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DVD Releases for August 3, 2004

August 2nd, 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, including the co-winners of the DVD Pick of the Week, 13 Going on 30 - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon and Sliders - The First and Second Seasons - Buy from Amazon.

13 Going on 30 - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
This film was a bit of a surprise both critically and at the box office. And now they are releasing an excellent Special Edition DVD. The special features includes not one but two audio commentaries, (although none with the actors, and those tend to be the most entertaining, if the least informative) two music videos and deleted scenes and outtakes. There are also two featurettes, "The Making of a Teen Dream" (interviews) and "I was a Teenage Geek" (which deals with the high school lives of some of the cast and crew.) Not the most special features I've seen on a Special Edition DVD, but miles ahead of the rest of the pack and easily enough to put in the worth picking up category. Also being released tomorrow is Significant Others, a short-lived TV series also staring Jennifer Garner. The series only lasted six episodes, half of which were never aired and the only special feature is an interview with Jennifer Garner about her experience making the series.

The Best of Abbott & Costello - Volume 3 - Buy from Amazon
Another 8 movies from the classic vaudeville duo. Includes some absolute classics like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstien, but with all good things, the quality starts to drop near the end of the volume. On a side note, Volume 1 and Volume 2 are still selling very well, which is a testament to the enduring quality of their work.

Bill Engvall - Here's Your Sign Live - Buy from Amazon
Another member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. And where Jeff Foxworthy had his, "You might be a redneck if …" Bill Engvall has his, "Here's your sign" bits based on his position that stupid people ought to where signs warning others of their affliction.

The Black Hole - Buy from Amazon
Classic only in the sense that it's old. Critically the film had problems as was an expensive bomb when it was first released and it hasn't held up well over time. So the only thing going for it at this point is nostalgia.

The Complete Gidget Collection - Gidget / Gidget Goes Hawaiian / Gidget Goes to Rome - Buy from Amazon
Pan and Scan only! Why? Even if you were waiting a long time for these movies on DVD, it would be better off if you waited a little longer for them to come out in Widescreen.

Darby O'Gill and the Little People - Buy from Amazon
Leprechauns and a singing Sean Connery, what more could you want in a movie? Well, some special features would help, but having a movie from 1959 released on DVD without special features is pretty common. But you have to hope for more from a Disney classic.

Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack - Buy from Amazon
Just a quick note on the films included in the set, 100 Men and a Girl is out and Something in the Wind is in.

Comedy Central Roast of Denis Leary - Uncensored - Buy from Amazon
The complete, uncensored Roast of Denis Leary. The original version that was aired probably had more BLEEPS than jokes. Pack with lots of celebrities in the old Friars Club tradition, this was the highest rated special in Comedy Central's history.

Elvis Presley Movies - Buy from Amazon: Double Trouble, Harum Scarum, It Happened at the World' Fair, Speedway, Spinout and The Trouble With Girls
Who buys these movies? Elvis himself hated these movies, so I'm not sure why his fans would watch something that deeply embarrassed him. Even the best film in the bunch is just mediocre. I guess they have nostalgia going for them.

Garage Days - Buy from Amazon
Arguably the weakest effort by director Alex Proyas. The DVD does have an impressive amount of special features for a limited release, on the other hand.

Hidalgo - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
This was the first big budget bomb for Disney this year. Ok, maybe bomb is too strong a word, but with a production budget of $100 million have a total worldwide gross of just over $107 million isn't nearly enough. Reviews don't help the movie get ahead of the herd either sitting at as close to 50% as possible. Extras are also middle of the pack; not enough to get excited about, but enough to not complain as well.

Knight Rider - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
So cheesy that the lactose intolerant can't even hear the theme song without having cramps. Special features are strong for an 80s TV show with a few featurettes on the car, the stunts and the music, but there is a commentary track on the pilot only.

The Princess Diaries - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
What's the most import step in releasing a sequel? Re-releasing the original on a special edition DVD, of course. And the DVD wouldn't be complete without an ad for the new movie.

Sliders - The First and Second Seasons - Buy from Amazon
This is a great set and Universal Home Video did the smart thing and put the first two seasons in one set. Because it was a mid-season replacement, the first season was only 9 episodes long, (or 10 depending on how you count the 2 hour pilot.) And the ratings were not strong enough to warrant a full season order, so the second season was also a mid-season replacement lasting only 13 episodes. So I'm very grateful that the studio didn't try and stiff the public buy selling two half sets. It's also nice to be able to buy the first two seasons at once because after season 2 there was a big drop in quality. And then part way through season 3 they started shedding cast members faster than Law and Order, but for an entirely different reasons. Normally, I don't buy TV on DVD unless I want to pick up the whole series. But I'm making an exception in this case because seasons 1 and 2 were so fresh and so original. And season 3 quickly became a case of, "What movie can we rip off this week?" and the less said about seasons 4 and beyond the better.

Stage and Spectacle - Three Films by Jean Renoir (The Golden Coach / French Cancan / Elena and Her Men) - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Jean Renoir is arguably the greatest French director of all time, and this set has the three films from his post-Hollywood career. Most find his earlier work better, but the films, especially The Golden Coach are masterpieces. As with most Criterion Collection releases, there are plenty of special features.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection - Buy from Amazon
A pathetic money grab from Paramount. This collection contains seven, previously released episodes with Patrick Stewart as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard. It is being marketed as a best of collection but 'Best of' is very subjective, which is why studios usually stick with season sets.

Zorba the Greek - Buy from Amazon
Anthony Quinn gave his signature performance as the titular character in this multiple Oscar award-winning film. The DVD is being released with audio commentary, alternate beginning, A&E biography of Anthony Quinn and more. Very impressive for a film made in 1964.


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Filed under: Video Releases, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Hidalgo, Garage Days, 13 Going On 30