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September 30, 2004

"I don't use a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom."

And the Star Wars fun continues...as I mentioned earlier, there have been some glitches reported with the new set, particularly with "A New Hope." Lucasfilm has denied that the reversed channels and lowered music score levels in certain scenes are mistakes, but one issue that's been brought up HAS been addressed: Apparently, on many players, the disc freezes for a few seconds (probably near the layer switch point) and then skips ahead several minutes. Fox is taking the names and addresses of people who are experiencing this problem so they can arrange to send out fixed replacement discs. You can call them at 888-223-2FOX. Again, this addresses the freezing problem only. This is not a replacement for any sound issues ("creative" decisions!). Hmm, maybe I'm glad I waited...now comes the game of trying to ID the "fixed" copies in the stores!

I've finished transferring my old LD of Star Wars to the computer and have a burned DVD set. It looks pretty OK (better than VHS at least) and is the best I'm going to do until Hell freezes over.

And finally, remember a while back when Fox had Laura (1944) on the slate for DVD release and then pulled it without explanation? Word has it that it's been undergoing further restoration and might be out later this Fall. (fingers crossed)

September 28, 2004

"The principal's supposed to hit me with a coupla caps of acid."

The main features of the upcoming (12/14) release of The Return of the King extended DVD are out:

Including the following: a 250 minute version of the film with over 50 minutes of new footage and scenes. The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video (2.35:1) with audio in both Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES surround sound. The film will be presented on Discs One & Two, complete with four newly-recorded audio commentaries by the director and writers, the design team, the production team and the cast. These will feature more than 30 participants (including Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, Richard Taylor, Howard Shore and many more). The cast commentary will also feature a dialogue between split-personality characters Gollum and Smeagol (Andy Serkis).

Discs Three & Four (The Appendices) will include the usual in-depth documentaries and other features. Disc Three (The War of the Ring) will include a video introduction by Peter Jackson, the final part of the J.R.R. Tolkien: The Legacy of Middle-earth documentary, the From Book to Script: Forging the Final Chapter documentary, an abandoned concept featurette: Aragorn Battles Sauron, the final parts of the Designing Middle-earth, Big-atures, Weta Workshop and Costume Design documentaries, design galleries with more than 2,100 images (divided into The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Realms of Middle-earth and Miniatures), the Home of the Horse Lords documentary, and more interactive Middle-earth Atlas: Tracing the Journeys of the Fellowship and New Zealand as Middle-earth interactive maps (with production footage).

Disc Four (The Passing of an Age) will include a video introduction by Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan, the final part of the Cameras in Middle-earth documentary on the making of the film, a production photo gallery with more than 60 images, the last part of the Weta Digital visual effects documentary, a multi-angle The Mumakil Battle interactive demonstration, the Editorial: Completing the Trilogy, Music for Middle-earth, The Soundscapes of Middle-earth and The End of All Things documentaries, The Passing of an Age documentary, the Cameron Duncan: The Inspiration for Into the West documentary, the DFK6498 and Strike Zone short films and finally the usual DVD-ROM content on all discs.

Fox has announced the release of Garden State on 12/28 (SRP $29.98). The disc will include both anamorphic widescreen and full frame video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary with writer/director Zach Braff and Natalie Portman, a second commentary with Braff, director of photography Lawrence Sher, editor Myron Kerstein and production designer Judy Becker, 16 deleted scenes with optional commentary, The Making of Garden State featurette, outtakes and bloopers, and a soundtrack promo spot. Also newly announced by Fox for December are M.A.S.H.: TV Season 7 and Garfield and Friends: Volume 2 (both 12/7), along with Reba: Season 1 (12/14).

The infamous Roger Ebert-written Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is supposedly coming out on DVD next year via Criterion with an Ebert commentary. Now that should be fun!

Peter Gabriel fans will be able to get a new DVD of all his music videos sometime in the December-January timeframe. The disc will feature 23 music videos, with fully restored video and new 5.1 mixes by Gabriel and Daniel Lanois in both Dolby Digital and 96khz/24bit DTS (a Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix is also included). Each video will have a short introduction featuring behind-the-scenes footage and/or Gabriel interview footage over the years. There's also an option to allow you to create a custom play list of up to 18 tracks, which can be viewed once or looped to repeat.

The DVD will include 3 bonus videos in addition to the main 23, also in 5.1 sound. Finally, you'll get trailers for the DVD releases of Growing Up Live, A Family Portrait (a documentary look behind the scenes on the Growing Up Live tour directed by Anna Gabriel - available through the website) and Secret World Live. The specific list of videos on the DVD includes Father, Son, Sledgehammer, Blood of Eden, Games Without Frontiers, I Don't Remember, Big Time, Lovetown, Red Rain, In Your Eyes, Don't Give Up, The Barry Williams Show, Washing of the Water, Biko, Kiss That Frog, Mercy Street, Growing Up, Shaking the Tree, Shock the Monkey, Steam, The Drop, Zaar, Solsbury Hill and Digging in the Dirt. The bonus videos will include Games Without Frontiers (recorded live in 2004), Modern Love and The Nest That Sailed the Sky. Details on this from PG's website can be found here.

Paramount has a couple of items: Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate will be out on 12/21, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster is set for December, and all four seasons (through this year) of Star Trek: Enterprise will be released on DVD this year and in anamorphic widescreen (first for a Trek TV show)/5.1 surround.

Dreamworks has Collateral coming on 12/14.

Reviews:

Alias - The Complete Third Season

DVD Savant looks at the long-awaited release of La Doce Vita (1960), My Favorite Martian: The Complete First Season, and The Wrong Man (Hitchcock, 1956). With this latest wave of Warner Hitchock titles, only one of the director's films remains MIA on DVD...the Fox-owned Lifeboat (1944).

September 27, 2004

"I'm hip about time."

Just wanted to get this out before bed...tomorrow's DVD releases:


227 - The Complete First Season
(huh?!)
The Alamo
(2004)
Alice
Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers & Tides
Backbeat
Barbie As Princess & Pauper
Baseball
Best of the Best
Big Town
Cannonball
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes Collection
Children of the Corn
Christine
Circle of Iron
Civil War
Club Dread - Unrated Extended Edition
Crank Yankers: Season 1 - Uncensored
Creepshow 2
Dark Shadows Collection 14
Degrassi Season 1 Box Set
Easy Rider (35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
Ellen: Complete Season One
Envy
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Footloose
George Carlin - Complaints and Grievances
God Has a Rap Sheet
Heartlands
Homicide: Life on - Complete 5 Season
Hunting of the President
I Dream of Jeanie
I Wanna Hold Your Hand
In Living Color: Season 2
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies
Jazz
(Ken Burns)
Ken Burns' America Collection
Kichiku: Dai Enkai
Mr Bean: Animated Series - Ends Justify the Beans
Mr Bean: Animated Series - Grin & Bean & Ends
Mtv: Punk'd - Complete Second Season
My Name Is Modesty
My New Gun
New York
(8 Episode PBS Boxed Set)
New York Mets: Greatest Season
New York Yankees: Dynasty
Nothing But a Man
Nutcracker
Sense & Sensibility
(the same DVD that's out now, packaged with a book)
Sherlock: Undercover Dog
Silk Stalkings: Season 1
Sniper 3
Star Trek Generations - Special Collector's Edition
Star Trek Voyager: Complete Fourth Season
Strangers With Candy: Season 3
Supersize Me
Tales From the Crapper
Tess
Thriller: A Cruel Picture
Tonka Tough Truck Adventures - The Biggest Show on Wheels
Touching Evil: Set 2
Track Down
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
Walking Tall
West

The new Star Wars DVDs have been selling like crazy (hardly surprising) and the best part of all, Wal Mart has reported that the vast majority of the copies sold were widescreen ones. A recent trip to Target indicated the same; I didn't see a single widescreen copy on the shelf, just gobs of fullscreen. Cool! So have any of you picked it up? I am going to hold off, but plan on getting it someday as it sounds like the picture quality is great. In the meantime, I've been working on transferring the original versions from my "faces" laserdiscs. So far, it looks good, better than VHS at least and Greedo shoots first.

I'll have some more stuff tomorrow including additional Return of the King Extrended DVD details.

September 23, 2004

"HE'S AT HOME WASHING HIS TIGHTS!"

Warner is currently working on a box set of all four live-action Batman films, which will include a new Batman: Special Edition. The set is being timed for release to coincide with the new Batman Begins film next year.

For those who are curious, here's the list so far of the audio issues with the Star Wars Trilogy DVDs (from The Digital Bits site:

"1) The familiar Force theme trumpet fanfare that used to play right after Red Leader says: "This is it!" and just as the X-wings start diving towards the Death Star's surface has been dialed back in volume so that it's almost inaudible - it's almost completely buried in the surround mix.

2) The audio quality varies wildly as Tarkin says the line: "You would prefer another target, a military target? Then name the system." - almost as if the master sound element was damaged.

3) Also, John Williams' score for the film seems to have been flipped in the rear channels, so that what should be the left rear channel seems to be playing from the right rear channel (and vise versa). What this means is that the rear channels don't match the front channels - instruments heard from the front right channel come from the left rear instead of the right rear. It's hard to notice, but we're getting a number of reports from people hearing this."

And finally, Sony has officially announced that the Blu Ray Disc will be the media for the next Playstation system. The format war rolls on!

September 22, 2004

"If you can dodge wrenches, you can dodge balls."

Lucasfilm has issued a statement regarding the audio glitches on the new Star Wars set:

"We are always impressed with how closely fans listen to the many different sound mixes we have made for the Star Wars movies over the years. It is flattering to know that, indeed, the audience is listening. Consequently, each mix comes out differently and any changes that you hear on the all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX tracks on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set are deliberate creative decisions. We can confirm that there are no technical glitches as reported."

OK, so the fact that the score tracks are reversed on the surround channels was a "creative" choice? Yeah, right...you'd like to think that after all the time it's taken them to get these films onto DVD that this kind of stuff would have been caught.

Some upcoming stuff:

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story will be coming on 12/7 with the following stuff: anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber and actors Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, 6 Easter eggs, 7 deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary by the director, an alternate ending with optional director's commentary, the Dodgeball Boot Camp: Training for Dodgeball, The Anatomy of a Hit, Dodgeball: Go for the Gold and Justin Long: A Study in Ham & Cheese featurettes, bloopers and a gag reel, trailers, teasers for The Ringer and Elektra and the screenplay via DVD-ROM.

I, Robot will be out on 12/14 with anamorphic widescreen video, both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, commentary by director Alex Proyas and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, The Making of I, Robot featurette, a still gallery and previews for other upcoming Fox titles (no, really?!).

And finally, Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock is coming to DVD. A "best of" set will be out in October and full season sets are supposedly coming in 2005.

September 20, 2004

"We're smart, we're witty, and we've got asses that rock!"

(With apologies to Lori)

Here's this week's numbers:


(Weekend Box Office)

1. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) $16.2M
2. Mr. 3000 (2004) $9.2M
3. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) $9M
4. Wimbledon (2004) $7.8M
5. Cellular (2004) $6.88M
6. Without a Paddle (2004) $3.71M
7. Ying xiong (2002) $2.96M
8. Napoleon Dynamite (2004) $2.4M
9. Collateral (2004) $2.3M
10. Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, The (2004) $2M

This week's DVDs:


* 500 Nations
* Alibi
* Asylum of the Damned
* Carandiru
* Coffee and Cigarettes
* Country Girl
* Criterion Coll: John Cassavetes - Five Films
* Demon
* Depeche Mode - Devotional
* Falasha:Exile of the Black Jews
* Felicity:Season Three
* How to Draw a Bunny
* Ichi the Killer:Episode Zero
* Jane Austen in Manhattan
* King Solomon's Mines
* Koroshiya 1: The Animation Episode 0
* La Dolce Vita
* Legends of Wimbledon - Bjorn Borg
* Legends of Wimbledon - John McEnroe
* MADtv - The Complete First Season
* Mean Girls (Widescreen)
* Mr Show:Complete Fourth Season
* Outrageous
* The Parson's Widow
* Popular: Season One
* Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band - Tour 2003
* Rose Tattoo
* Roseland
* Star Wars Trilogy
* State of Mind
* Twentynine Palms
* What Alice Found
* Zero Focus

Video Business magazine has a good piece on the possible impact of Sony buying up MGM...check it out here.

Some fun reviews...first another look at the Star Wars set coming next week by DVDFILE.com. And from that review, a partial list of changes:

"A New Hope:
- 24.51 : twin sun effect has been renewed.

- 48.50": Han Solo avoids Greedo's shot before shooting at him.

- 50.30: Jabba effect renewed completely, in accordance with Episode 1.

- 1.11.30 and after: Death Star jail corridor is much deeper.

- 1.17.00: the garbage monster has been improved.

- 1.22.10: "Power" and "Tractor Beam" stencils have been replaced with Star Wars "foreign" signs.

Empire Strikes Back:
- 50.56 to 52.05: Emperor's hologram has been reshot with Ian Mc Dairmid. A new dialog has been recorded and Palpatine informs Vader about Luke's real identity!

- 1.03.42, 1.27.18 & 1.38.39: Boba Fett's dialog has been re-recorded by Temuera Morrison.

- 1.32.05 & 1.32.15: Han Solo's black jacket has been erased, due to cut mistakes in the original movie.

- 1.41.40: Luke's scream, which was added in the '97 Special Edition, has been removed again.

Return Of The Jedi:
- 24.44 and after: Edge transparency defects around the Rancor have been removed.

- 1.55.41: Old Anakin's eyebrows have been erased and eyes are now blue, to fit with Hayden Christensen.

- 2.00.44: Naboo has been added to Tatooine, Bespin, Coruscant and Endor victory celebration scenes.

- 2.00.58 & 2.01.03: Senate & Jedi temple are now included in Coruscant panoramic view.

- 2.02.30: As everyone knows already, Hayden appears as a ghost beside Yoda and old Obi-Wan at the end of the movie. "

The obvious question is if he's going to take out the actor who played Anakin in "Jedi", then why not replace Alec Guiness with Ewan McGregor??? Or even insert a new CG Yoda in place of the Muppet-like one? I should also add that there's word that there are problems with the sound mix in the first film, at least with the review copy that thedigitalbits.com looked at. We'll see if copies that get sold this week have similar problems...the Home Theater Forum has a thread going already!

DVD Savant has some new stuff:

More Treasures from American Film Archives 1894-1931

Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (1954)

And Cronenberg's Videodrome (1983)

September 14, 2004

Jack Knowles sings the blues!

Ok, here it is. as I mentioned a few days back, I have been transcribing old material of my Dad's, including his Dixieland band where he belts out a rendition of Sugar Blues that can only be called, well....you'll just have to give it a listen!

Download file (edited version) The complete song can be found on the MGROE Wiki

And on another amusing note, I learned recently that Paul McCartney is the owner of an M-1 Kay bass, one that was owned by Bill Black (he played/recorded with Elvis in the 50s) and it's the same model I used to own and a similar age! Fun stuff...my current bass is better in every way, but maybe I should have gotten more out of the old bass than I did!

paulbass.jpg

"How swift thy sword."

Just a quickie today, but there's some big news in the BigCo entertainment biz these days. As I may have mentioned before, MGM has been up for sale for a while now. Time Warner was close to a deal but according to this story, Sony has come up with a last-minute bid and Warner withdrew. So what does this mean? Sony gets a huge film library including the entire UA and post 1986 MGM (the older MGM stuff is owned by Warner...funny, no?) titles which include the Bond and Rocky franchises. It also means that the scales in the upcoming HD on DVD format war may tip towards Blu Ray, which Sony and some others are pushing as the DVD replacement. Warner favors HD-DVD...and the winning format could very well come down to who has the software. Let's hope they get this sorted out before they both come to market and we have a repeat of SACD vs DVD-A; both have been failures so far.

Miramax is pushing the DVD release of Hero to 11/30. They're hoping that by getting the flick out sooner, fewer people will buy import versions that are probably already available. The film will be available on disc in both subtitled and dubbed English translations, and will include a "making of" featurette and an interview with presenter Quentin Tarantino.

September 13, 2004

"For a dummy, you make a lot of sense."

I am kinda sick today....with a cold. Fun, so what do I do? Post to my blog, natch!

The weekend's B.O. numbers:

1. Resident Evil: Apocalypse $23.7M
2. Cellular (2004) $10.6M
3. Without a Paddle $4.58M
4. Ying xiong (2002) $4.42M
5. Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, The $2.93M
6. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid $2.9M
7. Vanity Fair (2004) $2.75M
8. Collateral $2.7M
9. Napoleon Dynamite $2.65M
10. Paparazzi $2.6M

And another round of new DVDs:


* 50 Years of Playmates
* 7th Heaven:Complete First Season
* AKA
* All the Colors of the Dark
* Angels in America
* Antigone
* Baadasssss
* Body Parts
* Bug
* Channel X
* Deadly Outlaw: Rekka
* Demonlover - Unrated Director's Cut
* Diff'Erent Strokes: Complete First Season
* Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete First Season
* Gi Joe: Valor Vs Venom
* Hardcore
* Heir to an Execution
* Home on the Range
* I Married a Monster from Outer Space
* Jem - Season 3, Part 1
* Lassie: 50th Anniversary Collection
* Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Season 3
* Law & Order: Season 14
* Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 5
* Lost in Space - Season 2, v. 1
* Love Comes Softly
* Man On Fire
* Orca:Killer Whale
* Re-Animator
* Robinson Crusoe: 50th Anniversary Edition
* Sanford and Son - The Fifth Season
* Scooby-Doo 2 - Monsters Unleashed
* Simpsons Gone Wild
* Slacker - Criterion Collection
* Survivor All Stars: Complete First Season
* Thx 1138
* Truth Be Told
* Young Adam

Two Hitchcock reviews from DVD Savant:

Strangers on a Train (1951), this was available before, but this release has new new transfers and bonuses.

I Confess (1953)

September 10, 2004

But the doggone gal turned sour on me!

(yawn)...As Stacie mentioned last night, we like to stay up late and while she was plugging away at her blog, I was doing more audio transfers (how geeky can you get?!). Last night's batch included a couple of transcription discs I did for my Dad. These records were cut at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. Dad had a friend who was a recording engineer in the area. I'm not sure how he ended up doing these there (this studio was where a lot of huge hits were done including many Elvis singles in the 1950s), but it's pretty cool to have a disc cut at this place in your hands with the label intact (here's an example which is about the same as the ones I've got):

rrlabel1.jpg

These records are disc cuttings of open reel tapes my Dad wanted to save or have good copies of (I don't think he's got the original tapes). One is of a Dixieland combo he played bass in (and sings on one song!); this is from ca. 1954. The other one is from a recording of the Coast Union High School band, which he conducted; this was from 1956. The odd thing about these records is that while they run at a standard 33 1/3 rpm, they were cut with a larger size stylus typically used for 78 rpm discs. So while I have so much obsolete tech to play this kind of thing back, my Dad hasn't been able to listen to these so it was good to get them on CD. Nothing of real value musically, but worth preserving for sure (and perhaps the only recording of Dad singing!).

I also did a jazz lp from the 1950s called Jazz of Two Decades; a sampler lp from the old Emarcy label. (part of the Mercury label). This jazz "variety pack" dates from the mid 1950s and has some great stuff on it. I also took some stuff from an lp I bought in Russia back in 1989, a Greenpeace benefit lp called Breakthrough. A double lp pressed in the USSR by Melodiya (then the state-run record label), it's lots of pop hits from the mid to late 80s from a number of rock/alternative artists. Some fun stuff and it has this huge booklet in Russian. Again, nothing you can't elsewhere, but a fun curiousity. Ah, more food for the ever-hungry Trowles Music Server!

September 9, 2004

"The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away."

First up is that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition has an official street date of 12/14. A bit later than the previous DVDs, but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait. The final list of features isn't available yet, but expect more of the same which is very good.

The Digital Bits has the first review I've seen of the upcoming Star Wars Trilogy (9/21). This review has a lot of detail on what's included in the set as well as how the picture/sound quality is. After reading the review, I am really torn about getting these movies that we've been waiting years for.

Con: I am still annoyed that Lucas refuses to let us have the original versions on a digital format. Unlike some, I am not fond of the changes made to the films beyond the effects updates. Changes such as Greedo shooting first (this is still the case in the new version), Jabba's weak and redundent scene in the first film, and the end bit of Jedi where they replace the "Numbnuts" song, which was at least funny, and replace it with a Yanni-esque thing that is merely lame. One thing that I don't really have a problem with is adding in Hayden Christensen in the "glowing Jedi" scene at the end. It's continuity... All in all, these new versions appear to be superior to the 1997 SE versions. While they retain the 1997 changes, the new ones seem to at least excecute them better.

Pros: If you read the review, the extras appear to be pretty good, including a documentary on the series by Ken Burns plus loads of vintage advertising, which I personally like. Also, the picture/sound is supposedly very good and will be a lot better than the old ones on LD. So I may well end up buying these if the price is right, but I will probably still watch the originals. The review can be found here.

Some good screenshots comparing some differences between the 1997 and 2004 versions can be found here.

As I mentioned last week, the Star Trek: Generations - Special Collector's Edition DVD has a new date: 9/28. Apparently a number of stores didn't get the word in time so some have gotten the DVD already.

And speaking of Star Trek, Eric S. has the bonus DVD that Best Buy included with their Original Series sets and here's his verdict:

"I got a chance to watch Beast Buy's much vaunted bonus disk in the
season one Trek set. The first feature is the original cast talking
about their characters' love affairs. Kinda interesting, I guess, but
nothing amazing. The second feature was a cheesy "6 Degrees of
Separation" kind of thing relating the regular cast and guest stars
with other actors/actresses. Pretty lame. The disk IS NOT worth the
extra $25 Beast Buy charges. Those assholes are really out to fleece
their customers."

So there you go...

The Terminal will be coming to DVD on 11/23. The film will be available in separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions (SRP $29.99 each), with audio in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. Extras are TBA. There will also be a special Limited Edition (no SRP) that will include the widescreen disc along with a second DVD of bonus materials.

Reviews:

Jersey Girl

And more Kevin Smith with the new 3 DVD set of Clerks

Finally, DVD Savant reviews A&E's new set of The World at War. This was previously released by HBO with fewer bonuses. This series is by far the best WWII docu I've ever seen.

September 7, 2004

"I think the world has been run long enough by well-meaning professionals. We might give the amateurs a chance now."

Yeah, so I have a few minutes to post on the first day of classes...!

It's a new week and more new stuff hits the shelves. But first, here's last weekend's box office:

1. Ying xiong (2002) $11.5M
2. Without a Paddle (2004) $9.4M
3. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) $8M
4. Paparazzi (2004) $7.85M
5. Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, The (2004) $7.32M
6. Wicker Park (2004) $6.75M
7. Collateral (2004) $6.5M
8. Vanity Fair (2004) $6.12M
9. Cookout, The (2004) $6.1M
10. Bourne Supremacy, The (2004) $5.4M


And this week's DVD releases:

* 7 Days in September
* Alexander's Ragtime Band
* Alfred Hitchcock: Signature Collection
(includes Dial M for Murder, Foreign Correspondent, Suspicion, The Wrong Man, Stage Fright, I Confess, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Strangers on a Train SE, North by Northwest SE - this last DVD is the same one that's currently available)
* Alias - The Complete Third Season
* Alias:Season 3
* All Creatures Great and Small
* The Alligator People
* American Dreams - Season One
* Angel - Season Four
* Are You Being Served Again
* Are You Being Served
* Basket Case 3: Progeny
* Beast Wars Transformers - The Complete Third Season
* Best of Beakman's World
* Bookies
* Boston Strangler
* Brothers in Arms
* Burning Bed
* Clerks X - 10th Anniversary Collector's Series
* Columbo - The Complete First Season
* Creation of the Universe
* Criterion Coll: Great Adaptations
* Cryptkeeper's Deadly Duo Pack
* Davy Crockett:50 Anniversary
* Dawn of the Dead
* Day of the Dead
* Decoys
* Desperate Living
* Dial M for Murder
* Disney Princess Collection: A Gift From The Heart
* Disney Princess Sing Along Songs - Once Upon A Dream
* Disney Princess Stories:Disney Prince
* Doing Time on Maple Drive
* Eddie Murphy - Raw
* Everwood: Complete First Season
* Female Trouble
* Funhouse
* Ghost Story
* Ginger Snaps Back:Beginning
* Gotham
* Graveyard of Honor
* Hans Brinker Or the Silver Skates
* Hear No Evil
* Heidi
* Homeless to Harvard
* Iron Jawed Angels
* The Iron-Fisted Monk
* Island at the Topof the World:30
* James Stewart Hollywood Legend Series
* Jersey Girl
* Jim Henson's The Storyteller - Greek Myths
* Kaena: The Prophecy
* Keen Eddie: Complete Series
* Keeping Up Appearances
* King Kong Lives
* Knockabout
* Ladykillers
* Last Flight of Noah's Ark
* Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Season 3
* Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 5
* Legacy
* Life Beyond Earth
* Magnum, P.I. - The Complete First Season
* Man With One Red Shoe
* Martian Chronicles
* Mash
* Maximum Overdrive
* Monster Bash Fun Pack
* More Treasures from American Film Archives 1894-1931
* Mork & Mindy:Complete First Season
* Moving Target
* Mr. & Mrs. Smith
* Murder on the Orient Express
* My Favorite Martian: Complete First Season
* Naked in New York
* Nanotechnology: An Overview
* Night of the Living Dead
* One Little Indian
* One Magic Christmas
* Peep Show
* Pink Flamingo:25th Anniversary
* Polyester
* Possums
* The Postman Fights Back
* Punisher
* Resident Evil: Deluxe Edition
* Rounders - Collector's Edition
* Sentinel
* Snl:Best of Chris Kattan
* Snl:Best of Christopher Walken
* Snl:Best of Tracy Morgan
* Snl:Best of Will Ferrell Vol 1 & 2
* Snl:Best of Will Ferrell Vol 2
* Soul Plane
* Sport Pages
* Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
* Squanto:Warrior'Stale
* Sssssss
* Stephen Hawking's Universe
* Strangers on a Train
* Street Mobster
* Survival Island
* Tales Of Tomorrow
* Terror Train
* Tex
* Tiger Town
* The Twilight Zone - Season One
* United States of Leland
* The Vanishing
* Wattstax
* Whispers in the Dark
* Will & Grace:Season Three
* Without a Trace:Complete First Season
* Working Trash
* The Wrong Man


Fox announced some minor catalog titles for 12/7. There are some real clunkers here, but Paris Texas is one I've been waiting for; lacking any extras aside from trailers, but with a nice price of $9.95 a pop: Pact with the Devil, Man Trouble, Wild in the Country, Love Me Tender, Epoch: Evolution, Paris Texas, Partners in Action, Dragon Storm, Jack the Bear, Curse of the Komodo, Silver Streak and the big-screen update of The Beverly Hillbillies.

More Fox:

24: Season 3, which features anamorphic widescreen transfers and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround tracks, plus audio commentaries on select episodes, deleted scenes, "Season 4 Preview," "24: On the Loose," "Boys and Their Toys," "Biothreat: Beyond the Series" and "Inside Look: Mr. and Mrs. Smith" featurettes, and a multi-angle study. Retail will be $59.95.

Next up is M*A*S*H: Season 7, which features the usual 4:3 full screen transfers, mono mixes and the option to watch with or without a laugh track; $39.95.

And a December 7th street date for King of the Hill: The Complete Third Season

DVD Savant looks at the new Foreign Correspondent (Hitchcock, 1940).

September 3, 2004

"I'm sorry, but there'll be no ice cream for you tonight."

Ah, another Friday...and the long weekend preceding the start of classes here at the U, which is always a rip roarin' time!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, one of the local papers did a short piece about Bruce Hyde, who played Lt. Kevin Riley on Star Trek(TOS). Apparently he's teaching theater studies at St Cloud State here in MN. The story can be found here.

Paramount has delayed the release of the Star Trek Generations special edition DVD due to a packaging error. Here's the official note: "There is a typographical error on the Star Trek Generations Special Collector's Edition DVD. It inadvertently notes a teaser and theatrical trailer that are not on the DVD. As a result, this product is being recalled and street date (originally September 7) is being delayed. We will provide further information on a new street date shortly." I've heard that the reason the trailers aren't there is due to rights issues....I really can't imagine why a studio would have rights issues with its own ad material, but whatever...

Universal will be releasing The Bourne Supremacy on 12/7.

MGM, which many say may soon be swallowed up by Time Warner, has a Martin Scorsese Film Collection (after Warner's Scorsese box was announced, natch) which will have a New York, New York: Special Edition, a 2-disc Raging Bull: Collector's Edition, the previously released The Last Waltz: Special Edition and Boxcar Bertha.

MGM also has the DVD release of Wild at Heart: Special Edition for 12/7 (SRP $19.98). The disc will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video mastered from a new high-definition transfer supervised by Lynch himself. Audio will be included in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround. Extras will include Dell's Lunch Counter (featuring all new interviews with Lynch, Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd and Sheryl Lee), the 30-minute Love, Death, Elvis & Oz: The Making of Wild at Heart documentary, the Specific Spontaneity: Focus on David Lynch featurette (featuring the cast and crew talking about working with the director), the David Lynch: On the DVD featurette (featuring the director talking about the new transfer), the film's original 7-minute EPK featurette, an animated photo gallery featuring 65 images, the original theatrical trailer and TV spots.

DVD Savant takes a look at Freaks

September 1, 2004

"'Fascinating' is a word I use for the unexpected. 'Interesting' shall suffice here."

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I picked up Star Trek: The Complete First Season. I didn't get the best buy bonus DVD, but will address that in a second. First, the packaging: I really didn't like the packaging for the Star Trek: TNG packaging. It's cumbersome to get discs out and the cardboard casing gets worn easily. Happily, the new Trek box is an improvement. The outside is a hard plastic shell that splits open, allowing you to remove the DVDs which are kept in a clear plastic case that has book-like page things that hold the 8 DVDs. The thing stays together and it's easy to get the discs in and out. There's also a basic booklet describing the episodes.

The picture quality is at least as good as the old DVDs, which is a very good thing; this is by far the best the series has ever looked There is, like on the previous DVDs, a choice of either a 5.1 surround track or a stereo track. I wish they could have included the original mono, but that's nitpicking. The thing that annoys me are the menus. Sure they're kinda cute and slick, but they've made it impossible to skip or fast forward through them so every time you insert a DVD, you have to sit through several minutes of crap...pet peeve time: if you guys want to make these snazzy menus, fine, just let us skip them after we've tired of them (and in a show like Trek that many are going to buy and watch over and over, this is a bigger deal than on a copy of Hey Dude, Where's My Car?).

As for the extras, I've sampled the first one and while it's OK, I don't know why they have to have a blaring music track going while the cast is talking and have cheesy transporter sound fx whiz by everytime a name flashes on the screen. Maybe your typical Trek fan goes for this, but it's quite juvenile to me.

For those real Trek geeks, here's a list of stuff that was apparently wrong on the old DVDs and whether or not Paramount has corrected them:

1. In The Doomsday Machine, there's a missing music cue right after Kirk says, "I'm gonna ram her right down that thing's throat".

------The studio says this has been fixed-------


2. In The Menagerie, Part I, the background sound is supposed to stop when Spock touches the singing flowers. It doesn't (however this same scene is CORRECT in The Cage).

------The studio says this has been fixed-------


3. In The Tholian Web, right after McCoy tells Uhura that Captain Kirk really is alive, he takes the restraints off of her, then gets a page. In the DVD, right after McCoy gets the page, it cuts to Scotty talking to Spock. Well, on the VHS version, the scene shows McCoy getting paged, then answering it and being told that the antidote has been found. The cut on the DVD is pretty abrupt, and distractingly obvious.

------The studio says this has been fixed-------


4. In Patterns of Force, the sound effect when Kirk slaps Gil, and when the guards are pounding on the door is also missing.

------Still waiting for an answer from the studio on this one-------


5. For episodes 3-13, different opening theme music was used. I believe they used the music from Where No Man Has Gone Before, with Shatner's narration added, for these episodes... but fans posting on the internet complained on the HTF, so Paramount went back to using the original music from episodes 14 on.

------The studio says these are the same as was on the original DVDs because the music was correctly used.--------


6. On The Menagerie (both parts I believe) the DVD producers used different music in some scenes... music that actually came from a 1980's rerecording of the music sold in record stores. I believe it came from Varese Sarabande records... a recording of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Fred Steiner himself. I believe one of the tracks used during the Menagerie, Part II title and Enterprise flyby is clearly from The Doomsday Machine.

------The studio says these are the same as was on the original DVDs--------


7. On The Naked Time, as Spock approaches Kirk in his chair on the bridge, they look at the viewscreen of Psi 2000. The image on the viewscreen flashes to black a few times.

------The studio says these are the same as was on the original DVDs-------

And Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist, Randy Salas posted this picture of Bruce Hyde, aka Lt. Kevin Riley from "The Conscience of the King" and "The Naked Time." He did an interview with him and got him to pose in front of the projection screen...

BH-small.JPG

Maybe I'll write more later after I've sampled more of the shows and extras like the text commentary (ala Pop-Up Videos). But needless to say despite my grousing, it's nice to have the series in a more convenient and less expensive form (the set takes up little shelf space). I haven't found much on the bestbuy bonus stuff, so I'll check back when I do.

"Her Majesty's very touchy about having her subjects strangled."

Let's get going with a few announcements:

Warner will be releasing the Cary Grant classic, Gunga Din on 12/7. The RKO catalog is beginning to trickle out...slowly...but at least they're working on it.

And speaking of George Stevens, I Remember Mama, his D-Day to Berlin documentary and the new George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey documentary will also be out on 12/7.

Warner has also announced the TCM Archives: The Buster Keaton Collection for 12/7 (SRP $39.92). The 2-disc set will include 3 classic films from Keaton's MGM period - The Cameraman (1928 - remastered with a new score by Arthur Barnow), Spite Marriage (1929) and Free and Easy (1930 - Keaton's first "talkie"). The set also includes Kevin Brownlow's new So Funny It Hurts: Buster Keaton at MGM documentary.

HBO has Sex and the City: The Sixth Season - Part 2 for 12/18 and Oz: The Complete Fourth Season for release on 1/11/05.

On 12/21, we get another flop: King Arthur in two different versions: the original PG-13 theatrical cut and a never-before-seen "hard" version that Fuqua prefers.

And finally, there is a definate announcement for Bambi, which will hit DVD on March 1st next year. Painstakingly restored and presented in its original 1.33:1 full screen, extras include the “Walt’s Annotated Bambi" documentary, the "Disneypedia" and "Disney Time Capsule" featurettes, never-before-seen deleted scenes, the all-new "Thumper’s Storytime" short based on the Golden Book classic, a Bambi Legacy promotional gallery with stills, rare music cues, a new music video and trailers, and a Bambi II sneak peek. List price will be $29.95.

More soon on the new Star Trek discs...