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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for June 29th, 2010

June 28th, 2010

It's not a bad week on the home market (for this time of year anyway), with a few midlevel hits worth checking out, as well as an assortment of TV on DVD, Limited Releases, and others to fill in the gaps. Of the first run releases, Hot Tub Time Machine is the one I'm looking forward to the most and if it has a good selection of extras, it could be Pick of the Week material. However, the screener won't be shipped to me till tomorrow, so the review will be a few days late at the earliest. That leaves Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage - Blu-ray as the clear Pick of the Week winner.

The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
For fans of the franchise, this series is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it features the voice work of Vincent Price. On the other hand... Flim-flam. Flim-flam was the second most hated character in the franchise, next to Scrappy-Doo, who also appeared in this series. Also, they dropped the skeptical aspect of the show and instead of having the monsters just be people in costumes, there were real ghosts. If you are a completist, then you will want to pick up this DVD. Likewise if you are a huge fan of Vincent Price Beautiful - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An Australian thriller about a series of teenage girls who go missing and one potential victim who goes looking for the truth. It is also one of several DVDs / Blu-ray on this week's list that I'm still waiting for screener.

Blood on the Highway - Buy from Amazon
An homage to B-movie exploitation horror films. There's a fine line between homage and rip-off, a line that is blurred when the genre is B-movie. Which side of the line does this movie fall on? Won't know till the screener gets here.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Beautiful, Black Sabbath: Paranoid, The Crazies, Crazy, Don McKay, The Eclipse, Everlasting Moments - Criterion Collection, Hot Tub Time Machine, How the Earth Changed History, The Leopard - Criterion Collection, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, Stolen, A Traveler's Guide to the Planets , Uncle Sam, Versus, The Warlords, When You're Strange: A Film about The Doors, and The White Ribbon
Not a particularly strong week for Blu-ray releases. There are a few that are worth checking out or picking up, but none that will be major sellers. In fact, I think we might have to wait till August before the next major Blu-ray release comes out. Hopefully I'm wrong. Hopefully something on this week's list is a bigger hit than I expect. There are a few releases that deserve to be (Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage for instance) but I don't see at major hit here.

The Closer: Season Five - Buy from Amazon
Kyra Sedgwick stars as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson, a cop who has an uncanny ability to elicit confessions during her interrogations. Yes, this is yet another police procedural show, but it is also an award-winning show with an awesome cast. Does Season Five live up to past seasons? Won't know till the screener arrives.

The Crazies - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A remake of one of George A. Romero's lesser known films. Although to be frank, when it comes to popularity of his films, there's the Dead series, and then there's everything else. This film beat expectations at the box office and with critics. Thanks to a boatload of extras, it is a Pick of the Week contender. The Blu-ray doesn't have any exclusive extras on the disc, but it does come with a Digital Copy of the film and the price makes it the better deal.

Crazy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A fictionalized account of the life of Hank Garland. Comparisons to Walk the Line might be inevitable, but will it really hurt the film? Check out our review for my opinion.

Creation - Buy from Amazon
A biopic of famous biologist Charles Darwin. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this movie, because Charles Darwin is most famous for his Theory of Evolution, although he wasn't the one who discovered it. (It's actually a complicated matter, with some aspects being as old as antiquity. For instance, the fact that species change over time as been known since we began farming.) Because of the ongoing political controversy surrounding evolution in the United States, some felt this movie wouldn't find a distributor here. However, the real problem was the film was on the dull side. There are some strong parts to the film, including Paul Bettany's performance, but for most a rental will be enough.

Don McKay - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Thomas Haden Church stars in this film as a man who left his hometown 25 years ago because of a tragedy but returns when he learns his old flame is dying. However, his return is more complicated than he thought it would be. This is a Film Noir / Black Comedy has plenty of twists. In fact, it has so many that a lot of critics thought it hurt the film's credibility. If you are a fan of the genre, or the actors involved, then it is worth checking out. You might like it enough that you will want to watch it multiple times to figure out all of the twists, or you may hate it and never want to watch it again.

The Eclipse - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The first point I have to make: this film has nothing to do with The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Let's just get that out of the way right away. Some people will be disappointed by that fact, but for the rest of us, is this a movie worth checking out? Read our review to find out.

Eureka: Season 3.5 - Buy from Amazon
Colin Ferguson stars as Sheriff Jack Carter, who is most situations would be the smartest man in the room. However, he's the sheriff of Eureka, a secret city setup by the government for super genius scientists to run their experiments. Unfortunately, what these scientists have in brains, they tend to lack in common sense, and every week at least one experiment goes horribly wrong. And I mean end of the world horribly wrong. It's a fun show with a great cast, and while the split-season release is a bit of a pain in the ass, the DVD is still good value for the money and worth picking up.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and makes its home market debut on the 6th of July. However, the DVD screener arrived early and I was able to get the review done this week.

Gamera Vs. Barugon - Buy from Amazon
The second release in the Gamera franchise. These Kaiju films always played second fiddle to the Godzilla movies, but was this fair, or are these movies better than their reputation? Check out our review for my opinion.

Hot Tub Time Machine - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A movie with a premise so stupid that it instantly went on my must see list. The cast also helped with this. On a serious note, this is a high concept comedy that if done right could be an instant classic, but if done wrong would be painful to watch. Which direction did it end up? The critics were split on the matter, but its reviews were mostly positive. I won't be able to say which side of the debate I land on till after the screener arrives.

How the Earth Changed History - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Kind of a weird coincidence that this TV series and How the Earth was Made are coming out on the same week.

How the Earth was Made: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
This TV series looks at the many geological wonders around the world and asks how they came to be the way they were, and in some cases, what might the future hold for them. Plus they show these weird rock formations that look like something out of Dr. Seuss. (It's in the Gold episode.) So, is that the best this 4-disc set has to offer, or is the whole thing worth checking out? Read our review to find out.

It Came from Kuchar - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about underground, no-budget filmmakers, George and Mike Kuchar. This is not an impartial academic examination of their work, but a praise-filled look at their films and the filmmakers they helped to inspire. With unbelievably positive reviews, it's clear that fans of their work should grab this film. Others should rent it; you don't know, you might become a fan.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and makes its home market debut on the 6th of July. However, the Blu-ray screener arrived early and I was able to get the review done this week.

Jimmy Hollywood - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
This movie was a failure, both at the box office and with critics. However, it has been 16 years since the film was first released. Maybe in retrospect it is a better movie that its initial box office run would suggest. Or maybe not. Read our review to see which side of the debate I agree with.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and makes its home market debut on the 6th of July. However, the Blu-ray screener arrived early and I was able to get the review done this week.

Ladybugs - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
This movie is remembered as the one that basically harkened the end of Rodney Dangerfield's box office career, if it is remembered at all. He did make a few movies after this, but he either had smaller roles, or the films failed to earn wide releases. "The film that killed Dangerfield's career." That's a hard reputation to live down, but is it deserved? Read our review for my opinion.

Leave It To Beaver: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The complete series on a 37-disc set. That's nearly 4 days of entertainment. That's going to be tough to review when it arrives.

Lifetime Movie - Various Releases - Buy from Amazon: The Drive from Clausen's Pier, Joy Feilding's The Other Woman, The Mermaid's Chair, Plain Truth, and What If God Were the Sun
This week the Lifetime network is release an quintet of their TV movies on individual DVDs. Fans of these movies should be happy with this, but I'm not sure if they are worth checking out for most people, and won't till the screeners arrive.

Mad About You: Season Four - Buy from Amazon
It's been more than three years since season three was released, and seven years since season two. Three years between seasons? That's not acceptable. This is probably due to weak sales, but at least a new distributor, Shout! Factory, picked up the rights to the show. If you are a fan of the show, buy this DVD A.S.A.P., or the rest of the show might not come out for a long, long time.

Night Train to Munich (Criterion Collection) - Buy from Amazon
A World War II spy thriller that is a mostly forgotten classic. I love that it is coming out on a Criterion Collection DVD, but there are not a whole lot of extras here compared to most of their releases. Granted, the price is also less, so there's a trade off there. I'm just happy the film has a chance of being discovered by more people.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The latest attempt to start a kid friendly franchise in the same vein as Harry Potter. This one did better than most, but still wasn't strong enough to suggest it will become the next big thing every studio is looking for. It might earn a sequel if it sells well on the home market, but I won't know if it is worth picking up or not till after the screener arrives.

Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
It's a good time to be a fan of the Predator franchise. There's a new movie coming out, we have a contest running, and the original film is coming out on a special edition Blu-ray. Is it worth the double-dip? Check out our review for my opinion.

Pretty Bird - Buy from Amazon
I am a fan of black comedies, but I admit they are notoriously difficult to pull off. This film sat on a studio shelf for a couple years before being dumped direct-to-DVD , which is a bad sign. Did the studio have legitimate reasons to treat the film this way, or did the movie deserve better? Read our review for my opinion.

Red Vs. Blue:The Blood Gulch Chronicles:The First Five Seasons - Buy from Amazon
One of the best examples of Machinima, or is it Machinimation? It's movies using the rendering engine of a video game and using voiceovers to create an original story. In this case the video game is Halo and the story is about two armies fighting for control of a useless track of land called Blood Gulch. Fans who have enjoyed the series but were not subscribers will want to grab the DVDs, which are quite a bargain on a price-per-minute basis compared to most TV on DVD releases. (I think that would be the best comparison for a web show life this.)

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A documentary about the greatest power trio of all time, Rush. The film is directed by Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, who previously made the award winning documentary, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey. This film is earning even more praise and features early footage of the band, interviews with musicians, and a few actors. It's loaded with information and it is a must have for fans of the band, or of Rockumentaries in general. The DVD includes 90 minutes of bonus footage, live performances, deleted scenes, etc., while the Blu-ray costs the same price on, so it is clearly the better deal. Pick of the Week material.

Stolen - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Jon Hamm stars as a detective investigating the discovery of the mummified remains of a dead boy. The film opened in limited release earlier this year, but never found an audience. This could be because it earned zero positive reviews. Ouch.

Suicide Girls Must Die - Buy from Amazon: R-rated or Unrated
Reality TV meets Teenage Slasher, which a dash of Porn thrown in. It's a weird combination, but is the end result worth it? Read our review to find out.

Warehouse 13: Season One - Buy from Amazon
This is officially a trend. There are a number of shows with similar plots about people investigating paranormal / sci-fi events: Warehouse 13, Fringe, Sanctuary, etc. If you are a fan of these shows, then you have a lot of choices. On the other hand, the amount of competition will likely result in most being canceled before their time. Strong DVD sales will help this show avoid that fate. On the one hand, there are a lot of extras here, including commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes, and more. On the other hand, it is pricey on a per-minute basis, as the season is only 12 episodes long.

The Warlords - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This is the third historical military epic from China that I've reviewed this year. How well does it live up to the other two? Check out our review to find out.

When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The second Rockumentary on this week's list. This one earned a bigger theatrical release, but earned weaker reviews and has weaker home market releases. It's worth checking out if you are a fan of the band, but it doesn't have the same crossover appeal that Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage has.

The White Ribbon - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This German film earned impeccable reviews, picked up the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and earned two Oscar nominations. To add to all of that, it did very well in limited release, eventually crossing $2 million at the box office. The DVD has a 40-minute making of featurette and a 50-minute feturette on the director. The Blu-ray adds a 20-minute featurette on the film's premiere at Cannes and a 15-minute interview with the director. I like the bonus features, but right now on, the Blu-ray costs 80% than the DVD. That's way too much to make the upgrade, unless you've given up on DVD completely.


Filed under: Video Releases, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Crazies, When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors, Das Weisse Band: Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte, Stolen, Hot Tub Time Machine, The Warlords, The Eclipse, Creation, Don McKay, Suicide Girls Must Die, It Came From Kuchar, Crazy