Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yes, I DO love film, actually...

I managed to subscribe to Love Film AND unsubscribe to it again, all in the space of about ten minutes yesterday. How? Glad you asked.

Increasingly these days, I am reminded of TV shows or movies that I want to see again, and I go looking for them, only to find they are mysteriously unavailable. In this case, it was the lovely Australian movie The Year My Voice Broke, which Love Film, the on-line rental people, made a particularly fancy mess of teasing me with. I’d googled the movie, and it led me to them (after a search that had exhausted all other possibilities other than a Region 1 DVD edition that was a gazillionty pounds second hand). So I went through the entire process of registering and giving them my details, and ONLY THEN did they admit that didn’t have the film after all. They had a description of it and everything, a database entry for it that would snag any google search, but it was “Not available in the UK” No shit, Sherlock. Maybe you could have stated that on the search page, Love Film?

I have no idea why a movie as good as - and as notable in Aussie cinema - as Voice isn’t available. It doesn’t even seem to be available in Australia. The sequel, Flirting, is easy to get, because it features early performances by Nicole Kidman, Thandie Newton and Naomi Watts.

I’m getting off the point. This sort of oddness happens a lot, I find. Sometimes you can at least discover a reason. Two TV shows - the British Shoestring and the American Ed - which I’d love to have and watch on DVD for essentially nostalgic reasons, are stuck in unreleased hell because of copyright issues over the music used in their respective soundtracks. Shoestring, you might be old enough to remember, was about Trevor Eve as a DJ turned detective (“The Private Ear”), so there was music of the era in the background all the time. Ed, set in in bowling alley, had juke box music playing behind its witty small town charm.

Sometimes its odder, though. I own a boxed set of Hammer movies on DVD, but it doesn’t include their single SF movie, Moon Zero Two. I don’t care how crap people think that movie is, I saw it on TV as a kid and it made a lasting impression. I want to see it again. I want it on DVD.

Am I alone in this, I wonder, or do other people have similar, slightly obsessional things they wish were obtainable? Or am I just getting old and crusty? It may just be me. I mean, I’ve always kept my comics in Ultra Pro style folders, each comic in a clear plastic sleeve with a hole-punched spine so it can fit into the folder. Suddenly, it seems like nobody makes comic sleeves with folder-holes anymore. What’s THAT about?

Still, it could just be me. I discovered today that in four years time, Olivia Newton John will be the same age that Gene Kelly was when they made Xanadu.

By the way, I believe you can get Xanadu on DVD quite easily.


timkenyon said...

Zing! Day 2.

I'm a big LoveFilm fan but largely because I'm watching through a whole buttload of TV programs I missed first time around and films I didn't catch in the cinema. It's good for those things but if you're looking for something that isn't particularly mainstream or hasn't been DVD captured yet then it sucks.

But Xanadu??? What fresh and unholy piece of hell is this?

Stephen said...

Greetings Mr Abnett,

The Year My Voice Broke is available in Aussieland (will have to check out region), you just need to know where to look. If you're still after it, I can help out and/or provide details as I've seen it on special recently.

Oh and keep up the awesome work!


Karitas said...

I spent years tracking down VHS copies of films like "threads" and "on the beach"

(yeah I like post-apoc fiction)

then I had to go through it all again for DVD..

so no, I'm not an "early adopter" of Blue ray :)

Joe said...

it's not as convenient as a DVD, but this might fill soem gaps for you:



moon zero two:

Dju said...

I got the same troubles with The Shawshank Redemption. The movie has something of a nostalgic value for me as well, AND it's a great movie, that totally makes it to my Top 5 shortlist. Anyway, it was released in France on DVD a short time after it was in the movie theaters, then totally disappeared from the shelves and was never released or heard of again. Come on ! The goddam Shawshank Redemption !
The second hand DVDs reached new heights of price and ridiculous, preventing me from watching the English version for about ten years. One day, I saw it at the big flea market that is the Braderie de Lille ; my legs got shaky and my heart started to race with all the litteral painfulness. I rushed to it, and it was a VHS. Damn !
And then, one day... As I was strolling along the aisles of the FNAC, bam, no warning, the DVD was back. New edition. Mandatory jaw drop. I got hold of it and must have looked a madman to all those around. I now cherish the copy I have ; woe betide he who will borrow it from me and bring it back less than pristine.

BigWill said...

Funny Thing about Shawshank it came out the same time Pulp Fiction came out.
I went to the movies with my friend and we got into an argument on which movie to see(I wanted Pulp Fiction)
He said if we went to see Shawshank and I did'nt like it he would pay for he movie.
Needless to say at the end of Shawshank I could not even lie and told him it was one of the best movies that I ever seen.

Oliva Newton John was my first crush because of Xanadu.
That movie has the best visual example of what a DJ does,when they do the Andrew Sister vs Tubes.

Blitzspear said...

I had this problem years ago trying to find a film based on the book Wheels of Terror, or was it Legion of the Damned? i disremember, gave up in the end. And always wanted SAAB on dvd but no luck when i tried last time to get it. Now this has reminded me i'll try again, thanks Dan.

Anonymous said...

It's incredible how copyright (which is supposed to help artists, har har) nowadays actually nothing but restricts the honest consumer.

It's one of the reasons bit torrent is so big.

Marco @ Angry Robot said...

Thanks for the think piece, mate. This inspired me to seek out a DVD copy of 1974 charmer "Harry & Tonto" (Art Carney won the Best Actor Oscar ahead of Pacino/Godfather II and Nicholson/Chinatown!!), and I was successful for the princely sum of four quids. No such luck with sarcastic 1988 crime caper Cohen & Tate (Roy Schneider & Alec Baldwin kidnap a little git), which didn't appear to make it to DVD.

Rob said...

I have this problem more often with regard to movies I see at festivals that never get distribution at all. Funny how this came up, since I just finished SXSW film a few hours ago and was talking with a friend about which of the movies we might never be able to see again. And what happens if they don't see the light of day outside the festival? Is it worth telling people about them? Writing reviews? It's bizarre to see a film you like and yet never be able to urge friends to go see it. It's like it never actually happened.

Luckily most of the good ones this year got picked up- including a sci-fi flick called Monsters which was made on a budget roughly equal to three food stamps, a tin of cat food, and a rusty paper clip. District 9 will particularly enjoy it.

Rob said...

Er... that would be "District 9 fans" will particularly enjoy it.

Dju said...

@BigWill : Same thing happened for me, my dad told me I *had* to go see the Shawshank Redemption, that he would even pay for my ticket, but that there was no way I could miss this movie. And a fine surprise it was. Since then, other afternoons at the theater based on his sound advices did not prove as enjoyable ^_^

timkenyon said...

I'm a massive fan of Shawshank and I love it. I turn the film off at the fade to black of Red on the bus travelling to Mexico (the true 'end' of the film) and I always have a smile on my face through the last section.

Second comes The Green Mile - a film that almost always makes me cry.

I'm a sucker.

Anonymous said...

Try this link:

It's on in the shop section. Should be playable on region 2.


Matthew Churchill said...

Just found out from Rufus Dayglo that John Hicklenton passed last week. Such sad news.

Fantomex said...

Dan, I pride myself (in a highly geeky way) on being able to find practically anything online eventually, hence an already ridiculously large film and music collection that will undoubtedly one day reach John Peel-like proportions..

Anyway, on topic, I heartily recommend these here links for copies of The Day My Voice Broke, though they are Region 4, so it may be worth checking your DVD player, if it's Region 0 or region free then you'll be in luck..

As soon as I find Shoestring, Ed, and Moon Zero Two, I shall return..

As another recommendation in the meantime, are very good for more obscure or ill-oft released titles!

Dan Abnett said...

Some great suggestions there - thanks everyone... I'm pondering...

Nick Risley said...

Funny you should talk about this, because I was just listening to something interesting about the "Farscape" DVD boxed set.

I had been looking for "Farscape" on DVD since around 2006 , having seen a Complete Series boxed set at Best Buy in 2004. Couldn't find it for the life of me afterwards.

The reason why it took from 04 to around Thanksgiving of 2009 to get an actual mass release?
The company that originally owned the distribution rights for the "Farscape" DVDs went under, and took the rights with them out of spite, apparently. This same company was slated to release "First Wave" and quite a few other shows that make me hate them for being spiteful folk.

But with the fact that the company went under, it recently came to be that the rights reverted back to Hallmark who had already converted everything and gotten it all nice and neat and ready to go, alongside a rerelease of "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars".

That's just my rant on the evils of those bastard companies.

Anonymous said...

I consider, that you have deceived.