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DVD Releases for June 22, 2004

June 21st, 2004

Every week films get a second chance at success from the home market; or, in some cases, a first chance at success. Pretty light week both in terms of quantity and quality. Less than 200 films on Amazon's release list and only a handful of those are worth mentioning. Of that small number, Bad Santa, or to be more specific, Badder Santa is the DVD pick of the week, but its dark humor is not for everyone.

Bad Santa - Buy from Amazon: Bad Santa or Badder Santa
This dark comedy got strong reviews back when it was released last November. But I'm a little confused on why they are releasing the DVD now, why not wait a couple of months till Christmas decorations are in the stores. There are two DVDs being released and with a couple of extra features at no extra money the Unrated version is the better deal. Anyone who is into dark comedies and is sick of Christmas by Halloween should pick this DVD up on Tuesday.

Elvis Presley - Double-shot - Buy from Amazon: Aloha from Hawaii and The '68 Comeback Special
Two Elvis Presley concerts release on DVD in the same week. Both are placing well on the Top 100 Sales Chart, which shows the King's popularity hasn't waned too much. If you were to choose only one DVD, I'd go with the '68 Comeback Special; while Aloha from Hawaii is more of an event, the Comeback Special shows an Elvis that is closer to his prime.

The Joe Schmo Show - Season One Uncensored - Buy from Amazon
Have I mentioned I hate reality TV? I have. Repeatedly? Good. But at least this show has an interesting premise. It's a typical Reality TV show except for one twist, all the people on the show are actors except for one person.

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra - Buy from Amazon
An ultra-low budget parody of B-Movie horror films from the 1950s didn't earn A-Level reviews, but it had it fans. The film only cost $40,000 to make but earned more than double that in the theatres. However, I'm sure the home market is where it will shine. The impressive amount of extras, especially for a limited release film, should help make a few more sales. Two commentary tracks, gag reel, Q&A session and more. Fans of either 1950s sci-fi horror films or MST3K will probably really enjoy this film.

The Lower Depths - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Two movies based on the same Maxim Gorki play directed decades apart by two masters. The first version was made in 1936 by Jean Renoir, arguably the greatest French director of all time. The second version was made in 1957 by Akira Kurosawa, arguably the greatest Japanese director of all time. Both films are classics and the DVDs are up to the high standards associated with the Criterion Collection. However, neither version is the best work by either director so if you want an introduction to either director I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

Mamma Roma - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Arguably the best work from Italian writer director Pier Paolo Pasolini. It tells the story of a former prostitute who tries to put her former life behind her for the sake of her son. Another older film that is getting the criterion touch this week. And as such, it has plenty of special features, but if you were to stick with just one Criterion Collection movie this week I think The Lower Depths may be the better choice.

Puppets Who Kill: Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon.ca
A Canadian series about a halfway house for puppets with severe behavioral problems. I think there's something strange in the water up here in Canada that makes us create shows like this. Internet Slutts in another, 'Only in Canada' kind of show. This is only available from Amazon.ca for now, if you're in America you have to wait till July 13th.

Reno 911! - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This series tells the stories of a dysfunctional police department, sort of a parody of Cops. There are a few extra features on the two-disc set, which is being released just a couple weeks after the second season began.

Secret Window - Buy from Amazon
Better than average Stephen King adaptation, but that's not saying much. With reviews that were just mediocre, the only real selling point for the movie was Johnny Depp's performance. The DVD has quite a few extras, but nothing that makes the disc worth buying. Rent it if you are a fan of either Stephen King or Johnny Depp.

The Work and the Story - Order Direct
A self distributed Mormon mockumentary that deals with fallout after the pioneer of Mormon Cinema disappears. The film follows three wannabe directors as they try and claim Richard Dutcher's vacant thrown.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Bad Santa, Secret Window, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, The Work and the Story