News and Commentary: March 1999

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Wednesday, 31 March 1999

Bond stays at MGM: After much legal saber-rattling over the past couple of years, Sony and MGM have arrived at an out-of-court settlement over the rights to produce James Bond films. Sony will pay MGM $5 million under the agreement, and will drop their plans to develop a 007 flick with producer Kevin McClory. Columbia Pictures (which is owned by Sony) had intended to begin development of their new Bond film back in 1997, based on alleged rights owned by McClory, who produced both Thunderball and Never Say Never Again (McClory claimed that Bond author Ian Fleming had granted him rights to the Bond character that pre-dated MGM's international rights to the 007 series). As part of the agreement, MGM will pay Sony $10 million for the rights to the 1967 Bond spoof Casino Royale. The Lion has produced all but two of the 20 Bond films in existence, starting with 1962's Dr. No. Pierce Brosnan's latest outing with the franchise, The World is Not Enough, is due to arrive in American theaters in November.

Top of the Pops: Here's the top-selling DVDs last week from our friends at

  1. Dances with Wolves
  2. The Silence of the Lambs
  3. Casablanca
  4. The Waterboy
  5. West Side Story
  6. Driving Miss Daisy
  7. Die Hard Trilogy
  8. Rush Hour
  9. Ever After: A Cinderella Story
  10. Ronin

Mailbag: We're still digging through all of the reader mail we get here at The DVD Journal. Here's a couple of letters we've received lately:

  • I have heard some talk on the Internet that the Alien DVDs have been canceled due to low sales of the Die Hard trilogy. Is there any truth to this? I thought the Die Hard trilogy was selling very well for Fox.

    -- Jason

    We haven't heard it, but if this rumor is going around the 'Net, it's total crap. All four Alien DVDs are due on June 1, and Fox has announced an unprecedented amount of special-edition content for the series. As for the Die Hard trilogy, our friends at assure us that it's selling like ice cream on a hot summer day.

  • I don't understand why so many great movies are not released on DVD. Steven Spielberg recently released 1941 on DVD, but why does he refuse to release any of his good movies? And why do great films like Pulp Fiction have no extra features?

    -- Jason

    Conventional wisdom has it that Steven Spielberg is holding on to his most popular films until he believes that enough DVD players have sold to make his DVDs profitable. How profitable is anybody's guess, but we don't expect to see Jaws, Schindler's List, or Close Encounters of the Third Kind on disc anytime soon, even though Spielberg started releasing films from his Amblin production company on DVD last year (such as The Mask of Zorro). As for why Pulp Fiction and other titles lack special-edition content, it again comes down to profitability (extras cost money, after all), in addition to the desire of some studios to get discs on the market as fast as possible. Again, this trend is starting to change, and special-edition holdouts Disney, Fox, and Paramount are now releasing some feature-packed discs -- although not nearly as fast or as often as DVD stalwarts Warner and MGM.

    Coming Attractions: Our March contest for a free Ronin DVD is now over (we need a day to select a winner and count up the poll votes), but we will have a new free DVD contest and reader poll up tomorrow, and we can tell you that April's free DVD will be -- explosive. Don't miss it.

    -- Ed.

    Tuesday, 30 March 1999

    Recordable CD woes: Mark Barks at E-Town recently discovered a dirty little DVD secret that some of us already knew -- namely, that most DVD video players will not play home-recorded Compact Discs (although the vast majority will play pre-recorded CDs just fine, and some even play CD-Video discs, aka MPEG-1). For those of you who think that CD playback is part of the DVD standard, think again. Major manufacturers offer CD playback as a feature on their DVD decks, but it's not required, and with recordable CD as relatively small standard, consumer demand for DVD support of the format has been negligible. If you really want to play your home-toasted discs on a DVD deck, rumor has it that Toshiba players will handle some CD-R discs, but not all of them -- and Toshiba will not advertise CD-R support as a feature on their players.

    On the Street: Here's this morning's notable street discs, courtesy of Laserviews:

    • The Betsy (pan-and-scan)
    • The Black Hole
    • Burglar (pan-and-scan)
    • The Cat From Outer Space
    • Cleopatra Jones
    • The Court Jester
    • Days Of Heaven
    • Evil Dead: Special Edition
    • Fair Game (pan-and-scan)
    • Final Analysis (pan-and-scan)
    • Futuresport
    • The Gauntlet
    • Heathers
    • Home Fries
    • Hudson Hawk: Special Edition
    • Innocent Blood (pan-and-scan)
    • Jackie Chan: My Stunts (import)
    • Joe's Apartment (pan-and-scan)
    • Joni Mitchell: Painting With Words and Music
    • The Last Days Of Disco
    • Man With Two Brains (pan-and-scan)
    • Outlaw Josey Wales
    • Passion Fish
    • Poetic Justice: Special Edition
    • Ringmaster
    • The Rugrats Movie
    • Running On Empty
    • Search & Destroy
    • The Ten Commandments
    • Time Bandits: The Criterion Collection
    • True Stories
    • Unidentified Flying Oddball

    Get in line, buddy: In case you haven't heard it yet, there will be no advance ticket sales for the forthcoming Episode I: The Phantom Menace, meaning that you will have to queue up with everybody else on May 19 if you want to be one of the first to see it. A few people have asked us why George Lucas and Fox made this decision, and the official word from Fox is that they are trying to prevent scalping that could prevent ordinary people and families from seeing the film during its initial release. Fox has stated that advance tickets will be available after the first two weeks.

    Hmmmm. Very noble, but we have an alternate theory, namely The Media. After all, when was the last time a film created lines around the corner and down the street? When was the last time people camped out all night in order to get into a cineplex the next day? If you're planning to stand in line, you will do so for one reason: Lucas and Fox want to create a film event like never before, and they want you, your lunchbox, and your sore feet on the evening news. And of course, they would like you to smile for the cameras afterwards and say "It was worth it" -- which it undoubtedly will be for many Star Wars fans anyway.

    See ya tomorrow.

    -- Ed.

    Monday, 29 March 1999

    Universal links with Working Title: Universal Pictures, lurching from the recent flops of Meet Joe Black and Babe: A Pig in the City, have secured a five-year production agreement with Working Title Films, the UK studio behind such recent successes as Elizabeth and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Working Title co-chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will continue to operate their production company from their UK headquarters as a division of Universal. The arrangement follows Universal's recent acquisition of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, which distributed Working Title films on DVD until recently. Universal sold off most of the PolyGram library to MGM, but it has retained the rights to PolyGram's post-1997 films, and this new agreement should further secure Universal's home-video distribution for Working Title productions on DVD -- including the upcoming Notting Hill with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, and the historical action-adventure Plunkett and Macleane.

    boxcoverDisc of the Week: 48 HRS is one of the best cop-buddy movies made -- and a welcome recent arrival to DVD -- but don't credit the script, which, taken by itself, wallows in a variety of good guy/bad guy cliches. Nick Nolte stars in 48 HRS as San Francisco PD Det. Jack Cates, a hard-assed cop who drinks whiskey for breakfast and argues with his girlfriend all the time. After two of his fellow officers are killed in a shootout and one of the killers gets Cates' gun, the grumpy gumshoe finds Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy), one of their former accomplices, in San Quentin and gets the convict a 48-hour furlough to help him track the bad guys. If the premise sounds a bit hackneyed, the conclusion is no less surprising. What makes 48 HRS special is what happens in between. In the midst of rotten dialogue and two-dimensional acting from most of the supporting cast, Murphy absolutely lets go with a variety of improvs, infusing his two-bit hood character with such energy that he's impossible to ignore. Nolte proves a worthy adversary, trading quips, insults, and even a few fisticuffs with his weekend hostage. 48 HRS is a good example of how gifted actors can rise above their material, and it's no surprise that the film launched Murphy's Hollywood career. The new disc from Paramount offers an excellent source print with rich colors and very little damage, and we're glad we got the chance to watch this old favorite again -- even if it did spark the old "what's up with Eddie Murphy's career" conversation we've hashed over so many times before.

    Box Office: Here's the top-grossing films at American theaters from last weekend:

    1. Forces of Nature
      $9,614,000 ($26,981,000 to date)
    2. EDtv
      $9,000,000 ($9,000,000 to date)
    3. Analyze This
      $8,805,000 ($69,453,000 to date)
    4. The Mod Squad
      $6,100,000 ($6,100,000 to date)
    5. Doug's First Movie
      $4,400,000 ($4,400,000 to date)
    6. Shakespeare in Love
      $4,400,000 ($79,400,000 to date)
    7. True Crime
      $3,315,000 ($10,415,000 to date)
    8. Life is Beautiful
      $3,200,000 ($40,600,000 to date)
    9. Baby Geniuses
      $2,700,000 ($15,300,000 to date)
    10. Cruel Intentions
      $2,400,000 ($33,500,000 to date)
    11. The King and I
      $2,132,000 ($7,093,000 to date)
    12. The Corruptor
      $1,500,000 ($13,500,000 to date)

    On the Board: A new full review has been posted for Pleasantville, and can be found on our Full Reviews index. New quick reviews this week include Antz, The Waterboy, Bulworth, 48 HRS, and Urban Legend, and can be accessed under the New Reviews menu here on the main page.

    We'll be back tomorrow with news on this week's street discs.

    -- Ed.

    Friday, 26 March 1999
    Weekend Dispatch

    In the Works: Here's some new disc announcements, courtesy of Laserviews:

    • The special features for Fox's forthcoming Alien series have been announced. Alien: Special Edition will feature a commentary with director Ridley Scott, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the crew, H.R. Giger's paintings and drawings, conceptual artwork, production photos and advertising materials, an annotated history of the film, and theatrical trailers. Aliens: Special Edition will feature the original James Cameron-approved 154-minute cut, an interview with Cameron, behind-the-scenes footage, production artwork, visual effects, storyboards and other materials, production photos, screenplay excerpts, an annotated history of the film, advertising materials, and a trailer. Alien3 will include a "making of" documentary, interviews with the cast and crew of the first three Alien movies, and a trailer. Finally, Alien Resurrection will include a production featurette, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the cast and crew, and a trailer. All four DVDs will be available for individual purchase or as a box set on June 1.
    • After announcing that The Shawshank Redemption: Special Edition would street on April 6, Warner has reversed course (yet again) and postponed it with no new street date. Will this ever end?
    • The Shawshank Redemption may be missing in action, but Warner has a few new discs on the way, including a remastered Bonnie and Clyde with a widescreen transfer that will replace the current (and much-maligned) pan-and-scan disc; the Coen brothers' The Hudsucker Proxy with Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Newman; and Q & A with Nick Nolte and Timothy Hutton. Action fans can look forward to new Warner discs of Jean-Claude Van Damme's Kickboxer I, as well as Steven Seagal's On Deadly Ground and Out For Justice. Warner is also preparing two classic Bob Hope films for DVD release, The Princess and the Pirate and They Got Me Covered. All are due on May 25.
    • Warner has also announced some new titles in their $14.98 budget line, including Action Jackson, Caddyshack 2, Dead Bang, Divine Madness, Fearless, The First Deadly Sin, Funny Farm, My Blue Heaven, Power, and With Honors. All will be full-frame or pan-and-scan. Look for them on May 25 as well.
    • Fox Lorber has several classic Eric Rohmer films on the way, including The Aviator's Wife, Boyfriends and Girlfriends, Full Moon In Paris, The Good Marriage, and Summer. Check 'em out on May 25.

    "Ryan" gets a VHS date: Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan has been given a VHS release date of May 25, but in a surprise to some industry insiders, it will not be available at a sell-through price upon release and will only be available at wholesale for video stores, which is an unusual decision for such a popular film (1997's top-grosser, Titanic, was available for $20 or less at retail when it first arrived on tape). Consumers can still buy the Ryan VHS for the $75 or more that rental outlets will pay for it (some people probably will), but it is now believed that the single-cassette release will not sport a retail price until the fourth quarter of '99. In less surprising news, Ryan has not received a DVD street date, and if the film will only be a wholesale item on VHS until the holidays, we're not planning on seeing a disc from DreamWorks until Christmas at the earliest. Hoping for a widescreen tape at least? Don't count on it, because wholesale tapes are never in widescreen. Those given over to DVD tantrums may now be officially pissed off.

    Divx Watch: The jury is still out on a possible distribution agreement between Divx-owner Circuit City and Blockbuster Video, but Kathryn Harris at Bloomberg News has posted an in-depth story that examines Blockbuster's possible motivations for negotiating with the massive CE retailer. There is speculation that Blockbuster is planning to make a cash investment into Divx in exhange for distribution of discs over the Internet, but for now it's still anybody's guess, and Viacom Inc. (which owns the Blockbuster chain) is still refusing to comment.

    DVD review search engines: Pheran's DVD Review Index may have gone dormant (see Tuesday's update), but Pheran has made his source code public and we can tell you that at least two DVD websites, DVD Insight and DiVerse DVD, have decided to incorporate the code into their own sites and continue the job that Pheran started. Be sure to drop by both of them if you get the chance and see how things are coming along.

    boxcoverCommentary Clip: "I knew a lot of ball players who were from the Caribbean who were very, very seriously involved in voodoo and various kinds of witchcraft. On Puerto Rican baseball teams one of the 25 roster spots was for the witch, so you tried to get a witch who was also a good utility player."

    -- Writer-director Ron Shelton, Bull Durham

    Quotable: "Stars who get $20 million also get perks packages of $3 million or more. Nobody says no to them. Then I'm in the part of having to go and really kick their ass.... No one is willing to turn to these people and say: 'Don't you know you're being a pig?' "

    -- Joel Shumacher, filmmaker and self-described ass-kicker

    Coming Attractions: New DVD reviews are on the way, including Pleasantville, The Waterboy and Bulworth, so check back on Monday morning for all the latest.

    Have a great weekend.

    -- Ed.

    Thursday, 25 March 1999

    Early "Menace" screening: Star Wars fans around America have marked Wednesday, May 19 on their calendars as a national holiday of sorts, since it's the day that the highly anticipated Episode I: The Phantom Menace will open in movie theaters everywhere. But for those who can't take the suspense any longer, George Lucas has announced that Episode I will arrive on Sunday, May 16 in selected venues as a benefit for various children's charities. Think you're gonna get in? Tickets for the Los Angeles screening (which will benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation) will start at $500, with group packages going for as high as $25,000. Start selling your vintage Star Wars toys right away.

    Generous George also announced yesterday that he is donating $1.5 million to the University of Southern California, his alma mater, for the creation of a digital studio for film students, and that that the new facility will be named after legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. "Kurosawa was one of film's true greats," Lucas said. "His ability to transform a vision into a powerful work of art is unparalleled. So it seemed appropriate to name the new digital studio for him." Having seen both of the Episode I trailers -- which have the Kurosawa style written all over them -- we're not surprised.

    boxcover"Missing in Action" Flick of the Week: Winning the Academy Award for Best Picture is a good way to ensure a healthy box office and a long life on home video, but it's no guarantee that the film will arrive on DVD. Exhibit One: Braveheart. This 1995 Best Picture winner garnered an additional Oscar for director Mel Gibson, who stars as William Wallace, a 13th-century Scotsman who takes up arms against his English rulers and organizes an army of fellow Scots to join him on his crusade for independence. Some Best Picture winners in recent years have left us scratching our heads (we won't name names here), but Braveheart is one of those Oscar champs that seemed destined for the honor, with a rugged historical setting, fine acting, sweeping battle scenes, a bit of wince-inducing gore, and a moving story about freedom and the price that some pay for it. This year's Best Picture winner, Shakespeare in Love, will arrive on disc later this spring, but as much as we love the film, we'd gladly let it languish on a pan-and-scan VHS for a while if it meant we could get a DVD of Braveheart right away.

    Gwyneth bashing: Not long after feminist and social critic Camile Paglia said that Gwyneth Paltrow's Academy Award nomination for Best Actress was "scraping the bottom of the barrel" (see last week's update), Fernanda Montenegro, star of the Brazilian film Central Station and a fellow Best Actress nominee last Sunday night, has told Brazilian television that Gwyneth's win was a result of biased American voters who hold beauty above talent. "They don't have much of this type of actress in America," Montenegro said, "this romantic figure, thin, pure, virginal."

    Not willing to leave it at that, she also cut loose on Best Actor winner Roberto Benigni and his film Life is Beautiful."As a film it was weak," she said. "I thought it was just him that won, not the film itself."

    So much for "It's an honor just to be nominated."

    -- Ed.

    Wednesday, 24 March 1999

    Will your DVD player become obsolete?: The Tranz-Send Broadcasting Network, a company that has spent considerable effort to develop on-demand home video, has announced plans to provide movies in real-time to consumers with PCs or televisions via a set-top box. Scott Redmond, CEO of TSBN, claims that the transmissions (which can be received by modems or satellite dishes) will offer DVD-quality video, although the audio specs have not been clarified. No titles have been announced for the fledgling TSBN format, but Redmond claims he has demonstrated the technology for several Hollywood studios, and that the response has been very positive. Redmond plans to announce titles in coming weeks, and begin transmissions in May.

    Is the TSBN scheme plausible? Movies-on-demand, while a big paradigm shift in home video, has been discussed for years, and a form of it has been available from cable and satellite programmers for some time now as pay-per-view -- although these programs are not true "on-demand" signals, since you have to start watching the movie when the provider begins showing it. However, if the TSBN on-demand system is even moderately successful, it will be a distinct form of home video, and may be a competitor to Divx, VHS rentals, and even open DVD (provided that the signals are of comparable quality). But we'll believe it when we see it.

    Top of the Pops: Here's the top-selling DVDs last week from our friends at

    1. Dances with Wolves
    2. The Silence of the Lambs
    3. Casablanca
    4. West Side Story
    5. Die Hard Trilogy
    6. Rush Hour
    7. Driving Miss Daisy
    8. Ever After: A Cinderella Story
    9. Ronin
    10. Soldier

    Parties always wind up in the kitchen anyway: Swedish appliance maker Electrolux has announced their new Screenfridge, a refrigerator with a 13" LCD touch screen that will allow you to inventory your groceries, plan a shopping list, and even watch television and home videos right in your kitchen. We're thinking of getting one for the DVD Journal office, so that staff members won't have to leave the room during DVD screenings to get another beer.

    We'll see you tomorrow.

    -- Ed.

    Tuesday, 23 March 1999

    A sad farewell: Our pal Pheran, who has operated the excellent DVD Review Index, sent us and other DVD websites this letter yesterday:

    It is with much regret that I announce that Pheran's DVD Review Index is coming to an end. The DVDRI started out as a hobby for me. It does not bring me any income, and I have a regular full time job plus many other interests. What started out to be fun was turning into a major time sink that was cutting into other parts of my life. I don't know how some of you guys do it, with sites much more extensive than mine. I salute you.

    There is something positive coming out of this. In the spirit of the open source community, of which I am also a part, I am going to release the CGI engine that drives my site and the link database that goes with it to anyone who wants it. This will allow anyone that can use Perl CGI code on their web site to make their own reviews searchable, create dynamic pages of reviews, or even start their own DVD review index. In this way I hope that my work will continue to contribute to the DVD community even after my site is gone.

    My site will not disappear immediately; in fact it will probably stay up for a long time as a resource to find older DVD reviews. I just won't be making any updates from now on. If you are interested in obtaining the DVDRI source code and my link database, please email me and I will give you a pointer where you can download it. I'm doing it that way because I'm a bit curious about how much interest there will be. There are no "licensing restrictions" on this code, other than I ask that I get a little credit somewhere on your site. :-)

    A big thank you to all of you for making my site possible, and I hope that your sites continue to do well in the future.

    -- Pheran

    We at The DVD Journal will miss you Pheran, and we'd like to say thank you for your service. We ask all of our readers to write Pheran if they get the chance and say thanks for one of the best DVD Internet resources we have ever seen.

    In the Works: Here's some new disc announcements posted over the weekend at Laserviews:

    • Scorsese lovers get happy, because the no-frills Columbia TriStar disc of Taxi Driver has been discontinued, and a special edition is on the way -- although no street date has yet been announced.
    • Fans of the often-delayed The Shawshank Redemption will be glad to hear that Warner has now announced an April 6 date for the highly anticipated film, and that it will be a special edition disc.
    • Paramount is back with some 16x9 discs, including Star Trek: Insurrection, which will include a behind-the-scenes featurette and two theatrical trailers, the Denzel Washington thriller Virtuosity, which also stars Russell Crowe, Drop Zone with Wesley Snipes and Gary Busey, and The Phantom starring Billy Zane and Treat Williams. The Tom Cruise/Robert Duvall racecar flick Days of Thunder is also on the way, although it will not feature 16x9 enhancement. All are due on May 25.
    • Artisan has discontinued their disc of the Charlie Sheen sci-fi The Arrival and will be releasing a double-feature DVD of The Arrival and The Arrival II on May 18.
    • Pioneer is planning a disc of Gleaming The Cube, starring Christian Slater and Steven Bauer, and the cannibalistic comedy Parents with Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt. Look for both on May 25.
    • Price changes include Elizabeth: Special Edition, which will now has an MSRP of $34.95 instead of the previously announced $39.95. Meanwhile, What Dreams May Come has been announced as a special edition and bumped up five bucks, from $29.95 to $34.95. The street date for What Dreams May Come has also been pushed back to May 25.
    • Street date changes include A Boy and His Dog: Special Edition (April 13), Clay Pigeons (April 27), and Depeche Mode: The Videos '86-'98 (June 8).
    • It appears that the Criterion Collection edition of This Is Spinal Tap has been discontinued for unknown reasons. We'll let you know more about this when we get the info.

    Recordable DVD update: It's not here yet, but the digital Holy Grail that is Recordable DVD is still under agressive development by several manufacturers, including C-Cube Microsystems and Toshiba, who recently demonstrated some new DVD-RAM technology at the CeBit Trade Show in Hanover, Germany. Get the update at E-Town.

    On the Street: Here's this morning's notable street discs, courtesy once again of our friends at Laserviews:

    • 1941: Special Edition
    • Antz: Special Edition
    • Bride Of Chucky
    • A Fish Called Wanda
    • Fresh Live Cream
    • Going Overboard
    • Intermezzo
    • Last Year At Marienbad
    • Mighty Joe Young
    • Stevie Nicks: Live At Red Rocks
    • The Pink Panther
    • The Pink Panther Strikes Again
    • Pleasantville: Special Edition
    • Pretty As A Picture: The Art Of David Lynch
    • Pride Of The Yankees (COLORIZED)
    • The Quiet Man
    • Revenge Of The Pink Panther
    • Shot In The Dark: The Pink Panther
    • Paul Simon: Graceland: The African Concert
    • Rod Stewart: Storyteller 1984-1991
    • Sunday In The Park With George: Special Edition

    Mailbag: It's time to clean out some of the reader mail here at The DVD Journal:

  • I am writing to you because I have heard that the Star Wars: Special Edition DVD Trilogy is set to go into stores on Tuesday. One of my friends heard this (friend works at Best Buy) and he said that a major manufacturer was releasing the Trilogy in DVD format the 23rd of March. Is this true??

    -- Star Wars fan and lover of DVD.

    Please find your friend or friend-of-a-friend or whoever he is and beat the shit out of him Lucas-lover, because he's playing a cruel joke on you. The Star Wars Trilogy has yet to be announced for DVD.

  • The main reason I'd like There's Something About Mary on open DVD is that right now Fox only has it on Divx. I'm one of the few people who hasn't seen this movie (though I want to), and if they just keep in on Divx, I never will, just out of protest.

    -- Charles

    Many members of the DVD Journal staff have yet to see this film either, Charles, mostly because we watch so many DVDs that we don't get to see everything in the theater, and we rarely watch anything on VHS (let alone Divx). We're with you -- vote with your money!

    Oscar annoyances: If you want our opinion, Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony was a tedious bore. Whoopi Goldberg, with her tired mix of silly costumes and stale political jokes, was dreadful. A few attendees refused to honor Elia Kazan because of political choices he made more than 40 years ago, rather than acknowledge his tremendous contribution to American cinema (as if Ed Harris or Nick Nolte could ever direct On the Waterfront or A Streetcar Named Desire). Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese seemed tired. Jack Nicholson was tight-lipped. Goldie Hawn looked like she was on acid. And Harrison Ford must have been wishing he was back on his ranch instead of in sunny L.A. There was even a modern dance interpretation of nominated movie themes that made us long for the velvet voice of Rob Lowe and his duet with Snow White a few years back. And as the four-hour, two-minute broadcast arrived at a merciful resolution (the longest ceremonies on record), the staff of The DVD Journal realized we had spent most of the time talking amongst ourselves (and flicking on the Die Hard DVD during the musical numbers). The whole ordeal was simply dreadful, and we'd really like Ben Stiller to do next year's show. But that's just our humble view from here in Portland. Get the comments from other critics at this Reuters roundup.

    See ya later.

    -- Ed.

    Monday, 22 March 1999

    And The Winners Are: Here's the notable winners from last night's Academy Award ceremonies:

    • Best Picture: Shakespeare in Love
    • Best Director: Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan
    • Best Actor: Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful
    • Best Actress: Gwynneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love
    • Best Supporting Actor: James Coburn, Affliction
    • Best Supporting Actress: Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love
    • Best Original Screenplay: Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, Shakespeare in Love
    • Best Adapted Screenplay: Bill Condon, Gods and Monsters

    Full results are available at The Internet Movie Database.

    boxcoverDisc of the Week: Elia Kazan, a Broadway stage director who turned to filmmaking in the 1940s, has been no stranger to controversy throughout his career, including last night's Academy Awards ceremony, where he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award amidst long-harbored grudges from several attendees due to his cooperation with the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthyite Communist witch hunts of the 1950s. While Kazan was a gifted director, his career never completely recovered after the Red Scare, and the bulk of his contribution to film history remains squarely located in the 1950s, including such classics as Viva Zapata!, Baby Doll, and On the Waterfront. While none of these have reached DVD yet, fans can check out Warner's disc of A Streetcar Named Desire, a multiple Academy Award-winner from 1951. Streetcar features Marlon Brando's first starring role on film, as the brutal Stanley Kowalski, who finds himself at odds with his wife's sister Blanche DuBuois (Vivien Leigh) when the faded Southern belle moves into their decrepit New Orleans apartment but refuses to reveal the circumstances that have led here there. Kazan's initial cut of Streetcar (based on his Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' play) met with sharp criticism from Hollywood censors in 1951, and Kazan failed to keep his original stage production intact on film due to its many sexual overtones. This DVD release from Warner offers Kazan's original film, which was restored in 1993. For Brando fans, it's a must-see. He may have done subtler work in later films, but he never matched the raw power of this one.

    Box Office: Here's the top-grossing films at American theaters from last weekend:

    1. Forces of Nature
      $13,900,000 ($13,900,000 to date)
    2. Analyze This
      $11,900,000 ($57,300,000 to date)
    3. True Crime
      $5,300,000 ($5,300,000 to date)
    4. Baby Geniuses
      $4,500,000 ($12,000,000 to date)
    5. Cruel Intentions
      $4,200,000 ($30,100,000 to date)
    6. The King and I
      $4,100,000 ($4,100,000 to date)
    7. The Rage: Carrie 2
      $3,600,000 ($12,500,000 to date)
    8. The Corruptor
      $3,000,000 ($10,800,000 to date)
    9. Shakespeare in Love
      $2,800,000 ($73,000,000 to date)
    10. The Deep End of the Ocean
      $2,700,000 ($10,100,000 to date)
    11. Wing Commander
      $2,100,000 ($8,700,000 to date)
    12. Life is Beautiful
      $2,100,000 ($35,800,000 to date)
    13. The Other Sister
      $2,100,000 ($23,500,000 to date)

    On the Board: A new full review has been posted for Network, and can be found on our Full Reviews index. New quick reviews this week include Soldier, Internal Affairs, Polish Wedding, A Streetcar Named Desire, and A Few Good Men, and can be accessed under the New Reviews menu here on the main page.

    We'll be back tomorrow with news on this week's street discs.

    -- Ed.

    Friday, 19 March 1999
    -- Newsroom Code Red --

    [Newsroom Code Red!]Divx, Blockbuster shocker!: Just when we thought we could safely consign Divx to the scrap-heap of bad ideas that couldn't survive the free market, there is now word that Circuit City is planning to partner with Blockbuster Video in an effort to gain a wider distribution of their pay-per-view DVD system. Both Circuit City and Viacom Inc. (who owns the Blockbuster Video chain) have declined to comment on recent meetings between the two, but it's clear that Viacom is interested in purchasing a share of the Digital Video Express company. Circuit City has been looking for an equity partner in their Divx venture for many months to shore up their massive investment in the technology, and shares of CC stock reached a new high yesterday in response to the news that CC and Viacom were close to a deal.

    Blockbuster Video is the nation's largest video-rental chain, with more than 3,000 stores nationwide. They began renting open DVDs on a trial basis in a limited number of their stores last year, but their commitment to open DVD as a rental format has been tepid at best, and they have not indicated if they plan to offer DVD rentals on a wider basis in the future. An investment in the Divx format seems to make little sense for a company like Blockbuster, which (like all movie-rental stores) relies on movie returns to generate repeat business. But this seemingly incontrovertible fact hasn't stopped them from talking with Circuit City anyway.

    In contrast to Blockbuster's open DVD hesitation, Hollywood Video -- Blockbuster's nearest competitor and the second-largest movie-rental chain in America -- has been offering DVD rentals in many of their stores for several months, and have recently voiced support for open DVD as a rental format.

    It should be stated that, as of this time, there is no agreement between Circuit City and Viacom. But if it happens, get ready for the Mother of all Internet Holy Wars. This one's gonna get ugly...

    Paglia's Hitchcock fetish: With Academy Award Sunday just around the corner, feminist and cultural critic Camille Paglia has said she's sick of mass-marketed Hollywood movies, and that she longs for the great films of yesteryear. The director she misses most? Alfred Hitchcock. "The sexuality in Hitchcock's films right now puts everyone to shame," she recently told Reuters. "There's hardly an interesting sexual scene anymore because everybody's rolling around nude and everyone has amplified boobs. It's gross and extreme. Hitchcock could get more out of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant looking at each other fully clothed."

    As for this year's Oscars nominees? "That Gwyneth Paltrow should be up for a best-actress nomination is just an abomination," Paglia said. "It shows that we are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Ugh. One could beat one's head against the wall."

    Paglia will be covering this year's Academy Awards for Salon Magazine.

    boxcoverCommentary Clip: "Man, I tell you, I will never do another movie with guns, because whenever you fire a gun on a movie set -- BOOM -- three hours go out of your day, and that's three hours that you could've spent working with an actor. And that's the fun part of directing a movie, is working with actors. Forget this 'King of Action' shit. Who wants to like direct cars crashing into each other or somebody firing a gun? That's not fun. It's actually really miserable. I think it may be a little bit more fun -- put quotes around that "fun" -- in Hong Kong, because there's a lot less concern for safety."

    -- Roger Avary, filmmaker and John Woo fan,
    on Hard Boiled: The Criterion Collection

    Coming Attractions: New DVD reviews are on the way (including a full-length look at Network), so check back here on Monday for all the latest stuff. Have a great weekend.

    -- Ed.

    Thursday, 18 March 1999

    HK piracy protest: You may think that hooking up those RCA cables between a couple of VCRs is no big deal, but international video piracy for profit is a major concern of all motion-picture studios, and especially in Asia, where bootlegged movies on Video-CD and DVD have plagued the industry. In a response to growing concerns over video piracy, more than 1,000 Hong Kong entertainment professionals marched in protest yesterday in an effort to call attention to the growing problem, and also presented a petition to Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa. The demonstration (organized by the HK-based Anti-Piracy Alliance) was led by Jackie Chan and other Asian stars, and all movie theaters in Hong Kong closed on Wednesday in a show of solidarity.

    At present, pirated films in Asian markets sell for as little as $2 - $3 each (U.S.) in shops and street-stalls, and American home-video titles that have yet to appear in Asian movie theaters are a popular item with illicit consumers. Film production in Hong Kong has been slashed by as much as 80% in the past six years as a result of both video piracy and the expatriation of native talent since the Chinese takeover in 1997. Meanwhile, the U.S. government recently removed Hong Kong from a hot-list of international piracy centers -- a decision that has left many in the HK entertainment community nonplused.

    boxcover"Missing in Action" Flick of the Week: Robert De Niro may be best known for his dramatic roles, but as the box-office hit Analyze This demonstrates, he is also a gifted comedian. Of the few comedies he has done in his career, Midnight Run is probably his most popular, but our favorite De Niro funny-flick is definitely Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy. De Niro stars in The King of Comedy as frustrated stand-up comic Rupert Pupkin, a man who has reached his wit's end in his quest for fame, and decides (with the help of pal Sandra Bernhardt) to kidnap late-night talk-show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) and hold the TV star hostage until he gets five minutes on national television. The King of Comedy is one of the blacker comedies made, but still provides many laugh-out-loud moments, and bears a striking similarity to Scorsese's Taxi Driver with its use of a detached, slightly psychotic anti-hero who battles a world of "sane" people that are no better than him. As in Taxi Driver, De Niro inhabits Scorsese's protagonist with a mixture of humanity and menace. Lewis's performance, which is just as good, is a rare role for the film comic, who did little in the way of major films in the years preceding this 1982 release (and hasn't done much in front of the camera since). As Jerry Langford, he's perfect as a performer who delivers schmaltzy chit-chat on the set, and yet is a complete asshole to everyone he meets when the tape isn't rolling.

    Where's the DVD? While many Scorsese films have been released on disc, The King of Comedy is considered a minor work in the director's oeuvre, in addition to being a box-office flop when it first hit theaters. Fox has the rights, but we're not betting on seeing this one anytime this year.

    Penn, Cage quarrel: Movie pals Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage, who appeared together in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and will co-star in the upcoming Bring Out the Dead, are in a bit of a snit after Penn made a few less-than-complimentary remarks about the hyperactive actor in recent interviews. In a visit with The New York Times, Penn is quoted as saying "Nic Cage is not an actor. He could be again, but now he's more like a ... performer." Regarding the Brian De Palma film Snake Eyes, he told Newsweek "As damaged as I am, as reckless as I've been, I never murdered my own 'voice.' I think actors shit on their profession all the time."

    Cage's response? "The door to our friendship is now closed. In this business, you get enough negativity from the press without having your friends dump on you in public."


    -- Ed.

    Wednesday, 17 March 1999
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    MGM and Warner split, Part II: If you're not Bill Gates, $225 million is a lot of pocket money. Still, MGM Home Video is planning to pony up the full amount to free themselves from a restrictive distribution agreement with Warner Home Video -- an agreement originally negotiated in 1990 (see yesterday's update). It may sound like a great bargain for MGM, but it's actually a mixed blessing. MGM doesn't really have $225 million lying around, and even though they will pay Warner in two separate installments over the course of this year, MGM majority shareholder Kirk Kerkorian will probably have lunch with more than a few venture capitalists before he can pay the rent.

    However, the Lion's upside is a solid one, allowing them to distribute their home-video product without the 10% - 15% fee they have been paying WHV over the last decade. MGM is also free to sell home-video product on their own website. In addition, the Lion no longer has to go through Warner to sell video rights to MGM titles -- a clause that limited their ability to co-produce films with other studios (since video rights are a lucrative trading option, and Warner already had video rights to all MGM titles). As a result, MGM could become more aggressive with film production in coming years, and may perhaps partner with another major studio for some big-budget productions (cf. Fox and Paramount, who co-produced a very expensive film called Titanic not long ago and split the home-video rights). And while MGM handed over the Turner library to Warner as part of the agreement (comprising all pre-1986 MGM films and pre-1948 Warner films), they currently have the largest film library in existence, including their post-1986 titles, the United Artists library, the Goldwyn/Orion catalog, and the pre-1998 PolyGram library. In total, MGM owns more than 5,100 films -- the largest proprietary film library in existence -- and they are now free to control the rights and distribution of the entire vault.

    The upside for DVD fans? Warner now has the massive Turner library (which includes some choice Orson Welles films). Don't be surprised if you see some new DVD arrivals from this catalog later this year. But bear in mind that Ted Turner is a major shareholder in Warner, and he's the guy who decided that COLORIZED films were a good idea.

    Top of the Pops: Here's the top-selling DVDs last week from our friends at

    1. Dances with Wolves
    2. The Silence of the Lambs
    3. Casablanca
    4. Rush Hour
    5. Ronin
    6. Ever After: A Cinderella Story
    7. West Side Story
    8. Driving Miss Daisy
    9. Practical Magic
    10. Soldier

    Yawn: The Academy Awards may be only days away, but The Boring Institute, a dedicated film-watching group, has already released their Most Boring Films of 1998 Awards, including The Avengers (Most Boring Drama), Godzilla (Most Boring Natural Disaster), Krippendorf's Tribe (Most Boring Comedy), and Lost in Space (Most Boring Sequel -- presumably as a sequel to the TV show). In addition, Brad Pitt was singled out for the singular honor of "Big Star/Big Flop" for his performance in the dead-on-arrival Meet Joe Black. Reading this list of films has already bored us to tears.

    We'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

    -- Ed.

    Tuesday, 16 March 1999

    MGM breaks with Warner: MGM Home Video announced yesterday that they will pay $225 million to Warner Home Video in order to terminate their home-video distribution agreement. The agreement, forged in 1990, allowed WHV to distribute MGM product until May of 2003 (MGM has wanted to manage their own distribution for some time, and broke ranks with WHV last year by abandoning the Warner DVD snapper case and adopting the Amaray keep-case for their titles). Under the agreement, MGM's distribution of Turner Entertainment titles (acquired by Ted Turner in 1986 and including pre-1986 MGM titles and pre-1948 Warner Bros. films) has gone over to WHV, effective immediately. MGM will begin managing its own distribution on January 31, 2000. In addition, MGM completed its acquisition of the PolyGram film library in January, boosting their catalog even further.

    WHV has distribution agreements with New Line and HBO, which are not affected by this termination.

    On the Street: Here's this morning's notable street discs, courtesy of Laserviews:

    • 12 Monkeys (DTS)
    • Apollo 13 (DTS)
    • Batteries Not Included
    • Bulworth
    • Child's Play 2: Chucky's Back
    • Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
    • The Flintstones: The Movie (DTS)
    • The Grateful Dead: From Anthem To Beauty
    • Jesus Christ Superstar
    • Little Odessa
    • Living Out Loud: Special Edition
    • Madigan
    • Mercury Rising: Special Edition
    • The Nutty Professor (DTS) (1996)
    • One True Thing
    • Original Fleetwood Mac: The Early Years
    • The Parent Trap (1998)
    • Splash
    • Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life
    • The Twilight Zone #9
    • The Twilight Zone #10
    • The Twilight Zone #11
    • The Waterboy

    Hi-Def Horizon: Consumer-electronics salespeople love to bandy about terms like "digital" and "digital-ready" televisions to their customers, but according to Mike McGann, executive editor of Home Theater magazine, you should hang on to your skepticism, since few televisions on the market are genuine DTVs or HDTVs. Furthermore, the Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association (CEMA) has yet to even define what a "digital-ready" television is, making it all the more difficult to constrain some aggressive CE retailers. Get all of the dirty details at E-Town before you air out that credit card.

    See ya later.

    -- Ed.

    Monday, 15 March 1999

    In the Works: Here's some new disc announcements posted over the weekend at Laserviews:

    • Fans of the Alien series may now officially freak out, because Fox has announced a June 1 street date for all four films (Alien, Aliens Alien3, and Alien Resurrection). The disc for Aliens will feature James Cameron's director-approved 154-minute cut. A four-disc box set will also be available on June 1.
    • Other announcements from Fox include Soul Food, with Vanessa L. Williams and Vivica Fox, Waiting To Exhale, starring Whitney Houston and Angela Basset, and the Irish indie hit Waking Ned Devine. All are due on June 1 as well.
    • PolyGram has announced a May 25 street date for Elizabeth: Special Edition, the Oscar-nominated film starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, and Richard Attenborough. However, you can expect a street price of around $35 for this one.
    • Disney is preparing a disc of Jonathan Demme's Beloved, starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover; the Eddie Murphy comedy Holy Man; P.J. Hogan's Muriel's Wedding; Simon Birch starring Ashley Judd and Oliver Platt; Sirens with Hugh Grant, and Tara Fitzgerald; and the glam-rock mystery Velvet Goldmine starring Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. All are due on May 18.
    • Music DVDs on the way from Rhino include The Grateful Dead's From Anthem To Beauty, and Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life. Look for both of them on March 16.
    • Nettwerk has released Sarah McLachlan's Video Collection: 1989-1998, featuring videos for "Possession," "I Will Remember You," "Building a Mystery," "Sweet Surrender," and "Adia." McLachlan fans can get it on the street right now.
    • If you thought the recent Hollywood remake of The Avengers sucked (and who didn't?), A&E is planning to release a number of episodes of the original British television show on DVD. Look for the first group of discs to arrive on March 16, with another set on April 20.
    • HBO has released a remastered version of the defective No Escape, which reached the street last week.
    • Street date changes include Bulworth (March 16), Little Odessa (March 23), The X-Files: Fight The Future (May 4), and Mighty Aphrodite (May 18).

    boxcoverDisc of the Week: It's the bad-daddy of all action films, and it has finally arrived on DVD. Die Hard didn't just launch Bruce Willis's Hollywood career into the stratosphere (allowing him to prove he was more than just a TV actor with a knack for light comedy), it also created an entire sub-genre of cinema -- the siege film. And while a few subsequent siege flicks have had flashes of brilliance that are comparable to Die Hard, nobody has yet to out-gun the original (even the two sequels to Die Hard don't really match their predecessor). Why is this film so great? Largely because director John McTiernan and scenarist Jeb Stuart understood the value of exposition, allowing the audience to build a sense of empathy with John McClane and his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) before the bullets start flying. But an action film is only as good as its villain, and Alan Rickman delivers an ingenious performance in Die Hard as Hans Gruber, the "terrorist" who takes an L.A. high-rise hostage, and yet comes across like a stockbroker who is patiently waiting for a windfall. The overall effect is unforgettable, and many movie fans tend to watch Die Hard at least once a year, often during the holidays. Despite its many imitators, nothing is like the original.

    Divx Watch: Robert Lundemo Aas at Robert's DVD Page has a new report up on lagging Divx sales, noting that Circuit City is still the only nationwide retailer that carries Divx, having failed at this time to convert other national chains to the cause (such as Sears and Wal-Mart). In addition, with the recent closure of Future Shop stores in the Pacific Northwest there are now four U.S. states that have no Divx retailer whatsoever. In other Divx news, Philips Electronics is in the midst of a $777 million hostile takeover of VLSI, the San-Jose-based semiconductor company that manufactures the Divx chip. A successful takeover by Philips could leave future development of Divx in uncertain territory.

    Box Office: Here's the top-grossing films at American theaters from last weekend:

    1. Analyze This
      $15,700,000 ($40,000,000 to date)
    2. The Rage: Carrie 2
      $7,400,000 ($7,400,000 to date)
    3. Cruel Intentions
      $7,000,000 ($23,400,000 to date)
    4. The Corruptor
      $5,850,000 ($5,850,000 to date)
    5. Baby Geniuses
      $5,800,000 ($5,800,000 to date)
    6. The Deep End of the Ocean
      $5,600,000 ($5,600,000 to date)
    7. Wing Commander
      $5,000,000 ($5,000,000 to date)
    8. The Other Sister
      $3,900,000 ($19,900,000 to date)
    9. 8MM
      $3,600,000 ($31,100,000 to date)
    10. October Sky
      $3,100,000 ($20,900,000 to date)
    11. Shakespeare in Love
      $2,800,000 ($68,800,000 to date)
    12. Payback
      $2,600,000 ($76,000,000 to date)

    On the Board: A new full review has been posted for Die Hard, and can be found on our Full Reviews index. New quick reviews this week include Carrie, Jackie Chan's First Strike, Light Sleeper, and Double Indemnity, and can be accessed under the New Reviews menu here on the main page.

    We'll be back tomorrow with news on this week's street discs.

    -- Ed.

    Friday, 12 March 1999
    Weekend Dispatch

    Digital "Menace": George Lucas recently dropped by the ShoWest convention, which is being held this week in Las Vegas, and announced that his forthcoming Episode I: The Phantom Menace will be presented in a digital format at selected theaters, taking advantage of some very expensive video-projection equipment from Hughes/JVC and Texas Instruments, in addition to the new Dolby Digital -- Surround EX format, which is scheduled to debut with this latest Star Wars film in theaters around the world. But before you get too excited, be aware that the digital presentations will only happen in four venues (which have yet to be announced). In other Episode I news, Lucasfilm has confirmed that the film will now open on Wednesday, May 19, instead of the previously announced May 21 release date -- which will give all of you five days to see the film before the weekend box-office numbers are tallied.

    boxcoverMissing in Action Kubrick Flick: Many critics have argued that there is no over-arching theme that dominates Stanley Kubrick's films, but even more apparent was Kubrick's constant genre-hopping. From sci-fi (2001) to costume drama (Barry Lyndon), comedy (Dr. Strangelove) to erotic film (the forthcoming Eyes Wide Shut), Kubrick seemed to enjoy experimenting with different genres, and even though he visited most of them only once, he ususally delivered standard-setting achievements. By the late '70s, Kubrick turned his attention to the horror film, and the result was 1980's The Shining. Based on the novel by Stephen King, Jack Nicholson stars in The Shining as Jack Torrance, a writer who takes an off-season caretaker job at The Overlook Hotel, a popular Colorado ski resort that shuts down during the deep of winter. With his wife Wendy and young son Danny in tow, Jack plans to use the isolation to concentrate on his writing, but he soon descends into a homicidal psychosis as the sinister past of the hotel gradually overtakes his persona. While The Shining is regarded as a classic of the horror genre, it actually functions at a much higher level, avoiding the sordid shocks and gratuitous gore of most slasher flicks, and instead concentrating on Jack's descent into madness, as well as the responses of Wendy and Danny, who discover that they are no longer living with the man they once knew and are forced to defend themselves against his murderous aggression.

    • Where's the DVD?: Warner has the rights to The Shining. No official date has been announced, but expect a DVD later this year.
    • Location, location, location: The interiors of The Overlook hotel in The Shining were constructed at England's Pinewood Studios, but fabricating an exterior setting of an isolated, snow-bound resort may have been too much for even Kubrick's perfectionism. The Overlook we see in the film is actually Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon, which isn't very far from the main offices of The DVD Journal. We like to drive there sometimes just to look at it and get the creeps.
    • Quotable: We love watching Jack Nicholson take down a door with an axe and yell "Here's Johnny!", but don't credit Kubrick for this sarcastic snippet -- Nicholson ad-libbed it on the set.
    • King's comeback: Anthony Burgess wasn't the only writer who disliked how Kubrick had interpreted one of his novels (see yesterday's update). Stephen King didn't like The Shining very much either, and it was with his blessing that a television miniseries of The Shining was produced and broadcast in 1997. The newer film used the correct location this time -- The Stanley Hotel at Estes Park, Colorado, which King had visited and used as the inspiration for his best-selling book.

    This Month's Contest: If you haven't gotten around to it yet, be sure to drop by our Monthly Contest Page and enter to win a free DVD of MGM's Ronin. You can also take our DVD Journal Quick Poll while you're there.

    Have a great weekend, and spin a Kubrick flick if you get the chance.

    -- Ed.

    Thursday, 11 March 1999

    In the Works: Here's some new disc announcements posted over the past few days at Laserviews:

    • Columbia TriStar has announced a 16x9 enhanced disc for Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Ed Harris, and featuring a "making-of" featurette. Look for it on April 27.
    • Universal's Babe: A Pig In The City is due to hit the street on May 4, and this time the talking-pig flick will be letterboxed, and will also feature 16x9 enhancement, three theatrical trailers, and a screen saver as DVD-ROM content.
    • New DTS discs from Universal include Blues Brothers 2000, The Boxer, Out Of Sight, and Primary Colors. All are due on May 4.
    • Sony has a number of music titles in the works, including George Michael's Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael (May 4), which will feature 5.1 audio and contain all of the Brit singer's U.S. videos, including "Freedom 90," "Faith," "I Want Your Sex," "Father Figure," and "One More Try" (don't expect any Wham! videos though). Also look for Harry Connick Jr: The New York Big Band Concert (May 11), and The Line, The Cross and The Curve (May 4), a film by avant-garde favorite Kate Bush.
    • Rhino has announced a disc of Alice Cooper: Welcome To My Nightmare: Special Edition (April 20), a live concert with the legendary shock-rocker that feature performances of "No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Billion Dollar Babies," and the classic "School's Out." Expect DD 5.1, a commentary with Cooper, and other extras.
    • Fox Lorber is preparing several Francios Truffaut films for DVD, including The 400 Blows, The Last Metro, Shoot The Piano Player, and Two English Girls, which will be Truffaut's restored director's cut. All four discs will feature trailers, and are due on April 27. (Editor's Note: The 400 Blows is already available as a Criterion Collection DVD.)
    • New Horizons has several Roger Corman films on the way, including Big Bad Mama, The Big Doll House, Death Race 2000, Eat My Dust! and Humanoids From The Deep. All five discs are expected on April 20 and will feature interviews with Corman by film critic Leonard Maltin.
    • Jackie Chan fans can look forward to a new disc from Xenon of Master With Cracked Fingers (March 30), which was Chan's first film as a leading actor. The disc will include an alternate ending and a Jackie interview.
    • Tai Seng is planning to release the 1989 Hong Kong flick City War starring Chow Yun Fat, due on April 27.
    • Street date changes include Evil Dead: Special Edition (March 30), Heathers (March 30), Hudson Hawk: Special Edition (March 30), Passion Fish (March 30), Poetic Justice: Special Edition (March 30), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (April 13), Apt Pupil (April 13), The Burbs (May 4), Very Bad Things (May 18), and The American President (August 31).

    boxcoverMissing in Action Kubrick Flick: Based on the novel by Anthony Burgess, Stanley Kubrick's 1971 A Clockwork Orange tells the story of Alex (Malcolm McDowell), the leader of a band of young "droogs" who seek out rape, theft, and gang rumbles for fun. It is only when Alex is arrested that he is brought under control, but not via a crisis of conscience. Instead, he is subjected to an experimental therapy that denies him the ability to act out his emotions of violence and lust. But the question remains unresolved: Who is the more monstrous, the criminal or the authorities who re-program him? Clockwork is easily Kubrick's most controversial movie, primarily because of the "ultra-violence" that has caused many viewers to incorrectly interpret it as a film that glorifies brutality. To be certain, the violence is explicit, but it is also meant to be repulsive, if only to emphasize the horror of this quasi-socialist near future and the fears that lead the authorities to artificially modify criminal behavior. The fact that some viewers are attracted to this film because of its violence is not only a complete misreading of Kubrick's intent, but it's also kind of pathetic and sad. A Clockwork Orange is not a cheap thrill -- it's one of the most thought-provoking philosophical inquiries ever committed to film.

    • Where's the DVD?: Warner has the rights to A Clockwork Orange. Look for a DVD sometime this summer.
    • Kubrick's ban: When it was first released in the UK, A Clockwork Orange immediately sparked a series of notorious copycat crimes that were so unsettling that Kubrick withdrew the film and would not allow it to be shown on British soil -- a self-imposed ban that has been in effect for 27 years. If you're a Brit and want to see the film, your best bet is to travel outside of the UK.
    • Burgess's bane: The late Anthony Burgess never liked what Kubrick did to his novel, particularly since the film ends at the second-to-last chapter, when Alex is "cured," and omits a final chapter wherein Alex begins to independently develop a conscience. Kubrick apparently preferred the ironic conclusion of Alex's release, and the U.S. edition of the novel (also owned by Warner) has omitted the final chapter for many years. If you're American and want to read the original novel, your best bet is to buy it in the UK.

    We'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

    -- Ed.

    Wednesday, 10 March 1999

    Divx Watch: Canadian consumer-electronics retailer Future Shop, who recently entered the U.S. market, have decided to close their U.S. stores due to continuing financial losses (a visit to a local Future Shop yesterday by a member of The DVD Journal staff found the doors locked and a notice stating they were "closed for inventory"). Future Shop, who only had a stateside presence in the Pacific Northwest region, began offering the Divx format to customers in late 1998. The Canadian stores are still in operation, and Future Shop stock soared yesterday as a result of the announcement, since the abandonment of the U.S. stores will likely increase overall revenues. Future Shop is the largest consumer-electronics retailer in Canada, but the Divx format is not available in Canada due to U.S. export restrictions on the Divx encryption technology.

    boxcoverStanley Kubrick Week: Stanley Kubrick directed Kirk Douglas in his 1957 Paths of Glory, a powerful film about a French army mutiny during World War I. Douglas began production of Spartacus not long thereafter, but he (as producer) and director Anthony Mann had a falling out very early in the shooting schedule, causing Douglas to call on Kubrick to take on the job. Written by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo (adapted from Howard Fast's novel), many see the epic saga of Spartacus as a response to the communist witch-hunts in Hollywood that preceded it, but even if we leave the social commentary aside, Spartacus still contains a lot of cinematic power, although it never ranked high with Kubrick himself, who struggled to create his own film out of a pre-fabricated production overseen Douglas. Cut by censors for its 1960 release, it was restored in 1991 to reincorporate a bath scene between nobleman Laurence Olivier and slave Tony Curtis that had vaguely bisexual overtones, and it is this restored version -- along with a great transfer -- can be found on Universal's DVD release.

    • Trivia: During the 1991 restoration, the soundtrack of the bath scene between Olivier and Curtis was found to be damaged. Olivier had since died, so Anthony Hopkins was recruited to do his best Sir Laurence impression -- a mimic so good you wouldn't know it if someone hadn't told you.
    • Master and Slave: More than one pundit has noted that actors loved to work for Kubrick, but only once. Kirk Douglas is an exception (1957's Paths of Glory and 1960's Spartacus) -- although it's probably fair to ask who worked for whom during these two films.
    • Quotable: After Spartacus, Kubrick succinctly explained his idea of directorial control: "It's a simple matter if it's in your contract -- a great deal of trouble if it's not." After Spartacus, Kubrick refused to direct a film without total command of the production.

    Clarke's comments: Novelist Arthur C. Clarke, who collaborated for four years with Stanley Kubrick to create 2001: A Space Odyssey, made his first comments yesterday on the director's death, noting that "My professional career owes more to Stanley than to anyone else in the world."

    Top of the Pops: Here's the top-selling DVDs last week from our friends at

    1. Dances with Wolves
    2. The Silence of the Lambs
    3. Casablanca
    4. West Side Story
    5. Ronin
    6. Practical Magic
    7. Driving Miss Daisy
    8. Gone with the Wind
    9. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
    10. The Big Chill

    We'll see you tomorrow.

    -- Ed.

    Tuesday, 9 March 1999

    boxcoverStanley Kubrick Week: Science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke had already written his short story "The Sentinel," upon which Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is based, when he and Kubrick decided to undertake a sci-fi film, but the collaboration between the two caused Clarke to expand his short piece into a novel which shares the film's name. For fans of the film, the novel is virtually required reading (at least if you'd like to get Clarke's take on things) since Kubrick was content to unfold this story of human evolution with a minimum of dialogue (a mere 40 minutes of conversation occurs during the 139-minute film). Instead, Kubrick's groundbreaking visuals have come to define the 2001 experience: the "Dawn of Man" sequence and the violent discovery of technology, the inscrutable black monolith, the red "eye" of HAL 9000, the head-trip of "Beyond the Infinite," and of course, the elaborate spacecraft that drew crowds of movie-fans when 2001 first arrived in 1968. The apparent lack of plot may have puzzled many early critics, but like most great films, this is one that only gets better with subsequent viewings -- and the DVD released last year by MGM is a great way to do just that.

    • Trivia: Kubrick originally hired composer Alex North to write a score for 2001 and planned on only using classical music during editing, but eventually decided to use the temp track instead for the final release of the film -- a decision that also had great influence on his next project, A Clockwork Orange. North's score still exists, and can be ordered from most music retailers on the Web.
    • Links: Still want to read more about 2001: A Space Odyssey? Then check out 2001: A Personal Odyssey, an intricate, well-designed website solely dedicated to the film.

    On the Street: Here's this morning's notable street discs, courtesy of Laserviews:

    • America (silent)
    • Broken Arrow
    • Coming To America
    • Crumb
    • Dancing In The Dark
    • Desperado/El Mariachi: Special Edition
    • Devil In A Blue Dress: Special Edition
    • Die Hard 1
    • Die Hard 2
    • Die Hard With A Vengeance
    • Die Hard Triple Pack
    • Eric Clapton: 24 Nights
    • Escape From Alcatraz
    • The Golden Child
    • The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (silent)
    • Iron Eagle 4: On The Attack
    • Internal Affairs
    • Janet Jackson: The Velvet Rope Tour
    • Madonna: Ciao Italia: Live From Italy
    • My Left Foot
    • One False Move: Special Edition
    • The Poseidon Adventure (THX)
    • Ray Davies/The Kinks: Return To Waterloo/Come Dancing
    • Slam: Special Edition
    • Speed 2: Cruise Control
    • Terminal Rush
    • The Towering Inferno
    • Volcano

    OK DVD: Capitol Records and EMI Music Distribution have decided to enter the DVD market with a release of Meeting People is Easy, a behind-the-scenes documentary of the British band Radiohead and the release of their critically acclaimed album OK Computer. Look for the new disc on May 4, with other Capitol DVDs to arrive in the fall.

    See ya later.

    -- Ed.

    Monday, 8 March 1999

    boxcoverStanley Kubrick Week: In memory of Stanley Kubrick, who died last weekend at the age of 70, The DVD Journal will be featuring some of Kubrick's films on DVD all this week (and even some that aren't on disc yet). It's almost impossible to pick a "favorite" Kubrick film, but the 1964 Dr. Strangelove (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) ranks up there, not for the striking cinematography that defined Kubrick's later films, but simply as the blackest, bleakest comedy ever made. Starring Peter Sellers (in no less than three separate roles), Dr. Strangelove's story of a Soviet "Doomsday Machine" that will destroy the world (and the efforts of the U.S. government to find a stray B-52 that could trigger the device) may not play as sharply as it did during the height of the Cold War, but you don't need a bomb shelter in your backyard to find this film disturbingly hilarious. George C. Scott also stars in Strangelove as an American general who is more worried about making sure the Russians don't discern any U.S. secrets than saving humanity ("You can't let them in here!" he tells the President in the War Room. "They'll see everything! They'll see the Big Board!"). This disc from Columbia TriStar offers a good source print and the varying aspect ratios that Kubrick insisted on for theatrical presentation, and is worth a spot in everybody's collection.

    • Quotable: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"
    • Trivia: Kubrick initially planned a custard-pie fight in the War Room in which President Muffley would be hit and somebody would say "Our President has been struck down!" -- but the scene was dropped after Kubrick felt it was too slapstick and conveyed the wrong tone. The assassination of John F. Kennedy in November of 1963 didn't help matters either.

    On the Board: A new full review has been posted of Robocop: The Criterion Collection, and can be found on the Full Reviews index. New quick reviews this week include Rush Hour: Platinum Series, Big Night, Mean Streets, Chaplin, and Dirty Harry, and can be accessed under the New Reviews menu here on the main page. Our Stanley Kubrick retrospective, featuring reviews of Kubrick DVDs, has also been posted on the New Reviews menu.

    Box Office: Here's the top-grossing films at American theaters from last weekend:

    1. Analyze This
      $17,700,000 ($17,700,000 to date)
    2. Cruel Intentions
      $13,200,000 ($13,200,000 to date)
    3. 8MM
      $7,000,000 ($25,300,000 to date)
    4. The Other Sister
      $5,600,000 ($14,200,000 to date)
    5. Payback
      $4,100,000 ($72,300,000 to date)
    6. October Sky
      $3,700,000 ($16,800,000 to date)
    7. My Favorite Martian
      $3,600,000 ($30,200,000 to date)
    8. Message in a Bottle
      $3,400,000 ($46,400,000 to date)
    9. Shakespeare in Love
      $3,400,000 ($64,900,000 to date)
    10. She's All That
      $2,600,000 ($57,400,000 to date)
    11. Blast From the Past
      $1,850,000 ($23,600,000 to date)
    12. Life is Beautiful
      $1,800,000 ($30,000,000 to date)

    We'll be back tomorrow to let you know about this week's street discs.

    -- Ed.

    Sunday, 7 March 1999
    Weekend Dispatch
    -- Second Update --

    R.I.P.: A legend is gone. Maverick director Stanley Kubrick had died at the age of 70. The cause of his death has not been released. In tribute to his unusual cinematic genius, over the course of this week The DVD Journal will feature a retrospective of Kubrick's career, and recap which Kubrick films have arrived on DVD to date and which ones are still missing in action.

    -- Ed.

    Friday, 5 March 1999
    Weekend Dispatch

    In the Works: Warner has announced a May 4 release date for the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedy You've Got Mail, and they claim that it will contain an unprecedented amount of DVD-ROM content, including film production call sheets, Internet links to movie-related chat rooms, and movie material to customize your PC. However, like the DVD-ROM content on the Ronin disc (and many other titles as well), Mac users once again have not been invited to the party, and will have to settle for the numerous DVD Video extras.

    New Sony tubes: We told you yesterday about Sony's new 200 DVD/CD mega-changer, and now E-Town has posted two articles on Sony's 1999 consumer-electronics lineup, including a new "Vertical-Compression" technology in XBR televisions that will concentrate scan lines in the image area of letterboxed DVDs to increase video resolution, a new generation of Wega flat-screen CRT televisions that will be 20" and 27" (and go for less than $1,000), and a new 43-inch rear-projection TV that's only 20 inches deep. Get your credit cards paid off before the new toys reach the shops sometime this summer.

    Divx Watch: Circuit City has released their earnings statement for 1998, including news that Divx has caused fourth quarter earnings to drop by about 31 cents per share. Don't get too excited though, because over the course of last year, CC's overall earnings rose 22 percent, up from $8.87 billion to $10.80 billion -- which should be more than enough to write off the launch costs and lagging sales of Divx decks (not to mention those five free discs they give away with every new player). Count on Divx to hang around for the long haul.

    Coming Attractions: More DVD reviews are on the way, including Robocop: The Criterion Collection, Rush Hour, Mean Streets, and Big Night. Look for these and others on Monday morning.

    Have a great weekend.

    -- Ed.

    Thursday, 4 March 1999

    In the Works: Here's some new disc announcements posted over the past couple of days at Laserviews:

    • Just when you though Fox was going to be a DVD non-starter, they have announced several new highly anticipated discs for spring release, including the "Ah-nold" faves True Lies and Commando; the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner/Danny DeVito adventures Romancing The Stone and The Jewel Of The Nile; the 1996 Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Claire Danes; The Edge, written by David Mamet and featuring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin; The Newton Boys starring Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, and Vincent D'Onofrio; and Firestorm with Howie Long and Scott Glenn. Look for all of these on May 25.
    • Columbia TriStar has announced a few new releases as well, including La Bamba: Special Edition, which will feature a commentary with director Luis Valdez, a featurette, and two music videos. Also look for a 16x9-enhanced disc of James Ivory's Howards End, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, and the 1975 Hard Times with Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Jill Ireland. All three are due on April 6.
    • Image has announced a May 25 release date for the December 1998 Paris Concert For Amnesty International, featuring performances by Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Alanis Morissette, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Shania Twain, and Tracy Chapman. The disc will feature DD 5.1 audio and will be released without region-coding.
    • Street date changes include Last Year At Marienbad (March 2), Cry Uncle: Special Edition (3/23), Intermezzo (March 23), and The Burbs (May 11).

    Copyrights, copy-wrongs: A consortium of technology companies (IBM, Intel, Matsushita, and Toshiba) have announced a new copy-protection scheme for the new DVD Audio 1.0 specifications, in cooperation with major music producers. By utilizing watermarking technology, the new DVD Audio discs will only play on licensed players (as is the case with DVD Video software), and content owners will be able to determine the amount and level of copying they want to allow. The most common scenario will allow consumers to make only one copy of a DVD-A disc, and only at the CD-Audio standard, although content owners will have the option to allow multiple copies with no loss of data for any discs they like -- but don't count on seeing too many of those. Paul Vidich, executive vice-president of Warner Music Group, has noted that Warner plans to begin releasing DVD Audio titles this fall.

    DVD overload: Always a company who likes to jump in first, Sony has announced the DVP-CX850D, a new 200 DVD/CD mega-changer, which will allow you to effectively ditch those DVD cases and have a movie jukebox in your viewing room. The MSRP is a cool grand, but we still want one. Look for the new unit -- along with a second-generation Sony 5 DVD/CD changer -- to reach the shops in late summer.

    boxcover"Missing in Action" Flick of the Week: Nicolas Cage first introduced himself to movie fans in the cult indie Valley Girl, and has since built a monumental Hollywood career playing characters good and bad. But we first thought he was something special when he was not-so-good, yet not-so-bad, in Raising Arizona. Joel and Ethan Coen, who have also built monumental careers since this 1987 flick, aimed their satiric barbs smack-dab in the middle of the "family-values" '80s with this contemporary satire, telling the story of ex-con Hi (Cage) and his corrections-officer wife Ed (Holly Hunter), a couple who cannot have children and thus decide to kidnap a child from a woman who has had quintuplets, only to find themselves pursued by both a sadistic bounty hunter and a pair of Hi's prison pals, all of whom intend to take possession of the hapless infant. Raising Arizona is a very funny movie, but don't expect the Coen Brothers to undertake anything without comment, and issues of masculinity, motherhood, conformity, and the all-to-common American sense of entitlement are subjects of their inimitable wit. We've enjoyed a few Coen Brothers films on DVD so far (Fargo in particular), but this favorite has yet to be announced. Fox has the rights, so maybe we'll see this one after they've released a few more Arnold flicks.

    Episode I, second trailer: When, you ask? March 12. But you'll have to buy a ticket to Fox's Wing Commander -- and no, we've never heard of it either.

    See ya.

    -- Ed.

    Wednesday, 3 March 1999

    DVD Playstation: Those of you who love DVD and video games -- but don't have a DVD-ROM drive on your home computer -- will be pleased to hear that Sony has announced their Playstation 2, and yes, it will take advantage of the superior storage capacity of DVD-ROM, as well as MPEG-2 video compression. In addition, Dolby Digital and DTS may be used on some titles for audio information, and the CPU will run at a blazing 300 MHz. The new units are expected to debut in Japan in March of 2000, with an international release about six months later. Get the details at EE Times and Businesswire.

    Top of the Pops: Here's the top-selling discs last week from our friends at

    1. Dances with Wolves
    2. The Silence of the Lambs
    3. Casablanca
    4. West Side Story
    5. Practical Magic
    6. Driving Miss Daisy
    7. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
    8. The Big Chill
    9. Gone with the Wind
    10. Barb Wire

    boxcoverCommentary Clip: "This film was made when there was G rating, a PG, and a R. I wanted to get a PG; at least this was the dialog with the MPAA. We agreed kind of in theory, that we may get a PG if there's no blood shown.... So there isn't really that much blood in this film. I mean, people have images of this film, and immediately they say, 'Blood.' But, as you watch the film, notice that there's probably about two ounces."

    --Tobe Hooper, director, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    "Menace" meetin': Residents of Southern California who have succumbed to Prequel Fever may want to mark their calendars for June 4-6, when representatives from the special-effects team on Episode I: The Phantom Menace will drop by VES '99: A Festival of Visual Effects and demonstrate some of the technical tricks they used to create the highly anticipated LucasFlick. Admission is only available to industry professionals at this time, but festival organizers plan to sell general-admission tickets in April or May.

    We'll see you tomorrow.

    -- Ed.

    Tuesday, 2 March 1999

    Outer limits: If you were hanging around the Internet late last week, you probably got word that Artisan has announced plans to release the miniseries of Stephen King's The Stand as the first DVD-18, the technical term for a dual-sided, dual-layered disc that could conceivably contain up to 8 hours of audio and video with just one side break. Artisan was also the first company to market a DVD-9 (Terminator 2), a single-sided, dual layered disc with a layer switch. If you happened to miss the details, get the story over at DVD Insider. Look for the new disc to appear sometime in the fourth quarter of 1999.

    On the Street: Here's a very short list of this morning's notable street discs, courtesy of Laserviews:

    • David Bowie: Serious Moonlight
    • Cry Uncle: Special Edition
    • Ever After: A Cinderella Story
    • Friday
    • House Of Cards
    • Jackie Chan's First Strike
    • Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell: Special Edition
    • Rush Hour: Special Edition
    • The Rolling Stones: Live At The Max: IMAX
    • Soldier: Special Edition
    • The Twilight Zone #6, #7, and #8

    Price Hike: Are you starting to watch more and more movies at home when they come out on DVD rather than dump money on movie tickets? Get used to it, because several theater chains are now planning to boost ticket prices by anywhere from 4% to 8%, and the price of a single seat at an evening show in major cities is fast approaching the ten-buck mark. Figure two tickets to an evening show, and you could skip it and buy the DVD outright a few months later. If you calculate the cost of soda, popcorn, or other high-priced goodies, you could even afford to buy a DVD from Fox -- and maybe eat better food as well.

    That last stretch in rehab was a long fellow: Perhaps inspired by the efforts of Jewel Kilchner, Charlie (or is it Charles?) Sheen has released his first book of poetry, entitled A Peace of My Mind and featuring such odes as "Livin' in Sin," "Good Shit," and "Doctor," a sample of which follows:

    "Doctor, doctor, is it fair?
    They cut off all my Medicare."

    We're not making this up. We swear to God we're not.

    -- Ed.

    Monday, 1 March 1999

    February Winner: Congratulations to the winner of our February contest, Cindy Billington of Plainview, Texas, who won our drawing and has a DVD of South Park, Vol. 1 on the way to her house via Priority Mail. Get the skinny on our March contest later in today's update.

    boxcoverDisc of the Week: Do we like Ronin? Let's put it another way -- what is there not to like about Ronin? Start with Robert De Niro and Jean Reno as professional mercenaries who undertake a complicated heist only to have it go bad, and then decide to get even. Throw in some sarcastic dialogue from eminent dramatist David Mamet. Add in some of the best car-chase sequences ever put on film, directed by Hollywood veteran John Frankenheimer. And all amongst the backdrop of modern-day France, with its seedy, darkened Paris and its glorious sun-drenched countryside. If that's not enough, Ronin features a commentary track with Frankenheimer, as well as interactive DVD-ROM content so that users with DVD-ROM drives and an Internet connection can go to the Ronin website ( later this month and participate in a Q&A session with Frankenheimer, who will use clips from the disc to illustrate his comments. Ronin is a fun DVD, and one of the best action films we've seen a while.

    This Month's Contest: All that being said, Ronin seemed like the obvious choice for our March giveaway, so be sure to drop by our contest page to submit your entry this month. As added bonus, you will not need access to your e-mail account to enter this month (we know many of you are logging in from your place of work), but instead can submit your entry to our server directly from our contest page. Also, our monthly opinion poll is up and running, and we will have results for that as well at the end of March (although you must enter the contest to have your poll results entered).

    Box Office: Here's the top-grossing films at American theaters from last weekend:

    1. 8MM
      $14,300,000 ($14,300,000 to date)
    2. Payback
      $6,900,000 ($66,600,000 to date)
    3. The Other Sister
      $6,700,000 ($6,700,000 to date)
    4. Message in a Bottle
      $6,400,000 ($41,300,000 to date)
    5. My Favorite Martian
      $5,200,000 ($26,100,000 to date)
    6. October Sky
      $5,000,000 ($12,200,000 to date)
    7. Shakespeare in Love
      $4,400,000 ($60,100,000 to date)
    8. Blast From the Past
      $3,700,000 ($21,200,000 to date)
    9. She's All That
      $3,600,000 ($54,000,000 to date)
    10. 200 Cigarettes
      $3,200,000 ($3,200,000 to date)
    11. Office Space
      $2,500,000 ($8,000,000 to date)
    12. Rushmore
      $2,000,000 ($12,500,000 to date)

    On the Board: A new full review of Rambo: First Blood Part II has been posted, and can be found on the Full Reviews index. New quick reviews this week include Ronin, Snake Eyes, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Replacement Killers, The Sting, and Bull Durham, and can be accessed under the New Reviews menu here on the main page.

    We'll be back here tomorrow with an update on this week's street discs.

    -- Ed.

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