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DVD Releases for December 23, 2008

December 22nd, 2008

A very short list this week, as most DVDs coming out are actually making their debut on the 27th, not the 23rd. However, I don't want to confuse last minute holiday shoppers, as most of the best films are not coming out until after Christmas. As for tomorrow's releases, none are top notch, and none come close to DVD Pick of the Week level.

60 Minutes - The Oil Kingdom - Buy from Amazon
There are DVDs from this show released practically every week. However, as a 24-minute DVD for a MSRP of nearly $20.00, it is not worth the price.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Aventura - Kings of Bachata - Live of Madison Square Garden, Bobby Z, Cloverfield & Sleepy Hollow, Coming to America & Trading Places, Death Sentence, Drillbit Taylor & Norbit, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Italian Job & Shooter, Next & Face/Off, Patriot Games & Sum of All Fears, Payback & We Were Soldiers, Roberto Carlos - En Vivo, Ruins & Tomb Raider, and The Spiderwick Chronicles & Nacho Libre
No marquee Blu-ray releases this week. For that matter most of the releases are budget double-shots.

Johnny Test - Buy from Amazon: And Dukey and Vs. Bling Bling Boy
A fun show about Johnny Test, who is constantly acting as guinea pig for his two sisters: Susan and Mary. A great cartoon, and while I vastly prefer full-season sets, these DVDs are great value at just $7 for an hour-long DVD.

Metallica - All Nightmare Long - Buy from Amazon
A three-track DVD EP featuring three videos from 2008. What you get is worth checking out, but given the price per minute, it is better to rent than buy.

Mighty Machines - Winter Blast - Buy from Amazon
A 90-minute DVD for kids that shows them how the big machines deal with a winter blizzard.

Pulse 3 - The Invasion - Buy from Amazon
The final installment in the trilogy that started with Pulse. The other two films have gone direct to DVD, and I was able to review all of them.

This movie takes place years after the events of the second film and follows Justine, whom we first met in the earlier movie as a young girl. Now she's 17 and is sick of living in the zero-technology shanty town when she finds an old laptop and uses it to communicate with the outside world, where she reaches a man named Adam. He convinces her to return to the city, which was been overtaken by the spirits of the first two films. But with a movie like this, you know it won't be a happy meeting.

As I said, I've reviewed all three films in this franchise, so I can compare the three, and I think this one is the best. Or perhaps this is because my expectations have been beaten so low by the previous two films. I really wanted to like Pulse, but it was terrible. Pulse 2 - Afterlife was no better. Here, the green screen work is a little more subdued, which helps, while the story is better. Also, the lead actress, Brittany Renee Finamore, did a fine job making her character more compelling than nearly every other one in the franchise.

Extras on the DVD are on par with other direct to DVD releases with an audio commentary track and a making-of featurette. The former features the writer/director, Joel Soisson; the producer, Mike Leahy; the editor, Kirk Morri; and the lead actress, Brittany Renee Finamore. It adds enough information while keeping the pace high; it's worth checking out. The making-of featurette runs eight and a half minutes and deals with the inspiration, the cast, the special effects, etc.

Pulse 3 s better than the other two movies in the Pulse franchise, but it is still just mediocre, as opposed to actively bad. I guess if you've stuck with the series this far, check out this DVD, but most likely gave up on the franchise after the first film.

Savage Grace - Buy from Amazon
A film starring Julianne Moore, among others, about a dysfunctional family. And not a comedic level of dysfunction, but one involving sexual abuse. The subject matter made the movie incredibly difficult to watch, which explains why it struggled during its limited release. And this explains why the DVD only has a making-of featurette in terms of extras. If you are a fan of art house films, this might be worth checking out. Might be. But a rental is all that is needed here.

Triple-Shots - Buy from Amazon: Billy Crystal, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Gene Hackman, Jake Gyllenhall, John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Kevin Costner, Matt Damon, Queen Latifah, Renee Zellwegger, and Tom Hanks
A ton of triple-shot DVDs from a series of actors. Mostly these are weaker films from the stars and even at $6 a movie it is hard to recommend these DVDs.

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles - Volume 10 - Answers Without Questions - Buy from Amazon
I usually don't talk about Anime on this list, simply because I don't know enough about the shows to give any intelligent commentary. ... It is no difference for this release, but I need the filler. On a side note, it is the 11th best-selling release at Amazon.com for the 23rd, but it isn't even in the top 10,000 overall. It's a really slow week.

WordWorld - The Race to Mystery Island - Buy from Amazon
One of numerous educational kids' shows from PBS. This one is for pre-school kids and helps them with early letter and word recognition. Should please its target audience, and would make a great last-minute gift.

WWE - Double-Shot - Buy from Amazon: Edge - Decade of Decadence and Survivor Series - 2008
Two releases from the WWE. Normally I skip these releases, but there's so little to talk about this week.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Savage Grace