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DVD Releases for March 7, 2006

March 6th, 2006

While there are quite a few DVDs coming out tomorrow, only one matters. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - 2-Disc Special Edition hits the home market tomorrow and not only should it quickly become the best seller of the year so far, it is the DVD Pick of the Week.

Baby Looney Tunes - Buy from Amazon: Volume 1 - Playday Pals and Volume 2 - Let's Play Pretend
The target audience for cartoons is adult collectors, not little kids who weren't born when the shows first appeared on TV. When will studios learn? As for these releases, each DVD contains just 4 12-minute episodes with no special features. Can also be purchased together as part of a package deal.

The Best of the Best of Electric Company - Buy from Amazon
A one-disc set compiling the best of the 4-disc Best Of Set that was released just one month ago. Both sets are good, but the Best of DVD is the better deal.

Bettie Page: Varietease/Teaserama - Buy from Amazon
What was once erotic has become almost kitsch. Both of these movies have been previously release separately, and are being re-released as a package deal to take advantage of Bettie Page's growing fanbase, (and to grab a little cross-promotional boost from the upcoming biopic). Add in more special features than you would expect given the nature of the films, and this set is worth picking up.

The Brady Bunch - The Complete Final Season - Buy from Amazon
Even diehard fans of the show will admit that during the final season of this show it went downhill, fast. Add in zero special features and this is a set that is best skipped. Can also be purchased with the previous seasons as part of a package deal.

Buster Keaton - 65th Anniversary Collection - Buy from Amazon
Buster Keaton is easily one of the greatest movie stars during the early years of the movie industry. This collection contains 10 shorts he made at Columbia from 1939 to 1941 and are among the worst of his career. He had no creative control like he had during his silent film days, the scripts were terrible, the director didn't understand subtle humor, and Buster Keaton didn't even try to elevate the lousy material. If you like Buster Keaton's work or want to know why he is so beloved today, pick up The General instead.

Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death - Buy from Amazon
One of the darkest periods of European colonialism. It is also nearly forgotten by history. Spurred on the an every increasing need for rubber, King Leopold II of Belgium turned the Congo into the most efficient producer of rubber in the world, but in the process enslaved a nation and murdered 10 million of its people. This powerful documentary demands to be seen.

The Cosby Show - Season 2 - Buy from Amazon
The first season was a case of, "Great show, terrible DVD release." This season, the shows get even better, and the DVD release does as well. However, while the episodes are classics, the DVD release is still well below average with absolutely no special features.

The Cruise - Buy from Amazon
The first, and only other film from Oscar Nominated director, Bennett Miller. This is a documentary about a gay tour guide, Tim "Speed" Levitch. It's not a hard-hitting exposé, but it is fun to watch.

Fallen Angel - Buy from Amazon
First of three film noir movies from Fox that are coming out tomorrow, the others being No Way Out and The House on Telegraph Hill. Fallen Angel isn't really a sequel, but a follow up to Laura, which is the better of the two films. However, fans of the genre will be more than happy with this movie especially with the audio commentary and other special features.

The Flintstones - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
The penultimate season of this series. Unlike most TV on DVD releases for cartoons, these sets have adult collectors in mind and are worth picking up. Can also be purchased with the previous seasons as part of a package deal.

Free Enterprise - Extended "Five Year Mission" Edition - Buy from Amazon
Free Enterprise is a small movie about to aspiring filmmakers who search out their idol, William Shatner, and ask for guidance. This is a funny film, but I'm surprised it's getting a Special Edition release since it only made $30,000 in the theatres. Special features include the extended edition of the movie with about 7 minutes of additional footage, two audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, making of featurette, and much more. Easily worth the upgrade.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Buy from Amazon: 2-Disc Special Edition or Single Disc Edition or UMD Mini
Good news, the best film from the Harry Potter franchise hits the home market tomorrow. Bad news, the next film was pushed back from June of next year till November so this DVD will have to do for the next 18 months. I don't know if I can make it. If you have the other films in this series, then you'll know what to expect in terms of special features. And if you haven't been picking up the previous film, well then, I don't know if we can still be friends. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was one of the best reviewed films of last year as well as one of the biggest box office hits and the DVD is easily the DVD Pick of the Week. Can also be purchased with the first three movies as part of a package deal, but you already have the first three movies, right? Right?

The Hills Have Eyes - Buy from Amazon
The remake is coming out this week, so shouldn't they be re-release the original on a special edition DVD?

Hogan's Heroes - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
I hate this show. I really do. I'm amazed it lasted six seasons, and I'm equally amazed the DVDs are selling as well as they are. The 5-disc set contains all 30 episodes from season three plus an interview with Werner Klemperer. Can also be purchased with the previous seasons as part of a package deal.

The House on Telegraph Hill - Buy from Amazon
Of the three film noir movies from Fox that are coming out tomorrow, this one is the weakest. But it is still worth checking out for fans of the genre, but it would be better to rent this one and pick up No Way Out.

Howl's Moving Castle - Buy from Amazon
The latest anime from the master, Hayao Miyazaki. The film is not his best, but still amazing and certainly better than 90% of the movies that come out every year. The 2-disc set includes both the Japanese and English versions, a look at the English cast, storyboards, interviews, and more. Also coming out tomorrow are two other 2-Disc Special Editions by Hayao Miyazaki: My Neighbor Totoro and Whisper of the Heart. All three are easily worth picking up for fans of anime.

Jarhead - Buy from Amazon: Collector's Edition or Single Disc Edition or UMD Mini
Disappointing. That's probably the best word to describe Jarhead. When the movie releases, a lot of people assumed it would be Oscar material for sure, but the reviews were weaker than expected, the box office was lower and it didn't make a noise during award season. That is not to say it's a bad movie, it just didn't live up to everyone's expectations. Collector's Edition is only a marginally better deal and for most people not worth the extra money compared to the Single Disc Edition.

Just Friends - Buy from Amazon
When I first saw ads for this film, I thought it looked terrible and I had very low expectations for the film. Then the reviews started to come in and it was merely mediocre. The DVD is also better than expected with an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, making of documentary, outtakes, and more. Worth a rental for most, and picking up for a few.

Kids in America - Buy from Amazon
I had high hopes for this film when I first learned of it, but the reviews were terrible and the box office was even worse. (Another limited release film killed by trying to open in too many cities.) Part of the problem was that it was just too preachy, which is a peril that most movies with a message have to try hard to avoid. As for the DVD, there's an audio commentary and some outtakes, which is more than I would have expected. It adds up to a rental, but not much more.

No Way Out - Buy from Amazon
As I've already mentioned, No Way Out is the best of the three film noir movies from Fox that are coming out tomorrow. And with more special features than one would expect for a film this old, it is easily worth picking up for fans of the genre.

Occupation: Dreamland - Buy from Amazon
Winner for Best Documentary at this year's Independent Spirit Awards, and it is easy to see why. While it was all but ignored in the theatres, it should perform much better on the home market. The DVD is great for such a limited release with an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, follow-up, and more. But I wish they put it out on 2 discs instead of one double-sided disc; I would have been willing to pay more. Even so, it is still worth checking out.

Paperclips - Buy from Amazon
In 1998 in a small town in Tennessee, the children of Whitwell Middle School were being taught about the Holocaust and to make solid the scale, they decided to collect one paper clip for each person killed by the Nazis. It's not the most challenging documentary ever made, but it is heartfelt and moving. Extras on the disc include deleted & extended scenes, interviews with the filmmakers and Holocaust survivors. A must see.

Police Woman - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
It's been more than 30 years since Angie Dickinson first appeared on TV screens as Pepper Anderson in this series, and while some aspects of the show seem very dated, it has held up surprisingly well. The first season the show was fearless when it came to depicting tough subject matter, so much so that it made the network nervous and the studio was forced to tone it down starting the next season. This means that season one is the best and with more special features than most shows of this era get, it's worth picking up for fans of the show.

Pornography - The Secret History of Civilization - Buy from Amazon
I like the Internet, I make my living on the Internet, hell, I practically live on the Internet, so I really hate it when people demonize it. One of the biggest attacks on the Internet is the amount of pornography on here, (well, not here exactly, but on other site... so I'm told). Granted, 90% of all Internet content is porn and flamewars, (the best part is when the two mix), but the way someone talk, you'd assume that there was no porn before the Internet. This six-part documentary dispels that myth right away as it tracks the development of porn from ancient civilizations to modern technology. That this documentary doesn't do is try and titillate viewers, so if that's why you're still reading this, it's time to move on.

Prime - Buy from Amazon
One of several films from October that were disappoints both with critics and at the box office. The DVD should perform better as the movie is not one that demands to be seen on the big screen. Add in special features that include an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, outtakes and more and you have a solid rental.

The Scooby-Doo Dynomutt Hour - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The second Hanna / Barbara cartoon series on this week's list. This show is not as good as The Flintstones, but the special features are on par with other releases from the studio and should please adult collectors.

The Shaggy Dog - Double-shot - Buy from Amazon: The Shaggy Dog and The Shaggy D.A
With the Shaggy Dog remake just around the corner, what better time could there be to re-release the originals on special edition DVDs? The first movie is your typical live-action Disney movie from the era, in other words, it is lighthearted but entertaining. The second movie is not nearly as entertaining, but even more fluffy. The special features on the two DVDs are better than most from the era with an audio commentary track and two featurettes on each DVD. Also of note, The Shaggy Dog contains both the original black and white theatrical version and the color TV version.

The Spike Lee Joint Collection - Buy from Amazon
Five movies by Spike Lee on one 3-disc box set. First of all, I hate double-sided DVDs. Secondly, while Do the Right Thing is one of his greatest films and most of the rest of the set range in quality from good to great, the only special feature in the set are tickets for his upcoming film, The Inside Man. Also coming out tomorrow is Girl 6 - Buy from Amazon, but it is one of Spike Lee weaker efforts.

The Tenants - Buy from Amazon
The film opened in theatre just over a month ago and did absolutely no business; now it is coming out on DVD tomorrow and will to little better. Part of the problem is it is just not that good of a movie. Also, the DVD has no real special features. Marginal rental at best.

The Thing Called Love - Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon
One paper, this movie has a lot going for it, but on the screen, little seemed to work and it barely made a peep during its theatrical run. The Director's Cut DVD has an audio commentary track and a few featurettes. Worth the upgrade for fans of the film, but there are not enough of those to get a general recommendation.

Three's Company - Season 6 - Buy from Amazon
With the recent passing of Don Knotts, this is a bittersweet release. On the one hand, Don Knotts is one of the funniest people ever seen on TV screens. On the other hand, this is a really bad show. They only had three plots and they recycled them over and over again. John Ritter was very funny and deserved better material than this.

Traffic - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Amazing movie, amazing cast, amazing DVD. This is just a re-release of the previous Criterion Collection DVD, but it should be in more people's DVD collection and deserves to be mentioned.

Walking Tall - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
In between the original movie starring Joe Don Baker and the remake, Walking Tall was a very short-lived TV series. I don't think many ever expected a show that nearly 25 years old and only lasted seven episodes to come out on DVD, but here it is. The fact that there's no special features is completely understandable and that shouldn't stop fans of the show from picking it up tomorrow.

The Warrior - Buy from Amazon
At $60 million, this is one of the most expense movies ever shot in China but it didn't catch on in North America like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon did, or even House of Flying Daggers. It is not as good as those movies, but certainly better than its box office would indicate. As for the DVD, there are no real special features limiting its value to a rental.

Zu Warriors - Buy from Amazon
After the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this film was acquired by Miramax for a North American release that never materialized. At least now it is coming out on a Region 1 DVD, which should please fans of Wire Fu. It's not a bad movie, but without much in the way of special features, it won't appeal to a wider audience.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Jarhead, Just Friends, Prime, Hauru no ugoku shiro, Paperclips, Kids in America, The Warrior, Occupation: Dreamland, The Tenants