January 13, 2011

"What we require now is a feat of linguistic legerdemain and a degree of intrepidity."

A long, damned time. Yes, it has been quite a while since I have written a single word on this poor, pathetic, neglected blog. The multitudinous cries of pain out there in the cyber-darkness confirm that it has been indeed far too long. Oh wait, that was something else...never mind. I will not bore you with the details surrounding my absence from this blog, which has been around in various forms for a number of years. The point is that it's now time for me to resume. I have thought about this a slight bit and as I sit here peering out the window of the MS Zuirdam (cruise ship) en route to Costa Rica. I do not intend to completely return to the old formula where I would list the new releases with occasional commentary. The "standard" entries will now be more focused on things I am actually interested in talking about which may include new video releases, but the blog will be much less comprehensive than it was. There are plenty of other sources for timely release dates for new video titles and I dare say that no one probably missed what I was posting in that area anyway.
Besides the catchall self-indulgent category of "whatever the hell I want to talk about," I am continuing the Star Trek Original Series survey. Eric, Rob, and I have had far too much and gone too far to stop that. Yes, someday we will undoubtedly finish the series, Spock's Brain be damned!
To get things rolling again, I am going to write about more Star Trek. There is another Original Series installment coming soon as well. I just know you are all breathing a massive sigh of relief!

I recently re-watched Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). I am not entirely sure why I chose this movie; perhaps it was one I had not seen in a long while, but in any case, it stood out. When Star Trek VI came out, it was something I had been eagerly anticipating for some time. Star Trek V was a disaster that VI promised to rectify. Nicholas Meyer, the guy behind Star Trek II, was once again running the show and, well it just HAD to be better, right? In addition, this was in all likelihood going to be the last call for the whole original cast so the bar was set for them to go out on a high note before the Next Generation cast took over.
I won't waste space recounting the story here, but the story and ideas behind VI center around late Cold War anxieties and hopes for the future. In this movie, Kirk and Chang (the grizzled veteran Klingon commander) are the soon-to-be obsolete Cold Warriors (there is even a line in the film where Chang refers to he and Kirk as kindred Cold War spirits) with a very uncertain future in Star Trek's version of the "New World Order." For me, this is one the better elements of this particular installment; the story nicely weaves the death of Kirk's son David (from "Wrath of Khan") into the character of Kirk. Chang is obviously Kirk's mirror image on the Klingon side, so we see how similar the two are in many ways. Even Spock finds himself questioning whether he has gotten too old and inflexible to be of use in this new age. I appreciate the way that then movie is willing to acknowledge the fact that the characters are not what they were and not immune to change. I understand that perhaps this particular set of characters might be best left back in their eternal prime, but if you are going to continue to crank out movies when the actors are in retirement age, it gets pretty ridiculous to keep on pretending that nothing has changed.
The screenplay's way of dealing with the themes of change and loss is handled less clumsily with the characters than it is as it relates to the actual narrative. The obvious desire here is for Kirk and the crew to do just one more heroic, save-the-day action before heading off into the sunset. One problem with the way this is done in the movie is that to make our beloved character's actions possible, the rest of the Universe is made to seem fairly incompetent. The non-Enterprise Federation people really don't look like the have their shit together and while the antagonists appear to be more on-the-ball, they don't seem to have much of a backup plan when Kirk gets involved. While I am on the subject of weaknesses, the character of Valaris (SP?) is just plain irritating. The character needed to be there in some form so that the beans could be spilled, but the way she is written often serves to be an annoyance to Kirk and Spock. She is not at all sympathetic, a trait that even Savik (another introduced character I was not fond of) occasionally had. It is so bad that I don't even recall feeling anything when Spock basically mind-rapes her. This scene turns the good old Vulcan mind-meld into a violation that I cannot imagine Spock or any other non-psycho Vulcan under any circumstances approving of. Yes, the scene is a convenient way of revealing the assassination plot, but it reeks of writer laziness; they could have found a better way to get this done.
The production values are a mixed bag. In some ways, the film just looks cheap. The sets are often just repurposed from Star Trek: The Next Generation and they look it. Not only are the similarities apparent, the interior shots have this look that is perfectly adequate for television, but is lacking on the big screen. I suspect the bulk of this movie's (and other Trek films) budget went to the cast. I can almost buy the argument that the ship sets are supposed to be as creaky as the characters, but isn't this Enterprise supposed to be relatively new (introduced at the end of the fourth movie)? The space effects shots looked fine however.
I watched the Blu-Ray version of the movie. One of the best things about the box set that came out last year is that all the movies are the theatrical cuts. All the previous home video and TV versions of VI were longer cuts that reinstated a few scenes as well as using the non-original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (or 4:3 if you were unlucky enough). The BD version plays in its proper 'scope ratio of 2.35:1. Having the theatrical cut is actually good here as I have never cared for the extra scenes that were added in the old video versions. I have no doubt that longer versions are forthcoming to spur more repeat Trek purchases. Some traditions never die. Like most of the other films in the recent BD set, the picture looks very good but has had way too much grain reduction and sharpening applied to it. I was able to spot this quite easily on a 50" screen and a good projector would make this even worse. The most glaring issues pop up on actors' faces; they take on this waxy, overly clean look is just wrong. Most of the older Trek films were shot on cheaper, grainier film stock and by over-processing them, they end up looking like this. Yes, the overall image is better than the old DVDs, but they could have done better; maybe next time. I did not have time to take a look at the new bonus materials they did for this set. If anything interesting shows up, I will be sure to post an update.

August 30, 2010

"Don't make fun of grad students. They've just made a terrible life choice."

Yes, another week passed without an update. I'll manage to get back on track...somehow!

Last week's list of new releases can be found here and this week's new stuff can be viewed in all its glory, here. I've made a combined "highlights" list from both weeks.

2:22 (2008) Also on BD.

9th Company (2005) Also on BD.

$5 a Day (2008) Also on BD.

90210: Season 2

The Back-Up Plan (2010) Also on BD.

The Best of Soul Train

City Island (2009) Also on BD.

George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead (2009) Also on BD.

Gossip Girl: Season 3

House, M.D.: Season 6

Lost: Season 6

Marmaduke (2010) Also on BD.

The Simpsons: Season 13The Simpsons: Season 13 Also on BD.

Sons of Anarchy: Season 2

Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010) Also on BD.

August 19, 2010

"But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue."

Hi kids.

Sorry about the radio silence these days. I have a lot on my plate right now and there just hasn't been enough dregs left at the end of the day for the long-suffering blog. Here is my pathetic attempt to get caught up. Also, the Star Trek blogging will resume soon, so keep your Spock-like ears alert for it.

If anyone is interested, Lucas has finally announced a date for the Star Wars movies on Blu Ray: Fall 2011. Read all about it here.

If you want the lists from the weeks I missed, here they are:

August 3

August 10

And the list for this week can be found here

Black Orpheus (1959) Also on BD.

Cemetary Junction (2010) Also on BD.

The City of Your Final Destination (2009) Also on BD.

Cougar Town: Season 1 You mean there's more than one?!?!

Dean Man Running (2009) Also on BD.

Dexter: Season 4 Also on BD.

Furry Vengeance (2010) Also on BD. Because I have always wanted to see "Furry Vengeance" in HD...

Hamlet (1996) First time on BD for the Branagh version. I can't wait to see this 70mm epic in HD.

The Last Song (2010) Also on BD.

Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends: Season 4 Speaking of Commies...

Ugly Betty: Season 4

July 27, 2010

"You have insulted forces beyond your comprehension."

The weather outside is just gross. I haven't gotten much watched lately, but have the urge to pull out 8 1/2 for some reason. Sometimes you just need a good dose of Italian self-absorption.

Let's see what we have cooking this week:

Accidents Happen (2009) Also on BD.

Batman: Under The Red Hood (2010) Also on BD.

Clash of the Titans (2010) Also on BD...if anyone cares.

Crack in the World (1965) Egomaniac scientist sets off an atomic blast deep underground and the Earth cracks open. What could be better?

Don't Look Up (2009) Also on BD.

G.I. Joe: The Movie (2010) Also on BD.

IP Man (2008) Also on BD.

Life After People: Season 2 Also on BD.

Operation: Endgame (2010) Also on BD.

Repo Men (2010) Also on BD.

The Secret of the Grain (2007) Also on BD.

Stargate Universe: Season 1: Vol. 2 Also on BD.

July 21, 2010

"A great impression of simplicity can only be achieved by great agony of body and spirit."

Hello, fellow kids.

I got around to seeing Toy Story 3 recently. I liked it quite a bit and continue to be impressed at Pixar's stream of good movies; not a stinker in the bunch. I saw the movie in 3D and while it's fun to see the depth that the process adds, I don't think it really did that much for this particular movie. The pre-movie short made very good use of 3D and I felt that it paid off there. Many of the elements that make the Toy Story movies good are present here, even if some of it feels a bit recycled. However, sometimes it feels good to return to a comfortable, familiar thing. The feelings of loss and abandonment, even mortality, are carried over from the previous movie. This sense of mortality culminates in a very powerful scene near the end, which brought me to tears. I have to wonder whether this scene should have had a different resolution than it did. Having it turn out the other way, where the characters actually die, would have made for an even more powerful dramatic arc: the Toy Story franchise as an actual tragedy. Then again, I have to be impressed that the movie's creators were actually willing to go as far down that road as they did. This is, after all, a Disney, inc. movie and we can't very well kill the golden goose. Just a thought.

Okay, so let's jump into this week's list of new releases:

Being Human: Series 1 Also on BD.

Cop Out (2010) Also on BD. Roger Ebert had this amusing line in his review: "If you combine the enthusiasms of a geek with the toilet humor of a third grader, you'll be pretty close to defining the art of Kevin Smith. Hey, I'm not complaining. If we lose our inner third grader, we begin to die."

Jersey Shore: Season 1 Everyone's family favorite comes to DVD, uncensored!

Just Another Day (2010) Also on BD.

The Losers (2010) Also on BD.

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Mother (2009) Also on BD.

The Red Shoes (1948) A new restoration from Criterion of the Powell/Pressburger classic. It sounds like it is totally worth picking up.

The Runaways (2010) Also on BD.

July 14, 2010

"Oooooooh, let me anoint your beak with scented oils."

I took last week off. It seemed like the patriotic thing to do. Or I was just feeling lazy.

Last week's list of new releases can be found here.

This week's list, in all its glory, can be found here.

Another new Trek entry is imminent. I know how much you all have missed them!

The Bounty Hunter (2010) Also on BD. Wow, a movie based one of my old pinball machines!

Caught in the Crossfire (2009) Also on BD.

Chloe (2009) Also on BD.

The Greatest (2009) Also on BD.

Greenberg (2009) Also on BD.

Middle of Nowhere (2008) Also on BD.

Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. XVIII

Our Family Wedding (2010) Also on BD.

Parasomnia (2008) Also on BD.

June 29, 2010

"You step on the bug and the f*cking internet is never invented."

I had this past weekend to myself at home. On such an occasion, I have been known to cram in movies I've been meaning to catch up on. For whatever reason, I had other things to keep me occupied and only watched a single movie at my one of my friends' place. We watched The Mummy (1999), a movie I'd somehow managed to avoid all this time.. This popcorn movie is hardly going to dethrone the Indy movies anytime soon, but it was a lot of fun, had some pretty good dialogue, and managed to not take itself too seriously. Brendan Fraser is very good at these kinds of lightweight action leads and carries the show easily. Sure, the villain is fairly cardboard cutout-like, but we don't really need much more than this anyhow. A fun diversion that I should have gotten to before. I can be a terrible snob when it comes to movies, but I can always appreciate this kind of entertainment when it sticks to its popcorn strengths and doesn't overstay its welcome. Job done.

So on with this week's list of new releases.

Beautiful (2009) Also on BD.

Crazies (2009) Also on BD.

Don McKay (2009) Also on BD.

The Eclipse (2009) Also on BD.

Everlasting Moments (2008) Also on BD.

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) Also on BD. Ah, nothing like a nostalgia movie from the year of my HS graduation: 1987. Ouch!

Mad About You: Season 4

Night Train to Munich (1940, Criterion)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) Another Chris Columbus "classic."

Stolen (2009) Also on BD.

The Warlords (2007) Also on BD.

The White Ribbon (2009) Also on BD.

June 21, 2010

"I got into this business so I wouldn't have to work."

What's the world coming to? I'm actually on the early side with the DVD stuff this week. Don't get too attached to it!

I haven't gotten through any movies since the last update; blame the damn video games. I do, however want to catch Toy Story 3. I'll probably see it in crusty old 2D. I've read that the Pixar short at the beginning actually makes better use of 3D than the feature does. In any case, I'm sure it'll be good, another notch in Pixar's post. They have this amazing streak of good movies. Even the lesser ones are far from stinkers and their total ownership by DIsney hasn't seemed to change this. Good stuff.

All right, on with this week's list of new titles:

Close-Up (1990) Also on BD.

Death Race 2000 (1975) Ah, Roger Corman makes it to BD!

Entourage: Season 6 Also on BD.

Green Zone (2009) Also on BD.

The Last Station (2009) Also on BD.

Red Desert (1964) Also on BD.

Remember Me (2010) Also on BD.

Riverworld (2010) Also on BD. The slightly drier sequel to Waterworld...nah, but wouldn't that be fun?

She's Out of My League (2009) Also on BD. This could have been my motto when I was in high school! (yes, I'm leaving myself open for many a joke, thank you)

A Star is Born (1954) The Garland/Mason classic gets a new film transfer on BD with apparently excellent results.

June 15, 2010

"A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish."

Here we are, another week with a late entry. Heh, at least I have an excuse this time as we were on a short vacation to the Lake Superior North shore. Okay, I wrote that last week and now it's become quite ridiculous, hasn't it?

While we were up at our nice Lake Superior abode, we had some evening/raining outside time to watch some DVDs.

Holiday (1938) A Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn comedy we hadn't seen in a long while. A very funny soaking of the 1930s rich, complete with quirky supporting characters (Edward Everett Horton is even better than usual) and amusingly sharp dialogue. The Grant character strains credibility a wee bit: I'm not sure I buy his young dreamer/ruthless wizard of finance combo, but it doesn't matter a whole lot. We know pretty quickly how this one's going to turn out, but in a film like this, getting there is the whole point. And hey, not every movie can be The Philadelphia Story.

Shrek (2001) Despite some dated elements here and there, this CG animated Disney spoof still amuses me. Mike Meyers is of course going with the full-on "if it's not Scottish, it's Crrrap!" mode, but it works fine on an animated ogre. Of course the jokes at the Disney empire are hilarious and the story is actually kind of sweet. Confession: I unwittingly watched the full frame version of this stretched on the widescreen TV we had. Ouch! I just happened to grab the wrong disc from the case and it's one of those older DVDs where they put both copies in. I blame it on exhaustion...yeah, that's it!

Dave (1993) Speaking of dated movies... I actually have a soft spot for this 1990s updating of the Frank Capra political everyman film. The movie has just enough sharp edges to keep it grounded in the late 20th century with Kevin Kline's performance making the whole thing work. The film is a hybrid of the George HW Bush and Clinton presidencies complete with appropriate references to a philandering prez. The film, in my mind is often stuck under the long shadow of Aaron Sorkin's West Wing (and The American President, which is kind of like "West Wing: The Movie") but that isn't entirely fair. The style is different enough for Dave to stand on its own as a more "old Hollywood" political fantasy, as opposed to Sorkin's brand of sharp-witted mile-a-minute dialogue political fantasy. Each are fun to watch and equally improbable. This DVD is an older one with a dated-looking film transfer. It'd be nice to see a new HD version since I'm sure the film looks great on the celluloid.

Here's the list of the stuff that came out last week:

180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless (2010) Also on BD.

Animation Express (2009) Also on BD.

Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection Thaaaaanks for the memories, 100 Years of Funny (isn't there a line in that song about someone's steely dan?)! Oops, inside joke, moving on...

Caddyshack (1980) New to BD.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 7

From Paris With Love (2009) Also on BD.

Not the Messiah (2009) Also on BD. Did anyone see this?

Shutter Island (2010) Also on BD.

And here's the list for this week:

The Book of Eli (2010) Also on BD.

Circle of Pain (2010) Also on BD.

Control Alt Delete (2010) Check out the Netflix synopsis: "Jilted by his girlfriend, programmer Lewis Henderson (Tyler Labine) decides to take a different approach to love -- but after Internet porn stops thrilling him, he focuses his ardor on the computers in this deviant romantic comedy. With his boss determined to find out who's been violating the office equipment, Lewis tries to evade suspicion by dating mousy receptionist Jane Fredrickson (Sonja Bennett) ... who turns out to be a bit kinky herself." after Internet porn stops thrilling him.....bwhahahahahahaha! Sorry, spit out my coffee in abject horror there.

Darkman (1990) I'm sure glad they're concentrating on bringing the classics of the cinema to HD these days. Sure, we don't have Lawrence of Arabia, but we do have this. "I am everywhere and nowhere."

Family Guy: Volume 8

Flash Gordon (1980) New to BD this week. "What do you mean, 'Flash Gorrrrdon aproaching?'" "Dispatch war rocket 'Ajax' to bring back his body." Tee hee. DVD Savant has an interesting review here

Leave it to Beaver: Season 3 Sit around the house...

Mystery Train (1989) Also on BD from Criterion.

Showgirls 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition Man, Blu-Ray is getting the royal treatment this week! I was trying to think of a particular line from an old review of this movie...oh yeah, "No matter how curious you may be, it's not worth it."

Unthinkable (2010) Also on BD.

When in Rome (2010) Also on BD.

Youth in Revolt (2009) Also on BD.

June 1, 2010

"I don't have time for a grudge match with every poser in a parka! "

I'm trying to cram a lot of stuff in this week as I was apparently unable to get anything written last week. The cries of outrage were deafening.

Okay, so I managed to get a couple of movies in this past week.

An Education (2009) IMO, this movie was certainly worthy of all the critical praise that was heaped upon it. I didn't see The Blind Side, but I have to think that Carey Mulligan was at least as deserving of the Oscar as any of the nominees. The whole cast is excellent and the film manages to address the social issues of the time in a complex, non-simplistic fashion. Check this one out.

Watchmen (2009) This really is a "now for something completely different" thing. I am of course a sucker for sci-fi and this movie looked interesting enough for a rent. This movie has plenty of science fiction elements as it is an alternate history scenario and even has a character who can zap himself between here and Mars whenever he wants.

There is some really interesting material in this movie that keeps things interesting for me. The alternate history and 1980s setting has tons of references and visual gags that reward close examination. Several of the characters are complex, troubled personalities who are about as far removed as can be from traditional super heroes. Hell, the idea of a comic book super hero becoming a black ops agent for Nixon by itself keeps the character arcs interesting. I found the non-linear aspects of the story very compelling. I'm not necessarily a fan of this technique as it's often just used as a gimmick, but here it works to better weave the backstory into the plot. Plus, it seems more "natural" in a movie that features a character (Dr. Manhattan) who, shall we say has "issues" with time/space.

The things I didn't like:

It was too long. I did watch the longer "director's cut" (the one Netflix sent me), so maybe I'd have preferred the 3 hour instead of the 3.5 hour.

The violence in this movie is pretty obnoxious. The DVD Savant reviewer referred to it as "gore porn." It's also done in a stylized video game-like way that was distracting. Portrayals of violence in movies can be very effective depending on how it's done and even appropriate. This stuff either reminded me of a FPS game or an updated fight sequence from The Matrix. Yes, can we please have a break from the CG trick of stopping bullets/fists/bombs/arms/legs/noses, etc in mid-flight prior to impact? It was old 10 years ago. Oh hey, I hear they can recreate dinosaurs with CGI now; sweet! I'm sure the filmmakers (hmm, how much actual film was used in this movie? Should we now call them, "Filemakers?" sorry...) were trying to capture the look of the action in the original graphic novel, but it didn't work for me. And while I'm at it, if I hear the song "Hallelujah" in another movie or TV episode, I'm going to vomit. Crap, I really sound like an old fart now, don't I? Please feel free to give me grief about this stuff!

I found the storyline surrounding the Rorschach character interesting, but his diary voice overs got old pretty fast. It came off sounding like the director had seen Taxi Driver a few too many times. The actor sounded like Batman with a sore throat. The narration was also unnecessary, like the voice overs in Blade Runner.

I've been told that the original graphic novel is quite good and that I should read it. Maybe I'll overcome my indifference to comic books/graphic novels (yes, a geek who isn't into comics) and give this one a read.

In the end, I can't say I'm sorry I watched this movie. There are many compelling elements in the film and the cast is very good. However, the whole thing is very dark and dreary. The world the story takes place in is kind of like our world, just a lot suckier. That makes it hard for me to whip up much interest in watching it again, but who knows.

The BD, as expected, looked great.

In case anyone noticed, I didn't get the blog out last week. Click here for last week's list.

Dear John (2009) Also on BD. Strangely, I have no snarky comments about this one...

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008) New to...BD? I had no idea there was demand for this Internet-distributed show on HD disc. Hmm, OK?

The Road (2009) Also on BD. Speaking of dreary movies...the "feel good movie of the year," no doubt.

Stagecoach (1939) Criterion issues a new copy of the classic on DVD and BD. 1939 was quite the year for movies.

True Blood: Season 2 Also on BD.

And onto this week's new stuff:

Alice in Wonderland (2010) Also on BD. The 3D version will apparently show up later for everyone to re-purchase.

Burn Notice: Season 3

Life (2009, BBC series) They're selling this one in two different sets: one with the BBC/Attenborough version and the other with the Discovery Channel/Oprah version. Would it have killed them to put both on one set? At least they're making the UK one available here. Also on BD (this is, after all, an HD spectacular).

Mister Ed: Season 3

The Red Baron (2008) Also on BD.

The Wolfman (2010) Also on BD.

May 20, 2010

"Full of promise, full of hope, ignorant of reality."

Wow, am I late with the entries!

Remember last time when I said we'd be recording a new podcast? Well, the podcast has indeed been recorded and I hope to have it up and ready to go soon in all its Tribble-riffic fun. As usual, we'll have all the expected wit and insight on tap. Uh huh!

I haven't seen any movies since my last update. Any time on the projector has been devoted to playing games (Uncharted 2 and of course Rock Band, and its variants). In other words, I've been a film slacker. Getting caught up on Glee hasn't helped (hey, leave me alone--it's Jane Lynch!).

I mentioned the DVD release of the 90s MTV show Daria recently. I read a good piece on about it. Check it out here. Alas, like many other older music-heavy shows made prior to the age of the DVD box set, this one is missing much of its 1990s altera-pop music. Par for the course these days.

So on with this week's list of new releases:

21 Jump Street Season 2 Wow, well at least the price is right?

Extraordinary_Measures (2010) Also on BD. I didn't actually see this movie, so I can't really trash it too much, but as much as I enjoy Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser (well, sometimes), this looked awful; a cliche'-ridden melodrama. Can anyone argue with me on that?

Invictus (2009) Also on BD. I continue to be amazed at Clint Eastwood's output. I'll spare you all a bad Dirty Harry quote/joke here.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent: The Fifth Year I am beginning to wonder if the Law/Order franchise will outlive me.

The New Daughter (2009) Also on BD.

The Spy Next Door (2009) Also on BD. Speaking of awful-looking movies...

Valentine's Day (2010) Also on BD. Another stinker? Here's a choice review quote: "The dire romantic comedy Valentine's Day is neither romantic nor remotely comedic."

And, Google has announced its new Internet/TV product, Google TV (how original). I wonder if this will be the product that will take care of all my net-based watching needs (one that doesn't suck, that is)?

May 12, 2010

"We're reform school gals looking for love in all the wrong places."

We finally got the Trek podcast recorded for the "Tribbles" episode. We should have the thing posted soon.

Here we go into this week's list of new releases:

Daria: The Complete Series It's the first time on video for this relic of a time when MTV actually ran things worth watching.

Daybreakers (2009) Also on BD.

Edge of Darkness (2009) Also on BD.

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air: Season 5

Hmm, not a whole lot of interesting titles out this week. There are a bunch of new BDs out, but it's all stuff that's already been released a lot on DVD. Check the above link if you're curious.

May 4, 2010

"You think grown-ups have it all figured out?"

For several uninteresting reasons, our latest Trek podcast hasn't been done yet. We're trying to get it done this week...maybe.

In the meantime, you'll just have to content yourselves with some new releases:

According to Jim: Season 2

Doctor Who: The Curse of Peladon (1972)

Doctor Who: The Monster of Peladon (1974)

Doctor Who: The Masque of Mandragora (1976)

Doctor Zhivago (45th Anniversary Edition) New to BD.

The Dukes (2007) Also on BD.

Hamlet (2009, BBC) Also on BD.

Leap Year (2009) Also on BD.

Matinee (1993) First time on DVD for this one.

Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: Season 7

Saving Private Ryan New to BD this week.

Tooth Fairy (2009) Also on BD...unfortunately.

April 28, 2010

"Do you poke smot?"

I'm a bit late with the entry this week. Has anyone noticed?

The latest movie we watched was Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009). We tend to like Wes Anderson's movies anyhow, but this one was perhaps above average. The stop motion animation was, well fantastic and the dialogue snappy/amusing. It reminded me somewhat of Chicken Run, in the story department but in any case, worth a rent. We also watched the new restored BD of The Godfather. I don't need to say anything about the movie, really, but the BD looked really great. I don't think I've ever seen this movie look so good. The color and detail seemed right and didn't look like it was "modernized" or run through the digital filtering too much. A serious upgrade over the DVD.

Here's the list for this week:

The Barbara Stanwyck Collection. This box set includes three titles that are new to DVD.

District 13: Ultimatum (2009) Also on BD.

Dune (1984) The troubled David Lynch movie comes to BD.

Five Minutes of Heaven (2009) Also on BD.

It's Complicated (2009) Also on BD.

I Love Lucy: The Movie and Other Great Rarities (1952) A theatrical movie, never released mostly made from early episodes of the TV series. It looks like it has some sections that may be new to Lucy fans.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) Also on BD.

April 20, 2010

"Maybe you'd like an arsenic on the rocks."

If you've ever clicked on the Netflix links I use here, you may have noticed that some of the titles aren't actually available yet; usually the movie is available about a month later. This is the lovely new business model the studios are practicing with home video, which is ironic considering how in the old VHS days, the studios kept titles away from sell-through, favoring rentals. Basically, they keep the new releases away from Netflix and Redbox for a month with the hope that consumers choose either to buy the movie on disc or rent it from an on-demand source like their cable/satellite company or via iTunes/Amazon/Vudu. I don't really think most people will just buy a movie they would have otherwise rented, so that seems like wishful thinking. The studios favor the on-demand services because they rent at a higher price ($4-6 per day) and return a higher percentage of the rental fees. They also hate the fact that Redbox has made a good business renting new DVDs for a buck a night (they're going to be rolling out BD soon as well), with whining about "devaluing the movies." All I can say to that is...TS (that means tough situation). I might be more sympathetic if I didn't think they were gouging people who want to rent using the streaming/download services. I do think that on-demand is a great way to rent movies, but the price is way too high (HD rentals are usually $6) and the restrictions stink. And for those who care, BD is still far higher quality than the equivalent HD rental. The only upside to this has been the fact that Netflix, in return for having new releases delayed, has gotten a lot more content for their streaming service that they include with subscriptions. As a Netflix subscriber, I find this to be a good trade off since I watch a lot of older content. Some may not find this so compelling. It'll be interesting to see if the whole thing sticks.

And away we go with another round of new stuff:

44 Inch Chest (2009) Also on BD.

Avatar (2009) Also on BD. Just in case anyone was wondering, this is the 2D version and has no bonus features to speak of. Fox will be issuing this again in the Fall with bonuses (still 2D) and probably doing the 3D version next year (that's a fun triple-dip for those Avatar fans!). For me, this is a movie that really worked as a 3D spectacle. Watching it at home in 2D just might remind me how mediocre the non-effects portions of the film are. Pass.

Crazy Heart (2009) Also on BD.

The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!

The F Word: Series 4

Falcon Crest: Season 1 More 80s "gold" on DVD.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Season 1

The Lovely Bones (2009) Also on BD. Here's hoping Peter Jackson's next movie is better.

Merlin: Series 1 (BBC) Has anyone seen this show? It sounds fun.

Summer Hours (2008) Also on BD.

Vivre Sa Vie (1962) Also on BD.

The Young Victoria (2009) Also on BD.

April 12, 2010

"If you say the f-word, nothing actually happens."

I had another good, if brief visit to Rapid City over the weekend for the last Black Hills Symphony concert of the year. I'm always wiped out after the 1200 miles of driving, but it was a nice concert and fun to hang with the family as usual.

And so we move into this week's list of new releases:

Apollo 13 (15th Anniversary Edition) This one is new to BD this week. I may have to get this one some time since my old DVD died.

The Beatnicks (2000)

Emergency!: Season 6

Pirate Radio (2009) Also on BD.

The Slammin' Salmon (2009) Also on BD.

Wow, slooooow week.

April 5, 2010

"God made dirt, and dirt don't hurt."

I watched a few movies over the quiet holiday weekend.

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939--wow, there were a lot of great movies that year!). This wasn't one of the John Ford films I'd been all that interested in seeing. Most biographical movies, especially ones about figures like Lincoln, are often so whitewashed of anything interesting or wildly inaccurate, character-wise. This film really rises above the usual for this genre. Ford and his screenwriter Lamar Trotti were smart to restrict the scope of the story to a small, but potentially critical part of Abe's background. Although there are hints of Lincoln's essential character that would be shown in his later, presidential era, the movie doesn't clobber you over the head with "future greatness" symbolism. Abe is sincere, warm, smart, and all too aware of his own limitations. Henry Fonda plays up the self-effacing side without turning it into an actual "aw-shucks" Reaganesque gag. Sure, the deprecation is used to diffuse difficult situations, but it's still played with an element of genuine doubt in his abilities. And although much is made of Abe being "meant" for the Law, we never get this over-cute scene of a small child talking about how "that man should be President someday, Ma!" Henry Fonda acts the part well through the fake nose and brings a sense of real humanity to the character. Ford has another fun collection of character actors rounding out the cast and the Fox backlot standing in for the small town pretty well. If you're into this sort of movie, check this one out. The Criterion DVD I watched (thanks Dad, for lending it out!) looked great and had more bonuses than I had time to watch.

North by Northwest (1959) I'd gotten this as a gift a few months ago, but hadn't gotten around to watching it until now. This movie is one of my personal favorites and never gets old for me. I thought the old DVD looked pretty good, but this new restored BD version really makes it sparkle. The color is gorgeous and there are many details in the image I can make out much easier. Even the fake Mt. Rushmore stuff looks good (still fake, but really good looking matte paintings).

Zombieland (2009) I rented this on BD and I really got a kick out of watching it. The whole zombie genre is pretty hard to take seriously, so the filmmakers pretty much decided to not even try. This is really a comedy/road movie that happens to take place in a zombiefied America. The cast is very good and the movie is paced well (it isn't too long). If you can handle the cartoon gore, I suggest giving this one a rent.

All right, let's get into this week's new stuff:

Ally McBeal: Season 2

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) Also on BD.

Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series DVD and BD, with smaller packaging (sans Cylon toy). It's still to expensive.

The Big Gay Musical (2009) Also on BD.

Dolan's Cadillac (2009) Also on BD.

Dirt! The Movie (2009) Also on BD.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Theatrical Editions) Yes, only the short versions and at this point, the extended versions are the only ones I'm wanting to watch. Another problem here: apparently Warner used the older HD film transfers they made when they did the DVDs. Add some digital scrubbing and the movies don't, according to some reports, look as good as they could (but almost certainly better than the DVDs). Maybe we'll get an improvement in a couple of years when they release the extended versions (coinciding with the release of the first Hobbit film), which is what I will buy.

Sharpe's Peril (2008, BBC) Also on BD.

March 30, 2010

"And chamber maids were once such a liberal breed."

I managed to get another cold over the past weekend so I ended up doing a lot of slug-like activities. The other night, I was looking through my Netflix instant-watch list and came across this Reagan-era relic: Firefox (1982). I was amused to give this a watch since I was feeling like something, shall we say, unchallenging? This movie fit the bill and was a good nostalgic choice as I had seen it a number of times on cable in the 1980s (it's also a movie my Mom likes). This Clint Eastwood movie, while being slightly overlong, is above average for its genre, the cold war espionage action thriller. Much of the plot and character motivations aren't very convincing. Clint's character, in refuge in Alaska, is all too quick to take the assignment and the "he's the only man for the job" thing is as contrived as can be. But no matter. The paper-thin plot fares only somewhat better. This also isn't too big a problem for this kind of movie.

We all know Clint's going to get the plane and the journey to that end makes the movie entertaining. One thing I like about this movie is the way that Clint's Air Force Vietnam vet character doesn't instantly become James Bond when he starts the mission. There are scenes where he is obviously fumbling with the whole spy thing and his Russian helpers don't seem to think much of his abilities at first. The sequences involving Clint's travels through the USSR, a lot of chases, are paced well with some colorful supporting characters and good European stand-ins for the real Russian locations (you can easily spot where they used rear-projection process shots of certain Moscow landmarks). Once Clint's character makes it to the Russian superplane, we see where much of the production budget went. The models of the fancy fighter plane look pretty good and while crude by today's standards (or even compared to the action sequences in Top Gun), the flying scenes are pretty good for the time using models and process shots. One of the fun things they came up with here is the idea that this superplane's weapon systems can be controlled by the pilot's thoughts. It's an interesting idea that only partially works on screen. The scenes where Clint's character interacts with the weapons are cut in such a deliberate way, that it looks like it'd be faster to press a few buttons, despite the movie's claim that this system would be quicker to respond than a traditional button-pushing fighter jockey. The ending is a bit anti-climactic and needed something more of a coda.

The political element wasn't entirely evident to me when I was younger, but it really stands out today. The whole idea that the USA was so far behind on high tech weapons that we had to send in 'ol Clint on this desperate mission makes it all clear that the USA has gone soft on the Evil Empire. There's Star Wars and there's Star Wars:

Star Wars: The idea that the USSR is out-gunning us in weapons tech, so we'd better get crackin' on that missile defense system.

Star Wars: The effects-heavy fighter scenes are obviously influenced by the Lucas epics. The sequence where the two fighters fly through a snow-covered trench at high speed looks almost exactly like the Tie Fighters/X-Wing chase at the end of Star Wars. Of course Clint's movie was far from alone in copying these movies.

And, never mind that in retrospect, the USSR was going broke and not anywhere near overtaking the USA in expensive high tech weapons. The transparent political message on display here is quite laughable today. The buffoonish Soviet officials also tend to undercut the idea that the USSR is about to overtake us. The plane is a credible, if imaginary threat and the Soviet police are menacing, but the military officials end up being cardboard villains. Perhaps a lost opportunity for a good Moo Hoo Ha Ha villain.

Okay, so there are plenty of problems with this movie, but I still had a good time watching it. I won't go so far as to recommend it, but I had fun.

I also managed to catch A Serious Man (2009) on BD. I liked it pretty well. The look and mood of this dark comedy really pulled me in. I found some of the material to be like a Woody Allen comedy, at least the parts pertaining to the Jewish faith. Seeing all the Minnesota locations and 1960s looking college buildings was fun and the cast was excellent. The ending is something I'm not sure about yet; I need a bit more time to digest this one.

So on we go to this week's new stuff:

Alice in Wonderland (1951) Another reissue of the Disney animated version. Oddly not on BD this time around.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009) Ugh...also on BD.

An Education (2009) Also on BD. The DVD Savant guy has a good review here.

Housebroken (2009) Also on BD.

IMAX: Under the Sea Also on BD.

Rhoda: Season 2

Salt of the Earth (1954)

Sherlock Holmes (2009) Holmes is recycled once again in a big-budget blowout. Also on BD.

March 22, 2010

"You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity."

We caught the movie Coraline on BD over the weekend. I thought it was a good, dark, creepy "children's" (I use quotes because it is certainly too creepy for some kids, IMO) fantasy that has some of the best stop-motion animation I've ever seen. There is an incredible amount of handmade detail on the screen that impressed me, in its own way, every bit as much as Avatar. The musical score was also very good and didn't sound like a Danny Elfman knockoff. Give it a rent at least.

And away we go into this week's list:

The African Queen (1951) Believe it or not, this classic has never been available on DVD here in the USA before now. As far as I can tell, this has to do with the poor condition the film was in plus the fact that it changed ownership a number of times over the past two decades. And, Paramount/Viacom, its current owner, doesn't have a management team who's very interested in releasing movies made before 1990 (this will probably be one of their only classic movie BDs this year). In any case, it's finally here and the reviews of it are good so far. A proper restoration was done on the film and for me it's a no-brainer. Available on DVD and BD.

Bigger Than Life (1956) Also on BD.

The Blind Side (2009) Also on BD.

Days of Heaven (1978) New BD from Criterion this week.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) Also on BD.

Mad Men: Season 3 Also on BD.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009) Also on BD.

The Prisoner (2009)

The Red Cliff (2008) Also on BD.

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 Now on BD Ah, time to buy these again...and then we get TS3.

March 16, 2010

"You are secretly funny."

I managed to get out and see Avatar recently before it leaves first run. It will come as no surprise that I found the effects and 3D process to be pretty amazing. The combination of CG fantasy and human actors is nearly seamless and the movie looked fantastic on a large screen. The 3D system worked pretty well. There were times when things got a little fuzzy when I tried to focus on things in the background, but most of the time the effect worked, better than other 3D movies I've seen. I don't know that I'd want to watch everything this way, but it added a lot to this movie, no doubt. The story is completely uninspired and the dialogue is poor at times, but it's not so bad that it distracts you from all the eye candy. I'd say it's on par for Cameron and probably a notch above George Lucas' later movies in the writing department. I'm sure we'll discuss it on our next Trek podcast.

So, let's get into this week's new stuff:

Armored (2009) Also on BD.

Astro Boy (2009) Also on BD.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009) Also on BD.

Broken Embraces (2009) Also on BD.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009) Also on BD.

The Fourth Kind (2009) Also on BD.

Monk: Season 8

The Princess and the Frog (2009) Also on BD.

South Park: Season 13

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) Also on BD.

March 8, 2010

"I'm like my mother, I stereotype. It's faster."

So another Oscar Night has come and gone again. Unlike last year, I'd at least seen a few of the nominated movies. Of course since they expanded the number of nominees, that was probably inevitable, but I still couldn't find it in me to really care much about how it came out. Shrug. Maybe I'll feel motivated to write something more after I've seen the two biggies, Avatar and The Hurt Locker (that is, if Netflix will ever get enough copies for me to get one).

Here we go with another week of exciting(!) new releases!

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009) Also on BD.

The Brothers Warner

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) DVD Savant has a good review of this one here. Also on BD.

Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009) Also on BD.

Old Dogs (2009) Also on BD.

Planet 51 (2009) Also on BD.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009) Also on BD.

The Stoning of Soraya M. (2009) Also on BD.

Up in the Air (2009) Also on BD.

March 2, 2010

"I have no plans to eat anyone."

The ice ruts on the streets are finally melting and the daytime temps are creeping above freezing. I'm more than ready for Spring. We still haven't seen Avatar, but at least I know one other person who hasn't seen it! Maybe next week. We've recorded another Trek podcast and should have it and the reviews posted very soon. In the meantime, you'll just have to make do with the list of this week's new stuff.

2012 (2009) The year we make contact...WITH DESTRUCTION!!! Also on BD.

Alice (2009 TV Miniseries) Lots of "Alice" stuff being dumped on the video market with the release of the Tim Burton version upon us. Also on BD.

Alice in Wonderland (1933).

Alice in Wonderland (1966, BBC)

Alice in Wonderland (1999, TV).

Clash of the Titans (1981) And yes, another theatrical tie-in. Also on BD.

Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks (1987)

Doctor Who Dalek War: Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks (Stories 67 and 68)

Gentlemen Broncos (2009) Also on BD.

Ninja (2009) Also on BD.

Ponyo (2008) Also on BD.

Where the Wild Things Are (2009). Also on BD.

February 23, 2010

"You know what the Ph.D. stands for, don't you? Piled higher and deeper. "

I need to get going on my next Trek review so let's just hit the list for this week now:

Adam-12: Season 4

Alexander the Last (2009)

The Box (2009) Also on BD.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009) Also on BD.

The Damned United (2009) Also on BD.

Dead Snow (2009) A Norwegian film with Nazi zombies: what's not to like! Also on BD.

Eclipse Series 20 - George Bernard Shaw On Film

FlashForward: Season 1: Part 1

The Informant! (2009) Also on BD.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) Also on BD.

Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Motherhood (2009) Also on BD.

Night Court: Season 3

Nurse Jackie: Season 1 Also on BD.

Project Runway: Season 6

Sorority Row (2009) Also on BD.

The Universe: Season 4 Also on BD.

Wrong Side of Town (2009) Also on BD.

February 15, 2010

"I wanna grow my money, Tink, not spend it on cheese gouging!"

Let's dive right into this week's list of new stuff, such as it is.

Barnaby Jones: Season 1 (1973) Yet another crusty old nearly forgotten TV show makes it to DVD.

Black Dynamite (2008) Also on BD. Well, it's no Disco Godfather!

The Dirty Harry Collection Also on BD.

Goodfellas (20th Anniversary Edition) New on BD this week. DVD Savant has a review of it here.

The Guild: Season 3

Halo Legends (2009) Also on BD.

Hunger (2008) Also on BD.

Law Abiding Citizen (2009) Also on BD...sounds like a great companion to the Dirty Harry set!

Lola Montès (1955) Also on BD.

Ran (1985) New to BD.

Revance (2008) Also on BD.

Women in Trouble (2009) Also on BD.

February 9, 2010

"Embers is not the forum to discuss legalities!"

I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull again with my folks over the weekend. I still enjoy the updating of the familiar characters and find the ending quite lame, but the action sequences continue to remind me a bit too much of the earlier movies. I doubt I'll be returning to this particular sequel all that often. And no, I still haven't gotten out to see Avatar. Sheesh, even my CG movie-hating brother has seen it! We'll get to it soon and I'm sure we'll be talking about it on one of our upcoming podcasts.

So, on to this week's list:

Army Wives: Season 3

Bad Girls of Film Noir Volume 1

Bad Girls of Film Noir Volume 2

Bronson (2008) Also on BD.

Couples Retreat (2009) Also on BD.

Dante's Inferno (2010) Also on BD.

Dare (2009) Also on BD.

Emma (2009, BBC)

I Hate Valentine's Day (2009) Also on BD.

King Lear (1953-TV)

A Serious Man (2009) Also on BD.

Serious Moonlight (2008) Also on BD.

The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) Also on BD...well it is if you don't want it from Netflix. Looks like this is one of the titles effected by the Warner-Netflix deal I heard about recently. Let's just say this again, OK movie companies? If you withhold your material from rental, people will just get it some other way. They aren't going to blow $20+ buying the disc they otherwise would have rented.

February 1, 2010

"It's as clear as a buttonhook in the well water!"

Well, February is here already. Maybe the weather will improve...nah!

I should have another Trek entry/podcast up in the next few days, for our impatient readers. You'll have fun listening to us discuss the big issues in Trek, like old age!

One quick note: a re-packaging of the complete Battlestar Galactica series is going to be released on 7/28 (BD and DVD) with smaller packaging and a lower price, for anyone (like me) who was waiting for the price to go down. Looks like the same stuff as before, but it now includes the prequel, "The Plan."

In the meantime, let's check out what the movie overlords have for us this week:

Amelia (2009) Also on BD.

Beverly Hills, 90210: Season 9

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials

Dynasty: Season 4: Vol. 2

The Godfather and Part II both available on BD separately (formally you needed to buy all three in a box set).

The House of the Devil (2009) Also on BD and...VHS (I kid you not)!

Love Happens (2009) Also on BD.

Liza's at the Palace (2009) Also on BD.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Season 6 This series has been trickling out at a slow pace. One more season to go.

Mister Ed: Season 2

Murder, She Wrote: Season 11

The Music Man (1962) New to BD. DVD Savant has a good review of the disc here. I'm definitely going to pick this one up sometime.

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (2008)

Zombieland (2009) Also on BD.

January 26, 2010

"We deserve better villains."

So I caught Inglorious Basterds over the weekend. Like most Tarantino movies, this one can be appreciated, or despised on several levels. As a film fan, there were many references to WWII movies, Westerns, and even nods to old school film tech. QT does like to write the film nerd part of himself into his screenplays. I found the film a bit uneven with some scenes going on a bit much; pacing could have been better. The performances were quite good overall with the actor playing the head Nazi character a real standout. His performance alone made the movie worthwhile for me.

As you'd expect, there is a certain amount of violence, though there was less than I was expecting. Are some of the scenes gratuitous or needed for the movie's impact? Some of it served well and a few didn't: the thing that makes the violence work better here is the war setting. The film goes back and forth between serious drama/tesnsion and outright farce. Is it fun to watch the Basterds kick Nazi ass? Yes and no. The characters aren't always easy to settle in with. The potentially positive idea of Jewish revenge is undercut by a nasty scene involving a baseball bat. I find it very interesting that the movie can straddle those lines as often as it does. I feel like I need another look at it to decide whether it works as a whole or not. Is the movie an embrace or critique of the old WWII movies it references? Right now, I see both.

Here we go again with another round of new releases:

The Boys Are Back (2009)

Fuel (2009) Also on BD.

Leonard Bernstein: Omnibus - The Historic TV Broadcasts

Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009) Also on BD.

Paris, Texas (1984) Criterion releases the Wim Wenders indie classic on BD.

Saw IV Also on BD.

Southland: Season 1

Whip It (2009) Also on BD.

WWII in HD Also on BD.

January 19, 2010

"A bakery is virtually impossible to run without drug money."

A busy week for me and my fellow U of M drones.

So here is is:

According to Greta (2009) Also on BD.

Across the Hall (2009)

Che (2008) Also on BD.

Death in Love (2008) Also on BD.

Gamer (2009) Also on BD. Just waiting for that World of Warcraft movie...

The Invention of Lying (2009) Also on BD.

Pandorum (2009) Also on BD.

Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball (2010) Also on BD.

Weeds: Season 5 Also on BD.

Whiteout (2009) Also on BD.

January 11, 2010

"You look like a radioactive tampon."

Before I get into the new stuff, I wanted to note that after a LONG wait, the classic film The African Queen (1951) will finally be available on DVD/BD on March 23. This is really good news as I've been waiting for this one to be released for a long time. According to the press release, which can be found here, it will be a fully restored special edition. It will be great to have this one available here in the US (it's been available, albeit unrestored, in Europe for a while). It's also the last AFI 100 listee to be released on DVD. I really hope Paramount didn't botch the video transfer on this one.

So on to this week's new stuff:

10 Things I Hate About You: Vol. 1

8 1/2 (1963) Criterion releases the Fellini classic on BD.

The Brothers Bloom (2008) Also on BD.

The Burning Plain (2008) Also on BD.

By the People: The Election of Barack Obama (2009, HBO Docu)

ER: Season 12

Fame (2009) Also on BD.

Halloween II (2009) I love it when they remake old sequels. Also on BD.

The Hurt Locker (2008) James Cameron and his ex (director Kathryn Bigelow) face off at this year's Oscars. Also on BD.

In Praise of Older Women (1978) As Steve Martin once said, "they know what they're doing!"

In the Loop (2009) Also on BD.

Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht: Season 5: Big Changes For all of you who want to watch these people over and over...scary!

Moon (2009) I'm looking forward to seeing this one; it looks like a pretty intelligent sci fi film. Also on BD.

Post Grad (2009) Also on BD.

Robin Hood: Season 3 (BBC)

The Simpsons: Season 20 I wonder, has there ever been a TV show that did a feature film while continuing to be on the air? Also on BD.

Top Gear: Series 11 Series 12 is also being released this week.

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself (2009) And the Tyler Perry machine grinds on...

January 4, 2010

"You're trying to be smart, and that's lame!"


Happy 2010, everyone. Will it actually be the year we make contact (sorry, couldn't resist)?

I didn't bother posting last week since I was a little busy and let's face it, there's not a lot of action on the home video front right now. Stacie got me a Harmony remote which has been pretty sweet. It's nice to be able to set all the devices it controls up on a computer and have the thing just work. It's the first universal remote I have been at all impressed with. As a bonus, it also eliminates the need to use the PS3's game controller to navigate BD/DVDs (really annoying).

The guy who writes the DVD Savant site released his wishlist of titles for 2010 and an interesting end-of-year essay on the state of home video with some comments on the future of classic releases. It's worth a read and can be found here.

If you want to see the list of what came out last week, click here. And on to this week:

50 Dead Men Walking (2008) Also on BD.

Big Love: Season 3

Chuck: Season 2 Also on BD.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) Also on BD.

Doctor Who: The Keys of Marinus (1964)

Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma (1984)

The Super Friends: Season 1: Vol. 1 Ah, some pre-Wonder Twins bliss.

December 23, 2009

The Dregs of Christmas

This year, I thought I'd do a brief rundown listing some of my favorite, for various reasons, holiday movies and TV specials. These are titles I don't tire of seeing year after year. They really do hold up.

I'm working on the next Trek entry, but it looks as though it isn't going to come together until after the holiday (please try and contain your disappointment!). The good part is, the next entry will be a two-episode hot kiss at the end of a wet fist, so prepare yourselves!

In the meantime, you can tide yourself over with a small gallery of all the Star Trek ornaments on our Christmas tree this year. Go check it out here. We also have many Lord of the Rings, Peanuts, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, Scooby Doo, and other geek culture things (not to mention all the dog and cat ornaments). This tree truly does represent its owners.

So on to the list, in no particular order:

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) I just can't get tired of this classic Chuck Jones TV special. It represents the spirit of the season as well as being faithful to the book. It's very funny and sweet at the same time. Another thing I appreciate about this version is its efficiency: the program doesn't overdo it or add unneeded schmaltz. FAR superior to the feature film version (and don't get me started on the Horton movie). And if that isn't enough, need I mention Boris Karloff?

2. Holiday Inn (1942) As some of you know, this movie is a tradition with my family: we watched it nearly every year while I was growing up. We all know it so well that we tend to speak entire lines of dialogue from it while it's running. This movie, of course, originated the mega-holiday-juggernaut-hit, "White Christmas." No, it wasn't the movie White Christmas (1954), even though it is more recognized and has a somewhat similar plot. Holiday Inn, despite its cheesiness is a lot of fun for me. Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire are always entertaining with lines like, "A gentle smile often breeds a kick in the pants." Some of the songs aren't exactly Irving Berlin's finest, but they do at least have a certain cheeky fun to them. Heck, the movie is worth watching for Astaire's firecracker dance alone.

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) I don't need to tell you all much about this one. I've been a fan of it since I was very young, so much that I remember making a cassette tape recording of the special's audio so I could listen to it over again. No VCR at the time: I put the microphone of the tape recorder close to the TV speaker. Seriously high tech! Unsurprisingly, the voices used for the Peanuts characters in this special are the ones I still consider to be the "real" voices. The others just don't seem as right to me (ah, impressionable youth!). Looking at the show today, I love the music (classic stuff) and the humor still makes me laugh: "We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It's run by a big eastern syndicate, you know." The animation is crude, but it totally fits the material and this holiday special isn't afraid to come out and talk about the actual holiday. I'm not really a Christian and am as far away as possible from the "war on Christmas" BS, but I've always appreciated the way that this special gets to the point of the holiday in an honest way. It sure beats, "Jesus is the reason for the season."

4. Love Actually (2003) This, in my view can't really be called a classic, (hasn't been around long enough) but I've seen this film often enough to recognize its value as a holiday staple. It may not age well in the long run, but I still find this "feel good" movie to be one of my favorites. Yes, it really does deserve the "feel good" label! The film manages to blend its amusing and bittersweet elements with an overall humanity that really works for me. The film occasionally loses control of its large collection of stories and characters, but manages to pull it together in the end. The conclusion, which tidies up many of story lines, has just enough uncertainty to keep it somewhat grounded in the real world. Not all the relationship issues are resolved happily or with the sentiment of a greeting card. If nothing else, the story surrounding Bill Nighy's aging rock star character makes the film worth watching.

5. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Again, I don't really need to give this one much explanation. It too was viewed on a regular basis when I was growing up. The movie has enough sentimentality ("sentimental hogwash!") for ten holiday movies and is often dismissed because of it or enjoyed only on that level. Beyond the main message of this movie, the things that keep me from getting bored with the film are the complexities of the ideas, the characters, the great performances of the cast, and the interesting way the film is structured. The guy who writes DVD Savant has a really interesting take on the film here. He talks a bit about the background of the movie and a very interesting theory about the way it's put together. I highly recommend reading it if you're a fan of this film. One quote:

"It would be fun to write a version of It's a Wonderful Life from Henry Potter's point of view. Potter only wants to bring order and frugality to a messy, mongrelized population and that upstart pipsqueak Bailey keeps gumming up the works.

Other character sketches are so rich they seem to indicate lives outside the movie proper. What was the sordid truth behind poor Violet Bick's reputation? Did Uncle Billy's transgressions drive his brother Peter to an early death? Just what did Miss Davis (Ellen Corby) need the $17.30 for? While George was propping up Bedford Falls, did the notorious playboy Sam Wainwright run Harry Bailey for congress on his war record, and warp American values by passing legislation favoring the plastics industry?

And what about Mr. Welch (Stanley Andrews), the unhappy husband of George's kids' schoolteacher, Mrs. Welch? Mr. Welch hits George for making his wife cry. He's the villain of the moment, but imagine a one-act play about life at the Welch family. They have no kids; she's underpaid and he's out of work. They're trying to be cheerful on Christmas Eve when an unreasonable parent accuses Mrs. Welch of endangering a student, Zuzu. Mrs. Welch breaks down in tears. Mr. Welch stomps out to get drunk. It sounds like something from James Joyce." Classic stuff.

6. A Christmas Carol (aka "Scrooge" 1951) This warhorse has been done a lot, but this is maybe the best filmed version. I also get a kick out of the Muppet version.

7. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) This is the one Rankin/Bass special I will still sit through and is the standout. Sure, the Rudolph song was written for a retail store jingle originally, but the story is good and has a message of tolerance (those commie 60s hippies!); come on, it has a gay dentist as a major supporting character! The old rickety stop-motion animation makes the Charlie Brown specials look sophisticated, but it's still endearing. And today, the message contained in the song, "There's Always Tomorrow," that you can always put off making your dreams come true, is a bit of a downer if you think about it very much. But really, who cares? We're all residents on that Island of Misfit Toys at one point or another.

OK, that's it for this year. I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but there's always tomorrow...

Have a great holiday, everyone (whatever you're celebrating) and stay ahead of the weather!

December 22, 2009

"Look, the Giant Chicken's Boba Fett!"

We caught the movie, Up in the Air (2009) over the weekend. I liked it quite a bit: there were a few things that stood out about it for me. The film struck the right balance, IMO between the need to take some of its subject matter seriously (the bad economy/people losing their livelihoods) and at the same time have a likable, if not always sympathetic main character. The screenplay does help this along, but part of the credit must go to George Clooney who really digs into this role. It's hard to imagine someone else playing the part. Sure, this isn't something you need to run out and see at the theater, but I'd say at least give it a rent when it appears in a few months.

I am also planning on checking out the ultra-hyped Avatar soon. I'm not the biggest fan of James, "King O the World" Cameron, but this one does look like it'll be worth checking out, at least for the 3D/effects.

Here's the batch of new titles for this week:

(500) Days of Summer (2009) Also on BD.

All About Steve (2009) Also on BD.

American Pie Presents: The Book of Love (2009) The owners of this "brand" should just go ahead and launch the "American Pie Channel." Also on BD.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009) Also on BD.

District 9 (2009) Also on BD.

Extract (2009) Also on BD.

Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side (2009) Also on BD.

Ichi (2008)

It Might Get Loud (2008) Also on BD.

Staten Island (2009) Also on BD.

And hey, I hope everyone has a fun and happy holiday. If you're traveling through the impending winter storm, drive safely and best of luck on those flights!

December 16, 2009

"There's a special rung in hell reserved for people who waste good scotch."

Greetings from extra-cold MN!

We have a new Trek entry coming soon. In fact, there will be two before the end of the month. It's obviously more than you can handle!

I'd have gotten this week's entry up sooner, but there's this pesky thing called "holiday shopping."

So, here's the list for this week:

G-Force (2009) Also on BD.

The Hangover (2009) Also on BD.

Inglourious Basterds (2009) Also on BD. DVD Savant has an interesting review of the movie here.

The Other Man (2009) Also on BD.

The Paper Chase: Season 2

Taking Woodstock (2009) Also on BD.

The Tudors: Season 3

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 3 TOS Season 3 comes to BD--as before, both enhanced and original effects versions are included. Rejoice: "Spock's Brain" is now "watchable" in 1080p!

December 8, 2009

"Being me... has its privileges."

December really has hit here in MN: our first real snow of the season (yes, I know some of you have already had a fair amount). I got the latest Trek blog entry posted and we should be recording the next podcast any day now. I did watch the BD of the new Star Trek movie and still enjoyed it; my opinion hasn't really changed from last May. The picture and sound quality of the BD were, as expected, exceptional. I may sample the bonuses at some point, but I'm not expecting anything Vulcan-shattering (sorry!).

So, on to this week's new releases.

The Brigitte Bardot Classic Collection

Get Smart: Season 5

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) Also on BD.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Ultimate Edition) Yes, another version of the Potter movies (and certainly not the last). This time they offer up both theatrical and extended cuts of the films. I haven't heard whether these versions, usually around 10 minutes extra per film, really add much over the theatrical cuts. It seems a lot less significant than the Lord of the Rings extended versions. Also on BD.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Ultimate Edition) Also on BD.

Julie and Julia (2009) Worth watching for Streep's performance, if nothing else. Actually I thought the movie was otherwise pretty okay. Also on BD.

Lost: Season 5 Also on BD.

Public Enemies (2009) Also on BD.

World's Greatest Dad (2009) Also on BD.

November 30, 2009

"You don't seem to be evil, you seem to be more of a grouch."

So, we're past Thanksgiving and the insane retail crush of deals. I bought one cheap BD at Target (Dark City) and that was about it. On a sad note: one of our cats, Beaker, died over the weekend. He had a struggle with cancer and passed away at home. We're all sad over the loss of this very sweet cat. I have to say, he was one of the nicest, most outgoing cats I've ever known. He is already missed and I will probably continue to be reminded of him whenever we have popcorn while watching movies; he loved popcorn.

So, let's see where we're at for this week's new stuff:

Ben Ten: Alien Swarm (2009) Also on BD.

A Christmas Tale (2008) Also on BD.

Deadline (2009) Also on BD.

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009) Also on BD.

Paper Heart (2009) Also on BD.

Saturday Night Live: Season 5

Terminator Salvation Also on BD.

November 23, 2009

Goodbye, Mr. Barnes

I don't normally use this blog for personal stuff, but I wanted to note the passing of my Uncle Don Barnes, who died early this morning at the age of 94.

Don had suffered from Alzheimer's for the last 5 years so in a sense, he's been gone for a while. Nonetheless, I wanted to make a short note about this person who had a real influence on me.

Uncle Don, who along with my late Aunt Faith lived in the Rapid City area the entire time I was growing up; the Barnes' were a regular part of our lives during those years. We visited their house a lot when I was younger and if you could see what the place looked like, you'd understand the influence. Don was a retired electrical engineer (he worked for the FAA for some of his career IIRC) and a real pack rat. His garage and basement were stuffed full of all sorts of fascinating old electronics junk. I spent a lot of time in that basement (it was a fun place to play for us kids) and have vivid memories of the place. Don was one of the reasons I'm as into technology as I am. He was pretty much always interested in new tech and we had fun talking about whatever the latest stuff was. I often brought over some piece of audio gear, often in non-working condition. He was always ready to dive in and either get his soldering iron warmed up to fix it or show me what had to be done with it. I learned a lot about how electronics work from him and also have my background knowledge of old tech thanks to him (and my Dad, of course).

Don was also extraordinarily generous, as anyone who knew him could tell you. While he collected a lot of old stuff, he didn't hesitate to provide it to anyone who needed it. When I was done with high school and didn't have a car to drive, he gave me his unused 1962 Mercury Meteor. This old car, which was black with a red interior (and often dubbed "The Batmobile") and had rear fins, got me through several years of regular use.

So Don will not be forgotten in my family. His struggle with Alzheimer's was not easy to watch but we're fortunate that we had so many years with him. RIP, Uncle Don: we all miss you.

I'm going to skip the summary this week, but you can get the list by clicking here.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

November 18, 2009

"I don't need a doctor, dammit, I AM a doctor!"

As a quick note, we do have another Trek podcast on the way, but it won't be until next week. As always, it'll be worth the wait! (hahaha)

So, what do we have cooking this week?

Bruno (2009) Also on BD.

Darwin's Darkest Hour (2009) Also on BD.

Elvis Costello: Spectacle: Season 1 Also on BD.

Fight Club (1999) The much-loved (but overrated IMHO) Fincher film comes to BD. I was amused by this quote from Roger Ebert's review: "Is Tyler Durden in fact a leader of men with a useful philosophy? 'It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything,' he says, sounding like a man who tripped over the Nietzsche display on his way to the coffee bar in Borders."

Galaxy Quest (1999) Another 1999 film new-to-BD. I do enjoy this one, but I'll wait it out until it drops in price.

Gone with the Wind 70th Anniversary Edition This reissue is apparently quite stunning with a ground-up restoration. As I've probably said before, this is a film I admire more than enjoy. It's good to see at least one of the studios continue to invest in classic film on HD.

Star Trek (2009) Also on BD. As I mentioned previously, I liked the new movie and really look forward to seeing what they do with the new cast. We had a fun discussion about the movie on the podcast. It can be found here.

Wagon Train: Season 1 This is of course appropriate since Gene Roddenberry once referred to Star Trek as "Wagon Train to the Stars."

November 10, 2009

Up on the hill, they think I'm okay. Or so they say.

Over the past weekend, as a really nice birthday present, we went and saw Steely Dan at Northrop Auditorium (complete with Fez!). I've been a fan of the 'Dan for a very long time and had seen them twice before (1996 and 2003). The previous concerts were at sports arenas, but I finally got to see them in a theater venue. Very cool.

On this tour, they feature one of two complete albums: The Royal Scam or Aja. On this show they did the latter. They actually played the album all the way through in order with pretty much the same arrangements and instrumentation. With the exception of "Josie," they did all the tunes in the same key as the originals; pretty impressive for Fagen after all these years. The rest of the show was mostly made up of the expected crowd favorites, though them doing "Show Biz Kids" was a nice surprise.

The band they tour with, as usual, is made up of top drawer jazz pros. The horns were great and the drummer, the same guy they've been using since their "rebirth" in the '90s, was fantastic as always. I thought the bass playing was very good (of course), though 'Dan songs were never vehicles for bass virtuosity like they were for the sax, piano, guitar, and drums. Then again, I couldn't always hear what they guy was doing since he was often buried in the sound mix. A friend who was there as well had a different impression of the sound so it obviously varied depending on where one sat.

In any case, the musicianship was incredible. One thing I like about their shows is the way that Becker and Fagen aren't afraid to let the other players strut their stuff. The guitarist did some great solo work and the piano player even got some time. An added bonus to these guys using many of the same players is how good the overall ensemble sounded. The group was really tight without sounding restrained or canned. So if you like these guys at all, do try and make one their concerts. At their age, it won't last forever.

OK, enough of that music crap, on to this week's new releases:

The Accidental Husband (2007)

Ballast (2008) Also on BD.

Echo (2008) Also on BD.

The General (1927) New to BD with an improved film transfer and multiple musical scores.

Logan's Run (1976) New to BD this week. This might be a good time to revisit this sci fi staple...Eric may want to do a podcast on it, so watch out!

Monsters, Inc. (2001) New to BD.

The Sarah Jane Adventures: Season 2

Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days

The Ugly Truth (2009) Also on BD.

Up (2009) As usual, DVD buyers get a choice of movie-only or loaded SE while BD buyers have to go for the 4 disc least Amazon sold it to me for $20.

November 3, 2009

"I don't like the way Teddy Roosevelt is looking at me."

We joined the modern console video game age last week with the purchase of a Playstation 3. Our old X-Box has been collecting dust for a while now. A big reason we wanted one was to be able to play the Rock Band (Beatles and otherwise) games, but I also saw it as a chance to simplify the media playback in my basement projection system. This game system, as you probably know can play Blu Ray discs (and of course conventional DVDs): nice, I get a second BD deck and can stop having to move my Panasonic BD-35 around the house. This by itself would probably make it worthwhile, but the PS3 can also play many other kinds of media files. About the only thing it won't play is protected video content purchased from iTunes. So, this machine can replace at least two boxes in the equipment rack and add more funtionality (Netflix streaming is coming soon to the PS3). But who am I kidding: it's another toy!

So far, the console works well. It loads BD movies faster than my old deck and has WiFi on board so it's easy to update the machine's software/firmware and do BD Live, should I ever see something on BD Live that's worth looking at. And, oh yeah, the games are fun...

All right, on to this week's list:

Aliens in the Attic (2009) Also on BD.

The Answer Man Also on BD.

Doctor Who: The Black Guardian Trilogy

Doctor Who - The War Games

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) Also on BD.

Howards End Criterion issues the Merchant-Ivory film on BD. And yes, I know at least one of my readers really doesn't like this movie! Check out DVD Savant's review for a good take on the movie here.

Mission: Impossible: Season 7

North by Northwest 50th Anniversary Edition DVD and BD. A review of the BD is here. This will be a double-dip purchase for me...

Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro - The Complete First Season The second season is also available in the same series of DVDs.

Wings of Desire (1987) Criterion issues the Wim Wenders film on DVD and BD.

October 27, 2009

"Questions are a burden to others. Answers are prison for oneself."

We continue to work our way through the newest Ken Burns docu on BD. Same interesting content and gorgeous images. As I mentioned on FB, we watched The Freshman recently and really enjoyed it. It's slightly dated, but it held up pretty well. It's certainly worth watching for Brando's performance alone, probably the last good thing he did. The DVD we watched was so-so in picture quality, but it's a very old transfer and quite frankly doesn't detract from a film like this. Zero bonuses, save for a trailer. If you're inclined towards this film at all, it's certainly worth a rental revisit.

OK, on to this week's list of new stuff:

Angel and the Badman (2009)

The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Vol. 1 (1960) Hmm, Barbara Stanwyck had a TV show...who knew?

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (2009) From what I can tell, this is an add-on extended episode that expands the events from the first season. Also on BD.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) Also on BD. "High jinks and hilarity ensue in this fun family adventure that's packed with celebrity voices." Oh goody...

Il Divo (2008) Also on BD.

Monty Python: Almost the Truth (2009) Also on BD. This is the documentary series that ran on IFC.

The Prisoner: The Complete Series Megaset Released to coincide with the remake mini-series, I assume. I hear that there are new bonuses and improved picture/sound. Here's a review of the new set by DVD Savant can be found here. It looks good, but not enough to make me trade up. Also on BD.

Stan Helsing (2009) Also on BD.

Tales from the Darkside: Season 2

Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (2009) Also on BD.

Whatever Works (2009) Yes, Woody Allen on BD...scary.

October 19, 2009

"My grandmother lives in a condominium."

Before we start, we recorded another non-Trek podcast last week where we tackled the Battlestar Galactica series finale. Check it out here.

And now here's something we hope you'll really like!

This week's release list:

Black Adder Remastered: The Ultimate Edition One of two BBC classic sitcom re-dos.

Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered This is the other...the new set does have some bonuses and A/V quality improvements..

The L Word: Season 6

Monsoon Wedding (2001, Criterion version) Also on BD.

Numb3rs: Season 5

Peanuts: 1970's Collection, Vol. 1

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) Also on BD. I know this one's an easy target, but here's a quote from Roger Ebert's review: "The human actors are in a witless sitcom part of the time, and lot of the rest of their time is spent running in slo-mo away from explosions, although--hello!--you can't outrun an explosion. They also make speeches like this one by John Turturro: 'Oh, no! The machine is buried in the pyramid! If they turn it on, it will destroy the sun! Not on my watch!' The humans, including lots of U.S. troops, shoot at the Transformers a lot, although never in the history of science fiction has an alien been harmed by gunfire." Yeah... It makes Waterworld, coming out on BD this week, seem pretty good.

October 12, 2009

"I love showtunes, they really tell the story of the human condition."

We've been watching the new Ken Burns The National Parks: America's Best Idea series and so far it's pretty good. As you'd expect, there are many of the usual Burns documentary techniques being used here with lots of actor voice-overs for the quotations. The pacing of the show is a bit on the deliberate side, but the amount of information there is significant and I do feel like I'm getting a really good picture as to how the whole thing came about. Much of the background on the parks and how the park service was put together was unfamiliar to me.

Speaking of pictures, there are some beautiful shots of the outdoor scenes here; they did a great job combining new shots with old footage and still photos. In HD, the images really look nice. Many of the older photos look very sharp, telling me that they had some very good sources to work with. The BD version looks and sounds great, though the HD broadcast version is almost as good. I could see a bit more film grain on the BD version. Burns apparently still shoots using 16mm film. In any case, the series is worth checking out as a rental at least.

So, now that it's November...oh wait, it just seems like it is with all the snow outside.

Of course when the weather stinks, that means there's more time to check out all the lovely releases coming out this week:

Adoration (2007) Also on BD.

American Violet (2008) Also on BD.

Drag Me to Hell (2009) Also on BD.

Land of the Lost (2009) Also on BD. Of course they're also releasing the old TV show seasons this week.

Married... with Children: Season 11 11 years...

The Proposal (2009) Also on BD.

Rick Wakeman: The Six Wives of Henry VIII: Live at Hampton Court Palace (2009) Prog rock blow-out!

October 5, 2009

"Does this game go on forever or does it have an end?"

Last night, for some reason, I was thinking about the time when TV Guide was useful. When I was growing up, in the dark ages before the InterTubes, we would often visit my Aunt/Uncle who had a print subscription to TV Guide. Yes, back when it was a real article (they probly still publish it, for all I know) and not just a brand of electronic program guide for DVRs and their ilk. My family never get this at home, so in those days, it was fun to skim through the 'Guide (Yeah, I needed to get out more!) Not only could you see the schedule a couple of weeks in advance, but there was actual detail about the shows! Sure, it wasn't super-accurate, but it was a lot better than what you got in the paper. I always remember the typical TV Guide description for many a Star Trek episode (a show I was always on the lookout for): "Kirk and the landing party beam down to an alien planet where they encounter a strange creature." They used that one a lot. Now there's some real premium content for you!

Enough nostalgia, on to this week's list of new stuff:

Ally McBeal: The Complete Series I guess they sorted out all the music licensing issues...

Bones: Season 4 Also on BD.

The Children (2008) Also on BD.

Contact (1997) New to BD this week. This was one of the first DVDs I bought back in 1998 when the format was new. I may have to re-buy this one.

Dance Flick (2009)

A Hard Day's Night (1964) New to Canada?

The Mary Tyler Moore Show - The Complete Fifth Season

Mister Ed: Season 1

The National Parks: America's Best Idea Also on BD.

Nip/Tuck: Season 5: Part 2

Red Dwarf: Back to Earth Also on BD.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) First time on BD for this classic and an interesting sales strategy. The BD version has both BD and DVD discs. If you only want the DVD version, you have to wait six weeks (the old DVD is out of print). Interesting...

Trick 'r Treat (2008) Also on BD.

Year One (2009) Also on BD. This one looked really stupid...

September 28, 2009

"I'm not a quack. I'm a mad scientist. There's a difference."

The weather is taking a turn for the cooler around here and hey, it's about time I suppose. I did pick up the BD of Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 2 last week and so far, I'm really liking it. The fact that these new sets have full HD versions of both original and remastered/new CG effects is great. Of course, the original effects shots don't look very good blown up to a large/high resolution screen, but it's still good to have them. The picture quality is certainly the best I've ever seen and may indeed be the best this show is ever going to look, period. You can make out the grain in the original 35mm footage, but the images are quite clean without being overly scrubbed. The new effects shots, as you'd expect, look great in HD. The set offers new re-mixed DTS audio as well as the original mono tracks. I really appreciate having both. Most of the time, I do prefer the new track except for the opening title where they re-recorded the music. The balance of the instruments is different and, well, it doesn't seem right to me.

There are a lot of bonus material on these sets, some of it carried over from the previous season DVD sets. A lot of it is fluff, but one of the features I have enjoyed the most is the "Billy Blackurn's Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Moments" segments. There's one installment in each season of the show and it has interview snippets with Billy, who was in a lot of the episodes with non-speaking parts. The on-set film footage is fun to see, too bad there isn't more of it. Heck, he was sitting in Chekov's chair for the episode I watched the other night ("The Doomsday Machine," up next on the review schedule). So, a nice upgrade over the old DVDs. Sure, sometimes watching the show in HD gives you more detail than you might want: flaws in the costumes and sets are very apparent. One thing I didn't like so much was the BD "interactivity." I've harped on this before, but waiting for Java apps to load every time you play the disc gets old fast. Plus, there doesn't seem to be a way to resume playback if you stop the player. Plain 'ol DVD was able to do that for crying out loud! Please fix this, people. Also, if you're going to spend all this effort developing online content for these discs, how about something worthwhile? I really like the A/V quality on BD, but we have definitely taken a step backwards in usability.

Okay, so let's see what we've got going this week:

Away We Go (2009) Also on BD.

CSI: NY: Season 5

The Girlfriend Experience (2009) Also on BD.

The Guild: Seasons 1 & 2 This web comedy is hilarious. The DVDs let you see the episodes with better quality and there are some bonuses.

How I Met Your Mother: Season 4

Life on Mars: The Complete Series The aborted US version.

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) Also on BD.

Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (2008)

The Patty Duke Show: Season 1

The Unit: Season 4

The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) Yes, another chance to re-purchase this classic. The word is, that this latest version on BD is stunning, possibly better than audiences in 1939 saw it (it was hi-res scanned from the camera negatives). As is typical these days, if you want the movie on BD, they only have it available in a mega-uber box set with a bunch of stuff you'll probably never look a much higher price (the DVD version can be bought with or without the box). Except, that this time Target has the BD by itself sans box. All other retailers just get the BD box set. This kind of exclusive retailer crap really gets has inspired me to wait on this one. Besides, I can always go and look at the junk in the *last* "Oz" DVD box set I bought.

September 22, 2009

"Easter egg hunts that turn into knife fights."

Wow, it's Fall already. It doesn't really feel like it around here, but we'll get the cool weather soon enough. In the meantime, let's see what the video overlords have for us this week:

30 Rock: Season 3

Adam Resurrected (2008) Also on BD.

Battle for Terra (2007) Also on BD.

Book of Blood (2008) Also on BD.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2008) Also on BD.

Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 2 The BD version comes out today. Similar features to the Season 1 set including HD versions of both the original and remastered episodes. I'm picking this one up today as it coincides with my Trek blogging.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection BD debut for the rest of the Trek films, aside from the new one. They're selling "First Contact" separately.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Season 2 Also on BD.

September 14, 2009

"You're English dear, fake it."

OK, let's dive right into this week's list of new releases:

The Big Bang Theory: Season 2

CSI: Miami: Season 7

Crash: Season 1

Easy Virtue (2008) Also on BD.

Gervaise (1956)

Grey's Anatomy: Season 5

The IT Crowd: Series 3 Hmm, two geek sitcoms in the same week...

Meyerling (1936)

My Name Is Earl: Season 4

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2008) Also on BD.

Varsity Blues (1999) Also on BD.

September 8, 2009

"Go get yourself a monkey kidney."

The Fall Semester has hit, here at the U and we're running around like...well, like something!

I'm thinking about writing a hopefully not-too-long account of my home viewing situation sans cable/satellite. Sure, it's old hat to some of you and it may not be at all interesting, but it goes with the shallow topic I like to talk about here, so write I shall. One comment I'll make about it is concerning using iTunes to watch TV shows. We're using iTunes to keep up with Top Chef these days. This is one of those shows that I like, but don't think it'll be something worth buying on disc down the road. So, I bought a season pass for ca. $25. Sure, it isn't cheap (a lot cheaper than a month's worth of cable/satellite though), but it downloads right to my Mac in the bedroom, has good standard def quality, and no ads/screen logo crap. Sounds great, right? I'm doing the right thing and paying for this show, but the episode doesn't show up for download until a day after it airs, sometimes longer. Last week, it'd been longer than usual, so I checked just for the hell of it and I found the episode there, ready to watch for free (with a few ads). Now, the episode appeared on iTunes not too long after that, but the point is, the freebie site got it first. Of course I don't want to screw over Hulu users, I use the service myself. I know the networks don't want people like me ditching their cable subs and doing this, but at the price I spent, they have to be doing OK with me not watching the ads on Bravo. You'd think that they would make the Hulu users wait, not the ones paying per show. I also have to point out that the episode was more than likely available on a torrent site within a few hours of the airing of the show, and with no ads and as good quality. It shouldn't be that hard to at least match the convenience and quality of the illegal version, should it?

Enough of that for now, on to this week's new stuff:

Crank 2: High Voltage (2009) Also on BD.

Criminal Minds: Season 4

Fringe: Season 1

Homicide (1991)

The Human Condition (1959)

The Office: Season 5 Also on BD.

Parks and Recreation: Season 1

That Hamilton Woman (1941)

September 1, 2009

"Someone get that dirty old man out of this operating theater."

Another slow week of new releases. click here for the complete list with prices.

Braveheart (1995) First time on BD.

CSI: Season 9

Desperate Housewives: Season 5

Doctor Who: Deadly Assassin

Doctor Who: Image/Fendahl

Doctor Who: Delta/Bannermen

Gladiator (2000) New to BD. "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"

Heroes: Season 3 Also on BD.

MASH (1970) New to BD.

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (U.K.): Series 2

State of Play (2009) Also on BD.

Sugar (2009) Also on BD.

Supernatural: Season 4 Also on BD.

Two and a Half Men: Season 6

August 29, 2009

"I hate pudding and I don't use... toilet paper."

I've been messing around with this new put-together computer that I've neglected my blogging/movie watching. I'm sure you'll all survive. On the upside (I think), we have another Star Trek entry almost ready to go.

In the meantime, you'll have to content yourselves with this week's new discs:

Adventureland (2008) Also on BD.

Duplicity (2009) Also on BD.

Fighting (2008).

The Informers (2008) Also on BD.

Lie to Me: Season 1 Also on BD.

Scrubs: Season 8

Sunshine Cleaning (2008) Also on BD.

Thirtysomething: Season 1

August 19, 2009

"Woo! All right! We're being invaded!"

It's another busy week here as we prepare for the impending start-of-classes-doom here at the U. We haven't been watching much of anything at home other than Top Chef Masters and the first season of Big Bang Theory (amusing, if pretty conventional so far).

A few weeks ago I picked up the BD of 2001 on the cheap and I have to say it is a serious upgrade over the old DVD I have. The image is sharper, has better color, and isn't overly processed to make it look like video (a trend on older movies I really hate). There are a lot of bonuses as well. For me, it was well worth the money (it costing $10 helps).

Let's check out what was released this week.

The Beast: Season 1

Dexter: Season 3 Also on BD.

Dirty Sexy Money: Season 2

Eli Stone: Season 2

The Golden Boys (2007)

Gossip Girl: Season 2

Greek: Chapter 3

Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009) Also on BD. There ya go, Chris!

Husbands (1970)

Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection

The Last House on the Left (2009) Also on BD.

The Last Starfighter 25th Anniversary Also on BD.

Pete's Dragon: High-Flying Edition (1977) Hmm, did Cheech and Chong do a commentary on this one?

Playtime (1967) Criterion issues a BD of the Tati film.

The Simpsons: Season 12

Sons of Anarchy: Season 1

Surveillance (2007)

Tyson (2008) Also on BD.

August 14, 2009

"Why does everything I do sound like a leprechaun?"

Sorry for the late entry, kids. It's been a busy week and heck, there wasn't much out anyhow...

So, check out this week's meager offerings here.

(I'll try and make up for it next week!)

July 28, 2009

"We could all be chasing our tails over some half-assed planetarium show."

Another week of new releases is upon us. click here for the lot of them.

The 10th Victim (1965)

The Astonishing Work of Tezuka Osamu (1962)

Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 Also on BD. The complete series is also being released this week. I really like this show, but $200 (Amazon) for the BD is too steep for me. The DVD isn't that much cheaper at $170. Part of the problem is that the series set comes in this giant box with a toy Cylon dude. Of course, this is the only way to get the show in HD on disc. I figure if I wait long enough, they'll release the show on BD sans the junk.

Charles in Charge: Season 5 Wow...

Dollhouse: Season 1 Also on BD.

The Donna Reed Show: Season 2

Fast and Furious Next time they'll just shorten it to "FF." Also on BD.

Green Lantern: First Flight (2009) Also on BD.

Knight Rider: Season 1 (2008)

Life on Mars: Series 1 (UK)

Miss March (2009) Also on BD.

Repulsion (1965) Also on BD.

Torchwood: Children of the Earth (2009) Also on BD.

July 21, 2009

"I don't mind being the smartest man in the world, I just wish it wasn't this one."

Caught two movies over the weekend.

First, The Tale of Despereaux (2008) on BD.

Caught two movies over the weekend.

First, The Tale of Despereaux (2008) on BD. I thought it was actually OK. Not great, but entertaining with some really nice stylized CG animation. I don't know the children's book it was based on so I can't comment on that aspect (some fans of the book really didn't like the film--shocking I know), but it was worth a rent. As expected, the HD image looked flawless.

And in a similar vein, we saw the latest Harry Potter film at the theater the other night. Sure, there were some obvious things missing such as the battle at Hogwart's, but I liked it overall. The book was always a bit of a placeholder by necessity for the big finish, but the climax of this installment didn't disappoint in spite of that. I'm looking forward to seeing the last book spread over two films.

Many of you know that I still buy physical media: CDs, BD/DVDs, etc instead of digital downloads. The revelation that Amazon remotely wiped all copies of 1984 reinforces my belief that if there's a piece of art I value greatly, I will obtain it in physical form as long as I am able. It's worth it to me to put up with storing discs, books, and other stuff not to have to worry about Apple/Amazon et al. remotely deleting my favorite recording of Beethoven's 5th because the record label decided they didn't want it in circulation. Slate's Farhad Manjoo has a piece about it here. Get off my digital lawn!

One more: I recently picked up the BD of An American in Paris (1951) I somehow never got this one on DVD, I still have the old laserdisc. Well, this version really knocked me out. It's a full 4k restoration and it looks amazing. Robert Harris has a few words about it and its technical details here. A really nice presentation that's well worth an HD upgrade.

OK, let's get on with this week.

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)

Charlie's Angels: Season 4

Coraline (2008) Also on BD.

Echelon Conspiracy (2009) Also on BD.

The Great Buck Howard (2008) Also on BD.

The Lucy Show: Season 1 IIRC, this is the first time this has been issued on DVD in its complete form.

Monk: Season 7

Pushing Daisies: Season 2 Also on BD.

This American Life: Season 2

Watchmen (2009) Also on BD.

Finally, they've announced a BD for North By Northwest (a personal fave) on 11/3. The cover art amuses me:


July 14, 2009

"Did you just kill a guy with an appetizer?"

I got around to watching the BD of Goldfinger the other night. Without going into it very much, I'll just say that this is one of my favorite Bond films. It maintains its solid footing in the cold war genre, but adds a villain who doesn't disappoint. It also goes in for the gadgets and fantastic sets without going completely overboard. The only other Bond film that is its equal may be From Russia With Love The BD looked really good, the best I've ever seen it. The image quality is a clear improvement over the old DVDs. The restoration worked wonders on the image quality without mucking about too much; it still looks like a 1960s film. The sound was decent, though there's only so much you'd want to do with a track like this. I haven't sampled the bonuses yet, but there are a great deal of them. So, yes it's annoying to re-buy movies like this, but the upgrade in quality makes this a no-brainer for a film I'm going to watch over again. The $15 I paid for it was well spent.

On to this week's new releases.

12 (2007)

American Gladiators: The Original Series: Season 1 (1989) Ow...

Beach Kings

Bewitched: Season 8

The Edge of Love (2008) Also on BD.

ER: Season 11

For All Mankind Also on BD...with score by Brian Eno.

Grey Gardens

The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) Also on BD.

The Horsemen (2008)

Leverage: Season 1

Mad Men: Season 2 Also on BD.

Wild Pacific (2009) Also on BD.

July 6, 2009

"Hey, watch your mouth you dumb friggin' Swede."

Ah, that's better.

We just got back from SD last night so I'm trying to get everything back in action. We had a nice visit with my ever-expanding family, though poor Lando was a stress-basket much of the time; he's scared to death of fireworks. Poor pup. Being around some of my nieces/nephews also wore him out!

I haven't watched all that much lately, but did manage to watch Valkyrie (2008) on BD last week. OK, so this isn't a really good movie but I was curious enough to check it out as a rental and it was worth one of my Netflix slots at least. It's really pretty well put together with the supporting cast outdoing Tom Cruise much of the time. Tom can, in the right role, pull off good performances but I just didn't really buy this one. It's not that he is bad or overdoes his performance; I just didn't get a good sense of the character.

The motivations in general seem a bit suspect to me. The film implies that von Stauffenberg and the others were motivated partly by the human rights violations being perpetrated by Hitler and co. These people were, at least the way I understand it, driven to this very risky act by the belief that Hitler was destroying their Germany with his failing military maneuvers, to the point where they felt the nation and their places in its aristocracy were directly threatened.

However, the story is told with a minimum of unneeded flourish or gratuitous action sequences. The period costumes and props seemed right, plus the film shot much of the footage on the actual locations. So, it might be worth a rent if you're interested in this sort of thing. As I expect, the BD image/sound was great. I didn't look at the bonuses.

On to this week's new stuff:

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

The Deep (1977) New to BD.

Grumpy Old Men New to BD, and unless you want to watch it on Laserdisc, the only way to catch it in widescreen.

John Barrymore Collection

Knowing (2008) Also on BD.

Lonely are the Brave (1962)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: XV

Night Train (2009) Also on BD.

Peanuts: 1960s Collection

Push (2009) Also on BD

Reno 911: Season 6

The Unborn (2009) Also on BD.

June 30, 2009

"I'll just put it here with the rest of the fire."

Here's the list for this week.

My apologies, I'm a bit tied up at the moment to write more (I just know you're crushed!)...

June 16, 2009

"Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?"

Wow, the blog edit interface is really different after the Movable Type upgrade. So far, it looks very slick. Cool.

We watched the BD of "Slumdog Millionaire over the weekend. Really good film, a lot better than some prior Best Picture winners. The BD looked and sounded great, as I expect modern releases to. There's noting like a large high resolution image of the slums of India in all its grime. Really makes me respect the filmmakers for not over-sanitizing the movie. Just a nit to pick: what exactly was American about this movie? The only sign of America-ness was the financing...doesn't really count, IMO for Oscar eligibility. They should either just open the whole thing up or stick to the rules (not that this film wasn't deserving).

So, on to the batch of new titles for this week:

Bergman Island (2006)

Burn Notice: Season 2 Also on BD.

The Cell 2 (2008) Also on BD.

The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) A new 50th anniversary version, also on BD.

Dr. Strangelove (1964) A new BD release from restored elements. It supposedly looks fantastic. I'm definitely going to pick this one up.

Family Guy Volume 7

Forbidden Games (1957)

Friday the 13th (2009) Also on BD.

Last Holiday (1950)

Richard III (1955)

The Seventh Seal (1957) Criterion reissues the classic on DVD and BD.

The Three Stooges Collection: Vol. 6: 1949-1951

Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail

What Goes Up (2009)

June 8, 2009

"Man, that's *real* coffee!"

Ack, another Monday and a rainy one at that.

Over the weekend, I sampled another one of the BD Star Trek movies: Star Trek III. Like the BD of "The Motion Picture," the image was an overall improvement from the DVDs with the same overly-clean look. It's frustrating to see an image so good, yet could be better if they eased up on the grain reduction. Oh well, maybe next time. I listened to the new commentary track with Ron Moore and Michael Taylor. Both wrote/produced for some of the Trek series shows, but not for the original cast films. They had some really interesting insight and a lot of amusing observations. I've decided to wait until this Fall when they release the rest of the films on BD and get them then, along with the Original Series BD sets (which oddly enough get better marks for picture quality than the movies). I also managed to unload one of my pinball machines, the non-functional Bounty Hunter. I really need to get rid of more crap... (hell yeah, sez the chorus).

In the meantime, what have we got this week?

The Cleaner: Season 1

Father Knows Best: Season 3

Fired Up (2009) Also on BD.

Get Smart: Season 3

Gran Torino (2008) Also on BD.

The International (2009) Also on BD.

The Jack Lemmon Film Colletion A set of new-to-DVD Lemmon films. DVD Savant has a review of the set here.

Perry Mason: Season 4: Vol. 1

The Shield: Season 7

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music (1970) The 40th anniversary brings another sales opportunity. I'm sure both the DVD and BD versions are better than what's been out before. If you want regular DVD, you have a choice of the 2 disc movie version or a big 'ol box set with a bunch of stuff you'll look at once and will take up a lot of space on the shelf. If you want HD, you have to buy the expensive box, just like the BD of Casablanca. I really get tired of this crap. Now, I don't care enough about this particular film to buy either version, but the idea that on top of expensive movie prices, BD buyers also get the shaft by having to pony up for the extras if they want HD. Nice move. I've said this before, but IMHO the movie companies should be doing everything they can to sell BD before the video download market really comes into its own and kills the disc. The hardcore fans will buy this, but plenty of more casual buyers will be turned off and opt out. Short-term greed, long-term stupidity. Nothing new, I realize...

June 2, 2009

"I would say that I'm just drifting. Here in the pool."

Holy crap, it's June already!

The only thing I've watched lately was 2010 (1984) I found this one on BD quite cheap, so I couldn't resist.

I really liked this one when I was in high school and still think it's pretty decent, though aspects of it haven't aged very well. Most of the effects actually look pretty good today with the models and planet images being particularly good. The political subplot and the ending don't really work for me anymore, but it's still interesting and well produced. I consider it more of an add-on or footnote to 2001. 2010 is so different, that I enjoy the two films on different levels.

The BD of this film looks great. I couldn't see any digital grain reduction (or if it's there, I couldn't see it). The image was sharp, for a 1980s film, and colorful. Easily the best I've seen it since the theatrical showing in 1983.

OK, on to this week's new stuff:

Army Wives: Season 2

Baby on Board (2008) Also on BD.

Defiance (2008) Also on BD.

Direct Contact (2009) Who knew Dolph Lundgren was still making movies??? Also on BD.

The Graduate (1967) First time on BD for this one.

He's Just Not That Into You (2009) Also on BD.

The Jetsons: Season 2: Vol. 1

Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972 This is the long-awaited uber-set of Young's work; DVD or BD. Obviously for serious fans, but I'll bet the sound (hi res) is great.

Prison Break: Season 4

Quincy, M.E.: Season 3

Revolutionary Road (2008) Also on BD.

Weeds: Season 4

May 28, 2009

"Scientifically engineered and all that crap."

I'm really falling down on the job this week, but I was out in SD with the "Knowles Family Band, " so there! :-)

This stuff's been out a few days already, but let's take a look at it anyway.

Click here for the lot.

Children of Men (2006) New on BD.

The Closer: Season 4

Designing Women: Season 1

Falling Down: Deluxe Edition Also on BD.

Gunsmoke: Season 3: Vol. 2

Land of the Lost: Complete Series Complete with lunch box...

New in Town (2009) Also on BD.

May 18, 2009

"Flaming Death is a huge hit!"

Here's the bunch for this week. As usual, clicking here will get you the whole list (even the ones I didn't find worthy of mentioning) with prices.

3 Days of the Condor (1975) New to BD this week. DVD Savant has a review here.

8 Simple Rules: Season 2

24: Season 7 Also on BD. I keep wondering whether or not to give this show a try. It sounds potentially good, but the whole glorification of torture thing gives me pause...

A Bug's Life (1998) New to BD.

Driven to Kill (2009) Also on BD.

Friday Night Lights: Season 3

The Guild The web sitcom gets a DVD release through Amazon; seasons 1 and 2.

Man Hunt (1941)

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) Also on BD.

Peyton Place: Season 1: Part 1 (TV Series, 1964, not about a Great Dane!)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Skynet Edition) Hard to believe (or maybe not), this is already the second time this movie has been released on BD.

Valkyrie (2008) Also on BD. It sounds like everyone in this film was pretty good, except its star...

May 11, 2009

"Down with General Grant! Hurrah for General... What's his name? Lee!"

Wow, I can't believe the Summer movie season is already underway. The new Star Trek film, which I liked quite a bit, made over $70 million over the weekend. It's been a long time since something with the name Star Trek was considered a blockbuster. I'll have some thoughts on the movie itself sometime soon and Eric, Rob, and I will be doing an epic podcast on the new movie. I'm sure you won't want to miss it....right? :-)

So, let's get into this week's new releases:

B.T.K. (2008)

The Dana Carvey Show: Season 1

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) New on BD.

Passengers (2008) Also on BD.

Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: Season 6

Personal Effects (2009)

Plague Town (2008) Also on BD.

Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection The first six Trek films come to BD in this box set. Besides being the first time any of the films has appeared on HD disc, this set will be the first time that Star Trek VI has appeared on any video format in its original theatrical version. The first film is also being released in its theatrical version. Previously, the only way to see it in widescreen was on LD. The film was touched up with CG and re-edited in 2001. This version was only rendered in standard definition, so until Paramount funds more work on the "Directors Version," it'll be MIA on BD. It sounds like they did a lot of work on the second film, which is appropriate. If you don't want to own all six films, they also have a "trilogy" set containing "Khan" through "Voyage Home." I'll probably buy the whole thing since I want the first and sixth films. I can always hide the disc for V.

Taken (2008) Also on BD.

Two and a Half Men: Season 5 Uh, yeah...

Wise Blood (1979)

May 4, 2009

"We're carnivores. When the pilgrims landed, first thing they did was eat a few Indians."

For better or worse, I'm going to try and catch the new Star Trek film this weekend. Definitely looking forward to it, good or bad. AND, another TOS entry is coming soon, complete with shorter podcast!

But for now, we have some new releases to sort out.

Boston Legal: Season 5

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Also on BD.

Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict: Season 1

Incendiary Also on BD.

Last Chance Harvey (2008) Also on BD.

Lipstick Jungle: Season 2

Roxanne (1987) I remember liking this one--nearly twenty years ago when I last saw it. I wonder how it holds up...this is the first BD release for this one.

Smother (2008)

April 28, 2009

"It is better to have loved and lost than to engage in a land war with Russia in the winter."

So off we go, another week of new media fun.

Bride Wars (2008) Also on BD.

Empire of Passion (1978)

The Hit (1984)

Hotel for Dogs (2008) Also on BD.

In the Realm of the Senses (1976) Also on BD.

JCVD (2008) Also on BD.

Little Dorrit (2008, BBC)

Spin City: Season 2

Star Trek: The Original Series" - Season 1 TOS comes to BD. You get both original versions and the CG-enhanced versions in HD.

April 21, 2009

"Drinking doesn't cause hangovers; stopping drinking causes hangovers."

I'm very close to having the latest Star Trek entry up, for those few who are interested.

Here's a status update on the movies/dorky equipment front.

Last night, I finally got around to seeing Quantum of Solace (2008) on BD. Overall I liked the film well enough. Daniel Craig is really good and the movie is loud and expensive-looking. A few things though... I find myself wondering what happened to the humor of James Bond? Does every action movie lead have to have a psychological profile in the Dark Knight mold? It's getting old and doesn't work for me in a James Bond movie. The series has never really been taken very seriously and I'm not seeing that changing very much. Yes, Bond now has this brooding soul, but everything around him is still quite cartoonish. It would work better some tweaking to the character and dialogue. And the right-wing stuff makes its appearance here; the evil "Nature Conservancy" baddie along with a fuel cell-powered luxo hotel that blows sky at the drop of a hat. A few observations:

1. The people who made this movie wanted to make a Bond film that is the opposite of the Roger Moore era ones. Fine, but give Craig a bit more to work with than humorless (save for a few select scenes) brooding thug.

2. These same people wanted to make a combo of the Bourne films and Batman. The action isn't as well crafted/cut as the Bourne trio and Bond just isn't credible as a Dark English Keniggget.

3. This is a Bond film. You're using the characters and the logo. You're trying to have it both ways. If you're going to try and have a "modern" updated "dark" Bond, and then resort to some of the old characterizations (the whole bit with "Strawberry Fields"), it comes off as hollow.

OK, so I'm being way too hard on what's still a fun action movie. And I did enjoy it. However, it should have been MORE fun. We don't need to go back to the Moore stuff, but how about some balance? I'm sure Craig is up to the challenge.

The BD looked and sounded spectacular, as you'd expect. The sound mix is really fun and all the expensive location shots really look nice. I didn't sample the bonuses because, well, do we really care for a film like this?

Also, I'm trying the Computer-as-Video Appliance thing using a Mac Mini in our bedroom system. I've got it set up with Boxee software to access downloaded video as well as streaming offerings from Netflix etc. So far, I'm mixed on it, but it has potential. I'll be doing a more through update after I've used it a bit longer.

But for now, let's launch into this week's new releases:

Caprica (2009) The pilot for the Battlestar Galactica prequel series. I haven't seen it yet, but am curious about it.

Dallas: Season 11 11 seasons!!!

Frost/Nixon (2008) Also on BD.

The Last Word (2008) Also on BD.

Notorious (2009) Also on BD.

Rhoda: Season 1

Tiny Toon Adventures: Season 1: Vol. 2

The Wrestler (2008) Also on BD.

April 15, 2009

"She's totally rich because her dad invented Toaster Streudels"

A pretty slow week here for new stuff. We are trying to get the latest Trek podcast done, but schedules aren't cooperating...hopefully soon.

Here's the deal with the new titles this week:

Dark Matter (2007)

House of Saddam (2008)

Knots Landing: Season 2

Mean Girls (2004) Yes, many have been waiting for this one on BD...

Pride and Prejudice (1995, BBC) Now on BD. Since I seem to have lent my DVD of this to somebody and forgot who, I might replace it with this...

The Reader (2008) The BD version comes on 4/28.

The Spirit (2008) Also on BD.

Finally, the DVD Savant guy has a suitably scathing review of the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which can be found here.

April 6, 2009

"Yeah I was just explaining to my partner here how much I've always wanted to see Lincoln, Nebraska."

Hello peoples. Time for another round of new flicks:

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) New to BD.

Bedtime Stories (2008) Also on BD.

Cleopatra (1934)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) Also on BD.

Donkey Punch (2008)

Doubt (2008) Also on BD.

The Goldwyn Follies (1938)

The Paper Chase: Season 1

Pre-Code Hollywood Collection Universal releases some pre-Hayes Code films from the Paramount library. And hey, who doesn't like a film called Merrily We Go to Hell (1932)? DVD Savant has a good write up of the set here.

The Tale of Despereaux (2008) Also on BD.

Yes Man (2008) Also on BD.

March 31, 2009

"And what does an assistant phone basher do exactly?"

Happy snowy week everyone. Seems like a good time to veg with a flick.

I was outside cleaning stuff up in the yard when I saw this in the neighbor's trash:


A 1980s vintage Sony TV, a victim perhaps of the digital TV transition. It'd obviously failed to sell at a yard sale for $3. Truly a sign of the times. (old codger alert!) Back then, this was a really nice TV that I would have loved to have. This thing, a 19-20", had a full feature remote, all electronic controls, and the very classy two headphone jacks! Older Sony TVs with their distinctive Trinitron tubes really were in a class by themselves and commanded a premium price. Now, Sony makes flat panels like everyone else. Of course modern sets beat the pants off of the old ones, but there was something a wee bit sad about seeing this symbol of technological change.

Anyway, on with the usual stuff...

Here's what they got for us this week:

An American in Paris (1951) The restored version hits BD this week. A good review of the disc by DVD Savant can be found here.

Autopsy (2008)

Danton (1983)

The Fugitive: Season 2 Vol. 2

Gigi (1958) A new BD version of the classic MGM musical.

Il Generale Della Rovere (1959)

Marley & Me (2008) Also on BD: HD Labs!

Ricky Gervais: Out of England: The Stand-Up Special (2008)

Seven Pounds (2008) Also on BD.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Also on BD.

March 23, 2009

"It's small, but particularly dirty."

Greetings Fellow Video Droogs!

Warners has announced a pretty cool way to both make more cash and satisfy demand for older movies that wouldn't sell well enough to warrant a normal DVD release. The studio, who has the largest catalog of old films by far, will start making movies available directly via their website. One can either order a DVD, which is made when you order it, or a digital download. Supposedly the site will contain a lot of films never released on DVD going all the way back to the silent era. The studio rep claims the films will get good transfers without any crap such as pan and scan. Sounds like a good idea, if you ask me. A story about the program can be found here.

Now, let's see what the video gods are showering us with this week.

The 400 Blows Criterion issues this one on BD.

Big Stan (2007) Also on BD.

Bolt (2008) Also on BD. More CG animated critters...

Charles in Charge: Season 4 Once again, Scott Baio did it...for 4 seasons (sorry, inside joke)!

Craig Ferguson: Wee Bit O' Revolution

Goldfinger (1964) The classic Bond film gets a BD release.

The Last Metro (1980) Also on BD.

Never Say Never Again (1983) Time to reissue this also-ran Bond film.

Quantum of Solace (2008) Also on BD.

Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Volume Three Another fun set of pre-code Hollywood films. DVD Savant has a good review of the set here.

March 16, 2009

"I think that's about the worst thing I've ever heard. How marvelous."

What a gorgeous day we're having here in MN today. Warm and sunny days may not make one think of new video releases, but here we are anyway. As usual, click here for the whole list.

Barney Miller: Season 3

Dodes'ka-Den (1970)

Elegy (2007) Also on BD.

JAG: Season 8

Married... with Children: Season 10

Mr. Belvedere: Seasons 1 & 2 Wow, I've been waiting for this show to appear on DVD for...soooo long!

The Nanny: Season 3 See above...

The Princess Bride (1987) First (and probably not the last) time on BD for this one; same bonuses as the current DVD.

Punisher: War Zone (2008) Also on BD.

The Robe (1953) The first Cinemascope feature gets a new DVD release and a BD issue.

The Three Stooges Collection: Vol. 5: 1946-1948

Twilight (2008) For some odd reason, this is being released this Saturday 3/21. Also on BD.

March 10, 2009

"It's not nice to fool with the dark overlords!"

The Star Trek entries haven't died off, we're just in the midst of a bout of busy. Hopefully soon.

A few "what I've been watching" bits:

Elizabeth (1998) It's been quite a while since I'd seen this award winner and it does hold up quite well. The cast and performances still shine and it was fun to see both Christopher Eccleston (Dr Who) and Daniel Craig (the current Bond) show up. I wasn't familiar with either of them last time I saw this film. The DVD, which I've had since 2001 or so, still looks pretty decent. No doubt that a HD version would look very nice.

Compulsion (1959) As an Orson Welles fan, I'd been meaning to watch this one for a long while, but didn't until this last week. This was one of three films made about the famous Leopold/Loeb murder case from the 1920s. The performances are really quite good, with Dean Stockwell and Welles standing out. Welles' ending monologue is worth watching the film for, if you like Welles. Not only is the material very good for the speech (supposedly taken from Clarence Darrow's original speech) really good, but Welles delivers it in such a great non-scenery-chewing manner. The ebb and flow of his voice make the speech that much more compelling. Undoubtedly this is thanks to his years of radio work. Welles does typically overdo it with the obnoxious makeup (complete with a false nose) and his (literally) larger than life presence, but the acting itself fits and comes off as genuine Welles, not one of his phoned-in-for-cash deals. The film itself is decent enough though it has to skate around the details of the crime and has this goofy out-of-place 50s crime drama title sequence. The nature of the two murderers' gay relationship is obviously kept vague, but is heavily implied. The tension around this comes off quite effectively, more than you'd expect for a film made at this time. The DVD is a clean black and white 'Scope image with very good sound ('Scope films often had multichannel sound). The clear dynamic sound even benefits Welles' speech; it's one of the better recordings of his voice I've heard.

OK, on to this week's new stuff:

Batman Anthology A box set with all the pre-"Batman Begins" films. Also on BD.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

Cadillac Records (2008) Also on BD.

Escape to Witch Mountain Special Edition I remember thinking this was pretty 1975!

Family Ties: Season 5

Get Smart: Season 2

Howard the Duck (1986) Yes, the "classic" finally makes it to DVD. OK George, now where's the Star Wars Holiday Special?! I mean, really, if you're ok with this one being out, why not go all out?

Let the Right One In (2008) Also on BD.

Milk (2008) Also on BD.

Pinocchio (1940) This one's been out of print since the old 1999 DVD left the shelves. Funny how Disney calls this a "70th Anniversary" version when it came out in 1940...the picture quality on this release is supposedly excellent. DVD Savant writes up the BD version here.

Rachel Getting Married (2008) Also on BD.

Return from Witch Mountain (1978) I found the blurb from IMDB amusing: "Sinister masterminds Christopher Lee and Bette Davis unleash a diabolical plan. The entire city of Los Angeles teeters on the brink of nuclear disaster when the greedy criminals manipulate a young boy's supernatural powers for their own devious gain. But the youth's sister and a streetwise band of truants join forces in a desperate attempt to save the city from destruction." Tee hee.

South Park: Season 12 Crap, that just makes me feel old.

The Starter Wife: Season 1

Transporter 3 (2008) Also on BD.

March 4, 2009

"Sunday is not the new Saturday night."

I got some good feedback on last week's rant, both in person and over email. It was interesting to hear how people approach this oh-so-important topic!

So, let's take a look at what was released this week:

7th Heaven: Season 8

Ashes of Time Redux (2008)

Australia (2008) Also on BD.

Back to Normandy (2008)

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) And yes, you can even get this mediocre CG talking dog film on BD.

Doctor Who: A bunch of Who (old series) this week: Key to Time, Armageddon Factor, Power of Kroll, Ribos Operation, Pirate Planet, Stones of Blood, and Androids of Tara (I'd love to hear a Dalek voice doing the "Tomorrow is another day..." speech!).

East of Eden (1981 TV miniseries)

ER: Season 10

The Hills: Season 4

In the Electric Mist (2008) Also on BD.

My Two Dads: Season 1 Yikes! But hey, it does star the betrayer of humanity!

Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986 DVD Savant has a review of this set here.

Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic Also on BD.

Wonder Woman (2009) Also on BD.

February 23, 2009

"He sees policemen in his soup."

Hello kids and welcome to another week of entertainment fun. I assume some of you paid attention to the Oscars last night. Stacie and I chose to skip it once again. I just can't seem to get all that interested in it anymore. Part of it has to do with the fact that I see so few movies in the theaters these days so I hadn't seen any of the big nominees. I'm sure there's some good stuff in there that will be worth a rent on BD. The other thing is my weariness of the whole awards business. I'm just tired of it. I don't have a huge problem with it per se, but don't really find it all that compelling. Guess I'm just gettin' old.

Now for a rant about a business I *do* want to gripe about: cable/satellite TV. You may want to skip this part as I've ranted about this a lot before!

In a few months I will rip the Directv dish off my roof and another will not take its place. I've been a customer of theirs off and on since the late 1990s and have had enough. Our family had cable while I was growing up in Rapid City so we could get a few Denver stations to supplement that weak local channels we had. Needless to say I've found some value in cable for a long time. My specific problem with this company is the fact that I got an HD box from them a while back and a service commitment was part of the deal. I don't really remember agreeing to it at the time, but I'm sure it was there in the fine print somewhere. Okay, so I find that I'm not really watching it and want to cancel. When I call to do that this past year, I am told that due to the commitment, I either have to continue service through January 2009 or pay a nasty cancellation fee. Hmm, that sucks but I choose to ratchet down my service to the cheapest service with the intent of canning it when January came around.

Quick break in the saga: this cheap package, which they offered up when I complained that I was spending $60+/month for a couple of channels I watch on occasion, was their so-called "Family" package. This package has all the kid channels (except for Cartoon Network, natch), all the home shopping channels, all the religious channels, and a couple of misc. channels like Food Network and National Geographic. This does not include *any* cable news channels. The local channels are there, but they cost me zero dollars over the air (and look better with the new Digital TV signals). Also, they make me pay a $10/month "HD Access" fee since I have the HD box. They don't let you opt out of that if you have the HD box. So it's $40/month plus a bunch of fees and taxes for the Food Network (I don't count the locals which cost me nothing). Yep, that has been the only channel I watch on this lineup. Wow, some bargain. They would offer another package that has channels I'm interested in (something besides kids/god/infomercials), but it's at least $25 more per month, which is back where I was when I decided the service wasn't worth it. I simply do not have enough time, even with a Tivo, to watch enough for it to be worth money. This is far form typical in the cable biz. The entertainment companies set it up this way and it appears that an a l'carte system of choosing only the channels you want will probably never happen the way things are structured. It isn't really a technical problem since all satellite and much of cable is already digital with remote-addressable boxes that can do this; it's how they charge you for only HBO and not Showtime. The problem is that the whole cost model is based on packages with "big" channels like ESPN (which accounts for ca. $14/month of the average cable bill) are thrown in with all the niche channels that hardly anyone watches. Take away the bundles and a lot of the small fry will go under. I'm really sure that isn't such a bad thing. ABC Family is a throw-away channel that is probably inferior to some other kid networks, but is artificially kept alive by it being bundled with ESPN and other Disney stuff.

I've read into this a bit and the consensus is that a lot of channels would go dark if I have my way, including some which represent niche and minority interests. Well, that may be unfortunate, but it just says to me that the business model is out of date. This stuff should be on the Internet and while not everyone can afford good Internet, it costs less than your average cable bill.

Which brings me to another point: I am looking forward to the Internet destroying the classic cable tv business model. I really am. The stuff I want to watch that happens to be on cable can easily be sold to me via the 'net. I can get much of it right now, but the companies make it cumbersome and more expensive to do so. The obvious example is TV shows on iTunes. Sure, I can download episodes/seasons of Top Chef, a show I like on cable, but I am being sold it to purchase (at least $30 for a season-15 episodes). Stuff like that for me is disposable: I won't probably want to watch it again. So, why does iTunes rent movies and only sell TV? It has to be the content companies not wanting to have people ditching cable to get the shows they like online. They are discouraging people from having their choice and picking just the shows they want by making it expensive. It's the same kind of tactic that they're using to help BD against downloads. You can only rent HD movies, but you can buy standard def movies. If you want to own a movie in HD, you have to buy it on disc. It's all about choice: I want to choose whether I want to rent or own a movie, TV show, or whatever. That's the problem I have with the system. The obvious solution is to just avoid it altogether (or use less than legal means). Yes, TV is not a necessity and no one is forcing me or anyone else to subscribe. I know a number of you who have done exactly that: just stopped watching the channels (but still catch some content on DVD). I can also believe that some, if not the majority of people out there use cable tv enough to find it worth the money. Getting that same content over the 'net is possible, but much less convenient, by design. This will change and I hope Directv ends up in the same boat as satellite radio.

OK, so where was I...oh yeah, so January comes around and I call them back to cancel. I ask them to confirm that as of that date, all I owe is the current month's programming charges and that's it. The rep says yes, I am clear to go and closes the service for me. I then have to ship the HD receiver back to them. Yes, when you "buy" a satellite box at a store, you don't really own it. In the old days (through 2004ish) you bought the dish and boxes at a store and you just paid for the service. Now they have you buy the box and pay a lease charge. When you terminate the service, they get the box back. Hmm, sounds like cable where you lease a box forever, but at least with cable, they bring the damn thing out to you and don't charge you to "buy" it. Hmm, OK, so I agree to do that (after all, what am I going to do with a Directv box?). A couple of weeks later I get a statement from them saying I owe a $160 "early cancellation fee." WTF? So when I call them to ask about it, they say that the reps got it wrong and I still have three months left so I was hit with the charge. I talked to several people and they would not budge on this. They did not care that they made the mistake and that by the time I knew this, I'd already gotten on the roof and disconnected the dish and boxed up the receiver. Not one dime was offered in discount and I had the choice of paying the charge or turning service back on for 3 more months, which ends up being the same money anyhow. So here I am back with the $40/month Food Network. If Directv had lifted one finger to help, even just cut the fee slightly, I would have just paid it and not bothered to write this (but still think the business model is messed up). They don't give a rat's ass about it, so may their satellites fall from the sky in fiery blazes of doom! (that's showing 'em!)

OK, sorry about that (but why write a blog if you can't go off like that sometimes?), on to this week's new stuff:

Badland (2007)

Breaking Bad: Season 1

The French Connection (1971) New to BD this week. The director did some interesting color changes with the film. Worth a look for film geeks and the good DVD Savant review found here.

FTA (1972)

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder Also on BD.

Ironweed (1987) First time on DVD for this one.

Just Shoot Me: Season 3

The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice (2008) Yes, another one.

Sex Drive (2008) Also on BD.

February 16, 2009

"You don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate."

Hello gang. Before the usual list, if you're into Star Trek, go check out this link for the latest poop on the upcoming Trek reissues. Yes, they're preparing a big bag 'o Trek releases to cash in on the new film. The good part, for me at least, is that a lot of stuff is coming to BD. This includes the Original Series (both enhanced and original versions in HD) and the first six feature films. The films are going to be the theatrical versions for the time being. Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek VI theatrical versions were never on DVD before. Also encouraging is the statement that a full blown restoration of Star Trek II has been done. Cool beans. Trek fans, prepare to have your wallets emptied: make it so!

Now, on to this week's stuff:

Body of Lies (2008) Also on BD.

Changeling (2008) Also on BD.

Dead Like Me: The Complete Collection

Faces (1966)

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) Also on BD.

Hobson's Choice (1954) First time on DVD for the David Lean classic.

Quarantine (2008) Also on BD.

Religulous (2008) Not on BD, but take comfort in the fact that The Passion of the Christ is being released in HD this week. Woot!

February 9, 2009

"I read, I smoke, I admire."

Here we go, another round of new stuff.

Against the Dark (2008)

Blindness (2008)

The Exterminating Angel (1962)

Friday the 13th: Season 2

Frozen River (2008) Also on BD.

My Name is Bruce (2006) Also on BD.

Miracle at St. Anna (2008) Also on BD.

Nights in Rodanthe (2008) Also on BD.

Simon & Simon: Season 2

Simon of the Desert (1965)

W. (2008) Also on BD.

February 3, 2009

"This is just like television, only you can see much further."

I thought I'd start out with a few viewing updates...

We finally get started watching season 4 of Battlestar. I wanted to wait until the second half of the season was up and running so there wouldn't be a massive gap between the halves. So far, so good: and weird. The story and characters, as usual, have taken on some new twists. It's one of the things I really enjoy about this series. They are always shaking things up to keep the momentum going. I am really looking forward to getting this on Blu-Ray eventually.

We watched Mamma Mia (2008) the other night. I thought it was very amusing in all its cheesy irony-free fun. The plot, such as it is, isn't really worth discussing (but who cares?). The film doesn't try to be something it isn't. It's a cheesy fun musical and that's OK. Meryl Streep is the real standout in this film. She sings well and is, as usual, fun to watch. She totally gets into the spirit of the film and embraces it head-on. The rest of the cast is good, save for poor Pierce Brosnan. The guy has the looks for the role, but can't sing. This is one of those times where some dubbing would have been a good idea, just like the old days. No producer with computers could fix his shitty tracks (with apologies to Ben Folds).

ABBA fans must have been pleased with the film. Musically, it sounds right. The arrangements have the appropriate levels of over-production, but it doesn't sound out of place. The instrumentation is a bit more modern sounding, but gets the style right. It should sound right since a number of the people playing on the film's music track played on the original ABBA albums. I couldn't help but appreciate the great Euro-pop bass playing by Rutger Gunnarsson.

We watched the standard DVD. It looked very good and I can only speculate that the BD must look very nice with all that beautiful Greek scenery. If I really wanted to see it again, I'd go for the HD version.

The Professionals (1966) I am not a huge fan of Westerns, so when I watch one, I want it to be good (and yes, Westerns can be great movies). This isn't a huge paradigm-shifting, genre-shattering epic, but it is a good example of a big budget Hollywood Western at the end of an era This was right before the Sergio Leone films hit and right before The Wild Bunch shook things up.

The cast is excellent and even Jack Palance playing a Mexican works well. The story moves along well with snappy dialogue and action set pieces to spice things up. Not a true "message" Western, but it does flip the "noble cowboys saving the common people" bit of The Magnificent Seven on its ear. A fun and interesting Western that was well worth the rent.

The BD of this movie looks great. The desert photography really snaps on the HD transfer. This is where you really see the picture advantage of good film and hi res video. The sound was decent if unremarkable (fine for 1966). Extras are pretty minimal, but I didn't have to wait all day for Java BS to load either. No complaints here.

OK, on with this week's stuff:

Being There: Deluxe Edition A re-do on DVD and a title that's getting its first BD release. There are a few new bonuses, but nothing that really compels me to re-buy. The film will never look incredible as it is and the old DVD is probably good enough. A great movie, no doubt.

Brainstorm (1983) In interesting film that I used to like many years ago with some reservations. The ideas and effects are really good, but the ending is quite frustrating. It was Natalie Wood's last film and is being reissued this week as part of a bunch of her films on DVD. It would be interesting to see this one in HD (no BD at the moment) if it was done right. This film has an interesting technical background. Here's a quote from the Wikipedia entry on the film:

The "Brainstorm" virtual reality sequences were photographed in Super Panavision 70 at 60 fps with a wide aspect ratio of 2.2:1,but the rest of the film, was shot in 5 perf 70 MM at 24 fps and cropped for standard 35 mm Scope print down with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. In the original 70 mm theatrical release, the brain-scan playback scenes appeared dramatically wider and much sharper than the regular scenes because they were shot at 60 fps, giving them a sense of heightened reality and excitement. Brainstorm was to be Trumbull's introduction of the full Showscan 60 fps 5 perf 70 MM process, but both MGM and Paramount backed out of a commitment to release the experimental picture in the new format after the death of the principal star Natalie Wood fearing the expensive process launch would not be profitable. Unfortunately, the video and DVD versions have Showscan 70 mm sequences letterboxed in their respective aspect ratios, spoiling the intended effect. The laserdisc release, however, presents the movie as it should be seen: the brain-scan playbacks take the full width of the screen (with black bars on the top and bottom since the presentation is letterboxed) and other scenes are narrower, having black bars on the sides as well. In the theatre the curtain would have been opened to show the entire 2.2:1 sized image so brain-scan playbacks would fill the entire screen making quite an impression while other scenes would be narrower. The sound also changed dramatically between brain-scan playback and other scenes with playback scenes having enhanced surround effects and other scenes being predominantly centre-channel only.


Needless to say, BD would be a good way to do this, but since the film is not exactly a blockbuster or a classic, who knows. I have yet to read any reviews of the new DVD, but the old one was bad enough (old analog transfer) that it almost has to be an improvement.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) Also on BD.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XIV

Natalie Wood Collection I believe some of these films are new to DVD. DVD Savant has a review of the set here.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008) Also on BD and as-seen on college campuses everywhere!

Night Court: Season 2

Our Man in Havana (1959)

The Partridge Family: Season 4

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) Also on BD.

Space Buddies (2009) Also on BD.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) Also on BD.

January 28, 2009

"He can't defend himself - he's got no head."

I'm still behind from start of semester fun and our trip to Denver over the past weekend, but here it is for this week. As usual, clicking here will get you the whole list.

Blossom: Seasons 1 & 2

Cannery Row (1982)

Cheers: The Final Season

College (2008)

Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) First time on DVD for this film.

Fireproof (2008) Also on BD.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) New to DVD.

Hulk Vs. (2009) Also on BD.

The Invaders: Season 2

Lakeview Terrace (2008) Also on BD.

The Love Boat: Season 2: Vol. 1

Pride and Glory (2007) Also on BD.

The Rocker (2008) Also on BD.

RocknRolla (2008) Also on BD.

Warner Bros. Romance Classics Collection

January 20, 2009

"Candy doesn't grow on trees, you know!"

First day of class and an impending trip to Colorado means a quick one this week.

Here's the list.

I'll add more later...

January 12, 2009

"As far as I'm concerned he's the future president of nowhere."

As we in MN descend into a week of extreme cold (COLD EXTREME!!!!), it seems like a good time to talk about DVDs/BDs.

I'm still glad I bought into Blu-Ray, even if my friends question my wisdom in doing it (or sanity?). I'm still watching them on a projector (XGA) that doesn't really take full advantage of the HD video this format puts out, but BD does look better on a large screen. And when I manage to upgrade this projector, it will look fantastic. I'm still annoyed that moving into BD means a tradeoff regarding portability, but I have to assume that simple solutions for ripping BDs will come at some point. Here are a few discs I've watched lately:

Sleeping Beauty (1959) Here's a movie I really hadn't seen since I was a kid. I can't say that it's one my favorite Disney films, but I have a new respect for it now. The characters and story/dialogue aren't up to the very best, but they work well. There are some sweet and amusing moments in the movie, just not up to what Disney managed with the real classics. The standout here is the look of the animation. More specifically, the background art in this film is just gorgeous. Some times I just ended up looking at the backgrounds and not following the animation, it was that good. I also liked the way the Tchaikovsky music was integrated into the film. Very appropriate.

This film was one of the few Disney animated films produced in a large film format, Technirama. For a very good overview of how this was done, I highly recommend this piece by restorer Robert Harris, found here. Needless to say, they did a great job presenting this film on BD. The colors are lush and you can really make out all the detail in the animation. The sound was very clear and didn't sound over-processed. I really hope Disney does this well with its other animated classics.

The Duchess Some friends brought this one over the other night on DVD. I thought this was pretty good, on the whole. Another look at the "good" old days of 18th Century England. The pacing was slightly uneven at times, but the performances were good and the costumes, quite the essential part of a costume drama, really looked (at least to me) great. Keira Knightley carries the lead part well and Ralph Fiennes, in a pretty thankless role, steps up with a nuanced performance. The character is often so unsympathetic and dour that the when the time comes for him to show a glimmer of humanity, it's a big deal. Fiennes plays it at a good simmer throughout, making the character more interesting. It would certainly be a temptation to play this part as a huge jerk with many leers and nasty/overacted looks. This would have made the part not work at all. The DVD looked OK to me, though I couldn't help but wonder how much better all that great outdoor English scenery would have looked on BD.

High Noon (1952) A discussion with Rob and a recent DVD Savant review, which can be found here, got me thinking about this one again so I dug up my old DVD and took another look. The movie is a genuine classic, no doubt, but the ideas expressed in the film get pretty muddled. I don't know that the review is exactly on, regarding the politics, but there are some confusing ideas contained in the film. One thing I agree with him on is the dismissal of the supposed "liberal" read of the film. It has such a negative view of "common people" that I just don't buy it. The production and performances are great, however, and the flow of the film is very tight. I also really enjoyed the Helen Ramirez (Katy Jurado) character. She's one of the strongest characters in the film. I have the old DVD which is just so-so. The print isn't too bad, but it looks washed out and constrasty at times. If they do a decent HD version, I might have to double dip.

Okay, on to this week's new DVDs/BDs:

'Til Death: Season 2

Appaloosa (2008) Also on BD.

Breakfast At Tiffany's - Paramount Centennial Collection Yet another re-do of the Hepburn classic. This kind of title will most certainly make it to BD in the not-too-distant future, so waiting is good.

Captains and the Kings (1976, TV Series)

Dallas: Season 10 Season 10!

Funny Face - Paramount Centennial Collection Another Hepburn re-do. DVD Savant has a review of this one here.

Matlock: Season 2

Mirrors (2008) Also on BD.

My Best Friend's Girl (2008) Also on BD.

Swing Vote (2008) Also on BD.

Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling Also on BD.

January 7, 2009

"I look like the Hamburglar."

Late again this week. I was down with a stomach bug for a couple of days (such excuses!), but all appears to be well again. As usual, January is the time of really bad theatrical releases (stuff that wasn't considered good enough to release in Fall/Holidays) and throw-away DVD releases. Luckily, they seem to throw some goodies in here and there as well. So let's take a look at what we have this week:

The Alphabet Killer (2008)

Babylon A.D. (2008) Also on BD.

Bangkok Dangerous (2008) Also on BD.

Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 This is a show I will want to pick up on BD, whenever they get around to releasing it.

Disaster Movie (2008) Also on BD.

The Last Emperor (1987) Another Criterion BD release. I'd guess this one will look spectacular in HD.

Michael Powell Double Feature Includes the films Age of Consent and Stairway to Heaven (both new to DVD, at least in the USA).

Pineapple Express (2008) Also on BD.

Righteous Kill (2008) Also on BD.

The Tudors: Season 2

The Wackness (2008) Also on BD.

December 28, 2008

"But that's 59 in Bunny Years."

Since I was out in SD this past week and the new releases were few, I'm doing a combo post for this week and last. Hope everyone had/is having a good holiday run. Generally, when we're visiting my family, my Mom wants to go out and see a movie on Christmas night. We looked and looked, but couldn't find anything we were really interested enough in to drag our butts out of the house for. There wasn't even a fun/cheesy action/adventure movie (I guess they all come out in the Summer now).

So, if you want to see the list of titles that came out last week, click here. For this week, click here. I'll list a few of the more notable ones below. BTW, DVD Savant has his Most Impressive Discs of 2008 article here.

An American Carol (2008) Also on BD.

The Dutchess Also on BD.

Eagle Eye (2008) Also on BD.

Ghost Town (2008) Also on BD.

Nip/Tuck: Season 5

Roast of Bob Saget: Uncensored Extended

Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008) Also on BD.

See, you really weren't missing much!

December 15, 2008

"Next time we'll have a foolproof coffin."

It's feeling like deepest winter here in MN. Damn it's cold! Good weather to stay indoors and watch let's take a look at the stuff coming out this week (pretty slow):

Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Vol. 6

Bottle Rocket (1996) Criterion releases their first set of BD releases this week. One nice thing: the prices are the same as the DVD versions.

Burn After Reading Also on BD.

Mamma Mia! Also on BD.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) Also on BD.

Petticoat Junction - The Official First Season

The Third Man (1949) Another of Criterion's initial BD offerings. It's mostly the same features as the 2006 DVD set. It sounds like they did a great job on this one and since I didn't pick up the 2006 version, I'm very interested in this; one of my favorite films. Check out DVD Savant's review here.

Finally, you film geeks might want to check out this site: It's a Flickr group called the Nitrate Film Interest Group. Archives put up scans of film frames that they have not been able to identify and invite people to give them comments as to their origin. Interesting stuff.

December 9, 2008

"Dude, you are a warrior poet."

Hello everyone. Here are a few BDs I've caught lately:

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. Go read the linked review if you're curious, but in a nutshell, this is a reworking of the movie using a lot of unused footage. Why did this need to be done? Richard Donner, who did the first Superman movie in 1978, was fired during production and replaced with Richard Lester (who directed A Hard Day's Night). Director's Guild rules said that Lester couldn't take credit unless he shot more than 50% of the movie. By that time, Donner had shot ca. 70% of the film, so they redid a lot of stuff with the cast (the ones who would work with Lester--Gene Hackman, among others, refused) and changed a bunch of things in the film. Let's just say that I don't think either version is all that great, but it's a very interesting look at how a film can be rejiggered with a different director taking over. The two cuts have a number of real differences, including the ending. I suspect that Donner would have done a better film had he been allowed to complete it. I also give him the benefit of the doubt since the first film was good (I've always found it a lot of fun). Besides the different shots/character stuff in the Donner version, we get to see a bunch of Marlon Brando footage. They took all the Brando stuff out of the Lester version so they wouldn't have to pay Brando. The movie is better with him there and introduces a fun father-son dynamic that wasn't there before. Fun stuff.

Wall*E I really enjoyed this one. It may not be the all-out best Pixar, but it's one of my favorites. The BD, as you'd expect is fantastic. The picture is amazing and the soundtrack really has incredible detail. No shock there. One of the BD bonuses I really had fun with was the Geek Talk, Trash Talk & Trivia This is a visual commentary (ala' MST3K) with character team supervisor Bill Wise, co-producer Lindsay Wallace, story artist Derek Thompson and lead animator and story consultant Angus McClain. The track is full of amusing geeky/inside joke stuff that's fun and informal. Needless to say, there are a *lot* of sci fi and pop culture jokes/references in this movie. If you get the chance, check this one out.

The Queen A good movie with very compelling performances, 'nuff said. This BD didn't have anything that interesting feature-wise, but the image has really quite natural and film-like. There was real grain in the image, but it remained sharp and clear. A very "organic" looking video presentation. I like to see this sometimes with HD when they resist the temptation to over-sharpen images to make them look more "eye-popping." This one reminded me of a good film presentation and that's as good in its own way as the CG sharpness of Wall*E.

Okay, on to this week's new stuff

The Dark Knight (2008) Available in 1 or 2 disc DVD and BD.

Deadwood: The Complete Series

Europa (1991)

Gunsmoke: Season 3 Volume 1

Happy Days: Season 4

Horton Hears a Who! (2008) More CG-animated celebrity voice fun! Also on BD.

I Am Legend: Ultimate Collectors Edition Wow, that didn't take long. The deal here is that there's a bonus disc with an alternate version of the film that, if you believe DVD Savant, improves the movie, particularly the last section which is what I had the most trouble with. Check out his review here. Also on BD.

Lost: Season 4 Also on BD.

Man on Wire (2008)

Murnau, Borzage and Fox Box Set Fox releases some of its earlier films, including some new-to-DVD silients.

Rawhide: Season 3: Vol. 2

The Wire: The Complete Series

December 2, 2008

"We could gather nuts!"

Happy December everyone. Hope you all had a nice holiday and stayed safe in the retail jungle, those of you who braved it. I didn't go near any retail on Friday and was just fine with that (Amazon had some good deals and no risk of bodily harm). So, let's see what we have this week:

Casablanca: Ultimate Collectors Edition Yes, another reissue of the 1942 classic. This time they put the previous 2003 set (which is very good) in with a third DVD of extras in a box with lobby cards and other swag. Whatever. The set *is* also available on BD which is very cool. The crummy part is that there is no option to buy the movie on BD by itself; you have to buy the deluxe set to get the movie in HD. No thanks, I'll wait.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) Also available on BD.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) The good news is that this title is coming out on BD as well (the standard DVD gets some new bonuses as well). The bad news is that it's to promote a remake with Keanu Reeves that will probably stink. Such is the home video biz.

Perry Mason: Season 3: Vol. 2

Saturday Night Live: Season 4

Step Brothers (2008) Also on BD.

Wanted (2008) Also on BD.

White Dog (1982)

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008) Also on BD.

November 24, 2008

"It's not a crime to be an a**hole, but it's very counter-productive."

Here we are, another Thanksgiving almost upon us (damn, I'm starting to sound like a Peanuts holiday special!). Now that I have a BD player, I'm almost tempted to brave the Black Friday sales to score a couple of titles I might have bought, had the regular price not been so high. I've said it before, but BD movies on the whole are too expensive. I know the companies want to recoup their R&D costs, but if they want the market to grow much beyond the enthusiast realm, they need to be selling new hit movies for less; $25 is not a good price for most people. BD has the most potential to compete with the growing download market as it has a leg-up in quality. DVD doesn't and it's in the studios' best interests (assuming they want to keep selling discs) to ramp this thing up quickly. I know that the prices on these movies will come down, which is why I'm mainly using rental to enjoy the new format. And yes, the new BDs look very good. Like I said last time, the difference on my admittedly limited setup (1080i scaled to XGA) isn't dramatic, but it does look better. And I will be able to reap the benefits of the 1080p picture when I get a better display down the road. Blah blah blah...let's get on to this week's new stuff:

24: Redemption

Beverly Hills, 90210: Season 6

Bottle Rocket (1996) Criterion issues the Wes Anderson film.

Chungking Express (1994, Criterion version).

A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All (2008) I may have to give this one a rent...

Fred Claus (2007) Also on BD.

Hancock (2008) Also on BD.

Lady with the Dog (1960)

Meet Dave (2008) Also on BD.

The Mod Squad: Season 2, Vol. 1

Sounder (1972)

Space Chimps (2008) And yes, even this one is available on BD!

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) Criterion reissues this cold war classic as a 2 disc set. The existing DVD is featureless, so this should be very good. I will certainly buy this when it makes it to BD as this is a favorite of mine.

Superman Doomsday Gotta love an animated Superman where the Man of Steel is voiced by Jayne (Adam Baldwin) from Firefly! Also on BD.

November 17, 2008

"Man, I don't drop character 'till I done the DVD commentary."

Wow, some actual hits this week. It appears that those who can afford to buy stuff this holiday season will be getting some deals ($129 BD players/$700 50" plasmas). Me? I'm really going to try and cut back this year; a number of people I know have said the same thing. Not a good year for the retail biz (or many others actually). So, let's get to it:

Bones: Season 3

Daniel Boone: Season 6

Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series

Encounters at the End of the World (2007) Also on BD (I'm going to be lazy and use this abbreviation for Blu-Ray Disc from now on).

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2007)

Priceless (2006) Also on BD.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008) Also on BD.

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 3 Remastered

Tropic Thunder (2008) Also on BD.

WALL-E Also on BD.

November 11, 2008

"Well, it's time for Mr. Dee-dee Doo-doo to say good night."

I have an update on my recent venture into Blu-Ray below. But first, here's what we have coming out this week on DVD/Blu-Ray.

The Boys in the Band (1970)

Father Knows Best: Season 2

Firefly: The Complete Series Now on Blu-Ray. I'm trying to find out if this version has any new features or just the series in HD. Serenity is coming on 12/30.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army Also on Blu-Ray.

JFK: Ultimate Collectors Edition Another reissue of the Stone film, both formats this time. DVD Savant reviews the Blu-Ray version, which is worth a read for his take on the film in a post-Bush/Cheney era. It can be found here. "Does JFK seem more credible now because the Garrison/Stone theories have been supported by new evidence --- or because we've become more convinced that our government is capable of lies and conspiracies?"

Mind of Mencia: Uncensored: Season 4

Night Gallery: Season 2

Scrubs: Season 7

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Also on Blu-Ray.

Walt Disney Treasures Another series of Disney material, new to DVD. This round includes three releases (in the usual tins): The Chronological Donald, Vol. 4 - 1951-1961, The Mickey Mouse Club Presents Annette - 1957-1958, and Dr. Syn–Alias the Scarecrow.

Over the weekend, I jumped into the Blu-Ray market (thanks to my Mom: generous birthday present!) by acquiring the Panasonic DMP-BD30K. It is last year's model, but is a very solid machine with great A/V quality. It was also a great deal. This is what's known as a profile 1.1 player. The newest models are 2.0. The main thing I don't get on this player that the newer (2.0) ones have is a network connection for interactive features and firmware updates over the Internet. Neither of these are a huge deal for me since I have yet to see any 2.0 'net features that appeal to me and I am capable of burning CDRs for firmware updates. I also figure that by the time I get another player, they'll all have the more advanced features at a lower price anyway.

Alas, firmware updates seem to be a fact of life for Blu-Ray owners. Often, older players (and some new ones) need updates to even play some of the newer discs. Blu-Ray players are really dedicated PCs that have much more complex hardware/software than DVD players. The newer BD movies that are loaded up with bonuses tend to "break" the player code that runs the machine. The recent James Bond discs required firmware updates from several manufacturers to even play, let alone run all the bonuses. Any disc-based home video format that wants to succeed in the mass market is going to need to get beyond this kind of thing. While I, a tech geek can cope with mucking about downloading updates, your average consumer isn't going to tolerate it so easily. They'd best get their act together if HD video on disc is going to survive long-term in the face of competition from cable on-demand and downloads.

It was just over ten years ago that I bought my first DVD player (yes, nostalgia about A/V formats!), a Panasonic A110. The A110 was a second generation player, so it seems somehow appropriate that the BD player I just got is a second gen one itself. In addition, the first title I picked up in the new format was L.A. Confidential (1997). This was one of the first movies I bought on the then-year-old DVD format. The new Blu-Ray version looks fantastic (the movie is still great itself) and is a nice upgrade to the old disc, which was no slouch back in '98.

Blu-Ray is cool and for the moment the highest quality form of video one can get in the home. Having said this, I had some hesitation about buying into yet another video format. After all, I've been through Betmax, VHS, LaserDisc, and DVD. With the exception of VHS, each was an improvement over what I had before. I had the thought of buying some kind of HD network media box, such as the AppleTV or the Popcorn Hour box. I do watch a fair amount of 'net-acquired video; these devices are really nice for this material. However, the quality of what you can download, legally or not, isn't up to the level of Blu-Ray. Plus, I already have DVD players that can play this stuff. Maybe one day I'll get a device that does both (a PS3 is an option here, but I didn't want to spend that much).

Ah, the media format. I still like owning a physical copy of the films I truly care about, even if I've moved toward downloaded copies of more throw-away entertainment, such as TV show. I realize that this may be the last physical media format I own. One of the first pre-recorded movies I ever bought was a Beta copy of Star Trek III in 1985 (hey, I'm 40 now so I'm gonna do a "get off my lawn" blog moment!).


Yes, I still own it.

The tape cost around $30. This is nearly $60 in 2008 dollars for a tape in pan/scan with analog sub-480 resolution. In 1985, this was the best way to watch this at home. It also had hi-fi-stereo sound. Yes, it was way cool to own a movie like this uncut, not taped off TV, but if you played it back on a hi-fi VCR, it sounded great. The difference between conventional mono VHS/Beta soundtracks and the hi-fi (VHS had a similar upgraded sound track) track was not subtle. I really loved watching that tape, even on a 19" analog TV. Today, it's junk. So, my fondness (or sickness) for owning movies (or music, but that's another blog) on a physical media format goes way back.

I'm looking forward to watching more films on the new format, even though the fact that I can't play the discs on any other machines is annoying. Also annoying is the fact that I can't even play it back on any of my Macs, let alone rip it and transfer it to another device. I'm sure this will change, but for the moment, BD is an elite exclusive format. Stay tuned...

November 3, 2008

"We don't 'ka-frickin-boom' here."

It's over 70 degress here today; gorgeous weather. Maybe the last for a long time.

So, what better time to check out this week's new releases! A lot of the items on the linked list are box sets of previously released movies, in time for the sure-to-be-bountiful holiday buying season! If you're really curious, go check them out...

Chill (2007)

Futurama: Bender's Game (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Get Smart (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

King Fu Panda (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Spin City: Season 1

Transsiberian (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Good luck voting tomorrow! *are* going to vote, right?!...

October 28, 2008

"Sir, I fear we are being used!"

Howdy, digital video-consuming folks!

This seems to be a pretty quiet week, no huge hits coming out.

As usual, click here for the complete rundown.

Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

Dead Space (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

The Donna Reed Show: Season 1

Death Defying Acts (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) In 3D and on Blu-Ray.

The L Word: Season 5

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) Zombie Chickens!

Tinker Bell (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Zombie Strippers (2008) Who says Blu-Ray isn't going mainstream?!

October 23, 2008

"You know those Germans; if you don't join the party, they come get you."

A bit late this week, being down with a cold will do that.

So here's what's out this week.

According to Jim: Season 1

Family Guy: Vol. 6: Season 6

Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 4

The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Fifth Season

The Incredible Hulk (2008) Also on Hulking Blu-Ray!

James Bond: Yes, it's another round of 007 video reissues. And, of course, they release a mix of old/good and new/bad movies. The features seem to be the same as the previous versions. This round includes: Dr. No, Die Another Day, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball. Also on Blu-Ray (a first) and can be bought separately.

The Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Vol. 6 I think they're getting near the bottom of the 'Tunes barrel here.

Missing (1982) Criterion releases this long out-of-print Jack Lemmon film.

October 16, 2008

"I'm sorry; I meant, 'Drop dead, *comrade*.'"

The studios are starting to release more in anticipation of the coming (perhaps gloomy) holiday season. Let's see what they have out this week.

Arch of Triumph (1948)

Back to You: Season 1

CSI: Season 8

Dance of the Dead (2008)

Holiday Inn The 1942 film gets another DVD release (the third, IIRC). This one has three discs, including a colorized version (!) as well as a CD of the soundtrack. Now you can have a CD of "Abraham!"

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull There's a review of the Blu-Ray version here. I have to say this was better than I was expecting. Not great, but still better than Temple 'O Doom.

Mongol (2007)

Nash Bridges: Season 1

The New World - The Extended Cut

The Partridge Family: Season 3

The Sarah Silverman Program: Season 2: Vol. 1

Short Cuts The Altman film gets a Criterion release.

A couple items of interest:

There are some stills from the upcoming Star Trek film out. Check them out here.

And, restoration guru Robert Harris has a piece about the restored Disney Sleeping Beauty (out last week) Blu-Ray/DVD. It's worth a read and can be found here.

October 6, 2008

"Surely our massive conglomerate parent company could spring for a samovar of coffee."

Greetings consumer comrades!

What better way to take your mind off the political races than some new DVDs!

30 Rock: Season 2

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) A new special edition and Blu-Ray. Anyone else remember liking this one growing up? It seemed to be on TV quite often.

Alice Faye Collection Volume 2

The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Second Season

How I Met Your Mother: Season 3

Le Deuxième Souffle (1966)

Le Doulos (1962)

Martin: Season 5

Over-sexed Rugsuckers from Mars (1989) No, I am not making this one up!

Robot Chicken: Season 3

The Simpsons: Season 11

Sleeping Beauty (1959) The Blu-Ray version includes a standard DVD copy: one for the kids, one for the grownups...

The Smurfs: Season 1: Vol. 2

Touch Of Evil (50th Anniversary Edition) This release of the Welles noir includes three different cuts of the film. DVD Savant has a review here.

The Visitor (2007)

Watership Down (Deluxe Edition

You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

September 30, 2008

"Peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy."

Another week, another batch of new DVDs and Blu-Ray.

Adam 12: Season 2

An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Iron Man (2008) Available in basic 1 disc, 2 disc SE, or Blu-Ray. DVD Savant has a good review of the flick/disc here.

My Name Is Earl: Season 3

My Three Sons: Season 1: Vol. 1 One of the classic conservative family sitcoms. It ran for 12 seasons (!) and starred Fred MacMurray. Fred really could act well (just watch him in his Billy Wilder films), but seemed to mostly do the nice guy/father roles on TV or live-action Disney films. One of the interesting things about this show was Fred's contract: they had to shoot all his scenes for the entire season first. Quite the deal. I doubt the show suffered much from this kind of production.

Sports Night: The Complete Series 10th Anniversary Edition A second DVD release for the Sorkin series. The original DVD set was featureless; this one throws in a bunch of new bonus material, some of it good, according to the reviews.

September 22, 2008

"America isn't ready for the real me."

Before I begin, I thought I'd share something.

I am a bit of a packrat (NO WAY!). One of the things I seem to still have sitting around the house is a pile of old A/V magazines: Stereophile and its spinoff, UltimateAV (formally Stereophile Guide to Home Theater). I've been skimming through them a bit lately; here are a few tidbits that caught my attention.

From an issue in 2000:

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab had just gone out of business. Their major retail distributor had just gone kaput and couldn't pay their debts. This dragged the otherwise healthy MoFi down with it (sounds somewhat like our current financial situation). MoFi is back in business; the resurrected company already has out-of-print releases.

There was much talk about the impact that DVD Jon's breaking of DVD encryption would have on the impending launch of the DVD-Audio format. Jon's work is everywhere now and DVD-Audio is dead and buried.

The RCA brand was relaunched by Thompson . Their notable products: Satellite TV receivers (now made only by the satellite providers) and a "promising" new mp3 player. No one had yet heard of this thing called the iPod.

Quite a lot of article and reader letter space was devoted to how audio dealers will deal with this thing called E-Commerce. Those that didn't are probably long gone.

UltimateAV from 2003:

The big DVD news: the Indiana Jones films are coming to DVD (remember that DVD has been around since 1997). This year marked a re-release of the films on DVD and with a few exceptions, the big sought-after movie titles are out on ye olde DVD.

Disney launched, with much fanfare in the A/V press, Moviebeam, a pay-per-view service that used a proprietary box that downloaded movies over the air. Disney dumped it a couple of years ago and it's since been shuttered.

One of the big equipment reviews in the magazine was of a Sony 34 inch HDTV (ca. $3,000) using a CRT. Yes, a 3k tube TV. Sure, CRTs can deliver very good pictures (I still use them), but that size and that amount of money; it seems quaint.

It's all old stuff now, but it wasn't that long ago. Blu-Ray wasn't even on the horizon, let alone the format war that's been fought and won.

Okay, back to the present...and this week's list of new DVDs/Blu-Rays.

Affair in Trinidad (1952)

The Anderson Tapes (1971) DVD Savant reviews this one here.

Boston Legal: Season 4

Cashmere Mafia: The Complete Series

Desception (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

The Garment Jungle (1957) DVD Savant takes a look at this one here.

The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration Giftset This is one of those re-dos that's probably worthwhile. The films (yes, all three) have been restored with the help of restoration heavyweight Robert Harris. By all accounts, the films look fabulous. The Blu-Ray versions apparently nail the look these films had in their original release. DVD Savant has a good review of them here. I'll be buying this, no doubt (even if I never watch Part III).

L.A. Confidential This was an early release on the DVD format and was one of the first movies I bought when I got my first player. It's a great movie and now there's an improved special edition of it. I'm sure I'll be getting the Blu-Ray version at some point.

Leatherheads (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Run, Fat Boy, Run (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Sex and the City: The Movie Also on Blu-Ray.

This American Life: Season 1

Two and a Half Men: Season 4

September 15, 2008

"Pancakes are love."

Here we go, another week of new DVDs and Blu-Rays. And, there's another Star Trek blog/podcast on the way for you to look out for/avoid.

88 Minutes Also on Blu-Ray.

An American in Paris (1951) A new 2 DVD special edition.

The Busby Collection, Vol. 2

Chuck: Season 1

Dirty Sexy Money: Season 1

The Earrings of Madame de... (1953)

La Ronde (1950)

The Love Guru Also on Blu-Ray.

Pushing Daisies: Season 1

Speed Racer Also on Blu-Ray.

Torchwood: Season 2 Bloody Torchwood!

Tortured (2008)

September 8, 2008

"You know, Dude, I myself dabbled in pacifism once."

I didn't get to the blog last week: it was the first week of classes and things were thick. Here's the list of new stuff from last week. I didn't notice anything earthshattering, but you might want to check it out. This week's list can be found here.

Slate has an interesting article on the movies that many Netflix subscribers tend to leave sitting at home unwatched. Check it out here.

DVD Savant has a good article up about DVD menus: a good summary of all the annoying things on DVDs. It can be found here.

Baby Mama (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

The Big Lebowski - 10th Anniversary Limited Edition Another re-release of this one. It's a favorite of mine, but new bonuses aren't going to cut it for me. No Blu-Ray as of yet.

Cool Hand Luke: Deluxe Edition Also on Blu-Ray.

The Fall (2006) Also on Blu-Ray.

The Forbidden Kingdom Also on Blu-Ray.

How The West Was Won (1962) A new transfer that apparently looks much better than the previous DVD. The Blu-Ray version has the film presented in both conventional widescreen (really wide: 2.89:1) and Smilebox formats. The movie isn't that great, but it's quite the visual spectacle and is getting rave reviews on HD for its picture/sound quality.

Medium: Season 4

Smallville: Season 7 Also on Blu-Ray.

Ugly Betty: Season 2

August 25, 2008

"The grown-ups have to go to work today."

Over the weekend I had a chance to compare Blu-Ray vs. standard DVD on my home system. I looked at the first Pirates of the Carribean film. The difference wasn't huge, but the Blu-Ray did look better. Color looked a bit cleaner and there was more detail in the picture; a more film-like appearance. I have no doubt that it would be more of a contrast if I was viewing it on a more modern display. My current system includes an eight-year-old CRT-based HD set. The set was very nice in its day, but it looks a bit on the dull side compared to the newer all-digital displays (the fact that it's probably full of dust doesn't help--it's a boxy rear projection set). It still has nice color and very good black levels, but it wasn't going to blow me out of the water with sharpness. The player I was trying, the previous generation Sony, ran fine but was very slow to do pretty much everything. It took 90 seconds just to power up and the Pirates disc took forever to load (all that Java-based interactive crap loading). They say the newer player and the Playstation 3 are much speedier. I really hope so! So, I liked the picture and still want a player sometime soon (I had this one on loan) and know it will kick butt whenever I upgrade my display.

Now, onto this week's new discs.

Cimarron (1960)

Entourage: Season 4

Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)

Everybody Hates Chris Season 3

Heroes Season 2 Also on Blu Ray.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning (2008) Shouldn't it be, "Ariel Begins"???

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) A new special edition and Blu-Ray version.

One Tree Hill: Season 5

Postal Also on Blu-Ray.

Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) Have any of you film fans seen this? Check out DVD Savant's review of it here. I am curious about this one, though I'm not sure I'm curious enough to sit through it.

What Happens in Vegas Also on Blu-Ray.

Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? (2008)

August 20, 2008

"It's all ball bearings nowadays."

I'm finally getting back in the groove after our trip this past weekend to Rapid City for my sister's wedding. Fun was had by all and my family gains another Englishman! While I was there, my brother gave me an autographed copy of William Shatner's latest book. Come on, I *know* you're jealous! I also learned that my older brother Scott scored the new Sony Blu-Ray player. Damned early-adopter siblings! I may just have to get one of these before the year is out...

In the meantime, let's see what came out this week on DVD/Blu:

Camp Rock (2008) And yes, even the Disney/Teen pop stuff is available on Blu-Ray. I tell you, this format has arrived!

Chronicle of an Escape (2006)

The Fletch Collection Both Fletch films on one cheapish DVD.

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour (2007) See the above comment on Blu-Ray...

House, M.D.: Season 4

The Life Before Her Eyes (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Married... with Children: Season 9

Nixon (Election Year Edition Extended Director's Cut) DVD Savant reviews the Blu-Ray version here.

Prom Night (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

The Proposition (2006) Also on Blu-Ray.

Recount (2008)

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior Also on Blu-Ray.

Street Kings (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Season 1 Also on Blu-Ray.

Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)

August 11, 2008

"Everything's new! New is better!"

It's late Summer and the crappy movies get released. The DVD releases aren't much better....but hey, at least "xXx: State of the Union" is coming on Blu-Ray!

Aftermath: Population Zero (National Geographic)

The American Mall (2008)

The Art of War 2: Betrayal

Bra Boys (2007)

Brand Upon the Brain (2007)

Caroline in the City: Season 1

Eclipse Series 11: Larisa Shepitko

Felon (2008)

The Love Boat: Season 1: Vol. 2

Prison Break: Season 3

Smart People (2008)

South Park: Season 11

The Wire: Season 5

August 5, 2008

"There are no holidays in the fight against evil."

A pretty slow week, DVD-wise. As usual, clicking here will give you the whole list with prices, even the stuff I don't bother to list...

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Collection 3

The Counterfeiters (2007) DVD Savant has a review of the Blu-Ray version here.

Family Ties: Season 4

Fortress (1993) This one's for you, Rob!

Get Smart: Season 1 This show was previously available as a whole series set, now being released season-by-season.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Vol. 3

The Killing of John Lennon (2006)

Lonesome Dove (1989) Also on Blu-Ray.

Nim's Island Also on Blu-Ray.

Robin Hood: Season 2 (BBC)

Wild China (BBC) Also on Blu-Ray.

July 29, 2008

"Sorry, I smoked weed with the president and I totally forgot what I was going to say."

Hello again and welcome to another round of new DVD fun!

Beverly Hills, 90210: Season 5

Centennial: The Complete Series (1978)

Dark City Director's Cut The 1998 Sci-Fi/Noir gets a new release with a different cut of the film. The set also includes the theatrical version plus a Blu-Ray disc is available. I really liked this film last time I saw it and look forward to checking out the new cut. It should look great in HD.

Doomsday (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008) Also available as an EXTREME BLU-RAY!!!!

Inglorious Bastards (1978)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Seventh Year

Lips of Blood (1975)

Shine a Light (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Stargate Continuum

Tyrone Power Matinee Idol Collection

War Games (25th Anniversary Edition) Yep, this one's 25 years old now. This DVD has a new film transfer, which was needed, as well as a second DVD of new bonus features.

Witchblade: The Complete Series

Vengeance (2008)

July 21, 2008

"You steal The Bible, you go to Hell."

We didn't get out to a movie this past weekend, but we did manage to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End last night. I really enjoy the first one, thought the second one was just okay, and this one? A critical quote that sums it up for me would be, "an entertaining mess." First off, this was never going to top the original; it was fresh at the time. This time, the cast is still very good, natch. The effects are flashy and expensive-looking. however, the real issue here is that the whole thing is way too long, perhaps an hour too long. This screenplay could have used some serious chopping; entire subplots should have been axed. I have to wonder if Bruckheimer and co. knew that this was going to rake in the cash and didn't need to be careful about details like that. At times, the film really took itself too seriously, which is a problem for a film like this. It's a shame, really. This could have been a fun, if frivolous installment in the franchise. Instead, I felt as though I had to endure a lot of nonsense to get to the things that are worthwhile: the quirky, over-the-top performances and the action set pieces. Next on my list of newish films to catch up on: Batman Begins so I can get to The Dark Knight (since everyone and their dog seems to think it's the greatest thing since sliced bunloaf...sorry, inside joke).

So, what do we have coming on DVD this week?

21 (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Bird: Special Edition (1988) The Clint Eastwood-directed biopic gets the 2 disc treatment. I remember liking this pretty well, last time I saw it (a number of years ago), with Forest Whitaker's performance standing out.

Blues in the Night (1941)

Earth: The Biography (2008, BBC) Also on Blu-Ray.

High and Low (1963)

Robot Chicken Star Wars

Vampyr (1932) Criterion releases a restored version of the Dreyer classic. Apparently, the public domain DVDs out there really stink, so this should be most welcome. DVD Savant reviews it here.

July 15, 2008

"I don't have a Liverpool accent."

Hmm, a pretty ho-hum week in DVD country.

On the plus side, I caught Wall-E over the weekend and liked it pretty well. The first half or so is really something; the visual imagery alone is worth the price of admission. The ending was a bit of a letdown for me, but overall, I liked it. Pixar still has the stuff, no question. And bonus: very little celebrity voice talent!

Here's the list for this week:

The Bank Job (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell It has a funny name at least.

College Road Trip

Dallas: Season 9

Eureka: Season 2 Anyone ever watched this show?


Saving Grace: Season 1

Shutter Also on Blu Ray.

Trafic (1971) Criterion issues another Tati film.

July 7, 2008

"Jeff used to play the trombone in high school."

A couple of things before this week's list.

Much of the missing footage from Fritz Lang's Metropolis, believed lost since 1927, has been unearthed in Argentina. Details can be seen here. It's also been announced that the missing footage will be part of a new DVD/Blu-Ray release for 2009.

The Godfather films have had a complete restoration by Robert Harris and will be coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray on 9/23. The films supposedly look fantastic and I have to say that this is one of those films I will want to own in HD.

Now, on to this week's new stuff:

Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)

Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: Season 3

I Dream of Jeannie: Season 5 She's gonna get us high!

Monk: Season 6

Mon Oncle Antoine (1971)

The Mummy (1932) Universal gives you yet another chance to buy this one with some new bonuses.

The Ruins (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Stargate Atlantis: Season 4

Superhero Movie (2008)

My, that was quite the pantload!

June 30, 2008

"So what's wrong with the blueberry pie?"

So I'm back from my long trip. I hope you all enjoyed the blogging I did while I was on the Rotterdam; if you didn't catch those entries (and want to), they're all available on the main page of the blog. I didn't do any DVD coverage since the Internet access aboard was slow and expensive. Today it's catch-up time.

For the list of what came out the week of 6/10, click here. The highlights from that week include:

John Adams (HBO Mini-Series)
The Other Boleyn Girl Saw that one on the ship and thought it was pretty good, if not extraordinary.
Witless Protection

For the week of 6/17, click here. Highlights were:

Be Kind Rewind
Fool's Gold
Sword in the Stone 45th Anniv. Edition
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins

For the week of 6/24, click here. Highlights that week included:

10,000 BC
Charlie Bartlett
Definitely, Maybe
Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs
The Spiderwick Chronicles

Which brings us to this week:

City of Men (2007)

The Closer: Season 3

Drillbit Taylor

Heathers (20th Anniversary Edition)

Mad Men Season 1

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945)

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters


My Blueberry Nights

Patriotism (1966)

Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns

Vantage Point Saw this one on the ship as well. The idea for the film isn't so bad, but the characters and dialogue are so bad that you want it to end ASAP.

June 2, 2008

"It's like the Titanic but with bears!"

Hello all,

I may or may not be updating the blog next week. I'm off on a long trip to Europe this weekend and I don't know what 'net access will be like. I'm planning on not only doing the weekly DVD stuff, but also some trip blogging. But if all is quiet, it's probably because I'm not getting online.

So, here's what's up this week:

American Crude (2007)

The Andromeda Strain (2008, TV Movie)

CHiPs: Season 2

Control (2007)

Dante's Cove: Season 3

Dead Zone: The Final Season

Dirty Harry Ultimate Collector's Edition A less expensive 2 DVD set is also available, as is a Blu-Ray version.

Doctor Who - Beneath The Surface

The Eye (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Fearless Planet

Flawless (2007)

Houdini (1953)

The Incredible Hulk: Season 3 Season 4 also out this week.

Mannix: Season 1

The Onion Movie (2008)

Semi-Pro (2008) Also on Blu-ray.

The Stan Laurel Collection 2 Yes, Laurel made films without Hardy...

Weeds: Season 3

May 27, 2008

"My career is on a toboggan run of failure at the moment."

There's a chat transcript up with Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro about the upcoming Hobbit film (currently in pre-production). Check it out here.

A pretty slow week, DVD-wise...check the whole thing out here:

The Air That I Breathe (2007)

Cassandra’s Dream (2007)

Darfur Now (2007)

Grace is Gone (2007)

Gunsmoke: Season 2: Vol. 2

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Vol. 2

Lipstick Jungle: Season 1

Rambo (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

Rawhide: Season 3: Vol. 1

The Thief of Bagdad (1940, Criterion DVD). DVD Savant has a good review of this one here.

The Walker (2007)

May 19, 2008

"I have re-mastered the art of handling hecklers."

Here we go with another round 'o new DVDs:

Charles in Charge: Season 3 ?!?!?!?!?!

Company (2007, PBS)

Cranford (2007, BBC)

The Flock

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: Season 4

The Muppet Show: Season 3

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) Hey kids, did you know there's a stairway at Mt. Rushmore that leads over the hill to Sylvan Lake?!?! The things you learn in a dumb Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Also on Blu Ray.

The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968)

Penn & Teller - Bullsh*t! - The Complete Fifth Season

Square Pegs - The Complete Series

May 13, 2008

"I told you to stop beatin' them drums!"

Before I get started, I wanted to say that the Star Trek review project hasn't been abandoned. We should be back with another installment verrrrry soon!

Another week, another round of new DVDs:

The Big Trail (1930)

Drawn Together: Season 3

The Fire Within (1963)

There are three Sinatra DVD sets being released this week, presumably to coincide with this being the 10th anniversary of his death. I've never quite gotten the whole "death anniversary" thing. It reeks of something made up by a marketing department. But good news for Sinatra fans as the sets contain some new-to-DVD titles and are aggressively priced.

Frank Sinatra - The Early Years Collection

The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection

Frank Sinatra - The Golden Years Collection

The Great Debaters (2007)

Indiana Jones Adventure Collection A reissue of the first three films, a real shocker! It looks like there are a few new bonuses thrown in, but I can't imagine why you'd re-purchase them for that. No word on a Blu-Ray version, though many expect the new Indy film will get a HD release before the end of the year. The one positive thing here is that you can finally buy the films individually (hence skipping Temple of Doom).

The Lovers (1958)

Man of the West (1958) Another Anthony Mann western gets a DVD release. I caught this one on TCM a while back and liked it. It's a dark, complex character piece for a Western and has a lot in common with Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World New this week on Blu-Ray. This is one of those titles I am going to go rent when I get a Blu player. It's such beautiful film, visually, that I really want to see how it looks in hi def.

Mission: Impossible Season 4

The Rat Patrol: The Complete Series

Saturday Night Live: The Complete Third Season

Stargate Infinity: The Complete Series

May 5, 2008

"Increase the Flash Gordon noise and put more science stuff around!"

Spring has finally arrived here in MN and while I'm grateful for the end of the cold, I find myself in denial about Summer being so close...yes, it's May.

So let's see what the entertainment overlords have for us this week:

The 4400: Season 4

Bella (2006)

Bewitched: Season 6

Crossing Jordan: Season 1

First Sunday (2008) Also on Blu-Ray.

I'm Not There (2007)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996) This was released in the late 1990s on DVD but has been out of print for so long that it almost qualifies as a new-to-DVD release. The lack of any extras makes me think the delay had to do with legal, rather than technical or talent-related issues.

P.S. I Love You (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Twister: Special Edition (1996) If, for some strange reason, you've wanted to own this on DVD and haven't bought it, here's an updated DVD. Also being released on Blu-Ray (they're finally releasing the "classics" on Blu!).

April 29, 2008

"All those wonderful orthopedic devices."

Hello everyone and welcome to another week of new DVDs:

27 Dresses (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 3

Beverly Hills, 90210: Season 4

The Big Gay Sketch Show: Season 1 and 2

Cheers: Season 9

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

The Fall of the Roman Empire: Deluxe Edition (1964) First time on DVD.

The Golden Compass (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Paddle to the Sea (1966)

The Red Balloon (1953)

The Waltons: Season 7

April 21, 2008

"Why don't you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?"

It's finally beginning to feel like Spring around here. My pathetic strands of raspberry plants are sprouting green stuff and the tulips that won't die have once again poked up through the ruins of our former flower patch. Can you tell how serious I am about gardening? Anyway, here's what we have coming this week for new DVDs:

Charlie Wilson's War (2007)

Cloverfield (2007)

Death of a Cyclist (1955) Gee, just in time for...cycling weather???

Eclipse Series 10 - Silent Ozu-Three Family Comedies

Friday Night Lights: Season 2

Gumby: The Movie (1995)

Laverne & Shirley: Season 4

The Major and the Minor (1942) Billy Wilder's first film hits DVD.

Midnight (1939)

One Missed Call (2008)

The Orphanage (2007)

The Savages (2007)

April 14, 2008

"This is the most magnificent discarded living room set I've ever seen."

I was out of town over the weekend, playing a symphony concert out in Rapid City. Among other things, we did Beethoven's 5th symphony (one of the non-"ultra-violent" ones). I honestly felt that I played it as well or better than I ever have before. Granted, I know the piece very well and have worked on the bass part a lot, but it just sounded good with a technical comfort level I don't recall having with this challenging piece of music. There's no reason I should be playing this better than I would have in college when I was younger and playing hard every day. Who knows, maybe I'm being delusional. Or, even as I play less and get older, my musicianship continues to improve, bit by tiny bit. Whatever it is, it was a fun gig that I felt good about. And to my Dad, who's conducted this group for may years: I've always been amazed at the amount of quality you squeeze out of this rag-tag collection of players. The road there isn't always pretty, but you and the orchestra always manage to make it work. Bravo! What does this have to do with new DVD releases? Not a damn thing! I just felt like writing about it at the moment.

Another thing: I watched a fryer burst into flames at my local McDonald's. Seriously. There were flames shooting up out of the grease before the fire suppression system doused the thing. Tee hee. The staff, after the fire was out, seemed to be at a loss as to what should be done. I really can't blame them.

So, on that note, let's see what we have on DVD this week:

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

American Dad!: Season 3

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Blast of Silence (1961)

Juno (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

A Passage to India (1984) A new special edition, also being issued on Blu-Ray.

April 7, 2008

"I don't have time for flatulence and orgasms!"

For this week's new DVDs, click here.

Before I begin, I thought I'd mention something I've been watching lately: St. Elsewhere. Fox has released the first season of this 1982 medical drama on DVD (no word yet on the rest of the series). It's cheap enough that I picked it up to see how it held up (I used to watch it when it was in first-run).

All in all, the show holds up well. The writing is great and the ensemble cast mostly excellent. This show, which had relatively poor ratings at the time, covered a lot of controversial ground in its stories. In just the first half of the season, besides various medical/personal problems, they deal with issues such as terrorism (a bit tame compared to today's dramas, but it was something for a network show to even deal with in the early 80s), abortion, racism, the homeless, and transsexuals.

I don't know that they were the first to have their characters grapple with these topics, but I don't believe it was too common at the time. The issue of abortion is dealt with in a sensitive and nonpolitical way. The people dealing with it seem very realistic. Far too often, shows are afraid to deal with topics like this for fear of alienating parts of the audience. They seemed to have little fear of this on this show. It can get a bit preachy once in a while (the episodes I saw about racism were pretty blunt), but usually they assume a certain intelligence in their audience.

The show was done in a serial form, while common today, wasn't so much on American television then. The style and pacing of the show reminds me a bit of The West Wing, particularly the way they do frequent camera follows of characters walking down hallways, with passing of the narrative to another group of people talking in mid-conversation. I'd be shocked if Aaron Sorkin hadn't seen St. Elsewhere.

The hair, clothes, computers (TRS-80!), and other things are fun and 80s-dated, but once you get into the groove of the show, it doesn't distract. The DVDs look just okay. I don't know what sort of film stock they shot this show on, but it looks very flat and grainy. I suspect the DVDs look about as good as this show is capable of. There are a couple of short featurettes on the set and an okay commentary on one episode. But for the cheap price this show goes for, who cares!

So, what do we have this week?

The 11th Hour (2007)

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) I've always had a fondness for this film. There's already a new special edition out on DVD; now it's on Blu-Ray. Cool!

Bette Davis Centenary Celebration Collection

Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory, Vol. 3

The Cosby Show: Season 7 Season 8 also comes out this week.

Hell's Kitchen: Season 1 This is the American version. The only reason I could think of to watch this show again would be for the DVD's uncensored track.

Lions for Lambs (2007)

Matlock: Season 1 Yes, fans of this show actually own DVD players: time to release it!

Resurrecting the Champ (2007)

Sense and Sensibility (2008, BBC)

There Will Be Blood

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007)

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.

February 25, 2008

"How can a train be lost? It's on rails."

So, did any of you watch the Oscars last night? I skipped them again this year. Just couldn't get too excited about it somehow.

Here's what we have coming up this week:

30 Days of Night (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Beowulf (2007) Also being released on HD-DVD: there are some titles that were already in the pipeline when the format's demise was announced.

The Darjeeling Limited

Death at a Funeral (2007)

Family Affair: Season 5

The Last Emperor (1987) Criterion issues a new version (and the old one really stinks) of this epic, complete with theatrical and extended versions. There is some controversy over this one since the director and DP asked Criterion to transfer the film cropped to a 2.0:1 aspect ratio (the film was shot and projected 2.35:1). Check out a review thread here.

Newhart: Season 1 (1982)

Silk (2007)

Slipstream (2007) Anthony Hopkins acts, writes, and directs...

The Smurfs: Season 1: Vol. 1 (1981) All you children of the 80s have been waiting for this, haven't you?

February 19, 2008

"This is a very, very, very nice suit."

Hey there everyone. The big news today of course is the fact that the HD format war is officially over. Read the press release here if you're so inclined. Toshiba has thrown in the towel which paves the way for Blu-Ray to succeed or fail in the mass market. Yes, it could still fail overall. Many are still happy with the quality of standard DVD and there's still the factor of HD via downloads or cable/satellite on-demand. Blu Ray has the edge in quality, but its success is by no means assured.

Oh yeah, some shmoe named Castro has stepped down in Cuba.... :-)

So, what do we have for new stuff this week?

American Gangster (2007) This may be one of the last hits to be released on HD-DVD (I'm sure a Blu-Ray version will be announced).

Coach: Season 3

Dragon Ball Z - Season Four

German Expressionism Collection

In the Valley of Elah (2007) DVD Savant reviews this disc here. Also on Blu-Ray.

Lust, Caution (2007) Ang Lee's latest.

Michael Clayton (2007) Also on Blu Ray.

Pierrot Le Fou (1965)

Rendition (2007)

Walker (1987)

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February 11, 2008

"Some people fear the Lord, I fear women."

Holy crap it's cold around here! Still, no matter the weather, the new DVDs march on.

The Amateurs (2005) Also on Blu-Ray.

Becoming Jane (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Blade: The Series

Dallas: Season 8

The Equalizer: Season 1

Family Ties: Season 3

George of the Jungle: The Complete Series (1967)

Gone Baby Gone (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

The Joan Crawford Collection, Vol. 2

No Reservations (2007) Also on Blu-Ray.

Peter's Friends (1992)

Romance & Cigarettes (2005)

We Own The Night (2007)

February 5, 2008

"Premium-wise and billing-wise, we are eighteen percent ahead of last year, October-wise."

We finally finished watching Battlestar Galactica season three over the weekend. A really good finale, can't wait to see how they wrap the series up later this year. Certainly one of the best shows I've seen lately; I'm going to be buying this in HD sometime down the line.

So, what do we have this week?

2 Days in Paris (2007)

Across the Universe (2007) I have to wonder if this movie got green-lit due to its potential to sell soundtrack cds of Beatles covers....also on Blu Ray.

The Apartment: Collector's Edition The Wilder classic finally gets a decent DVD with a new transfer and bonuses. If this had been released a year or two ago, I would have sprung for it since the old DVD is pretty lackluster. Now, I'm set to wait for the inevitable Blu Ray release. This attitude is not uncommon throughout the film fan community.

The Aristocats The 1970 Disney flick gets its second DVD release.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) Also on Blu-Ray

Beauty and the Beast: Season 3

The Brave One (2007) Also on Blu Ray.

Descent (2007)

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) Galadriel puts on some armor and kicks butt!

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection - Volume 10.2

Tootsie - 25th Anniversary Edition A new SE replaces the old bare-bones DVD.

January 28, 2008

"I'm a god. I'm not *the* God... I don't think."

Here we go again with another week of new DVDs:

Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Vol. 5

Bordertown (2006)

The Comebacks (2007)

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 6

Daddy Day Camp Aren't you glad this one's also available in Blu-Ray???

El Cid (1961) First DVD release for the Bronston/Mann epic. DVD Savant has a review here.

Emergency!: Season 4

Groundhog Day - 15th Anniversary Edition The third and perhaps final DVD release before the inevitable HD version(s).

The Invasion (2007) Also Blu Ray.

King of California (2007) Also on Blu-Day.

The King of Kong (2007)

Mansfield Park (2007 UK TV)

Lake Placid 2

Monty Python's Life Of Brian - The Immaculate Edition New special edition, also in Blu Ray.

The Nines (2006)

Pioneers of Television (2008, PBS)

January 23, 2008

"Welcome to the magical world of ponies!"

Late entry this week; first week of classes for the semester here at the U....sounds like a good excuse at least!

Here's the whole list of new DVDs and the "highlights."

4 by Agnès Varda

Adrift in Manhattan (2007)

Barney Miller: Season 2

ER: Season 8

The Game Plan (2007) Also on Blu Ray...what a great showcase for HD!

Hawaii Five-O: Season 3

The Hunting Party (2007)

Hustle: Season 4

Miss Julie (1951)

Saved From The Flames - 54 Rare and Restored Films 1896 - 1944

Saw IV And another classic comes to Blu Ray!

Sydney White (2007)

This Sporting Life (1963)

Torchwood: Season 1

January 16, 2008

"Does your mother know what you do for a living?"

Let's talk HD format war for a second. In case you hadn't heard, Warner Bros. decided to end the stalemate in the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray format war last week by declaring they'd go Blu Ray exclusive within six months. It seems that, sooner or later, HD-DVD is going to go away. IMO, they made this choice not a moment too soon. Why? Two reasons:

1) Apple just began video rentals over iTunes. Now, Apple isn't the first to do this, but having rentals on such a popular service pushes movie downloads further toward the consumer mainstream. This is just the beginning. I don't know how long it will take for downloads to become popular for movies, but I believe it will become mainstream sooner or later. This is a problem for those who want HD media to succeed; and when I say HD media, I mean HD on discs. Apple is offering movies in HD resolution (Microsoft already had them via its XBox console), 720p. Now, this isn't the same quality as you get on HD-DVD or Blu-Ray, it's more akin to broadcast HD quality. 720p isn't mind-blowing, but it's better than standard DVD and may be good enough for most people. If the various electronics companies and studios want HD on disc to be anything more than the Laserdisc of the 21st century, they need to stop screwing around and get the format out there before iTunes and Co. make "just OK" HD the norm. I am attracted to the idea of getting movies, especially rentals, electronically, but know it will be a long time before downloads have full 1080p/lossless audio. The bandwidth just isn't there yet.

2) Simple: I want to start buying movies in HD, but don't want to invest in a player while there are two formats!

OK, on to the usual:

Here's the whole list, and here's the highlights:

'Allo 'Allo!: Series 7

Alex Haley's Queen

Already Dead (2007)

Breaker Morant (1980, also on Blu Ray)

Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)

Extras - The Complete Series

Family Guy: Blue Harvest (2007)

Good Luck Chuck (2007, also on Blu Ray)

Mr. Woodcock (2007, also on Blu Ray)

The Naked Prey (1966)

Post-War Kurosawa Box

The Rockford Files: Season 5

She's Gotta Have It (1986)

Suburban Girl

January 7, 2008

"I hate posses."

Let's get right into it with the new DVDs of the week:

3:10 To Yuma (2007) Since Warners is attempting to end the HD format war, I"m going to start mentioning Blu Ray releases. This movie is also being released in Blu-Ray Disc (BR).

Boogeyman 2 Electric Boogeyloo???

Gunsmoke: Season 2: Vol. 1

Joshua (2007)

MI-5: Volume 5

SunshineSunshine (2007) Also in Blu Ray.

White Noise 2 (2007)

Zodiac (2007)

January 2, 2008

"Everytime I pass a library I get an anxiety attack."

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had a nice holiday. Needless to say, there wasn't much happening last week in the realm of DVDs (other than lots of them being bought), so I took the week off. We journeyed to the land where I grew up: Rapid City, SD. We had a nice time hanging out with the family and just being away from the everyday stuff. We even saw a movie, the masterpiece, National Treasure: Book of Secrets. My oh my, what a silly film. It's one of those movies I actually find fun to watch with the right people. We all got a good chuckle out of the preposterous story and dumb dialogue (I'm not sure the rest of the theater understood what we were laughing about).

While most of the family was playing in church Christmas Eve, my Dad and I got to wait for a while for my brother's incoming flight at the fabulous Rapid City airport. The real upside to this time waiting was that we had time for a scotch at the bar where we ran into the former basketball coach from my old high school. He and my dad (former band director, same school) know each other, even if they aren't exactly friends, but they had a nice chat. The coach, who I hadn't seen since I graduated, went out of his way to say how much he appreciated the pep band being at the games. I don't think this guy is such a smooth character that he would have bothered to say this if he didn't mean it. I really thought this was a nice thing, particularly due to the fact that my friends and I in band didn't exactly "feel the love" from the jock side of the school. Not that we really cared, but it was a good thing and made the evening somehow worthwhile.

So, let's see what we've got for new stuff this week (I've combined the releases from last and this week):

American Pie Presents: Beta House Ah, another installment in the AP empire.

Eastern Promises (2007)

Galactica 1980: The Complete Series I used to love the original BG show when I was a kid. Needless to say it hasn't aged that well, but I thought this follow-up show was bad even in 1980.

The Heartbreak Kid (2007)

The Kingdom (2007)

Lost and Found: The Harry Langdon Collection

Resident Evil: Extinction

Seasquest DSV: Season 2

Shoot 'Em Up (2007)

War (2007)

December 17, 2007

"Ok, boys, when you meet Jesus, be sure to call Him Mr. Christ."

Here we are at the final week of the holiday buying season. December's almost gone; scary ain't it? click here for the list of the week.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 2

Balls of Fury (2007)

Blade Runner: The Final Cut This contains the new spruced up version of the film. Besides some cleanup and a few tweaks, it doesn't seem like this version is substantially different than the 1992 version. The DVD comes in 2 DVD (new cut and bonuses), 4 DVD (new cut, bonuses, plus all previous versions of the film), and 5 DVD with a briefcase and a bunch of other swag. I'm actually going for the 4 disc since I think it'd be fun to have the other versions. All versions are also available on both HD disc formats.

Bring It On: In It to Win It (2007) The latest installment in the Bring It On "saga."

Cinderella II (2001)

The Mod Squad: Season 1: Vol. 1

Rawhide: Season 2: Vol. 2

The Simpsons Movie


DVD Savant has his annual Best-Of article up; always worth a read. Check it out here.

And, I'll have another TOS Rewind installment up soon as well.

December 10, 2007

"I've always felt out futures lay outside the world of academic achievement."

We're in it now, the point where the home video big guns get released to give a last minute boost to the buying season. Let's see what they've got for us this week, eh?

Beverly Hills, 90210: Season 3

Big Love: Season 2

The Bourne Ultimatum

Bugs! (2006)

Dirt: Season 1

Frasier: Season 10

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: Season 3

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix You get your usual choice of basic 1 disc or extras-loaded 2 disc versions. This also marks the release of the HP films on both High Def formats.

High School Musical 2

Lost: Season 3

The man Who Could Work Miracles (1937)

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Criterion)

Walt Disney Treasures - The Chronological Donald, Volume Three (1947 - 1950)

Walt Disney Treasures - Disneyland - Secrets, Stories & Magic

Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Disney's pre-Mickey cartoon critter.

Finally, DVD Savant has two new reviews worth checking out:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition (already released) and Blade Runner 4 Disc Collection (available next week).

December 3, 2007

"Send this pestilent, traitorous, cow-hearted, yeasty codpiece to the brig."

Welcome to winter in MN. We had the winter temperatures, now we have the snow to match. At home we're still playing WoW, but have made time for a few odds and ends such as Heroes and Kitchen Nightmares (the UK version, haven't really watched the US version yet). Now on to this week's new DVDs:

24: Season 6

Battlestar Galactica: Razor The 2 hour TV movie that aired last month; it serves as a bridge between seasons 3 and 4.

Dante's Cove - Season 1-2 & Original Pilot

Erik the Viking: Director’s Son’s Cut

Ford at Fox - The Collection A huge box set containing pretty much everything John Ford did at Fox; 24 films plus a documentary.

Lubitsch in Berlin

MGM Movie Legends: Bob Hope

The Nanny Diaries

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Saturday Night Live: Season 2


Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures

Will & Grace: Season 7

November 26, 2007

"Finally, I get to save the Earth with deadly laser blasts instead of deadly slide shows! "

So, did everyone have a good holiday? We had a pretty relaxing weekend and the smoked turkey was as good as ever. We also completely skipped shopping on Black Friday. Ah well, I'm sure I'll be OK with that somehow...

So, let's see what we have coming this week:

Bratz I can tell already that this is going to be a BIG week!

Drunken Angel (1948) This has nothing whatsoever to do with this particular Kurosawa film, but this reminded me of the other night: we watched the Dr. Who (current show, 3rd season) episode, "Blink." Great episode, one of the best yet. Drunken (weeping/killer) Angel indeed!

Futurama: Bender's Big Score! The 2007 TV movie.

Happy Days: Season 3

Hot Rod

I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

Laverne & Shirley: Season 3

Mork & Mindy: Season 3

Mr. Bean's Holiday

The Namesake



November 19, 2007

"I want that chubby Communist girl off my show!"

Welcome all, to Thanksgiving week, home of Black Friday. These days I pause to give thanks for, among other things, not having to work retail! Let's see what my former employer will be hustling this week:

Bill Maher: The Decider

Charles in Charge: The Complete Season 2 I'm sure they'll be lining up in front of Best Buy waiting for this one...after all, Scott Baio did it.

CSI: Season 7

The Doris Day Show: Season 5

Hairspray (2007)

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991) First time on DVD for this excellent documentary.

The Lady Vanishes Criterion reissues the Hitchcock classic.

Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Mission: Impossible: Season 3

Queer as Folk - The Complete Series

The Santa Clause 3 - The Escape Clause (2006)

Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete First Season This is the CG-enhanced version of the show; combo DVD/HD-DVD.

The Wild Wild West: Season 3

Have a great holiday everyone!

November 12, 2007

"Kids are cool and all, but getting there seems like a big cosmic joke."

Here we go again; another week, another round of new DVDs:

Amazing Grace (2007)

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)

Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition The Spielberg film gets another DVD release, this time in a 3 disc set that includes all three cuts of the film. It's also the first Spielberg film to be released in HD (Blu Ray).

Gilmore Girls: Season 7 The final season.

La Vie en Rose (2007)

The McCartney Years A collection of Sir Paul's music videos and concert films.

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)

Paris, Je T'aime (2007)

Shrek the Third

November 5, 2007

"Finally Chef Gusteau has found his rightful place in history alongside another equally famous chef... Monsieur Boy-ar-dee."

Before I get into the new stuff this week, I thought I'd share this. I just read a piece about the declining fortunes of Blockbuster. As a former employee, I found it rather....satisfying. Check it out here.

Now for the new DVDs of the week:

The Best of the Colbert Report

A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966)

Chinatown Special Collector's Edition The Polanski classic gets an upgrade.

Deck The Halls (2006)

Doctor Who: Season 3

Full House: Season 8

Help! (1965) The long out-of-print Beatles film gets a reissue as a 2 DVD edition. If you want to go all the way on this one, you can pop for the Limited Edition which has a book, screenplay, and other goodies.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)

Opus & Bill: A Wish for Wings That Work (1991)

Pixar Short Films Collection - Volume 1 Disney is hitting the Pixar content hard this week on Blu-Ray (and regular DVD), along with Cars and Ratatouille.

Ratatouille (2007)

Sicko (2007) Michael Moore's latest.

October 29, 2007

"Thirty-second materialistic sound bites that insult our intelligence? Ooooooh, give me more of those!"

Here we go, into November when the bigger hits of the past year start to roll out onto video. Last night, we actually watched something on our Tivo, something we hadn't done in a long time; it was quite, uh, novel? Anyway, here's what we have coming this week:

Angel - Seasons 1-5

Barbara Stanwyck - The Signature Collection A box containing six of her films (also available separately): Annie Oakley, East Side, West Side, Executive Suite, Jeopardy, My Reputation, and To Please a Lady.

Captivity (2007)

CSI: Miami: Season 5

Family Affair - Season 4

Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Five

Magnum P.I.: Season 7

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 12

Scrubs: Season 6

Spider-Man 3

Talk to Me (2007)

Twin Peaks - The Definitive Gold Box Edition The whole series in one set, including the pilot and new bonuses.

October 22, 2007

"You Americans are dumb. You admire Lafayette and Maurice Chevalier. They're the dumbest of all Frenchmen."

Hello again Yankee consumers! Shall we take a look at what we have to look forward to this week?

The Adventures of Aquaman Collection

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 1 The first time on DVD for this series.

Breathless (1960) Criterion releases their version of the Godard film.

Christmas Carol Ultimate Collector's Edition

The Company (2007)

Days of Heaven (1978) Criterion issues the Malick film with a new film transfer and bonuses.

Hostel: Part II

The L Word: Season 4

Monarch of the Glen: Series 7

The Sopranos: Season 6: Part 2

Under the Volcano (1984)

Veronica Mars: Season 3

Warner Directors Series - Stanley Kubrick This will be the third Warner Kubrick box set on DVD (and yes, I bought both previous sets). The new one is notable for the inclusion of new extras as well as well as The Shining and Full Metal Jacket being released in enhanced widescreen for the first time (there is debate on those titles as to which way, open matte/4x3 or widescreen is the director-sanctioned way of viewing them). The "Life in Pictures" documentary is held over from the last set. However, the new box doesn't include Dr. Strangelove, Lolita, or Barry Lyndon. Also, Eyes Wide Shut will be the unrated international version without the CG censorship that was required to get the R rating from the MPAA. Finally, this set is being released on both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD this week. This set will be one of the first things I buy when I finally get a HD player.

October 15, 2007

"Have you ever slept in a castle with a moat before? "

Since I was out of town over the weekend, I can use that as an excuse for not getting the next Trek installment out. And, it's a 2 part episode, so I need twice as long to write it....yeah, that's it!

In the meantime, here's what we have in the land of DVD this week:

Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy

The Hoax (2006)

Ironside: Season 2

The Jazz Singer (1927) Warners releases the first talkie film on DVD for the first time as a loaded 3 DVD set. I've gotta say that while I appreciate the historical significance of this film and Jolson's performances, the film itself doesn't do a lot for me. The DVD set however, looks like a really nice edition with gobs of extras and restored early Vitaphone shorts. DVD Savant has a good review of the set here.

Medium: Season 3

The Reaping (2007)

Roseanne: Season 9.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The Complete Series Sorkin's 1 season wonder hits DVD. I really hope he manages to come back after the failure of this show. There were some great things about it, but it just didn't work in the end.

That '70s Show: Season 7

Transformers (2007)

Treasures from American Film Archives: Vol. 3 Another great set of curiosities from the cinematic past; this time, the theme is social issues. DVD Savant reviews this set here.

October 8, 2007

"Is that a lama... with a hammer?"

Hello again everyone. I haven't seen many films recently. My viewing time has been devoured by WoW and catching up on some TV shows I've missed. In particular, the 3rd season of Dr. Who (which has been very good), re-watching Firefly with some friends who never caught it before, and various Gordon Ramsay shows (some of these are really guilty pleasures). Anyone seen anything notable lately?

Well, here's this week's list of new DVDs:

28 Weeks Later (2007)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 3 (1957)

CSI: NY: Season 3

Evan Almighty (2006)

Everybody Hates Chris: Season 2

Family Ties: Season 2

Mala Noche (1985)

Reign Over Me (2007)

Roots The 1977 mini series come back into print.

Stargate SG-1: Complete Series

Surf's Up (2007)

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) The first time on DVD for this one.

October 1, 2007

"Are you God's black friend?"

This week's complete list is here.


Caligula: Imperial Edition Yes, another reissue...

Civic Duty (2006)

Criminal Minds: Season 2

Entourage: Season 3: Part 2

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

How I Met Your Mother: Season 2

The Jungle Book (1967) The Disney film returns to DVD and is now in widescreen, unlike the 1999 DVD.

The Sarah Silverman Program: Season 1

The War - A Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

September 24, 2007

"Steely Dan can gargle my balls."

The DVD release parade marches on into the Fall. click here for the whole thing.

Black Book (2006) DVD Savant has a review of this one here. Looks like this might be the first Paul Verhoeven film worth checking out in a long while.

The Bronx is Burning

Count Dracula (1977 BBC series)

Drawn Together: Season 2

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) Where the students of St. Olaf battle the outlaws of Jesse James' gang!

The Hand (1981)

The King of Queens: Season 9

Knocked Up Judd Apatow's latest.

My Name Is Earl: Season 2

Numb3rs: Season 3

The Streets of San Francisco: Season 1: Vol. 2

Suspiria (1977)

The Untouchables: Season 1: Vol. 2 (1959)

September 17, 2007

"What is a DVD player? Is it for pornography? "

The link of the week is here and the list is...


Beyond the Gates (2005)

Boston Legal: Season 3

Deliverance 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition DVD Savant has a good review here.

Everybody Loves Raymond: Season 9

Family Guy: Vol. 5: Season 5

Ghost Whisperer: Season 2

Gracie (2007)

Josie and the Pussycats: The Complete Series And yes, Kasey Kasem is in it.

Martha Graham: Dance on Film (1957)

Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)

Stargate Atlantis: Season 3

The Threepenny Opera (1931)

We Are Marshall (2006)

September 10, 2007

"It's very comfortable just to drift here."

Okay, so I was having this discussion with Stacie today at lunch about our eventually getting some kind of HD disc player. She said, no way, not until the format war is over. Fair enough. However, she also mentioned that I could end the war right here and now by buying a player. Why? Because my family has a distinguished history of choosing the losing technology in format wars. Don't believe me? How about Betamax, Intellivision, and the TI 99/4A, to name a few. Heck, the Macintosh may have beaten Windows if I hadn't bought one. Her point was, if I buy one of these players, I'll spare the world the continuation of this nasty format war by prematurely deciding the loser. To quote Stephen Colbert, "The one that wins is the one you don't buy." Clearly my buying, say a HD-DVD player is needed for the public good. Right?

But for now, off to the realm of standard DVD for this week's new releases:

The Addams Family: Vol. 3

Away From Her (2006) Don't let the subject matter scare you off. Julie Christie and the rest of the cast are great; well worth seeing.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)

Charmed: The Final Season It's the end of the line for Chaaaahhhhmed!

Dirty Sanchez (2006)

Fraggle Rock: Season 3

The Graduate: 40th Anniversary Edition

Grey's Anatomy: Season 3

I Dream of Jeannie: Season 4

Masada (1981)

McHale's Navy: Season 2

Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection, Vol. 3

The Valentino Collection

September 4, 2007

"I learned fried chicken at the school of hard knocks."

Happy September, all. Things are crazy busy around here, but there's always time for the DVD fun, no?

click here for the whole list, as always.

30 Rock: Season 1 A very funny show that I hope gets another season.

The Black Donnellys: The Complete Series

Bosom Buddies: Season 2

Delta Farce

Desperate Housewives: Season 3

Georgia Rule

Night on Earth (1991)

Nip/Tuck: Season 4

The Office: Season 3

Prison Break: Season 2

Stranger than Paradise (1984)

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

August 30, 2007

"The only skater to win four national championships and an adult film award."

Sorry about the incredible lameness this week. We were out of town and the semester begins on Tuesday here, so the blog must suffer...but do go and check out these two links:

The list of new DVDs (natch!)

DVD Savant's excellent review of the new Robocop DVD; the review of the film is worth a read.

August 20, 2007

"We're gonna explode? I don't wanna explode!"

It's a rainy, slow week for new DVDs. Here's the list and here's my bit:

Broken English (2007)

The Dark Backward (1991)

Dexter: Season 1

Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: Season 2

The Ex

House, M.D. - Season Three

House of Games (1987) Criterion issues the David Mamet film.

The Milky Way (1969)

Perfect Stranger (2007)

Serenity: Collector's Edition All right Joss fans, time for a double (or triple if you want it in HD) dip for all those new features.

She (1935)

South Park: Season 10

Ugly Betty: Season 1

August 13, 2007

"This bodes some strange eruption to our state."

Greetings DVD consumers! Let's jump right in and see what we have this week:

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters for DVD (2007) Yes, the movie with the terrorist ad campaign has come to DVD.

The Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 3 Fox digs into the vaults for another round of Warner Oland Chan films: Behind That Curtain, Charlie Chan's Secret, Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo, Charlie Chan on Broadway, and The Black Camel.

Cria Cuervos (1977)

The Dark Crystal: 25th Anniversary Edition

Inland Empire (2006) David Lynch's latest.

Dynasty: Season 2

The First Films of Sam Fuller (1949-1951) Check out DVD Savan'ts review for details.

Fracture (2007)

The Fugitive: Season 1: Vol. 1

Hamlet (1996) The film that some of us have been waiting for some ten years, finally comes out of DVD for the first time. I'm looking forward to seeing it again, though I know it won't be as fun as seeing it in true 70mm form.

Labyrinth Special Edition

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) Yes, starring James Cagney...seems odd, but OK!

Othello (1965, Olivier version)

Romeo and Juliet (1936)

August 6, 2007


This week there seems to be a bit more happening in DVDland. As always, click here for the whole list and pricing.

8 Simple Rules: Season 1

Brigitte Bardot Collection A box set featuring five of her films, new to DVD: Naughty Girl, Love on a Pillow, The Vixen, Come Dance With Me, and Two Weeks in September.

Daniel Boone: Season 5 This thing ran for five seasons?!

Disturbia (2007) Also available on Blu Ray and HD-DVD.

The Dresden Files: Season 1

Flash Gordon Saviour of the Universe Edition The camp film gets the SE treatment. DVD Savant has a great review of the disc here.

Home Improvement: Season 7

The Muppet Show: Season 2

Myrna Loy & William Powell Collection Warners puts together a pack of non-Thin Man Loy/Powell films: Manhattan Melodrama, Evelyn Prentice, Double Wedding, I Love You Again, and Love Crazy. DVD Savant reviews the set at this link.

Rome: Season 2

Roseanne: Season 8

The Simpsons: Season 10

TMNT (2007) Another classic being released on Blu Ray and HD-DVD.

Finally, be sure to go read DVD Savant's (he's had some good stuff up lately) review of the new Showgirls DVD, "It's so far beyond bad that the words 'bad movie' seem inadequate. The combined inner demons of Verhoeven and Eszterhaus seem to have created a cinematic Monster from the Id, a hateful pile of irredeemable ugliness for the growing heap of cultural garbage. I'm totally against fundamentalist watchdogs proclaiming Hollywood to be a modern Sodom in need of heavenly bolts of lightning, but I'd not like to be defending Tinseltown if this picture was introduced as evidence for the prosecution." Read the whole thing here.

August 1, 2007

"Aloha. Aloha, suckers."

Hey there everyone and welcome to another fun-filled week of DVD-ness. As usual, clicking here will get you the whole list and prices. Before I start, just a bit of news for Battlestar Galactica fans. There's been an announcement about the upcoming 4th and final season, which airs in January, as well as the two hour TV movie that will air on Sci Fi in November. For more details, check out this article.

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) DVD Savant has a review of the Harryhausen film here.


The Archie Show: The Complete Series

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales

Dallas: Season 7

Everything's Gone Green

Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 Warners continues the mine their back catalog: Art of Violence, Mystery Street, Crime Wave, Decoy, Illegal, The Big Steal, They Live By Night, Side Street, Where Danger Lives, and Tension.

Firehouse Dog

Hawaii 5-O - The Second Season

Hot Fuzz


Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Season 2 And speaking of "classics"....

Finally, another Trek TOS entry should be coming soon...

July 24, 2007

"Why don't you knock a hole in your head and let some brains in."

If you click over to this week's complete list of new releases, you'll see a lot of re-dos, including a bunch of "Cliffs Notes" versions of previously-released classics. However, let's see what actual new releases we have:

Benson - The Complete First Season

Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory, Vol. 2 It's pretty cool that Warner continues to release new-to-DVD classics. It's a good thing since they have the largest classic film library. This set of MGM musicals includes two films that were available on DVD in poor public domain copies, the rest are new on DVD: The Pirate, Words and Music, That's Dancing, The Belle of New York, Royal Wedding, That Midnight Kiss, and The Toast of New Orleans.

Hard Boiled Ultimate Edition (1992) Wanna bet that this isn't the ultimate edition of the movie?

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Vol. 3

Host (2006)

Ivan's Childhood (1962)

Land of the Giants - The Full Series

The Real McCoys: Complete Season 1

Stargate SG-1 - Season 10

Tales from the Crypt: The Complete Sixth Season

The Number 23


And stay tuned for more Trek coming soon!

July 18, 2007

"I don't pray. Kneeling bags my nylons."

Hello everyone and welcome to another hot (and in the case of today, literally) week of DVD new releases:

Ace in the Hole (1951) Criterion issues the Billy Wilder classic. DVD Savant has a really nice review of the film here.

Esther Williams Collection Warner tackles the Esther Williams MGM catalog: Bathing Beauty, Easy to Wed, On an Island With You, Neptune’s Daughter, and Dangerous When Wet.

Factory Girl

Gunsmoke - The First Season A whole season of fun in Artful Dodge City!

The Hills Have Eyes 2

Premonition (2007)

Red Dawn (Collector's Edition) Ah finally, an SE of the Patrick Swayze "classic."

Showgirls - Fully Exposed Edition A comment from the IMDB crowd: "The first movie in history that jiggles you into a stupor of boredom."

July 9, 2007

"You want to wake up with something strange?"

After the last two posts, this one's gonna seem mighty small...tee always, click here for this week's list of new stuff.

After the Wedding (2007)

The Astronaut Farmer (2006)

Beauty and the Beast: Season 2

Bewitched - The Complete Fifth Season

A Bullet for Joey (1955)

The Contractor (2007)

Extras: The Complete Second Season

Frankie & Annette: MGM Movie Legends Collection MGM mines the back catalog for some Summer Fluff: : Beach Blanket Bingo, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Fireball 500, Thundr Alley, Muscle Beach Party, and Ski Party. Boomers, get out yer wallets!

The Last Mimzy (2007)

The Stranger (1946) This may be the first time this has been on DVD in a non-public domain cheapie form.

July 3, 2007

"Why on earth would anyone want to go camping? "

Happy July 4th everyone. Shall we see what patriotic DVDs are being released this week?

Baa Baa Black Sheep, Vol. 2

Batfink: The Complete Series (1966)

Driving Lessons (2006)

Eureka: Season One

George Lopez: America's Mexican

Just the Two of Us (1975) So check out the description of this one: "In this classic lesbian sexploitation flick, married neighbors Adria (Alisa Courtney) and Denise (Elizabeth Plumb) plunge into a secret affair. But when hot young actor Jim (John Aprea) turns Adria's fickle head, Denise becomes desperate to recapture her illicit love. Soon, however, devious British temptress Mona (Elizabeth Knowles) sets her sights on the lonely Denise -- and her intentions are definitely not honorable." Tee hee

Neverwas (2005)

Our Very Own (2005)

Puccini for Beginners (2006)

Raid on Entebbe (1977)

June 25, 2007

"This is me turning off your morphine."

And we're off for another week of DVD FUN!

Black Snake Moan (2007)

Cult Camp Classics: Volume 1 (Sci-Fi Thrillers) It's cheesy retro movie week with four Warner box sets: Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (1958), Giant Behemoth, and Queen of Outer Space. DVD Savant reviews the set here.

Cult Camp Classics: Volume 2 (Women in Peril): The Big Cube, Caged, and Trog. Check out the review here.

Cult Camp Classics: Volume 3 (Terrorized Travelers): Hot Rods to Hell, Skyjacked, and Zero Hour.

Cult Camp Classics: Volume 4 (Historical Epics): Colossus of Rhodes, The Prodigal, and Land of the Pharoahs. DVD Savant takes a look at them here

Dead Silence (2007)

La Jetee/Sans Soleil (1963)

Miami Vice: Season 5

Monk: Season 5

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection Vol. 11

Pride (2006)

Shooter (2007) Wow, they've made a film about Dick Cheney!

And I just had to leave you with this image:


June 18, 2007

"Reno is a lot like Mayberry on the TV except that everyone's on crystal meth and prostitution's legal."

So, what do we have this week?

The Abandoned (2007)

Animaniacs: Vol. 3

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

Daniel Boone: Season 4

If... (1968) Criterion releases the film starring a pre-Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell.

Lucille Ball Film Collection A box with six of Ball's feature films: Critic’s Choice, Dance Girl Dance, Du Barry Was a Lady, The Big Street, Mame, Best Foot Forward.

Perry Mason: Season 2: Vol. 1

Picket Fences: Season 1

Pinky and the Brain: Vol. 3

Powerpuff Girls: Season 1 This is quite the week for modern TV animation.

Reno 911! - Miami

Silver Spoons - The Complete First Season

Sweet Movie (1974)

June 11, 2007

"Please excuse Juan for being a sheephead."

Hello again everyone and welcome to another fun week of DVD new releases. Nothing really earth-shattering coming out this week, but more than we had last week. click here for the complete list with prices.

Blood and Chocolate

Breach (2007)

Days of Glory (2007)

Deadwood - The Complete Third Season

Ghost Rider

The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries: Season Two Woo hoo! Another DVD release for Shaun Cassidy fans!

The Hustler The Newman film gets the 2 disc SE treatment.

James Stewart – Screen Legends Collection This box set includes: : The Glenn Miller Story, Next Time We Love, Shenandoah, Thunder Bay, and You Gotta Stay Happy.

Late Ozu

The Practice - Volume One

The Rat Patrol - The Complete Second Season

The Two of Us (1967)

Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete First Season

June 4, 2007

"What the hell does he care, he's having fun."

Sorry, but no real entry this week due to me being in a very foul mood (ask me if you're curious).

Here's this week's link.

May 29, 2007

"You brought your cat to a crime scene? "

A slow week in DVDland...check out the whole thing here.

The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series

The Closer - The Complete Second Season

Hannibal Rising

The Hawk is Dying (2006)

Katharine Hepburn Collection Warner issues a box set of new-to-DVD Hepburn films: The Corn is Green, Dragon Seed, Morning Glory, Sylvia Scarlett, Undercurrent, and Without Love.

Rawhide - The Second Season, Vol. 1

And since this week was such a snore, here's a good DVD Savant review of the recently-released Apocalypto.

May 14, 2007

"My life suddenly seems long, measured in muffins."

Hello everyone. I was going to actually write something other than the usual recap, but today's dealings with the fine city in which I live have put me in an especially foul mood. So, I'll leave it for another day when I'm not quite as annoyed. In the meantime, have fun with this week's new DVDs:

Army of Shadows (1969) DVD Savant reviews this DVD here.

Banacek - The First Season

Becket (1964) For a review, click here.

Coach - The Second Season

ER: Season 7

The Fountain (2006)

Frasier: Season 9

Home Improvement - The Complete Sixth Season

MASH: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

Monarch of the Glen: Series 6

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

The Rockford Files: Season Four

Stomp the Yard

Vengeance Is Mine (1979)

May 7, 2007

"I did not lose a leg in Vietnam so I could serve hotdogs to teenagers."

I think I'll get around to my post this about a few books I've found interesting...but for today, let's see what we have for new DVDs:

The 4400 - The Complete Third Season

Battlestar Galactica: Seasons 2.0 & 2.5 A repackaging of the second season in one set.

Because I Said So

Cagney & Lacey - Season 1

Catch and Release

Daniel Boone - Season Three

Deliver Us from Evil (2006)

Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Eighth Season

The Guns of Navarone (1961) The WWII film gets the SE treatment.

Jason of Star Command Yes, now you can own the complete 1979 series...

Music and Lyrics (2006)

The Painted Veil (2006)

That '70s Show - Season 6

That Thing You Do! - The Director's Cut

Voltron: Defender of the Universe: Vol. 3

The Waltons - The Complete Fifth Season

And finally, Warners has announced the release date for Hamlet (1996) as a 2 disc set (also being released in HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) on 8/14. This will be the first time the film's been on DVD and it's long overdue. They're also including it in a Shakespeare box set on the same date; click here for more details. I have to say that this is the first HD release that will seriously tempt me to make the HD disc plunge.

May 2, 2007

"My car just hit a water buffalo."

It's the end of the semester, here in U Land, so I'm pushing this week's update out late...I'm sure you're all really choked up about it. So, what fresh (and not so fresh) DVDs were released this week?

Alpha Dog (2006) Gee, this reminds me of a certain black dog...

Beverly Hills, 90210: Season 2

Dreamgirls (2006) Co-starring "cousin" Beyonce' (according to one of my brothers!).

Fletch (1985) The 80s comedy hit gets a SE. I remember liking this...when I was in high school.

Happily N'Ever After (2006)

The Hitcher (2007)

The King of Queens: Season 8

Melrose Place: Season 2

Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days The 2006 BBC series gets a DVD release.

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) Another SE re-do.

Tyrone Power: The Swashbuckler Box Set Fox releases a set of new-to-DVD Power films: Blood and Sand, Son of Fury, The Black Rose, Prince of Foxes, and The Captain from Castile.

Will & Grace: Season 8

April 23, 2007

"I got suits I can't get parts for. "

OK, here's the link and here's the list:

Al Franken: God Spoke (2006)

Anna Karenina (1948) This DVD also includes the 1915 version.

Deja Vu (2006)

The Documentaries of Louis Malle - Eclipse Series 2

The Drew Carey Show: Season 1

The Fighting 69th (1940)

Flipper - The Original Series, Season 1

Jane Eyre (1944)

Kidnapped: The Complete Series

Night at the Museum

The Odd Couple: Season 1

One Day at a Time: Season 1 Another Lear sitcom comes to DVD...or is it a series about a certain blog???

Planet Earth: The Complete Collection

The Purple Heart (1944) Just in time for Fathers Day...a WWII propaganda movie. DVD Savant reviews the film/disc here.

The Queen (2006)

WKRP in Cincinnati: Season 1 Well, it was always a matter of either getting the show with missing scenes (some scenes that have dialogue surrounding a particular pop song that they couldn't license) and music substituted with generic low-cost stuff or not having the show on DVD period. This is better than nothing, but still a disappointment.

April 16, 2007

"The Fonz is gonna jump *over* a shark! "

The weather here in MN is quite lovely today, so much so that I am going to get this entry done ASAP so I can find an excuse to be outside! So click this link for the whole thing and here are some highlights for this week:

Brute Force (1947) Criterion issues the early Burt Lancaster film.

Freedom Writers (2007) Hey man, is that Freedom Writers? Turn it up!

Happy Days - Season 2

La Haine (1995)

The Last King of Scotland (2006) Did anyone see this? Sounds like it's worth checking out.

Laverne & Shirley - Season 2

Mork & Mindy: Season 2

Notes on a Scandal (2006)

Overlord (1975)

Smokin' Aces (2007)

Spider-Man 2.1 - Unrated, Extended Cut

April 9, 2007

"Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball."

Well hello again all. First, a couple of notes before I dive into this week:

First, let's all root for the speedy recovery of Danielle's dog Peyton who had his spleen removed over the weekend. He's apparently up and eating, so keep it up, you big sweet goofy dog!

Second, there was a good op-ed in the NY Times about the record industry, "Spinning Into Oblivion". It's pretty short and worth a read, so check it out here.

So, let's see what we have on tap this week DVD-wise:

The Aura (2005)

Bobby (2006)

The Doris Day Collection, Vol. 2 Warners delivers another box 'o Dorris: Romance on the High Seas, My Dream Is Yours, On Moonlight Bay, I'll See You in My Dreams, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, and Lucky Me

Flannel Pajamas (2006)

How William Shatner Changed the World The TV docu comes out on DVD. This was actually not bad, assuming you can deal with Shatner's ego.

Major League Special Edition (1989)

Payback - The Director's Cut

The Pride of the Yankees Anniversary Edition (1942)

Scooby Doo, Where Are You! - The Complete Third Season

Shanghai Surprise - Special Edition Wow, they'll make a deluxe DVD out of anything these days!

Sleeping Dogs Lie (2006)

The Untouchables - Season One, Vol. 1 (1959)

April 2, 2007

"Diane, never drink coffee that has been anywhere near a fish."

Another week...time to make the donuts...Jelly Donuts!

For the whole selection, click here:

All That Jazz - Music Edition The 1979 Fosse film gets a redo with more extras.

Bedazzled (1967)

Black Christmas (2006)

Charlotte's Web (2006)

Copying Beethoven

Entourage: Season Three Part 1

The Good Shepherd

Law & Order - The Fifth Year

The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 1 A box set containing five of the directors horror films. For a revew and details, check out DVD Savant's review here.

The Natural: Director's Cut Extended version plus bonuses.

Twin Peaks - The Second Season After being stuck in studio limbo, the second season finally comes out for the first time on DVD. Buy/rent it now before the rights get sold and the DVDs pulled out of print!

Volver (2006)

March 26, 2007

"But they were out of tomato paste, and by the time they got more in, my coupon had expired. And now I have venereal disease."

Ten years ago this week, the DVD format was introduced here in the US. DVD is pretty passe' now, but back in the late 1990s, it was (well, to some of us) all quite interesting. It was by no means certain that the format would take (Circuit City's ill-conceived DIVX "rental" DVD format didn't help). Not all the studios were onboard and the selection of titles was slim. Even though I've bemoaned the small number of good films available on the HD formats (they have been tending to focus on action spectacles or bad sci fi), the number of titles being released is actually higher than it was in the first year of DVD.

I'd say that it's very possible that DVD was the last successful packaged media launch. Even without the HD format war, HD-DVD and Blu Ray (many are now predicting Blu Ray's upcoming victory) may be too little too late. DVD came along at the right time and was a huge improvement over VHS; I was always less than impressed with VHS's picture quality. As interested as I am about the new formats, I observe it with more of a detached interest. You just know it isn't going to catch fire like DVD did. The rollout of DVD was a sea change for the movie business as it set the stage for the huge sell-through video market we have now. Rental is still there, but not as the overwhelming business it was prior to DVD's breakthrough success. Going forward, we see new delivery methods pushing ahead, for better or worse.

Ten years...

So, here we are with another week of new DVDs:

7th Heaven - The Complete Fourth Season See, ten years out and there are still big titles left to release!

The Addams Family - Volume 2

Children of Men

Color Me Kubrick (2005)

The Errol Flynn Signature Collection, Vol. 2 Another Warner classic film box set that I don't have time for! This one includes: The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), Gentleman Jim (1942), The Adventures of Don Juan (1948), The Dawn Patrol (1938), and Dive Bomber (1942).

Family Affair - Season Three

Full House - The Complete Sixth Season

Happy Feet

The Jeffersons - The Complete Sixth Season

The Judi Dench Collection This set contains nine plays and original productions made for the BBC, click here for more details.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - Volume 1 Another Lear show makes it to DVD.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

School For Scoundrels (1960)

The Shield - Season 5

The Tempest (1982)

Whose Line Is It Anyway?: The Original British Series - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2

March 20, 2007

"This scene's supposed to be in a saloon but the censor cut it out."

A bit late this week, but we were out in SD over the weekend enjoying the warm weather, among other things. I'm going to write an entry about some books I've been digging into, but I'm going to hold off until I've finished the one I'm reading right now. For now, here's what we've got on DVD for this week:

Blood Diamond

The Care Bears Movie: 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Yikes, this merits an "anniversary" edition?!

Christy - The Complete Series

Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner - Extended and Uncensored This version supposedly has an extra 20 minutes of Shatner-iffic roasting.


Maude - The Complete First Season Another Lear spinoff series make its way to DVD.

McHale's Navy - Season One

Miami Vice Season 3

The Naked City Criterion releases the noir classic.

The Nativity Story All right, just in time for...Easter?! The entry on Netflix sez,

"Enjoyed By Members Who Enjoyed
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe

The Passion of the Christ

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

Ice Princess

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace"

NewsRadio - The Complete Fifth Season The final season arrives on DVD.

Rocky Balboa

Sleep er Cell - Season 2

The W.C. Fields Comedy Collection Volume 2 This set contains: The Man on the Flying Trapeze, Never Give A Sucker An Even Break, You're Telling Me!, The Old Fashioned Way, and Poppy.

The Wild Wild West - The Complete Second Season

March 12, 2007

"Christ, I miss the Cold War."

I'm thinking of writing an entry on, god help me, books! We'll see if I ever get to it...but for now, let's see what we have coming out this week:

Bosom Buddies - The First Season

The Burmese Harp (1952)

Casino Royale (2006)

Fires on the Plain (1959)

Ghost: Special Collector's Edition All you Patrick Swayze, um, fans, can buy this movie again as a SE.

The Holiday (2006)

I Love Lucy - The Final Seasons: 7, 8 & 9 This set contains all the post-season 6 shows, which were a series of specials, AKA, The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show.

The Man Who Sued God (2001)

Mile High - The Complete First Season

Robin of Sherwood: Set 1 (1984)


Without a Trace - The Complete Second Season

March 5, 2007

"I get a clock radio, he cannot afford. Great success! "

The slate of DVDs this week looks a bit bigger than we've had recently. The HD format war rages on, but we don't care about that right we? In any case, let's see what we have this week:

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Cinderella Liberty (1973)

Commissar (1967)

Confetti (2006)

The Ernest Hemingway Film Collection This box set includes: The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), The Sun Also Rises (1957), A Farewell to Arms (1957), Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962), and Under My Skin (1950).

Fast Food Nation (2006) Mmm, I think it's time for a tasty Shamrock shake!

The Full Monty: The Fully Exposed Edition The 1997 hit gets a new and needed upgrade over the old bare-bones non anamorphic DVD.

Hawaii Five-O - The First Season

Jesse James (1939)

Literary Classics Collection The latest Warner classics set (all available separately): The Prisoner of Zenda (1937 and 1952 versions), The Three Musketeers (1948, Gene Kelly), Madame Bovary (1949), Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951), and Billy Budd (1962). DVD Savant reviews the set here.

The Loop: Season 1

Moonlighting: Season 5

Northern Exposure - The Complete Sixth Season

Peter Pan: Platinum Edition (1953) The Disney Pan gets a new DVD release.

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch - The Complete First Season I know we've been waiting so long for this one...

South Park - The Complete Ninth Season

Stargate Atlantis: Season 2

February 26, 2007

"I am relieved to know that I am not a golem."

So, did anyone watch the Oscars last night? We chose to skip it this year. Lame? Well, perhaps. I was glad to hear that Martin Scorsese finally won a directing Oscar after all these years. So let's see what we have for new DVDs this week:

Alice in Cartoonland A collection of very early Walt Disney cartoons from the late 1920s

Alexander - The Final Cut (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) Oliver Stone takes another crack at his epic...with an extra 40 minutes of material.

Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back - 65 Tour Deluxe Edition

The Doris Day Show - Season 4

A Good Year

Magnum PI - Season 6

The Return

The Rockford Files - Season Three

Stranger Than Fiction Will Ferrell alert!!!

February 19, 2007

"I find everyone's pain amusing, except my own... I'm French!"

Crap, this month is going fast! Our MN cold snap seems to be coming a merciful end. Anything above 20 degrees seems warm right now. If you've got a few minutes, go read this article called "Pirates of the Multiplex," which is a good look at the bit torrent site, Pirate Bay (yes, it's on the Vanity Fair site...go figure). WoW, is still sucking up my free time, so we're even more behind on DVDs, but for those of you who are ready for new stuff, here's this week's list of new DVDs:

49th Parallel (1941) Criterion issues this early Powell/Pressburger film, which was intended to influence the American public to support entering WW2. DVD Savant has an interesting review of the disc here.

Alias Smith and Jones - Season One

Babel (2006)

Bicycle Thieves (1948) Criterion issues a SE of the classic.

Family Ties - The Complete First Season As cheesy as this show was at times, I have to give them a little credit for inserting politics (albeit a jokey kind of "discourse") into a post-Archie Bunker 80s sitcom.

Flushed Away The first (and last?) CG animated film from Aardman (Wallace & Gromit).

For Your Consideration (2006) Christopher Guest's latest mockumentary.

Gandhi: 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition"> New transfer and extras...and I still have never seen this one all the way through...

A Man for All Seasons (1966) A redo of the film with an allegedly better transfer and some new bonus features.

Man of the Year (2006)

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)

February 12, 2007

"Why is everybody gotta be so freakin' stupid these days?"

Happy Valentines Day this week, for those of you who celebrate the Hallmark holiday. An interesting mix of DVDs this time around, with a bunch of new Blu Ray releases. Check out the whole thing here:

All in the Family - The Complete Sixth Season

Beauty and the Beast: Season 1

The Butcher Boy (1997)

The Departed

Emergency! - Season Three

The Girl in the Bikini (1952)

The Golden Girls - The Complete Seventh and Final Season

Green For Danger (1946)

Hustle: Season 2

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Man About Town (2006)

Marie Antoinette/a> (2006)

Police Story 2 (1993)

Paul Robeson: Portraits of an Artist Criterion issues a Robeson box set which includes: Body and Soul (1925), The Emperor Jones (1933), Sanders of the River (1935), Jericho (1937), The Proud Valley (1940), and Native Land (1942).

School for Scoundrels

The U.S. Vs. John Lennon

"Why is everybody gotta be so freakin' stupid these days?"

Happy Valentines Day this week, for those of you who celebrate the Hallmark holiday. An interesting mix of DVDs this week, with a bunch of new Blu Ray releases. Check out the whole thing here:

All in the Family - The Complete Sixth Season

Beauty and the Beast: Season 1

The Butcher Boy (1997)

The Departed

Emergency! - Season Three

The Girl in the Bikini (1952)

February 7, 2007

"Any man who drinks Dom Perignon '52 can't be all bad."

Eh, you know the deal: click here for the list.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) New DVD version of the classic that features a new film transfer; much improved, so I understand.

Anything But Love - Volume One

Arabian Nights (1942)

Baywatch: Season 3

Charmed - The Complete Seventh Season More Chahhhhhmed!

Cinderella III: A Twist in Time More direct-to-video Disney.

The Clock (1945)

Coastlines (2006)

Eddie Murphy: Delirious (1983)

Flags of Our Fathers (2006) DVD Savant has a good review of Eastwood's film here.

Flicka (2006)

The Heiress (1949)

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) The film was remade by Warren Beatty as Heaven Can Wait.


James Bond OK, remember before the holidays when MGM put out all those Bond sets? Well, now you can buy the movies individually, sans bonus features, which is a good thing. However, I know they'll be on HD disc before long so consider that before taking the plunge.

Mad About You - The Complete Third Season I still think of Reiser as the betrayer of humanity (See Aliens), but this was still a great sitcom.

Running With Scissors

The Science of Sleep

A Summer Place (1959)

January 31, 2007

"It might do you good to eat a little dust once in awhile."

This week's list comes a bit late...I blame work and my current free time-suck, World of Warcraft! But here it is (slow week, for the most part), this week's new DVDs:

Band of Angels (1957)

Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated - The Hill's Angels Years, Set Six I'm still amused that my folks let my brother and me watch this show when we were growing up, even if they were apparently edited for American broadcast at the time.

The Big Valley - Season Two, Volume One When I was a kid, the TV station that ran Star Trek would sometimes stop running the show and replace it with something else they had in syndication. This show was one of the ones that would appear without warning, replacing my beloved Trek. So, I've never seen it, but always associate it with youthful bitter resentment!

Catch a Fire (2006)

Dallas - The Complete Sixth Season ...and the head of Patrick Duffy!

Flyboys (2006) I've always thought it was time someone made a really good WW I film...too bad this wasn't it.

I Dream Of Jeannie - The Complete Third Season Wow, two Larry Hagman shows in one week! She's gonna get us high! (sorry, inside joke)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The Third Year

Lucky Louie - The Complete First Season

The Marine

Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Fifth Season

Open Season The latest CG/animal/celebrity voice flick.

Peer Gynt (1941) Charlton Heston's indie film debut, a low budget silent Northwestern University project.

The Silence of the Lambs: Collector's Edition Yet another DVD of this film...

January 22, 2007

"For a man who was slow of tongue, he talked a lot."

Hellooooo everyone and welcome to another fun-filled week of DVD-ness. Click here for the whole list.

Brokeback Mountain: 2-Disc Collector's Edition The second time around for this one; same cut of the film, more bonuses.

Cocaine Cowboys (2006) Merely a coincidence!

Cowboy del Amor (2005) OK, that's kinda weird...

Fiddler On The Roof: Two-Disc Collector's Edition Another redo for this musical, but some new bonuses and a new film transfer.

The Films of Kenneth Anger, Volume One A collection of films by the experimental director. For a review and more information on this, click here.

The Guardian

Jesus Camp The docu about making home-grown extremists.

Monsters and Madmen Criterion does a box set of old horror/sci-fi titles. All of the films are exclusive to this set. click here for a review and more details on this set.

The Puffy Chair

Robert Mitchum - The Signature Collection The latest Warners classic box set features six new-to-DVD films (available separately): Angel Face (1952), Macao (1952), Home from the Hill (1960), The Sundowners (1960), The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969), and The Yakuza (1974).

Sanjuro (1962) Criterion issues a new SE of the Kurosawa film (new transfer/bonuses).

The Waltons - The Complete Fourth Season

Yojimbo Another Criterion redo. For a good review and rundown of the DVD specs (plus Sanjura), take a look at DVD Savant's article here.

January 16, 2007

"I feel like Arthur Dent in my PJ's."

DVDs are starting to trickle through again after bottoming out post-holidays. The larger issue for this year is going to be what becomes of the HD formats and the idiotic format war. Content sitting it out, I will nonetheless watch it with interest. However, most people will be more interested in this week's DVDs:

The Animation Show Vols. 1-2

Broken Sky (2006)

Border Radio (1987)

The Couple (2004)

Doctor Who - The Complete Second Series

Employee of the Month I guess this is what passes for a hit this week.

Gridiron Gang

The King Of Queens - 7th Season

Mouchette Criterion releases the 1963 Robert Bresson film. DVD Savant has a good look at the DVD here.

The Protector

Space Academy - The Complete Series (1977)

The Street - The Compete Season One

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

January 8, 2007

"Heart on stick must die!"

Well hello again. Everyone having fun now that we're all back at work/school (or for me, both)? This is another pretty quiet week, DVD-wise, so this will be a short entry. As usual, the whole list with prices can be found here:

Bandidas This one stars Penelope Cruz as "a rough-and-tumble peasant." Uh, yeah...

Broken Bridges

Color of the Cross


Extras - The Complete First Season The latest series from Ricky Gervais.


The Illusionist

MI-5 - Volume 4 Anyone seen this series?

The Night Listener

The Snow Queen (2006)

SpongeBob SquarePants - Season 4 Volume 2

Van Gogh (1992)

January 2, 2007

"Well, that's good news - snakes on crack."

Happy 2007 everyone. I hope you all had a good holiday(s). We did, seeing both my and Shade's family and even getting a few movies watched. We caught The Good Shepherd last week in a Rapid City theater. The film had its moments, but was ultimately disappointing, IMO, due to some poorly developed characters (the character played by Jolie was a bit of a waste), its length, and somewhat incoherent screenplay. The subject of the film was intriguing, don't get me wrong, but its execution was problematic.

What was more memorable for me, as a tech geek, was the presentation. This particular theater was running with DLP digital projection. This has been around for a while, but this was the first time I'd seen a movie projected this way, rather than with 35mm film (the theaters often don't advertise which rooms are using digital so seeking it out is not that easy). As you'd expect, the picture was free of any print-based wear/tear problems. I'd say it looked as good or slightly better than your average multiplex 35mm print, but not as good as a really fine 35 or 70mm presentation. It was very clear, though blacks could have been better (a fault that lies with the DLP technology). If you average multiplex is going to show mediocre film prints (and use under-trained staff to operate it) anyway, this kind of presentation should raise the quality level a bit. It should be said however that really good HD, via Blu Ray or HD-DVD, can easily rival the current quality of digital cinema. So, enough of that, let's get into what's out this week (such as it is):

The Covenant

Beer League Some real fine stuff coming out!

The Darkroom (2006)

Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq

Love's Abiding Joy There are so few DVDs this week, I'm reduced to posting a Hallmark channel movie!

Martin: Season 1

Snakes on a Plane This one's going right into the queue!

December 28, 2006

"Hearty fare breeds hearty people, haute cuisine breeds degenerates."

Today's update is a very short one, as there's little DVD release activity this week and I'm on vacation in SD. So, before I get back to fixing my family's computer issues, here's what we have coming out (or out already) this week:

Airwolf - Season Two

The Black Dahlia

Dane Cook's Tourgasm

The Descent Ah, a cave-based horror!



Jackass Number Two Gee, why wasn't this one released before Christmas???

The Last Kiss

Magma: Volcanic Disaster All I can think of here is the line by Dr. Evil: "Molton MAGMAAAA!"

Mi Amigo Starring that guy from Lost.

Sir! No Sir!

The Simple Life 4 - 'Til Death Do Us Part See, I told you there wasn't much out this week!

December 18, 2006

"I can say what I want - I still got Nazi bullets in my ass."

The movie companies are making their last real video push of the season this week. After all, those people who got gift cards need something to blow them on!

So let's see what they dug up this week:

All the King's Men (2006)

Dreamland (2006)

ER - The Complete Sixth Season

Gene Simmons: Family Jewels - The Complete Season One

Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Fifth Season

The Illustrated Man (1969)

Invincible (2006)

Jet Li's Fearless

Lady in the Water

The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines Missed this classic on TV? Now you can own it!

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Married… with Children - The Complete Sixth Season

Police Story (1985) DVD Savant reviews this one here.

A Scanner Darkly

The Simpsons - The Complete Ninth Season

Step Up

There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)

Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Pluto Vol. 2 (1947-1951) Another year, another set of Disney tins.

Walt Disney Treasures: Your Host, Walt Disney Collected "Disneyland" TV shows.

Walt Disney Treasures: More Silly Symphonies - Volume 2 (1929-1938)

Walt Disney Treasures: The Mickey Mouse Club Featuring The Hardy Boys

When the Levees Broke

The Wicker Man (1973) The original....check out the DVD Savant review here for an interesting read on this one.

The Wicker Man (2006) And the remake.

December 11, 2006

"The details of your incompetence do not interest me."

Monday rolls around once again and since we're in the midst of the frenzied buying season, we get more big new releases and box sets. The studios are really going gangbusters with box sets this year. Just wandering through Costco's limited DVD selection reveals a number of tempting sets, including the Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition, which I got for my birthday recently. This megaset includes 10 films with good bonuses and some really fun lobby card/press kit reproductions. I have yet to sample the movies, but the presentation of this material is really classy. Not all the DVD box sets go to this length, but some real effort is going into these sets on classic film, which is great to see. And now on to this week's DVDs:

The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Final Season And if you're an ultimate Griffith fan, you can get the whole run of the show in one box set.

Barnyard Yes, yet another talking animal CG celebrity-voiced movie. One amusing quote from a review: "Barnyard is nothing so much as The Lion King chewed in a cud and digitally regurgitated."

Bugsy: Extended Edition The 1991 Beatty/Levinson film gets an extra 15 minutes of footage and some new bonus features.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - Four-Disc Extended Edition Disney takes a cue from New Line/Peter Jackson and issues a 4 DVD Extended Edition. More effects scenes and a lot of bonuses tempt the repeat buyer. Like other franchises, I would expect this stuff to be reissued again in HD formats as well as part of future larger box sets when the series is complete.

Dean Martin Double Feature Sony issues two of Dino's films on one DVD: : Who Was That Lady? and How To Save A Marriage (and Ruin Your Life). DVD Savant reviews this set here.

The Devil Wears Prada I thought this was actually pretty good; worth seeing once for Streep's performance alone, even if the ending bugged me a bit.

The Doors: 15th Anniversary Edition This mediocre film gets a DVD upgrade.

The Fox and the Hound 2 Another Disney direct-to-DVD movie...

Full House - The Complete Fifth Season You know, I was contemplating canceling my Netflix subscription to justify playing World of Warcraft, but if I did that, I'd miss classics like this!

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete First Season I know a lot of you've been waiting for this!

The James Bond Ultimate Edition Volume 3 and Volume 4 Sony/MGM concludes the Bond box sets with the good and bad films mixed together in each set (yes, you have to buy all four boxes to get all the Connery films).

Law & Order: Criminal Intent - The Second Year

Stacked - The Complete Series
Now here's a family classic!

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Will Ferrell haters beware!!! This one is also being released in both Blu Ray and HD-DVD so you can loathe Will in high definition.

Will Rogers Collection, Volume 2 This set includes: Ambassador Bill (1931), Too Busy to Work (1932), Mr. Skitch (1933), and David Harum (1934).

World Trade Center.

OK, a couple of notes:

First, we watched Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) the other night, not having seen it in a while. I'd forgotten how subversive this show actually is! The themes, accepting those who are different (red nose, gay dentist elf), material wealth not being the key to happiness (the socialist snowman), and even the worst in society can be reformed (with some dental work) aren't exactly standard "family values" material. And why is the doll on the Island of Misfit Toys, anyway? Pretty fun.

Also, DVD Savant has two new reviews of stuff that came out recently: Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume One and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. Both are quite interesting and worth a read.

December 4, 2006

"Is the jar of dirt going to help? "

Welcome to another December, DVD hounds. I haven't gotten any flack about linking movies to Netflix, so I'll continue to do that for the time being. By the way, for those of you who are interested, there is a tentative release timeframe for Twin Peaks Season 2 (never been on DVD in North America): April 2007. There is a lot of stuff coming out these days so let's see what we have on deck this week (at least the stuff I feel like writing about):

1900: Two-Disc Collector's Edition The Bertolucci epic gets its first DVD release with the full 315 minute running time (gulp!).

24 - Season Five

Animaniacs - Volume 2

Anna Boleyn (1920) The early Lubitsch film arrives on DVD.

The Beales of Grey Gardens (1976)


Black Christmas (1975) "yuletide cheer into fear" From the director of A Christmas Story!

Charlie Chan: Volume Two Another round of Chan films: Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936), Charlie Chan at the Race Track (1936), Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936), and Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937). Wow, they really cranked them out...

The Conformist: Extended Edition (1970 Another new-to-DVD Bertolucci film.

The Dukes of Hazzard: Season 7

Dungeons & Dragons - The Complete Animated Series (1983) I attack the darkness!!!!

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Film Collection The fiery couple get their own box set...Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: 2-Disc Special Edition (1966, this is a new version with bonuses and is the only title in this box available separately), The V.I.P.s (1963), The Sandpiper (1965), and The Comedians (1967)

Holiday (1938) This Grant/Hepburn classic is coming to DVD for first time, if memory serves.


Miami Vice (2006)

Mission: Impossible - The Complete First Season The 1960s series comes to DVD and I'm amazed it took them this long to tie this show into the movie francise.

Pinky and the Brain: Vol. 2

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest The big hit of the year comes out this week as a 2 DVD set. At first I thought it was odd that DIsney wasn't shoving multiple versions of this title, but then again when the third film comes out, there's sure to be a mega set that follows.

Pulse (2006)

Rocky Anthology Yes, another round of Rocky reissues...this box has the whole series. You know, the original film is OK (gee, do you think some people will disagree with me?!), but was awfully formulaic, even in the 1970s. And the less said about the 1980s films, the better.

Saturday Night Live - The Complete First Season Yes, the whole thing for the first time, not "best of" shows. I think it would be interesting to see how the show got going over the course of its first season since so many of the cast members and skits became TV history.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One (1968)

TCM Archives - Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Volume 1 Warners digs into the old film catalog for a box set focusing on three pre-production code films from the early 1930s (before tighter controls were placed on sex/violence); these should be interesting to check out and have never been on DVD before: Waterloo Bridge (1931, twas James Whale's breakthrough film before doing Frankenstein), Red Headed Woman (1932), and Baby Face (1933). Let's hope they do more of these.

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November 27, 2006

"We all have our little faults. Mine's in California."

So here we are after Thanksgiving and good 'ol Black Friday. I slept through all the raging deals and have no regrets. If you enjoy that kind of thing, more power to you. There is a new wrinkle in the Hobbit/Peter Jackson business. Apparently the rights to the book end up with an independent producer who with no ties to New Line, the studio Jackson's suing, and plans to have him direct it. So we'll have to wait and see how this all pans out. Check out this story for more info. Now, let's get into what's on deck for this week:

7th Heaven - The Complete Third Season I know you're all about to add this gem to your queues!

The Ant Bully CG talking animals (or bugs), celebrity voices, you know the drill...

Bones - Season One

Clerks 2

Criminal Minds - The First Season

Ellen: Season 5

An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder Kevin Smith fans, this is a good week for you.

Pandora's Box (1928) Criterion gives the deluxe treatment to the classic silent "Lulu" film. Be sure to read DVD Savan't review of the disc here.

Robin Hood: Most Wanted Edition The 1973 Disney film gets its second DVD release; this time in widescreen.

See No Evil

A Star Is Born (1976) The 70s version of this film comes to DVD for the first time. Streisand and Kristofferson!

St. Elsewhere: Season 1 I really liked this show when it was on in the 80s. I'm very curious to see how it holds up today.

Superman Returns It's Superman week with the studio shoving every possible Superman movie product out on the shelves. This is the 2006 film with, to quote my sisters, "the hunky Superman." I found the film to be just OK; a bit of a disappointment that doesn't top the 1978 film.

Superman - Ultimate Collector's Edition This is the big enchilada: pretty much all the Superman film stuff stuffed into a 14 DVD box set which includes: Superman The Movie: Special Edition (1978, a 4 DVD set that includes both theatrical and extended cuts), Superman II - Two Disc Special Edition (1980), Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (the reconstruction of the film--Donner was fired during production and replaced with Richard Lester. This version restores some scenes with Marlon Brando that were dropped so they wouldn't have to pay him), Superman III - Deluxe Edition (1983), Superman IV: The Quest For Peace - Deluxe Edition (1987, anyone actually see this stinker?), and the new Superman Returns set. There are gobs of extras and all films are available by themselves.

Van Wilder: Two-Disc Van Gone Wilder Edition This SE should make my brother in-law happy!

By the way, DVD Savant has a good review of the Preston Sturges box set that came out last week, which can be found here.

November 20, 2006

"Where'd you meet this Weenie King?"

Happy Turkey, er week everyone. The new DVDs are getting thick for the holiday season, so let's see what we have this week:

Alias - The Complete Fifth Season Yes, the end of the line for this show. There's also Alias: The Complete Collection available if you want to buy the whole thing (makes a great, if immense, stocking stuffer!).

Another Gay Movie


Boston Legal - Season Two

Da Ali G Show: Da Compleet Seereez Sacha Baron Cohen's HBO pre-Borat TV series.

The Double Life of Véronique Criterion issues the 1991 Krzysztof Kieslowski film.

Family Affair - Season Two

A Fish Called Wanda: 2-Disc Collector's Edition This is already on DVD, in a poor full frame sans-bonuses version. This SE has been a long time coming and was delayed by Sony's buyout of MGM. I have no doubt that this version is superior to the old DVD.

How I Met Your Mother - Season One

Ice Age: The Meltdown Ah, more CG talking animals and celebrity voice-overs...

An Inconvenient Truth Oh, don't see this know that whole global warming thing was made up, right? ;-)

Litle Athens

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) This has been on DVD before, but this time it's coming as a 2 DVD SE including both original black/white and color versions (because you know, kids can't tolerate stuff in black/white). Definitely better than the 1994 version.

Perry Mason - Season One, Volume Two

Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection Universal is getting better about releasing their classic Paramount catalog. These films are a welcome addition since four of these titles are new to DVD: The Great McGinty (1940), Christmas in July (1940), The Lady Eve (1941, Criterion did this one a few years back), Sullivan's Travels (1941, another one Criterion issued), The Palm Beach Story (1942), Hail the Conquering Hero (1944), and The Great Moment (1944). As with many of these Universal sets, zero bonuses (would it have killed them to stick some trailers on?).

Scoop (2006) Woody Allen's latest film about a dog that doesn't like to be picked up.

Seinfeld - Season 7 The season that gave us the Soup Nazi.

Star Trek - The Animated Series The early 70s (crudely) animated Trek series finally makes it to DVD (making it one of the few new things released, Trek-wise to the format in some time). I'm almost afraid to watch these...though it might be amusing. I don't really have nostalgia for this series since I was a bit too young when it first on and it didn't seem to get re-ran that often, unlike the original series that was on all the time when I was growing up. This set also has some bonus features such as commentaries and the ubiquitous text pop-up commentaries.

November 14, 2006

"Sorry miss, I was giving myself an oil-job."

We're getting close to Thanksgiving and the much-hyped Black Friday again this year, so the new DVDs pile up. This is the biggest release week in some time. This week, I'm going to try something different: instead of the usual IMDB links to the listed movies, I'm going to link directly to Netflix listings so you can add them right to your queues. This was suggested by one of you, so let me know if you don't like this. So here we go with this week's list of new DVDs:

3rd Rock from the Sun: Season 6

Accepted Starring Justin Long, the less-funny guy in the Mac vs. PC ads.

The Best of The Electric Company: Vol. 2 Another nostalgia trip coming up!

Bing Crosby: Screen Legend Collection Universal mines more from the old pre-war Paramount catalog: Waikiki Wedding (1937), Double or Nothing (1937), East Side of Heaven (1939), If I Had My Way (1940), and Here Come the Waves (1944).

Cary Grant: Screen Legend Collection Another Paramount/Uni box: Thirty Day Princess (1934), Kiss and Make-Up (1934), Wings in the Dark (1935), Big Brown Eyes (1936), and Wedding Present (1936).

Columbo - The Complete Sixth & Seventh Seasons

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Complete Sixth Season

The Da Vinci Code For anyone who cares, there are a couple of options if you want deluxe-o versions of this blockbuster.

Family Guy - Volume Four

Forbidden Planet - 50th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition The 1956 sci fi classic gets an upgrade on DVD. The transfer is improved from the old 1997 DVD and there are a lot of extras. Check out the excellent DVD Savant review here.

The Golden Girls - The Complete Sixth Season

Gunsmoke - The Director's Collection

Home Improvement - The Complete Fifth Season

John Tucker Must Die

King Kong: Deluxe Extended Edition Peter Jackson does another extended version ala LOTR. I have yet to hear how good the longer version is and I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't seen the film at all yet.

Lassie (2005) Wow, Peter O'Toole's in this one...

Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2005)

Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Four Another four DVD set of classic Looney Tunes and bonuses. The shorts are way too numerous to list...if you want to see what's included, click here. If this one is as good as the previous three, it ought to be a great. There's a truncated 2 DVD set available as well ("Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection Volume 4").

Northern Exposure - The Complete Fifth Season

The Paul Newman Collection Yes, another Warner box set: Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), The Left Handed Gun (1958), The Young Philadelphians (1959), Harper (1966), Pocket Money (1972), The Mackintosh Man (1973), and The Drowning Pool (1975).

Rock Hudson: Screen Legend Collection Uni does a random mix of Rock films: Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952), The Golden Blade (1953), The Last Sunset (1961), The Spiral Road (1962), and A Very Special Favor (1965). All hail the holiday gift set!

Six Feet Under - The Complete Series Gift Set The whole thing.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

November 6, 2006

"You are a sad strange little wagon, and you have my pity!"

All right, back on track this week and good thing since there's a lot more stuff coming out as we get closer to the crazed holiday buying season. Box sets ahoy! Backers of both hi-def formats are pushing out as many titles as they can before the end of the year, but save for some new releases, the titles coming out are less than impressive for the most part. I'm a bit glad that the titles out so far aren't tempting me to get into one of the formats right now. Costs aside, I (along with many others I'm guessing) don't want to invest in this until there's a clear winner. So let's see what we've got for new stuff this week:

The Best of Carson - Volume 1 Another collection of Tonight Show highlights.

Beverly Hills, 90210 - The Complete First Season It took a while for this one to make it to DVD, but here it is; I'm guessing music rights were the reason for its delay.

Cars The big hit this week, no question. I enjoyed this one, but didn't find it up to the level of some previous Pixar films. This was a bit timely though since we just got back from a vacation that took us through parts of the country with bits of Route 66. We were also obliged to ask aloud whether we were near Radiator Springs, AZ.

The Fallen Idol (1948) Criterion provides the first DVD release of this Carol Reed classic. To learn more about it, check out the DVD Savant review here.

Flower Drum Song (1961) This Rodgers/Hammerstein movie version comes to DVD for the first time.

Gary Cooper: The Signature Collection Some new-to-DVD titles show up in this box set, which include Sergeant York: Two-Disc Special Edition (1941, a review of this disc can be found here), The Fountainhead (1949, I was really hoping for excerpts from the play, "Ayn Rand Gives Me a Boner" as a bonus feature...), Dallas (1950), Springfield Rifle (1952), and The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959).

James Bond Ultimate Collection Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 Well, look here, it's time for another round of Bond film reissues. This is the third time, IIRC (could be mistaken; I have some of these films from their original DVD releases in the late 1990s). This new round offers some new transfers (although the word on the web is that some are better than others) and some new bonuses. Here's my take: the bonuses aren't doing much for me since I didn't really watch much from the previous DVDs and we all know that these films will be hitting HD in the next year or two. Plus, they're packaging them in box sets so you have to get the crappy Bonds to get the good Bonds. Some of the Bond films really aren't worth watching more than once (if once at all!), IMO. Anyway, here's what you get in volume 1(the other two volumes come out next month): Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), The Living Daylights (1987), and The World Is Not Enough (1999).

Volume 2 includes: Thunderball (1965), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), A View To A Kill (1985), Licence To Kill (1989), and Die Another Day (2002).

The Marlon Brando Collection See, I told you there'd be box sets! More new-to-DVD films within this set: Julius Caesar (1953), Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), Mutiny on the Bounty - Two-Disc Special Edition (1962), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), and The Formula (1980).

M*A*S*H - Season Eleven The last season hits DVD can now buy the whole enchilada: M*A*S*H - Martinis and Medicine Complete Collection, as well.

Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

Police Squad! - The Complete Series (in color!) Yep, it's finally on DVD. This one's been awaited by many for a long time. And at under $20, it's a no-brainer for me.

She-Ra: Princess of Power - Season One, Vol. 1 Uh, yeah...

The Sopranos - Season Six, Part I The final season is broken into two parts. I'll be sad to not see more season sets come out, if for no other reason than I'll stop getting reminders to watch more of this show beyond season 1.

The West Wing - The Complete Seventh Season The final season comes out on election day. Figures. The entire run of the show can be had in The West Wing - The Complete Series Collection (for those of you who are West Wingless).

November 1, 2006

"Get me. I'm givin' out wings."

OK, so I'm back from the big trip (which Shades is blogging about in great detail here) and now have a cold and extra stuff going on at work. Figures...

But this week seems a bit on the slow side, DVD-wise, so let's see what we have this week:

Baywatch Season 1 (Season 2 also is out this week) Ah, one of the USA's most popular exports!

CSI: Miami - The Complete Fourth Season

Ghost Whisperer - The Complete First Season

The Hitchhiker - Volume 3

It’s A Wonderful Life 60th Anniversary Edition Paramount, the current owner of this film, serves up a double-dip for those of us who bought this one years ago. Apparently, the picture is better, but the bonuses lackluster. I'll be waiting until HD for this one. And if you don't own this, so much the better.

Keeping Up with the Steins

Kids in the Hall - Complete Season 5

Mission: Impossible III The most notable thing about this title is it's the first major film to be released on DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray on the same day. Let the consumer confusion commence!

The Tarzan Collection: Volume 2 Warners issues the second set of Weissmuller Tarzan films (the later, less memorable ones no doubt) in this box: Tarzan Triumphs (1943), Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943), Tarzan and the Amazons (1945), Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946), Tarzan and the Huntress (1947), and Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948).

And finally, DVD Savant takes a good look at the already-released Astaire and Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition (Volume 2).

October 27, 2006

"Somebody... down there... likes me!"

Greetings from Arizona!

Yes, the blog is very late this week due to the fact that Shades and I have been on vacation. Now we're down in Phoenix and I have some extra time to get back online and do the DVD thing. Tuesday, while you were all wondering what new DVDs were coming out, I was here:


Yes, Monument Valley, where all those great (and not so great) movies were shot. An amazing place in a series of amazing places we've been this week. So, without further ado, let's see what stuff came out this week.

The Addams Family - Volume One The old 1960s sitcom arrives on DVD. Even though they're being released in volume sets, this is essentially the first half of season 1. DVD Savant has a good review of the set here (the choice quote from the review is, "When he smiles he looks like a zombie version of James Coburn," referring to the character Lurch).

An American Haunting

Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 2 Warners releases another box set of classic Astaire/Rogers films, which are available seperately: Flying Down to Rio (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934), Roberta (1935), Carefree (1938), and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939).

Bewitched - The Complete Fourth Season

Body Heat - Deluxe Edition The 1980s film neo-noir gets the SE treatment.

Creature Comforts - The Complete Second Season

The Facts Of Life - The Complete Third Season I just know you were all waiting for this one...

The L Word - The Complete Third Season

Monster House I know at least one person who's been waiting for this one: my Mom!

Nacho Libre Most reviews were pretty bad for this one, but I've heard a few people that thought it was really funny.

The O.C. - The Complete Third Season We really got into the first two seasons of this show, but have heard that it went south in the 3rd year. Can it pull itself back up in season 4???

SCTV - Best of the Early Years A collection of episodes from the pre-NBC years of the show.

Slither (2005)

Sweetie (1989) Director Jane Campion's debut film gets the Criterion treatment.

That's My Bush! The Definitive Collection Parker and Stone's short-lived series (8 episodes) makes it to DVD just in time for the elections!

Why We Fight (1943-1945) Frank Capra's WWII propaganda series is apparently in the public domain so there are multiple DVD versions out there. I can't find any reliable reviews of the new version put out by "Alpha Video," but the version distributed by Goodtimes Video (an established public domain outfit) is supposedly okay, though like most public domain stuff, from dubious sources. I don't know who owns the original materials to this series, but it would be nice if they were preserved as historical documents. The Goodtimes version can be found via Amazon here.

October 19, 2006

"One woe doth tread upon another's heels so fast they follow."

Just a quick one for today. According to The Digital Bits, the long-awaited Kenneth Branagh Hamlet (1996) is finally being prepped for DVD 2007. Nice to hear they've been burning the midnight oil to get this one out. At least they say that have the film transferred now, so

October 16, 2006

"That is an SUV; Humans ride in them because they are slowly losing their ability to walk."

Good Monday all. I'm back from another brief trip to SD, which was fun if exausting. The release of new DVDs marches on so let's see what we have for this week:

Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Season Two This TV series was, IIRC the idea of Lew Wasserman, who was Hitchcock's agent for a while. Hitchcock had very little to do with the show, other than the introductions he filmed. Still, the show is pretty well-regarded (at least the first few seasons) and Hitch made a ton of money on it (he pretty much owned the whole thing).

American Dreamz

Big Love - The Complete First Season "Let's be big for a change!"

Billy Wilder Speaks I caught this on TCM a couple months back and highly recommend it for film fans. It's a made-for-German-TV film that really covers a lot of interesting ground in Wilder's career. DVD Savant has a good review of it here.

The Break-Up

Charmed - The Complete Sixth Season Yes, even more Chahhhmed!

Clean, Shaven

CSI: NY - The Complete Second Season

Deadfall (1968)


Icons of Horror: Boris Karloff A box set of lesser-known Karloff films (unavailable on DVD before): The Black Room (1935), The Man They Could Not Hang (1939), Before I Hang (1940), and the black comedy The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942).

La Femme Nikita - The Complete Fifth Season

The Magus (1968)

Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Fourth Season

The Omen (2006) Fox is also offering a box set with all the Omen films...ooh, sign me up!

Over the Hedge It's time for more CG talking animals.

Peeper (1975)

Reds (1981) The Warren Beatty epic gets its first DVD release.

Sólo con tu pareja (1991)

That 70s Show - Season Five This show did have its moments, but should have been pulled off the air a while ago.

They All Laughed (1981)

October 10, 2006

"Here, take a slug out of the mug."

Sheesh, it's already Christmas season in retail, as a trip to a local mall just demonstrated. And, there's holiday stuff in this week's list of new DVDs. I'm not sure I'm ready, but here we go again!

12 and Holding

Art School Confidential Terry Zwigoff's latest.

The A-Team Season 5 Jeez, this one went for five years???

Bad Santa: Director's Cut So this will make the third version of this film. Apparently the director wasn't really happy with the theatrical or extended (AKA "Badder Santa") version.

Black Rain Collectors Edition Boy, I'm glad they did a SE version of this gem.

Brideshead Revisited: 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition

The Butterfly Effect 2

Carlos Mencia :No Strings Attached

Click You know, I might have given this one a rent if Adam Sandler wasn't in it...

Everybody Hates Chris - The First Season

The Fox and The Hound: 25th Anniversary Edition

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties I hope Bill Murray was well-paid for this...

Holiday Inn - Special Edition They finally did a SE of this, one of my family's favorite silly holiday films. I haven't heard whether the new DVD is better looking or not, but the old one had zero bonus features. However, unless this one has a sing-along track (Abraham!), I'll probably have to take a pass on it.

Hollywood's Legends Of Horror Collection One of two Warners boxes this week; the titles in this one aren't available seperately...The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), Doctor X (1932), Mad Love (1935), Mark of the Vampire (1935), The Devil Doll (1936), and The Return of Doctor X (1939). I believe all of these are new to DVD. DVD Savant has a review of the set here. Check it out for descriptions of these bizarre films.

Land of Plenty

Motion Picture Masterpieces The other Warner classic film box of the week. These MGM literary adaptation films are available by themselves and again, weren't on DVD before: Treasure Island (1934), David Copperfield (1935, the one with WC Fields), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), Marie Antoinette (1938), and Pride and Prejudice (1940).

Numbers Season 2

A Prairie Home Companion I still think they missed a golden opportunity by not casting my brother Rob!

Scrubs Season 4

Waist Deep

October 6, 2006

"Greed captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit."

Guess what, good old region coding is coming to HD! Yes, that nice anti-consumer scheme that DVD has had since the beginning is going to be stuck on HD-DVD next year (Blu Ray already has it). Read about it here We all know why region coding is such a pain at home, but at least there it's relatively easy to get your hands on a gray market player that can play discs from all regions (or punch in a particular code on your player's remote to hack it). However, as you all probably know, I deal with a lot of A/V issues here at the U of M and one of the nagging problems we have is faculty who want to use video material on DVD that happens to only be available outside region 1 (North America). This is often language studies, of course, but other classes that use video content run into this as well. So, they ask us to install region-free players in the classrooms so they can, you know, teach. Even though it's a complex question as to whether buying these players is legal, no one to my knowledge has been sued or prosecuted for buying or selling these machines. Nonetheless, the lawyers who represent the U haven't really been able to give us their blessing to provide them. Faculty are invonvenienced and we get yelled at. So, I'm so glad to see that they've continued this great tradition into the HD realm. Thanks.

Oh, and some of you might be interested in this bit of Star Trek news regarding the next film. Check it out here...the main thing is that Berman/Braga are definately outta there.

October 2, 2006

"The seaweed is always greener in somebody else's lake."

The bigger DVDs begin to come out, now that we're into October, so let's see what we have this week:

21 Grams: Collector's Edition

Body Double: Special Edition Another go-around for the DePalma 80s film.

Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection Vol. 2 Warners churns out another box set. Everything in here is available by itself: The Maltese Falcon: Three-Disc Special Edition (This new DVD includes a new transfer plus the two previous film versions of the book), Across the Pacific (1942), All Through the Night (1942), Action in the North Atlantic (1943), and Passage to Marseille (1944).

I Am a Sex Addict Wow, they didn't waste any time making a movie about Mark Foley!

The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition It's been a while since they had this one on DVD (late 1990s) so here's another chance to pick it up. The new set has more extras (don't remember much of substance on the old DVD) and a new film transfer (now in 16x9). However, the reviews on the picture quality have been mixed...but who knows when they'll reissue this one again.

Medium - The Complete Second Season

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Extraordinarily Deluxe Edition This will be the third DVD so far of this one. Most of the bonuses are the same, but there's a new transfer that corrects the subtitle problem from the previous DVD where the "Mønti Pythøn ik den Hølie Gräilen" is left out. There's also a soundtrack CD included as a bonus. Looks nice, but since I bought the last two versions, I'll sit this one out.

Scarface: Platinum Edition Another Universal re-do...which seems to be timed, if I'm remembering right, with the release of the new Scarface video game. Eh, why not?

Stargate SG-1 - Season 9 Wow, this one does go on...

Thank You For Smoking This reminds me of the old PSA-style ad reel that Landmark Theaters (say it with me kids, in a snooty voice, "your year-round film festival!") here in MN used to run before their films...and it starred RoboCop(?)...tee hee.

Three's Company - Season 8 The swan song of this long-running sitcom.

X-Men: The Last Stand This one comes out in 1 or 2 DVD versions with bonus goodies. You can also buy all three films in X-Men Trilogy

September 25, 2006

"You don't give a monkey a latte!"

Ah, another week, the extra dogs have gone back to their home, and we have more new DVDs this week, so here's what we have:

Beowulf & Grendel (2005)

Brotherhood - The Complete First Season Another pay-channel series comes to DVD.

Curious George (2006) Danger! Will Ferell alert!

The Dead Zone - Special Collector's Edition (1983) The previous version was a bare-bones release. Good news for fans of this Stephen King depresso-fest.

Dracula - 75th Anniversary Edition Universal does another DVD of the 1931 classic with a better transfer and some additional extras not found on the previous DVD. Good for those who don't own it, but probably not worth a repeat buy.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift The third installment in this lame francise.

Frankenstein - 75th Anniversary Edition Just like Dracula, this classic gets the treatment with similar loads of features. Knowing Universal, these will be out on HD before long.

The Ground Truth

The Lake House Wow, two of my favorite actors, Bullock and Reeves, in one movie!

Mama's Family - The Complete First Season

The Notorious Bettie Page

One Tree Hill - The Complete Third Season

A Slight Case of Murder

September 18, 2006

"Politics is the only thing more boring than blood samples."

Today feels like Fall has actually started. It's only supposed to be in the low 50s for a high temparature and some leaves are beginning to turn. But, with the cooler weather comes the new Fall TV material and the studios begin ramping up their DVD releases for the all-too-soon holiday season.

Anyone catch the CG-enhanced Star Trek over the weekend? It aired on the local ABC affiliate at 1AM or something...I'd check it out and post some thoughts if the local station hadn't pre-empted it at the last minute for some gospel choir thing. Once I catch it via other means, I'll let you know what I think.

The main thing I'm hearing right now is that some effects look pretty cool and some not so much. Apparently, the film transfers are better than on the current DVDs, which look pretty decent already. If they couple the original versions with the new ones on a HD disc, they might get some to double-dip. If you plan to try the shows being run on broadcast, be aware that they haven't worked out their screw-up preventing them from distributing the shows in HD and that people are saying that the episodes are being cut. Since this show ran about 50 minutes per episode, almost 7 minutes is being cut for each show. Lame.

Anyhow, let's see what we've got coming out on DVD this week:

Backdraft - 2 Disc Anniversary Edition Fans of this firefighter "epic" (not sure why this movie should have bona fide fans, but maybe that's just me) can re-purchase it as a new special edition...and re-buy it next year in HD.

Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5 Just before Season 3 begins (10/6), they release the second half of Season 2. There's some bonuses here and an extended version of the "Pegasus" episode, but I'd be surprised if they don't re-issue this show down the road either with both halves together or the entire run of the show in one box.

The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Fourth Season

The Boris Karloff Collection Another cheap, no-frills set from Universal; this time devoted to some lesser Karloff films, which are only available in this set, which would be annoying if the set wasn't so cheap (between $20 and $25). It includes Night Key (1937), Tower of London (1939), The Climax (1944), The Strange Door (1951), and The Black Castle (1952).

The Chris Rock Show: Seasons 1 & 2

Chucky: The Killer DVD Collection Yes, all of the Chucky films...except for the first one(?). If anyone really wants to know the names of these gems, by all means click here.

Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Seventh Season

Gilmore Girls - The Complete Sixth Season

Hart To Hart - The Complete Second Season

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season Two, Vol. Two Wow, two classics in a row!

Jigoku (1960)

My Name Is Earl - Season One

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

Stay Alive

Stick It

September 15, 2006

"Would you... like to be upgraded?"

Friday already...nice, but my how the week flew by this time!

Things are starting to settle down a bit more here at work, so maybe next week I'll manage to write something other than DVD news and snarky writing about having two extra dogs staying with us for a week! :-)

A few of you might be interested in this...The Digital Bits website has new reviews of the latest Star Wars DVDs that came out last week. If you scroll down, you'll also find a review for the new Blade Runner DVD. Check it out here.

And while we're talking re-dos, check out DVD Savant's review of the new Criterion Brazil DVD here.

September 11, 2006

"Damnit, he put my stapler in jello again."

Hello again everyone and welcome to another week of new DVDs. As always, clicking here will take you to the whole list, even the stuff I ignore, including prices. And, for you Battlestar Galactica fans, be sure to check out the online preview videos for the upcoming (October 6) third season.

The Adventures of Chico and Guapo - The Complete First Season MTV makes another try at re-entering the animated comedy biz.

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America - Special Collector's Edition It's time for more Paramount DVD re-dos. I can't imagine buying this one twice (or once actually), but I suppose someone will.

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Diagnosis Murder - The Complete First Season Dick Van Dyke's other big TV role.

The Dick Cavett Show: Hollywood Greats Another collection of Cavett shows, this time devoted to Hollywood stars and directors.

Goal! The Dream Begins

Grease - Rockin' Rydell Edition It was inevitable that they reissue this DVD with extra goodies for this extremely overrated musical. Sorry if I stepped on someone's favorite, but this one is a turd (and yes, I know about the stage version). If you want more, read this and you'll get a good idea why this one stinks, IMO of course.

Grey's Anatomy - The Complete Second Season Oooh, this one's uncut!

Las Vegas - Season Three

Lucky Number Slevin

The Office - Season Two The American version, which is surprisingly good for an adapted Brit show. Season 2 is a whole 22 episode run, unlike the shorter season 1.

Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi - Limited Editions I think I wrote about this release before, but here's the deal: all three films are being released individually (2 DVD sets) and include the previously-released "enhanced" versions plus the original versions which are being included as "bonus features." By calling them bonuses, they can justify the use of inferior Laserdisc quality transfers for the original films. Oh, and of course if you bought the original trilogy SE's before as a box set, you get to buy them again to get the "bonuses" which should have been released in their own right...yadda buy or don't buy, but know what you're getting. But look on the bright side, LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy also comes out tomorrow!

TAPS - 25th Anniversary Special Edition

September 5, 2006

"It's time you've learned how to rule the universe."

It's the first day of classes here at the U of M, things are crazy, the raging student hordes are at the gate, and somehow I manage to crank out this week's list of new DVDs. It's a miracle...

ALF- Season Four Gee, aren't you glad I took time out of my busy day to tell you about this?!

All the King's Men (1949)

Amacord (1973) Criterion redoes their earlier DVD release.

Blade Runner - The Director's Cut This is a basic release of the 1992 cut with a new film transfer (the previous DVD was non-anamorphic, same sound mix). There's a deluxe-o version in the works for next year that will have multiple cuts of the film with other goodies. This is a good cheap way to get a good copy of the '92 cut, but some will want to wait until next year.

Brazil - Criterion Single Disc Edition Criterion releases a DVD with a new transfer on a single basic disc for those who don't want to spring for the 3 disc SE set.

Commander in Chief - The Inaugural Edition, Part 2

Family: The Complete First and Second Seasons

Fraggle Rock - Season 2

Gojira/Godzilla: King of the Monsters - Collector's Edition (1954) The original Godzilla film gets the deluxe treatment with both Japan and USA versions. DVD Savant takes a look at it here.

Hustle - Complete Season One

Lost: The Complete Second Season Time for all you addicts to warm up your DVD players for some more Lost action.

Oz - The Complete Sixth Season

Playtime. The Tati film gets a new DVD release via Criterion.

Seven Samurai (1954) It's Criterion re-do time again. To be fair, this film was one the first titles they released on DVD and it was non-16x9. This new version has some added bonuses as well.

Supernatural - The Complete First Season

United 93 Now here's something everyone will want to own and re-watch...

August 29, 2006

"Dammit man, the Doobie Brothers broke up!"

I've been wanting to post something about movies/tech stuff other than new DVDs, but with the start of semester looming next week, it's fallen off the agenda for a short while. But I'll have something...really! For now, here's this week's crop of new DVDs:

Akeelah and the Bee (2006) Yes, another spelling bee film.

Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Seventh Season One more season to go for this TV staple.

Arrested Development - Season Three

Brother Bear 2 Some direct-to-DVD Disney bear poo!

The Castle Of Cagliostro - Special Edition Miyazaki's debut feature film comes to DVD.

Desperate Housewives: The Complete Second Season - The Extra Juicy Edition Uh, yeah...

Fourteen Hours (1951)

The Jewel of the Nile (1985) A DVD re-do for this 80s hit (along with Romancing the Stone).

Lonesome Jim (2005) Yes, a film directed by Steve Buscemi.

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World

Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Limited Edition (Theatrical & Extended versions) OK, another chance for fans to spend money buying the Jackson films. Here's the deal with this one: these new 2 DVD sets have both cuts of the films which are put together with seamless branching so you can go between then. Same transfers and a few new bonuses that weren't on the old DVDs. You can get them all in one set or individually. Personally, I'm done buying these until HD.

Nip/Tuck - The Complete Third Season

Pretty In Pink - Everything's Duckie Edition John Hughes fans, this is your week.

Romancing the Stone: Special Edition

The Sentinel

Shock (1946)

Some Kind Of Wonderful - Special Collector's Edition

South Park - The Complete Eighth Season

Vicki (1953)

August 21, 2006

"They say all native Californians come from Iowa."

Hello again for another week of DVD fun. As always, clicking here will get you the whole list of new stuff with prices.

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979) Yep, it's "Poseidon Week" in DVD Land...why else would this one get out?

The Bill Cosby Show - Season One I remember watching this on occasion while growing up as some station seemed to show the reruns often. This show, for those who've never seen it, was not the success that the later Cosby Show was (it ran two seasons). It also had a strange, funky theme song and no laugh track. At least that's what I remember about it now...

Double Indemnity - Legacy Series Special Edition This classic noir has been out of print on DVD for years. It was released in 1998 or so as a bare-bones edition with a film transfer that was done for laserdisc. Universal finally got around to reissuing it with a new transfer and bonuses. Check out DVD Savant's review of the disc here He also does an interesting write-up of the already-released Ronald Reagan: The Signature Collection; "See Ronnie die of pneumonia, lose his legs, go haywire with strange seizures and fight the Ku Klux Klan!" Check it out here.

House, M.D. - Season Two

Kicking and Screaming (1995) Criterion reissues the indie film.

Poseidon (2006) Yep, it's flipped boats week...

Radioland Murders (1994)

The Robinsons - Complete Series One

Silent Hill

Sketches of Frank Gehry

State of the Union (1948)

This Island Earth (1955) The film used for Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, which has been out of print for years...apparently there are some rights issues with this one.

Veronica Mars - The Complete Second Season

The Wizard (1989) The Fred Savage "classic" arrives on DVD!

August 14, 2006

"I am sorry, but sometimes my tongue wiggles in ways I cannot control."

Ah, another week of late Summer with slim DVD pickings. At least the weather's nice around here this week. For the complete list of the new stuff, click here and I'll comment on a few of them here:

Apocalypse Now - The Complete Dossier A repackaging that includes both the original theatrical version and the longer Apocalypse Now Redux versions with new bonus material.

The Clark Gable Collection Fox releases three Gable films, the only ones he made for the studio, IIRC in a box set; the titles aren't available on their own. The Call of the Wild (1935), The Tall Men (1955). Want to know more about these three films, check out DVD Savant's review here.

The Flying Nun: The Complete Second Season

Hong Kong Phooey - The Complete Series Ah, there's nothing like a cartoon martial arts superhero dog voiced by Scatman Crothers!


James Stewart: The Signature Collection Warners cranks out another box set: The Stratton Story (1949), The Naked Spur (1953), The Spirit Of St. Louis (1957), The FBI Story (1959), Fire Creek (1968), and The Cheyenne Social Club (1970). DVD Savant reviews this set, describing Stewart as, " the real spokesman for right-wing America." Check it out here.

Rome: The Complete First Season The HBO series.

Ronald Reagan - The Signature Collection Speaking of right-wing's what you get in this GipperBox: Knute Rockne All American (1940, source of the "win just one for the Gipper" line), Kings Row (1942), The Hasty Heart (1949), Storm Warning (1951), and The Winning Team (1952). Woo hoo! It's Gipperriffic!

RV (2006)

Scary Movie 4

The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season

The Weird Al Show - The Complete Series Anyone see this? It featured Barenaked Ladies (the group, silly) and Hanson!

August 8, 2006

"Pudding can't fill the emptiness inside me! But it'll help."

This seems like a somewhat slow week, DVD-wise, but here's what we have for new DVDs:

Adam & Steve

Beautiful People - Complete Season 1


Bring It On: All or Nothing Yes, a third sequel to this "francise" of cheerleading films...

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Fourth Season

Heidi (2005)

Inside Man The latest Spike Lee release.

The Jayne Mansfield Collection Fox issues three new-to-DVD films featuring the bombshell Mansfield. The films aren't available by themselves; The Girl Can't Help It (1956), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), and The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958). DVD Savant takes a good look at the set here.

Sealab 2021 - Season Four

The Wire - The Complete Third Season

July 31, 2006

"They're not breasts, they're just big chemical balls, okay?"

Holy crap it's hot here today...and has been for days on end....did I mention it's hot....and really sticky?! Argh! But it's supposed to get better tomorrow, which also happens to be when this week's DVDs come out:

Alice in Wonderland (1985) Not the Disney version and not (alas) the musical-porn version!

Beavis & Butt-Head - The Mike Judge Collection, Vol. 3

Broken Saints

The Comeback - The Complete Only Season

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Fifth Season I've gotta get around to checking this series out one of these days.

Dallas - The Complete Fifth Season

Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special For some reason, there's a 16mm print of this show sitting in my guest room closet..this somehow struck me as weird.

The Girls Next Door: Season One Sadly, I've actually watched an episode of this show...I feel just fine about that, really I do!

Good Times: The Complete Sixth Season

Hazel: The Complete First Season Wow, they're really digging into the obscure stuff these days.

Mr. Moto Collection, Volume 1 Well, you learn something new every day. Like the fact that Peter Lorre did a series of eight films in the 1930s playing an Asian detective named Mr. Moto. Fox issues the first four films in this set: Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937), Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937), Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938), and Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938). Fox really was the Asian detective studio, wasn't it.

Mrs. Harris

The Shaggy Dog (2006) I'm so glad Disney's found something new to do...

V for Vendetta DVD Savant has a good review of this one here.

July 24, 2006

"We'd love to stay here and count our brain cells as they die one-by-one."

Happy new-DVD-release-week everyone. I've been down with some kind of mystery ailment this past week so I'm not sure how much I'll get!!!! What the heck, Scott Baio did it...

So here we go with this week's list of new DVDs:

The 2005 Academy Award Short Films Collection Yep, all the short films nominated last year, so here's your chance to see 'em.

Animaniacs: Volume 1 It took a while, but this series is finally coming out on DVD. I don't think it ever had seasons per se, so the volumes format seems appropriate. I remember the show being funny when I caught it, but it's been a while.

Ask the Dust (2006)

Asylum (1972)

The Benchwarmers (2006)

The Boondocks: The Complete First Season - Uncut And Uncensored Another Cartoon Network show comes to DVD.

A Canterbury Tale (1944) Criterion issues another Powell/Pressburger classic.

Chappelle’s Show: Lost Episodes

Cello A horror film with a cello?!

Final Destination 3: Thrill Ride Edition Here's a fun quote from the IMDB description, "survivors of a rollercoaster disaster dispatched by tanning beds, weight training benches, nail guns and a runaway engine block, all guided by the relentless hand of death..."

Halloween: 25 Years Of Terror Yes, a box set with every Halloween those extras that I know you've all been waiting for!

JAG: The Complete First Season

Pinky And The Brain: Volume 1

Punky Brewster: Season Three OK, I must be ill if I'm posting about this!

Rawhide: The Complete First Season

Three's Company - Season Seven Believe it or not, this wasn't the last season.

The Will Rogers Collection: Volume One Another box set of old films...the list of its contents can be found here.

July 17, 2006

"How about the shape of that liquor cabinet?"

Monday again, oh yeah...could be worse, it could be...oh never mind, here's this week's DVDs:

Amazing Stories: The Complete First Season

Asphalt (1929)

ATL (2006)

Carnivàle: The Complete Second Season

Clean (2004)

Dr. Mabuse. The Gambler (1922)

Edison Force Wow, the film debut of Justin Timberlake...sign me up!

The Film Noir Classic Collection - Volume 3 Warner does another noir set with a bunch of new-to-DVD films from the MGM and RKO libraries. All are exclusive to this box set: Lady in the Lake (1947), Border Incident (1949), The Racket (1951), His Kind of Woman (1951), and On Dangerous Ground (1952). On Dangerous Ground has a memorable score by Bernard Herrmann and the DVD has a commentary by DVD Savant, who also reviews the set here.

The Incredible Hulk: The Complete First Season The 1970s version.

Jack of All Trades: The Complete Series

Road House: Deluxe Edition Gosh, I'm so glad they gave this one the deluxe treatment....

She's the Man

Some Like It Hot: Collector's Edition The 1959 classic gets a past-due makeover. If you haven't seen this, you should.

Sybil - 30th Anniversary 2-Disc Special Edition

Warner Bros. Pictures Tough Guys Collection It's tough to be a Warners box set! These titles are all available seperately: G Men (1935), Bullets or Ballots (1936), A Slight Case of Murder (1938), San Quentin (1937), Each Dawn I Die (1939), and City for Conquest (1940).

July 11, 2006

"You drove right over my heart, and you didn't even signal."

Well, we're back from vacation and all that...I wouldn't say I'm well-rested, but who is, really? So here's this week's list of new DVDs:

30 Days: Season One

Basic Instinct 2 And this Jem is also available on Blu Ray...that's great!

The Black Swan (1942) Fox releases another Tyrone Power film to DVD.

Bridezillas: The Complete First Season OK, I can almost see (I said almost!) why one would occasionally watch this on cable, but buying entire seasons?!

The Dukes of Hazzard (2005, HD-DVD) Now this is a title worthy of HD! Now we can really analyze how short those shorts are!

The Ellen Show: The Complete Series Ellen's second sitcom flopped...maybe she should consider a sequel to Ellen's Energy Adventure...

ER: The Complete Fifth Season

Grand Prix: 40th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition The car racing 70mm epic comes to DVD. DVD Savant reviews the disc here.


I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Second Season

The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) DVD Savant takes a look at this one here.

Koko: A Talking Gorilla Criterion issues the 1978 documentary.

Perry Mason: Season 1, Volume 1 The long-running Raymond Burr show comes to DVD.

Reno 911: The Complete Third Season

Yi yi (2000) Criterion releases a new DVD of this excellent film.

July 7, 2006

"Imagine me with no head - and don't say that's an improvement."

Happy July, all. I'm late this week as I'm on vacation in exotic South Dakota by way of Nebraska. Now there's some world traveling! Let's see how much I can get out before I'm hauled off to my sister's place for tech support or to the Ft. Hays cowboy show. As this is a holiday week, the slate of discs is a bit wee. I did actually see the new Superman film, which I'll talk more about next week (for those who care). For the complete list of DVDs out this week, click here:

Charlie's Angels: The Complete Third Season

Doctor Who: The Complete First Season The new Who series, which is in its second season in the UK, has just finished its first season run here on the SciFi Channel. We liked the show quite a bit and it's pretty easy to pick up even if you never saw the long-lived original run of the show. The only bummer is that Christopher Eccleston, who plays the Doctor in the first season, didn't come back for the second. We liked him a lot, but I'm curious to see who the next guy is. Who fans have been long used to the steady change of actors playing the Doctor. I wonder if they'll ever cast a woman in the part! T'would be interesting.

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Season 5 Collection 5

The Libertine (2004)

The Matador (2005)

See, I told you there wasn't much!

June 26, 2006

"You'll never kill anyone if you go around thinkin'."

Greetings all. This is a pretty light week, as far as major hits and big classic re-releases so let's get right to it with this week's crop of DVDs (I'll thow some HD stuff in at the end just for grins):


Blue Collar Comedy Tour - One for the Road

Columbo: The Complete Fifth Season

Commander In Chief: The Inaugural Edition - Part 1 This now-cancelled show, which some wingnuts thought was an attempt by "liberal" Disney to promote Hillary Clinton's 2008 run, is being released in two sets adding up to one season; this one contains the first ten episodes. The good part about this is that apparently the show went south in mid-season. However, I would think that anyone who is fond enough of it to buy it would want the whole thing. It's probably an excuse to get extra money for it.

Failure to Launch (2006)

Family Affair: Season One There was a time when I was growing up that this show was in heavy circulation on TV (reruns, I'm not that old!). And then in the 80s, it dropped out of sight. Like many things I watched as a kid, it's probably better not revisited.

Madea's Family Reunion

Monk: Season Four

OLYMPIA -The LENI RIEFENSTAHL Archival Collection (1937) I think this marks the first complete release of this on DVD. It's funny, when I looked at it on Amazon, it suggested Brokeback Mountain as an alternative!

Project Runway: The Complete Second Season


Why We Fight (2005) DVD Savant reviews this one here.

Yellowbeard (1983)

And here's the hi-def roundup for this week:

Crash (Blu Ray)
Lethal Weapon (HD-DVD) Man, I've been wanting to see this in HD since...uh, what was I talking about???
Lord of War (Blu Ray)
The Punisher (Blu Ray)
Saw (Blu Ray)
Terminator 2 (Blu Ray) OK, this one makes sense.
Ultraviolet (Blu Ray) Wow, they managed to squeeze out a hi def title the same day as the DVD.

June 21, 2006

"Pabst Blue Ribbon is what you'll drink tonight!"

So last night, Shades and I were out running errands (hunting for a new alarm clock for her) and happened to wander into my former employer and site of a number of mis-spent years, Best Buy. I rarely buy things there anymore, but there we were. And what did I see? Samsung's new BD-P1000 Blu Ray Disc player. Yes, this week Blu Ray hit the market, without a player by format-backer Sony, which is odd. But there it was, the Samsung machine sitting on an endcap. The machine looks cool, as many early-adopter machines do, and there are even a handful of titles to go with it. Needless to say, I am not going to buy into either HD format for a while, even though part of me really wants to get one of these babies. It reminds me of the early days of DVD when few people had them and the format's future was far from certain. Each week brought new title announcements: what great and not-so-great film would hit the format next? Heck, when I bought into DVD, a couple of studios hadn't even released titles on the format yet. Makes me feel old...maybe I'll post about Betamax next!

Of course the two big differences between then and now are that there are two competing formats and an open question as to whether or not the public really cares about an HD disc format. DVD can look mighty fine on an HDTV (some people think DVD is HD) so I have to wonder if, assuming one of the two formats wins out, HD on disc will be relegated to niche status. A laserdisc for the new century, if you will. That would be sad since HD does look fantastic and I want it to succeed. It's just too bad that the idiots had to release two formats, and according to initial reports, formats that aren't quite ready for prime time. The first HD-DVD players have had glitches and the new Samsung Blu Ray machine seems similarly half-baked (methinks Sony was smart to delay their player, which was supposed to be available now). There are also reports of replication problems with the higher density Blu Ray discs (needed for longer films or lots of extras). Clearly both were released before they were ready. In the end, the technical issues will be worked out, but right now I wouldn't want to bet on either format. We'll just have to see how it plays out. In the meantime, this all makes me feel better about not being able to enjoy HD discs just yet. Someday...

June 19, 2006

"Look, Buster, don't you get overstimulated with me!"

This week, no rants or abnormal blatherings (the weather is too nice for that); on with this week's DVDs:

Charlie Chan: Volume One Fox begins issuing the 1930s Chan films which haven't been on DVD before. These are generally considered the best Chan features with Warner Oland , who was Swedish, playing Chan. The films are not available seperately. It includes: Eran trece (1931, a Spanish language version of the early lost Charlie Chan Carries On shot on the same sets with a different cast), Charlie Chan in London (1934), Charlie Chan in Paris (1935), Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935), and Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935).

Clark Gable: The Signature Collection The march of classic Warner-issued box sets continues. These are all new to DVD and available by themselves: Dancing Lady (1933), China Seas (1935), San Francisco (1936), Wife vs. Secretary (1936), Boom Town (1940), and Mogambo (1953).

Eight Below Would this be called the "Feel-Good Dog Movie of the Year?" Uh, maybe not...

A Fine Madness (1966) Sean Connery plays a character who is, "a frustrated poet and a magnet for women..."

The Hills Have Eyes (2006) Did I mention they're also alive with the sound of music? RUN!!!

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968)

The King Of Queens: The Complete Fifth Season

Lady & the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Better hurry up and get this's available for a limited time only...oh wait, that's every Disney DVD.

The Loved One (1965) Hey, Jonathan Winters is in this!

Married… With Children: The Complete Fifth Season

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Fourth Season

NewsRadio: The Complete Fourth Season One season left on this one.

NYPD Blue: Season 04


What's Eating Gilbert Grape This film gets the "collectors edition" treatment.

And, this week marks the debut of the other high definition disc format, Blu Ray Disc. There's one machine on the market to play them and one Sony PC. Here's the list of movies available on the format:

50 First Dates Gee, I always wanted that one in HD...?
The Fifth Element This has always been a title that AV geeks use to show off high end systems, so it's only proper that it comes out first. Still, if I never see this film again it'll be too soon.
Hitch Huh?
House of Flying Daggers Now that one makes some sense.
The Terminator Yeah, I can buy that (well, not literally).
Underworld: Evolution Is it twice as funny in HD?
xXx Uh, yeah...

So y'all be nice and not trample each other trying to get these choice titles...

June 12, 2006

"We are but poor, lost circus performers."

Hello again all. Before I begin, I'd like to do a rant that has nothing whatsoever to do with DVDs: giant jerks in cars.

Last night Shades and I were biking home from my Summer gig at the park along Minnehaha Parkway.

It was just after dark.

We were riding with head and tail lights.

It is perfectly legal to ride in the streets (and this is a winding parkway with a speed limit of 20 mph, there are often bikes on this road).

Some asshole in a 199x POS Ford Taurus Wagon (licence plate gxl 382) began by tailgating me, gunning his "engine." We were over on the right side and he had ample opportunity to go around us, which he did not avail himself of. We pull up at a stoplight and move over to the side to let him go around. He sits his ass there and honks his horn until Shades gives up and goes forward; he follows with me behind him. He drives along as close as he can to her while I keep up from behind getting ready to call the cops as I'm wondering if he's going to run her down or something. She makes a left turn (with the proper signal, natch) and he blows by her yelling out crap about the bike path.

To quote Full Metal Jacket, "What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn't Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?" I have two theories:

1) He has some road rage issues and thought he was "scaring" her off the road.
2) He is a giant jerk.

OK, so that's kind of the same theory! So, Mr. GXL 382, if you're reading this, BITE ME!

Sorry, back to the usual stuff: this week's DVDs:

16 Blocks Also available in HD-DVD.


Beavis & Butthead - The Mike Judge Collection, Vol. 2 Another best-of collection.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) The psuedo-sequel to The Valley of the Dolls, this DVD of the camp classic includes a commentary with screenwriter Roger Ebert.

Cheers: The Complete Eighth Season

Coach: The First Season

Dave Chappelle's Block Party R and unrated versions available...gee, which one is going to sell better???

Dead Zone - The Complete Fourth Season

Dharma & Greg: Season One Why would you need to buy or rent this when it's on every hour on TV in reruns?

Frasier: The Complete Eighth Season

Happy Gilmore (HD-DVD) OK, what? Is this really something that was crying out for hi-def?

Jim Henson's the Storyteller: The Definitive Collection

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

MacGyver: The Complete Sixth Season

Medium: The Complete First Season

The Pink Panther (2006) Another Steve Martin disappointment...

The Princess Bride Yes, this makes the third DVD version of this film. Granted, it's more warranted than endless reissues of American Pie, but this one seems to have most of the same features as the last one. There are a few new featurettes and true fans can get milked by purchasing both the Dread Pirate Edition and the Buttercup Edition! Both have the same material inside. INCONCEIVABLE! Granted, the "Battle of Wits Triva Game" sounds amusing, but I'd say if you already have the previous SE, I'd call this a skipper.

The Quiet Earth (1985) DVD Savant reviews this one here. And speaking of DVD Savant, he did a great review of Dumbo that I thought nailed the film on the head. Go read it here. Really!

The Rockford Files: Season Two

Valley of the Dolls (1967) "...a hard partying, out-of-control rollercoaster of sex, booze and pills."

The World's Fastest Indian Did anyone see this?

June 5, 2006

"Quiet, gentlemen. Reverend Rodent's gonna address you."

Now that we're finally into Summer and everyone's outdoors doing things other than watching DVDs, you'd think the release rate would slow to a crawl. Well, not this week! There are quite a few reissues and older titles new to the format these days since the holiday 2005 blockbusters are pretty much out. If any of you are interested in what's being released on HD-DVD (not that I know anyone with a player), an ongoing list (it also has the titles announced for Blu-Ray) can be found here. So on with this week's DVDs

À nos amours (1983, Criterion)

Air America: The Complete Series The short-lived series makes DVD.

The Batjac Suspense Collection Did you know John Wayne owned a production company? Batjac Productions (a short summary of its history can be found here) was mainly set up for Wayne to hold onto the right of his films and, somewhat like Apple Corps, is now a licencing entity run by the Wayne estate. This box set is made up of non-Wayne films from the company which haven't been on DVD before ( some of this stuff wasn't even on VHS): Plunder of the Sun (1953), Track of the Cat (1954), Ring of Fear (1954), and Man in the Vault (1956).

Black Hawk Down: Extended Cut Eight extra minutes are added to this version of a film that is probably long enough for most.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Ultimate Collector's Edition Universal reissues this one with more extras and a new film transfer.

Charmed - The Complete Fifth Season Another season of Chaaahhhmed!

Cheyenne: The Complete First Season

Dazed And Confused Criterion does the Linklater film.

Dumbo: Big Top Edition The Disney classic gets a new DVD version with a few new bonuses and a new film transfer. The word is that the bonuses are mostly the same as the previous DVD and the picture is somewhat better. It appears that Disney didn't do the full digital cleanup work they've done on some of the more "important" classics, so this one still looks like film, unlike Bambi or Cinderella. That's fine by me since this is closer to the way the film looked in 1941. Soooo, I have the previous disc and don't think it's worth buying again; at least until an HD version comes. I have a soft spot for this movie...

Entourage - The Complete Second Season

Firewall This one is also available on HD-DVD.

F Troop: The Complete First Season

Fried Green Tomatoes: Anniversary Edition What a great way to celebrate an anniversary: add an extra seven minutes...I'll have to try that on my anniversary!

Glory Road

Home Improvement: The Complete Fourth Season

The John Ford Collection Warner keeps on cranking out the box sets. This one contains five John Ford RKO and Warner films that haven't been on DVD before and are only currently available in this box: The Lost Patrol (1934), The Informer (1935), Mary Of Scotland (1936), Sergeant Rutledge (1960), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). DVD Savant has a very good review of the set here.

John Wayne-John Ford Film Collection This box set contains eight Wayne/Ford films, some of which were on DVD before, but are now redone as special editions. These are all available seperately: Stagecoach (1939), They Were Expendable (1945), Fort Apache (1948), 3 Godfathers (1948), The Long Voyage Home (1948), She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Searchers (1956), and The Wings of Eagles (1957). And of course, DVD Savant tackles this box here.

The Missing: Extended Cut OK, so it's turned out to be "John Wayne Extended Cut Week."

NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service: The Complete First Season

Running Scared (2006)

Gösta Berlings saga (1924) Greta Garbo's breakthrough film gets a restored new DVD.

The Syrian Bride (2004)

Underworld: Evolution (2006)

The Wild Wild West: The Complete First Season

May 31, 2006

"Sushi. That's what my ex-wife called me - cold fish."

I'm a couple of days late on this one, but it looks like Blade Runner will finally get a proper re-do on DVD; the currently available disc dates from 1997. Ridley Scott has a new Director's Cut in the pipeline (apparently the previous "director's cut" wasn't quite what he wanted) which will be called Blade Runner: Final Cut. This version will get a theatrical release next year with a DVD release that includes the original U.S. theatrical cut, expanded international theatrical cut, and the 1992 Director's Cut; four different versions. In the meantime, this September, a new transfer or the 1992 cut will hit DVD, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD (the megaset next year should ship in multiple versions as well). More info can be found here.

May 30, 2006

"You have the touch of a love-starved cobra."

Damn, it's Tuesday already; those pesky holiday weekends!

So how about just getting to it with this week's DVDs:

ALF: Season Three Four seasons of this show...ouch.

The Bette Davis Collection, Vol. 2 The Warner box sets roll on with five more Davis films. All are available seperately and three of them are new to DVD: Marked Woman (1937), Jezebel (1938), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), Old Acquaintance (1943), and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). DVD Savant reviews the whole schmere here.

Date Movie I suppose this is the big "hit" new release this week.

The Doris Day Show Season 3

The Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete Sixth Season


Joey - The Complete First Season

John Wayne: An American Icon Collection Five new to DVD Wayne films: Seven Sinners (1940), The Shepherd of the Hills (1941), Pittsburgh (1942), The Conqueror (1956)(...hmm, John Wayne playing Genghis Khan...ok...), and Jet Pilot (1957).

Numb3rs : The Complete First Season

Oh! Calcutta! (1972)

Platoon: 20th Anniversary Edition 20 years already? MGM/Sony reissues this one more time before HD.

Queer as Folk: Final Season

Smokey and the Bandit - Special Edition Smokey gets an upgrade this week.

May 26, 2006

"Why must I be surrounded by frickin' idiots?"

I just had to do a quick post on this little topic.

So, as you all probably know, DVDs have this annoying thing called region codes. Of course they're pretty easy to get around these days with so many players available that ignore them, but they remain a nuisance. We've all been hoping that those behind the new HD formats would wise up and ditch the practice that is quite clearly anti-consumer. So much for that, it appears that both formats will support region coding. HD-DVD doesn't currently have it, but it probably will quite soon and Blu-Ray is expected to implement it. An article about it can be found here. Thanks a lot numbnuts...

On to better news. Paramount is finally going to release the Leslie Nielsen series, Police Squad this Fall. This is one I've always really liked and am looking forward to picking it up. One of the reasons, IMO that it's so good is its UK-length run of only six episodes. Very amusing and a great piece of satire. Star Trek: The Animated Series should come out around the same time.

As Battlestar Galactica comes back in October for its third season, Universal is expected to release the second half of season 2 in late summer. It'll be interesting to see if they can maintain the quality going into year three.

OK, I'm done now...

May 24, 2006

"I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."

Here's an update on the Star Wars DVD stuff I was talking about recently.

Yes, Lucasfilm has confirmed that the original theatrical versions of the films will be sourced from the 1993 Laserdisc copies, which will look pretty lackluster on modern widescreen TVs. The spin from Lucas has been that the original versions are being released as "bonus materials" to the Special Edition versions already available, which explains why they're being released together. So if you bought either of the previous DVDs, you get to buy them over again if you want the "bonus" movies, even though George knows that pretty much everyone has already bought them once and will buy them again to get the ones most of them wanted in the first place. But since Lucas considers the original films his bastard children, he doesn't want to spend a dime more than necessary to silence the call for the original films. It's pretty obvious that if he wanted, he could release quality versions of these films on DVD. I think if he did that, most people wouldn't complain so much about re-buying the SE versions (fans should be well used to re-purchases). A good article that explains the situation well can be found here.

So, in the end, this release may get Lucas "off the hook" for answering the call for the original films, but won't really satisfy the fans who want the same basic treatment that even the lowest priority reissue from a major studio does. No one is asking for a full-blown restoration of the old versions, but it wouldn't kill him to at least present them as well as some crappy 1980s film. So, enough are a few more tidbits.

DVD Savant, the one web DVD reviewer who's writing about film I actually respect (I usually read DVD reviews by others for the lowdown on A/V quality), has a really good write up of The Cecil B. DeMille Collection, which came out this week. One of my favorite lines from the review: "Leading off is this 1932 pre-code sizzler, C.B's prime entry in the 'Jesus & Sex' hypocrisy sweepstakes. The pattern is well known: Censors nix nudity, violence, sexual perversion and sadism in normal films, but The Sign of the Cross avoids censorship by framing its salacious content in a melodrama shot through with 'Christian' values." Go read it here.

And finally, our good friends at Tivo, who recently won a patent infringement case against the satellite provider Dish Network, are planning to file for an injunction that calls not only for them to cease selling their PVR boxes, but to turn off the service for those who already have them. Wow...more details here.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

May 22, 2006

"God, how I hate the twentieth century."

Well looky here, it's Memorial Day time again. The easy way to remember it is to watch all the war-themed DVDs they crank out every year. This time we have a few new-to-DVD films and more re-treads. Noticably absent are a lot of new blockbusters. So let's get to it with this week's DVDs:

100 Rifles (1969) A western with Burt Reynolds and Rachel Welch....OK...

The 4400: The Complete Second Season

Back Door to Hell (1964)

BloodRayne Further proof that Ben Kingsly will appear in anything for a check...

Boston Legal: Season One This one's going into the queue.

Brilliant But Cancelled: Crime Dramas The now-defunct Trio cable channel (it has been missed) used to run this series called Brilliant But Cancelled where they ran episodes from shows that didn't make it to a full season, but were considered good. The channel may be gone, but someone managed to get the idea onto DVD. There's another installment available: Brilliant But Cancelled: EZ Streets (created by Paul Haggis, director of Crash).

The Cecil B. DeMille Collection Universal continues its mining of the old Paramount library with four DeMille films new to DVD: The Sign of the Cross (1932), Four Frightened People (1934), Cleopatra (1934), The Crusades (1935), and Union Pacific (1939).

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Oh boy, sign me up for THAT!

The Closer: The Complete First Season

Compulsion (1959) The first time on DVD for the film about the Leopold-Loeb murder case.

Deadwood: The Complete Second Season Now starring Kevin Costner! Oh wait, never mind...

The Dirty Dozen: Two-Disc Special Edition War movie re-dos march on!

Guns at Batasi (1964) More manly films on DVD (not that some of them aren't good, mind you).

Harlan County, U.S.A. Criterion issues the award-winning documentary. DVD Savant reviews it here.

High School Musical Not just direct-to-video, it's direct-to-Disney Channel.

Kingdom of Heaven: 4-Disc Director's Cut Well, like these things usually go, it's either a refreshing improvement over the shorter cut or an excruciating bore, brimming with filler.

The Longest Day: Special Edition The 1962 WW II extravaganza gets the 2 disc treatment.

M*A*S*H: Season Ten Only one season left...

Patton: Special Edition The old single disc version gets upgraded.

The Seven-Ups (1972) This one's new to DVD and DVD Savant takes a look at it here.

Tora! Tora! Tora!: Special Edition I thought this was a bit of a bore, but it's still better than Pearl Harbor.

Transamerica Felicity Huffman's Oscar-nominated performance makes it to DVD.

May 19, 2006

"You have failed me for the last time, Admiral."

So what would a Friday be without a post about Star Wars? As I wrote earlier, the original films are going to be released on DVD on 9/12. What wasn't revealed then was the fact that they're going to use the same video masters used for the old laserdiscs (the very ones I own) as opposed to making new film transfers in 16x9-enhanced widescreen. Lucasfilm claims this is the best they can do, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that they are full of it. I can think of two possible reasons for this:

1) They're cheap and lazy. It doesn't take much effort to recycle an old LD master tape and make DVDs (in fact people like me have already done it at home).

2) They want to do it half-assed so it doesn't sell well. Then George can use the excuse that there isn't demand for it and never release them again.

Whatever the reasons, it's a nice slap in the face for fans who have waited for this stuff. I thought we were done with the practice of re-using old LD material years ago (it was done a lot in the 1990s when DVD was new). The Digital Bits website has a lot more information on this here, including a note about the feasability of a full restoration of these films by Robert Harris. The short answer: it's quite possible to bring these back to their original state if Lucas wants it. So will I buy them? I was all ready to go earlier, but I'm starting to have many others I'm sure.

May 15, 2006

"...der Führer vas descended from a long line of English qveens."

Good Monday everyone. Before I get into the usual nonsense, I'd like to pay a small tribute to my niece Faith.


Faith, who's about to turn three, is a precocious little girl who, when not scaling fences, chasing my dog, engaging in contests of will with her parents, or just generally being a feisty-but-cute kid, likes to watch DVDs. Sure, a lot of kids like to watch DVDs. Faith and I have a lot in common; we both like the interactive (such as they are) capabilities of DVD. I've watched her walk up to the player, open the drawer, insert the DVD, and navigate the menus. And she knows where the stuff on the DVD is without being able to read. Her little fingers fly across the player cursor controls like a pro (hey, is there such thing as a professional DVD operator?!). Before we know it, she'll be authoring her own DVDs. OK, so I'm sure plenty of other kids do this in this day/age, but I thought I'd throw everyone off this week with a post about a kid...kindred spirit! So, this edition of Bitter Dregs is dedicated to you Faith, a long distance dedication...oh, sorry, that was on we go to this week's DVDs:

The Big Valley: Season One The main thing I remember about this 1960s show was it being in syndication when I was growing up in the 1970s. I remember whatever station that ran Star Trek replacing it with this show and thinking how lame it was. Of course I've never seen it so what do I know...

Con Air: Unrated Extended Edition This week we get a batch of Jerry Bruckheimer-produced films with extended cuts. A couple of them needed new film transfers so bully for Jerry. A big yawn over here though.

Crimson Tide: Unrated Extended Edition So do we get an even longer speech by Gene Hackman?

Duma (2005)

Enemy of the State: Unrated Extended Edition More Jerry...

Hill Street Blues: Season Two OK, so they're doing this MTM show, how about St. Elsewhere? I know better than to ask about WKRP.

Napoleon Dynamite: Like, the Best Special Edition Ever! A new expanded special edition. Same cut, more bonuses.

The Producers (2005) I can't imagine this will top the 1968 version for me, but I'll have to give this one a rent to get an idea of what Lane/Broderick were like on stage.

The Shaw Collection A BBC collection celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great British playwright George Bernard Shaw. The 6-DVD set includes (available by themselves): Pygmalion (1973), The Devil's Disciple (1987), The Millionairess (1972), Mrs. Warren's Profession (1972), Heartbreak House (1977), and Arms and the Man (1989).

The White Countess (2005)

Winter Passing (2005)

May 8, 2006

"Man, Shelock Holmes does coke!"

I was going to write about my niece, remember? Well, my folks were visiting over the weekend and it didn't happen. Maybe this week. In the meantime, let's do the usual new DVDs of the week thing:

The 400 Blows This classic has been on DVD a couple of times before, once by Criterion in the late 1990s. Criterion gets the rights back and does a new DVD.

The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Sixth Season

Big Momma's House 2 Martin Lawrence sinks...even...lower.

Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams Dude, was this one out of DVD before? Don't know, I was high at the time...

Cinderella Man The Ron Howard boxing pic hits HD-DVD this week.

Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist: Season One

Earthquake (1974) Well what do you know, it's 1970s disaster movie week! They're all re-dos with new film transfers and bonuses. Bring on the destruction!

Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Sixth Season

The Facts Of Life: The Complete First And Second Seasons Did you know that this show ran for almost ten years?!

Golden Girls: The Complete Fifth Season Soon my sisters will be swimming in Golden Girls DVDs!

Jarhead Another HD-DVD release.

Late Spring (1949) Criterion releases the Yasujiro Ozu film.

Life Goes On: The Complete First Season Patti LuPone's first TV series. So you do learn something new everyday!

Munich The Spielberg film comes out in one or two DVD versions.

Nanny McPhee

The New World Terrence Malick's version of the John Smith/Pocahontas story. And though I haven't seen it yet, I can tell that like his other films, this one will be a love it or hate it thing.

The Poseidon Adventure: Special Edition I once saw a documentary on TV about the fans of this film. And that was scarier than the movie was!

Rumor Has It... (2005)

Scrubs: The Complete Third Season

Sgt. Bilko - 50th Anniversary Edition (The Phil Silvers Show)

That 70s Show: Season Four

The Towering Inferno: Special Edition The 1974 disaster movie could be the pinnacle (sorry!) of the 70s disaster genre. It's got everything:

An all star cast, sometimes referred to as a "Grand Hotel on fire". What other film has Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and O.J. Simpson in it!

A huge budget with lots of explosions, people falling out of skyscrapers, and more fake smoke than you can shake a stick at.

A moral commentary on modern life: Yes indeedy, the hero fire chief gets to give a stern finger wagging to the corrupt architects/builders who cut corners to save money. Go Steve!

A collection of has-been celebrities including Fred Astaire (man, he was all over the place in the 1970s, wasn't he), Jennifer Jones, and William Holden. So there you have it...a disaster-fest of flaming fun!

Training Day HD-DVD

The West Wing: The Complete Sixth Season

May 4, 2006

"The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded."


Some of you already have heard about this, but according to Lucasfilm, the original unaltered theatrical versions of the first Star Wars trilogy are going to be released on 9/12 of this year. Yes, apparently George either changed his mind or decided to wait until everyone had bought the new versions before letting the old ones out. For the actual release explaining the news, click here. So, in spite of the fact that Lucas is once again cashing in on a re-release, this is a welcome thing, regardless of the motive. The films were digitally restored a few years back for use in the digital "enhancements" and should look really nice. I did go to the trouble of transferring my old laserdiscs, thinking he'd never give in. Well, I must say I'm glad to be wrong as it will be nice to have them on DVD with optimal picture...they're even going without a sound re-mix, just the original 2 track versions. So while I was tempted to buy the previous DVDs, I'm glad I waited since the upcoming 2 DVD sets will have both the originals and the 2004 versions. That makes me happy...until he releases them in HD! Anyone want to wager whether or not he releases the Holiday Special?

May 1, 2006

"You don't want to argue with anyone larger than your van."

Well fellow kids, here we are in another week. I just got back from SD where it was actually raining...not as much as it was here in MN, but any rain out there is something these days. For today, I'll do the usual roundup of new DVDs, but I've got to get around to writing about the knob-jockey capabilities of my niece Faith (almost 3 years old); she's quite the phenomenon!

But for now you get this...

3rd Rock From the Sun: Season 4

Broadway's Lost Treasures Collection A PBS collection containing highlights of Tony awards shows between 1967-1986.

Delicatessen (1991) I want to say that this was on DVD before, but I'm not 100%...and if it was it's been out of print for a while.

Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons

The Family Stone (2005)

Flight 93 The TV movie that ran on Fox, not the theatrical film that's opening this week. Quite frankly, I have no desire to see either of them.


I Love Lucy: The Complete Sixth Season The final season makes it to disc.

King of the Hill: The Complete Sixth Season It's no Simpsons, but you're going to be buying this one for a while....

Last Holiday (2005)

Leave it to Beaver Season 2 You've gotta love a show with a piece of dialogue like this: "Things would be all right if my daughter could just find a husband. Then we'd always have a man around to give it to Larry when his father's out of town."

The Lucy and Desi Collection The two made three feature films together. Warners has stuck 'em all in a swell box; isn't that keen? You get Too Many Girls (1940), The Long, Long Trailer (1954), and Forever Darling (1956). They're all new to DVD and are available seperately.

Modern Romance (1981) More Albert Brooks makes it to DVD.

The Nanny: The Complete Second Season Damn, this was on for six seasons! Ouch...

The Red Green Show: 1997 Season

The Tennessee Williams Film Collection Another Warner box all featuring films of the playwright. All of the films are either new to DVD or new versions with bonuses/new transfers. You get: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Baby Doll (1956), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Deluxe Edition (1958), The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), and The Night of the Iguana (1964). A pretty big classic release (they're all available by themselves). DVD Savant reviews Iguana here. Streetcar!

The Warrior (2001)

April 24, 2006

"Daddy, I got cider in my ear."

Greetings everyone. So even though no one I know rushed out last week and snatched one of the first HD-DVD players, apparently others did as they're pretty much sold out in retail for the time being. Apparently, the pircure quality is great and the units do allow for full hi def via component video connections for those of us using older HDTVs. The downsides of this first "early adopter" unit are:

1) The thing has to boot up when you turn it on; about a minute or so and you can't do anything including open the drawer while it's doing this. This makes some sense as I hear this machine is a Pentium 4/2.4ghz PC running Linux. Toshiba hasn't gotten this stuff on integrated chipsets yet so I'd call this a cobbled together attempt to get the product on the market as soon as possible.

2) The remote is reportedly crappy. To make a cutting edge video product at $500, some corners were cut; here's one of them.

3) The machines take 30 seconds to begin playing once loaded, see above.

4) There have been some glitches while playing; more of that early adopter stuff rearing its head.

So the good news is that when it works and if you can live with the early unit's shortcomings, the picture quality is outstanding; clearly superior to standard DVD. I'll be curious to see how the early Blu-Ray machines do. The other thing to consider is the mostly lame assortment of titles they have coming. It looks like better titles will begin to ship later in the year, but for right now, it's mostly "demo discs" (meaning films that are flashy and look good in home theater dealer demonstration systems...also makes a mean trade show display). A list of what's been announced (many have no dates yet) for both HD formats can be found here, sorted by format and studio.

On to this week's DVDs:

Æon Flux

Apollo 13 The Ron Howard film gets yet another release, this time on HD-DVD; at least this is a watchable demo disc!

The Betsy (1978) From the IMDB comments: "What a great trashy movie!" 'Nuff said.

Casanova (2005)

Casualties of War: Extended Cut

Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory Another Warner box of classics. This one tackles musicals; they're all available seperately and haven't been on DVD before. The box includes: Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), Three Little Words (1950), Summer Stock (1950), and It's Always Fair Weather (1955). DVD Savant has a review of It's Always Fair Weather here with the tag, "Recommended for viewers with a low tolerance for musicals."

Crumb: Special Edition This one gets a special edition including a commentary by Roger Ebert.

Elevator to the Gallows (1958) Criterion releases Louis Malle's first film.

Guys and Dolls: Deluxe Edition This is a re-do of a previous DVD that was bare-bones and used an old film transfer. The new disc nets a new 16x9 'Scope film transfer and some bonuses.

Law and Order: Trial By Jury - The Complete Series One of the fifty Law and Order shows that didn't make it...

Match Point Woody Allen's latest actually got some good reviews outside of the ones who like everything he does...and this time he's not acting in it and it's even set somewhere other than New York!

The Passenger (1975) A French film starring Jack Nicholson...

The Patriot: Extended Cut My brother in-law will love an even longer version of this film!

The Replacement Killers: Extended Cut What is this, "Sony Extended Cut WeeK?!"

Tristan + Isolde (2006) It's gotta be good, right? From the director of Waterworld?

Windtalkers: Director's Cut Oh never mind...

April 17, 2006

"...a fool is a man who pays twice for the same thing."

Hmm, that quote should be applied to the DVD business, no?

This is a pretty quiet week in DVD land save for the fact that it marks the beginning of the high def DVD format war. Yes, this week Toshiba ships its first HD-DVD player, the HD-A1 ($499) and there are even a few movies available: The Last Samurai, Million Dollar Baby, Phantom of the Opera, and Serenity. Here's what the disc case will look like:


The Blu Ray gear and equipment will be showing up shortly. Where does this lead? Well, I know a few will go out and jump right in, but most of us will wait a while to see how this all shakes out.

For the 99.9% of you who don't give a crap about it, here's this week's list of new DVDs

Breakfast on Pluto

The Buccaneers (1995 BBC mini series)

The Complete Mr. Arkadin Criterion assembles a special edition 3 DVD set of the mangled Orson Welles film with two distinct versions and a bunch of supplements. DVD Savant reviews the set here.

Doogie Howser, MD: Season 4 Doogie's still stealin' my car...

Event Horizon Special Edition


The Laurel And Hardy Collection (TCM Archives) Another L&H box. This one contains superior films: The Devil's Brother (1933) and Bonnie Scotland (1935) and bonuses.

Sahara The Michael Palin series.

Moonstruck Deluxe Edition Fans of this film can now get it in widescreen.

Mrs Henderson Presents

Remington Steele: Season Three

Sahara The Michael Palin series.

The Sentinel: The Complete First Season

April 10, 2006

"Don't take away my Telemundo!"

I've been down with a cold for the last few days, give or take so I'm running in low energy mode. Let's see how far I get this week...

We had some friends staying with us over the weekend and, as shocking as it may sound, we watched a DVD. We ended up watching a DVD I hadn't seen in a long while: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which I've had in the Dregs collection since it came out in the Fall of 2000. The disc still looks and sounds great, not something I would say for a lot of DVDs that were released 5+ years back, and has some pretty decent bonus features including some fun deleted scenes and a commentary I've yet to check out (the film is still very funny too). I see current DVDs that have far worse material than this one. I can see why New Line hasn't re-done this particular DVD; it would be tough to beat their first attempt. Of course if this movie had been released by Universal, it would have been reissued half a dozen times by now.

So on to this week's fun (as always, check this site for a complete list):

The Bob Newhart Show Season 3

The Dark (2005)

Deep Blue (2003)

Farscape: Starburst Edition 3.3

Fun with Dick and Jane

In Living Color: Season 5

The Laurel and Hardy Collection Another box set of L&H films, this one from Fox: Great Guns (1941), Jitterbugs (1943), and The Big Noise (1944). These late-career films are generally considered to me pretty poor and are examples of what Hollywood churned out during World War II; check out the plots and you'll know what I mean. However, if you're a true L&H fan, this is a good thing since the films either weren't available at all on video before or only on VHS, getting them on DVD for $24 or so is a good thing.

Mission Impossible: The Tie-in Yes indeedy, Paramount has blessed us all with new SE's of the Mission Impossible films all ready to promote the upcoming third film. You can even buy 'em by themselves or together in a box...oh goody!

Puerto Vallarta Squeeze (2004)

An Unfinished Life (2005)

Shades and I just got new road bikes so we're off buying DVDs for a while now...maybe I'll surprise y'all and write about it like she did. And by the way, DVD Savant has a good review of Carole Lombard: The Glamour Collection which came out last week.

April 3, 2006

"Beulah, peel me a grape."

Greetings from sunny Minnesota! Yes, Spring is really here and what better way to celebrate than buying more DVDs!

Or you could go outside....but if you must, here's this week's new DVDs:

9 to 5 Special Edition A new updated version clocks in (sorry, couldn't resist).

Blue Thunder Special Edition

Brokeback Mountain Do I really need to talk about this one...probably not and since I haven't even seen it yet, why would you want to read it?

Carole Lombard: Glamour Collection: This week Universal releases three sets containing five films featuring a single actress. Each set has the films spread over two DVD discs with little to no bonuses. The good part: they films look OK and each set is a steal at ca. $20 each if you're a fan. Man of the World, We’re Not Dressing, Hands Across the Table, Love Before Breakfast, The Princess Comes Across, and True Confession.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Disney serves this one up as a basic one disc or loaded two disc edition...what, no Bible Study Edition?

Crash: Special Edition Or should it be called, "Best Picture Tie-In Edition"?

Dawson’s Creek: Season 6 Season Six? Ouch....

Knight Rider: Season 4 Ditto

Mae West: The Glamour Collection This Universal 5'er gets you: Night After Night, I’m No Angel, Goin’ To Town, Go West Young Man, and My Little Chickadee.

Marlene Dietrich: Glamour Collection Another Universal 5 film set. This one gets you Morocco, Blond Venus, The Devil Is a Woman, Flame of New Orleans, and Golden Earrings. DVD Savant has a review for this set here.

Magnum, P.I.: Season 4

The Mel Brooks Collection A collection consisting of Mel's Fox films: Blazing Saddles, History of the World Part 1, Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, To Be or Not to Be, Twelve Chairs, and Silent Movie. All but Saddles are Fox films and High Anxiety, To Be or Not to Be, Twelve Chairs,Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Silent Movie have either been out of print for a while on DVD or never released. The DVD of Blazing Saddles is an older bare-bones version, not the newer 30th Anniversary edition.

Thank God It's Friday (1978) The disco relic makes it to DVD.

March 27, 2006

"Taxi! Follow that ape!"

Here we go with another week. More biggies from last year are coming out about now, so let's get going on this week's DVDs:

3 Films by Louis Malle Criterion issues a box with, well...ya know...3 films by Louis Malle! You get Murmur of the Heart (1971), Lacombe Lucien (1974), and Au revoir, les enfants (1987). The films are available seperately, but buying the box set scores you a bonus DVD of extra supplements.

A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) I haven't seen this one for many years. It's the first Peanuts film and I remember it being good; it's the one where they travel out of town to compete in a spelling bee...wuh wah wuh wah wuh wah wuh wah wah wah...wah!

Danger Mouse: Seasons 5 & 6

Doctor Who - The Beginning Collection I'm sure this is hardly news to you Who fans, but this set contains the first 3 William Hartnell stories in one set.

Get Rich or Die Tryin'

King Kong (2005) Peter Jackson's latest comes out in either a single disc or double SE set. Both versions are available in widescreen or pan/scan...choose wisely!

Knots Landing: Season 1 I feel better.

Left Behind (2000) This reminds me of the bumper stickers that read, "in case of Rapture, can I have your car?" And here's a choice chunk from the description: "In Left Behind, journalist Kirk Cameron and pilot Brad Johnson stumble onto a bizarre phenomenon..."

Memoirs of a Geisha

Northern Exposure: Season 4

Planet of the Apes Legacy Boxset Fox is reissuing the Apes films in a new box set with more up-to-date film transfers. Battle for The Planet of the Apes has an extended cut previously unavailable. The original film is available seperately as well. You can also get, are you ready?
Yes, it's the Planet of the Apes - The Ultimate DVD Collection - With Ape Head Packaging! You get everything in the smaller box plus an extra bonus disc and the entire Apes TV series. And don't forget about that head; more than you could ever want, no doubt. I guess it's "Ape Day" here in DVDLand.

Quantum Leap: Season 4

Robot Chicken: Vol. 1

Six Feet Under; Season 5

Snoopy Come Home (1972)

Triumph of the Will (1935) The Nazi classic gets a re-release with some extras. I don't know if this one's better; Apes and Nazis in one blog entry...IT'S A MADHOUSE!!!

March 20, 2006

"I'm tellin' ya, Animal, these Nazis ain't kosher."

Clean fresh DVDs every week of the year...paraphrasing Donald Fagen a bit. But yes, the seemingly endless bounty of new new stuff rolls on. As always, you can click here for the complete list of the fun.

21 Jump Street: Season 5

Bewitched - The Complete Third Season

The Busby Berkeley Collection A box set of new-to-DVD (save for 42nd Street) Warners films from the 1930s: Footlight Parade (1933), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933, natch), Dames (1934), Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935), and 42nd Street (1933) They're all available seperately, but if you spring for the box you get a bonus DVD: The Busby Berkeley Disc. DVD Savant has a good review of the set here.

Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar-winning performance makes it to the wee disc.

Chicken Little The big animated film from last year that didn't get an Oscar nomination.


Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

The Flying Nun: The Complete First Season Wow, pretty much everything is coming out now...

In the Mix Here's a good comment on this film from IMDB: "Wait for the DVD, in fact borrow a friend who was dumb to buy it."

Huff: The Complete First Season

Over There - Season 1

South Park - The Complete Seventh Season

The Squid and the Whale The critically acclaimed drama from last year.

Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition) The Billy Wilder classic gets an upgrade...and will probably get another one on HD.

The Ten Commandments (50th Anniversary Collection) Zzzzzzzz....oh yeah, see my comments above.

March 16, 2006

"It'd be like a Chrismukah Bar Mitzvahkah!"

I thought it was about time for another "what I'm watching" update so for those who care, here's a brief update.

We've been watching a fair amount of TV DVDs these days. One show that we've totally been hooked on is The O.C.. This show is addictive as crack and has about as much redeeming value. But oh it's fun to watch. The writing/acting is pretty good and the music they use is great. The first season is remarkably well developed for the beginning of a show. I hear that after the second season the show goes downhill...a shame, but not that surprising. Most shows can't sustain that level too long, but it's fun to watch something turn out to be good when you don't expect it. The DVDs are fine. The show is shot on 16mm film so there's some grain to be seen on the DVDs, but it's fine for a TV disc. The first season's in 4:3 and the second in 16x9, which looks better. The bonus features for season one are pretty standard issue fluff...

Speaking of stuff that I thought would be a bad thing, I've been getting into the new (new for me) Battlestar Galactica series. I was a fan of the 1970s show growing up, but thought remaking it was a lame idea. Well, Ron Moore (longtime Star Trek producer) did a really good job reinventing the show with the same basic story/characters as the original. It has a very gritty documentary style (some of the hand-held camera stuff goes overboard, but not in an Oliver Stone kinda way) that is about as far removed from the more recent Trek style as can be. From listening to the commentaries (well worth listening to), it's apparent that he was trying to do something different. The noticable lack of technobabble is quite refreshing. The added political angles in the show take it beyond the average space opera territory as well. So far (I'm in the middle of season 1) I'm liking it. The DVDs look very good and have decent 5.1 sound mixes. The show is shot on HD video, so I'd expect the picture to be decent. I hope to be able to watch this one in HD someday in the not-too-distant future (you can catch it on the Universal HD channel).

Finally, we watched Whale Rider last night. We both liked it a lot. The high points were the even handedness of the screenplay (it doesn't decend into overt sentimentality) and the acting, particularly by the lead, Keisha Castle-Hughes who was outstanding. Worth a rent at least.

March 14, 2006

"I'm a little busy bringing down the network tonight, Bill."

Hello and welcome to another week of DVD jollity. I'm a little late this week, but since we had a big snowstorm yesterday, I have a good excuse. So here we go with this week's DVDs:

The Agatha Christie Miss Marple Movie Collection This box set of 1960s films includes: Murder She Said (1961), Murder at the Gallop (1963), Murder Ahoy! (1964), and Murder Most Foul (1964).

Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers

Basic Instinct - Ultimate Edition - Unrated Directors' Cut Wow, I'm glad they've released this one again!

David and Bathsheba (1951)

Good Night, and Good Luck Winner of this year's Ann Coulter Award for Cinematic Excellence!

A History of Violence

I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete First Season Available in Black & White of colorized.

Remember the Titans (Director's Cut)

Sleeper Cell The Showtime terrorism series.

March 6, 2006

"Blimey! That's one big woman."

Oscar time has come and gone again. We didn't host a fab party as we have in the past. Why? Well, first of all we've been really lame about going to see stuff in the theater so we hadn't seen any of the Best Picture nominees. And we were lazy. We'll try and do better next year. We did watch the show though and while I'll spare you all with yet another lengthy analysis of the show; here's a shorter one.

There was only one real surprise. I fully expected Brokeback Mountain to win Best Pic. Looking back, maybe Crash wasn't such a shocker. In 1948 Gentleman's Agreement took the award, IMO for similar reasons to last night's winner (the former dealt with anti-Semitism) even though the film is just okay and a bit dated now.

I really hope they ditch the sickly sweet craptastic music that played over all the acceptance speeches. Sweet Jesus that was bad!

Jon Stewart had some good moments, but seemed a bit out of place at times. Overall I liked him all right, but he was almost too downbeat for the show; sometimes that worked, other times not so much. However, the "campaign ads" were really funny, particularly the "Dame" one.

So how about the montage of "big screen" clips with the message: big Hollywood epics need to be seen on a theater screen, not on DVD dummy! This was a peculiar choice for the show since DVD sales are the main reason the industry still turns a profit. Granted, some films scream to be seen on a huge screen, but this "message" was so awkward that it came across as a scolding of the people who pay Hollywood's bills.

While it was nice to see Lauren Bacall on the show, I was feeling a bit sorry for her trying to read the teleprompter.

So enough of that, let's move on to this week's DVDs:

The Cosby Show Season 2 A Cohhhhsssssssby sweater!

Fallen Angel (1945) Another Preminger noir makes it to DVD.

The Flintstones Season 5

Free Enterprise Special Edition An amusing film...not sure it needed a SE, but what the heck.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Instead of the standard 2 DVD sets they did for the previous films, you now have the choice of a featureless single DVD or a 2 DVD SE. They say the bonuses on the 2 disc'er are pretty good including some deleted scenes, but the price is higher for the new 2 disc set than the previous ones.

Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Third Season

The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)

Howl's Moving Castle (2004) Miyazaki's latest.

Jarhead Anyone see this?

Just Friends (2005)

My Neighbor Totoro (1998) This Miyazaki film gets a 2 disc update which should be a real improvement over the old one.

No Way Out (1950) DVD Savant has a writeup here.

Police Woman - The Complete First Season

Prime (2005)

The Shaggy D.A. (1976)

The Shaggy Dog (1959) Gee, why would Disney be reissuing this one???

February 28, 2006

"Only morons are nice on Christmas."

Welcome to another round of DVD release fun. As we head into March, the studios begin to crank out the Oscar films, current nominees and past winners. The big films that are more likely to win will come out after the awards show so they can print the covers to reflect the titles' gains. So here we go, with a list of DVDs that has more interesting stuff than I've seen since the holidays. As always, click here for a complete list with pricing.

The Avengers - The Complete Emma Peel Megaset A 17 DVD set containing every Emma episode with bonuses.

Bleak House The 2005 UK series.

Charmed - The Complete Fourth Season Chaaahhhhmed!

Controversial Classics, Vol. 2 - The Power of Media Another Warners box with three new 2 DVD special editions (all were available as bare-bones DVDs before) which include: All the President's Men, Network, and Dog Day Afternoon. All three are available separately.

Ellen - The Complete Season Three

Fear of Clowns It's time for a visit from the Army of 50 Clowns!

Hijacked The PBS American Experience show.

The Ice Harvest (2005)

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) Criterion reissues this British classic.

Lady and the Tramp (50th Anniversary Edition) This is the second time on DVD for this one. This 2 DVD set includes both the "Flat" 4:3 and Cinemascope widescreen versions. This film was shot in both actually since at the time, many theaters weren't equipped to show 'Scope prints. The original 4 channel sound mix and a new 5.1 mix are available.

Newsradio - The Complete Third Season A no-brainer for me; one of the best TV comedies of the 1990s.

Pride & Prejudice (2005) Sure, it doesn't have Colin Firth, but it was pretty good. Be sure to watch the widescreen version though.

Walk the Line 1 or 2 DVD sets available; what, no unrated version?!

February 22, 2006

"Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!"

Here's a quick update fer ya!

Warner Home Video had a chat session with The Home Theater Forum this week about what they've got in the pipeline, DVD-wise. The chat transcript, which can be found here, has a lot of good information for those of you who are classic film fans. One of the interesting bits was that they're planning to re-release L.A. Confidential next year for its 10th anniversary...jeez, ten years on that one already! Anyhow, go check out the chat.

Another Warner-related bit I heard this week was that they're finally going to release Hamlet (1996, Branagh) for the first time. I and others have been waiting a long time for this one.

February 20, 2006

"Anti-communist? That, sir, is not your average profession."

Good day everyone. Are you ready for this week's DVD releases? As always, if you want the whole list (with prices), click here, but here are the ones I feel like commenting on this time around:

3rd Rock from the Sun: Season 3 This show had its moments, but didn't strike me as good enough to re-watch...

All the President's Men (Two-Disc Special Edition) This one is a re-do of a much earlier bare-bones disc. The new set gets an improved film transfer and a bunch of extras.

Daddy Long Legs (1955)

Domino (2005)

Left of the Dial A cable documentary on the Air America radio network.

Midnight Cowboy (Two Disc Collector's Edition) The first X-rated Best Picture film gets an upgraded DVD.

North Country Anyone see this?

NYPD Blue - The Complete Third Season

Orson Welles Collection Short and sweet: don't buy it as the quality stinks...

The Paramount Comedy Shorts 1928-1942: Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin

The Paramount Comedy Shorts 1929 - 1933 - Cavalcade of Comedy

Pin Up Girl (1944)

Rent (2005)

The Weather Man

February 13, 2006

"I was in 'Nam with a jerk like you."

Well well well, let's see what we have cookin' this week:

The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Fifth Season

La Bête humaine (1938) Another Renoir from Criterion...

Cake The movie, not the band.

Charles in Charge: The Complete First Season Ouch! After all.......Scott Baio did it!

Club Paradise (1986) Anyone remember this one? A quote from the IMDB comments, "The writing is borderline offensive..."

Deal of the Century (1983) Wow, another bad 1980s comedy.

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air: The Complete Third Season And the 80s hits roll on...

Gimme a Break!: Season One Man, this show lasted for sixseasons! "The Colonel is breakdancing...GIMME A BREAK!!!"

The Golden Girls: The Complete Fourth Season Hmm, someone I know is interested in this...

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season One Vol. Two OK, "Gimme a Break" was on longer than this 1980s "classic?" So sad...

Metropolitan (1990)

MirrorMask (2005) Sometimes the comments crack me up: "I thought it was better than Labrynth. I know you don't believe me." Ah, but we so want to believe you!

Proof (2005) I've seen a production of the play and thought it was good, so I'm curious about the film version...

Quick Change (1990) Yes, the Bill Murray dark comedy is finally coming out on DVD. I remember this being pretty good, but it's been a while since I've seen it.

Saw II

Up the Academy (1980)

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) Criterion issues the John Ford film for the first time on DVD.

And finally, for those of you who are curious, DVD Savant has a good review of the new Dune DVD (the Lynch one) here.

February 6, 2006

"Who's the dummy writing this show?"

Hello again everyone. This week, no blathering on about my materialistic media storage and purging woes (were they woes?). Let's get right into it and if I feel reflective, I'll post an update for those of you who want to punish yourselves. So here's what we've got this week:

Bambi II This is the 2006 direct-to-video sequel.

The Best of The Electric Company Wow, I haven't thought about this show for a while...I'm sure it'd be fun for some of us who grew up watching this show to re-visit some of the old stuff.

Breakfast At Tiffany's: Anniversary Edition You know, I think it's fine that Paramount's re-doing those earlier DVDs where they were basic and replacing them with special editions. However, they have an awful lot of catalog titles that have never seen the light of day on DVD. How about some of those, huh?

Doom And yes, there's an unrated and rated version...

Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005) We caught part of this when it ran on, astonishingly bad!


Growing Pains: The Complete First Season Wow, I've been waiting sooo long for this one!!!!

Just Like Heaven (2005)

Ryan's Daughter: Two-Disc Special Edition The first time on DVD for this David Lean film.

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit If any of you haven't seen this, at least give it a rent...really fun.

January 31, 2006

"Moods are for cattle and loveplay, not for fighting!"

Here we go again....another week of DVDs:

Archie Bunker's Place: The Complete First Season Hmm, what was I saying recently?

Benny Hill - Complete and Unadulterated: The Hill's Angels Years (Set Four) I still find it amusing that my folks let my brother and me watch this when were kids...

Bubble (2005)

Captains Courageous (1937) Another classic MGM film hits the format.

Corpse Bride

Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) Let the tie-ins begin! Yeah, with this dud...

Diff'rent Strokes: The Complete Second Season Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, don't you wanna shout...oops, sorry.

Dune: Extended Edition The 1984 version gets another release. This time with both theatrical and extended cuts. There was talk of Lynch being involved, but it didn't happen.

Four Weddings and Funeral: Deluxe Edition The Andie MacDowell fest gets an upgrade.

The Good Earth (1937) The first time on DVD for this classic.

In Her Shoes Curtis Hanson's latest.

Johnny Belinda (1948)

Lust for Life (1956)

The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection A box set containing the set of Pink Panther animated shorts.

Rat Patrol: The Complete First Season

January 23, 2006

"Let's go get sushi and not pay."

Feel free to skip over the following blathering for the usual DVD list...

So Shades has been out of town over the weekend on a work trip and I had a few days to wile away. This often means some quality time to catch up on movies I want to watch, but she doesn't or spend hours playing video games. This time I did a little of both, but spent the bulk of my time cleaning out my disaster of an office (those of you who know me can relate). I technically watched two movies: Klute (1971), which I had never seen before and a repeat (for me) viewing of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle with some friends...we topped it off with some Star Wars Lego. So spending a lot of time cleaning my pit of an office isn't really that exciting, is it? The point I'm sloppily getting to is that part of the extreme clutter (clutter EXTREME!!!) I have to deal with is out of control media. I am traditionally an electronics pack rat and have been loathe to throw away things, but recently I've been in a purging frame of mind. This has included many things, but this time the piles of media have not escaped.

I sold or threw out a lot of vinyl (don't worry, I still have tons) that I might have kept. Yeah, it's sort of cool to have an original pressing of Led Zeppelin II, but a trashed one (pretty much all of them are) is never going to be played so out it went. Shades would call this progress, I suppose. Also among the casualties were stacks of VHS tapes. I, like others I suspect have gotten to the point where they really don't watch tapes anymore (it's hard to go back, isn't it?) and if the material's not unique (home movies) and is easily available on DVD, they aren't going to be watched. The few things I have kept mainly include stuff that's never going to be available on disc, such as MST3K episodes that they can't get the rights to. That stuff hangs on until I have time to transfer them to digital form. I've still got a few Beta tapes, but most went into the trash a while back. I've thrown out 78 rpm records (most are really quite worthless) and even a computer. Even my laserdiscs, which used to be represent the pinnacle of my video collection are now becoming purge targets. Sure, there are some that will be kept because of their unavailability on DVD such as the original Star Wars films and a few Criterion lds with bonus material they didn't licence for DVD, but most of them really aren't worth keeping around. *sigh*

So this got me thinking: maybe the coming of on-demand everything video-wise isn't such a bad thing. I won't have to repeadly buy versions of the same title on discs only to end up throwing them away. But let's see how all the rights management BS works out, shall we? Until then, I'll have to continue to hoard some media...but the purge marches on...but enough of that, let's see what future purge-worthy (the word of the day: purge) DVDs we have coming this week:

The Aristocrats

Benjamin Franklin The PBS mini series.

Cisco Pike (1972)

Dallas: The Complete Fourth Season

Educating Rita DVD Savant has a review here...I think this is the first DVD release for this one.

Flightplan The big hit of the week doesn't have a 2 DVD set or an unrated odd!

The Fog (2005) Never fear, this one comes in rated/unrated versions...ahh, that's better!

Oliver Twist (2005)

Repo Man: Collectors Edition A re-do from an earlier DVD...


The Virgin Spring (1960) Criterion releases another Bergman film.

January 17, 2006

"Do you realize that there are people alive here in Minneapolis who are already dead in Tokyo? "

Another week has arrived here in DVDLand, but this time it's a bit of a slow one...but what the heck, let's do it it is, this week's DVDs:

The Adventures of Superman: The Complete Second Season

All Souls Day: Dia de los Muertos (2005)


The Devil and Max Devlin (1981) Wow, the classics keep on rolling!

Doogie Howser, M.D.: Season Three

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Flaming Frontiers (1938)


Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - The Complete Second Season

Lord of War I guess this must be the hit of the week...seeing how it's available as a one or two DVD set.

The Man

The Oregon Trail (1939)

Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys That title just made me giggle...

Titus: Season Three

January 9, 2006

"I could be the walrus and I'd still have to bum rides off of people."

So I'm down with a cold this week, but seem to have the energy to crank out another blog entry; will the miracles never cease!

We were playing Lego Star Wars on the dusty X-Box (we hadn't had much time for it as of late)..would that be the "X-Box 180?") over the weekend and really enjoyed it. This game is a blast. You get to play through the entire storylines of Episodes 1-3 which are done as lego constructs. The level of detail is very high and you can do 2 players at once, which is fun. One thing that struck me is how this game is essentially the Star Wars prequels done as silent film, albeit with a score (sounds like lifted music from the movies) and sound effects (yes, yes, I know silient film often had music and occasionally sound effects!). The characters seem to have no dialogue and communicate with gestures and noises. Some of it may actually be better in the video game than it was in the movies since there's no wince-inducing dialogue to throw you off. The game is also appropriate for kids where there's even a "sandbox" area where you can just play around with all the different characters. Check it out if you have the chance...but now, on to this week's DVDs:

The Bad Sleep Well Another Kurosawa film by Criterion.

Buffalo Soldiers

Cabin in the Sky (1943)

The Constant Gardener

Dead Poets Society Another SE re-do DVD...

Eraserhead The 1977 Lynch film was on DVD before, but you had to buy it via Lynch's website.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Bueller…Bueller…Edition A re-do of a bare-bones DVD.

Good Morning Vietnam A new upgrade from the old version.

The Green Pastures (1936)

The Magnificent Seven: Collector's Edition A good upgrade from the old DVD....DVD Savant has a good review here.

Red Dwarf: Series VII

Red Eye (2005)

Sam Peckinpah's Legendary Westerns Collection A big week for westerns. This set includes four films not available on DVD before and a new/improved one: You get The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), Ride the High Country (1962), and a new DVD set of The Wild Bunch (1969). DVD Savant gives it a good going over here.

Transporter 2

January 3, 2006

"Mickey Mouse ain't got no race. He represents all men."

Happy 2006 all,

I had some witty comments written earlier about movies this time of year, but the U blog system decided to wipe out my entire post so it's gone into the go see those Oscar-to-be-noms and look out for all the crummy films that get released in January. Robert Harris has put up his "Top Classic DVDs of 2005" list, which can be found here and is worth a read. So let's get into this week's DVDs:

Alien Nation: The Complete Series That is, the one season of it...

All In The Family: The Complete Fifth Season What, no Archie Bunker's Place?

The Cave (2005) What's the sequel going to be called, The Ditch???

Dumb and Dumber: Unrated They probably think this re-do will make people forget the sequel...not that this film is any classic mind you.

Gunsmoke: 50th Anniversary Edition, Volume 1 Another TV staple begins its run on DVD.

Have Gun - Will Travel: The Complete Third Season On a related note...

The Hoodlum (1951) Hey, a film starring Lawrence Tierney!

Snatch: Deluxe Edition

Wedding Crashers Available in R-rated and "uncorked" editions.

The Wiggles: Here Comes the Big Red Car Another Wiggles DVD from the richest people in Australia...paging Miss Faith!

December 26, 2005

"In just a few hours you'll be sitting around a campfire with Andy making delicious hot Schmoes."

Well, here we are in that week between holidays when everyone's (well nearly) out there cashing in those gift cards and exchanging their loot. Lucky for you that the movie studios have some new DVDs to buy... like these:

2046 (2004) Has anyone seen this? It sounds interesting and got some good reviews...into the queue with this one.

American Pie: Band Camp Hopefully this flop will signal the end of this franchise...but if you're actually picking this up, there are rated and unrated versions.

Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds What a great film for the whole family to enjoy this holiday season!

Caged Heat (1974)

Dark Water You can get this in rated and unrated versions.

A Girl, Three Guys, and a Gun (2001)

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977)

Nowhere Man: The Complete Series

The Shield: Season Four

Toy Story 2: Woody’s Roundup Edition A new 2 DVD set with some new bonuses and everything from the previous "Ultimate Toy Box" special edition set, which is a lot of stuff. The video/audio quality is said to be better than before with a DTS track. The old DVD was great so you may need a good sytem to see/hear the difference. Still a good set if you don't have this better-than-the-first-one sequel.

December 21, 2005

"You're my favorite living mystery."

Today, just a quick update in the midst of all this holiday wackiness...

I'm going to try and make another list in the next few weeks of the DVDs that have been, IMO better than average. There are so many "OK" discs out there today that the really good ones sometimes have to be looked for closely. Certainly the overall technical quality of releases has improved over what we used to get. In the meantime, I'd highly recommend checking out DVD Savant's annual "Most Impressive DVDs of 2005" article, especially if you're into classic film. He also has a good look at one of the latest Disney "Treasures" collections, Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts for you Disney fans.

That'll do it for me...I hope you all have a nice and stress-free (as possible) holiday; take your pick... and I'll check in again next week.

December 19, 2005

"He killed me with a sword. How weird is that?"

So here we are at Christmas week (oh, sorry, that's Baby Jesus Day). I don't know about you all, but this one kinda snuck up on me. I'm looking forward to catching up on some DVDs I haven't had time to watch during the Fall and hopefully a few first run films as well. We'll see how that goes..

Since I probably won't have time to post again this week, here are a couple of DVD items of note I just heard about. Paramount has officially confirmed that they'll release what is now the only chunk of the franchise to remain unavailable (though it was on VHS some time back), Star Trek: The Animated Series. No date, but I'm sure the hardcore fans will snap it up. Also coming is Newsradio Season 3. After the somewhat long time between the last set and now, I was wondering if they weren't going to do any more, but it's set for 2/28 with similar features to the existing set including commentaries (the ones on the first set are really good).

In any case, we have more DVDs this week heading our way, so let's take a look, shall we?

The Amazing Race: The Seventh Season Seven seasons...uh, OK.

Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.0

The Brothers Grimm Terry Gilliam's latest arrives on disc...I may have to give this one a rent as Gilliam's films always have something interesting in them even if they don't work.

Chicago: The Razzle Dazzle Edition It's double-dip time again for the fans! Essentially, this new 2 disc DVD set has the same well-done picure/sound as the old disc, but adds a lot of new bonus content. Worth it for the fans or those who didn't get it before, but for me the old DVD does it fine.

ER: The Complete Fourth Season

The Exorcism of Emily Rose This one comes in Theatrical and Unrated Editions

Four Brothers

The Great Raid

Must Love Dogs

Party of Five: The Complete Second Season

Serenity The Firefly film makes it to DVD. I must say that while I think it would have been better to have continued the series on TV as it seemed to take good advantage of the longer form of a series, rather than the conventional 2 hour movie slot, this film was really good and it's even better if you know the characters from the TV series prior to watching it (not essential though). Without some background, the film can come off a bit on the conventional side of sci-fi/action, though it's far better done than most in the genre. One bummer, besides the uncertainty of its future, is the DVD. The USA release is a one disc with some OK features, including a Joss commentary, the Australian DVD will include a second disc with more bonuses...(out in February). Either Universal couldn't license the extra stuff or they were cheap and are going to release it again to further soak the fans. A review of the USA disc can be found here and the Aussie movie site, which was loading very poorly when I tried it, is here.

December 12, 2005

"Yeah, zis is an example of smartness here."

Happy (?) Monday all,

A good number coming out this week, so let's get started with this week's DVD hi-jinx:

The 40-Year-Old Virgin Judd Apatow's latest comes out as either R-rated or unrated versions.

Airplane! - The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition The old DVD of was pretty featureless. If you didn't get it before, you can get the new version for the same dough. The film transfer is probably about the same as the old disc, but the new features look pretty good. DVD Savant has a good review here.

Death Race 2000: Special Edition You know how when you're driving and crack a joke about point values for pedestrians? Well, here's a movie about it...and as a bonus, it has a character called Matilda the Hun!

Gallipoli: Special Collectors Edition Peter Weir's WWI film gets an upgrade; one of the better Mel Gibson films.

Gilmore Girls: The Complete Fifth Season Anyone out there besides Shades and me who are into this show? I continue to be impressed on how good this show is and highly recommend it (don't let the "chick" thing throw you)...give it a rent at least. Very good TV, especially if you value good characters/dialogue writing.

The Island Proof that Michael Bay doesn't always score...

King Kong: Peter Jackson’s Prod. Diaries Think of this as a DVD bonus feature...before the DVD or the theatrical film comes out. Obviously for real fans and Jackson says this won't be included in the Kong DVD.

The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) That's Pom-pee-eye!

Miami Vice: Season Two

The Producers: Deluxe Edition MGM's essentially re-released the old SE DVD to plug the remake. Same DVD as before...

Rock 'N' Roll High School: Rock On Edition

Roll Bounce

The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season This time, the season's available in regular and "Collectible Marge Head" packaging...

Sin City: Recut, Extended, Unrated Boy, that one didn't take very long!

December 5, 2005

"Who the hell is this guy and why would I care if he has a merry Christmas?"

Wow, December already and the DVDs keep piling up. Who has time to watch all this stuff? This is sure a contrast to the early days of DVD when good discs were few and far between. So let's see what goodies are on for this week.

24: Season 4

Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 4

Belle of the Yukon (1944)

Cinderella Man The Ron Howard boxing film comes out in single disc or 2 disc versions.

The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) This one comes out in both PG-13 (!) and unrated versions...gee, which one's gonna sell better?

Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Fifth Season

The Fantastic Four (2005) As is the trend, basic or deluxe editions are being sold.

Full House: The Complete Second Season Eight years of this craptastic's a choice comment from the IMDB boards: " While the last 1-2 seasons were borderline horrific, in my opinion, it wasn't that bad a show."

Green Acres: The Complete Third Season At the risk of offending fans of this show, not everything old is a "classic."

Imagine: John Lennon - Deluxe Edition

He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special Wow, I was blissfully unaware of this forgotten 80s TV gem...c'mon George, can't you just release the Star Wars Holiday Special now that this one is out????

MacGyver: The Complete Fourth Season

M*A*S*H: Season Nine

Fox in a Box Featuring Pam Grier Yes, the Pam Grier box set has arrived (did you know she did a film in 1971 called Women in Cages?!). This set includes Coffy, Foxy Brown, and Sheba Baby.

The Rockford Files: Season One " the Rockford Files and call to see if Paul can score some weed."

Shoot the Piano Player (1960) Criterion releases the Truffaut classic and DVD Savant has a review here.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Vol. 2

Star Wars Original Trilogy This is the same set as before, but without the 4th bonus DVD...but it's cheaper.

Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s I haven't read any reviews of this latest round of Disney tins, but the previous ones have all been very good. And as before, these really do go out of print so if they interest you, it pays to get them soon.

Walt Disney Treasures - Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes

Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Spin & Marty - The Mickey Mouse Club

The West Wing: The Complete Fifth Season

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) Not the children's book! Another installment in the Fox Noir series...and DVD Savant has a good look at it here.

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'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 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


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 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 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.

October 25, 2005

"I'm crushing your head. Crush. Crush."

So what do you know, I'm getting this post out on time! Stranger things happen I anyhow, it's Tuesday again, the day of holy media releases. Best Buy has set out their tables of bountiful media goodness, ready to feed the hungry masses of people, just waiting for their helping of DVDs. Gotta get your fix, but don't be a prick and trample that guy in the wheelchair over the last copy of The Best of Gallagher Volume 2. On that nausiating note, let's get into this week's DVDs:

3rd Rock From the Sun: Complete Season 2 This was a show that was funny at times, but seemed to wear thin pretty quickly, at least for me. I can't imagine needing to own it, but if you do...

Alias: The Complete Fourth Season Another season set with hot women on the cover...I'm sure it helps to sell it!

Bewitched (2005) This was apparently pretty mediocre, which means it's probably above average for a movie re-do of a 1960s TV show.

Bewitched: The Complete Second Season And of course the TV show. You can buy it in black & white or colorized.

The Concert for Bangladesh

Danger Mouse: The Complete Seasons 3 and 4 Cor!

Detective Story (1951)

The Doris Day Show: Season 2

Hart To Hart: The Complete First Season Really, was this necessary?!

Herbie: Fully Loaded The original Love Bug film is actually pretty OK, but this just seems pathetic...

The Kids in the Hall: The Complete Season 3

Kill! (1968)

Leonard Bernstein Concert Box Set A 9 DVD set of live performances.

Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3 Crap, I haven't even finished watching all the stuff in Volume 2!

The L Word: Season Two

Samurai Rebellion

Save the Tiger (1973) Another Jack Lemmon power performance.

Titanic Special Collector's Edition This movie has needed a DVD update for a while now since the old disc came out in the late 90s as a bare-bones non-anamorphic release. The new set has 3 DVDs (though Region 2 gets a 4th disc with extra content) with the film spread over 2 of them. You get a new film transfer, which is apparently killer and a bunch of bonus material. It won't save the film's awful dialogue and cardboard characters, but the setpieces and effects will be even better now...the only reason I can think of for watching it. DVD Savant has a good review of the DVD here which recognizes the problems (and even talks about the Nazi Titanic film!) while recognizing what Cameron got right.

The Wizard of Oz Yes, it's the third time on DVD for this classic. The last DVD was good, but this one's supposed to be even better with more stuff. It's available in either a 2 or 3 disc set. The 3 disc one has a bunch of extras on L Frank Baum and earlier versions of Oz plus re-creations of premiere program books and tickets. For the serious fans, of course! For a complete rundown of the goodies, click here.

October 18, 2005

"Ve vant ze money, Lebowski."

Boom boom and we're off on another week of DVD spending fun...yeah, it's a bit late this week, but I'm sure you can all survive...check here for the bunch as always...

Batman Begins This week's hit by far. I haven't seen it, but hear it's pretty good. This one's available in either a single "regular" version or a 2 disc "Collector's Edition."

Batman Anthology This set contains all the recent Batman films, save for the new one. You get new film transfers and a fair amount of bonus material. The original Batman (1989) really needed a refresh since its DVD came out in 1997. The films are all available seperately so you can skip the lousy ones.

Batman - The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection I had no idea this went back so far, though it seems to bear little resemblence to the modern one.

The Batman vs Dracula: The Animated Movie (2005) Bat Week flies on...

The Big Lebowski: Collectors Edition OK, here's the deal with this one. The standard one disc version is pretty much the same, bonus-wise as the old DVD except that they don't put both widescreen and pan/scan on the same DVD. There's also an "Achiever's Edition" which throws in 8 Exclusive Photo Cards, 4 Character Coasters, and a Collectible Bowling Towel. The DVD is the same in both. The old DVD had a mediocre film transfer at a low bitrate so it doesn't look great on large screens. The new one addresses that but according to some, looks soft. For me, the lack of new bonuses and questionable picture quality upgrade makes this a non-starter for me. If Univeral had gotten something new or made a slam-dunk transfer, I'd double-dip without hesitation since this is a favorite of mine.

Bruce Lee Ultimate Collection Another packaging of the Lee films, including Game of Death 2, The Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, Game of Death, and The Big Boss. Apparently the discs contain newer film transfers and sound mixes.

The Coen Brothers Collection A repackaging of currently available DVDs with the new Lebowski disc: The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, Intolerable Cruelty, and The Man Who Wasnt There.

CSI: NY - The First Season

Land of the Dead (2005) This one's available as an R-rated theatrical or unrated director's cut.

Lifeboat Fox finally releases this Hitchcock classic for the first time on DVD. The DVD is supposed to be very good, so it was perhaps worth the wait.

The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) The Sinatra classic makes it to DVD.

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

The Mask of Zorro (1998) Gee, why would they be releasing this one again...for the fourth time???

The Twilight Zone-Definitive Edition: Season 4

October 10, 2005

"Dear Buddha, I would like a pony and a plastic rocket."

Hi again gang. I was going to just do one entry today, but I saw a few things that may be of interest...

All right Browncoats, Serenity may not be a massive box office hit ($17.6m so far), but at least you have the DVD to look forward to...soon...on 12/20. Early word indicates that the disc may include Whedon audio commentary, along with at least 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes ("Future History", "We'll Have a Fruity Oaty Good Time", "Re-Lighting the Firefly" and "What's in a Firefly"), a video introduction to the film by Whedon and 6 minutes worth of outtakes. I have no idea if they're going make more Firefly films, but from looking at this modest DVD that's coming out relatively soon after the theatrical release, I'd say that y'all have another version to look forward to down the road with more stuff to entice a re-buy. Welcome to the world of hardcore fan movies. We Star Trek fans may yet feel your pain where you're subjected to endless reissues. And then you'll be able to buy the film in Blu-Ray disc! More on that in a minute...

Speaking of sci-fi fan movie stuff, here's a review of the upcoming Star Wars Episode III DVD (out on 11/1). Let's all take a ride on the NOOOller Coaster!

Now, for those of you who are watching the ongoing Hi-Def on disc goings on, it's looking like Sony may win the day with Blu-Ray. Last week, Paramount said they'll be supporting Blu Ray and Warner has said the same, which leaves Universal as the one holdout. Hopefully this means they've managed to avoid a format war since selling a HD format to the public without two competing formats is tough enough, IMO as it is. Now we'll see what's an article on the latest.

"Annoy, tiny blonde one, annoy like the wind!"

Happy Monday everyone. Here we are into October and still in my favorite season here in MN: Fall. Nothing beats the Fall weather around here, though it doesn't seem to last very long, the period between the heat/humidity and the bitter cold. DVD Savant has a good review of the Alfred Hitchcock The Masterpiece Collection box set that came out last week. Nothing terribly exciting this week, but a few things of moderate let's get into this week's DVDs:

11:14 Go read the description...sounds interesting.

Arrested Development: Season Two

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: Volume 2 More retro Cosby fun.

Hondo (1953) Another Wayne estate-controlled film makes it onto DVD for the first time.

The Jeffersons: The Complete Fourth Season

Kingdom of Heaven I imagine a very compelling and interesting film could be made about the Crusades...this isn't it.

McLintock! (1963) See the above Wayne title...

Soap: The Complete Fourth Season

South Park: The Complete Sixth Season

Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season This show is supposed to be pretty good. Anyone seen it? I may have to queue it up.

October 3, 2005

"The vicious table-hopper is on the prowl, and the spotted back-biter may lurk behind a potted palm."

It really doesn't feel like October, does it (it's in the 80s today and kinda sticky), but I'm not going to complain as every day like this is another one where I don't have to turn on the soon-to-be-sucking-me-dry furnace! One sign it's Fall: a Disney animated classic is rereleased. As usual, get the complete DVD list here (but really, I'm sure none of you actually look at it since the titles I point out are always the ones of greatest importance!).

Oh by the way, for you Lord of the Rings movie fans, a new soundtrack CD set is on the way: all 180 minutes worth of music recorded by composer Howard Shore for The Fellowship of the Ring. The 4-disc The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - The Complete Recordings will be released on 11/22. The first three discs of the set will contain the score in CD stereo format, while the fourth disc will be a DVD containing the complete score in 5.1 surround sound. Other extras will include artwork and a booklet of liner notes. Remember kids, that's just the first film. Overkill for most, fantastic for others. I assume they'll get around the other two at some point...gotta keep the revenue flowing!

This struck me as interesting. There's been much said (in certain circles) about nixing the theatrical to video window, but along the same lines we have the ever-shrinking window between TV show airings and DVD releases. How low can it go? Here's a new example: Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.0 Season 2 started this Fall and on 12/20, the season's first half (the second half starts up in January) will be released with bonuses and stuff unaired in TV, natch. This trend is of course good for those people I know who choose to have no TV reception whatsoever and rely on DVD for their TV show fixes, but I have to wonder if this another blow to TV ad revenue streams? Not that I lose any sleep over it! OK, here's this week:

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection Includes: Saboteur , Shadow of a Doubt , Rope , Rear Window , The Trouble With Harry , The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Vertigo , Psycho , The Birds , Marnie , Torn Curtain , Topaz , Frenzy , Family Plot , and a Bonus Disc. Universal is taking two steps forward, one back in a way with this new re-packaging of old DVDs. Apparently the stuff on the bonus disc is new, an AFI Special on Hitchcock, but missing film clips that Uni doesn't own; I guess they were too cheap to licence them. Another issue is there's an audio lip synch problem on the Psycho DVD that isn't present on the old one. On the plus side, the Vertigo DVD is now 16x9 enhanced and includes the original mono audio track (the old DVD only has the 5.1 re-mix with modern foley effects; the music sounds much better, but the track isn't quite authentic). Also the film transfers are improved on Psycho, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Topaz, and Frenzy. The rest of the titles are the same. As far as I can tell, the new discs are only available in this set.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season One

The Amityville Horror (2005) Crappy the first time and crappy the second...

The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Second Season

Cinderella: Platinum Edition The classic's first time on DVD. T'will sell by the boatload, no doubt...

Farscape - Starburst Edition: Season 2 Collection 2 Another installment...

The Fly: Collector's Edition (1986) You know, this is a pretty good movie, but it's so digusting/depressing I just don't think I ever need to see it again. But if you enjoy revisiting it, this DVD is for you.

The Fly II: Collector's Edition Hey Phil, here's yer chance! (sorry, in-joke)

The Interpreter Intrigue at the UN! Uh, yeah...

Star Trek: Nemesis - Special Collector's Edition At the moment, they're all caught up with reissuing the Trek films. So now it's safe to pick up (also available this week) the Star Trek Motion Pictures Collection which includes all the current special edition DVDs...until the HD versions come out!

Val Lewton Horror Collection A box set of the RKO horror films from producer Val Lewton. In this set you get Cat People(1942), Curse of the Cat People (1944), I Walked With a Zombie (1943), The Body Snatcher (1945), Isle of the Dead (1945), Bedlam (1946), The Leopard Man (1943), The Ghost Ship (1943), and The Seventh Victim (1943). The films appear to be available seperately.

William Shatners A Twist to the Tale What the hell? Anyone know what this is...besides a TV show of some kind???

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 with bonus soundtrack CD.

Robots Definately the hit release of the week. If yo