Monday, February 11, 2008

DVD notes 2/12

--If you're like me, anything having to do with Wallace & Gromit puts a blowtorch-proof smile on your face. DVD compilations of W&G shorts have been available before, but the latest one is the best -- and is only $10. The new Wallace & Gromit: Three Amazing Adventures came out around Christmas and contains A Close Shave, A Grand Day Out and The Wrong Trousers (all with commentary and behind the scenes), all 10 of the Cracking Contraptions shorts and two Shaun the Sheep episodes. I was not familiar with Shaun the Sheep, but it's a BBC spinoff with the wooly character from A Close Shave, and quite a bit of fun. Clocking in at only seven minutes each, Shaun the Sheep is done in the same fashion as W&G and is a nice addition to the DVD.

My love affair with Nick Park's stop-motion duo began in 1996 on an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin. I was lucky enough to be sitting in the middle aisle of a 747 with about 4 hours to go before touching down on the Emerald Isle, but for about 45 minutes my thumb twiddling was distracted by Wallace and his helpful dog. Park's animation, especially in the finale of The Wrong Trousers, was amazing -- and his comedic eye was even better. I enjoyed 2005's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, but the concept seems to work best in the shorter run time, so it's a little ridiculous that I put off buying the short compilations until now.

--Swell news from Universal: both volumes of their Classic Sci-Fi Collection will be packaged together for the masses. The collections were BestBuy exclusives and nice buys at only $20, but now go for far more on eBay after going out of print. The Ultimate Collection will go for $44, with a 10 films across six discs. The highpoint of this collection is still The Incredible Shrinking Man, available in its proper widescreen presentation for the first time. It's simply a great movie, and one of the best classic science fiction films you'll ever see. Most of the other titles are obscure, but The Monolith Monsters has always intrigued me and Cult of the Cobra sounds fun enough. Forgotten sci-fi flicks rarely get treatment this good, as Universal has all the films in their appropriate aspect ratios with anamorphic transfes.

--Predictable, but still a little exciting: with the fate of HD-DVD apparently sealed, the price for a player is dropping like a rusty anchor. Most bix box stores are selling HD players for $150, and I'm sure they can be had for less elsewhere. Late adapters can still take advantage of Toshiba's mail-in offer for free HD-DVDs, which I believe lasts until March. What does all this mean if the format is going to die anyway? I think there's going to be a firesale on HD-DVD discs eventually, probably closer to summer when stores try to sell out their remaining inventory. Without HD-DVD's competition, the Blu-Ray discs will continue to retail for $30+ for the near future -- how nice would it be to pick up some HD-DVDs for $10 or less? Just pure speculation of course, but I can see it happening.

-- Finally, it's not as bad as the melting Bill Murray clone -- but are we sure this is Jodie Foster? It looks like something from a Resident Evil cutscene. Any guesses on this image's ratio of Foster:Photoshop? I think her nose might have made it through intact, but her hair seems to suggest an I-5 sized forehead and it's questionable if those are her eyes. Again: what's so wrong with Jodie Foster to merit this kind of treatment?

1 comment:

Zane said...

A friend of mind said he that saw The Brave One and that it was, "much better than No Country For Old Men." He lost some cool points.