With this new set of eight early Hitchcock classics from 1927-1947, there are now three fine sets on the market spanning the majority of the Master of Suspense’s career, the other two sets being the superlative Alfred Hitchcock - The Masterpiece Collection and the also excellent The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection. The highlights here include the World War II era Notorious with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman and Spellbound with Gregory Peck and Bergman. Other movies include Lifeboat, The Paradine Case, Sabotage, Young and Innocent, Rebecca, and The Lodger. Essential for any fan of classic thrillers or Hitchcock completists, which all film geeks really ought to be.
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The downloadable offerings on all of the three major consoles were particularly strong this year, but World of Goo stands out above all others. This may well be the most addictive “build a structure to help things get home”-style puzzle game since the original Lemmings. World of Goo achieves this highly subjective title through a pleasantly Seussian art style, music that recalls Elfman doing a Burton film, and a difficulty curve that’s gentle without being insulting. It’s quite literally a game the entire family can play. Its price is a little bit steep as WiiWare games go ($15), but it’s well worth every penny, offering a much better experience than all but a select few of the Wii games released to retail thus far.
‘Obsessed’ is the operative word, here. This is a seriously silly interactive trivia game for the über Star Wars geek. ‘What type of stew was Yoda preparing when Luke Skywalker was visiting his hut?’ You can choose from four answers. Got it wrong? You get a rather R2-D2-esque audible “raspberry” from a built in electronic tracker which randomly chooses from 2,500 questions, quite accurately tracks scores and yes, ‘comments’ in digital language on how you’re doing. The other operative word: fun.
One of the finest hours of television drama in recent memory, Mad Men is deliciously layered and smartly rendered from the smallest details of costume design to the playing out of the big, tumultuous cultural and gender politics of the early 1960s. It’s been awarded with Golden Globes and Emmys galore and with good reason. Programs with this level of complexity are rare on the small screen (the large one as well for that matter). Tucked into a replica Zippo lighter style case, these 13 episodes on four discs make for great repeat viewing for anyone appreciating rich drama.
Almost every game presented in the first person in recent memory has been heavily based on gunplay, or has at least had a strong focus on violence. Mirror’s Edge shines partially because of its pacifist approach, but more because of its sublime control scheme. Nearly pitch perfect, it makes moving from one goal to the next both intuitive and satisfying. The game is certainly not flawless, but the best parts of it are unmatched. Looking past the surface imperfections reveals a wonderful experience beneath. Mirror’s Edge is recommended for anyone interested in a different take on both platforming and the first person perspective.