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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for March 22nd, 2011

March 21st, 2011

It's a deceptively slow week when it comes to DVD and Blu-ray releases. Have I mentioned how much I love the word, "deceptively"? It is worse than meaningless and actually reduces the amount of information given in any sentence it appears in. In this case, the first sentence could mean the week appears to be slow, but it is actually quite busy. Or it could mean the week appears busy, but is quite slow. Unfortunately, it's the latter. There are four first run releases coming out on the home market, which is more than most weeks, but all four missed expectations to one degree or another. Additionally, there's only one new release that I'm seriously considering for Pick of the Week, The Venture Bros.: Season Four on Blu-ray. In fact, there are a couple Blu-ray catalog titles that are more interesting than any of the first run releases. Leading the way there is Stand By Me, which is not only a great movie, but the Blu-ray isn't shovelware and includes Blu-ray exclusive extras like a Picture-in-Picture track. So which release is the Pick of the Week? I can't decide, so let's call it a tie.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 15th.

The Absent - Buy from Amazon
A low-budget horror film about a pair of twins, one of whom is a high school teacher and the other an escaped mental patient. Can it overcome limited resources and rise above the genre average? Check out our review to find out.

Battle of Los Angeles - Buy from Amazon
The latest film from The Asylum, which is a low-budget studio that specializes in ripping off big-budget films. This film could be seen as a rip-off of both Skyline, which is coming out on the home market the same day, and Battle: Los Angeles, which hit theaters last weekend. It's more of the latter than the former. Regardless, unless you are a real fan of terrible movies, it's not worth checking out.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Anastasia, Because of Winn-Dixie, Buster Keaton: Our Hospitality, Concert for George, Devolved, Elizabeth / Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Ernest Double Feature: Goes to Camp / Goes to Jail, Firebreather, Galaxina / Crater Lake Monster, Garfield Double-Feature, How Do You Know?, Jet Li's Fearless / Unleashed, Random Hearts, The Riddick Collection, Robots, The Sandlot, Scary Movie 4, Skyline, Spaghetti Western Double Feature: Volume 1: D'Jango / Now They Call Him Sacramento, Spaghetti Western Double Feature: Volume 2: Last Gun / 4 Dollars of Revenge, Stand By Me, The Tourist, Vanquisher, The Venture Bros.: Season Four, and Yogi Bear
There are a lot of Blu-rays coming out this week, but sadly it is a case of quantity over quality with many more catalog releases than first run releases. That said, a few such Blu-rays, like The Sandlot and Stand By Me, are worth picking up. In fact, Stand By Me is a contender for Pick of the Week.

3-D Blu-ray releases - Buy from Amazon: Yogi Bear
3-D as a format is in a battle to stay relevant long enough for enough people to buy into it before it collapses from too many bad releases. Bad releases include those where the 3-D effects were poorly done, Clash of the Titans, or those where the movie just isn't any good, Yogi Bear. Worse yet, the 3-D Blu-ray costs 50% more than the Blu-ray / DVD Combo, making it even harder to recommend.

Bratz: Good Vibes - Buy from Amazon
While I'm nowhere near the target demographic for this TV show, I've seen enough to judge whether or not one is working. Is this the case here? Or are there better options out there? Check out our review to find out.

Consinsual - Buy from Amazon
The debut of writer / director Paul D. Hannah, plus there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so it's really hard to judge its potential. I might be getting a screener to review, but it's late.

Devolved - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A group of high school kids on a whale-watching school trip are marooned on a tropical island when their boat sinks. Without adult supervision, the kids fracture into two groups: the nerds, led by Flynn (Gary Entin) and the Jocks, led by The Rog (Robert Adamson). Meanwhile, Peggy (Lindsey Shaw) gets caught between them. It's writer / director John Cregan's feature-length debut and while there are not many reviews online, the ones I've seen are mostly positive. Extras include two audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, etc. Worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

Eliza Doolittle: Self-Titled - Buy from Amazon: Digital Download or CD
Eliza Doolittle's eponymous debut generated a number hit in its native market, but with the album coming out on digital download this week before coming out on CD next month. Are there a couple hits worth paying for? Or is it worth grabbing the whole album? Check out our review for my opinion.

Firebreather - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The first original digitally animated film from the Cartoon Network. The reviews have been okay, but the end product was hampered by a low TV movie budget, so don't expect the best animation out there. Extras include a deleted scene, plus a few scenes in animatic form, visual tests, etc. Worth checking out, but I would start with a rental.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 8th.

Hannah Montana: Forever: Season Four - Buy from Amazon
Hannah Montana comes to an end, but did it go out on a high note? Or did it just fizzle? Read our review for my opinion.

Hawkeye: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Lee Horsley, a.k.a. Matt Huston, and Lynda Carter, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, star in this frontier drama. It only lasted one season in syndication and it's mostly forgotten now. That said, fans should be happy it is coming out on DVD this week.

How Do You Know? - DVD or Blu-ray
I've heard this film described as a terrible movie that's incredibly well made. The acting is amazing, as is the directing, but the end result is still garbage. Okay, maybe garbage is a bit harsh, but below average for a genre that's usually pretty bad to begin with. If you are a fan of the genre and the cast, then perhaps it's worth checking out, but even with better than expected extras (audio commentary track, deleted scenes, outtakes) plus Blu-ray exclusives (interviews, interactive script) it's only worth a rental.

Kanokon: Girl Who Cried Fox: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
So I'm looking through Amazon's list of top selling new releases for the week, as I do every week, and I come across this title. My first though upon seeing the DVD cover was, "Context: I could use some." I'm temped to buy it just to see what it's about. Worst case scenario, I'd have one more title for my "Weird Stuff from Japan" box.

The People I've Slept With - Buy from Amazon
When Angela (Karin Anna Cheung) learns she is pregnant, she has to figure out who the father is, and it's a long list. It's part teenage sex comedy and part coming of age story, but the reviews suggest it wasn't successful in combining those two genres. They are not terrible and it could be worth renting if you are a fan of the genre, or are interested in seeing a film with a predominantly Asian-American cast.

Roger Corman's Cult Classics: Double-Feature: Jackson County Jail / Caged Heat - Buy from Amazon
When people hear the name Roger Corman, most think of really cheesy B-movies. And granted, that's not unfair given the totality of his work. However, he also made some really good B-movies, as well as a few that even rise above that label. How do the two films presented here compare to his average film? Check out our review for my opinion.

Scarecrow and Mrs. King: The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
Kate Jackson stars as the titular Mrs. King, a divorced mother of two living in D.C. Meanwhile Bruce Boxleitner is Scarecrow, at least that's his secret agent codename. In the pilot the former helps the latter crack a case and the two become partners, a partnership that lasted four seasons. At this pace, it will take another two years for the DVD release to be complete, but that's not as bad as some shows from the era that have been stalled a few times.

Siren - Buy from Amazon
Unbelievably. I got a review done early. In fact, unless something arrives soon, I might have all of my screeners reviewed by this time tomorrow. Is Siren worth waiting for? Check out our review to find out.

Skyline - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A cast of mostly TV actors make an alien invasion movie for $10 million. The result is about as bad as you would expect. The extras are a bit better than you would expect given its box office performance (two audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes, etc.) but it is still not worth it.

Strawberry Shortcake: Putting on the Glitz - Buy from Amazon
The latest direct-to-DVD release from the popular toy line. I should be getting a screener, but it likely won't be mailed till Tuesday, so it might not arrive here before the weekend.

The Tourist - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
Two of the biggest stars team up with an Oscar winning director. The end result should have been great, but it was a complete mess with the sharpest barbs fired at the two leads, specifically, their total lack of chemistry. The DVD does have better than expected extras, while there are enough exclusives on the Blu-ray to be worth the upgrade. That said, given its reviews, for most people it's not even worth a rental.

Vanquisher - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
There have been an explosion of martial arts films from Thailand since the success of Ong-Bak. Will Vanquisher continue that success? Read our review for my opinion.

The Venture Bros.: Season Four - Buy from Amazon: Volume 2 on DVD or Complete Season on Blu-ray
A great show that is Pick of the Week material; however, I have a problem with the home market releases. On DVD they've split the season into two parts, but the Blu-ray it's complete. This means if you bought Season Four, Volume One on DVD, you will have to spend twice as much to get the Blu-ray than to buy Volume Two. On the other hand, if you waited, the Blu-ray for Season Four is actually cheaper than the combined cost of the two DVD volumes. Of course, to keep prices that low, they decided to fit all 16 episodes on one disc, which is too much for the format to handle and the audio and video suffer. Still Pick of the Week material, but mainly because it is such a slow week. The show is good enough that with proper treatment, it wouldn't matter how much competition there was, but as it is, had there been a top-tier first-run release, it wouldn't be in contention.

Yogi Bear - Buy from Amazon: DVD, DVD Two-Pack, Blu-ray, Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack, or 3D Blu-ray / Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
When the studio gave the greenlight to this movie, they were likely hoping for the same level of success as Alvin and the Chipmunks. That didn't happen. $200 million worldwide is far from a bomb, but it was a disappointment to some. It's reviews are terrible and unless you are a hardcore fan of Yogi Bear and want to introduce the character to your children, it's best ignored. Even then, you do have better options. For those intent on buying, the DVD has nearly no extras, while the Two-Pack has a bonus short and only costs $1.50 more. It appears that Blu-ray doesn't come with that short, but does have a couple exclusive extras of its own. The 3D Combo Pack is too expensive and the 3D effects are not worth it.


Filed under: Video Releases, Robots, Scary Movie 4, Garfield, Anastasia, The Chronicles of Riddick, Stand by Me, Pitch Black, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Sandlot, Random Hearts, Elizabeth, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, Ernest Goes to Jail, Huo Yuan Jia, Danny the Dog, Ernest Goes to Camp, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Yogi Bear, How Do You Know?, Skyline, The Tourist, The Absent, Siren, Consinsual, Strawberry Shortcake: Putting on the Glitz