DVD Pick of the week: Piranha (shout! Factory)
The fish are biting in Joe Dante’s award-winning 1978 solo directorial debut, the best of the Jaws rip-offs, available on special-edition DVD ($19.93 retail) and Blu-ray ($26.97 retail) — timed perfectly to coincide with the release of the 3-D remake.
A covert military experiment has yielded a strain of highly advanced, highly lethal piranha that are soon loosed upon an unsuspecting world when they are accidentally released from captivity. screenwriter John sayles works a sly sense of satire into the proceedings, captured well by Dante’s fast-paced direction.
A solid, stalwart cast includes Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies (as hero and heroine, respectively), kevin McCarthy, keenan Wynn, Barbara steele, Bruce Gordon, Barry Brown (in his final screen role), Paul Bartel, Belinda Balaski, Richard Deacon and the always-welcome Dick Miller, as the manager of a waterthemed amusement park directly in the piranhas’ path.
A veritable fish-fry of special features includes an audio commentary with Dante and producer Jon Davison, a retrospective documentary, trailers and other goodies. Rated R.
ALSo oN DVD
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William Forsythe chews the scenery(no pun intended) as a fire-and-brimstone preacherwho takes to vampirism quite readily. effective cinematographyby Gregg easterbrook.“THE SUPER HERO SQUAD SHOW:QUEST FOR THE INFINITY SWORD”:VOLUME 1 (Marvel entertainment/shout!Factory): A collection of seven episodes ($14.93retail) from the 2009-’10 season of the semi-satiricalCartoon Network animated series depictingthe adventures of such popular Marvel Comicscharacters as the Hulk, Iron Man, silver surfer,Wolverine (from X-Men) and others as they try toprevent the diabolical Doctor Doom from procuringthe title object, lest he rule the universe.SUTURES (MTI Home Video): All-too-typicalschlock horror about a group of young vacationersrunning afoul of an illegal organ-transplantring. Top-billed Andrew Prine plays themad doctor in charge. late-inning plot twistsdon’t help. Rated R.“SWAMP THING: THE SERIES”:VOLUME THREE (shout! Factory): Dick Durockreprises his big-screen role as the title characterin the final 24 episodes from the 1992-’93 seasonof the UsA Network fantasy series based onthe popular DC Comics character. Other seriesregulars include Carrell Myers, scott Garrison,kevin Quigley and Mark lindsay Chapman asswamp Thing’s nemesis, the nasty Dr Arcane.This four-DVD boxed set retails for $34.95.THE WHITE RIBBON (sony Pictures Homeentertainment): Michael Haneke’s atmospheric,award-winning psychological thriller is setin a seemingly peaceful German village on theeve of World War I, as a series of strange occurrencesseem to indicate the collective guilt (orresponsibility) of the village’s children. AcademyAward nominations for Best Foreign-languageFilm and for Christian Berger’s stunning blackand-white cinematography. A bit overlong butgenuinely unsettling. In German with englishsubtitles. Rated R.