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Headsup: Tornadoes, Killers and Elves

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.

The Best of Draw! Volume 3 Cover Art
Bad Blood DVD Cover Art
Twister DVD Cover Art

There are lots of people out there who can draw and are very talented at it. I am not one of those people and harbor a secret hatred for anyone who has that talent. Well, it was secret until I just revealed it in this post. But think of it as a respect wearing the trappings of hatred. So the most frustrating thing for me about a book like TwoMorrows’ The Best of Draw!, Vol. 3 is that when I read through it, I can’t use any of this stuff. Honest. I can barely draw a straight line if armed with a ruler. But if I had a lick of talent in the field, I would be on this like kung pao chicken on rice. This book collects stuff from issues five through seven of the mag with some bonus bits from issues three and four. Interviews, how-tos, and plenty of examples are on hand from the late great Mike Wieringo, Bret Blevins and Dan Brereton, among scads more. If you want to get into illustration, whether comic or otherwise, you could hardly do better than to grab this. It can’t help me, though. Even TwoMorrows has limits. (Click here to buy it from TwoMorrows.)

Bad Blood is a film about a guy named Stan Graham who finds himself backed into a corner by economic problems (and a bit of paranoia), and then responds with violence when they come to conscript his rifle for the war effort. Then it’s a manhunt after the guy, played by Jack Thompson. This is an interesting release from Umbrella Entertainment, not just because it’s a true story, but also because it’s an early film from director Mike Newell. Yes, the Four Weddings and a Funeral director. A mass murderer seems like a perfect fit, doesn’t it? This release is an all-region release, and comes with a interview with Thompson. This is an improvement over a previous Region 1 release which, from what I can tell anyway, was bare bones. (Click here to buy it from Umbrella.)

[ad#longpost]Twister is back from Warner Brothers in a new two-disc special edition, which more than replaces the previous release. Of course, seeing as how the previous release was a bare bones affair, the only think that would be worse is watching it on a View-Master. This time around, though, you’ve got Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, ridiculous amounts of wind, remastered flick, commentary from director Jan de Bont and FX meister Stefen Fangmeier, plus a new featurette, the HBO First Look, and some stuff on real tornadoes to bring you back to reality. And hey, Van Halen music video! I know you’ve all been dying for that. This is obviously a decent release for this movie–I wouldn’t choose to own it, but if it rocks for you, then by all means. The only thing to bear in mind is that the same features are available on the Blu-Ray release. And let’s face it, if you want to own this, you’re probably going to want it in hi-def. Just laying out all your options here. (And as I write this, the Blu-Ray is a dollar cheaper. Go figure.) (Click here to buy the 2-disc special edition or the Blu-Ray flavored DVD from Amazon.)

Fruit of the Poisonous Vine Cover Art
Empire of the Passions DVD Cover Art
For One More Day DVD Cover Art

Stonehaven is a nifty creation from the mind of Kevin Tinsley in which for all intents and purposes, the place is a modern city. Except, you know, for the presence of magic, elves, fairies and all manner of other fantastical critters. And how exactly does medicine work in such a place? Well, at Divinity Medical Center, you’ve got alchemy and faith healing going on side by side with regular medicine that we’d be more familiar with. Why are we there? Because a bunch of unregistered blood turned up in IV bladders after a massacre took place. And we’re following the Stonehaven Gang-Related Task Force as they try to figure out what the hell’s going on. If you dig the concept of fantasy and reality mixing, then you should check Fruit of the Poisonous Vine out–I’ve enjoyed the series from jump and I think it’s cool that Tinsley’s made the jump from graphic novels to prose with the plans to keep a foot in both forms. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Empire of the Passions is the story of a married woman and her lover who come up with a great idea: let’s just dispose of the husband. Specifically down a well. You know, after they’ve killed him. No problem–the husband’s out of the picture, the other people locally hear that he’s moved away and all’s well, right? Not as such. Because the dead don’t always conveniently go away. And when people come asking questions about the missing man, what are the two of them to do? There don’t appear to be any in-print Region 1 releases…the closest I could find for an alternative is a Region 2 release that comes with a featurette–but it’s not as long as the featurette on this Region 4 Umbrella release, “Cinema and Censorship: The films of Nagisa Oshima.” Which is the same featurette as In the Realm of the Senses. If you like erotic films from Japan, you might want to give this a rental before purchase. (Click here to buy it from Umbrella.)

I know you might be thinking: Widge, why are you including For One More Day. Is it because I wanted to discuss it after an erotic film from Japan? No, actually, this drew my attention because of Ellen Burstyn. And if The Exorcist didn’t give her a career pass then Requiem for a Dream sure as hell did. What happens here is Michael Imperioli plays a man who’s been through some trials and tribulations–he’s an alcoholic who’s had a bit of marital difficulty and considered ending it all. A wish to have some more time with his deceased mom (played by Burstyn) is answered as they get to spend some time discussing the past, hers and his. This Lionsgate release isn’t for everybody, but the performances rise above the admittedly somewhat overplayed sentimentality of the film. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)