by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Visionary director Baz Luhrmann's two most popular works — William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge! — were made for the Blu-Ray format, with their bright colors, swirling sounds and kinetic pace. Sure enough, seeing them this way, it really feels like you're watching them again for the first time. Romeo is a classic, modern-day, amped-up retelling of the Shakespeare standard that has become the new definitive version, while the stuporiously romantic Moulin Rouge! is a bit harder to digest, like your first tumbler of absinthe. A few more glasses, though, and you'll be dancing in the aisles. Or living room. Whichever. Both titles have been fully remastered and crammed with extras, ranging from commentaries, numerous music videos and uncut footage. These are two crowd-pleasers that you might want to keep in mind when you do your Christmas shopping.
After watching Predators, I was all pumped and rarin' to go for more jungle-based, alien-supported human-hunting. Judging by the DVD cover, The Lost Tribe looked like just the rip-off to do the job. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. Sure, the creatures here, if you squint your eyes really hard, do somewhat resemble Predators, but other than that ... let's just say I should have been happy with what I had. A group of excruciatingly annoying caricatures crash their yacht on a deserted island. Well, not really all that deserted: There's a tribe — a lost tribe, if you will — of flesh-eating Sasquatch-things that, apparently, the Catholic church wants to shut down because they prove evolution. Or something like that. Don't get me wrong: if this was a 2 a.m. movie on the SyFy, you'd be entertained. But, sadly, if you think you're getting a Predator movie and go into it with those expectations, you'll be flinging your remote in disgust by the halfway point.
The myth! The magic! The majesty! The ... papier-mache sets? That can only mean one thing: It's a double feature of Roger Corman-produced sword and sorcery epics. What these movies lack in production value and filmmaking skill, they make up for in stunning Boris Vallejo-esque poster art. First up, the late David Carradine stars as a wandering monk named, ahem, Kain, in the actually very entertaining The Warrior and the Sorceress. In a Yojimbo-like way, with the help of a topless sorceress, Kain pits two armies against each other in a battle for a water-well. Goofy fun! Next up, the late Lana Clarkson is the Barbarian Queen! After her village is raided and enslaved, she and a team of scantily clad female warriors slash and burn, as cheaply as possible, their way to revenge on the Roman scum. Stupid fun!