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Headsup: Dogs, Scorpions and Comedians

An ongoing attempt to make sense of the onslaught of new swag that people want you to buy. Should you? I’ll try and help.

Modern Masters Volume Fifteen Mark Schultz by TwoMorrows Cover Art
The Best of Comedy Central Presents Uncensored DVD Cover Art

TwoMorrows has rolled out another Modern Masters volume, Number 15 covers artist Mark Schultz. Now if you can see the artwork that’s on there, I think you can see why Schultz pleases us and should please you too: dinosaurs, unspeakable creatures, dudes with swords, plus rather attractive women toting wicked looking weaponry. Who could ask for anything more? But all seriousness aside, Schultz is the man who brought you Xenozoic Tales (and thusly Cadillacs & Dinosaurs). He’s also done a crapload of work for DC and Dark Horse. This book has the usual scads-o-artwork approach that you love from TwoMorrows, not to mention a ginormous interview with the man himself. If you’re a fan, you want this. (Click here to buy it from TwoMorrows.)

[ad#longpost]The Best of Comedy Central Presents Uncensored has a few things going for it. First up, you’ve got Lewis Black, Dane Cook, Jeff Dunham, Jim Gaffigan, Mitch Hedberg, Demetri Martin, Carlos Mencia and Brian Regan. And of those eight comics, there’s almost three hours of material here. So if you want to drop $17 for that, then you need read no further. There’s some quick bonus bits, but nothing really to speak of. I’m not quite sure why they don’t just do season sets of Comedy Central Presents instead of a Best Of. Maybe they’re trying to judge interest. Regardless, it’s probably worth a rental, because these guys are pretty damn funny. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Another Platinum Edition, and another one with no commentary. I weep. But anyway, 101 Dalmatians is here in a two-disc set that does come with pop-up trivia tracks, one for the family and one for the fan. Better than nothing. The games have much to offer including…wait, sorry, can’t stop laughing. You can get a “Puppy Profile” where you find out what pet would be best for you. If Puppy Profiler was about cute animals tracking down serial killers that would be amazing. But alas. We do get alternate and deleted songs as well, plus a making-of docu. There’s also a couple of featurettes. Again, not Criterion level, but what is? It’s classic Disney and you need it. So get it. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

The Young Ones Extra Stoopid Edition DVD Set Cover Art
The Jewish Americans Series by David Grubin on PBS DVD Cover Art
Legend of the Black Scorpion DVD Cover Art

The Young Ones have returned to DVD once again with the Extra Stoopid Edition, as opposed to the Every Stoopid Episode version. Now, the question is: which one of these sets should you own? The answer is, if you’re a completist, both. Last time out you had some featurettes (replaced), some bonus episodes of other shows (gone), and some footage of Rik Mayall’s standup (gone). Here you get the aforementioned new featurettes, even though the making-of bit is much more extensive. And you get two commentaries from director Geoff Posner and producer Paul Jackson. So you’re best served by keeping the old box if you had it and buying it separate if you want everything. Granted, we’ve made some progress, but we still don’t have the Uber Mongo Edition that the show really deserves. This is out from BBC Home Video. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

PBS puts The Jewish Americans, all six hours of it, out on DVD. Narrated by Liev Schreiber, it goes all the way back to 1654, when the first Jews arrived, and then goes forward to the present day, talking to comedians, actors, playwrights, and even a Supreme Court Justice as it goes through the complete history. While it’s not as extensive as something like Civilization and the Jews (and honestly, how could it be?) six hours is enough to get a good amount of content in. Special features include an interview with the filmmaker, and brief bits on jewish cooking and a scene from Rosh Hashanah. I say rent it if you didn’t catch it on PBS and then decide if you would want the repeat viewings from owning it. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Ziyi Zhang, as I have stated on this site more than once, is welcome to come kick my ass any day of the week. I would rather enjoy it. Does that make me a freak? Probably. But I’m willing to bear that label. She’s back in Legend of the Black Scorpion, kicking ass yet again. This, we are told, has the international title of The Banquet, which makes sense because it’s a veritable banquet of fu. Not only do you get Zhang, but also Daniel Wu, and everybody’s being choreographed by Yuen Wo-ping. And when I recognize a fight choreographer’s name, then you know you’ve got something. So you’ve got all of that, plus it’s a two-disc set out from Dragon Dynasty. The first disc comes with an audio commentary by Bey Logan, the “Hong Kong Cinema Expert” (nice gig). The second disc has interviews with the director and Wu, plus a making-of bit, behind the scenes bit and more. It’s gorgeous, there is people getting beatdowns, there is Ziyi Zhang–if this appeals to you, you’re probably going to want to own it. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)