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DVD Releases for June 8, 2004

June 7th, 2004

Every week films get a second chance at success from the home market; or, in some cases, a first chance at success. Last week there were nearly 700 new releases, but the list of releases this week is just a third the length. However, in many ways it's a much stronger week with three or four candidates for DVD pick of the week. Some of the candidates were the multiple Oscar winning Mystic River - Buy from Amazon and the hilarious SCTV - Buy from Amazon. But in the end I went with The Dead Zone - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon, one of the best Stephen King adaptations in the past decade, although I'll probably end up buying all three anyway.

The A-Team - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
There are a lot of terms you could use to describe this show, but high quality it probably not one of them. The best you can say is the show is cheesy goodness; at worst it was horrendous. They could turn biscuit dough into exploding cannon balls, yet a direct hit with them only causes the target to fly a few feet in the air. Some people might enjoy that, but I was never one of them.

Along Came Polly - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
I don't think anyone would accuse Along Came Polly of being a high quality movie, but it did surprisingly well considering the time of year it was released. The DVD release also has an above average collection of special features, but nothing that pushes this film past a rental.

City of God - Buy from Amazon
This film earned amazing reviews to go with its four Oscar nominations. Given its success, I'm a little surprised that there weren't more special features. Granted, independent films usually don't have the budget that big Hollywood movies do, but I was still expecting more than this. This almost feels like a precursor to a special edition.

The Dead Zone - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
Season 3 started on Sunday, but you'll have to wait till Tuesday to pick up season 2. I'll be briefer than usual because later in the week I'll not only have a full review but there will a contest as well. This is a good show that's quality is only getting better and the DVD release is top notch with plenty of extra features including commentary tracks on all 19 episodes. Awesome. An interesting side note, the show is much cheaper on, so it might be worth it to buy it from there and have it shipped to the States.

Field of Dreams - 15th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
If you are going to make an anniversary special edition, I want you to blow me away. I want to see a commentary track, possible more than one, I want to see extra footage, I want to see "Making of" featurettes, I want to see "Where are they now?" or "A look back" featurette, etc. If you can't do this for a film, then chances are the Anniversary Edition isn't justified. Fortunately, this is a great film and the studio backed it up with great special features. This is also an interesting movie as at the time it looked like Kevin Costner could do no wrong, however, in just a few short years this career came tumbling down.

Just Shoot Me! - Seasons 1 & 2 - Buy from Amazon
When a show starts out as a mid-season replacement, then it's probably best from a marketing stand point to including seasons 1 and 2 on one set. Getting just a few episodes on a set seems like a bit of a rip-off and might cause some people to skip out on the first season all-together. This will of course lead to lower sales, which of course puts future season sets in jeopardy. This DVD set has the first two seasons of the show as well as a few special features like commentary tracks on a handful of episodes and cast interviews.

M*A*S*H - Season Six - Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
Great show, but what's so collectible about the DVD? You can turn the laugh track on and off, which is a nice feature.

Mystic River - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen, Pan & Scan or Special 3-Disc Edition
I'm getting really sick and tired of multiple edition of the same movie being released on DVD, usually the special edition is nothing more than the regular special features we've come to expect on every DVD release. At least with this movie the special edition is released at the same time as the featureless regular edition so you can make the choice and not get suckered into buying to versions of the same movie. But in this case there's not much of a choice, the Special 3-Disc Edition is clearly the better product for the money. The movie alone is worth watching just based on its multiple Oscar wins and its incredible reviews , but the special features, including three Charlie Rose interviews make the special edition worth buying.

Playmakers - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Arguably one of the best new shows of 2003. It was cancelled in the end not due to low ratings but because of complaints about how NFL players were depicted. Of course if you go to Google and look up NFL and Felony you get over 30,000 hits. So maybe the NFL should concentrate on cleaning up its act before going after others for ruining its reputation. There are a few special features on the discs, but not enough in my opinion.

Quantum Leap - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Good show, expensive DVD. The show started as a mid-season replacement, so there are only 9 hour long episodes on the set, but it still costs almost as much as a full season of other shows. There are some interesting special features, but not enough to make up for the cost. Hopefully, the following seasons will not cost as much on a per episode basis.

Reality Bites - 10th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
Too many Special Editions / Collector's Editions / Anniversary Editions are not very special, (or collectible) and contain no more special features than the average first DVD release for a movie that opened in theatres just 5 months ago. This is definitely another example of that. That is not to say it is a bad movie, it's a good movie with decent special features. But those features should have been on the original release.

Robocop Trilogy - Buy from Amazon
The first Robocop was cool. The second couldn't live up to the first, but still had its moments. And the third, well, the less said about the third the better.

SCTV Network/90 - Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
SCTV launched the careers of some of the funniest people this side of Melonville. Like The Kids in the Hall or Monty Python, SCTV created some classic characters that will live as cultural icons for a long time to come. This DVD set contains 9 of the 90-minute episodes that ran on NBC as well as hours of extras including the reunion special. Well worth the price.

Swann in Love - Buy from Amazon
Proust, in his first book wrote about... fa la la...
Proust in his first book wrote about...
He wrote about...
Proust in his first book wrote about the... Goooooonnnnng
All I know about Proust I learned from Monty Python, which explains why I know almost nothing about Proust. But as Paul Simon said, Proust is the bottom line for everyone.

The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller - Buy from Amazon
Six Tarzan movies made from 1932 to 1942. The Tarzan franchise used to be huge, but there have been less Tarzan movies made in the past two decades than there are in this 4 disc DVD set. The set is selling extremely well considering the age of these films, so maybe this will revitalize the franchise.

Tour of Duty - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The show only lasted three seasons in the late 80s, so it's no huge surprise that there's no special features. But the show still has a loyal fan base and they deserve something. Also missing are the songs originally used on the show. Since the music industry is hurting, (due mostly to poor quality) they are over charging for the DVD rights the songs. This causes a lot of series to drop the original songs used in exchange for mostly generic tracks.

Who's the Boss - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those shows that lasted a long time on the air but when you look back you have to ask why? Full House was another one of those shows. But the show still had its fans in its day, although considering it hasn't cracked the top 2000 on the Amazon Sales Charts, probably not a whole lot of them remember the show.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Mystic River, Cidade de Deus, Along Came Polly