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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 25th, 2011

January 24th, 2011

It's bit of an oddball week on the home market. There are four first-run releases, if you include The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Granted, that film was a limited release, but it did earn more than $5 million, and it appears to be selling quite well, especially for a foreign language film. On the other hand, none seem like they will be particularly impressive in terms of sales. Of the four biggest releases, Red on Blu-ray is the best bet, but for Pick of the Week, I'm going with Broadcast News: Criterion Collection on Blu-ray.

Adventures of Power - Buy from Amazon
An incredible improv cast wasn't enough to help win over critics. In the film, writer / director Ari Gold stars as the titular Power, a man from a small town who has fallen on financial hard times, so he decides to become a championship air drummer.

Agatha Christie Hour: Set Two - Buy from Amazon
Fans of British TV mysteries should know what to expect from this DVD: great show, bad price. It's only five hour-long episodes for $30, which is high, even if you look at them as TV movies.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Ayaka is Your Angel, A Beautiful Mind, Broadcast News: Criterion Collection, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, The Color Purple, Dead Space, The Double Life of Veronique: Criterion Collection, Enter the Void, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Les Gamins, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, The Graduate, Inside the Milky Way, Nowhere Boy, Open Season 3, Quiet Days in Clichy, Red, Santa Sangre, Saw: The Final Chapter, and Secretariat
This week on Blu-ray, there's a good mixture of first-run releases, limited releases, classics, and even a few foreign films thrown in. I doubt any of these films will burn up the sales chart, but there are more than a few that are worth picking up, while Broadcast News is the pick of the week.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Saw: The Final Chaper
Only one 3D release this week, and the movie is so bad that it's really not worth the money.

Broadcast News: Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
On the surface, this film is about a love triangle with Holly Hunter choosing between a handsome newscaster, William Hurt, who is little more than an empty suit, and a talented reporter, Albert Brooks, who is not exactly camera friendly. However, on a deeper level, it is about the changing face of news and how the choice was between hard-hitting news (represented by Albert Brook's character) and infortainment (represented by William Hurt). Given how this dilemma was decided in the real world, this film is all more poignant now than when it came out 23 years ago. Add in an large selection of extras, and it is absolutely worth picking up, and a clear contender for Pick of the Week.

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An amazing documentary and likely Oscar nominee hits the home market this week. Extras include audio commentary and deleted / additional scenes / interviews. Absolutely worth picking up, especially considering the ongoing financial mess, which Eliot Spitzer was working to prevent when the scandal hit.

Dead Space: Aftermath - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I reviewed the previous release and thought it was pretty good. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to review the sequel, but the reviews I have seen suggest that it is as good as the original. The lack of extras hurt, but fans of the genre will want to give it a rental at the very least.

Dogtooth - Buy from Amazon
An amazing film, but one it has such a small target audience that it's not surprising it never expanded during its theatrical run. Extras include an interview with the director and some deleted scenes. It is worth picking up, for those who can sit through it, but I would say start with a rental, just in case.

Enter the Void - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This French film earned good reviews and got off to a fast start, but couldn't maintain that momentum as it expanded. The DVD has a few extras, including deleted scenes, while the Blu-ray has nothing exclusive, but costs nearly 50% more on Amazon.com. Worth picking up for fans of director Gaspar Noé, but stick with the DVD.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - DVD or Blu-ray
Technically not a first-run release, but according to Amazon.com, it is performing as well or better than the other three. The reviews were only mixed, but if you are a fan of the previous two films, it is at least worth checking out. Unfortunately, with no bonus features, a rental will be enough for most. Perhaps when the remakes start hitting theaters, the originals will get the special editions they deserve.

Glee: Season Two, Volume One - Buy from Amazon
This show has earned a bundle of awards, including three Golden Globe wins very recently. I'm not a big fan of split-season releases, but can the episodes overcome this problem? Won't know till the screener arrives.

Inspector Bellamy - Buy from Amazon
Gérard Depardieu stars as the titular inspector, who while on vacation with his wife, stumbles into a criminal investigation. The reviews were excellent, but the film never found an audience here. Hopefully that will change on the home market.

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

Kathleen Madigan: Gone Madigan - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The Blu-ray arrived just a couple days late, but I got the review online over the weekend. Was it worth the wait? Was Kathleen Madigan able to live up to her 1996 win for Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic? Read our review to find out.

Like Dandelion Dust - Buy from Amazon
This film opened with excellent reviews, but also opened in too many theaters and struggled to find an audience. Given its reviews, it's likely worth a blind buy, but hopefully I will be getting a screener to review so I can make a more detailed assessment.

Matlock: Season Six - Buy from Amazon
Still waiting for the screener for this release to arrive. With the long weekend last weekend, there might have been a one-day delay in arrivals. Hopefully that's all the delay there will be.

Mi-5: Volume 8 - Buy from Amazon
A British spy drama about the work done by Military Intelligence, Section 5. The show has a large number of fans on both sides of the pond, and for good reason. It is pricey compared to most TV on DVD on a per minute basis, but worth picking up for fans of the show.

Nowhere Boy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Aaron Johnson stars as John Lennon in this biopic set in the pre-Beatles days. Reviews in its native U.K. were very strong, but a little more mixed here. It still earned great reviews, but not Awards Season level great. Extras include deleted scenes, making of featurettes, and a retrospective on the formation of The Beatles. Call it a solid purchase.

Open Season 3 - DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
The original film wasn't that good, but after earning nearly $200 million worldwide and another $100 million on the home market, it has spawned two direct-to-DVD sequels. Extras on the DVD include a look at the various stages of animation and a game, while the Blu-ray has a couple extra games. Maybe if you kids loved the first two films, this one is worth checking out, but start with a rental.

Pie in the Sky: Series Four - Buy from Amazon
Richard Griffiths is best known for playing Harry Potter's least favorite uncle, but here he stars as a police inspector who retired to start a restaurant. However, he keeps getting roped back into solving the toughest crimes. A great show that only has one more season to go before its home market run is over.

Red - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Comedy or Musical. Normally this would be a good selling point, but this year that category was so messed up that it might hurt most nominees. To be fair, Red actually earned good reviews and it is worth checking out. The Blu-ray has an audio commentary track and some deleted / extended scenes, while the Blu-ray has an interactive Picture-in-Picture track and it is worth picking up. In fact, since it is such a slow week, it is a contender for Pick of the Week.

Note: These DVDs make their home market debut on the 1st of February.

Saturday Night Live: Best Of... - Buy from Amazon: Chris Farley and John Belushi
Yes, I got a couple of DVD reviews done early this week, which is a sign of just how slow it was. While you can't get them till next week, you can read the review right now with the Best Of Chris Farley here and the Best Of John Belushi here.

Saw VII - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy, or 3D Blu-ray / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy
Is the franchise really over? I'm not sure. Will most fans really miss it at this point? Read our review for my opinion.

Secretariat - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film was going after a similar demographic as the one that made The Blind Side a massive, massive hit. However, it struggled at the box office only becoming a mid-level hit. Since horse racing is not as popular as football, it was unlikely to earn as much as The Blind Side did, but did it deserve to make more at the box office? Check our out review for my opinion.

She-Ra: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
I was never a fan of He-Man, but I like strong female characters, so the spin-off actually has more appeal to me than its predecessor did. Not enough to go out and buy it, but I will admit that the price-per-minute is good for this type of release.

The Traveler - Buy from Amazon
A drifter walks into a police station and confesses to a murder, and while he is making this confession, a murder very similar to it actually takes place. It's an interesting setup, but the execution was flawed. On the other hand, that's better than a lot of Val Kilmer's work recently, most of which hasn't even had the cool setup.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut late last year.

Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie - Buy Direct
The first movie from the Warhammer 40,000 franchise. Will it appeal to long-time fans? Will it have crossover appeal? Or will people dismiss it as a 'Good first attempt'? Check out our review for my opinion.

... And I hate Nurgles. I hate Nurgles even more than I hate Khemri.

Zorro: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The second complete series release on this week's list. I might be getting a copy of this 15-disc Megaset, but I can say that this is a classic character, plus the DVD comes with quite a few extras and it is likely worth picking up.


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Filed under: Video Releases, A Beautiful Mind, The Graduate, Broadcast News, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Secretariat, Like Dandelion Dust, Adventures of Power, Saw 3D, Nowhere Boy, Luftslottet som sprängdes, Dogtooth, Enter the Void, Red, Open Season 3, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Bellamy