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DVD Releases for May 30, 2006

May 29th, 2006

There were a lot of special editions for older movies releases this week, some that deserved it, others that didn't. Overall it seemed to be a rather weak week, both in terms of quantity and quality, which is good in some ways and computer issues left me with less time than I have hoped for. There were a few releases worthy of the DVD Pick of the Week, mostly in the TV on DVD category, and it was one such release, The Kids In The Hall - The Complete Season 4, that won that honor,

ALF - Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
ALF is a gimmick show that should have lasted a season, at most. But it caught on and out-lived its premises by several years. Looking back, I have no idea why this happened. However, even fans of the show shouldn't bother buying this 4-disc set as there are no special features and they are the syndicated versions. Why pay money when catching reruns on TV would give you the same experience for free. Also coming out tomorrow is Alf Animated Adventures: 20,000 Years in Driving School and Alf Tales - Volume 1.

The Bette Davis Collection - Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
The second volume of Bette Davis movies to hit the home market and this one is arguably better than Volume 1. The best of the bunch is What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? while even the weakest, Jezebel, is worth picking up. The other three are The Man Who Came to Dinner, Marked Woman, and Old Acquaintance. Each film comes with a new featurette and a classice short and / cartoon. However, if you are interested in any of these movies, buy the Box Set, as the price is nearly 50% less and it contains a bonus DVD featuring a feature-length documentary on Bette Davis. On the other hand, if you just want one movie, go for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Cirque du Soleil - Lovesick - Buy from Amazon
A documentary look at the making of and the behind the scenes of Zumanity, Cirque du Soleil's adult oriented performance. And by, 'adult oriented' I mean there's nudity & sex and plenty of it. This documentary also has plenty of sex and nudity, but in an artistic way. There are only two sort extras, a 8-minute featurette that shows some of the stars commenting on the film and a photo gallery set to music. Fans of Cirque du Soleil will certainly want to check this out, however, it probably won't convert neophytes.

Date Movie - Buy from Amazon: Theatrical Version - Unrated Version
One of the worst movie of the year so far, and that's saying a lot considering some of the other films that have come out this year. On the plus side, there are a ton of special features highlighted by three audio commentary tracks, including one by two critics who hated the movie. That later feature might just make the disc worth a rental, but I can't recommend any course of action that would reward the people who were involved in this disaster. Skip it.

Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys: The Movie - Buy from Amazon
I love Dave Barry's writing, but this movie doesn't do the book justice. There are some elements from the book that make the translation, but for the most part it loses the very essence that made his writing so witty. Even if you are a huge fan of his, don't watch this movie.

The Doris Day Show - Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
Doris Day was a huge movie star and she was able to translate that fame into a successful TV show for five seasons. This season the DVDs continue the better than expected special features with interviews, outtakes, the pilot for Young Love and more. Certainly worth picking up for fans of the show, but others will find it too wholesome for modern tastes. Also coming out tomorrow is The Doris Day Special.

The Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete Sixth Season - Buy from Amazon
This is the final season of this series, and I think it's fare to say that the show was starting to wear out its welcome. However, even with just two short featurettes, if you've been keeping up with the releases as they've come out, there's little reason not to complete your set now. Also available with the previous seasons as part of a package deal.

Freedomland - Buy from Amazon
Both critically and financially, this film failed to make an impact. But did it really deserve this fate? In a word, yes. And with a DVD that is completely devoid of real special features, it doesn't deserve to do any better on the home market. Skip it.

Joey - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
I always considered Joey Tribbinai the least interesting character from Friends, so I was a little surprised when it was announced that Matt LeBlanc would star in the spin-off. I was less surprised when it was recently announced that the show was cancelled. What could have saved the show was if the studio had released the first season on DVD before the second season started, however, it would have had to have been better than this featureless 4-disc set to save the show. As it is, it's barely worth picking up for hardcore fans.

John Wayne - An American Icon Collection - Buy from Amazon
Okay, I'm about to admit something that won't make me very popular. I've never been a fan of John Wayne. However, I understand that he has a strong and loyal following, but even these people will be upset over this 2-disc box set. There are film films crammed onto 2-disc with zero special features, and they are not even five of his better films. Granted, there are no double-dips, but that's small conciliation. Skip it.

The Kids In The Hall - The Complete Season 4 - Buy from Amazon
The penultimate season of the greatest sketch comedy show to ever come out of Canada. Not only does the show continue to reach new peaks, the special features remain very strong. Highlights include Chalet 2000, Bellini Contest, Chicken Lady Homecoming, and more while the special features include the two Best of compilation shows with audio commentary tracks and early live performance at the Rivoli Theater. Easily worth picking up for fans and the DVD Pick of the Week.

Marilyn Monroe - 80th Anniversary Collection - Buy from Amazon
Five films that were previously released on DVD come out tomorrow in a box set. Obviously if you own them already, there's no reason to upgrade, but for those who have been holding off buying the DVD individually, there's not better time to pick it up. Included in the box set are some of Marilyn Monroe's best movies, (The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Niagara), while none of them feel like filler. On the other hand, there's not much here in terms of special features.

Night Stalker - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
When this series was first announced, I was very interested in seeing how they would update it. Then I forget it was on and it was cancelled before I saw a single episode. It's too bad the show didn't last because there was some potential there, but at least it's getting a reasonable DVD release. All six episodes fit onto 2 discs with an audio commentary track on the pilot, interview and deleted scenes. That's not overwhelming, but more than such short-lived shows generally get.

Numb3rs - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Yet another police procedure show out there, but this one has a more intellectual angle to it with David Krumholtz starring as math-wiz Charlie Eppes. Granted, the math isn't always presented in an accurate manner, but at least it is usually flattering and not relegated to a sidekick role. Season 1 was great, especially since it featured Sabrina Lloyd, whom I've been a fan of since I first saw her in Sliders. (On a side note, I was upset when she was not brought back for season 2, however, I'm also a fan of Diane Farr, so that partially mitigated the situation.) As for the 4-disc set, it is rather expensive considering the show was a midseason replacement and only 13 episodes were made, however, it is packed with extras including audio commentary tracks on five of the episodes, behind-the-scenes featurette, outtakes and much more. Definitely worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the week.

Platoon - 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
One of the best movies about Vietnam ever made. However, the real question is whether this 2-disc set is a large enough improvement over the Special Edition from 2001. All of that DVDs special feature, (two audio commentary tracks and a nearly hour-long making of documentary) have returned, while on the second disc there are two documentaries, deleted scenes, and more. The first has real soldiers telling their stories about Vietnam and the second focuses more on boot camp. In the end, it is easily worth the upgrade.

Queer as Folk - The Final Season - Buy from Amazon
The fifth and final season of this series comes out on DVD tomorrow. I thought it came out a few weeks ago and wrote about it then. There's really nothing more to add.

Riddick Trilogy - Buy from Amazon
Both films in the Riddick franchise plus the direct-to-DVD animated film in one package at a reasonable price. If you enjoyed the movies enough to want them on DVD, you probably already own them. If not, then you shouldn't pick them up now.

The Sacketts - Buy from Amazon
Sam Elliott, Tom Selleck, and Jeff Osterhage star as three brothers in this two-part TV movie based on the work of Louis L'Amour. Fans who probably haven't seen the movie in more than 20 years will be happy to be able to own it on DVD, but the lack of special features hurts its value considerably.

Rollergirls: The Complete Season One - Buy from Amazon
A look at the latest attempt to revive this sport, which has been around in one form or another for about 75 years. This is actually a pretty fun sport and the show's not bad, but the DVD release has some issues, namely, it is widescreen, but not anamorphic widescreen. With the popularity of widescreen TVs these days, it is unforgivable to release a DVD in non-anamorphic wide screen.

Smokey and the Bandit - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
My first thought when I saw this title was, "Does this movie really deserve a Special Edition?" But that's not really fair. The original is a very good movie, the sequels, on the other hand, are so bad they will make you retroactively hate the first one. So while the movie deserves a packed special edition, it doesn't actually get one. There are only two featurettes but no audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, etc. It's worth the upgrade, but only because the previous release had no special features at all.

Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party - Buy from Amazon
Simple put, Stephen Tobolowsky is one of the greatest character actors working in Hollywood today and this movie shows he is equally adept as a storyteller. This enthralling movie shows him preparing for a small get together with some friends while he tells amazing story after amazing story. And the DVD contains more than a dozen stories that didn't make the theatrical release, which doubles the total running time. (And don't for a minute think these stories were cut because they weren't good enough.) Granted, the movie is not for everyone's taste, but as a contender for DVD Pick of the Week, I feel fairly certain that most people who give the DVD a shot will likely end up buying it.

The Venture Bros. - Season One - Buy from Amazon
Yet another show from Adult Swim coming out on DVD, this one is a spoof on the old Johnny Quest cartoon. Like most of the rest of the shows from Adult Swin, (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, etc.), this show is twisted and very funny while the 2-disc set is packed with special features include audio commentary tracks, bonus episodes, behind the scenes for the live action movie that they are not making, deleted scenes and more. Easily worth the price and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Will & Grace - Series Finale - Buy from Amazon
The series ended just over a week ago and the DVD is already coming out. And if costs $10.00 for a 45-minute episodes. Wait for it to come out as part of a full season set.


Filed under: Video Releases, Date Movie, Freedomland