This column addresses the questions posed most often to the Criterion Collection.

Jon Mulvaney Answers
I have returned. Actually, as many of my correspondents know, I returned a long time ago. However, a relocation for Criterion resulted in various and sundry technical problems with our server. But all that is now, hopefully, behind us, and we forge ahead into the glorious future. My goodness, hope does spring eternal...

As I'm sure many of you can relate, problems of an incapacitating nature lead to some self-searching (after all, you have to do something and shuffleboard was not an option). Criterion completely redesigned this site last year to make it more responsive to you, and I think we have succeeded nicely. Originally, however, we had hoped that our What's New page would be more, well, newsy. To this end, I am moving my column to that page, and exchanging my Ann Landers bonnet for Hildy Johnson's fedora.

Does this mean no more Ask Jon? Absolutely not. I am still hear to respond to your email questions (although you should definitely read below and explore the Mulvaney Archive to see if your question's already been answered). So, enjoy the new format, which I must say is a lot more fun for me, and take care.

When will you release title X on DVD? or title XX on laser?

I get this one probably more frequently than anything else, and my answer is always a variation on: Can't comment, watch the web. Folks, I absolutely cannot comment on upcoming releases until the information is public on the web site. I know this makes you unhappy. I know that some of you think we should be printing a list of every potential title through the year 2000 because it helps you plan your own libraries, but I can't do it. This matter has been addressed extensively in this column, but a day doesn't go by without at least half of my many emails beating this dead horse.

It does occur to me, however, that some people don't navigate this site in the simplest way. While we're constantly evaluating the site to make it more user-friendly, it will greatly behoove you to read the What's New page every week. The latest updates on the entire site are on this page, including new releases in both formats, new titles added to the production line-up, new indepth sites, alert of a new posting from me, titles that are off moratorium and available for peanuts, links to our excellent archive of essays, and a chance to win a brand new car. OK, the part about the car is a lie, but everything else is there in a mighty festive layout.

What about Godzilla? 5.1 sound? And why isn't Goodfellas in the Collection?

I consistently receive mail that has already been answered in this column. It's not really your fault, but heck, it makes me cranky, and the answers in this column are better written than the ones you'll get in email if you haven't bothered to visit the archive. We have a dandy, thoroughly indexed archive over which you may pore. You really can tell pretty much whether your topic's been covered by a quick perusal of the headings. If your question's not there, please send it and I'll be happy to impart what I can.

I'd like to suggest the following titles...

Great; we love to hear them. Please understand that I can't respond to all of them, but do know that the vast majority are seen be acquisitions.

What's happening with my order?

Criterion carries no inventory whatsoever, and any questions in regard to receiving orders should be directed to

Help, I think my disc is busted...

Is it new? If you bought it from our web site, your first and best option is to contact:

Old discs suffering from laser rot are beyond our control. Laser rot is an evil phenomenon, often brought about by improper storage. I weep when I watch my CAV of West Side Story. In other words, I feel your pain, but given the circumstances there's not much Criterion can do.

I want some hard-core tech info on DVD!!

I recommend DVD Demystified (McGraw Hill, 1998), a well-written book by Jim Taylor that pretty much lives up to its title, although to be completely honest, I still get a 3-Advil headache if I read more than 32 pages per sitting. The book clarifies a lot about the format, has a terrific section called "DVD myths" which adresses many of the same questions argued over in these pages, and in general allows for a better appreciation and understanding of DVD, which Mr. Taylor says is evolutionary rather than revolutionary (although it has nothing to do with Lance Link's band The Evolution Revolution...but I digress). Not exactly a beach book, it is definitely helpful to anyone who wishes to understand more about DVD, and also has a fascinating history of video and audio technology. There's a DVD in the back of the book, which I haven't viewed yet. So pick it up if you need a readable and viewable primer. But don't drop it on your foot.

See you on What's New and in the mail.