The Best of Boutique Blu-ray Labels in the age of Streaming! Oct 2019 to February 2020 ARROW Collection Update! Part 2 of 2!

Despite claims of the death of physical media, Blu-ray Boutique labels, HERE IN 2020, are putting out some of the best physical content… EVER!

Here then are MUST OWN Blu-rays in the age of streaming and digital, acquired between October 2019 and February 2020!

 

PT 2 of 2 of my Arrow Video Pickups for that period:

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN – Just in terms of art, this is not one of the better Arrow releases. The art, both versions of the reversible cover, are pretty awful.  Unworthy of such a great film. However because it is a great film, and the Arrow release is the only legitimate Bluray option out there, I can definitely overlook the art, in order to own this essential sci-fi tinged horror film. But I do hope we in the futuure get a superior version.

J.D’S REVENGE – I saw this film recently courtesy of Amazon Prime, my first time seeing this 40+ year old film… and I loved it. What a gem! Surprisingly gripping and exciting and Volatile. And this is one that ARROW VIDEO does a Fantastic job with the art, And i look forward to checking out the special features.

 

Get your copies at the following links:

INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN

JD’S REVENGE

 

ONE FINAL WORD, AS i wrap up this quick update on arrow video titles acquired recently.

One OF THE STANDOUT FEATURES OF ARROW IN ADDITION TO THE SPECIAL FEATURES THEY INCLUDE ON THEIR RELEASES AND THE METICULOUS WORK THEY TYPICALLY DO COMMISSIONING NEW ARTWORK, is their booklets that come with their releases. however, that is also one of the main frustrations of collecting arrow releases.

arrow does this policy, where they only release the book or booklet with the ‘first pressing’ of their movies. basically when their initial batch of blu-rays of a title sell out, when they release subsequent pressings, those subsequent batches will not come with the book or booklet.

NOW I DO UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS OF DOING THIS FROM ARROW’S PERSPECTIVE, COST BEING A VERY MINOR ONE. BUT I THINK THE REAL REASON THEY DO IT, IS IT CREATES THIS AURA OF collectibility AND DEMAND AND URGENCY. it feeds into the ‘limited edition’ collectibles market, which is a valid part of their customer base.

here is the issue with that, that is only part of your customer base.

as a buyer and fan of arrow video releases, you do not know when you place your order, via a retailer, whether the new product you are getting will come with or without the booklet. and for most fans of arrow (or any boutique label, such as criterion), the booklet is part of why you collect physical media, as opposed to just streaming the movie, or getting the film from a different label. even today, four years after its initial release, i can order black narcissus (one of the most stunning films ever made) from criterion, and be assured of getting the beautiful booklet with it. that assurance of quality whenever you pick up a criterion product, well that says everything about why they remain synonymous with quality and confidence.

so while the limited nature of arrow’s books and booklet, ensures you create a quick sell out of your initial run, it hampers sales of subsequent runs. And gives the buyer pause before buying that release, and has them turn from you and your retailers to the secondary market for a used item, but one that guarantees they get the book or booklet.

this policy is actually training potential customers to be wary of getting the item new from arrow or its retailers, and to rather patronize the secondary market.

now i am a supporter of the secondary market typically, but in this case i think arrow may actually be losing sales on older titles this way. training your customer base to seek out used product as opposed to your in-stock product, courting the exclusivity fervor, is a tricky tight rope to walk, especially when it may be actually sacrificing some sales from a potentially larger customer base, to support this model.

at the very least if arrow, wants to not provide the book/booklet in all releases, and continue to court to some extent the limited edition part of their customer base, what they can still do is offer the books and booklets as an add on to customers. give customers the option to buy the book or booklet at a nominal fee, to include s&h. worldwide shipping of a booklet, even today is only few pounds. And to differentiate it from the first pressing, just simply mark it aS ‘2nd printing’.

this way your limited edition audience, still keep their ‘limited edition status- they have first prints’. and at the same time you generate revenue from people who missed out on the books or booklets. it strengthens peoples trust in arrow, since what you get is not totally left up to chance or the secondary market.

anyhow that is my two cents on the one issue, as someone only several months into arrow video patronage, that i see as room for improvement, with the otherwise excellent arrow label.

 

Today’s 12 MUST OWN DvDs and BluRays in the Age of DIGITAL!!!!

Go back ten years in this blog and you will see I was singing the praises of Walter Hill’s EXTREME PREJUDICE as not just one of Walter Hill’s best films, but one of the best action films ever made.

Here is where all of Walter Hill’s loves and inspirations (from John Ford to Sam Pekinpah) took him furthest and took all involved furthest. Much like Anthony Harvey’s seminal THE LION IN WINTER it was the best film of everyone involved.

So EXTREME PREJUDICE‘s lack of availability in a great Bluray, and better yet Steelbook format, has always struck me as a missed opportunity.

While the US has yet to correct that wrong, Germany and Japan (and the UK had an out of print version as well) evidently know a brilliant movie when they see one, as you can get Walter Hill’s best film on BluRay thru those countries.

Shame on you US!

In my best PLANET OF THE APES growl… “BOW YOUR HEAD!!!” 🙂

But yeah, came across the below BluRay version from Germany…

I have recently gone on a steelbook kick thanks to recent absolutely jaw droppingly beautiful steelbook releases by Shout Factory. I’ve kinda grown to despise the titular blue bar on the top of traditional BluRay packaging. I was never a fan of that branding, but accepted it because, that was all there was.

Well today we have great companies releasing wonderful Blurays done with an eye to aesthetics, that makes not just the film a work of art, but the whole gestalt, the whole process, a work of art. Which is what hopefully anything that takes up space, precious space, in our homes and our lives should be… a thing of beauty.

A thing that makes us smile, to look upon it.

The twelve movies below, including the aforementioned EXTREME PREJUDICE release… make me smile.

Reach out to me, if you need assistance in acquiring any of these.

Without further ado… 

Today’s 12 MUST OWN DvDs and BluRays in the Age of DIGITAL!!!!

The Japan and Uk version use similar art for the BluRay, but both are out of print. But they have that blue branding at the top that I can deal with, but does not inspire me to rush out and get a copy. These days I drag my feet before buying anything that doesn’t completely thrill me. Streaming has spoiled us, even us DVD and Bluray fans: today even for an increasing # of us, owning physical media is a luxury that has to justify itself, in an age of Digital.

Digital… meet justification. The German mediabook of EXTREME PREJUDICE…

 

HOLY … BLOODY… HECK!!! 

That is a magnificent cover! And I even forgive it the Blue branding at the top.

Man… when I saw this, even though the book portion is in German (And the title is AUSGELOSCHT which translates loosely to Elimination or Annihilation), I had to have it. Especially when I saw that it was sold out nearly everywhere. 

Okay that was one Bluray down, here are today’s other 11 must own BluRays.

 

 

https://amzn.to/2LeMZ4s

Yes, I listed THE THING Steelbook last time, and yes it still takes my breath away. SHOUT FACTORY has just knocked it out of the park with this and their other recent Steelbook releases. I own it now and still am impressed with it every time I see it on my shelf.  And people, this is nearly out of print everywhere. Pick it up while you can.

 

And moving on, here are the remaining must own Blurays of today!

 

 

https://amzn.to/2Lgq2Oj

https://amzn.to/2NKS3iF

 

https://amzn.to/2zMhgkM

The Blue Branding is just a removable cardboard piece, thankfully, and at the price this classic is a must own.

https://amzn.to/2NLjN6X

https://amzn.to/2MS9CxN

https://amzn.to/2NLzsmF

 

https://amzn.to/2MR0HMT

https://amzn.to/2HCv1qf

I do not love THE HOWLING steelbook, but it is growing on me. I kinda like it. And it is currently affordable.

https://amzn.to/2MSacvt

While everyone is proclaiming the death of physical media, I have to tell you, there are people like me, who will always support beautiful things. And while it is great to stream movies, and stream comics, and stream books, and stream magazines, there is no substitution for being able to hold and peruse and showcase a well designed work of art.

So if companies up their game like SHOUT FACTORY is doing, don’t just slap a photo on the cover, but put some bloody creativity into the packaging. Custom artwork, great design, and they will sellout their SteelBook Blurays… just like SHOUT FACTORY is doing. People will support… quality.

Choir… preach. 🙂

Guys if you like this post. go ahead and support this blog by using the links provided. Purchases thru the included links earn this blog a few much appreciated pennies to keep the virtual lights on. 🙂

Thanks for viewing, leave a comment, like or email or subscribe. It is all appreciated. Till next time… be well!!

 

Streaming VOD Channel Review : FILMRISE HORROR – For week ending Saturday 27 Oct 2018

So while I advocate always keeping things you LOVE in physical media, DVDs , Blurays, CDs, etc; the beneft of Streaming and Digital is that it is GREAT for exploring, and finding out what out there is worth having. Most things aren’t, so Streaming is great for a try before you buy methodology, or simply finding new things to watch right now

This installment’s channel up for review is FILMRISE HORROR.

FILMRISE HORROR  – nice interface and good Halloween selection for this free ad -supported VOD/Streaming channel. Also I like that it gives the movies ratings. The lack of ratings and trailers is one of the reasons I left Netflix. Highlight of this channel, as we gear up for Halloween, are:

  • BIG BAD WOLF – readily available on other chaneels, it is always a good one to watch
  • CREATURE – nice 80s Alien ripoff. But despite that, a good although cheesy watch
  • SWAMP SHARK – I’ve actually been meaning to watch this one. A shark in the swap? I’m there! 🙂
  • ALIEN CONTAMINATION – Another film I have been meaning to check out
  • IMAGES i This is a FANTASTIC early Robert Altman film, during his very experimental phase. With stunning cinematography and a brilliant discordant score this is a film I m proud to own on Bluray. But it is good to know streaming channels are showing it some love.
  • MEMORY OF THE DEAD – another one I want to take a look at
  • MANEATER – Gay Busey fights a Tiger. I’m there. 🙂
  • LYCANTHROPE – I’ll try most horror films that have to do with Werewolves.
  • NIGHT OF THE DEMON – I’ll try  most horror fiilms that have to do with Bigfoot.
  • STRIGOI – sounds intriguing
  • BITE MARKS – intriguing sounding Vampire flick
  • THE 4th FLOOR – a top notch cast in this interesting sounding film about an apartment build and a dangerous neighbor
  • SPIDERS and SPIDERS 2- I saw SPIDERS 2 and really, really enjoyed it. So looking forward to watching the first one.
  • BLOODWORX- I remember this being pretty good
  • DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE – interested in seeing this made for TV version
  • LARVA – intrigued
  • FRANKENSTEIN – A 2015 vod version. May be worth a look.
  • WITHER – A swedish I believe, version of EVIL DEAD. A good film.
  • BLOOD PUNCH – Fantastic. Lots of fun.
  • DER SAMURAI – Disturbing, slow burn film, that is worth a watch.
  • IN THE SPIDERS WEB – Another fun Lance Henriksen horror film

All in all, this week FILM RISE HORROR has plentiful selections, good quality, a nice interface, and effective ratings to help you narrow in on a choice, unfortunately the ads are WAY too invasive and plentiful. Grade for this channel is : D-. It is not worth adding to your list.

THE FILMRISE HORROR CHANNEL GETS A FAIL. Do not subscribe to it this week.

WEEK 5 of 2018! Best Youtube Video/Channel!

Kudos to CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT for some excellent content on his blog and Youtube videos. His Youtube video on COLLECTING MEDIA IN A DIGITAL WORLD….  absolutely essential viewing.

 

http://www.cerealatmidnight.com/

 

As someone old enough to remember the pre digital days and the coming of vhs and dvd and cd, those formats empowered the consumer. And these Millennials growing up to think physical media ownership is a burden, and the instant gratification of the cloud is the way to go, do not realize the power that they are relinquishing back to the studios.

Do not realize that the freedom to be free of physical media, comes at the cost of never being able to have a product that is not subject to being removed, or altered or banned, at any time.

Comes at the expense of having anything that you can actually own, without the oversight of gatekeepers.

VHS and DVD and CD, in fundamental ways started an evolution that empowered the consumer and got the market to cater to the consumer. Increasingly with digital (sans physical media) the conversation has returned to a one way monologue.

Consumers being dictated to, rather than catered to.

And that will get worse if we let physical media as a companion or alternative to ‘in the cloud’… disappear. Because we have sold a new generation on a lie that privacy and physical ownership is a burden, that takes them too much effort… to preserve.

Much as our media and politicians are selling them on this idea that Liberty and Democracy and Civility… are likewise burdens that take too much effort… to preserve.

So yeah give CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT some patronage, especially that video. It currently has about 500 views, it deserves to have 5 billion.

The most important news story of our digital age?

If you are not donating to the EFF, are not a card carrying member, and you consider some of the violations of personal liberties as well as continued inability of companies to safe guard our data, a concern at the least, and more accurately an outrage… EFF is the one fighting for your freedoms. And the one that needs your support.

Read up on FCC’s historic capitulation to big business (again… similar to when they just GAVE  huge swaths of the public airwaves over to the private sector) as they now give unfettered manipulation powers to already grossly entrenched and competition squashing monopolistic entities (your ISPs).

And find out why the fight is not over and what you can do to help.

Go here…

Cat & Unicorn

https://www.eff.org/

 

YouTube vs Roku/Fire TV YouTube! CDs vs Records! And the de-evolution of America. Winner? MUSIC COMPANIES!

So i hate YouTube on the web.

I hate anything with an unmoderated comments section, that revels in talk show idiocy, or ‘attention through controversy’ or bad behavior.

But thankfully YouTube via streaming devices Roku or Amazon Fire TV, is actually devoid of those moronic comments and is more signal rather noise.

This week it has been brilliant helping me research and scratch my hifi/ audio need.

And by far, by far, the Youtube Channel I found the most useful of all, is the s)mply fantastic channel AUDIOHOLICS.

These guys can clearly call bs on the fuzzy thinking that makes up too much of hi-fi marketing and hype.

Such as the sillyness of various Youtube channels going on about the superiority of LPs over CD (I don’t care if you like LPs better, that is subjective. But LP/wax is an inferior medium, (I stress MEDIUM) that is not subjective, that is a fact.)

Talk about lossy system, LP is the original lossy system. It can’t handle the highs or the lows that CDs can, so has to be mastered in this very midrange sweet spot. Which is fine, in that midrange, if you’re good with that, and that sounds ‘warmer’ to you than a   CD, whatever. In the midrange if mastered right it can be perfectly fine. But one thing you lose in addition to those highs and those lows, that get clipped on wax, you lose the ability to reproduce the listening experience.

By that I mean, if you play a CD the first time, or the 500th time, and the hardware, the cd player, the speakers, amp, being the same; the quality of that recording will be the same as the first time you listened to it. That listening experience is reproducible.

Not so with wax/lps, like vhs tape or cassette tape, the LP playing experience is one of degradation. Everytime you play the medium, your start wearing it down minutely, and evertime you play it (though no one wants to think of it) it sounds worse than the previous time, because you are scraping into that signal, that medium.

I come from the analog generation, I played records, and vhs tapes, and cassettes until the quality noticeably started grinding down. And it didn’t then, and it doesn’t now, take too many plays, for that quality to start noticeably degrading.

So I have an experience with LPs and Cassettes, and in its time it was great, and it is still something to be said about large beautiful album covers and liner notes, the tactile process of it. But don’t confuse immediacy, with sound quality. And that immediacy doesn’t outweight the glaring flaws and problems with wax, in terms of sound quality, albums always getting futz on it,needles getting futz, the threat of warping, pops and cracles appearing out of nowhere.

We loved LPs because it was the best we had. But it was always a bit of a chore as anyone can tell you who grew up with them.

And I am not an LP hater. I think it has a place , and I still get the occassional LP, but generally these are recordings only available as LPs, or were mastered direct to wax.

The former being a lot of Quincy Jones stellar 60s and 70s avant garde film soundtracks such as the seminal IN COLD BLOOD. As far as the latter, I’m a purchaser and supporter of Jack White’s THIRD MAN RECORDS. This label goes to the stunning step of recording performances live and pressing directly to vinyl. You stilll lose some highs and lows when recording to wax, but in that midrange you get something very unique and original, you get a live concert experience unmoderated by overproducing.  That”s something very unique, and while I don’t see anything particularly superior in the sound, this at least has validity as something distinct from the CD. Unlike others taking tracks mastered for  a CDs range and just chopping off the highs and lows and slapping that on vinyl.

Vinyll can be great for these very unique niche projects. But as as additive to what should be a strong and healthy and forward looking digital market. To include CD and DVD and and SACD market.

It shouldn’t be this very cannibalizing either or scenario, in which music and choice….and the consumer… loses.

So when LD, CD, DVD came on the horizon it was then, and is now, a revolution, because suddenly you have something  you can buy that will rather than lasting 25 listens or views , if you are very careful and meticulous in keeping it cleaned and dust free,  before quality suffers, you have something that will keep its pristine quality, with just normal care for a minimum of 25 years. Not 25 listens like an LP… TWENTY FIVE YEARS! Minimum.

Now add greater dynamic range, larger capacity, and vastly increased lifespan and you have a medium,The CD/DVD, that by any definition is superior. And is by any measure the greatest boon to the video and audio consumer since the advent of recorded sound.

Now if a new generation gets sold on mp3 CDs and mp3 streaming and some badly mastered cds (and LPs can be equally badly mastered, any medium will have those who use it well and poorly. The difference being we have not yet exhausted the limits of how far we can take the CD and DVD and SACD. We are abandoning those formats before wecreach their limits. In favor of going backward to a medium, wax, whose limitations were always a source of frustration to audiophiles and engineers), and this young generation is bamboozled into writing off the most astounding and groundbreaking medium produced in the 20th century and goes backward to the flawed and not copyable ,and needing replaced often, analog medium, then who benefits?

I’ll tell you who… The RIAA and the music companies, who always viewed Digital with fear for the freedom it brought the consumer.

I tell you this new generation is giving away the baby with the bath water. Privacy, oh who needs that, put everything on facebook. Put surveillance systems in the guise of game consoles, and music players and smart devices in our homes.

Here’s the thing about smart devices and trusted computing, its about the companies being able to trust you, and not the other way around.

Conglomerates, are the ones benefiting from DVDs and CDs removed from the consumer and the return to records.This creates a model where the consumer owns music or video only on flawed, finite, non high-quality medium, and must go to the content provider for anything superior.

It is not only politically and morally and spiritually that America is devolving as a nation, but also in terms of technology.

 

My response… don’t let it.

Don’t buy the marketing and allow your rights to the future, be swept away by someone selling you the past. Continue to support full spectrum DVD, CD, and BluRay. And more than that let us continue to innovate, if people like the large LP format, lets give it to them, but in the superior medium.

I was a huge fan of Laser Disc, which works very much like a record, but using a superior medium, and a laser pickup instead of the horrible wax and needle medium.

Lets offer that as the 21st century version of records, to those who want Analog playback but with the benefits of digital transport/reproduction. That is a record I could get behind. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

p.s. And avoid youtube morons attempting to review speakers and amps by just playing music (uh, moron, if I could hear the quality of your system just by listening on my system… they would call that magic. How do you not realize that?)

This is the lack of common sense mentality  that has idiots ditching CDs for flawed LPs, and spending thousands to try and make those LPs reach a dynmaic range, that is beyond them.

 

Okay here endeth my rant!