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Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits!
page added: 8/11/04

8/11/04 - Weekly Release Roundup (for the week of 8/3)

"Where did you go, by brown-eyed son? Where did you go my darling young one?"

"Well, my computer crashed, with no help of fixin'. My credit approved, a new Dell was shippin'. The DSL line was unspoiled, hard wired and tied-in. It's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard beeeeeeeing entirely digital."

My apologies to Mr. Dylan.

Yeah, I've been gone for a few weeks. Ill-timed I know, considering I just met thousands of fans, shook hands and learned how much Bill, my and the boys' work touches so many.

But no, I didn't go anywhere. My annoyingly short looks at the week's releases aren't going anywhere. I'm here to stay as long as you and Bill will have me.

But, because I missed two weeks of releases, I'm going to go back one week and look at last weeks two discs that I actually got. As always, I'll rattle off what else came out that I think is worthy of your time and money. I'll do the same thing for this week and the week before. So if you're a studio person that sent we a disc that didn't get covered yet, hold your horses.

Look for this week's releases on Friday and then we'll do the same thing next week with July 27th's releases early in the week and August 17th's releases on Friday. Then we'll be fair and square and back to Tuesday/Wednesdays. Damn computers.

Alright, with all that outta the way, here are the discs that came out the first week of August, 2004. Or if you'd rather, here's...

13 Going on 30: Special Edition
13 Going on 30: Special Edition

Jennifer Gardner's hard body and soft lips jump forward in time, (so it's not quite Big... take that film critics!) to find that all of the lessons of youth have been thrown away and that in her 30s she's become a hard-living, corporate sabotager with a whore's wardrobe and matching moral system. Hmmm. Is the film any good? It's alright. Nothing to write home about. Garner mugs like a muther though. Geez. I don't quite see her appeal, but she has her fans. This is as chick flick as you can get, and so I'm sort of the last person who needs to be criticizing the film. But as a film, it's only slightly watchable. There are some "funny" parts but nothing that will have you rolling on the floor.

The anamorphic widescreen video looks good, with no problems that I could see. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds fine. This is a special edition, and therefore has some special features (go figure). These include two commentaries: one with the director and the other with the producer. Sorry, I wouldn't listen to either. There's also a bunch of extended scenes, a blooper reel that's not particularly funny or interesting, a making of featurette (fluff), some Easter eggs hidden behind stupid set-top games and two very neat archival videos from Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar. Aside from the videos, most everything is a lost cause.

The Black Hole

The Black Hole

This one sort of snuck through into the new release field didn't it? Not making too much of a splash this particular week is The Black Hole. That's a shame 'cause it's really an okay disc of a nice classic sci-fi flick. Disney's early 80s entry into the new world of dark sci-fi films is about a team of astro-researchers who catch up with a missing vessel sitting on the edge of a black hole. The vessel is ruled with a cast iron fist by the mad doctor Hans Reinhardt and his right hand bot, Max. The researchers slowly learn that there's some wicked evil stuff going on, and they also learn that Reinhardt plans to head right into the hole and come out the other side. If they're with him, they can come, but if they're against him, they will suffer the same fate the mysteriously missing crew. Will our intrepid team win out, or will they enter... The Black Hole! Uh-hem.

The Black Hole is not a great film, but it's pretty cool for what it is. I've always enjoyed it, and if you're not expecting much, you will too. Kicking the original Anchor Bay release into the dirt, this new Disney DVD version presents the film in a nice anamorphic widescreen. There are some source issues here and there with the print, but it's mostly a fine transfer. Sound is in a very confident Dolby Digital 5.1 track that serves the film mighty fine. Extras include a very cool look at the making of the film from the perspective of the legendary production designer Peter Ellenshaw's son Harrison (who also worked on this film serving as matte painter; a job he worked on the original Star Wars). It's a nice documentary and well worth your time. You'll find an extended trailer for The Black Hole on this disc as well. My only real complaint is the packaging art... there's no planet in this film, but there's a nice blue one on the cover. Go figure. Anyway, if you're a fan of this film, it's a disc worth picking up. And if you've never heard of The Black Hole -- check it out. It's cheesy, but fun.

Now for a quick rundown of some of the other DVD releases, including some TV on DVD.

Bow to the theme song of all theme songs! Knight Rider: Season One and, for those who've asked over and over again, yes, it's here: Sliders: The First & Second Seasons. Plus, if you can't get enough Star Trek, there's always the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection.

Knight Rider: Season OneSliders: The First & Second SeasonsStar Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection

These titles also came out 8/4, but I didn't get them so you're on your own...

The Complete Gidget CollectionHidalgoGarage Days

Surf's up with The Complete Gidget Collection. If a leprechaun pulls a knife, you pull a gun, that's the Irish way... Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Go get the Elvis Box. It has the following titles: Double Trouble, Harum Scarum, It Happened at the World's Fair, Speedway, Spinout and The Trouble with Girls. Alex Proyas gives us... Garage Days. Flash can be used for good and for evil. Figure which category Happy Tree Friends Volume 3: Third Strike falls under. Viggo and a horse, because the ladies keep asking for it: Hidalgo. Robin Williams can't act his age, can he? Jack. Just in time for the sequel. Look it's a new version of The Princess Diaries: Special Edition. Wicked cool flick: Something Wicked This Way Comes. Jackie Gleason is cool and all, but he just ain't Redford of Newman: The Sting II. Sci-fi, the Disney way before The Black Hole: Unidentified Flying Oddball. The Watcher in the Woods streets. Got nothing witty to say about it though. Anchor Bay collects their newest Werner Herzog film in to a new Collection. It includes: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Even Dwarfs Started Small, Lessons of Darkness, Fata Morgana, Heart of Glass, Little Dieter Needs to Fly and Stroszek. Oh, and for the whole A to Z thing, we end with Zorba the Greek. Stretched that one, didn't I?

See you later this week with more...

Todd Doogan

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