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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for March 23rd, 2010

March 23rd, 2010

An excellent week with at least four releases that are worthy of Pick of the Week honors: The African Queen, Mad Men: Season Three, and both Toy Story Blu-rays. (In addition, there are several other releases that are worth picking up.) I found it impossible to limit my pick to just one, so I'm going with the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 Blu-ray / DVD Combo sets as the Pick of the Week.

7th Heaven: Season Ten - Buy from Amazon
Season ten of this series was supposed to be its last, but a last minute renewal brought it back for an eleventh season. It probably should have been its last. By this time the show was getting more than a little tired. While I'm not a fan, many people will be happy to know that we have a copy of this DVD that will be part of the Box Office Prediction Contest starting this Friday.

The African Queen - Buy from Amazon: DVD, DVD Box Set, Blu-ray, or Blu-ray Box Set
Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn starred in this 1951 masterpiece. However, it is nearly 60 years old, so how well has it stood up to time, and how well does it stand out in High Definition? Won't know till the screener arrives, which is hopefully very soon.

After Dark's Horrorfest IV - Buy from Amazon: Dread, The Final, The Graves, Hidden, Kill Theory, Lake Mungo, Reeds, and Zombies of Mass Destruction
These film festivals have not been able to get a foothold at the box office, but they've become annual events on the home market. I might be getting screeners for these movies, but it will take a while to get through all eight. Also available as a box set, which I swear wasn't on Amazon.com when I went through the list earlier today. (Amazon.com has been giving me a lot of trouble today.)

The Blind Side - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
This film is the biggest box office hit of Sandra Bullock's career, and it even earned her her first Oscar win. That said, it's not that good a film; it's better than the average wide release, but it was also the weakest of the best picture nominations. Extras on the DVD are very weak with just some deleted scenes. Call that version a rental. Meanwhile, the Combo Pack has that, two interview featurettes, and to behind-the-scenes featurettes. It does cost 35% more, but considering it comes with the DVD and a Digital Copy, it's absolutely worth the upgrade. Call this version a solid purchase.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: The African Queen, The African Queen: Commemorative Box Set, Alterbridge: Live from Amsterdam, Bigger Than Life (The Criterion Collection), Blind Side, Brothers, Days of Heaven (The Criterion Collection), Fantastic Mr. Fox, Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove (Limited-Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy), Mad Men: Season Three, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Phantom Punch, Red Cliff (International Version), Red Cliff (Theatrical Version), Sanjuro (The Criterion Collection), Smokin' Aces: Two-Movie Collection, Spring 1941, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Trinity Blood: The Complete Series, Yojimbo (The Criterion Collection), and Yojimbo & Sanjuro (The Criterion Collection)
Not a particularly long list of Blu-ray releases this week, but what they lack in quantity they make for in quality. There's a huge list of top-notch releases and very little in the way of filler. The Criterion Collection releases alone could put a serious dent in anyone's entertainment budget, but it could be worth it.

BOB's Big Break / Shrek 3D - Buy from Amazon
A re-release of two previously released DVDs, only with a new slipcover! Obviously, if you already own them, there's no need to upgrade, but what if you haven't seen them yet? Check out my review to read my opinion.

Brothers - DVD or Blu-ray
A remake of a Danish film that earned amazing reviews but was unable to find an audience here. While asking it to live up to the original might be asking too much, can it at least thrive on its own? Check out our review to find out my opinion.

Fame Dance Workout - Buy from Amazon
You would think it would have been smart to release this exercise DVD along with the DVD / Blu-ray of the recent Fame remake. Oh well, since there was a couple months between those release dates, waiting a little while longer for our contest won't be too bad.

Father Knows Best: Season Four - Buy from Amazon
It would be hard to argue that this show isn't "old fashioned", but whether or not that term is an insult is up to personal opinion.

Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
I was a big fan of the original puppet version of the show, so how well does the concept translate to hand animation? Check out our review for my opinion.

Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
After the third installment of the franchise bombed, it took 13 years for the fourth to come out, and it is being released direct-to-DVD. I'm not surprised. Well, I'm a little surprised it is being made in the first place, but I'm not surprised it is being released on DVD.

Hitler Meets Christ - Buy from Amazon
Two homeless men meet on the Subway, one who thinks he's Jesus Christ and the other who thinks he's Adolf Hitler. A rather bizarre film, to say the least, and it's not for everyone. I would say it is worth checking out, just because of how unique it is, but rent a backup as well.

Krod Mandoon & The Flaming Sword of Fire - Buy from Amazon
A good show that spoofs Sword & Sorcery movies like Conan. I haven't seen many reviews, but the ones I have read are almost all positive. (One's in Spanish. The final paragraph begins with, "Su humor subversivo y expresa sexualidad..." And I think that means it's funny and sexy.) Extras include a couple of behind-the-scene featurettes, interviews, outtakes, and deleted / extended scenes. Worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

The Lair: The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
A TV series about gay vampires. It could be a really good series that uses vampirism as a metaphor for the treatment of gays in society, but instead it is mostly just camp. It's a guilty pleasure for some, but that's as far as most would go with their praise.

Life with Derek: The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
This TV on DVD release was pushed back from the 9th till the 23rd, but the screener is still MIA. Hopefully it will get here soon, because it's a good show, although I would have gone scorched earth on Derek if I were his stepsister.

Mad Men: Season Three - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
After just three years, Mad Men has become one of the perennial favorites during Awards Season. Will I be adding my voice to the chorus of acclaim, or will I be a dissenting opinion? Check out our review to find out.

The Men Who Stare at Goats - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A black comedy about the military training psychics that is loosely based on real life. Black comedies are hard to pull off, and even harder to market, and sadly this film struggled in both areas. Extras are strong with two audio commentary tracks, two making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, and more. There's nothing exclusive on the Blu-ray, but it is actually cheaper than the DVD, at least on Amazon.com right now.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks: Great Moments and Classic Games - Buy from Amazon
The first of two multi-disc sets coming out this week that should delight fans of hockey in general. This one has five classic games, although your definition of "classic" might vary, plus a disc of highlights. The price per minute is excellent, and there should be plenty of "new" fans, as Chicago is doing extremely well in the standings this year.

NHL: Washington Capitals: 10 Greatest Games - Buy from Amazon
Likewise, the Capitals are a top team this year; in fact, they were the first team to clinch a playoff spot this year. This set has ten full games, and while some might quibble about the games selected, it's hard to argue with that price.

Planet Hulk - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc DVD, Two-Disc DVD, or Blu-ray
The second of a trio of late DVDs that were reviewed this past week, and the first of two Marvel properties. How well does this compare to previous, similar titles? Check out our review for my opinion.

Prince & Me 4: The Elephant Adventure - Buy from Amazon
What? Why? Was there really demand for another sequel to the 2004 original?

The Prisoner - Buy from Amazon
This is the miniseries from last year and not the far superior show from the 1960s. Even most fans of this version will admit the original is much better.

Red Cliff - Buy from Amazon: DVD (Theatrical Version), DVD (International Version), Blu-ray (Theatrical Version), or Blu-ray (International Version)
John Woo's historical epic was released as two movies in some markets, one movie in others, and both versions are coming out on DVD and Blu-ray this week. Sadly, the screener arrived this afternoon, and I haven't had a chance to review it yet. I will get to it soon.

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: Season Six - Buy from Amazon
The penultimate season of this TV series. I was a fan of this show when it aired; it was a guilty pleasure that thrived on the charm of Melissa Joan Hart. Was it still entertaining into its sixth season? I don't remember. But hopefully the screener will arrive soon.

Seraphine - Buy from Amazon
This is the kind of film that is made for limited release. It is about a talented artist who had to battle with personal demons. Its reviews are excellent, and while its opening per theater average was only, well, average, it had better than expected legs and nearly reached $1 million at the box office. I don't think there are any extras on the DVD, but it is still worth picking up.

Supervan - Buy from Amazon
A movie so bad that it needs to be seen to be believed. I've only seen bits and pieces of it, and I'm not sure it isn't a hoax. If you are a fan of bad movies, it might be worth a rental.

The T.A.M.I. Show Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
A nearly 2-hour long concert from 1964 that features the likes of Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, and more. Fans of the music from that era will be ecstatic at the opportunity to buy this DVD, and it's a real bargain as well.

Toy Story Blu-ray / DVD Combo Packs - Buy from Amazon: Toy Story and Toy Story 2
The first digitally animated film and its sequel are coming out on High Definition for the first time ever. What more do you need to know before you read our review?

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 2nd of February. However, the screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

Wolverine & X-Men: Fate of the Future - Buy from Amazon
I hate single-disc releases when it comes to TV on DVD. On the other hand, I love reviewing single-disc releases like this, because it makes my job easier when the full-season set does come out. In the meantime, does this DVD at least offer good bang for your buck? Check out our review for more information on that.

Young Sherlock Holmes - Buy from Amazon
I'm not entirely sure this DVD is coming out this week. Amazon.com does not seem to have an indication that it is coming out any time soon. Regardless, the DVD arrived on my desk this past week, and I reviewed it here.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Seraphine, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Graves, Toy Story 3D Double Feature, Brothers, The Blind Side, Lake Mungo, Red Cliff, Zombies of Mass Destruction, , Dread, Planet Hulk, The Final, The Reeds