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DVD Releases for July 4, 2006

July 3rd, 2006

This year July 4th lands on a Tuesday, and with most people's thoughts on BBQs and not DVDs, the selection of new releases is absolutely terrible and is easily the weakest I can remember. In fact, even with just ten entries, it still feels like I'm padding the total a bit. Fortunately there were a couple of releases in contention for DVD Pick of the Week, including the first season of the new Doctor Who, although with this DVD, the price was a little scary. So in the end I went with The Matador - Buy from Amazon, which would have been a contender even during the busiest week.

Charlie's Angels - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The third season of this guilty pleasure hits the home market tomorrow. Looking back, the seasons kind of blend together, mainly because the show lacked any real character development, but season three was the year Farrah Fawcett was replaced by Cheryl Ladd. One last note, it has been a while since Season 2 was released, which probably means sales were not as high as the studio hoped, so if you want seasons 4 and 5 to comes out, you better pick this season up A.S.A.P.

Doctor Who - The Complete First Series - Buy from Amazon
This is the latest incarnation of the longest running Sci-Fi series ever. This time around Christopher Eccleston is the good Doctor while his assistant is played by the singer, Billie Piper. (At least that was the cast for the first series, series saw a new doctor, which Billie left after series two.) All 13 episodes are on this 5-disc set and include special features like audio commentary tracks on all of them, interviews, making of featurettes, etc. In total, there are almost as much in terms of special feature as there are episodes and it is easily worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week. One last note, this set was released in Canada several months ago, so if you imported it, you don't need to pick it up again.

Firecracker - Buy from Amazon
Depending on who you ask, this film is either of the best movies to come out last year, or indie tripe. Sometimes these opinions are not mutually exclusive. There are some interesting aspects to the film, including some of the visuals, but even there the film slips into cliches too many times. (The real world is dull and black & white while the traveling carnival is vibrant and colorful.) Speaking of the carnival, another highlight of the film were the carnival freaks, played by Enigma, his wife Katzen, and burlesque dancer Selene Luna, but here they were underused. Overall it is an interesting attempt, but comes across as a pretentious art film and not a satisfying movie experience.

Last Quarter - Buy from Amazon
A Japanese movie based on romance Manga by Ai Yazawa and stars Chiaki Kuriyama, whom most people reading this will recognize from Kill Bill. For the past few years, the North American market has been flooded by Japanese horror film that seeing a film of a different genre is almost a novelty. And while the movie isn't great cinema, it is still worth checking out. On the other hand, without any real special features, a rental will suffice.

The Legend of Prince Valiant - The Complete Series - Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
Based on the Prince Valiant comic strip, which was in turn based on the King Arthur legend, this cartoon has many fans. I, on the other hand, found the animation to be cheap, the stories simplistic, and the moralizing to be too heavy handed. However, those aforementioned fans will be happy the show is now available on DVD, especially with better than expected special features including audio commentary tracks on two episodes, interviews and a look at the history of the King Arthur myth.

The Libertine - Buy from Amazon
Busted Oscar bait. On paper the film had a lot going for it, but the costume drama never came close to living up to its potential. It will probably do better on the home market with plenty of people giving in to the curiosity and renting it, but even with an audio commentary track, deleted scenes and making of featurette, a rental is all that is needed.

Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School - Buy from Amazon
The film opened to terrible reviews and disappeared from theatres fast. The DVD only average for a limited release with an audio commentary track and the short film the movie was based on, but that adds up to a rental, at most.

The Matador - Buy from Amazon
A buddy comedy starring Greg Kinnear as a salesman whose mariage and career have both hit a rough patch, and Pierce Brosnan as a hit man who's having a mental breakdown. The film is darkly comedic and easily the best release on this week's list. And with two audio commentary tracks, deleted / extended scenes, making of featurette, and an audio only interview, it is also the best DVD and the DVD Pick of the Week.

Naruto - Uncut - Volume 1 - Box Set or Limited Edition
This show has garnered quite a few comparisons to Dragon Ball Z, mainly because the fights in both series can upwards of a dozen episodes to fully play out. However, this show is aimed at a more mature audience having better writing, more developed characters, etc. This 3-disc set include both the Japanese originals and the English dubbed versions, which should please those who watched the show when it was imported here and the more hardcore Anime fans. As for the Limited Edition Box Set, the DVDs are the same, but it comes with storyboard booklet, headband and wrist cuffs, fancier box, etc. Is it worth the $20 extra? Only for the really hardcore fans.

Stoned - Unrated Edition - Buy from Amazon
A look at the life, and death, of Rolling Stones founding member, Brian Jones. terrible reviews sunk the film before it ever had a chance, but the Unrated label should help its home market run considerably.


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Filed under: Video Releases, The Matador, The Libertine, Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, Stoned