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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for February 9th, 2010

February 9th, 2010

Not a particularly great week for DVD or Blu-ray releases. The biggest movie to hit the home market is Couples Retreat, but it was a terrible movie and should be avoided at all costs. The best film coming out this week is A Serious Man and while the DVD is worth picking up, the Blu-ray is the better deal. However, the Pick of the Week goes to The Guild: Season Three, which is one of the funniest things on the Web.

Army Wives: Season Three - Buy from Amazon
After being pleased by the first season I was disappointed by the season two. So where does season three go? Check out our review to find out.

Bad Girls of Film Noir - Buy from Amazon: Volume One and Volume 2
Eight movies spread across four discs and two DVD releases. Not the best known films in the genre, which explains why they are being released on flipper discs with light special features. Then again, any special features are great for films that are 50 to 60 years old.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: XIII: The Conspiracy, Bad Company: Hard Rock Live, Becoming Human, Bronson, Couples Retreat, Dante's Inferno, Dare, Drop Zone, Hard Rain, I Hate Valentine's Day, The Phantom, The Pretenders: Live in London, The Running Man, A Serious Man, Serious Moonlight, Stargate SG-U: 1.0, The Stepfather, and The Time Traveler's Wife
Still a lull in Blu-ray releases. Granted, Couples Retreat did crack $100 million at the box office, but it is not a good movie. A Serious Man is clearly the best first-run release coming out this week, while The Running Man is a fun catalogue title that is worth picking up.

Boobs: An American Obsession - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about breasts. ... I'm surprised this isn't selling better. Perhaps those interested in documentaries are worried this will be nothing but a cheap excuse to show nudity, while those interested in breasts are worried it's not.

Bronson - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
This film earned great reviews, opened well, but then fell apart at the box office. Is the movie as good as the reviews suggest? Or as bad as its box office collapse suggests? Check out our review to find out.

Couples Retreat - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A great cast is wasted on a weak script. The DVD and Blu-ray has a lot of extras, but no amount of extras can overcome that Tomatometer score.

Dangerous Man - Buy from Amazon
A Steven Seagal movie going direct-to-DVD? Say it ain't so!

Dante's Inferno - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A direct-to-DVD movie that is a tie-in for an upcoming video game, also called Dante's Inferno. It definitely feels more like a video game than a movie with a fully fleshed out plot, which hurts, as does the lack of substantial extras. If you are interested in the video game, then it is worth a rental, but that's about it.

Dare - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This movie earned reviews that were good, but not great, especially for a limited release. It did reasonably well on the per theater chart when it opened, but then disappeared. Extras include an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, the short film the movie was based on, and more. The Blu-ray doesn't have any exclusives, but it costs more than 50% more. It is worth checking out for most and buying for some, but stick with the DVD.

Disney's Little Einsteins: Animal Expedition - Buy from Amazon
Teaching kids about music and art while going on adventures. Little Einsteins has proven to be very popular with kids and the latest DVD release, Animal Expedition is reviewed here.

Drop Zone - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Released back in the day when Wesley Snipes' movies were released in theaters. It wasn't a big hit, even by his standards, but is it worth checking out? Read our review to find out.

Emma - Buy from Amazon
The latest adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, which was a TV mini-series on the BBC last year. The film earned excellent reviews and fans of costume drama in general or Jane Austen in particular should pick it up.

Endgame - Buy from Amazon
This film opened the same weekend as Precious. Yeah, the competition was a little harsh. It should do better on the home market, especially with those reviews. Add in several interviews as extras and this is a solid rental, leaning toward a blind buy.

Fraggle Rock: Wembley's Egg Surprise - Buy from Amazon
Still waiting for the screener to arrive. Then again, I'm still waiting for the screener for The Complete Series, so it could be a long wait.

Gary Unmarried: Season One - Buy from Amazon
While I like Jay Mohr, the early ads for this show did not sell me on its chances. Now that I've seen the first season, have I changed my opinion on the show? Check out our review to find out.

The Guild: Season Three - Buy from Amazon
Felicia Day writes, produces, and stars in one of the best TV shows on the web. Focusing on a guild in W.o.W., which is the most popular MMORPG around. This show has an incredibly high quotient of geek, but in a good way. Extras include the amazingly popular "Do You Want to Date My Avatar" music video, the making of that music video, audio commentary tracks, outtakes, and a whole lot more. A must have for fans of the show or of the game and a contender for Pick of the Week. (On a side note, I'm addicted to World of Warcraft, but it most affects my productivity when the server is down, like it is right now. (oh for the love off... now the Realm Status page is down as well.) I've gone days without playing it, but as soon as the server is down and I can't play it, I get jittery and anxious waiting for it to come back online.)

Hard Rain - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
One of the biggest bombs of 1998 comes out on Blu-ray this week. No, I'm no sure why either. Regardless of the reason, you can see the review here.

Hurricane Season - Buy from Amazon
This film was original set to come out in November of 2008, which would have been a great release date. However, it was pushed back again and again and finally removed from the schedule. Now it is coming out direct-to-DVD with little fanfare and fewer reviews. Maybe if you are a fan of basketball or some of the cast it will be worth a rental, but that's as enthusiastic as I can be given the circumstances.

I Can't Think Straight - Buy from Amazon
This DVD was released last year on DVD, but it was an overpriced import. Now it is officially released in the States for a much more reasonable price. If you were interested but waited, smart move.

I Hate Valentine's Day - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Nia Vardalos was virtually unknown when she wrote and starred in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which started out slowly but grew and grew thanks to word-of-mouth. And grew. It didn't peak at the box office until its 20th weekend of release and it still holds records to this day. (It is considered by many, me included, to be the highest grossing independent film of all time.) However, since then her career has been... let's just say not record-breaking and leave it at that. This film wasn't able to turn that around, as it earned terrible reviews and bombed in limited release. I guess if you are fan of the genre and like Nia Vardalos then it might be worth a rental, but that's it.

JAG (Judge Advocate General): The Final Season - Buy from Amazon
A good show that is the precursor to NCIS. However, it's more of a courtroom drama and less of a police procedural. Hopefully the screener will arrive shortly so I can get the review online A.S.A.P.

Maneater - Buy from Amazon
A two-part mini-series that aired over Memorial Day long weekend last year starring Sarah Chalke as a socialite that decides her life needs a new direction... plus her dad is cutting off her allowance. So she decides to land herself a rich husband, because the only other option is getting a job. On the one hand, I hate that setup. On the other hand, I love Sarah Chalke. Is her presence in this movie enough to save it? Read our review to find out.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie's Bow-Tique - Buy from Amazon
The latest DVD release for this kids show features four episodes with Minnie Mouse as the focus. Does it live up to the value of previous releases? Check out our review to find out.

The Patty Duke Show: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
The second season of this classic show about identical cousins... I don't think that's medically possible. The 6-disc set includes all 36 episodes plus vintage PSAs and new interviews. Worth picking up for fans of the show.

The Penguins of Madagascar Operation: DVD Premier - Buy from Amazon
I'm supposed to review this DVD, but the screener is late. I did review the previous DVD release, which was part of a Two-Pack, but I don't know if this DVD is an improvement or not.

The People Speak (Extended Edition) - Buy from Amazon
A documentary adaptation of Howard Zinn's book, A People's History of the United States. The film earned excellent reviews, as did the book and even without extras the two-and-a-half hour-long program is absolutely worth the price.

The Phantom - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
When most people remember The Phantom they... well... Let's be honest here, most people don't remember The Phantom. But those who do probably remember that purple outfit the most. Is there more to the movie than that? Check out our review to find out.

Polar Storm - Buy from Amazon
A TV movie directed by Paul Ziller. (Who?) He directs tons of these films including Sea Beast, Loch Ness Terror, and others.

The Running Man - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
One of a string of Blu-ray catalogue titles coming out on Blu-ray this week that I got a chance to review. Check out the review here.

The Sarah Silverman Program: Season Two: Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
I've always liked Sarah Silverman, but I haven't really been able to get into her TV show. Will this be the release that wins me over, or will I finally give up? Read our review to find out.

A Serious Man - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Joel and Ethan Coen's follow-up to the big hits of the past two years, Burn After Reading and No Country for Old Men. This film earned amazing reviews, but it never caught on with moviegoers and it didn't do as well during Awards Season as its reviews would suggest it should. Extras include a making-of featurette, another featurette on the 1967 look, and a short Yiddish / Hebrew glossary. There are no additional extras on the Blu-ray, but it costs less than $1 more on Amazon.com, so it is better choice if you want to buy the movie, and it is definitely worth buying.

Serious Moonlight - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The directorial debut of Cheryl Hines, based on a script by the late Adrienne Shelly. Since it was Adrienne Shelly's swan song of sorts, I wanted it to be a good movie. To find out if it lived up to my desires, check out our review.

Shoot First and Pray You Live - Buy from Amazon
The full name is Shoot First and Pray You Live (Because Luck Has Nothing to Do with It), which is likely too long to fit on most marquees. As for the film, it's a Western about revenge, which is hardly an original premise. And with no reviews it is hard to tell if the execution was good.

Stargate SG-U: 1.0 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Most fans of the franchise like this show and the DVD and Blu-ray are loaded with extras, but I don't like how they split the season release into two. Then again, the season itself is split into two, with the second part starting in April, so the release plan at least makes some sense. However, the issue of price remains.

The Stepfather - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The original earned amazing reviews for the genre, with Terry O'Quinn being singled out for his performance. This version was savaged for lacking the same edge as the first, as well as not having a central performance that the rest of the film can hang on. Despite opening right around Halloween, it debuted with a thud and really went nowhere. I was half expecting a featureless DVD / Blu-ray release, but the former has an audio commentary track, two making-of featurettes, and some outtakes, while the latter also has a trivia track. That's better than I was expecting, but not good enough to overcome the movie. Skip it.

The Stick Up Kids - Buy from Amazon
A movie about a group of burglars who are looking for one last job to pull, but it doesn't go off as planned. (Of course it doesn't. It never does in these movies.) But now they have to use their skills to protect their neighborhood from a slumlord who is planning to throw people out on the streets. It's a low budget movie to be sure, but the few reviews I've seen have been moderately positive.

The Time Traveler's Wife - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An overly sappy adaptation that was able to become a midlevel hit late in the summer. Extras on the DVD include a featurette on the making of the movie, while the Blu-ray has an additional featurette on the love story in the movie. That said, the Blu-ray costs nearly 50% more, which is too much for this type of release.

Vega$: The First Season: Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
The DVD just arrived. I'll pop it into my machine and get to work on the review as soon as I'm done with this column.

Warning: This DVD made its home market debut on the 26th of January. However, the DVD screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

Whip It - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Drew Barrymore's directorial debut earned excellent reviews but bombed at the box office. So was this film an undiscovered gem, or something strictly for the critics? Check out our review to find out.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Time Traveler's Wife, I Can't Think Straight, I Hate Valentine's Day, The Stepfather, Couples Retreat, Endgame, Serious Moonlight, Dare, The Stick Up Kids, Polar Storm, Bronson, Whip It, Hurricane Season, A Serious Man, Shoot First and Pray You Live, XIII: The Conspiracy