This week Showtime throws down with some help from Joe Dante and pot.
Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story
For those of you who like your comedy meta and a little perverse comes this gem from 24 Hour Party People directing/acting cohorts Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan. There's a little bit of Extras thrown in as well as the team adds yet another level to the stories within stories of the classically unadaptable Laurence Sterne novel, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. As you might imagine, the extra level here is the attempt to make a film of the unfilmable tome. Worth it for the closing dueling Pacinos alone.
Extras include commentary by Coogan and co-star (and Pacino duelist) Rob Brydon, an interview with Coogan by Tony Wilson (the guy he played in 24 Hour Party People), deleted scenes, scene extensions and, if you can handle this level of meta, behind the scenes footage.
Basic Instinct 2 (Unrated)
Is there anyone who thought that the problem with this film was that it had a rating? By most accounts, this wasn't even enjoyably sucky. Extras include commentary from the director (I almost want to see how he gets through that), a featurette called "Between the Sheets" (shudder), ten deleted scenes (a sort of "there but for the grace of God" kind of feature, I imagine) and an alternate ending in which they don't make the movie. Okay, that's just my alternate ending. You can also get this in Blu-ray, which is another point in HD DVD's favor.
Weeds - Season 1
Thanks to Netflix, I no longer have to wend my way through this Showtime series on iTunes. Though, from what I've heard, it's well worth owning. Put it on the list, with Sopranos, Deadwood and Battlestar Galactica, of shows I damn well should have made my way through by now. Extras include "Agrestic Herbal Recipes," commentary on six episodes, outtakes, a mockumentary and some Showtime featurettes.
Masters of Horror: Joe Dante - Homecoming
This is the episode of Showtime's horror anthology we've all been waiting for. More than a zombie tale, this is a political statement from more-subversive-than-he's-given-credit-for director Joe Dante. Dead Iraq War soldiers come back to life — and they can vote. 'Nuff said.
For an episode of an anthology series, there are actually quite a few extras. Commentary by the writer, numerous interviews (two with Dante), a making-of featurette and, on the DVD-ROM, the original screenplay, the original short story on which this was based and, of course, a screensaver.