DVD-News: Criterion does Tati & More

After some extensive slacking off, I decided to write more news articles and re-open the DVD News Index, now with three date columns for US, UK and German releases. To make things easier, I’m not only going to include the discs I intend to buy myself, but also some others as well, regardless in which format they come. The DVDLog “headquarters” are still standard-definition only and probably still will be for some time, but that doesn’t have to mean that I can’t give a few recommendations. I’m also going to muck out the Wanted List and add some new entries with movies which really need a transfer upgrade. I can’t promise that I will be able to keep this up, but I’ll try to read the usual suspects of websites more often and do at least one news update every month or so, depending on how much interesting news there is to share. But now finally for some news…  

The first exciting news comes from Criterion, who are going to release The Complete Jacques Tati as a massive boxset on October 28th in the USA in seperate Blu-Ray and DVD versions. The set will include the already existing, but currently out-of-print Criterion releases of Playtime and Trafic alongside new editions of Jour de Fête, Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday and Mon Oncle with a lot of bonus materials – see the Criterion press release for full details. If you already own the british BFI rereleases like me, you will probably already have the best transfers of the movies, but it remains to be seen if Criterion will do some additional work on Jour de Fête and if they will include the original 1947 version of the movie, since the BFI release only contained the restored full-colour version and the partly colourized 1964 incarnation. There are also a few interesting extras like a 1988 documentary about the rediscovery of Jour de Fête’s lost colour version and a 2008 docu about Mon Oncle, which were not present on the BFI discs. While the complete boxset is way to expensive for me, I might spring for the new Criterion discs of Jour de Fête and Mon Oncle if they ever get separate releases. You can also read my reviews of Jour de Fête, Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot and Mon Oncle – there’s also a Playtime review, but I haven’t translated this one yet into English.

And now for something completely different – the recording of the very last ever Monty Python show on stage, Monty Python Live (Mostly) – One Down, Five To Go will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 10th in England. This is the same show that was broadcast live in cinemas and on the UK Gold television channel on June 20th as the grand finale of their ten appearances in the O2 Arena. No details are known yet, but the DVD is curiously labled as “NTSC All-Region”, which seems to indicate a worldwide release, although there have not been any other announcements. [Update 17.09.: via The Digital Bits comes the news that both the Blu-Ray and DVD are going to be released on November 11th in the USA, too – these are presumably the same as the UK releases. There even seem to be a fair number of featurettes as extras including Highlights from the 10 shows at London’s O2 Arena, which probably will mean some alternate performances!]

While the fabulous LEGO Movie (of which I will write a review soon-ish!) is already out in the USA and in England, the German release will follow only on August 21th – but I would advise against buying the European DVD and Blu-Ray releases of this movie if you can avoid it, because they all seem to contain less extras (in case of the DVDs almost none) than the American release. I was really duped by this, because the Amazon-Warner kerfuffle (now in its second round with Disney right now) left my US preorder so long in limbo that I cancelled it and ordered in England instead – and got an almost barebones DVD for the price I could have gotten the US disc for! Lesson learned: I’ll never buy new European Warner releases again.

Amazon Germany has also done something rather disappointing: the limit for free shipping has been raised from €20 to €29 as of August 12th – apparently they want everybody to join their Prime program! For myself this will mean that I will probably order even less than I already have and bunch more articles together. Or I’ll just order a book together with something else, which makes shipping free even under €29. I still like Amazon for the sheer convenience, but they certainly won’t make any friends with this decision!

Regarding buying and shipping in the US from Germany, you might be in for some delays at the moment. My Amazon.com order of A Hard Day’s Night shipped on June 26th and I thought it would take about two or three weeks to arrive like the Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey did, but it only got here today, almost SEVEN weeks later! Apparently, German customs are to blame – Cosmos went through the usual Frankfurt Airport customs, but the AHDN disc has a sticker from HZA Hamburg Stadt – Zollamt Hafencity! I’ve never seen that on one of my American orders before. I actually requested a replacement shipment because I thought it was lost or had been stolen – the second disc is also on the way, Amazon even sprung for a trackable international shipping so I can see what’s going on. It’s still on the way and I wonder where it will get stuck this time – will it arrive before Christmas? Place your bets now! :-)

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