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DVD Releases for August 12, 2008

August 11th, 2008

Another week, another list of lackluster first-run releases. In fact, the highest grossing first-run release of the week managed less than $10 million at the box office. There was only one contender for DVD Pick of the Week, and that was Brand Upon the Brain! - Criterion Collection. However, even that might be a little too out there for most people.

American Mall - Buy from Amazon
Is it plagiarism if you are stealing from yourself?

From the creators of High School Musical, and you can really tell. The film tells the story of Ally, a young lady who wants to be a musician. Her mom owns the music store in the local mall and she spends all of her time there practicing, including after hours thanks to the help of a couple nightwatchmen. It looks like her dream moves one step closer to reality when she meets Joey, a janitor / up-and-coming musician, who understand her music, and her soul. However, just when it seems like they met their soulmates, in walks Madison. Madison is the daughter of the mall owner, who uses her daddy's power to get what she wants, and what she wants is Joey and to get rid of Ally and her mom's store.

Basically it's High School Musical set in a mall and substituting Ally for Gabriella, Joey for Troy, and Madison for Sharpay. It is also aimed at a slightly older audience; and by slightly older I mean instead of going after 8 to 12-year olds, they are going after 13 to 15-year olds. So far reviews are mixed, but I think that might be a little more than I'm willing to go. For the most part the story was simply uninteresting, the characters were one-dimensional, and most of the music & dancing left me flat. Granted, I'm not in the target audience, but I've reviewed enough similar movies to know when a film like is just not working. And I don't think this one worked.

On the other hand, the extras are great with two audio commentary tracks, four music videos, two dance instructions, six deleted scenes, outtakes, and two extended performances. However, while there's a lot here, none of it really stands out and demands repeat viewing.

American Mall makes its debut on TV tonight before coming out on DVD tomorrow. However, while there are plenty of extras, the movie itself has little replay value and is only worth watching once for the target audience, skipping for the rest of us.

The Art of War II - Betrayal - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD sequel to the Wesley Snipes film from 2000, which was quite awful to begin with. Early word is this movie is much worse. Completely skippable.

Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD sequel to Belly. No, I don't remember that movie either. This film deals with a man just out of prison who slipped back into his old life, who then falls for a woman with secrets of her own. Considering how little business the first movie did, and how poorly it was greeted by critics, I'm surprised this movie was made. Or considering it is a sequel in name only, that they tried to take advantage of Belly. One last note, Belly is also coming out this week, on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: 7 Seconds, Belly, CJ7, The Doors, Felon, Half Past Dead, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Maximum Risk, Prison Break - Season Three, Smart People, Supernova, The Ten Commandments, and xXx - State of the Union
A weak week for DVDs, and an even weaker week for Blu-rays with very few releases that are even worth renting. The two formats will likely diverge for a while with TV on DVD becomes more prominent with the new season coming up. TV on DVD is quite popular, TV on Blu-ray is still in its infancy and most shows coming out are not coming out on high definition.

Blue Murder - Set 3 - Buy from Amazon
Three more mysteries from this police procedural show starring Caroline Quentin. This 2-disc set has just 3 episodes for $30, and even if you consider them TV movies instead of episodes, it is still expensive on a price per minute basis. On the other hand, it is a good show and it is worth checking out. But at these prices, a rental will suffice.

Brand Upon the Brain! - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Written and directed by Guy Maddin, this movie focuses on a character called Guy Maddin, but we hope it is not autobiographical. Brand Upon the Brain! earned amazing reviews and its national tour brought in a lot of money early on, but it is just too out there for it to earn any mainstream success. (Not only is it experimental, it is a silent movie.) As for the DVD, it is excellent with the usual set of extras on a Criterion Collection release including a large choice or narrators, some that were recorded live, others that were recorded in a studio. Additionally, there is a meaty 50-minute making-of featurette, 6 minutes of deleted scenes, and more. Easily worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Caroline in the City - The First Season - Buy from Amazon
A lighthearted sitcom that survived thanks to the charm of its cast, which included Lea Thompson. Unfortunately, the series took a couple of years to reach its peak and the first season doesn't hold up very well. Fans of the show will want to check it out, but it won't be as good as they remember it. (They should be happier with the second season and the rest of the series, on the other hand.) Additionally, extras on the 3-disc set are practically non-existent with just the episode promos.

CJ7 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Stephen Chow's third directorial effort that has made its way to theaters stateside, the film was a huge hit in Asian, but performed poorly here. Okay, poorly is an understatement as it opened with less than $50,000 and finished with just over $200,000. Granted, it didn't earn great reviews, but they weren't as bad as this. I think its main problem was opening in limited release, which is a terrible strategy for a family film. Fortunately, the studio didn't decide to dump the film on the home market on a featureless DVD. In fact, the DVD has a sub-titled commentary track, three making-of featurettes, character profiles, and a series of short featurettes for kids. The Blu-ray has nothing additional to add, and none of the extras are in High Definition. However, at just 35% more, it is not overpriced. Regardless which format you chose, it is at the very least worth checking out, and many who do will end up buying it.

Dave's World - The First Season - Buy from Amazon
A TV series based on the work of humorist Dave Barry, who I am legally required to describe as, "Pulitzer Prize winning." I love Dave Barry's writing style; in fact, I own most of the books he has published. However, I admit that the sitcom was good, but not great. It delivers more than enough laughs each episode to be worth watching, but I'm not sure if there is enough replay value here to be worth picking up over just renting. On the other hand, Dave Barry's History of the Millennium (So Far) just hit paperback, and it is certainly worth buying.

DC Super Heroes - The Filmation Adventures - Buy from Amazon
A Filmation animated series from 1967 based on the pantheon of D.C. super heroes. I'm not a fan of Filmation's use of limited animation, but they did put out some well-written cartoons and fans should be happy with episodes on this 2-disc set. Also, there is a featurette on the animation style and the pioneer at the studio, Lou Scheimer.

Felon - DVD or Blu-ray
A direct-to-DVD release starring Val Kilmer. What happened to his career? How can the man who brought us Nick Rivers and Chris Knight be reduced to a string of direct-to-DVD releases? At least this movie is better than most direct-to-DVD releases and is just shy of the overall positive level. Extras on the DVD include a behind-the-scenes featurette while Blu-ray is profile 2.0 meaning you can download additional features (mostly trailers for other films). Worth a rental, but there's not enough replay value for more than that.

Frank - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD family film that tells the story of a family on summer vacation when a dog wanders onto their property and into their lives. The film is not overflowing with originality and some have gone so far as to call it practically a remake of Beethoven, which was a bad movie to begin with. Add in a DVD that is devoid of extras, and this is worth a rental at the absolute most. Even then, there are too many other options out there.

Irina Palm - Buy from Amazon
Who would have guessed that a movie about a middle-aged sex worker would be a tough sell, even to the art house crowds? The film earned good reviews, but not great reviews, and with just a lone interview for special features, it is hard to call it a purchase over just a rental. That said, it is worth checking out.

Note: These Blu-rays came out two weeks ago. However, the screeners arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

The Jack Ryan Franchise - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears
All four films from the Jack Ryan franchise came out recently on Blu-ray recently. Since the screeners were late, let's jump right in...

The Hunt for Red October - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
The first of the Jack Ryan series with Alec Baldwin playing Jack Ryan. Not only is it the first movie, it is based on the frist book. However, while Alec Baldwin plays Jack Ryan, most would argue that the real star is Sean Connery as Marko Ramius, a Russia Submarine captain who has stolen a top-secret Russia submarine and is either intent on defecting to the United States, or starting World War III.

Almost all would agree that this movie is the best of the series and it relies on tension more than action to draw moviegoers in and keep their attention. Additionally, for a film that is nearly 20 years old, it looks good on Blu-ray. On the other hand, the extras are rather light with just an audio commentary track (with a few more dead spots than I would have liked) and a 30-minute retrospective that is in standard definition.

Patriot Games - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
The second film in the franchise and the first with Harrison Ford in the lead. Here he is vacationing in the U.K. when he gets caught up in an I.R.A. plot to kill a member of the British royal family. But after he stops the attempt, his wife and daughter become targets and he must stop an escaped I.R.A. member bent on revenge.

The second in the series is not as good as the first was, as it doesn't generate the tension needed. Perhaps the claustrophobic feel in the submarine just could not be replicated. Perhaps the villain here felt too cartoony to be as compelling. Don't get me wrong, it is still a good movie, but just not a classic like the original. Additionally, the extras are not as good with just a making-of featurette, which is presented in standard definition. Finally, despite being a couple of years younger, the print looks substantially worse than The Hunt for Red October. I can't really explain why.

Clear and Present Danger - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Due to a shipping problem at the warehouse, Clear and Present Danger on Blu-ray never arrived. While the movie is better than Patriot Games, the special features are limited to the making-of featurette found on the DVD, but I can't go into anymore detail than that. If the Blu-ray does arrive, I will post the review A.S.A.P.

The Sum of All Fears - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Ben Affleck becomes the third man to play Jack Ryan in this 2002 action film. This time around Neo-Nazi terrorists try to start World War III by provoking Russia and the United States into war by detonating a nuclear device at a championship football game.

It was 8 years between Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears, but the time was not generous and it earned the weakest reviews. Granted, its Tomatometer score was just below the overall positive level and it is certainly not terrible, but it is hard to get overly enthusiastic about it. Some blame Ben Affleck for his portrayal of Jack Ryan, but I think that's not fair. I think the problem is with the script. While the movie is very slick, the story relies on too many clichés and the characters are not as well developed. Conversely, the extras on this Blu-ray are better than the other three combined with two audio commentary tracks, and two making-of featurettes. That said, the High Definition transfer is weaker than the age would suggest.

Overall, the Jack Ryan Franchise's debut on Blu-ray is mixed. Most of the films are worth checking out, but only The Hunt for Red October is a must have. Additionally, the extras are weak on the two Harrison Ford installments only having making-of featurettes as extras. Worse still, only The Hunt for Red October looks good in High Definition (assuming you cut the film some slack for some of its dated special effects). I'm sure fans will be happy that these movies are finally coming out on High Definition, but I can only recommend picking up The Hunt for Red October on Blu-ray.

Kenny vs. Spenny - Volume One - Buy from Amazon
Two friends challenge each other to contests that range from the stupid, like who can remain tied to a goat the longest, to the... well... they are all pretty stupid.

This is the first season the show moved from Canadian TV to the United States (with Stone and Parker as producer). However, even though it is only the series' fourth season, it is starting to show its age. Okay. Bear with me, I'm about to repeat something I've previously said on repetition, which is ironic. Repetitiveness is the killer of comedy, and while the competitions are wildly different in nature, the actual shows are not. In the vast majority of the cases, it is simply a matter of time waiting for Kenny to cheat to win. To make matters worse, Kenny doesn't come across as some charming rogue you can't help but cheer for despite his cheating. He comes across as a total loser; I've seen bathroom flooring with more personal charisma than Kenny has. On the other hand, Spencer is excellent as the straight man, and with a foil that had even half of his charisma, this could be an entertaining show.

Extras on the 2-disc set include a ton of deleted scenes, Kenny answering viewer e-mails, interviews, etc. There are even two audio commentary tracks, but you have to go to the individual episode menus to find them, as they don't appear in the special features menu. (I hate that DVD design.) Speaking of DVD design, there are no subtitles, but at least there are play all buttons and proper chapter placement.

Kenny vs. Spenny is a show that at its heart has an idea that is potentially funny. However, the lack of charisma displayed by Kenny, as well as the repetitious nature of how the contests play out, and what could be a gut-busting show, to the right crowd, is severely dulled. On the other hand, Volume One is priced right and has enough extras that it is worth picking up for fans.

The Killing Gene - Buy from Amazon
A film that is advertised like it was a cross between Se7en and the latest slice of Torture-porn. It doesn't really work on either level as the movie is too tame for gorehounds and the twist is telegraphed a mile away. Extras include a making-of featurette, interviews, and deleted scenes. Worth checking out for fans of the genre, but a rental will be enough for most.

The Legend of God's Gun - Buy from Amazon
So far the film has done respectable business in limited release, all things considered. Given the film's reviews, it could become a cult classic, and it is worth checking out, but it deserves a fully loaded special edition, which is likely years away.

Legacy - Buy from Amazon
A black comedy set in college. It stars Haylie Duff as the leader of a sorority who tries to prevent a legacy pledge from joining, so she and her sisters decide to humiliate her until she leaves. However, when the pledge ends up dead, they are the prime suspects. Black comedies are hard to get right, and this one fails. Additionally, it is too similar to a number of other films like Jawbreaker, Heathers, Mean Girls, etc. Add in a performance by Tom Green, and this is a movie best avoided.

The Legend of the Shadowless Sword - Buy from Amazon
A martial arts movie from South Korea. It's plot revolves around royalty, hitmen, politics, and revenge, but that is merely a set up for a whole lot of action, which it delivers. Additionally, the film looks great, but the story is rather lacking at times. That said, it is still worth checking out and when you add in the interviews and the behind-the-scenes featurette, it might be enough to be worth picking up for fans of the genre, but without a Bey Logan audio commentary, it is hard to be too enthusiastic in that recommendation.

The Love Boat - Season 1 - Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
This is not a good show, but there's a lot of nostalgia attached to it. While it wasn't very good to begin with, it hasn't aged particularly well either. (Additionally, a lot of the celebrity cameos in the series are not as exciting 30 years later). The only extras on this 4-disc set include the original made for TV pilot movie, which should have be part of volume one. A lot of fans are upset that the season is being split into two volumes, and I can't blame them.

Martin Lawrence's First Amendment Stand-Up - Season 2 - Buy from Amazon
A stand-up concert series produced by Martin Lawrence. This 2-disc set features a number of prominent comics, but it is being sold on its uncensored nature, not on being funny, which is a bad sign.

Muhammad Ali - Made in Miami - Buy from Amazon
An hour-long look at the time Muhammad Ali spent in Miami, including his early professional box matches, as well as his start in the Nation of Islam.

On the one hand, this is a very interesting look at one of the best boxers of all time, and one of the best self-promoters of all time as well. However, this is also a bit of a downside as well, as there's very little new to explore in the life of Muhammad Ali. We learn about how racism affected his life, his early fights with Henry Cooper, and his two with Sonny Liston. (On a side note, they mention the so-called 'phantom punch' and talk that Liston threw the second match. However, they show a camera angle that clearly shows Ali landed a strong blow to the head. Whether or not Sonny Liston didn't get up because he couldn't, or because he didn't want to, is not something anyone can answer definitively, but there was a solid blow that landed. The program also delves into Cassius Clay becoming Muhammad Ali after getting involved with the Nation of Islam and how that affected how he was portrayed in the media, how that might have led to him being drafted, and how refusing to answer the call made him villain in the eyes of many Americans.

On the downside, there's not a whole lot of information here that hasn't been presented in a lot of other sources. Secondly, the main feature is less than an hour long and the price-per-minute is rather high for TV on DVD.

As for the extras, there's nearly 30-minute interview with the two filmmakers.

On the one hand, Muhammad Ali - Made in Miami is certainly worth checking out. However, the DVD is not strong enough that purchasing is obviously the better way to go over just renting. Call it a solid rental leaning to a purchase.

Mulan / Mulan II - Box Set - Buy from Amazon
The two movies in the Mulan franchise released together in one box set. Or perhaps it would more accurate to say it is being re-released, as this is just the DVDs from 2005 coming out in one box. They even have the same previews.

It's hard to write a review for what is a re-release of previous material, especially since I discussed both releases previously. What more do I need to add?

Mulan is an excellent movie that came out during the waning days of traditional animation (it came out the same year as A Bug's Life did). It tells the story of Mulan, a Chinese girl whose father is called into battle to defend the Empire. However, she disguises herself as a man and goes off to battle instead. The film deals with a lot of subjects, includes a bit of female empowerment, as well as using brains as well as brawn. Extras on the 2-disc set include an audio commentary track (although not packed with information nor is it high in energy), deleted scenes, several music videos, interactive Mulan's World. Disc two is taken up by a very large, multi-part making-of documentary that delves into the genesis of the movie to the final animation. However, it is broken into several sections, and several more sub-sections and I would have liked a master 'play all' button. It does earn its 'Special Edition' label.

Mulan II is everything we've come to expect from a direct-to-DVD sequel to a Disney animated movie. And no, that is not a compliment. It is not the worst such release I've seen, but it feels so unnecessary. Even at a mere 79 minutes, including credits, it feels padded. Extras on the DVD include deleted scenes, music video, a featurette on the voicework, and two interactive games.

This Box Set is like buying the first Mulan and getting the second for $6, which is about the right price for that movie. Even with Mulan being better than its reputation, it is hard to be enthusiastic recommending this release and it is absolutely only worth picking up if you don't have the movie on DVD yet. There is no reason to upgrade.

Naruto Uncut Box Set 9 - Buy from Amazon
An incredibly popular Anime series that seems to have releases practically every week.

Ni Hao Kai-Lan - Super Special Days - Buy from Amazon
A kids show that combines interactivity and bilingualism. The lead character is Kai-lan, who speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese and shares her culture with her viewers. It's a fun show, or at least its target audience will think it is fun. However, the repetition will get to adults who will watch with their kids.

Ninja Cheerleaders - Buy from Amazon
Every once and a while you come across a movie that has a name that demands you stop and take notice. Ninja Cheerleaders is such a movie. Then I found out it co-stars George Takei and thought this could be a B-movie classic. Sadly there's nearly no reviews for this movie out there, and the one I could find was hardly a glowing recommendation. Might be worth a rental for fans of B-movies, but that's as far as I will go.

Outside Sales - Buy from Amazon
Paul is the best salesman at his company, but that changes when he catches his wife in bed with his co-worker. His sale numbers start to slip, he loses a promotion to the same co-worker (who is now his boss), and now a woman is being brought in to replace him. Now he has to regain his touch, beat her in sales, and regain his dignity. An indie comedy that is earning better than expected reviews and it is worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

Prison Break - Season Three - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The writers' strike left this season only 13 episodes long. Despite being only half as long, the MSRP is only $10 less than the previous full season. In fact, it currently costs more once you take into account Amazon's discount. This feels like a massive cash grab and is simply not cool. The MSRP of the Blu-ray is actually higher than the first season, which is the only previous season to come out on Blu-ray. Can't recommend it based on the costs. However, give it a rental to get caught up and expect a package deal this time next year.

The Secret - Buy from Amazon
A film starring David Duchovny that was made in 2005 - 2006 that is likely only getting a release now to take advantage of the publicity surrounding X-Files: I Want to Believe. The movie is a remake of a Japanese movie; in this version David Duchovny stars as a man whose wife and teenage daughter are involved in a car crash and just before the wife dies, she possesses her daughter in order to stay with her husband. A creepy movie, but not in a good way. The DVD has a behind-the-scenes featurette and interviews with the three main cast members, which is more than expected. That said, a rental is all that is needed here.

Smart People - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The biggest wide release of the week. And it made less than $10 million at the box office. It's one of those weeks.

Dennis Quaid stars as a college professor, Wetherhold, whose life takes a turn for the worse when a minor accident leaves him legally unable to drive and he has to rely on his wholly unreliable brother. Adding to the complications in his life are his daughter, who is rebelling by overachieving, his son, who goes to the same college but is miles away, and his new love interest, who is a former student.

Overall, Smart People earned mixed reviews, which is very apt. There is nothing overtly wrong with the movie and the cast are more than capable of handling the material. However, the material is too light to leave a lasting impression. One could easily enjoy watching the movie, but then have trouble remembering favorite scenes or plot points mere minutes after the closing credits roll. Worth checking out, but the replay value is limited.

As for the extras on the DVD, they are on par with most first run releases and include an audio commentary track, interviews, deleted scenes, and outtakes. There's even an Easter Egg that is easy to find. The Blu-ray has no additional extras, and they are all presented in standard definition. That said, the price is only 20% more than the DVD, which is great for this type of release.

Smart People is a second tier release. Both the movie and the extras are worth checking out, but the sum total doesn't have the replay value needed to warrant a purchase. Additionally, neither the DVD nor the Blu-ray offer substantially better value for the money, but since I'm only recommending a rental, that issue is mostly moot.

South Park - Season Eleven - Buy from Amazon
Season eleven. I'm sure when Matt Stone and Trey Parker created this show, they were not expecting to get to season eleven. I'm sure they were not expecting to get to season one.

It is simply the nature of television that when a series is on a long, long time, it starts to lose the freshness that made it a success to begin with. The show becomes repetitive, it starts to drag, and even hardcore fans tend to stop watching the show religiously and when they do, they complain that it has jumped the shark. While one could argue when South Park jumped the shark, I am happy to report that this season still offers enough that works to be worth checking out.

Highlights for this season include the parody of ecological disaster movies, Lice Capades, in which we see how a lice infestation affects the kids' class and the lice doing the infesting. Fantastic Easter Special was also great and its parody of The Da Vinci Code hit all of the right notes. Snuke, the parody of 24 was also great, even if the concept of the snuke didn't make me laugh. Other strong episodes include Le Petit Tourette, Cartman Sucks, and The List. However, they were not all strong as With Apologies to Jesse Jackson was weak, as was the three-part Imaginationland. (You can read more about that story here.)

On a side note, according to the mini-commentary track for More Crap, I'm at the age where I'm supposed to be impressed by the size of my bowel movements. Apparently Matt Stone and Trey Parker believe that men of my age start to become really interested in the size of their bowel movements, but I am happy to report that this is not the case with me, and I hope that this will never change.

One more side note. On the mini-commentary track for Guitar Queer-O, the two men defend product placements saying that you can't have a realistic depiction of kids without throwing in a lot of product labels. I have to agree with them, but I would extend that to say you can't have a realistic depiction of life without product labels. Looking on my desk right now I can see a couple cans of Diet A&W Root Beer, two or three stacks of Magic the Gathering cards (I'm building a Thrull deck that is killer), Diet Dr. Pepper, Amazon shipping box, Wheeljack my last remaining Transformer, Canada Dry Diet Ginger Ale, a Red Dwarf watch, Nestle bottled water (it's from a town called Hope, which is where the filmed First Blood), Crystal Light, Mythos cards, Trident White, Fed Ex shipping bag, two remote controls for my TV / PS3, Chupa Chubs Buffy lollipops, Sharpie marker, take out menu to a local sushi restaurant, Staedtler pencil, not to mention countless DVDs and CDs. I bring this up because we are surrounded by product placement in our everyday lives, yet people complain when we see labels in movies and TV shows. It is clear that it would be unrealistic for a show to not have product placements. ... Also, it is equally clear that I need to clean my desk.

The only extras on the 3-disc set are the mini-commentaries that start off each episode. In fact, they only have the new mini-commentary tracks on Imaginationland and didn't port over the old commentary track for the single DVD release. Although short, the tracks tend to get off track rather quickly, and end abruptly as well. However, they are usually worth listening to.

South Park has been on TV for more than a decade, but while I don't think Season Eleven is as strong as some in the past, and doesn't have an instant classic like Season Ten had with Make Love, Not Warcraft, there's still enough episodes on this 3-disc set that are worth repeat viewing that it is worth picking up.

That Girl - Season 4 - Buy from Amazon
The penultimate season of this groundbreaking show, which is regarded as the first to show a single woman living independently on her own. Despite being 40 years old, the show has performed well on DVD and the extras are better than most shows from that era get. Worth picking up for fans of the show, worth checking out if you have never seen it before, but start with Season One.

Tru Calling - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Great show, but it has already been released on DVD and this re-packaging is not worth the upgrade. If you have never seen it before, check it out and chances are you will want to pick it up.

Watching the Detectives - Buy from Amazon
Cillian Murphy and Lucy Liu star in this film noir that was written and directed by Paul Soter or Broken Lizard fame. Sadly, its reviews are not that much better than Beerfest or Club Dread, which is a really bad sign. Fans of the two leads might want to give it a rental, but that's likely all that they will need to do here.

The Wire - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
The end of the series. Fortunately the series went out on a high and anyone who has enjoyed the show should be satisfied. Like many HBO releases, there are half as many episodes as most network TV series have in a single season, at the same price. Granted, the show is twice as good, but the extras are only average, if that. The price hurts its value and what should have been an enthusiastic recommendation is blunted somewhat.

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Filed under: Video Releases, XXX: State of the Union, Smart People, The Legend of God's Gun, Brand Upon the Brain!, CJ7, Irina Palm, Felon, Mulan 2, Frank, Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club