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Commentary Reviews?

Old 11-11-99, 12:09 AM
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Which DVDs did you find to have an entertaining/informative commentary? I particularly enjoyed the Blair Witch Commentary - It just sounded like the guys were hanging out and having a good time recording it. I haven't gotten all the way through the Mummy yet, but that one sounds like it'll be fun.

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Old 11-11-99, 12:29 AM
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Okay, I know this isn't on DVD (yet), but the commentary on the criterion collection of The Rock is the BEST I've ever heard. Even if you think director Michael Bay is a no-talent egomaniac hack, you will be forced to enjoy this commentary (maybe moreso than a Bay fan). Reason: It isn't the usual 'toe the line' light fluff bull. All the contributors talk about interesting topics and they aren't afraid to talk about less pleasant issues. The anecdotes are great! I mean, the Navy Seal advisor even talks about the moral difference between cold-blooded "independent operators" and "just doing it for America" team players like himself! Awesome discussion and sublimely hilarious depending on your POV. At one point Nic Cage even comes close to criticizing Bay's directing style outright, but it seems to have been edited (the only instance where something important seems to have been edited out). The rest of the stuff is just plain interesting. The speakers are engaging (Bay, Bruckheimer, Cage, Navy Seal guy). I really enjoyed it.

The Blade commentary is also great, once again because the the speakers have such interesting things to say. The only problem with that one is that too many speakers were edited on to one track, causing many interesting talks to be cut short. They should have split it into two commentaries: The technical guys (production designer, cinematographer) and the non-technical guys (Snipes, Dorff, producer).


[This message has been edited by ipkevin (edited 11-10-1999).]
Old 11-11-99, 12:35 AM
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Mallrats- A great packed commentary with alternate angle snippets from the recording which helps sorting out the voices.

Evil Dead- Bruse Campbell is great. He's hilarious. The Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert one starts out good but, becomes really sparse and boring towards the end.

Night Of The Living Dead(Elite, 1969)- Two commentaries, one creators and the other is actors. Both are funny and informative.

Re-Animator- The director one is informative while the actor/producer one is fun as hell.

Brazil- Excellent one man commentary which is often kinda boring. Gilliam covers ever issue.

This is Spinal Tap- The band commentary is just as funny as the movie. The creator commentary is informative but not as good as the band one.

Army of Darkness- Raimi and Campbell together!!! It's a great commentary and Raimi's brother Ted stops by about halfway into the film.

Bride of Chucky- Jennifer Tilly is funny as hell with Brad Dourif and the writer.

Bound- It's good to hear the Wachowski's but, Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly don't show up until near the end. Too bad as they did have some stuff to say(Tilly especially).

[This message has been edited by Cereal-Killer (edited 11-10-1999).]
Old 11-11-99, 02:14 AM
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I've just listened today to a bit of the commentary on the Talking Heads concert film "Stop Making Sense" and it really seems very, very good -- all 4 band members + director Jonathan Demme. The commentary, combined with David Byrne's storyboard layout of every song, really enhanced my sense of this as a "performance" rather than just a concert.
Old 11-11-99, 07:43 AM
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I give a review to the commentary for every disc that I review that has one on my website, A Guide To Current DVD


Old 11-11-99, 08:03 AM
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I'd have to say I usually enjoy Terry Gilliam's commentary the most. Others that I've found enjoyable include Cube, El Mariachi, and Seven Samurai. On the flip side there are a couple I've never been able to make it through w/o falling asleep; A Perfect Murder and Alien....

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Old 11-11-99, 09:33 AM
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I've really enjoyed the Ghostbusters commentary, as well as Harold Ramis' Analyze This commentary.

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Old 11-11-99, 06:07 PM
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Wow, I thought the commentary by Ramis on Analyze This was painfully boring. He didn't have a whole lot to say.

My favorite commentaries have been mentioned: Brazil and Mallrats. Another great commentary is Robert Rodriguez on the Desperado / El Mariachi disc.
Old 11-11-99, 07:39 PM
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I got a chance to talk to Ramis a couple of weeks ago when he came into where I work. I said I really liked both the Ghostbusters and Analyze This DVDs - he said thanks, but more interestingly, he said he hasn't even gotten to see either yet.

Old 11-12-99, 06:41 AM
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I'd like to jump in and nominate Mark Isham's isolated score commentary on "Blade" to be the worst I've ever heard. "Hi I'm Mark Isham, and I'm an arrogant, self-loving prick. In this next scene you're about to hear another 2 second transition piece that I have nothing insightful to say about. I will not speak for the next 15 minutes."

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Old 11-12-99, 03:25 PM
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For me, Paul Thomas Anderson's commentary for Boogie Nights is the best out there. It's clear that he's really having a good time talking about the movie. Too often, directors sound like it's a chore to talk about their own movies. But Anderson is funny, interesting, animated, and insightful. I think Reel has this movie on sale right now for $12.49. It's well worth more than twice that.

Roger Ebert's commentary on Dark City is also great. I wish more DVDs offered audio tracks from critics or historians. They bring a different perspective to the comments, and unlike some directors, they seem like they really want to be doing it. I've got the Criterion Edition of Peeping Tom on preorder and that offers a film historian's analysis. That should be interesting.

And lastly, the alternate track on Psycho with Gus Van Sant, Anne Heche, and Vince Vaughn is well done. Frankly, this disc's extras are the best reasons for buying the DVD. You come away with a real understanding of why they did what they did with such a classic film.
Old 11-13-99, 03:31 PM
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The best out there: PT Anderson on Hard Eight
Ghostbusters
Out of Sight

The worst: Lethal Weapon 4
Kingpin (example: That's John on the right, we knew him from grade school, that's Jane from college... blah, blah, blah)
Old 11-15-99, 05:54 PM
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For goofball entertainment value, I like hearing Jeffrey Combs & Bruce Abbott making fun of their own performances in Bride of Re-Animator...
Old 11-16-99, 10:32 AM
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I am surprised no one mentioned The Seventh Seal. Film historian Peter Cowie explains a lot of things that surrounded the filmming as well as the plot of the story. It was the most informative commentary I have ever listened to on a DVD. He sets a scene up and then lets us watch how it fits to his explaination. He even corrected one of the lines in the subtitled translation near the end of the film. It's like someone watching the film with you.
Old 11-16-99, 10:45 AM
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I agree the commentary on the Seveth Seal was good, however the movie itself kept putting me to sleep... After all that's what Sat afternoons are for right

One I just finished watching this weekend though was The Mummy. While from a technical/film making stand point there wasn't a lot of information there (yes we already knew that was body paint) there were some enjoyable anecdotes about the making of the film.

BTW another one that just came to mind is the military advisor's commentary on Platoon.

FWIW
Old 11-16-99, 12:17 PM
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Lindsay Doran and Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility. Insightful and very funny.
Old 11-16-99, 04:19 PM
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I'm halfway through the commentary on Message in a Bottle and the commentary by Luis Mandoki is a great commentary for newcomers who are trying to learn about what goes into the making of a movie.

He talks about how he found the locations and the decision making process behind wheter to go 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 and then whether to use anamorphic or super35 once they decide on the latter.

There are even comments about how he reaches decisions on direction.

It's a little slow at moments, but for anyone just getting into the nuts and bolt of filmmaking because of the new availability of information made possible by DVD, this is a good place to start.

The extras on this disc are good too.

The movie itself I'm not so sure about. I felt kind of cheated by the ending, but the commentary is turning me around as he's pointing out a lot of things I missed on the first viewing.

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Old 05-01-00, 10:08 PM
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I think the commentary by Oliver Stone on the Natural Born Killers DVD is the best. It is probably the most informative commentary I have heard. He really gives you insight into why he filmed the way he did and what everything means.

Also, I think that the Boogie Nights commentary by PTA and the SLC Punk commentary by the actors and directory were the most fun to listen to.
Old 05-02-00, 02:32 AM
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The Cannibal: The Musical commentary is hilarious! Funnier than the movie at some points (which is hard to do!) Only problem is I commonly quote the commentary ("You know if Sting wrote this song, everyone would love it... F^@)ING STING!!!!") But NOBODY understands me... oh well, I have fun

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Old 05-02-00, 04:40 AM
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I hope Trey, Matt, Dian, and Jason McHugh do a commentary for Orgazmo.

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Old 05-02-00, 05:16 PM
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I really love the commentary feature. It's one of the main reasons I bought a DVD player. Here's a subtopic that Diville's mention of Psycho made me think of. Does anyone out there have any interest in commentary for movies you didn't like? I mean I have little to no interest in watching commentary for films that were mediocre or ok(EdTV for instance), but I admit to some curiosity for films that seemed to be fundamentally misguided. My only quibble with Diville is that these would be rental only for me, but I would like to see the commentary on titles like Van Sant's Psycho, Showgirls(sadly nonexistent), or Magnolia(not a bad movie IMHO but flawed in some very peculiar ways) just to answer the question "What were they thinking?"
Old 05-02-00, 05:31 PM
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Clerks commentary. Absolutely cracks me up. Jason Mewes is so wasted in it he can barely speak. Any commentaries by Kevin Smith b/c you can just tell the guy loves making movies & he does it w/ practically mo budget.
Old 05-03-00, 01:41 AM
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I inadvertently posted this to a thread in the Talk forum. It was this thread that I had intended to reply to.

Here are some thoughts on the commentaries Iíve watched so farÖ

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Reasonably informative, but pretty mundane stuff overall. Mike Myerís contributes some amusing stuff (as might be expected), but I found Director Jay Roach a bit dull.

Boogie Nights

I havenít watched all of this one yet, but what Iíve seen is quite good. Paul Thomas Anderson certainly has LOTS to say, all of it colorful. I wouldnít rank it among the very best Iíve seen though.

Bound

The Wachowskiís et al are great, but things really pick up when Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon arrive on the scene. I think Jennifer Tilly is especially good, though some people find her incredibly annoying.

Clerks

Very informative and entertaining, but not as good as the commentary for Mallrats. Jason Mewes is literally passed out under a table for most of the festivities.

Dark City

Both the celebrated Ebert commentary and the one by Alex Proyas & Co. are very worthwhile. They look at the film from two quite different and interesting angles.

Dead Ringers: Criterion Collection

Cronenberg is a very interesting listen (heís joined by others here). He always has plenty to say, and itís never superficial. Some may find his intellectualism borders on pretentiousness, but thereís no denying that what he has to say will give you a greater appreciation for the depth of his films.

Desperado / El Mariachi

Iíve only checked out the Desperado commentary so far (Iíve been saving El Mariachi), but Robert Rodriguez is simply terrific. Heís so amiable and down to earth that it almost feels like heís sitting in the room with you. Not to mention that heís a fountain of information for the aspiring filmmaker. As a bonus, the DVD includes two 10 min. filmmaking documentaries that serve as nice supplements to the commentaries.

Easy Rider

Dennis Hopperís commentary lacks any sort of flair in delivery, and is punctuated by some lengthy pauses, but what he has to say is interesting and insightful. Even better is the superb one hour documentary on the making of Easy Rider, ďShaking the CageĒ. Itís structured in such a way that it follows the movie, and features some great on-camera comments and anecdotes from all the principals and then some. Wonderful stuff.

Existenz (Alliance Canada)

The Canadian release of Existenz features not one, but TWO commentary tracks. Iíve only listened to the first so far, which is Cronenberg solo. All of what I said about Dead Ringers above applies here. The icing on the cake to one of my absolute favorite DVDís. A word of warning though, the movie is NOT for all tastes.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

This one surprised the heck out of me (as did the movie which, remarkably, Iíd never seen). The commentary is as entertaining and informative as they come. Amy Heckerling and Cameron Croweís enthusiasm and wit is utterly infectious. They clearly had a blast doing it. They not only continue talking over the credits, but well beyond them.

Go!

Iíve only watched the beginning of this one, but Doug Lyman is entertaining to listen to and provides plenty of insight into to the making of this very cool little film.

Mallrats

A highly entertaining commentary from Kevin Smith and cohorts. Jason Mewes is conscious throughout, and thatís a good thing. The multi-angle feature that allows you to see them actually doing the commentary is very cool.

Robocop: Criterion Collection

Quite informative, but gets a little dry at times. Paul Verhoeven isnít exactly Mr. Excitement.

Scream: Collector's Edition

Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson do a fairly good job here. Theyíre quite pleasant to listen to, and provide lots of interesting little insights.

Sid & Nancy: Criterion Collection

A fairly extensive commentary in terms of the number of people involved but, curiously, Alex Cox isnít one of them. A little dry if youíre not interested in the historical context of the story, but if you werenít you probably wouldnít want to own this DVD in the first place. As an aside, the DVD features a documentary excerpt of the real Sid and Nancy, and itís positively scary how close Chloe Webb came in her portrayal of Nancy Spungen.

The Sweet Hereafter

Atom Egoyan and author Russell Banks deliver a wonderfully insightful commentary to this beautiful film.

Sorry for the long post, I got a little carried away and a bit off the original topic.

Pete
Old 05-03-00, 09:56 AM
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Pete:

the Alliance release of 'eXistenZ' actually has *three* commentaries, namely solo commentaries by Cronenberg, Suschitzky, and Isaac. haven't gotten around to listening to them yet, but as Cronenberg and Suschitzky are two of my favorites, it should be interesting, if nothing else.

DJ
Old 05-03-00, 09:14 PM
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DJ,

Thanks for the heads-up! On the menu it looks as though the other two are together, but I did notice that the names light up individually when you cursor over them. That should have been my first clue that they were separate commentaries. Duh!

Pete

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