Archive for December 2009

 
 

Blu Ray Releases for 29 Dec 2009

Now that I have a Blu Ray player, let’s see about reviving the New Release List here.  For starters, it’s a much shorter list to deal with each week:

This is that stop motion movie from the summer produced by Tim Burton.  Got good reviews, looked good, but I haven’t seen it.

This is a movie made for the sake of letting Megan Fox prance around in skimpy clothing for two hours.  In other words, it ought to be an EXCELLENT Blu Ray.  There might be a story, too, but I don’t think any of the teenage guys who saw it in the theaters cared.

Milla Jovovich.  So once you’re done demoing your system with “The Fifth Element,” go see her serious acting chops in this movie.  This is another horror/thriller movie, set in Hawaii, i.e. the state “Lost” put on the map. (Yes, that is a joke.)

That’s about as generic a movie title as you can get, isn’t it?  It’s supposed to be “The Blair Witch Project” for a new generation.  If “Cloverfield” didn’t make you nauseous, go for this film!

Comics For Sale

New Books Added 20 DEC 2009:

“Danger Girl” hardcover. Standard sized, but contains all the same material as the Absolute edition, I think. $25, including shipping.

“Planetary” hardcovers, volumes 1 and 2 (issues #1 – #12) I have the “Absolute” edition, so I don’t really need these, nor do I think I ever read them. $25 for the pair, postage included. SOLD!

UPDATED 19 DEC 2009:

Need to get rid of some comics, and could also use some spending cash this holiday season, so I’m selling some hardcovers.  Here’s the list:

  • Bone: Ghost Circles
  • Bone: Old Man’s Cave
  • Bone: Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Border (autographed by Smith to “Jessica”)
  • Bone: Treasure Hunters

(Take all four for $80 $60 $50, shipping included)

  • Batman: Hush (Volumes 1 and 2) ($25 for the pair, including shipping) SOLD!
  • Queen and Country v. 1 – 7, Queen and Country Declassified v. 1 (Take ‘em all for $100 $85 $70, including shipping)

Newly added: TokyoPop’s “Battle Royale.” The complete series: all 15 volumes. Only the first three were ever opened up. The rest are still shrinkwrapped. They’re yours for $70 $60 and, yes, that includes shipping costs, too.

For my own sanity’s sake, payment is accepted through PayPal only, and I’ll only ship inside the United States.  Media Mail is a beautiful thing, but if you want to pay extra, I’ll go first class.

If you want it all, I’ll cut you a deal for making my life easier.

Thanks!

Email me at augie (at) comicbookresources (dot) com.

Meanwhile, Back in Belgium. . .

From a couple weeks back:

Over the weekend, someone used a fire ladder to climb to the roof of a huge warehouse in Willebroek, a Dutch-speaking municipality in the Belgian province of Antwerp, cut a hole in the roof, and made off with 3,000 to 4,000 brand new Apple  iPhones, according to reports in the Belgian press.

The phones have since been spotted on the Russian black market.

My Blu Ray Manifesto

I think I’ve learned from DVDs.  I learned a lot. . I needed to   First, I learned to like movies.  I was never a movie kid growing up.  I liked TV more.  I liked watching Jeopardy! at far too young an age.  I liked and appreciated animation that, while originally in the theaters, at that time resided solely on TV in blissful half hour blocks.   To this day, though, there are still large gaps in my movie memory that everyone assumes I have.  When the DVD format hit, I fell in love and watched all I could.  I’d spend Saturday afternoons with the shades drawn, the DVD player fired up, and a couple or three movies ready to go, often in those distinctive little red envelopes from Netflix.  (I subscribed to Netflix in the days before they had warehouses every 15 blocks around the country, dangit!  I had to wait a week to exchange a disc for a new one, at least. Bah!)

But those were the days in the early 2000s that I caught up on classics like “The Maltese Falcon” and “Casablanca” and “Network” and “The French Connection” and “Chinatown” and “The Godfather.” I’m sure there were some movies that didn’t come out of the 30s and 70s in there, too, but you get the idea.   DVDs were a weekly purchase, aided by the Sam Goody store (remember those?) downstairs from where I worked, where a pre-order would save you nearly as much as you’d save ordering it on Amazon, in the days before free shipping with your $25 purchase.   I bought the discs often knowing I didn’t have time to watch them right away, but figuring I would someday — that I should buy them while I could.   The end result?  Literally hundreds of DVDs in boxes are filling up a couple of closets in my house.  A couple of years ago, I sold off a bunch, many of which turned out to be unexpected collector’s items that fetched high prices, such as the “ReBoot” DVDs.  That money paid, in large part, for my dSLR camera.   Most of the DVDs in my collection did not retain their value, the way they did in the early days of the format.  There was a time when most movies were $30. You could almost make that back on eBay immediately, if you wanted to.  DVDs weren’t available at every checkout stand and 7-11 spinner rack for $5 or $10.  They weren’t available to rent for $1 from a big red box outside the supermarket.   And today, as broadband opens up to ever more of the country and the tech industry fights to put an appliance in your home theater to stream things to your TV, the future of disc-based entertainment, itself, is in danger.  It’s not a perfect solution, though.  Broadband isn’t equally fast or available everywhere.  It’s a lot of data to send through the pipes to show a high def picture on your TV.  And there’s the basic human need to own stuff, not merely have it stream past your eyes.  Why pay for something you can’t hold?   An early format war nearly killed the next generation disc-based successor to the humble DVD before it began.  Through various political machinations, Blu Ray eventually won the battle, this despite the HD-DVD plug-in for the Xbox.  In the end, content won out.  Once enough Hollywood studios chose Blu Ray (for whatever reason — pay outs, technical specs, etc.), HD DVD was dead.  With an entire industry behind one format, the march forward with it could begin, and prices could come back down to earth, largely in an attempt to recoup the sagging DVD dollars being spent in Best Buy and WalMart.   With prices of Blu Ray players eking below $100 (albeit for bare bones, previous generation, non-internet capable players), now is the time to start buying.   So why go with Blu Ray?  Because it’s cool looking.  Because I’m a tech geek.  Because I bought a 1080p TV screen capable of displaying it. Just because.   But I learned from the years I spent vacuuming up new DVD releases.  There are limitations this time around.  Here’s my thinking:   I’m sticking with movies that take advantage of being in high def.  I want the spectacles.  I want the special effects monsters.  I want the loud surround sound movies.    Failing that, I want only the best movies in Blu Ray.  If it doesn’t qualify for the previous definition, I’m only buying it on Blu Ray if it’s an exceedingly good movie with a new transfer that I’m likely to watch again.   Comedies, old classics, etc. are fine enough in DVD with the upscaling DVD player.  As much as I love and adore Airplane!, I don’t need to buy it again, thanks.   I’d almost go so far as to say TV shows will be good enough in DVD, but so many of those today are shot in high def beyond what DVD is capable of showing that I might go Blu Ray with those, too.  Plus, fewer discs means less swapping things in and out of the player!   I’m also not planning on a lot of double-dipping.  If I already bought it on DVD, I’ll stick with that.  I will have one or two exceptions (Hello, “Matrix”), mostly to see the difference between the two formats, but I’d prefer those on a budget basis — if there’s an Amazon sale where I can get it for $10 (Hello, “Dark City”), I might go for it.
  I don’t want to end up with a large library here.  I want something manageable and something of quality. Plus, I just don’t have the time to watch a large volume of movies/tv shows anymore.  I know my limits better now.    So let’s see how this goes…    

The Recording Industry’s Latest Nuttiness

I have to give the music industry credit. They continuously find new ways to make themselves look like jerks. That has to be tough to do on a weekly deadline, yet they manage.

Good job, ASCAP!

ASCAP is demanding a licensing fee from a venue that has the video game Guitar Hero for people to play.

Random Remembering

Remember when Laserdiscs were dying, DVD wasn’t yet around, but the Director’s Commentary track was primed to be the next big thing? You got two-tape VHS packages. The first tape had the movie. The second had the movie, but with the commentary audio on it. Neither, of course, was likely to be in widescreen, though some movies were starting to go there. You just lost too much resolution on a VCR with widescreen movies in their proper format.

Seeing a feature on those VHS tapes is one of the reasons I picked up the original “Scream” DVD. I was a “Dawson’s Creek” fanboy at the time, so a Kevin Williamson commentary would have been tough to pass up.

And now DVDs can feature multiple commentaries per movie, and Blu Ray gives you video commentary. Isn’t technology grand?

Stray Thought

I won’t take the elevator from the first to the second floor, even if it’s sitting there waiting for me. I’ll walk around the corner and use the stairs. It’s actually quicker that way.

What does this say about me? Am I just more impatient than lazy? Discuss.

Speaker Ceiling Mounts

While I’m asking random questions that just one person reading this needs to have an answer for…

I’m looking at mounting my surround sound speakers to the ceiling, at last.  The speakers are small.  They’re less than two pounds apiece.  So weight isn’t an issue.

Wiring isn’t an issue, either, since this is happening in a drop ceiling.  So snaking wires above the ceiling is the easiest part of the job.

The problem IS the drop ceiling. All the gadgets to put speakers up on the ceilings of walls give you screws to drill it into place.  I can’t screw things into a drop ceiling.  Is there a special mount for this, to hang a lightweight speaker onto the drop ceiling?  Or do I need to mount them higher and drill holes in the ceiling tiles to hang the speaker? Or, do I just take a lot of string and tie the speaker up competely.

So — any ideas?

UPDATE: My solution is to just mount the speakers on the back wall, a few feet behind the couch.  I can increase the volume of those two speakers, in particular, to make up for the distance they’ll be. Hopefully, I’ll be doing this over the coming weekend. . .

Harmony Remote and Sony TVs

I have the Harmony Remote 880. I wrote about it a couple of years ago when I first picked it up, funded by the Amazon Associates points you find folks helped me round up.  I’ve since added a new TV to the house, and it’s turned into a nightmare to try to program the thing around it.  So let me throw this out there, on the off chance that one of the dozen of you still reading this blog have had the same problem.

The issue is in setting up the remote to automatically choose an input from the back of the TV. When I play a DVD, for example, I need the TV to look for HDMI 3 for the signal. When using the cable box, I point to Component 1. On the other TV, this wasn’t a problem.  There were eight inputs in the back and you just hit the “Input” button to cycle through them until you got to the one you wanted.

With this new TV, I can’t do that.  The TV changes the order of the inputs around so that they are in the order last used.  So if I switch from HDMI 1 to Component 1, suddenly HDMI 1 is the second item on the list and HDMI 1 — the currently used port — is first.  So there’s no set list of inputs in a given order.

So how can I program my remote around that? I’m still searching through the Harmony forums, but it’s a bit difficult. It’s a very well-trafficked forum where each search brings up 500 results, most of which are talking about a variation on what I have.

Any ideas, remote programmers?