At a hefty $90 million, Zhang Yimou's "The Flowers of War" boasts the largest production budget in China's history. The country's official entry for last year's Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award certainly looks expensive, and thankfully it's also grand entertainment. Set in 1937 during Japan’s invasion of China, "The Flowers of War" stars Christian Bale as an American mortician who impersonates a priest in order to save a convent’s schoolchildren. Another storyline follows local prostitutes also seeking shelter in the convent.
Extras: This almost two-and-a-half-hour film has a five-part feature length "making of" documentary. And while that’s about it, the features are stocked full of good stuff -- from meeting Bale to seeing where the film was set.
In the bracing documentary "Fightville," filmmakers Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker ("Gunner Palace") take a thorough look at the inner circle of Mixed Martial Arts competitors by following a group of young would-be fighter stars in Southern Louisiana. "The footage is gorgeously shot, bloody and dominated by enough excessive libido-fueled rage to please anyone enthralled by the sport," wrote Eric Kohn in his review.
Extras: Nothing, unfortunately.
#5. "Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series"
If you have a few hundred dollars to throw around, you could do a lot worse than purchasing the "Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series" box set. Priced at a hefty $599.00, the release comes in a coffin (clever), and runs a whopping 30,000 hours over 131 discs. The brainchild of producer Dan Curtis, "Dark Shadows" is legendary for pumping out a remarkable 1,225 episodes during its five-year run. The show is best remembered for the character of Barnabas Collins (played by Jonathan Frid), a 200-year-old vampire fresh from the grave and hellbent on saving his family's cannery in Collinsport, Maine from the vengeful hands of the beautiful witch Angelique who initially cursed him back in the 18th century. "Dark Shadows" is also fondly remembered for its infamous bloopers (looming boom mics frequently made an appearance) thanks to the fast-paced environment which didn't allow for second takes -- or editing for that matter. Here's your chance to revisit those on set hiccups with the pause button!
Go HERE for our chat the show's original stars Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott.
Extras: A lot of good stuff here, since bonus features take up the last five discs. The DVD set, which has over 130 discs, contains a signed picture of Jonathan Frid; a 96-page booklet of all the episodes on the set, complete with synopses and stills from the show; 100+ interviews with actors from the show; a 25th Anniversary Special; footage of the cast reunion from a 1991 convention; a 30th Anniversary Retrospective; a film tribute; horror moments reel; promos; bloopers and outtakes. Can you ask for anything more?