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"Never confuse efficiency with a liver complaint."

We start another week with the box office numbers:

1. Ocean's Twelve $40.9M
2. Blade: Trinity $16.1M
3. National Treasure $9.98M
4. The Polar Express $9.77M
5. Christmas with the Kranks $7.6M
6. The Incredibles $5.04M
7. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie $4.36M
8. Closer $3.75M
9. Finding Neverland $1.69M
10. Alexander $1.41M

This is a big week for new DVDs as Return of the King Extended Edition hits the shelves. I know I'll be getting it and am really looking forward to seeing the 50 minutes of new stuff. Best Buy seems to have the lowest price for it: $22.99 (these sets are a steal for what you get IMO).

* 3 - The Dale Earnhardt Story
* Anything But Love
* Ben Stiller Collection
* Beverly Hillbillies
* Breaker Morant
* Collateral
* Curse of the Komodo
* Deadly Fight in Hiroshima Vol 2
* Different From the Others
* The Door in the Floor
* Dragon Storm
* Epoch: Evolution
* Everybody Loves Raymond: Complete Second Season
* Family Guy - The Freakin' Sweet Collection
* Fat Albert & Cosby Kids
* Fat Albert's Greatest Hits: Ultimate Collection
* Fighting Spirit 3: Test of Endurance
* Godzilla: Tokyo Sos
* I Robot
* Kitchen Stories
* Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition
* Man Trouble
* Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary Edition
* Meet the Parents: SE
* Michael
* Mtv: Pilates Mix
* Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica - Complete First Season
* Pact With the Devil
* Paris
* Paris Texas
(I've been waiting a long time for this one to come out)
* Partners in Action
* The Princess Diaries 2 - Royal Engagement
* Quantum Leap: Complete Second Season
* Reba Season 1
* Relative Evil
* Requiem From Darkness 2: Human Atrocity
* Rocky Anthology
* Sex in Chains
* Silver Streak
* Son of Godzilla
* Star Trek - The Complete Third Season
* Star Trek Original Series
(all three seasons in one box)
* This So Called Disaster
* Time of the Wolf
* Top Gun
* Undermind
* Westender
* Wolf's Rain: Recollection Vol 4
* The Yakuza Papers - Battles Without Honor & Humanity

The word on the new Mary Poppins DVD is that the picture quality is great, far superior to any video version released so far, but that the sound is lacking in some ways. The new DVD has several soundtrack options including a 5.1 channel re-mix which has been "enhanced for home theater". Now obviously I haven't seen/heard the new DVD, but according to some opinions I tend to trust, the new 5.1 mix has bloated, boosted bass and noise-reduced highs that have sucked the life out of the music. This is a common problem with older recordings re-mastered today; the engineers think people won't tolerate any tape hiss or surface noise. They use computer-based tools to strip out the noise and often take with it much of the ambience, timbre, and "sparkle" of the music. The other thing I hear about this new mix is that they have re-recorded some of the effects tracks to make them sound modern, like the fireworks or sound effects when they enter the chalk drawings. Disney just doesn't think the film sufficiently engages the imagination without new gimmicky effects I guess. The good part here is that they've included the original mix as a DD 2.0 track that you can select from the menu or on the remote (Disney allows soundtrack switching on the fly which isn't always enabled).

The only downside to the 2.0 mix is that the film was originally done with a three channel left/center/right track that could have been done with a 3.0 DD track (DD/DTS can be done anywhere from 1 to 7 channels) to simulate the film as it was originally mixed. Oh well. Apparently the best way to *hear* Marry Poppins is on the old Archive Edition laserdisc that I am lucky enough to own. It has the unimproved original stereo mix in uncompressed PCM. I'll have to do a little comparison and a follow-up post. And as long as we're being anal, they've replaced the original studio logo:


with the current blue/white castle logo they use on new films...not a big deal to me, but some are miffed about it. In any case, the picture is better and the bonus materials are supposedly very good, so it's worth picking up; just be sure to listen to the original mix.

I ran across another review of Return of the King which can be found here.

DVD Savant reviews Criterion's re-do DVD of M (1931)



"This hasn't happened to me since 'M'!"