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February 28, 2005

"I'm not a snitcher; I just tell it like it is."

You know, I was about to write something about last night's Oscar show, but isn't everyone sick of it? If anyone cares what I think about the show and who won, leave a comment and I'll whip something up. So on with the week's releases (and as usual, click here for a complete list and prices)

Bambi What can I say, it's classic Disney. I believe this is the first appearance for the film on DVD. Like the other classics in the Disney canon, this one will go out of print so if you want it, get it sometime in the next 12 months or so. Best Buy has the cheapest, AFAIK, price: $15.99

The Brady Bunch: The Complete First Season I didn't watch this show growing up so I'm really not into this show, but I suppose it's about time they got this one out. These season sets should satisfy the fans.

Bringing Up Baby Special Edition (1938) Warner brings out this one for the first time on DVD as a 2 disc SE and if haven't seen it, DO! One my favorites, I expect this one to be well done given Warner's track record with its classics. Target has the best price: $15.99 (chump change for a film this good, with or without bonuses!)

D.C. Cab (1983) The Mr. T "classic" directed by the same guy who brought us The Phantom of the Opera film.

Dinner at Eight (1933) Another 1930s classic finally comes out.

Exorcist: The Beginning Sign me up for that!

Libeled Lady (1936) Warner brings out another MGM film of note. It's getting hard to keep up!

Lost in Space Season 3

My Own Private Idaho Criterion does the Gus Van Sant flick.

The Philadelphia Story Special Edition (1940) I bought this one when it was first issued on DVD. I'll have to check and see if this new 2 disc set's film transfer is better. Needless to say if you like this film (and what's not to like?) and haven't bought it yet, you can buy it now.

The River (1951, Renoir) Criterion tackes another Renoir film. I haven't seen this one, but probably should.

SCTV Volume 3

Stage Door (1937) Another classic that hadn't seen the light of day on DVD before.

To Be or Not to Be (1942) It's about time they got this one released.

Wonder Woman: The Complete Second Season Uh, yeah...

Wow, lots of interesting stuff and some great movies on the list for this week. Not much in the new category, but more will be coming in the next month or so.

February 25, 2005

"Running a casino is like robbing a bank with no cops around."

As we move into another Oscar weekend, I thought I'd toss out a few more bits of DVD-related fun. I am really behind on new films this year, so I haven't seen most of what's up for awards this time. I do have my hopes on The Incredibles winning for animated feature (if it were up to me, I'd have it in with the best picture nominees), but otherwise, I'm not sure who to root for. Hopefully Chris Rock will make the show more interesting at least.

There was a comment on yesterday's post asking about a new DVD release for Blade Runner as the current DVD was one of the first DVDs ever issued; 1997, the dawn of DVD. The film transfer was done for VHS/Laserdisc and has been showing its age for a long while now. For a couple of years there's been talk of a new SE multi-disc set coming. Ridley Scott said himself that a set with multiple versions of the film would be part of the package. However, nothing has been announced by Warners and the latest thing I remember hearing is that there would be a new DVD, but not with the different cuts.

One issue with this film is that its production company went under shortly after the film was made and there are legal issues to be worked out before a lot of the material associated with it can be released. I also have heard multiple times that new film transfers have been done, so I doubt there is any technical issue at fault here. In any case, I have no doubt that Warners wants to release this again (it would sell very well) and will, but we'll have to wait and see how long it takes them to get things cleared up.

Speaking of re-releases, Universal (the king of re-hashing existing DVDs) will put out an updated DVD of Martin Scorsese's Casino on 6/14. Nothing yet on bonuses, but I'm sure a new transfer will be present.

Uni also has In Good Company and the "instant classic" Racing Stripes on 5/10.

There is word that Disney is getting ready to finally release Song of the South on DVD next year. I'll be very interested to see how they handle this (if it turns out to be true), but I think the stuff they put on the On the Front Lines WWII set, which contained a fair amount of racist material, handled it as well as can be expected. More info on this can be found here.

Some more animated stuff via Warner: Batman: The Animated Series - Volume Three coming on 5/24 (SRP $44.98). Also coming on that day are Superfriends: The Complete Second Season ($26.99) and The Batman: Training for Power - Season One, Volume One ($14.97). And... Thundercats: Season One, Volume One is also soon to be announced by Warner.

A batch 'o Fox DVDs: A Farewell to Arms (1957), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), Forty Guns (1957), The Frogmen (1951), The Bravados (1958), Broken Lance (1954), In Old Arizona (1929...wow, one of the earliest titles Fox has released to DVD) and M*A*S*H: TV Season 8 on 5/24.

February 24, 2005

"Don't point that gun at him, he's an unpaid intern."

The new stuff keeps rolling along...

Disney has a street date for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, 5/10. There will be 2 versions - a single-disc release (SRP $29.99) and a 2-disc Criterion Collection edition (SRP $32.99). Both versions will contain audio commentary with director Wes Anderson and deleted scenes. The Criterion edition will include that, plus a video journal by an "on-set intern", musical performances of Seu Jorge, a making-of featurette, interviews and much more TBA.

Uni should be releasing Meet the Fockers on 4/19. I haven't seen this one, but it sounds worth a rent at least.

Since the Oscars are this weekend, here's a couple of DVD announcements of note:

Miramax/Disney has specs for the Finding Neverland DVD, to be released on 3/22. Expect an anamorphic widescreen transfer and a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Extras should include a commentary, two featurettes, deleted scenes with optional commentary, outtakes, and clips of the film's premiere.

Annette Bening's nominated performance in Being Julia can be caught on DVD on 3/22 as well. It should have commentary, trailers and the usual featurettes. I saw this film last weekend and thought it was pretty good. Not great, but the flaws were more in the story/screenplay than the performances, which were very good overall. Bening was great and deserving of the nom.

Speaking of Somerset Maugham adaptations, Fox has a street date for the 1946 version of The Razor's Edge: 5/24. Plus they'll be releasing Anna and the King of Siam (1946) on the same date.

I'm sure you'll all be saddened to hear that Christmas with the Kranks, which was supposed to come out this Spring has been pushed back to the 4th quarter. Damn!

I've run across a few unofficial, but solid possible upcoming DVD bits:

Fox's Office Space Special Edition is still in production, but is expected out later this year. This is one title I won't mind re-buying.

Fox also has a new SE version of The Fly (Cronenberg, 1986) in the works for later this year. Unfortunately for some, there's no mention of a The Fly II SE!

Paramount should be announcing a full-blown SE of Titanic for late 2005. Personally, I could care less about this title, but there are many out there who do (I can't think of any I know, but whatever) and the current DVD not only has no features, but has a poor film transfer. I'm sure what they come up with will be big and sell well.

Finally, there's definite word of a SE coming for one of my faves, The Big Lebowski. Another one I'll gladly pay for an upgrade on.

February 21, 2005

"Readin'...writin'... and radiation!"

The Doc is...home sick today with a cold, AKA The Crud. But the DVD world marches on and so will I. So here's what's hitting the shelves, real or virtual today (and you can click here for a complete list and price comparisons):

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) Well, a big budget period epic about Michelangelo with Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison. Sounds like a recipe for overacting and cheesy excess. There's a time when 50s-60s Hollywood epics fit the bill, but this one is borderline for me.

The Cat Returns Another Studio Ghibli film that finally makes it to the US...three years late.

Class of Nuke Em High Box Set Sounds pretty amusing to me, but this may only be of interest to Tismo; maybe he'll check them out and give us a full report.

Edison - The Invention of the Movies (1891-1918) An exaustive 4 disc set that follows the rise and fall of America's first movie company, including a lot of their shorts and features. Sounds like a great thing for us film geeks to be sure.

Ellen: The Complete Season 2 Another series I never watched when it was on...someday I'll check it out via Netflix.

Get Shorty: Special Edition This film was released before, years ago as a bare-bones disc. I thought this film was just OK. If I'm going to watch an Elmore Leonard adaptaion, I would rather it be Out of Sight. Still, this will be welcomed by some.

Heat: Special Edition I hear this is a pretty good crime film, but have never gotten around to seeing it...

I Heart Huckabees It seems as though this one was either loved or hated by critics. I should give it a rent as I really liked the David O. Russel film Three Kings.

The King of Queens - The Complete Third Season I guess they've gotta get some of these shows out before they vanish off the TV radar.

A Letter to Three Wives (1949) This one I'm going to have to check out...and a good review of the disc/film can be found here.

South Park - The Complete Fifth Season Contains the infamous post-9/11 episode.

Twentieth Century (1934) Warner continues to mine their 1930s vault and this one is probably worth seeking out. Hawks, Barrymore, and Lombard; what's not to like?

I'll be back tomorrow with some new release stuff and whatever else I can dig up.

February 17, 2005

"I'm terrified of realtors."

Today it's more DVD news and links. But first, some of you may want to go check out the new trailer for the upcoming The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy film, which can be found here. It's got some interesting stuff, no doubt. For me, this is one of those "it'd better not suck" film adaptations. There is hope as Douglas Adams did contribute much of the screenplay so let's keep those fingers crossed.

Warner has more catalog titles: First, they have a slate of World War II films on 5/3 (someone always has to release some war films for Memorial Day...I wonder how they coordinate it? Last year or the year before it was Fox), including Blood Alley, Battle of the Bulge (1965), The Sea Chase and The Big Red One: Special Edition (note that this is the 2004 reconstruced version that premiered at Cannes and is 40 minutes longer than the earlier version and the current DVD). And coming on 5/24 is the Burt Lancaster Vietnam War flick Go Tell the Spartans.

Warner also has Forced Vengeance, Harper Valley P.T.A., Head Office, Heaven Help Us, Kansas City Bomber (tagline: "The hottest thing on wheels!"), Over the Top (Stallone), St. Ives, Viva Knievel (now there's a Gene Kelly film most of you haven't seen!) and Year of the Dragon, all on 5/31.

New Line will release The Assassination of Richard Nixon on 4/26.

Paramount has a couple of moderately big announcements: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events will be out on 4/26; the word is that there will be three different DVDs to choose from: single disc pan/scan, single disc widescreen, and 2 disc special edition with bonuses. AND Team America World Police: Special Collector's Edition on 5/17 (Uncensored and Unrated).

MGM is releasing Hotel Rwanda on 4/12.

For those who are into it, Warner has Phantom of the Opera on 5/3. Oh yeah, for those into cheesy vampire flicks, there's Blade Trinity on 4/26.

I mentioned a while back that Paramount was looking to release Star Trek: The Animated Series this year, but now it's looking more like a 2006 timeframe.

Speaking of TV, Warner has Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Third Season and Gilmore Girls: The Complete Third Season for release on 5/3.

HBO has announced the DVD release of Six Feet Under: The Complete Third Season for 5/17.

And Universal serves up Quantum Leap: The Complete Third Season on 5/10.

There's probably something I forgot, but I'll get 'round to it sometime...

February 14, 2005

"Those little green guys they...they didn't pick us out by accident!"

Happy Greetingcardsday everyone! I hope everyone has a nice, sweet, and romantic one. We celebrated last night with some experimental chicken curry and a bottle of champagne I found in the back of the car...good times!

So when the romantic haze dissipates, you can rush right out to your friendly neighborhood DVD retailer and pick up some DVDs (after all, you can't have too many, can you?)!

As usual, the complete list of stuff coming out, along with pricing, can be found here.

Angel: Season 5 And with the final Angel season being released, we reach the end of the Buffy/Angel DVD run...for now.

Disorderlies Damn, I forgot about this one...I'm thinking fans of The Fat Boys need only apply.

Good Times: The Complete Fourth Season The Norman Lear canon continues to fire on DVD.

The Greatest American Hero: Season 1 I have a vague memory of seeing this show growing up...has anyone seen it lately? I'm almost afraid to watch it.

Howards End This is a new 2 DVD special edition done by Criterion. I know a few who aren't fans of this film, but if you are (like me), this one was probably worth waiting for (the older DVD had zero features).

The Ice Pirates I remember (man, I sound so old!) seeing this back in the 1980s and thinking it was funny, especially the scene where they go forward in time and they all age at an accelarated rate...kinda like in The Deadly Years but with worse makeup and a guy with a really big white afro. OK, I'm done now.

Little House on the Prairie Season 7 I forgot this went on so long...did you know that the character 'Charles Ingalls' was ranked #4 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time"??? Gosh, neither did I! Check here for more.

The Motorcycle Diaries Someone I know wanted to see this...was it me??? Hmm.

Saw Here's a great review quote from this one: ""Elwes is simply jaw-dropping -- a hysterical tornado of overemoting who puts William Shatner at his hammiest to shame." Check out Rotton Tomatoes for more...

They Might Be Giants - Here Come The ABCs TMBG...what's not to like???

Young Einstein Talk about your cinematic one-hit wonders.

February 11, 2005

"Mephistopheles of the cathode ray, big brother to the ungrateful dead."

This is just a quick follow-up to my post yesterday about TV 'n stuff.

Some people think we Tivo owners are a bit obsessive about them. That's kind of right, but I don't think you can understand it if you don't have one! So, with this in mind I found this "Tivo FAQ" pretty damn funny. The article can be found here, but I just have to post it as well.

Questions Frequently Asked About TiVo, Answered by Someone Who Loves TiVo Too Much

What’s that? You still don’t have a TiVo? Ahh, you must have some questions about the technology before you take the plunge. Lucky for you, John Warner is here with a stack of answers and a filled baptismal pool.

Q: What is the proper term for a lover of TiVo?

A: A lover of TiVo is a “TiVotee” (rhymes with “devotee”).

Q: Will I watch more or less television once I have TiVo?

A: You will not watch any television whatsoever. You will watch TiVo. Television has commercials. TiVo has only magnificent moving-picture programming filled with people you recognize and love because they are famous—not anonymous acting drones who have acid indigestion and limp penises and need life insurance.

Q: Will TiVo change my life?

A: No, TiVo will not change your life so much as He will destroy your previous life, permitting a new and improved life to rise, phoenix-like, from your ashes. Switching from cable television to satellite is “change.” Moving to TiVo is closer to rebirth.

Q: Is TiVo expensive?

A: This question makes no sense. In a future world, where mankind has destroyed its remaining clean air and drinking water and such necessities require payment, will you be asking how much it costs to draw breath? I didn’t think so.

Q: Is TiVo male or female?

A: TiVo is commonly referred to as “He,” though this is a mere convenience, as TiVo encompasses all things, living or no. TiVo is the heavens and the earth and anything that might be beyond the heavens—like bigger and even more sophisticated TiVos. Expert linguists have been working to develop a pronoun that more accurately reflects the universality of TiVo, but as of yet all attempts are unpronounceable in every language except Fortran.

Q: How does TiVo know to record programs for me that I might like?

A: The long answer the TiVo marketing executives would like you to believe is that TiVo uses a sophisticated algorithm that compares your viewing habits to the behavior of other TiVo users, but the truth comes in a one-word answer: druids. Druids have spells, magical spells that they cast to determine your deepest wishes and desires when it comes to television viewing. Do not be afraid! Druids engage only in friendly, white magic. Wiccans (i.e., lesbians), on the other hand, are a different matter. They should never be allowed to own—or program—a TiVo.

Q: Will TiVo work if I only have broadcast television?

A: Yes, TiVo will “work.” TiVo would work if you only had one channel that showed Balinese folk dancing 20 hours a day and that infomercial with Chef Tony and his knives for the other four. The larger issue is that if you have only broadcast television, your TiVo will be very, very sad. You see, TiVo exists in order to bring pleasure to His owner, and His level of pleasure is directly correlated to the number of channels He has to choose from. To not have at least 75 channels for TiVo to monitor and peruse in His unceasing desire to please is tantamount to cruelty or neglect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to kick a door down to take an underutilized TiVo away from a family that’s heartless enough to have only basic cable.

Q: When I go on vacation, should I have someone watch after TiVo?

A: Unlike your children, your mother, or your spouse, TiVo will not make you feel guilty for leaving Him behind when you take that vital jaunt to Branson to catch a week of Yakov Smirnov sets, but once you own TiVo, you will lose the urge to do anything except lay completely nude on the couch in front of this blessed machine.

John Warner is the author of the forthcoming book, Sleeping with Oprah and Other Routes to Achieving Fame, Fortune, and a New York Times Bestseller to be published in September by Writer’s Digest Books.

February 10, 2005

"There's been a little complication with my complication."

A couple of tidbits this time...

OK, so pretty much everyone knows Shades and I have owned a Tivo for a while now and consider it one of the most valuable pieces of home electronics we own. So people sometimes say, why go to the hassle of buying/setting up a Tivo box that's seperate from my cable/satellite box, paying Tivo for the serice on top of my cable/satellite bill when the cable company will rent me one of their PVRs for a low monthly rate that does almost everything that Tivo does?

1. Well, for one thing, as far as I know nobody's PVR has Tivo beat for its user interface.

2. The standard Tivo box can be used with cable (analog or with a digital box), satellite, or even old fashioned over the air TV.

3. The Tivo box isn't controlled by your cable/satellite company. Why does this matter? When the content provider controls the whole widget, so to speak, they can restrict its use any way they want to. This is the whole idea behind the upcoming broadcast flag that will be, as of June 1, mandatory on all consumer video gear that does digital TV. [Update: it will apply to computers as well so get those capture cards while ye can!] For a good explanation on what this means, check out this article on it.

So back to the cable companies and their DVRs. In theory, Comcast can, at will restrict what shows you can save to the unit, how long a show can be kept, and even whether or not you can fast-forward through commercials. OK, you're thinking, "oh they'd never do that! People wouldn't stand for it." Would they? It looks like we may find out. According to reports like this, Comcast may already be testing something like this. A number of Comcast DVR users have reported not being able to fast-forward through ads on the shows American Idol and 24.

I've been very glad to be slowly ridding myself of the VHS tape format, but if this kind of crap becomes common, I'll go back to tape so fast it'll make your head spin...or get away from TV all together.

And now something else:

Remember that DVD format called EZ-D? You know, the DVD that self-destructed after 48 hours once the seal was broken on the package? Well, Disney was test-marketing it and they ended the test without any announcement of further promotion/roll-out. Apparently it didn't do so well...gee, I'm shocked! Wired.com has a story on it here. It seems to me that if people want something like this, some kind of video on-demand (already in use on some cable systems and coming soon to satellite) system would be better, cheaper, and without the side-effect of all the used EZ-Ds piling up in landfills.

Finally, Shades and I went to the Lyle Lovett/John Hiatt/Joe Ely/Guy Clark concert last night and it was one of the best non-classical concerts I've been to in a long time, maybe ever. For some good details on the concert, check out her entry here.

February 9, 2005

"Are your men on the right pills?"

"Dispatch war rocket Ajax to bring back his body."

Yes, the 1980 cheese-epic known as Flash Gordon is supposedly going to be released again later this year for the film's 25th anniversary. The title was released by Image in 1998 or so, but has been out of print for several years. Universal will release it themselves this time and hopefully with a new transfer (the previous one was probably sourced from the laserdisc master). Nothing yet about features.

The studio also has some confirmed catalog announcements for release on 5/31. First up is the late Ronald Reagan's "classic" Bedtime for Bonzo and then The Milagro Beanfield War, The Four Seasons (1981), Dad (1989), The Front Page (1974) and House Calls (all SRP $12.98 each). The Milagro Beanfield War will be anamorphic widescreen and will include the "Robert Redford: Memories of Milagro" (he directed the film) documentary.

Warner has even more catalog titles coming. This time it's the Controversial Classics Collection on 5/10. The set will include I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932), Fury (1936, Fritz Lang), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Blackboard Jungle (1955), A Face in the Crowd (1957 and I hear they got Andy Griffith to contribute to the supplements), Advise and Consent (1962) and The Americanization of Emily (1964). Each of these films dealt with "controversial" topics like race, homosexuality, violence, etc. On disc, each title is expected to include bonus materials specifically addressing the film's impact and legacy. I would also point out that none of these films has been released on DVD before.

AND, Warner announced The Complete James Dean Collection for release on 5/31 (SRP $68.92). The box set will include East of Eden (available for the first time on DVD), a new 2-disc Rebel Without a Cause: Special Edition and the previously released 2-disc Giant: Special Edition. The set will feature new documentaries, audio commentaries, deleted scenes, "behind-the-scenes" featurettes, screen test footage and much more. All three titles will also be available separately for SRP $26.99 each.

February 8, 2005

"Hollywood's a state of mind."

And now some DVD announcements and a few review links...

HBO will release The Life and Death of Peter Sellers on 5/10 (SRP $26.98). Look for the disc to include audio commentary with actor Geoffrey Rush and director Stephen Hopkins, audio commentary with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley, 8 deleted scenes and the "Making the Life and Death of Peter Sellers" featurette.

Sony has a release date for House of Flying Daggers; 4/19.

Disney has announced the DVD release of the 2-disc Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary Edition for 5/3 ($29.99). The DVD will include 2 versions of the film - the original theatrical version and an extended version featuring the new song If I Never Knew You (performed by Mel Gibson) seamlessly integrated into the film. Video will be anamorphic widescreen (1.66:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include deleted scenes, the Follow Your Heart set-top game, the Build a Drum and Create a Dreamcatcher art projects, sing-along songs, a multi-language reel, The Making of Pocahontas documentary and more.

Milestone has announced that it's going to soon release a newly re-discovered 1922 Rudolph Valantino film on DVD. Beyond the Rocks, which starred Valentino and Gloria Swanson, was thought lost for over 80 years but was recently found by the Nederlanders Filmmuseum in a collection of films left to them by a collector. The DVD will include wire audio recordings of Swanson discussing Valentino, the film's continuity script, a stills gallery, a featurette on the re-discovery and restoration of the film and more.

Two upcoming Criterion DVDs: on 4/26 are Pietro Germi's Divorce Italian Style and Orson Welles' F for Fake.

There's an early review of Star Wars: Clone Wars (out on 3/22) here.

And DVD Savant has some new reviews:

Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings (1922) and a good look at The Warner Gangsters Collection.

February 7, 2005

"I'm not really a shark slayer..."

So another Superbowl has come and gone...and another Patriots win...and another end-of-game winning kick by former Rapid City dude, Adam Vinatieri. I could really care less about pro football, (funny enough, I spent the time during the game yesterday with friends setting up new characters for a Forgotten Realms D&D campaign; how sad is that?!) but it is quite cool that Adam's done so well. Rock on, kick-man!

And on to tomorrow's DVD releases...sarcasm on, ready for liftoff!

(for a complete list including prices, try this link)

7th Heaven: Season 2 Ayeee! Scary stuff here...and it's been on the air since 1996! This monstrosity also features people who were in Star Trek films: Stephen Collins, who played Capt. Decker (aka "Dicker-Decker Unit") in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Catherine Hicks who went out for pizza and bad beer with Captain Kirk in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Deadwood: The Complete First Season I still can't decide whether this show is worth trying out in the rental realm or not. I've read some positive reviews of it and some not-so glowing remarks...anyone seen it?

Fresh Prince of Bel Air: Season 1 I guess I'm a bit surprised they didn't crank this one out sooner and at least I can almost see why someone would want to own this show...almost.

Full House:Complete First Season What the hell? For those twisted fans only.

The Jamie Foxx Show: Complete First Season Never seen it, but doesn't it make a nice tie-in with the Ray DVD that came out last week....holy buckets, did you know they're making a movie based on Miami Vice starring Foxx?!

The Mad About You Collection This appears to be a "greatest hits" collection of episodes culled from the entire run of the series with some bonus features thrown in to get the fans to double dip since they're also releasing the series in season sets with no extras. What's not to like?

The Martin Scorsese Film Collection A box set including Raging Bull (the new 2 disc SE), The Last Waltz (the previously issued DVD), New York New York, (new to DVD) and Box Car Bertha (same as the previously released DVD). DVD Savant has a good review of the set here.

Miami Vice - Season One I'm surprised they aren't waiting till the film comes out next year. Apparently they've been working for a long while to get the rights to all the 80s pop music that was used in this series. This is a good sign; maybe they'll get around to putting out WKRP someday.

Murphy Brown - The Complete First Season Ah, the bane of Dan Quayle...tomorrow people will be buying this old show on DVD thinking, "now who was that guy who dissed the show? Oh never mind..."

Night Court: The Complete First Season And the 80s barrage marches on! I really don't remember this show much...does it hold up well?

A Separate Peace (2004 cable TV movie) Yes, another film adaptation from...John Knowles Tee hee...

Shark Tale The big hit of the week...was it any good? Anyone? Worth a rent?

So that's it for now...there's some upcoming stuff I'll get to tomorrow but I wanted to mention this one so I don't forget it...one that snuck up on me is that Fox is releasing The Bob Newhart Show Season 1 on 4/12. It looks like a bare-bones set, but it'll a cheap buy. Apparently their first season set of The Mary Tyler Moore Show didn't sell well. It had a lot of features for a TV show set, but was priced higher than many other sitcoms. Since then, they haven't released any other seasons of the show, which is a real shame as the DVD set that they did do is really well done.

February 3, 2005

"Behold, as a wild ass in the desert, go I forth to my work."

More new stuff for the coming months...

Paramount has got to have a sense of humor! The same week they announce the cancellation of Star Trek Enterprise, they announce the official date for the Star Trek: Enterprise - Season One DVD: 5/3. Extras will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, deleted scenes, 7 behind-the-scenes featurettes, 9 minutes of outtakes, Enterprise Secrets interview clips and more. This is about a week before the last show of the series ends...they be funny guys over there, no doubt.

Sony announced the DVD of Spanglish for 4/5 and Closer for 3/29. Spanglish (SLP $28.95) will include audio commentary by director James L. Brooks commentary, deleted scenes and The Making of Spanglish featurette. Closer (SLP $28.95) will be a Superbit DVD with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound. Extras will include Damien Rice's The Blower's Daughter music video and previews.

They also have Bad Education, The Woodsman, The Flower of My Secret, Twin Sitters, Sasquatch Hunters, All in the Family: The Complete Fourth Season (3 discs) and The Jeffersons: The Complete Third Season (3 discs), all for 4/12.

Warner has announced the release of Ocean's Twelve for 4/12 (SRP $27.95), in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. There's no word yet on extras.

New Line will release Birth on 4/19 (SRP $27.95). Look for anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and trailers.

Fox has just announced the DVD release of Elektra (boy, this turd didn't take long did it?) on 4/5. They also have Fat Albert for 3/22 (SRP $29.98). AND they have Kinsey arriving on 5/17...there are extras, but eh...

Universal is re-doing (no! Uni redoing their DVDs?! I can't believe it!!!) a couple more titles. First is the Dune: Extended Edition , which will be released in a metal snap case (SRP $27.98). 2 versions of the film will be included... a 137-minute theatrical version, and the 177-minute extended edition (no doubt the "Alan Smithee" version that David Lynch disavowed, I assume). BOTH will be available in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (which would mark the first time the extended edition was available in widescreen). The theatrical edition will feature both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, while the extended edition will be Dolby Digital 5.1 only. Extras will include never before seen "behind-the-scenes" footage, documentaries on the special effects, visual design and costumes, deleted scenes, original photographs and artwork from the set (newly resurrected from personal collections) and more.

And they're re-releasing 12 Monkeys. This looks like it might be a new film transfer, but the extras are the same as the old disc.

And to wrap things up today, we have Disney with a special edition of Beaches for 4/26. I suppose any film that's responsible for "Wind Beneath My Wings" should get...something...

"Better on T.V. than on the streets."

And now, faithful readers comes another obligatory "what's the Doc been up to lately?" post. At least with regard to the part of his life devoted to film/tv/DVD watching.


As I was putting together yesterday's post and grabbing the links for the DVD releases, I was struck by how many of them hadn't been released on DVD before. Heck, it looked as though some weren't even on VHS. Now I don't know for sure if a title was ever released on home video before, now that I think of it as I don't have a good resource available to verify it. I figure that if none of the Amazon stores in the various countries have it, it probably hasn't been out for a while or ever. In any case, it's very cool to have the lesser-known classics come out.

One of the things I've been doing off and on has been transferring a bunch of my Dad's old Beta tapes. This is all films he recorded off cable tv throughout the 1980s and early 90's. We recently went through them and pulled out the ones that had films not available on DVD. I've been transferring them onto my Mac and burning DVDs of them, giving priority to the ones that seem less likely to show up on disc. Recent titles include Bedlam (1946, with Boris Karloff) and Hangover Square (1945, with a great Bernard Herrmann score). I'll bet none of you have seen or perhaps even heard of these two films. Yes, the quality isn't great but it's watchable and for now, the only way to see them. There's always the chance the stuff I'm working on will get onto disc, but I'm sure it'll be a while.

Alas, our Netflix queue has been languishing of late. We've made little progress these days, partially due to being busy, but also watching more TV. Somehow, Shades and I have gotten into certain cooking shows. Which ones?


There's always good old Iron Chef (the Japanese version, natch), which we have watched off and on for some time, but you don't really watch Chef for its culinary enlightenment. Sure, you see some interesting stuff, but it's really consumed as entertainment for us. I've also watched some of the new Iron Chef America (not the old UPN version with Bill Shatner). It's pretty fun and the food is obviously easier to relate to, but the guy who plays the new Chairman is weak and they will never match the sheer cheesiness, oddity, and wonderful pomposity of the old show. The chefs are interesting to watch though and commentator, Alton Brown, who is the creator/host of another show we've gotten into, Good Eats is really good at explaining what's going on.. See this posting for more on that show.

Another show we've stumbled across is Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. For a good description of it, check out this Slate article. Of course we're still watching The West Wing (although we've let them pile up on the Tivo lately) and Gilmore Girls. I continue to stick with Star Trek Enterprise even though many I know have given up on it. This show still isn't up to the level of some previous Trek series, but I feel it has made some improvements both in writing (deperately needed) and the overall direction of the show. Some elements of the cast are still weak, IMO, but as a Trek fan, I find it worth watching. [update: I heard today that Enterprise has been given the axe by UPN. Too bad really, the show was improving and it was better than most of the dreck on TV right now--not saying much I know. Maybe next time they'll know better than to build a series on recycled plots and nude rubdowns!]

Stuff I'm intending to get to:

Oscar nominated stuff of course, several TV series (via Netflix) I haven't watched including 24, Alias, Firefly, Farscape plus finishing/catching up on The World At War, Buffy, and The Sopranos.

February 2, 2005

"Up the riggings, you monkeys!"

Today brings a bunch of odds 'n ends that I didn't have time for yesterday.

The big story (big is a relative term, we're talking about the universe of home video here!) these days is the lawsuit that was brought against MGM Home Video, accusing them of deceptive packaging on their DVDs regarding widescreen. The whole thing seems borne of greed and ignorance about how films are made and subsequently transferred onto the compromise we know as DVD. Here's a quote from the website of the suit: "…certain representations on the label and package insert of MGM's widescreen DVDs are false and misleading because MGM's widescreen DVDs for films shot in the 1.85 to 1 aspect ratio have the same image width as MGM's standard screen format DVDs." A good piece on the suit and some explanations as to how this all works can be found here.

Apparently, Samsung is releasing a portable DVD player that's handheld, has a 2.5 inch screen, and plays 3 inch DVDs. The device is aimed at kids and has the support of Warner. Check it out in this NY Times artcile here. This is kinda interesting, but I think it will be drowned out by the coming of Sony's PlayStation Portable, which will probably end up playing movies in some form. If you're curious about it, there's a good review of the device here.

And now some upcoming DVD fun:

Rumor has it that Warner will be releasing special edition DVDs of the Batman films just in time for the upcoming Batman Begins (this Summer), probably in May. It would be nice to have a better version of at least the first film as it was one of the earliest DVD releases back in 1997.

More TV shows that people didn't even know they needed...Anchor Bay will be releasing Doogie Howser, M.D.: Season One on 3/22.

A slew of catalong Westerns from Columbia TriStar: Bonanza Town, The Desperadoes (1943), Good Day for a Hanging, Jubal, Lust for Gold, Texas (1941), The Texican, The Violent Men, The Professionals: Special Edition (1966), all for 4/5.

Meanwhile back in Warnerland, they've just announced the 6-disc Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection box set for release on 4/19 (SRP $52.98). The set will include Captain Blood, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Hawk, They Died with their Boots On and Dodge City, all available for the first time on DVD, plus a bonus disc containing the all-new, feature length documentary, The Adventures of Errol Flynn. The films will be available separately (SRP $19.97 each), but the documentary will only be available in the box set. Each of the films will include extras, among them original newsreels, trailers, classic Looney Tunes shorts and Leonard Maltin's Warner Night at the Movies.

Warner also has The West Wing: The Complete Fourth Season (SRP $59.98) for 4/5. Other titles on the way from the studio include the John Wayne films The Sea Chase, Tall in the Saddle and The Train Robbers (all 5/3), and Purgatory (1999), The Desperate Trail, Conagher, Last Stand at Saber River plus the BBC's Fortunes of War and Monarch of the Glen: The Complete Series 3 (all for 5/17). Whew! What a load....of Westerns that is...

MGM has a 2-disc Spaceballs: Collector's Edition on 5/3 (SRP 29.98). The DVD will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1), with audio in BOTH Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 - no kidding. Extras will include feature-length audio commentary with Mel Brooks, "film flubs," the 30-minute Spaceballs: The Documentary, 3 featurettes (John Candy: Comic Spirit, In Conversation: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and Storyboards to Film), "Spacequotes", galleries of behind-the-scenes stills, costume photos and production artwork, and the film's exhibitor and theatrical trailers.

On 5/17, they also have Hour of the Gun, Escort West, The Hunting Party, Invitation to a Gunfighter, More Dead Than Alive, Sam Whisky and The Scalphunters (SRP $14.95 each). And a pair of Bob Hope films, The Princess and the Pirate and I'll Take Sweden, plus a pair of Abbot and Costello films, The Noose Hangs High and Dance with Me, Henry (SRP $14.95 each).

February 1, 2005

"You're confusing flakiness with style!"

OK so I'm a day late with the goods...being out of town can do that for you. So without further ado, let's get into the stuff out today. The whole list with prices can be found here

Bad Girls: Extended Cut Wow, a great film with a fanatic following gets the special edition treatment! No wait, that was Bad Boys, no, I think it was...aw forget it!

The Bodyguard: Special Edition Warner gives the good treatment to another lousy film...but at least this one was popular; but WHY?!!!

The Broadway Melody of 1929 This was the second ever Best Picture Oscar winner and was quite the musical extravaganza in its day. It was also MGM's first big sound film. Nice to see Warner putting some resources into stuff like this.

Chariots of Fire: Special Edition Warner has been busy lately. This was available in a bare-bones, pan/scan disc. The new one is in widescreen with a new sound mix and a bunch of bonuses. It's about time.

Charmed: Season 1 Calling my sisters...

Cheers Season 4 A TV series people might actually want to buy.

Frasier Season 4 Ditto.

I Love Lucy Season 3 As above...the word is that Paramount has done a fantastic job with this series on DVD.

The Karate Kid Collection More Ralph Maccio than you could ever want...

Mr. 3000 Bernie's supposed to be pretty good in this, but the film is so-so...maybe worth a rent.

Mulan II (Electric Boogaloo?) Here's a good quote from IMDB: "This one scores a magnificent ten on the old crapo'meter."

Ray Probably worth seeing for Oscar-probable-winner Jamie Foxx's performance. This is available in a single disc and double disc special edition.

Taxi Season 2 This is a show I've been meaning to re-visit via rental...

Vanity Fair (2004) I might have to give this one a rent even though the reviews were mixed...Shades probably will want to see it.

Back later with some upcoming stuff...