Views - Main Page
days til PS3 and believe it or not, here I am in line at the
ol' videogame shoppe waiting. And wouldn't you know it: I'm not
first. Can you believe that? Anyway, Bill tells me that the PS3 is
the cheapest Blu-ray system on
the market. That's just, wow... that's really the only way you'd get
me to early adopt in these so-called format wars: give me a player
that can also do something else. That way I can still Dance
Dance Revolution and also watch M:i:III
in the highest quality ever. And doesn't that just sound stupid? I'm
sitting here writing that and reading it to see if it makes sense
and it just sounds stupid to me. I feel dirty for even commenting on
the next-gen DVD format. I so don't care. Does that make me a bad
DVD journalist? I certainly hope so.
Hey, I went and watched Aronofsky's The
Fountain during a press screening and really enjoyed it.
It's unwatchable in the same way 2001
is, though. I mean, it's cinema and works as a film, but it's so
much a perspective thing. If you're a glass is half empty kind of
person, then it's really a movie about watching three people die.
That's pretty much it. Then again, if you're a half full type, it's
about the redemptive nature of death. But for all the people who
complain about the film being hard to follow because it's about
three different time lines: shut up. It's not. It's one time line.
That's it. Hugh Jackman's character exists in one space. He reads a
book his wife wrote and transports himself mentally in place of a
Spanish Conquistador and his wife as Queen Isabella; it's not a
history lesson - it's a tale his wife wrote. That's two time lines
covered. As for the third - think unspoilery; he unlocked the secret
and that tree is not the one the Aztecs had. 'nuff said. So maybe,
when you see the film, you can apply that knowledge and have a more
Anyway, back to the PS3 line. There's some young punk who's doing
the "having a conversation to distract everyone behind my
friend so they won't notice I'm cutting" deal. F that, my
pockmarked friend. F that. Wait a second... this isn't the line for
PS3, the clerk is pulling out Guitar Hero
I gotta go...
These are the discs making their premiere on DVD this week...
Based on the best selling thriller of the same name by Robert
Harris (no, not our Robert Harris) author of Fatherland,
which gave the alternate view of a world run by Hitler who won
WW2. This time, the focus is on a Soviet historian (the new
James Bond Daniel Craig) who is looking for a long lost notebook
written by Stalin which may also lead to a super secret
holy grail of sorts. The film suffers as most adaptations of
bulky epic thrillers do, but the film squeezes some life out of
the idea, and will give you a small taste of Craig as Bond. The
DVD from MTI serves the film up in full frame (it was a UK TV
film) with subtitles in Spanish, promotional trailers and cast
and crew bios.
Disney/Pixar's Cars comes
out today; and looks like it will own the day. If a CGI car epic
doesn't float your boat, you're not alone. Cars
has to be the weakest of all the Pixar films. Yet at the same
time, a bad Pixar film is still a good time at the
movies. Cars isn't bad per
se, but it's hard to get into. Still, it's watchable and like
all other Pixar films on DVD, looks absolutely gorgeous. An
anamorphic widescreen presentation shows the world that
standard-def can still blow you away. (If you don't like
beautiful looking widescreen films, breathe a sign of relief:
there's a full frame version available as well). Sound is DD 5.1
EX and for a movie about cars racing around, you better believe
it sounds good. Special features show off the fact that a
bigger, better edition is down the road. Here we get a couple of
shorts: the Oscar nominated One Man
Band and the Cars
follow-up Mater and the Ghostlight.
There's also the credits gag isolated by itself and blown up to
anamorphic widescreen. There's also a longish short making-of
hosted by director and Pixar head John Lasseter, as well as a
selection of deleted scenes in storyboard form. Not a whole lot,
but enough to make this one worth picking up if you saw it in
theaters and want to add it to your library.
Ever seen the Bugs Bunny cartoon Baby
Buggy Bunny? You know, How many times do I have
to tell you Not To Play With The Dirty Money! Well,
imagine that played out by the Wayans Brothers. Yeah. Anamorphic
widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and a nice selection of
extras are on board (Baby On Board, get it?) for those who care.
Lee Daniels, who gave us Monster
Ball as producer, makes his directorial debut here.
It's chock-a-block with stars: Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren
as a pair of assassins/lovers/Oedipal relations, Stephen Dorff
as a waaaaaay over the top crime boss and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
and Mo'Nique as, well, uhm. Yeah. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt,
but here he's, uhm, yeah. Shadowboxer
is by the numbers as thrillers go and ultimately it's not very
good. But it has its charms, even if it gets quirky just to be
quirky. The film is presented on DVD in anamorphic widescreen
and looks damn good. Sound is available in both Dolby Digital
2.0 and 5.1 and both do their job. Extras are light, with a
making-of and commentary by Daniels and star Cuba Gooding, Jr.
So, here's were we can talk about the really fun discs coming out
this week. You know you want 'em. Well, come and get them.
2007 Video Playmate Calendar: Kara Monaco
I'm putting Playboy in
with the Cult Releases. Just because I don't know where else it
should go. Kara's a bit too blonde for my tastes. Then again,
I'm probably too Doogan for hers so, take what I say with a
grain of salt. Fans of the usually stellar Video
Playmate Calendar series from Playboy
should be sure to check this release out.
I know nothing about these films, but they look so very cool
that I may be checking them out in the Netflix cue.
Raids Again & Mothra
Sony releases two more early Godzilla
flicks. Available only on their website. Click the art to go there
and buy em up.
Ol' Double Dip
Here's some titles that have made more than one trip to the
woodshed on DVD so far...
Paradiso: Limited Collector's Edition
Giuseppe Tornatore's 1989 love letter to film is one of modern
cinema's most loved and acclaimed films and this box set is a
super cool double (actually triple at this point) dip worth
checking out. It's worth noting that along with the Collector's
Edition; a two-disc edition is available with many
(but not all) extras included in this set. This discs pretty
much represent the 2003 release of the Director's Cut with the
Theatrical Cut on the flip side. Nice anamorphic widescreen
transfers with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, complement the film.
Contained here in the box is the original theatrical release on
disc one, with commentary by Yale professor and Italian cinema
expert Millicent Marcus along with Tornatore in a limited
capacity. There is the typical collegiate film theory, but also
some nice behind-the-scenes recollections.
included are a 15-minute retrospective, a featurette, trailers for
this and the director's cut and an episode of The Food Network's
Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello.
Disc Two is the director's cut with no bonus features whatsoever.
Disc Three is a soundtrack featuring Ennio Morricone's wonderful
score. Included in the box (which is worth nothing: is very sturdy
and well-done) is an envelope containing 3x5 reproductions of the
poster art for both versions, eight lobby cards and recipe cards
showcasing Chiarello's creations in the Easy
Entertaining episode on Disc One. The only things not on
the two disc version are the contents of the envelope and the
Morricone's soundtrack. I really like the box set and recommend all
to pick it up, but if you're not into the extraneous, the two-disc
will do you.
The Movie - 20th Anniversary Special Edition
I can't say I was ever a fan of Transformers.
The cartoon or the toys. But let's see, they were huge, what? In
1985. Movie came out in 1986. I was 14 and 15. That was the
period when I didn't want to be a kid. I grew out of that and
went right back to collecting comics and toys by 16. Anyway, I'm
the wrong person to be reviewing this film. So I won't. Just
know that the 20th Anniversary
Special Edition comes out today and it kicks the ass
off the previous Rhino release. Kicks its ass and then eats it.
Which is kinda gross; but very true. I have actually seen this
one, and the transfer is beautiful. It's not perfect mind you,
but it looks really good. Presented both open matt and in
anamorphic widescreen, fans of the film will be quite satisfied
with this transfer. Even the sound is vastly improved upon,
finally giving us a Dolby Digital 5.1 track along with a nice
are spread over two-discs and include two commentary tracks: one
with the filmmakers and one with a collective of fans. Both are
quite entertaining and worth delving into. There's also a running
trivia subtitle feature called the Autobot
Matrix of Knowledge - any more geeky and I think we'd
explode. Rounding out disc one are trailers, a opening credits test,
a restoration comparison, TV spots, art galleries, trailer for the
live action film and an episode from Japan that serves more as a
curiosity piece, in that it features fan commentary instead of
dialogue due to clearance issues. Disc Two is all about the
featurettes with behind-the-scenes galore, deleted sequences in both
rough and finished format, vintage commercials for the toys,
storyboards, access to DVD-ROM content and some Easter eggs. All in
all, for fans of the robots in disguise, this is a good disc to pick
Image released this one a long time ago, and now Tokyo Shock's
got it. I haven't seen it, but if you like live action anime,
Zeiram is pretty okay.
As usually, I got nothing to say this week TV related. Bill's
actually written about Harveytoons: The
Complete Collection. You can read
review here. As for the others, if you're a fan of these
shows, then you're of course gonna want these releases.
Ark II: The Complete Series,
Beverly Hills 90210: The Complete First
Season, Dr. Who: The Complete
First Season Volumes 1-4, Grounded
for Life: Season 4, JAG: The
Complete Second Season, M*A*S*H:
Season 11, Melrose Place: The
Complete First Season, Police
Squad: The Complete Series, She-Ra
Princess of Power: Season 1, Volume 1, The
Sopranos: Season Six, Part 1, Totally
Awesome and The West Wing: The
Complete Seventh Season
And for the heck of it, and because I love you: here's the art ...
Criterion Collection Corner
So, because I've supported Criterion even before they took a wait
and see approach to DVD, I've decided to pull them out and spotlight
them for you each week. You know you want these, because having a
gap in your collection sucks.
Carol Reed is one of cinema's unsung heroes. His films are
always good, and The Fallen Idol
is no different. Told from the perspective of a young boy who
idolizes his Ambassador father's embassy concierge (read: family
butler) (played by Ralph Richardson), the film at first seems
quite simple. But on so many levels, it becomes a deep and
layered tale of betrayal, deceit, psycho-sexual discovery and
murder. Based on Graham Greene's short story (Reed directed
another Greene adaptation: The Third
Man) the film is a marvel and deserving of the
Criterion release. If you aren't familiar with this film, do
yourself a favor and go in blind. This Criterion release
presents the film in all its black and white glory with a nice
booklet and a small selection of recollective supplements.
Mention Box Set
This is where we can showcase a super expensive but worthwhile
product. In this case, it's...
The James Bond Ultimate
Edition - Volumes 1 & 2
Gearing up for Casino Royale?
Have lots of money to throw around? Then check these suckers out.
I'm actually a bit mad at these for some reason (cause I
didn't get them to review, maybe) and came this close (this close!)
to leaving them off just to spite the studios. Bill wouldn't let me,
so here they are. The James Bond Ultimate
Collection Volumes 1 & 2 together contain 10 films (Volume
The World Is Not Enough, Diamonds
Are Forever, The Man with the
Golden Gun and The Living
Daylights & Volume Two:
Another Day, The Spy Who Loved
Me, A View to a Kill
and License to Kill) in
two-disc slimcases with brand spanking new fully restored Lowry
Digital enhanced anamorphic transfers bringing all of these films
into the 2000s. Audio is Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. Extras are so
vast writing about them would take too long. Just know that the
effort gone into these special editions is mind-blowing. Think: two
commentaries for each film, never before seen deleted scenes, brand
new supplemental features... that just scratches the surface of
what's on these things. If you have $160 bucks, then feel free to
pick both these up. That's the only way you'll get them by the way.
There's no piece-meal here. For the time being, you can only get
them in the boxes - none are available separately.
Cooper: The Signature Collection
Gary Cooper was one of Hollywood's greatest leading men. Here
you can see him at his best in film like Sergeant
York, The Fountainhead,
Rifle, and The Wreck of
the Mary Deare.
It just so happens that we're giving away copies of this set
here at The Bits this
here to enter.
Marlon Brando Collection
Who doesn't love Brando? He was Hollywood's greatest leading
man character actor, paving the way for so many to come. Warner
gives us some of his best MGM films with Julius
Caesar, Mutiny on the
Bounty (1962), Reflections
in a Golden Eye, The
Teahouse of the August Moon and The
gonna rock out with Guitar Hero 2
(360 version, bitches) and see what's coming out next week. Join me
here then, and maybe I'll challenge you to War Pigs."
til that time, you spin discs, I'll rock my Gibson X-Plorer.
Til then, I remain,
Game Stop - Atlanta, GA 11/07/06
Views - Main Page