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DVD Releases for November 11, 2008 - Part I

November 11th, 2008

I have just one word to describe this week's DVD Release Report, and that word is, 'Ggrrghfuul.' 'Ggrrghfuul' is the sound one makes after reviewing 19 DVDs in one week, and I wasn't even able to put a dent in my pile of late DVDs. (On a related note, I have never been late reviewing a movie, as long as it arrives before the weekend before the movie is released. Given how busy some weeks have been, that's quite a feat.) As for the actual releases, there are a number of top-notch offerings coming out on Tuesday, and one that came out on Sunday. These include Firefly - The Complete Series - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon, Hellboy 2 - The Golden Army - Buy from Amazon: 3-Disc DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Collector's Edition, and Sunset Boulevard - Centennial Collection - Buy from Amazon. All three are worthy of the DVD Pick of the Week, and I'm not going to bother to narrow it down further. Additionally, there are two late releases featured on this week's list, Futurama - Bender's Game - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray and Kung Fu Panda - Buy from Amazon: DVD, With Secrets of the Furious Five, or Blu-ray, and both of these are also worthy of DVD Pick of the Week Honors. As expected with such a massive amount of releases, the list has been split into two and the second part can be found here.

7th Heaven - Season Seven - Buy from Amazon
It took too long for this series to start coming out on DVD, but at least they are not waiting a long time between releases. Sadly, there are no extras on this, but perhaps for its target audience it is still worth picking up, but you have to be a more hardcore fan of the series to grab this instead of renting it.

Beer for My Horses - Buy from Amazon
Toby Keith is a bad actor, and this is a bad movie. The film bombed during its opening, but has stuck around longer than I thought it would and now has $666,000. Hmmm... Nope, too easy. Extras include several short featurettes and some outtakes, but it's not even worth renting unless you are a hard, hardcore fan of Toby Keith.

The Best Of Bond... James Bond - Buy from Amazon
I've already reviewed the CD portion of this CD / DVD release here, but the DVD part finally arrived so here is a quick update.

The DVD contains five music videos, including my favorite Bond video, "View to a Kill" by Duran Duran. Other music videos include "For Your Eyes Only" by Sheena Easton, "Goldeneye" by Tina Turner, "The Living Daylights" by A-Ha, and "All Time High" by Rita Coolidge. None of these have the imagination of "View to a Kill" and are typical of soundtrack videos mixing clips from the movie with the band playing. Next up is a live performance of "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey filmed in 1974. The sound and video are strong, especially considering the age of the source material. Additionally, there is a documentary called The Bond Sound - The Music of 007 that is exactly what it sounds like. It runs 22 minutes long and goes through most of the films, both the theme songs and the score. It's an excellent featurette and would be a great featurette on any of the movie releases.

As I said previously, The Best Of Bond... James Bond is worth picking up just for the CD part. Add in the DVD, and it is a must have for fans of the franchise.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: 3 - The Dale Earnhardt Story, Band of Brothers, Between the Lines - Sara Bareilles Live At The Filmore, Black Christmas (1974), British Action 3-Movie Pack, Chuck - Season One, The Colt, The Complete Masterworks 2, Coral Reef Adventure, Dolphins, Dragon Ball Z - Return of the Cooler / Cooler's Revenge, Firefly - The Complete Series, Freedom, Harry Potter Years 1 - 5, HD Moods - Fireplace, Hellboy II - The Golden Army, Hellboy II - The Golden Army - Collector's Set, JFK, Katt Williams: It's Pimpin' Pimpin', Kung Fu Panda, Live From Abbey Road: Best Of Season One, Mother Earth, The Living Sea, Sci-Fi Superheroes 3-Movie Pack, Soundstage - Sheryl Crow Live, Star Wars - Clone Wars, The Story of O, Sukiyaki Western Django, Superhero Blu-ray Collection, Supernatural - Season 3, Tchaikovsky Gala, This Christmas, Vanessa Paradis Divinidylle Tour, Wagner - Die Walkure, War and Politics 3-Movie Pack, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.25 / Piano Sonatas - Acoustic Reality Experience
A huge collection of Blu-ray releases this week from nearly every category. (First run releases, limited releases, classic releases, TV on DVD releases, even music, stand-up, Anime, and box sets.) There are a number of top-notch releases that were at least contender for DVD Pick of the Week, including Firefly - The Complete Series and Hellboy II - The Golden Army - Collector's Set.

The Boys in the Band - Buy from Amazon
A film from 1970 that deals with gay themes, which makes it a groundbreaking film. It is also a great film in its own right. This appears to be the first time the film has been released on DVD, which is surprising, but at least it has enough extras to be worth picking up (audio commentary track, a featurette on the original play, a featurette on the movie, and a final featurette on the 40-year history of the movie).

Christmas Releases - Buy from Amazon: Black Christmas (1974 - Blu-ray), Christmas On Mars, Classic British Christmas Comedies - Volume 1, Classic British Christmas Comedies - Volume 2, Classic British Christmas Comedies - Volume 1 & 2, A Classic TV Christmas, Holiday Affair, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, It Happened on 5th Avenue, Jingle all the Way, Johnny Carson Celebrates Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Noelle, The Perfect Holiday, This Christmas (Blu-ray), This Christmas (DVD), Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage, Warner Brothers Holiday Collection - Volume 1, and Warner Brothers Holiday Collection - Volume 2
A lot of Christmas releases this week, but not a lot that jumps out as great. Or even interesting.

The Chronological Donald - Volume Four - 1951 - 1961 - Buy from Amazon
The first of Wave 8 of the Walt Disney Treasures releases. This is the fourth and final volume of Donald Duck cartoon shorts to be released-- Wait? What? Last?

This 2-disc collection has the final shorts produced from 1951 to 1961 and includes three Oscar-nominated shorts. These, and other highlights, include...

  • Corn Chips - 1951
    The first of this set's shorts to feature Chip'n'Dale. Here the two get into a battle with Donald over some popcorn to help them through the cold winter days. Most of these shorts are quite fun, which explains why they make so many appearances on this 2-disc set.
  • Out of Scale - 1951
    Donald has a riding scale train set in his back yard, but tries to get rid of Chip'n'Dale's tree, because it is out of scale. It is a fun cartoon, and it actually has a happy ending, which is rare for Donald.
  • Trick of Treat - 1952
    A Halloween short that features the voice talent of June Foray, a.k.a. Rocket J. Squirrel. She plays Hazel a Witch, who helps Donald's three nephews get revenge after Donald plays a prank on them.
  • The New Neighbor - 1953
    This cartoon features Pete, one of the oldest characters in the Disney line-up. He also makes an appearance in Canvas Back Duck.
  • Working for Peanuts - 1953
    This is noteworthy because this was the only Donald Duck cartoon produced in 3-D. Sadly we don't get to see it in 3-D, but we do have an audio commentary track to listen to for more information.
  • Rugged Bear - 1953
    The first of two Oscar-nominated shorts on this collection. This one is not in the regular program but in the Vault. It's not there because of any racist undertones, but due to the level of violence, mostly perpetrated against Humphrey, a bear just trying to survive hunting season. As someone who grew up watching Bugs Bunny square dance hillbillies into hay-balers, this feels tame.
  • Grin and Bear It - 1954
    That goofy bear is back, this time he's living in a park that doesn't allow hunting, or molesting the bears. (They even put that rule on a sign.) But he has to entertain the tourists, and getting Donald to share is more difficult than surviving hunting season.
  • Grand Canyonscope - 1954
    The first cartoon short in Cinemascope, and Disney made sure it was a great cartoon, not just in scope, but also the jokes. Comes with an audio commentary track.
  • Bearly Asleep - 1955
    Humphrey's back, and he's trying to survive the winter after being kicked out of the bear cave. Now he has to deal with Ranger Donald.
  • How to Have an Accident in the Home - 1955
    J.J. Fate talks about all the ways someone can have an accident in the home, with Donald unwittingly having all of them.
  • Donald in Mathmagic Land - 1955
    Nominated for an Oscar, but for Best Documentary, short subject. Kind of trippy, but an interesting way to impart mathematical knowledge. This is not a normal 7-minute short and runs nearly 30 minutes, but it has serious replay value.
  • No Hunting - 1955
    The third Oscar nominated short on this collection, which is again found in the Vault for its level of violence. Again, it's tame compared to what I enjoyed as a child.
Extras on the first disc start with a 13-minute featurette on Donald Duck's appearances in comics, which includes the first appearance of Uncle Scrooge. We then see Trouble Shooter, an unfinished short presented here in storyboard form. From the Vault brings us two more cartoons from thus era that are now considered un-P.C. or too violent. Extras on the second disc include ten Disney's Mickey Mouseworks Cartoons and three cartoons From the Vault.

It's a bittersweet day for fans of Donald Duck. On the one hand, The Chronological Donald - Volume Four is coming out on DVD, and it is certainly worth buying. But on the other hand, this will be the last of the Chronological Donald releases.

Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh - Buy from Amazon
The second of three Wave 8 Walt Disney Treasures releases on this week's list.

A three-part TV movie that first appeared on the Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color starting on February 9th, 1964. It stars Patrick McGoohan, who is best known as Number Six on The Prisoner. Here he plays as Dr. Christopher Syn, the local vicar who has a secret identity as the Scarecrow, who fights the forces of King George, who are 'recruiting' men for the Royal Navy. (Their recruiting pitch was a swift blow to the head.) He also smuggles goods, robs from the king, all to help the poor. Think of him as a Robin Hood type character from a slightly more modern time.

In the introduction, Leonard Maltin states that this is one of the most requested Disney TV productions, and I can see why. Yes, not all of it has aged well, but this is still a rousing adventure story, and Patrick McGoohan is excellent in his role. This doesn't feel like a TV movie, in fact, it was cut into a theatrical release for the United Kingdom and other markets. That version can be found on the second disc of the DVD.

Extras on the first disc start with the original introductions, which were shot in widescreen. The other extra is a 16-minute featurette called Dr. Syn: The History of the Legend, which talks about the creation of the novel and the making of the movie. Over on the second disc, in addition to the theatrical version, we find a 12-minute featurette on how Disney came to set up a production company in London.

There are a lot of people who have been waiting for Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh to come out on DVD for a long time, and for these people, the wait has been worth it. There are not a huge amount of extras on the 2-disc set, but seeing the movie remastered, and in widescreen, is more than enough for it to be worth picking up.

Dragon Ball Z - Season Seven - Great Saiyaman & World Tournament Sagas - Buy from Amazon
One of the longest running Anime series of all time, and you can tell. It is entertaining, but too repetitive for a high replay value.

Father Knows Best - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
An old-fashioned show that generates a lot of nostalgic feelings amongst its fans. There are no extras on season two, but there are 37 episodes, and they didn't split the released into two volumes.

Firefly - The Complete Series - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
I am a Fanboy. I proudly admit I am a Fanboy of a number of franchises. Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, as well as directors like Judd Apatow and Kevin Smith. And yes, this list of Fandoms includes the Buffyverse and all things Joss Whedon. In my opinion, Firefly was the best thing he's created, and I'm not alone in feeling that way. I've been waiting a long time for this TV series to come out on High Definition, and the 3-disc set doesn't disappoint. Not only does it look great, but also there are a couple of additional extras, including an additional audio commentary track and an interview featurette. Easily worth upgrading for those who already have the DVD, and if you don't, this is a must have. In fact, it is a clear contender for DVD Pick of the Week. And if you are interested in this Blu-ray, and you should be, check out our latest contest.

Flying - Confessions of a Free Woman - Buy from Amazon
A 2-disc documentary about woman around the world and what they want. And it is not a 2-disc special edition with the documentary and a ton of extras; it's a nearly 6-hour movie. (It does have an interview with the director, Jennifer Fox.) It opened with good reviews, but not great reviews, and it struggled at the box office. It should do better on the home market, where people can watch the movie in installments and not as a marathon.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and made its home market debut last week. However, the DVD screener arrived a tad late, hence the delayed review.

Futurama - Bender's Game - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
First of all, I only have the DVD to review at the moment, but if I get a Blu-ray screener at some point, I will certainly update this review.

Bender's Game starts with Dwight, Cubert, and two of their other friends playing D&D, which in the year 3000 should be up to version 1000 or so. This intrigues Bender, who tries to join in but lacks the imagination needed to play the game. But with a little effort, he learns to use his imagination... and loses his mind in the process. Meanwhile, Leela's temper gets the best of her, again, and she is forced to wear a punishment collar. Finally, the Professor, Fry, Zoidberg, Leela, and the others try to disrupt Mom's monopoly on Dark Matter fuel. Yes, that's a lot to pack into a 90-minute movie, but the three storylines merge extremely well in the end.

As I said last week, this is the latest is the series of direct-to-DVD movies based on the popular TV series. I also mentioned that the early buzz was that this was the best of the three films, and I agree. It didn't suffer from trying to 're-introduce' the series, which hurt the first film, nor did it start to drag like in the second film. It started off with a quick pace, and maintained it throughout. Additionally, I loved the parodies of D&D, Lord of the Rings, and Mazes and Monsters, among others. (If you have never heard of Mazes and Monsters, it's a terrible TV Movie starring Tom Hanks. While doing research for this review, I read someone describing that movie as, 'Reefer Madness for D&D' and that's a perfect description.)

Extras on the DVD are up to the level of the previous releases starting with a highly entertaining audio commentary track with members of the cast & crew. Story Animatic is an animatic version of the first part of this movie, basically what the episode will look like when they split into three for TV. Futurama Genetics Lab allows you to mix and match two characters from the show to see what their DNA merged clones would look like. Dungeons and Dragons and Futurama in an interview with three members of the writing staff, two of which were fans of the role-playing game. How to Draw Futurama in 83 Easy Steps is not a step-by-step instructional featurette on how to draw the characters from the show, but a featurette showing how the artists draw some of the characters on the show. 3D Model Gallery shows several of the spaceships seen in this episode and has some audio commentary. Deleted Scene - Cup or Nozzle? is a short, alternate scene and not a true deleted scene. The version in the final movie is better, but this does make for an interesting extra. Blooperama 2 is not so much outtakes, as it is a short behind-the-scenes look at the voice sessions for this movie. Anti-Piracy Warning is a parody of those atrocious anti-piracy ads that I keep seeing on DVDs. The ones that start with, "You wouldn't steal a car". I hate those so much, so I liked this send up of it. Finally, there's a trailer for Into the Wild Green Yonder, the next, and hopefully not the last Futurama movie. I'm certainly looking forward to it, but I'm not sold that it will be as funny as this movie.

While I don't have the Blu-ray, it is mentioned on the DVD that the audio commentary track is upgraded to a Picture-in-Picture video commentary track for the High Definition release. Even if this is the only additional feature, this is actually more than most Blu-rays have over their DVD counterpart. Also, it does push the format and it is enough to be worth the price to upgrade.

We are now three movies into the scheduled four movie release for Futurama and I am happy to report that Futurama - Bender's Game is the best so far and with a DVD that is loaded with extras, it is easily worth picking up and easily a contender for DVD Pick of the Week. Also, given what I know about the Blu-ray, it sounds like it is worth upgrading to, but I can't be entirely sure without reviewing the Blu-ray. If I get it at a later time, I will update this review.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and made its home market debut last week. However, the DVD screener arrived a tad late, hence the delayed review.

The Good Life - Buy from Amazon
An Independent drama starring Mark Webber as an isolated young man who doesn't fit in with his football-obsessed community and who finds solace in the old movies that play at his local cinema where he helps the owner. The death of his dad and great financial burden add to his troubles, but things look like they will turn around when he meets a woman. But this is not the kind of movie where happy endings are likely. In fact, since the movie starts at the end, we know it won't end well.

This is a movie that generates a lot of its sense of drama from the complete desolation the main character feels, however, I did not feel that this was enough. Additionally, while there are some excellent performances in the movie, the actual plot felt too familiar to be compelling. Finally, the movie was just too depressing at times. In understand not all movies are supposed to be entertaining, but this felt like an endurance test and not a movie to be enjoyed. Even depressing movies, if they are well done, leave you drained but glad you watched the movie. That was not the case here.

Sadly, there are no extras on the DVD.

While doing research for this film, I heard a lot of people call The Good Life a hidden gem. I am not one of the people who would call it that, and agree more with the average critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps if you are really into independent films, this film is worth checking out, but even then the DVD is worth a rental rather than a purchase.

Hellboy 2 - The Golden Army - Buy from Amazon: DVD, 3-Disc DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Collector's Edition
Just a quick note to start, I only have the 3-Disc DVD to review and won't be getting the other versions to compare it to, but I do have some information on the differences.

The movie starts in the past with Trevor Bruttenholm telling a young Hellboy a story of the Elf King who fought against the forces of men. After a particularly bloody battle, he orders the construction of an indestructible army of golden mechanical soldiers. However, these soldiers prove to be too effective, and he locks them away and begins a truce with the humans. But the son of the Elf king rejects this new truce and goes into exile, vowing to return when he is needed the most. The young Hellboy thinks it is just a story, but...

It is very rare for a sequel to outshine its predecessor, but this is the case here. On practically every level, The Golden Army is simply better than Hellboy was, and I was a pretty big fan of Hellboy. Here the drama is better, the humor is better (I love the scene where Hellboy and Abe get drunk), the action scenes are better, and the world just feels richer. It's not perfect, for instance the fallout from Hellboy becoming public was mostly ignored and not dealt with as in-depth as I would like, but I guess that's what part 3 is for.

Extras vary dramatically depending on the version. Assuming the single-disc DVD is just the first disc of the 3-Disc DVD, then it has a huge amount of extras starting with two audio commentary tracks. The first is with the director, Guillermo Del Toro, who fills the track with a lot of information. Any fans of the director will want to sit through this track, probably more than once. The second audio commentary track includes Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, and Luke Goss. They don't have as much to say, and occasionally get caught up watching the movie, but it is still worth checking out. Set Visits has several short behind-the-scenes looks at various sets from the movie, and most are just a couple of minutes long. Guillermo Del Toro gives a Tour of the Troll Market. There is an epilogue in the form of an animated comic book. Finally, there are 5 minutes of deleted scenes, mostly deleted for timing.

Moving onto disc two of the 3-Disc DVD... here we have a huge making-of documentary that starts with an introduction by Guillermo Del Toro. It is more than two-and-a-half hours long and gives everything you need or would want to know. There is a storyboard / screen comparison for the opening 'puppet' animation. Pre-production Vault has the director's notebook, and fans of Guillermo Del Toro will be happy to see that, as he is famous for the notes he takes while developing his movies. Not only are many pages reproduced here, but there are several video entries as well. Finally, there are several image galleries, and a DVD-ROM copy of the script.

The third disc as the free digital copy of the movie for portable devices.

The Blu-ray appears to have all of these features, as well as a feature called Scene Explorer: Schufftan Goggle View. It is also BD-Live enabled.

Finally, the Blu-ray Collectors Edition has all the above, as well as a notebook and a figure of one of the Golden Army. This is the version I chose to buy, but I have more money than brain cells.

Hellboy 2 - The Golden Army is a fantastic movie that deserved a bigger audience. (The heavy summer competition did hurt the film's box office.) It is easily worth picking up, the only question is which version. Personally, I like the Blu-ray Collectors Edition, but the Blu-ray or 3-Disc DVD are also worth it.

I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
This will be a relatively brief spotlight review, because there's little that needs to be said about the TV show itself. After all, it is a classic that has been released on DVD already, and as it is with most double-dips, the main question is, is it worth dealing with is whether it is worth upgrading for those who have the complete series?

First the bad news. Season one is colorized. I know, the colorization process has improved over the years, but looking at the show, it still looks a little fake. Or at lot fake. Almost Rotoscoped at times. I'm sure there are people who would rather have the colorized version over the black and white version, but I would venture they are in the minority. Also, at least give the people a choice. Additionally, there are no additional extras on the DVDs, they are just the repackaged previous releases.

On the other hand, the 20-disc set does come in a really cool box. It's shaped like Jeannie's bottle! However, while cool looking, it is not that practical and I'm still not sure where I'm going to put it where it won't get knocked over. (Also, I've accidentally slinkied the accordion style disc holder and accidentally shot one of the discs halfway across the room. But I think that was a fluke.) Finally, the DVD comes with a box filled with cards, most of the cards have trivia on one side and short episode synopses on the other side. The last few have character / cast bios. It's not much, but it is a nice addition to the series.

I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series is one of many Complete Season Megasets coming out this week, and indeed practically every week from now till Christmas. And there's a reason for that: they make great gifts. I'm not sure there are a lot of fans who will be willing to double-dip for $100, but if you waited, now is the perfect time to pick it up.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc Edition, Two-Disc Collector's Edition, or Blu-ray
It took a while, but the Blu-ray finally arrived. So after such a long delay, let's just get right into what makes the Blu-ray better than the Two-Disc Collector's Edition.

Sadly, not as much as I would have hoped.

Granted, the film looks great, perhaps not in the top 10 Blu-rays I have, but up there. Additionally, it sounds fantastic; it sounds better than it looks. However, the only additional extra on the 2-disc set is an interactive timeline. You can look through the history of the movie under Production Timeline, the events of the film under Story Timeline and the historical basis of the movie under History Timeline. I love the warning... "Historical aspects of the feature are for entertainment purposes only." They might as well say, "Don't blame us if you try to use this as a study guide and fail a test." It is mostly text based, but there are some clips from the movie to be found at the appropriate times. It's worth checking out, but for the only Blu-ray exclusive extra, it's a little unsatisfying.

While it won't be remembered as the best Indiana Jones movie, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is still worth owning. Additionally, while the Blu-ray isn't a huge leap over the Two-Disc Collector's Edition, it only costs $1 more over on Amazon, and that is certainly worth buying the movie in High Definition.

Katt Williams - It's Pimpin' Pimpin' - Buy from Amazon: DVD on Blu-ray
A stand-up concert performance with Katt Williams, who is apparently retiring from the stand up circuit. This is not his best performance, and there's a lack of extras on both the DVD and the Blu-ray. Disappointing, but for fans it should be worth a rental.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this Tuesday and made its home market debut on Sunday. I don't know why.

Kung Fu Panda - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Coming out on Sunday, and I still don't have the Blu-ray version of this movie, but I can review both the original movie, and the direct-to-DVD mini-movie that also came out this weekend.

Kung Fu Panda stars Jack Black as Po, a Kung Fu obsessed panda who lives his life as a waiter in a noodle house. One day it is learned that Tai Lung will soon escape from prison and return to the valley to seek his revenge. The only way to stop him is to find the chosen one, the one who will be the Dragon Warrior. Will it be Master Monkey? Or perhaps Master Viper? Mantis? Crane? Or maybe it will be Tigress? Nope, it's Po, and Shifu will need to draw on all of his skill to help him train in time to battle Tai Lung.

Good kids movies are able to not just entertain the young ones, but adults as well. And this is a great kids movie. As someone who has watched my share of martial arts movies, I got a kick out of this movie tweaking the genre. Additionally, the animation and the voice acting were top notch. I would be floored if this movie didn't receive an Oscar nomination. I don't think it will win, but it should be nominated.

As for the extras, things start with an audio commentary track with the two directors who fill the track with plenty of information. Adult fans of the movie, and there will be a lot of them, should give this track a listen. Meet the Cast is a 13 minute featurette on the voice cast. Pushing the Boundaries runs just over 7 minutes and is about the complicated animation. Sound Design is a shorter featurette on the foley work and more. There's a music video for the movie's rendition of "Kung Fu Fighting". Alton Brown hosts a short segment on the making of noodles, the traditional Chinese way. There's a three-minute lesson on using chopsticks. ... And now I'm hungry. (Fortunately I have leftover sushi, but I already ate the noodles.) There is a short bit on Panda conservation. Next up are five mini-games you can play to train as the Dragon Warrior.

Secrets of the Furious Five
A mini-movie that is debuting on DVD this week. It can not be purchased separately, nor can it be purchased with the Blu-ray. It can only be purchased as part of a package deal. No clue why, but it is annoying.

In the movie, Po must train a bunch of kids in the ways of martial arts, but instead tells the story of the origins of the Furious Five and how they learned to overcome their weaknesses and worked on their strengths. It's fun, but it is only 24 minutes long (basically is could be a half-hour TV special). There are a number of extras on the DVD including a few games, dance instructions, kung fu lessons, information on the Chinese zodiac, information on kung fu, and finally a personality quiz. (I'm a mantis.)

Overall, this DVD is worth checking out, but it doesn't have the replay value of the original movie. The only way to get it is to spend the extra money and buy the two together. The list price is just $5 more, which is worth it.

Love Songs - Buy from Amazon
A French musical about love, in all its various forms. It's a niche market of a niche market film and its reviews were not strong enough to compensate. The DVD does have a half-hour interview with the director, Christophe Honoré, and it is worth checking out for most and picking up for many.


Filed under: Video Releases, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Kung Fu Panda, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, This Christmas, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Perfect Holiday, Noëlle, Les Chansons d'Amour, Sukiyaki Western Django, Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman, Futurama - Bender's Game