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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for June 25th, 2013

June 24th, 2013

It's summer time. Long time readers know what that means for the home market. It's bad news. There are a couple of first-run releases to come out: The Call and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. The former was a solid midlevel hit earning more than $50 million on a $13 million budget. The latter bombed. Neither one is a contender for Pick of the Week. There are a couple limited releases that might rise to that level, but I think the best release is Todd & the Book of Pure Evil: The Complete Second Season on DVD. Unfortunately, the screener arrived late so I haven't had a chance to review it, and I hate handing out that honor when till after I give the screener a full review. Fortunately, there is a screener that arrived late that is worth that honor: My Neighbor Totoro on Blu-ray.

Best of Warner Bros. 50 Cartoon Collection: Looney Tunes - Buy from Amazon
Chronological order. I want Looney Tunes cartoons in chronological order and I will not spend a dime on any DVD or Blu-ray until such DVDs are released.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Battledogs, Dead Souls, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked, Heaven's Lost Property: Forte: Season 2, North Face, Shoah (Criterion Collection), and VH1 Storytellers: Alicia Keys
There are a huge number of Blu-ray releases coming out this week, but most of the top sellers are Steelbook re-releases. There are so many of these that it is hard to pick out releases that are important enough to mention. Shoah is clearly the best, while Hansel & Gretel Get Baked is clearly not a good movie, but fans of stoner comedy / teenage slashers might enjoy it.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Upside Down and Wild Africa 3D: An Extraordinary Journey
There are also a few Erotic 3D Blu-rays coming out this week.

Borgen: Season 2 - Buy from Amazon
A Danish political drama that was a huge hit with viewers in its home country and has earned a number of awards. It should develop a following here among fans of European TV.

The Call - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Halle Berry hasn't had a lot of starring roles recently. Here she plays a 911 operator who makes a mistake that costs a young woman her life. Years later, she is the supervisor / trainer, as the stress of that day prevents her from handling the calls. She gets a call from a woman who was kidnapped, and in a twist, the kidnapper is the same man who killed the woman years ago. It's a good setup and many critics loved most of the film... right up till the overly cliché end. Is it worth checking out despite the ending? Maybe, if you like the genre and / or the cast. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track and a making of featurette, while the Blu-ray includes this, plus deleted scenes, outtakes, behind-the-scenes, making of, etc. If you are interested in buying, it is worth picking up the Blu-ray.

CSI: New York: The Final Season - Buy from Amazon
There are far too many shows in this genre. I'm not surprised that many are getting canceled.

Green Lantern: Animated Show - Manhunter Menace - Buy from Amazon
While D.C. Comics haven't had a lot of success in theaters, they have released a number of hits on the home market. The first 13-episodes of this series come out on this two-disc set and if you are a fan of the Green Lantern, or of D.C. Comics in general, it is worth picking up.

Note: These Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 21st of March.

Hayao Miyazaki Double-Shot
Howl's Moving Castle - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
My Neighbor Totoro - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Hayao Miyazaki is arguably the best animator currently working. A few weeks ago, a couple of his films were released on Blu-ray for the first time. Are they among his best films? Do they shine on Blu-ray? Are they worth the higher than average price? Check out our review to find out.

Help! - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
I'm still waiting for the screener for this release. If the Blu-ray lives up to the quality of the movie, it will be a Pick of the Week contender.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
A movie about a stage magician who went from a friendless kid to top of the world, but fell because he became too old school and fell out of favor with the public. The film's reviews were weak and it went nowhere at the box office. It is not surprising that the extras are so weak. The DVD includes some outtakes. The Blu-ray includes a lot of deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, etc. If you really like movies about stage magicians, maybe it is worth a rental, but that's it.

Into the White - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A World War II film about two pilots from opposite sides of the war, who are shot down in the wilderness in Norway. They then have to learn to work together to survive. The film's reviews were only mixed, but its box office numbers were terrible. There are not enough extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray to make it worth picking up, but a rental is a good deal.

Jack Taylor: Set 1 - Buy from Amazon
An Irish drama about a former cop / current private eye. There are only three episodes on this DVD, but if you consider them to be TV movies, the price-per-minute isn't too bad.

The Lesser Blessed - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian film about the difficult life of a First Nations boy living in a northern town. The film earned mostly good reviews and it is worth checking out. It is not a perfect film, but it deals with a difficult subject matter that few films touch.

Note: This Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 11th.

Lilo and Stitch - Blu-ray Double-Shot - Buy from Amazon
This double shot was released two weeks ago, along with The Emperor's New Groove Double-Shot and Atlantis: The Lost Empire Double-Shot. I was only able to get a screener for this release, and it arrived a little late. Now that I've seen both films on Blu-ray, is it worth it? Is Lilo and Stitch worth owning on high definition? And is the sequel more than a mere shadow of its predecessor? Read our review for my opinion.

MADtv: Season Three - Buy from Amazon
There was a huge shakeup in the cast of this show between seasons two and three and while some of the new cast members were good, they were not as good as the original cast. It is still worth picking up, but for many fans of the original cast, this might be the last season worth picking up.

Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis Season Six - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
According to, this is the best-selling new release of the week. That's a bad sign. Granted, it is a great show and worth picking up, if you are willing to deal with the high price-per-minute of British TV on DVD import. That said, there are not enough of you out there to expect this release to be number one. The fact that it is selling so well compared to other releases is a really bad sign.

New Tricks: Season Nine - Buy from Amazon
This show is no longer as good as it once was, but it is still pretty good. James Bolam is gone, which is a shame, while a lot of the cast will be gone at the end of this last season. Maybe get it before it is completely gone.

No - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
This film earned amazing reviews and did well for a limited release, but at its widest, it was only playing in 99 theaters. Gael Garcia Bernal earned a lot of praise for his performance in the movie, so if you are a fan of his, it is likely worth checking out. The DVD and the Blu-ray include an audio commentary track and a Q&A featurette, which isn't a lot, but it is enough to lift it to the purchase level.

Phantom - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I'm still waiting for the screener for this film. I hope it is better than the box office numbers would indicate.

A Place at the Table - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about "food insecurity", which is a hot topic, as the Food Stamp program in the United States could see serious cuts. The reviews are excellent and it is worth picking up for fans of documentaries.

Todd & the Book of Pure Evil: The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
I loved the first season and I'm looking forward to reviewing season two; however, it arrived too late to get to the review this week. On a side note, the show was sadly canceled, so hopefully it went out on a high note.

Upside Down - Buy from Amazon: DVD or 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack
This film has a great sci-fi set-up, but very weak execution. There are enough extras to not seem bare, but not enough to compensate for the execution. It is one of the best-selling releases of the week, mainly because of weak competition.

WCW War Games: WCW's Most Notorious Matches - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Pro wrestling.

The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex - Buy from Amazon
This TV movie was seen by 5.9 million people during its initial release, so clearly The Wizards of Waverly Place still has a lot of fans. I might get a screener to review, but it hasn't arrived yet.


Filed under: Video Releases, Lilo & Stitch, Help!, Hauru no ugoku shiro, Tonari no Totoro, Upside Down, Shoah, A Place at the Table, No, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Into the White, Phantom, The Call, The Lesser Blessed, Halle Berry, Gael Garcia Bernal, James Bolam, Hayao Miyazaki