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Here's where we'll post emails, questions, or comments of general interest, so be sure to write us often!

Mr. Jacobson,

As you correctly point out in your PYTHON review, the film tries its
best not to take itself seriously. During script development the
question was wrestled with: where the hell did the snake come from? Who
in their right minds would be dumb enough to deliberately engineer such
an uncontrollable monster? This is all-too predictable for an already
predictable genre. Therefore, PYTHON tries to steer away from a typical
explanation for the snake's existence. Instead, it was decided to have a
NON-explanation (similar to the classic TREMORS) and let the audience
fill in the blanks, if they so desired. This would be better than any
concocted answer that, in any case, would have no bearing on the rest of
the story.

It may not be clear in the film but in fact the snake is found by Dr.
Rudolph in the jungles of southeast Asia and secretly transported back
to the U.S. for research. This is one of the initial reasons why the
government men are so angry with Rudolph - he tries to sneak it in under
their noses. I believe there is reference in the film to how valuable a
sample of the snake's DNA would be - further proof that science wants to
learn more about it because they stumbled across the thing and did not
create it themselves.

Just wanted to clear that up!

Andrew Hofman
Python FX Director

You were right...my mistake!  I've corrected the review to indicate the right plot point.  Thanks for writing in!

Mike J

I have a question for you. What do they make these DVD movies in this so
called "wide screen?" I think it is horrible. You can tell me that it is just
like they show in the movies but I have purchased a 32 "TV and I HATE having
a third to a half cut off. It's like trying to peek into a little box! What a
waste. I'm considering returning my DVD player and going back to the VCR!

Thanks,
Mike B.

Letterboxing is an age old debate, and one that I don't think will ever be solved.  The problem is:  how do you fit a movie image that's ratioed at 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 onto a TV screen or monitor that's only ratioed at 1.33:1?

 

Really, there are only two choices, since the movie frame image is wider than the TV screen.  One, simply lose part of the movie image to the left and to the right.  Or two, reduce the image of the movie vertically until the full width is contained in the left to right spacing of your TV screen, called "letterbox" because the image resembles the view of looking through a mail slot.

 

The good news?  You don't lose any of the movie's original image at home.  The bad news, which you've noticed, is that it reduces the image vertically and thus can leave quite a bit of unused space on your monitor.  In the case of Ben-Hur, one of the widest widescreen pics ever filmed (2.76:1 ratio), you tend to lose out either way.  In pan and scan mode, where the entire image of the TV screen is used, more than HALF of the movie's image is lost.  You're looking at characters having dialogues with themselves because you can't SEE the other guy on screen.  On the other hand, with letterbox, you do get the full movie image, but basically only the middle 1/3 of your TV screen is being used...the other 2/3 are the black bars.

The good news is, with anamorphic widescreen, most of our DVDs are future-compatible with widescreen televisions.  If you pick one of those up in the future, your 1.85:1 framed DVDs will fill the full screen without any loss of original image, and 2.35:1 scope films will only have marginal black bars.

Hope this helps!

Mike J

Thanks for the glowing review of SBL's DVD on dvdmoviecentral.com.

I'm the webmaster for sbleisure.com (and the husband of the singer) and I noticed a small inaccuracy in your review.  You imply that "Naughty Boy" is on SBL's CD which is not entirely correct.  It is available on a Japanese import version of the CD, but the DVD is the first time the song has been available here in America.  When you get a minute, a correction to the review that explains this would be greatly appreciated.

BTW, I've added a quote and a link to your review from the news section of http://sbleisure.com.

Keep up the good work.

Miles

Hey, Miles!  Thanks for writing in and letting us know...the review has been updated to reflect the correct information about "Naughty Boy".  Best of luck to you and the band with the CD and DVD!

Mike J

Hey, Mike,

I thoroughly enjoyed your opinion on my 2nd indie film "Da Hip Hop Witch"...most of all what you said, including the cornering of rappers into a corner was on the money. I'm glad you commended the plot outline...if I truly had the time and money and talent of actors to make it so, I would have.

It's not like I had the 20 million and the Wiensteins to back me on this.  If truth be told, the original concept was to make this into a 10 min short. When HOT97 radio blasted that "An EMINEM spoof on the BWP was in production!" my office had calls from a lot of people and when Unapix finally said "we'll give you 25K if you can stretch your short into 90 min and have it to us in 3 weeks", what would you do?...

When it premiered to  a packed house in NYC at the Urbanworld FF the audience laughed hysterically. There was  a lot of over the head hip hop black and white stuff going on that my target audience got....and it's no knock to anyone who didn't get it....I mean my parents wouldn't understand it, and my girl, who is black, missed a lot of it. But only having 25K to shoot and edit this is an amazing feat of which I am very proud of, and to date it has earned Unapix just under 700K. They also just released my first flick COLORZ OF RAGE which is a movie movie shot on film and it was shot also for 25K and has made 400K thus far for Unapix......many have called that film as good as Spike Lee's and Hundlin Bros first films and they went to film school and had more money to make their films. 

Check out my web site at www.ragingnationfilms.com.

Peace and RAGE

Dale Resteghini, director of Da Hip Hop Witch

Hey, Dale!  Thanks for taking the time to read our review and write us...not to mention being so cool about it!  We appreciate you sharing the info with us, as well as the news about your latest projects.  Best of luck to you, and I hope our site and your movies cross paths again in the future!

Mike J

I am really impressed with your site!

Henry W., www.aDVDm.com

Thanks, Henry!  Hey, folks, be sure to check out his site for action on DVD!

Mike J

Congratulations on your new site!  I always knew it would just be a matter of time.  Have fun with it and all the best!

Jeff McNeal, The BIG Picture DVD

Thanks, Jeff!  We're having a blast, and appreciate the encouragement!

Mike J

I have a DVD for Region 0 (zero).  Where will it play?

SS

Region 0 means the disc has no region coding...it should therefore play in any legitimate DVD player in any part of the world!

Mike J

For all those wanting to see Blair Witch 2....Please just send me your $7.50. You will feel much better inside by doing this. As for me, after waiting for countless weeks, and agonizing after what theatre to see it in, I felt like jumping in front of a bus moving in a very rapid forward fashion. Please ask Mike J for my mailing address, and thanks for your support.

Highly Disappointed in Jacksonville

So, what are you trying to say, exactly?  :-)

Mike J

"I love your site and I have a question. I have a DVD that keeps getting hung up. It will freeze on a scene in the middle of a movie and do nothing. I can't find any scratches on the disk. What can I do to make it play correctly?"

Oh, My Aching Disc

Man, I HATE it when that happens!  Well, if you've had your disc for less than thirty days, you might want to take it right back where you got it from and swap it out.  Another option is to buy a disc cleaner (not a bad investment to protect your library of DVDs AND CDs).  The Skip Doctor, for example, runs about $30, but has gotten some good customer and professional feedback from those who thought a certain disc would never play again!  These products can also take care of some deeper scratches or blemishes that might not be immediately visible to the naked eye.  Good luck!

Mike J

Hello, I just read your review on the movie, Girl. I really enjoyed the music in the movie and was wondering if you could give me some information on where to find a soundtrack for this movie. I have looked everywhere. I would appreciate any feedback you could provide me with!"

Shelby

I liked the music, too...unfortunately, in all my research, I haven't been able to confirm the existence of a soundtrack recording!  I assumed it would have been released by Sony Music, being that the movie is from Columbia Tri Star, but I didn't have any luck finding it on their site.  The end credits also made no mention of the soundtrack being available.

So, I'll turn this one over to the readers for you:  can anyone out there either confirm or deny the existence of a soundtrack CD or cassette for the movie Girl?  If so, please email me, and I'll pass the information along to Shelby.  Thanks!

Mike J

I'm a first time visitor to your site and I already have a question for you!  Maybe you or one of your readers can give me some advice.

I'd like to have Night of the Living Dead (the ORIGINAL version) on DVD and find that there are three versions to pick from:   The original movie with no extras,  the original movie with extras and with the original music, and the movie with extra added footage that was filmed more recently and added, along with all new music.   Of course, the costs are different, but I'm more interested in getting the best DVD of this perfect-for-Halloween movie.  Can anyone help me?

Dakota

I'm glad you asked, because I'm a big fan of the Dead movies!  :-)

The version you want is the one put out by Elite.  It is THX certified and has by far the best video transfer I've ever seen for NOTLD.  It is also the only version personally endorsed by George Romero.  The disc features two great commentary tracks, as well:  one by Romero and his crew, and the other by the cast.

As a bit of amusement, when the film starts, it looks like one of those horrid public domain EP VHS versions for about 10 seconds, then the screen shatters to reveal the THX logo.  THEN the film starts for real, and the difference in quality is amazing.

There are one or two other versions of the original NOTLD on disc, including one I believe for $9.99 SRP.  These are not the ones you want.  These are made from public domain prints and therefore have much poorer image and sound quality.

The anniversary edition is one I don't personally care for.  Basically, Romero wasn't involved in it, and it features a bunch of new, unnecessary footage filmed by his crew members and spliced in.  Remember how cool  'the feast' scene is in NOTLD, and how it was kind of a shocker because nothing like it had been really seen up to that point?  The new version precedes it with another feast scene, newly filmed but virtually identical, that saps all the power out of the latter real scene.  This disc also includes the original version with a brand new music score (which isn't bad).

Image-wise, the original version of NOTLD on the anniversary DVD is as good as the Elite version.  But with the Elite version, you get two great commentary tracks and the original trailers, which are both hoots.  I can promise you, you won't be disappointed with it!

Mike J

Hi.  I was reading your excellent DVD review of Supergirl, and I noticed how you said that Superman III bombed and bombed hard, both with critics, and at the box office.

Superman III actually fared better than most people think.  It's budget was$30 million, but it grossed $60 million.  That is considered a minor success.  However, you were right about the critics.

Film Freak

Wow, I didn't realize it had done so well...maybe I was thinking of the numbers for The Quest for Peace.  I'll make a change on my review.  Thanks for pointing that out!

Mike J