Today's DVDs & Blu-rays: Doctor Who Gift Set, the Tarantino 8 Film Collection and More
Check out Your New to Who FAQ: A Guide for People Ready to Meet the Doctor by our own Doctor Who expert, Jef with One F.
Doctor Who fans have been peeing in the pants waiting for the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set. The set includes more than 70 hours of episodes, (seasons one to six, with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith as the 9th, 10th and 11th Doctors), plus lots of bonus footage, including three Doctor specials on DVD for the first time ever. There's also a collectible Doctor Sonic screwdriver, original art cards and the Doctor Who at Comic Con comic book.
The set lists at almost $250, but Amazon.com has it for about $175.
Another box set sure to make fans happy is the new Tarantino XX 8-Film Collection just out on Blu-ray, (Pulp Fiction/ Inglourious Basterds/Reservoir Dogs/Kill Bill Vol. 1/Kill Bill Vol. 2/Jackie Brown/Death Proof/True Romance). The set covers the films from the first 20 years of Tarantino's career and includes five hours of all new extras. Devoted Tarantino fans likely already have at least some of these films and the extras alone aren't worth the purchase if you'll be duplicating titles in your collection. For new Tarantino fans, this set is a great introduction to the director's work.
We're very happy to add Grapevine Video releases to our regular lineup of reviews. Grapevine specializes in early films, both silent and the first talkies. There are only a handful of titles released every month, but they're the right titles, the films cinephiles must have in their viewing collections.
Directed by Stuart Paton, the multi-tinted 20,000 Leagues features groundbreaking underwater photography by brothers George M. Williamson and J. Ernest Williamson who used a system of mirrors to shoot reflected images of underwater scenes. It has an excellent music score by Jack Hardy. Directed by Ray Taylor, Return of Chandu features a wonderful performance by Bela Lugosi throughout 12 chapters of magical adventures (spread over two discs) as he struggles to save the life of an Egyptian princess being hunted by a sect of sorcerers who want to sacrifice her in order to resurrect their high priestess.
Both have good soundtracks and are remarkably clear. Yes, there are a few scratches and some scenes are slightly faded, but nothing to really distract from the stories or make them, as with many other releases of early films, almost unwatchable. The title cards in 20,000 Leagues are well-formatted.
Two other Grapevine releases that are of special interest are the 1913 Thor, Lord of the Jungles, the story of Henry Barlum (played by Charles Clary) who goes off the jungles of Africa to bring back wild animals for his family's circus, among them the majestic lion Thor. Colin Campbell directs. Thor is released as a double feature with the 1918 Tarzan of the Apes, the first ever screen adaptation of this Edgar Rice Burroughs's adventure story. Elmo Lincoln and Enid Markey star. There's also the 1926 The Rat by director Graham Cutts. The wealthy Paris dilettante Zelie de Chaumet (Isabel Jeans) leaves her lavish lifestyle for the excitement of an underground dance hall, where she falls in love with a thief known as "The Rat." All three titles feature scores by David Knudtson.
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