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The Week in Stuff: June 15, 2010 – From Tiki Island to the Holy Land and All Points In Between

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Danger on Tiki Island
Ghost Hunters International DVD Cover Art
Elvis 75th Birthday Celebration DVD Cover Art

Cinematic Titanic continues their onslaught on your mind. Not only are they continuing to perform their riffmongering sessions live but they keep rolling out DVDs of the live shows, both for the people who caught them live and want the performance for posterity (like myself) and those who didn’t get the chance to catch them in person (which you should do–it really is good). And this is Danger on Tiki Island, of which I got to catch their first live performance–and it was good then. So the DVD has honed it to a razor sharpness. Not only that, but you get a backstage look at CT with the “Between the Riffs” mini-docu. This is good stuff. Snag your copy here. It’s worth it.

[ad#longpost]SyFy has a new ghost series: Ghost Hunters International. Season One: Part 1 is out on DVD now in a three-disc set. In addition to 11 episodes, there are deleted scenes to enjoy. You get eleven episodes across three discs with deleted scenes. The second part is due out in August. If this is your bag, whether for pure entertainment value or if you’re a Believer, the question comes as to whether or not you should snag a copy. I look at it this way: while the deleted scenes are not a huge feature, this is currently the only way to see the series, as from what I’ve been able to glean from online TV schedules, these episodes are not airing currently, prepping for the rest of the second season which starts next month. You never know, there might be a marathon showing on the horizon, but for the fan this is roughly $2 an episode to own. And if that’s you, then you know what the show is worth to you, so decide accordingly. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

The new Elvis 75th Birthday Collection from MGM/Fox brings together seven films from the King, a musician who really, really wanted to break into acting. And did, from the standpoint of getting films made. The films here are mostly collected for completists, as they are (arguably, since I am not an Elvisologist by any stretch of the imagination) collectively not his best. They are Clambake, Flaming Star, Follow That Dream, Frankie and Johnny, Kid Galahad, Love Me Tender, and Wild in the Country. The key element here is the lack of newness. There are no features and all of these films have been released to DVD before. So if you are that Elvis completist and have already purchased these titles, you’re fine. The benefit to this set comes that if you were to purchase them all separately (mostly–four of them were collected together before), you’d be looking at paying $20 more than this set goes for on Amazon currently. So if you’re trying to round out your collection, this set will serve that purpose–but that’s about all. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Book of Eli Blu-ray Cover Art
Cinema Pride Collection DVD Cover Art
Showgirls 15th Anniversary Blu-ray Cover Art

The Book of Eli is out on Blu-Ray from Warner Brothers. My review of the film itself is hereSiege’s is here. This is a combo pack, which means you get the DVD and a digital copy. Plus there’s an animated short. Blu-Ray exclusives are pretty decent with the “Maximum Movie Mode Survival Guide” picture-in-picture commentary, ten featurettes, a soundtrack featurette and a speculative look at how life would work post-apocalypse that will probably be considered a novelty item twenty years from now. In the DVD vs. Blu-Ray battle, this definitely wins on the hi-def side. The bonus features plus the audio and picture, not to mention the fact the DVD comes with it–all for $8 more while I type this–is the way to go if you want to own this. As to whether or not it’s worth owning, that’s up to the fan of the film–repeat viewings will make it work owning but if you want to go through it all one time and stop, then a rental might be your best bet. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

MGM/Fox has the Cinema Pride Collection on DVD, featuring ten films, all reflecting different periods of the LGBT community. The films included are The Children’s Hour, La Cage Aux Folles, Boys Don’t Cry, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Bent, Kissing Jessica Stein, The Birdcage, Imagine Me & You, The Object of My Affection and My Beautiful Laundrette. That’s…a list. Like the Elvis set above, there’s nothing new here. It’s just a very reasonably priced box set. How reasonably priced? It looks like by the time you buy three or four of these titles individually, you’ve spent the same amount as getting the entire set. Seriously, right now it’s less than $5 a film on Amazon. So if you want to add these, or even just most of these, to your collection–this set is the most budget-oriented way to do so. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Showgirls was the first NC-17 movie I saw in the cinema. After moving to Atlanta from north Alabama, this was what we did just because we could. It was like a judgement on us, honestly. The film has been recast as a camp classic, but I just don’t see it. This is the only film I’ve ever seen that nudity could not save. Now. That rant being expended, I know that some of you probably subscribe to the “so bad it’s good” revisionist school of thought on this and I do not blame you in the least. We all have our guilty pleasure films and he who is without sin cast the first Betamax and all that. MGM/Fox are certainly pushing this title in the Blu-Ray setup because you have the film in hi-def and you have “Pole Dancing: Finding Your Inner Stripper,” which is probably the most self-explanatory bonus bit we will encounter this week. There’s also a lap dance tutorial, audio commentary in defense of the film, trivia track, and more. The gist is this: it’s the hi-def you’re paying for. If you’re a fan, you probably own this already and no sense double-dipping–unless you want the hi-def. If you’re a fan who doesn’t own it, right now it’s only $5 more than the last DVD version that came out, so buying it would be a no-brainer. If you’re not a fan…well, yeah. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Toy Story 3 Soundtrack Cover Art
Toy Story Favorites Soundtrack Cover Art

Toy Story 3 hits this weekend, and two albums are out from Disney covering the franchise. The first one, Toy Story Favorites is an EP with selections from all three movies. Although I have to say, the Robert Goulet/Wheezy version of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story 2 should be on any collection of fantastic Pixar songs. Here…it’s not. So. Six songs for $7 on a CD (or a little less than a $1 for the MP3 version) doesn’t seem like a great deal to me. Especially when the first soundtrack is available as a download for $5 as I write this and the second soundtrack is up for $3.99. For a few dollars more, you get the whole shebang for the first two films. So. The Toy Story 3 soundtrack is a bit of a puzzler first of all since it’s a digital download only…and isn’t available as I write this from Amazon, even though it was supposed to be out this week. So no idea. Regardless, it’s a solid Randy Newman score with a guest spot by the Gipsy Kings on a fun version of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” If you ever figure out where to buy it–and you’re a Pixar fan–it’s worth snagging. (Click here to snag Toy Story Favorites on CD or MP3. Click here to snag the Toy Story 3 soundtrack…eventually.)

Alter Ego #94 Cover Art
Back Issue #41 Cover Art

The latest from TwoMorrows is issue 94 of Roy Thomas’ fantastic Alter Ego, where you get your memories of comics back when they were a helluva lot better than they are now. It starts off with a remembrance of the late great Dick Giordano and a continuation of the previous issue’s coverage of Earth-2 JSA heroes (where they have the unenviable task of trying to make sense of stuff like the Earth-2 Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman). But it’s a massive rundown of stories and info–I had no idea I had read so many Earth-2 Batman stories as a child, he said somewhat sarcastically. There’s also the second part of a huge three-part interview with DC editor George Kashdan and more. If you like classic comics, then buying this is a no-brainer. (Click here to buy it from TwoMorrows.)

Also out from TwoMorrows is Back Issue #41, which has a feature story regarding American Flagg, another about when Captain America finally settled down in Brooklyn and…did you know that Contest of Champions was Marvel‘s first limited series? I didn’t. Take my geek card away if you must. I would be amazed if somebody said there was an actual Olympic Games connection to the series, though. There’s also a story recounting the trials of Wonder Woman, and in a separate article they talk to both Gene Colan and Roy Thomas regarding their short shared run on the series. And talking about short runs, there’s a feature on the Roger Stern and John Byrne run on Cap. And more with Cap, there’s a feature regarding The Red Skull as well. Keeping with the red, white and blue theme, there’s an outline of the career of Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. And if that wasn’t enough: Team America. Wow. That takes me back. As always, these issues are packed full of nostalgia and info. And if you’re a comic fan, you really need to own them. (Click here to buy it from TwoMorrows.)

Not the Messiah
Everwood Season 3 Cover Art
American Dad Volume 5 DVD Cover Art

Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy) was Eric Idle‘s next step after Spamalot‘s success: an oratorio based on Python‘s Life of Brian. After performing it in various places around the world it hit the Royal Albert Hall in London to celebrate the 40th birthday of Python. And hell, what a show: the BBC Symphony and Chorus, plus appearances by Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Neil Innes and Carol Cleveland. If that massive array of live silliness doesn’t draw you in, there’s a behind the scenes docu, a backstage featurette, a featurette entirely devoted to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” and six sing-along songs. The Blu-Ray also comes with an exclusive online bit where you can get info on the program while you watch it. The version we reviewed was from Region B but worked just fine in my Region A player. You can purchase it from Amazon UK here. (For those on this side of the pond, this is the link you’re looking for.)

The second to last season of Everwood hits DVD from Warner Brothers with the Complete Third Season, which gives you all twenty-two episodes across five discs. The only feature is a series of outtakes. And the other thing to bear in mind is that, as the box states, “Some music differs from original televised version,” which translates into “Holy God, this music was going to cost a ton.” Now I didn’t watch the original televised version, so I wouldn’t know the original music from a hole in the ground, so I went to the Amazon page expecting to find a torrent of expletives blaming Warner Brothers for not giving the “true” show or whatever…instead I found nothing of the sort. So go figure. Anyway, it doesn’t appear to be airing anywhere at the moment, so fans of the show will want to seriously consider snagging this, features or no, in order to have it for themselves. At $25.99, as it’s priced now, it’s a bit more than a $1 an episode, which is not unreasonable. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

The fifth volume of American Dad is out from Fox with fourteen episodes (finishing up the fourth season) across three discs. It’s definitely a set for the fans as there’s uncensored commentaries on every episode, a drinking game, deleted scenes and a pop-up trivia track on the episode “Bar Mitzvah Hustle.” The set is currently going for $25.49 on Amazon, which makes it at about $1.80 an episode, not counting the bonus bits. A big fan of the series is going to want to own regardless, but those uninitiated should probably go back and rent the first season and begin there before investing coin. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Nip/Tuck The Sixth and Final Season DVD Cover Art
Caddyshack DVD cover art

The FX show Nip/Tuck completes its DVD run with this, the sixth and final season, out on DVD from Warner Brothers. It provides all nineteen episodes across five discs. The only feature it brings to the table (which I swear I wrote meaning no pun) is a plastic surgery psychology featurette. Fans of the show are going to want to snag this even with the lack of features, seeing as how it doesn’t appear to be in repeats anywhere at the moment. And the price per episode works out to be a little over $2 each (the way it’s priced now, anyway), which means it’s comparable to doing a digital rental or the like. Non-fans or the uninitiated will want to begin at the beginning, no doubt with a rental. (Click here to purchase it from Amazon.)

Caddyshack is hitting DVD again for its 30th anniversary from Warner Brothers, and I’m afraid it still hasn’t gotten the release it deserves. The soundtrack is remastered, sure, but there’s not much else to commend it. There’s a featurette–and not even a new one. The same one from the release that came out ten years ago. Granted, it’s less than $10 to own, but Warner Brothers is missing a trick: give us just one solid commentary from Ramis, Chase and/or Murray (I bet Chase’s hourly rate would be the most reasonable of the three) and fans would jump all over it. If you don’t already own it, again, for the price, you can’t go wrong. But there’s no reason to double dip. (Click here to buy it from Amazon. It’s also available on demand from either Amazon or iTunes.)