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Tuesday, July 29, 2014



DVD and Blu-ray Releases for June 24th, 2014

There's very little on the home market that stands out. 300: Rise of an Empire is the biggest movie coming out this week, but it is far from the best new release. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of new releases in competition for Pick of the Week. The A Hard Day's Night Criterion Collection Blu-ray is absolutely worth picking up, but there are no new extras for the Blu-ray, so that is a strike against it. Masters of Sex: Season One earned great reviews, but the extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray are only good. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season Six is loaded, but its price is just too high. In the end, I rolled a dice and Star Trek: The Next Generation came out on top, but it really is a close race.

300: Rise of an Empire - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, or 3D Combo Pack
This is the biggest release of the week, but not the best. The reviews are not as bad as many feared, but that is hardly a glowing recommendation. There are plenty of extras on the DVD and Blu-ray, so if you liked the movie, it is worth picking up. If you didn't see the movie, but liked 300, it is worth a rental.

Blood Ties - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned mixed reviews and couldn't find an audience in limited release, despite its cast and $25 million budget. There is also only one featurette on the DVD / Blu-ray, so it's not worth more than a rental.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: The Chef, The Actor, The Scoundrel, Code:Breaker: Complete Series, Ranma 1/2: Set 2, Rob the Mob, and Samurai Bride Complete
It is a slow week, so much so that I did fuller write-ups for a couple of releases that I normally would have put in the Secondary Blu-ray release list.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: 300: Rise of an Empire and Ocean World 3D
300: Rise of an Empire is the biggest release of the week, so it should help the 3D format somewhat.

The Boondocks - Season 4 - Buy from Amazon
I'm still waiting of the screener for this release. Or I might be getting the Complete Series to review instead.

The Bridge: Season 1 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A serial killer is finding victims on both sides of the American / Mexican border and it is up to two detectives from the two nations to try and stop him. Excellent reviews help, but this is a very crowded genre. Extras include an audio commentary track, some deleted scenes, and two featurettes. That's not bad, but not great either.

Note: This Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 10th.

Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The original Cosmos is more than 30 years old, so it was about time to relaunch it. But the original Cosmos was also beloved by a lot of people, so this new version needed to be excellent to live up to its predecessor. Was it able to reach high expectations? And is the DVD or Blu-ray worth picking up? Read our review to find out.

Dora the Explorer: Dora's Magical Sleepover - Buy from Amazon
The latest Dora the Explorer DVD arrives on the home market this week. What episodes are found on it? And is it worth picking up? Check out our review to find out.

Dragon Ball Z: Season 5 - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
According to Amazon.com, this is in the top ten best-selling new releases of the week. It's a slow week.

Duck Dynasty: Season 5 - Buy from Amazon
I hate reality TV in general and this show in particular. There is good news for people like me. It's ratings are way down this season. Then again, ratings for a lot of reality TV shows have really dropped this year.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about Elaine Stritch, who has been an entertainer for 70 years. That's incredible. It's almost as incredible as this film's reviews. If you like Elaine Stritch or biographical documentaries in general, then this is a must have.

Enemy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, who also directed and starred in Prisoners. This film wasn't able to find a mainstream audience, but is it worth checking out for those who like non-mainstream movies? Read our review for my opinion.

Faust - Buy from Amazon
I'm still waiting for the screener for this film. It earned good reviews, but not great reviews, and it failed to find an audience in theaters. I remain cautiously optimistic that I will like it.

FrackNation - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This movie is a response to GasLand. That film earned near perfect reviews and an Oscar nomination. Is this documentary just as good? Check out our review to find out.

A Hard Day's Night - Criterion Collection Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
It is the 50th anniversary of this rock'n'roll classic. It is a must have for fans of The Beatles, or of rock'n'roll comedies in general. The only downside is the lack of exclusive extras to the Blu-ray edition.

Jack Taylor - Set 2 - Buy from Amazon
A private eye series from across the pond. The quality is high, but so is the price. If you look at it as three TV movies instead of the TV on DVD release, it is more reasonable.

Lost Girl: Season 4 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A Canadian show starring Anna Silk as Bo, a Succubus. The ratings continue to be strong, so clearly the fans are happy. There are not a ton of extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray, but enough that it is worth picking up.

Mama's Family: Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
This is a fun show and the individual seasons are cheaper than the Time Life collection.

Masters of Sex: Season One - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the best-reviewed new TV shows from last season. Extras on the DVD include audio commentary tracks, featurettes, and more, while the Blu-ray has a couple of exclusive extras. Definitely worth picking up and even a contender for Pick of the Week.

NYPD Blue: Season Six - Buy from Amazon
One of the most popular shows of its day. The initial DVD sales were weaker than expected, but fortunately Shout!Factory stepped in to get them to the fans.

Peter Gabriel: Back to Front: Live in London - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The 25th Anniversary concert for So. You can also buy four-disc sets that include two DVDs or Blu-ray and two CDs. Normally I don't talk about concert DVDs / Blu-rays, but it is a slow week.

Note: This Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 3rd.

RoboCop - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
A remake of the 1987 classic. A lot of fans of the original assumed this movie would be a disaster, but is it? Or is this film a pleasant surprise? Read our review for my opinion.

Some Velvet Morning - Buy from Amazon
Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve star as a couple working through a very difficult relationship. The reviews are only mixed and it failed to find an audience in theaters. It will do better on the home market, but not by enough to matter.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season Six - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Chain of Command - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

Star Trek: The Next Generation has nearly completed its Blu-ray run. Is season six as strong as previous seasons? And is the Chain of Command release worth buying as a single disc? Read the two reviews for my opinion.

Unforgettable: Season 2 - Buy from Amazon
Is this show still on the air? It was canceled after one season, then brought back for 13 episodes, only half of which aired during the second season. The other six just finished airing this May, and it is returning as a summer show in June. I'm not 100% sure it is coming out this weekend, because when I checked on Friday, it wasn't on Amazon, but that might have been a momentary problem.

Upright Citizens Brigade: The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
This is a DVD-R Release, which usually means it is a bargain basement release. Don't expect extras, or even subtitles. Worse still, the price per minute is really high for TV on DVD.

Winter's Tale - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
One of the worst movies of the year and one of the biggest bombs. Skip it.

Witches of East End: Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
A Lifetime Network TV series about a group of witches. Its reviews are mostly positive, but even the positive reviews call it a campy guilty pleasure rather than a technically good TV series. Extras include a featurette, some deleted scenes, and two sets of outtakes.

Wolf Creek 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The original was a big hit in theaters, given its production budget, but this film went nowhere. It isn't bad, but is has been nearly a decade since the first film came out, so most people have simply forgotten about it.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-06-23

Movies 
 300: Rise of an Empire
 Blood Ties
 Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
 Enemy
 Faust
 A Hard Day's Night
 RoboCop
 Some Velvet Morning