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I'm about to watch the "Daredevil" commentary and was wondering if anyone had any commentaries they would reccomend that are interesting, informative, and/or entertaining.

I haven't listened to many. Steve Zahns commentary in "Joy Ride" was hilarious. Tarsem Singh, director of "The Cell", had some interesting and honest things to say. He actually bashes one of the key actors in his flick.

Other ones I've heard, particularly ones with more then one person, spend 90% of the time complimenting each other. That's not interesting.

Due to my choice phrasing of my post on lusting at the movies (let me know how you beat it), you guys got me all paranoid. I'm rereading this thing like 10 times. :roll:


"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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One of my favorite commentary tracks is the one on American Beauty.

A DVD that I may pick up specifically for its commentary is Dark City. It's got two tracks - one with the director and some of the production team and the other is by Roger Ebert. I think it'd be really interesting to hear a film critic talk about a film from beginning to end.

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Yes, the LOTR actors is primo.

For he moment, the only other one I can think of is for the Almost Famous director's cut, entitled 'Untitled'. Since it's semi-autobiographical, Cameron Crowe does it with his mother. It's pretty fun and givesw good insights.

There was a TV show in england called Brass Eye which did news show spoofs in which they dragged six homeless guys off the street and let them talk on a track. That was hilarious.

I've been real dissapointed with some of Tim Burton's commentaries. For Sleepy Hollow he just makes fun of he guys' wigs.

Oh, I got another one. The Joss Wheedon commentaries on Buffy are very good, I've listened to those several times. He's only done a couple though.

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I don't have a DVD player (living at home with my folks now, I hardly get to see more than one film a week in any case sad.gif), but occasionally I'll stay at my sister's place for the weekend and rent a few DVDs.

One that I really enjoyed was Mike Leigh's commentary on his All or Nothing (sadly unavailable in US, I am told). It was a very laid-back commentary, even repetitive at times, but for the first time I felt I understood Mike Leigh and began to see him as an incredibly gifted storyteller with very little pretention (though judging by recent comments, some may disagree) and a genuine interest in his characters. Watching Secrets and Lies a few weeks later was a much different experience for me in light of that.


Drop by The Grace Pages, a rest-stop for fellow pilgrims.

-- Dave aka Alvy

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I enjoyed the film historians' commentaries on Nosferatu (1922) and The Seventh Seal (though even after listening to the commentary I still haven't worked up the nerve to review Nosferatu).

Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger commentary was interesting in places (though of course he doesn't illuminate the ambiguous ending).

I appreciated various aspects of George Lucas's Phantom Menace commentary, particularly regarding visual effects.

A collaborative commentary for The Song of Bernadette includes some interesting (though sometimes repetitive) comments on the musical score and various historical-theological issues (though the theogian-commentator being an ex-monk celebrity writer and author of a revisionist life of Christ, critical discernment is necessary).

There are some interesting points on the Matrix commentary. And it was gratifying to get explicit confirmations on points I'd already noticed, such as the green-toned art direction within the world of the Matrix.

A number of film commentaries have done absolutely nothing for me, and some I've turned off in frustration and boredom. It seems to me that Black Narcissus was one of those (though I did appreciate the early insights into the way that elaborate minatures and sets were used to create the illusion of a high mountain peak).


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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the commentaries on The Fellowship of the Ring (extended version) are excellent, especially the actors' commentary.

Indeed, these are some of the best commentaries I've heard. The director/writers commentary with Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens, and Fran Walsh is also excellent, especially if you're wondering why certain scenes in the book were left out of the film and other scenes not in the book were put into the movie.

Also, Roger Ebert's commentary on Citizen Kane is a real winner. He does a great job discussing the groudbreaking direction of Welles.

--Diane

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The commentary on Sleepaway Camp is a modern classic. Kudos to whoever it was that suggested that one to me. :wink:


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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I've heard raves about the Emma Thompson commentary on Sense and Sensibility. I've also heard raves about Tim Robbins' commentary on Dead Man Walking. But I haven't sat through either of these yet.

This will sound trite, but John McTiernan's commentary on Die Hard is one of the best I've heard. It was fascinating, and my appreciation of the craftmanship of that film deepened considerably.

Out of Sight's commentary is fun, because Soderbergh and his screenwriter disagree over several issues and feel free to fight about it.

When it comes to the Colors trilogy, though, I'd recommend you avoid the commentary and read the book written by the woman who does those commentaries. She sums up her ideas nicely there, and that way you can just WATCH THE MOVIE.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I found the extras on The Apostle to be quite illuminating -- the back stories on some of the extras and minor actors, tales about a couple of apparent conversions during filming, etc. Sadly, I didn't have time to hear the whole commentary before returning the DVD to Blockbuster. :cry:


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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The commentary on Seven Samurai is absolutely fascinating. I'm no expert on movies & filmmaking, so maybe it would be old-hat to some of you people (or maybe you've heard it). The guy is an expert on Japanese culture, film & directors, and highlights not only all the ground-breaking film-making features of Kurosawa's direction, style, story, etc., but also provides a lot of Japanes cultural footnotes along the way. Better than reading a book about the movie (and I never say something like that lightly) since you can watch at the same time. I enjoyed just watching the movie the first time; watching it a second time with the commentary, I appreciated it even more.

Agree with Ross that Joss Whedon's Buffy DVD commentaries are very worthwhile, though some people have problems with his ironic sense of humor. BtVS writers Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie are also quite good.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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I very much enjoyed Rob Reiner's commentary on When Harry Met Sally. He was looking back on it after several years, so it had a nostalgic quality that I thought was kind of interesting. The Devil's Playground commentary is one of the best I've listened too--it answered a lot of my questions and explained why certain things I really wanted to see couldn't be included in the documentary.

I agree wholeheartedly with Beth on the Seven Samarai commentary. Unfortunately I didn't get around to listening to the whole thing--I just went to specific scenes and caught bits and pieces of it. Absolutely fascinating. The Nosferatu commentary is also great. And, of course, the FOTR commentaries--I'm partial to the Jackson, Boyens, Walsh commentary. I loved the explanations of why they took certain liberties with the book and am very much looking forward to hearing what they have to say about Two Towers since I was more perturbed by some of the changes they made there.

--Teresa


There are stories of coincidence and chance, of intersections and strange things told, and which is which nobody knows; and we generally say, "Well, if that was in a movie, I wouldn't believe it." --from Magnolia

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I'll second the Dark City (Roger Ebert; haven't listened to the other track yet), Fellowship of the Ring (director and cast; haven't listened to the other two tracks yet) and Die Hard picks. I was not so hot for the When Harry Met Sally... commentary, despite it being one of my all-time favorite films; I turned it off around the time Rob Reiner said things like "Oh, I think my father visited the set that day"; most of the truly interesting insights had already been covered in the making-of documentary. (Now THERE'S a possible thread subject -- why do making-of featurettes and commentaries often cover the exact same material? Which format is better for this sort of thing?)

Off the top of my head -- and checking one of our older threads on this subject -- I have also enjoyed the original commentary on The Usual Suspects (the director and writer take great pleasure in pointing out the continuity errors in their own film), the writer's commentary on Criterion's Spartacus (a sometimes hilariously bitter evisceration of what the director and the stars have done to his script), the Norman Jewison and Topol commentary on Fiddler on the Roof and portions of the Walt Disney commentary on Fantasia.

As for Citizen Kane, I remember liking Roger Ebert's commentary too, but ISTR Doug Cummings trashing it as a journalistic rehash of better critical analyses of that film -- as I recall, he was miffed that Jonathan Rosenbaum never got to record a commentary for that disc. (Not that there's anything stopping Rosenbaum from recording a commentary on his own and releasing it on CD or as an mp3...)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Peter T Chattaway wrote:

: I'll second the . . . Fellowship of the Ring (director and cast; haven't

: listened to the other two tracks yet) . . .

Speaking of which, here is a hilarious commentary that I wish really existed. Here's a taste:

Chomsky: The film opens with Galadriel speaking. "The world has changed," she tells us, "I can feel it in the water." She's actually stealing a line from the non-human Treebeard. He says this to Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers, the novel. Already we can see who is going to be privileged by this narrative and who is not.

. . . and Die Hard picks.

BTW, this DVD has both an audio commentary and a text commentary, as I recall. And while the audio commentaries on the new Star Trek DVDs are a mixed bunch, I do think the text commentaries are pretty nifty, and occasionally quite funny (e.g., when Kirk says that the Enterprise is the only ship in the quadrant, the text commentary says something like, "Hmmm, that seems to happen a lot").


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Another DVD commentary I found both enlightening and enjoyable was the director's commentary for Scotland, PA, which is a wild, darkly comic update of Macbeth that manages to hold on to the tragedy as well, somehow. We loved it. Sorry--can't remember the director's name at the moment, but it co-stars Maura Tierney as "Pat" Macbeth, and she's terrific. Christopher Walken plays Macduff, a detective who arrives to solve the murders of Duncan, etc. It's definitely rated R (as Macbeth no doubt should be).


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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The commentary on Seven Samurai is absolutely fascinating. I'm no expert on movies & filmmaking, so maybe it would be old-hat to some of you people (or maybe you've heard it). The guy is an expert on Japanese culture, film & directors, and highlights not only all the ground-breaking film-making features of Kurosawa's direction, style, story, etc., but also provides a lot of Japanes cultural footnotes along the way. Better than reading a book about the movie (and I never say something like that lightly) since you can watch at the same time. I enjoyed just watching the movie the first time; watching it a second time with the commentary, I appreciated it even more.

Wow, Beth. Same sentiment here, word for word.

Except that my Buffy is Jeepers Creepers, and the commentary on that was pretty good too.

-s.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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In the Summer 2003 Cineaste there's an interview with John Bloom (AKA Joe Bob Briggs, connoisseur of the exploitation film). According to the article, his commentary track for I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is extraordinary - indeed, it won the "Best Commentary Track" award from DVDcentral.

Here's a pertinent excerpt from the interview;

Cineaste: What do you think of commentary tracks in general?

John Bloom: Most commentary tracks I find boring. Most directors aren't very good commentators on their own movies. They tend to assault us with trivia and with the mechanics of the film-making process. There are exceptions - there are directors who would make good critics or good public speakers - but for the most part I don't find them that enlightening.


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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I'll be extremely trite and mention that the horrible, horrible movie Armageddon actually has a very funny and fairly informative commentary track (through the Criterion line, no less). Michael Bay never backs away from the fact that he made an incredibly stupid movie but he does give some reasons why the movie is so stupid (most of them buisness related) and Affleck is pretty darn funny making fun of the movie through out. In keeping with the low-brow theme (where most of my tastes run in film) the Criterion Robocop dvd has a good commentary, Ghostbusters has a rather amusing commetary and This is Spinal Tap has a very funny in character commentary (and if you do some searching you might be able to find the out-of-print original Spinal Tap dvd that has Guest, McKean and Shearer doing commentary out of character and is very informative)


Stealing! How could you? Haven't you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain whats-his-name.

- Homer

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Guest Russell Lucas

Galaxy Quest has a commentary track in the screeching language of the Thermians. It's a gag that is funny for, oh, about twenty seconds.

Actually, I think that I've only listened to a commentary track the whole way through once or twice. I don't know whether it's becuase I don't get to rewatch films enough or whether I just don't like the distraction.

The commentary on Sleepaway Camp is a modern classic. Kudos to whoever it was that suggested that one to me.

Mr. Leary, did you subject yourself to Sleepaway Camp more than once, or did you figure that the on-screen dialogue would be at a sufficiently pedestrian level that your first and only viewing could be commentary-accompanied? I take credit for recommending it only to the extent that you enjoyed it. Otherwise, I know nothing!

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Chadb wrote:

: In keeping with the low-brow theme (where most of my tastes run in

: film) the Criterion Robocop dvd has a good commentary . . .

Agreed, but what's low-brow about it?

: . . . This is Spinal Tap has a very funny in character commentary (and if

: you do some searching you might be able to find the out-of-print original

: Spinal Tap dvd that has Guest, McKean and Shearer doing commentary

: out of character and is very informative)

Yeah, I've got just the MGM version, not the Criterion version. I'd be tempted to get the Criterion version too, but their discs are so expensive even when they AREN'T out of print.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Well, Robocop is an action movie which are usually considered low-brow by most cineastes. Myself, I love the movie.


Stealing! How could you? Haven't you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain whats-his-name.

- Homer

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A commentary that's a little different is on the DVD for Remember the Titans. It is the actual coaches telling their story as you watch the Disney version on the screen. You find out some of the changes that were made in the story, and find out some of the things you may not have believed that were true.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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The PTA (by himself) commentary on Boogie Nights is top.

The Soderbergh/Dobbs track on The Limey is a great one, too.

Scorsese/Dafoe/Schrader/Cocks on Last Temptation Of Christ could be my favorite...

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The commentary on Seven Samurai is absolutely fascinating. I'm no expert on movies & filmmaking, so maybe it would be old-hat to some of you people (or maybe you've heard it). The guy is an expert on Japanese culture, film & directors, and highlights not only all the ground-breaking film-making features of Kurosawa's direction, style, story, etc., but also provides a lot of Japanes cultural footnotes along the way.  Better than reading a book about the movie .

Jeepers Creepers

-s.

Isn't the commentary by Jeck? If so, I don't mean to sound facetious, but Don Richie wrote all the books he probably worked from. Richie's stuff on Japanese film is fun to read and unbelievably insightful. I wonder why he didn't do the commentary for this, I am pretty sure he is still alive.

Nevertheless, it is a great commentary.

Stef, is Jeepers Creepers really any good? Really?

Mr. Leary, did you subject yourself to Sleepaway Camp more than once, or did you figure that the on-screen dialogue would be at a sufficiently pedestrian level that your first and only viewing could be commentary-accompanied? I take credit for recommending it only to the extent that you enjoyed it. Otherwise, I know nothing!

No comment. I...uh...no comment. 8-[


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Guest Russell Lucas

You thought you could throw me off the scent by waiting five months, you multiple-viewings-enjoyer of Sleepaway Camp (Japanese title: TWIST ENDING OF GREATEST QUALITY)!

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