The trendiest way to prove you’ve arrived as a Hollywood auteur isn’t having your own mega-production deal, like Terminator 2 director James Cameron. It’s releasing outtake-laden video versions of your movies exclusively on laserdisc — like James Cameron. For a $100 disc of Aliens, he restored 17 minutes of cut scenes and appended the entire screenplay, behind-the-scenes pictures, and info on how the effects were done. Other laser boosters who’ve put out deluxe discs: Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull), John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood), and Danny DeVito (The War of the Roses). But will the trend go too far? Barbra Streisand’s Prince of Tides disc will even include rehearsal videos. C’mon, people — say ”cut” already.
— Steve Daly
Mickey Mouse may be enjoying the French countryside now, but he’d get his butt kicked in Japan. Japanese animation (anime) is a raucous and raunchy head trip for grown-up kids — a cyberpunk world populated by nearly nude catwomen, nubile robots, ”Super High-Grade, Hi-Fi, Excellent Atomic Missiles,” and villains named ”Freud Jeung.” Sprung from the ruined landscape of postwar Japan, anime videos revel in the apocalyptic chic of Terminator movies and MTV. The ‘toons zip around like amphetamine pinballs, spouting campy dialogue and blowing up (or having sex with) everything in sight. From classics like Speed Racer to moodier contemporary fare like The Grave of the Fireflies and Project A-Ko, anime tapes have emerged from the U.S. comic underground into huge retail chains like Tower Video. Mousketeers, beware: The Magic Kingdom may never be the same.
— Nisid Najari
It’s Friday night. It’s too hot to move. HBO is showing If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium again, but that’s not cheesy enough for you. You want something weird. Aren’t you glad you rented Black Lizard, a twisted 1968 Japanese fantasy-adventure in which the world’s greatest jewelry thief (played like Joan Crawford on laughing gas by female impersonator Akihiro Maruyama) matches wits with the world’s most brilliant detective while kidnapping teenage girls and turning them into zombie statues while also running Tokyo’s hippest go-go club? Is it possible that novelist Yukio Mishima, who wrote much of the richly dumb dialogue and appears as a zombie, wasn’t in on the joke? And, face it, doesn’t this beat paying seven bucks for a tub of soggy popcorn and Lethal Weapon 3?
— Ty Burr
Cool Video List
Cool Sports Video
The National Basketball Association’s in-your-face, highlights-with-a-beat tapes.
3D-TV, which brings high-tech ’90s goggles to ’50s 3D movies. Those catwomen never looked so good.
The Sound of Jazz (1990), a collection of 1957 performances with Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and other jazz greats.
Cool Coming-Attractions Tapes
The Hitchcock Classics Collection (1985), which rounds up trailers (and nothing but trailers) for 25 flicks by the master of suspense. Beware the guided tour of Psycho‘s Bates Motel.
Cool Nostalgia Drive-In Double Features. Relive drive-in magic with classic double features, like The Diabolical Dr. Z with Nightmare Castle. Car and popcorn not included.