New Column: Raph’s Bare-Bones Gems!

This is the start of my column in which I showcase some underrated bare-bones DVD and why I think they shouldn’t be overlooked. More and more titles will be added to this list regularly.

This will be a regular column in which I dust off some underrated bare-bones DVDs that you might have missed, but definitely should own (that is, should own if you are aligned to my quirky movie tastes). Genre or age is unimportant, the quality of the main feature is the only driving force behind my reasoning. Obviously it’s small to start with, but I’ll be frequently adding to the list.

LAST UPDATED: Wednesday 29th May 2002
POSSIBLE NEXT SELECTIONS: The Towering Inferno (R2), Jesus’ Son (R2), Swamp Thing (R1), Apocalypse Now: Original Cut (R2)…

MULHOLLAND DR. (2001) – Region 2, Paramount
Directed by David Lynch
Click here for the full review of the DVD
Despite the rumours of a French two-disc release, Mulholland Dr. is one of those films that practically renders extra features redundant anyhow, particularly because it is probably Lynch’s strangest and most talked about films of his career. Screw the plot, or logic, and just make arrangements in your diary for a two-and-a-half hour assault to the senses or an indulgent voyage into the hidden realms of Lynch’s ego, depending on how you look at it.

BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (1967) – Region 2, Paramount
Directed by Gene Saks
Click here for the full review of the DVD
Certainly not a classic by any means, but Barefoot In The Park is an extremely witty and warm stage-adaptation of Neil Simon’s classic marital comedy. Starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford, Barefoot In The Park is a conservative sixties film looking backwards instead of forwards, as the decade struggled to cope with its counter-culture revolution.

ABRE LOS OJOS (1997) – Region 1, Artisan
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Click here for the full review of the DVD
Known as Open Your Eyes to the English language audiences, this original Spanish film served as the impetus for the Cruise/Crowe Hollywood remake Vanilla Sky, and is essentially the same film minus the romantic pop-culture self-indulgence by Cameron Crowe. Abre Los Ojos is a surrealistic and nightmarish voyage into the realms of the unknown, and it seeks to destroy any notion the audience has of security. It’s even launched its director, Alejandro Amenábar to stardom in Hollywood.

Directed generally by William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Click here for the full review of the DVD
There’s so much fun to be had with a DVD full of classic Tom & Jerry episodes that it would be a sin to not included this ‘greatest hits’ compilation in my column. The picture quality isn’t the greatest by any means, and some of the episodes have been trimmed to aboid any controversial racist allegations, but on the whole this Region 4 PAL release of the Oscar winning animation series succeeds in pure simplistic magnificence. Definitely one for all the family!

THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1977) – Region 1, MGM
Directed by Don Taylor
Click here for the full review of the DVD
This film is one of those entertaining mechanical sci-fi romps that studios churned out a-plenty in the sixties and seventies. There are quite a few versions of H.G. Wells’ classic tale of twisted ethics, and yet this 1977 version directed by Don Taylor has the least ambitions and yet succeeds the most. It’s distinctly old-fashioned, contains Michael York as the leading actor and possesses a small budget, and yet The Island Of Dr. Moreau contains all of the characteristics to ensure the film’s status as a cult-classic.

Raphael Pour-Hashemi

Updated: May 15, 2002

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