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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for May 25th, 2010

May 24th, 2010

According to Amazon.com, the best-selling release of the week is True Blood: Season Two on DVD while the Blu-ray is the second best selling release. I'm not saying it's a bad deal; in fact, it is a contender for Pick of the Week. However, for a TV on DVD to top the chart probably means sales for other titles will be quite weak. Other contenders for Pick of the Week include Leverage: Season Two and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. All three releases win that coveted title, but if I were forced to pick just one of them, I would go with True Blood: Season Two on Blu-ray. The flashbacks in the Picture-in-Picture track are just such a cool idea that it wins the tie-breaker.


Ancients Behaving Badly - Buy from Amazon
A TV show from the History channel, which doesn't indicate how historical is is. So does this show offer a glimpse into a side of history they don't show in textbooks? Or is it little more the exploitation wrapped in the cover of history? Check out our review for my opinion.

On a side note, in my review I mentioned some of the less that historical shows that air on the History channel. Also coming out this week is I Know What I Saw. This is exactly the kind of crap I'm talking about. By the way, if you know what you saw, then it isn't a UFO, because the "U" stands for "Unidentified". For that matter, "Flying Saucer" concept is based on a misquote. The earliest "flying saucer" was described as a flying wing and was said to wobble like a saucer. At the time, the United States military was testing flying wing designs for planes, which had stability issues causing them to wobble. That's too much of a coincidence to ignore.

Babysitter Wanted - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Sarah Thompson stars as a college student in need of money who takes a job in a remote rural farmhouse to babysit a young boy. The "Babysitter in Peril" sub-genre of horror is crowded one, but most of the reviews I've seen online are pretty strong. (There are also a large number of recognizable faces in this film, including Sarah Thompson from Angel, Matt Dallas from Kyle XY, Nana Visitor from Deep Space Nine, etc.) Extras on both the DVD and the Blu-ray include an audio commentary track, a behind-the-scene featurette, some interviews, a music video, and more. Worth picking up for fans of the genre, and worth paying the extra for High Definition.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Babysitter Wanted, By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two (The Criterion Collection), City of the Living Dead, Clash of the Titans, Class of Nuke 'Em High, Dark Nature, Dear John, Django, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Flashbacks of a Fool, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part 1, The Road, Samurai Princess, Seven Swords, The Shortcut, Spartacus (50th Anniversary Edition), Stagecoach (The Criterion Collection), Tromeo and Juliet, True Blood: Season Two, and White Wall
Not a strong week for Blu-ray releases, again. The best-selling release is True Blood: Season Two, which is a great show, but TV on DVD releases tend to not sell very well on High Definition compared to first run releases. There is an eclectic mix in the top ten, including first run releases (Dear John); limited releases (The Road); classic releases (Spartacus); and even web programming (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog).

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.

Breakfast with Scot - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian film about a gay couple who become the guardians of a flamboyant young man. It struggled to find an audience theatrically, but most Canadian films never see the inside of an American theater, so it did better than a lot of its compatriots. Will it find a more receptive audience on the home market? Check out our review for my opinion.

David Cross: Bigger and Blackerer - Buy from Amazon
This is David Cross's first stand-up comedy special in six years. Has it been worth the wait? Or has he lost his touch and grown soft in his old age? Check out our review for my opinion.

Dear John - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The latest film from Nicholas Sparks, sort of. Since this movie came out in February, The Last Song has already come and gone from theaters, and I'm sure he's busy working on yet another novel that he thinks is better than Shakespeare. The film was a bigger than expected hit at the box office, but the reviews were quite terrible and this is strictly for his fans only. Extras are adequate with deleted / alternative scenes, a making of featurette, interviews, etc. The Blu-ray has no additional extras and it is not the type of film that needs to be seen in High Definition. I can't recommend anyone seeing it.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - Buy from Amazon
Joss Whedon wrote and directed this weird musical about a wannabe super villain, Dr. Horrible. Dr. Horrible's goals in life are to join the Evil League of Evil, defeat the heroic Captain Hammer, and win the love of Penny (played by Felicia Day). The show was hugely popular when it first debuted online and the soundtrack and DVD were big sellers. Now it is coming out on Blu-ray, which should please fans. However, there are no High Definition Exclusives, while the very, very low budget nature of the show limits its High Definition experience. That said, it is only $11 so it is worth picking up. It's a contender for Pick of the Week. One last note, Felicia Day, who plays Penny in this, also created and stars in The Guild and Season Three of that web show is being re-released on DVD this week.

Flashpoint: The Second Season - Buy from Amazon
I reviewed Season One last year and I hope to get the screener for Season Two shortly. It is a Canadian show and I'd like to get a chance to review it.

George Gently: Series 2 - Buy from Amazon
A police detective show set in 1960s United Kingdom. The 4-disc set only has four episodes, so it is more like a series of TV movies than a true TV show. Even so, it's rather pricey. This is a problem with most imports, but I would be amiss if I didn't mention it.

Hoarders: The Complete Season One - Buy from Amazon
I'm not a fan of this show, as it feels exploitative to me. Like the show is supposed to make you feel better about your messy home because it's not as bad as the homes that are featured on the show. And I'm not just saying that because I'm not that far off from being on the show. In my defense, I have a lot of DVDs and Blu-rays that I've reviewed over the years, and technically I'm not allowed to sell them. I'm not even sure I'm allowed to give them away. One of the studios even includes a sticker telling me to mail the screeners back. Of course, in the e-mail they politely request you ignore that and don't mail them back. I guess they wouldn't know what to do when them any more than I do. Do you know how many boxes it takes to store more than 1000 DVDs?

Leverage: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
Timothy Hutton stars as Nate Ford, an ex-insurance investigator that now leads a group of conmen and thieves who go after the rich and powerful when they get away with their crimes. I loved the first season, but can the show maintain its high quality, or will it fall prey to a sophomore slump? Check out our review for my opinion.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 19th... of December, 2009. However, the screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

The Mel Brooks Collection - Blu-ray Buy from Amazon
The box set came out six months ago, but three of the Blu-rays found inside were released recently, hence the review. The massive review.

Mystery Team - Buy from Amazon
This film has an interesting premise. It looks at a trio of friends that ran a detective agency in elementary school, but now that they are in high school they still haven't grown out of that phase. Now they get the biggest case of their careers: they must help solve the murder of a little girl's father. This is a good premise, but looking at the reviews it is clear that the execution is mixed and the creators too often go for the cheap laugh. Given the ultra-low budget nature of the film, the extras are better than expected, with an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, a making of featurette, and more. Worth checking out, but I would stick with a rental.

Owl and the Sparrow - Buy from Amazon
A movie about a 10-year girl in Vietnam trying to play matchmaker between a zookeeper and a flight attendant while avoiding her uncle. The film earned good reviews and even earned an Independent Spirit Awards nomination, as well as other awards. However, it never found an audience during its short limited release. Now it is coming out on DVD; a DVD that includes an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, and more. Definitely worth picking up.

Rain Fall - Buy from Amazon
A thriller set in Japan. It stars Kippei Shiina as John Rain, a hitman looking to protect the daughter of one of his victims from CIA agents. Since the CIA are portrayed as the bad guys here, it might have trouble finding an audience, even with the likes of Gary Oldman in the cast.

The Road - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An unnamed father and son go on a road trip in a post-apocalyptic world. The film earned good reviews and did well during its opening weekend. However, it collapsed the next weekend and never recovered. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, a making of featurette, and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray is BD-live enabled and has a MovieIQ track with biographies, trivia, etc. It's worth picking up, and it is worth paying the $4 extra for the Blu-ray.

The Shadow Within - Buy from Amazon
An Italian horror film about a twin whose brother died at birth and whose mother uses him as a medium to contact the other side. Since this is a horror film, you can probably guess that this turns out to be a bad decision. There are very few reviews I've seen online, but those I have seen have been mostly positive: it's not breaking any new ground, but it is effective nonetheless. The lack of extras is disappointing, but it is still worth checking out for most fans of the genre.

True Blood: Season Two - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The second season of this vampire series that debuted on HBO last season and became the most watched show since Sopranos went off the air. That's an impressive feat and one that is well earned. Now that the show has had a season to set up the characters and the world they live in, more time can be spent on the intriguing stories. Absolutely worth checking out, and unlike many other HBO TV on DVD releases, worth picking up. Too often HBO releases cost way too much and have far too few extras to warrant purchasing, but that's not the case here. The DVD has audio commentary tracks on six of the episodes, interviews, etc. The Blu-ray has these, as well as Picture-in-Picture tracks that include the interviews, behind-the-scenes, trivia, even flashbacks to the previous season. That's an awesome idea and I hope it becomes a standard Blu-ray extra for shows where continuity really matters. (I'm thinking of shows like Lost, and it's not too early to be thinking about a "Special Edition Full Series Megaset.) Absolutely worth picking up and a contender for Pick of the Week.

The Virginian: The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This TV western lasted nearly a decade starting in 1962. Normally shows this old come out on featureless DVDs, or even worse, split-season featureless DVDs. However, this is not the case here, as all 30 first season episodes are on this 10-disc DVD, which includes a bonus disc with interviews. A great value on a price per minute basis and definitely worth picking up.

Waiting for God: Season Five - Buy from Amazon
A Britcom about life in a retirement home with two retirees that refuse to go quietly into the night. It's an excellent show and worth picking up. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend renting Season One and if you like it, buying The Complete Series, which is also coming out this week.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Owl and the Sparrow, Breakfast with Scot, Mystery Team, The Road, Dear John, Rain Fall, The Shadow Within