A quick post of things that caught my eye from around the web...
Digital Bits reports some other upcoming DVD from the companies known as "other than Warners":
Paramount is releasing a (new) DVD of the Marx brother's last film together: Love Happy. This one also features a fresh young starlet named Marilyn Monroe. Love Happy was really a Harpo film, where he pulled his brethren in for support. If you are a Marxist- (and you know who you are) this one needs to go right up on the Shelf next to the Marx Brothers Box Set and the Marx Brothers: Silver Screen Classics Collection.
Disney just released the two disc special edition of Lady and the Tramp yesterday and next up out of the vault is The Little Mermaid, the film that wrought a Disney revival in the 90s, one which- in my opinion- helped to bring a renewed support to animated features that is still around. After Mermaid, one of my favorites, The Jungle Book, is slated to receive the 2 disc treatment.
Rumored to be coming this year or early 2007- The African Queen. The frickin' African Queen. Finally.
Also - Fox is releasing the Mel Brooks Box Set on April 4th, which will include Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, To Be or Not to Be, History of the World Part 1, The Twelve Chairs, and High Anxiety. I already have YF & History- so I wonder if these will be single releases as well. Looking forward to seeing High Anxiety again, Mel's spoof on Hitchcock. Problem with this set is two fold- expensive, especially when three of the 7 films are already out on DVD. Secondly - the DVD's are reportedly lean on features. In fact, it appears the main feature for each DVD are trailers for the other films in the collection. YF and History seem to have the exact same features as the editions already out. Why bother with the box set anyway then? Why not just release the other 4 as singles or box them together at a cheaper price? Greed, how well we know thee.
In the same vein- Fox is set to rerelease special edition versions of Patton, Tora,Tora,Tora, and The Longest Day in mid-may. What features that are known are few- and we can't find too much info about them. We'll keep checking- but in the meantime I saw TTT and Longest Day in their current DVD form packaged with Twelve O'Clock High - all for around $20 at my local big box electronics store. A best buy? Maybe-I don't buy a film for the features, but if I have a choice between a plain DVD and one with bonus content, its a no-brainer provided it is a quality DVD. These current DVD editions have some good features and the print and sound quality are excellent. I have enjoyed the Fox Film Noir series, but this repacking trend tends to worry me.
In the "Who cares about your opinion, you self-congratulating media sychophant" department: Premeire Magazine has named their worst and best Oscar lists. Feh.
With the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD format war looming on the horizon, and DVD firmly established- what does that mean to the release schedule for DVD from these studios? Warners seems to be firmly in the position that they will continue on their current path and release schedule with their DVDs, as you can tell from our previous post. Who knows what other studios will do, but the format war is set to begin this year. Will these really replace DVD? I have seen challengers come to face off CDs in the music stores- but CDs are still the 1000 lb gorilla and no change is expected soon. I think people saw the advantage to changing their collections from VHS to DVD - and DVD has really become the more affordable of the two, when comparing today to VHS's heyday. I'm not sure that it's time or necessary to switch. (Are they still making laserdisc? I have a friend who covets his laserdisc and frequently strokes them calling them, "My Precious." Should I worry). No matter what you do - you need to be informed. So here are the answers to your Blu-Ray/HD-DVD questions.
Speaking of collections- think your kids are going to treasure that DVD collection, or Star Wars Action figure set, or Gnome statue collection that you so cherish? Think again. Better enjoy them now and own up to the fact that you collect whatever you collect because you love it, not because it's an "investment". As a historian- it makes me worry about our material culture... not that I need 1000s of museum-quality Precious Moments for an exhibit. Just don't trash everything because it won't play an MP3.
On the TV Front: The Apprentice needs a mercy cancellation. I'm just saying.
And the premeire episode of The Amazing Race did not disappoint. In fact it delievered in spades by going to Sao Paulo, Brazil. My second hometown. Ah, que saudades. Here's a recent interview with the Mighty Phil K. about the nuances and insights into the new season. Being the humble and honest host that he is, Phil admits that they tried something different with the Family edition in season eight, it didn't work, and that's OK. Now they went back to the original format and made it even better:
"We tried something that I’m really proud of. We changed the race and I’m sure if we hadn’t tried something and changed it, that people would have criticized us for that as well. It is clear though that bringing in teams of four and having less international locations is less successful than the original format. I’m proud of what we’ve pulled together so far, but there is no denying that the race is more successful with less faces, more places, and teams of two racing around the world."
And why the race is more than just good TV:"... other countries get to see Americans in a different light from the media they get, and for Americans who travel internationally to see that, although in mainstream media all they see is war and disaster and civil unrest; that there are places to travel to in the middle east. That it is safe to travel there and inherently people want the same things. We all want shelter; we all want to have a quality of life. While there are some differences in culture and religion, people are people. Although we didn’t set out to be an educational program about what it’s like in different parts of the world, one of the positive aspects of the shows is giving an incredible insight into what the world is ‘really’ like as opposed to the world we see painted everyday when we turn on the news."
Phil- you are da' man.
From the scratch your head news department: Mardi Gras has been going on, in case you have been living under a rock and haven't heard any media news at all. The media has a lot invested in covering Mardi Gras. This a case of media making news out what is really a one day, one time small story. Of course the media has to do this so we will remember that Katrina wiped out New Orleans, and that kinda sucked. Oh, also- the main reason it was brought it up and featured so prominently in the news was that, just in case you forgot...its Bush's fault.
VDH is recently back from Iraq- here are his thoughts.
And finally Saddam asks the question in court: "Where is the crime?"
The crime, Saddam, is where you buried it- in hundreds of thousands of unmarked graves- and edged in gold in your palaces.
Keep the faith, Shelfers.
Here's another Broadway hopeful: Faustino the Great. For 20 years he was an organ grinder with a monkey. Then one day the monkey went on strike. He wanted shorter hours and longer bananas.