Stock­ing up

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Gifts - by Michael Dwyer

JAM SES­SION Fed up with peo­ple mak­ing and tak­ing phone calls in cine­mas? Ir­ri­tated by those flashes of light when some­one feel im­pelled to check for text mes­sages dur­ing a movie? Then ask Santa to get you a phone jam­mer for Christ­mas. Th­ese com­pact de­vices, about the size of a cig­a­rette packet, send out a ra­dio sig­nal that cuts off trans­mis­sion for all chat­tererboxes within a 30-foot ra­dius.

Jam­mers are avail­able in var­i­ous mod­els (from the most ba­sic at ¤100 to the “ul­tra high power” ver­sion at ¤2,660) from Lon­don-based www.phone­jam­mer.com. The man­u­fac­turer as­sures users that the de­vices “will not in­ter­fere with any com­mu­ni­ca­tions other than cel­lu­lar phones within the de­fined reg­u­lated zone”. When the phone jam­mer is turned off, mo­biles will au­to­mat­i­cally re-es­tab­lish com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pro­vide full ser­vice. GET­TING FES­TIVE Plan­ning is al­ready well un­der­way for the Jame­son Dublin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Fe­bru­ary 15th-24th. Early in­for­ma­tion on some con­firmed ti­tles will be is­sued next week, with the full pro­gramme to fol­low on Jan­uary 29th. The fes­ti­val is now of­fer­ing gift vouch­ers in de­nom­i­na­tions of ¤10, ¤20 and ¤50, along with sea­son tick­ets at ¤230, at www.dublin­iff.com. RENT FROM HOME Movi­es­tar.ie, an on­line DVD rental ser­vice with a li­brary of some 25,000 ti­tles, is of­fer­ing sev­eral pack­ages from ¤7.99 up­wards and cov­er­ing re­turn postage on all rentals. An Post’s new Movies By Mail ser­vice has a sim­i­lar deal start­ing at the same price. For terms and con­di­tions, go to www.movi­es­tar.ie and www.anpost.ie/movies . PLAY IT AGAIN I don’t know how many times I’ve bought a DVD of a favourite movie only for a spe­cial or an­niver­sary or su­per-duper edi­tion to be re­leased months later. Among the spe­cial edi­tions re­leased re­cently for re­tail, here are some that war­rant buy­ing again.

For the most ob­ses­sive com­pletists, there is Blade Run­ner: Ul­ti­mate Col­lec­tor’s Edi­tion. Ri­d­ley Scott has been back in the edit­ing room again and has as­sem­bled this fi­nal cut, which is, he says, his favourite. It’s avail­able sep­a­rately or in the col­lec­tor’s edi­tion, which in­cludes the orig­i­nal 1982 US the­atri­cal ver­sion, the not-so-dif­fer­ent in­ter­na­tional ver­sion, Scott’s 1992 “di­rec­tor’s cut” and even the un­fin­ished “work print ver­sion” used for test screen­ings and sub­se­quently changed rad­i­cally.

Fol­low­ing the death this year of the great Ing­mar Bergman, his 1957 mas­ter­piece The Sev­enth Seal is now avail­able in a beau­ti­fully re­stored edi­tion that in­cludes a short com­pi­la­tion of on-lo­ca­tion footage and Bergman’s rarely seen short film, Karin’s Face.

An im­pec­ca­bly re­stored ver­sion of FW Mur­nau’s 1921 clas­sic Nos­fer­atu is now on sale in a two-disc edi­tion that in­cludes com­men­taries from film his­to­ri­ans, a Ger­man doc­u­men­tary on Mur­nau, and a 96-page book.

It’s 30 years since Steven Spiel­berg first thrilled au­di­ences with Close En­coun­ters of the Third Kind, and three dif­fer­ent ver­sions (of which I still pre­fer the orig­i­nal cin­ema re­lease cut) are on this an­niver­sary edi­tion, along with trail­ers, a mak­ing-of doc­u­men­tary and a can­did in­ter­view with Spiel­berg.

As The Killing of John Len­non opens at Ir­ish cine­mas to­day, the sec­ond Bea­tles movie, the en­dear­ingly ec­cen­tric Help! (1965) is in the shops in a re­stored ver­sion with a mak­ing-of film, rem­i­nis­cences from cast and crew mem­bers, and a deleted scene fea­tur­ing fu­ture soap star Wendy Richard. 24 24/7 AND MORE The pre­ferred way of watch­ing TV se­ries chez Dwyer is in marathon ses­sions over hol­i­day pe­ri­ods, when en­tire se­ries can be viewed over a few days with­out the in­tru­sion of ad breaks or wait­ing a week to catch the next episode. A wide range of se­ries, old and new, is now widely avail­able on DVD. Prices vary con­sid­er­ably, and the best value is gen­er­ally from on­line sources. Three sites I rec­om­mend as re­li­able for good deals, speedy de­liv­ery and free postage are www.play.com, www.blahdvd.com and www.sendit.com.

Now that The So­pra­nos has come to an end, the en­tire se­ries is avail­able in a 28-disc boxset, for which Play.com is charg­ing ¤185.99. The first three se­ries of Oz, the gritty and of­ten vi­o­lent US prison drama, are now avail­able in in­di­vid­ual boxsets, be­gin­ning at ¤22.49 on Blah.com., which also of­fers the first six se­ries of 24 in a boxset for ¤171.49. The two se­ries of Rome, HBO/BBC’s sword-and-san­dal saga, are now avail­able in a boxset, for which Sendit.com of­fers the best deal at ¤77.49. BAR­GAIN BASE­MENT The on­line ser­vices noted above of­fer a wealth of bar­gains through­out the year. En­gag­ing in some re­tail ther­apy over the week­end, I be­came im­mersed in pe­rus­ing Play.com’s par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive Three for ¤23.49 deal, which has hun­dreds of ti­tles on of­fer. Among the more re­cent movies are Ray, Capote, Casino Royale, The Queen, The Last King of Scot­land, The Devils Wears Prada, The Wind That Shakes the Bar­ley, Break­fast on Pluto, Chil­dren of Men, Walk the Line, Harsh Times, The Squid and the Whale, Su­per­man Re­turns, Syr­i­ana and Happy Feet, and for­eign-lan­guage films Volver, Down­fall, Pan’s Labyrinth and Ro­manzo Crim­i­nale.

Movies of an older vin­tage in this deal in­clude Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, The Quiet Man, From Here to Eter­nity, Some Like It Hot, Break­fast at Tif­fany’s, Rio Bravo, Im­i­ta­tion of Life, The Great Es­cape, A Hard Day’s Night, Mid­night Cow­boy, Catch 22, A Clock­work Orange, Jaws, Mean Streets, Apoc­a­lypse Now, The Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and, in the un­likely event that it doesn’t turn up on at least one TV sta­tion over Christ­mas, Willy Wonka and the Choco­late Fac­tory.

Miss­ing him al­ready? Get the 28-disc boxset of

Christ­mas box: Get Ri­d­ley Scott’s de­fin­i­tive cut of Above left to right: and

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