Follow us on

DVD Releases for January 20, 2004

January 20th, 2004

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 and even one or two from the growing TV on DVD section. If I were to pick just one DVD this week, it would be Once Upon a Time in Mexico - (Buy from Amazon.) But there are plenty of choices for everyone this week.

Here's the highlights, (and some lowlights) of the DVDs released today, January 20, 2004.

Allo 'Allo! - The Complete Series One - (Buy from Amazon)
It's been more than 20 years since this series first aired in Britain, and it is still one of the most beloved. Set in Nazi occupied France during W.W.II, Allo 'Allo! tells the story of Rene, a Café owner who just wants to live a simple life having affairs with his waitresses. However, Nazis, the French Resistance, downed British airmen and his wife are making his life much more complicated than he wants.

Barney Miller - The 1st Season - (Buy from Amazon)
Barney Miller was sitcom centered around a police precinct staring Abe Vigoda, ok, maybe not starring Abe Vigoda. But I like saying that name. Abe Vigoda. Abe Vigoda. … Moving on, this DVD set contains all 13 episodes of the first season and surprisingly little else. This puts fans in a catch-22. If you don't buy it, the studio won't put out the other seasons. If you do buy, they probably won't bother with extras on those seasons either.

The Best of Soul Cinema DVD Collection - (Buy from Amazon)
This box set contains five hits from Blaxploitation genre: Coffy, Cooley High, Foxy Brown, Hell up in Harlem, I'm Gonna Get You Sucka. Most of these films were made in the early 70s, so this set could be an introduction to a whole new generation of potential fans. But more likely it will only find a niche market.

Cabin Fever - (Buy from Amazon)
This movie currently hold the record for widest debut for an independent film, (although The Passions of Christ is expected to beat that record.) The box office beat expectations while the reviews were surprisingly high given its genre. The biggest knock against it was the massive direct competition in 2003. No less than half-a-dozen low budget horror films were released last year.

Dinotopia - The Series - (Buy from Amazon)
The Mini-series was well liked, but the TV Series was doomed lasting only 6 episodes. This set includes all those episodes and seven more that were unaired. There are quite a few extras for such a sort run, not enough to buy just for the extras, but Artisan did a nice job giving something back to the fans.

FUBAR - (Buy from Amazon)
The appeal of this movie is hard to explain. It's a small movie from Canada, so most Americans have never heard of it. It's a mockumentary about two head-banging losers in their mid-20s with lots of enthusiasm, and very little talent outside of shot-gunning beers. It earned excellent reviews being compared to Spinal Tap, and should please fans of The Osbornes and Jackass.

Marci X - (Buy from Amazon)
This movie was released last summer, or to be more accurate, inflicted upon an unsuspecting populace by a cruel and unforgiving studio. Its box office was worse than Gigli and its reviews were the same. But the studio still thinks it can release the DVD without special features and still get people to pay $25 for it.

Murphy's Romance - (Buy from Amazon)
This romantic comedy from 1986 is being released with a shocking lack of extra features. Why Columbia/Tristar would release a movie from 1986 without any special features is beyond me. It's not like they are cashing in on a recent theatrical release, nor is it an anniversary. It's just sort of being dumped on the market.

Nova - The Elegant Universe - (Buy from Amazon)
Educational, and entertaining. I caught these three episodes when they aired on my local PBS station. The topics discussed have been simplified, but not dumbed-down. Because they are three separate episodes, some information is repeated in more than one episode. But that shouldn't interfere with your enjoyment too much.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico - (Buy from Amazon)
The final movie in the El Mariachi trilogy, this one earned more than twice the combined total of the other two. And it did it with reviews that were good, maybe not great, but certainly above average for the year. Also available in a gift-pack with Desperado. The special feature I'm looking forward to the most is the Ten Minute film school where director Roberty Rodriguez shows how he can make quality movies at a fraction of the cost of the average Hollywood film.

Open Range - (Buy from Amazon)
A return to form for Kevein Costner: his best box office in 8 years, one hist best-reviewed movies in a decade. But considering his recent record, that's not saying a whole lot.

Punk'd - The Complete 1st Season - (Buy from Amazon)
The Ashton Kutcher over-exposure continues. There's really nothing more that needs to be said.

The Rules of the Game - (Buy from Amazon)
Originally made in 1939 and banned by the French government, and later the Nazis, this film is now regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, despite receiving a violently poor reception when it was first released. It was nearly lost in W.W.II, but faithfully restored by Renoir and his followers. A comedy of manners is used to disguise a scathing attack on French society.

Stargate SG-1 Season 5 - (Buy from Amazon)
This season was plagued by rumors of imminent cancellation, and they may have affected some of the story lines. (In the same way it affected season four of Babylon 5.) But it is still a popular show with a very loyal fan base, and the studio rewarded them with a nice set of extras, including commentaries for every episode.

Simple Life - Buy from Amazon)
I know what you're thinking. "Didn't this series just end last week?" You're right. In fact, they haven't yet aired the last episode or The Lost Episode as Fox is calling it. Is it a case of over-exposure or brilliant marketing strategy? It's too early to tell, but with a #30 ranking on Amazon's sales chart I'd say the latter is more likely.

Spellbound - (Buy from Amazon)
A documentary about a spelling bee doesn't sound like it would make for compelling watching. But if the reviews are any indication, this is a must see. It should make more than it did in the theatres, not to say over $5 million is a bad run for such a limited release.

Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Releases, Open Range, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Cabin Fever, Spellbound, Marci X