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