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MonDVDay News Update

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In the player: Father Ted Series 2, Part 2


On the box: Big Cat TV


Heavy rotation: John Lee Hooker Greatest Hits






Ay ay ay. What a weekend. Well, what an anti-weekend, really.




My girl couldn’t come up to see me, which has made this the longest three days of my life. I mean, shit, I actually spent all day Friday WORKING. It got that bad. Not only did I write a story (albeit a very short one), but I actually planned and outlined the structure for the next one. This is the height of procrastination for me, as I never plan or draft ANYTHING. It’s bad enough when you burn out on Perfect Dark and TimeSplitters, but when you start writing frigging story plans, you know you need to get laid.




So anyway, it’s becoming apparent that five-day weekends aren’t actually all that great. I know it’s all well and good saying that when I’ve actually got them, but shit there’s only so much free time a person can handle. One way or another, this year is gonna destroy me, cause I’m either gonna go fucking nuts from too much idle gaming, or turn into a crazy workaholic.




Something that might be of interest to you guys, although if it is, you’re probably all aware of it by now anyway. Slippery SmartMarks.com second-cousin-esque relation is currently on a talent drive. Well, he’s looking for writers for Scotsmanlity.com, which less involves talent, so much as it does being offensive and posting lots of pictures of yourself and your friends. So if you’re capable of this…




Hey, you’re gay! Hey, I’m gay! I like Inspector Gadget! All my friends are gay! But just look how gay I am:






What a fag!




Russ Haas, Jay Bower, let me beat off on some food and eat it… BUY ME STUFF! LOL2002!!




… then you’re qualified to write for Scots’ site. Actually, if your Photoshop production values are as high as the above, you’re actually overqualified. And remember when applying kids, use lots of profanity and CAPITAL LETTERS!




Just joshing with the kilt-wearing freak Scots is a good guy. Go check out the site, it’s a good read if nothing else. Now, seeing as we’ve got some fuck me content this week, we may as well HIT IT~!












Both vesrions (hey, it’s a typo, but I’m bizarrely infatuated with the word “Vesrions”. It sounds kinda like “Mysterons”, only not quite so gay) of ET: 20th Anniversary Edition are out this week the regular two-disc Special Edition as well as the three-disc, $70 (ha!) Ultimate Edition. As you should be aware, despite the original plan and all the recent uproar, BOTH editions of the film contain the 20th Anniversary cut AS WELL AS the original theatrical version. So that’s good news, right? Means there’s no point shelling out on the $70 version, right? Maybe. See, because they finally decided to put both prints on the two-disc version (originally the theatrical cut was only destined for the three-discer), they had to chop some extras namely the 50-minute documentary, which is pretty integral to the set. Apparently, the spec on the back of the two-disc DVD currently makes no mention of either the original cut being included or the documentary being dropped, so unless they’ve hauled ass on a MAJOR reprint before Tuesday, the info is out of date. Just a warning for those of you who weren’t aware.




To take a brief aside, it’s worth mentioning that this could be an important precedent for DVD releases of classic films that have been “Lucas’d”. ET got tinkered with to a moderate extent a few CG shots, a reinstated scene, and the infamous Guns ‘n’ Terrorists alteration but certainly not the extent that certain other bearded science fiction directors might go back and change their films. Whoa, I’ve just realised that Lucas, Speilberg and Ridley Scott all have beards. Wild. Anyway, when it comes time for Boy George to release the Holy Trilogy on DVD, he might take a cue from his buddy and give us the theatrical AND “Special Editions”. Because new Wampa sequence or not, I just can’t watch Empire with Luke’s PUSSY ASS SCREAM as he takes the express elevator out of Cloud City. Nitpicking or not, it just ruins the fucking film.




Star Trek III also streets this week, with a tidy commentary featuring Leonard Nimoy and some other nice features including a Mike Okuda text commentary. Can’t say I’m a fan of the original Trek or its movies, but everyone rates the disc pretty highly, so what the hell. There’s also a couple of other Trek-related discs out this week to leech off the disc’s heat, so Trekkies/ers can go nuts.




There’s a very iffy “boxset” by the name of The James Bond 007 Special Edition DVD Collection. The set contains seven, seemingly random Bonds: Dr NO, Goldfinger, Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Licence to Kill, GoldenEye, and Tomorrow Never Dies. Really, what was the criteria for choosing these? Sure, the Connery episodes were two of the best, you’ve got to have at least one with Brosnan to cash in on the current Bond, but Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me? They were average at best (hey, Moore was a crap Bond, sue me). And much as I love Licence, it seems a pretty arbitrary choice. Besides, if they’re trying to include each Bond, where’s Lazenby? He may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but anyone who grows discreet stubble and eats garlic before a love scene with Diana Rigg is pretty hardcore. Anyway, the set’s only there to clear excess stock before they reissue the complete 19-film collection when the new flick hits theatres. And don’t even think they won’t reissue THAT set again next year when all 20 chapters hit DVD. Read: you’re a fuckwit if you buy this set. Especially since nearly every Bond film is under a tenner from Region 2.




Mr Deeds hits shelves this week, but for better or worse I just don’t get Adam Sandler, so that’s enough shilling for him. It’s not a new release or anything, but I just tool a look at the specs for The Beach (which is re-released this week), and I thought it was barebones, but its actually got a commentary, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending. Just took me by surprise. Another re-release this week is Universal Soldier, which I’m sorry to say I mark out for BIG TIME. Sure, Van Damme’s a fag without much talent, but Dolph rules all kinds of shit, and this flick was just so, so cool. I picked up the Special Edition the other day for a fiver, and it’s a fairly packed disc. Hey, I don’t care if you don’t care I either vent here or I write a review of the damn thing. Anyway, the transfer is pretty slick, it’s got a 5.1 and DTS mix, about 15 minutes of on-set footage (including some deleted scenes), and a commentary (which is good, but has LOTS of silences). Ahhh. That felt GOOD.




The Chuck Jones documentary Extremes and In-Betweens: A Life in Animation is out again, and it’s definitely a must-see for animation heads. Kung-Pow! gets DVD’d, and it’s a pretty loaded disc with a commentary and all the other gubbins. Too bad the film itself was pap. A couple of John Wayne Special Editions, WILD STYLE(~!), Larry Sanders re-release… there isn’t much else, to be honest. Wrestling-wise, SummerSlam 2002 (get your fix of Rock while you can) and Divas Undressed (which comes on a fairly loaded disc, actually) both street from The Fed, as do a bunch of PRIDE DVDs. But since I know dick about MMA these days, I’ll let you do the detective work on those. FUCK JOURNALISM~!




Daddy of The Week: Surprisingly, there’s a lot of crap out this week, but no real Wrestlecrap kind of crap. Well, there’s always the man Bela Lugosi with The Return of Chandu, but my money’s got to be on Ozzy Osbourne: The Prince of F*?$!@# Darkness. The Osbournes was funny, but all this other stuff is just shameless. Guess the old dump truck full of money was too much to resist.













There’s a fun little article over at CNN, where Rick “Smithers” McCallum basically goes nuts and says that the movie business is in the toilet, and that we (well, not that anyone here uses Kazaa or anything) are all taking a big shit on it.




The piece basically reaffirms what we’ve said here before the theatrical run of a film is fast becoming little more than a trailer for the DVD release. “As the cost of going to the movies has escalated to $20 or so for a ticket, parking and popcorn [unless of course you take a seventy-dollar taxi ride from Sherman Oaks to Century City to see Beyond The Mat], teens are paying more attention to the fact that the movie will be out on DVD in just four or five months at a rental fee of $4 or $5 or a purchase price of $12-$15.”




So ‘people’ (I call them ‘marks’) aren’t going to see Titanic or The Matrix twenty times at the theatre any more, preferring to wait for the DVD. And according to McCallum, this has taken its toll on moviemakers: "I don't think there's a single movie that can survive on box office gross alone; it just doesn't exist anymore… A theatrical gross can't hack it anymore, and the business is barely surviving right now. This [DVD] is the biggest potential growth area that we have. Studios need it, or they're gone. They're on the verge of collapse anyway. They are not making money. Anyone who says, or thinks, that they are, is out of their mind."




And to anyone who does the Kazaa thing, the Rickster has this to say:




"This other thing is a tornado. The business will implode once you can download a movie, give it to your friends and not have a moral problem with doing it. Then we're screwed. Literally, our very lives are at stake now. George and I are just praying that we can finish 'Episode III' in time, before it's all over."




Wow, that’s pretty drastic. I’m just waiting for him to refer to the fight against piracy as “the clone wars”. Well, if you’re spending 50 million on effects, 20 million for a star, and in excess of 200 million in total, it’s pretty easy to blame a minority of people who, by their very nature, are so tech-minded that if they have the mentality to download a film, they’re going to buy the damn DVD anyway. It’s the same argument as Napster and downloading music: everyone shouted wolf, and talked about how “piracy” was costing the industry so much money, but sales actually went UP during the peak existence of these services, and DOWN when they got busted. It’s pretty simple: if people get to sample the product, they’re more likely to go buy it, especially the more discerning consumer interested in better quality. And people always seem to ignore the fact that, when talking about movie piracy, a large percentage of it isn’t actually domestic, but from global markets where film releases are delayed by several months. Yes, when piracy spirals out of control it destroys the industry, but if the industry makes no attempt to provide its product to consumers in a timely fashion, they can go fuck themselves.




Thanks to The Bits for the tipoff.












Ah crap, one less place for me to get freelance.




In a message posted over at The DVD Times, it was announced that the December issue of Future Publishing’s What DVD will be the last. Sales weren’t where Future wanted them to be so sadly, the mag is getting the axe.




It came at extremely short notice, and the staff were basically told “You’re done stop working on the next issue.” Which basically means they didn’t get a chance to do the goodbye thing, so any readers who want to see the last word from the editor and staff should head on over to the Times. It’s a sad reality that, these days, it’s getting more and more difficult for printed publications to survive, let alone thrive in the electronic age.












Well, the bastards finally double dipped us, but it wasn’t the three-months-later double dip it was scheduled to be.




The two-disc X-Men 1.5 Collector's Edition will finally street on February 11th for a fairly wholesome $27. Somewhat depressingly, plans for this to include an extended edition of the film featuring much of the (allegedly) one hour of cut footage HAVE BEEN SCRAPPED. Crazy. Instead, on disc one we'll get the theatrical cut with the full anamorphic/5.1/DTS gubbins, Bryan Singer introduction, and feature commentary by Singer and various cohorts. Some of the deleted scenes will be included on the disc as well (I'm guessing they will include more than what was already on the first DVD), but don’t expect any lost fight scenes with Juggernaut or anything. The footage is probably more along the lines of what was on the original disc more dialogue, character development, and probably some more stuff in the school with the kids. Including Kitty Pryde. HELL THE HELL YEAH. X-Men 1.5? Natalie Portman 1.5. Word.




Disc two holds 'The Making of X-Men', a collection of five featurettes of unspecified length: Origin of The X-Men, The Uncanny Suspects, X-Factor, Shooting X-Men, and Remembering The X-Men. This looks like it will be fairly substantial, and I certainly hopeful it will be, since the rest of the disc looks pretty fluffy. I mean, three trailers is one thing, but 13 TV spots and 11 Internet spots? That's just nuts. The teaser and a short behind-the-scenes of X-Men 2/X2/X2/X2 will also be included (obviously). Um, yay.Also present are 3 Trailers, 13 TV-Spots, 11 Internet interstitials, an X-Men 2 Teaser Trailer and a short 'Behind the scenes of X-Men 2' preview and more TBA. Retail is $26.95.




Thanks to the Times for the info.













There’s an interesting story over at Yahoo! on the two-disc Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 15th Anniversary Edition, due on March 25th.





Somewhat confusingly, the article states that “The package will feature rare new animation of Roger and other animated characters from the groundbreaking combination of live-action and original cartoon characters and legendary animated stars from every studio.” Which means… ? “Rare new animation” doesn’t exactly sound like it’s from the original production, although the “from the groundbreaking combination” part implies that it is. It could refer to the new animation of Roger in the “Who Made Roger Rabbit” featurette (weighing in at a rather limp 15 minutes), or the three Roger Rabbit theatrical shorts that will be included in the set. Actually, much of the article is clumsily written, included the reference to “other extras include two scenes from an ‘Invisible Man’ movie”, which at first sounds like it the scenes aren’t from WFRR? when in fact they're clips of pre-effects shots where the actors perform without the toons.





The DVD menus will feature Benny the cab driving viewers around the disc’s different areas, which sounds pretty cool. But somewhat less cool is the fact that the audio commentary has been culled directly from the laserdisc version. In this day and age and certainly for something as allegedly grandiose as a "15th Anniversary Edition" that we’ve been made to wait for sloppy seconds from laser isn’t good enough. Is it too much to ask that we get that commentary as well as an all-new one? Geez, it’s not like you’ve been doing anything else the last few years except producing a 15-minute fluff piece.





In all, this sadly sounds like it may not have been the definitive version of the film we’ve been waiting for. The all-too-short featurette is one thing on two discs, there are probably a lot more featurettes. But when they’ve just taken the commentary straight off the laserdisc, they lose big brownie points with me. And I’m guessing they’ll cut or alter the infamous Easter Eggs animated into the film (the Disney exec’s phone number on the wall graffiti, Jessica Rabbit’s vagina etc.), which makes the DVD an even less appealing buy. Between now and March, those bastards at the Mouse House better get their fingers out of their asses.




HOT NEWS!!! - Last minute stuff that I can't be bothered to integrate into what I've already written. The DVD Times have got the full specs for the discs that you can see here, but to be honest, my hopes aren't any higher. The "Behind The Ears" documentary might be more along the lines of what we expect from a featurette (i.e. more than a 15 minute fluff piece), but other than that, the whole two-disc thing doesn't seem to cater for all the extras you should cram in to an ultimate edition. Rather, they've pulled out that old dirty, dirty trick of having the fullscreen version on one disc and the anamorphic version on the other, with only a handful of decent extras on each to give the appearence of a loaded set. It could very well turn out to be good - and I really hope it is - but on first look, it's just upsetting.









And with that, we close up the mailba -- er, DVD news update. Jesus God, I hope there’s as much news next week. Things were just TOO depressing the past few weeks.





Reviews are… forthcoming. What can I say, I’m lazy. See you in seven.















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