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DVD Releases for May 22, 2007

May 22nd, 2007

It's the first busy week of the month, and it won't get this busy again for the rest of summer. There is literally a hundred releases mentioned on this week's list, roughly half of which are coming out to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Wayne. However, while there were plenty of those releases coming out, it was another classic movie to win the DVD Pick of the Week. That classic film is The Third Man - Criterion Collection - 2-Disc Edition - Buy from Amazon.

24 Slim Case - Buy from Amazon: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, and Season 4
The only difference here is the packaging.

The 40-Year Old Virgin - Unrated 2-Disc Double Your Pleasure Edition - Buy from Amazon: DVD or HD-DVD
An excellent movie, an amazing DVD, but it's a little too soon from the previous release for it to earn the DVD Pick of the Week. Even so, I would recommend the upgrade here. On a side note, the HD-DVD is just the previously released Unrated Edtion, but in High Definition.

Afro Samurai - Buy from Amazon: 2-Disc Director's Cut or TV Cut
Samuel L. Jackson provides the voice for the titular character in this futuristic, martial arts animated mini-series. This show screens cult classic, but the only way to view it is with the 2-Disc Director's Cut, which is not only 15 minutes longer, but with the extras has nearly an hour's worth of running time more than the TV Cut version. Easily worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Airwolf - Season Three - Buy from Amazon
I did not like season 1, and the show doesn't get better from there. Add in no special features on this 5-disc set is worth skipping.

Alex Rider - Operation Stormbreaker - Buy from Amazon
This film did reasonably well in its native U.K., but earned bad reviews and struggled everywhere else, including here. In fact, saying it struggled is a nice way of putting it as it bombed earning less than $1 million at the box office. As for the DVD, it should perform better as it has a number of extras, but I still can't recommend anything more than a rental unless you are a huge fan of the Kid Spies genre.

Alone With Her - Buy from Amazon
A movie about a stalker who is obsessed with his beautiful neighbor going so far as to install hidden cameras in her apartment. The film was shot through these hidden cameras and that gives the movie an extras creep factor, but for a lot of people it will seem more like a filmmaking experiment than a regular movie. Still, it is worth checking out, but with just an audio commentary and some deleted scenes, a rental will do.

Alvin And The Chipmunks - The Chipmunks Go To The Movies - Buy from Amazon
They are making an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. ... Hopefully the world will end before it is released. Seriously, the novelty of these guys wore out before their song was first over, so I'm not sure how they lasted this long.

Apocalypto - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-Ray
What's the deal with Mel Gibson and brutal violence? Seriously. The last three movies he directed contained a level of violence that would make fans of teenage slashers wince.

This is a movie that looks amazing, the ancient Mayan culture is really brought to life here and the jungle and the landscape is beautifully shot. Getting to know the Mayan village and the people within was great and had that been want the movie was about, it would have been fine. I even liked to look at the Mayan cities and that culture.

On the other hand, much of the movie was taken up by the final chase scene, which I felt went on and one and on. ... and on. I also had an issue with some of the violence in the movie. Yes, I understand the culture was extremely violent with human sacrifices, but there were a few close-ups on a few of these scenes that seemed gratuitous and out of place given the type of movie it was. (The listening to the audio commentary and the reactions of the two participants to these scenes strengthened that opinion for me.) It occasionally jarred me out of the movie, and that's never a good thing. (Also, while much of the special effects and make-up were amazing, a couple of times the Jaguar looked a like puppet. Not an animatronic, mind you, but a puppet.)

The extras on the DVD are rather limited with an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, making of documentary, and a deleted scene. The audio commentary track features Mel Gibson and the co-writer / co-producer Farhad Safinia and is more informational than entertaining, but it's not dry either. There are quite a few dead spots here and there. Becoming Mayan: Creating Apocalypto is your typical making-of documentary and features talking heads, clips from the movie, and clips from the movie. A lot of content is packed into this 25-minute piece and there is definitely some replay value here. There are also a deleted deer scene that can be viewed with audio commentary. It's really too short to be of any real value to the DVD overall.

Overall the DVD is worth checking out for most people. It is a good movie, but not a great one, and the extras add just enough to lift it past the rental level.

Avatar The Last Airbender - Book 2 Earth - Volume 3 - Buy from Amazon
A good TV series, but like most non-full season TV on DVD releases, it is expensive on a price-per-minute basis.

Blu-Ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Closer, Freedom Writers, Mission: Impossible, Mission Impossible II, Pirate of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
A big, big list of Blu-Ray releases with the two Pirates of the Caribbean releases are the big ones on this list, perhaps big enough to upgrade your home theater system.

Broken Arrow - Buy from Amazon
James Stewart stars as Tom Jeffords in this western from 1950. Not one of his better known films, but it is excellent and has a better message than most movies of the same genre from the day. (It was one of the first films to advocate Europeans and Native Americans should be a peace with each other, as opposed to the Cowboys vs. Indians western that were dominate at the time. Extras are limited to the trailer and some archival Movietone News footage, but that is to be expected for a movie this old and overall the DVD is worth picking up.

Can-Can - Buy from Amazon
One of those movies that deals with something that was forbidden or risqué at the time, but now seems positively old-fashioned. Here I think the Can-Can was used more as a metaphor for the Rock'n'Roll inspired dance of the day. The film stars Frank Sinatra, but it is not one of his best-known or best movies. It's not terrible, but just average. Extras, on the other hand, are better than average for a movie that is close to 50 years old with a making of featurette, featurette on playwright Abe Burrows, restoration comparisons, and more. Certainly worth checking out, but probably only worth a rental for most.

The Challenge - Buy from Amazon
A martial arts movie... from Germany.

Set in a futuristic Europe after the collapse of civilization and the technological regression it is up to one man, Jonas Klingenberg, to recover the secret book of martial arts knowledge and prevent a the son of a cruel king from rising in his place and ruling the land. Oh cheese. Oh sweet, glorious cheese.

On the plus side, there are some pretty good fight scenes in the movie, but nothing compared to the new bread coming out of Thailand like Tome Yum Goong. Also, the fascist angle adds a twist to the movie that sets it apart.

On the down side, the plot is weak to superfluous, but people who are interested in these types of movies don't watch them for the plot. And the creepy relationship between the wannabe dictator and his sister was ... unnecessary. Also, the budget for the movie was minimal, (estimated at 300,000 Euros or about $400,000), and it shows quite a bit. This includes the DVD transfer, which was sub-par at times.

The movie can be watched either in the original German or dubbed into English, however, the English dubbing is pretty weak and does distract from the movie. It does add to the cheese level, if that is what you are wanting to watch the film for.

Fans of the genre looking for something new should check out the movie, but without any special features, a rental will do for most people.

On a side note, this DVD actually came out a couple weeks ago, but my screener copy just arrived shortly before last weekend, hence the delay in the spotlight review.

Constellation - Buy from Amazon
A movie aimed at African-American audience that failed to connect. However, given its reviews, that is not a surprise. As for the DVD, the lack of extras limits its appeal and I can't even recommend a rental.

Epic Movie - Buy from Amazon: Theatrical Version or Unrated Edition
Yet another pseudo-spoof from the same people who brought us Date Movie, (and they are working on another, Action Movie, I think). Date Movie was one of the worst movies of 2006 and Epic Movie was one of the worst movie of all time. (I won't go into my rant about the art of parody, again, but I will say dropping several pop culture references and hoping people laugh is as far from parody as one can get and still be a form of writing.) The extras on the DVD are amazing in terms of quantity, but in this case, more is not a good thing. This is a movie so bad that I can't image most people reading this could sit through it even once, and even the few fans out there will have trouble sitting through it for the three different features, (audio commentary track, fart noise, (seriously), and the-- That's it. The film is so bad I can't bring myself to write about it anymore. Let's move onto the next release.

Fay Grim - Buy from Amazon
The latest movie to open in theaters and on HDNet on a Friday before coming out on the following Tuesday. So far all the movies that have tried this approach have failed to make much of an impact in theaters. Granted, most earn bad reviews with this film's being no exception earning just 43% positive. (However, I think without Parker Posey, this movie would have earned much, much worse as her exuberance lifts the material.) As for the DVD, there are a couple featurettes and some deleted scenes, but nothing that lifts it past the rental level.

Flags of Our Fathers - Two-Disc Special Edition - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD
When this movie first came out on DVD, the featureless disc led me to believe it would be re-released on a special edition DVD when its companion film, Letters from Iwo Jima came out. And it turns out I was right. However, I can't support this practice of releasing two versions of the movie on DVD this close together, no matter how good the second one is. Skip it.

The Good German - Buy from Amazon
The buzz on this film was it would be an award-season player, however, despite the talent on both sides of the camera, the movie felt like an experiment to be marveled at and not a story to be engaged by. (It was filmed using the techniques and technology of 1945, which is when it was set.) It's intriguing, but has limited replay value. Add in a featureless DVD, and it is worth a rental, at most.

The Hard Easy - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD release starring David Boreanaz. Good thing he has been in three hit TV series, because he has had a really hard time getting his movie career off the ground. This movie isn't bad, but I have a soft spot for heist flicks but even I would have a hard time recommending much more than a rental.

HD-DVD Releases: Buy from Amazon: The Complete Matrix, Freedom Writers, Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible 2, The Skeleton Key, Smokey and the Bandit, The Ultimate Matrix Collection, and Uncommon Bach
Big, big list of HD-DVD releases this week with the two The Matrix box sets being the big deal this week. For hardcore fans of the movies, the The Ultimate Matrix Collection might be enough to convince some to upgrade to High Definition. It will take a bit more for me, I'm afraid.

Hero High - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The latest release from Filmation, however, there are two important notes. Firstly, this is not the full series but just the Hero High segments from The Kids Super Power Hour with Shazam! Secondly, this is not one of the best shows from this studio and Hero High was the weakest segment from the series. There's a certain appeal to nostalgia here, and plenty of extras, but I still can't recommend the 2-disc set for anything more than a rental.

Instant Star - Season 1 - Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian TV series following a up-and-coming rock star played by Alexz Johnson, who is probably best known in the States for playing Erin in Final Destination 3. I'm starting to see a lot of Canadian shows hitting DVD, so it can't be too long before Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy makes its way to the home market. In the meantime, this is a great show and the extras are strong, (deleted scenes, outtakes, etc.), and is easily worth picking up for fans of the show, (and those trying to convince studios that they should release other Canadian TV series).

The Italian - Buy from Amazon
A Russian film about a boy who runs away from a prospective adoptive family to find his birth mother. The film's reviews were stellar and it has a strong box office run for a foreign language film, but unfortunately not strong enough to warrant any special features. Even so, it is worth checking out, even if that's only a rental for most.

John Wayne - Collections - Buy from Amazon: Adventure, Century, Collection, Volume 1, Film Collection
It's the 100th anniversary of John Wayne's birth this year, so there are a ton of DVDs coming out this week to celebrate. Among the seemingly endless box sets and movies coming out this week, there are a few interesting notes, but most seem like cash grabs. There is also some overlap in the films on these box sets, so watch out.

John Wayne - Movies - Buy from Amazon: 3 Godfathers, Allegheny Uprising, Back to Bataan, Big Jim McLain, The Big Stampede, Blood Alley, Cahill - United States Marshal, Chisum, The Cowboys - Deluxe Edition, El Dorado / Hatari! - Double Feature, Flying Leathernecks, Fort Apache, The Green Berets, Haunted Gold, How the West was Won, In Harm's Way / Donovan's Reef - Double Feature, The Long Voyage Home, The Man from Monterey, McQ, Operation Pacific, Reunion in France, Ride Him, Cowboy, The Sea Chase, The Searchers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Somewhere in Sonora, The Sons of Katie Elder / The Shootist - Double Feature, Stagecoach, Tall in Saddle, The Telegraph Trail, They Were Expendable, The Train Robbers, Trouble All the Way, Tycoon, The Wings of Eagle, and Without Reservation
While there are several John Wayne box sets coming out this week, there are even more individual movies, (and a few double-features).

Kitchen Confidential - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
This was the battle of the Buffy alumni as Nicholas Brendon starred in this series, which aired opposite Alyson Hannigan in How I Met Your Mother. While I found this show far superior, it only lasted three episodes before being cancelled, (one more episode was aired after that leaving nine additional ones unaired during its original run). (Inexplicably, How I Met Your Mother is still going on having been renewed for a third season.) This show had an excellent case, a great set-up, and had the potential to be an award-winning show. ... At least the 2-disc DVD set is worthy of the show, but that's small comforts at this point. Extras include audio commentary tracks on two episodes, a tour of the restaurant where the series was set, and an interview featurette with the cast and crew. Easily worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Kyle XY - Declassified - The Complete First Season
A Sci-fi series that airs on ABC Family, it is about a strange young man, (the titular Kyle), who is found in a forest outside of Seattle. At first he is unable to communicate, but his ability to learn amazes all. Oh yeah, he also has no belly button. The show has a good mystery going for it, and it is easy to get hooked into the show earlier on, hooked well enough to get through some of the weaker episodes in the middle. (On the other hand, I've heard differing opinions on the end of the series with some saying it rebounded nicely, while others didn't like the resolution.) Extras on the 3-disc set include the extended cuts of both the premiere and the season finale, audio commentary tracks, and featurettes, etc. It's worth picking up, although the price is a tad high since the first season is only 10 episodes long.

Letters from Iwo Jima - Two-Disc Special Edition - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD
The companion film to Flags of Our Fathers, and it was the better film and the bigger box office hit, if you include international numbers. Like the Special Edition for the Flags of Our Fathers, this 2-disc set is well done with more than an hour of extras including footage from the premiere, making of featurette, a look at the cast, etc. Easily worth picking up, however, it is better to grab both films at once in the 5-Disc Commemorative Collection, which has a bonus disc that includes a History Channel documentary and an Oscar nominated vintage short film. That box set is a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

The Magnificent Seven - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
The second, and final season of this show based on the movie of the same name. The show was never a big ratings winner, in fact, it was nearly cancelled after the first season. So while fans will be disappointed of the lack of extras, they should still be very happy the show made it out on DVD at all.

Memory - Buy from Amazon
I like Billy Zane, but he really needs to find better projects than this. Fans of his, or of zombie flicks should pick up Mad - Unrated Edition, which is a cautionary tale of the risk of weakening food safety standards in the United States on the health and welfare of the people the system is supposed to protect. ... In reality, it's basically mindless fun, but still worth a rental.

Mythbusters - Collection 1 - Buy from Amazon
This show is one of the few shows I still watch regularly on TV. That may have something to do with the fact that they haven't put out much in the way of full season sets yet. I really want more full-season sets, but these are good collections, even if there are no special features.

The O.C. - The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
The fourth, and final season of this Teenage Soap Opera hits the home market this week. I'm not a fan of these types of shows, especially ones that that focus on the rich and beautiful and how tough their lives must be. On the other hand, with an audio commentary track on one episode, deleted scenes, and a pair of featurettes, fans of the show should pick up the 5-disc set.

Porky's - One Size Fits All Edition - Buy from Amazon
Ahhh, Porky's. Arguably the first teenage sex comedy and still the highest grossing Canadian movie of all time. While the movie was viewed as shocking when it first came out, it is now quaint and hasn't aged particularly well. As for the extras, there are mixed. On the one hand, an audio commentary track, interview featurette with the director, and a featurette are not a whole lot for a special edition. On the other hand, they are more than the previous release and given the age of the movie, about the level expected. The film can also be purchased with the other two from the franchise as part of the Ultimate Collection, but the other two films are substantially worse in terms of quality and extras.

Prince of the City - Two-Disc Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
The 2-Disc Special Edition may seem impressive until you realize that the movie itself takes up two discs and the only extras is a 30-minute making of featurette. That said, it is an excellent movie with an unbelievable script, (it was nominated for a Oscar). I still recommend picking it up, but it deserves a fully fleshed out special edition.

Rio Bravo - Buy from Amazon: 2-Disc Special Edition or 2-Disc Collector's Edition
While there are plenty of John Wayne movies coming out this week, there are a couple that deserve mention on their own. Rio Bravo is one of them. One of his best-known and most beloved movies, Rio Bravo was a rebuttal to High Noon, which I consider one of the best westerns of all time. (It was also an allegory to the McCarthy era and how a lot of people refused to stand up to his bullying. I'm not sure why this needed a rebuttal, but there you go.) The two versions coming out this week are identical in terms of extras on the DVD, but the 2-Disc Collector's Edition also includes lobby cards, booklet, etc. Is it worth the increased price tag? That depends on how big of a John Wayne you are, but I can't recommend it.

Roots - Four-Disc - 30th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
A groundbreaking and record setting TV miniseries. This is not the first time the movie has been released on DVD, in fact it was released five years ago on a 4-disc 25th Anniversary Edition. The only new feature on this 5-disc set are a pair of documentaries, one made a year after the movie was first shown on air, and another made specifically for this set. Is it worth the upgrade? No. The price is just too high for one extra disc. On the other hand, if you don't have it in your collection, now it is the perfect time to grab it.

Rush Hour - Special Editions - Buy from Amazon: Rush Hour and Rush Hour 2
With the third, and probably last installment of this franchise coming out in August, there's no better time to releases the first two movies on Special Edition DVDs. Actually, I would have waited till at least July to release these DVD. And for that matter, they are hardly what you would call Special Editions as the only extras deal with Rush Hour 3, (a two-part preview and a contest to see the premiere). I hate this practice and can't give these DVDs a higher rating than Skip It.

Sabata Trilogy - Buy from Amazon: Sabata, Return of Sabata, and Adios, Sabata
All three movies from the Sabata trilogy released separately. However, the previously release box set is the better deal for most, unless you only want to pick up one of the three moves.

Scrubs - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
I have to admit, this was the season I stopped watching Scrubs on a regular basis. TV on DVD has resulted in me skipping most of may favorite shows while they are first run and instead watching them on DVD. (Of course, people like me are part of the reason why Veronica Mars was recently cancelled. Networks need to get a piece of the DVD market, perhaps then they would let more shows survive longer.)

Season five was a bit of a transition for Scrubs. Because of Zack Braff's commitment to a movie, the season was pushed back to a midseason replacement and because a lot of the cast and crew figured it would be their last season, they decided to go all out on some of the eccentricities of the show. While this worked out well for the most part, it also added in some problems. For instance, I thought some of the fantasy scenes went on way too long and interfered with the story. Others, like Floating Head Doctor, were not funny the first time and just kept coming back again and again.

On the other hand, much of what made the show great remains strong this season including the mix of drama and humor, excellent writing, and great guest casting. Some of the guests this year include Many Moore, Jason Bateman, Elizabeth Banks, Tom Cavanagh, and Nicole Sullivan. Couple of points here, I thought Jason Bateman was underused in his episode, Tom Cavanagh was funny as ever, and so was Nicole Sullivan. On a side note, Nicole Sullivan's character wasn't annoying; she only bugged Dr. Cox because she was immune to his angry rants.

A couple of side notes, in My Missed Perception, Elliot and Turk have a patient who is in pain and they can't figure out why. At the end of the episode they say they will work hard and diagnose the patient. However, either I missed an episode or they never did find out what was wrong. Highly irritating. Finally, I really don't like Keith, the new intern / Elliot's love interest. Watching him I'm filled with a bizarre mixture of boredom and annoyance.

Moving onto extras, there are audio commentary tracks on three episodes, including the extended 100th episode, however, they were not as entertaining as I would have liked. The extended episode was a little dry, the first one had too many dead spots, while the third one with John C. McGinley was the best. Other extras include a ton of extended scenes / alternate lines, some of which were actually outtakes. For the most part these were worth checking out, but the alternate lines tended to get repetitive quickly. Finally, there was a 17-minute featurette on the 100th Episode celebration / five year retrospective. This is your typical mix of talking heads, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage and has replay value.

Overall this 3-disc set is worth picking up, but unless season seven turns things around from a very weak season six, this might be the last season of this series to be a contender for DVD Pick of the Week. In fact, it if get worse, season seven might not be worth picking up.

Summer School - Life's a Beach Edition - Buy from Amazon
This movie needed a special edition? Really? It's not a terrible movie, it's just not terribly memorable either. The kind of show you could find while flipping through the channels one Saturday afternoon, and despite the fact that it is half over, watch it without losing much of the entertainment value. As for the extras, they don't really live up to the Special Edition label with an audio commentary track that is mostly dead air, and featurettes on the cast, (one of the faculty and another for the students). If you have fond memories of this movie, the DVD might be worth a rental. But for most people, that's all it is worth.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Season 1 - Part 1 - Buy from Amazon
I think the people putting out these DVDs were hoping that TMNT would be a bigger hit and bring the franchise in all its incarnations back into the mainstream. That didn't happen. That said, this series was perhaps the best adaptation of the original graphic novel series and had a darker edge than the earlier cartoons and movies. But with nothing in the way of extras, it is hard to recommend the DVD for anything more than a rental.

The Third Man - Criterion Collection - 2-Disc Edition - Buy from Amazon
One of the greatest film noir movies ever made. It is really that simple. However, while the movie is impeccable, this is not the first time it has been released on DVD. In fact, this is not the first time it has been released on a Criterion Collection, and that makes the decision to upgrade a real puzzle. All of the extras from the previous release are here, (minus the restoration demonstration), while the new features include two new audio commentary tracks, three documentaries with a combined running time of nearly three hours, and a few scenes from the movie featuring foreign language that was untranslated in the movie with subtitles. If you have the previous release, I recommend upgrading. If not, then it is a must have and a clear contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

True Grit - Special Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
One of the last movies for John Wayne, and one of his best helping him revitalize his career for the last decade or so .

The plot here is a relatively simple one about revenge. Kim Darby stars as Mattie Ross, a 14-year girl whose father is killed so she hires a U.S. Marshall, (Marshall 'Rooster' Cogburn played by John Wayne), to track down his killer. Turns out this man had a big bounty on his head, and a Texas Ranger La Boeuf, (played by Glen Campbell), comes with them to collect on the $2000 bounty.

While the story is simple, it is very effecting and the acting is excellent, the directing was strong. Speaking of the acting, this was the film that gave for John Wayne his only Oscar. (Although he likely benefited from vote splitting as both Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight were up for an Oscar for their performances in Midnight Cowboy.)

I think what makes this movie better than the run-of-the-mill John Wayne westerns was the inclusion of the strong female character of Mattie Ross. This helped add something new to the genre, as well as keep John Wayne out of his comfort zone and that helped raise his acting to the highest level in his career.

Extras start off with an audio commentary track with Jeb Rosebrook, Bob Boze Bell, and J. Stuart Rosebrook, who have a wealth of information to give and keep the pace up throughout the movie. There are tales about the making of the movie, the real west, the film's significance today, there's even a political comment that comes totally out of left field that had me laughing. (I won't spoil it, but you'll know it when you hear it.) There are also a quartet of featurettes, but these are pretty sparse. True Writing four minutes on the original story, Working with the Duke is 10 minutes long and has people reminiscing about acting with John Wayne, Aspen Gold: The Locations of True Grit run 9 minutes and is about the real life locations where the movie was shot, and The Law and the Lawless deals with the real life old west talking about the outlaws and the people who enforced the law. They are worth checking out, but the replay value is not particularly high.

Overall if there's just one John Wayne DVD you should get this week, this is it. However, while the special features are better than previous releases, and enough to be worth an upgrade for most fans, it is not up to the level of a DVD Pick of the Week.

Venus - Buy from Amazon
When it was first announced that Peter O'Toole would receive and honorary Oscar for his lifetime of work, he said he didn't want one because he felt he had another Oscar caliber performance left in him and wanted to win one for real. He was probably referring to this role.

Peter O'Toole stars as Maurice, an aging actor who spends his time in comfortable routine with his best friend, Ian, (played by Leslie Phillips). There lives are turned completely when Ian's grand-niece, Jessie, shows up to help take care of him. Maurice is immediately interested, but in the way only the British can do, it never seems as creepy as the subject matter could otherwise be.

This is a wonderful movie just filled with excellent performances. While Peter O'Toole was nominated for his eighth Oscar for this role, everyone in the main cast was stellar, including newcomer Jodie Whittaker, who picked up a few nominations herself. (The only person to win for the film was Leslie Phillips who took home a British Independent Film Award.

As for the extras, the DVD is on par with other limited releases with an audio commentary track with the director Roger Michell and producer Kevin Loader. There's little in the way of dead spots, but they do creep up occasionally. (Also, the two speak very quietly and I have to crank up the sound o hear them.) Next up is Venus: A Real Work of Art, which is a mix of talking heads, behind-the-scenes shots, and clips from the movie. It runs at just under 14 minutes and has more than enough replay value to be a nice companion to the movie. Finally, there are four deleted scenes, which are less substantial than the featurette but combined still make for a good extra.

Overall this is a great film and anyone who has been a fan of Peter O'Toole will want to own this movie, even if the extras are a tad light.

Wes Craven Presents The Breed - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD release that was produced by Wes Craven, but was not written or directed by him, so don't hold it against him, at least not too much. It really is quite bad and even fans of bad cinema will likely be bored by this one.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, The 40 Year-old Virgin, The Skeleton Key, Epic Movie, Freedom Writers, Closer, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Venus, The Good German, Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, Italianetz, Constellation, Fay Grim, Mem-o-re, The Breed, Apocalypto, Alone with Her