American Psycho, Thanks for the Upgrade! (DVD/ Blu-ray/ UHD Comparison)

Man, I'm a big fan of Bret Easton Ellis movies.  Obviously not all the adaptations are born equal, and some are far better than others.  But I'm on board for 'em all.  Yes, I even liked that one with Lindsey Lohan and the porn star. But American Psycho, despite some early misgivings I had with the film when I first saw it in films, is really the one that put him on the zeitgeist forever.  Even if you hate the movie and the novel, you have to admit, Patrick Bateman has become part of our cultural language.  Like Sophie's Choice, just speaking the words communicates exactly what you mean.  So, naturally, it's been released and re-released a number of times.  And frankly, I think it's time again.

Update 6/5/17 - 9/27/18: So we've had a couple DVDs, we've had a blu-ray.  But now we've got a brand new American Psycho UHD!  It was an older blu, so this new 4k Ultra HD disc should be a major upgrade, unless they mess it up somehow.  Did they get it right?  Time to put our investigator's caps on.
Did I mention issues I had with this film?  Well, yes.  I'd read the book before the film came out, so admittedly, I was a little "where's Bombadil?!" about the whole thing.  I mean, fans were all a little disappointed some of the most extreme scenes were left out, and I was too, but I also understood the filmmakers were trying to deliver something that could play in theaters.  But there were other little changes that made me feel like the filmmakers had possibly not understood the book.  Like beefing Willem Dafoe's character to turn the police investigation into a whole running subplot (there's even another one in the DVD deleted scenes), like a conventional "will he get caught" thriller.  And it probably is that to a degree, and just showing off that they got Dafoe; but now I can appreciate more that he just works as an extension of Bateman's inner monologue.  I always appreciated that they nailed the look of the film, like Less Than Zero, and the performances.  But revisiting the film more recently, I'm impressed with how thoroughly they brought the novel it to the silver screen.
And American Psycho's success with audiences is all the more impressive given that it's an indie film.  At one time Oliver Stone was in talks to direct this with Leonardo DiCaprio to star ...as well as Stuart Gordon with Johnny Depp and David Cronenberg with Brad Pitt.  It took years to eventually trickle down to Mary Hannon, who'd previously directed the excellent I Shot Andy Warhol, and Christian Bale right off of Velvet Goldmine and a small role in the Kevin Kline version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  The budget shrunk, the theatrical run was small; but it still managed to land with audiences.  In fact, it was successful enough to garner a sequel, but the less said about that the better.
So like I said, this film was released multiple times.  It originally came out as a new release in 2000, right after its theatrical run, in both R and unrated editions.  Then Lions Gate reissued it with a bunch a slightly improved picture, a heap more special features and called it the Killer Collector's Edition in 2003.  In 2007, they released it in HD, which yes, makes it a fairly early blu-ray release.  And that's not even counting all the foreign editions, of course, like the 2001 French DVD from Metropolitan Film & Video I picked up because it had a collection of unique extras (that was before the Killer edition, so I was feeling a bit starved).  And now there's a 2018 4k Ultra HD disc and blu-ray combo-pack that just about renders them all obsolete.
1) 2001 Metropolitan DVD; 2) 2003 Lions Gate Killer DVD; 3) 2007
Lions Gate blu; 4) 2018 Lions Gate blu; 5) 2018 Lions Gate UHD.
Real quick before I dive in, I'll just tell you that the blu-ray disc included in the 2018 combo-pack is actually the 2007 disc.  I don't just mean that it features the same old transfer, although yes it does; but it's the exact same disc, with the same alternate set of special features, the same label and everything.  I'm including the screenshots from both discs just fro the sake of being absolutely thorough, but don't get it twisted.  They're 100% identical because they're literally the same discs.

So now, I no longer have my original 2000 unrated DVD since I replaced it with the Killer Edition almost fifteen years ago; but from memory, it was virtually identical to the French DVD, which used the same root master.  All the pre-2018 versions shown here are framed to 2.35:1, but the older DVD is zoomed in a little on all four sides, and slightly window-boxed.  The Killer edition essentially found the extra picture by lifting the tiny mattes on all four sides; and the blus seemed to use the same transfer as the 2003 DVD, though it naturally benefits in clarity and compression by being an HD disc.  Unfortunately, that means it shares the same issues as the older DVD, with a sharpening/ edge enhancement effect that they just about got away with in standard def, but on the blus, leaves the image looking like it's been tampered with in an unflattering way.  Like, even that shot of the business cards above has a clear and unfortunate haloing effect around all the edges.  All this, despite grain looking smoothed away.  Yes, those shots are from the blu-rays.  The edge enhancement also causes horizontal lines running along the top and bottom of the screen.  All editions also showcase some speckling and slight film dirt that's never been cleaned.
2003 Lions Gate Killer DVD left; 2007 Lions Gate blu mid; 2018 Lions Gate UHD right.
But of course now we get to go up another level to the UHD.  First of all, happily that edge enhancement and all is finally gone.  And the added resolution really looks nicer.  Look on the blu where the lines of Bale's face get jagged and pixelated, and how smooth and clear they are now.  Or just the blu's nasty macroblocks.  Gone.  The boost to 4k is sah-weet.  Film grain is a little light but finally present and much more natural than it was on the blu.  The color timing's shifted, too, ultimately looking a bit greener and darker, but on a 4k screen, they definitely sizzle more than any previous edition.  I also have to point out that the UHD is matted slightly tighter, and probably more accurately, at 2.40:1 compared to the previous releases' 2.35:1, cropping a sliver more vertical information, but unveiling a bit more along the sides. 
Curiously, one shot is mis-framed.  It's like that on the Killer DVD and the blu-ray, with black pillar-boxing bars appearing for just this one zoom-in shot early in the film.  It temporarily frames the picture to 2.22:1.  Even the older, French DVD has it' though it's less noticeable since it's already slightly window-boxed.  The bars just appear for that one shot and disappear as soon as the camera cuts; it's very strange.  It reminds me of the recent gaff on Scream Factory's Serial Mom blu.  Most viewers probably wouldn't even catch it on repeat viewings, but something's clearly awry.  Happily, the new UHD corrects this, too.  ūüĎć

Anyway, the original DVDs, including the French DVD, included 5.1 audio, but the Killer Edition expanded our options a bit by including both 5.1 and a 2.0 Dolby Surround mix.  The blu-ray, then, went a step backwards, losing the 2.0 option and just giving us the 5.1, although they offer it in DTS-HD with an alternative (lossy?) Digital Surround EX mix.  Oh well, none of the sound mixes are really amazing or terrible.  They all sound just fine.  Also, every release, except the French DVD, has optional English subtitles.  The new UHD's menu makes it look like they've dropped all previous audio options and gives us just a single, new 7.1 Dolby Atmos track.  But if you poke around with the audio options on your player, you'll find the 5.1 mix is actually tucked away on there as well.  It gives us a third subtitle option, too, making a distinction between English and English SDH subs, as well as Spanish ones.
Now, the original US DVDs only had a few, brief extras: a 5-minute behind-the-scenes 'making of' featurette, some brief on-set interviews and trailers.  That's why I imported.  The Metropolitan disc kept the featurette, trailers and interviews, as well as dug up a bunch more of those interview clips, divided into arbitrary categories like "My Life" and "Newspaper Killer."  They're all short, on-location talks, but they do get in-depth in the sense that they even talk to the costumer and other crew members usually left out of DVD extras.  It also has a video of the film premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, but it's very brief with no real substance.  But much more excitingly, they found some deleted scenes, including a noteworthy scene from the book I'm surprised they cut out.  And they had the trailer.  When the Killer Edition came out, it blew both of those versions out of the water, but didn't render them completely obsolete, as it frustratingly left off the 'making of' featurette and most of the on-set interviews.
 
But the Killer Edition came up with bigger and better stuff.  Firstly, how about two audio commentaries: one by Harron and an even more interesting one by screenwriter Guinevere Turner?  Then there's a full-length documentary called From Book To Screen, which is broken up into sections covering everything from the struggles the book found in getting published to a very VH1-like retrospective of the 80s.  They bring in a lot of interesting people, including critics, publishers and musicians.  It definitely shouldn't be overlooked.  Also, the Killer Edition not only kept the deleted scenes, but gave them optional director's commentary, and introductions by-way of a couple of those on-set interview clips.  Unfortunately, these are the only interview clips they kept, and since From Book To Screen didn't bring them back for seconds, it means we don't hear from most of the cast, who were on the older discs.  The Killer Edition also came in a cool slipcover and included a fold-out insert with notes by Holly Willis, co-founder of Filmmaker Magazine.
From Book To Screen
And the blu-ray?  Ah, that's the most frustrating of all!  They completely left off all of the From Book To Screen documentary, except for the VH1 80s chapter; the final half hour.  All the best material is left on the DVD.  And no, they didn't bring back the older interviews or featurette either, nor did they add anything new.  They've just given us less.  They even dropped the trailer for some odd reason.  I hate upgrades that take steps backwards like this!

On the other hand, I love upgrades that correct missteps like that and go strictly forward.  The new 2018 blu brings back the From Book To Screen documentary, which still preserving the 80s retrospective and deleted scenes (not restored in 4k, for the record).  And this time, they have given us something new, an additional third commentary, freshly recorded by Mary Harron.  Don't get too excited, though.  She basically says all the same things at all the points she did on the previous commentary.  I kept flipping back and forth between them and she was saying the exact same anecdotes and observations all the way through.  They should've gotten, well, anybody else, to do a new commentary instead.  But hey, I guess I'll take it over no new content at all.  The UHD set also comes in an attractive slipcover and a cool black case.  The only thing it doesn't have are those extra little interviews and stuff (including the trailer) from the old French disc; so maybe hang onto that if you have it.  Also, the new commentary and Book To Screen doc are only on the UHD, not the blu-ray, because again, the 2018 blu-ray is just another copy of the 2007 blu-ray.
When I first made this post, I was suggesting Lions Gate give this film a new scan and update a very creaky old blu-ray.  Well, they did me one better and gave it a new scan and issued it on UHD.  The new commentary's pretty pointless, but I'm glad they recovered the doc from the DVD, so this is definitely a strong, welcome upgrade in terms of the quality and special features, and the definitive edition to own.  The only stipulation, I suppose, is that if you're able to play UHDs, buying this set for the blu-ray will not be an upgrade over your 2007 disc in any way, shape or form.  But if you're 4k'd out and ready to go, this is the American Psycho for you.

The Most Recent Evolution In Slaughterhouse (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Slaughterhouse was a horror movie staple for me back in the 80s VHS rental days; I used to love the tagline on the box: "Buddy's got an axe to grind... a big axe." And I was psyched when it finally came out on DVD in 1999, from the too short lived Power 13 cult label, as a loaded special edition. Many of the biggest, most famous horror titles weren't getting the kind of bonus feature treatment this nutty, offbeat slasher got. And I was just as psyched 15 years later when I saw 88Film's trailer announcement that they were finally releasing this in widescreen on blu-ray.

Update 2/24/15 - 9/26/18: File this under Better Late Than Never?  I've finally got my hands on Vinegar Syndrome's 2017 edition of Slaughterhouse.  88's blu was a nice, big upgrade over the old Lucky 13 DVD... could VS's blu be a similarly big an upgrade over their blu?  I've heard good things!  Let's find out.
This isn't one of those films that doesn't deliver what you see on the box.
Slaughterhouse isn't a great horror film, it's full of poor acting and lame characters. But it's also got a pair of fun villains, some genuinely funny lines, a rockin' soundtrack and a lot of effective, well crafted horror scenes with cool atmosphere in an ideal location. See, old man Bacon won't sell his dilapidated slaughterhouse to the big industrial guys, but it looks like the law is going to finally force him out because he hasn't been able to keep up with his taxes. Meanwhile, a bunch of typical 80s horror teens, played by typical 80s twenty-somethings, keep sneaking onto his property and getting killed by his psychotic, squealing son Buddy. That seems like a problem at first, until Les decides he could make this situation work for him by luring his competitors into Buddy's deadly sty. It was certainly never the kind of film to cross over to big, mainstream appeal; but if you enjoy 80s horror, you're sure to get a kick out of Pig Farm Massacre (as it was released in Germany).

But whether you got the German Pig Farm disc or the original Power 13 DVD, it was just an old fullscreen transfer in serious need of an update. And that's what 88Films brought us in 2015 with their blu-ray release.  Still, it had its own issue, as we'll explore in a minute.  So then, in 2017, Vinegar Syndrome came out with their dual release (it's a DVD/ BD combo pack) promising us a an all 2k scan from the 35mm interpositive.  So let's see if we can spot the difference, shall we?
Power 13's 1999 US DVD first; 88Films' 2015 UK blu-ray second;
VS's 2017 US DVD third; VS's 2017 US blu fourth.
It's night and day! And I mean that rather literally, as 88's blu is considerably darker and a lot bluer than Lucky's DVD.  And I don't just mean that because one is brighter than the other, although the new blu-ray transfer is definitely darker. Now, the DVD looks a bit faded and washed out, so it's not all bad.  It's nice that 88 gave us deeper black levels. But unfortunately, that also came with some significant crush as well.  Certainly, some shadowed areas are detail free on any transfer; the blacks are just replaced with milky grays on the DVD.  But in other spots, detail has definitely been lost, too.  So you can see why some fans had their concerns... Of course, the case for 88's blu is helped immeasurably that the blu is also in its proper widescreen aspect ratio. The DVD is open matte, so at least we weren't losing much picture; but it was obviously meant to be matted to widescreen. Here it's 1.78:1 to fill your widescreen TVs, which still gives us a sliver more picture than the 1.85:1 it was probably framed for originally. And if you look carefully, there actually is more info on the sides of 88's blu.
Power 13's 1999 US DVD first; 88Films' 2015 UK blu-ray second;
VS's 2017 US DVD third; VS's 2017 US blu fourth.
But now let's consider Vinegar Syndrome's release.  Interestingly, the color scheme goes back to the more naturalistic look of the DVD, rather than the heavy blu of 88's release.  And it's definitely completely free of black crush, while the colors and contrast still pop considerably more than the DVD.  It's a very satisfying "best of both worlds" scenario.  The somewhat clumpy grain looks about the same across both blu-rays, probably the best you're going to get out of the IP.  And this time the blu is framed matted for 1.85:1, while still managing to reveal even more horizontal information.  I specifically say VS's blu, because they've again made the curious decision of lifting those mattes on their DVD edition, leaving that at 1.78:1.  Hey, I'm not mad at it.  Might as well give a little bonus curiosity value to an otherwise redundant and largely unwanted DVD half of a combo pack.

In terms of audio, the DVD just gave us a slightly hissy stereo mix.  88 Cleaned that up a bit and bumped it up to a lossless LPCM, while VS gives us a choice of the stereo mix and a new "Ultra Stereo" 5.1 mix, both in DTS-HD.  VS is also the only release to include optional English subtitles.
And what about those extensive extras from the Program Power DVD? You'll be happy to hear that 88Films has ported almost all of them over. Some of the names have changed... what was called the Financing and Distribution of Horror Films featurette is here listed, more accurately, as simply a Jerry Encoe interview. But all that stuff has been transferred over... the deleted scenes/behind-the-scenes footage, the Rick Roessler interview, all the crazy footage of the actor who plays Buddy walking around meeting people on the street, and the multiple trailers and TV spots, including an amusing "No Smoking" one you should make sure to check out. The DVD also had a bunch of .PDF files on the disc, which included things like the screenplay and photos, which were left off, as well as a couple stills galleries.  But no actual video extras were lost in the shuffle.

And the commentary? Well, no. But 88Film's blu-ray has an all new commentary instead. Yes, I've listened to both; it's definitely an entirely new one for the blu. The new one features the director (Roessler) and producer (Encoe), whereas the original featured the two of them plus Michael Scaglione, the production designer. So that's one more reason to pick up the blu, but also a reason to hold onto your old DVD. 88's blu also has reversible artwork, without the garish ratings logos they're required to put on the front, which is a nice touch; plus a two-page insert with liner notes. And it comes in a cool red case rather than the standard blue. Oh, and there's over twenty minutes of bonus trailers of titles also available from 88Films.
And what about Vinegar Syndrome's set?  They port over a lot, but not everything, and they also come up with some new stuff.  First of all, interestingly, they go back to the first commentary from the DVD, but they don't have 88's commentary.  They've also, disappointingly, lost the "Buddy On Tour" featurettes.  That said, that material isn't half as compelling as the new stuff VS has created, including a brand new on camera interview with leading lady Sherry Bendorf Leigh.  It's not terribly long, just under eleven minutes, but pretty candid and fun.  Then they've got new interviews with Encoe and Roessler, in addition to, not instead of, the older ones from the previous discs.  The Roessler one is almost a half hour long.  They've got a vintage radio interview with Roessler and a snorting Buddy, as well as some period news coverage on the film's local premiere.  And where Power 13 and 88 had about ten minutes of unedited B-roll footage, VS has over 20, plus another 3-4 minutes of outtakes.  They've also discovered some old radio spots, added a very silly "Epilogue," thing, which is about a minute-long goofy edit of Buddy running for office, and brought back the script from the DVD-Rom.  VS's release also features reversible artwork with alternate poster artwork.
Slaughterhouse may not be the classiest top shelf horror movie around, but it is fun, moves at a good pace and delivers the goods for horror lovers. The special edition DVD was pretty great when it first came out in 1999, seeing how packed it was with extras.  And then the 88 blu was an exciting upgrade in 2015. But since 2017, VS is easily the definitive version to own, with a far superior transfer and some more great new extras.  You might want to hang onto your 88 blu for the alternate commentary and silly tour footage; but it's not worth going back for if you missed it.  I mean, both commentaries are great, but they're largely redundant, so you only need one or the other.  Sometimes double-dipping between blu-rays can be a real perfectionist's game, but this is one instance I'd recommend it to anyone.

The Cabin Boy I've Always Wanted (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Most people would probably think I was being ironic to say this, but I have been waiting for a Cabin Boy special edition since the days of laserdisc.  I know it's an infamous flop (and if you weren't totally keyed into that, the self-flagellating filmmakers really wallow in it for you here), but it's such a weird, unique and - at least at times - genuinely funny comedy.  More than that, it's a strangely creative endeavor full of artful visuals and varied special effects, it's just crying out for behind the scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew who made it happen.  And this week, Kino have finally and surprisingly, made it happen.
If you're not familiar, Cabin Boy is a bizarre clashing of worlds.  Somehow, Tim Burton who was nearing his creative and commercial peak got his chocolate mixed up with Chris Elliot (David Letterman's it boy in the 80s)'s peanut butter.  So you wind up with surrealist, fantastic imagery and sarcastic meta comedy all in the trappings of a homage to classic Hollywood cinema.  In fact, the filmmakers and press materials all keep talking about how this is a film in the vein of early sea voyage films "like" Captains Courageous (the 1937 Rudyard Kipling yarn starring Spencer Tracey), but in fact this is largely a near perfect one-to-one parody of Captains Courageous, at least until it spills over into the Harryhausen Sinbad universe for its second half.  So you've got attractive but deliberately unreal sets with painted backdrops and even stop motion creatures paired up with David Letterman in a rare cinematic cameo hawking televisions and sock monkeys.
And that's probably the source of this film's troubles.  Who, out of the demographic for a Chris Elliot movie in 1994, was apt to have seen Captains Courageous?  Because, for anyone who's been baffled by Cabin Boy, watching Captains Courageous is like discovering the code book.  Scene after scene is directly making fun of identical moments in the original.  Spoiled little rich kid thinking he's on the Queen Anne when he's really on a rustic fishing boat, and demanding the captain sail him home.  The rival cabin boy, having to cut off the fish heads, spending a night on deck with the captain as he sings his sea chantey.  Even the ridiculous costume with the shorts and knee socks.  Elliot is often (and not incorrectly) criticized for how unlikable his character is, but it all comes together when you realize he's doing that character.  It's like expecting kids who've never seen James Cagney to laugh at your "you dirty rat..." impression.
big, fatass cupcake that spits tobacco drawn and designed by Tim Burton
I'm sure it also doesn't help that Tim Burton was originally supposed to direct this, but he decided to give it to Elliot's writing partner Adam Resnick, who'd never directed a film before (or since), instead.  It never occurred to me until seeing the extras, but it makes perfect sense.  This was supposed to do for Chris Elliot what Pee Wee's Big Adventure did for Herman.  A star vehicle but packed with so many of Burton's wacky creations the film would be a delight that carry him over to more mainstream audiences.  Then obviously that didn't happen.  But there's still a lot to delight in if you go into this picture with an open mind, including a lot of charming fantasy, some great sarcastic humor, and a perfect supporting cast including the comedy debut of Andy Richter, Brion James, Brian-Doyle Murphy, Bob Elliot (of course!), James Gammon, Twin Peaks' Russ Tamblyn, an uncredited Alfred Molina and Ricki Lake as the ship's masthead.  YMWV regarding whether Cabin Boy is a lost gem or an interesting failure; but at worst, it's a damned interesting failure that deserves to have documentaries made about it.
I was bummed when the laserdisc turned out to be barebones, and again when the 2002 Touchstone/ Buena Vista DVD was.  But at least it was anamorphic widescreen.  Cabin Boy may've been a dumb comedy, but it's definitely not one where you can say the visual presentation doesn't matter.  But now, this Fall, Kino Lorber has finally given us fancy lads what we've always wanted, an actual special edition, on a very attractive, high quality blu as part of their Studio Classics line.
2002 Buena Vista DVD on top; 2018 Kino blu-ray bottom.
So, the biggest plus is definitely how the blu cleans up the progression.  Obviously, that's how SD to HD works, but it just looks so much cleaner on the blu.  This is no fancy new 4k scan, grain is not particularly resolved at all, and you can tell the transfers have been taken from the same source.  Dirt and damage is very rare on either disc, but it is there.  Look at the first set of shots.  See that black mark that pops up for that single frame on Chris's chin?  It's very clear on the blu, but almost invisible on the DVD.  Yet it is there if you look close enough.  It's just that the DVD artifacts the small details so much, it almost erases it.  Of course, that's not such a big loss when it comes to dirt and debris, but when the DVD does that to the natural detail of the film, it's not so cool.

So the blu is decidedly clearer.  In addition to that, the aspect ratio's changed.  The DVD is slightly matted to 1.85:1.  Kino opens it up to 1.78:1, not just revealing the info under those mattes, but also zooming out a bit further to show a bit more along all four sides.  Otherwise, the color timing and everything is the same.  Again, we're talking about the same source, and things are still a bit squishy when you really zoom in; but thankfully free of edge enhancement or other tinkering that often plagues older masters.  It's the kind of blu that would've gotten higher marks in the earlier days of HD, but now that we're used to 2 and 4k restorations, it's not as impressive.  Still, it's a solid, attractive blu that definitely warrants replacing your DVD.

Audio-wise, both discs feature the original Dolby stereo mix, though the blu bumps it up to uncompressed DTS-HD.  Both discs also include optional English subtitles.
Of course, I mentioned a warranted upgrade from the DVD based on the PQ, but I'm sure most fans will really be excited for the extras.  The DVD had nothing, not even the trailer; it was as barebones as you could get.  The blu-ray, on the other hand, has a lot.  Let's start with the audio commentary.  Chris Elliot and Adam Resnick have some good memories but are very critical of their own work, here.  They're joined by a very enthusiastic moderator who argues the case for this being a big cult hit comedy, but they don't seem to be buying it.  It's a good commentary, despite a few pauses of dead air, but they then have a joint 45-minute on-camera interview, which is even better.  They talk about everything from how they met, their days with Letterman and working on Get a Life to pitching this project to Tim Burton and how it wrecked their careers afterwards.  They're very forthcoming, as opposed to those standard promotional interviews where all they can say is how everyone was so brilliant.

Then, there's a bunch of vintage materials.  There's about eight minutes of promotional interviews, which are good just because we get to hear from most of the rest of the cast.  They're so short, though, you'll be wishing for each of them to get more in depth.  But they're better than nothing.  More interesting are the outtakes and audition footage, only about six minutes each.  But the best part about them is that they also double as deleted scenes, showing us scenes and dialogue that aren't in the final cut of the film.  Resnick and Elliot bemoan some of the stuff they had to cut once the studio lost faith in their film and wanted it to be as short and fast-paced as possible, so it's nice to see a little bit of that.  There's also some B-roll footage, which is great because it mostly documents exactly the kind of big special effect sequences I mentioned always wanting in the opening paragraph.  There are some great shots of Elliot and Tamblyn battling the upper torso of the island giant.  We also do get that trailer, finally, as well as five(!) TV spots.  And Kino presents this blu with fabulous reversible cover art, a fancy slipcover, and a twelve page booklet with notes by critic Nick Pinkerton.  I have to say, I never would've picked up on the opening of Cabin Boy being a play on Empire Of the Sun if I hadn't read that.
So obviously, if you're a Chris Elliot fan, you've already had this pre-ordered all summer.  But even if you aren't, and maybe even have not-so fond memories of Cabin Boy from the 90s, I think this one's worth another look.  For Tim Burton fans, the special feature stories behind the film may be more essential than the movie itself.  And for cinephiles in general, there's at least a lot of museum-like call backs to film history to gawk at, not to mention such a colorful assortment of character actors.  Objectively, this is a film that should never have gotten greenlit; it never stood a chance of being what anyone involved in its creation wanted it to be.  But I, for one, am pleased to see it continue to find a way to live on.