BLUE VELVET (SPECIAL EDITION)
MGM Home Entertainment, $24.98
I LOVE WHEN a movie doesn't merely polarize an audience but splits it into two sputtering, obscenity-howling, pit bull factions. So does any smart studio marketing department. Fight Club's DVD liner notes included not just critical kudos but many merciless pans. Like Club, 1986's Blue Velvet has long resided somewhere in the public's estimation between "genius" and "shit." Appropriately, it now boasts a new DVD (out June 4) with a Siskel and Ebert clip in which the latter blasts David Lynch for exploiting Isabella Rossellini. The late Siskel scoffs, customarily, but their brief debate perfectly captures our fluctuating aggravation and fascination with Lynch, the human crapshoot. As Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) says, "Heineken?! Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!"
Velvet's spanking new digital transfer looks fantastic, and the paucity of extras on the single disc actually augments the story's mystery. A montage of deleted scenes begins with the depressing disclaimer that virtually none of the outtakes from Lynch's original four-hour cut (!) could be salvaged. Hence, 10 minutes' worth of lost scenes are constructed via a haunting procession of stills set to the original score—and damned if it doesn't work beautifully. Highlights: Kyle MacLachlan and Rossellini undulating on the roof of her creepy apartment complex and Frank throttling an undisclosed adversary on the pool table of a nudie bar.
Most welcome is a lengthy documentary that splices archival Lynch interviews with brand-new commentary from the main players. Even a hater couldn't turn away. That's vintage Lynch: He puts his disease inside of you.
LESS INFECTIOUS IS THE YEAR-2000 non-Lynch-directed Dune miniseries (a special edition on three discs), due June 11 along with Behind the Sun (no extras, but worth a look) and Kate & Leopold. With the latter, James Mangold includes his preferred cut—which might not have Meg Ryan at all! The same date greets Black Hawk Down (no extras) and Monster's Ball (commentary by director, Billy Bob Thornton, and teary Oscar winner Halle Berry). Samurai lovers will welcome the first two 1962 installments of the blind swordsman Zatoichi serial, the inspiration for 1989's Blind Fury with Rutger Hauer.