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DVDs-SciFi-Horror


Alien Legacy
If you don't already have the DVD versions of Alien and Aliens this is a good deal because the price is pretty good for the four movies. But the first two have not been changed so unless you are interested in the weaker sequels don't bother with this package. One note however - if you buy the box set, you will have the opportunity to send for a special "behind the scenes" disc. This might be interesting to collectors. As to the discs, the really good stuff is found on the the first two films. "Alien" includes some famous deleted scenes, commentary by Ridley Scott and a rarity in home video regarding the music. There are many instances where a composer's work has been changed or even removed from a film. "Alien" was an important score by the legendary Jerry Goldsmith. However it seems that Scott had preferred to use some music from the "temp track:" which included classical excerpts and even music from an old Goldsmith score from the film "Freud".

It is to his enormous credit that this DVD allows us to hear the music score as it was theatrically released or choose to hear Jerry Goldsmith's original compositions. Not many directors have done this and it's clear from the commentary that while he felt the need to make changes in the score, he still holds respect for Goldsmith. Unfortunately, the same problem occurred with Goldsmith's score for Scott's "Legend" being replaced with music by Tangerine Dream. Maybe third time will be the charm. "Aliens" features some behind the scenes footage and an interview with James Cameron. "Alien" and "Alien 3" have "easter eggs".

E.T. Box Sets
One of the most beloved films of all time "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" comes to DVD in a three disc set for a limited time only. This "Collector's Gift Set" includes the original 1982 version, the recent digitally changed re-issue, the CD soundtrack, the script for the original film, a senitype and 10 hours of extras. There is a feature on the reunion of the cast, a 3-D journey through the Solar System and a visit with composer John Williams including an isolated live music score. A less expensive 2-disc set featuring Mr.Spielberg's controversial digital fixes will also be available and the film can viewed widescreen or fullscreen.

I know Steven Spielberg has said that he made the changes because he was always troubled by the version previously released. Nevertheless, that is the version the world fell in love with and it's to his credit that he is making both versions available. Remember, these releases are for a "limited time" only-ten weeks! (from mid October 2002 to years end)

From Dusk Till Dawn - Dimension Collector's Series

What is this? A ganster-vampire movie, a black cowboy comedy with vampires? Who knows-who cares. It's a hell of a ride as the Gecko brothers take time out from their crime spree to enjoy the action in a Mexican bar which turns out to be full of vampires! George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Salma Hayak, Cheech Marin and Fred Williamson star in this cult fave. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital but the widescreen has NOT been anamorphically enhanced-too bad. It still looks good though and the disc is a hoot-a funny, gory comic book. The extras include a commentary track with Quentin Tarantino and Richard Rodriguez. These guys are great buddies and they have a lot of fun talking about the film. If only all commentaries were like this!

There are featurettes called "Hollywood Goes To Hell" and "The Art Of Making The Movie" and some hilarious outtakes and bloopers with Clooney flubbing his lines and cursing a blue streak.The real bonus here is the inclusion of a FEATURE LENGTH documentary called "Full Tilt Boogie". This terrific film documents the making of "From Dusk Till Dawn" with all the problems of fire, weather and the unions. Depending on your tastes you may find the documentary the better of the two films. "Full Tilt Boogie" is available as a separate purchase but this 2 for 1 deal is the way to go. Don't say you've got nothing to watch on a Saturday night if you haven't seen these two.

Jurassic Park & Lost World Limited Collector's Box Set
This may be hard to find now but if you track it down here's what you'll get. "Jurassic Park" and its sequel "The Lost World" both directed by Steven Spielberg. Both films can be purchased separately but in this package are a few special extras: the CD soundtracks to both films, a certificate of authenticity and a senitype (film strip). The extras on the discs are the same as on the original releases in the 5.1 Dolby Digital version. Spielberg debuted DTS audio with the theatrical release of "Jurassic Park" but apparently the DTS DVD required extra space which meant the documentary and other extras were eliminated. So, no DTS on the box set. Is the DTS audio worth the loss of the extras? You decide.

Planet Of The Apes Box Set
This package has all five films in the theatrical series starting with the classic with Charlton Heston and featuring the legendary music score composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Roddy McDowell in probably his most famous roles as both Cornelius and his son Caesar is the continuing thread throughout and he is terrific. McDowell also hosted the two-hour documentary on the "Planet of the Apes" phenomenon which was shown on the AMC cable channel. He completed this shortly before he passed away. The film not only gives us background on the technical aspects of the films but also their importance as social barometers.

This documentary is included in the package as well as a still photo gallery. The films are in the widescreen format but they have NOT been anamorphically transferred. The much reduced picture resolution hurts the overall enjoyment of the films and perhaps 20th Century Fox will fix this in the future. As for now, a partial recommendation-it's better than the old laserdiscs and way better than VHS but this could have been much better. Was Charlton Heston asked to do a commentary? What does he think about "Planet Of The Apes"? It would be nice to know.

Star Wars: Episode II: The Attack Of The Clones
Star Wars fans beat their drums for a long time hoping George Lucas would release his grip on the films and approve DVD releases. While we all still wait for the first three theatrical films (Episodes 4, 5, and 6) even moderate fans were impressed with the DVD of Episode One. It didn't matter if you liked the film or not, the DVD was an amazing display of picture, sound and special features. I suppose that the folks at Lucasfilm felt that if we, as fans, were patient, we would be rewarded. Now with the release of Episode II: The Attack Of The Clones, the feast for fans continues. This DVD will not only test your home theatre system but it will set a standard for all DVD producers in the future.

One of the highlights of the Episode One DVD was the wonderful behind-the-scenes stuff (arguably better than the actual film) and this continues on "The Clones". Lucas has long said that sound design represents a huge part of a film's impact and mood. Now we get a step-by-step education in the process of building sound effects, dialog, and music into a thrilling motion picture soundtrack. Some carryovers from the extras on Episode One include commentaries, web documentaries, music videos etc. which will keep you busy for days. The really nice thing about the Star Wars DVDs is that the best is yet to come.

X-MEN
This is a fun movie and a terrific disc. Most fans seemed pleased with "X-Men", it had all the elements rare for comic book adaptations. Great cast, good script and a budget which allowed for the look and feel necessary for the general public to lose themselves in a world of super-mutants and super villains. The 20th Century Fox DVD looks good and sounds very good. A kind of high-tech noir look in some scenes comes across very well. The film was directed by Brian Singer who has spoken in the past about another version of this film coming out.

It's well known that over 40 minutes were cut from the film and while the DVD has some deleted footage, there is still a lot missing. What remains are 6 scenes which you can "put back" into the film through the "seemless branching'" option, a Fox TV promo special, clips of The Charlie Rose interview with the director, character and costume sketches, screen tests, animatics and a classic "easter egg". "X-Men" can be enjoyed by a wide audience and looks like we'll be seeing more of the mutants as sequels are in the works. On another note, isn't it great that Ian McKellen has been "discovered" by the general (meaning young) audience!

DVDs-Fantasy-Animation


Fantasia Anthology

This remarkable package contains three discs featuring Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 and a special third disc called Fantasia Legacy. We are treated to commentary from Roy Disney, conductor of the digital soundtrack James Levine and historians John Canemaker and Scott MacQueen and others. New digital transfes, behind the scenes documentaries, and a special booklet on Fantasia 2000 are part of the package . Disc Three piles on the extras with breakdowns on character development, special effects, conceptual art, filmmakers bios, historical insight into the classical music used and much more.

One of the most amazing sequences deals with the reconstruction of abandoned ideas for "The Ride Of The Valkyries", "Clair DeLune" and others called "The Fantasia That Never Was". Also interesting is art work for other never used pieces. The Disney folks have done a tremendous job with their library of classics. Each one is lovingly restored and beautifully presented. If you invest the time needed to browse this and other treasures, you will come away with a new understanding of the art of Disney animation.

The Lord Of The Rings-The Fellowship Of The Ring" (Extended Version)
Fans of The Lord Of The Rings seemed pleased with the way director Peter Jackson and cast and crew handled the task of bringing the classic to the screen. Now they have gone the extra mile with improving and expanding upon the film and its previous release on DVD. The Extended version features more than 30 minutes of additional footage cut into the film proper. Multiple documentaries, four commentaries, storyboards and even some multi-angle options highlight this release which will surely be a popular Christmas season stocking stuffer and a teaser for the upcoming release of "The Twin Towers". So often through film history, fans of fantasy and sci-fi have come away feeling empty when a favorite has been brought to the screen. This time, however, things seem to be turning out alright.

Superman The Movie
Perhaps the best film ever made based on a comic book, "Superman-The Movie" was action packed, funny and romantic. It had an epic pace and handled its subject matter with taste and dignity. For years this film suffered from pan and scan TV and VHS and even the widescreen laserdisc had a transfer full of splotches and strange colors. Well, be prepared for one of the most amazing restorations in film history. Not only do we get the results of years of painstaking research into lost footage and documentary material but also a complete audio overhaul. Now this is where it gets tricky. This is not a re-mix. This is a newly made soundtrack in 5.1 Dolby Digital. This features new audio created for this version and is somewhat controversial in nature. It appears that even director Richard Donner was unaware that NEW and DIFFERENT sound was being created. Is is dramatic and thrilling?- YES. Is this the original movie--NO.

Now when the crystal planet Krypton begins to fall apart, the sound is like thousands of mirrors shattering. When Superman flies after the rockets we feel the power of his speed through the air. Finally, when the earthquake hits, watch you're subwoofer!. Also, you won't believe how much better the picture is, even the colors on Superman's costume are finally correct Many (but not all) of the famous scenes which showed up on the TV versions have been restored and there are a multitude of extras to enhance your viewing. You also get commentary from Richard Donner and "creative consultant" Tom Mankiewicz, documentaries, screen tests, trailers and more. Fans of the remarkable John Williams score are in for a real treat. Even if you've purchased the 2-disc soundtrack get ready because the DVD producers have isolated the entire score in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and there are some outtakes of the score too!

There is much more to this amazing package but the fact that this hit the street for 20 dollars boggles the mind. The CD of the music in plain old stereo would cost about that much! Now for some bad news, it seems that this reissue is the subject of a lawsuit concerning use of unauthorized footage. Let's hope that situation is resolved. We would hate to see this DVD withdrawn over some legal wrangle. One of the best DVD productions ever!

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs-Platinum Edition

Let me say that once you've seen the expression of a child seeing "Snow White" for the first time you will not forget it. The character movement, songs, and the richness of the color and artwork are far away from what passes for animation on Saturday morning TV. This splendid release of Disney's first full length animated feature comes as a 2-disc package setting a new standard for DVD production. Not only do we get as many extras as have ever been packed into a DVD, we even get Angela Lansbury giving us a guided tour to help us find them. Commentary tracks, background documentary, abandoned concepts, Barbra Streisand singing, dwarfs dancing, deleted scenes and a look at the restoration process which made this film look as if it were drawn yesterday. You will not get through this in an evening or two.

This will take some time. "Snow White" is still the wonderful classic we remember, but you will find yourself muttering "Wow" when you see how this 1937 film looks today on DVD. By the way for purists, Disney has retained the original mono audio but you can listen to a newly created 5.1 surround track in English or French.There are a couple of "easter eggs" as well. One that's cute happens when you play disc One-just let the main menu appear and do nothing. After a while the mirror will start talking to you! For those who may be thinking about going to school to learn about the art of animation, buy "Snow White" instead.

Walt Disney Treasures-Silly Symphonies & Mickey Mouse in Living Color

You've probably seen these Disney sets at your video store or even Costco. The 2-disc releases are packed into a metal case and stamped and numbered. Once again, the folks at Disney have carefully transferred classics from their vaults to delight a whole generation of kids. They feature dozens of short animated films some over 70 years old! You get all the background stuff we've come to expect from the Disney company: backgrounds on the shorts, drawings, posters and much more. Both of these and to a lesser extent the Disneyland box set are essential purchases. But there is a minor quibble. Who is Disney targeting with these releases? Is it the older crowd to stir memories of cartoons seen in their youth? Or is it the average family where the kids will eventually pop in the discs and enjoy Mickey and Donald at their leisure? The reason for the questions is this; there are at least EIGHT cartoons HIDDEN on the "Silly Symphonies" disc. The Mickey disc hides a vintage Walt Disney clip and another Mickey film. DVD fans are becoming aware of the "Easter Eggs" hidden on some major studio releases. It would seem that only adults or at least teens have the brains and the time to hunt these all down.

Even if you do, they are usually in the form of a short clip, flub or outtake etc. What Disney hid are full length theatrical cartoons and they hid them very well. It seems likely that thousands of families have watched these DVDs and have NO IDEA how much is tucked away digitally. Sure, there are web sites where you can find out how to crack the code, but is that something a second grade kid will know how to do? The stuff hidden on "Silly Symphonies" is incredible and raises the bar as to the value of these box sets. I'm not sure that the Disney folks did the right thing here. Good hunting Mom and Dad!

DVDs-Comedy-Drama


A Hard Day's Night
I suppose you can look at "A Hard Day's Night" in a number of ways. A fun pseudo-documentary on The Beatles, an extended music video, a deft musical comedy or the beginning of a slew of similar movies based around the exploits of pop musicians. It doesn't matter because this film is an example of a magical meeting of disparate elements resulting in a modern era classic. Even the Beatles couldn't top this when they made the color film "Help". While we've all seen this before on TV or video (some of us even in the theatre!) we've never seen or heard it like this. A cleaned up print would be reason enough for kudos but this 2 disc set features Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, documentary interviews and comments from director Richard Lester and music producer George Martin. A very nice feature is a song analysis by Mr. Martin. Even if you have the Criterion laser disc you'll have to break down and buy this version. It's amazing how much natural charm and charisma they had and virtually all modern pop artists pale in comparison.

TV: Absolutely Fabulous Box Sets

This highly regarded and hilarious series was edited for most US TV broadcasts and could be called rude and crude in its humor. Now, however, fans of Patsy, Edina and darling Saffy can see what they've been missing and much more in these two box sets from BBC Video. Box One: Covers Ab Fab Seasons 1-3. There is a bonus 4th disc called "Gorgeous Little Things" which features some wonderful extras including:"How To Be Absolutely Fabulous"- a behind the scenes look at the series with great background stuff , funny outtakes and more. "Ab Fab Moments"-a sort of best moments tour. "Modern Mother And Daughter"-the original sketch which inspired the series. There are also interactive maps of places Patsy & Edina like and a guide to guest stars who've appeared on the show.

The second Box Set features the complete 4th season with running commentary, more outtakes, a reunion special called "Mirrorball", more interactive maps, trailers etc. While some may feel British humor too weird or the cultural references too specific to Britain, don't worry about Ab Fab. It follows in the great tradition of "Monty Python" and "Fawlty Towers" with a lot of silliness and slapstick and quick wit. If you don't get one joke-don't fret, there are ten more right behind it that will have you laughing out loud. The image is TV sitcom quality 1:33 aspect for Box One but a nice surprise is the anamorphic enhancement for Box S et 2 covering season 4. This presents the episodes in 1:85 aspect ratio with higher resolution for those who have a widescreen TV. Very nice.

Amadeus: The Director's Cut

Now that we are getting used to re-purchasing movies we've previously had on VHS or laserdisc, some of us face the dilemma of buying a DVD of a movie we already have on DVD! Such a film is Amadeus. A remarkable film on any format, the previous edition DVD pales in comparison to this new "Director's Cut". The two disc set includes 20 minutes not in the original and commentary by director Milos Forman and writer Peter Shaffer. The picture has been digitally restored and the sound is 5.1 Dolby Digital. The second disc also features "The Making Of Amadeus" documentary which runs over 35 minutes. This is a modern intelligent epic with style and humor and great performances and let's not forget the amazing music brought to life by Sir Neville Marriner. A classic even if you don't listen to classical music.

Cleopatra DVD

Truth vs Fiction. Cleopatra was a critical and box office failure -- false. The public loved big movies and the background scandal of the Burton-Taylor romance fueled their interest in the film. Cleopatra has an intelligent epic quality to it and the combination of Joseph Mankiewicz' script and direction ensured a classy operation all the way. Much has been made of the huge budget. Well, a lot of money was spent but the money is certainly up there on the screen. Amazing locations, costumes, thousands of extras, gorgeous photography plus an amazing score by Alex North. We won't see filmmaking like this again. The sense of massive scale has not yet been duplicated by today's computer enhancements. The three disc set includes commentary by the director's sons plus surviving cast member Martin Landau although an Elizabeth Taylor commentary would be fascinating. There is an amazing high-definition transfer to help you appreciate the gorgeous colors, epic vistas and stunning costume details. Part of this credit must be given to Elizabeth Taylor for insisting that the film be shot in her husband's Todd-AO process.

This format allowed for much greater detail in the original photography. The audio is multi-channel Dolby Digital. The video is anamorphically enhanced 2:35 aspect ratio. Disc Three holds some great behind the scenes newsreels from various premieres-one eye catching moment is the arrival of an elderly looking gentleman who turns out to be Strom Thurmond in 1963! Also included are storyboards and original costume sketches and concept art. A big bonus is the inclusion of the famous two hour documentary Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood. This was co-produced by cable's AMC channel and narrated by Robert Culp. Also in the package is a shorter featurette called The Fourth Star of Cleopatra which deals with the epic scale of the production. A great DVD.

Glory 2-Disc Set
This wonderful true story of the first black regiment to fight for the North in the U.S. Civil War was previously released on DVD. That bare bones presentation has been supplanted by this nice 2-disc set. Disc One features "Glory" in anamorphic widescreen and is greatly improved over the previous release although still somewhat soft. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital and is essential to the enjoyment of this film especially for the battle scenes and James Horner's orchestral score and choir. Also included is director Ed Zwick's audio commentary. Beyond that fairly standard extra is something very interesting, a picture-in-picture VIDEO commentary by Zwick and co-stars Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman. The three appear on the screen in silhouette much like the TV show Mystery Science Theatre and comment on the action as it unfolds.

It's especially pleasurable to hear the wonderful voice of Freeman and his remarks. Disc Two features a reformatted full-screen version of the film, director's commentary, a documentary called "The True Story Of Glory Continues" narrated by Freeman and a featurette "Voices Of Glory". A very well done set from Columbia Tri-Star featuring beautiful photography, an intelligent script and an Oscar-winning performance from Denzel Washington. There are few more moving and powerful moments in film than the final attack on Fort Wagner. The fact that it was futile, costing many lives and really happened makes it even more heartbreaking.

The Godfather DVD Collection

What more can be said about The Godfather (and Godfather Part 2)? Acclaimed by critics and the public and a huge success financially, when else has a film and it's sequal won Best Picture Of The Year Oscars? An amazing script and a legendary cast. Fans of these films can quote entire scenes and many individual lines are now part of the common culture. The special box set includes all three Godfather films with a separate bonus disc produced especially for this package. The picture (while still murky or yellowish at times on One & Two) is better than ever. Sound is remasterd Dolby Digital and each film comes with an audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola. The stories about casting problems and studio interference are legendary and are fascinating to hear. It's a wonder that The Godfather ever got made at all.

The documentary on the making of the films is well done and we do get to see scenes which never made it to the theatre screen. There are storyboards, a feature on the unique cinematography, the music by Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola and even an interactive "family tree". Set yourself up for a Godfather weekend, prepare a meal, get the wine and lose yourself in true movie-making genius. While number three is certainly weaker (especially due to the loss of Robert Duvall) it still has much to recommend. Maybe watch One & Two and save Three for another day so it won't suffer by comparison. Make this your "desert island" package--you can watch this forever.

Marilyn Monroe The Diamond Collection Vol. I
Fans of the movie legend will enjoy these light hearted classics especially since they are restored to their original aspect ratios. 20th Century Fox utilized the CinemaScope process from the time of "The Robe" in 1953 to "In Like Flint" in the mid-Sixties. This widescreen process (now replaced by Panavision) produced an image 2 1/2 times wider than the image's height. Transferring these films to TV and video tape was a nightmare. Millions of TV watchers have no idea how much of a movie was chopped off on television.

Since Marilyn's films were always popular on TV it's nice to know that they are now available to be rediscovered in clean wide images with rich Tecnicolor and multi-channel audio. The films in the Diamond collection are "Bus Stop", "How To Marry A Millionaire", "There's No Business Like Show Business", "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "The Seven Year Itch". The bonus is a DVD called "The Final Days' which is exclusive to this package and features a reconstruction of Monroe's last film "Something's Got To Give" with the famous nude scene in the pool- the first by a major star in a Hollywood film.

North By Northwest

It could be argued that "North By Northwest" is the film where all of Alfred Hichcock's talents came together. His legendary status as a filmmaker was well established but some times his films were not appreciated at the time of their release. Films regarded well today which were trashed by critics include "Psycho", "Marnie" and even the legendary "Vertigo" took some time before the critical tide turned. Some of the credit for this change of heart must be given to filmmakers like Truffaut who seemed to be ahead of the curve with regard to Sir Alfred. American critics just couldn't give praise to someone who made popular entertainment and appeared on his own TV show! "North By Northwest" is different. This film is dazzling in every respect. The final pairing of Hitchcock with Cary Grant, the great cinematography by Robert Burks using the VistaVision process, Ernest Lehman's witty script and to top it off the amazing music by Bernard Herrmann. Even other film composers were in awe of this composer's genius. Not many would have scored Saul Bass' credit sequence set against New York office buildings with a Fandango! Herrmann did and it's a classic. The DVD offers a stunning transfer of the Technicolor widescreen film - it's great to see the New York of the late 50's this way. The audio has been remixed in 5.1 and sounds very nice. There is a commentary track with screenwriter Lehman and a documentary hosted by leading lady Eva Marie Saint. The extra feature which really sets this apart is the isolated Bernard Herrmann score. Herrmann is regarded as one of the best composers ever to grace Hollywood films and this score is one of his best. To be able to enjoy the entire film score without dialog or sound effercts is a real treat. Not to mention an opportunity for those with a CD burner! A must have purchase!

Pearl Harbor - The Vista Series
The Vista Series version of "Pearl Harbor" is groundbreaking in many ways. A state-of-the-art picture in a director's cut with 60 new shots. A much more grim take on the battle scenes, DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mixes, a beautiful package which resembles a soldier's diary includes booklets, postcards and more. The extras include multiple audio commentaries, multiple documentaries, multi-angle action scenes and on and on. This is one of those "if you're going to buy only one dvd" type of discs. It's hard to imagine how anyone will top this presentation-if only the film was better! There is no doubt that the attack on Pearl Harbor sequence is a classic but there is just so much dreck around it.

Some of the performances are so awful that it's hard to imagine how they could tell a good take from a bad one. Is this the same Ben Affleck who was in "Chasing Amy"? Well, when the human side lets you down we turn to the technical side and that's where this film lives. Stunning picture and sound on this reference quality presentation. In fact, its best to watch "Pearl Harbor" for its technical successes and check out the documentaries for the human story. Maybe this would have been better if produced like those Irwin Allen films. Let Michael Bay handle all the action stuff and get another director to hone the script and direct the actors. Who knows! By the way, check out "Tora, Tora, Tora - Special Edition". Amazing to see the same battle done without computers!

DVDs-Action-Adventure


Die Hard: Ultimate Collection

WOW! When they said "Ultimate" they meant it. Don't even think about picking up the previous Die Hard box set. It was 3 films in a cardboard box. That's it! Now we have upgraded picture, DTS audio, commentary tracks for each film and extras too numerous to list. But here's a taste of the goodies ahead. Die Hard - multiple commentary tracks, deleted scene, text commentary, DVD-ROM features, scene edit workshop (a feature which seems to be getting popular), screenplay comparison options and more. Die Hard 2: Die Harder - Director commentary, making of documentary, deleted scenes, stroyboards and special effects breakdown of major sequences. Die Hard With A Vengeance - Director commentary, alternate ending, production documentaries, featurettes on major special effects sequences, storyboards and much more. Anamorphic video enhancement improves the image qualty and the DTS multi channel encoding should please any home theatre fan. Highly recommended.

James Bond Box Set

This new box set of popular James Bond films is really not that new. Fans of Bond remember that there were a series of box sets previously but they were all put on "moratorium' and technically unavailable. Now that the latest Bond adventure "Die Another Day" is just weeks away (November 2002 release), a 7 disc set comes to market. Featured this time around is "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "The Man With The Golden Gun" with Roger Moore, "Dr. No" and "Goldfinger" with Sean Connery, "Goldeneye" and "Tomorrow Never Dies" with Pierce Brosnan and "Licence To KIll" with Timothy Dalton. The discs feature behind the scenes documentaries and multiple commentary tracks as well as poster art and trailers. All of the discs are excellently produced with clever and colorful menus. "Golden Gun", "Dr. No" and "Goldfinger" are mono and the rest are 5.1 surround. The picture and sound are very good especially on the more modern Brosnan films but even the low budget "Dr. No" is better looking than ever. The James Bond series has its ups and downs but overall they have delivered fun and thrills for 40 years and there seems to be no end in sight. If you didn't grab these DVDs the first time around, don't hesitate. If you like some but don't want to spring for the box set, the films are available separately.

Rambo Special Edition DVD
"Do we get to win this time?" John Rambo's words ring true for the DVD collector. This four disc set featuring remasterd sound and pictrue is a great way to revisit these films. Packaged in a metallic slip case, the films come both widescreen and fullscreen versions on the same disc. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS and while the mix is not as agressive as some more recent action flicks it's still far better than previous editions. Each film comes with a commentary track and a new documentary and the package includes a fourth disc packed with featurettes on the Rambo series and documentaries on Vietnam, The Green Berets and average soldiers who fought in the conflict. It adds a nice serious tone to the Rambo legacy since the films themselves got more and more cartoon-like. By the way, it's nice to be reminded about how good First Blood really is and don't forget to look for David Caruso in a small but important role. One criticism of the supplementals - Jerry Goldsmith's three Rambo scores are worthy of more attention than given here.

TV: "24" First Season DVD Set

A great idea for a show, each episode deals with one hour in the life of government agent Jack Bauer. Assassination plots, family members kidnapped and Agent Bauer (and we as the audience) see it unfold in real time. This box set includes all 24 episodes on 6 discs with a special introduction by star Kiefer Sutherland. The audio is 2 channel Dolby Digital and the video represents the HDTV picture width and is anamorphically encoded. If you were shocked or troubled by the season finale be aware that an alternate ending to the final episode is also included. A teaser for Season Two rounds out the package. Every once in awhile a show comes along which gets everyone talking and "24" is that kind of show.

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