On the box: Under Siege 2
In the player: CKY2K
Heavy rotation: Jeff Buckley
Sore thumbs: Animal Crossing
The eBay damage this past week has been pretty heavy. I picked up Bushido Blade for the PSone, a Scott Hall The Early Years comp (gotta love that Magnum PI porn star look), The Specials DVD, Mario Golf on the N64, ECW Barely Legal 97 and ECW Crossing The Line Again DVDs, and I’m about five minutes away from snapping up the ECW Heatwave ’99 DVD too. I was mad pissed last week because I wanted to buy Goodbye Bruce Lee His Last Game of Death, and I got out-sniped while trying to snipe in the last 30 seconds, and then the same fucking thing happened when I was trying to buy a Leonard Cohen CD. Bastard snipers.
There’s one thing I’m REALLY FUCKING DESPERATE to get my hands on though, and that’s a Mark Henry Sexual Chocolate t-shirt. Why do I want one? I honestly don’t know. I just find it really amusing, and besides, who the fuck else is gonna have one? And that’s kinda the problem ? I wanted to buy one when they were still on Shopzone all those years ago, but I was fucked if I was putting $50 shipping into Vince’s pocket, so I waited. And I’m thinking now that I was probably the only person who was anywhere near that close to buying one of Mark Henry’s shirts, so I think I’m out of luck. So anyway, if anyone can help hook me up, drop me a line and we’ll work something out.
Another quiet week for Mr Spree. The most eventful thing that’s happened is playing my old PSone for the first time since 1998. Me and my neighbour Anthony (if you don’t remember him, look below) were playing Mortal Kombat: Not Another One or whatever it’s called, and we were saying how cool it would be if there was a weapons-based fighting game where you had no energy bars, you could injure body parts, and since there’s no health, a fatal blow can be struck at any time. Then I remembered fucking Bushido Blade.
My best friend.
So I found a copy on eBay and picked it up without stopping to think whether I still even had a PlayStation, or if it still worked. So I dug the thing out, and it turns out I’ve actually got two ? one chipped, one not. I’m not entirely sure how I came to have two, since I only bought one, so that was a nice surprise anyway. So basically I’ve spent the weekend falling in love with all my old PSone games that I’d forgotten about ? Total NBA (NBA Shootout), NBA Jam Extreme, Die Hard Trilogy, Loaded, WrestleMania Arcade… and here’s something. Remember all those rumours about Adam Bomb being a secret character in WrestleMania? Well, I was looking through all the code and sound files, and if he is there are no voice samples from Brian Clarke, and no lines of commentary from Vince or Lawler mentioning him by name. Maybe he’s like Wrath in WCW/nWo Revenge, all corrupted and fucked up.
So that was that. And since I left my GameCube in Wales when I went home for three weeks, I had a shitload of catching up to do on Animal Crossing. First I had to timewarp back to February 13th so the missus could get all her birthday presents from the animals, then I had to edge it forward gradually so as to avoid the whole fucking town breaking out in weeds and my mailbox overloading with stuff. I’ve also got a shitload of Action Replay cheats I’m itching to try out, but since I’ve actually gone to a few seminars this week, time has been scarce.
Aaaanyway, enough about that. It’s content you’re here for, and it’s content ye shall receive. SHOW ME YOUR MOVE~!
WHAT’S HOT THIS WEEK
There is some GOOD SHIT out to buy this week.
Before we get to what’s already out, here’s something interesting. Amazon are listing T2 Extreme as being released on March 6th (Thursday). Now, this might very well be true, but I’ve heard NOTHING about this ? not a review, not a preview, nothing; I knew the disc was announced, but I didn’t know it would be so soon, and with so little fanfare. So, don’t be surprised if you see the set, even though there’s already a perfectly good T2 DVD already (and the new one’s probably full of promotional shit for T3 anyway).
The most anticipated disc is probably Star Trek IV The Voyage Home SE. It’s probably the most casual/non-fan friendly, and I thought it was a pretty decent flick despite my antipathy towards the original Trek. The DVDs themselves are loaded, and the Shatner-Nimoy track is probably worth the money on its own.
Since I’m not a big horror fan, I haven’t had the balls to go see it, but The Ring is one of those films that get me thinking “that sounds really cool, if only I wasn’t a pussy.” The DVD itself is almost totally barebones, although there is a 15-minute (I think) assembly of cut footage that includes an alternate ending, which is always cool to have. You could always compliment that purchase by checking out the original Japanese film, Ringu, on which it’s based. And ? wouldn’t you know! ? that’s out this week as well. Something that I found terribly funny (mainly because I like laughing at IGN’s expense) is that the guy who reviewed The Ring for IGN mentioned that the Japanese original is also out on DVD, and said something to the effect of “but they’ve called it Ringu, which is stupid.” Yeah, it’s REAL stupid, since it’s based on a book called Ringu, by Koji Suzuki. He went on to say that the original isn’t as good or as scary as the remake, but since he said the stupid thing about the title, and since other people have said the original was scarier, I’m gonna go ahead and recommend it anyway.
The first season of The Osbournes is available in Censored and Uncensored varieties. Why would you want the censored version? Doesn’t that completely defy the object of the show? I can’t believe they bleeped the show in the States ? that’s just fucked up, Sharon. Anyway, the discs are pretty lousy, with only a couple of worthy extras in the form of outtakes and additional scenes, and the commentary with Jack and Sharon is crap. If you recorded the shows as they aired, you may as well stick with your tapes. If you’re that big of an Ozzy fan, you can put the money towards Black Sabbath: Never Say Die Live instead. I’ve got a feeling though that these Osbournes cash-in releases won’t sell as well as they hope, because most people are fakers jumping on the train and not real motherfucking Sabbath heads who eat raw sewage and kill animals with their feet. Or something.
I don’t know dick all about this one, but everyone is telling me about it, so here it is: .hack//SIGN is now available in a limited edition boxset. Apparently it’s limited to 15,000 sets, each containing an exclusive plush Grunty doll, an exclusive .hack//SIGN shirt, the OST, postcards and stickers, the .hack//INFECTION PS2 demo, as well as the flick/anime/whatever itself on a relatively barebones, promotional disc. Hope that helps somebody.
After getting shit on with the Region 1 releases of the first two series, you lucky Yanks are getting a superb treatment of the third and final series of Father Ted. As ever, I can only promise to get round to reviewing the disc at some point in the future, but it’s British surrealist comedy at its finest, with three priests banished to ? literally ? a craggy little island off the coast of Ireland. It’s my favourite British sitcom ever and I heartily recommend it to everyone. Anyway, the TWO DISC SET features all series three episodes, as well as the Christmas Special that was actually from series two but wasn’t included on the Region 1 series two disc. There are also TV spots, “Fundraising with Father Dougal”, the Comic Relief segment hosted by Father Ted and Father Dougal, an interviews with Ardal O’Hanlan (Dougal) and creator-writers Arthur Matthews and Graham Linehan, and even some photo galleries. That’s crazy ? why include a thoroughly English thing like Comic Relief on the American disc, and give the English consumers just a crappy featurette? If you’re a fan of the series, or looking into becoming one, I would recommend the Region 1 version of series three, but for God’s sake, DON’T buy the R1s of series one and two as they’re totally barebones, whereas the R2 releases contain awesome commentary tracks from one of the writers.
For the b-ball heads, Entertainer's Basketball Classic at Rucker Park - The Second Season includes the star-studded soundtrack, and features NBA ballers like Kobe, Starbury and Baron Davis with the greats of the playground game. There’s a bunch of National Geographic documentaries, which are always cool, as well as Hidden Hollywood: Treasures from The 20th Century Fox Vaults, which is essentially a bunch of previously lost clips from 1930s and ‘40s musicals that should get classic cinema fans all excited. And if all that weren’t enough, there’s a shitload of new SuperBits out, in the form of The Dark Crystal, Das Boot Director’s Cut, Heavy Metal, Labyrinth, Legends of the Fall. Fuck yeah.
There’s some good shit in the re-releases department, in the form of 1984, Good Will Hunting Collector’s Edition, American Beauty The Awards Edition, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Cider House Rules, and Dead Poet’s Society. It’s worth mentioning again, since I’ve been asked about it, that The Game being released this week is NOT the long-awaited David Fincher’ed Special Edition. Just a warning.
No wrestling DVDs this week, unless you count Highlander Endgame. See Edge swing a sword! Probably only for 30 seconds! Highlander sucks!
DIGITAL VERSATILE DICK
Bloodsucking Pharoes in Pittburgh. I have nothing more to say than that. Well, actually I do: Half Past Dead.
SOLAR DAREDEVIL BOWLING FOR THE MATRIX
Just a few quick tidbits that don’t really warrant their own headlines.
Bowling for Columbine has been temporarily removed from MGM’s release schedules. Why? Well, according to the IGN people (who seem a lot more willing to reply to emails now that I’m an Insider ? cheap bastards), MGM are waiting for the Oscar results. Fair enough, I guess.
Super Warner Bros. are in on the craze, having dropped all mention of The Matrix: Special Edition from their press site. Much as it’d be cool for the reason to be “waiting for Oscar results” (“Best use of ‘Whoa’”, “Most wooden actor”, “Most quotable villain”, “Shiniest outfits”), IGN speculate that the disc may have been postponed or even cancelled. Whoa.
What where is the Matrix?
Following the recent trend for theatrical showings to be a glorified (albeit still obscenely profitable) advertisement for the DVD release, Fox are targeting Daredevil: Special Edition for a June 10th drop, with Solaris targeted for the same day. DreamWorks have got Catch Me if You Can lined up as a two-disc Special Edition, in typically loaded “man there’s some awesome featurettes but shit why won’t that bearded prick do a commentary” Spielbergness. The long-awaited Black Hawk Down three-disc Super Duper Dribbling Big Willie Edition is pencilled in for May. And, according to The Digital Bits, LOTR: The Two Towers will be released in the same way as the last film, with the two disc version dropping in August, followed by the four-discer in November.
And, um, that’s it. BO!
WHEN IS A QUADRILOGY NOT A QUADRILOGY?
When it’s a tetralogy, because there’s no fucking thing as a quadrilogy. Stupid bastards.
Anyway, last week, IGN posted a story listing a set of potential specs for the nine-disc Alien Quadrilogy boxset, due September, as quoted by reliable DVD supplier DV-Depot. For some reason that escapes me, I didn’t report on it last week, and now I’m bloody kicking myself, because IGN and DV-Depot have removed all trace of that article and prospective specs from their site. According to them, most of what DV-Depot posted wasn’t actually correct, but IGN weren’t willing to be any more specific because certain elements are still being negotiated and leaks could endanger not only those elements, but the set itself.
I honestly can’t remember what all the alleged materials were, but they will certainly include the original four movie discs of the Alien Legacy set, as well as the Alien Legacy documentary disc that was included in all Region 2 sets and as a mail-in for Region 1. So that’s five discs, and you’d assume that the remaining four discs would make each film a two-disc SE. There was mention of additional deleted scenes for Alien (could it include Ridley Scott’s famed all-nude awakening from Hypersleep scene?), all of the supplemental features from the Aliens laserdisc (about fucking time, too), and stuff I can’t remember for Alien3 and Alien Resurrection. I haven’t seen the Resurrection workprint, but I’ve got the Alien3 print and there’s a shitload of stuff in there that actually makes the film good, mainly by defining the characters a lot more (and definitively answering the is he/isn’t he Bishop question). Then there’s the reams of effects footage shot by the British crew that was ultimately left unused (the super facehugger, the alien bursting out of a cow, not a dog).
Super Facehugger. NOT IN THE MOVIE!
Cow alien, busting out of cow. NOT IN THE MOVIE!
Factor in that David Fincher has refused for years to be involved with Alien3 in any way, and you can see all the stuff that’s probably being negotiated. So, um, I really hope that none of this gets the set shelved, because I’ve just sold my frigging Legacy set on eBay.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST FOOTAGE
Hell, since we’re speculating about DVD sets, why not go for the big guns?
Now, I know dick all about the Indy films. I’ve only ever seen Last Crusade, and that was in a cruddy little theatre when I was about nine. So I know nothing about the stories, or the mythos surrounding lost footage, abandoned concepts etc..
But there was an interesting interview in In Focus magazine with Lawrence Kasdan, who helped script both Raiders and The Empire Strikes Back. He’s just the latest in a long line of folks to let on that the DVDs are indeed on the way, but has shed a tiny sliver light on the extras for the discs… or the lack of them. From the article:
“Now, you told Starlog in 1981 about your ‘Raiders’ script rewrite: ‘A little bit of my script's logic and character development fell out along the way.’ What was missing? And will it show up on the Indiana Jones DVDs?”
“I don't think so. [laughs] Actually, I ran into Frank Marshall over the holidays, and he's working on that [DVD] collection. I don’t think there's going to be a lot of.... I don't know what they have planned. They obviously made a lot of smart decisions about what should be in the movie and what shouldn't.”
It’s the line “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of… I don’t know what they have planned” that interests me. He said that in response to the question of what missing scriptnotes/story ideas might make it onto the disc(s). So while it could mean “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of… my lost scriptnotes on the DVD”, it could very well mean “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of… extras on the DVD.” Yeah, it’s purely speculative, but it’s such a red flag thing to say, and it’s all we’ve got to go on. It sure as hell wouldn’t surprise me if all the work that’s going into the current set is related to restoration, and we’re going to see nothing more than barebones discs with awesome transfers and sound, but no extras. I seriously smell a double-dip on this one, because while I’m not that interested in the set, I know that to a lot of fans, this is as anticipated as Star Wars.
Another quickie, this. According to CNN, the first BluRay high-definition disc recorder has been sold in Japan by Sony (although the report erroneously refers to it as a DVD recorder). Once again, Sony have wasted no time in throwing their own products headlong into the market despite the objections of various committees, forcing consumers and retailers to endure another format war.
From the tone of their article, The Digital Bits seem to have soured a little on BluRay, stating that “BluRay and DVD are NOT the same format. Nor is BluRay HD-DVD. The official DVD Forum has said that it will announce the final spec for true HD-DVD in March.” Seems a little cold to me. Still, in a general sense, I’m with anyone who stands up and says “Fuck Sony”, so fair play to them. As long as they don’t look at the brand of my TV and stereo, and overlook the fact that I’ve got about a million MiniDiscs that I use religiously.
Do you know that it’s now 2am (UK time) as I finish this thing? That means it’s technically late, since it’s now Wednesday. Thank God you people are at least five hours behind to cover my lateness. GMT rules! Stay tight, and remember:
TOOL, WHAT TOOL?” “THIS FUCKING TOOL~!”