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Tuesday, July 29, 2014



DVD and Blu-ray Releases for March 4th, 2014

This week there are a couple massive releases on the home market. 12 Years a Slave just earned the Best Picture Oscar, so it's the perfect time to release it on DVD or Blu-ray. The biggest release of the week is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but it doesn't come out on DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack till Friday, so I will get the review online in a couple of days. On the flip side, those two releases seem to have scared away most of the competition, because there's almost nothing else worth talking about. (There's an exercise video in the top five new releases on Amazon.com. That almost never happens.) As for the Pick of the Week, it's 12 Years a Slave on Blu-ray. It's not the only release coming out on Tuesday that's worth buying. I recommend picking up Girl Rising on DVD as well, while Venture Bros.: Season Five on DVD or Blu-ray is also worth the money.

12 Years a Slave - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned nearly perfect reviews and the Best Picture Oscar last night. It is clearly the best movie on this week's list. The extras are not great. There is a 40-minute historical look at the story, as well as 7 minutes of interviews / behind-the-scenes and a 3-minute featurette on the score. It is still the Pick of the Week, but I was hoping for more. In fact, I'm a little worried we will get a special edition two-disc set sooner rather than later.

Ancient Aliens: Season 5, Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
The History Channel really needs to look up the definition of History and stop making crap like this.

Big Bad Wolf - Buy from Amazon
A low-budget horror movie that uses The Three Little Pigs as inspiration. This isn't the first horror film inspired by a folktale, but does it work? Or is this hook little more than a gimmick? Read our review to find out.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Agatha Christie's Poirot: Series 11, An American Tail, Big Fat Liar, Boiler Room, Casshan, Far and Away, Fried Green Tomatoes, Garden State, Hairspray, Harry and the Hendersons, Intolerable Cruelty, Johnson Family Vacation, Nadia Secret of Blue Water: Complete, A Simple Wish, Somewhere in Time, and The Visitor
There are a large number of secondary Blu-ray releases on this week's list. There are a few I like An American Tail or even Big Fat Liar, but there are no classics here.

Breaking Amish: Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
The prize in this week's contest. I don't know if it is good, but it's Reality TV and I don't have time for reality TV.

Cold Comes the Night - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Alice Eve stars as a woman who is in danger of losing her daughter to the child protective service. One day at her job at a motel, she's approached by a man who demands her help to get back some money that was stolen from him by a corrupt cop, and if Alice can't get it back, this man will hurt her daughter. The reviews were mixed, so it wasn't really worth checking out in theaters, but perhaps a rental isn't a bad idea. Unfortunately, the DVD and Blu-ray only have some deleted scenes as far as extras go, so a rental will be enough for most people.

Doctor Who: Time of the Doctor - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A 60-minute special for $10 on DVD or $12 on Blu-ray? Even with good extras (behind-the-scenes, tribute to Matt Smith, and more) I'm not sure the price is worth it. It should be released in a bigger box set later on. [Copy ed: but it is the special anniversary program, starring all the doctors.]

Dora the Explorer: Dora in Wonderland - Buy from Amazon
The latest Dora DVD hits the home market this week. What episodes are on it and is the price-per-minute low enough that it is worth picking up? Check out our review to find out.

Girl Rising - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the importance of educating women in the third world as told through the stories of nine real girls. Is it engaging? Is it convincing? Check out our review for my opinion.

The Grandmaster - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The film earned great reviews and made more than $6 million during its limited release run. It was an even bigger hit internationally, especially in Asia. Extras include information on the real Ip Man, as well as some people he trained, or trained in his style, as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette. If you are a fan of the genre, it is worth picking up.

Hours - Buy from Amazon
One of Paul Walker's final films made before his death. The film earned overall positive reviews and Paul Walker did hear higher praise for his acting in this movie than most other films he was in. There are almost no extras on the DVD, but if you liked the actor, it is worth at least a rental.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The biggest box office hit of the year, at least domestically. (Iron Man 3 won worldwide.) It also earned stellar reviews to go with the massive box office numbers. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, and a preview for Divergent. The Blu-ray has a nine-part making of featurette. The screener has arrived, but since it doesn't come out till the seventh, I decided to hold off on the review till after Tuesday.

Jillian Michaels One Week Shred - Buy from Amazon
This is the fifth best selling new release of the week, according to Amazon.com. Exercise videos almost never reach the top five, but I guess the two biggest releases have scared away a lot of the competition.

The Last Days on Mars - DVD or Blu-ray
While on a mission on Mars, a group of scientists discover a new lifeform. Unfortunately, it turns some of them into zombies. I guess that's one way to change the zombie genre; set it on another planet. However, the results were weak. There are also not a lot of extras on the DVD or Blu-ray, so this release is safely skippable.

Old Boy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The remake of the South Korean film of the same name. It is not as bad as some were fearing it would be, but it doesn't live up to its predecessor. I think the main reason is the film is too similar and it would have been better if Spike Lee had put a more personal touch into the film. Extras on the DVD include a making of featurette and a look at Josh Brolin's transformation in the movie. The Blu-ray has a fluffy EPK, another short look at Josh Brolin's transformation, and some deleted scenes. Call it a rental.

Peabody & Sherman - Buy from Amazon: Volume One and Volume Two
With Mr. Peabody and Sherman coming out this week, it is a great time to release these two DVDs. However, if you own the Rocky and Bullwinkle Megaset, then you don't need this.

Rawhide: Seventh Season - Buy from Amazon: Volume One and Volume Two
Great show, but the split-season releases are way too expensive.

Super Bowl XXLVIII Champions: Seattle Seahawks - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Full game plus extras. This is what true fans want and not highlights from the season. In fact, true, true fans would pay for the full season. At most that would be a 20-disc box set, one for each game. With picture-in-picture and other Blu-ray only extras, you could do something really special with the package.

Untold History of the United States - DVD - Buy from Amazon
This show came out on Blu-ray in October, so there's no reason to buy it twice.

Venture Bros.: Season Five - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
There was a long gap between seasons of Venture Bros., even longer for me, as I missed season four. Has the show changed dramatically? Do the changes in the show mean it is not longer entertaining? Read our review for my opinion.

Wicked Blood - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Sean Bean stars in this movie. I wonder if he dies. Of course he dies. Sean Bean always dies. I think a screener is on its way. I hope so, because there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes to judge the film.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-03-03

Movies 
 12 Years a Slave
 Cold Comes the Night
 Girl Rising
 Yi dai zong shi
 Hours
 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
 The Last Days on Mars
 Oldboy