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Clint Eastwood DVD Megaset in 2010

By admin Published: November 30, 2009

In case you missed it, my look at megasets for possible holiday giving is here. Then there's the following news about Eastwood, getting retrospective treatment so major it makes me wondering if he is retiring or ill:

Warner Home Video (WHV) will celebrate Eastwood and his 35-year association with the studio through Malpaso Productions with a comprehensive, elegant giftset, Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros., to be released February 16, 2010.

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Back in Action

By admin Published: November 30, 2009

Took a long holiday weekend (Thursday through Sunday), although not exactly a vacation: housecleaning, other chores, shopping in stores and online, getting out the decorations, family trip to Pennsylvania, University of Akron soccer game, ongoing work on my Henry James term paper. (Complete draft done, thank goodness.) Good times but busy ones. Did manage to watch "The Amazing Race" (bumming over the Globetrotters' ouster, although they were crazy to take the penalty; not pleased with Sam&Dan's gamesmanship). Not a great season, but it has kept me more or less entertained. Caught up with last Wednesday's "Modern Family" in bits, with the final chunk watched this morning; oh, my, what a funny show it continues to be. Possibly my favorite line: "I used to have a cat." Also dipped into my DVD of "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian"; not quite as amusing as the original, and it felt long, but I laughed here and there, and it passed the time while I was digesting turkey.

In the weekend's non-TV activities, one huge delight was seeing Akron beat Stanford to remain undefeated and continue its march through the NCAA men's soccer tournament. The bride and I have been steady attenders of UA soccer, and it's kind of cool to see all the people who are now discovering how very good the team is. (It would be cooler if the university had provided enough stands and seats to comfortably accommodate the regular fans and the newcomers.) And UA seems to be getting better; at least it dominated Stanford to a far greater extent than we would have expected in an NCAA Sweet 16 game. No nail-biting in this one, just fun -- and the pleasure of sitting with fans who admire a well-executed pass almost as much as a goal being scored.

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Happy Thanksgiving

By admin Published: November 26, 2009

I know a little about bad times at the holidays. I also know about good times. I hope that, whatever pain or despair or challenges you may be facing today, you find that little something to be thankful for, and the hope and resilience to keep going.

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"More Than a Game" DVD Scheduled

By admin Published: November 24, 2009

Bad news for all of you planning to give it at Christmas: the release isn't until February. From Lionsgate:

Lionsgate is proud to announce the upcoming DVD release of the LeBron James documentary More Than a Game on February 2nd. ....

More Than a Game documents the incredible true story of basketball superstars LeBron James and the Akron Fab Five from their humble beginnings to national acclaim. They may have been the best high school basketball team ever. NBA superstar LeBron James, along with boyhood friends Sian Cotton, Dru Joyce III and Willie McGee began a journey that would take them from their local hometown streets to the world stage. Joined by Romeo Travis in high school, the five fused their talents and, with the help of dedicated coach Dru Joyce II, rewrote Ohio basketball history. More Than a Game chronicles the inspiring trials, tribulations and triumphs of five young men who became more than a team.

Critics have declared More Than a Game a slam dunk declaring it "a moving tribute to enduring friendship" (USA Today), "a knockout of a sports documentary" (Los Angeles Times), "exhilarating" (Vibe.com), "fascinating" (Wall Street Journal) and "heartwarming and amazing...we recommend this movie to everyone" (Newsday). The DVD has a locker room full of exciting bonus materials including a film festival Q&A with the team, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the documentary, a featurette that examines the psychology of team sports, the original pitch trailer for the film and features music from Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, T.I. and Lil' Wayne.
Pricing: DVD and Digital Download $27.98

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"Dancing With the Stars" Results

By admin Published: November 24, 2009

Snarg. Notes and spoilers after the jump. And after you see the results, if -- like me -- you need cheering up, try this:

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Notebook: New Video, Fox's 2010 Schedule

By admin Published: November 24, 2009

After the jump is Fox's plan for winter-spring 2010, as well as the announcement of a full-season order for "Lie to Me" and the series finale date for "Dollhouse." As usual, some of these dates are so far away that they are subject to change (much the way this includes changes from Fox's previously announced 2010 plan). But I offer it in all its convoluted glory for your consideration.

My latest vidcast, with notes about "Futurama," "Precious" and other topics, is here. If I look a little frazzled and tired, I was.

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Viewing Notes

By admin Published: November 24, 2009

Above, a holiday tune I have been playing quite a bit lately. Notes on stuff I have been watching, after the jump, all to the tune of "Bernadette" ...

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Sunday Notebook

By admin Published: November 22, 2009

Regular readers know about my fixation on Christmas songs, especially old and/or weird ones. I keep hoping to transfer a lot of my vinyl to a digital format, and have one of those ion usb turntables to do it with, but have never put together a few hours to figure out all the nuances of using it. So I was intrigued last year to find a Web site offering CD transfers of the classic Firestone Christmas LPs and other holiday fare. And this year I got around to doing a story about the site and the man running it, which you can find here.

The weekly DVD column, topped by "Angels & Demons," is here.

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Friday Night Notebook

By admin Published: November 20, 2009

The most recent (and next to last) vidcast about this season's "Dancing With the Stars" is here. You will note my delight about Joanna Krupa's departure.

As I said, I spent part of today with Corbin Bernsen, who was in Akron to check out the All-American Soap Box Derby, which he would like to make a movie about. An account of my conversation with him is here.

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Re: Oprah (Updated)

By admin Published: November 20, 2009

I keep looking at Oprah Winfrey's announcement that she is ending her syndicated talk show in 2011 and having two thoughts. First, that 2011 is still more than a year away, and her mind may change. Second, that even if she leaves daytime broadcast TV, I don't see her giving up a bully pulpit entirely, especially not when she is launching her own cable net in '11. Consider this statement re her future, from the head of Discovery Communications, a partner in her network:

“There is no bigger brand in media than Oprah Winfrey. She has changed the broadcast landscape and how people consume television. Along the way, she impacted our culture and touched us all. We congratulate her and our friends at Harpo for their many achievements, and their years of creating truly ground-breaking television. Discovery Communications has a tremendous partner in Oprah, and we look forward to bringing her and her creative vision, programming and unique voice to approximately 80 million homes on OWN, as well as online through the award-winning Oprah.com.”

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"Precious"

By admin Published: November 20, 2009

Notes about the film, which has arrived on area screens, after the jump.

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Friday Notebook

By admin Published: November 20, 2009

Spent part of the morning at Derby Downs with Corbin Bernsen -- and how often do you get to write a line like that? -- then wrote my video column and my Bernsen story, while researching a couple of other things along the way. And Oprah has just said she'll make her announcement at the END of her show today. So I haven't gotten to quite a few other things, from viewing the NBC Thursday comedies (saw "The Office" so far and that's it) to writing up my promised "Precious" notes. Sometime tonight, I expect. Still, here are a couple of items of interest that crossed the desk . . .

Netflix and IFC have made a new deal to stream some independent films. The word:

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Dancing With the Stars week 9

By admin Published: November 20, 2009

Briefly Noted

By admin Published: November 19, 2009

I mentioned on FB and Twitter that I would be posting more thoughts here about "Precious," but it is unlikely I will post them before Friday, and probably not before later in the day.

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"Lost" Returns Feb. 2

By admin Published: November 19, 2009

The ABC announcement:

ABC announces the premiere of the sixth and final season of “Lost,” with a special all-night event on Tuesday, February 2. A recap special will kick off the night from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET, followed by the much anticipated two-hour premiere from 9:00-11:00 p.m.

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"Grey's Anatomy" Adds Webisodes

By admin Published: November 19, 2009

No big stars in them, but they might amuse. And they start online after tonight's "Grey's." Full announcement after the jump.

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Talking Television

By admin Published: November 19, 2009

Looking at new TV, old TV, movies, home-video releases, books, music and just plain weird things landing on my desk.

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Christmas Movie Rediscovered

By admin Published: November 19, 2009

TCM is making a big to-do over its airings and the DVD release of "Remember the Night," a Fred MacMurray-Barbara Stanwyck holiday film that has apparently been overlooked. From the network:

It’s going to be a very special holiday for movie fans this year as Turner Classic Movies (TCM) presents the rarely seen gem Remember the Night during a December packed with holiday favorites. The critically acclaimed 1940 classic – starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray and scripted by the great Preston Sturges – will air several times throughout the month, most notably on Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. (ET). Beginning Nov. 20, the film will also be available on DVD for the first time ever as part of a partnership between TCM and Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE).

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"Friday Night Lights"

By admin Published: November 19, 2009

So I was watching the latest episode of "Friday Night Lights" on my little laptop, via the press feed from DirecTV, with less than perfect video and a big DirecTV logo on the screen much of the time. And I was so drawn into it and touched by it that I said I small thank-you to DirecTV for helping to keep the show going.

But even more I was thinking, how effing stupid is NBC that it has not put this show on during the fall, in the regular season, and promoted the living daylights out of it, and made it a crown jewel in its schedule. The mass broadcast audience ought to see this, people deserve to see this, and it's a great great show, and so much better than something like "Mercy" or "Trauma" or five hours of Jay freakin' Leno every week. And the fact that the network has not done that should tell you all you need to know about how idiotic the management at NBC is.

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Thursday Notebook: "Glee," "Modern Family," More

By admin Published: November 19, 2009

After the jump, notes on last night's "Glee" and "Modern Family," Monday's "How I Met Your Mother" and on last week's "Parks and Recreation" and "30 Rock."

This week's mailbag is here.

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Wednesday Notebook

By admin Published: November 18, 2009

"Precious," the acclaimed movie, will add several theaters in Northeast Ohio on Friday, including Cedar Lee, Valley View, Regal Richmond and Regal Severance.

My latest vidcast is here. Notes on 50th anniversary of "Porgy & Bess" movie, Kaley Cuoco, Nick Offerman, the book "Dear Old Love," DVD of "My One and Only," Aqua Teen Hunger Force holiday CD, and a look at a famous "Breaking Bad" promotional .... apron.

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"DWTS" Results!

By admin Published: November 17, 2009

I yelled happily when it was announced ...

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"Limits" on DVD

By admin Published: November 17, 2009

"The Limits of Control," the latest film by Northeast Ohio's Jim Jarmusch, arrives on DVD today. After the jump, my review of the film when it appeared in theaters.

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MTV Gets "This Is It" TV Rights

By admin Published: November 17, 2009

It will begin airing it on various channels in 2011. The Michael Jackson movie, which I very much enjoyed, is still in theaters. The DVD and Blu-ray are being presold but without a fixed release date; reports have it hitting stores in early 2010, and the MTV release confirms that while noting the nets will help peddle it.

Here's the MTV announcement:

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Sort of a DVD Cash for Clunkers?

By admin Published: November 17, 2009

Warner Home Video is offering a consumers a chance to upgrade their CDs to Blu-ray. Here's the announcement:

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group today launched “DVD2Blu.com,” a site that allows consumers to upgrade the movies they already own on DVD to Blu-Ray Disc, the absolute best way to watch movies at home. Consumers can select from over 50 of Warner Home Video’s most sought-after titles to upgrade including “Body of Lies,” “A Christmas Story” and “Michael Clayton.”

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Ken Ober, R.I.P.

By admin Published: November 16, 2009

The host of the classic game show "Remote Control" has died. Obit here. I was a pretty devoted fan of "Remote Control," the pop-culture quiz airing on MTV. (How devoted? Enough not only to be aware of Kari Wurher, but to argue that the show declined when she left.) The show had a smart-alecky quality that appealed, and Ober managed both to fit that attitude but to be likable at the same time, so the show did not feel mean. I vaguely remember meeting Ober once after the end of "Remote Control," and he was a good guy -- and happy that people still fondly recalled his work on the show. Very sorry about his passing. He was only 52.

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Monday Notebook & Viewing Catch-Up

By admin Published: November 16, 2009

Local folks should have noticed that WJW is carrying the Browns-Ravens game tonight (which makes me shudder just to think about). Fox's new episodes of "House" and "Lie to Me" have been moved to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. (I am double-checking on the exact start time, since "House" usually runs an extra minute on Mondays. UPDATE: A station rep tells me "House" will be at 7. But my DVR guide has 6:59. You may want to adjust your recorders for the earlier time to be safe.)

"Equalizer" and "Hot Fuzz" star Edward Woodward has died. Obit here. List of his credits is here. Like many Americans, I first noticed him in "Breaker Morant" (which was also a breakthrough for Bryan Brown). I watched him on "The Equalizer" from time to time but it wasn't a great series. Smiled, though, when he showed up in "Hot Fuzz," as if running into an old friend.

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Sunday Notebook

By admin Published: November 15, 2009

A meditation on reinvention of previous pop culture, like "The Prisoner" and "Star Trek," is here.

The weekly DVD/BD column is here. Includes "The Exiles," "Farscape: The Complete Series" (which is not completely complete), "Margaret Cho: Beautiful," "Andy Barker, P.I."

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More Saturday Notes

By admin Published: November 14, 2009

My regular Saturday column seems to be taking the slow boat to online, so I have pasted in the text, with "Sue Thomas" DVD news and an authorial conflict over a new LeBron James book, after the jump.

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"The Prisoner" and Other Saturday Notes

By admin Published: November 14, 2009

After the jump, a sneak peek of my review of the new version of "The Prisoner," beginning Sunday night on AMC.

I will add links to a companion piece on the reinvention of old pop-culture concepts; Saturday's print Heldenfiles (with items involving Sue Thomas and LeBron James), and my usual Sunday DVD column, once they are online.

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Thursday Notebook

By admin Published: November 12, 2009

Today is theoretically a day off for me since I have to work a Saturday shift. But you can go over to my shiny new Ohio.com page and find links to this week's mailbag and to a review of "Pirate Radio." A few more notes, including about "Glee" and "V," follow the jump.

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"Friday Night Lights"

By admin Published: November 11, 2009

Notes on tonight's telecast on DirecTV, spoilers included, after the jump.

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My Latest Online Chatter

By admin Published: November 11, 2009

In this vidcast, tonight's "Glee"; "Near Dark" on Blu-ray; box sets of Steve Coogan, Adult Swim and G.I. Joe; a Madeleine Peyroux DVD, Bob Dylan sings holiday songs and more.

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Tuesday Notebook

By admin Published: November 10, 2009

I want to try to keep this brief because I am headed to Cleveland in a couple of minutes for a screening of "Pirate Radio." ...

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Monday Notebook

By admin Published: November 9, 2009

Notes on "The Amazing Race," Taylor Swift's "Saturday Night Live" and a kind of crazy weekend, after the jump.

And here, a link to this week's DVD column, including "Up."

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"Mad Men" Season Finale

By admin Published: November 9, 2009

The center cannot hold. Things fall apart. And yet ...

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Friday Notebook

By admin Published: November 6, 2009

A few thoughts on "Community," "Parks and Recreation," "The Office," "30 Rock." But if women are on a scale from Cleopatra to Eleanor Roosevelt, what's the comparable men-dex?

Also, I have recently been getting some additional info about the readership for this blog. So, besides my friends in the US and Canada, hello to all of you in Australia, Italy, Norway, the UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain!

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"Coal Country" on TV, Local Stripper-Boot Case and Wapner on "People's Court"

By admin Published: November 5, 2009

"Coal Country," the documentary from local producer Mari-Lynn Evans, will air on Nov. 14. From the announcement:

COAL COUNTRY, a documentary by filmmaker Phylis Geller, will have its world television debut on November 14th, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. ET as part of the Planet Green’s “Reel Impact” weekly documentary strand.

While politicians debate over wind power versus solar power and the country’s dependence on foreign oil, coal has remained an enduring energy source that still runs at least half of the electricity in the United States.

COAL COUNTRY helps viewers understand the meaning behind promises of “cheap energy” and “clean coal.” Are they achievable? And at what cost? The film explores these questions by following coal as it is mined, processed and burned for power.

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Thursday Notebook

By admin Published: November 5, 2009

After the jump, spoiler-laden notes on Wednesday's "Friday Night Lights" telecast (only on DirecTV) and, briefly, "Modern Family."

Today's mailbag column is here. Topics include the banjo-playing kid in "Deliverance."

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Wednesday Notebook

By admin Published: November 4, 2009

I have a column about the new DVD box of 65 years of World Series highlight films here.

With Rihanna sitting down for an extended chat with Diane Sawyer, Chris Brown is taking to the airwaves as well. Here's the word from MTV:

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The Return of "V"

By admin Published: November 3, 2009

I have been doing this long enough to have previewed the original "V" miniseries back in 1983. Even though that preview tape was missing the special effects -- leading to lots of shots of awestruck people pointing toward an empty sky -- it was still a moderately amusing piece of cheese. In a sequel and then a weekly series, Nazi symbolism combined with heavily made-up, wicked vixens like Jane Badler, left, who were common in prime-time soaps of that period.

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The Syfy-cation of The Weather Channel

By admin Published: November 2, 2009

(You could pronounce that as "suffocation," if you'd like.)

Readers here have heard me complain before about at least one of the changes in the Weather Channel: the addition of the jokey, jarring "Wake Up With Al" in the early morning. Since that's the time when I am awake and checking the weather -- and since I like to do it while getting dressed, instead of going to the computer -- I have found "Wake Up" unavoidable, to my continuing irritation.

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"The Amazing Race": Never-Netherlands

By admin Published: November 2, 2009

When one team is playing very badly, I am usually ready to write them off -- always underestimating other players' ability to mess up. ...

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"Mad Men": "The Grown-Ups"

By admin Published: November 2, 2009

Notes on the next to last episode of the third season of "Mad Men," after the jump.

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"Southland" to TNT, Bad-Guy Logan Back on "24"

By admin Published: November 2, 2009

When I was still paying attention to "24," one of the pleasures was watching Gregory Itzin as the evil VP and later President Charles Logan. And he will be back in the new season, per Fox:

The anticipation for Season Eight of 24 continues to surge with Gregory Itzin reprising his acclaimed role as CHARLES LOGAN. The Emmy Award-winning drama starring Kiefer Sutherland returns for its next astonishing day with a two-night, four-hour premiere event Sunday, Jan. 17 (9:00-11:00 PM ET/PT) and Monday, Jan. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

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