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This Week on HD DVD and Blu-ray: October 23, 2007

Whether you’ve made the choice and actually picked a side in this format war, one thing can be agreed upon by all sides—this is a good week for high-definition. It so happens that Warner Home Entertainment has yet to pick a side in this battle of video/audio quality—a decision that, when the time comes, could end the war for good. For now, however, they are throwing down some pretty good releases to please everyone, and this …

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This Week on HD DVD and Blu-ray: October 2, 2007

This Tuesday brings the release of some great titles, new and old.  As expected, the studios are rolling out some Halloween-inspired classics, filled with zombies, vampires and serial killers; though sadly, only Blu-ray supporters seem to be taking advantage of the upcoming holiday.HD DVD studios chose instead to use this week to re-release a bunch of titles that were previously only available in those obnoxious HD DVD/DVD Combo discs.  You know, the $40 releases that were …

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Wes Anderson’s ‘Hotel Chevalier’ Free on iTunes

A 13-minute prequel to Wes Anderson’s new film, The Darjeeling Limited, has just become available as a free download on iTunes. The short film, entitled Hotel Chevalier, has been released over the internet in what seems to be a cross-promotional move by Anderson, who screened the short on the festival circuit but will not include it with the theatrical release. It appears to be a precursor to the situation which Jason Schwartzman’s character finds himself in …

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Death Proof Fails to Stand Alone in the UK

Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof opened in the UK last week, its producers, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, hopefully anticipating the result of their decision to split the film from its counterpart, Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. But without the nostalgia of a bygone B-movie tradition and the novelty of a rare double-feature bridged together with wonderfully cheesy trailers in a faux-intermission, the film didn’t manage to captivate British audiences; if it did, they certainly weren’t compelled to go …

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DVD-Sniffing Dogs Help Curb Counterfeiting

Bootleggers beware: DVD pirating is going to the dogs.  Literally.Last Wednesday, the district attorney’s office in Queens, New York reported on the success of a police raid, where a substantial inventory of counterfeit DVDs was undermined.  But what set this particular raid apart from the ordinary, everyday struggle to stop the illegal distribution of popular films, were two black Labradors—Lucky and Flo—the newest offensive against a billion-dollar industry. The dogs use their highly-trained sense of smell …

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Good News For HD DVD Owners

Although Blockbuster recently announced they were leaning toward Blu-ray rentals (citing customer preferences), HD DVD owners finally have a win in their corner. Blu-ray had been noted for having a wider movie catalogue due to their exclusive partnerships with several movie studios.  Now Paramount Studios (with DreamWorks Animation) has decided that they will go strictly HD DVD from this point forward.  This announcement may finally help ignite an actual competition between the two formats. The August …

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How I Lost 5 Pounds With Blockbuster Total Access

I’ve been using the Blockbuster Total Access service for about four months now, and while the convenience of exchanging movies same-day seemed efficient in the beginning, the availability of titles both in-store and online has left much to be desired.  However, in the last three weeks, I’ve begun to notice one major benefit of the service.I live in Seattle, very close to the downtown area in a small condominium.  Because I’m tightly packed into an urban …

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Disney to Ban Smoking in All Future Releases

Two months ago, the MPAA announced that any films submitted for rating would now be scrutinized for instances of cigarette smoking, particularly when it is glamorized.  This new regulation was aimed at keeping these images away from the eyes of young, malleable children, and could affect said film’s rating, though the deciding criteria remains unknown.  Now family-friendly juggernaut Disney has become the first major Hollywood studio to back the MPAA’s anti-smoking decision to help keep cigarettes …

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Independent Filmmakers Recoup Losses with YouTube

In the ever-changing world of independent film, directors are constantly looking for new ways to market their movies.  While the Internet has long been one of these tools, two filmmakers are taking things to the next level.  Not only are Arin Crumley and Susan Buice putting their entire full-length film, Four Eyed Monsters, on YouTube for all to see, they’ve also found a way to make some money and get out of debt.  For one …

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Moviegoers Take Note: Grindhouse May Soon Be Split

If you haven’t gone to see Grindhouse yet, now might be the best time.  The three hour and twelve minute long double feature, directed cooperatively by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, finished a distant fourth last weekend at $11.6 million.  The reason?  Despite an abundance of positive reviews, many analysts say the film is just too long to attract a mass audience; Harvey Weinstein, head of Weinstein Co. and one of the film’s executive producers, concurs.  …

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