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September 26, 2005

"I tell ya, the things that fall off of me... it's embarrassing!"

There are days when I think I'll never find time to watch all the cool stuff I've got access to (not to mention the few video games I've got), but then a weekend comes along and we blow out a bunch all at once. It just hasn't happened recently. Oh well...if that were the biggest issue facing me or anyone else, it would be pretty sweet.

So, with that lame statement aside, here's this week's DVDs.

The Amazing Race: The First Season Get those reality shows onto DVD while they're hot. Seriously, who buys stuff like this on DVD. I can understand why people watch them when they're on or even renting them, but is this the kind of thing (and this is supposed to be one of the better shows) that you'll return to years from now?

Anything Goes (1956)

Bad Timing (1980) Criterion issues the Art Garfunkel film...wacky!

The Beverly Hillbillies: Ultimate Collection Volume 1 Even though I would be happy never seeing this show again, I've gotta feel a little sorry for its fans since there's never been anything other than "best of" sets released for this one; no season sets. Are there rights issues or is the company who owns it a bunch of jackasses...?

The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-Ton Megaset This is basically the same box set of the series that came out before. It has a couple of small bonuses, but costs the same. It's all great stuff of course, but without new transfers or significant extras, it's a big yawn.

Evil Dead 2 (Book of the Dead Limited Edition) Another reissue of the cult/comedy/horror flick...

Gilmore Girls: The Complete Fourth Season

Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Second Season

A Knight's Tale: Extended Cut

The Man Who Fell To Earth The Bowie cult classic arrives via Criterion.

Oliver! DVD and CD Gift Set A reissue of the film that won best picture the year I was born...now with bonus soundtrack CD.

Robots Definately the hit release of the week. If you get it, be sure to pick up the widescreen version (you know, for kids!).

Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Third Season

We're No Angels (1955) If yer curious, check a review here.

September 23, 2005

"She's there now with a cadre of vampires looking to party."

Today I thought I'd end the week with a few upcoming things...

So I have to say that this is a good month for the Joss fans, such as the long-awaited Serenity.

And if you just can't get enough Joss this Fall, there's the new 40 disc Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Chosen One collection on 11/15 - MSRP $199.98. The box will include all seven seasons of the series, along with an exclusive bonus disc that contains an introduction by Joss Whedon and 7 all-new featurettes (Back to the Hellmouth: A Conversation with Creators and Cast, Breaking Barriers: It's Not a Chick Fight Thing, Love Bites: Relationships in the Buffyverse, Evil Fiends, Buffy: An Unlikely Role Model and Buffy Cast and Crew: Favorite Episodes). So if you're a huge fan and haven't bought the show yet, this may be a good way to get your fill. I personally like the show, but perhaps not that much!

With the King Kong remake coming out this Fall, everyone's getting any Peter Jackson stuff they have ready to cross-promote. This includes Universal who's re-releasing The Frightners as a new "Director's Cut." Besides the new Jackson-approved cut, there are a bunch of bonuses as well. This film does have its fans, but wasn't treated kindly by the critics. Perhaps I'll have to check it out in the rental realm.

The re-dos march on....with the Chicago: The Razzle-Dazzle Edition. You can now look for the 2-disc set on 12/20.

Oh, what the hell...Disney is following up their apparently excellent reissue of Toy Story with a new Toy Story 2 Special Edition on 12/26 (like the first film, this one's been out of print for a while). Besides the bunch of bonus features, this one should include the higher video bitrate for the feature as well as a DTS audio track, just like the first film.

WB has The West Wing The Complete Fifth Season on 12/6.

DVDFile.com is talking about a new DVD for John Lennon fans:

The Dick Cavett Show: John and Yoko coming out on November 1.

** Includes all-new episode introductions by Dick Cavett and a featurette interview with Dick Cavett.

The John & Yoko Collection includes three complete episodes:

September 11, 1971 – John & Yoko are Cavett's only guests. They show clips from their experimental films Fly and Erection as well as promotional films for the songs “Imagine” and “Mrs. Lennon.”

September 24, 1971 – Cavett introduces the three additional segments from John & Yoko's appearance on September 11, 1971 and also welcomes Stan Freberg and Robert Citron.
May 12, 1972 – John & Yoko perform live with the band Elephant's Memory in their second visit with Cavett. John sings “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World” and Yoko sings “We're All Water.” Actress Shirley MacLaine is also on hand.

September 21, 2005

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Sega."

Hiya fellow kids and welcome to another installment of DVD release fun.

Like I do every week (usually a bit earlier!), I will now link to a complete list of titles and prices for the week, but here are the "highlights." If want to call it that...

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D Another computer-generated kids movie from Robert Rodriguez

An Angel at My Table (1990) Criterion releases this Jane Campion film.

Battlestar Galactica: Season One Best Buy had this out earlier as an exclusive, but it was the European release with fewer bonuses. I was a fan of the original cheesy show growing up and thought it was a really bad idea to remake it. Since then I've heard some good things about it from people and some good reviews. So into the queue it goes...

Born Into Brothels (2004) This documentary is supposed to be very good.

Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season Maybe there should be a sequel...Desperate Househusbands!

From the Earth to the Moon: Signature Editions A reissue of the 1998 DVD. This "Signature Edition" adds a DTS track along with a widescreen image. The old DVD had some of its material as DVD-ROM material (need a PC to look at it) and puts it onto a DVD disc including the standard making-of docs and several text segments on the solar system and timeline of space travel.

Gone in 60 Seconds: 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition The original version...DVD Savant has a good review of it here.

Inside Deep Throat Both R and NC-17 versions are here for your family-viewing fun!

It's All Gone Pete Tong

James Dean: Forever Young An apparently well-done collection of Dean's early film and TV work.

The Longest Yard

Major Dundee Extended Edition I've written about this one before, but if you want some good info, DVD Savant is quite the expert about this film (he contributes some of the bonus material on the disc). Check out his piece here. Well worth the look for classic film fans.

Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Extended Edition Is this film really better for being longer???

Naked (1993)

Masculin Feminin

The Outsiders - The Complete Novel Coppola reworks this one... New restored version with 22 minutes of new footage, including a new beginnning and ending, plus a new soundtrack score. Wow, it really is a novel!

September 15, 2005

"Only grown-up men are scared of women."

I was going to write a rant about broadcast flags and Tivo, but this came up...

Veteran director Robert Wise passed away this week at age 91. If any of you don't know who he was, go look at his filmography and I'll bet you'll find something you know.

Wise, like many directors did some good and bad films over the years. One of the remarkable things about Wise was the sheer variety of material he did. His films ran the gamunt of genres from musicals (The Sound of Music, West Side Story) to Science Fiction (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Day the Earth Stood Still). Heck, he even did a horror film.

When I think of Wise, the big-budget musicals come to mind, but also the stuff he worked on during his time at RKO in the 1940s. He was editor on Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons. He has some notoriety with the latter film since he was the one who, at the studio's insistance and over Welles' objections, severely cut the film and tacked on a happy ending. I don't think it's appropriate to blame Wise since he was an employee of the studio and probably needed to keep his job. And if he'd refused, someone else would have done the deed.

Wise was never an "auteur" director since he rarely had total creative control over his projects and didn't write his screenplays. He did however seem to often pick material that was good and delivered it in a way that served it well. I guess I would describe him as more of a film craftsman rather than a film art genius. The work he did was consistantly good even if the material he was directing didn't always hold up.

Luckily he was willing to do interviews and DVD (some were on Laserdisc) commentary tracks. Among the tracks he recorded were those on The Day the Earth Stood Still, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Sound of Music (soon to be re-released), and The Sand Pebbles.

September 12, 2005

"To ensure ongoing quality of service, your death may be monitored for training purposes."

This week has a few interesting odds/ends, but nothing earthshattering. The bigger fish have yet to appear. So as usual, here's the list and some comments:

Ben-Hur: Four-Disc Collector's EditionBen-Hur: Four-Disc Collector's Edition This one's been out before on a single DVD. It was in anamorphic widescreen, but apparently was transferred from a 35mm print (the film was shot in MGM Camera 65, which is a really wide 70mm process) and over-cropped. This new version has a new transfer, supposedly from a 65mm element, some new bonuses, plus the 1925 version of the film, which has never been available on DVD before. I already own the previous DVD (this movie is a favorite, despite its faults) so it will be tough to justify a double-dip, but if this new set is as good as their recent Gone With The Wind set, I may break down at some point. Right now I'm waiting to hear what Robert Harris says about it...

The Brady Bunch: The Complete Third Season

Cheers: The Complete Sixth Season

Coal Miner's Daughter: 25th Anniversary Edition

Empire Falls The mini-series.

Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Fourth Season

Frasier: The Complete Sixth Season

Harold Lloyd Collection II Not to be confused with the upcoming collections from New Line.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy I liked it a bit more than most I think, but if you missed it, here it is.

Oliver Hardy Collection A collection of his stuff before he teamed up with Stan Laurel.

Rumble Fish: Special Edition

Rumpole of the Bailey: Set 3 - The Complete Seasons Five, Six and Seven

SCTV: Volume 4

Taxi: The Complete Third Season

September 7, 2005

"Glad to meet you, kid, you're a real horse's ass."

Happy Fall everyone. Yeah, I know it isn't officially Fall, but classes have started here at the U and I saw Halloween stuff at Target yesterday, so that's good enough for me...'cept that it's pretty warm today. Whatever. So this week is pretty big in the DVD department; more TV and classics than new hits. There's a lot more coming out this week than I have time to comment on, so click here for a complete list.

21 Jump Street: The Complete Third Season Johnny Depp on TV...get it while it's hot...or not.

The Bela Lugosi Collection This box set includes: Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat (1934), The Raven, The Invisible Ray, and Black Friday.

Bleak House The UK TV miniseries.

The Blue Bird (1918)

The Cabinet of Caligari The 1962 version...

Charmed: The Complete Second Season Sadly, my sister Jennifer probably isn't reading this.

Crash

The Deer Hunter This Best Picture winner from 1978 has been overdue for a good reissue. The old DVD was non-anamorphic and looked bad. This new version has a new film transfer and some extras. DVD Savant has a good review of this Vietnam staple here.

Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock and Doctor Who: The Mind Robber "The adventures of an eccentric renegade time traveling alien and his companions. There you go: the entire series summed up in one sentence!

Doogie Howser, M.D.: Season Two "Neil Patrick Harris stole my car tonight."

Fraggle Rock Henson fans must be about broke by now...

The Garbo Signature Collection Some long-awaited classics hit the street. This latest Warner box (some of this stuff is already available) includes: Anna Christie (1931...both English and German versions perhaps?), Anna Karenina (1935), Camille (1936), Flesh and the Devil (1926), Grand Hotel (1932), Ninotchka (1939), Queen Christina (1933), Mata Hari (1931), a double feature of The Mysterious Lady (1928) and The Temptress (1926) on the same disc and the TCM Archives: Greta Garbo documentary.

The Hammer Horror Series This box includes: The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Paranoiac (1963), Kiss of the Vampire (1963), Nightmare (1964), Captain Clegg (1962), and The Evil of Frankenstein (1964). A good review of the entire set can be found here.

Lost: The Complete First Season

Rocky & Bullwinkle: Season 3

The Sting: Legacy Series Another re-do of a really bad early Universal DVD. The old disc was pan/scan. Now I can finally buy this one in widescreen. Check out a review here.

To Kill A Mockingbird: Legacy Series This re-do is different from the old DVD mainly for the new film, supposedly restored, film transfer. The extras are mostly the same as the old disc.

Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition This one's been out of print for a while, so if you didn't get it before, this is the one. It has most of the features from the previous special edition and a new high bitrate transfer with a new DTS track that is apparently amazing (and the old disc was no slouch).