Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tis the season to be DVD-lly

Alright, so I counted my DVDs/Blu-ray discs the other day. And after about 6 years of collecting, it would seem that I've hit over 400. Hmmm, I guess I officially have a decent sized collection.

Having a collection is kind of bittersweet. You indulge in the greatness of owning so much, and can't wait for the next releases, yet at times, you really hate spending that much money. Sometimes you're just buying things to add to your collection - say like sesaons of TV shows where you bought the first season so you can't stop now.

Well, it's that time of the year again. The most bittersweet for any DVD collector - the fall winter season. Studios start to gear up for the Christmas season by releasing pretty much every show and movie you could want if every super ultra deluxe collector's director's cut version. So I thought I'd just take some time to mention some which I'll be pocketing at some point hopefully. Starting from last week.

Avatar: The Complete Book 2 Collection (Sept. 11th release date) - Ah, yes, the little pseudo-anime kids cartoon that could. My friend Brian who's always bugging me to watch new shows got me into this one. This definitely has it's kid moments that make it not the greatest show, but what's interesting is that it's one of the few kids shows that has a serious cross episode story arc - which keeps things quite interesting.

Family Guy Volume 5 (Sept. 18th release date) - Is there really anything I need to say about this. I mean this was the series that was revived because of its DVD performance. I will say this though that this box set does feature one of my favourite episodes of the series, "Peter's Two Dads".

Smallville Season 6 (Sept. 18th release date) - Oh still struggling to survive. This series is the only WB series that I used to watch that's still on. It definitely has its moments, but as a whole, I'm more or less watching because I've followed it this far. I must admit though, this season was definitely pretty good, and season 5 definitely had a lot of strong moments.

Doomsday: The Death of Superman (Sept. 18th release date) - This is the big one. This, in all honesty, is probably one of the most anticipated for me. For my regular blog readers, they know that I've recently gotten into the Marvel Animated Features - really high-quality 2D animated straight-to-dvd movies. This is DC's first jump into the ring and what a story to start off with. I wasn't a huge comic book reader, but this was definitely one I picked up, so I'm quite excited to see this.

Reign Over Me (Oct. 9th release) - Not a perfect movie by any means, but definitely worth a see. Suprisingly funny and heartwarming at the same time. Adam Sandler's performance is great, but not to disregard Don Cheadle's equally good. It's one of those nice hidden gem movies that's actually not that hidden.

Transformers (Oct. 16th release) - Ugh - why the hell did Paramount pull out of the Blu-ray camp!!!! This is the main reason I'm angry about that. Now I've got the contemplation of buying it on DVD, or waiting for some HiDef reconciliation. Anyway, there's a nice 2-Disc release of this coming out, so be sure to check that out.

Seinfeld Season 9 (November 6th release) - November 6th is a crazy day for releases. Starting with Seinfeld, this is a beautiful year because so many of the TV series that I collect are starting to wrap up. Seinfeld ends its DVD run with the release of the 9th and final season. For those lucky enough to not have been collecting this series, there's a complete series collection arriving in a sweet oversized black book.

Cosby Show Season 5 & 6 (November 6th release) - One of the great sitcoms that's great not only because of nostalgia reasons. This is one of those shows that when revisited is just as funny, just as good. My only beef is that I can't seem to find any of these box sets since season 3 anywhere in Canada!

Ratatouille (November 6th release) - Among the best Pixar movies (and that's saying a lot), and definitely the best Brad Bird film - hmm, maybe not:) Anyway, it's such an amazing movie, and being the first Pixar film being released on Blu-ray, this is definitely quite anticipated. Not too mention the great short "Lifted" at the beginning.

Pixar Shorts Collection (November 6th release) - Just as good as their full length features, the Pixar shorts always impress. From Gerry's Game, to Lifted, to For the Birds, I don't think there's been one Pixar production that I've been disappointed by. For the first time they're being all released together, and on Blu-ray nonetheless. Should be a good buy for sure.

Lost Season 3 (December 11th release) - The show that was made for DVD. Seriously, this show is a billion times better on DVD than it is on TV. And talk about nice box sets. The packaging for these seasons is probably among my favourite. And who could forget that season finale. Damn!! I might have to go as far as saying that this is my favourite TV show of all time.

Frasier Season 10 (December 11th release) - If Lost is my favourite TV show of all time, then Frasier would have to be my favourite sitcom of all time. And this is the big one. I've seen every episode of Fraiser except for the last two seasons. And with the pre-release of Season 11 (the final season), Season 10's release marks the final releases for this show. It's gonna be a good day for DVD collectors - or at least me:)

And that's all I've got for now. I'm sure there's a whole whack more, but these are the ones I've had my eye on.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In our bedroom, after the war

Oh I how love thee.

The Stars. One of my favourite bands to come along in the indie scene that I truly love. For those who don't know, the Stars are a band from Montreal that now falls under the monolith that is Broken Social Scene. Their first album, errr, first big album (Heart was really their first album...oh wait, I've just found out there was some album before that too:), whatever), Set Yourself on Fire, was simply amazing. The more I listen to that album, the more I appreciate it's arrangement, production, overall catchiness, and originality.

The thing that initially drew me in to that album, and probably most people, was Amy Millan's ever so sweet voice. Seriously, take one listen to anything that she sings and you'll be blown away. I've never been to any of their concerts, but apparently the crowd goes absolutely insane anytime she sings.

But their was a problem with that. You see, the Stars are made up of two vocalists: Amy Millan and Torquill Campbell. And up til now, the problem has been that Amy Millan has completely overshadowed Torquill. Most songs you'd be waiting for his part to be over to hear hers.

That's all changed though with their latest album, In our Bedroom, After the war. Thanks god for this album. I was in a music lull for a long time not finding new music for the life of me. Along came this album (not to mention the new National album), and I was back on track. I wouldn't say In our Bedroom is as good as Set yourself on fire, but it does definitely feature some of the best songs from the Stars - but even better, the balance between Amy and Torquill is the best it's ever been. I no longer wait for Torquill's part to be over. Quite the contrary. In songs like "In our Bedroom, After the war", a long grandiose epic of a song (not as grand as Sao Paolo by the Guillemots, but grand enough), Torquill is the only one who sings, with some harmony provided by Amy, and the song is amazing. Seriously amazing.

"Midnight Coward", one of my new favourite songs by the Stars, again, features such a good balance between the two. Torquill's part is just as good as Amy's.

These are only two of the tracks from this great album. An album that definitely gives shine to Torquill's talent. Of course it still reminds of of how good Amy Millan is, but then again, we never forgot did we.

Definitely check out the Stars if you haven't already. Thanks for reading.

Oh how I hate Thee

All these commercials that try to capture the essence of youth/gen-x culture. Oh I how I hate thee.

It seems that they're all cell phone related too. There are 2 commercials in particular that recently have me irking and cringing everytime they come on. One is the current T-Mobile, Sidekick commercial that has a bunch of teen/twenty some year olds messaging each other to congregate at at a grocery market to perform the oh so cool act of having a cart race. Ooooo, look at us, we're so rebellious, we're so cool, we're racing down the aisles of a grocery market, we're young and free, Ooooo. I think what would have actually saved that commercial would have been better music. It's not that the music is that bad on that commercial, but it's just not good enough to overshadow the stupidness of the commercial.

The second commercial that really annoys me? Well it's actually a set of commercials. It's for the Canadians - the Rogers My5 commercials. Man, are these ever annoying. Again, they're trying to capture the way teenagers actually act. Now, granted I'm no longer a teenager anymore, but still, these commercials just don't seem to come even close and manage to annoy at the same time. One of the commercials features a bunch of kids sending off their best friend to college and wondering who this girl "Ellen" is in his My5. Turns out to be his mom. Oh, how funny. How about the other one they had running where a couple of friends were playing rock, paper, scissors to get into their friends' five. They say something stupid about how Paper crushes rock or something like that. I couldn't be bothered with remembering how stupid the commercial was. Whatever, it just annoys me. I think what makes it worse is that this is coming from the company who not to long ago had a really sweet parkour commercial. Actually, what makes it worse than that is the fact that the equivalent T-Mobile My5 commercials are pretty damn good. Case in point, the "Why is my girlfriend in your 5?....Secret Lovers" commercial, I thought was hilarious.

I'm not sure why these things get on my nerves so much. I guess it's because I'm someone who really respects a good commercial. And I guess it's because I've seen good work from these companies in the past. And I also guess it's because these commercials think they're actually doing some good - it's not like their harmless. In my opinion, they basically fail miserably at what their trying to do; in this case appeal to the younger generation. Alright, I've vented. Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Sour Apples

Just what is people's problem with Apple?

Ladies and gentlemen, I am back. After the most severe hiatus in the short history of this blog, it would seem that I may be back if not only for a little while. I must apologize to those who gave up on me and stopped checking if I had updated my blog, but life jus became so utterly busy. Was it worth it? Hell ya. I got to direct a short film! So that's good. I'll keep y'all in on the loop whenever it becomes available.

So today's post? Yeah. Just what is people's problem with Apple? Is it just their natural incling to hate anything that becomes too big or too good? Is it just that they hate Apple fans. I remember my friend Jess in high school. Her favourite quote was "I don't hate the band, I just hate their fans." Whatever it is, I think people's hate for Apple stems more from Apple's high profile, and less from the actual faults of their products.

I mean, I've never heard so much complaint about electronic devices. People - no one's forcing you to buy/use these products. Yet you do - and complain about how sucky they are. If you hate the fact that Apple's iPod's battery can't be replaced, then don't buy one! If you hate that Apple comes out with a new iPod every two seconds, then don't buy one! It's that simple.

Sure, I will agree, Apple fans are obnoxious. Super obnoxious. They hate this stupid superiority complex, that stems from an insecurity. I mean I suffer from this too. So, if you're knocking Apple products just to shut those people up, fair enough. And sure, I will agree, that Apple does paint itself into the high profile corner. I mean what other tech company hosts movie-premiere-sized introductions to their new line of products? What other company invites the likes of Kanye West and KT Tunstall to play at these unveillings?

But for a moment, put that all aside. And look at the products for what they are. Sure they're not perfect. But in my opinion, they are the best.

Let's start with the iPod. People might think, oh whatever, I can get the same thing just without the touch wheel. But the touch wheel is what seriously makes the iPod such a joy to use. It really is the epitome of why Apple products are so great. The touch wheel, is a simple interface addition that other products don't have that make using the iPod such a joy to use. It's not just functional, but seriously a joy to use.

Throw in the iPhone. Sure, the functionality is pretty much the same if not less than other smart phones. But the touch screen itself makes it a joy to use. I haven't personally used one, but I'm sure it's one of those products that once you buy, you're constantly looking for an excuse to use it because it's just that fun to use.

When I bought my Powerbook, I was constantly seeking homework just so I could type on its absolutely pristine keyboard and stare at its gorgeous display. I've never felt that way about a display or a keyboard before.

Here's the thing about Apple. They basically get the things that the other people do right - for example, the iPod offers playlists, browse by artist, song etc., large storage. But what Apple also does is pay particular attention to the other things to make their products that much better. The touch wheel, the multi-touch screen the thin form factor of the Powerbooks, the design of the new iMac, and the list goes on. What does this all fall under? Industrial Design.

Basically, you can have your opinion. But really, you can't dismiss Apple award winning Industrial Design. It's what adds so much to their products. Their researching areas that a lot of other companies dismiss as not important. Some companies may say, who cares what Materials we use to build the enclosure of the computer as long as it's functional. Apple on the other hand will pick it so carefully.

Again, I've said it time and time again. Apple is by far not a perfect company. Apple by far does not make perfect products. But I think they make ridiculously amazing products that don't deserve the unjustified flack that a lot of people throw at them.

Next post? My beef with Vista:) (and for the record, I'm not anti-Microsoft. I love XP, I love their Surface computing, I even like IE, but a couple of weeks ago I got to sit down with Vista, and I must say, quite unimpressed).

Thanks for reading.