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Friday, July 25, 2014



DVD and Blu-ray Releases for April 8th, 2014

It is a busy week on the home market with five wide releases / films that expanded wide among the new releases. This includes The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is dominating the chart with four of the top six new releases. Of those four releases, the 3D Combo Pack is the best deal. August: Osage County earned a couple of Oscar nominations, which should help it sell well, but the Blu-ray Combo Pack isn't quite Pick of the Week material. There are some other releases that are definitely worth picking up, for smaller target audiences. I Am Divine on DVD should please fans of the character, but I'm not sure there's enough of them out there to give it Pick of the Week. Finally, Sofia the First: The Floating Palace on DVD is a must have for young girls, and quite a few young boys, but the appeal isn't wide enough justify being a Pick of the Week. In the end, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on 3D Combo Pack is the safest choice.

August: Osage County - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This film earned two Oscar nominations, but also only earned some of the weakest reviews for a multi-Oscar nominated film. The main complaint was that while it was filled with talented actors, the characters they are playing are almost all horrible, to the point where even the amazing acting isn't worth sitting through. Extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray include an audio commentary track, a making of featurette, a featurette on the original play, and deleted scenes. Worth picking up, but not quite a contender for Pick of the Week.

The Big Valley: Season 2 - Buy from Amazon
A TV western that ran for four seasons starting in 1965. It was never a huge ratings hit, but it is well remembered by fans of the genre.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: The 400 Blows, 513 Degrees, Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses, The Bamboo Saucer, Bang! Bang! You're Dead!, Best Night Ever, Black Jack: 35th Anniversary Edition, Cavemen, Cocaine Cowboys Reloaded, Cry Danger, Dom Hemingway, Earthflight: The Complete Series, Familiar of Zero: Season 1, A Field in England, Funny Face, Holliston: The Complete Second Season, Murph: The Protector, The Night of the Hunter, Sabrina, A Touch of Sin, and Young at Heart
There are quite a few secondary Blu-ray releases this week, including a pair of Audrey Hepburn movies, which are the two films I'm most interested in.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Limited Edition 3D Collector's Pack
There are one or two 3D releases on this week's list, depending on how you look at things. On the one hand, there are two choices. On the other hand, they are both for the same movie. Fortunately, that movie made $250 million domestically, so it could be a good week for the format. At the very least, it should be better than most weeks.

Doctor Who: Series Two, Part One - Buy from Amazon
This is a great show, but there are already so many episodes for fans to collect that it seems mean to re-release DVDs with additional extras. The only double-dips for a show like this should be when they find a lost episode.

Grudge Match - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The stars of two of the biggest boxing movies of all time star in a movie about two aging boxers who come out of retirement to settle a grudge they've had since one of them retired before they could have a decisive bout. This is a great setup, but the execution was weak. Extras on the DVD are limited to just some deleted scenes. The Blu-ray has more (a few featurettes and alternate openings and endings) but that's not enough to compensate for the reviews.

Heart Like a Wheel - Buy from Amazon
One of two movies on this week's list that focus on the world of drag racing. This one earned excellent reviews and even picked up an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe nomination. On the other hand, it is 30 years old and it is only just coming out on DVD and most people reading this have probably never heard of it.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 25th of March.

Here's Lucy: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The follow-up to The Lucy Show. Is it as good as its predecessor? Are there extras on the 24-disc box set? And is the box set worth picking up? Check out our review to find out.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, 3D Combo Pack, or Limited Edition 3D Collector's Pack
The second installment of this franchise earned better reviews than the first film, but didn't do as well at the box office. Extras on the DVD are limited with just a short featurette on New Zealand locations where the movie was shot. The Blu-ray editions has three featurettes on the sets, a Q&A, and post-production work, all three of which are around 40 minutes long. That's a substantial increase and enough to be a Pick of the Week contender, but not overwhelmingly so.

I Am Divine - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about Harris Glenn Milstead, who, along with John Waters, created the character of Divine. This film is earning some of the best reviews of any film on this week's list and if you are a fan of either John Water or of Divine in particular, then it is worth picking up.

Justin Bieber's Believe - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Bieber Fever has broken, at least that's what this film's box office numbers seem to suggest. The reviews weren't that bad, but the studio cut its losses and the only extras on the DVD or Blu-ray are some deleted / extended scenes. On a side note: As an official representative of the Canadian people, we have this to say to Americans about Justin Bieber. While he was in Canada, he was just some kid on YouTube. You made him famous. You have to keep him. Deporting him back to Canada will be seen as an act of war.

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax - Buy from Amazon
Christina Ricci plays the infamous Lizzie Borden in this TV movie. The reviews are mixed with many critics saying the acting is good, but the script is weak.

Mayberry R.F.D.: Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The spin-off to The Andy Griffith Show. The first episode broke the record for TV ratings (It featured the marriage between Andy and Helen, so one could consider it the series finale for The Andy Griffith Show instead.) and was a hit throughout its three-year run, but was canceled along with numerous other shows when CBS decided that rural shows were no longer popular, despite what the ratings said. (In their defense, the audience for these shows tended to skew really old.) If you were a fan of either The Andy Griffith Show or of Mayberry R.F.D. it is worth picking up.

Naruto Shippuden: Uncut Set 18 - Buy from Amazon
An Anime series in the top twenty new releases according to Amazon.com. Considering how many wide releases came out with multiple versions, this is a really impressive opening.

Nurse 3D - Buy from Amazon: DVD or 3D/2D Blu-ray
A relatively high-budget exploitation film about a nurse who kills cheating men, and anyone else who gets in her way. Can the film rise above the Boobs and Blood subgenre? Or is the appeal limited? Read our review for my opinion.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This is the fifth film in the Paranormal Activity franchise released within a five-year period. The films have been suffering from declining quality, but can this film turn it around? Or is it time to wrap up the franchise? Read our review for my opinion.

Power Rangers: Megaforce: The Great Dragon Spirit - Buy from Amazon
The 20th season of the long-running franchise... 20th! What episodes are on this DVD and how do they compare to previous installments? Check out our review to find out.

Snake & Mongoose - Buy from Amazon: DVD, DVD with T-Shirt, Blu-ray
A film about a rivalry in the world of drag-racing in the 1970s. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but they are mostly positive. The only extra on the DVD or the Blu-ray is a single featurette, but you can buy the DVD with a T-Shirt for the same price as the regular DVD.

Sofia the First: The Floating Palace - Buy from Amazon
I was hoping to get a screener for this release, but they ran out of copies before they could get to me. The DVD comes with The Floating Palace, which is a double-length special, plus three other episodes. Additionally, there is a Sofia bracelet, so the overall value is strong and if you have kids in the right age range, it is worth picking up.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-04-06

Movies 
 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
 August: Osage County
 Grudge Match
 Heart Like a Wheel
 I Am Divine
 Justin Bieber's Believe
 Nurse 3D
 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
 Snake and Mongoose