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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – A New Week In A New Year

The NYT on the Blu-ray roll.
I agree with Reed Hastings that there is more time in DVD and Blu-ray than many prognisticators are guessing. But the big block remains the price of the hardware… and I don’t know why the story doesn’t address that more clearly. The education issue is real, but it’s a lot more real when a Blu-ray player is twice as much as a regular player and people don’t have any sense of how to value each machine. Is a Sony better than a Samsung or a Sharp? Is one more forward thinking? What is there to know other than pricing and that they want to sell you one?

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38 Responses to “BYOB – A New Week In A New Year”

  1. Breedlove says:

    Random question of the day: how come 300 came out like 2 years ago and Gerard Butler hasn’t done another big action movie yet? I thought he was the next big action star…

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, Butler did kick some ass (and got his ass kicked) in RocknRolla. Does that count?

  3. EthanG says:

    “Rocknolla,” I personally thought was fucking awesome…though nobody saw it. The dance scene with Thandie Newton alone is almost worth the price of admission….
    Anyone else really worried for Gary Oldman and Jane Alexander after discovering they are in the hideous looking new horror flick, “The Unborn,” due out this Friday. Why???? Private school tuition for the grandkids??? A new roof on the summer home?? There’s no valid explanation for this…also, Meagan Good continues to shit away what indie cred she had from “Brick,” and other early work.
    Lastly, do you think it’s gotten to the point yet where Goldie Hawn is ashamed of her daughter’s career?? Hudson has become the A-list anatomical taint of the majors.

  4. MarkVH says:

    Oh my God. My Michael Powell double feature just arrived from Amazon, meaning that we (and I) now have all the Powell/Pressburger masterpieces on R1 DVD. I’m so fucking excited for this A Matter of Life And Death disc I can’t stand it.

  5. Breedlove says:

    Well, not really, Joe. I was thinking more along the lines of a big-budget franchise-type movie. It’s like if 40 Year Old Virgin came out and then Steve Carrell didn’t appear in another comedy for over 2 years…seems like he’s missing his moment.

  6. LYT says:

    EthanG – I think you can chalk up Gary Oldman’s role in The Unborn to the fact that it’s directed by Batman Begins/Dark Knight coscribe David Goyer, and they’re probably friends.
    Gerard Butler has some new action movie coming out where he plays a character in a life-or-death online multiplayer game, and is controlled by a gamer via computer. I forget the name, but the brothers who did Crank directed, I think.

  7. lazarus says:

    MarkVH, it’s certainly about time A Matter of Life and Death showed up, though I’m a bit upset Criterion didn’t put it out. Certainly it deserves the extras that the other P&Ps had. I’m assuming the double-feature is bare-bones?
    Anyway, I hate to one-up you but I managed to track down Oh…Rosalinda!! online, and while I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, it does have some great visuals (including more fantastic art direction from Hein Heckroth) and lively performances from Anton Walbrook (who sings and dances!), Michael Redgrave, and Mel Ferrer. I’m surprised Tales of Hoffman (much less accessible) came out first.

  8. a_loco says:

    Warner Bros. was incredibly stupid in releasing RocknRolla. Instead of releasing it wide and taking advantage of Butler’s fame and press about Ritchie’s “return to form”, they put it in two theatres for a month, expanded to 800 when nobody cared and voila! it bombed.

  9. MarkVH says:

    Laz, not bare-bones by any means. It doesn’t have the quantity of Criterion supplements, but it’s being released via the recent partnership between Sony Home Video and Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation – the same folks who brought out the phenomenal Budd Boetticher box set in November.
    AMOLAD has a filmed intro from Scorsese and commentary from Ian Christie, and the other film in the set – Age of Consent – has the Scorsese intro, a commentary from Kent Jones, interview with Helen Mirren and a few more featurettes.
    Online asking price is around $22, whereas I imagine the Criterion would go for significantly more. This one was in good hands from the start, and I’m enormously satisfied with what we got.

  10. yancyskancy says:

    One of my favorite celebrity sightings was a couple of years ago in a Studio City bookstore, where I saw Gary Oldman with his kids. One of them was showing him a copy of a “Family Guy” book, and after a moment’s perusal, Oldman returned it to the shelf saying, “No, it’s a bit inappropriate, that.”
    Wonder if he’s let them watch Henry & June yet? 🙂

  11. LYT says:

    Mea culpa — Neveldine and Taylor are not brothers. I confused them with the Brothers Strause.

  12. LexG says:

    I have mostly retired the caps, but it needs to be said that THE UNBORN is going to CHANGE THE WORLD and OWN ALL, and Odette Yustman = MEGAOWNAGE.
    Goyer plus THE YUST plus Oldman plus Cam Gigandet plus shot in 2.35:1 = THE FIRST MUST-SEE FILM OF ’09.
    To quote IO, it is a game-changer. Never underestimate Odette Yustman.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    You’re just making up peoples’ names by stringing together random letters. I look forward to your crush on My Bloody Valentine starring Blee Gorgonzola and Frick Alouette.

  14. LexG says:

    She is the NEXT BIG THING, son. Get with the times.
    Anyway, I forgot to make my more serious point that I think that movie’s going to do very well (Unborn, that is), because the TV campaign is beyond aggressive and well into insidious. On Spike they run at least one commercial for it EVERY. SINGLE. BREAK. Anyone who watched a CSI, Star Wars or Bond marathon over the last couple weeks has surely seen the ad 756 times. And that’s being conservative.

  15. Aladdin Sane says:

    I’m on board for the BD…and in the last month because of sales etc I’ve grown my collection to almost double what it was at the beginning of December. I’m being picky mind you and only buying stuff that I know I will watch multiple times…therefore a lot of newer stuff, save The Dark Knight, have not and will not be purchased.

  16. montrealkid says:

    I think the bigger question no one is asking in regards to BluRay is: how come in every article that brings up the whole “everyone is going to stream digital content into their living room” argument fails to mention that option is even more niche that BD right now. The learning curve that will be required for streaming internet content will be higher than giving people a better option to an excerise they already know (OPEN TRAY, PUT IN DISC).

  17. LexG says:

    Who was it who had that theory that there are probably people out there snapping up BluRay movies and wondering why they won’t play on their standard DVD player?
    I agree with that 10000% percent; I also just realized I have FOUR WEEKS to upgrade my TV? Do you think 99% of America has gotten the memo on that yet?

  18. For those of you in L.A. you’ll be THRILLED to know that Michael Savage (the late, great Nicol D.’s alter-ego) is back on the air down there. If you’ve never heard him, tune in. Closet case, egomaniac, hate mongering racist with daddy issues. Great listening when stuck in traffic.
    Just saw “Doubt” and hot damn, that was a great movie!

  19. Cadavra says:

    I’ve seen the trailer for UNBORN, and the only thing worse than a crappy American remake of a Japanese horror film is an original film that LOOKS LIKE a crappy American remake of a Japanese horror film. Enough with the waterlogged girls and the little boys with big staring eyes already.
    However, Yustman was quite good on a recent episode of LIFE ON MARS, so I’ll give Lex the benefit of the doubt on her for now.

  20. Blackcloud says:

    I think it’s the price of the media, not the players, that’s keeping BD from having more success. The broadband infrastructure necessary for digital streaming/downloading to replace physical media is decades away in this country.
    Lex, unless you’re still getting television signals via rabbit ears, you don’t need to upgrade your TV.

  21. EthanG says:

    Are you kidding??? “The Unborn” is going to shrivel like a stillborn fetus. It’s not even the best horror movie coming out that starts with “The Un” this month….that dubious honor has to go to “The Uninvited,” and even “Underworld” may not be as craptastic. Did you see “The Invisible” LexG???
    oh and the combination of Arielle Kebbel and Elizabeth Banks in “The Uninvited”? A FULL OUT ATTACK OF SMOLDERING HOTNESS on Odette Yustman.

  22. christian says:

    Savage is insane and his son invented “Rockstar” energy drink — proof of his clownish hypocrisy.

  23. christian-
    Actually, Rockstar is chock full of vitamins and homeopathic remedy type stuff (and, sugar and caffeine if you get the leaded version) and “Michael Savage” was originally Michael Weiner, a dude with a PhD in herbology (or some such thing) from UC Berkeley. Thickens the plot and shows how nucking futs the guy is. Or, it’s just a great act….

  24. Eric says:

    If anything kills Blu-ray at this point it’s the absurdly high price point of catalog titles. I walk into Best Buy and I see a $30 price tag on movies that cost $6 on DVD. The Wal-Mart shoppers of the world aren’t going to buy Blu-ray in bulk until they can get a movie they’ve heard of for less than $15.
    And yes, I know, things are better if you buy online– but that doesn’t affect the perception at all. What matters is the ridiculously high prices on the new format’s lone shelf at the local big-box retailers, and the Sunday newspaper ads showing the same.

  25. The Big Perm says:

    I think Unborn looks pretty cool. The old guy with the upside down head sold me. My only concern is Goyer as director, because he personally fucked up an excellent franchise with his shitty Blade sequel.

  26. Triple Option says:

    One thing the article mentioned was consumer satisfaction for regular dvd players is still high. Besides a burned copy, I can’t remember watching a film on dvd where I thought the dvd itself limited the quality of the viewing. Like if the picture quality was lacking or crap, my assumption would be that the film stock itself was weak. Of course it wasn’t around before but I can remember seeing just some music videos on vhs and wishing I could have a copy of the big 3/4″ tapes MTV used so I could see these in better quality.
    I was someplace where a real nice sony flatscreen was playing Spidey 3 on blu-ray and being impressed w/how precise the picture was. The pic quality was def a marked improvement but I think it’s a thing where if you don’t know what you’re potentially missing, you’re prolly not going to already be wondering.
    Quick side note, I was just shopping for a new tv and man, total 7-11 pricing going on. They had some fisher-price brands for like $700 but then for $1000, you could go up to a 40″ w/a little better model. BUT, if you’re gonna get a better quality set, don’t just get the 1080p but make sure you get the 120hz, so you don’t get shadows when watching sports or fast moving action pics. So that’s like $1599. But then you start looking at you see 52″ screens packaged w/blu-ray and tilting wall mount for $1899. So then you start thinking, “Holy crap, I’d have to be the biggest fool on the planet not to take that deal. Then there’s the warranty and you have to pay for someone to install it and you wanna make sure they make special care to hide all the wires because if you’re spending that kind of money, obviously have the home hook up to call your boys over or bring by your mama to watch flix on romantic Saturday night, you’re not gonna want it to look all radio shack. Still, $2600, you got a high end tv, big, blu-ray and you’re set for the next ice age. No one can argue in and of itself you didn’t get a good deal but damn, there’s no walking in thirsty looking for $.99 cent set. It’s $1.69 Super Gulp or $1.89 Double Gulp or shoot, you might as well take a sip out of a garden hose.
    I was able to put the breaks on at 46” and reminded myself I will still need a PS3 regardless of what kind of Craftmatic adj bed they wanna throw in. I already have three BD discs but I think I’ll be cool w/football and hoops to hold me until I get that puppy to play my films.

  27. yancyskancy says:

    The Unborn trailer looked good and creepy to me, though I know that guarantees nothing. It probably helps that I’ve seen none of the J-horror films or their remakes, except the American version of The Ring. Unless you count Kurosawa’s Pulse, which was great, but is surely more art-horror than typical J-horror (isn’t it? I honestly have nothing to go on). Loved his Cure also. Anyway, unless the reviews are amazing (unlikely), I’ll probably miss The Unborn, ’cause I’ve still got lots of Oscar bait to catch up on.
    Yustman was indeed good in that Life on Mars ep. Couldn’t tell if she had much promise based on her Cloverfield perf, but now I’m thinking maybe.

  28. Question: Who thinks Revolutionary Road would’ve been a hit if it simply debuted in wide release rather than yet another late December limited release. It’s doing good in said ltd release, but I can’t help but think that they could’ve trumped the likes of Frost/Nixon and Doubt if they went wide? Anyone?

  29. The Big Perm says:

    Yancy, I haven’t actually sen Pulse but a lot of the Japanese horror is sort of artsy in its way.
    If the Shining was made today people would complain about the twins being a Japanese ripoff. They’re ghosts, there’s only so much you can do with them. It’s just the Japanese sort of perfected that type of story…different from stuff like The Haunting where you don’t see the ghosts, or even know for sure if there were any.

  30. christian says:

    Don, I knew all about Savage Weiner’s backstory since he used to hobnob with the leftiest of the Bay Area left and his cross-over was rather interesting.
    My point about “Rockstar” is that for a guy who attacks the moral depravity of pop culture, it’s ironic his son is a millionaire capitalizing on that very thing…Boy that shit gets you going!

  31. christian says:

    And I’m unsure if Savage Weiner isn’t just putting on a big show…

  32. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Kami, “Revolutionary War” is in a slow expansion and is due to go wide on January 23. By then “Doubt” and “Frost/Nixon” will collapse of their own self-important Academy Award Winner weight.

  33. Chucky in Jersey says:

    OMG, I meant “Revolutionary Road”.

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, you drive me crazy with this insanely-motivated, compulsively-persistent stuff you keep posting. Do you actually watch _any_ of the movies you insist on badmouthing? They’re _not_ all bad!!!

  35. LexG says:

    Is this Savage knob going up against THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE, Tom LEYKIS????

  36. The Big Perm says:

    Chucky, you mentioned in anotherthread that you watched Gone with the Wind in a theatre…during that time were you rocking back and forth muttering “fucking Academy Ward winner…fucking setting recors for Oscars…” the whole time? Were you biting your fingernails until they bled and cutting your own leg with a knife?

  37. yancyskancy says:

    Chucky was able to justify seeing GWTW after he checked 1939 newspaper ads and learned that they hadn’t promoted the film’s original release as “starring Academy Award winner Clark Gable.” He did cut his leg, but only to help stay awake for the four-hour run time.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon