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In The Player: Father Ted Series 2, Part 2


On The Box: Saddam!








Ay ay ay.






A very, very nice weekend, and a cracking anniversary with the missus. If you’re ever within range of a Jim Thompson’s, I would hugely recommend dropping by. You’d never tell by the name, but JT’s is actually an oriental restaurant that serves Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese and other east Asian dishes, and it’s superb. The walls are layered with artifacts, ornaments, sculptures and art from around the orient, and everything is for sale they’ll usually haggle too. It wasn’t really an expensive restaurant, but (good) asian food is generally more expensive it ran £90 (about US$140) for the missus and me, and it was worth every note.






The only slight downer is the abundance of carbs have played havoc with my digestive system. When it comes to hunks of meat and slabs of butter, I’ve got a gut of iron (just like that wrestler with the ladder gimmick). But stick some crabs in me and you as well just sit me on a bog for a week with a magazine and a GameBoy. On the other hand, I still seem to be immune to hangovers, though my girlfriend was somewhat less fortunate. Ah well, no pain, no gain.






Other than that, not a lot going on. I really, really, REALLY hate work at the moment, although I can’t tell my boss to stick it up his ass because I’ve got to pay for the Panasonic Q I just ordered. Shitsticks. I’m happily playing through Zelda on the SNES (for the first time, actually), and it’s amazing how playable that game really is and it’s almost TEN years old! Crikey. I hope the upcoming cel-shaded monster is even half as good.






My gyal picked up a couple of DVDs for me (ain’t she sweet), Father Ted Series 2, Part 2 and Brother. Ted is just one of the all-time BEST Britcoms, and I’ve actually had a review written for the Series 1 disc for an age now. It’s just that it’s one of those shows that you can’t really put into words, and I don’t think the review does it any kind of justice, so I’ve held off posting it. I dunno, maybe I’ll have a go at re-writing it once I free up some time. Brother is a film that I’ve been DYING to see for yonks. It’s a Takeshi Kitano (a more violent, Japanese Scorcese, who “inspired” much of Tarantino’s work) movie, and it’s basically The Yakuza VS The Mafia. I haven’t sat down to the flick yet, but it’s a pretty loaded disc, and one I’ll definitely be writing a review on once I get my grabber working. And on that subject, I must confess that I’ve discovered what the problem was. The S-Video connection I was trying to hook up? It was only an S-Video OUT. No wonder nothing frigging happened when I plugged things is. I’m working on getting a USB connection set up, then I can go about the long, drawn-out task of taking grabs for everything I own. Huzzah!





And with that, ON WITH THE CONTENT~!.














Very tasty. Very tasty indeed.





No doubt everyone’s aware that Lord of The Rings is in stores this week, and no doubt everyone is also aware that the disc is pretty insane when it comes to features and audiovisual excellence. I’m guessing just about everyone reading will already have the flick (or at least, have it on order), but since I really don’t dig fantasy, that money’s going towards a shiny new copy of Beach Spikers.





Series Two of The Simpsons is a little lighter in the features department than the First Series set, but then again, the episodes on it are actually GOOD this time. Anyone who hasn’t already picked up the R2 should probably check it out, since there is no-one on the planet who doesn’t like The Simpsons. Expcept the Brazilians.





Trekkers Trekkies Geeks everywhere will be pleased to know that the best ST flick Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is getting Special Editioned this week, continuing Paramount’s chronological quest through the films to make them worth buying. Can’t remember the specs, but I remember thinking that it looked pretty good it’s got (most, but not all of) the extra footage from the TV version, a director’s commentary, a text commentary by Mike Okuda, and a shedload more stuff that’ll probably be of interest to fans of pointy ears and bad toupées.





From Spock to Schlock, only the most ardent sci-fi fans will even think about picking up V - The Final Battle. This is the second miniseries, and it’s absolute cack. The first one was great, but this second installment and the following TV series were just dire. The two-disc set looks pretty barebones, too, so it’s not even worth getting for nostalgia value. Does Super Troopers count as a big release? It looked REALLY annoying, but it was actually quite funny. The DVD looks pretty sweet, being anamorphic and including deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, a featurette, and an alternate ending. Alternate endings are easy winners in my book. Anyway, if you liked the flick, it might be worth checking out.





A couple of little gems as well as some retro action, starting with a nice looking re-release of Clash of The Titans. It’s got a spanking-new digital, anamorphic transfer for starters, which has got to be good. Then there’s a conversation with Ray Harryhausen which should be great as long as it isn’t a three-minute fluff piece, and a “Maps of myths and monsters” gallery. S’gotta be worth at least a look. Best of The Best, if it’s the one I’m thinking of, is B-movie martial arts action starring Eric Roberts and Shawn Penn, as well as Liu Kang and this BAD ASS Korean guy. The sequel was better, though. The Care Bears Movie is something that sounds like it should be really bad, but I seem to recall it actually being quite deep and worth watching, although I’m not entirely sure I’d buy it on DVD. Unlike Deuces Wild, starring everyone’s favourite Blade-fodder Stephen Dorff. It’s rival gangs stuff, like West Side Story. Only without the singing and fannying around. Hot Shots and Hot Shots: Part Deux! both get fairly barebones releases (I think there’s a fluff featurette on each), and if you’re even thinking about getting the Dragon Lee four-pack, DON’T. Just don’t, trust me.





If you’re the kind of person (like me) who can plant themselves in front of The Discovery Channel for about a week, you’ll probably want to pick up one or more of the very wonderful IMAX features. And lookie here, there’s three of them released this week: Galapagos, Into The Deep, and Survival Island. Sure, it doesn’t have quite the same impact if you’re not watching on an eighty foot screen, but hell, they’re still cool.





Daddy of The Week: As soon as I saw Bob The Builder getting a Region 1 release, I thought it was a shoe-in for the Daddy. I had no idea the fat bastard plumber had made it overseas, and my hatred for him was almost enough. Almost. But there was something worse. Yes, WORSE than Bob The Bastard. This week, presented fro your viewing pleasure by some third-rate production house, the Speed Gone Wild series: Killer Krashes, Deadly Decisions, and Maximum Impact. Because nothing says good taste like making light of tragedy. Superb.














Hey, do you remember that movie Batteries Not Included? I used to get SOOOO frigging sad when that little baby robot helps the guy put the mosaic back together at the end. Shit, I’m tearing up just thinking about that scene. That flick was so badass.





Anyway, specs have materialised for the Band of Brothers boxset, which I suppose I really should get on and list. The six-discer, due to street on November 5th (“gunpowder, treason and plot…”) for $120 (!!!!!!!) will feature the following:





  • Collectible embossed metallic-case packaging


  • An anamorphic transfer taken from HD masters


  • 5.1 and DTS audio


  • Documentary: We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company (80 mins)


  • Featurette: Making of Band of Brothers (30mins)


  • Ron Livingston’s Behind-the-Scenes Video Diaries


  • A featurette on HBO’s premiere screening of the miniseries on the beaches of Normandy


  • Field Guide - an enhanced viewing mode that offers an interactive reference feature that details the people, places and events associated with Easy Company’s campaigns through Europe and WWII as a whole


  • Character Biographies


  • Weblinks


  • Photo gallery


  • Episodic Previews


  • Series Index

Well, it sounds cool, and the packaging definitely looks cool, but 120 bucks? That shit ain’t cool. I dunno, I’m just totally against shelling out that much cash for DVD sets that I can record off the TV. And this is coming from someone who owns a Neo Geo cart system (and who just bought a Q despite having two perfectly good multi-region DVD players and a modded Cube). I know I come off like Arthur Scargill (sp?) with all this grassroots stuff, but if we show DVD houses that we’re happy to be ripped off and go out and buy every overpriced piece of DVD goodness, they’ll only continu to jack up the prices higher and higher. If you love the show and can’t live without it, fair enough. But if you’re in two minds about whether or not to get it, please think hard.





Anyway, I can’t remember where I bagged the news item, but IGN’s got some pictures of the packaging, so I guess they’re as good a place as any to start.














Well, after last week’s severe downer, it looks like business just picked up.





According to The Bits, Ed Wood’s disappearance from the Beuna Vista schedule can be easily explained: none other than the gothfreak himself Tim Burton has shown interest in the DVD release, and is eager to add further supplemental material to the set! Which is great, except that it’ll add another six months to the discs’ street date. And we’ll have to sit through another Tim Burton commentary. Hopefully he’ll be able to convince Bill Murray and George Steele to sit in with him.





Anyway, that’s saved us all a double dip, so big props to Tim Burton (and Beuna Vista, to be fair), for waiting it out and doing the disc right instead of screwing us out of money like they usually do.














Some specs have surfaced for the upcoming Region 2-only Hong Kong Legends Platinum Edition releases of Hard Boiled and Bruce Lee’s Way of The Dragon (Return of The Dragon in the US). Both sets look truly awesome, if the specs are to be believed. The info is from the best Bruce Lee forum on the planet, Temple of The Unknown, and is usually pretty reliable. In fact, I’ve got a feeling they came from BulletsNBabes originally, so they’re probably on point.





Hard Boiled: PE is due in December, and looks like a worthy successor to the Criterion edition. It looks set to feature the standard-issue pristine restored and remastered HKL transfer. In anamorphic, no less, although there seems to be some conjecture over exactly what the aspect ratio is. Dolby 5.1 should take care of the sound nicely, while we can also expect a commentary by John Woo, Terence Chang and Barry Wong (culled from his last interview in 1992). The set will contain 46 minutes of deleted scenes from the director’s cut, a rare photo archive, Hard Boiled retrospective, ‘Bullet and Heroes’ documentary, interview gallery, a tribute to Barry Wong, music spots, and the usual slick HKL presentation.





WOTD, due October, will also feature a remastered, anamorphic print as well as 5.1 and DTS audio, the original commentary with Bey Logan and John Benn, deleted scenes (!!!!) from the director’s cut, a tribute to Wei Ping Ao and Unicorn Chan, rare photo archive, Bruce Lee trailer archive, the Dragon Lives doc, Way of The Dragon Revisited featurette, Way of The Dragon retrospective, History of Tang So Do (Chuck Norris’ fighting system), interview gallery, music spots, and Joseph Koo music promo. Phew.





The Hard Boiled set looks like it will improve on the Criterion in the extras department, while HKL’s audio-visual mastery will no doubt produce the best presentation the film has ever seen. As for WOTD, well Little Dragon fans couldn’t be happier. I’m a little dubious about the deleted scenes (if you’re not a Bruce Lee fan, let’s just say that these scenes are as soughtafter as, say, the Wampas attacking the Rebel Base on Hoth), and I’m not convinced that they don’t simply comprise of the out of focus eating scene. Still, I know I’ll be picking it up (even if I did only recently buy the boxset. Bollocks).









Something that’s only just occurred my thesmartmarks.com email hasn’t been working for the past two weeks. I’ve been so frigging busy that I’ve completely forgotten to tell anyone about it or get Dames to fix it. Anyway, if you sent anything to me recently and you haven’t got a reply (bearing in mind that I reply to just about everything), send it again to [email protected]. And until my official email is working again, any other feedback should probably be sent there too.





I’m gonna go check out some porn now. See you in seven.












Jay Spree.

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