Cheap DVD Roundup - Belleville, Ontario

A mall I infrequently visit but like because it has a half-price bookstore and discount stores had its Liquidation World replaced by The Bargain Shop (LW moved.)  The Bargain Shop's DVD selection was sparse, a mix of random low-budget shit mixed with some random Hollywood shit like About Schmidt.  Nothing stood out.

The VHS selection was not much better - a lot of WWE VHS tapes (Insurrextion 2003, a Shawn Michaels compilation, other random PPVs) and little else.  The only notable thing was a tape of Noah's Park: Dreamer Has a Nightmare, an episode of a Christian animated series put out by Lionsgate.  From the cover I assumed the nightmare was the camel and rhino evolving into bipeds in some sort of ham-handed treatise against evolution, but the nightmare's about the Biblical flood.

A Buck or Two were selling DVDs (for $4.99) of mainly Madacy and Legacy Entertainment product.  The Killer Creature double features made a few appearances, as well as double-feature lines put out by Legacy - Before They Were Famous and Hard-Hitting Street Crimes.  One of the Before They Were Famous double features had a Michael Douglas film, which is funny since the title of the line isn't Before They Escaped from the Shadows of Famous Fathers and Their Movie Careers Stood Out on Their Own.  Oh, and Madacy put out Michael Winslow Live (1999).  That's right, the sound effects guy from Police Academy has a concert DVD with features that aren't just Scene Selection and Interactive Menus!

The Loblaws supermarket had some DVD displays - George Shrinks and Franklin for the kids and some Lionsgate/Warner Bros./random DVD company fare for the generalists.  Quality/Direct Source Special Products has a line of PD cartoon compilations, Quality Cartoons.  Don't get excited, it's just the same Max Fleischer Superman cartoons and stuff like An Elephant Never Forgets given another go-round.  Notable titles from the main pile (ones I bought given a * and in the $3.99-$5.99 price range):

*The Maltese Falcon (1941) ($4.99)
*Private Parts (1972) ($3.99 - Paul Bartel, neat)
*Rare Birds (2001) ($3.99)
Superman III (1983) (I forget the price; around $4.99 I assume)
Action Jackson (1988) ($3.99)
Fighting Spirit (1992) a/k/a King of the Kickboxers 2 ($3.99) - Séville Pictures put this DVD out.  There are two films that claim to be the first King of the Kickboxers sequel out there.  This is the one that doesn't feature someone getting his pants pulled down in a fight.
Pocket Ninjas (1997) ($5.99 - atomicmmonster should especially be interested in this one)

Er, that's it!
so i'm back to the velvet underground

VERY impressed with a new purchase.

So I picked up a couple of Treasure Box Collection DVDs today from the local grocery store - Popeye And Other Cartoon Treasures and a Cary Grant double-feature including The Amazing Adventure and His Girl Friday.

The Popeye DVD contains two Popeye cartoons, several Superman shorts, and assorted various shorts. The quality of most of these is barely watchable.

The Cary Grant DVD's transfer of The Amazing Adventure is ok. I've actually seen even Warner Bros. DVDs with transfers like this one, so it's not too bad.

HOWEVER, when I previewed the transfer for His Girl Friday, I couldn't believe it! The grain is minimal, there's not a lot of dirt and scratches and stuff like that. Very clean source. The audio is also very good. And it even includes Spanish subtitles!

If you're a fan of the movie, yet you only have crappy DVD versions, and you come across this one, DON'T hesitate to pick it up.

In addition, if you're a fan of Of Human Bondage with Bette Davis and Leslie Howard, but all you have are nasty cheapo DVD copies, I suggest keeping an eye out for Brentwood's Great Literature On Film: Volume 1 double feature which contains Cyrano De Bergerac with Jose Ferrer and Of Human Bondage. It's still not Warner Bros. DVD quality, but out of three copies I've owned, this is easily the best one available. Until someone...likely Warner Bros., since they own the rights to the entire RKO library...releases a legit DVD release, this is likely to be the best one you'll find. There's still typical flaws you find in old movies, like scratches, dirt, and such, and the audio's not THE greatest, but it's still the best one I own.

I've meant to post this for a while, but I haven't felt like scanning the cover to show you all. But since I had to scan the Cary Grant cover, I just scanned this one too.

Not bad for cheap-o DVDs, I'd say.
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More Fun at Big Lots!

Like Bob just said, a new shipment of DVD fun showed up at my local BigLots! $2 or $3 each.

A large number of odd movies from Columbia/Sony and a bunch of unknown titles from this company Blue Laser that I've never heard of. Also a bunch of DVDs from Echo Bridge Entertainment that they had previously, like a 2005 TV mini-series remake of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE(crazy obscure), and JULES VERNE'S MYSTERIOUS ISLANDwith Kyle MacLachlan, also from 2005.

The pick to click was THE GIDGET COLLECTION, all three Sandra Dee Gidget movies for $3, a dollar per movie. That is, if you like cheesy fluff like Gidget movies. Also picked up
with Rita Hayworth and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., LETHAL NINJA with one of my favorite low-budget action stars David Heavener (not listed on IMDB!), and SPEED DEMON directed by David DeCoteau, a great shlock artiste of the highest order. That one seems more than a bit like Quentin Tarantino's DEATH PROOF, except it came out four years ago. Hmmmm....

Also secured a copy of FAST FOOD, a movie actually written by (and starring!) a distant cousin of mine that I've never met. It also has Traci Lords, Michael J. Pollard, and Jim "Ernest" Varney in it! Glarghh! Many other interesting films there including some foreign films and Charlie's Angels compilations (the TV series), so check your local store.
  • bobsan

Big Lots DVDs

Picked up these DVDs at Big Lots for $2 each

Happy Times - 2000
Source: Big Lots
Supplier: Sony
ID: 0 43396 07904 5

Funland - 1987
Source: Big Lots
Supplier: Blue Laser Films
ID: 8 2725 06001 2 1

Mifune - 1999
Source: Big Lots
Supplier: Sony
ID: 0 43396 05390 8

Rail Kings - 2005
Source: Big Lots
Supplier: Blue Laser Films
ID: 8 2725 06018 2 1

Quitting - 2001
Source: Big Lots
Supplier: Sony
ID: 0 43396 07907 6

Beijing Bicycle - 2001
Source: Big Lots
Supplier: Sony
ID: 0 43396 07827 7

What to do in case of fire - 2001
Source: Big Lots
Supplier: Sony
ID: 0 43396 08089 8

The Brotherhood of Satan - 1971
Source: Big Lots
Supplier: Sony
ID: 0 43396 07858 1

Too Much Kung Fu

Here's yet another batch of martial arts titles from EastWestDVD that I stumbled across at the 99 Cents Only Store (literally, they were on the floor). These are all different titles from the other batch of EastWest martial arts DVDs that I came across at the 99 about a year ago. Some of you folks may have come across these titles already (they have a 2005 "copyright" date on them), but they were all new to me.

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I scoured the display and found 12 different DVDs with 24 films on them. I think that's every title in this series, but I can't be sure. Only 9 different titles were pictured on the cardboard display box. I won't link to every title, but here's the list in case you can't read the DVD cases above:

Land of the Brave - Four Robbers - An Everlasting Duel - Lightning Kung Fu - Drunken Tai Chi - A Fistful of Talons - Mantis Fists & Tiger Claws of Shaolin - Seven Star Grand Mantis - Return of the Tiger - Screaming Tiger - Attack of the Venoms - Monkey Fist Floating Snake - Shaolin Deadly Kicks - The Great General - The Chinese Dragon - Mean Streets of Kung Fu - Snake & Crane Secret - The Snake, The Crane, The Tiger - Fire Dragon - Ninja Thunderbolt - Macho Man - Man of the Hour - Tattoo Connection - Ninja Turf

I'm not too familiar with martial arts stuff, but I have seen Tattoo Connection with Jim Kelly before. Other than that, I see a couple Jackie Chan titles. Not anything else I'm familiar with, but for 50 cents a movie I'll take a chance on a lot of stuff. Perhaps if Atomic Mystery Monster is reading this entry, they can comment on any of these films being copyrighted, or not, about any possible title changes that might have happened inside the EastWest DVD dungeon.

End-of-April Campbellford Cheap DVD Roundup

No opening spiel here.  This is what was found in Giant Tiger, Liquidation World and the Amazing Dollar Store - not that I bought any of the titles I am highlighting here.  Seemed to be a weak crop.  Giant Tiger is in orange, Liquidation World in red and Amazing Dollar Store in amazing dollar green.  All titles are in the sub-$5 range unless otherwise specified.

GT The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1956)
GT Fear Chamber (1972)
GT The Movie House Massacre (1984) (a/k/a Blood Theater)

Japanime and Japan/Asian live-action
GT Initial D "Battles" (Volumes) 2, 13, 14
GT Freeway Speedway 6 (2004) - a rare Adness title.  Odd to see it at Giant Tiger
LW Blue Gender Volume 5
GT .hack//SIGN (first five episodes)

GT Jimmy MacDonald's Canada - CBC Retro series; basically clips from the CBC archives linked together by Richard Waugh's portrayal of a stuffy conservative-type.  The clips are awesome.  The links are not.
GT Atomic Betty Volumes 1 and 2
GT Dragon Booster (Funimation put this out for some reason.  As an aside, there's a LOT of Dragonball GT shit out there)
GT Kaput and Zösky (2002)
GT Four Seasons in the Life of Ludovic

Assorted Junk
LW Madacy's Killer Creature series, either as a five-DVD set or as five double features.  Nothing out of the ordinary - Tormented, Atom Age Vampire etc. ($9.99)
GT Hooper (1978)
LW The Mummy Lives (1993) (CANNON!)
LW Electra (1996) (Shannon Tweed)
LW Ready to Rumble (2000)
GT The Karate Dog (2004) - Chevy Chase plays a talking dog!  The director of the film, Bob Clark, recently died in a car crash.
ADS The infamous (at least to foywonder) Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001)
LW Warner Bros. Cartoons Golden Jubilee 24 Karat Collection - A Salute to Friz Freleng (VHS, $2.99)

Madacy has a 5-DVD set of Chiba films with a 2004 copyright date on the box.  I'm sure at least one of these films is not PD:
Ryu no oujo/Dragon Princess (1981)
Ninja bugeicho momochi sandayu/Shogun's Ninja (1980) (Madacy misidentifies this as Shogun Ninja)
Shôrinji kenpô/The Killing Machine (1975) (Madacy misidentifies this as Killing Machine)
Makai tenshô/Samurai Reincarnation (1981)
Karate Kiba/The Bodyguard (1976)

I imagine the quality on the Madacy discs must "eat ass," as the ancient scroll says.  Am I wrong in that assumption?
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Treeline/Mill Creek Collection Contents changes

Here's some changes I happened on in the Mill Creek collections:

Family 50: My copy has "Father's Little Dividend".
Latest version replaced it with "The Admiral Was a Lady".

SciFi 50: My copy has "Devil of the Desert vs. the Son of Hercules".
Latest version replaced it with "The Alpha Incident".

Warriors 50: My copy has "Devil of the Desert vs. the Son of Hercules" (again).
Latest version replaced it with "The Avenger".

Note that Adventure 10: advertises "Devil of the Desert Against the Son of Hercules" which I assume is the movie mentioned above.

Terror Tales 50: My copy has "Ironbound Vampire". Latest version replaced it with "War of the Robots".

Back on the subject of Family 50. My copy was missing five movies and a group that I was expecting from an old list: "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Jungle Book", "The Flying Scotsman", "The Magic Sword", "Pied Piper of Hamelin", and 6 episodes of 4 Star Playhouse. On the other hand it had 4 Shirley Temple short subjects that my list didn't mention. Was the old list wrong, or did the content change?

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More Digiview

Here are a few Digiview Titles I got this week

Lucy Show Vol 2
Lucy Gets A Roommate
Lucy and Carol in Palm Springs
Lucy Meets Tennessee Ernie Ford
Lucy Gets Caught In The Draft
Lucy and John Wayne
Lucy and Paul Winchell
Source: Wal-mart
Supplier: Digiview

(Most of the following episodes were on other Digiview Releases of Andy Griffith Show
Don Knotts (Barney) died in 2006)

Andy Griffith Show Best of Barney
Barney's First Car
The Rivals
The Great Filing Station Robbery
The Loaded Goat
Opie and the Spoiled Kid
Andy's English Valet
The Big House
The Darlings Are Coming
Dogs, Dogs, Dogs
Source: Wal-mart
Supplier: Digiview

Captain Nemo - Vol 1 Monsters on The Beach
Source: Wal-mart
Supplier: Digiview

Captain Nemo - Vol 2 The Coral Maze
Source: Wal-mart
Supplier: Digiview

(There are apparently 4 volumes of Captain Nemo)

In Search of The Holy Grail (Documentary)
Source: Wal-mart
Supplier: Digiview

More Chaff at Big Lots!

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I was in Big Lots! today and noticed they had another box of the Kreative Digital Entertainment DVDs, in cardboard sleeves. This time, they had their bottom corners cut off, like they used to do with LP record albums. "Cut outs"! Who remembers those? *crickets chirping*.

Anyhoo, I noticed at least 10 or so *NEW* titles they didn't have in that last batch I pawed through at Big Lots! from KDE/Universal. As you know, these are mostly TV movies with a few direct-to-video obscure nuggets. They're either silly action flicks, crime dramas, or Lifetime Channel "woman in peril" potboilers.

I passed on those and concentrated on the silly action movies. Here's what I picked up for $1.50 each:

L.A.P.D.: To Protect and Serve
How can you go wrong with Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen on board? Apparently, you can, if the IMDB comments are to be believed. Director Ed Anders has three directing credits, but 161 credits as a stunt coordinator. That should tell you something.

IMDB user rating of 3.2 out of 10. Pretty low. That surprises me.

The Spreading Ground

Dennis Hopper plays a cop once again, this time stalking a taunting serial killer. He becomes obsessed with trapping his prey, but has he crossed a line into a madness from which there's no going back? And could HE be the serial killer himself? Okay, I'm totally making that up without seeing the movie, but it wouldn't surprise me if they tried that type of nonsense. Frederic Forrest is also in the movie.

User Rating: 5.1 out of 10. Might be watchable.

Code Name: Dancer A.K.A. "Her Secret Life"

Ha ha! Now we're talking. Kate Capshaw as a secret CIA assassin! Good stuff. I guess this combines the silly action movie and Lifetime woman in danger motifs. Kate has long retired from her life of spying, but must return to rescue her former partner who has been captured and imprisoned in Cuba. Only reuniting with her former lover, who just happens to be Fidel Castro's right-hand man, will afford her a chance to rescue her ex-partner. Who comes up with this stuff? Made in 1987 and directed by old-timer Buzz Kulik (1922-1999), whose 65 directing credits are almost all in television, but include such TV movie stone classics as "Brian's Song," the awesome "Bad Ronald," "The Linbergh Kidnapping Case" with Anthony Hopkins, and the William Shatner tour-de-ham "Incident on a Dark Street."

User rating: 5.6 out of 10. Kulik must have done a good job.

Capital Punishment A.K.A. "Kickbox Terminator" (HA! HA! HA!)

Writer/Director David Huey apparently has built a career churning out these kind of utterly unknown action shlockfests. And bless him for it. Some of his titles (as director, producer or writer) include: Vampire Assassin; SWAT:Warhead One; 666:The Demon Child; and Magma:The Earth's Molten Core. Anything with a colon in it intrigues him, I guess.

He's also worked a bit with our star here, kickboxer/action film "star" Gary Daniels. I had never heard of the guy before I found these DVDs, but he's got quite a resume. And this has David Carradine in it, pre-Kill Bill career revival, so I figured it couldn't be all bad.

Unfortunately, it has a dismal IMDB User rating of 2.5 out of 10! Might be so bad it's hilarious. Have to check this one out.
lead pic

EastWest cartoons that ain't for kids...

I actually had to remove this EastWest DVD from my kids' cartoon library. I picked it up for all of ten cents from a local grocery store, figuring, "Hey, for a dime..."

Oy! Forget the copyright-infringement-skirting cover -- this Pinocchio turns out to be an Italian-made movie from 1972 which is extremely faithful to the original story. So faithful, as a matter of fact, that:

  • Pinocchio kills the cricket for telling him off so much
  • Those "Hey-diddly-dee" fox and cat characters lynch Pinocchio (in a graphic hanging scene reminiscent of a spaghetti Western)
  • Lampwick (that annoying boy who goes to Pleasure Island with Pinocchio) ends up dying as a farmer's beast of burden

The animation is fine, but gawd! I had to answer so many "why...?" questions from my toddlers I began to wonder if their psyches had been permanently harmed by this.

Another painfully faithful EastWest nursery story offering is its Boy Who Cried Wolf DVD. The title story ends with the young shepherd sobbing heavily as a tiny baby sheep is about to be devoured. On the same DVD is "The Ant and the Grasshopper," which ends with the latter insect freezing to death as he ponders why he didn't work as hard as the ants (pictured callously reading by the fireplace as the repentant grasshopper is slowly covered with snow).

Oh, and as a bonus on that one is "All This and Rabbit Stew," with a shockingly (even for its day) racist portrayal of a black hunter chasing Bugs Bunny.

Parents, beware!