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August 30, 2005

"We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline."

As the sun pulls away from the shore and our boat sinks slowly in the West...

Oh wait, that's...as we approach the end of another Summer, the DVDs keep keep on truckin'...

The Blues Brothers: 25th Anniversary Edition Here's the deal with this one: the set contains both the theatrical and extended cut that was on the previous DVD (this is the first appearance of the theatrical version on DVD). The bonuses are very similar. The film transfer appears to be the same as the previous DVD; pretty decent. So, if you're like me and already own this one on DVD, then it probably isn't worth another purchase. And if you don't own this movie, you make me sad.

Chef!: The Complete Collection No, not an entire show about this Chef.

Clueless: "Whatever!" Edition Another earlier bare-bones DVD gets an update with new extras.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Fourth Season

Highway to Heaven: Season Two Hey, at least it's not "7th Highway to Heaven."

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear This oughtta tide you all over until the sequel comes out!

The Mind of the Married Man: The Complete First Season First and only season it seems...


Nip/Tuck: The Complete Second Season

Petticoat Junction: Ultimate Collection Now's your chance to own the best moments from a sit-com that takes place in...Hooterville.

Pretty Woman: 15th Anniversary Special Edition All you fans of this "classic" can now buy it again!

Roseanne: The Complete First Season Ouch, outta the frying pan and into the fire. If I didn't find Rosanne so irritating, I'd try and watch this for John Goodman alone.

Sahara (2005) The obvious blockbuster this week. When I was in my early teens, I really dug the books of Clive Cussler, who wrote the book this film is based on. I haven't seen it, but it's supposed to be pretty bad, which sad to say is probably being true to the novel. I haven't read this one since I figured out some time back that Cussler's books are poorly-written, repetitive adventure-trash with a dash of psuedo-science thrown in. Sure, the idea of James Bond finding/raising the Titanic seemed cool when I was 12, but now...[shudder]. But heck, maybe I need to watch this one just to remind me how bad this stuff is...

The Shirley Temple Collection Vol. 1 Classic Shirley...includes Curly Top, Heidi, and Little Miss Broadway. All are available seperately.

Tommy Boy: Holy Schnike Edition In case you hadn't gotten enough David Spade in those annoying ads...

August 22, 2005

"They planted traditional college foliage: ivy, trees, hemp..."

All right, another week arrives with more DVDs, but I promise not to pick on Andy Griffith this time!

This week seems to be dedicated to TV show sets (some really lame ones at that) and a pile of DVD re-dos. So what are we waiting for?

Adam-12 - Season One This late 1960s cop show sounds even more boring than Dragnet...oh wait, it was created by Jack Webb.

Alf: Season 2 Only two seasons left to go! Here's a great quote from a Dutch fan of the show: "I also like the Ochmoneks, and that they don't know anything about ALF's presence." 'Nuff said.

Beauty Shop I know you've all been waiting for this one.

Billy Madison Special Edition Yeah, I know people like this one, but c'mon! Does this movie need an SE? Because we all need to know great detail about haw Adam Sandler comedies are made.

Boy Meets World: Season Three Gawd, this one was on for seven years!!!

Emergency! Season One Another Webb-created show, this one in the 1970s. I remember watching this with my Mom, who seems always up for shows/movies about disasters, medical or otherwise. I'm almost curious enough to check it out...nah!

Flowers of St. Francis Criterion releases the Rossellini film.

Futurama - Monster Robot Maniac Fun Collection A best-of DVD set.

Gladiator Extended Edition This version has the longer (17 minutes) cut of the film and the theatrical version with some new bonus features. The word is that the film transfer is the same as the previous DVD, so I'd say this is for serious fans. Will the 17 extra minutes improve the film? Maybe. Will I like it any better? Probably not.

Good Times: The Complete Fifth Season

Happy Gimore Special Edition See the above...

Harakiri (1962)

Kung Fu: Season 3

Layer Cake

Life As We Know It: The Complete Series

A Lot Like Love

New Jack City Special Edition Hurry and get it now before...it's reissued again!

The O.C.: The Complete Second Season Hey it can't be bad, it was created by Joss! Oh wait, that's Josh.

Once and Again Seasons 1 and 2 "Brilliant High Quality Television!"

The Ring Two You know, every first sequel should be required by law to be subtitled, "Electric Boogaloo", don't you? This one is available in theatrical and unrated cuts (aka "crappy" and "crappier").

Six Feet Under: The Complete Fourth Season

That's My Mama You fans of this show I didn't realize existed can get both seasons on DVD this week.

The Transporter Special Edition Energize...again!

The Truman Show Special Edition OK, the above DVD is a re-do of a 2-3 year old DVD. At least this one is from a bare-bones DVD done in 1998 with non-16x9 video to a new film transfer and some bonuses. I don't think I like the film well enough to re-buy, but this new version might have made me jump if I hadn't bought it 5+ years ago...ayeeee, that makes me feel old!

What's Happening!!: The Complete Third Season All I can think of when this one comes up is the goofy theme song, with the bouncing ball sound on the beat....booow, boooow, boooow...

Witness Special Edition Another "upgrade" from Paramount. The old DVD apparently had decent video/sound, but no bonuses. This film seemed OK last time I saw it, but I haven't felt motivated to revisit it. Anyone seen it lately? Is it really 80s these days???

August 17, 2005

"This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it."

And what is this mission? Why the mission to bring the wildly successful DVD format into the HD age of course!

I'm sure most of you are aware of this even if, god forbid, you rely on me for your home entertainment technology information!

But just in case, let's recap shall we?

Hi Def TV has been around for a while now, but there still isn't a good way to watch HD movies in your home on a packaged media (OK, smarty pants, there is DVHS and DVD is nowhere close to HD in resolution). That's where the upcoming HD DVD and Blu Ray Disc come in. They're the competing HD disc formats that are going to arrive here starting this holiday season and into next year. They're technically different and incompatible with each other. No one knows who's going to "win" (or neither) since roughly half the movie studios and electronics companies are behind each format; both have major industry players involved and the stakes are high. Of course there's always the possibility that by the time all of this gets sorted out, electronic delivery of HD movies will crush them both like bugs, but since we don't yet know how soon this will arrive on a large scale, it's off the table.

And this is where the "jeopardizing" comes into play. The movie studios have a great fear that if HD copies of their films get onto the Internet unprotected, they'll be screwed. And they believe the easiest way for such copies to get out there would be from people feeding an analog (component video) signal to a computer and that would be that since it's pointless to digitally encrypt something that eventually goes analog. Their solution? Force the hardware companies to nix the analog output all together (aka "the analog hole") or make the HD player dumb down the video to plain 'ol DVD resolution. Thus, the only way to get HD out of these new players (and both formats are more than likely going to adopt this method; the HD DVD camp has basically admitted it), you need a HD display that includes the HDMI connection, this is pretty much going to be TVs made during the last year or later. So I have two HD-capable TVs at home, neither of which will display HD on disc for me because of this inane, paranoid decision (there are about 10 million others out there like me).

A good article getting into this better can be found here and is worth a read if you're interested in this.

This may sound like sour grapes, and it is to an extent, but I've been looking forward to watching HD content, something besides Jay Leno, on my sets for a while now and basically I'm SOL. Thanks. Maybe I'll just sit this one out and wait until the iTunes equivalent for HD movies arrives.

August 15, 2005

"In dealing with a girl or horse, one just lets nature take its course."

It's Monday.

There are new DVDs coming out this week.

I will now procede to list the ones of interest, make smart-ass comments about them, and let you follow the previous link to look at the rest I don't deem worth mentioning.

Let us begin.

The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Third Season I have to ask this question: is this show really funny? It's supposed to be, isn't it? Throughout the years, whenever I've seen it, and it's hard to avoid since it's been in constant circulation on syndicated reruns, it never struck me as funny. Sure, it can be cute or quaint, but funny? Not so much. Heck, Leave it to Beaver packs more laughs in an episode than Andy does (though not always intentional). I'd be open to an opposing opinion as to why this show has been so ridiculously popular.

The Astaire and Rogers Collection: Volume One After a long wait, we finally get the RKO Astaire-Rogers musicals, at least the first batch, on DVD. It's taken Warners a while to release them, but they wanted to do some cleanup of the films first. The RKO library has been so badly taken care of throughout the years that the original negatives for films like these, especially the more popular ones (they used to negative to make release prints in the old days so the less popular films often look better today) so perhaps it was worth the wait. This box includes: The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), Follow the Fleet (1949), Shall We Dance (1937), Swing Time (1936), and Top Hat (1935). They're all available separately. DVD Savant reviewed a few of them and are worth a read: Top Hat, Shall We Dance, and Swing Time.

I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season Hi Mom...

Little Britain: The Complete First Series Anyone ever catch this?

My Left Foot: Collector's Edition This one was out before as a bare bones edition.

My Neighbors the Yamadas

The Office: Season One The American version...just in time for season 2 to hit the air.

Phil of the Future: Vol. 1 Better watch out Phil, your future self has a TV show!

The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season Gee, if the show ever ends, they may one day get them all out on disc.

Sin City One of the bigger new relases this week. Anyone see it? Good?

Undeclared: The Complete Series Another really good show canned prematurely by Fox. One of the few shows that looks at the college experience and gets it mostly right, at least as far as Shades and I are concerned. And as a bonus, Loudon Wainwright is in it! He's also in Judd Apatow's latest, The 40 Year-Old Virgin.

The Wedding Date Yawn....oh wait, there's a character called, "TJ" in it!

Will and Grace: Season Four Perhaps the last holdout from the most recent NBC glory days of having multiple sitcom hits.

August 11, 2005

"Hey, what's this show about, anyway? I don't know - they say it's some big gorilla."

Mornin' all.

You may or may not have noticed that I've scaled back posting about upcoming stuff. Why? Well, I don't usually get much feedback on it and quite frankly, much of it isn't that exciting. If you want more though, let me know and I'll try to put more of it out there....(crickets). But here are a few DVDs of note coming in the next few months.

The big classic title on the way (11/22) is King Kong (1933) via Warners (current owner of the RKO catalog). This film has never been on DVD before so there is definately some pent-up demand for it. Of course it's being released to coincide with Peter Jackson's new remake. Kong has never been one of my personal favorites even though I recognize its importance in cinema history. The story itself has never done much for me, but apparently Peter Jackson thinks otherwise; it's his favorite film. So much so that he made one of the documentaries on the DVD. Here are the specs:

The King Kong: Two-Disc Special Edition (SRP $26.99) will include the 104-minute restored and remastered B&W film on video in its original full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras will include audio commentary (by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Ruth Rose, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong), the 2005 I'm Kong: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper documentary, a gallery of trailers for other films by director Merian C. Cooper, the new RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World documentary by Peter Jackson (featuring the following featurettes: The Origins of King Kong, Willis O'Brien and Creation, Cameras Roll on Kong, The Eighth Wonder, A Milestone in Visual Effects, Passion, Sound and Fury, The Mystery of the Lost Spider Pit Sequence and King Kong's Legacy) and Creation test footage (with commentary by Ray Harryhausen).

There will also be a "Collector's Edition" package with a souvenir booklet and fancier packaging plus a 4 DVD SE containing everything in the 2 disc set plus the films, Son of Kong (1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949).

Fox has more details on their upcoming (11/1) Office Space: Special Edition (with More Flair). In addition to a new anamorphic widescreen transfer and audio commentary with writer/director Mike Judge, look for the Out of the Office: An Office Space Retrospective with Mike Judge documentary, the film's theatrical trailer, deleted scenes (including Peter Lies to Lumbergh, Happy Hour and Chotchkies, Peter Goes off on Nina and Tom's Mixed Heritage Called into Question), DVD-ROM extras and more.

Also from Fox is Sound of Music: 40th Anniversary Edition for 11/15 (SRP $26.98). This should include the film remastered in anamorphic widescreen (2.20:1), which is good as the current disc isn't so great. Disc One will offer an introduction by Julie Andrews, audio commentary by director Robert Wise, additional audio commentary with Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the film's score on an isolated track, a special song-access chapter listing (with a "play all" option) and sing-a-long subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Disc Two will add a second introduction by Julie Andrews, the A Few of My Favorite Things retrospective documentary, 3 additional featurettes (including On Location with the Sound of Music, From Liesl to Gretl: A 40th Anniversary Reunion and When You Know the Notes to Sing: A Sing-Along Phenomenon) a storyboard gallery, additional galleries of production photos as well as lobby card and one-sheet art, street test footage, and scores of theatrical trailers and TV spots (both new and old). Some of this stuff will more than likely carry over from the current 2 disc (out of print I believe) set.

Universal has The Coen Brothers Collection coming on 10/18. It will include The Big Lebowski: Collector's Edition (woohoo!) along with the existing Blood Simple, Intolerable Cruelty and The Man Who Wasn't There DVDs (all in anamorphic widescreen).

August 8, 2005

"You may know kung fu... but you're still a fairy."

As we slog our way through the hot, sweaty, dog days of summer (not my favorite weather by any stretch), come more cool DVDs to freeze your monetary assets, so to speak!

Columbo: The Complete Third Season

Dallas: The Complete Third Season Here's another chance to relive this soap, disguised as a staple of prime time TV.

Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) The follow-up to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (which seems to be out of print right now) finally hits DVD. A good review of the disc can be found here.

In Old Chicago (1937)

Kung Fu Hustle This sounds like a lot of fun...defintely headed for ye olde queue!

Look At Me (2004)

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) Another classic Fox title arrives. Check out the review.

McCloud: Seasons One and Two Sorry, all I can think of is Crow T. Robot saying, "McCloud!"

McMillan And Wife: Season One One of those old TV shows I've heard about, yet never actually seen...missing much?

The Muppet Show: Season One Just picture Kermit bouncing around yelling, "yayyyyyyyyy!" When I have the bux, this one is mine.

The Muppets' Wizard Of Oz Hmm, I like Muppet stuff as much as the next guy, but this one seemed like a skipper.

Oh, Heavenly Dog! (1980) All right! A Benji classic comes out!

TJ Hooker Seasons 1&2 Maybe I can get behind that!

August 3, 2005

"Ah, Beethoven. He's my favorite playwright."

Today, a quickie for you Muppet fans.

As I've mentioned before, (or maybe I didn't; too lazy to look) Disney once again owns at least the video rights to the Henson company material. What this means is that the stuff that's out there now will, if it isn't already, go out of print and be replaced with Disney-distrubted versions. The word is that the feature films will be reissued in November with new transfers. This is a good thing since the current discs are pretty so-so with little to no bonuses, so anything will be an improvement.

The best thing to come out of this so far though is the upcoming (8/9) release of The Muppet Show Season 1 The series had been out before, but not in season sets with three shows per DVD, seemingly placed there at random. I've read two reviews of the new DVDs so far (check 'em out here and here) and the episodes appear to have really good picture/sound quality (for a 1970s show mastered on video tape) and some OK bonuses including the original pilot episode. The Brian Henson intros that were on the old DVDs are MIA, so if you have any of them, you might want to keep them. It's really nice to finally have this show (a favorite of mine when I was growing up and one, unlike some other shows I watched then, that holds up pretty well) in complete form.

August 2, 2005

"I'm much too busy seeing that you don't lose any of the money I married you for."

Since I know you're all drooling with anticipation at this week's DVDs (oh wait, that's the dog), let's get right to it...

Alexander: Director's Cut This bomb is available in both standard and special edition forms, just in case you were curious enough to actually buy Oliver Stone's latest.

Avant Garde - Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s

The Boatniks (1970) Another mostly-forgotten live-action Disney film sneaks out.

The Complete Thin Man Collection Warners released the first film a couple of years ago and now the rest arrive in one box. It contains: The Thin Man, After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, and Song of the Thin Man. Man, that is a lot of sequels. Alas, only the first film is available outside the box, but the thing is cheap enough ($40 or less) that it's a pretty good deal if you like the series.

The Cosby Show: Season 1 A lot of people have been waiting for this one, but if I were a fan of the show, I'd take a pass on this one as they're using the shorter syndicated cuts of the show, not the original NBC versions, even though they advertise the network versions on the box. Nice.

The Dukes Of Hazzard: The Complete Fourth Season Now this classic gets the uncut treatment....yeah.

Ghostbusters Gift Set Another double dipper...although this time at least there's new bonuses and a new film transfer on the first film, which wasn't so hot last time around. Not sure this is worth re-buying on my end, but if I didn't already own it...

The Greatest American Hero: Season Three Ah, season 3...when this show was put out of its misery.

The High and the Mighty: Special Collector's Edition One of those titles that's been out of circulation for a long time. Did anyone care? Some people do since it's a John Wayne flick. For more on that and a good review of this film, check out DVD Savant's writeup here.

Island in the Sky (1953) Another Wayne-owned title now reappearing for the first time in ages.

Johnny Tremain (1957) More Disney live-action.