Follow us on

DVD Releases for May 31, 2005

May 30th, 2005

Every week films get a second chance at success from the home market; or, in some cases, a first chance at success. Here is a list of wide releases, limited releases, classics and a few from the growing TV on DVD section. It's a deceptively quiet week for DVD releases, while there are several hundred DVD coming out tomorrow the list is dominated by re-releases, featureless discs and sub-par new films leaving very few really high quality releases. Leading the way is the classic 80's cartoon from Britain, Danger Mouse - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 - Buy from Amazon.

Bedtime for Bonzo - Buy from Amazon
A thoroughly mediocre movie that is only famous because it stars Ronald Reagan. Even fans will admit it's a B-Movie and the lack of special features limits its appeal further.

Boogeyman - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Another film released this past January that beat expectations despite being brutalized by the critics. To top it off, the DVD release is worse than most first run features and is in no way deserving of the Special Edition label. Skip it.

Born in East L.A. - Buy from Amazon
This is a re-release of a featureless disc first released over 2 years ago. But it's a fun movie and worth a mention.

Classic Cartoon Favorites - Buy from Amazon: Extreme Adventure Fun, Extreme Music Fun and Extreme Sports Fun
Each set has eight cartoons from Disney are dumped onto a featureless DVD. The only studio that's consistently doing cartoon shorts right is Warner Bros. with their Looney Tunes releases.

Dad - Buy from Amazon
An overly emotional film about a grown son forced to take care of his elderly dad. It could have been a good film but all of writer / director Gary David Goldberg's previous experience was on TV and he gave the film a definitely sitcom feel.

Danger Mouse - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 - Buy from Amazon
Ever since TV on DVD first looked like it would be a major player on the home market there have been a few TV series I've eagerly awaited their DVD debuts. This is one of them. Danger Mouse is a James Bond-like Secret Agent who with his trusted sideskick, Penfold, battle the evil Baron Greenback, his henchman Stiletto, a vegetarian vampire duck called Count Duckula, (who got his own spin-off) and more. This is a hilarious show that should entertain kids and adults alike and the 2-disc set contains all 17 episodes from the first two seasons, (including the unaired pilot) and is easily the DVD pick of the week. Hopefully sales of this DVD will be swift enough for the other 8 seasons of Danger Mouse, (as well as 4 seasons of Count Duckula) to be released.

The Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The release schedule for this series is faster than most shows so it can take advantage of the publicity surrounding the release of the movie. Fans of the franchise should be happy with the special features on the 4-disc set, which include interviews, introduction and on camera commentary. On a side note, the fourth season comes out in just over two months from now, compared to the nearly six-month gap between most other TV on DVD sets releases. All three season can also be purchased as part of a package deal.

The Essential Steve McQueen Collection - Buy from Amazon
Six films including 3 never-before released on DVD, 2 remastered and one previously released discs. The highlight of the set is the quintessential Steve McQueen movie, Bullitt, which has arguably the best car chase of all time. There are a couple of films that could be considered filler, but even if you own the previously released Papillon, the box set is still cheaper than purchasing the three best films separately.

Forced Vengeance - Buy from Amazon
One of Chuck Norris's better films, which just goes to show you how bad most of his films were. Lack of special feature reduces this film's appeal further and it's only for hardcore Chuck Norris fans.

The Four Seasons - Buy from Amazon
An all-star cast including writer / director Alan Alda and a superb script combine to make an excellent film. But a featureless disc results in a DVD that most people will skip entirely.

The Front Page - Buy from Amazon
Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau worked together more than a few times during their amazing careers. And while this isn't their best work together, (The Odd Couple holds that distinction) it is still a good film. Lack of special features does hurt the DVD reducing it to a rental level at best.

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the great chess battle between grand master Garry Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue, specifically dealing with Kasparov's accusations that the Deep Blue Team used a human grand master to help the computer beat him. The film is entertaining, but doesn't give a completely convincing argument.

Gary Cooper: The Franchise Collection - Buy from Amazon
Five films from Gary Cooper's career crammed onto 2 double-sided discs, which leaves no room for special features. Not the treatment these films deserve and even with a low, low price it's a disappointment.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic - Live at Montreux 2004 - Buy from Amazon
I've recently discovered that there's not enough funk in my life. To cure Funk Deficiency there's no better band than George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. The DVD contains more than a dozen songs performed at the 2004 Montreux Jazz Festival plus a half a dozen bonus songs. Well worth the price.

Harper Valley P.T.A. - Buy from Amazon
Based on a song, this movie was very shocking and outrageous for its time but today is would be considered tame. Probably only worth viewing to compare what is shocking now to what was shocking less than 30 years ago.

Home Movies - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
Home Movies returns for season 2 but 'Squigglevision', the animation technique used in the first season, has been replaced with simple Flash animation. I liked Squigglevision, but I'll admit that the Flash animation looks much brighter and crisper and the video quality is excellent. Extras on the 3-disc set are amazing with audio commentary tracks on nearly half the 13 episodes, interviews, animatrics and even a music lesson. An excellent release for fans of the series.

Inside Pink Floyd: A Critical Review 1967-1996 - Buy from Amazon
A critical guide to all things Pink Floyd, their albums, concerts, etc. This 2-disc set and the accompanying book is an incredibly in-depth look at the greatest rock band ever and a must have for all fans. It also includes interviews with the band members and rare footage from concerts.

The Complete James Dean Collection - Buy from Amazon
All three movies from James Dean's tragically short career, including two never before released 2-disc versions of Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden. Each of these three movies are absolute classics and the new releases are extremely well done, so much so that they are worth the upgrade from previous releases. If you already own the previously released Giant, then it is cheaper to purchase the remaining films separately. Either way, this set would be an excellent addition to most DVD collections.

Make Your Own Damn Movie - Buy from Amazon: Regular Edition or Limited Edition with Book
It's an 18-hour film school in a box to help those who want to make low-budget, way out of the mainstream, independent films brought to you by the studio that specializes in such films, Troma. Like the book that the set is based on, there isn't a lesson plan, it's more of a series of interviews with insiders who give suggestions, tell anecdotes, reminisce and more. A great set for those people who are fans of Troma films, like Frightmare or Butchers, both of which are also being released tomorrow.

Marlon Brando 4-Movie Collection - Buy from Amazon
When it comes to collections like this there are two things you have to watch out for: Filler - films that are mediocre and in the collection only to add to the movie count, and Double Dipping - films that have already been released. This set suffers from both and should be avoided.

Moonlighting - Seasons 1 & 2 - Buy from Amazon
The show that launched Bruce Willis' and Cybill Shepherd's careers. Season 1 was only seven episodes long because it was a midseason replacement, so it makes sense to package the first two seasons in one 6-disc set. This show became a huge cultural phenomenon with fans loving the the bickering and sexual tension. Special features on the set are good, especially for a show that's 20 years old, with audio commentary tracks on five episodes and three featurettes talking about the making of season 1, season 2 and the worldwide phenomenon the show became.

Over the Top - Buy from Amazon
Sylvester Stallone has done a lot of really bad movies, and this is one of them. Possibly the only film about professional Arm Wrestling.

The Parent Trap - Double Trouble Edition - Buy from Amazon
Lindsay Lohan's first movie and the first of three Disney remakes she's made so far. In fact, the timing of this special edition is directly tied in with her latest such film, Herbie: Fully Loaded. Interestingly, Lindsay Lohan does not participate in any of the new special features, perhaps because she has left the innocent image behind for one that would cause Paris Hilton to say, 'Whoa child, take it easy.' The special features include audio commentary, making of and more and while there are certainly an improvement from the featureless previous releases, but not up to the Special Edition label. Also coming out tomorrow is the Disney TV movie, Get a Clue, which also stars Lindsay Lohan.

Rocky & Bullwinkle - Buy from Amazon: Best of Dudley Do-Right - Volume 1 and The Best of Mr. Peabody & Sherman - Volume 1
Two DVD each with 90 minutes of material from the Rocky & Bullwinkle show. They're fun to watch, but I'd stick with the season sets.

Saints and Soldiers - Buy from Amazon
A World War II film with a Mormon feel. There's been a lot of movies that told a similar story, and many of them are better.

Submerged - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD movie starring Steven Seagal. 'Nuff said.

Swimming Upstream - Buy from Amazon
Great performance by Geoffrey Rush and a muddled ending leaves a film that is good, but not great. Special features are light, as they usually are with limited releases, reducing this DVD to the rental level at most.

Viva Knievel - Buy from Amazon
Unintentionally funny. One of the worst films ever made but so campy that its has a certain appeal. Fans of bad movies might want to give this one a try, but even then I recommend just renting it.

World Poker Tour - Bad Boys of Poker - Buy from Amazon
First of all, these are hardly the bad boys of poker. These are players, that while eccentric or cocky, these players are good sportsmanship unlike players like Mike "Motormouth" Matasow or Phil Hellmuth. The way poker shown on TV is excellent with multiple camera angles, including the all-important pocket cam, graphic and odds and more. But even with fun special features, the replay value is limited.

Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Releases, Boogeyman, Saints and Soldiers, Swimming Upstream, Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine