Captain Whiggles’ Christmas list
It’s nearly that time of the year again and, in order to avoid any potential disappointments, I’ve decided to put together my Christmas list and get my orders in now, rather than waiting till the last moment. Therefore, on the birthday of everyone’s favourite fictional deity (Mithras), I shall (hopefully) be receiving the following:
- Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4 (R1 USA). For the last few years now, it has been something of a custom for me to receive the latest instalment in this collection of remastered (and sometimes mangled) cartoon classics, and to spend a copious portion of the morning watching them with Lyris. The notion of a whole disc full of Speedy Gonzales cartoons on this set doesn’t exactly seem like the most welcome prospect… although I don’t imagine it being considerably worse than the Road Runner disc in the previous set.
- The Double Life of Véronique: The Criterion Collection (R1 USA). Although Krzysztof Kieslowski’s brand of spiritualism doesn’t really do much for a heathen such as myself, I must confess to being absolutely enthralled by his use of colour and imagery. His Three Colours: Blue is one of my favourite films ever for its cinematography and lyricism. I already own the French release of Véronique from MK2, but, for some reason, I never got round to watching it, and the news that the new Criterion release duplicates all of its extras, plus adds several of its own, in addition to a better transfer, makes this a must-have in my book. Expect to see the French release on eBay before too long. Oh, and check out John White’s review of the Criterion set at DVD Times.
- The Quiller Memorandum and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: Ultimate Edition (both R1 USA). Two catalogue titles picked up in the same order from DVD Pacific for a very reasonable combined price. I haven’t seen The Quiller Memorandum, but I do love me my Cold War-era spy thrillers, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the greatest American horror films ever made, so it makes sense to add what is apparently the definitive edition to my collection (having previously sold the non-anamorphic UK release).
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: The Complete Recordings (on CD). Last Christmas, I bought the Complete Recordings package of The Fellowship of the Ring, a 4-disc set (3 CDs and one audio DVD) turned out to be a massive improvement on the heavily-truncated single-disc release, so it stands to reason that this instalment should also be a worthwhile acquisition. The Two Towers always struck me as having the weakest score of the three Lord of the Rings films, but I suspect that this is because, perhaps more than the other two films, it was severely short-changed by having some of its most impressive cues left out of the single-disc release.
I’m also currently pursuing replacing my current video card, Sapphire’s ATI Radeon X850XT, with the similarly-performing nVidia GeForce 7600GT from ASUS, the EN7600GT/HTDI/256M model of which includes an HDMI output and HDCP compliancy, in addition to various high-end video processing features, such as inverse telecine, temporal de-interlacing, bad edit correction and hardware VC1 decoding. I’d originally planned on waiting to pick up a DirectX 10-enabled card from nVidia, but the price and power consumption of even the lower-end 8800GTS model were enough to persuade me to forego sheer brute strength and just settle for improved DVD (and eventually, I hope, HD DVD) playback. Besides, such a high power graphics card would probably be all but useless on my now-outdated Pentium 4 configuration.
Anyway, I bought a EN7600GT/HTDI/256M on eBay for a not unreasonable price, but, due to a mix-up, I was sent the non-HDMI, non-HDCP model instead. The correct model has been located, however, and I sent the other card back yesterday, so should hopefully be receiving the right one before too long. As an added bonus, the fact that I am buying what is technically a card from the previous generation of graphics technology means that I should hopefully be able to sell my current ATI card for not too much less than what I’m paying for this new one.