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DVD Releases for September 2, 2008

September 1st, 2008

In one respect, this is one of the slowest weeks for DVD releases in a long time with not a single first run release coming out on DVD. Not one. That said, there are a number of limited releases and other smaller movies coming out this week. There's also a huge number of TV on DVD releases coming out (including a TV movie that is right below). On the top of the this week's releases there are two DVDs worthy of contention for DVD Pick of the Week. If you don't have The Transformers in High Definition yet, grab the Blu-ray release. If you haven't upgraded to High Definition yet, Supernatural - The Complete Third Season is your best bet.

Ballet Shoes - Buy from Amazon
Emma Watson makes her non-Harry Potter debut in this adaptation of the Noel Streatfield novel. The film was a big hit on TV back in the U.K. and it earned great reviews. However, if there was an underlying complaint it was the length of the movie. At only 90 minutes, it is not long enough to do the material justice and extending it to a mini-series would have been a smart plan. Extras include a substantive interview with Emma Watson, deleted scenes, and an excerpt from the audio book, and overall the DVD is certainly worth picking up.

Before I Forget - Buy from Amazon
A former hustler turned gay gigolo may be forced back to the streets at the age of 58 after his older benefactor dies. This film earned excellent reviews, started off well at the box office, then collapsed and quickly disappeared. It is a foreign language film with a niche market, so it is not surprising this happened. However, it deserves to find a wider audience.

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
A show about the lives of two geniuses who share an apartment and tend to do stereotypically geeky things. Their lives change when a beautiful women moves next door, and actually talks to them. This show got off to a great start and because it is a more standard sitcom, its quality was not affected by the strike as much as other shows were (for instance, Supernatural's ending felt a little rushed). Additionally, the price per minute is good compared to most full-season TV on DVD releases. On the other hand, the extras are weak with just a single featurette on the show. Too bad, a few audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes, etc. and this 3-disc set could have been a contender for the DVD Pick of the Week.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Black Mask, Eraser, Every Which Way but Loose, The Gauntlet, The Invincible Iron Man, Marine Aquarium - Special Collector's Edition, Married Life, Masters of Horror - Season 1 Bundle, The Next Avengers - Heroes of Tomorrow, Outbreak, Robotech - The Shadow Chronicles - Collector's Edition, Then She Found Me, Transformers, and Under Siege 2 - Dark Territory
Wow. This week's Blu-ray ratio is going to be pretty sad, as there isn't a single first run release on this week's list. Granted, Transformers is making its Blu-ray debut, but it is technically a catalogue release, and even Batman Begins' Blu-ray debut couldn't move the overall numbers significantly.

The Blue Elephant - Buy from Amazon
I was looking up information on this DVD and all I found was a Wiki page on Elephant Jokes.

The Blue Elephant tells the story of Khan Kluay, an elephant born in Siam and whose father went away to war but never returned. His mother doesn't want him to know what happened to his father, as she fears he will follow in his footsteps and get involved with the humans. However, he is so desperate to learn about his father that he runs away from home, and is almost immediately caught by the humans. But are they are mean and dangerous as his mother said they were?

Good news, this film has a good story that should entertain its target audience. Bad news, that target audience in preschool to grade two or three. The voice work is also pretty good, for the most part, but nothing that really wowed me. Bad news, the animation is, while bright, very weak. It's simple in design, the movements are clumsy, and quite frankly, weaker than many TV shows that likely have a tighter schedule. (More than once I noticed characters talking while their mouths were blocked, as if the animators didn't want to have to lip-synch the voice work with the animation.)

Additionally, there are no extras on the DVD.

Sadly, The Blue Elephant is not a marquee release, despite having Jim Henson's name on the box. Those looking for entertainment on par with the Muppets will be disappointed. That said, if you have kids in the right demographic, they should be entertained and the DVD is worth a rental.

Bratz Girlz Really Rock - Buy from Amazon
The latest direct-to-DVD release from Bratz, which is incredibly popular to young girls, although personally I think the Bratz look a little like aliens. I'm also a little troubled by the fashion on the show, not that I think they look sexy, because they look like aliens, not even the sexy kind that Captain Kirk kept hooking up with. My issue is with the cost, as it creates unrealistic demands for kids over the size of their wardrobe. Animated shows should have the characters wear the same outfit every single day for their entire run. That makes a lot more sense. (Okay, you got me. A lot of this review was sarcasm, in fact, nearly all of it was except for the part about Captain Kirk and the sexy aliens.)

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and makes its home market debut on the 9th. However, the DVD screener arrived early and I was able to get the review done this week.

Brian Regan - The Epitome of Hyperbole - Buy from Amazon
Brian Regan's second stand-up special for Comedy Central, The Epitome of Hyperbole was part of a deal done with Comedy Central that included televised specials, a live tour, and there are rumors it might lead to a sitcom.

First a confession: I hate reviewing stand-up concerts, as I never know what to say. How do you talk about someone who does nothing but tell jokes, without spoiling the jokes? I guess you start by talking about his general style. Brian Regan comes from the observational humor school of stand-up, which includes a huge list of comedians. In fact, practically everyone on our list of stand-up is in the observational school. His material is good and his delivery varies from laid-back to manic (but very clean for those who want stand-up they can watch with their families). Not every joke works, and he does tend to hit a joke for a beat or two after he should have ended it. I laughed enough to recommend checking out the DVD, but not enough to recommend buying it blind.

Extras on the DVD are better than most stand-up concert releases, with a 4-minute encore and a 13-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.

Brian Regan has been building a fanbase for a while now, and for those fans The Epitome of Hyperbole is worth picking up. However, if you haven't seen his work but are a fan of stand-up in general, rent it first.

Cheers - Season 10 - Buy from Amazon
The penultimate season. By the end of this season, the series had been on the air for a decade, an impressive feat rarely accomplished by any TV show (not counting sports shows or news programs).

This season has a number of plot threads woven throughout, starting with Sam and Rebecca's desire to have a kid, which doesn't start off too well. Contradictory advice from Frasier and Lilith ensure that problem continues. However, while there are some threads, a lot of the time is spent on one-shot episodes: road trip gone wrong, Carla getting taken from a psychic con artist, Norm suffering an accident that forces the bar to move to the Crane's house, Cliff's Canadian girlfriend returns, and that's all on the first disc.

It's incredible to believe a show could run 10 years and never really slow down. Sure, there's the odd episode here and there that doesn't score, including the main storyline with Sam and Rebecca trying to have a kid, which never interested me much. But even in its 10th season, it is still batting .700, maybe even .800; that's impressive for any show, regardless of how long it has been on the air.

On the other hand, extras are non-existent. There are also no subtitles, but there are proper chapter placements and play all buttons.

For fans of Cheers, it's been a long time collecting the series on DVD. Granted, many will not be happy with the total lack of extras, but Season 10 is still worth picking up for fans. If you haven't started yet, I suggest renting the first couple of seasons, but wait before buying. There will likely be a full-series megaset released this time next year.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and makes its home market debut on the 9th. However, the DVD screener arrived early and I was able to get the review done this week.

Child's Play - Chucky's 20th Birthday Edition - Buy from Amazon
Child's Play tells the story of a serial killer, Charles Lee Ray, who uses voodoo magic to transfer his soul into a Good Guy doll. (Suspension of disbelief is important for this movie.) But he doesn't want to stay stuck in this doll forever, and what better body for him to put his soul into than the boy who got him for his birthday?

This is a film that earned very good reviews, especially for a relatively low-budget horror movie and earned enough at the box office to make a string of sequels, none of which lived up to the quality of the original. (Although I like Jennifer Tilly's role in the latest two.) It's scary enough for horror fans, but has enough humor to not feel monotonous; additionally, it was one of the better examples of the killer doll sub-genre (although I've always been partial to the Puppet Master franchise).

However, while the movie was good and the fanbase strong, the previous DVD was... what's the term? Crap? Nope, utter crap. No real extras, poor audio and video, etc. Fortunately for fans, that's not a problem this time around. Extras start with a pair of audio commentary tracks, the first featuring two of the actors (Catherine Hicks and Alex Vincent), as well as the designer of the Chucky doll, Kevin Yagher. The second track is with the producer, David Kirschner, and the screenwriter, Don Manchini. Both offer a lot of information on the film, from very different perspectives. (It is unusual for both tracks to be so heavy in information, because usually the crew track offers the information and the cast track offers entertainment.) There are also select scene commentaries done by 'Chucky', but these are more for laughs. There's a three-part making-of featurette than runs 25 minutes called Evil Comes in Small Packages. This deals with the origins of the story, how the script was sold, etc. Very solid with excellent replay value. Chucky: Building a Nightmare is a 10-minute featurette on the making of the doll. Given the groundbreaking nature of the animatronics in this movie, this is a great featurette. A Monster Convention is five and a half minute panel from 2007 with some of the cast and crew. There is also a 6-minute vintage featurette, which is a kick to watch, but the other featurettes cover the same information, and in more detail. Finally, rounding out the extras are the trailers and some images.

For fans of Child's Play, the Chucky's 20th Birthday Edition is a must have, even if you have the previous edition. Fans of horror films who have not seen the first incarnation of this franchise should also checking it out. Many that do will end up buying it. (I wouldn't say the same about the sequels.)

Desperate Housewives - The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
Most fans agree that this show went from a cultural phenomenon in season one to one of the greatest examples of a sophomore slump in season two. I never thought it recovered, but I didn't like season one to begin with, so use that to judge my opinion accordingly. That said, this season benefited from the addition of Nathan Fillion, who makes every show he's part of better. (I can't wait until Castle debuts next spring. (On a side note, the first time I wrote this I said 'canceled' instead of Castle. I hope that isn't prophetic.)) Extras on this 5-disc set include a couple of commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes, a featurettes on the guys, and more, but they are charging full price for a strike-shortened season.

Doctor Who - Buy from Amazon: Episode 97 - The Invasion of Time or The Invisible Enemy/K9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend
The former is the 15th season finale, which is one of the best episodes, the latter is two shorter episodes, and while worth picking up, are not among the absolute best Doctor Who has to offer. Extras on both DVDs are incredible with audio commentary tracks, featurettes, behind-the-scenes footage, etc. All fans should be excited to pick these up. However, the more casual the nature of your fandom, the more the price will scare you away.

Eli Stone - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Jonny Lee Miller stars as Eli Stone, a lawyer who starts to see things, only to discover he had a brain aneurysm, or perhaps he is a prophet. One of several recent shows that seems to have more than its fair share of quirkiness; that's bound to happen when you have musical numbers in the middle of a courtroom drama. Extras on the 4-disc set include two audio commentary track, a slightly extended pilot episode, deleted scenes, a trio of short featurettes, and outtakes. The show was a mid-season replacement and ran just 13 episodes its first season, but the price reflects that and it is still worth picking up for fans of the show. And if you missed it, give it a rental ahead of October's season two release.

Fist of Legend - Buy from Amazon
A Jet Li movie from 1994 where he plays Chen Zhen, who in this movie stands up to the Japanese at the onset of World War II. This is one of Jet Li's best movies, but it never got a proper DVD release, until now. I don't want to get into too much detail, as a screener should be on its way, but I'm not sure if it is late or not, as I have conflicting reports on whether it is coming out this week or next week. It is a 2-disc set and the extras are impressive starting with an audio commentary track with Bey Logan and also includes lots of interviews, deleted scenes, and more. Certainly worth picking up for fans of the genre.

Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea - Buy from Amazon
A Mongolian / Japanese co-production about the life of Genghis Khan. This is not the only such film to come out this year, but unlike Mongol, this one bombed at the box office, despite costing significantly more to make. It is hard to recommend the lesser of two similar films, but those really interested in the life of Genghis Khan might want to rent this one while they wait for Mongol to come out on DVD.

Ghost Whisperer - The Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The third season of this show starring Jennifer Love Hewitt reaches DVD this week. I'm hesitant to spend a great deal of time discussing the show, because I should be receiving a screener shortly, but I will go over a couple of details. Firstly, the show was cut short by the writers' strike, although only by few episodes. Additionally, the price of the 5-disc set is lower than seasons past, so on a price per minute basis it is even. As for the extras, there are plenty, including audio commentary tracks, an interview with co-star Jay Mohr, a featurette on Jennifer Love Hewitt's fashion on the show, more webisodes, an animated short, and several interactive features. If you enjoyed the previous DVD releases, this one is certainly worth picking up. And if you haven't seen the show, check it out. It starts slowly in season one, but it has continued to evolve and improve over the following seasons.

Honey West - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
A private investigator series that ran one season starting in the fall of 1965. The series stars Anne Francis from Forbidden Planet and Bad Day at Black Rock, as the titular character, along with John Ericson as Sam Bolt, her assistant (as well as Bruce, as Bruce the Ocelot, her pet ocelot). She uses her looks, her brains, and her skill in martial arts to get to the bottom of a number of crimes during the show's 30-episode run, and it has a cult appeal that hasn't diminished to this day. Extras, on the other hand, are rather week with mostly images and vintage ads. Still, it is worth checking out, and even without substantive extras, it is worth picking up for most.

How to Rob a Bank - Buy from Amazon
A movie that practically screams, "Look how witty I am!" The problem is, it is not half as witty as it thinks it is. Not even close. Even worse, a similar movie came out near the same time, and The Bank Job was a much better movie.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - Deluxe Remastered Edition - Buy from Amazon
The latest re-release of a Peanuts holiday special. This one is arguably the best, but the Christmas special is right behind in terms of quality. This DVD also includes the TV special It's Magic, Charlie Brown, which is one of the better later specials.

Itty Bitty Titty Committee - Buy from Amazon
Love the name, but the reviews are not strong. Directed by Jamie Babbit, who also directed But I'm a Cheerleader. This film is actually earning better reviews than his earlier film did, but it didn't do nearly as well at the box office. But I'm a Cheerleader has a fluffy charm that masked the serious message, which made it a lot more watchable. It is still worth checking out, but even with a meaty making-of featurette, a rental will be enough for most.

Life - Season One - Buy from Amazon
Damian Lewis stars as Charlie Crews, a cop who was falsely convicted of a triple murder but exonerated 12 years later and who rejoins the force ($50 million richer and perhaps a lot wiser). However, most of the force is not happy he's back, especially as there may have been a police conspiracy that was partially responsible for him being convicted in the first place. The writers' strike ended the first season early, but at least the price is a reflection of that fact. Additionally, the extras on the 3-disc set are excellent: audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes, and a quartet of featurettes. Easily worth picking up, and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week but made its home market debut on the 5th of August. However, the DVD screener arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

Lobster Tale - Buy from Amazon
Colm Meaney stars as Cody Brewster, a New England lobsterman who has fallen on hard times. He doesn't have enough money to pay the bills, but he still has a caring wife (Alberta Watson) and a loving son (Jack Knight). However, his fortunes take a turn for the better when he finds some green seaweed that has miracle properties. And I don't mean miracle properties like the kind some advertising firms claim the latest anti-wrinkle cream has, I mean miracle properties like the kind that can re-attach a severed finger. When the townsfolk hear of this (including Sheriff Dan (Graham Greene), which is likely the only recognizable name outside of Colm Meaney in the movie) they want to use it for their own, sometimes selfish ends. However, the supply of moss is very limited and everyone in the town wants to use it for themselves.

A lightweight family movie that suffers from the same clichés that most wish-granter movies do. That said, while the moral of the tale is laid out in a rather heavy-handed fashion, overall the movie does have its charm, especially the performances of Colm Meaney, Graham Greene, and the various other cast members (most of whom are character actors). It is the kind of movie you can watch and enjoy, but won't leave a lasting impression, nor does it have a lot of replay value. Perfect for a rental.

The only extra on the DVD is a 7-minute making-of featurette, which is a mixture of talking heads, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie. It is worth checking out, but as the only extra on the DVD, it's not much.

Lobster Tale is a low-budget movie made in Canada a few years ago that slipped between the cracks. Most such films do. It played in a few film festivals, even won a few awards, and is certainly worth checking out. However, rent the DVD first as there are not enough extras and the replay value might not be high enough for a blind buy.

Married Life - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A strong cast couldn't save this middling film. It did make it to $1 million during its run, which is more than a lot of limited releases manage, but given its cast, one has to assume the studio was expecting more. Extras include an audio commentary track and a trio of alternate endings, none of which can compare to the original ending. As for the Blu-ray, it has those extras, but nothing new, and over on Amazon costs nearly triple the price of the DVD. Ouch. Worth checking out, but rent it first.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - Mickey's Storybook Surprises - Buy from Amazon
The first of two Disney DVD releases from their Pre-school division that are coming out this week. Here we follow Mickey and the gang on various adventures. It follows the 'Ask and Pause' formula of interactive TV shows, and a lot of time waiting for the viewers to respond. This is a selling point for kids, but as an adult, I found it slowed down the pace. ... Yes, I know that a petty complaint.

The episodes presented here are...

  • Minnie's Mystery
    Minnie made a dozen blueberry muffins, but someone eats a bunch of them, so it is up to you to help Detective Minnie find the mystery guest.
  • Donald the Forg Princess
    Ludwig Von Drake creates a potion to turn people into frogs, as part of a plan to get kisses from princess. But when Donald Duck accidentally drinks it, he has to find Princess Daisy to turn back.
  • Minnie Red Riding Hood
    Goofy caught a cold while camping, so Minnie makes him some soup to help him feel better. However, Pete wants the soup for himself, so the gang has to find their way to Goofy, while avoiding Pete.
  • Sleeping Minnie
    Minnie falls victim to a sleeping rose and now Mickey needs to find the golden harp to wake her up, but there are many obstacles in his way, but with the help of his friends, and his Mouseketools, will he be able to make it there and back?
Extras on the DVD are limited to a game where you choose several times and come up with a mixed up fairy tale. There are plenty of selections to make, so little ones should find a lot of replay value here.

Compared to other similar releases from Disney, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - Mickey's Storybook Surprises is good value for the money. If your little ones like the previous releases, they should like this one, especially if they like fairytales.

Monarchy - The Royal Family at Work - Buy from Amazon
Wait a minute! The Royal Family works? Since when?

Monster Camp - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the Seattle NERO club, which is a Live Action Role Playing group that goes out into the woods to dress up as heroes or monsters and beat each other up. Obviously there's a lot of room for mocking the participants, but the director, Cullen Hoback, does a great job showing at presenting these people in a complimentary light (or at least a sympathetic light). Granted, if you are not interested in the subject matter in the slightest, this movie won't change your mind, but for those who are interested, this is a fascinating film to watch. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track with the director, and two of the director's short films, which is enough to lift it from a rental to a purchase.

Moontide - Buy from Amazon
This 1942 Film Noir marked the Hollywood debut for French film star, Jean Gabin. Sadly it is not one of his best films, although he was in so many excellent movies that this is hardly a damning critique of the film. Extras include an audio commentary track and a making of featurette. Overall it is worth checking out for most, picking up for fans of the genre.

My Friends Tigger & Pooh - Hundred Acre Woods Haunt - Buy from Amazon
The latest DVD release featuring Winnie the Pooh. In this show Darby plays with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger solving mysteries as art of the Super Sleuths. This single-disc episode has six stories...

  • Super-Size Darby
    Rabbit tries to get his pumpkin to grow super fast, so he invents a growth formula. However, when some of it spill on Darby, she suddenly grows super tall. But while she loves her new height at first, she learns it's better to be small.
  • Piglet's Lightning Frightening
    Piglet makes a picnic for the Super Sleuths, but a sudden thunderstorm forces them inside. However, while the Super Sleuths are fine, Piglet is scared by the thunder and lightning. Will the Super Sleuths be able to help him get over his fears?
  • Eeyores's Trip to the Moon
    The gang finds a rock that is shaped like the missing part of he moon, so they gang decides to go to the moon to put the rock back. But after the launch goes poorly, will they make it to the moon?
  • The Incredible Shrinking Roo
    After along summer, Roo wants to check to see how much he's grown. However, when they check him against the mark on the sunflower, he appears to have shrunk, which is a mystery perfect for the Super Sleuths.
  • Eeyore's Home Sweet Home
    Eeyore's house is destroyed, again, the Super Sleuths look to make him a new house. But everyone has a different idea on what makes the perfect house.
  • Rabbit's Prize Pumpkin
    Rabbit is growing a prize pumpkin so he can win a blue ribbon. However, in his desire to protect his pumpkin, he becomes increasingly paranoid, so much so that he might do more damage to his pumpkin than all the dangers he is imagining.
Extras on the disc include a bonus episode of Handy Manny and a three-part harvest game.

A great release for the pre-school set, if you have enjoyed the previous My Friends Tigger & Pooh DVDs, then Hundred Acre Woods Haunt is certainly worth picking up.

The Next Avengers - Heroes of Tomorrow - Buy from Amazon: or Blu-ray
The latest direct-to-DVD Marvel release, this one focuses on the children of The Avengers, who must train so they can do battle with Ultron, who killed their parents in a massive battle years earlier. Granted, it is aimed at younger kids and adults might not be overly enthusiastic over the movie, but it is better than many similar projects and it is worth checking out for adults and picking up for kids. Extras on the disc include two featurettes and two 'previews' for upcoming direct-to-DVD Marvel release, Hulk vs. Wolverine and Hulk vs. Thor (Hulk has angry management issues).

The Office - Season Four - Buy from Amazon
This season was cut short by the writers' strike, and many fans also consider it the weakest of the seasons. These might not be unconnected. The tone of the show was darker than in previous seasons; it was always dark, but this year it wasn't as funny. Additionally, the price is only a few dollars less than last season, but there are a third fewer episodes. Extras are good with about 6 episodes worth of deleted scenes, an episode's worth of outtakes, audio commentary tracks on four episodes, and more. Still worth picking up, but the price per minute is too high to rate as a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Outsourced - Buy from Amazon
A film about a man, Todd Anderson, whose job is outsource. To make matters worse, he is forced to travel to India to train his replacement. The film deals not only with the business end of this story, but also the culture class aspect, and even throws in a bit of romance as well. All these ingredients add up to a fun movie and one that deserved to be seen by more people. As for the DVD, it is loaded especially when you consider its short theatrical run. Extras start with an audio commentary track, and include a couple behind-the-scenes featurettes, an interview, storyboards, translations, and more. Certainly worth checking out, and worth buying over just renting.

The Promotion - Buy from Amazon
The buzz here was this film could have been the Indie darling of the year, escaping limited release and earning widespread success. That didn't happen. In fact, it earned reviews that were below 50% positive, opened with a mediocre box office, and then fizzled as soon as it tried to expand. The movie isn't as bad as that sounds and the DVD has a greater selection of extras than I was anticipating (audio commentary track, making of featurette, deleted scenes, outtakes, and more). Overall it is worth checking out for many, picking up for some.

Quark - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
A TV series that spoofs Sci-Fi TV shows and movies, and it's a real spoofs, not like those terrible movies that keeps coming out. The show only lasted one season, but apparently there is still a lot of fans as it is currently in the top ten on this week's sales chart. Admittedly, I know very little about this show, and only have vague recollections of the show. I was supposed to get a copy to review, and hopefully the screener is just late, so I can given a more in-depth look at the show's 8-episode run.

Reprise - Buy from Amazon
This might be the first Norwegian film I've seen. Hopefully it won't be the last.

Two friends, Phillip and Erik, are at the brink of their writing careers just pausing momentarily before sending off their manuscripts to the publisher. We are then told what happens when both their books are published, apparently it involves poor sales, cult status, writer's block, sabbatical to France, suicide, and the delusions of speaking Japanese, to name a few things. Then the Narrator stops and we get back to the real story. In this story one will be rejected (Erik) and one will become an instant celebrity (Phillip) but we look back at the two in six months and see who got the better deal.

The script here is excellent, very witty, and the way the movie jumps back and even gives us 'alternate events' like the ones described above adds to the literary quality. It is also one of the few complaints leveled against the film, as some found the less than linear storytelling either confusing or pretentious. I think this is unfair, although I might not be able to write a 100% accurate timeline of the real events of the movie. The acting was also strong, which is a fact made even more impressive as the three leads were all newcomers, as was the writer / director. However, I don't think any of these people will have trouble finding more work in the future.

Extras on the DVD start with a seven-minute featurette on the cast of the movie. Next up is a eight-minute featurette on the director, Joachim Trier. Joachim Trier and fellow co-writer Eskil Vogt sit down and discuss how they met and started working together in the featurette, Anecdotes. Next up is a four-minute featurette on the making of one of the scenes. Next up are a doze deleted scenes with a total running time of 16 minute and 30 seconds, which means most of very short, but there are a few that add a bit more to the story. Rounding out the extras is something called So Sorry, which is hard to explain. It's a collection of many of the actors saying the word sorry, in English. Apparently it is common for Danish people to do this, at least that's what everyone was telling Olivier Bugge Coutté, who is Danish. He is also the editor, so he cut together a collection of the Norwegian actors doing the same. I don't know how common it is, but at least one of the actors also swears in English.

Reprise earned amazing reviews and got off to a great start in limited release. However, it couldn't maintain its momentum as it expanded. That said, earning more than $500,000 is great for a foreign language and was enough to convince the studio to release a DVD that is not only worth checking out, but it is worth buying over just renting.

Road House - Buy from Amazon
No, not that atrocious Patrick Swayze movie from 1989. This movie is film noir from 1948. Perhaps it isn't the best known example of the genre, but it is worth checking out. Extras include an audio commentary track and a featurette that runs nearly 20 minutes, which is more than most films this old will get when they hit DVD. It is also more than enough to lift the film from the rental to a purchase.

The Sensation of Sight - Buy from Amazon
David Strathairn stars as Finn, a man who is undergoing a mid-life crisis after suffering a recent tragedy. The film earned mixed reviews, opened well, but then collapsed never really expanded. It is worth checking out, but for most a rental will do, especially with just a featurette on the DVD in terms of extras.

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theater - The Complete Collection - Buy from Amazon
On the one hand, this was a great show with an impressive amount of talent, on both sides of the camera. On the other hand, this is an expensive 7-disc set and the extras are not great. There's missing '27th episode', which is not a full episode but a clip show. There are also some vintage promos, and a deck of playing cards featuring actors from the show. That's not that bad in terms of extras, but for $90.00, I would expect more.

Skeleton Key 2 - Buy from Amazon
The original was a pretty bad movie that barely exceeded its production budget domestically, so why are they releasing a sequel? Because it is a no-budgetdirect-to-DVD sequel with a name that should theoretically help set it apart from the rest of the cheap direct-to-DVD horror films out there.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week but made its home market debut on the 19th of August. However, the DVD screener arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

Street Kings - DVD - Buy from Amazon
This is a film that hit DVD a couple weeks ago, actually, it hit DVD and Blu-ray, but I don't have a copy of the High Definition release, so I won't be reviewing that. But onto the movie.

Keanu Reeves plays Detective Tom Ludlow, a cop who is not exactly dirty in the traditional sense of the word, but he is certainly not clear. His Captain and his partners in vice squad have been skirting the laws to get the bad guys. However, his former partner has gone to Internal Affairs, but despite this when he is killed, Tom Ludlow seeks revenge, and then things really start to go south.

The film earned weak reviews and while it opened well, it collapsed completely its second weekend of release. Given that, I had low, low expectations for this film. However, while the movie is far from perfect, it does have enough going for it that it is worth checking out. The script is a little overloaded with story of corruption and there's at least one too many surprise twists. There's too much weight for the movie to support, which is a shame since it had potential.

Extras on the DVD are much better than the box office production would indicate, with an audio commentary track with the director, which leans heavily towards the information end of the spectrum, however, while it might be a bit dry at times, there are almost no dead spots, and it is worth listening to. Next up are close to 12 minutes of deleted scenes, also with optional audio commentary. There are also 10 alternate scenes, which range in length from just over a minute, to just over six and in total they run nearly 30 minutes. Street Rules: Rolling with David Ayer & Jaime FitzSimons in a seventeen and a half minute tour of the neighborhood the film takes place in. L.A. Bete Noir: Writing 'Street Kings is about the script, as the name would indicate, and runs just under 5 minutes. Street Cred is a 4-minute look at some of the secondary characters in the movie. There are four 'vignettes' and four more behind-the-scenes featurettes dealing with stunts, casting, the actors' training, etc. They are too small to be effective, and should have been combined into a larger featurette with more cohesion.

Additionally, the DVD comes with a digital copy of the movie.

Street Kings is a movie with a lot of potential, but a rather flawed execution. I'm not particularly happy with the final film, and I can't be too enthusiastic with my recommendation, but the DVD is worth a rental for most.

Supernatural - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
Another strike-shortened TV on DVD release coming out this week, and again this one is coming out for nearly the same price as a full season set. However, this is arguably the best season of the show's run so far, and the extras on this 5-disc set are also better than before with behind-the-scenes featurettes on nearly half of the episodes, a featurette on the special effects, a featurette on the car, a featurette on Ghostfacers (I'd explain, but I don't want to spoil the episode), outtakes and there's even a digital copy of the entire season. Sweet. Overall this is an excellent set and easily worth picking up. It is even a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Then She Found Me - DVD or Blu-ray
Helen Hunt's directorial debut. This transition from actor to director wasn't perfect, but it was better than most. It also did very well in limited release earning relatively close to $4 million in the end. Extras include an audio commentary track, making of featurette, and interviews. The Blu-ray has no additional extras, but it costs less... okay, its 4 cents less, but it is less money. Overall the movie is worth checking out, but go with a rental first.

The Transformers - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
It has been nearly a year since the DVD and the HD DVD. When it first hit High Definition, this was a groundbreaking release. So what has changed?

Thankfully, not much.

The video is the same, the audio has got a smart upgrade to Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround track. However, the extras are all the same, right down to my problems connecting to the network. (It's like I'm cursed. And since I was able to download a patch, it can't be a problem on my end.) I'll try again next week to see if things have changed.

The Blu-ray debut of The Transformers is even better than the first time it hit High Definition, but only by a very small margin. Additionally, in the time between releases, what was groundbreaking before is now just commonplace for a monster hit such as this. For instance, Picture-in-Picture is relatively common now. That said, it is worth grabbing, especially if you bought the DVD, as there is a mail-in rebate to get $10 back. (Sadly, people who bought just the HD DVD version can't participate in the rebate program.

Water Lillies - Buy from Amazon
A film about three adolescent girls who cross paths at the local swimming over the course of a summer and their relations. The film earned strong reviews, but as a niche market of a niche market it was never able to find an audience theatrically. As for the DVD, it has some deleted scenes and some behind-the-scenes, which is on par for most imports, and helps the DVD rate a purchase over just a rental.


Filed under: Video Releases, Transformers, Street Kings, Then She Found Me, Reprise, The Promotion, Outsourced, La Naissance des Pieuvres, Avant que j'oublie, The Sensation of Sight, Itty Bitty Titty Committee, Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea, How to Rob a Bank, Bratz Girlz Really Rock