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DVD Releases for October 30, 2007 - Part II

October 29th, 2007

This is the second part of the DVD Release Report. It's being broken up into two parts because it's just so long that the site will cut it off at the end. In fact, that happened last week, and the last two releases are included in this week's list.

Another massive week for releases with dozens of releases mentioned below (and in the first part). Of these numerous releases, there were several that were in contention for the DVD Pick of the Week, but I was able to narrow the selection down to just two: Spider-Man 3 - Blu-Ray Edition and Looney Tunes - Golden Collection - Volume Five. Blu-Ray finally gets on the board and scores a DVD Pick of the Week, but it won't be the last. In fact, I have a funny feeling the format will score its second award soon.

John Waters - This Filthy World - Buy from Amazon
A documentary directed by Jeff Garlin and featuring John Waters during his speaking tour where he talks about taste, good and bad. It's a fascinating performance, but there's not a lot of cinematic style here. Its worth checking out, but without much in the way of extras, (an interview and a featurette), a rental will be enough for most people.

Journey from the Fall - Buy from Amazon
This film had a puzzling run. It opened to incredible reviews and lead the per theater chart for the first two weeks of its run, however, it was never able to expand much beyond a dozen theaters. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that there are no extras, but the DVD is still worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

License to Wed - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD
One of the worst movies of the year, it is so bad it should end careers. Even if the DVD was loaded with extras, it wouldn't even be worth renting. And it's not with just some deleted scenes, (with audio commentary track), and Choir Boy phone in feature. Skip it. On a side note, this is the only movie coming out this week on both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD and as usual, the Blu-Ray version is outselling the HD-DVD version. Warner Bros. is the only major studio to support both formats, but it is reevaluating their High Definition neutrality at the end of the year. Also of note, a recent survey showing 54% of consumers are waiting for the format war to end before they jump into high definition, so this puts Warner Bros. and its many impressive franchises at the center of the battle. I expect both sides to offer the studio bribes... I mean persuasive arguments, but I think Blu-Ray has the edge. Not only is it generating more sales, but if the Blu-Ray group can convince Warner Bros. to simply remain neutral for the time being, it will be a victory. The main advantage HD-DVD has over Blu-Ray is complexity of the technology, however, the long the format war continues, the smaller this advantage gets. Not only is Blu-Ray narrowing the price gap, the latest players are more reliable as well and this trend is bound to continue in the future.

Looney Tunes - Golden Collection - Volume Five - Buy from Amazon
It's Looney Tunes. ... What more do I need to say? 60 more shorts including more than a third with audio commentary tracks, each disc with a theme. Disc one is all for Bugs, as always, disc two has the Looney Tunes take of famous fairytales, disc three spotlights Bob Clampett, while disc four hits us with the old stuff. (Although they are all really old averaging 60 years or so.) Extras are amazing and in addition to the 21 audio commentary tracks, there are featurettes on Chuck Jones and other directors, Bugs Bunny, etc.; bonus shorts including more Department of Defense shorts; and even a few TV specials. This 4-disc set is an excellent price to the incredible selection of shorts and extras and anyone who has picked up previous releases should already have this one on pre-order. Also coming out tomorrow is the Spotlight Collection, but I barely consider those worth mentioning.

Magnum P.I. - The Complete Seventh Season - Buy from Amazon
It's rare for a series to last seven seasons. It is even more rare for the seventh season to be considered one of the best. It is a shame that such a great series is being treated so poorly on DVD. This season at least as a few extras including the crossover with Murder, She Wrote, but it really needs some audio commentary tracks.

My So-Called Life - The Complete Series (w/ Book) - Buy from Amazon
A highly acclaimed TV series that never found a major audience and only lasted one shortened season. Fortunately, after a long wait, it is finally coming out on a DVD set that does the show justice. This six-disc collection includes audio commentary tracks on six episodes, (including one episode with two tracks), and three hours of extras on a bonus disc. These includes interviews with key members of the cast and crew, featurettes on the characters, on the music, and highlights from the 1995 panel at the Museum of Television and Radio. Easily worth the upgrade and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection - Volume 12 - Buy from Amazon
Another excellent collect of featuring 3 B-movie wannabees and The Clonus Horror, which is actually a good movie. ... Okay, it's almost a good movie. It has a really good storyline but it hampered by a low, low budget. On the other hand, the rip-ooo.... I mean unauthorized remake, The Island, completely butchered the story to create a $120 million action film that bombed at the box office. Extras include another MST3K Jukebox and interviews with the star of The Rebel Set and the director of The Clonus Horror. Easily worth picking up.

No End in Sight - Buy from Amazon
A powerful and frustrating movie to watch. I heartily recommended the movie when it first came out and the DVD with its additional interviews is no different. Pick it up A.S.A.P.

October Road - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
I'm amazed this show was picked up for a second season. I'm amazed the show lasted through its shortened season. The series focuses on an author with writers block who based the characters in first novel on real people, people he now has to deal with, neither of which is an original idea, and not only that, but it started so slowly and showed so little promise I figured more audience members would give up on the series before its six-episode run was over. However, it survived and the studio decided to give the fans a nice 2-disc set as a thank you. Extras include audio commentary on the first and last episode, making of featurette, behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, outtakes, and more. Worth picking up for fans of the show, I'm just not one of them.

The Outer Limits - The Original Series - Volume 3 - Buy from Amazon
It's already been released on DVD, so there's no reason to buy it again.

Outing Riley - Buy from Amazon
Made in 2004, this film sat on a studio shelf for years before being aired on Logo. This film tells the story of Bobby Riley, who is Irish-Catholic and gay, but when he tells his brothers, they don't believe him. Considering the film's struggle to get released, the fact that is has an audio commentary track and deleted scenes is better than expected and it is certainly worth checking out for its target demographic, and maybe even some crossover appeal.

Pierrepoint - The Last Hangman - Buy from Amazon
Timothy Spall delivers an excellent performance in this film, but it wasn't enough to attract an audience theatrically. It should do better on the home market and the audio commentary track and deleted scenes lift the movie past the rental level.

Queen - Rock Montreal + Live Aid - Buy from Amazon
This is a double dip for both concerts, but the latest release has improved audio quality as well as new extras like an audio commentary track, rehearsal footage and more. Worth picking up if you don't already own it, but I'm not sure it's worth the upgrade.

The Sarah Silverman Program - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
A lot of stand up comics have tried their hand at sitcom TV series. Sometimes the transition is successful like Seinfeld or Tim Allen, others it is not. Sadly, this is in the not category.

I like Sarah Silverman and her stand up work and enjoyed Jesus of Magic. However, her style of comedy doesn't translate into a sitcom show because it doesn't flow enough to work a plot around; it's too disjointed and randomly fractured. I think it would be better to either tone her performance down to fit more with the plots, either that or abandon any formal structure and have it more like a sketch comedy show. That said, there's enough that does work that perhaps with a little more experience dealing with the show, the writers and performers will know what works and what doesn't and the hit to miss ratio will improve. It shows promise.

Moving onto the extras, the best are the audio commentary tracks. Of the six episodes, five of them have audio commentary tracks; in fact, two of them have multiple tracks. I'm not sure why the pilot doesn't; perhaps it was merely an oversight. There are three groups involved, Sarah Silverman, writer / director Rob Schrab, & producer Dan Sterling, Brian Posehn & Steve Agee, and Laura Silverman & Jay Johnston. They each provide commentary for two or three episodes and there's a reasonable mix of entertainment and information, but there are a few dead spots as they get caught up watching the show instead of commenting on it. Other extras include two pitches for the opening and an animatic of a chase scene from the pilot. In total they run less than three minutes and have limited replay value. There are also two sections for music, Musical Performance has 11 songs, (and a couple stories), done acoustic style on a stage while Karaoke / Sing-a-Long features eight songs that you can either sing-a-long to or sing karaoke style. I preferred the former to the latter, but the replay value of both is limited.

Fans of this show will love the DVD with its impressive number of extras for such a short season. However, I just couldn't get into the series. The competing qualities of Sarah Silverman 's bizarre stand-up and the traditional sitcom aspect didn't mesh well enough for the show to draw me in. Perhaps it will improve during the second season.

Scary Movie - Blu-Ray - Buy from Amazon
The beginning of the new wave of parodies... but that's not the only reason to hate the movie.

This film epitomizes what is wrong with spoofs today. Instead of talking their targets, boiling them down to their essence, and then tweaking the core of the genre for comedic effect, they simple parrot scenes with some exaggerated jokes thrown in. If you haven't seen the Scream movies or the I Know What You Did Last Summer movies is going to miss a lot of the jokes as some scenes are played out almost exactly as they happened in the originals. On the other hand, if you never saw a spy / prison escape / World War II resistance movie previous to 1984, you'd still get almost all of the jokes in Top Secret! because the jokes deal with the stereotypes on the genre in general, not specific scenes in individual movies. Added to the lazy parodies are about eight thousand pop culture references, most of which not witty critiques of the culture of the day but just references. As if merely saying, "Wazzzup" is somehow funny. It wasn't funny the first time I heard it, it wasn't funny in the movie when it first came out, and it really dates the movie now further reducing its effectiveness.

As for extras, there are six deleted scenes with a total running time of seven minutes and behind-the-scenes featurette that was also seven minutes of pure fluff. That's it. This mean there are some features in the original DVD release that weren't ported over, including the Scary Movie: Guide for the Culturally Challenged pop up trivia track. Sure, this was a DVD-Rom feature originally, but the Blu-Ray player should have more than enough power to handle this feature and it should have been ported over.

Despite these problems, the film's hit to miss ratio is still miles ahead of most parodies that came out after, (including its successor). And it isn't the worst way to spend an evening, but the replay value is way too low to warrant anything more than a rental. In fact, the DVD version is the better value.

Scrubs - The Complete Sixth Season - Buy from Amazon
I stopped watching this show on TV for this entire season, more or less, so for most of the episodes I watched for the first time for this review. My initial reaction was, "What happened?"

This season took a long time to get going and after watching the first disc, I was afraid the show had jumped the shark so hard it would never recover. (On a side note, one of the early episodes dealt with abortion, but I thought it was handled poorly. Maude's treatment of the issue was a lot better and that was 30 years ago.) But the second disc was stronger and included several first-rate episodes like Their Story, which focused on three of the b-team members. By the time the season ended, I was happy and thought it was on par with season five.

There are a lot of extras including audio commentary tracks on all episodes. Unfortunately, not all were terribly great. You really need more than one person on the track; the interaction helps the flow and minimizes dead spots. Also, make sure the commentators have seen the episode recently so they can make informed comments. The third disc has the rest of the extras. Things start off with My Making Of: "My Musical", a standard making of featurette of the season's musical episode. (On a side note, I think the musical was a main problem for the early part of the season. It took such a major effort that I think the other episodes suffered as a result. The same happened with Buffy.) This featurette only runs 11 minutes but it hits every mark you would expect it to. Judy Reyes Keeps Talking is an interview with Judy Reyes on her character, her co-stars, the season that was, etc. It feels longer than 6:44, which is a good sign. Up next are 12 deleted scenes with a total running time of 16 minutes, but that includes the scenes as they originally aired. I like that, as it gives it a bit of context. Alternate Lines is 13 scenes with lots and lots of alternate lines running 14 minutes. While many of the alternate lines are great, they lose their power hearing them one after another. The "Third Tier" talks about the characters that were elevated from the background or one joke characters that have been fleshed out into pretty significant characters. Finally, in Debra and Stephanie Show they interview the writer and star of My Musical and runs just under 7 minutes.

Still one of my favorite TV series even after six years and this 3-disc set is amazing. Despite early episodes stumbling, the overall package is easily worth picking up, and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

The Secrets of the Golden Compass - Buy from Amazon
A look at the novel that is the basis for the upcoming movie. Excellent documentary, but if you haven't read the book, don't watch this till after you see the movie as they go in-depth into the book and leaving few surprise for moviegoers.

Shaggy and Scooby-Doo - Volume 1 - Get a Clue - Buy from Amazon
One of the weakest incarnations of this franchise plus a best of DVD. Skip it.

Spider-Man 3 - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc Edition, 2-Disc Edition, or Blu-Ray
When Spider-Man 3 came out this May, its reviews were disappointing, at least compared to the rest of the franchise, but it still set records during its opening and remains the biggest hit of the year. (On a side note, the rest of the $300 million hits all earned weaker reviews making this film the only one of the four to earn overall positive reviews.) Personally, while I'll admit the movie is a step down from the first two, I think a lot of the negative buzz was the result of high expectations and not the actual quality of the film. As for the home market release, it comes is three flavors, Single-Disc Edition, (skip it); 2-Disc Edition, (packed); and Blu-Ray, (exactly like the DVD, only in high definition). Extras on the first disc include two audio commentary tracks, (one entertaining one with the cast and one serious one with the crew), outtakes, music video, etc. Extras on the second disc include 11 featurettes with a total running time of just over 2 hours dealing with topics like the villains, the stunts, the special effects, etc. Unfortunately, the Blu-Ray version has no additional extras compared to the 2-Disc DVD Edition, but since this is a visual intensive movie, it's worth the extra $6 to buy the high definition version.

Spider-Man Trilogy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-Ray
I never really got box sets like this one, which are just the previous releases put together without any additional features. Who are they marketed for? People who liked the movies enough to want to buy them, but who didn't bother the first time around? This time around it at least makes more sense since the trilogy box set is also coming out on Blu-Ray, which is the first time the Spider-Man Trilogy has been released in high definition, and for an average price that is significantly lower than the Spider-Man 3 Blu-Ray release. However, for the first two movies, all you get is the movie. That's right, there are no extras. What the hell? Hey Sony! You are in the middle of a format war, you can't afford to let have the first Blu-Ray release for your biggest franchise suck. Perhaps this time next year when they release the Special Edition to Spider-Man 3, they'll release the Special Edition of the box set. Until then, skip it.

Steve Nash MVP-Basketball Fundamentals - Buy from Amazon
Steve Nash was robbed last year. He should have won his third MVP. And if it wasn't for suspect officiating and bogus suspensions, he could have won his first championship this past year.

Talk to Me - Buy from Amazon: DVD or HD-DVD/DVD Combo
It was a tough summer for limited releases. None of the limited release released this year were able to truly breakout into mainstream success, while even the top earners struggled to reach $10 million. This film didn't even reach that level despite its impressive reviews and not insubstantial star power. Because the movie missed expectations at the box office, it is not surprising that the DVD release is rather weak including just a couple featurettes and some deleted scenes. Nothing spectacular, but overall the DVD is still worth picking up.

The Three Stooges Collection - Volume One - 1934-1936 - Buy from Amazon
Finally. I've been saying for a long time that they needed to release The Three Stooges shorts in chronological order and if they did they would see a huge jump in sales. And that's exactly what happened as this 2-disc set is currently in 33rd place on the sales chart. It includes the first 19 or 190 shorts the comedy troupe made and the audio and video quality is simply amazing. I do have two complaints; firstly, there are no extras. Secondly, how fast are these DVDs going to be coming out? If one is released every 6 months, it will take 5 years to release all of the shorts, (and that's not including their few feature films). That said, this is the perfect DVD for fans of The Three Stooges and they will eagerly await future releases.

Twin Peaks - Definitive Gold Box Edition - Buy from Amazon
This is a show that would have worked if TV on DVD was big back when it first aired. It's the kind of TV series that each episode needs to be watched, and rewatched, in the right order to fully understand what's going on. Perhaps that's why the DVD sales have been so strong. However, studio interference, including way too many schedule changes, killed the show after just 29 episodes.

On a side note, I've been seeing a lot of ads for this release on DVDs I've reviewed recently and they all claim that this is the first time on DVD. In fact, the back of this box says the same thing. But this isn't true, as both seasons have been released on DVD. In fact, I reviewed the Second Season when it came out in April.

Speaking of which, since I did a previous review of the show, (brief recap: "Huh?"), there's little need to go over the same ground again. I will emphasize that the first season is better than the second and once the secret of who killed Laura Palmer was revealed, (at the insistence of the network), a lot of what made the show cool seemed to vanish.

Moving onto the extras, there is an interesting mix of old and new on this 10-disc set including introductions by the Log Lady for every episode. Also, and perhaps the most important for fans of the show, the first disc set includes both the original pilot and the international version, which was originally released as a stand-alone movie. It includes a 20-minute long alternate ending that wraps up the movie and solves the murder, but you won't get any spoilers from me. (Okay, you can get a few: She's a dude, mother was dead the whole time, and the big boat sinks in the end.) Also, the ninth disc contains Lost and Found, which has four deleted scenes with a running time of 5:43. The quality is poor, but they are very rare. Also on disc nine is a gallery of production documents

The rest of the extras are on disc 10. Things start with A Slice of Lynch, a 30-minute interview with David Lynch, Mädchen Amick, Kyle MacLachlan, and John Wentworth. On a side note, David Lynch has a rather interesting speaking style, one that lends itself more to interviews than audio commentary tracks. Secrets From Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks is a four-part making of featurette that is broken down into creating the pilot, creating season one, creating the music, and creating season two. (The last part goes into detail why they revealed who killed Laura Palmer and what it did to the show. It killed the show.) The section can be watched separately or as one 105-minute documentary and it works either way. Next up is Kyle MacLachlan's appearance on Saturday Night Live and it includes both the monologue and the parody bit. Twin Peaks Festival has two parts, a 20-minute featurette with fans talking about what they loved about the show and an interactive map showing eight locations from the pilot and where they are in real life. Finally, The Black Lodge Archive contains several shorter extras include TV spots, a music video, and image galleries. A nice way to wrap up the extras.

Also included are 12 collectable postcards, but there are 61 in total to collect and in make set I have three doubles. To get all 61, you'd probably need to buy 10 or 12 boxes, hopefully no one is much a fanatic to do that.

Season 2 of Twin Peaks was just released this past April and that's not a whole lot of time between the regular edition and a special edition. However, Season 1 was released in 2001 before TV on DVD really exploded. Since then it has gone out of print and there's a good chance that for most fans interested in the show, this is the first time to get the whole series on DVD. And they will certainly be happy with what they get. Twin Peaks - Definitive Gold Box Edition is easily worth picking up and perhaps a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Wanted: Dead or Alive - Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
The final season of the Steve McQueen TV western. The 3-disc set has the final 26 episodes as well as more than a half-a-dozen featurettes with a total running time of over an hour. That's very impressive for a show that's nearly 50 years old and it is more than enough to be worth picking up.

Wendell Baker Story - Buy from Amazon
Original set for a 2005 release date, this film was pushed back again and again and for a while I thought it would never be released. And it was finally release, it earned mediocre reviews and failed to make any noise at the box office. It's not a terrible movie and with an audio commentary track and a making of featurette, it's worth a rental.

Due to a minor glitch, the last two entries in last week's list were cut off. Here they are again:

Veronica Mars - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
ARG! I can't believe this show was cancelled. At least Kristen Bell got a guest shot on Heroes so two obsessions can combine into one. This season Veronica Mars started university, but the show didn't change too much, and that's a good thing. There were more stand-alone episodes, and these generally were the weakest, but overall the quality level remained high. On the other hand, the extras were the best with a few featurettes, (including how the creator saw the show continuing), outtakes, and deleted scenes. Great show maintained its quality throughout its three-year run and while I would have liked an audio commentary track or two, the extras we do get are strong enough to recommend purchasing over just renting.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea - Season Three - Volume Two - Buy from Amazon
The longest running Irwin Allen series. In fact, it probably ran a season or so too long, as it became quite repetitive in the end. Even so, the show does have a cult following and there's nothing that will stop them from adding this 3-disc set to their collection.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Spider-Man 3, License to Wed, Talk to Me, No End In Sight, Journey from the Fall, The Wendell Baker Story, The Last Hangman