DVD Releases: 04/06/10

A weird week for DVD releases, as we await the Dallas International Film Festival’s opening night, Thursday April 8th.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, director Werner Herzog’s strangely pedestrian-looking police procedural, benefits from one of Nicolas Cage’s most profoundly bizarre performances.  He looks stooped over, like a marionette missing a crucial string.  His character’s drug use allows Cage to act out in ways that usually would be frowned upon in theater class.  As he goes about solving a drug-related murder case, he hallucinates, threatens old women and actually gets a promotion for his efforts.  It is a gloriously bent performance, and makes for the most interesting DVD release this week.

The Collector sure tries hard, but ultimately comes up short.  An indie horror attempt at the Saw school of grisly trap-setting, the film puts a handful of eventual victims in a home that has mysteriously been adorned with all manner of trickery, including acid, nails and piano-wire.  Who is responsible and why?  Oh, why complicate a scream fest with logic and plotting?  The film obviously wants to start a franchise but the only people applauding that possibility are salesmen at Home Depot.  As failures go, it still provides a modest amount of fun.

(This was the only image that wasn't somewhat unsettling)

Taxidermia, directed by Budapest-born filmmaker Gyorgy Palfi, is described as a “grotesque tale of three generations of men, including an obese speed eater, an embalmer of gigantic cats, and a man who shoots fire out of his penis.”  If vulgarity, absurdism and outrage are to your tastes, this may be the all-time winner of cinematic indignities.  The general consensus seems to be:  don’t eat before viewing this film.

Party Down Season 1 is hilarious in the same comedy-of-discomfort way that Curb Your Enthusiasm and Christopher Guest films succeed.  Following a band caterers that includes lost souls, miscreants and airheads, the Starz Originals program offers a fantastic guest list and lots of laughs in small, easy to consume portions.