Recently this column received a great honor. I'd like to thank Erics Berlin and Olsen, The Duke, of course, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hank and Dean Venture, Benjamin Franklin, Gregory Peck, Rudolph, Donner, (but not Blitzen, he knows what he did), Honey Nut Cheerios, no, wait, don't start playing the music, I was gonna talk about the plight of homeless mimes!
The Muppet Show: Season One (Special Edition)
Was there ever a better show on television? Maybe a few, but nearly all of my friends put this in their top five. Extras here include the pilot, "Sex and Violence," which is apparently a little more adult than the series turned out. There's a gag reel from one of the promos they shot. The "pitch reel," sort of a pre-pilot. And "Muppet Morsels," kind of like Pop-Up Video for each episode.
Season One guests include Joel Grey, Candice Bergen, Lena Horne, Harvey Korman, Ben Vereen, Vincent Price, and Don Knotts. Then there are guests who's fame never quite made it out of the Seventies. Like Twiggy. But with the Muppets, it's all good.
Kung Fu Hustle
The perfect combo of slapstick comedy and truly astounding fight coreography (courtesy of the Master, Yuen Woo-Ping), Hustle has emerged as one of the few truly great films of 2005 so far. Stephen Chow, late of Shaolin Soccer, proves himself a deft student of American cinema (watch for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Untouchables reference). With his screenwriting team he cleverly turns the tables on most of the conventions of the Western (which this essentially is) while creating original characters like the Harpists, whose weapon of choice is among the most inventive I've seen. And what's more, it's downright hilarious. There's one knife-throwing bit that would have had milk bursting from my nose, had I been drinking any at the time.
This is a must-own, especially for fans of chop-sockey. Or things that are funny.
Look at Me
I don't think I've ever laughed this hard at a trailer in another language. And for a comedy where most of the jokes are one-liners, that's impressive. Now, I can't vouch for the rest of the film, but if the rest of the screenplay is this strong, it'll be well worth the investment. The folks at Cannes seemed to think so. They gave this story of a daughter's efforts to get the attention of her celebrity father Best Screenplay last year.