Poll of the Month
Coming Soon, soon as I sort out some technical issues.
6/27/00 - Despite the fact there hasn't been a Laserdisc released since April, Pioneer has picked up the pace of new announcements. This week, Dragonheart II: A New Beginning (LBX,DD) has been announced for release on August 8th. Quite frankly, I never knew there was a sequel to Dragonheart. To jog your memory, Dragonheart was that movie where Sean Connery lent his voice to a CGI dragon. The movie also starred Dennis Quaid as a knight who eventually befriends the dragon. It was a modest success back in 1996. Pioneer and Universal released a nice Signature Collection LD shortly after. Anyway, Dragonheart II appears to be a direct-to-video release that will not star Sean Connery or Dennis Quaid. I'm sure the Dennis Quaid fans would rather have Frequency on Laserdisc instead so this movie has a slim chance of actually coming out. To give this title a fighting chance, preorder it before July 11.
Panasonic is expect to finally ship DVD-Audio players. The new encryption system, which caused the initial delay, still hasn't been finalized (?!!) but I guess Panasonic is tired of waiting (or sales of SACD are taking off). I would expect the first generation players to have trouble playing some discs because of this but then again, which first generation product doesn't have problems.
6/20/00 - Even though Pioneer hasn't released a Laserdisc since End of Days in April, they thankfully continue to announce Laserdiscs. The latest announcement is Erin Brokovich (LBX,DD) from Universal. This film was another hit for Julia Roberts earlier this year. This title also has a fair chance of getting out. If you want it, preorder it before July 11th.
Dolby Labs has announced that they will license an new improved matrix surround sound system called Dolby Pro Logic II. The system was actually developed by Jim Fosgate of Fosgate Labs but Dolby will handle the licensing (in a way that seems similar to how Dolby handles licenses for Dolby HX Pro, which Bang & Olufsen invented). The new Dolby Pro Logic II will be able to extract six channels from a two channel signal, which is two more channels than the current four channel Pro Logic system. The Pro Logic II system is supposedly completely backwards compatible with Dolby Surround. Fosgate products will be the first to introduce this new system (for obvious reasons).
6/16/00 - During the Laserdisc Information Page's brief existence (by the way, this website will be one year old on the 18th), I've written a lot about copyright issues. During the past month or two, copyrights issues have attracted attention in the mainstream press thanks to Napster, MP3.com and the folks who brought you DeCSS. In many of the pieces I read/saw, piracy is justified by saying that Hollywood is "too greedy" and as a result, deserves to be ripped off. I've always thought that was a poor excuse. Hollywood is certainly greedy, but greed is not a crime nor justification for piracy (It IS a reason for piracy I wonder who is more greedy, Hollywood or the pirates?).
However, I was reading the Editor in Chief's column in Sound and Vision Magazine (formerly Stereo Review Magazine and Video Magazine). In his column, he talks about how the big five record companies (Sony, Warner, BMG, EMI and Universal) conspired to keep CD prices artificially high. In fact, it is estimated that the record companies bilked consumers out of nearly half a billion dollars over three years. However, don't be waiting for that rebate check. While the record industry's foes get crippling lawsuits and legal harassment up the wahzoo, the record industry gets a slap in the hand. Instead of a Microsoft-like trial, the FTC says the record companies have to change their business practices for seven years (why seven years and not forever?). You can read up on the changes here (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2000/05/cdpres.htm) The important thing is that the record companies do not have to pay any restitution at all. In fact, the record companies didn't even have to admit guilt which makes private lawsuits even more difficult.
I still don't think this justifies piracy but every time I hear about Napster and the such, I can't help but feel Hollywood is getting what it deserves. Am I right or wrong? You can debate this in the Forum.
6/14/00 - Oops, The Talented Mr. Ripley (LBX) has just been postponed indefinitely so if you want to see that title ever released on Laserdisc, preorder it now.
Also, if there are any Reel.com shoppers out there, Hollywood Entertainment (owners of both the Hollywood Video chain and Reel.com) has given up on Reel.com and announced they are shutting it down. You can still order videos from them but the orders are now being filled by Buy.com (which itself might go belly-up).
6/13/00 - The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington as wrongly convicted boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, has finally been announced for Laserdisc. Personally, I expected to see this title announced weeks ago since it is scheduled for release on July 11 which doesn't leave much time for preorders. However, I'm glad that it finally is announced since it has a good chance of actually making the preorder limit unlike something like Isn't She Great (starring Bette Middler as Valley of the Dolls writer Jacqueline Susann ). That film currently has a rating of 4.6 on the Internet Movie Database. The Hurricane currently has a rating of 7.8 and some people say it contains the best performance of Denzel Washington's career. Anyway, The Hurricane will contain a Dolby Digital track (yay!) and will be letterboxed. If you want it, preorder it by June 20 (no I'm not kidding, that's what the announcement says My personal prediction is that the title will be delayed but eventually released).
Here is a summary of the Laserdisc titles that currently have a release date:
- Update: Postponed indefinitely.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (LBX) - Preorder it at: Ken Cranes.
The Hurricane (1999, LBX, DD) - Preorder it at: Ken Cranes.
Ashes (LBX) - Preorder it at: Ken
Isn't She Great (LBX,DD) - Preorder it at: Ken Cranes.
Erin Brokovich - Preorder it at: Ken Cranes.