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Headsup: All About Eve, A Talking Dog and a “Young” Vampire

There’s a lot of stuff that comes out all the time, and the companies want your coin. I’m sure looking at the big pile of tempting stuff, you don’t know what’s worth buying and what isn’t. With these posts we try to take you through everything so you can make up your mind. If you find the info here to be of use, do us a favor and purchase stuff from Amazon through us. Especially if you were going to buy the stuff anyway. That gives us kickbacks, which help pay for things. Like the server. And coffee. And therapy. Thanks.

Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated Season 1, Vol. 1 DVD
Abbott and Costello Show: Who's On First
Never Let Me Go Blu-Ray

[ad#longpost]There have been so many versions of Scooby-Doo, I can’t keep track. I wonder if they hold some sort of record, although I suspect something like Transformers would give it a run for its money. This latest iteration, Mystery Incorporated, takes a slightly more mature bent to it–and the first four episodes are here in this first volume release from Warner Brothers. Some things this has going for it: it manages to incorporate (no pun intended–either possible way of punnage) Matthew Lillard as Shaggy (the only really good part of the live action versions) and yet keep Casey Kasem on board as Shaggy’s dad. So bonus points there. Cartoon Network is currently re-running the first season episodes, so that’s a good place to check it out. The DVD volume we have here has around $2.50 as a price point per episode, which isn’t terrible…but with no bonus features it’s hard for me to say it’s worth snagging, even for a fan. If you absolutely want it on your shelf, so be it–but otherwise wait for a season set that hopefully has extra bits on it. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Who’s on First? is undoubtedly the best known bit from Abbott and Costello, one of the best known comedic duos in history. So a DVD–this one from Entertainment One–that gives you that classic routine as part of six episodes from their television show should be a no-brainer to own. Especially when you consider that as I write this, it’s around $6.50 to purchase. But this just serves as an appetizer for a much larger set, also from Entertainment One: you can get the entirety of their series across nine discs for around $29 as I write this. If you wanted to sample Abbott & Costello, or introduce them to a friend so you could continue talking to them in public, then this is worth borrowing or Netflixing. But if you want to purchase, the larger set is definitely the way to go. (Click here to buy Who’s on First? from Amazon.)

Kazuo Ishiguro, the man who blew me away with The Remains of the Day, is now back and adapted on the screen with Never Let Me Go, starring Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley. They play three friends at a boarding school who stumble upon a secret and have to contend with what that secret means. The Blu-Ray is a bit thin on features–there’s a reasonably sized behind the scenes docu as well as some photo galleries–but looks and sounds fantastic. The film is worth seeing but we are talking about it taking up room on your shelf, even if Blu-Ray cases are rather thin. The hi-def version is worth acquiring over the regular DVD (a difference of $7 as I write this) just for the upgraded picture quality. However, the replay factor steps in: if you sample this (or already have) and decide you want ready access to it, then by all means. But do see it through the first time before taking the plunge. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Chain Letter Blu-Ray
Let Me In Blu-Ray

Chain Letter appears to be yet another installment in the non-franchise franchise that tries to make a gumbo of ingredients taken from Japanese horror films, torture films and better, more coherent slasher flicks. I could have sworn the titular concept had been used before, but I can’t put my finger on the exact place. Here, a chain letter gets passed around and if you don’t do as the letter says, you get killed. With chains, no less. What’s odd about this is that the DVD has the unrated cut on it, apparently, where the Blu-Ray just has the theatrical release. While the hi-def does make the film look better, as you might imagine it would, the $2 you save for the DVD and the unrated version (well, at least it’s something) seems like it’s a better deal. But that’s if you want to own it. If derivative slasher flicks are your bag, then give it a rental. But there’s so many more intriguing horror films you haven’t seen, put it far down in the queue. (Click here to buy the Blu-Ray from Amazon.)

Let Me In is one of the more respectable remakes of foreign horror films to come out in recent memory. The setup is fairly simple: the girl next door is a vampire. Simple setup that gets quickly complicated. This is of course a remake of the Swedish flick Let the Right One In, possessing a great cast in Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, which I just can’t watch), Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), Need Coffee fave Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins. There are the DVD and Blu-Ray flavors to choose from, and we look at this seriously because for horror fans, this might be one they want to actually have on the shelf. (It’s a rental if you haven’t already seen it, because there’s still enough personal taste in there that I can’t call it a Must Own.) The Blu-Ray and DVD share most features, with the exception of a digital copy and a picture-in-picture commentary on the hi-def version. And as I write this, the Blu-Ray is actually $3 less than the DVD! So that throws that out the window. In addition, the Blu-Ray comes with audio commentary from the director, a making-of featurette, an FX featurette, and a special look at the car crash sequence from the film. There’s also deleted scenes. Definitely worth checking out, and perhaps owning–buy the hi-def if you do purchase. For multiple reasons. (Click here to buy the Blu-Ray from Amazon.)

An Affair to Remember Blu-Ray
All About Eve Blu-Ray

Fox has brought two classics to Blu-Ray. The first is An Affair to Remember, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. They’re betrothed to others, but they meet and fall for each other, deciding to meet six months later at the top of the Empire State Building. Yes, you may have forgotten–but this is the film referenced heavily in Sleepless in Seattle. Things don’t quite work out, as they are wont to do, and things proceed from there. I didn’t get the previous release on DVD, so I’m not exactly sure what was on it and has been ported over, but I can tell you we have a commentary with a film historian and a vocal performer. There’s also personal featurettes regarding both Grant, Kerr, director Leo McCarey, and producer Jerry Wald. There’s also an AMC Backstory episode, a newsreel and a featurette about the look of the film. This also comes with a Digibook packaging that has info about the film. The Blu-Ray looks and sounds about as good as possible, considering the film’s age, and the hi-def version is only $5 more than the DVD version. Cary Grant completists might want to add this to their collection and should probably rent or Netflix it if they have concerns about double-dipping. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

All About Eve. Should I just cut to the chase and then give you details? Yes? Then own this. Seriously. It is simply one of the best written films in history and if you don’t own it you are doing yourself a disservice. Yes, it’s just that good. Now, details: Bette Davis plays an actress who is getting up there in years but still pretty on top of her game. Enter Eve, a young fan, with a sob story and something else. Those who have seen the film know and those who haven’t, I don’t want to spoil anything. A previous DVD release had two commentaries, an AMC backstory, promo interviews with Davis and actress Anne Baxter (Eve), newsreels and restoration information. There was a 2008 release that I’m not exactly privy to, but I can tell you that the bits I was unfamiliar with (they’re new to me, anyway) are an isolated score, a featurette about director Joseph Mankiewicz, and two featurettes about a real-life Eve and the real-life “Sarah Siddons Society.” The hi-def here looks fantastic and the features are good. And I’ll let you off the hook if you bought this previously, but just own it in some form. It’s one of the few films that I will push on anyone and everyone. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)