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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for December 22th, 2009

December 21st, 2009

Talk about last minute gift ideas. In fact, if you buy gifts online, it will be too late to grab these, because it would take too long to ship them to you. As such, there are a number of prime releases as studios hope to attract last minute gift givers, but also a few that feel like they are being dumped here as an early Boxing Week sales. At the top of the list we have (500) Days of Summer on DVD or Blu-ray + Digital Copy and District 9 on Blu-ray. (The latter is also coming out on DVD, but the Blu-ray is by far the best deal.) Both are worthy of the DVD Pick of the Week. Meanwhile, if you are Canadian, or a fan of Canadian culture, grab Trailer Park Boys 2 - Countdown to Liquor Day on Blu-ray, which is the ever-popular DVD Puck of the Week.

(500) Days of Summer - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray + Digital Copy
Just a quick note that you can read our review of the DVD here while we are still waiting for the Blu-ray to arrive. It is one of the best movies I've reviewed this year and a clear contender for DVD Pick of the Week, but it is too soon to tell if the Blu-ray is the better deal or not.

All About Steve - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Just a quick note that you can read our review of the DVD here while we are still waiting for the Blu-ray to arrive. Given the quality of the movie, it is unlikely that either version is worth buying.

American Pie Presents - The Book of Love - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Enough already. Please stop with the direct-to-DVD sequels. The franchise is all played out. There are better than expected extras on the DVD, while the Blu-ray does have a couple of exclusives, but at this point the American Pie label is about as valuable as the National Lampoon label.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An excellent cast, led by Michael Douglas, is wasted on this movie. The DVD has better extras than expected with an audio commentary track, making-of featurette, and a featurette on forensics. The Blu-ray has no additional extras and costs 33% more, which is too much for this type of release. Then again, the movie is so bad that even recommending renting is too much.

Blind Date - Buy from Amazon
A couple dealing with tragedy decide to go on a "blind date" with each other as a way of reconnecting. Praise was given to the two leads, Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, but there was little else to sell the movie. Worth checking out if you are a fan of the two leads, but a rental will suffice.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: (500) Days of Summer, All About Steve, American Pie Presents - The Book of Love, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, District 9, Extract, Family Guy - Something, Something, Something, Dark Side, Ichi, It Might Get Loud, Jay Johnson's Boot Camp Fitness - Ultimate 3x30, Jay Johnson's Boot Camp Fitness - Ultimate Abs, Jay Johnson's Boot Camp Fitness - Ultimate Body - Volume 1, Jay Johnson's Boot Camp Fitness - Ultimate Cardio, and Staten Island
There are several prime releases this week, including District 9, which is the most obvious choice for best-selling Blu-ray release of the week. There are a few other notable releases including the limited release (500) Days of Summer, the TV on DVD release Family Guy - Something, Something, Something, Dark Side, and the foreign import Ichi. On a side note, do you really need fitness videos in High Definition? The only way that's a good idea is if they use the Blu-ray's potential for interactive features to help customize routines, keep track of exercise schedules, etc.

Call of the Wild - 3D - Buy from Amazon
An old-fashioned family film gets the 3-D treatment, but old-fashioned might not be a compliment here. Extras are much better than expected, given its short theatrical run, with an audio commentary track, making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and more. If you have kids of the right age, it likely worth a rental.

District 9 - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Two-Disc DVD, or Blu-ray
Originally Peter Jackson wanted to work with Neill Blomkamp on the adaptation of Halo, but when that fell through, they worked together on adapting Neill Blomkamp's short film about an alien apartheid in South Africa. The reviews were amazing and it became a surprise $100 million hit at the box office. Obviously given the reviews, it is worth checking out, but which version and is it worth renting or buying? The DVD has audio commentary track, making-of featurette, and deleted scenes, and it is worth buying. The Two-Disc DVD has that, plus a quartet of additional making-of featurettes that are each just over 10 minutes for an additional $7, which seems high. On the other hand, the Blu-ray has all of these extras, plus exclusives like an interactive map and BD-Live capabilities. Also, it is cheaper than the Two-Disc version and only 12.5% more than the single-disc DVD. Definitely worth picking up, and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Extract - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Mike Judge assembled an amazing cast of actors, including Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck, Mila Kunis, and of course J.K. Simmons, who is contractually obliged to star in every movie made in the past five years. The film wasn't a major player at the box office, but can it live up to some of Mike Judge's past films in terms of quality? Check out our featured review here to find out.

Family Guy - Something, Something, Something, Dark Side - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Just a quick note that this DVD and Blu-ray are coming out this week, but the screener doesn't ship until Tuesday. I'll get to the review ASAP once it arrives.

A Four Course Meal - Buy from Amazon
A low budget horror anthology that uses a cannibalistic cooking show as its wrap-around. I think. Admittedly, I'm having trouble finding information on this movie; the fact that the official site is dead doesn't help. Looking at the DVD cover, the film is obviously going for a Creepshow feel to it, or to be more accurate, the E.C. horror comic books that inspired the Creepshow movies. I might have to check out this DVD.

Ghost Machine - Buy from Amazon
A group of marines decide to "borrow" a top secret virtual reality system, which they plan to use for some unauthorized war games. However, they set it up in an abandoned military prison where a cyberterrorist was tortured to death after 9/11. Virtual reality machine. Ghost of a cyberterrorist. You can see where this is going. The film doesn't offer a lot that's original, but it does mostly deliver on its promises. Extras include a making-of featurette and an interview with the director.

Ichi - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A new telling of the Zatoichi wandering swordsman mythology, but this time starring award-winning actress Haruka Ayase as the blind swordsman. The reviews are good, but not great, with many critics saying the film's fight scenes are more impressive than the story or dialogue. However, for many in the target audience, this won't be a problem. Finally, since the Blu-ray is only $1 more than the DVD, it is the obvious better choice to grab.

It Might Get Loud - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A documentary about electric guitar featuring interviews with three musicians: Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge. Its reviews are strong enough to suggest fans of Rock'n'Roll in general, or any of these three musicians in particular, will want to check it out. Meanwhile, the DVD has an audio commentary track, additional footage, as well as footage from the Toronto Film Festival. The Blu-ray is BD-Live enable and is worth the extra $5 to buy.

Kyle XY - Season Three - Buy from Amazon
The third, and final season, of Kyle XY comes out on DVD this week. Our featured review can be found here.

Noble Things - Buy from Amazon
The acting debut of country music star Lee Ann Womack. This might be the most interesting part of the movie, but since there are almost no reviews out there, it is hard to tell. The lack of review, or buzz in general, is a bad sign and one that you have to take into account before deciding to give it a rental.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager - Volume Three - Buy from Amazon
The soap opera life of Amy Juergens continues in the second season of this popular series, the first half of which was released on DVD this week. You can read our featured review here.

Staten Island - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This mob movie doesn't offer enough new on the genre to satisfy, despite an honest attempt to do so. Unless you are a fan of the genre or the cast, which includes Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Seymour Cassel, and Julianne Nicholson, among others, then it is one you can give a pass. Even if you are a fan, a rental is the better option. There is some good news if you are a High Definition convert, as the Blu-ray is cheaper than the DVD.

Taxi - The Final Season - Buy from Amazon
An excellent, award-winning show and I'm kind of surprised that it only lasted five seasons. Still, all five were excellent and if you bought the previous releases, there's no reason to stop now. If you haven't bought any, give the first season a rental and wait for the full series Megaset, which should come out by this time next year.

Trailer Park Boys 2 - Countdown to Liquor Day - Buy from Amazon.ca: DVD or Blu-ray
The sequel to Trailer Park Boys - The Movie wraps up the franchise that began on TV in 2001. For fans of the show, the second movie lives up to the standard of the first film and it is worth checking out. Extras include deleted / extended scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, interviews, etc., while the Blu-ray is $2 more than the DVD, and that's $2 Canadian. Worth picking up, and a rare contender for the Canadian DVD Puck of the Week.

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Filed under: Video Releases, District 9, (500) Days of Summer, All About Steve, Extract, It Might Get Loud, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Call of the Wild 3D, Blind Date, ICHI, Noble Things, Staten Island, Ghost Machine, American Pie Presents: The Book of Love