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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for March 2nd, 2010

March 2nd, 2010

The first of the fall season mega-hits comes out this week with the release of 2012. However, while that movie is getting a major release on DVD and Blu-ray, the film itself is only worth a rental. The best of this week's releases is Ponyo and its Blu-ray / DVD Combo is worthy of the Pick of the Week honor.

2012 - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or Two Disc Blu-ray
This film became a surprise hit domestically, but it is arguably the biggest surprise hit internationally, where it earned nearly 80% of its box office. The only real selling point is the action and the action is too repetitive to be effective. The DVD has an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending. The Blu-ray has this and a Picture-in-Picture track, plus it is BD-Live enabled with undatable bios and the like. The Two-Disc Blu-ray has all of this, plus featurettes on the Mayan calendar, the special effects, etc. There's also a piece that pretends the 2012 prophecy is more than a load of crap. It's an interesting premise for a movie, but don't lie to me and tell me it's real. And if you believe its real, you better not have any money in your bank account at the end of December 2012. Put your money where your mouth is.

Alice: Various Releases - Buy from Amazon: Alice (DVD), Alice (Blu-ray), Alice in Wonderland (1933), Alice in Wonderland (1966), and Alice in Wonderland (1999 TV movie)
With the release of Alice in Wonderland on Friday, we have four previous adaptations coming out this week. The most recent is the Alice mini-series, which I reviewed, while the earliest is close to 80 years old. There are also a wide degree of adaptations: from faithful, modern retellings to psychedelic trips. If you are a fan of the story, there's something here worth checking out.

Alice - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
After the success of Tin Man, SyFy was interested in creating another modern retelling of a classic story. Alice was the result. How well does this idea work this time around? Check out our review to find out.

The Beaches Of Agnes - Buy from Amazon
This film earned nearly universal positive reviews and even picked up a DGA nomination. Absolutely worth checking out. Plus, with three short films by the director included, it is work picking up over just renting.

Bitch Slap - Buy from Amazon
A loving homage to exploitation films from the 1970s. The reviews were mixed: some saying they took the exploitation too far, others saying they didn't take it far enough. Can't please them all, I guess. Extras on the DVD include a 90-minute "making-of" documentary, which is very impressive. Worth picking up for fans of the genre. Also, if enough DVDs sell, there is a plan to put out a director's cut on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: 2012 (Single-Disc Edition), 2012 (Two-Disc Edition), The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Alice, Clash of the Titans, Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers, Gentlemen Broncos, Kurokami: The Animation, Volume 1, The Neverending Story, Ninja, Ponyo, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, and Where the Wild Things Are
Not a strong selection of Blu-ray releases, but that mirrors the overall weak selection. The biggest releases is obviously 2012, but I think Anime fans will be the happiest with the release of Ponyo and a couple other titles.

Clash of the Titans - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The new version of this movie comes out next month, but the Blu-ray of the original comes out this week. And, hopefully, the screener will arrive shortly.

Cold Souls - Buy from Amazon
Paul Giamatti stars as Paul Giamatti, an actor who uses a Soul Storage service, but his soul is stolen and he needs to travel to Russia to get it back. A very strange premise but the execution was strong and it is worth picking up, especially for fans of Paul Giamatti. If it had significant extras, it could be a contender for Pick of the Week; however, there are only some deleted scenes and some concept designs to be found here.

Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD sequel to Curious George, which was a midlevel hit back in 2006. If your kids are fans of the book, it's at least worth a rental.

Designing Women: Season Three - Buy from Amazon
This show ran for seven seasons, earning 18 Emmy nominations. It was nearly shut out, winning only one of them. Still, earning 18 nominations is still an impressive feat. This season wasn't the most acclaimed (that would be next year) but Season Three is still during the peak of the show's run. I would have liked some extras, but getting the show on DVD will be enough for most.

Doctor Who - Buy from Amazon: Episode 67 & 68: Dalek War: Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks and Episode 152: Remembrance of the Daleks (Special Edition)
It's a double dose of Daleks this week, the latter of which is a double-dip. The previous release had issues with the restoration process, so they've re-released the corrected version with additional special features. Whether or not it is worth the upgrade depends on your opinion of double-dips.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 23rd of February. However, the screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

Double Identity - Buy from Amazon
Yet another direct-to-DVD release for Val Kilmer, who has been mostly relegated to that market for the past several years. I've reviewed a couple of these releases in the past, so how well does this one compare? Check out our review for my opinion.

Elvis - Buy from Amazon
A TV movie BioPic on the life of Elvis Presley. It was made more than 30 years ago, so how well has it aged? Read our review to find out.

Gentlemen Broncos - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Jared Hess burst onto the movie-making scene with Napoleon Dynamite. His latest film feels like he is trying way too hard to recapture the same magic, but the result is horrific. I've read some people say that the film is so bad it has made them retroactively hate Napoleon Dynamite. If that's the case, then even fans of that movie should stay far away.

Hayao Miyazaki Collection: Buy from Amazon: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service
With the release of Ponyo comes the release of the first three films Hayao Miyazaki made with Stduio Ghibli. While they are being released separately, we've combined the reviews into one. They can be found here.

Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown - Buy from Amazon
For fans of The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels is well known as a tough trainer. But how is she as a Yoga Instructor? Check our out review to read my opinion. (Or my sister's opinion, in this case.)

Matlock: The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
Great show, but I'm still waiting on the screener.

Ninja - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This is a martial arts movie with a rather generic name. Is the movie any more original than the name? Won't know till the screener(s) arrive.

Ponyo - Buy from Amazon: DVD, DVD Gift Set, or Blu-ray / DVD Combo
Hayao Miyazaki's latest film was also his biggest hit in this market. Was it also his best film? Check out our review to find out my opinion.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Robin Wright stars as Pippa Lee, a woman who married a much older man. But when he has to move to a retirement community due to his health, she feels trapped in her new world. The film's reviews were good, but it never really found an audience in limited release. The DVD and Blu-ray have an audio commentary track and a short interview featurette, which is enough to call it a solid rental. Leaning towards a purchase.

Strawberry Shortcake: The Berryfest Princess - Buy from Amazon
I was about the right age when Strawberry Shortcake first came out. Right age, wrong gender. Now that the franchise has been rebooted, the latest direct-to-DVD release has reached my desk and the review can be found here.

Where the Wild Things Are - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film is an adaptation of a children's story that is 10 sentences long, so it is based mostly on the visual style of the book. This seems like a really bad idea, but it worked out rather well, even if the film wasn't able to match its hefty production budget. Extras on the DVD are pretty light with just a handful of featurettes for a total running time of 15 minutes. Call it a rental. The Blu-ray has additional extras, including more featurettes and a short film based on another story by Maurice Sendak, as well as a DVD / Digital copy of the movie. This format is worth picking up.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 16th of February. However, the screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

Women in Trouble - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An ensemble piece about a group of women whose lives interact throughout the day. It didn't score with critics or with moviegoers, but will I have a dissenting opinion? Check out our review to find out.

The Wraith: Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Charlie Sheen's first lead role wasn't a hit, either at the box office or with critics, but it is getting a Special Edition release this week. Has the film gotten better with age? For my opinion, check out my review.


Filed under: Video Releases, Gake no ue no Ponyo, Cold Souls, The Beaches of Agnes, Gentlemen Broncos, Where the Wild Things Are, Women in Trouble, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Bitch Slap, 2012