The wonderful IP free zone of Thamel

Actually, the whole of Asia with the possible exception of Singapore is probably an IP free zone. However, what with the bit-torrent etc these days, it feels a little quaint to be browsing through actual physical DVDs in actual physical boxes in an actual physical shop.

The pirates worthy small-business owners are conscious of the need to keep up with the times, to value-add enough to compete with the interweb, so while you can still get those shaky hand-held camera DVDs of new release movies, there’s a lot of good stuff out there that has truly been digitally rendered from the original – crystal clear quality and all that. Many of them seem to be in Russian these days although you do get the occasional laughable chinglish subtitles. And some of them has clearly been taken either from airplane versions or from versions loaned out for evaluation.

If you push them, the shopkeepers will talk about the different prints available and show you different versions so you can pick the one you like best. I’ve even had some say that the they’ve stopped stocking a particular movie because the print quality is very bad. For example, a movie with a lot of black in it generally tends not to translate well from projector screen. So at the time of writing, only the least scrupulous types are selling the latest Dark Knight movie.

Anyway, now that I’ve got a portable dvd drive for SG’s laptop, i’ve been buying up big in Thamel where you can get these movies for between 100-150 rupees per disc (AUD $1.70-$2.50). The list so far is in no particular order:

  • Wanted
  • Hancock
  • Kungfu Panda
  • Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (or whatever)
  • The Mummy 3
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man
  • Grindhouse (Fully Loaded)
  • Hellboy – the Golden Army
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Jumper

Yes, that’s pretty much all the latest escapist superhero blockbusters. I am considering (in order of priority):

  • No Country for Old Men
  • American Gangster
  • Juno
  • Sicko
  • Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • The forbidden kingdom
  • I am legend
  • Beowulf
  • Stardust
  • X Files
  • Sex in the City
  • The Three Bourne Movies

Interestingly enough, there’s a fair amount of arthouse out there too. I saw the entire collection of Kim Ki Duk and Akira Kurosawa for sale.

EDIT: Amazingly enough, I just got a new print of “The Dark Knight” and it is incredible. Full digital transfer, clear as clear. I dont know who got this print and from where but it is DVD quality. Still, I’d rather be watching it in the cinema.

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