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Monday, July 28, 2014



DVD and Blu-ray Releases for May 15th, 2012

It's not a bad week, for this time of year, with three films that are selling well, and two of those earned really good reviews. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for those screeners. Also, after those three big releases, there's a sharp drop-off in sales strength and we quickly find releases that would be overlooked most weeks. As for the best of the best, both Chronicle and The Grey are contenders for Pick of the Week, but like I said, I don't have the screeners to judge the extras. Therefore, I'm giving that title to Being John Malkovich Criterion Collection Blu-ray.

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
This is a really fun cartoon that looks at the monsters under your bed from their point of view. Specifically, how they learned to scare kids so well. It was made by Gabor Csupo, who also made shows like Duckman and Rugrats, as well as Peter Gaffney, who helped make Rugrats and wrote for Recess, Daria, and other shows. That's a great pedigree. If you haven't seen the show, but like cartoons from the 1990s, it is worth checking out.

Albert Nobbs - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film came out during the heart of Awards Season, but while it managed a few major nominations, almost all were for acting, it came out empty handed. Was it a good movie that should have done better? Or was it an average movie with a couple of excellent performances? Check out our review to find out.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: 1900, Being John Malkovich, Bringing Down the House, Cat Planet Cuties: The Complete Series, Duets, Father of the Bride Anniversary Collection, Gone Fishin', New York Stories, The Odessa File, The Order, Walking Tall: The Trilogy, White Squall, and The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake
There were actually quite a few secondary Blu-ray releases, but many were double-features of previously released Blu-rays. As for the ones that did make my list, there's not a lot here that I would consider prime releases. Being John Malkovich is the one exception. It's not only the best Blu-ray of the week, it's Pick of the Week material.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: History of the World in Two Hours
Only one 3D release this week, and it is an Edutainment release, so it likely won't sell very well.

Chronicle - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
One of the best wide releases of the year, it could be Pick of the Week material. If its extras are as good or better than The Grey's extras, then it is the pick of the week. However, the screener is late, so I can't judge.

The Devil Inside - Buy from Amazon
I mentioned that there were three wide releases that were selling rather well this week. This is the lone wide release that appears to be struggling in terms of sales. This is not surprising, as its reviews were awful. More surprisingly, it is only coming out on DVD. It's not even worth a rental, so that hardly matters.

Diana Ross:Live in Central Park - Buy from Amazon
This DVD is currently in eighth place on the Amazon.com sales chart for the week. Granted, the concert is nearly 30 years old and fans of the singer haven't had a chance to see it in almost all of that time, but placing in the top ten is still a bad sign for the overall strength of the home market sales this week.

Dora The Explorer: Dora's Explorer Girls - Buy from Amazon
Dora's growing up, which makes sense, after so many years. Now as an Explorer Girl, she's aimed at a Tween audience instead of a preschool one. It will be interesting to see if this one sells as well.

eCupid - Buy from Amazon
A Gay Interest film that is essentially a wishgranting story centered around a cell phone app that helps Marshall (Houston Rhines) gets what he wants, at least for a little while. However, like all wishgranters, it soon turns on him. It's a gay romantic comedy and does well within that genre, but can't rise above it.

Flashpoint: Season Four - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian TV series about a SWAT team in Toronto starring Enrico Colantoni. I got a chance to review the first season and it is quite good, but there is a lot of competition in the genre.

The Grey - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Described by some as, "Liam Neeson punches wolves." Despite that dismissive description, it earned excellent reviews, especially for a January release, and I'm looking forward to seeing the film. Unfortunately, the screener is late. Depending on the selection of extras, it could be Pick of the Week material.

Hazel: Season Three - Buy from Amazon
This series ran for five seasons in the 1960s and I think it is safe to say most people today don't remember it. It is ranking rather high on this week's list of new releases, but I think that's cause it's a slow week.

Hell on Wheels: Season One - DVD or Blu-ray
A new series from AMC about a post-Civil War wild west involving a Confederate soldier looking for revenge, a freed slave trying to adapt to his new life, a railroad baron trying to complete his transcontinental line, and more. The show's reviews were good, but not great, with a lot of critics saying it has great potential, but the show struggles to match that potential. It was heavily promoted by AMC and it opened really well in terms of viewership, but hasn't held on to its audience quite as well, losing about a third of its audience from the pilot to the finale. The DVD and the Blu-ray have over two hours of featurettes, but no audio commentary tracks. Overall, it is worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of the gritty western.

Ken Burns' The War - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
This is not the first time this documentary has come out on the home market, but this week it makes its debut on Blu-ray. Is it worth owning? Yes. But is it worth upgrading to high definition? Read our review to find out.

Norwegian Wood - Buy from Amazon
The film is set in the 1960s at a Japanese sanatorium and looks at a love triangle between Toro Watanabe and his first love, Naoko, and a new girl, Midori. It earned very good reviews, but failed to find an audience in theaters. Hopefully that will change on the home market.

One for the Money - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I mentioned that two of the three big sellers this week earned very good reviews. This one didn't. In fact, it might go down as the worst movie of the year. There are not a lot of extras (a couple featurettes, outtakes, alternative ending) but no amount of extras would lift it to a rental.

Rampart - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or Blu-ray Combo Pack
One of two films on this week's list clearly made to win awards, but didn't live up to expectations. Woody Harrelson's performance was excellent, but the rest of the film wasn't up to that level. It is still excellent, but not award-worthy. Extras are limited to interviews and a behind-the-scenes featurette. If it had a full set of extras, then it would be Pick of the Week material.

Scooby-Doo: 13 Spooky Tales Around the Word - Buy from Amazon
The latest DVD release for this franchise, which has been around for more than 40 years now. This one has a collection of episodes from different shows with the gang travelling the world investigating the paranormal in exotic places like Greece, Italy, and... Canada? Some of these haven't been released on DVD yet, but most are double-dips, so keep that in mind.

The Universe: Season Six - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A "Complete Series" Mega box set was previously released, but another season was given the green light shortly after that. Is there still a lot to talk about? Or is repetition really hurting the show by this point? Check out our review for my opinion.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-05-14

Movies 
 Being John Malkovich
 Albert Nobbs
 Bringing Down the House
 Chronicle
 The Devil Inside
 Duets
 Father of the Bride
 Father of the Bride Part II
 Gone Fishin'
 The Grey
 New York Stories
 Noruwei no mori
 The Order
 One for the Money
 Rampart
 White Squall