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DVD Releases for February 14, 2006

February 13th, 2006

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow so you might expect a lot of Romantic Comedies to be released, but that's not the case. In fact, there's not a whole lot of anything being released tomorrow. There's nothing that really jumps out as a must have, and nothing that's up to the level of DVD Pick of the Week. The best of the rest is the visually stunning MirrorMask - Buy from Amazon while Zathura - Buy from Amazon also earns an honorable mention.

The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
Great show, mediocre DVD. Like the previous releases, this 5-disc set has absolutely no special features; that's too bad, but understandable for a show that's more than 40 years old.

Ballykissangel - Complete Series Four - Buy from Amazon
This is the first season after the departure of Assumpta Fitzgerald and Father Peter Clifford, who were the heart and soul of the show. Quite frankly, they should have ended the series after season three. Add in nothing in the way of special features and this set is best skipped.

Cake - Buy from Amazon
Heather Graham stars as a dedicated bachelorette who has to take over her dad's magazine, which just happens to be called Wedding Bells. A thoroughly mediocre Romantic Comedies and even a good mix of special features can't lift this DVD past the rental level.

Celebrity Roast of Pamela Anderson Uncensored! - Buy from Amazon
These are more fun when the people participating don't think anyone else will ever see them performed, that's when they get really uncensored. There are a few extras on the disc, but not enough to lift it to the rental level. Skip it.

Charles in Charge - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This was a very bad show when it first came out and amazingly it lasted five full season. Okay, maybe bad isn't the best way to describe it. Overly generic, the embodiment of everything that is wrong with safe sitcoms. The 3-disc set has nothing I would consider a real special feature just the first episodes of season two, which you will get if and when you buy the complete second season, and a 30-minute long The Great 80s TV Flashback, which is merely an ad for other shows that have already been released on DVD by this studio. As I've already said, the show lasted five seasons so it must have some fans, and I guess this is an okay package for them, but for the rest of us this is a set that should be avoided.

Club Paradise - Buy from Amazon
From a low point in Robin Williams' career. This is your typical ensemble comedy and while there is a lot of talent on both sides of the camera, the material just isn't strong enough to generate enough real laughs to sustain the film. Add in zero special features and this is a DVD that you can safely skip.

Collision Course - Buy from Amazon
A Buddy Cop movie starrign Jay Leno and Pat Morita. I don't think I need to tell you how bad the movie is. Skip it.

Deal of the Century - Buy from Amazon
One of several really bad 80s comedies coming out tomorrow on featureless discs. Normally I would skip most of these, but there are so many it is almost like this week's theme.

Disney Princess Sing Along Songs - Volume 3 - Perfectly Princess - Buy from Amazon
Yet another DVD release in this series aimed at little girls. Like the previous ones, it should do the job at entertaining its target audience, but there's not enough here to warrant picking it up.

Doctor Who - The Complete First Series - Buy from
Two important notes. Firstly, this is the new series from 2005 and not the original from 1963. Secondly, this is only available in Canada so if you live in the States you'll have to import it and even after taking into account the exchange rate, this is an expensive set. Granted, the set is packed with audio commentaries, behind-the-scene documentaries, interviews and more, but that price limits its appeal to the hardcore fan.

For Richer, For Poorer - Buy from Amazon
This is the 1992 made for TV movie starring Jack Lemmon and not the 1997 bomb of a very similar name. This lesser known movie is certainly the better of the two, but even so it is only worth a rental at the most.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
Fans of the series will know what to expect in terms of the show and special features, but there are a couple of notes on this specific season. Most importantly, it is the last season with Janet Hubert-Whitten as Vivian Banks and a lot of people think the show never really recovered from the change. Add in season highlights and outtakes and it is worth checking out.

The Frisco Kid - Buy from Amazon
Director Robert Aldrich made some great movies, (The Dirty Dozen, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, the original Flight of the Phoenix, and more). This is one of his last movie but not one of his best. There is some comedic chemistry between Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder, but the film relies of cheap ethnic jokes far too often to work.

Gimme a Break! - Season One - Buy from Amazon
Another Sitcom from the 80s making its DVD debut this week. This one is better than Charles in Charge, but it would almost have to be. As for the DVD release, there's not much here are bonus features, just episodes from other releases, the second season of this show, and the 30 minute ad, long The Great 80s TV Flashback.

Golden Girls - The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
If you have been keeping up with this series, you know what to expect in terms of the show and the special features. If you haven't, it is yet another case where the special features are not up to the quality of the show and overall it can't rate past a rental.

Goof Troop - Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
This single-disc release has just three episodes. ... Wait till they release full season sets.

Grey's Anatomy - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
This show was a mid-season replacement the first season and ran just 9 episodes, but fortunately they are making up for the low episode count with plenty of special feature. This includes audio commentary tracks, making of featurette, deleted and alternate scenes, and even a fake French trailer. It's still a little pricey on a per minute basis compared to most TV on DVD releases, but worth picking up for fans of the show. I, on the other hand, find the show a little too much on the soap opera side for my liking.

Hardcastle and McCormick - Complete 1st Season - Buy from
One of dozens of shows created by Stephen J. Cannell, this one dealt with retired tough judge, Milton C. Hardcastle, who teams up with retired race car driver turned petty thief, Mark "Skid" McCormick. Together they fight crime. It's a Buddy Cop show with a whole lot of car chases, gun flights, explosions, etc. It's a better show than most of Stephen J. Cannell's creations. This 5-disc set is only available in Canada, and because it is meant for just the Canadian market there are no special features, but look at that price. $20.30! And that's $20.30 Canadian. That's a great deal, even after taking into account the S&H if you live in the States.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - Season One - Volume 2 - Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
I never liked this show, I found the animation poor, the life lessons heavy handed and preachy, the writing substandard, etc. But this is a nice set and I'm tempted to pick it up just as a thank you to a studio that gets it. Far too many studios think cartoons are for kids and that they don't want special features; both of those assumptions are completely wrong. Special features on the disc include the continues featurette on the making of the show, footage from the San Diego Comic-Con 2005, animated storyboards, trivia, and even postcard art. Easily worth picking up for fans of the show.

House of 9 - Buy from Amazon
9 strangers wake up inside a strange mansion and are told the last one alive will be let out with $5 million. This Direct-to-DVD movie feels like a mish-mash of other, better movies including Cube, My Little Eye, and a whole host of Reality TV Horror films. Unfortunately, it feels dated, borrowed and just plain unoriginal. Skip it, unless you are a really big fan of the genre, in which case check out either of the two other movies I mentioned first.

Ju Dou - Buy from Amazon
Just a warning, while the movie is excellent, this video transfer on this DVD is garbage. Skip it.

Lie With Me - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian film that is ... well, it's practically soft-core pornography. It's about a nymphomaniac named Leila, played by Lauren Lee Smith of The L Word, who meets and falls in love with a man who tries to show her how to have a real relationship, and maybe even teach her how to love. The movie is predictable, there's lots of sex, it's very well acted, there's lots of sex, the ending's lame, there's lots of sex. It will probably do brisk business on the home market, but there's not enough here to sustain a whole film, and it's not even worth a rental.

Living Single - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Midlevel hit on Fox about four independent woman. It was critically praised and many thought it was influential for Friends, but it was up against Seinfeld so it was never able to develop the audience it deserved. This 4-disc set includes all 27 episodes from the first season, but a retrospective.

Martha Stewart Living - Buy from Amazon: Complete Weddings and Wedding Ideas
The perfect gift to give to your commitment phobic boyfriend.

Metropolitan - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Whit Stillman only directed three movies and this was his best. It was also his least known, which could explain why he left the business. It's an amazing movie dealing with rich socialites who spend their days rich and bored while pretending to be intellectuals. There's not much of a story to warp a movie around, but Whit Stillman was excellent at writing characters and dialogue and the film as a whole is an amazing character study. Add in audio commentary, deleted and alternative scenes, (including some with alternative casting choices, outtakes, and more. Worth picking up.

MirrorMask - Buy from Amazon
Visually MirrorMask is an amazing film, but it doesn't have a strong enough narrative structure to carry the whole film. Fans of illustrator Dave McKean or writer Neil Gaiman should be enthralled by this film, and the amount of special features, (audio commentary, interviews, making of featurettes and more), make this a must have for those people. Others should still give it a rental, but probably won't like it enough for repeat viewing.

Nine Lives - Buy from Amazon
The story of nine women are told in this film, which is almost a collection of shorts. Not all of the stories work, but enough do that the DVD is worth checking out. Add in special features with a total running time greater than the movie itself and many who do give it a rental will end up buying the movie.

Odd Jobs - Buy from Amazon
Yet another terrible comedy from the 1980s hitting the home market tomorrow. Skip it.

Overhaulin': The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
A show very similar to Pimp My Ride. However, the latter show generally help out people who drive crap because they couldn't afford a brand new car, while this one tends to rebuild cars for people who could probably afford the pay for the work if they wanted to. Neither show is that informative and Pimp My Ride is more entertaining in my mind.

The Pretender - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The penultimate season of this series. If you enjoyed the previous releases, you'll want to pick up this set as well. And you might want to pick up The Profiler - Season 3 with it since only one part of the crossover episode is on this set. I hate that. I would understand if they two shows were owned by different studios, which would make licensing a nightmare, but that's not a problem here. One last note, season four also had a two-part crossover episode.

Proof - Buy from Amazon
A busted Oscar bait movie. It's not a bad movie, but it isn't up to the level needed to be a major player during award season. The special features, (audio commentary, deleted scenes, making of featurette), are good for a limited release, but the whole package doesn't add up to anything more than a rental.

Quack Pack - Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
Like Goof Troop - Volume 1 above, this disc has only three episodes and fans should wait till full season sets come out.

Quick Change - Buy from Amazon
A Heist movie where the bank robbery goes perfect, but the real trouble starts when the three criminals try and leave the city. An under-appreciated gem starring, co-written, and co-directed by Bill Murray. And even though the DVD has no special features, I'll still be adding it to my collection while I await the Special Edition that will probably never show up.

Raise the Red Lantern - Buy from Amazon
Another case of great movie, terrible video transfer. In fact, you can buy this movie and Ju Dou together as a package deal and get two amazing movies that look like garbage.

Reel Paradise - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about a man who drags his family halfway across the world to a remote island and runs the local cinema. Despite better than average reviews, the film never found an audience. The DVD should do much better, especially with more special features than most limited releases, (audio commentary deleted scenes, alternate ending, etc.). It's worth a rental, and many who try it will want to pick it up.

The Russian Specialist - Buy from Amazon
Dolph Lundgren's second directorial effort is actually a pretty good movie, much better than one would expect from the guy who once played He-Man nearly 20 years ago. It's a rather straightforward story about Organized Crime, kidnapping, and revenge. In the world of Direct-to-DVD movies, this one is definitely ahead of the pack, not the greatest, but better than most.

Saw II - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Skip it. Nothing matter about this release, not the reviews, not the special features, nothing. ... except the fact that an Unrated Special Edition is probably already in the works and will most likely be out by the summer, just before Saw III is released at the latest.

Significant Others - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
This series is a semi-improvisational show that follows four couples in marriage counseling. The show ran only two seasons and all 12 episodes are on this 2-disc set along with audio commentary tracks on five of them. It's a show that most people have probably never heard of, and those who like semi-improvisational shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm will probably like this show as well.

The Thing About My Folks - Buy from Amazon
There's a lot of talent in this cast, but the movie never really comes together. After a rather slow start in limited release, it disappeared quickly from theatres and no real special features, the DVD is barely worth a rental.

Ultimate Gretzky - Buy from Amazon
What incredibly bad timing. For those who don't follow hockey, Wayne Gretzky is easily the greatest player ever in the NHL, arguably the great player in any team sport, ever. But recently he became part of a probe investigating an illegal gambling ring and his wife even admitting to spending $500,000 last year in bets. (She even bet $5000 on the coin-toss at this year's Superbowl. She won.) The 2-disc set contains five entire games including the deciding game for his first Stanley Cup win, and the game against my beloved Canucks where he scored his record-breaking 802nd goal. These are not the best games his ever played, but there are some historically important one.

Up the Academy - Buy from Amazon
Yet another crappy 80s comedy. This one was so bad that when it was originally released Mad Magazine, which produced it, disowned the movie. Skip it.

Who's That Girl? - Buy from Amazon
The movie stars Madonna, what more do you need to know? In all seriousness, this film is bad, even to other Madonna stinkers. Skip it.

Young Mr. Lincoln - The Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
First of all, this is not a biopic because while the people in the movie are mostly real, the events are not. It is more of a courtroom drama with Abraham Lincoln defending some accused murders and is a historically important picture that embodied the cinema of the day. Special features on the 2-disc set include a documentary, interviews with Henry Fonda, audio interviews and more. Another Criterion Collection that's worth the price.

Zathura - Buy from Amazon
This film earned much better reviews than I was expecting, but that didn't help it at the box office. It was a huge disappointment domestically, and even weaker internationally. That's too bad since the film really deserved better. Fortunately the home market gives films a second chance and this one should thrive here thanks in part to special features than include audio commentary, and featurettes on the cast, the special effects, even the game. Great set and worth picking up. Can also be purchased with the original as part of a package deal.


Filed under: Video Releases, Saw II, Zathura, Proof, MirrorMask, The Thing About My Folks, Nine Lives, Reel Paradise