Hoth Hell Freezes Over. The madness of King George subsides.
Scarecrow Video (previously), also known as "the largest independent video store in the world", announced back in August that they were closing its doors. But Wait! There's More! Scarecrow also announced their plans to soon after re-open as a non-profit. And after a successful Kickstarter effort that ended two weeks ago, they have now launched the first phase of The Scarecrow Project with the "singular purpose of protecting the invaluable collection of Scarecrow Video under a four-pillared mission of preservation, access, education and community".
Between the limited amount of titles on streaming services and the fact that Netflix seems to be shifting away from DVDs altogether, are you just out of luck if you want to watch a non-blockbuster like "Sweet Sweetbacks' Baadasssss Song" or "Raising Arizona"? KQED investigates.
We are certainly in an age of DVD saturation for TV shows. The few titles that have taken their time have been usually due to copyright complications (such as "Daria" and "WKRP", both of which had to replace their soundtracks in order to get released). Now comes news that one of the last great home video holdouts is finally being set free: The 1960's "Batman" starring Adam West will be released on DVD later this year.
"We live in a world where digital information is exploding. Some 90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years. The obvious question is: how can we store it all? In Nature Communications today, we, along with Richard Evans from CSIRO, show how we developed a new technique to enable the data capacity of a single DVD to increase from 4.7 gigabytes up to one petabyte (1,000 terabytes). This is equivalent of 10.6 years of compressed high-definition video or 50,000 full high-definition movies."
"There are reasons why this film is obscure. It is, in the most charitable possible evaluation, a mess: Bowie has described it as "my 32 Elvis films rolled into one." And yet life on that ever-dwindling island of not-on-region-one DVD films is a harsh fate for any film and particularly for this one, which is at least as interesting as its cast suggests and a good deal more. You don't need to dig out the VHS player to watch Mick Jagger run an agency of gigolos in The Man From Elysian Fields—you shouldn't have to do so to watch Bowie play one. " David Bowie's Lost 70s-era Weimar Berlin Movie: Just a Gigalo.
Every Thursday, Film School Rejects posts things "learned from the commentary tracks of an iconic movie": Commentary Commentary [more inside]
"STOP! This is NOT a DVD! STOP! This is NOT a DVD! STOP! This is NOT a DVD!"
If you're a DVD/BluRay viewer who is already annoyed by delaying, annoying animated menus or previews, get ready for 20 additional seconds of wait time. Yesterday the U.S. government announced an update to the old FBI copyright warning on home video, which will now appear in the form of two different anti-piracy warnings, each ten seconds long and both unskippable.
Here's me Arnold Schwarzenegger riding towards the screen... You asked, and now you've got it: dvd commentary on Total Recall - Arnold giving you his insight into everything that you can see happening on the screen in front of you. ("Ow. That hurt.")
"I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation." Netflix has lost 26% of its value after raising prices and splitting their DVD and streaming services (previously); they'll lose lose 600,000 subscribers by September 30 instead of gaining the 400,000 they predicted. Now Netflix is spinning off their DVD-by-mail service into a separate web site, Qwikster. [more inside]
"For us, it's devastating ... I'm sure there are labels which aren't insured. I'm sure there will be labels that will go bust." A fire set as part of the ongoing London riots has destroyed the Sony-owned PIAS distribution warehouse, decimating the physical stock of most of the UK's independent music and film labels. Over 150 companies have been affected, including Domino, 4AD, Warp, XL, Rough Trade, Ninja Tune, Soul Jazz, Fat Cat, Chemikal Underground, Rekids, and the DVD labels Arrow Films (whose entire stock has been destroyed) and Masters of Cinema. The warehouse also housed stock for American labels Sub Pop, Drag City, Thrill Jockey and Secretly Canadian and Vice. Everything stored in the 20,000 square meter warehouse has been destroyed.
"Most actors will go their entire careers without doing a movie like Stand By Me, or working with a director like Rob Reiner. I got to do both when I was 12. For a long, long time, I felt like I needed to top or equal that, and it wasn’t until I was in my early 30s that I accepted that it’s unlikely to happen -- movies like Stand By Me come along once in a generation."The cast of Stand By Me(link has autoplaying sound,) recently recorded some interviews to promote the re-release of the movie on Blu-Ray. Wil Wheaton has blogged about reuniting with the cast and missing River Phoenix. (Via)
New streaming entertainment service Zediva is streaming new-release movies, avoiding the waiting period you get with Netflix, Amazon or iTunes. How? Instead of converting movies to files on a hard drive, they're renting out actual DVDs being played in actual DVD players - remotely. That means if the movie you want is being watched by someone else, you're gonna have to wait. Launched in November, the company is supposed to exit its beta phase this week.
Movie-Censorship.com is a resource to provide amazingly detailed comparisons between different versions of movie releases. [more inside]
Frank Zappa's 200 Motels has finally seen an official DVD release, presented by co-director Tony Palmer. Sadly, it appears to be kind of a bumpy ride. (Previously)
The Rise and Fall of Blockbuster. After filing for bankruptcy yesterday, many wonder what the future holds for the fallen video rental chain.
And how did DVDs get commentary tracks? Let Bob tell you: You have to understand how much of this stuff is accidental. I knew the guy who was the curator of films at the LA County Museum of Art, and I brought him to New York to oversee color correction. He’s telling us all these amazing stories, particularly about King Kong, because it’s his favorite film. Someone said, “Gee, we’ve got this extra sound track on the LaserDisc, why don’t you tell these stories?” He was horrified at the idea, but we promised we’d get him super stoned if he did, and he gave this amazing discussion about the making of King Kong, which we released as the second sound track.... [via snarkmarket] [more inside]
There will be a 12-14 minute epilogue on the Lost complete series collection that will reveal a little bit of two characters being a "great number one" and "great number two". Also, a round-up of some amazing post-Lost finale observations from around the Web, beginning with a Bad Robot intern's pontifications on the finale and the meaning of the series. More inside ... [more inside]
Las Vegas is the final part of the Another Version of the Truth collection, and is exclusively community-created. Filmed entirely by fans and co-ordinated by Alex Gamble, this release saw the community fly in from around the world, donate technology, skill, and even airfare (fans raised money to send chaonatic, a valued taper, to the concert) to document the final performance of Nine Inch Nails' stunning 2008 tour. Over 200GB of footage was collected, which was meticulously edited together by a team comprising of people from all over the world. [more inside]
12 months, a core team of dozens (with a network of thousands) spanning 3 continents, 4 languages, 5 specialist teams, countless sleepless nights... It's finally here. Filmed in Sacramento, Portland, and Victoria by the Nine Inch Nails team, edited and produced by their fans, The Gift is a stunning work in 1080p High Definition video with 5.1 Surround Sound, multi-language subtitles, and artistically-driven ethics. [more inside]
[FlickrPoolFilter] Crappy Bootleg DVD Covers: Here, you will find Tom Cruise's hit movie, Pepe Likes Tacos. In this universe, Star Wars features Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dustin Hoffman stars in Lost in Translation; witches, pirates, and hobbits inhabit the same world. Titles are improved upon. Reviews are refreshingly frank (if they make any sense at all). Your DVD may also contain subtitles in French, Chinese, Spamsoc, or Martian. (Don't say there was no warning.) Remember, kids: Piracy Creates Jobs!
Criterion Collection Top Ten Lists as chosen by Jonathan Lethem ll Steve Buscemi ll Patton Oswalt ll Peter Cowie ll Jean-Pierre Gorin ll Diablo Cody ll D. A. Pennebaker ll John Lurie ll Paul Schrader ll Nathan Lee ll Ricky Jay ll and many more.
DVDs to save the music industry (video interview) Record Producers discuss illegal downloads, home studios and why 5.1 DVD sound just might be the future. [more inside]
Winner of an Emmy for best dramatic series in 1988, thirtysomething (ABC, 1987-1991) represented a new kind of hour-long drama, a series which focused on the domestic and professional lives of a group of young urban professionals-- a socio-economic category of increasing interest to the television industry. The series attracted a cult audience of viewers who strongly identified with one or more of its eight central characters, a circle of friends living in Philadelphia. And its stylistic and story-line innovations led critics to respect it for being "as close to the level of an art form as weekly television ever gets," as the New York Times put it. - Museum of Broacast Communications [more inside]
It's finally happened: After a decade of struggle with MTV over royalty fees and the belief that there would be no market for it, The State is finally being released on DVD on July 19th, 2009. Until then, you can watch streaming video (albeit chopped up in an irritating way) of the episodes from MTV's site, via Hulu, and compare differences such as the soundalike placed in for The Breeders' "Cannonball" in this famous sketch.
Fan of Simon Pegg? Robert Weide? Then DON'T buy the DVD of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (at least if you are American) [more inside]
Your goats? Do you dance with them?
You fell asleep, watching a dvd. It's Friday, so after a long week, you decide to put in a movie and tune out the world. When you regain consciousness, you wonder if you even made it 5 minutes in.
Considering DVDs seem a bit long in the tooth, this recent foray into the world of DVD ripping seemed a thinly veiled attempt to pick a fight with the MPAA. After invoking the Glaser Doctrine this morning, guess they got what they wanted. [more inside]
In a world where one company single-handedly created the online DVD rental industry, what happens when they turn against their own customers? Netflix has announced the cancellation of its Profiles feature. This means no more separate rental queues for different people in a household. Since the announcement, it took less than 24 hours for SaveNetflixProfiles.com to launch, bloggers are furious, and the real hardcore fans are absolutely livid. Who will triumph, and who will break?
Wholphin: DVD Magazine of rare and unseen videos Delightful and unexpected collections of videos. There's a lot here. Let me show you a few of the videos that caught my eye: The Country, a short animated film based on a whimsical poem by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. The Strongest Man Drink all Day The Crying Game (AKA The Competition, Take 1) (with surprise ending)
The Chroma Upsampling Error. This incredibly detailed explanation of a common bug in DVD players will likely either bore you to tears or be gripping and utterly fascinating.
Has Blu-ray won the war? Toshiba has halted production of HD-DVD players and recorders. This on top of announcements by Netflix, Walmart, and Warner Bros. to not support the HD-DVD format. (It was less than a year ago that Walmart seemed to crown HD-DVD as their format of choice.) Now we can all break down and buy a Blu-ray player. Or can we?
When it comes to home theaters, I thought I'd seen it all. But nothing's come close to this. First, I'm going to try to describe the sheer magnitude of Jeremy Kipnis' theater. His Stewart Snowmatte laboratory-grade screen is the biggest I've ever seen in a home, and in the back of the theater, there's a Sony ultra-high-resolution (4,096-by-2,160) SRX-S110 digital projector. I'm looking everywhere, jotting down questions, and Kipnis sounds almost giddy talking about his theater's capabilities. He refers to his baby, the Kipnis Studio Standard (KSS), as "The Greatest Show on Earth." And from the looks of it, he may be right. I should hope so, it cost six million dollars.
Love American Style Season One Volume One is coming to DVD on November 20th. The series ran on ABC-TV from 1969-1974, was nominated for an emmy for best comedy series (won for music) and often featured pilots that had been turned down by the networks. Some would later be picked up after airing on Love American Style; two such shows were Happy Days and Wait til Your Father Gets Home. The original theme song was performed by the Cowsills, here is their live version years later. As a kid, I actually hoped my dating life might be fun and humorous like the show, no such luck.
Darren Aronofsky has posted a bootleg commentary for his film The Fountain (the one with Hugh Jackman in a bubble with a tree flying through space) since the film company decided the actual dvd itself didn't need one. The direct mp3 download is here (16mg) [via].
In Yeah, Right! Spike Jonze takes the skateboarding montage to a whole new level. Check out Living Board. Invisible Boards. Slow motion introduction. Owen Wilson.
Fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 rejoice! Three of MST3K's writer/characters — Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy — have started a new venture: The Film Crew.
Twin Peaks season 2 DVD is almost here ... finally! That leaves precious few days to get prepared: bone up on cast and crew details, argue about theories, click your way through the townsfolk, obsess over every itty bitty blessed detail, buy a "best friends" necklace, keep the faith about the deleted scenes, see whether it makes any more sense in German than English, put a poster on your wall that will give you nightmares, explore the Lodges, watch very bad things happen to Jenna Elfman, walk with Coop through the Black Lodge (part 2), blow the rest of the day reading stuff. For the truly ambitious, book a room in scenic Snoqualmie and watch the entire series there.
The Criterion Contraption: Matthew Dessem is going to watch every last DVD in the Criterion Collection and blog about it. Illuminating and knowledgable film writing. You can start, if you wish, with the entry on my favorite film, The Passion of Joan of Arc, or pick from the complete index.
If anyone can put together a kick-ass concert DVD, it's Trent Reznor. For your consideration: Nine Inch Nail's upcoming "Beside You In Time," which will be released in HD-DVD, Blu-Ray and some format from the late-90's they are referring to as simply DVD (this is apparently the first music DVD ever to be released on all three formats). View the trailer and some clips here in 1080P (if you're computer and eyes can handle it). Or, if you're lucky enough to live in one of the chosen cities, attend a screening.
Netflix is dead....or so claims Robert Scoble (others disagree). Wal-Mart couldn't do it, Amazon couldn't do it; has Verisign produced a Netflix killer?
Ever wonder if that DVD commentary might put you to sleep? Well, wonder no more. Learn about the first, the worst, and find out what other people think are the best. Vote for your favorites, and add your own reviews. "The definitive commentary track database" is at your service. Link courtesy of Whedonesque.
CleanFlicks closes up shop and liquidates as Hollywood wins content-rights battle. Should a rental store have the right to remove offensive material before renting the DVD out to its customers?
The Room: The Movie. Triple-threat (actor/writer/director) Tommy Wiseau made his cinematic debut in 2003 with the The Room (see trailer and various scenes), "a blend between a softcore porn flick and a Tennessee Williams stageplay." Wiseau ("who's not just one of the most unusual looking and sounding-with an unidentifiable Eastern European accent-leading men ever to grace the screen, but a narcissist nonpareil whose movie makes Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny" seem the apotheosis of cinematic self-restraint...may be something of a first: A movie that prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back-before even 30 minutes have passed." - Variety), allegedly raised $6 million outside Hollywood to cover production and marketing costs of the self-described "black comedy about love, passion, betrayal and lies" (see various rough dress rehersals). Audience members, including comedian David Cross, have been "marveling at the bizarre editing, bad bluescreen, uncomfortably explicit sex scenes and, of course, the enigma of Wiseau himself" as the film played monthly for years in Los Angeles. Available on DVD, diehard "roomies" swear by the theatrical experience, shout out their own commentary, hurl spoons at the screen and singalong to the soundtrack. Some call it "The Rocky Horror of the New Millenium" and stage "Room" parties. If you look at the marketing campaign or survived a screening you might see The Room as "a seminar on how NOT to make a movie." [Inspired by Boing Boing]
Einstein TOR DVD is a mostly animated feature film from the early 1920s, long thought to be lost, featuring animation from the incredible Max Fleischer (who is responsible for the seriously cool Superman animated cartoons). For $15, looks like a must-have for animation buffs and science geeks.