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DVD Releases for April 20, 2004

April 19th, 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. It was a special edition that caught my eye this week, A League of Their Own - (Buy from Amazon) and it is my DVD pick of the week.

The Big Empty - (Buy from Amazon)
Jon Favreau maybe one of the coolest actors in the movie industry today. So it's a shame his work doesn't get as much mainstream recognition as it deserves. His latest is a perfect example. He's part of a stellar cast in a movie with a very intriguing plot, and even with an execution that is solid if less than perfect it still should have found some mainstream success. At least people will now have a chance to see it on DVD. And it's a very good DVD; usually independent films don't have the budget for any extras, but this one has plenty. Deleted scenes, including an alternate ending, outtakes, audio commentary and even s short featurette about the making of the movie.

Give My Regards to Broad Street - (Buy from Amazon)
When this film was released 20 years ago the critics savaged the film with an almost playful glee. Looking back, the film isn't that bad and has at least a couple of good songs including, "No More Lonely Nights." But there still isn't enough mainstream appeal.

The Haunted Mansion - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan and Scan)
The last of three movies based on rides in Disney World. The first movie, The Country Bears was a disaster, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was a huge success and has spawned a sequel. The Haunted Mansion fits somewhere in the middle. Reviews were awful, but if you have kids of a certain age group you'll be watching it anyway.

In My Skin - (Buy from Amazon)
A movie about a woman who after a nasty cut turns to auto-cannibalism. This is too weird even for me.

A League of Their Own - Special Edition - (Buy from Amazon)
"There's no crying in baseball!" This classic comedy was directed by Penny Marshall and earned $100 million back when that meant something. It's been released on DVD for years but without any special features. This release has lots of special features include new content made for this release. I'm been looking to pick up this movie for a while and almost picked it up last weekend, which proves that before you buy any older movie you should check first to see if a new special edition comes out.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Movies - (Buy from Amazon: Getting There, Holiday in the Sun, Our Lips are Sealed, Passport to Paris, Switching Goals, When in Rome and Winning London)
With the advertising campaign for New York Minute revving up, it's a perfect time to re-release a bunch of the Olsen Twins' direct-to-video releases. Most of the discs have good amount of special features, not overloaded mind you, but certainly not bare.

Master and Commander: Far Side of the World - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen, Pan and Scan or Special Edition)
This movie was release during the heart of the award season last year with the hopes of becoming a huge critical and financial success while winning tons of awards. Critically it did fabulous, it won plenty of awards including two Oscars, but when it came to the box office it didn't perform as well. Its worldwide take was just above its total production budget plus estimated worldwide P&A expenses. So the home market is almost the last place for the film to make a profit. Unfortunately, they may have botched the release. The regular version has no special features, which makes the special edition look like a sales gimmick.

Nova: Dogs and More Dogs - (Buy from Amazon)
You haven't lived until you've seen a dachshund with narcolepsy.

The Office - (Buy from Amazon: The Second Season or First and Second Series)
The only British to ever win a Golden Globe, which tells you a lot about the quality. The only real complaint I have is with the missing episodes. Two specials were made that are not included on either disc. So I expect a complete box set to be released shortly and I'll be waiting for that set before I pick up this series.

Step Into Liquid - (Buy from Amazon)
A documentary about surfing which earned glowing reviews and over $3 million before its run was over, a healthy sum for a documentary. The real draw for me is the DVD-ROM interactive version of the movie.

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street - (Buy from Amazon)
The second film on this list about cannibalism and this time it's a musical. It's actually a very good story and a Tony Award winning production.

TekWar - The Complete Series - (Buy from
Based on a series of novels by William Shatner. Lasted only one season, which is a shame since it deserved much better than that. There are two tidbits to take into consideration before grabbing this series. Firstly, it's only available in Canada, so you'll have to import it if you don't live up here. And secondly, none of the Telefilms are in this set.

Totally Spies - (Buy from Amazon: Volume 1 or Volume 2)
Two discs, each with 4 episodes of this French spy / adventure cartoon. It's still growing in popularity in the States, but could become of the next big things for kids. As a bonus, each disc also has a never before seen episode.

Wild Things - Collection (Buy from Amazon: Unrated Version, Direct-to-Video Sequel or R-Rated Two Pack)
If you are going to release an unrated version of a film to coincide with the direct-to-video sequel, why use the older R-Rated version in the two pack? I guess they had a lot of those DVDs lying around.

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan and Scan)
Financially a huge disappointment when it was released less than 4 months ago. And that is a shame since its reviews were not all that bad. There's a few special features, but nothing that would make it worth purchasing by itself.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Haunted Mansion, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, New York Minute, Step Into Liquid, In My Skin