a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A whole new (nearly globalized) world

This is my new DVD player.

It will destroy my life.*

Albeit quite belatedly, I have joined the regionless DVD player/playing club. As you've doubtless surmised, that means I can now play any DVD on the planet. (Whether I can understand it, of course, depends on subtitle options.) People warned me that, once I finally made the leap -- via, by the way, the Philips 642/37, which came out of the box with make-go-regionless code already inserted -- it won't take long for me to grow apalled by how much money I've spent and am spending. They were and are right. I just compiled a list of the discs that are currently en route to my house in the boondocks of Philadelphia from various retailers in Britain. It is staggering. I'd rather not repeat the number, even though I'm pretty proud of each selection. (Is one of them the BFI disc of A Zed and Two Noughts, vastly superior to the R1 Fox Lorber both in transfer quality and extras, including an actual Greenaway commentary track? It is!) I also want to note that I made this list before, on a whim, I threw my credit card number at the new, wholly drool-worthy La Jetee/Sans Soleil disc. (Like most of my purchases, this one was made after a trip to DVD Beaver, my new favorite place to waste gobs of time, and second only to the IMDb as a place to get more excited about the thought of watching movies than actually watching them.)

I'm sorry to be a pessimist. This should really be a happy occasion, not a time to groan underneath the weight of a kaboodle of thin plastic cases festooned (so far) with red circular British grading stamps. And I should remind myself that, thanks to my nascent DVD transfer nazism, I'm really getting some (purportedly) dyno cinema: how else am I, as a Yank, going to see Innocence, directed by Gaspar Noe's girlfriend? And while the zeitgeist still catches up with the genius BBC science spoof Look Around You following its Matt Groening name-drop, I can sit atop my mountain, laughing that not only have I talked it up a couple of times, but I can play the Region 2 disc long before Region 1 companies even get around to the PAL-to-NTSC conversion. (Just wait till I get a grasp on bitrates.)

For the North Americanly curious, by the way, YouTube (you don't need a link) has, I believe, all eight nine-minute first series episodes of Look Around You, as that is what YouTube is seriously more useful at providing, this be damned. Series two, which stretches out the length twice over and does a hefty reformatting, is still running on BBCAmerica. While also not nearly as funny, it has its high peaks. Among these is this clip from the "Music" episode, in which contestant (and teacher) Tony Rudd postulates by example what music will sound like in the year 2000 (the show, though it never explicitly mentions it, takes place in 1981).

Dude might have undershot by 20 years. I wonder if 2020 will find songs that constantly change key, are sung in a nonsense language made of word patterns, and feature constant breaks into falsetto wailing. The spectral dude in the box, by the way? Why, it's Tchaikovsky's ghost. Rudd doesn't win (and neither does the guy who posits that 2000 will teem with rap songs about rapping), though he has scored a following.

But the real reason I'm posting? Shameless plugs! And I'm backlogged again. Last week, I forgot to direct you to my review of Steve Buscemi's dreary Lonesome Jim as well as, as ever, Rep. This week, I can't make the same mistake. In the issue of 5/3, I penned a giant article (as opposed to a review) of the loving, if not exactly burrowing, doc Saint of 9/11, which memorializes Father Mychal Judge, the first recorded victim of the WTC attacks. Also, there are three reviews (one Dan Buskirk review of a Chen Kaige pic down), namely of Hard Candy, Water, and Akeelah and the Bee: guess which one is kind of awesome. Also, as ever, Rep.

Also, yes.

*It is also out of stock -- sad, really, because when I picked it up, Amazon.com had marked it down to the point of essentially being thievery. There are still a couple used models, though you could always search elsewhere.


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