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Headsup: Of Comedy, Bees, Conspiracy and Oil

An ongoing attempt to make sense of the onslaught of new swag that people want you to buy. Should you? I’ll try and help.

Bee Movie Very Jerry 2-Disc Edition DVD Cover Art
Father Ted The Definitive Collection DVD Cover Art
Helen Mirren at the BBC DVD Cover Art

I first began to have hope for Bee Movie after seeing the series of live action commercials/trailers in which the “decision” to go with a CG-animated movie was reached. It became apparent that with Jerry Seinfeld on board, the laughs would be above par. And apparently, Dreamworks raised their game to meet it. Their animation style is improving somewhat too. But it’s still not Pixar–but I won’t beat them up too much for that. They get an E for Effort and manage for a decent rental in the process. (I wasn’t going for the easy B joke.) And it’s available in a two-disc set. There’s a commentary with Seinfeld, some TV bits he did for the film, alternate endings and deleted scenes, featurettes and more. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

[ad#longpost]BBC Home Video has released the entirety of Father Ted in a Definitive Collection. So all twenty-five episodes from the three series are here on a five-disc set. It comes in one of those flipbooks that I sort of get concerned about because it feels flimsy, but it might hold up. The discs are what’s important, though, because the content is damn nice: commentary on all the episodes, bits from Comic Relief, interviews, bits from TedFest 2007 (did you know the show had its own festival in Ireland? I mean it makes perfect sense, I just never knew), an episode of a great show from the UK called Comedy Connections (which does what the title implies), and tons more. I’m sure the Brit comedy-philes will want to snag this in a heartbeat, but everybody who likes insanely funny television (which we don’t get enough of on this side of the pond) will want to rent it–then I’m sure they’ll turn around and buy. If you already bought the “Holy Trilogy” edition, then the question is: should you buy again? The answer is: well, if you really need the Series 3 commentaries (they’re new), the Connections episode and the TedFest bits. Plus the Dougal sound effects gallery. If you are a rabid fan, then yes, by all means. But if you can live with just owning the episodes, you “Trilogy” owners might opt to just rent the Series 3 discs once for the commentaries and call it good. You must decide. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Fans of Helen Mirren (which would be anyone with any taste, mind you) will be pleased to see BBC Home Video also releasing nine films she did at the BBC in a five-disc set entitled, uncannily enough, Helen Mirren at the BBC. Starting with The Changeling in 1974 (with Brian Cox), you also get The Apple Cart (with Prunella Scales), Caesar and Claretta (with Robert Hardy), The Philanthropist, and The Little Minister, all from 1975. Then 1977’s The Country Wife (with Anthony Andrews), 1979’s Blue Remembered Hills, 1981’s Mrs. Reinhardt and 1982’s Soft Targets (with Ian Holm, Rupert Everett and Julian Sands). And the beautiful bit is that the BBC took the time to provide a couple of bonus bits: an interview from last year with Dame Helen plus an interview from 1975 with Parkinson (that’s Michael Parkinson for our friends over here–huge talk show). It’s around $60 right now, so big fans will want to grab it, but casual fans might want to give it a rental. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert at London
There Will Be Blood 2-Disc Collector
Haarp by Muse CD Cover Art

I once tried to read the unabridged Les Miserables. It nearly cost me my mind. And it shredded my soul. Ninety pages about Waterloo? For Christ’s sake, Victor! Anyway, trust me: you’re better off going with the expurgated version or perhaps even safer, the musical. One of the few times you’ll hear me pick an adaptation over the source material. Formerly known as The Dream Cast edition, this new two-disc, from what I remember anyway, takes that concert unabridged and slaps the most excellent Stage by Stage making-of docu on a second disc. From what I can tell they were sold separately previously (my confusion stems from the fact that I remember watching Stage but pre-DVD…who knows, maybe a drama teacher taped it off of PBS or something). Anyway, even if you own the original versions on DVD, you are going to want to pick this up if you’re a fan of the show, because it’s in widescreen. Nuff said. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

There Will Be Blood will be getting a bigger three-disc set soon enough, mark my words. So you might want to rent this, honestly. Although you need to own some form of this flick, just for Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance if nothing else. Day-Lewis has always been one of those actors who’s method…but good. I’ve known some method actors where you can’t tell any difference between them and the next guy (or gal). But if DDL says, “Widge, I need to go carve out an Easter Island head out of butter using only a toothpick and a tiny plastic sand shovel. It might take me six months. I’m doing this to study for the next role.” My response is, “Sir, I’ll be honored to buy you some toothpicks.” No shit. My review’s here, so I’ll shut up and stop…oh crap, I was going to say gushing. Jesus. This Paramount release comes with a making-of/picture gallery/research thing, deleted scenes, trailers, outtakes and a silent film from 1923 about the oil business. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

I know I’ve said this before, but much respect must be given to trios. Trios have to be rock solid because there’s only three folks on stage. You get four people on stage and you can always lean on somebody else. Yes, yes, I know Muse gets some help from additional musicians on stage at times, but I liked these guys after hearing their albums. I thought they were badass after watching a few clips on YouTube. And now with HAARP we get them live at Wembley Stadium, kicking much ass. Not only is there the DVD for the full concert experience, but it comes with a CD as well. Fourteen tracks on the CD and twenty on the DVD. Excellent live versions of “Knights of Cydonia,” “Supermassive Black Hole” (which blisters live), “New Born,” “Apocalypse Please,” and more. Incredibly sweet. Fans will want to buy, non-fans will want to snag and thus become believers. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

1 comment

  • I’m salivating for the Ted dvds but also broke as hell. I’m trying to figure out a way to classify it as a “need to live” item.