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By Christopher Stipp

The Archives, Right Here

Check out my other column, This Week In Trailers, at SlashFilm.com and follow me on TWITTER under the name: Stipp

THE OFFICE: SEASON SEVEN - GIVEAWAY

the_office_season_7_dvd_t292I am absolutely delighted to be participating in this giveaway for you.

The Office really has been that proving ground of experimental comedy that has such a mainstream appeal. Yes, there are some episodes that didn’t quite hit the mark this season but there are more direct hits than there are misses and there really isn’t a better show to be watching just because the writing is pretty unpredictable from one episode to another.

As Steve Carell steps aside there is only more anticipation, and pressure, to see how this show can keep the high level of creativity and slide in a new manager of Dunder Mifflin. If I had my druthers, and I know I don’t, but if I did I would hire James Spader immediately. He has that crazy factor that could have elevated the series to a nutty high. Oh well, que sera sera.

However, if you would like to try and snag one of these series box sets just send me a note to Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com and I’ll put you into the running to win a copy.

ABOUT THE SERIES:

JOIN INCREDIBLE GUEST STARS INCLUDING JIM CARREY, WILL ARNETT, AMY RYAN AND RAY ROMANO IN STEVE CARELL’S FAREWELL SEASON AS THE ICONIC MICHAEL SCOTT WHEN THE LATEST SEASON OF TV’S FAVORITE WORKPLACE COMEDY ARRIVES ON BLU-RAY AND DVD ON SEPTEMBER 6, 201

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - Hailed as “TV’s Funniest half-hour,” by Variety Magazine, “The Office” Season Seven marks the momentous departure of Steve Carell as Michael Scott - the slightly clueless, often politically-incorrect, but always loveable office manager - an iconic role that earned him a Golden Globe and five Emmy nominations. With Michael on his way out, the coveted position as “the boss” opens up in this hilarious game-changing season that features guest stars like Jim Carrey (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), James Spader (”Boston Legal,” Secretary), Will Arnett (Despicable Me, “Saturday Night Live”), Ray Romano (”Men of a Certain Age,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,”), Warren Buffet (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) and Catherine Tate (Monte Carlo , “The Catherine Tate Show”), among others.

Sparks fly when Holly Flax (Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone, “In Treatment”) returns to the office, causing Michael Scott to question if she was the one that got away. Plus, executive producer Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying, “The Ricky Gervais Show”) makes surprise cameo appearances as Michael Scott’s British counterpart David Brent. Timothy Olyphant (”Justified”) also guest stars as Danny Cordray, Pam’s (Jenna Fischer, Solitary Man) ex-flame and Dunder Mifflin’s newest traveling salesman.

Fans can catch up on all the inter-office power plays from Steve Carell’s final season when “The Office” Season Seven debuts on Blu-ray and DVD September 6, 2011 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Both the Blu-ray and DVD feature hours of bonus material including Steve Carell’s extended farewell episode “Goodbye Michael Scott,” over an hour of never-before-seen deleted scenes, the unaired extended version of Michael Scott’s film “Threat Level Midnight,” bloopers, webisodes and more.

The stellar ensemble cast includes Rainn Wilson (The Rocker, Juno), John Krasinski (It’s Complicated, Away We Go), Jenna Fischer (Solitary Man, Walk Hard), B.J. Novak (Inglourious Basterds), Ed Helms (The Hangover Part II, Cedar Rapids), Leslie David Baker (”Malcolm in the Middle”), Brian Baumgartner (”Arrested Development”), Creed Bratton (former member of The Grass Roots), Kate Flannery (The Heir Apparent), Mindy Kaling (No Strings Attached), Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids, Get Him to the Greek), Angela Kinsey (Tripping Forward), Paul Lieberstein (writer, “King of the Hill”), Oscar Nunez (The Proposal), Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine) Phyllis Smith (Bad Teacher), and Zach Woods (The Other Guys).

“The Office” Season Seven is based on the award-winning BBC hit of the same name and developed for American television by Primetime Emmy Award-winner Greg Daniels (”King of the Hill,” “The Simpsons”). Ben Silverman (”Ugly Betty”), Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying, “The Office”), Stephen Merchant (”Extras”), Paul Lieberstein (”King of the Hill”), Howard Klein (”Parks and Recreation”), and series star B.J. Novak join Daniels as Season Seven executive producers.

Also exclusively available on “The Office” Season Seven Blu-ray is a groundbreaking feature allowing viewers to access content like never before. Through BD-Live, fans eager to keep up with “the most influential show since Seinfeld” (Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone) can catch the latest episodes of “The Office” without ever setting their DVR. Through an Internet-connected Blu-ray player, viewers have the option to watch the latest episodes of “The Office” Season Eight right from their TV screen the day after they air on NBC beginning this fall. Season Eight episodes will be available in HD, pending individual Internet connection speeds and will be offered with limited commercial interruptions.

Each season since its 2005 premiere, “The Office” has garnered prestigious television honors, including the 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, Peabody Award, AFI Honors, Producers Guild Award, Writers Guild Award, SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy, Ace Eddie Award for editing and a Television Critic’s Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy. “The Office” is a production of Universal Media Studios, Reveille LLC and Deedle Dee Productions.

BONUS FEATURES AvaILABLE ON BLU-RAY and DVD: “The Office” Season Seven on Blu-ray and DVD comes with hours of bonus features, including:

“Threat Level Midnight: The Movie (A Michael Scott Joint)” Featurette: See the never-before-aired, extended version of the film that Michael Scott wrote, directed and starred in. “Threat Level Midnight,” Michael stars as Michael Scarn as he and a cast made up of Dunder Mifflin employees try to prevent Goldenface from blowing up the NHL All-Star Game.
“The 3rd Floor” Webisodes:
Moving On: Kelly (Mindy Kalling) and Erin (Ellie Kemper) find a new way to get famous.
Lights, Camera, Action!: Filming for Ryan’s (B.J. Novak) horror film begins.
The Final Product: With most of the office pitching in, filming wraps on Ryan’s slasher horror film “The 3rd Floor.”
Episode Commentary:
Nepotism: Featuring commentary with executive producer and series star B.J. Novak, writer and producer Charlie Grandy, series editor and producer David Rogers, as well as series stars Craig Robinson and Creed Bratton.
PDA: Featuring commentary with executive producer Greg Daniels, series stars Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey and Brian Baumgartner, editor Claire Scanlon, assistant director Kelly Cantley and episode writer Robert Padnick.
Threat Level Midnight: Featuring commentary with executive producers and cast members Paul Lieberstein and B.J. Novak, writer and producer Daniel Chun, as well as series stars Creed Bratton and Craig Robinson.
Goodbye Michael: Featuring commentary with writer and executive producer Greg Daniels, series stars Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, as well as series editor and producer David Rogers.
Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager: Featuring commentary with co-executive producer and series star Mindy Kaling, as well as Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, producers Steve Hely and Justin Spitzer.
Over 100 Minutes of Deleted Scenes Including 60 Minutes of Never-Before-Seen Footage
Extended Episodes
Blooper Reel

SEASON SEVEN SYNOPSIS

In the seventh season of this Primetime Emmy Award-winning series, inappropriate behavior is business as usual, but big surprises are in store! Dwight (Rainn Wilson) is now the owner of the building and he may be letting this power go to his head; Andy (Ed Helms) is courting Erin (Ellie Kemper), who is dating Gabe (Zach Woods); Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) are struggling with being new parents; and a parade of ghosts of girlfriends past haunt Michael (Steve Carell), leading to his final days at Dunder Mifflin.

Catch the antics of all 24 laugh-out-loud Season Seven episodes of “…TV’s funniest half-hour” (Rick Kissell, Variety), developed for American television by Primetime Emmy Award winner Greg Daniels. This memorable season features guest appearances from Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), cameos from Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying) and an unforgettable hour-long season finale with Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Will Arnett (”Arrested Development”), Ray Romano (”Everybody Loves Raymond”), James Spader (”Boston Legal”), Warren Buffett and Catherine Tate (”Doctor Who”), all vying for Michael Scott’s old post. Plus, see hours of bonus features, including extended episodes, deleted scenes, bloopers, webisodes and more, in this must-own five-disc collection.

###

SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE INTERVIEW - EDDIE LEE SAUSAGE AND MITCHELL D

shut-up-little-man-an-audio-misadventure-movie-poster-b73aeThis is a story that is almost too bizarre to believe. Short of being present, the audio evidence of what would be a viral sensation years before the Internet could make swapping videos of cats playing pianos or monkeys falling out of trees an instant activity, you would never believe that audio tapes of men arguing with one another could make their way across the country and then around the world without so much as a mouse click.

Wrapping your mind around the logistics of how something like this went viral simply by tape swapping and word of mouth decades ago is baffling as well as trying to understand what it was about these next door neighbors to Eddie Lee Sausage and Mitch Deprey that made for entertainment to thousands of people who came upon these audio adventures. Director Matthew Bate interviewed these two former roommates and turned it into a documentary that explored this phenomenon that is equal parts reenactment, reflection, and hilariousness.

SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE is currently playing in theaters and is going to be going wider this weekend. I sat down with Eddie and Mitchell D to talk about the film and what it’s been like to be at the epicenter of a modern day meme.

MITCH DEPREY & EDDIE LEE SAUSAGE: Hi Christopher.

CS: Hello. How are you guys doing?

MITCH: Wonderfully.

CS: I would have to imagine, and I don’t want to say sick of talking about it after decades of this being out there, you have to be a little vague about some of the details about exactly what went down all that time ago.

MITCH: I’m not sick of talking about it – it’s fun.

EDDIE: No, not me either. You know it’s funny that you mentioned – you are one of the first to mention that this happened so long ago. Fortunately we have strong memories because we have been asked some very specific and detailed questions of something that happened 23 years ago.

CS: Exactly. One of the questions I was going to ask is – we are 23 years removed from the incidents. Do the details still resonate with you really well or was it one of those things where it was in the moment and the details are a little murky?

MITCH: You know what, I’m very fortunate I feel blessed with a photographic memory. I have had this full life. First we reviewed our inventory of material about these people just to refresh our minds but I have a vivid memory about specific incidents. When I hear the recording, it’s kind of like music, you remember the geographical location of where you were. It was kind of like that. I remember standing on the balcony smoking a cigarette at 3:30 in the morning when this was going on. There are some times something’s occasionally come up and grey on that stuff but all in all, I remember a lot.

EDDIE: It was kind of uncanny because I put a rudimentary, like a six page website up in 1995 and then I had a break in my career and said for the next year and a half I’m going to focus on putting together a really comprehensive completed website. I had so many pictures and art and stuff. I did other things but I did work very hard to get the website together and within 6 to 8 weeks, Matt called me asking about making a documentary and so I thought this was uncanny and I have all these memories that are so fresh in my mind it’s a perfect time to get it down.

CS: Did it ever seem odd to you that or try to wrap your head around it, certainly when Matthew contacted you to say hey, this sounds like an idea for a film, did you take a step back and think about whether you really make a 90 minute film out of this?

MITCH: Well, that was our initial response – how in the world are you going to make something out of this? It’s audio material. How are you going to make the visual eye candy for everyone to enjoy. We were very satisfied with his answer. Second, I think we both knew, and I think I speak for the both of us the material is so infectious –to be honest I’m surprised it’s taken this long. We’ve been approached so many times by different people, different parties who wanted to make it.

10004991-largeEDDIE: I was thinking there’s two things – one, the dialogue is written for quite a bit of the film and the dialogue is darkly comic, disturbing, it’s complex and a strange dynamic between these two guys. That in itself composes a good 40 to 50% of the film. I knew there was enough material there to get a film made out of it. Now, whether it would be good or not is a whole nother thing. We trusted Matt because of the previous things we’ve seen that he’d done and knew he could make something interesting and compelling out of it.

CS: Was that what it was? You say you were approached a few different times to do something with it and you obviously balked at doing that. What happened to be Matt’s sort of silver bullet that made you go, “Yeah, this is the guy that we want to have do this”?

EDDIE: I would say, a couple things. One, he sent me films and the aesthetic style put together – a montage of the footage thing is very much aligned with my aesthetic sensibilities. And the content of his previous films – semi mystery – sneakers on a wire and secondly, the early burgeoning of electronic music I just thought that the guy has a style and content that is very allied with Mitch and I’s sensibilities so I said let’s do this.

CS: During production, obviously he outlined how he was going to do it, but did it appear to you that it was going to be a straight up interview approach? Sit you in a chair, throw some lights on you and have you talk a little bit about what made you record this or did he have this in his head the sort of visual, the wild style that this documentary would eventually become?

MITCH: We asked a lot of questions of Matthew Babe before we agreed to work with his crew because we have a pretty good sense – I’m a film buff, I’m a music buff, big audiophile, not like I’m completely blind to quality filmmaking or quality music in my opinion at least in what I feel like it so. So, we had an image, and idea, of what the project would be. We certainly weren’t going to commit to some talking head documentary where you said she said, ok, let’s play a little bit of the audio and let’s show some photos. We knew it would have to be much more complex.

EDDIE: I think there is a danger in documentary filmmaking when you have a story like this with so many players, because just having a bunch of heads talking is not going to work. It would be totally boring. And secondly, having people portray Peter and Raymond which I think a lot of the people wanted to do in the past – is super dangerous. It can get so cheesy so fast. We were terrified when we heard they were casting actors as Peter and Raymond. And then the way they shot it, Brian Mason who is the DOD and editor, the guy is such a beautiful guy and he’s really really good and Matt is really really good and together they have a great dynamic and accentuate and augment one another and based on what I’ve seen in the past of both of their films I thought this was going to be great and it turned out to be very well done.

CS: I’m reminded of Winnebago Man as I was watching this. It’s the idea of something going viral before there was digital means to get it out there. At what point upon releasing these original tapes into the wild did you realize that someone maybe from two states over had heard about it, someone from three states, four states, the whole country, the whole world – when did you have an idea that this had gone global?

EDDIE: What happened was I was back in the Midwest working on my master’s degree and I got a phone call from Seymour and he said “I want to talk to you about your ex-neighbors” and I actually moved. I had lived all over the world – Asia and Europe and I was sort of like who would this be and he said Peter and Raymond because they are so dear to Mitchell and my hearts I was like, are you kidding me? How do you know about them? And he said, “Dude, everybody out here is listening to Peter and Raymond.” I said I don’t even think that’s possible.

Then he started doing lines from the recording and I was like, “Oh my god.” It was at that point when I was just crazy and could hardly believe it. And then right after that it got crazy. A friend of mine from New Orleans called and said hey, I just met this woman at a party and I asked for her phone number, she gave me her phone number and I called her and Shut Up Little Man is on her answering machine. And then a friend in Seattle said hey last night I was playing Gang of Four on my sound system and someone brought in a Shut Up Little Man tape and we played Shut Up Little Man in the bar for 90 minutes and everyone was pissing in their pants.

And every time I was like, are you kidding me? What the hell? We never intended it to get out into the world. We had no idea. Certainly no commercial aspirations. We loved the stuff, we knew it was intense but it was really an in-joke for Mitchell and I that really built our friendship more tightly and then we played it for a friend, a private in-joke for a small amount of people we thought.

CS: Has the notoriety ever died down? Obviously, maybe it has, I don’t know. You’re obviously at the epicenter of it all. Have you seen it go in waves? Does it respond more to college kids or older people? Over the years have you seen this metamorphosis?

MITCH: Yes. It has an incredibly wide audience, it always has. It’s always been shocking. Every time I share material with my great uncles or my aunts or my cousins, friends, or I hear from someone with a P.O. Box or email address, it’s incredibly diverse fan base out there. It’s a diverse group of people out there who find this material. There is no one specific audience.

EDDIE: May I add something to that? It’ sort of like, Mitchell and I had this dark sense of humor and we liked that sort of stuff, we like William Burroughs and that kind of intense, provocative art and this dialogue is very much in that but when I played it for my aunt who is 60-something and she was doing lines it just transcend our quirky sensibilities.

CS: Looking at the final product now how do you feel about the entire project?

MITCH: When people ask me I give them a very sincere, honest answer, we had a great time. We filmed in Wisconsin for a week and filmed in Australia for 10 days, we filmed in California for 5 days and that all took place over approximately an 11 month period. We became friends with these people and we had a lot of really interesting connections with them – as far as the books, the literature, the music – things that we are personally into that we were able to share with them. They are very interesting people and are very good at what they do. It was very reassuring to work with quality people and the end result is I am really really fond of about the first 35 minutes of it and love the way the story unravels. It talks about us being egocentric but that’s not my intent. I love the way he represents us – these Midwesterners moving out west to California and finding this shitty apartment and then finding these guys and how we responded.

EDDIE: What I would say is that I think it’s a beautifully done film and it looks great and it’s provocative and it successfully humanizes which was always my worry because the recordings are two dimensional and made them indomitable monsters which I think they were and they made them more like people and that meant a lot to me.

DUMBO - BLU-RAY REVIEW

dumboblurayfrontThere is no excuse to not have this in your collection.

What’s remarkable about the fourth film that came out of Disney some 70 plus years ago is how well it still works. Mixed in with a normal storyline of a little motherless elephant, mom is taken away after she defends her big eared son when some unkind souls taunt the pachyderm for his goofy appearance, who finds a true friend in a mouse who teaches him how to believe in himself and his abilities no matter what he looks like, Dumbo is without question a perennial classic.

Even though decades separate the traditional 2D production with films that are rendered through computers and pixels the true force behind this movie is its Walt Disney’s storytelling. There have been countless tales of people believing in totems only to be told that there is no magic inherent in them, the real power being their heart and soul, but this is one of those originators of that motion picture meme.

It’s at the same time happy, joyful, trippy (that Pink Elephants on Parade sequence still stands out as a fantastic melding of fantasy and reality), sad, and tear inducing. The same things that made it a classic then still make it a classic today.

Thanks to the advances on modern technology, ironically, Disney’s dedication to making this Blu-ray release stand out in all its vintage glory is something to behold. The colors pop, the sounds are alive, and there hasn’t been such a great reason to invest in the past entries of the Disney archive since the release of Pinocchio. There is something to be said of the restorative powers of a little time and care when it comes to reproducing what it must have been like to see these drawings filled in with so many vibrant, primary colors.

To say that this is a must buy would be to undersell the movie’s status as a worthy companion to any well-rounded film collection. The story of a lonely boy without a mother to protect him, save for a rodent who takes on that responsibility, still moves on a deep emotional level and the film’s release on Blu-ray only helps to get to the core of why it still endures as one of Walt Dinsey’s finest films.

More details about the film:

Walt DisneyStudios Home Entertainment invites audiences to let their spirits soar with the release of the beloved animated classic Dumbo, for the first time ever in high definition as a 70th Anniversary Edition, coming on September 20, 2011. The Academy Award®-winning (1942, Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture) favorite will take flight for the first time with a premium restoration in stunning Blu-ray™ highdefinition featuring pristine 7.1 Digital Theater System High-Def Surround Sound, allowing fans to see more, hear more, interact more and share more of this timeless adventure about believing in yourself.

Faced with the daunting task of restoring the film to its original pristine condition, the Walt Disney Studios Restoration Team turned to the US Library of Congress who store the original 70 year old nitrate camera negative in their film vaults, and for reference, to an original 1941 ‘release’ print, held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Using this rare nitrate “dye-transfer” Technicolor print for color reference, the team was able to restore Dumbo to the color settings most likely approved by Walt Disney himself, which will be seen in their full splendor for the first time in 70years, on the Blu-ray debut.

In addition, the rare film print (housed as part of the UCLA Film and Television Archives collection) proved to be the earliest surviving generation of the original audio for Dumbo which provided a unique source from which to build the new Disney Enhanced Home Theatre (DEHT) mix for the Blu-ray release.

Released theatrically in 1941, Dumbo, Walt Disney’s fourth animated film, was an immediate success with audiences and critics alike. In addition to its Academy Award® for BestMusic, Dumbo was also Oscar®-nominated for Best Song, for the haunting lullaby, “Baby Mine.” Additional songs from the film, written by renowned composer Frank Churchill and lyricist Ned Washington, have become popular standards. They include the infectious “When I See an Elephant Fly,” sung by a chorus of hip crows who befriend Dumbo and his friend, Timothy Mouse, and “Pink Elephants on Parade,” which accompanies Dumbo’s feverish dream-sequence.

Film Synopsis

In celebration of this landmark film’s 70th anniversary, experience the daring adventures of the world’s only flying elephant with a dazzling all-new digital restoration and brilliant Disney Enhanced High Definition Theatre Mix Sound. The inspirational tale of Dumbo, the courageous baby elephant who uses his sensational ears to soar to fame with the help of his clever best friend Timothy Q. Mouse, will thrill and delight audiences of all ages. And now, the award-winning music and empowering messages about friendship and belief In yourself reach new heights in this must-have Blu-ray high-definition presentation of Walt Disney’s classic Dumbo!

Bonus Features:

DVD:

· Deleted Scene – “The Mouse’s Tale”

· Deleted Song – “Are You a Man or a Mouse?”

· Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo – A journey back to the origins of the film as everybody’s favorite baby elephant takes wing.

· The Magic Of Dumbo: A Ride of Passage – Witness the excitement and magic of Disneyland’s most popular ride through the eyes of a child.

· Audio Commentary with Pete Docter, Paula Sigman and Andreas Deja

· Sound Design Excerpt from The Reluctant Dragon

· Original Walt Disney Television Introduction

Blu-ray:

Everything on the DVD plus:

· Cine-Explore

· Disney View

· “What Do You See?” Game

· “What Do You Know?” Game

· “Celebrating Dumbo” Featurette

· Animated Short: “The Flying Mouse”

· Animated Short: “Elmer Elephant”

Movie Download (Standard Definition& High Definition Versions):

· Deleted Scene – “The Mouse’s Tale”

· Deleted Song – “Are You a Man or a Mouse?”

· “Celebrating Dumbo” Featurette

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