Wednesday, November 08, 2006

a true classic, part 2

It’s time for part 2 of this week’s roundup. I told you this week was crazy. It’s almost like you would need something…some kind of spy gadget, let’s say… to help you catch up on all of this week’s releases. Man, just roll the dice and hope for the best. Can you say Netflix?

(Legal advisors of The Shelf would like to stress that the above joke does not in any way constitute an endorsement of said company, Netflix. We have not been retained by Netflix in any fashion, and said joke should not be interpreted as such. If, however, at any time Netflix wishes to secure a sponsorship through the means of free membership or regular legal advertising dollars, The Shelf legal team would accept any inquires at our email address located to the right. Thank you.)

Hey, where did those guys come from? Oh, well let’s get on with it. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so hang on tight.

More DVDs from this week:
James Bond Ultimate Edition Volume1 and Volume 2:
James Bond. That’s all I’ve got to say, and you should know instantly what I am talking about. These are the first two volumes of the Ultimate James Bond Collection. Not too many years ago MGM released the Bond series in a special edition collection. These are, for the most part, similar discs. However some things are different: the prints and audio have been cleaned up some, and some new extras have been added. If you own the previous discs, there is no overwhelming reason to jettison them and get the new hotness. However, if you don’t own them already, your next mission should be to obtain them as quickly as possible. Downside: you have to take the good with the bad. There is no linear coherency to the volumes. In other words each volume will give you a little of Connery a little of Moore, etc. until you own the complete series once you’ve bought all four volumes. That may be frustrating to some who want only the Connery films, but it shouldn’t bother “completists” like myself. Oh, and by the way, Goldfinger. Best. Bond. Ever. I just had to say it. Good luck to Daniel Craig. Early word is that it may not be as bad as it seems, but if it strays too far from what makes Bond- Bond, I'll have to pass. If you've heard our podcast, you know Wolf and I have already discussed Bond. If you haven't: check out part one.

Ultimate Flint Collection:
Speaking of James Bond, any successful series like that is bound to have its share of imitators and spoofs. Before there was Austin Powers, there was Derek Flint. James Coburn played the super spy in two films, Our Man Flint and In Like Flint. Yes, it's a spoof, but Coburn just makes the ride very enjoyable. Seeing Gila Golan doesn't hurt anything either. This set also includes the television film, Our Man Flint: Dead On Target and a wealth of extras. It is also right for the price.

I saw this film with my kids, who range in age from 8-11. We loved it. I thought it was a great break from the talking animals. What was surprising was the humor and well written script. It is a film with heart, but it isn’t too preachy. It’s very entertaining and Pixar’s animation is superb. Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Larry the Cable Guy and Bonnie Hunt lead an all-star voice cast. And their characterizations blend well with the story and animation which is what it's all about. No over the top divas here. The DVD is crammed with fun extras, including the animated short One Man Band which was before Cars in the theaters. Also including is a new short, Mater and the Ghostlight. Should be a nice addition to your kid’s Christmas list. Besides, Mater's cool.

Police Squad.
If you only know Frank Dreben from The Naked Gun films, you are in for a treat. The Police Squad television series was short lived, but full of Zuker-esque type humor. No one or thing escaped jibes. It may be an acquired taste of humor for some, but if you've seen the Airplane! films or The Naked Gun films, you owe it to yourself to check out the television show. If nothing else, it is a television classic for those opening sequences with the front of the car driving through just about anything, and the guest star getting killed in the opening credits. Even Shatner was one such guest star. Yep, the Shat hit the fan too.

JAG: The Complete Second Season.
Allow me just to say that the second season of one of my favorite shows to hit television was incredibly important and crucial for one major change in the show: The addition of Catherine Bell: goddess. My wife and I enjoy the show, but we have a rule– she gets to crush on David James Elliot- I get to wax eloquent about Catherine Bell, but we still know what side our bread is butter on. In the end she knows it’s all just talk. My wife beats any women hands down and she knows it. Now if I could just get my hair to look like Harm’s…

Warner Brother's Triple Features:
John Wayne and Randolph Scott
Starting this week, Warner Brothers introduces what I think is an interesting idea. Release some of the lesser known films of a star or some similar films on a triple feature disc, sans extras. Now, all of you know my basic rule of thumb: the DVD is mostly an excellent print of the film, but if you are going to do extras - do them right. Extras sweeten the pot, and nobody does extras like WB. However in this instance, I think this is different. We may not get some of these films on DVD by themselves. So to give us three at an excellent price, with the best possible print they had - I'll take it. This week features quite a few releases, including a Lassie set, an Elvis set, a war film set, a horse (Seabiscuit/National Velvet/Black Beauty) A Lethal Weapon set and more, most of them for under $15 bucks. That's a deal. But the discs that caught my eye were the Westerns. Long time Shelfer's know that we are suckers for Westerns, particularly from the Duke or Randolph Scott. So WB has given us an early Christmas gift in the form of four Triple Feature discs. That's 12 westerns in all. Some are excellent; some are just ok- but all entertaining. The two John Wayne discs include first, The Big Stampede/Ride Him Cowboy/Haunted Gold and the second: Telegraph Trail / Somewhere in Sonora/The Man From Monterey. The Randolph Scott sets include on the first disc: Colt .45 / Tall Man Riding / Fort Worth. The second disc includes Man Behind the Gun / Thunder Over the Plains / Riding Shotgun. So rejoice Western fans, many of these have never before been released on DVD. Pick 'em up and encourage Warner's to keep 'em coming.

Whew! A round-up two parter. Are you keeping track? There have been some great releases this year, especially in the box sets. It will be difficult when we get around to our first annual Shelf awards. I mean there is no real reward mind you, other than recognition and prestige...

(The legal team at The Shelf would like to remind you that there are no real "awards" to speak of. These should not be confused with any real awards like the Oscars or Emmys. There are created, wholly in the mind of the Shelf contributors and solely for the purpose of...)

Now, cut that out!
They know what I mean. Get back down to the legal office and leave me alone.
Back to what I was saying, keep in mind your favorite releases for the year and get ready to vote. We'll have voting for the best releases of the year in December.
For now, I need to rest after this roundup two parter. Maybe I'll just lay down for a bit. Would someone mind turning on the DVD player and handing me the remote...

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

You like close shaves, don't you?


juliasmile said...

Excellent picks this week. This is one of those weeks where I wish I had a trust fund. Really, that is pretty much every week.
I own all of the SE of the Bond films. I have a hard time reconciling purchasing the new sets against owning the previous versions which seem to be quite similar.

Wolf Flywheel said...

I agree julia. I own several of the Bond SE and I'm torn. On one hand, these make up the complete set with past Special features and more. On the other hand, I can buy the Bond SE one at a time and in the order I prefer. The features on the SE discs are excellent! That makes it tough to convince myself to lay out the ducats for the new bunch. Decisions, decisions!

Retro_N_Groovy said...

'Police Squad'! Thanks a lot for that. I've got to pick that up soon. This is the first I've heard of it. It's about time.

I own all the previous Bond DVDs as well. Grrrr....


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