It’s that time of year again when the Hollywood machine goes holiday, rereleasing the best and worst of its equally illustrious and notorious archives. And invariably you or your family will eat up one or two DVDs this season (if you do, at least buy them from local and independent retailers). Here are some options.
One of the cooler, more affordable collections, which just hit the shelves on November 4, is The Bourne Trilogy, a three-disc set that you can scoop up for a little more than $20. These films—stoic-amnesiac Matt Damon in Jean-Claude Van Damme mode—really shine under the direction of Paul Greengrass; the final film in the series, Ultimatum, should be requisite schooling for all the world’s Brett Ratners. Just when you think you’re a beat behind the story, Greengrass gets you up to speed with a CIA vs. Bourne game of cat-and-mouse in England’s Waterloo Station. Good crack, chap.
Full disclosure: I’d never seen Animal House. But this year’s its 30th anniversary, and to commemorate its theatrical release there’s a new two-disc DVD, which comes in a little frat-house box and runs a cool $25 or so.
And, as a viewer without a nostalgic point of reference, House is passable. John Belushi underwhelms; how could he live up to expectations built on knit sweaters embroidered with “COLLEGE” and annual toga parties? But what’s really disturbing is that 30 years later, they’ve kept in a surprisingly racist sequence, when the gang hits up an all-black bar on the outskirts of town. Yikes.
If you really want to give a local DVD this holiday season, why not The Art of Travel, which was produced by locals—and the opening scenes were even shot in Sacramento. Travel’s belabored at times, but builds into something quite fun. Plus, like you can afford to take a vacation.