The New Releases of the week can’t help but fall in the shadow of a couple of mighty releases and one underrated film that should get a second chance on DVD. The blockbuster this week is The Hangover (Warner), the raucous comedy of a bachelor party gone horribly wrong and one of the surprise smash hits of 2009. And while it will likely be the sales winner of the week (which, like box-office numbers, I’ve found neither the need nor the desire to report on either on MSN or on my blog here), the more exciting release is Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (Universal). A surprise hit in its own right, Tarantino’s tribute to and complete rewrite of the World War II behind-enemy-lines/caper thriller is a mix of pulp fantasy, genre play, and narrative tropes resurrected with fresh takes and twists, all deliciously scripted into dialogue dances and verbal jousts and set against an occupied France informed more by the movies and Tarantino’s own “what if”? narrative doodling than any historical record. That’s from my feature review (you can read it on my blog here).
As for the DVD and Blu-ray, the disc producers have skipped the usual commentary track and traditional making-of documentary for a more eclectic collection of supplements, including all six minutes (credits included) of the film-within-a-film “Nation’s Pride” and three illuminating deleted/extended scenes. The extended scene of Shoshana’s lunch with Goebbels and Zoeller is mostly presented in a single long take, while a brief sequence celebrates the mechanics and showmanship of a presenting a movie in a movie palace of old. The highlight of the “2-Disc Special Edition” DVD and Blu-ray editions is 30-minute video interview with Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt (conducted by Elvis Mitchell for his radio series “The Treatment”) that brings out a calmer (yet still enthusiastic) QT to discuss the creative ideas behind his film, with Pitt in full support of his vision and his collaborative engagement with actors. Mitchell also narrates a tour through the film poster and film history in Tarantino’s movie. The rest are of the supplements are just grace notes: a relaxed interview with actor Rod Taylor, a tribute to “The Original Inglorious Bastards” with director Enzo Castellari and actor Bo Svenson (who both make cameo’s in QT’s film), a mock-featurette on “The Making of Nation’s Pride” (with the performers all in character – Eli Roth has a blast playing the sneering autocratic German auteur of this “lost” classic of Nazi propaganda cinema) and montages showing the playfulness of QT and his cast and crew on the set. Both deluxe editions include a digital copy of the film for portable media players.