May 22, 2011

Stuff to Buy, Put on Your Shelf, and Never Watch: 05/22/11


Welcome to our weekly feature: Stuff to Buy, Put On Your Shelf, and Never Watch.

Admit it. If you're among the remnants of the ancient civilization that still purchases antiquated media like books, DVDs and Blu-Rays, you're probably like us. You buy stuff with the intention of watching it - probably more than once. But you don't. You unwrap it (if that) and put it on your bookshelf. And it sits there. Whether it's one of your favorite movies that you've seen a million times that you want to see in HD and explore all the special features... or that movie you've been meaning to see for ages that you picked up at a bargain (perhaps as part of a Chuck Norris 4-pack). You watch it collect dust. And pray that someday, sometime, you'll have the chance to actually watch it.

It's okay. There's no shame in it. I can't tell you how many of our DVDs have never been watched. Mike has over 2,000 flicks and TV show seasons on DVD, Blu-ray... and many more on VHS, CED, 16mm, etc... And Erica has another couple hundred as well.

A bookshelf filled with movies was once a really cool thing, but those days have passed. As DVDs are going the way of the VHS, it's suddenly not so cool anymore to have hundreds of them proudly displayed in your living room. It's time to move them to one of the less-frequented rooms of the house, just like the CDs a few years back. They didn't seem like such a bulky waste of space back in the day.

Not us, though. We're proud of our collections (just not as proud as we were five years ago). And we still buy more than we could possibly watch in a lifetime (or fit in our apartment).

This column will appear every Sunday, and we'll highlight the new releases, the sales at Best Buy, Target, Amazon, etc..

New releases for 5/24/11:

I Am Number Four. I hated this film, but if you want to add it to your collection, Best Buy has the best price ($19.99 for the Blu-Ray).

Neither of us had any desire to check out Gnomeo & Juliet. The animation looked horrible, but for some reason it turned out to be a hit. Good for Elton John I guess. The Blu-Ray is $19.99 at Best Buy.

Two of Ron Howard's collaborations with Roger Corman are reappearing on DVD this week, courtesy of Shout! Factory, with some new special features (and it looks to carry over all of special features from the previous DVD): Eat My Dust! and Grand Theft Auto. While the former is your typical 70s car racing comedy and the latter doesn't really show much of a hint of Howard's capabilities as a director (I'm talking about Night Shift, Splash, and Gung-Ho of course, and nothing else), they're a lot of fun. I'm not used to seeing Best Buy have the best price on so many discs, but that's where you'll get the best price on this 2-pack: $14.99.


Gettysburg and Gods and Generals are making their long-awaited debuts (well, Gettysburg is) on Blu-Ray this Tuesday as well. Gettysburg arrives in a new director's cut (I think it's new) and Gods and Generals comes with an hour of never-before-seen footage (which I think is new to disc as well). Gettysburg is an amazing film, and Gods and Generals is pretty good if you can overlook a handful of corny scenes. They arrive separately or together in a Limited Edition collector's set that adds a book, a map, and some other tchotchkes in a shelf-space-butchering box set. Catch is: That set doesn't come out until July 4. I'll be waiting until then.

The Kids in the Hall reunited last year for a new mini-series, Death Comes to Town, which hits DVD this week. Best price: Amazon. I admit I only watched two episodes, but hopefully I'll get around to watching the entire thing sometime. Also coming out the same day is a re-release of the complete Kids in the Hall series, carrying over all the contents of the earlier set and adding the new mini-series. It's being released by A&E, which means: Buy it now (best price: 60 bucks at Best Buy), or wait about a year and get it for $30.

Criterion is bringing Solaris to Blu-Ray this week after releasing it on DVD a few years ago. New to Blu as well is Chaplin's The Great Dictator. I bought the original Image Entertainment release of this film, along with all of Chaplin's other works. Warner Brothers then licensed them and released it in a newly restored edition, which suffered from a slightly noticeable PAL speed-up. I'm not sure if the new Blu-Ray has a better presentation, but I'm anxious to find out. It's one of my favorite Chaplin films, and clearly the best version of the Prince & the Pauper story. Best price: DeepDiscount.com, but maybe wait for a 50% off sale at Barnes & Noble.

Once Upon a Time in the West is also making its long-anticipated debut on Blu-Ray, carrying over everything from the excellent collector's edition from a few years ago. Warner Brothers is also bringing out two classic racing flicks: Le Mans and Grand Prix.

Normally at this point I'd highlight the special deals from the sales circulars, but it's a week of slim pickings. Best Buy has a number of $7.99 Blu-Rays, including Caddyshack, Scream and the amazing Birdemic, but they've been at that price point for a few weeks - and last week they were just $5.99 for a limited time.

That said, Amazon right now has a great deal on 7 of the 8 Three Stooges collections. Right now, all but Volume 6 are $13.99. I hope there will be more for me to report next time.

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