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Monday, July 28, 2014



DVD and Blu-ray Releases for March 9th, 2010

We have a pair of Awards Season players coming out this week. I was supposed to review both Precious and Up in the Air, but they ran out of screeners for the latter. Because of that, it is hard for me to say which one is more deserving of the Pick of the Week honors, so I'm going to award that title to both of them. That said, while the DVD and the Blu-ray for Precious are worth picking up, the Up in the Air Blu-ray is too expensive compared to the DVD.

The Baby Formula - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian mockumentary about a lesbian couple that uses a fictional stem-cell method to create sperm cells to get pregnant with each others' DNA. Since it is Canadian, it is not surprising that there are so few reviews out there, but those I've seen have been mostly positive. Not a great movie, but worth checking out. With a behind-the-scenes featurette and a bonus short film, it's worth picking up.

Barbie in a Mermaid Tale - Buy from Amazon
The latest direct-to-DVD release in the very popular franchise. I'm too far outside the target demographic to give an informed opinion without a screener, but it is selling extremely well on Amazon.com.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day, Capitalism: A Love Story, Evangelion: 1.11 You Are Not Alone, Hachi: A Dog's Tale, Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock, Mobile Suit Gundam: Unicorn Volume 1, NFL Super Bowl XLIV: New Orleans Saints Champions, Old Dogs (Three-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack, Old Dogs (Single-Disc), Paris, Planet 51, Precious, The Stoning of Soraya M., UFC: Best of 2009, Up in the Air, and The Who: The Kids Are Alright
A good week in terms of Awards Season players with both Precious and Up in the Air coming out this week. However, there's weakness in terms of blockbusters and not that many limited releases / classics to make up the difference.

The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The Boondock Saints will long be remembered as the perfect example of how to ruin a shot at overnight success. Troy Duffy's flameout was so impressive that it is amazing he got another chance to work. The result was not significantly better than the original, but was a big hit in limited release. The DVD has audio commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, and interviews. The Blu-ray has that plus a couple more featurettes and it is BD-Live enabled, all for just $2 more. If you are a fan of the franchise it is worth picking up.

Capitalism: A Love Story - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Michael Moore's latest documentary attacks capitalism, which is sure to win him a lot of friends on the right. Politics aside, does the film make a convincing case? And more importantly, is it entertaining enough to be worth buying? Check out our review film to find out.

Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit And The Pendulum - Buy from Amazon
There have been numerous adaptations of this short story, but I don't know how well this one compares to the average, and won't until after the screener arrives.

Gigante - Buy from Amazon
An Argentinian film about a night watchmen who becomes obsessed with a night janitor he watches during his job. The film earned amazing reviews, as well as many Film Festival awards worldwide, but it fizzled at the box office here. The movie is certainly worth checking out and even with light extras (bios and a short film) it is worth picking up over just renting.

Greek: Chapter 4 - Buy from Amazon
This is essentially Season Two, Volume Two, or for Rusty, year two, semester one. Does it continue its strong run and remain my favorite ABC Family show? Read our review to find out.

Hachi: A Dog's Tale - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film played in a number of international markets while waiting for a theatrical release here. However, while it has made nearly $40 million so far, the studio has decided to dump it direct-to-DVD here. Was this a wise move? Won't know until the screener arrives.

Hannah Montana: Miley Says Goodbye? - Buy from Amazon
The latest DVD release from this uber-popular kids show hints at the show's imminent demise. (Since the fourth season and the true series finale have been scheduled, we know it's not that imminent.) Will fans of the show want to add this DVD to their collection? Probably not as much as they want to add full season sets, but I digress. Check out our review to read my opinion on the matter.

Haunted Echoes: Ghost Story - Buy from Amazon
A story about a couple trying to recover from the murder of their daughter by renovating an old house, only to encounter the ghost of a young girl who suffered a horrible fate. Haunted House movies are not exactly rare, but I won't know if this one stands out until the screener arrives.

In Plain Sight: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
This could be the end for the show, at least as far as some fans are concerned. There's a lot of planned "re-tooling" going on for season three, which might help the show, or it may kill it. Upcoming changes including new showrunners, a larger focus on the professional over the private life of Mary McCormack, and a lighter tone. Those are pretty big changes, but shows have survived similar ones in the past.

Martha Speaks: Martha Says It With Flowers - Buy from Amazon
A PBS Kids TV show that makes its DVD debut this week. It's a show about a dog that learns to speak after she eats some alphabet soup. ... I don't think that's scientifically valid. Realism aside, how is the rest of the show? Check out our review here.

Matt Houston: The First Season - Buy from Amazon
One of dozens of P.I. shows from the 1980s. Most such shows had to have a hook, and in this case Matt Houston was independently wealthy from his oil interests and was only a P.I. in his spare time. Is it enough to stand out? Won't know until the screener arrives.

NFL Super Bowl XLIV: New Orleans Saints Champions - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Fans want the full coverage of the championship game(s) plus highlights from the rest of the season. Otherwise it's not worth picking up.

Nine Dead - Buy from Amazon
Melissa Joan Hart stars as one of nine people kidnapped and held in a room. The kidnapper tells them that they have ten minutes to figure out why they are there or he will kill one of them. Can they uncover the mystery before they are all killed? Not exactly an original set-up, but the few reviews I've seen have been mostly positive. There are no real extras on the DVD, but it is still worth checking out.

Old Dogs - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc DVD, Single-Disc Blu-ray, or Three-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
There are a lot of high quality releases coming out this week, including some that were up for multiple Oscars. This is not one of them. In fact, this is one of the worst movies of the year. Will I have a soft spot for this film, or will my voice be added to the cacophony of jeers? Read our review to find out.

Paris - DVD or Blu-ray
Not to be confused with Paris, Je T'Aime, which also stars Juliette Binoche. This film's reviews were softer, which could explain why it didn't do as well in limited release. However, it is important to note that 67% positive is hardly a bad movie, while $1 million at the box office is strong for a limited release. Worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of French cinema in general or Juliette Binoche in particular.

Planet 51 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Weak reviews and strong competition from holiday releases left Planet 51 as a second tier release. Because of this, it would be understandable if the studio released the films on a rather bare bones DVD, but fortunately that's not the case. Extras include deleted / extended scenes, featurettes on the actors, the world, and stages of animation, etc. The Blu-ray also has a video game to play. The replay value isn't high enough to warrant purchasing, but it is a solid rental for the kids.

Precious - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Very few films had as much Awards Season buzz surrounding them as Precious. Was it able to live up to the hype? Check out our review to read my opinion.

Scarecrow and Mrs. King: The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Bruce Boxleitner and Kate Jackson star as Scarecrow and Mrs. King respectively. He's a secret agent and she's a divorced housewife that accidentally gets mixed up in one of his cases. The show earned good reviews and was popular with audiences (it was canceled due to health concerns of one of the stars and not low ratings). There appears to be no extras on this five-disc set, which is a shame, but it is still worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

The Stoning of Soraya M. - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A powerful and disturbing story that is made more so by the fact that it is based on a true story. However, will it be too disturbing to be effective? You can read my opinion here.

Toddlers & Tiaras: Season One - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV at its creepiest. Just looking at the DVD cover gives me the willies. Run away. Run far away.

Tremors: Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The original movie isn't exactly high art, but as B-movies go, it's one of the best. It spawned a number of direct-to-DVD sequels. The show only lasted one season, but this is partially because Sci-Fi Channel aired the episodes out of order and didn't seem to have a lot of faith in the show. Granted, it did have a "Freak of the Week" feel at times, but it is still a fun show and worth checking out.

Turn the Beat Around - Buy from Amazon
An original TV movie that aired on MTV last month. Most MTV programming recently has been a disaster, even if it is popular. (Jersey Shore?!?) I would flee the room if Jersey Shore was on TV, but is Turn the Beat Around at least passable entertainment? Read our review to see my opinion.

Up in the Air - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the best movies of the year and a major player during Awards Season (although it was shut out at the Oscars last night). I was hoping to get a Blu-ray screener to review, but it appears there's no chance that will happen. Looking at the film's performance during Awards Season, it's clear that the film had a top-notch script, while many were saying this was George Clooney's best performance, ever. (That's not to take away from Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, and the countless cameos.) Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, five deleted scenes, and a featurette on the making of the opening credits. The Blu-ray has eight more deleted scenes and three short bonuses (music video, prank, and rehearsal footage). The list price of the Blu-ray is 33% more than the DVD, but on Amazon.com it's nearly 60% more, which is too much.

Walker Texas Ranger: The Seventh Season - Buy from Amazon
A bad TV show starring Chuck Norris, who is now a political pundit, because nothing says you are an expert in health insurance reform like being able to do a slow roundhouse kick. We have a copy of this DVD, but we're punting it over to the prize pool, so look for that contest to begin on Friday.

- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2010-03-09

Movies 
 Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire)
 Up in the Air
 The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day
 Capitalism: A Love Story
 Gigante
 Hachiko: A Dog's Story
 Old Dogs
 Paris
 Planet 51
 The Stoning of Soraya M.