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DVD Releases for July 27, 2004

July 26th, 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. After two weeks on no DVD Pick of the Week we finally have a winner: Hellboy - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon.

Bill Plympton's The Tune - Buy from Amazon
I'm a fan of Bill Plympton's work, but I'll be the first to admit his style is an acquired taste and is better suited for short subjects.

Garfield and Friends - Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
Nearly ten hours of the Saturday morning cartoon version of Garfield are being released in time to cash in on the success of the movie adaptation, (it has earned more than it cost to make, and that's more than most movies have done this year.) The 3-disc set contains 24 episodes of the show, each consisting of two 8 minute Garfield cartoons with an equally long cartoon of U.S.Acres, which was the cartoon created by Jim Davis that was set on a farm. Lack of special features really hurt the value of the set.

Greendale - Buy from Amazon
An experimental film directed by rock legend Neil Young; the film has no dialogue as lyrics from his songs tell the story. It's not surprising that the experimental film doesn't work for everyone, or even most people, but should be of interest to all Neil Young fans.

Hellboy - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
This movie took less than 4 months to go from theatrical debut to DVD release. I'm not sure I'm happy with that. On the one hand, it's nice to be able to buy the DVD so quickly, but on the other hand it's likely to shorten a films legs in the theatre and that hurts theatre owners. Reviews for the film were excellent, and there's more than enough extras features packed onto two discs to justify the "Special Edition" moniker. Also being released tomorrow is an earlier film by director Guillermo Del Toro, the impressive movie The Devil's Backbone.

The Jeff Foxworthy Show - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The second season of this show is far better than the first. But if you want to see the second season released on DVD, then you'd better buy the one because unless this set sells the studio won't risk losing more money by releasing the second season.

Ned Kelly - Buy from Amazon
Despite a strong cast, this film failed both critically and at the box office. And even though it has reasonable special features, for a limited release, it looks like it's failing at the home market as well.

Nero Wolfe - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This is a very unique series because while there are a few regular characters, almost all the guest stars are played by the same actors. So it's not uncommon to have a single actor play more than a dozen roles over the course of the two seasons the show lasted. Some people will find that a little disorienting, but I found it added a certain extra appeal to the series. The series is based on the novels of Rex Stout and stars Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton; the latter also directed several episodes. The lack of special features on the DVD is disappointing, but won't stop me from buying the set.

The New Avengers '77 - Buy from Amazon
The Avengers with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel just isn't the same.

Rocked With Gina Gershon - Buy from Amazon
This series is a behind the scenes look at the concert tour Gina Gershon did to help promote Prey for Rock & Roll. Most critics thought the music was the best part of the movie, and Gina Gershon is certainly a better singer than many of the acts that are currently topping the charts.

Showgirls - VIP Limited Edition - Buy from Amazon
Was there really a demand for a special edition release for this movie? I don't think there will be many critics clamoring for this film. The special features are actually pretty good, if only you could buy them without the movie itself. Since the movie was originally released in 1995, they should have waited a year and released it as a tenth anniversary edition. Or better yet, just not release it.

Sledge Hammer! - Season One - Buy from Amazon
"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." Sledge Hammer! is a spoof of the overly macho police detective that was all the rage in the 80s. This show became a cult hit, but unfortunately, cult hits rarely last on TV. Fortunately, the makers were so passionate about the series that the DVD release is packed with special features including audio commentaries on four episodes, the unaired pilot and a new documentary. Also worth noting, the producers were so sure than the series wouldn't be picked up for a second season that they decided to have some fun with the final episode. Which makes the fact that the show was picked up and the opening of season 2 even funnier.

V - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Simply put, the TV series was not as good as either mini-series and this DVD set is for completists only. None of this should come as a shock to anyone as it is a textbook case of The Law of Diminishing Returns. The set contains all 19 episodes, including the cliffhanger ending, but is devoid of special features.

The Whole Ten Yards - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
This is a really bad sequel to a movie that wasn't that good to begin with. It's best if you avoid it at all costs.

Zombi 2 - The 25th Anniversary Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Zombie movies are in the midst of a certain revival in popularity, so it's no surprise that this classic zombie movie / gorefest from famed Italian director Lucio Fulci is getting a 25th anniversary special edition. The film is filled with gore, but also with bad acting and really bad dubbing. There are some memorial scenes like the Zombie vs. Shark battle. If you're a fan of gory zombie movies, then you'll probably love this movie. If not, then this film probably won't convert you.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Garfield, Hellboy, The Whole Ten Yards, Greendale, Ned Kelly, Prey for Rock & Roll