Add to Queue #66: Inside baseball

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Media | A2Q Archives | A2Q #64 | November 25, 2008: Welcome to Add to Queue, Levi’s round-up of this week’s US home video release highlights. Sorry, rest of the world. Region locks are the industry’s way of saying they still don’t understand the Internet.

Out This Week

[[image:vs081125_bottle.jpg:Bottle Rocket:left:0]] Bottle Rocket

Wes Anderson’s first film finally gets the Criterion treatment. It’s not a BD release, which disappoints me, but I’ve been longing for a Criterion edition of this Anderson film to put next to the other Criterion Andersons I’ve collected for what seems like forever. If you’re not familiar with the film, it is about a group of losers who aspire to be master criminals. Many of Wes Anderson’s trademark directing touches are already apparent in this, including the unique characters, the use of color, the touches of slow-motion, the fantastic soundtrack, and the quirky humor that you’ll find endearing or annoying. If you liked Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums, this is a definite pick-up.

[[image:vs081125_fred.jpg:Fred Claus:center:0]] Fred Claus

Will Ferrell managed to make a watchable modern Christmas movie with Elf, so I guess the concept of Vince Vaughn as Santa’s schlubby brother wasn’t doomed to failure. Still, as much as I like Vaughn (he’s money, baby) I couldn’t take much of this.

[[image:vs081125_hancock_copy1.jpg:Hancock:left:0]] Hancock

Jason Bateman stars as a publicity agent who is exploited by a homeless superhero. Bateman valiantly tries to help the titular Hancock clean up his image after the drunken superhero causes more harm than good when trying to stop crime, but the villainous Hancock is more interested in Bateman’s wife.

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Walk the Line is a fine addition to the BD catalog, and Jarhead is the better of the two Jamie Foxx war movies coming out on BD this week. [Editor’s Note: However, The Kingdom has Jennifer Garner firing machine guns. Hot.]

There has been a lot of talk in tech circles recently about the future of the BD-format in a down economy. BD hasn’t yet completely capitalized on its triumph over the competing HD-DVD format, and with a slowing economy, some people who might otherwise be looking to upgrade might put that off until things start to look better. With more and more homes getting access to streaming video direct to their TVs, that might also put a crimp in BD adoption. The quality on streaming video is far below that of BD (even so-called “HD” streaming, which isn’t even really HD and is littered with compression artifacts), but the success of .MP3 shows that convenience can win over quality. Of course, for most people music is something that is in the background, whereas generally if you’re watching a movie you are giving it your primary attention, so the MP3 analogy may not hold out. With many electronics retailers in the US reportedly selling BD players at just above $100 on the day after Thanksgiving, BD may yet end the year with a decent adoption rate. All that is a long way to go to say that I think BD is looking up, just based on the fact that until recently I could include every non-special interest (nature, concerts, etc.) BD release in this column, but there is so much junk getting shoveled to BD these days that I can’t reasonably cover it all anymore. Great for BD, bad for your humble columnist.

Cover art courtesy of Amazon. Here are just a few of the key ingredients: dynamite, pole vaulting, laughing gas, choppers – can you see how incredible this is going to be? – hang gliding, come on! . Follow me on Twitter. Add me to your PSN or XBL friends list: VsRobot. You can also e-mail me at levivsrobot [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “Add to Queue #66: Inside baseball

  1. Bottle Rocket is out on Blu-ray – Dec 16, 2008 for the same price as the DVD. It’s also from the Criterion Collection.

    So sayeth

    I think the choice is obvious here.

  2. I love how the cover to Hancock has a very important plot spoiler right on the god damned cover (NOTE: it wasn’t that good a movie…)

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