There’s a lot of stuff that comes out all the time, and the companies are want your attention and mostly…your coin. But, you know, it’s your coin and you have to take care where you spend it. With these posts we try to take you through recent releases so you can make up your mind. If you find the info here to be of use, do us a favor and purchase stuff from Amazon through us. Especially if you were going to buy the stuff anyway. That gives us kickbacks, which help pay for things. Like the server. And coffee. And therapy. We thank you.
It’s Weekend Justice: the Internet’s #1 audio trainwreck. It’s the podcast that has no shipping costs. At least none that you can trace on your credit card. This podcast was engineered–some might say over-engineered–by experts to escort you from the work week in the most chaotic manner possible. Please note: this podcast is profane, definitely oversexed and definitely overwrought. It is wrong and unsafe. You have been warned.
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Trying to figure out what’s coming out and what you should buy vs. rent vs. back away from slowly is not for the faint of heart. It’s okay, though: I’m a professional. Here we go.
A&E returns to the Python well with The Complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus Collector’s Edition, a twenty-one disc monster of a set that contains every episode of Flying Circus and then, in a separate book that comes out of the box shown (“Monty Python’s Everything Else”), you get, well, just that–everything else. Monty Python Live is included, as well as each of the individual members’ “Personal Best” collections. Now, you might be saying, “Widge, is there anything new in here? I own the 16-Ton Megaset, why should I snag this?” As well you should ask that. The only thing that’s new and never before seen are the two docus included on separate discs, “Before the Flying Circus” which attempts to show the roots of the show and then “Monty Python Conquers America,” in which their storming of American shores is recounted. Beyond that, that’s it. And my understanding is that the episodes have been remastered and restored and whatnot, in preparation for being released on hi-def at some point in the future. If that is accurate, then I see no indication that we’re getting any version of those episodes here in lo-def. So while it’s a very nice set–I especially like how it’s compact, but only a completist who has no intention of upgrading to Blu-Ray at any point in the future would want to snag this. It’s $89.99 on Amazon, and while the Personal Best bits are nice for what they are, I would recommend aiming instead for the 16-ton Megaset. It’s priced at $57.99 and you can snag it here. I would recommend holding out for the Collector’s Edition in Blu-Ray–or at least the remastered episodes. Oh, and one last bit? My favorite perk of the set is the discounted Spamalot tickets, good January 6th through March 29th. But bear in mind, the show closes January 18th. So. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
An ongoing attempt to make sense of the onslaught of new swag that people want you to buy. Should you? I’ll try and help.
Hiroshima Mon Amour is a film I reviewed in its capacity as a Region 1 Criterion release. And it’s really quite excellent. The story of a Japanese man and a French woman who meet in Hiroshima and have a love affair, while haunted by the past. Excellent film with excellent performances. If you haven’t seen it, do so no matter what the region. What I find interesting about this particular release, Region 4 from Umbrella Entertainment, is that it has a featurette that was not on the Criterion release, “A Brilliant Career: The films of Alain Resnais.” It’s a fifty minute convo with film tutor Peter Hourigan. And you know I’m a sucker for features on DVDs. So if you’re a Region 4 user, at least rent this. It’s worthwhile for the film. (Click here to buy it from Umbrella.)
For you belated Father’s Day gifters, there’s something very dadly about mechanical stuff. Top Gear, you know. Or any of those reality shows where they have to build things in very little time. But perhaps there’s something to be said for armchair quarterbacking the work of engineers over the years. And even if they’re not like that, the Modern Marvel: Engineering Disasters set is positively fascinating. The two incidents on the cover are probably the most infamous of the titular incidents in modern memory: the Exxon Valdez and Katrina. But this isn’t just a parade of shit breaking where we’re just revisiting an array of Bad Events. No, there’s some crazy bits like a fire in an abandoned mine, a fascinating look at Skylab, and some smaller problems like vehicles rolling over. Not small to the people who rolled over in them, I’m sure, but you know what I mean. And there’s a crapload of content here: five discs, fourteen hours, eighteen episodes. If there’s a downside, besides the lack of additional content (surely there must have been some additional footage or something that could have been tapped), it’s the fact that you’re just scratching the surface of each incident. But if you understand this truly is a running overview of the events, then I think you’ll have the right attitude for it. Again, probably a good gift for a Dad or anyone who finds the subject of interest. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
There seems to be a rash of stuff being hidden in and around peoples’ homes. Some vaguely sinister and some amusingly deranged. But this one is certifiably cool as hell. A family wanted to take the Fifth Avenue apartment they had just bought and have it redone, but not in a “cookie cutter” sort of way. They couldn’t have picked better, apparently: Eric Clough, designer, took the place and turned it into a giant (but pleasant) puzzle that needed to be sorted out.
It involves a book, a musical score, keys, crossword puzzles, more keys, and magnets. It sounds positively brilliant. I think cryptoarchitecture kicks ass and I think we need more of it. Imagine if you went to a school where the school itself was part of some massive puzzle and each year another piece of it is revealed by the students figuring stuff out. Imagine spending a bit of time relaxing on the weekend by wrapping your mind around the newest layer of mystery in your house, rather than just trying to figure out how to get that bedroom door to stay shut properly (unless that’s a clue).
Hell, I want my redesigned Technocave to have a hidden staircase already…this is making my mind do somersaults.