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The Week in Stuff: August 10, 2010 – A Bounty Hunter, a Serial Killer and a Playwright Walk Into a Bar…

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Escape From New York Blu-ray Cover Art
Kalifornia Blu-ray Cover Art

[ad#longpost]First up, we have Escape From New York hitting Blu-Ray from MGM. As one of the films that endeared John Carpenter to all of us before he was kidnapped by aliens and replaced by a duplicate, it’s a welcome addition to hi-def. It even comes with the combo deal: Blu-Ray and DVD all in one. For $13.49 as I type this. So that’s not a bad deal. It looks worthy on the screen, everything sounds right…however. This is a bares bones BD release. Which makes no sense, as the previous release of the special edition DVD had two commentaries plus other bonus bits…but the main thing is that one commentary was with Carpenter and Kurt Russell. And their commentaries are always fantastic. Even at the low price point, I would say unless you have a burning need for this this instant–wait. There’s a remake in the works and I’m sure we’ll get a reissue of the Special Edition if not before that comes out then definitely when it comes out. If you must check it out, rent it. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Kalifornia is also an odd one. Same setup: you get the unrated and theatrical releases of the film, you get the Blu-Ray plus DVD setup…but nothing else. Granted, I’m not aware of there being a mondo edition of this film, but there was at least a featurette before…and we don’t even get that here. Very puzzling. And this one goes for $19.99 as I type this. So again, unless you feel the irresistible urge to own this hi-def, wait. Eventually it will get remade…or something…and a better version will hit. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Multiple Sarcasms DVD Cover Art
Multiple Sarcasms Blu-ray Cover Art

Multiple Sarcasms hits on DVD and Blu-Ray from Image Entertainment. And the cast on here is formidable: Timothy Hutton is the architect who wishes he was a playwright. Dana Delany plays his wife, Mira Sorvino plays his friend, Stockard Channing plays his agent. And hijinks ensue as Hutton’s character tries to get out of being miserable through playwriting. Good luck with that. Worth popping in if you’re a fan of the cast, I would advise you to rent it before you actually purchased, whichever platform you decided to go with. Now, if you were going to buy–what to buy? Well, on one hand, both versions give you the same features: a making-of and director and cast interviews. Of course, this isn’t the sort of film that screams hi-def–at least not in my mind, anyway. However, the Blu-Ray is only $3 more as I type this. So be the judge for yourself–but rent it or Netflix it and weigh the evidence first. (Click here to snag the DVD from Amazon; click here to snag the Blu-Ray from Amazon.)

Triage Blu-ray Cover Art
Titan Maximum Season One DVD Cover Art

As enjoyable as I found director Danis Tanovic’s 2001 film No Man’s Land, and as much as I respect the work of Colin Farrell, I have to admit there’s one thing that really got my attention about Triage: the fact that Sir Christopher Lee is involved. I know, I’m a simple man, but it’s usually best to be that way. In the film, Farrell plays a journalist who gets wounded–a bit–while in Kurdistan covering the war. He returns home without his friend who was also there–and the friend is MIA, in essence. He can’t seem to come back from what he experienced there–and it takes his girlfriend’s grandfather (Lee) to help him try to get through. This is out on Blu-Ray from NEM and comes with a making-of, plus interviews with all the major players. Should you buy it, though? I will say that if you had a thought about getting it on Blu-Ray, do so now…as it’s only $12.99 as I type this–seven dollars less than the DVD. So that will be fixed soon. However, $13 is still $13…and rewatchability is a factor. I say rent and see if it warrants shelf space in your collection, then act. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

The first season of Titan Maximum has hit DVD from Warner Brothers and Adult Swim. If you’re thinking to yourself that it looks like a screwed up version of Voltron, congratulations and welcome aboard. It’s by the people who brought you Robot Chicken, so you get stop motion mockery, taking the piss out of the Super Robot genre. (Did you know the genre had a name? I did not. But every genre in Japan, no matter how sub, has a name.) It’s the tale of Titan Force Five, which must come out of retirement and get over multiple hurdles (including the death of one of its members) to reform so it can return to what it does best: punching things with a giant robot. It’s stacked for having nine short episodes: commentaries on everything, behind the scenes, deleted animatics, anatomy of a sequence (exactly what it sounds like), a table read, and more. Even for just nine episodes and a show that I can’t even tell if it’s ever coming back or not–it’s not a bad deal with all the extras for $14.49 (the price as I type this). Of course, if you’re not a fan of giant robots (but who isn’t?) this won’t crank your tractor no matter what. And even then, the rewatch factor comes into play. Rent it–and if you’re enamored, then make the plunge. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Minder Season 3 DVD Cover Art
Yellowstone Kelly DVD Cover Art

It’s the series that gave us the word: Minder hits with its third season on DVD from BFS. And the series went on for a total of eleven (ten if you discount the 2009 “revival”). For the uninitiated, George Cole plays Arthur, who likes to make money. Nothing wrong with that, but trouble is he doesn’t quite care how dodgy the dealings are. For that reason, he feels the need for a bodyguard, a “Minder,” Terry (Dennis Waterman). This set has twelve episodes across four discs and is bare bones. Now…it’s $44.99 for the set as I type this, which comes down to a bit under $4 an episode. But bear in mind–and this may be different for our friends across the pond–but it’s not airing anywhere I can find here. So this is your only shot at it. Anglophiles, especially those who dig cop/criminal shows will want to check this out. If possible, rent it to check it out first, but the fan will want to own–because this is your only shot at it. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Yellowstone Kelly stars Clint Walker (star of Cheyenne) as the titular character, who is dealing with both the U.S. military and the Native American population post-Little Big Horn. This is out from the Warner Archive, which means it’s bare bones but is finally available on DVD in a print on demand form. As I understand it, this never even hit VHS, so despite the $25 price point, if you’re a fan of solid westerns–or a Clint Walker fan specifically, then this is your only way to grab this. And because of its POD nature, I don’t know that you’ll see it on Netflix. (Click here to snag it from the Warner Archive.)

Brick Journal #11 Cover Art
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Blu-ray Cover Art
Shigofumi Complete Collection DVD Cover Art

There’s nothing like an issue of Brick Journal to make you aware of how little you knew as a child about snapping bricks together. I mean, seriously, it’s sort of ridiculous what they can create. You get an in-depth look at a Victorian house where the level of detail is pretty astounding. Then there’s a great deal about building cars–from Lego to Technic to utilizing Mindstorms…it’s all insane. They even have a Lego version of the rocket car that just about killed Richard Hammond–complete with a screaming Hammond in the cockpit. Morbid, but I think Hammond would actually laugh his ass off. There’s also a way to build your own small ambulance, reviews, plus a wide variety of photos to make you feel inadequate artistically. Maybe I should go try and start a new Silly Putty movement or something. (Click here to snag it from TwoMorrows.)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid hits Blu-Ray from Fox in one of the triple threat combo sets: Blu-Ray, DVD and digital copy. It’s based on the book series, in which our hero, Greg, is entering middle school with ideas of grandeur. He is going to rise to the top no matter what. Yes, well, it’s a nice idea, but as we all know, the best laid plans of mice and middle schoolers often wind up being destroyed. Usually by the math teacher. Anyway, the film is squarely in family territory and isn’t likely to branch out beyond that. As far as the stack up goes, you are looking at getting a lot more in the Blu-Ray combo than just the DVD…but you are looking at $10 more for the Blu-Ray. You get a series of behind the scenes bits and mini-featurettes as well as a commentary track on both versions. I think a rental is the best case, in less your child is already enamored of the film. Then it’s just a matter of how much coin you wish to spend. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Shigofumi: Letters From The Departed is out with its complete collection from Sentai Filmworks. The concept on this I find fascinating: you get a chance, after you’ve died, to send a letter back to someone in the land of the living. And the letters are delivered by postal carriers who are supposed to be dead–except for our protagonist, Fumika, who is still aging. And, you know, the dead don’t age. This set contains all thirteen episodes across two discs, plus clean opening and closing animation plus additional picture dramas. The set is $36.99 as I type this, which sorts out to less than $3 an episode. I can’t see where it’s airing anywhere, so this set is the only way for the fan to have a real version of the show on their shelf…so fans will want to snag it, and anime enthusiasts who haven’t sampled it yet will want to. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Roy Orbison: The Last Concert CD Cover Art

It’s no secret that we have a lot of love for Roy Orbison around here…we mention him in one way or another in most episodes of The Sound Board. And there’s a lot of CDs out there that could purport to be someone’s “last concert,” but in this case: The Last Concert is just that. It took place December 4, 1988. Orbison died two days later. This CD out from Eagle Records has fourteen tracks, including “Only the Lonely,” “Pretty Woman,” “Blue Bayou” and “Crying.” And it’s an excellent capture for posterity. The fan is going to want to snag this–and I’d recommend the MP3 download version, as it’s only $8.99 while I type this. A great bargain for a great live CD. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)