The word “classic” was invented for movies like Casablanca. Here’s a film so iconic, it’s mere mention evokes a time, place and mood. Warner has re-released the Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman war-time romance in deluxe fashion on two discs with documentaries on the film and Bogart. There’s also a bonus disc, “Jack Warner: The Last Mogul”. The film buff will also score a 48-page book and 10 movie poster cards with this set. To fill out this massive package, Warner included the first episode of the Casablanca TV series as well as numerous outtakes and features for your computer. It’s the perfect gift for the fan of “classic” Hollywood cinema.
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Fans of the original Fallout games, among the greatest RPGs ever made, gripped their mice tightly when word came of Bethesda’s plans to design a new Fallout game. They needn’t have fretted. Fallout 3 is one of the most creatively ambitious games ever made, and its depiction of a post-apocalyptic rubble-strewn Washington D.C. may be the most unsettling (and thrilling) environment ever presented by a video game. A potent combination of open-world exploration and story-driven quests, Fallout 3 grabs hold and won’t let go.
“Until the morning he discovered the dead man in his refrigerated display case, nothing very exciting had ever happened to Jacques Beauregard.” Ah, that’s classic. And ‘classic’ is the point, exactly, of this collection of murder mysteries by this author, James Holding, and other notables such a Ellery Queen, John Updike, C.S. Forester, and many more. A dastardly curation of stories of devious invention, fans of the short story format as well as hard-core mystery fans will be captured—and held tight like a knife in a gloved hand—by this book. Each entry is a perfect dream-inducing, disturbing read just before dropping off to sleep.
Speaking of the other Mystery Science staffers, head writer Mike Nelson did some solo work for Legend Films before settling in with old castmates Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett to create this online series of audio-only commentaries. Without having to pony up the exaggerated rights fees to take on their titles, the Traxers have spoofed Star Wars, The Matrix, and even Iron Man. This DVD collects a few of their short subject efforts (films included), which clearly represents some of their best work. As an added bonus, the boys are given unique 3D personas for the final entry “Shake Hands with Danger”.
These headphones are not new. Koss created the PortraPro Stereophones in the mid-1980s, and from an aesthetic standpoint they are distinctly of their time. (They look like rejected Tron props.) But those who can stomach (or even embrace?) the unique look will discover why the PortaPros continue to sell: they’re comfortable, sound great, and—here’s the kicker—they’re cheap, too. There simply are no other cans in the under-$50 market that deliver sound like this: crisp, rich, detailed. A friend contends that they lean a little on the bass, but I think he’s just being nitpicky. And Koss offers a lifetime no-questions-asked warranty, so if you happen to trod on them on a late-night bathroom run (as I did), you can get them replaced for only the cost of shipping. Bottom line: If you’re looking for a gift for the discriminating listener, but don’t feel like stretching your wallet, you can’t go wrong with these.
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