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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for March 16th, 2010

March 16th, 2010

Not a big week in terms of total releases, but there are plenty of top-notch choices from every category. The best wide release on this week's list is The Princess and the Frog, which is a contender for Pick of the Week. It's not the only contender for that title. In fact, there are contenders in nearly every category, including limited releases (Bandslam on DVD), Foreign Language films (Broken Embraces on Blu-ray), TV on DVD (Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray), and even Canadian (High Life on DVD). While all are worthy of adding to your DVD / Blu-ray collection, I'm going with The Princess and the Frog on Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack as the Pick of the Week.

Armored - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A heist movie about a group of security guards that plan to rob the armored car that they are guarding. Of course, their careful plan goes awry. The reviews were mixed, but the box office results were simply terrible. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track and a trio of "making-of" featurettes. The Blu-ray is BD-Live enabled and has a trivia track, while it only costs 30% more. If you are interested in buying, HD is the way to go. I would recommend renting first.

Astro Boy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of those films that underperformed at the box office for reasons that are not immediately obvious. Its reviews were mixed, but that doesn't explain its box office troubles. Perhaps Astro Boy just isn't as much of a known commodity as the studio was expecting. It has been around for close to 60 years and was one of the earliest Anime series to be exported from Japan to the United States, so maybe the studio thought they didn't have to sell the concept and fans would just show up based on the name alone. That didn't work out. Extras on the DVD include some deleted scenes, "making-of" featurettes, and bonus short films. The Blu-ray has no exclusives, while it costs a little more than I would be willing to pay to make the upgrade.

Bandslam - Buy from Amazon
One of the biggest advertising failures of the summer. This movie is very much in the same vein as Nick and Norah or Juno, but was advertised as a High School Musical clone. So despite excellent reviews, it bombed at the box office. Extras on the DVD are much better than expected given the film's box office performance with an audio commentary track, a "making of" featurette, some deleted scenes, and musical performances. Worth picking up.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 2nd. However, the screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

Bitch Slap - Buy from Amazon
With a name like Bitch Slap, you know this movie won't be for everyone. However, is it a loving homage to exploitation flicks from days gone past. Check out our review for my opinion.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Armored, Astro Boy, Breaking Bad: Season One, Breaking Bad: Season Two, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Broken Embraces, Clash of the Gods, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Fallen Angels, The Fourth Kind, Gunslinger Girl: The Complete First Season, Gunslinger Girl II: Teatrino, Ninja Assassin, Paris, The Princess and the Frog (Single-Disc Edition), The Princess and the Frog (Three-Disc Combo Pack), South Park: Season 13, SuicideGirls: Guide to Living, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Unrivaled, The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights, The Wizard of Oz, and Wonderful World
There are several major Blu-ray releases this week, including New Moon and The Princess and the Frog, as well as lesser titles. Some of these lesser titles, like Breaking Bad, might be lesser in popularity, but they are worth picking up. Others are lesser for a reason.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season - DVD or Blu-ray
Bryan Cranston won his second Emmy for his portrayal of Chemistry teacher turned drug manufacturer. The first season the show was a mid-season replacement, so this is the show's first time it had a full run (although that run was just 13 episodes). Can it deal with this premise through a full season? Check out our review to hear my opinion.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
After Julianne Nicholson is dumped, she decides to interview a group of men to figure out what makes them tick. Despite mixed reviews, the film started out amazingly during its limited release. Then, likely because of weak reviews, it immediately collapsed. Some of the critics' complaints revolved around episodic nature of the movie, which means that it could actually be better suited for the home market where one can skip the "interviews" that drag the movie down. Extras on the DVD include an interview and a behind-the-scenes featurette, making it a solid rental. The Blu-ray is almost 50% more than the DVD, which is too much to pay.

Broken Embraces - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Very few non-English directors have a sizable fanbase in the United States, but Pedro Almodovar is one of the exceptions. His latest film, Broken Embraces, was not quite as big of a success at the box office as some of his past films were, while its reviews were also not among his very best. However, it still did fantastic for a Foreign Language film, while most critics loved the movie and it even earned a Golden Globe nomination. Extras on the DVD include interviews, deleted scenes, etc. There are no exclusives on the Blu-ray, but it only costs $1 more so it's the better deal.

Clash of the Gods: Season One - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A TV show released on DVD in time for the upcoming Clash of the Titans remake. Will fans of Greek mythology rejoice, or will they be disappointed by the execution? Read our review to see my opinion.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker teamed up in Extreme Measures, which earned mixed reviews and then bombed at the box office. However, that film was a thriller of sorts, which neither actor is well known for. This time around it is a Romantic Comedy (and a high-concept Romantic Comedy at that) and it's more in line with their past work. Unfortunately, this didn't matter, as the movie's reviews were terrible and it still bombed at the box office. Extras on the DVD include audio commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes, etc., while the Blu-ray is BD-Live enabled and only costs $1 more. That said, it is only worth a rental and that's only if you are a hardcore fan of Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker and high-concept Romantic Comedies. If you are only fans of only two of the three, then you can safely skip it.

The Fourth Kind - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of those films that tries to sell its scares by pretending it's real. A lot of the time this plan works, but not this time. It was eviscerated by critics and mostly ignored by moviegoers. Because of this, it is not surprising that the DVD and Blu-ray don't have a lot of extras (there are just some deleted scenes). This further limits its value and I don't think it is even worth renting.

Hawaii Five-O: Season Eight - Buy from Amazon
Season Eight of Twelve. Hawaii Five-O is one of the most iconic detective shows of all time. The theme song alone can get most people in the mood to watch a police procedural show. By season eight, quite a few of the original cast had moved on, but was the show still going strong? You can see my review here.

High Life - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian movie about a group of inept would-be bank robbers trying to steal an ATM back in the days when ATMs were new. Good cast, good reviews, no chance at the box office. Almost no Canadian film as any real shot at the box office. This could explain why there are no extras on the DVD. But given the reviews, it is still worth picking up.

Monk: Season Eight - Buy from Amazon
Bad news: this is the last season of Monk. Good news: from all reports, it ended on a high note, and not just the series finale. There are a number of great episodes in this season, including the return of Bitty Schram as Sharona. Extras are better than a lot of sets in the past, with audio commentary track on the finale, interviews, a behind-the-scenes tour, etc. Absolutely worth picking up for fans of the show. If you haven't seen the show, wait a year and grab the Full Series Megaset.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: XVII - Buy from Amazon
"In the not too distant future..."
I've been a fan of MST3K for a long, long time. I own this show on VHS, that's how long I've been a fan of this show. How well does it hold up compared to previous releases? Check out our review to find out my opinion.

Ninja Assassin - DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo
A generic action movie with a generic name. One of those movies that are worth checking out for fans of the genre, but too unmemorable to be worth picking up over just renting. Extras on the DVD and Blu-ray include deleted scenes and a trio of "making of" featurettes. There are no exclusives on the Blu-ray, but 40% more for the DVD and a Digital Copy is a reasonable price upgrade.

Paris - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Didn't this come out last week?

The Princess and the Frog - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
One of five animated films to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature-Length Film. It also earned two nominations for Best Original Song. On the other hand, the film didn't match hefty expectations at the box office. Was this fair? Check out our review to find out.

South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Just a quick note that the DVD / Blu-ray screeners are late. Hopefully. There is a chance that I just won't be getting this show to review. They have all 14 episodes with mini-commentaries on each, but that's it for extras, while there appears to be no High Definition extras.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Spongebob's Last Stand - Buy from Amazon
The latest SpongeBob DVD to hit the home market. I'm supposed to review it, but the screener is late. Hopefully it will get here soon.

SuicideGirls: Guide to Living - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, and Giftbox
Life advice from the models of a site that is ... I don't want to use the term softcore porn, but that might be the best term. How about, "Non-pornographic erotic nude photography"? The point I'm trying to make is, these are not the people I would go to for advice. On the other hand, I'm 98% sure that "advice" is not the number one reason people will be buying this DVD / Blu-ray. Hopefully we will be getting a couple copies to giveaway as part of our weekly Box Office Prediction contest.

Super WHY! : Peter Rabbit and Other Fairytale Adventures - Buy from Amazon
Another TV on DVD release where I'm waiting on a screener before I can review it.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon - Buy from Amazon: Two-Disc DVD or Blu-ray
The Twilight franchise is one of the biggest at the box office over the past two years, but its critical reception has been less rosy. Quite frankly, either you are already a fan of the books, or you should avoid this movie. One last note, the film is being released in a number of versions on the 20th, including a couple that are only available in Wal-Mart or Target stores.

Twilight in Forks: Saga of the Real Town - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the town that served as the inspiration for the setting of the popular franchise. Buying this DVD is akin to buying a Klingon to English Dictionary: taking your fandom too far.

Unrivaled - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A movie about a washed-up fighter that gets his shot at the Big Time. It's Rocky meets MMA. It's frightfully unlikely to be as good as Rocky, but can it at least be entertaining in its own way? Check out our review here.

Wonderful World - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Matthew Broderick plays a grumpy children's folk singer who has given up on life. The film earned weak reviews and went nowhere at the box office, so expectations are rather low. Perhaps this will help in the end. Check out our review to find out.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Bandslam, Paris, Los abrazos rotos, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Wonderful World, The Fourth Kind, Ninja Assassin, The Princess and the Frog, Astro Boy, Bitch Slap, Armored, Unrivaled