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WednesDVDay News Update

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In the player: Beyond The Mat


On the box: For Your Eyes Only




Man, it sucks being ill. I’ve had this weird thing all week where my stomach spends all day rolling over while my head spins round like a plate on top of a pole. Yesterday at work I was having real trouble concentrating, but when I couldn’t even count half a dozen entries on a spreadsheet, I knew it was time to come home. And I’ve been in bed ever since. God bless my laptop and tireless work ethic (stop sniggering, you at the back). It’s gonna be kind of an abbreviated update this week, and if you’ve got a problem with that, well, you can suck my germy willie and see how you like this damn headache.




Anyway, before I got sick, I was planning to start this week’s update with an anecdote about watching a movie with my would-be in-laws. So here goes: I sit down with my girlfriend’s family smug in the knowledge that I’m about to save us twenty quid in cinema tickets. “Let’s watch Spider-Man,” I suggest, in my politest impress-the-parents voice. “Ooh, I didn’t know it was out on video yet.” “Ahh you see, I have my sources!” Suitably impressed at my shady underworld dealings, the parents prepare for a nice evening watching a movie at home that’s still on at the cinema (the older generation still being fascinated at the wonders of piracy).




Spider-Man: Disc 1 goes into my laptop, neatly S-Videoed into the TV (which also impressed the shit out of them), and after a little colour tweaking and despite about a half-second lipsync lag (which is actually pretty good for SVCD), everything goes great. Then we get to the wrestling scene. Now, being as the family knows I’m a wrestling fan, and being that they actually know who Randy Savage is and are intrigued to see him in a movie (again, the older generation still marvelling at such things), we are eagerly anticipating this portion of the flick. But before we get to see any Spidey-grappling, the disc runs out and it’s time for Disc 2. “Ooh, this is good!” come the exclamations from the parents. Blessed approval! Brownie points! Too good. Disc 2 goes in, Play is pressed, and then --









Well, except for a pink screen and no sound. “Um,” I start, “I think I just need to adjust the <coughsplutter>.” Shit. Shitty shitty shit. I reboot the player, and shag all difference that makes. “Hmm,” I conclude. “Perhaps you need to wind it on,” suggests the father helpfully, albeit blissfully unaware of the tapeless wonder of digital technology. “Uh, actually I just tried that, and that didn’t do it, unfortunately.” “Maybe you should blow on it,” suggests the mother, in an equally well-meaning unhelpful-helpfulness. “No, no, this is a special one, you don’t need to do that.” “Well, maybe you should try it anyway.” So, I’m actually sitting there, blowing a compact disc. I’m wondering about YUV Overlays and Double Frame displays, and I’m sitting there blowing a fucking compact disc to make it work.




After a couple of minutes of blowing, and the unsurprising effect that has on proceedings, I concede defeat and the family insist that we watch the third disc to see how the film ends. Utterly fucking embarrassed I lay back down on the couch with my head on my girlfriend’s lap while she strokes my head in sympathy. I spend the remainder of the film having to explain “where that funny little green man” came from and “how come the girl is living with Spider-Man”, amongst other such things. Completely underwhelmed at the half-film just watched, the evening ends with a miserable whimper as numerous anti-comments are made towards said film and I leave the room with a “thanks for trying.” And you want to know what REALLY pisses me off? Both discs for Scooby Fucking Doo work just fine. Piece of shitass SVCDs.




On the plus side, I went upstairs and had two hours of incredibly dirty sex with my girlfriend to make amends.
















What indeed I have no idea. I seem to remember that Crossroads is out this week, and since that’s the only title that stuck in my memory, the rest of the lineup must be pretty fucking bad.




Save your money people.












Firstly, to clear up something that I’ve been asked quite a lot, no, “DVD rot” is not actually any sort of biological rotting as might be seen in corpses or old fruit. It’s not even really like the old vinyl rot that used to plague those “indestructible” LPs. The term is an homage to the old cases of LaserDisc rot (I think), which similarly was not actual rotting, but… oh fuck, look, it’s just a name, right? A Rob Van Dam doesn’t hold back water, so just get a grip.




In any case, the folks at DVD Times are reaching the end of their tether when it comes to the subject. They’ve been in touch with MGM representatives, and gleaned all the useful information there is from them. So listen up.




In some cases, the “rot” (the swirly, milky substance that appears on the surface of the disc) may actually come off with a little tepid water and a delicate cloth. On some discs it may be too sticky to get off, but it’s certainly worth a try before getting too het up.




If that doesn’t work, MGM are more than willing to rectify the problem by replacing your disc(s) absolutely free of charge. If you live in the UK, simply return the all the discs in their original packaging (i.e. digipack, amaray case, what have you) to MGM at this address: FREEPOST DVD RETURN. If you are a non-UK customer, contact your local Twentieth Century Fox office directly, who will be aware of the problem and provide information. If you don’t have a Fox office in your country (i.e. you only have a third party distributor), you can get your disc(s) replaced by MGM UK. Just send your package to FREEPOST DVD RETURN, UNITED KINGDOM, simple as that. However, you’ll have to pay postage as the address isn’t free outside the UK.




However, there are STILL reports of problems. Despite the fact that it is a perfectly valid address, numerous post office workers are refusing to accept packages because there isn’t enough information. It’s amazing MGM pay a big stack of cash for a Freepost address, then the post office won’t let people send anything to it. No wonder they’re going tits up.












Contrary to earlier reports (namely mine sorry), the Region 1 version of 24, due for release on September 17th, will be jut as barebones as the Region 2 set released a month earlier on August 19th.




The six-disc boxset, which will retail for $59.98, includes an anamorphic transfer, Dolby 2.0, Kiefer Sutherland introduction, alternate ending with optional commentary, and a season 2 preview. Word is that the reason for the light supplemental features is that Fox were keen to get the DVD out as soon as humanly possible (before the syndicated run, even), and thus the production team were very limited in what they could put together. Subsequent series are set to be released equally quickly, but now that the team is in place they will have all season long to put material together. The Digital Bits have got some scans of the boxart which are worth checking out.




Thanks to The DVD Times.












Well, not quite, but nearly.




Some truly amazing stats have been released by the DEG (DVD Entertainment Group). Perhaps the most startling is the group’s expectation that 20 million DVD players will be sold THIS YEAR, bringing the total installed user base to over 40 MILLION. Factoring in DVD-compatible hardware such as games consoles and DVD-ROM, that means that almost 50% of homes in the US will have access to the format. WOW.




If that wasn’t wild enough, the billionth DVD unit will ship to retail in North America in July. THE BILLIONTH. That’s in just five years of the format’s existence. It took almost ten years for VHS tape sales to reach that figure. That’s kind of a good news-bad news thing to me, since numbers like that just reinforce decisions made by people like Disney that it doesn’t matter a fuck what the hardcore demographic wants widescreen released, non-butchered Hong King action films they’re still going to sell a shitload of units. Oh well.




Thanks to The Bits for the numbers.












News on the upcoming Malcolm In The Middle: The Complete First Season boxset, due for release on October 29th for a cool forty bucks.




The three-discer contains the entire 16-episode first season (well duh), along with a DVD-exclusive extended version of the pilot. Also included are deleted scenes and alternate openings, a gag reel as well as ‘Malcolm Vision’ widescreen bloopers, audio commentary on certain episodes, the featurettes ‘Malcolm In The Middle: A Stroke of Genius’, ‘Dewey’s Day Job’ and the season two preview ‘Behind the Middle’, a “TVography”, TV spots and more. TV product = full frame, but they’ve gone the extra mile to give us 4.0 Surround. This beats the shit out of 24.




Thanks to The Bits.












A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that just about every ECW PPV is already out on Region 2 DVD, and I said that I would post an update with the distributor’s web address for you to check out. Except I never did. Sorry about that.




Still, better late than never, right? Check out DeltaMusic.co.uk. There’s absolutely shitloads of ECW PPVs, as well as early non-PPV shows like “It Ain’t Seinfeld”, and even the Terry Funk “retirement” show seen in Beyond The Mat, WrestleFest.




Speaking of old ECW shows, I’ve just watched Heatwave ’98 again, and I’m utterly baffled as to why everyone says it’s ECW’s best PPV. There were a couple of okay matches, but overall it was just a mess. Now, Guilty As Charged ’99 there was a fucking show.








Well, the four different kinds of pills I’m currently popping are starting to take their toll. It’s back to bed for more sleep and a little Best of Budokan Hall, methinks.




Hopefully I’ll have recovered this time next week, so expect all the usual bollocks Jay Spree goodness in seven days. Maybe.













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