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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 4th, 2011

January 3rd, 2011

The first week of the year and this year starts the same way last year ends, without a whole lot of must have choices. Machete is topping the chart, and it's a good movie, but there are not enough extras on the DVD / Blu-ray to rate as Pick of the Week material. On the other hand, Howl's DVD and Blu-ray are loaded with extras, but the movie didn't live up to expectations with critics. After going over the list for a third time, I have to conclude that there are no Pick of the Week releases this time around. That should change next week.

Big Love: Season Four - Buy from Amazon
The final season of this HBO show starts next week, so it's perfect timing to release the penultimate season. The show has earned plenty of critical praise, and season four was arguably its best in terms of Awards Season success, with seven major nominations, including a Golden Globe win for Chloë Sevigny. On the other hand, it is a rather expensive show at $35 for just nine episodes.

Bitter Feast - Buy from Amazon
A horror movie about a famous TV chef who kidnaps a nasty critic and forces him to cook, and if the critic screws up, he tortures him. I'm sure there's more than a bit of wish-fulfillment in this script. Could be worth checking out for fans of either cooking shows or this type of horror, but with only a few reviews online, start with a rental.

Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern: Coll 4 Pt.2 - Buy from Amazon
Two food related releases back-to-back. This one is also scary, but in a different way, as the host eats all manner of strange food. Quite a fun show, but not for the weak of stomach.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: After Dark Horrorfest: Borderland / Crazy Eights, After Dark Horrorfest: Broken / The Butterfly Effect 3, After Dark Horrorfest: The Graves / Zombies of Mass Destruction, After Dark Horrorfest: The Gravedancers / Wicked Little Things, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin Powers: Goldmember, Backdraft, Battlestar Galactica: Season Four, Bladerunner: The Final Cut, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic, Case 39, Catfish, Dinner for Schmucks, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Gun, Horror Two-Pack: Clive Barker's Book Of Blood / Midnight Meat Train, Horror Two-Pack: Haunting In Connecticut / Stir Of Echoes, Howl, The Last Exorcism, Machete, El Mariachi / Desperado, My Dog Skip, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Not a great selection of Blu-rays this week, at least in terms of must have releases. But there are a large number of double-features coming out this week. I should be getting some of them to review, but the holidays caused havoc with the shipping this past week.

Blu-ray 3-D Releases - Buy from Amazon: Coraline
Just the one 3D release this week, but it's an excellent release. Not only did the film earn amazing reviews and a number of major award nominations, but it also did something with 3D besides inflate the ticket price. If you don't own this movie, but you own a 3D home theater system, it is absolutely worth picking up. For many it is worth the double-dip.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic - Buy from Amazon
After the show ended, the franchise continued in comic book form. Now it is the latest comic to get the "Motion Comic" treatment. How well does it make the leap? Won't know till the screener arrives.

Camille - Buy from Amazon
A Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie from 1984 starring Greta Scacchi and Colin Firth. It is actually selling extremely well for this type of release, placing in the top ten for new releases this week, but that's more a sign on how weak the overall selection is than anything. That's not to insult the movie or its fans, it's just not something you expect to sell a lot of copies.

Case 39 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film was made in 2006, sat on a studio shelf for a couple years while its release date was repeatedly pushed back, and when it finally hit theaters, it barely made any noise. Was it mishandled by the studio, or was it destined to flop? Check out our review for my opinion.

Catfish - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I'm still not convinced that this documentary is legit. It did earn great reviews, so despite the dubious nature, it could still be worth checking out. However, I would go with a rental, as the extras are light, while the Blu-ray is overpriced compared to the DVD.

Dinner for Schmucks - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Paul Rudd and Steve Carell have worked together in two previous films that both earned strong reviews. Is it a case of good things coming in three, or pushing your luck too far? Read our review for my opinion.

Gun - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Val Kilmer hasn't had an unqualified hit since Batman Forever, while Curtis Jackson hasn't had a box office hit ever. It makes sense that their combined effort would go direct-to-DVD. It is likely no better than their recent releases, but with such a generic name, it's impossible to find reviews online.

Howl - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
James Franco is going to win an Oscar. I don't know if it will be this year, it almost certainly won't be for this movie (127 Hours is a much better movie), but he will win. While he's a great actor and he gives a great performance, this is not a great movie. It is still worth checking out, and with two hours of extras, plus an audio commentary track, it is worth buying. The Blu-ray has a couple additional extras, but it costs $10 more, while the audio and video it intentionally weak so it doesn't shine on High Definition.

iCarly: Season Two, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon
After three single-disc releases, the show is back to season releases, even if they are split-season releases. However, this does result in double-dips. Are there too many double-dips to be worth picking up? Check out our review to find out.

Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking - Buy from Amazon
A three-hour series that looks at the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and what it might look like. This is hardly the first series to explore this topic, but it does have the benefit of featuring one of the most famous scientists around.

The Last Exorcism - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy
One of the latest Lionsgate finds cost less than $2 million to make, but pulled in more than $40 million at the box office. Did it deserve this success, or was it more hype that quality? Read our review to find out.

The Lena Baker Story - Buy from Amazon
Made in 2008 and released on DVD in 2009, this film is getting a re-release now, but is it worth checking out for those who missed it the first time around? Read our review to find out.

Machete - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A movie based on a fake trailer. That's not the normal route to theaters. The unusual origins aside, is the film worth checking out? And is the DVD or the Blu-ray worth picking up? Check out our review to find out. Also coming out this week are the El Mariachi / Desperado Blu-ray Double-Shot and the Once Upon a Time in Mexico Blu-ray.

Make It or Break It: Season One, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon
I reviewed volume one when it came out last year, but the screener for this volume is a little late. Hopefully it will get here soon.

The Ricky Gervais Show: Season One - Buy from Amazon
This show takes a radio program from 2001 - 2005 that starred Ricky Gervais, his long-time creative partner Stephen Merchant, as well asKarl Pilkington, internet sensation. (Google "Karl Pilkington remix." Don't do it at work.) This show takes this old audio and adds new animation. If you have the original podcasts, I'm not so sure the show it worth the upgrade, but if you've never heard them, then this is a great introduction.

Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends: Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Why would you release a full series Megaset so soon after Christmas? If they released it in November, it likely would have sold a whole lot more.

The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The Doctor Who spin-off aimed at kids. Yes, it is not as sophisticated at the original, but it is earning far better reviews than most kids shows do, and if you are a fan of the good doctor, it's worth checking out.

Top Chef: D.C.: The Complete Season - Buy from Amazon
The third food related release on this week's list. That's kind of weird. This is the most mainstream one and is one of the more popular, and less soul-crushing reality TV shows out there. There are not a huge amount of extras, but enough to be worth picking up for fans of the show.

The Yellow Handkerchief - Buy from Amazon
Yet another film with a member of the Twilight alumni trying to escape its shadow. Its reviews were good, but not good enough and it struggled in limited release. Now it is coming out on a featureless DVD. It's still worth checking out, especially if you are fan of the cast, but a rental is likely enough for most people.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Backdraft, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, The Haunting in Connecticut, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, My Dog Skip, Blade Runner, Desperado, A Stir of Echoes, El Mariachi, Midnight Meat Train, Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations, The, The Yellow Handkerchief, Broken, The Graves, Book of Blood, Dinner for Schmucks, Case 39, Zombies of Mass Destruction, The Last Exorcism, The Lena Baker Story, Howl, Machete, Catfish