Review By LIAM O?RIEN, 0 out of 5 Yes, its been twelve months and your still not a millionaire, so what to get that troublesome-hard-to-buy-for friend or relative? Scifind and Total Telly? Liam O?rien looks at this seasons crop of DVD releases, to make sure you can make that purchase as cheap as possible, as soon as possible.

Ahhh, Christmas. Log fires, frosted windows, children with ruddy red cheeks playing out in the snow. Right? Err, no, actually, more like rushing around, looking for that elusive gift for what? his face and so and so. But what do you get for the person who has more dvd? than is socially healthy? Why, buy them some more, and they?l love you for it. Shiny disc sets make great gifts- they generally hold over four hours of entertainment on at least a standard single disc with basic directors commentary. Two disc sets will give around ten hours of material, including making of docs, interviews and featurettes. The picture quality is better than video, and despite the fact most new videos retail for ?0 and below now, dvd is the way to go, no matter what mad Uncle Gerald says- its not a fad, it? the future. Rant over, let me take you through the best new (and old) releases out there.

Well, first up are the big new movies, the ones that will have their posters out at the front of Virgin or WHSmith?. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL is the number one seller in the uk at the moment. Almost universally hailed as a return to form for a pretty wishy washy summer, this is a real swashbuckler, with enough action for the grown ups, enough eye candy for the teens- either way (Orlando Bloom and Keira ?es she is that fit?Knightly) and enough of everything else for the tots. At around ?5 the two disc set has more bells and whistles than most galleons, so there? plenty of fun to be had here, and it will make great counter programming come Boxing Day. TERMINATOR III is another film that has been praised, with Scifind? own Paul Mount calling it one of summers best films. It? a juggernaut of a movie, funny, mindless fun that holds a rip roaring pace and makes a great addition to the hallowed TERMINATOR canon. Another two disc set (they mostly cost somewhere around ?5) this is a present for the more generous friend or relation. For Grandma? who we know love to spoil their family, the TERMINATOR TRILOGY boxed set is out, featuring six (count em!) discs, all three films (as the title implies) and three discs of bonus features. It? a packed set, and at ?0-40 it is ultimately, good value. Following that up is the ALIEN QUADROLIGY– a nine disc set that covers all four ALIEN films in minute detail, but at ?0 and up (?4.99 on scifind – see links), its steep for even the generous. Up next, ANGER MANAGEMENT, the Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson comedy, that is good value up until you look at the extras. Sandler? humour wont be to everyone? taste, but who doesn? love uncle Jack? It? a one disc-er, but it will be cheaper by a few quid compared to POTC and T3.

In a summer of sequels, X2 and THE MATRIX RELOADED stood out. Both will be around ?5 again, but X2 is available in as a single disc, with much of the bonus material cut away. Whatever the format it? a lean mean hero flick, more fun than RELOADED but not as grand in scope. With the latter having made its bow on dvd over two months ago however, its likely the avid collector will already have a copy. Talking of avid- Avid Merrion, the insane host of BO SELECTA! Returns this month with the two disc BO SELECTA SERIES TWO. This offers up Merrion? brand of insane, toilet humour that has spawned a thousand catch phrases and a Christmas single (Proper Crimbo). Your younger friends will love you- mummy and daddy might not. There is of course, the incomparable classic, THE OFFICE, available in its two season entirety on disc. The first season has a great second disc full of extras- the superior second series isn? as lucky, but for once this is strong enough to merit ?0 for the six episodes alone, excluding the Gervais/Merchant talk tracks.

Don? want to spend out? Well, WHS and Virgin do have some great deals- Virgin offers good titles at around ?.99 each- stocking filler material if ever there was some. Films like BATMAN, SOUTH PARK THE MOVIE and CONTACT are but a few of the available movies. There will also be a great slew of 2003? earlier releases going cheap on dvd- see 20th Century Fox? plan to reduce their big sellers (DAREDEVIL, MINORITY REPORT) to one disc sets and peddle them off for ?0 a time. Also, great movies like 8 MILE, CHANGING LANES and even the first two HARRY POTTER movies can be found with a little work for around ?2- but note that PHILOSOPHERS STONE is going out on BBC 1 come Christmas evening. Finally, the obvious choice is LORD OF THE RINGS– the four disc sets mind you- either in their collectors edition format (statues, books) or the simple huuuge set on its own, you can start at about ?5. Its well worth it though- these are the best films available on dvd by a long shot, and make great use of the format.

So, in summary, 2003 is not the wilderness it seemed before you read this little article. There? plenty of great stuff, with great supplementary material for you to look out for. MERRY CHRISTMAS, and whatever you get them, tell the Scifind sent ya!


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