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DVD Releases for February 17, 2004

February 16th, 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. This week I was able to narrow the Pick of the Week down to only two choices, High Noon - (Buy from Amazon) and Father Ted - The Holy Trilogy - (Buy from Amazon.) Two very different DVDs, but both worth picking up. They may be more DVDs I'll end up buying, but this week was heavy on the limited releases, which I tend to rent before I buy.

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

Boat Trip - (Buy from Amazon: R-Rated or Unrated)
Two versions of Boat Trip are being released. Why? It earned some of the worst reviews of 2003, so do we really need two versions of the film?

Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan and Scan)
This film was largely ignored when it was released early last fall. However, if you discount his work in animated movies, Dickie Roberts did better than David Spade's average. Critically a similar pattern can be seen. The movie garnered poor reviews, but they were on par, if not better than David Spades career average.

Dummy - (Buy from Amazon)
Practically invisible when it was first released, this was Adrien Brody's last role before his Oscar award winning performance in The Pianist. Although it didn't get a theatrical release till after he won said Oscar. Critically it wasn't up to The Pianist level, but it's still worth a rental.

Father Ted - The Holy Trilogy - (Buy from Amazon)
All three seasons of this brilliant, satirical British Comedy are now available in one box set. Father Ted tells the story of three priests in a parish on Craggy Island in Ireland. Father Ted is the most sensible one of the bunch, which isn't saying much. Father Dougal who has difficulty with ... reality. And finally there's the semi-conscious Father Jack who likes nothing more than a wee drink, of cleaning fluid. One might think the producers would have trouble making a sitcom about priests while trying to avoid offending anyone, but they don't pull any punches. And that's the key to the show's success.

High Noon - (Buy from Amazon)
Along with some of Sergio Leone's work, this is a quintessential western and one of the most important films made in the last 50-odd years. Beyond High Noon's political statement, (it was meant as an allegory to the HUAC) it is also largely seen as the first mature Western. Even without any special features this would be worth picking up, fortunately it does have a commentary track and two featurettes / documentaries.

Mambo Italiano - (Buy from Amazon)
This film had quite a successful run up in its native Canada, and had a pretty strong run for a limited release film in the U.S. Critically, it was compared to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but mostly in a negative way.

Masked and Anonymous - (Buy from Amazon)
Masked and Anonymous was savaged by critics as a self-indulgent vanity piece when it was first released. But writer and star Bob Dylan defended his work by saying, 'What I, mumble, mumble, [pause] the film [unintelligible] so, mumble [pause] mumble.'

Ok, I admit it; I only mentioned this DVD release so I could use that bad Bob Dylan joke.

On_Line - (Buy from Amazon)
The story of people who operate, work for and log into a live erotic web site and their search for love on the Internet. According to the critics, the film works better as a technical piece than as a narrative. You can the first 8 minutes on the film on, as well as two other clips. As someone who spends most of his day online, (mostly doing research or posting to one of several forums) I'm definitely interested in the subject matter. And there are plenty of extra features, including two commentaries, (one artistic and the other technical) to put this movie on my rental list.

Roswell Season 1 - (Buy from Amazon)
Roswell had an audience that was very loyal, but ultimately too small. For a long time it was the most requested unreleased show but finally the first is available. Since the series lasted only three season on two different networks, the studio could have dumped the series on the market without any features. Fortunately, they rewarded the viewers with quite a few features, but not as many as originally promised. There are fewer commentaries than stated on, and most of the deleted scenes are gone, as are the gag reel and one of the featurettes. They are already working on season 2 with a summer release date and if all goes well, the final season should be released this time next year.

The Runaway Jury - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pand and Scan)
For a while it looked like John Grisham would be the next big things in Hollywood. Things fell apart in 1996 when the $50 million movie, The Chamber could only muster $14.4 million at the box office. And while The Runway Jury is a return to form critically, it still disappointed at the box office. It should fare better on the home market.

Terminator 2 - Extreme Edition - (Buy from Amazon)
I know Arnold Schwarzenegger said he'd be back, but this is ridiculous. If you already own the Ultimate Edition you can give this one a pass. If not, this one is worth checking out.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Runaway Jury, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Boat Trip, Mambo Italiano, Masked and Anonymous, On-Line, Dummy