On the Box: Agatha Christie
In the Player: Game of Death Platinum Edition
Heavy Rotation: WWF The Music Vol. 4
Sore Thumbs: Halo
Hello good evening (depending on your time zone) and welcome.
I was saddned to hear of Curt Hennig's passing. I won't pretend to have known the guy, or even to have been deeply moved by his death, but as a fan of his work, it is a personal loss to some extent, and 44 is too young for anyone to die. I hate to say it, but I suspect steroids may have taken the life of yet another wrestler, and that really fucking sucks.
Props to Vince for at least acknowledging his passing, even though he apparently "didn't hear" about The Shiek a couple of weeks ago.
I don’t think it’s possible to have a week as uneventful as the one I’ve just had I just haven’t done ANYTHING. That’s mainly because the missus didn’t come to see me this weekend, so I spent most of my time sexually frustrated, beating off five times a day and spending all night in the computer labs. I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in the forums lately (as some of you are well aware), and it’s cool to get back into the discussions. It’s just that usually I spend such sporadic periods of time online that I end up getting left behind in debates, and it’s just crap coming in a week after a point’s already been made and saying “um, yeah, that’s what I thought.”
Wow, this is a stretch… um, well, I hear very good things about the new Criterion of Fear and Loathing. IGN have a pretty good review up, and the set definitely looks like a keeper. Unfortunately, rather than wait for good stuff like this, I keep tracking down little gems like The Bad Pack, which I bought in the wee hours of this morning. It stars Ralph Möeller (big dude in Gladiator and Universal Soldier), Sven Ole Thorsen (Arnie’s bosom buddie who cameos in all of his films, and was also in Gladiator as the Tiger dude), Roddy Piper, Robert Davi, and a bunch of other perennial B-moviers. If only it was still available, I would also have picked up TC-2000 (Billy Blanks and BOLO~!, baby) and The Ultimate Weapon (Hulk Hogan movie featuring a pair of mercenaries called Ben and Vince. I’M NOT FUCKING KIDDING).
I picked up An Evening With Kevin Smith, and it’s definitely a must-have for Smith fans. He’s a great public speaker, he’s interesting to listen to, he’s funny, and he’s loaded with great stories, although somehow three and a half hours doesn’t seem enough. Non-View Askewites will find little to like about it, but hopefully the sales will be enough to encourage studios to follow up with An Evening With… featuring other directors speaking at colleges. I also picked up Cannonball Run, because I’m a mark for flicks with an all-star cast, which is why there are also a lot of other ho-hum films in my collection like Last Action Hero and Dogma. It’s mostly one of those flicks that’s better remembered than watched again, but there are a couple of golden moments in it (like Roger Moore in the biker rumble).
And hey, I don’t know if the ad is still running, but I hope it is click here. That is just too fucking funny.
I’m going home tonight to spend Valentine's with the missus, since it’s also her birthday on the 13th, but I should be back in time to update next week. If it’s a day late though, you’ll know why. And don't forget to check out my review of the new AKI wrestling game Kinnikuman (Ultimate Muscle), whuch is already causing quite a stir...
Okay, then… ON WITH THE CONTENT.
WHAT’S HOT THIS WEEK
Some good stuff here, actually.
The big release is really X-Men 1.5, which is still worth picking up even if you’ve got the original. Props to Fox for double-dipping us, but at least waiting a couple of years before doing it. You must know what’s on the set by now, but suffice it to say there’s a shitload of cut scenes and featurettes, and a teaser for X-Men 2/X2/X2/X2whatever, so go get it. Angel Season One is out and about, sadly un-anamorphic. Again, we Region 2ers are very proud of our achievement in convincing Fox to release both Buffy and Angel in anamorphic, so if you care about that sort of thing, get signing a petition right away, because they ARE listening. If the first season whets your appetite, I think we’re up to season three or four in the UK and Australia, so check out Play.com for prices.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding gets a big fat DVD release. However, I have no interest in the film whatsoever, so you’ll have to go find the specs for yourself. Or you could check out Steven Soderbergh’s excellent film-within-a-film within a film-within-a-film Full Frontal, starring Blair Underwood, David Hyde Pierce, Julia Roberts and a bunch of other cats. Definitely worth checking out. A pretty shitty GI Joe DVD is out, and really isn’t worth getting, because it’s being re-released on May 13th with a shitload of extra features (Marv Wolfman said he’s just done a one-hour interview for both Tranformers Season 3 and the Joe Special Edition), and also a limited edition Snake Eyes figure (which you can see here and here). Nonetheless, thanks to my main man Teke, the DVD features two major Joe storylines, Real American Hero and Revenge of Cobra, which are both held in high regard by Joe fans. Keep checking Quick Kick Theatre for updates on the new Joe disc.
Alexander Dovzhenko’s masterpiece Arsenal is out this week. I haven’t had a chance to check out the specs, but Dovzhenko’s work is simply magnificent, and visually pretty unique no doubt any film students here are very familiar with his work. If you’re at all interested in dynamically shot films or the Russian Revolution, this really is worth checking out. Speaking of classics, Criterion have produced a stunning rendition of Jean Cocteau's (live action) Beauty and the Beast, or La Belle et la Bete. This is a darker and more seductive offering than the Disney offering, and is simply magnificently made, and looks better than ever with a new high-definition transfer. There are two commentaries by a cultural historian and a film historian, the trailers including the 1945 trailer narrated and directed by Cocteau, an original Philip Glass opera written for the film, a 1995 documentary, interview with the cinematographer, a shitload of rare stills, Cocteau’s film notes, a featurette on film restoration, a reprint of the original Leprince de Beaumont fable, notes from Cocteau’s biographer, and a new and improved translation. Holy shit.
The usual selection of music-related DVDs, in the form of The Dixie Chicks, Jenifer Lopez, Abba, Simply Red, Rod Stewart, Faith Hill… and undoubtedly many more. Go nuts! Fans of EXTREEEEEEEEEME sports and stuff might want to check out Hoffman Bikes Testimony, which doubtless features wacky goldfish-lensed camera angles of people falling off bikes.
There’s a Special Edition of David Bowie madness The Man Who Fell To Earth. I’m not sure if this is a re-issue or not, because I’m sure the SE has been out in Region 2 for a while, but anyway, for a two-disc SE, it doesn’t look all that special. There’s the requisite trailers and TV spots, bios, poster and stills galleries, an anamoprhic transfer, the original screenplay as a DVD-ROM feature, and a 24 minute featurette Watching the Alien. How that fills up two discs I don’t know, but I’m sure fans will appreciate it.
One to make Scott Keith happy is the Steven King set, The King Collection Fright Pack, consisting of Tommyknockers, Storm of the Century, Rose Red, and The Dead Zone. I know nothing about Stephen King other than he’s supposed to be behind the Twin Towers attacks (since in one of his books, he apparently wrote something that happened at 10:47 on September 11th)
The SuperBowl DVD is up for grabs for anyone who wasn’t bored enough watching the thing live. BLEGH. Three full hours of coverage, highlights form the regular season and playoffs, “a behind the scenes look at the SuperBowl”, a TV special, and audio tracks with the AFC and NFC radio broadcasting. To be honest, you’re better with your VHS recording of the thing, because that’ll have all the same bullshit as well as the SuperBowl ads. The Mystery Science Theater 3K set is also out, although I’m not really a fan of the series. From what I can gather, it’s the usual DVD treatment for the show, with the MST-ed version, as well as the original film without the “commentary”, should you want to watch that.
Amazingly, I could find nothing that truly qualified as The Daddy this week, so we’ll have to go without. That’s not to say that everything on the shelf this week is gold, but nothing is horrendously offensive. Shocking.
SEND IN THE
CLONES CLOWNS... THEY'RE ALREADY HERE
It’s common knowledge by now, but just in case anyone missed it, George Lucas has officially confirmed that his intention is for the original 1970s and ‘80s versions of the classic Star Wars trilogy are to be erased from history, to be forever replaced by his bastardised Super Special Editions, which will see the light of day after Episode III. While he says that the classic trilogy will indeed see a DVD release, it will ONLY be these new versions of the films the ones we all grew up with never existed, according to Lucas.
There’s not much I can add other than this is just truly sad. It’s fair enough to go back and dick around with your films, but you should at least release the originals as well, since those are the ones everybody loves, and the ones everyone gave you their hard-earned cash for in order to build your empire. I had hoped that Spielberg’s decision to release both the original and SE versions of E.T. would convince Lucas to do the same, but I’m just naïve I guess.
I won’t launch into a diatribe about it, because you can find those all over the net. But I will say this: Lucas always claims that he’s only altering the films “to make them the way he originally intended them back in the day, but couldn’t make them that way due to the constraints of time and technology.” Which is fair enough if you’re arguing better special effects, CGI, or better matting, but what about Han shooting first? What, you didn’t have the technology to have Greedo shoot first when you shot it? And what about Luke screaming like a pussy what, the technology wasn’t there to make him scream back in the ‘80s? You haven’t just changed the superficial elements of the film, you’ve changed the essence of it, and you bloody well know it. While I seriously doubt most Star Wars fans will have the courage to boycott the DVDs when they ultimately surface, I know a lot of people are gonna make shitloads of money with VCDs of the originals, and you won’t see a penny of it.
I hereby pledge only to buy pirated Lucas and LucasArts products, and urge you all to do the same.
BASED ON A “TRUE” STORY
Not being a Coen Brothers fan (first I admit I don’t like MST, now the Coen films honestly, I’m not deliberately trying to erode my credibility), I don’t know whether there’s already a Region 1 Special Edition of Fargo. There obviously isn’t one for Region 2 though, so here’s the word on the street.
Fargo: SE is due on April 21st (pushed back from March), and will feature 5.1 audio, the Minnesota Nice documentary, an interview with Super Coen Bros., an audio commentary… with the director of photography, an interactive Cohen Brothers Family Tree, an American Cinematographer article, galleries, “trivia tracks” (which looks like it might be a text commentary), and trailers. Alas, no mention of made of the transfer, though since most distributors make a big deal out of anamorphic releases these days, it probably hasn’t got one. Bummer.
Shaky accents ahoy!
Thanks to the DVD Times.
DR. JONES, DR. JONES, CALLING DR. JONES
The DVD Times have got a scoop on the DVD release of the Indiana Jones films.
According to an insider, the films are on course for a 4th quarter release, although the format of said release is being debated at Paramount. Apparently Spielberg and Lucas are pushing for individual releases of each flick, with a box set to follow at a later date (possibly to include the fourth film). Raiders certainly will be available this year, and all the films will be completed and ready for release at the same time, so it’s just up to Paramount now as to what happens.
The discs are being produced RIGHT NOW. No extras have been confirmed, although the Times expects a two-discer for at least the first film, and even drop hints about a DTS track.
Of course, with Lucas’ recent announcement and Spielberg jumping on the retroactive CGing of his movies, there is a common fear that they will, as hannibal_smith at the Times forums states, “digitally fanny about with them… what pilchards.”
And that’s all, folks. I’m off to pack my leather trousers and Cuban heels and go home for a superb weekend of eating and shagging. I trust everyone’s Valentine’s will be as eventful.
Take care, and remember:
I MUST WARN YOU: I’M ROGER MOORE~!