Saturday, September 15, 2007

Start saving up for Oct. 23!

October 23 is shaping up to be one of the deepest DVD release dates in some time. There's quite a few to cover, so let's start right at the top with the most anticipated release:

Warner Director's Series: Stanley Kubrick

A long time coming, Kubrick fans will finally get souped-up widescreen transfers of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut. The set also includes a disc containing the documentary "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures." This will be the third Kubrick box set from Warner Bros., but by far the best -- and coming in at only $55! As has been long discussed, Kubrick specified that his movies only be released in full screen and mono sound for home video, allegedly because he didn't like how letterbox effects looked. This was fairly easy to do, as almost all of his movies were shot in full frame and then cropped for theatrical distribution. Kubrick died before widescreen televisions became popular, and now we will finally have all of his movies available in their theatrical aspect ratio.

This will also be the first time American audiences will see the uncut version of Eyes Wide Shut, without the digitally-added shadowy figures in the orgy scene. All of the releases will have extra material (a first for each movie included), including commentary tracks. In addition to the box set, each included film will be available in new standalone two-disc editions, and new versions of Lolita and Barry Lyndon will go on sale that date as well (no information as of yet for those last two). Other Kubrick classics, such as Dr. Strangelove and Spartacus, are not available to Warner Bros., but have received quality DVD releases in the past. For a good explanation on Kubrick's full frame compositions and what to expect with the new widescreen cropping, check out this very informative DVD Talk thread.

The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 2

Now that Tim Lucas' long-awaited tome on the director has been released, Bava fans have more reason to celebrate with another affordable collection of his films. $35 gets you 8 Bava movies, including Bay of Blood, Lisa and the Devil and 5 Dolls for the August Moon. Volume 1 of the Bava collection contains six of the director's works, and was available on Amazon this summer for $20. My experience with Bava is admittedly meager, but I've been itching to put an end to that, and this new set may be just the cure.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Volume 1

I don't remember this series as fondly as others, but fans have been clamoring for a DVD release of it for a long time. From my perspective, only the real hard core fans will pony up $90 for this, as it only contains seven episodes (plus 38 companion documentaries) across 12 discs. The second and third volumes are expected in December and Spring 2008. Paramount was smart to give this similar packaging to the Indiana Jones Trilogy box.

The Criterion Collection: Days of Heaven, Breathless and Under the Volcano

A very solid month's offerings from Criterion. For many, Days of Heaven is the highlight as Malick films typically have very poor representation on DVD (possibly due to the director). I'm looking forward to Under the Volcano, as I had never heard of it until Criterion's announcement, and it sounds very good.

Hellraiser: 20th Anniversary Edition

Hopefully Anchor Bay will give this the same first class treatment it gave Phantasm earlier this year. I believe this will be the first time Hellraiser will be available in anamorphic widescreen.

Cutting Class (Unrated Version)

Yes, that's right Moviezzz! For the first time on DVD comes the horror movie Brad Pitt would like us to forget -- and that's not going to happen with the young actor dominating the cover art. A strangely entertaining slasher flick that seemed to inspire the most infamous shot in Eli Roth's Thanksgiving (see Moviezzz link for more explanation), Cutting Class has been rarely seen, some say due to Pitt's efforts to keep it out of the public eye (I've only seen an edited version on late-night cable). No word on extras, or what the new cut is like.

Battleship Potemkin (The Ultimate Edition)

The historic treasure gets a serious upgrade, featuring newly-translated intertitles as well as the original Russian intertitles. The highlight of this two-disc set looks to be a newly-recorded score, care of the Deutsches Filmorchestra, presented in 5.1 sound.


What a week! And just a week later, we'll have the Twin Peaks: Gold Box. It's also going to be quite a Christmas season, with the Blade Runner extravaganza coming out in December.


Anonymous said...

I first saw that Kubrick set a couple of weeks ago and I've been drooling since. Even if buying it will give me two copies of a couple of the films, I'll do it anyway just for the other films and the special features.

Definitely on my wishlist.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If I don't find the Kubrick set and/or the Twin Peaks set under my tree this year I'm going to stop believing in Santa.

Anonymous said...

Eyes Wide Shut was my motivation for getting a region free DVD player. I have a British copy of the film without the digitally created extras milling about. The film makes more sense on an intuitive level.

Adam Ross said...

Funny Peter, it's movies like "Eyes Wide Shut" that made me stay away from a region free player -- because I knew that would mean another mountain of DVDs I would want/need to buy.

I'm looking forward to not seeing those digital figures on EWS -- not to see more of the orgy, but because they just seem so out of place and tacky in an otherwise near-perfect movie.