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  1. #676
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    Best Buy - April 21st, 2020


    Bad Boys For Life
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  2. #677
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    Past Tense


    Another brand new post; the final "Sword And Sandal Quarter" entry! We close with a little tale about this fellow named... "Alexander".



    The motion picture opened on November 24th, 2004. It was made with a budget of $155,000,000 (estimated); counting foreign receipts it made $167,298,192. The film opened number three at the box office, the following week it remained at three.

    The feature opened against "The Incredibles", "The Polar Express", "National Treasure", "After The Sunset" and "Christmas With The Kranks".

    There was no slipcover, nor insert issued for the first release (theatrical cut).

    - - -

    Like with "Troy" (2004) this had multi DVD releases and one store exclusive.



    Wal-Mart on street - August 2nd, 2005 had an exclusive bonus disc inside inside its own case for $14.44. This is for the theatrical cut, a two disc set. AND also on this date the "Director's Cut" set was released.

    At this point in time the store had exclusives attached only to the full screen editions. Everyone complained about that move, then they ceased. Didn't buy this then; my copy came from eBay years later. So I'll say with relative confidence this was side packed with the full screen version.

    There was no insert included with the exclusive. It has a single item, "Becoming Alexander" documentary. There were no chapters encoded, presented in full screen. It has a run time of 48:25 minutes. This doc aired on the Discovery Channel on November 21st, 2004.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.

    Just wanted to make this clear - the movie bombed at the box office, HARD; domestically it made 34.2 million on a $155 million budget (not including the millions in advertising). "Alexander" kinda broke even with world wide grosses.

    Is this a poor movie?



    No. It's quite a decent flick with good action scenes and solid acting. It goes up and down with the various cuts (which you'll read about). I would call it a sway feature.

    Had no issues with Colin Farrell as Alexander. He looks the part. NOW... Angelina Jolie as his mom, Olympias - felt like a soap opera diva. Holy crap, she should've dialed it down. You're expecting her to make sudden head moves with camera zooms on her face. Taa-Taa-DAAAAA!!

    Val Kilmer as King Philip II was okay I guess. Didn't feel so - important. Not in a bad way. Just his character is... there and fills in the spot. Not a bad thing, not complaining. The same with Rosario Dawson as Roxana (Alexander's wife). Nice to look at, but not anything more.



    The visuals; world building here is outstanding. It feels bigger than life. Huge, real built sets and CGI extensions. You want this to be a spectacle. Back in the day, it would be called a tent-pole picture, an event. And for that, yes this biopic does deliver.

    The film covers the life of Alexander from childhood to becoming a global legend. His battle with the Persians, ascending the throne and his trek across Asia - creating the largest empire in the known world, nearly unstoppable.

    The biggest part of the film is Alexander's friendship with childhood friend Hephaestion (Jared Leto). How that evolved over the years. I can't be the only one who took away - they were more than just friends vibe. If they were lovers, it would explain how enraged he became with Roxana over Hephaestion's death.



    This movie was such a pet project of director Oliver Stone, his passion to make a good as possible. I love that kind of thing, too bad there isn't enough director's like that. Above left to right; Farrell, Elliot Cowan as Ptolemy and Stone.

    I did enjoy Anthony Hopkins as our narrator, elderly Ptolemy; telling the story to his students long after the fact. One of the last alive who knew Alexander and was on the campaigns.

    BUT there is a moment in the future scenes which took my attention, a background oddity. So old Ptolemy is telling his story and we see students and slaves working. Students and underlings transcribing his lecture. Slaves are holding up palm leaves... call it umbrellas for shade. Holding it up as Ptolemy and others walk about the outdoor teaching room, quite the sunny afternoon.

    As Ptolemy is reminiscing we see a slave holding up one of those shades... but there's nobody there. Just walking in the background, nothing under his umbrella. ???

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Notes.




    Lets cover the various DVDs.

    As I wrote above, both the theatrical and director's cuts came out on the same day. The director's cut is actually shorter, edited down and new footage added; retailed for $29.98. Theatrical run time is 175 minutes. DC is 167 minutes.

    Which is better? Well...

    Depends what you want. More of an action film would be the Director's Cut. Slower, character driven film is theatrical.

    Director Oliver Stone wanted to keep working on his mega epic until he got satisfaction - which turned into four different cuts.



    On February 27th, 2007, retailing for $24.98 was "Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut". It wasn't. This two disc edition has a run time of 214 minutes. It came with a single sided insert - "A Personal Message From Oliver Stone" explaining why he went back a third time, because..."It's a film that's been haunting me since the theatrical version first appeared in November 2004 in the U.S.". This also came with a non-embossed slipcover, mirrors the wraparound. The only bonus here is an introduction by Stone on why this cut exist. Yeah, okay. It also came with a theater voucher to see "300" (2007) for free (up to $10.50).

    Revisited also had a Blu-Ray release; September 18th, 2007 for $28.98 (region A). Same extras as the DVD, plus one new - "Fight Against Time - Oliver Stone's Alexander", a seventy-five minute documentary. This is not on any DVD.

    And was released on HD-DVD same date for the same price (region 0). Same extras as BD.

    Still not happy, a final attempt was released on June 3rd, 2014 for $14.98 - "Alexander: The Ultimate Cut". This was a single disc release with a run time of 206 minutes. No insert or slipcase issued and no extras. It had a Blu-Ray release too on the same date for $49.98 (region A); digibook packaging.

    Which is better here?

    Can't answer that - to be honest it's kinda a blur.



    Okay. I should since I mentioned it. Above is the weekly Best Buy ad including Revisited - to be clear, that theater voucher wasn't an exclusive, every store had it.

    There you go folks. That wraps up "Sword And Sandal Quarter". Hope you had a great time with your leathers and swordplay. Dude, I don't want to know what you did with your hands. Come back here on May 7th, 2020 for a cosmic search for a lost colony - done without camp.

  3. #678
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    Past Tense - Daggit Free Since 1979 Part I


    Brand new post! This outing we get an oddity for "Battlestar Galactica".



    Hard to impossible to pin down the release date. So in lieu of that I'll give the stats for Season One which is what this promo is for... yeah.

    "Battlestar Galactica: Season One" was released on home video on September 20th, 2005.

    Streeted against "The Pretender: The Complete Second Season", "From The Earth To The Moon: The Signature Edition" and "Over The Edge".



    This came in an embossed foil slipcase holding five discs, each in their own thin case. There was a single ad insert. One side is an advertisement for six DVD seasons sets ("Monk", "Sliders", "Earth 2", "Cleopatra 2525", "Quincy, M.D." and "Dragnet" (original). The other is devoted to the Sci-Fi mini-series, "The Triangle" (aired ).

    - - -

    Promo originally came inside a white CD envelope, nothing else. No text nor images were printed on it.

    The quasi-exclusive was given out to the press, studio execs and at conventions to promote the then upcoming TV series; best I can say, this came out in December of 2004. Why?

    Got disc info when it was in the computer; created: "Friday, December 3, 2004 6:08 PM".



    "Battlestar Galactica: Limited Edition Collectible DVD" was pressed, not an MOD. It has a run time of 6:56 minutes, presented in letterbox.

    It has no menu screen and no chapters - just plays. It consist of seven TV spots for the Sci-Fi Channel's broadcast of the series; five of them are character profiles.

    Did not know this existed until late January 2020, received on February 11th, 2020 - bought off eBay for a buck, a good deal.



    Kara Thrace's ad profile above. Yeah the picture quality isn't that great. I don't understand why. Why wouldn't you want it to be grand?

    Should be noted - NONE of these TV spots were included in the season one box set. It's exclusive to the promo disc. Great addition for collectors. As far as I know, these spots have never had a home video release (DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-Ray).

    Sure. Was talking about it.

    Season One was also released on HD-DVD (Region 0) on December 4, 2007; $99.98. It has an exclusive item; "Encyclopedia Galactica" a picture-in-picture bonus option, "U Control" feature. Watch episodes with technological stats and images. As understand it mostly repeats the stuff from the included featurettes (same as the DVD release).

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Void.

    Gave this some thought, decided to add more from the last "Dead TV Shows Not On Home Video" exploration. He we are with Volume Three. More than pure filler. It's quality filler, thank you very much.

    You can find Volume One and Volume Two here. All of them still not out for fans.



    Yeah, I know - the image is distorted - it was the best pix I could find and that took work to make it semi-presentable.

    "Flying Blind" - This former show aired on Fox in 1992. It told the story of Neil Barash (Corey Parker) fresh from college (moved back home in New York), he gets a job working with his father Jeremy (Michael Tucci) at Hochman Foods, a confectionery company. It's rather bland, a vanilla existence.

    A chance encounter on the Staten Island Ferry with a red head changes his life forever. Trying to dump a guy, Alicia (Téa Leoni) feign a relationship with the first guy she sees - Neil. Not sure what just happened; he follows her to her loft and is introduced to her eclectic friends, roommate and her carefree life stye. She decides to make a change in her life after so many disposable, superficial boyfriends, Alicia gives Neil a try. Barash gets an injection of life he so craves - with strings attached.

    The show is at its heart a situation comedy. Neil discovers why his girlfriend lives such an easy existence; she's a trust fund girl. Her father is an international assassin (implied CIA; played by the late Peter Boyle). Some of the stories; the twin of Alicia's dead boyfriend moves in and tries to push Barash out. Losing his job at Hochman (downsizing) he lucks into a new one - working for an independent film company, doing a bit of everything. And a former boyfriend of Alicia's tries to kill him for getting in the way of his true love.

    Two of the cast members would later work together on the high profile NBC series, "Heroes" (2006). Greg Grunberg played his brother Barry; later as LAPD police officer Matt Parkman. Cristine Rose played Neil's mother, Ellen - later as Petrelli matriarch Angela.

    What I liked was Neil's parents reactions to Alicia; pretty obvious that she's a sensual person, don't want to say slutty. They didn't hate her or try to break them up. They were kind to her as she was to them. They were concerned and hoped that she would be a phase. Which by the finale she was. OR not. *smiles*

    Last episode jumps months after they broke up with Neil getting ready to marry a women he doesn't really love. Alicia shows up and things become... well unknown since it was canceled.

    You could very well say, rightly so - this show was the forerunner to ABC's "Dharma & Greg" (1997). Except Neil was nowhere as confident as Greg Montgomery (Thomas Gibson). By the way, only season one has been released on DVD in 2006. Season two had an M.O.D. (manufacture on demand) DVD-R release on November 11th, 2014. The rest have yet to come to home video.

    "Flying Blind" is actually a spin-off of another Fox show "The Marshall Chronicles" (1990); both created by Richard Rosenstock. *shrugs* Didn't watch that - turns out it lasted six half hour episodes (also not on DVD). Téa Leoni's birth name by the way is Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni.

    Why bring it up? Leoni did an excellent romcom for Fox; the TV movie, "The Counterfeit Contessa" (aired April 4th, 1994). She played a Brooklyn girl, Gina Leonarda Nardino - who got mistaken for a visiting contessa, Sofia di Sarzanello (Karla Tamburrelli). Nardino kept up the illusion because she want to see how the other side lives, even for just a couple of days. And falls for a wealthy man. We know how this goes... she later finds genuine happiness with his brother. Co-starring Nicole de Boer, before she played Ezri Dax on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine". *nods*

    Got curious. Yup, the whole movie is there. Go to YouTube, type in "Fox Night At The Movies - Counterfeit Contessa" in search. Or if you know how, "dT0qUZFJm54". It's still there (as of writing), checked. Uploaded on November 25th, 2014 by Old Skool Television. The telemovie is more charming than it has to be. You'll smile a lot. It's also on Amazon's streaming service.

    Anyhow "Flying Blind" was funny, witty and sexy. I'm puzzled why this wasn't picked up. It did decent enough on the ratings (by Fox early 1990s standards). All twenty-two (half hour) episodes aired.

    - - -



    "Big Day" was an ABC sitcom from 2006. The entire series covered a single day - the wedding of Alice and Danny, that evening. As if they mashed "Twenty-Four" (2001) with the movie "Father Of The Bride" (1991; yeah the remake). Each episode takes us closer to the hitch. But ever growing mistakes and disasters loom for the couple and family. From an inexperienced wedding planner to a trip to a strip club to the neighbor kid's birthday party to a lost wedding ring to a paint ball fight.

    All the things that could go wrong - that do. So bad, it ends with the couple just eloping.

    It starred Marla Sokoloff as Alice; Josh Cooke as Danny; Wendie Malick as Alice's mom, Jane; Kurt Fuller as the dad, Steve; Miriam Shor as older sister Becca, Stephen Rannazzisi as Skobo the groom's best friend and Stephnie Weir as their inept wedding planner.

    It was because of the show I learned that Sokoloff is a singer - she released an independent solo album "Grateful" in 2006 as in she released it herself, no label. It's excellent, pop music. Seek it out. Sokoloff is probably best known as the secretary, Lucy Hatcher from another ABC series "The Practice" (1997). Man, she's so adorable.

    Not her first music gig, she was a lead singer in a band called "Smittin" until they broke up in 2003. As far as I can tell, "Smittin" never got an album. You can their songs find them on YouTube. It's okay, I guess - she did better work solo.

    The show's original title was "A Day In The Life". It pretty much bombed in the ratings, the network hardly promoted the show. Thirteen half hour episodes were made, one didn't air. In 2007 there were plans afoot to bring the series to the big screen - the an adaptation failed. Then once again in 2008 too. Then yet again in 2010 - take a guess... *shakes head*

    Anyhow, I would buy this on release day if it came out. It was fun show. Too bad it fell into the memory hole.

  4. #679
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    Past Tense - Daggit Free Since 1979 Part II


    Lastly there is "The New Adventures Of Beans Baxter" was a show on Fox from 1987 and died in '87. First off, there was no 'Old' Adventures Of Beans Baxter, there was some confusion at the time. It was an teen version of "Get Smart" (1965), only less ridiculous. Beans was the straight man to the insanity around him.



    The story centers on a high school kid, Benjamin "Beans" Baxter Jr. (Jonathan Ward) who witnesses his father death, an exploding U.S. Mail truck - his father was a mail carrier. A misunderstanding has Beans delivering one of the packages his dad was to have delivered. As it turns out his father was a spy, a courier for CIA type agency, The Network. There is a sinister force who want that package; a top secret component to a nuclear device - will kill to possess.

    Beans delivers the package after some odd encounters with strange men (who nearly murder him). To their amazement, Beans has pulled off an impressive job. The kid is told who his father really was and that he's alive. The death was faked - a kidnapping. He's being held by UGLI (Underground Government Liberation Intergroup). Headed by the villainous Mr. Sue (Kurtwood Smith).

    Beans is offered an after school job from Number Two (Jerry Wasserman; yes, that Wasserman) - become a courier for them (who would suspect a kid as a spy?); be part of the team and part of the his dad's rescue. He accepts.

    The half hour adventure/comedy has Beans trying to balance his school life with his spy job. Trying to keep his friend Woodshop (Stuart Fratkin) and would-be girlfriend, Cake Lase (Karen Mistal) in the dark. His mom, Susan (Elinor Donahue) and little brother, Scott "Scooter" don't have a clue who Baxter Sr. (Rick Lenz) was. And Beans wants to keep it that way until he can bring dad home.

    Look this was a stupid, but entertaining. In fact, it was rather silly. Sue was an over the top bad villain, no matter how preposterous the story/scheme was - Smith played it dead serious. And that was funny.

    The series was created by Savage Steve Holland who wrote and directed most of the episodes. Holland is the person responsible for such cult films as "Better Off Dead" (1985), "One Crazy Summer" (1986) and the Fox cartoon series "Eek! The Cat" (1992).

    What made the show memorable was going beyond the concept, not having it all be about espionage. One of the episodes, UGLI agents discover that Beans is trying to get his driver's license and decide to make his life miserable. They had some down time and wanted to mess with their adversary for sh!ts and giggles. It is cruel, but funny.

    One of the more bizarre offerings was their Halloween program where Beans discovers that Sue is mixing science with the occult to create deadly pumpkins to murder kids at the local pumpkin patch. It was too cartoony to be dark.

    All and all, seventeen episodes were made and they all aired. Beans never did rescue his dad, but he did see him in a botched recovery, a two parter.

    I'm reminded of Svetlana, a Soviet defector Beans helped. Now in a protection program - working in a convenience store, lamenting on her her lost love - 'Melancholy'. His pet name; "Head like melon. Face like collie." Svetlana was played by Shawn Weatherly, former Miss USA and [B[Miss Universe[/B] in 1980. She would later do season one of "Baywatch" (1989) as Jill Riley - killed off in a great white shark attack. She also did another series, but I'll save that for the next write-up; volume four of dead TV shows not on DVD.



    Would be irresponsible not to mention Miss Mistal. Man, I had such a crush on her. She did such flicks as "Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death" (1989), yes - that's a real movie and "Return Of The Killer Tomatoes!" (1988) along side with a pre-famous George Clooney.

    It was the first of three additional sequels to "Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes!" (1978) which lead to the Saturday morning cartoon, "Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes" (1990) that lasted two seasons on Fox, twenty-one episodes; also not on DVD.

    Sorry, sidetracked.

    Mistal was the perfect girl next door. Hot, but approachable. That series promo image above was such a pain; hours of restoration to make mostly decent.

    - - -



    While I did watch the original when it first aired in 1978 and enjoyed it. Looking back as an adult, I cringe. Production looks uber cheap in places and massive logic problems. Plots built around stupid actions. And worse yet, repeating the same visual effects over and over again. Not helping was the terrible dialog as if a group of adolescents wrote the teleplays. Technobabble is fine to a point. Not where it becomes a cliché. Suspension of disbelief was strained. And the danger feels so fabricated, hardly a threat since it has no long term weight. Here today. Gone tomorrow.

    And don't get me started on those damn daggits. Though I will say the opening theme music is fried gold. Stu Phillips' theme has gone to be iconic. And that music appears in one episode of reboot, where it fits so damn perfect, sci-fan had deep smiles.

    Anyhow, there's a two parter "Lost Planet Of The Gods" - part two aired October 1st, 1978. Galactica discovers a hidden planet in a void; on the surface there are ancient pyramids made by humans - which somewhat leads them to missing colony - Earth. All the long/wide shoots were filmed in Egypt. All the scenes of them walking among the ruins was filmed in a small set.

    You can actually see the creases on the wall where they painted the background. It was so corny and campy, not in the good way - too cheesy. I suppose the only decent part which had the main budget was the pilot - which got a limited theatrical release (poster above).

    "They were searching for a star called Earth" - so not a planet (from the poster)?



    I'm a big fan of Ron Moore's reboot. It took all the crappy tropes and jettison them. No aliens. Far less focus on the tech and more on the human drama. What would happen if such a genocide occurred? I am however not a fan of how it ended. They had months of downtime because Sci-Fi was too cheap to just make a full season order even though it was their hit series which brought in paid subscribers.

    What we got was the best Moore could muster? From the very beginning he said the whole series was mapped out. They had built this story line about a special child, a hybrid baby that both sides wanted to possess. Nope. Meaningless, didn't matter - skip over any relevance.

    So much was centered on this plot point, a huge plot point that got toss into the garbage.

    And yes they reached Earth, but it's our distant past. The way it happens feels like a weak afterthought - tacked on finale.



    Moore learned his lesson; the tacked on finale for "Caprica" (BSG prequel series) THAT was so rewarding. You're getting glimpses of what could've been; character fates and future story points which was totally natural - this is how things would go down. The last shot is the first (in that iteration) human looking Cylon. YES. That is what would've happened. The last few episode had purpose and real drama, but it as too late to save. But we got eighteen episodes, extending that universe.

    It also sucks we didn't get that prequel Cyclon War series, "Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome". Man, that should've happened.

    Oh well. Come back here on May 21st, 2020 for another brand new, two part Past Tense about a conspiracy reaching into the future - sights seen.
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 05-21-2020 at 02:12 AM.

  5. #680
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    Target - May 12th, 2020


    Birds Of Prey
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    Target - May 19th, 2020


    Onward
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    Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
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    Past Tense - Pocket Full Of Important Doodads Part I


    Can your palms foretell your personal future and even revised histories from that cognition? Take the peek under the veil in "Paycheck"...



    The motion picture opened on December 25th, 2003. It was made with a budget of $60,000,000 (estimated); counting foreign receipts it made $98,819,789. The movie bombed domestically ($53.7 million). The film opened number three at the box office, the following week it dropped to number five.

    The feature opened against "Bad Santa", "Elf", "Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King" and "Cheaper By The Dozen" (remake).

    There was no slipcover, nor insert.

    - - -

    This sci-fi flick bombed, pretty amazing it got any exclusive. Streeted on home video - DVD only on May 18th, 2004. There was a single exclusive, a bonus disc from Best Buy. Extra disc came inside a CD envelope attached behind the case, under an expanded rear sheet.

    All of this were sealed under wrapping. Set sold for $15.99.

    Now, four important things.

    1) Do not have the weekly ad. It pre-dates my Legacy project which started in the final weeks of December 2004. And can't find any vital data for that store date online.

    2) I can not say how many set copies were available per store.

    3) Can not tell if this was attached to both the full screen and widescreen copies or just wide (which is what I have)

    4) That price above was reached through conclusion, not by store listing (lost to time, sixteen years after the fact).

    1 - 3 not much more to say. Just can't find the info and do not know. No dusty online blogs or websites to search. Vanished into the digital ether.

    Four I CAN talk about. I have a rather large collection of store exclusives, many from Best Buy - you have seen the many write-up I have posted throughout the years.

    Store price is an extrapolation. The criteria questions which lead me to that amount...

    What store exclusives do I have from 2004 that were from Paramount Home Entertainment? What were their prices (with exclusive)? Single title release or two disc sets with bonus (had to be single)? Released in what particular month in '04?

    At this point in time DreamWorks titles were still distributed by Paramount which is what "Paycheck" was - one of the final ones titles. DreamWorks had moved to distributed their own movies. Which means I can include DreamWorks releases with Best Buy exclusives under those prerequisite.

    All those filters gave me two titles with an additional one - a year earlier as a comparison since that mirrors the volume of extras on the single movie disc plus had a bonus disc, similar to "Paycheck". Those two are:

    "Eurotrip" - DreamWorks $17.99 - June 1st, 2004

    "Shrek 2" - DreamWorks $15.99 - November 5th, 2004

    The comparison title:

    "Tomb Raider: Cradle Of Life" - Paramount $15.99 - November 18th, 2003

    Links included to previous Past Tense entries above.

    Discarded "Eurotrip" since the bonus disc had numerous content (and came in a printed cardboard sleeve), not a single item.

    Elimination - you end up with $15.99. This was common price for exclusives at the time from Best Buy, I am confident this is the correct store price. Have I not said over the years, 'I'm anal'. *wink*



    Above - scans of their exclusive unopened. You can see bit of the white CD envelope on the rear image, under that specs sheet.

    Notice something? Catch it?

    That front sticker "Bonus Disc Inside" says nothing about it be exclusive to Best Buy. At this time DVD exclusives were rather new. Consider the debacle that was "Dawn Of The Dead: Unrated" exclusive, October 26th, 2004. Folk had a serious time finding that set.

    The sticker indicating the extra DVD was so small, most didn't see - neither did the staff. Not helping was the exclusive was inside the case. Just looking, you couldn't tell. And "Paycheck" came out a few months earlier.



    Bonus has a run time of 13:19 minutes, single making-of featurette - "Retrofitting Paycheck"; no menu screen, just plays and is in full screen. The short has various production artwork. I wish more BTS extras included them. Above is samplings of the apparatuses. Yeah, I don't get that first one.

    Was that some kind of foil forearm wrapping attached to hand pads? Or like a silver power field around the arms? No clue.

    This was a long road to my collection - nearly fourteen years. Not an exaggeration. I didn't find out about this exclusive until 2006 when it was gone from stores. I began my hunt and failed so many times. Over those fourteen years - ONLY saw it listed once (opened), but the seller knew what he was selling and wanted beyond my price range. No go.

    I wouldn't again find it until January 20th, 2020, bought that day for $8.61 (with postage and tax) off eBay. The package arrived on the 24th, that month in a padded shipping envelope. It was super quick. Sway.

    Opted not to open right away. This was still sealed - virgin exclusive! Damn rare, so I did scans of the front and back as you've seen and then opened. The bonus DVD is mint as was the movie disc. Oh yeah - I ready owned the movie.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.

    Some of you might have noticed - the influx of new entries, not updated/expanded posts from JoBlo's "DVD, Blu-Ray & Home Theater Discussion" forum - now just a memory. Man, it was great while it lasted.

    Back in December of 2019 looked at potential PT posts for next year; saw my supply dwindling. I have only x amount of older Past Tenses to work with. And a chunk of them must be saved for "Limited Edition Horror 2020". And yes, have already begun work for this October; movie recommendations - started in January. This way I have a pool to choose from and not have to rush to fill in the quotas.

    *sigh* I am uncertain if there will be LE Horror for 2021. The future is unclear, time will tell. Anyhow...

    There are only so many PTs I can work with - which means I need new ones. Buy'em! Part of my store exclusive index is a section on things I don't have with where they originated from. I made notes over the years. And that means I need scans of Best Buy weekly ads along with exclusives scans (when gotten) and later image fixing - get them looking the best it can.

    Did this in late January, various scans. You have seen the results these past months, this post included.

    So in early January I went on the hunt. Found quite a few, this too. Some of them I had long forgotten and were found super, dirt cheap! Outstanding. I have many more targets. This means 2020 is the year of brand new entries. Indeed.

    And it means I can't rely on done/finished research. I have to do the homework for the new stuff.

    Just like the old days. And I do like the challenge, the biggest example this year was for "The Alien Legacy: 20th Anniversary Edition" so much data to cull.

    - - -

    Oh yeah. I have since moved my set into a two disc case and have inserted the Best Buy specs sheet on the rear - this way you can read about the bonus.

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    Past Tense - Pocket Full Of Important Doodads Part II


    I should, the movie did bomb after all.

    The film centers on technology developer Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck). He gets the hard jobs; reverse-engineer competitor devices for companies to sell that tech without breaking copyright laws. He excels at his career choice. Part of the trade is corporate secrets, stay - a secret.

    This takes place in the near future where technology exist that can erase memories. The perfect solution to keep these quasi-illegal endeavors under wraps.

    Memory of what he had pieced together and built is axed, just a fat paycheck remains. Money he uses to play and live large, the playboy lifestyle, not shy about it in the least.



    Jennings is approached by billionaire James Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart), an old friend who offers him an eight figure check in exchange for three years of this life working on a covert personal project. Just on the edge of memory erasure.

    So much money he could retire. Michael agrees.

    Three years later...

    No memory, just the knowledge of a ton of money coming to him. Then he is horrified to discover just before the mind wipe he had waived his check. Zero. Squat. Three years for nothing. This is something he would never do. He loves money. What happened to him - why did he turn it down???



    Jennings starts to backtrack his moves - which is his skill; clues leads him to the research facility Allcom where he meets Dr. Rachel Porter (Uma Thurman), a bio-scientist at the firm... his girlfriend when he worked at the company. Soon his world comes crashing down.

    Michael is frame for something he has zero knowledge of - treason and the murder of physicist William Dekker (Serge Houde). His pursuer are times two; the FBI wants him as does Rethrick who fears Jennings will reverse-engineer his memories.

    The only clues Michael has are various random objects that were given back to him once the task was completed

    What was so terrible that he built/figured it out for Mr. Rethrick?

    He uncovered the future.

    Michael Jennings built an optical time machine based on the futures of the person operating the machine; those things that will be seen.

    The person who controls that device will control the world; know the stock market in advance, political conflicts, world affairs and global weather. Think CoronaVirus; you knew about it months ahead and took steps to be there when it happen to profit from it. Having a surplus of specialty mask and gloves - going for the highest bidder and knowing how much to have, not getting sold out.



    Jennings' only help is Porter who is now also a target. The solution is in those objects. What makes them so special to be singled out?

    This is at its heart, a detective movie with a sci-fi spin - outthink the future. Because at a later date, Rethrick will cause a nuclear war because of political discord he brought about. All because of that visionary contraption.

    It's a solid flick, entertaining. Too bad it failed to find its audience. And sadly had gotten lost among the home video potpourri. Each week getting a bit more buried under newer titles. Do check it out.

    The movie reminds me of a so-called real temporal device. Yes.

    An alleged gadget that could view into the past - just like watching a television broadcast. Huh? Yup, this is a rabbit hole.

    The "ChronoVisor" was a quantum access machine. Physicist, Father Pellegrino Ernetti from the Vatican created visual time machine in the 1960s. Claimed he could tune in past events. Like how telescopes work. The night sky you're seeing is not real time.

    You have a distant star, that you're looking at. That star is some 500 light-years away. What you're seeing - with your telescope is how that star looked five hundred years ago. NOT the current moment. You are viewing the past. That makes telescopes, visual time machines, but you have zero control over what moment you're viewing.

    Father Ernetti took that concept into overdrive with his machine. He claimed he and his team saw the crucifixion of Christ, even took a snap of the event. The betrayal of Judas. Saw Napoleon. Witnessed a speech by Roman philosopher Cicero. And watched Roman poet Quintus Ennius' play, "Thyestes" as it happened.

    It was purported that rocket scientist Wernher von Braun was part of the team. The story goes that the Vatican pulled the plug and had Ernetti recant his claim since they feared the tech would be abused.

    Was it BS? Father Pellegrino Ernetti was a published author and an intellectual. Why would he lie about something so bizarre?

    There have been efforts to uncover that device - if it existed at all.

    The principle was based on electromagnetic radiance. All things radiate, broadcast as it were. This mechanism could focus on that radiance and transfer that data into moving pictures with audio.

    Deeper into that rabbit hole you get conspiracy - that the Vatican didn't end it, but rather subcontracted the tech to the CIA in the '60s. The machine could see the future too. Some thinking that "Project Looking Glass" is related to the contraption; another rabbit hole that invoves recovered alien tech mixed in. Gets really bizarre the more you look into it.

    - - -



    This something I'm still fuzzy on.

    Is Uma Thurman attractive?

    There are times when I would say, she's hot. But a lot of the time - she's... a plain jane. I know I'm not the only one thinking this. Her appeal is very much a roller coaster. Hot then not.

    And there you go folks. Come back here on June 4th, 2020 for another brand new entry! You get a killer of serial killers. Did I spill the beans?



    Yup, director John Woo isn't into the exchange. We've all been there. So many Thanksgivings, so many. See you then.

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    Okay. Hello there.

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    Past Tense


    Brand new once again! This outing we come face to face with serial killer of other serial killers in "Dexter"...



    "Dexter: The First Season" was released on home video on August 21st, 2007.

    It streeted against "Perfect Stranger", "The Ultimate Gift", "Serenity: Collector's Edition" (a previous Past Tense) and "House M.D.: Season Three"

    The cardboard slipcase was non-embossed nor foiled. Holding two, two disc slimcases for the discs. It came with three inserts...

    Double-sided ad for Showtime cable subscription with a $25.00 rebate; expired March 31st, 2008. You needed a 3 x 5 card with your personal information along with your first three months of service bills (dated between February 1st, 2007 to 3/31/08) to qualify. For new subscribers only.



    Double-sided card stock printed ad for Jeff Lindsay's "Dexter" novels; "Dexter: Darkly Dreaming", "Dearly Devoted Dexter" and "Dexter In The Dark" - the first two chapters (above) is included as a DVD-ROM entry on disc four (PDF document).

    Let me say, I tried. I really did. That is the best looking season one poster image I could locate. Did some work, but I can only do so much. The rest of the offerings found were terrible. This has to exist in a better res.

    - - -

    "Dexter" had two exclusives, one peripheral and one direct. I'll start with the latter.

    Sorry, I do not have the weekly ad for this.

    Target on street had an exclusive bonus DVD (inside a CD envelope). This set sold for $27.99. And was only available for DVD. The Blu-Ray would not happen until January 6th, 2009 (Region A) for $54.98.

    There is no menu screen, it just plays. Bonus disc starts with a commercial for Showtime cable subscription.

    The DVD is labeled (printed) - "Q&A With The DEXTER Cast & Creative Team Courtesy Of The Museum Of Television & Radio". It has a run time of 1:01:11 minutes. Once played it reads "The 2007 William S. Paley Television Festival: Dexter". This happened on March 7th, 2007.

    The panel includes - executive producer/series writer Daniel Cerone, executive producer Clyde Phillips, executive producer Sara Colleton, actor David Zayas, actress Lauren Velez, actor James Remar, actor Erik King, actress Jennifer Carpenter and actor Michael C. Hall. And is moderated by E! Entertainment columnist Kristen Veitch (now married - Kristen dos Santos).

    They talk about the source novels, season one production and hints of what to come for season two.

    - - -

    The second exclusive was not part of the season one release at all.



    On July 24th, 2007 a preview disc - in its own DVD case with wraparound was side-packed and streeted with "Zodiac". This has the first two episodes of "Dexter".

    Like with the extrapolation for "Paycheck" PT in May I repeated the investigation here. I didn't buy it when it first came out.

    What store exclusives do I have from 2007 that were from Paramount Home Entertainment? What were their prices (with exclusive)? Single title release or two disc sets with bonus? And released in what particular month in '07?

    At this point in time DreamWorks titles were still distributed by Paramount which is what "Dexter" was. DreamWorks had moved to distributed their own movies. Which means I can include DreamWorks releases with Wal-Mart exclusives under those prerequisite.

    All those filters gave me two titles similar to "Dexter". Those two were: "Flushed Away" (released in 2007) and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit" (released in 2006). Both exclusive Wal-Mart sets had the same price, $19.96 and are DreamWorks releases. I believe that the combo set for "Zodiac" was $19.96.



    I've known about this bonus sampler for years, but never bothered with it since I own the series. As you can see above, this is bare bones - just the two first episodes (presented in anamorphic widescreen). Why own it?

    This was bought off eBay on February 3rd, 2020 and received on 7th of the same month just for this write up. *nods*

    "Were-Rabbit" and "Flushed Away" will be written about at a later date.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.



    As repeatedly said, I don't have cable - still don't. This fell under my radar until a friend of mine talked about this excellent series I should watch. The conversation happened months before the home video release. And I remembered the name "Dexter" when I discovered it was coming out in August of '07.

    This was minus our conversation - a blind buy. A killer of serial killers sounded fascinating and it was - zero buyer's remorse. Glad to see it. Glad to own it. From there I went on to buy all the season and their relevant store exclusives when it occurred.

    NOW - I know.

    We all know.

    The series finale was crap on a cracker. The show runners failed us on an epic level. Screw it! I'll spoil it. Dexter (Hall) becomes a lumber jack giving up his... 'trade'. It comes from nowhere, like that ending was pulled out of someone's a$$. It was the weakest season in the series run - on top of that conclusion.



    But seasons one - seven were excellent to good, so we have that. Season eight is just tolerable, they didn't know how to end it. Or what to do with the character. Then what? Nope, just sad panda faces.

    Just think of the series like a long car trip. Parts of it will be great and fascinating, the journey will be a delight in itself, but the destination can be such an anticlimax. Just like the final minutes of the "Battlestar Galactica" reboot.

    Your memories will be of the ride. And that's okay.



    No regrets investing my time on this show. I was entertained.

    Wished it ended better, true. But I overall enjoyed the show and characters.

    "Dexter" was a good show, outstanding at times.



    There you go - liked that meme from 2011. Not one of my bigger entries, but it gets the job done. Come back here on June 18th, 2020 for the final season of nerd joy.

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    Past Tense


    Another new entry! While true, it wasn't for everybody; some hated this TV show with a passion. And for others (myself included) it was pop culture comfort food. This outing we have the final season of "The Big Bang Theory"...



    "The Big Bang Theory: The Twelfth And Final Season" was released on home video on November 12th, 2019.

    It streeted against "47 Meters Down: Uncaged", "The Angry Birds 2 Movie" and "The Peanut Butter Falcon".

    The regular slipcase was non-embossed cardboard that mirrored the wraparound. Inside the slipcase was a black, not transparent DVD case holding three discs. It came with six page folding booklet; episode guide - with air dates and extras listing.

    - - -



    There was a singular exclusive from Target - not a bonus disc, but packaging. They offered an exclusive slipcase. Above is their weekly ad along with their slip and the regular edition on the far right.

    Season twelve was released on Blu-Ray, but I am unable to answer if this came with their exclusive or was a regular BD. *shrugs* I have no notes on this topic. And I would've taken them down.

    Can say on the same street - "The Complete Series" box set was also released on DVD, retail price of $119.98. The Blu-Ray edition came out on January 21st, 2020 for $209.98.

    Have something else. I've been collecting DVDs since 2003 and this was the very first U.S. title I've run into that had this... 'made in Germany'. The exclusive or the basic release? Can't answer.

    By the way, most DVDs and BDs are made in Mexico if you didn't know.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.



    Yes - I still despise that awful opening theme song; I hit the chapter advance on the remote each time. And Kaley Cuoco is over rated. She's okay and that's fine. But for crying out loud, she's a seven and a half on a good day.

    So as a fan, how did I feel about the finale?

    It's bittersweet. It was done with care to fans who stayed for twelve years.

    One of the problems some had with the show is the lack of development, characters - series stagnation. That's not true. If you watched the show in syndication, episodes are shown out of order for each of the seasons. It was by design that way. To be mostly interchangeable. Not dependent on knowing past episodes. Much of TV is like that, has been that way for generations.

    But for those who watch the show season per seasons there was growth. Two of them got married. One of which had a kid. One of them had financial ties severed with his parents; forced to be fiscally responsible. Our group of nerds had to grow-up. Couldn't keep going to comic book conventions. They have responsibilities, can't play.

    It was a slow burn, years really. A bit here. A bit there that added up till they could no longer behave like kids. They become parents.

    So yeah, they grew up; some by force - unwilling to change until the momentum could not be ignored.

    This series was like worn slippers. Looks okay, but feels snug. No need to replace, the shoes work and work exactly as expected... that's "The Big Bang Theory" in a nutshell.

    The finale felt good. The speech given by Sheldon (Jim Parsons) has a lot of weight to it. He's speaking from the heart, not pre-planned, out of his comfort zone. The rest have changes which were natural. In the end, they remain friends - their futures is unknown.

    I will miss it. It was sway.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Void.

    I know. This is a short entry. So I have 'quality' filler for your enjoyment. A what-if...

    Was there a lost deviation, gone for the most part into oblivion? There were changes to life on Earth over the eons, we have an incomplete fossil records.

    It makes sense that other life on our planet would go on the same, if not - a similar path. Why wouldn't it?

    What if this life was not mammalian?



    What you're looking above is a conjecture - an erased life form standing next to a raptor.

    In 1982 Canadian paleontologist, Dale Russell published a paper; postulating that dinosaurs 'could have' evolved into bipedal hominid-like creatures.

    Don't care for the name, but it's his work - he called them "Dinosauroid". See that? That's cringy. I would've called them 'Dinosapien' - that sounds cool.

    Because of modern birds and reptiles, their genitals would be internal. And would have a vocal range similar to contemporary birds. Further supposition had them feeding their young much like present avifauna, through regurgitation.



    An extrapolation was made of his theory. And at one point was on exhibition. The sculpture was done by Russell and Ron Seguin. And he's not alone; evolutionary paleobiologist, Simon Conway Morris also agrees. This could've happened.

    Let's be honest - much of the history of Earth has been lost. What we know of our distant past really only scratches the surface. And there exist so many 'anomalies' that bitch slaps established time lines. A casual investigation will bring out things that should not exist, but do - thousands and hundreds of thousands of years old. And older still.

    From arrowheads at an age when humans were still monkeying around to random relics that defy common sense (can't be that old?); OOPArts, Out Of Place Artifacts. Such as the "London Hammer" found in 1934 in London, Texas. It's an ancient metal hammer with part of its wooden handle still intact. It was found encased in a rock dated over a 100 million years old. So old, that wood has turned to coal. And odder still, the metal hasn't rusted.

    How old are humans? Time travel at play? Or... something else.

    If this notion is correct - what level of tech did they accomplish? I say this since scattered about our oceans are lost structures, cities. Seek out the step pyramids on the bottom of the sea off the coast of Cuba as a prime example, known as the "Bermuda Pyramids". They look like the Pyramid Of Djoser in Egypt (27th century BC) or the Pyramid Of The Sun in Teotihuacán, Mexico (Maya; 200 CE, roughly).

    Plus the step pyramids discovered between Sao Miguel and Terceira Islands, Azores (in the North Atlantic Ocean). Which are some four hundred fifty feet under, found by accident.

    Did some of them survive the past global catastrophe - great flood (more than likely caused by our sun going partial nova) - sheltering underground? There is a ton of lore surrounding lizard people in South America and beyond that live in deep hidden caves systems.

    This has been played in media over the years. "Sleeping Dragon" (December 3rd, 1988) was an episode of the syndicated (half hour) horror series, "Monsters".

    Found in the desert in Nevada was a cave full of large oval rocks. One of them is taken to a professor in Reno. It is opened using a laser. It is not an oversized geode - but a stasis chamber and have awoken a terrible lizard, human sized. A race of Dinosapiens; sophisticated enough and knew a planet killing asteroid was coming - they built these pods to survive the disaster. But something went wrong, they did not awaken. The group fights this ancient titan and only learns at the end - before it was killed, it sent a data burst...

    To open the rest of the sleeping pods. The episode ends with shock, a global war is about to start. These kind of caves were found worldwide. *dark grin*



    Another example would be the book series (thirteen novels), "Destroyermen" by Taylor Anderson. Book one, "Into The Storm: Destroyermen" was published in 2008. It take place in the Spring of 1942 - we follow the crew of an older, near obsolete, WWI US destroyer - "Walker". Taken out of mothballs for the Pacific Theater.

    Damaged and on the run from the Japanese they encounter a rift; the Walker winds up in an alternate universe - an Earth where humans never came to be. There is a major conflict here too.

    The warring parties are the Lemurians and Grik.

    The Lemurians are the ancestors of lemurs. The Grik are the ancestors of the dinosaurs. That ship can change the balance of power in this world; both parties try to win the friendship and trust of the Walker. They're stuck in that world. In later books we find out - that Japanese battleship also came through and has sided with the Grik. The story would make an excellent mini-series on cable.



    And yeah, I see it too - that dinosauroid looks like a Grey alien; food for thought.

    That's it for this entry. Come back here on July 9th, 2020 for another PT that's sprinkled with magic, cut from the same cloth as "The Princess Bride" (1987).
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 06-21-2020 at 04:14 AM.

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