Here’s an idea...We all take one DVD buying day a month and devote it to purchasing films from outside the Hollywood mainstream, films that, like Big Trouble In Little China’s Jack Burton, really shook the pillars of heaven – if you know what I mean. It’d be kind of like Earth Day or The National Smoke out only in protest of the perennially imbecilic likes Bad Boys II auteur Michael Bay. Call it whatever you’d like, (Kwanza doesn’t get much use, for example and it’s a perfectly good name) but definitely keep it mind as you read through today’s, specially tailored, announcements and recommendations...

Criterion has announced a November 2004 street date for its take on the film that, in my humble opinion, gave us Julianne Moore – Short Cuts. The work of two great American artists merge as maverick director Robert Altman’s kaleidoscopic adaptation of the stories of renowned author Raymond Carver. Epic in scale yet meticulously observed, the film interweaves the stories of twenty-two characters struggling to find solace and meaning in contemporary Los Angeles. The extraordinary ensemble cast includes Tim Robbins, the aforementioned Julianne Moore, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Lemmon, and Jennifer Jason Leigh—all giving fearless performances in one of Altman’s most compassionate creations. It should be retailing for somewhere around $39.95.

Features on this director-approved special edition double-disc set will include:

- New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound, and enhanced for widescreen televisions, supervised by editor Geraldine Peroni and approved by director Robert Altman

- New Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack

- Isolated music track

- Reflections on Short Cuts, a new 25-minute videotaped conversation with Robert Altman and Tim RobbinsLuck, Trust, and Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country, a 90-minute documentary on the making of Short Cuts

- Segment from BBC television’s Moving Pictures tracing the development of Raymond Carver’s short story “Jerry and Molly and Sam” for the film

- A 50-minute audio interview with Raymond Carver

- Deleted scenes

- A look inside the marketing of Short Cuts, featuring trailers and more than sixty print advertising campaigns

- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired

- Special reprint of Short Cuts, the Vintage Books companion collection of Raymond Carver short stories

- An essay by film critic Michael Wilmington and a guide to the music


Quickly proving to be the Criterion Collection of grindhouse cinema, William Lustig's Blue Underground has some knockout releases of films that are decidedly not aimed at Ashlee Simpson’s fanbas. Although they have so far been known primarily for their genre offerings, Blue Underground will go cult by releasing two acclaimed new wave faves this November.

First up for November 16th will be Susan Seidelman's Smithereens, which proved to be the director's entryway into mainstream Hollywood. Remastered in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby 5.1 (the original mono track is also included), extras include audio commentary with Seidelman, the "Desperately Seeking Susan & Richard" interviews with stars Susan Berman and Richard Hell, a still gallery and the theatrical trailer. It should retail for about $19.95.

On the very same 16th you’ll be able to scoop up the DVD premiere of, fellow Columbia University alum, Kathryn Bigelow's psychotically revisionist black rebel motorcycle club tale The Loveless, starring an even paler than usual Willem Dafoe. Remastered in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1, extras will reportedly include a new audio commentary with Bigelow, Dafoe and producer Monty Montgomery, plus a still gallery and the trailer. It’ll also be retailing for around $19.95.

Movie PictureColumbia Tristar Home Entertainment has also announced the November 2nd release of director Ferzan Ozpetek’s romantic drama Facing Windows starring Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Massimo Girotti. The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen along with an Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The only extra features will be trailers for other Columbia titles. Retail will be set at around $29.95.

MGM Home Entertainment has announced a due this December 7th special edition of David Lynch's ultra-weird Wild At Heart staring Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe and Crispin Glover. As well as a new digitally remastered anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 track (both of which were supervised by Lynch), the disc will include a brand new thirty-minute making of documentary, an original promotional featurette, extended interviews with the cast and the director and sixty-five animated behind the scenes photos with music. It should set you back $24.98.

Movie PictureMGM has also announced a December 14th release for The Martin Scorsese Film Collection. It should be carrying a price of something like $69.96. This new 4 DVD collection includes the existing DVD releases of Boxcar Bertha and The Last Waltz SE (also to be reissued separately in new packaging at the lower price of $14.95 SRP each) alongside new editions of Scorsese's New York, New York and Raging Bull. Available separately or as part of the box set details on the new editions follow...

New York, New York Special Edition - $19.98 SRP - Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro star in this splashy, flashy musical spectacle celebrating the glorious days of the Big Band Era in the Big Apple!

Features include:

- 1.66:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen

- English 5.1 Surround & Mono

- Spanish Mono

- English, French and Spanish subtitles

- Audio Commentary

- Alternate Takes

- Deleted Scenes

- Photo Gallery

- Teaser

- Original Theatrical Trailer

Raging Bull Collector's Edition - $29.98 SRP - Widely hailed as the greatest film of the 1980s, this searing story charts the tortured rise and fall of middleweight champion Jake “The Bronx Bull” La Motta (Robert DeNiro).

Features on this two-disc collector's edition include:

- 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

- English 5.1 Surround & Stereo Surround

- French and Spanish Mono

- English, French and Spanish subtitles

- Audio Commentary by Director Martin Scorsese and Editor Thelma Schoonmaker

- Cast and Crew Commentary

- Storytellers Commentary

- “Before the Fight: The Writing and Casting of Raging Bull” Documentary

- “Inside the Ring: The Making of Raging Bull ” Documentary

- “After the Fight: Creating a Classic” Featurette

- “The Bronx Bull” Documentary

- La Motta Defends Title

- De Niro vs. La Motta

- Original Theatrical Trailer


Movie PictureJust in case you’d like to start celebrating that proposed holiday of mine today, Criterion would like to take a few hours to re-introduce you to David Cronenberg’s infamous masterpiece Videodrome -- When James Wood’s Max Renn goes looking for edgy new shows for his sleazy cable TV station, he stumbles across the pirate broadcast of a hyperviolent torture show called Videodrome. As he unearths the origins of the program, he embarks on a hallucinatory journey into a shadow world of right-wing conspiracies, sadomasochistic sex games, and bodily transformation. Renn’s ordinary life dissolves around him, he finds himself at the center of a conflict between opposing factions in the struggle to control the truth behind the radical human future of “the New Flesh.” Also starring Deborah Harry in one of her first film roles, “Videodrome” is one of writer/director David Cronenberg’s most original and provocative works, fusing social commentary with shocking elements of sex and violence. With groundbreaking special effects makeup by Academy Award®-winner Rick Baker, “Videodrome” has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and mind-bending science fiction films of the 1980s, and The Criterion Collection is proud to present it in its full-length unrated edition.

Features include:

- New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound and enhanced for widescreen televisions

- Audio commentaries by director David Cronenberg, actors James Woods and Deborah Harry, and director of photography Mark Irwin

Camera, a short film starring Videodrome’s Les Carlson, written and directed by David Cronenberg in 2000 as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Toronto Film Festival

- Forging the New Flesh, a new half-hour documentary featurette by video effects artist Michael Lennick about the creation of Videodrome’s landmark video and prosthetic makeup effects, featuring new interviews with Rick Baker and others

- Samurai Dreams, the complete and unedited faux Japanese AV feature seen in the film

- Fear on Film, a 26-minute roundtable discussion from 1982 between filmmakers David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis, and Mick Garris about censorship, special effects makeup, and horror cinema

- Original theatrical trailers, plus a promotional featurette

- Stills gallery featuring hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes production photos, special effects makeup tests, and publicity photos, many never before seen

- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired

- Essays by film critic Carrie Rickey and Videodrome expert Tim Lucas


Movie PictureIf you’d like to go all anti-establishment rebel on a lighter note, you could definitely do worse that ignoring Mel Gibson by picking up South Park: The Passion of the Jew (from Paramount) wherein Kyle rejects his Judaism after seeing Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” leading to all manner hilarious mayhem. The disc hits the ground today for a retail price of 19.99 and also features two bonus episodes: Red Hot Catholic Love from Season 6 - When the Catholic Church scandal negatively impacts church attendance in South Park, Priest Maxi travels to Rome to confront religious leaders about a solution. Amd, Christian Rock Hard from Season 7 - When the other boys kick Cartman out of their band, Cartman pulls his own group together to make music for Jesus. Meanwhile, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny are arrested for downloading music from the internet.