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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for December 13th, 2011

December 12th, 2011

It is a surprisingly strong week on the home market with two $100 million hits, Kung Fu Panda 2 on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Rise of the Planet of the Apes on Blu-ray, both of which are contenders for pick of the week. There are also several smaller releases that are also contenders for that title like The Guild: Season Five on DVD. But in the end, I gave that honor to Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame on Blu-ray.

The Black Power Mixtape - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the Black Power Movement from the perspective of some Swedish journalists. The film earned amazing reviews, but like most documentaries, it struggled to find an audience in theaters. It should do better on the home market, after all, it never played in more than 13 theaters, so most of its target audience never had a chance to see it.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Branded to Kill (The Criterion Collection), City of God, The Expendables (Extended Director's Cut), Heavenly Creatures, Intruder, The Legend Is Born: Ip Man, Meet Me in St. Louis, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus / Monster / Raging Sharks, The Rocketeer: 20th Anniversary Edition, Seven Chances: Ultimate Edition, Stars & Stripes Forever, Tokyo Drifter (The Criterion Collection), Transformers Trilogy, and Velvet Goldmine
There are several secondary Blu-ray releases of note this week, including a couple Criterion Collections releases. Several of them, like The Rocketeer, I was hoping to review, but the screeners are late. Others, like City of God, will be featured on this week's installment of our Holiday Gift Guide.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Fright Night
Just the one 3D release of note, which is a bit strange, as the three biggest Blu-ray releases all had 3-D releases theatrically.

Circumstance - Buy from Amazon
An Iranian co-production that focuses on two young adults dealing with the repressive Iranian society. The film earned great reviews, but had trouble finding an audience during its limited release. Extras include an audio commentary track and behind-the-scenes, which is enough to lift the film to the solid purchase level.

Complete Series Megasets - Buy from Amazon: Sledge Hammer
Only one Megaset this week, and it only lasted two seasons, so calling it a Megaset is a bit of a misnomer. That said, it is a great show that spoofs the aggressive cop shows of the 1970s / early 1980s.

Def-Con 4 / Hell Comes to Frogtown - Buy from Amazon
Every once in a while, you come across a name of a movie that makes you stop and take notice. Hell Comes to Frogtown is one such film. Def-Con 4 is not a bad movie, considering how low budget it is, but it is very low budget, so keep that in mind.

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned excellent reviews and opened very in limited release, but it quickly faltered after that. Is there a reason for that? Is it a film that plays well with critics, but alienates the average moviegoer? Or did people have trouble buying tickets, because by the time they said the name of the movie, it was already over? Check out our review to find out.

Eames: The Architect and the Painter - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about a husband and wife team who helped create the aesthetics of a generation. It earned great reviews, but struggled to find an audience in theaters. Hopefully that will change on the home market.

Family Guy: Volume Nine - Buy from Amazon
Just a quick note that the contest begins on Friday, while the screener is on its way.

Fright Night - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, or 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack
Horror remakes have been the rage for many years now; however, the hit to miss ratio has been terrible, and that's had an effect on the box office numbers of late as well. This movie was not a hit with moviegoers, but did it deserve better? Is it worth checking out and maybe even picking up? Read our review for my opinion.

The Guild: Season Five - Buy from Amazon
Felicia Day wrote and stars in this groundbreaking webseries. It wasn't the first webseries out there, but the level of success it has achieved is nearly unprecedented. The DVDs have more extras than most similar releases and are always a contender for Pick of the Week.

Gunsmoke: Season Five, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon
Great show, weak DVD releases. I don't like how they split the seasons into two volumes, but at least the time between releases is shorter this time around. The show lasted twenty seasons, so there's no reason to drag out the DVD releases. Hell, at this pace, even one release every few months will mean the show might not be completely out on DVD by the time that format fades into history.

How Beer Saved the World - Buy from Amazon
Four programs from the Discovery Channel on the world's favorite alcoholic beverage. It's a good DVD for those who want to learn more about beer, but the price-per-minute is really high for TV on DVD, so I don't think a purchase is necessary.

Kung Fu Panda 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film didn't earn as much at the box office as its predecessor did, at least not domestically, but that doesn't mean it is the weaker film. Is it as good as the first film? Perhaps better? And is it worth picking up? Check out our review for my opinion.

Also coming out is Kung Fu Double-Pack.

The Life and Times of Tim: The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
An animated show on HBO, which is a rare thing. It reminds me of Kevin Spencer in the dark humor and the intentionally low budget animation. Most reviews were positive, even if the show can be uneven at times.

Mystery Woman Triple Feature - Buy from Amazon
I'm not sure what to do with this release. I got a screener to review, but Amazon.com says it's off the schedule. It wouldn't be the first time a screener was sent to me, but before it arrived, the DVD was pulled from the schedule. Amazon.ca still has it, at just $10 for three movies. I'll try to figure out what's going on by tomorrow. In the meantime, if you are in Canada and are a fan of Kellie Martin and / or Murder Mysteries, it's worth picking up at that price.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The last time they tried to reboot the Planet of the Apes franchise, it went poorly. Will this time be any different? Read our review to find out.

Spin City: Season Six - Buy from Amazon
The final season of this show finally comes out. Granted, the show wasn't as good as when Michael J. Fox was the star, but even the last seasons had excellent writing and a stellar ensemble cast. If you own the previous seasons, then it's worth completing your collection, while if you haven't, wait till next year when the Megaset should be out.

Swamp People: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
Do you remember a time when The History Channel talked about history? Me neither.

Switched at Birth: Volume One - Buy from Amazon
Two high school students from different economic and social standings find out they were switched at birth. I might be getting a screener for this TV show, and I'm looking forward to reviewing it.

Tanner Hall - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film was made in 2008 and has sat on a studio shelf since then. However, it stars Rooney Mara, who is in the upcoming The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, so it is getting a release on DVD and Blu-ray this week. If this sounds like a bad sign, the reviews should confirm that.


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Filed under: Video Releases, The Rocketeer, Meet Me in St. Louis, Cidade de Deus, Heavenly Creatures, Velvet Goldmine, Def-Con 4, The Expendables, Kung Fu Panda 2, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fright Night, Circumstance, Di Renjie, The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975, Tanner Hall, Eames: The Architect and the Painter