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March 31, 2008

"How about a shave?"

Hmm, and I thought last week was a slow one...this week may top it: here it is.

Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) And yes, you can get this masterpiece on Blu-Ray.

The Bette Davis Collection, Vol. 3 DVD Savant has a review of this set here.

Father Knows Best: Season 1 (1954)

Martin: Season 4

Murder, She Wrote: Season 8

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) DVD Savant reviews the disc here.

That '70s Show: Season 8 The final season of the sitcom that went on almost as long as the actual 1970s.

March 25, 2008

"It's the scientists!"

Looks like a pretty slow week, but let's check it out anyway. Click here for the whole thing.

Bonnie and Clyde - Ultimate Collector's Edition The 1967 film gets a deluxe DVD treatment. Also on Blu-Ray, reviewed here by DVD Savant.

Frisky Dingo: Season 1

Invisible Man: Season 1 (1959)

Lost Highway (1997) The first US DVD release for this film.

The Mist (2007)

Party of Five: Season 3

Sliders: Season 4

Taras Bulba (1962)

Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 3

March 17, 2008

"Nobody stabs my bus!"

The large mounds of dirty ice are melting and the campus has been emptied by spring break. Sounds like a good time to check out some new DVDs:


Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 They took their time releasing this season, considering it's been on DVD in Europe for 6 months...

The Bionic Woman Volume 1

Conspiracy (2008)

Enchanted Also on Blu Ray.

I Am Legend (2007) Available in 1 disc, 2 disc, or Blu Ray.

The Ice Storm (1997) Criterion reissues the Ang Lee film.

Love in the Time of Cholera (2007) Tee hee...

Mafioso (1962)

McHale's Navy Season 3

The Wild Wild West: Season 4

March 11, 2008

"Why is yogurt night so hard?"

Wow, 40 degrees here today: feels like...victory(?).

Here's this week's list.

Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Bee Movie

Dan in Real Life (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Dangerous Crossing (1953)

Hitman (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Nancy Drew (2007)

No Country for Old Men (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Sleuth (2007) Also on Blu Ray.

Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008)

March 4, 2008

"Look! I'm a Labrador!"

Here's the list and off we go!

12 Angry Men 50th Anniversary Edition (1957) MGM updates the previous bare-bones version.

Awake (2007)

Into the Wild (2007)

The Love Boat: Season 1: Vol. 1 The Saturday night 1970s staple comes to DVD.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) Disney re-releases this one as a 2 DVD set.

TCM Archives - Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 2 Another box set from Warner of pre-production code films.

March 3, 2008

TOS Rewind #16: "The Squire of Gothos"

Today's episode: The Squire of Gothos (1/12/1967). The drink: beer (Smithwick's).

This entry gets a double shot: written and podcast (see the end of the post for the link). Eric gets the first part:

Doc and I just did our podcast of this episode, so I’ll keep this short. Simply put, “The Squire of Gothos? is one of my favorite episodes. It’s a wonderfully imaginative story (with a really cool twist at the end) that is not only great Trek but great SF.

First, a couple of pieces of trivia: 1) William Campbell also played the Klingon Captain Koloth in the second season episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.?

2) In the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, William Campbell was originally going to reprise his role as Trelane (a grown up version), but Roddenberry ended up going with John DeLancie as Q. It’s assumed, though, that Trelane and his parents were also part of the Q. If you watch the early ST:TNG episodes with Q, you’ll see that the open handed gesture Q makes when using his powers is the same gesture Trelane uses in “The Squire of Gothos.?

I have no big complaints with this episode. There are some technical errors, but Doc and I covered those in the podcast. One thing that just occurred to me, though, is that Trelane’s folks showing up in the nick of time to rescue Kirk and company could be considered a deus ex machina. But if so, it’s not blatant, and it works well in the context of the story rather than coming across as a contrived plot device.

At its heart, this is just a very well done episode: terrific idea, great writing, solid directing and production, and great acting. For example, Trelane is comic, if a little nuts, at first, and then he steadily becomes more malevolent. Campbell does a great job maintaining a petulant, spoiled brat demeanor throughout, but it doesn’t become clear that that’s what it is until the very end. When his parents come to take him “home? it’s a genuine (and delightful) surprise because everything comes together and makes sense.

So the story is based on a really cool concept—an incredibly powerful alien child who plays with the Enterprise crew like a human child might play with an ant colony—and it’s also an example of excellent story telling. And, unfortunately, great storytelling is not that common in TV, or the movies, today.

Okay, so here are some brief points I got from watching this one.

Even though the idea of beings that can manipulate energy/matter with their minds alone (or with the aid of some sort of tool as in "Forbidden Planet") had been done prior to this episode, I can't think of an example in which this had been done with this kind of flourish. The Q-like (or he is Q) being has human-like traits. One could argue that this is the idea that even if humans get to the point where they can do this sort of thing, they'll retain their immaturity (at least when they're young). And the Q of Next Gen is obviously a being that never grew up! So, Trelane turns out to be a spoiled child. This of course allows for the "parents" to bail out Kirk and co. at the end of the show, but this is tough to avoid when you pit mere humans against all-powerful uber-beings.

The acting is quite good here with Campbell standing out as trelane. Kirk and Spock get to play along while looking annoyed. There is a lot of fun in this episode, which makes it more rewarding for me as a "lightweight" episode than "Shore Leave." Both episodes have ideas behind their plots, but this one is, for me, better executed. And hey, how often does one get to see Uhura play the harpsichord?

And here's Eric and my podcast for this episode:

Download file

Next time: “Arena?