at Goats, available on DVD and Blu-ray. The directing debut of George Clooney's producing partner Grant Heslov (better known as an actor, whose spy credits include True Lies), this enjoyable comedy inspired by true events follows the U.S. Army's attempts to create a squad of "psychic spies." Or "Jedi warriors," as Clooney's character insists on being called by Ewan McGregor's journalist, happily banking on McGregor's own extra-textual Jedi status for a laugh. Extras on both versions include "Goats Declassified: The Real Men of the First Earth Battalion" (about the actual "psychic spies"), "Project 'Hollywood': A Classified Report from the Set" (a making-of featurette), two audio commentaries (one by Heslov and one by Jon Ronson, author of the book upon which the film is based), deleted scenes, character bios, and the dreaded but ubiquitous "Digital Copy of the Film." (Seriously! Who's going to watch The Men Who Stare at Goats on their damn iPhone?) Except for the latter, that sounds like an intriguing assortment of extras. The film will definitely make you wonder what parts are actually true, so hopefully one of those documentaries goes into that. It's not a great film, but it sure is a lot of fun, and Clooney and Jeff Bridges are both excellent.
private sellers on Amazon, and it can be ordered new from the Canadian Amazon, as it's not a Best Buy exclusive north of the border.