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November 29, 2005

"Sparkling Muscatel, one of the finest wines of Idaho."

Thanksgiving is over and so is "Black Friday." Did anyone brave the big box stores? We stayed home and have no regrets. Sure there were some good deals on DVDs to be had, but it just didn't seem worth being trampled by raging hordes. So here's this week's DVDs:

CSI: The Complete Fifth Season

Family Guy: Volume Three

The Frighteners Unrated Directors Cut Another release of Peter Jackson's 1996 film. I haven't heard if the new cut is better, but this new DVD has a Jackson commentary and a four hour documentary on the film.

The Great Muppet Caper: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition A number of Muppet reissues are appearing this week to mark the transfer (again) of Muppet distrubution to Disney. The word is that this DVD is about the same as the previous one, so don't re-buy it.

Legends of the Fall: Deluxe Edition Another quadruple-dip courtesy of Sony...

March of the Penguins

Mr. and Mrs. Smith The Summer hit arrives

The Muppet Christmas Carol: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition All right, so this one gives us the film in widescreen on DVD for the first time, but it's the theatrical version. The old DVD, while pan/scan was a longer cut (supposedly closer to what Brian Henson wanted) with an additional song. The bonus features are, as per the norm for this set of reissues, very weak. So if you want the longer cut in widescreen, you'll have to wait for the next release...

The Muppet Movie: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition As this is my favorite Muppet film, it's a bummer that the film transfer on this new DVD is not much better than the old disc and contains a lame featurette, but lacks a feature found on the old DVD. No reason to re-buy here either.

Muppet Treasure Island: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition Another yawn of a reissue...worth buying only if you don't have the previous DVD. Oddly enough, The Muppets Take Manhattan isn't among the reissued films in this batch. [update: It appears that Sony still has rights to Manhattan as well as Muppets From Space and Kermit's Swamp Years, which they'll be reissuing in a a box set in February. Why they still have these titles, but not the rest is beyond me...]

Sky High

November 21, 2005

"If I had my choice between a three pound bass and a girl, I'd take the three pound bass."

This week marks the true start of the media-buying frenzy, aka the holiday season (and let's not forget the good old X-Box 360). Not-coincidently, there are a lot of new releases this week so people can pony-up to the DVD trough on Black Friday (which isn't, contrary to popular opinion, the busiest shopping day of the year though it certainly feels that way when you're in the thick of it). I may post a quick friday update if I see some good info about any fabulous sales...but for now, on to this week's DVDs.

Alien vs. Predator: Unrated Edition As if we needed another DVD version of a film that's supposedly worse than the video game it was based on.

The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Fourth Season More Mayberry hi-jinx!

Cheaper By the Dozen: Baker's Dozen Edition Same DVD as before with a couple of new, but lame bonus features including, not coincidentally a "Sneak Peak at Cheaper by the Dozen 2! Shocking I know...

CSI: Miami - The Complete Third Season

The Golden Girls: The Complete Third Season

Home Improvement: The Complete Third Season

King Kong (1933) The classic finally arrives on DVD after undergoing an extensive restoration. Apparently, the result is very good, the best it's looked in many years. DVD Savant has a good review of the disc here. You can get this one in a 2 or 3 disc set; the 3 disc one gets you copies of the two Kong sequels.

Leave It To Beaver: The Complete First Season Available in a standard and deluxe version. The Deluxe one comes in a lunchbox...you've just gotta love any show that has a character called, "Whitey Whitney..."

The Polar Express As is becoming normal for new releases, this one's available in a one or two disc set. And now you can see the creepy latexy mannequin-esque CG people at home with Tom Hanks playing six different characters!

Ran (1985) The Kurosawa film gets a decent DVD release by Criterion...the previous DVD was crap.

Seinfeld Season Five

Seinfeld Season Six

The Shirley Temple Collection: Volume 2 Another box set...this one includes Bright Eyes, Baby Take a Bow, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) The Powell/Pressburger classic gets its first DVD release by Criterion. Check out DVD Savant's review here.

War of the Worlds (2005) The Spielberg version gets, you guessed it, a single and double disc set...

November 14, 2005

"Eternity begins in 45 minutes."

Happy Monday everyone. If "happy" is the right word for it...oh well, at least there are lots of DVDs on the way to keep your mind off the work week and your bank balance! As usual, click here for the whole list with pricing, blah blah blah...


Boys Town (1938)

Charmed: The Complete Third Season Chaaaahhhhmed!

Cheers: The Complete Seventh Season

Fantasy Island: The Complete First Season That staple of Saturday night TV for me growing up is coming this week so get out the white suits, hula girls......and cheese.

The Flintstones: The Complete Fourth Series

Frasier: The Complete Seventh Season And if you are a real fan, you can get Frasier: Complete Series, a 32-disc box of the whole shebang.

Friends: The Complete Tenth Season Again, with the release of the final season like Frasier, they've put the whole series one megaset: Friends: Complete Series (40 DVDs).

Golden Girls: Lifetime Portrait Series A docu on The Golden Girls? I'll never run out of gift ideas for my sisters!

Happy Endings (2005)

Hard Promises (1991)

The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection After a long wait, the films of Harold Lloyd are finally coming to DVD in a comprehensive way. Apparrently, they are very well done. NPR has a review of the set (in streaming audio) here. The set is also available as three individual volumes, but the complete set has a bonus DVD.

The Huckleberry Hound Show: Volume 1 So the question I have, which will be meaningless to many of you is, does the Rapid City Central High School band still play "Huckleberry Hound"?

Madagascar Be sure to get it in widescreen kids!

Oklahoma: 50th Anniversary Edition While this isn't one of my favorites, the film does have its fans so here's the skinny on this DVD re-do. This particular film was shot in two different film processes, Todd-AO, a 70mm process and conventional Scope. They're really similar, but there are slight differences (or so I hear). The old DVD had a transfer from the Todd-AO version which had pretty good color, but wasn't 16x9 enhanced and had other problems. The new DVD has both versions. The word is that the Todd-AO version looks worse than before, despite being 16x9 enhanced and the Scope version is just OK. Most people on the discussion boards are saying don't bother. The Heights theater here in MN has run a well-used Todd-AO print a couple of times and even though it isn't perfect, it does look eye-popping and a new DVD made from something better than the circulating print I saw should be good. It sounds like Fox took the old transfer and re-encoded it adding some digital "enhancement" to cover flaws in the print they were using, which had the end result of making the thing look worse. Pretty sad. Fox has done some really good classic film DVDs so it isn't like they aren't capable. Money and the invlovement with the Rogers/Hammerstein people may have something to do with it. Caveat emptor...

Old Yeller: 2-Movie Collection Yes, it's the butt-sad doggie twofer! You get the classic bummer Old Yeller (1957) and the sequel (didn't know there was one), Savage Sam (1963).

Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends: The Complete Season 3

Scrubs: The Complete Second Season

The Skeleton Key

The Sound of Music: 40th Anniversary Edition More R&H fun...the picture quality is supposed to be marginally better than the last version, but still problematic.

Star Trek: Ultimate Collection Everything Trek, including every TV show save for the animated series which hasn't made it to DVD, on a 212-disc set.

State Fair: 60th Anniversary Edition A set containing both the 1945 abd 1962 versions...which apparently look better than any of the other R&H DVDs coming out this week...figures. Oink!

That 70s Show: Season Three

Three's Company: Season Five Five?! Shudder...

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005) From the same guy who did Outfoxed

The Yogi Bear Show: The Complete Series

November 7, 2005

"This is the puppet hospital and burns center. It's relatively new."

Ah, it's good to be back on schedule with this blog. After all, you need as much advance notice as possible to consider the myriad DVD options available to you so having it late isn't much fun...or is it? Of course if I don't stop blathering on, the blog will go out late again so here we go with this week's DVDs:

Beavis & Butt-head, Vol. 1 - The Mike Judge Collection A best-of for the casual fans since the hard core ones are not going to be happy without full season boxes. I've gotta wonder if there are music/TV licensing issues with this show which might keep all of them off DVD.

Burn! (1969)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) This one's available as a single disc or special edition 2 disc set.

Christmas with the Kranks I just know you've all been waiting since last year to own this "classic." Best quote from the IMDB boards: "This movie is evil."

The Devil's Rejects (2005) This Rob Zombie epic is available in both rated and unrated versions...

Edward Scissorhands: Anniversary Edition It's Wonka tie-in time! This DVD is the same one as before, just re-packaged and available in a "collectible" tin.

Jumanji Deluxe Edition I guess just about anything gets a special edition DVD if you wait long enough...except for Hamlet!

La Dolce Vita Some of you may be thinking, "didn't this come out earlier?" You'd be right...as a 2 disc set. Well, 2 wasn't enough so now we have a 3 DVD set with the same film transfer and extras as before, but with an extra bonus DVD. Brings a tear to me eye...

Lady Sings The Blues: Special Collector's Edition Diana Ross portraying Billie Holiday? Sure, why not...

Margaret Cho: Assassin

The Missouri Breaks (1976)

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 8 This collection includes: Monster a-Go Go, Hobgoblins, The Phantom Planet, and The Dead Talk Back.

The Partridge Family: The Complete Second Season

Remington Steele: Season Two

The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition - Season Four

Ugetsu (1953, Criterion)

November 2, 2005

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Happy...Wednesday? Crap I'm late this week! Oh well, let's get going with this week's DVDs.

The Brady Bunch: The Complete Fourth Season

The Brat Pack Movies and Music Collection Another great rehash by Universal. This one includes The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Weird Science. Oh yeah, you also get an "Exclusive music CD with 8 songs from John Hughes's most memorable films." Oooo, sooo exciting...

The Dick Cavett Show: John and Yoko Collection A collection of their appearances...

Fame: Season 1

Fox Film Noir Collection (9-disc) Holiday box sets ahoy! This one nets you Call Northside 777, House of Bamboo, House on 92nd Street, Laura, Nightmare Alley, Panic in the Streets, Somewhere in The Night, A Street with No Name, and Whirlpool. (note that this set is only offered by Amazon.com for $74.99)

Hammett (1982, Wim Wenders)

Millions (2004)

Office Space: Special Edition With Flair This badly needed updating is welcome but it appears to be somewhat lacking in the "flair" department. The picure is finally widescreen 16x9. The old DVD that I have had zero bonuses (apparently Mike Judge wanted to distance himself from it even though IMO it's one his best creations) and was non-anamporphic. And I believe that recently, only the pan/scan version was widely available so a lot of people are glad this finally came out.

Orchestra Wives (1942) Any fans of the Big Band era (and I know at least one!) may want to check this one out, the story of a young small town woman who runs away with...a trumpet player in the Glenn Miller band! Ah, the 40s...in any case, there's plenty of band footage, Miller's band appears and performs (the DVD aparently contains an original stereo track) a lot in the film so it should hold appeal for some. DVD Savant takes a good look at it here.

The New Outer Limits: Season One This is the 1990s series.

The Perfect Man (2005) Yeah, yeah, everyone knows Sith is coming out this week, but I'll bet you didn't know that a movie with Dennis DeYoung in it was also released! Domo Arigato indeed...

The Rains Came (1939) Read Savan't review. An interesting look at this movie which has romantic lead Tyrone Power playing an Indian doctor...yeah right. Of course to be fair, this happened all the time. I recently watched Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and while Clark Gable is great (Charles Laughton kind of steals the show though), he can no more pass for an English naval officer than Power can for a doctor from India.

Sex and the City Gift Set Yep, the whole series in a giant pink box.

Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Fourth Season The last hurrah for Enterprise.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith You probably had to have been living under a proverbial cyber rock not to know this was out by now. I think I've blathered on about this film so I'll spare y'all. The DVD is reportedly very well done and will hold fans over until the next version, perhaps an HD one???

The Steve McQueen Box Set I think by now everthing Mr. McQueen has ever done must be available in some kind of box set. This one has all the Sony-owned titles and we have two other box sets I know of, one containing MGM-controlled ones and a Warner box. Hmm, now that Sony owns MGM, maybe we can get the total down to two..oh yeah, this particular set includes Baby, the Rain Must Fall (1965)and The War Lover (1962). Wait, since when does a box set only have two movies? Oh forget it...

The War Of The Worlds: Special Collector's Edition Since we're getting the Spielberg version on the 22nd, why not the 1953 George Pal version? Apparently the DVD, which was issued a few years back as a barebones release is great for fans of the film. DVD Savant, who's really into old sci-fi and horror stuff has a good writeup here. Anyone besides me think Pal's The Time Machine (1960) was great growing up? I watched that one on cable a lot when I was wasting the time of my youth (now I just waste my "mature" time!). Sure it's dated and kinda silly now, but it's a nostalgia thing.