Follow us on

DVD Releases for June 13, 2006

June 12th, 2006

It's another busy week both in terms of quantity and especially quality with half-a-dozen films in contention for DVD Pick of the Week. In the end I narrowed it down to The Dead Zone - The Complete Fourth Season, although I will probably end up buying all of them.

16 Blocks - Buy from Amazon: DVD or HD-DVD
There's a lot of potential here and quite a bit of the movie works, but there are enough flaws and weaknesses that reduce the enjoyment level substantially. On the other hand, there's enough that does work that the film is worth a rental but with only an alternate ending and deleted scenes, that's as good of a grade as the DVD will get.

America's Funniest Home Videos: Nincompoops and Boneheads - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV at its worst.

Aquamarine - Buy from Amazon
Aimed squarely at Tweens with little room for crossover appeal, but that doesn't mean it's a bad movie. Special features are also better than expected with an audio commentary track by the director and producer, audio commentary track on select scenes by the three stars, four short featurettes, (with a total running time of 16 minutes), and two sets of outtakes, (although one is just a collection of Sara Paxton squealing). If you or a member of your household is a Tween, then this is certainly worth picking up, and adults who get stuck watching it with their Tweens might enjoy it more than they would be willing to admit.

Arrested Development - Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
Some sites have this set coming out tomorrow, but it was pushed back till late August. The reason this was done was so it could come out at the same time as the four season started, but attempts at reviving the show failed, so this is the last we'll ever see of the Bluth's.

Beavis & Butt-head - The Mike Judge Collection, Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
This 3-disc set infuriates me for two reasons. Firstly, most of the music video sections have been cut because of licensing costs. Hopefully studios have learned their lessons by now and all shows made today include the DVD rights when they uses songs in the show. Secondly, some of the shorts are not and will not be including in this or future collections from the show because creator Mike Judge has decided it doesn't want to be associated with some of the lesser elements of his own show. The first problem makes me mad at the record labels but doesn't influence my decision to buy the set. On the other hand, the second problem does, skip it.

Before the Fall - Buy from Amazon
This movie has a good story, boy goes to a Nazi school only instead of be indoctrinated he is horrified by the Nazi ideal. However, while there's a lot of potential there, the movie relies too much on cliches to be fully engaging. On the other hand, the DVD is packed for a limited release with an audio commentary, making of featurette, and more. Overall it is worth checking out, but a rental will suffice.

Betty Grable Collection - Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
As you've probably noticed, recently there have been a lot of these collections coming out, and while this one is no better or worse than the average, there's been so many that a set has to be really special to stand out. Fans of hers, or musicals in general will probably want to pick up the 2-disc set, but studio will really need to do more work if they want there products to stand out.

Beyond Valley of the Dolls - Buy from Amazon
A pseudo-sequel to Valley of the Dolls, which is also coming out tomorrow. The film was written by movie critic, Roger Ebert, which is probably not a very good career movie since I've seen more than one attack against his that brings this movie up. "Roger Ebert hated my movie? Well, he wrote Beyond Valley of the Dolls, so what does he know about movies?" Granted, the movie is B-movie, but it knows it is a B-Movie and revels in that label and that makes for a very enjoyable experience. Also adding to the value of the movie are the extras, which include two audio commentary tracks, including one by Roger Ebert. For those who have never heard an audio commentary track by Roger Ebert, he is one of the best in the business when it comes to balancing information and entertainment, and this is no exception. In fact, I suspect that many people who buy this 2-disc set will end up watching the movie with the audio track on more than they do without. Other features include a series of features on subjects like the music, the casting, etc. and combined they have a total running-time of over an hour. Overall this is a great package and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

The Boondocks - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Regular readers know how much I love the most of the shows in the Adult Swim line-up, and this combined with my appreciation of the comic it is based on and I have high hopes for this series. However, when I first heard the voice for Huey Freeman, I couldn't stand it. It was too high and squeaky. But since then, the more episodes I've seen the less the voice distracts me and the more I enjoy the show. Also helping the DVD's cause are the special features, which include audio commentary tracks, making of featurette, and more. Definitely worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the week.

Cemetery Man - Buy from Amazon
Rupert Everett stars as Francesco Dellamorte, the titular cemetery man, who duties not only include burying the dead, but killing them a second time when they return as Zombies. The film is not for everyone, but it has a good mix of comedy and horror and should satisfy fans of Italian horror. As for the DVD, it is a little light on special features with just a 30-minute long making of featurette as the only really substantial special feature.

Cheers - The Complete Eighth Season - Buy from Amazon
Great show, yet another featureless DVD release. However, if you've been buying the series up till now, there's no reason to stop.

Coach - The First Season - Limited Edition - Buy from Amazon
The only thing limited about this edition is the special features. 'Bonus' episodes from the same show don't count as extras, nor does that awful 30-minute ad, The Great '80s TV Flashback. Add in a price that is high on a per-minute basis for TV on DVD and you have a 2-disc set worth skipping. (There is also a regular edition with the normal packaging, but it is even less desirable.)

Dave Chappelle's Block Party - Buy from Amazon: Unrated Edition or Theatrical Release
The best reviewed wide release of the year, if you stretch the definition of wide a wee bit. Unfortunately, it couldn't translate the critical reception into box office results; it was one of several films where that happened this year, so much so that it is almost like quality is a liability. The DVD sales should be better, even though there's not much here in terms of extras. The Unrated Edition, which is what the vast majority of people are buying, is eight minutes longer and the both contain extended music bits and a making of featurette. Worth picking up, but a little more could have made it a contender for the DVD Pick of the Week.

The Dead Zone - The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
Not as strong as previous seasons, but this is more of an indication of how strong the show was, not how bad this season is. Half the episodes are worth watching repeatedly, including the best of the bunch, "Double Vision," (which co-stars fellow Canuck, Jennifer Finnigan). Special features include audio commentary tracks on all 12 episodes, (including the Christmas Special), the extensive production journal, deleted scenes, and more. Great set and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Dharma and Greg - Season One - Buy from Amazon
This show was quite popular for the first few seasons, but I found it repetitive, cliched, and repetitive. This, combined with my deep dislike of Jenna Elfman, meant I never got into the show. It was incredibly popular for the first few seasons, but then people started to catch and the ratings dropped quickly. This 3-disc set is better than average for the TV on DVD releases coming out this week, (audio commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes, etc.), but it is not nearly enough to compensate for the show.

End of the Spear - Buy from Amazon
Based on the real life Christian missionaries in Ecuador, the film looked like it could generate a grass-roots marketing and strong word-of-mouth. Then it was learned that the star is opening gay and that ended that. And since the film is a message movie with little crossover appeal, it suffered greatly at the box office. The DVD will likely do only little better as it is completely devoid of special features.

Forty Shades of Blue - Buy from Amazon
This film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and Dina Korzun was nominated for Best Female Lead at the Independent Spirit Awards. However, while the Cream of the Crop critics loved the movie, the overall reviews were just average and the film never found an audience. The DVD should do much better especially with extras like an audio commentary track, behind-the-scenes featurette, interviews, deleted and alternate scenes, etc.

Fraiser - The Complete Eighth Season - Buy from Amazon
Another case of great show / terrible DVD release. I can't believe that a show made so recently doesn't have something the studio could put on the DVD, or couldn't find someone willing to talk about the show on an audio commentary track or two. But I guess the studio just doesn't care.

Gallagher - The Sledge-O-Matic Collection - Buy from Amazon
Gallagher had some very funny jokes and clever routines, but anything intelligent he had to say was overshadowed by the Sledge-O-Matic routine. On the one hand, that's too bad and he deserves to be remembered for more. On the other hand, he did do this to himself.

Good Neighbors - The Complete Series 4 - Buy from Amazon
The fourth and final series of this much beloved Britcom. Good Neighbors, or The Good Life as it was known in the U.K., was about two suburbanites who decide to give up the rat race and become self-sufficient raising pigs, growing their own produce, etc. There are a lot of great episodes on this 2-disc set, but it is a little light on special features with just the Royal Performance and an interview with the one of the stars, Richard Briers.

A Good Woman - Buy from Amazon
This box office return of Helen Hunt, who hadn't made a movie in nearly 5 years, was less than triumphant. It was too be released during the height of award season, but then it was pushed back to February and the reviews made it clear why. Both Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson were widely miscast and the sharp dialogue of Oscar Wilde was all but eviscerated from the script. Overall it rates a rental, at most.

Green Street Hooligans - Buy from Amazon
With the World Cup just underway and the United States on the verge of elimination after a 3-0 lost to the Czech Republic, there's no better time to release a movie about Football Hooligans. The film is fascinating, but deeply flawed, and those interesting interested in the subject matter would be better off getting The Firm, which is available as part of the Alan Clarke Collection.

HD-DVD Selection - Buy from Amazon: Happy Gilmore
Just the one release on HD-DVD this week, (not counting the simultaneous release of 16 Blocks on HD-DVD mentioned above. Happy Gilmore is not a particularly good movie, not is it visual enough to need the HD experience to enjoy it. Not worth the upgrade or the added expense.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - Buy from Amazon
Val Kilmer is an incredibly funny actor and I wish he'd do more comedies. This is his first comedy since Real Geneius and his best movie since Heat. Unfortunately, it was all but ignored while it was in the theatres never expanding much past 200 and earning just $4 million along the way. The DVD should do better, but with only two extras, (a great audio commentary track and a gag reel), it won't earn as much as it should. I'm still recommending picking the DVD up, but had there been more extras it could have been a DVD Pick of the Week.

L.A. Story - 15th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
One of Steve Martin's best movies, this film was sadly overlooked when it was first released. On the other hand, this DVD is rather disappointing and certainly doesn't live up to the special edition label.

MacGyver - The Complete Sixth Season - Buy from Amazon
This series has been plagued by some of the worst DVD releases with audio and video problems as well as a total lack of special features. Until these problems are fixed, which they probably never will be, I recommend skipping it.

Medium - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
There's a term I use to describe people who say they are psychic, "Frauds." Okay, that's a little harsh, they could simply be delusional. But while I've never seen any evidence that would even make me consider the possibility of psychic powers, I still accept them when they are part of a good movie or TV series, and fortunately, this is a good show. The show was a midseason replacement so the first season was only 16 episodes, but the studio has compensated with plenty of special features including 4 audio commentary tracks, two featurettes on the show with a combined running of 50 minutes, two shorter featurettes one on Patricia Arquette and one of the real Allison Dubois, deleted scenes, outtakes and more. A very impressive set and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Neil Young - Heart of Gold - Buy from Amazon
According to the Amazon Sales Chart, this is the best selling DVD of the week. I find that hard to believe because even though it is an amazing movie, its theatrical run was not that impressive. On the other hand, Neil Young's recent CD, Living With War is also a huge seller and there is obviously a bit of synergy happening here. Thankfully, despite low ticket sales, the studio has decided to put of a 2-disc set with plenty of extras in the form of several features on the making of the movie, the preparation that went into the concert, interviews with Neil Young and his band, a bonus performance, and a vintage performance from 1971. Excellent package and not only is it easily worth picking up for fans of the Neil Young, it is a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

One Night Stand - Buy from Amazon: Caroline Rhea, Earthquake, Jim Norton, and Louis CK
Four Stand-Up comedians doing their schtick for HBO. Only Caroline Rhea is actually funny enough to watch, and even then this is not her best material.

The Pink Panther - Special Edition- Buy from Amazon
One of the worst movies of the year, but a surprise hit nonetheless. There are plenty of special features on this Special Edition release, (audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes on various subjects), but none of it comes close to compensating for the quality of the movie. Skip it and instead get the The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection Volume 4 - Swingin' in the Pink.

The Princess Bride - Buy from Amazon: Buttercup Edition or Dread Pirate Edition
The latest special edition release of this wonderful movie comes out tomorrow, and while this is the best release to date, there is little here that wasn't on the previous special edition. The only new features are a fictional look at the real Dread Pirate Roberts, featurette on the makeup used for Miracle Max, a featurette on storybooks and fairy tales, and two interactive features. Is it worth the upgrade? Not really. I'll probably end up buying it, but I have more money than brain cells. One final note, while there are two editions coming out tomorrow, the only difference between the two are the covers.

The Rat Pack Collection - Buy from Amazon
Three films from the infamous Rat Pack. Ocean's Eleven is the best known, and best of the bunch, but is still entertaining mostly as a guilty pleasure. Add in a relatively high price and a lack of special features and this is a box set that it best skipped.

The Rockford Files - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
James Garner returns as Jim Rockford, the ex-con turned private eye. This was the first season James Garner earned an Emmy nomination for the role but he would go on to earn four more nominations winning for season 3. Special features on this 3-disc set are light with just an interview with the creator, Stephen J. Cannell, and the original pilot episode. Add in the use of double-sided discs are there are a lot of reasons to skip this release, but the show is good enough to compensate making it worth picking up.

Rush - Replay - Buy from Amazon
Three concerts from the Canadian power trio, "Exit... Stage Left," "Grace Under Pressure," and "A Show of Hands" collected in one box set, which also include a bonus CD from the "Grace Under Pressure" This is the first time they've been release on DVD and are great examples of the band's prowess.

The Sisters - Buy from Amazon
There's a lot of talent involved in this movie, but the whole is not more than the sum of its parts. The DVD only has an audio commentary track for a special feature, but given its nearly non-existent theatrical release, this is par for the course.

Thinking XXX - Extended Cut - Buy from Amazon
This documentary is look at the making of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' book of the same name. This was a photobook featuring 30 porn stars, each photographed once fully clothed and once fully nude. Yes, there is nudity, and lots of it. But it is more artistic than you would expect given the subjects. The show itself its less than 45 minutes long, but the DVD contains four hours of bonus interviews with the porn stars and other celebrities. Well worth checking out.

This Is America, Charlie Brown - Buy from Amazon
An educational series where the Peanuts gang travel back in time to witness important events in the history of the United States. The 8 episodes are collected on 2 discs, but there are no special features.

Valley of the Dolls - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
There are a lot of ways to describe this movie, unintentionally funny is probably the nicest. Since the film was first released in 1967, it has developed a real cult following and this prompted the studio to release a 2-disc special edition. There are plenty of special features to be seen here including an audio commentary track, trivia track, three featurettes that run about 45 minutes, footage of the premiere, vintage interview with Jacqueline Susann, (the author of the book), screens tests, sing-along versions of the songs and more. However, Beyond Valley of the Dolls, which also comes out tomorrow, is a much better movie and the audio commentary by Roger Ebert is better than all the extras featured here, so I would recommend that DVD above this one.

Waiting for God - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
The first season of this long-running, critically acclaimed series about two residents in an old folks home. The show is expensive on a per minute basis compared to most TV on DVD releases and there are no special features, but the show is so good that it is still worth picking up.

Walker, Texas Ranger - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
What? Paramount is releasing a TV on DVD set with absolutely no special features? I don't believe it. Paramount is notorious for putting out featureless DVDs for some of their most popular shows, including Cheers and Fraiser, both of which are also having releases tomorrow. However, at least with those sets the first few seasons had plenty of extras to get the viewer hooked. This series started out with nothing and its not going to get any better from here.

The World's Fastest Indian - Buy from Amazon
Not the best movie coming out tomorrow, but one of the films I'm most looking forward to seeing. The film opened in, 'Select Cities' to middling results but lasted longer than expected and went on to make just over $5 million in theatres. However, it never expanded anywhere near me, so I never got a chance to see the movie. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as Real Life old coot, Burt Munro, who spent years tinkering with his 1920 Indian "Scout" motorcycle trying to make it go faster and break the land speed record. The DVD release is excellent for such a limited release with an audio commentary track, 45-minute long making of featurette, and 30-minute long documentary on the real Burt Munro from 1971. Easily worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.


Filed under: Video Releases, The Pink Panther, End of the Spear, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, The World's Fastest Indian, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, Green Street Hooligans, A Good Woman, Before the Fall, Forty Shades of Blue, The Sisters, 16 Blocks, Aquamarine