Coming of Age Stories

Smile, darn ya, smile!Just released this week is The Education of Charlie Banks (Anchor Bay/Starz), about a college boy whose worst nightmare - a bully from childhood - suddenly shows up in his dorm room.

Directed by Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) and written by busy TV writer Peter Elkoff (Ugly Betty), Charlie Banks isn't a standard coming of age tale, and the film is definitely worth a peek for Durst's decision to design the film as a low-key seventies drama, with gorgeous 2.40:1 cinematography.

In terms of recent film news, July has already started with another big name loss - Karl Malden - a fine character actor whose performances in classic Elia Kazan films - A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, Baby Doll - ensured a steady career in films as well as TV (The Streets of San Francisco).

The face (and the nose) were instantly recognizable, and even when he was stuck working in crap like Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, he played it straight, and often gave a silly film a few rare moments of dramatic sincerity.

In the world of home video, DVD Savant reports the classic 'I am not a number' series The Prisoner is headed for Blu-ray this fall. The real intrigue is whether A&E will give the show a friendly price.

A&E distributes a lot of classic British shows (The Avengers, everthing Gerry & Sylvia Anderson), but they pretty much pioneered the process of releasing seasons one at a time, and later offering a mega-set (a term apparently copyrighted by A&E) at a price significantly less than buying a series in individual installments, so the chocie has often been to buy them as they come out, or sit still and wait for the mega-set.

Then there's the repackaging of series in slim cases, which some consumers will recall made a big difference when series such as Space: 1999 and Monty Python originally came in standard alpha cases packed in boxes more that a foot and a half long.

In any event, here's hoping The Prisoner will be *resonably* priced, because right now the cost of Blu-ray TV series is still pretty steep. It's fair to charge a premium for optimum image quality, but labels should bear in mind that if they want the format to go wider when wallets are a lot lighter this year, the pricing has to be sweet.



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