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DVD Releases for January 27, 2004

January 27th, 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 a few from the growing TV on DVD section. If I were to pick just one DVD this week, it would without doubt be Time Bandits - (Buy from Amazon.) Or The Critic . Or both. Yeah, I'd have to pick both. 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.

Alice in Wonderland - (Buy from Amazon)
This film was poorly received when it was first released in 1951 and was edited down to an hour to fit the Disneyland time slot when it was shown on TV in 1954. Because of this, it has never received the recognition is deserves. While it does take bit from both Alice novels, while leaving others out, it is still one of the most faithful adaptations by Disney.

Capturing the Friedmans - (Buy from Amazon)
This documentary garnered some of the best reviews this year and went on to earn a healthy amount at the box office for a documentary. The main point seems to be that the truth is elusive and ambiguous, however, some have claimed that evidence that was less ambiguous was left out of the film.

Comic Book - The Movie - (Buy from Amazon)
A direct to video mockumentary staring Luke Skywalker … I mean Mark Hamill. A behind the scenes look at what happens when a studio tries to make a Comic Book Adaptation. There are cameos aplenty and the film should be appreciated by anyone who yelled at the screen, 'Since when can Mystique fight like that?'

The Critic - The Complete Series (Buy from Amazon)
A show that was never able to find on audience on TV, this series should get a second life on DVD. I don't mean second life as in another shot at network TV like Family Guy or theatrical release like Firefly. There's also plenty of extras on the set, which is a great way of thanking a loyal, if small, audience.

Dilbert - The Complete Series - (Buy from Amazon)
Dilbert has become the most popular comic strip since its debut in 1989, but the TV series ran on the low rated UPN and was canceled after only two seasons. Not as many extra features as the previous canceled-too-soon TV series, but it isn't bare either.

Le Divorce - (Buy from Amazon)
While this movie never played in more than more than 701 theatres, its box office run and reviews make it look more like a high priced film that didn't pan out than a smaller independent film. The lack of extras on the DVD also suggests that the studio doesn't have much faith in its marketability.

Due South - The Complete Third Season - (Buy from Amazon.ca)
When the series first debuted on CBS almost ten years, it became the highest rated Canadian series of all-time. But it couldn't maintain its audience and by the end of the first season CBS cancelled it. Then cancelled it again after season 2, (long story, don't ask.) It did last two more seasons in syndication up here in Canada. So chances are you've never seen any of these episodes, which should be a huge bonus. It is important to note you can only get this through Amazon.ca, not the Amazon.com.

Farscape - Season 4 Volume 2 - (Buy from Amazon)
Farscape has one of the most loyal fan-bases of any TV series while it was on the air. Unfortunately, it was too small to stay on the air. (Not a uncommon occurrence on today's DVD list.) The DVDs have been strong sellers and should make TV Executives think twice when they are about to cancel that cult TV show.

Friends - The Complete Sixth Season - (Buy from Amazon)
There's little that needs to be said other than this is the number one ranked DVD on Amazon this week. It is also available as part of the First Six Seasons Box Set. For those of you who like the series so much that you want everything from the first six seasons, but didn't bother picking up any of individual seasons when they first came out.

Grind - (Buy from Amazon)
Inflicted upon an unsuspecting populace last summer, there's little to recommend this movie. Especially not the reviews.

Hoffa - (Buy from Amazon)
Jack Nicholson's performance as Hoffa is one of the best portrayals of a real-life person ever captured on film. Unfortunately, the film didn't live up to expectations when it was first released, and there's little chance it will fare better on DVD. Usually when this happens the DVD is dumped on the market without any extras to speak of, but not this time. Hoffa comes with plenty of extras, including historical footage of the Hoffa / Kennedy hearings that emphasizes just how accurate Jack Nicholson's portrayal was.

House of the Dead - (Buy from Amazon)
Movies based on video games have a worse track record than … well, than video games based on movies. (Anyone remember E.T. for the Atari 2600?) Reviews are so bad that even people addicted to the Zombie Movie genre should avoid it.

Life of Brian - (Buy from Amazon)
This release of Life of Brian is almost entirely without extra features, unlike the 1999 Critereon Collection release. The only feature this one has going for it is price - it's less than half the cost. Personally, I'll more than willing to spend extra for the added features.

Radio - (Buy from Amazon)
Radio was Cuba Gooding, Jr's attempt to regain some respectability as an actor after some pretty big missteps following his Oscar win. While it's better than Boat Trip, reviews suggest he has a long way to go.

The Secret Lives of Dentists - (Buy from Amazon)
Critically acclaimed, but mostly ignored at the box office. The Secret Lives of Dentists is a look into the lives of married dentists and what happens when one starts to think the other is having an affair.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - (Buy from Amazon)
Star Trek may have lost a lot of steam - there are even rumors that Enterprise will be canceled at the end of the season. But there's still a lot of the older movies in the series worth watching. There have been previous releases of this film, but this one has substantial bonuses that may make it worthwhile if you are just a Star Trek fan and not a Trekkie.

Thirteen - (Buy from Amazon)
The studio was probably hoping for a win in at least one of the Golden Globe nominations last night to help boost sales. But even without any awards, it should still easily top its theatrical performance on the home market. And with great reviews it deserves to be seen.

Time Bandits - (Buy from Amazon)
The term, 'Cult Classic' is can hardly be more appropriate than when describing this film. A reunion of sorts for the Monty Python Gang with Terry Gilliam directing and co-writing with Michael Palin and John Cleese having a small role. Although this movie has two previous releases, this is a new High-definition transfer with extra features.

Ultimate Gretzky - (Buy from Amazon)
More than 4 and a half hours of game footage, interviews, ceremonies and home movies of possibly the greatest player in any team sport, ever [Ed note: with the exception of cricketer Don Bradman... oh nevermind.], The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Radio, The House of the Dead, Le Divorce, Grind, Thirteen, The Secret Lives of Dentists, Capturing the Friedmans