Naked Lunch

Criterion Collection, $39.95

EXCEPT FOR GINSBERG and Kerouac, who visited William Burroughs in Tangier, rescued his bloodstained pages from the floor, and helped organize them into publishability a scene captured herethe grand old queer junkie of American letters never had a more invaluable collaborator than David Cronenberg. On his cerebral commentary track to this absolutely superb two-disc set (Nov. 11), the director describes the 1991 film as an unholy combining of their minds, a Burroughnenberg à la Jeff Goldblum's man-fly in The Fly. But I think it's really the ultimate fulfillment not only of novelist-turned- director Cronenberg's imagination, but of Burroughs' original book.

You'll need every bit of explanation in this cornucopian package (lovely 32-page booklet, BBC making-of documentary, production stills, old photos annotated by Ginsberg, readings by Burroughs, and more) to grasp what both twisted geniuses were afternot reality, of course. Peter Weller gravely plays the autobiographical hero who declares, "I am subject to sporadic hallucinations." "Welcome to the club," replies Judy Davis, with an irony dry enough to scrape off her tongue, smoke up, and OD on. With visions of talking typewriters that transform into giant cockroaches, alien Mugwumps whose foreheads ejaculate addictive drugs, and ultracultivated Eurotrash sexual predators that turn into centipedes and devour one whole, Cronenberg welcomes us all to a very esoteric club.

Lunch is truly sui generislike nothing you've ever seen. Precise dream logic traces the connections between addictions to love, sex, fiction, control, and imaginary drugs far more interesting than the mere hash and opiates that oppressed the real Burroughs. Peter Suschitzky shot the best Star Wars movie (The Empire Strikes Back), and his cinematography makes Burroughnenberg's fever dream seem all too real. TIM APPELO

RELEASED DEC. 2, Pirates of the Caribbean boasts two discs and a shared commentary with Johnny Depp (who uses his own, not Keith Richards', voice). Julie Christie won an Oscar for John Schlesinger's 1965 Darlingso why couldn't MGM get her to provide a commentary? We're still waiting for Fox to deliver our nine-disc (!) Alien Quadrilogy box set, with review to follow immediately. Also look for the documentary Fellini: I'm a Born Liar and the Italian period drama The Way We Laughed. EDS.

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