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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for June 14th, 2011

June 13th, 2011

It's actually a rather busy week for DVD / Blu-ray releases, at least for the summertime, with four first run releases coming out. Granted, those four films averaged just 21% positive reviews, so it is certainly a matter of quantity over quality. Unfortunately, the quantity of first run releases appears to have scared away quality alternatives and there are not a lot of top notch releases. There are a few that are with picking up, some of which are for limited audiences, but as far as Pick of the Week contenders go, there are none. However, True Blood: Season Three arrived late, and I'm giving the Pick of the Week honor to the Blu-ray.

Battle: Los Angeles - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
The best-selling first-run release of the week is also the best-reviewed first-run release of the week. However, with a Tomatometer Score of just 35% positive, that says more about the competition than it does about its quality. Also, some of the negative reviews were aggressively negative. That said, it made more than $200 million worldwide, so there are obviously enough fans out there to make it a hit. The DVD has several featurettes with a total running time of close to 40 minutes, which makes it a rental. The Blu-ray has a Picture-in-Picture track, a couple BD-Live extras, and a trio of additional featurettes. Plus it only costs $1 more than the DVD. The combo pack is overpriced, unless you really like having the DVD as well as the Blu-ray. If you are interested in buying, the Blu-ray is the way to go, but I think a rental will be enough for most.

The Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show: Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
The variety show. There's a genre of television show that is a relic of the past. Dean Martin starred in a number of these shows throughout his career and this six-disc set has 15 hours of clips from his shows, but not complete shows. If I were to guess, it's probably due to licensing issues. If that's the case, this is likely the best we are ever going to get, unless the copyright laws change.

Big Momma's: Like Father Like Son - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Out of the four first-run releases coming out this week, this is the one that earned the worst reviews. It is also the one that arrived on my desk today. Did it deserve that scorn? I'll let you know soon.

Black in Latin America - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
These PBS specials are usually amazing. Sadly, I'm still waiting on the screener, so I don't know if this one maintains that record.

Blood Night - Buy from Amazon
A low-budget teenage slasher, which is one of the most common film genres out there. Can this one stand above the crowd? Read our review for my opinion.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Battle: Los Angeles (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo), Battle: Los Angeles, Big Momma's: Like Father Like Son, Black in Latin American, Boondock Saints (Truth & Justice Edition), The Cincinnati Kid, Dance in the Vampire Bund: Complete Series (Limited Edition) DVD/Blu-ray Combo, Dance in the Vampire Bund: Complete Series (DVD/Blu-ray Combo), Demon King Daimao: Complete Collection, Hall Pass (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy), Hall Pass, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Ultimate Edition), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Ultimate Edition), Haven: Season One, Heavy Metal, The Image, Insignificance: The Criterion Collection, Johnny Mnemonic, Kill the Irishman, Kingdom of War: Part 1 & 2, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (Collector's Edition), The Makioka Sisters: The Criterion Collection, N-Secure, Point Break, Red Riding Hood (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy), Red Riding Hood, and Supernatural: Season Two
When it comes to the Blu-ray releases this week and their potential sales, there's Battle: Los Angeles, and then there's everything else. I don't think it's the best release of the week, far from it, but it is certainly going to dominate the charts. As for the best, that's likely one of the Criterion Collection releases. However, Kingdom of War: Part 1 & 2 is worth owning, while I always liked Heavy Metal.

A Cold Day in Hell - Buy from Amazon
Featuring a glorified cameo by Michael Madsen. Despite what the cover of the DVD would suggest, this film doesn't star Michael Madsen, but is that little bit of false advertising the film's only sin? Read our review to find out.

The Concert - Buy from Amazon
This film won awards in its native France. Here, it only earned mixed reviews. Some critics said it was a little to schmaltzy for their taste, but I think fans of French cinema and / or classical music will still enjoy it.

Doctor Who - Buy from Amazon: Episode 133: Frontios and Episode 144: Time and the Rani
Frontios is arguably one of the best stories from Peter Davison's run, and as such is worth picking up. Meanwhile, Time and the Rani is the debut of Sylvester McCoy as the seventh doctor, and is generally considered one of the weaker stories in the show's run and for many is only important because it introduced a new Doctor.

Elvira's Movie Macabre - Buy from Amazon: Night of Living Dead / I Eat Your Skin and Satanic Rites of Dracula / The Werewolf of Washington
Two Elvira double-feature DVDs are hitting the home market this week. But are these B-movie gems? Or forgettable misses? I won't know for sure till the screener arrives.

Giant Robot Action Pack: Crash And Burn/Robot Wars - Buy from Amazon
I've actually seen both of these movies. However, it's been so long since I've watched them, that I think it would be wise to wait for the screener to arrive before I make any comment.

The Glades: Season One - Buy from Amazon
A police procedural set in Florida. That doesn't really set it apart, as there are two other similar shows on the air. Additionally, some of the reviews have been rather weak, as not only can the show not stand apart from the competition, each episode it too similar to the one that came before it. The extras are good, but that's not enough.

Hall Pass - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or Extended Edition Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
This film wasn't a return to form for Bobby and Peter Farrelly, but at least it matched expectations at the box office. Although expectations were low enough that this is not exactly a strong victory. This might explain why the DVD only has some deleted scenes and why the Blu-ray only has outtakes as an exclusive extra.

Happiness Is Peanuts: Snoopy's Adventures - Buy from Amazon
This franchise is certainly seeing a resurgence of popularity thanks to its home market releases. The TV specials are even earning Blu-ray releases. Impressive.

Haven: The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Emily Rose stars as FBI Agent Audrey Parker, who travels to Haven, Maine during the course of an investigation only to stumble upon the town's big secret. It is used to house all the supernatural creatures that live in the world. This show is a combination of Eureka and Sanctuary. Like most summer shows, there are not many episodes and the four-disc set only has 13 of them. However, the extras are amazing with audio commentary tracks on all episodes, behind-the-scenes on most, featurettes, and a sneak peak for season two. If you are a fan, it is a must have. Some of the reviews I've read have been mixed, so start with a rental if you've never see it.

Jackass 3.5 - Buy from Amazon
The leftovers from Jackass 3D collected on a new DVD. Is this one worth picking up for fans of the franchise? Or is it nothing more than a money grab. Read our review to find out.

Kill the Irishman - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned reviews that were good, but not great. However, it opened with a fantastic per theater average, even if it struggled to maintain that momentum. Is it worth checking out? Perhaps even buying? Won't know till the screener arrives.

Kingdom of War: Part 1 & 2 - Buy from Amazon - DVD or Blu-ray
The most expensive Thai film and one of the biggest box office hits in that nation. However, will North American audiences enjoy this historical epic, even without much knowledge of the history? Check out our review to find out.

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Collector's Edition Blu-ray, or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
Chen Zhen is a character that has appeared in countless movies and TV shows in China, but the latest incarnation only managed mixed reviews here. Most critics agreed it had plenty of style, but too many complained that's all it had. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray, but the Collector's Edition has a number of featurettes and interviews. If you like the genre, it's at least worth a rental.

MOOZ-lum - Buy from Amazon
The film opened really well in limited release, but quickly disappeared after that. This is strange, and the reviews were better than most. Perhaps this explains why the DVD has no extras. Even so, it is worth checking out, even if it is just a rental.

N-Secure - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
One of three screeners that arrived on my desk today. All three were for Blu-rays that are coming out on Tuesday. I'll get to it A.S.A.P.

Norm MacDonald: Me Doing Stand-Up - Buy from Amazon
It has been a while since Norm MacDonald has had a successful TV show, but with this TV special and Sports Show with Norm MacDonald, could he be experiencing a resurgence? Is he back to his old form? Read our review for my opinion.

Red Riding Hood - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
I was actually looking forward to this movie, because I like Amanda Seyfried. However, one look at the reviews and I knew it was one to avoid. Some of the critics did compliment the film's style, as well as Amanda Seyfried's and Gary Oldman's performances. However, a lot the critics said those were the only laudable aspects of the movie. The DVD comes with just some deleted scenes and it is obviously targeted at just those interested in a rental. The Blu-ray has quite a few exclusives, while the combo pack appears to be the only way to get the alternate cut. If you are interested in buying, that's the way to go.

Rubber - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the most bizarre films I've ever seen. However, it's uniqueness could be a blessing, helping the film stand out. Or it could be a warning, as there could be a reason why no one has made a film like this before. Which is it? Check out our review for my opinion.

Snoop Sisters Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Great show, but that price is scary. $36 for five episodes is too much. I guess you could call them five TV movies, but it's still a high price.

Spider-Woman Agent Of S.W.O.R.D - Buy from Amazon
I was expecting a screener for this motion comic release. However, a Blu-ray has also been announced, so there's a chance I will be get that format to review, which would be better, even if it means waiting a bit.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Heroes of Bikini Bottom - Buy from Amazon
There's little that needs to be said in terms of an introduction for this show. The only questions are what episodes are on the DVD and how many are hits and how many are misses? For the answer to those questions, read our review.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 31st of May.

Stargate: Universe: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
This show was canceled after just two seasons due to low ratings. However, did it struggle to find an audience because of some major flaw? Or was it just unfairly compared to its predecessors? Check out our review for my opinion.

Sweet Karma - Buy from Amazon
One of several screeners on this week's list where I'm still waiting on the screener. Let's hope it gets here soon.

Note: This DVD / Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 31st of May.

True Blood: Season Three - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The weekly DVD sales chart is in, and this TV on DVD release dominated. That rarely happens, but was it deserved? Read our review for my opinion.

Vanishing of the Bees - Buy from Amazon
I recently read that one in four or one in five bites of food you eat is dependent on bees somewhere down the line. Because of that, it's a massively important topic. However, many critics complained that this film fails to grip people who are not already interested in the subject.

Yo Gabba Gabba!: Circus - Buy from Amazon
"Weird Al" Yankovic makes an appearance on Yo Gabba Gabba!. Buy it. Buy it now. ... Or read the review first and then buy it.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Point Break, Heavy Metal, Johnny Mnemonic, The Boondock Saints, The Cincinnati Kid, Battle: Los Angeles, Le Concert, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Red Riding Hood, Sweet Karma, A Cold Day in Hell, Hall Pass, N-Secure, Kill the Irishman, Blood Night, MOOZ-lum, Rubber, Jing mo fung wan: Chen Zhen, Jackass 3.5