DVD Shopping Bag: Shallow Grave Criterion Collection Blu-ray (Mania.com)

By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Some time in the winter of 1996 I saw the tailer for Trainspotting. I had never heard of Danny Boyle, Ewan McGregor, or their first film together, Shallow Grave. There was just something about that “fuck all” attitude to the trailer. I was beginning my studies of film and production at Penn State University. Though I was a die hard fan of the classic filmmakers, Hitchcock, Spielberg, and Ford I knew Trainspotting was something different; something I wanted to be a part of and experience for myself. Penn State University is in farm country. It is tucked in a valley where culture thrives, it’s just that anything new takes a while to get there. Trainspotting was not coming to any local theater nor would it be screening for the students on campus. It wasn’t until I went to the beach on summer break that I came across Danny Boyle’s film. 

I was sucked in my its message, the music, and was thrilled to see it was more that just a fuck the world kind of movie. It was a journey about discovery, self worth, and being more than what everyone else thought you were. At least that’s what I took from the film. The film’s protagonist, McGregor, was someone I could identify with. Not the drug part, but in the way he felt trapped by his friends. I wanted to step out from the group and be more than the sum of the group’s parts. 

Film school hooks you in multiple ways. You become a connoisseur and always want to find a second helping of a director’s work. More than just multiple screenings of the same film (three times in the theater for Trainspotting), you seek out their other work. Since this was Boyle’s second theatrical feature, my only logical choice was Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave is about three self-involved Edinburgh roommates (Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston, and Ewan McGregor) who take in a brooding boarder and. When the man dies of an overdose leaving a suitcase full of money, the trio embark on a series of very bad decisions, with extraordinarily grim consequences for all. Instantly my film student brain could see the correlation to the type of films Hitchcock made. The director was all I needed yet the plot was pretty sweet, too. 

The days have long passed since my 50 cent VHS rental at Mike’s Video and my first glance of Shallow Grave. What I didn’t know at the time was I watching the man who would be Obi-Wan Kenobi in the next Star Wars. Nor did I ever think that one of these players would get me hooked into Doctor Who, a show I was always mystified and terrified by as a kid. When the news of each was announced (years apart) I knew who these actors were, unlike so many of my peers. When Boyle had a “zombie” film in theaters I ran right to it. Being a fan of Shallow Grave and Trainspotting was enough to forgive the misstep of A Life Less Ordinary. So when Criterion Collection announced that Shallow Grave would be joining their Library (#616) it was a no brainer to pick up the Blu-ray. 

The film today, besides having Doctor Who and Obi-Wan in it, relatively remains unchanged. If anything it reminds us of how our world was and defined by the people we lived with. There is no outside influence such as cell phones or internet in Shallow Grave. The horror that these three flatmates created was their own. Their dilemma is just as viable today as Roger Thornhill’s is in Hitchcok’s North by Northwest. The modernization of the world doesn’t change great storytelling. 

Criterion Collection is notorious for pulling out all the stops on their Blu-rays and DVDs. This one is no exception. Outside of the original documentaries and video dairies for the film, its modern interview is the one worth watching. Criterion assembled the three leads for a 30 minute interview about the film. Again, Criterion reminds us how much they love cinema and know that we do, too. 

Top 5 Picks of the Week:

1. Space Children [Blu-ray] 
2. 
Pale Rider [Blu-ray] 
3. 
Batman: Animated Series 3
4. 
Newsies: 20th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]
5. 
Wilfred [Blu-ray] 


ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Adventures Of Smilin' Jack Starring Tom Brown and Edgar Barrier

Black Dragons/Hitler-Dead Or Alive Starring Bela Lugosi and George Pembroke

Courageous Avenger/Desert Phantom Starring Johnny Mack Brown and Warner Richmond

Cowboy Holiday/Law Of 45's Starring Ted Adams and Guinn Williams

Desert Rider Starring Jack Hoxie and Frank Rice

Flashing Steeds Starring Bill Patton and Merrill McCormick

The Forty-Niners/Deadwood Starring Tom Tyler and Al Bridge

Galloping Dynamite Starring Kermit Maynard and John Merton

Gods & Generals [Blu-ray] Starring Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang and Robert Duvall

God's Country And The Man Starring Tom Tyler, Betty Mack, Al Bridge and Ted Adams

Heat [Blu-ray] Starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer and Jon Voight

Hidden Blade [Blu-ray + DVD] Starring Masatoshi Nagase

His Brothers Ghost/Shadows Of Death Starring Charles King, Buster Crabbe and Karl Hackett

Jonah Hex [Blu-ray] Starring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox

Keyhole [Blu-ray] Starring Jason Patric, Isabella Rossellini and Udo Kier

Keyhole Starring Jason Patric, Isabella Rossellini and Udo Kier

Legend of Hells Gate Starring Eric Balfour, Lou Taylor Pucci, Henry Thomas

Lone Defender Starring Walter Miller and Josef Swickard

Manhattan Cowboy/Code Starring Bob Custer and Lafe McKee

Midnight Manhunt/Amazing Mr. X Starring Leo Gorcey, Ann Savage and William Gargan

Morning Departure aka: Operation Disaster Starring John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Nigel Patrick

Never Let Go Starring Richard Todd, Peter Sellers, Elizabeth Sellars

Pale Rider [Blu-ray] Starring Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress

Project X [Blu-ray] Starring Christopher George, Greta Baldwin, Henry Jones

Riders Of Riders Of The North Starring Bob Custer and Eddie Dunn

Seeking Justice [Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo] Starring Nicholas Cage, Guy Pearce, January Jones

Seeking Justice Starring Guy Pearce, Harold Perrineau and Nicolas Cage

Test/Vengeance Of Rannah Starring John Elliott and Bob Custer

The Texan/Come On Danger Starring Jay Wilsey and Bobby Nelson

Trailing The Killer Starring Francis McDonald, Heinie Conklin and Pedro Regas

Under Texas Skies Starring Bill Cody and Bob Custer

Unforgiven [Blu-ray] Starring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman,

Utah Trail/Enemy Of The Law Starring Tex Ritter and Horace Murphy

The Woman in Green Starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

Wyatt Earp [Blu-ray] Starring Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman and Jeff Fahey

ANIME

Golgo 13: Collection 4

Kanokon: The Girl Who Cried Fox TV & OVA Collection Starring

K-ON!: Season 2 Collection 1 [Blu-ray]

K-On Season 2 Collection 1

CARTOONS

Best of Batman

Batman: Animated Series 3

CLASSICS

The Age of Consent Starring Dorothy Wilson, Arline Judge, Richard Cromwell

COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style

Cat Run [Blu-ray] Starring Christopher McDonald, Scott Mechlowicz

The Flying Deuces (Colorized / Black & White) Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy and Jean Parker

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (+UltraViolet) Starring Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (+UltraViolet) [Blu-ray] Starring Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon

Criterion Collection

Gray's Anatomy (Criterion Collection) Starring Spalding Gray

Gray's Anatomy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Spalding Gray

HORROR

Below Ground: Demon Holocaust

The Disco Exorcist Starring Sarah Nicklin, Ruth Sullivan Michael Reed

Exit Humanity Starring Stephen Mchattie, Mark Gibson and Bill Moseley

Family Demons Starring Cassandra Kane, Kerry Reid and Alex Rafalowicz

Fog Island Starring Lionel Atwill, Jerome Cowan, George Zucco and Veda Ann Borg

Grave Danger Starring Jonathan Holtzman, Vic Martino, Kaye Bramblett Debbie Kopacz

Headspace [Blu-ray] Starring Christopher Denham, William Atherton

Headspace Starring Christopher Denham, William Atherton, Sean Young

Hunchback Of Notre Dame Starring Lon Chaney

Ilsa, Harem Keeper Of The Oil Sheiks Starring Max Thayer, Jerry Delony, Uschi Digard Dyanne Thorne

Kids Go To The Woods... Kids Get Dead Starring Leah Rudick

The Mad Monster Starring Johnny Downs and George Zucco

Maniac & Maniac The Revenge Starring Steven Ash, Jonathon Ash and Eric Watson

Mother's Day Evil Starring Jennifer Bryer, Wayne Russell, Sydney Wade and Joel Jackson

P.O.E.: Poetry of Eerie Starring Luca Canonici, Dario Biancone, Angelo Campus

The Second Self Starring Kyle Morris

A Symphony of Horror Max Schreck

Treasure Chest of Horrors Starring Lloyd Kaufman

Witchmaster General Starring Colleen Marie, Vic Martino, Suzi Lorraine Phil Lewis

Witchslayer Gretl Starring Paul McGillion, Emilie Ullerup, Shannen Doherty

MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY

Newsies: 20th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Luke Edwards, Christian Bale, Max Casella and David Moscow

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

The Awakened Starring Robert Picardo, Jonathan Leveck, Chrissy Mazzeo

Clash of the Titans [Blu-ray] Starring Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen

The Colossus of New York [Blu-ray] Starring John Baragrey, Mala Powers, Otto Kruger and Robert Hutton

F.P.I Antwortet Nicht/F.P.I. Doesn't Answer Starring Peter Lorre, Paul Hartmann, Hans Albers

Matrix [Blu-ray] (2012)

Space Children [Blu-ray] Starring Michel Ray, Jackie Coogan, Ty Hardin and Russell Johnson

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TV LAND

Louie: Season 2 Starring Louis C.K.

Louie: Season 2 [Blu-ray] Starring Louis C.K., Hadley Delany, Ursula Parker and Pamela Adlon

Trial & Retribution Set 5 Starring David Hayman

Web Therapy - The Complete First Season Starring Lisa Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky, Victor Garber

Wilfred Starring Jason Gann, Elijah Wood, Fiona Gubelmann and Dorian Brown

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BOX SETS

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Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.



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