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DVD Releases for October 13th, 2009

October 12th, 2009

Not a great week for home market releases. The best-selling DVD is The Proposal while Drag Me To Hell will likely be the best selling Blu-ray title of the week. Drag Me To Hell could have been a DVD Pick of the Week, but weak extras leads me to believe there will be a special edition coming out sooner rather than later.

Adoration - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Atom Egoyan's latest earned good reviews, but not great reviews. This could explain why it started out rather weakly at the box office and never expanded beyond 20 theaters. Extras on the DVD include a making of featurette, deleted scenes, and a couple other featurettes. The Blu-ray has those and an extra featurette, all for just 30% more. Worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

American Violet - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This movie opened in good reviews but in too many theaters and never found an audience in limited release. The film, which is about the corruption in the 'War on Drugs', is definitely worth checking out, but without any real extras, some might consider the DVD only worth a rental. I would call it a solid rental, leaning toward a purchase. On the other hand, the Blu-ray has an audio commentary track and interviews, and it costs 50 cents less. That's worth picking up for sure.

The Backyardigans - Buy from Amazon: Robot Repairman or Big Backyard Adventures
Two releases this week. Firstly there's Robot Repairman, which is making its debut on DVD this week. Then there's Big Backyard Adventures, which contains Robot Repairman and two other DVDs.

The Backyardigans - Robot Repairman
The three episodes on this DVD start with...

  • Robot Rampage - A double-length episode has Roscoe being a robot repairman, but since they never need repairing, he's limited to singing about being a repairman, instead of doing any repairs. He finally gets a call to fix a robot names Reba that has gone berserk after being ordered to make cookies. When a second robot goes berserk getting the mail, they know something it amiss. And when Pablo, I mean Professor Bug declares he's in control of every robot in Megacity, they know they have to stop him.
    A good adventure episode with plenty of action, and of course singing and dance. Also, I have to compliment the cool city design.
  • Catch That Train - Uniqua is the head engineer for the Czar, Tyrone. But when her and Pablo accidentally set the train running with the Czar on board, but no one else, they need to catch it save the Czar.
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Worman - While working on a growth formula, Pablo and Uniqua accidentally cause a worman to grow. Now Pablo has to figure out a shrinking formula while Uniqua and Tyrone try and catch the worman.
There are no extras on this DVD.

The other two disc on the Big Backyard Adventures DVD share the same format with one double-length episode (International Super Spy and Tale of the Mighty Knights) and two regular episodes. The other DVDs do have special features. Super Secret Super Spy has song selection, a music video, and a 3-minute featurette on the making of "The Lady in Pink" and how they combine the music, the singing, and the dancing into the animation. Tale of the Mighty Knights has three music videos, and a behind-the-scenes featurette on how they animated the dragon.

If your kids are fans of this show, then one of these DVDs are worth picking up. Big Backyard Adventures is only a few dollars cheaper than buying the DVDs separately, so if you own either Super Secret Super Spy or Tale of the Mighty Knights, then buy Robot Repairman separately.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Adoration, American Violet, The Craft, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack), Drag Me To Hell, Eagles Over London, Fox Searchlight - Spotlight Series - Volume 1, Fox Searchlight - Spotlight Series - Volume 2, Fox Searchlight - Spotlight Series - Volume 3, Fox Searchlight - Spotlight Series - Volume 4, Hardware, Killer Movie, Land of the Lost, Lovecraft - Fear of the Unknown, Midnight Movie, Natural Born Killers, Nickelback - Live at Sturgis, The Proposal, Screwballs, South Park - Bigger, Longer, Uncut, Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense, and Warren Miller - Children of Winter
Not a great week for Blu-ray releases. Sure, The Proposal is coming out and it was a major hit at the box office, but it's not the kind of movie you need to see in High Definition. Drag Me To Hell better serves the format, but the Blu-ray is overpriced and lacks exclusive extras. There's really nothing here that screams, 'Must have.'

Christmas Releases - Buy from Amazon: A Christmas Carol, The Christmas Choir, Curious George - A Very Monkey Christmas, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack), Gotta Catch Santa Claus, Holiday TV Comedy Collection, Last of the Summer Wine - Christmas Specials - 1978 - 1982, Little Spirit - Christmas in New York, Moonlight & Mistletoe, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, Snow 2 - Brain Freeze, Snow / Snow 2 - Brain Freeze - Double-Pack, and Virtual Fireplace - Home for Christmas
As usual for this time of year, there are a lot of Christmas releases, but it is still too early for the top tier releases.

Drag Me To Hell - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
On the one hand, this film earned much better than expected reviews. On the other hand, it really struggled at the box office. It deserves a really nice home market release, but the box office weakness meant there's just a collection of production diaries on the DVD. Granted, in total they are more than half an hour, but each one is too short to be of real value. The Blu-ray has these and it is BD-Live enabled, but it also costs nearly 50% more. This is a movie that deserves to be a DVD Pick of the Week contender, but the lackluster releases are only worthy of a rental while you wait for the inevitable special edition.

Every Little Step - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the revival of the Broadway musical A Chorus Line. Fantastic reviews helped the film earn relatively close to $2 million during its theatrical run, despite never earning a per theater average greater than $10,000. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, a making of featurette, and deleted / extended / new interviews. Worth picking up.

Flashpoint - Season One - Buy from Amazon
Two notes to start with before I get into the meat of the review. Firstly, this is a Canadian show, which is rather unique for shows on American network TV. Secondly, this is not strictly season one; however, determining what is and is not season one, two or three is a bit of a mess. Suffice it to say there are the first 13 episodes from the show on this 3-disc set. If CTV and CBS want to call it season one, so be it.

Flashpoint is a cop show, which means its first task is to differentiate itself from the 90 other cop shows on TV right now. Here the hook is it focuses on the Strategic Response Unit of the Toronto Police Department. Heading up Team One as lead negotiator is Greg Parker, played by Enrico Colantoni, who is Canadian. I did not know that. In fact, everyone in the show is Canadian, except for Amy Jo Johnson. She plays Jules, one of the main snipers and the only female in the team. Other members include Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon), the main sniper, Lew Young (Mark Taylor) and 'Wordy' Wordsmith (Michael Cram), who uses the less-than-lethal ordinance, much to their dismay. 'Spike' Scarlatti (Sergio Di Zio) is the tech specialist who works with the anti-explosive robot named Babycakes. Joining the team in the first episode is Sam Braddock (David Paetkau), who previously was in Special Forces in Afghanistan.

Because these people are the Strategic Response Unit, they are not investigating the crimes, but dealing with the worse case scenarios. I.E. hostage takings, possible terrorist attacks, drug busts, etc. There's less of a mystery, but a lot more tension. This means there's a lot more replay for this series compared to a lot of its compatriots. That said, it is not among the best of the genre and it is merely above average.

Extras on the three-disc set are a little light with an audio commentary track on the series premiere by the director, David Frazee. Disc three has a seven-and-a-half minute behind-the-scenes featurette and a four-minute featurette on the real tactical police officers that this show is based on it. As for the disc authoring, there are no play all buttons, there are no subtitles, but there are proper chapter placements.

Flashpoint is a good show, but not a great out. There are simply too many in the genre for it to truly stand out. Additionally, the extras on Season One are below average. That said, it is a solid rental if you haven't seen the show and big fans of the show will likely want to pick it up.

Girlfriends - Season Seven - Buy from Amazon
Season seven of this show was a transitional one, not only because the show moved from UPN to the CW after the former merged with the WB, but there was a major change in the cast with Jill Marie Jones, a.k.a. Toni Childs, leaving the show. In the first episode, we are told that Toni is leaving to move to New York to be closer to Todd, her ex-husband. Some people were quite upset by this change, but I liked it. First of all, Toni was my least favorite character. Secondly, her personality was a little too close to Maya's personality. The loss of one of the group meant that William's girlfriend / fiancée Monica becomes more prominent in this season, which is a nice change for the show. At first Monica and Joan are rivalries, but that soon changes after Joan sees her vulnerable side, but it takes a while longer for Lynn and Maya to change their views. Other main story lines for this season include Lynn's ongoing attempts at a music career, which is a rough go. Joan finds herself in another strained relationship, Maya's family life hits some bumps, while William might have messed it up with Monica. ... again.

Overall the season takes a little while to get going and the transitional period is a little longer than I would like. There are a handful of episodes that are merely mediocre, all of which are from the first half of the season, but most are solid, and there are a few classics. These include What Had Happened Was... and the two-part season finale.

(On a side note with regard to William's unlicensed therapist, you don't need a license to be a therapist. Therapist isn't a legally protected term; anyone can call themselves a therapist. Scary, isn't it?)

There's not much in the way of extras on this 3-disc set. Mara Brock Akil, the creator, has short comments on five episodes. There are also no subtitles, but there are play all buttons and the opening credits are so short that by the time you grab the remote control, they are over.

It was a rough year for Girlfriends in terms of ratings and changes, but after a slow start, Season Seven comes together solidly in the end. I wish there were more extras, but if you have been collecting the series up to this point, don't stop now.

Happy Birthday to Me - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian teenage slasher directed by Jack Lee Thompson, who previously directed The Guns of Naverone, the original Cape Fear, among others. It's better than most such films, but that's not saying much, while the DVD has no special features. This is a movie that screams to be remade, and maybe if sales here are good that will happen, but this bare bones DVD is only worth a rental.

Hardware - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A post apocalyptic movie starring Dylan McDermott as a metal scavanger who finds the head of a cyborg and brings it home to his girlfriend, who is a metal sculptor. Unbeknownst to either of them, this cyborg was designed to deal with the 'overpopulation' and can rebuilt itself out of machine parts nearby. Self-repairing robot + Scrap Metal Artist... you can figure out where this is going. It has become a bit of a cult hit, although its reviews don't suggest a large amount of mainstream appeal. Worth checking out and the extras include audio commentary track, deleted scenes, making of featurette, and three short films from the director, Richard Stanley.

The Haunted Airman - Buy from Amazon
A British TV movies about a wounded World War II pilot confined to a haunted hospital. The few reviews I've seen have been mixed, while it is likely only coming out to capitalize on Robert Pattinson's rising fame. At just 68 minutes long, it's too short to be considered a full movie, so at this price, it is only worth a rental.

How To Be A Serial Killer - Buy from Amazon
A horror / comedy about a serial killer / life coach who tries to help his new protégé live life to the fullest, by ending the lives of those around him. I've seen very few reviews for this film, but it seems like genre critics are enjoying it and it could be a cult hit on the home market. Certainly worth checking out.

The Hunger - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
A horror anthology TV series loosely based on the movie of the same name. The show only lasted two seasons, which is not surprising as the creative forces at work here tried way too hard to be erotic and not hard enough coming up with interesting stories to tell.

Inspector Lewis - Series 2 - Buy from Amazon
A great police procedural show from the U.K.; however, this is the PBS version, which is about 10 minutes shorter per episode. This might be enough for fans of the show to balk at this 4-disc set.

Jackass - The Lost Tapes - Buy from Amazon
Have they not finished milking this cash cow yet?

This is the third Jackass DVD I've reviewed, I think. Might be the fourth. I've tried to put those past me. This DVD has a collection of stunts that didn't make it into the show when it first aired, or onto any of the DVDs. It's called 'The Lost Tapes', but I have a funny feeling it's really, 'The Bottom of the Barrel'. The main program is 105 minutes long, but there are 93 separate segments, which means the average one is just over a minute long. Most of the shorter ones are completely forgettable while only some of the longer ones have some entertainment value. I thought it was interesting seeing Johnny Knoxville take pepper spray, a taser, and a stun gun was illuminating. The Cowboy Skatepark was funny, but went on too long. The same can be said of the woodchipper bit. (For that matter, that bit would have been better if they made woodchipper art and tried to sell it to someone instead of using it to fire random food items at some guy for two minutes. Seeing them practice with a professional rugby team was cool, as were some of the more athletic bits. On the other hand, there were quite a few bits with the word 'poo' in the title and you can probably guess what I thought of those.

Overall the hit to miss ration was better than I was expecting. In fact, it was better than Jackass 2.5, which was the previous such release I reviewed.

On the other hand, the extras are not so good. There is a montage of openings for the show (the 'Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville and this is Jackass' openings) and a montage of closing credit bits. There are also four short segments promoting, but I'm not sure I would call those extras or ads.

This may or may not be the last DVD released from the Jackass franchise, and depending on your point of view, this may or may not be a good day. The Lost Tapes should please fans of the show, and it is better than Jackass 2.5, both in terms of hit to miss ratio and price per minute, so if you enjoyed that DVD, there's no reason to not grab this one as well.

The Killing Room - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD horror / thriller starring Timothy Hutton, Clea DuVall, Peter Stormare, Nick Cannon, and others. The film is about four strangers who agree to participate in what they think is a psychological study, but instead they are in for a much worse ride. It's a minimalist film that has been compared to Cube and Saw and the early reviews are mostly positive. Unfortunately, there appears to be no real special features on the DVD, which limits its value. Call it a solid rental, perhaps a purchase, but I can't be more enthusiastic about it than that.

Land of the Lost - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the biggest bombs of the summer, both in terms of critical reception and in terms of money lost by the studio. In the movie, Will Ferrell plays his usual role, i.e., idiot that runs around a lot while screaming. It's the kind of role that makes you forget he can act when he wants to. In additional, Danny McBride continues his valiant attempt to typecast himself beyond all ability to recover. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, a few featurettes, while the Blu-ray BD-Live enabled, but costs nearly 50% more. Unless you are a hardcore fan of the two lead actors, this movie is quite skippable.

Legend of the Seeker - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
A sword and sorcery show that is based on The Sword of Truth novels by Terry Goodkind. It is produced by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert, who previous made Xena and Hercules, which are shows that have similar fantasy settings and will obviously be compared to this show. But will it stand up to their earlier work?

The show focuses on three main characters, Richard Cypher, Kahlan Amnell, and Zeddicus "Zedd" Zu'l Zorander. Richard Cypher is the titular Seeker, a warrior of great power who is destined to free the world from the clutches of the evil tyrant, Darken Rahl. Kahlan Amnell is a confessor, a type of sorceress, who traveled to his land with a book of great power that was said to help him in his quest. Zedd is an old wizard whose job it was to look after and train Richard so he would be ready when destiny called. Instead he went into retirement and let Richard grow up as any young man will. Now Richard is unready for what lies ahead, but he must still try and find a way of stopping Darken Rahl, while helping those who he meets along the way.

It is often said that first impressions are lasting impressions. This is very true of TV shows and often people will decide if they will follow a TV series based on the pilot alone. This is not a good sign for this show, as I was not impressed by the pilot. In fact, the opening action scene made me groan a few times. Some of the problems I had were stylistic in nature; most combat has a least a few slow-motion shots, which I can only assume were meant to make them look more dramatic, but ended up looking rather silly instead. Also, the character of Richard was adopted in the land after his parents were killed in Darken Rahl's land. However, when one of Darken Rahl's men kills his adoptive father and blames him, his adoptive brother trusts this stranger more than Richard. This made no sense. It was a character trait that was made necessary by the plot, but didn't feel natural. (Perhaps it is better explained in the books.) This problem isn't as prominent for the rest of the series, but the slo-mo fighting is. Also, unlike Xena and Hercules, this show doesn't have as strong a humorous streak to it. You need humor to help break up the dramatic parts. Drama hits home harder when there are a few good jokes thrown in. Granted, perhaps the comedy of Xena and Hercules are a little too campy to mix well with the story, but I think it would have helped.

Extras on the 5-disc set starts with audio commentary tracks on both parts of the pilot, Prophecy and Destiny. It includes both writers and both lead actors, and I like the mix of talent from both sides of the camera. This gives multiple perspectives to draw upon. Denna on disc two has an audio commentary track with Craig Horner, who plays Richard Cypher, and Jessica Marais, who plays the titular character, a Mord'Sith. (Without spoiling too much of the plot, if you have a leather fetish, you will really like the Mord'Sith.) Next up is Puppeteer on disc three with Bruce Spence (Zedd) and Craig Parker (Darken Rahl). Disc four has no audio commentary tracks, but the final disc has a 16-minute making of featurette, a 14-minute interview with the writer of the novels, and eight deleted scenes with a total running time of just over 23 minutes. That's a solid amount of extras. Also, there are play all buttons, subtitles, but not proper chapter placements.

If they would cut out the Slo-Mo parts of the fighting scenes and add a little more humor, Legend of the Seeker could be a very good show. As it is, Season One has its moments, but doesn't do enough to truly stand out. That said, the 5-disc set is worth checking out if you haven't seen the show and want to get caught up for season two, while if you are a fan of the show, there are enough extras that it is worth picking up.

Looney Tunes - Spotlight Collection - Volume 7 - Buy from Amazon
If you have been buying the Golden Collection releases, then there's no reason to buy this DVD, as there are only three shorts that haven't been released as part of that collection. At this point, it is better to wait for a chronological collection.

Lovecraft - Fear of the Unknown - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A documentary about horror author H.P.Lovecraft. Reviews for this movie are hard to come by, but the few I've read are positive and the movie is worth checking out. Also, the Blu-ray is much cheaper than the DVD and it is worth picking up.

Married... With Children - Season Eleven - Buy from Amazon
There comes a time when all shows must end. And this is that time for Married... With Children. And I think the people making this show knew it was the end.

If you don't know what Married... With Children is about, you probably don't care at this point. But it's about the marriage of Al Bundy and Peggy Bundy, who have been married for 25 years, almost none of it happily. They have two kids, Kelly, their older, dumber daughter, and Bud, they younger, loser son. Into this mix their two neighbors, Marcy and Jefferson D'Arcy, the former being Al's chief rival and the latter being Al's chief co-conspirator.

There are few classic episodes this time around, but that doesn't mean there's not plenty of entertaining ones. These include the season opener, Twisted, where the group has to hang out in the basement because of a twister hit Chicago. The two-part Requiem for a Chevyweight, where Al says goodbye to his car, is fun. The Stepford Peg has Al reprogramming Peggy after a bon bon related accident gives her amnesia. In Grime and Punishment Al charges Bud rent, so Bud sues him as a slumlord. Breaking Up is Easy to Do is a three-part episode about the end of Al and Peggy's marriage, maybe. Peg disguises herself to perform at Al's favorite stripclub, and he falls in love with her persona. Al sells his soul to the devil to play for the Chicago Bears, but when he finds hell to his liking, the devil brings the rest of the group with him. Marcy's identical twin cousin comes to town in Lez Be Friends, and as you can probably tell by the name, she has a secret she wants to tell her.

As usual, there are no extras on the DVD, nor are there subtitles. But there are play all buttons and proper chapter placements.

Married... With Children is ending its DVD run this week, until they put out a full series Megaset. And while Season Eleven is nowhere near the top of the show, it isn't the worst either, and there are more good episodes than duds found here. If you have been collecting the show up till now, it will be a bittersweet week picking up the last of the Bundy's.

Marvel Animation - 6 Film Set - Buy from Amazon
I should be getting this DVD to review shortly. I will say that it is certainly a better deal than buying the six films separately.

My Family - Buy from Amazon: Season Three and Season Four
This show is on season nine in the U.K., but the DVD releases have been lagging behind here. This week we get seasons three and four, which can also be bought in a two-pack for about 1 penny more. How can you resist a deal like that? Mocking the price aside, this show is worth checking out if you haven't seen it previously, and even with the lack of extras, the replay value is high enough that it is worth picking up.

National Lampoon Presents Endless Bummer - Buy from Amazon
National Lampoon? Didn't they go bankrupt? The best part of the sad end to this comedy franchise was supposed to be the end of movies like this.

Nick Swardson - Seriously, Who Farted? - Buy from Amazon
The latest stand-up concert DVD that has arrived for me to review. Been a bit of a losing streak in this regard with three of the last four I've reviewed being complete write-offs. Hopefully this one will end the slump.

Nick Swardson is best known for his recurring role in Reno - 911! as Terry Bernadino, the gay, roller-skating, prostitute. He was also responsible for co-writing and co-starring Grandma's Boy. So those are two wide extremes in comedic quality to deal with in terms of expectations. Fortunately, this set was closer to the former than the latter. He spends a great deal of time talking about two topics: intoxication and his work. There are also stories about late night video game sessions with his friends, his first 'full service' massage, meeting a monkey in Las Vegas, and more. Not all of the material hit the mark, but enough does that it is worth checking out.

As for the extras, there are four to check out starting out with the opening act, Beardo and Dirt Nasty performing some jokes / songs. There's a reason why they are the opening act and not the headliners. There's a pseudo-trailer for 28 Drinks Later, which is quite well done. Timeless Comedian is a faux interview with Nick Swardson talking about his career, which began in the 1920s according to this seven-minute bit. A Very Terry Christmas is a two-minute ad for a CD by his Reno - 911! character, Terry Bernadino.

Nick Swardson - Seriously, Who Farted? is worth checking out for fans of stand-up comedy, but I'm not sure if it is worth picking up over just renting. It's right on the border, but if you are a fan of Nick Swardson's previous work, grab it.

Objectified - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about everyday objects, how we interact with them, and the people who design them. It is made by the same director that made Helvetica, but this film's reviews were not as strong as his earlier work. Still worth checking out.

The Objective - Buy from Amazon
Co-written and directed by Daniel Myrick, who helped make The Blair Witch Project. It is also co-written by Wesley Clark Jr. Yes, he's the son of that Wesley Clark. The reviews were not good, but it's box office performance was simply abysmal. More people should see it, but for most a rental will be enough.

The Proposal - Buy from Amazon: DVD, DVD + Digital Copy, Blu-ray + Digital Copy
This is one of the biggest surprise hits of the year. Most years a film expected to earn $50 million that went on to earn more than $160 million would be the biggest surprise of the year, but this year that title will likely go to The Hangover, unless another film can manage to top it. However, while there's no way of denying the film's obvious box office success, was it truly earned? Or did this romantic comedy outperform its quality?

Sandra Bullock stars as Margaret Tate, the demanding boss of Andrew Paxton, played by Ryan Reynolds. After firing one of her editors, she is informed that she is being deported back to Canada, and unless she can think of something fast, she will be replaced by the man she just fired. That something is forcing Andrew to marry her. Andrew decides to take advantage of the situation and get her to promote him, and publish his book, but in order to maintain the illusion, they have to travel up to Alaska and convince Andrew's mother and father and grandmother that they are a real couple, or Margaret will be deported and Andrew will be arrested.

First of all, this is a Romantic Comedy, and as far as genres go, I think it is safe to say that Romantic Comedies are the most formulaic. This is certainly the case here. There are major plot points that are obvious practically from the very beginning, in addition to the general plot outline that works with 95% of these films. That said, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds have excellent chemistry together and this rescues the film. Granted, not everything works, including the character of Ramone, which I found grating, and some of the more slapstick felt out of place in the film. (On the other hand, the scene with Margaret and Andrew running into each other naked was hilarious. You have to give props to the actors for committing themselves into the role 100%.) But that said, fans of the genre in general, and of Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in particular, should love this movie.

The DVD has an audio commentary track with the director, Anne Fletcher, and the screenwriter, Peter Chiarelli, who offer a lot of energy and information and don't take it too seriously, which is the perfect attitude for this type of movie. There are also two deleted scenes and an alternate ending, also with optional audio commentary track. And finally there are six-and-a-half minutes of behind-the-scenes / outtakes.

The DVD + Digital Copy has the above extras, plus a digital copy of the movie.

The Blu-ray + Digital Copy doesn't have much in the way of Blu-ray exclusives, but it does have one additional deleted scene and at least one Easter Egg. Plus, it only costs 13% more than the DVD + Digital Copy, so it's a great deal on that front. As for the film's technical presentation, both the video and the audio are good, but not great. The video is a little soft at times, but that's perfectly acceptable for this type of movie. Likewise, the audio is amazingly clear, which is what you must have, but the rear speakers are not given much of a workout, which is expected.

The math for The Proposal is rather simple. If you like Romantic Comedies or either of the two leads, then this movie is worth renting. If you like Romantic Comedies and both of the two leads, then this movie is worth buying. The Blu-ray + Digital Copy is the best deal if you do want to buy.

South Park - Bigger, Longer, Uncut - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
I can't believe it has been 10 years since this movie was made. I can't believe the TV show is still on the air a decade later.

The film starts with the boys, Kyle, Stan, Cartman, and Kenny, excited to see the new Terrance and Philip movie. However, because it is rated R, for bad language, they have to sneak in using a homeless man pretending to be their guardian. When their 'fragile little minds' are warped by the movie and they begin swearing, their mothers decide to get together and do the only thing they can do, blame Canada. Things escalate after Kenny kills himself trying to emulate a stunt seen in the movie. After arresting Terrance and Philip, the relations between the United States and Canada turn from a little chilly to outright war. But this isn't just a matter of international diplomacy, because if the blood of the innocents, a.k.a. Terrance and Philip, are spilt on American soil, then Satan will rise up and become the ruler of Earth for the next 2 million years, and that's just what Saddam Hussein wants.

At the time this movie was coming out, a lot of people were assuming it would suck. After a great first season, the next two years of South Park were quite awful, which is something even Matt Stone and Trey Parker admit. However, the movie wowed most critics and became a surprise midlevel hit on a relatively low budget. I don't think I agree with most critics. The film starts out well enough, and several of the early songs are great. (I do think the song from the Terrance and Philip movie was a little much. I don't have a complaint about the obscenities, just with the lack of creativity.) However, about halfway through the movie things really start to run out of steam, and by the 60-minute mark, I couldn't wait for the movie to end. Admittedly, the final confrontation between Cartman and Saddam was really well done, and arguably worth the wait, but for most of the second half of the movie I was looking at my watch more than I was laughing at the jokes.

Extras on the Blu-ray are really disappointing. The only substantive extra is the audio commentary track with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, which like the movie runs out of steam, only it does so much faster. So much so that by half-an-hour into the movie, they start grabbing people from the office to start talking about the movie as well, which means there are a lot of repeated stories. (They also spend a lot of time insulting movies that are far better than this one is, which is not the first time they've done this.) The only other extras is a music video for "What Would Brian Boitano Do" (not in High Definition) while the DVD contains the teaser trailer and the full trailer. For a Tenth Anniversary release, this is crap.

Looking at the technical specs, it's a mixed bag. On the one hand, the video looks flawless. On the other hand, the animation is terrible. Being able to see all the details of the cardboard cutouts isn't really a selling point. The audio is better and includes numerous scenes that make use of the rear speakers, especially the musical / battle scenes.

South Park - Bigger, Longer, Uncut makes its debut on Blu-ray and for a lot of fan of the TV series, that's all they will need to know. Sadly, the extras on the Blu-ray are as weak as they are for their TV on DVD releases, and if you haven't seen it in a while, I suggest renting it first.

The Stepfather - Buy from Amazon
Yeah, I have no idea why the first film is being released on DVD after the sequel was. I do know it is being released on DVD to take advantage of the upcoming remake. Regardless of the reasons, this is actually a very good movie and worth checking out for most, picking up for fans of the genre.

Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases - Volume 3 - Buy from Amazon
I'm not a huge fan of Tom & Jerry and I don't like these mixed DVDs that have no special features. But fans of this franchise should be happy at the price.

TV on DVD - Full Series Megasets - Buy from Amazon: Futurama, Lovejoy, and The Mighty Boosh
It's that time of year again. Studios are releasing Full Series Megasets, which tend to annoy fans who bought the show when they were originally released, but make great gifts. On a side note, Season Six of Lovejoy is also being released on DVD this week, for those who have been buying it all along.

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy - Wubb Idol - Buy from Amazon
A parody of American Idol done Wow! Wow! Wubbzy style.


Filed under: Video Releases, The Proposal, Drag Me To Hell, Every Little Step, American Violet, Objectified, How to be a Serial Killer, The Objective, The Killing Room, Adoration