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DVD Releases for April 13, 2004

April 12th, 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. There was a bumper crop of smaller releases this week with half a dozen of them on the list and it is one of those, Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed, that is my DVD pick of the week.

Babylon 5 - (Buy from Amazon: Season 5 or Complete Series)
The complete series of Babylon 5 has finally been released on DVD. Season 5 was not as strong as season three or four, in part due to the departure of Claudia Christian. I know I usually insult multi-season DVD packs, after all, who are they for? People who are willing to spend several hundred dollars on a single series but didn't bother to buy any of the seasons individually. However, this time is makes sense. Because Babylon 5 had so many arcing multi-season story-lines that after watching the end of one season you want to immediately start watching the other. So holding off buying till they are all released makes some sense.

Booty Call - The Bootiest Edition - (Buy from Amazon)
Who is this for? It's not like this was a classic that was in desperate need of a special edition. For that matter, the extras on this disc are barely up to a regular edition.

Casa de los Babys - (Buy from Amazon)
Tells the story of half a dozen women trying to adopt children in the gray market. Reviews are good, but not great with most of the praise going to the acting. The DVD also had a lot of special features for a limited release.

Dopamine - (Buy from Amazon)
Unfulfilled potential might be the best way to describe this film. Reviews were slightly below average but writer / director Mark Decena should have a future in movies. A pleasant surprise is the amount of extra features on the DVD, including an audio commentary and introduction by Mark Decena as well as behind-the-scenes footage and deleted scenes.

Eating Raoul - (Buy from Amazon)
'Cult classic' and 'black comedy' are terms that are often overused, but they are absolutely necessary when describing this film. Given the high quality of the film, it's a shame that the DVD is so barren of features.

Freaks and Geeks - The Yearbook Edition - (Buy Direct)
I know what you are thinking, "Wasn't this the pick of the week last week?" That was the regular edition, this is the Yearbook Edition. Two extras DVDs packed with extras that you can only get direct from the producers. It is quite pricey and probably only worth it for the most devoted Freaks and Geeks fan.

Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed - (Buy from Amazon)
Sequel to 2001's Ginger Snaps. With reviews that are even stronger than the original's reviews this is a must have for anyone who is a fan of the monster movie in general and of werewolves in particular. And unlike the previous movie's DVD release, this one has a few extras, audio commentary, behind-the-scenes, deleted scenes, etc. And in a couple of weeks, the prequel should be released in Canada.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 - (Buy from Amazon)
With just four days till the release of Kill Bill: Volume 2 it's almost the perfect time to release the first movie on DVD. I say almost because it may be too late to generate enough word of mouth before the movie's release. Excellent reviews are a plus, but I was expecting better special features. I think it is very likely that not too long after Volume 2 hits the home market a combined special edition will be released. This DVD is worthy of a rental, but if you're looking to buy it will probably be best if you wait for the box set.

Mary-Kate & Ashley 3 Pack - (Buy from Amazon)
3 movies from the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen collection re-released in a box set just in time to take advantaged of the publicity generated by New York Minute. As for what three movies are in the set, I have no idea. It doesn’t say on Amazon, Warner Bros. home site, anywhere. It's almost like it's classified information.

Scotland, PA. - (Buy from Amazon)
Shakespeare's classic stories have been retold in modern-day numerous times, O, Ten Things I Hate About You, etc. With Scotland PA. it's MacBeth set in a Pennsylvanian fast food restaurant. The reviews are only average with much of the praise going to Chritopher Walken. There's little in the way of special features to make up for that as well. When it comes to modern-day retellings of Shakespeare, Strange Brew is still the best.

Timeline - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan and Scan)
If there's just one word to describe the box office performance of this film it would be disastrous. A film that cost $100 million to make and distribute but it only earned a fraction of that worldwide can only be described as such. Crittically, the results were no better, but at least the DVD has enough special features to entice more than a few people to rent the movie.

Tokyo Godfathers - (Buy from Amazon)
Despite Anime's appeal in many parts of the world, it has never caught on in the United States. Tokyo Godfathers is just another example of an anime film with stellar reviews that was all but ignored by American audiences. Lack of special features won't help this film chances on DVD, I'm afraid.

Yossi & Jagger - (Buy from Amazon)
The wonderful aspect about independent films is they can tell stories than mainstream films would never touch, and because they are not concerned with pleasing everyone, they can usually of a higher quality. Unfortunately, because of their much smaller budgets their DVD releases are usually quite bare. And in that is definitely the case with this film, which tells the story of two gay soldiers in the Israeli army. Daring story, exceptional quality, barren DVD.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Kill Bill: Volume 1, Kill Bill: Volume 2, Timeline, Casa de los Babys, Yossi & Jagger, Tokyo Godfathers, Dopamine